This summer the EIC has been busy working on an answer to our most frequently asked question: “When are we going to vote?” Let’s recap what’s happened and where things stand.
We filed the incorporation petition in late February. As you may recall, Supervisor Feiner—who is responsible for certifying the petition—ran several plays to thwart the effort. Over the past six months, we have learned that the Town, among other actions to impede our efforts, hired private investigators (with whom the Town was in direction communication) to enter our homes under false pretenses to invalidate signatures; pushed for a last-minute New York State “home-rule” law to unconstitutionally limit the ability of Greenburgh residents (and only Greenburgh residents) to incorporate; and worked with Feiner’s former campaign manager to develop an apparently collusive “second” lawsuit against the Town, the sole purpose of which is clog up the courts by asserting other grounds for denial before a different judge.
These plays weren’t legal (the Town is, by law, required to perform only ministerial functions in matters of village incorporations). They also weren’t successful. Nonetheless, they demonstrate the lengths to which our elected Town representatives will go to defend their sovereignty over the unincorporated area, and their lack of respect for Edgemont residents’ clear interest in voting on self-governance.
What’s happening now? We’re fighting the good fight:
In June, the EIC filed an Article 78 lawsuit against the Supervisor challenging the validity of his rejection of the petition. The matter is before the court, and we hope to have a decision in early fall. We expect to prevail and, when we do, we expect the Town will appeal simply to delay the matter further. There are ways to expedite that appeal to reduce delays and minimize taxpayer expense.
Their second collusive lawsuit was transferred to the judge assigned to our original lawsuit, and we obtained an order requiring the Town and its adversaries (allies) to show cause why the EIC petitioners should not be permitted to intervene in that suit as necessary parties and seek its immediate dismissal.
We have been diligently pursuing freedom of information requests, from which we have learned that the lawyer suing the Town on the second collusive case has been repeatedly hired by the Town and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, since being served with this sham suit, the Town has authorized even more payments for the attorney for cases that do not even exist yet.
We’ve also uncovered that the Town, and its appointed officials, have been using taxpayer dollars to collaborate with the same few and vocal unincorporated area residents who publicly oppose Edgemont’s incorporation. Among the several deceptive strategies, the opposition continues to pose as budget analysts who are genuinely interested in providing helpful information to the community. They’ve conveniently ignored many pieces of indisputable evidence, including the fact that Edgemont (with its significant tax contribution to Greenburgh) would have ample revenue to run a high-service-level village under any number of scenarios. Instead, they continue to cherry pick statements from the 2005 EVEC report in an effort to discredit our current analysis.
The Town’s action of working with these residents to mislead the public with embellished anecdotes, flawed analysis, and fear mongering conjecture about our community is just another tactic similar to secretly passing a home rule request or sending private investigators into our homes to lie to us. The Assemblyman who wrote and pushed the home-rule bill, the private investigators, and now these residents are all tools of the Town who wish to keep Greenburgh in control of Edgemont at any cost.
While our lawyers handle the suits and the courts and monitor other proposed legislation that could impair our ability to incorporate, our petition team is hard at work on the second incorporation petition. What took us 10 months to collect in the first petition took us less than 10 weeks to collect in the second: we already have more signatures on the second petition. It uses the exact same boundaries as the first, and while the named petitioners have changed, everything else is pretty much the same.
The second petition, which already has almost twice the number of signatures required by state law, demonstrates the will of the electorate: Edgemont deserves a vote on how it wishes to be governed. We can submit the second petition if necessary. However, given Feiner’s behavior over the past year, we’d like to see how the case plays out in court before putting yet another valid petition in front of the same Supervisor.
Over the coming months, we will update our website with legal and financial information on services, including parking, EMS, and pool, and continue to provide timely information on legal developments and the vote as it becomes available. No one said incorporating was going to be easy, but with your support we’ll continue to ensure we get to a vote and with the clearest information possible for the right decision.