BY JEREMIAH WATKUHNS
County Legislator Ilan Schoenberger held an official kickoff for his campaign for county executive this past weekend and he received tons of love from fellow Democrats.
Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack said he “yearns” for leadership in New City that will bridge the divide between county and town government and he believes wholeheartedly Ilan Schoenberger is the one to provide it.
Fellow Ramapoan Pat Withers, town councilman, exclaimed “Ilan is like a brother to me!” before enthusiastically endorsing the longtime legislator and former director of the Town of Ramapo Finance Department.
Others on hand at the official headquarters for Schoenberger’s campaign, which are located just down the parking lot from County GOP headquarters in New City, included Stony Point Councilman James McDonnell, Working Families Party board member Larry Weissman (whose party has endorsed Schoenberger), Ramapo Councilman Daniel Friedman, Rockland Democratic Chairwoman Kristen Stavisky, former Democratic Chair Vince Monte, Ramapo supervisor candidate Scott Goldman and dozens of others.
Schoenberger touted his term limit plan upon taking the stage and blasted Vanderhoef’s allegedly myopic regime, particularly his past decade of leadership.
Former Dem Chair Monte claimed that when the position of county executive was created it was viewed as a county mayor, someone who would be in touch with all parties within the county, helping things move smoothly, but under Vanderhoef he said it’s become anything but. Schoenberger echoed Monte’s sentiments, stating he would be there whenever the towns and villages and the people needed him.
He also passed along an editorial from the Rockland Review which defended his record as Ramapo finance director and claimed he would have never given the green-light to the stadium project after the voters rejected the initial bond. Schoenberger left Ramapo government in 2008, two years before the stadium project began to take center stage.
That stadium project and other possibly funny business in Ramapo has led to an investigation into Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence’s tenure. Schoenberger hopes to steer clear from any perceived association with St. Lawrence’s legal problems in the public’s eye.
Meanwhile, Schoenberger’s Republican competition, Legislator Ed Day, has been seizing on the controversy in Ramapo during his campaign. Day portrays himself as the candidate for change in the culture of government and renewed accountability to the people, while labeling Schoenberger as the embodiment of the problem malaise that has led to an over $100 million county deficit.