Sunday, September 17, 2017

More Flooding = Lack of Preparedness = Leaf Blower Regulations

Houston’s drinking water system is being stressed by overflowing water reservoirs and dams, breached levees and possible problems at treatment plants and in their water distribution system. Failure of drinking water systems could lead to real water shortages. Raw sewage, dead bodies (human and animal) in the water and release of dangerous chemicals into the floodwaters could lead to the spread of disease through contact with contaminated water and to infection through open wounds. Most flood and swift-water first responders, such as our County’s all-volunteer Technical Rescue Swift Water rescue technicians, all wear dry suits to protect themselves from these types of contaminants in the unknown waters they will be in to perform rescues, searches and other related tasks.

Houston has at least a dozen sites that have been designated environmentally hazardous and at risk of petrochemical contamination. Indeed, companies have reported that pollutants from refineries have already been released. As if those are not bad enough, the “unprecedented” amount of water leads to the perfect breeding opportunities for mosquitoes, which bring us Zika and many other infectious diseases. Hurricane Harvey has already led to deaths by drownings and the destruction of many homes and businesses. Most in Texas, specifically in the Houston area were caught in a false sense of safety as the experts had indicated they were not in harms way.

Flood impacts can hit hardest on the most vulnerable and exposed people, especially low income and ignored neighborhoods, the elderly and frankly, already known flood-prone areas, such as the Bronx River and Saw Mill River corridors. And yet, after several years of relative calm when action could have been taken, the politicians did nothing and moved on to more critical issues. Specifically, in our Town, the major concern between lawsuits and guilty verdicts against our Supervisor has been over leaf blower noise. While an inconvenience to some, nobody has ever lost their possessions or been forced from their homes because someone was using a leaf blower!

In fact, Mr Feiner asked his Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) to review and report back to him about regulating leaf blower usage. And, the CAC issued no less than four reports to the Town Board, and recommended that the Town Board regulate the periods of use of blowers in the residential areas of Unincorporated Greenburgh for part of the year – from May 1 - September 30. Interestingly, the Town stopped using the vacuum truck to pick up leaves during the fall because they did not know when the leaves would fall. Huh? So, how can they now know that September 30th is the correct date to go by for this proposed bill?

The Edgemont Association sought this legislation, along with the 50 or so Edgemont, Cotswald and Hartsdale residents, and even passed a resolution in support of the CAC findings. They also agreed with the exemptions that practically negate the bill, should it become law, and only restrict residents from leaf blower usage. We quote here from Section XXX-4.  Exemptions, about who will be exempted from this:
B. The restriction provided by Section 3 shall not apply to: (1) commercial properties, (2) privately-owned golf courses, (3) properties owned by a religious institution, and (4) properties owned by the town. Perhaps the only valuable portion of this bill comes down to the permissible hours of use: “...after 9 am and before 2 pm on weekdays and after 12 noon and before 5 pm on weekends and holidays.” Our non-legal interpretation is that homeowners’ landscapers or maybe even neighbors helping each other with their leaves are restricted unless they purchase a new electric blower and all businesses are not. Ironic that most businesses utilize landscaping companies and some of the complaints leading up to this request for legislation have been from those adjacent to golf courses, which are exempt. 

Whether every community has similar issues or not, does not diminish the merit of their concerns. However, if less affluent neighborhoods do not utilize these landscaping services as do these other communities, is this necessary for the entire Town or just a few neighborhoods? Likewise, these non-flood zone area residents might make a similar argument about the Town's resources being committed to the flood corridors. Regardless, no Town monies have been expended toward either effort.

In reading the proposal for a leaf blower bill, it almost seems to make the case for having a law based of flimsy reasoning. We quote in italics: 

     The basis for the CAC's recommendation were the adverse environmental and public health effects of blowers, principally the degradation of soils and the involuntary exposure of residents to air-borne particulate pollution. Soils are the foundation of plant life.The hurricane level wind forces generated by blowers, regardless of how powered, disrupts soils and soil regeneration. Moreover, those wind forces also involuntarily expose residents to filthy particular matter thrown into the air, some of which are toxic. Children, the elderly and residents exercising or walking outdoors are particularly at risk.  

As incredulous as the above statement is to believe, it seems like nothing more than the CAC trying to give Mr Feiner the cause celeb that he asked for proving (however weak) that another law is needed. He’s even said the Town is in need of a new law since it only has a noise ordinance pertaining to gas leaf blowers which is hard to enforce. We fail to see any enforcement improvements, only additional limitations on homeowners. In fact, placing the dates of use as well as time restrictions in the new law, won't offer any more enforcement opportunities unless Mr Feiner plans to have a cadre of interns patrolling landscaper-friendly neighborhoods on Segways to alert the police of an infraction.

A disaster involving a hurricane cannot happen unless people, infrastructure and communities are vulnerable to it. People become vulnerable if they end up being ignored by their political representatives. Where is the committee that was formed to address flooding by County Legislator Williams, or co-chairman Victor Carosi and most importantly, Mr Feiner and his Town Board? Now that it's hurricane season, we should be more concerned about flooding, toxic waste in the flood waters and the health effect it all has on our neighborhoods than leaf blower noise. 

And, what about the deadly leaf blower problem? Kill the suggested bill and go back to the table to develop a Town law that gives the affected communities the ability to regulate when and how loud a leaf blower, whether gas or electric, can be used. Wait a minute..., isn't that why Edgemont is trying to incorporate? The issues are clear, as are the motives from the corner office. It has to stop. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Remembering Those Lost on September 11, 2001





















Many were lost during the attacks against us on September 11, 2001. Many continue to suffer. Let us never forget those lost, those injured and those continuing to need our prayers and help.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day

























This call to action was not published in a periodical, but rather distributed as a single-sheet broadside in and around Lowell, Massachusetts, during a strike in 1834. The factory workers were reacting to an unprecedented wage decrease of roughly 15 percent across the board. The goal was to have beleaguered workers sign a petition and essentially unionize on the spot and then to strike until the three resolutions on this page were met by the mill owners.

Labor Day is more than just an excuse to BBQ. It is a day to honor labor and to remember that our rights as workers were won by those who came before us.

Happy Labor Day 2017!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Believability

Is believability for a politician necessary to govern successfully? We think it should be. That’s why we were a bit dismayed when our local daily paper had an article about “Tackling The Flood.” It went on to discuss the efforts of three communities, Scarsdale, Eastchester and New Rochelle, and how they’ve begun to execute a plan to alleviate flooding along the Hutchinson River in their respective communities. Each signed an agreement, entitled the Hutchinson River Flood Mitigation Project, to try to do something about flooding in their communities. Will they accomplish their goal? We’re not sure, but we believe they will try. Welcome to hurricane season.

The same issue has been brought up at countless meetings for the town of Greenburgh, by different people as well as different organizations. Sadly, with all of the talk about flooding in Greenburgh, nothing has ever been done nor changed to improve the situation during 24-years of the Feiner administration. Taxpayers, both commercial and residential, continue to get flooded. The continued flooding actively forces people to seek higher ground, ultimately with the driest solution being to move out of our town. After all, if Mr. Feiner continues to do nothing but provide lip service what other recourse is there?

Several years ago Mr. Feiner asked to create a task force to address flooding. A task force was formed. Greenburgh Commissioner Victor Carosi and the White Plains Public Works Commissioner were named co-chairs for this committee. County Legislator Alfreda Williams, is also on this commission. There may be several other people on this task force that are also of no consequence and contribute nothing to the flooding problem still being experienced by residents and businesses. Why have they not done anything after having an initial meeting, offering no subsequent plan for relief for these beleaguered taxpayers? And, now it’s hurricane season again with no solutions.

It’s easier to talk about flooding than it is to do something about it, such as coming up with a plan of attack similar to what we see with this Hutchinson River flood mitigation project. The dormant task force has not met in over two years since they were founded. We’re sure if they had they would have said there is no money or there are too many boundaries to try work with to clean the river spaces out, or to dredge them, or to somehow open them up to get a better flow of water. It’s easier to talk about it, to listen to us complain about it, than it is to fix it. After all, these elected officials and subsequent appointed officials know they will be reelected, typically without any opposition, and will reappoint their favorites once again. Losing a couple of hundred collective votes is nothing for Mr Feiner when he receives 7,000 votes running unopposed!

Whenever there is media focus either on a politician visiting the scene of a flood, or the media interviewing the flooded residents, the politicians all say that something must be done and then they point fingers at other politicians either uninvolved, not from the area, or are totally inappropriate for the problem at hand. Previously, Mr. Feiner has passed the buck to County legislators, State legislators or FEMA and the federal government. In fact he told one resident from Old Kensico Road that he would reach out to FEMA on their behalf to see about purchasing their flooded property. He knew that was a lie because the municipality must first perform a number of steps before FEMA will even entertain involvement. It made for great TV sound bytes but little else. Finally, after receiving no help for assistance of any kind from Mr. Feiner, specifically the Town, the County, State, or Federal government, especially FEMA, those same residents sold their house at a loss and moved to another area!

Mr. Feiner went to great lengths to appear on News 12 to bemoan the lack of action by other politicians for his valued constituents. These so-called valued constituents quickly realized that they were mere pawns in Mr. Feiner’s attempt to gain more publicity for himself. While he was successful in beating the drum getting publicity for himself, he threw a small portion of his constituency, literally, down the river along with many of their prized, ruined or irreplaceable possessions. Now that hurricane season is upon us the proverbial barn door has already been closed as the flooding begins once again. With all the development that has taken place in the region there are only two outlets for rainwater to go. The first on the west side of Greenburgh is the Saw Mill River. The second is on the east side of Greenburgh and that is the Bronx River. After the flooding caused by hurricane and tropical storm Irene, the Village of Elmsford mounted a campaign to clean out the Saw Mill River after a resident videotaped the debris blocking the waters flow causing some of the flooding in the area. Mr Feiner jumped on that bandwagon and received all kinds of publicity, but actually did nothing while the flooding continues.

During all the hype that Mr. Feiner and others utilized for their advantage, they ignored the Bronx River corridor and the residents that live near it. They too were severely flooded during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Sandy. At no point beyond the TV cameras did Mr. Feiner or other politicians offer to do anything to remediate the problems in the Bronx River corridor and the flow of water, especially during even minor storms. Mr. Feiner remains dry and aloof in his gated community in Boulder Ridge. Other politicians also remain dry during storms and bad weather. The role of government is to protect its people – all of its people! That hasn’t happened for those that live along the two corridors that parallel the only two rivers out of the Town and County. Both the Bronx River and the Saw Mill River need attention and residents need relief!

Every community that has the river passing through it needs to take ownership and responsibility for keeping the river clear. 
Individuals must participate as well. One simple thing individuals can do is simply don’t litter – it clogs our storm drains and ultimately our rivers. By collectively doing this it will help to allow the flow of water to better reach the sound shore waterways and other outlets and not back up into our neighborhoods, homes, and businesses.  By investing in our infrastructure and maintaining all of our wetland areas, we will be helping everyone enjoy a better quality of living in our towns and villages. This needs to happen sooner rather than later so we can have A Better Greenburgh.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sprain Brook Repairs To Kick Off Back To School

Preliminary work on the Sprain Brook Parkway in preparation for the traffic shift and the bridge work will begin as of August. This is according to Paul Tirums of the NYS DOT. The work will be performed at night on the Sprain Brook Parkway to repair the section of the Sprain Brook bridge that failed last year. Emergency repairs had been made to keep the Sprain Brook parkway open as well as Payne Street below it. The DOT repairs will utilize temporary lane closures during the repair period.

On August 21, a traffic shift will begin on the Sprain onto the northbound bridge reducing the number of lanes in each direction from three to two according to Mr Tirums. The traffic shift and lane reduction is anticipated to last 90 days and could be completed by November 20th. During the lane shift, significant traffic delays are anticipated and motorists are advised to seek alternate routes, avoid travel at peak hours when possible, and consider alternate transit options. Additional, temporary lane closures on the Parkway at this location are expected to occur before the full lane reduction is planned to go into effect.

Drivers are asked to use caution when traveling through the work zone area and pay particular attention to all traffic control devices, including signs and flaggers.

Payne Street between Bryant Avenue and South Montgomery Avenue will be closed for about 180 days. Due to these closures, we believe there could be residual traffic delays on Routes 9A,119, Knollwood and Grasslands Road.

Spring 2018 may include the completion of some items of work both along Payne Street and the Sprain Brook Parkway and is likely to include final asphalt paving, concrete sidewalks, street lighting, northbound bridge deck overlay, topsoil and seeding and any other miscellaneous items of work that could not be completed in 2017.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hartsdale Day Needs Volunteers

Hartsdale Day


The Hartsdale Beautification Committee (HBC), with support from the Hartsdale Neighbors Association and the Town of Greenburgh, is planning a celebration of our hamlet: Hartsdale Day for early October. The event is open to all and is designed to celebrate Hartsdale and help make this a more welcoming, charming and inclusive place for shopping, living and visiting.

Over the course of the last few months, volunteers from HBC have worked with the merchants in the downtown area of Hartsdale to create a vision for the day itself.  The main theme of the festival is "Travel the World - Come to Hartsdale" and the day features cuisine from China, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Turkey & America - all available in the downtown area of Hartsdale. In addition to the cuisine, there will be refreshments, musical entertainment, community outreach and exhibitions by local clubs and organizations.

We are seeking volunteers to help make this day a success. Specifically, we need in the following areas:

  • Planning Committee
  • Social Media, Advertising, Graphic Design
  • Fundraising
  • Setup & Cleanup Crew
If you or someone you know is interested in helping, please reply to this note and let us know where you think you can help out!
---
The Hartsdale Beautification Committee (HBC) is a volunteer-based organization that works with merchants and residents to improve the quality of public spaces in the neighborhood. For more information on the HBC or to volunteer, please contact Barbara Brennan by email:brennanb910@gmail.com.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Candidates Skate Real Issues

Being an incumbent candidate has its advantages, especially when it comes to being re-elected. Except in the Town of Greenburgh. In Greenburgh, as we’ve been witnessing almost forever, the incumbent’s position is a guaranteed-for-life position unless the candidate or Mr Feiner chooses otherwise as in “being Sonya’d”. Such is the case with Francis Sheehan and Diana Juettner.

The Hartsdale Neighborhood Association, which prefers to not be known as a civic association, hosted a meeting for its neighbors at the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church’s basement on Central Park Avenue. It was known that the two Town Board candidates would be there “campaigning” as well as other topics being discussed. As usual, the candidates arrived late. We wondered if it is because they are running unopposed or just felt entitled enough to not worry that they might lose their seats, again as they are running unopposed?

Regardless, an update briefing regarding the status of the Edgemont Incorporation began the meeting. One member spoke as to the incorporation effort, the Article 78 appeal by the EIC, the latest Article 78 by “another group” which we interpret as Feiner sycophants, in hopes of negating the EIC Article 78 appeal. Apparently, even though this second appeal is underway, the EIC is prepared to address it as well. There wasn’t much subsequent discussion at this point about incorporation – although it remained the 800 pound elephant in the room.

Next, a discussion took place about the planned upcoming “Hartsdale Day” event. Many residents had questions while others had suggestions about what should be done. Some questioned why a more widespread effort to encompass more of Hartsdale wasn’t being done. The response was that this was the first attempt and that the hope was to build off of the initial effort and have it grow year after year. A future goal was to turn this into the event that Dobbs Ferry does every year. What we didn’t hear was more than one or two people offer to help with it. We wish them well and are happy to advertise it here if they choose to send us information.

Finally, we got to what some believed was the main event. The first candidate to speak was Councilwoman Diana Juettner. She decided to discuss various properties throughout the Town and infrastructure. When you speak about things that are not the topics many wish to discuss, and are allowed to go on unencumbered with questions, you can spin an effective tale about how difficult these issues are and why it is such a challenge for the Town Board to address and what she is specifically doing about it. What she didn’t discuss is the Edgemont Incorporation or why she participated in the voter suppression effort spearheaded by Mr Feiner and his friend Mr Abinanti. Smug and content, she sat down to a faint smattering of applause.

Mr Sheehan decided to take a different tact and relate how he had moved to Greenburgh and slowly gotten involved in an issue of zoning. This tale took about ten minutes as he discussed several particulars, making him the hero and champion of the people. While we admit Mr Sheehan is knowledgeable about zoning issues, he too avoided the pachyderm in the room and did not mention the Edgemont incorporation and his vote to suppress voter rights either!

One audience member asked why the Town was so unfriendly to businesses. Ms Juettner remained silent and Mr Sheehan did a Feiner-like rope-a-dope. He also obfuscated his answers enough to make it difficult to stay on topic. We’re sure if one of his students did this they would be chastised for it. But this is Greenburgh politics and the goal of this administration is to not provide information or answers. Mr Feiner would be proud of his two semi-independent appearing minions.

Mr Sheehan also took the lead when they were finally asked why they endorsed the Feiner created, Abinanti and Stewart-Cousins’ sponsored, voter-suppression bills in Albany. An audience member pointedly mentioned that the administration claimed the bills were not directed against Edgemont. And, almost everyone was against it, but according to Mr Feiner, the bills were directly aimed at Hartsdale residents as it was suggested numerous times that they might also be interested in incorporating. Mr Sheehan claimed that was not true and his political answer almost made it sound like the voter suppression move by these two candidates and their co-conspirators was a good thing! Fortunately, the audience knew better and grew restless.

Know that the 800 pound elephant was in the room and out in the open. Several informed audience members began to vociferously pepper the candidates answers with interruptions, facts and real information. Several Feiner-friendly people tried to quiet them and encourage the candidates to answer. But the damage had been done. Fortunately, the clock would save them. So while the two candidates didn’t need to be there, the real issues were avoided with fluff. No matter. Both candidates will be re-elected as the Democrat party condoned their actions of voter suppression, as did its members. If things do not change, we may never see A Better Greenburgh.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Abinanti is the real problem in Greenburgh

This letter to the editor was originally published in the Scarsdale Inquirer, June 29, 2017 edition on page 6. We are posting it here with permission for those who do not receive the Inquirer and because it highlights the actions of Paul Feiner and Tom Abinanti. It is unedited by us. 


To the Editor:

Your editorial “A desperate man,” in the June 23 edition, about Paul Feiner’s attempt to use legislation to stop the Edgemont incorporation effort, was right on target.  There is nothing new about Feiner using devious and anti-democratic methods to get his way, and his self-righteous protestations have about as much credibility as Donald Trump’s tweets.

But Feiner is not the villain of this story.  The villain is Tom Abinanti, the assemblyman from hell.  He was the one who devised and suggested this legislation that would make village incorporation virtually impossible.

Abinanti has the habit of inserting himself into everything and screwing the residents when it suits his, or his friends’ purposes – in this case, Feiner’s purposes. 

Here are just two highlights. 

About 20 years ago one Town Court judge sued the other Town Court judge over the hiring of a junior clerk, and Tom Abinanti advised his friend, the suing judge, and drafted the complaint in the lawsuit, an act that humiliated the Town Court for several years.

A couple of years ago Abinanti proposed an Assembly bill that was an anti-vaxxer’s dream. It would have required schools to admit to the general school population children whose parents had refused to have their children vaccinated against smallpox and other diseases. Why?  Because Abinanti believes the disproven nonsense that vaccination causes autism.

There are other situations in which Abinanti meddled contrary to the residents’ interests, but space limitations do not permit more examples.

And Abinanti never stops.  He has stated that in the next legislative session he will try again to enact legislation that will destroy the right of residents to vote for self-governing villages.

The remedy?  Make certain that Abinanti is not endorsed for reelection next year, and if he does get on the ballot, organize to defeat him. 

Greenburgh is an enlightened community.  It deserves an assemblyman who listens to his constituents, and is responsive to their concerns.

Herbert Rosenberg
Dobbs Ferry

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day















Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941. But the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues. With all that is going on today, let us pause for a moment and reflect on the battles fought, the lives lost and the greatness of our nation due to those efforts. God bless America!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Call For Civility, A Call For Democracy- You Decide

As we were writing an article about Mr Feiner's email blast, hard-copy mailing to follow, we received a rebuttal email from the Edgemont Incorporation Council (EIC). While we refuse to print Mr Feiner's press releases for numerous reasons, we felt it fair to print it in its entirety with the EIC rebuttal. As we have followed this entire process, we believe the EIC has been forthcoming, forward with their answers to any questions and tried to provide an honest and open discussion. The same cannot be said about Mr Feiner and his Board. With the exception of the special Sunday night "CYA" meeting, his Board has seemed to distance themselves from him and this event. No matter, they know you will re-elect them in November. In fact, the Democrat party has already nominated them and is carrying petitions to that effect.

Regardless of the election outcome and stalemate of ideas, creativity, new or better thinking the residents will not be receiving come this November, the real effort by Mr Feiner should recognized for what it is, voter suppression and control. Simply, Edgemont residents should be allowed to vote. They followed the rules to do so. They gathered the signatures, they put their money ($6,000 fee) up while Mr Feiner has bent, manipulated and disregarded the rules. This argument is broken down by both of the sides below. Once again the EIC has provided links to back up their position and share information. 

Eventually, usually at taxpayer expense and in the courts, this will be decided. Allowing the community to vote without Mr Feiner strong-arming the process to achieve his goal,even though its usually served for him before, should be the outcome in court. It's the right thing to do even if you don't want it. Why? Because like it or not, it will help to make A Better Greenburgh.

A Call For Civility
As many of you may have experienced, the debate related to Edgemont’s proposed incorporation has produced a level and intensity of rhetoric which has inflicted real damage on every segment of the Town’s population and staff, as well as the outside world’s view of both our Town and its Hamlet of Edgemont.
At this time, the attacks on the Town Board, our staff and on me have become increasingly personal and in many cases cruel and hurtful.  I have not reacted previously to the ever-mounting, non-stop barrage of vicious commentary, as I believed that acceptance of criticism comes with the “turf” when you choose to be a public servant.  However, this process, which I truly believe is an orchestrated plan by the pro-incorporation group to discredit every aspect of the Town, comes with a severe cost.  Residents, both pro and con, are at “each other’s throats.”  Words like racism and elitism are being tossed about outside and within a community which previously had been seen as a bastion of acceptance of diverse opinions.  The results of this campaign will clearly live on beyond the Edgemont referendum, both in the form of our residents’ perception of each other’s values and in the manner in which the Town of Greenburgh and its Villages are viewed by the outside world.  In addition, the effect of this nasty rhetoric on our staff, who fear for their jobs and whose spirits are being broken by the constant criticism of their commitment and ability to professionally fulfill their responsibilities, is wrong and unacceptable.
I am the elected Town Supervisor for approximately 90,000 residents of the incorporated Villages and unincorporated Town of Greenburgh.  In conjunction with a Town Board comprised of individuals I trust and respect, we endeavor to do the best job we can, for all residents.  The Town Board and I oversee  434 full time and 268 part time Greenburgh employees, who are dedicated to serving Greenburgh’s residents and have proven their competence and commitment, over and over again.  The Town Board and I have great pride in these individuals and respect for each and every one, on a personal and professional level.  They are the best of the best and provide the highest level of service anywhere.
At some point Edgemont voters may cast ballots in a referendum to determine whether Edgemont will become a Village.  Let us be clear, the potential loss of nearly $17,000,000 in revenue will absolutely have a devastating effect on many of the more than 42,000 residents of unincorporated Greenburgh.  As Supervisor of “The Town of Greenburgh,” not just any single entity, I will do my best to ensure the fairest outcome for my entire constituency.
I appeal to those Greenburgh residents on both sides of this debate, to our local newspapers and media outlets, to pursue their objectives, as is their right and responsibility, to their fullest, but to utilize restraint in their tone and presentation.  Our community and our children are watching, and regardless of the outcome, it is my fervent hope that Greenburgh’s reputation for civility and acceptance can remain intact.
PAUL FEINER, Greenburgh Town Supervisor


Open Response to Supervisor Feiner on Civility 
The EIC completely agrees that the discussion on Edgemont's incorporation should be civil and respectful.  

Since it began, the Edgemont Incorporation Committee has conducted a fair, open, information-based, transparent process. The thousands of Edgemont residents who have attended the dozens of meetings, forums, open houses and petition-signing events over the past year can attest to the depth of the discussion, the sincerity of the views held (on all sides), and the genuine spirit of civic engagement that has animated the entire process. Thousands of visitors have examined, analyzed and debated the detailed information assembled by Edgemont volunteers and experts on our 
website.  
Edgemont's residents are not "at each other's throats" -- we are discussing, debating and challenging each other to build a better community.  What we are attempting -- with no help from you and your regime -- is to exercise our rights under state law and under the constitution.

But let's be clear about what Edgemont has gotten in return from you, your board, your hired investigators and some of your anti-incorporation supporters: 

a consistent pattern of obstruction, deception, and delay at every step in the process.
a secret and outrageous scheme (revealed through emails to which you were a party) to organize and support an opposition campaign, including false allegations of intimidation. 
- vulgar gestures directed at Edgemont residents in a public meeting
the active solicitation of false objections to Edgemont's legitimate petition. 
the use of Town funds for private investigators to deceive petition signers into disowning their signatures.
and most recently, an attempt to thwart democracy with an unconstitutional home-rule bill.

The EIC endorses any call for civility in this process. But even more importantly: 
We call for DEMOCRACY.  After months of assurances that you were merely trying to follow the law, it turns out you could only pretend to care about the law as long as you were winning. So last week, you decided if you couldn't win an Edgemont vote, you would try to have Edgemont's right to vote taken away altogether - by ramming a "home-rule" request through the legislature in Albany on the last few days of the legislative session. With no notice, no debate, and then a sham last-minute meeting on Father's Day, you had your Board of Supervisors rubber stamp your anti-democratic end-run in Albany.  It was only thanks to the very civil appeals of hundreds of Edgemont residents to their legislators in Albany that your scheme was halted

We call for HONESTY.  Don't hide behind your hired guns to disclaim responsibility for the private investigator fiasco.  It was your responsibility and your decision. 
Don't tell us, with a straight face, that the home-rule legislation you tried to ram through the legislature had nothing to do with the Edgemont incorporation effort. 

We call for RESPECT.  The Edgemont community has expressed its clear will to hold a vote on incorporation.  The EIC has expressed its clear intention to promote a fair and cooperative process between the Village of Edgemont and the Town of Greenburgh. You have rejected the community's petition based on fabricated technicalities and outright falsehoods, and you have rejected any possibility of a constructive, cooperative dialogue with the Village of Edgemont. 

The Scarsdale Inquirer's editorial page this week called you "a desperate man" and said your latest attempt to stop Edgemont was "manifestly desperate," seeking "new, totalitarian authority to keep [Edgemont] and their money right where they are." This week's Lohud article calls your "failed effort to change the rules in the middle of the game seems desperate, if not vindictive."

We agree.

Mr. Feiner - the CIVIL thing to do would be to honor the will and the right of Edgemont's citizens to hold a vote on incorporation and to accept the outcome.  If you insist on fighting, do so on the facts.  Argue the merits. Accept the voters' will.  That's civility. 

One more thing:  
It is not a fact (as you continue to state) that Greenburgh will lose $17-million in revenue when Edgemont incorporates. 
The EIC has consistently, repeatedly, emphatically laid out many scenarios in which the Village of Edgemont might find it advantageous to contract with the Town of Greenburgh for a variety of services.  What is a fact is that after Edgemont incorporates, you - Paul Feiner -- will lose your personal control over that $17 million in revenue.  You will no longer be free to use that money, among other things, to pay multi-million court judgments for your unconstitutional actions (Fortress Bible) or to hire private investigators to come into our homes and trick us into surrendering our constitutional rights. 

Sincerely, 
The EIC.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Abinanti & Stewart Cousins’ Voter Suppression Bill Suppressed, Until Today?

In a most typically secretive way, Mr Feiner, a democrat, spoke and/or met with NYS Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, also democrats, to change the 100 or so-year old state law on incorporation in another futile attempt to stop the Edgemont community residents from incorporating into what would be Greenburgh’s seventh village. It would also curtail any other area in the Town from thinking about incorporation.

Ironically, the attempt in Albany also failed, albeit until today, even though Mr Feiner had enlisted his Albany buddies to change the law. Both Abinanti and Stewart-Cousins submitted the voter-suppression bills in their respective branches of the NYS legislatures, but their attempt to sneak this unincorporated Greenburgh specific bill through was met with resistance. In fact, on June 20th, several Edgemont residents traveled to Albany to meet with the Greenburgh representatives. Stewart-Cousins met with constituents. Abinanti refused to meet with his constituents. However today is a critical day as Governor Cuomo has ordered the legislature into a special session to pass through other legislation that he and others believes is critically needed. Does that include the Abinanti/Stewart-Cousins/Feiner Voter Suppression bill? Let’s hope not.

Abinanti’s refusal to meet with constituents speaks volumes and lets residents know how he feels about representing them or anyone else. It’s a shame that constituents who travel two and a half hours are thought so little of that their unchallenged representative, conspiring in cahoots with unchallenged Mr Feiner to take away voters’ rights, thinks he can treat people this way. In spite of Mr Abinanti’s rude and bad behavior, Greenburgh residents did meet with other more receptive representatives. They discussed the legality and ethical conundrum created by Mr Feiner, Mr Abinanti and Ms Stewart-Cousins. They all know it’s okay as they are democrats and their seats will never be challenged by anyone else in Westchester. Or will they?

The Greenburgh Town Democrats have nominated Mr Feiner, Mr Sheehan, Ms Juettner, Ms Beville and Ms Povella (collector of taxes) for re-election. They put their names on petitions, and Democratic District Leaders started obtaining signatures, allowing the usual suspects to run (likely uncontested).  A vacancy then opened up on the Town Court and Bonnie Orden was nominated to fill the void. The Greenburgh Democrats came up with another petition, not one just for Bonnie Orden, but one that included Mr Feiner, Mr Sheehan, Ms Juettner, Ms Beville, Ms Povella and also Ms Orden. 

So now the Democrats will be trying to get more signatures. How will they be monitoring to ensure that people do not sign both, and duplicate signatures?  Will voters even remember if they already signed a duplicate petition?  Has the Democratic “leadership” made any effort to warn petition carriers to take steps to avoid duplication? Of course, if someone were running against Mr Feiner, someone such as Mona Freitag would be double checking for duplicate signatures.  

The Greenburgh Democrats will do everything possible to support a totalitarian regime. They criticize Trump, Putin and North Korea. They protest gerrymandering. Now it appears that they support removing voting rights for unincorporated Greenburgh. Mr Feiner’s latest attempt to block the ECC, the EIC, Bob Bernstein, Jeff Sherwin and others from Edgemont and Hartsdale in Albany, may have seemingly failed. What will be next? ABG was surprisingly caught off-guard when we learned of the bill that he had concocted in secret with Abinanti and Stewart-Cousins against Greenburgh residents. Yet, even so, this latest maneuver continues to re-enforce all the reasons we believe this administration should be removed. Between law suits with guilty verdicts, fines and penalties being charged to unincorporated Greenburgh residents, unethical and discriminatory behavior, it’s time. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

14-Year Old Dies in Abandoned Port Chester Hospital

Tuesday evening found a group of kids illegally “playing” in the old abandoned United Hospital buildings in Port Chester. Early reports had indicated that a 14-year old boy had fallen through the roof.

ABG learned from on-scene responders that the a group of boys similar in age had removed a piece of plywood that exposed an elevator shaft. The youths were attempting to either climb or traverse the shaft when one of the group, a 14-year old, fell four stories, landing on the elevator’s mechanics and motor. When the police and fire department arrived, they attempted to do a rescue.

Without the proper tools and equipment, they requested mutual aid from the County’s Technical Rescue Team. One Port Chester fire department member said he couldn’t believe how quickly they arrived on scene. Sadly, it would be in vain as the rescue changed into a recovery once contact was made with the boy. Names were withheld at that time.

Abinanti Refuses To Meet With Constituents

Sunday was not your typical Father’s Day. Yes, barbecues still happened. Families still traveled to visit loved ones. Lawns were mowed. Presents were exchanged. And, like any other Father’s Day, savings were still to be had at most retail stores.  What was unusual was that in one town in America, the Town of Greenburgh, the Supervisor and Town Board who acted illegally and immorally, abruptly ended all the festivities. Let’s recap.

Under the cover of a holiday weekend and a lazy Friday afternoon, the 24-year incumbent supervisor got arrogant. He decided to hold a special meeting, claimed it was a public meeting and in one minute and thirty-one seconds, it was done. No public notice to speak of was given. The Town Clerk said that she was notified of the meeting on Thursday and put the notice on her Bulletin Board. It wasn't sent on the Town's email list or put on the Town's web site. But once we exposed what had taken place, Mr Feiner and his Board scrambled to hold a public meeting in a “CYA” attempt to undo the illegal meeting held on Friday. Why?

Because his plan to have Albany introduce this oppression of voter rights had already started. And if they didn’t have the official vote on record, the bill would die. We imagine Mr Feiner making a few phone calls, saying, “Screw the families and Dads in the Town who were celebrating. Hey, screw the residents. Lets make it so hard to incorporate that it’ll never happen in Edgemont. I need you to come to Town Hall Sunday night to hold the special meeting at 8:30PM. Nobody will show up, we’ll vote and go home.”

Used to not having to justify his actions, have any accountability or perish the thought, remorse, Mr Feiner decided to eliminate Greenburgh residents right to vote. That’s right. He’s so upset. embarrassed or simply annoyed at Edgemont for wanting to incorporate, he’s trying to change the NYS law regarding incorporation by having his friends in Albany introduce a bill that will change the voting rights for only Town of Greenburgh residents. And, we’re told that no assembly legislator will go against the bill as they don’t want to go against one locales “home rule”, no matter how illegal, oppressive, immoral or negative it might be. It’s the only thing that will keep this bill alive.

This horrible bill was masterminded by Mr Feiner and is being executed right now in the NYS Assembly by his close political friend, Democrat Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti. As the TV commercials say, “But wait, there’s more!” Mr Abinanti may not be the only one complicit here. The NYS Senate version is being championed by Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins! Many in Greenburgh considered both the legislators their friends and never believed they could do such a horrible thing like voter suppression to them.

Several Greenburgh residents went to Albany in response to these two bills, which had been introduced a week ago. That means that Mr Feiner and his Board asked these two legislators to work on this for him quite some time ago. The web of deceit, usually contained within the Town’s unincorporated district, has now spread its corrupt tentacles to Albany. A phone call to several of the representatives offices yielded this comment from one, “You know, we’ve been getting a lot of calls about this bill. That usually means there really is something bad with it.” Indeed.

The cornerstone of America is the right for all to vote – except in Greenburgh. His Town Board, complicit in every way, vocally condoned his actions when they cowardly went into executive session and voted to support elimination of voter’s rights only in the Town of Greenburgh. Residents went to Albany today to speak with the various legislators involved All of them agreed to meet with our neighbors. All but one. Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti refused to meet with Greenburgh residents! It’s bad enough that taxpayers have to put up with Mr Feiner and his Boards bad, illegal and sometimes immoral behavior. But now Mr Feiner’s reach has extended to Albany. It has to stop. Only then will we get A Better New York and a Better Greenburgh!

Call your state elected representatives and voice your opposition to these two bills. But hurry - votes are scheduled for later today!

Senate: refer to bill S6728 sponsored by Sen. Stewart-Cousins
  • Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins 914-423-4031 518-455-2585 
  • Sen. John Flanagan
    He's president of the state senate and head of the rules committee 518-455-2071
  • Sen. George Latimer
    He's the Dem nominee to run for county Supervisor against Astorino this fall 518-455-2031
Assembly: refer to bill A8423 sponsored by Tom Abinanti
  • Tom Abinanti  914-631-1605
  • William Magnerelli
    Chair of Local Govt committee that meets today  518-455-4826
  • David Buchwald
    Rep from Mt Kisco who sits on Local Government comm  518-455-5397


Monday, June 19, 2017

Witnessing A Microcosm Of This Town Board: They Voted “Yes”!

Updated June 19
The room slowly filled beyond capacity as the 8PM hour approached. By 8:15 you could feel the electricity in the air as mostly Edgemont residents began to fill the room. Although residents from other neighborhoods and civic associations joined in. As usual, the Town Board entered late, except Councilman Sheehan, who came in on time and took his customary seat. The actions tonight would be the first time many would see their Town Board in action. This would be the microcosm of what this Board is really like and how they think of and treat their constituents.

Once Mr Feiner entered the room, the crowd erupted with, “Boo’s.” Mark Lafayette of Edgemont was handing out “Impeach Paul Feiner” buttons and had several hand-made protest signs that he distributed to various audience members. Three Greenburgh Police Department officers were present presumably for crowd control. They weren’t needed. But ever since Mr Feiner allowed Hamas members the use of Town Hall for an anti-Israel group rally, and the police had been called in to subdue a small riot – again brought about by Mr Feiner, he feels the absoluteness of power slipping away and needs more and more protection. This is what third world nation despot wind up doing just before they are overthrown. Hmmm.

After the cacophony of boos, the crowd began chanting, very loudly, “Let us vote, let us vote!” While all of the meeting room seats were taken, the back of the room and then the lobby area filled up with more and more people who were chanting. They clearly were in violation of the fire ordinance limiting the amount of people who could be in the space. We saw members of the Edgemont Incorporation Committee (EIC), the Hartsdale Neighborhood Committee as well as civic association leaders in attendance. Another chant that was used was, “Shame, shame, shame.” There were even a few catcalls and names shouted out to the Board members that we will not repeat.

Once the crowd quieted down, but not for long, Mr Feiner said they would let anyone who wanted to speak have two-minutes to do so – down from the very generous three minutes usually proffered at regular Town Board meetings. Jeff Sherwin, of the EIC, was the first to speak. His initial question was, “Why was this meeting being held today, on Father’s Day?” As Mr Feiner did his usual rope-a-dope, the crowd wasn’t buying it and booed him again and shouted, “Answer the question,” and“You’re corrupt!” Still, he did not provide an answer.

Then Jeff laid out a scenario and asked, “If this was to be their legacy, to suppress voter rights?” No one answered. They were probably thinking, “Hell yes, otherwise Paul will have me Sonya’d.” For the uninitiated, Sonya Brown was a Town Board member originally supported by Paul Feiner until she stepped away from the Feiner reservation and was shunned while she completed her term and then tossed aside for Ken Jones in the subsequent election. So, no Board member is willing to give up the position simply by doing the right thing or going against Mr Feiner and risk being “Sonya’d”.

Ken Stahn also spoke as the President of the Sprain Brook Road Civic Association President and said, “Since 1999 he has been listened to by this Town Board but has never been heard.” Telling to say the least. Again, after another speaker reflected leaving a communist county to come to America seeking freedom and finding fault with the Board’s actions, the crowd again took to chanting. This time they chanted, “USA, USA!”

The entire meeting, which officially started late at 8:30PM and ended about 9:46PM, was exemplified by the cowardly move by the Board to go into Executive Session. Usually this is reserved for personnel issues and legal issues concerning the Town. This time, we believe it was to get out of the public scrutiny and decide who would fall on the sword for Mr Feiner this time. It was Councilman Ken Jones. He took off his glasses, an obvious tactic he’s done before to avoid eye contact with those he’s sworn to serve, and said that after conferring with Town Attorney Tim Lewis in their back room, blah, blah, blah, they all voted to support the resolution. He might as well have turned to Mr Feiner and asked, “Did I do it the way you wanted, sir?”

This is about suppressing voters rights only in the Town of Greenburgh. Mr Feiner said this would be good for all of NY State. But it won’t. The bills introduced by Tom Abinanti and Andrea Stewart-Cousins are slated to be voted on tomorrow. You must take action and contact them if you are against this travesty. Maybe they will listen, but we don’t have much confidence in them either to do the right thing. Reach out anyway and maybe we can get A Better Greenburgh.

How can you help?
Attend town board meetings @ Town Hall - 177 Hillside Ave and express your displeasure.

Fill out this New York State form to oppose the bill:
 https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/S6728

Call your state elected representatives and voice your opposition to these two bills. But hurry - votes are scheduled for later today!

Senate: refer to bill S6728 sponsored by Sen. Stewart-Cousins
  • Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins 914-423-4031 518-455-2585 
  • Sen. John Flanagan
    He's president of the state senate and head of the rules committee
    518-455-2071
  • Sen. George Latimer
    He's the Dem nominee to run for county Supervisor against Astorino this fall
    518-455-2031
Assembly: refer to bill A8423 sponsored by Tom Abinanti
  • Tom Abinanti  914-631-1605
  • William Magnerelli
    Chair of Local Govt committee that meets today 
    518-455-4826
  • David Buchwald
    Rep from Mt Kisco who sits on Local Government comm 
    518-455-5397