Monday, October 08, 2007

GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY- WEEK OF OCTOBER 8 - POST YOUR COMMENTS

Please feel free to post your comments about town issues.

Town Board meeting this Wednesday

We will be honoring employees who have served the town for 25 years or more.

This is Jim Heslop's last week as Comptroller. I have asked the Town Board to authorize me to retain the services of accountant Mike Kolesar at a rate of $75 an hour for up to $5000 to help me prepare the budget. Mr. Kolesar is familiar with the budget, has been critical of aspects of the budget in the past. I think he could be helpful in identifying additional cost cutting initiatives. The 2008 budget is going to be a difficult budget. This is the year taxpayers will start paying for the $20 million library expansion.

29 comments:

Dollars for Democracy said...

Isn’t democracy wonderful. An analysis of the various campaign financial disclosure reports filed for the period January 12, 2007 through October 1, 2007 reveals that the various candidates report expenditures in excess of $220,000, while raising from various sources approximately $180,000. Since some of the reports have either not be submitted or posted yet by the State Board of Elections, these amounts are subject to change.

Candidates either loaned or directly contributed in excess of $51,000 of that amount, being $11,100 from Judge Schwartz of Ardsley, who so far has accepted no outside money and Ms. Berger, who has either loaned or contributed in excess of $40,000.

Identified individuals, that is those who contributed $100 or more, account for about $85,000, identified family (although I think that Mr. Morgan didn’t identify some individuals as family but rather as “individuals”) contributions total $7,100, partnerships, usually law firms add another $4,100, contributions below the $100 threshold and thus not broken out are about $18,400, corporate money adds to $3,500, and other, primarily from various PACs or other politicians’ committees equals about $11,600.

By zip code, excluding the candidates amounts mentioned above, 10583 – Scarsdale leads with in excess of $16,000, followed by 10530 – Hartsdale at about $11,000, 10603 – White Plains (Greenburgh) with $7,200, 10523 – Elmsford at $6,900 and to complete the top 5, 10522 – Dobbs Ferry with $6,400.

I'll try to respond to any questions that anyone posts on this blog as time permits.

hal samis said...

#1 Has Ms. Berger decided to support the mandated Democrat Primary candidates yet?

#2 Alternatively, is she still the Chair of the local Greenburgh Democratic Party?

To #1, why not?
To #2, why?

hal samis said...

Wow, now I can rest my case. Ms. Berger has decided to return to doing what the Party Chair should do, supporting the Primary choices.

Just two questions. When is the Unity Rally scheduled? There are few and fewer days remaining before the November election.

And, why has it become so difficult for the media to reach Mr. Bass and Ms. Barnes?

Anonymous said...

Sigal needs to be removed from the ethics board. It is improper and quite franky a disgrace for a member of the ethics board to donate money to a sitting Town Board Member who they might have to pass ethical judgement on.

SIGAL RESIGN NOW!!! You are a walking, talking, ethics infraction yourself. You only got involved in Greenburgh politics because you are at war with your neighbor over land use issues. You have an agenda. Your business card says "Retired Partner." You should add to it "Former disgraced Ethics Board Chair."

Anonymous said...

the resignation list should include berger, juettner, the entire library board.

Anonymous said...

The entire library board together with JUettner should start thinking about resigning.
Out taxes will be going way up because these people had a good gift of gab,and the residents of certain areas went along with their library expansion.
The libray that we were using for years was very useful the way it was.
Now we have this large white elephant without the necessary furnishings .
The library board was only looking at their own benefits and not the residents of the entire town.

Anonymous said...

The practice initiated by Mike Sigal of giving contributions to a Board Member while being a member of a committee that might be called upon to investigate that Board Member must be stopped. Clearly, Sigal does not belong on the ethics board. Anyone with half a brain would understand that this is a CLEAR CUT CONFLICT! Sigal needs to step down or be asked to step down based upon his contribution to Barnes.

How crazy must our ethics board look to our neighbors. The Chair of the ethics board gives sizeable contributions to sitting board members. Talk about Pay for Play!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Last night was another chapter in the ongoing saga of the Ethics Board, its chairperson, and the “Throw Feiner off the Train” code. Of course this flawed, Swiss-cheesed holed document was constructed as an election year cudgel to beat Supervisor Feiner over the head. It was probably, authored, drafted and constructed by Board Member, Francis Sheehan and one Robert Bernstein, the litigator from Edgemont, who has created a maelstrom of acrimony, argument and vitriol over the years. One should ask them under oath who was the "real" author of that code?

Of course they both have their own styles, and their act is on display twice a month at the Town Board hearings.

In their planned and practiced dulcet tones, they weave their web of accusation, indignation and subterfuge with the idea of undermining the administration of the Supervisor. These two surviving members of the CABAL, along with their fellow-traveler, in these nefarious works, one Ella Preiser, have been long active in what is termed, the 730-Day campaign. In other words, no matter what the electorate states, these guardians of the torch, must sustain their ongoing struggle with the Supervisor. Their agenda is simple, nitpick, hector, litigate, divide and conquer. Their plan went well in 2005 when long-time Board Member Juettner decided that it was easier to "switch than fight." She was seduced by the library lobby, and she then had a convenient accuse to lessen the pressure on her from Sheehan and his friends. She split with the Supervisor, resurrected her flagging career and was nominated by the party. That nomination, the hatred of the Supervisor stirred up by the leadership, and Sheehan, swayed many undecided district leaders, affected the media, and with the last minute "choice" slam insured their victory over Dengler and Morgan. Of course, this year the tactic was old hat, and failed and three incumbents with 36+ years experience were beaten.

Getting back to this exhausting meeting, it was intersting that Preiser pointed out, and the Supervisor articulated, it is Paul Feiner who appointed Preiser to Boards and it was Feiner who allowed Francis Sheehan to participate in Board considerations and deliberations, during the period after his election and before the commencing of his term. In other words, the Supervisor has been fair, open, and respects views from every direction of the community. Ms. Preiser seems to feel that because she has the time to attend every meeting in the history of the town that she is a precious jewel to be polished and fawned over. She seems to have the time, when many others work or have other responsibilities. That is why, in our system, we elect representatives to do that work. She must feel that by her mere attendence she has more legitimate concerns than anyone else. It his her choice to attend, and no one is forcing her, or I am sure, asking her to make this noble sacrifice. But Citizen Preiser has the right to go where she wishes, but the public has the right to question her fairness and motives, as she constantly questions some elected official's motives.

In the course of last night’s agonizingly long meeting, which was prolonged by the 45-minute, filibustering diatribes of Francis Sheehan, one immutable fact came out. That fact was that Mike Sigal gave a campaign contribution to both Board Member Barnes and Town Clerk Williams. In other words, how strange is that? Of course, Sheehan parsed the language of the Ethics Code, and tried to make people believe that the contribution could only be wrong if it was solicited. But of course he totally ignored the words “or accepted.” Suppose an incumbent solicits, but doesn’t receive. Is the intent evidence of guilt? He seemed to ignore the obvious moral and ethical conflict, of an agency chairperson giving to the campaigns of his “bosses” on the Town Board. But how about the ridiculousness of an Ethics Board chairperson thumbing his nose at the rules of ethics code, or looking for the seam in its language. But to compound that farce, Sheehan defended that action to the hilt. Could any fair-minded citizen swallow that bunk? With regards to the question of campaign gifts, Mr. Sammis pointed out a number of times that Ms. Barnes accepted a very large campaign gift of $500. This is a very large contribution for a town board race, and in fact, it is the largest gift for that office, which was contributed in this election cycle. If one wanted to peruse all of the Town Board contribution lists for many years in the past, one would be hard-pressed to find an equal or larger gift. Therefore, Barnes was wrong in accepting a contribution from the chairperson of any Town agency, no less from the Ethics Board chairperson. Where was her head on that one, and how come she refused to admit the acceptance? I ask that question!

But not only were we dealing with the obvious indiscreet actions of the chairperson, but the Board was considering hiring a criminal lawyer, who has defended terrorists, among others, to be it's counsel at a fee of $325 per hour. The Supervisor, and others, pointed out that their lawyer, if needed, should be primarily familiar with ethics’ law and not be a high-paid hired gun to go on expensive hunting expeditions.

In conclusion, there are many flaws with this law, which was drafted as a political tool, as pointed out by Herb Rosenberg, to attack the Supervisor. Ironically, it was the Supervisor and his running mates, who submitted the proper documents to the Town Ethics Board, but the authors, and the promulgators of the code and the new Ethics Board, did not. I ask, how come? It seems to me that hypocrisy reigns supreme on this Town Board. Do as I say, but not as I do. By the way, has Steve Bass finally filed with the Board of Elections? It has been many days since the deadline! Shouldn't the the Ethics Board be concerned?

Richard J. Garfunkel

gaffe-funkel spins again said...

didnt the supervisor collectively receive $10,000 from convicted felon and disabarred attorney chase caro (and wife and secretary?)

barnes and bass should return the money but so should the supervisor especially as chase caro's money was seemingly stolen from his clients including the elderly and infirm.

Anonymous said...

6:18
Sheehan could not make a case out of this contribution Wednesday nite at the town meeting and I think you had better do the same.
As many times as bloggers repeat this contribution,it seems to go no where .Stop this madness you're starting to sound and write like Bernstein and Sheehan.

Anonymous said...

Could it be possible that Bernstein is back writing on the blog?
This so called contribution seems to bother him and Sheehan the most.
The both of them are the only ones who refer to this whenever and wherever they can.
You're both giving yourselves away even if you do not give your name.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein and Sheehan haven't heard that guilt by association is a big no-no. But since that is all they have now, pity them.

Anonymous said...

FInally Bernstein and Sheehan are at the end of their ropes.
With all their planning they have gotten nowhere.
The only thing from this duo,residents have made a wise choice to disenfranchise themselves from both of them and the civic associations.
Both have tried to be rulers and guess what their empire is crumbling.
Snow removal in this town has been a disaster for quite some time.
Years gone by there was no parking on the streets at night time for many years.
Now it seems that if snow is predicted home owners put their cars half way on the roadways.
Before the police dept. gave out many summonses for this infraction,now they seem to be blind while they drive through the roads.
Many streets had signs telling homeowners about the no parking from this day to that day .
What happened to them ?They all seem to have gone byebye.
With new residents moving into the area these signs should be visable on all roadways.Put them back.
Many homeowners blow and shovel the snow from their driveways unto the roadway .This too is a no no.
Where are the ones to enforce these laws that are already on the books.
The town workers on the plows used to call in where they had problems removing the snow which was handled asap by the police dept.and the person that was parked on the roadway received a ticket.
WHat happened in the past years?
We all have to work together to make this town a safe place to live.
The Department of Public Works has supervisors they should be the ones checking that everything is cleared on the roadways for the safety of their workers.
Now for the parking garage.
There is so much land along the side of the parking garage yes it may be school property but it is of no use to them,the town should see that they could get some to build an extension to the existing garage.
The people in charge are only looking to full their pockets at the residents expense.
We need more parking and something should be done as soon as possible.

Samis correct said...

The more we learn about eddie mae barnes and her taking campaign funds from parking district personnel and the chair of the ethics board, the more we realize how corrupting her long tenure has become. As hal samis observed, just 80 days left in her term.

No one knows what the future board may do, but we have to say good riddance to Barnes. She just never got it (except an unearned paycheck).

Anonymous said...

Barnes has been a looser for some time .
She has been the laison to the housing authority,and they had problems.
She has been the laison to the parking garage,and what a disaster that has been throughout the years.
She oversees the community center and what has happened there.
Yes she did receive a paycheck for doing nothing.
We do hope the new administration will learn from her mistakes and the mistakes of the rest of the board.
Only time will tell.

martin luther king said...

lets get back to evaluating candidates on merit not the color of their skin.

Anonymous said...

I happen to be an African American who sees things and calls them as they are.
Race is not looked at in someone doing a good or bad job.
She has not done a good job and that's final.

hal samis said...

Dear Deceased,

Speaking for myself, I am an equal opportunity critic.
Which part of the criticisms made by myself and and by others, do you feel have to do with skin color?
Ineptitude is not due to skin color.

I have rightfully criticized all FIVE members of the Town Board (one of color) SIX Department heads (two of color) and the entire Library Board of Trustees and the entire Hartsdale Parking District.

Don't start playing the race card against residents who are fed up with tolerating incompetence.

The bloggers who have written about the stellar underperformance of Eddie Mae Barnes (let's not exclude Alfreda Williams either) have been wholly accurate in their assessments. Let's hear from you about Ms Barnes' accomplishments for SIXTEEN years in office and how she has voted for SIXTEEN years. Then let's look at the over $400,000 in paychecks (plus the benefits) she has drawn (as a part-time employee) from the wallets of taxpayers and we'll argue if she has earned her keep.

So when you gracelessly suggest that the criticism of Ms. Barnes had to do with her skin color and do so adopting Dr. Kings name, you are embracing all the characteristics of a racist. On this very blog you can read criticisms of Francis Sheehan (Caucasian), Ella Preiser (Caucasian), Mike Sigal (Caucasian) el al (Caucasians).
Perhaps your complaint is that there aren't more persons of color listed.

Martin Luther King said...

dear mr samiss:

You misundertood the post - ms barnes was only allowed to be a candidate over and over because of her skin color and i would guess because she represented a segment of the voters of the democratic party. thats wrong. You are 100% correct that for 16 years she has been a near disaster. But for one reason and one reason only she was put up as a candidate. Instead of ending her career on a high note , she did the opposite by taking moneys in violation of the ethics law she voted for. One doesnt know whether to laugh of cry. The other sad aspect is that she was a fake representative of her community in that, as you pointed out, she really lived in edgemont.


As for anon before you - your views are welcome - but apparently the official democratic party in greenburgh didnt see it that way. No wonder feiner and his team crushed them.

Barnes is a disgrace said...

More on the sad record of Eddie Mae Barnes in the recent campaign - this is from kevin Morgan:

Steve Bass and Eddie Mae Barnes knowingly disregarded the Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Board by publicly repeating outrageous statements about me that the Board ruled unfair. I AM and always will be pro-choice. By declaring to the contrary, Bass and Barnes thumbed their noses at the Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Board. This behavior reveals the kind of politicians they are. They claim credit for policies they oppose and make up lies about their opponents simply to win. How can they now be trusted to keep their promises?

Anonymous said...

Can't understand why Barnes and Bass still support Sheehan. They wouldn't be lame ducks without Sheehan.

hal samis said...

Dear 7:38,
Perhaps they (Bass and Barnes) support Mr. Sheehan because he is the wonderful folk who brought you the toughest Ethics Laws for miles around and ending Pay to Play.

Unless of course, you happen to be playing for:
Eddie Mae Barnes and Steve Bass.

Have you noticed the new campaign signs going up...look almost like the old signs except that these signs include the tagline "paid for by Diana Torstrup". She, of Tarrytown, may be one of those many 100% pro-lifers that have endangered our frantic duo before the Fair Practices Committee.

But hey, support whom you like; that is not the issue. What I'm thinking is that when something is paid for by someone else, then it doesn't have to be called a contribution and thus the value of these goods or services may not have to be listed on campaign finance filings. And if you find two fat mice who are willing to swallow free cookies; then you might also have found two rodents that have found a way around the Town's "tough" ethics laws. Not unlike how Mr. Sheehan also rewrote the laws to allow Mr. Bass to hold both a County postion and a Town position.

But as a prominent Town Board meeting dweller said, "we can always change the laws later."

Does this explain in part why Barnes and Bass think they should be grateful to Mr. Sheehan?

And, when Ms. Barnes' $500 patron, Mike Sigal, Chair of the Ethics Boards "gets" why he should resign, perhaps someone will fill out the citizen complaint form to initiate a complaint about these issues before the Ethics Board. The new form which has to be attested to before a notary; the form which carries penalties for incorrect information; the form in which penalties brought against the complainant could be more severe than the punishment meted out to the ethics violator.
What's that word...intimidation? See for yourself. The form can be downloaded from the Town website.

And should the Democratic Party ever get around to backing the Democratic candidates before the November election, why Mr. Bass and Ms. Barnes could always say: "We don't know nuttin about no signs, we didn't put them up".

And where did Mr. Bass go when he vanished from Wednesday's Town Board meeting? The men's room?

Anonymous said...

Bass and Barnes made a terrible mistake and now they have to pay dearly.
They should have seen the writing on the wall with all the comments that were written on the blog concerning Sheehans behavior.
He pulled them into his hateful web which cost both of them the election.
The people spoke and the two will be gone.
Sheehan was the leader and Bass and Barnes followed.As for Juettner she's just a lump on a log.
Sheehan's hatred has proved a total disaster for this town and he too will be defeated in the next election.
People don't forget.

Anonymous said...

If Bass & Barnes are participating in the placement of signs around town with their name on it and if these signs are paid for by others, it could be a violation of NYS law.

facts please said...

what nys law is that?

the moon could be made of green cheese also.

Anonymous said...

FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES COMMITTEE
82 Taymil Road, New Rochelle, NY 10804
914-633-7889 /fax 914 632 6689 /faircampaign@optonline.net


For Immediate Release

Contact: Stephanie Sarnoff, Chair – (914) 276-0760

FAIR CAMPAIGN FINDINGS REGARDING COMPLAINTS BY
Kevin Morgan and Sonja Brown against Steve Bass and Eddie Mae Barnes, candidates for Greenburgh Town Council in Democratic Primary

The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee (WCFCPC) met on October 10, 2007 to hear the complaints. All candidates were present.

These are the complaints and findings:

Complaint #1:
Mr. Morgan and Ms. Brown complained that literature accusing Sonja Brown of “having a history of trying to line her own pockets with our tax dollars” and trying “to sneak a $30,000 ‘stipend’ for herself…into the fine print of the proposed budge for a summer SAT camp for Greenburgh students was unfair.
Finding: UNFAIR
Brown’s public proposal included a budget specifying payment to her company, which is not sneaky or an indication of a scheme to line her pockets. The wording of the literature is false and deliberately inflammatory.

Complaint #2:
Mr. Morgan and Ms. Brown complained that literature stating that the “Morgan-Brown team is not 100% Pro-Choice”, and that Morgan “helped hijack the election by sneaking an anti-choice conservative Republican judge on the Democratic primary ballot for Family Court” was unfair.
Finding: UNFAIR
While it is not within the purview of the Fair Practices Committee to decide the definition of ‘pro-choice’, the allegations made in the literature are unsupported. It is also misleading to imply that Morgan tried to “hijack the election” by carrying petitions for another candidate.

Complaints #2B, #3 and #4:
These complaints concern assertions that Ms. Brown declined to say what her position on choice is, that Morgan-Brown is not “100% committed to finding alternatives to Indian Point, and that “Sonja Brown is “running on the anti-choice ticket” .
Finding: UNFAIR
When a candidate has not taken a public stand, a position cannot be imputed to that candidate.
Committee Members: Stephanie Sarnoff (Chair), Milton Hoffman (Vice Chair), Miriam Cohen (Coordinator) LaRuth Gray, Susan Pace Guma, Ruth

feiner team guilty also said...

feiner was also cited for violations esp his phony threat that taxes for would triple if bernstein won his cases. this was incredibly misleading.

Anonymous said...

Feiner was not lying about higher taxes in this coming budget.
We do hope with the help of Kolesar the taxes will be high but not thru the roof.
Before you call Feiner a liar let's see what the figures are in the next couple of weeks.

Anonymous said...

The new Bass/Barnes signs are paid for by private citizens. Is it possible that some of the bad guys--the people who aren't allowed to give to town officials--are giving indirectly to the citizen so it can't be reported?
The new ethics joke that Bass/Barnes claimed to have written, is becoming a big joke because they are not complying with the spirit of the law.