Bloc the Vote


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

Related Post Roulette

147 Responses

  1. Brooke says:

    “What started as a reasonable conversation about the unique difficulties our town faces becomes an exercise in subtle and not-so-subtle anti-semitism.”

    I don’t think this is necessarily anti-semitism. Judaism is far from the only religious group that has given rise to the type of culture on display in KJ. America hosts plenty of examples of isolationist Anabaptist sects, new-age groups, and others.

    The biggest problem seems to be the culture of KJ, expecting accommodation of its preferences without understanding that they are part of a larger community. It’s understandable that the other residents of Monroe would grow concerned over the lack of education, poverty, crowding, and control issues in the community. Many of these issues are legitimate red flags.

    The thing that bothers me about these kinds of extreme religious groups is that they naturally form highly-organized voting blocs and they often don’t seem to realize that even in democracy, some things are not up for a vote. They seem to expect that they can have anything they want without having to be tolerant or respectful of the rights of others, and that makes outsiders rightly wary.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Brooke says:


      I think it becomes anti-Semitism when this tendency, which you point out is not unique to the Satmars or residents of KJ, is looked at as something uniquely Jewish. When the comments turn towards, “Well, you know how Jews are… only looking out for their own,” I think we are into the realm of anti-semitism.

      To your last paragraph, I think you are right. The annexation lawsuit is an example of just that: attempting to circumvent the democratic process through brute force. As I understand the issue (and IANAL), it seems like an affront to democracy and I hope the village they are suing prevails.

      But if a highly-organized voting bloc is in-and-of-itself wrong, than the creation of a counter-voting bloc is no better. And if one group of people (which represents the majority of town residents) is wrong to seek their own ends at the expense of another group is in-and-of-itself wrong, than that other group seeking its own ends at the expense of the majority group is no better.

      If it’s not cool for KJ to do it, it shouldn’t be cool for anyone to do it. Their faith should be of no matter.Report

      • Brooke in reply to Kazzy says:

        If the comments are along the lines of the example in your reply, then yes, that’s definitely anti-semitism, but I hope that’s not a common view among those trying to organize citizens to vote for United Monroe.

        Both KJ and United Monroe are both voting blocs in the strictest sense of the term, but I see them as having fundamentally different natures. The people involved with United Monroe seem to be engaging in coalition-building behavior, an activity that I see as generally positive for democracy. They’re building a temporary coalition that probably won’t have KJ’s staying power. As long as this remains about the issues in the larger community, I don’t see a lot of problems with it.

        The KJ voters, on the other hand, seem to have a more permanent affiliation. The members of the community share a specific ideology that is strongly reinforced by their peers and neighbors. A large percentage of KJ members probably grow up in a community purposely designed to encourage conformity and to minimize dissent. In other words, the KJ community is primed to act together for all kinds of purposes, not just politics, while United Monroe members are more likely to collaborate politically and go their separate ways after the election.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        A fair point, @brooke . What initially piqued my interest was UM’s slogan… “If we all vote, we all win.” That is a very curious definition of “all” that excludes 40% of voters and 55% of residents, especially for a party that is claiming to be ignored in the political process.

        Are you personally familiar with the area in question?Report

      • Brooke in reply to Kazzy says:

        You’re right, Kazzy, it is a troublesome slogan. I think well-meaning people would respond better to one without exclusionary language.

        I’m not familiar with the area at all.Report

      • Just Me in reply to Kazzy says:

        @kazzy …. I’m curious how the 40% are being excluded? If ALL of the people vote how is anyone being excluded?Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        As I understand it, there were two sets of candidates up for election: one set was very pro-KJ and, thus, either oppositional towards or ambivalent about the rest of Monroe; the other set was very anti-KJ/pro the rest of Monroe. KJ and non-KJ residents of Monroe have very different, often oppositional needs.

        KJ (40% of voters, 55% of residents) naturally support the pro-KJ folks. Non-KJ members (60% of voters, 45% of residents) have generally not participated in elections in great numbers and, when they have in the past, didn’t have a firm party directly addressing their needs. UM wanted to change that.

        If UM won (it ultimately didn’t), it would have done a lot of things that KJ wouldn’t have liked. With UM losing, the board is going to do a lot of things non-KJ won’t like. Ultimately, one side was going to get a government it really doesn’t like despite making up a sizable segment of the population.

        UM’s slogan that “all” would win was a misnomer because KJ would lose if UM won. Which isn’t necessarily an evil thing; that is how democracy works sometimes. But if you run as the party representing ALL of Monroe and complain about a town government that largely ignored a large swath of the town but your plan is to simply flip the script, you’re not really doing anything other than what was done to you.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        I don’t think it is wrong, per say, to organize in opposition to a group. But I think the way they have organized, including their branding, is what troubles me. They haven’t just painted their opponents as political opponents, but as the other… the religious other… who should not be trusted but should be feared, tapping into a lingering anti-semitism and/or religious resentment already within the community.

        I hadn’t considered it as such, but “dog whistling” would be an apt description of *some* of what they do. Some of what they do seems rather legitimate.Report

      • Just Me in reply to Kazzy says:

        I think that the wrong word is being defined here. “All” is not the word that should be defined, it should be “win”. What do they mean by winning? If I took their website and replaced KJ with Dem or Rep would it make a difference? In elections there are candidates that win and candidates that lose. When my candidate loses I did not lose. I would hope that the person who was elected was still representing me. Maybe not all of my issues, but still representing my being a citizen who is in that person’s district.

        I also think we should differentiate between needs and wants. Kazzy says that the residents of Monroe have very different needs based on whether they are KJ or not. Is it needs or is it wants?

        Maybe this highlights what I think is wrong with politics. The thought that we only win when those who agree with us are elected. The thought that the process of democracy isn’t as important as the actual outcome of elections. I am of the thought that the process of democracy is what is really important. When we all vote, we all win. We have all put our two cents into the process. Yeah, our candidate might not win. But that’s the lovely part, we can do it all over again soon. By not participating in the democratic process you are in essence saying the process doesn’t matter. That democracy doesn’t matter.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        First, let me say that your interpretation of “all winning” is a really interesting one, but I don’t think it is supported in this particular instance given other literature and statements put out by UM. I agree that democracy works best when more people participate, even if that means my preferred candidate doesn’t win. But I don’t think that was UM’s point. During the debates, their candidate spoke about how the town board “ignored” the rest of Monroe, catering only to the interests of KJ. Yet their party had a stated pledge to not do any campaigning in KJ, essentially saying that were they to win, they would ignore that part of Monroe and cater to the interests of the rest of town. They were basically saying, “Hey, all non-KJ folk… when *WE* all vote, *WE* all win.” Which isn’t the worst thing in the world to say, but don’t pretend it is different than what KJ has historically done.

        As to your point about needs and wants, a macro view definitely indicates those are different things. However, I think to individuals, there is a much finer line. We might say, “Well, KJ wants to expand its borders.” But KJ residents might think, “We need to expand our borders. We have an ever-growing population and our religion calls on it to be this way.” And non-KJ residents might think, “They’re using our tax dollars to fund lawsuits to annex land that will be used by a private developer to further the interests of KJ and KJ only. We need that tax money for other things.” Who’s needs reign supreme? Well, that is what elected officials are (theoretically, at least) for. But our town government hasn’t demonstrated an ability to use discretion. Either you cater to the KJ vote to keep your seat and pursue their interests or you find yourself out in the next election. UM wanted to do the same thing: cater to our vote to keep your seat and pursue our interests or you find yourself out in the next election. There appears to be little actual leadership going on. A surprise? I think not.

        The other thing about UM is that they weren’t the only non-KJ candidates. That was one of their contentions: non-KJ residents split their votes between R, D, and I. KJ votes more or less as a bloc. UM was putting pressure on non-UM, non-KJ residents to “get in line” and vote line H on the ballot. It was very us versus them, which flies in the face of their call for “all” winning. Obviously, “all” didn’t mean “all” but “all of us”.Report

      • Naomi in reply to Kazzy says:

        goyishke kop.Report

      • Dave in reply to Kazzy says:

        goyishke kop.


      • NewDealer in reply to Kazzy says:


        Goyishe kop literally means “Goyish head/brain”

        It is used when someone is thinking like a non-Jew but also has implications of someone having a dull mind.Report

      • Mark Thompson in reply to Kazzy says:

        @naomi So far as I can tell that last comment of yours was in clear violation of our comments policy – it failed to make any attempt at a substantive point and appears to have been a personal attack. That it was in Yiddish rather than English is not a defense. Should you stick around, please keep this in mind, as future violations will result in comment deletion (possibly by limerick) and/or revocation of commenting privileges.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

        @naomi @kim

        Kim/Naomi –

        Sock puppet warning. Thanks in advance for respecting the rule in the futureReport

      • NoPublic in reply to Kazzy says:

        When the comments turn towards, “Well, you know how Jews are… only looking out for their own,” I think we are into the realm of anti-semitism.

        I’m not sure this is true. If they’re expressing long-held beliefs about Jews which are just brought to the fore by these issues, then you’re correct. It seems, however, that in this particular case it’s a truism. The KJ look out for themselves and do not want to engage with the other members of the community. It the KJ were the only Jews you ever met, would you really be anti-semitic in making that statement? If you just said “KJs” instead of “Jews” would it be better?Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        But then why say “Jews” at all? Why generalize more than is necessary? Unless there is a relationship between “Jews” and “looking out for their own” — which there isn’t, not universally — to imply as much is to play to an anti-semetic stereotype.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Brooke says:

      I’d be surprised if none of the people who dislike KJ and oppose the extent of its political influence were themselves (non-Hasidic) Jews.

      On another subject, I’m OK with that slogan. If all groups vote at the same rate, they all get influence proportional to their size, which should be a win for everyone. Admittedly, less of a win than KJ currently gets, but they’re still fully represented and they can continue to advance their goals by forming coalitions with the rest of the community rather than being assured of outvoting it. (I’m presuming this was a get-out-the-vote drive, not an attempt to suppress KJ votes. That would be quite wrong.)Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:


        Our town doesn’t have proportional representation. Everyone votes for the 5 positions that make up the board. So, theoretically, if UM won the election, they would have landed all 5 positions on the board. It would not have been a 3/2 split which would be more in accordance with the population. Of course, it is now a 5/0 split in favor of KJ, also subideal.

        As to GOTV versus voter suppression, UM did send out poll watchers. KJ residents responded with claims of voter intimidation. UM was there in response to (very real) allegations of voter fraud in KJ*. Ultimately, a he-said/she-said with the likely truth being that both side erred but not as grossly as their opponents indicated.

        * In a past election, when write-in candidates were allowed, KJ voters showed up with a stamp with the name of the rabbi’s preferred candidate. This allowed voters (many of whom are functionally illiterate in English) to still get the name down on the ballot, without even necessarily knowing who or what they were voting for. These were, rightly in my opinion, confiscated. Again… my town is a very curious place.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        and again, I find it a little troubling that a literacy test becomes ok as long as it’s political opponents that are negatively affected.

        Giving people a literal rubber stamp isn’t that different from giving them the party-line-towing already filled out sample ballot – a standard practice of just-outside-the-polling-place-restricted-zone campaign workers everywhere, and items that, at least in my state, are allowed to be carried into the voting booth by the individuals that received them.

        (heck, my last city council election was a completely at-large election where one could pick up to six candidates out of slate of 10 or so. I needed to write down the names beforehand for whom I intended to vote in order to remember who was who)Report

      • Kim in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I agree, the literacy case is troubling.
        The use of stamps is also troubling, though, if less so.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:


        I hadn’t thought about it as a literacy test, but I think your challenge stands.

        The issue was that it was suspected many of the people didn’t know who or what they were voting for, but were simply following instructions. I think a better solution would have been ballots in their native language and/or the polling place itself offering stamps with all candidates names on it.

        Looking a bit more closely, it appears that the stamps were not the issue, but the fact that they were distributed within the polling place. Which means they failed the standards you outline are typically put in place for such election materials.Report

  2. NewDealer says:

    A lot of the issues about the pros and cons of voting blocs mirror issues with the pros and cons of the existence of political parties.

    Yes there are a lot of downsides to political partisanship but it is also very natural and very human for people to forms groups of like-minded individuals in order to pursue goals. If a large enough group has the same needs, wants, or policy preferences, why shouldn’t they form a union? High minded arguments are great and all but escape the reality of everyday existence.

    Of course United Monroe is a voting bloc and I have no problem with their existence. I’m Jewish but would probably join because as a non-Haredi Jewish person, my relationship to the Haredi are not great and is often critical. They are fascinating in many ways, good and bad.

    United Monroe has an uphill battle because the Haredi are more naturally a bloc. UM’s grand unifier seems to be “Not Satmar” and the tri-partisan slate is indicative of a wider need and want base range.Report

  3. jhon says:

    Great article !
    You have only 1 mistake kj is not a bloc vote! in the past elections they have been divide 40 to 60 percent. If you ask harley doles he will tell you that in kj its 2 diffrent parties who won’t vote always the same and didn’t vote the same this time on some judges. The only thing what united them now was the bloc vote what came from UM. What there only goel was to go againsed them and scared many kj voters what united them to vote. This timeReport

    • Kazzy in reply to jhon says:


      Are you a resident of KJ? I’ve heard that there are certain schisms within the community (at least one of which I understand is causing its own major court case). If you are, I’d love to hear more of an “insider’s” perspective.Report

  4. Kolohe says:

    “I am concerned about the community’s unchecked growth and its impact on the local environment.”

    I gotta say, this statement bothers me more than a little. Mainly because its the same exact sentiment (and sometimes same exact statement) that is used to complain about Hispanic immigration in 2nd ring suburbs and exurbs of my neck of the woods.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

      That’s the thing about a lot of things. The statement could be “I am concerned about the community’s unchecked growth and its impact on the local environment.” Because if I were concerned about a community’s unchecked growth and the environmental impact, I’d probably say “I am concerned about the community’s unchecked growth and its impact on the local environment.”

      On the other hand, if I were worried about… community standards… or for that matter if I just wanted neighbors that were like me because that’s what people tend to want, I might say something like “I am concerned about the community’s unchecked growth and its impact on the local environment” because that sounds a lot better than “I want more of these neighbors and not more of those neighbors.”

      And there’s really very little way to know what someone means when they say “I am concerned about the community’s unchecked growth and its impact on the local environment.”Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        Good points. Fwiw, KJ’s pop in 1980 was just over 2K. It’s now 22K. In 1 square mile.Report

      • My comment was meant quite generally. It’s been on my mind because I’ve been pondering a post on two people who left the same area of Colosse due to social upheaval, though they identify it differently. This was definitely not meant to wash on to you and that situation.

        Out of curiosity, has the growth been mostly population growth or churn?Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        I had assumed as much. I just thought it important to make clear the facts on the ground. Sometimes the “population growth” argument can be dismissed when you look at the fact that population growth mirrors that of the rest of town. 35 years ago, you basically had a 1 square mile swath of land that was undeveloped; now you have 22K people on it. That has a real impact, regardless of their faith.

        As to your question, I’m not sure I understand the difference between growth and churn. My sense is that the majority of the grown is internal. High birth rates and limited emigration, though I’m sure there are some new folks coming up from the city.

        Interestingly enough, the 53.7% population increase between 2000 and 2010 was less than expected; they anticipated the population doubling to 26K. I’m not sure what the reason for that is, though neighboring communities efforts to incorporate and thus stymy further annexation plans might be part of it.

        Most of this info comes from Wikipedia, FWIW.Report

      • Growth occurs when housing is added and churn is when the current population is replaced.

        So if you have a town that is 80% Venutian and 20% Mercurian at 8,000 and 2,000, but a few years later it’s 50/50… is that because there are 8k or each (growth) or 5k of each (churn)? It’s almost always a combination of the two, of course, but usually leaning in one direction or another. Sounds like it was growth, in this case.

        Edited to add: Reading over your comment, of course it was growth. My apologies for poor reading comprehension. Long day.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        Oh, yes. Almost all growth. KJ is constantly building new developments. They tend to favor attached, multi-unit dwellings. Curiously enough, they have a “zoning regulation” that each home contains a “community room”, which is basically used for religious purposes. I don’t know the specifics, but it is understood that this is largely done to keep out non-Satmars, since who is going to pay for an extra room they don’t want/need? It has actually led to a lawsuit by a breakaway faction of Satmars whose preferred Rabbi was not accepted in the line of succession from the original founding Rabbi. They are arguing that it is a de facto religious requirement and that it is being used against them (along with other strong arm tactics) to force them out of the community. It is worth noting that they are no less devout, but are simply on the wrong side of the succession battle.

        A very curious place, indeed…Report

  5. LWA says:

    It does sound to me like the Satmars are using the democracy of convenience, asserting their independence when it suits them, and their inclusion when it doesn’t.

    They don’t really want to be isolated and self sustaining, a la the Amish, but instead cherry pick welfare benefits here, infrastructure there, while asserting their right to withdraw from engagement when it is unpleasant or inconvenient.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to LWA says:

      That is a pretty good summation and accurately captures my thoughts.

      Of course, such an idea is not unique to the Satmars. “Keep your government hands off my Medicaid” springs to mind.Report

      • Zac in reply to Kazzy says:


        So why should it be tolerated, then? Isn’t it laudable for the citizens of Monroe to stand against the pestilence that is conservative religion? (Just to be clear, I’m Jewish, and I would be just as appalled if it were a Christian or Muslim or whatever other religious group engaged in this behavior.)Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

        I don’t see anywhere that @kazzy suggested people following their religious beliefs or cultural heritage was a bad thing.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        It is unclear to me what, exactly, you are talking about?

        What should or should not be tolerated?
        What is the pestilence that is conservative religion?Report

      • Zac in reply to Kazzy says:

        We shouldn’t tolerate exactly the sort of behavior LWA was talking about: participating in a democratic society only when it’s convenient or when it benefits you and yours. It’s the same horseshit with the settlers in the West Bank or the right-wing religious parties throughout the world (i.e. the GOP, the BJP, Likud under Netanyahu, the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots): they demand the benefits of civilization but refuse to uphold any of its basic responsibilities (like the Haredi in Israel taking in welfare while refusing to work or participate in national service requirements). If they want to go off and do their own thing (like the Amish, as LWA highlighted), that’s fine by me. If the folks in Kiryas Joel want to do the same, more power to them. But that’s not what they’re doing. They’re forcing the rest of Monroe to participate in their nonsense, and I think it’s laudable to politically organize to oppose that. If it’s fueled by out-and-out anti-Semitism that would obviously be appalling, but from what you talk about in your post it doesn’t sound like that’s the case.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        I agree with LWA’s assessment of KJ’s apparent selective participation in our broader society. But I’m not exactly sure what we can do about that isn’t worse than the initial problem. We certainly should not (and could not) outlaw their faith or its practice. We can’t deny them the government support they are eligible* for, not without reworking the rules in a way that either A) violates the 1st or B) would kick off a helluva lot of other people we probably wouldn’t want to see kicked off. We can’t demand that they smile at me when we walk past each other on the sidewalk. They accept my business in their stores, even if they are a bit brusk about it, so I’m not sure what we can do there.

        Was UM’s plan to cease the annexation lawsuit acceptable? Absolutely. I wholeheartedly agreed with them there. Should KJ be forced to abide by all standards relating to waste water and the like**? Absolutely.

        And then there is the county opting to bar KJ residents from the Monroe library after they opted to divert their library tax dollars to a yet-to-be-built community library. While I find that a bit troubling, it seems a legally sound response.

        So, I’m not sure what else can be done. Winning local elections will make some difference, but even that will be limited. You can’t make the government actively hostile towards a religious community. Nor should you try.

        * There are claims that much of the aid they receive is illegitimate and the result of fraud. I cannot speak to the veracity of these claims.
        ** There is an ongoing saga about a pipeline project necessary for KJ to expand that is apparently getting walked through and around the approval process by friendly politicians. Again, I cannot speak to the details of this situation.Report

      • LWA in reply to Kazzy says:

        Re: What can we do-
        Unfortunately I draw a paralell to cults here. while I would be careful not to lob that charge against KJ (I don’t really know enough to do so) they do share that same dynamic, where a small insular group overwhelms a local jurisdiction.

        And unfortunately, it usually reaches some trigger event- a local ordinance that gets defied, leading to some sort of confrontation that doesn’t turn out well for anyone.

        Maybe a better outcome would be for the local area to be annexed into a larger jurisdiction where KJ is only a minority.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        @doug-smith commented below about the possibility of splitting the town, allowing KJ to be its own municipality, free to act of its own accord but also responsible for itself. He seems intimately familiar with the area and I’m curious if this has been considered and what the feasibility of it is.Report

      • Zac in reply to Kazzy says:


        I think @doug-smith’s idea is probably the best way to deal with it. As you rightly pointed out, much as I might sometimes wish it were otherwise, there’s not much to be done that’s not worse than the extant situation. It’s just frustrating to me to see fellow liberals pooh-poohing efforts to organize against religious hijacking of the body politic because someone might accuse them of bigotry.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        Let me be clear and say I do not object to UM’s efforts as much as I object to the way in which they attempted to message. I think they played and contributed to further otherizing the residents of KJ. Which, to be fair, KJ does to themselves quite aptly.

        I have major issues with much of what goes on in and around KJ. I applaud the efforts of UM attempting to respond through the democratic process. I just don’t applaud some of their and (more so) their supporters appeals to anti-semitism and their hypocrisy.Report

  6. Cascadian says:

    I’m so glad I don’t live there. I’d certainly put a corresponding sign listing shared values on the way out of KJ. I’d probably organize some swim suit competitions as well, maybe a local sausage factory. I don’t have a problem with people wanting to detach from society but when they try to implement their beliefs on others…. I get unreasonable.Report

  7. Doug Smith says:

    I think everyone’s interest would be best served if the Town of Monroe and the Village of Kiryas Joel were separate and each could proceed with the type of government that best serves their respective interests. The unique problem that has evolved in Monroe is shameful opportunists such as Harley Doles who use their relationship with Kiryas Joel for their own political gain principally at a cost to the people of the Town of Monroe.Report

  8. Doug Smith says:

    One additional comment regarding the claim they have no crime. Apparently you are excluding corruption, Medicaid fraud, and child molestation. Read the following article for more information .Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Doug Smith says:

      I should have specified that I was referring to reported crime rates. I understand there are accusations of this and a number of other types of crime that go unreported. I was attempting to get at the statistical anomaly that KJ is… Super high poverty, super kow crime rates.Report

      • Doug Smith in reply to Kazzy says:


        Quite frankly I don’t understand the point of your article. United Monroe didn’t intimidate or coerce anyone to vote for its candidates whereas the same cannot be said of Kiryas Joel. There are factions within Kiryas Joel who coerce and intimidate its citizens into voting for particular candidates. United Monroe evolved in response to the obvious corruption of the Town Board which is biased to the Hasidic community solely to benefit their own political gain. You should ask yourself why the political interests of the Town of Monroe and Kiryas Joel are so grossly misaligned. I can assure you that it is not anti-Semitism.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        The point of the article was to explore the legitimacy of voting blocs. UM attempted to form a voting bloc. KJ is a voting bloc. However, in the process of the former happening, they maligned KJ not for teh things you said, but simply for being a voting bloc. One voting bloc attacking another voting bloc simply for being a voting bloc is wrong. Touting that “all” will win when the reality is that 55% of the town will lose is wrong.

        Either you are for or against voting blocs. If you are for voting blocs that are secular in nature but opposed to voting blocs that form around religion.. well, I’ve got a problem with that.Report

      • Doug Smith in reply to Kazzy says:


        It isn’t as simple as you may think looking at this from an outsiders perspective. I think most people in the Town of Monroe have conceded that Kiryas Joel cannot be faulted for using a voting bloc as the best way to represent their interests. The underlying issue is corruption and political favoritism.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        When you refer to “political favoritism”, what exactly do you mean? Because if you are simply referring to the elected officials working in KJ’s best interest… well, that seems a feature, not a bug, of democracy. Elected officials are supposed to work in the best interests of those who elected them.

        Now, if you mean that politicians are engaging in behaviors they ought not to to further their career, that is another ball game.

        If you have specific instances of corruption or “political favoritism”, I’d be more than happy to look them over.

        And while the ToM might have conceded KJ’s use of a voting bloc, candidate Convers did not. She is the one quoted in the OP.Report

      • Doug Smith in reply to Kazzy says:


        I am referring to corrupt behavior for one sole political gain and I am specifically referring to Harley Doles’ actions such as his support of the lawsuit against Woodbury or the “sweet heart” highway contract given to Kiryas Joel. Both situations seem to solely benefit Kiryas Joel at a cost to the Town of Monroe. Quite frankly, this is all public information and I an not sure I understand why a so called “outsider” would be so interested or would be in a position to “look them over.” It sounds to me that that your involvement in these issues is more “intimate” then you suggest.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        I am an outsider only insofar as I am relatively new to the town, uninvolved with the local politics, and with zero allegiances or connections to anyone outside my household. I don’t have the entrenched interests that others do… not yet at least… so I was largely on the sidelines of this election observing rather than participating.Report

  9. Rose Woodhouse says:

    Kazzy, as I suppose you know, so glad you wrote this.Report

  10. Doug Smith says:


    I haven’t heard anyone suggest splitting KJ into its own municipality although after the recent elections, I am sure it will become a topic of discussion. The neighboring Town of Woodbury took actions a few years ago to prohibit Kiryas Joel from forming a Village within its borders for fear of the same issues developing there. There may be some huge legal issues which may limit this as an option and quite frankly, I don’t think Kiryas Joel wants to be its own municipality as it currently benefits financially from the current arrangement. However, I think this is the most reasonable solution for a situation which has become a hotbed of contention.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Doug Smith says:


      First, let me say thanks for your contributions here. While I do not necessarily agree with all of your opinions, I appreciate you offering a perspective clearly informed by an intimate understanding of the area. I wrote this post largely as an “outsider-looking-in” on the area; I’ve lived in Monroe for about 2 years and worked in the are 2 years before that, during which I’ve been privy to some behind-the-scenes rumblings of residents and now seen firsthand the recent election (in which I did not participate… though had I voted, it likely would have been for UM).

      It seems to me that there have been a number of missteps by both sides, though I do not personally think the responsibility is or ought to be equally distributed. I am uncomfortable with many of the things that happen in KJ.

      But I think that, too often, religion enters the conversation when it really shouldn’t. In discussing the pipeline project, does it matter much that the residents of KJ are Satmars as opposed to Muslims or Christians or Buddhist or the Amish? To me, it doesn’t. And I haven’t heard a good reason why it should matter. We should evaluate the pipeline situation on its merits, not based on who is on what side.

      Now, that is not to say that religion can never be discussed. If we look at KJ’s exploding population and its impact on the region, religion is a huge factor in that. There are some communities with high birth rates whom we might seek to address the situation via distributing birth control or promoting sex ed. Well, that ain’t going to work in KJ because of their religious views on such practices.

      So, when I talk about anti-semitism, it does not necessarily mean that people are waving swastikas or preparing for another kristallnacht. But it does mean that the people are being viewed and/or treated differently because of their faith. And I think there is enough of that in the town to make it a concern. But I would not go so far as to say every resident of Monroe or every supporter of UM is anti-semitic.Report

      • Doug Smith in reply to Kazzy says:

        The reality is it is not Buddhists, Muslims, or the Amish, the issue is a particular group who happen to be Hasidics or Satmar Jews. Antisemitism is rhetoric used by the Town Board to attempt to discredit those who raise concern about the troubling issues associated with the Hasidic community. I haven’t seen any behavior which I would describe as antisemitic and I believe for the most part the Town has been very tolerant of it neighbors. I think the majority in the Town are really upset about the Town Board and its use of the Kiryas Joel to advance their own political gain at a cost to the taxpayers of the Town of Monroe.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        That ‘happens to be’ remark is telling. If they just ‘happen to be’ Hasidic, why does it matter? They also happen to be white. So why isn’t whiteness a focus? They also have a large percentage of Hungarians. Why not discuss Hungarian people?

        Why do we focus uniquely on their faith? And, based on my experience, the rest of Monroe is overwhelmingly Christian. So should we refer to Christianity when referring to the ToM? If not, why not?

        I’m not saying religion can’t be discussed. But I’m saying it has no place in a conversation on pipelines. The pipeline issue isn’t about faith. It is about community growth, environmental issues, political cronyism, corruption, and much more. None of those are unique issues to the Hasidic population and the implication that they are is anti-semitism. Soft anti-semitism, but anti-semitism nonetheless. Demonizing the residents of KJ in part because of their faith is wrong, no matter how strongly you may disagree with their political agenda.Report

      • Doug Smith in reply to Kazzy says:


        I am not sure you can formalize exactly what you disagree with as you seem focused on the allegation that my statements are rooted in some underlying anti-Semitism. Frankly, I question the fact that you live in the community and obviously have strong opinions about local issues; however, you admit that you didn’t participate at all in the local elections and didn’t even vote. If you live and work in the community then you should care enough to vote as opposed to questioning the motives of those in the community who have taken actions to address their concerns.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        Because the post wasn’t about the politics per say, but the way in which different factions in the town were organizing.

        I challenged you to make the case for why the faith of the residents of KJ should be as prime a factor in the discussions involving local town politics. If you, personally, do not see it as a prime factor, I applaud you for that. But some of your earlier comments indicated otherwise.Report

      • Doug Smith in reply to Kazzy says:


        Clearly one cannot have a discussion with you on this topic without an accusation of anti-Semitism being raised. This type of comment in not productive and is merely intended to dismiss what is being said. Nothing I have said is about religion or faith and nor were any of my comments intended to suggest otherwise.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        You referred to the “Hasidic community” long before I did in our exchange. I challenged you to explain why it is was important to note their faith, why referring to them as the “Hasidic community” instead of the “resident of KJ” was important.

        If you want to pretend that didn’t happen, claim victim status, and disengage… that’s cool. But I’m not going to ignore the realities on the ground.Report

      • Doug Smith in reply to Kazzy says:

        This debate is becoming tiresome. My description of them as a Hasidic community was merely to note the obvious and wasn’t intended to be a comment on their religion. When I go to Lancaster, PA, I call the people their Amish, maybe next time I will just refer to them as people who drive horse and buggies. I will let someone else pick up this dicusssion and you can call them anti-Semitic if it makes you feel morally superior. I would suggest however if you go out in actually vote for someone the next time their is an election.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


  11. Doug Smith says:


    I am not sure you can really segregate the fact that they are “Hasidic” from the equation. You can call them a bunch of white, Hungarian people, who live in the Village of Kiryas Joel; however, the fact is they as a group have engaged in activities which are contrary to the best interest of the Town of Monroe.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Doug Smith says:

      If we can segregate their whiteness and their Hungarianness, than why not their faith?

      Let me put the burden to you: Why is their faith relevant to the pipeline issue? I think if you are going to insist that it is, it is fair to ask you to prove why it is.Report

  12. Doug Smith says:

    I never mentioned the pipeline issue; however, to your point, I don’t know if faith plays a factor in their communities’ involvement in the issues I have described. And, quite frankly I don’t care about their faith or what they believe. I can only judge their behavior. Whether their behavior is related to their faith is up to them to expound upon. I think it is overly simplistic to assume that the critism raised against their community is rooted in some deep rooted hatred of Judaism. I propose that there is corruption within the hierarchy of their community and they have and continue to manipulate the majority of their community who generally don’t speak English and are largely uneducated for their own political and financial gain. This becomes the Town’s problem because they have discovered a means to exert influence over certain corrupt politicians who are more than willing to sacrifice what few values they may have for financial gain. Harley Doles motives have always been his own financial interest and not that of the community.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Doug Smith says:

      “I think it is overly simplistic to assume that the critism raised against their community is rooted in some deep rooted hatred of Judaism.”

      As do I. Which is why I never made such a claim. If you don’t think their faith matters, then leave it out of the equation. And push back against those who don’t follow suit.Report

  13. Emily Convers says:


    I am Emily Convers, the United Monroe candidate for Town Supervisor. I wish that I could have had the benefit of a conversation with you prior to your blog post so you’d have a better understanding of United Monroe. It seems that you’ve made your mind up before speaking to the candidates. The slogan “If we ALL vote, we ALL win” was designed to encourage people to get out and vote, to feel that their vote matters and yes, to understand the power of their vote. Historically, one village in our Town has had more than their fair share of representation. People are frustrated with the lack of representation outside of KJ, but antisemitic? No. I have never heard anyone, in hushed tones, say what you claimed to have heard. I hear people forced to qualify every statement they make with “this has nothing to do with religion”….because it doesn’t. It has everything to do with a separatist group whose leadership hold a lot of political power in NY, and not just Monroe.
    United Monroe is made up of people from all faiths, including Judaism, who simply want to be represented. That’s all. I’m sorry you’ve read into my statements an undertone of something darker at play. I assure you, had you met me, you would have judged differently.

    The United Monroe “bloc” vote is made up of citizens who understand the need for representation for ALL of the citizens of Monroe. I repeated over and over again if the leadership in KJ are open to accountable, transparent, fair governance then I look forward to their support. They instead went with the hate-baiting, dangerous and opportunistic Harley Doles who incessantly told the people of KJ that the rest of the town is antisemitic. Have you ever sat through a Town Board meeting, Kazzy? Have you witnessed the disdain, disrespect and complete disregard of the citizens who are brave enough to walk up to the podium to voice their concerns for the obvious favoritism shown one community in our town?

    It is beyond frustrating and no, this has NOTHING to do with religion.

    Forming our own bloc was a way to explain to people that we had to vote as one despite our political affiliations. When getting out a message for our political campaign, it was important to use simple, easy to digest terms. Stating “we must create our own bloc vote” was a way for people to get it. It was a way for people to get that they shouldn’t vote Republican or Democrat like they normally do. The people of Kiryas Joel are registered in equal parts- Democrat, Republican, Independence, Working Families, NOT because they share the ideology of those parties, but simply because by having a good chunk of the population in their community registered as such, they can have power in the primary elections and in the nominating process for candidates of all of those parties. So, why shouldn’t we, with very different interests and vision for the aesthetics and future of the Hudson Valley region, do the same? We do have a unique situation here in Monroe.

    In order to represent ALL of the citizens, we would need to form our own bloc outside of KJ since equal representation has not been of great appeal to the powers that be in KJ. I’m not speaking of the individual citizens of KJ who simply vote for who they are instructed to vote for. I’m referring to the leadership.

    And by the way, I’m a progressive liberal without an ounce of hate in my body.

    I will end with a JFK quote “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” KJ leadership have historically asked “What can you do for me?” It’s time for fair play. It’s time for representation for ALL of the citizens of Monroe and it’s time to be neighborly.Report

    • Susan Pendergast in reply to Emily Convers says:

      Thank you, Emily.
      I have lived in Monroe most of my life. I still reside in the home that I have been raised in since 1960.
      I never really gave a thought to town government until I first heard of the Town Board purchasing the Monroe Theater without any input from the residents of Monroe. I began following the movement and hearing about Emily Convers’s decision to step up to the plate and challenge the irresponsible purchase made by Sandy Leonard with the support of the other members of the Town Board.
      I found myself writing editorials to the local newspapers when I learned that Harley Doles was given the position of “Acting Supervisor” and receiving over $60,000 a year … For what exactly?? I felt duped to think that these things were going on without input from residents of my town.
      I started attending the Town Board meetings to find that people with problems that needed help were being dismissed and somewhat mocked when they would have their chance at public forum. I watched these same people try over and over practically plead for solutions to the problems they were experiencing with their properties and communities… Just to be put off again from the members of the Town Board. Finally, when these same people showed their frustration and anger for not being heard they were mocked, belittled, and called names.
      United Monroe did not come about because of a prejudice of the KJ community, but rather from a realization that residents were not being heard and huge decisions were being made without public input. These decisions affect not only our family and friends, but also the biggest investment that we’ll ever make– our homes.
      As I confessed before…I really was never involved with political anything at one time. I feel fortunate that United Monroe is here — Accountability, Civility, and Transparency. THAT is what United Monroe is really about.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Emily Convers says:


      Do you think that the formation of UM amounts to a voting bloc? If not, why not? What definition of voting bloc are you using that qualifies the residents of KJ as such but the supporters of UM as something else?

      Furthermore, if you were/are* elected, how do you plan to represent the needs and interests of the residents of KJ? It is my understanding that UM candidates made a pledge to not campaign in KJ (if I am wrong in this regard, please correct me). If so, does this not mean that your party was unwilling to engage 40% of our town’s voting population and 55% of the population at large?

      It seems that you seek to represent the near-exclusive interests of residents of Harriman, Monroe Village, and the Town of Monroe. Which I don’t consider to be an illegitimate approach to governing. But, as such, I must similarly conclude that an elected official representing the near-excluisive interests of the residents of KJ is also legitimate.

      This does not mean I support Doles or his efforts. It does not mean I support the current board. What it does mean is that I believe what is good for the goose is good for the gander. If it is acceptable for UM to organize around opposition to KJ than it is just as acceptable for KJ to organize around opposition to the rest of Monroe.Report

  14. Steven Barton says:

    If they buy in your stores and do not welcome you in theirs, it is the best economic news for your town. I live in Sullivan County and the the towns-people talk the same way you guys do, but we can’t wait for summer to arrive when they fill our pockets.Report

    • Doug Smith in reply to Steven Barton says:

      @Steven Barton

      I think for the most part the people of the Town of Monroe are looking for fair representation amongst its elected officials. We are looking to ensure that the town is governed in a manner that does not unfairly represent the interests of one group at the cost of the rest of the community and acts in a forthright and transparent manner. Your point is way off the mark and the situation in Monroe is different from what is currently occurring in Sullivan County. I am sure ShopRite, Walmart, and Home Depot, all enjoy any additional sales; however, for the most part, I haven’t seen many other local stores benefit from the Hasidic community who principally shop at their own local shops. By the way, the Hasidic community lives in Monroe all year round, this is not a summer retreat for them.Report

      • Steven Barton in reply to Doug Smith says:

        They aren’t educated in secular studies so they must use your lawyers, engineers, doctors and any other professional, financial gain. Their people aren’t taking any jobs at Home Depot, Walmart or ShopRite, again it’s the towns people gaining financially. They pay for their driving violations in your town (been there, full court house of KJ’s), financial gain. They do shop at local malls non of their people employed there, financial gain.
        Being that they live there year round only makes the financial situation better.Report

    • Bill in reply to Steven Barton says:

      Steve, are you a KJ resident? Your references to the town benefiting from KJ financially is
      debatable. I would argue that KJ uses far more in terms of social welfare and other so-called entitlements then they actually contribute in terms of financial support of the surrounding community. I also think given the current situation in Monroe, most of Monroe would be willing to forgo that to avoid the issues highlighted during current elections. If KJ is so confident in its ability to stand alone financially, they under your direction should look to separate from the town and form you own separate municipality. I don’t think you would receive any objection from the Town of Monroe.Report

  15. Peggy Kazdan says:

    Hey Kazzy, did you check out any of the debates between the candidates on Channel 12 or the Photo News? You’d see that the candidate that KJ picked was an incoherent blowhard. If you came to a town board meeting you would see that he was arrogant and dismissive of the citizens of the citizens of the town of Monroe and the villages of Monroe and Harriman. Nobody from KJ ever comes to a board meeting because their needs are met. The morning of Election Day they are given their voting instructions as they go to the polls. Independence line for the first half of the ballot, democratic line for the rest. (They used to vote Republican until Harley made them a better deal.)
    United Monroe, on the other hand, finally got people engaged in the politics of our town. Since last spring, volunteers (including me) spent countless hours going door to door getting signatures to get United Monroe on the ballot, registering voters, holding fund raisers and rallies, and then going door to door again to get out the vote. We were Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives. We put aside national issues for our town.
    And it worked! The people came out in record numbers that day to vote. Unfortunately, we may never know how many. the Board of Elections didn’t send us enough ballots, which caused a lot of confusion. Many paper ballots are locked up, waiting to be counted and many people left without voting. But the story isn’t over. If you’re living here, you should hope that Emily prevails.
    Just because Satmars are an extreme form of Judiasm doesn’t make us anti-Semitic to be against the leaders of their community who have hijacked our townReport

    • Kazzy in reply to Peggy Kazdan says:

      Let me say one last time that nothing I said in the OP was about the specific politics and policies the different groups and their preferred candidates pursued. Rather, I am looking at the way UM organized and presented itself and an undercurrent of anti-semitism I’ve detected among some residents, with the latter informing the former.

      Had I voted, it likely would have been for the UM candidates. But this wasn’t about Convers vs Doles or any other politician. It was about the legitimacy of voting blocs and how that term can be thrown around to delegitimized and already otherized group.Report

      • Peggy Kazdan in reply to Kazzy says:

        The KJ voting bloc is not legitimate because it is uninformed. Not only that, there is ample reason to suspect that there is rampant voter fraud in the community, from electioneering within the voting places and right outside the door, to individuals voting more than once and outsiders coming in to vote.
        Be that as it may, I have nothing against the citizens of KJ. I feel that they are kept ignorant by their leaders. I think that they are taught that we are hateful and mean them harm. When I find myself behind a family on line at the supermarket, I’ll smile and the babies smile back, but older children and their parents glare at me. Again, I don’t blame them, but I wish they would take part in the activities and concerts in the town and get to know us.
        Being against their overdevelopment, and pipeline does not make us anti-Semitic.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        You understand how insulting it is to declare that an entire community is “uninformed”, yes?

        Even if they were, they are still entitled to vote.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Kazzy says:

        The KJ voting bloc is not legitimate because it is uninformed

        Very true. It is legitimate because they are American citizens.Report

      • Phil Gagler in reply to Kazzy says:

        Did United Monroe try to get a bloc vote going? Obviously it’s debatable. The slogan “If We ALL Vote, We ALL Win” means ALL including the residents of Kiryas Joel. If you chose to interpret the word “ALL” as excluding people then that’s your prerogative.

        I saw no anti-semitism by the candidates at all. Unfortunately, if someone disagrees with the goings on in Kiryas Joel they are almost always labeled as an anti-Semite. Why? If you disagree with what I write can I label you as being anti-agnostic?

        Who knows why some people supported United Monroe. Who knows why some people supported Harley Doles. When the final tally of who voted for who you will see who wanted to represent who.

        Voting blocs exist everywhere. People who share similar interests or values often want to stick together. Some voting blocs really can help certain groups out while other voting blocs have become incredibly powerful and the lines between what’s legal and ethical become blurred or nonexistent.
        In my opinion of course.

        On another note Kazzy, you stated that “I am an outsider only insofar as I am relatively new to the town, uninvolved with the local politics, and with zero allegiances or connections to anyone outside my household. I don’t have the entrenched interests that others do… not yet at least… so I was largely on the sidelines of this election observing rather than participating.” It’s too bad you stayed on the sidelines and didn’t exercise your right to vote in my opinion. Do a little homework and look into Rockland County, East Ramapo Schools, Bloomingburg NY and you might understand what has been going on and what continues to go on.

        A suggestion for you, do a little homework, get involved or research local politics. Attend some Monroe town board meetings (after you pass through the proposed metal detectors of course) and observe how citizens are treated. Put your kids in the public school system and try to look about 10 years into the future after looking at what happened in East Ramapo and then write another piece.Report

    • Vill Visen in reply to Peggy Kazdan says:

      Hi Peggy,
      I’m a KJ resident, and for your information I went to a Sports bar in town, sitting quietly and watching the game when i was physically thrown out by the bar patrons just for being Jewish, there was a full house nobody said anything in protest.
      So please be so kind and don’t invite us to your parties and concerts before checking with the townspeople.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Vill Visen says:

        Hi @vill-visen ,

        For whatever it is worth, I am very sorry and deeply outraged that this happened to you. Had I been there, trust that I would have intervened, and I know I am not alone among those of us in town.

        I will say that I have seen my share of ugliness at some of those same bars and it has made me question our decision to move to Monroe.Report

      • Peggy in reply to Vill Visen says:

        I’m trying to be conciliatory here. This whole thread has been interesting and I’m glad to see a dialogue going on. When I moved to Monroe 15 years ago I was curious and interested in the KJ community. My mother-in-law attends a Chabad synagogue on LI and the Rabbi is a good friend of the family. Many years ago went to KJ for a
        Yahrtzeit (sp?) candle, because we couldn’t find what we needed in Shoprite. We were not made to feel welcome. Is there a word for anti-not Satmar?
        Harley has churned up a lot of hate accusing all the candidates running on the United Monroe line of going to KJ. His cohort Gerry McQuade called it “doing the KJ 2-step”. My question is -why shouldn’t they?
        This election is not over yet. If and when Emily Convers becomes supervisor, she will reach out the hand of friendship, so that all the citizens of Monroe are treated fairly.Report

      • Bill in reply to Vill Visen says:

        I am doubtful of the veracity of your claim. You may have been made to feel unwelcome by some, but given recent events, you can’t expect a warm welcome. However, I imagine it isn’t quite as rude as the treatment any non-Hasidic would expect to receive if they stepped into one of your establishments. There has been a recent trend to alleged outlandish antisemitic behavior as an attempt to discredit others and distract from the real issues of corruption in your community. Stop with these false accusations.Report

      • Phil Gagler in reply to Vill Visen says:

        @vill-visen I know there are Hasidic men who frequent a Sports Bar in Monroe and they are always treated like one of the guys. I’ve never heard of such a thing happening. That’s horrible and does not reflect the majority of people in Monroe. Did you happen to file a complaint with the village police? I certainly hope so.

        Just wondering though, have you ever seen the video of the 3 hikers that wandered into Kiryas Joel and were looking for something to eat. While they were looking for a place they also took some photographs and were quickly in the custody of the Public Safety Officers and were treated like criminals.
        Certainly worth a look.Report

      • Bill in reply to Vill Visen says:

        A complaint wasn’t filed because it never happened.Report

  16. Doug Smith says:

    I beg to defer, anyone reading your blog would detect significant political undertones. That being said, you need to get over the whole anti-Semitism topic and take people for their word when they are telling you that their actions are not based on some underlying anti-Semitic feelings. For some reason, you don’t question the actions of Kriyas Joel or whether their actions are rooted in feelings of fear and hatred of those outside of their community.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Doug Smith says:

      What political undertones? What policies is it you think I support? What ideology(ies) do you think I subscribe to?

      I focus on the Town of Monroe because that is the community to which I belong. I am not a resident of KJ nor a member of that community and, thus, my ability to comment or advise on the motivations therein is limited. I have my suspicions but not enough to offer advice and, even if so, am not in a position to do so effectively. But I have had enough interactions with my neighbors and fellow residents in Monroe to have a sense of things. I’ve worked alongside many Monroe residents for 3+ years.

      Anti-semitism, like any other form of bias, need not be explicit, conscious, or malevolent.

      Let me ask this: When you walk by a man from KJ on the street, do you think:
      A) There goes a man?
      B) There goes a Monroe resident?
      C) There goes a KJ resident?
      D) There goes a Jew/Hasid/Satmar/some other reference to his presumed faith?

      And were you to walk by me on the street, dressed as I am right now in khakis and a colored polo, would you think:
      A) There goes a man?
      B) There goes a Monroe resident?
      C) There goes a Town of Monroe resident?
      D) There goes a Christian/Catholic/some other reference to my presumed faith?

      If your responses to these questions are different, I would implore you to consider why and what the implications of that are.Report

  17. Peter says:

    “What, exactly, are they doing that “corrupts” democracy? Because they vote? In high numbers? And around common interests they share? Isn’t that how it is supposed to work? ”

    That’s exactly how it works, except when KJ wins their only concern is the village of KJ. In politics one side always loses but the way those of us on the losing side console ourselves is knowing yeah the other guys won and I may not like the way they approach getting things done but their end goal is the same as mine improving the town for ALL of it’s citizens.

    Cries of anti-semitism from KJ at this point just reek of desperation, the last refuge of the out-argued.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Peter says:

      So how considerate of the needs of KJ would the UM candidates have been?

      As you yourself point out, KJ has a different end goal than the rest of Monroe. So, inevitably, one side is going to end up with a board that is either hostile or ambivalent towards it. It is unfortunate that it has to be this way and ideally things would be structured so that this wasn’t the case. But, as things lie now, such it is.

      Would I rather see a town board that had more representative elections, perhaps with community specific officials and at large candidates? Hell yea. The current winner-take-all model is broken.

      Oh, and I’m not from KJ. So my concerns about anti-semitism are coming from right here in the Town of Monroe.Report

  18. Shanna says:

    The difference between the 2 voting “blocks” is that KJ has no free will. You cannot compare the 2 blocks when one block blindly votes with complete disregard for what the candidate is about and votes solely because they were told too.Report

    • JD in reply to Shanna says:

      @shanna We have a PURE free will, and we want to back OUR parties candidates. oh and we are completely not blind, we know exactly for whom we vote we just don’t care how they look, we look for someone that will work for us tooooooReport

      • Bill in reply to JD says:

        JD if that is true then why are all KJ voters given a piece of paper which identifies the candidates they are supposed to vote for? If everyone was voting based on their own violition there would be a need for such devices. If one believes the statistics, your community is largely uneducated with a significant number of functional illiterates. Clearly these people are being directed by their leaders to vote for candidates endorsed by your rabbis. This smells very much like manipulation and electioneering which is illegal.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to JD says:

        Those rabbis must be really stupid, giving written instructions to a bunch of illiterates. Of course, they’re not stupid enough to think that “electioneering” is against the law.Report

      • Bill in reply to JD says:

        Electioneering within close proximity to a polling place is illegal in NY. Second, even an illiterate person can recognize and match a name on a piece of paper. You should know that.Report

      • Bill in reply to JD says:

        N.Y. EDN. LAW § 2031-a : NY Code – Section 2031-A: Electioneering within one hundred feet of polling place prohibited. Any person who willfully violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdeanor.

        Keep you uninformed comments to yourself.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to JD says:

        So if you say that drinking alcohol is illegal, we should all assume you mean “while flying a jet?”

        And you’d have an easy time voting for 丏並丰 instead of 丐丧主 ?Report

      • Doug Smith in reply to JD says:


        Are you from the area and have any clue as to what is actually going on or are you reading this from an “outsiders” perspective? Unless you experience this on a day to day basis, you have no appreciation for the frustration of the people in this community. Also, I find your comments to be sarcastic and not worthy of intellectual debate.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to JD says:

        Next time I’ll nail your head to the floor.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to JD says:

        Schilling? Sarcastic? WHAAAAAAA?Report

      • JD in reply to JD says:

        @bill First its not rabbi who instructs for whom to vote, its the local community parties (there is more then one),
        and face it we know exactly what’s going on, but since those candidates aren’t here on a political party (democrat, republican, etc) instead its local issues, we will vote for whomever is endorsed by the local community party/leaders (not rabbis),

        if you would like to fact check, see for whom kj residents voted in the presidential elections, or even at the state level.Report

  19. JD says:

    @kazzy @emily-convers @all
    Hi, All;

    Let me just say, i am a KJ resident – and KJ residents know and read what is being said in the town of KJ.

    and let me just also clarify we are not being fed and intimidated to vote one way or another.

    KJ residents are paying taxes just like the rest of ALL town of monroe is paying (maybe even more because property taxes are based on units and not based on income).

    We also know the @emily-convers didn’t come to speak to anyone in KJ, didn’t even look at those others and ALL (non-KJ) were fed with KJ controlling the town of monroe – and let me make it as a point, if KJ would like to control the town of monroe – as your conspiracy theory goes – they would put in Chasidic candidates! just like in other cities where observant jews/hasids live – think about it, but they didn’t and the reason is because what we want is to live in peace, and our needs/wants met with a open ear and mind.

    oh and btw all the fraud, scams you try to pick up and try to paint an entire community of 22,000 because of some crooks (who are just as well being shunned in the community – not only for ethical or law reasons but because of biblical reasons just as well),
    oh and yes crime is real low because we DON’T tolerate crimes, and if you would try to understand think about we live as a closed community.

    Our End-Goal is to live as community who you shouldn’t even have to care about and we will contribute as equal citizens, but we like to live as a community

    and to the reason why people vote is because the village of kiryas joel IS providing us the services, they will make sure we are represented, they will have a open ear to us in time of need or even before.

    and two examples that this votes were so NOT for ALL residents:
    1) at the hurricane sandy when the village representatives went begging for ‘one’ down wire on forest ave which was blocking power for more then 15’000 village of kj residents – is being used as something against them, why? are KJ residents just the same as 5 residents from mombasha road? and who said they didn’t ask for others just as well, maybe because KJ had its representatives there as well?

    2) monroe library, the monroe library had its fair outcry by non-kj residents for increasing budgets year over year, then kj residents said enough and yes it was bloc-voted against it – so here came the monroe library board to kj as asked how about you break up and just don’t block us, so it was agreed it will be separated and so Village of KJ residents will not vote there, not KJ residents are being presented as suckers.

    and about voter fraud, how about anyone checks up and looks how many voters were two years ago, – just to point out KJ had enough ballots.Report

  20. Doug Smith says:

    Well I at least commend the fact that someone from KJ is actually making an attempt to voice their opinion in public about these issues. It is certainly interesting to hear a inside perspective of what is going on inside KJ. That being said, I have the following comments:

    1) What makes you believe that KJ pays more in taxes then the Town of Monroe? Taxes are based on the assessed value of the property and not the number of units. Second, their are a disproportionate number of personal residences and businesses which are tax exempt in KJ.
    2) It quite noticeable that Harley Doles did not campaign at all this election outside of KJ. So clearly he didn’t care whether he obtained any votes outside of KJ. Second, KJ makes no attempts at open minded discussions and I have yet to see a single representative of your community at a town board meeting.
    3) There are a disproportionate number of fraud cases involving members of your community as is addressed in the following article: It would be foolhardy to believe that these are not issues endemic in the community of KJ.
    4) Proper representation can be achieved through a candidate that is transparent and representative of the interest of the entire community. It is unfair to expect the Town of Monroe to be financially burdened for the sole benefit of KJ. For example, why doesn’t KJ pay its fair share of the costs of road repairs?
    5) You can ask Harley Doles about any decisions regarding how and when electricity was returned to different part of the town and KJ as he was intimately involved in those decisions. Plus, as I understand it, KJ did meet with him and their utility service was returned before many other parts of Monroe.
    6) I never agreed with exempting KJ from school taxes. The reason for the exemption was KJ’s claim that they didn’t use the library and wanted to construct their own Hebrew library. This was never done. Residents of Monroe have been outraged that KJ resident were continuing to use the library and not paying any taxes for this service.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Doug Smith says:


      “It quite noticeable that Harley Doles did not campaign at all this election outside of KJ. So clearly he didn’t care whether he obtained any votes outside of KJ.”

      Did UM candidates campaign in KJ? If not, how is that any different than what Doles did?Report

      • Doug Smith in reply to Kazzy says:

        My comment wasn’t intended to say there was a difference, it was only meant to address JD’s comment that Emily Convers did not meet with KJ.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        So is it good or bad that Doles did not campaign outside of KJ and, thus “clearly … didn’t care whether he obtained any votes outside of KJ”?

        Because if it is bad, than it would seem bad that UM did it. Yet you direct no scorn at UM.Report

      • John Lofton in reply to Kazzy says:

        @kazzy I am really puzzled at this entire post. What is your point? If it’s about bloc voting the you are probably aware that the political party system is basically a bloc vote. Then as you drill down you get even tighter bloc votes.

        Are you playing devil’s advocate or just havin’ a good time?

        Harley Doles is not representing ALL of Monroe. Yet, he constantly proclaims he is. He’s constantly proclaiming to be a union man yet who does he hire to hand out his sample ballots? Day laborers. Follow the money with the Doles campaign. He received thousands of dollars from Brooklyn. The flyer depicting United Monroe members as rock-throwing radicals out to destroy KJ is disgusting. Do you honestly think that Doles was not aware of it?

        When the final votes are counted you will see that Doles will likely get 99.999% of KJ residents votes. No surprises there. What you will also see is that probably 90% of people outside of KJ did not vote for Doles. You can’t seem to see the forest through the trees or you chose not to.

        If you can’t figure out what’s going on then I truly feel sorry for you. The easiest solution is for KJ to become it’s own city. There are clearly two different cultures who have tried to get along but it’s just not happening.

        And to your comment about there being virtually no crime, go walk around there with a camera…Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        Tell me what is going on. Because you haven’t indicated much of anything.

        You note that the overwhelming majority of KJ residents support one candidate and the overwhelming majority of non-KJ residents support another. So where does that leave us? Our current system, which is more-or-less winner takes all means that a vast swath of the town will be unhappy with the winner. If Doles wins, non-KJ residents are upset. If Convers wins, KJ residents are upset. It seems that you think one of those outcomes is acceptable and the other is not. Why is that? Preferable, for you, maybe. But how can one be acceptable and the other not when they are the same scenario but in reverse?Report

    • Steven Barton in reply to Doug Smith says:

      “Second, their (there) are a disproportionate number of personal residences and businesses which are tax exempt in KJ.”
      Based on what FACTs?Report

  21. Christina says:

    I can’t comment on everything above….. but I am a Monroe resident, I feel I the need to clarify some things:
    I have no hatred towards jews or Hasidic jews. But I do have hatred against groups that break the law over and over again for gain.
    This goes completely up the ranks all the way to Albany. I am sorry, but the Hasidic community is constantly violating permits or all sorts, both local and regional.
    If we all vote we all win…gets the point across. Monroe residents have been lazy. That’s why Doles gets away with his silliness. That slogan was to the people who don’t get up off the lazy butts to vote. And yes we all win….nobody is going to strip KJ of anything. They are just going to include the rest of the town in “ventures that would benefit all”.
    As far as not speaking good English…or being very literate(I forget exactly what was said)…can we point out that there schools are state and local funded public schools….that rezone bus lines and teach in Hebrew(Yiddish?) on all of our Dime. If they followed curriculum….they would be educated.
    but once again, they make their own rules. The hold back their own community.
    As far as crime…please Mr. from KJ….we all know you have your own , that come out and wash it away. Without involving the local police and ambulance. (My husband works 911 and has experienced this himself first hand, cops are called off and the situation is ignored. You can’t have statistics if you don’t involve the system.
    And yes…other communities have Hasidics on their bored…Like Ramapo for instance….bad example my friend…because that is a disaster for the non Hasidic community down there.
    How about equality all around…including the non Hasidic Monroe?
    that’s the point!Report

  22. JD says:

    @doug-smith it is not in my plan to convince you, as you seem to be from all the comments you have posted here biased to a different type of ‘all’

    and even this is only a comment to you and not to this blog post, i will answer you one by one:
    “What makes you believe that KJ pays more in taxes then the Town of Monroe? Taxes are based on the assessed value of the property and not the number of units.”
    there are more units on a acre so the value is based on each unit when there are 24 unites on one acre, the revenue is way more then when there is a one family house on 5 acres
    “Second, their are a disproportionate number of personal residences and businesses which are tax exempt in KJ.”
    percentual there is NOT, this is just another non-factual outside bias that KJ residents are used to hear and being mentioned constantly but is pure BS, – think about the village of KJ is also looking to gain revenue/ taxes for themselves.

    “It quite noticeable that Harley Doles did not campaign at all this election outside of KJ. So clearly he didn’t care whether he obtained any votes outside of KJ”
    so whats your point? did we have a different candidate to vote for? besides the point, if he really did campaign for 4 years there please tell me a reason we should NOT vote for him?
    “Second, KJ makes no attempts at open minded discussions and I have yet to see a single representative of your community at a town board meeting.”
    perfect in line to my previous comment, we are not interested to influence your life, we are just looking for fair representation.

    “There are a disproportionate number of fraud cases involving members of your community as is addressed in the following article It would be foolhardy to believe that these are not issues endemic in the community of KJ.”

    really, you read one story – i will say even 5, and a article with ‘alleged’ mentioned all over and its true and it becomes a paint brush which becomes “disproportionate number of fraud cases” and it becomes “foolhardy to believe” thats exactly with what i started that you are biased, and @doug-smith i understand you since you never took the time to understand myself.

    “Proper representation can be achieved through a candidate that is transparent and representative of the interest of the entire community.”
    were there one?
    “It is unfair to expect the Town of Monroe to be financially burdened for the sole benefit of KJ. For example, why doesn’t KJ pay its fair share of the costs of road repairs?”
    they pay, and that another part of the campaign rhetoric that you like to believe, – Village of KJ has their own DPW (Department of Publicworks) they don’t need the town, the town needs KJ more for their $$$,
    go back in history and research when KJ wanted to have their own fully but the town board asked them to stay on.

    “You can ask Harley Doles about any decisions regarding how and when electricity was returned to different part of the town and KJ as he was intimately involved in those decisions.”
    so you really dont care to know the truth, im used to that.
    “Plus, as I understand it, KJ did meet with him and their utility service was returned before many other parts of Monroe”
    from where did you understand it?
    in fact it was NOT ;(
    we were almost last because forest ave isnt a state or county road and the way they worked was to first cover state and county roads, and so thousands of family on the OTHER side of town were out of electric for longer then ‘all’ residents.

    “I never agreed with exempting KJ from school taxes.”
    KJ has their own public school so they are not a burden on your taxes- but this also shows how you are fed with info with any prove or truth. – but i guess you are referring to the monroe library taxes.

    “The reason for the exemption was KJ’s claim that they didn’t use the library” “and wanted to construct their own Hebrew library.”
    that was the reason they voted down the huge increases year over year – it had nothing to do with building their own library – building their own library was the solution not to impose on ‘all’ residents the ‘NOT ALL’ residents opinion of the wants/needs.
    This was never done. Residents of Monroe have been outraged that KJ resident were continuing to use the library and not paying any taxes for this service.
    they weren’t outraged because of this, they were outraged because KJ residents are ummm…. NOT ummmm……. whatever – we are used to that.

    i’m not interesting to make you look bad, what im trying to say is that humans almost always believe what they want, or what being told to – you can twist every good thing KJ or its residents will do to be bad, you can twist anything you do to be bad but you can also twist to be good as well.
    you should understand even you are not my friend, the way to deal with me is NOT to become my friend but understand we also have wants/needs and we are also human – and back to topic,
    if @emily-convers wanted to be ACT she should have found time to make a stop in KJ, she didn’t.

    that was enough for me and for the rest of 6300 voters to come out and VOTE, so for the next 4 years we won’t be harassed by a town board.Report

    • Doug Smith in reply to JD says:


      It is very difficult to understand your writing as it is almost unintelligible. However, after attempting to decipher it, I come away with a distinct impression that you have distain for United Monroe and probably the entire non-Hasidic community. Your statements are misguided and poorly articulated. For example, you don’t even have a valid response to why KJ residents think it is alright to continue to use a library that your community decided not to fund through paying taxes. To many it appears as if your community is simply trying to game the system.Report

    • Bill in reply to JD says:

      5 acres per lot? Really? You have drunk deep from the bs dispensed from your leaders. As for the allegations of fraud there are plenty of other articles on this topic not to mention the personal experience of several Monroe citizens that have to deal with your community.Report

      • JD in reply to Bill says:

        so did you do a fact check? or you are speaking based on your logic? because what i’m writing is based on the facts that was presented and discussed in 2011 when all properties in Monroe were re-assessed by Town of Monroe Assessor Steve Ruelke.Report

      • Vill Visen in reply to Bill says:

        @Bill, in the beginning of your comment, you doubt my story “I am doubtful of the veracity of your claim,” and towards the end it’s already false? “Stop with these false accusations.”
        What made you change your mind, is it the same imagination that imagined this too? “I imagine it isn’t quite as rude as the treatment any non-Hasidic would expect to receive if they stepped into one of your establishments”?
        Your denying that it ever happened, without knowing the facts, are even more hurting than the incident itself back then.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Bill says:


        As the parent of a new baby who has frequented the KJ pharmacy with it’s great supply of specialty baby items, I will say the treatment I’ve received there has been a mixed bag. Some folks treated me much as I’d be treated anywhere while others seem upset with my presence.

        Do you have a general sense of the sentiment of KJ residents about non-KJ folks frequenting their businesses?Report

      • Bill in reply to Bill says:

        Yes. I am doubtful that it occurred as you state. I am sure had there been any attempt to physically kick you out of any establishment in Monroe you would have quickly filed a police report and then a lawsuit. Second, based on personal experience as well as the experience of several other people, your community doesn’t welcome in outsiders as you suggest.Report

    • Doug Smith in reply to JD says:


      “KJ residents are paying taxes just like the rest of ALL town of monroe is paying (maybe even more because property taxes are based on units and not based on income).”

      What facts have you presented to boost your argument? You simply state that you believe “maybe” KJ pays more taxes because it is more densely populated. “Maybe” isn’t a fact, it is just your attempt at logic. As respects the reassessment you are referring to, I am familiar with it. It resulted in 50 properties in KJ with a total market value of $52M losing their questionable exempt status ( According to you, that sort of stuff doesn’t go on in KJ does it?

  23. Cathy says:

    Well, this entire conversation is convincing me of exactly one thing; proportional representation is the only way to go.

    Of course, then you’d get about as much done as Congress… but everyone would see “nothing” as better than “advancing the Other Guy’s interests at my expense,” no?Report

    • JD in reply to Cathy says:

      KJ residents are NOT about “advancing the Other Guy’s interests at my expense,” they are serve me and understand me, and i will come out to vote so you know you have to, VS lets vote in someone that will block them and harass them under the name of ‘ALL’Report

      • Cathy in reply to JD says:

        My point was that based on the comments here (which is basically my only source of info on this topic, so I could just be wrong), there seem to be a number of issues where the KJ community and the rest of Monroe simply want different things that are mutually exclusive.

        If that’s true, then a town council made up of half KJ and half non-KJ reps would be at each other’s throats on those issues, taking contradictory and adverse positions at each other, and nothing would get done. Much like Congress. KJ and non-KJ are both “the Other Guy who wants things I don’t want,” to each other, in my comment.Report

  24. Vill Visen says:

    Thanks Kazzy
    Reading your post I believe that you certainly would, unfortunately you and me are a total of 2 people.

    Keep up the good work, God bless you.Report

  25. facts please says:

    @ kazzy You state that you are a Monroe resident. That said, just wondering if you participated in the democratic process on November 5th? If you had, then you would know that only 3 seats were up to be filled, not 5 as you stated in one of your posts and I quote, “Everyone votes for the 5 positions that make up the board. So, theoretically, if UM won the election, they would have landed all 5 positions on the board. It would not have been a 3/2 split which would be more in accordance with the population. Of course, it is now a 5/0 split in favor of KJ, also subideal.” So, IF United Monroe had won it would have been a 3 (UM):2 split. I hope when you conduct yourself in the classroom setting that the information you feed the minds of those that you teach is more researched and thought out than the information you relayed in this blog. We are all going to agree to disagree and formulate responses to support our beliefs to which there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Please in the future when doing so, make sure your information is correct and based on fact. I am not going to go tit for tat with you on the points you made because you have your beliefs and I have mine and nothing will get solved by this process. If you were born and raised in Monroe like I was you would have seen first hand the transformation that has taken place over the years on many levels and most are not favorable. It is what it is at this point and only time will tell what the future holds for this town.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to facts please says:

      You’re nitpicking… needlessly. I was well aware of how the board terms are structured, but didn’t want to get into all the minutiae. Regardless, it is a winner-takes-all system, not a representative system. Yes, if UM won this round they’d have a 3:2 split. But assuming they carried their success forward, they’d soon have a 5:0 hold.

      So if you want to split hairs on minor details that are ultimately inconsequential to my broader point instead of actually engaging that broader point… well, you’re not going to find much traction here.Report

  26. facts please says:

    @kazzy “It struck me as strange that a movement whose primary message is “If we all vote, we all win” [emphasis theirs] organized in part around opposition to the will of a subset of the population that represents approximately 40% of registered voters and approximately 55% of the town’s residents.” Not sure how you can say the movement was organized around 55% of the town’s residents because in all of the United Monroe ads it clearly states: Village of Harriman, Village of Monroe, VILLAGE OF KIRYAS JOEL and Town of Monroe residents: If we ALL vote, we ALL win. United Monroe. Row H November 5th. Also, a community with no crime, you might want to try crime that goes unreported. So the answer is no, I really don’t really care to split hairs with you at all regarding your so called broader points because I view them as narrow opinions. Congratulations on being so passionate in your cause though!Report

  27. RTod says:

    I’m just getting to this post for the first time now, Kaz.

    I am curious, after having read your closing, would you have said something similar about the Rajneesh cult’s attempt to take over Antelope, OR back in the 80s?Report

    • Kazzy in reply to RTod says:


      The who-what now, when, and where?

      I did a bit of research on Wikipedia but am likely still woefully uninformed on the subject.

      I’ll say this, more broadly: the extent to which a group engages in illegal behavior or advocates unjust policies should be resisted through legal means, including at the ballot box.

      Again, I do not necessarily object to UM organizing as a voting bloc. If they view that as the best way to participate in the democratic process, so be it. What I do object to is the apparent different standards applied to the same actions when taken by residents of KJ and by UM or other town residents who reside outside of KJ. It is hypocrisy. I think the hypocrisy persists in part because of how easy it is to otherize the residents of KJ (a situation they themselves no doubt greatly contribute to).

      It is no different than Republican whining about voting trends in the black community while ignoring voting trends within certain white communities. While the trends are not identical, it is wrong (both factually and morally) to say that blacks are racist when they vote for a black candidate but whites are not when they vote exclusively for white candidates.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

        The interesting thing about Antelope wasn’t just that some of the Rajneesh broke laws, which a few did. (The number two person in the Rajneesh hierarchy poisoned two Antelope officials.) What is intriguing about the episode is just how much of what they did was perfectly legal — and simultaneously unsettling.

        Antelope is a small town in rural Oregon, and is close by the town that was at the time called Rajneeshpurum. At one point, the leaders of Rajneesh decided, essentially, to take over the town of Antelope and effectively drive the existing citizens out. They did this through a voting block.

        A few Rajneesh members brought property in Antelope, and then many members of the sect began to use those addresses as their official place of residence. At the time, the voter registration waiting period was just a few days, and so before the city elections the Rajneesh would take buses to place like Portland and Las Vegas and — this is true — round up homeless people and offer them money, shelter, and food if the came to Antelope and signed an affidavit that they were making the city their full time residence. They then “recommended” ways to vote on ballots that they distributed.

        For the people of Antelope, this was highly disturbing — especially since the Rajneesh made no secret that their intention was to seize control of the town government and then find legal ways to drive those who were longtime citizens out. To make matters worse, the Rajneesh was a cult that specifically targeted wealthy, disaffected trust fund youth and made part of the price of admission signing over all assets to the sect — which meant that it’s financial resources far exceeded those of the population of Antelope.

        I understand that Monroe is not the same, but whenever I hear about religious sects using their majorities to impose their will upon others, I think of the Rajneesh and Antelope. Even in the case of voting blocks, it seems to me, there isn’t a clear cut line of non-situational good and bad; the circumstances should always matter.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        A fair counter, @tod-kelly . It is possible that gooses and ganders should be looked at separately when the context dictates as much.

        I do wonder if one way to resolve such issues is to make it easier for groups like the Satmars or Rajneesh to form independent enclaves.

        The issue is less that KJ exists and more that KJ is an entity within another entity.

        I will also say, more broadly, that I don’t really understand how that works. Where I grew up, you had towns with town borders and that was that. You might have had neighborhoods within those towns, but if you were from Teaneck, you were governed by the Teaneck town government, attended Teaneck schools, and were served by Teaneck police and fire. If you lived in Bogota, you were governed by the Bogota town government, attended Bogota schools, and were served by Bogota police and fire. Some towns combined for regional high schools because of numbers, but otherwise, there was none of this Village-within-a-Town stuff, which still thoroughly mystifies me.

        In Monroe, you can be a Town of Monroe resident (as I am) without living in any of the villages. You can also live in the Village of Monroe or Village of KJ, both wholly within Monroe. Or you can live in the Village of Harriman, which spans Monroe and Woodbury. As a ToM resident who lives near the Harriman border, I am served by the Harriman fire department and the NY state police. Monroe police only serve the village. We also have a town board and a village board; I only vote for the former. And I have no idea what other services the individual villages offer their residents. It is all very, very confusing.

        I’m not sure which is the norm: Where I grew up or where I live now.Report

  28. Emily Convers says:

    The candidate on the United Monroe party line for Town Justice, Audra Schwartz, was invited to meet with the Mayor of Kiryas Joel a month or so ago. She went to meet with him to discuss her candidacy and ask for the support of the Village. As she was entering the building in KJ, she was secretly filmed by Harley Doles who was sitting in his car. Harley proceeded to post this film on a website and made flyers and signs showing Audra visiting KJ in pursuit of the KJ bloc vote. Harley Doles did this in an effort to confuse the public into believing that this new slate of candidates for United Monroe, would ALSO be ignoring the needs and desires of the public outside of the Village of Kiryas Joel. This tactic was designed to instill fear and manipulate the Monroe people outside of KJ into believing that the new party would fail to represent them and would be solely beholden to the voting bloc in KJ, just as the current town board has been.

    The fact that I didn’t call or reach out personally to the leadership in the Village of Kiryas Joel does not in and of itself prove that I wouldn’t be fair and equal as a leader. It simply proves that I didn’t want to fall into a trap set by Harley Doles and the KJ leadership who had tipped off Harley Doles that Audra Schwartz was coming.
    I had no intention of running for office this year. I stepped into Monroe politics after I witnessed first hand the despicable behavior of a town board who couldn’t care less about half of their town. The injustice stirred me to step up. I’m a mom and a concerned citizen who didn’t want to get stuck in the quagmire of local politics and certainly didn’t want to see my name and the word “antisemitic” to ever appear in the same sentence. I was warned that things would get ugly and that Harley Doles would stop at nothing to win. He’s a desperate man who has latched on to the Village of KJ and has manipulated their leaders into thinking that they need him and that United Monroe wish them harm. This is not only untrue but it’s dangerous. Fabricating hate is dangerous.

    The literature and propaganda machine paid for by Brooklyn Satmar Hasidim (look at Harley’s campaign finances available on line) illustrate how supported Harley and friends are and how going to KJ only would have given Harley more photographic ammunition to send to every household in Monroe showing me entering a building in KJ surrounded by false accusations and more harmful rhetoric. I would have liked to have had an invitation or the opportunity to meet with KJ leadership without concern for Harley’s hate baiting mailings, but, this is the reality of our situation, and it is dire and sad.

    And Kazzy, I am disappointed that you, a seemingly intelligent, articulate person appear to be digging in your heels about this subject instead of hearing the very legitimate, very real personal experiences shared by Monroe residents. And to answer your odd questions about whether we see a “man” or a “hasidic man”….I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to suggest that we are not different. It’s ridiculous to suggest that we don’t have observable differences. I don’t just see “people”, either. I see men, women, children, tall, short, skinny, fat, old, young…. I see all of these differences. The question is, what do we conclude about these observations? Conclusions are something we can all decide within ourselves. I conclude that we are all people of the earth and that we all deserve to be heard. When we are not heard, and are taxed, that is called taxation without representation.

    Who has created this divide? Harley Doles, Gerard McQuade, Dan Burke, Rick Colon and Sandy Leonard. That’s who. By their decisions, their disdain and disregard for half of the town they have created frustration and have been the catalyst for the United Monroe party- the only party who pledged to represent ALL of the citizens of Monroe equally.Report

    • JD in reply to Emily Convers says:

      First; you just proved that either you do NOT know the community that lives in the Village of KJ, (or don’t want to know or understand) – this is based on the fact of you mentioning who sponsored harley doles campaign,
      Second; you also just proved that this campaign was NOT about the theater, or public comment but rather because of hatred to KJ in the name of those issues – if you would ask me why, the answer is: why on earth should there be a issue to visit the Village of KJ for town of monroe residents? other then that the issue at hand was KJ as a whole vs the other issues mentioned.
      oh and btw: if you would have visited them and would have shown to be a person who will understand our community and work WITH us, you would have won both their endorsement and their vote.

      If you would ask, why harley doles was there? He most probably has already friends there, and got tipped off but thats common politics, and shouldn’t have stopped you from acting ACT.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Emily Convers says:


      Why did you not meet with the people of KJ? Why was consideration only given to meeting with the mayor? I trust that you met with community members of the Village of Monroe, not just the mayor. If so, why the difference?Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Emily Convers says:

      The candidate on the United Monroe party line for Town Justice, Audra Schwartz, was invited to meet with the Mayor of Kiryas Joel a month or so ago.

      I am confused. Does Kiryas Joel not have a village justice?Report

  29. Art Deco says:

    The problem can be found in New York’s jumble of local government codes (I think there are around about nine codes) as well as the dysfunctional methods of local finance.

    Once a village is incorporated, active township government should cease within its boundaries and participation in township elections by village residents should cease. Should service catchments not map precisely to municipal boundaries, special districts can be elected and finances with capitations or property taxes. In those counties where a board of supervisors continues to govern (is Orange County one?), village mayors could take a seat thereupon and cast a weighted vote as the city wardens and township supervisors do.

    Amendments to municipal boundaries as a consequence of real estate development and the advance of dense settlement should be routine in non metropolitan zones. In metropolitan zones, county boundaries should map to the boundary of dense settlement and be subject to periodic orderly revision. The metropolis can and should function as a federation of constituent municipalities.

    You need to cordon off Kiryas Joel into a separate school district.

    Straightforward and unconditional general revenue sharing wherein state funds are distributed according to formulae taking into account population, per capita income, and school-age population can and should provide a necessary supplement for impecunious communities and allow them to finance their schools without elevated property taxes.Report

  30. Vill Visen says:

    First of all congratulations Mazel Tov to your new baby, may he/she bring bundles of joy and luck to you and your entire family.

    The store owners definitely love any customer, I can’t speak for all people’s reactions, but from what I gather if you’re dressed somewhat modestly no one would care what color, religion or lack thereof you are. Some might be amused especially kids since they aren’t used to seeing many outsiders in the village, and if you would ask any WOMEN (since you’re one and we are keeping the sexes separated) for any information they will gladly answer you, give them a minute to get over the barrier shock.

    I have to agree though with some of the commentators that the Village of KJ would have greatly benefited from a public relation representative to the neighbors.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Vill Visen says:


      I am a man, which may explain why the women were more abrupt with me. After a moment, I remembered the prohibition and was more mindful of personal space.Report

    • Bill in reply to Vill Visen says:

      Really? So you are inviting anyone from Monroe to visit your community and walk around freely? What a good suggestion. Nothing works better in promoting the open exchange of ideas then to welcome your neighbors into your community.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Bill says:


        Do you assume that KJ residents are monolithic in all regards? Is it possible that KJ residents like Vill are welcoming to non-residents while others are not?Report

  31. Vill Visen says:

    @kazzy Sorry about that, don’t know why I assumed you’re a woman.Report