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.

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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.