Plainfield


The Gutenkauf family would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support following the passing of our beloved Dottie in December.  Please join us in celebrating her life and legacy on Saturday, March 19th 2016.

DG Memorial invite

On March 19th, 2016, family, friends, cohorts and fans will come together in celebration of the life of Dorothy “Dottie” Miller Gutenkauf, who passed away in December. This event is open to anyone who was touched by Dottie’s remarkable spirit. There will be an abundance the things she loved most – amazing people, incredible music, insightful words and exceptional food.

Musical selections will include The Solidarity Singers, as well as segments of the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra, the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players and more.

For more information, please email dottiegmemorial@gmail.com

         The most recent mailer I’ve received from “Jerry Green for Assembly” has an interesting statement: “In Plainfield, we just don’t win…” and how right that was! They “just don’t win”they try to prevent the city from winning!
          During the year and a half since mayor Adrian Mapp took office, the City Council members Jerry supported have spent most of their time trying to block his efforts to improve Plainfield’s services and change the culture of patronage and incompetence in city hall. To a large extent, the mayor has succeeded—violent crime is down, economic development is up, recreation is providing a wider range of services, and for the first time in many years, Plainfield has a permanent Chief Finance Officer—a must for providing financial stability and consistency in the city’s operations.
           And that’s not all. The city’s bond rating is up, which means savings to taxpayers…grants that the previous administration ignored and allowed to lapse are being restored…one-seat train rides to New York City, and Plainfield’s designation as a transit village…all these and more are helping to increase development and raise property values.
           One recent campaign piece criticized Adrian for his response to a news item about a Library Board appointee’s “flagrant lewd behavior in public” and even went so far as to say the mayor’s failure to remove him, and the lack of public criticism from the mayor and his allies on the council when the incident happened is “far worse” than raising taxes. Hard to believe, of course—but if you haven’t thrown the mailer out, you can see for yourself; I’m not making this up! That’s right, they “just don’t win”—they just find things about the Mapp administration they can criticize.
           Many Plainfielders know that my late husband, Joe, and I worked closely with Assemblyman Green, and served on the Democratic Committee, for many years—but after Joe’s death in 2012, I decided not to run for a Committee seat in 2013. During last year’s primary, Jerry and I parted company. I have been very disappointed—Joe would have been too—by the tactics Jerry has been employing now that he has “consolidated” his power as Union County Democratic Chair.
           Just for example, in 2014 he called a Plainfield Democratic Committee meeting and told them who “their” Council candidates would be. This year, he didn’t even call a Committee meeting.
           What’s the point of having a local “Democratic Committee” if that group doesn’t have a voice in decision-making? This isn’t Stalinist Russia, and we don’t have to all swear allegiance to the “party line”—we’re grownups and can think for ourselves. The Democratic Party has room for many points of view—and what usually happens is that after differences are resolved, we all work together.
           That’s why I’m running for Democratic Committee. It’s time to restore democracy to the Plainfield Democratic party—and Plainfield voters can do that on Tuesday by voting for the Council and Committee candidates in Column C!

We have all gotten two mailings (so far) from a totally fictitious organization, “Union County’s Committee,” attacking Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp and urging voters to reject the Column C candidates for the Plainfield (and Union County) Democratic Committees.

There is no such group. It isn’t registered with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, and you can Google it to your heart’s content, but you won’t find it. One of the most interesting things about these mailings is that the return address (327 Trinity Place in Hillside) is a property belonging to two brothers who work for Union County. One of them is the “Administrator” of the County Board of Elections. That certainly raises the interesting question of conflict of interest, to say the least—he’s in charge of counting the absentee ballots (among other things) and tallying the returns from the polling places. Remember Bush v. Gore and the recounts in Florida during that presidential election?

As if that weren’t enough to raise our collective eyebrows, the mailings these guys have sent out accuse Plainfield’s mayor and the Democratic Committee candidates in Column C of urging people “to vote against the Democratic Party.” Now, I’m a lifelong Democrat, and my late husband, Joe, and I served on Plainfield’s Democratic Committee for many years—Joe passed away in 2012 and I didn’t run for re-election in 2013. But this year, I’m a candidate in Column C for a Democratic Committee seat; my running mate is John Stewart, and if you live in Ward 3, District 1 I hope you’ll vote for us on June 2.

I find these mailings from a non-existent group very disturbing—it’s a way of getting around New Jersey’s election laws, and there’s no information on who is paying for them. (If you’re interesting in doing some detective work you may be able to find out where the money is coming from—I certainly have my suspicions.) Last year during the primary campaign, our Democratic chair, Assemblyman Jerry Green, put out mailings accusing those running against the Council candidates he supported of being “Tea Party Democrats,” and I won’t be surprised if the same rhetoric is repeated this year. Assemblyman Green, by the way, also chairs the Union County Democratic Committee—which I suppose this year could be the source of support for the non-existent “Union County’s Committee.”

Draw your own conclusions—and be sure to vote in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday, June 2!

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

(Lord Acton, 1887)

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

(George Santayana, 1905)

“If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

(Abraham Lincoln)

“The illusion of power is power.”

(Max Weber. a German sociologist)

“Smart people believe half what they hear; discerning people know which half to believe”

(Bulletin board, First Park Baptist Church, Plainfield, May 30, 2014)

A number of years ago, Jerry asked us to come to his office and review a campaign mailer his consultant had drafted.  It opposed a council candidate, I don’t remember who, because a number of his relatives were in prison.  Joe and I told him it was a bad idea, because many Plainfielders had relatives in prison, and there would be a backlash.  Jerry sent it out anyway, and the backlash was tremendous–his candidate lost, and the person he attacked won.  After that, for a long time, Jerry asked our advice on such matters.  But now, he has apparently forgotten the advice we gave him, and much of which he has said of what he had learned us–so many of the mailers he has sent to Democrats in Wards 2 and 3 have been nothing but negative in the extreme.  It makes me angry–and it makes me very sad.

 

 

 

 

 

May 31, 2014

 

If you got the same mailing I did today from Jerry Green, accusing the “New Democrats” of being “completely out of control,” you may have thought seriously, as I did, as to just who is really “COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL” here–and it’s not the “New Democrats,” it’s Jerry Green himself.

My late husband Joe and I worked with (not for) Jerry Green for about 30 years, and he often told us how much he had learned from us.  Now it appears that he has forgotten it all.  His current actions indicate to me that he is afraid of losing what control he has, and is lashing out at those he sees as a threat to his continuing to be “in charge” of Plainfield.

This saddens me immensely.  Joe and I were never members of the “New Democrats,” but Joe would have been as outraged as I am about the increasing nastiness of the trash Jerry has been inflicting on Plainfield’s citizens through these mailings.  The “letter” from Senate President Sweeney (which Sweeney didn’t write and has probably never seen) was bad enough–but the mailer we received today was so much worse that it’s hard to describe.   Clearly, Jerry has completely lost control of his ego and his former good sense.  And I believe the cause is fear.

And what is he so afraid of?  Losing what control he thinks he has over Plainfield and over the Union County Democratic Party…and his reputation in Trenton.  Because if his City Council candidates lose, which I sincerely hope they will, it will demonstrate that Jerry’s once-vaunted power is gone, and with it any credibility he has in New Jersey politics.  After all, if you can’t carry your own town, why should others give you control over theirs?

I have heard reports of the last Democratic City Committee meeting which I find extremely disturbing.  Never, as long as Joe and I were committee members, did Jerry simply announce who the council candidates would be–there was  always an opportunity for nominations and a vote by the committee; that was how decisions were made.  Now, the Plainfield Democratic City Committee has become a victim of one-man rule, and in that case, what’s the point of even meeting?  Why have a “committee” if the chair is going to make all the decisions by himself?  Why waste your time?  (Unless, of course, you have been promised a job somewhere.)

I confess that I am more than distressed and .more that just dismayed–I am absolutely disgusted.  And even though I’m not a member of the “New Democrats,” I will be working as hard as I can to help elect their candidates in Column E on Tuesday.  Jerry needs to get the message that one-man rule doesn’t work in a democracy and that elected officials are and must remain accountable to the people.  Holding office is not just a mark of status–it’s a lot of obligations to all our citizens.  And to get respect, you must give it!

PLAINFIELD DESERVES BETTER–and in this primary, and in elections to come, I hope we’ll get it.   I for one will keep trying, and I hope you’ll all do the same.

 

 

 

 

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