Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spending Money We Don’t Have

Now that The Paul’s media “bubble” has burst with the passage of the Finneran amendment, he’ll need a new topic to get more exposure from his lamestream media serfs. We should see a press release from him any day now based on the passage of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program by the Congress. The Paul is being a bit overshadowed by the recent Obamacare ruling by the Supreme Court. No matter, ABG knows The Paul is tenuous when it comes to his self-promotion. He’ll just keep submitting it and eventually they will publish it. Deflection is an art that The Paul has mastered. Unfortunately, as he discusses other issues, such as the Tappan Zee bridge, he ignores, as does the media, the debilitating issues within the Town that he has created. But for now, let’s discuss the bridge.

One way or another, ABG believes the Tappan Zee Bridge does need attention. It is also our belief that many who are divided on what we should actually build need to breathe, slow the arguing down to a rational, not political discussion, look at all of the alternatives and make a logical and informed decision based on criteria, not political expediency. A few of these solutions may include a tunnel under the Hudson River as well as repairing the bridge for far less money than the replacement pundits continually argue. A bridge with and without rail, bus, pedestrian and bike traffic needs to be part of the mix. Yes, we need to address these alternate issues regardless of how we proceed. Finally, after determining what we think offers a best solution, factor in the economic issues, both short and long term.

This project’s Achilles heel is the desire by many to have a public transportation element as part of the solution. Another is the use of Eminent Domain to further these plans which will forever cost some their homes and others their businesses, eliminating much needed ratables in the area forever. In fact, the County Legislators felt Eminent Domain was so detestable that they passed a resolution decrying and forbidding the use of Eminent Domain for the federal Housing Desegregation settlement implementation. If the County Legislature feels that strongly against it, shouldn’t we? AGB does!

Regardless of how we finance and proceed with a Hudson River crossing, the TIFIA passage does not guarantee New York State the funds necessary to embark on what ABG believes will be a $15 billion dollar exercise in governmental misinformation! ABG has reviewed numerous projects that were proposed at one cost and ultimately costs us three times the amount quoted. The Catskill Aqueduct piping and repair project comes to mind. A more blatant example is from the Journal News’ numerous scorching articles published last year decrying the inflated costs and overages with the I-287 projects that seem to have been underway forever. How can the projected $5 billion amount be believed? 

The operative political buzzwords of the day are job creation, road usage support for taxpayers, economic recovery, cash and increased revenue for surrounding businesses – assuming they are not unfortunate enough to be in the Eminent Domain Steamroller path! But it’s all moot for now because the application process, superficial as it may be, is still required to be fulfilled, with no guarantee of approval. Assuming the this grant does get approval, the amount NYS can receive could go up from 33% to 49% of the total anticipated project cost. What does that mean to the public? We, the under-taxed NYS taxpayers, will need to foot the bill for the other half, whether you use $2.5 billion or $7.5 billion as our final share. Where is this money going to come from? Isn’t it ironic how County Executive Rob Astorino is repeatedly trying to shut down bus routes (BM Express, Rye) because we can’t afford to operate them but insists we need new and expanded bus routes?

So what’s the answer? ABG has had numerous discussions in our office as to how to increase traffic flow and eliminate the need for more major construction. In no particular order, here are some points ABG believes might help the situation. First, put it to a public referendum to decide what we should do with all the choices on the table. Second, eliminate the tolls and watch the bottlenecks disappear, negating the need to increase the size of the bridge and roadways. Third, look to create a mass transit infrastructure throughout the County before trying to tie a bridge option into it. Fourth, look for a mass transit option that is not dependent on a new bridge that can run independent of it. Fifth, disallow any option to be created during an election cycle. Finally, limit the amount of input to the major players and the public and stop pandering to political press conferences designed to sensationalize and scare people into ill-conceived decisions by using “the sky is falling” arguments. The time to rationally discuss, competently design and implement long term solutions is now, before we spend money we don’t have. We can only hope.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Preposterous - Bidding By Blog

A post on The Paul’s blog, shown below, is advertising for bidders to construct a tennis bubble on the Town’s tennis courts, referencing the bill introduced by Tom “Proclamation” Abinanti and Andrea “Patronage” Stewart-Cousins and passed in both houses. It still must be signed into law by Governor Cuomo. While The Paul will often conveniently have temporary memory lapses, one of our readers pointed out that “the governor’s sister Maria Cole, got thwacked big time when Feiner refused in 2009 to renew the WestHELP lease. WestHELP was her baby. You think the governor might remember?” We not only hope he remembers, we hope he seeks justice and actually investigates this and all of The Paul’s numerous illegal actions that have transpired at so many levels.

Here’s the quote from his website (italicized):
IF YOU ARE IN THE SPORTS BUSINESS AND WANT TO BID FOR THE RIGHT TO PUT A TENNIS BUBBLE ON OUR TENNIS COURTS PLEASE CONTACT GERRY BYRNE AT The NY State Legislature approved legislation yesterday authorizing the town to lease our tennis facilities to a private company. We expect to generate significant revenue from the bubble and am pleased that residents will now have more recreational opportunities during the winter months, when tennis had not been available. We want to reach out to those in the tennis bubble/sports bubble business and invite them to submit bids that the town will consider. We are currently working on the bid package. 

One concern we have with his post is the small circle of exposure The Paul hopes to use to attract bidders. He says, “If you are in the sports business...?” How genuine can this offer possibly be? Does someone who sells baseball cards qualify as being in the sports business enough to bid on this? Does The Paul egotistically believe his blog will attract a variety of bidders? ABG doesn’t think so and believes this is nothing more than a ploy to secure the bid for Sportime, his favored “bidder” of choice. After all, he has been trying to make this happen since 2007. When only one company bids for this “privilege”, he will tell us that he used every available option to get bidders and only one (Sportime) submitted the bid, saying, “I even posted this on my blog!” Another concern is how many “bubble businesses” are out there in “tennis land” that  install bubbles, are willing to invest in the cost of repairs to the tenant property, whether viable money-makers or not, and be mandated to a governmental partner? 

A more significant concern will be the amount of money expected to be lost by the Town by bidding this contract for fifteen years! Last year The Paul and the Stepford board signed a fifteen year contract with Cablevision which supposedly included upgrades to the video equipment and capabilities of the Town in their first year of the contract. We see how well that didn't work out for us already. If you ever watch the meetings, you know the audio is horrible and the broadcasts lacking in quality. Another factor with this bid was that Verizon (FIOS) was kept out the bid process based on Town specifications which Verizon could not provide. Additionally, with technology changing so rapidly, almost guaranteeing your purchase's obsolescence shortly after receiving it, why wouldn’t the Town sign a five year contract with whomever gets the bid with the right of first refusal going to that company? Similarly, why not offer a five year contract to the winning bidder with an option of flexibility that benefits the Town, and not the vendor? 

Finally, The Paul mentions that we have the opportunity to generate significant revenue from this bubble coup, referred to by insiders as conversational “placeholders”, not real amounts. What he conveniently ignores is mentioning how his negligence and ego cost us the $1.2 million dollar contract with the County for WestHelp. Gone, without the stroke of a pen. Then there are the countless losses from lawsuits he costs the Town each year. Being found guilty of discrimination and destroying evidence as part of the seven counts in the Fortress Bible Church case will amount to upwards of $8 million dollars to the Fortress Bible Church. He was recently found guilty with the Sewer District fees case that has yet to be remedied by Town Assessor Edie McCarthy, even after a court mandate. The list continues.

When it comes to offering and signing contracts with the Town, it appears if you are a “favored vendor” of The Paul and the Stepford Board, the sky is the limit! With Francis “Back-Pocket” Sheehan as the defacto, pseudo-attorney who writes most of the sloppy bills they’ll routinely pass into law; as well as the inept and overwhelmed legal staff with guilty verdicts generated by The Paul, the Town is careening into a black hole of no return. The Paul is handily sucking what little money residents have left from their thinning wallets. This insanity has to stop! We can only hope.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Selling of Greenburgh

Our politicos all tout public and private consolidations from the local to the national stage. “Do-nothing” County Legislator Alfreda Williams is well-known for using this public-private “line” when any opportunity to speak finds her stumped about an issue at hand. When all else fails for her, she’ll successfully use The Paul’s deflection methods to escape further scrutiny. The Paul, on the other hand, has continually used his media machines, such as the Journal News, as well as their off-shoot, the Daily Greenburgh, and others to foist his ill-advised schemes onto an unsuspecting, or clueless public. The latest debacle to defraud the public is the supposed copious amounts of money the Town stands to make by adding bubbles throughout the Town. And, his cohort, Tom “Proclamation” Abinanti, just assisted The Paul with their latest scheme to defraud the Greenburgh public in an effort to recoup funds lost, intentionally by The Paul, when he refused to renegotiate the WestHelp contract for the $1.2 million a year the Town so desperately needs to help pay off the guilty verdicts levied against himself and the Town through his ill-advised actions.

Many residents and civic association representatives have appeared at numerous Town Hall meetings questioning the flawed logic and explaining why amending the Finneran law was a bad thing to do for the Town and it’s Unincorporated residents. Regardless, The Paul, the Stepford Board, Proclamation Tom and Pandering Andrea proceeded full steam ahead. As a matter of fact, it was so egregious that all of the six Village mayors within the Town were against the change! No matter. The Paul touted the hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be made each year and his media machine ate it up, hook, line and tennis balls. Representation periodically means that on occasion something may get done that you personally disagree with. But with so vociferous an outcry from so many, why would the “goresome-foursome” proceed without moving this to a public referendum? It begs numerous questions as to why and to whom this will really benefit?

“Proclamation Tom” was asked by The Paul to introduce legislation to change the Finneran Law, which was enacted years ago to help the Unincorporated residents of the Town – probably in anticipation of bad decisions that The Paul and his Stepford Board would make in the future. But Abinanti wouldn’t be enough, so he enlisted the help of Andrea “Patronage” Stewart-Cousins from the other side of the Albany building. Now having enlisted both the NYS Assembly and the NYS Senate with his scheme to swindle and dupe the Greenburgh public, The Paul could taste victory. Finneran be damned! Many in Greenburgh believe it’s okay to have everyone be of the same party holding office, allowing all their projects to proceed without scrutiny or interruption. How can we get the best of anything without differing views or ideas? ABG doesn’t believe we will. Many poor and outright bad ideas and ultimately bills wind up getting passed into law, doing nothing but pandering to special interest groups, sometimes with reckless and unchecked costly abandon. This is just one example of what is wrong with these types of collusive collaborations.

ABG realizes The Paul’s mind works in convoluted ways and was successful this time by getting his bosom buddy, Proclamation Tom, to get a low attendance vote to change the Finneran law. We know this is strictly self-serving and they are not concerned with the people they purport to work for, rather, only working for themselves. We understand why the Stepford’s follow suit – re-election or dismissal by The Paul. Proclamation Tom wants to do more in Albany because he ran out of regulations and taxes he could create in Westchester. Pandering Andrea is having a tougher and tougher time garnering viable support so she continues to look for new groups she can use member item funds with which to purchase votes. Fortunately for her, she didn’t need to spend any of her precious member items funds for this, just “bank” a vote from Proclamation Tom for one of her future projects. The system stinks and this latest action proves the people running the operation are bereft of a moral and economical compass. Things need to change in Greenburgh and now we see in Albany as well. The Paul is selling off Greenburgh. We need real change. We can only hope.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Goodbye to Morton Williams – Another One Bites The Dust!

ABG had announced the proposed closure of the Morton Williams supermarket, also formerly known as the original Turco’s, some time ago. It is unfortunate on many levels as Greenburgh’s residents scramble to find not only basic food items, but the more well rounded dietary necessities. Plus, while some of it’s prices were slightly higher compared to other larger stores, it was a well-run store with quality items. We are sorry to see them close and wish the employee’s future success.

This past year saw the A&P conglomerate decimate the food supply retailers in our area as The Paul stood by, waving to their employees as they put the key in the lock, closing the doors of each store, probably thinking that he would finally be able to stop visiting those whining residents at the supermarket. Could this be part of his grand plan to turn Greenburgh into a welfare town? It’s one sure-fired way to purchase votes while fostering the CSEA members as the “bad guys” in town, fighting him as he tries to save the Town. It’s pure deflection and pure baloney!

With the Morton Williams’ closing, HMart will now have access to the much desired additional parking their store so desperately needs. They have already applied for an easement of parking while they seek to increase the amount of seats for their “food court” inside the store. Our understanding is this is an outside vendor renting space within the store. Shouldn’t they be requesting the parking variance? Numerous complaints have been voiced about this request as the HMart clientele is utilizing the allotted spaces of the other stores in the shopping center who pay for and entitled to these spaces through their rent for usage by their own customers.

This new congestion has been like nothing previously seen in these shopping areas - proving a need. A partial explanation is the new availability of products that are geared toward the ever-increasing Asian community. Another reason is there aren’t many places locally to shop for food anymore. Sure, if you need a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread, you can stop at any gas station mart for that. But if you need baby food, diapers, chicken, steaks or chops, condiments and such, you’ll have to travel quite a bit farther than you did previously. This closing significantly impacts those who do not drive, are on fixed incomes, or chose to live near the common amenities they would use.

Speaking of living near the common amenities people would use, The Paul insisted on waiving most, if not all, zoning considerations, neighborhood protestations and recommendations from his own Zoning and Planning Boards to grant Westhab carte blanche to build a seven-story low-income apartment building at the former Kings Inn Hotel site. His logic (we know)? They would have walking access to area supermarkets. When all of the civic associations decried this, stating that the argument isn’t a valid justification as stores close and decisions to change zoning should not be made lightly. The Paul didn’t care. He just wanted more votes via town subjugation through housing. The closing of the Crossroads A&P and the Central Avenue Pathmark validated the civic associations’ concerns, but the damage was done. Criminal, yes. Stoppable? Not in Greenburgh.

Former Town Councilwoman Sonya Brown held a meeting to discuss the impact the A&P’s leaving the neighborhood would have on the immediate neighborhood. It was yet another meeting unattended by The Paul and his Stepford Board. At this point, Brown had already been banished and was receiving the silent treatment from everyone in The Paul’s administration. At her meeting, the Heyman Properties representative gave the reason the A&P was leaving this location was because the lease was expiring and the location was too small for their retail needs at only 40k square feet when they typically look for a minimum of 60k square feet. You may recall when queried as to what type of advertising had been implemented to attract a new food service client, the representative said they “put up flyers” in various places. This statement coupled with the obvious lack of business acumen helps explain why there are eleven vacant storefronts out of thirty six in that strip mall.

The Paul has done nothing to help the Town improve the services and amenities it’s residents need throughout the Unincorporated areas, especially as it relates to food stores. He will tout the new Stop and Shop on Rt 119, as having so many varieties and choices the old store didn’t. The old Tarrytown Stop and Shop at Rt 119 and Rt 9 was within walking distance for many homeowners and apartment dwellers in the area. The new one can really only be accessed by car. The Paul’s solution? To run a short-lived weekly shuttle from the old to the new Stop and Shop for residents there. Once the shuttle is gone, he doesn’t need to concern himself with their need for food or their ability to get to and return from a supermarket. CVS has promised to move into the abandoned Stop and Shop site, probably because we need another chain store pharmacy, but the food they sell isn’t a meal solution. The over concentration of the Rt 119 corridor is all part of a grand plan by The Paul and Planning Commissioner Thomas Madden, who is strictly creating more job security for themselves, to increase the population density. Then they’ll resell the need for bus and train routes along Rt 119 instead of using cars. They are working toward slowly evolving a suburban area into an urban one.

Residents at all the Comprehensive Planning Outreach Meetings wanted a greener Town of Greenburgh with more open space, not more congested living. The residents want traffic that flows at most times of the day and night, not traffic jams 24-7. They wanted bike lanes and pathways throughout the Town. The Paul has given us nothing for bikers or walkers. The residents want an infrastructure that can handle what the people utilize it for, such as flood drainage and mitigation. Rather, we get only what The Paul and his Stepford Board wants. The Town has to change. Most of these issues should be put to the public to decide via referendums. But The Paul knows that will stop what he wants so he refuses to do it. We can only hope.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Say It Ain’t So

ABG has posted before about the Finneran Law. It will prove detrimental to the Town if amended via the Albany Legislature. It is only being done because The Paul’s wants it. Naturally, he told his Stepford Board they want it too, so they comply. Anytime a change to a law is made, it’s affect may not be readily seen by those focused on the one or two elements they seek to remedy. In the case of altering the existing Finneran law, it’s sole purpose is to allow The Paul and the Stepford Board the ability to lease Town property to Sportime, a private, for profit, business for what many believe is an under-valued yearly rent with terms that last too long in the “real” world real estate market.

The proposal, which we acquired from the Town Hall, is glaringly fraught with issues that should not be in a proposal of this magnitude. Proposed under the guise of helping the Town, ABG believes this will ultimately do just the opposite. The beginning portion, starting at Line 1, titled Section 1, states, “The town of Greenburgh acting through its town board is hereby authorized and empowered to lease at fair market value and upon such other terms and conditions as determined by such board consistent with sections four and five of this act the lands and improvements described in section three of this act for up to 30 years for the operation of seasonal tennis facilities.”

ABG believes if you are going to amend this law, the State should not be giving the Town Board (Stepford or otherwise) such broad-brush sweeping authority. ABG believes making this decision should only be done through a referendum, allowing the residents, not the Board, to make any determination regarding Town properties. There should not be any time frame mentioned in this amendment to this law, leaving it to the municipality to decide. This is clearly a violation of “home rule” by having the State mandate contractual considerations for a locality!

Section 2 states that “...residents of the town of Greenburgh who reside outside of any incorporated village in such town continue to pay all costs and expenses for the town park and recreational facilities...” It is partially for this reason that all of the Mayors from the Villages within the Town have protested amending the current Finneran Law! Assuredly, The Paul is proving once again he is not concerned with the feelings or opinions of the Villages. We already know of his open contempt for the Unincorporated residents.

Section 4 mandates “... that if the lease for the facilities terminates then the leased park lands revert  to the town of Greenburgh to be used as they are presently used.” At issue here is that the state law is compelling the Town to keep the usage as is some thirty years later. So, if it is determined by Sportime, that their business is no longer profitable or the Town decides to evict their tenant, we will be forced to keep the tennis courts, even if tennis is no longer a viable option at this location.

The justification of this proposed change is to give the Town the opportunity to raise revenue by leasing a portion of its under utilized recreational facilities. The Town is saddled with too many guilty verdicts from numerous lawsuits brought about and lost because of The Paul’s illegal actions (at least the illegal actions he got caught for). The Town needs real management skills, proving a Town Administrator looks more and more a viable necessity. If the Town did a revaluation, we could save even more and not need income-producing schemes such as this. As a note, the certiorari refunds proposed to be made at last Town Board meeting held on 6-13-2012 was $489,139! The certiorari refunds continue to creep upwards at every meeting. Just a year ago, the amounts were significantly lower at about $100k per meeting.

Amending the Finneran Law may be a good idea for a private business who stands to get a deflated rent, for an inordinate amount of rental time and no competition. But it’s not good for the Town. Imagine how much better of a deal the Town might be receiving if this deal wasn't geared toward benefitting just one company but was put out to bid, forcing the participants to offer more than just resurfacing the tennis courts? But this is the way The Paul wants it and so it will be. This behavior is criminal and must stop. We can only hope.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Greenburgh’s Ever-Changing Transparency

ABG recently posted a portion of the Broadview Civic Association’s concerns regarding the new Greenburgh Health Center project on Knollwood Road at the former Cooke’s Florist property. As ABG also mentioned in that post, the issues are many, entirely ignored by The Paul, his Stepford Board, and all subsequent departments within The Paul’s administration. We received a multi-page letter dated May 27, 2012, from the Broadview Civic Association, detailing their issues of concern and felt obliged to post it. We also learned that the Greenburgh Council of Civic Associations concurs with these points.

Our hope by publishing these issues is to expand awareness throughout the Town for residents elsewhere to learn of issues that many neighborhoods are suffering under The Paul’s tenure. Here’s the unedited information ABG received from the Broadview Civic Association:

The Broadview Civic Association has continuing neighborhood concerns and questions about the construction of the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center (MVNHC) at 295 Knollwood Road.

This project will have a significant effect on the value of our property, real estate taxes, traffic, safety and overall quality of life.

· The building is not being constructed in accordance with the plans as approved by the Town.

· The Town Building Department is fully aware that the building is not being constructed in accordance with the previously approved plans, and that the previously issued building permits are currently invalid.

· Because the building is not being constructed in accordance with the plans as previously approved by the Town, the MVNHC must seek updated approvals from the Town Board , the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

· The medical clinic still lacks a safe pedestrian access route from adjacent public transportation facilities.

· The plans for storm water management are inadequate with reference to adjacent properties.

· Town Supervisor Feiner responded that the Town had issued several building related permits to the MVNHC, and stated that the MVNHC has a “vested right” to proceed with construction of the medical clinic even if the current actual construction of the medical clinic is not in

accordance with the plans as previously approved by various Town of Greenburgh Boards and Agencies.

· Complaints and inquiries to Town, State and Federal agencies are being ignored.



· The majority of health center clients will reach the MVNHC via public transportation.

· The New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT) has announced that NYS DOT will not fund or construct a sidewalk from Route 119 to the 295 Knollwood Road site of the MVNHC.

· Lack of a sidewalk from public transportation facilities on Route 119 presents serious safety risks to both clinic clients and motor vehicle operators on Knollwood Road.

· The Town of Greenburgh could incur significant municipal liability for anyone injured due to lack of safe pedestrian access to the health center site.

· Lack of safe pedestrian access to the site could be a serious problem to solve even if eminent domain is used by the Town of Greenburgh.

· The proposed multi modal pedestrian facility is a very unsafe alternate solution, and will not be approved by NYS DOT due to the recent enactment of the “Safe Streets” law.

· The MVNHC has not filed for and obtained a NYS DOT highway work permit for the proposed multi-modal pedestrian facility ? Why has the Town issued a building permit without requiring the MVNHC to obtain a NYS highway work permit ?

· Shuttle ambulet buses are not an economically viable alternative.

· The Town needs to take whatever actions are necessary to insure safe pedestrian access before it allows the MVNHC to open its doors to patients.

· The Town cannot grant the MVNHC a permanent certificate of occupancy if the MVNHC does not actually construct an ADA compliant sidewalk from Route 119 to the southern boundary of 295 Knollwood Rd. before the facility opens for business ?

· After the Town of Greenburgh adopted its own State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) environmental assessment, the Federal Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) directed the MVNHC to prepare a new federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental assessment. The NEPA federal environmental assessment is more comprehensive and restrictive than the Greenburgh SEQRA environmental assessment.

· By federal and NYS law, NEPA environmental assessments take precedence over SEQRA environmental assessments

· The Town of Greenburgh must modify its previous SEQRA environmental assessment to conform to the federal NEPA environmental assessment.

· Why hasn’t the Town conformed its SEQRA environmental assessment to the federal NEPA assessment ?

   The storm water pollution plan is based on a September 2006 study and has not been updated.
Both Greenburgh and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation have updated their regulations since 2006.
   It is unknown whether the subsurface infiltration devices proposed by the applicant will adequately process storm water runoff on the 295 Knollwood Road site, based on 2011 standards.
   The increase in impervious surfaces on properties adjacent to the 295 Knollwood Road site is already causing flooding on surrounding properties.
   Why hasn’t the Town engaged an independent professional engineer to determine whether the storm water management plans submitted by the applicant are adequate according to current standards and current needs ?

   The Town government has been significantly tardy in releasing information about Town building permit construction approval information about this project. Public hearings have been held at very inconvenient times, freedom of information law (FOIL) applications have been ignored etc.
Surrounding residents have a significant lack of confidence in the objectivity of the Town Board and Town staff.
   The MVNHC has submitted different building plans to the Town, the federal HRSA and the NYS Dept. of Health. Which building plan will be used to construct the actual building ? Has the MVNHC submitted to the Town a final set of building plans which is identical to the building plans approved by the federal HRSA and the NYS Dept. of Health ?

· Will the Town post copies of all building plans and permits, inspection reports etc. for the 295 Knollwood Road site on the Town web site ?
· Has the MVNHC filed for and obtained a sewer connection permit from the Westchester County Department of Health ?

   The MVNHC received a $12,000,000 grant from the federal HRSA, pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
   This legislation requires that the MVNHC provide its clients with a range of services, including medical, social, psychological and addiction care services to all residents, including services to aliens and known sex offenders.
   Has the MVNHC assured the Town that there will be adequate security services at the site ?
   Does the Town plan to relocate the St. John’s Addiction Care facility currently located on Manhattan Avenue to Knollwood Road ?

   The current Town Board has deliberately ignored the very specific mandates of the 1986 Targeted commercial zoning study. Property on the east side of Knollwood Road north of Stadium Road was designated for development as multi family housing. The east side of Knollwood Road was designated as a buffer zone between commercial sites on Tarrytown Road and the well developed residential areas west of Knollwood Road. Previous Town Boards followed those mandates when they approved the Pondside and Preserve at Greenburgh communities.
   Development of the 295 Knollwood Road site as a commercial use without any recognition that surrounding properties are residential violates generally accepted norms of suburban planning.
   The current use of the 295 Knollwood Road site without providing for safe pedestrian access, adequate security etc. will have a disastrous effect on surrounding residential property values.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Economies of Scale

Class warfare is not good, nor is it the intent of this post. We recognize and accept that in our society some people have more than others. While sitting in on several community meetings however, we realized the old saying about the haves and have-nots is being played out right before us in Greenburgh. As this shouldn’t be about comparing those that have to those with less, it highlights the inequity of how the Town operates and conducts business differently for those with clout (financially and professionally) verses those without. We are upset that the economies of scale, “disguised campaign donations” and political favors are driving the The Paul, his Stepford Board and the rest of his administration’s decisions and actions toward it’s residents.

A number of years ago there was a murder committed in a small deli on Rt 119 directly across the street from KMart. The murderer was never apprehended and after a brief period this became a “cold case”, left to languish in a back room of the Greenburgh Police Department. The location of this deli murder remains vacant. Is it simply a cold case or an ignored case? There were also murders at the former Mitsubishi Auto dealership service bays on Rt 119 across from Hillside Avenue. Across Town in Edgemont, residents say home robberies are up while Police Chief DeCarlo claims the numbers show crime to be at the same level as previous years. 

In a recent Edgemont Community Council meeting Chief DeCarlo explained he had his officers drive through Edgemont and place surveys in the mailboxes for any home the officers felt were vulnerable. In our eyes this authenticates a good marker for a would-be thief to strike. GPD had also utilized an ambulance with a civilian driver/paramedic to do patrols in the Edgemont section of Town to placate the residents and promote an appearance of a police presence. It may have been a good ploy until an actual cop was needed or the ambulance was called away. But Edgemont, with 8k+ residents, financial clout, attorneys and donors are better able to influence The Paul and the police department into action than other neighborhoods. 

The Knollwood-Mayfair section of the Town is better off than many, but still not quite as well off as others. When the County proposed building the WestHelp shelter, on the campus of Westchester Community College, the civic association understandably fought it. Although it was a hot-button topic and the hearings contentious, the County’s “might-makes-right” naturally prevailed and the housing was built. To conciliate the area, The Paul agreed to a financial “settlement” that would ultimately be overturned as illegal in court. The suit was brought by Edgemont attorneys who filed and won their suit, mandating a return of approximately $1.2 million to the Town. The point? The Paul illegally tried to buy Mayfair off! 

The Fulton Park Civic Association began fighting the proposed seven story apartment building once Westhab’s could no longer keep it under wraps. It would be offered by The Paul as workforce housing for Greenburgh Municipal workers. The FPCA proved that they couldn't control who could apply and rent an apartment as state and federal money was being used, limiting who would be allowed to live there. Ultimately, The Paul would changed his tune, stating it would be for the homeless, low-income and Section 8 housing. The FPCA learned that The Paul made a deal with Westhab behind closed doors to purchase the property and “fast track” it through the normally cumbersome and exhausting permit and approvals process. The Paul had promised to turn the location into a senior living center if and when the homeless were gone. At the same time, while the neighborhood supported a reasonably-sized living facility, they were kept completely in the dark until it was too late and too costly for the FPCA to do much about The Paul’s back-room done-deal.

The FPCA pointed out the traffic issues to an already over-congested area that this project would exacerabate. Those included the exiting from the soon-to-be changed (and non-existent) to one-way Fulton Avenue and the congested traffic circle there. Westhab relied on faulty zoning maps that did not officially show the traffic circle which we’ve been told has existed there for over fifty years, nor the Fulton Avenue roadway. Each time the FPCA found any violations to planning, zoning, safety and procedural issues, The Paul and the Stepford Board turned a blind eye and approved the requested changes from Westhab, ignoring any and all rational arguments and points. Since Fulton Park is not a wealthy neighborhood within the Unincorporated area of the Town, they lost all their well-founded arguments against the Westhab assault. The zoning board supported the FPCA position and denied the requested zoning changes and since Fulton Park doesn’t matter to The Paul. He and his Stepford Board approved the zoning changes. Construction is underway - residents be damned!

At the same time, in the Broadview area of Town, that neighborhood is suffering from the same maladies with construction on the former Cooke’s Florist property. In 1969, the Town Board during that period of time passed a zoning law stating should that property ever be vacated, it would revert back to residential. It’s one law that was passed by one of the Town’s other Boards, and not under The Pauls’ administration. Then The Paul decided to allow the Greenburgh Health Center, based out of Mount Vernon, New York, carte blanche to build on the former Cooke’s Florist site, ignoring the law passed years ago. You see, in The Paul’s world, it isn’t necessary to adhere to decisions made by others, mostly because it’s simply inconvenient for his agenda. Broadview residents be damned!

Here's a few highlights in a partial list of a few of the Broadview Neighborhood’s contentions: 
· The building is not being constructed in accordance with the plans as approved by the Town.
· The Town Building Department is fully aware that the building is not being constructed in accordance with the previously approved plans, and that the previously issued building permits are currently invalid.
· Because the building is not being constructed in accordance with the plans as previously approved by the Town, the MVNHC must seek updated approvals from the Town Board , the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
· The medical clinic still lacks a safe pedestrian access route from adjacent public transportation facilities.
· The plans for storm water management are inadequate with reference to  adjacent properties.
· Town Supervisor Feiner responded that the Town had issued several building related permits to the MVNHC, and stated that the MVNHC has a “vested right” to proceed with construction of the medical clinic even if the current actual construction of the medical clinic is not in accordance with the plans as previously approved by various Town of Greenburgh Boards and Agencies.
· Complaints and inquiries to Town, State and Federal agencies are being ignored.

Regardless of who is right or wrong, The Paul and his Stepford Board, the Building Department and others remain silent. Why? It’s not as though there are only one or two issues they are complaining about. In actuality, ABG has seen about two and a half to three solid pages of issues which are continually ignored by The Paul’s administration. Again, why? Even to a skeptic, the list they have cannot be as large as it is and not have some merit or validity. Could it be because the Greenburgh Health Center is one of The Paul’s pet projects and guarantees to purchase him more votes? ABG believes the answer is yes. 

Numerous neighborhoods, such as Broadview, Fulton Park, Parkway Homes, the Route 9A corridor, Glenville and Babbitt Court to name a few, all lack the financial resources to mount a legal attack to force The Paul to stop disrespecting these various neighborhoods in the Town. Hopefully, there are still a few good people left in our respective departments who will ignore The Paul’s wishes and do the right thing. We can only hope!