The Rottenness of Rockland Politics!

If any single happening exposes the rottenness and hypocrisy of Rockland politics it is the treatment Joseph Meyers received from the County Legislature.

Joe Meyers was recommended, 28 to 2, by the 12th legislative district committee persons to replace Ellen Jaffee. For the first time in County legislature history the recommendation of the grassroots Democratic committee people were told to shove it.

Meyers is a "troublemaker" say the Ramapo political chieftains. Joe had the temerity, the chutzpah, to forcefully argue that the Ramapo in which he and other families have made their homes, is being ruined by the disastrous land use, zoning and code enforcement policies of the St. Lawrence/Schoenberger machine.

History is replete with examples of political machines utilizing every dirty undemocratic trick when threatened.

Chris St. Lawrence is determined to keep his substantial lifetime sinecure, its benefits and pension.

Legislator Ilan Schoenberger, is most obstinate to preserve Ramapoís status quo. Wow, does Ilan have a gig! $32,000 as County legislator, part time; $97,760 , as Ramapo Finance Director; $59,000 to Mrs.Schoenberger, Ilanís wife, Ramapo Judge, part-time; $60,000 to Ms. Schoenberger, daughter, aide to County Judge Apotheker. Add it up and it's a family gig of $248,760 annually, plus benefits plus pensions. On the side, they do a little lawyering. No wonder Rocklandís political class doesnít want government consolidation.

This self-imposed beneficence takes place under the radar. Folkís daily lives are too busy to keep track of all the shenanigans. Few people vote but St. Lawrence and Schoenberger cohorts vote. In 2005, St. Lawrence received 20% of his total vote from three of the townís 90 districts: two in New Square and one in Kaser. The other guy zero. That kind of solid unanimous "support" has a price tag paid for by Ramapo and county taxpayers.

Getting back to Meyers. Legislator Schoenberger punished Meyers. He with Legislator Murphy engineered a coalition of six Republican and four of the ten Democrats to anoint their personal preference, Pat Withers. Withers is not a "troublemaker"

If Schoenberger was manipulative the Republicans were hypocrites. The Republicans could have insisted on a special election. Legislator Levine gave them the chance. He proposed the choice be made by a special district election. The 6 Republicans and nine Democrats did not support Levine.

The Republican minority, over the years, has pleaded with the Democratic majority for special elections.

When the Legislature selected Connie Coker last April, Republican Minority Leader Bierker, argued: " I hope my colleagues vote no to the appointment of Mrs. Coker in the hope that she would be afforded the dignity of standing for an election." Bierker, without gulping, voted for Withers. No "election" thus depriving poor Pat Withers of his "dignity".

Democratic Legislator Fried trumped Bierkerís hypocrisy. In 2005 voting for another vacancy, Fried responded to Bierkerís request for an election, "The Charter of the County of Rockland vests the power of appointment to vacancies in this body ----. Our tradition has been, and should remain to execute the will of the majority of the legislative district committeepersons in making determinations with regard to the filling of vacancies in this body regardless of political party affiliation. I support this process. It keeps Legislative appointments in the hands of residentsóas it should." Legislator Fried, without blinking an eye, voted for Pat Withers, taking the choice out of "the hands of the residents" throwing the choice into the "hands" of Schoenberger and Murphy.

Bierker and Fried add emphasis to that aged conundrum: How do you know when a politician is lying? When he moves his lips.

Irv Feiner
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