By: Daniel Friedman
It seems that the old adage underlying the American Justice System, "Innocent Until Proven Guilty," has been thrown aside by some in Ramapo. Preserve Ramapo, known for the sometimes quirky behavior of its leadership, has done it once again. The organization, which was ostensibly founded to oppose increased development in our town, has reached its tentacles into other areas bearing no relation to their cause, including education, and this week, the case against a county legislator who doesn't live in his district.
After an investigation which resulted in Legislator Jacques Michel being thrown off the voter rolls after it was discovered he did not live in the legislative district he was elected to represent, Preserve Ramapo has quickly -for some reason- come to his defense. Not only that, they do so in a big way - by establishing a "legal defense fund" to help him raise money for a lawyer to defend him against his apparent violation ...
By: Daniel Friedman
The crowd that had gathered at the victory celebration party of Supervisor St. Lawrence on Tuesday night seemed to mirror all the voters in the town of Ramapo. When Supervisor St. Lawrence entered
the room with his running mates after being declared the clear winner in the election, the people in the room were a clear representation of the over 13,500 Ramapo voters who went out to vote for
Supervisor St. Lawrence over the course of the day.
Winning by a margin of nearly two to one, St. Lawrence carried areas all over Ramapo in an election that featured lower voter turnout than there was two years ago. In 2007, over 26,000 residents
voted in the Ramapo Supervisor race, while this year about 21,000 people voted.
Despite the lower turnout, St. Lawrence won by a grater margin of victory than ever since his first election. Unofficial results have him receiving 13,505 votes, and Bruce Levine, his Preserve Ramapo ...
By: Daniel Friedman
Tuesday’s elections featured important races on several levels of government. On Page 4, The Advocate has broken down the vote tallies in the Monsey community by Election District, to demonstrate
which candidates had the support of the community at large.
The following is a summary of all the election results in the area:
One of the most watched races this year has been the election for Rockland’s top office: County Executive. Republican incumbent C. Scott Vanderhoef defeated Democratic challenger and Orangetown
supervisor Thom Kleiner by a vote of 32,361 to 27,753. County Clerk Paul Piperato faced no opposition, and was the top vote-getter in
Rockland, receiving 49,757 votes.
In Ramapo, Supervisor St. Lawrence handily defeated Preserve Ramapo candidate Bruce Levine by a margin of 13,505 to 7,672. In the race for the town board, David J. Stein and Yitzy Ullman received
11,787 and 11,391 votes ...
In an election that featured very high turnout in the Preserve Ramapo strongholds, Ramapo Supervisor Christopher P. St. Lawrence dealt a final blow to Bruce Levine, Preserve Ramapo's candidate for Town Supervisor. After defeating Levine in September's Primary by about 20 points- a political landslide - St. Lawrence received a mandate from the voters of Ramapo as he defeated Bruce Levine 13,347 to 7,493, with 98% machines counted.
In the days leading up to the election, the Levine campaign had resorted to underhanded attacks In a last-minute effort to scrap a few more votes. however, even with the high Preserve Ramapo turnout, voters across the town- in every village of Ramapo - cast a heavy number of votes for Supervisor St. Lawrence.
The Levine campaign, which began in the parking lot of Ramapo Town Hall several months ago ended on Tuesday with a resounding defeat that left no room for error. Levine immediately began a negative campaign months ago targeting certain groups of people, a tactic which was highlighted by a campaign mailing ...<< MORE >>
C. Scott Vanderhoef has been Rockland’s County Executive for more than 15 years, and he’s looking to add four more to that number. Throughout his tenure as the county’s top official, Vanderhoef, a Republican, has continued to stay in office despite Democratic voters outnumbering Republicans in Rockland by a margin of more than 2 to 1. In an interview with The Advocate, Vanderhoef explained the challenges facing the county, and how he plans to tackle them.
Vanderhoef was born and raised in Rockland, and began his political career as a member of the Ramapo Central School Board, where he served for six years. In 1993, he was elected County Executive, Rockland’s second in history.
Scott Vanderhoef is running on his experiences as County Executive and seeks to expand on them. He is touting a record of increasing jobs in Rockland, as well as the number of affordable housing units, as he travels the county meeting with voters.
Vanderhoef has ...<< MORE >>
By: Daniel Friedman
Preserve Ramapo, an organization founded by Bob Frankl, who illegally voted in the September 15th primary, has come into trouble with the law once again. As a political organization that raises money, Preserve Ramapo is required to file regular reports with the Board of Elections disclosing their finances. The deadline to do sp has come and gone, and no such report was filed. The organization that supposedly pushes for more accountability among those in politics and government apparently has failed to practice what they preach.
Some questions relating to the finances of this organization and the Levine campaign remain. Firstly, where is Robert Rhodes? This entire campaign, beginning with the announcement by Bruce Levine of his candidacy for Supervisor as the Preserve Ramapo candidate, Rhodes has not been seen or heard from in months, and has missed every major public event and meeting which his most ardent supporters attended. Rhodes, who is the chairman of the group, has left his ship without its captain, which explains why Preserve Ramapo and the Levine campaign ...<< MORE >>
Hours after an article first appeared on Reserve Ramapo about the apparent voter fraud committed by Preserve Ramapo Founder and former Wesley Hills Mayor Robert Frankl, Frankl appeared at the Rockland County Board of Elections to file an affidavit related to his voter registration and change of address. Frankl did not change his address at the Board of Elections before the primary as he was required to do by law in order to vote. Nevertheless, he voted in the Democratic Primary in the town of Ramapo, even though he had moved out of the town more than a month earlier.
This revelation has led many to call for an investigation into the matter, but Frankl’s immediate visit to the board of Elections is proof enough that the allegations first reported on Reserve Ramapo’s website were in fact true.
On Wednesday, a formal complaint was filed with the Rockland County Board of Elections alleging voter fraud in the case of Frankl’s illegal vote cast in the September 15th Democratic Primary. It will now be in the hands of the board ...<< MORE >>
By: Daniel Friedman
Bob Frankl, the former longtime mayor of Wesley Hills, and one of the founders of the Preserve Ramapo organization, apparently voted illegally in the September 15th primary election. Frankl, who retired from his position, moved out of Wesley Hills in August and settled in Garnerville, outside of the town of Ramapo. About a month later, however, Frankl apparently returned to Ramapo to cast his vote in the September 15th Democratic Primary.
The Democratic primary, which featured incumbent Ramapo Supervisor Christopher P. St. Lawrence, and his Preserve Ramapo opponent, Bruce Levine, was a landslide victory for Supervisor St. Lawrence. Frankl’s position in Preserve Ramapo can lead everyone to speculate with a fair degree of certainty that Frankl came to Ramapo and cast his vote illegally for Bruce Levine.
An independent review by Reserve Ramapo uncovered a confirmation from the Rockland County Board of Elections that Frankl voted in the primary, even though he was not eligible to. Once a voter surrenders their residency in one locale and moves to another, they surrender their right to ...<< MORE >>
On September 15th, voters in the two major parties voted overwhelmingly for Ramapo Supervisor Christopher P. St. Lawrence as he sought and continues to seek his re-election. St. Lawrence faced fellow Democrat Bruce Levine, the Preserve Ramapo candidate for supervisor, in the Democratic Primary, and received about 60% of the vote. This was an overwhelming victory for St. Lawrence, especially given the fact that all of Levine’s strongest areas in Ramapo voted in high turnout figures, while the rest of Ramapo did not (see previous article for an analysis). Despite the high turnout in all of Levine’s strong areas, he still lost the primary by an overwhelming 20% margin.
After Democrats wage a primary against each other, it is customary for all those who participated in the process to come together and support the winner of the primary. Supervisor St. Lawrence’s victories on Primary Day virtually guarantee him his re-election- a fact recognized by even his fiercest opponents. It would be a no-brainer for any candidate who faced such a loss to do ...<< MORE >>
By: Daniel Friedman
With the results of the 2009 primary elections in, and Supervisor St. Lawrence winning by large margins in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, it is time to analyze where the votes for both candidates came from, and what the turnout figures suggest about the election. An analysis of the election districts that Supervisor St. Lawrence won shows that turnout in those districts was between 50% - 75%. Districts that Bruce Levine won had a higher percentage of turnout, suggesting that in areas St. Lawrence won in, he could have won in much larger numbers had the turnout been as high in those districts as it was in others. As a result, if turnout had been 100% in all areas, Supervisor St. Lawrence would have won the primaries by several times the 2,000-vote margin of victory he had with the low turnout.
Preserve Ramapo has long made the argument that turnout in bloc vote districts is immensely high, contributing to the success of the officials they elect. They have always urged ...<< MORE >>
By: Daniel Friedman
Ramapo Supervisor Christopher P. St. Lawrence cruised to a resounding victory on Tuesday, a Primary Day which had the supervisor on both Republican and Democratic lines for re-election. In the Democratic Primary, St. Lawrence received 5,833 votes to Bruce Levine’s 3,963. The landslide election victory gave St. Lawrence a clear mandate over Democrats in Ramapo, but he also received heavy support in the Republican Primary. Republican voters across the town spurned their own fellow Republican Robert Romanowski, a longtime Preserve Ramapo leader. Christopher St. Lawrence won 58% of the vote, receiving 1,585 votes, and Romanowski lost by 16%, receiving only 1,168 votes.
In his victory speech, St. Lawrence was magnanimous in his victory, and urged Romanowski and Levine to come together and support the choices the voters made in the primary elections. He promised to reach out to them to bring them on board. It is unknown whether Levine or Romanowski will now support the winners of the primary, even though that is something that has traditionally been done in elections past. Having lost the ...<< MORE >>
Christopher P. St. Lawrence is a man who carries himself with the confidence of a man of experience; a leader tested by inheriting the fallout of the poor decisions made by those who came before him, attacked by those who can’t explain the workings of town government, and through it all, persevered and made Ramapo a nationally recognized town and a model for local governments across the nation.
St. Lawrence starts his days off early in the morning, when most Ramapo residents have just begun to prepare for the day ahead. Most days, he pulls into the parking lot outside Town Hall before 8 in the morning, which is completely empty when he shows up for work. Throughout the day, he holds meetings inside and outside his office, and is often seen around town making sure important projects are worked on. At night, he’s still at work, rarely coming home before 9 or 10 PM, and works past midnight sometimes on the nights the town board meets.
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Yitzy Ullman has something that nobody running for a town wide office has, and that is his youth. His running mates, Supervisor Christopher P. St. Lawrence and fellow Councilman David J. Stein, may have energy and experience as well, but Ullman has captured the title of being the youngest elected official in any office within the town of Ramapo or any of its villages.
Youth is the trademark of Ullman’s campaign and a symbol of a slate of candidates with diverse life experiences and assets that each brings to the election. While it may seem that Ullman mostly brings youthful vigor to the ticket, he brings far more than that.
For almost 10 years, Ullman, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in public administration, worked as an administrator of assisted living facilities in Ramapo serving the elderly and disabled. That work, he said, “kept me connected to the community and families in this town.”
Ullman is no stranger ...<< MORE >>
Ramapo Town Judge Rhoda Schoenberger learned the values of hard work and family early on in life; values which have been a staple of her legal and judicial career for nearly four decades. Growing up in a four-family house with her grandparents and other extended family members, who also spoke Yiddish, her upbringing left a lasting impression on her about the importance of family and community.
Rhoda received a degree in math and psychology, and went on to Columbia University and graduated with a Master’s degree in psychology. However, her earnest desire to become a lawyer since her younger days nagged at her, and when she met a young student of Columbia Law School, she decided to enroll and follow her dream. She would later marry that student, Ilan Schoenberger, who is currently a Rockland County legislator.
The Schoenbergers opened up a practice which is still located on Route 59 in Spring Valley, becoming partners and representing clients who lived in the community.
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Jennifer and Matthew Kropf, who each contributed $6,000 to the campaign of Preserve Ramapo’s candidate for town supervisor, Bruce Levine, have been identified. They are the daughter and son-in-law of Bob Rhodes, the Chairman of the Preserve Ramapo organization.
The contributions raise questions about powerful interests who funnel money through individuals they know or are related to in order to illegally boost campaign war chests by skirting around campaign finance laws. The law sets limits on individual contributions, but if someone were interested enough to contribute more money than those limits, they often give that money to a relative or close friend, who then contribute the money to the candidate. This makes the candidate look good, but also provides a buffer for the candidate and their contributor by not openly breaking the law. However, it is important to note that reimbursing individuals for campaign contributions is clearly ...<< MORE >>
By: Daniel Friedman
On Tuesday night, about 25 candidates for offices in Spring Valley and Ramapo came together at the Kurtz Civic Center for the first and only debate of the primary season. It was a much-anticipated event as there had not been a single debate between any candidates seeking any office, and soon after it began, there was standing room only as residents of Spring Valley and Ramapo came to hear their candidates speak and debate on the issues affecting the future of the village and the town.
The debate began with short statements by the candidates for Town Council. David J. Stein, an incumbent councilman, spoke about his experience and record as a councilman, and as someone who has lived in the town for over 50 years. Yitzy Ullman, another incumbent councilman, said that during campaigns, many candidates like to talk ...<< MORE >>
By: Daniel Friedman
At a time when everyone seems to be talking about the “change” that Ramapo has experienced in recent years, one thing that hasn’t changed is a stalwart of Ramapo that has served on the Town Council for almost a quarter of a century: David J. Stein.
Stein has seen all the changes that have taken place in Ramapo over the last number of decades, and that didn’t just start when he began serving on the Town Council in 1986. He had been involved in town politics for many years before then, and has lived in Ramapo more than twice as long as he served on its Town Council: a whopping 53 years and counting.
David Stein grew up in Ramapo, and attended schools in what is known today as the East Ramapo Central School District. In 1970, he ...<< MORE >>
By: Daniel Friedman
Every time Bruce Levine files another campaign finance report, more questions are raised about the ethics and legality of many of his contributions. In his first filing, it was revealed that Bruce Levine accepted a $6,000 check from Bob Rhodes, the Chairman of the Preserve Ramapo organization. This time, Bruce accepted two checks for $6,000 apiece. Both checks were given on the same day- one from Jennifer Kropf, and one from Matthew Kropf. They share the same address, and the checks were written one after another- one was check number 2017, and the next was 2018.
However, the real odd thing about these contributions- the largest of Bruce's entire campaign- is that not only are the Kropfs not from Ramapo, they are not from New York. This clearly begs the question: Why would two people who don't live in Ramapo ...<< MORE >>
In less than two weeks, the voters in the Town of Ramapo will have a chance to once again go out to vote for a few seats that are being contested in local elections. Between all of them, the most important one is the office of Ramapo Town Supervisor, which has been held for more than eight years by the Honorable Chris St. Lawrence.
Supervisor St. Lawrence is running on his record of accomplishments. The Supervisor took over a town almost a decade ago which was run down: its sewer system was overflowing, yet the town didn’t do much about it; most main roads had cracks and holes in it which made it difficult for cars to drive by without getting damaged; adults who walked to and from shopping centers and didn’t have sidewalks to walk on, or street lights at night to ...<< MORE >>