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:

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
  • Sen. George Latimer
    He's the Dem nominee to run for county Supervisor against Astorino this fall
Assembly: refer to bill A8423 sponsored by Tom Abinanti
  • Tom Abinanti  914-631-1605
  • William Magnerelli
    Chair of Local Govt committee that meets today 
  • David Buchwald
    Rep from Mt Kisco who sits on Local Government comm 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Extended Stay America Drug Lab Busted

At approximately 2PM on Wednesday, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) made a drug arrest at the Extended Stay America hotel on Rt 119 in Elmsford. Working with Elmsford police and fire personnel, the area was cordoned off and arrests were made of Charles Thelusma, 43. The former resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who has previous drug convictions, faces charges that he possessed and sold heroin, carfentanil and U47700.

In addition to Elmsford fire and police involvement, Westchester County’s Special Operations’ Hazardous Material Response Team provided support and decontamination to the NYS police’s Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response personnel who gathered samples and removed assorted chemicals and drugs. The fire department members as well as the county Haz-Mat personnel are highly-skilled volunteer responders.

Officials said carfentanil is an opioid typically used as a tranquilizer for elephants and other large mammals, and is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times stronger than fentanyl, a deadly drug that is 50 times more powerful than heroin. U47700 is a synthetic opioid that is about seven times stronger than morphine, officials said.

“This is the first federal prosecution involving carfentanil in Connecticut,” said Deirdre Daly, U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, who added that the investigation is ongoing. Authorities said they set up heroin purchases on two occasions in March and May, when Thelusma is accused of having one of his workers handle those drug sales in Bridgeport. On May 24, officials said, authorities arranged the purchase of three bundles of heroin, or 30 dose bags, from Thelusma for $200 at the Elmsford hotel.

Thelusma has spent time behind bars in Connecticut in recent years for drug convictions, court records show. In 2011, he was sentenced to 731 days in jail for selling drugs in Stamford, and in 2007 he was sentenced to 15 months in jail for drug dealing in Norwalk, according to court records.

Defecation Hits Ventilation: Town Board to Hold Emergency CYA Meeting Tonight. Protesters To Attend?

ABG recently wrote several stories that highlight the lies coming from Town Hall and specifically the corner office. We also informed our readers of a secret meeting Mr Feiner held and his Town Board condoned on Friday afternoon as weekend plans were made, workdays were wrapping up and most people weren’t paying attention to the shenanigans at Town Hall. Unknown by most, a special meeting took place for all of one minute and thirty-one seconds to thwart the constitutional rights of only Greenburgh residents by Mr Feiner, his Town Board, NYS Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti and NYS Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins!

As we have mentioned in our previous articles of the lack of truthfulness coming from 177 Hillside Avenue, whenever we expose another wrong-doing, Mr Feiner circles the proverbial wagons to fight back, usually compounding his screw-up. Well, he’s doing it again. He sent out an email blast trying to cover his illegal actions on Friday by describing the special meeting and then saying:

Some blog posts on Edgemont sites claim that improper notice was given of the meeting yesterday.  Even though work was still being done on the resolution, I personally walked over to the Town Clerk's office on Thursday and advised that I wanted to give at least 24 hours’ notice before Friday’s meeting.  We scheduled the special meeting at 2:45 PM on Friday, 24 hours after I spoke to the Clerk’s Office.  Nevertheless, for the avoidance of any doubt and to ensure we are following the letter and spirit of the law, the Town Board has decided to re-notice the meeting and reaffirm their votes tomorrow (Sunday) evening, at 8:30 PM, at Greenburgh Town Hall, 177 Hillside Avenue, Greenburgh NY 10607.  No other business will be entertained at tomorrow’s special meeting.

While he says he personally walked and talked to those in the Clerk’s office, it’s our belief that this is a lie. Why? Mr Feiner was found guilty in Federal Court of discrimination, LYING UNDER OATH, and destroying evidence and more. We also don’t believe anyone else from this administration will say anything to the contrary as they know they’ll be “Sonya’d” if they do. Or, they just won’t comment at all and let Mr Feiner take all of the heat.

We hope that many of you can change your Father’s Day plans, which we’re sure Mr Feiner is hoping you cannot, and attend this impromptu protest at Town Hall tonight. Due to the serious nature of this event, be advised that Mr Feiner will have a police presence and all protests should be peaceful. They will also not allow public comment and exit in haste after they perform their CYA vote.

Other organizations are planning to have their members attend this meeting in protest. Here’s what was on an Edgemont Facebook page:
Dear Edgemont Neighbor,

We need you tonight!  At the last minute, Supervisor Paul Feiner has scheduled a public meeting this evening, Sunday, June 18, at which he will make a second request to change State laws in a manner that only affect Greenburgh.

His actions, if successful, would have the effect of establishing specific standards for village incorporation that would only apply to Greenburgh communities such as Edgemont, Hartsdale, and Fairview, but not to any other New York hamlets that may wish to consider villagization in the future.

The meeting will be held tonight at 8:30 pm at Greenburgh Town Hall, and the Town. Paul Feiner says that the meeting “should only last a few minutes.” Therefore we are asking everyone to arrive at 8:15pm.

It is important for us to show up early and be heard.
TONIGHT, Sunday, June 18
Town Hall - 177 Hillside Ave

Here’s what the Hartsdale Neighborhood Association has posted:

Please read carefully the following statement released tonight (Saturday) by Supervisor Paul Feiner in advance of a Town Board vote scheduled for Sunday evening (6/18) to consider a resolution authorizing a home rule bill submitted in the state legislature by Senator Stewart-Cousins and Assemblyman Abinanti to change the rules that apply to village incorporation exclusively within the Town of Greenburgh. As Supervisor Feiner states below, this proposed bill, which dramatically raises incorporation petition requirements and grants Greenburgh's Town Board sweeping and discretionary powers to defeat potential village incorporations, targets not just Edgemont, but is also intended to make it impossible for Hartsdale and Fairview to ever incorporate. Such potential incorporations are on nobody's radar currently, but circumstances could change in the future in unpredictable ways. Here in Hartsdale, we all object to Edgemont incorporating (after all, we will pay the price), but are we willing to surrender our own rights of self-determination as well?
Moreover, should Greenburgh unincorporated residents be held to impassable standards for village incorporation that apply nowhere else in New York? What do you think?

Hope to see you tonight at about 8PM.

Happy Father's Day

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Fix Is In – Again, So Edgemont Can’t Win

Without any fanfare, advertisement, advance notice, public disclosure or consideration, the phony open-government touted by Mr Feiner and his Town Board once again secretly opted to hold a special meeting this past Friday afternoon. Assembling for all of one minute and thirty-one seconds, they voted to change the law to deny residents their constitutional right to self-government. Specifically, the Board members present voted 4 to 0, to change the current NYS Village Law to require petitioners for Village incorporation to prepare and file community impact statements before they can circulate a petition. Councilman Ken Jones was absent for this event; although he apparently voted, “Yes,” by phone. Clearly, Mr Feiner is using this strategy as he realizes he will be defeated with his next court visit. The Edgemont Incorporation Committee, challenging his decision not to allow the referendum to go forward, filed an Article 78 lawsuit. 

This is not a unique circumstance in the Town. No, not Mr Feiner going to court, being found guilty or having the taxpayers forced to foot the bill. Rather, it’s about Mr Feiner manipulating the system to control an outcome favorable to him. This is all about Paul Feiner needing to win, especially against his Edgemont rivals! But this proposal can’t easily just “get changed” in Albany without help. Ahh, something is up and it is now obvious that it was in play for some time now. While our first thought was to ask who was concocting this change, Tom Abinanti came to mind. But it seemed too complicated for him to do alone. We’ve just learned that his other fellow Albany buddy, Andrea Stewart-Cousins (office at 518-455-2585), has crafted the proposal in Albany, bill #S.6728. Or did she? Our other guess is that part of the $50,000 worth of taxpayer money to Robert Spolzino, the retired judge Mr Feiner hired to trick residents into invalidating Edgemont residents’ petition signatures, contracted the former judge to write this type of legislation.

Mr Feiner and his Board voted it on it late in the day this past Friday in preparation of having her introduce the bill before midnight on June 21st! Why before midnight and on June 21st? That’s when the summer recess kicks in for our overworked and underpaid Albany representatives. This is the same shenanigans he asked the two of them to do with regards to changing the Finneran Law to benefit his friends at Sport Time several years ago when he was trying to virtually give away the Town owned tennis courts at Anthony Veteran Park.

It’s well known that much legislation that can’t be publicized is proposed before vacations and sessions end. This underhanded move ensures sketchy legislation, legislation with an agenda or simply just bad legislation would be passed that would otherwise be killed before making it to the floor of the congress. Passing a bill in three days, with no publicity, public comment or discussion is what we expect to encounter in third world nations with despots running the government. Sounds somewhat familiar as we witness more and more of this in our Town.

In what can almost be recognized as an act of war against the Edgemont community, Mr Feiner will no doubt offer a different take on this move. But his plan must seem sound whether the bill in Albany passes or not (it will). This will allow him to placate all of the Greenburgh residents concerned about the Edgemont incorporation, specifically the Hartsdale neighborhood residents, as they have been intensely critical of Mr Feiner and the Town for not having any contingency plans at the ready should the incorporation proceed to referendum. Then there are his individual insiders who have been his vocal opposition to incorporation: Don Cannon, Lloyd Cort, Walter Simon, Mona Fraitag, Hugh Schwartz, to name a few. Mr Feiner will begin his official campaign blitz on the 22nd, already having sent out press releases for publication earlier. He’ll then say, “Look, I even got our State Legislators to help to stop the incorporation.” It will not matter if it gets passed, in his mind, he still wins.

This is less about losing than about winning, but not so much for Mr Feiner. He will bastardize the laws to his advantage. This is about making sure that the Edgemont incorporation and certain of the Edgemont residents don’t win. So if Mr Feiner doesn’t win, but if he stops the Edgemont incorporation from going through to referendum, Edgemont loses more than Mr Feiner wins. Hence, he wins.  It also does not matter what the cost will be for the town - lawsuits, reputation, etc., because Mr Feiner is never held personally culpable. So, under the cover of secrecy, not open or collaborative government, Mr Feiner will have stopped the Edgemont incorporation movement as well as the Hartsdale neighborhood that had also begun discussing incorporation based on what they were learning as more and more information, actions and agendas of Mr Feiner and his Board became exposed.

Whether or not incorporation is good for Edgemont, the Town, Hartsdale or anywhere else is not the point. What is the point is that Greenburgh citizens are having their rights attacked by Mr Feiner and his Board for whatever misguided reason and not being allowed to exercise those rights. Greenburgh residents have only a few short days to do something about it. Contact your representatives in Albany and just say no. Watch Mr Feiner contradict himself about incorporation at: contact Mr Feiner and tell him, “Enough, stop trampling our rights!” Finally, come again and again to Town Board meetings – after the presentations and and time killing and speak during the mere 3 minutes of the Public Comment section and let them know their despicable and deplorable behavior has gone on long enough and will no longer be tolerated! Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

We Struck A Nerve

The G10 is used to hearing lies, “misinformation” and obfuscation from the corner office and from many of our elected officials. Typically, most of the employees of the Town are open, truthful, helpful and friendly. But whenever we uncover, expose or publicize a lie, Mr Feiner and his team ramp up the rhetoric. If you are fortunate enough to be allowed a miserly 3-minutes to speak at a Town Board meeting and expose a lie, the standard answer blurted from Mr Feiner is, “That's not true.” Once you’ve heard that said, you know you’ve hit the nerve. You had your 3-minutes. Thanks. Now get lost!

Following his admission of exposure, depending on how critical the lie is will warrant the requisite response. Case in point? Our previous article highlighted the impending tax increases that everyone in Greenburgh will be socked with come next year. This year is only the announcement phase – a Feiner administration ploy dating back years. After all, we don’t want to have the tax increase hanging over our heads come election time. So, announce it during the transitional phase between school graduations, school ending-camp starting and vacations and walk away slowly. Taxpayers, while hurting financially due to the burdens imposed by Mr Feiner, knowingly have short memories. Still, we hit a nerve.

When we pointed this out in our article entitled Town Delivers Triple-Whammy on June 8th, it was met with the veiled media blitz, “Assessor Clarifies the record...” in the Feiner-friendly mainstream media. You’ll probably recall that the Town mailed, at $.46 per piece, a letter on the first day of the appeal period for tax grievances*. It was subsequently postmarked five days later - robbing dissatisfied residents of six usable days to appeal their assessment increases. This is just like the Town Board meetings where Mr Feiner and his Board delay the Town business operations using delay tactics doing presentations, listening to poetry, song and other non-town operational time-killers. They do this to thin the crowds knowing most people work for a (highly-taxed) living and can’t spend all night watching this abuse.

The letter from the Town begins with, “In 2016 the Town of Greenburgh underwent an important and much needed reassessment project.” It doesn’t say that Mr Feiner neglected to perform his duty and do the reassessment during his 24-year tenure! It continues on, describing their use of Tyler Technologies to complete the assessment process. It doesn’t mention the dissatisfaction not only Greenburgh residents found with this second-rate company, or the other communities who utilized them as well only to experience a public furor at those town and village meetings. Tyler Technologies seemed to screw up more than they got it right.

The assessment change for a neighboring property went from $279,400 to $290,600, resulting in an $11,200 assessment change. The media blitz from the Assessor’s office says that blogs are providing inaccurate information saying if your assessment went up, your taxes will increase. “The assessment adjustments due to market trends do not necessarily indicate an increase in property taxes.” This sure sounds like it’s opening the door to higher taxes. Regrettably, we do need higher taxes in Greenburgh. There are several more lawsuits the Town must fund due to the laws being violated by Mr Feiner and his Board. As such, we, as a Town, need to fund the guilty verdict fines and penalties being brought upon us by this administration. We wonder if they would be so cavalier with their bad decisions if they could be held personally accountable? Regardless, raising taxes is obviously one way to fund these repeated court cases, guilty verdicts and fines.

So the assessor’s media blitz continues to discuss the need to focus on the 2017 assessment roll and that your taxes in 2018 will be based on the 2017 assessment. Basically, she is saying nothing will happen this year when you’re paying attention, but rather next year after the shock has worn off. She continues to discuss the 65 community outreach meetings that they’ve been presenting for the last three and a half years. It doesn’t mention when taxpayers tried to ask questions and were told to wait until they finished speaking. Obviously, the smarter-than-the Town Board-thought residents while respectful, didn’t realize how poorly residents get treated by the Feiner administration. The Edgemont people do, hence their incorporation movement. This abuse needs to change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

* Grievance period is from June 1 to June 20.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Town Delivers Triple-Whammy

Whammy 1
The town has delivered another blow to the already beleaguered taxpayers of the Town of Greenburgh. After 24 years of the Feiner administration ignoring the property values fiasco and certiorari refunds to any commercial entity that applied, the Town finally contracted with Tyler Technologies to do a town wide revaluation. Revaluation had not been performed since the 1950’s. Why is this significant? Because any certiorari challenges made to the Town Board were automatically approved because the Town had no legal standing to refuse them. There were numerous meetings, one after another, where the Town was granting certiorari refunds to applicants throughout the Town.

Many of the Town Board meetings highlight the incompetence of the Town Board to properly govern. During these meetings, the Town Board rapidly dispensed refunds of over a million dollars per meeting! The impact to the Town spreads to other entities as the taxes collected by the Town also include taxes for various districts such as sewer, school, fire and more. Damage done, the Town Board finally handed the political football to Mr Feiner who did his characteristic poor job of picking a company to do the revaluation. Revaluation should have stopped the financial hemorrhaging. But it didn’t.

Whammy 2
So as of June 1, 2017, the Town raised the assessments for most residents. Although, two specific sections of the Town, Edgemont and the Village of Irvington and anyone receiving an increase over 25% got a reprieve for a three year period as Mr Feiner asked his two Albany cronies, Stewart-Cousins and Abinanti to push a bill through the senate and assembly respectively, allowing a gradation of payment increase for those residents affected with large reassessment increases. While that helps a disproportionate amount of the Town residents, it conversely places the burden of paying the balance onto the rest of the Town residents.

Whammy 3
Not happy about your reassessment? You can complain. However, your time frame was already behind the 8-ball as the Town drafted the letter announcing the increase and what to do to challenge your new assessment on June 1st. So, knowing they were going to raise the value of your home, they could have written the letter sooner. The postmark on our letter was June 5th. Why is this significant? Because we received the letter and were already 6-days behind! Behind what? The time span to contest your reassessment is from June 1 until June 20. Except in Greenburgh. The Town has already reduced the effective days for you to complain from 20 down to 15. This is very typical of the Town processes.

The Town screwed up again by writing the letter too late. Then it screwed up more by mailing it late. At best, some residents will get their grievance in on time but we envision that many will be late because the Town was late. The best thing that could happen, but we believe won’t, is that the Town extends the grievance period. It would be helping to make the best of a Town-created bad situation. We hope that will happen. It’s what will help to make A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Remembering D-Day

D-Day is observed in the U.S. in memory of the Normandy landings in France on June 6, 1944, in which American soldiers and other Allied forces fought to end World War II in Europe. About 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, to fight Nazi soldiers on June 6, 1944. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory”. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by the end of the day, the troops gained a foot- hold in Normandy. Thousands of soldiers lost their lives, but thousands more trekked across Europe to end the war. The invasion is one of history’s most significant military attacks.