Monday, April 30, 2007

GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY WEEK OF APRIL 30, 2007 POST YOUR COMMENTS

Post your comments and participate in our converation about issues pertaining to the town of Greenburgh.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the supervisor could direct a couple of town highway department workers this week to clean* the median strips on Central Park Avenue - between the Yonkers line to just north of Ardsley Road, as well as at the intersections at Old Army-Underhill and at Mount Joy. (I'd imagine that there are other such neglected areas in the town; these are the ones I just happen to see every day.)

As this task has been neglected now for at least three years as of this springtime, the supervisor taking care of this matter would demonstrate that he respects the routine expectations of taxpayers, and not only special projects and emergency situations.

* just a weedwacker, a blower, some pushbrooms, and a whole lot of weedkiller - followed up by a street sweeper

Anonymous said...

OK agree with above, but when is someone -- LIKE THE SUPERVISOR -- going to do anything about the traffic congestion at the Hartsdale station. There is no leadership. The traffic coming out of the station garage backs up for levels in the garage (heah Mr. environment). What is done? Nothing. A police car sits, parked illegally, with an officer ready to ticket people. Wow -- what pro-activiness. Instead of the officer getting out of the car, standing out there and directing traffice, like Scarsdale and White Plains do in congested staion areas, trying to get traffic moving, we get no service.

Anonymous said...

This is funny. The same people who are applauding the Town Council for "working around" the Supervisor and not having anything to do with him, are asking when the Supervisor is going to do something and show leadership. Maybe if the Town Council didn't boycott the Supervisor it would be possible to do something.

Anonymous said...

You should drect your complaint to the police chief not the supervisor.

Anonymous said...

The Supervisor is, essentially, the CEO, therefore it's ultimately his responsibility as a manager. However, since handling traffic woes and years of nasty debris accumulation don't lend themselves towards press opportunities, I'm imagining that he will continue to choose to ignore such matters.

Does anyone else also feel a little embarrassed entering Greenburgh from Yonkers?

Anonymous said...

Mabe the police officer is their for security reasons rather than traffic concerns. He cant keep an eye on powerless stores and direct traffic too.

Anonymous said...

Every one of the towns, villages and cities adjacent to Greenburgh chooses to maintain its roadways (local, state and county roadways) significantly better than Greenburgh.

It's always baffled me that Greenburgh makes the choice not to meet baseline expectations for roadway maintenance, especially when we have so many positive professionally managed municipal examples around us to follow.

hal samis said...

The answer to our roadway, garbage collection problems, sidewalk repairs and town construction project problems is simple: urge the Supervisor to fire the head of DPW, Al Regula.

Mr. Regula is the architect of spending $308,000 of taxpayer money as part of the 2007 Town Operating Budget for repairs and maintenance of the Library -- for a building that no longer functions as the Library because it has beeen gutted and folded into the Library expansion. In 2006, when the Library was operating, the budget for this item was $310,000.

Where is that money going? Taxpayers should not let the Town Board escape answering this question. If the Town holds Public Hearings specific to things like adopting the Operating Budget (currently in progress is the Public Hearing on the Capital Budget) then the Town Board should not tolerate such perfidy. And the "error" was pointed out to them in advance of voting to approve the Budget. They cannot be spending $308,000 of your tax dollars on a building that does not exist. The Town Hall Building (48,000 square feet) is in the Budget for $334,000 for the entire building vs the 2006 expense of $310,000 for the former Library (22,000 square feet). Thus when Regula answers that their is an expense to operating the Library at Town Hall, (as though there wouldn't be traffic through the lobby, there wasn't training done upstairs and the room in the back wasn't formerly the employee cafeteria) you know that he thinks has successfully answered the question.

So if you don't buy Regula's answer, ask and ask and ask: WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING?

If bloggers feel that 16 years is a long time in government, then Mr. Regula should be long gone.

Jim Lasser said...

Hal, you've obliquely raised an important point. Your last post says that if we, the residents of Greenburgh, are unhappy with the neglect, disrepair and subterfuge employed by the DPW, we whould put pressure on the Supervisor to fire Al Regula. Isn't that a tacit admission that, in fact, there are things for which the Supervisor alone must take responsibility? I didn't see any suggestion that the Town Board needs to fire Mr. Regula - just a straight-forward statement that clearly gives the job of firing someone to the Supervisor.
Now, given that the Supervisor is responsible for both hiring and firing department heads, can we also fairly assume that by not demanding Mr. Regula's immediate resignation Mr. Feiner approves of Mr. Regula's actions? I think that's the least we can assume. Perhaps the Supervisor has condoned, or even actively encouraged Mr. Regula's course of action. Or is it simply another example of the Supervisor's poor management practices? When he appointed Mr. Regula did he forget to obtain a signed, but undated, letter of resignation? Either way, the continuing pattern of failure is the Supervisor's to fix.

Anonymous said...

Hal Samis is usually right, but does he know the law about firing department heads? I don't know it. I do know that the Town Council gave the votes to hire Kaminer over the Supervisor's objection. So maybe it is the entire Board which hires or fires? Can Jim Lasser enlighten us as to the law? Not an opinion, but the law.

Anonymous said...

And yesterday, as I left the station garage, the policeman was parked in his car (and once again, in a no parking spot) doing nothing. Do they ever stand up to direct traffic and keep it moving, or does that only happen in white plains and scarsdale?

also, I am sick of tired of police speeding and disobeying traffic rules. Even if the Supreme Court says it is OK, it isnt.

hal samis said...

Not only do I not know the law regarding firing Department heads, I don't know the law about hiring Department Heads. I'm don't ven remember if the vote by the Town Board on hiring Gil Kaminer was a vote to create the position or a vote to hire him?

However, here's a new matter for blog experts. The Parks Department apparently is responsible for the on street collection of garbage and the shovelling of sidewalks in Hartsdale Center, down, at least, to the Bob Gold Parklet. Now I don't know specifically if the merchants shovel in front of their stores but I do know that the Parks Department does it in front of the Train Station building. It would seem that it should be the responsibility and expense of Metro North/Starbucks and not the Town.

But peripheral questions would follow: does the Parks Department take on this role elsewhere? Who determined this policy? If it is widespread, shouldn't the public have been informed?

And, of course, this should lead to examination of whether the Villages are paying, through the office of the Parks Department, for services rendered in the Unincorporated section.

juettner to the rescue said...

Im sure town board parks dept liasion diana juettner will be investigating (as soon as she wakes up from her rip van winkle like slumber). only in a dysfunctional town would someone like juettner (who lives in a village) be the liasion from the town board to both the greenburgh parks dept and the unincorporated greenburgh public library.

Feiner should be fired said...

dear anon at 10:38 on 5/1

The supervisor as manager? Feiner's management style is nowhere to be seen. Greenburgh as a stock would be shorted and its citizens should file a petition for involuntary bankruptcy against it. And its ceo should be fired for corruption, divisiveness, and incompetence. We need to clean up Greenburgh both physically and politically.

Anonymous said...

The DPW commissioner is not doing his job. Where is this money going.The streets are filthy,garbage is all over the place,Catch basins covered with debris.He has received many ideas as to what has to be done,but he pay no mind to what is printed or said.Sorry Al it's time to go. please make it soon.

Anonymous said...

How about giving the job of DPW commissioner to a woman. Someone like Mcnally.She runs Edgemont real good in overseeing what should be done and what is needed.Just food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Should that happen Greenburgh will be changed to Edgemont.

Anonymous said...

No, Edgemont will be the only area that gets service.

Anonymous said...

Well I doubt that Edgemont would be the only area that recieves service, but that would be contrasted with now, where residents in Edgemont and the rest of unincorporated Greenburgh pay full Town tax, and (other than the residents using the Valhalla schools) get minimal benefits.

Anonymous said...

A question for Anonymous 9:13. What do you mean that unincorporated Greenburgh pays full town taxes and gets minimal services? We get full services. We have a police force of more than 100 officers and they do good work. We have a Planning and Zoning functions. We have a terrific Recreation Department and plenty of parks. We have a busy and largely effective Building Department. We have plenty of other services and they aren’t minimal. We get grants that help pay for some of these services. We even have services that are paid by the villages even though the services are provided to us.

So what’s this beef about minimal services? Some may not like the Supervisor and some may not like the Town Council. But our services are there.

The problem is that a few residents have created the false impression that we are getting short-changed and you believe them. We have a great town and get plenty of services. Government services aren’t free. If you want to complain about high taxes and inflated costs and services, look to the school taxes, not the town taxes.

Anonymous said...

High school taxes -- is this is missile from Feiner or his campaign manager threatening to try to torpedoe the Edgemont School vote again this year, using Feiners robo caller and whatever else the two of them have at their disposal??? Well bring it on. I just hope we dont have to a second vote again, which costs the school district money. Amazing how some people who call themselves Democrats will campaign against a school budget.

And if Feiner didnt keep trying to have unincorporated greenburgh subsidize the villages, with parks, with tax breaks for volunteers etc, no one would be complaining.

Anonymous said...

Why blame Feiner for not going along with the school tax. Did you ever stop to thing some of the residents are tired of paying such a high tax without having children going to the school. Edgemont has so much property,sell some of it to lessen the school tax. How many children go to other schools and their parents have to pay the high tax plus tuition.If we are complaing it has nothing to do with the supervisor,put the blame on the people who want a break .If it takes another vote to pass the budget, so be it. If it doesn't pass the children will still be attending classes and will still be educated.

Anonymous said...

No, it was like David fighting Goliath. Feienr and his campaign manager had much more resources. Yet, in the end, the budget passed resoundingly.

And since when does a Democrat fight school and library funding? When his name is Feiner.

Anonymous said...

Are Democtarts automatically supposed to support library funding? Take a look at the disaster of the new library project. People in Greenburgh were sold a bill of goods.

Democrats and Republicans should look at what they are asked to fund. People who voted for the library referendum because "Democrats are supposed to vote for libraries" should be embarrassed and learn that they should not automatically vote for libraries. They should vote for library funding if the funding plan makes sense and has been prepared by professionals who know what they are doing.

Same with school funding. These expenditures are so vast, and are often irreversible, that there is no excuse for not looking carefully instead of voting automatically. Of course people who don't have children also have to pay the taxes. But a school budget has to be worked out so that it is both educationally sound and also fiscally responsible. Those people who think that asking questions about a school budget is bad are being taken for suckers.

Anonymous said...

Asking questions is one thing. Feiner and his campaign manager viciously attacking and using resources not available to others is a different thing. In the end, people did ask questions, and did vote for the budget. Apparently Paul only wants a budget approved when it is under his control.

What infuriates me is how he justifies giving away millions to Valhalla, in violation of state law, and the tries to prevent other school budgets from passing.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE TELL ME HOW fEINER.is not letting the school budget pass. I,m voting the budget down,Feiner has not told me which way to vote. Why is it that you blame the democrates for a failure in passing the budget, Did you ever stop to think that the school board is asking for too much.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed that Mahopac, on a contingency budget seems to be doing just fine. There was a big article in today's JN about their HS play production and coming off contingency their 07-08 increase will only be 4%. Most district contingencies run 5%. There is no more austerity, no mandated program cuts only cuts in spending levels. What government office is ever run so efficiently that I can't afford a 2-3% pare down.

Anonymous said...

I dont want to knock Mahopac, but I dont think it is known for having a premier school district. And I wish them all the luck in the world.

And a month ago, we saw bloggers from Hartsdale begging for someone to help them getinto Edgemont, higher taxes and all.

hal samis said...

Who were the bloggers from Hartsdale?
Do they have names?
If not, how do you know?

Instead of begging, maybe they should buy a home from someone in Edgemont who is selling because they can't afford the taxes.

Anonymous said...

rumor has it that Triton has advised the town that they may not sign the 3 month free contract. Didn't they make a promise to the Board. What will the Town Council do?

Anonymous said...

Hal, there were plenty of bloggers a while back, and they sounded sincere to me.

Oh and by the way, yes some people sell their homes in Edgemont when their children graduate high school, but not only because of the taxes,but also becasue the Edgemont houses have a higher value than many of the surrounding communities, principally becuase of the schools. These people who choose to trade down, what options woudl they have if the schools did not have a stellar reputation? What would the houses be worth?

Hal,you said you chose to send your child to a private school. That was your choice and fine by me. But please stop attacking Edgemont schools.

Anonymous said...

Many people, especially parents of young children, think that good performance, and a good reputation of a school, is directly related to high expenditures. They are mistaken. The reality is that good performance by children is related to their parents' education and the standards the parents set and expect.

The reason that students in the Edgemont schools do well (and the schools have such a good reputation) is that the residents of Edgemont are generally highly educated and are generally high-earning professionals who put a high value on education. They set standards and let their kids know what is important and what is expected of them. Parents are always the key to good education. The Edgemont schools would be as good as they are even if less money were thrown at them.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont does not need all this money.This school system should be investigated as to why so much money is being spent.I think the Attorney General's office should step in .We do not need all the extras that is being thrown at the residents.Schools are to learn ,they are not needed for soccer,football,baseball and other sports.Many of us grew up in a city,did we have all of these features ,no.Did we receive a good education you better believe it. Our monies are being spent foolishly,it's about time that someone looks into this problem.

Anonymous said...

Anons above, if you feel that way,you should vote thatway. Just please Paul dont use yourRobo caller on usagain

Anonymous said...

and Hal, why arent you railing against subsidies for volunteers? Oh becuz fiener wants that

Anonymous said...

To Blogger at 10:46. I said nothing about voting, nor did I dump on the Edgemont schools. I said what I said because it is worth thinking about how much the parents' roles have to do with good education, how much more important that is than just paying and paying. But perhaps thinking is hard for you.

hal samis said...

Hey, 10:54:
Because we are talking about volunteers who perform, when they serve, in risk situations versus volunteers who sit on Boards.

They deserve a little something extra beyond the definition of what is a volunteer. And volunteer does not preclude payment according to my dictionary.

Is former Town Councilwoman Weinberg a volunteer or a commissioned salesperson in her new role as "Consultant" to the Library Foundation? One might assume that she is giving her time for a noble calling. In fact she is a fundraiser being reimbursed for her expenses plus 5% of what she brings in. Meanwhile the volunteers on the Foundation Board also fundraise, but for no compensation. How did this exclusive franchise come about, especially to one who has no fundraising background. Well perhaps the "independent" of the Foundation but Chair of the Library Board of Trustees, Howard Jacobs (Ms Weinberg's neighbor) had some "influence" in the selection process. Certainly, the Foundation (a not for profit corporation whose sole raison d'etre is to raise money for the Town's Library) did not seek out others to fill this sinecure. Let's say that Ms Weinberg raises $1 million, if so then $50,000 is her cut. How much are the volunteer firemen tax breaks going to amount to? Another example of pennywise and pound foolish? The Town's attention is always selectively focused.

Mind you this is not a statement attacking Ms Weinberg. Full disclosure demands that I allow that she and I have a "history". Furthermore it may be curious that I, of all people, am concerned about money for the benefit of the Library. Ms Weinberg may have the time, the inclination and the ability to do this as well as anybody. My issue is whether "influence" was the deciding factor. The real estate developers that she is being franchuised to contact are known to all. Indeed, the Library is not an unknown or undeserving subject for the tax deductions of the local givers. Thus, I wonder why 5% of the proceeds had to be given away and, whether the would-be donors are aware of this.


As for the accusation that I take positions are write solely as a member of the "Feiner" monolith.
You know I do put a lot of time in, like a handful of others, being involved with Town matters and not because I have a financial interest or even pay taxes (which I really don't as a renter). Most of this handful (ok two meanings here) don't seek the resume enhancement of Boards or Committees. We don't get compensated and it even costs us money from time to time. Some bloggers will attack us because we are not part of the "in group" of volunteers who are appointed to these Boards or Committees or represent "Civic Associations". I don't have an alliance with Feiner and don't agree with many of his issues, often this can be seen on his blog. But it still bothers some anonymous bloggers that I take a position in oppostion to their own interest. Like the blogger who says I attack Edgemont schools. And look how accurate they are when it comes to remembering that my kid went to NYC private school but have difficulty identifying the bloggers
from Hartsdale who support their position. Both matters were the same "a little while back". I don't attack the schools, I attack the false premises that are used to defend the schools; I attack the people who pretend to speak for everyone. If it ain't so (same school taught larning as becuz); it ain't so.

The end does not justify the means.

However, I am philosophically committed to defending the underdog when he/she/it is being attacked for groundless or at best unmentioned reasons. The Supervisor qualifies often for this defense because he is identified as the root of all evil when common sense and history shows that the Town Council supported all of the issues that he alone is accused of. Yet the Town Council wears the white hats and the Supervisor wear's the black.

And I don't see that things have really changed that much with the "new" Town Council. Other than many trivial house keeping matters, I don't see that on important matters the Town Council has done anything different or better.

My issues with the Library (and I can still be in favor of Libraries but not approve of everything that the humans versus the institution do), the absence of new sidewalk construction, the Credit Union lease, the still unclosed holes in the ethics laws, etc...these are matters where it is still same old, same old.

For whatever reasons, the positions of Town Supervisor and the four Council members are not filled by the candidates of EVERYONE'S dreams, a dream is a vision not being housed in reality. The new candidates for office have their own flaws, lack of experience being major sticking point. I don't believe in turning the job over to anyone whose only claim is that they're not Feiner. In fact the only current official who seems to know what he is doing (because he is compulsive about facts and research) is Francis Sheehan. However my quarrel with him is that he has demonstrated, upon obtaining office, that knowledge alone is not the prevention against creating inequity. He has turned out to be as political as anyone (while more dictatorial than most) and his transgressions are viewed more seriously because HE should know better but still follows the politically expedient (for him) course. In so doing, he has befriended the media and made himself as entangled by quid pro quo as those captured in the spotlight due to the more familiar campaign contribution issues. A favor is a favor however the obligation is assumed.

Duty to disclose? said...

Hal - is 5% customary?

Also - does ms weinberg have to disclose her cut to a prospective donor?

As for Mr. Sheehan, he is a necessary corrective to your underdog in chief, the dupervisor. He is not perfect, but 17 years of Feiner has now proven way too long.

Anonymous said...

Even without a Welcome to Greenburgh sign, it's so obvious where the Yonkers city line is on Central Park Avenue, especially today due to all the cleanup that Yonkers' highway department did yesterday and today on their median strips.

No one expects that Greenburgh has the interest or ability to look nice like Yonkers, but come on ... you can spare two workers for a day equipped with a blower and a weedwacker to tidy up the median strips at least between Uno's Pizza and Scarsdale Ford.

Anonymous said...

"Edgemont does not need all this money."

In a general sense I'd be inclined to agree. But Edgemont's district budget actually isn't extravagant at all. It's surprisingly normal, especially given the district's very high academic performance ranking among NYS and metro NYC schools.

Anonymous said...

No, Edgemont is not luxury. There are no school buses, no lunches at elementary schools. Ardsely and Greenburgh 7 have these things,but Feiner and his robocaller dont go after them.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

Of course you have passed negative comments re Edgemont

"Instead of begging, maybe they should buy a home from someone in Edgemont who is selling because they can't afford the taxes."


I respect the rights of all residents to vote against the school budget. WhatI resent is when Feiner and his supporters attack the budget for political gain.

hal samis said...

The original comment to me was
"Please stop attacking Edgemont schools..."

I have not attacked Edgemont Schools as a system. To the contrary I have often written re the quality of the education and its reputation. I have made numerous unfavorable, but warranted, comments about some Edgemont civic "leaders" and how they misuse their assumed "power" and how they presume to speak for all the residents of Edgemont.

And the quote you have extracted comes from a recent response to an anonymous posting about "Hartsdale residents begging to get into the Edgemont School system". I merely suggested a method. No one subsequently supported this unsubstantiated tale despite my request to know whom they were.

Your beef with Feiner is between you and him and he can handle it as he chooses. Your beef with me will need to respond to what I think was a Wendy's campaign: "Where's the meat?"

Anonymous said...

Because it has become an unpleasant practice of Feiner in recent elections to bash Edgemont and its civic leaders for supposedly not representing the people of Edgemont, when in fact they do, please note the following:

Edgemont civic leaders are elected by their respective neighborhood associations at annual meetings.

The Edgemont Community Council or ECC as its known, is an umbrella organization consisting of the leaders of all eight Edgemont civic associations, plus several officers and directors elected by the ECC membership at large. The ECC also sponsors a non-partisan system for nominating Edgemont's school board members.

Together, civic association leaders and the ECC, which has regular monthly meetings, represents the 8,000 residents of Greenburgh who live in Edgemont.

The ECC, which was formerly known as the Greenville Community Council, has been around for more than 50 years.

Whenever ECC leaders take positions on behalf of the ECC, they do so after a consensus is reached following discussion of the matter by the ECC directors at one of its meetings.

There is no popular election of Edgemont leaders at this time because Edgemont is not an incorporated municipality, at least not yet.

Anonymous said...

Btw, the ECC has term limits. Just what we need in Greenburgh to get rid of the lifers like Feiner and Juettner

Anonymous said...

Btw, the ECC has term limits. Just what we need in Greenburgh to get rid of the lifers like Feiner and Juettner

AND BARNES!!!!

hal samis said...

Thanks for the tutorial but
the one thing missing from the outline of the various organizations that "represent" the 8,000 residents of Edgemont is that I don't know how many people are in these civic assoications -- and how many actually attend the meetings.

The duality of organizations and these same people attending and presiding over these overlapping organizations would appear to result from a very small number of people who have assumed that the silence or non-affiliation with the 8 civic associations suggests
that there is only about 20-35 residents who claim to speak for Edgemont.

It is no secret that the umbrella over the umbrella, the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations, in its minutes, does not take role or list those attending the meeting, something which is basic to most organizations holding meetings.

When the few are self-licensed to speak for the faceless, it results in the same credibility as those that post anonymously. Calling yourself a civic leader, even being voted as officer, does not speak volumes or even a paragraph.

With that in mind, today I walked the Central Park Avenue median where Yonkers gives way to Edgemont. I'm sure that Edgemont residents give visitors or potential home buyers directions to their homes: get off the Bronx River Parkway at the Scarsdale exits but just in case someone doesn't and they come from Yonkers...there's no big deal or disgrace. I don't know what the repeated postings about needed weed wacking mean other than the author is wacko. If it is of such concern to the resident (of Edgemont origin presumably) buy a spray bottle of weed killer and take it with you on the 8 minute walk from the Greenburgh border to Ardsley Road. The postings make it appear that a machete would be needed just to pass. Meanwhile, everyone else is crying that Edgemont needs more greenspace.

And again, the intimation that Edgemont would be leaving Greenburgh.
Bye Bye! If you need any help packing...
Go already. If Berger wins, is that the facesaver? It really is a challenge to see how to get Feiner elected so that you will have to make good and go. And, what was the consensus on this last time you polled the 8,000 Edgemont residents?

Anonymous said...

A statement was made that the Council of Greenburgh Civic Association is an umbrella over the Edgemont Community Council.

That is not so.

The Edgemont Community Council and the Council of Greenburgh Civic Asociations, as their names imply, are two separate "councils" that each represent different groups of civic associations.

The ECC consists of eight civic associations representing the 8,000 people of Edgemont.

The CGCA represents all of the other civic associations in the rest of unincorporated Greenburgh.

The ECC is not a member of the CGCA, but usually sends someone to attend its meetings. A few Edgemont civic associations pay dues to the CGCA in order to get its mailings.

The ECC and CGCA each take separate positions on matters affecting the town.

The individual civic associations in Edgemont typically represent at least one hundred or more families. For example, the Greenridge Civic Association in Edgemont represents 132 homeowners.

Under ECC bylaws, each association must have bylaws of its own, those bylaws must establish what constitutes a quorum to conduct business, and they must hold annual meetings to elect officers and reprentatives to the school board nominating committee.

Written notice of all civic assocation and ECC meetings is published every year in the official Edgemont Bluebook, which is distributed to all Edgemont residents.

In order for its officers to serve as directors of the ECC, and for its representatives to be seated on the school board nominating committee, the presidents of each civic association must certify to the ECC each year that its annual meetings were held, that a quorum was present (typically done by attaching the list of attendees), that its officers and representatives were duly elected in accordance with the association's bylaws, and by attaching a copy of the latest version of those bylaws.

Each civic association and the ECC collect dues from their respective members. ECC dues cover the cost of mailings and the costs of operating the school board nominating committee. Each civic association decides for itself how to spend the dues money it collects.

hal samis said...

Even though tutorial #2 is interesting and informative (I now have to see if ECC members have voted as ECC members at CGCA meetings), I still haven't gotten my answer.

A civic association is defined by a geographical territory, all the streets within the defined area's borders.

Thus the number of homeowners within that territory can be totalled.

I am asking whether all of the homeowners within that defined territory, which constitues a civic association, are called members solely because they live within the territory or have they taken some affirmative action to belong, say paying annual dues.

Furthermore, once they are considered members, how many actually appear at meetings and vote on matters?

Otherwise, the official pronouncements would still be attributed to the same 20-35 people, speaking for the 8,000 Edgemont residents.

Anonymous said...

Hal, don't even ask. It is the same four or five people who say they speak for Edgemont or Greenburgh. Does anyone think that 132 homeowners meet regularly and tell Bob Bernstein what to say? No, they probably meet once a year, assuming that more than a handful come at all, and they "elect" their officers and then these officers voice their views and demands week afer week. It is likely that these 132 homeowners don't even kniw what their representative is saying.

FYI said...

Voter turnout in Greenburgh elections averages about 15%. In Edgemont, the number in recent years is slightly higher at about 20%.

Activists like Samis used to point out that anyone winning an election where voter turnout was only 15% hardly received a mandate to do anything because 85% of the voters effectively said none of the above by staying home.

It is nevertheless unfair and misleading to equate voter turnout, which one gets to do for free, with membership in a civic association, which generally requires the payment of annual dues.

In Edgemont, civic association membership varies, but civic association participation, as measured by dues payers, generally exceeds that of turnouts in Greenburgh elections.

In the Greenridge Civic Association, for example, about 50% of the 132 homes, on average, pay annual dues of $25.

The Greenridge association also operates a private school bus to transport its elementary school children for which it charges a separate fee to those participating.

Anonymous said...

It is nice that half of the 132 homeowners of the Greenridge Civic Association pay $25 a year as dues, and it is great that the Greenridge Association operates a bus to take children to and from school, for which, I am sure, parents gladly pay.

But when Bernstein gets up at each meeting and says that he is the president of the Greenridge Civic Association, and proceeds to insult and attack those who don't do what he wants, including the Town Council, whom he has attacked visiously at times, I suspect that he didn't clear his language with 132 homeowners, or even the half who pay dues. He is speaking for himself and for his agenda.

Civic associations are fine, but they are not the government. When one of its members makes demands in the civic asscoiation's name, and doesn't much care about the impact on the town, or other areas of the town, then we have the right to doubt that these civic associations are really speaking for their association, or whether it is an inflated ego speaking. Besides, making demands for one area of the town is something the Town Council should always reject. They are supposed to act for the town, not the Greenridge Civic Association, the Edgemont Community Council (also having the same one person speaking) or the CGCA (also having the same one person speaking).

hal samis said...

The point is made that civic associations are like, the general electorate, hardly the mandate that "civic leaders" should be loudly evoking. The same is true for our elected officials.

Likewise, the term "civic leaders" need not be strictly applied only to those who represent a civic association.

In the future, those who are interested in civic matters should be viewed as representing either themselves as residents, or as taxpayers if that is the case, or as a member of a small group whose purpose is to lobby for things perceived to be in its own best interest.

What happens here can happen elsewhere is often the most hollowest of claims. Because no one representing a civic association really gives a damn beyond their affinity group's borders. I have no quarrel with that; I just wish that people were more honest when they make their claim of being interested in the good and welfare of those living elsewhere.

And anonymous bloggers, of course, speak only for themselves.

Bring it on.

Anonymous said...

And I could ask, who voted for Samis. Is he an alter ego for Feiner?

Anonymous said...

Some houses on Stonewall Circle do not take their garbage cans in after the rubbish is collected by the town. Is there a code that the Police can use to compel these folks to keep the front curb tidy? Also, house #55 at Stonewall Circle has collected rubbish in the front yard for months. It can be a fire hazard and also makes the neighborhood low-class. Can the Police visit this house please?

Anonymous said...

Bernstein is effective when he speaks at town board meetings because he does his homework, he's informative, and he's persuasive.

And what makes Bernstein especially effective -- and perhaps threatening to someone like Feiner -- is that he's able to make his points in his own quiet way without being rude and without insults and personal attacks.

And while Bernstein may be controversial because of the lawsuits he's brought, he's also aided the town when it comes to solving important problems.

Bernstein was the author of the tree code amendments that prevent developers from cutting down trees while tree permit appeals are pending.

He also came up with the special permit legislation that allowed the Greenburgh Health Clinic to meet zoning requirements.

Both laws were approved unanimously.

Bernstein's efforts have won him the respect of the town council and, while they don't always see eye to eye, it's easy to see that the feeling is mutual.

EDGEMONT LOSES THANKS TO BOB said...

Bob Bernstein's efforts have cost residents of unincorporated Greenburgh money. Elmsford refused to sign a contract with Greenburgh - joined the Ardsley library. Because Ardsley is a member of the WLS Elmsford residents have access to the Greenburgh library. Thanks to Bob's efforts to pit village against unincorporated Greenburgh the residents of unincorporated Greenburgh will be losing a million dollars over 4 years. Who loses? Edgemont!

G'burgh loses, thanks to Paul said...

If anyone is to blame for Elmsford's being allowed to contract with Ardsley for library services, it's Paul Feiner.

For years, Elmsford was content not to allow its residents to have access to any library services at all.

As a county legislator, Feiner said that was wrong and demanded that Elmsford be permitted to use the Greenburgh library.

When he became supervisor, Feiner took credit for negotiating a long-term contract which gave Elmsford the right to use Greenburgh's library -- but the devil was in the details -- he gave Elmsford a sweetheart price, well below the cost that unincorporated taxpayers in Greenburgh were being asked to pay for the library.

When that contract expired, the Greenburgh library board sought to charge Elmsford what Westchester County's library board recommended - a per capital rate based on average library costs countywide. That rate was still below what it costs unincorporated Greenburgh taxpayers.

Feiner, however, encouraged Elmsford to look elsewhere for library services. In addition, at the same time, he encouraged Elmsford to sue the town to block construction of the library renovation.

All of this was Feiner's doing.

None of it had anything to do with Bernstein.

hal samis said...

Bernstein had nothing to do with the Elmsford Library situation.
That much is true.

In fact for such a saintly personna as 9:53 PM portrays him (if 9:53 is not Bob), Mr. Bernstein's complete silence on the sinking ship that is the Library expansion is perhaps why the Town Council and he share such mutual respect.

I know that Mr. Bernstein maintains files on everything and everyone but sometimes, history which is nice on details, does not apply to the present. We can't always learn from it and what was done once may have been the answer to a set of problems which no longer exists.

Thus Feiner had nothing to do with the current Elmsford situation He
wasn't even allowed at the table.

And Howard Jacobs, who was at the table, is also blameless.

The situation was merely the result of sharp management by the Elmsford team. Taking advantage of the WLS rules, Elmsford simply got the best deal and did so at a time when there would be a major disruption in Greenburgh Library services due to the construction.
How came everybody so anxious to hang Feiner forgets or ignores this?

As for the negotiating situation itself, even in non-construction times, the arguments for both sides make sense and are justified under the tolerated ambiguities of the WLS structure.

Elmsford residents did have a better deal than Greenburgh residents before the per capita basis which I supported and argued for a few years back. On the other hand, how could Elmsford justify paying more than they were if they could exercise the option to affiliate with another Library at a lower rate? Furthermore, Elmsford only was responsible for the annual operating costs, not the Library capital projects.
The fault, dear Brutus, lies not with Feiner, not with Jacobs and not with Elmsford or Ardsley but with the rules of the WLS.

So where do we go from here? I propose a solution to solve three problems with one answer.

The Greenburgh-Elmsford Public Library District.

1) The Library would be completely freed of Town influence or control.
And, even if it is only the perceived rather than the objective, this would be a major accomplishment.
2) The Library operating budget would be the accurate expression of the Public weal, just like a School Board budget.
Elmsford would contribute to the operating expenses, reducing the Greenburgh taxpayer burden with very little additional expense as Greenburgh must tolerate Elmsford residents under WLS rules.
3) For this naming right, ELmsford would provide some desperately needed cash for the expansion project. I believe that to return to a reasonable facsimile of what was promised to taxpayers pre-Referendum instead of what the project has been reduced to under the "value engineering" hokum AND to insure that furniture and technology are present when the Library opens (there is no longer any money left for these items within the $19.9 bonding; the Library hopes to raise this money from gifts), that approximately another $2.6 million is needed.
Elmsford, for gaining the right to promote itself as a community having a Library, should underwrite the current deficit by their own bonding.

As this (last) week's blog will leave shortly to make way for the new blog, let's continue the dialogue there when it appears.

Finally, no one voted for me which would be a most unlikely event in that I have never run for an office. Do you think from reading or hearing me that I am out to cultivate voters? At times I support Feiner and at times I don't. Is it not possible that he sometimes is right?