Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ex-Greenburgh Worker Jumps From Tappan Zee Bridge

A 24-year-old Hawthorne man who recently lost his job as a 
Greenburgh town worker is believed to have died after jumping 
from the Tappan Zee Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.

The search resumed this morning for Scott Uzzo, who had 
worked for the Greenburgh Water Department and was a 
star football player for Westlake High School.

He was driving north on the bridge in a Hyundai Santa Fe about
 3 p.m. when he pulled over just before the midspan and jumped 
over the railing, state police said.

“He just got out of the vehicle and went right over,” Sgt. Kevin 
Flynn said. “There was no communication at all.”

Investigators said Uzzo’s brother arrived on the bridge, visibly 
distraught, moments after the 24-year-old jumped.
The brother, whom officials did not name, was said to have later 
been taken to the state police barracks in Tarrytown, where he 
was interviewed.

Flynn, from the Tarrytown barracks, arrived on the scene within 
two minutes and said he called for aviation backup as soon as 
he saw the condition of the water. The request was denied 
because of the poor weather conditions.

Water rescue efforts were launched from both sides of the 
Hudson River. About 3:30 p.m. search and rescue boats 
from the Nyack, Tarrytown and Piermont fire departments 
entered the water, but their efforts were hampered by the 
fast-moving current.

By 4:30 p.m., state police, citing rough waters and the 
approaching darkness, suspended their search.

Westchester County police, however, continued to search, 
using infrared thermal-imaging equipment to scan the waters 
for Uzzo, a 2005 graduate of Westlake.

Though no body was not recovered Wednesday evening, 
police said the fall combined with exposure to the frigid 
water temperatures would have made it difficult for anyone
 to survive.

The reasons behind Uzzo’s actions Wednesday were still 
under investigation, but police said he had suffered from 
depression and may have been upset about losing his job.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends.
Reprinted from The Journal News

Monday, December 26, 2011

We Critique The Paul’s Self Evaluation

Each year The Paul insists on his continuing campaign for reelection by trying to prove either how involved or instrumental he has been. We see it more as yearly intrusion of interference and illegal obstruction. In fact, if he just stepped aside and let his department heads run things, we would have a much more efficient and smoothly run Town.

Because he has not only posted this information on his blog, but he also sent a letter out to many people on the “Towns dime”, we found the need to comment almost mandatory. So, as part of our yearly wrap-up, here’s our take on how The Paul performed.

• TOWN COMPLIES WITH TAX CAP The town approved a budget that complies with the new tax cap approved by the NYS Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. A Citizens Budget Oversight Commission, consisting of about 25 dedicated volunteers, worked day, night, and weekends all year long helping the town identify ways to save money.
- Deflection at its best! While the governor did sign a 2% Tax Cap into law in NYS, all municipalities and taxing districts are easily finding ways around it through exemptions. Plus, the pension payment and salary increases were everyone’s biggest complaint. They are exempt. So, for all the ballyhoo made of staying within the 2% Cap, our taxes will be increased by about 3.5%. Not much compliance at the end of the day.

• FLOODING-REMOVING DEBRIS FROM RIVER. Greenburgh and the Village of Elmsford public works departments cleared debris from the Saw Mill River to reduce flooding problems in the future. United States Senator Chuck Schumer came to Greenburgh and endorsed our initiative to clear debris from the river. Our hazardous mitigation plan was approved by FEMA and the state - enabling the town to become eligible for flood mitigation efforts (elevating homes, buyouts, drainage enhancements). We hired a consultant to help us apply for grants. Other communities are following our lead and are also clearing debris from both the Saw Mill River & Bronx River.
- First, it was Elmsford Village Trustee William Zimkin who initiated and led the campaign for the Saw Mill River cleanup in the southern portion of Elmsford near the Babbitt Court area of the Town. Second, all The Paul offered was to tell residents and the media he would ask FEMA for buyouts. Third, it’s the other communities’ leadership offering solutions, not stale and unworkable ideas. Fourth, the Bronx River, and the Manhattan River on the opposite side of the Town have been ignored for cleanup. Why? Because they are in the Unincorporated Area of the Town, where The Paul typically chooses to ignore those residents. Fifth, the Town is surrounded on the west and east by two rivers; the two rivers are in the Unincorporated Town. All the building and over-development mostly takes place in the Unincorporated areas – under the (mis)guidance of The Paul and his Stepford Board, rubber-stamping every project presented to them. You can also read more about the Hazardous Mitigation plan, the company hired by the Town to supply it and their self-recommendation to be hired to seek grant money for the Town.

• CREWS CLEARING UP DEBRIS AFTER HURRICANE, STORM. After Hurricane Irene our town cleared significant debris from our roads. 6000 people were out of power. The Theodore Young Community Center’s first floor and gym flooded. In 2011 Senator Gillibrand helped the town secure over a million dollars in FEMA reimbursement for the 2010 storm - money we had hoped to receive but hadn't. We hope to get reimbursed for the 2011 storms. Our CERT volunteers volunteered their time during the storm and opened up emergency shelters for neighbors who needed a warm place to stay overnight.
- Under new Public Works Commissioner Victor Carosi, the Town’s crews did an exemplary job cleaning up the Town after both storms. Left to his own devices, we believe Carosi will do an excellent job. Interference from The Paul will thwart that effort, as seen with The Paul’s cancelling of a recycling day for leaf pickup.

• ARTS BEING FUNDED PRIVATELY. The Lanza Foundation will be donating private dollars to pay for many town programs. The entire arts and culture budget in 2012 will be paid for by the Lanza Foundation. In the past the arts program was paid for by taxpayer dollars.
- We like the arts and support the arts. We like the Lanza Foundation’s help. What we don’t like is the fact that the Lanza Foundation fixes much of The Paul’s mismanagement by financing things his other bad economic decisions hurt, bailing him out whenever there is a financial shortfall.

• EQUAL RIGHTS. Greenburgh was one of the first localities in NYS to comply with the new state law providing same sex couples with the right to marry. Marriage ceremonies were held at Town Hall on the first day (a Sunday).
- Other than costing the Town money by opening on a scheduled closed day for publicity, this was nothing more than the masterful manipulation of The Paul’s media machine.

• 911 WALL RESTORED. We restored the 911 Memorial Wall on Central Ave. 1,711 tiles painted by individual artists from around the county are located on the wall. An artifact from the World Trade Center will soon be placed on the wall. The tiles that had been placed at the wall after 9/11 had fallen. The wall restoration was paid for by private donations.
- Shoddy workmanship aside, taking 45 minutes out of a Town Board meeting to recognize volunteers was nice, but a waste. In particular, recognizing the person who led the effort, while being paid (!), is an insult to those other people who donated their time.

• WESTHELP. Westchester ended the contract with WESTHELP, the homeless shelter that provided transitional services to 108 families, in September. The town had received $1.2 million a year from the contract (we’re the landlord). We are currently negotiating a lease with Ferncliff (an organization that provides housing and educational services to the developmentally disabled). It is anticipated that the town could receive close to a million dollars a year in revenue if the lease with Ferncliff falls into place. However- we probably won't receive the rent dollars until 2013.
- WestHelp’s location is a good one, on the Westchester Community College campus property. The $1.2 million dollars a year would have been a good thing if it had been done legally. Robert Bernstein and Herb Rosenberg sought relief for the Town against this illegal action and won! We so tire of hearing The Paul say if we don’t like something he does, sue him. Well done Robert and Herb.

• NEW BUSINESSES. During the past year we've attracted some new businesses to town. Among them: Blinds to Go, Bio Med, Acorda Therapeutics and new bio tech companies, Shoprite (Stop & Shop is under construction), Captain Lawrence, 5th Ave. Chocolatiere, a new green energy store on Central Ave. near the A & P, the Yoga Station, Cari Blue Cafe, Bosphorus Restaurant on E. Hartsdale Ave., Weight Watchers at Crossroads Shopping Center and much more! H Mart will be replacing Pathmark on Central Ave. and is expected to open in February.
- Wow – what chutzpah! It’s great to highlight the businesses that come to the Town, through the efforts of real estate agencies and their collective efforts, not The Pauls. Why doesn’t The Paul mention how many businesses LEFT the Town?

• NEW RENTALS. Avalon II on Taxter Road is building over 400 new apartments. They have already started renting their apartments.
- We discussed the flooding throughout the Town via over-development earlier. This simply reinforces our point. All the water that might have been absorbed into the ground will now become runoff into the Saw Mill River and the Rt 9A corridor.

• ENERGY CONSERVATION. We have a new website:, a one-stop resource for energy conservation tips and incentives to reduce home and business energy expenses. Country Club Ridge in Hartsdale is saving $200,000 a year in energy consumption.
- This is a private organizations website, making money off the Town. The Paul’s friends might have been tapped to update our Town’s extremely outdated and cumbersome website. But that wouldn’t have gotten The Paul anything. And, the Country Club has the resources most small businesses and homeowners do not. It’s an unfair example.

• VETERANS. Over 60 veterans of World War II have been interviewed for our living history project by Alan Hochberg (Steve Wittenberg has helped produce the shows). Their stories will be remembered for generations to come. The Greenburgh library is archiving the living history videos. We sponsored our 2nd annual veterans appreciation barbeque this summer.
- We have a problem with a convicted felon running anything for the Town.

• FISHER LANE BRIDGE. We re-opened the Fisher Lane Bridge which connects commuters to the North White Plains train station. Bridge was closed for many months and had to be replaced.
- If our infrastructure was maintained and not ignored, replacement may not have been necessary for many years to come. But spending money on dog parks, movie nights, parades, swat and technical rescue teams and other things don’t help us in the long run.

• NEW FARMER'S MARKET. After the A & P closed on Tarrytown Road we set up a new farmer's market at the location. The A & P building remains vacant.
- Former Town Councilwoman Sonya Brown was the only Board member who tried to address this with the community. The Paul is correct, the location is still vacant – no thanks to him. And, because it’s an extension of the Hartsdale Farm on Hartsdale Road, there isn’t that much food available, mostly plants, flowers and other non-essential items. It’s not their fault as the food service is not their market.

• PROPOSED NEW REZONE COULD CREATE 1,000 TEMPORARY JOBS. The owners of the Landmark at Eastview want to rezone their property for a hotel, stores, retail. 100 acres of vacant land. The proposed development, if approved, would create $2 million in taxes, 1000 new construction jobs and 250 permanent jobs. We are reviewing the application.
- More flooding. More traffic. No infrastructure improvement. See you at Babbitt Court after the next storm.

• SHARING SERVICES. The Town Assessor assesses properties in the six villages. The villages also have their own assessment unit. A number of the villages in Greenburgh decided to eliminate the duplication and to have the town assume the responsibility for this service.
- Again, others showed initiative and took action, not The Paul.

• LICENSE PLATE READERS. We secured from the District Attorney's office a license plate reader to help us reduce the possibility of burglaries from taking place. The readers are placed on major roads and provides the police with license plate numbers of cars driving on the road. The Town Board is supportive of a funding request for additional license plate readers that can be placed around town.
- We don’t have an opinion on this yet, but by his above statement, the license plate readers will not STOP robberies, only allow the tracking of cars AFTER the robbery. We’re leaning more toward Big Brother and Robocop rather than prevention and deterrence.

• FEDERAL LAWSUIT DISMISSED. A federal lawsuit by a former department head who lost his job was dismissed, shortly after a series of depositions.
- Finally, The Paul wins one! How much did we have to spend to fight this one?

• LOIS BRONZ CHILDREN’S CENTER WON’T CLOSE. The Lois Bronz Children's Center won't close. Early in the year there was a good possibility that the center would be forced to close. I participated in a campaign to keep this center open - one of the first child care centers in the county geared to low income families.
- A necessary organization that provides to those in need. We hope they teach self-reliance, not just dependence. For The Paul, it’s just a great way to get votes.

• STUDENT INTERNS-BERKELEY COLLEGE. Student interns from Berkeley College have helped the town collect back tickets and have helped the court increase revenue. Other student interns work in other departments. This initiative is being run out of the Citizens Budget Oversight Commission. The students are paid for by a federal grant and provide the town with 20 hours of free service a week.
- Part of the reason Regina Hill left the Court Clerk position was after asking for the Town to hire help, The Paul gave her interns. Internship should be about teaching young people or people new to a particular profession, not to augment a lack of hiring.

• FRANK'S NURSERY. The town acquired Frank's Nursery and we plan to generate revenue from the property. After we issued a request for proposals for plans for the property from the business community - we expressed interest in leasing the property to a sports facility (indoor sports/dome).
- While there is a fixed brick and mortar Sports business and building being constructed in Ardsley, The Paul took the first lousy offer made for the property. There had been talk about moving the Police department to that location which ABG believes would be a better one than the current location. The Paul’s mismanagement is exemplified by bad, knee-jerk decisions such as this!

• SNN. During the first six months of the year a new initiative was started: SNN-Student News Network. Students learned about journalism and produced their own show. Alan Brody, a resident of Edgemont, organized the initiative.
- Again, someone else took the initiative and implemented the program, not The Paul.

• TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE. President Obama and state officials announced that they will be expediting the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge. I have proposed that the old bridge be saved and used as a suburban version of the NYC high line or walkway across the Hudson (Poughkeepsie). I also suggested that wind turbines and solar panels be placed on the bridge, an initiative previously proposed for bridges by NYC Mayor Bloomberg.
- If the bridge isn’t safe because it needs a never-ending, countless amount of maintenance, does The Paul just wave a magic maintenance-wand and everything is now okay for it to stay in place and be used for people? Hardly. He will probably offer to pay the maintenance expenses by the Unincorporated portion of the Town - his favorite dumping ground.

• VALHALLA LOSES LAWSUIT AGAINST TOWN. A Supreme Court decision denied the Valhalla School District’s request for funding from WESTHELP. The Judge ruled that the school district owes the town $1.8 million. This decision is being appealed by the school district.
- Again, our thanks go out to Robert Bernstein and Herb Rosenberg for taking care of yet another debacle illegally created and perpetrated by The Paul.

• POPHAM ROAD BRIDGE PROGRESS REPORT. The Popham Road Bridge, which links Edgemont to Scarsdale, has been under construction for the year. Have been working with Scarsdale officials trying to minimize overnight noise and construction related problems.
- Why don’t our contracts with other agencies we utilize have a performance clause as well as other stipulations to allow minimal impact on the residents? Because The Paul is financed by these same developers.

• DOBBS FERRY ROAD/WEST HARTSDALE AVE. TRAFFIC IMPROVEMENTS AND SIDEWALK COMPLETED. The sidewalk, drainage and road improvements finally were completed this year.
- This is a tip on the proverbial iceberg. While it is good to have it finished, there is so much more that could have been done. Piecemeal repairs to the infrastructure are not the answer. We can’t maintain the Town through minor grants, tepid repairs and a break/fix mentality. We need a comprehensive strategy to improve the Town’s infrastructure.

• GELSPRAIN. Construction started on a new housing development off of Ardsley Road. 24 new homes to be built.
- Which river will this property be draining into? Enough said.

• MULCHING-LOVE ‘EM AND LEAVE ‘EM. The town is working with the Nature Center and Irvington environmentalists trying to encourage people to mulch their leaves. This would save the town significant dollars. It is anticipated that In 2012 the town will change our leaf collection policy and require bagging of leaves.
- See our December 17th online post about this.

• NATURE CENTER. We approved the construction of a pre-k playground at the Nature Center (using developer escrow funds, not taxpayer dollars). We're supportive of an initiative of the nature center to build a high tech trail for disabled adults.
- We agree with access for the handicapped and disabled. Since the Nature Center only shares the name Greenburgh, private funding should be used for this.

- This should have never been an issue with our recycling. More importantly, when will the Town return to taking plastic bags for recycling? There are more bags damaging our environment that bottle caps. Metal bottle caps will degrade after numerous years. Plastic is forever.

• NEW YORK SCHOOL FOR DEAF WON'T CLOSE. At the beginning of the year there were reports that the state would not fund the New York School for the Deaf and the school, located in Greenburgh, would close. I helped the school with their lobbying efforts and the school has been saved.
- While most people said the school shouldn’t be closed, as did The Paul, this again was an issue out of his control and simply a media event to which he contributed nothing.

• JOB CLUB. Over 3 years ago I started a job club. Almost every day I send residents who are out of work job leads. I estimate that I have helped over 80 people find employment during the past few years. I have also set up a site: (greenburgh jobs group) with job postings.
- While we hate to see anyone unemployed, surely there are better uses of a supervisors time than posting a job on his campaign website.

• HELPING VICTIMS OF JAPANESE EARTHQUAKE. After the Japanese earthquake the Town Clerk, Judith Beville, organized a fundraiser to help the victims of the earthquake.
- What does this have to do with what The Paul has done this year? He did hold a Close Indian Point rally at the Town’s expense. The Town building is not his private playground to use as HE sees fit. It’s the people’s building and he should pay to use it just like everyone else.

We had hoped for more from our elected officials, such as protecting the residents, reducing taxes, reducing spending and having a true open government. Instead, we got just the opposite. And, since newly elected Town Councilman Ken Jones was hand-picked by The Paul, it’s apparent to ABG that we’ll be right back this year with more, hoping for A Better Greenburgh. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa

To all of our friends, families, readers and neighbors, ABG would like to wish everyone a joyous holiday season and a healthy and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

License To Steal: The Town’s 2012 Budget Is Passed

In what is being hailed as her final act of defiance against the Town Board that has followed The Paul’s lead in ostracizing her, Town Councilwoman Sonya Brown voted against the rubber-stamping Town Board’s adoption of the 2012 Operating Budget. She voiced concerns about how job cuts and layoffs were handled and said more efforts were needed to share services within town departments and neighboring school districts. Apparently Brown now knows how her constituency has felt for so many years!

ABG is proud to have spearheaded the charge against The Paul and his blatant effort to appoint two patronage positions to friends. Fortunately, ABG, and others, forced him to abandon his ill-conceived and wasteful plan. This “embarrassed savings” of roughly $80k could easily be used to fund the two positions cut in this budget. While we are hopeful to see the two positions restored, one was a lifeguard and the other was an assistant to the Town’s attorney. ABG hates to see anyone lose their jobs. The Paul stated, “The cuts are manageable,” he said, “people aren’t going to see major quality-of-life changes that are going to be negative.” The Paul also said, “The budget was cut largely by eliminating vacant positions.” Eliminating vacant positions isn’t really cutting anything and is a copout when discussing how you balanced the budget.
The demoralizing news, however, is that The Paul and his Stepford Board uses $1.3 million from the fund balance to reduce the need for even deeper cuts and limit the tax-rate increase. Raiding the fund balance to offset increasing taxes now will only bring pain through delayed increases later on. After twenty years of kicking this can down the road, how much longer should we expect this to continue before The Paul’s house of cards falls? 
So, instead of cutting six positions as originally projected by The Paul, he “only” cut two. ABG doesn’t know what the assistant to the Town’s attorney does and whether it will affect anyone but the Town Attorney, Tim Lewis. The lifeguard, while probably not a high budget dollar amount, is nonetheless an important one if you are swimming in a Town pool. It is increasingly difficult to get lifeguards for the amount of money they are paid, the monotony of the job and the rotating shifts they stuck working. ABG had previously stated that we didn’t believe the layoff number from The Paul and that it was a ploy. We still believe those two positions could be restored. 
Councilwoman Brown also commented on sharing services more throughout the Town and the school districts. While ABG agrees that shared services are worth looking at, we also know that every group doesn’t want anything to change in their little fiefdom. So while the intentions are good, people need to be elected with term limits so they can make the necessary changes knowing they won’t be staying too long anyway. Plus, while The Paul talks about consolidating services, he has done little, if any, to implement it.

Some other issues that are in this year’s budget:
• The annual salary for the next court administrator will be cut from $100,000 to $80,000. You’ll recall Regina Hill masterfully played The Paul, getting him to parlay her “meager” $75k salary to $100k? After only eight months on the job – just long enough to be offered the position she was interested in all along in Port Chester, she said sayonara suckers.
• The contribution to the Greenburgh Library will be cut by $250,000 to $2.6 million. Does this mean we’ll have another day of closings for the ill-run ski chalet? 
• An additional night court on Wednesdays will help the town clear a backlog of an estimated 80,000 traffic tickets. Did the interns sign up for more work or is this just a convenient buzz word from The Paul, looking for a sound bit for increasing revenues?

The board also voted separately on an $8.8 million capital projects budget:
• Borrow $6.2 million to help pay for various items:
• $1.5 million for road repaving. Isn’t road repaving part of infrastructure and isn’t that infrastructure supposed to be included in the budget anyway? Or is this still another fund that was raided by The Paul to pay for yet another illegal trip out of the Theodore Young Center?
• $500,000 for a new software system. Is this a single purchase or an upgradeable lease into the future, allowing growth and expandability with the system over several years? Knowing how the Board operates, ABG guesses we could just flush the half a million down the toilet and accomplish the same thing. 
• $159,000 for radio upgrades and a license plate reader in the Police Department. Aren’t there grants for anything “police” under the sun? In the whole scheme of things, this is a small amount.
• Two million dollars is allocated to upgrade the Taxter Road Mulch and Yard Waste Transfer Site. Two million dollars for “mulch-anything” seems a bit extravagant!
• $2.5 million will be set aside for efforts by taxpayers to reduce their assessments. After sitting through all the certiorari adjustments at each Town Board meeting, clearly this is not enough money. It’s time for revaluation for the Town to finally put a stop to the financial hemmoraging the Town is caught in. Doing a revaluation will cause The Paul to loose a good portion of his senior citizen supporters. But it may also help to keep our taxes more in line with reality.

Of course, this is the Town of Greenburgh, where there’s always more muck and mire lurking under the next rock to be overturned. We need real management skills in the Town. The chances of getting any soon are like having a balanced budget in Greenburgh under The Paul. Maybe newly elected Town Board member Ken Jones can provide much of what is currently lacking with our Town Board. While we aren’t holding our breath, we can only hope.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

More Mismanagement or Another Knee-Jerk Reaction?

Anytime ABG believes we’ll be able to take a break, The Paul decides otherwise by doing or saying something asinine. From that perspective, he never disappoints. This time it’s through both his media outlets, the Journal News newsletter and a self-promotion piece mailed at Town expense under the guise of an informational piece. Newly elected politicians can learn a lot from The Paul, as well as many other incumbents, such as his buddy Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, the master of self-promotional mailings on the “constituent dime”. Keep your name out there with mailings - the environmental pollutant that never ends.

This time, the “Stepford“ Board and The Paul, say: “The Greenburgh Town Board is seriously considering a change in our leaf collection process for 2012. We are considering a requirement that leaves be bagged instead of picked up at the curb. There are a number of reasons for this. Our leaf collection process has never been efficient. It’s also extremely expensive. Most years we don’t complete the leaf pick up season until early January (although most of the leaves are picked up by December). This year, because of the October storm, we are backlogged with leaves and tree branches. As of today we probably completed half the town. Our crews are working on Saturdays (this Saturday will be the third overtime Saturday for leaf pickup).”

ABG tried to focus on the blatant contradictions, but this mailing is rife with them, defeating the purpose! There’s always more to The Paul’s simplistic “throw it out and see what sticks” rubric.The usual assessors at Town Board meetings, aka the Greenburgh-8 (G8), hammered The Paul and the Board about leaf pickups two meetings ago while discussing his arbitrary decision to cancel the paper recycling pickup for that week, only notifying via an email sent to those masochists who are on his personal email list. Since he sends out so much non-pertinent information via email, our staff has severed his flow. We all just wait for his blather in the mail. The USPS may be fed up with him as well, saying they’ll soon be reducing their deliveries. We almost can’t wait.

We’ve always maintained, correctly noted in this letter by The Paul, that leaf pickup is horrendous in our Town. When Al Regula was the Commissioner, he had the hutzpah at a Board meeting to say they have difficulty scheduling leaf pickup each year because they didn’t know when the leaves would fall. Huh? Isn’t that why the season is called “fall”? When this statement was made, the Town was still distributing leaf bags to it’s residents that had transportation to Town Hall. How did they know when to order the bags if they didn’t know when the leaves would be down? They weren’t distributing the bags in March, for instance, so they must have a pretty good idea. ABG believes that since they got the leaf bags correctly ordered and distributed, it made the Town administration look bad with the actual leaf pick up. Solution? Stop giving out the bags! By the way, we question whether the money saved went toward lowering our taxes or at least trying to save any jobs for our CSEA workers? Since there wouldn’t be any publicity in doing that, probably not. What a shame.

Several years ago Regula said, and The Paul echoed, that part of the Town’s problem was that one of the two leaf vacuum trucks was in for repairs. Fair enough. And yet, each year there seemed to be a different excuse as to why we were again down to one truck. There may have only been one truck all along and his shell game was catching up to The Paul. We’ve always maintained in our neighborhood that leaves on our hill would be picked up after the first snow, when the plows come through for snow, also pushing the leaves the homeowners put in the streets to be vacuumed up a month earlier, way before the first snowfall.

Our leaf collection process has never been efficient. It’s also extremely expensive. Most years we don’t complete the leaf pick up season until early January (although most of the leaves are picked up by December).”
Wouldn’t it be easier to work on improving the efficiency of this portion of the department, rather than instituting a Town-wide change of operations? And, if The Paul and his department commissioners were to unable find a solution, open it up to the public for ideas, in particular the G8 and see what they come up with. They usually seem pretty creative at the Town Board meetings and offer many plausible ideas to the bereft Town Board. If that doesn’t sit well with The Paul, perhaps his usual suspects, led by convicted felon Alan Hochberg, can offer a volunteer commission to come up with something. After all, those that can’t do, meet.

Paraphrasing The Paul from his letter, “Most years they don’t complete the leaf collection until January but most are picked up by December unless it snows”. We’re not even going to bother.

The equipment we use damages curbs, roads and shortens the lifespan of our roadways - costing you money because we have to repave roads and fix more curbs sooner. The leaves that pile up for months cause drainage problems. The drains become covered, increasing the chances of flooding and becoming a dangerous condition to vehicles and pedestrians.”
The equipment is a giant, albeit powerful vacuum hose, often with a nozzle attachment and occasionally not. It sounds like our employees may need additional training if the use of a tool is causing unintended damage. Or, is this just another lie by The Paul to try to make his case? If the Board changes the process, will they sell this vacuum equipment or keep it? They probably haven’t even thought that through. We agree with his point about the drainage issue. This is even more reason to be diligent about leaf pickup.

Last season the Town Board passed an ordinance that all piles of leaves no longer be put in the roadways, but left on lawns at the curb to be vacuumed up. Drainage issues no longer appear to be an issue with this law in place. The Paul’s reasoning was to prevent kids from being attracted to playing in the leaf piles, exposing them to being hit by vehicles on the roadway. How many different iterations of “for the children” can The Paul make? Enough already. No kids in the Town were ever hit because they were playing in leaves in the streets. If they are determined to go back to leaf bags, will they repeal this leaf law? We can only hope.

At a meeting of the Town Supervisors Association, he claims that many Supervisors complained that landscapers illegal dump their leaves/debris on the streets, when no one is looking, because it saves them money. And, if leaves are bagged, fewer leaves from other localities will be illegal dumped in our Town. Huh? We see numerous locations in the Town where people dump TVs, garbage, tires and other debris. Work on eliminating that. The Paul’s solution? Put up a sign that says no dumping allowed. Problem solved? No! That hasn’t stopped the problem. We doubt bagging leaves will stop this major illegal leaf dumping crime wave.

Can bagging leaves help the Town. Simply, yes. It is the answer until someone decides that bags cost too much and adds to the refuse disposal for the Town or it costs us more to dispose of than a vacuum truck would and we’re right back to the vacuum truck. What’s the solution? Fix the problems with the vacuum trucks.

Here’s one idea: have the sanitation department keep a checklist of streets that have piles of leaves on the lawns and when the sanitation workers are picking up garbage, trash or recyclables, check off the streets with leaf piles. Hand that in at the end of their shift. Then have a crew go out to those locations with the vacuum truck and pick up those leaves. Another idea is to post dates when leaf vacuuming on a particular street will be done and distribute that to all the residents. Also, post it on temporary Town signs, similar to campaign yard signs and distribute the pickup dates to lawn service crews as they are working in neighborhoods. Maybe we’ll be able to improve the leaf pickup issue with a simple, real effort by our elected officials.

We can only hope that this minor issue can easily be addressed with some major common sense solutions. We can only hope.

Letter from The Paul (front & Back):

Monday, December 12, 2011

Increasing Cell Tower Radiation in Town

In numerous Town Board meetings, The Paul has lamented about the spotty cell phone coverage and dead spots throughout the Town. For a change, we agree with this assessment. However, we are disappointed he has stated he couldn’t use his cell phone while he was driving due to poor reception areas. No one should be driving and using a cell phone as the conversation typically isn’t worth the consequences from the distraction. 

The Town is considering a request from NextG Networks, Inc., wireless company to install cellular antennas on utility poles throughout the town. The company would be operating these systems for Metro PCS Communications, Inc., and could add other carriers. ABG contends there are several issues to be addressed before approval is granted. The vendors claim the enhanced service will benefit consumers with an enhanced handset experience. We acknowledge it’s just a phone, yet realize there may be other devices using these towers.

Several Greenburgh residents have already spoken out about the tower installations, citing previous safety analysis’ and the need for the Town to really study the effects of the towers impact on people. NextG Networks, Inc., applied for the permits two years ago. That’s about the right time frame for action in this Town unless it is one of The Paul’s Pet Projects. Metro PCS Communications, Inc., are requesting to install four foot cell tower anntennas on existing utility poles with equipment cabinets attached about halfway down the pole. It should be noted that NextG Networks has sued numerous municipalities in the past when access to the utility poles was denied. We can’t know what they’ll do if their request is postponed or a moratorium imposed. But ABG has a pretty good idea. Since the Town apparently hasn’t done any known investigatory work on the safety of the towers, we sort of know the outcome already of this petition.

ABG is not against cell tower installations and does not wish to sound alarmist. The safety of cell phone towers is the subject of extensive scientific debate and its difficult to get clear cut answers or consensus from everyone, increasing the difficult decision-making process. There is a body of scientific evidence that the electromagnetic radiation towers emit, even at low levels, is dangerous to human health. The cell phone industry is expanding quickly, with over 100,000 cell phone towers now up across the U.S., which is expected to increase ten-fold over the next five years. The industry has set what they say are “safe levels” of radiation exposure, but there are a growing number of doctors, physicists, and health officials who strongly disagree, and foresee a public health crisis. ABG found the argument over high-tension wires intense. This proves to be no different.

We read a study of towers installed in Siskiyou Colorado, with dozens more planned, as telecommunications companies move to corner markets in this fast-growing industry. These towers emit radio frequencies (RF), a form of electromagnetic radiation (EMR), for a distance of up to 2-1/2 miles. These are essentially the same frequency radiation as the microwaves in a microwave oven, and have been linked to brain tumors, cancer, suppressed immune function, depression, miscarriage, Alzheimer's disease, and numerous other serious illnesses. Studies have shown that even at low levels, there is evidence of damage to cells. Children are at the greatest risk, due to their thinner skulls, and rapid rate of growth. 

In fact, the danger to people is so impending with building-installed towers, the firefighters in our Town and Village fire departments tell ABG that there are various protocols and dangers to be aware of when accessing a building’s rooftop either from an exterior ladder or from the inside. This is because of the numerous buildings with cell towers mounted to their roof tops. Industry information and scientific studies indicate there exists unseen, unfelt invisible radiation from these towers is similar to a microwave oven, in effect cooking the unsuspecting person who is nearby from the inside out. 

While the FD policies vary, the consensus seems to be to stay at least ten feet from the antenna. Another problem that exists for personnel is the power supply for the towers. If the supply of power is ‘on’, that power must be turned off before approaching the area of the towers. Most systems have backup power systems to keep the towers running in the event of a power failure and must also be turned off before access to the area of the tower can be made. Part of the problem with office buildings with these towers on them is they also have air conditioning units, heating devices and elevator apparatus and access on the roofs requiring routine as well as emergency visits. When the FD is called for a possible fire or malfunction in one of these, the firefighters are unnecessarily exposed to the radiation if they get too close. Again, like food in a microwave oven, they will literally be cooked from the inside out! 

So, does an antenna/tower on a pole really pose that much of a hazard to us? Perhaps it’s too soon to say, but we’d rather the Town err on the side of caution. According to the firm that performed a safety analysis of the twenty or so sites in question, hired by the applicant,  NextG Networks corporation, the antennas are well below the FCC limits. Cathy Bergman-Veniza, at the Vermont Law School Environmental Law Center Conference, has stated the current U.S. standard for radiation exposure from cell phone towers is 580-1,000 microwatts per sq. cm. (mW/cm2), among the least protective in the world. 

More progressive European countries have set standards significantly lower than the U.S. Compare Australia at 200 microwatts, Russia, Italy, and Toronto, Canada at 10, China at 6, and Switzerland, at 4. In Salzburg, Austria the level is .1 microwatts (pulsed), 10,000 times less than the U.S. New Zealand has proposed yet more stringent levels, at .02 microwatts, 50,000 times more protective than the U.S. Standard. Contrary to what the communications industry tells us, there is vast scientific, epidemiological and medical evidence that confirms that exposure to the RF and microwave radiation emitted from cell towers, even at low levels, can have profound adverse effects on biological systems.

ABG doesn’t buy into the 100-Year Storm frequency our Board keeps referencing when they discuss (their lack of) storm flooding preparedness. What happens when one of these 100 year storms hits the area again, after these antennas are installed? We saw numerous utility poles come down along with live wires, tree limbs, and all sorts of other debris. One concern is that the towers remain live even after the pole has come down, possibly exposing anyone in the immediate proximity of the downed tower. What if it lands on an occupied home or apartment building and remains powered on? How often do we see the media show curious neighbors checking out storm induced damage? Pretty often. And what about media representatives that place themselves into the “thick” of the action? 

Can these towers be staggered so as to not be near other towers, reducing the increase of the amount of these micro waves in a specific area? Will they be near any paths to schools, where the effects on children appear to be more pronounced? Or, can they placed atop the high tension wire structures already in place and considered off-limits, not near peoples homes? Moderation, along with intelligent investigation should provide clear and concise definitions for a path to proceed. But with our Stepford Board, ABG thinks this will be rubber-stamp approved. We need real answers provided by due diligence and hard work. We can only hope.

The next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14 at Town Hall to hear from the public.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Patronage Paul

ABG has written previously about The Paul’s latest patronage positions being meted out to his cronies. The last post was over his proposed appointment of convicted felon Alan Hochberg as some sort of fiscal oversight officer. We opposed it. In fact, many people who spoke at the Town Board meetings of late also opposed it. His total disregard of logical and intelligent decision-making never ceases to amaze us.

Feiner announced that he was considering his confidant Hochberg, as well as others, for this position. Knowing how often The Paul lies, ABG doesn’t believe there are any other candidates. Hochberg was the chairman for the citizens volunteer Budget Oversight Commission, which formulated this years budget. ABG also believes and has written that The Paul will use that fact to ensure deniability through deflection when the public complains about the budget. It will be up to the Hochberg Commission to fall on the sword for the Supervisor, a task Hochberg is all too willing to do.

Finally growing a set and attending the Work Session wearing a cup and supporter to protect himself, Town Council member Francis Sheehan publicly spoke up against the Paul, saying the proposed hires — a part-time budget officer and internal auditor — are unnecessary and "highly objectionable" since Supervisor Paul Feiner is proposing to lay off up to six employees in his $82.2 million spending plan for 2012. Sheehan said at the meeting, “I’m outraged that you would have deliberately and intentionally picked titles for these people that we can’t touch. Is this basically patronage?” Sheehan posing this as a question must have been his quick realization that he had screwed up and was being critical of his capo. ABG wonders if Sheehan had decided this would be his last term as a councilman and he might have had enough of The Paul?

It’s a shame only Councilwoman Brown stopped drinking the Feiner Kool-Aid this past year. Just look at what happened to her after leaving The Paul’s trough. Feiner had Councilman Morgan, who had his daughter (deniability through deflection) get Browns petition signatures to run for the supervisor position disqualified, torpedoing her run against The Paul. The previous election saw the same thing happen to Town resident and Feiner challenger Patricia Weems. In Feinerville, there are no penalties for low blows from those in power!

Under the guise of “spot checking” various Town departments, The Paul maintains his need for these positions, steadfastly insisting they are not patronage positions. It matters not whether spot checking is needed of our Town departments. The average person goes to work looking to do a fair days work for a fair days pay. We have a budget that will increase taxes but hangs the positions of some of our workers in jeopardy. This needn’t be the case. “I know in my heart that there’s waste," Feiner said. “With more eyes and scrutiny I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll be able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars.” What?! If there’s waste, stop it! If we started by ceasing the incessant mailings from The Paul’s office, we sure to see a significant savings in money, refuse and recycling fees.

Council members Morgan and Juettner also expressed reservations about creating new positions while the town contemplates layoffs. Their position was certified public accountants Comptroller Bart Talamini and his deputy provide good financial oversight. We happen to agree with this.

Sheehan says he will vote against the budget if the positions remain. That's a pretty gutsy move for him if he plans to run again. Councilpersons Morgan and Juettner said they were undecided. We don’t believe them. They’ll vote with The Paul. Even though The Paul says he will create these positions as probationary and eliminate them if savings don’t materialize any savings. ABG is pretty sure that won’t happen. If they are created, they will stay for as long as The Paul does.

The only scenario that makes sense to ABG with this apparent stand on principles is that The Paul told them it would be okay to oppose him on these two appointments as they have no real value to him and he needs to appear willing to make concessions. The budget officer and internal auditor would be paid $45,000 and $35,000 a year, respectively. Many of our CSEA Town employees don’t make this much. 

ABG has heard numerous times that morale of Town employees is in the toilet. Why? Because they live under the impending threat of dismissal by The Paul - an unfortunate power he does yield. The only dismissals ABG believes would be good for the Town are five. You can guess who they might be. Things need to change for the better in the Town. We can only hope.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Paul Stresses, Hill Counters, Court Closed

The Journal News published a story entitled, “Administrator Quits, Cites Stress at Greenburgh Court”. While the headline said it all, it was from The Paul’s point of view. The article’s lead sentence is, “ The administrator of Greenburgh’s troubled Town Court is resigning after only 16 months on the job.” The article explained that Regina Hill, who would be leaving in the beginning of January, could not be reached for comment. 

It’s no secret that the Town of Greenburgh court system is in complete and utter disarray, mismanagement and legal standing. And hiring Regina Hill from the Port Chester courts as our Court Clerk/administrator seemed to be a good idea at the time. While on the job only a short time, she tackled clearing up a backlog of more than 80,000 unresolved traffic tickets going as far back as the 1990s.

The courts are besieged by poor record keeping, and infighting by the judges. Things are so bad that even the Greenburgh Democratic Party wanted to clean the judicial house, nominating 3 different candidates for the three judgeships that were “up” in this past election. While three weren’t exchanged as hoped, two sitting judges were replaced with new people. The democrats felt that was a substantive change.

In the first article about Hill’s resignation, Feiner stated and we quote, “ “She basically told me she was stepping down because the position was too stressful,” Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said Sunday night. “In terms of tightening up the court, making it more professional, she did a lot. Obviously, I’d prefer she stayed but she wanted a less stressful position.” ” 

The second article, titled, “Stress Not a Factor In Leaving, Court Administrator Says”, Hill stated that stress was not the reason for her departure. In a statement released by Hill, she didn’t mention the stress issue. She claimed that she resigned because it was time for her to move on after she had put a lot of effort in improving the courts. She felt with two new judges the Greenburgh Town Court will become more efficient and effective. Finally, she said, “It is my hope that the person who will replace me will be allowed to work with as little outside interference as possible.”

ABG believes Hill played Feiner like an easy mark, using him to get out from her position as Assistant Court Clerk in Port Chester to what she wanted it to be: Port Chester Court Clerk at $100k + benefits. She left the assistant clerks position and came to Greenburgh as Court Clerk for an initial salary of $75,000. We agree that Hill knows how to do her job and do it well. But ABG also believes she leveraged her Port Chester position against the Greenburgh position in between her and the Port Chester administration. Push came to shove and she left Port Chester for Greenburgh. Not happy about the move, she trudged on anyway. ABG assumes she voiced her displeasure about her salary to The Paul. What was The Paul’s reaction? He raised her paltry $75k + benefits salary to $100k + benefits. Didn’t she take the position knowing it would only pay $75k +? But even a $25k increase wasn’t enough to stay! What else did The Paul promise her? What didn’t The Paul tell us? Who’s lying to whom?

It’s been said that the “Greenburgh” reason Hill is leaving is the interference and lack of cooperation from the Paul. Part of that is probably true. According to a letter on the Edgemont Community Council website, Hill was fed up with The Paul’s interference with her job. For example, when she sought additional employees to attack the ticket backlog that seems to bother few residents, save the regulars at the Town Board meetings, The Paul gave her college interns – probably more qualified than The Paul with government administration. Any real-world manager knows when you have good employees you leave them alone and let them do what they do with minimal intervention.

But hold on, court’s not adjourned just yet! In a different twist of events, the Town’s drug Court also has problems. The purpose of a drug court is to settle nonviolent drug offenses with education, counseling and rehabilitation, rather than incarceration. Sounds easy enough. 

Judge Alan Scheinkman, the administrative judge for the 9th District, said he ordered the closure of he Town of Greenburgh Drug Court because Justices Sandra Forster and Doris Friedman are leaving the bench. They had both lost the Democratic primary and did not run in the general election. Scheinkman said he did have “some concerns” about how the drug court was operating, but the decision was primarily based on ensuring its smooth operation.

Judge Charles Apotheker, supervising judge of the 9th Judicial District, had shut down the town’s drug court as of Dec. 2. He said judges mishandled several cases and felt defendants rights were not being protected. The ten open cases in that court were transferred to White Plains’ courts in the interim.

Judge Apotheker said Town Justice Sandra Forster violated the rights of defendants on multiple occasions. In Greenburgh? Really? It’s not hard to believe giving the actions of The Paul and our Board. Why should judges be any different? Instances were cited but the damage was done. Judges Scheinkman and Apotheker were concerned about the courts operations and the way cases were being managed. As such, until the Greenburgh justices are properly trained in drug court operations, another Greenburgh court is adjourned.

The taxpaying residents and businesses of Greenburgh deserve better. For those who say they are not into politics, it’s why ABG urges you to be engaged and at least minimally involved. And while judges on the bench should not be legislating from the bench, its important for you to get to know the judges you are voting for. This isn’t a partisan issue, rather a civic one. The Town of Greenburgh is a sum of its parts. There are a lot of good parts to the Town. Admittedly, there are some not so good ones. Improvement must start from the top and filter down. We can only continue to hope to get to an improved “normal” for our Town, we can only hope..

Monday, December 5, 2011

“Build Here, Build Now, Build Big” – What’s a Consultant To Say?

A letter (posted below) dated November 28th, the most recent publicity piece from Paul Feiner, comes to residents announcing what ABG believes is another waste of taxpayer dollars. While threatening to lay off Town employees – which ABG believes is nothing more that a publicity stunt, he’s hired yet another consultant! By the way, we’re sure whatever the CSEA agrees to at the bargaining table will not be enough for The Paul, whose ego is starting to outweigh the amount of the Town deficit.

This week he is writing to the neighborhood residents because they’ve experienced significant flooding in recent years. That much is true. Except for the typical environmental buzzwords and quotes about global warming, Indian Point, the Tappan Zee bridge walkway and dog park, he’s at a loss as to why this severe flooding is happening in our Town? Here’s why: over-development throughout the Town and the region. Can it really be that simple? Absolutely!

At the first Town Board meeting after Tropical Storm Irene punished the area with proof of the Supervisor’s disregard for his unbridled over-development of their locales, speaker after speaker went to the podium and discussed the individual impacts that the Town Board has created with it’s “build here, build now, build big” over-development mentality. In the neighborhood across the street from us is Fulton Park, a former gem of a little neighborhood nestled on the edge of the Town near the County Center. However, after Irene came through, it looked like a war zone, littered with sewage, debris, trees, downed wires and the like. It took over a week for residents to get back into their homes to begin cleanup.

The same took place in the now nationally famous Babbitt Court area of south Elmsford. It’s where every media outlet knows to go for pictures of devastation. The residents that spoke from there cited the over developed areas along the west side of Rt 9A, with Fairview Park growing from just Coca Cola to many more businesses, such as the skating rink, FedEx and other trucking companies. They all have massive buildings and large expanses of blacktop/impervious spaces. Farther up is Westy’s Storage, Grainger, Nextel, more buildings and parking in the Eastview Business complex, formerly Union Carbide. In addition, the Town has approved some 400+ condominiums on the former Union Carbide site. They’ve also approved 400+ additional condominiums at Avalon Greene off Taxter Road. Where do they think the water that used to go into the ground will go? Will it just evaporate? Not likely. No, it will go south as it always does and flood the lower lying regions again, such as Babbitt Court.

 The only differences between the Babbitt Court and Fulton Park areas is that FEMA has already raised some of the homes in Babbitt Court. The Town and the County cleaned out the Saw Mill River there, allowing for a more open flow of flood waters. That will help a bit. But on the other side of the Town are the Manhattan River and the Bronx River which need this same attention. Although, now that the media has left, so has the Town and County’s interest in helping. The Paul? Gone!

The next action step The Paul claims to be taking is, and we quote, “HIRING A CONSULTANT TO HELP US OBTAIN GRANTS”. If you follow this site at all, you know we highlight that The Paul is the master of deflection. Well, here he is at it again. Farther down in his letter, he states the consultant will be looking into drainage improvements, buyouts and funds to elevate homes. While this may be a good interim step, it does not address the real problem: over-development of the Town! We’re not saying we disagree with allowing people to build on their properties. Rather, we need realistic studies, including the oft-ignored infrastructure updates and improvements these developers should be making to handle the increased water runoff and to project and protect the impact it will have on nearby residents, neighborhoods, the Town and the Towns and Villages south of them to where the water flows.

When the ill-conceived Westhab project in Fulton Park was fast-tracked through the Planning Board (rejected), the Zoning Board (rejected) and finally the Town Board Lead Agency (approved) processes, the closest semblance to a flood impact study that the developer proposed was a green roof to allow and increased impervious space, basically building from curb to curb, claiming underground cisterns would capture the water and relieve the neighborhood from runoff. That is, as was pointed out by many non-engineer/residents, until they were quickly filled as Fulton Park is low in the water table. Therein lies the issue. 

Many common sense considerations were ignored because The Paul received or will receive something for rubber-stamping this and other developer projects. So flooding in this neighborhood will remain unchanged. Incredibly, our Town Board allowed the developer to write the bill/law for the Town’s Green Roof requirements. While ABG finds most of Councilman Sheehan’s bills generally sloppily written (and adopted), we have a building department, planning and zoning departments that should be able to craft a law. This responsibility should not be casually handed over to an applicant, no matter how convenient it may be for everyone involved.

When the consultant returns to the Town, after being handsomely paid and amid much anticipated hoopla, they’ll say buyouts can only happen with a pre-flood home assessment (too late for that), Town buy-in (laws, land acquisitions, money, commitments), neighborhood buy-in (everyone must agree), state buy-in (more money), and such. What will be the results of all of this? Buyouts will be dropped. They will propose an upgrade to the drainage infrastructure as to what is needed and it will cost x-amount of millions of dollars. Even with this, they’ll say it will not guarantee relief. The drainage plan will require floating (pun intended) a bond and an increase in taxes. Not happening in our lifetime unless the Lanza Foundation feels really generous. Finally, elevating homes will be the option of choice. But even after it’s completed, developers such as Westhab and the Feiners will ignore the symptoms and continue to over-develop every inch of open space in Greenburgh.

We should also add, as a minor point, that according to the letter from the Supervisor, the consultant they’ve hired is an engineering firm from Morris Plains, NJ. They created the Greater Greenburgh Planning Area All Hazards Mitigation Plan, which the Town adopted so they could apply for grant money from higher government agencies. Hmmm. As with the appointment of Alan Hochberg, whose committee recommended the position he’s being appointed to, this seems like companies purposefully creating more revenue for themselves without going through the bid process. Again, can someone say, “Conflict of interest?”

The Paul claims to be an environmental champion, talking against Indian Point, creating parks, riding his bicycle and renewable energy. But as the saying goes, talk is cheap. He shouldn’t say he’s all for protecting the environment out of one side of his mouth while making the Board the lead agency and approving oversized pet projects in the Town. It’s time for The Paul to go – downstream.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

“Our People Are The Town’s Greatest Asset”

Every Town Board meeting promises more of the same theatrical performances by children, special recognition awards to select residents for un-extraordinary acts performed in the Town, and the like. The delays to the start of the regular meetings (contradiction of terms) have become the routine of marked inefficiency. Welcome to Feinerville, where The Paul and his Stepford Board campaign for their next election with patronization, platitudes and shameless purchasing of future votes and favors. One major omission with all of this rah, rah nonsense, effectively used to thin the Town Board crowds, was the financial acquisition of $1.2 million to the Town by Robert Bernstein and Herbert Rosenberg. It was their intervention with Feiner’s illegally executed WestHelp agreement that should bring this substantial amount of money back to where it belonged – the Town. Many residents that spoke publicly thanked both of these residents. Rosenberg was in the audience this evening.

After a laborious presentation of the Budget Blueprint for the Town of Greenburgh’ upcoming budget, by committee Chairman and formerly convicted felon Alan Hochberg, the Board arbitrarily decided to take an ‘invitation only’ celebratory break in the rear of the building to celebrate this great event. Did we miss something? Was there a tax decrease we didn’t hear in the presentation? Were there new jobs created? Hardly. In fact, the report stated there would be little if any impact in services to the residents with the impending layoffs of just over half a dozen Town employees. Not only was this celebration a slap in the face to everyone at the Town Board meeting, it was antagonistic, insulting and an unconscionable act to all the residents, businesses and especially employees in the Town!

Shirking his financial responsibilities as the “Treasurer” for the Town, Feiner appointed his parasitic disciple to this unnecessary commission to draft a budget, enabling the future deflection with which he is so masterful. When he implements the budget this year, and people complain, his predictable response will be it wasn’t “his” budget, but the impartial budget commission – blame them. The “Hochberg Commission” recommended creating a position of some sort of ‘Treasury Oversight Officer’, appointed by the authority of the Supervisor. The Paul has announced he is appointing said felon Hochberg to this position, adding another layer of insulation from the public he espouses concern. Previously, the budget was created by professionals like former Comptroller Mike Kolesar, an honest employee that had come forward with improprieties he found, for which he was subsequently fired. Why? He exposed The Paul’s wrongdoings! By the way, the salary for this PART-TIME position is $45k + benefits. But there will be a $7k buyout that Hochberg will receive for the medical benefits he won’t take from the Town because he already has health insurance. Can anyone say, “Conflict of interest?”

During the budget party in the back room, we imagine a lot of backslapping took place with Councilman Morgan, saying to the Paul, “Well done your eminence, you did it again.” To which The Paul responded, “No, WE did it. Aha ha ha!” And shortly after their exchange, Councilpersons Jeuttner and Sheehan came over to kiss The Paul’s, uh, ring, yeah ring, and asked, “We did what you asked, sire. Can we still stay and get paid if we continue to go along with you?” But alas, in the outside world, the game was still afoot.

As the Board’s band played on inside, the crowd was getting restless – and thinner – the ultimate goal of The Paul at every meeting. Packed with CSEA workers hoping to save their colleagues positions, many had to leave to address child-care issues as it was now about 10PM. Former Town Supervisor candidate Patricia Weems took to the microphone. No stranger to the room, she exclaimed she is tired of being limited to three minutes to speak at these Town Board meetings and was about to get her five minutes. She said it was insulting to the residents and people in this room that the Board would have the audacity to adjourn to a private, ticket only, party in a back room during a regular board meeting. Someone shouted out, “There’s nothing regular about it!” She responded, “Amen to that.” She pointed out that the Town was suspending services that we pay for in our taxes and there was no reason for it. She also mentioned a few regular attendees of the Board meetings by name, thanking them and thanking those in the crowd for taking the interest in the Town’s operation and coming to this meeting.

You no doubt know the expression ‘good news travels fast, bad news faster?’ Word must have gotten back to The Paul at the party that the hall was becoming a Zucotti Park. “What shall you have me do m’lord?” a stiffly bowing Morgan would ask. “Get out there and get that damn microphone away from her! The people can’t find out she’s right or our gig is up!” “What should WE do, Paul?” one of the other two domestics would ask. “Just get out there, dammit! I’ll come bumbling in, in a minute, doing my act, and look clueless.”

Morgan hurled the side entrance door open and saw several people at the podium. Sitting in the front row allowed us to see his rage. Controlled, but obviously flustered, he could do nothing to stop the revolution. In his police days, he could call for backup; but here he was impotent. As he stood there, his two underlings squeezed by, taking their positions on the dais. Crisis averted? Not really, as Weems’ tirade had struck a chord with the already upset crowd. Feiner’s house of cards was wobbling.

A woman from the neighborhood was the first speaker, there to complain about smoke coming from the nearby Westchester Nursery. Armed with a slide show presentation, she artfully tracked the recurring smoke issue, claiming that her infant child often coughs quite a bit from the smoke. She had petitioned the Town for help months ago and had received none. No surprise there. ABG is reasonably sure the nursery donates to the campaign war chest of The Paul. Feigning interest and concern, The Paul “asked” Councilmen Morgan and Sheehan to follow-up with this. Sheehan said his calendar was pretty busy but he would try to get to it soon. Another resident learns the game.

A Town Board meeting favorite was a north Elmsford resident who criticized The Paul’s arbitrary decision to cancel recycling pickups so the still-employed Town workers could pick up leaves instead. “My neighborhood looks like hell now that the papers have blown all over the place. And sending a notice via email only gets to a small portion of people assuming they read their email often. Shame on you, Paul.” She continued to admonish the Supervisor for not recognizing the work performed on behalf of the Town by Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Rosenberg at the beginning of the evenings presentation ceremonies. She turned and made a point to thank Herb Rosenberg during her three minutes. She said she would also thank Bob Berstein when she saw him.

Another gentleman got up joked that rigor mortis was setting in, an obvious reference to how long it took for him to get his turn at the podium (at about 11PM). He too, was there to complain about the lack of recycling pickup as well but said the previous speaker covered his point. He stated that he was not there about the CSEA protests to save positions but agreed with their position, saying, “Our people are the Town’s greatest asset.” ABG agrees. In fact, why didn’t any of the Board members say something to that effect? ABG is sure they were instructed not to.

Continuing, he referenced the Budget Blueprint and questioned if it was fact or fiction? Someone in the audience shouted it was fiction. “We have a ‘A’ and a ‘B’ budget and now we have a blue Alice in Wonderland book added to the mix,” he said holding the book up. He claimed he randomly looked at the first few pages and under the heading ‘Closing Projected Budget Deficit’, there were two amounts that needn’t be there if Feiner hadn’t broken the law. “The $1.6 and $10.2 million amounts are almost equal to the money both Bernstein and Rosenberg brokered back to the Town from the illegal WestHelp payoff deal and the $8 million in fines for the guilty verdict in the Fortress Bible decision against Paul Feiner and the Board.” You’ll recall Feiner and his Board were found guilty on seven counts, including destroying evidence and discrimination. Reduce this deficit amount from the total deficit in this section alone, and we’d be down from $11.8 to $2.6 million deficit. It’s still significant money but it may be more manageable and save some jobs.

If we had a Town Board and a Supervisor interested in doing the right thing, we would not have some of the waste that the Town has. We don’t need an Art Director to receive a salary of $60k to hang pictures in the Town Hall and to teach art appreciation. We don’t need a Treasury Oversight position for any reason for $45k. We don’t need a Town Clerk who has decorates her office like her home – no matter how cocksure she may feel about her own job security. It’s an office and should be treated as such. What we need is a staff that keeps the Town running on all cylinders and not more patronage positions; nor a Supervisor who is involved with repurposing a bridge. We need a dedicated staff to deal with Town issues. While ABG is not endorsing the CSEA, fortunately for us, the CSEA members are already doing this.