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.