Once again, local politicians who dislike the idea of Edgemont incorporating are trying to ram legislation through in Albany — right around Memorial Day, when they hope no one will be paying attention — to require that the entire town approve Edgemont’s referendum on incorporation, rather than just the voters of the area in question.
Residents are concerned that State Sen. Andrea-Stewart Cousins seems to be seriously considering supporting the legislation this time around. This would be an abuse of the political system — to say nothing of yet another abuse of taxpaying residents who, last time I checked, were citizens entitled to vote when the law gives them that right. This is just the latest distinctly anti-democratic tack — far from the first — in what continues to be an all-out war by the town of Greenburgh on the right of Edgemont residents to vote.
Current and longstanding village incorporation laws protect the rights of those of us who make up a small minority of the town's population. These bills would remove that protection by making our right to incorporate subject to the will of the entire town — which defeats the entire purpose of the village law. If the needs of the proposed village were consistent with the town's, there would be no need to incorporate in the first place.
The effect would be to force a group of citizens to remain subject to the town's governance without representation. Because of our smaller numbers, we have no hope of voting out officials who run roughshod over our needs — and who have for decades, with almost zero meaningful representation of our community at the town level.
What we seek instead is a layer of local government that will protect us from being taken advantage of financially and having our tax dollars mismanaged by town officials who know they don’t need our votes to stay in power, and who therefore don’t bother to seek our input.
Passing legislation that would bar us from voting on incorporation would mean Albany has decided taxation without representation is perfectly OK. Anything about that sound off to you?
The fact is these bills are clearly designed to prevent citizens even from voting on whether to incorporate. Under longstanding New York law, the people of a community considering incorporation have the right to make that decision for themselves. Last time I heard, the right to vote is the foundation of the entire U.S. political system, however flawed that system has proven to be lately. These bills are a bald faced effort to take away that right.
NANCY KING BERNSTEIN
Old Colony Road