Where is Mapp’s Plainfield?

“I am not focusing on the negatives”, Mayor Adrian Mapp told a radio station only hours after a large contingent of residents rallied against violence in Plainfield. “There are murders in every city in New Jersey,” he rationalized.

Mapp’s absence from the rally was noted by most who spoke. “You all elected him,” a couple of onlookers yelled. “That’s not my mayor,” said another.

The Mayor sent no representative on his behalf.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.14.12 PM

From left to right: Darnell Major, John Campbell, Joan Major, Councilwoman Bridget Rivers, Salaam Ismail, Councilwoman Tracey Brown, and Alma Blanco at Tuesday’s press conference announcing the Thursday’s rally.

In the same interview, Mayor Mapp said people only seem to focus on the negatives when it comes to Plainfield, as opposed to Clark or Cranford.

He has a point – they rarely tell the good stories happening in our city. Frustrations with Plainfield’s negative media coverage is one of the reasons I maintain this blog.

But the truth is, murder rarely takes place in Cranford and Clark, and despite their greater frequency in Plainfield, we cannot overlook young people being killed in our streets.

In the words of Reverend Tracey Brown during last week’s press conference announcing the rally ,”We have to help young people understand that their lives matter.”


We all know Plainfield is a great city. Accentuating our city’s positives does not mean pretending our issues aren’t there. You’d think a Mayor as image-conscious as Mr. Mapp would understand the importance of solidarity with all residents, especially in times of crisis.

But Mayor Mapp has made a political determination. The Fourth Ward in particular does not matter to him. There are less wealthy donors in that part of town, and voter turnout is historically lower.

It’s not just Mapp himself. The Mayor’s City Council candidates didn’t even bother to show up for last month’s NAACP-Sponsored forum in the Fourth Ward. Alma Blanco and Reverend Tracey Brown were left with no one to debate.


Alma Blanco and Tracey Brown at the start of their City Council debate for the upcoming June 7th elections. Their opponents didn’t show.

Mapp did show up to an April Anti-Trump rally at Netherwood Train Station, an event promoted by wealthy campaign contributor Bobby Gregory. He’s shown up with tax-abated developers all around our city for ribbon cuttings and photo ops. Mayor Mapp makes many local political appearances, his portrait proudly displayed on the flyers for any city-sponsored event.


April’s rally against Donald Trump

You may have even seen the Mayor’s billboard-trucks riding around Plainfield reminding folks to vote – and for whom to vote. But when over seventy residents came together in Plainfield’s largest anti-violence demonstration in at least six years, he was no where to be found.

Not to say one march, or two marches, will change anything. All sorts of policy from City Hall, and from our state and nation’s capitol, will have to address the violence and its root causes. The need for jobs, living wages, gun control, and quality education involve players far beyond this small city of 50,000.

Residents will have to take a stand as well – politically and on the ground. A Community Summit has been penciled in for Thursday, June 23rd, at a location to be announced. Demonstrators have vowed to continue with similar efforts.

One of those demonstrators, Salaam Ismail of the National United Youth Council, said last week that we are all implicated in the crisis of violence in our communities. He’s absolutely right. No one in our city can take credit for the good without addressing the bad.

We can’t afford to put on rose-colored glasses, focusing on the positives while comparing ourselves to Clark and Cranford. Our Mayor, for one, should know this.


5 thoughts on “Where is Mapp’s Plainfield?

  1. David, regarding the NAACP forum, I have to clarify your statement that I “didn’t even bother to show up” at the event. The truth of the matter is that I received an email invitation from Peter Briggs at my City Council email address on a Friday just one week before the forum with a date–he also said it had been mailed via hard copy, and it never came. My running mate never received an invitation. I already had community meet-and-greets scheduled with residents who went to the time and trouble to set them up well in advance. I filed to run on April 4–neighborhood groups, block associations, and tenant group who contacted me were able to schedule well in advance. For the local chapter to wait until a week before to try and schedule a major forum, knowing that they had six weeks (from the day I filed) to contact me and then to chide me for not being able to adjust my schedule is just wrong. The voters will have their say on Tuesday. Whatever the outcome, we will move forward as a city. Peace.


    • Rebecca, for as long as I have witnessed local elections, I know the NAACP is always late on announcing their scheduled candidate forum in every election. This is why I contact them myself or go by their schedule online on their website that they do post months in advance. The bigger question is, why didn’t the League of Women Voters bother to hold a debate this year? Aren’t you heavily involved with them? I would have thought you out of all people would stand on giving the public the opportunity to hear all candidates and where they stand on issues.

  2. Please note the the League of Women Voters of Plainfield only hosts political forums for the November elections for opposing parties (such as Dem/Rep/Ind), and hosts school board forums. This is, and has been, true for decades. Community groups can always reach out to the LWV-Plainfield for assistance in getting forum moderators, etc. The local league will contact the state (LWV-NJ) and the state will assign a league-trained moderator for the forum. This is stated in all LWV materials.

  3. Alma, i would have to question what you know about the NAACP. For as long as I’ve been in Plainfield attending NAACP debates i have yet to see you at one. You know in your heart of hearts you really didn’t want to debate after all, aren’t you new to the 3rd ward?

  4. Who is Alma Blanco?….and what is her claim to fame, as it pertains to Plainfield? The people of Plainfield should stop voting for people who bring nothing to the table. Tracy Brown has been inept as a Council Person, and re-electing her along with someone who has contributed nothing, and is a recent resident will only keep this city on the road to nowhere. Ignorance is not BLISS!!!

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