Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Election Tuesday
2. Polling Place Changes Coming?
1) Election Tuesday
The plight of East Ramapo has been a topic of discussion in many political campaigns over the past few years. Some of the school board members and defenders have gone on to hold public office, and some have even used that office to further harm educational opportunity in our district. Some of our education activists and school board candidates have also run for public office, and used their position to help improve education..
Elected officials can affect what happens in East Ramapo:
Sometimes it is a memorializing resolution, such as was passed by the Rockland County Legislature (with the exception of three school board supporters).
Sometimes it is a bill in Albany, proposed by our State Assembly Members Ellen Jaffee and Ken Zebrowski or Senator Carlucci.
Sometimes it is action taken by County Executive Ed Day to enforce fire and safety codes in schools.
I have always tried to report connections to East Ramapo so that voters will have that information as they make their decisions.
In Spring Valley:
On Row H we have three East Ramapo activists. For Mayor, Emilia White (my better half), for Trustee Chevon DosReis and Eustache Clerveaux. Each of them has previously run for school board. They have demonstrated integrity in their commitment to better conditions for our children and have earned our support.
Also on Row H there is a team running for the Supervisor and Council positions in the Town of Ramapo. They call themselves “A New Direction“. They are indeed “new”, in that they are attempting to bring together all sides in the divided Town of Ramapo.
Beware: A very vocal supporter of the infamous East Ramapo school board is running on Row A in Ramapo. A Power of Ten reader caught him on camera and made this video: Know Before You Vote. It is very important information for anyone who will be casting a vote in the Town of Ramapo on November 7th.
2) Polling Place Changes Coming?
In his report “Opportunity Deferred“, Dennis Walcott (former NYC School Chancellor, assigned by NY State to monitor East Ramapo) recommended that “an independent monitor” should review underused polling sites and identify new sites for the 2016 election to ensure greater accessibility to voting locations”. These changes, he said, were necessary “In order to address significant trust issues within the District.”
Instead, the district began a secret process with a contractor and proposed adding two new polling places in Monsey.
Strong East Ramapo conducted a survey that showed public opinion was against changing polling places at that time. I reported my research on underutilized polling places to the board. I presented an alternative plan to the new monitor, Mr. Szuberla. After these and other public objections, the proposal was withdrawn.
What kinds of “trust issues” was Monitor Walcott referring to? During his time as monitor, he had heard from many district residents that they felt their vote would not count. They did not trust the board to oversee its own election. They said they had seen busloads of voters coming in from out of the district. They said they were worried about voter fraud. That’s what they told Mr. Walcott, and that’s why he recommended an independent monitor for elections.
Why did Monitor Walcott recommend adding polling places? Because we provided him with a detailed analysis of voter turnout, showing that voters especially in Clarkstown and Haverstraw were less likely to vote than those who lived in Ramapo. He reviewed this factual information and made a clear recommendation to expand polling to address these underutilized, low turnout areas.
The district has now formed a committee, which I am a member of. The committee has created a survey of election experiences. While there is no question in the survey that directly addresses the “trust” issues that Monitor Walcott was concerned about, there is a comment section where you can address this or any other concern you may have.
There will also be community forums. Thursday, November 9th beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Ramapo HS and Tuesday, November 14th beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Spring Valley HS.
Please participate in this process by filling out the survey and coming to a forum. Thank you.