Saturday, January 11, 2014

Local Flooding Ignored

Religiously, we seem to enter into that time of year with area flash flooding, road closures, blocked roads, power failures and the like. Each time this happens our representatives search for or notify the media which flooded neighborhood they will visit in hopes of getting some “free” publicity. Mr Feiner routinely does this after he receives word that it is safe for him to exit his Boulder Ridge gated community. The 1%-ers such as himself know when to stay in. The rest of the Town, basically at opposite ends of each other, wait apprehensively, and are usually furnished enough water to provide the requisite flooding of their neighborhoods. Nothing changes except the promises to “do something”. As anticipated, nothing changes.

After Hurricane/Tropical Storms Irene and Sandy, the Village of Elmsford organized a cleanup of the Saw Mill River just south of the Elmsford Little League field adjacent to the river. For those unfamiliar with the fields location, it is along Rt 9A where southwest Elmsford and Greenburgh meet. The Babbitt Court neighborhood, well known for its political visitors seeking the flood limelight, usually floods quickly and gets media coverage. While the Elmsford Village officials organized and implemented a cleanup, Mr Feiner issued a carefully crafted press release alluding to taking credit for it. Interestingly, the Village officials did not seek the limelight or “atta boys”. They simply did what they could for their residents. It was not the end-all to the problem, but it was a start. Highway Commissioner Victor Carosi has tried to make sure area storm drains and such are as open as possible. But once the river cannot handle the volume of water, his efforts are, pun intended, a drop in the bucket.

At many Town Board meetings, Fulton Park residents, Hartsdale residents, their respective Civic Association leaders, and others, all request the Town do something to clear out the Bronx River to allow better water flow by removing the debris and “strainers”causing water backups into the Town’s flood-weary neighborhoods. Simply, strainers are debris of every size and shape that get caught up in the water, flowing with it until it gets caught in something, blocking the water flow and causing a clog at that point. Where does all this debris come from? Some of it flows downstream because of littering. People who are too lazy to hold the garbage from McDonalds or Burger King and toss it on the side of the road before they can dispose of it properly, beer and soda cans and plastic containers that will never degrade and are tossed out their car window all accumulate and go with the flow. Some of it is from dumpsters and garbage cans that are overturned during a flood, emptying their contents and finding its way into the river. Other debris could be larger items stored next to, or behind and near buildings and homes that also gets swept into the current and is on its way. Again, nothing changes.

At one Town Board meeting, when a resident pointed out to the Board that its been a relatively dry season, and a good time to work on clearing the river, Mr Feiner said it was County property and the County has to do it. “You’re my representatives,“ he said, “I’m just one guy. I need you to represent us with the County and any other agencies that need to address cleaning out the river.” Mr Feiner subsequently sent an email to a County commissioner that a resident had complained about the river needing to be cleaned out. That’s as far as he was willing to go. “Please re-elect me. I’m just as excited now as I was on my first day as Supervisor.” ABG understands its difficult for Mr Feiner to request County help since he has spent the last two years fighting with them over WestHelp, HUD, etc. But, residents shouldn’t suffer because of his bad behavior. It’s akin to him complaining that Greenburgh is losing HUD funds because County Executive Astorino is fighting with HUD. Again, nothing changes.

Today’s weather report is for mild temperatures and rain, heavy at times, with local flooding in low lying areas expected. The people who live in these low lying areas know that they will be dealing with flash flooding or just flooding. What they don’t know is why they cannot get help from all of the representatives who pander for their vote every two or four years. It’s time for the willfully ignorant to say, “Enough! We demand a change.” Only then may we see A Better, and drier, Greenburgh.

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