“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
Aney Paul appears to be a lost cause as a Rockland County Legislator, as she continues to duck and evade taking a stand on any issue that actually requires an opinion. The most recent example of this despicable behavior involves the Pascack Ridge development project. This project was previously believed to come within one block of the legislative district she is supposed to represent. That belief was wrong; the project is actually IN Ms. Paul’s district. However, that fact seems irrelevant to Ms. Paul, who neither attended the Town of Ramapo meeting on January 15th where the matter was discussed, or issued a statement on whether she is in favor of or against the development. As usual, Ms. Paul either cannot develop an opinion or is purposely trying to hide her opinion from the public. I’m not sure which is worse. In either case, Aney Paul is unfit to continue on as a Rockland County Legislator beyond the expiration of her term in 2015.
Since this is not the first time I have written about Ms. Paul, I believe I should make it clear that I have nothing personal against her. By all accounts, she is a very nice, kind and likeable person. I believe she cares about others, as is evidenced by her focus on health-related matters and her community involvement. However, her inability or unwillingness to take a stand on any issue proves she should not be holding an elected office of any kind. She may be a good person, but she is a disaster as a legislator.
I believe the majority of the people who voted for Aney Paul in 2011 had higher hopes for her. She wasn’t viewed as part of the Ramapo political machine. People thought they’d get an independent thinking, moderate Democrat into office, but the reality couldn’t be farther from that expectation. Ms. Paul votes with the Ramapo agenda right down the line. There is no evidence of any independent thought from her whatsoever.
Back in early November, I repeatedly emailed and called Ms. Paul through any address or number I could find for her asking her to state her positions on both the county budget and the Pascack Ridge development project. Other residents that I know did the same. Week after week went by without a response and when we all finally received the same boiler-plate form letter, Ms. Paul still had nothing of substance to say. In the Brega Bus Giveaway, Ms. Paul claimed to be researching the matter, but never actually stated her position. She voted for the nearly $4M giveaway the first time and was saved from likely doing so a second time when the matter was removed from the agenda.
Ms. Paul kept her opinions on the 2015 county budget under wraps until AFTER the vote. Once the budget was passed, she posted a statement on her Facebook page linking her rejection of Ed’ Day’s budget and her approval of the legislature’s version to the need to protect the residents of Rockland from terrorists and by politicizing the deaths of the two South Nyack Police Officers killed in the Nanuet Mall Brink’s robbery of 1981. She seemed very proud of her newly discovered opinion on the budget AFTER the vote was taken. What I think of her actual vote is irrelevant, because the greater issue is that Ms. Paul fails to comprehend that it is completely unacceptable and pointless to express her views AFTER an issue has been resolved. Ms. Paul is now headed down this same path regarding the Pascack Ridge development.
In mid-November, Ms. Paul finally wrote me back regarding Pascack Ridge, but it was a political textbook example of how to say something without really saying anything at all. She stated that while this was not a “county” matter, it was of “interest” to her constituents. Therefore, she had reached out to the supervisors of both Clarkstown and Ramapo, and the county’s Planning and Drainage Departments. She expressed her “concern” about the congestion and overcrowding in the area, especially in terms of the impact on the environment considering that the area is already prone to flooding. Ms. Paul had already set up a meeting with some residents in the area. Ms. Paul assured me that she would “continue to monitor this important issue and gather all the facts.” Apparently, that process is still underway. What were the results of your meetings, Ms Paul? What conclusions have you come to on the matter? Where do you stand on this issue that will set a clear precedent for spot zoning throughout the Town of Ramapo? This is IN your district, Ms. Paul. Your constituents are the ones that will be affected the most. Legislators Carey and Hofstein stepped up at the January 15th meeting to oppose this for them. The Town of Clarkstown had Republican Councilman George Hoehmann and Democratic Councilwoman Shirley Lasker there to express their opposition. You were nowhere to be found.
On this and other issues, I’ve contacted Ms. Paul privately. I’ve written open letters to her encouraging her to change course and be more open and forthcoming about what she believes. The Clarkstown What They Don’t Want You to Know facebook page openly challenged her to express her opinions on the Pascack Ridge development. She failed to respond. Aney Paul still does not get it. She seemingly believes that her designation as a Democrat with the support of the Ramapo political machine is all she needs to continue to occupy a seat in the county legislature. Sadly, she may very well be correct in that conclusion. The onus is on the people to vote her out, but Ms. Paul has a voting bloc behind her that likely prefers her silence and complicity regarding their agenda. I believe a vote for Aney Paul in November is a vote for Ilan Schoenberger and the bloc vote agenda.
My conclusion is that Aney Paul is not capable of providing the leadership and decision making skills needed to be an effective legislator. Her favorite response to questions on important issues is that she is researching the matter. Unfortunately, that research never develops into a position that is stated before there is an actual vote on the issue. Another favorite is that the issue is not a “county” matter. She has since shown a willingness to write the governor to oppose clemency for Judith Clark. She has written to the governor asking for support in child-proof caps on liquid nicotine bottles. Both were worthy causes, but how can she claim those were “county” matters, but the Pascack Ridge development is not?
In Aney Paul’s world, it is best to keep her constituents in the dark for as long as possible. She has turned off the lights on us. I suggest we turn the lights off on her legislative career at the ballots in November and bring in someone who will operate in the light of day. At this point, I’d prefer anyone to Aney.
You see as Martin Luther King Jr. said: “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”