Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Supervisor’s Debate: Bernstein Goes It Alone

Last Thursday evening the public, specifically the Unincorporated residents were again insulted by Mr Feiner when he chose to campaign at a Village supermarket, probably because he’s assisted in closing many of them in the Unincorporated areas. Whatever his reasoning for not attending the forum, ABG believes he should have attended.

While it was not as thorough an exercise in political discourse as we would have hoped for, and especially disappointed that Mr Feiner felt too frightened to attend, we suggest you watch the forum and perhaps you’ll get a idea of what Mr Bernstein plans to do when he is elected Town Supervisor.

Here’s the link:

Labor Day Neighborhood Barbecue in Fulton Park

Fulton Park Neighborhood Barbecue & Picnic

When: Saturday, August 31, 4:00 PM (Rain date Sept. 1)

Where: County Center Rd. (Road will be closed to all traffic between Fulton Garden Apartments and Miller Terrace approved by Town Resolution by Town Board on 8/14/13 from 4pm to 8pm.

Contributions: Suggested Donation: $5/family. Please bring a dish or desert that serves at least 6-8 people. Can't afford it? Come anyway - everyone is welcome!

Membership Dues: $20 per year per family. Membership not required for picnic participation. You can also join at the picnic. 

RSVP: As soon as possible.(let us know what you will bring, so not everyone is eating salads)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

White Plains Jazz Fest

For ticket information please visit:

Buffalo Wild Wings, 1 Mamaroneck Avenue,
Elements, 161 Main Street,
Fair Deal Cafe, 253 Mamaroneck Avenue, 

Famous Famiglia, 5 Mamaroneck Avenue, 

Lilli Pilli Health Bar, 240 Main Street, 

Legal Sea Foods, 5 Mamaroneck Avenue, 

Panera Bread, 1 North Broadway,
ShopRite, 13 City Place, ShopRite
Sofrito White Plains, 175 Main Street,
The Iron Tomato, 57 Mamaroneck Avenue, 

The Iron Shaker, 49 Mamaroneck Avenue,
The Melting Pot, 30 Mamaroneck Avenue,
Turkish Cuisine, 116 Mamaroneck Avenue,

Vintage, 175 Main Street,

Back To The Wall (Running Scared 3)

It’s no secret that Mr Feiner campaigns 24-7-365. It’s also no secret that Mr Feiner uses Town resources as though they were his personal campaign tools. And while he may legally be able to get away with this, it is morally dishonest and contemptible. Undaunted nevertheless, Mr Feiner instructed the Town videographer to begin playing his campaign commercials immediately following Thursday night’s “forum” at Town Hall that he did not attend. The Town Clerk didn’t attend either. Mr Feiner chose to campaign at a local supermarket rather than attend the forum. Perhaps he’s learned they might be closing based on his policies and wanted to get his last campaign licks while he could?

The forum held at Town Hall was disappointing from the perspective of not having all the candidates present to discuss what it going on in the Town and ideas that can help the Town. A staffer called our office immediately after the forum to make the comment that the event was really a non-event because Mr Feiner and Ms Beville failed to attend. A resident mentioned he and his wife had seen Mr Feiner at the supermarket campaigning and didn’t actually expect him to show up. The League of Women Voters’ moderator for the evening’s forum, Ms Weisfeld, waited a half an hour past the original start time to allow Mr Feiner an opportunity to arrive. It was wasted time.

Underneath his well-cultivated, disheveled, “woe-is-me” facade, is a shrewd and calculating politician. Mr Feiner knows that he his not a great public speaker. He also knows that Mr Bernstein is quite an accomplished public speaker, having been on the receiving end of numerous visits from Mr Bernstein at Town Board meetings, blog posts and letters to the editor. As such, ABG is of the belief that Mr Feiner took a calculated risk with his decision to not show up at the forum, knowing he could not compete with an issue savvy, seasoned trial lawyer, saving himself from being a verbally trounced again and unable to defend his record. In his mind, it would be better to pass and just give any reason for not being there and hope for the best at the next forum in Hastings-On-Hudson’s James Harmon Community Center, in a democratic leaning, Feiner-friendly Village.

ABG’s guess is that Mr Feiner will not have a strong performance in Hastings or in any other public venue with other candidates present. He does do reasonably well going one-on-one with promising residents anything they want to hear – and then doing what he wants anyway. It’s common knowledge at Town Board meetings, Mr Sheehan usually controls Mr Feiner’s outbursts and off the wall ideas. But since Mr Feiner recently threw Mr Sheehan and his family “under the bus” with a lawsuit and accusations of lying on ballot petition signatures, it remains to be seen how “helpful” Mr Sheehan will now be? Ms Juettner, along with Mr Feiner were recently found guilty of violating the Fortress Bible Church’s Constitutional rights and then losing their appeal of the guilty verdict. Why haven’t they been disbarred and removed from office? Mr Feiner’s lawsuit against Mr Sheehan also accused a group of nuns (Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament) of lying on their ballot petition signatures as well. Is there no one Mr Feiner will go after to run unopposed? Apparently not.

In the end, it seems Mr Feiner is more concerned with maintaining the corrupt status quo. The airing of his own campaign commercials in a non-stop loop as informational videos is reprehensible. He has chosen to avoid public scrutiny and to play “scripted” pieces instead. Again, he is shrewd if nothing else. His yard signs have magically begun to appear next to Mr Bernstein’s yard signs. That’s normal in a contested race. Although sadly, Mr Feiner’s supporters have already started to remove Bernstein signs in many locations, thinking this will help Mr Feiner’s campaign.

Removing yard signs. Not participating in forums. Running campaign videos on the Town cable access channel. Suing fellow Board members. Slandering nuns. Violating the civil rights of churches. The list, while seemingly endless, all amount to lying to the public. And for what? To maintain a power base and remain in office? The reality is Mr Feiner is running scared! His lawn signs say “Paul and Judith” with the slogan, “Keep Paul on Call”, even giving his home phone number. His slogan should be, “Keep Paul’s Back to the Wall”. This is nothing but campaign schtick to the willfully ignorant, headline reading public and party-faithful who vote the party-line regardless. While some may believe this past Thursday night’s forum might be considered a non-event, the choices were made clear. We want and deserve representatives who aren’t afraid to show up and face the music, even if the music isn’t a song anyone can dance to.

ABG urges the Town’s registered democrats to vote in the upcoming Democratic Primary on September 10 and help to make A Better Greenburgh.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bernstein & Fantauzzi Score Forum “TKO”

Our title for this post is a bit facetious in that there were no real “winners” in last night’s forum. The participants who benefitted were the two candidates and the public who showed up, sans Mr Feiner and Ms Beville. The forum, no longer referred to as a debate because we don’t want anyone to experience failure, was a technical knockout for Mr Bernstein and Ms Fantauzzi as Mr Feiner and Ms Beville chose to boycott the forum and utilize a different strategy. This forum, which began at 7:30PM instead of 7PM to give both candidates time to arrive, was hosted by the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations. The CGCA represents and culls together the leaders of various civic association members and issues throughout the Town and speaks on behalf of residents with issues brought before the Town Board and other agencies. Moderated by the League of Woman Voters’ Susan Weisfeld, the questions asked were only those presented for the one present candidate and not the other. And since Mr Feiner and Ms Beville chose to not participate, the few questions asked were specific to Mr Bernstein and Ms Fantauzzi.

The lack of an opponent for both Ms Fantauzzi and Mr Bernstein appeared to make the moderator Ms Weisfeld appear disoriented. She even stated that she has never experienced this situation in any other forum and was unsure as to how to proceed after the two candidates answered their questions, occasionally adding nervous laughter. Yet, she read off the ground rules that were almost nonsensical given the lack of opposition. Once everything was set up and ground rules laid, the abbreviated evening got underway.

Ms Fantauzzi was the first speaker and gave a 2-minute prepared opening statement, thanking numerous people. She touched on several topics in this statement. One of her big campaign contentions was that the Town Clerk should attend Town Board Work Sessions and Town Board Public Meetings in silence and only speak to clarify information or to answer a direct question addressed to her or her office. The Town Clerks position is to record the information of the meetings. She offered residents real time record-keeping and website posting. She also stated she would bring her managerial experience developed at Chase Bank to add to the professionalism that is lacking in the current Town Clerk’s office. She offered to have a true open door policy and make information accessible to all. 

Ms Fantauzzi seemed to falter several times when presented with random questions from the audience. It was difficult to tell if this was due to inexperience, nervousness or a lack of command of information. She did state that she had so many things she was thinking and was unable to quickly organize and articulate her thoughts. Given that, let’s write it off this time to nerves and hope for a more commanding performance in the next forum. 

Unfortunately, many in the audience were dismayed that a break was taken after the abbreviated time spent with Ms Fantauzzi. Regardless, the forum next returned with Mr Robert “Bob” Bernstein, the second and final speaker for the event. He made an opening statement as well, highlighting the work the CGCA does and how it has remained non-partisan. He promised to bring his own management skills to the Town and if warranted was willing to investigate whether or not the Town should hire a professional Town Administrator, similar to what other Towns have done.

He was asked how and why he got into politics and said it happened 22 years ago; ironically the same time Mr Feiner first took office. Neighbors often complained to him that they could not get answers from the Town or Mr Feiner and he began coming to Town Board meetings on their behalf. He discussed his plans to make the Town more revenue efficient as well as operationally transparent. He offered to develop an attitude of cooperation, civility and efficiency why doing away with back-room deals and secret meetings.

There were numerous questions submitted that were never read and several people were stunned when the moderator ended the evenings event. Many queried why Mr Feiner and Ms Beville were not in attendance. Not only were they given the information in a timely manor, Mr Bernstein spoke about the debate at the last Town Board meeting’s public session. One resident said he saw Mr Feiner campaigning in front of a supermarket just before arriving at the Town Hall forum.

Time was on the side of the residents who attended and while ABG believes more could have been done with questions and answers, we appreciate the time we had with these candidates. The next forum will be held in Hastings-On-Hudson at the Jim Harmon Community Center on Main Street at 8 p.m., September 3. We hope to see Mr Feiner and Ms Beville there as well as you.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Punishing Residents

The average homeowner in Greenburgh pays their property taxes without much fanfare. Many have chosen to include their taxes in their mortgage payment and never really “see” the tax increases and simply pay their increased mortgage payment without much thought. Most residents are also “headline readers” or willfully uninformed as to what is going on with their local government and its officials. Greenburgh taxes have risen exponentially in many cases and are only realized if and when the homeowner sees or pays their bill independent of their mortgage. Property taxes for municipal services in Greenburgh have soared by 54 percent in Unincorporated Greenburgh, and 145% in the villages.

Case in point? Our increased water bills for the last three years. To soften the blow of an under-financed water department (there’s really more to it), Mr Feiner took it upon himself to raise the water tax two years in a row for a total of 102%! And while the rate change addressed the immediate shortfall, he insists new water meters be installed throughout the Town, claiming faulty meter reading amounts were the cause of the financial deficit. Since we were able to quickly address the deficit in two years, perhaps we’ll see a reduction in our water rates to an evened-out amount and an end to the water meter folly? Not likely.

Additionally, Mr Feiner ignores the real estate tax increases punishing residents for the various districts when he makes his speeches about staying within the 2% tax caps “imposed” by the state. The Fairview Fire District had released its proposed 2013 budget in excess of the NYS 2% cap. The district’s proposal would increase homeowners property taxes by 4.95%, with the bulk of the increase being retirement and salary costs! Add to this the ever-increasing school taxes – for the children – that each year are supposedly going to new and improved programs that ostensibly need to be created/replaced/tuned-up/increased/expanded, etc., with correspondingly dismal results. The taxpayers wallets are seen as an endless source of revenue by each taxing district. And for those not working, working part-time or not making the money our Supervisor does, they have all they can do just to get by.

We all know that having a job is a good way to help our community flourish, unless it’s the Fairview section of Town. This has been Mr Feiner’s dumping ground for low and no income people, DSS recipients, Greenburgh Housing recipients, displaced people and so on. He has ghettoized this area to “protect” other areas of the Town and Villages from it. Hmm, do you think that’s why he always gets the Villages vote in the elections? It couldn’t hurt.

Go to some of the buildings in the Manhattan Avenue area without an escort and report back to us how it felt. The police department spends a concentrated amount of their time there for criminal activity and the fire department mostly for ambulance and some fire calls. While these people may need or even want a job, you never see Mr Feiner and his job bank working to employ them. Why not? They are expendable to him except at the voting booth. Watch for another Lanza-funded program to be offered to them at the TYCC so he can boast what he’s done for them this time.

Every politician promises jobs to their electorate at every election, even Mr Feiner. Yet, we all know government doesn’t create jobs. What government does, in particular Greenburgh government under 22 years of the Feiner Administration, is desperately seek new ways to tax, fee, and regulate business to death. The Town Board’s recently failed attempt to add a hotel tax as part of their revenue stream was introduced and pushed by Feiner friend and sidekick in Albany, Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti. He claimed that this tax was justified because the hotel patrons utilize our highways and roadways, free parking and beautiful landscapes. What Mr Abinanti, Mr Feiner and others don’t understand is that the tax they seek to impose will not be paid by the hotel. It will simply be passed along to the customer. Eventually, the customer or more importantly their company will say, “Enough!” and stop going there. Most of the other politicians have been equally disappointed because they just cannot understand the real world of business. For Mr Feiner, never having been in the private sector, this is strictly an abstract concept. The hotel managers on the other hand are relieved the tax never passed into law.

Dan Conte, president of the Westchester Hotel Association and Manager of the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, stated most of Westchester’s hotel business comes from corporate clients. Even a minor room tax can mean the difference in a choice of hotels, he said. “Every penny does count when it comes to the decision makers,” he said. “The misnomer is that it’s a victimless crime.” They are competing with hotels from White Plains, Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Northern New Jersey. These are more readily accessible to public transportation and a broader range of dining options. He noted that the county already charges its own 3% tax on hotels in addition to the sales tax. “We don’t understand, again, why they continue to single us out as an industry,” Conte said. “The economy has gotten a little bit better, but it’s not better.”

The New York State 2% tax cap that Mr Feiner knowingly boasts of adhering to can easily be overridden when necessary and is fraught with exemptions. With his mismanagement of the Town’s finances, his false tax cap savings and ever-increasing certiorari refunds, other taxing districts are forced to compensate for their respective shifting revenues, blowing any tax cap savings out of the water! This last Town Board meeting (8/14/13) approved over $2 million in certiorari refunds. The 47% non-tax-paying-not-for-profits operating in the Town, the twice-monthly certiorari adjustments the Town Board authorizes at each Town Board meeting, are choking the rest of the tax-paying residents of the Town and must stop! We pray Mr Feiner doesn’t decide to start a Greenburgh BID. Even though they are proven losers, he seems to embrace one bad idea after another.

The Greenburgh electorate is primarily comprised of democrats and they have the ability to change the Town. The Democratic Primary for Town Supervisor and Town Clerk are the two contested positions in the September 10th Democratic Primary election. Mr Robert “Bob” Bernstein and Sharron Fantauzzi, respectively, are running against the incumbents for Supervisor and Town Clerk. ABG urges all registered democrats to vote in this primary and help to create A Better Greenburgh.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ethics Complaint Filed

On August 17, a Code of Ethics Citizen’s Complaint was filed against Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul J. Feiner (“Feiner”) and Judith Beville, Greenburgh Town Clerk, (“Beville”) alleging violations of the Greenburgh Code of Ethics in connection with their having solicited or accepted services in aid of their political campaigns for re-election from Town Attorney Timothy Lewis in violation of Chapter 570-7(A); and against each of them for aiding each other in the violation of such section of the Ethics Code in violation of Chapter 570-13. The allegations of this complaint are supported by the complainant’s sworn statement under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of New York, being filed herewith with the Greenburgh Town Clerk, that the allegations contained herein are true and correct to the best of the complainant's knowledge, information and belief.

It is readily accepted by residents in the Town that Mr Feiner seems to operate, or “play”, by his own set of rules when it comes to what he wants or wants to do, regardless of ethics or legality. One example that comes to mind is his willingness to change Town zoning codes for a developer’s proposal. Not only is this illegal and known as “spot-zoning”, these changes are usually detrimental to the particular neighborhood affected and the Town overall. A recent case in point would be the Affordable Living Facility zoning change enacted by the Town Board which was written by the attorneys for the Brightview Assisted Living Facility proposal in the Glenville section of the Town. Needless to say, Brightview fared extremely well with the enactment of this change while the small Glenville community will be irrevocably changed.

At the Democratic Nominating Convention, held at Town Hall for free/no charge on May 24th, Mr Feiner lost the endorsement of the Democratic Party for Supervisor in this November’s election to Mr Robert Bernstein in what’s known as a weighted vote of District Leaders. Because there are two candidates vying for the endorsement, it forces a Democratic Primary vote which will be held on September 10th. At that time, registered Democratic voters will cast their votes to choose which candidate becomes the endorsed candidate of the Democratic Party. ABG urges all registered democrats to come out and vote.

The ethics complaint filed alleges that Mr Feiner (Supervisor) and Ms Beville (Clerk), as Public Officials, accepted contributions from Town Attorney Tim Lewis, who is an Appointed Town Officer, with his collection of ballot signatures for their respective candidacies. The Code of Ethics specifically states, “Chapter 570-7 of the Greenburgh Code of Ethics is entitled, “Prohibited Political Activities” and subsection A thereof is entitled, “Contributions.” Subsection 1 thereof states (in pertinent part) that “No Public Officer ... shall directly, or indirectly, solicit or accept any contribution or money or services or thing of value for any political party, campaign committee or any Candidate from any Appointed Officer or Employee ....” .”

The issue of “any contribution... or services” is the contention of this complaint. Obtaining signatures from an appointed town official in aid of an elected town official’s campaign for reelection is a violation of the code. Collecting signatures takes time and effort and is a service with value. Elected town officials should know better than to accept such services from their appointees, and appointees should know better than to aid such violations by the elected officials who appoint them. Mr Feiner, a non-practicing attorney recently had his last lawsuit tossed NY Supreme Court on a technicality. It’s no wonder Mr Feiner would easily “dismiss” his ethical responsibility to the Town and its residents in a desperate attempt to remove Mr Bernstein’s candidacy against him. 

In a previous posts on ABG, we discussed Mr Feiner’s dismissed lawsuit in more detail and how Mr Feiner disingenuously claimed he welcomed competition and that this was democracy in action. Apparently, he was not telling the truth as he challenged signatures acquired by the Bernstein campaign and even his Town Board colleague Councilman Francis Sheehan, even challenging an order of nuns who had gotten petition ballot signatures for Mr Bernstein! 

Political candidates have many resources available to them from the Board of Elections. When they are in doubt of a proper procedure or interpretation of a requirement mandated of a candidate, they can easily call the Board of Elections in White Plains or Albany for clarification and explanation. In fact, both the Democrats and Republican hold “Campaign Schools” for candidates to discuss the “rules” to help them navigate the maze of paperwork, deadlines, filings and donation requirements. After 22-years in office, Mr Feiner seems to have forgotten or chosen to ignore most of these requirements. Perhaps his time in office has exhausted him. Or, if he intends to remain in politics, he consider returning to school – Campaign School. The electorate has the ability to let Mr Feiner know they are exhausted too. By voting in the Democratic Primary, they might just help the Town be A Better Greenburgh. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bernstein Press Conference Scheduled

Town of Greenburgh Supervisor candidate Bob Bernstein will hold a press conference Thursday, August 15, 2013 at Noon (12 p.m.) at the former WestHELP affordable housing facility (1 WestHELP Drive, White Plains, NY 10603). The press conference will address the town’s continued mismanagement of the site and the proceedings begun by Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) and Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh) to take back control of the land from Greenburgh. Mr. Bernstein expects to be joined at the press conference by Lena Anderson, President of the Greenburgh/White Plains chapter of the NAACP.

Contact: Gil Kaminer
Phone: (914) 776-3379

Bernstein To Debate in Two Venues

Town of Greenburgh Supervisor candidate Bob Bernstein announced today he has accepted invitations to debate current supervisor Paul Feiner on two different occasions in the weeks leading up to the Democratic Primary to be held on September 10. Town Clerk candidates Sherron Fantauzzi and Judith Beville have been invited to debate as well.

The Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations (CGCA), a politically non-partisan organization established in 1955 to represent the interests of residents in unincorporated Greenburgh, has invited Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Feiner to a debate to be held Thursday, August 22 at 7 p.m. at Greenburgh Town Hall. The debate will air live on public access cable (channel 76 on Cablevision and channel 35 on Verizon FIOS).

The Hastings-on-Hudson and Dobbs Ferry Democratic Committee’s will co-host a debate September 3 at 8 p.m. at the Harmon Community Center in Hastings-on-Hudson.

Mr. Feiner is currently refusing to participate in the CGCA debate, insisting instead he will only take part in the debate taking place in the villages. “I am sure Mr. Feiner will not snub the voters of unincorporated Greenburgh, who pay 95 percent of the Town’s taxes,” Mr. Bernstein said. He further noted that in 2005, Mr. Feiner showed up minutes before the debate was to begin, after refusing the CGCA’s invitation to debate then supervisor candidate Bill Greenawalt. At the time of this release, Ms. Beville had not responded to the invitation from the CGCA.

Mr. Bernstein and Ms. Fantauzzi were overwhelmingly endorsed by the Greenburgh Democratic Committee at its convention earlier this year.

“This debate is an opportunity to speak about the issues plaguing our Town,” Mr. Bernstein said. “Residents need to hear how I will lead the Town out from under the bevy of lawsuits filed as a result of Mr. Feiner’s conduct in office. His mismanagement has resulted in the Town being found liable for violating the Constitutional rights of a church; for losing millions in revenue at WestHELP, which he has kept vacant and deteriorating for two years; and most recently, for failing to sell the Frank’s Nursery property to the highest bidder. Greenburgh taxpayers have shouldered the ‘Price of Paul’ for too long.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

“Campaign Mailing” and Beautification

Mr Feiner recently sent out another campaign mailing under the guise of touting action that is needed to improve the former WestHelp property on the Westchester Community College campus in the Valhalla portion of the Town of Greenburgh. Had Mr Feiner simply renewed the contract with the County for the WestHelp facility when former County Executive Andrew Spano requested it, the Town would still be reaping $1.2 million per year. But Mr Feiner decided not to renew the contract to gain favor (re: purchase votes) from the Valhalla residents in this election and several key Republican politicians. He knew he would be running against someone in the upcoming election, but couldn’t know who. His formidable opponent this year is Mr Robert “Bob” Bernstein, a resident of Edgemont, an attorney and civic leader who has beaten Mr Feiner in other venues.

Mr Feiner sounded nervous during his acceptance speech at the Democratic Nominating meeting held for free at the Greenburgh Town Hall. In accepting the nomination, he proceeded to state that he welcomed the competition and that this was democracy in action and he looked forward to the campaign with Mr Bernstein.

Separately, this is not the first time democrats have been allowed to utilize Town Hall as Mr Feiner’s personal resources at no charge, but never availed to the republicans at no charge. This all-democratic administration obviously has its perks! Another perk he does enjoy is that of being able to lie to the public and have the mainstream media regurgitate it verbatim.

Almost immediately afterwards, during the campaign ballot signature acquisition period, he challenged the signatures submitted by Mr Bernstein for Supervisor, Mr Sheehan for Town Council and Ms Fantauzzi’s for Town Clerk as fraudulent, as well as Mr Sheehan’s residency as fraudulent. The case was thrown out of court after three day of courtroom melodrama by Mr Feiner and his counsel Assemblyman Abinanti, Mr Feiner shrugged off the loss stating he was looking forward to the competition. If he were looking forward to the competition, why the court action?

Mr Feiner’s flawed decision to not renew the County’s WestHelp contract for $1.2 million per year, which would have guaranteed the Town 10-years worth of income for little if any effort, affects more than just our bottom line. The 100+ units of housing that was championed by our now-Governor and then-HUD Housing Chairman Andrew Cuomo(D), was slated to transform from affordable/subsidized housing for the homeless into affordable/subsidized housing for seniors.

Regardless of whether it was subsidized housing or not, the need for it and its usefulness has never diminished. Mr Feiner determined that the Town should not renew the contract. Not the Board, not the Greenburgh Housing Authority, not the County and certainly not the State. And now that the State has finally said “No” to Mr Feiner’s folly to sell the County property the Town doesn’t own to the Ferncliff School of Yonkers, Mr Feiner awarded the property through a falsified bid to an upstart company named MRH. Then he attempted to accuse the public, especially the G10, of bid-rigging. Bid-rigging cannot happen from the public or Mr Feiner’s critics. It will usually have to happen between politicians who set the parameters of the bid and bidders.

Mr Feiner’s letter claims the fire department’s recommendations to increase the paved space to make access of emergency (fire) vehicles more effective is going to ruin the look of the facility. He also claims these are expensive changes. What will the cost be is conveniently not mentioned. Would it be under $1.2 million? Apparently the lives of seniors in their sunset years are not as important as trying to save them in the event of an emergency. His claim that implementing these changes will make the housing less desirable because of the removal of the grass in this “stunning environment” is absurd. The fire department proposal setting senior residents’ safety as paramount should take preference over the look of the facility. His argument to keep the good-looking facility the way it is is amazingly short-sighted, risky to the lives of those living there, and contrary to his actions taken with almost every other project. How so you ask?

When Westhab purchased the property at 22 Tarrytown Road with county, state and federal funding, they requested variances for the setback, seeking to build literally from the curb to the respective edges of the property. To ensure approval of this variance, they promised a green roof in place of the resulting less porous area. Mr Feiner could not approve their request fast enough! Residents clamored about the safety of a recreational green roof, the increased impervious space and flood water runoff. Mr Feiner did not flinch and illogically supported their proposal. When Brightview Assisted Living sought to do the same thing, again Mr Feiner was first in line. The list continues as Mr Feiner chooses whichever side will garner him more votes. It must stop!

WestHelp will eventually begin to change as MRH moves to begin implementing the contract with the Town that they got by lying on their bid application to the Town. Lying seems to be a hallmark of the Feiner Administration. The lies that germinate from the Town’s administration changes as quickly as the headlines do. The public never seems to remember and whatever the Supervisor says must be true. This behavior is finally catching up with the Mr Feiner.

“Would you prefer to live in a campus environment-with beautiful gardens and lawns? Or, would you want to live in an apartment complex that is paved over? We want the parking placed a short distance from the current WESTHELP campus.” Generally, so do we. But we refuse to stay with the status quo while risking the lives of the residents there! If the alternative is being homeless, we’re pretty sure most people will be happy to walk across the paved lot and enjoy the view of the woods some 50 feet away. Drop this facade Mr Feiner and work on undoing the damage done by you and your administration.

While Mr Feiner continues to show interest in green space, solar energy, shutting down Indian Point, saving the TZ bridge, biking to Timbuktu and the like, he should be spending his time administering the Town’s government. He has spent 22-years not doing that and it is why we find ourselves with convoluted regulations, fees and fines against businesses that are increasing the For Sale and For Rent signs throughout the Town. Our businesses need a business-friendly environment. Once we have this, the exodus from Greenburgh will ebb. We need real tax relief for our residents to slow and stop their exodus. We need our infrastructure updated and modernized. We need flooding addressed Town-wide. The list goes on. Speaking of exoduses, it’s time for the Democratic portion of the electorate to make an important decision regarding an exodus on September 10. Please come out and vote. We need A Better Greenburgh.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hurricane Damage Finally Addressed

Most people can’t even remember when Hurricane Sandy struck (October 26, 2013). Those inflicted with damage can give dates, times and particulars. Then there are those of us who witnessed the damage but luckily went unscathed, watching others get hammered by wind, rain and water. While not as devastating as Hurricane Irene or as costly to as many residents, Sandy walloped us and left quite a bit of destruction in its path.

There needed to be a cleanup period and a reasonable amount of time to allow municipalities time to clean what they could. After all, downed power lines, poles and the like needed to repaired and it takes time. One of the things that always gets discussed during and after a major storm is why “they” haven’t done anything to address preparing for future storms by moving power lines underground, adding drainage capabilities and more. And after a reasonable amount of waiting, many contacted the Town Supervisor, spoke at Town Board meetings, sent the Town letters and spoke with department heads regarding repairs, trash removal and the like that was seemingly unaddressed by the Town.
This broken phone pole on Old Tarrytown Rd was
tied to another quickly-installed pole right after
Hurricane Sandy. 
It stayed this way 
until the FPCA repeatedly contacted 
Town officials to instigate the correct 
agencies to make a final and safe repair.

Fulton Park Civic Association Vice President Tom Bock met with Richard Fon of the Greenburgh Highway Department to address the many trees on public property impinging upon power lines. Fulton Park easily floods when it it rains, leaving residents on edge when the forecast threatens the loss of power that will keep their pumps from working. Together, they rode through the Fulton Park neighborhood identifying trees that seemed marginally dangerous and those that should be addressed immediately. Mr Fon said he would touch base with Commissioner Victor Carosi to see what kind of schedule could be developed for the removal or trimming of as many trees as possible. Finally, after months of haranguing the Board and getting nowhere, dealing directly with Commissioner Carosi, proved successful for the neighborhood which finally got action!

It should be noted that pictures were provided for the Town employees to use in identifying trees that should be addressed. Mr Fon even stated that they have a “line certified” employee, allowing them to cut limbs near power lines. Mr Fon explained how the Town’s arborist could be utilized to identify healthy trees as well as those that are dead or dying. All of this information provided some hope for the residents and was presented to them at one of their Civic Association meetings. The last couple of minor storms saw flash flooding better controlled by the recently lowered and resurfaced Old Kensico Road. By lowering the roadway the residents now had curbs to direct the water to the two overwhelmed but functioning storm drains. Commissioner Carosi has been responsive to the neighborhood’s concerns. Now speeding has increased on the street and needs to be addressed by the Greenburgh Police Department.

Since this is a campaign year, Mr Feiner’s free mailings have begun. This week we’ve received a new campaign piece from Mr Feiner. Well actually, while we recognize this as a campaign piece, Mr Feiner identified two points in his mailing. First, is that he has complained to the NYS Public Service Commission and Verizon for damaged or neglected phone poles that were damaged as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy. On the back page he lists the poles and their addresses that have been addressed.

Frankly, residents shouldn’t have to complain about these or any other poles to get them fixed. His office, and those of other employees who are “out and about” should be reporting back to their supervisors and letting them know where poles in the Town are and in need of repair are. In fact, when Mr Bock rode with Mr Fon on their “tree tour” in Fulton Park, Mr Fon identified numerous potholes and said he would get to the right people to get a crew out to do repairs. They were fixed in three days! This is what should be going on regularly. Although it would put a chink in Mr Feiner’s “Here I am to save the day!” armor as the problem solver.

The second issue is a common ploy Mr Feiner repeatedly uses. He claims “some people” have been emailing him about proper water filtration and that Greenburgh’s water is properly purified and references John Devany, the Water and Sewer Superintendent. ABG believes one person may have mentioned something and he has transformed it into “some people”. And, his three small paragraphs could have been split into separate mailings, giving him two mailings for his campaign instead of one. Since they were combined into one, we’re sure there will be several more “updates” coming. These mailings, possibly distributed with water bills quarterly, would be more than enough to keep the electorate informed and save taxpayers money. Perhaps Mr Bernstein, the candidate running in the Democratic Primary against Mr Feiner for Town Supervisor has a different take on mailings. We’d love to hear it. It’s another expense we just don’t need given the amount of money Mr Feiner is costing the residents.

We hope every democrat registered to vote will do so in the Democratic Primary this September 10th. For those not registered, please get a registration form from the Board of Elections. If you are a registered Democrat and are unable to vote on that day, here is the link to obtain information about filing an absentee ballot.
We believe your vote will help to provide us with A Better Greenburgh.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

We Knew He Knew

Mr. Feiner filed lawsuit for this 2013 election cycle attempting to remove his only challenger from the ballot, Mr. Robert “Bob” Bernstein. Mr Feiner apparently forgot what he already knew. At the official Democratic nominating meeting held at no charge to the Democratic Party, yes for free, at Greenburgh Town Hall, Mr Feiner didn’t receive the Democratic endorsement. Mr Bernstein, on the other hand, received a landslide majority of the vote from the representatives maneuvering their weighted votes. Now forced into a primary competition against Mr Bernstein, Mr Feiner made a statement, lying again to the public. He said he welcomed competition and this was democracy in action and so on. The reality is far different than his lie would appear.

Based on legal coaching from fellow-attorney and NY State Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, Mr Feiner sued to stop Mr Bernstein from running as a candidate against him. Abinanti even testified on behalf of Mr Feiner. You may wonder why Abinanti would intercede of behalf of his longtime friend? ABG believes this is payback for Mr Feiner’s effort to halt the Fortress Bible Church from building a new church and school on property literally in Abinanti’s former backyard. Once Mr Feiner lost that case in court, Mr Abinanti moved to Tarrytown. They (Abinanti/Feiner) staked their claim that Mr Bernstein must be removed from the ballot on the grounds of fraud for using the name “Bob” on his ballot petitions. The issue of Mr Feiner contesting Mr Bernstein’s petitions caused many who don’t follow Mr Feiner’s crafty hijinks to scratch their heads wondering why he was doing this? The G10 knew why. The Feiner campaign knew why. Abinanti knew why. Feiner repeatedly said he welcomed the competition and it was democracy at work. The press ignored asking any questions, but especially the tough questions, and simply printed Mr Feiner’s prepared statement that he was seeking to block Mr Bernstein’s petition signatures using the courts based on fraud. Given Mr Feiner’s past court experiences, you would think he might have the common sense to stay away from the courts. He also challenged the petition ballot signatures collected by a group of nuns as fraudulent! Sadly, this pathetic behavior is what Mr Feiner has lowered himself to and even sadder is that this is the best the electorate gets because they don’t pay attention to details and succumb to “headline reading” for information.

Doing a modicum of research, we found this post from Mr Feiner’s blog from March 2013. We expect he won’t respond but if he would, it could be something to the effect of “I didn’t write that.” (nor, would he know who did). Or, “I don’t remember writing that.” Or, “Someone else wrote that for me but that’s not what I said.” Regardless, here’s a statement that he did say and posted (yellow highlight by ABG):

Post from Paul Feiner’s Blog:
Bob Bernstein's comments on the Edgemont Community Council page are false, fiction, inaccurate

The ECC page has been used by Bob Bernstein to criticize me. That's democracy and freedom of speech. I have no objections to that.
However-- in recent months much of what Bernstein says is totally inaccurate. Fiction. Make believe. I sent the following to Bob and the head of ECC a short time ago. 

A reader emailed us a statement that apparently Mr Feiner made to Mr Geoff Loftus, the Edgemont Community Council’s current President, and was posted on the Town website by Mr Feiner (there are more references if you look):

From: Paul Feiner
Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 11:10 PM
To: Geoff Loftus; Town Board
Cc: Bob Bernstein; (Note: Editor has removed other names)
Subject: more distortions and fiction in last nights ECC post about me

Bob Bernstein, in last nights post about WESTHELP, indicated that I put up barbed wires at the WESTHELP facility.

Release Date: February 19, 2008
Yesterday the Appellate Division reversed the Taxter Ridge case which Bob Bernstein brought. The court upheld the Finneran Law and made it very clear that parks and recreation facilities are the obligations of the unincorporated area. We are bound by the decision. 
I would have been satisfied with any decision that the court made. I thought that it was important and fair that everyone have their day in court, and since the villages weren’t included in the complaint I thought that they had the right to have an appeal in which they could take part. 
We now have some work to do to repair some of the problems that the case has brought about, and we will have better communications between the town and the villages to make that happen. With the new spirit on the Town Board, and the goodwill of our residents, I know that we can do this. 

Clearly, Mr Feiner, a non-practicing attorney, knew of Mr Bernstein as “Bob”. Mr Feiner lost his case in court on a technicality and cost Greenburgh taxpayers money once again that needn’t have been spent (wasted). Apparently the old axiom, practice makes perfect is apropos in this case. Mr Feiner named others besides Mr Bernstein in the action but they were not asked to appear in court for the hearing/trial and were not present. Subsequently, the case was dismissed because of it. We understand Mr Abinanti is a practicing attorney, but apparently just not in election law.

As an aside, State election law allows nicknames like “Bob” and a formal opinion of the state board of elections actually states using the name “Bob” for “Robert” is perfectly acceptable. ABG is fairly sure Mr Feiner and Mr Abinanti knew this. But what is more disturbing is that in every election he is opposed, Mr Feiner sues his opponent to get their signatures disqualified and ultimately thrown off the ballot, giving him a free ride back into power. Mr Feiner never does the dirty work himself, rather he has someone else do it. In the previous election, he had Councilman Morgan’s daughter using her married name, challenge former Councilwoman Sonya Brown’s petition signatures and got her removed from the ballot. No overt or visible link back to Morgan or Feiner.

To tell the public that he welcomes competition, that this is democracy at it’s best and he’s happy that someone is running against him makes for a great quote or sound-byte with the media. The downside is that it’s simply another lie that he gets away with. He knew Mr Bernstein was known as Bob but even if he hadn’t, it is disingenuous to say you think the competition is great and then sue to block an opponent. They say that all is fair in love and war. There is no love in this campaign and it may turn into a war. But hopefully civility, class and decorum will prevail. We deserve the truth from our leaders and better from all of our representatives. We deserve a Better Greenburgh. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Running Scared 2

There is a distinct interest in the Primary race for the Democratic Party endorsement. Depending with whom you ask, either opponent may seem to have the edge as the frontrunner. The reality of slowly unmasking Mr Feiner’s track record is happening daily and exposing him as the ungracious, scheming career politician he has evolved (perhaps de-volved) into. Somewhere, somehow, during his 22-year tenure, something snapped, changing him from the young, helpful politician into the grumpy, Tammany Hall-like insider. Twenty-two years ago there were many people who felt compelled to support him when he first took office. He was a breath of fresh air after a developing and maturing Greenburgh began to feel weighted under an aging Anthony Veteran.

In the beginning, Mr Feiner seemed like a viable and even welcomed choice – a breath of fresh air. Mr Veteran advanced his years in office and continued his agenda, whatever it was. People tired as he progressed but didn’t give them whatever they or their special interest group requested. The “young guy” studied the history and once he got into office, he used it to his advantage. While he is an incompetent leader and manager, he has mastered history and has been using it for the last 22 years to his advantage. Although, it appears we haven’t learned from history and are once again repeating it.

Robert “Bob” Bernstein, is an attorney, community leader, and family man from the Edgemont section of Greenburgh. He has earned a local reputation as a ethical person who puts his principles before politics. He is the challenger for the Town Supervisor position against Mr Feiner, touching on topical issues of the day involving the Town, our Town Board and others issues affecting Greenburgh taxpayers. He recently addressed a group of voters in the Worthington section of the Town after attending a four-hour church mass in another part of Town.

In his presentation to this group of neighbors provided insight toward his improving the operations of the Town government, a respect for residents and a more cooperative give-and-take between the two. He cited examples of mismanagement, arrogance and a willingness by Mr Feiner to repeatedly break the law. He pointed in the direction of the former Frank’s Nursery, stating that Mr Feiner refused an offer twice that of his preferred lowest bidder, with no strings attached. He further pointed out that there is still no action with that property. He discussed the WestHelp debacle that was started two years earlier by Mr Feiner by not renewing the WestHelp contract from the County guaranteeing the Town $1.2 million. He talked about flooding, revaluation, and our increasing rise in taxes. The list was almost endless but the audience remained engaged and rewarded with thoughtful, intelligent answers to their questions. If only the Town Board meetings were run the same way.

The Town has had 22-years of an abandoned constituency in the Unincorporated portion of the Town, a decaying infrastructure, bullying and abuse of employees, losses in court exceeding millions and millions of dollars and certiorari adjustments to businesses throughout the Town by Mr Feiner and his hand-picked cohorts. It’s time for the residents of Greenburgh to get something better. This September 10, is the Democratic Primary for Greenburgh. ABG encourages all Democrats to study the topics affecting the Town and make an informed decision by participating in the Primary process. Your vote can make a difference and lead us toward a Better Greenburgh.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Running Scared

A regular reader of ABG recently called to say he had received a phone call from Judith Beville, the Greenburgh Town Clerk. Her call was standard campaign faire and possibly an obligatory gesture on her part as pay back for her benefactor’s largess. Mr Feiner is her benefactor. He typically foots the bill for all candidates that run with him for election (or re-election) paying for mailings, lawn signs and the like from his campaign war chest of over $100+k. The fee for the lawsuit against his challenger for Town Supervisor candidate Robert Bernstein was invariably taken care of by Mr Feiner. Back to the phone call.

Our reader stated that he, a republican married to a democrat, answered the home phone when it rang. Ms Beville stated she was calling on behalf of the Greenburgh democrats running for Supervisor, the Town Clerk position and one Town Board seat. She talked about convicted felon and incumbent Councilwoman/Attorney Diana Juettner, but failed to mention Mr Sheehan who voted against Mr Feiner at least twice this year, creating a political wall that may not be passable for him at this point. It’s also our belief that Mr Sheehan will be “Sonya’d” and won’t be on the Town Board much longer even if he wins the race this time.

Ms Beville proceeded to bemoan Mr Bernstein and that he is not a very nice person, he is an attorney and has sued the Town and Mr Feiner numerous times. She didn’t mention that Mr Feiner invites lawsuits if someone doesn't like what he’s doing. She did mention Mr Feiner has always been the taxpayer’s “Problem Solver”. She didn’t mention that he usually creates most of the problems. She did mention that Mr Feiner was a very nice guy and has been Supervisor for the last 22 years. Being in office that long has yielded the Town a AAA Bond rating. She didn’t say the Town has never taken advantage of that bond rating or ever plans to utilize it.

She then asked her reader if she could count on our reader to vote for her, Mr Feiner and Ms Juettner for the democratic endorsement in the November primary. He responded after she explained why he and his spouse should vote for them in the primary with a chuckle. He told her he can’t vote because he is a registered Republican and voting, as she well knows, is only open to registered democrats. But, he assured her that while his spouse may vote for her, she will most surely not voting for Mr Feiner. She said she has been getting that same response from many of the democratic voters she has called and spoken with. Is it any wonder she is getting responses like that given the shenanigans, back-room deals, spot-zoning, illegal actions and so on geminating from that one corner office?

This coming democratic primary to be held on September 10 promises to be a close one in that Mr Feiner, a 22-year incumbent, has worn out his welcome with many residential and business residents. Mr Bernstein has certainly alienated some with his lawsuits against the Town. But, as we have stated previously, ABG has always believed that Mr Bernstein has always done what was in the best interest of the Town, while Mr Feiner has not. It is for that lone reason alone that we suggest you put aside your personal feelings of both candidates and evaluate them by their words and their actions. ABG has certainly written enough in the past five years to give much of the information rarely printed by the mainstream media and especially Mr Feiner. ABG believes the decision becomes an easy one to make in that context. ABG encourages all Democrats to participate in their Primary to pick a candidate for their party endorsement. You may just be helping to create A Better Greenburgh.