PRESERVING O’TOWN: Day responds to Kleiner op-ed

Round two of Kleiner v. Day on preserving Orangetown will be published online Tuesday, September 19

BY CHRIS DAY

Candidate, Town of Orangetown supervisor

I read with interest my opponent’s recent letter to the editor regarding Preserving Orangetown. I’m glad to see he’s finally aware of this concept that he chose to ignore and actively sabotage for nearly a decade since he left office as our supervisor, when the residents of Orangetown soundly rejected his candidacy for County Executive by a 14 point margin. I also appreciate that he took his time to read my and my running mates Denis Troy and Tom Diviny’s extremely detailed joint plan for Preserving Orangetown, which we announced months ago to an incredibly positive response and is available on my website, www.voteforday.com.

However, though Thom Kleiner may now feel the need to use those buzzwords “Preserving Orangetown” because it’s what our town cares about, his actions prove contrary to his recent words.

As supervisor, my opponent issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking plans to build 356 new homes on just 71 acres of Rockland Psychiatric Center, with 20% dedicated to low income housing. This was not, as he has claimed, a senior housing proposal, it was in addition to proposed senior housing.

Later, in 2009, my opponent tried to jam through so-called “workforce housing” in exchange for getting the Working Families line in his County Executive race, which would have scattered low income, high density housing throughout the town. Even after hundreds of residents showed up to the meeting, convincing the other three board members to join Denis Troy in opposing this, Thom still stuck to his guns and was the sole vote in favor.

But it wasn’t just any low income, high density housing that Thom supported as supervisor. He also voted to approve, and allowed to continue for years, a sewer extension in Ramapo that has fueled the growth there that is now hitting our borders. His failure ended up leaving Orangetown taxpayers responsible for our share of $109 million in cost overruns for that project – this while he took improper payments to be on the sewer commission and later refused to join other current and former elected officials of both parties in returning those payments.

After leaving office and taking an appointed position with known enabler of overdevelopment and the destruction of East Ramapo (on which Thom has been silent for years by the way) Governor Cuomo, Thom Kleiner was a top supporter of Ramapo-supported County Executive candidate David Fried in 2013. In fact reports from the time cite that “Fried’s primary victory was propelled by … the strong support of former Orangetown supervisor Thom Kleiner … who will land a high profile county job if Fried is victorious.” Thom even contributed $1,900 to Fried’s (thankfully) failed campaign.

And even now as he disingenuously claims to stand for Preserving Orangetown, Thom Kleiner is betraying it. This summer he personally collected petition signatures to get Legislator Alden Wolfe, one of the “Ramapo 5” committed to destroying our county on behalf of his supporters in Ramapo, on the ballot for the Surrogate Judge position this election. Why would Thom claim to want to preserve our town while simultaneously trying to ensure that Orangetown is represented by a judge beholden to Ramapo developers?

I’ll tell you why – because he’s playing politics. He knows what people want to hear, but his record speaks for itself. While I was speaking out on these issues for years on television, the internet, and in print, even travelling to Albany to personally lobby the state senate for oversight of our collapsing neighboring school district of East Ramapo (all as a private citizen), Thom was collecting a paycheck from Governor Cuomo and remaining silent on the issues while actively working to get people elected who would kill this county and town on behalf of Ramapo developers, a goal he continues to work towards in this very election cycle.

He thinks he can talk his way out of his record, but Orangetown and our residents are smarter than that, and what we want is someone who walks the walk when it comes to Preserving Orangetown. I have proven myself to be that candidate in word and deed, and I will make sure that our kids are able to continue to call this town home when they grow up to raise families of their own.