Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fallsburg jews vote

The Fallburg fight for control continues:

Times Herald Record:

In a county where Mickey Mouse often gets the most write-in votes with just a handful of candidates, someone with 456 write-ins is unheard of.
But Fallsburg supervisor candidate Kenny DeMars got 456 in a month of campaigning, according to the Sullivan County Board of Elections, which counted the absentee ballots, affidavits and write-in votes yesterday.
"And that's a lot," says Elections Commissioner Fran Thalmann. That write-in for DeMars, who had nearly 1,000 fewer votes than four-term incumbent Supervisor Steve Levine, says as much about how Fallsburg is changing as it does about the race. DeMars wants a building moratorium in this town where thousands of homes are proposed. "It's out of control," he says.
Fallsburg might be an old Catskills town with worn bungalow colonies and new second-home developments for ultra-Orthodox Jews from Brooklyn. The eastern Sullivan town might also be a patchwork of hamlets including thriving Hurleyville, the only district DeMars won, and Woodridge, Woodbourne and South Fallsburg, which are jammed in the summer and empty the rest of the year. But Fallsburg is also a town of mountains, lakes, waterfalls and fields that's a magnet for developers, who crave its sewer and water lines.
This is why controlling growth is a top issue for DeMars supporters – even in this town where some 40 percent of all property is tax exempt. "People are really scared of the development," says Joan Thursh of Woodbourne. "They distrust that there's no plan, and they're scared of all the summer people."
Ann Finneran of Hurleyville agrees. She sells real estate, "so you'd think I'm someone who wants more homes." But when she checked the new development of 110 homes in Hurleyville, she saw a grove of antique apple trees destroyed – and the landscape gone. "We need to reign the growth in," she says. Finneran was unsure how to vote until she saw a letter from Levine that accused the DeMars group, FallsburgWatch, of anti-Semitism – a charge DeMars vehemently denies. She learned that a bloc vote of ultra-Orthodox second homeowners backed Levine. She chose Demars.
Levine dismisses the vote as "not much of a message. If it was over 1,000 … " He also says that DeMars had his own bloc, from the SYDA ashram. DeMars sees the vote as a signal.
"They (DeMars supporters) see what Levine calls good growth, and they don't want more of it," he says, referring to hundreds of homes planned for seniors near Morningside Park and for the ultra-Orthodox near South Fallsburg.
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 2:17 PM


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