July 17, 2017 Town Board Meeting Synopsis

Jul 18th, 2017 | By | Category: 2017 Election, Annexation, Editorial, Government Corruption, Harley Doles, Kiryas Joel, Monroe Town Board, Monroe Town Board Public Meeting, Orange County Politics, Preserve Hudson Valley, Town Board Meeting Synopsis

Emily Convers is the Chairwoman of United Monroe, the grassroots citizens' group formed in 2013It has been a long time since I’ve written a synopsis after a Town Board meeting. There are two reasons for this: 1. Since we’ve elected Mike McGinn and Tony Cardone, I feel like we’re in good hands and the Town Board no longer needs policing. 2. I just get too upset and frustrated with the lies, propaganda, and insults spewed by Gerry McQuade and Harley Doles, so I haven’t been to many meetings as of late.

But tonight, I thought I’d resurrect this tradition since much occurred.

At 6:30pm, the public hearing was scheduled to listen to the public’s feelings and opinions on the proposed Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Monroe. What is a Comprehensive Plan? It is the document that describes all of the zoning and codes for the Town, including environmentally sensitive areas, and the protection of ridge lines, as well as building codes and tree codes. Creating a Comprehensive plan requires hiring an experienced planning firm. Councilmen Cardone, McGinn and Colon did just that. They hired Bonnie Franson, a well respected planner, in the Spring of 2016 to take on this job. This was not an easy task since Bonnie was no doubt subjected to political nonsense from Harley Doles every step of the way. But Bonnie persevered, and the outcome is a plan which includes over 300 acres of land in Monroe which is now lower density than it was before, and more environmentally protected areas.

Doles and his buddy, ex Councilman Dan Burke, one of his employees, an ex-employee, and two men who behaved so badly that they were no longer allowed at United Monroe meetings when we first formed, sit front and center at each and every Town Board meeting. They routinely guffaw and heckle Tony and Mike on the Board, and they always get up at the podium and launch insane, and very false accusations. They suggest that the proposed Comprehensive Plan is creating high-density housing (false), that the new accessory apartment law is unenforceable (false), and that Tony and Mike made “back room deals” (false).

Now, we can understand the employee, the ex-employee, and the best buddy and former Councilman, Dan Burke being in agreement with Doles, but the two guys in the front row howling at the moon and making stuff up? That’s not easy to understand. It would take a really good shrink to figure that one out.

But, you will always have people who just like to be angry.

Bottom line is, the Comprehensive plan is good. Really good.

At the end of the public hearing on the Comprehensive Plan, a couple of KJ Alliance members bravely stood up to the podium to share that they appreciated the SR-10 (Suburban Residential Zoning) on the acreage North of Route 17 in Monroe, but that they would like the zoning to be more preferable to them for cultural reasons, such as proximity to Synagogue, etc.

While the Alliance is not entirely happy with the new Comprehensive plan, they respectfully shared their views and their needs, and they did so at some personal risk since they may be the subject of some propaganda and attacks as a result, within their community.

At the end of the Public Hearing, Councilman McQuade, in his usual fashion, needed to address each of his perceived enemies in immature, impotent bursts of school yard bullying. I began to walk out of the room, and while I had my back to the dais where McQuade was embarking on one of his famous, mean spirited, conspiracy laden diatribes, he went for me. Out came the words, “back room deals”, and “Emily Convers”, to which I gave the audience to which I was facing a deep, theatrical curtsy as if to say, “I knew I would be mentioned by this creep, and I accept it as high praise to be attacked by such a cretinous man”.
The regular meeting began.
During Public Comment, I made the following statement regarding Harley Doles’ actions:
“Today I was forwarded an email which was written by Harley Doles to over 50 people including members of the press, legislators, and various other elected leaders. Included in his distribution were some of his fans/ employees who are seated here today.

It was one of a long series of emails the Town Supervisor has been sending over the past week.
It makes you wonder if the Town Supervisor does any actual work when you look at his body of emails and social media activity, which I assure you, is vast.

The purpose for bringing up this email today is this: Our Town Supervisor shared screen shots of a Facebook thread which contained extremely derogatory language aimed at me. Doles shared this email with about fifty people. Disseminating this kind of vulgar, and libelous material is highly unethical, especially since it was sent in his capacity as the Town Supervisor, representing the Town of Monroe.

A man named Steve Dibert, who Harley Doles includes in all of his email blasts, posts derogatory, sexist, and libelous material every day on a few facebook pages. Doles’ connection and promotion of these posts and messages are done regularly.

Harley Doles is sending these emails, tweets, and posts on Photo News blogs as the Town Supervisor, during the daytime, working hours. Our tax dollars are paying this man to behave in this manner. I would like to suggest that the Town Board resolve not to legally indemnify Doles as his promotion of this libelous, derogatory, sexist, and damaging material is likely to find him in a heap of legal trouble. I would hate for the taxpayers to have to foot the bill for his highly inflammatory, unethical, and libelous actions.”
That’s the end of my comment.

John Allegro gave a passionate speech rallying against the few, vocal, angry Doles cronies in the audience who spoke ill of United Monroe and the KJ separation.

Mike Egan stood up and eloquently pointed out that anyone could have stood up and asked for a seat at the negotiation table. No one did. United Monroe did. We asserted ourselves, and we got results. The people complaining, or judging, or being angry and skeptical don’t have the facts, and did absolutely nothing. Mike said “talk is cheap”. And it is. Work is hard. And UM has done the work. We’ve supported the litigation against annexation. We’ve engaged the electorate. And we believe that separation is our ticket to a peaceful solution which will give us power over our destiny in Monroe.

Tom Lapolla got up and complained that a grassroots organization negotiated separation. He complained that we are not elected leaders. He complained of the so called “secrecy”.
How off base he is.

We asked for a seat. We got one.

Preserve Hudson Valley is in litigation, therefore the directors of Preserve Hudson Valley, who are John Allegro and myself, had the leverage to negotiate down from the original 382 acres which KJ wanted in order to separate.

We are not elected leaders- and petitioning to separate into your own Town has nothing to do with the elected leaders. Unlike annexation, where the municipal boards vote yes or no, the people decide in a Town separation. Just the people. Not the elected leaders.

But first, it requires the Legislature to allow the people to have their vote.

United Monroe and Preserve Hudson Valley merely sat down and asked that KJ take fewer acres with them to separate.

The 164-acre annexation is lost. That land already sits in KJ thanks to the previous Town Board.
The only land which will be moved from Monroe is 56 acres. And this is in exchange for political freedom, and the school district will be protected.

A very small price to pay when you consider that we would not win another Town Board election in the future if KJ stays in Monroe. And when you consider KJ originally wanted 507 acres of Monroe land, and NO separation.

If KJ stays in Monroe, the amazing strides, changes, and environmental protections put in place by Tony Cardone, Mike McGinn, and Rick Colon will be reversed in the next election when KJ will have the numbers to beat the Monroe residents and install their candidates on our Board.
The alliance helped elect Mike and Tony in the last election. Their support is appreciated. And if separation occurs, they will be treated fairly in the Town of Monroe, just like everyone else.
But no special favors have ever been granted. United Monroe has always stood for fair and equal representation for all.

That hasn’t changed.

The same rules apply to all, and fair planning and sustainable zoning are vital to the future of Monroe.

Many details will be revealed about the Town of Palm Tree in the coming weeks.
All citizens of Orange County will be able to weigh in on the specifics of the proposed KJ separation at several public hearings in the County.

No one will be in the dark- and there is nothing secretive about any of this.
John Allegro, Mike Egan and I have volunteered hundreds of hours to this negotiation. We understand the terms inside and out, and we have the best interest of the Monroe citizens at heart. We are not looking to be elected, we do not get paid, and we have been volunteering for our fellow citizens for years. More pure intentions you will not find.

We understand that the public has grown accustomed to United Monroe fighting KJ, but you must realize that back in the Spring of 2014, I responded to an email to the KJ administrator asking for him to withdraw the 507-acre annexation, and to come to the table as a good neighbor.
It may have taken three years, and thousands of citizen donations for law suits, but here we are. At the table. With leverage, and good intentions.

Your support over the years has been invaluable in this process, and it is with each and every one of you in mind that Mike, John and I negotiate and arrive at solutions which we feel will allow the people of Monroe some relief, some peace of mind, and fair representation for years to come.
I sit at my kitchen table typing at this ungodly hour because the misinformation, the panic, the propaganda, the lies, and the utter nonsense frustrates me to no end.

If any of you want real answers to questions. Email us. We are happy to answer you, and we would much rather you come to us than fester and worry for no reason. Or God forbid get answers from self-interested, bitter, angry liars.

In the past weeks, I’ve taken endless phone calls from fellow citizens with questions about separation. The school district, the cost, the land, the mistrust, etc. And I can honestly say that after each conversation I was happy that each resident was relieved and comforted by the facts.

If this post doesn’t give you the answers you are looking for, contact us at UnitedMonroe@gmail.com

It is the summer, we are volunteers, and we are super busy getting signatures for our candidates, and some of our members are away on vacation, but, we will get back to you, and we will answer you honestly.

Thanks for reading this terribly long post. It’s quite cathartic typing all of this, I must admit.
Thank you for your continued support.
With much gratitude,
Emily Convers
Chairwoman, United Monroe

Click on image to view the entire meeting

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