From United Monroe:
When I moved to Monroe just over 6 years ago, I remember seeing political signs scattered around town saying “Protect Monroe” and as a progressive person I remember thinking “protect Monroe from whom?” I remember thinking, “is this some extremist group?” And, “does this have something to do with the Hasidic Village within Monroe?”
You see, as an open minded, metropolitan person, I was naive to the political situation in Monroe and simply believed that there was a religious community living within the town of Monroe and that this was not something that would affect me, my family, or the region. I thought that perhaps there was a backwards thinking element who were bigoted towards this religious community and I went to the polls as I always did and voted my party line- Democrat, all the way across.
I regret this now. Not because I am no longer a Democrat. I assure you- the ideology of the Democratic party still appeals to me. No, I regret this act because I now know what so many Monroe citizens don’t. That our town has been hijacked by leaders who are only elected by what can be described as a “special interest group”. No different than the big oil companies or pharmaceutical industry who lobby in Washington to regulate our government in a way that harms us more than helping us.
After the purchase of the Monroe movie theater I began attending Town Board meetings. One can only experience them to believe them. I very quickly learned at these meetings the relationship that our Town Board has with the leaders of the religious community among us. I quickly saw the allegiance…I would even go so far as to say the control these leaders have over our elected officials in Monroe.
In effect, the Town of Monroe is now half Hasidim in population and half non-Hasidim. Our Town Board, however, is clearly representing the half who elected them. The half in Kiryas Joel….or rather the leadership in Kiryas Joel. Because it is clear that the individual citizens of the Village of Kiryas Joel are not benefiting from the truth. The individual citizens of Kiryas Joel were sadly informed that United Monroe wishes to “destroy them” and “throw rocks at them”. This dangerous propaganda was distributed to the unwitting people of KJ by their leadership and by our Town Board. This, quite simply, is called “hate baiting” and it is a dangerous and divisive thing to do.
United Monroe was formed from the knowledge gleaned by attending meetings, observing behavior of the Town Board and knowing that in order for ALL of Monroe to have representation, a non-partisan third party MUST be formed. We succeeded in many ways. We attracted people from all parties- from ultra progressives to ultra conservatives, who came together with the understanding that on the local level, national issues don’t matter. We came together to insist on having our voices heard. There is no question that unchecked growth and the obvious disregard for zoning and environmental laws does NOT benefit the community at large. Our Town board, elected by one special interest group, was not and is not representing the entire town. That’s why United Monroe was formed.
No matter the rhetoric, the lies, the spin, we can be sure that United Monroe is about fair governance for ALL.
We are not going anywhere. We will continue to spread the word and work towards our goal of representation- even if that means annexation. We must insist that the media cover these issues honestly and without spin. We must keep the pressure on. We must continue to write letters to the editor and we must be steadfast in our refusal to accept the accusations that our movement has anything to do with religion. Because it doesn’t. There isn’t a single person I’ve spoken with during this past year who cares what color, religion, political party or gender anyone is. This is about fair, transparent, civil, honest governance and representation. Stay active. Stay with us. Thanks for caring.
For photos visit our Facebook page Kiryas Joel Village
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