Third-party candidates look to bring “fairness” back to local government
BY BILL DEMAREST
Candidates on the Preserve Rockland ticket gathered at a social club in downtown Spring Valley on Tuesday night to share their vision for Rockland County and the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley and to support each other’s campaign efforts.
Leading the group is Rockland County Legislature member Ed Day, R-New City, who is running against Spring Valley Democrat David Fried, a former village judge and former county legislator, to succeed County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, R-Orangetown. However, most of the Preserve Rockland efforts are focused in Ramapo.
On the ticket:
For Ramapo town supervisor: Mike Parietti
For Ramapo town board: Betty Carmand and Weldon McWilliams IV
For Ramapo town judge: Hiram Rivera
For Spring Valley mayor: Calherbe Monel
For Spring Valley village board: Emilia White
The Preserve Ramapo candidates were joined by about 40 local residents at their rally, and also got support from the Republican candidate for Rockland County Clerk, Donna Held, who is running against incumbent Paul Piperator, D-Haverstraw.
Robert Rhodes, leader of the Preserve Ramapo efforts, said at the rally that he and the candidates in the 2013 election from the Preserve Rockland ticket are trying to root out corruption at all levels of government.
“Decent people don’t get a chance,” Rhodes said of the existing political structure in Rockland County – and more specifically the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley.
This year, Ramapo has been hit by scandal that has included an FBI raid on Town Hall under the administration of Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence in May and federal corruption charges also in May against Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret. No charges have come out of the FBI raid at Town Hall.
Among the issues the Preserve Rockland candidates say are key:
– Fast-rising taxes
– Overdevelopment of land
– Political corruption
– Lack of representation, with existing political leaders catering to special interest groups that can provide bloc votes.
– While town and village government leaders have no say it school matters, the group also is focused on the troubled East Ramapo School District.
Parietti, the Preserve Ramapo candidate challenging St. Lawrence for town supervisor, says he believes Ramapo residents are not being represented fairly in town government. He noted that, in part, one of the key reasons he’s running in this year’s election is because he believes the town needs to change the way it elects members to the Town Board.
Parietti said previous efforts to have the town residents consider a “ward” system for local elections have been thwarted. Such as system would have town board members directly elected from specific parts of the town – instead of an at-large system.
“I think if this could have been put to a vote – even if the people rejected it – I would have been satisfied,” Parietti said. “We want everyone to have their fair share of representation.”
Parietti contends the Preserve Rockland ticket has put together “a group of good people” who are focused on providing representation for local residents who feel their voices are not being heard by local government. Parietti has been involved with the Preserve Ramapo effort for 10 years.
Tuesday’s rally gave local residents a chance to hear from the candidates and to meet with them one-on-one to hear their ideas.