Thursday, October 8, 2015

No Sympathies Expressed, Only Posturing

It goes without saying that our sympathies go out to all of the families and friends involved in the Oregon College shooting rampage. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
We often write about Mr Feiner's shameless pandering and posturing for publicity regardless of the issue. This time, in one of his daily press releases, he says, "The tragedy in Oregon highlights the need to ban gun shows at government buildings." Not what we would have expected from someone in a leadership position. A more fitting comment would have been something to the effect of, "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends lost in the shooting in Oregon. Before any of us begin discussing causes, root problems and the like, let us give these families some privacy and time to mourn their losses."

His statement is nothing but pure pandering to his base. There is no correlation to gun shows being an easy way to purchase guns, especially from legitimate gun resellers. The laws already in place in New York make sure of that. It's a statistically proven fallacy perpetuated by anti-gun advocates. In fact, research shows that the Oregon shooter's weapons were purchased legally. Statistics for the sale of guns purchased from gun shows indicate that only 1.8% of crimes committed nationwide with guns are acquired from gun shows. This is for all crimes, not just shootings such as this one.

Totally ignored by Mr Feiner are the financial issues related to this in that the County charges/collects a fee for exhibiting; taxes with that fee are paid for; additional expenses, such as electrical connections are paid for; background checks are performed and fees and taxes are paid relating to those. Then there's the actual weapon and ammunition sales/sales taxes, registrations/fees and taxes, etc., for the weapons. Also conveniently ignored is parking, food, lodging (along with Mr Feiner's new occupancy tax), gasoline sales, etc. In a Facebook post by Andrew L. of Hartsdale to Mr Feiner, ABG believes he correctly states that, “the constitutional argument isn't a Second Amendment one, it's a First Amendment one, a “public accommodation” and “freedom of assembly” one. The government owns the venue. It cannot discriminate against the usage of that venue based upon a difference in political beliefs.

The shooter had six weapons on him and seven more at home. One weapon could be interpreted as an argument for self-defense. And, not all of the weapons in the shooter's possession were owned by him. One of the problems that may be a mitigating factor in this latest of these shootings is what is called "gun free zones". It's a significant issue because it creates a pocket of defenseless people who cannot stop a person with a gun who decides to shoot helpless victims. In this case at Oregon's Umpqua Community College, even the security officer was unarmed! So the biggest challenge of his career went unanswered.

The issue is less about controlling gun sales to law-abiding citizens and more about providing mental health care to those in need of it. As a society we have abandoned institutionalizing and closely monitoring the mentally ill in some part for political correctness and another part for economics. While many parents have guns in their homes, not all of them practice safe storage of their weapons. That's another issue that needs improvement. But of all the pundits who say we need tougher gun laws, they never actually say what their tougher gun laws would do or how their tougher laws would stop another shooting such as we just witnessed in Oregon.

Without picking only on the President, gun deaths and crime in his Chicago are setting records and they have some of the toughest gun laws around! Apparently, the tougher gun laws mean little. No, this appears to be more about the anti-gun lobbyists pushing their agenda than trying to find a real solution to a problem. By the way, the Fairview Fire Department’s members had bullet-proof vests with them for responses in the Manhattan Avenue area because of a high volume of guns and shootings. It's local.

Let's also not rely on politicians, who by the way, have created all of our existing gun laws, regulations, fees, background checks and waiting periods. All of these are proof that they don't have the answer! The real question is how do we stop these shootings? So let’s investigate it thoroughly and with an open mind. Let's not come to a foregone conclusion that we must eliminate guns to solve the problem. If that winds up being the solution, and that answer was come to fairly, then so be it. But politicizing it to push an agenda, one way or another is wrong. Fair discussions, fair evaluations and fair answers will help. But these need to begin locally. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Comprehensive Plan Offers Little Foresight

Rather than making political statements, such as global warming is a threat and fostering a position on a subject that can be subjectively argued for or against, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee (CPSC) should have stated simply that they wish to support all forms of what is today considered alternative energy sources in new and remodeled construction. Instead, they devoted an entire chapter on making environmental statements that only acknowledge what is being said by some. Golden opportunity missed.

During the third and probably final hearing, suggestions were made by residents as well as more questions raised. One resident asked why we have three fire districts and spend so much on them and how can we consolidate them to cost less? Chair and Councilman Sheehan politely explained that this was not the venue for that discussion. Obviously, this resident had been absent approximately a year ago when Mr Feiner deflected attention away from being found guilty in Federal court of discrimination, lying under oath, destroying evidence and four other counts in the Fortress Bible Church discrimination case, while going after the Fairview Fire Chief and touting fire district consolidation.

Another resident suggested having a "resident component" through a Civic Association that has one vote on all zoning changes.  When the the members of the CPSC questioned how he would implement it, he said he hadn't thought it through but was willing to meet with others to try to formulate a plan. The proper time to develop this is while the plan is in the formative stage. He also stated that the members of the Zoning and Planning Boards are handpicked and appointed by Mr Feiner and voted in confirmation through the Town Board, controlled by Mr Feiner. There should be one equal community vote that gets cast at a Town Board zoning change decision vote. In the event of a tie, only then would Mr Feiner vote.

Theresa Mae Tori, Conservation Advisory Council Chair and long time Hartsdale resident, stated the CPSC struggled with how to include the public and that was the goal with charrettes. A charrette is a supposed collaborative meeting with all stakeholders: Town, Developer, Neighborhoods. The problem that was pointed out by many is that a developer has the resources to meet anytime and members of the community do not. As such, a couple of meetings without public participation simply due to other obligations, lack of publicity or advertisement, etc., would almost guarantee a developer's project go through as they wish. We see this today with the archaic posting of notices on telephone poles.

Another deletion to the proposed Plan was the use of nodes. The Edgemont Community Council and others protested the "corner-nodes" throughout the Central Park Avenue corridor. Simply, a four-story building would be constructed with retail on the bottom floor and three floors of residential (probably low-income) housing. No parking would be provided for those retail or residential apartments. Shoppers to the retail establishments would use limited on-street parking. Prospective residents, discussed mostly as "Millennials" typically do not own cars so parking for them, their visitors or guests would not be an issue. Also, not accounted for is the change in the retail environment as brick and mortar establishments counteract the difficulty of maintaining any kind of retail presence given that same generation's proclivity to purchase via the Internet. Again, no input in the Plan to address adaptations for shifts in the future.

One resident spoke at length about how the Plan actually lacked little, if an,y real planing for the future of our Town. He lamented that the CPSC never reached out to many qualified residents for input to help shape a plan that addresses the Town's future design. In fact, of all the work done to this point, this was merely a report of how the Town exists now, highlighting more the status quo than projecting into the future. Sadly, while it may already be too late to change this multi-year offering into a real tool for shaping the Town's future, the reality is that the CPSC is probably content to accept it as is and be done with it. Perhaps the problem with having leadership that comes from the existing leadership committees is a culmination of the failures of Greenburgh's leaders?

We are appreciative that many agreed to work on this committee. Noticeably missing was it's chief architect, our former Town Planning Commissioner, who bailed to take a similar position in Stamford Connecticut. It was he who insisted on the "Nodes" and "Charrettes" ill-fated concept. Perhaps we are better off without the urbanization ideas of what he and Mr Feiner see as the "next" phase for Greenburgh. Perhaps there is still time for this committee to revamp what they have put together and truly offer a future vision for Greenburgh. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Special Meeting Held To Enact Flawed Plan

On Tuesday, in a special Town Board meeting, possibly to occlude the public from interfering with their pesky facts, the Town Board unanimously pushed Mr Feiner’s latest publicity stunt forward. They approved a local law enabling the town to procure energy on behalf of residential and small commercial energy customers in the town. They claim that this legislation will enable the town to help residents reduce their utility bills. Claims by Mr Feiner in particular, and others, have been made stating the ability to garner savings of up to $600! However, no statistical proof verifying this claim has ever been presented, nor details of how long it would take to recognize such savings, even following multiple queries. This is strictly an experiment by Sustainable Westchester which will last for three years. At the end of three years, if successful, we could see the not-for-profit company change into a for-profit company and the previous savings evaporate. They have even stated that this will become their model if it is successful and they will look to expand their program nationwide.

Against vehement opposition from members of the public, Civic Associations and others, the Town Board discarded their many questions and automatically signed up every Greenburgh resident for the program-without their consent! Only those already participating in an ESCO would be exempt as well as the Town itself, who gets its power from PASNY (Power Authority State of NY). Those against this plan were concerned that residents were unknowingly being automatically enrolled into the program. The rationale by Mr Feiner and his Board was that anyone can opt OUT if they don’t wish to participate. Residents who spoke questioned the consequences of a program that automatically opts someone into something without their knowledge or consent. It should have been set up to opt IN, not opt OUT.  

The Town Board held 3 public hearings: on June 24, July 8 and August 19th regarding this legislation. ABG believes this was purposely consummated during the summer or vacation months to minimize opposition. It’s interesting to note when Mr Feiner wants something to go forward, such as the illegal lease for his friends at GameOn 365 for example, he pulls out all of the stops and puts up yard signs throughout the Town, holds press conferences, does press releases, email blasts and so on. Similarly, when he wants to avoid controversy the Board holds special meetings, executive sessions and the ever-popular closed door meetings! 

The taxpayer/residents’ problem is that Mr Feiner and his Town Board know that they can hold hearings and regardless of the information presented or the arguments made, can move their agenda forward because the politically lopsided Board usually doesn't have much, if any, voting opposition. When there is disagreement, it’s usually two against and the other two in favor, siding with Mr Feiner as the third vote and tie-breaker. This juggernaut passing the measures in question and ensuring their continued political futures winds up short-changing the public.  

Mr Feiner has said the potential benefits of this ESCO deal are price stability for a fixed contract term, lower prices, more favorable terms and preference for cleaner power sources. What's interesting is that he never provides any tangible definitions or statistical data to back what he says. Simply, the prices will be fixed and only provide lower rates for a while. If energy costs go up, and they always do, your prices may also go up - even though you were entered into this program at a fixed contract term. Amazing how those conducting this experiment don’t get hurt. 

More favorable terms is a misnomer. The terms are the terms and you will now see the delivery charges as a separate billing charge on your ConEd bill. While you will continue to make your payments the same way you always have, if you have trouble paying your bill, you’ll still be dealing with ConEd and not the ESCO. They get paid regardless. Any preference for cleaner power sources is a lie. Whatever ConEd does for energy is what you will be using - period. So, while you may prefer solar or something else, it will be up to ConEd as to how they purchase and resell power to you. The ESCO will be charging you for the transmission of the energy and the “moving” of it to you. 

This deal is fraught with many more questions than answers. Ken Stahn of the Sprain Road Civic Association repeatedly met with Sustainable Westchester and the Town Board seeking answers. As of the last meeting of the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations, he still had unanswered questions and was not satisfied with the minimal and generic answers that were provided. Mr Feiner claims that other Towns and Villages have adopted the plan. While the plan they adopted had numerous typos, some of which were significant, Town Councilman Francis Sheehan stated they had reworked the boilerplate contract the others had signed to be a bit better for Greenburgh. There is still no timeline when “Opt-OUT” postcards will be mailed to residents. There is also no confirmation if there will be a fee to opt-out after the postcard program is over. ABG research shows there has been a fee in other places where this was tried. 

Regardless of how much lipstick gets smeared on this, it’s ugly and still not a deal we can have confidence in. Greenburgh residents will be on the hook for any “hits” this program takes. That’s right. If the opted OUT residents don’t participate and something goes wrong for the opted IN residents, the Town has no direct liability, per se. But, as we’ve seen before with the Fortress Bible Church guilty decision, the Unincorporated residents will have to bankroll whatever financial problems the program experiences. It shouldn’t be this way. If this was a well-vetted program, we might endorse it. It’s not. We should not be the guinea pigs for this energy experiment unless we wanted to opt IN! But again, that’s not the case. Until it is, this idea should have been tabled. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sprain Nursery Fire Could Accelerate Deal

At approximately 9PM on Sunday, a fire broke out at the Sprain Brook Nursery, located at 448 Underhill Road and burned into Monday morning. The building that caught fire at the  nursery literally burned to the ground during the multi-hour event. While the operation was strictly a “surround and drown” operation, no people were injured during the fire. This was the Nursery’s second fire in two years.

In December of 2014 the nursery suffered from a fire and three propane tank explosions. Numerous fire departments were dispatched to the site after 10 p.m. for a blaze of an outbuilding on the property. Back then, explosions of at least three 50-pound propane tanks shook nearby homes and generated numerous 9-1-1 calls. According to accounts at that time, Fire Chief Daniel Raftery said they had received reports from at least a quarter mile away from people who heard the explosions.

The last few years has found many area nurseries struggling to stay afloat. The Sprain Brook Nursery, which is owned by Al Krautter, was begun by his parents in 1944. This past year saw him revamp the operation into an all-organic facility with a much smaller staff. It had been reported that he might be closing due to a tougher-than-usual economic climate. He was closed for a short period of time this year apparently to determine what he would do with the nursery.

The Sprain Brook Nursery property is now under contract with a company called Formation Shelbourne Senior Living Services, to build what is turning into a somewhat controversial 80-bed, 70 square foot, assisted living facility at that location. A poorly and yet specifically written bill, crafted by the attorneys for the Brightview Assisted Living facility and later adopted when presented to the Town Board, has left the door open to allow for a new facility to be built on this postage size plot. However, the controversial aspect of this proposal relates to what is considered normal conditions that must be addressed with any undertaking such as this.

Several reasons Civic Associations and neighbors are against the proposal are due to fire safety, health, traffic, noise and that assisted living facilities do not belong in the middle of residential areas. To those who say that the nursery did not belong there as it is a commercial entity in a residential neighborhood are also right, but it had been grandfathered into the residentially  zoned area, which explains why it was there. The space is covered by the Greenville Fire District, with a paid fire department. It is the one paid fire department Mr Feiner chose to not include when he was pushing fire consolidation amongst the Fairview, Hartsdale and initially Greenville Fire Districts. When the Edgemont neighborhood protested, as well as the Fire District, Mr Feiner realized he had bitten off more than he could handle. He once again risked an Edgemont secession which would negatively affect his bloated budgets. He could not afford to lose that income so he backed down.

More importantly, fire investigators are looking into the cause of this year's blaze. Coincidence? Perhaps. Accidental? Perhaps. Intentional? Perhaps. ABG is not saying there was any foul play. However, with a pending sale, similar timing, hard times and retirement ahead, investigators will have their hands full trying to sift through all of this. We hope that this was another accidental fire and that there was no wrong-doing. We also hope the Town truly sees the error of their adoption of an ill-conceived and executed law and decides not to build this huge facility at this location. But, it doesn't seem to matter to Mr Feiner and his Town Board what the residents think. He only cares what matters for his developer friends and residents be damned! And this fire might just be the impetus to speed his process along. This has to stop. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Going To The Dogs

With all the media coverage being generated by Mr Feiner for the Pets Alive Animal Shelter, outsiders would think that's the only issue affecting the Town. It’s hardly an accurate assessment. Mr Feiner has a knack of taking center stage for non-critical issues. Don’t get us wrong, we favor a no-kill animal facility but recognize the complexities of maintaining a facility such as this. Why was the facility allowed to operate and never be inspected by the Greenburgh Building or Fire Inspectors prior to the structural problems that were finally discovered this past year? Someone dropped the ball.

Mr Feiner negotiated an ironclad contract with Pet’s Alive back in 1994 for them to utilize the property they purchased for $10 from the Town located behind Brookfield Recycling (formerly Brookfield Auto Wreckers). Subsequently, through the years, the building developed structural issues that were ignored, not discovered or addressed until recently. Almost immediately, the building was declared dangerous and uninhabitable! Pet’s Alive didn't know what to do, but ultimately began transferring their animals to other locations.

In the meantime, they sought to sell the property as they could not finance the extensive repairs necessary to fix the building. Pet’s Alive sought to sell the property since they couldn't afford to repair and ultimately stay in the facility. Mr Feiner, only interested in headlines, wrote to his regular media outlet sources saying Pets Alive must find a way to stay. In fact, the original sale of the property mandated that Pets Alive could not sell it if they weren't interested in keeping it. It could either be used as a Pets Alive/no-kill pet facility or be returned to the Town for use as a park, recreational or municipal purposes.

ABG knows there is a bit more to this unfolding story, however, the gist of it, regardless of Mr Feiner’s desires, is to either preserve the property or return it to the Town. While ABG prefers to see the facility either repaired or replaced, financial constraints indicate that probably won’t happen. As with the Town’s failing infrastructure, had regular inspections by the Town Building and Fire Departments, among others, and maintenance been performed, Pet’s Alive may have been able to circumvent the troubles they are having now. Some blame must also be cast toward the Pet’s Alive organization for not being vigilant about their facility. However, with taxes, costs and expenses as high as they are for businesses to operate in the Town, Pet’s Alive is as much a victim of Mr Feiner’s bad management as are the Town’s taxpayers!

If Pet’s Alive does in fact leave the property, ABG has a creative solution for the property. Once the Town removes the facility as it has been deemed uninhabitable, they should turn the property into an enhanced dog park. Where the building is currently located, there could be a large roof, similar to what we have at Ridge, Yellowstone and Macy Parks. Where the fenced in kennels are, there could be a free-run space for the dogs. Nearby there could be large concrete blocks with a water feed that would be used to groom dogs or cool them off on hot days. We can also offer the space to dog trainers for training classes. Along with the roof/shelter, there could be barbecues and outdoor benches with tables for families similar to other parks to picnic at while their dogs get some exercise. This could be a win-win for residents.

Putting caveats on contracts can be good. They can also work against us. Instead of trying to keep a failed facility simply because everyone loves pets, this is one of those times where we can make the best of a bad situation by letting the Town “go to the dogs” for a good reason. Then we will see A Better Greenburgh.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Memorial’s Disrepair Requires Overhaul

We understand Mr Feiner's proclivity towards grandstanding and hype. We also understand that after 22-years in office he has nurtured and become his own brand, developing a cult-like following and an ability to circumvent and/or ignore any opposition. Yet, to follow the traditional media's take on him, he can do no wrong. Not so, and we expose his illegal and unethical actions every chance we can.

We have continually followed and high-lighted the "other side of the story," often taking on issues that others prefer to ignore while Mr Feiner bloviates attention away from them and those with a critical eye. The Town employees, no doubt under orders from Mr Feiner, routinely obfuscate, delay and out and out refuse to supply information requested under the Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL).

Just ask Dorinne Livson, the President of the Worthington Woodlands Civic Association. She and her Civic Association are still waiting for a copy of the supposed Game On 365 contract
after being given the run-around from Town Hall. ABG believes it is because there never was a contract and the Town is simply stalling in hopes of not being caught violating the law (again). By the way, when she asked Town Attorney Tim Lewis when she could expect the results of the FOIL request in 2013, he said rather matter-of-factly, "Sometime in 2015." 2015 is almost over and still no contract. Shameful.

With press releases galore, regurgitated in every printed and online source seeking to move his agenda, Mr Feiner is now claiming that the Memorial Wall at Webb Field/Richard Presser Park on Central Avenue, is in need of repair yet again. Several years after the original Memorial Wall was constructed through the generosity of an Arts Westchester, the Rotary Club and Walmart's Sam's Club, the tiles originally mounted began falling off. Subsequently, 1,686 cataloged tiles were cleaned, repaired and numbered and finally transported back to the Wall for reinstallation.

At the time of it's construction, many favored a different and more accessible location to have a Memorial built. But since this is where Mr Feiner wanted the monument, that was where it was to be built. Now, as we have learned through Mr Feiner's media deflection, the Wall is once again in need of having the tiles repaired because they are again falling off. ABG is critical because like so many patches that are made to our infrastructure, they are not designed to last. Could this be intentional on Mr Feiner's part so as to set up his next media campaign, soliciting sympathy, empathy, and more importantly, votes? We believe so.

So now he has offered several solutions with which he “hopes” to involve the public. We’re convinced he doesn't really care, but he can get more publicity from this. Most people won't even realize he's using this issue to campaign for re-election. His options are listed below in italics.

Options we have: Tear down the existing wall.

Preserve the tiles.

Replace the large wall with a new design.

Place the murals on the new memorial design.

Fix the wall.

The problem is that we tried to repair the wall in 2011, and it did not work. Some people believe that the climate changes contribute to the deterioration of the wall. I prefer a lasting memorial, not a memorial that will look bad every few years. Our goal is to maintain a beautiful 9/11 mural at Richard Presser Park.

Here is ABG's suggestion for the Wall:

Contact all of the high schools within the Town to assist in taking the existing tiles off the Wall, cataloging them and packing them up. This would qualify as Community Service hours for the students. Convicted criminals, Mr Feiner included, sentenced to community service could also participate. Then the Town should tear down the existing Wall and return the property to its original state. Have the tiles in need of repair get the necessary repairs to make them usable again. Map out the dimensions for the existing Wall and replace it on the Greenburgh Library's Wall near the main entrance and traffic circle area of the Library. This would avail everyone who uses the Library an opportunity to view the Memorial and it would be under constant scrutiny by everyone who sees it and works there, enabling better maintenance. It was also suggested to put the tiles on the handicap ramp from the bus stop at Route 119 toward the top, culminating at the top by the Library.

Mr Feiner decided how and where to put the Memorial Wall. It was under his direction that the repairs were made. The qualifications of those involved were never vetted, similar to what we see when Mr Feiner and the Town Board are the lead agency for a project. There are numerous examples of lead agency failures, such as the failed geothermal heating system at the Library, as well as their inadequate heating and air conditioning systems. We're not going to list them but suffice to say the list is long. If the Library is chosen as the new Memorial location, the brick siding would need to be properly prepped so we don't have to repair it again in five years after another installation. Besides prepping the wall, we'd suggest using a track system to accommodate expansion and contraction due to climate fluctuations. Similar, if you will, to the way vinyl siding is installed to accommodate the shift due to weather.

We want to see the victims of the horrific September 11, 2001 attacks honored. Since this Memorial Wall has had a sketchy past, perhaps this administration can finally do justice to the memory of those lost on that fateful day. Only then will we have A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Town Taxpayers Continue Losing

Mr Feiner won again and the Town lost. The upcoming elections that he will run in unopposed, will garner him 7k+ votes. Back in the driver's seat again, he'll do what he does at every Town Board meeting and adjorn to Executive Session when the public pushes too hard. Secretly, do the Town Board members give "high-fives" when they adjourn to Executive session? They seem to adjourn regularly into Executive session to address “personnel issues” and leave the audience to wonder what's transpiring in the back room. Amazingly, the one personnel issue they’ve never addressed is the appointed Tax Assessor’s racist remarks during a meeting with subordinates. If you haven’t read our previous post, here’s an excerpt of a complaint letter that arrived to ABG recounting racist remarks made by Tax Assessor Edye McCarthy. Warning: this may be offensive to many:

This employee’s original letter was addressed and delivered to Tax Assessor Edye McCarthy and carbon copied to the Union President and most importantly Mr Feiner. ABG's understanding is that Mr Feiner, nor the union, took any action to address these racist remarks then or now. This speaks volumes of the duplicity, favoritism and disparate treatment of the “chosen” people within the Feiner administration and the rest of us. ABG has had conversations from others speaking about various wrongdoings within the Town.

One question that has been raised by many is why isn't the Journal News or any of the weekly newspapers pursuing this racism in Town Hall under Mr Feiner? They chose to ignore Mr Feiner’s bad behavior, condoning racism, and then create a series of stories about intolerance in Mahopac! The Journal News is also the first place many will go to champion separatism, under the guise of individuality, segregation, under the guise of cultural heritage, and uniqueness under the guise of personality. Do you recall the 1960’s when the mantras of the times were “give peace a chance”, “love is the answer”, “power to the people”, and “don’t trust anyone over 30”?

The 1960’s and 1970’s were a time of joining together and fostering a “oneness” with all people. Yes, there were problems .There was also disdain for those who would act prejudiciously towards others as the generations then sought to better our circumstances. New and sometimes radical ideas of equal pay for equal work, affirmative action to right the wrongs of the past, tests for civil service positions to remove nepotism and favoritism with job appointments were the talk of the decade. Great strides were being made as our society moved to better ourselves. The anti-war movement begot the environmental cries to “save the planet” and healing in our country between races, religions, gay/straight, and so on finally seemed on the mend. Schools were now teaching that we were all “one”. So what happened?

One thing that was mentioned was our eagerness to hyphenate into groups, losing the uniqueness we enjoy by being Americans – and to a degree, political members within the Greenburgh communities became more divisive and isolated than ever before. Theodore Roosevelt’s speech on hyphenated Americans rings true in some depth of what is going on in these times. We refer to his speech* tendered on May 31, 1916 in St Louis as it related to fighting abroad in other countries and allegiances to the United States. While the model was used toward countries that were escalating toward the first World War, we can see a parallel to what is going on today.

Mr Feiner goes out of his way to deflect attention from his own bad behavior toward others. He’s manufactured issues by writing incendiary op-ed pieces about closing Indian Point without  suggesting alternatives. He went after a fire chief who said something derogatory about him years ago and apologized continually utilizes Greenburgh Town Hall as his personal bully pulpit without paying the costs associated with keeping it open or staffing it to foster, some say fester, unworkable proposals such as a High Line Park. And when questioned about rising Town expenses by concerned and tax weary residents, he ignores them. At meetings he simply looks down and plays with his phone.

It was he who created a fervor over keeping the old Tappan Zee Bridge “up” as a high-line style park, a la NY city’s own, completely different and easily maintainable high-line park. He lost traction with that hype once Governor Cuomo put his foot down and said, “No!” He conveniently “forgot” how he had earlier decried the need to replace the aged bridge because needed maintenance was too costly and the bridge was unsafe and could collapse at almost anytime. Not true. His administration is filled with experts; he with nuclear power and bridge construction and Town Attorney Tim Lewis with Hazardous Materials contamination and remediation.

When the WestHelp debacle began, it was he who decided to make illegal payments to the Valhalla School District, condoned by his Town Board. Town residents questioned Mr Feiner as to why even make those payments? He simply whipped out his cell phone, looked down and ignored those questioning his motivation and illegal behavior. It was he who decided to violate the WestHelp contract with the County. He decided to toss away $1.2 million per year, forcing Town residents to make up the difference. In the Fortress Bible Church case, even a Federal judge found his actions illegal, finding him guilty of discrimination, lying under oath, destroying evidence and more! That episode ended up costing the Unincorporated taxpayers $5.5 million ($6.5 million in total)!

It was Mr Feiner who insisted on eliminating the after school homework assistance program for the costlier and instituting the supposedly “better” Xposure program and then told Commissioner Carter he needed to raise income at the Center. Homework assistance ceased as did use of the Theodore Young Community Center while the Xposure program was running, effectively shutting the center down to the non-participating Xposure members of the community. This list is endless.

Of course, we haven’t mentioned all of the bad and illegal decisions Mr Feiner has made to cost us income. The list continues to grow as we witness more and more of his costly and disrespectful actions toward Greenburgh taxpayers. It must stop. Only then can we have A Better Greenburgh.

*Access President Roosevelt's speech here: