Who Profits, Who Pays, Who Dies, Who Lies?

After the horrific Evergreen Nursing Home Fire, NY State ordered that Rockland County take over Code Enforcement from the village of Spring Valley. The County Legislature has to pass a resolution to make this happen. At their January 18 meeting, Jay Hood, the chairman of the legislature, prevented a vote, saying the NY Secretary of State wants to see if the law is constitutional. However, when the Journal News asked, the Secretary said he “has full confidence in the constitutionality”. Chairman Hood then said his comment was “blown out of proportion”.

This action is responding to a deadly fire, and hopefully will prevent another one in our village. If you are going to block a vote, you ought to have a really good reason. There is – of course – a reason, but it apparently is not a pretty one, as it seems to be worth telling an obvious lie to hide.

Who Profits? Developers and Speculators, and the politicians that cater to them.

Who Pays? The Public, you and me.

Who Dies? Sadly, it is the elderly who can’t get out on their own, the poor who live in dangerous dilapidated firetraps, and our brave volunteer firemen and women who run into danger to protect us.

Who Lies? Jay Hood, the Chairman of the Rockland County Legislature.

Dead Bodies

“There are dead bodies behind every rule.”

This was the lesson taught to me by the volunteer fire safety inspector who used to provide the fire safety perspective at Village of Spring Valley meetings. That was until they stopped including the fire department in their communications, because fire safety was deemed incompatible with maximum profits for the developers and speculators that run the village.

“The systemic and pervasive lack of code enforcement in Ramapo and Spring Valley is a clear and present danger to the safety and well-being of our citizens. For over two years I have been documenting this lawlessness and calling on the State to intervene. For an inspector to sign off on a school with dead bolted doors, exposed wiring and extension cords across a bathroom floor, shows that we cannot trust these local officials. The evidence is clear and the time for action is now. The State must intervene to protect the health and safety of our residents, children and first responders,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski.

That was 2016.

Then came the deadly fire at Evergreen Court. Two people lost their lives, including heroic volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd. These deaths are especially troubling considering that Rockland fire officials had been essentially screaming at the state to do something before tragedy occurs. Spring Valley Concerned Citizens also wrote to the NY State Dept. of State detailing all the malfeasance of the village boards.

Now, the Secretary of State has ordered that Rockland County government shall assume administration and enforcement of State Code enforcement within the Village of Spring Valley. There was no explanation given as to why they did not heed the warnings of Assemblyman Zebrowski, Fire Chief Gordon Wren and County Exec Ed Day in 2016. It is obvious to everyone that the NY State Department of State waited until there were dead bodies. The Secretary of State, Rossana Rosado, and the Director of the Division of Building Standards and Codes, John R. Addario should be ashamed. They should be more than ashamed, they should remember the victims of the Evergreen Fire every day of their lives. There are dead bodies behind this order, just are there are behind all the rules that the village has been ignoring for years.

The local politicians are scrambling to protect their rich patrons: the developers and speculators. For example, the village is trying to get a private consultant hired to do the work. Now is not the time for complacency. We must demand that inspectors shall be full-time, professional public servants, with transparency and accountability, especially to our volunteer firefighters who risk their lives to protect ours. They must not only inspect all the existing buildings that have either not been inspected or have been given fraudulent inspections, but also the new construction, much of which is being done without adequate documentation or very different from the documents. They must also review the proposed construction still in the planning process, that the village has locked the fire safety advisors out of. Most of all, they must end the culture of “easier to ask forgiveness than permission” that has permeated the village for years. There need to be penalties, from requiring unapproved work to be broken down, to large fines, to condemnation and seizure of the worst offenders.

There are dead bodies behind this takeover order. It would be a sacrilege for the implementation to be just business as usual. We need to be vigilant to see that this gets done right.

Tree Cutting is Environmental Racism

According to a recent study, Tree inequality is rampant in cities, and it’s killing low-income people and people of color. The land use boards of Village of Spring Valley, entirely beholden to developers, never control the cutting of trees. This is a form of environmental racism being perpetrated on the people of Spring Valley.

https://academictimes.com/tree-inequality-is-rampant-in-cities-and-its-killing-low-income-people-and-people-of-color

Noise

It’s so cute when people in other places complain about noise from leaf blowers, etc. Here in Spring Valley, construction goes on from 7 AM daily, except Saturday. The entire village is being torn down around it’s residents ears (literally) and a city is being built up. That creates a maddening, ever-present crash and thud and bang. Sunday morning is the worst. The people who live in this destruction-construction zone will not be allowed to reside in the shiny new castles and barracks they are building. They will suffer through the noise and the dust and the torn up streets, and then they’ll be forced out. The craziest part is that every politician runs on a platform of “more housing”. I guess you can fool all the people all the time!

Children in Trailers!

Please make every effort to come out to the public hearing this Wednesday, October 23 at 7:00 PM at Spring Valley Village Hall!!!

Congregation Khal Bais Shmuel has made an application for “temporary module units to house students” at 185 N Main St (The old RCC extension that is now a private school).

There have been many safety issues with trailers used as “temporary” classrooms in Spring Valley before:

NBC News I-Team Report:

“We watched for days as little children flowed into this dilapidated school trailer in Spring Valley”

Documents uncovered by NBC News revealed that the ‘temporary’ trailers, still in operation in 2019 had been cited for multiple safety violations back in 2013.

Watch: I-Team Report

Please make every effort to come out to the public hearing this Wednesday, October 23 at 7:00 PM at Spring Valley Village Hall, 200 N. Main St, Spring Valley

Urgent – Wednesday

Children in trailers?

Congregation Khal Bais Shmuel has made an application for “temporary trailers at 185 N Main St (The old RCC extension that is now a private school).

Will children be in these trailers?

There have been a host of health and safety issues with trailers used as “temporary” classrooms in Spring Valley and Ramapo before.

NBC News report

I-Team Report

The public hearing is this Wednesday, August 28 at 7:00 PM at Spring Valley Village Hall.

Please make every effort to come out this Wednesday!

Help is Here for Spring Valley!

The overdevelopment of Spring Valley has got the attention and HELP from NY State Senator Skoufis, NBC News 4, and Rockland County Environmentalists!!!

Major media coverage:

NBC News 4 I-Team Investigation by Sarah Wallace: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/Report-Shows-Breakdown-from-Executive-to-Local-Levels-When-It-Comes-to-NY-Housing-Code-Enforcement-521545491.html

Lohud: https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/2019/08/05/new-york-building-code-enforcement-risks-resident-firefighter-safety/1920068001/

Other Environmental organizations:

ROSA and CUPON Hillcrest are urging members to oppose this development on the Spring Valley-Hillcrest border:

Both ROSA and CUPON have successfully stopped environmentally damaging projects in Ramapo. They are asking people to attend a public hearing on a plan to develop 290 units on the Pascack Ridge site, which would cut down the woods and demolish houses between the following streets: Rose Ave; Ewing Ave; North Pascack Rd;  Springbrook Rd

The public meeting will be held this week: Thursday August 15th, 2019, at 7:00 pm at Ramapo Town Hall, 237 Route 59, Suffern, NY

Our Next Meeting:

Spring Valley CUPON meets every second Tuesday at 7 PM at the First Baptist Church on Hoyt St in Spring Valley.

Our next meeting will be August 13. The Agenda will be to review the media coverage and plan for the upcoming Town meeting.

More Media Coverage!

Heads up!

Watch NBC News on Monday August 5th, at 5 or 6 PM, for a report on the Senator James Skoufis Illegal Housing Task Force.

The Task Force has documented the dysfunction of our local governments and their mismanagement of rampant overdevelopment and neglectful handling of illegal housing.

Our Next Meeting:

Spring Valley CUPON meets every second Tuesday at 7 PM at the First Baptist Church on Hoyt St in Spring Valley.

Our next meeting will be August 13.