Thursday, April 18, 2024

SEEN UP NORTH: Mayor hopes to change Plainfield


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It was always a question of when rather than if Adrian Mapp, a Barbadian from Greens in St George, would become the new mayor of the City of Plainfield in New Jersey.
The momentous day came on January 1 when he was inaugurated and sworn in by his daughter, an attorney, on the steps of City Hall with hundreds of people of the predominantly middle-income municipality in the Garden State. They were looking on and hoping that the public administration executive, a seasoned politician and financial expert who knows the ins and outs of local government management would make a substantial difference in the lives of the 60 000 residents of Plainfield, 60 per cent of whom are black and the rest a mix of Hispanic and white. After the swearing in there was a “feast” at a local high school for city residents.
“In my campaign I promised to address the crucial economic and social issues facing Plainview and now I have the opportunity to do that,” said Mapp. “The voters have given me a mandate to change things in our city.”
After defeating the incumbent mayor in a hard-fought race for the Democratic Party’s nomination more than seven months ago, it was a mere formality in November when thousands of voters went to the polls and elected him.
“You can say it was a foregone conclusion that I would be elected after my victory in the primary race,” Mapp told the SUNDAY SUN. “To be able to stand there with Amelia, my wife of 33 years, and my daughters Shermona and Ayisha, one of whom swore me into office, was a dream come true. It was an unbelievable feeling. Now, the hard work begins.”
In his State Of The City Address delivered to an even larger audience a few days after the ceremonial taking of the oath, Mayor Mapp outlined  his priorities for his first term.
“Public safety heads the list,” he said. “We had nine homicides in the city last year and we have a few youth gangs. In addition, there is the spectre of drugs. People must be able to feel comfortable in their homes and on the streets. We plan to allocate more funds for technology and human resources to tackle the problem.”
Next is economic development, and the mayor – who holds multiple university degrees in international business, accounting and public accounting from some of New Jersey’s leading universities ­– thinks an investment promotion initiative, the construction of mixed use buildings designed to attract commercial enterprises would help to get the job done. He intends to appoint an experienced professional to a new position he is creating soon to attract investment to the city.
Then, there is his planned effort to reach city youths with “wholesome activities” that would keep them off the streets, out of harm’s way, and build character all at the same time.
Mapp is focusing city attention on the need to boost educational performance in the classroom, which was once among New Jersey’s best but is now among the lowest ranked.
The mayor left Barbados in the 1970s with triple goals – to join his mother Marjorie “Sissy” Mapp; improve his education and pursue a professional career. He lived first in New York City but then moved to Plainfield in 1979 and has remained there ever since. He traces his interest in politics and his passion for elective office to his days in Barbados and the 1976 election campaign.


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