With us or Against Us

Local political figures must disavow Ramapo 5 and those who nominate them or they tacitly support them

By Chris Day, Candidate for Orangetown Supervisor

Recently, five Ramapo county legislators, elected via the overwhelming force of the “bloc vote” controlled by the leaders of the Hasidic community and their developer allies, decided to disregard the fact that they endorsed the sale of Rockland’s Sain building in their amended budget and block its sale to a responsible party offering more than asking price. This action laid bare their true motivation – despite promises for years now, they never intended to sell the building, and one can reasonably anticipate their next move will involve attempting to sell county buildings adjacent to New Square to those same developers who they are beholden to.

It also showed something else however – though these five Ramapo Democratic Party legislators are elected via the “bloc vote,” they are supported via a network of other officials, elected and otherwise, who put them in positions of power and tacitly support their actions. Consider this:

The Budget and Finance committee, the one in which the Sain sale died, is the legislature’s most powerful committee.

There are 10 Democrats and seven Republicans in the broader Legislature. In this committee, however, there are eight Democrats and only two Republicans, including all five Democratic legislators who have any share of the “bloc vote” in their districts – and that five alone is enough to stop any action, as the committee must have six votes to reach a majority on any vote.

This means that the non-bloc vote representing Democrats had no problem putting nearly full control of the legislature’s agenda in the hands of the developers who are abusing all of the residents of this county in every town and of every religious affiliation. There are only three possible explanations for this – they cared more about having a Democrat supermajority in the committee than giving control to the “bloc vote” developers, they cared more about getting that same vote for their countywide and Ramapo candidates than about protecting our residents, or it’s possible that they just didn’t care at all.

This is collusion. It’s aiding and abetting the destruction of our county and by extension my hometown of Orangetown and every other town.

These legislators were put into these positions not just by a “bloc vote,” but by receiving the formal endorsement of the local Democratic Party in committee, multiple times, and were then given more power by those same officials. When Aron Wieder, one of those same legislators, attempted to get the Republican line, the local committee fought and he was forced to run a primary to get it. The local Democratic Party, however, was more than happy to just hand him the nomination and support his candidacy.

So it’s only reasonable that voters in our local elections should demand the following from the candidates running – that they disavow and denounce these five legislators and the party officials, including Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristen Stavisky, that they take formal action (or demand formal action, as may be fairly applicable to each race) to remove these legislators from any positions of power in the legislature, and that they demand that the Democratic Party refuse to endorse them or other similar characters (such as recently convicted Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence) in committee or convention, thereby forcing such selfish and irresponsible politicians to run primaries in order to continue to be elected.

We can no longer allow people running for positions from town supervisor to town council to county executive to passively stand aside and make vague platitudes while taking no action or personal responsibility to defend those who they wish to make their constituents. This November, the voters must stand up and say “you are either with us or against us,” and then judge who fits which category by their actions, or lack thereof, to push out the politicians who report to the Ramapo developers and those throughout our county who endorse and aid those same politicians in achieving positions of power.