Three years ago, more than 1,700 Edgemont residents signed a petition to vote on village incorporation. Supervisor Paul Feiner, fearing the vote’s outcome, blocked the process by refusing to certify it. The Edgemont Incorporation Committee (EIC) sued Feiner and won. But the appeals court ruled it’s “not illegal” for Feiner to require all children in Edgemont be listed as a precondition to certifying.
Feiner said the ruling proves he had no choice and was correct. How does “not illegal” become “had no choice”? Empowered doesn’t necessarily mean correct. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s travel ban on certain Muslim countries, it affirmed the president’s authority. That’s all.
Politicians have discretion to do or not do. Feiner could have certified it but chose not to.
Feiner thinks he, not the Edgemont majority, should determine Edgemont’s future. That’s un-American. The EIC filed a second petition, this time listing children, and all Edgemont residents (pro, anti and undecided) should support democracy over dictatorship.
Ironically, EIC volunteers rely on donations in pursuit of democracy while Feiner uses tax dollars to disenfranchise.
Feiner will likely reject Edgemont’s second petition for more court drama. Courts generally stay out of politics which is best left to voters. Why doesn’t Edgemont just vote Feiner out? Edgemont, comprising only 8% of Feiner’s townwide voter pool, is too small.
Remember, Feiner paid private investigators to enter Edgemont homes to dupe residents into invalidating petition signatures — clearly he doesn’t fear Edgemont voter backlash.
Is Edgemont taxed without representation? Town advocates say no, since Edgemont residents can vote for town supervisor. Furthermore Hastings, with about the same population as Edgemont, isn’t complaining. The difference is while Feiner controls Edgemont’s taxes and land use decisions, he has no such jurisdictions over villages. Hastings can easily vote out the village officials who control its taxes and land use. Compared to Hastings, Edgemont is indeed taxed without representation.
Some believe all of Greenburgh, not just Edgemont residents, should get to vote on Edgemont’s incorporation since it will impact people outside Edgemont. But allowing people outside an area to vote on that area’s affairs is a slippery slope. Consider this — Edgemont’s incorporation will impact people outside Edgemont, while Irvington’s village status does impact people outside Irvington. Edgemont simply aspires to do what villages already do. Anyone criticizing Edgemont for wanting to incorporate must criticize villages for refusing to dissolve. Should all of Greenburgh get to vote on Irvington’s dissolution since their village status impacts people outside Irvington? Selective socialism is illogical. If wealthy Edgemont should stay unincorporated, wealthy villages should join unincorporated.
While Greenburgh’s villages won’t hypocritically say “Edgemont can’t do as we do,” they are mostly silent about Edgemont’s incorporation. But they shouldn’t be. Feiner’s justification for obstructing incorporation is, “It is my sincere belief that we are stronger, better, and more efficient as one town.” In other words, village status is bad. Feiner’s friends in Albany keep proposing bills empowering Feiner to stop village formation. What’s next? Bills empowering him to stop village existence? Villages must realize incorporation and dissolution are different sides of the same coin, and Feiner wants “one town.”
BERT DE GUZMAN