Separating from Kiryas Joel does not hurt Blooming Grove or Woodbury

Jul 24th, 2017 | By | Category: 2017 Election, Annexation, Editorial, Kiryas Joel, Monroe, News, Orange County Politics

Let Us VoteLet’s be clear: Separating from Kiryas Joel does not hurt Blooming Grove or Woodbury. It simply puts Monroe on the same playing field as these neighboring municipalities. Monroe has had the conflict over the years due to the voting bloc sitting in Monroe. Woodbury and Blooming Grove have not. The leaders of Monroe, years ago, did not have the forethought to institute a ward system, did not make decisions in the best interest of all of Monroe citizens, and recently, our KJ elected Town Board showed malice towards the citizens outside of KJ in Monroe.

This is a Monroe matter. My fellow volunteers, Mike Egan and John Allegro and I have ensured that Blooming Grove will not be annexed by KJ in the next 10 years. We put our names to paper, and our necks on the line to solve these major issues that elected leaders in Monroe have never done in the over forty years KJ has been in existence.

The insular nature of its citizens and vastly differing aspirations for development have led to conflict, bad feelings, and horrible leaders to be elected to office.

Monroe has the historic opportunity to be on a level field with Woodbury and Blooming Grove- to have our own town, and to deal with Kiryas Joel as a separate entity should conflict arise in the future. Woodbury has the freedom to elect their Town and Village governments. So does Blooming Grove. These communities have low voter turnout. Monroe doesn’t. United Monroe woke the sleeping giant that is the Monroe voting public. We brought thousands to the polls year after year in local elections. And now, after years of litigation, Preserve Hudson Valley created the leverage which brought KJ to the table, and to file a petition to separate with far less acreage than they want.

This is a time for Monroe to decide. This is a time for the people of Monroe to understand that we cannot win every legal battle, we cannot fight forever, and you cannot expect United Monroe volunteers to be your champions for the rest of their lives. Too many amazing people have put in too many hours, at personal and professional risk, to create this amazing voting bloc, and powerhouse organization these past 5 years. This has been a result of blood, sweat, and tears. And unbelievable selflessness on the part of so many, with such incredible stories.

Our volunteers are cancer survivors, widows, senior citizens, young mom’s with school age kids, people battling Parkinson’s, people caring for aging parents with Alzheimer’s, parents of adult children with special needs, busy and successful business people, teachers, elected leaders, single women who were victims of abuse, and the list goes on. We are your neighbors, your friends, your family. We have worked non-stop for years to prevent the KJ land grabs and to elect decent people to office, and overall, we have done just that.

The courts, however, are not always on our side. Judge Walsh granted the 164 acres to KJ last year. In the meantime, KJ is still going after the full 507 in court. A compromise solution is necessary. We don’t have a rich benefactor uncle to help Preserve Hudson Valley pay the legal bills which keep rolling in to appeal the 164-acre decision by Judge Walsh. We have relied on the generosity of thousands of local people.

And Preserve Hudson Valley still has bills to pay since the appeal papers were filed this spring.

By the next Supervisor race in Monroe, KJ will out number our registered voters.

If we want to prevent a KJ controlled Town Board forever more, we need to separate now. And this will HELP Blooming Grove and Woodbury to have an autonomous, strong, self-controlled Monroe. To be controlled by one village has proven unhealthy and has created nothing but conflict.

Are we so angry with KJ that we are willing to cut off our noses to spite our faces? I’m not.

KJ became KJ because of Monroe leadership over many years making deals. It became KJ because county leaders over the years have enjoyed their bloc vote and have looked the other way.

Monroe didn’t create this scenario.

But, we can do the right thing for Monroe now.

The right thing is separating to protect our zoning, our planning, and our Town government from being controlled by a municipality who has vastly different goals and needs.

The legislature MUST vote yes to allow us to have our vote on this issue. The legislature is hearing the public on August 15 and 16. I am personally asking you to attend these hearings to tell the Legislature to vote YES to give us our vote. Let Monroe decide. That’s all you have to say. Walk up to that microphone and say, “LET MONROE DECIDE”, and sit down.

We are in the process of organizing a large scale march to the public hearing, to walk in solidarity, to tell the legislature that it is not for them to decide our fate. It’s very popular to say “NO” to KJ right now. People think, “Oh, if KJ wants separation, then I’m against it.” Yes, it’s surprising to for once agree with KJ on this one…..but it really is the best solution for both sides. KJ doesn’t want us to keep suing them, and we don’t want to keep fighting. Plus, we want control over our Town government like Woodbury and Blooming Grove have…

It is not for Legislators in Port Jervis, Wawayanda and New Windsor to decide what happens to Monroe. It’s not for them to say. Unfortunately, our Legislature is very divided. Dems against Republicans and they are all up for reelection this November. All 21 of them. And as the Times Herald Record so eloquently pointed out, elected leaders have been using rage against KJ as an election tool for decades. This is not the time for our Legislators to politicize the future for Monroe. To look like a good guy for saying “no” to separation to their constituents in Cornwall. This is not the time for them to grandstand on an issue that doesn’t affect their property values.
If affects mine. And yours. Not theirs.

It truly is now or never folks.

And remember, if you see a letter from anyone affiliated with Harley Doles in the next edition of the Photo News, do not believe a single word of it.
These are desperate people who have been wrong so long they don’t know what right looks like.

Doles is drowning in a sea of “nobody wants him on the ballot”, and he will not go down without a big, bloody, fight. We all need to put our shields up and be prepared to block the lies, the rhetoric and the false accusations at every turn.

I’ve watched as me and my UM friends have taken more disgusting hits at the hands of these miscreants than anyone could or should endure. It’s not fair, and it pains me to see the injustice of it. To see so many of my fellow volunteers who are not in this for the power and the glory, but for the justice. We all have that in common in UM. We do not stand for liars, bad leaders, or back room deals and manipulations. And for standing up, we have taken more than we should.

We have also taken a great deal of praise and thanks and support which is what has kept us going.

But no grass roots group should have to endure the kind of garbage that we have.

We stood up to the plate when KJ filed a petition to separate. We stood up to say “382 is too many acres!” Who else did that?

Did you hear anyone else do that?

Preserve Hudson Valley is in litigation over the annexation decision. They had every right to sit with their legal opponent to settle the law suit. And legal settlement discussions DO NOT happen in public. But, they were NOT secret meetings. I spoke weekly with Chris McKenna of the Times Herald Record, who reported on these meetings regularly. They were public knowledge. The “spin” you are hearing from a very small, yet vocal 5 people about this is nonsense.
Separation or deal with the consequences. The consequences are: KJ controlled Town Board forever more in the next election, changes in zoning and planning, high-density housing in Monroe which will lead to the eventual, and not so distant downfall of the MW School District.

It’s in your hands now, friends. We rolled up our sleeves, did the grueling work, and now it’s your turn to show up to the party.

Mark your calendars for August 15 and 16. We are going to send the County Legislature the biggest message we have ever sent.
Who’s with me?
Emily Convers

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