Albany, NY - Jaffee Casts Doubts On Eligibility Of Private School Voters In East Ramapo School Board Elections; Goldfeder Calls Remarks “A Disgrace”
Albany, NY - The controversial exchange on the Assembly floor two weeks ago about the legitimacy of votes cast in the May school board election in East Ramapo continues to be a topic of discussion, as residents of the embattled district demand an apology for what they deem to be a slight on Orthodox Jewish voters.
The comments in question occurred on June 11th as Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder of Queens questioned Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee who represents portions of Ramapo and introduced a bill calling for a state appointed monitor to oversee the district’s largely Orthodox and Chasidic school board.
Asked if the school board was elected fairly Jaffee responded, “The results are up obviously because of the large community that the school board represents, not the public school community. They vote for the school board ... they do. It’s a large private school community that votes for the school board, the school board is overseeing a public school.”
Goldfeder noted that the school board was elected by a significant margin in the most recent election.
“But they were not elected by the public school sector,” said Jaffee.
“Were the voters who voted in this past election which took place in May, were they registered voters in the State of NY?” asked Goldfeder.
“It’s questionable,” replied Jaffee.
In an interview with VIN News, Goldfeder admitted to being astonished by Jaffee’s remarks on the Assembly floor.
“In the questions leading up to the ‘It’s questionable’ statement, her true feelings started to come out,” Goldfeder told VIN News. “She spoke out how ‘those people’ turned out for the election, how they continue to come out. It seems to me that she has some bias that has nothing to do with education.”
Goldfeder noted that Jaffee’s remarks were clearly not directed at private school parents in general.
“She started to generalize but I think she was generalizing about a certain religious group and it is a group that she doesn’t want to see succeed,” said Goldfeder. “While were discussing the anti-BDS resolution a few days later, I sit a few seats away from her, and I could hear her grumbling under her breath. Clearly her bias is more than about this one issue. There is more there and it is unfortunate that in this day and age people can’t be more accepting.”
A statement released this week by Jaffee suggested that there was misinformation circulating about the exchange, something Goldfeder called “a blatant lie.”
“I have seen much of the information circulated and it has been truthful and quite frankly, it clearly portrays her true feelings and her bias against a certain group,” observed Goldfeder.
Jaffee’s statement, released on June 23rd, said that debate about her ‘It’s questionable’ remark has distracted the public from the real issue of ensuring that public school students are given a quality education as guaranteed by the Constitution.
“I am pleased to have one of the most diverse districts in the statement which has allowed me the opportunity to develop productive relationships with the communities and constituents I represent,” reads the statement. “I will continue to address the concerns that are brought to me.”
Goldfeder, who does not live in East Ramapo, said that as a taxpayer and a private school parent, he believes that he has a right to be fairly represented and that Jaffee is failing private school parents in East Ramapo.
“It is easy to say I represent all the children when you are ignoring so many of them,” said Goldfeder. “Ellen Jaffee has chosen to neglect a significant portion of her constituents and not only is it wrong, but it is a disgrace. I think her true colors came through and it is a very sad day that members of the Assembly can carry themselves with such a bias.”
An online petition that was started two days ago demanding Jaffee’s apology or resignation currently has 274 votes.
A spokesperson for Jaffee said that the Assemblywoman declined to comment further on the matter at this time.
Watch below Jaffee’s comments on the Assembly floor. starting at minute 02:05
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