A small setback would not stop them. Mr Feiner's biased decision against Edgemont incorporation was not based on the law. We believe he miscalculated and has actually pushed the Edgemont Incorporation Committee's (EIC) cause forward. And, having temporarily slowed the incorporation movement, Mr Feiner has ensured an Article 78 appeal. An Article 78 is the court-provided vehicle for the public to appeal what they believe to be bad or incorrect decisions made by a municipality.
As we write this article we are aware of a second petition that has begun to be circulated by the EIC. It mirrors the original one, as it’s still believed by the EIC that their first attempt was legally correct and should not have been dismissed by Mr Feiner. This time, however, they have engaged an engineering firm with Westchester County experience to validate the boundaries that the EIC and the petitioners seek to become the new Village of Edgemont.
Whether or not everyone agrees with Mr Feiner’s position or are even against incorporation, it appears many people have been persuaded toward incorporation after Mr Feiner hired private investigators to dupe residents into signing a newer affidavit to invalidate their original incorporation petition signature. A video captured on a home nanny-cam security system showed the entire process, with sound, in play. In fact, the video system had just been installed the day before. And, it was not the grainy, useless video we see on the news of shadowy figures robbing a convenience store at 2 AM. The picture was sharp, the sound clear and the evidence damning!
Since one of the Mr Feiner’s sticking points was the argument that signers of the original petition were not provided a map indicating the boundaries of the proposed new village, the engineering firm hired by the EIC will provide the EIC with a modern map showing all proposed property lines. Another argument made by anti-incorporation proponents was the lack of a financial analysis of the new village. The analysis and all subsequent information was provided on the EIC website (www.Edgemont2017.org). However, we understand how Mr Feiner likes to operate. Say something that is not factually correct enough times and eventually it will be believed as true. Perhaps the EIC should have used this tactic as well and just kept referring to themselves as the Village of Edgemont...
Mr Feiner weakly claimed several other reasons contributed to his reasons for invaliding the EIC petition. Knowing, however, that he was against the petition from the beginning also provided predictable responses. One of his reasons to be against the incorporation was that it would cost the Town approximately $17 million in lost revenue. Every time this point was raised the EIC stated that they wanted to contract services with the Town which could keep the Town budget virtually unchanged. Mr Feiner and Councilman Jones openly said the Town would not contract the services with Edgemont as a village. If they were truly concerned about the well-being of the Town, they would not be so obstinate and go along with this.
Now it was just a dog-and-pony event, utilizing a retired judge and NYC private investigation company as his foils. It also necessitated writing several emails, press releases and photo “ops” where Mr Feiner could substantiate his decision. The master of deflection was at it again. The issue again became the methodology necessary to pull this off. He held the hearing open for the required length of time and shrewdly scheduled the final hearing date to be the day before the hearing’s close date, making it impossible for the EIC or any pro-incorporation proponents to challenge “evidence” submitted by anti-incorporation proponents.
Not only will the EIC have people out and about getting signatures a second time around for the new petition, but Edgemonters can find out when and where someone will be and go to them to sign the new petition or schedule a time to sign by reaching out through the EIC email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr Feiner, who we believe lies regularly about open government, has tried to shut down the Edgemont community’s right to vote - once. We’ll have to see what happens in court or with the second petition. We hope this time the right thing will take place. It will make for A Better Greenburgh.