Voter Fraud Contentions in Rockland County, New York – Re-Printed with Permission – Editorial

IS THERE INTEGRITY TO THE VOTING LAWS, THE ELECTORAL PROCESS AND THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IN ROCKLAND COUNTY?

Note to readers:
We received this from a concerned citizen and it is being re-printed from a post on Facebook. There was additional information posted on the Facebook Post that we chose to leave off of this post due to names and signatures, though we do believe we could have posted it under the http://rocklandgov.com/departments/law/freedom-of-information-law-foil/.
The Facebook post can be accessed by clicking here.

Part 6: How can I, as a citizen, have faith or confidence in our Boards of Elections and electoral process?

Wake up Orangetown? Wake up Rockland!
Potential Voter Fraud in Our Own Backyard…
No matter what your political party affiliation is, you should be VERY concerned.

FOR THE RECORD: WHATEVER I WRITE OR HAVE WRITTEN CONCERNING THIS ISSUE IS BASED UPON INFORMATION FROM A DIRECT AND PRIMARY SOURCE. I DO NOT RELY ON HEARSAY WHEN PRESENTING FACTS.

38 invalid petitions for Conservative Party Committee Members have been subsequently validated by the Rockland County Board of Elections (BOE) resulting in the election of 40 ineligible candidates and another 35 ineligible candidates being placed on the September 13 Primary ballot.

This has occurred even though a thorough investigation was conducted by yours truly providing irrefutable evidence that all 38 petitions were invalid. 
THE THOROUGH INVESTIGATION AND IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE WAS PROVIDED TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS. IN THE TIME THAT IT TOOK COMMISSIONER STAVISKY TO “CONSULT WITH”, PREPARE AND WRITE HER NUMEROUS LENGTHY RESPONSES TO ME, SHE AND THE BOE COULD HAVE EASILY REVIEWED THE EVIDENCE AND SUBSEQUENTLY SUBSTANTIATED THE INVALIDATION OF ALL 38 PETITIONS.

1. In her many email responses to me, BOE Commissioner Stavisky has repeatedly stated that the BOE does not perform investigations. This was also stated to me by a BOE attorney. Ms. Stavisky has also indicated that the BOE does not have enough personnel to perform investigations. They both have reiterated that all petitions are considered valid unless objected to by registered voters. Election Law Section 6-154 states this. Yet there are exceptions. The BOE could very well have invalidated petitions for election districts 49, 55 and 85 because they each did not have the required number of signatures. The NYS Board of Elections Law Update (page 15) clearly states that a BOE can invalidate a petition without the necessary number of signatures even without objections. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED THE ABOVE 3 PETITIONS.

2. All 8 petitions filed for 8 Orangetown election districts are invalid because all petition signers clearly do not reside within the district that the candidate is running for, as prescribed by election law. All petition signers clearly live in Ramapo. THERE WAS NO NEED FOR AN INVESTIGATION HERE; THE BOE COULD HAVE EASILY NOTED THE INVALID ADDRESSES BY VISUAL SCAN IN LESS THAN ONE MINUTE. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED ALL 8 PETITIONS.

3. 29 petitions for 29 Ramapo election districts are invalid because all petition signers do not reside within the district that the candidate is running for, again as prescribed by election law. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED ALL 29 PETITIONS.

4. Election districts 7, 100 and 104 have no registered Conservative Party voters therefore all 3 petitions should have been invalidated.

5. THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. How can effective decisions be made when there exists a dual power-sharing model which has 2 equal election commissioners (one democratic, one republican) in charge? This method was enacted in 1974. Our state legislators need to take a hard look at the Board of Elections hierarchies. No ONE individual is in charge.
I mention this because “I have been told” (hearsay) that the Rockland County republican commissioner, Ms. Giblin, had asked for an investigation of several or all of the 38 petitions. Since mid-July, I have written to both election commissioners and have repeatedly received responses from Ms. Stavisky, the democratic commissioner. The only response I received from Ms. Gibln was a confirmation concerning my inquiry regarding the elected/primary statuses of the 75 ineligible candidates. I am unsure of the BOE protocol regarding responses to the public.

IT SHOUD BE NOTED THAT COMMISSIONER STAVISKY IS ALSO THE CHAIRWOMAN OF THE ROCKLAND COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE.

6. Both election commissioners took an oath of office, in part, to defend the Constitution of the State of New York. I fully understand and appreciate the obvious problems that can be inherent with the existing dual power-sharing model that exists within the Rockland County Board of Elections. This absolutely should not excuse the BOE officials from not doing everything professionally possible to prevent ineligible candidates from being considered for election. This is why I believe our Rockland County Board of Elections has failed the citizens of Rockland County.

7. I have either emailed and/or faxed an updated letter to the NYS Board of Elections (attached), Rockland County District Attorney, NYS Attorney General, Senator Carlucci, Assemblywoman Jaffee, Assemblyman Zebrowski, each of the 17 Rockland County Legislators, Congresswoman Lowey, Governor Cuomo and multiple media outlets.

 

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Rockland, Illegal School Trailers – Is there no Law that Prevents This?

I-Team: New Battle Erupts in Rockland Over Illegal School Trailers

“It’s illegal, but there is no remedy in the law that allows us to shut them down,” the Ramapo town supervisor says

What to Know

  • Illegal school trailers have popped up in Rockland amid increasing demand for private religious schools to serve ultra-Orthodox Jews there

  • Trailers were first constructed at 261 Route 306 in Monsey in 2015, and still don’t have a certificate of occupancy

  • Residents say they are worried about safety inside the trailers and on the neighboring roads

A new neighborhood battle is erupting in Rockland County over school trailers housing hundreds of children amid an increasing demand for private, religious schools to serve the ultra-orthodox Jewish community.

As the controversy has plagued Rockland in recent years, Monsey resident Reuven Weinstein is leading the fight against the series of “temporary” trailers for a school at 261 Route 306 in Monsey, which has not had a certificate of occupancy for nearly a year. The trailers were first constructed in 2015. Congregation Bair Chinuch Alteres Bnos is affiliated with a property next door,  where several hundred more children attend school in a different building.

“How is a building being occupied by nearly 300 children without a certificate of occupancy? Aren’t those certificates of occupancies for all our safety? How is the town letting this slide?” Weinstein said.

Weinstein said he is worried about safety inside the school and on the neighboring road, where traffic has become increasingly congested. The longtime resident lost his son at a nearby intersection in 2005, when a car ran a red light and struck the 10-year-old boy as he was riding his bicycle home from a friend’s house. Weinstein claimed the intersection was dangerous when his son died, and that it has become even more problematic since the school opened a few years ago.

“It’s only gotten worse,” he said. “The traffic is uncontrollable. There’s more traffic here than can be handled.”

Ramapo’s prior administration was plagued by building department scandals. Recently elected supervisor Michael Specht said his administration is trying to get a court order banning the school at 261 Route 306 from operating until representatives get the required approvals.

“It’s illegal,” Specht said, “but there is no remedy in the law that allows us to shut them down.”

The supervisor said an inspector recently went into the property after a fire call but did not find any serious safety issues. In February, an inspection noted “dangerous conditions” and multiple fire violations, which the town said were addressed.

Justin Schwartz, chairman of the Rockland County illegal housing and private school task force, said, “I’m asking people to intervene before we bring out body bags. People seem not to care about the children. Not the firefighters, not anyone.”

To read this article in its entirety click, here.

 

New York: State Education Department Makes $12 Million Error, Overpaying Charter Schools — Diane Ravitch’s blog

New York made an accounting error that cost public schools $12 Million, while overpaying charter schools by that amount. “The $12 million misallocation is about 7.8 percent of the $153 million the state distributed to its Local Educational Agencies in 2017-18 for Title IIA, which supports professional development initiatives such as teacher training, recruitment and […]

via New York: State Education Department Makes $12 Million Error, Overpaying Charter Schools — Diane Ravitch’s blog

 

Note to our readers: We made the decision to share this blog because notably, at least two of the Charter Schools that were overpaid were schools for ultra-Orthodox students, while one of the underfunded schools was the East Ramapo Central School District, a system that has arguably been ravaged by the ultra-Orthodox community of Rockland County, New York.

LM: 8.9.18

Ramapo Nears Breaking Point: Special Report – The Journal News

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/ramapo/2017/01/08/ramapo-ny-breaking-point/95369994/

Inside the East Ramapo Central School District Case: https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/232394/inside-the-east-ramapo-central-school-district-case

Opinion | When a School Board Victimizes Kids – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/03/…/when-a-school-board-victimizes-kids.html

 

 

 

Lakewood – LA Times – What is going on? A Little Fraud, Perhaps?

Getty Images Lakewood1-0

Raids in New Jersey town target ultra-Orthodox Jews accused of welfare fraud. ‘What is going on here?’

 

LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-new-jersey-orthodox-20170923-story.html

It was the dramatic kickoff of a series of well-publicized raids that since late June have netted 26 suspects on charges of stealing $2 million in government benefits. Prosecutors say that the suspects understated their income to get free healthcare, food stamps, rental subsidies and other benefits.

All of those arrested — 13 men and 13 women — were ultra-Orthodox Jews. The charges have tapped into a well of festering hostility toward an insular and eccentric minority.

nce a backwater at the edge of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, Lakewood is now home to one of the largest concentrations of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside of Israel. They are a fast-growing population with a high birthrate; the population of Lakewood has exploded from 45,000 in 1990 to more than 100,000 today. Many of the newcomers are from large families priced out of Brooklyn by gentrification.

At first glance, little sets Lakewood apart from any number of other suburban communities on the fringes of the New York metropolitan area. But the differences are there. Signs are commonly in Hebrew and Yiddish. The Shop-Rite has closed and was replaced by Glatt Gourmet, a kosher supermarket. New subdivisions have Jewish-themed street names, like Hadassah Lane.

Like the Amish, these strictly observant Jews are instantly recognizable by their modest dress — the women in long skirts and wigs that cover their hair, and the men with yarmulkes or black fedoras and tzitzit, the strings hanging out of their shirts that remind them of their religious obligations. Instead of buggies, though, they mostly drive SUVs or minivans to fit large broods of children.

Around New York, there are a handful of similar towns that are dominated by ultra-Orthodox Jews, but only in Lakewood have federal and state authorities laid down the gauntlet so definitively.

Many young families are heavily dependent on government benefits. Couples marry and bear children young, usually in their early 20s while the fathers are full-time students in religious schools, the mothers working part-time doing office work.

With five or more children, many of them with special needs — a result attributed to women having multiple births until late in life and genetic disorders in a relatively closed population — families cannot survive without government assistance, especially to buy health insurance.

In Lakewood, 65,000 people — more than half the town’s population — are on Medicaid, the government health program for low-income families, according to state data. Lakewood has more children with two parents receiving government benefits than any other municipality in New Jersey, including large, chronically depressed cities such as Newark and Camden. A report by the Asbury Park Press found that Lakewood had received 14% of the money from a $34-million state fund for catastrophic illnesses in children, despite having only 2% of the state’s children. It also found that the town had 29 times more grant recipients than any other town in New Jersey.

In 2015, the New Jersey state controller’s office flagged the disproportionate sums of government money being absorbed by Lakewood. The town didn’t look poor by any conventional yardsticks of poverty.

“You have a family or six or seven or eight, somebody is paying the mortgage, somebody is paying the taxes, they have two cars in the driveway, they’ve got food for all the kids … and they’re reporting their total income at $10,000,’’ said Joseph Coronato, the Ocean County prosecutor who took the lead in the case. “You have to ask — what is going on here?’’

In one case unsealed by the court in June, a couple with six children are alleged to have reported their income at $39,000 per year — low enough to qualify for Medicaid — when in fact they were getting more than $1 million annually from a limited liability corporation.

Members of the religious community say that cases of deliberate fraud are rare. For the most part, they say, the couples caught up in prosecutions had failed to report money they’d gotten from parents who were either paying the tuition for children in private schools or helping with the mortgage.

“The rules are very confusing. You have to be a Talmudist to figure out which program treats gifts from family as ordinary income,” said Rabbi Moshe Weisberg, the Lakewood head of what is called the Vaad, a self-governing council for the ultra-Orthodox community.

People most often got in trouble with their Medicaid applications, motivated by their inability to afford market-rate health insurance, which he said ran as high as $30,000 annually for a large family. Several of the families have disabled children, he noted.

“None of these people used any of this welfare money for an extravagant lifestyle. They were struggling to make ends meet and trying to pay medical bills,” said Harold Herskowitz, a businessman who runs a toy store in Lakewood. He believes the prosecutions were motivated by hostility toward the ultra-Orthodox.

“I’m the child of Holocaust survivors; I don’t appreciate Jewish people dragged out in public early in the morning,” Herskowitz said.

The initial arrests in June received extensive news coverage, with television crews tipped off in advance to film the scenes of couples in handcuffs being led away. Following complaints, the prosecutors have made subsequent arrests more discreetly, but still the publicity rankles.

The case has tapped into a wave of hostility toward the community. Last month, somebody hung an anti-Semitic banner on a Holocaust memorial in Lakewood, and fliers were distributed on the windshields of cars with photos of those arrested under the caption, “Thieving Jews Near You.”

Under fire from many sides, the observant Jews of Lakewood are trying to burnish their reputation in New Jersey. They’ve hosted outreach programs between the community and the police — Bagels, Lox & Cops, as the meetings have been called. Other public programs have been designed to advise ultra-Orthodox families on how to stay on the legal side of public assistance programs.

Lakewood, about 50 miles from New York City, was a resort town for the New York elite beginning in the late 19th century, attracting luminaries such as Mark Twain and members of the Rockefeller family. Their fancy retreats were later turned into kosher hotels catering to working- and middle-class Jews, the town becoming an extension of the Catskills’ Borscht belt across the border in New York state.

In 1943, the Rabbi Aharon Kotler, a Holocaust survivor who fled Lithuania, picked the town for his Beth Medrash Govoha, a yeshiva — religious school — that is now one of the world’s largest with 6,500 students, all men. That would in turn attract other yeshivas, along with Jewish primary schools, kosher delicatessens and shops.

“It was an idyllic little town with a strong Jewish flavor,’’ said Aaron Kotler, the founder’s grandson and current head of the yeshiva, in an interview in his sprawling suburban ranch house, the walls proudly displaying oil paintings of previous generations of bearded rabbis. “My grandfather chose Lakewood because it was quiet, which is ironic because people complain the yeshiva has ruined the quiet.’’

Kotler describes Lakewood today as one of the most attractive destinations for young religious Jews to study and raise families, making the demographics similar to other university towns.

“I like to think of Lakewood as poor by choice,’’ said Kotler.

The community has shown itself to be unusually adept at navigating the intricacies of politics and government.

“Their lives depend on knowing everything about how Section 8 [subsidized rental housing] works and getting into WICs,” the government Women, Infants and Childrenfood assistance program, said Samuel Heilman, a sociology professor at Queen College who has written several books on the community.

Politically speaking, the ultra-Orthodox wield clout beyond their numbers, with adult members almost always turning out for elections and voting as a single bloc.

“They tend to vote like the Christian right, and they have learned to make their votes very important,” said Heilman.

In all of New Jersey, Lakewood had the highest concentration of Donald Trump voters in last year’s presidential election – 74.4%. With their children all in private religious schools, they are strong supporters of Betsy DeVos, the education secretary who has called for school vouchers. Charles and Seryl Kushner, the parents of Trump aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner, are benefactors of the Beth Medrash Govoha yeshiva, and the rotunda of the school’s 2-year-old main building is named for them.

Ultra-Orthodox votes are even more important in local political races. They have installed candidates who favor their interests on the Lakewood school board, township committee and zoning board.

Lakewood’s 30,000 ultra-Orthodox children are ferried to 130 private religious schools on public school buses — boys and girls separately, since they attend single-sex schools — while public schools with only 6,000 children, mostly Latino and African American, have been gutted by a lack of funding. (This is in part due to a quirk in New Jersey’s school financing formula that requires busing for private school students but reimburses the districts based on public school enrollment.)

Some 4,000 new units of housing have been approved in Lakewood in the last two years, making the township the fastest-growing municipality in New Jersey. Real estate developers catering to the ultra-Orthodox are carving new subdivisions lined with four- and five-bedroom townhouses for large families.

“When I moved here, there were trees. Now I wake up and I’m surrounded by high-density townhouses,” said Tom Gatti, a retiree who heads a coalition of senior citizens opposing the pace of new development in Lakewood. “Anytime you try to challenge anything the ultra-Orthodox are doing, they drop the anti-Semitic card on the table.

“They are not looking to assimilate into the community; they are trying to take over,’’ Gatti said.

The ultra-Orthodox Jews also face criticism from less religious and secular Jews.

“Being observant should, first and foremost, involve living and working ethically,’’ complained a hard-hitting editorial in the Forward, the Yiddish- and English-language Jewish publication based in New York. The editorial called the welfare fraud cases “a desecration of God’s name.’’

“It’s too simple to say that this is a problem with Jews,’’ said Heilman, the sociology professor. “It is not their Jewishness that has created the problems; it is the way they interpret the demands of being Jewish.’’

Chareidi Extremism – No Smartphones

 

http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/1332765/watch-chareidi-extremists-protest-monsey-store-sells-smartphones.html

Chareidi Extremists Protest Monsey Store That Sells Smartphones

No. This isn’t Meah Shearim. This is Monsey, NY on Erev Shabbos Nachamu.

These Chareidi extremists staged a protest outside the “Ping Cellular Store” which is a Verizon Wireless Dealer, located on Route 59, at the “Town Square Mall”, right next to the Evergreen Supermarket.

The group is upset that the establishment is selling smartphones.

A few dozen extremists were part of the protest, as a few dozens counter protesters grabbed their signs and yelled back.

Police were on the scene keeping the two groups apart.

It is not known who this group of extremists belong to.

Benefits Fraud – We Know For Certain it is Also Rampant in East Ramapo, Kiryas Joel, New Square, Crown Heights…

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How Benefits Fraud Scam Spread So Widely In Orthodox Town

“One thing is for sure: Many people in Lakewood were aware of the scams, if not of the specifics. In 2015, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office met with Lakewood residents to discourage government assistance fraud.

Flyers warning about the practice were also posted at a local synagogue.

“Those who choose to ignore those warnings by seeking to illegally profit on the backs of taxpayers will pay the punitive price of their actions,” Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said in a statement at the time.

Since news of the arrests spread, there have been ominous signs that even more people could be involved. Hundreds of people have called local officials, inquiring if there would be amnesty for those who admit lying about their incomes, and the APP reported that Ocean County authorities have been swamped with calls from public assistance beneficiaries seeking to stop receiving benefits.”

Read more: http://forward.com/news/375963/how-benefits-fraud-scam-spread-so-widely-in-orthodox-town/

 

Lakewood Schools – Religion Trumping Public Education – Where is the Outrage?

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EDITORIAL: Where’s outrage over Lakewood?

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/04/07/lakewood-orthodox-school-funding/100185464/
When are the officials who are elected to represent all their constituents going to address the funding inequities and unequal treatment of the taxpayers and public schoolchildren in Lakewood? Where have state Sen. Bob Singer, Rep. Chris Smith, Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez been on this issue?

Absolutely nowhere. Thanks to the money and power of the Orthodox community, they have done nothing to address problems that could be easily resolved if they had the courage to speak up and the integrity to represent all of their constituencies equally.

Over the past couple of weeks, readers have been exposed to two more disturbing stories about Lakewood schools. The district faces a $15 million budget deficit, the possible layoffs of more than 100 teachers and deep program cuts. And the director of the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence (SCHI), Rabbi Osher Eisemann, was indicted on theft and money laundering charges involving more than $630,000 in public school funds.

It’s a disgrace — two more in the steady drip, drip of outrages that characterize a school district that has had to squeeze resources and programs to accommodate the ever-expanding needs of the Orthodox community’s private schools.

The sad part is that there is virtually nothing in the works in Trenton to correct any of it. Without vocal, organized pressure from the nonOrthodox community inside Lakewood and in the communities surrounding it, there is no reason to believe things won’t get progressively worse.

MORE: Jackson dorm ban: What the residents are saying

MORE: Letter: Lakewood’s problem isn’t anti-Semitism, it’s growth

Why should anyone who lives outside of Lakewood care? First, everyone should be outraged by the injustice that it is taking place in Lakewood’s predominantly minority public schools. Second, the population pressures in Lakewood could, over time, eventually spill over into neighboring towns — something public officials and growing numbers of residents in those town are becoming increasingly conscious of.

If Singer, Christie and other legislators with the ability to influence what goes on in Lakewood had an interest in righting the wrongs there, here are five things they could do that would help:

•The state school funding formula is a mess. But changes proposed by Christie’s “Fair Funding formula” would likely make matters worse. Those suggested by Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli would be an improvement, but would not fundamentally address the unique circumstances confronting Lakewood — specifically, the fact that the busing costs to transport 30,000 Orthodox children to private schools and the extraordinary $97,000 per-pupil cost to educate special education students at SCHI in Lakewood absorb about 40 percent of the school district’s $90 million budget.

No other towns in New Jersey have similar public school budget stresses attributable to the prevalence of private schools within their boundaries. Lakewood is a special circumstance. It requires an aid formula that takes the special circumstances into account.

MORE: Lakewood yeshiva enrollment up 20 percent

MORE: Lakewood committee stands from on free trash pickup 

•Offset the undue influence of the Orthodox community on the school board by requiring that a majority of its members have children in the public school system. Right now, the Orthodox members — all of whom send their children to private Orthodox schools — are in the majority, and decisions they make often are at odds with what is best for non-Orthodox public school students.

•Draft courtesy busing legislation that ends the practice in Lakewood of having separate bus runs to private schools for girls and boys, which dramatically increases the courtesy busing tab. Taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for segregated busing. The Legislature also should reconsider the cost benefit of any courtesy busing.

•Require that private schools be certified by the state in order to be eligible for state funding. Unless basic educational, facilities, health and safety standards are being met, the state should not be providing funding assistance.

•Establish specific criteria and spending caps for private special education schools such as SCHI, where the $97,000 per-student cost is far higher than similar private schools. What is the justification? The short answer: There is none. What SCHI says it needs to implement its program, SCHI gets, on the taxpayers’ dime. The indictment of the school’s director should provide extra incentive to make sure money is being spent wisely and for the stated purpose.

At the same time, the state must ensure that the students who are enrolled at SCHI are representative of the community as a whole. Historically, they have been almost exclusively Orthodox. The state needs to ensure that placements there by Lakewood’s child study teams are based entirely on need.

Some of the valid criticisms about the inequities in the school district have been wrongly directed toward state monitor Michael Azzara. There is only so much he can do. He is bound by existing rules and hamstrung by public officials who have shown no inclination to address the problems.

Editorials, letters to the editors and complaints at public meetings aren’t likely to change the trajectory in Lakewood. Putting direct pressure on lawmakers who can change the rules of the game and challenging in court some of the rules that allow the situation to persist offer the only hope for relief — and justice.

Write, email and phone Singer, Smith, Christie, Booker and Menendez, and demand action. Otherwise, expect more of the same — and worse.