A Second Open Letter
To County Legislator Aney Paul
From Jeff Gillies
December 3rd, 2014
Dear Ms. Paul:
After posting an open letter to you on November 17th, 2014 regarding your silence on important issues, I was told by many people that I was wasting my time. Despite my sincere hope that you would prove the naysayers wrong, it seems they were indeed correct in their assessment. I’m now willing to go one step further and assert that your entire tenure as a Rockland County Legislator has been a waste of time for you and the citizens you are supposed to represent.
While you did eventually reply to me and at least two others on a few issues after my letter posted, I sincerely doubt that any response would have come from you had my letter not gone public. I had chased you for weeks privately and others had been doing so for months with no reply. You chose to reply privately and I will not waste anyone else’s time in publishing your responses because, in my opinion, they were all woefully inadequate.
You have been directly asked to state your opinions on issues including the New Square chicken slaughterhouse, the proposal in Ramapo that would allow for property currently zoned for medium density housing to be zoned for high density housing and the 2015 budget. You have ducked and evaded in your answers on all these matters. Instead of taking stands, you issue carefully-worded, ambiguous replies that sound good, but signify nothing. I give whoever wrote these responses credit for crafting good “politician’s” statements.
The Aney Paul game plan seems to follow a very consistent pattern. The primary goal is to remain silent whenever possible. If pressed into a corner for an opinion, you will stall and ignore people until that is no longer viable. If you are absolutely forced to respond to something, you will state that you have “concerns” and are actively “researching” the matter. You will not make a commitment to a position in any way, shape or form. You actually told me you will make a statement on the budget the night of the vote. What good does that do anyone? Is this your idea of leadership? Is this your idea of providing representation to your constituents?
Since you won’t offer anything substantial in your email replies, I tried to find information on your public facebook page, which I previously noted was largely unused. You seem to have taken that message to heart, as it has since been updated several times. Does it state your position on the budget or any other important issues? Sorry, people of Rockland, it does not. There’s nothing more than fluff there.
That left me with another dead-end in trying to find out where you stand on issues, so I went to your newsletter posted on the County Legislature website. For a point of reference, I also looked at the newsletter sent by Legislator Christopher Carey, who represents the district in which I reside. Legislator Carey’s latest newsletter tells me where he stands and what he has actually done on issues including the Tappan Zee Bridge tolls, the 2015 county budget, the sale of Summit Park Nursing Home and the proposed chicken slaughterhouse in New Square. That’s a pretty good sampling of the important issues that the people in Rockland County are facing. Carey’s facebook page highlights his opposition to the Ramapo zoning change I had written to you about. Legislator Carey answered my phone calls and emails regarding that issue and others.
In contrast, the most recent newsletter from you tells me that you reached out to get some concrete removed from a stream in Spring Valley, read to school children at Chestnut Ridge Middle School, and requested a safety study regarding a pedestrian fatality. The rest of the newsletter is on heath related issues such as e-cigarettes, West Nile virus and a health fair. There’s not anything of substance regarding any of the important issues in the county.
That lack of substance is the problem, Ms. Paul. Your term as a legislator seems to be plagued by a lack of any positions on any important issues. If you actually have any opinions or ideas, you aren’t willing to express them publicly. What’s the point of serving on the legislature if you have absolutely nothing to contribute? The most disturbing allegation that I have heard over and over again is that you don’t have any opinions of your own and merely follow wherever the Ramapo democratic machine leads you. At this point, I’m left with absolutely nothing to indicate that isn’t true.
There’s only one person who can alter that perception, Ms. Paul, and that is you. Are you up to the task, or are in you in completely over your head?
The favor of your reply is requested. The people of Rockland deserve answers, but it seems that you just don’t have any.