According to the Greenburgh Town’s website archives, Supervisor Feiner has been sending direct emails to residents and PR Newswire outlets dating back to September 2002. Currently, these almost daily interactions cover almost everything that happens in Greenburgh, and have aided to establish our supervisor as the primary source for Greenburgh news. External news sources often relay these communications; in fact Rush Limbaugh once shared a Supervisor Feiner idea on one of his broadcasts.
To some, this is an example of “open government” at its best. It is a wonderful idea to use this precious town resource and keep residents informed about important happenings, especially during emergencies. In my opinion, these communications are designed to do more than that.
As reported by The Scarsdale Inquirer [“Town clerk accepts E’mont’s incorporation petition,” May 31], a second petition seeking a vote on Edgemont’s becoming Greenburgh’s seventh village was filed with the town on May 28. This week, a public hearing for the petition was scheduled for July 16, and posted as a footnote on the town’s website. One would think that the residents of the town might be interested in these issues, yet both stories were blatantly absent from Supervisor Feiner’s daily press releases. Why was this not reported? Was Supervisor Feiner afraid that word of Edgemont’s filing might direct state senators’ attention to the issue?
Unfortunately, the current system of reporting enables the supervisor to share his one-sided view in order to shape public opinion and perhaps silence any opposition. Any new candidate seeking office can expect to be drowned out by tangential news or not heard from at all via our well-oiled taxpayer resource.
While in my opinion the shaping of public opinion through these communications is egregious, the lack of reporting events (like the filing of Edgemont’s second petition) in an attempt to silence residents is equally outrageous and self-serving.
Greenburgh is not necessarily a good example for “open government”; perhaps it’s a poster child for “You Can’t Fight City Hall.”