Residents of Valley View speak out

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To the Editor:

We the residents of Valley View resent being sold with the mansion. We resent being treated like the slaves under the rule of the Roman Emperor and thrown to the lions for the entertainment of the courts. We resent being treated like the serfs during Medieval times who worked the lands and gave the bounty to the mighty landowner and yet had no food to feed their starving children.

Be that as it may, the reason for putting Valley View to a sale is much circumspect. In no way is Valley View responsible, at this time for an alleged $60 million unproven deficit nor is Valley View alone responsible for the downgrade of the infamous Moody's Triple AAA rating.

The honorable county executive, Steven Neuhaus, ardently campaigned on "transparency" during his tenure. I have yet to see this, but am instead seeing just the opposite: more and more closed door meetings, special committees with absolutely no accountability, and "friends" appointed everywhere. This is not acceptable by any means as a standard for running a clean county.

We, the residents, do we have any civil rights, did we ever have any rights once we entered into a long-term facility? We receive a $50 stipend per month to pay for minimal sundry items. It is not the Valley View it once was, we have had to make sacrifices. But we have saved precious dollars under a new administration, we have undone the horrors of OAS. But still we are told it is not enough. What is “enough”? When will it ever be “enough"? Haven’t we given enough? How much longer must we mentally suffer the anguish of the unknown?

Do the people residing in Valley View have no legal voice in deciding their own fate? Do the taxpayers of Orange County have no recourse to decide where and on what their tax dollars are spent, or for their future health care needs when the day comes that they or a loved one needs the excellent care Valley View provides? Or will they be turned away and sent 100 miles away to another county?

There is no guarantee, even now, that Valley View, once sold, will remain viable for an indefinite amount of time and eventually be closed at the discretion of the new owners. Mr. Neuhaus can say it as many times as he wants, but Valley View is not like Ulster County, Valley View will never be like the other for-profits regarding equal quality of care. There is no comparison. And until the day that this county executive "walks" into one, he should remain silent on the subject. He should also stop making promises he cannot keep — again stating the residents of Valley View will always have a home. Should the day ever come that it is sold, he will have nothing to do with any decisions, and again he should remain silent. His comments are pure blasphemy.

There must be some way to discover the truth behind the real reason for the sale of Valley View. In 1831 the land was deeded to the residents of Orange County — not to be a business but to be a service for the people. Valley View will be sold with 29 acres. The remaining acreage is to be sold to a developer, possibly a major campaign contributor, for senior housing, low income housing, and condos. Only time will tell.

But right now the residents of Valley View have achieved victory. Judge Elaine Slobod has issued her decision in favor of the lawsuit filed on behalf of the residents and staff by Michael Sussman, Esq. Of course the suit will be appealed, but this is a major coup that justice has prevailed and will continue to do so in the future.

I am therefore, asking all of the taxpayers of Orange County to attend every meeting and let this administration know that the public is watching and that every seat that is filled is a taxpayer who does not intend to be mislead by lies and half-truths. This is your right, your choice and hopefully for the future of your children who will also be tired of paying the salaries and benefits of men/women who do not take their oath of office seriously and are having a "good old time" at your expense. How many breakfasts, lunches and dinners can they attend instead of doing the job they were elected to do — honestly and morally.

Ann-Marie Fitzpatrick


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