Ramapo Councilman Daniel Friedman makes election announcement in Rockland County Times exclusive!
At 26-years-old, he’s been the youngest elected official in Rockland County, three years running.
In 2013, he’s setting his heights higher.
He’s Daniel Friedman, Ramapo Councilman. And as of now, he is officially a 2013 Democratic candidate for mayor of Spring Valley. Friedman is making his announcement exclusively through the Rockland County Times and social media.
Councilman Friedman is an earnest man. If he is going to talk about something, he usually does some work first. So it was no surprise to see when he sat down with the Rockland County Times this week, he brought a plethora of notes and statistics detailing the woes of Spring Valley.
According to Friedman, since incumbent Mayor Noramie Jasmin joined the village board in December 2001, village taxes have gone up over 90 percent. Since she was elected mayor in 2009, she raised her own salary from $92,000 to $125,000 in just three years. She also spent over $50,000 on a luxury SUV, a price Friedman called “the most expensive car for a government official in Rockland.”
Friedman said he’d be happy with a humble hybrid, you know, one that gets 60 miles per gallon, not a gas guzzler like Mayor Jasmin’s SUV, which only gets 15 miles per gallon. The taxpayers pay the bill for that fuel. Friedman pointed out that at the current rate of salary inflation that Mayor Jasmin has written for herself, she’ll be making over $200,000 by the end her second term.
When she became a trustee in 2001, the position only paid $9,500 a year. Under her leadership, the position now costs taxpayers $25,750.
While he’s been on the town board in Ramapo, Friedman has been a bit more frugal than Jasmin. He has spent time consolidating government services and boasts of lowering energy costs for town buildings by 30 percent.
If he wins his race for mayor, he said the first thing he will do is a full audit of the village. “I think the village’s debt is larger than she says it is,” Friedman opined, before jabbing, “she busted the tax cap at every opportunity.”
The 26-year-old has a Masters in Public Administration from Pace Graduate School. He points out his several primary opponents either have not attended college or in Jasmin’s case have only an Associate’s degree.
Maybe that study of public administration will help Friedman when he takes on the task of kick-starting the village’s economic development, should he win.
Friedman is disappointed with some of the changes in Spring Valley’s downtown. The village cleared out a lot of area and built new condos and commercial buildings, but the only problem is, “if you build it, they will come” has not been the operating principle.
Heading east on Main St., there is a noticeable lack of businesses and the new condos do not appear to be selling like hotcakes either.
“She spent millions to kick out businesses. Instead of businesses now we have one Papa John’s. That’s not economic development. That’s economic failure,” Friedman said.
Spring Valley is one of the municipalities with the highest concentration of crime in Rockland. Whoever is mayor of Spring Valley, also has to double as sheriff, to some degree. According to Friedman, the key will be building a better partnership with police. Making sure they have what they need, including a clear line of communication to the mayor’s office.
Friedman boasts that he has good relationships with people in Albany and will be more successful in attracting state grants as mayor than Jasmin. He also says he will put an end to pay increases. “I will put out a pledge, the mayor salary will not increase unless it’s part of a balanced budget, and even then” it will only increase incrementally.
However, a pay cut is not in his campaign playbook at this time. “I’m not Bloomberg, who will work for a dollar,” he said.
The up and coming Democrat is confident he can make a difference for the Village of Spring Valley. Keep an eye out for him, he’s been knocking on doors since November and the cold weather will not deter him.