Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

To all of our ABG readers, we wish you a joyous and healthy Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Suspicious Package at Staples

View of Staples parking lot from the Greenburgh Library

This morning started out as any other rainy work day at Staples, until an employee came across a package with few markings and a return address of Iran or Iraq. The Elmsford Police were called to investigate and responded to the location. The police evacuated the store, cordoned off the area and called in the County Bomb Squad to investigate the suspicious package. Staples is a drop off/pick up center for the United Parcel Service (UPS). As far as we were able to learn, no one was injured or arrested as of this posting.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

More Phony “Good News” From Town Hall

Phony “Good News” is nothing more than a campaign email from Mr Feiner. They happen daily - sometimes even twice daily. Several thousand people will receive this email and that will be followed with a physical postal mailing. We know because we get both forwarded to us from our readers. 

Here’s what actually happened:
Greenburgh Police Chief Chris McNerney said today that a 27-year old woman was struck by a car on East Hartsdale Avenue while walking her dog. She was not in the crosswalk when she was hit. A number of residents had said that she was. The woman was reported today to be in critical but stable condition at Westchester Medical Center. Police say that the woman’s dog died from injuries suffered in the accident.

The email below supposedly discusses what has transpired in Hartsdale regarding pedestrian safety after a woman was struck by an automobile and what Mr Feiner is “doing” about it. The well-crafted email actually offers very little commitment nor resolution from Mr Feiner and alludes to pedestrian safety but not where this accident happened. As always, he has soft-tossed the issue from his lap to Police Chief McNerney, similar to the kid’s game of Hot Potato. We’ve commented in blue what we read from the email.

Mr Feiner’s email is in red and ABG comments in blue:

A few weeks ago  there was a pedestrian accident on E Hartsdale Ave. Accidents do indeed happen. But why not mention what actually happened? Was it a simple slip-and-fall, a bicyclist colliding with a person walking on a sidewalk or a car striking a pedestrian crossing the street? Was the pedestrian failing to give a three-foot berth to the biker or was it the other way around? Thankfully, the woman survived. Survived, got bumped and bruised and/or broke something? A flair for the dramatic certainly makes for good reading. I asked Greenburgh Police Chief Chris McNerney to have our traffic and safety division consider ways to make the avenue safer for pedestrians. Should they first identify what is unsafe before making anything safer for pedestrians? Is there something actually unsafe or was this in fact a simple accident that Mr Feiner is seizing upon for his daily campaign emails? Would sidewalks have been the answer? For instance, Hartsdale seems to be one area in the Town with sidewalks. Most other neighborhoods are clamoring for and not receiving sidewalks or even an answer about planning for and/or receiving sidewalks. Again, it would help to know what actually transpired. Prior to the accident some senior citizens recommended that the town prohibit bicycling on sidewalks. Was this the issue? Was a pedestrian struck by a bicyclist or merely startled by a bicyclist on the sidewalk stumbled and fell? Many elderly residents walk up and down the avenue. Are these elderly people walking on sidewalks or the roadway? If a bicycle hits an elderly person it could cause serious injury. I am  hopeful that we will be able to implement this recommendation early in 2015. Yes, if a bicyclist hits anybody, especially an elderly person, it can be serious. Translation: don't expect anything to change.
Chief McNerney indicated that the town is reviewing the safety of the East Hartsdale Avenue corridor. We are taking all recommendations from the public under advisement. Our Traffic and Safety Supervisor has initiated the following:
  • New lights were installed today - Where were these new lights installed? In Hartsdale? Were they installed at the scene of the accident and was lighting the issue that caused this pedestrian to get struck by this mystery person? Otherwise, why mention it? Because it feels good.
  • Old street light bulbs were replaced with High Intensity LED bulbs - Were these replacement bulbs installed in the location of the accident or someplace unrelated? Otherwise, why mention it? Because it feels good.
  • Digital Speed Display signs were installed - Do these digital displays pick up bikers if indeed it was a bicyclist that struck the pedestrian? Displaying the speed of any vehicle is useless if we don't enforce the speed limits. And what are the biking speed limits? Otherwise, why mention it? Because it feels good.
  • When manpower permits, we are assigning a patrol car to the area to enforce the vehicle and traffic laws, with concentration on vehicles failing to yield to pedestrians In other words, don't expect to see any real enforcement prevail beyond a normal patrol.
    Otherwise, why mention it? Because it feels good.
  • We have budgeted for several crosswalk beacons that will have a button for pedestrians to push to activate strobe lights to assist with pedestrian visibility and crossing. Are these new crosswalk beacons going to be installed where the accident happened and will they help prevent accidents in the same place from happening again? Otherwise, why mention it? Because it feels good.

We are studying the feasibility of additional safety measures. Our findings will be completed in early January. Translation: It will be buried on the website after a brief mention at a work session where Mr Feiner and his crew can feign sincerity and concern only to bury this with the need for sidewalks, outdoor gun range control, lost WestHelp payments, the $6.5 million guilty verdict, the former Franks Nursery property contamination debacle - the list is seemingly endless. 

In order for things to change, the electorate must change. They must speak up and say, “Enough!” Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Chanukah

Chanukah -- the eight-day festival of light that begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev -- celebrates the triumph oflight over darkness, of purity overadulteration, of spirituality over materiality. You can learn more at:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Attention all Moms and Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles! The Fairview Fire Department will be giving Santa’s reindeer a break this weekend and helping Santa visit your neighborhood to give out candy canes. Listen for the fire trucks and see Santa! His schedule for the weekend is below. Keep an eye out for Greenburgh’s Bravest and their special guest, Santa Claus!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Traffic Woes Continue in Fulton Park

Old Kensico Road looking south (left pic) and north (right pic)
So today, Friday, sees construction of the soon to be all-blacktop deli property underway. Traffic, as usual, is backed up from the north heading toward Rt 119. Residents are held captive in their own neighborhood, unable to find an opening in the traffic congestion. We drove down our hill and parked at the new CVS to check out a phone tip we received. There was nothing happening at the County Center, nothing happening in the east or west bound lanes of Rt 119. One thing we did notice is that the deli has removed the No Left Turn and other signage placed on Town property prohibiting left turns from the CVS parking lot onto Old Kensico Road and no parking signs. Is anybody in the Town watching any of this? It appears not!

Looking in either direction at about 10AM, traffic can be seen until it literal disappears out of sight. It actually started at about 9AM and has continued up to this posting at noon. This is not because of construction at the deli, or construction and heavy traffic on Rt 119, or an event at the County Center. This is what the residents are stuck with because of the over-development by our various Boards, but in particular the Town Board. It was so bad, a County utility type truck drove south in the north bound lane, went around the traffic circle on the left and up County Center Road, where the driver made a right turn onto Rt 119. Unfortunately, he drove too fast for us to get a license number to follow up with.

As the Comprehensive Planning Committee gets stalled having to look into other tasks thrust upon them by Mr Feiner , there is no cohesive plan to help control the bastardization by Mr Feiner and his Board of the Town. There’s a saying often bandied about with the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations that states, if it happens in one neighborhood, you can be sure it will happen in others. To all of Fulton Park’s  neighbors we say beware, you might be next. Our Town Board needs to listen and help all of its residents. Then we will see A Better Greenburgh

More Traffic Woes Once Deli Opens - You Could Be Next

When CompUSA moved into the corner location at Rt 119 and Old Kensico Road, the Fulton Park neighborhood was relieved that the space would not be used as another homeless facility. It felt the same when Staples moved in as well. Directly across the street was the former Kings Inn Motel that Mr Feiner vowed to fight to make a senior residence should it close. Then he reneged on that promise (simply an ad hoc crowd pleasing-lie at the time to protect himself). Subsequently he contacted a host of people and helped broker a carte blanche deal for Westhab, as extremly lucrative albeit not for profit corporation. 

Now still only partially occupied after being opened for several years, ABG’s guess is it will soon be turned into a  DSS Section 8 housing facility commanding $1400 for a 400-600 square foot “efficiency” apartment. Since the government has no limits on its spending, Westhab will rake in the Benjamin’s once their full business plan is finally implemented! Previously, Mr Feiner condoned the facility’s use as a transition location for just released convicts and crime in the neighborhood soared. The neighborhood nor their concerns didn't matter to Mr Feiner. They shortly learned the rest of the Town Board didn’t care either - mostly because Mr Feiner instructed them not to.

The deli next door complained about damage to the building, thefts and break-ins. Could it be directly attributed to the residents living at the transition facility? The politically correct won’t say so but the neighbors will. Mysteriously, when the facility was finally closed by the County, crime in the area all but vanished. Maybe the neighbors were right?

We believe the pseudo-abandoned deli, they continued using it behind the plywood encased windows and doors, had been illegally boarded up and had illegal signage installed on it. The Fulton Park Civic Association asked Mr Feiner and the Town to address it. We’re told by residents the deli made campaign donations to Mr Feiner’s re-election campaign. The Civic Association did not. The illegal signage went untouched for two years – no fines, no mandates to remove any of it and no repercussions. The “struggling” deli owner is really a real estate owner of numerous properties along with his brothers, one of whom owns RJT Towing and more.

He maintained he was losing thousands of dollars in lost revenue because he lacked a drive-thru window. Really – that’s the reason? It couldn’t be the asbestos-caused empty Verizon building across the street who had provided the majority of his customers? Or, an issue of quality with the food? Or, the disposition of the employees and owner toward customers? Or, the day laborers hanging out in the parking lot each morning? Or, well, it doesn’t matter any more.

The deli petitioned the Town Board, Zoning Board and Planning Board to allow it to build a drive-thru window. Making an teary-eyed plea, the deli owner feined weeping as he explained his parents had started the deli, he used his mother’s recipes and worked there as a teenager and he wants to keep this going in their memory. Oh my gosh, what a performance. It seemed so real. Give me a minute to dry the keyboard from my own tears. His act worked and they disregarded the neighborhood’s complaints of increased traffic, setback violations, encroachment onto state property - all of it.

The former Staples closed and a CVS reopened in its place. As an aside, the CVS building is in White Plains and the parking lot is in Greenburgh. We guess with that entire staff on board, sandwich sales at the deli should soar to what, maybe four more a day? But keep in mind we don't believe this was ever about sales or a deli or a parents legacy. Rather, it was about flipping the building with a drive-thru window grandfathered into the sale. We’re guessing Dunkin Donuts. Once the deli reopens, for however long or short a period of time, traffic woes promise to be worse. We need a Town Board willing to help its residents. Then we will see A Better Greenburgh.

Good News? Pedestrian Struck On Knollwood Road

It has often been said that only good news emanates from Town Hall emails, press leases and interviews. Bad news is mysteriously shuffled to some place inside Town Hall, rarely exposed unless residents uncover it and publicize it. This is such a story.

One such piece of good news was when Mr Feiner announced that the former Cooke’s Florist facility on Knollwood Road had been sold after entertaining ruin for years when the owner passed away. It was purchased by the Mount Vernon Health Organization that does business in Greenburgh as the Greenburgh Health Center (GHC). Let’s not concern ourselves with pesky details such as the 1986 law that was passed mandating the property revert back to residential zoning should it ever be sold. No bother. Good news everyone! The Greenburgh Health Center is finally moving to Knollwood Road from Rt 119!

But wait, there’s more good news. People will no longer be crossing Rt 119 trying to get across the street for a White Plains bound bus. That’s right, no more playing Frogger on Rt 119. The new facility will be bigger and better able to handle more people. Let’s not concern ourselves with pesky details such as the size of the building on the non-reverted residential to commercial to residential back to commercial piece of property. Or it’s size, or it’s stadium-like lighting, or its lack of shrubbery.

But wait, there’s more good news. The Health Center will be building a sidewalk on their side of Knollwood Road. And, since that is one-busy stretch of road, think of how much safer the young mothers with strollers and kids in tow will be walking from the bus stop to the facility. What’s that? There are no bus stops there? Well, uh, wait a minute. Good news! There’s a state initiative to get money to build sidewalks in different communities. The only flaw is that your Town actually has to apply for the money, not just talk about. More good news! The Town is embarking on a new slogan: “Why fix it when we can talk about it?”

But wait, there’s more good news. The condominiums next to the location of the new GHC was required to build sidewalks in front of their property, practically extending the safe zone from Rt 119, where there wasn’t a bus stop to the A&P shopping center. However, the Town is not enforcing that tidbit and are allowing the condominium to get away with breaching their agreement. So if a young mother pushing her stroller and dragging her kids gets tired or needs to eat or even needs diapers while seeking a bus stop, they can walk in the northbound lane of Knollwood Road to go to the A&P, CVS, P&B, or DD. Although, if they are getting services from the GHC, they might not have enough money to shop there. But wait, there’s more good news. The state is raising the minimum wage, so all is well.

Okay enough! There is no good news on Knollwood Road. In fact, according to Police Chief McNerney, “On November 24th, at approximately 6:55pm, a pedestrian was struck on Joan Avenue at the intersection of Knollwood Road. The pedestrian was crossing Joan Avenue, from the north side to the south side and was struck by a vehicle that was traveling south on Knollwood Road, making a right onto Joan. According to the report, the pedestrian suffered minor injuries.” This piece of information was unreported to the media. Just so you know, the Journal News has someone call all police departments every day to see if there is anything they can report about crime in their next edition.

Whether or not we had sidewalks at this location, a stones throw from the GHC, may not have mattered for this person as they were on the opposite side and crossing a sidestreet and not directly on Knollwood Road. Or were they? This pedestrian was more than likely walking south (toward Dobbs Ferry Road) on the rough-to-navigate shoulder of Knollwood Road. There is no sidewalk there. So it just so happened that the pedestrian was crossing Joan Avenue while walking on Knollwood when they were struck by a car. Why is this important?

We spoke to a few people about the accident and were told by a Town employee that when Mr Feiner found out the accident took place on Knollwood Road near the GHC, he instructed the police not to release this information. They didn’t until a resident asked. Hmm, why would he do that? It doesn’t matter now, but it’s this kind of control over the Town’s independently operated fire districts and fire departments that Mr Feiner doesn’t have but seeks with the election of his hand-picked candidates.

The Broadview Civic Association has been lobbying the Town at countless meetings and with letters to have the sidewalks not only ADA compliant, but constructed per the plans and agreements made for them to get approval to first build the condominiums and then the GHC. It really depends on what Mr Feiner wants and the Town Departments will fall in lockstep. Sidewalks have been a missing safety ingredient throughout the Town and discussed often. The time to install them is obviously during construction. In fact, we recall when Mr Feiner coerced the developer of Stop and Shop on Rt 119 near Benedict Avenue to build a sidewalk by the apartments across two streets from them to receive building permit approvals. And now Brightview is building their facility nearby. Hmm, what did Mr Feiner know way-back-when that he wasn’t sharing?

Students from Westchester Communit College (WCC) petitioned Mr Feiner during a Town Board meeting to construct sidewalks from the college down Grasslands Road to the bottom of the hill. They came in with signs and enthusiasm that we’re sure are long forgotten now that they’ve either graduated or been struck by a car on the way to school and are in physical therapy. One speaker even commented to them that it was nice to bring this up but it would never happen. Good news! For a while, the sign the young man carried was left on display in the Town Hall lobby. It’s since been relegated to the same place bad news goes to at Town Hall. Mr Feiner got his publicity and nothing has happened for the walking safety of students at WCC.

Recently, there was a meeting in Edgemont about sidewalks at the Seely Place School in Edgemont. The long and short of it is Mr Feiner did his usual rope-a-dope that sidewalks here would be good but committed to nothing. While we have no issue with Police Chief McNerney suggesting they do a three season survey to assess the safety concerns, the simply goal of one sidewalk morphed into a much larger project that would require all areas in the Town with schools to be reviewed. Translation? Death. At the following day’s work session, Mr Feiner and the Town Board quickly changed the topic from sidewalks to something else.  Civic leaders in different parts of the Town have repeatedly requested sidewalks.

Death of a sidewalk, death of a student, death of a pedestrian crossing the street. Regardless how many people get hit and don’t die, government always installs what was needed after somebody gets killed. Ardsley just got a sidewalk installed because the Mayor and Village Board applied for state and federal grants. That’s the only flaw in the process with Mr Feiner and his Board. They actually have to apply for the money that’s there to get it. Why fix it when we can talk about it. The time to talk is over. The time to act is now. Only then will we have A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Political Machine Wins, Consolidation Moves Closer

Tonight’s Fire District elections proved once again that Mr Feiner can get his candidates to win an election. Like communism, where they aren’t concerned with this generational time frame, but the next one, Mr Feiner has begun laying the ground work for his takeover of the Fire Districts via consolidation with this “generational election”. He posted two candidates who favor consolidation and with no surprise, after his robo-calls and expensive mailings, handily won the Fire Commissioner election in their respective communities.

Next year he will do the same thing and the year after. Once his “Friends of Paul Feiner” are installed on these Boards, Consolidation will be back on the table. Only this time, instead of trying to strong-arm the districts into Feiner-compliance, he’ll do it from within by having a three to whatever number vote favoring a referendum on consolidation. And as he proved with GameOn 365’s illegal lease, then sale, it will pass, delivering him control of the independent fire departments in the Town.

The election results winner in Fairview was predictably Claire Pizzuti of the Fire Monitors, over the other two candidates. In Hartsdale, the winner was also predictably Michael Goldstein who sat on Alan Hochberg’s consolidation committee that Mr Feiner put together in his initial push for consolidation that failed. And, Anthony Frasca won his limited term election in Hartsdale. In Greenville, Walter Grodin, running unopposed also won. While it went against Mr Feiner’s wishes, the three propositions in Greenville passed by a large margin, proving Mr Feiner still has reason to sweat over Edgemont.

While we cannot prove Mr Hoffman used his considerable Journal News influence to fabricate a story about the Greenville Fire Department accident requiring an investigation while responding to a fire call in Pelham, it is amazingly coincidental that the request for an investigation over a two year old accident happens to surface a day or so before a Fire District election.

The sad part of these elections, beyond the obvious stacking of the Boards, is that out of thousands of people who could have voted, roughly only 300+ did vote. How disappointing, especially when people in other parts of the world are fighting for a right so many here take for granted. Most of those who voted probably did so because they were contacted by a robo-call from Mr Feiner or the candidates. The rest just didn’t care. We’ve written about them often, the willfully ignorant OIMBY’s.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to the other candidates for participating. To the winners, we promise, we’ll be watching.

Today’s The Day: Fire District Elections

It’s gloomy outside. It’s wet. Frankly, it’s just a miserable day. But there is one thing you can do today that will help. This evening are the elections for Fire Commissioner in the three Fire Districts in Town. They are Fairview, Hartsdale and Greenville. Below is a listing of voting hours, locations and the candidates we endorse. We urge everyone to vote.

3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. The polling locations are Fairview Fire Headquarters at 19 Rosemont Boulevard; and Fairview Fire Station #2, at 290 Worthington Road.
3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. The polling location is only at Hartsdale Fire District, Station 1, at 25 South Central Avenue, Hartsdale, NY.
2 p.m. until 9 p.m. The polling location is the Greenville fire house at 711 Central Ave.

Candidates and Issues By District:
There are three candidates running for one open Commissioner position, which is a five-year term: Todd V. Cammisa, Keith Guerra and Claire C. Pizzuti. The Fire Commissioner’s position is unpaid. There are no bond proposals or propositions on the ballot. 
We endorse Todd Cammisa.
There are three candidates running for Commissioner’s position, two of whom are seeking the five-year terms and one of which is seeking to fill the remainder of a term that was vacated:
The candidates for the 5 year term commencing on January 1, 2015 are: Michael Goldstein and Andrew Lee. 
We endorse Andrew Lee.
The Candidate for the 1 year term to begin on January 1, 2015 is Anthony Frasca. 
We endorse Anthony Frasca.
The is only one candidate running for one Commissioner position, which is a five-year term: Walter Groden. 
We endorse Walter Groden.

There are three bond proposals on the ballot that Greenville residents should be aware of and we support voting YES for them.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Ethically Challenged Supervisor Can't Play By The Rules

We have often said that Mr Feiner ignores the laws he doesn't like, often violating those same laws in the process. We've also written quite often that he skirts the law, never mind totally ignoring the intent of the law. We've also stated in numerous articles that he says its just his personal opinion about topics he should remain neutral about. Well, he's at it again.

ABG has just received communications from a number of people who have received phone calls from Mr Feiner on behalf of "his friend", candidate Mike Goldstein. Apparently these calls are being made after hours by Mr Feiner, so of course, its okay because he isn't doing this during business hours. But while he may be able to justify his actions for the takeover of the fire departments, voters will probably not realize the difference. He should remain on the sidelines silent - until after the election.

The intentional, and we'll even go so far as to say the unintentional, consequence of this action is that once again Mr Feiner's unethical action is undermining the fire district election by injecting himself into them. He knows this. But again, the public does not. While the Paul Feiner political machine is behind Mr Goldstein and Ms Pizzuti in Fairview, we should not have Mr Feiner's politicization of our fire services as part of these elections.

Each community with paid fire departments has Fire Commissioners within their respective Fire Districts. That is where you should begin your action for change. Running for a Fire Commissioner position should not be a cavalier undertaking for ulterior motives and causes, but one of commitment and resolve to better both the firematic side and taxpayer side. To date the fire Chiefs from Fairview and Hartsdale have extended themselves to the communities and the civic associations and have proven their resolve to communicate, work with and answer to the public.

We ask our neighbors to not be swayed by in-person or robo calls from Town officials. We have endorsed several candidates and will reiterate that here:
Fairview: Todd Cammisa
Hartsdale: Andrew Lee and Anthony Frasca
Greenville: Walter Grodin
Greenville Propositions 1, 2 & 3: Yes.

If you are curious as to how we made our decisions, please see our previous articles.

Hoffman Letter Exposes Link to Pizzuti

Our readership is a smart one. They prove this time and time again with their comments, suggestions and emails to us that they are informed and appreciate our dedication to telling the other side, sometimes the real side, of the story. While we always appreciate their input, apparently our posts about the pending Fire District elections on Tuesday have touched a nerve with some new readers and frankly campaigners. We will remove articles from other publications and accusations allegedly from other media sources whether in quotes or not. Another policy we maintain is to not allow profanity or attacks against others. 

In our last article, we mapped out the plan we believe Mr Feiner has launched some time ago to take over the Town's Fire Departments. While this is not Area 51 type information, some comments have been made that Claire Pizzuti does not know or is not involved with the Fairview Fire Monitors. This is not true. At several Fire District and other meetings Mr Hoffman attended, he stated the Fire Monitors would be putting up their own candidate. In the beginning of her campaign,this point was touted. In fact, on her campaign flyer it says, "Member of the Fairview Fire Monitors Committee and chosen without opposition by the Committee to be a candidate for Fire Commissioner". Third, we have reprinted below an email Mr Hoffman has sent out to his team seeking help for the elections, which clearly indicates their involvement.

Hoffman's letter to his team (in blue; other media outlets redacted by ABG):

Dear Fellow Monitors:

          We are nearing the end of our mission to place a taxpayer with no special interest on the Fairview Board of Fire Commissioners. On behalf of Claire Pizzuti, our energetic and great candidate and myself as a co-ordinator, thanks go to all of you who have put in time to deliver our fliers and spread the message in other means such as email, telephones and personal contact. We have had a large mailing to areas that could not be covered by door to door distribution. Some foot distribution ends today. I think, for beginners, collectively we have done a terrific job in letting people know there is an election and Claire's community activity bio and her message is known.
            As we look forward to voting on Tuesday, we must get the voters out. Our task will be more difficult because of the rain that is forecast for that day. I believe that telephone reminder calls, or even email messages, should be made tomorrow (Monday) and even Tuesday. I happen to have some phone listings in the district. If you want any names and numbers for your area, please email me with the names of the streets. I'll try to accommodate as many people as possible.
          For those who are able, I suggest you offer to drive to the polling place those who have no transportation. In a message I attached to the fliers I distributed, I offered rides and gave my telephone number. I have received several requests and expect more.
          Our media release was picked up so far by the internet news agency called Patch, by two weekly newspapers, the White Plains Examiner and the Rising.
          We do have a special need. We need a volunteers to sit at the twi polling place as watchers. If you volunteer to be a poll watch for the entire six hours or even for several hours, please message me at once because we have to notify the district clerk.  Thank you.
          Ours is not the only  contested election in Greenburgh. A group somewhat similar to our committee is running Michael Goldstein, for Hartsdale commissioner. He is a former auditor of federal agencies and a person who served four years ago on a town study commission of the three fire districts--a commission that predicted The Perfect Storm in taxes that now faces us.
          The Greenville district does not have a contested election, but some residents might have wished they had. Today's Journal News has a story on page 3 detailing an investigation of the Greenville commissioners by police and the district attorney into allegation of a million dollar insurance fraud. If you do not read the Journal News, you may go to for the story. The newspaper also has another story on page 7 that mentions a controversial bond issue that voters have to decide in Greenville.. 
         Again, thanks from me, Milt Hoffman, on behalf of the entire Claire Pizzuti team tghat means all of you.       

The article Mr Hoffman refers to of a probe of the Greenville Fire Department and District’s handling of an accident was when the aerial ladder was involved in an accident in August 2012 while going to Pelham to standby in their firehouse. Why was a Greenville ladder going to Pelham when other area fire departments and their ladder trucks are closer and could have gone? That’s a subject for future discussion. 

Mr Hoffman refers to this article because the article links the aerial ladder in this accident as the one that will be replaced if the bond proposal is passed. That’s it. And, the damage was $4,000 to repair the truck. Anyone who has been to a body shop lately knows a simple fender-bender averages $5,000. ABG is not saying there shouldn’t be an investigation and if wrong-doing is found, punishment meted out. What we are saying is the two issues are unrelated – unless you need to sell newspapers or help in your campaign for fire commissioner.

By the way, to the campaign people for Ms Pizzuti who keep copying and pasting in the comments section what we posted about her, you can stop now. Have you noticed we keep deleting it? We have left your campaign comments for Ms Pizzuti posted even though we don't have to. As for the person who claimed this was a biased article, feel free to write an article, send it to us and we will post it. Otherwise, too bad. And, based on a suggested post, we have turned off the ability to post anonymously mostly because of the actions of some who were abusing the feature. 

Regardless of your feelings about what we have written, we hope our residents will go to their respective fire houses on Tuesday evening and vote. As an aside, we learned that absentee ballots are not available for these elections. Again, state mandates without local control keep fueling the difficulty of these elections and must change. Only then will we have A Better Greenburgh.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Supervisor Seeks Takeover of Town Fire Departments Through Elections

It’s a long-range plan. Mr Feiner has often expressed displeasure with not having control of the Town’s Fire Departments vis a vis the Fire Districts. There’s nothing new to this arena, recognizing that Mr Feiner is a control fanatic. The “Aw, gee-whiz,” persona is nothing but an act. Some 22-odd years ago Mr Feiner was advised by a resident to develop the disheveled schlep act so people will think he’s not that swift. Not only did it work well for Mr Feiner, he perfected it. That same resident now openly and vehemently admits being against Mr Feiner and his politics. His “act” was almost exposed during the debate against then-candidate for Town Supervisor Robert Bernstein. When Bernstein became critical of so many of Mr Feiner’s ill-fated and costly schemes, Mr Feiner’s lips began quivering, he stood up and began waving papers almost yelling, “It’s all right here. I have proof you’re wrong.” Sadly for Mr Feiner, Mr Bernstein’s facts were correct.

Many believe, as does ABG, that Mr Feiner was behind establishing the Fairview “fire monitors” group led by his compatriot, Milt Hoffman, a retired editorialist from the Journal News. It’s believed by many this group was tasked to smear certain members of the Fire District, Fire Department and create a phony cause against them. This deflection plan was pure Paul Feiner and was hatched in anticipation of the Fortress Bible Church decision being rendered against Mr Feiner, fellow Board member Diana Juettner and the Town to the cost of $6.5 Million! Lest we not forget the lost $1.2 Million the Town was losing each year because Mr Feiner decided (supposedly on his own) to terminate the WestHelp affordable housing contract with the County. Or, that he needed to take focus away from the contaminated Town-owned-through-foreclosure property, the former Frank’s Nursery at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road. While trying to gift the property to his friends from GameOn 365, Elm Street Sports of Ardsley made an offer of $3.5 Million dollars in cash and a promise to bear the entire cost of remediation. Mr Feiner said, “No.” Then out of no where, a gift was delivered to him.

David Hecht of Elmsford had taken the County test to become a paid firefighter. His hope was to be hired by the Fairview Fire District. But apparently, he had two strikes against him. First, they challenged that he was not a resident of Greenburgh, but of the Village of Elmsford. Residency is a mandate by the Fire District to get the job. Second, he was somewhat older than other candidates. Regardless, he was called in for an interview. Whatever transpired there is only conjecture by those not in the room. Ultimately, other candidates were chosen. Mr Hecht, sensing his firematic future with the Fairview Fire Department was slipping away, sued the Fire District for age discrimination. During the testimony of what has been described as a disgruntled retired firefighter/former employee, it was said that then-Chief Anthony LoGiudice as a Lieutenant numerous years earlier had made anti-Semitic comments about Mr Feiner. This was a home run for Mr Feiner as he now had the ultimate deflection he needed. How does Mr Hecht factor in to this? Keep reading.

Characteristically, Mr Feiner began his email blitz to the residents of the Town while sending press releases to the media at an unprecedented pace – even for Mr Feiner as well as doing interviews. Publicly, he demanded an apology from then-Chief LoGiudice. Privately we wonder if he said he could care less about what the Chief said, just that he can get a lot of publicity from it. Even though the comments had been made years earlier when he was a Lieutenant in the fire department, Chief LoGiudice made two apologies. He sent a written letter of apology to Mr Feiner and then went and apologized to Mr Feiner in person. He even made a donation in Mr Feiner’s name. Apology seemingly accepted, the media storm began to wane. Focus was being redirected back to the lawsuit’s guilty verdict and the $6.5 Million dollar fine, $5.5 Million of which would not be covered by insurance and paid by taxpayers. Since Mr Feiner lied under oath and was found guilty of discrimination in Federal Court, the insurance company was released of its obligation to pay the full amount. So, Mr Feiner jumped back on the anti-Semitic rant and went after the Chief again.

With so much negative media attention focused on Chief LoGiudice and the fire department, and suffering from leukemia related health issues contracted during his service at the “pile” at Gound Zero in NYC after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Chief LoGiudice took some time off. While new medications were helping him cope with normal day to day living, he felt the department would continue to suffer if he stayed on. He retired. This was the first major step in Mr Feiner’s takeover plan. 

We believe, as do others, that Mr Feiner then suggested Mr Hoffman and the “fire monitors” to go on the attack of the Fire District’s Board of Directors. This group of people, many who would not say if they lived in the district or not, became disruptive at several Board meetings. It’s certainly possible that some might not be Fairview residents even though they were allowed an opportunity to speak and participate in the meetings. Ironically, the press showed up for several of the meetings. Who called them for that publicity?

After raising false allegations of a lack of transparency from the Fairview Fire District Board, Mr Hoffman would speak at these meetings, sometimes seeming incoherent and almost rambling. He gave his own incorrect facts and figures which were either fabrications or simply unsubstantiated information. He could often be heard huddling with his people saying that “they” were going to run their own candidates so they could take over the Board and the Fire Department! This sounds like what Mr Feiner probably wanted and even asked Mr Hoffman to do.

Now it’s election time. Three candidates are running in the Fairview Fire District race for one open Commissioner position. While the ballot petitions were done in November and submitted in early December per NYS law, the three candidates seem to be doing what some have accused the Fire District and Fire Department of doing: being secretive and not transparent. It has been very difficult to find out anything about the three candidates. So we did some investigating and here’s what we learned and ultimately believe is happening. While this is pure supposition on our part, you be the judge as to who you may want to vote for or not. We are not saying that any of these candidates have not been honest or above board, but there are too many questions unanswered.

There are three candidates running for Fairview Fire Commissioner - 5 yr term:
1) Claire Pizzuti. 
Ms Pizzuti is an attorney by profession. She is also a “member” of the Fairview Fire Monitors group that we believe (and cannot prove) Mr Feiner has Mr Hoffman running. Ms Pizzuti has embarked on a mailing campaign. That's pretty expensive and extreme for a volunteer position. Mr Feiner has sent out a GBList email blast with the three candidates names, however Ms Pizzuti’s was printed larger than the others. We wrote about this on December 4th, entitled Supervisor Seeks To Influence Elections.

As a member of this monitor group, our fear is that Ms Pizzuti will be a pipeline back to Mr Feiner, whether directly or indirectly through Mr Hoffman. As such, will they “suggest” how she should vote? We are concerned that she will not have the taxpayers best interest at heart. But we are still concerned that eventually, when there are enough “Friends of Paul” on the Board (there's a new member voted on every year), they will push for a Fire Department Consolidation, which Mr Feiner will advance via referendum (re: GameOn 365) saying, “Let the people decide.” The referendum will be voted on by the entire Town and Villages even though they may not be part of or utilize the Fairview Fire District and Department. The referendum will pass and then the Fire Department will fall under the auspices of the Town Board (aka Paul Feiner). ABG believes this would be disastrous for the taxpayers!

2) Keith Guerra. 
Mr Guerra is a retired Greenburgh Police officer and we appreciate his service to the Town. He invariably knows many Town employees, processes and procedures. First, in his bio, Mr Guerra says he wants to “work diligently to search for ways to improve the department’s efficiency”. The fire monitor group and civic associations met with the Fairview and Hartsdale Chiefs to discuss what they are doing about costs, operations, and efficiencies. Because the Chiefs proved that efficient operations were already underway the decision was made by Mr Hoffman to publicly drop the push for consolidation (at this juncture). Second, is we already have two former police officers on the Board, Michael Kotter (who, to be fair, switched from the Greenburgh PD to the Fairview FD, from which he is retired.) and Damon Young, also a retired police officer. We don’t believe another police officer adds balance to the Board. Third, and we said you'd see this again, we’ve been told David Hecht carried ballot petitions for Mr Guerra. 

3) Todd Cammisa.
Mr Cammisa is a retired Yonkers firefighter. Our belief is that our Fire District Board will benefit with more firematic experience on it. We also believe an outsider, not entwined with the systems in Greenburgh may bring a fresher perspective to the table. We also understand Mr Camissa is going door to door campaigning. We are more comfortable with Mr Cammisa as a Commissioner.

There are two candidates running for Hartsdale Fire Commissioner - 5 year term:
1) Michael Goldstein.
We remember Mr Goldstein being part of Alan Hochberg’s original Fire Department Consolidation Committee formed by Mr Feiner without any authorization, legal representation or real standing with the Fire Districts or the community. The fire personnel members on this committee proffered their own report challenging the findings of Mr Hochberg’s report and recommendations. ABG believes the ruse was merely to substantiate Mr Feiner’s request proving consolidation was needed with this foregone conclusion. The fire personnel report proved with real facts and numbers why consolidation would be more costly for the taxpayer and not improve services or efficiency. We are concerned that Mr Goldstein might also be a pipeline back to Mr Feiner and wonder if he would act independently of him?

2) Andrew Lee.

We were unable to learn much about Mr Lee beyond his having been both a volunteer and career firefighter. However, given the past of his opponent and Mr Lee's firematic background we are more comfortable with him as a Commissioner.

3) Anthony Frasca - 1 yr term.
Anthony Frasca is running for a one-year term to complete the balance of a 5-year term he was appointed to fill when a former commissioner vacated the position a year early. We believe Mr Frasca should continue as a commissioner.

There is one unopposed candidate running for Greenville Fire Commissioner - 5 year term:
1) Walter Groden.
Walter Grodin has an extensive firematic background and has served as the coordinator who ran the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services Fire Training Center in Valhalla. We believe Mr Grodin is a good choice. 

Our investigation went not only into the candidates, but the three proposals in Greenville. 
Proposition #1:
The Greenville firehouse roof is in fact leaking. Ignoring this needed repair will add to future structural and infrastructure costs.
Proposition #2
Mr Feiner robbed $2,000,000 from the reserve funds and the Town Board condoned it to deflate the real tax increase the Town should be imposing and continue to say the budget came in under the NYS Tax Cap. The Fire District unanimously voted to borrow money while interest rates are low, for the 2014 and 2015 certiorari payments that the Town representatives have said is coming. 
Proposition #3
The financing of a new aerial ladder fire truck due to age is another justified expense. ABG had questioned whether or not the truck might be refurbished instead of replaced. We learned that typically the fire department will sell the old truck and those funds will go toward the new truck as well.

We believe the three Greenville proposals voters will be deciding upon this coming Tuesday are valid and justified. Interestingly, Mr Feiner, who again has no skin in this game living in either Hastings or Scarsdale, is fighting these expenditures. Also interesting is the fact that Mr Feiner cannot tend to his own budget without stealing funds from Peter to, ahem, pay Paul, but has no problem weighing in on non-Town budgets.

We hope we have presented enough information for you to see the "other side" of the equation. We hold nothing against any of the candidates. However, since politics in Greenburgh seems to have been tainted now for some, oh, who knows, twenty-two years or so, we felt it important to share what is taking place behind closed doors. Open government only works when you don't talk about it but actually practice it. That hasn't been happening for some time in our Town and needs to change. Only then will we have A Better Greenburgh.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Union Protests At Brightview Assisted Living Center

On Thursday, Mr Feiner’s exclusive, if not discriminatory*, pet project witnessed union protesters picketing the construction site. From across the street, you can view the skeleton of the new facility. We witnessed about 30 or 40 carpenter union protesters marching and decided to have a look and find out more.

When we asked one of the protesters why they were picketing and was it related to Brightview facility under construction, we were told to go speak to one of the leaders at their sign-in location at Dunnings Drive. This facility is located at the intersection of Rt 119 and Benedict Avenue.

When we arrived at the sign-in area, we asked one of the gentlemen signing up protesters if he would explain why they were protesting. He said the contractor is not paying fair wages or using union workers. We asked if fair wages was a euphemism for union wages? He told me to contact the union at their headquarters but refused to supply that information, stating he was busy. We asked if the other trades at the site were union workers or not? He stated again to contact the union at their headquarters. He had sign-in cards that the picketers were filling out. Asked if we could take one to scan the logo and have the address, he told us no and that it was private property.

Since he was unwilling to answer a few basic questions, we were unable to pursue the rest of this story.

* Greenburgh residents on Medicaid (or low/no income) without assets or funds to sign over to the facility and rely solely on Medicare for housing cannot reside here. Mr Feiner and the Town Board ignored this point when it was repeatedly brought up during the public hearings.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Supervisor Seeks To Influence Elections

An email sent by Mr Feiner, utilizing the Town’s official email list - known as the GBList, was received by several thousand residents. ABG believes he intentionally sent the email with the subtle, but noticeable endorsement of his chosen candidate. We also believe Mr Feiner is behind the creation of the unofficial and unsanctioned group calling themselves fire monitors. Could this group’s cherry-picked candidate have been chosen as a puppet for the benefit of influencing and even controlling voting outcomes and decisions that the corner office in Town Hall desires? ABG believes so.

Below is a screen capture of the email that Mr Feiner sent to residents on “his” email list. Notice that the first name is larger than the others. This smacks of subliminal advertising that was outlawed years ago when the television industry embarked on similar deception. Since Mr Feiner is not in television or advertising, per se, he’s probably not broken any laws, just a moral code of conduct. Frankly, we believe you’d be hard-pressed to find much in the way of morals from the leaders of the Town after scrutinizing their past actions.
Screen Capture:

Because of Mr Feiner’s bad behavior with the email, a letter was sent to him from the Fairview Fire District. Here is the contents of that letter (italicized by us for differentiation):

Dear Mr. Feiner:

The Fairview Fire District received a copy of the election information that you provided via the Town’s gblist. The information that you provided is not in the form that the Fairview Fire District provided to you. By emboldening the name of one candidate for fire commissioner, you may have performed a disservice or harm to the other candidates whose names were not emboldened. 

Thelia Mauro
Fire District Secretary
Fairview Fire District
19 Rosemont Boulevard
White Plains, NY 10602-1680

candidates running in Fairview (in order of ballot position):
Claire C. Pizzuti
Todd V. Cammisa
Keith Guerra

We agree with the Fire District’s contention that Mr Feiner’s actions were inappropriate and improper. Some might ask, “What’s the big deal?” Frankly, Mr Feiner has been attacking the Fire Department, their officers and the Fire District as well as their Board of Directors for some time now. It is commonly known that he has always wanted to have control over the Fire Departments budget and personnel. However, just because Mr Feiner wants it, doesn’t make it legal, right or something that should happen! Thankfully, the law will not permit him to wreak the havoc on the Fire District as he has done with the Town.

Another issue that has often cropped up is Mr Feiner’s use of the GBList for his own benefits and agendas. In fact, when Mr Feiner sends out these email blasts, usually one or two a day, under the guise of providing information to residents, what he is really doing is campaigning through subliminal advertising all over again. He has also used the GBList to attack others who either disagree with him, his policies or the Town Board. 

In fact, because the emailing scheme perfected by Mr Feiner works so well for him and has been used against others who disagree with him, many insist this lopsidedness must end. Worthington Woodlands Civic Association President Dorrine Livson requested from Mr Feiner and the Town Board a copy of the GBList via the FOIL process so her civic association could present other points of view to association’s residents. Her request was refused. She appealed. She was refused the appeal, although she knew her appeal would be refused as the appeal process is “adjudicated” by, none other than, the Town Board - the same people refusing her original request! So much for open government and transparency - mere buzzwords to Mr Feiner, et al. Undaunted, Ms Livson begrudgingly went to court to present her case where she was victorious! She waits now for the GBList while Mr Feiner appeals the court decision and drags his feet toward compliance.

Mr Feiner knows how to skirt around the edge of the law while disregarding the intent, flavor or underlying tenets of the law for his own benefit. Taxpayers be damned! This must change. It is up to the voters of Greenburgh to see this change happens. Only then will we have A Better Greenburgh. 

The Big Votes in Fire District Election

Greenville FD map courtesy of Google

The biggest votes in the Fire Districts races will apparently take place in the Greenville Fire District. It encompasses a pretty extensive area that includes some affluent neighborhoods. Most notably are Edgemont and the Fort Hill area. Heres some information regarding the three proposals.

Greenville Voter Proposal #1 
This proposal is for the Greenville Fire District to borrow up to $285,000 to repair and renovate its only building, their fire headquarters located on Central Avenue. They previously had a major renovation in 1991. Now, some twenty years later, they are looking for a new roof, waterproofing, and parking lot repaving.

Greenville Voter Request #2
The second proposition is to borrow up to $550,000 to pay tax certiorari refunds. Tax certiorari refunds are payments made to commercial property owners in Edgemont who successfully petition the Town for reductions over multiple years in their property tax assessments. The district is forecasting that the amount of refunds it will need to pay the settlements can’t be covered by the district’s operating budget.

The Town has apprized the fire districts to expect an unprecedented level of tax certiorari claims to be settled over the 2015-16 period once the town-wide reassessment project is finished. Mr Feiner reduced our fund balance by 40% (approximately $2M) which is normally used to cover our own certiorari obligations in another ill-fated attempt to balance this year’s budget. Ill-fated because if his prediction is true, and ABG believe it is, the Town will not have enough money to pay it’s own certiorari payouts!We average $100K per meeting and have peaked on occasion to $3M.

This 40% reduction will offset next year’s tax hikes so that town officials can tell voters they’ve met the state tax cap again. Can you say, “Election year hijinks?” What ABG believes should happen is a) the Town doesnt raid the Reserve Fund; b) the Town loan the necessary funds for the certiorari adjustments that must be made by the Fire Districts instead of them having to borrow money commercially; and c) since the certiorari adjustments are due to the lack of a Town-wide revaluation for at least the last 22-years, the loans should not have any interest attached to them.

Greenville Voter Request #3
The third and largest proposal for borrowing is for up to $950,000 to replace the district’s 13-year old ladder truck that is approaching the end of its useful life. Not knowing what the expected lifespan of this aerial ladder is, it is difficult to say exactly when it should be replaced. We don’t know the condition of the ladder or even if the ladder should be refurbished, which would extend its life by about ten years and save the taxpayers some money. That's a decision the Fire District's Board must answer. Although, most residents in Edgemont that ABG discussed these three proposals with were in favor of approving all three proposals, including purchasing a new aerial ladder truck. 

ABG often writes about the willfully ignorant voter in Greenburgh. History has proven that not many people will be voting in these fire district elections and that few ever attend the monthly Board meetings. While the deck is said to be stacked against the residents/taxpayers at this point because of their lack of involvement, we can only hope to see more people getting involved. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.