Friday, September 30, 2011

Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record

In a recently published study by the Pew Research Center’s Pew Hispanic Center, titled “The Toll of the Great Recession: Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record, Leads Nation”, by Mark Hugo Lopez and Gabriel Velasco, the obvious results are found in the title. What’s not gleaned from the title is that children of all races have suffered a similar fate while Hispanics have moved into first place. This negative milestone for Hispanics is a product of their growing numbers, high birth rates and declining economic fortunes.

This report focused on children living in poverty by race and ethnicity in the United States. Children are those ages 17 and younger. The data for this report comes from the Current Population Survey (CPS) March Supplements from various years. The 1993, 2007 and 2010 estimates are based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of March CPS Supplements, including the recently released 2011 March CPS data. Poverty estimates of Latino children with at least one immigrant parent and Latino children with two U.S.-born parents are based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of March CPS Supplements from 1994 to 2011.

Two years ago, there was a fire in an apartment building on Route 9A in the Town of Greenburgh. Once the sprinkler system discharged, the fire department responded and evacuated the building. They requested the Town’s Building Department close it down and declare it unsafe for habitation, which they did. Apparently, the fire and building departments had been dealing with this severely overcrowded, unsafe and dilapidated building of eight apartments with an estimated one hundred-plus occupancy for quite some time. Several firefighters stated with the promise of anonymity, that closets were equipped with mattresses, rooms had multiple mattresses on the floor shared with bunk beds, space heaters via extension cords through holes in the walls, communal hotplates and a significant infestation of rodents and bugs. Most, if not all of the residents were Hispanic and required fire department and social services interpreters to converse.

Many work in menial and low paying labor and day-laborer positions and were packing their possessions in plastic garbage bags once told they must leave. They do not have any benefits, reserve funds, cars, or other locations they could stay. Their children, as most children will be, were clueless to the circumstances they are living. The difference is as they go to our schools, they will learn that they are “entitled” to benefits most tax-paying citizens will never participate.

Supervisor Feiner and his Stepford Board has contributed to this debacle by continually adding more and more low income, Section 8, subsidized housing recipients and others to the Fairview section of the Town. This has had a debilitating affect on the Fairview section of the Town as well as the Town as a whole. We’ve witnessed many a business jump on the exodus wagon while they still could as their clientele also moved away, only to be replaced by people with no “extra” or “spendable” cash. ABG believes it is in part why the A&P, Pathmark and other retailers have left the area. It’s why the County’s Desegregation Settlement did not require the unincorporated section of Greenburgh to participate in building subsidized housing while some of the Villages must.

ABG has written previously about the sanctuary town The Paul and his Board are creating. In effect, they are encouraging the overcrowding and unsafe conditions within the Town. His policies discourage our personnel from doing their job properly. While this issue manifests itself more with the Hispanic community than others, it shouldn’t be tolerated at all. It’s allowed because The Paul has instructed our uniformed services personnel and others to ignore it – until there’s a problem. But, by then it’s usually too late. This policy, whether written or done with a wink and a nod, must stop. People’s lives are at stake. Let’s hope our people will do the right thing despite The Paul and protect lives instead of allowing the pandering we always see from him and our other politicians. Let’s also hope we can all elevate everyone from the poverty level.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

590 Apartments - Really? Paul, Tell The Truth

ABG just received a copy of a letter mailed to the Fulton Park neighborhood from the Office of The Supervisor with the headline, “Fulton Gardens Apartments Would Like To Rezone Their Property...To Build 590 Apartments. My Concerns - Flooding and Displacement of Residents.” Part of the title of his letter is an outright lie! ABG watched the work session and the attorney for the Fulton Gardens Apartments (FGA) clearly stated their goal and reasoning for requesting the zoning change: an increase of two to three stories per building.  And, he specifically stated they were not looking to build 590 units. The Paul deflects.

Francis “In Paul’s Back Pocket” Sheehan stated the FGA zoning change from M22 to M174 would allow the property over 590 additional apartments on that property if approved. The Paul asked what would happen with the existing residents and displacement? The attorney stated there are some rent-controlled apartments, which would be maintained. Relocation of the residents to other apartments would be offered, until completion, when they would return to their original or new apartment. Interestingly, this same zoning change, not endorsed, recommended or approved by the Towns Zoning and Planning Boards for Westhab, and was not an issue for The Paul - he and the Board didn’t care and changed the zoning!

Soon after Westhab lost their funding, Deli Delicious’ owner Ernest Tartaglione requested numerous zoning variances to add a drive-through window to his deli, claiming he’s hemorrhaging $4k a month and the $100k in construction costs would resuscitate his business, which he intended to give to his son. It would take two and a half years just to pay that off, let alone show a profit. ABG was also told that Tartaglione’s son does not want the deli. But that’s an issue for them to work out.

Two Zoning Board rejections, Planning Board rejections and an Appeals Court rejection for Tartaglione caused him to board up the deli and spray paint the word ‘closed’ on it. We believe this to be a hoax. He’s in violation of the Town signage laws and The Paul does nothing to have him take it down. This shows just how little both the Supervisor and Tartaglione think of the Fulton Park neighborhood. Residents informed ABG that Tartaglione’s still using the facility, boarded up, only without an open-to-the-public deli. We decided to check it out ourselves and sat in the Staples parking lot on different days. Sure enough, he and others were seen entering and exiting. It appears he’s scheming again.

On September 22, Feiner sent an email with another request from Tartaglione stating, “I have interest from a bank to rent the deli, however the real estate agent tells me they will only take it if they can get a drive thru window. Please get back to me and let me know what you think. Is this something the neighborhood would be interested in, or allow?” Feiner wants to know if the neighborhood would be in favor of this?

Banks don’t normally look to rent deli’s. Tartaglione may have gone to a bank to get a loan with his now ‘closed’ deli as the collateral and the bank refused. After all, the deli is worth little if it’s not operating. The loan may have simply been to construct the window. Who knows?Unfortunately, this sounds like another ploy for him to get his drive through window. Then there’s the part about the real estate agent saying this will only happen with a drive through window. Again, it sounds like a feeble attempt by Tartaglione to get his approval some other way. Different neighbors have said he wants the drive through window not to increase business, but to flip the building to a Dunkin’ Donuts-like or Burger King Express-like outfit. The current deli with a drive through window would be worth more in the sale and be grandfathered in for the new tenant to use.

ABG wonders if the neighborhood might have been amenable to some portion of this if Tartaglione hadn’t been insulting and rude to the neighborhood members at the various hearings or in the neighborhood, such as when he refused to allow several long-time residents/customers entry to his store. He had sent landscaping floral arrangements to several area residents to soften them up to his construction project. He had Chuck Pateman, his ‘representative and contractor’ make calls to neighbors asking for their support. ABG was told if he hadn’t been making deals with Westhab while purporting to be on the neighborhood’s side, hadn’t had The Paul writing articles regularly for him touting the need for this, there might have been a different outcome for him. It sounds like that ship has sailed for the deli down the Old Kensico River.

At this point, ABG wonders if he should even bother? ABG has commented before that Feiner and his Board have dumped on this neighborhood long enough. At one point we’re told by Civic Association members that Tartaglione had been a good neighbor. Lately, he’s proven to not be too concerned with his neighbors. The Paul stated at the last Town Board Musical and Awards Showcase, and the last work session, that he wants to prove to Fulton Park residents he’s committed to improving things on Old Kensico Road. The first step is for The Paul to have the building department cite Tartaglione for illegal signage and have it removed. Then The Paul needs to stop his open campaign for Tartaglione. Most importantly, the Town Board should eliminate the M174 zoning for that area and restore it to the previous zoning. Finally, a reduction in the size and scope of any project in the neighborhood must be mandated. Even better would be a town-wide moratorium on all construction until the comprehensive plan is adopted and more importantly a flood control plan developed!

Time will tell. Perhaps the neighborhood will be more forgiving than we will.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Lamestream Media Keeps Giving A Pass

It's interesting to note what the news media outlets choose to say and avoid as they report “the facts.”  The late Alexander Solzhenitsyn noted that in the USSR there was one media outlet controlled by the government. In America the news outlets are supposedly free, but all seem to say the same thing. Is there really a difference if they are all printing the same press releases supplied by The Paul’s media assistant? We think not.

So, when all of the major news media outlets begin to avoid the same story, it peaks my interest.  The guilty verdict against our supervisor and his insipid board in the Fortress Bible Discrimination case, as well as others, is the most glaring and possibly the largest example of the news media giving him a pass. It’s the story nobody wants to report because it’s about...The Paul. He decided what should and should not happen to this church’s property; he then coerced his Board to follow along, which unfortunately, they did as they were told. ABG is sure most voters hoped to get independent thinkers and representatives when they pulled the election booth lever. They got neither.
Any contender for the Supervisor’s position would surely offer more and be better than this puppet of a leader. His support town-wide had seemingly increased based on the democratic nominations he received at the past Democratic Convention (61%), putting him at the top tier as a candidate. And yet, the news media wants to talk about everything but The Paul. What about flooding in the Town and the damage incurred? What about Republican challengers? What about lowering taxes - especially for the unincorporated areas of the Town? By the way, he tipped his hand at the last Town Board meeting stating there would be a tax increase. If the story of Greenburgh's corrupt Board is being avoided, which ABG believes is the case - the lamestream media is giving The Paul the keys to the farm, so to speak. They don't want to rock their boat of access to him, buying into the whole “open government” schtick. Perhaps we need to pay attention to the things they don't want to report, and what they don't say.
Several years ago there were numerous weekly newspapers that were investigative and a thorn in Westchester’s shady politicians’ sides. The Journal News, the only local daily newspaper, has become an AP/USA Today/National regurgitation flyer for Gannett. They rid themselves of most their staff and the balance only provide an occasional puff piece about some group of kids doing some kind of charitable work. The Westchester Guardian, under the guidance of seemingly concerned owner Sam Zherka, has become a Press Release/Opinion paper, offering no real news. They’ve bought into the Feiner media hype as well, offering him as much space as he'd like for anything he chooses to ramble on about. Do any of these groups even know how to find a high road anymore? We think not.
The supervisor is a clear-cut example of why the internet and alternative media is not only nice to have; it is critical. We may not always agree or even agree at all, but we should at least think! And we need information from various sources to make informed decisions. Some idiots will still tune into the lamestream media and let others do their thinking for them. Blogging and alternative media continues to grow, and the liberals, RINO's and bean-counters had better worry.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Feiner Bites: Mosquitos Worse!

The amount of mosquitoes in the path of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene has increased for several reasons. The most obvious is because of the amount of standing water left over from Irene. The residents of the Fulton Park and Babbitt Court neighborhoods are suffering from an increase in mosquitos after the storm. We're told by some residents that during the dawn and dusk times of day can be the worst.

Jim Gardener from Pitt County, North Carolina Environmental Health, heads up the mosquito management for that area, and says that there are more mosquitoes breeding in the flood water in the ditches and low lying areas after Irene made its way through their area. The obvious factor here is that the areas of the path of Irene will all bear a larger mosquito population for all the same reasons.

“The problem is when you get the rains that we've had, you get a range of mosquitoes, you get floodwater mosquitoes that are not normally in the population in large quantities.” Gardner said. In the residential areas, such as Fulton Park and Babbitt Court, the mosquito population has not only increased, but caused the cleanup effort by residents to be additionally handicapped. “I can’t stay outside for too long because I get eaten alive,” said one severely flooded Fulton Park resident, “its very frustrating,” she added.

Gardner monitors the amount of mosquitoes for residential areas and along creeks and rivers through the North Carolina County. A recent lab report from the Tar River in Greenville produced more than 4,000 mosquitoes in just one Petri dish in a day, which is abnormal for the area. 

We don’t yet have a mosquito management position in Greenburgh or the County. But, can one be too far off? Not the way these two entities waste money. You can be sure behind closed doors the question has been tendered, "Who do we owe a position to?" It bites!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reducing Tax Rates May Save Greenburgh

Last nights Town Board meeting was more of the same. There was an hour of fluff, per the now-elected Supervisor and his Clerk, before we got close to starting the Town Board meeting. It’s his proven campaign strategy. It also detracts from and reduces the amount of people unwilling to wait additional time for the meeting. Again, it’s a proven strategy.

When the meeting finally began last night, we saw a full house. The major topic was no surprise. Flooding.  The difference tonight was the packed room had residents from all four sides of the Town: Old Kensico Road near the Bronx River; East Hartsdale Avenue; Babbitt Court and the businesses along the northern Rt. 9A corridor. Everyone that spoke made impassioned pleas for the Board to supply any relief from the flooding.

The owner of Glen’s Towing and the Sunoco Service Station on 9A, said he’s been flooded numerous times now and loses money because he must move vehicles to higher ground, clean and re-clean tools and equipment and questioned why any business would want to stay in Greenburgh? He further stated that he had spent several hours on Saturday with an engineer going downstream at the Saw Mill River and found all kinds of natural and man-made debris blocking water flow. Just cleaning out all that’s there would help the area.

A representative of the East Hartsdale Apartments Shareholders group spoke of their need for higher ground parking. Their underground parking gets flooded when it rains, the area around them gets flooded and they must move their vehicles to save them from being flooded and ruined. There aren’t enough spaces in the municipal garage. So, she asked the Board to allow them to park during a storm on several nearby streets and not be ticketed. She joked that the parking enforcement officer does a really good job, an outstanding job, and they should be proud of his efficiency. Then she said, seriously, they just need relief!

A gentleman from Babbitt court told of how his home was raised by FEMA after years and years of flooding and damage. He also said all the development north of him has affected what happens with the water. Sams Club, Fairview Park’s expansion with FedEx, DHL, Coca Cola, Brookfield, the Animal Shelter and others have all affected the water absorption and increased the water down stream toward his neighborhood as well as others. He insisted the Board think about the ramifications of any future building that is contemplated.

The President of the Fulton Park Association, lambasted Feiner as irresponsible and unconscionable for promising buyouts of Fulton Park homes that were flooded. She stated it was false hope to tell these people during such terrible devastation that maybe FEMA would buy them out. She then detailed some of the parameters that FEMA follows for buyouts. She finished the buyout information with the fact that it will never happen based on the requirements the Town and State would have to comply to. Then she added if they wanted to really help the affected residents, allow them to pay a reduced tax rate to offset their losses. That garnered a tremendous round of applause. The Board sat staring at the desk.

The Vice-President of the Fulton Park Association, stated he lost roughly $40k worth of equipment, appliances, tools, records, clothing, computer equipment and more during this last flood. He referenced an article in a weekly paper where Feiner said people have only been getting flooded this year. He stated that he’s been coming to these meetings asking for help with flooding for the last five years, only to be ignored. He brought up the additional 450 condominiums to be built at Eastview and the 400 or so at Avalon Green on Taxter Road and the constructions impact farther south at the Babbitt Court and Rt. 9A corridor with more water. These projects are using up space that currently absorbs water and making those areas impervious. It will all be directed into the Saw Mill River, adding to an already overtaxed waterway. It has to stop.

Once he finished, Feiner said he never promised buyouts. The Fulton Park President stood up and shouted from the audience that that was a lie! Others in the room agreed with her. Shuffling quickly, he said he was going to explore all options. When Feiner finished, the Vice-President asked why was he was now looking for options after five years of asking? He didn’t answer.

A Beaver Hill (Rt. 9A) resident, referenced the Fulton Park’s five years of asking for help and said she has flood study documents as well as having asked for flood relief for Rt. 9A for over thirty years. Nothing has been done to alleviate the situation. The resident referred to some businesses as being better able than others to deal with the flooding. She also stated Sams Club had millions of dollars worth of damage even though they raised their building above the flood plane levels when it was built. With this additional height, they still had damage. So the water level is getting higher.

The Town Board, often the lead agency for many projects being built in the Town, needs to step down and cease being the lead agency for developers. They’re not capable, lack the training and expertise. They need to assess the areas in question and how the land use around them will affect them if any construction takes place. They need to impose a moratorium on all construction in the Town so they can evaluate and establish a plan to control water and flooding. Until then, anything they do is just another drop in the bucket.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Council of Civic Associations Forum-Districts 5&8

Tuesday night found us looking for something different to do in Greenburgh. We’ve been helping various neighbors who have been struggling due to the tropical storm. We ended up at a White Plains forum for the County Legislative Districts 5 & 8. The candidates are William Ryan, the democratic incumbent, and Dr. Iris Pagan-Montcrieffe, the republican challenger. Naturally, late to the party, was unchallenged first year District 8 incumbent Alfreda Williams. Just because you’re running unopposed is no reason to be disrespectful to the public. 

We’ve been to many forums for candidates. Some are impressive with the amount of preparation and work that yield fruitful information. Others appear to be slapped together and do little to inform the constituency of policies, ideas or revelations. This one fell short of the informative ones and proved why its easy for so many to not find interest in politics.

There were some generic questions asked and some specific ones. Dr. Pagan seemed a strong contender to Ryan in the beginning of the evening. In fact, we'd say she was impressive as a challenger and “won” the first round of questions. At one point, Dr. Pagan, took an opportunity to tersely correct Ryan when he mistakenly called her Ms. Pagan, “It's DOCTOR Pagan, Mr. Ryan.” Ryan apologized and answered the particular question. We felt she could have handled that with a little more class. Afterwards, however, she appeared to stumble and even be at a loss for words. We can be somewhat forgiving to her as a candidate and not having answers for every issue, but can't ignore bad manners.

When Williams went to the podium, she often carried notes with her. While that was an obvious gaffe for Williams, it was the only time she sounded coherent. We’ve never been a fan of Williams mostly because she’s a legislative place holder. Her daughter was in the audience with either a friend or county employee and they seemed to be the only ones applauding for her after she spoke. Shortly into the forum Williams began to falter repeatedly - no notes. We’ve witnessed this before at forums when she ran for the county legislative position the first time. And, as she so often does when she’s at a loss, she plays the race card and starts her Feiner-like deflection about prejudice existing and how she experienced it. Frankly, we're not interested. Stick to the issues, learn the facts, and be the bigger person - THAT’s your job!

Ryan, a tried and true politician was certainly much stronger than the other two. A Scarsdale woman asked the three about the bond rating and using the reserve funds to lower the tax burden. Ryan asked Williams if he should field the question or did she want to? In her only smart move of the night, she told Ryan to take it. We’re confident there was no way for her to answer this. Ryan told this woman that she should be happy they used the reserve funds and kept her taxes in Scarsdale down. Really? Scarsdale residents are really worried about county taxes? He handled the question well and included the woman in it by name. Smooth.

Upon exiting the forum, a woman from the group asked what we thought of the forum. We were polite and said it was a weak event with obvious agendas. The questions were written with a position in mind and too convoluted. She claimed to not like Pagan as a challenger as she was weak on the issues. Yet, the two incumbents didn’t impress her either, especially Williams, who appeared to be unintelligent, uninformed and clueless. She added that it makes sense she’s a politician as a government job is probably the only way she could get work. We agreed and dejectedly told her try living in Greenburgh. It’s a sad state of affairs. It’s too bad that Republican Chairman Doug Colety has abandoned Greenburgh, conceding it’s defeat to the democrats ad infinitum.

Most of these forums are a waste of time because the people who host them are only interested in their specific issues. The candidates bring their supporters and they ask softball questions of their candidates and hardball questions of their candidates opponents. That kind of balances things out.  Most use the League of Women Voters as the mediator - for a fee. Their operational function is almost comical. Can this or should this change? Probably. Will it change? Probably not. Did last night’s forum help anybody choose a candidate? Probably not. Were most disappointed? Probably. Will we be happier with the election? Probably not. 
Vote anyway! We must change how our government works.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Deflection Is Action: I’m Done Here!

We recently posted about Supervisor Paul Feiner’s signature trademark of inaction when it comes to issues of the Town of Greenburgh. If its something that other politicos must address, he has the solution. If its about opening a dog park or giving awards to school children, he’s all over it. But as certain parts of the Town painfully found again with Hurricane Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm (doesn’t that make all you flood victims feel better?) The Paul has begun the deflection process.

We all know and expect that sections of Greenburgh flood severely and has for years. One area of highlight is the southern area between Rt. 9A and the Saw Mill River, basically at the border of where Elmsford meets Greenburgh in and around and past the Elmsford Little League field, where many a baseball was lost to drowning and abandoned wooden bats floated to Ardsley and beyond. Travelling north in the opposite direction, up Rt. 9A, produces so much flooding that most businesses begin their evacuatory preparations once the weather reports even hint of heavy rains. Numerous tow companies, Brookfield Auto Wreckers and others do most of their business from second story offices wherever possible. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible.

The East Hartsdale area of the Town floods with heavy rains. The Paul applied for flood mitigation funds from the County when Tom Abinanti was a County Legislator. He became a State Assemblyman in the last election so we’re more apt to never hear from him again until election time. During a forum, it was Abinanti who highlighted the fact that Feiner only applied for the flood monies for only Hartsdale and no other area of Greenburgh. Now The Paul is saying he knew the application for funding would be rejected so he didn't apply. Knowing we cannot corroborate it at this point its another great deflection by The Paul once again. Shame on him for not even trying to get the monies.

This most recent round of storms hit the expected areas harder than ever before. The Rt. 9A corridor was submerged once again from the Beaver Hill right on down past the Little League field. To make sure Councilman Kevin Morgan could get out and emergency vehicles in, the Town opened the dead end at the top of Orchard Lane onto Old Country Road. This has never been done before. All the expected areas did not disappoint. And yet, unfortunately, our politicians did. This Rt. 9A corridor has flooded for over forty years that we are aware of. Each new group of politicians promise relief and delivery nothing but rhetoric and studies. By the time the studies are completed they are out of office and off the hook – except for one: Paul Feiner. He has been in office for twenty years. Each time it rains and an area floods, he talks about it like it’s a new event or a complete surprise.

With this last event, he met with frustrated neighbors in the Fulton Park area of the Town. While they have always had a lot of water, it goes under the radar of the Journal News (newsletter), the Westchester Guardian (opinion paper), the White Plains Times (the last hope), and even the Daily Greenburgh (fluff pieces). Apparently we are the only ones willing to take on The Paul and call it like we see it. The Paul followed up his visit with a packet of form letters with copies of what he sent to various other politicians decrying the pain of his constituents, who in turn, will do as The Paul just did. They will point a finger to some agency they cannot direct to resolve the issue, clap their hands and hold them up, palms out, and call it a day. Deflection accomplished! Now he can say he reached out but no one responded or offered help.

Can the flooding issue in the most highly taxed county in America, the most mismanaged Town in the State, led by the most corrupt and unskilled supervisor and town board ever to be seen, even be fixed? We hope so. We recognize it will be the efforts of civic associations, private citizens and individual businesses that will drive the solutions forward, not our elected officials. They are collectively incompetent and bereft of solutions, offering only politi-speak. They need to stay as far away from the issue as possible, allowing others to create and implement real resolutions. It is time for Paul Feiner to go; and take the derelict Town Board with you. That's a solution we can endorse!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Feiner: The Master Baits With Deflection

As the story in the bible goes, it rained for forty days and forty nights. Here in Greenburgh, it just seemed like it was forty days and nights. Residents and businesses alike suffered the wrath of downgraded Hurricane Irene to that of a tropical storm. Regardless of its classification by the National Weather Service, the damage inflicted of those not normally and yes, normally in it’s path was horrible.

Equally horrible is the feeling of helplessness most residents and business residents feel about the lack of action routinely promised by our politicians, such as Nita Lowey, Ken Jenkins and last but certainly not least, our own albatross, Paul Feiner. He is the master at baiting the news media to follow his rants in print and on air with his convoluted solutions about everything governmental. Of course, we’ve learned long ago that everything he touches doesn’t turn to gold, but rots from the inside out.

We heard after being goaded by his henchman, Town Councilman Kevin Morgan to get out and tour the flood ravaged parts of Greenburgh, The Paul showed up across from us in neighboring Fulton Park. He has defecated on this neighborhood so often, it’s a wonder they haven’t beaten Edgemont with annexation from the Town! One staffer to this post stated when he showed up, you could see a neighborhood woman had all she could do to keep from punching him. “It was just more of his phony compassion and blaming other politicians at the county, state and federal levels for not correcting this flooding problem.” Infrastructure is the responsibility of the locality, period.

She continued, explaining that News 12 interviewed him and he did his deflection routine all over again on air. She said she didn’t recognize the newscaster but her partner later spoke with the cameraman and he told her they were stringers, independent contractors who work on a per diem basis for the station. Feiner continued on about how the county and state governments need to do something. He was willing to contact FEMA to see if they could help the neighborhood and maybe buy the affected houses from their owners. A woman from the Fulton Park Neighborhood Association forcefully told Feiner that people have mortgages and would wind up with nothing if FEMA purchased their homes - at below market value. They would have to pay off their mortgages and still find a new home – with little or no money left. Ah, again the master baits residents with non-solutions and the media swallows it, hook, line and sinker. Deal with the problem, Paul. Don’t talk about. Don’t study it. Act on it. Stop deflecting it to other agencies!

ABG had an opportunity to speak with those hardest hit in Fulton Park. One man said he lost over $40k worth of appliances, equipment, tools, clothing, heirlooms, photographs from several generations of his and his wife’s families, and more. Then he showed me a letter from FEMA denying him aid because he has flood insurance. What? The flood insurance is from FEMA and they are rejecting his claim? The letter stated he was ineligible for relocation assistance and had insufficient damage! He had eight feet of water, mud, waste and debris in his basement! Hellooo Paul, are you getting this? He can appeal, but he even said what’s the use? They make you pay the premiums and then send another form letter only to be denied again. ABG tends to believe him when he says it’s all just a scam! He also said that Paul Feiner continually deflects his responsibility from himself to others so he can appear to care but then actually do nothing - a hallmark of his administrations. Once these people leave, maybe The Paul will build another dog park. 

At the other end of Fulton Park, one family who had suffered a fire several years ago still had a basement full of water. When the fire department was pumping water from basements in the neighborhood they somehow missed theirs. The owner told Feiner they never came to pump him out. Watch out, here it comes, deflection time. He told the gentleman that the Fairview Fire Department is a separate fire district and he could not do anything about getting them there to help them. ABG’s staffer told them to call the fire department and request a pumping and they would probably just come over. So, The Paul could have simply made a call but routinely chose to deflect.

President Obama toured the areas of New York. Fulton Park wasn’t included; instead they got Feiner. What a let down after losing their life’s possessions. Maybe The Paul’s goal is to get rid of everyone who doesn’t like him. Greenburgh will be a ghost town inhabited by the homeless and the wealthy. What a shame to see the decline of a once great Town.

We’ve said it before: it’s time for Paul Feiner to leave. Just resign, please – simply go. It’s time for the media to stop regurgitating his blather about open government, new programs at the recreation department, sitting at a supermarket - oops their gone, or sponsoring a new Seniors group trip to the Bahamas. It’s nothing but more Feiner lies! Those involved with Greenburgh know he only has open government when it’s convenient to him or there is a photo “op” in it for him. Otherwise, he is secretive, makes back room deals, intimidates employees and operates as if he’s above the law. Go away Paul. Just go. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just Call Patronage Personnel

They All Do It
   Political parties all enjoy utilizing PACs and consider them an unlimited slush fund that’s untouchable by all but themselves. Typically, these PACs raise money independent of the parties they’re associated with and pay for ads, fund raisers, etc., for candidates running on their line. Interestingly, Paul Feiner has continually raised money for his elections and even paid for the advertising for his running mates. To them he probably says, Don’t worry about it. You’ll be able to do something for me later.” He’s tried to get money from all the party lines he’s run on. But he doesn't really need them, his developer friends take care of him very nicely. Feiner has hired numerous unqualified people as payback for support of some sort. It’s the hallmark of Patronage Personnel to the rescue!
Buy A Conservative Endorsement
   The Journal News had an article about the former Conservative chair Gail Burns, who was replaced as the party chair by Hugh Fox. Experience tells that Fox is unable to ever do the "right thing" and his gain is the true conservatives’ loss. Fox retired from his six-figure Yonkers Fire Department job as the fire union’s president, to step “up” into a higher union position in Albany - a state level union position. That fell through. But don’t feel bad for him, he only needed to contact Patronage Personnel with an offer to sell an endorsement.
   County Executive Rob Astorino, hired Hugh Fox as his Labor Relations Specialist at $90k+, proving that patronage is alive and thriving in Astorinoland. Fox getting his appointment to the 9th floor as a labor specialist is only because he's the Conservative chair and Astorino wants the Conservative endorsement in the next election! Done deal!
   Astorino press releases would have you believe he’s the pummeled golden boy of Westchester, regularly “beaten” by a County Legislative Board uninterested in fixing Westchester. When it’s in his best interest, Astorino can be the master of patronage.
Buy A Party Endorsement For The Future
   Astorino hired George Oros as his Chief of Staff after Oros was “stiffed” by the republican party. You didn't know? NY State Senator Vincent Liebell had told Oros he was going to vacate his position for a run at another position, leaving a position open for Oros to simply glide into. The republican party loves Oros and were gung-ho with this scheme. So Oros announced he would not be seeking re-election. Then Liebell got cold feet and decided to stay put, crushing Oros’ plans, leaving him out in the cold. Ouch! Not to worry. Patronage Personnel to the rescue! We’re sure Uncle Vinny will also get an offer once he’s released from prison.
   Astorino swore a pledge to the Call To Action group that insisted on promises to shrink county government and reduce spending. Most republican candidates signed on and most democrat candidates did not. He decided to slaughter much of county government’s lower level personnel with a broad brush-like stroke, resulting in a symbolic 1% reduction in taxes. The democratic legislature overrode his veto of cuts, saving county employee positions and reduced the taxes by 2%. Imagine what might have happened if they hadn’t been playing the partisan games and worked together?
   Former County Executive and democrat Alfred Delbello and his  partner, republican William Mooney started the Call To Action group. They dumped money into it and grabbed onto the TEA party momentum of cutting spending and shrinking government. It worked in some ways and failed in others. After Astorino got elected, he hired attorney William Mooney as his Senior Assistant to the County Executive. It also means there are junior assistants and others that help the county executive. For example, John Cerino, the republican party's “go-to” guy, was hired as Astorino’s Scheduler. Wouldn’t an assistant do scheduling? Coincidentally, Cerino’s sister Elizabeth works at the County Board of Elections. Hmmm.
A Puppet Regime
   Astorino hired attorney Kevin Plunkett as his Deputy County Executive, some say in the “Brutus” position. So what’s in it for DelBello? It’s simple really. Plunkett came from DelBello’s law firm. Bill Mooney and DelBello are working together with WCA. The Republican County Executive is now surrounded by democrat DelBello’s operatives. It’s why Astorino is positioning to announce his Westchester 2040 Initiative. It’s a major payback to the unions by eliminating volunteers in many areas that will require paid staffing. It will be patterned after the failed Westchester 2000 Initiative that tried to supersede local/home rule among other things. And, it was the brainchild of the last few democratic county executives. You don’t think that DelBello is legislating through a puppet regime, do you?
   How Many Others
We almost forgot that we were speaking of Gail Burns, the now deposed Conservative Party Chair who was ousted by Fox, et al. She would have found herself out of work, but she was given a job with the Spano Political Empire out of Yonkers. In spite of that, she was able to garner an appointment of a position at the Westchester County Board of Elections Employment Agency, a division of Patronage Personnel about a week or so ago. She did many of the same things that Fox has, although she just wasn't quite as "Foxy" about it. 
   Are there any others who have benefitted from Patronage Personnel? Sure. Republican Nancy Meehan, a District Leader 

in Mt. Pleasant, received a fat appointment right after her husband, attorney Robert Meehan, the former Mt. Pleasant Supervisor, received his appointment from Astorino as the County Attorney. Patronage Personnel has many success stories.
Both Sides Do IT:
   There are serious deficiencies in the political system in Westchester County. And for those who think republican Astorino or democrat Jenkins are any different, think again. Look at the appointments Astorino has made and you'll see patronage up the wazoo! 
Something Need To Change:

   When the electorate gets off their duffs and decide to get involved, we can start turning this system of corruption around. Should Republican and Democratic chairs be allowed to be the (political) bosses at the Board of Elections for $150k? No, but they do! Should they be able to run their side businesses from there as well? No, but they do.! Should they be receiving full medical benefits and retirement packages as well? No, but they do! 
   Get Involved. Everyone who is disgusted with this garbage must start to be more involved. Initially, get out and vote! Next, watch to see the inside shady operations and corruption of just any one town, riddled with illegalities. We prefer you come here as we dissect the illegal operations and operatives in Greenburgh. Regardless, you'll also see it’s not just one Town, but many. The time is now people. The cause is for you individually and all of us collectively! VOTE them out! But at least VOTE!

This is a guest commentary.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Feiner: “Fire Me!”

ABG staffers read the monthly editorial that The Paul releases for publicity over things he has no control, purview or responsibility for. Once again, almost exactly to schedule, he bemoans the “wait” residents in Greenburgh must go through after each storm to get power restored. While we concede he has a point that residents must wait for restoration of power, his rationale, as is typical, is askew. He states that Town residents seem to wait longer than NY City residents to get power restored. That may be. However, the density of population is typically the rationale for repair priority that he refuses to acknowledge. In general, Greenburgh doesn’t lose power all that often as the ConEd infrastructure in Westchester is somewhat newer and more weather resistant. But it really doesn’t matter. The media has given him a pass and continually publishes his blather, rather than challenge him.  

In the Sunday edition of the Journal News flyer out of New Jersey (read: jobs leaving NY), an article by Rebecca Baker, lead stenographer for the Feiner Media Group, entitled “Courts Troubles Heat Primary”, details each candidate’s position on the mismanagement, difficulties, and loss of revenue to the Town through it’s courts, all without once mentioning that the responsibility ultimately lies with the failed leadership of Supervisor Paul Feiner and his cowardly ‘Stepford’ Town Board! Other than the incumbents pointing out that they all tried to publicize the problems, no one actually discussed improvements they've contributed to the courts other than collecting a paycheck.

At each Town Board meeting we attend or watch on cable, numerous residents, whom we applaud for their tenacity, intelligence and caring for a Town bereft with maladies, appear before at the Board meeting detailing time and again what is wrong and what needs repair. Unfortunately, it falls on deaf and/or uninterested ears. He repeatedly states that when he was a County Legislator that he wanted to abolish county government, saying, “Fire me!” We should have listened to him. Lousy politicians don’t go away, they just move to higher office. It’s sad.

The recent tropical storm that hit the area, after losing momentum as a hurricane, hit us with a path of destruction and devastation previously unseen by many. Only this time, the storm’s path swept a much larger area; some that had previously been the topics brought up at many Town Board meetings for years! So while this event was no surprise to the the Supervisor and Town Board, their blatant ignoring of the flooding issue that has been growing throughout the Town for the last twenty or so years. Wait a minute...The Paul has been Supervisor for the last twenty years This is something he and they voluntarily chose to ignore. After all, why fix something when they can talk about? More importantly, why fix something when they know they’ll just get re-elected anyway?

We’ve called for the Supervisor to step down before. We know his ego and his arrogance won’t let that happen. The best we can hope for is that everyone who got flooded from a trickle of water to life-threatening amounts, start to attend Town Board meetings and hold those elected officials feet to the fire. Or better yet, hold their heads under water until they do something. The Town doesn’t need another study, another member-item $5k grant or The Paul pointing a finger at the state or federal government to deflect blame. The blame this time is squarely on his and his board’s shoulders. If they don’t act, during future elections we should throw these ‘babies out with the flood water’!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Did You Get Any Water?

ABG has previously written about the flooding problem in the Town of Greenburgh before this past weekend’s hurricane/tropical storm. But Paul Feiner decided to come to the neighborhood to irritate everyone in person. He asked if people had gotten any water? What?! He showed up outside a flooded neighborhood near our office which seemed to enrage the residents. We assume his simply showing up after they've begged with him for solutions was nothing short of incredulous. Not to be outdone, his protege, Councilman Kevin Morgan, know affectionately as Feiner’s henchman, also toured the flooded neighborhoods the following day.

We lost some equipment from flooding but not nearly what the single family homes with multiple residents (illegal dwellings) lost. Across Rt 119 from us is the Fulton Park neighborhood. This has been Paul Feiners dumping ground for his bad policies and developer payoffs. We tried to get close after the rain stopped but were kept away by sheer volume, meeting numerous area residents driven from their homes. The following day, several homes had dumpsters placed on their property to address debris removal. To the Town's credit, the DPW took everything anyone  put out to the curb for pick up. 

Numerous Fulton Park, Babbitt Court, 9A corridor businesses and others who live or work in flood prone areas of Greenburgh have repeatedly and consistently complained to the Town Supervisor, the Town Board and various Town Departments to do something about the flooding that occurs each time it rains. We realize that flash flooding is difficult for them to prepare for but it's do-able. If they had worried about runoff before simply approving any project put before them, the water may have been more manageable. They should be requiring developers to accommodate runoff and mandate they ensure a place for the water to go away from our neighborhoods, not just say it will go into the Bronx River or Saw Mill River. They are both so heavily overburdened during a storm that they cannot be utilized to accept more. So if that requires scaling back the size of the project or requiring them to increase the size of the storm drains, or god forbid, dredging the length of each river, then so be it.

Its apparent by the lack of action by our Town that the flooding problem will not only not go away, rather, it will not be addressed. When The Paul was in the neighborhood, he was quick to point a finger toward the state and federal government for a lack of action on their part. That's not leadership. The neighbors were also quick to point a finger; guess which one? The neighborhoods that get beat up each time it rains are not affluent ones. Feiner knows he hasn't received any financial incentives (campaign donations) from them so he'll continue to talk about it rather than act on solving the flooding.

We’re dismayed that no other candidates are running against him for the position of Town Supervisor. So it means we will be in high gear for at least two more years. Its time for Paul Feiner to go - maybe he'll be washed away with the tide. Good luck to those neighborhoods and fellow Town residents who were ravaged by Irene. It may be easier to deal with her than him.