An open letter from the publisher of The Photo News

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Dear readers,

We’re not going to try to tell you which way to vote; only asking that you do vote next Tuesday on Proposition 4.

The decision about the whether to create a new town called Palm Tree is important.

The leadership of United Monroe, Kiryas Joel and county and state elected officials say creating a new town that includes Kiryas Joel plus an additional 220 acres of Monroe will solve a lot of problems.

Detractors label it a “back room” deal that was too quick in the making. They question the numbers and say the estimates which show that the costs associated with the new students in the 220 acres would far exceed the loss in revenue of the tax base fails to take into account any growth.

They say that water and sewer issues, long a challenge in Orange County, aren’t being addressed.

They argue that there needs to be a comprehensive plan, rather than a “quick fix” for the next 10 years.

Supporters of the legal gerrymandering argue the creation of the Town of Palm Tree surgically carves the largely block votes of Kiryas Joel out of Monroe politics. And aligning school district boundaries with the new town line keeps separate and distinct the Orthodox Jewish and secular educational priorities and control of the schools and allows them to operate free of interference one from the other.

Advocates also say that given the rapid population growth of Kiryas Joel, this is the best solution to a looming crisis.

You decide what is right for our future.


Jeanne Straus

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