The Dark Side of the New Democrats

New Democrat land has been abuzz lately. First it was the awful behavior of Vera Greaves and Bridgette Rivers during a City Council meeting last month, and most recently it has been Jerry Green’s first mailing of this campaign season, which contains a letter to Plainfield residents.

In that letter, where he urges voters to support his Taylor, Tolliver, Eke ticket, Assemblyman Green very candidly makes the claim that he was told to support Adrian Mapp by the former Democratic Party County Chair. He obliged. Jerry Green valuing the wishes of his superiors over the needs of Plainfield citizens is nothing new.

However, another question begs to be asked. Why did the New Democrats work with Jerry Green? It takes two to tango. When Jerry Green extends his hand, local politicians with integrity have no obligation to reciprocate. After all, how many of us have turned down advances from Jerry?

runplfdjerryonly

Not that it would get the New Dems off the hook for their alliance, but I wish I could say that the New Democrats simply shared a little money with Mr. Green. I wish that I could recount a tentative relationship where the New Democrats never went all in. I wish I could tell you that their collusion with Green only expressed itself through their very obvious (no doubt shameful) two-year hiatus from criticizing the Assemblyman’s actions. I can’t.

Not only did the New Democrats share resources, but in 2013 they funneled Board of Education candidates to Mr. Green. At that point, Green was wholly incapable and devoid of political capital to produce his own. Sadly, the New Dems didn’t do much better than Green would have, fielding some of the worst candidates that the city has even seen. That didn’t stop the New Democrats, and their friends and foot soldiers from expounding on these candidates’ virtues, including, most notably, a large gathering near the headquarters last October 27 where Mapp urged attendees to elect the first latino BOE member (deceitfully – as Mapp knows, Christian Estevez once served).

To Mapp, like Green, the Plainfield Public School Board was somewhere where you field totally inadequate candidates, put a ton of money behind them, and hope that they make it on the board. How disrespectful to our city.

darth-jerry-cropped

Should the New Democrats address their alliance?

Mayor Mapp was thoroughly nasty and hostile during this period of alliance with the Assemblyman, as if the personality of Jerry “I run this mother” Green had rubbed off on him. I remember during the first Board of Education debate – the NAACP forum where I performed my best and thoroughly bashed Jerry Green to his face – Adrian Mapp sat front row next to Jerry Green, like an old friend. The two of them disrespectfully whispered political sweet nothings into each other’s ears as candidates spoke at the table. They were like two peas in a pod.

In 2014, the New Democrats complain about Jerry Green as if his need for control, disrespect for the public, and dishonesty are anything new. They know even better than I do, however, that Jerry Green is a man whose reputation preceeds itself. Prior to 2012, they talked about Green the same way they do now. Don’t the New Democrats owe us an explanation as to why they worked so closely with Assemblyman Green? Of course they do.

This isn’t sour grapes from an emotional man who lost a School Board election. Readers of Plainfield View know I’m so much better than basing my opinion on anything personal.

williamsstewart

New Democrat President Rebecca Williams and Mapp’s Chief of Staff John Stewart count votes in the RDO headquarters just six months ago

What is troubling about the New Democrats’ willingness to tango with powerful people that don’t have our best interests at heart is their propensity to do so again. While we all demonize Green, he is not powerful all on his own. Jerry Green was given to Plainfield by the Democratic Party machine. Let’s call it what it is – given to Plainfield. He didn’t do admirable grass roots political organizing for a decade like the New Democrats have. In a political sense, he isn’t a self made man. Despite the way we vilify him in this city, he is a product of more powerful people who support his leadership over the past two decades.

Green won’t last forever though.

After such collusion, how can we trust the New Democrats moving forward, with or without Jerry Green? What assurances can they give us?

As much as I’d like to support candidates backed by local, grass roots organizations, I am concerned, wondering how progressive and independent the New Dems really are.

Is there an explanation for the past two years?

10 thoughts on “The Dark Side of the New Democrats

  1. Hi, David,

    Clearly, my focus as a Democrat has been to get good people (like Adrian Mapp) elected. Charles McRae is a good man, as is Emmett Swan. I am running on my record (off the line, once again) as a Democrat. Jerry Green didn’t offer me the line–nor would I have taken it if I had to run with the individuals he chose–they are simply not acceptable. After the primary, if I am successful, I will automatically be on the Regular Democratic Organization line, and will work to get Bonnie Watson-Coleman (as well as myself) elected. I did the same thing when I ran the last time–I “won” the line by defeating the other two candidates and became part of Column A. I worked hard to get myself (as well as Frank Pallone) elected. As far as “trusting” me, the people will decide based on my record and work on their behalf for the past 3 years. I will see you on the campaign trail.

    • You may not want to run with Mr Green’s candidates. Last June I recall the mayor not having a problem running with Bridgette Rivers and working very closely with Mr Green…and his supporters not having a problem with that alliance.

      I know that the winner if the primary gets line A, and that the primary is usually where an election really happens in Plainfield.

      I’m talking June primary here, not general election.

      I won’t even go into the Green-like tactics used in the Third Ward 2012 council race….

      It’s in the past. I only want to know why.

      Jerry has been like this for decades.

      • Hi, David,

        I supported Adrian on the line in 2012 when he ran for his 3rd Ward seat, and I supported Roni Taylor off the line in that same year–I served as her campaign manager as well. We didn’t win, as we were up against a strong line with President Obama on the ticket, but she did respectably well–over 1500 votes. I think Roni and Adrian were much stronger candidates than their opponents. Speaking of the tactics used in the 2012 primary race, the backers of Adrian’s opponent shouldn’t throw stones–they put out rather scurrilous pieces that primary season as well. As Roni’s campaign manager, we drew contrasts between Roni and her opponent, who is now my council colleague. As I said then, though–“the people have spoken.”

      • And as I stated below, I would like to know why also. Why do these people keep electing him? Are the people in Plainfield so lazy they can’t go to a poll twice in a year. And, they don’t even have to do that. They can vote absentee and not even leave their home! Are they that lazy – are they that apathetic? Quite frankly, my feeling is – you don’t vote then keep your mouth shut!

  2. I left the Democratic Party after their resources were used to block my run for School Board. Leland Michael and I were both grant writers with connections to resources that could benefit our children. I loss by less than 50 votes and for some reason the State thought I had won. To prove that you didn’t have to get Jerry’s permission to run for office in Plainfield, I joined the Republican party, served as an officer and worked on elections. I learned a lot of inside information from the Union County Republican Women who supported my efforts to save Muhlenberg. The men blamed everything on Jerry Green to the degree that it was suspicious. Both parties worked together to transfer Muhlenberg’s substantial assets. Check the nearly unanimous vote by the entire legislature that was needed for the State to mortgage the Muhlenberg property for 152.9 million prior to the court appeal being decided. This is what public officials were working on while the public was protesting in unprecedented numbers.

    Two parties don’t mean that one is good and the other is bad or that they are not working together. This is all choreography, designed to neutralize opposition to a broader agenda. I am proud to be registered as an independent.

    “In magic, they say, never watch the hand that is moving. The trick is in the other hand.”

    • Amen to that Ms Dowe. A critique of the two party system – much needed.

      While you’re focusing on one enemy, the other one is doing you in!

      No one should be beyond critique.

  3. I’d much rather work with individuals on particular issues than blindly follow a party line. Funny how I’ve come to that conclusion the more involved I’ve become with Plainfield city government. But we’re dealt a handful of cards, and it’s best to try hard on the items of interest despite who might be on the other side of the table. You can judge the results, or the willingness and open-mindedness of the other party to appreciate your view, and come to some appropriate conclusion about them after the fact. However, it pays not to judge a book by its cover, or in this case their party label. Certainly in Plainfield political maneuvering has gotten the better of us, and kept us from anything but baby steps in the right direction.

  4. Rebecca Williams comments are appreciated. For the most part, they are straight facts. She seems rather sincere, as well.

    We still don’t know why the New Democrats worked so closely with Jerry Green, though, in primaries – amid all of their criticism. There has to be a reason.

    Much of what they did over the last two years remains unaddressed.

    Jerry been Jerry…

  5. David, I can only tell you that in my short time in Plainfield, it appears that the New Dems are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, and Jerry Green walks away like the Teflon Don.

    When I came to Plainfield, I came with an open mind, and no pre-conceived notions. One think I learned very quickly, by example, was that Jerry Green’s ethics and conduct was not in line with my basic core character. I am not a saint by any means, but character assassination, and self aggrandizing are not qualities I admire, nor do I want to be near anyone like that. The New Dems are not holier than though, but I find that the group adheres more to my concerns – doing well by the citizens and trying to make Plainfield better. One has only to look at what is happening at Liberty Village to see that Jerry has no concern for the people – only himself. (The council was more worried about trying to get Legal Shield as part of a payroll deduction, than having the people of Liberty Village live like human beings. The council knew nothing about Legal Shield, but did not seem “rushed” to make a decision).

    I can tell you stories of Jerry exposing personal details of Adrian – and Adrian wasn’t even running for anything!

    So, why? Well, the New Dems try to work with Jerry. The New Dems try to unify the city. It is not the New Dems that send out flyers and tell the city that the mayor is doing a bad job (after about 80 working days). So my explanation is that the New Dems try, and at some point will stop because it is like hitting your head against a wall.

    I, however, have another question. Why is it that the New Dems are blamed for creating a ruckus, and Jerry walks away smelling like a rose? None of this would have occurred if Jerry had not started the character slamming. So my question is why is Jerry being so vile? Why isn’t Jerry being held accountable? Why aren’t you asking Jerry why he had to put out a flyer that he knew would cause trouble? Why isn’t Jerry being exposed for his political maneuvering at the expense of Plainfield?

  6. David It is so refreshing to read your blog. You are truly a breath of fresh air. I too am puzzled by the on again off again between JG and the New Dems. Somehow it seems
    the only thing the politicians in Plainfield are concerned with is POWER and THE PEOPLE be DAMNED. As to why people don’t vote…they are frustrated with false promises, cronyism, nepotism, favoritism and every other ism that does not favor the betterment of the city. It seems the New Dems and JG work together when they are mutually rewarded.
    I agonize over whether I am going to vote next month…because I only see more of the same. Infighting by City Council, an absent Mayor with his eyes on a bigger prize, and the people of Plainfield getting screwed in the end. It’s sad and embarrassing that a FUBU City is run by such small minded greedy, selfish people. As always, we are the laughing stock of Union County.

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