Friday, June 08, 2007

VILLAGES CAN INTERVENE RE: TAXTER RIDGE LAWSUIT

The Appellate Division, second department, issued an order today granting Joseph Bova (Mayor of Dobbs Ferry) the opportunity to file an amicus curie brief regarding the constitutionality of the Finneran law as it pertains to town taxation for the purchase of 200 acres of open space at Taxter Ridge. The court is rescheduling oral arguments for a date in late summer or early fall. The amicus curie brief must be filed on or before July 9.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bad news for Bob Bernstein! Good news for the entire town.

Good news for Bernstein said...

Bad news for Bernstein? Hardly.

The Appellate Division ruled in Bernstein's favor that Bova was NOT entitled to intervene in the Taxter appeal and that Keane & Beane, the villages' law firm, would NOT be permitted to argue at the oral argument.

Instead, after Bernstein filed papers saying he was NOT OPPOSED, the Appellate Division allowed Bova to file an amicus or "friend of the court" brief.

Why did Bernstein oppose intevention but consent to the filing of an amicus brief by the villages?

You'd have to ask him or read his papers, but to smart lawyers, the answer's pretty obvious: The Court said it wants to know whether it is constitutional for the Town to apply the so-called Finneran Law -- which allows the town to tax only unincorporated Greenburgh for parks restricted in use to unincorporated Greenburgh residents -- to Taxter Ridge, which is open to all Greenburgh residents.

That means the Court is now thinking of ruling that the Town's actions may not only be unlawful but unconstitutional as well.

This is very serious business with extremely high stakes.

By giving the villages an opportunity to be heard by filing an amicus brief, if the Court rules in Bernstein's favor, village leaders cannot be heard to complain that the Town did a lousy job representing them or that the result would have been different if only the villages' lawyer had been heard.

And oh yeah, there's also Bernstein II. Now that the villages can be heard in Bernstein I, what happens there may well govern what happens in Bernstein II.

So the stakes right now for the villages couldn't be any higher than they are right now.

Oh, and one other thing: The appellate division also ruled that Bernstein gets to answer the villages' brief, which means he gets last word on all papers filed.

Bad news for Bernstein? They're probably smiling quite a bit right now in Edgemont.

And those in the villages must be wondering: should we have negotiated when we had the chance? Was Feiner right to block efforts at mediation?

bad news for bernstein... said...

Hey, Feiner didn't block the mediation. Bass, Barnes, Sheehan, Juettner voted the same way.
If Bernstein thinks he won this round (he's trying to spin a loss into a win) why did he push so hard (via Kaminer) to get the town atty's office to lay low on the intervention?

nope, it's good news for bob b. said...

When will Feiner learn to stop attacking Bernstein all the time?

Feiner torpedoed the mediation by threatening to label as "anti-village" any settlement offer that the town might make.

As a result, despite eight months of mediation and $25,000 paid to the mediator, the town never once made an offer.

Village mayors may now regret that they didn't negotiate when they had the opportunity.

And if the Appellate Division rules for Bernstein on Taxter and finds the town's actions not only illegal but unconstitutional, and that ruling is binding on Bernstein II, which after today's order got a whole lot more likely, village taxpayers will also have Feiner himself to thank, and they need to know that.

So, in light of that, why would Feiner think that Bernstein "pushed hard" to get the town attorney's office to "lay low" on the "intervention" -- whatever that's supposed to mean?

It sounds like its meant to be some kind of Feiner-driven slander against Bernstein but what does that legal-sounding gibberish even mean?

And for goodness' sake, Bernstein doesn't communicate with Kaminer about legal matters. Why would Feiner think he does?

Bernstein opposed intervention by Bova on his own and won.

Why would Feiner think Bernstein would even care what the town's view on intervention would be and why would the town's "laying low" on intervention, whatever that means, be of any interest to a court or anyone?

And why would Feiner assume that Bernstein would think that Kaminer of all people would hold any sway with a dysfunctional town legal department that consistently refuses to distribute any of the legal briefs filed by the town or anyone else in this lawsuit to any members of the town council, much less to the town council "aide."

Bernstein never communicated with Kaminer to push hard to get the town attorney's office to do anything -- and Feiner knows it.

If Feiner and his cohorts in the villages want to spin today's ruling as a legal victory, they have every right to their opinion.

But they should also consider the possibility that they may lose -- and lose big -- just as Bernstein said they might when he urged the town long ago not to appeal the Taxter ruling.

And if and when they do lose, the responsibility for refusing to negotiate when they had the chance rests with them.

Anonymous said...

The two long blogs were written by Bernstein. Nobody except those who were told by the court what they decided yesterday could know these details - assuming they are true, which they may not be since Bernstein is a known liar.

But what do these blogs tell ut?

Bernstein protesteth too much. In the past he has fought to prevent the villages from being heard by the court. Now they will be. We will soon see what the court does and don't bet on Bernstein.

As usual, Bernstein turns everything into an attack on Feiner. This one is more loony than most. First, because Feiner didn't torpedo the mediation. Feiner urged the mediation. Bernstein torpedoed it by refusing to discuss anything the villages wanted to discuss. Second, everybody in Town Hall knows that Bernstein telephoned Kaminer after the court ordered the briefs about constitutionality and that Kaminer then went to work on the town attorney. Third, the charge that Feiner attacks Bernstein all the time says much about Bernstein's dishonesty and tactics. How did Feiner attack Bernstein all the time? Feiner said nothing about Bernstein, he just reported that the court had signed an order letting the villages file a brief.

I suspect that Bernstein didn't sleep well last night.

Anonymous said...

If Bernstein didnt sleep well last night, it probably because he is up burning the midnight oil between his successful law firm work (did you see him on CNBC last week) and his community work. Too bad Feiner doesn't have a career to fall back on, and wont retire.

Anonymous said...

Nobody saw Bernatein on CNBC last week except Bernstein watching the video he made of it. Is Bernstein now competing with Feiner about TV appearances?

I doubt that he was burning the midnight oil last night.

Anonymous said...

Those e-mails from last night may or may not have been from Bernstein.

The reason is that when rulings come down from the courts, unlike Feiner, Bernstein always makes a point of distributing the orders to a lot of people on his distribution list. And he does so fairly quickly. The author of last night's comments could really have been any number of people.

Bernstein is also quite candid about his communications with Town Hall about the court's order. He never had any conversations with Kaminer about it; nor would he have had reason to have any conversations with him about it.

According to Bernstein's filings in court (which Bernstein makes a point of distributing also), when the court ordered the briefs about the constitutionality, Bernstein was not given notice of the order.

He found out about it two days after his brief was due.

So as a matter of professional courtesy, Bernstein telephoned Town Attorney Tim Lewis and asked him to consent to a five day extension of time.

Lewis refused. He told Bernstein that the Town had learned about the order from Keane & Beane, the villages' law firm, and they suspected that Bernstein did not know about the court's order (because the town itself had not gotten notice either), but on Feiner's instructions, they made a "strategic decision" not to tell Bernstein about it.

And when Bernstein asked the town to consent to the extension, Feiner notified the village mayors via e-mail and asked that they join him in refusing to grant any extension, even as a matter of professional courtesy.

Feiner also lied in those e-mails. He said Bernstein wasn't owed any courtesy because Bernstein had never given the town any extensions of time.

In fact, Bernstein has over the years agreed to give the town multiple extensions of time, including one well publicized series of extensions of the time for the town to file its appeal in the Taxter case.

This was the first time in four years that Bernstein had ever asked for time, and at Feiner's direction, the Town said no.

The court of course gave Bernstein the time he asked for.

But what does this episode say about Feiner? What if Bernstein wins and Feiner has to negotiate?

Does this sound like how a responsible public official should act?

Anonymous said...

Bernstein should really stop these postings under the name Anonymous. Everybody knows that he is writing them.

If Bernstein wins he will have a lot to crow about. If he loses he will look quite ridiculous for having said these things.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein (aka anonymous) says that "bernstein asks for time and aat Feiner's direction the town said no." (9:19).
Bass, Barnes, Juettner, Sheehan also make policy for the town. At least two of the councilmembers agreed with Feiner.

Anonymous said...

11:56 is right. The way I heard it is that nobody on the Board wanted to give Bernstein the time, that's why the Town Attorney couldn't do it. If three Board members had told the Town Attorney to agree to give Bernstein the extra time the Town Attorney would have done it. He never acts without permission from the Board.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't someone, Bernstein or anybody else who has it, post the court's order on this blog. Then we won't have to wonder whether it is being described correctly.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully, members of the Town Board don't support Bernsteins lawsuit. Thankfully, the court did not grant Bernstein the decision he wanted.

Anonymous said...

Bob-

If you don't mind, can you post your CNBC appearance on Youtube so that we all can see it?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that Feiner,Bass, Barnes, Sheehan, Juettner voted to appeal the Taxter Ridge lawsuit. Predict that they will be successful.

hal samis said...

Glad to see that on this topic, posters have learned that it takes three votes.

Even when five votes are cast, it only takes three.

reason, reality and Taxter said...

Most of these postings miss the point. The villages are arguing for a free lunch - the right to use Taxter Ridge (regardless of whether they wanted the lunch or not) without the obligation of paying for it. No court is going to sanction this. The town (lead by cheerleader Feiner who was snookered by the Moonies and Danny Gold) bought Taxter (a 200 acre park and preserve) with State and County money - ergo - it has to be open to all residents. The Town then billed its share of the bonds used to pay for the purchase solely to the residents of unincorporated Greenburgh. Thats the problem - the taxes are restricted while the park is not. As far as Taxter is concerned, there is no rational basis to treat a taxpayer in an incorporated village any different from one in the unincorporated section since the park is open to all town residents. Now we know why the court asked the parties to address the issue of whether the town's discriminatory tax practices violates among other things the requirement under the constitution that everyone be afforded equal protection (or treatment) of the law. It should be kept in mind that the unincorporated section of the town constititutes a minority. The danger posed by the Town's actions in seeking to charge only the minority section of the Town will not be lost on the appellate court. Lets also not forget that the lower court was already ruled Bernstein is right. Most appeals fail.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein, in the last blog in which you pose as anonymous is the umpteenth time you have said the same thing. Don't you get tired of repeating yourself?

Anonymous said...

How can it be constitutional for the Town to charge (as it does now in the A budget) the villages for the town court, town comptroller, town assessor, town attorney, town central services, town engineer, etc., when the villages have their own courts, comptrollers, attornies, engineers, etc. and do not use these town services?

State law is involved, I guess. But maybe the State law is unconstitutional and the unincorporated Town will be told to stop collecting taxes from the villages for these services.

Until the issue of having the villages pay for all parks in the uncorporated area, I never realized how unjust the current system is - and how some unincorporated citizens want to further this injustice.

Facts of Town life said...

There is no such entity as the "unincorporated town." there is one Town which has within its borders six incorporated villages. if you dont live in one of the villages you live in the unincorporated section of the Town (this is where all current Town Board members now live except for one).
the Town board is elected by the entire Town. if they wanted, the villages could control the town board by simply voting a village slate in (the villages have about 55% of the eligible voters). In the Taxter case, the Town Board, seemingly fearing the wrath of the villages, voted to charge only the residents of the unincorporated area the costs associated with Taxter Ridge even though it truly benefitted the Irvington School District which includes the village of Irvington.

Tax on Taxter is troubling said...

Taxter Ridge is open to everyone in the Town but the taxes for its costs are billed only to the unincorporated area. That doesnt seem right.

Anonymous said...

The reason it is constitutional to charge the entire town, including the villages, for the town court, the town comptroller, the town assessor, the town attorney, central services, etc., is that these facilities are available to the entire town, including the villages, and village residents, whether or not they avail themselves of these town-wide services, have the legal right to elect the town government which decides how much money to spend on these town-wide services.

As long as village residents have the right to vote for the town government, the fact that all or some of the villages have availed themselves of their legal right to supply these services themselves -- and charge village residents for the privilege -- is legally irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

5"09 is wrong. The Town Comptroller cannot do anything for the villages. Neither can many other town offices and departments which are charged to the villages. It is the most screwed up system I have ever seen, and it looks to me that the blogger, who must be Bernstein, just wants the villages to pay all their departments and half of the town's departments. Doesn't seem right to me. Sounds downright unconstitutional.

Anonymous said...

The guy who wrote at 5:09 is kidding, right?

Ask the Town Attorney to do the legal work for the villages and see how far you get.

Ask the Town Comptroller to handle village finances and see how far you get.

Try bringing a village case in Town Court and it will be sent back to the village court.

Try asking the Town Assessor to do the assessing for village taxes and he will think you are crazy.

Ask central services to do the administrative work for the six village and he will call the cops on you.

Any more questions? No more lies, if you don't mind.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that anyone should pay for the majority of the Town Board because they are worthless.

Mickey (not anony) Mouse said...

A bit of history. Way back in about 1787 the State of New York chartered the Town of Greenburgh. Think of "Greenburgh 1787" as a sort of all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of government services for the southwestern corner of Westchester County. No service was too large or too small - but no golden arches to say "more than ten thousand served."
Because of the time and distances involved (have you ever walked from say the Yonkers line on the Grassy Sprain to Town Hall) some folks wanted to bring some of those services into their villages. Hey, Mr. Dobbs, can you spare time from your ferry business to attest to land transactions until someone can walk over to White Plains to record them? Need to clean up after them darned horses leaving calling cards in front of the Tavern again. Simple stuff that didn't require much time, intelligence or diligence. So petition the State and become a village within the Town. As the Town doesn't do much, the tax burden is low - and paid only by the rich guys like Underhill, Seely and Whiting who actually owned (dare we say it?) LAND.
Come the 21st Century the all-you-can-eat buffet is still open, and with pretty much the same high carb, high calorie, sugar-sweetened and nearly fiberless offerings its always had. Cause there are some folks who like that stuff. Of course you villagers all want low carb, high protein, high fiber, sugarless, and low calorie helpings of government - so you've opened your picnic baskets loaded with good, healthy government. Sorry, if you're at the buffet and it costs $9.95 a head, you can't deduct a dollar because you don't eat headcheese. You can still enjoy your dinner, but as long as you're at the buffet, you gotta pay the whole price.
Do Villagers go to Yankees games and if the boys are behind and the Villagers go home after the sixth inning, do the Villagers feel entitled to a third of their ticket price back? After all, they wouldn't have gone to the game if they knew the home team was going to boot it....

Anonymous said...

To Mickey - I thought that the Villages pay 5% of the Town Budget, but receive about $9.95 worth of services from the Town.

You know, when you're in Court, you can never be sure of the decision. Perhaps the Court will decide that the cost of Village parks should be added to the Town wide budget so that all of Greenburgh can pay for the parks in all of the Villages, as well as in the unincorporated area. Then the Villages would be getting something for their 5%.

Or, since Villages, by State law, have to be part of a Town, they could become their own Towns. Then you wouldn't have to give the Villages a vote in Greenburgh elections.

But then one of the current candidates for Supervisor would not be eligible to run for office since she lives in a Village, ie, Dobbs Ferry.

Anonymous said...

For those who think its downright un-American if not unconstitutional for village residents in Greenburgh to pay their fair share of the costs of the town attorney, town engineer, tax assessor, town court, town hall, etc., consider the alternative: if you form your own town, you'd have to pay for these services and facilities all by yourselves.

And on top of that, you'd also have to continue to pay to Greenburgh the debt service on everything else contracted for on a town-wide basis, until the debt's been paid off.

And because you'll be a town, you'll be the tax collector responsible for collecting all county,town and school taxes too, so'll you'll need to have a lot of cash in reserves to make up any shortfalls.

Can you say major tax hike?

Ever wonder what ever happened to that Pace study that was supposed to tell the villages what the cost of secession would be.

Those who claim the current laws are antiquated, those who say it's unconstitutional to require village taxpayers to pick up town costs, those who say only unincorporated area residents should pay for parks and recreational facilities that are open townwide -- shouldn't they be telling you what it would really cost for the villages to secede?

Maybe paying Greenburgh for those pesky town services might be a bargain after all.

Anonymous said...

7:41 - I think you miss the point. The villages ALREADY PAY for THEIR OWN village attorney, engineer, village court, parks and recreation. They neither need nor use the Town attorney, engineer, court, recreation programs and parks, central offices, etc. Yet, they are taxed by the Town for these services again - and the Town does not provide such services to the villages.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite sure that Donald Trump will be interested in Taxter ridge ,he could build a beautiful golf course,and put the property back on the tax roll . What's the sense of keeping this property that cannot be used for years to come. If the state wants to do something good for tax payers they should find a buyer who is willing to build a golf course. I think there will be plenty of green space in doing this.

Anonymous said...

I have reead some uninformed, outright dumb stuff on this blog. But I have never read anything as uninformed and outright dumb as what the 6:26 blogger wrote.

Anonymous said...

8:17 is correct.

And the most important thing that 6:26 said is, "Way back in about 1787 the State of New York chartered the Town of Greenburgh." So, after 220 years, perhaps it's time for an update.

Though I am wondering, like 7:41 asked, what resulted from that succession study?

Anonymous said...

8:19 -- even a 9 hole golf course would be great. Cant this be bonded. Lets do something with this.

Anonymous said...

taxter Ridge is what it is. Wwhy not put a golf course ther in place of a forest. this will also bring in revenue that is needed to help with the tax base. Some one has to have an answer to this question if the property couldbe sold to the highest bidder or can the state mandate that a golf course be built.Wow our own golf course.

Anonymous said...

This property should be used for something that would generate monies for Greenburgh.Greenburgh has so many golfers that this would be an excellent idea. Since there is so much property one can think of something else to put on it so it could be developed into something attractive and affordable for everyones use.

Government failed us said...

Now we see the wisdom of having a public referendum on things like Taxter Ridge. Instead we had a self appointed group of open space advocates, a press seeking supervisor, a bunch of dolts on town board who probably never even saw the property and a school district looking to pass the buck to the rest of the town so it could avoid the costs if the land was developed for homes with children who would use the Irvington School District. The biggest joke is that no one can even use let alone find Taxter Ridge.

Anonymous said...

Paul why did you satisfy the chosen few who wanted more green space [Taxter Ridge].Now listen very carefully, this parcel of land is only good for a developer, If it were in a buildable condition ,do you think the moonies would not have used it themselves. They knew what they were unloading ,and Greenburgh bit to accomadate some people. Now try to do the right thing and see how to make this matter better.If by chance it could be sold ,Sell it. We do not need this mountainous forrest,that would cost too much money to develope. Don't put us in a deeper hole .It's off the tax roll so why hold on to it. We need help with the taxes that are going thru the roof, Too bad if homes would impact one school system,it will be sold sooner ore later.

Anonymous said...

I would like the Town Council to appoint a group to study what can be done with Taxter Ridge. I would have thought it is dedicated park land, so can not be developed. But I would like to know if it can be turned into golf course, or other options.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is enough unhappiness about Taxter Ridge so that it makes sense to see if it can be turned into a taxable property without adding home development. But Taxter Ridge is owned jointly by Greenburgh, New York State and Westchester County. In the past some bloggers have said that it is very difficult to sell parkland, and that is even harder when the state and the county are involved.

What happens if a golf course doesn't succeed? That will be one of the objections to any plan.

Anonymous said...

A developer can make a golf course and set up a few condo's as was done in Briarcliff. If the golf course falls through make more condo's , but for goodness sake don't have that piece of land stay the way it is.There is money poured into this problem with no end results,just because someone wanted more green space. If it is developed you will have green space that is a pleasure to look at.

feiner too costly said...

Feiner's knee jerk anti development stance (except when the money comes from developers to his campaign) cost us the ridiculous taxter ridge and the placement of the new home depot in the town north of greenburgh. we cannot afford feiner anymore. isnt 16 years enough?

Anonymous said...

If we had real leadership, Taxter Ridge might have been worthwhile. When Feiner went after it, he said it would be the central park of westchester. Well Central Park has ball fields, a zoo, bridle trails, a skating rink, a pond, a restaurant -- need I go on??? Oh wait -- public access.

hal samis said...

Dear Bloggers,

Of all the topics that I have reminded you that it takes three, this, the purchase of Taxter Ridge, is the very top of last of most flagrant culpability by ALL the members of the Town Board.

In this case, it only took FIVE votes. They all wanted it. Danny Gold wanted it. East Irvington residents en masse came to Town Hall to demand it. The Town Board -- all 5 -- of them bought into it.

Despite all the phony arguments which were given to justify the purchase, all 5 members of the Town Board voted to acquire it.

Despite all the counters to the phony arguments, all 5 members of the Town Board voted to acquire it.

Despite Bernstein's warning, all 5 members of the Town Board voted to acquire it.

So, how come I still see only Feiner's name as the guilty party? If you want to win the war, isn't the team wearing the white hats strong enough to deal with an issue without making it an election year opportunity to disparage.

I was and am wholeheartedly against the purchase. It should never have happened, especially because it was no longer worth the purchase price after the Town passed the steep slopes and wetlands laws.

And the buck doesn't stop at the Town Board either. The Westchester County Board of Legislators voted to buy Taxter Ridge DESPITE my pointing out to Tom Abinante that they needed a new appraisal to reflect the diminished value following the wetlands and steep slopes zoning downgrade. Mr. Abinante ignored me. Mr. Abinante also ignored me when I requested that if the County was going to go ahead, then at least, as representing the County, he should insist that a Parking plan should be a condition of the purchase so that residents of the County could use it, much less Greenburgh residents, his friends and neighbors, also being able to use it. But no, Mr. Abinante ignored this also. So don't forget Tom when you point the finger.

Now there are Greenburgh, County and State Taxes going toward the purchase. Greeenburgh residents contribue 3x, so while the the A/B battle continues, think of how well you were represented at all levels.

The names to remember of those who represented you are:
Tom Abinante, Paul Feiner, Steve Bass (aide to Abinante), Eddie Mae Barnes, Diana Juettner and Timmy Weinberg.

No one's vote on the Greenburgh Town Board carried more weight than any other member so remember that.
No one can claim that they were given improper advice, there were no "legal" opinions to muddy the water, there was no misdirection from the Supervisor. Everything was out in the open and if the Town Board couldn't grasp the potential problem and future expense borne solely by Greenburgh, then they all need replacement.

So again, if you want to gain credulity with me, at least share the blame among all five because, on this particular matter, none of them is entitled to a "get out of jail free" card.

Anonymous said...

While we're at it, let's put condo's or a golf course on the 122 acres of Hartsbrook Park in Hartsdale. That's another 3 way deal, NYS, County, Greenburgh. We shouldn't be paying for that. Who goes there, who can find it - even though lots of Town money purchased it and is put in to maintain it. Sell it. (Oops, I forgot, that's where those who think they own Greenburgh live near)

Really we have too many parks. Let's scratch Secor Woods, Massaro, Crain Pond, Riley Pond, Yosemite, Knollwood. Travis Hill, East Rumbrook etc, etc. I don't know where they are - and I pay taxes, will never use them, so they should be shut down or sold off. Think how great the taxes would be if they were sold and developed! And no more Town money for maintenance and the 3 or 4 people from the villages who go there would stay home, as they should.

The Nature center could be a great shopping mall. Edgemont would like that.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

The candidates for council positions other than the incumbents are the "Feiner slate" of Sondja Brown and Kevin Morgan. Look on his website at www.paulfeiner.com. So the question for voters -- do you more heavy handedness, pandereing to contributors etc. or less. No one should kid themselves -- not voting for Barnes and Brown is more unchecked Feiner. It is not unbiased people.

Bass and Barnes must go said...

to 10:41, are you suggesting that Bass and Barnes are unbiased and don't pander? Their whole governing attitude is get Feiner and opposing him no matter whether he is right of wrong. It is especially gruesome to watch Bass with his oily sharpshooting whenever Feiner says anything. Bass is lucky that Feiner is not a good debater. A more capable debater would destroy that pinnacle of dishonesty and prince of pandering that Bass is. Do you remember the Darfur resolution? Do you remember adding apprentices to construction? Do I have to say more?

Whatever else you may think about Brown and Morgan, the hate on the Town Board wil be neutralized, and maybe we can get something done for the town.

Anonymous said...

And then the courts will be running Greenburgh

Anonymous said...

11:36 said "And then the courts will be running Greenburgh."

Of the many stupid things that have been said on this blog, that is the stupidest.

who needs activists? said...

Why do we want something done for the town? The town under the current ADHD supervisor has done enough damage by purchasing unnecessary parkland, erecting eyesores, illegally given away millions of dollars to the valhalla school district etc etc.
We need a town board that will follow the existing laws first and provide basic services well - that requires a change at the top.

hal samis said...

Dear "Who Needs":

Everything you mentioned as wrong was passed by at least three votes which means that the Town Council endorsed it.

So if we need a Town Board that will do things right, the conclusion, as well as the experience, is that the current Town Board is doing things wrong.

Which means that to change things around you have to get good people interested. And Ms Berger is not the one; she is merely the place holder for someone else.

She has nothing on her resume other than politics. And when you think about politics, what comes to mind is the art of the back room deal, not unlike those deals which put her in the running. So what is the percentage in improving government by replacing the Supervisor who is accused of making deals by choosing a candidate whose political career depends on deals while having zero experience in government? Those who want Feiner out so badly have settled, not selected.

How is Berger going to learn the job? By depending on the Town Council...the blind leading the blind? Since Berger was originally put forward to draw votes in the villages away from Feiner, what side of the A/B issue is Ms. Berger or, put another way, on what side of Bernstein does she stand? Apparently she has no opinion of her own. Waiting to hear what the Court decides may be reading from the handbook but folks round here are still curious as to how she thinks.

For someone who has decided to run for the office, for someone who knows that residents are going to question her lack of experience, the smart thing would be to counter that charge early on by exhibiting awareness and a slate of positions. Otherwise, if the Courts and the Comptroller are to run the Town, then let's eliminate the office and say thanks and goodbye to both Feiner and Berger.

What is apparent is that Ms Berger is smart enough to recognize that she has no depth, no feel for the job and no history to draw upon. So she says nothing. Nothing may be the counter to Feiner who has an opinion on everything. But when a new face is running against a long term incumbent, it would be nice to be able to put out to would-be voters a statement of how I (she) would solve these ubiquitous problems.

Confounded by a candidate who gives no assurances that she even knows the problems is a happenstance of little comfort to voters. With the withdrawal of Greenawalt, it is now time for Ms Berger to wade in and get her feet wet.

Because, this is not just another election year. This is the first year the incumbent who lives in unincorporated, but is perceived to favor the villages, is facing an opponent who lives in the villages but is perceived ????
These question marks are the product of the Bernstein Guide to Winning, a difficult treatise to master because it means crossing lines and stepping on her benefactor's toes, even if only for a few months duration. But don't let me hypothicate, let's get it straight from Berger, herself.

Where do you stand Suzanne Berger?

And what auditing experience do you possess?

Anonymous said...

We know one thing. Suzanne Berger is not Feiner. Thats a major plus because we cannot afford Feiner.

xarol said...

One thing is clear from most of the blogs except from those who identify themselves because they have serious things to say, and the rare occasional one who doesn't identify himself. That is that they don't have any idea what government and governing is all about. They are motivated by two things.

One, if they don't get things their way then government is bad. The fact that there are all kinds of considerations that a government has to take into account, and that there may be legal constraints is unimportant to them, if they even know that there are constraints. The fact that there may be large expenses involved is something they don't think about because at the same time they want lower taxes. Ignorance is really not bliss, except to these people.

Second, they think that getting rid of Feiner is the magic bullet, so that is all they get excited about. They purposely ignore the shortcomings and the nasty politics of the Town Council. They ignore that the Town Council has voted with Feiner almost all the time. They paint a picture of the town that makes it look like a disaster area, even though most people think that Greenburgh is a lovely town and its services exceptional. They willingly support a person who has no qualifications for the job only because she is "not Feiner."

I can only hope that these bloggers are not represntative of the voters of the town.

And by the way, three cheers for Samis.

One vs. Three votes said...

Samis says "just three votes." Translation: Three votes of any of the four town councilmembers (bass, barnes, juettner, and sheehan) will stop Feiner. But thats inefficient - lets cast one vote - the one that turns Feiner out of office. Samis has the diagnosis (the problem is Feiner), now lets apply the correct cure.

Anonymous said...

In your dreams, anonymous 2:07. Lots of people in town think that with all his faults Feiner is a decent person who has brought some humanity into government. They much prefer a flawed Feiner to the bullies and greedy powerseekers who come to Town Board meetings and make spectacles of themselves.

It won't be one vore to get rid of Feiner. Maybe we won't get rid of the Town Council either. But of the two, I'd rather see the Town Council members go.

Anonymous said...

Dear anon

11:36 said "And then the courts will be running Greenburgh."

Of the many stupid things that have been said on this blog, that is the stupidest.

I wrtoe the 11:36 bog. Why do you think that it is stupid? Feiner, unchecked, will do thinks like buy Taxter Rdigee and charge to unincoproated, pay Valhalla. At the end of the day the courts will have to have decide.

Anonymous said...

The reason that it is the stupidest is because you don't have any idea of what is going on.

1. Feiner doesn't do anything unchecked. He does very little because the Town Council doesn't let him do anything.

2. As Hal Samis repeatedly points out, it takes three votes to do anything. That includes buying Taxter Ridge which had the vote of the entire Town Board. The Valhalla deal had the vote of the entire Town Board. Anything else you complain about had the vote of the entire Town Board.

3. Courts get involved when someone sues for disobeying the law on a particular issue. Courts don't run a town.

Blowing off steam is no substitute for knowledge. Lack of knowledge equals stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Gee,

the courts have gotten involved in

A/B budget -- exp. Taxter Ridge

Valhalla funding (oh right, that was the NYS comptroller office)

Anonymous said...

2:58 just confirmed that lack of knowledge combined with blowing off steam equals stupidity. And besides, he doesn't know how to read.

samis' mantra is flawed said...

the flaw in samis' mantra of just three votes is that for many years there was just one vote - whatever feiner wanted he basically got- the rest of the dolts went along for the ride (they were essentially on feiner's payroll as they used his campaign money to get re-elected). when it was discovered that taxter, the hideous 9-11 wall, westhelp and the tree case brought unwanted attention to the slumbering members, they finally woke up. so yes they are to blame for sleeping on the job, but all of the messes were instigated by feiner the problem creator. if you want to get things done differently, you need leadership. thats the supervisor's job (and yet something that samis the lone eagle overlooks). feiner cannot lead. his former supplicants have lost confidence in him. his "slate" running mates have no credibility and only illustrate how isolated her is. thats why he needs to go. just one vote

Anonymous said...

Mrs.Berger should stay away from the position of supervisor of Greenburgh,She should wait for the next time arround. The present council will not work with her because Bass and Sheehan are looking for that position themselves. Because of this she will be treated worse than Feiner. Let's get rid of Bass and Barnes for now ,and maybe with luck the emperor will resign.Having new members on the board could make it a working board for the people.She should consider droping out of the race this time,because the whole house has to be cleaned up a little at a time. Mrs, Berger stay with your firm until the next election,by then we all could see what other changes have to be made. The Democratic party has no one to put up for election, so I'm sure you will be asked to do them a favor.

hal samis said...

Dear One versus Three,

The diagnosis of Samis, not your version of what Samis says, is still that problems are caused by three votes for or three votes against. There is no "but". If you want to discuss efficiency as the be-all, end-all, then get rid of the local stop, the Town Council (unbranded), and stick with the express train, the Supervisor (unbranded). However, we likely agree that the check and balance system is a good thing and thus we must tolerate a certain measure of what you label inefficiency.

The more efficient thing is not to start over with a Supervisor-in-Training. Who is going to teach Ms Berger the difference between a Zoning and a Planning Board, Diana Juettner? Eddie Mae Barnes?
And if Mr. Sheehan is to be the mentor, do we really want another portion of Sheehan?

If you truly are concerned with efficiency, then the proper thing to achieve this is increase the Supervisor's term to four years, the same length as the Town Council. If anyone has a job that requires winning an election every two years to hold onto the job, then it is bound to cut into the available time to actually perform the job. Would members of the Town Council want their term of office reduced to two years? I think not.

As for term limits, these are de facto enforced by the electorate. The term ends when voters no longer want to return the incumbent to office. Is anyone saying, Ms Barnes, Ms Juettner, you've held your seats too long? What IS being said is that they have between them 6 months experience X the number of years on the dais versus gaining cumulative experience. Consider a quote from another, "Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement". Our Town Council has exhibited plenty of bad judgement but they not grown with the job; they have no unique vision on major issues; all they have left to distinguish themselves is to pick at housekeeping matters.

And looking beyond our sandbox, there are precedents for long occupancy of elected seats. Anyone remember from sixth grade about places of work called the Senate and the House of Representatives?

So, in addition to "Just three votes" I add, "She's not the one".

hal samis said...

Dear Mr. Mantra,

Calling the Town Council "dolts" and then forgiving them may be the Catholic approach but it does not pass muster. Would you join a lawsuit for return of monies paid to them while sleeping on the job?

But if you can forgive them, why not Feiner?

Because he is the instigator? Because he paid their campaign expenses? That doesn't say much about the Town Council members and I'm thinking that there are four targets, maybe even five, and all you can focus on is one.

But this has been mentioned before and even as "lone eagle" which is not the case if you read the blog comments, there is an interesting point you raise that is crying out for a response, my response.

You state that Feiner's running mates lack credibility much as I say that Berger lacks credibility.
There is a difference between a Supervisor candidate and a Town Council with bunk beds. As you yourself would have it, a Supervisor can be an instigator. Whereas the Town Council members, if as they choose, just snooze.

But who were Barnes, Juettner and Bass before they were Town Council? What was their "credibility"? What were their bonafides? I venture to say no more, no less than Feiner's "running mates".
I won't kid you by saying that I am an expert on their abilities but I will add that I am intrigued by Kevin Morgan's background. Amongst his various public, private and parental lives which do afix a broad base of community service, I see the makings of an excellent member of the Town Council, if given the chance. Will he vote with Feiner, ???

And if you were around then, wouldn't you have expected Bass to side with Feiner? He did and now he doesn't or still does.

But if you say tomato and I say "tomato", then if a fresh bloody mary is what we seek, let's try a sip or two before chugging the whole pitcher. Let's substitute some Town Council seats since they're asleep anyway and if that works, we can go after the bigger fish.

And Ms Berger can have two years to take some courses in municipal adminsitration in the interim.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight.

A long time ago, in a distant galaxy, Supervisor Paul had all the power with Stevie & Eddie, Dianna, and Timmy doing everything he wanted. Supervisor Paul was a Swengali of sorts.

Now Sir Francis of Sheehan is the man with all the power. His able deputies drank a magic potion and are free from the powerful spell of Supervisor Paul and by the way are now really brilliant and really do fabulous things for all members of our fair township of Greenburgh (be you A or B).

Maybe I just awoke from a long slumber, but this fairy tale is a bit hard to believe.

Send that script back to the writers, because no one is going to buy that tale.