(Entered into public record on April 30, 2013)
To Chair Ilan Schoenberger and members of the Legislature:
Thank you for requesting the dedication of the Spring Valley Toll to Armand Miele’s memory. Our family is touched and moved, and we know that although he is in a better place now, Mr. Miele is touched and moved as well. He campaigned hard to make the Spring Valley toll plaza free for the sake of Rocklanders who use the Thruway every day. We therefore hope you will welcome our suggestion to name the toll “The Armand Miele Free Toll Plaza” in his honor.
Last month, upon hearing of his death, the Legislature adjourned in Mr. Miele’s honor. We thank you for that gesture as well. We were also offered comfort by so many people from the Legislature’s circles—current and retired elected officials, people from all levels of Rockland’s many county and town offices, people who remember Mr. Miele from his campaigns, political and journalistic, people from both sides of every fence. It’s clear that a great number of Rocklanders appreciated Mr. Miele’s outspoken insistence on courage, honesty, and accountability.
It is our prayer, and our charge to you all tonight, that you remember Mr. Miele’s platform for as long as you affect this county’s politics, and that you pass it on to the next generation. Courage, honesty, and accountability, ladies and gentlemen. A simple charge, but not an easy one. Most taxpaying families are uncomplaining, devoting all of their energy to their families’ financial security, academic excellence, and long-term well-being. Those in office don’t always hear voters’ needs. Yet you all know, better than anyone, that those needs are there, and you try to address them with wisdom and care. When indecision over a hard choice looms, we encourage you to draw strength from Mr. Miele’s memory, and make those choices based on courage, honesty, and accountability.
Mr. Miele tried to provide a voice for those silent taxpayers in his Musings for the Rockland County Times, as you know, and he prodded his journalists to do the same. He wrote extensively on issues that the Rockland County Times covered when no one else would. The Thruway toll, now free to cars, was one of those issues. He never let readers forget the many ways in which we are taxed by the MTA, and he cried foul at outrageous investment and credit practices long before it became fashionable to bash Wall Street.
We are confident that the Times will continue to publish a paper that truly represents Rockland’s taxpayers, and that you, ladies and gentlemen, will continue to support the paper by your open dialogue, your vigorous interest in the voices of the taxpayers, and your great respect for the First Amendment that upholds a free and honest press. Thank you again, ladies and gentlemen. We also thank Dylan Skriloff, Editor-in-Chief of the Rockland County Times, for appearing on behalf of our family tonight. God bless you all.
Mrs. Ofelia Esguerra Miele
Donna Lee Miele