Monday, May 14, 2007

WEEK OF MAY 14--GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY

Please feel free to post comments about town issues on this blog.

SHOULD GREENBURGH RENT VACANT SPACE ON EAST HARTSDALE AVE FOR A TEMPORARY LIBRARY?
SHOULD THE TOWN BD AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS TO CONDUCT AN INDEPENDENT STUDY TO DETERMINE THE CAUSES OF THE RECENT FLOOD AND TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS?

I THINK THE ANSWER IS YES TO BOTH.
REMINDER--TUESDAY MEETING 8 PM TOWN HALL E HARTSDALE AVE FLOODING

GOOD NEWS---HARRY'S OF HARTSDALE GRAND REOPENING JUNE 1

167 comments:

Anonymous said...

llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Anonymous said...

Yes to both

Anonymous said...

Pleas do not buy gasoline tomorrow May 15th

Anonymous said...

1) The temporary library situation seems okay as is. No need to create further disruptions and expenses.

2) The cause is known, so just fix it. No need to expend time and money on a study.

The cause is Feiner's careerism said...

Dont we already know the answer - the pipe behind the stores/buildings is too small and the drains were not cleared for years by the Town. The real answer is a new Supervisor who is more interested in infrastructure than massaging public opinion and governing by increasingly false press releases.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen Feiner clean out catch basins. Maybe you should have him add the job to his list of things to be done every day.If this were done you would be complaing about something else. One a complainer always a complainer.Complain to the right dept.

Anonymous said...

As I said on a previous posting, the recent flooding was not a surprise. Ask the young people who work at NYSC at night. Their lower floor has flooded several times. I was there last summer during a major rainstorm when water poured in through the emergency exit facing the parking garage, covering the entire lower level. Shouldn't the landlord be held accountable for failing to address this very foreseeable flooding?

Anonymous said...

Bernstien, using the name "the cause is Feiner's careerism" is so bent on blaming Feiner for everything that he is even trying to generate a lawsuit against the town for millions of dollars by blaming Feiner for the flood damages. Bernstein is a menace to the town.

Anonymous said...

Paul the landlord is the one that is responsible,for some of the flooding. He should be notified by the building dept as to what has to be done, The Dpw then has to do their work in cleaning the rest of the pipes, Both departments should be involved in this project.Make it your priority before the meeting. We know what has to be done,and it has to be done asap.Let's see if the department heads could come up with a good resolution,and act on this complaint. Many complaints go unanswered in this town,but this one cannot go without being resolved.Whomever is at fault,the condition should be checked,and made to work corectly.Your department heads are supposed to be well trained in these matters,let's see how really good they are ,if not you know where the door is,why should we spend more money in hiring an outside person to tell us whats wrong when they are supposed to be skilled in all matters of bulding and sewers..

town infrastructure to blame said...

Landlords might be held accountable for flood damage if they know or have reason to know that the damage is caused by something under their reasonable control, like a defective pipe.

That does not appear to be the case here, however.

In response to complaints from tenants on East Hartsdale Avenue, the town engineer looked into the flooding problem in 2005.

In an interoffice memo dated October 4, 2005, three causes for the flooding were identified.

First, the town engineer found that the town's main storm drainage pipe that runs from behind 100 East Hartsdale Avenue and underneath the apartments was too small to handle the water from a moderate storm.

It would be useful to know whether the town ever notified any of the commercial landlords about this finding -- so they would know to alert their tenants.

Second, the engineer found that the pipe was clogged with debris. Here, too, it would be useful to know if the town ever notified the commercial landlords about this problem.

Finally, the engineer found that the opening to the drains leading to the pipe were also clogged with debris.

Because the drains leading to the pipes were in most cases located on private property, the town began inspecting these drain openings and issuing summonses to private property owners if they were found to be blocked by debris.

There are several storm drains in the service road immediately behind the NYSC.

Based on the amount of debris that was removed from inside these drains after the flooding took place, it's clear they were clogged with large pieces of debris. It is unlikely that such debris came from the drain openings on the service road. It is much more likely that the debris entered the drainage system further upstream -- a problem the town was aware of in 2005 but did nothing about.

Under these circumstances, good arguments can be made that the NYSC landlord is not responsible for the flooding.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein should be given credit for letting the public know that the town knew in 2005 that the town's main drainage pipe that runs underneath the apartments on East Hartsdale Avenue was too small to handle even a moderate rainstorm, and that the pipe itself had become clogged with debris.

Feiner should have told the public about these findings back in 2005 -- and if he didn't know about them then, he should have known.

When the nor'easter was approaching last month, he should have warned the merchants and the property owners to move their property to higher ground.

Instead, he issued a press release congratulating the town for being proactive by cleaning the storm drains -- something which was not done on East Hartsdale Avenue.

And after the flood occurred, and Feiner was reminded of the town's findings back in 2005, why didn't he make those findings public right then and there?

This isn't about protecting the town from legal liability. It is difficult to hold municipalities liable for maintaining inadequate infrastructure. This is instead about a lack of proper management, oversight, accountability and common sense.

Anonymous said...

I assume that NYSC reported the (at least two) flooding incidents from the summer of 2006 to the Landlord. Did the landlord report this to the DPW or take any remedial action? Perhaps the real negligence lies with the landlord for failing to act.

sorry to disappoint said...

Sorry to disappoint you but the post about Feiner's political careerism (an undisputed but sad fact) was not blogged by mr bernstein. The attack on Bernstein is an obvious dodge of the truth that Feiner "governs" by press release. Feiner's lack of attention to details and his false economy of keeping bond ratings high to the neglect of basic maintenance of the town's assets has aleady the cost the town (and the villages) millions in the tree case. Feiner gave away more millions to Valhalla under false pretenses (all debunked by the State Comptroller). If Feiner and his supporters are so sure he did everything he could before the storm, he should post the town's 2005 memo on the website as well as feiner's pre-storm press releases about the town being "pro-active."

hal samis said...

He said, she said. He said she said he said.
It just gets too confusing when people write as anonymous.

If anonymous at 3:52 am (?, beats my record) is correct about the Library, then why is the Town spending $30 million on a bigger Library?

DPW did clean some drains before the storm. Apparently not all. In heavy rainfall, there was always a "lake" in front of Duane Reade on the Hartsdale Avenue corner. This did not occur April 15.

In heavy rainfall, crossing to the Hartsdale Station on foot is usually at your own peril, particularly for non-swimmers. This did not occur April 15.

What DPW knew, what DPW did and what DPW did not do is the issue at hand. For the delight of critical bloggers, what DPW communicated to Supervisor Feiner AND the Town Council is something that should be pursued, particularly whether DPW clearly pointed out that there was a problem that needed immediate remediation by the Town. DPW was, and is, the expert in drainage matters and it would Al Regula's job to explain and convince the TOWN BOARD that action is needed.

The Supervisor and the Town Council cannot be expected to understand everything that is put in front of them. If a partuclar Town department becomes aware of something of potential risk for the Town, then they had best make sure that the Town Board understands the dangers involved. Just forwarding a report without follow-up may be enough to get a Department "off the hook" but that does not mean that they should not have pursued the matter.

For right or wrong, whether factually correct or truth challenged, the Library Board conveyed a story to the Town Board. They did not go away or back off and forced the issue. If DPW was aware of "Trouble in River City", DPW is "bound to keep the young uns moral after school".

Anonymous said...

If Bernstein had access to a memo in in 2005 urging corrective action- how come he didn't advocate that any action be taken? Didn't hear Bernstein ever talk about flooding on E Hartsdale Ave.

Bon Voyage said...

Hal - it seems you may have made the case for both Feiner and Regula to gracefully exit Greenburgh. Lets give each of them a complimentary sandbag.

Big Lie doesnt hid the Facts about Feiner said...

Who said Bernstein had the memo in 2005? It appears he just became aware of it. The real question is what did Feiner know and when did he know it? And more and more we ask, what does Regula have on Feiner??

hal samis said...

Dear Bon Voyage,
I guess you didn't take reading in school. Perhaps your School District stinted when submitting its annual budget.

T O W N B O A R D =
Supervisor + Town Council

Al Regula reports to the TOWN BOARD

TOWN BOARD reacts or not.

TOWN BOARD yawned, flooding ensues.

GOODBYE to AL REGULA.

IF Feiner goes, so does EVERYONE who did nothing.

And that would leave Sheehan (before his time at bat) as Dictator by Default.

Anonymous said...

Since Hal Samis almost always gets it right and explains it truthfully (if not modestly), why can't these excuse-finders get it?

Samis still apologizing for Feiner said...

Hal - get real. Feiner is the only full time member of the town board.He had plenty of time to issue press releases about being pro-active. Did he call in Regula and say, Al, are we doing everything we can? What exactly did he do other than issue a press release? Your equating Feiner with the rest of the town board (the councilmembers) is ludicrous and perhaps shows you might have benefitted from an Edgemont education instead of the White Plains one you got. You are a big advocate of open government and compliance with the FOIL - why has Feiner failed to post the 2005 memo on the website and let the public decide?

Anonymous said...

Who is Bernstein blaming for the flooding at Bronxville High?
On the Saw Mill River Parkway?
in Mamaroneck?
in Rye?
in New Jersey?
in New Rochelle?
in yonkers?

Anonymous said...

did you know that bronxville high school had to be closed for an extended period of time due to flooding?

Feiner and his apologists running scared? said...

Post the 2005 memo and then the public can decide if the Town did its absolute best to address this major storm.

In the interim, lets not be distracted by attacks on bernstein and other red herrings about bronxville high school.\

Post the memo!

Anonymous said...

The entire area experienced flooding. Communities throughout the entire area were unable to handle the problem. Westchester is located in a flood zone.

hal samis said...

Dear Inspector Gadget:

Did you FOIL to see where I attended high school? Don't you want to congratulate me on my winning the Village Voice contest to find the shortest record album? Or are you saving that tidbit for your next posting?

I do believe in FOIL which may be how some residents with better educations obtained their copies of the 2005 report.

However, due to my limited WPHS education, I just never learned that the Town is required to post all FOIL requested documents on its web site. Does Edgemont offer a creative writing course or did you invent this on your own.

Do they still take roll in Edgemont schools? Is there anyone in Edgemont with a last name starting with another letter other than "A".

And you pose an interesting question, did Feiner ask Regula if we are doing everything we can.
Did he? Have you asked? Do you know? If he did, what did Regula say? If not, when reporting that the Town had cleaned the drains in his press release, Feiner is at fault for not asking Regula, "Al, just to be certain, when you said that your Department had cleared the storm drains, did you mean really mean that or were you just bullshitting me? Can I trust you or do I have to check each drain myself, after all I have a full time job".

If the Town Council are only part-timers and the Supervisor is a full-timer, then why do we need a Town Council, if they are absolved of everything because they are not there? How can they vote if they aren't expected to understand the issues because they aren't there?
Didn't the Town hire them Mr. Kaminer as their aide to run the store when they weren't there? Mr. Kaminer doesn't suffer from shyness when is interested. Of did he know like Feiner "knew" and keep it from his Posse.

If the "Shadow" at 2:49 knows all, then Kaminer knows too.

hal samis said...

And another thing?
Blame it on White Plains High School if you will.
I just don't get what these postings about supporting the Police Department, which have been tacked on almost every blog topic today and yesterday, are about.

As it happens I have my own issues with the Police Department but they will be discussed shortly in this very blog.

But I don't get these already posted comments. Can anyone help me out?

Hal - its now 2007 not 2005 said...

Hal - get your dates and facts straight - kaminer wasnt around in 2005 - nor was sheehan. Feiner was. Until recently the part timers on the town board relied too heavily on trusting mr feiner. that day is gone. If the town had professional management and not a gadly in chief, things might be different. The fact remains that Feiner will do anything to save his political skin because unlike the part timers you denigrate (and they are not without blame), they have something to fall back on if they are booted out of office. Feiner doesnt and thats bad for Greenburgh.

hal samis said...

Dear living in 2005;

But the rains came in 2007.
But Feiner's much criticized press release was in 2007.
But Sheehan and Kaminer and the rest of the Town Council were around in 2007.

So, did Al Regula clear all the drains or didn't he? Did he only tell Feiner/Town Council he had some of the drains cleared or did he tell Feiner/Council he cleared them all?

That is what residents need to know.

What the professional town manager would do is ask his inherited head of DPW, Al Regula: "Al did you clear all the drains?" And Al would say yes or he would say no. If the answer was no, then Al would be on a truck with a tool in his own hand within 5 minutes. If Al said yes and the drains overflowed, Al would instead be in his own car with his personal effects in boxes in the back seat within 5 minutes. And the help wanted notice would be on the internet in 10.

But, the professional town manager doesn't come cheap and they aren't standing in line looking for work. There simply aren't enough talented ones to go around yet and if nearby Ossining just lost their's at $160,000, it would likely cost Greenburgh a number closer to $225,000 to $240,000* to snag a good one.
Offsetting this cost would be no need any longer for paying a Supervisor (full time) $127,618, 4 Town Council members @ $$28,332 (part time) each ($113,328) one Town Council Aide ($51,500) for a total of $282,446. And these positions, if still needed (even symbolically), could become filled by volunteers, like some of the villages. Now thinking of our six employees costing $282,446*, which of them do you think will vote in favor of hiring a professional town manager to replace themselves? And both of the announced Democrat candidates for the Supervisor position think that having a professional manager is unnecessary. So, who would favor this? The same people who would vote for Edgemont becoming a village?

But don't let me influence anyone.
Ask the Town Council members if they would support hiring a professional town manager? Someone has to support the idea other than a few frustrated anonymous bloggers. And if it comes down to only a handful of residents favoring the idea, could we just drop it and move on?

*The compensation for the six listed positions and the town manager does not include the perks which can add 30-40% more.

Anonymous said...

Whether some or all of the drains were cleaned prior to the storm is beside the point.

The town's 2005 memo said the flooding was caused (1) by a concrete drain pipe that was too small to accommodate the amount of water generated by a moderate rain storm and (2) by the amount of debris clogging that drain pipe.

Not getting debris removed from the drains leading to the drain pipe may have been a factor, but the town's failure to address these other two problems that were identified in 2005 is clearly much more of a problem.

Sorry Hal said...

in 2005, Feiner was the supervisor. Kaminer and Sheehan were not on the payroll. Sorry Hal, but your man Feiner is responsible for the failure of the Town to do anything beginning in 2005. And your argument that he may not have known doesn't make it to higher ground either - the hypothetical failure or refusal of Al Regula to tell Feiner about the problem again demonstrates Feiner's failure as a manager. Al probably told him but Feiner was too busy issuing press releases about some other small bore item.

Anonymous said...

The cause: private property, not town property.

Jim Lasser said...

An independent inquiry into the reasons behind, and responsibility for, the Great Hartsdale Flood is a good idea. What is troubling is that the designated head of the study cannot, by virtue of his job, be independent. Mr. Regula cannot head an "independent study" because he is not independent - and any conlcusion reached by the study must be suspect. Is the Supervisor proposing that Mr. Regula "confess" Red Guard style to his "errors" and accept public humiliation? Self-flagellation is not appropriate - the objective of any independent study is to present timely, accurate, unbiased information so that a solution can be formulated. Placing the study process in the hands of the individual responsible for implementing previous policy decisions is simply not going to achieve that goal.
The Town's (as represented by the Supervisor) complete lack professional management is again evident. Please bring in a truly independent chair or drop the idea entirely. The Supervisor's continuing support of Regula should be taken as simply another demonstration of poor management. When a political appointee (even one who must be on the civil service list) accepts the position, why doesn't the Supervisor ask for an undated letter of resignation? Bad planning? Lack of forethought? But if either were the case, Mr. Feiner would probably choose to defend himself by citing State's civil service law which prevents him from dismissing Mr. Regula. Feiner isn't doing that - he's defending Regula and ignoring those critical of the DPW's job performance. One can draw only one conclusion for Mr. Regula's continuance: Feiner wants him to stay. Why? Perhaps because it ultimately gives Feiner someone else to pin with the blame. Hal, Feiner must accept responsibility one way or another. Either Regula is doing a lousy job and should be replaced or Regula is blameless and just following Feiner's directives. In either case, Regula is scarcely a good choice to head an independent study of the problem.
Another "study" whose conclusions are unpalatable for political reasons and which will ultimately be sacrificed on the altar of re-electablility is a waste of time and effort. Either do the job the right way or step out of the way and let it be done correctly.

Feiner clueless at his media event said...

Feiner's media event last night was quite a dud for him. What came through was a clueless inarticulate Feiner unable to respond like a deer in the headlights when confronted with the 2005 memo which he never denied having seen. Once again the emperor was shown as having no clothes. April is the cruelest month. May is not looking very good for Feiner either especially when he fails to get any support at the party convention next week.

hal samis said...

The issue that keeps coming up, from topic to topic, is whether one man, the Town Supervisor is all-knowing, all powerful and all evil.

Whether it participates effectively now, whether it ever particpated effectively and whether it will ever partipate effectively are the questions that are poised by the continued existence of the Town Council, whatever its composition.

If the excuse for their dismal track record is that they are part-time positions and therefore out of the loop, then there is no reason to assume that things will ever change, whomever is the Supervisor, unless the Council seats are only open to full time office holders.

If on the other hand, the Town Council can claim that they are indeed a force to deal with, then they must be held accountable for the good and the bad, the things they tolerate by their confirming votes.

It has been almost a 18 months since the "new" Town Council was formed. During this time they have had the assistance of a full time aide.

There is just no way to remove the Town Council from the equation. Now I am not so dumb a to ignore that those who call Feiner the Wolf (as in the boys who cried wolf) are of single purpose in their campaign to defrock and unseat Feiner -- and to do that they must be of such resolve as make him wholly responsible for everything and turn away from any distractions to that theme, such distractions being reality. Which in turn leaves the Town Council (also of the same single-minded purpose) blameless.

However the existence of a Town Council is to maintain the consternation of the Federal government which allegedly operates under a system of checks and balances. In Greenburgh, the Town Council can and should be the balance. Yet they have not and still do not rise to carry that banner.

With all the arrows aimed at Feiner in this flooding issue, it is curious that the Town Council has remained silent. Not a peep and if one had to guess their leanings, they would appear to supporting maintaining the confusion and defending the DPW.
So. even though Sheehan and Kaminer were not around in 2005, they certainly are here in 2007; they certainly are "now" familiar with the famous memo and I ask: does the Town Council take the same stance as Bernstein and the anonymous few who want to dump the whole fiasco in Feiner's lap? Wouldn't this be the perfect opportunity for a Council which is assumed to be on the outs with Feiner, to kick him when he's down? If he's down. Where is the official support for the bloggers and Edgemont-based attackers since the portrayal of events as they describe them is so black and white?

As I have written before it is all well and good to speculate that nirvana is just around the corner in the embodiment of a Professional Town Manager. But, the nirvana that is so obtainable by even terrorists (sorry but I don't have the time to think of a less emotion demanding alternative) is not the nirvana that Greenburgh residents seek because no one -- who take the Town down that road -- wants to do so and that includes the Supervisor, the Town Council and the candidates who seek the Supervisor position. So what is the real reason to keep dreaming the impossible dream.

As for 16 years in office and term limits, where is any support for that from officialdom. Not from the Town Council who view their seats as the easy ticket to retirement city. They certainly don't want to be facing their own mortality in office if term limits were evenly applied.

So in light of no support for either the term limit or the professional manager distractions, can we not focus on how to deal with real issues and real responsibilities. I shall not accept the premise that only the Supervisor is responsible for everything and the Town Council is entitled to a free ride. If they are not part of the problem, they are the problem. If there is a clear alternative (as bloggers suggest there was/is) then the Town Council should either be pursuing it or defending the Supervisor. The namby pamby role that the Town Council plays is not only the hear no evil, see no evil, do no evil model but also the business attire of monkeys and ostriches.

How does Bernstein know all and the Town Council so little. He is not on the Town payroll, even as a part-timer?

Let's destroy this get out of jail free card for the Town Council, for once and for all. It is time they start earning their pay for resolving the large issues, not the petty squabbles that they guard so dearly in their little sandbox.

This is not a paid endorsement for Paul Feiner's re-election campaign. Indeed, there is much he has to answer for. However the position I staked out for myself well over two years ago is what I have repeatedly argued since...THREE VOTES. If the FOUR members of the Town Council don't learn the ropes and vote what bloggers see as the "right" way, then it is contemptible and simplistic to keep scolding just Feiner.

Alternatively, if the Town Council members keep voting with him and not using their own FOUR votes to create solutions, then it is not Samis who is defending Feiner but more accurately, the Town Council.

Feiner lacks the skills to lead in 2007 said...

The Town Board has no one with any engineering background. It is headed by a non-practicing attorney with no real job experience. There are no accountants. The Town needs a professional manager who can speak to department heads in the language of engineering and finance as well as having the ability to build bridges with other communities. Under Feiner, the Town's relationships with its neigbors have grown incredibly divisive. The great Hartsdale flood is yet another example of Feiner's outdated style of governing by press release. The sad thing is Feiner still believes his press releases - we in Greenburgh now know better.

Post the 2005 memo now! said...

Hal - Juettner, Barnes and Bass have been criticized. But with the flood only Feiner issued a press release about what the Town was doing.... virtually nothing as it turned out. Bush never recovered from Katrina and when everyone in Greenburgh sees the empty stores and sees the 2005 memo in the windows of the abandoned stores, Feiner is going out with the tide.


Thats why he refuses to post the memo.

Anonymous said...

For all the anonymous kvetching about Feiner, I don't exactly see anyone announcing their candidacy for supervisor. $105,000 isn't that bad!

hal samis said...

Dear 10:46,

Huh?

hal samis said...

Dear 10:43:

Bass, Barnes and Juettner have been criticized?

Then did you mean to say that they all will be going out on that tide?

All includes Sheehan and Kaminer.
Because the Town Council in 2007 has issued its own press releases just like the Supervisor does. Where was the Town Council's that said "Ignore Feiner's press release and head for the high ground. Danger Will Robinson."

If Bernstein can allege from a 2005 memo, so can the Town Council. If Bernstein has (FOIL still works for some residents) something that the Town Council doesn't, won't he share it with the Town Council.

I repeat, if you want to whitewash the Town Council's culpability, then overlook: that knowing all the dangers that Bernstein sees (after the fact) but should have been obvious to all, then the Town Council stood by, hearing no evil, seeing no evil and saying no evil, preferring instead to sandbag Feiner. All of the Town Council who were on the Town Council in 2007.

Supervisor candidates said...

There are at least two candidates for the supervisor position - suzanne berger and bill greenawalt (who ran against Feiner two years ago).

The position pays approx $130,000 plus benefits.

Michael Kolesar said...

For everyone's collective consideration. The City of New Rochelle (population of approximately 75,000) has operated under a Council / Manager form of government since 1932. The current City Manager, i.e COO, is budgeted to earn $163,900. The Mayor just received a substantial increase over what his predecessor, Mr. Idoni, used to receive to $63,500. There are 6 Council members elected by district. Their base pay is $23,000 and they do not have a "legislative" aide.

Samis does not compute said...

Hal - your defense of Feiner in this regard is puzzling. After all this time, he has yet to deny he saw the 2005 memo. We all know Juettner, Barnes and Bass were asleep in 2005 and simply enabled the Supervisor to run rampant. Now they know better (at least we hope so). This doesnt exonerate them but it certainly doesnt let your man Feiner off the hook.

Anonymous said...

Historical perspective
Council-manager government was conceived in response to entrenched one-party political machines that had dominated many city governments by the beginning of the 20th Century. During that period, party politics and corruption prevailed and were perceived as being an impediment to fair local government. Partisan elections, dominated by local political machines, limited candidates to party regulars and patronage systems prevented qualified people from serving in local government leadership positions.

Staunton, Virginia, in 1908, first legally defined, by ordinance, the broad authority and responsibility associated with a professional local government manager. In 1912, Sumter, South Carolina, became the first city to adopt a charter incorporating the basic principles of council-manager government. In 1914, Dayton, Ohio, became the first large city to adopt the plan. In the 1930s, the first counties to adopt the form were Arlington County, Virginia, and Durham and Robeson Counties in North Carolina.

This form was also implemented in the north-east. In 1949, the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, adopted it – a place where there was widespread perception of corruption in City Hall, with city politics reflecting partisan rivalries. This was accompanied by the reality of the City’s long neglected crumbling infrastructure due to legislative squabbling on decisions over which neighborhoods should benefit from construction projects.

In the US, most communities adopt the council-manager government through a charter, a local ordinance, or a state enabling law. From these early beginnings, the council-manager form has become the most popular type of government in the United States in communities with populations of 5,000 or more.

hal samis said...

Ah, but Mike, you get what you pay for. Since 1932, New Rochelle has entered into a long period of decline, despite being a City and under one government with nary a hint of the A/B issues to contend with. The head of Greenburgh presides over an incorporated and unincorporated conflict and geography so broad as to be serviced by two rail lines, the components of Greenburgh bisected by many more highways forming natural borders and encompassing a much larger geographic territory.

Now myself, I am more of an urban mentality than suburban, a retiree trapped inside a worker's body but I would suggest that the direction that a city manager has taken New Rochelle to start the resuscitation effort is a direction that Greenburgh residents everywhere would oppose.

The perceived solution for New Rochelle's many problems was to encourage wholesale residential downtown development while having one central downtown as opposed to "village" centers has enabled New Rochelle to pioneer high rise construction (above six stories in Greenburgh is an oddity), something that would be opposed strongly in Greenburgh, where enountering a wait of more than one traffic light change, is viewed as traffic jam.

However, with no population to heed other than the indirect threats of being fired, a city manager can have his way.

That is why professional managers gravitate to Cities or even Villages but not Townships. You want sidewalks, approve the bonds and we'll be on your block the week of...instead of facing issues like who pays, who is responsible for shoveling the snow...

Your information, while interesting as a reference point, in no way addresses the problems and hence the cost of hiring a manager for a Township.

Greenburgh out of step said...

If that is the case, Greenburgh is out of step with most of the country.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. 3:36.

Bass, Barnes and Juettner may have been asleep - the two woman still are - but they didn't let the Supervisor run rampant. Think a little, something which may be hard. In 2005 they ran a campaign against him, and the Democratic Committee, which backed Juettner and Sheehan and which is friendly to Bass and Barnes, didn't support Feiner. The Town Council was fighting Feiner in 2005, especially Bass.

We haven't seen the memo and maybe it doesn't even exist. Many things are mentioned, often by Bernstein, which turn out to be empty. So let's see the memo before assuming that it exists and that it says what some are saying it says.

Feiner does many things badly, but he doesn't run rampant. Never has (except at the mouth).

Time to admit failure said...

Supervisor style government especially as practiced in Greenburgh (a large municipality) is a failure. We need term limits and perhaps and end to Greenburgh as we know it. None of the villages want to be part of it. Edgemont and the rest of the unincorporated Town have nothing in common. The sooner we admit this the better we will be.

hal samis said...

Dear Mr. Compute,

Or did you mean that the Town Council has entered into a non-compete agreement?

I don't see how your team is gaining points by saying 2005 when it is 2007. Agreed they were sleeping in 2005, and sleeping in 2006 and sleeping almost four months into 2007 when the patter of rain drops splashing on their faces woke them up. But now that they are awake, what are they doing differently than Feiner? All I can see is that they didn't issue the press release they should have, or the one that Bernstein thinks that only Feiner should have.

I'm didn't ask to let Feiner off the hook. I merely say, if guilty, the whole crew should be spanked.

Now as to the form of you assassination. You write "After all this time, he has yet to deny he saw the 2005 memo".

Ring the alarms, you've posed a syllogism in which there is no correct answer.

How does someone answer what looks like, sound like an accusation but is it? What it infers is that Feiner saw the memo and he hasn't denied it. If he saw it, should he deny it. If he hadn't seen it, should he say he had? Let's just announce that time is running out and we're going to flip all the cards over and give our guest contenstant the whole $80 and thank him for playing. And to our folks at home, thanks for watching "What's Feiner's Line?".

Separately, Al Regula was the Deputy Head of DPW when Feiner rode into Town. When the DPW head retired, logically enough, Feiner appointed him as head DPW. A little late in the game to ask an incumbent to sign an undated resignation.

As I am typing away I see it is pitch black outside so I hope that the aftermath of this is that the postings of store openings won't have to be revised.

Or that Ms. Cousins won't have to return for another photo op. Smile.

Bring it on said...

Please name a single thing Bernstein has claimed that proved empty? The memo exists. Why is Feiner hiding it? As for running rampant - what do you call all the false stories feiner told about the valhalla school deal that were debunked by the state comptroller? Didnt Feiner admit he lied about his emails to his pal Herb Rosenberg? Oh, and lets not forget that eyesore of eyesores, the hideous wall on Central Avenue in front of Webb Field? Until late 2005, the town council (who were reliant on Feiner as their fundraiser in chief)(oh and dont forget his ethical lapses now under investigation) were his lap dogs rubber stamping all his ideas of the moment. Again, let me hear you describe any examples of empty claims by Bernstein.

hal samis said...

Rampant:
a) rearing upon the hind legs with forelegs extended AGREED, DISREGARD
b) standing on one hind foot with one foreleg raised above the other and the head in profile DISREGARD
c) marked by a menacing wildness, extravagence or absence of restraint NOT REALLY
d) widespread NOT REALLY

But let's say you meant another word, perhaps you meant out of control? So will you join me in asking the Town Council members to return their paychecks. It is a debateable point as to how well Feiner did his job and if voters think badly, then they should not re-elect him. But sleeping on the job? There is no excuse for anyone sleeping on the job.
However, as they can't be fired just for sleeping because they are elected, they could ask for our forgiveness and as a token, return their money.

What's the next step, no show Council jobs. As far as I'm concerned Juettner has already taken her vacation this year, if she misses another Town Board meeting her pay should be docked. Did I skip anyone?

Michael Kolesar said...

Hal, my point was that municipalities equal to or larger than Greenburgh operate under a different form, namely a "professional" manager. The professional manager does not set policy, but carries out the policies of the City/ Town / Village Board. Thus if New Rochelle went "downhill", it probably wasn't the fault of the Manager, but the City Council.


It seems to me that there is broad agreement that many aspects of the Town of Greenburgh's day-to-day operations, such as street cleanliness, timeliness of garbage pick-up, leaf gathering, snow removal (sorry I seem to be hitting on the DPW, but that's what I am reading) needs much better management. I also seem to hear some calls for a "professional" manager. I only cited New Rochelle as an example of one that has used this form for quite some time, so it is not a "new" concept to Westchester.

As to the cost, until one ventures down that path, who knows, but I would suspect that there is good talent out there (not limited to Westchester), that would welcome the challenge.

Anonymous said...

Most people in the town think the services are terrific. The naysayer bloggers think otherwise.

Anonymous said...

"Most people in the town think the services are terrific ..."

I do not believe this is true - that the services are terrific nor that most people feel that they are terrific. Perhaps a customer satisfaction survey should be initiated - the customers being the residents of Unincorporated Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

Watching the weather right now, I sure do hope that the Supervisor directed his staff to thoroughly clean that pipe on East Hartsdale Avenue. If it floods again because of debris accumulation, I feel that impeachment proceedings would be appropriate.

hal samis said...

Mike, why go to the bother and expense of hiring a professional manager to carry out the policies of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Especially if "it's the same old song with no different meaning since they're always wrong..."

hal samis said...

Dear 4:56,
Or the Town Council directed its staff to...Wouldn't hurt to see Mr. Kaminer do something productive. He's pushed others around; let him try pushing a broom.

Jim Lasser said...

Hal, asking for an undated letter of resignation when promoting the deputy to the full position isn't too late at all - it's exactly the right time to send the message that the appointee must be responsible in his actions and is accountable to the appointor...So, that leaves us, yet again, with poor skills at the senior most level of management.

Anonymous said...

Kaminer was given this goofer position,because he;s the go between Sheehan and the newspaper. He gets his friends to print whatever Sheehan wants. I don't think Kaminer knows what a broom looks like,He should not be working for Sheehan,That job was not listed as an opening where other members of the community could have been interviewed.This position was created by Sheehan so he could also have an in with the news reopoters.

Anonymous said...

While it's too late to change our antiquated system in time for the next election, I think it is reasonable for voters to expect that our new Supervisor be someone with a professional management mindset and an MBA, and relevant COO/CEO experience - someone who knows how to direct departments, as well as take ideas and put them into practical action.

hal samis said...

!ATTENTION ALL HARTSDALE MERCHANTS AND/OR RESIDENTS!

I just hear this RUMOR. Bob Bernstein, the concerned, has invited anyone flooded out today to stay at his home on the "high ground".
But before you go, I advise checking it out on the VILLAGE OF EDGEMONT's home page. Scroll down and select the link to WWW.WEHAVETHEONLYTRUEMESSIAH.COM to confirm availabilty.

Anonymous said...

At $120K a year, we're not likely to get anyone with a professional management mindset and an MBA -- and besides the first MBA that got elected president was George W. Bush and he's a disaster.

Let's just get someone for Greenburgh with a good head on his or her shoulders, a fresh set of eyes, a willingness to respect and listen to all points of view, and an ability to make decisions and get them carried out.

Anonymous said...

Dear 5:55,

EXACTLY RIGHT! In the 1970's the Senate investigated abuses by the Central Inteligence Agency. One of the abuses they discovered was how the CIA influenced the press to get false stories printed and correct stories killed. The CIA had over 400 journalists on their payroll. The control of the press was known as Operation Mockingbird. Sheehan is clearly well versed as to the benefits of controling the press. Just think, Sheehan had a false story planted in the Journal News that made the Valhalla Administrator look like he earned $50,000 in a few days of work. Then Sheehan is able to get the story about Kaminer threatening the Valhalla Superintendent killed. Sheehan's skillful use of Kaminer is exactly what the CIA did. This is precisely why Francis Sheehan is the most dangerous politician in Westchester. He has the same mindset as the CIA Officers who took over many Countries during their reign of terror from the 1960's thru the mid 1970's. Let us not forget, Sheehan was a Republican and switched to the Democratic Party only so that he could get elected and take control over Greenburgh.

hal samis said...

In case there is a shortage of MBAs to hire:
Alladin Gaming, American Banknote, AMF Bowling Centers, Baldwin Piano, Bethlehem Steel, Burlington Industries, Chiquita Brands, Continental Airlines, Dairy Mart, Delta Airlines, Dow Corning, Eastern Airlines. Enron, Frank's Nurseries, Fredericks of Hollywood, Fruit of the Loom, KB Toys, k-Mart, Lionel Corp, Loew's Cineplex, Marvel Entertainment (Spider-man), Montogmery Ward, Musicland Entertainment (Sam Goody's), Northwest Airlines, Orion Pictures, Pan Am, Planet Hollywood, Polaroid, Purina, Regal Cinemas,Resorts Intl, Singer, Sizzler Intl, Smith Corona, Southland (7-11), Sunbeam, Swissair, Texaco, TransWorld Airlines, U.S. Airways, U.S. Office Products (mailboxes etc), Vlasic Foods, Winn Dixie Stores, Zenith Electronics...

These companies were run by MBA's.
Let me add one more for additional support, Maidenform.

But maybe, on the other end of the spectrum through networking, Greenburgh can interest a college dropout to be the Town savior aka Professional Manager.
Wayne Huizenger (Blockbuster, owner Miami Dolphins), Ted Turner, or David Geffen, Michael Dell, Lawrence Ellison (Oracle), Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates. Ok, so maybe we need someone not so important, someone we can trust with a voter friendly image. Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Rosie O'Donell, Ellen deGeneris or Woody Allen. Relax Democrats, the dropouts are on the other teams...in addition to George W, Rush Limbaugh and Barry Goldwater.

So maybe the answer is not with the MBA or, the dropout. Maybe our misfortunes are less with the Problem Solver and more with the nature of the underlying problems.

But I ask you to ponder this. Since NO ONE in, or hoping to be, in Greenburgh government, wants to see either term limits or a professional manager running the Town, how do we get from Aix to Ghent?

And if somehow we arrive safely, who picks the Town Manager?

Residents and the Town Council have always accused Feiner of blurting out ideas without thinking them through or following them up, shooting from the hip. It has been four years since the professional manager mantra was ignited in Greenburgh. To the best of my knowledge, in all that time no one even answered the question how much does a professional manager earn? It wasn't until I read the Journal News article last week about the Manager in Ossining who was hired for $160,000 and then quit have any costs been mentioned. And how do you end up with a Manager when everyone in government, or likely to be the government is opposed to hiring one? And how do you then select one? I hate to see the existing dais occupants as the ones choosing replacement parts. If they don't know their own jobs after all these years, how are they going to choose someone who says he or she does. Do we pick someone who wants to leave their current employment (in the lurch or because they want to share their skills with others). Do we pick someone who lives nearby? That landed us Jim Heslop and Mark Stellato. Do we want to pick someone who lives within Greenburgh proper? That got us Tim Lewis. Anytime anyone wants to make a complete presentation on who, what, where, when, why and how, I'll be glad to listen.

And finally, Jim, I wouldn't hire anyone willing to sign a letter of resignation in advance. That shows very little faith in their own abilities, in commitment to their families (if a move was necessary) and having a sword dangling over your head is the prescriptive to say "how much do you want it to be" as you, yourself, have oft related.

I'm afraid this one needs some drying out before running it up the flagpole. But why are we wasting words on it. It ain't going to happy by this Fall's election anyhows.

hal samis said...

And now a word from our sponsor.

Use Ajax the foamy cleanser, it sends the dirt right down the drain.

We return you again to our regularly scheduled entertainment.

Paul Feiner said...

A customer satisfaction survey has been distributed to residents who visit town hall. Responses so far have shown a high degree of citizen satisfaction. The customer surveys are being conducted by interns--responses sent to dept heads.
Almost all are very pleased. A few complaints. Every complaint is followed up immediately.

Jim Lasser said...

Please post the "Customer Satisfaction Survey" on a web-site where it will be accessible to people whose routine doesn't include a visit to Hillside Avenue.
Many people who have lived for years in the Town have never had the occaison to visit Town Hall during normal business hours. You will get a more accurate sample if you make the survey more widely available.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

Is there any truth to the rumor that the State Comptroller has started a new audit of the Town?

Anonymous said...

Sheehan took over town hall and in doing so he has also taken over the press. IN all the years that I have read the journal news we always saw articles about the goings on in Greenburgh, BUT ,Sheehan,and his goofer have seen to it that the only news that is printed by the reporter is bad mouthing the supervisor,or things that he should have done. This is the only reason that Kaminer was chosen for this position. If joe schmo wanted the job he could not have it,since it wasn't part of Sheehan's plan .

Anonymous said...

SHEEHAN RESIGN... THE SOONER THE BETTER. YOU HAVE DIVIDED GREENBURGH NOT IN HALF BUT IN SEVEN PARTS. PEOPLE MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE IN VOTING YOU IN. YOU WERE VERY DISHONEST IN YOUR CAMPAIGN,AND PEOPLE BOUGHT THE LIES,NOW WE SEE WHAT A MISERABLE PERSON YOU REALLY ARE.YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE A PROFESSOR AT JOHN JAY,WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS FOR THAT POSITION.GIVE US A SUMMARY

Anonymous said...

The only customer satisfaction survey that counts is the one in November (OK, also the democratic primary in September).

Paul has consistently won. Hahaha to Bob and the others.

Sorry Herb, the memo exists. said...

Post the 2005 memo now. And by the way Herb, its exists. In fact, it was discussed in last week's Scarsdale Inquirer.

hal samis said...

The 2005 memo does exist and is obtainable by FOIL request, and the Town has been fulfilling FOIL requests for this item.

Anonymous said...

The Scarsdale inquire printed a memo concerning the flood problem. Now one can see how Sheehan and Kaminer direct the press as to what should be printed. Yes there could be a memo but was it given to the Supervisor,in 2005.

Feiner's memo problem said...

If Feiner says he didn't know about the memos, people will think he sits around all day, as the full-time supervisor, issuing press releases instead of talking to his managers. (This increasingly seems to be the case).

If he says he knew about the memos, then Mr. Open Government is guilty of incompetence for not doing anything about them and worse, for not warning everyone to move to higher ground when the storm was predicted.

Well Mr. Supervisor, the lady or the tiger?

Hal - the memo should be posted said...

Hal - something as important as this which is no longer a secret should be posted on the town website or here on the blog. Feiner's unwillingness to do so only means he knows it puts the lie to his press release about the town being pro-active. Post the memo now!.

hal samis said...

One door led to the Tiger, one door led to the Lady. How come you don't recall that there was a third door?

third door ? said...

Hal
a third door was on the price is right tv game show.
what version of the stockton story are you reading?

post the memo now said...

Post the 2005 memo. Let the public decide.

Lit professor said...

Technically there was a "third" door where the accused made his entrance. What matters in the story are the two side by side doors, with either a lady or a tiger behind. Those are the only relevant options except on The Price is Right show.

Now, post the 2005 memo.

hal samis said...

Dear Post-It,

As an attorney, you know that this is a sticky situation.

And I have raised it before.

If, as we all suspect, the Town has some risk regarding litigation and has moved to the "close ranks" mode, then as unhappy as you may be to see this, it does make sense. The same sense also as to why the Town Council, usually the first to jump all over Feiner while ignoring their own part in the equation, have remained silent.

That said, I suspect that someone on the Town Council did the dirty deed and leaked the memo to Bernstein. You first need to know of a document's existence to FOIL.

So if the Town Board has sensibly adopted a program to insulate the Town from the results of litigation, then perhaps they are doing what appears to them to be doing the right thing when they wear the concern for the Town hat.

And if the Town Board appear concerned about the livelihoods of the flooded merchants, then wearing that hat is also a reasonable posture given that they are all always running for office.

The problem is that there is conflict between hat sytles and sizes and so far they appear to recognize that the financial exposure of the Town is the far greater responsibility than the loss of a few votes from East Hartsdale Avenue. Taxpayers should be happy that they have made this commitment.

So even with the bakery and the bagel store closed, the TOWN BOARD (Feiner, Bass, Barnes, Juettner and Sheehan) has found a way to have their cake and eat it too.

But the finger will eventually have to settle on Al Regula. And that dance should rival television's "Dancing With The Stars".

Until the Town Council decides to cut the umbilical cord to the Supervisor on this issue, then the intelligent thing to do would be for critics to address the TOWN BOARD with grievances, not just the Supervisor.

Remember, there is nothing prohibiting the Town Council from posting the memo on the Town website, if they wanted to do so.

hal samis said...

In the original version presented on Broadway (not the recent revival) of the musical, "The Apple Tree" in three parts (adam & eve, the lady or the tiger, passionella), I recall the Stockton story being altered to add a third door, perhaps for stage "business" like maybe to add a song. However, at this moment I am drawing a blank on what that door led to.

Anonymous said...

Hal, the reason the memo was leaked to Bernstein, and the reason that these posters want the memo posted, is because they don't care what damage they do to the town, and to the residents, and to themselves, as long as they can point fingers at Feiner. How crazy and destructive can you get.

Crazy and destructive? said...

dear anon:

crazy and destructive? that accurately describes the way Feiner acted in ignoring the 2005 memo.

3rd door? said...

Maybe behind that 3rd door is either the 2005 memo or the unused equipment to clean the drains behind the stores on east hartsdale.

Anonymous said...

Nobody leaked that 2005 flood memo to anyone.

Bernstein presumably got it because it was attached as an exhibit to the April 20, 2007 report Al Regula presented to Feiner which suggested the creation of a drainage district.

Regula's report was the subject of a Feiner press release dated April 24.

If you ask for a copy of Regula's report, the 2005 memo comes with it (along with a 2006 letter which says the same thing).

Pro Bono? Pro Publico! said...

I noticed that the Supervisor is looking for a pro bono architect to help the bagel store.
How about a pro bono Supervisor to help the taxpayers?
And what about filing suit against the Town's auditors for failing to properly audit the Town's accounts which hid the Valhalla money - and couldn't figure out the non-existent library building doesn't require maintenance? Perhaps a decade of pro bono accounting would begin to repay Greenburgh's sadly duped taxpayers...

Feiner's ongoing corruption said...

The Town's accountants contributed money to Feiner's campaign. Year in and Year out. What a disgrace. You would think Feiner would know better but you don't know Feiner.

Jim Lasser said...

Sorry Hal - missed your little jab earlier about not hiring anyone who is willing to sign an undated letter of resignation. Guess what? It has been the practice for every Cabinet Secretary and many of their immediate subordinates to do so since the very beginning of the Republic. The President requires it of senior officials, the Governor requires it of senior officials, the County Executive requires it of senior officials - has the Supervisor developed a better method of ensuring his department heads are completely accountable? Perhaps he should share it. It may make some folks insecure, but it is in the public's best interest. Has it been abused occaisonally? I'm sure it has. An improperly dismissed official has recourse to the Civil Service bureaucracy should he have been truly a victim of injustice. But the flip side of not making Department heads immediately and directly accountable is the sort of problem we seem to have now. Accountability makes for better government. Are you next going to advocate that the Supervisor shouldn't have to stand for election? Risk is what you accept when you reap the reward.

Anonymous said...

It's a disgrace that the people in Edgemont are the only ones that speak with such hatred about Feiner. You all fell into Sheehan's trap. Do you think he will grant you what you want .FORGET IT. He's just looking to get more people with poison tongues to condemn the supervisor. Edgemont,Bernstein Lasser and the rest of you,are being used,by this monster.

your a regular riot anon at 4:21 said...

dear anon at 4:21

are you a closet comedian? i gather you are from valhalla. sorry, the party is over. im really lol at your post.

Jim Lasser said...

Dear Anon at 4:21PM
My disagreements with Town Supervisors go back before Feiner to Tony Veteran...I'm scarcely a shill for Sheehan. Why is it that everyone who hates Edgemont also seems to hate the idea of Edgemont becoming a village?

Anonymous said...

Paul,

What about that new State Comptroller Audit? Why isn't the Town telling us about it?

Anonymous said...

Jim,

Because they hate Edgemont, but want our tax money.

Also, another state audit?

hal samis said...

Yes, flush with success, the boys with the green hats are looking at the books.
*****
DECEMBER 2016 This post is purposely dated so that it will remain ahead of all other topics.

What lies ahead, a look at the coming decade's events in Greenburgh.

Edgemont civic leaders are still pressuring the Town Council to hire a traffic engineer to study how the Feiner blog topics started deviating from the site plan and whether the blog falls under permitted-use zoning regs. The
The Planning Board will conduct public hearings on the matter after an independent Edgemont study, with data supplied and verified by Edgemont leaders, is leaked to Steve Bass so he can author a Resolution after working closely with Southern District Judge Suzanne Berger. It is feared that with the threat posed by these mixed use postings, more people might want to look into and actually examine statements which Edgemont leaders maintain are grandfathered back to the Dead Sea Scrolls and are thus eligible for historic preservation protection. Assisting in this effort is the new professional manager heading the Westchester County Board of Legislators. Edgemont believes they have found a friend there because he said he would "look into it". Greenburgh wags noted that by the time this occurs, that and $18 will get you a cup of coffee at the new Starbucks now occupying the four storefronts near the crosswalk, built circa 2007.

Police Kommisar Francis Sheehan has announced a quadrupling of the force. Citing increased manpower needed to maintain the Town's new 400 resident capacity detention center located in the Mayfair Knollwood section, Sheehan promised to let a representative of the inmate population give a report on conditions to the Town Board as long as the 5 minute rule is maintained and the speaker doesn't ask any difficult questions of the three Council members, Steve Bass, Diana Juettner and Gil Kaminer.

Meanwhile, one unanticipated benefit arising from the yet unsigned franchise agreement with Cablevision and unrenewed competitor Verizon, is that the 2015 edition of the Verizon white pages (still just $35 for an annual online subscription) is said to now contain 168 new Edgemont listings under the name Anonymous.

Unincorporated civic leaders note that this increase won't cause any hardship upon the newly named Edgemont 7 school district, while discounting news that the combined budgets are approaching $283 million, but pointing instead to the blessing in disguise from the 82% residential vacancy rate on Central Avenue because it will attract more retail stores.
Meanwhile the completion of Dromore Place Estates is expected soon, all three affordable units were presold to Doctors at the nearby Greenburgh Health Center on Central Avenue located next to Burger King.

Finally, the third draft version of the long awaited Comprehensive Plan has just been posted on the Town website. Changes made to the second draft include still another version of the tree laws and the worked over air rights doctrine. Despite the imminent acceptance of what is hoped is the final version, it is feared that the controversial plan by Elmsford to purchase air rights from contiguous Ardsley will be approved because the application was made before the moratorium, now in its fifth year, on such conveyances. It is expected that Elmsford will use these air rights to elevate the entire Village above the 200 year flood plain, having suffered extensive flooding due to backflow from the clogged Tappan Zee Tunnel during the great floods of 2011, 2014 and 2015. However, State Department of Tunnels Commissioner, A-Reg advised the Elmsford Mayor that there was no problem.

Finally, as Town Supervisor Paul Feiner approaches the quarter century mark of continuous public service, the alternating chairman and chairwoman of the Edgemont Community Council & Detective Agency Ltd., Bob Bernstein and Michelle McNally, have announced their sponsorhsip of a banquet honoring Feiner's service to the community; the event to be held at the almost finished Greenburgh Public Cafe and Library. Those attending the March event are reminded to bring both a chair and a blanket as winter is still upon us. Anyone wishing to make a contribution in Feiner's name to the Cafe and Library are requested to contact the event's organizer, Mark Weingarten at his office in the AVALON-CAPELLI Corp's Taxter Ridge Casino & SPA located beside the Town/County/State Dogpark. The Casino is thought to be the first in the County allowing guests to arrive and depart via hourly helicopter service to White Plains and Manhattan.

That's all for now f-f-f-o-l-ks.

Diogenes said...

Oh no Mr. Samis! Does that mean that Robin Hood's Band of Merry Men has arrived to check whether the Town's books are cooked? The phrase you wanted was the men with the green eyeshades. No, that is not a mascara color; though given the efficiency of the Town's "independent" auditors, Bennett Storch Kielson DeSantis et alia, what difference would it make?
Just for once could someone clarify the actual responsibilities of members of the Town Board who are not the Town Supervisor, and the responsibilities of the Town Supervisor? Clearly there is plenty of angst about part-timers and full-timers and the wannabes - but unless we know whose job description includes what, it's pretty hard to determine which scoundrels need tarring and feathering.
Samis, Rosenberg, Lasser, Bernstein, Anonymous? Please, none of the usual blame placement - just factual job descriptions. Also, does Greenburg have an ombudsman and if so, how does she/he function?

Anonymous said...

Sheehan are you trying to squash,a rumor that there is an audit going on.If it is false forget it,if not we will like to see what it's all about.Paul are your hands tied again,and were you told to take the fifth.If so let the people know and we will bail you out..

Anonymous said...

What's up with you guys. If this is true we should know what it's all about.COME CLEAN .

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear "Feiner's ongoing Ccorruption",

FYI, the Town auditors have also contributed to Mr. Bass' "war" chest.

Anonymous said...

Kaminer,are you holding the press hostage. Is the State comptrollers office conducting an audit.Sheehan has not answered yes or no to someones request.Since you are his one and only assistant, maybe you should answer the question.we're waiting.

hal samis said...

hint #2
think district

Dear Mr Kolesar: said...

If that is the case, Bass is not getting my vote either.
In your opinion as a former village trustee and a CPA, what is your view on the Town's auditors making contributions to Feiner and Bass? Would this be permitted in Ardsley?

Thanks for the heads up.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear 11:47 AM,

Under the Village of Ardsley Code of Ethics, a Board member is to recuse themsleves from any vote on a matter related to any individual (business / property owner / taxpayer) who contributed $100 or more towards their election. This prohibition lasts until the next election or in the case of an Ardsley Board member two years.

From your question, if the Village auditors had contributed to my campaign and then a motion came before the Village Board to rename them as Village auditors, I would have recused myself with an explanation. (They did not contribute to my campaign and I am sure that they are happy not to have to answer my questions.)

As to the appropriateness of accepting contributions / gifts, many organizations have policies that limit gifts (dinners, etc.) to nominal amounts? Was Mr Bass' acceptance of $250 nominal? I'll leave that to individual voters to decide, when and if there is an alternative choice.

Regarding Bennett Kielson, state election records indicate that they contributed in excess of $25,000 in 2006 (I'm not on the state site as I write this and it may have been even more) to various campaign committeees throughout the area. Pretty nice business, huh? What about all the work they get from the County? Ever look at who else receives their "support"?

hal samis said...

Ok, I see we're not getting anywhere.

The State is auditing the Sewer District.

And who's in charge there? Why my good friends Regula and Heslop.

Why? Because Mr. Sheehan said to a resident who had done some research: 'the Town is not going to pursue the matter unless you indemnify the Town for the cost if you're wrong'. I remind everyone that the resident's request to hire a forensic accountant was not made lightly and without some solid, prior research on his part. So, to avoid the potential for out of pocket cost, the resident did the next best thing, that is to invite the State in to take a look.

And for some "unfathomable" reason, the State Comptroller's Office is very interested whenever the name Greenburgh comes up. If the State Comptroller's Office had to justify its own staffing budget requests, the need to visit and revisit our little town makes us one of the State Comptroller's better clients. Following the outcome of the Wednesday Town Board meeting, I too shall be throwing additional business the State Comptroller's way. The $310,000 is not the only issue; merely the 'I'm not gonna take it anymore' threshold.

Since Mr. Sheehan has joined the Town Board, his disregard for residents and issues that do not contribute to the attainment of his interests has become the source of much criticism of him on the blog, albeit anonymous. However I use my name and can only cite my own difficulties with getting his attention. Many of us who "knew" him before, indeed even supported his campaigns, are feeling double-crossed by a Sheehan we didn't know was lurking underneath.

And the object of this disappointement is the narrowing gap between his tolerance for the rights of residents and his own right to rule as he sees fit. He has become the most outspoken member of the Town Council and where we once respected his exhaustive pursuit of information and background, we now view it as merely the need to fortify his own lust for power and recognition. Nor are we enchanted by his lengthy monologues and one person testimonials that he makes residents endure at meetings as well as his trolling for votes under the guise of discussing issues on the floor. Indeed, much of the criticims of Feiner are applicable to Mr. Sheehan but to
a multiplier due to Sheehan's ability to enlist the details to his quest. Being a better speaker than Feiner is also something which makes Sheehan appear the better person, but he is not.

I am often the spear carrier of the movement to expose him for what he is. There are many who support him because they see him as the spear carrier of the movement to topple Feiner. However, in this case the cure is more deadly than the disease. What I do I do to permit the real Sheehan to expose himself may not be regarded as seemly or tolerable behavior. However what has been labeled as behavior which interrupts the meeting is merely the behavior required to get a response and the responses are those that are due all residents. If Ms. Barnes really believes that we should all work together, she should endorse the logical first step and embrace openess and disclosure and responsiveness by the Town Council. The elected officials should take the first step because image wise, their collective but tarnished acumen precedes myself and others. If Greenburgh were functioning on all cylinders there would be no need; however there are a lot of things needing repair and the Town Board hushing them up by ignoring reasonable queries and insisting that the query, not an answer to the Council's proxy, be answered. Ignoring the concerns of residents is not the way Town problems get resolved; it is the way they multiply.

Since from time to time a literary source finds its way to the blog, I contribute today the Rudyard Kipling tale, "The Man Who Would Be King", or the Robert Penn Warren, Pulitzer Prize winning novel, "All The King's Men"; both works the definition of the notion that power corrupts. Allowed either party to continue unchecked, given the worst of Feiner and the worst of Sheehan, actual or potential, I choose Feiner in a heartbeat.

Max of Greenburgh said...

One hopes you choose alone to support Mr. Feiner's tainted legacy of dysfunction, incomptence, divisiveness and corruption. By the way, Feiner is up for election this year, not Mr. Sheehan. Sheehan is the tonic this town needed to wake up from the nightmare of 16 years of the fraud that is Feiner.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Samis,

Since you know about the audit, why do you think the Town has not announced it? Is it Feiner or Sheehan who does not want this to get out, or possibly both?

hal samis said...

Mr. Sheehan may not be running this year. For him to run of course would be more understandable than Suzanne Berger.
However passing out tonic to potential voters dates back to Tammany Hall.

And as I delight in looking at words and how they may be viewed by those who were not the author, say me, consider your:

"One hopes you choose alone..."

My laugh at your expense comes from the grammatical subject of your sentence, the pompous use of "one" as though that were not a person alone. Perhaps try "two" next time so you can export some sense of solidarity.

Anonymous said...

Someone said Sheehan is a tonic for Greenburgh,what kind of a tonic.I assume your saying a poison one. He's not building the town up,he's killing what many of us hoped for in greenburgh. He's out for himself not the residents.Tonics usually give one strength this one is pulling us down. Is there a good doctor in the house.

hal samis said...

Dear 3:59,

As a long time Town watcher, I would favor a full disclosure policy. But there is no one with a big enough stick.

As a long time stock picker I insist on full disclosure. And there are big sticks at the SEC and the NASD etc.

But to be fair, I recognize that there is a difference between my two "hobbies".

You cannot expect to view the information flow from Town Hall like you would the ticker tape or the wire services news feeds.

It comes from the Town, when it comes, or, it comes not at all. Concerned residents may attempt to hasten the process and they have some weapons at their disposal too:
Freedom Of Information Laws, moles in Town Hall and even the clues, intentional or not, from what is said or written or unsaid and unwritten publicly by Town officials. I have said before, 'in the symphony of life the rests are as important as the notes'. In Greenburgh, the sounds of silence are deafening.

When you've played this game for years, you learn to analyize every word, going beyond how a lawyer speaks with quantifiers and qualifiers so braod that a police command vehicle could drive between the gaps. (my example too has relevance).

Recently I have speculated that the reason the 2005 memo is not posted or that the Town Council is as silent as the Supervisor may perhaps be a common (perhaps justified) interest in protecting the Town from litigation.

As for the Sewer District audit, I don't know the specifics only the broad schematic. However going by my other experiences and run-ins with the same individuals, I expect that the Town is between the rock and the hard place. There is a tendency by the Town to hire hacks who do things like they have always been done before them and thus if the wrong number is posted, the column of figures is never rechecked and the wrong number is used again and again (this is only an example, not to convey that it is the wrong number). Like my $310,000 Library maintenance; they always did it that way and only the absence of a building brought it to light. So like the Library before or the Valhalla School District, once the mistake is made it will recur because the Comptroller either can't understand the mistake or is afraid for his job to correct it or there are nefarious but still undetected reasons. I hate the continuous flow of budget transfers at each meeting to reshuffle the cards but I am not an accountant and can't follow the money trail.

So why, when the situation reaches public domain, does the explanation not follow forthwith? Because as much as you would believe that the Supervisor and the Town Council are at odds, my intituition says that it is one big show. They have all bought into the great omerta which is handed on to the new kid on the block, in this case Sheehan. There are some things that stay in Vegas.

And to maintain the fiction, it becomes necessary to protect the higher level Town employees from bruising; because it is the long time employees who know where the bodies are buried. To attack one is to attack them all. And at the Town Board level, the blows at Feiner are not serious; they are mere bee stings. Anyone can defend him of the campaign contribution charges. If they really wanted to mount the effort to make the charges stick, they Bass, Juettner and Sheehan would go down with him for the same reasons.

So what they do instead is bunt and hoping that by doing this they will become "made" men in Bernstein's eyes. Thus you have Sheehan broadly defending every Town employeee currently working or who has ever worked for the Town. How serious is it that Tim Lewis ok'd the lease with the Credit Union for the entire Town Hall building instead of the specific space they occupy? Probably in the overall scheme not very because the Credit Union is not going to take advantage. There are other issues in the lease of greater consequence but all I wanted to register, by a somewhat comic revelation, was the level of ineptitude of the Town Attorney AND more important the even lower level of tolerance on the part of the Town Board in its accepting such ineptitude which, in turn, is generally how I rate the Town Board but now they are trying to pass it off as "we don't know nuttin' about babies Miss Scarlet, we're only here part time".

And Feiner suspiciously, doesn't run with the ball when he gets the pass deep in his own territory. I threw him an easy ball to catch when I noted that the Planning Commissioner didn't know the correct zoning requirements for parking at the new Library. The correct answer is 154; what Stellato gave was 110. Feiner who is accused every day for slowing down the Library project had the opportunity to say that the project was delayed because they had to apply for a variance for 120 parking spaces etc... But no one wants to acknowledge the Planning Commissioner's error or its impact.

Think about how many resident complaints are aimed at the DPW which is encountered in all aspects of Town interface with residents. Snow removal, leaf pick-up, road repairs, maintenace, garbage pick-up, my Library concerns etc. The Department is too big for one man and, in my opinion, that man should no longer be Al Regula. The Town Clerk (elected) never sees the inside of Town Hall before 12:00 on a good day. And she is also the Town Records Access Officer.

So, is there anything amiss when the Sewer District is also operationally bound to Regula and book entry bound to Heslop?

This Sheehan style discourse is now returning to your question: why isn't the Town acknowledging that an audit is under way?

For the same reason that the Town didn't want to announce the $9 million insurance settlement. The Town, meaning the Town Board -- all five of them -- had made a major mistake and they didn't want to appear with the jam still on their faces, just like kids of a Katzenjammer Kids era. I was tipped and asked the right question (actually I had to shout the question out and interrupt the Town Board vote underway to approve the settlement) and from that the Bernstein crew moved in later to cry poor management. But to me, like the Sewer Audit today, like the blocked drains yesterday, like the fallen tree years ago, the more problematic issue is not the actual mismanagement, not even the tolerance of the mismanagement but the repeated, to varying degrees of success, feeling of entitlement that they are allowed to hide bad news.

So whereas I don't know whether the Sewer District audit will reveal any wrongdoing or will yield a clean bill of health, it is the fact, the modus operendi, that the Town Board does not want to share this news with the nobody's, the Town residents, even when some of them already know. And if Feiner doesn't do it, what stops the Town Council? It isn't enough to say that they do it because there is a negative impression given to just the sound of an outside audit and thus they want to avoid the presumption of wrong rather than the equally bestowed presumption of right. That is a tired arguement while they are also saying we provide open government. The meaning of open government is that the door is always open not just when the government chooses to leave it open.

So to end abruptly after so much water under the bridge, it is not Feiner, it is not Sheehan, it is always the 5 member Town Board. Three of them, any three of them, decide to create operating policy, to change operating policy or to eliminate operating policy. It is not folly to repeat this. It is how Town laws provide for decisions to be carried out. There must be 3 votes. I wish everyone would get over their witch hunts which point at only one or the other, sanctify all five or denounce all five; I don't care which. What I do care about is ignoring, excusing and allowing the reenactment of the same reality: that somehow each case is different. It takes 3 to tango in Greenburgh. Not 1 or 2 but 3.

Anonymous said...

Samis been drinking the kool aid so much lately he probably believes the hyper-long nonsense he so often spews in this space.

No one else should though.

For instance, Greenburgh's very own master of paranoia and conspiracy theories says the reason the 2005 flood memo isn't being released is some collective fear of litigation.

In fact, the memo has been released -- residents and merchants who are interested and asked already have it. Even the Scarsdale Inquirer quoted from it in last week's edition.

In other words, that cat's been out of the bag for a few weeks now.

Samis then repeats Feiner's mantra that Feiner's not to blame for the town's problems because it takes three votes to do anything.

In fact, that's just Feiner's way of refusing to take responsibility for the many mistakes he's made.

Some of us in town think we deserve better than this.

But better local government might put shrill gadflies like Samis out of business.

Faced with that prospect, it's easy to understand why Samis carries on the way he does.

hal samis said...

Dear 6:38,

Do you forget to take your tranquilzer with food?

Faced with the prospect of...?
"Better local government putting Samis out of business"? You make it so easy for readers to laugh at you. Apparently we don't have 3 Board Members to pass this Resolution. You can't even find 3 on the Board for that so you agree with me about our Town Council after all.

Releasing the memo is not quite the same as posting it on the official Town website. But if there is no difference, then why doesn't one of the Town Council post it? What else does Gil Kaminer have to do with his time? So much concern about a memo everyone has (Scarsdale Inquirer/Gil Kaminer, duh that's a tough one) so I guess my copy won't fetch much on Ebay. But ask your favorite Councilman why it isn't posted? why doesn't he post it?
Then hurry back and tell Mr. Shrill.

Furthermore the memo claims that the drains and pipes are not on Town owned land so were the memo being taken seriously, then it would absolve Feiner and the Town Council. And if the Town Board believes Michael Lepre's January 20, 2006, yes 2006, letter about the private property owners responding to violations, then Feiner and the Town Council again get to take the ride on the Reading Railroad, pass go and collect $200. That includes Mr. Sheehan who was really the real Timmy Weinberg for the last few months of 2005 but assumed office January 1, 2006. And if wishes were horse's asses like yourself, you would be riding along with them, just not all the way to free parking.

No matter how many times you post to the contrary, you know that I've got you, as does everyone else. Keep bringing it up and I'll keep hitting it out of the park for a home run. Nothing, nothing, nothing requiring a vote happens without 3 votes to pass it, why does that not compute at your work station? Conversely only 3 of the 4 dummies than are the Town Council can block anything Feiner requests. Even without filling in specific numbers about what is a majority, everyone knows that with only 1 vote, Feiner is not a majority.
Or did your school have too many closings due to inclement weather?

Anonymous said...

The suggestion wasn't that with better local goverment in place, the town board would vote to put Samis out of business.

The suggestion was that with better local government in place, angry gadflies like Samis would put themselves out of business.

Indeed, it wasn't that long ago that Samis himself realized he had embarrassed himself so much on the town scene that he went into voluntary "retirement" for several months - and started bothering local government in White Plains.

No town board vote was taken or needed for that to happen.

Evidently, taking gratuitous shots at White Plains government wasn't nearly as entertaining to Samis as the government in Greenburgh, so he's back.

Anonymous said...

EDgemont,Samis has been right on the money,with his homework,concerning the goings on at town hall. Too bad you feel that he is stepping on your feet, with good reason.We need many more people like him to clean up the favoritism shown to some of the council members. That your problem,you have the election already won for two of the council memebers. Think again,you efforts will go to the wayside.

hal samis said...

Well I'm flattered that there are people so interested in what I do.
Please continue to write so that when I shop my autobiography to publishers, I can bump up my advance because of all the interest.

But frankly, when I "was away", you don't call? you don't write?
Shame on you.

My "voluntary retirement" and interest in White Plains
(as though that has anything to do with the reality that it only take 3 votes, from among the supervisor and council members to create all the problems as you see them) was really to see how they handle the same type of issues elsewhere AND to see, in particular, how residents reacted to the various high rise projects then under consideration. Call it forward thinking rabble rousing if you will.

And guess what, in White Plains, a CITY, the Mayor there is not a professional manager AND even though he has held the position for a long time, he still needs to get the support of the White Plains version of our Council to pass resolutions, programs, spend money.

So why is that in Greenburgh, people only want to blame Feiner for everything while ignoring the four slugs on our Town Council. Two of them are very likely to return to pretend that they don't have anything to do with anything but still nail down their full time salaries for part time jobs, plus the benefits or cash equivalents.

But if you are really saying that you felt jilted when I spent some time in White Plains, don't worry. I timed it to commence with the passing of the Library Referendum so that those folks on the Library Building Committee, (Howard Jacobs, Susan Wolfert and Estelle Palevsky) could have the summer off to make all the mistakes unassisted. And I wasn't disappointed when I returned. Next time I take a vacation, let me know your address and I'll send you a postcard. I'll just put in my address book under A. Gosh, I've already got so many people there already. What's your first name?

But I won't be going away for quite a while. There's just too much business remaining here in Greenburgh. Just reminding people that the Town Council votes on everything and are therefore responsible for everything; that's practically a full time job. Especially when I keep getting reminded that there are still people who haven't gotten the message yet -- that the 4 members of the Town Council and their 5th wheel share the responsibility for all the problems and the successes because their votes are needed to cause these things to happen.

And, just because they might be bashful, I want to remind everyone that the names of the people on the Town Council, the ones who vote on everything are Steve Bass*, Eddie Mae Barnes**, Diana Juettner*** and Francis Sheehan. Feiner plus any 2 of them are a majority. Conversely, any 3 of them can block any proposal by Feiner.

* running for re-election this fall. Mr. Bass lives in Hartsdale.
** running for re-election this fall. Ms. Barnes lives in Edgemont.
*** Ms. Juettner has already taken her vacation this year.

Oh, and did I mention that just 3 members of the Town Council can overrule Feiner or even post important information on the Town website.

Anonymous said...

I lived in WP for many years, and never saw the current or previsous mayors treating the WP counci with the disrepct I see in Greenburgh. Never did a WP mayor encourage attendance by a mob to shout down opponensts position. Never did I see a WP mayor run roughshod over others, lie (the hole Valhalla situation), stonewall etc. The problem is not the form of government or the council

hal samis said...

If I believed you, the next questions would be: why move to Greenburgh? Meetings too dull in White Plains?

And, the Mayor in White Plains would be the role model for Sheehan while their Common Council is a body deserving of respect; unlike our deadbeats, they do their homework and don't try to shift the blame.

In Greenburgh it takes just 3 votes to stop the Supervisor? Where are those 3 votes hiding, in White Plains?

And all of us make typing mistakes on the blog format. However you have stepped up to nail down first place; are you sure you're not an Edgemutt?

Just in case I wasn't clear, Feiner does his deeds joined by at least two votes from the Town Council, most of the time all four join in, the more the merrier. But if they have a problem with what he wants, all the Town Council members (Bass, Barnes, Juettner and Sheehan) have to do is look into their consciences and find 3 of them to just say no. Not all four, just 3.

Bass + Barnes + Juettner or
Bass + Juettner + Sheehan or
Bass + Barnes + Sheehan or
Barnes + Juettner + Sheehan

ANY one of these combinations and Feiner would have been unable to do anything OR all the Town problems could have been cured months ago if any of the three had done something more substantial than telling the President of the United States that Greenburgh is upset with what is happening in Darfur.

And before Sheehan came Weinberg, and the story was still the same.
So now that Mr. Sheehan has come on board almost 17 months ago and the great email scandal has been resolved (whew, the Town's computer system was safe after all) and prices at Cablevision haven't dropped sharply with the increased competition from Verizon (they have gone up), what HAS the Town Council accomplished with their 3 votes? Posting the 2005 memo on the web?

Just 3 votes, here in Greenburgh not in White Plains, 3 votes to sidewalks, 3 votes to peace between unincorporated and the villages, 3 votes to: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anonymous said...

I think all the residents of Greenburgh should be notified about the new audit that is going on.Since no one from the supervisor down to the board will not answer the question,we should all storm the town meeting on the 23rd and demand that we be heard.This may concern each and every one of us since they are all tight lipped.Let's storm town hall.

Anonymous said...

The Town Council votes with Feiner 90% of the time. They don't like his open government initiatives that would provide the public with more information about the way town government operates.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

I moved from White Plains to Greenburgh for the excellent Edgemont schools, and have not been disappointed. And before you put me down as part of hte Edgemont elite, let me remind you that the recent school budget passed by a large % with a large number voting.

hal samis said...

Dear Edgemouse,

And because I didn't want to interfere in the voting, I didn't post that the low 6.8% increase that so easily passed will become $77.8 million when residents go back to vote in ten years.

Simple rounded compounding.

The $8,116 for the $15,000 assessed home is a bargain. The taxes are the taxes for the home, not the number of school children inside.

So when Edgemont residents complain about the high school taxes, think of those poor souls who sent a child to NYC private schools at around $26,000 per year per child.

Yet Edgemont complains that their problems with school budgets are traceable to low commercial property assessments.
Whereas I recognize that all homeowners are powerless to have their own home assessments raised, perhaps from a troubled conscience, I believe that in the real world, a home in Edgemont with anything near a $15,000 assessment should be keeping a low profile and not be complaining about tax certs for commercial property owners.

Perhaps those that use the schools should be paying the freight, not the commercial property owners. After all, it wasn't only commercial property that rose sharply in value in the last decade. Single family home prices are not my area of expertise however I suspect that these owners did pretty well during the same period.

Consider too that if anyone owns commercial property or pays rent for commercial property and lives in Edgemont, why they get another crack at paying the school taxes as homeowners. Need I mention that owners of commercial properties pay school taxes, that their tenants pay a portion of the increases.

But maintaining the quality of the schools is a part of the reason that the homes became more valuable. Paying high school taxes for good schools adds to the value of the home not unlike painting, re-doing the kitchen, etc. And as a dividend on the investment in the schools, your kids, for the same dollars, get a better education too.

So what does the commerical property owner get for paying higher school taxes? Does CVS sell more aspirin or band aids or or shampoo or lampshades if the kids are getting a better education? Do good schools help A&P, Curry Motors, Linens N Things, Starbucks, gas stations, restaurants, dry cleaners, liquor stores, etc.? Do they care how well educated their customers' kids are? I think not.

However when taxes rise (including school taxes) the landlord has protected himsself by including in his leases a tax stop (he won't get hit with the increse) over a base year (generally when the original lease was signed) so that tenants pay their proportionate share of the tax increases on the entire property as additional rent. However, when a new lease for a new tenant is written, the base year starts anew. Unless the landlord can recover the portion of tax increases that the previous tenant had paid through a new, higher rent, the landlord may not be earning more money, particularly when attempting to rent a store which has been vacant while bringing in no income. And if he has to stick that portion of the taxes into higher rent, that may have problems when trying to sign a new tenant. So, even landlords have their problems.

But since a rising real estate market has kept everyone's ship afloat, commercial and residential, it needs to be pointed out that there are also downdrafts. However, before Edgemont residents are so quick to see pots of gold coming from more commercial development, remember that in most cases the property owners don't receive anything from the benefits that a superior school system provides for home owners and their childen. And, if you limit residential development, you limit the ability for stores to build a larger customer base, raise prices while still having to cover the cost of the rising school taxes (for which they receive no benefit) in their eroding margins.

But since Edgemont "leaders" are indifferently seeking to restrict the "enjoyment" of property they don't actually own, why should they care what harm they do to those who are the owners, those who maintain, take the risks and pay the taxes on what is private property. And because the commercial owners represent fewer votes, politicians tend to bend to residents, even when their demands are unreasonable. So at least stop complaining about all the breaks that commericial owners are getting. With breaks like these, it is not straw that hurts the camel, it is being taxed, even at only an additional 6.8%, which hurts most those who won't see same store sales increase just because Johnny now has a recording studio at school.

Anonymous said...

Samis doesn't understand the role that commercial development plays in helping to keep school districts like Edgemont affordable.

He also doesn't understand that, unlike Edgemont, comparable quality school districts in Westchester County, like Bronxville, Chappaqua, and Scarsdale -- all of which had tax increases this year of under 3 percent -- all have local governments that, unlike Greenburgh, understand the importance of maintaining a healthy mix of commercial and residential to keep their school taxes as affordable as possible.

No, when you get right down to it, Samis not only doesn't understand the role that local governments normally play in this arena, but he's of the same school as those who argue that only those with school age children in the district should pay school taxes.

Why else point out that his kid went to a $26,000 a year private school in NYC? (He doesn't say who made that decision or who paid for it. One gets the impression that it wasn't him).

Anonymous said...

I do feel that if there are no children going to the schools in Greenburg or any where else the taxes should be reduced other than the star deduction.

hal samis said...

Samis doesn't understand.
But you have not responded with an explantion or clarification, only comments that I don't understand.

Furthmore your reading skills aren't too good either or are you hoping that people will believe what you say was said and won't scroll up to check.

If you can keep your cake and eat it too, then that is the password to getting fat. So even while Edgemont boasts about the appreciation in their homes' value, the excellence of their schools, they are really asking for more handouts by looking to the commercial sector to pay more.
As unpopular as it may be, home owners should be paying more and this has nothing to do with "the school of thought that says only those with school age kids should pay".

I do not believe that only those with kids in school should pay. As you well know, all I was doing was pointing out that commercial property owners do pay taxes, not get off lightly, and that they receive no benefits from the school system. Why I mention this is that to then argue that it is acceptable to change the zoning to prevent residential development, where it is currently allowed on Central Avenue, is to deprive owners of their choice on how to best utilize their property. Even though the pay school taxes too.
Previously Edgemont has never shown any sympathy for those without votes but contribute significant dollars to school taxes. Am I jumping the gun? No more than having the head of the County Board of Legislators over for tea.

And if I don't understand the role that governments normally play then it is because I do understand that my local government consists of 5 individuals, not 1, who collectively must not understand either.

After my posted entry above (yesterday), the anonymous poster responding apparently doesn't understand that I have been quite clear of what role commercial property plays in keeping costs affordable, I just wrote then and now again that they pay and don't receive the benefit of the school budget. The blogger may not be happy with the conclusion but offers nothing in opposition.

What Edgemont wants to postulate is that commercial property is not paying its "fair" share of the taxes whereas I argue that it is the single family homes which are not. Instead the home owners, in most cases those who derive the benefits of the excellent schools, are under assessed. When Greenburgh entire discusses the average assessment of $15,000, it is surely is a joke relative to the market value. NYC reassesses on sale at 45% of sale price, phased in over 5 years (the 20% increase each year reduces the pain but buyers are aware what the taxes will eventually be and thus can consider whether they can afford to carry the property). In Greenburgh, not just Edgemont, 45% would mean a house sold for $33,000. In a Town where affordable is bandied about, does anyone know of any homes for sale at $33,000? So when I discuss that the taxes based on residential assessments are artifically low, I do understand that governments everywhere are afraid to tax voters instead the burden is directed against the commercial property owner. That would even be ok too if the government, being prodded by voters (Edgemont), didn't at the same time want to reduce the market value of the property for the owner by down zoning. But reassessment on sale causes higher taxes and under laws of economics, prices would fall to acknowledge the higher carrying costs, not unlike higher mortgage rats affecting sale prices.

Furthermore, if Edgemont isn't happy with me they characterize me as "hating" Edgemont, supporting Feiner when I remind them that just 3 votes determine policy and Feiner has only 1 vote, and now I read that I was discussing my kid in NYC private schools and questioning whether I'm the onw who pays. None of your beeswax.

That is not the issue or the reason I wrote such a comparison on the blog. I was pointing out that as "high" as Edgemont wants to call their school taxes (and thus make a case for aid), they pale in comparison to ALL those who send their kids to private schools, for whatever reasons, everywhere. And these parents continue to contribute to the public school taxes as well even though their children don't use the schools. Locally there are parents who send their kids to Hackley and religion affiliated schools. My point was merely that in the realm of providing the best education for their children, Edgemont parents are getting a great deal for what they pay. And only the first kid costs, the second, and third go for free whereas the tuition in private schools is for each child. So if you want to walk the Edgemont walk and talk the Edgemont talk, stop complaining because others have it worse.

And I can't even begin to delve into to the broad statement that Bronxville, Chappaqua and Scarsdale have comparable quality of education but are paying a smaller increase because their governments "understand".
My first reaction is for Edgemonters to stop jerking around with Edgemont the Village and move to one of those comparable life style communities.
My second is I don't have the time to see what 3% increases provide vs 6.8%. Isn't what is needed to run the schools a factor or is it just inspired local government? Is the miracle of their local governments that they have astute town council equivalents and our are not? What is the ratio of commercial property to residential, my first impression of these communities is that they have little commercial development. What is the structure of the comparison using Edgemont, a contained school district? Or is the comparison between apples and oranges, the township of Greenburgh, and those villages either independent or part of a township.
Just throw figures about without any consistent basis and what results is..........the famous Edgemont "Report".

Anonymous said...

Anon at 12:12

I do not understand your comment -- are you saying that if a household has no children in public school, the property taxes should be reduced?

And would you allow those of us not collecting social security to stop paying social security taxes??

Anonymous said...

Samis doesn't understand property tax assessment. Nor does he understand what's going on in Edgemont.

If he did, he'd know that Edgemont is not suggesting that its commercial tax base is underassessed any more than it is saying that the residential tax base is overassessed.

If he did, he'd also know that Edgemont does not seek, nor does it expect a handout or subsidy from anyone.

Instead, what Edgemont is trying to do is to develop its commercial base with a mix of commercial properties likely to enhance value across the board -- and at the same time impose reasonable limits on further residential development.

Greenburgh, however, has different priorities when it comes to zoning and planning. And as a result, school districts like Edgemont get the short end of the stick, which is awfully short-sighted, as policymakers are now realizing because, as property owners know all too well, the school tax accounts for more than 50% of what has to be paid.

Edgemont is, of course, not the only school district that suffers from misplaced priorities on the part of the town.

Central 7 lost more than $2 million in its assessable tax base this year -- and, even though Central 7 gets lots more state aid than Edgemont will ever get, it's budget went down to defeat.

Has the town ever once sought to compensate Central 7 for taking away so much of its tax base for tax-exempt purposes? Think town hall, the library, Theodore Young, the health center, Yosemite Park, to name just a few.

But the problems go beyond these two districts. In Ardsley, for example, the village there can do what it can to protect the tax base, but it is powerless to do anything about what Greenburgh does with respect to the unincorporated areas that fall within the Ardsley School District. The ridiculously ill-sited Gel-Sprain residential development is a good case in point.

On the other hand, politically well-connected school districts, like Irvington's, was able to get a whopping town subsidy through the purchase of Taxter Ridge which, together with other parks in that area, keeps more than 300 acres kept from being developed residentially and thereby burdening the Irvington schools.

The point is that when it comes to protecting school districts, Greenburgh's zoning and planning is haphazard at best and destructive at worst.

Edgemont recognizes this and is trying to do something about it. If Edgemont can succeed, there's hope that other school districts impacted by Greenburgh's dysfunctional government can succeed also.

Kudos to Scarsdale said...

I see that Scarsdale is set to vote on a moratorium on subdevelopments.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone besides Samis heard anything about the supposed sewer district audit?

Anonymous said...

There is a website, www.sewerdistricttruth.com, which describes the matter.

Basically, there is a dispute over whether a $1 million debt for a sewer improvement more than 20 years ago was properly reallocated when new homes were built in the area.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon at 8:14

I have briefly reviewed that website and it seems that there are far more complicated issues than your description indicates. The issue seems very well researched and it is clearly a town wide problem. I can't imagine how the Town could possibly say that they did nothing wrong. The Board's silence on this issue is quite deafening.

Anonymous said...

And what does it matter if the debt is 20 years old?

It seems a pretty simple matter to me -- are the new homes in the district or not?

Is this going to be another example where the maps are not correct? Thank you Mr. Feiner. And please, Hal, dont tell me the council was on board with this too.

Anonymous said...

WOW! The website www.sewerdistricttruth.com is very informative. I can see why the State Comptroller took up the sewer district issue and now I can understand why the Town Board is hiding its head in the sand. Why didn't the Board just fix the problem? Did they think it was just going to go away all by itself? How can they say they are an open and transparent government? Given the Town's mismanagement of the Westhelp deal and now their obvious mismanagement of sewer districts, the question needs to be asked, what else are they mismanaging????

hal samis said...

Dear Bob,

Thanks for your informative analysis of taxes assessment everywhere. If you understand all of this, how can you make the simplest but most significant errors in your very own nabe when you wrongly cite me by concluding that "I don't know what is going on in Edgemont". And you proceed as follows:

"If he (Samis) he did (know what's going on) he'd know that Edgemont is not suggesting that its commercial tax base is under assessed any more than it is saying that the residential tax base is over assessed".

And neither did I. What I clearly said is that the residential tax base is UNDER assessed. Not Edgemont's fault but clearly homes are under assessed based upon what they are worth., in Edgemont and Westchester County. If somehow, the homes in Edgemont could be re-assessed to reflect their true value or even 50% of their true value, then the school system would be taking in money hand over foot. However the system being what is is, homeowners with children in Edgemont are getting a really good deal. As for commercial assessments, every time a commercial property wins a certiorari proceeding or the Town settles, Edgemont cries "foul" that there is something untoward going on. "Someone knows someone".

Then Bob goes on "If he (Samis) did, he also know that Edgemont does not seek, nor does it expect a handout or subsidy from anyone".

How could Bob read my postings and come away with the idea that I accuse Edgemont of seeking handouts or subsidies. Unless he wanted a bridge so launch his litany of problems around Town. What I have continually maintained is something far worse than a handout.

Edgemont wants to "steal" the premium that properties/land fetches when it is converted to or used as sites to construct multi-family complexes be they rental or condominium. By insisting that the Town grant a moratorium on residential development only on Central Avenue with the later intention of down-zoning the street to prevent new residential, Edgemont is really putting its hand in the pockets of those that own land/buildings and saying too bad, we will only tolerate new commercial development. This means that the existing sites will be worth less because currently residential is still the hot game in Edgemont.

Why does Edgemont want to block residential development? Because they believe that the taxes on these new units do not pay their share of the School District costs, especially if these units bring with them potential students who might actually want to use the Edgemont schools. On the other hand, commercial development does not bring more kids to school and the taxes on commercial go straight to the bottom line. So when Bob says Edgemont is not looking for a subsidy or a handout, he is being disingenuous because that is EXACTLY what Edgemont is looking for, Bob's denial or saying Samis doesn't know aside. They may not be looking conventionally for County or State or Federal funding; what Edgemont wants to do is make the land owners on Central Avenue do is to tighten their belts and be happy with restricted development, development which does not benefit the owner but instead the Edgemont School District.

Then Bob says "Instead, what Edgemont is trying to do is develop its commercial base with a mix of commercial properties likely to enhance value across the board -- and at the same time impose reasonable limits on further residential development."

What a crock of manure. Better to stick with A and B budgets than talk like you have a clue, Bob. Do you really think you can sell this whopper to readers?

The first false premise is "Edgemont is trying to develop its commercial base" because "Edgemont" does not own these properties; private parties do. So why does Edgemont feel that these properties belong to them? Second, who would know better what would work and enhance value than the owners? It is their property; they are in real estate; they pay the taxes on their property and they assume all the risks. Who is this Bob Bernstein who thinks he speaks for all Edgemont to tell us and the owners that Edgemont knows what is "likely". Third, the "across the board" bit is only saying that by not building new residential units, the existing ones become more valuable because there won't be newer, state-of-the-art units and prices go rise when there is at least the perception of scarcity. Building more units makes the already existing units less valuable.

Now, the last line is the kicker.
"impose reasonable limits on further residential development".
Hard to believe that the moratorium talk was with us just a few months ago and already Edgemont Bob is re-writing recent history. The moratorium was to stop ALL residential development on the Central Avenue corridor. Perhaps Mr. Bernstein would like us to consider this "a reasonable limit" but I do not. And whereas the proposed moratorium applied only to Central Avenue which is owned for the most part by non-residents, it did not dare to restrict residentail development elsewhere in Edgemont where it might step on some powerful toes --even though such residential development could hurt the School District, a desk is a desk.

I'm really not interested in going further into his posting where Bob talks about the rest of Greenburgh because I suspect it will only invite my comment of "just 3 votes". And the other reason is mostly because when I see how Bob shovels the Edgemont fiction which I do follow (only because some Edgemont flacks think that Edgemont is what makes the sun rise and set); I would probably arrive at some "guilt by association" and start looking into how he mishandles the facts elsewhere since he deceives about his own neck of the woods. But I don't have the time or the interest.

So Bob, you may be the big wheel in your universe, but when you start to rewrite Samis in your own words, watch out. You may have your entourage to follow your every word but frankly when it comes to things I can follow, you just ain't getting no more respect".

So when you write "Nor does he (Samis) understand what's going on in Edgemont" you best be prepared to back it up with facts not your posturing as the oracle of Edgemont. You are writing about a person who enjoys reading mystery books, not science fiction. And don't forget to add that tidbit to your files.

hal samis said...

As for 8:43's comments, if the matter is 20 years old, then I don't have to remind you that the Town Council can exericse 3 of its 4 votes and pass or block any proposal. But since Feiner wasn't around 20 years ago, I don't have to say anything about the Council.

What I will comment upon is that Town Comptroller Jim Heslop doesn't review anything, he just does it like it was always done in the past. And he should be paid the salary of 20 years ago for his efforts.

Anonymous said...

The sewer district matter is not 20 years old. Thousands of taxpayers are paying for these sewers NOW and will be doing so for 10 to 15 more years. This is an ongoing issue, that is why the Town Board does not want to address it, they can't blame anyone but themselves.

Anonymous said...

SAMIS,this time you are wrong. Look into the matter,since your input is good,and see why you should check the sewer problem.

Truthteller 2 said...

I read the information on the website and am extremely concerned that not only is the Town not appropriately collecting and dispursing taxes on behalf of the sewer district, but on behalf of any and all school, fire and other special districts. Feiner runs the town like a candy store.

hal samis said...

Just like a woman, some you find appealing and some you do not. I have my issues and leave the others to others. I don't have staff and the things that appeal to me mostly have to do with real estate, Edgemont (only in so far as how they think they own Central Avenue and what is good for Edgemont is good for the USA), freedom of speech and individual rights, the Library (which is really only about municipal construction projects, the Library happened to be the one that happened first) and toppling legends in their own mind.

And, from time to time, when I see an outrageous lie, my interest gets piqued. If anyone wants to convince me to look into something, my email is halmarc@aol.com.

Can't be everywhere all the time or anonymice will say I need to get a life. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Samis' personal attacks against Bernstein are way off base and, in the eyes of Edgemont residents who know better, they make Samis sound even more ridiculous and irrelevant than he already is.

Edgemont's strategy in trying to enhance the value of its commercial tax base, while seeking reasonable restrictions on residential development, is based on two extensive reports, this year and last, by Edgemont's Government and Demographics Committee.

The committee, consisting of more than a dozen Edgemont lawyers, investment bankers and real estate professionals, was appointed two years ago by the Edgemont school board to explore ways in which Edgemont might enhance revenues and protect its tax base.

This is an ongoing project in which Greenburgh officials, both elected and appointed, have generally been cooperative in furnishing to the committee the data it needs.

While there may be a few radicals out there who think that imposing reasonable zoning and planning restrictions infringes on the rights of private property owners and should never be allowed, others of us recognize that such restrictions are permitted and expected because they can be a useful way of achieving important and legitimate governmental objectives, such as enhancing the value of each school district's tax base - which benefits all taxpayers.

Samis' personal attacks needlessly politicize and trivialize an important policy discussion that really needs to take place on these issues.

Anonymous said...

Samis may be loud and sometimes rude, and he is mostly right. He is not the terrorist that Bernstein is.

hal samis said...

Glad to know that Edgemont has an unimpeachable and "independent" Committee to justify the abuse it heaps upon the rest of the Town.

Golly, they produced two reports and based upon date supplied in part by Greenburgh. However the conclusions are those reached by those who have an economic and social interest in propogating a social order which says we're right and you're wrong! Why? Because we're from Edgemont.

And gee, it includes lawyers (Mr. Bernstein?) and was appointed by the Edgemont School Board. I'm just floored by the credentials and who'd hadda thunk that the McCoy clan had moved up north from Tennessee? Nothing like in-breeding to grow your own experts.

So much effort too to discredit Samis who they call ridiculous and irrelevant.

And again "reasonable restrictions on residential development" which means Central Avenue should have no new residential whereas on the properties located everywhere else but owned by vocal Edgemont residents, there shold be no restrictions.

The pity is that these self indulgent few speak as though they represent the entire School District which is all Edgemont is. They also claim to speak for Edgemont as though it were a Village which it is not. If they truly had popular support, they would be a Village which I invite them to become. Then< they can not only speak for but also manage their destiny.

Again, as the presiding "radical", don't put words in my mouth. I never said that there are no restrictions that are acceptable upon private property. The self-promoted group of Edgemont residents who "know better" shows who they really are when they write such "balderdash" and expect 'jes folks to buy into their story; "enhancing the value of each school district's tax base which benefits all taxpayers" just isn't true. It enhances the value of home owners who benefit from better schools and in the resale value of their homes because of the appeal of these schools. It does nothing for the OWNER of an office building, a strip shopping center,or a car dealer who also pay school taxes, just like the home owners, the increasing school taxes but reap no benefit.
And, according to the Edgemont "Committee", preventing new residential development on Central Avenue will benefit the school district because the taxes on commercial property go straight to the bottom line because they don't produce school children. But, telling the owner that now he can't use his property for residential development is not a benefit to the owner; it is instead an economic blow to his wallet.

So while Edgemont pretenders act self-righteous and act like they speak for all, they don't. And that can be said by me simply without having to use the words -- irrelevant, ridiculous, radical, needlessly politicize and trivialize -- which, of course are not personal attacks when used by Edgemont anonymice.

Anonymous said...

Love that word "anonymice."

Jim Lasser said...

Hal, where was your voice when the Town purchased 124 (or was it 112, no, maybe 115, and got title to 108) acres in the Irvington School District as a bailout for the Irvington schools and then decided to call it a park so that the cost could be charged to the rest of the Town?

Where was your calculation of the years of interest which needed to be added into the purchase price to determine what we were actually paying?

Where were you when questions arose about how much money was actually changing hands through a private party to the transaction?

The answer is - nowhere!

You, a paragon of getting the facts straight, have fallen off the wagon when you say the Edgemont school district would have loads of extra money if there were to be a reassessment. Sorry, the taxes collected must match the budget provided to the voters - a concept that has long eluded Mr. Feiner. The budget - which is actually voted on by the taxpayers resident in the district - controls how much money the school district can spend. It doesn't work the way you portray it - higher assessments do not funnel extra funds into the District's budget - that only happens with the Valhalla School District, the Fairview Fair District and some other feinervorite projects.

The Edgemont committee, contrary to your low and poorly expressed opinion, is comprised of several folks who have world-class reputations in ther fields of expertise. Unlike many of the people you've chosen to defend, they are honest and present both sides of the argument. They actually have gone on record, on paper-not unwatchable video tapes- to present their analyses. Have you taken the time to read them? Because, unless you have, you cannot know what they are worth. As the resident radical, you have distinguished yourself with passion and an eagle-eye for detail. Why have you suddenly put on a blindfold and refused to even look at their report?

Just because a majority of the community is not actively engaged does not disqualify those who are involved from speaking. They've never claimed to be speaking for all. The Edgemont Community Council received VOLUNTARY dues last year from a larger percentage of its community than the percentage of the entire Greenburgh community (including the villages) who voted in the last Town Supervisor's election. Someone who won his last election by only 173 votes (less than .05% of the total cast) with less than 12% of the eligible voters participating should be careful about portraying others as less than fully-mandated leaders.


Sorry Hal - you're way out of line on this one - and I suspect you know it.

Anonymous said...

I am grateful for people like Bernstein, McNally and Lsser that speak up. I am afraid to. Feiner goes after people he doesnt like with a venganace.

Anonymous said...

For Anonymous 1:38. Who has Feiner gone after with a vengeance? I see Sheehan going after people he doesn't like with a vengeance, but Feiner is a pussy.

Anonymous said...

I believe he wrote letters to every partner in Bernsteins law firm critizing Bernstien. I wouldnt want that happening to me. I am a single mother and depend on my job.

Anonymous said...

Feiner went after Bernstein with a vengeance.

When Bernstein brought suit on Taxter Ridge, Feiner countersued for monetary sanctions to be imposed against him personally.

When Bernstein continued to speak out, Feiner demanded on live TV that Bernstein produce a list of his private law firm's clients -- even though none do business in Greenburgh -- and when Bernstein still spoke out, Feiner had one of his paid campaign aides write to all 150 of his law partners, individually, to complain.

I suspect that most of the criticism Bernstein gets on this site is a product of Feiner and his vengeance.

hal samis said...

Dear Jim,
Can't tell you where I was if I don't know when it was. When was it? I assume you are not talking about the 200 acres at Taxter Ridge which I "radically" opposed.

And what does one have to do with the other. I don't live next to East Irvington and I don't live next door to Ridge Hill. And I don't read the river town's newspaper but I do read the Scarsdale Inquirer which covers Edgemont and Hartsdale.

Where did I say that having higher residential assessments would produce money in excess of the School Budget? What you know I discussed was the claim that somehow Edgemont is getting a bad deal from how the school budget is paid, as though the commercial properties weren't paying their fair share while at the same time, the argument that Edgemont needs more of them. I know you can read Jim so it is puzzling why you, generally a fair man, are doing what the anonymous authors do: writing straw man arguments and attributing them to me.

When bloggers write "Edgemont this and Edgemont that", it would reasonably appear that they are speaking for all Edgemont and not the views of some. Never do I read "in my opinion" or "in the opinion of the ECC" but when Edgemont (the subject) is followed by a verb, the implication is that the majority of Edgemont residents (and thus the right to say Edgemont as the subject) have endorsed the statement. The accurate qualifiers are available to all and there is no charge for using them. On the other hand, to be a civic assoication member, dues are levied. Thus to register your vote you must pay. And for all this talk about how many people pay to belong to these civic associations, how many vote in these elections is never known and what were the results? Is it possible that 8 votes determine the outcome?

And what does the Edgemont turnout have to do with Greenburgh elections. Can a topic ever avoid a dig at the Supervisor? You want me not to defend Feiner? Try not pointing the finger at him unjustly. I always maintained that no one in office has a true mandate from the populace at large.
In fact I always argue against voting in situations where there is no practical alternative. And you will be hearing more on this as the general election nears.

In conclusion, Jim, I am disappointed in you because you have avoided discussing the points I have raised (commercial pays, no benefit, zero tolerance for Central Avenue residential, etc) and instead created your own sacrificial lambs but attributing them to me.

And when you talk of the expertise of the Edgemont clique, am I impressed that they have "actually gone on record", no. Does what they write on this blog qualify?
Send me the Report, I have already asked for it (writing that my email address is known or hand it to me at a meeting) so what is your basis to write that I have refused to look at the Report?

So Jim, I am still on my wagon and driving it in the proper lane, at the legal speed limit and not by any measure, other than your own, out of line. I'm sorry that you feel I have expressed my opinion poorly but I am just one person and "Edgemont's" bloggers would have readers believe that they are many.

it's no use said...

Arguing with Samis, whether live or on a blog, is like trying to get rid of a pesky computer virus.

You do everything logic tells you to get rid of it -- pointing out time and again where his statements are just plain baloney -- and he comes back, denies he ever said it, belittles his attackers for misquoting, and then claims that shows he's been right all along.

In other words, no matter what Norton anti-virus software you may have installed, the Samis virus is still there, replicating, and getting worse by the minute, threatening Pacman-like to consume every available byte first on this blog (as is evident from most of the entries which are is), and from there he'll corrupt your hard drive and any servers you might be using.

Two years ago, Feiner used some of his $140,000 warchest to pay Gooljar to spew this Samis-like nonsense. In fairness, Samis is an upgrade. So maybe Samis swung as good a deal if not a better one.

Anonymous said...

So Hal -- 2 points

1. You support Feiner, and do not attack money losing ideas of his, only the money losing ideas he does not support.

2. Those of us who oppose Fiener are afraid of getting the "Bernstein" treatment.

hal samis said...

My blogs are lengthy and thus easy to recognize (as if using my name wasn't enough) for the disenchanted to just scroll on past.

One thing that Internet Service Providers all caution, if you have reason to be suspicious of the file's contents or sender, delete or don't open.

But if you're compelled like moths to a light to visit, why do you have to respond. You never discuss the points just the author.
And the blogger world is so lucky to have you anonymous person(s) so willing to take your time to warn all others away. preferring instead to keep me as your pesonal bottle of Listerine for the taste you hate so many times a day.

But thanks for the great idea but I'n not the person to tell. Suggest to Feiner that that he put me on the payroll, perhaps you know his phone number. However, I don't think he really gets that much support from me unless you call advocating that the Town Council do its job is support for Feiner. When I say just 3 votes can either pass or deny Feiner's proposals, does that really entitle me to a salary?

When I say that this business of Edgemont feeling that they are "owed" something is over, it really seems to send a lot of anonymice scurrying out from inside the walls.

Meanwhile those of you who oppose Feiner are doing so because you are getting the "Bernstein treatment" -- from Bernstein.

One thing you can do is respond to those messages which request you to download the latest virus protection version. This is the one where the user is asked to clean his own corrupted files, those which cannot be supported by the architecture. So when I ask where have I said something quoted, in an honest world, it behooves the claimant to actually respond. Anonymous talk is cheap.
Or you can belittle me out of frustration with your heroes. I will survive.

Anonymous said...

For those who say that Feiner going after Bernstein is going after someone with vengeance, maybe you don't know that the Taxter Ridge lawsuit is named Bernstein v. Feiner. Bernstein was suing Feiner personally, and it was such a scam that the judge threw out the claim against Feiner. So why shouldn't Feiner go after Bernstein. In the bible it says an eye for an eye.

Other than Feiner going after Bernstein, who deserved it, who else did Feiner go after with a vengeance. Seems to me it is the other way around. Bernstein and his friends, including the Town Council, have been going after Feiner with a vengeance for years.

Anonymous said...

I thought the court said bernstein should be suing fiener.

fienr gave bernstein no choice but to sue, would not negotatie. Feiner used town resourece to sue -- ddint he

Feiner held to be a proper party said...

In a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78, inter alia, to enjoin the respondents, Paul J. Feiner, as Town Supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh, and the Town of Greenburgh, from acquiring any portion of the property known as Taxter Ridge, the petitioner appeals from an order and judgment (one paper) of the Supreme Court, Westchester County (Molea, J.), entered November 12, 2003, which granted the respondents' motion to dismiss the proceeding on the ground of lack of standing, denied the petition, and dismissed the proceeding.

ORDERED that the order and judgment is modified, on the law, by deleting the provision thereof granting those branches of the *520 motion which were to dismiss the first, third, and fourth causes of action and substituting therefore a provision denying those branches of the motion; as so modified, the order and judgment is affirmed, without costs or disbursements, and the first, third, and fourth causes of action are reinstated and severed.

On May 14, 2003, the Town Board of the Town of Greenburgh approved a resolution expressing the Town's intention and commitment to proceed, along with the State of New York and the County of Westchester, with the acquisition of undeveloped parkland property known as Taxter Ridge for a total price exceeding $10,000,000. At the time of the purchase, each entity would possess a one-third ownership interest in the property. Taxter Ridge is a 200-acre tract of property located in the Town. Approximately 183 acres are located in the unincorporated area of East Irvington and approximately 17 acres are located in the Incorporated Village of Tarrytown. According to the resolution, the acquired property would “not be limited in its use by persons based upon residency status.” It is undisputed that the Town was seeking to finance the cost of acquiring and maintaining**359 Taxter Ridge by imposing a tax solely upon the property owners in the unincorporated areas.

The petitioner resides in the unincorporated area and commenced this CPLR article 78 proceeding seeking, inter alia, (1) a declaration that it would be a violation of Town Law §§ 220 and 232 for the Town to impose a tax solely on the unincorporated area residents to finance the costs of acquiring Taxter Ridge, (2) a permanent injunction enjoining the Town from using its funds to purchase any portion of Taxter Ridge, unless it collects funds from the entire Town, (3) to compel an accounting of all expenses incurred by the Town for the acquisition and operation of parkland, (4) to compel an accounting of the so-called “Greenways Fund,” a fund created in 1997 for the purchase of undeveloped property for parkland, and (5) damages for tax payments made by property owners in the unincorporated areas to cover the purchases for Hart's Brook Preserve in 1999 and Glenville Woods in 2001.

[1] The Supreme Court concluded that the petitioner did not have standing and dismissed the proceeding. We find that the petitioner has standing and conclude that the first, third, and fourth causes of action should be reinstated.

A party seeking to challenge a governmental or administrative action must show an injury-in-fact distinct from that of the general public which falls within the “zone of interest” that the relevant statute seeks to promote or protect ( Silver v. Pataki, 96 N.Y.2d 532, 539, 730 N.Y.S.2d 482, 755 N.E.2d 842; *521 Matter of Colella v. Board of Assessors of County of Nassau, 95 N.Y.2d 401, 409-410, 718 N.Y.S.2d 268, 741 N.E.2d 113; Society of Plastics Indus. v. County of Suffolk, 77 N.Y.2d 761, 773-774, 570 N.Y.S.2d 778, 573 N.E.2d 1034; Matter of Mobil Oil Corp. v. Syracuse Indus. Dev. Agency, 76 N.Y.2d 428, 433, 559 N.Y.S.2d 947, 559 N.E.2d 641). Unlike other plaintiffs, citizen taxpayers are not required to establish an injury-in-fact to acquire standing ( see Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce v. Pataki, 100 N.Y.2d 801, 813, 766 N.Y.S.2d 654, 798 N.E.2d 1047, cert. denied 540 U.S. 1017, 124 S.Ct. 570, 157 L.Ed.2d 430). Here, the petitioner is within the “zone of interest” Town Law §§ 220(4) and 232 seek to protect. The statutes specifically mandate that the payment of all public improvements, such as parkland, be imposed upon all the taxpayers of a town. Further, his injury, as an unincorporated area taxpayer, constitutes a substantial adverse financial burden to that group which differs from that suffered by the public at large ( see Matter of Town of Islip v. Long Is. Power Auth., 301 A.D.2d 1, 9, 752 N.Y.S.2d 320; cf. Matter of Colella v. Board of Assessors of County of Nassau, supra; Society of Plastics Indus. v. County of Suffolk, supra ).

Likewise, the petitioner qualifies for standing based upon his status as a taxpayer pursuant to General Municipal Law § 51. However, he has failed to allege the requisite fraud, collusion, or bad faith on the part of the Town necessary to maintain a Section 51 cause of action, and has failed to show how the Town's proposed acquisition “ ‘imperil[s] the public interests or [is] calculated to work public injury or produce some public mischief’ ” ( Matter of Korn v. Gulotta, 72 N.Y.2d 363, 372, 534 N.Y.S.2d 108, 530 N.E.2d 816) with regard to the use of public property or funds ( see General Municipal Law § 51).

Although a CPLR article 78 proceeding may not be utilized to review legislative action ( see Matter of Lakeland Water Dist. v. Onondaga County Water Auth., 24 N.Y.2d 400, 407, 301 N.Y.S.2d 1, 248 N.E.2d 855), it can be used to challenge the imposition of taxes as a statutory violation ( see **360 Matter of Town of Islip v. Long Island Power Auth., supra ). Therefore, the petitioner's first cause of action seeking a declaration that it would be a violation of the Town Law for the Town to impose a tax only upon the unincorporated areas should be reinstated.

[2] Contrary to the Town's contention that the third and fourth causes of action were properly dismissed because mandamus will lie only to compel the performance of a ministerial act, we find that mandamus is an appropriate remedy to determine whether the Town should be compelled to perform the accounting the plaintiff seeks under those causes of action ( see e.g. Matter of Korn v. Gulotta, supra at 370, 534 N.Y.S.2d 108, 530 N.E.2d 816 [Nassau County Executive directed to submit a new county budget] ).

[3] The petitioner's fifth cause of action is barred by the four-*522 month statute of limitations which governs CPLR article 78 proceedings ( see CPLR 217).

The petitioner's second cause of action seeking an injunction is academic as the Town purchased the subject property on March 5, 2004.

N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.,2004.
Bernstein v. Feiner
13 A.D.3d 519, 787 N.Y.S.2d 357, 2004 N.Y. Slip Op. 09498

Anonymous said...

And Hal, explain to me why Feiner had an aid write to every parnter in Bernsteins firm

Feiner is a coward and sore loser said...

Bernstein has guts. He sued Town Hall and won. Feiner hides behind kooky losers like fooljar.

Anonymous said...

Taxter ridge is over and done with,it's past history.It was a victory so let's put it aside,We heard enough .

hal samis said...

Because I have been asked...
and I am not being retained by Feiner I will say
that Feiner had no business going after Bernstein by contacting the law firm where he works. No one should be contacting anyone's employer to punish them for their opinions or even actions.

Clear enough?

That said, there is one thing I shall add. Feiner had a right to ask Bob who his clients were however the forum and the format for this was wrong. Just as the Town is looking into ethics violations, the substance of this is to determine who is doing business with the Town.

Thus it is equally reasonable for the Office Of Supervisor to determine if private citizens in pursuit of a goal are doing so to further the interests of their clients. But to make this determination, it would be necessary to know who the clients are. What Feiner should have done is ask Bob to send a letter stating that his interests are his own and not those of any client. Bob should not have been asked to produce a list of all clients or any clients but he could have volunteered something tangible, other than a throwaway statement, to address the "presumed" or potential conflict of interest.
This should have been requested in writing and fulfilled in writing.

As opposed to most classes of ordinary citizens, many attorney's are known to represent the interests of real estate developers and it was not so terrible to want to determine if this was the case then.

Feiner, as well as most of Bob's friends, cannot be expected to be aware of all of Bob's clients so the question is germane even if the reasons behind asking were not.

'nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein never sued Feiner personally.

Feiner was named in the lawsuit solely in his capacity as town supervisor.

The complaint alleges that, as town supervisor, he's the town's chief financial officer and responsible for making sure the town complies with the law.

It was therefore appropriate to sue Feiner because the complaint is about the town's failure to comply with state law regarding a budgetary matter.

Feiner tried on several occasions to get himself dismissed from the action. He has been unsuccessful every time.

Anonymous said...

Samis is full of baloney again.

Feiner had no right to ask Bernstein who his clients are unless Feiner had reason to believe Bernstein had clients doing business in Greenburgh.

Feiner had no reason to believe anything like that.

For one thing, Bernstein stated in his legal papers that on matters regarding Taxter Ridge, he was acting for himself, not his firm, and was representing only himself.

For another, at the televised meeting when Feiner demanded a list of his clients, Bernstein said he had no clients with any interest in Greenburgh -- but Feiner said he didn't care, demanded the list anyway, and threatened to call his firm's managing partner if the client list wasn't produced.

The irony is that Feiner was attempting through innuendo to smear Bernstein, a private citizen, at the same time that Feiner, a public official, was being criticized for taking thousands of dollars from developers with applications pending before the town.

Anonymous said...

Whomever you are you are using this blog to campaign against Feiner. The issue of Taxter Ridge is ended. There should be other business at hand that needs your attention. Fess up.

Anonymous said...

No, with all due respect, the issue that has been raised by others, including Mr. Samis, is deriding people who do not post their names. I submit that many are afraid of the treatment they will recieve from Mr. Feiner, who will use the full resources of his office and his campaign staff to seek retribution from those who oppose him.

Anonymous said...

The person to be afraid of is Sheehan, not Feiner. As somebody else said, Feiner is a pussy.

Anonymous said...

Really?

Has Mr. Sheehan written to any private citizen's law firm partners? Employers?

Has he sued any private citizen?

Anonymous said...

Don't know whether Sheehan has sued anybody. But I see him at Board meetings insulting, talking down even to other Town Council persons and the Town Attorney, making threats and so on. He isn't the man I voted for and he will destroy Greenburgh.

hal samis said...

Jane, you dumb slut...
How would Feiner have reason to believe that Bernstein's clients were doing business in Greenburgh if he didn't know who they were?
Certainly there were other interested buyers in the real estate development business who would have an interest in acquiring Taxter Ridge. After all, didn't East Irvington remind us of that.

The baloney you are handing out is your own; even when I agree in principle, you folks in Edgemont are unwilling to give up even an inch of teritory you don't own, on Central Avenue and on this blog.

The only way the Feiner ethics dilemma came about is because Candidates must file returns showing who their contributors are. I grant that this is a law.

So how can one determine if private citizens are "other directed"?

However just saying (not under oath) something is true is not the equivalent to attesting to something, particularly for an attorney. At the time of the cited meeting (even though I was present I don't recall with certainty whether this particular meeting preceded the filings by Bob or after but I think before) and if it was before the filings and representations thereof, then it was not unreasonable for Feiner to ask (again the wrong format in the wrong forum -- it should have been in private) if Bernstein was representing anyone with an economic interest. You may recall that what driving the need to purchase the property was the fear that if the Town didn't buy it, private developers would and that in turn would make Danny Gold unhappy. So it was not unreasonable, then, to wonder if Bob's warnings about buying the property were made solely to leave the way clear for a private developer.

If the cited meeting came before the legal filings then the Town had no "accountable" foreknowledge at that time that Bob was not representing other interests which was only attested to in the filings which I think came later.

Likewise, Mr Feiner's troubles with the contributions became widely known in part because of the public scrutiny and broadcast of the Town Board meetings and the presence of local media. Because of his position as a Public Official, Feiner also becomes the Town's most Public Citizen as well. Meanwhile, Mr. Bernstein, the Town's most well-known Private Citizen complains or has HIS aides complain about being smeared by Feiner. I submit that Mr. Bernstein could no longer seek the protective cloak of a Private Citizen.

So, even though I agree with the basic argument that Feiner had no right to "demand" a list of Bernstein's clients, he had a right to ask and even that should not have been done in public.

However, since I am always mindful of what impressions can be given by half-truths, I do ask anonymous of 5:16 whether the Bernstein legal papers came befoe the Town Board meeting cited. It does make a world of difference in understanding what went on then and how today's story is being arranged.

And to "feiner held to a proper" at
4:21, what YOU have done is collect a number of cases and print selected portions of the rulings. As an absolute proof this is far from perfect as you well know. Furthermore, the fun thing about case law and what justifies the high compensation and long hours of first year law associates is in researching case law and EACH SIDE's staff is given the assignment to find case law that is supportive of their position. I assume that a similar assemblage of citations is available for those who would take the opposing side; but then and again, you already know that.

Samis, you "ignorant slut" said...

Samis evidently has a very poor memory.

The Taxter Ridge lawsuit was filed on July 21, 2003.

Feiner first demanded the list of Bernstein clients at the Town Board meeting on September 8, 2004 -- the same day, according to the Journal News, that Bernstein made public for the first time the list of thousands of dollars of contributions that Feiner received from developers with applications pending before the town.

Therefore, Feiner knew full well when he demanded the list of clients that Bernstein was representing himself and no one else.

And geez Samis, you win the "ignorant slut" award by calling what "anon at 4:21" posted "a number of cases and selected portions of rulings."

What "anon at 4:21" posted was word for word the unanimous December 24, 2004 decision of the Appellate Division, Second Department, in upholding Bernstein's right to sue Feiner over Taxter Ridge.

Perhaps the reason you didn't recognize it is that it is the one major Taxter decision that Feiner refused to post on the town's website.

hal samis said...

Dear Mr. Slut,

My memory for these details may indeed be faulty but permit me to ask a lawerly question.

In the 2003 filing, did Bernstein stipulate/depose the absence of his client conflict or did this first occur in later filings, perchance during the latter part of 2004? You have not made clear when this Bernstein acknowledgement was made and I don't want to assume that it was contained in the July 21, 2003 paperwork.

And whether or not the decision was posted on the web, the decision itself is comprised of various case law citations and rulings, perhaps not gathered by an associate at a law firm but in this instance gathered by a judge's law clerk.

And this case law is the backbone of most decisions unless the petition is something truly new or groundbreaking. And often the lever to review, reopen or appeal the decision is the varying interpretations of those cases presented in the decision and the briefs or perhaps the appeal process permits the introduction of differing uncited cases which did not appear in the plaintiff's or the defendant's briefs but only in the judge's decision itself.

Clearly if everything were the lay-up that both sides represent, the judges slaving over the appeal have not yet rushed to judgement.

So until you can answer my question and, respond to what makes a decision, I'm tossing the dumb slut award back to your corner.

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