Obvious efforts were made to keep the process as far from public view as possible. The Town Clerk’s Office failed to honor Freedom of Information Act requests for copies of the proposed budget in time for the meeting to which the public had been invited to participate in a public discussion of that budget. The meeting time had been changed, and it was inconveniently scheduled for the day after the election, November 4. But it didn’t really matter because without the numbers–projected taxes, debt payments, salary increases–what was there the public could add to the discussion? The few who were present did ask questions, but those were summarily dismissed by Supervisor St. Lawrence, manager-in-charge of Ramapo’s mole-tunnel democracy: “We’re here to listen,” he said, “not to answer questions.” [Read more…]
“Mayor Demeza Delhomme pledged to vote against all building permit applications by Jewish developers to retaliate against Jews for supporting political opponents, according to a secretly recorded conversation obtained exclusively by The Journal News. Asked whether he would vote against, “anything a Jew brings,” Delhomme replied, “Yes,” during a conversation recorded last March at Village Hall. [Read more…]
“Filed by a public interest law firm on behalf of seven unnamed plaintiffs who fear retaliation from their communities if they go public, the complaint takes aim at the state, the East Ramapo school district and four Hasidic yeshivas for failing to provide male students with basic secular studies such as English and mathematics. [Read more…]
“A state assemblyman says Mayor Demeza Delhomme twice interfered with an assistant village building inspector by pressuring him to allow a yeshiva to be occupied without safety inspections, then ordering him to change a memo documenting that he’d interfered. Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, D-New City, said the mayor’s chief concern should be residents’ safety and his alleged actions put students at risk. “The facts, as presented, suggest to me the mayor’s office was involved in changing the memo,” said Zebrowski, who has raised the issue with the New York secretary of state. “If somebody used their influence to change an official document then, in my opinion, it borders on criminal,” he added.” Complete Journal story here.
“The change is the latest in a progression that has seen Rockland’s major water supplier go from Spring Valley Water to Hackensack Water and then United Water. Suez, which dates from 1858, purchased the company 15 years ago, Madden said. The company has been trying to repair its reputation in Rockland after the state Public Service Commission nixed its plans to build a desalination plant and ordered it to improve its relationship with the community. [Read more…]
Comments by Dennis Walcott, who leads the monitor team assigned to the East Ramapo school district, drew criticism from the NAACP and engendered suspicions about the monitor’s motives. [Read more…]
November 4, 2015 Ramapo Town Hall: 7:06 PM It was the first official act of Supervisor St. Lawrence following his re-election the day before. The meeting time had been changed, but it didn’t matter, it was not an optimal day for a big public turnout, the day after an election. Most certainly, the bad timing was intentional, and it worked–only a few members of the public were there along with a small group of students from Suffern High School, there to fulfill a requirement for their Government class. [Read more…]
“New York received a D- in a national report released Monday for its transparency and accountability, ranking it 30th in the nation as part of a so-called State Integrity Investigation. New York, which is mired in the corruption cases of its two former legislative leaders, was tied for the 30th lowest ranking with Florida. Beset by corruption, backroom deals and voter scorn, New York received a score of 61, a D-, placing it in a tie for 30th place nationwide, the group’s report said. The report, based on an assessment the group does nationwide, found that New York ranked last in the U.S. for its state budgeting “ which has long been criticized for being controlled by the governor and the two legislative leaders behind closed doors, known as the “three men in a room.” Complete Journal story here.
“Facing the threat of a state takeover of its building and fire code inspections, Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme said Wednesday that the village was getting its building department in order. The New York Division of Building Standards and Codes warned the village on Oct. 6 that it had 30 days to address longstanding concerns over fire safety in the village, including problems with inspection records, building permits and applications.They outlined four steps the village needed to take in that time span: Provide an up-to-date list of properties for inspection; review its enforcement program; provide records for three private religious schools using classroom trailers; and digitize Building Department records.Documentation that the village has taken these steps is due to the state this week.Read the complete Journal News coverage here.
“Samuel Tress, a Democratic candidate for the Ramapo Town Board, has a federal mail-fraud conviction and, when questioned about whether he lives in New Jersey, admitted he did. [Read more…]