CAMPAIGN PRESS RELEASE
Tom DePrisco, candidate for the 38th Senate District in New York, this week released a statement regarding Blockbusting in Rockland County. Here is part of the text:
“I moved to Pearl River, Rockland County from Brooklyn 12 years ago for a better quality of life for my family…Everyone is expected to respect and obey all local laws and ordinances especially in regards to building and fire codes. Simply put, all residents should ‘play by the rules.’
“On the flip side, all town elected and appointed officials must also ‘play by the rules’ by uniformly enforcing existing zoning laws and land use regulations. Unfortunately, there has been a history of repeated building and fire code violations and questionable zoning variance approvals in the Town of Ramapo.
“The population within Ramapo has increased at a much higher rate than the rest of Rockland County. While the population density for the entire county of Rockland is 1,798 people per square mile, there are villages in Ramapo with population densities of: 27,497; 19,677; and 16,434 people per square mile.
“Accompanying these population increases come concerns for the town’s infrastructure, water and sewage capacity, traffic congestion, emergency service response times, school district capacity, and increased social services requests. Additionally, there have been numerous reports of attempted blockbusting within the towns of Clarkstown, Orangetown, and Ramapo.
“As a former homeowner in Brooklyn, I experienced blockbusting attempts on several occasions. The community complained to the elected representatives and ultimately the Secretary of State issued a cease and desist order directing realtors to discontinue contacting property owners via phone, mail, personal visit, posted fliers on poles, etc. Property owners had to register with the Secretary of State if they wished to not be contacted.
“For many months, I have heard that my opponent is seeking documentation of attempted blockbusting. I have not seen any reference to this request in his mailings, emails, or website over the past few months. I would have expected a more aggressive outreach to the community in order to effectively investigate the suspected blockbusting.”
DePrisco suggested the following list of measures that can be taken to help preserve Rockland’s communities:
- Elected state officials should request the NYS Secretary of State to investigate and ultimately issue a cease and desist order for realtors to stop unwarranted solicitations.
- State elected officials must ensure fire inspection standards are as strict for private school as they are for public schools.
- Town officials must uniformly enforce the existing laws and utilize all legally available resources to address quality of life complaints (ie. pollution, noise, traffic, etc.)
- Residents should remain vigilant and observant and report suspected violations of law directly to the appropriate authority.
- Town officials should expeditiously propose and pass new town codes or amendments to existing codes, when necessary.
- Town officials should seek to attract community and environmentally acceptable ratables that will help keep taxes down
- Town officials must refrain from reckless deviations from existing zoning regulations
- Residents should become more actively involved with town board governance (ie. attend town board meetings, contact elected officials, attend community group meetings)
- Town officials should establish a “rumor control hotline”. The town could establish procedures to receive, collect and investigate “rumors” and subsequently advertise one phone line that residents can call and listen to recorded messages with the goal of discrediting known “rumors.”
NY Senate candidate Tom DePrisco is a resident of Pearl River. He serves as the vice president of the Pearl River School District School Board and the Rockland County School Boards Association