Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I VOTED AGAINST $25,000 FOR OUTSIDE LAW FIRM TO DEFEND TOWN IN ONE DROMORE RD CASE

A meeting held by Francis Sheehan, Eddie Mae Barnes, Diana Juettner and Steve Bass with a developer- S & R Development, Robert Bernstein and Michele McNally is already costing the town money. S & R Development has filed a notice of claim against the town. The Town Board, over my objections, hired a law firm to spend up to $25,000 to defend the town at a rate of $275 an hour.
An alleged meeting took place with 4 members of the Town Board (NOT ME), two residents of Edgemont to discuss One Dromore Road. I was excluded from the meeting and not notified of the meeting. Robert Bernstein (if the affidavit is true) and the other members of the Town Board discussed turning the land into a future Edgemont Village Hall- breaking up our town.
I believe that there is no reason to use outside counsel. The work could have been handled in house---saving taxpayers money.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul,

Given the fact that Sheehan & Co. met with the developer illegally, does not any agreement or accord that they reached at that illegal meeting become automatically null and void?? The Town's defense should simply be that it was an illegal meeting that never should have been held in the first place and no agreements can come forth from such an illegal meeting. This is why Sheehan & Co. want to control the lawyer for the Town. At $275 an hour, the outside Counsel will adopt the strategy devised by Sheehan. Citizens would be better off spending $275 an hour on an outside SPECIAL PROSECUTOR with subpeona power who can get to the bottom of this Sheehan & Co. Fiasco.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan has cost us a considerable amount of money. First he hired Young Kaminer at a cost of about $75,000 to the taxpayer. Of course Sir Frances got him money out of his young charge when he had him perform the Knightly task of threatening a womens' right to speak. Now Sheehan's personal hatred of the Superisor has led to illegal meetings and lawsuits involving the Dromore Road property. The Developer will win and we the taxpayers will lose and have Sheehan to thank for it. Sheehan is not fit for the Representative Republic type of Government that we enjoy in this Country. Someone needs to wake Frances up and tell him that the days of having a KING are over.

Anonymous said...

If the maps had been done correctly in the first place, teh town wouldnt have been spending the money. Any meeting, whether it happened or not, has nothing to do with the builder wanting to build there.

FEINER STOP DEFENDING DEVELOPERS -- WE CANT AFFORD IT.

hal samis said...

If anyone on the Town Staff should have been following up, it is Mark
Stellato -- it is his Department.
Please don't redefine the Office of the Town Supervisor to become an obligation to micromanage every Town Department.

Now the map error did occur long before Stellato was employed, but why is the onus on the Developer to ignore the provided map and to go back over 10 years to find the history and then be told that the complete map history is "missing". If the sworn affidavit is true, then all the parties representing the Developer went to Town Hall, asked everyone in sight from Stellato on down and none of this caused a ripple of interest from the Department to go back and review the map/zoning resolution history. This was a major project in a sensitive and vocal part of town and there was no indication that anything was amiss.

The Town has an obligation to provide accurate information and it is the Departments that are charged with fulfilling this obligation. Might I add that there is a similar situation at the DPW where the Library expansion project overruns are not being reported.

The Zoning Board and ultimately the Courts will decide the outcome
which is the correct procedure.

Secret meetings without Town lawyers, the Town Supervisor etc. are not.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan needs to stop acting illegally, we certainly can't afford his actions. A mistake seems to have been made in 1978, long before Paul ever took over. It was during the Veteran administration. However, the Town Board did approve that map in 1996, making it the last word on the subject. Sheehan had his minions in Public Works change the maps in March of this year WITHOUT the Town Board voting on it, thus violating Greenburgh's own requirements. Sheehan is a despot who is constantly breaking the laws to achieve his goals.

Feiner alone to blame for counsel fees said...

The only reason the town needed to hire outside counsel to defend itself in connection with the Dromore Road claim is that Feiner took the unusual step of siding with the developer against the town when the developer accused the town of misconduct.

As many have pointed out, the developer was represented by Feiner's largest campaign contributor.

Feiner's took sides with the developer when he announced on the town's website that the real purpose of the proposed moratorium on Central Avenue construction was to stop the 37 luxury condos planned for Dromore Road.

Never mind that the moratorium was proposed months before anyone ever heard of the proposed Dromore development. Never mind that Feiner's statement is completely untrue.

Once Feiner sided with the developer in this matter, the town attorney was automatically disqualified from representing the town. Feiner thus forced the town to incur the $25,000 in additional legal expense.

This is not the first time Feiner's erratic behavior has forced the town to hire outside counsel.

A few years ago, a candidate for town judge claimed there was a conspiracy between the town and the Democratic Party to keep him off the primary ballot, and filed a federal lawsuit.

Like he did here, Feiner sided with the candidate against the town, and offered to testify on his behalf.

Once again, Feiner's erratic behavior forced the town to hire outside counsel. The lawsuit that Feiner was supporting was dismissed as frivolous.

What's truly disgusting about Feiner's erratic behavior is his blatant attempt to blame others, including private citizens like Bernstein, for Feiner's own egregious mistakes in judgment that keep continue to keep costing Greenburgh taxpayers thousands upon thousands of dollars.

Conflict of interest caused by Feiner said...

Why does the Town need independent counsel on this issue?
Beecause Feiner, as usual, has created a conflict of interest by siding with the developers against the Town. Feiner's foolishness started by his publicly announcing the proposed moratorium on multi-family development in the Edgemont school district was aimed at the Dromore property. That was untrue. It was also disputed by the Town Council. But this reckless statement has given the Dromore developers ammunition to make their "conspiracy" claim that the Town was gunning for them and them alone. The Town's in house counsel is unable to defend a Town Board that speaks with two minds on this issue because he would have a conflict of interest (he reports to the entire Town Board). Who created the conflict of interest now requiring the Town to hire independent counsel - Feiner.

hal samis said...

Why has the Town Council voted to hire outside Counsel?

A notice of claim from Dromore is not a law suit; it represents merely keeping the possibility of doing so open.

Any actual filing of a lawsuit would await the exhaustion of the legal remedies available which is underway at the Zoning Board of Appeals. This may not be a such a quick in and out if it is perceived that defending a civil action which may involve the Town Council members would be best dealt with after the fall elections.

The only reason that I can think of to hire outside Counsel now is to white wash the "gag" instructions that the Town Council should not have to explain their presence and discussions at the "secret" Dromore meetings.

What this suggests is that the Town instead shut down the Legal Department and outsource all matters. Even at market hourly rates, the salaries, office space value and benefits package for the entire Department would not likely push the taxpayer bill up much more than the usual $68 per $15,000 average assessment.

feiner fibbing again said...

Feiner is fibbing again. Edgemont village hall? Where in the proposed agreement drafted by Mr. Bernstein does it say that Dromore would be used for that purpose? By the way, where is the village of Edgemont that is going to use this alleged village hall? It only exists in the imagination of Mr. Feiner.

Anonymous said...

Sure hope nobody out there is taking legal advice from Samis.

Only a grade B moron would say, "a notice of claim" is not a lawsuit and therefore not a reason for the town to retain counsel.

Once a notice of claim is filed against a municipality, anything the municipality's officials say or do can and will be used against the municipality in a court of law.

That's not about gagging public officials, as Samis so irresponsibly suggests. It's about making sure that in legal matters, the town speaks with one voice.

Here, we have the unfortunate situation of a town supervisor who has publicly sided with the developer against the town. That kind of erratic behavior by Feiner created a conflict of interest for the town attorney, which required the retention of outside counsel.

Anonymous said...

Why does Feiner keep lying?

There is absolutely nothing in the Troy affidavit, even if true, which says that Bernstein and other town board members discussed turning the Dromore Road land into an Edgemont village hall.

Feiner has simply made this story up.

When a politician up for reelection lies like this, and does it over and over again,there must be something really huge out there he doesn't want people to know about. Hence, the need for a smokescreen, which is all this is.

Stay tuned, the sad truth about Feiner is about to be told.

troy affidavit of doubtful reliability said...

the troy affidavit was amended.
troy now concedes he made a mistake about what map he looked at after he was caught here on the blog telling something that was inaccurate. what else did troy make up?

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed in the decision to hire outside counsel. What, then, is the purpose of the town's attorneys?

hal samis said...

I agree that no one should take legal advice from me; I am not a lawyer. Mr. Bernstein is a lawyer. People may or may not choose to take legal advice from him. Furthermore he is a lawyer admitted to the Bar. However both of these credentials do not allow him to represent the Town unless so resolved by the Town Board.

I would hope that all members of the Town would concern themselves with telling the truth even through one voice; the truth being a matter that apparently is not something that the new Ethics Laws are concerned with.

I would hope that all members of the Town would tell the truth, regardless of the consequences to the Town.

A notice of claim is itself not a law suit. It serves to preserve the plaintiff's right to initiate such a suit. It should concern the members of the Town and they should be careful of what they say because it can become part of the evidence WHEN AND IF a suit is filed.

Apparently you join me in the belief that anyone listening to the Town Attorney, even when he has cautioned the members of the Town Board against public comments on the matter, would be crazy. thus you argue that outside Counsel is needed and needed now.
But what if the matter is decided by the Zoning Board? What if the Developer were able to unload the property before filing an action?
There is plenty of time to retain outside Counsel when the objective versus perceived need arises.

But all this ignores the fundamental issue of why outside Counsel was proposed. It is not so much to defend the Town against its Zoning resolution/map problem but to defend the member of the Town Council for their actions.

I suggest that anything above the allocated amount be the sole responsibility of the Town Council.

Any what anonymous posters relish repeating without explanation is that Feiner is siding with the Developer. How? By noting that he was excluded from a meeting?
I'm willing to learn. How is Feiner siding with the Developer?


And don't worry, even if no one else is interested you can be sure I'll be staying tuned awaiting all forthcoming revelations.

I'll even await words from Suzanne Berger.

Anonymous said...

How can Samis be so stupid as to now know how Feiner is siding with the developer?

The Troys are claiming that the town's determination that the Dromore property was zoned single family was the result of collusion to keep them from building 37 luxury condos.

Feiner sided with the developer by stating, as fact, on the town's website, that the real purpose of the proposed Central Avenue moratorium was to stop the Troys from developing the Dromore property.

The issue of whether the property was zoned single family is an issue of law to be resolved on the basis of what in fact the history of the zoning of that particular parcels shows. That means any claim of collusion is legally irrelevant. However, the Troys seem to think it's important for their case that they can prove collusion.

That being so, by taking the Troys' side in the matter, however absurd it may be, Feiner has, through his own erratic behavior, created a conflict of interest for the town attorney, which required the retention of outside counsel at taxpayer expense.

Anonymous said...

Given the fact that Sheehan kept Feiner out of his illegal meeting, I find it hard that Sheehan & Co. are actually trying to sell that Feiner is siding with the developer. If Feiner was in bed with the developer, he would have had a ring side seat at this meeting.

Anonymous said...

Feiner's words on the town website, as unfortunate as they may be, show that he's siding with the developer. He's the reason why independent counsel is needed.

Because Feiner has sided with the developer against the town,the town attorney could not give legal advice without fear that Feiner will convey it to the Troys.

We're paying these extra costs because of Feiner folks.

Anonymous said...

Ah ok, thanks, now I do understand the need for outside counsel. I don't like it, but I now understand it. Mr. Feiner will be paying dearly for this in November when he's job hunting.

hal samis said...

How can anonymous @ 5:05 and its variants be so stupid as to offer "proof" of Feiner siding with the Dromore Developer and against the Town by answering that Feiner said the purpose of the proposed moratorium was to stop the Troys from developing the property as residential.

Imagine choosing an example that is so patently false.

Starting from the point that Edgemont always puts out that Edgemont IS the Town and that everyone should care or "as goes Edgemont so goes Greenburgh" the reality is that the moratorium was to stop only the Troys from developing the property as residential. In the six months or so that Edgemont lobbied for the moratorium, no one else came forward with residential plans to be grandfathered. As additional evidence (and as many times as Edgemont anonymice bring it up is as many times as I'll disprove it) of Dromore being the single target, if Edgemont were really concerned about residential development and its effect on school enrollment, the moratorium would not be limited to just Central Avenue but to include all parcels that would yield substantial new residential units.
The reason is that the Troys are not Greenburgh residents whereas the equally threatening land parcels not along Central Avenue are owned by Edgemont residents, maybe even members of the ECC. One could say that 37 units on Central Avenue equal 37 units or more elsewhere in Edgemont.

Of course, the reaction will be that the ECC discussed the need for a moratorium before they appeared at Town Hall in the early Fall of 2006 and demanded it. This explanation would be accepted if it were not also known that the Developer was asking everyone in Town Hall was the property zoned to allow multi-family and everyone pointed to the map on the wall. Troy, his lawyer, his appraiser and his architect all made the same pilgramage to Town Hall, to the Planning Department and all were shown the official map. Readers may not be aware of the close relationship that Michelle McNally has with the Town Planning Department but it is highly unlikely that no one in the Planning Board was on the phone to Edgemont as soon as the Developer left the office. And this tip-off is what started the flap at the ECC which found its way to the Town Board meeting in late September. When the Developer closed; when the existing home was demolished are irrelevant to the heads-up that the ECC got well in advance.

Of course Edgemont will dispute this but who gives a damn what Edgemont thinks or says. The point is that the moratorium was only aimed at Central Avenue to stop residential development cold. Although originally proposed as a moratorium to stop all development, Edgemont had second thoughts after realizing that commercial development would yield a bonanza in school district property taxes from new construction and not produce the most dreaded by-product, new pupils.

Hartsdale was included for reasons of Public Relations but not because its school district was "at capacity".

When no new residential development was proposed and the County weighed in, the moratorium talk went on indefinite hiatus.

So the reality is that in making his posting, Feiner was taking an extremely brave and honest path -- calling a spade a spade and insulting the few Edgemont "leaders" who pretend to speak for all Edgemont. And this was done in a contested election year in which Feiner has become the whipping boy of the Town Council. Remember them, those wonderful folks who want to bring Pearl Harbor to Greenburgh.

If Greenburgh cannot stand hearing the truth, even from Feiner, then it deserves to lose big time if such an opportunity occurs in the Courts. There is reasonable cause to bring such a lawsuit and all the mind games that the Berger advance team are playing will end with the decision, not from the Court but,if need be following the November election. Thereafter the Edgemont leaders will "sue" for peace with the returning Town Supervisor.

And the only conflict of interest for the Town Attorney is that he cannot represent both the Town and the Town Council members in defending their respective abuses. My only request is that the delegation of manpower is split between the outside Counsel and Town Attorney Lewis; I can only pray that the Town gets the outside Counsel and the Town Council gets the unique talents of Mr. Lewis.

BASS, SHEEHAN GOOD FOR LAW FIRMS said...

The bottom line is this; Sheehan, Bass, Barnes & Juettner participated in an illegal meeting.
who is paying?
We the taxpayers.
the $25,000 will soon be $100,000 in legal fees, perhaps more.

Anonymous said...

" ... the moratorium would not be limited to just Central Avenue but to include all parcels that would yield substantial new residential units"

But there are no other such parcels.

data not drama said...

"not produce the most dreaded by-product, new pupils."

This is not some snobby preference to curtail additional student enrollments; it's a matter of physical space. Edgemont schools buildings have all been expanded, but ahain there's just no space for additional students. And the per-class numbers are the same, or a little higher, than all the other schools serving Greenburgh students. Over the past three years, Edgemont student enrollment has increased by 4.4% (and Greenburgh Central has decreased by 8.6%).

data not drama said...

"Hartsdale was included for reasons of Public Relations but not because its school district was "at capacity"."

From a Greenburgh Central School District perspective, with an 8.6% exodus just over the past three years, Hartsdale could perhaps benefit from a boost in residential development.

Edgemont Ethan said...

Dear Hal -
The attitude contained in "...who gives a damn what Edgemont thinks or says..." is precisely the kind of comment which got the Supervisor into his current fix. He tried to cram an illegal permit for a "sidewalk sale" down the throats of his then rubber stamp Town Council in 2003. He ended up far worse off than he started because Edgemont stood up when the Town Council would not, and won over and over and over again in court. Now he finds himself at the end of his political career and he has no one to blame but himself.
Leave Edgemont alone - and Edgemont will happily leave you alone. Threaten us and we will protect ourselves.

hal samis said...

Let's not ignore the Orce property and the impact from numerous subdivisions.

No room in Edgemont Schools? just room for a tv studio and other frills. What about class size? Per class size comps with other schools is not valid measure if enrollments have dropped elsewhere and over expansion has occurred, leaving the bricks and mortar unused.

How about not selling empty seats to those not living within the School District. Or how about sending Edgemont students to Hartsdale where there is, as noted, plenty of "elbow" room. Do you really want the entire list?

The important thing that gets overlooked when discussing school taxes is that the expense of maintaining a top draw school system is with present value dollars but they are really like the amortization portion of the home mortgage -- by maintaining the high standards the home owner is increasing the market value of his home because of the school system while doing so at little risk because their children will also reap the immediate benefits of a well-regarded education. And like amortization, the borrower is building equity as the loan amount reduces; with the schools the rising equity comes from parents seeking to live within the school district. What goes into the system today comes out in added dollars when the home is sold -- like forced savings at a bank but with a free toaster given daily.

Anonymous said...

"Threaten us and we will protect ourselves"

Illegally and of moral deficit.

hal samis said...

Dear Sir Ethan of Edgemont,

What would my threat be? Criticism?
Telling you to stop whining?

Am I supposed to be troubled if you don't leave me alone?

Stop playing the politics game.
What have you (Edgemont) won since the new Town Council, the one without the rubber stamp, has flexed their muscle? A Resolution against DARFUR injustice? A Resolution which increases the cost of municipal construction projects while gaining Union votes? A set of rules for conducting the Town Board meeting, a set which divides faster than an amoeba? A bound set of outside Counsel? An over-budget Library expansion (yes they are scaling the project back in response)? A Con Ed tree cutting mirror trick which moves the cost of tree removal off Con Ed's books and back to the homeowner. A Verizon contract which, although claiming competition, has only resulted in higher fees paid by residents to Cablevision.

Despite all the trumpets heralding the new era, the only difference is that taxpayers now have the additional cost of the legislative aide to the Council.

Take away the public relations buzz and what has changed?

Just three votes rules; the problem is that these votes are still hiding.

sing-a-long sam said...

We love you Eeeeedgemont!

Oh yes we dooooo!

Your taxes support Greenburgh and Fairview
This makes you bluuuue.
Do you whine when you pay your federal taxes, tooooo?

Oh, Eeeeedgemont, we love you!

Anonymous said...

We dont whine when we pay federal taxes, because they are imposed on all residents. Will someone please tell me why the villages dont pay for the parks, etc? I guess the answer is they will when the litigation is over.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

Maybe the Greenburgh Central schools would be better if the BOE and the district didnt view the schools as an employment program for certain groups and if parents got involved. Do you volunteer with the schools? You have said you are semi-retired.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:09, you are mistaken. It's the other way around,Fairview is carrying Edgemont.The Fairview area has numerous tax free Town buildings.Town Hall,Police station,Town Court, Community center.Union Child Day care, The famous 20 million dollar Library,East Rumbrrok Park, Old Tarrytown Rd,Travis Hill, Washington Ave,Knollwood RD,West Rumbrook Park
and there is probaly more that I am missing. Edgemont has only the Nature center. So what are you talking about.

elite much? said...

Dear anon 11:55,
Ahhhh, bull sh*t! If the villages paid for the parks, you would complain about the TY center. If you didn't pay for that, you would complain about paying for Hartsdale parks or Veterans pool.
The list of whining possibilities is endless. The bottom line is that Edgemont doesn't want to pay for ANYTHING that is not exclusive to Edgemont.

Town entire should pay, of course, for new sidewalks, parks and such in Edgemont as you all ponder incorporation. We should silently just folk over the money. Right?

It amazes me how you Edgemont bloggers think they have the corner on intelligence.

hal samis said...

Dear 12:03,

I have no interest in local schools and my son who is now in college attended a NYC Private School. Thus their (local schools) internal politics remains a mystery which I am content to leave unsolved. On the plus side, having a School Board separated from local politics is a mixed blessing; however, it does keep their members away from Town Board meetings.

And for those who complain about costly school taxes, let them compare those with Private School tuition of a $22,400 12 year average annual fee (no tax break) for EACH child versus even Edgemont's high school taxes which cover an ENTIRE family.

I never said I was semi-retired.
What I said was that life-long I have been a retiree trapped in a worker's body.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:33,

???????????????

Anonymous said...

"So what are you talking about."

Exactly what you stated. Edgemont compensates for Fairview's lower contributions.

Edgemont Ethan said...

Isn't it Prince Hal who keeps chirping "Only 3 votes"?
If someone woke Diana, wouldn't she along with Eddie Mae (whose residence is not germane to her voting record) and Paul, constitute those 3 votes? So, as you were saying, what have those stalwarts done for anyone lately? And why are all of the votes recorded by the clerk always unanimous? (Don't believe me? FOIL some of the minutes of meetings where his Supervisorship has proclaimed his opposition to one item or another. Then look. Surprise, Mr. Feiner is recorded as having voted in the affirmative.)

Anonymous said...

"Exactly what you stated. Edgemont compensates for Fairview's lower contributions."

Maybe you should move to Fairview?

data not drama said...

"Per class size comps with other schools is not valid measure ..."

Very true, which is why I just included it only as a by-the-way to my main point. I was just looking ahead to potentially invalid arguments about class size. In hindsight, I should have begun with a parenthetical "Albeit an invalid measure."

My main point stands; over the past three years, Edgemont student enrollment has increased by 4.4%.

Also, I agree that it would be wise to have some flexibility in redefining antiquated school district boundaries, but the State is sooooooo irrational about such matters. (Remember that situation a few years ago with the one house up near the golf course that even Greenburgh Central agreed should be in Edgemont. That was nuts.)

data not drama said...

" ... just room for a tv studio and other frills."

Greenburgh Central has much more "extra stuff" than Edgemont. There are many pieces of data that I can provide to support this factual statement. If you'd like, I can post such info, but it would be lengthy and be even more distracting from the topic at hand.

Also, regarding selling empty seats to those not living within the school district, this is a very common practice throughout the area. I don't necessarily agree with it, but that's just how it works. Edgemont is rarely in the position to do this anymore, so your suggestion is not relevant in this particular situation. (Hastings is a popular seller to Yonkers families; I'm not sure if Ardsley is selling as much to Greenburgh Central families anymore. I wonder to whom GC could market to help lower its per-student spending - the highest in Westchester County.)

Anyway ... I do appreciate many of your points throughout this blog, Mr. Samis, but when it comes to the school systems, this is clearly not your forté. Facts and data tend to trump your perceptions in the school arena.

data not drama said...

"A Con Ed tree cutting mirror trick which moves the cost of tree removal off Con Ed's books and back to the homeowner."

I was talking to a parent at a baseball game who s a manager at ConEd. Greenburgh is the biggest joke to ConEd. Their attitude is fine, we'll leave Greenburgh alone, even though the new tree law is unenforceable, and we'll just take care of the other towns' trees to help minimize their power outages.

I'm happy to attribute blame to the Town Council when appropriate - and I typically appreciate Mr. Samis's diligence with Town Council shenanigans - but this particular drama and additional town expense related to tree-trimming and ConEd was/is completely Feiner-driven.

Jim Lasser said...

Dear Hal,
Why should a condo or co-op pay property taxes to the school district at a significantly lower rate than a single family detached home with the same market value? Do you think that children living in such housing cost less to educate than children in free-standing homes? Do you think there are fewer of them per residential unit? Are there funds paid by the sponsors to the school district to defray expenses? You understand, I am sure, that the property taxes paid by residential properties occupied by families with school children rarely pay enough property tax to cover the cost of educating their resident children. Would you favor, in the interest of fairness and equity, removing the preferential property tax treatment afforded condos and co-ops?

hal samis said...

Dear data not drama,

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS NOT A DRAMATIZATION. PARENTS OF EDGEMONT CHILDREN ARE ADVISED TO LEAVE THE BLOG IMMEDIATELY.

Please, the four A's has passed me a note to remind of you "truth in advertising"; thus please provide a little data.

@1:42, enrollment in Edgemont has increased 4.2% over three years...
that would be 1.4% per year and in living, breathing, seats taken up terms, how many new students per year?
@2:07, selling its standing-room- only seats to outsiders, how many seats does Edgemont sell? And, if the issue is limited classroom space in Edgemont, comparisons with how the square feet are used elsewhere is equally off target.

Since Edgemont residents are administratively and financially responsible only for Edgemont Schools, what other systems are doing is incidental intelligence but should not be a deciding factor. If one SD consists of 10 students and they spend $1 per student, they have $10 to spend as they will. If another SD has 20 students and they spend $1.50 or $.75 per student they will have $30 or $15 as their budget. I know this is working backwards and ignores other funding sources but the point is: comparative charts are lots of fun to chat about but do not determine the needs and resources of the affected community. These charts are really the sandbox for data debators rather than concerned parents facing either why johnny can't read or johnny didn't get into the ivy league of his parents dream.

You are right; this is not my issue but, the use of logic in argument as a discipline, is.

@2:18, if you believe in just three votes, there is no such thing as "Feiner driven" like there is no half pregnant. Only things which are three vote driven can flourish and by remembering who were the three or five votes, then blame or praise can be properly recognized.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe you should move to Fairview?"

Nothing against Fairview, but the summer after my youngest graduates from Edgemont, I'm definitely moving out of this unincorporated silliness, and probably just a few blocks south over the Yonkers line - lower taxes, the same neighborhood, a professionally managed DPW, and a lot less political corruption.

I grew up in Yonkers when it was political madness and an overall corrupt dump, and I am so impressed with Yonkers' turnaround in so many areas. Yonkers management has long-term vision; Greenburgh management's vision doesn't stretch much beyond last week and next week. Also, I think that Greenburgh DPW management should take a sabbatical and go to Yonkers to re-do their graduate internships. Even in Yonkers' "bad" neighborhoods, the quality of their highway department's work is significantly higher than any place in Unincorporated Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that even Paul is now questioning the veracity of the affidavit. The addition of the words "if true" speaks volumes and provides cover. Perhaps there is some fear that the "big lie" doesn't work anymore.

data not drama said...

"if you believe in just three votes, there is no such thing as "Feiner driven" like there is no half pregnant."

I'm not going to get into data wars with you, Mr. Samis, solely because it becomes distracting to larger blog issues at hand. There's no more space for additional students at Edgemont schools; I believe that to be a fact and you may perceive otherwise ... whatever ... not worth expending the energy or this particular blog topic space debating it.

Back somewhat on topic here regarding town spending ... I understand "just three votes," and I respect and appreciate when you point this out for many issues. But the three votes - for/against whatever the issue may be - often tend to be encouraged ("-driven") by an individual member. Certainly there's a lot of Sheehan-driven psychopathy that have somehow resulted in "just three votes." In the same way, I believe that this particular ConEd/tree-trimming law fia$co was Feiner-driven. I'm not putting Sheehan and Feiner on the same plane; just expanding upon my thought that x-driven oftentimes results in three votes. Therefore, lack of success of whatever may be the resolution-policy-procedure-law is (should be) appropriately attributed to "driver x."

Anonymous said...

I favor putting Feiner and Sheehan on the same plane! Preferably with one-way tickets to Bora-Bora.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Jim,

Like many things in a national or state tax code, the provisions permitting condos and co-ops to "pay" less was one of horse trading. The State Democrats made a deal with the State Republicians. You give me something for a large part of my voter constituency and I'll give you someting for yours. The New York City block got the reduction in the condo / co-op property taxes. Fair? Probably not, but then the Republicians (read up state) got something else in return - what I don't know for sure, but you understand politics at the State level.

This highlights the problems in trying to address one issue at a time. We don't know what "trades" were made and whether they balanced out. May be it was more school aid in "suburbia" in return (didn't the City sue for years saying that the state formula on school aid was shortchanging the City of New York?

Unfortunately, we don't have the "power" to go back and start from a clean slate. Just like (whoops another sensitive area here) the A/B budget issues. Only if one is really willing to look at the whole problem might one come up with what would otherwise be a more "equitable" solution.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Data not Drama,

I believe that the Greenburgh law about trees and Con Ed was introduced by Mr. Bass. Now is he a shill for the Supervisor? Seems to me that he wrote (or his legislative aid wrote for him) letters claiming credit. We'll see if it is one of his "accomplishments" of being in office in his campaign material, or will he "run" away from it now that you have exposed it.

hal samis said...

Damn it Mike you beat me to the punch. You've got to allow me some time to get back from NYC.

As for data dances with drama or whatever, the honeymoon is over. First he/she takes a name which indicates that he owns the facts; then HE introduces the separate topic(s); then I challenge asking for facts and the next thing we witness is "I'm not going to get into data wars with you.., because it becomes distracting to larger blog issues at hand..."

Just the foot stamping that one might expect from a pouting drama queen.

I think new bloggers need to pay their dues before assuming control of the blog and conclude that others care what they think just because they get acknowledged. Example: "back somewhat on topic regarding town spending..." Don't bite off what you can't chew.

Paying your blog dues means reading over what you write before you publish your comment, not for correcting typos because everyone is going to make them, but for content. As Mike Kolesar has pointed out it is Mr. Bass who introduced the resolution perhaps when swinging for the home run after his resolution duplicating NYS laws regarding email fax FOIL requests stalled leaving a man on base with two outs.

Everyone has their ax to grind, kid. Just don't make the rookie's mistake of swinging at the high and wide pitches. Sit back and wait for the ball which may pass within the strike zone.

Just three strikes.
Just three votes.

hal samis said...

Dear Jim,

In continuation of our chat this afternoon.

Most single family homes are assessed at values dating back to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

Most coops and condos are newer on the scene and are assessed at closer to today's market values.

Most single family homes can or did generate multiple kin to attend the schools.

Most coops and condos, being smaller, will likely but not absolutely, produce fewer occupants per unit.
And I'm sure we can both think of several condos with only a single person in residence, a situation which is less likely, but not absolutely so, for single family homes. Yes there are divorcees, the elderly and widowers but they are mostly a "dying" race.

But I think that we can also say that the crop of coops and condos that we see in Edgemont are not spectacular in either their architecture or their breathtaking views or even their landscaping. Clearly there are other differences and values when one chooses to live in a multi-family property or own a single family home. Like not hearing the infant next door crying in the middle of the night.

And based upon what is the coop and condo housing stock in Edgemont, it is not surprising that houses sell at a premium given the same square footage of living space and this occurs even after allowing for the property tax disadvantage that you cite. In fact, part of the market price no doubt results from what you claim is the disproportionately lower assessment.

However, it may not be "news" to you but there is a way out. One could always sell their overtaxed house at a higher price per foot and with the proceeds buy a lower taxed coop or condo at a lower price per foot and pocket the sizeable difference between the two transactions. No one is required to live in a house and when consumers recognize the wide spread between sales prices and taxes, then we would expect to see a rash of such transactions being concluded. After all, houses should be the equal of apartments (as you would have us believe when the taxman comes) so why not save some money and take advantage of the spread.

Oh, maybe having a private back yard is worth something. Maybe even a swimming pool. Maybe looking out your window at grass instead of asphalt has some value. Maybe not living next door to shopping malls or gas stations is worth something. Maybe being able to plant anything other than begonias sends a chill up your spine. Maybe being able to cross your street and not six lanes of traffic, cars, trucks and buses lights your fire. Maybe not hearing the traffic late at night floats your boat. I think you get the idea.

Think of it as an Orwellian world. All homes are equal but some are more equal. And maybe that is why they should pay more in taxes.

Certainly no one whose home was assessed long ago should be complaining. Because if they are, then I am going to say then lets reassess EVERYONE and let EVERYONE pay their fair share based on market. I suspect that most of Edgemont will be paying higher taxes as the result. Why? Because if apartments represent a third of the housing stock, that third rising is not going to make up for the two thirds of houses which will follow upward if reassessed.

Regarding Mike's comments, there have always been politicans sensitive to apartment dwellers. Think of the whole concept of rental apartments and rent controls. Those who moved in after rent control ceased had to pay higher rents for the same space than those who had the protection. Then years later, those who moved in were protected by rent stabilization and had the advantage over those who had to pay free market rent and had no protections whatsoever, rent increases or even the right to renew the lease.

In a dog eat dog world be happy that Greenburgh has a Dog Park. And if you want to keep a dog, probably you will need to own a house. But the serious point is that there have always been inequities in housing, both for renters and now for owners. But the problem does not shape the conclusion that new apartments should be disallowed. The problem is not in Greenburgh's hands. The problem is not to be solved by working backwards from the observation that it costs the same to educate a child regardless of where the child lives. We live in a Community where a rose is not a rose is not a rose. And all people do not earn or possess the same assets. The solution needs to come from Mr. Bass and Ms Berger with their "powerful" friends. Or, if you will, think of Cental Avenue coops and condos as Edgemont's contribution to Affordable Housing. Somebody is footing the bill for Affordable Housing everywhere or even for untaxed municipal buildings. There is no free lunch. For Edgemont, their cross to bear is what you view as taxation without reprehension. But hey, this is your "piece of the continent" says Mr. Donne.

A good deal for apartment owners?
Perhaps. But it has always been a great deal for houses; it is just that some house owners want more.
But grin and bear it. It is better public relations than the held view that lurking underneath is the concern that apartment dwellers are Burlington Coat Factory shoppers and house owners shop at Bergdoff, not that there's anything wrong with that.

GRINd your teeth and bear it.
There are lots of townwide issues that have higher numbers in the queue.

Anonymous said...

The Town Council should stop spending my taxes on law firms. Spend money on services that will help improve our quality of life.
Shame on you Bass, Barnes, Sheehan, Juettner.

hal samis said...

Is there a possibility that anonymous of 11:16 is really Suzanne Berger?

Not spending money on lawyers is part of her new platform.

As it is part of Feiner's platform.

Thus Feiner, Berger and Samis all agree for a change.

Apparently only Bass, Barnes, Juettner and Sheehan are in favor of continuing to throw tax dollars down the toilet.

Anonymous said...

No Hal, 11:16 was Feiner, as usual, blogging anonymously. Check the blogmeter Feiner's running on the site. You'll see for sure.

Anonymous said...

11;16 is not Feiner. he signs his name to the messages. Stop building castles in the sky.

Anonymous said...

actually, 11:16 is feiner ... his anon postings are pretty easy to recognize

Anonymous said...

Stop trying to convince yourself that the comment was written by Feiner. I wrote the exact same lines some time ago.Why do you insist that it is Feiner, the one writting is telling the truth,the fabulous four don't care what they do with our money. I'm sorry that you don't agree, could it be that your name is Kaminer.

Anonymous said...

$thousands for lawyers.
$50,000 plus benefits for Kaminer.
Tell the Town Council to stop wasting my money

Anonymous said...

The four council members should step down .could it be possible that they do not read these comments,concerning how displeased the residents of Greenburgh are with them.They have cost us mega bucks to suit their fancy. Kaminer receives more than fifty g's and what does he do .he's a goofer for Sheehan.

Oh Hal (lelulljah)- said...

Greenburgh needs a dog park? Hal, come on. Greenburgh needs many things far more than a dog park - especially given the Town's track record on maintenance.
There's a nice animal cemetery right around the corner from you - what is to prevent dog owners from using the grounds (or permitting their pets to use the grounds) as a respite from an increasingly urban environment?
Think of how ecologically sound it would be - the bacteria in the doggie droppings helping the pet bodies to decompose. A little ripe as far as the odor, but nothing new to a frequent visitor to Town Hall...