RAMAPO – Seven-term Democratic incumbent Christopher P. St. Lawrence is facing off in the supervisor's race against nemesis Republican Michael Parietti, one of Preserve Ramapo’s founders, who led an unsuccessful battle recently to hold a referendum on establishing a ward system in the town.
The issue is still raw and a subject of contentious debate, but the upcoming election is focused on zoning, the power of the bloc vote and financing for the Provident Bank Park.
“I believe in fairness for all and no preferential treatment for special-interest groups,” said Parietti, who is running on the Republican and Preserve Ramapo lines. The candidate, who is a member of the Rockland County Planning Board, expresses extreme concern for the current government’s concessions for zoning variances to accommodate high-density, multihousing development in single-family-house neighborhoods.
St. Lawrence, a Demcorat who has been in office since 2000, defends his record, saying different constituents in the town have different needs. "I have been an advocate against unjustified rate increases by utility companies, spearheaded the purchase of more than $60 million for open space and historic preservation, and I've ensured that Ramapo remains one of the Safest Communities as rated by the FBI," said St. Lawrence.
The revenue-draining Provident Bank Park is still a sore issue, particularly in light of Ramapo’s stressed financial status.
“The stadium loses money every year,” said Parietti. “We have to turn the ship around.”
The ward referendum in September was narrowly defeated. Voters also turned down a proposal increasing the number of trustees from four to six.
In October, state Supreme Court Justice Margaret Garvey invalidated the September vote and ordered a new election based upon allegations of improprieties in setting up the vote, and in accepting affidavit and absentee ballots. An Appellate Division panel overruled Garvey, finding the votes had to be counted before a decision could be made on whether to invalidate the referendum.
Parietti and the other proponents argued that a ward system would be beneficial for representation. St. Lawrence disagrees, pointing out that only 10 out of 932 towns in New York have a ward system.
In other races, Democratic incumbent Brendel F. Logan-Charles, along with Samuel B. Tress (D), William J. Weber, Jr. (R) and Timothy D. Scott are competing for two four-year terms on the Town Board.
Superintendent of Highways Anthony M. Sharan (D) is facing off against Robert Romanowski (R) for the two-year term. Town Justice Alan M. Simon is unopposed.
In the Village of Suffern, incumbent Democrat Patricia J. Abato is facing off in the mayoral race with Edward T. Markunas (R) for the two-year term.
Three candidates, Vilair Fonvil (D), Sherry T. McGill (D) and Yisroel Eisenbach (C), are competing for two seats for four-year terms on the village Board of Trustees. Justice David Fried is running unopposed for a four-year term.
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