Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Failing To Deliver

It should have been a stunning upset at Monday night’s Edgemont petition hearing. Mr Feiner could have simply found the Edgemont Incorporation petition sufficient for a referendum. Instead, he exhibited classic Feiner behavior, making up the rules as he went along to favor those opposed to incorporation. In fact, his bad behavior from the last public hearing held at the Anthony Veteran Park was such a disaster that even his ardent supporters, his own Town Board, were absent this night! He calculated his moves trying to shun responsibility and pawn it off to his hired gun, attorney Robert Spolzino, now a retired judge. After detailing what he felt were sufficient rules, he turned the hearing over to Mr Spolzino. Many objected, shouting once again, that the fix was in.

Scheduled to start at 7:30PM, Mr Feiner did his classic late start at 7:45PM. He couldn’t do any presentations, songs or poetry readings, his usual time-delaying tactics to diminish the amount of time he would have to spend listening to those pesky residents whine for incorporation, so he stacked the deck. First, he had Town Attorney Tim Lewis read the objections from the previous meeting and what had been submitted since. This just ate up valuable time from those who came to speak after abruptly being shut down at the first hearing. Second, he scheduled previous speakers from that first hearing to speak first, further limiting the opportunity for those in favor of incorporation from being heard. 

In fact, when Mr Feiner confidante Mona Freitag approached the podium, the room erupted, people jumped to their feet, vociferously objecting to her being given a second chance to speak even before others had a first opportunity to be heard! He was quickly losing control of the second hearing just as he had with the first. After being embarrassingly called to task by his cavalier dismissal of his own rules, Mr Feiner was convinced to allow her to speak after everyone had spoken. This time he flailed helplessly as there were no Board members able or willing to come to his rescue. 

At one point, Daniel Bernstein spoke to object to an objection filed by Ms Janet Lin at the last hearing regarding his residency. She is the wife of Greenburgh Planning Board appointee Hugh Schwartz. And, while humorously doing so, he received the heartiest round of applause for the evening. As he returned to his seat, Mr Schwartz flipped Mr Bernstein “the bird”. Clearly Mr Schwartz was upset about the comments made about his wife. Many in the audience chastised Mr Schwartz for this less than sophomoric gesture.

The evening progressed with many residents from the Town who stated they would be from within what is now being considered the boundaries of the new Village of Edgemont and that they were registered to vote in Greenburgh elections. We kept thinking, “But did they vote?” If they haven’t, we have a feeling they will this year. At one contentious point, EIC proponent Jeff Sherwin walked up the isle booming, “You are not allowing due process!” It’s a bit ironic because Mr Feiner uses numerous, hollow, buzz-phrases and the Edgemont incorporation has prompted his resurrection of the “due process” catch-phrase. Mr Sherwin was correct.

At another point, former Edgemont Community Council President Michelle McNally said she F.O.I.L.-ed (Freedom of Information Law) the latest submissions at 4 PM prior to this meeting, but was given nothing. Interestingly, Town Attorney Tim Lewis read objections received as late as that same day (Monday). Huh? If he had them, why was Ms McNally denied the information? Separately, Mr Lewis later said the maps submitted were too big and difficult to copy. Could the real reason be because Mr Feiner told him not to release them?

Many objections were read at the beginning of the 2nd hearing, this time held at Town Hall. Mr Feiner also stated the video of the meeting would be posted the following day. Not surprisingly, the video has not been posted by the end of the following business day. In fact, the video and the minutes of the first public hearing on April 5th also have not been posted! But the real trickery still at play here is that Mr Feiner purposely scheduled the second hearing just one day before the 20-day period deadline for public input. Why is this significant? Because it does not give the pro-incorporation people an opportunity to counter any misinformation, bogus statistics or factual shortcomings submitted by anyone from the anti-incorporation side! Mr Feiner knows this full well but will do his best to thwart the pro-incorporation people from achieving their goal: the right to vote to decide if they should incorporate or not.

It is hard, almost impossible to put Mr Feiner’s bad behavior, missteps, unethical practices and trickery aside. The bigger issue is not about incorporation, tax revenue, boundaries, police protection, self-destiny, garbage pickup or any of that. It’s about an elected official not following the law. It’s about the rights of citizens’ being trampled upon. It’s about voters and taxpayers not being allowed to have their due process under the law. It’s about their due process being unnecessarily influenced, coerced and bastardized under the guise of Mr Feiner and his corrupt interpretation to “follow the law”. We know better having witnessed his previous actions. This kind of behavior has gone on for far too many years. This has to change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Public Hearing Of Edgemont Incorporation To Continue

Mr Feiner sent out another email blast via the Town’s GBList. This time, we believe it to be a credible use of the email list: to inform residents that the “adjourned” public hearing of the Edgemont Incorporation will be proceeding on April 24th at 7:30 pm at Town Hall. It was adjourned because the hearing became derailed when attorney and retired judge Robert Spolzino, imposed what many believe to be a misinterpretation of the Village law about hearing objections and speaking at the hearing. 

Hired by Mr Feiner to advise him of the Edgemont Incorporation petition’s sufficiency, with an unnecessary cost bore by taxpayers to the tune of $50,000, Mr Spolzino said it was his ruling of the law to not allow hearing objections to the objections to the petition (for lack of validity). The irony is that this was not a court of law, just a hearing that should have been run and controlled by Mr Feiner - who we believe abdicated his responsibility to maintain either deniability or to simply stall the process.  

Many vociferously disagreed, shouting at Mr Feiner and his surrogate judge. Some made claims that he “bought a judge” merely because he opposes the Edgemont Incorporation. Mr Spolzino and the subsequent private investigation firm hired to trick residents into disavowing their original petition signatures was totally unnecessary, deceitful and unethical. Just remember how this money was squandered away as you amble over to Town Hall to pay your increased property taxes and especially in November to vote.

It’s unrealistic to think this administration can be considered to be playing by the rules just by hiring a former judge to appear to determine the sufficiency of the Edgemont Incorporation petition. Beyond Mr Feiner not wanting the Incorporation to proceed or be successful, he and Town Councilman Jones have alluded to not be willing to provide services that the EIC has repeatedly said they wish to maintain from the Town for a fee. Why is this important? Because if they did contract the services, the Town budget will remain mostly unchanged. Mr Feiner is the master at creating faux problems to later swoop in and be perceived as the “problem solver.”

He has written the following: 
On Monday night at 7:30 PM I will be continuing the Edgemont incorporation hearing at Greenburgh Town Hall, 177 Hillside Ave. The purpose of the hearing (required by NYS law) is to hear objections to the incorporation petition. A determination has to be made whether the petition complied with the statutory requirements of NYS law. At the meeting tomorrow I will also welcome statements from those who disagree with the objections. At the hearing the only comments that can be made will pertain to the sufficiency of the petitions, not whether you support or oppose incorporation of Edgemont as a village. The hearing will not be closed tomorrow evening. I will accept written statements on Tuesday April 25th until 12 noon. The hearing will be closed on Tuesday  April 25th.

Sadly, but painfully similar to Town Board meetings where they routinely prove their unwillingness to truly communicate with residents, speakers will only be permitted to speak one time for no more than three minutes each. All legal hearings allow unlimited time to speak. Again, this is not about communication, rather, control. The hearing will continue until 10 p.m., at which time the hearing will be concluded. Written submissions will be received by the Town Clerk until 12:00 p.m. on April 25, 2017, at which time the record will be closed. 

This is not the way to run a hearing, utilize taxpayer dollars or to run a Town. The rest of us cannot incorporate to get out from under this administration, it's bad management or illegal actions. It must change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Greenville Fire Commissioners Meeting “Follows Protocol”

It started off like every other Fire Commissioners’ meeting. Discussions about expenditures, balancing budgets, training and the like. The difference this time is that it was at the Greenville Fire District’s public meeting room in the basement of the Greenville firehouse but the room was full, with several residents standing along the side of the room. The five commissioners were all in attendance. They are Helene Orce, the Chairperson, whose term expires December 31, 2021; Robert Bruckenthal, whose term expires December 31, 2017; Jonathan Faust , whose term expires December 31, 2020; Walter Groden, whose term expires December 31, 2019; and Michael Rappe, whose term expires December 31, 2018. Of course, the fire chief and the districts secretary were also present.

After the regular order of business had transpired, the floor was opened for questions and comments from the audience members. Most of the room seemed to be concerned Edgemont residents, but we don’t believe it was entirely so. There were two representatives from the Formation Shelbourne project, although only one spoke during the entire event. This meeting was advertised as one where Shelbourne would be making a presentation to the Greenville Fire Commissioners. The prevailing thought being that they would finally be addressing questions that had been raised and sent to Shelbourne. The audience was told that this was not the case and no presentation would take place tonight.

Edgemont Community Council President Robert Bernstein asked the Board of Commissioners if they had received any resolution to the questions they raised about the Formation Shelbourne project they seek approvals for to build on Underhill Avenue. This location is currently the site of the Sprainbrook Nursery, owned by the Krautter family and has been for a long time, stating at one point that this site was their retirement nest-egg. In fact, they had many friends and relatives come to assorted Town Board meetings and bemoan that point. While we understand and appreciate this fact, we still disagree with the sale to Shelbourne; not because we don’t want something built on the property, rather, we want something appropriate to be built on the site conforming to current zoning, needs no variances and will now blend into the neighborhood. 

During the course of back-and-forth with the audience and the Board, the representatives from Shelbourne often said they followed the procedure. One resident asked about simply sending an answer to the Board, regardless of procedure, and asked why it was seemingly so hard to do? The Shelbourne representative then described the procedure. Really? Since the Fire Commissioners' questions appeared simple enough to answer, why not just answer them in a simple response directly to them? Perhaps one of the Shelbourne representatives could send a simple email answering the questions that were raised?

One missing link not mentioned by either side was that of being a “good neighbor” and trying to do the right thing, especially Shelbourne working with the Fire District. We understand why Shelbourne has circled their wagons against the Edgemont community as they have been vociferously against the proposed facility. But the fact remains that should this project get approval, they are going to need the fire district and fire department as an integral part of the facility’s operation.Additionally, wouldn’t every developer hope that by establishing an open and constructive dialog, they would be more able to streamline the process for their advantage? While this may a good strategy from our perspective, Shelbourne’s representatives seem more concerned with following protocol, which does not include open communication to a major, interested agency. This needs to change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

The questions that remain unresolved are these, as taken directly from the Greenville Fire District’s website*:


WATER BURDEN
The District wishes to ensure adequate and reliable fire protection water supply (both pressure and volume). GFD has not seen the proposed plan to connect the two area water mains. We request projections of the water flow statistics for review. In addition, we ask for the statistics after the interconnection is complete.

The CND’s proposal that one hydrant be relocated (p. 9) does not appear adequate. An additional hydrant is needed. The District wishes to be involved in discussions regarding the relocation of the existing hydrant and new hydrant.

INACCURATE UNDERSTANDING OF DISTRICT SERVICES
Initially, the CND states on page 7 that: “From a medical emergency perspective, when there is no trained life saving staff (i.e. LPN or RN) present at a site, the Greenville Fire District provides supplementary certified first responder (CFR) and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) services to supplement the transport, ALS and BLS service provided by the Town of Greenburgh Police Department and paramedic/EMT units.”
This statement is incorrect and misunderstands the role and operations of the District. In addition to fire and other emergencies, the District is dispatched by Westchester County's 60 Control to situations requiring an EMS response. We have an Inter-Municipal Agreement (IMA) with the Greenburgh Police Department (GPD) through a tiered EMS System. This IMA requires that the District respond to EMS calls. GPD resources have primacy, and the District provides Basic Life Support (BLS). If District firefighters are first on the scene, we have primary medical responsibility until relieved by a higher level of care. GPD is responsible for transports, but a District firefighter may accompany the GPD transport in exigent cases. To reiterate, we provide an EMS response to all sites in our service area, irrespective of the presence or level of any on-site staff training. To that end, we are a complementary, albeit non­ transporting, BLS response.

The ZBA’s fundamental misunderstanding of our role necessarily means that the CND does not correctly identify impacts the Project may have on the District, or the effect of the proposed mitigation measures. (See the discussion below).


INSUFFICIENTLY SUPPORTED EMS RESPONSE DATA
First, the validity of the annual number of anticipated emergency caJJs assumed by the CND -an essential data point -- is unclear. CND page 8 states:

“The applicant has supplied data from other comparably-sized facilities, indicating that approximately 100 annual emergency calls will be generated (Police and/or Fire-related). Because there has been much debate over the number of potential additional EMS trips the ZBA analysis assumes that 115 calls/year will be generated by the proposed facility.”

It is our understanding that this essential data point is based on your accepting the 100-call figure supplied by the applicant, despite the absence of any indication as to which (or how many) comparably sized facilities were used in the applicant's sample, the percentage occupancy of such facilities at the time of the tallies, or whether those other facilities are purely assisted living in nature or mixed-use with nursing staff. The CND then increases the analysis to 115 calls/year using a methodology that remains unclear to us. We expect that a proper and independent study of this issue would rely on a more statistically rigorous, corroborated, and independently validated data from “comparably-sized” facilities regarding likely added EMS call volume. Indeed, there may be pre-existing industry data available.

Second, the CND states that “115 additional EMS-related trips are less than the number of trips that are expected to have been generated by the existing nursery use (477), which had no trained medical personnel on-site.” We simply do not understand the utility, validity or predictive value of comparing the 115 assumed anticipated emergency trips to an assisted livingfacility as against the 477 non-emergency trips to a nursery during presumably peak usage (we understand that the 477 figure was based on a June study; nursery visit in winter presumably are much lower). So, the nursery trips used as a “comparable” for purposed of the CND’s analysis is inflated and irrelevant.
The foregoing apparent flaws in the analysis methodology underscore the need for a thorough and independent traffic study in order to more properly identify and quantify potential impacts. This will provide you (as Lead Agency) and us (as an Interested Agency) with the data we need to assess the number and effect of any additional calls.
 

FAULTY ASSERTIONS ABOUT EFFECT OF ON-SITE LPN/RN 
The CND notes at page 8 that the applicant has agreed to provide an LPN or an RN and states: “The 24/7 presence of a LPN or RN at the site would reduce the volume of response to the facility because such staffing reduces the need for secondary non-transporting response from the Greenville Fire District, which otherwise would act to supplement (with fire trucks) Town of Greenburgh EMS response, for non-fire related calls.” The CND notes, however, that actual EMS calls will remain the same (115) even with an on-site LPN or RN.

However, the proposal to mitigate impacts on the District by requiri ng an on-site LPN or RN is entirely incorrect and ineffective because it is based on the above-described misunderstanding of the District 's EMS role -- the District is not a "secondary" or "supplementary" EMS provider; rather, we respond to all calls. Since the CND concedes that the presence of an LPN or RN will not reduce anticipated EMS call volume, the impact on the District is unchanged. Moreover, the proposed mitigation method is not supported by any data or independent study. It is entirely possible that an on-site LPN or RN will lead to more calls to the District as Project residents take advantage of readily accessible staff to seek medical assistance more often. A substantiated assertion would compare call volumes at similar facilities with and without a single onsite LPN or RN. We would welcome such a third-party analysis; we cannot accept ipse dixit.
Separately, we note that an LPN or RN likely would call the District for “lift assists” to safely handle frail patients that have fallen.

The CND's premise that the Project will require less District coverage because it will have an RN or LPN is highly problematic on another level: it creates a scenario of differing levels of response/service within the District. That is diametrically opposed to our mission of providing all residents with the same consistent level of care. Besides being antithetical to the foregoing principle, it is possible that rendering dissimilar services may expose the District (and its taxpayers) to liability.
 

ROADWAY CONDITIONS
The ZBA correctly notes the “curvilinear and sloping portion of Underhill Road.” But neither the Applicant nor the ZBA has provided, or offered to provide, any study that would assess the danger present and the extent to which the proposed alterations will impact on the safety risks for both District employees and other motorists. The CND simply assumes that the conditional improvements proposed would materially reduce the safety risks of running a substantial increase of emergency traffic along the identified dangerous road segments. An independent study must be completed which: (a) measures both the risks of the road condition and the utility of improvements (whether proposed or other available options); (b) analyzes existing road conditions against the benchmark for road conditions expected for a facility like the Project (e.g. county road or collector road).
The District has not, and will not, take a position on the overall merits of the Project or its propriety for the community. Such matters are outside our mandate. However, we are compelled to take issue with the CND insofar as it lacks adequate analysis, is based on erroneous assumptions, and proposes solutions that are based on unsound footing.

* http://fdgreenville.com/

Terminology: 
GFD - Greenville Fire Department
ZBA - Zoning Board of Appeals
CND - Conditional Negative Declaration
ALS/BLS - Advanced Life Support/Basic Life Support (Paramedic/EMT respectively)
LPN/RN - Nursing staff deliniations
EMS - Emergency Medical Services
EMT - Emergency Medical Technician (as a rule not able to do injections/intravenous)
Paramedic - Medically superior to EMT (able to inject, do IV’s) 
CFR - certified first responder 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Fairview FD Member Robert A. Mentrasti Passes

Mentrasti, Robert A. 54, A longtime resident of Hartsdale died April 14th, 2017. Robert was born July 28, 1962 in Mount Vernon, NY. Son of the late Louis P. Mentrasti and Josephine A. Mentrasti. Beloved brother of Andrew (Donna), Andrea and Ronald Mentrasti. Loving uncle of Timothy (Amy), Christopher (Christine) and Brandon Mentrasti and great uncle of Jordan and Chase Mentrasti. Also survived by many cousins especially Daniel Esposito. 

Robert served as a firefighter for 32 years and was a first responder at Ground Zero following the terror attacks of September 11th. Visitation will be held at Ballard-Durand Funeral Home, 72 E. Main Street, Elmsford, NY on Monday April 17th and Tuesday April 18th 2017 from 4pm to 9pm. Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated on Wednesday April 19th at 9:45am at Sacred Heart Church, Hartsdale, NY. 

Robert was a tireless fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy and in lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations to MDA, 5 Dakota Drive, Suite 101, Lake Success, NY 11042 Attn: Mary and Ref: Bert/Bubba.

Published in the The Journal News from Apr. 16 to Apr. 17, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Happy Passover!


More Cloudiness With Increasing Cover (Up)

Utilizing the Town’s GBList (email list), Mr Feiner sent out another email, campaigning for votes under the pretence of explaining his flawed actions regarding legal requirements for the Edgemont incorporation effort by citing Village Law section 2-206. The text of his email is also posted on the Town’s website. Reading the email blast he sent out does little to clarify much of anything. In fact, several times it appears as though he is trying to obfuscate information. This is Mr Feiner’s “full court press” against the Edgemont residents’ right to free speech and self-rule.

Numerous times he refers to Attorney Robert Spolzino, a former New York State Appellate Division Judge as being retained by the Town to provide the Town with legal advice about the Edgemont incorporation petition. We continue to find it odd to have a fully staffed legal department and then waste $50,000 of taxpayer money to hire an outsider unless you are trying to dupe the taxpayers. Add to that voting to expend the money, totaling $50,000, after it was already done merely highlights the hi-jinks of this administration.

Mr Feiner’s email blast says many things that we can take exception with. Yet here is just one paragraph from it:
“Hiring Judge Spolzino's law firm was done in the best interests of the Town. After reviewing the incorporation petition, Judge Spolzino believed it was prudent to engage investigative services to randomly interview individuals that signed the incorporation petition to determine if the signatures obtained were acquired pursuant to NYS law.  While the investigators did act as agents of the Town, the Town had no control over the selection of the investigators or the questions they asked.”

This entire paragraph strikes us as not factual or true. First, we rarely see Mr Feiner act in the best interests of the Town, its taxpayers or residents. If he did, we wouldn’t have had the $6.5 million Fortress Bible verdict against us, the WestHelp debacle for the lost $1.2 million a year. There’s more but you get the idea. Second, there was little time between the submissions of the petition to the Town, for former Judge Spolzino to review anything. Third, no door-to-door visit is required to validate the signatures per the law. And finally, the Town most definitely has control over what the private investigators Mr Feiner is responsible for, say, do, and/or show residents.

We’d like our readers to examine an opinion we received from a retired judge that we did not pay one cent for, much less $50,000 plus the cost of paying for the private investigation firm - Stanton PI, for a legal opinion.

"Paul Feiner has written about the recent meeting regarding Edgemont incorporation at which he refused to permit persons to speak about the fact that persons (including residents and the private investigator that the Town hired) had tricked them into signing their petitions.  He cited Village Law section 2-206 as the basis for his action, asserting that this section only permitted testimony from those who objected to the petitions to be heard. 

That is not correct.  Subsection 3 of section 2-206 states:
3. All objections must be in  writing  and  signed  by  one  or  more residents qualified to vote for town offices a town in which all or part of  such  territory  of the proposed village is located. Testimony as to objections may be taken at the hearing, which shall be reduced to writing and subscribed by those testifying. The burden of proof shall be on the objectors.  All written objections and signed testimony shall clearly state the name and address of the objector.
Note that the first sentence of this subsection states "all objections must be in writing and signed by one or more residents qualified to vote..." That sentence refers to the objectors.  But the second sentence states "Testimony as to objections may be taken at the hearing which shall be reduced to writing and subscribed by those testifying."  Obviously the second sentence refers to people other than those mentioned in the first sentence - i.e., other than the objectors to the petition.  And the third sentence underlines that point, since it states that the burden of proof is on the objectors.  That sentence would not be necessary if only objectors were allowed to testify.

Furthermore, the testimony of those speaking against the objectors and their objections is not limited to the narrow testimony that Paul Feiner defines. Subsection 3 does not require such narrow testimony, but refers to "Testimony as to objections..." the words "as to objections" would include the methods used by objectors and would-be objectors. As Paul Feiner properly stated, this is an issue of overriding importance, and silencing residents is inappropriate and illegal."

Mr Feiner has gone out of his was to say that he is against the Edgemont incorporation. It might be as simple as not liking one or more of the people pushing incorporation and that’s why he is willing to trick and deceive residents. But that is not what he is required to do under the law. He has said numerous times, to the point of now becoming ridiculous, that he and the Town Board must do their “due diligence” regarding the petitions. Yet, nowhere does the law say due diligence or to hire private investigators, not tell residents who they are working for, or try to falsely get them to sign new affidavits to cancel out their previous petition signatures for incorporation.


We’ve stated over and over again that these kinds of actions by Mr Feiner and his minions are deplorable. These residents need to come to the next Town Board meeting and then continue to come more and more to hold this administration’s feet to the fire. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

More Lies To Cover Up The Other Lies

It never seems to fail that when Mr Feiner is caught in a lie he overcompensates with more lying. Case in point is with his adamant Edgemont anti-incorporation actions. He has been vociferously saying he was against it but when pushed and with reporters nearby, he professed his neutrality. Then he began saying that the Town, really he and his Board, may not contract services with the newly formed Village of Edgemont, should their incorporation effort succeed. In fact, he now has had Councilman Ken Jones saying the same thing. This move is classic Feiner deflection.

At the meeting recently held at the Anthony Veteran Park multi-purpose building, with windowsill seating and standing-room only, no limit of occupancy signs were visible (a violation). Had there been signage posted, it probably would not have mattered as residents wanted to be heard. But the only thing this audience would hear was Mr Feiner reading a prepared statement droning on about being required by law to do his due diligence. Again, this is another lie as the law mentions absolutely nothing about due diligence - just requires a hearing for the petition to ensure it meets the requirements of the law. He proceeded to say he hired an attorney, who happens to be a retired judge, to advise of the petitions sufficiency. Confused? That’s by design. Mr Feiner, was uncharacteristically dressed in a suit which indicated to us that he was trying to shake his tatterdemalion appearance for this event. What else could he have been thinking while up on the dais, “Hey, I’m sitting next to a judge. I’m sitting next to a judge and not being found guilty. How cool is this?”

Watch a video of the event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJXedHWEd-g

Watch the CBS 2News story here: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/3645626-incorporate-edgemont/

Watch the resident’s video here: https://youtu.be/MBR3L16s3_s

In speaking with an Edgemont resident named Eric, a CFO at a local non-profit who was not in attendance at Wednesday night's meeting, he remarked that Mr Feiner advertises himself as the “problem solver,” mentioning that he once called him about a pothole near his home and it was filled immediately. We countered with, “Actually, he’s the problem creator so he can have a problem to solve - potholes aside.” When asked, if as a CFO, he ever thought about what project that Town crew had been working on and removed from for his pothole repair and the additional costs that pulling them from that scheduled work costs the Town taxpayers?” He paused and said, “No, now that you mention it in that context, he made me happy but may have cost us all in higher taxes later on.” 

We continued our discussion of the Edgemont incorporation and whether he was in favor of it or not. He admitted that originally he was not. He explained that it had nothing to do with the financial aspects of the incorporation as the Edgemont Incorporation Committee (EIC) presented enough clear and factual information on costs, expenses and revenue. Rather, it was his concern over the turmoil it might create and that uncertainty that no one knew the answers to. However, now that he has seen the videos of Mr Feiner's private investigators lying about who they are, worked for and represented, he said he now distrusts Mr Feiner and is leaning toward voting for incorporation simply because Mr Feiner lied and tried to "fix" the outcome of it all. I mentioned several other lies including the big one about being found guilty of lying under oath and destroying evidence in a Federal court with the Fortress Bible case. His response? “I guess once a liar, always a liar.”

As the anti-incorporation case for Mr Feiner slowly unravels with lie upon lie, contrary videos and more and more information being uncovered, people are finally seeing through Mr Feiner’s facade, mismanagement of the Town and his lack of trustworthiness. For instance, at the Wednesday night meeting we witnessed many of Mr Feiner’s minions speaking against the incorporation petition. 

One person who objected to the petition for incorporation was Ms Janet Linn, who never mentioned that she is also Mrs Hugh Schwartz; her husband, Hugh Schwartz is a Feiner-appointee on the Town’s Planning Board. Ms Linn is employed by the law firm Bleakley Platt, that have sued the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament nuns for housing discrimination because they refused to accept an oversized proposed housing design next to their property on Dromore Road. However, Ms Linn is still entitled to her opinion and objection as an Edgemont resident. Joan Gardner, also known as Mrs Tim Lewis, objected as well. The difference is that the Lewis’ do not live in Edgemont and since only Edgemont residents are allowed to vote for or against incorporation, so too should only Edgemont residents be able to object to the petition of incorporation!

Also allowed to speak and not an Edgemont or even Greenburgh resident was Bill Stanton, the owner of the NYC private investigative agency that was hired to trick pro-incorporation residents into signing affidavits negating their original petition signatures. Mr Feiner claims he was doing his due diligence - again no where stated in the law - and that former Judge Robert Spolzino had hired Stanton. Actually, what Mr Feiner doesn’t understand is that the people at the top are responsible for those at lower levels. HE hired attorney Spolzino, Spolzino, who answers to Mr Feiner, hired Stanton, thus making Mr Feiner responsible for the actions of Spolzino, Stanton and any employees used to execute Mr Feiner’s orders.

Our conversation with Eric that we mentioned above is emblematic of why Edgemont residents who were previously on the fence are joining their Edgemont neighbors and changing their points of view, casting aside their reservations and deciding to vote with the pro-incorporation proponents. Sadly, it cost $50,000 of taxpayer money in a wasted effort by Mr Feiner to thwart the EIC. In the end, we believe Mr Feiner’s plan has backfired on him and sent more people toward incorporation than against it. We'll have to wait and see. We want what’s best for the Town but it’s now apparent that Mr Feiner does not. It’s time for him to leave and to take his complicit Board and his appointed Commissioners with him. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bedlam Erupts As Town Petition Meeting Implodes

ABG staffers arrived early to ensure a parking space as well as seats in the room where the hearing was to be held regarding the Edgemont incorporation petitions. Unbeknownst to the hundreds of residents that were present, Mr Feiner decided to once again play games and limit those who spoke and keep those who wanted to speak from doing so. New rules were announced at the start of the meeting that would only allow those people who wanted to object to the incorporation to speak. The crowd was angry.

It’s no secret that Mr Feiner is against the Edgemont Incorporation effort and has gone out of his way to sabotage their efforts. And, he has repeatedly said he might not contract Town services with the new Village of Edgemont should incorporation be successful. Why he would not do what is best for the Town and it’s residents is difficult for us to comprehend. If he did contract services with Edgemont as a Village, the Town budget would remain close if not exactly as it is now. 


After Mr Feiner read a prepared statement, he had Robert Spolzino, a 
retired former appellate court judge, whom some said Mr Feiner “bought”, but we’ll say he hired for $50,000 to advise of the petition's sufficiency, read the law that they were following for this event. Then Town Clerk Judith Beville said they would be timing each speaker allowing them 3-minutes to speak. It was also mentioned that anyone who believed they were tricked by the private investigators that Mr Feiner is responsible for hiring, also would not be allowed to speak. Audience members could only speak if they were against the incorporation petition.

The owner of the private investigation firm Stanton Private Investigators, which was used to get the carefully crafted affidavits from every person who signed the original incorporation petition to invalidate as many as possible by signing this newer affidavit, said that he had many signature affidavits objecting to incorporation and would be delivering them to the Town Clerk’s office shortly. 


It was said just before the meeting started that someone was outside distributing petitions out in the lobby that could be used to speak against the incorporation petition. While we were unable to verify this, we did see Town Attorney Tim Lewis in the lobby with a handful of papers and appearing to be looking for someone. We noticed that speaker after speaker would read the same or similar statement as the speaker before them. Many were not from the Edgemont area which is surprising as only Edgemont residents can vote for incorporation; some were from Fairview, some from Elmsford and other areas of the Town.


A good number of the people protesting the incorporation petition were also many of the same people that have served Mr Feiner in numerous capacities and at his demand when needed. For instance, Ms Mona Freitag spoke against the incorporation petition, citing Craig Bernstein’s signature didn’t match his Board of Elections signature card. By the way, she was Mr Feiner’s hand-picked and personally backed candidate who he had helped run for the Hartsdale Fire District Commissioner position in the last fire district election. She lost that election.

After listening to about a dozen speakers lip-sync why they were against the incorporation petition, Mr Mark Rosenblatt went to the podium. He stated that he wanted to object to several of the objections. The retired judge interrupted him and said that only speakers objecting to the incorporation petition could speak. Taken aback, he stated that he had a right to rule against objecting to the objections. At this point the crowd, seemingly more pro-Edgemont incorporation began yelling, “Let him speak!” One retired judge sitting behind us yelled out, “Shame! Shame!” Then Bob Bernstein, Edgemont Community Council President shouted to the judge, “With all due respect, read part 3 of the statute!” The judge read part 3 which said written and verbal objections were allowed at the hearing. He then said it was his ruling that objections to the objections were not allowed. Like many Town Board meetings that Mr Feiner runs (into the ground) and makes up as he goes along, so too was this judge’s kangaroo court antics. At this point the crowd was on their feet yelling, This is bulls$#@!” and “Facist!”


Knowing their incompetent leader needed to be rescued, Mr Morgan went and whispered in Mr Feiner’s ear. He quickly announced,“We’re adjourned.” At which point almost everyone stood up chanting numerous slogans along with many people who were laughing at the ridiculousness of how this sham of a hearing was being run. Mr Feiner obviously paid this judge with our money and will probably be spending more unauthorized money to keep pushing his agenda to stop the incorporation. We can only imagine what it must be like to live in a Town or Village where everything is on the up and up and done the right way, trying to make life for its residents better. Oh wait, that’s what Edgemont is trying to do. They may be on the right track. If all neighborhoods could do this, we might get A Better Greenburgh.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Town's Trickery Goes Mainstream

It’s been about a week since we broke the story about the Town using private investigators to get sworn affidavits signed by Edgemont pro-incorporation residents negating their incorporation ballot petition signatures. Now, CBS News has aired a brief story on this latest Town debacle.  

Watch it here: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/3645626-incorporate-edgemont/
  
In their story, and our original story, the interviewees stated that Edgemont residents were being tricked by the Feiner Administration’s private investigation firm into signing the affidavits by using carefully crafted wording, showing a video we exposed first from an Edgemont homeowner.

You can see that resident video here:

One resident said on-air that he felt tricked and embarrassed but still could not believe the Town would do something like this. Sadly, we’re not surprised.

During the CBS News piece, Brian Conybeare, interviewing Mr Feiner, asked if the Town was trying to trick the pro-incorporation residents into signing the affidavit. He said nobody was being tricked into signing and the Town would not use those affidavits of people who thought they were. In a signature move, he also said it was the Town Attorney who hired the private investigative firm they are using to do this. Was it Tim Lewis or an underling instructed to do so? We were unable to confirm this, but had maintained all along that Mr Feiner would deny culpability for this egregious move. This is not the first time Mr Feiner has thrown an employee “under the bus”. It’s also not the first time Mr Lewis has “jumped on the sword” for his boss.

Behavior such as this has become a hallmark of the Feiner Administration. While re-election will not impact any of these employees or elected officials, they should, as lawyers, be disbarred. These actions certainly would be cause for dismissal anywhere else. But, in “Bizarro-Greenburgh”, this kind of bad behavior will probably be rewarded. This is also personifying the exact logic and reasoning behind Edgemont’s drive to incorporate and get out from under the Feiner administrations bad decisions, costly and illegal missteps. We again think the proper actions by this administration is the resignations of Mr Feiner, Mr Lewis and the Town Board for condoning these actions. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.