Kiryas Joel administrator to County Executive: 'It's time to stop using KJ to climb your political ladder'

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Dear County Executive Neuhaus:

I have noticed the political campaign ad in (The Photo News, Oct. 27)), I have also watched your debate conducted by the Times Herald-Record, as well as read your statement to the TH-R reporter in the sewer story printed last week. It is clear that you are using the Orthodox Jewish community of Kiryas Joel as a political tool to climb your political ladder to victory, similar to what you did four years ago.

Your strategy is clear: inflame the masses against the Orthodox Jewish Hasidic Community (under the code word "KJ") and then channel the angry voters to vote for you as the rescuer from KJ.

In the dark four years you have served as County Executive you have assembled and headed a coalition of local municipal neighbors of KJ to fight and litigate annexation, water pipeline, water wells and sewer, all for the single intent to choke off the land, sewer and water supply to KJ so the housing growth in KJ comes to a complete hold.

In the course of the three years of your anti-KJ growth litigation crusade, the housing market in KJ was devastated, shortages caused sale and rent prices to climb drastically, as a direct result massive KJ overflow to Woodbury and Blooming Grove began, whereby hundreds of KJ desperate families panicked and started leaving KJ in droves and settling in Woodbury and Blooming Grove at a rate never seen in the 40 years history of KJ.

Now at to close of your first term, and after millions of taxpayer dollars spent by all involved municipalities, the only thing you can show to county residents is a bunch of court loses by the county and your municipal coalition partners. Your anti-KJ coalition hasn't had a single court victory in all your litigation.

You lost it all.

The annexation case we won.

The pipeline case we won.

The sewer case we won, and now the Cornwall well case we won.

You have nothing to show for your investment, and you have shown no leadership in bringing communities together to sit around a table hammering out differences.

Instead your failed strategy was constant litigation. I begged you multiple times "let's sit down" but you refused. You never even tried.

One clear thing to show on your resume is the hundreds of KJ families now residing in Woodbury and South Blooming Grove and the blurring of all political and communal lines and the political ramifications of it, which will probably be felt for generations to come.

But after all the history of failure you haven't gotten the lesson yet. You keep on running your political campaign for reelection on your failed anti-KJ platform. It's time to shut up on your anti-KJ rhetoric. It's time to stop using KJ to climb your political ladder. It's time to stop to inflame the county masses against the KJ residents. It's time to bring people and communities together for the long term benefit of the county instead of only looking for your selfish short term political interest of the next election.

Gedalye Szegedin

Kiryas Joel Village Administrator

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