Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lawsuit Tossed! “I Welcome Competition” (Except Against Me)

It’s a telling example of Mr Feiner’s fear of losing his only “real” job. The position of Supervisor, should be an upper managerial position for someone with experience running an organization. Unfortunately, what we have gotten is a poor substitute for management at best. It’s similar to a new person joining a department and the existing co workers incredulously wondering what lies were told to get the position?

Actually, lying seems to be one of the hallmarks of Mr Feiner and his administration. We’ve written about it before and won’t rehash it again here. We did receive a satirical photo (below) that had been doctored by a reader some time ago, of Mr Feiner in a photo he uses regularly for his press/campaign releases as his “stock” photo. Our talented reader added “I Lied”. It gave us a chuckle and we thought we’d post it again in hopes you will too.

Comedy aside, it’s beyond sad that a 22-year incumbent and career politician would stoop to lying by outwardly saying “This is great. It’s democracy at work. I welcome the competition.” Specifically, his competition would be challenger Robert “Bob” Bernstein of the Edgemont part of the Town. And then Mr Feiner quickly attempted to disqualify Mr Bernstein’s petition ballot signatures in a lawsuit that has become one of Mr Feiner’s hallmarks. You may recall in the last election he had Councilman Morgan, by means of his daughter, challenge then-Councilwoman Sonya Brown’s ballot petitions and ultimately disqualify many, forcing her off of the Democratic party line and sadly from the election. She called him out on that several Town Board meetings ago and said she forgave him for what he did to her and her family.

It’s fairly well-known that Mr Bernstein has challenged many of Mr Feiner’s decisions and the legality, or rather illegality of his actions. Of course Mr Feiner routinely tells everyone if you don’t like what he’s doing, sue him. Mr Bernstein has followed Mr Feiner’s mandate on several occasions, initiating several lawsuits against Mr Feiner and the Town. Regardless of the lawsuits or their outcome, ABG believes Mr Bernstein has always acted in the best interests of the Town and not in a self-serving capacity. We can’t say that about Mr Feiner. 

At the Democratic Committee Nomination meeting, several nominations garnered many salutations from various individuals in the audience. The barely-18-year-old young man who nominated Mr Feiner for Supervisor had been hired as an intern with the Town years prior. What he didn’t realize then was that Mr Feiner had craftily co-opted his vote those several years earlier with the position. And naturally, he would only have good things to say about Mr Feiner. ABG suggests he purchase property in the Town or start a business to see first-hand how things are in the “real world” of the Town of Greenburgh.

Today, Mr Feiner and his challenger went to court regarding the lawsuit brought by Mr Feiner against Mr Bernstein (and indirectly the Democratic Party). Challenging Mr Bernstein’s petition ballot signatures as well as his use of the name “Bob” as fraudulent instead of Robert on his petitions is a petty and yet common move by the “Tammany Feiner Conglomerate”. He also challenged Councilman Sheehan’s residency and validity as a witness of ballot signatures stating his primary residence is not where Mr Sheehan claims. Apparently, Mr Sheehan’s break from the Feiner camp with his contrary votes as the election cycle got nearer, really infuriated Mr Feiner. Hence, the attack on one of his stalwart confidantes. ABG believes now that Mr Sheehan has been “Sonya’d”, and if he wins re-election, Mr Feiner will make sure this is Mr Sheehan’s last.

Once again, Mr Feiner, a non-practicing attorney, was beaten again in court. This time it was based on a technicality of the law. While Mr Feiner went after a few fellow Democrats to shore up a victory for himself in November, he screwed things up again. Our sources inform us that everyone who was involved in the suit needed to be served subpoenas to show up to the trial but a few were not. The judge dismissing the case didn’t say anything about Mr Feiner not being a credible witness. He didn’t say Mr Feiner should try to stay out of court and run a fair campaign. And he didn’t say that 22-years is too long. He didn’t say Mr Feiner should try doing the heavy lifting and the dirty work himself instead of having others do it. With the lawsuit tossed, Greenburgh residents now have an opportunity to vote differently than they have for the past 22-years because the system gave them a choice. They finally have an opportunity to create A Better Greenburgh!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Enjoy A Summer Night with the Westchester Band

The Westchester Band, under the baton of Maestro Alan Hollander, will continue its summer concert series in Chase Park on Thursday, Aug. 1st, at 8 p.m.

Soloist will be Frank Huber, a freelance trumpet player in the metro area, who will play the Arutun-ian trumpet concerto. Huber is one of the young professional musicians who performs regularly with the ensemble. He began playing trumpet with the band in high school. He regularly plays different styles of music ranging from orchestral to Latin jazz. He is currently finishing his undergraduate degree in music performance at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He plans on continu- ing his education in music performance as well as nonprofit arts management.

The Arutunian concerto is a staple of the literature for solo trumpet mixing demanding technique with lyrical lines and also calling for great endurance. The wind accompaniment is interactive with the soloist offering many "soli" opportunities for the accompanying players.

Concertgoers are urged to bring blankets and/or lounge chairs for seating. The concerts are sponsored by Scarsdale Department of Parks and Recreation and the Friends of the Westchester Band, a nonprofit group that accepts donations to support the band. The rain location will be the Scarsdale High School auditorium.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

NextG: Another Guilty Verdict

Lately, going to court seems to have a foregone conclusion for Mr Feiner and our Town Board. Perhaps the courts have finally gotten wise to his behavior or his “woe is me” is wearing thin. The majority of the electorate has not paid enough attention to his bad behavior – yet. The mother of all decisions against Mr Feiner, is that of the Fortress Bible Church guilty verdict. Ironically, we await the total sum of damages from this suit against him and his criminal partner Town Board member Diana Juettner. They continue to run for office as though nothing is amiss in the now evolving “Bizarro Greenburgh.” His previous Town Board’s cumulative illegal behavior points to those now absent from our local government, having passed away or been bestowed with a promotion. It’s more proof that bad politicians don’t get voted out, they get promoted and rewarded.

This Fortress Bible Church decision has many residents outraged over the Town’s behavior and actions toward this African-American Church from Mount Vernon, and rightfully so! You’ll recall the church purchased property in Greenburgh, literally in then-County Legislator Tom Abinanti’s backyard. Mr Feiner, Ms Juettner and other Greenburgh politicians led the rally against the Fortress Bible Church to keep them from building their new house of worship and coterminous school on their newly purchased property. This seems to be a case of not in Mr Abinanti’s backyard. Apparently, its not acceptable for the average resident to protest a development in their backyards but those same standards don’t apply to politicians. It may be why Assemblyman Tom Abinanti moved – to distance himself from this neighborhood’s failing NIMBY-ism and Mr Feiner and Ms Juettner’s impending guilty verdict?

Subsequently, Mr Feiner and Ms Juettner were found guilty as Town Supervisor and Board for violating the rights of a church to the free exercise of religion and not receiving equal protection under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. He was also found liable for destroying documents. The federal judge who hasn’t sat in on any Town Board or Work Session meetings and listened to Mr Feiner testify found him to not be a credible witness. Had the judge sat in on a Town Board meeting, or any other meeting with Mr Feiner, he would have already known this.

So, now we learn another decision handed down against Mr Feiner and the Town, that will again be paid for by the taxpayers. This time the courts found in favor of the plaintiff, Crown Castle NG East, Inc., the “new” parent company of NextG Networks of New York, and against the Town. The original petitioner sought to install cell towers on phone poles throughout the Town. Their lawsuit alleged the protracted process began in 2009 with their cell tower installation applications to Mr Feiner and the Town, and took an unreasonable amount of time to receive a decision, based on The FCC’s “Shot Clock” order.

The “Shot Clock” was a supposed important step enacted by Congress to encourage the expansion of wireless networks throughout the nation. The ruling provides that a local jurisdiction must act on an application for the collocation of additional antennas to existing infrastructure within 90 days and an application for the construction of new infrastructure within 150 days. And, at the same time it claims to allow local control, it really does not seem the “locals” actually maintain control. 

The parameters of what the Town needed to do to address the NextG applications from the very beginning seem to have been misplayed by Mr Feiner and to a complicit degree, the Town Board. Based on past performances from Mr Feiner, we’re not surprised. While past performance does not guarantee future results in the financial world, it’s fairly accurate with Mr Feiner’s world and “Bizzaro Greenburgh”.

From the onset, NextG applied to install cell towers consisting of “a small, low-powered antenna, laser and amplifier equipment for the conversion of RF signals to optical signals that is connected to the antenna, fiber optics lines, and associated equipment such as power supplies” on phone poles in November of 2009. The Town insisted that NextG was not a cell provider and consequently did not qualify for approval. But, whether qualified or not, Mr Feiner received communications of application from NextG which he simply chose to ignore and do nothing about.

The decision for the plaintiff (NextG) against the defendant (Town/Feiner) was issued in the beginning of July. Yet, no one from the Town or the public knew anything of it. Why not? Simple. Mr Feiner received the information of the decision and decided not to share it with either his colleagues or the public! Again, why not? Could it be Mr Feiner trying to minimize the negative impact during his re-election campaign? Or, could it be because he has a formidable Democratic Primary opponent with Mr Robert Berstein? Could all the lawsuits coming to fruition at the same time as this election be his motivation to try to keep this secreted from the public? Regardless of his motivation, it’s another in a long list of examples of the phony open government scam Mr Feiner has perpetrated on the public and endorsed by the lame-stream media.

The same taxpaying public that weighed in on the cell tower proposals and insisted Mr Feiner allow the Antenna Review Board and the Zoning Board address the issue of a proposal were also ignored by Mr Feiner and the Board. Mr Bob Bernstein also suggested that the Town allow the laws we have in place be the determinant with the application and that they would provide us with legal validation for cell towers. Issues of public safety, visual appearance, a lack of safety information and specifically a need to fill a gap for coverage all came up in the numerous conversations. Interestingly, the decision handed down and hidden by Mr Feiner in hopes of who-knows-what-?, was made public by Mr Bernstein! Only after Mr Bernstein published a PDF of the decision did Mr Feiner offer it to anyone who sent him an email. 

ABG requested a copy of the verdict from Mr Feiner. In a very deft move by Mr Feiner, he sent a link to his email message as opposed to sending the file as an email attachment, ensuring the inability of accessing his Microsoft Outlook email account and getting the file. When we responded and told him the link didn’t work, he forwarded our email to Town Attorney Lewis where the request has languished for over a week and remains in the veritable Feiner Black Hole, never to be seen again. Open government? Transparency? The public’s right to know? These are empty platitudes bandied about by Mr Feiner and the Board when it’s convenient for a nearby reporter seeking a sound-byte. The reality in Bizarro Greenburgh is something quite different.

In reading the decision by the courts, there was a pattern of consistent delays over three or so years from Mr Feiner and the Town. The chronological actions taken or not taken are detailed below and summarily highlight the lack of a decision for NextG that was the predominant point of their lawsuit.

  1. November 13, 2009; Right of way use agreement letter submitted to Town Supervisor. Unanswered.
  2. Follow-up letter sent several months later. Unanswered.
  3. March 22, 2010; Attempted to meet with Public Works Staff; Unsuccessful.
  4. March 25, 2010; Permit Applications sent to Public Works Commissioner; Unanswered
  5. March 30, 2010; Met with Town to discuss above mentioned letter.
  6. June 7, 2010; Reminded Town of need to meet for negotiation. Unanswered.
  7. June 7, 2010; Plaintiff sent a follow-up letter to Town Public Works & Building Commissioners; Unanswered.
  8. June 16, 2010; Antenna Review Board (ARB) announces Public Hearing for June 28, 2010.
  9. June 29, 2010; ARB rejects Plaintiff application as incomplete. 
  10. July 10, 2010; Plaintiff representatives meet with Thomas Madden regarding materials submitted.
  11. September 8, 2010; Plaintiff applies to Building Dept., for permits.
  12. September 10, 2010; Building Inspector acknowledges receipt of application; Refused.
  13. November 10, 2010; Materials submitted determined to not be valid application.
  14. October 5, 2010; ARB Chair states Madden doesn’t have authority regarding application.
  15. October 19, 2010; Plaintiff requests sample application from ARB. 
  16. November 23, 2010; Plaintiff submits second round of applications.
  17. December 14, 2010; Plaintiff complains ARB took no action of their applications.
  18. February 8, 2011; Plaintiff sends letter asserting Town’s Antenna Law doesn’t apply to their application.
  19. March 15, 2011; Plaintiff submits application “template” to facilitate approval process. ARB issues letter of incompleteness without specifically addressing deficiencies. Months of back and forth take place with no resolve.
  20. April 4, 2011; ARB identifies deficiencies in template application.
  21. May 17, 2011; 7 applications discussed at ARB public meeting. Determined deficient.
  22. June 27, 2011; 2nd set of revisions discussed at public ARB meeting.
  23. October 26, 2011; 16 of 20 Plaintiff applications deemed complete by ARB. 
  24. November 1, 2011; Letter stating same from ARB Chair to Building Department sent.
  25. November 15, 2011; Final 4 applications submitted to ARB.
  26. November 15, 2011; Plaintiff submits completed versions of applications to Town Board. 
  27. November 25, 2011; Letter stating same from ARB Chair to Building Department sent.
  28. November 30, 2011: Town Board holds Public Hearing. No vote taken. Adjourned until December 14, 2011. 
  29. December 3, 2011; Receipt of letter confirmed from ARB to Building Inspector.
  30. December 14, 2011; 2nd Public Hearing held. Town-hired engineering firm submits Engineering Report concluding gap in service. No vote by Town Board taken.
  31. January 17, 2012; Town Board discusses Plaintiff request for a special permit in Work Session. Plaintiff agrees to adjourn from the January 25, 2012 meeting until February 7, 2012.
  32. February 7, 2012; 3rd Public Hearing held. Plaintiff attends Work Session. No vote on Plaintiff’s request/application.
  33. February 23, 2012; New questions arise as to alternate locations for installation.
  34. February 29, 2012; Town Board holds Public Hearing. Indicates they would vote on March 20, 2012.
  35. March 20, 2012; Town Board decides to hold over the vote for a date to be determined. Town Attorney Tim Lewis tells Plaintiff he expects a decision at the April 11, 2012 meeting.
  36. March 30, 2012; Final Public Hearing held. No vote taken.
  37. April 10, 2012; Crown Castle acquires NextG.
  38. April 11, 2012; NextG applications not on the Town Board agenda. Town Board decides to turn the request over to the Town’s Conservation Advisory Council (CAC). 
  39. April 11, 2012; Plaintiff not invited to CAC meeting.
  40. June 7, 2012; Plaintiff threatens lawsuit if no meaningful action was taken with their application.
  41. June 20, 2012; Town requests additional information from Plaintiff, promising decision in 30 days proving NextG offers telecommunications service, the installations meet the minimum height and aesthetic intrusion requirements.
  42. July 24, 2012; Town denies Plaintiff’s applications stating no service gap was demonstrated or that NextG offered telecommunications service, the installations meet the minimum height and aesthetic intrusion requirements.
Motions to dismiss by the Town (defendant) and motions for summary judgement by the NextG/Crown Castle (plaintiff) were subsequently made. The courts ruled for both parties on partial points of the suit. In the end, however, the victor seems to be NextG/Crown Castle. The decision affecting the residents beyond the financial aspects of the suit mean that primarily Edgemont and Scarsdale will soon be seeing these cell towers on 20 or so phone poles throughout their communities. 

An interesting subtext throughout this entire episode is one that continues to be present but seemingly never referenced. About two years or so ago when Ms Sonya Brown was still a sitting Town Board member, the Town Board discussed cell coverage throughout the Town ad nauseum. In fact, after the poor cell coverage issue was highlighted in one particular meeting, each Board member seemed to try to top the other with their own tales of woe as to the spotty cell coverage users might experience throughout the Town. Mr Feiner even said there are times he is driving on the Knollwood Road area of the Town and unable to get a cell phone signal. Perhaps driving should have been more his focus and not phone use. Beyond that, it would have certainly assisted making the case for NextG/Crown Castle. Opportunity lost? Maybe, but the outcome was the same.

ABG is not in favor of the cell tower installations as originally proposed by NextG. There was a proper vehicle in place to handle their application, but Mr Feiner and his Board knew better. While the outcome might have been different had the Town simply let their laws protect us, Mr Feiner again dictates what he wanted and failed. It seems that Mr Feiner attempted to stall* the applicant the same way so many small developers and residents typically encounter from the Town with their smaller projects. Only residents don’t have a Shot Clock law on their side, only against them. Big brother? You decide.

Had NextG mentioned several buzz-words in the application, things would have certainly progressed more quickly for them. Future applicants should consider incorporating some of these buzz-words to ensure Mr Feiner’s help and even promotion: homeless, affordable housing, workforce, developmentally disabled, tax generating, for the children, revenue to the Town, more votes, transparent, Fairview, create jobs, Section 8 and so on. The list is endless. Apparently, so are the lawsuits and guilty verdicts!

* From the decision’s document. Bold text is made by ABG. “The Town Board held public hearings on the applications on November 30, 2011, December 14, 2011, February 7, 2012, February 29, 2012, and March 20, 2012, and did not issue its written decision denying Plaintiff’s applications until July 24, 2012 – 252 days from the submission of the complete applications. This is well beyond presumptively-reasonable 150-day time period set by the Shot Clock Order, and does not even include time spent during the completeness review, at least some of which should arguably count towards the application processing time given that the Shot Clock Order only excludes time that it takes the applicant to respond to requests for additional information. See Shot Clock Order, 24 F.C.C. Rcd. at 14015. The Town has proffered no real explanation as to why its process took so long that would suffice to rebut the presumption. Indeed, from the close of the public hearings, it took over four months for the Town to render its decision, after conducting public hearings on the matter for close to four months. Further, putting the presumption aside, the bureaucratic hoops through which Plaintiff was put, along with the rest of the record, suggest that the Town would be no more interested in a prompt disposition now than it was beginning in 2009. This is a paradigmatic case where remand would only further and unnecessarily delay the processing of Plaintiff’s siting application. Accordingly, the appropriate remedy in equity is an order requiring the issuance of the special permits sought.” 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Babble Mode

Its almost guaranteed for every Town meeting. Mr Feiner rambles on waiting for one of the other Board members or Town Attorney to stop him before he says something incriminating, ├╝ber-ridiculous or simply not true. Its similar to the drunk uncle at a wedding who, once he gets a hold of the microphone, everyone will role their eyes and wonder what embarrassment is about to come? Rarely, is there the miracle of silence or a self-imposed conclusion.

Mr Feiner is again running for re-election after being Town Supervisor for 22-years. We ask ABG readers to evaluate his record and decide for themselves if he is really our best choice? AGB knows most people only listen to sound bytes and read the headlines from his conspicuous and sometimes concurrent weekly campaign mailings under the guise of community updates from the Supervisor’s office. While many people are able to financially afford Mr Feiner’s gross mismanagement of the Town, ethically and morally there are others that have been championing doing the right thing. This November election Mr Feiner has a credible foe with Edgemont’s Democrat Supervisor candidate and challenger, Robert (Bob) Bernstein, a community leader and activist.

Mr Bernstein was endorsed by the Greenburgh Democrats 54% to incumbent Mr Feiner’s 35% at their nominating convention. At the same convention they also nominated incumbents Diana Juettner and Francis Sheehan. They seem to work at the behest of Mr Feiner and rarely oppose him for fear of being “Sonya’d” out of the inner circle.  You may also recall that Ms Juettner was also found guilty with Mr Feiner in the Fortress Bible Church guilty verdict. ABG wonders when disbarment proceedings will begin against her and Mr Feiner? Mr Bernstein, along with Retired Town Justice Herb Rosenberg of Dobbs Ferry intervened on behalf of the Town of Greenburgh in a lawsuit by the Valhalla School District for $4.6M and subsequently recovered more than $1.1M for the Town taxpayers after Mr Feiner repeatedly made payments (re: payoffs) to them.

At the last Town Board meeting Mr Feiner was in “Babble Mode” numerous times. “Fair, open and transparent, bidding process, RFP process, confident we did the right thing...” the list of catch-phrases he knows to use that the media will attribute to him are many. The reality is our Supervisor, with our Town Board of enablers, uses the Unincorporated Town as his playground making illogical and bad decisions after bad decisions. And each time one of these is brought up by either the G10 or another Town resident, he’ll go into “Babble Mode”. One thing he is well-known for saying, even emphasizing is that, “This is just my opinion, nobody else’s.” Or, he will stammer, “Speaking just for me, I um, would, um be in favor of this. I’m just speaking for me.”

ABG staffers always cringe when we hear him say this. It’s ludicrous that as the Supervisor, he is injecting his personal opinion into a public session when he is supposed to be neutral. His personal opinions are just that, personal, and should stay that way. As the Supervisor he is always the Supervisor and his personal opinions are moot, similar to how a police officer is always considered a police office even if he is not working or on duty. He is the representative for all of the Town residents and should not be taking sides – period. But our Supervisor, laden with self-generated issues of developer back-room deals and meetings (re: Westhab, Stop & Shop, Cumberland Farms, Toll Brothers, Brightview, EastView, etc.), spot-zoning changes (re: Westhab, Stop & Shop, Cumberland Farms, Brightview, etc.), unaddressed flooding of neighborhoods (re: Fulton Park, Babbitt Court), lawsuits (too numerous to list), guilty verdict judgements (re: one is Fortress Bible), intentionally silencing the public (re: Town Board meetings), developers writing Town laws (re: Westhab, Brightview, Eastview), fee and tax increases against our businesses to assist one over others (re: Apple Farm, Cumberland Farms) and fiscal improprieties (re: WestHelp, Frank’s Nursery, Teamster & CSEA Town contracts), lack of infrastructure repairs, the list seems unending. Mr Feiner skirts the boundaries of the law to give his developer friends advantages and breaks no residential taxpayer could dream of. But because the law technically wasn’t broken, Mr Feiner can get away with what he does.

Under Mr Feiner’s rein, the Town taxpayers have experienced 102% water rate increases, 54% Unincorporated area tax increases, 145% tax increases to Village residents and revaluation discussions for years, ultimately costing residents between $100k to $200k per Town Board meeting (sometimes up to $1.2 million). Mr Feiner claims the Town is bound by NY State’s 2% tax cap legislation and there is nothing he can do to help the situation. He and his Board’s caused the situation they cannot fix through inattentiveness, incompetence and lack of managerial or fiscal skills. In fact, the Town could easily go beyond the 2% tax cap as other neighboring communities have done. But Mr Feiner won’t because he wouldn’t be able to brag at election time that he stayed within it. Skillful? Yes. Ethical? No. Damaging to the Town? Absolutely!

Mr Bernstein offers a beleaguered and faltering Town a positive alternative. Mr Feiner has gotten used to abusing his authority in the Town against the private and commercial residents. Each time Mr Feiner and his Board screw-up, residents managed to get screwed too. Mr Bernstein has repeatedly acted in the best interests of the Town with issues such as WestHelp, Frank’s Nursery, requests from the Town’s legal department with issues beyond their capabilities, the Brightview project, and Cumberland Farms and more. The list of Mr Bernstein’s assistance is almost a long as Mr Feiner’s failures.

This September 10th is the Democratic primary that will decide which of these two candidates will receive the Democratic endorsement and run as the democratic candidate. There is no Republican candidate for Supervisor as the Westchester and Greenburgh Republican party have abandoned Greenburgh. So the choices should be rather straight-forward for Greenburgh residents. ABG believes the choice is clear. Please learn more about the records of each candidate and help make Greenburgh better. Imagine, a better Greenburgh.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fear of Flooding Makes Fighting HUD Difficult

The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lawsuit and settlement by former County Executive Andy Spano, has two, maybe three distinct camps whose feelings are absolute. One camp has people vehemently against the settlement, stating it’s a matter of economics that has segregated our neighborhoods; the other camp is in agreement with the settlement and feel there is housing discrimination against certain people of the lower income scale. Finally, there are those who have no clue about the settlement and insist on keeping their proverbial heads in the sand regardless of how it may affect them. Even though this group is a significant one, they are rarely involved and are easy and unwitting prey for the likes of politicians such as Mr Feiner and their schemes, lies and trickery.

This post is not about those groups of people. Rather, its about a splinter group which maintains the land usage in their community is “maxed” out, with no appreciable land onto which they could even build affordable housing. Per the HUD settlement between then Democratic County Executive Andrew Spano and the federal government, Westchester County agreed to participate in the building of 750 affordable housing units in what has been referred to as “white” communities. ABG believes the color is wrong. They should be referred to as “green” communities – segregated only by the ability to afford the housing prices and more importantly the ever-growing taxes in those communities. Simply because someone wants to live somewhere but cannot afford to do so does not constitute discrimination.

The Village of Scarsdale is already congested with existing buildings and claims little to no developable space throughout the village. Regardless of the amount of units mandated by HUD for the Village to construct, the rallying cry has always been, “We have no room to build any affordable housing units.” Whether the assumption of this statement is correct or not, whether the residents who would move into these apartments could afford to live in Scarsdale or not, and whether their children would be ostracized in school for not being able to “keep up with the Jones” or not seems immaterial to the federal government.

The federal monitor only wants units built. The federal government wants Westchester County to supersede local zoning to be able to force localities to build where they see fit. New York State is a home rule state which allows individual communities to determine their destiny. But the federal monitor doesn’t care as these communities took HUD monies and now they want payback. They will probably win by shear size in another case of “might makes right”. And you thought you finally outgrew the school yard bullying syndrome?

Scarsdale is not the only community making the “no room” argument. Yet, Scarsdale with the others, continue to entertain new buildings proposals, new designs and ultimately new buildings to be built. The Town of Greenburgh, ghettoized by Paul Feiner during his 22-year reign, was allowed to be exempted from having to add more affordable housing units. One down side to Mr Feiner’s affordable housing ghettoization that is witnessed in the Fairview area is that businesses are not able to be supported by the residents, close their doors and leave or are driven out by continued crime either directly or from the surrounding area. In the Manhattan Avenue area of Fairview for instance, Caldor’s closed their doors, the A&P closed theirs and this past week Lash Kia across the street closed as well. The deli one block away had a murder committed in it a while back and the apartment buildings have gangs, guns, prostitution and drug activity. Not very inviting and to the general public, a good place to stay far away from. But’s it’s acceptable according to Mr Feiner because he’s been able to control it to one area of the Town and keep it out of the others. That’s what wrong with the settlement’s “pass” for Greenburgh.

Back in Scarsdale, the KOS Building Group, is working with others to gain a six-lot subdivision in an 8-acre site at Cushman, Garden and Woodland roads. The Church of St. Pius X in a bid to renovate classrooms and create a new sanctuary entrance with other expansions, sought and received site plan approval for a house at 2 Brittany Close, a lot created as a result of a cluster subdivision. Two existing houses, at 119 Cushman and 1 Woodland, are slated for demolition. A subsequent subdivision will create four new lots and result in a net gain of two houses. Another two-lot subdivision that would create four new lots at 2 Ogden Road was on the agenda but removed and held over. Two more lots are adjacent to area wetlands were the property buffers the wetlands into the neighborhood. The argument of no space in Scarsdale doesn’t really hold water (pun intended). And that seems to be the various Scarsdale neighborhood’s argument against the increased housing: flooding. Just as is seen in the Fulton Park area with the Bronx River and the Saw Mill River area throughout the opposite side of Greenburgh, nothing is being done to alleviate the flooding for those people while Mr Feiner routinely “green lights” every developer’s proposal.

ABG is not saying Scarsdale (or any other community) should be required to build affordable housing. Greenburgh has mandated 10% of all new housing be required to include affordable housing, we’re just not sure this as a viable solution toward increasing housing options throughout any of our communities. Just having affordable housing, utilizing either DSS (welfare) to pay for the housing or Section 8, where the low wage worker/resident pays up to 30% of their income toward housing and then the balance is subsidized again by DSS (welfare), continues to perpetuate dependencies and never-getting-out-from-under government assistance syndrome.

But the argument that there is no room to build in a community, this time easily exemplified by Scarsdale’s own actions, makes it difficult to say, “No” to HUD and be convincing. Other communities are suffering from the same lack of room problem as well as other issues. In northern Westchester, ABG is told that much of the land which readily appears available is actually considered watershed property that is part of the ecosystem that supplies water to the New York City region. Simply saying there is developable land there just isn’t so. Current County Executive Rob Astorino has been fighting the HUD monitor tooth and nail. We think some of his arguments may be a bit extreme and are election scare tactics. However, it is good that someone is standing up to the schoolyard bully known as HUD, even if for the wrong reasons.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Collusive Tendering or Government Fraud?

Several Town Board meetings ago, a desperate Mr Feiner went on yet another attack against Town residents accusing them of bid-rigging regarding the former WestHelp Property and the Board-sanctioned MRH “deal”. Using his “Feiner Deflection Mode” persona, he began his statement and almost at once realized he could capitalize on his own dishonesty and deflect away from he and his Board, projecting the problem onto the public. Immediately after he accused everyone of bid rigging, Councilman Francis Sheehan could momentarily be seen reacting by rolling his eyes. Seconds later, the Board was staring down at the dais countertop, probably thinking, “Oh crap! He’s at it again.” There is no shortage of amazing statements that can eminate from our savant Supervisor. Since Mr Sheehan and Ms Juettner are running for Town Council in the upcoming election, neither offered any form of bail out assistance, trying to remain as distant as possible without snapping the cord from Mr Feiner’s campaign funding checkbook.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international agency that has created a document entitled Guidelines For Fighting Bid Rigging in Public Procurement.
This document contains much information as to the bid-rigging, also know as Collusive Tendering. They make this statement: “Bid-rigging conspiracies can take many forms, all of which impede the efforts of purchasers - frequently national and local governments - to obtain goods and services at the lowest possible price. Often, competitors agree in advance who will submit the winning bid on a contract to be awarded through a competitive bidding process. A common objective of a bid-rigging conspiracy is to increase the amount of the winning bid and thus the amount that the winning bidders will gain.”

What is interesting throughout the document is the constant mention of collusion between bidders and how to recognize it and what safeguards should be in place to ensure bid-rigging is not happening on a particular project. What is lacking, or more directly not discussed, is the collusion between a bidder and an elected official and what they may be doing outside of the bid process. 

Case Example #1:
We have an a piece of commercial property a community acquired through foreclosure. Let’s also say that the community was required by law to sell the piece of property. And, the community could sell the property as a direct, private sale or an RFP. So far so good, but lets examine the circumstances and see whether they lead to bid rigging or not?

Before the process even begins, an already proven guilty corrupt political leader has secret meetings with a prospective purchaser of a piece of commercial property. These meetings find arrangements being made without the knowledge of colleagues that work hand-in-hand and in constant agreement with this corrupt politician. He then tries to create an illegal lease deal for his conspirator. When that is stopped, he offers a sale. When a higher offer is tendered, he refuses it and continues to offer the lower bidder the property.

Example #2:
A private resident has a .7 acre piece of property he has put up for sale. There are no takers. Being industrious, he reaches out to his political representatives about how he can sell the property and what would be the best avenue to approach. It’s suggested he use state, county and local buzzwords to help entice the government to purchase it. He’s told to use buzzwords such as homeless, affordable housing, municipal workers and the always reliable firefighters, police and teachers. 

Before the process even begins, an already proven guilty corrupt political leader has secret meetings with a prospective purchaser of a small piece of combined commercial/residential property at the entrance of s small, lower income neighborhood. It is predetermined by the already proven guilty corrupt political leader that another 7-story affordable housing apartment in an already saturated area would be acceptable. When the neighborhood complains, he tells them he already green-lighted this project and while the affordable management company will run it, he neglects to tell them they will only be managing it for four years. At that point it will get “sold” to one of their for-profit subsidiaries and no longer be restricted to low income residents. As mounting resistance increases, he continues to lie to the neighborhood saying it cannot be changed. Legal challenges go unheeded and the neighborhood loses. 

Example #3:
Time is wearing on and an already proven guilty corrupt political leader is nervous about his re-election chances. He decides he needs to acquire more votes previously unachievable based on money he illegally funneled to a alleged corrupt school board, whose former members are now sitting politicians. To get these votes, he needs the higher level politicians to support his scheme. They are all too willing.

Two years leading up to an election, an already proven guilty corrupt political leader decides on his own to abandon the community’s affordable housing resource that was gifted to the community from a superior agency, which allows them to maintain and collect rent from for many years with little or no effort. As a way to gain votes from that community, he begins working with other higher level politicians and informs them of his plans (or maybe not). The already proven guilty corrupt political leader begins a misinformation campaign to turn the property over to a school for handicapped individuals, stating that this is the only property that can work for them – as long as it is destroyed. The already proven guilty corrupt political leader decides to award the bid to a start-up company who falsified bid submission documents to receive the bid. The already proven guilty corrupt political leader adamantly insists the bid go to this company.

Example #4:
A developer purchases a small piece of residential property but knows he can get the already proven guilty corrupt political leader to spot-zone it to what they want based on their private meetings. Oversized and unwanted by the neighborhood, the plan gets immediate and unrestricted municipal approval.

Before the process even begins, an already proven guilty corrupt political leader has secret meetings with a prospective purchaser of a small piece of property in the middle of a small residential neighborhood for the purpose of building their proposed assisted living housing. The neighborhood objects to the oversized structure on an undersized plot. The already proven guilty corrupt political leader states he is in favor of this oversized proposal, to which the neighborhood again objects. As a minor concession, the developer is allowed to resize the footprint of the structure and increase the height to not lose any billable apartments. The already proven guilty corrupt political leader has the developer’s attorney’s craft a zoning rule change that over-benefits the developer. The Town then adopts as a Town-wide zoning change, allowing unrestricted and oversized assisted living housing in every neighborhood.

Would these constitute bid-rigging? In the context of the The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, it is hard to say. However, there are several signs that indicate bid rigging that may be applicable throughout these few (and there are more) examples. Regular meetings between the bidders and the recipient take place, the same suppliers are the repeated bidders (and awardees), regular suppliers fail to bid, suppliers withdraw from the bidding process, spoken or written references to the bids, suppliers meet privately with parties offering the bids, bids are accepted from companies incapable of successfully executing the contract, a “last minute” bid is “found” or submitted after the other bids have been opened.

Is this bid rigging? Or is merely accusing residents who are not a part of the process and are wholly reliant on the information supplied from the community and it’s leaders, enough to constitute bid rigging? ABG is insulted that Mr Feiner would even allude to, let alone accuse residents of bid rigging given his history. Clearly, there is bid rigging taking place in our Town. Mr Feiner, however seems to have it backwards.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Shakedown Or A Real RFP?

There is never a project proposed by any developer that Mr Feiner, and hence his Board, ever objects to. His Board will routinely insist independent thinking and then unaniminously vote with Mr Feiner. On the rarest occasion, one might be given permission to stray and be allowed to object to a vote. One exception may be with the House of Sports. They were the high bidder for the property at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road, the former Frank’s Nursery, after theatening a lawsuit if they weren’t allowed to participate for the property. For some unexplained reason (wink, wink), Mr Feiner has taken it upon himself to battle on behalf of, and assure the award of the property to GameOn 365.

His first attempt was to offer GameOn 365 an illegal lease for fifteen years for the property. The community, Elm Street Sports,, the Worthington Woodlands Civic Association and others initiated a lawsuit to stop the illegal lease based on County and State law. As the court date loomed closer, Mr Feiner finally withdrew the lease citing it would tie up the sale of the property in the courts for too long. He would know all about that as a non-practicing attorney who always seems to be in court as a defendant. County and NY State law mandate any property received through foreclosure must either be used by the Town for Town purposes or sold. The Town had earlier refused to use the property as a temporary library while the “ski jump’s” construction forced the library to remain closed. The reason? The property is contaminated!

Needing to initiate the “Feiner Deflection Tactic” and fast, Mr Feiner said the Board would consider selling the property, but only to GameOn 365! The G10 hammered the Town Board, citing a lack of ethics, transparency, open government, lying, back-room deals, secret emails and the like and insisted he do the right thing and hold an RFP, Request For Proposal. The Board remained silent. Mr Feiner has touted Greenburgh as having an open government and even trained his Board to dutifully repeat his mantra, “We’ll post it on the Town’s website, so everyone can see it.” ABG wonders when in Executive Session, if Mr Feiner will tell the Board, “Just tell them we’ll post it and then bury it somewhere. Wait. You know what, don’t post it, we’ll mess with them for a week or two and then post it and say it was there all the time. Francis, you just tell them it was your fault and mea culpa and, well, you know the routine.” “You got it boss.” G10 persistence usually pays off and eventually the information will get posted or “FOIL-ed” and the information will finally be had. It’s just a shame that Mr Feiner and his Board feel they must play these games. Still, no sale. Several Work Sessions earlier found the Board struggling to find ways to silent the persistent public from speaking.

By law, the Town has the right to hold a private sale for any acquired foreclosed property. Had Mr Feiner been truthful and not having secret meetings for the property with GameOn 365 prior to Town’s acquisition of the property, the sale probably would have gone through unquestioned. He was simply trying to stall the process so GameOn 365 could raise funds through a public offering. But that couldn’t happen until a lease was signed. Since Mr Feiner has been dishonest before the Town even owned the property and continued to lie about it, it begat more lies. And you know how that goes. Once you lie and then try to cover it up, things just get worst. Mr Feiner’s back-room, closed-door deals have become a Greenburgh standard within the developer community. Those seeking support before pitching their project to his Planning, Promotion and Promise Commissioner, Thomas Madden, are instructed as to what the “donation gift” must be before the Commissioner will check off all the ‘Yes’ boxes before hastily, if not giddily presenting it at a Town Board meeting in Mr Feiner sanctioned rapid-speak.

Mr Feiner plays the “donation gift” scheme often for said blessing. But it hasn’t always worked. In fact it backfired when he pulled this stunt on the Fortress Bible Church. They refused to play Mr Feiner’s games and said, “No!” to his demands. So Mr Feiner, aided by Councilwoman Diana Juettner (then and now a current Board member) said, “No!” to Fortress Bible Church and finally blocked their property development of a new church and school in then-County Legislator Tom Abinanti’s neighborhood. Was the goal all-along simply to help a crony? Abinanti has since moved to Tarrytown, possibly to distance himself from this debacle now that he’s moved up as a State Representative.

Since then, the Federal Courts have found Mr Feiner and his Board of that time, guilty of violating the rights of a church to the free exercise of religion and equal protection under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and liable for destroying documents. The federal judge who heard him testify found him “not credible.” If you read the transcripts of the case, Mr Feiner’s testimony sounds almost verbatim to Oliver North’s Iran Contra testimony, “I don’t remember.” How convenient and embarrassing at the same time. Mr Feiner and Ms Juettner appealed the decisions. The appeal was upheld by the Federal Appeals Court, saying in part, “In short, the Church has presented overwhelming evidence that its application was singled out by the Town for disparate treatment.” The previous courts verdict stands.

The would-be easily done sale of 715 Dobbs Ferry Road wasn’t done, and Mr Feiner tried to do an illegal lease and was stopped, he needed to regroup. Time to initiate the “Feiner Deflection Tactic” again and go after someone else to take the focus off of him. He chose to go after the G10 and the public at large as the problem. He simultaneously had another self-inflicted fiasco underway with the WestHelp project that he brought upon the Town to gain votes from the Valhalla residents yet cost us $1.2M per year.

Without a plan in place, Mr Feiner went public to test the waters saying the Town would sell 715 Dobbs Ferry Road to GameOn 365. He held a press conference which became a contentious shouting match between the public and Mr Feiner, who threatened police action against the same residents attending the press conference after he had unlocked the gates of the property and invited them in. At Town Board meetings, Mr Feiner began to concoct stories about how “certain members” of the public are doing everything they could to sabotage the Town’s sale of this property. The reality was the public was fed up with the illegal lease scheme and Mr Feiner’s insistence of the sale to the lower bidder. Game On 365 bid $1.7M for the property with yet-to-be-raised money compared to $3.5 in cash from House of Sports. The devil is in the details. The “Feiner Deflection Tactic” was wearing thin and not working like it should.

Time for a new “Feiner Deflection Tactic” so Mr Feiner began to say he couldn’t sell to either interested party or the other would sue the Town. “Push this as the argument” Mr Feiner might have said to the Board. But newly found guilty Attorney and Federal Felon Juettner and fellow candidate Councilman Francis Sheehan desperately needed to distance themselves from Mr Feiner so they remained silent. Newcomer Ken “Sit the F*** down!” Jones was coming under fire by fellow attorney and Supervisor Candidate Bob Bernstein, as an attorney who was setting himself up for his own legal problems withthe NYS Bar Association member.

The public continued to demand an RFP. Mr Feiner needed time to construct what would appear to be an RFP, but struggled, needing ensure the outcome would favor GameOn 365 over the Elm Street Sports’ significantly better offer. Thrown into the mix was another curve ball, a formidable opponent seeking the Democratic endorsement for Town Supervisor: community leader and activist Robert Bernstein ( Mr Bernstein, the G10 and others have all offered this Town Board suggestions and ideas as to what could be done with the property. The Board and Mr Feiner ignored all offers.

Time again for a new “Feiner Deflection Tactic” so Mr Feiner began to say that this was a form of bid rigging. At each opportunity, he would cite that one developer who bid on the WestHelp property backed out because a resident convinced the company to back out. The resident presented the facts to the developer and they made a decision after learning all of the information that Mr Feiner had not shared. Mr Feiner sent out press releases and made public statements that the public was engaged in bid-rigging. The only bid rigging taking place was by Mr Feiner and his Board. If it wasn’t so sad, it would be laughable.

Now that an election is upon us, Mr Feiner is finally touting an RFP after insisting on his vision to turn the DobbsFerry Road corridor into a sports venue area. Adding insult to injury is GameOn 365’s announcement that they have entered into an “purchase option” with the Golf Driving Range next to the 715 Dobbs Ferry Road property as their new partner. GameOn 365’s principal, Martin Hewitt, made this announcement at a recent Town Board meeting immediately after Mr Feiner said they would do an RFP for 715 Dobbs Ferry Road. Coincidence? Collusion? Hewitt also stated they would continue to be involved with bidding for 715 Dobbs Ferry Road as well. Again, more Feiner-like, if not Feiner-suggested, shenanigans to gain control of the property at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road. How so?

ABG is suspect of any real “partnership” between the Golf Driving Range and GameOn 365 because of all of the history thus far between Mr Feiner and GameOn 365. As with most partnerships, they typically have a clause in their contract that will allow the other partner the right of first refusal or in this case, the right to purchase their partner’s share of the business before it can be offered for sale to anyone else. This agreement means little, if nothing, as it relates to the Golf Driving Range. What ABG thinks will happen is at some point GameOn 365 will bid for the 715 Dobbs Ferry Road property against whomever else. Mr Feiner will award the bid to GameOn 365, who will then say that their partnership with the Golf Driving Range has terminated for some unforeseen reason and they will simply be working with the 715 Dobbs Ferry Road. Remember, Mr Feiner still needs to get his way. Not sure ABG is correct? Go back and read the referendum Mr Feiner and the Town Attorney wrote for the election.

In the end, this will just be another shakedown by Mr Feiner and his Board to get what he wanted all along: a done-deal to a favored developer for little or no real money for the residents of the Town. Sadly, this is the type of behavior that is not acceptable in any government and needs to end. Twenty-two years of this is enough. Please find out more and make an informed decision in this next election.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Lash Kia – Gone?

We’ve spoken to Lash representative Michael Basta (like pasta), about our original post that the Lash Kia was closing their doors. He insisted they were not. In a subsequent meeting with him he assured ABG that they were very much operational and not closing their doors. He explained and we wrote a follow-up article stating precisely that. He had explained that Lash Kia was selling the Kia dealership to one of the northeast’s largest Kia distributors. However, at the day of the closing for the sale, Kia USA put a stop to the transaction. One of our readers recounted her story of trying to get her car serviced there and was told they were no longer an active Kia dealership.

Mr Basta explained that our story was part of the catalyst the Lash attorneys were using in the struggle to move forward with the sale despite Kia USA trying to put a stop it. No explanation was given as to why it was being blocked by Kia USA. Mr Basta had explained how difficult it was to do business in the Town of Greenburgh between the Town’s regulations coupled with the landlord’s limitations. “I can’t put more than four cars out in the lot on display. I can’t put the cars on the grass median between the sidewalk and our lot. I can’t use balloons. I can’t hang signs. I can’t play music. This list is endless.” We sympathize with all of our Town business owners. It’s a daily struggle to just put the key in the door and we have written previously about Town fees, regulations, fines and penalties incurred just to try to make a living. Our Town Board is always seeking new ways to generate revenue through their parochial and exhaustive taxation.

Regardless, in driving by the Kia dealership location at the corner or Rt 119 and Manhattan Avenue, the showroom which previously had several new Kia models on display, several sales personnel at the desks, and customers milling in and out, is now vacant. We know Mr Basta is “safe” as his office was next door at the Lash Volkswagen dealership, but hope that the other employees continued to be employed. ABG hates to see any business close and sincerely hope the sale of the dealership is the reason for the vacancy and not that of excessive regulations, fees and fines forced another business from the Fairview area. It’s tough enough to operate a business without have the Town “pile on” business’ problems.

On an additional note, we still don’t have a retailer to take over the supermarket vacated by A&P about two years ago. There are numerous vacant stores throughout the entire campus of the Crossroads Shopping Center. The landlord has announced they will be giving the entire complex a facelift. County Legislator Alfreda Williams has coined the phrase for this Fairview area as “ghetto-ized by Mr Feiner”. We hope the facelift will attract new and unique businesses. We just have a hard time listening to proposal after proposal by developers, blessed by Mr Feiner and his Board, that continue to include whatever the developers want and then with the requisite “retail space”. With all these vacant storefronts available, why build more? Why not slow down the over saturation of buildings, lessening of green space and increase of impervious space and address the issues already at hand without adding to the problem?

There’s an election coming and ABG hopes the voters are seeing what’s going on and willing to make a long-overdue change. It’s time to transform our Town into something better.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Abusing Tax Role Resources

Our Town Board, led by our Supervisor, is again skirting legal boundaries with mailings utilizing the Town’s Tax Roles for their political benefit. An industrious reader sent us a copy of an envelope and a letter she and her husband received as an “update” from our Supervisor. The real issue is that Mr Feiner believes because he is the Town Supervisor, he is provided “carte blanche” to use the resources of our Town as he sees fit. Once again, our non-practicing attorney is abusing his authority to access Town information for his benefit. While he may be able to rationalize it legally, it most certainly is an ethical abuse of power that cannot and should not be justified, allowed or tolerated.

At issue is exactly how and what the Supervisor is doing with our information? It’s easy for ABG to distinguish this is his most cost-effective way of campaigning. Under the guise of an informational update he continues to tout selective acts that he and his Board have done. The “updates” also mysteriously leave out specific and sometimes critical facts that are less than complimentary to he and his Board. So while these mailings go to resident taxpayers via the tax roles, they also save him thousands of dollars with each mailing; dollars he would otherwise be spending from his rather large campaign war chest.

One example of the information skew from these mailings proved very similar to his deficient press releases when he was trying to secure Valhalla votes for this upcoming election. His actions to funnel money to the Valhalla School Board were proven illegal in a court of law by former Town Justice Herb Rosenberg and Supervisor candidate/challenger Robert Bernstein, a practicing attorney. Mr Feiner released various statements trumpeting the change of venue from affordable apartments to a school for the WestHelp property on the Westchester Community College campus. He tried to implement this by foregoing renewal of the WestHelp lease, telling the public that then County Executive Andy Spano never sent the contract. It was proven he lied about this after email communications between both were produced. His decision to allow the affordable housing apartments to degrade was initially made by Mr Feiner alone and then condoned by his Board. Several County-level, anti-affordable housing politicians, as well as the predictable Valhalla residents from the area endorsed Mr Feiner’s scheme-for-votes. The unfortunate casualty perpetrated by Mr Feiner’s illegal actions was the school and its children. 

The move of the Ferncliff School for the Developmentally Disabled from their current location was just one in a long list of ill-fated actions that our Supervisor took with illegal and costly results for the Town. He utilizes the tax roles for his own campaigning under the guise of “updates” to the public and then he sends the same information to the media, which dutifully reprints his pabulum unchallenged. He said he was trying to help the Ferncliff School to find a new location and WestHelp would be the perfect choice – if only the state could be convinced to tear it down. ABG cannot ignore that this is a Yonkers-based school and while they can certainly accept anyone’s help, Greenburgh residents need Mr Feiner to focus on Greenburgh. ABG cannot ignore that he had no authority to make any changes to the County contract regarding the purpose of the facility. ABG cannot ignore that this loss of revenue would specifically and negatively impact the Unincorporated portion of the Town. ABG cannot ignore the manipulation of information by not renewing the WestHelp lease for personal gain (votes), costing us the largest portion of non-tax generated income for the Town! ABG cannot ignore this was all unethically done for votes.

Telling the residents that his mailings are legal is our non-practicing attorney/Supervisor simply continuing to not do the right thing. And while utilizing the property tax roles for his personal gain may certainly be legal, ABG cannot ignore that it is an ethical vacuum that the Supervisor and his Board operate within. What needs to change? Frankly, the entire administration needs to change. They, specifically led by Mr Feiner, have been in office for so long, have massaged their words for so long, twisted the truth for so long and utilized every resource at their fingertips for so long for personal gain, it will be a Herculean undertaking to make things right.

The democrats will again win the election for Supervisor for several reasons, just as Greenburgh Democratic Leader Suzanne Berger stated at their nominations meeting. The Westchester Republican Party under Doug Colety, as well as the Greenburgh Republicans under Timothy Hays, have openly abandoned the Town of Greenburgh. The Independence Party is busy selling their endorsements to the highest bidder and the Conservative and other (minor) Parties are busy crafting their individual power plays between Yonkers and Yorktown. ABG has often said we need to have differing points of view on our Board, not because we simply wish to see another party represented, but for more variety, ideas, points of view and creativity. Our current Town Board is not acting in our best interests. They have stagnated in thought, are bereft of conscience, and acting in the interests of outside developers and themselves over our best and well-deserved interests.

This Election cycle provides a choice for the Greenburgh residents. There will be a primary vote this September between Democrats seeking the same position and endorsement from the Democratic Party. The main choice is between two candidates. You can choose to have more of the same by voting again for 22-year incumbent Mr Feiner; or you can vote for a community activist and leader, his challenger Mr Bernstein. Voting for Mr Feiner assures us of a continuing decision making process that has recently cost the Town upwards of $20 million! Voting for Mr Bernstein assures us of a moral and ethical compass that has been untouched in years and a business acumen this Town hasn’t seen in at least 22 years! Primaries don’t usually attract a huge turnout of voters. We hope this year will be different. At the least, maybe we can give the Town’s Tax Roles a rest.

Happy 4th of July!

As we celebrate this 4th of July, we hope everyone will 
give pause and thanks to reflect on the sacrifices made 
by the few to provide us with so much throughout the years. 
God bless America!

Monday, July 1, 2013

MTA Is At It Again

A press release from the MTA explains that already abused train riders are promised more punishment starting today. The MTA, who has no problem taxing Westchester County for more funds they will surely mismanage, is planning on doing required track work during the summer months. They recently announced that they were adding off-peak trains to address increased ridership. Next year we’re sure they ask for a fare increase saying they needed to do upgrades and that bill is due.

ABG has maintained that instead of increasing off-peak trains, they should increase the current trains by one car and add more peak trains. That would address the real issue of congestion and over-crowding. Another thing should be the upgrading of equipment, during night hours when the trains are not running, which would improve on-time performance.

This proposed work will basically affect all surrounding areas that have MTA track. Since the work has begun today, many who are reading this post may be doing it from either a platform while wondering where there train is, or, while on the train wondering while they are moving so slowly. You may recall we posted previously that ABG’s belief of why the MTA added trains during off-peak was to improve their on-time arrival numbers. A smart move from this mismanaged and poorly performing “public” entity.

So, Metro-North will cancel three local morning peak trains, two on the New Haven Line and one on the Harlem Line, for nine weeks beginning Monday, July 1. Other scheduling alterations will also be made. Here’s what you can expect:

Harlem Line:
The 8:03 a.m. local train from Mount Vernon West to Grand Central Terminal will not operate. Several other trains will make additional stops at Bronx stations to accommodate riders of this train, up to 15 minutes earlier than the train not operating.
Nine other morning peak trains will be adjusted up to three minutes, or travel time will be up to four minutes slower to make additional stops to accommodate customers of the train not operating.
Three afternoon peak trains will be adjusted up to three minutes.
Travel time of two inbound off-peak trains will be up to three minutes slower.

New Haven Line:
The 7:35 a.m. train from Port Chester, due at Grand Central Terminal at 8:18 a.m., will be combined with the 7:09 a.m. from New Canaan, resulting in a two-minute longer ride for the New Canaan train’s customers.
The 8:30 a.m. train from New Rochelle, due at Grand Central Terminal at 9:05 a.m., will not operate. Customers who ride this train may take the 8:15 a.m. from New Rochelle or the 8:08 a.m. train from Stamford instead.
One a.m. peak train will operate three minutes earlier and one minute slower.
Seven afternoon peak trains will be adjusted by one or two minutes, and one additional p.m. peak train will operate six minutes later but four minutes faster.
One inbound off-peak train will operate two minutes later, and travel time will be one minute slower for two other inbound off-peak trains.

Hudson Line:
One AM Peak train, the 9 a.m. departing from Croton Harmon, will operate two minutes later at all of its stops.
Travel time for two other morning peak trains will be one minute slower.

Several evening and late night trains will see their schedules adjusted up to 22 minutes earlier or later, seven days per week, to accommodate the next phase of the New York State stations rehabilitation project from Larchmont through Harrison.

The canceled trains should resume their regular schedule run time beginning after Labor Day. Track work includes drainage improvements, tie replacements, fencing repairs and general cleanup. A two-year, approximately $11 million drainage project will also begin during this time between Melrose and Woodlawn.

ABG wishes our readers forced to ride the MTA trains well.