BY CAROL MCILMURRAY
RAMAPO- William Weber (R ) and Michael Specht (D) are now the front runners for becoming the next supervisor of the Town of Ramapo.
Michael Specht is presently Ramapo Deputy Attorney and in charge of handling zoning and permits of the town. AttorneyScott Goldman previously opposed Specht for the democratic nomination; Goldman has since pulled out of the race due to health issues.
Weber, a certified public accountant and resident of Montebello, has been involved with Ramapo politics as an advocate seeking fiscal reform and transparency during the Christopher St. Lawrence administration. Weber is running with an independent coalition comprised with a democrat and independent for Town Council. Grant Valentine (D), Trustee for Chestnut Ridge and Rockland Community College, and Shani Bechhofer (I), a former high school Judaics teacher and principal, are running with Weber for town councilmembers on the “A New Direction for Ramapo” ticket.
Sam Molik, campaign manager for “A New Direction for Ramapo” says, “What is unique about this ticket is the independent coalition that crosses party lines and is focused on transparency for all contracts, including zoning and appeals board giving 60 days notice before any hearing.”
Weber said in a statement to the Rockland County Times, “If you are tired of the constant negative news coming from the town of Ramapo then I encourage you to come on board to support a New Direction for Ramapo…Only when we, as a town, come together to overhaul our government from the bottom up will we recover a sense of honesty and pride that Ramapo rightly deserves.”
Michael Specht will be running for Supervisor on a ticket with interim Supervisor Yitzy Ullman (D) and David Wanounou (D) running for town council. Fred Brinn, former mayor of New Hempstead, is running for Highway Department. Ullman assumed the supervisor’s post after Christopher St. Lawrence’s conviction May 19 for federal fraud charges.
Ullman is only seeking to retain his Ramapo town council seat this election. This is Wanounou’s first run for elected office.
Specht has been a Ramapo Town Attorney for 20 years and worked in the District Attorney office from 1990-1993. Specht also served as acting Justice in Hillburn. Specht plans to step away from his private practice with Ira Shoeps if elected.
Specht said in a statement to Rockland County Times, “This election marks the beginning of a new era for our town. We are fortunate to live in one of the most diverse and vibrant communities in the country. If we want Ramapo of tomorrow to continue that tradition, we must work together to move our entire community forward.”
Councilman Pat Withers said he’s not seeking re-election to the board after voluntarily cooperating with the FBI and testifying in court against St. Lawrence at trial. Specht said they do not have any public events on the calendar yet, but plan on adding some dates soon.
A New Direction for Ramapo will hold a NAACP Candidate Debate and Forum at Louis Kurtz Civic Center on Sept 7 at 6 p.m.