Let me first address, for those that care, the reason for my very long lag in posting a blog. I had been very focused on making sure that I had posts written and available for posting in the event that life got in the way – unfortunately life got very in the way recently. For the last 6-7 weeks I have been co-managing Ron Johnson’s campaign for the At-Large City Council seat and as a result I had little time to write any blog posts (don’t worry, I have a list of topics ready to go after the election). Since about the 3rd week in September, we have been spending 2 hours each night and 4-6 hours each weekend day walking neighborhoods and knocking on doors with Ron. While I feel bad that I have not been able to post a blog, I do not regret the diversion as canvassing, as they call it in the political world, is one of my favorite activities.
Tuesday is Election Day and we all have decisions to make. Some voters walk into the voting booth and vote the entire party line in one block. There have been elections where I have done that but they are rare. The reason is, no matter where I have lived the party line has typically asked voters to “VOTE LINE X ALL THE WAY” yet that line of politicians have delivered little to nothing other than keeping themselves and their friends in elected office.
This year is different because there is a special election on the ballot to fill the City Council seat vacated by Rebecca Williams after she was elevated to County Freeholder. The reason this is a special election is that Assemblyman Green’s death (which caused the domino effect of office moving) was after the June primary, which means the election to fill the remaining term is done in the general election.
That being the case, I will be exercising my freedom of choice and voting for Ron Johnson for the At-Large City Council seat in COLUMN C, and here is my reasoning:
- I served on the Planning Board with Ron and was impressed by his intellect and passion for Plainfield
- He has proven himself a dedicated public servant to our city, as a board member and treasurer of Neighborhood House, as a member of the Shade Tree Commission and as the founder and president of Downtown Plainfield Alliance, a 501C3 organization working to improve the downtown through beautification efforts.
- With a campaign period of about 7 weeks (from the filing deadline), Ron has been actively walking in all four wards speaking to residents about himself and his background but also spending time asking about their lives, streets and neighborhoods – taking notes and coming up with solutions for their issues/concerns.
- Ron knows Plainfield, every side street, brown field and issue that bedevils our Queen City
- Ron has been involved with all levels of Plainfield for years and based his college degree and professional career on Urban Planning and downtown revitalization because at a young age he wanted to improve our city for the benefit of everyone.
I must say that I became more and more impressed with Ron as the campaign unfolded – he was tireless in his efforts to speak to speak to as many resident as possible.
His opponent, Elton Armady, is a nice young man but he is a product of the party machine, with little interest in knocking on doors and speaking with constituents. That is not a personal attack, but is instead the plain truth. Mr. Armady works for the county, which in and of itself is fine, but because of that position, he is beholden to other powers so that he does not lose his primary form of employment.
In June of this year, when Rebecca Williams was appointed to fill the vacant County Freeholder seat, Mr. Armady personally expressed his interest to me, in the city council position that Ms. Williams was vacating. I told Mr. Armady that he was free to pursue the position but I had heard a rumor that he did not live in the district that he represented (Ward 4, District 3) as a member of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee (which he was elected to in June 2017). His response was very generic and I did not pry further, only saying that if it is an issue he should clear it up before he continued further down the path. However, Mr. Armady has since been appointed to that position and failed to admit publicly that he does not live in the district that he was elected to represent. In fact, it would appear that he has not resided in that district since around August/September 2017. Since that time there have been many important votes held for county chair, assembly replacement and council replacement. At no time did Mr. Armady state that he no longer lived in the district that he was elected to represent. His most recent campaign literature states that he is an elected representative of the PDCC – and based on his ELEC filings (Showing under signature that his residence is on West 7th Street) prior to the printing of those pieces – it would appear that he places self and party above citizens because his home address is not in the district for which he was elected to serve and is instead in the 4th Ward, 4th District . It should be noted that a PDCC member does not get removed formally – according to state statute, a person that dies or moves from their district is automatically removed from office – unfortunately it requires the individual, in cases other than death, to alert the party to a change of address or at a minimum, stop casting votes after they have moved.
A person that places self above party and citizens is not someone that I personally can support with my vote. Ron Johnson knows Plainfield well, is dedicated to improving the city for all residents and has pursued a degree and professional career based on his desire to improve Plainfield. In addition, his tireless work in a short campaign period has proven further that he is the right man for the job. With that, my vote for the At-Large City council seat on November 6th will be enthusiastically placed for Ron Johnson in Column C.