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.

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