Edgemont goes to Albany: News from today's trip to see our legislators.
Edgemont, your calls and emails are working. Just not to these guys.
Today, the EIC headed up to Albany to meet with our legislators and discuss the last-minute proposed bills that would restrict the rights of Greenburgh's residents to vote on village incorporations.
We tried to make an appointment with Tom Abinanti, our assemblymember, who authored the bill and introduced it just before Feiner’s first secret public meeting on Friday. But like our Town Board on Father's Day, Abinanti outright refused to listen to us.
We did meet with Senate Minority Leader and our representative, Andrea Stewart-Cousins. On one of her busiest days of the year, she found 25 minutes for us and learned that the EIC has, in fact, produced both a financial feasibility study for the proposed village and proposed contracting plan between a village and the rest of unincorporated Greenburgh. We also explained that the Town has refused to meet with us or engage in any meaningful conversation on the topic of financial feasibility for Edgemont and Greenburgh.
We pointed out the irony that the Town is requesting a law mandating detailed reports while simultaneously refusing to review the materials we’ve made available to them. Her opinion, after lengthy discussion, was that the bill requires broader discussion. Most importantly to us, Senator Stewart-Cousins did what Feiner, the Town Board, and Abinanti wouldn't do: she listened.
We also met with Bob Farley, Senior Counsel for Senate Majority Leader Flanagan's office. Farley listened as well and understands that the bill on its face has formidable legal issues, not the least of which is the conflict with Article III, Section 17 of the New York State Constitution. Farley believes that introducing legislation on an issue currently under litigation creates serious separation of powers problems between the judicial and legislative branches, and accordingly, this is not the proper way to legislate. Finally, Farley is concerned about the precedent set by such a home-rule bill, and believes more discussion is needed on the state-wide bill that has some of the same aspects as Abinanti’s, but would apply to every town in New York State.
Finally, we visited with Senator George Latimer (currently running for Westchester County Executive), who understood the civil rights implications of the bill. He will not favor any bill that creates any voter suppression issues.
Overall, we think showing up and providing our legislators the context around the bill was helpful for them, and for us. It's not over till it's over, but over the next 48 hours we hope to see favorable results.
Senator Stewart-Cousins office told us that nearly 250 emails and calls had been received in opposition to the bill, and only one in favor. That, and our amazing turnout on Father’s Day at Town Hall, reflects Edgemont’s commitment to doing the right thing. We thank you for your presence on Sunday, your calls/letters/donations, and your general support. This is truly a team effort. Let’s keep the pressure on, as it is clearly making a difference.
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