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NEW CITY — Tuesday night’s county Legislature meeting turned into a venting session for distressed community members, with speakers letting loose about legislators Aron Wieder and Laurie Santulli, unsustainable growth, anti-Semitism, a proposed summit to address divisiveness in Rockland and more.
“You want to fix the anger?” speaker Lauren Marie told the legislators. “Do your jobs!” She was later removed from the room for shouting at another speaker while many spectators rose and cheered for her.
The atmosphere was intense from early evening, with hundreds waiting on line outside to get into the 7 p.m. meeting. The Legislature’s auditorium quickly reached its capacity of 220 people, though, and officials estimated that another couple hundred people remained outside, behind locked doors. Sheriff’s deputies were all around, one with a police dog.
The Legislature, with 13 members present, opened the meeting by moving directly to public comment. The audience included several Orthodox and Hasidic men and women, but the overwhelmingly majority appeared to be non-Orthodox.
Many speakers began their remarks by noting that they were not anti-Semitic or that their concerns were not about religion. Speakers who warned against over-development and called for fair treatment for all received applause. Several speakers who tried to defend Wieder or the Orthodox community were interrupted or booed.
The Legislature wound up not officially discussing its two agenda items, which were moved to committee. One called for praising those who condemned a controversial video shared by the Rockland County GOP last week, which many condemned as anti-Semitic, and the second called for a community summit in 2020 to address the county’s tensions.
Several speakers did comment about the lack of a resolution requested by Santulli to censure Wieder. Santulli wanted Wieder censured for calling a Clarkstown blogger “the anti-Semite of Rockland County” after an Aug. 23 press conference and for comments Wieder made about state Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee at an Aug. 15 Ramapo Town Board hearing related to development.
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NEW CITY, NY — A Rockland lawmaker is accusing the county executive of politicizing the ongoing measles outbreak, something the county executive forcefully denies. Legislator Aron Wieder, D-District 13, said County Executive Ed Day has used the measles outbreak as a political tool against the Orthodox Jewish community and says he must stop immediately.
In an open letter to Day, Wieder said private schools were already complying with the county Health Department’s request for student immunization records when the cooperation stopped and the threat of steep fines began — all so that the county executive could make it seem that it was him alone that brought about the compliance.
“The truth is that these nine private schools, some of them with small staffs and shoestring budgets, were already 90 percent in compliance before any threat of fines arose,” Wieder wrote. “They had provided the vast majority of student health records and simply needed an additional week to fully complete the information, and they informed the Health Department as such.”
Wieder accused Day of making it seem that it was only because of his efforts that private schools complied and that they would not have had he not intervened.
Day, a Republican, responded, saying Wieder’s statements were incorrect
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