Stop The Political Thuggery! Monticello Village Trustee's Car Windshield Smashed In Driveway.

I call on law enforcement to stop the political thugs who have been harassing me and my family.

This morning we found our car's rear windshield smashed by an octagonal paving stone. The interior of the car was also damaged.

A brief report of the incident on the website of the Times Herald-Record is headlined Monticello trustee's car window shattered by stone; police looking for suspects. Hopefully, publicizing this crime will help the police identify the culprit.

Later in the day, the likely source of the stolen stone was identified as a construction site at 32 St. John Street, a few blocks from the Mayor's home on Clinton Avenue, which was reported to the police who are continuing to investigate. The stone was evidently taken from the construction site and carried across the Village to our residence with the deliberate intent of targeting my husband and me.

According to county records, the construction site at 32 St. John Street is owned by Rental Inc., which is principally owned by Brian Amiel. Is it coincidence that the felon who has been targeting ethnic minorities and political enemies for hate crimes around the Village chose this particular property to victimize by criminally trespassing and stealing paving stones? Does the have an axe to grind there too?

In a letter last year dated February 5, 2008, Mr. Amiel specifically ordered then Deputy Village Manager John Barbarite, "not to enter in or on to any of my propertis without prior notification to my attorney."

Contacted by phone on February 22nd, Mr. Amiel said he sold the St. John Street property about a year ago to Dino Rossi. On March 10, 2008, Mr. Rossi is quoted in board minutes as saying he was "indicated that he [was] proud of the Village Board" for firing Barbarite, citing similar experiences as Mr. Amiel.

These stones, neatly piled on his construction site at 23 St. John Street, are unusual in appearance, and are precisely the type the one that was used to attack my car.

Dutch Versa-Lok paving stoneAccording to its packaging, the octagonal red brick used in this hate crime was evidently imported from Branchville, New Jersey, where they manufactured by CST Pavers as part of the "Dutch Stone series" product line. To seriously investigate this felony, police should contact the manufacturer to determine whether these unusual stones have been sold to anyone else in Monticello.

Mayor Gordon Jenkins' and appointed Trustee Theodore Hutchins' silence in response to this incident has been notable. If they were not directly involved themselves, I would ask them to effectively use their connections in the community to aid police in identifying and holding the criminal(s) accountable.

The campaign of T.C. Hutchins, who is running for Village Trustee against Republican/Conservative/Independence challenger Kieth Rieber, is managed by Barbarite, just as Barbarite managed the Jenkins campaign last March.

This latest attack is part of a pattern of political harassment, coinciding this same week with the publication of two newsletters styled The People's Voice, published by disgruntled and twice-fired former Village Manager John Barbarite. Both newsletters attacked me by name. Also this week, a political button appeared my personal Trustee's mailbox warning, "SHUT UP CARMEN!" with insulting and racist imagery.

These hateful publications originated directly from members of the Hutchins campaign.

Barbarite is the same fellow who was reported under oath by a career Sullivan County employee to have attributed the deterioration of his neighborhood on Cottage Street to the influx of "Spics".

Very few people have access to Trustees' mailboxes at Village Hall, so the list of possible suspects who could have placed these items there is very short. I can say with absolute certainty that they were not put there by Deputy Mayor Schoonmaker or Trustee Marinello. Who does that leave?

As one of the only Latinas (if not the only) elected official now serving in Sullivan County, as the only woman on the board, and in light of published attacks against me for voting my conscience and speaking out on the web opposing unfair extra trashes collection charges against Landfield Avenue Synagogue and the temple's rabbi sought by the Mayor and his relative, Trustee Hutchins, I consider this assault on my home to be a hate crime.

My husband and I are grateful for Monticello police officers' work to investigate this incident. As of February 23, 2009, the case has been reassigned to the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department for investigation.

Monticello is on its way to becoming a lawless community. I was elected to serve until 2012 and my resolve has been strengthened to continue to do the right thing for Monticello, to improve conditions here. I support support law-enforcement in their efforts to catch and prosecute criminals. This incident has helped me make up my mind to run for re-election in 2012 and serve the community at least through 2016.

Added to the above, during September board meeting Mayor Jenkins physically bumped my husband in an attempt to cause a confrontation. Tom asked Jenkins if he was trying to knock him down. Jenkins replied, "If I wanted to knock you down, you'd still be lying there." He repeated this aggressive statement to a reporter the next day (link).

We all know where all these attacks are coming from. It's time for law-enforcement to reel in the thugs. There is no excuse for leniency.

To be clear, we have never said Barbarite, Hutchins, or Jenkins threw a brick through our windshield. We have said they are bigots, as shown by the literature they produce and the things they say.

The brick speaks for itself.

"Unanimously Approved On A Roll Call Vote" Means All 5 Members Were Present And All 5 Voted Yes

The Rules of Procedure of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees have been in effect for many years. Section 6 says:

"An abstention, silence or absence shall be considered a negative vote for the purposes of determining the final vote on a matter. A vote upon any question shall be taken by ayes and noes..."

A photocopied newsletter published by John Barbarite called The People's Voice, circulated around the Village today, attempts to rationalize the anti-Semitic arguments of the Mayor and his right-hand-man and puppet, T.C. Hutchins at last month's meeting, claiming that I made an error when I stated (see below) that Trustee Gordon Jenkins was present and voted "Yes" on June 18, 2007 to benefit his relative, Mr. Hutchins.

The minutes are unclear about the time during the meeting when Trustee Jenkins walked into the room. But the explicit report that the vote which financially benefited Hutchins was "unanimous" means Jenkins was present (assuming, of course, the minutes are correct).

On June 18, 2007, either Trustee Jenkins arrived late for the meeting and the Village Clerk failed to note it in the minutes, or her record of the outcome on the resolution is wrong where it says the vote to give Mr. Hutchins a break on his water bill passed "unanimously".

Does he now wish he recuse himself because of his family relationship to Mr. Hutchins? It's too late.

Mr. Barbarite is the core of the Hutchins campaign, hoping to get his job back yet again after having been fired twice by the Board of Trustees in the last two years -- first for referring to his neighbors on Cottage Street as "Spics", then for a host of other reasons.

If Trustee Jenkins truly failed to attend the June 2007 meeting, the minutes are in error where they say Mr. Hutchins' was "unanimously approved". But is there a difference? Either way, the minutes are wrong, but the financial benefit to (and hypocrisy of) Mr. Hutchins is the same.

In the minutes of the next meeting, July 9, 2007, it was "unanimously approved on a roll call vote to adopt the minutes of the meeting of June 18, 2007 as presented."

Once again, "unanimously approved" means all were present and all voted "Yes" -- 5 to 0. There can be no other meaning of "unanimous" under the Village Board's own rules of procedure.

This example illustrates why it is important for members of the Board of Trustees to correct errors in the minutes before voting to approve them. If Mr. Jenkins truly didn't bother to attend the meeting that night, as he now claims, he obviously couldn't have voted to benefit his relative, Mr. Hutchins. However, the minutes themselves (which he voted "Yes" to approve at the following meeting) show otherwise.

It's time for Monticello to move on from the childish bickering and attack politics of the Jenkins/Hutchins/Barbarite era. It's time to stop the insanity and to politely show Mayor Jenkins' hand-picked relative, Mr. Hutchins, whom Jenkins appointed to the board last April, the door.

The People's Voice, published by John Barbarite

Anti-Semitic Bias Vs. Synagogue And Rabbi; Or Just Hypocrisy?

Mayor Jenkins and his family have repeatedly alleged that the Board of Trustees fired the former Village Manager, John Barbarite, because of anti-Black bias. This is patently absurd and divisive, in part because of Mr. Barbarite's history of blatantly racist remarks about a number of ethnic groups, according to the sworn testimony of multiple plaintiffs and credible witnesses.

Evidence recently came to light that Landfield Avenue Synagogue and the residence of the temple's Rabbi were consistently being overcharged for trash pick-up fees with knowledge of the former Manager and present Mayor. When the Department of Public Works was asked to investigate, career employees determined that an overcharge had occurred. A recommendation was made that the overcharge be reversed. Monticello attorney Henri Shawn appeared, pro bono, representing the temple, asking for a reasonable reduction in the penalty charges for the incorrect bills which had piled up. Trustees Marinello, Schoonmaker, and I agreed.

Trustee T.C. Hutchins and Mayor Gordon Jenkins argued visciously against the adjustment on the wrongful fees fees, each of them making long speeches attacking the synagogue, the Rabbi, and even brings an unrelated Jewish bungalow colony into the discussion.

In my view, this is simple anti-Semitism, which does not suprise me because I have experienced anti-Latina racism from the same men, as well as the former Village Manager. Mayor Jenkins and Trustee Hutchins had no reason to bring the bungalow colony into the discussion. The matter on the agenda pertained only to the overcharges and penalties against the Landfield Avenue Synagogue and the Rabbi's home.

There is also an element of hypocricy at work. In 2007, Mr. Theodore Hutchins appeared before the Village Board of Trustees, hat in hand, begging for an adjustment of his water bill. There appears to be a double standard with Mr. Hutchins, as evidenced by the following resolution from the minutes:

MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2007
* * *


Ted Hutchins explained that he is challenging the determination of the sewer charges that he was billed since the charges are for filling his pool. He noted that last December he received $1,400 water/sewer bill and was advised to speak with the Water Department regarding these charges. The Water Department informed him that the reason for the high bill was because the water department had been unable to read his meter in two years and this was an actual reading. He has since had a remote meter installed to allow the water meter reader to get a reading without entering the building. He is requesting the penalty fee in the amount of approximately $200 be waived.

Water Superintendent Clarence Decker explained that he that two year time period the meter reader had left postcards in his doorway so he could read his own meter and mail back to the Village at no charge to him. He explained when someone fills there pool in the summer the homeowner needs to make a request to the sewer department to adjust the water used for that purpose only, and the bill will be corrected. He did not feel any of the extra water usage comes from filling his pool, even if it was three times last summer.

Trustee VanDermark felt the penalty amount should not be removed only the amount due the for the pool fill.

A motion was made by Trustee Marinello, seconded by Trustee Schoonmaker, unanimously approved on a roll call vote to reduce the amount owed on Utility Account 2736 be reduced to $103.59.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES RULES OF PROCEDURE: "Section 6. VOTING. Pursuant to Village Law each member of the Board shall have one vote. The Mayor may vote on any matter but must vote in case of a tie. A majority of the totally authorized voting power is necessary to pass a matter unless otherwise specified by State law. An abstention, silence or absence shall be considered a negative vote for the purposes of determining the final vote on a matter. A vote upon any question shall be taken by ayes and noes, and the names of the member present and their votes shall be entered in the minutes."

Sullivan County Action Toward Independence Opens Agency Offices On Broadway In Monticello

On January 8th, Action Toward Independence opened a new office at 209 Broadway, Monticello. Pictured above is the grand opening and official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

ATI is part of the New York Association on Independent Living. The local chapter was established in 1988 to serve Sullivan and Orange County residents by representing and advocating for the rights, needs and viewpoints of people with disabilities; empowering them to control the direction of their own lives, choosing their goals, plotting their course and taking responsibility for their actions and the results.

The above video combines clips of New York Senator John J. Bonacic and Assembly Member Aileen A. Gunther who spoke at the grand opening ceremony. Video and photos by Carmen Rue and others.

A Quorum And A Minyan Light Broadway's Menorah As Hanukkah Ushers In Holiday Spirit

Menorah lighting in ront of Sullivan County Court HouseMembers of Monticello's community united to celebrate the start of Hanukkah on December 21st with Rabbi Benzion Chanowitz of Landfield Avenue Synagogue lighting the menorah in front of the court house, knee-deep in snow.

Rabbi Chanowitz related the story of the Maccabees' heroic stand against tyranny and the miraculous enlightenment of liberty's defenders, a parable for modern times; tossing chocolate gelt to children and adults alike and sharing jelly rolls.

Four members of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees (Mayor Gordon Jenkins, Deputy Mayor Scott Schoonmaker, and Trustees Carmen Rue and T.C. Hutchins), Village Manager Zachary Kelson, County Court Judge Burton Ledina, and Thompson Justice Martin Miller, and a diverse score of participants danced, sang traditional songs, and united in celebrating the victory of Light and freedom over darkness and slavery.

Grateful Village Highway Workers Collect Non-Perishable Foods For Local Food Pantry

With the current state of the economy and the status of the diminishing funds for the Sullivan County Federation of the Homeless food pantry, The Village of Monticello Highway Department has begun collecting for donations of canned or dry goods to the benefit of needy families in our local community for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday.

Highway Department workers Billy Masters and Bonnie Carnell started this collection in the department's break room. "But if we can expand the efforts all the better. The idea is catching on with Village workers from all departments," Ms. Carnell wrote.

Toys are also being collected!

Members of the public are invited to drop off non-perishable food items and toys at the Village of Monticello Highway Department, at the rear of Village Hall, 2 Pleasant Street, up until November 25, 2008.

All food and toys collected will be taken to the Federation for the Homeless Federation pantry and other appropriate organizations, on November 26 2008.

Honoring Sullivan County's Veterans

Posted here is copy of the printed program and a video clip of local music teacher Lori Orestano-James leading a crowd gathered this morning in the national anthem during a Veterans' Day ceremony at the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello.

Sullivan County Beauties Are Crowned

Monticello Girl Is Miss Sullivan County Pre-Teen

Rules of Procedure of the Village Of Monticello Board Of Trustees



The Board of Trustees shall hold regular meetings on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month. Such regular meetings shall commence and be conducted in the meeting 7:00 pm at village hall. Any deviation of the foregoing shall be determined by the Board of Trustees.


Four Hard-Working Citizens Honored In Monticello

Monticello Trustees Victor Marinello and Carmen Rue, Sen. John Bonacic. Photo by Tom Rue.

Pictured (right to left): Trustee Victor Marinello, Trustee Carmen Rue, Sandra Cuellar Oxford, Damaris Rundle, Marta Mangual, Marco Bocanumenth, Mayor Gordon Jenkins, and Trustee Theodore Hutchins.

In commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month, at the request of Monticello Village Trustee Carmen Rue, four local residents received proclamations and personalized certificates of merit and appreciation from Gov. David Paterson (D-NY), Senator John J. Bonacic (R-C, 40), and the Village. [CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS]


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