Sunday, March 29, 2015

Resident Shunned; Town Board & Attorney Postures; Board Fakes Pass

It’s not been a piece of secreted information, nor has it been unknown by many. It’s not been a surprise to anyone, especially our Town Board, since the last two years after notification. What has been troubling to most is the Town Board’s obvious obfuscation of a bill that was written by resident advocate Robert Bernstein, and mishandled by every portion of our Town’s leadership. While it’s also no secret that there is no love lost between Messrs. Bernstein, Feiner and Lewis, Mr Bernstein had, along with members of his Edgemont Community Council, pointed out that numerous massage parlors, alleged fronts for prostitution, continued to operate and multiply throughout our Town. In fact, Mr Bernstein, with help from several resident advocates including Ella Preiser amongst others, crafted a bill to regulate massage parlors within the Town and presented it to the Town Board for adoption.

The Town Board dutifully washed their hands of it, uh, we mean, turned it over to Town Attorney Tim Lewis. Mr Lewis opposes the submitted bill, so it languished in his “not to-do” pile. At numerous subsequent meetings, Mr Bernstein and others would ask about the fate of the bill and get the requisite stare Mr Feiner has learned to use so well. Mr Lewis gave his legal opinion of the bill and why he had not done anything with it. Ever the politician, Mr Feiner continued to say he supported the bill but was waiting on the Town Attorney. As time dragged on, so did the lack of a legal position as the Town Attorney, et al, sought a non-binding determination/judgment from the NYS Attorney General’s office. Mr Bernstein explained that while Mr Lewis may disagree with the law, his presumption toward enacting the bill into law was incorrect and it should be adopted. We can’t help be reminded of the Town’s new slogan: “Why fix it when we can talk about it?”

At last weeks Town Board meeting, Police Chief Chris McNerney told the Town Board that all six massage parlors had been shut down about two weeks ago. Eleven women were arrested that were working at these locations as unlicensed massage therapists. When asked how many have reopened since then, he stated, “All of them.” On March 16, 2015 Chief McNerney, himself an attorney, drafted a letter to the Attorney General’s office detailing that state law gives local governments the legal authority to close down brothels fronting as massage parlors.  “I strongly believe that the Town of Greenburgh’s proposed local law is needed and is not preempted by New York State law,” Chief McNerney wrote.  “The intent of our proposed law is to curtail criminal activity at businesses within the Town and to eliminate businesses which jeopardize the public health, safety and welfare,” he added.

Jeopardizing the public health, safety and welfare of Town residents is a heartfelt concern from the Chief of Police, yet Town officials seem less than concerned. In fact, knowing that Mr Feiner can get scads of publicity out of this quandary, he has done what he does best and flipped the Town’s inaction into a publicity stunt. He sent out an email via his coveted GBList that the Town will be hosting a forum about sex trafficking on Thursday at 7PM, championed by reporter Ken Picard. Other panelists include our Police Chief Chris McNerney and Lauren Pesso, the Director of the Human Trafficking Program at My Sisters’ Place. Noticeably absent are Mr Bernstein who has been championing the issue via legislation to help curb and/or stop human trafficking. We realized this was a publicity stunt because there are many other representatives who could be included from Westchester County Office for Women, Westchester County District Attorney, Hope’s Door, Victims Assistance Services of WestCOP, Pace Women’s Justice Center, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Empire Justice Center, Westchester County Department of Probation, Westchester County Department of Social Services, Westchester County Chiefs of Police Association and the Interfaith Caring Community of Greenburgh. We could list more but think the point is made. Why have these others not been invited? 

The answer is simple. As we begin the re-election cycle, Mr Feiner will need to have the appearance of seeming to care about the community. It could be our next Town slogan, We seem to care. He’ll use this ploy to bring human trafficking to the forefront, as will other local politicians in their bids for re-election. Nothing will come of this venture. Eventually, for the sake of the young girls involved, we hope that Mr Bernstein’s proposed bill comes to fruition and is passed into law. If it is, it will be closer to the elections so as to provide Mr Feiner with more campaigning opportunity. This type of insincere patronizing by Mr Feiner has lost its luster long ago. It’s time for a change in Greenburgh. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Zoning Give-A-Way of Unincorporated Greenburgh

It’ll be about 8 months before the 2015 elections for Mr Feiner and his two Board members. A lot of damage might be done during that time by those already in office. Until such time that the incumbents are voted out of office, we will probably continue to see a wholesale assault on all open space in Unincorporated Greenburgh! The Worthington Woodlands and Secor Homes Civic Associations, as well as others sympathetic to their plight, have been trying for almost five years to get Mr Feiner and his two Town Board members to abandon his desire to serve his friend Martin Hewitt with a drastic zoning change in a residential neighborhood for a commercial venture. This venture promises less than half the revenue in taxes over what new residential housing would bring if it was built there instead of being utilized for which the property was originally zoned. It eludes us as to why Mr Feiner would simply ignore the obvious return the Town could get by adhering to the existing zoning over changing it to a lesser valued project?

The southern side of Secor Road finds Ferncliff Cemetery proposing an expansion of their cemetery almost directly into the Secor Homes community. On the northern side, neighbors in the homes on Jean and Jennifer Lanes have the Golf Driving Range owned by the Vizioli family. It has been there sedately for years and is now threatening to compromise the area with expansion. The Vizioli family wants to convert most of the property from a quaint and unobtrusive golf driving range into a megaplex sports site with a 5-story airplane hangar-sized building, fields, lights, noise, increased traffic, parking and an almost around-the-clock operation in a partnership with GameOn 365. Since originating this massive dream-scheme, Mr Hewitt appears to have cycled through all of his previous partners. It appears he’s struggling to find a way to circumvent the existing zoning and cultivate investors from an evaporating pool of candidates.

If these two projects are allowed to move forward, coupled with Westchester Greenhouses, spanning the entire width of Jennifer Lane, with pollution to the area via their outdoor wood boilers, the once residential suburban community will be overwhelmed and boxed in by large commercial enterprises. There are some who believe Secor Road might become a major access roadway, particularly if Jean Lane, which connects to the Vizioli property via Jennifer Lane, is ever opened up to allow traffic. It’s one of any neighborhood’s worst nightmare.

ABG has previously written about Mr Feiner’s desire to hand over the property vis-à-vis a Zoning Code change Mr Hewitt will need to take his paper company from napkin-conception to birth. Unconvincingly, Mr Feiner and his Board made the argument that they recently disallowed two projects from proceeding and that they haven't made a decision about this one. What? Wait a minute! How can any of the three Board members say with a straight face that they haven’t made a decision for or against this project when they have been stumping for GameOn 365 since 2010? Another lie from Mr Feiner and his two Board members. The fix has been in since the beginning and saying otherwise is offensive to us all!

One of these other two projects would have adversely affected the Villages of Ardsley and Dobbs Ferry. Make no mistake, Councilwoman Juettner resides in Ardsley and brings a good number of votes to the Feiner ticket. And that’s the real story here: votes! Obviously, that wasn’t mentioned in this week’s Work Session. The second proposal that was denied was, some believe, a phony one from the beginning. It was one that would allow the Feiner camp to say, "No," and appear to be concerned for the Town. The public was informed that both proposals were not being entertained by the Board because it would over-tax our infrastructure. After 22-years of neglect by various administrations under Mr Feiner, now he’s worried about infrastructure?

The second project was a proposed assisted living facility off of Payne Street in the North Elmsford section of Unincorporated Greenburgh. The plan there was to build a multistory complex on a triangular strip of land between the Croton aqueduct and the Sprain Brook Parkway at the north end of High Street and North Lawrence Avenue. While their claims of limited traffic through this residential neighborhood was purported to be minimal, surrounding space on this postage sized parcel would not be big enough for emergency vehicles to access and egress. But saying it would tax our infrastructure was once again disingenous from the start. Yet, it provided a vehicle for a portion of the Town Board to use as a means to offer balance to the uninitiated in the Town. It is nothing more than pure political calculation at it's best. By the way, this project would literally be in Councilman Morgan's backyard. Is it any wonder why it was denied?

So how can an almost 24-7 sports operation not be taxing to our infrastructure? Mr Feiner, already found guilty of discriminating against the Fortress Bible Church, said the increased traffic from the Church and school was the reason he was against Fortress Bible Church’s application. He never said the real reason, which we believe was to keep this church from building in his friend’s back yard. The Fortress Bible Church was awarded a $6.5 MILLION settlement being paid by us, the taxpayers, for Mr Feiner’s illegal actions! So for three projects in three different Unincorporated locations in the Town, reasons were given by the Board against these projects that when those same reasons were made by the residents near this Dobbs Ferry Road location, only to be summarily dismissed by Messrs. Feiner, Morgan and Jones. How is the residents’ concerns for congestion, over-crowding, over-burdened infrastructure hours of operation, etc., any different than the reasons used by 
Messrs. Feiner, Morgan and Jones? Votes.

Rome is burning. The Town’s infrastructure has been slowly decaying while Mr Feiner and his Board fiddles for developers. They continue with gifts for their preferred developers while ignoring residents in these respective neighborhoods and do as they please. The upcoming elections hold no promise of us seeing positive change in our Town – or does it? Our prediction is that these three will be re-elected as the Democratic faithful and the willfully ignorant will easily fall prey to Mr Feiner’s lies and hypocracy. The media will be complicit as well and speak of his (pseudo) open government policies, work with the seniors, the poor and on and on and on. His media campaign blitz will become non-stop. Ultimately, running unopposed, he will garner some 7-9,000 votes, even though the Emperor has no clothes. This must end! Only then will we have A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Done Deal - Again! GameOn 365 Gets Approval to Proceed

Attorneys for GameOn 365 have made the argument that the Golf Driving Range is a commercial property and business will continue whether or not the Town Board approves GameOn 365’s proposal. Council-persons Sheehan and Juettner were against it for numerous reasons. They probably recognized the futility of their position once the other two jumped on Mr Feiner’s bandwagon and espoused different reasons for it to move forward. So, as predicted, GameOn 365 has gotten the green light from our disingenuous Town Board.

The GameOn 365 attorney stated that it was their hope to have the Town Board declared the Lead Agency on April 8th, allowing the various studies to be proceed. To throw a bone to the neighbors in the area under the guise of propriety, Mr Feiner suggested doing the traffic study. The attorney said that the organization the Town always uses has already done a good deal of work with this. Ms Juettner suggested to do a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the traffic study. It was then that Mr Feiner chimed in that they may wind up using that firm anyway. Anybody want to make a bet that ultimately it will be that same company?

Two Civic Associations submitted a signed letter last evening at about 9PM to the Town Board members stating their objections to the project. Unfazed, Mr Feiner was finally in a position to fulfill his promise to his friend Martin Hewitt, along with his paper company GameOn 365. After trying to gift the former Frank’s Nursery property to Hewitt with an illegal lease, he tried what many called a Ponzi Scheme of a deflated payments schedule over 13 years – significantly undervaluing the property. Then Mr Feiner, ever the shrewd politician, decided to put the scheme on a referendum, carefully wording it to ensure the willfully ignorant voters would see it as a positive move and vote for it. His scheme worked as expected, garnering roughly 22,000 votes in favor. GameOn 365 contributed to the hoax with yard signs throughout the Town promising the Town would receive $5 million. It was a lie. Throughout the entire time, we wonder if Mr Feiner kept telling them, “Don’t worry. I told you you’ll get this and you will. It’s just going to take a little more time.”

Re-election is coming up for the three people who are in favor of moving this airport-sized hangar monstrosity into a residentially zoned area. Their lack of concern for the taxpaying residents of the area and the Town is abundantly clear and disappointing. There is not any viable reason for this project to be plopped here. Mr Feiner also made reference that the Golf Driving Range may go out of business without this deal. Frankly, private industry’s viability is not his nor the Town Board’s problem. His real efforts should be about developing the area with more residential housing, which will generate double the amount in taxes to the Town, giving him more money to create additional vote-producing programs. This has to end! If and when it does, will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Monday, March 23, 2015

10-13 For Elmsford Police Officer

10-13. It means different things to different agencies. Locally, in our area, it’s a request for a police officer’s need for assistance.

Such is the case for a 10-13 this Friday night to help one of Elmsford Police Department’s own, Officer Ken “Gumby” Gumbs. After being struck by a car, Gumbs, 45, of Hawthorne, is still recuperating after undergoing surgery at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. Gumbs, who was off duty at the time, was hit by a northbound car on Bradhurst Avenue near Chateau Lane at about 8:20 p.m. on January 13. He suffered internal and head injuries. Gumbs joined the Elmsford department in August 1992 after serving with the Marine Corps during the Persian Gulf war.

Join us this Friday night for a fund raising event sponsored by the Elmsford Police PBA to benefit Office Gumbs. It will be held at the Live Oak Engine Company fire house, on the second floor, at 5 North Lawn Avenue in Elmsford. There will be raffles, food, an open bar and music all for a $20 (or more) donation. Please stop by, enjoy some food and a drink and help reduce the financial burden for Officer Gumbs.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Supervisor’s Campaigning Paid By and Costing Taxpayers Thousands

We’ve written previously about Mr Feiner doing multiple mailings for his favored businesses throughout the Town, all at costly taxpayer expense. There’s never a shortage of topics for him to pontificate about. In a previous article, we detailed a three-page mailing going to 35,000 households in the Town for grand total of $43,400. Whether you agree with our premise or not, these multiple, weekly mailings are a significant drain on Town financial resources. Perhaps Mr Feiner should be given a budget that he be required to adhere to and if he goes past it, must pay for from his salary. It would be a tax cap, if you will, of say 2% or less, based on traffic court collections. It would also be reminiscent of when he used to return a portion of his salary when he didn't fulfill his campaign promises. We guess that ship has sailed and sunk.

Last week saw another 48¢ mailer, this time consisting of two pages (two sheets) printed at Town Hall on taxpayer copiers and paper. Normally, residents are charged 25¢ per page, not sheet, for copies made at Town Hall. This is another unnecessary expense to taxpayers of 2 x 25¢ = 50¢ x 35,000 = $17,500. The fact that there were two mailers, at least that we are aware of, for a total of $60,900 is a slap in the face to residents and taxpayers, some of whom are struggling to be able to eat and simply get by on their fixed incomes!

Another fact we’ve bemoaned before is taxpayers being charged by Town Hall for copies. It’s ludicrous. Taxpayers already pay for the paper, toner, copiers and labor with their taxes. They should be given the courtesy of at least getting the first copy for free when they request a printed copy of something. If, however, they seek multiple copies, they could then be charged a discounted rate from what the public would pay, say 10¢ per page. Outsiders or non-residents (the public) could be charged 25¢. In the end, the copy fees should not be a profit center to allow Mr Feiner to do more mailings.

There's also the issue of us paying for all of Mr Feiner’s campaigning. As we start to tally the daily, weekly, monthly, yearly mailings, the amount expended on the unauthorized mailings is staggering. One way to pay for this extravagance is through more tax revenue. No, we’re not saying we want to see our taxes increased even more. Rather, simply utilize what we have because if we have to live within our means, so should our government officials!

It’s no secret that the Town reaps almost double the amount in property taxes from residential housing (developments) over commercial property (developments). And yet Mr Feiner continues to push to develop residentially zoned parcels of lands for his handpicked commercial developer friends. Case in point is the 7 acres of land at the former Frank’s Nursery. He’s routinely skirted or violated the law to gift this property to one of his friends. 

Now he’s on board to develop the Golf Driving Range for this same friend next to Frank’s. While the Golf Driving Range has special zoning applied to it, their property will also default to residential (R-30) zoning should the driving range fail or close. They are currently involved in a back-taxes payoff schedule with the Town. We wonder what’s in it for Mr Feiner that he would not do what is best for the tax-paying Town residents?

Today delivered another piece of mail dated March 11th, reporting on the “pothole crisis” in the Town. This letter from the Supervisor detailing why pothole repairs fail (is there anybody who still doesn’t know why they fail?), and did what he normally does: suggests you contact other politicians, which as our locally elected official is actually his job, and tell them to alot more money to our roadways. It’s a crock and actually insulting to taxpayers. If he had not ignored our infrastructure for the last 22-years during his watch, we would not have so many failures throughout the Town. Ironically, he has also shared this information via all the media outlets whether in print or online March 12. Doing a simple online search of Mr Feiner’s personal website tool yielded this result: Your search for feiner returned 496 results on The Greenburgh Daily Voice.

Keeping the Town residents and taxpayers informed is a requirement for any elected official. However, it should not be at the expense of those same taxpayers. When this practice ends we will begin to see A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Another Slice of Greenburgh Going, Going Gone - Welcome to Pepe Factory and Prison - 2269 Saw Mill River Rd

Spring 2014, Pepe Auto Group bought the old Sonotone office building on Saw Mill River Road (Route 9A), near the Elmsford Little League Field.  Pepe is applying for the Greenburgh Town and Planning Boards approval to build a new vehicle preparation operation and car storage facility for their 6 auto dealerships (two Mercedes Benz, Infiniti, Porsche, Sprinter, and Cadillac). Their hours of operation at this site will be 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday with half-a day on Saturday and some Sundays! How lucky are we!!

Approximately 750 cars will be stored on the property (650 outdoor parking lots, 100 indoor in the prep building) and delivered-monthly to their dealerships. Pepe stated that 3-5 car carriers (tractor trailers) will be processed daily (Mon.-Sat.); that will be 260 tractor trailers a month using Saw Mill River Rd/9A (5 trailers x 26 days/month x 2 round-trip).  Pepe says 15 cars will leave this facility daily for customer deliveries at their dealerships either driven individually or by flat-bed trailer. But his math doesn’t compute! 15 cars per day x 26 days is only 390 cars per month, 4 tractor trailers a day times 26 days a month with each truck holding 8 vehicles is 832 vehicles per month Other times Pepe states that his entire inventory will turn once a month, that would be 750 cars.  Which calculation is accurate?  If 750 cars turnover in a month, then at least 750 cars are to be delivered to the dealerships then 750 cars need to return to the facility with the original drivers.  That will be an additional 1500 cars either using Saw Mill River Rd/9A or our local neighborhood streets (15 cars x 26 days/month x 2RT).  Pepe stated there will be approximately 30-50 employees at this site, that equates to 2600 employee trips a month not counting possible lunch trips, nor occasional Sunday openings (50 employees x 26 days x 2RT).  In Supervisor Feiner’s letter to Greenburgh residents he only compares the proposed employee trips of this facility to an office building.  He fails to multiply and include in his calculations the additional vehicles from daily deliveries to the dealerships, car deliveries via tractor trailers, box trucks for vehicle parts inventory, gasoline tanker trucks or garbage and refuse trucks.

As part of the car preparation process, each auto needs to be washed and fueled; therefore Pepe will be installing two 10,000 gallon gasoline tanks with a fueling station on this property.  At approx. 20 gallons per car x 750 cars delivered per month that’s 15,000 gallons of gasoline per month used, Therefore that would be at least 4 gasoline tanker trucks using Saw Mill River Rd monthly (regular and premium gasoline)  An average gasoline tanker truck holds 8500 gallons, 2 tankers x 2RT.

At least 40 box trucks delivering car parts a month (5 dealerships x 1 weekly x 4 x 2 RT).  This is for all non-factory installed accessories oil, coolants, etc. used as part of the new car preparatory process.  Garbage, recyclers and trash haulers – Per Pepe, a lot of cardboard and Styrofoam delivered with new cars.  Most probably twice a week garbage and recyclers, 16 ex-large trucks monthly (2 x 4 x 2RT)

Their hours of operation will be 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday with a half-day on Saturday and Pepe admits to even some Sunday openings!  This operation is not at all similar in size, building architecture, or prior business operations anywhere in Greenburgh! We all know how busy and crowded Saw Mill River Rd/9A is; Do we REALLY need this extra car and truck traffic?

This increase in allowable traffic seems to be contrary to what Paul Feiner is advocating in his 2015 Agenda Posted on Greenburgh’s website January 6, 2015 # 12 Lobby NYS for 9A bypass to reduce traffic congestion on 9A in the vicinity of 119- working with villages and business community and #13 Support commercial vehicle enforcement detail for vehicle scales to preserve town roadways.
As part of this site renovation, Pepe wants 2 separate 8 foot chain-link fences installed around the circumference of the property, spikes in the driveways and over 100 overhead 14’ LED light poles in the lot, camera and motion detectors with all flood light lights immediately activated upon an intrusion.  When asked, how will these flood lights be turned-off once activated?  Pepe had no answer.  Do the residents need to bear lit baseball stadium lights until someone comes to turn them off?  Our quality of life not to mention sleep disturbances are not considered or addressed by the Town Boards?  How safe does 8ft chain link fences make our visitors and future business investors feel?  Pepe wants to make our residential community feel like a ghetto!  He says second to parking as many cars on this property as design allows, is to have this property look like maximum security operation, and deter intruders.  The look and feel of the property’s surroundings for the local residents was not a concern of Pepe or his architects.  There are proposed subdivisions on Worthington Rd and at 1952 Saw Mill River Rd. with new homes selling in the $1.5+ million range.  Would you invest your money in a new home with this facility and operation in your neighborhood?  We have never had a prison in Greenburgh, and we don’t want one now!  Pepe won’t be looking at this eye sore of a building every day and night.  We will!  Pepe won’t be around if there is a security breach, (even it’s a deer jumping the fence) or god-forbid a gas explosion.  We will!   But wait we will have a large illuminated “Pepe” sign on the front of the building even though Pepe swears customers will not be visiting this facility.  Then why does this facility need such a prominent sign on the building?

The increase in traffic presents many hazards.  Large tractor trailers can’t turn right from Route 119 to Route 9A, but there’s no guarantee they won’t try, blocking both RT119 and 9A until all the cars on 9A clear out.  Have you ever seen this happen?  Yes.  Locals don’t try it, but Pepe’s contractors?  Pepe says they will request the tractor trailers operators to access Tarrytown Rd/RT 119 from I-287 Exit 4, or I-87 to Ardsley’s Exit then on to RT9A.  Supervisor Feiner dismisses the I-87 alternative and only states that the tractor trailers will use I-287 Exit 4 making a right turn at Staples/Tarrytown Rd through Main Street in Elmsford and making a left turn by the Elmsford Post Office.  A tractor trailer will NOT be able to turn on these roads without using both lanes in both directions leading to more congestion, gridlock, traffic tie-ups, accidents etc. 

What about pedestrians?  What about people at bus stops up and down Route 9A?  No road shoulders or bus shelters.  Bus stops are marked by bus stop poles by the white lines on road edges. What about people crossing RT9A and 119 to transfer to other bus routes?  It’s already hazardous!  Traffic lights even now don’t give pedestrians enough time to cross the street.  Adding more tractor trailers, trucks and cars turning can only cause more blockage and hazards.  Ask the bus drivers!  Car carriers versus pedestrians - guess who wins!

What about people driving their kids to and from the Ann & Andy Day Care Center on Saw Mill River Road?  What about kids running to and from the Elmsford Little League Fields?  What about children walking from the local streets to school in Elmsford, especially during the winter months when the mornings and late afternoons are dark?  Here, like Edgemont there are no sidewalks nor road shoulders.  How will our children be safe when all this extra traffic runs up and down RT9A?  Parents will then decide to drive their children and more traffic will ensue.  The memorial crosses beside Saw Mill River Road/RT9A are there for a reason.

The residents also feel there has not been a proper environmental study on this property. Since WW II, the former Sonotone Facility had their vacuum tubes, Nickel cadmium battery and battery chargers plant and research facilities at the building Pepe proposes to demolish.  We need a detailed environmental study done at this particular building as well as on other parts of the site before demolition begins.

What’s Pepe, Town Boards and Supervisor Feiner’s answer to the residents’ issues?  Silence.  And this time it isn’t golden for Greenburgh’s residents!

Guess What? On January 28, 2015, the Town Board approved under AT 1 a resolution authorizing tax certiorari settlement with petitioners Elmsford Executive Park Co/2269 SMRR LLC (name for legal purposes) for $635,036+/-.  I guess we get to pay for the property renovations too!  Not to mention, part of Pepe’s renovation of this site is to demolish a building for additional parking.  How much would this decrease the future tax revenue on this property?  No answer again…

Why are they rushing this project through?  Why aren’t they asking New York State DOT to prepare a traffic study?  Why is the Town concerned only about Pepe’s interests?  Why are the residents last on their list?  Why aren’t they asking these questions? 


Friday, March 6, 2015

Government Should Remain Neutral - Addendum

Painting the picture of volunteerism and helping the elderly, Mr Feiner did a mailing on behalf of another company in February that cost taxpayers 48¢ each at face value. There are about 35,000 households in Greenburgh. If he sent this mailing to those households, without duplicates, he would have spent $17,150! We typically refer to this as campaigning as this mailing venue allows him to keep his name front and center with the Town of Greenburgh constituency. As a one-time effort, or a quarterly summary of what is taking place in the Town, etc., we might be more understanding. But we’re not. The reason we’re not is because he does these mailings multiple times a week at taxpayer expense and still does multiple summary mailings. Then at budget time, he insists that all the other depatrtments make reductions!

This particular mailing was to promote a “not-for-profit” company that provides rides for seniors citizens to their doctor appointments at no charge, using volunteer drivers to shuttle the seniors. This is a laudable venture at face value. But once you dig just a little bit, you quickly learn that the founders and operators of this organization are doctors, either come from the medical community or are somehow involved in the medical community. Could they simply be doing this to make sure their patients continue to show up for their appointments, ensuring Medicare payments? They claim that the seniors do not need to pay for their rides, can typically get one ride per day except under certain circumstances which are not detailed on their website, and that they do accept donations. What they don’t discuss is how they actually pay for whatever their operating expenses might be.

While this organization may or may not have an ulterior motive and we believe they do, Mr Feiner should not be promoting them, especially with a 48¢ mailer consisting of three pages (two sheets) printed at Town Hall on taxpayer copiers and paper. In fact, taxpayers are charged 25¢ per print when they ask for a copy of a document from Town Hall. This is another possible expense to taxpayers of 3 x 25¢ = 75¢ x 35,000 = $26,250. So, using medical terminology, this is a non-billable advertising expense for the doctors of $43,400 that Mr Feiner decided without taxpayer input to simply give away on their behalf. We’re pretty sure the doctors involved in this can afford to advertise.

In the end, we’re suspicious because Unincorporated Greenburgh has roughly half of the Town properties listed as tax-exempt. Instead of pushing another tax exempt company, perhaps Mr Feiner and his Town Board should focus on the P.I.L.O.T. Program. This program is geared toward receiving payment from tax exempts for services rendered to them, or Payment ILieu OTaxes. Or, Mr Feiner could simply follow the law and not cost us in court fees and guilty verdicts as he did in the $6.5 million dollars from the Fortress Bible Church case, or the $1.2 million dollars for breaking the lease with the County for the WestHelp property, or the loss of $3.5 million dollars + remediation for the former Frank’s Nursery property on Dobbs Ferry Road, or collect on unpaid tickets through the Greenburgh courts, or, the $25 million in unpaid property taxes, or, well you get the idea.

The constant campaigning by Mr Feiner would not be so difficult to accept if he wasn’t spending our money to do so. He has a significant political campaign war-chest and it continues to grow thanks to taxpayer largess – although not by our choice. It has to end. Only then will we have A Better Greenburgh.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cardinal Edward Egan Passes

Former archbishop of New York, Cardinal Edward Egan passed away today of a cardiac arrest shortly after having lunch. A spokes person for the Archdiocese said Cardinal Egan had displayed no indications that he wasn’t feeling well. He had survived polio as a child, which affected his health as an adult, and he also used a pacemaker. He was 82 years old.

In 2000, Egan was chosen by Pope John Paul II for the difficult job of succeeding larger-than-life Cardinal John O'Connor, who was a major figure not only in the city, but in the country. From him, Egan inherited an annual deficit of about $20 million. Egan was forced to make tough decisions to cut spending — including laying off staff — and said he wiped out the shortfall within two years.

On Sept. 11, then Mayor Giuliani called Egan for help, and the cardinal spent the day anointing the dead, distributing rosaries to workers as they searched, mostly in vain, for survivors. Egan later presided over funerals for the victims, sometimes three a day. He retired in 2009.

“I am saddened to tell you that our beloved Cardinal Edward Egan, the Archbishop of New York from 2000-2009, has gone home to the Lord,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in a statement. Egan died after lunch, “with the prayers and sacraments of his loyal priest secretary, Father Douglas Crawford, in his residence at the Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.”

Dolan thanked “God for his life, especially his generous and faithful priesthood.”

Monday, March 2, 2015

Government Should Remain Neutral

A short time ago, Mr Feiner did his routine email blast with the coveted GBList. We'll reiterate he is violating daily yet another court's guilty penalty and order by refusing to turn the list over to the resident who had requested it. She was refused, appealed, refused a second time, sued and won in court for access to it. This is significant mostly because Mr Feiner has always been content to violate the laws he doesn't like without consequence as well as the trust of Town residents. However, Mr Feiner wholeheartedly endorses his developer friends’ projects du jour, usually at an extreme cost to neighborhoods throughout the Town. Now, however the other shoe appears to be on his foot.

We were originally going to write about how Mr Feiner has again mounted a campaign blitz on behalf of his friends from GameOn 365 and their most recent push to build a mega-sports complex on Dobbs Ferry Road. You'll recall they tried to proceed with acquiring the property with an illegal lease scheme concocted and championed by Mr Feiner. Then he tried to gift the property to them at a significantly undervalued price with obscenely minimal payments over 13 years. When another area resident and business owner offered to purchase the property for double the amount at $3.5 million in cash and pay for all site contaminated remediation, Mr Feiner refused to entertain their offer claiming it was not a serious one. What he should have done was publicize all the facts about the property, interested parties and their offers. Clearly, the Town could have held the upper hand while being open and transparent. But once Mr Feiner began the closed door, back room meetings, that ship sailed and sank. Or did it?

Now, many years later, the property remains vacant and still contaminated because the Town Board has kowtowed to Mr Feiner's wishes to finagle a way to gift the property to GameOn 365. Both Mr Feiner and his Town Board have not done the right thing with this (now-reverted) residential property! While Mr Feiner should have the taxpayers best interests at heart, he's more interested in helping his friends. Apparently the City of Yonkers isn't the only municipality with a Friends and Family Plan for developers.

Regardless of Mr Feiner and the Town Board's illogical, perhaps immoral, if not illegal, actions with the former Frank's Nursery property on Dobbs Ferry Road, this article is about to shift gears and focus on the over-development of our Unincorporated Town property. We have bemoaned the fact that every sliver of space in Unincorporated Greenburgh is being gobbled up by developers who then approach the Administration and tout the benefits of mega-construction on the land.True to form, Mr Feiner instructs his Board how to vote and the developer's presentation sails through and before you can say, "Wait just a second," the Town Board declares themselves the lead agency and the deal is done.

Here's a few such examples to what we are referring. First, we'll go with Brightview Assisted Living Center. Mr Feiner touted the availability and need for Greenburgh residents to have a place they could spend their remaining years. What was uncovered and at first denied by Mr Feiner was that someone without assets and on Medicaid would not be allowed to move in. In typical Feiner-form, he finally acquiesced, admitting he was still in favor of it, apparently the poorer Medicaid recipient-residents be damned. This mammoth structure looming over Rt 119 is adding to the infrastructure burden and not contributing any relief to the residents. At least the developers are making out well.

Second, he is entertaining a proposal on a triangular strip of land between the Sprain Brook Parkway off of Payne Street for a 96 room assisted living facility. Access and egress will happen through one of the side streets off of Payne Street. The increase in traffic through a residential neighborhood, we're sure, will be proposed as either negligible or non-existent as these are retired, non-driving occupants. Whatever the developer wants is probably what the traffic study will say. Interestingly, all of these projects are green-lighted (pun intended) regardless of what the traffic study says. This will increase traffic and further burden the infrastructure.

Third, was the Westhab project in Fulton Park, proposed as a 7-story apartment building and finally constructed as a three story gulag-style building that is an eyesore to the neighborhood, Rt 119 and will ultimately become a Section 8 housing facility. Throughout all of the disingenuous posturing from the Town Board, residents were continually told that no decision had been made by the Town Board and they could still say no to the project. What they conveniently left out was that no open decision was made, nor was it made public. The deal was done with the neighborhood, the infrastructure and traffic to the area be damned.

Fourth, there are several plans to build apartments without parking on Central Avenue since Mr Feiner and his Board forced a new tax onto service stations, forcing them to close (opposite Scarsdale Ford). There's also Dromore Road off of Central Avenue. The pièce de résistance is the mega-development that's been presented in North Elmsford's Eastview area. Over 100 acres have been green-lighted by Mr Feiner and his Board to build more of the same. Mr Feiner has never met a developer whose plans he didn't endorse. The over-sized development there is another added burden to our infrastructure as well increasing traffic. The attitude at Town hall is that traffic is already congested so a little more won't matter.

The latest debacle to be proposed is in Ardsley at what was the old Akzo Nobel Chemical site that was in the area of 9A and the Saw Mill River Parkway. STOP! Mr Feiner says its not a good location. He says the developers should reconsider building there because it will, ahem, tax the infrastructure. All developers in the area know that there is no project that Mr Feiner won't give a thumbs-up to as long as his precious gated community is left alone. Infrastructure be damned! Could it be the carcinogens left on the site that might poison staff and residents? No. What's good for the goose, perhaps? No. Too much traffic? No. Overburdening the schools? No, not even close. Then what could possibly cause Mr Feiner to be against another development?

Votes. That's right. Mr Feiner is afraid to upset the Villages of Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry and Hastings. He will lose beau coup votes from the otherwise solid stalwarts at election time. How can we tell? It's simple really, but an even more obvious example is the cleaning out of the Saw Mill River after the massive flooding that we believe was, in part, caused by all the over-development approved by Mr Feiner and his Town Board. He rallied alongside Elmsford's Babbitt Court residents, Ardsley and the other river towns in Greenburgh. More importantly however, is that he did absolutely nothing about helping the Greenburgh residents along the Bronx River corridor. Why? They cannot bring enough votes against him in an election so he knows he can ignore them - and he and his Town Board does just that.

ABG believes the site for this newly proposed multi-family metropolis is a viable one in a location that will not intrude on any residential neighborhoods. And, lo and behold, there is an extremely successful sports complex nearby for the families to use. We understand they might be looking to expand and this could be just the venue to help them along. We accept that Mr Feiner routinely lies to the constituency, the courts and God knows who else. And, it was during his 22-year tenure that the infrastructure was neglected. Hardly a valid argument for him to make now. But we needn't accept this bad behavior from our government leaders. Politicians should remain neutral with developers and their projects and not advertise on behalf of them. They should also invest in its infrastructure, not use its failings as an excuse. It's time for a change. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh