The following is Charles Falciglia's response to a press release from Mona Montal regarding the upcoming Ward Referendum Vote on next Tuesday.

_________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RAMAPO DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE
MONA MONTAL, CHAIRWOMAN
SUFFERN, NY

RAMAPO DEMOCRATS: REPUBLICANS LYING ABOUT WARD REFERENDUM SO
THEY CAN ELECT RADICAL CONSERVATIVES TO RAMAPO TOWN BOARD

"The Ramapo Democratic Party released the following statement in response to the
Republican Party's endorsement of the September 30th referendum increasing the size of the Town Board at substantial additional costs to taxpayers and switching to a ward system for electing council-members:

"Ramapo Republicans should switch their mascot from an elephant to Pinocchio. Their latest lie is claiming that increasing the size of the Town Board will be at 'no additional cost to taxpayers' (see Ramapo Republican Committee Press Release, September 17, 2014). The truth is the ward system would cost over $1,000,000 just in additional salaries and benefits for new politicians over the next decade.

"How will the Republicans pay for their expensive new ward system? The same way they do it in Washington, by cutting funding for seniors and working families.

"Worst of all, the expensive new ward system would create new, more Republican districts that would elect radical, anti-choice conservatives to the Town Board."

 

Anger and Paranoia at Ramapo Town Hall

This article is in response to the bizarre disingenuous recent press release issued by Ramapo Democratic Chairwoman, Mona Montal, regarding the vote on the Ward System referendum, which will take place on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014. The press release is intellectually dishonest and generally offensive. And thatís its positive message. It is the type of platitude laced angry diatribe that the public has grown weary of, right out of the Chris St. Lawrence playbook, to wit, the section titled utter contempt and disdain for the public. A shameless attempt to sequester facts, designed to intellectually swindle a portion of the electorate that is less engaged.  

 

How ironic that the Ramapo Democratic Committee/Administration (basically one in the same) would use Pinocchio to try and make a point about lying. That comment was certainly not very well thought out. This is the same Ramapo Democratic Committee that donated $1,500.00 to the Rockland County GOP in April of 2012, possibly for the purchase of a table at the annual Republican Gala; the funds coming from the Committee account, than oddly being refunded in July of that same year. I guess the behind the scenes collegiality has come to a grinding halt.

 

As I have stated repeatedly, the Town of Ramapo has bungled millions upon millions of dollars and the cost of investing in two additional seats will result in savings that dwarf the investment. To make the claim that the Ramapo Administration is worried about cost is almost laughable. I note that Ms. Montal projected the annual cost of the two new council seats over a decade, a standard business ploy used in both the public and private sector for shock value. The roughly $80,000.00 annual cost of adding two council seats would not have the same affect on the casual reader as a figure of $1,000,000.00. I actually will tip my cap to whoever thought of that, in a political sense, that is. The following excerpts from my recent article in the Rockland Voice speak to the specious St. Lawrence argument of big government:   

          Chris St. Lawrence knows full well that expanding government has nothing to do with adding two council seats. The real definition of big government is the implementation of laws and regulations that spawn new agencies and increase personnel, such as the Dodd-Frank Act and its crown jewel, the newly created Consumer Protection Bureau. And letís not forget the Affordable Care Act. Whether you agree with none, some or all of them, thatís where layers of bureaucracy are created and billions of tax dollars funneled. Thatís the definition of big government, not the addition of two council seats. If a new council so desires, I am sure they can vote to spread the aggregate remuneration of the current four seats over six; dare I say a pay cut. After all, itís a part time job, supposedly done out of love of community.

          St. Lawrenceís position is a gossamer attempt to disguise the real reason, which is jeopardizing the future election of the current council members and making future elected officials accountable for tax and dumb policies to those they represent. Some current Ramapo Council members canít even win their own election district and/or village, yet are elected to office by pandering to districts and villages that ultimately hold these officials hostage.

          Moreover, the argument from Ramapo is steeped in hypocrisy and intellectually condescending. It comes from an administration that has bungled millions of dollars over the years, with a Ballpark, the Elm Street Project, asinine pay raises, cronyism, questionable consultants, an endless stream of lawsuits (to prevent this ballot referendum as one example) and violations of the Clean Water Act. An investment in the salaries of adding two new council members in a Ward System would result in savings that dwarf the expense. One could argue that there would be no Ballpark if there were six members independently voting at that time. As Mike Parietti has said repeatedly, it would now take five votes instead of three to override the state mandated tax cap.

There are other ways to pay for the increase of two seats despite the fact the return on investment alone would remedy the situation. As stated above, the Town Council could agree to spread the current remuneration of the four council members over six. Another way to pay for this expensive new Ward System would be to eliminate the bloated salary of Mona Montal, plus others. There are plenty of seniors and members of working families out there who would gladly do these jobs at half the current price. To follow Ms. Montalís logic would mean she should be outraged at her own double standard, which is highlighted by the following excerpt from a Preserve Ramapo article dated January 31st, 2014, titled - The Price of Loyalty in a Time of Crisis in Ramapo.

What Was Your Raise in 2014?
Here are Some Ramapo Raises over the last 3 years:

Mona Montal--Director of Purchasing

2013:   $105,000 (+$12,180)

2014:  $145,866) (+$40,866)

Thatís right, $40,866.00 taxpayer dollars. Makes her raise in 2013 almost look cost effective. The article went on to name five other individuals who collectively received pay raises totaling $80,000.00. So letís understand this; itís okay to increase salaries approximately $120,000.00 for no reason, but not okay to add two council seats at less the cost, which ultimately could lead to rolling back those same salaries. Expense is the quintessential rose colored glass, if it fits an agenda you make the argument for it, if it doesnít, you make the argument against it. Examples in Ramapo abound.

Perhaps the one issue that shows the height of contempt for the public and crystallizes the depths people will go to when it comes to politics is an attempt to link the Ward referendum to abortion. Abortion is a very serious matter whether you are pro-choice or pro-life. Truth-be-told, in this part of the country it is a limited issue, with most Republicans and Democrats standing on ground that they weakly believe in, if at all. Now you have to hand it to Chris St. Lawrence, weaving an academic law school type argument into the conversation to try and ratchet up the emotions of Democrats who place greater voting weight on the issue. To hear Mona Montal spin it, Roe v. Wade will be overturned someday by a Republican dominated Ramapo Town Council. It is obvious that the architect of this press release has tried to meld national arguments into local ones, failing miserably in the process. Where is the press release on the East Ramapo School District?

 

How the districts eventually unfold can be projected at this time on a limited basis, but to believe that Ramapo will suddenly turn Republican red is just an additional attempt at partisan fear mongering. All this press release seems to accomplish is provide another reason to vote for the Ward System. Insulting the Ramapo Republican Committee and showing further disrespect to the electorate makes little sense. And for those of you who believe I am writing this on behalf of the Republican Party, they charged me last September with disloyalty. As far as I know it is still a pending matter?

 

No need to change the mascot of the Ramapo Democratic Party at this time.

 

Vote YES and YES on Tuesday, September 30th.

 

Charles Falciglia
Suffern, New York