Plainfield Stuff

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Eric Watson: Plainfield Today posts on Watson, the PMUA and Mayor Robinson-Briggs' 2013 primary campaign.

Here are some of the Plainfield Today posts covering Eric Watson and the PMUA, as well as his involvement with former mayor Robinson-Briggs as manager of her 2013 re-election campaign.

12/19/2011:  "Ex-PMUA execs in $1.2M severance pay skulldiggery"
Includes links to news stories and copies of contracts, severance resolutions and more.
12/13/2012:  "Rahway example underscores outrageousness of $1M PMUA settlement"
Rahway administrator, with more experience, gets only $163,000 severance package.
01/25/2013:  "Council gives $1M giveaway promoter a PMUA seat"
Cecil Sanders makes revealing remarks about Watson's departure.
04/01/2013:  "$1 million 'gift' coming back to haunt PMUA board?"
The NJ Public Advocate excoriates the PMUA board for the Watson-Ervin settlement.
05/20/2013: "Sharon breaks election rules, but compliments Mapp"
A questionable campaign mailer; Watson was Robinson-Briggs' campaign manager.
06/05/2013: "Campaign Album: The winner and the losers"
Includes photo of Robinson-Briggs and campaign manager Watson with Rev. Al Sharpton.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Letter: Mayor’s response to violence failed Plainfield (Rodriguez-Martinez)

Courier News, Letter to Editor, Friday, 6/29/2012 (not put online)

Mayor’s response to violence failed Plainfield

An open letter to Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs: This letter is in reference to the recent escalating crime and unsolved murder cases in Plainfield.

As a resident and property owner in the city, I am very concerned for the safety of my family. In a recent Plainfield property owners meeting, we discussed these recurring matters. We are all very much concerned, and we have concluded that these matters have gotten totally out of hand.

We have been seeking explanations from your office, and it seems to be that both you and your office have chosen to look the other way and not address this issue.

Our community, including the Hispanic population of Plainfield, is outraged and completely shocked by your actions and those of the police department.

The excuse made by your office, as well as the Plainfield police, in which a statement was made in reference to both departments not being able to relate or work with the Hispanic community because of a language barrier, is unacceptable.

There are many Hispanic communities both large and small throughout the Garden State that have an excellent rapport with their police departments. If your police department cannot communicate with the taxpaying Hispanic community, you should address this problem as soon as possible. It is apparent that the Plainfield police force is the only station with this problem.

I also would like to advise you that it has been brought to our attention that due to recent unsolved murders, increasing crime rate and Hispanic hate crimes, many students have decided not to attend Union County College at the Plainfield campus.

As a result, they are seeking other academic institutions in which to enroll for the fall semester.

Furthermore, because of the extremely serious police safety issues and unanswered questions, as well as poor investigations from your office, we have collected
funds to get legal representation in order to seek a formal investigation from the proper state agency to investigate this matter.

This request is warranted for the safety of our children and senior citizens who live in Plainfield.

If Plainfield would implement cameras in the “hot crime zones,” we would possibly get the answers we are looking for, and that is justice.

You have held meetings acting as a mediator with gang members at a local restaurant without concern of the seriousness of jeopardizing parents, children and senior citizens within this specific location.

Nonetheless, you did not take initiative to reach out to religious
leaders in our areas, and use their church halls for this meeting with community observers in attendance. One of the ways to break the Hispanic language barrier is to communicate with Hispanic community leaders for assistance.

Overall, your office has done very little for our city, and we want answers, as well as someone who has the intelligence and decorum to sit in the mayor’s office and perform those duties for which the person was elected. I hope this letter has expressed the seriousness of the concerns that we have in Plainfield. I am speaking on behalf of my neighbors and upset residents throughout the community.
Chase Rodriguez-Martinez


Friday, April 01, 2011

Mayor's press release on Armory deal


It's April 1st, and you came here looking for what?...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


SATURDAY · January 15 · Doors open at 12:30 PM
Omega Psi Phi: 'The Dream: It's Up To Me'
The 'Omega Talent Hunt', showcasing the area's most talented student performers in Dance, Instrumental and Spoken Word/Drama.
At: Hubbard Middle School, 661 West 8th Street
Sponsor: Omicron Chi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi
Info: (201) 741-1415

SATURDAY · January 15 · 7 PM
New Dems: 3rd Annual MLK Potluck Dinner and Food Drive
Donations of canned goods or non-perishable food items will benefit Plainfield's StarFish feeding program.
At the home of Councilor Adrian and Amelia Mapp, 535 West 8th Street
Sponsor: New Democrats for Plainfield
No RSVP necessary. Invite your friends to this popular event.

SATURDAY · January 15 · 7 PM
POP: Celebrating the Life  and Work of Martin Luther King Jr.
The annual program this year featuring Larry Hamm as guest speaker
At the Society of  Friends Meetinghouse, 225 Watchung Avenue.
Sponsor: People's Organization for Progress, Plainfield Chapter
Info: Steven Hatcher, (908) 731-1518

MONDAY · January 17 · 8:30 AM
Frontiers MLK Annual Memorial Breakfast.
Guest speaker: Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of 'Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome'
At Plainfield High School Cafeteria, 950 Park Avenue (use Kenyon Avenue lot and entrance)
Tickets: $16/person, $12/Students/Seniors
Sponsor: Plainfield Area Chaper of Frontiers International
Info and reservations: (908) 756-4663 or (908) 822-2202

MONDAY · January 17 · 4 PM
City-Wide Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration
Keynote speaker the Rev. Samuel 'Billy' Kyles, pastor of Monumental Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee, and the last person to see Dr. King alive
Freedom Youth Choir will sing songs of the Civil Rights movement
At Shiloh Baptist Church, 515 West Fourth Street.
Sponsor: Shiloh Baptist Church, Rev Dr. Gerald Lamont Thomas, Pastor
Info:(908) 754-3353 or visit the website at

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hispanics - AG Peter Harvey's Plainfield Meeting - 2005

AG meets to discuss attacks on Latinos

Plainfield crimes spur talks with activists, police and community leaders
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Star-Ledger Staff

Plainfield needs to make "systematic changes" to prevent crimes targeting Latinos, according to state Attorney General Peter Harvey, who met with community leaders for two hours last night behind closed doors.

"I don't just want to be in response mode," he said to reporters following the meeting.

Of the attacks that targeted Latinos in Plainfield and North Plainfield in spring 2004 and summer 2005, only one of the beatings has involved charges of bias intimidation.

To make sure those patterns don't emerge again, Harvey proposed giving immigrants identification cards so they can open a bank account and deposit their wages instead of carrying around cash.

"They have cash in their pockets and some people know it," he said, adding that many of the crimes happen after someone leaves a bar.

To make the community safer, Plainfield needs to hire more Spanish-speaking police officers, increase police patrols, educate the community about safety and hold more meetings between law enforcement and residents. Harvey also suggested posting signs in Spanish in bars alerting patrons to past attacks and linking car services with bar owners to encourage patrons to get a ride home.

Harvey scheduled last night's meeting shortly after activist Carmen Salavarrita renewed claims of bias attacks against Latinos last month. Harvey said that it is "fairly rare" for a community to come together and show concerns about bias crimes, even though he meets frequently with local law enforcement and residents.

Almost 30 people, including Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow, Plainfield Police Chief Edward Santiago and Safety Director Jiles Ship, attended the meeting at St. Mary's School on West Sixth Street.

Salavarrita believes some of the attacks on Latinos have been bias crimes, even though officials have said otherwise.

"A lot of people want to keep it quiet but that's not going to solve anything," she said. Salavarrita, who lives in Piscataway, said victims come to her for help because she has close ties to the community as a board member of Plainfield's El Centro Hispanoamericano and as a trustee of the Plainfield Health Center. She blames "a group of black people" for the attacks.

Another Latino activist, however, says the entire community is actually working together.

"The message we are sending is our community will not be divided," said Flor Gonzalez of the Latin American Coalition.

Gonzalez was not the only one to downplay Salavarrita's allegations.
"Crime statistics reflect that victimization is not solely a Hispanic issue," Santiago said. The police chief agreed the city needs to hire more Spanish-speaking officers in addition to the 14 currently on staff.

"We are getting more and more investigations that require interviews with Spanish speakers," he said after the meeting.

Santiago suggested starting a citizens' education program at the police academy to increase awareness of safety issues.

Councilman Ray Blanco similarly dismissed the claim that there is tension between the African- American and Latino community.

"They're not killing us on the streets," he said to a resident who had come to give Harvey a personal letter. "You know this and I know this."

Julia M. Scott covers Plainfield. She may be reached at jscott@star or (908) 302-1505.

© 2005  The Star Ledger
© 2005 All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maps: Plainfield: Ward 4 Districts

Click to enlarge or print.

Maps: Plainfield: Ward 3 Districts

Click to enlarge or print.

Maps: Plainfield: Ward 2 Districts

Click to enlarge or print.

Maps: Plainfield: Ward 1 Districts

Click to enlarge or print.

Plainfield 2010 Primary Election Results (Council)

Plainfield 2010 Primary Election Results (Council)

District-by-district results for City Council seats.

Wards 2/3 at-large was a contested race between three Democrats --
  • Rashid Burney (Regular Democratic Organization [Incumbent])
  • Don Davis (Hold On To Plainfield)
  • Rebecca Williams (New Democrats for Plainfield)
Republican Jim Pivnichny ran unopposed.

In Ward 1, Democrat Bill Reid and Republican Sean Alfred were unopposed.



District 01
District 02 14
District 03 20
District 04 24
District 05 13
District 06 38
District 07 35
District 08 30
District 09 18
District 10 30
District 11


District 01 15
District 02 13
District 03 20
District 04 22
District 05 42
District 06 35
District 07 26
District 08 25
District 09 49
District 10 24



District 01 49

District 02 25

District 03 37

District 04 20

District 05 22

District 06 24

District 07 35

District 08 34



Total voter turnout was 2,286 citywide.

In Wards 2/3, 1,549 Democratic votes were cast. With
a total of 7,384 registered Democrats,
this is a turnout of 21%.

(As for unaffiliated voters declaring themselves at the polling place, my experience in one of the busier districts at Evergreen School was ONE person declaring Democratic voter affiliation on Primary day.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gangs | Bystanders caught in middle of Plainfield gang feud | NJ Newsroom

Bystanders caught in middle of Plainfield gang feud

Wednesday, 19 May 2010 14:25


A man and two women suffered injuries in the West End neighborhood of Plainfield in what police are calling a gang related feud between rival gangs that has been seething for months.

The 45-year-old male victim in the shooting that occurred around 8:40 p.m. Sunday, drove himself to the former Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center after sustaining a gunshot wound to his upper left arm. He told police he was driving his 2002 Volkswagen Jetta near the 400 block of Liberty Street near the Liberty Village housing complex when someone shot at his vehicle, shattering the rear window and hitting him in the arm. Investigators say the victim, who told them a group of "young boys" fired the shot, was otherwise uncooperative.

That shooting incident remains under investigation, but no suspects have been arrested at this time. Police said there might be a connection between the Liberty Street shooting and a second shooting that occurred during the wee hours of Monday morning less than a quarter-mile away at the Elmwood Gardens.

The first officer who responded to that shooting was already in the area and heard the gunfire. Upon arriving at West Second and New streets in the Elmwood Gardens housing complex around 2 a.m., the officer found a 21-year-old Dunellen female suffering from a gunshot wound to the upper left arm.

The second victim, a 30-year-old woman, was found several minutes later a half-block away suffering from a gunshot wound to the right buttock. Before being transported to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Brunswick, both victims told investigators they did not see the shooter or shooters.

An immediate search of the area turned up no leads, but several witnesses told police the shots came from a Black 2003 Mercedes-Benz bearing Virginia plates that was seen in the area driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Police later found the suspect vehicle approximately 1.5 miles from the scene of the shootings near the corner of West Fifth Street and Stanley Place fully engulfed in flames.

Emergency crews extinguished the fire, which was believed to be the result of arson. A search of the vehicle by the Union County Sheriff's Identification Unit and Arson Task Force found several live rounds of ammunition near the car's passenger door. The vehicle was later towed to police headquarters.

Investigators say the shooters intended targets appear to have been two males who were at the scene but both remain unidentified at this time. Police say despite increased police presence, trepidation between the Libside and West Third Street gang sets appears to be escalating.

"They don't seem to care," said city Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig. "We've been trying to keep the peace down there, because there's certainly been some things brewing."

According to Hellwig, the feud has been simmering since the beginning of the new year. The violence between the two gangs appears to be escalating at the expense of innocent bystanders, which has forced police to develop an aggressive operational strategy to address the issue.

The three West End housing complexes, Elmwood Gardens, Liberty Village and the nearby West End Gardens, are all managed by the Housing Authority of Plainfield, and have become the nucleus of gang activity for years, but officials said residents, understandably reluctant to speak for fear of retaliation from gangs, hamper efforts.

Anyone with information on either of these shootings is asked to call Plainfield Police Detectives Edwin Maldonado or Nash Brown at 908-753-3415 or Detective Eugene Goldston at 908-753-3531. All calls will remain confidential.

Article #12310

NOTE: Story was taken down during the day.  Below is text of email I sent to NJ Newsroom folks on 5/21/2010 -- Dan

Good morning,

NJ Newsroom ran a story yesterday AM on recent gang activity in Plainfield.

I aggregate links to news stories of interest to Plainfield readers on my blog CLIPS, and posted a link to the story in my usual fashion.

As I scanned the item preparatory to putting up a link, it seemed very similar to my recollection of the Courier News item "Three injured in Plainfield shootings as gang feud escalates" of 5/17/2010, and I put a link to their story alongside the one to yours. (The story was actually broken on my local news blog, Plainfield Today, early Monday AM as part of a roundup of police news --
"3 shot over weekend, pedestrian struck, plus unremarked bias incident")

I was told by someone yesterday afternoon that your story had been taken down, and that Plainfield police director Martin Hellwig had confirmed that no one from NJ Newsroom had contacted him about the story, though there was a direct quote in your piece.

As a news junkie (and retired public information officer for the City of Plainfield), I have had the highest regard for NJ Newsroom since its inception and admire both the news stories and the wide variety of opinions expressed on issues of concern to New Jerseyans.

This experience, however, has left me feeling uneasy. In print media, there might be a correction or a small notice about what had gone awry. Scanning your site, I don't find somewhere that a reader could turn for clarifications or corrections or admissions that a mistake or ethical lapse had been made.

I hope you will consider a little 'corner' for such, so that your deservedly good reputation will remain of the highest order.

Dan Damon
Dan Damon

The needler in the haystack

Where Plainfield turns for news

Our lives begin to end when we are silent about things that matter.
--- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

About Me

Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.