Sunday, March 12, 2017

Town Reacts After Screw-Up

After many battled with the Feiner Administration for over two years, the Town finally adopted a law regulating massage establishments – not to be confused with massage parlors. What’s the difference? Massage establishments offer legitimate massage and massage therapy services, usually by licensed massage therapists. There is little or no objection to these types of establishments or the massage therapists working there.

The law that was proposed initially and crafted by Robert Bernstein, after highlighting the issue of massage parlors brought to the forefront at an Edgemont Community Council meeting, was left untouched (no pun intended) by the Town Board. Despite regular discussions of the subject at regular Town Board meetings and various civic association meetings, no action was taken. Eventually, with the assistance of Mr Bernstein, a bill was introduced. Sadly, Town Attorney Tim Lewis was against it, saying he didn’t think it was legal.  In fact, before the Town Board would vote the bill into law, he altered it.

Mr Bernstein, an attorney now practicing law in Scarsdale, NY, complained about the changes, stating that they actually weakened the bill and would have a deleterious effect on the police department’s ability to enforce it. It would also not afford protection to the young women working in these locations, whether by choice or not. It has been claimed that many of these “spas” are nothing more than facades for prostitution, sex slavery, and more. By having a watered-down law such as what Mr Lewis ultimately passed on to the Board, helping these young women would be more difficult.

At the last Town Board meeting, Mr Bernstein commented that while the Town had actually passed the Massage Establishment law, Mr Lewis determined they should remain open while their appeals for being shuttered were decided. Ironically, the Town Board condoned Mr Lewis’ action by postponing the appeals process which was supposed to be addressed at that same meeting but was put off until March 14th!

A mere two days following the Town Board’s blatant disregard for the law, a hallmark of Mr Feiner’s career as Supervisor with the Fortress Bible discrimination verdict, WestHelp, Dromore Road, Frank’s Nursery, GameOn 365 to mention just a few, Mr Feiner sent out an email blast announcing that four massage establishments had been shuttered. The charges were unauthorized practice of a profession and prostitution. The first charge was based on the fact that several employees were allegedly operating as licensed massage therapists and were not. The second charge does not need clarification. These are just charges at this point and it remains to be seen if the participants are found guilty and what the punishment might be.

We still don’t know the reasons Mr Lewis did not want these massage establishments closed as each time there is a supposed discussion about his rationale, it’s behind closed doors – another hallmark of the Feiner administration’s "open government” policy. These types of discussions, along with the back room deals, phone conversations that cannot be reviewed under the Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL), and more must end. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Budget and Personnel Cuts Feed Doom and Gloom

The Hartsdale Neighborhood Association meeting recently held at the Highview School to inform people about how the impact of the Edgemont incorporation may affect them may have raised more questions than answers. It may have also inadvertently pointed to the incompetence of the Feiner administration with their cavalier approach about the Edgemont Incorporation.

During this meeting of over a hundred people in attendance, Jason Muldoon queried the crowd as to how people learned of the meeting? It seemed the majority were from the email blast sent out by Mr Feiner. That shows his power to draw his supporters in when he needs them. Many people showed up at 7PM even though the meeting was scheduled for 7:30PM. Those same people raised their hands having been notified of the meeting by Mr Feiner’s email.

Our previous article describes how Mr Feiner showed up early and was talking about the Edgemont incorporation. When asked to stop, he shouted at one of the organizers that he had a first amendment right to free speech even though she asked him to respect that this was their meeting not his, forcing Police Chief McNerney to intervene and diffuse the situation. As an aside, residents are permitted and limited to speak for 3 minutes at a Town Board meeting. If they go beyond the allotted time, or are part of the G10, he has Mr Lewis interrupt them and shut them down or they are banned from speaking, such as was done to vocal critic and resident Mr Hal Samis.

There were rumblings about the upcoming elections by some, but Mr Feiner knows it’s just talk and is not threatened. He garners 7,000 votes when he runs unopposed and works relentlessly to disqualify ballot signatures. In fact, to deny culpability, he even utilizes other Board members’ family members to do that dirty work. One time that he did feel threatened was in a debate/forum in Hastings on Hudson, a normally safe haven for him. The forum was against Supervisor candidate/challenger Robert Bernstein during a Supervisor’s race several years ago. He became rattled as Mr Bernstein threw too many truths at him and he slowly unraveled, with spittle flying from his mouth and hands shaking as he held up papers yelling, “I have proof of what I’m saying right here!” Still, he won the election, with his biggest support coming from those who he does not govern, the Villages, and those that he does, Fairview. Well played.

During the Q&A period at the end of the meeting Mr Feiner was asked what contingencies had been put in place should the incorporation happen? He said none. He was asked if he had talked to the Edgemont community about what he could do to change their minds and he said no. However, in all fairness, he had gone to Edgemont Community Council meetings with some frequency and heard regularly of complaints from their past presidents and current President Bob Bernstein. In fact, when the Town’s now-adopted Comprehensive Plan was still being developed, many Edgemont residents chimed in often complaining of misguided directions the group was favoring. More significantly, when the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee was holding hearings, an inordinate amount of Edgemont residents participated, giving feedback that was both positive as well as negative. Many believe the Comp Plan Steering Committee listened but didn’t hear what was being said. Please realize that while the Comprehensive Plan could have provided a valuable road map to the future for the Town, it became an extremely politicized exercise to the point where two of its members refused to sign off on final approval! It was adopted in spite of what many believe were valid objections.

Mr Feiner desperately needed to placate the Edgemont Community to keep them from or at least slow them from moving incorporation forward, knowing he could lose millions of dollars for the Town if they succeeded. He had already lost $1.2 million per year for the Town by illegally and intentionally breaking the Westhelp contract with the County. That source of revenue was gifted to the Town requiring minimal effort from the Town. He also cost the Town $5.5 million dollars when he was fined after being found guilty in federal court for discrimination in the Fortress Bible Church case.

He continued offering to build sidewalks in multiple locations, including Seely Place, along with others in Edgemont. What’s ironic here is that some time earlier he had visited the Seely Place neighborhood telling those residents they should not ask for sidewalks because they would be responsible for maintaining them!  In fact, he sent an accusatory letter to Fulton Park residents stating their Civic Association Vice-President asked the Town to put in a sidewalk on Old Kensico Road at those residents’ expense and maintain it - which was a lie!

While he was offering Edgemont sidewalks to get them to put their guard down and feel like he was working with them, he was secretly making backroom deals with Jim Kane of Formation Shelbourne, LLC., to build an assisted living facility on the current Sprain Brook Nursery property. The proposal is not only too large for the parcel of land they seek to build on, it requires several variances to comply with the two-year old Assisted Living law written by the Brightview Assisted Living attorneys for themselves that the Town adopted as its own. One of the variances that Shelbourne needs for this project is a 3000% variance to accommodate the requirement of being within 200 feet of a state right of way. It’s absurd to even entertain this outrageous accommodation.

At the Hartsdale Neighborhood meeting, the uninitiated took Mr Feiner at his word as being truthful when he said the Town could lose $17 million dollars if Edgemont incorporated, forcing, “Police services, um, you know taxes, uh, water rates may go up,” and, “it would require major reorganizing of the Town of Greenburgh.”(http://westchester.news12.com/news/edgemont-residents-meet-to-discuss-incorporation-1.13196407?pts=564454) . The point here is that if the Edgemont incorporation proceeds forward, several things will stay the same for Edgemont and several will change. One thing is fire protection, provided by the Greenville Fire District. Instead of billing the Town of Greenburgh for fire protection, they will bill the Village of Edgemont. Sewer districts will remain the same as will costs. Although, we’re unable to verify if billing will stay the same or change. Public Works services, such as trash and garbage pickup, snow plowing, road maintenance, etc., will change in that it will be a contracted service from the Town (according to what was said by the HNA leaders). Of course, they might be able to secure a better price and service from Scarsdale or Yonkers. However, if that doesn’t happen, and the Village of Edgemont seeks to keep the current status quo with services, the Greenburgh budget may see a slight shift, but nothing as doomsday-ish as Mr Feiner is saying. If the Village of Edgemont is able to acquire better pricing from Scarsdale or Yonkers for example or a private company such as Waste Management, then the Town’s budget might take a significant but not as crippling a hit as has been perpetuated by Mr Feiner.

While we are cautiously optimistic about how this will turn out and might change the budget and services for Unincorporated Greenburgh, it’s nice to see more people are paying attention. Several people in the audience were part of the G10. Most, however, have never gone to a Town Board meeting to see how the Town is run, residents treated and developers courted. Perhaps it’s time. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Edgemont Destiny

The evening started out as a contentious one when it was advertised to be simply one of discussion. Upon our arrival at approximately 7PM, we found Mr Feiner already engaged in conversation with another attendee regarding the Edgemont Incorporation. It was then that Karen Kelly, one of the organizers, asked him to stop “politicking”. Mr Feiner claimed he had a right to speak to whomever he pleases. She loudly told him that this was not his meeting, it was a Hartsdale residents’ meeting and he would be given a chance to speak. He shouted back that he had a first amendment right to free speech and she said he should respect that this was their meeting not his. At this point, Police Chief McNerney intervened and tried to diffuse the situation. It would have been more cordial of Mr Feiner to have respected her wishes and the organization and stepped outside to have a private conversation.

The meeting began late as the members of the Hartsdale Neighbors group that organized it scrambled to find and set up more chairs as the growing audience eventually exceeded 100 people. Three members of the Hartsdale group ran the meeting. Dan Weinfeld first explained the ground rules: this was not a night for political discussion, it was not about attacking the Edgemont group seeking incorporation and that everyone should remain civil to each other. It was an informational session. Mr Feiner would be given five minutes at the end to make a statement, as would Edgemont Incorporation member Jeff Sherwin. You may recall that Mr Sherwin made two unsuccessful attempts the previous week to deliver the incorporation petition signatures and the $6,000 filing fee to Town Hall, being told that the only person allowed to receive them was Mr Feiner - who was on vacation!

No other Town Board members were in attendance, although Town Attorney Tim Lewis and Town Clerk Judith Beville were there. There were several police officers whether on duty or as community members, one of whom asked legitimate questions. The standing room only audience remained mostly quiet, respectful of any speakers, only occasionally asking them to speak louder as there was no microphone or amplification available.

Mr Dan Weinfeld gave a brief video presentation explaining the makeup of the Town’s Unincorporated sections of Greenburgh, focusing primarily on the Hartsdale and Fairview sections of the Town. He explained the makeup of the river town villages, including Ardsley and Elmsford, populations of both the Villages and the Unincorporated Town, and the services used by all. It was a very encompassing presentation and well-received. During his presentation, Mr Weinfeld stressed that all of this information is on their website (www.hartsdaleneighbors.org) or on the Edgemont Incorporation site (www.edgemont2017.org).

After Mr Weinfeld concluded his portion of the presentation, Mr Luis Polit presented a breakdown of the financial facts of what is currently being collected in revenue to the Town, Edgemont’s portion of it and the projected changes should Edgemont incorporate and become the Town’s 7th village. Once he concluded, another of the citizen organizers, Jason Muldoon, stepped in and explained that Mr Feiner and Mr Sherwin would be speaking next, reiterating that this is not a political discussion. He also did a quick show of hands to see how people found out about this meeting. Clearly most were there through Mr Feiner’s GBList email notifications

He then offered Mr Feiner five minutes to speak. He addressed the crowded room by giving an example of a Village that had incorporated in 2010 without stating it was Mastic Beach. He then proceeded to either find fault with the Edgemont incorporation or say why it wouldn’t work. As is often the case, Mr Feiner deflected away from the topic at hand, changing his story, only to refer to his sheet of talking points to return to his reasons why the Edgemont incorporation was not going to work. After five minutes, Mr Muldoon cut Mr Feiner off, stating his five minutes were up – a bittersweet moment for those who attend Town Board meetings and are only given minutes to discuss anything in front of his Board.

Mr Sherwin was the last speaker who took the opportunity to quickly debunk Mr Feiner’s example of Mastic Beach, which had incorporated and then several years later voted to undo the incorporation. Mr Sherwin pointed out that it was not a fair or accurate comparison as the population of Mastic Beach was 12.8 thousand versus Edgemont’s 7,300 and the disparity in revenues was equally different. Mr Feiner often relies on incorrect information for shock value and doesnt often encounter immediate and correct informational challenges.
 
Mr Sherwin proceeded to read a prepared statement, thanking the Hartsdale and Unincorporated residents for allowing him the opportunity to speak. He mentioned that like the Hartsdale group, they were just a group of citizen volunteers seeking to control their community’s destiny as the Town has not worked with them multiple times, citing the Dromore Road and Shelbourne projects as two recent and drawn out examples. The focus was also not as much about saving money for Edgemont taxpayers, although that would be a benefit based on their calculations, but about their destiny, zoning and development considerations.

Once the speakers concluded, Mr Muldoon opened the floor to questions. Many of the residents seemed to focus on information as to how they would be affected financially, through tax increases and personnel cuts should incorporation move forward. One gentlemen, who is obviously one of Mr Feiner’s supporters began to raise political points and was quickly shut down. One woman asked Mr Feiner if this information was on the Town website. Mr Feiner did not directly answer her and when pushed by others who followed up said he would have to discuss it with his Board. Mr Sherwin said that the information, feasibility study and more is on the EIC website as well as the Hartsdale Neighbors website. ABG would suggest in the interest of fairness that the Town at least publish a link on the Town’s website to these other two sites.

Occasionally, a question would arise that the Hartsdale members could not answer and they were very candid and simply said so. Mr Sherwin seemed well prepared with facts and figures and offered information numerous times without seeming to be adversarial or confrontational. It was a relief and pleasant to see both sides working together even though they have different interests and outcomes at heart. Also in attendance were several people who claimed to be from Edgemont who did not favor Edgemont incorporation, including Mr Hugh Schwartz, a Feiner appointed Planning Board member. And while they were able to make their points behind their rationale, it never became a tug of war between the two factions.

Several questions were directed at Mr Feiner, asking what contingencies the Town had planned should the incorporation move forward, as it was obviously doing? Mr Feiner stated that he sent an email and snail mail out to constituents asking for volunteers to serve on a Citizen Task Force to work with his Commissioners on this. Long-time Greenburgh Central School Board President Terry Williams asked why the Town was not hiring professionals to address this. He said that that may be the Task Force’s recommendation and direction they go. Several followed up on that and asked why something wasn’t done sooner. Mr Feiner ultimately fell back to his position that he didn’t believe the incorporation would happen but never gave an tangible answer. 

In the end, this will be decided by only Edgemont residents in the Town who can vote for incorporation. Many believe Mr Feiner will increase his email blasts and snail mail mailings to thwart the EIC's efforts all on the taxpayer dime. Regardless, it promises to be an interesting ride for the next several months. While we too are anxious about how the incorporation will financially impact the unincorporated Town, we applaud both groups for their respective efforts and civility. This is what helps to make A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Town Crippled With Supervisor Gone

There’s quite a bit that must happen for a neighborhood in our Town, such as this one known as Edgemont (Greenville by some), to ultimately want to incorporate into a Village within the Town. The steps taken so far are moving that goal closer to fruition. To be candid, not everyone is a fan of the Edgemont incorporation move. Many of those opponents include Mr Feiner, and probably his Town Board – mostly because we believe he told them to be against it.

Others who have doubts have called a meeting for tonight at the Highview School, off of Central Avenue, at 7:30pm. They might have wanted the meeting at Town Hall, but you’ll recall Mr Feiner and his Town Board decided to forbid any taxpayer the use of their own taxpayer building after he allowed a Hamas organization to use it and the police had to be called in to address a Feiner-created near riot situation! What a shame that residents are treated so poorly by Mr Feiner until a reporter is nearby and he can spout his phony “open government” mantra.

Whether or not you are for the Edgemont incorporation, you can find out more information by attending the meeting to be held tonight. Ironically, Mr Feiner was away on vacation when Jeff Sherwin of the Edgemont Incorporation Committee arrived at Town Hall loaded with a 1400 signature petition and a $6,000 filing fee to initiate the incorporation process. Bereft of any real legal talent at Town Hall, many, including the legal department, chose to misinterpret the law and not allow Mr Sherwin his right of filing his petition or paying the required fee. Under the rouse of ignorance, legal technicalities or simply ineptness, the Deputy Town Supervisor, in this case Councilman Jones, was claimed to not be able to accept the petitions or fee. Town Attorney Tim Lewis said he was unable to accept them, stating it had to go to the Supervisor. And, finally, the Town Clerk, the official keeper of all documents, was supposedly unable to accept them as well. To make a play on a line in My Cousin Vinny, “Do the laws of operation cease to exist at Town Hall when the Supervisor is away?”

What this clearly demonstrates is several things. First, our Town's operation will grind to a halt if the Supervisor is out of Town, ill and not in the office, or worse. Second, if the first assumption is not correct, does Mr Feiner have his administration so well-trained (scared) that they refuse to act in his absence for fear of repercussions or retribution (read: be Sonya’d)? Third, is there no other legal recourse that this administration's minions can seek guidance from in Mr Feiner's absence should our second scenario be incorrect? With all of the back-and-forth, their refusals lessened the amount of time Mr Feiner needs to validate the signatures. And, we all know that Mr Feiner is one of the best at disqualifying petition signatures.

The last municipality to incorporate was Rye Brook in 1982. It’s not a question of why did it take so long since then? Rather, why is this happening at all? Edgemont is the wealthiest community in the Unincorporated Town of Greenburgh. For years they have butted proverbial heads with Mr Feiner and iterations of his Town Boards about how their community was treated. Or, more importantly, mistreated. They have asked for zoning considerations during stressful zoning changes and been ignored. They asked for sidewalks and were ignored - at least until Mr Feiner realized they were serious about incorporation. They asked the Town not to add a tax, oops, fee to service stations on Central Avenue and were ignored. Wait a minute... he’s done this to every community except the Manhattan Avenue section of Fairview. The difference is Edgemont has the money, talent and resources others do not have to fight him. And fight him they are!

No neighborhood should have to feel or pursue the need to incorporate to protect its residents from the politicians in charge. And yet, this is Greenburgh; often described as Bizarro Greenburgh. This helps us to understand why a neighborhood such as Edgemont would want to incorporate and get out from under the bad and costly decisions of this administration. We're sure there are other communities that feel the same way but don’t have near the resources of an Edgemont to get “out from under”. It’s too bad that any neighborhood is driven to feel this way. This must end. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Bad Proposal Repackaged


It has now been confirmed that the 32-acre golf driving range owned by the Visioli Family on Dobbs Ferry Road has finally been sold to GameOn 365. You will recall that GameOn 365 was the proponent of installing an 8-story-plus permanent inflatable sports dome at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road, the former Frank’s Nursery location. Community outrage and unity stopped this travesty from happening. Now, because of the relentless work of the Worthington Woodlands Civic Association, the Fulton Park Civic Association, the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations and others, GameOn 365’s inappropriate proposal was squashed, only to see another iteration be born for the adjacent golf driving range. The new plan called for a much larger sports complex which included a 55 foot building, outdoor soccer fields, 90 ft. lights and retail shops. 

Many thought the project had finally been killed when GameOn 365 lost their bid for the Former Frank’s Nursery property and subsequently dropped their plans for the driving range. Obviously, they have not.

We proved in earlier posts that Mr Feiner and GameOn 365 had made backroom deals long before the former Frank’s Nursery property became available. In fact, when those emails were uncovered through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests, the GameOn 365 representatives were found to have told Mr Feiner that they should not be emailing each other as emails can be FOIL-ed and telephone conversations cannot. Is this type of deceit what we want or expect from our leaders? We certainly don’t want it but sadly have accepted that it is what can be expected from this administration.

As of this date, there is no additional information about the intended use of the property, which,as you may already know, is zoned Residential (R-30) - Single Family Homes. We expect to have Garrett Duquesne, the Commissioner of Community Development and Conservation (a contradiction of terms unless you know what you're doing) to inform us when plans to develop the property are submitted. He had promised the Civic Associations and the public that he would keep everyone informed about this project. 

The entire surrounding neighborhood, as well as other Town residents, signed a petition stating that they were against the project. The reason for the wide-spread opposition to this project: a change to the zoning code which would allow a commercial entity to be built in this residential neighborhood would set a precedent that would effect every residential neighborhood in our Town. It's too bad that Mr Feiner doesn't care about this. Only when Mr Feiner starts to care about all neighborhoods, other than his own, will we finally get A Better Greenburgh. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Solving A Problem That Doesn’t Exist Benefits One Business


Once again Mr Feiner has pinned a new problem to his publicity-stunt circus cadre of ‘issues’. His claim this time? Installing cell towers in East Irvington will help the people who have complained about poor cell service will now have better service. According to conversations ABG has had with Irvington residents, a) there are no cell reception issues and b) they do not want cell towers installed in their neighborhood. Besides, if we responded to everyone that’s ever had poor cell service, we’d probably give up using cell phones. This move seems to be nothing more than another disregard for resident’s safety and granting Homeland Towers, LLC, access to phone poles for financial gain. This time, however, the contract will be for 55-years! Talk about not understanding the Art of the Deal!

In a post we previously wrote from Monday, December 12, 2011, entitled Increasing Cell Tower Radiation in Town, we discussed how Homeland Towers, a cell tower company, intended to erect two 108 foot cell towers in the Town. The proposed locations were one on Taxter Road and one on Tarrytown Road. We discussed how you could see what one would look like by going southbound on the Hutchinson River Parkway from Westchester Avenue eastbound. At the time, there was another company, looking to put cell towers on existing utility poles.

Then, in another article, from Saturday, July 27, 2013, NextG: Another Guilty Verdict,
we wrote that the courts found in favor of the plaintiff, Crown Castle NG East, Inc., the “new” parent company of NextG Networks of New York, and against the Town. The original petitioner sought to install cell towers on phone poles throughout the Town. Their lawsuit alleged the protracted process began in 2009 with their cell tower installation applications to Mr Feiner and the Town took an unreasonable amount of time to make a decision, based on The FCC’s “Shot Clock” order.

The “Shot Clock” was supposedly an important step enacted by Congress to encourage the expansion of wireless networks throughout the nation. The ruling provides that a local jurisdiction must act on an application for the location of additional antennas to existing infrastructure within 90 days and an application for the construction of new infrastructure within 150 days. And, at the same time it claims to allow local control, but it really does not seem the “locals” actually maintain control.

The taxpaying public is required to once again weigh-in on the cell tower proposals and should insist Mr Feiner and his Board allow the Antenna Review Board and the Zoning Board address the issue of a proposal, which would take the onus off of Mr Feiner and the Board and place it where it belongs. We haven’t heard if Mr Feiner is allowing the Antennae Review Board use of a meeting room in Town Hall again, after he stopped allowing them to meet at Town Hall long before he stopped allowing any Greenburgh groups access to meeting rooms. After almost inciting a riot at Town Hall when he allowed a Hamas group use of Town Hall for an anti-Israel rally, Mr Feiner instructed his Town Board to no longer allow Greenburgh taxpayers the use of their building.

Cell towers in Greenburgh may be the right thing to do if it’s in the correct location. When it’s not, it should not be entertained by this administration and in fact, struck down immediately. We have an Antenna Review Board that can address this and is the proper agency to turn  to for these types of review. We doubt that will happen. Appointing many “Feiner-friendly” residents to these different Boards becomes more and more indicative of Mr Feiner’s policy of stacking the deck to acquire rulings he seeks. It has to stop. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Edgemont Incorporation is Real

Yesterday, the Edgemont Incorporation Committee (EIC) team travelled to the Town Clerk’s office at Greenburgh Town Hall to file a petition seeking a referendum on Edgemont incorporating as a village. Although initially unsuccessful, we should assume that the EIC will complete the filing within the next week or two, kicking off the next phase of this process.

With this action the EIC have sent a clear message to the town that they are serious and plan on following through on their stated objectives.

For the Town Supervisor and board, who have so far kept their head in the sand and failed to seriously engage the EIC, it’s time to start focusing on day-after scenarios. For those of us in Hartsdale and the rest of the town outside of villages (TOV) area, it’s time to set out our expectations and put pressure on our elected bodies to ensure this process does not negatively impact our homes, families and communities.

PLEASE ATTEND OUR INFORMATION SESSION ABOUT THE IMPACT OF EDGEMONT INCORPORATION ON HARTSDALE AND THE REST OF UNINCORPORATED GREENBURGH: WED., MARCH 1, 7:30 PM AT THE HIGHVIEW SCHOOL.

Inform your neighbors: the more voices we have, the more influence we will have in guiding the future of our neighborhood.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Geppetto Would Be Upset

He’s at it again. Mr Feiner has decided to increase his range beyond the coveted “GB (e-mail) List” and launch yet another snail mail blitz on behalf of a infant business. No, this not about a business that addresses things for kids. Rather, this is another politically correct “green” startup that Mr Feiner has decided to promote with taxpayer money. You will recall he has done this before with other companies. Just because someone says it’s green, doesn’t necessarily make it so. Mr Feiner always seems ready to commit our tax dollars without consequence or validation. This time the company he’s promoting is Solarize Westchester.

He did the same thing a short time ago with Sustainable Westchester, a startup energy company that was begun by a group of attorneys experimenting with Greenburgh’s residents to perfect their energy “company” to later be rolled out throughout the country. Mr Feiner had singularly decided without taxpayer input, to enter ALL RESIDENTS into an Energy Savings Consortium Organization (ESCO) called Sustainable Westchester. 

This was a three-year contract with no guarantee of savings from day one through day one-thousand and ninety-five. They were originally promising to save energy money for taxpayers’ electric and gas services. Once the Town adopted their plan, the gas portion mysteriously disappeared and was not included in the overall package. When pressed, Mr Feiner ignored the questions because if you don’t answer, he knows people will stop asking. Regardless, Mr Feiner did mailings, press releases, radio broadcasts and so claiming that participants would save from $400 to $600 dollars a year. After much scrutiny by many civic associations and Mr Ken Stahn of the Sprain Road Civic Association, it was determined that his claims were unrealistic.

When all of the calculations and math was completed, Mr Stahn declared an impasse. He was unable to see how any resident could possibly save $400 to $600 dollars given the current energy prices. In fact, he met several times with them to try to prove the claims by Mr Feiner. He could not. In fact, now that the Sustainable Westchester program has been underway for about a year now, we’ve been unable to validate those claims and have learned of only minimal savings upwards of about $30 (on the high side) having been seen by those residents he’s enrolled into the program without their approval! In fact, as we wrote this article, ABG learned that ConEd Solutions, the actual company contracted by Sustainable Westchester to provide and bill for the actual delivery of electricity, was sold to another energy company. That company claims they will honor Sustainable Westchester’s agreements. 

“Solarize Westchester has expressed interest in working with the Greenburgh Town Board screening potential solar companies – trying to come up with the most competitive pricing proposal and quality installation.” Translation from Feiner-speak into real-world English: We want a monopoly on selling and installing solar panels in the Town of Greenburgh and know if we enlist mostly Mr Feiner, but also include his Town Board, we will have an unencumbered bonanza and lock out any competition. It’s like Sustainable Westchester all over again. 

The letter that Mr Feiner mailed to residents says you might be able to save a few hundred dollars a month by placing solar panels on your roof. He then extols the benefits of one of the Town Board members’ savings, which he doesn’t quantify (nor ever will), and fails to mention there are panels on every roof surface of his home. He adds that there were no up front costs. Is that with this same company or a different one? Naturally, he doesn’t say. He also doesn’t touch on any permits that homeowners might need to pay for to do this work. He doesn’t mention any inspections that need to be done during and after the installations and he doesn’t mention how long it will take for the installation to return the investment to the homeowner. Finally, he also doesn’t mention if the panels are a purchase, lease or some other kind of financial arrangement with the homeowners. 

In the end, we are all for solar and other forms of energy savings and devices, both environmentally and financially. We just don’t think the Supervisor and his Town Board should be the “pitchmen” for a private company, no matter how laudable it may be. As Mr Feiner continues to use his office as a bully pulpit, many people may be lured into a false sense of security and ultimately get burned - such as senior citizens. This blatant salesmanship from Mr Feiner and his Board must end, as well as the lack of truth coming from his administration. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Greenburgh Resident Sworn in as NY Supreme Court Justice

Janet C. Malone was elected as Justice of New York Supreme Court for the 9th Judicial District on November 8, 2016 and was inducted on January 19, 2017, in White Plains, NY. Justice Malone has been a Greenburgh resident for the last eight years. Judge Malone's diverse legal career as a Manhattan District Assistant, a private practice attorney, and a Family Court Judge, prepared her for the Supreme Court; Justice Malone credits her family  and all those who supported her for  this personal and professional accomplishment.

If you wish to view the Induction of Judge Janet Malone
https://www.dropbox.com/s/pn7j4wee02cfim8/Janet%20Inauguration-H.264%20for%20Apple%20TV.m4v?dl=0

Sanctuary Town

In 1995, President Bill Clinton gave the State of the Union address. In it he said in part, “All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected, but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens. In the budget I will present to you we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace as recommended by the commission headed by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

In 2001 there was more talk about building a fence to control illegal aliens from entering the United States. But indecision, if not simply inaction, took priority over action. Some of the wall would be built while the drug war against Mexican cartels kept the issue alive. At one point, Hillary Clinton sounded almost “Trumpian” on the issue. In 2005, she said: “I am adamantly against illegal immigrants. ... Clearly, we have to make some tough decisions as a country, and one of them ought to be coming up with a much better entry-and-exit system so that if we’re going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let’s have a system that keeps track of them.” Finally, in 2006, eleven years later, Congress passed and President Bush signed the bill into law sponsored by New York Representative Peter King to build the wall on the southern portion of our country. That move was supported by and voted for by Hillary Clinton as well as many other Democrats in Congress.

So what’s the point? Simply, President Trump is not saying anything new or anything that hasn’t been said before by his opponent’s side. Yet leaders around the country, state, county and yes, even in the Town of Greenburgh, are saying something else. Some, not all, have leaders who are pronouncing their disagreement or displeasure with President Trump’s message to get a handle on illegal immigration, and are openly touting their defiance towards controlling illegal immigration and the negative effects it has. Going after those who have violated our sovereignty and are committing criminal acts should be welcome by these leaders as it will assist them in bettering our neighborhoods.

At the last Greenburgh Town Board meeting, Mr Feiner and his Town Board passed a resolution announcing their blatant disregard for our federal, state and county immigration laws by stating they are committed to opposing... “...other hateful acts that target or demean persons based on their race, sex, ethnicity, religion, national origin, immigration status...” By openly recognizing that the Town Board equates immigration status as the same as racial prejudice or gender bias, they are demeaning the civil rights that people have fought for years to gain. By including “immigration status” in their resolution, aligning it to known illegal practices such as gender bias, racial bias, and more, they lessen their point because being here illegally is already a violation of the law. It’s like a thief reporting that he’s been robbed of something he stole.

The final paragraph of the Town’s resolution says, “...Town Board reaffirms its commitment to preserving and enhancing the environment to maintain and improve the quality of life for all its residents and for future generations.” This is contradictory. It’s actually just another political side-show by Mr Feiner and his Board for a bit of publicity to afford them the grandstanding to say, “Look what we did. We're not turning in any illegal aliens.” In reality, what they did is say they are openly violating the laws of this country, almost challenging the federal and state immigration services to go after them.

The position with this post is not about President Trump or Democrats versus Republicans. It’s about Mr Feiner and the illegal actions of the Town of Greenburgh. It’s no secret that Greenburgh is a sanctuary Town. Our law enforcement, fire and other Town personnel have related to ABG that directives from the “top” down instruct them to ignore the housing and overcrowding issues. This is unfortunate as our first responders are our first line of defense and can and will see when something is wrong and offer input to make corrections. Overcrowded housing, living in the shadows or in the woods hoping to not be discovered is not good for any of us. Our local economy, the safety issue for the overcrowded single family homes in our neighborhoods, increased crime in our neighborhoods and our overburdened community resources, such as water usage, waste disposal, etc., are many parts of the problem. All of this needs to be corrected. If Mr Feiner and his Town Board won’t do it, and they haven’t for 24-years during his administration, then someone else needs to do it. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.