Friday, April 20, 2007

Letter to Mayor Robinson-Briggs concerning 'Plainfield Gazette' flyer

April 19, 2007

Hon. Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Mayor
City of Plainfield
515 Watchung Avenue
Plainfield, NJ 07060

Dear Mayor Robinson-Briggs:

Attached please find a copy of a flyer by the "Plainfield Gazette" found on the literature table in the rotunda of City Hall on Thursday, April 19, 2007, and reportedly circulated throughout City Hall and City Hall Annex.

What concerns me in writing you is not the errors of fact concerning myself, but the use of the word 'faggot' as an epithet and that the materials were placed and circulated in public buildings.

Have people learned nothing from the recent Don Imus episode? The "F" word is as derogatory as the "N" word and can be characterized as hate speech -- totally inappropriate for distribution in a public building.

Secondly, this kind of speech cannot but make a hostile work environment for those many gay and lesbian employees of the City of Plainfield who can now expect it to be used against them if they exercise their First Amendment rights in a way that displeases the anonymous author(s) of this diatribe.

Lastly, there was an episode of distribution in City Hall of a leaflet under this heading
("Plainfield Gazette") during the primary campaign in May of 2005, in which you were running against then Mayor Al McWilliams.

At that time, it was suspected that the materials had been prepared by a city employee on a city computer and run off on a city color copier. Though the McWilliams administration was not able to identify the person or persons who published that particular flyer, further flyers did not appear once employees learned the administration was investigating the matter.

It would be reassuring if you communicated to all employees through an official letter that you consider such language hate speech and that it is never appropriate for City employees to use it. It would also be reassuring to learn that you are having the production and distribution of this flyer looked into, with an eye to determining if it was produced by a city employee or employees or if city equipment was used in its production or distribution.


Dan Damon

Dan Williamson, Corporation Counsel
Marc Dashield, City Administrator
Courier News
News 12 NJ
Garden State Equality
Plainfield Area Equality

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.