Monday, December 22, 2008

BUF - Legal Notice - UCIA Bond - $7M - 9/13/2007

Published in the Westfield Leader, Thursday, September 13, 2007 (from PDF)



ORDINANCE NO: 657-2007

INTRO: 9/6/2007

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the following proposed Ordinance was introduced and passed on the first reading at a Regular Meeting of the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Union, New Jersey held on the 6th day of September 2007, and said Ordinance will be taken up for further consideration for final passage at a meeting of said
Board to be held at its meeting room in the Administration Building, Elizabeth, New Jersey, on the 27th day of September 2007, at 7:00 p.m., or as soon thereafter as said matter can be reached, at which time and place all persons who may be interested therein will be given an opportunity to be heard concerning same.

A copy of this Ordinance has been posted on the Bulletin Board upon which public notices are customarily posted in the Union County Administration Building of the County of Union and a copy is available up to and including the time of such meeting to the members of the general public of the County who shall request such copies, at the Office
of the Clerk of the Board of Chosen Freeholders in said Administration Building, Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Nicole L. DiRado, Clerk of the Board of Chosen Freeholders


WHEREAS, the Union County Improvement Authority (the “Authority”) has been duly created by an ordinance of the Board of Chosen Freeholders (the “Board of Freeholders”) of the County of Union, New Jersey (the “County”), as public body corporate and politic of the State of New Jersey (the “State”) pursuant to and in accordance with the county improvement authorities law, constituting Chapter 183 of the Pamphlet Laws of 1960 of the State, as amended and supplemented from time to time (the “Act”); and

WHEREAS, The Torain Group on behalf of its Client, the Black United Fund or its affiliate or transferee has requested the Authority’s assistance in relation to the expansion of a pre-school facility in the City of Plainfield; and

WHEREAS, the City has expressed its support for the Project in a letter from the Mayor dated August 7, 2007; and

WHEREAS, the Authority proposes to finance the Project through the issuance of one or more series of Bonds (the “Bonds”) in an aggregate principal amount of not to exceed $7,000,000; and

WHEREAS, the Bonds shall have such other terms as set forth in those certain resolutions authorizing the issuance of the “Revenue Bonds, Series 2007 (Black United Fund-Plainfield Project)” of the Union County Improvement Authority to be adopted by the Authority prior to the issuance of the Bonds (the “Bond Resolution”; the Bond Resolution, and any amendments or supplements thereto in accordance with the terms thereof may be collectively referred to as the “Bond Resolution”); and

WHEREAS, the principal of (including sinking fund installments, if any) and interest on the Bonds when due may be, if the Authority determines it to be in its best interest, insured by a municipal bond insurance company (the “Bond Insurer”) in accordance with the terms of a new issue municipal bond insurance policy (the “Bond Insurance Policy”); and

WHEREAS, the Authority shall make application to the Local Finance Board in the Division of Local Government Services of the Department of Community Affairs of the State (the “Local Finance Board”) for the Local Finance Board’s review of the Project; and

WHEREAS, the Authority believes: (i) it is in the public interest to accomplish such purpose; (ii) said purpose is for the health, wealth, convenience or betterment of the inhabitants of the County; (iii) the amounts to be expended for said purpose are not unreasonable or exorbitant; and (iv) the proposal is an efficient and feasible means of providing services for the needs of the inhabitants of the County and will not create an undue financial burden to be placed upon the Authority.

Section 1. In accordance with Section 13 and all other applicable law, the Board of Freeholders hereby consents to (i) the Project and the financing of same, (ii) the execution and delivery by the Authority of the Financing Documents and such other documents as necessary and reasonable for the transaction, which documents shall be filed with the Clerk of the Board prior to the issuance of any Bonds, (iii) the adoption by the Authority of the Bond Resolution, and (iv) the issuance, sale and delivery of the Bonds to effect such purpose. The consent hereto given to the Financing Documents contemplates the insertion of the final financing terms.
Section 2. This ordinance shall take at the time and in the manner provided by law.
Section 3. Upon the adoption hereof, the Clerk of the Board of Freeholders shall forward certified copies of this ordinance to the County Manager, County Counsel, Executive Director of the Authority, and John G. Hudak, Esq., Bond Counsel to the Authority.

1 T - 9/13/07, The Leader Fee: $131.58

2009 Primary - PolitickerNJ - SRB will try to withstand New Dems

Published on, Monday, December 21, 2008

December 21, 2008 - 5:05pm

In Plainfield, Mayor Robinson-Briggs will try
to withstand Mapp's New Democrats

By Max Pizarro, Reporter

PLAINFIELD – Get it right in four years or you’re gone.

That’s the message the voters consistently deliver in the Union County city of Plainfield, and looking at past results, most of their elected leaders get it wrong.

In 125 years of political wrangling, only one mayor won reelection here.

That was the late Al McWilliams, a self-professed New Democrat who in 2005 failed to get over a rising crime wave and lost his bid for a third term to machine Democrat Sharon Robinson-Briggs by 325 votes, 2,713 to 2,388.

Now Robinson-Briggs, 49, Plainfield’s first woman to serve as mayor, readies for her reelection campaign next year in what will likely be a hard fought Plainfield contest with once and future councilman Adrian Mapp, a McWilliams ally and now leader of the New Democrats, who’s energized by his successful return to local politics.

Mapp already filed to run for mayor – a $35,000-per year part-time job - with the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), but insists he’s not yet made a final decision.

“If more and more people approach me I will consider running,” says the 52-year old former county freeholder and at-large city councilman, who earlier this year defeated Robinson-Briggs ally Don Davis by a 10 percent margin to become the 3rd Ward councilman.

“If there’s a groundswell of support for me, I would give it very serious consideration. I would be guided by the desires of the people.”

Should he run, Mapp, a CPA and chief financial officer in Roselle, is likely to make competence the issue as Plainfield’s nearly 48,000 residents this year lost Muhlenberg Hospital – the city’s biggest employer of 1,000 jobs; while homeowners fear the prospect of a local tax increase of 9.5 percent.

“The roads are in a state of disrepair, people are paying high taxes, and we have a shrinking commercial tax base,” says Mapp.  “Residents don’t feel their tax dollars are offering a return on investment. They want to know their elected officials are capable of leading. Clearly, the city needs someone to get out front.” 

In defense of her administration, Robinson-Briggs says the 9.5 percent figure reflects on a working $78 million budget that has not yet received state extraordinary aid. She continues to examine every option in difficult economic times, she says, including renegotiating contracts and implementing a four-day work week for city employees.

As for the hospital, Robinson-Briggs with pain in her voice argues that she did everything she could to avert what was ultimately a private sector decision made by the suits at Solaris Health Systems.

Her administration lobbied the hospital itself, and failing that, “We sent an overabundance of letters to Gov. Corzine,” says the mayor. “We proposed a statewide lottery with money to be divided among (urban) hospitals (like Muhlenberg). That was an idea that didn’t pan out. We started to work on the issue at the end of last year. We wrote over 2,000 letters. I understand the governor is in a tight spot and looking at things equitably in the State of New Jersey. 

“But I told them, if you close the hospital, people will die.”

While the mayor refrains from listing her accomplishments days before her New Year state of the city speech, observers of Robinson-Briggs’ administration say positives during her four-year watch include crime reduction, fewer workers on the city payroll than when she took office, and construction of a senior citizen complex on Front Street for under $1 million.

People like her.  What she lacks comparatively in schooling, she makes up for as a ceremonial force whose positive energy fills a room.

“The mayor is very warm can and can connect with people in an emotional way,” says At-Large Councilman Rashid Burney. “Adrian Mapp’s base is more affluent and educated.”

“No, Adrian’s not Bill Clinton,” admits 2nd Ward Councilman Cory Storch. “But he’s really good with constituent relations. I saw that when he first served on the council. Then there’s his financial background. He’s going to run on fiscal management and delivering overall quality of services.”

If the mayor’s poise and interpersonal skills – “Let me give you a Plainfield hug,” she tells a newcomer - and Mapp’s numbers-crunching prowess jump out as arguably the political antagonists’ most obvious strengths, both the councilman-elect and Robinson-Briggs also have important allies on their respective sides who underscore the city’s political divide between the regular Dems and the New Dems.

Robinson-Briggs boasts the political muscle of Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Plainfield), speaker pro tempore in the state legislature, who championed her early in her career on the school board and who has ready access to Democratic Party campaign cash.  Green’s own PAC dropped $8,200 on Shannon-Briggs’ massive $200,000 campaign effort in 2005, while the assemblyman generated significant campaign contributions from Statehouse allies like Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) and Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (D-Paterson).

Mapp, meanwhile, enjoys the alliance of the New Democrats’ symbol of polished poetic justice in the person of Annie McWilliams, 24-year old eldest daughter of the late and – in some quarters – beloved – mayor, who died of kidney cancer in April of 2007.

As Mapp’s running mate, the young McWilliams crushed the organization’s at-large candidate in the June primary by a 3-1 margin.  

A Wharton School of Business graduate who will serve as the city’s at-large councilwoman when she gets sworn-in with Mapp come January, McWilliams comes out of the ward that contains the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood, Plainfield’s own ivy covered homage to Victorian grandeur. She supports a Mapp mayoral candidacy, and at the very least makes it clear, “I will be disappointed if we see this mayor back in office.”

Coming off their win, the Mapp-McWilliams duo can make a compelling case that the New Democrats have momentum as they consider a citywide contest in Plainfield’s four wards.

Mapp in November seized control of the council seat in the mayor’s home ward, officially dealing her some disrespect in her own neighborhood.  In addition to his base support in the 3rd ward, where presumably he would have to fight the mayor house to house for votes, Mapp can count on the old McWilliams support in the 2nd ward, reanimated by his daughter and reinforced by Storch.  The 2nd remains the New Democrats’ strongest ward, where Al McWilliams built his own base of operations.

In their 2005 face-off, McWilliams won the 2nd over Robinson-Briggs by 273 votes: 924 to 651.

The late mayor lost in the city’s three other wards, by 224 votes in the 1st, 170 in the 3rd, and 204 in the 4th.

Already in possession of a political structure in Robinson-Briggs’ home ward and anchored in the 2nd by McWilliams, Mapp faces the challenge of reaching out to those two wards where the sitting mayor has an advantage over the New Democrats, the regular Democrats’ bread and butter districts: the 1st and 4th wards.

Predicting the usual political conflagration here next year, politicos like Burney are staying uncommitted for the moment.

“If I pick a side now and that side loses, I’m out,” says the at-large councilman, who ran and won as a New Democrat but has since tried to be more independent, in his words.

“I respect and like Adrian Mapp a lot, as I do the current mayor,” says state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union). “I will say that any attacks on elected officials regarding the hospital closing are absolutely unfair. From the get-go, market factors made it impossible for the hospital to remain open.

“The two main issues in Plainfield are education and crime,” adds the senator. “It’s no longer an Abbott School district. Crime is reduced. Usually in an economic downturn you see an escalation of crime but that’s not happening.”

Eighteen miles southwest of Newark, Plainfield resembles a smaller version of New Jersey’s biggest city – at least demographically: 62 percent African American, 21 percent white, 25 percent Latinos of any race. Its downtown looks like some headlong train trestle melding of Union City, Orange, and Passaic, heavily textured from the neon-lit windows to the curbs.

“The Queen City,” says native son, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield), who served on the city council representing the 2nd ward from 1985 to 1991 before he moved to Westfield, the second to last Republican to serve on the council.

On Friday, the city mobilizes to confront a snow and ice storm. 

The mayor’s on duty in City Hall.

A fire truck slaps slush in the windshields of oncoming traffic as it heads downtown, through a blur of African hair braiding studios, Mexican restaurants, grocery, private detective and bail bonds stores, tattoo parlors, donut shops, past the Religious Society of Friends- Quakers, they settled the town - under train tracks and past Central Americans in front of diners trying to make eye contact with drivers of passing cars, and public works employees in yellow vests on foot in the falling snow, shoveling. 

A gray public building, one of New Jersey’s blue collar pyramids - in this case a post office - emblemizes the older era, when some WPA architect dreamed Greek columns could as appropriately adorn Watchung Avenue as the Parthenon between the liquor stores and a passing beef-pork-poultry truck out of Elizabeth.

It’s been over 40 years since the 1967 Plainfield riots, an era when Mayor George Hetfield conducted city business from the auspices of a local country club and the hard luck 4th Ward went up in flames and a mob killed Officer John Vincent Gleason, Jr.

And Hetfield – guilty or not, those who were there judged – was voted out of office, carrying on the one and done mayoral cycle that Al McWilliams finally broke and that Robinson-Briggs wants to break again.

On the hill overlooking the rest of the city, above the factories and abandoned factories and projects of the 4th Ward - “There used to be a Mack Truck factory there, a great big factory,” remembers Bramnick – stand the 2nd Ward Wall Street millionaires’ massive summertime mansions of all styles - Colonial Revival and Jacobethan Victorian, Queen Anne’s, Tudor, Second Empire, after a while you can start inventing names that evoke elegance but still not get to the architectural finery that is only, of course, part of the city’s legacy; as Robinson-Briggs and Mapp and McWilliams and Green, and everyone, gets ready for yet another season of politics in Plainfield.

Max Pizarro is a Reporter and can be reached via email at

Online story here.

(Note: Online stories may be taken down by their publisher after a period of time or made available for a fee. Links posted here is from the original online publication of this piece.)

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff and Clippings have no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor are Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff or CLIPS endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Robinson-Briggs - Courier - Cooke: On not taking calls

Published in the Courier News, Saturday, December 20, 2008

[Robinson-Briggs...taking phone calls]

Color in Black And White
Being 'nice' does not qualify you to run for governor

Jay Jefferson Cooke

I am sure you've heard the expression "Nice guys finish last."

Well, I sure hope so.

I don't know whether to be bothered beyond belief or disgusted to distraction with the announcement that Franklin Mayor Brian Levine has filed papers to run for governor.

Levine, who is referred to as a "nice guy" by almost everyone who mentions him to me, has a good chance of becoming governor. How do I know? Because if Central Jersey voters are an indicator of voters statewide, Levine can't miss. Let's face it — Central Jersey voters elected a kindergarten class to the South Plainfield government; elected an underqualified, pompous, "red-menace" fabricator Deborah Trout (who if she were not so dangerous might be referred to as a scalawag) as sheriff of Hunterdon County; elected Sharon Robinson-Briggs — who you never can get on the telephone unless she calls you to say "we need you to cover this fabulous event that I am going to be present at" — as mayor of Plainfield; and the less said about Mike Ferguson, the better.

Now, Levine may be as nice as the smell of a rose garden after an April shower, but what in the world has he done as mayor of Franklin to make anyone believe he should be the governor of New Jersey? As previously stated in this column, I have heard precious little else about Franklin this year but the growing gang problem that exists there. At the township's 11th Anniversary Community Breakfast Commemorating the Life & Work of The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., Levine inappropriately used his speech to say "we have to take Franklin back from the gangs." Well, he failed. And probably because he had no plan, and neither did the Franklin Police Department. And who can forget that under Levine's watch, Franklin Councilwoman Kimberly Francois, who during the past few years has been one of the most vocal when it comes to talking about expelling gangs from our society and spearheaded a supposed effort to purge gangs from Franklin, still has not said "boo" on the subject of her son Rahmel Francois' criminal and gangster activity. Rahmel Francois (before he went on the lam to who knows where) lived with Madame councilwoman and has been indicted on charges of conspiracy, eluding, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a weapon, unlawful possession of an assault firearm, violation of weapons laws, unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition magazine, receiving stolen property and being a person not to have a weapon.

Mr. Francois, who is much too despicable a criminal to be called a rapscallion, still presumably is running from the law (if he hasn't stopped running because apparently no one is trying to find him) and has been linked to gangs by law-enforcement officials. But the Boys in Blue haven't managed to produce him for trial. Maybe they should check Ms. Francois' basement, but they must be careful not to trip over any weapons of mass destruction that President Bush believed were in Iraq.

Ms. Francois refused my call to resign from the Council, and Levine has done nothing. Perhaps Levine would find it gauche to ask Ms. Francois why her offspring is Franklin's Most Wanted. Perhaps as governor he will allow the entire state government to let their offspring deal dope, stash weapons, launder money, etc., etc., from their homes. Maybe Drumthwacket can be turned into a hideout for America's Most Wanted.

Perhaps if that happens, Levine will make a speech saying something like "Drumthwacket cannot and will not be a place that gangsters can use as a safe haven — we must take it back from the gangs!"

I took another spin around Franklin Township this week. It's reasonably big. But it isn't the entire state — heck, it isn't even the entire county. Levine hasn't done a sufficient job leading that municipality. I hope Levine changes his mind and decides to do a better job in his own backyard. I don't trust New Jersey's voters not to elect him governor.

Thanks for reading. If I ever need an ambulance, I want the dangerously delightful duo Diana Rivera and Kimberly Selmer to give me the ride. And I may just need an ambulance after receiving a collection of stupid holiday newsletters, which naturally I did not read.

Online story here. Archived here.

(Note: Online stories may be taken down by their publisher after a period of time or made available for a fee. Links posted here is from the original online publication of this piece.)

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff and Clippings have no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor are Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff or CLIPS endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Council President Gibson - Courier - Letter: CBAC failed in its task

Published in the Courier News, Saturday, December 13, 2008

[Letters to the Editor]
Citizens panel failed in its budget task

The editorial comment in the Courier News printed on Friday, Nov. 28, without a rational interpretation, requires what I consider a reasonable response. The report presented by the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee contains comments and recommendations that are inaccurate and lack any substantial documentation to support the conclusions.

The Courier News editorial stated I, as City Council president, complained the committee overstepped its bounds. Your inquiry of "What did he expect? Only positive opinions? No opinions at all?" [sic] What I expected were conclusions and recommendations based on facts. The truth is all any of us on the governing body should expect. I do not consider a request for accuracy "whining." For the record, I want your readers and the citizens of Plainfield to know I am not mad.

Under the CBAC Observations section the comment, "How can we expect parking tickets and potholes to be "high quality," if we're not," and the comment "Several city employees forget who pays them," without identifying either the employees or the work area of such employees (even if this were done in confidence) leaves one to conclude this comment is generally applicable.

The CBAC also indicates "more substantive cuts and efficiencies are possible." If that is true, the locations where such cuts could be made should have been identified.

In the report there is a general statement that the CBAC was "disappointed in City Council attendance and somewhat passive responses." The councilperson(s) should have been identified. As one who is serving in what is commonly referred to as a "lame-duck" status, I am proud of my continued attendance record during the time the CBAC has functioned.

The area of the report which should be carefully re-examined is entitled "CBAC Approach." There is no credibility in the 100 percent point totals. First, the "30" assigned to Public Safety together with the so-called grades fails to take into consideration the fact that the crime rate in our city has consistently been lowered. The subjective grading process with no statistics to back it up is, and should be cause for concern. This section goes on to include a "25" for performance/reputation of the school system with a consistent "F" grade for the public schools performance. This area should not have been a part of the budget process as the city administration nor the municipal council has any control over the budget of the Plainfield Board of Education.

The section of the report entitled "Overall Budget Recommendations - 1," states "No Budget Increase." Presuming all the members of the committee have a degree of concern for what was presented on their behalf, they should know there is no way, considering contractual agreements, the Council can arrive at a zero percent increase. The CBAC states there has been "Significant progress made in the last three years to reduce operating expenses, and further, 2008-2009 budget faces extraordinary conditions." This is probably the most accurate comment in the report.

The "Overall Recommendations 2 and 3" have credible suggestions although there may be areas where the council cannot do more than suggest the changes to the administration.

We clearly recognize it is our responsibility to strike a budget but we also must recognize their [sic] are services which must be made available. There is no quarrel on my part with the CBAC effort to do a good job. The resulting report is a document with errors of fact and judgment.

Finally, the area of recommendations in the Appendix is full of first person, "I" and "My" preceding recommendations. It makes the final determinations appear to be one person's judgment as opposed to a committee.

I respect the Courier News' right and obligation to express, as the editorial states, "Our Position." I ask for nothing less.

Harold Gibson
City Council

NOTE: This letter appeared in the print edition cited above, but not online. I have transcribed it exactly as it appeared in the printed newspaper, without editing or 'tidying up'. -- Dan Damon

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff and Clippings have no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor are Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff or Clippings endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Webcasts - Courier - Branchburg gets Webcasts of town meetings

Published in the Courier News, Sunday, October 5, 2008

Branchburg plans Web video of municipal meetings


The township committee has awarded contracts to stream municipal meetings over the Internet and make improvements to Old York Road.

[Building improvements at Old York Road.]


The committee also awarded a roughly $21,000 contract to Intelligent Meeting Management of Ronkonkoma, NY to Web cast government meetings via the township's Web site at The service would cost the township $9,000 annually, officials said.
Mayor John Sanford said the service should be in place within a matter of weeks.

"I think the more that government can do to be transparent, to be transparent to the people that government serves, the better," Sanford said.

Sanford said he has also talked with school officials about using the service to Web cast their meetings, and the township could apply for a shared services grant to subsidize the cost.

Martin C. Bricketto can be reached at 908-707-3176 or

Website: "IQM2: Intelligent Meeting Management"

(Note: Online stories may be taken down by their publisher after a period of time or made available for a fee. Links posted here is from the original online publication of this piece.)

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff and Clippings have no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor are Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff or Clippings endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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.