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Fear Mongering Ahead in Congressional Race and More Local Stories

The view from Hook Mountain on Saturday afternoon, October 22. (Photo by Alex Kratz)

This week in the Villages: We dig into the recent controversy surrounding a race-baiting, fear-mongering mailer sent out to Rocklanders last week. Plus, more local news, your weekly weather prediction, health updates, upcoming meetings and much more!

The Lead: Fear mongering is an old, stale campaign strategy

Attack ads are nothing new to American politics.

In many ways, our country was built on them.

If you pay an extra shilling for that cup of Earl Grey, good sir, you will be locking the shackles around your own wrists and throwing the key into the Atlantic Ocean only for it to be swallowed by a Leviathan, thus ensuring your enslavement through the echoes of eternity.

And so on and so forth.

Still, it’s getting bad here in Rockland, where the war of the words (and mailers) in the 17th congressional race — our only such race in Rocklandia — is turning back the clock to some of the worst, most egregiously racist attack ad campaigns we have seen in the past half century. (See this News 12 story or this forum wrap-up from LoHud’s David McKay for more.)

Recently, Democratic and Republican campaigns have both bombarded residents with mailers attacking candidates, hoping to inspire fear, and therefore votes, from their base.

It often works, and comes, from both sides of the aisle.

In an effort to fire up pro-choice voters in the wake of the monumental Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney’s campaign has mercilessly gone after his Republican opponent, local assemblyman Mike Lawler, for his party’s stance against abortion rights and access.

In a recent debate, Lawler says he opposes a nationwide ban on abortion and is in favor of allowing exceptions for rape and incest. But the fear of lost reproductive rights is founded.

Republicans in Congress, spurred by an emboldened army of pro-life advocates, do not appear content to let states decide abortion access.

With a Republican house majority, a bill banning abortion nationally could very well be put up for vote in the next two years. Would Congressman Lawler buck his own party, which is increasingly opposed to any kind dissent amongst its ranks? It’s a legitimate question.

Meanwhile, a Political Action Committee dedicated to electing Republicans took the lowest shot of the campaign, on behalf of Lawler, with a recent mailer linking Maloney to cash bail reform efforts.

The mailer calls Maloney “radical” and depicts three pictures of three black men — one wielding an ax, another in a mug shot, and another man in a hoodie — who were, according to the mailer, released because of Maloney-supported bail reforms here in New York.

The connotations with this ad are not only misleading, but racist and fear mongering.

They are also straight out of the preface to the Republican campaign playbook. It was the exact line of attack (see Horton, Willie) that many credit with punching George H.W. Bush’s ticket to the White House in 1988.

It’s blatant race baiting that plays into our worst, most-outdated stereotypes and is designed to stoke the fears of white swing voters, of which there are at least several here in Rockland county.

Given the chance to condemn the ads, at a recent candidates’ forum and also when asked by reporters, Lawler took a pass.

Instead, he pointed out that his campaign didn’t pay for the ads.

Sure, technically speaking, a campaign is not obligated to control those crazy “independent” PACs — but that doesn’t mean you should be cool with them, especially when the explicit aim of this type of the racist fear mongering in question is to help you win an election.

I don’t know about you, but I think we could use less fear mongering and more debate about real issues facing us.

(Note: If you find anything this egregious or worse, please let us know: info@nyacknewsandviews.com)

We will be following up with Lawler and Maloney and this race in our next edition of the Villages.

Stay tuned …

Quotes of the Week

“Mike Lawler’s friends put out a mailer with only African Americans and people of color on it and showed every kind of horrible crime. It’s the classic Willie Horton technique, to scare people.”

Sean Patrick Maloney in a recent candidates’ forum for the 17th Congressional District

“Mr. Aldridge [the NAACP leader who criticized the mailer] certainly knows me and he has my number and if he felt so strongly about this, he could have picked up the phone and called me, as opposed to putting out a political statement in coordination with Sean Patrick Maloney’s campaign.”

Mike Lawler in the same candidates’ forum after declining to condemn or address the content of the mailer

Clips of the week (For the Redhawks, its Friday night lights, but Tuesday night victories)

Under Friday night lights, Nyack High School’s football team fell short to Brewster in its last chance to land a victory this season.
Meanwhile, the Nyack High School girls’ volleyball team notched a 3-0 win over Tappan Zee last Tuesday in one of the team’s best performances of the season.

In other relevant news

  • A couple of weeks ago, we published a story about the dangers of the “forever chemicals” in Rockland’s drinking water. Sean Patrick Maloney, a candidate for the 17th Congressional District, is clearly reading Last Friday, Oct. 21, e toured Nyack’s water treatment facility and held a roundtable to discuss concerns and solutions. Yes, it’s clear a campaign move. But it’s still the right move.

ICYM NNV’s weekly features: Bill Batson’s latest “Nyack Sketch Log”, Mike Hays’ most recent “Nyack People & Places”; and our coverage in last week’s “The Villages”. If you haven’t read it yet, please check our vision for the future of Nyack News & Views and how you can help build our coverage and capacity.

Weather prediction

Relatively warm, cloudy wetness early in the week will give way to cooler, clearer, sunnier days for the weekend. [Click here for the National Weather Service‘s latest 7-day forecast for the Nyack area.]

Covid Update

Severe Covid cases and hospitalizations in the greater Nyack area have risen slightly in recent days. Due to this increase, as of Oct. 24, the CDC is now classifying Rockland County as a “medium” Covid threat level. 

  • The county is reporting 2.33 gross hospitalization per 100,000 people (up from 2.02 on 10/11)
  • Hospital capacity, however, is not threatened.
  • A total of 30 people (last updated Oct. 24) in Rockland County are currently hospitalized for Covid related issues; 15 of those patients are symptomatic.
  • With four new departed souls recorded recently, Rockland’s Covid-related death total now sits at 1,220.
  • To find out what case and hospitalization trends look like in your town, click here.
  • Here’s the CDC’s data on Rockland.

Testing Info

  • More than 82.4% of eligible people in Rockland County are vaccinated with at least one dose. To schedule an appointment for a 1st dose, 3rd dose (for immunocompromised), or booster COVID-19 vaccine from any Rockland County Department of Health Clinic visit rocklandgov.com/departments/health/. To search for additional COVID-19 vaccination opportunities nearby visit vaccines.gov.
  • Find a COVID-19 testing site near you, by visiting coronavirus.health.ny.gov. Individuals who have questions regarding eligibility or access for testing should call the New York State COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or visit the NYSDOH website covid19screening.health.ny.gov.

Village updates

Nyack

  • Here’s the list of all upcoming meetings posted for the Village of Nyack. The Board of Trustees meets on Thursday, Oct. 27, from 7:30 – 10 pm. According to the agenda, there will be talk of fees, parking fees, residency requirements for village attorneys, a Head Start application for a Depew building, and more fun civic discourse!
  • Drop off humanitarian aid for victims of the war in Ukraine (, including first aid, painkillers, blankets, baby food, diapers, non-perishable food, antibiotics and more, at Village Hall, 9 N. Broadway (or at the Orangetown town hall, 26 W. Orangeburg Rd.).

Upper Nyack

South Nyack

  • Due to reader request, we have re-added South Nyack, which dissolved as an official village earlier this year. Please send us info about what’s going on in South Nyack at info@nyacknewsandviews.com.

Orangetown

Clarkstown

  • The Technical Advisory Committee, which “evaluates the technical adequacy of land development applications and decides their readiness for Planning Board review,” meets most Wednesdays, including this Wednesday, from 10 am to noon, in the town hall’s Historic Map Room.
  • For a calendar list of all Clarkstown meetings and events, click here.

Other Local Updates

South Nyack advocates have filed a petition with the town of Orangetown seeking to show support for a new Elizabeth Place Playground — the grassy play area and dog park just south of 87 and right off the Esposito trail. After South Nyack dissolved in March, the town found the playground equipment at Elizabeth Place was unsafe and not compliant with ADA regulations and removed it. A new ADA compliant park has been proposed and advocates want to see the proposal approved and implemented. Click here to read and/or sign the petition.

Nyack Schools

Rockland-wide

Rockland County Voting Guide:

Find out whether you’re registered and where you’re going to vote by clicking here.

Here’s a link to all of the candidates you will have the option of voting for.

Locally, in Rockland, we should be paying close attention to the following races:

  • The heated NY-17 congressional race to replace Mondaire Jones between Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney (formerly of the NY-18) and Republican Mike Lawler (who currently represent the state’s 97th assembly district, which includes part of Nyack). Keep scrolling below to watch a video of what I believe is their first live forum appearance together, hosted by the League of Women Voters last week. NY-17 is Rockland’s only congressional district and the House will be decided by only a handful of competitive races, including this one. (Homework for all Rocklandians: watch this forum!)
  • The 38th and 40th state senate districts
  • The 96th, 97th, 98th and 99th assembly districts
  • Several village and town trustee and council positions
  • A Ramapo town justice seat
  • Those are your most local offices, but don’t forget about state-wide races for governor and senate.

(Homework: figure out which senate and assembly district you live in and which candidates you have the option of voting for. Google them. Go to their websites and social media sites. Find out what they’re all about and how they will represent you.)

A look at the new proposed Rockland County legislative districts:

The proposed Rockland County Legislative District Map
The current Rockland County Legislative District Map (since 2012)

A rare polio case was recently discovered in Rockland County. Here’s some info on how to protect yourself:

  • New Yorkers can pre-register for a free polio vaccination appointment here or call 845-238-1956 to schedule. Walk-ins will also be accepted.
  • Vaccines are also available through local healthcare providers, including Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  • For more information on polio including symptoms and spread, visit NYSDOH’s page here.
  • New Yorkers can learn more about the polio vaccine available in the U.S. at CDC’s page here.
  • The Reviving Rockland Restaurants Grant Program will reimburse businesses between $5,000 and $25,000 for past expenses or fund future expenses for eligible outdoor dining COVID-19 mitigation equipment. Eligible entities include restaurants, food stands, food trucks, bars, saloons, lounges, taverns, bakeries, delis, cafes, breweries, wineries, and other similar places of business. For more information and to download an application visit rocklandgov.com.
  • Fill out this survey to help the county provide better digital services.

Connect with Nyack News and Views

Note to readers: We want to hear from you and welcome your input! What do you think we should be covering in your Rockland County village? Let us know at info@nyacknewsandviews.com. Send us story ideas, issues to investigate, letters, reviews, photos, videos, feedback and news tips. And read about our vision for delivering high-quality, hyper-local journalism and how you can help us fulfill our mission going forward.


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