As a voting democratic committee member and a concerned, involved taxpaying resident in the city of Plainfield for over 40 years I felt compelled to respond to Deanna Dell-Bene letter, as well as other Mahr supporters on the PDCC. While I don’t personally know Colleen Mahr and will not speak of her character I do know Mayor Mapp and can certainly attest to his.
Yes it’s true there are some Plainfield Democratic Committee Member who support Colleen Mahr but the fact is, PDC members have NOT rebelled against Mapp, not by any stretch of one’s imagination. In fact the majority of committee members are in agreement of Mayor Mapp’s support for Nick Scutari for Union County Chairman and plan to vote in favor of Scutari. As for Colleen Mahr’s new campaign manager, who happens to be the former Plainfield Chief of Staff; could the real reason he decided to leave his 90K job and join forces with Mahr because he himself aspires to hold elected public office. Recently Mahr has been seen in Plainfield knocking on doors with John Campbell Jr who is a register republican seeking the democratic vote. So before we start pointing fingers and accusing Mapp of making backroom deals ask yourself what kind of deal has Mahr made with the Campbells and her new campaign manager. When you lie down with dogs you are bound to get up with fleas.
As for the bylaws and the voting process and the fact Mahr has petition the court to have voting booths, which by the way, is in direct contradiction of our by-laws. These same bylaws that allowed Mahr to become Vice Chair of the UCDC the same ones she is now saying at her will, they should be changed. In our bylaws Section 9. Voting (B) clearly sates – ‘No proxies shall be permitted and all voting shall be open ballot.’
Deanna speaks of Mahr’s involvement in Plainfield. Attending some fund raisers hardly qualifies as “involvement”. If she has attended some events in our city it must have been most recently with the motivation of gaining support. Deanna took the time to point out Mahr’s list of accomplishments and good will deeds but for me they all pale in contrast to how I view her and Fanwood. What is really troubling to me is when politicians come to Plainfield asking for our votes when they have done absolutely nothing to deserve it. Mapp is not perfect but, I trust that if he wanted to and given the chance to become assemblyman that he would bring as much resources to Plainfield that he possible could. I believe that. I don’t trust that Mahr or whoever she would give the line to would do the same.
Plainfield and Fanwood are neighboring towns with very little in common. For years Plainfield residents had to be cautious when driving through Fanwood, Scotch Plains, Cranford and Westfield in fear of getting stop for no other reason than being black. Now while this practice may not be as common now as in the past, as a 15 year Mayor please enlighten us with Mahr efforts to bring racial diversity to Fanwood? Out of 80 units at Fanwood Crossing on South Ave only 4 units, (less than 1%) were set aside for affordable housing. Out of the approximately 7700 residents in Fanwood only 388 are African Americans, a little over 5%. A good way to keep certain demographics out of an area is to price them out of the real estate market and offer the bare minimum of affordable housing and then be selective on who receive the benefit of the affordable housing.
Until Mahr is willing to address these issues I could never consider her a friend to Plainfield nor could I support her in any political campaign.
Robin Bright PDC Member 3/3