Thursday, March 11, 2010

Election Season Gearing Up

Assemblyman Jerry Green, the chairman of Plainfield Democratic City Committee, has announced he is supporting Councilwoman Linda Carter for a Union County freeholder seat. The filing date for the June primary is April 12, still a month away, so it is an early announcement.

The City Council has two seats up for election this year, the First Ward and the Second & Third Ward at-large seats. Click here to see a list of current council members, their seats and also their 2010 committee and liaison assignments. The possibility of a third vacancy - for the First Ward seat - should spice up political speculation on how things might play out. For example, if Carter runs in the June primary and wins, she could vacate her seat in favor of an appointee who would then run in the November general election. Winning a Democratic primary in Union County has historically been tantamount to winning the the November election as well.

Depending who files on April 12, the city could see another skirmish in the long battle between the Regular Democratic Organization and a more progressive faction of the party known as the New Democrats. Of course, in the party system, a New Democrat who wins in the primary goes on the November ballot as a putative RDO candidate, regardless of his or her personal philosophy on governance. In local political lore, RDOs are theoretically loyal to the party leadership, including Union County Democratic Chairman Charlotte DeFilippo and Sen. Ray Lesniak. But those with New Dem DNA have been known to retain their ability to think independently.

Political submariners may be exclaiming "Up periscope!" as the April 20 school board election approaches. Although it is a non-partisan election, slates tend to be formed that foreshadow the drawing of political lines in the municipal elections. City coffers and school board chests are the two main pots of money in the city and a majority among elected representatives in either arena can determine how contracts are allocated and how other important fiscal decisions are made, even in the current lean times with more constraints expected.

Fourteen candidates have filed for school board seats this time around. Turnout has traditionally been low, a factor that favors those who are good vote-getters even if others are more qualified to serve. The municipal race usually draws more voters and while its outcome is also based on getting out the vote, it tends to require more strategy on the part of candidates.

Both of these elections are extremely important in these hard times. There are external and internal forces that will make public service more challenging than ever in 2010. Will citizens take an interest and choose carefully, or will these elections engender nothing more than grumbling after the fact? We'll see.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"a more progressive faction of the party known as the New Democrats"

Progressive? Ha ha! That is a joke!

What have they "progressed?" Thier own political agenda. They have "progressed" Estevez who allowed the Super of Plainfield to make a mockery of our school system.

The "progressed" Don Davis who then took trips all over the country on the city's dime and was arrested for DUI.

They "progressed" the reinstatement of Barbara James - the Mayor's said in this budget, but laid off Steffel in the Planning office.

The "progressed" cutting the library budget by $300,000.

Progressive? Ha, that is a joke if I ever heard one.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the net result for Plainfield is that if Carter runs for freeholder her replacement most likely will be a RDO loyalist which will shift the balance in the council to the RDO by a 4 to 3 count. Nice example of Jerry, Charlotte et al doing what they do best: winning elections and maintaining power. If only they put half as much thought into governing.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Jim said...

As you speculated, there is a rumor that Bill Reid, the 1st ward councilor, will not seek re-election. In support of this, his recent positions at council meetings have have not always been in support of the mayor, particularly his vote against her most recent layoff plan. Adrian Mapp, if in the unlikely event that he is given the position of CFO, will probably also be vacating his council seat. Jerry Green could very well populate the council with some new strong supporters of his, placing the city in even more trouble than it already is. Let's hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It could turn into 5-2 in Jerry's corner. Burney is walking a fine line, Mapp may be bought as CFO, and Carter looks to be off to Freeholderville. Plainfield will become Remington & Vernick's main profit center. Ca-ching, ca-ching. Taxpayers beware!

10:42 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

To Anonymous at 10:42....Interesting break down, but seriously...Burny walking a fine line ?????
Burney does in fact like to "TALK" the big game of making the Mayor and the rest of those in power--- JERRY --- have some sort of accountability, but follows their lead when push comes to shove. Out of all the council members, he is by far one of the biggest disappointments because he could have helped get rid of Sharon.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 8:21am - Please do not mix the party and the person. All the people who you named decided how they were going to align themselves (hence Bernice's description that the New Dems tend to be more independent thinking). It is not the New Dems philosophy that changed, it is the person.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@8:21am - Don Davis wasn't a New Dem. He was Jerry's shill. Ray Blanco used to refer (in private) to Don as "my ankle bracelet." Meaning that he was forced by the Regular Democratic Machine to include Don and promote him whenever they deemed it necessary.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Linda Carter wasn't she WonderWoman on tv and a model i didn't know she was in politics

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't there anyone in our fair city who can convince our beloved mayor that it is inappropriate and insulting to all Plainfielders for her to graffiti the newly cleaned and restored City Hall building with her flimsy and tacky propaganda banner?

The taxpayers of New Jersey have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on that restoration and the manner in which the offending banner is affixed will create permanent discoloring and damage to the limestone columns.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Democrats for Change said...

Regular Democratic Organization is not the Democratic Party, so whomever wins in the primary goes on the November ballot not as 'a putative RDO candidate,' but as the official nominee of the Democratic Party.

One of the great failings of NJ's election law is that it allows political bosses and power brokers to rig the primary election ballot.

This lends credibility to the idea that the corrupt RDO is the Democratic Party, although it is not. We need to end the process of ballot fixing, as well as establish term limits and public campaign financing, to give government back to the people.

It's time for Democrats to take back control of the Democratic Party! WWW>DEMOCRATSFORCHANGE.NET

3:55 PM  

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