“The long beleaguered Republican Party has named its November candidates for supervisor and Town Board, hoping the slate will end the Democratic dominance after the federal corruption trial that convicted Christopher St. Lawrence and ousted him as supervisor.
Bill Weber, an accountant who has run unsuccessfully in the past, leads the slate for supervisor, with activist Shani Bechhofer and Chestnut Ridge Trustee Grant Valentine running for the board and Robert Romanowski for Director of the Highway Department.
Bechhofer has been active with her Orthodox Jewish neighbors who have fought the Viola Estate housing development that violated Planning Board approvals during construction. Valentine is African-American and a member of the Rockland Community College Board of Trustees.
“After 16 years of the previous supervisor’s governance, we are left with a shattered Ramapo,” Weber said in a statement. “Along with Town Council candidates Bechhofer and Valentine, we will focus on the shared concerns of all constituents of Ramapo; a shared desire for good governance based on transparency, good communications, in-depth accounting analysis and, more than anything, respect for every person across the board.”
The Democrats up for election in November are the supervisor’s seat; and Councilmen Yitzchock Ullman, now the acting supervisor, and Patrick Withers.
Preserve Ramapo Chairman Robert Rhodes said Tuesday that his group will endorse Weber. He said he has yet to meet with Bechhofer and Valentine to discuss issues, but hopes he and other Preserve Ramapo leaders can do so by next week.
Rhodes said a major issue for him is to have a referendum on a ward system of dividing the town into districts represented by Town Board members. Residents elect officials townwide.
A previous attempt at single-member districts, he says, was corrupted by town officials. A state judge upheld the vote despite criticizing how the town handled the election, including what supporters called an unpublicized move to let non-registered voters cast ballots.
Rhodes said supporters are waiting for a judge to schedule a new vote, after the town delayed the court decision with constant legal motions. Not all Town Board members would depend on the religious bloc under a ward system, he argued.
“The only way to hold the supervisor accountable is to have members of the board who are independent,” Rhodes said. “We want a new referendum on the November ballot to replace the fraudulent one.”
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