March 12, 2005
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
Whether you are a friend of the library, which I am sure everyone is in their heart, or whether you are a supporter of good government, or whether you are just an interested citizen or a supporter of the outstanding job Paul Feiner has done over these many years, the Library Referendum is a “big” issue. This May10th referendum is the result of combination events that have culminated in the following: a fractured Town Council, the lack of support for the Supervisor on this Council, the lack of fiscal reality on the part of Library Board, the divisive power of a small group of willful people out to destroy the Supervisor and break apart the Town.
This group of people is loosely made up of discontented Democrats, single-issue advocates, conservatives, demagogues and character assassins. One obvious objective of some of these individuals is to destroy the fabric of the Town of Greenburgh by working for Village secession from the Town. One of this group is a long-time State elected Democratic personage, whose job is to support Democrats who are elected to office. That job has been compromised time and time again with his empty criticisms. Others harp on local access cable television; one nitpicker sees himself as the “fiscal watchdog” as he questions every certiorari, every financial settlement, and every property lien. Has there been anything that he has exposed? No! But he wants every report every figure; he wants to hear the justification as if there was some graft or corruption.. He seems to want to imply that there is something sub rosa or underhanded going on! Not one of these requests has ever resulted in evidence that there is something wrong, illegal or covered-up. Of course we have or resident legal-beagle who engages in threats of litigation against the Town at the “drop of the hat.” He looks upon himself as the next Emile Zola, and struts about with an arrogant pomposity as he metaphorically screams, “I accuse!” Of course I haven’t included the various character assassins that come to every meeting to vent their baseless claims, lies and charges. But for those who have to endure this bi-monthly comic opera, these characters are well known.
So you now see that the lines that have been drawn. This group has harangued and hectored the Town Board through intimidation, half-truths, and lies. It has sought to destroy the Town Supervisor by the age-old tactic of “Divide and Conquer” and the repetition of accusation. Because they cannot hope to beat the Supervisor in a fair election, they have attempted to strip his power, emasculate his office, and cause rule by legislative dictatorship.
If you want this to continue to happen, stand idly by. If you want the dissolution of this Town by the work of cynical Lilliputians, stand idly by! But if you want enlightened fair, and honest leadership to continue, then you must support the Town Supervisor.
This cynical attempt to force this fiscally irresponsible and ill-considered referendum down the throats of the citizens will lead to an era of double-digit taxation far into the future. With the specter of that in the offing the Supervisor would be seen as responsible for the economic chaos that would ensue. This is cynicism at the most base level.
Please understand that the Supervisor supports an enhanced, renovated and enlarged library. He stated his support and has worked hard to attain that goal. But he remains committed to fair, open, transparent and responsible government. We face great economic challenges far into the future regarding huge Federal, State, and County expenditures and deficits. Therefore it is critical that we be responsible on the most personal and local level.
As this process proceeds, please stand up and be counted.
Richard J. Garfunkel
March 11, 2005
Letter to the Editor
This past Wednesday night, March 9, the Greenburgh Town Board voted 4-1 to authorize a May 10, 2005 referendum for a $19.8 million bond issue to pay for a renovation and expansion of the current Greenburgh Town Library. All are in agreement that the library needs renovation, expansion and an obvious upgrading. Only Supervisor Paul Feiner was sensible and brave enough to “buck the tide” of this lobbying effort by the Library Board to muscle through a May referendum. This May referendum will serve the purpose of disenfranchising many, many voters by accident and on purpose. The turnout promises to be a fraction of the registered voters, who at this time are totally uninformed about the cost and scope of this project. On top of that, there will be no ability to offer absentee ballots for any voters who cannot make it to the polls. This is a cynical attempt to “slide” this huge spending proposal past the vast body of the electorate. Earlier the Library Board wanted this vote to be held in January or March with the polling places limited to the library itself. Supervisor Feiner has insisted that a November vote would be more inclusive, and it would give the community more time to digest the “real” cost of this proposal. During this added time period the community could analyze the “real” needs of the library, possible alternative sites for construction and the avoidance of a two-year library service interruption. This library expansion, along with new and higher taxes for; school districts, fire districts, the County’s Medicaid problems and municipal costs could enter us into an era of double-digit tax increases for years. At the rate of a 10+% increase per year for seven years, a homeowner’s property taxes will double! Can the Town Board’s irresponsible actions make life for the middle class in Greenburgh unaffordable?
Richard J. Garfunkel