'All of our hard work has paid off'

| 21 Sep 2017 | 01:40

    History is about to be made, again, in Monroe.
    On November 7th, the culmination of all of the work of United Monroe will pay off.
    You, the Monroe voter, will be able to cast your vote for political separation from Kiryas Joel.
    We got here because of thousands of hours of volunteer activism.
    We got here because I, and many others, stood up in 2012, started attending Town Board meetings, and exposed the KJ elected Town Board members for what they were ... puppets.
    We educated the people of Monroe about the lack of representation those of us outside of KJ were experiencing in Town government. We created our own, non partisan bloc vote and ran candidates on the independent United Monroe line.
    We installed candidates on the Town Board, and we have staved off the 507-acre annexation with litigation.
    All of this activism, by your fellow volunteer citizens, led to Kiryas Joel filing a petition to separate in the fall of 2016. KJ wanted to take 382 acres with them. United Monroe stepped up and said, "separation is a great idea, but 382 acres is too much."
    I stepped up along with Mike Egan and John Allegro. We asked for a seat at the table to discuss separation, and to come up with a compromise solution. KJ leaders, after years of litigation, years of unwillingness to compromise, came to the table. Why? Because we, the activists of United Monroe, created the leverage. Kiryas Joel leadership have been inundated with bad press and annexation law suits. They want an end to it. And so do we.
    So we negotiated. And we came up with 56 acres in exchange for separation and the guarantee that the school district boundaries will be redrawn to prevent a takeover of the Monroe-Woodbury school board by parents whose children do not attend public schools. We negotiated a moratorium on annexations for 10 years.
    The Orange County Legislature voted "yes" on September 7th to allow the separation to go to a Monroe Town wide referendum.
    The next step is a vote on the back of your ballot on November 7th. Join me, and the hundreds of United Monroe volunteers, and thousands of supporters, in voting "yes" for a peaceful separation from Kiryas Joel. Separation means control over our own town board and zoning. Separation means an end to leaders like Harley Doles and Gerard McQuade who were elected entirely by the bloc vote. Separation means hundreds of us can focus on other real issues and problems facing our region, and we can use our energy for revitalizing our downtown and improving the quality of life for all of our residents.
    All of our hard work has paid off. Stay tuned for information on forums which will take place in October where you can find the answers to all of your questions about this historic separation.
    Thanks for your support over these past five years. It has been an honor to serve my community, and I couldn't have done it without the overwhelming encouragement I've received from so many.
    With sincere appreciation,
    Emily Convers
    Chairwoman, United Monroe