Single member districts for Ramapo?

BY ROBERT RHODES
Chairman, Preserve Ramapo

In September 2012 Preserve Ramapo submitted two petitions to the town of Ramapo. One asked for a referendum to establish single member electoral districts in Ramapo. The other asked that the number of town councilmen be increased from four to six. Instead of reviewing the petitions Chris Samson the Ramapo town clerk sat on the petitions for months. Finally Robert Romanowski and Mike Parietti went to court to force the validity of the petitions. Within two days Samson reacted. Fearful that the court would go ahead Ramapo finally rejected the petitions. Ramapo lost in the New York Supreme Court and appealed Judge Garvey’s decision.

Ramapo’s lawyers were beaten in appeal after appeal by two laymen who had both a better case and better brains. The NYS Appellate Court has just ruled that there must be an election for single member districts in Ramapo. It has returned the case to judge Garvey to set an election date. It is important to note that the petitions only called for an election to decide these issues, but democracy is not something Supervisor St. Lawrence wants for Ramapo. He is desperately afraid that all parts of Ramapo will have the opportunity to elect their chosen representatives to the Ramapo Town Board.

If the board represented our entire community we would not now be the most financially stressed town in New York State. We would not have St. Lawrence’s boondoggle stadium that is losing $3 million a year. We would not have a planning board and a zoning board of appeals that approve everything that comes before them. We would not have an overwhelmed sewer system that regularly overflows with huge fines recently imposed by the federal government. We would not have terrible drainage problems, terrible traffic jams…The list goes on and on.

Stay tuned for an election date for single member districts.