Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2011 Budget Hearing: Update in Dysfunction

The annual preview of incompetence was in full swing Monday night (11/22/10) as Supervisor Feiner droned through four and a half pages of the 2011 Budget Message, which can be easily read by anyone looking to stay awake and much more quickly than he could do.

Here at ABetterGreenburgh.blogspot.com, we have yet to receive and review the Town's budget, but look forward to a few givens. Typically, we have found previous budgets to be lacking in specificity, clarity and detail. This evenings travesty continued with Town Attorney Tim Lewis doing most of the talking from the  dais. There were several interesting comments from the public. It is inherit upon all residents to participate and while we welcome the return of Tom Bock, a rational counter-voice,republican speaker and advocate, we missed Rob Bernstein and of course, our recently deceased friend and colleague, Lorrin Brown.

Stalwart Hal Sammis got up and accurately spoke on several topics topics in the budget, dressing down, or undressing Feiner and the Board. And "poor" Sonya Brown, who sat there appearing lost during most of the session. She's been ostracized every since her tirade against Feiner at March 5th, 2010 meeting. Click this link to watch it: http://www.greenburghny.com/Cit-e-Access/webpage.cfm?TID=10&TPID=4146
BTW, It's after about the two hour mark.

Newly returned Tom Bock spoke directly to Feiner about his calling Bock a racist during a meeting of the Greenburgh Democratic party meeting held at Town Hall. He also commented that he was saddened by the passing of Lorrin Brown but heartened because Lorrin had the backbone to get up at that same meeting and berate Feiner for calling Bock was a racist. He said he knew Bock and he was anything but a racist! Bock also commented that he wasn't surprised but extremely disappointed at the actions of the previous Board and parts of the current Board regarding the guilty verdict against them, and ultimately the Town in the Fortress Bible Church decision.

Beyond discussing the budget, the longest diatribe seemed to be the discussion of the creation of an updated animal licensing law. Evidently, as Hal Sammis rightly pointed out, Attorney Lewis, Councilman Sheehan and even Clerk Belville worked on this for six months and it was, to quote, "still a crappy law." At which point Town resident Ella Preiser stepped in and helped them rewrite the bill to a more acceptable piece of legislation. We seem to be paying for incompetence.

As the evening wound down, Feiner noted that the hearing had been a pleasant, civil one which hasn't happened for a while. Perhaps if he and the Board didn't violate the law, write sloppy bills they vote into law and disregard the residents for builders and contractors, maybe they could all be more civil.

Farewell To Our Friend, Lorrin Brown

We mourn the sudden death of Lorrin Brown, devoted son of Helene Brown and Steve Brown, brother to Robin, brother-in-law to Ronald, uncle to Rashad. He was an active community member, and great real estate agent. Memorial service: Wednesday. November 17, 1:30 PM, Union Baptist Church, 31 Manhattan Ave. Greenburgh Democratic Com.

Lorrin was an active participant at the Greenburgh Town Board meetings as well as other meetings. It was no secret how he felt about the dysfunctional Town Board and in particular the supervisor. From the perspective of a concerned citizen, he was holding the flag and often leading the charge. There are so many things wrong with the (lack of) management in the Town that the recent findings about the courts is just another example of why Lorrin was so outspoken.

Lorrin was a class act, a true gentleman and a friend to many. It's sad that the Town has lost an advocate and sad that we have a lost a friend. Goodbye friend, rest in eternal peace.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Invigorating Government

Growing up many years ago, I recall listening to my parents and their friends discussing politics. I particularly remember them arguing the qualities of Barry Goldwater’s campaign. I had no idea back then what was good or bad, although, to those having the discussion, their impassioned debate told me it would be bad for America if he won. As an adult looking back, it seems political parties of old purported to have stood for something. But now, political parties seemingly resonate one thing: get elected at all costs and never mind what the people want (or need). Politicians have decided they know better than us what’s good for us. And even if they’re wrong, we’ll vote them back in because we always vote the incumbents back into office. It’s disappointing.

Values, judgment, integrity, character, the ability to see and do the right thing is what should matter to the electorate, not a party affiliation or dare I say, a manipulatable ideology. It seems that more often than not, our political parties are creating issues they can later solve, riding in on the proverbial stallion to save the day. The bigger the issue, the more we need government to step in and rectify it - at least, according to them. Small issues are growing exponentially, becoming more and more perilous as the media over-hypes their reports and every politician with a media contact is quoted every fifteen minutes about this latest catastrophe until their stage has been properly set. I find disturbing this blind party allegiance that is allowed to rule the day. Regardless of who is in power or whom we vote for, the answer seems to only be more big government with the requisite big spending and ultimately, bigger taxes. This is all in the name of “helping all of us”. It reminds me of the oxymoron, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Nowadays, we have an ever-increasing portion of society who isn’t interested in doing the right thing or being responsible for themselves. They are more interested in their  “nanny-state” existence, where the ever-engorged government nipple is tendered, providing financial, residential and entertainment sustenance. It’s bad enough they feel entitled and boast a cradle-to-the-grave, womb-to-the-tomb mentality, but their only level of personal responsibility seems to be to teach their offspring this same dependency. Could this be what we have “taught” the youth of America to expect in the insanely liberal public school system? It seems so.

Simply, and some may say simplistically, our politicians are afraid to stand up to any special interest group because they don’t want to lose a vote. Yes, I believe it’s that simple. Whether they believe in abortion, gay marriage, nuclear energy, cap and trade, the war in Afghanistan, universal health care or whatever cause celebre may be surfacing, they will blindly follow the party leadership or the loudest voice because they are afraid to lose. They are so fearful they cannot envision their gaining votes by taking a moral stand with those whom think similarly. It should be less about the cause and more about doing the right thing. Ironically, when the Republicans bailed out big business, the Democrats said they were in bed with big business. Now that the Democrats have bailed out big business, they acknowledge the same sleeping arrangements. Is there really a distinction between the two any more?

When I look at the bailouts of the so-called giants of industry, I wonder why our politicians have ignored small and medium sized businesses (the real giants), which employ a large percentage of the populace? We’ve bailed out over-extended homeowners drowning with mortgage “deals”. Why are we not helping the average American homeowner who, while struggling to keep afloat by doing the right thing, could use a little help with their mortgage? As a matter of fact, why is government helping any of them at all? You should live by and ultimate endure with your decisions, good or bad. The TEA “party” people seem to get this. They are not a third party, although some would seek to co-opt them for their own. This is not what they appear to be about (to me). And, do we really need a third party as some suggest they might evolve into? I think not.

I want to speak with politicians with a moral compass, those not afraid to say ‘no’ to the social services recipient who wants more because they feel entitled. I want politicians who won’t exacerbate our financial situation under the guise of a “save-the-day” stimulus for those not capable of succeeding on their own merits. Will it hurt? Unequivocally, yes, it should. Growing up we all learned by the mistakes we made. Sometimes, you learned by your successes, but by and large, more was learned through our mistakes. If you don’t fail, you don’t grow. Ultimately, it is what it is. Our politicians must have missed that life lesson. It’s also what’s missing with what we teach our youth today. If there are no scores in a soccer game and everyone gets a trophy, how do you learn to lose? How can you learn anything? Equally important, how do you learn to win gracefully?                 

Let’s get engaged and improve the system. We need everyone to step outside his or her comfort zone and be heard. Don’t worry about getting it right as you venture into new waters. If you’re not sure how or what to do, start small. Attend several of your local village or town board meetings. Preferably, you can go to several in a row, establishing a feel for the issues that are discussed and those that are held over, postponed or require more than one meeting. They cannot keep you from attending and in most cases will welcome your attendance. Go. Just listen. If you have a question, ask it. They are there working for you and are required to answer you. In time, you will learn who the players are, who the stalwart residents are and feel more comfortable understanding the issues and the process. Then, when it’s time to vote, you will be able to make an informed decision, as opposed to most people who just vote the party line, unable to decide between good, mediocre, and poor candidates. We need to rejuvenate government for the people. Be a part of the rejuvenation. We must all stand united!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Greenburgh: WestHelp, WestHab, West-Broke

   Based on an article in The Journal News, by reporter Stacy Anderson, the Valhalla school district is suing the town in an effort to continue receiving $650,000 a year from Greenburgh under the WestHELP Partnership Grant. All the agreements in the world will not help squeeze blood from a stone. Stacy, a nice person and an able writer, fails to verify through historic actions and investigation, anything the supervisor feeds her (hence the moniker stenographer).
   She writes, "Although Greenburgh's counterclaim seeks to recoup the $1.8 million it had already given the school district, the three say that town attorneys cannot adequately represent taxpayers because town Supervisor Paul Feiner favors the agreement." Did she ask Town Attorney Lewis what he could do as opposed to just taking his word for it? Did she contact Herb Rosenberg or Bob Bernstein and ask what the alternatives might be for the town and it's attorneys? Evidently not.
   Paul Feiner has typically kept the taxpayers in the dark. He continually paints the stalwarts who show up at Board meeting as "anti-everything" he and his merry Stepford board proposes. Not true. His and their sloppiness, incompetence and ineptness are proof of their failures. What does that say of our school system?
   He references one magazine article from Money magazine about Greenburgh being the 80th Best Place to Live. That they strictly reviewed the Town through numbers and what his highness told them doesn't paint a clear picture. BTW Paul, anything but first place is a loser. And, 80 is too far down the list to be all that impressive. Based on this scenerio, Bush could have looked like a great president if he worked like the supervisor does. 
   WestHab is another mess that the supervisor insists on illegally moving forward for the benefit of a developer, not the town. He and his merry goof-ball board members rubber stamp the project along and the community, ultimately the town, suffers. This project is so bad that Sanborn, the VP of Land deals, was fired last week because he couldn't get the project to move forward, even with Feiner's illicit and illegal actions. Feiner's gotta go before the town is driven into bankruptcy. So does the Board.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Crime in Greenburgh

Latest Crime in Greenburgh: The Massaro Park Sexual Attack

   As the Journal News reported in their Tuesday edition, a 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on Saturday of this past weekend by a group of five to seven men near Massaro Park. The girl is a Greenburgh resident and she was simply walking home. For those of you that do not know where Massaro Park is located in Greenburgh, it is along Payne Street (cross street Saw Mill River Road), in the northern unincorporated area of Greenburgh and considered Elmsford (mailing address). According to The Journal News, "She said she was surrounded by a group of five to seven men who grabbed her and restrained her while at least one of them had sexual contact with her. The girl was then released and left. She was not physically injured."

Greenburgh has seen numerous spikes in crime lately but the most heinous are those against children. This area of greenburgh has traditionally been one of problems between robberies, assaults and vandalism.

Everyone watched in amazement as the Central Avenue 7-Eleven was robbed, then robbed again and finally a third time. Not that we should expect anything different, the police department's response was simply that they were investigating. That's okay. But then Paul Feiner, Supervisor, started pontificating, basically saying nothing but trying to assure the residents that they are safe. Given the robberies in Edgemont, the 7-Eleven store and now this attack of a child, are we really safe?
If you witnessed this or have information about the attack call the Greenburgh police at 914-682-5331. All calls will remain confidential.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Greenburgh, Supporting the Low Income Resident with a 65.5% Tax Increase

   We will experience a tax increase that will be seven times more than last year's double-digit increases because, according to Supervisor Feiner, the town couldn’t sell the property he was banking on selling and budgeted as revenue in this year's spending plan.
   The Town Board has approved a $15 million budget, including both unincorporated Greenburgh and its six villages that calls for a 65.5% increase for village homeowners.
   Under this year’s adopted budget, the average village homeowner with a $15,000 assessment will pay an additional $45.41, bringing the average tax bill to $114.75. The village residents of Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington and Tarrytown receive their services from their respective village government.
   The Town Board also approved a $64.2 million town budget, serving unincorporated Greenburgh, that increased the property-tax rate about 6.9 percent. Under the budget, the average homeowner in unincorporated Greenburgh with a $15,000 assessment will pay an additional $161.28, making the average tax bill for town services $2,516.40.
   At no time did the supervisor or his merry Board of fools decide to make real cuts. Why not? Probably because PF wouldn't accomplish the necessary pandering to maintain his lifestyle if he did. And the Board is too afraid to think and act independently and/or go against him. So the taxpayers suffer, the seniors move out and our kids shake their heads in disbelief as they migrate out as well.