Chester officials never pushed back when supervisor made anti-Semitic comments at board meetings

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To the Editor:

In your edition of September 21-27, 2018, you reported the condemnation of Mr. Jamieson’s comments by Mr. Valentine and the other three Town Board members. The Valentine statement is a misrepresentation. He and the other Board members have all been party to a series of blatantly stereotypic and anti-Semitic statements repeated at Board meetings by the Supervisor and none has condemned those comments or had the courage to say anything in response.

The Supervisor’s comments (and I have the clips of all of these) have included such remarks as the Hasids do not care about Chester or any community in which they live, that once four Hasids buy property in the Greens at Chester, no one else would want to live there and anyone who bought there would lose the value of their investment and that Hasids own all the land between Monroe and Chester along Route 17M.

In response to each of these bigoted comments, made at Town Board meetings, not one of the Town Board members who now condemn Jamieson’s reported comments spoke up. Not one and not once.

I agree with those who state that Mr. Jamieson’s expressions represent the misguided sentiments of many, not the isolated or extreme views of our Town Supervisor. But, that does not make these views tolerable. Indeed, they are intolerable in our society.

We have to examine our values very carefully and deeply. I hope this episode provides a teaching moment for all concerned. We have to create a Chester where all can live together, where people reach out across all lines and we do not accept the notion that any sub-community is reserved for a specific group based on race, religion or otherwise.

Michael H. Sussman


Editor's note: The transcript of Jamieson's comments in the clips provided is given below:

"You still have KJ buying a lot of property in the Town of Monroe. If you look there is a development behind ShopRite, there is a development across the street from the high they look everywhere. You talk to people who work for the county and they’ll tell you that they’re around the records office all day long looking at properties, looking at foreclosures, and, you know, a lot of them have real estate backgrounds, and are real estate investors, so a lot of them, that’s what they do. It’s no surprise that if you drive from Monroe to Chester, they own probably every single, or most of the buildings, from where Lakes Road is, coming through, including ShopRite. They own every single one of those shopping centers, and then every building, almost all the buildings along 17M, so they’re not going away."

In response to a question about how a segregated community can go forward:

"I said it a hundred times, they’re going to market the properties on the MLS. Anybody can do in there and buy. But they’re also selling to the Hasidic community too as well. So anybody who wants to go in there can buy. Go ahead. But you know what? Let’s be real here. If they have four-story units in that development and they sell them, and there are open houses, or not open houses, but model houses, and there are four Hasidic families living in those houses, who’s going to buy a house in there? Everybody keeps talking about....This whole thing, it drives me nuts because....yes....again....if you want to buy a house in there you can go in and buy a house. But who really wants to buy a house in there? We have to be real with this. If you to sell it, the only people who want to buy a house in there....are not going to pay the market value. You’ve got to be real with this. I’m not trying to beat anybody up. But that’s the reality. "

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