I write in response to Bert de Guzman’s letter [“Reader says Supervisor Feiner’s ‘one town’ view is anti-village,” July 12] falsely blaming Supervisor Paul Feiner for the failure of the EIC’s incorporation petition. I am amazed the EIC is still unwilling to admit the Appellate Division sided with Supervisor Feiner because the petition was fatally flawed. This was the result of the EIC trying to push through a petition that cut corners, not “voter suppression” or obstruction by Supervisor Feiner or the objectors (like myself) who pointed out the deficiencies.
Mr. de Guzman is apparently relying on the misrepresentations of the legal process continually promoted by the EIC attorneys that 1) Paul Feiner could essentially make any decision on the petition and it would have been upheld by the Appellate Court if it was not “illegal” and that 2) the petition’s list of regular inhabitants only omitted the names of children (and illegal aliens — a very Trumpian term). Both of these are clearly wrong.
As the EIC’s lawyers well know, the statutory standard of review of the supervisor’s decision is not just whether it is “illegal” (meaning outside his authority), but also whether the decision was based on insufficient evidence or contrary to the weight of the evidence. In other words, his decision had to be supported by sufficient evidence, considering all of the evidence. Had the supervisor upheld the petition as valid, his decision would have been against the weight of the evidence, based on my and other objections. Indeed, one of his three grounds for finding the petition invalid was rejected by the Appellate Court.
Two grounds of invalidity were upheld — the lack of certainty of the borders of the proposed village and the failure to list thousands of adult and minor regular inhabitants. Many of the omitted inhabitants were neither children nor “illegal aliens,” but a large number of adult Edgemont residents qualified to vote. Unfortunately, the misrepresentation continually pushed by the EIC that the decision was about failing to name children has been repeated without correction by both The Scarsdale Inquirer and The Journal News.
I must respond to one further error in Mr. de Guzman’s letter. The 1,700 signatures on the incorporation petition do not indicate that a majority of Edgemont residents favor a vote (nor even that the signers favor incorporation). Moreover, if there is a vote, it will not be the majority of Edgemont residents deciding whether to incorporate, but only the majority of those who vote. That could be six people out of 10 voters. And remember, there has been true voter suppression of the remaining residents of incorporated Greenburgh who will be detrimentally affected by incorporation through the EIC’s successful efforts to defeat bills that would have given those residents a say in the incorporation process. The EIC has successfully lobbied the New York State legislature to keep those residents from voting on incorporation, knowing they would not get a majority of those votes in favor of incorporation despite the EIC’s bogus claims that pulling millions of dollars out of the budget somehow would actually benefit them.