Friday, February 25, 2011

Feiner Collaborations - Part 3: Opening Doors (to the back room)

During the special election for Tom Abinanti's vacated county legislative seat for District 12, two unimpressive Greenburgh candidates vied for the county position. We won't discuss it all over again in this posting, but suffice to say Mary Jane Shimsky (D), of Hastings-on-Hudson, beat Nicholas DeCicco (R), of Hartsdale, by Democratic volume, not dynamism, individuality, great ideas and ideals, or even a stellar personality. Greenburgh certainly wasn't the winner in this election. But some events during the election allow for some interesting conjecture.

Behind DeCicco's "closet door" was the skeleton of Deli Delicious, auspiciously propped up by none other than Charles Pateman, of Irvington, who has been representing the poor, struggling, down-and-out deli owner. We've heard they might be joined by an attorney named Mark Constantine in the adjacent closet. As mentioned earlier, Pateman hosted a Republican fund-raiser for Nick DeCicco, a prosecutor for the Yonkers Family Court, who also sits on the Town of Greenburgh Zoning Board. DeCicco claims he had never met Pateman prior to the fund raiser. We tend to believe him, as Douglas Colety, the Westchester County Republican chairman, probably accepted or possibly initiated an offer by Pateman to host a fund-raiser as he has done in the past. During the fund-raiser, Pateman probably made sure introductions were made between DeCicco and Deli Delicious owner Ernest Tartaglione. Chuck Pateman is the contractor for a major renovation for Deli Delicious. In the quiet of the fund-raising wrap-up, when there was just a few of the good old boys left, we can only imagine a conversation that might have gone something like this:

"Nick, have you met my good friend Ernie, here, who made a donation to your campaign. You know, you have a real shot to win this election."
"Thank you, Ernie. I really appreciate your help. Chuck, I really appreciate your sponsoring this fund raiser for me. If I can ever return the favor to either of you, just let me know."
"Oh, you are more than welcome. Listen, my friend Ernie has an issue that you may be able to help him with, and, I'd consider it a personal favor to me if you help him out. Let me explain it to you..."
Doug might have said to Nick privately:

"Nick, have you met my good friend Chuck Pateman, he sponsored this fund raiser for you. He's very powerful behind the scenes and can really help your campaign. You know, you have a real shot to win this election. And if you don't, we'll go to the mat for you again."
"Thank you, Doug. I really appreciate your help and Chucks help. If I can ever return the favor, just let me know."
"Oh, you are more than welcome. Listen, his friend Ernie has an issue that you may be able to help him with, and, I'd consider it a personal favor to me if you help him and Chuck out. Let me explain it to you..." 

It starts. There would be strings attached from the get-go. Pateman would need DeCicco to vote a certain way, in favor of the deli, at the zoning board meeting. And it's true. DeCicco never discussed this prior to the fund raising event. He did, however, vote in favor of the deli's zoning request. He's also since vowed to run for the position in the next regular election.

Subsequent to the zoning vote and the fund-raiser, an Ethics violation was filed with the Town of Greenburgh Ethics Board against DeCicco. The ethical violation accuses the candidate, DeCicco, benefited from a fund-raiser at Pateman's home, actively involved with Tartaglione. DeCicco had voted in favor of the variance request by Tartaglione. Once the ethics violation complaint was filed, DeCicco issued a statement that he hadn’t had any contact with Pateman prior to his first vote with the Zoning Board in favor of the applicant, Ernest Tartaglione, and that he would abstain from voting at the next hearing. But now he owes. Quid pro quo in Greenburgh? You decide.

We're sure that this event is not over. We'll keep you abreast if things change. The politics of politics is ruining politics. Tammany Hall anyone?

Disclaimer: All conversations in the above account are fictional and not confirmed to have happened.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Feiner Collaborations Part 2: Killing Business

In Part 1, we highlighted the actions of our deleterious Greenburgh Supervisor, his “Stepford” Board, the Zoning Board, Ernest Tartaglione, owner of Deli Delicious; Charles Pateman the deli's contractor, advisor and fund raising host; Mark Constantine, an attorney working with or representing Pateman and possibly Tartaglione. In fact, we believe the Supervisor may have suggested to Tartaglione that he shutter his deli for dramatic effect to evoke sympathy toward his plight. Let's proceed.

Ernest Tartaglione has owned Deli delicious for many years on the corner of Rt 119 and Old Kensico Road. We're told his parents helped to create the deli back in the day. The three-story Verizon building across two streets away, morphing through it's many corporate iterations, provided a steady clientele for the deli. Also serving food in the immediate area was the Ground Round before it succumbed to a fire. Then the soon to be computer giant CompUSA, moved in and opened for business. They didn’t provide a big lunch crowd. Years later, they met their demise, fading away through Chapter 11. A new and current tenant moved in, Staples, also not generating a big lunch crowd.

Other changes in the area took place as well. Directly across from the deli on Rt 119 is the Apple Farm market and the former luncheonette that is currently the Bagel Emporium Express. Across the street to the east is City Limits. There's also Tuscany, another more upscale deli seemingly thriving. Nearby is Vavaros Deli whose time in the neighborhood is similar to Deli Delicious. Buon Amici, an Italian Restaurant across from Tuscany, has been there for years, apparently doing well. On the north part of Central Avenue is a new 7-11. Farther down Central Avenue near Pathmark, used to be a Quiznos, there is a Friendly's, a Chinese take-out restaurant, a ribs joint, a burrito take-out and Morton Williams, which also provides prepared food, as does Pathmark. Oops, we almost forgot, there's the long-time Italian deli named Dante's next to a Dunkin Donuts. There are numerous food serving establishments in the area, all with several commonalities: no drive-through windows, no Paul Feiner, and they offer delivery.

To the neighborhood's dismay, Central Aveune's Pathmark and the A&P in the Kmart shopping center will be closing. But before they close, you should note they serve prepared food; and let's not forget Appleby's Restaurant several stores down. Up the road from there are three eateries in the LaMandas strip. There's Planet Pizza, and so on. What do they all have in common? The businesses that endure offer free delivery and the ones that don't, close. Coincidence? Maybe.

What might have contributed to Deli Delicious’ decline? Simply, Paul Feiner. That's right, our Supervisor. He has continuously dumped on Fairview and specifically, Fulton Park to the point where businesses can no longer survive there. Twenty years ago, when Feiner seemed concerned about the residents of the Town, the County took over the King's Inn Motel, housing the homeless, along with other less savory constituents. He said and wrote that if the County ever closed the homeless facility down, he would support developing it into a facility for Seniors, rescuing the neighborhood and ultimately, the Town, which was inundated with older residents no longer able to afford the taxes on their life long homes.

Low and behold, the homeless population in Westchester began to decline. The county hired Westhab, a management company specializing in running homeless facilities, claiming they had the expertise and capability to run this type of development and would offer a better run facility with them at the helm. The Fulton Park Civic Association wasn't happy but went along with it. A neighborhood panel was formed to monitor what took place inside. They even gave awards to several neighborhood members for the work they did with their residents. Residents tell ABG they worked on the volunteer board because they were afraid of the element that would live there and what it would do to the neighborhood. Remember the Godfather line? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Once the facility was scheduled to close, covert deals between Feiner and the Westhab leaders began. We can’t help wonder if more donations were made to Feiner, the Stepford's and others in the Town? After a deal was struck with Westhab, some in the Fulton Park neighborhood found out that Westhab had plans they would be submitting to the Town to construct a six-story apartment building where three smaller buildings stood. The proposal would utilize the entire .7 acres, eliminating the grassy areas currently in place. There would also be numerous variances and exceptions needed. ABG learned that Feiner and several Board members met with the Fulton Park Neighborhood Association, when Feiner stated, "We may have to find another location for this project." But they didn’t. Feiner knew if he made his Stepford Board the lead agency, he could give Westhab whatever they had previously agreed to.

At some point Feiner decided losing the votes of roughly a hundred and fifty families in the Fulton Park area was a small price to pay for his political career. He started to not only drink the Westhab Kool-Aid, but began serving it. Tartaglione, began helping the neighborhood as his deli and FPNA homes continued to be robbed. We're told the robberies were later proven to have been committed by a few Westhab residents.

Before Tartaglione knew he wanted to add a drive-through window, he began plying certain neighbors with floral deliveries to use for landscaping in their yards in a pseudo show of support for their fight against Westhab. A neighbor overheard him as he tried to coax a deal for himself with Westhab. But he got greedy and they turned him down. When the neighbors found this out, he was suddenly on the outside looking in.

ABG recently received a brief communication from a resident who had run for office. During that time, he attended a fundraiser for another candidate at the home of Chuck Pateman of Irvington. Pateman attempted to persuade him to convince the members of the neighborhood to agree to Ernie's plan for Deli Delicious to add a drive-thru window as well as increase parking. Pateman subsequently phoned him with the same request. The candidate would not agree to the request, stating he did not believe a drive-through window was the answer to Tartaglione's business woes. Pateman agreed, stating he had suggested pizza ovens as a solution, as there were no nearby pizza establishments nearby. He could clean up! 

Tartaglione knows Westhab is anxious to jettison the albatross property originally guaranteed as a slam-dunk by Feiner. Tartaglione knows the clientele from Westhab will not provide the income he desires and is looking to get out. In fact, the neighborhood believes Tartaglione wants the drive-through window so he can offer it to a potential purchaser. And, because the zoning rules won't allow a drive-through window, his window will be grandfathered for them to use. 

We’re sure Feiner keeps telling him not to worry, that he’ll make this right. But Tartaglione really can’t wait for Feiner because there are too many issues that even the Zoning Board couldn’t ignore. Pateman is probably telling him to sell because the deal with Feiner looks shaky. We’re thinking he should take a business management course or two and learn how to better deal with competition, all of whom seem to be doing quite well without Feiner’s help. Strange bedfellows indeed. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidents Day Mishap: Tanker Jackknifes on 9A in Greenburgh

Most people slept in a little later than usual to enjoy the Presidents Day holiday. The Elmsford Fire Department and Greenburgh Police Department responded to a fuel tanker truck accident at about 4:30 AM., on Monday morning. Apparently, Mustang Bulk Carriers, from Brooklyn, NY, was transporting a gasoline fuel tanker during the night. ABG was unable to get close enough to the scene to get much information and the police officer we briefly spoke to would only say a fuel tanker truck had jackknifed on 9A at Executive Boulevard during the early morning hours. No other vehicles were involved and miraculously, the driver, whom we saw walking around at the scene, was unhurt from the mishap. Apparently, no fuel was spilled from the tanker. A Greenburgh police officer informed us that the truck was traveling southbound on 9A during the snowstorm, somehow jackknifed and skid off the road into a lightly wooded area on the corner of Rt 9A and Executive Boulevard.

Pictured above in uniform is a Greenburgh Police Officer named Preiser. We're told he is the brother to the owner of Glens Towing, of Greenburgh. He was wearing his Greenburgh uniform, gun, radio, hoodie and tan gloves. We appreciate wanting to help his brother, but if he was on-duty and on the GPD clock, he owes the taxpayers of Greenburgh who are paying him to work as a police officer, doing police functions, not recovery. If he was off-duty and permitted to be there, he should have changed from his police uniform into street clothes. A second issue was Greenburgh Police set up their command center on Executive Boulevard, away from the other agencies involved with this scene. We wonder what the benefit of this could be?

We continued on to our offices at around 10AM., and came out again for lunch at noon. Driving past the scene again, we saw two lanes of traffic moving on Route 9A, and the truck was still not out of the woods. 

We were later pleased to confirm no gasoline was spilled from the truck, there were no injuries and Glen's Towing was successful with their early morning challenge. We applaud the outstanding efforts of the Elmsford Fire Department, County Hazardous Material Team, the Con Edison crews and the Greenburgh police. Truly a "Presidential" effort, we offer a hearty, well done!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Fairview Fire Chief Sworn In

Fairview Fire Department Chief Anthony LoGuidice is sworn into office by 
Fairview Fire Commissioner Vicki Simmons

The fire service, and in particular the Fairview Fire Department has experienced many "firsts". Some of which include member families and their multi-generational participation in the fire department. Sometimes it's simply new equipment and sometimes it's because of tragedy. Thankfully, this was not the case this Saturday morning at 10:30 AM at the Fairview Fire Headquarters on Rosemont Blvd.

Today, following in the footsteps of longtime Fire Chief Robert Mauro, Anthony LoGiudice was sworn in to fill the position vacated by the recently retired Chief Mauro. Both men started as volunteer firefighters and eventually joined the career force. We congratulate Chief Mauro on his successful career as a public servant and wish him well in retirement and thank him for his dedicated service.

Surrounded by family, friends, department members, visiting department members and well-wishers, Chief LoGiudice was introduced by Commissioner James Robinson and sworn into office by Fire Commissioner Vikki R. Simmons. Other commissioners were on hand as well. A small reception followed the ceremony. The Town Supervisor and Town Board members were not present.

We'd like to congratulate Chief LoGuidice in his new position. We wish him well on what we hope will be a long and fruitful career as Chief.

Feiner Collaborations – Part 1

The recent and failed collaboration by our supervisor to help Deli Delicious owner Ernest Tartaglione, to bypass our Zoning Board and our zoning laws, once again proves the Feiner model of government’s Chicago-like back room deals, payola, tit-for-tat, pay to play, or whatever you choose to call it, is engaged at a high rate of speed in Greenburgh. The ethically bereft supervisor has repeatedly written, spoken and coerced on behalf of Deli Delicious, of Fulton Park.

The unfortunate plight of Fulton Park is contemptible, as Feiner and his ‘Stepford’ Board has chosen Fairview in general, and Fulton Park in particular, as his own depository for whatever imbecilic subterfuge might reward him another article from the malignant Journal News, touting his unchallenged hypocrisy of “open government”. In reality, the public is only informed when they expose his wrongdoings or there is no chance of it ever having a negative spin against him. Playing right along, in his wallet-pocket, is the rubber-stamping Town Board clones and some of his odious doormats on the Town’s other boards and committees. We will admit not everyone who serves is bad. In fact, several have shown themselves to be independent thinkers and worthy of respect. But you know how it goes; one stinking fish ruins the whole barrel. And the stink in this barrel is from the head down.

At the core is multiple variances sought by Deli Delicious to expand the deli's parking area, encapsulating the entire property he owns and the state property he doesn't with asphalt. Tartaglione stated in a zoning hearing that he has petitioned the state to purchase the property he routinely maintains for them. Primarily, he wants to add a drive-through window, encircling the deli with asphalt to allow customers the ability to fax or email their orders to him and not have to get out of their car to pick it up. Add to this mix a few setback and easement issues as well. 

His contractor, representative, confidant and cohort is Charles Pateman, the deli’s Irvington developer who has stated that they are in talks with the state to purchase the property. Note: Tartaglione's zoning variances request and blueprints included this unpurchased state property – reason enough to refuse approval of the plans. Tartaglione has repeatedly stated that his business is hemorrhaging money to the tune of $4k a month and he cannot afford to stay in business without this several hundred thousand dollar renovations. He’s also doing this for his son. Then he’s doing this for his employees. Then it’s the memory of his parents. So, how can he afford to purchase additional property and renovate into the six-figures? Most importantly, is why – what’s the real reason?

How will a drive-through window increase deli business? And, if he’s actually losing that much, we doubt it's due to customers having to park and walk thirty feet inside to pick up and pay. He had picnic benches for patrons outside without gaining a Town permit. He had a sign in the front of his deli on state property, also illegal, touting 27 varieties of soup and fresh bagels. He enlisted help from Senator Stewart-Cousins and suddenly he posted congratulations on her election victory on the sign. Once he applied for the variances, and the neighborhood association and its leaders started digging, they found the sign was on state property illegally. It was removed. They also found the picnic benches were installed illegally. Removed. Posted congratulations to Andrea Stewart Cousins on the aforementioned sign, while legal, apparently led to people forgetting he had fresh bagels and varieties of soup.

Any ideas as to how to run a successful retail business? He remains closed on the weekends during County Center events running each day and night, ignoring those potential customers. He never offered discount coupons through Val-Pak, the PennySaver, the County Center or advertised in any area newspapers or on the web. Pateman suggested pizza ovens as a solution. Maybe that would work. But, this isn’t about saving a business. He chose not to do anything, allowing his business to “languish” while Tuscany CafĂ©, an equal distance away, has opened and prospered. Lastly, but not finally, each time it has snowed this year and previously, Tartaglione's deli shoveling personnel stopped where his sidewalk ended and the state's began. He stated at the Zoning Board he routinely maintained the state property. Really?

What’s the real reason for the hyperbole, the public tears, the public hugs and the over the top actions?

Burger King.

That’s right, Burger King. Tartaglione knows that the ill-fated Westhab project, conceived through deception, collusion, mis-steps, mis-directs and bullying by our supervisor, was plagued with a predetermined fate. Westhab, for all their efforts, was on the wrong side of the issue trying to build an oversized, pre-approved plan apparently okayed by Feiner with a handshake and a wink. Westhab got greedy and decided a six-story building would fit on the miniscule parcel of .7 acres of land. Feiner got greedy and made the Board the lead agency to fast track this project through to fruition. Last year Westhab unloaded Robert Sanborn. Now Westhab is trying to unload the property. Once that property is sold, Tartaglione may or may not be able to salvage his poorly administered business. Perhaps Paul Feiner can offer some administrative suggestions to Tartaglione since he’s doing such a stellar job with the Town’s finances. He'd tell Tartaglione to just raise prices, it always works for him with taxes. 

Finally, we’re told the neighborhood never wished any ill will toward Tartaglione and his deli. With the issues and legal challenges underway with the property with Westhab, they refused to go along with any development of the area until the Westhab debacle was resolved. Now that BK, Mickey D’s, Wendy’s, Dunkin or some other fast food anything is interested in the property, Tartaglione knows it could net an easier and larger sale if he could offer a drive through window, which would be grandfathered to the new owner. We wouldn’t be surprised to find that Feiner originated that suggestion to Tartaglione. Tartaglione has garishly boarded the deli up with plywood. The signs attached are askew announcing the deli is closed and for lease. Large signs such as these require a permit in the Town. Let’s drop a dime to the building department and see what they do. Like we don’t know…

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If You Charge It, They Won't Come.

This is a little bit off of Greenburgh directly, but relates later.

I went to visit a friend in White Plains Hospital this afternoon. A mutual friend went to visit the same person a day before and parked on the street in a space with a meter. He couldn't get back before the one hour limit and received a $25 parking ticket. We discussed that there was no place in White Plains that you can go, except the few CVS Pharmacy stores, and park for free. He pondered that point momentarily, rubbing his chin and said, "You know, you're right. I never thought about it, but you're right." Welcome to  the "new" City of White Plains, with all of it's renovation, expansion and progress.

In the halls of the Town of Greenburgh, I overheard a portion of a conversation I don't think I was supposed to hear or be a part of. Two employees, whom I didn't recognize, were discussing increasing parking fees and expanding metered parking in the Town. As they continued their discussion, my curiosity was raised and I tried to slow down enough to hear more. Unfortunately, I could not, finished my visit and left to go home and take a shower. Okay, it just feels like I need one whenever I go there.

As many of the Town's residents struggle, Supervisor Feiner is oblivious to their plight and needs of the constituency and only concerned with his reelection. He shouldn't just pontificate about their needs, but genuinely act like they matter. To him, however, they don't. The field is beginning to fill with potential challengers and we'll write about in another post. But we find it interesting that while the Villages see an double-digit tax increase and the Unincorporated Areas, for which he and his incompetent Board should be looking out for, see yet another increase, it's interesting that the Town is looking desperately at parking fees as a way to make money. This is the sad state of our elected officials. When in doubt, raise taxes, increase and invent new fees, but don't cut anything, especially spending.

Back to my friend in the hospital. I drove through the entire White Plains Hospital parking structure, unable to find a space. Yet, each level had two or three valet parking attendants that would be happy to park my car for an additional fee. No thanks, I'll take a chance with the parking meter. I found a space outside the new emergency room on the street and parked half in the melting snow and half on the street. I paid a dollar in quarters and ascended to the fifth floor. I ran into another mutual friend who was exiting. He said our friend looked good, sounded good and for all intents was doing well. I was relieved to find this. Once in the room, I explained that I couldn't stay too long as I parked on the street and only had a one hour meter. Another mutual acquaintance who was visiting said the one hour meters were a scam and designed to make money through tickets. The fact that he was a municipal employee made his comment that much more interesting to me.

My friend said to not worry and go when I needed to, saying he appreciated the visit, no matter how long it lasted. Forty minutes into the visit, I decided to leave. He insisted I go. Fortunately, since he was doing much better, I felt it was okay. Waiting for the elevator was arduous and I began getting "ticket-nervous". Finally, outside and back at my car, sans ticket, I started to think about Greenburgh charging more for parking and finding new ways to coerce us for more money simply to park. The friend I was visiting said his daughter won't shop in White Plains because she isn't willing to pay to park to shop. That's a great point. Perhaps our Town leaders will take heed of how they can hurt the Town more by pursuing this rationale. Let's hope they open their eyes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

DeCicco vs Shimsky: At Least Spell It Correctly

Every election cycle has it's good points and bad. The good is that issues of substance can be brought to the forefront and postulated upon and sometimes get so much traction, that something actually may get done. The bad is the shenanigans we all must endure during an election and the environmentally disruptive campaign literature mailings. An earlier post on ABetterGreenburgh (ABG) discusses the only tangible campaign issue that surfaced during the Journal News' interview of the two candidates vying for Thomas Abinanti's 12th District County Legislative seat for Greenburgh.

In todays Journal News, DeCicco, claims ownership of a letter to the editor that captures his entire campaign in 250 words. He had trouble getting these same points across during his debate with Shimsky and seemed to fumble more than he scored. He made another blunder in his letter to the editor. It's the same mistake the County made back on May 22, 1930. It's also the same mistake the county failed to remedy during the $16-million rehabilitation completed in 1988. What error did DeCicco make, as well as the County? They both spelled Greenburgh incorrectly. They spelled it Greenburg, without the 'H'. Go ahead, take a ride to the county center and read the lists of towns and villages on the facade. Perhaps DeCicco should write his own press releases and not rely on someone from New Rochelle to do them. The simpler spelling might be, in part, why they now use New Roc. 

The letter following DeCiccos to the editor is from a John Staino, identified as the president of the CSEA. He tries to say that DeCicco would be doing what Shimsky is (using CSEA headquarters) had he won their endorsement. Doubtful. The Republican machine is too heavily in the tank right now scrambling for Astorino to get just one more republican in the legislature, so they wouldn't have let go of DeCicco's leash to allow that - even if they would like to have the unions on their side. After what Astorino's budget did to the union membership, they can wave that boat goodbye, never to see it's return to their harbor.

Tomorrow's election is important for the republicans, but DeCicco is already tarnished goods. It's alleged he's accepted campaign financing from a local Deli, a contractor and his attorney to "suggest" he vote a certain way. He did. He voted in favor of the deli. The Town's ethics-challenged supervisor has made a full court press to help the deli, another ethical violation that will go nowhere. Will the residents of Greenburgh ever see relief? Probably not.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

DeCicco vs Shimsky: Is This The Best We Can Do?

The Westchester County 12th Legislative District seat, formerly held by attorney Thomas Abinanti, is being sought by two challengers. The two are Democrat MaryJane Shimsky of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, and Republican Nick DeCicco (pronounced de-cheeko) of Hartsdale, NY.

Shimsky, a former attorney, has served as community relations director for former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky. Brodsky retired from this position this year after 28 years. The seat was recently won in the election by Thomas Abinanti, defeating Republican Thomas Bock. Shimsky's a vice chairwoman of the county Democratic Committee.

DeCicco is a prosecutor in the county Attorney's Office assigned to Family Court in Yonkers. He is a member of the Greenburgh Zoning Board of Appeals, where he currently has an Ethics Violation lodged against him from Town of Greenburgh Democratic District Leader Robert Bernstein. Bernstein had sought to have DeCicco recuse himself from voting on the numerous zoning variances requested by Deli Delicious, located at Rt 119 and Old Kensico Road. The Town Code of Ethics for board membership is pretty straightforward as to what a member can and cannot do. But in Greenburgh, and in particular with our supervisor and his board, it's just another set of rules to be ignored.

The neighborhood, besieged with heavy traffic, conspiratorial actions by Supervisor Feiner and his rubber-stamp Board, is upset, and against this expansion on top of the blatant “lead agency” hijinks, anti-neighborhood and pro-developer giveways of the Town Board toward WestHab. Feiner has gone out of his way to post blogs, write letters to various newspapers, use his radio show on WVOX endorsing Deli Delicious' requests. It must pain Feiner to have the Zoning Board do the right thing.

Deli Delicious wants permission from the zoning board to put in a drive-through window, pave on NYS property and create additional parking spaces in hopes of reviving his expiring business. DeCicco voted in support for the plan at a Zoning Board meeting last month. Then the planning consultant/contractor and the deli's lawyer, alleged to also be the planning consultant's lawyer, organized a political fundraiser for his county board bid at his home in Irvington. Did the deli also contribute to DeCicco? It's been alleged that Deli Delicious may also contribute to Paul Feiner’s campaign fund. We wouldn't be surprised.

The zoning board is scheduled to vote on the deli's requests this Thursday. Last Friday DeCicco said he planned to abstain from any votes on the deli's application. Isn't that a little late in the game Mr. DeCicco? In a interview with his opponent, DeCicco repeatedly stated, "If you want more of the same... vote for MaryJane. If you want something different, a real change, vote for Nick DeCicco." How is a political payoff through fund raising and contributions different? How is voting on an issue that directly involves your campaign financing different? How is ignoring the wishes of an entire community and siding with a developer different? How is siding with a business owner whose bad business acumen is leading to his demise any different? How is any of this different? It's not. What's next, a political appointment to the Board of Elections for a phantom position?

Watch the Journal News debate between the two candidates and see how uninspired they'll make you feel. Neither has a positive presence on screen and both leave us wanting. Shimsky repeatedly appears to refer to her notes off to the side and incapable of having an opinion without cheat sheets. DeCicco, while working without notes, appears equally inept as he struggles to make his case. Who are coaching these two?

If we look past DeCicco's clumsy and perhaps bumbling camera presence, he does seem to make a few points prompting Shimsky's standard retort of, "I have two comments about that..." Poorly executed, neither candidate inspired confidence during this excruciating exchange. Both prove all too well that neither will be a leader, simply another vote in an already dysfunctional legislature.

DeCicco rightfully attacked the Democrat Shimsky for operating her campaign out of the CSEA headquarters. She countered that Republican DeCicco is being bankrolled by the Republican Party. TouchĂ©. Regrettably, this was as good as it got and appears to be the level to which Westchester politics has deteriorated. It’s disappointing. The Democrats lost their way several years ago and lost a good and righteous leader with the recent passing of Lorrin Brown. The Republicans had a great candidate with Thomas Bock in the last two elections but the Republican Party chose to abandon him as Doug Colety typically writes off the Town of Greenburgh each election as insignificant to the Republicans. Again, it’s disappointing. Are there any stewards left out there?

The Republican residents of Greenburgh have been discarded by the Westchester and NY GOP because the democrats have a 3 to 1 ratio over the republicans in the district. Any viable or good candidates, such as Bock, are ignored or dismissed, almost mandating the election of “empty suits” such as Thomas “Proclamation4U” Abinanti. Following "suit" is newly elected Alfreda Williams. The democrats are simply offering bodies and frankly, it’s not good enough. The republicans aren't any better. Even Astorino, who lamely follows the advise of his incompetent advisors, jumped into the waters by offering political payoffs and paybacks. Will it ever end? Apparently, no, especially with the thinking we have from the supposed leaders in these parties. It’s so disappointing.

Our prediction is a simple one. DeCicco, with the power of the feckless Republican Party, with Colety at the helm, will lose this special election to Shimsky; not because she’s better, rather, because of the “D” after her name. It’s simply numbers.