Politics, Peanuts, and Placekicking. Our Town Supervisor tries his next trick.
Supervisor Paul Feiner has now begun campaigning against incorporation in private homes within Edgemont. For those who plan to meet with Mr. Feiner privately on Edgemont and consider his proposals, we’ve put together a reminder of who we’re dealing with.
Politics, Peanuts, and Placekicking.
With the fall football season in full swing and without a single win by the Giants, I’m reminded of a particularly funny scene from “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” when Lucy promises to hold the football for Charlie to kick, only to yank it away.
A similar scene is unfolding in Edgemont.
In an email to me June 19, Mr. Feiner suggested he can deliver, first, new state legislation to give us control of zoning and planning decisions and, second, lower taxes and better services to Edgemont than what villages pay and receive.
“I would support a change in state legislation that would authorize the creation of a special village with limited powers — zoning and planning,” the supervisor wrote. “My suggested compromise would require state legislation and would apply to the entire town. The terms could be worked out with Edgemont leaders, the town and the state legislators. I believe would could get the legislation approved — if everyone works together.”
That sounds like a reasonable compromise; the benefits of incorporating without incorporating. It’s so reasonable, in fact, the EIC investigated whether either are possible and we found, one, no such authority under state law for zoning and planning and, two, we are paying for several of those great services villages receive for free.
So now, after asking the state to diminish our voting rights — and being denied — Mr. Feiner would request, if we don’t incorporate first, the state invent a completely new government structure. It won’t take much for legislators to recognize the many problems with this idea and just say, we have a law for this already; it’s called village incorporation, and you can follow the trend of sharing services if you wish.
Irrespective of whether Mr. Feiner’s ideas carry any weight, any such proposal would require the Edgemont community to trust Mr. Feiner would actually do what he says if we first give him what he wants.
In June 2016, at the only meeting at which he spoke publicly on the merits of incorporation, Mr. Feiner promised that he wouldn’t be “an obstructionist” on incorporation.
Since that time, Mr. Feiner has:
- secretly strategized against incorporation (using Town resources to do so, see here: http://bit.ly/2ueVfGl and here: http://bit.ly/2tNAmRS),
- covertly hired private investigators to enter our homes and dupe us into rescinding our petition signatures,
- attempted to discretely pass a home-rule request on Father’s Day and dupe our state Legislature into impairing our rights to incorporate, and
- quietly authorized payments to the very lawyer that’s suing Feiner for the same verdict Feiner is seeking in a case against us.
We’ve caught all of this.
With this duplicitous record, we’re supposed to trust him? He won’t even meet with us to discuss the service cost analysis and budgets we’ve sent to him publicly and repeatedly but now he’s saying we’ll “work together” if we don’t incorporate?
Charlie Brown said it best to Lucy. “I don’t mind your dishonesty half as much as I mind your opinion of me. You must think I’m stupid.”
Edgemonters won’t be bamboozled by Mr. Feiner, or his local friends who are in on the racket. Thus far, Mr. Feiner has eschewed publicly addressing Edgemont residents in favor of delivering messages through surrogates and friends; the few FOIL’d documents he’s released demonstrate no research; and he has offered no data to support any claim as to how we could magically achieve incorporation goals without incorporating.
This is basic Feiner strategy 101: get someone else to spin, or if necessary, spin in private where nothing stated has any accountability.
Incorporation affords Edgemont great opportunities to chart its own future and gain accountability. The most important is direct representation by locally elected Edgemont Village boards, like our school board, and the professional they work with to run day-to-day operations, like our school superintendent. Those boards of our neighbors, in turn, would have control over village zoning, planning, service levels and taxes. And since we would have something to offer service providers, including the town, and something to gain, we could be party to equitable contracts and, as a village, have the legal standing to enforce them. In this regard, we would be just like the other six Greenburgh villages.
That would be quite an upgrade from our status as all but powerless town residents with a mere eight percent of the vote. Facing a shift under which Edgemont would self-govern, Mr. Feiner is asking us to trust him again while promising that, this time, he won’t yank the ball away.
Oh, good grief.
A version of this letter was submitted to the Scarsdale Inquirer. Please forward this email to your friends who may not have received it and encourage them subscribe at http://edgemont2017.org