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.


  1. If somebody collected signatures for a slate of anti-corruption candidates, how many would they need and what is the deadline to get them into the Dem primary? What would be the chance of winning?

  2. Ville

    1. The deadline for the Democratic primary has passed.

    2. From a practical standpoint, the deadline for announcing and gathering signatures as an independent has come and gone.

    3. Lets be clear, Paul Feiner and his cohorts are the endorsed candidates of the Democratic party. Paul is not a hack they are stuck with, they proactively endorsed him and gathered signatures for him (and Sheehan and Juettner). The Greenburg Democrats, as a group, are satisfied with Paul, Sheehan and Juettner and their sleazy acts.

    3. Gathering signatures is not the hard part, the problem is that the villages have formed an alliance with Fairview. As long as Paul provides the services wanted and does not charge them, they vote him in. His zoning decisions do not impact the villages. Right now, in Hastings one of the areas with strongest support for Paul, there is a move to allow senior housing and many of the Hastings Hypocrites (oops, Hastings Democrats) are fighting it. Yet they just love to vote for Paul when he puts assisting living in residential areas in unincorporated.

  3. Well that's depressing. What if Edgemont incorporates, Fairview taxes go up, they lose a garbage collection day, and villagers' town tax rise as TDYCC costs get mutualized across villages and TOV? Perhaps they'll also end the villages' sweetheart mutual aid deal on EMS, further raising the A budget levy. Feiner will have a tough needle to thread when it comes to balancing the B budget without waking up the sleeping giant of the villages.

  4. Ville, there is no guarantee that the Town will spread the TDYCC costs to the Villages. This is one reason that some of the Hartsdale people are in panic mode. They might be willing to wait and see how the Town handles an Edgemont incorporation, but so far the Town does not seem to be doing anything positive, and their reasonable fear is that Edgemont will get in before any law change that Abinanti's bill will only affect them, leaving them totally defenseless against the Town.

  5. Also, to be clear, Abianti is part of the Democratic machine too. While he is elected, he was also nominated by the Greenburgh Democrats AND the state Democrats arrange for a committee chair for him, so he gets extra money ("lulu").

  6. At the end of the night, it was readily apparent that these two are feckless brain dead careerists. They are part of the the complacent and entrenched status quo that is Greenburgh in its one party state mode. Hartsdale - you supported Feiner for years. He dumped walls and other eyesores on you. Enjoy.

  7. RAID, the unique government structure of Greenburg gives disproportionate power to Villages.

    1. Greenburgh39: that's an understandable but unfounded assumption. True, the villages are the majority of the population (at the 2010 census, villages were about 45K compared to TOV at 43K. But in living memory, the villages have never played a decisive role in Town Board elections (i.e., the Democratic primary). In the 2013 Bernstein primary, 2165 villagers voted compared to 3878 TOVers. In the 2007 Berger primary, 2740 Villagers voted compared to 3943 in TOV and then in the 2005 Greenawalt primary, 2418 villagers v. 3454 TOVers. Feiner won both the village and TOV vote in each case.

  8. Daniel, the government structure allows the villages to vote, even though they pay virtually no taxes. Were that not the case, it might be possible to mobilize Hartsdale people to mobilize. As it is, I think the coalition of the Villages and Fairview is unbeatable.

  9. Village representation without taxation is indeed the crux of the problem.

  10. Then move to a village or incorporate. No future with feiner and his brain dead sycophants.