Sunday, May 25, 2014

Celebrating Our Service Members This Memorial Day

Each year we pause all too briefly to honor our brave service personnel throughout our country and overseas. Politicians give speeches extolling the virtues of those and their families who have served, continue to serve or have given the ultimate sacrifice for us all. After the parades, the speeches, and the barbecues begin to wind down, we will all return to our daily lives.

You may find one or more of these charities listed below appealing to you and worthy of your participation. Not sure what you can do? We've highlighted two worthy charities below. Regardless of your choice, you can make a difference either financially or in person.

Please click on a link and follow your heart with your wallet. If you lack funds to donate, many will welcome your time and energy if you can. We have the ability to do so much for so many right here in our own backyard as we celebrate this and every Memorial Day. God bless our troops, their families and America.

Two charities that help our veterans:

Soldier Socks
1127 High Ridge Road, 124 Stamford, Connecticut 06905; Tel - 203-832-2005

Fisher House
Fisher House Foundation, Inc., 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, Maryland 20850; (888) 294-8560 or (301) 294-8560; Fax: (301) 294-8562
Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.

During our research for a list of charities that help our military personnel, we found this page with an incredibly long list of charities for the military:

If the links below do not work, please go directly to the link above and link to the charity of your choice from there.

Wounded Warrior & Family Support Resources

Gary Sinise Foundation This foundation is designed to honor the nation's defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.

The Giving Effect The Giving Effect is a national movement getting food, gently-used items & more to people in need. From people like you!

Homes for Our Troops
Homes for Our Troops assists severely injured service men and women and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor and coordinating the process of building new adapting existing homes with handicapped accessibility.

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund aids severely injured military personnel in their treatment and recovery at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Fisher House
The Fisher House Foundation provides affordable lodging for family members of hospitalized military personnel.

National Center on Family Homlessness The National Center on Family Homelessness develops and implements innovative solutions that address the unique needs of homeless children and families. Our extensive knowledge of the causes, correlates, and consequences of homelessness allows us to support families in their return to stable housing in the community.

Operation Comfort
Operation Comfort provides support to Service members who have been wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq and are receiving treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center.

Operation Hero Miles
Operation Hero Miles takes donations of unused frequent flier miles to help soldiers travel on emergency leave. They can also be used to help families fly to hospitalized soldiers.

Operation Gratitude Operation Gratitude seeks to lift morale and put smiles on faces by sending care packages addressed to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed in harm's way.** Operation Gratitude care packages contain food, hygiene products, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation, all wrapped with good wishes of love and support.

Operation Paperback Operation Paperback is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Pennsylvania that collects gently used books nationwide and sends them to American troops deployed overseas. Since 1999, we have shipped over 1.3 million books to locations around the globe.

Pets for Patriots We create unique opportunities for members of the military community to save a life by honorably adopting homeless adult dogs and cats.

Project Prayer Flag Project Prayer Flag is recognized by the Department of Defense as a member of the "America Supports You" program, which showcases efforts to support American troops and their families. Since 2002 the organization has distributed flags, care packages, baseball equipment, family and financial support, military phone cards and Unit support to soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and various international deployment areas.

Project Valor-IT
Project Valor-IT provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Service members recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers. Visit the website to learn how to make a donation or request a laptop.

Quilts of Valor
The Quilts of Valor project provides homemade quilts to wounded Service members.

Tempered Steel, Inc. Tempered Steel sends Wounded Warriors to speak to schools, community groups and corporate events about their very personal stories behind their scars of war. Our members are all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of all military branches; Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force who have been wounded during the last 10 years physically and/or psychologically.

Wounded Warriors Family Support Fund
Provides support and solace to the families of injured or fallen troops through vacations.

Aid for Wounded Soldiers
Aid for Wounded Soldiers is a non-profit project that provides comfort and relief items for soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines sick, injured or wounded from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Specific items requested by Military Medical Centers, VA Medical Centers and Fisher House rehabilitation facilities are purchased and donated each week.

Send Care Packages Resources

Emergency Assistance Resources

American Soldier Foundation
The Foundation can provide grants or interest free loans to help Soldiers and family members with unexpected events.

Armed Forces Foundation Family Assistance Program
The Family Assistance Program awards financial assistance to military families ranging from hotel room cost and utility bill payment, to laptops for recovering veterans. Families must apply for assistance through the website and are accepted based on their need in relationship to monthly income.

Army Emergency Relief
Army Emergency Relief provides emergency financial assistance to Soldiers and their families.

Army Homefront Fund Provides emergency financial and other support to the families of soldiers, with a focus on wounded warrior care and transition assistance. Includes cash grants, not loans, paid directly to mortgage lenders, auto mechanics, utility companies, doctors and other providers. Assistance is usually provided within 24-72 hours after receiving pertinent information from the warrior or family member.

American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services
The American Red Cross sends communications on behalf of family members who are facing emergencies or other important events to members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving all over the world. It also offers financial assistance to military families and veterans.

Operation Eagle’s Nest
Donations to this charity support the families of Soldiers stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Operation Homefront
Operation Homefront can provide financial assistance to military families in need as well as help with emeregncy household and vehicle repairs.

Reserve Aid
Reserve Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to providing financial support to the families of Reserve Service Members called to active duty in all five branches of the Armed Forces. Reserve Aid makes unrestricted, need based grants to military families who have a Reserve Service Member on full-time deployment to a combat zone or homeland security position.

Support America’s Armed Forces (SAAF)
SAAF raises funds, collects care package items and issues grants to veteran organizations, active duty or reserve personnel, or families in need of assistance.

Unmet Needs (Veterans of Foreign Wars)
The Unmet Needs Program provides emergency financial assistance and has a network of skilled volunteers able to assist military families.

USA Cares
USA Cares exists to provide military families with financial support and other critical resources in their time of need.

Donate Item or Resources Services

Air Compassion for Veterans ACV ensures that no financially-stressed wounded warrior / veteran / active duty military person or their family member(s) is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, or rehabilitation for lack of a means of long-distance medical air transportation. ACV provides air transportation to Wounded Warriors.

The American Veterans collect new and used DVDs to distribute overseas to US military personnel.

Cell Phones for Soldiers
This charity accepts donations of old cell phones, which it then recycles for cash to buy phone cards for deployed troops.

Commissary Gift Certificates
Gift certificates purchased though the Defense Commissary Agency can be used by military families.

Freedom Calls
Donations to the Freedom Calls Foundation help build and maintain a state-of-the-art telecommunications network for military personnel to keep in touch with family members back home.

Green Care for Troops
A nationwide outreach program connecting local lawn and landscaping companies with the families of deployed Service members to help with lawn and landscape care.

Help Our Troops Call Home
Purchase prepaid calling cards through military exchanges for troops serving overseas in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Homefront America, Inc.
Homefront America is a volunteer, non-profit website that assists military families during deployment. Their programs include referral assistance, tuition and scholarship assistance, holiday programs, back-to-school supplies, teen education and routine auto maintenance.

Operation Homelink
Operation Homelink provides refurbished computers to the spouses or parents of junior enlisted (E1-E5) U.S. deployed Service members, enabling email communication with their loved ones deployed overseas.
Operation Top Knot
A program that supports the wives and children of U.S. soldiers through donations of baby gifts.

Operation Uplink
Run by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Operation Uplink accepts contributions in order to supply phone cards to troops and their families.

Snow Care For Troops Snow Care for Troops is a nationwide outreach program that recruits local volunteers to provide free snow removal services at home for the men and women serving overseas

USA Together
Is a non-profit website that provides assistance through donors to injured Soldiers, Veterans and their families.

Help Soldiers Help Others Resources

Operation Iraqi Children
Many soldiers deployed to Iraq are rebuilding schools. Donations to Operation Iraqi Children help purchase desperately needed school supplies.

Operation Give
Operation Give provides toys, clothing and school supplies primarily to the children of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Spirit of America
Spirit of America helps US troops carry out humanitarian projects around the world through donations of much needed goods and supplies.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Grand Plan (Part 4)

Mr Feiner has Thomas Madden, his favored planning and expansion employee, on the Town’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee to ensure control. He used to rely on Town Councilman Francis Sheehan until Mr Feiner threw him under the bus during the Democratic Primary campaign last year. Mr Madden operates not out of a love for Greenburgh (he does not live in Greenburgh), but out of a love for his meal-ticket, Mr Feiner, and of course his own job security. The more building and development that takes place in the Town, the more work he has to do and the more secure he is in his job and Mr Feiner’s good graces. Apparently its okay to congest Greenburgh with more and more projects, its just not okay to live in it?

When we listen to him present developer’s plans on their behalf, he seems to get more and more excited with his voice becoming softer and softer, almost to a whisper. When this was originally pointed out from an audience member, she suggested he was becoming flushed with excitement. Be that as it may, Mr Madden has repeatedly disclosed confidential information to “Feiner-friendly” developers while claiming the lack of confidentiality is nothing more than “planners talking”. This is hardly the case as his “talking” supplies them with insider information, akin to insider trading and aids them to craft their projects for future compliance with the yet to be proposed or adopted Town Comprehensive Plan! This insider trading is just another notch on the Feiner Administration’s developer approval chalkboard.

Now that the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee is having public outreach meetings, more and more people are focusing, even highlighting the over-development being proposed for the three major roadways in our Town: Saw Mill River Road (Route 9A), Tarrytown Road (Rt 119) and Central Avenue (Rt 100). The intersections with 4-corners will be developed with what is referred to as “nodes”. Travel any of these major arteries in Town and start paying attention when you sit at a traffic light. The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee believes this “design of the future” (our words) and urbanization (others’ words) will be good for the Town. It has been stated by many speakers at the two Comprehensive Plan Community Outreach sessions (so far) that they want less of what the Comp Plan is foisting upon us as “progress”. Several from the Comp Plan Steering Committee have said there were numerous common themes when they went into the communities during the first phase of evaluations with the neighbors and neighborhoods.

Some themes were to preserve open space, have more sidewalks and bike paths, not have bigger buildings and have less impervious space. Crowds of people listened in packed venues to hear what the Comp Plan architects sought and provided PostIt notes suggestions on big sheets of paper. This input would provide them critical neighborhood information and be the guide for the development of the Comprehensive Plan. Somewhere in the process, the politically correct members lost sight of what the people asked for and decided to go with a more extensive social engineering. One of the ideas is to have “nodes” throughout the Town on major arteries such as Central Avenue, Rt 119, and Rt 9A, to name a few. Nodes will consist of city-like four story buildings that do not follow our current set-back distances of space from the curb, include grass in-between and are built right to the edge of the sidewalk! It’s been referred to by many as the urbanization of Greenburgh. Mr Sheehan asked community leader Bob Bernstein for a definition of urbanization, which was provided.

The first floor will consist of a retail business because apparently the Town lacks enough unoccupied stores in the Town. The second, third and fourth floors will be residential units. The plan/goal of these, as we so often hear in developer proposals, is that these will be affordable housing units. We’re told these people will not have cars and will rely on a new and improved public transportation system of buses, so appropriate parking will not be necessary. But what if they do have cars, what then? No provisions have been made to accommodate them. Interestingly, we've repeatedly witnessed the BeeLine Express Bus and the local bus system in Rye have service reduced by the County because they, and really we, cannot afford to run them. Since this Comp Plan is a plan for the next twenty years, each intersection with four corners and a traffic light is on the chopping block. Urbanization? Your call. One point to note is that there are no requirements for these nodes to maintain a certain look or feel as they are constructed. And, when they cannot be rented, what happens? The property owners will go for Section 8 housing, which requires the tenant to pay 30% of their income toward the rent. Yes, they become subsidized housing, just like most Westhab facilities throughout the County. Is this the plan we want for the next twenty or more years?

Corner nodes are... hey,wait a minute... You don’t think Mr Feiner is pushing fire consolidation to get a jump on building a new Node at the four corners in Hartsdale, do you? Is he looking to close the Hartsdale Fire station near the four-corners to facilitate the reconstruction of Central Avenue with Nodes? Absolutely! The portion of the Comp Plan to construct nodes at corners such as the four-corners in Hartsdale, is exactly why Mr Feiner seeks to have a partial fire department consolidation. As he pushes his agenda of creating a new level of urbanization throughout our suburban Town, he violates the trust and wishes of the neighborhood who participated in ernest with the pre-Comp Plan meetings. This is not in keeping with Greenburgh’s history, culture, desires or residents’ requests and wishes. Nor do they approve of Mr Feiner and the Town Board’s history of continued spot-zoning.

We have just witnessed the affects of the Town Board’s gas-station tax on Central Avenue, a precursor to the Comp Plan changes in store. On Central Avenue, by Scarsdale Ford, a long-time gas station was recently closed as Mr Feiner and his Town Board tilted the playing field by literally driving an owner out of business with unnecessary fees that were really taxes. The G10 fought this move for months on end, trying to explain to the non-business savvy Board of the outcome that would be had if they enacted the tax. They would not listen, as usual, and proceeded to adopt this Central Avenue service-station only fee. Unfortunately, the G10 position was validated once again.

While service is really the mainstay of most service stations, the company funded Cumberland Farms gas station that was reopened after being closed for several years was given preferred treatment after losing their special zoning. Forget that the big company was underselling gasoline below what the "mom and pop" stations could purchase it for. Consequently, when the Town forced this new tax upon them, they were crushed. What’s next for that site? ABG has learned that through the new Comprehensive Plan (here it is again) information possibly leaked by Thomas Madden to the developer as simply "talk", the Central Avenue corridor will be changed to be more New York City-like. On the corners now are mostly single-story buildings of small retail businesses. What will be built on this small parcel promises to be the forebearer of things to come. This must be changed before the proposal is given to the Town Board for a hearing. Residents must get involved to slow this train wreck from changing the flavor of our Town. Only when this happens will we begin to see A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

School Budget Passes, No Objections from Supervisor

Mr Feiner has gone out of his way to attack the Fairview Fire District, Fire Department and former Chief. His repeated claims of financial chicanery were unfounded and proven to be either fabrications and out and out lies. His concentric group of giddy senior citizens rallied around him to espouse his message, keeping his hands “clean”, only to receive the adoration from a colusive press with publication of his lies. Where was Mr Feiner and his budget outrage for the school budget?

Tuesday saw the school budget for the Greenburgh Central Schools pass with nary a blip on the radar. There were several people running for School Board and there were no propositions. The results of the election for school board seats are Deborah Campbell with 604 votes, Claudia Glaser with 599 votes, Cora Carey with 402 votes and Jeffrey Barnes with 256 votes. The school budget also passed with a wide margin of approval with a vote of 671 to 342. Where was Mr Feiner and his budget outrage for the school budget?

Where was Mr Feiner and his budget outrage for the school budget? Obviously, he was no where to be found. He could not take a chance of alienating his base by going after the school board or their budget or “the children”. If he was truly concerned about the financial woes of the Town taxpayers, he would be doing things much differently. He certainly would not be discriminating against churches and be found guilty to the tune of $6.5M. He would not have tried to placate a minute handful of Valhalla residents by not renewing the WestHelp lease to the tune of $1.2M per year. Nor would he have ignored the land sale of the Frank’s Nursery property for $3.5M. And he certainly could have had revaluation done at any point during his 22-years in office and avoided the certiorari adjustment payments the Town is required to make to the tune of about $1M per Town Board meeting (2 meetings per month)! 

Where was Mr Feiner and his budget outrage for the school budget? He remained mute. He remained mute because his “outrage” is not genuine and strictly for media attention and his own agenda. If he was really concerned about finances in the Town, he could really save money for the Town taxpayer by simply resigning. He alone is the greatest expense to the Town taxpayers. Once he leaves, we’ll begin to see A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chief’s Wife Fights Back!

Our previous post discussed the most recently convened Fairview Fire Commissioner’s meeting. That meeting found a Board of Fire Commissioners armed and ready with facts and figures to counter a plethora of false information that originated from Town Hall and being propagandized at meetings and in the media by hand-picked operatives. At this same meeting, the Chief’s wife had signed up to speak. Since the attacks had been made against her husband, Chief Anthony LoGiudice, she had remained on the sidelines. But after a letter was sent by resident Milt Hoffman to the Civic Associations, she told ABG she felt compelled to act. She also stated that she was not a public speaker and asked another resident to read her letter, which he did. 

Immediately below is the letter Mr Hoffman sent out to Civic Associations and community groups. What we have intentionally omitted for privacy concerns is Mr Hoffman’s contact information. Following his letter is a letter from Kathy LoGiudice, wife of Fairview Fire Department Chief Anthony LoGiudice.

Mr Hoffman’s letter:
“Dear Neighborhood Assn. Leader: ).
I am one of the coordinators of the newly formed Fairview Monitors who are feed up with increasingly higher property taxes in the Fairview Fire District and want to take back control from the Fiefdom called the Fairview Fire Commission. To accomplish that, we need the help of all the neighborhood associations.

You may have heard about the latest attempt to create an unnecessary and costly position of executive deputy fire chief just as we were receiving our tax bills calling for a 5.7 % hike, atop the 6% last year, and 4.3% the year before. During the two-year period, our district taxes increased from $10,924,627 to $12,424,074, a gain of$1,499,447. During the same period, pension climbed $777,000. And we don't have enough firefighters. Costs soar because men are-brought back on overtime. We have the costliest independent fire district in the state due in part to past decisions to grant huge pensions and health care benefits, each now costing about $2 million a year and accounting for a total of 32 percent of all spending. (One commissioner, Michael Cotter, was on our side.)

What riled people just as much as the proposed new job: the son of a commissioner was among those in line for the position that would have cost us $200,000 a year. The threat of more spending and revelations of nepotism prompted about 70 of our residents to show up at a commission meeting and protest. Some of us created an alliance and quickly circulated a petition signed by 319 residents demanding that the commissioners scrap the proposal and take steps to reduce spending--for example by Fairview and Hartsdale fire departments share one chief for departments now with 45 and 39 men respectively. The chiefs now make over $200,000 a year, more than the chief of the New York City Fire Department with thousands of firefighters, and more than the governor. The three independent fire districts in Greenburgh spend almost as much as Greenburgh spends for police, public works, sanitation, library, parks and other services. 

The commissioners did shelve the executive deputy chief position. However, given the opportunity to join with Hartsdale with one chief for both departments because the Fairview chief was retiring after being criticized for profane and racist remarks and sued for discrimination in hiring, the Fairview commission quickly appointed a deputy as new chief and moved the son of the commissioner into the deputy's vacated slot.

For decades, the Fairview Fire Commission of five has kept our people in the dark, failing to let us know when elections for commissioner are held and raising and spending taxpayer money with impunity. One of our main goals is to elect a taxpayer-friendly commissioner or commissioners in December and keep the pressure on the commissioners by attending Commission meetings. We hope you and others from your association will join us this coming Thursday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at fire headquarters, 19 Rosemont Blvd.

In the meantime, please contact me by email or phone WE MUST BECOME UNITED OR OUR TAXES WILL CONTINUE TO SOAR.”

End of letter.

Ms LoGiudice’s letter:

I sat through last month’s meeting of the Board of Fire Commissioners in Fairview waiting for the Board of Fire Commissioners to correct a lot of misinformation that was being given out by audience members.  It never happened.

Milt Hoffman recently sent a letter to the Civic Associations.  Much of it was the same misinformation spouted at the last meeting.  Perhaps I can address some of the incorrect information in his letter.

First, there was no attempt to create an unnecessary and costly position of Executive Deputy.  That position already exists, it was just not currently filled.  Furthermore, when Tony held the position of Executive Deputy, he was the lowest paid officer in the dept., including Captains. There was one regular Deputy Chief one year that made almost double the Executive Deputy and even more than the Chief.  The Executive Deputy, like the Chief cannot make overtime unlike all the other officers.

As far as calling back guys on overtime when an emergency necessitates it…Greenburgh is a large town made up of mostly volunteer depts.  When one of them has a fire and calls Fairivew, Hartsdale, or Greenville, they show up.  And, yes, they do call people back on overtime if the emergency requires it for both themselves and other depts..

Michael Cotter may be on the taxpayers side but so are all the other commissioners, they all live here.  Michael Cotter is a retired firefighter and may hold some grudges against people still employed in the dept.  One must always be careful about other people’s agendas.  Where else can you retire from your job and get elected to be a boss?  Perhaps a better idea may be to see if there is a way to stop retirees from coming back to be commissioners in a dept. they were employed by.  Mike Cotter was never an officer in this dept. and had no idea what it entailed.

Next point was Eryk Simmons being promoted to Deputy.  When someone retires, they need to be replaced.  Eryk was number 1 on the list and had an impressive resume and had proven himself more than ready for the job in his performance as a Captain.

Milt also mentioned nepotism.  Let’s go there.  You are now concerned with a Commissioner’s son being promoted to deputy, even though that commissioner recused herself from voting.  For years, there was a Malone on the Board of Fire Commissioners.  First there was Gene Malone Jr., followed by his wife Marie.  I’m guessing they also recused themselves from voting when it came to their sons, son-in-law, daughter-in-law’s brothers, grandchildren, etc. being hired or promoted.  No one screamed nepotism then, so why now?  It was no secret.  For years Fairview was known as the Malone Fire Dept. because there were so many of them.  And now it’s a problem?  Generally speaking, the firefighting profession often attracts members of the same family.  Every candidate must take the Civil Service Exam and prove themselves.  Nepotism is not really an issue.

As to Milt’s remarks about Tony retiring after being criticized for profane and racist remarks and sued for discrimination in hiring, the timeline is correct.  Tony is retiring but it is not because of the above.  First let’s address the hiring.  The Chief does not hire.  The Board of Fire Commissioners hire.  So it doesn’t even make sense that the Chief is even named in the suit.  It’s actually unfathomable.  But, this is today’s America, anyone can sue anyone for pretty much anything.

There is no one that wants Tony to retire, especially right now, except perhaps Paul Feiner, Milt Hoffman, and Mike Cotter.  And, we did consider staying, however, if you read the other information I have provided*, you will see that firefighters don’t generally live very long after retiring.  Tony already has one of the cancers caused by 9/11.  It is generally a very slow-moving cancer except for in cases like the first responders down at the Twin Towers.  It moves very quickly so we saw no reason to stay longer than we had originally intended so we moved forward with our retirement plan.  Tony had informed the Board he would retire sometime this year but definitely by the end of the year because we were waiting to see what his health options were.

As to the Fire Dept. budget.  It is unfair of anyone to say anything at all about it with no information other than their own tax bill.  Also, it cannot be compared to the Police budget which is broken up and shared amongst other town expenses.

As to the Commissioner elections, it is always printed in the paper.  Not sure why Milt is trying to pretend now that it isn’t.  He’s brought lots of people to vote in the past.  Last year, someone at Town Hall had misinformed residents and told them it was a budget vote.  People were quite annoyed that they bothered to come out to vote for an unopposed commissioner. 

So the commissioners have not kept anyone in the dark.  They have been busy keeping the fire dept. out of Paul Feiner’s hands.  He wants to use the fire dept. budget for other town expenses.  He will cut our services.  Fairview does EMS.  Nine times out of ten they will respond much quicker than the police are able to.  Fairview’s response time is approx. 5 to 8 minutes from the time they are notified.  The police response is approx. 12 – 15 minutes.  If you have ever needed to call 911 in Fairview, you will generally have the fire dept. pull up first.  If you want to save money, they can discontinue being EMTs and leave that to the police but do you really want to take that risk?  The Fairview Fire Dept. has a long-standing history of supporting the town in EMS, Tech Rescue, and Code Enforcement.  The Town receives all the fine money from Code Enforcement, not the Fire Dept. The Fire Dept. is also not reimbursed for any training for these things and not reimbursed for supplies either.

Milt also mentioned dispatching by 60 Control.  This was already implemented.  As a matter of fact, Fairview was one of the first to be dispatched by 60 Control.  It was a disaster.  Only by the Grace of God, no one was killed or injured.  Also, Milt stated that the dept. dispatchers are paid overtime to handle the dispatching.  Not true.  This is handled by the duty crew for the most part.  Very often by someone who is on light duty.  The firefighters are put on light duty if they are injured.  They are going to be paid anyway, so instead of having them sit around the firehouse and do nothing, they cover the desk (dispatch). 

Someone also mentioned that the guys that went down to the World Trade Center for the 9/11 Tragedy were paid triple time.  That is ludicrous.  Many career firefighters volunteered to go down on their time off.  This was totally unpaid, hence the word volunteer.  I do not know about the NYC firefighters, I’m guessing they probably did get paid, as well they should have.

Milt also keeps mentioning the Chief of NYC and his pay.  I have printed out the organizational chart of the NYC Fire Dept.*  Please take a look at it.  Your Chief is in charge of almost every box on that chart and goes to every major call in Fairview 24 hours, 365 days a year.  He doesn’t  have a “staff”.  Take a look at the chart.  My goodness, your Chief is underpaid by Milt’s standards.

I ask you to support Chief Reiss and the Fairview Fire Dept.

End of letter

Providing bits and pieces of information or saying what people want to hear under the guise of informing the public or rallying the troops does not do anyone a service. It is nothing but propaganda for their own “end game”. ABG has continued to detail the specifics of the Fairview Fire District and the Fairview Fire Department directly, the fire service in general and numerous NY State laws that affect both the fire service and the taxpayer. No other media outlets are providing this information.

Many people have accused ABG of being against fire service consolidation, lower taxes, curbing of high salaries, high pension payouts and more. The reality is quite the contrary – we actually support real consolidation. But real consolidation can only work and work well if it will be implemented throughout a Town-wide level, inclusive of "cherry picked" departments and agencies in the Town. Real consolidation must not applied to just a few departments here and there. It can only succeed if the effort is applied equally, with an even implementation unencumbered or politicized by elected officials.

The taxpayers of Greenburgh deserve more honesty and real open government from our officials. We should seek term limits for all elected officials, and a process that invites and welcomes all legal residents to participate in the process. Greenburgh has yet to see any of this with the majority of our elected officials. Once we do, we’ll finally get A Better Greenburgh.

* Editor’s Note: ABG will be highlighting this information which was not included and will appear in an article currently in progress.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fire Commissioners Fight Back!

Misinformation and deflection are the cornerstones of the Feiner Administration. Mr Feiner’s underlings know that they need to do several things to keep whatever position they occupy in the Town. First, always make sure to bail out Mr Feiner when he puts his foot in his mouth. Second, fall on the sword when a policy or decision he mandated gets exposed. This was last highlighted in our article posted on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, entitled Just Another Broken Law, where Town Comptroller Bart Talamini dove on the sword admitting that he and he alone violated NYS law and withheld the tax payments to the fire districts to the tune of $10M. Third, anytime there is an issue that could be interpreted as embarrassing to Mr Feiner in a meeting, a Town Board member is required to make a motion to hold it over, keep it open, pass it to a commissioner or say it will need to be investigated further. The list goes on but you get the point.

There is another group of “Feiner-ites” that also serve the master unconditionally. One example is a resident and convicted felon, appointed by Mr Feiner to the Deputy Town Supervisor position. There was no Civil Service exam that had to be taken for the position. There was no election for the position either. It was simply a nepotistic appointment arbitrarily made from one friend for another. This underscores the glaring lack of standards and abuse of positions and rank at Town Hall. More importantly, it reeks of the nepotism Mr Feiner himself has accused the fire district of practicing. Shame. On. Him. Why doesn’t the mainstream media report on any of this? We can only assume its because they share similar agendas.

Another “Feiner-maton” is also a resident with his own small cadre of drones that will say whatever they are instructed to say whenever and wherever they are needed. The one distinction between these two men is that this one was not appointed to any position by Mr Feiner. He just believes in the failed social engineering plan known as Westchester 2000. It was never adopted because it was too enormous, bureaucratic and costly to ever be implemented, run or successful. He continues to carry that torch while doing Mr Feiner’s dirty work. He’s also gotten quite a bit of media coverage himself by the Feiner-friendly media and with their complicity, helped him spread a good deal of the lies, misinformation and distrust being groomed from Town Hall. Being retired from the mainstream media guarantees a certain amount of cache with them and knows they will listen to him and print whatever he says. Fortunately for Greenburgh, he is selling his home to move out of Greenburgh – a telling gesture if there ever was one!

The Town of Greenburgh’s hiring policies leave a lot to be desired based on what we’ve witnessed by Mr Feiner cavalierly “appointing” people into positions of consequence. Claims by Mr Feiner and his minions of nepotism in the Fairview Fire District would almost be laughable if the mainstream media had not been so complicit with Mr Feiner’s ruse instead of honestly investigating the allegations. If nepotism exists, it can certainly be found with our own “Pinocchio Paul”. Much has been said about Fire Commissioner Vikki Simmons’ son being promoted to Deputy Chief. Much has also been said about retiring Chief Anthony LoGiudice. And most of what has been fabricated was done to further Mr Feiner’s agenda as well as deflect attention from the Town’s crippling financially-induced problems caused by Mr Feiner. 

What the media hasn’t reported is that everyone working in a firematic capacity for the fire department/fire district had to start the process by taking and passing a Civil Service exam, subsequently being put on a numeric list by score before the Fire Commissioners could even interview and/or hire them! This is the same exam that is used throughout the County by all other paid fire departments and fire districts. In fact, it’s known in firematic circles as the “County Test”. What also hasn’t been reported is that every firefighter who is promoted must also take and pass another Civil Service test just to be put on another numeric list by score before they could be interviewed and chosen for promotion.

Just passing either test and being on the list doesn’t guarantee being hired or promoted - it only opens the door. And, the lists have a finite life span. So passing and being on the list is a temporary opportunity. If and when the list expires and a civilian wants to be considered for a position or a firefighter for a promotion and didn’t get “made” the first time around, they must take a new test again and pass it to be placed on a new list. There is also no guarantee that they will pass the new Civil Service exam just because they passed it previously, nor any guarantee they'll get “made” this time around. 

Last night’s Fairview Fire Commissioner’s meeting saw a 180° turnaround from the previous meeting. Armed with handouts, information and facts, the Board was in control of this meeting! ABG has learned that before the previous meeting held in April, the Board had been instructed by the District’s attorneys not to comment on any of the accusations that were made, giving the false appearance that the Board of Commissioners had something to hide. Whether this was a good idea or not remains to be determined. Several opponents rallied around resident Milt Hoffman once again; although his entourage was significantly reduced to just a hand full of residents.

He made several comments, with some being good points: the fire departments website is lacking and needs to be improved to disseminate information to the public and the need to extend the voting hours for fire commissioner elections. He also stated that now that a new Chief has been appointed, they lose the ability to have the Hartsdale Chief take over command of the Fairview FD. Ms Simmons explained to Mr Hoffman that NY State law does not allow anyone to be a member of two or more fire departments and they are required to have a Chief officer. He looked stunned when she replied. For any officer to give an order to a Fairview firefighter and have it be followed, the superior officer would need to be a member first and then a ranking officer in the Fairview FD, unless they were operating in that departments jurisdiction under mutual aid.

Much had been said about Commissioner Simmons last month. This month she was having none of it, keeping Mr Hoffman in check and countering every one of his ramblings with real facts. When he tried to highlight the eight-year old Michaelian Report as an example, Ms Simmons held up her copy and promised to give it to anyone who wanted to see it and countered the information as Mr Hoffman tried to make it pertain to the Fairview Fire District. The highlight of the night came when "First Lady" Kathy LoGiudice, the outgoing Chief’s wife, was called on to speak. She rose and stated she was not a public speaker and had prepared a letter that another resident would read on her behalf. We will post her letter in our next post. In it she countered much of what had previously been said as the anti-Fire Department/District/Chief crowd were attacking everything and everybody with the Fairview Fire District and Department.

After the letter was read, one Commissioner felt the need to respond as his name was mentioned in her letter. Commissioner Simmons, with over 20 years of service as an unpaid commissioner, let him speak. When he was finished, Mr Hoffman said he wanted to respond to what had been said about him. She told him he had had plenty of time to speak tonight and they were going to move on with the meeting. As he began to protest, another commissioner stepped in and told him a resident gave an opinion and if he has an issue with that, he could take it up with her after the meeting. They proceeded with the regular order of business and adjourned to Executive Session to discuss personnel issues.

ABG and many of the residents wish Chief LoGiudice and his family well in his retirement. We hope the cancer he contracted at Ground Zero will be held in check and again thank him for his years of service to Fairview, Greenburgh and our respective communities throughout.

ABG also congratulates Chief Howard Reiss on his promotion to Chief of the Department. We know that with his firematic background, knowledge, history and compassion for others, he is the right choice for this job.

It seems as though the firestorm started by Mr Feiner for his own political benefit has been extinguished. Maybe things will change at Town Hall in the next election and we can stop these games and finally have A Better Greenburgh.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Upcoming School Board Elections on May 20th

Much has been said about where our tax money goes. Mr Feiner routinely lies about keeping the Town budget under the elective NY State 2% Tax Cap. Our Town taxes are increasing this year by 3.4% – hardly under 2%. Mr Feiner also made a pretty big case for not “creating” an Executive Deputy Chief’s position, which ironically already existed but had not been filled and claimed that this position would put the Fire District over the 2% Tax Cap. Frankly it would not have done so and the Fire District was once again able to come under the 2% Tax Cap – at 2%, not 3.4% as Mr Feiner has done.

The bulk of our property taxes in Greenburgh are comprised of a number of taxing entities that have unfettered access to our wallets. Misinformation from Mr Feiner and others creates great headlines but does nothing to ameliorate the problem of killer taxes in the Town. Your fire taxes and your school taxes followed by the Town and then the litany of others is where you money is going. Two people running for School Board positions are shown below. The school elections are May 20th. Please make sure you go and vote and then attend school board meetings. This way, when the propagandists at Town Hall are doing their best to push their agendas, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the misinformation they spew.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Our apologies for not posting this sooner. We hope
Mothers everywhere have a great day.

The Grand Plan: Ultimatums To Promote Ill-Conceived Consolidation (Part 3)

Lest anyone believe the talks of fire consolidation by Mr Feiner are genuine, please read the letters posted below, authored by Town Councilman Francis Sheehan. The first letter with the heading “Memo” is the letter Mr Sheehan sent to the 2008 Consolidation Board, Fire Districts and Board of Fire Commissioners, detailing why he resigned from the Consolidation Committee. When you read the body of the actual resignation letters, it becomes abundantly clear to all that Mr Feiner is acting consciously to coerce the direction of the vote endorsing fire consolidation with the Towns paid fire departments of Fairview, Hartsdale and Greenville.

Mr Feiner has threatened and is proposing to push a referendum toward consolidating two of the Town’s three paid fire departments. Since his orginal proposal, Mr Feiner has jettisoned Greenville from the consolidation “mix”. We’ve already explained why he is no longer including the Greenville Fire Department, however we’ll quickly recount the reason. Simply, he cannot afford to upset the Edgemont community, already anxious to incorporate and become their own village, because he needs the revenue their taxes generate, the higher value homes and most importantly, the attractiveness of their school system to attract people to move to Greenburgh. Since Edgemont has been rather vociferous about Mr Feiner’s actions, opinions as to what they plan to do abound. Mr Feiner has good reason to adjust his takeover plans.

The Greenville Fire District, and the Greenville Fire Department has its fire station on Central Avenue near the A&P Supermarket and Curry Chevrolet businesses. Loosely speaking, they provide fire protection to the southern and eastern area of Greenburgh. Specifically, they provide fire protection for the relatively affluent portion of the Town known as Edgemont, among others. The moderately wealthy Hartsdale Fire District and Hartsdale Fire Department protects the correspondingly adjacent area mostly north and west of Greenville’s fire protection district. Finally, the balance of the Unincorporated area that is protected by a paid fire service is the heavily populated with low-income and 49% tax-exempted Fairview section of the Town, protected by the Fairview Fire District  and Fairview Fire Department.

Reading the resignation letter Mr Sheehan wrote and sent to the Consolidation Committee, Fire Districts and Board of Fire Commissioners is an eye opening tale of coercion, Tammany Hall politics, and political chicanery not seen or felt before this administration matured in the Town of Greenburgh or even Westchester County. In it Mr Sheehan touches on several points: what he has learned about firematics while on the committee, the distrust many have for him as a Town Councilman (with this undertaking) placed on this committee and the Town Board in general. He comments to Mr Feiner’s purposeful recruitment and placement with a committee comprised of individuals with no fire knowledge or background. 

On page one of the opening salvo to Mr Feiner, Mr Sheehan states he is resigning specifically to resolve the conflict which Mr Feiner created. This deal was a tit-for-tat, one hand washing the other, or more succinctly, politics at its worst. Mr Feiner was blackmailing Mr Sheehan into giving Mr Feiner the fire consolidation report findings he sought in return for approval to amendments to the antenna law Mr Sheehan was working on. Mr Feiner threatened that “Any recommendation other than the fire district consolidation could foster delay in the adoption of the proposed amendments to the antenna law or further retaliation against the Antenna Advisory Board, which would ultimately harm the community.”

During the time the Consolidation Committee was meeting, Mr Feiner was not getting the intended outcome from Mr Sheehan, et al, so Mr Feiner took it upon himself and “authorized Town staff to prepare a Request For Proposal (RFP) to hire consultants, not only to review the proposed amendments, but to assume all duties of the Antenna Advisory Board...” This move was a clear attempt by Mr Feiner to usurp Mr Sheehan and ensure the results he had tasked the committee to produce.

Throughout the two page resignation letter from the Consolidation Committee tendered by Mr Sheehan to Mr Feiner are references to arm-twisting by Mr Feiner. Mr Sheehan decided to step away from the Consolidation Committee to be able to pursue the best course of action for the Town with regards to antennas throughout our Town. Admirable. The Consolidation scam Mr Feiner is perpetuating against the Town will have dire financial consequences throughout the Unincorporated Town if allowed to happen. We must stop Mr Feiner's blatant toying with bits and pieces of the Greenburgh landscape with developers, spot-zoning, discrimination, and other deflections designed to position him as a leader. Real leaders don't need to play these games. Real leaders lead by setting good examples. Greenburgh needs real leaders. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Hypocritical Supervisor – Anti-Jewish: Bad, Racist: Best of The Best

Lawsuits are a dime a dozen nowadays, especially in Greenburgh. Mr Feiner certainly knows about that! In fact, controversy is a common feature regarding just about everything Mr Feiner touches. He sort of has the Midas Touch, only in reverse. This time however, we find that another community leader is under attack, and without Mr Feiner’s instigation – but he is involved. You’ll recall Mr Feiner needed to get attention away from his mismanagement of Town finances and decided to take advantage of a comment made by a disgruntled former Fairview firefighter under oath.

This time it seems Greenburgh Schools Superintendent Ronald O. Ross (seen earlier, left) and members of the Board of Education, individually, are on the receiving end of a lawsuit filed by a number of Greenburgh Central School District employees. While the charges in the lawsuit have not been substantiated, this is Greenburgh and a little detail like that isn’t really necessary! Plaintiffs in this action are one of the schools principals, the human resources director, two guidance counselors and four teachers, all of whom are suing the Superintendent for having created what they claim is a hostile workplace rife with harassment and filled with racial, religious and sexual slurs. They have included the School Board in the lawsuit as they also claim that they knew of the situation but did nothing to address it. Damages have not been specified so we’ll have to wait and see how this all shakes out.

According to court papers, Ross (more currently, left) has used numerous variations of slurs to refer to colleagues and subordinates. Some of these include: “White Bitch,” “Whining White Bitch,” “Black Bitch,” “Old Black Bitch,” “Old Fat Black Bitch,” “Nazi Bitch,” “Jew Bitch,” “Midget Bitch,” “Old Black Bitch,” “Old Fat Black Bitch,” “Nosey Jew Bitch,” “F—–g White Bitch,” “Fat White D–e Bitch,” “White D–e Bitch,” “Deaf White Bitch,” and even “Racist White Bitch” and “Racist Brazilian Bitch.” Other derisive monikers where the word bitch was not included are: “Aunt Jemima,” “Clarence Thomas,” “White Uncle Tom,” “White Devil,” “sell out,” “crackers,” “trailer trash,” or “Oreo.” Clearly there is enough here that this should not be easily dismissed with a wave of the hand as one off-color (no pun) remark made in confidence or privacy.

Below is a copy of two emails sent by Mr Feiner to select School Board members. Both emails are shown below. In the first email (top), he asks the School Board members to not seek to replace Superintendent Ross. He closes the email with the sentence, “If I did not think that Ron was the best of the best – I would not write this note.” The second email (bottom) again finds Mr Feiner is disappointed to learn of an effort to replace Superintendent Ronald Ross, claiming Ross is hard working, and he really cares about “our” children. Mr Feiner does not have children who attend the Greenburgh schools, so “our children” seems a bit contrived. In closing with the second email, he says, “I would be happy to meet with you to discuss why I think it’s important to keep Ron Ross working for our community.”

There’s no doubt that the charges leveled against Mr Ross are significant even if they haven’t been substantiated. Fortunately, he has Mr Feiner’s support and endorsement. The people who have initiated this lawsuit are not rank-and-file workers with a beef against their boss or received a bad review. So there might just be something to this lawsuit after all. These also don’t appear to be disgruntled employees trying to get “even” with their boss as former Fairview firefighter Darryl Leake seems to have done against Fairview Fire Chief Anthony LoGiudice. Mr Feiner couldn’t move fast enough to crucify Chief LoGiudice in email-blasted court of public opinion over an anti-Jewish statement the Chief made years prior. When an apology was requested by Mr Feiner, the Chief apologized in person and in writing. But that wasn’t enough for Mr Feiner. Now that he had the media blitz in full swing, he needed more, so he resurrected his phony consolidation plans with faulty information, open lies, and a task force of bitter retirees in hopes of fanning his fire of desperation.

In our article entitled “Selective Racism Condoned By Supervisor” on April 8th, we quoted Mr Feiner as saying, “We cannot, as elected officials, allow discrimination to rear its ugly head.” Yet he endorses Superintendent Ross, openly practiced discrimination himself 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. He and the Town Board have ignored the use of the “N-word” in Town Hall by Tax Assessor Edye McCarthy with other employees present. We posted an excerpt of a letter of complaint from the offended party in that same article. The complaint was summarily ignored by the Town.

More importantly, why is it acceptable for Mr Feiner to be offended about a comment made years ago and seek to destroy one mans career while it is acceptable for Mr Feiner to be endorsing the bad and reprehensible behavior of another? Of course, the charges need to be substantiated. Especially disturbing is to hear of this in our learning institutions. Why does Mr Feiner’s administration allow the insulting use of the “N-word” within the offices of Town Hall but do nothing about it when complaints are made? Why can the Town Comptroller withhold funds to the taxing entities, knowingly breaking the law, and have no punishment, retribution or consequences for his illegal behavior? And, if Mr Feiner is his boss, why are they both not thrown out on their ears? Why can Mr Feiner offer an illegal lease to a private company without the Town having a clear title and pay no consequence for it? Finally, since Mr Feiner is concerned with the Fairview Fire Chief’s $200,000-plus salary, why has he remained silent about Mr Ross’ equally high $200,000-plus salary? Regardless of what is transpiring with the fire chief and the superintendent, both of whom are trained for their positions, they’ve never criticized Mr Feiner for the ratio of work-to-pay that he is paid.

The Fortress Bible Church discrimination case against Mr Feiner and the Town speaks volumes regarding their illegal activities and how they treat “some” people, while treating "others" much differently? Why does the populace, our willfully ignorant, not demand more from our elected officials? Why does the public tolerate Mr Feiner and the Town Board turning a blind eye toward discrimination and even practicing it? We’ve seen Mr Feiner and his Town Board selectively pick and choose which outrage they will focus on. Its a shame they will not simply do the right thing and unequivocally stand for what’s right. If and when they do, we’ll begin to see A Better Greenburgh.