Saturday, October 10, 2009


From: ellen ------deleted correct address for privacy reasons]
Sent: Wednesday, October 07, 2009 11:12 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Good news


I want to thank you for all the help you gave me during my 15-month of unemployment. Your email messages resulted in two wonderful opportunities for me.

On Monday, October 19, I am going to work for---(deleted job for privacy reasons )as a client relationship manager (which I heard about through your attached email).

I also am in training to become a ------(deleted job) (also through one of your email notifications).

Please know that your efforts on behalf of your unemployed neighbors is greatly appreciated. I will never forget your generosity!

All the best,



hal samis said...

It would also help employed Greenburgh neighbors struggling to pay rising taxes if you could review the weekly supermarket flyers and tell residents where the best deals are.

You don't have to do this forever, say, just for 15 months.

Anonymous said...

One out of how many? (Hundreds)How much town time and money did it cost verse what was accomplished ?

Disgruntled Greenburgher said...

The Supervisor's heart is clearly in the right place - the issue is that governance is more than just caring.
Governance is about fundamental fairness and consistency, not about how the elected official "feels" about the laws he is sworn to uphold.
Mr Feiner has violated his oath of office on more than one occasion - but we have failed to enforce our side of the contract either in the voting booth or in the courtroom...
Thirty years of Feiner ideas and aPAuling decisions seems our fate - unless we do something.
Write in the names "Michael Kolesar" for Supervisor and "Hal Samis" and "Ella Preiser" for Town Council Trustee on the ballot this November.

A Greenburgh Observer said...

Ah, and old fashioned write-in campaign. You know usually the names one will find amongst the write-ins are the likes of Daffy Duck &c. Is it possible that Mr. Duck could be adequate company for picks as well? :)

A Greenburgh Observer said...

Correction: for your picks as well...

Anonymous said...

Well, with Bozo having the Democrat line and The Invisible Man on the Republican line, either Daffy or Donald Duck would make a fine Town Clerk.

Anonymous said...

Write in "Herb Rosenberg" for Supervisor. A strong "pro-village" and "anti-Bernstein" candidate deserves a chance.

hal samis said...

8:58...tsk tsk tsk

1) Personally, I believe that a write-in campaign is a joke, akin to not even unlocking the window before trying to open it.
2) Even one person asking the paid
polling place attendants to provide a ballot, much less hundreds, would create pandemonium.
3) The effective way to demonstrate displeasure with this year's uncontested slate is to make the effort to register your discontent by taking the trouble to appear at your polling place and vote for everyone or anyone running for an office other than the positions of town supervisor, town board and town clerk. That way, even though the incumbents will win (running unopposed guarantees it) they cannot claim a mandate from the people. Think of it this year as: just say NO or your NON-VOTE COUNTS.

That said, let's consider your toss of Rosenberg into the write-in race. In my OPINION, I don't trust him as far as you can throw him -- and, ala Henny Youngman, please do.
Mr. Rosenberg is a stalking horse for Feiner by another name and if you want to know what's faster than the internet, just tell him something juicy and Feiner will know it within seconds.

But your reason for naming him is precious. When Mike Kolesar let it be known to Village officials that he was considering a run for Town Supervisor, that was when he got fired immediately for reasons "unknown". While those, in the unincorporated sections who were approached on his behalf, expressed concerns that Kolesar was "too pro Village" being a Village resident. So your contribution, albeit an anonymous one, brings up the feared name, Bob Bernstein (whom so far has not been mentioned here as a write-in candidate) and proposes Mr. Rosenberg as the antidote to him.

As Artie Johnson on SNL would say:
"Very interesting...but stupid."

Anonymous said...

Arte Johnson never said a word on SNL. He was on Laugh-In, which pre-dated SNL by several years.

hal samis said...

Dear 1:52,

You are mostly correct; "sock it to me". However, Mr. Johnson was on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" ("look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls") which preceded "Laugh-In" by some 11 years. "You (can) bet your bippy" on that, if not "here comes de judge".

A Greenburgh Observer said...

As far as elections in the town go. I believe that the incumbent town supervisor (I am a supporter) is nearing retirement in probably the next 2-4 years.

I believe that you will see councilman Sheehan beginning to position himself to run for supervisor. As much as I disagreed with him in the past before he was elected to office. I now believe that he would do a fine job.

Just think of it. In the next four years or so there is going to be a transition in Greenburgh. A new era will be ushered in. What kind of factions will form then?

hal samis said...

What me worry?
A dawning of the age of aquarius in Greenbugh?

Thanks for your honesty in acknowledging that you are a Feiner follyer.

And thanks too for acknowledging that once upon a time there was a Sheehan to believe in which is why you disagreed with him.

And thanks once more for acknowledging that the new Sheehan who now resembles Feiner has won you over.

Because if Sheehan = Feiner what is going to change for the better on "that great come and get it day" in the land of Finian's Rainbow? It would be more of the same old, same old.

In fact, those who used to support Sheehan now oppose him and he has earned their disfavor. If he seriously finds himself seeking the position, he had best begin to sever the close symbiosis with Feiner or he too will be presiding over double digit tax increases with a by then exhausted fund balance too little to mask the problems.

Even though Mr. Sheehan presents that being Town Supervisor is the furthest thing in his mind, like the lottery, you never know.

And I will grant that on a pure knowledge basis, he outshines Feiner at every turn. However, if he wants to win the hearts and minds of hurting residents, he would do well to start taking leave of the senseless and showing that knowledge can be used to make an honorable difference.

So, dear Mr. Observer, you don't even have to wait four years to get a heads up on factions. But since Mr. Feiner plays a major role in deciding his and others political future(s), what web are you spinning that there is a chance that he will choose instead to take a job as a carnival barker or master of ceremonies at a theme park or even get a job as a headhunter.

But wherever he ends up if your prediction comes true; he can always look back on the gory that was his Camelot, a best place to live.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan has been in office way too long - I would hate to see this guy be our Supervisor. We need fresh eyes and someone who has not been tainted by developers and their attorneys. We need someone who has more than a spine made of jello.

I noticed that none of the candidates show their faces in Hartsdale these days. There's no race to be won so there are no empty words to be spewed. They didn't even visit the 2 stores that had a fire recently. Feiner barely shows his face around here anymore.

Yes, they have community outreach meetings. Big deal! They listen to us complain and then do nothing to make improvements.

I attended 2 meetings where the supervisor promised to do something about drivers crossing over the double yellow line into oncoming traffic on East Hartsdale Avenue near the 4-corners. He said he would look into having traffic delineators installed to keep cars from crossing the line. That was in April. These barriers work and do not interfere with snow removal. Many municipalities use them with great success. At that same meeting in April it was suggested that the parking district install a stop sign and stop bar at their exit onto East Hartsdale Avenue. They installed both within 48 hours. Why hasn't the Town held up their end. One does nothing if the other isn't done as well.

There were numerous complaints about enforcement in Hartsdale. You can't keep count of the daily infractions; u-turns, traveling the wrong way in front of Metro North, double parking, etc. The Town could close their budget gap if they started enforcing even the most basic of laws. But wait, they don't believe in the laws as they don't follow any of them either!


Anonymous said...

Why would Feiner retire? Does he max out on some state pension formula after 20 years? How is he going to earn $130K in the private sector - as a lobbyist working with Nick Spano? I don't think so. Or do Nita Lowey and Andy Spano each plan on retiring in the next 4years before their respective 80th birthdays, and thereby open up a musical chairs game for Westchester democrats?

Anonymous said...

Paul Feiner is the epitome of the Peter principle. He has "maxed" out. He's going no where else.

An Observer of Greenburgh said...

To reply to Mr. Samis' remarks about Mr. Sheehan at 10:28 PM, I'd say that sometimes governing is different than being an activist or a concerned citizen on the outside as he once was. You make deals and you have to compromise once in office. Although I still believe him to be his own person, with his own thoughts and opinions. He is far from being a rubber stamp.He is independent and would be a different supervisor if given the chance, not that I oppose the current incumbent at all. I believe that the incumbent will retire in four years or so.

It would do the town well to start thinking about the future. Personally I'd like to see a change in the decorum &c. at town hall meetings. I'd like there to be less heated factions engaging in verbal free for alls.

A few years ago I opposed Mr. Sheehan and said some things about him I regret. Not that he too hadn't said things in heated exchanges to people I know, meaning that we're human I suppose. On Election Day '05 I eventually got to talking with him and realized that he wasn't the person I imagined him to be.

So as a Feiner supporter my respect and favorability of Mr. Sheehan now does not correlate to his perceived "change of heart" as a councilman.It was after 2005 that I decided, that even though I did not support him, that he should receive the benefit of the doubt going forward.

Knowing the man I think he represents the future of Greenburgh.

hal samis said...

Dear 8:32,

Do you remember at the last meeting at Highview, the Town Board, too burdened to take notes of what the public was saying (even with a Town Clerk present) asked the public to submit written statements regarding their concerns.

I believe I commented (ok, yelled out) that this was a trick to make the residents believe that they. the public, were involved and would be part of the team that came up with the solution. How could you criticize the Town Board if you were working with them?

So now you too have caught on to their game. Stop, look, listen and then ignore.

See you at the next edition this Thursday?

hal samis said...

Dear 3:48,

Actually, most of what you write from your perspective is reasonable but nevertheless I must react to some "provocations".

No surprise that you as a Feiner follyist would be concerned about decorum at Town Board meetings. You ignore that the disloyal opposition has little time to bring to light many matters of concern. You ignore that the Town Board changes the rules for public comment at every meeting. You ignore that the Town Supervisor further inhibits public comment by spending the first hour on a number of photo ops which serve no practical purpose other than to make public comment come later in the evening. Defend, if you dare, the performance by a really terrible orchestra at an official Town Board meeting with important business to conduct.

How about the scheme to limit Public Comment on the budget by not holding any Town Board meetings until November 23, the first and only November meeting following the October 30 release of the tentative town budget. This doesn't concern you.

But what does concern you is the release of frustration, if not anger, by activists such as myself who take an interest in how the Town is managed. And tghe manner or style in how this interest is expressed somehow eclipses a Town Supervisor who publicly departs from his oath of office by breaking the law and says sue me if you don't like it. This somehow neither shocks or alarms you.

It all comes down to a system of values. The Town Board is decency and fairness challenged but the public is rude. Which side of the fence is capable of harming the Town and which is just venting? Tell us which side of the fence has the power to do what it wants, legally or illegally, morally or immorally, sets a good example or does get my drift...and then tell me what really is annoying, my raising my voice or the Town Board having the last, unclocked word by as many Board members that want to weigh in?

Anonymous said...

Feiner will never retire. The democratic party will not support him for any position. He will have to find another screwball way to play two groups (Fairview and the Villages) against the middle (rest of unincorporated Greenburgh). In the meantime, he will spend the Town reserve fund on no pay jobs and no bid contracts, reduce basic services, and whatever other toxic ideas he has.

Anonymous said...

Your tone may not be perfect but your cogent analysis is dead on. Using comment time for dog and pony shows is a travesty of open government. 1 hearing at the end of November is the exact opposite of the 3 hearing periods that should be conducted before the budget is adopted.

An Observer of Greenburgh said...

Mr. Samis,

I hear your grievances and you are well known for many, many years as the outspoken activist that you are. I salute your attentiveness and concern.

Do any of the other town board members share your opinion? Personally I'd like to see that people have a forum to address their concerns. I am concerned that dragging on a town board meeting is the right way to do such a thing.

I'd like to see another forum developed for people. Maybe open up work sessions and allow for public comment there? It seems that five minutes per person at a town board meeting may not be the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Hal, Hal, Hal

I share he opposite viewpoint of 1006PM. There needs to be rules surrounding any meeting. Rules do involve time limits as meetings need to have a purpose, a start adn and an end.

Anonymous said...

This is great but it's not what we're paying Feiner for. When did we hire an employment counselor. He should spend more time trying to do his own job which is to manage our Town. Instead he is stacking up votes by being a head hunter? There's nothing on this stupid blog about programs and initiatives to lower our taxes, maintain our services, maintain our infrastructure (which is failing so bad due to 20 years of neglect we'll be paying through the nose if a few years), recodifying our zoning and local codes which are woefully outdated, increasing our tax base, reducing tax cert refunds, etc.

He's a commendable head-hunter, master politician and horrible Town manager. He should look for a job with an employment agency! This guy has cost us a fortune...over 100% tax increase during his 19 years in office...I think he broke a record in that category as well!

Hartsdale Home Owner said...

7:14 - Stop underestimating the tax increases during the Feiner administration. Mike Kolesar wrote the following on this blogsite yesterday:

"Fact - Using the 1992 tax rate as a base as this was the last one set by Mr. Veteran, the tax rate for unincorporated Greenburgh under the "leadership" of Mr. Feiner has increased from $64.4954 to the 2009 rate of $157.0079 (source the annual tax rate sheets published by the Town Comptroller's office), an increase of 143.6%, and that is only after using more than $ 5 million in fund balances to hold down the tax increase in 2009. During the same period, using the Metropolitan New York CPI for the month of January 1992 at 147.3 (source Bureau of Labor Statistics )to January 2009 of 233.402, results in an increase of 58.5%."

Please see Mike's very informative series of postings near the end of the "Job Group..Work Session" comments.

hal samis said...

Dear Observor at 10:06,

If the Town Board wanted participation from the public at work sessions, not only would they allow it but they would schedule work sessions in the evening, not at 9:00 or 2:00 when those who still work have an obligation to appear at that primary function. Maybe the reason for finding residents jobs is to keep them away from Town meetings.

You might also know that your hero, Supervisor Feiner rejected a suggestion I made to him a few years ago: that citizens "adopt" a Department -- become knowledgeable, be privy to the inner workings and be in the information loop -- with the potential that they would bring a fresh perspective and one not encumbered by baggage or fear of reprisal.

The Supervisor also rejected my idea to pay employees token amounts (say $25) for volunteering money saving ideas or for pointing out problems. This has some rough edges associated with it (shouldn't employees do this as a matter of course) but if good ideas reach the surface, the bottom line is what counts. But the real bottom line is that the Supervisor only likes it when he can claim credit i.e. off the top of his head or let's visit voters instead. Doubters should before protesting be prepared to cite the short list of employee great ideas that have been provided without incentive.

But let me also return to your comment of October 13 @ 3:48.

"I'd say that sometimes governing is different than being an activist or a concerned citizen on the outside as he once was. You make deals and you have to compromise once in office."

Why? Is there a law that requires this? Politicians must make deals?
You have to compromise? Things cannot be black or white? Right or wrong must have exceptions?
Elsewhere I wrote about that there is no such thing as "trying to lift a chair". Let me add that there is no "half-pregnant".

Why put up with all the manure when there is a simple method to determine whether compromise or dealing works? When the Town gets a grant, often the grant is one from another government to which residents pay taxes. Are these grants for really important uses, things we just can't do without? Or are they more pork coming out of the larger barrel. Another grant to study police consolidation, a grant to restore a barn at a park, a grant to provide a circulation desk at the library, a grant to erect a monstrous memorial wall...there is a price to all of these grants too but that's for another day.

In any year, what is the total "savings" that these grants represent? Could the Town by not making deals and compromising afford those that are necessary and not be beholden or compromised (same root as compromise) as the result?

Compromise shows its face most often when pitting one group against the other, such as the unincorporated versus the villages, the developer against the neighborhood, the town against: the school district, the fire district, the sewer district, the water district, the parking district, the County government.
Divide and conquer, not a new thought.

But the cost of maintaining deals and compromise is not insubstantial.
Playing in these games comes with a price and for Greenburgh that price is tolerating the Town Supervisor and his band of merry rubber stamps. Here the game is rob the piper to pay paul while playing prince to the poor.

Anonymous said...

This job post would help Greenburgh if only to give Hal a job. He needs something better to do with his time.

hal samis said...

Why did your nanny quit?

Anonymous said...

I don't know. Why DID my nanny quit?