Monday, May 07, 2007

WEEK OF MAY 7th GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY

Post your comments. Express your views.
Attend our new residents reception-------this Wednesday, May 9th 6 PM to 7:15
(hosted by Westchester Federal Credit Union)
Attend the Town Board meeting this Wednesday May 9th at 7:15 PM
County Shred mobile coming to Greenburgh Wednesday--noon to 2 PM Town Park

visit the blog: www.thesidewalkproject.blogspot.com. Track the progress of the safety issues on Chatterton Parkway

93 comments:

Anonymous said...

Regarding the e-mail sent to residents this afternoon about the citizens' clean-up committee and the honorary assistant supervisor for litter, I think that's all nice.

This does not, however, address the responsibilities of and ongoing neglect by the town's highway department. Ultimately, all such matters are the responsibility of the highway department. If some taxpayers want to pay the town extra by means of committee time, that's their prerogative. But having a committee and an honorary litter patrol manager does not excuse the township for previous, current and future neglect of roadways - particularly weed-covered median strips and overgrown shoulders. The committee, nor its well-intentioned members, cannot drive a street sweeper or wack weeds, etc. These kinds of things are (should be) primary, routine functions of a municipal highway department for which we pay town taxes.

Anonymous said...

I know it may be in Elmsford but this affects many Greenburgh residents. The bus stop in the center of Elmsford on Saw Mill River Road is right at the corner of Tarrytown Road, the busses always stop in the intersection causing gridlock. Can the bus stop be moved?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the bus stop, yea, call the county. We had a similar situation in our neighborhood, and they were quick to get out there, do measurements, and move the bus stop sign forward - all within less than two weeks.

Anonymous said...

How come Brodsky doesn't get the state DOT to clear up the debris on 9A, 119, Dobbs Ferry Road, Central Ave? These are all state roads.

Anonymous said...

You got to be kidding .Do you want Brodsky to do some work.He is only occupying space.Get to someone higher in line.

Anonymous said...

Cleaning up the debris on state roads within the town is the town's responsibility.

Anonymous said...

It's always so obvious when you're entering Greenburgh from any direction because of the neglect.

The substandard maintenance of the roadways - especially weeds overgrowth - is the main thing that bothers me about living in Greenburgh. (If it weren't for the Edgemont school system, I'd be happy to move to Yonkers or Mount Pleasant.)

Litter is a secondary problem that wouldn't be as much of an issue if the shoulders and medians were maintained. Poor maintenance is an open invitation for litter.

I just don't understand why the Greenburgh highway department doesn't handle these elementary things like all the other towns and cities do.

Dan Weinfeld said...

I enjoy reading this blog and comments. As a relative newcomer, I'm learning a lot about local politics, issues, etc. I particularly appreciate the lively, informed exchanges among the signed commentators (e.g., Mr. Feiner, Lasser, Samis, Kolesar, Hartsdale Liquors). I get the impression from writing styles and issues, however, that there are probably no more than a dozen regular posters on this site, maybe fewer. I don't understand the insistence of some regular posters on anonymity. To keep the flow of arguments clearer to us "lurkers," would the anonymous posters please consider, like our founding fathers, adopting self-identifying pseudonyms (e.g., Cato, Publius, etc.)?

the original truthteller said...

dear mr weinfeld;

my name is truthteller and i tell you that Feiner has been in office far too long. term limits needs to be on the table as an issue in the upcoming election.

Jim Lasser said...

Sidewalks or no Sidewalks? Village Parks or Town Parks? Volunteer Fire Companies or Paid Companies or Hybrid Companies?
Greenburgh, as noted by one or more Anonymous commentators, isn't Mayberry anymore. We are the second largest municipality in Westchester - and we are very diverse. It seems to me that some of the issues we are struggling with - duplication of services, fair and equitable allocation of budget expenses, preservation of the character of our neighborhoods - are related to our growth as a community. Why Greenburgh did not (apparently) opt to govern itself under Suburban Town Law may not matter. What matters is that we look at that option NOW. A fresh, objective view of the benefits and pitfalls is in order. The seemingly clearer deliniation of budgetary responsibilities between Town-wide and unincorporated areas, the ability to recognize duplicated services and the resultant reduction of tensions between village and unincorporated areas would be welcome.
How about it Mr. Supervisor and Town Council Members? You've just appointed a deputy volunteer town supervisor for litter - why not follow through with one for political detritus too?
We deserve a functional, efficient government. Please commit to solving the problems, not pandering to special interests.

Truthteller #2 said...

That will never happen, Feiner has already pandered to so many groups -

1. The purchase of Taxter Ridge, pandering to the Irvington School District residents, and then trying to charge it all to the unincorporated residents.

2. The Valhalla School payments. Has anyone tried to get the money back yet? Why is this not top on the agenda?

3. Now the volunteer fire fighter subdidies.

Feiner is the problem -- the real issue is can anyone fix it?

hal samis said...

Dear truthteller #2,

If your allegations are correct, then those (Town Council) who tolerated them by voting for them ARE the "anyone that can fix it". If it needs to be fixed.

Tonight's Town Board meeting will be such an opportunity. You want to blame Feiner and I throw back that there are three people who can vote with or vote to block him.
If you are so certain that your views represent the "good" and that Feiner represents all that is "bad", then you should expect to see if "now the volunteer firemen subsidies" are handled to your satisfaction by the Town Council members: Steve Bass (up for re-election), Eddie Mae Barnes (up for re-election), Diana Juettner and Francis Sheehan.

Attend the meeting or watch it on cable. Watch your heroes in action.

Herb Rosenberg said...

For Jim Lasser. the town did elect to be governed under the Suburban Town Law. This was in 1964, effective January 1, 1965.

The trouble is that the current Board does not seem to know any of this, or care.

Those of us who know and care know that there is a mechanism for fairness in the Suburban Town Law. Many of our problems would be solved if the Town Board looked at the Suburban Toen Lww (or other laws, for that matter). But politics and favoratism are the policies.

Anonymous said...

Herb,

What are examples of some of the lack of fairness you allude to?

Thanks

Herb Rosenberg said...

To Anonymous at 12:52. I'll be happy to answer you when you sign your name.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Unincorporated Greenburgh just become a city so that it can operated in a normal fashion? It's so silly that we try to make this old fashioned government system function in 2007.

Herb Rosenberg said...

You don't have to become a city to operate in a normal fashion, whatever "normal" means. Greenburgh operated very well before the "gotcha" games began. You can have the same effect of being a city if you agree that the villages separate from the town and become a new town consisting of the six villages. Then you will be alone and unencumbered by these recently-discovered problems.

Rosenberg is naive said...

Herb - you are naive. Who will pay for the parks and other unnecessary things Feiner has saddled the Town with? Do you think the debt service on these items will just disappear? Feiner has sparked a movement among the villages to get out of (this) Town aburdly named Greenburgh. This would be, as the NY Times noted, a bad thing for unincorporated Greenburgh. Get rid of Feiner and his pandering and polarizing and maybe we could get back to normal. Nick Spano takes the train to work now. Why not Feiner? Isnt 17 years of his antics enough. We are not amused anymore.

Anonymous said...

If the Villages leave, we could sell the Taxter Ridge Property (part of proceeds goes to land trust, county, whomever) and use the rest to build new courthouse. We would cut back programs at Young Center and Union Day Care as there would be no more village participants. I dont see why this is so bad for unincorporated gburgh.

Quite naive indeed said...

By incorporating as a new town, the new town would be required to have substantial reserves to cover the costs of all the taxes it might not collect. Herb, where is our new town going to get all that money? Herb? Are you with us here in Rivertown? Unencumbered you say? I think not.

Fiener is too risky said...

From the NY Times 9/05

“Mr. Feiner's critics point to a costly lawsuit over a fallen tree that caught the town badly underinsured"

Mr. Feiner passed this disaster onto the villages - millions of dollars. Thats one of the financial risks you would take if the villages left town.

Anonymous said...

I live in unincorporated Greenburgh and would be thrilled if the villages left if they took Feiner with them. After all, village residents have most of Greenburgh votes, and they have voted him in, they should take him with them.

Anonymous said...

"...to cover the costs of all the taxes it might not collect."

Sure there would be less revenue, but there would be less service to provide.

Plus, like it or not, we have to get ready for the inevitable since the villages will secede within the foreseeable future.

We should be addressing the issue of what we'll become once they do secede - a typical city government structure would be least complex and most appropriate.

Anonymous said...

If the villages seceede, then the town will be small enough to be a town. works for me. the problem isnt with the system.

Anonymous said...

why secede? services in this town are great. Feiner is responsive. And,gets things done.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont civic leaders forgot a few years ago they wanted to go it alone ,and they were voted down. Leave the people alone. You want a town move. Many of us are very Happy with the services that we receive. You do not speak for all of us.

Edgemont and Feiner said...

dear anon:

If as you claim Edgemont is so happy with Feiner, why did Bill Greenawalt carry Edgemont by about 200 votes in the last election? And this was all before Feiner's Valhalla School District Scandal.And most Edgemont residents agree with Bob Bernstein that Feiner's seeking to tax unincorporated Greenburgh residents only for parks open to all town residents (including village residents) is wrong. So far the courts have agreed with Bernstein.

Anonymous said...

Big deal he carried Edgemont by 200 votes. What promises were made to the civic leaders. By the way he still lost townwide.

Feiner's false promises said...

Feiner made illegal promises to the Valhalla School District and mislead the then Town Board. Thanks to the true civic leaders in Edgemont and Broadview, the State stopped Feiner's illegal give-away.

Anonymous said...

Most Edgemont residents are not happy with Bernstein. He is dividing the town. If Edgemont incorporates Edgemont will have to have a porn zone (federal laws require every locality to designate an area for porn). Will it be Central Ave or elseswhere? Right now Edgemont benefits because the community is part of a larger town.
I think services in Edgemont are great.

Anonymous said...

Is the town of sound mind. Do they not think on their own.They liked the idea until it was brought to light that it was ilegal.EDgemont had nothing to do with this ,give credit where credit is due.Mr, Rettinger,and his group did all the work..

Anonymous said...

Is this the latest line, that Feiner misled the Town Board about the Valhalla School grant? Nobody on the Town Board ever said that. Nobody on the Town Board has ever blamed Feiner. They all say that they can't give the money now because it is not legal, and they are waiting for the Comptroller to finsh his audit before they take up renegotiating the Valhalla grant. In fact, to show that they weren't misled, the entire Town Board recently authorized the payment of about $500,000 to the Valhalla school district.

So get off it. Blame Feiner for what he has done wrong but don't make things up.

Anonymous said...

People are not only disatisfied with Berstein,but also with McNally.Let the people live the lives that they set out to live happily in Edgemont,without these two rulers.What does it take for the two of them to see this,O"Shea is also a pain in the butt,especially when it comes to codes concerning construction. Give us a break resign .

Anonymous said...

When Feiner made the Valhalla decision,he was told it was the right thing to do,until a gentleman did some research and found out that was not true.Feiner had town lawyers look into the matter,and they found nothing wrong.I'm sure if the lawyers had said no the entire board would not have voted to give away the money.Feiner does not work alone,so stop blaming him .

Feiner's deceptions said...

Feiner said he had a legal opinion on Valhalla - that was false. Feiner said Valhalla's property values would suffer - that was false. Feiner said Valhalla needed the $ to compensate for "homeless shelter" kids using the Valhalla schools - false again. Feiner honest or dishonest? The State Comptroller said all of Feiner;s reasons for the gift were phony. Thats why he is a pandering polarizer who will do and say anything to keep his job. Thats bad for Greenburgh.

Bernstein and McNally - real civic leaders said...

dear anon at 10:46:

Sounds like you are quite jealous of both mcnally and bernstein. I have watched the town board meetings and have yet to see anyone criticize mcnally - in fact, she has won a distinguished award for public service from the town of greenburgh. And when did you show up at the town board meeting to say that bernstein doesnt speak for you?? i guess you enjoy paying taxes for parks that anyone can use but are only billed to residents of unincorporated greenburgh. If you are interested, I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

hal samis said...

I ask that readers go to the "Pro Bono" topic because at this time I am not going to re-type my posting response. It is most relevant to the direction of the postings on this topic. And I would welcome bringing my comments and any blogger responses "back home" to this better suited arena.

Anonymous said...

Jelousy does not enter the picture. Awards are given out every day to shut people up.Bernstein and Mcnally do not speak for all the residents of Edgemont. I'm at the meetings every month and one can see that this area is granted whatever they are demanding,right or wrong.I have received many awards,for helping my country,I'm still the same person.I mind my own business and live my life the way I want not the way civic assoc.want.

will the real civic leader please stand up said...

so mr award winner - do you have a name on your medal or is it just anonymous?

Anonymous said...

I am not the award winner, but I laughed when I read the response by "will the real civic leader please stand up." He criticizes the award winner for writing anonymously, and he does it in an anonymous letter. What fun.

Zippy said...

Anonymous characters must take psuedo names like Dan Weinfield suggested, so we know who is talking.

hal samis said...

"Zippy", are you the long lost Marx brother or the cousin once removed in the "Do-Dah" family?

Anonymous said...

hal samis said...
You people who read this blog are presumably residents, pay taxes and are concerned about who is the government and, perhaps even more importantly but unstated, what form of government is in place.

Last night's "performance" was the six month anniversary of a very important issue to Residents. Unfortunately it had to be presented under the wrappings including both an unrelated issue and the same old, same old general Library exposure.

It probably involves the Library only peripherally because that is where the item occurs but it is only incidental in the sense that what it represents is widespread and business as usual and involves the willful participation of the entire Town Board: Feiner, Bass, Barnes, Juettner and Sheehan. Most of you are familiar with the bickering and the finger pointing at the Supervisor and sometimes it is justified. Those who see this as a green light to attack do so with the assumption that things will done better and more ethically by the Town Council: the issue from last night proves it just ain't so.

The entry point to the larger problem was given by an innocuous item on the preliminary Town Budget for 2007. I am referring to page 132, the line item 902.0 "Building Maintenance" expense amount. In 2006, this item in the Library Department budget was $310,750. In 2007, this item is $309,778. Note that a number ending "778" implies a very precise look at expenses and great care in its preparation. Such a line item would not likely be questioned by an outside auditor because, hey, municipalities have Libraries and building maintenance is an ongoing item and 2007 is in line with 2006. What an outside auditor would not know is that in 2007, Greenburgh would not have a building to charge this expense against. Thus, and I am rounding both years off for this writing to $310,000, the $310,000 is an entirely bogus amount; it cannot be spent on building maintenance for the Library; and it means that taxpayers are being charged $310,000 under false pretenses.

I would rather have found such a black and white issue in another Department so that it would not be just more of my concerns regarding the Library. However, because I am most familiar with the Library, I look at their budget most carefully and this was just a sizeable and glaring "error".

There is no justification for this without admitting to the Public what a charade the Town Budget really is. Things can change and money can be transferred during the year as shortfalls and overages appear. But this situation is one which pre-dates even the vote on the final budget and of course even before 2007 spending commences.

There is no clearer example of fraud to be found in the Budget. This makes the Valhalla School District?MayfairKnollwood imbroglio pale in comparison because this was done with the complete, conscious, cooperating collusion of all FIVE Town Board members, knowing that it was wrong in advance, having an opportunity to correct it before approving the Budget, not doing so and ignoring the issue ever since.

Public Hearings on the Budget are MANDATED by the State, for a purpose. The first Public Hearing on the budget was held in November 2006. On that occasion I brought the matter to the attention of the Town Board, in no uncertain terms: YOU CANNOT INCUR A CHARGE FOR MAINTENANCE ON A BUILDING THAT DOES NOT EXIST. Certainly you cannot spend the same as the previous year when there was a building. Public Hearings exist so that the Public can have the opportunity to express their views in the hopes that the Town Board will make some changes, spend more, spend less on items...etc. What I was doing was pointing out an ERROR, an error that could have and should have been corrected before the Final Budget was voted on. It would then have been a simple matter to acknowledge it, TO CORRECT IT, or even to hide the amount elsewhere, or even reduce the budget total by $310,000 or thereabouts. The accuracy of the Town Budget is attested to by the vote of the Town Board and the endorsement of the Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Feiner. If there is ever to be any due diligence and integrity in the Budget, this is such a clear and undefendable little item that it demands further examination of why the Town Board refuses to do so, acknowledge it or even respond.

So for SIX months I asked, wrote and cajoled them seeking an answer. An answer I and every resident is entitled to receive. If it is known IN ADVANCE of Budget approval that this money, being taken from the taxpayers, is
not intended for its stated use, then it is fraud, even without knowing where it is eventually going. What makes it any different, from the past, if it were really intended to be transferred to a School District or a Fire District or even to build a dog park. It clearly is not going to be spent on Building Maintenance for the Library.

Last night's show was to bait Mr. Sheehan; to give him the opportunity to put on his lecturer's robes and talk about everything but the issue. I have asked for six months where this money is and I have not been answered. If I have to yell and interrupt, the PROBLEM is not that I feel the need to do so, the PROBLEM is that the Town Board has joined ranks to hide the truth and remain silent.

Mr. Feiner has to be judged part of this conspiracy and just as guilty. However it is most interesting that when they, the Town Council, want to (and there is no opportunity to claim this time that they didn't know) they will do exactly the same thing -- both Feiner and the Town Council continuing the deceptive practices unearthed in the VSD/Mayfair Knollwood centerpiece. When will they ever learn?

The PROBLEM is not Samis. I get only five minutes; Sheehan can wax on for hours. The PROBLEM is the commission of FRAUD. The PROBLEM is that the taxpayers are being taxed upon the total of the expenses as shown in the APPROVED Town Budget. If $310,000 is a ficticious item, then taxes should be lower.

And, the lunatic fringe are those who ignore what the Town government is doing and focus instead on a resident who is shoving their deceit back in their faces. Why should anyone have respect for and play by the rules as defined by tyrants?

The $310,000 may seem trivial against the entire budget but it is a unique "black and white" issue with no shades of grey; there are plenty of other instances of grey but they can conceivably be defended. Residents are witness to them when the Town Board votes on "budget transfers" at practically every meeting. The bottom line is that the annual Town Budget review is a show put on by the Town Board and not one of the items, other than their salaries, is sacrosanct (other than adding new stipends) from the minute it is voted upon. Thus the Public Hearings also are meaningless because anything that comes out of them can be "transferred" away January 1.

There is something very rotten in Greenburgh and the cure is not to be found from any of those currently seated on the dais.
And if Edgemont weren't so busy politicking and seeking to gain privilege, their great concerns for good government would include the Town Budget and the Library expansion as well. And what do we hear from those seeking office?

Having said that, I shall continue to defend Feiner on those issues where he is not the cause or the problem, such as the topic that this posting is written under.

But I want to convey, that the new "government" in the form of the Town Council is really no differnent than the old. Nothing has changed. Having new names on the marquee might change things but Sheehan, as an example, has only made it worse; he is ultimately the more dangerous because he knows how to use facts to his advantage. Not all the facts, just the ones that work for him. He has illustrated meeting after meeting a willingness to attack residents and with impunity because he knows that he can speak without restraint or time limit and his victim cannot respond under his rules -- other than to yell or interrupt (my rules) which, I concede, is his intent knowing how it will be viewed by the general public.

But the unanswered issue remains.
This is the issue that is costing taxpayers money, not Samis.

And lest I forget, the Town Comptroller Jim Heslop will perform any command to hold onto his job. Something that two previous Comptrollers were unwilling to rationalize.

What are bloggers going to do, waste words on me or look at the issue?

hal samis said...

Dear friend of real civic leaders,

Do you really have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn? Maybe you will want to buy mine as the companion piece. My bridge even goes over a river and connects Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Hey, did you watch when I spoke about McNally and her moratorium babbling? Shucks you must have missed it.

And Bob, they like him so much they're still holding his room on Elba.

Do you know anyone in television production. I have an idea for a new reality show about a contest between real civic leaders and fake civic leaders. Let me know when your team is ready. I guess since you too "watch" the Town Board meetings versus go to meetings, you and 10:46 must cancel each other out in the representation survey.

And I have bonafides too. I served my country with distinction as a Reservist in the great postal strike call up.

Finally, wsm looking to correspond with liberal minded wsf who enjoys paying for parks that everyone may pay for but cannot use because there is no money planned for capital improvements for Taxter Ridge through 2009. That means no parking, no lights, no nothing, just Town paid maintenance and insurance. And no visitors from Buffalo.

hal samis said...

When movies learned to talk, take #116.

Diana Juettner at the Wednesday Town Board meeting re the Hartsdale flooding.

"Perhaps we can get Al to do a report on the flooding. Al?" CUT

Dear DJ, where were you? The flooding happened weeks ago and Mr. Regula already made his report.
Would somebody get her some new material. Come on Gil, you know you can do better. Don't feed all your best lines to Barnes.

#117

Feiner at the Town Board meeting about to ask Al Regula to give the Library report when Tim Lewis, Tim Lewis? says:
"Wait I think I see Chris Peterson from Triton. Let him speak."
Perhaps they both need to spend some time in dinner theater before appearing in prime time.

#118

Francis Sheehan defends the hard working Town employees and Department Heads who put in countless hours of work for no extra money including the Department heads who have to stay for these Town meetings. Unfortunately four minutes before Diana Juettner (above) called for Al Regula so she could ask if he could give the Town Council a report...Mr. Regula and Department had already left.

#119

Mr. Sheehan's lap top goes down and he loses script pages 1563-2587, the cut-away shots of the Department heads busily wasting the Town's money because they don't really understand their jobs.

#120

Steve Bass asks everyone but Hal Samis to leave the Podium during the Town Board's return of service. However, Bass was distracted and "shocked" to learn he was the only one who got the lobster dinner from the Credit Union. Later he learned that his dinner had really been paid for by Edgemont.

#121

Feiner is arrested for tolerating no show jobs. The State Comptroller, on his weekly visit to Greenburgh Town Hall, found only one Town employee at his desk during the work week, Supervisor Feiner.
Feiner offers explantion that since he gets blamed for everything anyway, he thought it would be a nice gesture to allow the other employees to stay home and reduce the building maintenance expense at Town Hall.

First Amendment Fred said...

Excuse me - where are the federally designated porn zones in Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, Ardsley, Tarrytown and Elmsford? I am thinking of opening some adult bookstores and video parlors and feel Irvington would be a classy address. Then I could expand to other upscale neighborhoods. Does anyone know where Scarsdale's zone is?
Fear mongerers remember - your neighborhood could be next!

Anonymous said...

Dear Fred -
Along with Town parks usable by all Town residents but charged only to the unincorporated area, a little-known provision of the Finneran Law allows the villages to opt out of adult entertainment districts as long as there is an unincorporated area to receive their unwanted business. Perhaps we could establish a Town-wide porn preserve on Taxter Ridge. No parking? No problem!

Herb Rosenberg said...

It is one of the unfortunate consequences of the inflammatory accusations made by those (that one) who is unhappy with the Finneran Law, that others make truly offensive comments. The writer who wrote at 8:18 A.M. is such a person.

He may have been persuaded that the Finneran Law (enacted to achieve fairness and balance, by the way) is a bad law. But the dopey attempt at sarcasm by talking about a non-existent provision relating to supposed adult entertaining districts is nothing less than idiotic. Certainly not decent satire or humor.

It is no wonder that there can't be useful discussion about anything. Solving problems requires that people listen and hear, not talk like fools.

Anonymous said...

Rosenberg would be wise to heed his own advice. He more than anyone seems incapable of listening or even hearing those who think his reading of Finneran is wrong.

It's one thing to be confident of one's legal position; we expect that of lawyers.

It's quite another to be so full of hubris that you can't even conceive of the possibility of being wrong, much less the consequences that might result.

Herb Rosenberg said...

10:44 has it wrong. I did not say in my earlier posting that my reading of the Finneran Law was correct, though I think it is. I was commenting on the orevious posting that referred to "a little-known provision of the Finneran Law allows the villages to opt out of adult entertainment districts as long as there is an unincorporated area to receive their unwanted business."

The Finneran Law is being disputed. The appellate court will tell us what it means (or maybe not, depending on the rationale for its decision). Many provocative assertions have been made about the Finneran Law. You can be sure that there are people out there who will believe such an idiotic comment about an opt-out provision regarding adult entertainment districts. More bizarre statements have been accepted by residents who have been given political spin.

I suspect that if I had not written what I did there would have been an onslaught of comments about the adult entertainment districts. Maybe it will happen anyway. That's how much many people have been radicalized. Some may find this funny. I believe it only adds to the acrimony that has developed, and we don't need it.

Anonymous said...

"Some may find this funny."

LOL ... I'm still in hysterics about Irvington being a classy address for adult bookstores and video parlors ... Haha!

But seriously, this is the least of Greenburgh's problems.

hal samis said...

Actually, what "in-the-know" Greenburgh residents are waiting for is someone, who wants to open a X-rated business, to haul the Town into Court.

The first Town Board meeting I ever attended (re the proposed hasty effort to purchase the building across from our current Town Hall) also had on the meeting agenda, the adoption of Adult Entertainment zoning laws. Ella Preiser argued then and often afterward, that the adopted laws were too rigid because by not leaving an opening anywhere that they could exist, that someone would eventually successfully challenge the laws by going to Court. Apparently you can't legislate the industry out of existence by too restrictive zoning laws; there has to be SOMEWHERE in a municipality where they can operate. It need not be a good location, it may be hard to get to, it may even be in a flood zone.

Since there is no way for residents or even non-residents to use Taxter Ridge Park (no parking), then by changing the laws re dedicated parkland (town, county, state) to allow this business classification to operate there, the potential liability of having it appear somewhere else in Town will be averted.

And who says that East Irvington wouldn't be a good market for porn?
Why else would they be complaining about their over-burdened school system and their ravenous need to maintain the environment in "au naturel" condition.

Anonymous said...

The guy who mentioned an adult entertainment district really opened up a flood zone.

Anonymous said...

It occurs to me that the majority (but not all, I am admit) people who have moved into the unincorporated Town of Greenburgh never really did it on purpose. Rather, when asked, they would say that they moved into Hartsdale or Edgemont or Tarrytown or Dobbs Ferry or Irvington or Hastings or Elmsford or Valhalla or Ardsley. Those are their postal addresses and school districts. To say you live in Greenburgh, gives as little information as to your whereabouts as saying, "I live in Westchester County".

I would guess that the largest population concentration of unincorporated Greenburgh lives in Hartsdale and Edgemont, and judging from the blogs posted, people living in these two areas resent, sometimes bitterly, the fact that the unincorporated Town includes area contiguous with the afore mentioned Villages and School Districts.

We could solve this problem by having the Villages take in the parts of the unincorporated Town that share their PO and School District. This would mean that Hartsdale and Edgemont would not have Village residents voting for Town Supervisor or Town Board. Hartsdale and Edgemont could become their own incorporated Villages or Town, whatever they want.

Hartsdale and Edgemont could keep their rather large share of parkland that unincorporated residents living near villages paid their fair share for, but rarely use due to distance, and the newly enlarged Villages, with an increased tax base, could work out some kind of fair arrangement to pay for the new parkland they would acquire.

Why are the signs still up? said...

Woodlands had a fair in Webb Field a week ago. Their signs are still up. Why? Is it because there is no sign law? Is it because there is no enforcement? Or maybe Feiner can't figure how to write a press release about it? Thats why we need new blood, new energy and new ideas to visually improve Greenburgh. Its time for the career politicians to step aside and let others have a turn. Until then the signs will probably stay up.

Anonymous said...

From Anon at 2:42

"Hartsdale and Edgemont could keep their rather large share of parkland that unincorporated residents living near villages paid their fair share for, but rarely use due to distance, and the newly enlarged Villages, with an increased tax base, could work out some kind of fair arrangement to pay for the new parkland they would acquire."

You are incorrect on a number of points.

1. Much of the recently purchased parkland was not in Hartsdale or Edgemont. It was in Irvington, and other places.

2. The villages have been ordered to pay for Taxter Ridge. Other parkland, which they can use, like Glenville Woods and Hartsbrook, they are not paying for. This is part of Bernstein v. Feiner II.

3. No one can really use Taxter Ridge, except the Irvington residents who live near it. But it does benefit residents of the Irvington School District, who did not want more residential developemnt.

I dont know whether you have been brainwashed or are trying to brainwash others.

Anonymous said...

What large amuonts of parkland are near edgemont?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2:42. The majority of Greenburgh residents live in the actual villages. They are eligible to vote for supervisor and council members. If you do not beleive this, call Town Hall or the Westchester Board of Elections on Monday. Please rethink your post. This is why the unincorporated residents are furious. The village people vote for representents to spend money that they will not be taxed for. Unincorporated Greenburgh is subject to taxation without representation.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont has the nature center,they now want to purchase the other parcel of land on Dromore rd.,Crane pond.are the only three that I know of. If there are more I'm sorry,that I can't answer your question truthfully

Town to Edgemont: Drop Dead said...

Compared to places like East Irvington which (thanks mainly to Taxter Ridge) has nearly 300 acres of parkland, Edgemont has relatively little.

The Greenburgh Nature Center property consists of 33 acres of woodland. Acquired in 1971, it was the last time parkland was ever acquired in Edgemont.

Crane Pond sits on about 2 acres.

Edgemont has no other parkland.

The Dromore Road site, which some residents would like acquired as parkland, is a little more than 2 acres.

In 1997, Edgemont residents voted overwhelmingly to support a special tax for six years on unincorporated area residents to raise money to purchase open space.

Despite the overwhelming support Edgemont gave that referendum, not one penny of the money raised was spent on purchasing open space in Edgemont. Edgemont residents had hoped that the town would use the money to keep developers from trying to develop what little open space was left in Edgemont.

But no, not a penny went to Edgemont. Instead, virtually all the money was used to purchase Taxter Ridge.

Anonymous said...

Again I say we do not need all this parkland. What we need is more development.More housing for the poor is desperately needed. Without development our taxes will go sky high in future years.The commander in chief Sheehan is trying to set up laws for no more development. Without development the businesses are going to go under, They are always asking for tax rebates and are they are granted. We the home owners have to pick up the flack.Do y0u think in years to come that all this parkland will not be sold for development.Guess again. The town could make good monies for the school system in future years.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont does not "have" the Greeenburgh Nature Center. It is run by a non-Profit organization. When the Edgemont Civic Council uses its property for an annual event, it pays rent. While many people in Edgmonet belong to and value the nature center, it is not publicly available.

Anonymous said...

Nevertheless - the 33 acres that are the Nature Preserve - are 33 acres that do not have housing that increases enrollment in the Edgemont school district. Important to Edgemonters - but by heaven, they sure hate another school disstrict to have such an advantage.

Anonymous said...

No one I know in Edgemont "begrudges" green space in other parts of Greenburgh, only that all of unincorproated Greeenburgh pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Meant to say that all of Greenburgh, not just unincorporated pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont,maybe if you didn't fight so hard to acquire all this parkland,we would not have been in the position that we are in now.It seems that the saying is right not in my back yard.All this land could have been put to good use with housing,but your all afraid of the schools.Yes the villages should pay their fair share,but who ever set the rules never looked at the big picture. Now were stuck with this burden which will be getting heavier.Change the rules and allow housing with the parklands.No one says that you cannot have housing and parkland together.

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about?

The latest lands acquired were not in Edgemont, there was Taxter Ridge in the Irvington District (AND THAT WAS THE IRVINGTON PEOPLE RAISING A RUCCUSS AT TOWN MEETINGS FOR THAT), Glevnille Woods, Harts woods.

WHAT EDGEMONT LAND ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???

All most Edgemont residents I know want is that all of Greenburgh pay their share.

Anonymous said...

Residential development is a cost to a community. Only commercial is a benefit.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:51,

Edgemont did not fight to have Taxter Ridge acquired. Bob Bernstein warned Paul Feiner that if it were acquired, it would have to be charged to the town entire budget. When Paul did otherwise, Bob sued and won. This is all public knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Bob also warned Bass, Juettner, Barnes. They did not listen to Bernstein either. Bass, Juettner and Barnes also voted for Taxter Ridge.They voted to fund the park. They also voted to appeal the Bernstein lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

If you want to sell part of Taxter Ridge for development, I don't think that anyone in Edgemont would object.

Anonymous said...

We are in great need for commercial development, and it would be awesome to sell off parts of Taxter Ridge. Irvington and the other villages will be seceding from Greenburgh soon anyway, so they'll have no say in the matter.

Anonymous said...

Selling taxter ridge to development makes as much sense as selling the greenburgh nature center to donald trump for development. won't happen. shouldn't happen.

Anonymous said...

If the Village of Irvington wants to seceede from the Town of Greenburgh, they should either buy Taxter Ridge from the Town or it should be sold.

Anonymous said...

The Greenburgh Nature Center is well marked in its location off of Central Avenue, has public parking and many programs.

Taxter Ridge??

hal samis said...

What often encourages the sizeable investment in commercial development is a sizeable and expanding population. And a stable government.

If the population is frozen, so will be the commercial marketplace.

Only building commercial buildings with office or retail tenants assumes that there will be an expanding pool of office workers and customers. That is what makes dollars for those who actually own the real estate.

Subdividing a single family home plot to create 1 or 2 new homes does not expand that "pool" by significant numbers to offset the rising taxes that commercial development is looked upon to generate.

Thus to meet the rising costs of government services, including the sidewalks, the libraries and the courts, the acquisition and maintenance of parks, etc., BOTH residential and commercial development are needed. You can't have one without the other. You can't pick and choose your land use based on emotion, especially when the pickers are not the developers.

And the decision to build commercial development is based upon the site's market within a radius. The needs or problems of individual School Districts ("capacity" or not) within that radius is not the concern of those seeking to find tenants for their rentable space

And, in the don't-get-me-started on owner's rights category, developers who own the development sites take the risks and pay the tax obligations for their projects. They don't need the public to tell them what makes dollars or sense.

And many of those arguing against residential development are those that live here solely because some developer built their homes and overrode the then opposition against their construction.

While it is clear that those who own their homes benefit in resale by keeping newer homes and apartments from being built: a perceived scarcity of housing inventory raises and maintains sale prices of the existing.
Likewise, preserving nearby greenspace owned by others, adds to the value of the property of the homeowner protesting the development of this greenspace. In other words, the parties who don't actually own the property seek to derive the benefits. While the actual property owner has to pay the taxes.

Is it any wonder that the issue to stop residential development may have some econmic interest beyond the public relations value of "we've got to protect our schools".

Anonymous said...

Once again Samis is right. Which means that all the rich elite of Edgemont will now attack him.

Anonymous said...

If his comments on how to achieve a proper balance of commercial and residential development are any indication, Samis is clueless when it comes to taking steps to keep our school districts affordable.

And since school taxes comprise the bulk of what we pay in property taxes, it matters greatly that school taxes remain affordable.

Edgemont has taken the time to study the matter and has put together a comprehensive plan to address the matter. Other school districts will likely follow suit.

Samis, like Feiner, probably isn't even aware the study exists, much less what it says.

Samis prides himself on not paying these property taxes, at least not directly, because he's a renter.

Feiner lives in a gated condo community whose reduced-rate property taxes are effectively subsidized by homeowners. He writes letters to fellow condo owners vowing to fight any attempt to tax their luxury housing the same way private homes are taxed.

Not only does neither one know what it's like to be a homeowner in our community, but because of their ignorance and prejudice, both are which are on display in this blog and at town board meetings, they are well behind the curve when it comes to understanding the duties and responsibilities municipalities have today to keep the school districts within their borders affordable.

hal samis said...

It is true that Samis rents. Not news on this blog.
Thus when I write, the positions I take are unconditioned by any personal economic consideration. I am not influenced by decisions which would keep my taxes down. See, it works both ways.

Instead, what influences me when real estate is discussed, is who is deciding the fate of the property, the owner or everyone else as put forth knowledgeably by perhaps as many as 25 Edgemont residents. If I owned a home and still argued for owner's property rights would everyone suddenly accept my views or Ayn Rand on property. I think not.

And because most of the commercial property owners are not Edgemont residents, it is easy for the Edgemont mafia to make them their target. And when Edgemont worries about residential development, they don't include their neighbors who might want to subdivide their property for residentail development.

They are only worried about the property of those who can't vote on their fate. Why wouldn't the Edgemont mafia want to include, say, the Orce property, when trying to ban residential development? Let's see who rushes to answer this question?

What I think I know is that there is a difference between a municipality and a school district. One difference is that Greenburgh is spelled differently than Edgemont. Another difference is that Greenburgh must do what is right for ALL of Greenburgh, not just for Edgemont. Somehow I got the impression that it is the residents of a school district who must take the necessary actions to make their school taxes affordable, not the municipality.
One immediate opportunity to do so is to reduce spending. Cut programs! But before you rush to discredit me because I have pointed out the obvious, let me point out something even more obvious: the residents of the school district vote on their own school taxes. If they are not affordable, they will not vote for the school budget. If they are acceptable, the budget will pass.

No one who buys or bought a home in Edgemont did so with the guarantee that taxes would always be affordable. Sometimes people have to move when they can no longer afford to live where they would prefer. If I could afford Manhattan, I would not be living in Greenburgh. If I could afford to be living in one of the new high rise towers in White Plains, I would not be living in Greenburgh. But my kid did go to NYC private school at an average of $26,000 per year, without the same tax treatment. Do Edgemont residents pay that amount PER child? I don't think so. Affordable in school taxes is like the misused affordable in housing. In school taxes it is assumed that affordable is already too much. In housing, affordable is too high for people who are not management. But compared with what others may pay, the school taxes are affordable for families. And it is these same civic leaders who want to spend more dollars on libraries, sidewalks and Town ordered studies and consultants. So it is hard for me to feel sympathy for them.

What the good folks in Edgemont are really worrying about is how, when they are ready to sell, can they maintain the resale value of their homes. A value which has increased essentially because of the excellence of the school district and not because of the excellence of Greenburgh. However, to prop up their home's market value, they need to cap the taxes that go to maintain the schools. Because there are other good school districts in Westchester and the taxes may not be as high. So what the affluent residents of Edgemont are asking for is really a subsidy to support the school district. And who do they want to pay this subsidy? Why the property owners on Central Avenue. And these owners who have paid their fair share over the years, in gratitude for this, Edgemont wants to repay this kindness by making their property less valuable -- by down zoning the allowable uses. And thus the ball is back to the municipality to do its job for Edgemont, pass the zoning laws that Edgemont seeks. And when there was a legitimate retail development presented to Edgemont a few years back (the vacant Bally's) what did Edgemont do, why they shot it down and said we can do without your commercial real estate taxes. Thank you very much.

And if Greenburgh doesn't make Edgemont leaders happy, Edgemont will say bye bye to Greenburgh and life in Edgemont will thereafter be affordable. I think not. Maybe some smart broker can convince Scarsdale to buy Edgemont so the bogus zip code will have some meaning.

But another thought comes to mind. Investing in a good school system is investing in the future value of your home, no different than installing new windows or upgrading the kitchen. Just like these improvements which the owner can benefit from during his ownership period, so can the school system be used to give his children a good education. School taxes are certainly the tax deductible equivalents of a granite kitchen counters and zero refridgerators. So if the granite counter and new windows and 360 degree showers and the excellent school system are really investments to realize the maximum gain when it comes time to sell, then why should homeowners receive help beyond the tax deductions on income that they get for paying school taxes which also go far beyond teaching Johnny to read? Not to mention, that these deductions are not available to renters, even when the rent is equal to the mortgage payment.

I'd be willing to say let's help Edgemont out if Steve Bass can get Brodsky to help those Greenburgh residents who get no tax benefits from renting, give non-homeowners tax deductions for investing instead in, say, the stock market.

Instead, we have the residents of a school district crying because they want the Cadillac but only want to pay the Chevrolet sticker price. On the day that Edgemont civic leaders send a petition to the Post office to create a Greenburgh zip code in lieu of using Scarsdale's, I'll suppport their concerns for Central Avenue.

Anonymous said...

Rather than take the opportunity to educate himself about Edgemont and what its study showed, Samis simply repeats his ideologically-driven half-assed ideas on what he thinks Edgemont wants.

It's difficult to buy what Samis is selling if he can't even take the time to read what Edgemont's actually seeking to do.

And as if to add insult to injury, on the eve of the school budget vote, leave it to Samis to diss the same Edgemont family that Gooljar mocked two years ago when Feiner's people were working so hard to oppose Edgemont's budget.

Not much has changed.

Instead of Gooljar, this year Feiner gives us Samis.

Anonymous said...

Feiner does not live in the edgemont school district. He has never gotten involved in the edgemont school budgets. Some of his supporters have supported the school budgets. Others have not.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymoys 10:52

It's the same old business from those who dislike Feiner. Insult Samis personally over and over. What I haven't seen are answers to the many problems that Samis has disclosed. He may be a bit over the top in the way he tells us about the problems, but dammit the problems are there. When is your adored Town Board going to actually provide answers instead of sitting there like bumps on a log and stonewalling and covering up their mistakes and incompetence. When are you going to call them names if they don't answer.

And as for Edgemont, they don't give a rap for anything but themselves. Maybe they have studied how to deal with school taxes. That's their business. Town taxes are my business, and Edgemont is not the town even though they think they are.

Anonymous said...

At least 55% of every tax bill in Greenburgh is the school tax. The town tax is only a small part of the bill.

In Central 7, the tax base shrank $2 million this year, which is one of the reasons our school taxes are going up so much for us this year -- assuming our budget passes.

In Edgemont, despite all its growth, the tax base has remained flat. There, the problem is that the commercial tax base has been shrinking while the residential tax base has been growing. Edgemont has a strategy for how to deal with that. This year, it's budget increase is the smallest it's been in years.

Edgemont says that for its strategy to really work it needs a local government that's willing to work with them, not against them.

Feiner has never understood how the town's policies have hurt both Central 7 and Edgemont. For years he would brag that he did a better job with the town's budget than the school districts did with theirs. But unlike Feiner, the schools can't neglect infrastructure and must provide services to everyone, even those who have more needs than others.

Two years ago, Feiner got himself involved in fighting the Edgemont school budget. He likes to deny it, but no one who worked so hard to get that budget passed will ever forget the false and misleading letters that Feiner's Edgemont campaign manager sent, his refusal to correct them when confronted with the facts, the use of a "robo-caller," the trashing of Edgemont residents who supported the budget by a paid Feiner campaign worker who ran a website that Feiner linked to the town website, and Feiner's 11th hour promise to send out a robo-call with a pro-budget message -- and then his reneging on that promise when it was too late to get anyone else to do it.

There's an important role for government to play in helping our schools. Feiner, however, still thinks it's a feather in his cap to undermine our schools.

Anonymous said...

Do not say that property cannot be sold. Trump could and would buy any parcel of land that he wants. Maybe he's the person to talk to,about saving us tax monies.

hal samis said...

If 10:52 has conjectured that I have dissed the Orce family, then he is operating on less cylinders than normal.

So called Edgemont "civic leaders" when seeking a moratorium on residential development were careful to avoid stepping on the toes of Edgemont residents who own property in locations other than Central Avenue. I argued that if they were truly concerned about residential development, they would shut all the doors and extend their moratorium request to all Edgemont. However, that would mean taking on some powerful Edgemont families who would be upset. The Orce property is one such potential development site that the "honest" civic leaders ignored.

I have nothing against the Orce's and everything else I have said regarding property rights should lead one to the conclusion that they should be free, like other owners, to develop it, when the time comes, as they wish. I'd have no problem with a 40 story condominium tower.

As for the decline in tax base, if property owners avail themselves of cert proceedsing and they win or the Town settles, then has the Town acted illegally or has it followed what is the right thing?
If properties are indeed over-assessed, then the owners are entitled to relief. And cert settlements have been awarded to not only residential but also to everyone's new favorite property class, commercial real estate.

So Edgemont has now re-worked "The DaVinci Code" to show that the Holy Grail is really their study and woe to all who do not read and worship it.

If Edgemont is so proud of their work product, send it over and I promise to read it. You have my address, both by mail or email or in person, you see me at town meetings. I'm sure you'll be happy to read my comments too.

And if you want to pass your school budgets, fine. Just don't look afterward to the Town to help you pay for it. You should be free to spend whatever you want. that's why you vote. Just spend what you can afford. That more students may want to attend these schools is no longer news, so spend as much as you want on what you want, but don't complain when students arrive at your school door and demand a desk.

Anonymous said...

Even though it is a high tax district, Edgemont is also a high income district. As a result, Edgemont does not expect to receive much in the way of any increases in state aid -- and it had never received any aid whatsoever from the town.

Edgemont seeks what most other school districts in Westchester County already have -- a municipality that is willing to work with it, rather than against it.

If voters in school districts in Greenburgh are content to sit back and let commercial tax cert settlements continue to erode their tax base -- thereby making their school districts less and less affordable -- then they should continue to vote for Feiner because that's what he offers: more of same.

Those of us who think municipalities should work with their school districts to enhance their respective tax bases in order to keep their districts affordable think it's time for a change.

hal samis said...

The bumper sticker in Edgemont this year appears to be: "the municipality should work with the school district", the Edgemont School District.

What's wrong with this picture?
Feiner, Feiner, Feiner.
When he's not busy screwing up everything else in town, apparently he (all by himself) somehow finds a moment to lower the tax assessments on Edgemont commercial property. And he is even able to convince the Edgemont School Board (which I guess he controls) to consent to this.

How does he effect this Svengali
like persuasion? Edgemont has their REPORT. Doesn't their School Board understand Feiner's masterplan to undermine the District?

It would seem that all that the Edgemont civic leaders would have to do to succeed is to say to their own School Board, "just say no to the cert settlements".

Or Edgemont should start critcizing their School Board.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont school district gets all that it wants at all costs. Feiner has nothing to do with the school system.Look to see what could be cut from your school budget,to make living here a little more comfortable,did you ever count the peoples money who live in Edgemont. Some of us are on fixed income,but we still have to be burdened with the high school tax,Many of us cannot receive the full star program.The school board only asks the professional people for their input,and not senior citizens. They forget that one day they will be in our shoes..

Anonymous said...

How did Feiner get into the certiorari business? I thought that it was a legal thing handled by the Town Attorney.

Or is this another example by Edgemont residents to blame Feiner for something which is not his responsibility.

vote yes on edgemont's budget said...

Feiner is not to blame for tax cert settlements; Feiner is to blame for not working with school districts like Edgemont and Central 7 to find ways to protect and enhance their tax bases generally.

Feiner and his supporters like to spread misinformation about Edgemont's budget.

Edgemont's budget is a responsible budget that is good for our kids and our community. The increase this year is 6.79%.

Edgemont is in better shape this year than it has been for some years due to sound management practices and increased revenues.

In endorsing the school budget this week, the Scarsdale Inquirer summed up by saying that “the district has...achieved a sensible balance betweeen needed improvements and fiscal responsibility.”

Need more information? There is a ton available on the district websites: information on the budget, on the EXCEL Proposition, and an article (“Edgemont Finance 101”) based on the Government & Demographics Committee’s work on the Edgemont tax base: why it is declining, why our tax increases are always higher than Scarsdale’s, and what can be done about it. Go to www. edgemont.org, look under District Resources, and follow the links for Budget and District Newsletter.

Anonymous said...

Vote No!!!!!!!!!!!!
on School Budgets

Why are the signs still up? said...

May 5 event signs still up in Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

Pleas do not buy gasoline tomorrow May 15th