Monday, July 16, 2018

Movie Theater To Close in Unincorporated Greenburgh

ELMSFORD, N.Y. — News has just come out that the Greenburgh Multiplex Cinemas movie theater will close down in 2019. A lawyer representing the owner of 320 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford announced to local officials that the Greenburgh Multiplex Cinemas’ lease would not be renewed. The lease will expire May 31 next year.

Local officials were told that the theater has had a steady downturn in attendance and profits which has been experienced locally and follows regional trends. Critics of most of the movie theaters bemoan several causes for the decline, which include online movie availability services, cost of tickets, lack of good-content movies, rude and noisy patrons who spoil the movie experience for others.

Other retail businesses in the shopping center remain unaffected, at least for now, by this announcement and are not aware of any possible new tenants for the property. Zoning for the 10.5-acre property is currently for retail stores, fully enclosed commercial recreation, restaurants and cinemas.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Blaming Others For Administrations Failures

Isn’t it interesting that when there’s something that Mr Feiner fancies, finger-pointing becomes his latest exercise regimen? In a recent email, it is hard to keep track as he sends so many, he complained that there aren’t enough bicycle lanes and walking areas on West Hartsdale Avenue. So, in an interview with News12 reporter Sarah Toland, Mr Feiner again decided to pick and choose the latest controversy: this lack of sidewalks on West Hartsdale Avenue - not everywhere else in the Town that he is responsible for, just West Hartsdale Avenue.

The reason for Mr Feiner to highlight this “issue” is, ahem, pedestrian safety for those walking on West Hartsdale Avenue, which falls under the onus of NY State, is so he can afford to be critical knowing it will be of no consequence and yet garner positive publicity for himself. While pedestrian safety on most of our roadways is a serious issue, most roadways that are Town-owned lack the proper sidewalks required to maintain a modicum of pedestrian safety. Clearly, with 24 years at the helm, Mr Feiner has had ample time to address the sidewalk deficit throughout the Town yet has chosen not to. But, as is so aptly quoted in the hallways on Hillside Avenue, “Why fix it when we can talk about it!” Or, the other saying is, We seem to care.

And talk about it he has! In fact, while the Town has passed a law that all developers must create a sidewalk in front of a property they are developing, no laws have passed mandating sidewalks in any other part of Town. This is why there are often so many “sidewalks to nowhere.” One claim by Mr Feiner is that there is no money for sidewalks in the budget. Perhaps that is true. But before the 2% Tax Cap limit gave him the excuse he now uses to say, "No!" to residents’ requests, it could be because he was found guilty of discrimination in Federal court for violating the rights of the Fortress Bible Church from developing their property for a church and school. Found guilty of lying under oath, destroying evidence and several other counts, he single-handedly is costing the Unincorporated Town of Greenburgh residents $6.5 million in fines! While he told taxpayers not to worry because the insurance policy the Town had would cover the fine, he was wrong again*. Apparently, when you lie under oath and are found guilty in Federal court, the insurance company does not have to pay the entire amount. We do.

While always branding himself as the “Problem Solver”, it seems he only solves problems that he has had a hand in creating and knows he can undo (or blame someone else for). Anytime any individual, group, student association or Brownie troupe can elicit a sympathetic ear, the current Town Board remains affable, congenial and yet provides little beyond an empathetic sounding board. As always, they would love to meet with the party(s) after the meeting to further discuss their concerns. And while we can never positively know, we wonder if this seasoned Board already knows Mr Feiner's signal or buzzword to refuse them, adjourn or move to the next issue. We're sure you're familiar with the signal in The Sting where the con artists rub their nose with their pointer finger. Et tu?

Where else would sidewalks be a significant safety addition to the Town? Several years ago a group of Westchester Community College students spoke at a Town Board meeting requesting sidewalks along Knollwood Road and Grassland Road to be able to safely walk to the bus stops or the Valhalla train station while attending the college. They even had a sign that stayed propped up in the lobby of Town Hall - that is until it had served out it's media life for Mr Feiner - that drew sympathy for the student's sidewalk cause. The result of all of the fawning over these few college students? They probably went on to graduate or transferred to a college with safer walking conditions - but no sidewalks ever materialized or were built by Mr Feiner and crew. Safety isn't really a priority in Greenburgh, as witnessed by the lack of police patrols in most neighborhoods.

The Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations (CGCA), along with the Fulton Park Civic Association, Broadview Civic Association and others has requested sidewalks on Old Kensico Speedway, Hillside Avenue, Knollwood Road and other numerous well-trafficked pedestrian thoroughfares. And regardless of how needed these could be for those forced to walk, especially at sunrise, dusk and nighttime, their safety only accounts for a few votes that are expendable if lost. After all, Mr Feiner and his Board's real donations and political influence come from the bigger bankrolls, usually those who have homes, cars and donate.

But still no sidewalks. Instead of coming up with a, ahem, comprehensive plan for sidewalk development throughout the Town, Mr Feiner would prefer to point fingers at the untouchable and immovable State Department of Transportation. They won't do anything for the same reason he won't: it requires real effort and money. And there is money out there for sidewalk development. It's just that Mr Feiner and his minions choose not to apply for it. For if they applied for it, they would have to do something with it should they get awarded the funds. That too would muck everything up and require valuable resources that are needed to pay guilty verdicts and fines. Imagine how many sidewalks could be built with $6.5 million?

Finally, Mr Feiner is famous for throwing out unsubstantiated numbers like spaghetti on a wall and waiting to see what sticks. Here again he claims thousands could bike and walk to the Hartsdale train station if these sidewalks were built. We seriously doubt its thousands. But then he says if they don't have the money for sidewalks, they should extend the shoulders - in effect building a sidewalk. If they don't have the money for one, why would they have it for another? It's just political doublespeak. And, it's a shame the News12 reporter bought into this lie. But she's only doing this as a stepping stone and told to cover these types of events. Besides, Mr Feiner is a master at media manipulation and she won't be here long enough to learn this. It's time for a change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.
* One million dollars was all that was paid by the insurance company.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Fireworks Fiasco Eludes Safety

Many people have commented that they have witnessed fireworks for sale in almost every retail store they go into. Local firefighters and police officers are also confused. Some that we've spoken to have claimed that they too have seen and even purchased fireworks, believing that they are now legal since they are being sold in stores throughout Westchester County.

While residents are now able to purchase fireworks legally in Westchester County, there is still some confusion about which ones people can buy and just as importantly, if it's legal to use them or shoot them off? Certain types of fireworks can be sold in New York to those 18 years of age or older, but according to New York law, the ones for sale are “sparkling devices.” These are what is commonly referred to as simply sparklers.

The law passed in 2014 and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, a democrat, lets retailers sell the small fireworks from June 1 to July 5 and December 26 to January 1 each year. Similar to tents and stands seen in other states, some even along the roadsides, temporary stands or tents can get a NY State permit to sell the sparkling devices from June 20 to July 5 and December 26 to January 1. According to the State's definition, sparkling devices are ones that burn on the ground and do not explode in the air.

A 2016 law decided that if a particular County wanted to “opt out” of selling fireworks, it would have to formally do so. Westchester never did opt out, allowing sparklers, fountains, cakes and tubes to be legally purchased. To that end, the Westchester County Association of Fire Chiefs, the Westchester County Volunteer Firemen's Association and the Westchester County Association of Fire Districts petitioned County Executive George Latimer as well as all County Legislators to have Westchester County "opt out" of this law, stating among other points that these devices are extremely dangerous burning at temperatures from 800 to 2,000 degrees!

In response to the letters sent, County Legislator Williams responded. An excerpt from her response clearly indicates that profits over safety were paramount for the legislators. Here's a portion of her response, "I have discussed your request, for Westchester Co. to opt out of the sparkler law, with my colleagues and some vendors in the area. It seems that it is too late to opt out now, due to the nearness of the July 4th Holiday, most vendors have already ordered their supply. However we will consider doing this next year, early enough to notify all involved.” A second legislator we discussed this with said she wasn't even aware of the "opt out" provision. In a subsequent meeting with County Executive George Latimer, he assured us that the County Attorney will be drafting a bill that will be introduced after the July 4th Holiday and he assures us that he will sign it.

While doing this after the July 4th Holiday may be the proverbial closing of the barn door after the animals are out, the attitude at the County Legislature appears somewhat apathetic. At least we can hope that no one gets injured during the highly anticipated use of these easy-to-come-by fireworks. It now comes down to each municipality as to whether or not they are legal to be used. So, even though you can purchase them, you might not necessarily be allowed to shoot them off! We urge you to check with your respective municipality's building and codes department or police department to find out wjhat you can and cannot do with fireworks.

As always, please stay safe this July 4th and enjoy the holiday, keep an eye on your kids and when in doubt, err on the side of caution and don't use any fireworks.

For those who prefer to write letters or call their legislators, please use the following information:
Your Legislator Name
Westchester County Board of Legislators
Michaelian County Office Building, 8th Floor
148 Martine Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601

(914) 995-2828
(914) 995-2810
(914) 995-2847
(914) 995-2848
(914) 995-2827
(914) 995-2834
(914) 995-2802
(914) 995-2833
(914) 995-2812
(914) 995-2817
(914) 995-2826
(914) 995-2821
(914) 995-2837
(914) 995-2815
(914) 995-2830
(914) 995-2829
(914) 995-2846

Sunday, June 17, 2018