Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Comprehensive Plan Meeting to Kick Off 1st Discussion

The Town’s first offering for the proposed Comprehensive Plan for how the Town should look and develop for the near and distant future has been posted and available for residents to review for a short period of time now. Tonight will be the first meeting for the public to voice their opinion about the proposed plan. We urge all residents to read this plan – you’ll be in for an eye-opening experience! 

A link to review this plan is:

We’ve posted before of Mr Feiner, the Town Board, and others having taken to spot-zoning throughout the Town to benefit their developer friends. So far, the public has not been able to deter them, just occasionally slow them down. This Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan), if and when it is adopted, should slow them down. We’re also cognizant of the fact that Mr Feiner usually comes up with his own schemes and ways around legal challenges he doesn’t like or that will slow his agenda. ABG is convinced that this is why he has thrown so many roadblocks in the way of the Comprehensive Planning Steering Committee during their several years of existence.

There are many sections that go way beyond what many of us wish for the Town. While we acknowledge the amount of work invested in developing this plan, and it is not yet the final document, this promises to fundamentally change the look and feel of our Town. Our staff has been reviewing different sections of the draft plan are disappointed that there are so many inaccuracies and non-factual pieces of information included in it! This document, if adopted will “validate” this bad information. 

This proposal also seems to maintain and promote a political agenda, biased by and dominated by espousing information purported by many politically active groups, such as the global warming enthusiasts. While the information put forth may be documented, the “other side” is not included. ABG believes we all need to be aware of our environmental footprint, but this document’s first few chapters expound the global, federal and state usages of energy, policies, and goals etc., as if the Town’s participation will control the balance of nature. Again, we all need to be aware of our environmental footprint. But including this one-sided information in this document, unfortunately, devalues and diminishes the otherwise pertinent and good information addressed in it.

Another sizable aspect of this proposed Comp Plan is the urbanization and urban sprawl that will be inflicted throughout the Town if this plan is adopted. ABG believes change can be good if it is applicable to everyone and every neighborhood. Mr Feiner has effectively changed the Fairview section of the Town with the “ghettoization” of it, concentrating those with low income, subsidized housing, DSS, and so on while sparing other areas of the Town to ensure repeated votes every two years. If this plan is to work, it must be even-handedly applied throughout the Town. It appears to be nothing more than another version, albeit a formal one, of Mr Feiner’s spot zoning. Need to be convinced? Read Chapter 12.

It is imperative that everyone to go to the link above and read this Comp Plan, make notes and bring your feedback to the Committee at one of these meetings. If you cannot attend the meetings, you can email them your concerns: planzone@GreenburghNY.com. It’s the only way to keep from having changes we don’t want thrust upon us. Without your input, Greenburgh will change into something you may not want! Please participate. Only then can we have A Better Greenburgh.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Paul J. Juettner Passes

Paul J. Juettner, 76, of Ardsley passed away on April 24, 2014. Born in Washington, DC, he was the son of the late Anthony and Lucia Juettner. Paul was raised in Minnesota and graduated from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN. He then went on to graduate from Georgetown University Law School. During his legal career, Paul worked as a Patent Attorney for Stauffer Chemical Company in Dobbs Ferry and later for Rhone Poulenc in New Jersey. After he retired, Paul taught legal studies as an Adjunct Professor at Mercy College. He was involved in community service as a member of the Hartsdale Rotary Club. During his leisure time, he was an avid motorcyclist and had a passion for sailing.

Paul is survived by his wife Diana, children John (Laurie) Juettner and Laura (Richard) Florin, grandchildren Jake and Falyn Juettner and Amber Florin. He is also survived by his three brothers Richard Juettner from Minneapolis, MN, Fred Juettner from Columbia, MO and William Juettner from Sand Pointe, ID.
Memorial Visiting, Saturday, April 26, 2-5 pm, Edwards-Dowdle Funeral Home [64 Ashford Avenue, Dobbs Ferry, NY].

Memorial Mass, Tuesday, April 29, 10 am, Sacred Heart Church, Hartsdale, NY. [10 Lawton Avenue, Hartsdale; on the corner of Lawton Avenue and Central Park Avenue]

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in Paul's name can be made to Ardsley - Secor Volunteer Ambulance Corps (ASVAC), PO Box 133, Ardsley, NY 10502 or to the charity of your choice.

Our condolences and prayers are with the family at this difficult time. May he rest in peace.

Public Meetings For Public to Offer Feedback

Below is information regarding the Town’s proposal for the Town’s proposed Comprehensive Plan for how the Town should look for the near and distant future. Mr Feiner, the Town Board and others have taken to spot-zoning throughout the Town at their developer friends’ whims and requests. This Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) will slow that down. However, there are many sections that go way beyond what many of us wish for the Town to look like in the future. We acknowledge that a lot of work went into developing this plan, but it is not the final word – yet! It is imperative that everyone to go to the link below and read the Comp Plan, make notes and bring your feedback to the Committee at one of these meetings. If you cannot attend the meetings, you can email them your concerns. It’s the only way to keep from having changes we don’t want thrust upon us. Without your input, Greenburgh will change into something you may not want! Please participate. Only then can we have A Better Greenburgh.

Greenburgh Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee Releases Draft of Plan

The Town of Greenburgh Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee (CPSC) released for public comment the Draft Comprehensive Plan for Unincorporated Greenburgh (Draft Plan) on March 21, 2014.  On behalf of the CPSC, I am pleased to announce that Appendix E, which is referenced on Page 12-7 of the Draft Plan, was uploaded earlier today to the Comprehensive Plan Web site (http://greenburghcomprehensiveplan.com/) and is available for public comment along with the rest of the Draft Plan.  (At the homepage, click on the "2014 DRAFT PLAN" tab and then "Appendix E" at that bottom of the Table of Contents.)

To give the public a head-start on reading the thirteen chapters of the Draft Plan, the CPSC decided to release the rest of the Draft Plan in advance of the graphics-intensive Appendix E.  Appendix E contains 92 separate cut sheets of recommended zoning map amendments covering 260 individual parcels in Unincorporated Greenburgh.  The recommended zoning map amendments, most involving aligning zoning district boundaries with property lines, are in conformance with the Draft Plan released earlier.  

We look forward to your comments on the Draft Plan, including the proposed amendments in Appendix E, at one of our upcoming meetings at Town Hall, 177 Hillside Avenue, Greenburgh, NY 10607.  The dates and times of these Draft Plan public comment meetings are:

     Tuesday, April 29th, at 7:30pm
     Saturday, May 10th, at 10:00am
     Thursday, May 22nd, at 7:30pm
     Monday, June 2nd, at 7:30pm
     Monday, June 16th, at 7:30pm (public hearing)

After each meeting the CPSC will meet to consider all comments for potential incorporation into the Draft Plan.  At the conclusion of this public input period, the CPSC will prepare the final CPSC Draft Plan to submit to the Town Board.

If you cannot make it to any of the above meetings and/or prefer to put your comments in writing, please address your written comments to planzone@GreenburghNY.com or mail them to the CPSC, c/o Commissioner Thomas Madden, Greenburgh Town Hall, 177 Hillside Avenue, Greenburgh, NY 10607.

We look forward to your input on the documents, and we also look forward to no more snow this season, especially on any of the above meeting dates!

Francis Sheehan, Councilman, CPSC Chair
   Town of Greenburgh

Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee
Francis Sheehan, Town Councilman and CPSC Chair
Fran McLaughlin, Planning Board Chair and CPSC Vice Chair
Thomas Madden, AICP, Planning Commissioner
Madelon O’Shea, Historic and Landmark Preservation Board Chair
Ella Preiser, Community Representative
Walter Simon, Planning Board Member
Theresa Mae Tori, Conservation Advisory Council Chair
Lou Klein, Commercial Real Estate Liaison
Garrett Duquesne, AICP, Deputy Commissioner, Community Development and Conservation
Viola Taliaferrow, Residential Real Estate Liaison

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Secret Negotiations Exposed with Trans-Pacific Partnership for NYS

Representatives from the community will hold a People’s Town Hall style event to provide information on the effects the TPP would inflict on everyday average Americans. The event will include an expert on trade, a panel made up of Labor, Faith, Community & Environmental organizations and an opportunity for local elected leaders to explain what they have learned from and to the public.

WHERE: Greenburgh Town Hall 177 Hillside Ave, Greenburgh NY
WHEN: Tuesday, April 22th, 6:45pm

Currently, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being negotiated in secret between the United States and Pacific Rim countries including Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, and Vietnam, which are 40% of the world economy. The massive proposed agreement would destroy jobs, eliminate regulatory protections, and allow international trade tribunals to overturn American laws. An example would be the Investment State Disput Settlement. In short, any law passed by state or federal government to protect the environment or jobs in America could be considered a barrier for free trade. This would allow foreign corporations to sue not for damages but for potential lost profits – making the ceiling for damages open to astronomical numbers with no recourse for those being sued!

Fast Track legislation, which would create a process to ram the agreement through Congress, was introduced in the Senate and House on January 9th. Fast Track legislation surrenders Congress’ Constitutional rights with respect to trade policy. Among other limitations to Congress’ authority, Fast Track forces an up-or-down, unamendable vote with limited debate on a final deal, preventing meaningful consultation or input, and straightjacketing opponents to the deal.

NAFTA and WTO, which like the TPP mostly cover issues not directly related to trade (such as tariffs or customs and border crossing), were pushed through using the Fast Track process. Fast Track legislation is vital to concluding the 12 nation negotiations on the TPP.

Politico and The New York Times have detailed growing bi-partisan opposition in Congress, with ideologically diverse groups and interests opposing Fast Tracking the negotiation process. To date, no House Democrat has been willing to co-prime-sponsor the legislation, which closely tracks 2002 legislation rejected by the large majority of Democrats.

Wikileaks recently released leaked details of the secret agreement, covering intellectual property rights and Rx drug pricing and environmental issues. The leaked drafts confirm opponent’s fears. The TPP would destroy jobs, eliminate food safety standards, benefit Wall Street banks, and over-ride U.S. laws

Representative Nita Lowey will be on hand to discuss what good trade should look like for America. Assembly members Shelley Mayer, David Buchwald will respond to the implications TPP will have to NYS. Present will also be representatives from Senator Latimer and Stewart-Cousins offices, Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body, Concerned Families of Westchester, Mount Vernon United Tenants, WESPAC, Lower Hudson Valley Chapter of Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, Hudson River Presbytery Peru Partnership, Westchester MoveOn.org

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Willful Ignorance Allows Public To Be Duped

The Fairview Fire Department’s Board of Fire Commissioners held their monthly meeting at Fairview Fire Headquarters at 19 Rosemont Boulevard. The room was not packed but certainly had more in attendance than their meetings usually do. According to one resident, only 13 people voted in the last election! The room was split into thirds with the crowd that was there. One third was there to protest anything and everything, one third was there to support the fire department and the other third were firefighters either there to support their Chief and/or to learn what would happen in what has turned into another Feiner induced trial by media.

For those in attendance, there simply to protest, they were armed with faulty information and hysterical statements from a select few of Mr Feiner’s “co-conspirators”. One of those in attendance was a former opinion editor who brags of and routinely refers to the committees report he helped generate. He was appointed to be part of this flawed committee by our Supervisor to “evaluate” consolidation of the Town’s three career fire departments, Fairview, Hartsdale and Greenville and provide a pre-ordained outcome. They did. This “study” for the fire service was something else outside of Mr Feiner purview. His position as Supervisor or with the Town Board has no say, control over or business dealings over the fire service as each fire department is controlled separately by their own fire districts and not the Town. Fire districts have independent taxing authority and are not under the control of the Town. This was another grandstanding abuse of power as Supervisor foisted upon the willfully ignorant. This tactic was again intended to deflect attention away from his double-digit tax increases, guilty verdicts, costly decisions and general mismanagement of our Town and its finances to the overall tune of about $40 MILLION! ABG is convinced this latest deflection was to continue shifting focus away from ABG’s exposure of his condoned racism with his appointed Department Head in Town Hall!

ABG exposed with documents acquired by us in our previous post, that Town Assessor Edye McCarthy had used derogatory, inflammatory and racist language with another Town employee in her department that has still not been addressed by Mr Feiner. The employee was upset and sent a letter to that employee’s manager, Ms McCarthy, and cc’d the Union President and Supervisor Feiner. It’s ironic that Mr Feiner would complain about the Fire Chief’s language and apology as “a good first step”, when Mr Feiner has never apologized to the Fortress Bible Church (or Town residents) for the discrimination he and his Town Board perpetrated on the church when they sought to build on the Greenburgh property they had purchased. In fact, Mr Feiner was found guilty in Federal court of discrimination, lying under oath and destroying evidence and fined $6.5 MILLION that the Unincorporated resident taxpayers will be forced to pay. There’s where your tax increases are going; its for something he never should have done.

It hasn’t been lost on many residents that Mr Feiner demanded an apology for a slur that was made about him years ago. He received the apology and then refused to accept it. He needed more traction so he said he wanted more. The paradox is he did much worse with his actions against the church and yet he gets a pass? Why should the residents and taxpayers allow this? ABG believes it is because the electorate is willfully ignorant and keeps their heads in the sand until something happens in their backyard or to them. We call them OIMBY’s (Only In My BackYard). Mr Feiner should resign immediately!

Last nights fire commissioner’s meeting was a sad commentary as most of the residents there were misinformed and seemingly bragged about what they didn’t know. They complained that they didn’t know there was a Board of Fire Commissioners, when they met, that there was a fire department website, the salaries of the fire department members and more. In an incredible display of ignorance, anti-fire department proponents repeatedly rose or just interrupted the speakers who had the floor and decried, “We didn’t know. You need to do a better job of informing us.” They played right into Mr Feiner’s hands again. To be fair to the audience, the Board of Fire Commissioners did a terrible job of running the meeting and seemed ill-prepared for the dogged questioning from them. The Commissioner running the meeting, Ms Vicki Simmons, seems to be on defense the entire night and did poorly each time she she attempted to answer any questions. The rest of the Board appeared content to allow her to be pummeled the entire evening and remained silent. We should mention that the commissioner’s positions are all unpaid.

One commissioner, Michael Cotter stood up and said he was against the Executive Deputy Chief position, drawing applause from the “anti”-side-of-the-room crowd. The position had been occupied by Chief LoGuidice prior to his being appointed Chief and has remained unfilled since then. Now that he will be retiring, he had suggested it be filled to begin training his successor. The structure of the fire department was clearly not understood by most of this crowd nor did they seem interested in trying to understand it. Again, Ms Simmon and the rest of the Board did nothing to explain the value or need for the position and that it would be left vacant as a temporary one once the Chief retired and the person filling it was promoted to Chief. With a $12.5 million budget, surely there is room to negotiate other savings to offset this position. That was never discussed. 

Explanations about what is going on in the Fairview Fire Department need to be forthcoming. Even though the flawed consolidation report insists on an increase of taxpayer volunteerism, none of the audience members who have been duped by this same report have signed up and joined the department. In fact, many said this was the first time they had come to a fire commission meeting. That’s sad. As to not knowing about the fire department, residents can always stop by and ask questions of any of the fire fighters and receive answers. Mr Feiner’s next ploy is to try to consolidate only the Fairview and Hartsdale fire departments. He has purposely (and cowardly) taken the Greenville fire district out of these discussions for several reasons. He knows if he includes Greenville, he will take on the wrath of the Edgemont community and force their hand to incorporate into their own village. That would be a disaster for him and the Unincorporated Town taxpayers.

Mr Feiner’s consolidation hijinks would cripple his budget – the real issue for all of these smoke and mirror discussions of consolidation. With the guilty verdicts (Fortress Bible), lawsuit losses (NextG), certiorari adjustments ($100K - $3.5M at each Town Board meeting), lost revenue (WestHelp, Frank’s Nursery) and, well, the list is almost endless, he desperately needs the Edgemont community to remain in the Unincorporated Town. Taxes have continually risen under Mr Feiner’s tenure in office. Usually, the increases have been double-digit increases. Where were the people attending this meeting and why were they not complaining when the Town budget was being discussed and adopted? Because the same persons leading the charge for fire consolidation want increased taxes and spending and not real consolidation, cost-effectiveness and/or financial savings. The lack of revaluation by Mr Feiner’s administration for the past twenty-two years he has been in office is causing the hemorrhaging of tax dollars by every department, especially our fire department and punishing tax-beleaguered residents. Couple this with about 49% of tax-exempt entities in Fairview and its a recipe for disaster!

There are a tremendous amount of issues going on in the Town that have mostly be foisted upon the willfully ignorant taxpaying OIMBYs by Mr Feiner and his phony and carefully crafted committee appointments. What remains to be seen is how many of these concerned citizens will show up and participate in next month’s Board of Fire Commissioner meetings or if they will go to the Hartsdale and Greenville meetings and complain as vocally? We hope they become regular fixtures at these meetings, but don’t have high hopes for this to happen. Will they start to regularly attend Town Board meetings? Probably not. They’re content to complain and hope someone such as the G10 will continue to be their watchdogs, but prefer to sit back, complain and hope others will fight their fight.

ABG supports consolidation if it is town-wide and includes every department and portion of Town government. But it cannot be isolated consolidation that picks and chooses when and where its convenient to utilize. We need an independent study, not controlled by Mr Feiner, with subpoena power so they can get answers that will aid in providing an honest assessment of what we have, if its working and how it can benefit by a Town-wide consolidation. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Selective Racism Condoned By Supervisor

In our last post, the ABG team had decided it would be our last about the Fairview FD anti-semitism case. Good, bad, or indifferent, we felt it time to move on. According to the Greenburgh Update Facebook site, the Journal News screwed up with their information, saying they “erred”. The fact that they “erred” should warrant an apology to Chief LoGuidice for the pain, embarrassment and suffering he has had to unnecessarily endure! Instead, they buried a one sentence admission of their error in another article.

The allegations of anti-semitic slurs became publicized when the Journal News reported that retired firefighter Darryl Leak had testified in an unrelated age discrimination suit against the Fairview Fire District that Chief LoGiudice had made anti-Semitic comments toward Mr Feiner. However, we had taken issue with Deputy Chief Howard Reiss, himself Jewish, and his actions or inactions regarding anti-Semitism in the Department. Having based our information on the public information we had at the time, and subsequently learning that it was incorrect, we offer our apologies to Deputy Chief Reiss for assuming (we know and we did) that that information was correct. We know Deputy Chief Reiss to be a man of character and a stalwart public servant.

Allegations relating to the deposition that Fairview Fire Chief Anthony LoGiudice made “anti-Semitic slurs” against Town Supervisor Paul Feiner gave the appearance that Chief LoGiudice had lied under oath. He did not lie, especially under oath because he was never asked about any comments made about Mr Feiner. In speaking with the Chief, he admits he made comments in the past and has apologized for them to Mr Feiner in person and in a written statement. Mr Feiner, himself a Federally convicted liar and non-credible witness based on his guilty verdict in the Fortress Bible Church discrimination case, has been repeatedly quoted as saying the Chief’s apology is “a good first step.”

A good first step would be for Mr Feiner to practice what he preaches and show similar outrage in real cases of discrimination, anti-Semitism, hate speech and other violations of people’s rights. In an article of April 4th in the Scarsdale Inquirer, Mr Feiner is quoted as saying, “We cannot, as elected officials, allow discrimination to rear its ugly head.” Yet he practiced discrimination against the Fortress Bible Church when the Church purchased property and sought to construct a new church and school on it just off of Dobbs Ferry Road. We understand that this refusal to the church would have directly benefitted his friend, now NYS Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, who lived nearby.

In the April 8th edition of the Journal News, Mr Feiner’s quoted as saying, “This is the first time in my life I have ever personally experienced any form of anti-Semitism,” the 58-year-old Feiner said. “I just think we have to get people to reflect on how hurtful and wrong these types of comments are. It’s not acceptable for anyone to be saying things like this.” This is a bit difficult to stomach given his being found guilty of seven counts in the Fortress Bible Church guilty verdict.  He certainly knows how to say the right things, he’s just not capable of doing the right thing. Documents recently acquired by ABG indicate Mr Feiner has known about racism in Town Hall and chose to ignore it!

Below is an excerpt of a letter addressed to Town Assessor Edye McCarthy and carbon-copied to the Union President and Supervisor Paul Feiner on October 27, 2008. We have omitted the names and body of the letter to protect the privacy of the victim. We also will forewarn you that the content may be considered disturbing. The letter of complaint was made against Greenburgh Town Assessor Edye McCarthy, and apparently ignored by Mr Feiner and ultimately swept under the rug by he and the Town Board, even after it was repeatedly brought up at Town Board meetings by others.

Here’s a portion of those comments from that letter:

This letter was submitted and cc’d to Mr Feiner. He chose to do nothing about the accusations to this day, even as he continues his double-standard attack against Chief LoGuidice. Instead of addressing Ms McCarthy’s racist comments at Town Hall, Mr Feiner must have believed if he ignored it, it would go away. His statement, quoted above, “We cannot, as elected officials, allow discrimination to rear its ugly head” is not only disingenuous, but self-serving and insulting to those who do the right thing on a daily basis. Once he learned of this, why wasn’t Ms McCarthy disciplined or terminated from her position? Where was Mr Feiner’s outrage then and to some degree, now? Why didn’t he reach out to the ADL or the NAACP? Why wasn’t there the same public outcry and dare we say, mob mentality from Town Hall? Why has our Town Board remained silent?

Adding to this insulting behavior by Mr Feiner was another letter circulated during the Democratic Primary election this past year when Mr Feiner ran against Edgemont resident Robert Bernstein. The letter writer, Ms Doris Sassower, a White Plains resident and co-founder of the Center for Judicial Accountability of White Plains, was forced to go to court to challenge her City of White Plains tax assessment under White Plains Tax Assessor Edye McCarthy. The lawsuit she initiated went to the Supreme Court in White Plains where they rendered a decision in favor of Ms Sassower, finding that she had been discriminated against by Ms McCarthy!

Here is a copy of her letter that was written by Ms Sassower and distributed during the Democratic Primary:

ABG has maintained, as have others, that Mr Feiner’s continued attack of and refusal to accept Chief LoGuidice’s apology is purposely being perpetuated for Mr Feiner’s own political gain. There is a well-known double standard in effect in the Town of Greenburgh and it rears it’s ugly head time and again. Mr Feiner had an opportunity to address Ms McCarthy’s racism and bad behavior but chose not to. Why? Because there was no political cache in it for him. His latest use of the Greenburgh email list has been to deflect attention away from his failing administration and point the bloodhounds of misinformation away from himself. This time he chose to attack the Fire District, Fire Department and its people because he has no say over what they do and can hurl attacks unimpeded.

Greenburgh is a widely diverse Town. Why has Mr Feiner not addressed the racism within his own administration and with his appointed Department Head? 22 years IS enough. Only when Mr Feiner and his schemers and plotters are gone can we have A Better Greenburgh.

Fairview Fire Commissioners Meeting April 10th Time Change

Press Release:

Please note that the regular meeting of the Board of Fire Commissioners on April 10th will begin at 8:15 p.m. at 19 Rosemont Boulevard.

The regular meetings of the Board for the remainder of the year are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on the following dates:

May 15, 2014  
June 12, 2014  
July 10, 2014  
August 14, 2014  
September 11, 2014  
October 9, 2014  
November 13, 2014  
December 11, 2014  

Thank you.  

Fairview Fire District  
19 Rosemont Boulevard  
White Plains, NY 10602-1680  
Website: www.fairviewfire.org  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Discrimination and Prejudice’s Double Standard: More Education is Needed

Two ABG staffers were asked during a lunch break to comment on their discussion about the recent anti-semitic comments made by Fairview Fire Chief Anthony LoGuidice. They questioned if the comments were actually made by the Chief? We said they must have been as the Chief apologized for them. Did we think he was an anti-Semite or for that matter a prejudicial person? “No,” and we were in agreement that his actions over the course of his forty-plus years in public service spoke louder than words. But it doesn’t excuse what happened. Yes, words can hurt. Words can be used to destroy. At this point, we hope they can also be used to heal.

Some of the discussion centered on the philosophical meanings of words as well as the real world actions of discrimination, hate speech and what is considered acceptable or not. We’ve stated before that Mr Feiner is quick to accuse others of racism while he himself was actually found guilty of discrimination against the Fortress Bible Church from Mount Vernon. In fact, he was found guilty on seven counts, including lying under oath, destroying evidence and not being credible. How can we believe anything he says? We can’t. The passage of “let he who cast the first stone…” comes to mind.

It also begs the question of what other forms of derisive, hateful and insulting language might be used throughout our Town government? What of the other departments in the Town, such as the highway department? We already know Mr Feiner and his Town Board condone the use of this offensive language by Town Assessor Edie McCarthy when she used of the “N” word in Town Hall toward another employee as witnessed by employees and Town activist Hal Samis. Mr Samis asked at several Board meetings what they did to address it and never received an answer, solution, apology or even a shrug of the shoulders. Just the blank stare that is so often used when answers are not forthcoming. Where was Mr Feiner’s outrage during that entire episode? There was none! Why is one form of bad behavior acceptable and another is not? We’ve also seen Mr Feiner go out of his way to give a second chance to others, i.e., Alan Hochberg, a convicted felon who has worked for him and maintains an office at Town Hall. When Councilman Ken Jones shouted, “Sit down! Sit the f&^# down!” neither Mr Jones nor Mr Feiner apologized for his foul language of that night! Why is it that whatever Chief LoGuidice offers is not enough? Why the double standard?

According to reports, Fire Department Deputy Chief Howard Reiss confirmed past conversations of Chief LoGuidice’s comments. How has Mr Reiss had been treated by Chief LoGuidice during his tenure on the job? Was he unable to practice his religious beliefs while employed by the fire district? Did the Chief forbid him to observe any Sabbaths or religious functions? Has Reiss ever complained about LoGuidice’s behavior or any anti-Semitism in the Fire Department? Are there others guilty of this behavior as well? If he did, were his concerns addressed or dismissed? Similarly, Reiss claims he’d heard this and we wonder why he said nothing to either a superior, a union representative or commissioner? Isn’t he, as a Jewish firefighter, condoning the behavior and in fact exacerbating it? Its one thing if no one knew this was taking place and another to jump on the bandwagon later while its convenient to do so. We’re not saying he shouldn’t speak up, just questioning why he would wait until now?

We see many examples of discrimination in all sorts of ways each and every day and are expected to tolerate them as politically acceptable or humor and sometimes both. The media seems to have no problem bashing Christianity when it will provide a sensational story, but mass murders at Fort Hood are classified as “workplace violence” as opposed to jihad. You’re recall in Nov. 5, 2009, Muslim Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan murdered 13 people on the base and wounded 30 more while shouting in the name of Allah. How is this rationale a positive or acceptable argument about discrimination? It is not.

Examples abound with a few “passes” of what some choose to interpret as acceptable while others do not enjoy the same luxury. We recall when Vice President Joe Biden mocked Indian accents in a 2012 jobs speech in New Hampshire? Or, when he complained in 2008 on the campaign trail that “you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” We can certainly keep going with Biden, but his behavior is typically compared to the embarrassing oaf everyone avoids and shrugs off. Another double standard.

How about when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now a leading 2016 Democratic Presidential contender, repeatedly employed a degrading Southern accent to pander to black voters? She said in a speech, “I ain’t noways tired.” Insulting? Demeaning? Excused. Or that Democrat Bob Beckel made fun of Louisiana GOP governor Bobby Jindal’s State of the Union response by comparing it to a “call-center ad in Mumbai.” Just last week on his Comedy Central show, Stephen Colbert revived his supposedly satirical “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong” skit. Here, he speaks in Pidgin English with a grossly exaggerated Asian accent. The reason he said and did what he did doesn’t matter. “Oh, I ruv tea. It’s so good for you. You so pretty, American girl.” Why are these statements considered acceptable? Humor? Hardly. Why does the media not hold these people to the same standards? When do we draw the line? Because they are said by favored leaders and comedians should not allow them to be conveniently dismissed and ignored.

It also begs the question of when is our disdain for language such as this considered hypersensitivity, when is it a private conversation, and when is it free speech? If it is free speech, our First Amendment rights, or whatever we choose to call it, to what extent should we allow it? Can we, or for that matter should we, even seek to control it? Examples of American Nazi’s protesting throughout our country and their right to not only rally and protest but their “right” to do so in pro-American events, such as Fourth of July parades seem to abound. Similarly, why do we allow anti-war protestors to protest and disrupt families in mourning during military funerals at plots they have purchased, both financially and with lives? When is your freedom of speech a violation of my rights? We don’t need to wait generations for things to change. We can change them now!

In the African American community, racist comments being made amongst each other with the use of the “N” word. Why is it still used and considered acceptable? We know that that language will not be tolerated in the Fire Department and rightfully so. In fact, deceased comedian Richard Prior made it a point to say he would stop using the word because it was wrong for a number of reasons. Good for him – unfortunately, we lost him too soon. To go beyond this one word, when do we stop calling overweight people “Fatso”, or redheads “Red”, or those of Italian decent “Guineas”? Unfortunately, the list is endless. Finally, African American actor Nick Cannon recently put on whiteface makeup and posted pictures of himself saying, “It’s official! I’m white!” claiming he was doing a character impression for his new movie. Doing the opposite of “blackface” as white actors did years ago, which is nowadays considered offensive, doesn’t justify his actions or make it any less prejudicial because he is an African American. If it’s not right for one, its not justifiable for another.  

No rational, thinking person would support hate speech. There are several organizations whose goal is to teach tolerance and acceptance to the ignorant. If you are not willing to accept an apology why should we bother to even do this? We need to get people educated to understand and believe there is a better way. Mr Feiner is always quick to throw stones while living in a glass house. Perhaps Mr Feiner should undergo this same sensitivity training so he can learn how offensive using the “N” word can be? What Chief LoGuidice did in the past was wrong. Mr Feiner asked for an apology and received it. It’s time to work together toward healing. 

We certainly need to ensure this won’t happen again, whether in Town Hall, the fire department’s TV room, on the playground and the entertainment industry or anywhere. We cannot stop in our quest. Education, acceptance and fairness are better than they used to be but we still need more. Lets work together toward eliminating all prejudice and discrimination in our Town and our lives. Only then can we have A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Another Resident Speaks of GameOn 365

The letter below was submitted to ABG with a request for publication regarding the GameOn 365 Megaplex proposal on Dobbs Ferry Road. It is printed unedited and in its entirety:

Date: March 29, 2014 01:44:40 PM EDT
To: pfeiner@greenburghny.com


Allowing the “Game On” proposal to go forward will become a blight on the Worthington-Woodlands
community. As long-time Real Estate Brokers in Greenburgh, Betty and I know full well that our
properties will suffer severe devaluation.

We would like to know why you are so determined to accommodate Mr. Hewitt?

Why has “Game On” been allowed to “hang on” so long?
To be quite frank, residents are questioning the integrity of your administration as a consequence
of the manner in which the proposal has been handled.
Always a quiet, comely hamlet Worthington-Woodlands will be transformed into a community
with a “circus air” as Mr. Mancini suggested.
Since The Landmark Property Development features recreational facilities, and they and
“Game On” have much in common, why not encourage the latter to take their “BUBBLE” to
that venue?
Paul, in light of the demonstrable opposition to this proposed “monstrosity”, why have you persisted?

Joe and Betty I.

Greenburgh’s Double Standards: Do As I Say!

A good man’s public service career is being made into a media circus event to deflect attention away from another not-so-good man’s flawed career. Mr Feiner, the not-so-good man, is the master of deflection and knows how to “work” the system for his own advantage and he’s doing it again. If he could have, he would have simply “Sonya’d” Fairview Fire Chief LoGuidice, a forty year member between his volunteer and career service to the Town. But he cannot as the Supervisor has no control, input or bearing on the Fire Districts. What Mr Feiner has done is deflect attention from his $6.5M Fortress Bible guilty verdict towards some else. He’s effectively managed to have people forget that he alone cost the Town $1.2M per year in non-tax generated income through WestHelp by pointing the finger of anti-semitism at the Fairview Fire Chief.

The Fire Chief’s for the three Greenburgh Fire Departments don’t work “for” the Town or answer to the Supervisor. Rather, they are employed by their individual fire districts. It’s a shame that Mr Feiner openly lied to the public when he claimed all he wanted was an apology for what Mr LoGuidice had said years ago. The reality is it was never about an apology, it was about taking attention away from his increasing costs to the Unincorporated taxpayers of Greenburgh. The Chief formally apologized to Mr Feiner with a letter and in person and made a donation in Mr Feiner’s name as Mr Feiner had requested to a chosen charity. Subsequently, Mr Feiner has now stated it isn’t enough. It should have been the end of it. But more deflection was needed so this “issue” will linger as long as Mr Feiner can get traction with it. Whats next after the Chief visits a holocaust museum, donate a fire truck to the Town?

Part of the double standard that is so readily witnessed with Mr Feiner, his Board and the Feiner Administration can be summed up with the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Mr Feiner was found guilty of violating the federal and state constitutional rights of the Fortress Bible Church for deliberately refusing to approve an application for the church to build a sanctuary and school on church-owned land. Not only was he found guilty on seven counts in this discrimination case, he intentionally destroyed evidence and was found guilty to have lied under oath! Why didn’t Mr Feiner step down as Supervisor? Why haven’t Mr Feiner and Ms Juettner, who was part of the guilty verdict, also get disbarred? After all, they are officers of the court. And, what always comes to mind is being sworn in with, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” Double standards abound in Greenburgh. Why haven’t they apologized to the Fortress Bible Church and the Greenburgh taxpayers? More importantly, why do you, the electorate, continue to vote these liars back into office?

Another question that comes to mind is with regards to the former Frank’s Nursery property at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road. Mr Feiner claims he never had any secret meetings with the GameOn 365 organizations and yet those meetings were confirmed when Mr Hewitt insisted the emails between them cease so the information would not be on record and FOIL-able by the public! When the Town acquired that property through foreclosure, they let the property lie as it were without attempting to remediate the contamination on it. By the way, it was never advertised for sale from the date of acquisition and beyond. Mr Feiner then tried to sneak an illegal lease for the property until the G10 caught him in his deceitful behavior and initiated a lawsuit to stop it. He then claimed he would sell it to  the highest bidder but reversed course when GameOn 365 was the low bid. At no point could this sale happen because the Town never had clear title for the property. Mr Feiner intentionally withheld that information from the public – as did the rest of the Town Board members. Double standards? Sure. Lies? Absolutely!

Everyone began to ask the inevitable question, what’s in it for him? Why would he be doing this? He has gone out of his way, above and beyond to make sure that GameOn 365 would be the only bidder for the property. GameOn 365’s attorney’s crafted a Recreational Overlay Zone change that was submitted to be pinned onto the first high-speed Town Board railroad car screaming through the proverbial station. Turning a residentially zoned piece of property into commercial to appease one developer is the quintessential definition of spot zoning. Why would this Board continue this folly? Because Mr Feiner told them to! To be fair, two Board members may be holding out on this but there is really two issues: 1) the Recreational Overlay Zone and 2) the 83ft sports bubble megaplex smack dab in the middle of this residential area. Councilman Jones constantly said he had not heard any objections to these proposals. As such, two civic association turned out in masse to challenge Mr Jones’ misconception. Then he claimed it was what was told to him by others.

During the last Democratic Primary Election to choose the Democratic candidate for the uncontested Town Supervisor’s position, Mr Feiner repeatedly sent out campaign literature full of lies about his opponent, Robert Bernstein. After Mr Feiner won the primary, he was found guilty by the Fair Campaign Committee of these egregious mailings and conveniently blamed others for the “mistake”. Regardless of what Mr Feiner said about the mailings, they found for Mr Bernstein against Mr Feiner, confirming more lies from Mr Feiner. It’s difficult to swallow Mr Feiner’s blame of his printer and mailing service for the content of his mailings as the printer only prints what is supplied to them and the mailing company only mails what they are given. At the end of every political ad is the claim, “I’m Paul Feiner and I approved this message.” Perhaps this time it should have been, “I’m Paul Feiner and I approved this lie.” He never apologized to Mr Bernstein for his lies. Simply, Mr Feiner is a hypocrite. Maybe he should donate a Fire Truck or a new one armed bandit sanitation truck to the Town?

We can go on and on with more examples but the guilty verdict against Mr Feiner and the Board for practicing discrimination speaks volumes. Its sad that discrimination is openly ignored by some, specifically the “untouchable elite” while others are crucified by mob rule. Many have said the three fire districts should consolidate. Perhaps so, perhaps not. We’ll never know until a truly impartial committee is appointed to review and assess the needs of the current districts. Unfortunately, this was done for political gain by Mr Feiner, who appointed a preordained, pro-consolidation committee, to render a foregone conclusion for his own deflection benefit when needed. He knew he would need it at some point and now that point has arrived. They delivered as requested with objections from a small few. Beating your chest at a press conference for publicity with findings that are skewed helps no one. Mr Feiner is not helping the Town anymore and is costing us now more than ever!

If Mr Feiner really is concerned about discrimination, another saying comes to mind, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Mr Feiner should apologize to Chief LoGuidice for his bad behavior and character assassination of the Chief. A forty year public service career should not be destroyed because one man needs to deflect attention away from himself. After all, if we are to believe in our right to free speech, no matter how offensive it may seem to others, then we should have the right  to say what we say. Please realize we are not condoning what took place. Just because this may have been said in what was believed to be a “safe” environment, doesn’t make it right. But it also doesn’t warrant a man losing his accomplished career after making amends. If it does, we’ll hold the door as Mr Feiner exits first. Only then will we begin to see A Better Greenburgh.