Friday, May 04, 2007

THE SIDEWALK PROJECT--VISIT THE NEW BLOG. www.thesidewalkproject.blogspot.com

3 DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED GROUP HOME RESIDENTS WHO RESIDE ON CHATTERTON PARKWAY.
EACH HAS A JOB. CHATTERTON PARKWAY HAS NO SIDEWALK. IT'S A VERY DANGEROUS STREET FOR ANYONE TO WALK ON.
THE 3 GROUP HOME RESIDENTS CIRCULATED A PETITION REQUESTING A SIDEWALK.
THE NY TIMES WROTE A PAGE ONE REGIONAL STORY ABOUT THEIR REQUEST.
3 HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS TRYING TO ENHANCE PEDESTRIAN SAFETY FOR THE THREE GROUP HOME RESIDENTS.Their names: Jana Trenk, Carolyn Schepes, Erin Bracken.
THEY ARE PUSHING FOR A SIDEWALK TO BE BUILT AT THIS LOCATION. THIS IS THEIR SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT FOR THE NEXT MONTH AND A HALF.
THERE ARE OBSTACLES.
THE STUDENTS HAVE CREATED A BLOG HIGHLIGHTING THEIR EXPERIENCES PROMOTING TRAFFIC SAFETY.
CHECK THE BLOG OUT DAILY.
WWW.THESIDEWALKPROJECT.BLOGSPOT.COM

47 comments:

The Sidewalk Project said...

Thanks for putting this on your blog! We are so excited about this project.

Carolyn's last name is spelled: Schepis.

Anonymous said...

This high school "sidewalk" project is just another shamelss attempt by Feiner to promote himself politically.

The three high school students go to school not in Edgemont or Central 7 or in any other school in Greenburgh, but in neighboring Scarsdale where Feiner is from.

One of the three Scarsdale students is his niece. Her mother, Feiner's sister, is the treasurer of his re-election campaign. 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Feiner, have you no shame? You are nothing but a pandering polarizer.

Anonymous said...

To the last two bloggers.

I checked out the site for the Sidewalk Project. There is nothing there that suggests that any relatives of Feiner are involved. It is a good blog showing that teenage students are doing something useful that happens to be related to something that is going on in Greenburgh. It has nothing to do with Feiner's reelection campaign, much less promoting himself or pandering.

Blogger number 2 must spend his life, and money on investigators, to connect this blog to Feiner, because nobody else would make that connection. Blogger number 3 is the soulmate of blogger number 2. There is nothing in this world that they won't turn into an anti-Feiner tirade. What pitiful people they are.

Paul Feiner said...

To anonymous: If you want to volunteer and work to increase safety like my niece is doing, you can also work as an intern. If you are currently involved in the community you can volunteer in other ways. My niece is not getting paid. She is volunteering for this project. I am hopeful that her work and the work of Carolyn and Erin will lead to action steps that could save lives.
I hope that the next time you are on Old Tarrytown Road that you will stop at the 2 markers --2 pedestrians died --they were killed by cars speeding down the road. It's easy to name call. It would be nice if we could all work together to solve a safety problem.

Anonymous said...

Feiner's comment about volunteering for public safety is insulting.

Greenburgh volunteers have been working for years to get the town to build sidewalks where needed for public safety, but their biggest obstacle has been Paul Feiner himself

For example, in the fall of 2004, Feiner told a group of Edgemont residents, in writing, that the town had no legal authority to build any sidewalks at all, much less sidewalks needed for public safety.

When Edgemonts said that was ridiculous, Feiner wrote to the state comptroller and the entire matter of public safety was on hold until the comptroller's opinion in early 2006 said the town of course had legal authority to build sidewalks -- thereby rebuking everything Feiner had said.

One would have thought Feiner at this point would have wanted to work not just with Edgemont residents, but residents throughout the unincorporated area on getting sidewalks built where needed for public safety.

But Feiner continued to work against public safety.

For example, when Edgemont's civic leaders renewed their long-outstanding request for a sidewalk on Seely Place, where one of the district's two elementary schools are located, Feiner went door-to-door on Seely Place warning residents of the huge and burdensome liabilities that the town would impose on them if a sidewalk were ever built there.

Fortunately, and no thanks to Feiner, the town council and the Police Department have together come up with a plan to identify all the areas of the unincorporated areas where sidewalks are needed for public safety.

Ever the opponent, Feiner took the position that if all the sidewalks that were needed for public safety were to be built, the town and its taxpayers would bankrupt.

Hopefully, we'll get agreement on how much to pay each year for these needed improvements, and that construction will actually begin.

Anonymous said...

O Edgemont, Edgemont, Edgemont.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again.Edgemont civic assoc. are hitting the ceiling because they could not come up with the idea.TOO BAD.We should have more childred working for the betterment of the town.It will make them responsible citizens of tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about Edgemont at all.

After all, has Feiner put a sidewalk next to those markers on Old Tarrytown Road where those people were killed?

This is a very serious matter.

And putting important public safety responsibilities into the hands of children, and then congratulating himself, Colbert-style, for doing something about public safety,is precisely why it is so difficult for anyone to take Feiner seriously anymore.

On top of that, his touting the efforts of these three high school kids, without mentioning that one of them is his niece and also the daughter of his campaign treasurer, Carrie Feiner Trenk, was a pretty sleazy thing to do.

Oh, and that website, what a surprise, it mentions Feiner's name over and over again. No wonder he's touting it.

Merrill said...

We not only need sidewalks but we also need bike lanes and bicycle parking facilities.

The Wall Street Journal of May 4, 2007 page W1 reports how Europe is a haven for cyclists from commuting to work to taking kids to school. In Amsterdam 40% of communters go to work by bicycle and in Copenhagen over one-third do so. New bicycling facilities are under construction in Europe to hold as much as 10,000 bicycles. The policy goal is to have bicycle replace the many short car trips which account for about 6% of emissions.

So side walks is at least a welcome start for some pedestrians to get moving in a healthy way. We must go a bit further and provide for more bicycle parking facilities in Greenburgh (rather than chaining bikes to trees and any available post) and push for Metro North to provide one compartment at least on trains for cyclists to take their bicycles along.

Y said...

Anonymous. Be bold and give your name for being such a critic about a public official. I think you should not misuse this blog to rant and rant your political views about a public official. If you have nothing to say about the sidewalk project, just shut up and stay out of this blog. It is a pity that the blog administrators do not delete your ugly comments. Very soon there will be Federal and State Laws to control what you can say on the internet, and you can be traced from your IP portal. I think when those laws are passed you can go to jail.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous--Feiner can't put a sidewalk anywhere in town on his own. He requires the votes of 3 members of the Town Board. Have the following council members pushed for sidewalks on Old Tarrytown Road?
Francis Sheehan? NO
Steve Bass? NO
Diana Juettner? NO
Eddie Mae Barnes? NO
Has Sheehan, Bass, Juettner or Barnes discussed their views re: funding sources for the sidewalks? NO

Y said...

What I say is that the purpose of this blog is to generate ideas for the Town by helping the supervisor and town staff. There can be constructive criticism, but it should be solely related to the topic under discussion - in this case, SIDE WALKS - not to bad mouth a public official. That can be done in another arena. Mr. Anonymous should open a blog of his own and bad-mouth anyone he wants and not use Paul Feiner's blog to do just that. If someone did that to me on my blog I would delete his message immediately.

The social problem is this - in the 20th-21 century technology and organizational efficiency has made the destructive potential of such hatred immensely greater. Mr. Anonymous stark outlook captures the wraught of hatred unleashed. He (I think he is a guy) sounds like a helpless man in need of psychological counseling.

So, Anonymous, we do not enjoy reading your negative messages. Do it in your own funded blog and contribute to topics to help the town or stay away from this blog.

for good reason said...

Evidently, Y (and Feiner) don't like to read about Feiner's abysmal record on sidewalks and public safety.

First Feiner does nothing about the issue for the first 14 years he's in office, then when he starts getting criticized, he says the town has no legal authority to build sidewalks where needed for public safety. Then, when he's rebuked by the state, he says it would cost too much money to build sidewalks. Finally, when it's pointed out that Feiner himself seems to be the problem, he points the finger at the other town board members for not solving the problem themselves.

Those who've worked tirelessly over the years in getting the town to focus on sidewalks and public safety are surely tired of these Feiner do-nothing shenigans.

However, Y reveals his true colors (and those of Feiner himself) when he said that those who post comments like these that are critical of Feiner should be tracked down and put in jail.

Feiner has been using similar threats of intimidation against his critics for years.

In his last re-election campaign, Feiner's webmaster posted an anonymous message from Feiner's campaign manager threatening "blood on the water" if criticism of Feiner continued.

Feiner himself will pick up the phone and complain to the employers of Greenburgh residents who criticize Feiner at town board meetings.

Two years ago, one of Feiner's assistants sent separate e-mails to all 150 of one persistent critic's law firm partners.

Residents who criticize Feiner in legal proceedings against the town are threatened with personal financial sanctions.

In America, the free exercise of political speech -- which includes speech that may be critical of public officials -- is at the core of our First Amendment rights.

If Feiner wants to restrict the content of his blog, he is free to do so. He can also use a sitemeter to keep track of IP addresses of those who post comments (and those with sensitive computer settings that send an alert when the IP address is being asked for already know that Feiner is doing this).

But as long as Feiner promotes his blog on the town's website and on the town's e-mail system, which he does relentlessly as part of his own campaign of self-promotion, he is inviting the very comment from critics that Y would sooner see "put in jail."

Jim Lasser said...

Dear Y -
You are absolutely correct about the need for people to take responsibility. Why not set a good example yourself and sign your name? Hal Samis does, Mike Kolesar does, I do - why not join us?
As for your intemperate comment about pending legislation to suppress or punish entries on a blog - the first amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. Any attempt to regulate or limit otherwise lawful speech on the internet should be vigorously resisted by all.
If you want to regulate entries, it would be a good idea to start with a policy of telling the whole truth - and the whole truth is that Jana Trenk is Mr. Feiner's niece. That fact, in and of itself, is important in critically evaluating the content value of both this blog thread and her own blog. While the relationship is immediately apparent to anyone who has been involved in civic affairs for some time, it is not necessarily obvious to a casual reader. It would have been nice for Mr. Feiner to acknowledge the relationship - he certainly must be proud of her - and no doubt with good reason. She and her friends deserve recognition - he shouldn't have clouded the issue by failing to mention how it came to his attention. A simple statement like, "My niece Jana Trenk and her friends..." would have eliminated any reason to question the validity of the rest of the posting. Concealing the relationship immediately raises questions about the effort because of a perceived pattern of concealment in Mr. Feiner's political conduct.
You want only constructive criticism? I offer the following:
Tell the whole truth from the beginning. By showing your audience that respect they can focus on the merits of the argument rather than worrying about your ulterior motives

Roz Leviatin said...

On February 27, 1998, an unusually mild, clear and sunny day, two Greenburgh police officers came to my door to inform me that Bronny Baird Clauson, my closest friend, had died instantly after being struck by a car on Old Tarrytown Road. As all of our neighbors knew, Bronny and I had walked our dogs every morning for 15 years, and the police came to me as a contact person for her three surviving children who no longer lived in Greenburgh.

As I’m sure many will still remember, Bronny was actively involved in the Town of Greenburgh, the Central 7 Schools, the Scarsdale Quaker Meeting House and the Woodhill Civic Association (the list could go on and on). She was one of the first people I’ve ever seen wearing a helmet when riding her bicycle and she consistently reminded my 92-year-old mother to walk on the “right” side of the street when returning to our house after volunteering at the Adult Day Center at the corner of Hillside Avenue and Old Tarrytown Road (although her real message to my mother was not to walk that strip of road at all, since it was far too dangerous even on the “right” side).

The outpouring of grief following Bronny’s senseless death (almost three years before my mother died peacefully in her sleep) was overwhelming, and there was a brief flurry of the usual “Something Should Be Done to Prevent This From Happening Again” activity.

Woodhill residents were, of course, reminded of the earlier, identical, death of Cedric Edwards (a young man who was struck down late at night only yards higher on that same ski jump strip of Old Tarrytown Road). Surely, the sidewalk that wrapped around the Town Hall building could be extended up along that deadly north side of Old Tarrytown Road, past the Mohawk School, to Old County Center Road. Surely?

Meetings were quickly held, Town Board members were actively engaged, and for a very short time it seemed that logic would prevail. Almost ten years later, we have two memorial markers on the north side of Old Tarrytown Road, one for Cedric Edwards and one for Bronny Baird Clauson. What happened to the sidewalk?

Space does not permit a full chronology of the insanity that followed. To summarize: Although the small strip of Old Tarrytown Road for which the sidewalk was being considered was supported overwhelmingly by the property owners on the north side of OTR (including the Mohawk School), the process, like the cars that still ski-jump that small strip of road, began spinning out of control. It was determined that each and every resident of the WoodhilI Civic Association (not just those of us who live on OTR), would have to vote to approve the sidewalk, and then cynically inaccurate information was spread among residents about the personal cost and liability of the project. People were polled who knew nothing about the street or the deaths or the issues involved. The majority of all Woodhill residents did not approve the sidewalk, even though what they were asked to approve was not what was being requested. Speed bumps as an alternative were considered (and rejected).

And, to both literally and figuratively add insult to injury, a police survey of traffic speed and flow on Old Tarrytown Road came up with the unremarkable conclusion that most of the people driving in excess of 25 miles per hour on that strip of road were actually residents of Woodhill. (Imagine that!!) Tickets for speeding were issued over a very brief period of time, which I thought was a good but ultimately partial and ineffective response to a very dangerous strip of roadway. And that was the end of the sidewalk.

One Town Board member reported the police survey to me in “gotcha” terms, as if all pedestrians would be safe if Woodhill residents could simply learn to follow the posted speed limits. Does it matter that the car that killed Bronny was being driven by a non-Greenburgh resident who was using Old Tarrytown Road as a through street from the City of White Plains to Elmsford? Would we have complained less if the drivers who killed Bronny and Cedric were from the Woodhill Civic Association? Is “gotcha” a rational and appropriate way to make decisions that affect the lives of Town residents?

This is clearly far more than I intended to write when I read Paul Feiner’s “The Sidewalk Project” blog this morning. However, I do want it to be known on this blog that, as someone intimately involved with this particular issue (and with absolutely no political allegiance to any elected Town official, having voted for each and every one of them at the time of Bronny’s death), the fault for inaction for the OTR sidewalk at no time lay with Paul Feiner. He was actively engaged, available to listen to community concerns, willing to suggest solutions, and blocked at each and every step by people who characterized whatever he did or said as “political” and “self-aggrandizing.” Sound familiar?

It should come as no surprise to anyone in our word-altering culture that politicians (“people who run for elected office”) act in ways that, by definition, are “political” and, if they want to be re-elected, any action that they publicize will appear to be “self-aggrandizing” to their opponents. Otherwise, once elected, they could all govern secretly as the folks in Washington have been doing for some time. I would have hoped that we would not have been taken in by the double-speak now commonly used to condemn people with whom we disagree in public life.

As a 40-year resident of the Town of Greenburgh who votes but is not otherwise actively involved in Town politics, I must say that I have absolutely no idea what the other four members of the Town Board have proposed or thought about or accomplished over the past many years. I do know from the Town Board meetings that I regularly watch on cable, that they spend extraordinary amounts of time insulting Paul Feiner, contradicting whatever he says, and blocking whatever he proposes. There are constant complaints about the Town, and the blame for each and every problem is assigned to the Supervisor.

One would think that in all these years of turmoil at Town Board meetings (with a four-vote majority by the “effective” and responsible elected officials, who would never think to call themselves “political”) there would be wonderful things that each Council member could “self-aggrandize” about, especially since election cycles keep magically reappearing. I would welcome ongoing communication from the Town Council members about what they are thinking and proposing for the Town, and it is clear that the Town Board meetings do not provide an adequate forum for that kind of communication. Perhaps a personal blog by each of the Council members would help those of us who vote understand more about them than the infantile flailing at the Supervisor during each brief televised performance.

I frequently disagree with Mr. Feiner, and I believe that many of his “How about this?” suggestions are whimsical and perhaps not quite ready for prime time. (The high-speed ferry that he proposed many years ago comes to mind, and I thank him for reminding me of it in his recent blog, since this idea was one of those I thought was wonderful but bizarre when he first came up with it.) Somehow, slapped down as he’s been for so many years, he keeps coming up with new suggestions, and I applaud him for that. Reading past the expected hateful personal (and always anonymous) comments on his blog, it is always refreshing to read actual responses from real people about the suggestions he makes.

“The Sidewalk Project” posted by Paul Feiner on his blog was a suggestion of personal interest to me, which is why I’ve responded at such length. I watched the Town Hall meetings about the sidewalk issue on Chatterton, and I was thrilled by the six young people (from both Hartsdale and Scarsdale) who appeared to inform the community about this critical issue. I also watched the meeting where the plans about filling in sidewalks on Central Avenue and Route 119 were discussed, and I was concerned that yet again dangerous streets would have to wait their turn.

Yesterday, my husband was in Town Hall inquiring about our tax bill, and he saw Paul Feiner, who introduced him to the three young ladies who are interning with him as part of their Scarsdale Senior Options Program (see Full Disclosure statement below). Hearing about their sidewalk project on Chatterton, my husband walked with them around the corner to the two memorial markers on Old Tarrytown Road and suggested that the OTR sidewalk might be included in their project. As they walked up to the markers, my husband told me of the terror he experienced as cars whizzed by them on the beautiful, clear and sunny day. The young women were so moved at hearing about Cedric and Bronny that they agreed to expand their project to include Old Tarrytown Road and to reach out to students at Woodlands High School’s WISE Program to join them in this volunteer project, which could then be sustained by other young people in years to come.

(In full disclosure, it should be noted that my husband, who has never been involved in Greenburgh Town politics, founded the WISE Program at Woodlands in 1973 and, following his retirement from teaching in 1991, has helped spread WISE to more than 80 schools around the country, one of which happens to be the Scarsdale Senior Options Program at Scarsdale High School. Cedric Edwards was my husband’s student at Woodlands. Bronny Baird Clauson’s three children all completed amazing WISE projects at Woodlands, where the program now continues in its 34th year, and Bronny’s son Peter has been the Coordinator of the WISE Program at Miramonte High School in California since 2002.)

It takes more than a village to get a sidewalk. And sometimes the motivation must come from young people with indefatigable passion and fresh ideas.

Bronny would be proud!

Herb Rosenberg said...

I occasionally read Paul Feiner's blog because it provides some insights about what people are thinking. Usually I am dismayed at what I read – such vitriol, such rabid hatred, such non-thinking accusations against anyone who does not share the views of the self-appointed establishment.

Reading Ms. Leviatin’s long letter, however, gave me a sense of admiration and optimism. May her words inspire those – including the Town Council – who spend their time in destructive accusations and character assassination, mostly directed at the Supervisor but also against those who question or who offer words of advice that the establishment does not want to hear.

I do not write often, because – as someone who offers words that the establishment does not want to hear – the response to my writing has usually been some idiotic and anonymous name-calling. I suspect that it will happen here, because it seems to be an incurable disease. I could not resist writing now, because Ms. Leviatin speaks with such wisdom, common sense and compassion. I hope that an army of residents write to echo her words. If they do, perhaps we can again become a town of neighbors who understand and help each other, rather than the nasty war zone into which the town has been made by those who seem to get their satisfaction by the acrimony and hate that they have set into motion.

Anonymous said...

Between February 27, 1998, when the second of two lives was lost on Old Tarrytown Road, and December 31, 2005, Paul Feiner enjoyed a majority of support on the Town Board.

Indeed, there was rarely a time when all five board members were not in agreement.

No sidewalk was ever built on Old Tarrytown Road because Feiner never wanted to spend the money.

Who in town government do you think was responsible for telling the residents there about the huge liabilities they would face if a sidewalk were built?

It was Feiner.

Sure Feiner wanted a sidewalk on Old Tarrytown Road -- just like he says he wants one on Chatterton.

But Feiner did everything he could to get residents on Old Tarrytown Road to think they were better off without one -- just as he did most recently with the residents on Seely Place. Why? Because he was too afraid to spend the political capital involved in getting the town to pay for it.

There are lots of dangerous roads where sidewalks are needed. West Hartsdale Avenue, Dobbs Ferry Road, Knollwood Road, Old Tarrytown Road and Underhill Road are all heavily trafficked roads where children, parents with strollers and commuters have no safe place to walk. There are also unsafe places for people to walk along Central Avenue, Tarrytown Road and Saw Mill River Road.

Residents have been telling Feiner this for years. At one town board meeting in 2004, a resident tried to list the many roads where sidewalks were needed for public safety and, annoyed at being criticized in public, Feiner cut him off mid-sentence for exceeding the town's five minute rule for public speaking. When the resident tried to continue, Feiner cut off the television feed and the microphone.

Now that there is a majority on the town board who are not beholden to Feiner, there is at last a two-way dialogue with all residents on sidewalks and public safety.

The Police Department is identifying places in town where sidewalks are needed; the hard part is getting the town to start paying to get the work done.

The Chatterton sidewalk was estimated to cost $250,000. A sidewalk on Old Tarrytown Road back in 1998 would have cost less than that, but it doesn't matter.

In this election year, Feiner did not propose in his capital budget for 2007 to spend any money on building any new sidewalks.

The same was true the year before, the year before that, and every year going back to when Feiner first became supervisor in 1992.

Long-time residents, even those who've lost loved ones, may think the status quo's all right for them, but more and more of us newer residents feel we have a right to expect more from our local elected officials than empty words, publicity stunts and photo-ops.

Anonymous said...

There we go again. No matter what the problem, it is always Paul Feiner's fault.

If Feiner enjoyed a majority of the Board, where were the other members of the Board? And what do you mean Feiner enjoyed a majority? Did he own the Board members? If they disagreed with him, couldn't they have proposed a solution? They were, after all, the majority of the Town Board, and the Supervisor is only one member of the 5-member Town Board.

Mrs. Leviatin and Mr. Rosenberg argued for some good will and a cessation of the blame game. Why can't you try to do that? You may be surprised at the result. It can't be worse than it is now.

Anonymous said...

This is not a matter of blame -- it's a matter of taking responsibility.

Feiner enjoyed a majority of support on a town board when political contributions were made only to them. Consequently, other town board members were in fact beholden to Feiner and, prior to 2005, even if they didn't get the town's Democratic Party endorsement, as was the case with Timmy Weinberg, they could be re-elected with Feiner's backing and money.

So, if there were no sidewalks built between 1998 and 2005, Feiner has to take responsibility for that and if Feiner as town supervisor and the town's chief financial officer wasn't willing to spend the political capital to get the town to spend the money on sidewalks for public safety, then no, they weren't willing to do so either.

Once Feiner's support on the board ended in 2005, it became clear that there were a number of matters that had never been properly addressed -- the need for sidewalks being foremost among them.

The town council has done an excellent job in bringing that to everyone's attention.

But to get the job done, the town needs a supervisor who, unlike Feiner has been over the past 16 years, is not afraid to spend the political capital to get the town to spend the money needed to protect public safety.

After 16 years of doing nothing but blaming others, no one should expect Feiner to do anything different going forward.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't people talking about the important letter Ms. Roz Leviatin wrote instead of trotting out all the Feiner arguments. We have heard those 1000 times. What Ms. Leviatin said needs to be discussed.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous makes some very insulting comments about the Town Council when he or she suggests that the council gave Feiner a blank check prior to 2005. Is anonymous claiming that Eddie Mae Barnes, Diana Juettner and Steve Bass were asleep at the switch and did not do their job of reviewing proposed legislation prior to casting their vote on important matters? Is anonymous claiming that Barnes and Juettner were puppets for 14 years? And Bass was Feiner's puppet too?
Every member of the council is required to take an oath of office. They are required to independently review every proposal that is considered. Voters did not elect puppets -- they elect independent thinkers. Bass, Barnes and Juettner have to accept responsibility for every vote they cast.

Anonymous said...

I think it's shady that just this particular student project gets special treatment. What about all the other student projects of benefit the community - projects that are being done by Greenburgh and Edgemont students who aren't related to the town supervisor. Do those get access to the same municipal resources and publicity?

Y said...

Mr. Critic Anonymous. I full agree with you there is free speech and all US citizens have a right to exercise it. However, there must be a different forum for it. Every topic that comes up in this blog you are there like a broken record replaying your Feiner bad-mouthing. So if you have nothing to say about a subject matter (like side walks) say nothing in this blog. Instead open your own blog and post a one-liner in this blog with a link to your very own blog. You can say - for the facts or go to such and such a link.

The web is uncontrolled these days and I think pretty soon legislation will be passed to control what we say on the internet. You know people sue for defamation of character - so be careful anonymous - make sure you have all your facts right. But, if you had courage you will disclose your name and also attend a public meeting and speak out as frankly as you write.

Finally, just think about it. Think deeply about your social intelligence attributes. Be positive and make a contribution by suggesting something to improve a situation. If you think Mr. Feiner must be removed from office then exercise your vote and try to influence others to do so, but in another forum please. Here, say something about side-walks, how it will improve the quality of life of the citizens of Greenburgh.

Paul Feiner said...

Dear anonymous 11/28. I have always given interns who do excellent work publicity. My niece who is not being paid is not getting any more or less attention or treatment than any other student intern. Last year, for example, Alana Mildner interned in my office. She was a student at Ardsley High. She organized a bike ride to DC from Hartsdale to raise funds for a volunteer firefighter from Hartsdale who is paralyzed from the neck down. She also organized meetings with Senators Clinton and Schumer to promote stem cell research. She received lots of attention for her work.She met with both Senators and was honored at a Town Board meeting. Other exceptional students have co-hosted radio programs with me and have participated in meetings with Governors, US Senators, etc.. I try making internship experiences interesting and feel that giving students specific projects to work on makes the experience more fun and worthwhile - especially if they feel it's their project.
I'm convinced that the sidewalk project will lead to important safety enhancements for pedestrians around the town and am very pleased with this project.

The Sidewalk Project said...

Our only purpose in this project is to see if we can make a difference in pedestrian safety on Chatterton Parkway and in other areas. Please don't put your political opinions above the safety of your fellow citizens.

If anyone has further criticism of our project, we invite you to comment on our blog.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Feiner feels he needs to use kids like this for partisan political purposes.

If these kids, including his niece, were truly interested in figuring out why, unlike Scarsdale where they live, neighboring Greenburgh hasn't been building sidewalks in any of the places in town where they are needed for public safety -- but spends hundreds of thousands of dollars maintaining beautiful red brick sidewalks in parts of town where they are not needed for public safety at all -- they would have contacted the Edgemont volunteers who've been working for the past several years to get Feiner to understand that, contrary to what he's been telling them and everyone else, the town really does have the legal authority to build sidewalks to protect public safety. Indeed, should there ever be another death or injury, the town itself may well be liable.

But no, these kids haven't so far thought to do that.

What's worse, wtatements about not putting one's "political opinions above the safety of your fellow citizens" [sic] suggest that these kids are less interested in what's led to the problem and how to solve it, and more interested in the publicity associated with being a local politician's prop.

That's too bad.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:04, are you absolutely nuts? Is there anything that you aren't compelled to turn into an anti-Feiner argument? Do you have to insult teen-agers who have enough public-spiritness to do something useful and important? I really think that there is something fundamentally wrong with your mental health if you compulsively dwell on Feiner and manage to twist every action into some kind of attack-occasion. You even make me put aside my criticisms of Feiner.

I am grateful that young people, like those in the Sidewalk Project, volunteer to help us all. I hope that they never get jaded, as some do.

Anonymous said...

Feiner has a well-deserved reputation for treating his critics as pond scum, no matter how well intentioned they may be.

In this case, Feiner has often been accused over the years of using kids as props to promote himself politically. Feiner does this shamelessly and he gets criticised for it.

If a kid decides to raise money for a paralyzed firefighter, Feiner himself will say he's doing the same thing -- provided the kid poses for the required photo-op.

The only difference between that, say, and this sidewalk project, is that the sidewalk project involves three high school kids about to graduate who don't even live in Greenburgh but because one of them is his niece, and the daughter of his campaign treasurer, this was one publicity stunt that Feiner thought for sure would be a sure-fire hit.

But as soon as someone calls him on this, Feiner and his core group of supporters come out in full smear gear: they question the critic's mental health, and suggest he or she be sued for slander, tracked down, arrested and thrown in jail.

There's something oddly paranoid about a politician who's always at war like this with his critics -- always governing as if under siege.

Anonymous said...

Maybe there is something diabolical, and nuts, about a group of people who have a compulsion to blame the Supervisor for everything.

How the Times saw it - you decide said...

From an editorial after last year's supervisor's race. You decide if Feiner has done what the Times suggested:

Two starkly different visions of Mr. Feiner -- the radically responsive public servant and the bumbling egotist -- clashed mightily in this race. Campaign mailings, e-mail messages and letters to editors reached an operatic fury worthy of Wagner, or at least Warner Brothers.

Now comes the cooling-off period. As Mr. Greenawalt kept insisting, major things need fixing in the town, not least the patching of relations with Greenburgh's five villages, where a committed core of Mr. Feiner's critics have been nurturing hopes of secession. That could be a disaster for Greenburgh, but the only solution presented so far -- dumping Mr. Feiner -- is no longer an option. So it falls now to Mr. Feiner to mollify fierce critics emboldened by their near-coup and by the failure of Mr. Feiner's running mates, Allegra Dengler and Kevin Morgan, to win Town Council seats.

Mr. Feiner must no longer ignore the substance of his critics' complaints, and the complainers must take their personal animus out of the mix. Mr. Feiner loves posing as an outsider, but governing as a put-upon gadfly will only assure two more years of nastiness. It's time for everyone to tune out the shrill voices on both sides of Feiner Gulch -- those who can see neither redeeming qualities nor troubling flaws in this supervisor -- and work together for a better-run town.

We bet that most people in Greenburgh are willing to let Mr. Feiner keep doing the small-bore, occasionally goofy things he does well if he tends to large, pressing problems -- like infrastructure, the morale of town employees and the state of town finances -- that were raised so relentlessly by the Greenawalt campaign.

Mr. Feiner wants you to know that he will try. He also wants you to know that there is a Dog Swim today at the satellite pool at Veteran Town Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring a towel and a dog.

Anonymous said...

Nothing has changed; the problems only get worse. Feiner doesn't have it in him even to have a polite discussion with his critics.

Anonymous said...

5:02 ,tell me who the employees are that are against Feiner. If you have this information tell us. I work for the town and believe me I find nothing wrong with the supervisor. I find many things wrong with the way the department heads neglect their jobs and lay the blame on us.The people must understand that we take orders,from dept.heads. Don't say that the employees are fed up with the supervisor.

Anonymous said...

I do not think that Greenawalt has a leg to stand on. Have you listened to him on town meetings,and understood what he was saying.Yes Feiner does have a tough time talking but Greenawalt plays the same broken record every time without substance. When he's finished I shake my head as to say,what the heck was he trying to say.Feiner tries very hard to do the right thing,one thing for sure he gives credit where credit is due.Girls keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Greenawalt was wrong in blaming Feiner for the bad relations with the villages. It is the Town Council which is at fault. They hector Feiner endlessly and then say he doesn't get along. Feiner has tried to be fair with the villages, but the Bernstein-Town Council combination blocks Feiner at every turn.

Anonymous said...

Is the dog swim open only to residents of unincorporated greenburgh?? I am so sick of the village people getting a free ride.

Anonymous said...

O well I guess someone else sees the Bernstein and Town council combination.What about McNally.They are both together with the town council to turn down anything the supervisor wants to enact for the whole town.Have they forgotten that Edgemont is one part of Greenburgh. They seem to be doing quite a bit of damage to the rest of the town.I;m glad that they do not represent me.

Get Real said...

dear anon @ 7:55 and others

i guess you like paying for parks that everyone can use but only unincorporated pays for. Perhaps you want to pay my taxes also? Thanks to Bob Bernstein this illegal practice has been stopped with respect to the white elephant of a "park and preserve" known as taxter ridge.

Anonymous said...

Wait a min.Edgemont went full steam ahead to purchase this land.They do not want any more development in Greenburgh.They keep wanting things done so they have to pay the consequences.Let's see what happens with the court case.

Anonymous said...

Dear 7:55
There are large parks all over unincorporated Greenburgh - even in that so deprived area know as Edgemont - like the Nature Center and Crain Pond. And then there is Hartsbrook and Rumbrook etc., etc., many of them miles away from Taxter Ridge. Evidently you feel that the western portion of the unincorporated Town should just shut up and do without park land. It makes me think that if a park is not in the home turf of the would be Kingmaker Democratic committee, you think it shouldn't exist at all.
I will tell everyone in the Western part of unincorporated Greenburgh to just sit back and let Edgemont tell the Town where to put parks. God forbid anyone else should get anything!

Anonymous said...

Edgemont was not opposed to the town's purchasing Taxter Ridge; it was opposed to the town's asking only unincorporated area taxpayers to pay for it.

Edgemont residents watched as one resident after another from the villages of Irvington and Tarrytown asked the town en masse to support the acquisition of Taxter. Acquiring Taxter was important, they said, not only to prevent the land from being developed residentially, which they feared would burden the Irvington School District, but it was also important environmentally.

It never occurred to Edgemont residents that these same village residents were supporting the town's making the purchase on their behalf only on condition that they themselves didn't have to pay for it.

That struck a number of Edgemont residents as being incredibly unfair, not to mention illegal.

But when they tried to raise the issue with Feiner, he wouldn't answer their questions, wouldn't allow the matter to be discussed by the town board, and when suit was threatened over it, he wouldn't allow any negotiations to see if the matter could be resolved.

Imagine what might have happened if, instead of declaring war on the Edgemont residents who had the temerity to criticize the way Taxter was being funded, Feiner had actually recognized that there was a problem and tried to solve it.

Instead, by deliberately choosing to pit one neighborhood against another, Feiner kept making things worse.

Anonymous said...

To immediate previous poster:
I read no objection on your part to the Town acquiring parkland in places that are not close to the villages in the Town.
Your statement says that if a park is in Edgemont or Hartsdale, it is a great idea, fine with you, - even though village residents can use them too, and the rest of the unincorporated area pays for them.
The impression is that the Nature Center and Crain Park and other park facilities were great, because they were in your area.
I forgot - you are the real Greenburgh - the rest of us in the unincorporated area should drop dead or at least have no parks nearby because village people might use them - and really - we only need parks in Edgemont and Hartsdale.

Anonymous said...

Westchester County has some parks in Greenburgh, but most are nowhere near us. However, we all get to use them and, whether we use them or not, we all get taxed for their cost.

New York State has some parks near Greenburgh, but most are nowhere near us. However, we all get to use them and, whether we use them or not, we all get taxed for their cost.

The United States has some spectacular parks, but most are thousands of miles from us. However, we all get to use them and, whether we use them or not, we all get taxed for their cost.

Greenburgh has some parks which we all can use, whether we live in the unincorporated areas or in the villages.

Regardless of whether we use them, regardless of where in the town these parks happen to be located, there seems to be no good reason why, if we have the right to use them, we all should not be taxed for their cost -- just as we're taxed for the cost of county, state and federal parks which we can all use, whether we use them or not.

Anonymous said...

To 10:20. Your argument is good but incomplete. You can use Central Park in NYC. Do you get taxed for it? You can use Battery Park in NYC. Do you get taxed for it? You can use many parks in all of the villages, most spectacularly Scenic Park in Irvington on the Hudson River. Do you get taxed for it? I can go on, but you get the point.

There is a real discussion to be had about all this, but it hasn't been had. Instead we hear angry and greedy and inflammatory voices.

Anonymous said...

There are two reasons why Greenburgh residents do not get taxed for the right to use Central Park, Riverside Park, and Scenic Park in Irvington.

The first is that Greenburgh residents don't reside within the borders of the taxing jurisdiction legally authorized to tax Greenburgh residents for those parks.

The second is that Greenburgh residents don't have the right to vote to elect the officials in charge of that taxing jurisdiction.

In all of the other examples, we are within the taxing jurisdiction's authority, and we do have the right to elect the officials in charge of that taxing jurisdiction.

In Westchester County, we are taxed for county parks whether or not we use them, because we live within Westchester County and we have the right to elect Westchester County's government.

In New York State, we are taxed for state parks whether or not we use them, because we live in New York State and we have the right to elect New York State's government.

In the United States, we are taxed for federal parks, whether or not we use them, because we live in the United States and have the right to elect the United States government.

In Greenburgh, not all of us are taxed for the town's costs of town parks that are open to all town residents, even though village and unincorporate area residents all live within the town and have the same equal right to elect Greenburgh's town government.

That's why Greenburgh's practice of charging only unincorporated area taxpayers for the costs of parks and recreational facilities that are open town-wide to all residents, whether they live in the villages or the unincorporated areas, is both illegal and unfair and probably unconstitutional.

Anonymous said...

So there it is. When the law helps your interest, the law should be followed. When the law doesn’t help your interest, then is unconstitutional.

Yes, the villages are part of the town, but they are recognized by New York State and the Town Law as separate municipalities and the town government doesn’t govern the villages. There are plenty of laws that say that the taxes for some services and infrastructure are to be paid by the unincorporated area even though they are not limited to residents of unincorporated Greenburgh. The library is one example. There are others.

That is why the Finneran Law was passed twenty-five years ago, to deal with the issue of town parks and recreation facilities. It says that parks in the unincorporated re must be taxed to the unincorporated area and must be restricted to the unincorporated area, unless the parks have been financed with grants from the federal government That is consistent with your own comment that everybody has the right to use those parks for which we pay taxes, and we pay federal income taxes. Your argument about electing officials is pointless. Non-voters have the right to use parks.

The Town Board has violated the Finneran Law by not restricting the parks to the unincorporated area. If you say that the law should be followed, then you should follow the Finneran Law. The answer is to tell the Town Board to restrict town parks to residents of the unincorporated area. It is no answer to say that because the town has violated the law, therefore the law should be scrapped.

We’ll see what the appeals court says.

hal samis said...

Who can be the first to identify Bob Bernstein's 3 comments on this topic?

Sidewalks do not appear out of the blue by way of spontaneous generation.

Sidewalks need the fortitude to spend the dollars and the commitment to spend these dollars ahead of other projects, which while important in their defense, are not characterized as matters of public safety.

If the Town Board was REALLY concerned about this matter, it would have been the number one priority ahead of the Library expansion, repairing existing curbs and the movement toward expanding the Court/Police station.

None of these are frivolous or not needed expenditures. However the true cost is much greater than is told the taxpayers.

Capital projects all entail bonding and the interest cost on these bonds is seldom broken out. Remember that I noticed residents that the Library expansion would add an additional $10 million in financing costs over the life of the bonds on top of the $19.9 million. And while I am on the subject, life at the old Library was crowded but tolerable. Having to walk on the street versus a sidewalk shows an intolerance for life.

Note:
any and very capital project if not done yesterday or now will cost more in the future.
That includes sidewalk construction.
Perhaps the decision to spend $20+ million on the Library was ambitious when viewed in the context that there were other uses for the money.
And what if $10 million had instead been allocated to the Library? That would mean that come sidewalk time, there would be $10 million to spend without causing taxes to increase. But the residents spoke; perhaps because they were not exposed to the ugly realities in the rush to Referendum.

Unlike the Federal government, Greenburgh does not have the power to print money.

For that matter, the high priorities afforded the Police Department, in terms of command vehicles and SWAT teams and the various other contingency responses, are important too but their day-to-day need is thankfully not been apparent although who can predict the future. However if the dollars to spend are limited, I subscribe to giving actual 24/7 needs first crack at them. The more remote and hopefully never needed response resources should take second place to immediate and used benefits. Alternatively the Town should go on a shopping spree for everything on the wish list and swallow the bitter pill, voter reaction taking second seat to need.

The rationalization is that things will cost more in the future.
The real life fallacy is the belief that you should spend money you don't have to save money.

Hopefully that day will never come; while gratefully the Police Department has Mr. Sheehan as its guardian angel.

But as has been noted by others, building sidewalks is not the end of the problem. He who builds a sidewalk, thereby causing them to come, will be forever bound to repair, shovel and insure it against all who would enjoy it and be victim to harm while using it.

While who pays for sidewalks, A or B or A&B for some, is the other great impediment to their construction.

So, the roadblocks to sidewalks bordering these roads are well documented and discussed.

Mr. Feiner took another stab at it well over a year ago but his attempt was shot down by the Town Council who knew better. Over a year later the Town Council concluded that sidewalks should be built for reasons of safety. Progress?
And while the Police Chief was assigned the role of identifying which roads needed sidewalks, the Town Council on its own determined that step one should be filling the gaps on Central Avenue and Tarrytown Road. I do not recall that Chief Kapica supporting this conclusion as one based upon his Department's research.

However, even if filling in the gaps is the Town Council's priority, where is the money to do accomplish even this in the current Capital Budget which has not yet been voted upon? There is still time to add this cost item to the current Budget and thus commence the actual building of sidewalks versus the continual bullshitting about sidewalks. But as concerned as the Town Council may want voters to think they are, as critical of Feiner as the Town Council is, when it comes down to the wire they don't do anything either. After all, they don't want to raise taxes and lose votes.

Eddie Mae Barnes and Steve Bass are, like Feiner, up for re-election this Fall. Their votes would be two votes to add sidewalk construction to the current Capital Budget. And since Mr. Sheehan has been the point man for "filling in the gaps", his vote makes the third vote needed to get a real live sidewalk built this year. They don't even need to hear from Diana Juettner which is the belated observation reached on all other matters.

So if you are content with the realization that sidewalks will never be built, keep the faith that the Town Council will be your savior. Their collective arms are every bit as tied as the Supervisor's.

Or you can wait for next year when the Town Council has determined which streets need sidewalks. And then face the same tired arguments again and even the "working closely with Brodsky" panacea.

But don't despair, anonymous Bob will be back with #4.