Kiryas Joel Split, Diluting Voting Impact

Posted on 06 November 2014 by Josh Green

RecordOL
By Chris McKenna
Times Herald-Record
KJKerenPlaza

Men stand outside Keren Plaza Banquet Hall, Kiryas Joel’s polling station, on election day. The village’s opposition party took stances different than that of the village’s main faction in close elections for Congress and Assembly and the Monroe Town Board race.

Kiryas Joel’s voting blocs played a significant role Tuesday in close elections for Congress and Assembly and in a Monroe Town Board race won by a candidate representing the United Monroe citizens group.

But what complicated their impact was that the village’s opposition party, which commands the smaller of Kiryas Joel’s two blocs, took stances different than that of the village’s main faction in each of those races. Most notably, its support for United Monroe’s Town Board candidate, Dennis McWatters, sidestepped the village leadership’s feud with United Monroe and helped the citizens group notch its first victory in a town race.

In a press release afterward, the opposition party, known as the Kiryas Joel Alliance, explained that it supported McWatters partly to extend an olive branch to the rest of Monroe, but also because of positive interaction its members have had with McWatters during his tenure on the Monroe planning and zoning boards. David Falkowitz, an Alliance board member, said in the release that McWatters had “proven himself to be a fair and true professional.”

“The second reason for voting for Mr. McWatters is to tell our neighbors that here is a group in Kiryas Joel who wish to live in peace with their neighbors,” Falkowitz said. “We believe that this is the beginning of a new era in the Town of Monroe where dialogue and open communication will be the order of the day for the betterment of all the residents.”

The Alliance said it brought out 1,843 votes for McWatters, who beat Democrat Blanca Johnson, 7,540 to 4,431. Kiryas Joel’s main political party, Anash, had backed Johnson. The two candidates were competing to serve the remaining year of the term councilman seat Harley Doles vacated in January after being elected town supervisor.

Kiryas Joel’s two parties also split on the unresolved Assembly District 98 race, with Anash endorsing Democrat Elisa Tutini and the Alliance supporting Republican Karl Brabenec. Tutini leads by 10 votes in unofficial machine counts, with absentee ballots yet to be counted.

Anash supported Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and claims to have sent 3,846 votes his way, more than his 2,790-vote victory margin. The Alliance made no endorsement in Maloney’s rematch race against Republican challenger Nan Hayworth.

cmckenna@th-record.com

– See more at: http://www.recordonline.com/article/20141106/NEWS/141109639#sthash.HO70Jtss.dpuf

 

 

Editor’s note:  This dissonance stands in stark contrast to the rare and uninhibited display of unity in the Orthodox Jewish communities of Borough Park & Flatbush this Election Day 2014

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