I will challenge Valley View decision in court
Democracy is undermined when newly elected officials make major decisions which violate the pledges they have recently made as candidates. The failure to keep promises abets the deeply held cynicism which causes people not to participate in elections or in the political process between elections. This public withdrawal, of course, is exactly the opposite of that needed, but, regardless, we see it repeated over and again.
During the 2013 election, Steve Neuhaus and every other Republican legislator promised to maintain Valley View as a county-owned facility. This was consistent with the legislature's 2014 budget which fully funded Valley View through that fiscal year. Indeed, our county legislature did this to give the new administration at Valley View more time to "right the ship" and change practices which had caused substantial operating deficits. The new administration has succeeded in significantly reducing operating deficits; yet, last month, hiding behind some newfound overall budget deficit, Mr. Neuhaus again targeted Valley View for closing.
Through the legislation passed last night, the county legislature (by a 12-9 nearly party line vote) has created a local development corporation to close Valley View. The legislation explicitly removes the decision to retain or close Valley View from the County legislature and places it in the hands of an unelected seven-member board to be dominated by county executive appointees. The hand-writing is on the wall — Valley View will be closed.
At public hearings last week, many who reside in Valley View explained how this three-year-old process has adversely affected them — how would you feel if your very home was constantly under threat and you could not control, in any meaningful way, whether you could remain or not? Add to that the lack of good options for Valley View residents and we have created an immoral uncertainty, hardly a way to honor our seniors, including the scores of veterans at Valley View.
I have pledged to exhaust available legal recourse and to challenge this decision in Court. To that task, I now adjourn.
To our local county legislator, Mr. Vero, who supported this terrible decision, I hope you hear loudly and clearly from your constituents — this is not what you were elected to do.
Michael Sussman, Esq.
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