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Hospital Expansion Foes Endorse Killion, Aronsohn and Shinozuka for Council

No candidate with the blessing of Concerned Residents of Ridgewood (CRR) has lost an election.

Three candidates just received what could be a big boost to their election hopes Monday with the endorsement of Concerned Residents of Ridgewood (CRR), a grassroots group wary of Valley Hospital’s expansion aims.

According to a statement released Monday night, the organization has endorsed incumbents Mayor Keith Killion, Councilman Paul Aronsohn and newcomer candidate .

“Voters must go to the polls on May 8th, and vote for candidates Killion, Shinozuka and Aronsohn, who are the only candidates to consistently, publicly say that ‘Renewal’, as proposed and approved by the Planning Board, was wrong for Ridgewood,” said Pete McKenna, .

According to McKenna, the decision to endorse the trio was made after the group conducted interviews on a range of topics with the candidates. The list included taxation, the state of the business district, land-use development, Graydon Pool and other hot-button issues, the group said in the statement.

“To those who think we are one-issue people, ask the candidates how well prepared we were on all of these topics,” McKenna said. “While our primary concern as CRR is the balancing of resident needs against Valley’s desires, we are Ridgewood taxpayers and residents too and would only endorse candidates we feel will serve Ridgewood well for years to come.”

Sitting incumbents Killion and Aronsohn didn’t shy away from voicing concerns with Valley’s latest expansion effort, . Both were part of the that would have allowed for a 100 percent expansion of the facility on Van Dien and Linwood Ave. proponents of the plan have said is critically needed given the challenges in health care. 

The grassroots group credited Killion with effectively running the "H-Zone" hearings over the fall, a stark contrast to those of the planning board the year prior.

“This contribution during Mayor Killion’s current tenure is a vital legacy of the current Council," McKenna stated. Aronsohn, the group said, asked "pointed and critical questions of the experts,” a factor in the decision.

Similarly, Shinozuka has repeatedly stated she has had concerns with the size and scale of the project during her campaign. CRR said her opposition to the large expansion, as well as experience on the planning board were key reasons she was endorsed.

Shinozuka was appointed to the governing body after it , effectively kicking the hospital’s $750 million proposal .

Though no new plans have emerged since the , because the planning board master plan amendment remains on the books, a future council could pick up the pieces and reverse the decision.

Aronsohn has publicly called for the planning board to rescind the measure it passed last year. However, sources said the planning board would prefer to wrap up its and has made no movement to rescind the amendment to the master plan. 

Recent history shows those endorsed by CRR have a clear edge in elections. No candidate – – have suffered a defeat at the polls with an endorsement from the CRR.

The group says that's not necessarily a good thing.

“Ridgewood voters have elected every candidate that has been endorsed by CRR, but nothing would please us more than to be irrelevant in future elections," McKenna said, adding it's the group's “sincere hope" this is the last election Valley's "business desires" are put to a voting test. 

The other council candidates were unlikely to pick up an endorsement given their positions on the issue, or in the case of , his lack of a stated position. Pucciarelli, the planning board vice chair, has recused himself from the Valley hearings and said he’d do the same should he be elected to the council. 

, active with the Valley Hospital Auxiliary, has been outspoken about her hope to see a different look for Valley’s aging plant in Ridgewood.

, who lives on nearby Emmett Place, too has said Valley needs a major modern overhaul and he would support such a change.

Elections take place May 8. Three seats are up for grabs, each with a term of four years.

About the town April 24, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Aronsohn is asking people to vote for himself, Albert Pucciarelli, and Gwenn Hauck. Knowing Hauck's history of supporting Valley's full expansion plans and past position as an officer of the Valley Auxiliary, many CRR supporters are already saying they will "bullet vote" for Killion and Shinozuka only or add a third person other than Aronsohn.
Relgado April 24, 2012 at 02:11 PM
And she's back on the Patch. Can someone find her answer to the question raised on her voting participation. Was there ever an answer?
Dan Gergoslow April 24, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Aronsohn has already voted against expansion and he's a good member of the council The question is whether or not electing the entire slate of endorsed candidates will not only prevent expansion, but are also strong enough to lead our village for the next four years. Aronsohn has shown you how he votes and I believe he deserves to be re-elected. Choose your candidates on whatever criteria you wish. However, keep in mind that Aronsohn opposed the expansion. If you are a single issue voter than you know the endorsed candidates will support your cause. To not vote for Aronsohn because other candidates he wants to see elected should have no bearing. Vote for the people who support your cause.
About the town April 24, 2012 at 03:01 PM
A single vote doth not a belief make. The other four Council members were voting No; a single Yes vote would have made no difference. This could easily have been a political ploy, recommended by White Horse Consultants, to bring CRR around, and it worked. Or maybe it was sincere. Not convinced. Nor does it necessarily mean a deeply felt antipathy to major building--maybe the 100% increase was too much, but 85% would be okay.
Dan Gergoslow April 24, 2012 at 03:11 PM
There are a number of unknown factors. Five people are on record as having cast a vote against expansion. The candidates running for the seats haven't ever cast a vote on this issue as a member of the council. All the candidates have had to go on the record regarding their position on expansion. Has Aronsohn changed his position? If not, than I don't think it's right to single him out as a soft vote on expansion. Do you know something the rest of us don't? Did Aronsohn endorse candidates with Valley expansion as his key consideration or are other factors at play? The point is actually moot. If you're a single-issue voter you've been given an endorsed slate of candidates who will oppose expansion. Voting that slate accomplishes your goal. Don't support the non-endorsed candidates (including the ones Aronsohn wants to win). Seems pretty simple to me.
About the town April 24, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Building trades like construction--right? How about those three huge proposed apartment buildings, too? http://theridgewoodblog.net/village-council-elections-is-village-councilmen-paul-aronsohn-a-union-shill/ Is Paul Aronsohn Village councilmen a union shill? In a recent letter to the Ridgewood News , Paul Aronsohn was called the ‘sole voice of reason’ but one look at past political contributors to Paul an it raises more questions than it answers and perhaps sheds some light as to the on going feud with Village manager Ken Gabbert. Readers wonder if Paul is really the sole voice of municipal unions not reason and continue to speculate as to his real political agenda. Paul Aronsohn (D) Political Action Committee Total Contributed Teamsters Union $10,000.00 Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $10,000.00 United Auto Workers $6,500.00 Carpenters & Joiners Union $5,000.00 American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic Employees $5,000.00 National Air Traffic Controllers Assn $5,000.00 Sheet Metal Workers Union $5,000.00 Laborers Union $3,500.00 AFL-CIO $2,661.00 American Federation of Teachers $2,500.00 Operating Engineers Local 825 $2,500.00 Plumbers/Pipefitters Union Local 475 $1,000.00 Service Employees International Union $1,000.00 Plumbers/Pipefitters Union Local 274 $1,000.00 Plumbers/Pipefitters Union Local 9 $500.00 Operating Engineers Local 542 $250.00
Dan Gergoslow April 24, 2012 at 03:28 PM
So are you saying he secretly supports the expansion, will try to get other pro-expansion voices on the council and then vote for it to provide payback in the form of jobs on the expansion project to union workers for their campaign contributions?
About the town April 24, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I'm saying it's not out of the realm of possibility and something to consider. A "rally" was planned for Paul Aronsohn, Gwenn Hauck, and Albert Pucciarelli as a TEAM until negative feedback caused it to be canceled before the date was set. Would a true "CRR believer" ally himself with candidates who have powerfully pro-expansion views?
Dan Gergoslow April 24, 2012 at 03:40 PM
This is a relatively small town. Why not put the question to Aronsohn instead of engaging in speculation? You have your question and he's easy to contact. If fails to offer an answer that's his own fault. If he hedges or gives you the wrong answer you'll have your answer as well. Rather than speculating why not get a direct answer? Do you know of a third candidate running who would also oppose expansion? If so, why didn't that candidate get the CRR endorsement?
News Man April 24, 2012 at 03:54 PM
So much for non-partisan politics. Valley remains an issue still, why? Which candidates will seek a solution? Is CRR leadership just another candidate with a different hat and hidden agenda?
Ridgewooder April 24, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Excellent! Now I know who not to vote for.
About the town April 24, 2012 at 04:18 PM
CRR apparently felt its hands were tied by the "No" vote. Many would disagree. There may be no third passionately anti-full-expansion candidate. That's why some will "bullet vote" for Mr. Killion and Ms. Shinozuka, who have not hesitated to make their positions clear. Returning the mayor to the Council is essential, and bullet voting helps to do that. Valley remains an issue because the recommendation document from the Planning Board was never rescinded and could be dusted off by a new Council with different ideas. There is no point in asking directly a person whom the late Annie Zusy called "a snake" after working with him for a year and a half. Spin, spin...White Horse Consultants to the rescue.
About the town April 24, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Just saw this on Ridgewood Blog (excerpt; it won't all fit in comment box): http://theridgewoodblog.net/aronsohn-ridgewood-clearview-cinema/ Clearview Cinema Warner Quad in Ridgewood selling out to Aronsohn!! Against their own company directed guidelines of inappropriate advertising, Clearview is allowing Councilman Aronsohn, the Liaison to the Chamber, to advertise a political spot on their marquee. When contacted Clearview Corporate said they would contact local theater about the violation. It should also be noted that Village Code 190:122 is also in violation. Wonder if the sign police will be going after a sitting council member or just brushing it under the rug. http://www.clearviewcinemas.com/screenvision.shtml Update: "I was told that the local manager made a mistake and the sign would be coming down; Paul will receive a full refund. The sign violates Clearview Cinemas’ policy against political signs. Honest mistake by the local manager.”
jp1 April 24, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Why vote for these people if it is only about one issue?
Long Time Resident April 24, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Killion is a bad choice! He tells you one thing and does another. He gave in to Union Officials and now we have multi-year contracts with pay raises for unions well above what is reasonable. He refuses to answer phone calls and emails. We need council members that are NOT a one trick pony (Valley Hospital) and Killion is a one trick pony.
Dan Gergoslow April 24, 2012 at 04:38 PM
So if I'm reading you correctly, you'll vote for the two definite "no" votes and someone other than Aronsohn's because you don't trust his "no" vote? Given that you are posting further down about the Cinema advertising, it appears to me that this as much about your opposition to Aronsohn as it is about your opposition to Valley expansion. In fact, your opposition to Aronsohn seems be more important to you than stopping the Valley expansion because six candidates are running, two are strong opponents to expansion, Aronsohn has voted against expansion in the past and has the CRR endorsement and the rest are either pro-expansion or are not being forthright about their intentions. Are you willing to vote for a "yes" vote to keep Aronsohn off the Council?
About the town April 24, 2012 at 04:41 PM
There is one "umbrella" issue: what happens to our town. It is already changing, but how much and how fast? As residents, do we want a gigantic hospital in a hospital zone? Do we want one, two, or even three enormous new apartment buildings downtown, where people are already being hit by cars incredibly often, but whose would-be builders keep saying the tenants "wouldn't need a car" because they'd be near the train or bus? Do we want Graydon maintained properly as a beautiful municipal amenity enjoyed for many generations, and for people (including Aronsohn) to stop trying to mess it up purportedly to make money for the town (after paying off a multi-million-dollar bond) or for personal glory? It's more about an attitude and an understanding than a single issue. Admittedly, that can be hard to figure out. The voter's job is not a simple one. Maybe that's why so many people fail to vote; turnout is often pathetically low--in last week's BOE/budget election, only 16.3%! And that's a percentage of REGISTERED voters. Shockingly, one of the main reasons many "candidates' petitions" (allowing them to run in the first place) are rejected at Village Hall is that the signer has never registered at all. It's frankly easier to vote on a single issue. The proposed hospital expansion became significant enough to sway many votes for several elections. As CRR hopes, it needs to go away, but Valley's heels are in the sand.
Relgado April 24, 2012 at 08:27 PM
You ask the candidate a question after her own post celebrating her CRR endorsement and her celebration post gets deleted! This morning a post that started "I've admired CRR from the beginning for their definition ..." was here. I posed a simple question (public record and easily provable information so be careful with your answer) and her post is magically deleted!!! Just go here: http://ridgewood.patch.com/users/jane-shinozuka to see at least part of it.
News Man April 24, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Thank you Roberta Sonenfeld for your views expressed here. Lumping a blanket support as expressed here by the editor of the Patch topic here and the negative editors of Blog sites is inappropiate also. Readers can think for themselves when they review the history of a candidate's history in the Village.

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