Sunday, January 26, 2014

OIMBY; Off The Hook: Democracy Dead

The Town Board thought they were to have an easy night. The severe cold weather kept even the most stalwart G10 members home, save one. Forget the general public, they rarely seem to care about the suspect actions of this Town Board – unless its about something immediate to them or their neighborhood. They’re what we’ve come to call OIMBY’s: Only In My BackYard. Greenburgh seems inundated with OIMBYs.

Rarely can the public learn of our Town Board and Supervisor’s secret meetings and back-room deals from the lamestream media. In fact, they regurgitate Mr Feiner’s carefully crafted potpourri-like press releases as articles. Political Science majors would do well to study political and electoral misinformation techniques by studying Mr Feiner’s stratagems. Exposure of Mr Feiner’s suspect and often illegal actions by using accuracy and truth is relegated to bloggers such as ours. Coveting certain pieces of information in hopes that that information remains unexposed to the public is part of Mr Feiner’s scheme to routinely deceive the public. Secreting information from the public appears to have happened again and this time its costing us dearly!

During the Town Board’s regular (we know) meeting, only one gentlemen was present to speak during the 3-minute public grace period benevolently granted by our elected officials. Only then does our “concerned” Board allow the public an enormous 180 seconds to speak to them about whatever they wish. If 180 seconds doesn’t do it for you, you can wait until the end of the meeting, or death, for five more minutes to speak. Interestingly, a select group is never encouraged to entertain a dialog with the Board. Only those deemed friendly to their majesties are engaged in a back-and-forth dialog. Such was the case with an engineer/developer named Paul Petetti (sp?). He was able to speak beyond his allotted time constraint and have a dialog with the Board, however brief.

The second speaker was Robert Bernstein, Mr Feiner’s challenger in the Democratic Primary for the Supervisor’s race. He discussed attachments that were not attached to Professional Services Contract that had been discussed earlier by Town Assessor Edie McCarthy. Mr Bernstein asked about the resolution to assist the Town Attorney with reassessment not to exceed $350k. Then he asked about the next paragraph stating a resolution for spending $279k for the same thing. Finally, he asked that when you go to the contract, the supportive information was not there. Why not? How can the Board make an intelligent decision? How can the public understand this with the confusing array of information presented?

The next issue was the $350k the Town spent for litigation against NextG, who sought to install numerous telephone pole-mounted cell antennas throughout the Town and specifically in Edgemont. Mr Bernstein mentioned that the Town did not post the decision on the Town’s website and that “We did!” referring to his Facebook page. Mr Bernstein’s obvious highlight of this was that the Town only posts what they deem good news or news that will not cloud the public’s view of their tarnished and/or incompetent Town leadership. The outside counsel was never provided the February 7, 2012, transcript from the Edgemont Community Council (ECC), via Jim Hallawell (apologies for sp?) that would have assisted the outside counsel with probably winning the lawsuit. Nor did the Town Board provide the ECC position paper. “Why was this significant? Because we understood the law. We got the law correct,” stated Bernstein while at the podium. “Why wasn’t this part of the record?”

The Board, as expected, remained mum. Embarrassment will do that. As the buzzer for the end of Mr Bernstein’s 5-minute period ended, he kept asking who was responsible for not providing the outside counsel with this information. As he continued on, he was finally interrupted by Town Attorney Lewis that his 5-minute time was up. “There’s nobody here... I’m sure you’ll indulge me.” Mr Bernstein continued. He was finally stopped by the Board, probably more interested in retiring for the evening they thought might be a “hands free” night they could have phoned in, except on Dial Democracy.

 Councilman Sheehan stated the $279k was the correct amount. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, the Town Board shuffled through a few excuses and Mr Feiner couldn’t make a motion to adjourn fast enough. Before it could be seconded (the sound of that locomotive could be heard barreling down the tracks), Mr Bernstein stated that he had just received phone calls from two residents that “Dial Democracy” was not working. You may recall that Dial Democracy was Mr Feiner’s phony attempt to allow residents to call in during a Board meeting.

It’s much easier to only hear from developers who want to build in a Town that lacks true zoning integrity, planning and building controls than residents with real concern about failed policies, underhanded proceedings and incompetence. Mr Bernstein highlighted the incompetence Wednesday night as the only speaker – and they still tried to shut him down. It’s time for Mr Feiner to stop putting obstacles in the way of the Comprehensive Steering Committee and let them introduce their Comprehensive Plan for the Town. While it is part of the answer to this Board’s illegal spot-zoning and developer “winks and nods”, it will not be adopted in time to stop Mr Feiner’s intricately weaved scheme to give away the Frank’s Nursery property at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road to his favored and preferred GameOn 365. This needs to change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

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