“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…]
Politicians fund their election campaigns by soliciting donations from supporters and other partners. The money is collected by PACs (Political Action Committees) and New York State requires that these PACs submit regular financial reports that appear on the New York State Board of Elections website (http://www.elections.ny.gov/CFViewReports.html).Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence has two such PACs, one that the general public can easily find on the state site”it’s called Friends of Christopher P. St. Lawrence”and another that doesn’t have his name and won’t show up in searches for his name as owner or recipient of those funds. Both PACs are managed by Nathan Oberman, Ramapo’s Deputy Director of Finance and Receiver of Taxes. So why does St. Lawrence have this second secretive bankroll where donors can direct money almost anonymously? The answer lies in who is writing those checks in the dark. [Read more…]
“A fire in a Spring Valley home with illegal apartments revealed deplorable conditions Tuesday morning, according to authorities. After the fire was extinguished, authorities found illegal apartments in the basement and throughout the home. In addition, there were no fire alarms in the house. It’s like playing Russian roulette,” Wren said. These people shouldn’t be living in these conditions. If this had happened in the middle of the night and there were no smoke detectors working, who knows what we would have come to, Sohlman said. The fire in Spring Valley comes on the heels of a state agency ordering the village to increase enforcement of its housing codes or face a potential state takeover. The Division of Building Standards and Codes issued an order on Oct. 6 giving the village 30 days to begin inspecting buildings and schools that are riddled with fire and safety violations.” Complete Journal News coverage here.
“Dozens of private religious schools in Ramapo don’t comply with the requirements of the fire safety code, putting the safety of students and firefighters at deadly risk. That warning was delivered at Tuesday night’s East Ramapo school board meeting by Justin Schwartz, a Spring Valley fire captain and Tarrytown rabbi who is a member of the Rockland Illegal Housing Task Force. [Read more…]
“New York state officials have ordered the village to immediately begin inspecting buildings and schools that are rife with fire and safety violations â€” or face a potential takeover. [Read more…]
Community View in The Journal News
Spring Valley NAACP president says East Ramapo board’s lack of understanding, and interest in, public education does irreparable harm to students.
Members of the Spring Valley NAACP recently met with Dennis Walcott, who leads the state-appointed East Ramapo Central School District monitor team. The monitors were named by the state Education Department following a November 2014 report, “East Ramapo: a School District in Crisis,” by state-appointed fiscal monitor Hank Greenberg. [Read more…]
Letter in The Journal News
New York State laws and regulations requiring that all children receive an education have not been forgotten since 1928. In East Ramapo in particular, administration was acutely aware of its responsibility. As I explained on the public radio show “This American Life,” East Ramapo administrators had made a deal with the administrators of the yeshivas that they would not bring up the issue of failure to educate yeshiva students as long as the ultra-Orthodox bloc vote would not be used to vote down school budgets. [Read more…]
“The announcement drew strong applause and cheers Wednesday night from several dozen people attending a special Board of Education meeting. Klein antagonized parents with derogatory comments about Hispanics, waiting weeks to apologize. He had been the target of protests at each board meeting, as well as at his home.” Read the complete Journal News coverage here.
In 2012, the New York State Comptroller declared that the Town of Ramapo was the most fiscally stressed township in the State. At that time, Ramapo had racked up a worst-in-the-state rating of 70.8% for fiscal stress. The Supervisor’s response to the economic crisis was both simple and unnerving: The Comptroller’s numbers must be wrong. And then St. Lawrence turned the lights off in fiscal year 2013 by failing to file the Town’s financial report in time to be included in the State’s evaluation of all the townships. Unfortunately, that had very little restorative impact on the numbers, which continued to worsen as the economic stress increased. Now in the most recent numbers from the State, Ramapo has increased another 7% for a new all-time high. [Read more…]