Letter appeared in the Sunday Journal News November 19.
The success of the Democratic Party in the recent election did not include Orange and Rockland counties. Is the success of the Republican Party here just the result of anti-Semitism as Democratic leaders suggest?
What is the real issue? Is it the growth of our Hasidic community, its skillful manipulation and political mobilization, or something more fundamental?
Hasidic leaders have proven that it is possible to create thousands of relatively affordable housing units in suburbia. But they have also demonstrated that in order to do this they must break down zoning barriers, corrupt politicians, and ignore our environment.
The fundamental problem is that the increasing wealth generated in New York (and other major cities) pushes up the cost of housing and marginalizes an ever larger number of families. They are forced out of the city and into our suburbs.
Because we do not have a responsible regional housing policy, communities that still have open land and are open to corruption are targeted by developers.
Political leaders will not challenge zoning. And they won’t advocate for costly investment in regional planning. This is the real third rail in American politics. The result is well understood by ordinary people. Any community that abandons local barriers will be overwhelmed by regional housing needs.
Robert I. Rhodes
The writer, a Suffern resident, is chairman of Preserve Ramapo.