Supervisor Feiner denies the petition and suppresses the rights of his constituents
Re: Your denial of the Village of Edgemont petition
We are disappointed that you, in your sole discretion, have denied the petition and in doing so stripped your Edgemont constituents of their right to a vote on village incorporation. Your use of taxpayer funds for the purposes listed below speaks volumes:
- outside attorney at $350/hour who, as a judge, ruled against an incorporation petition;
- a slate of private investigators who, under false pretenses, entered homes and attempted to invalidate signatures ($25,000);
- a surveyor who, by his own admission, made statements that had no bearing on a village incorporation (cost unknown); and
- another lawyer ($250/hour) who also made statements without standing, or bearing on the incorporation, a resource which like that of the aforementioned surveyor, you made available exclusively to the opposition.
But that’s not all. Since the lawn signs went up last summer, you have made public statements revealing your strong bias against Edgemont’s incorporation. You have provided no data analysis or fact-based research, and withheld key information on the hearing from petitioners.
Notwithstanding your opposition to incorporation, we had hoped you would leave it up to residents to exercise their legal right to vote on the matter. Unfortunately, we can only conclude that you prejudged the decision and that the entire hearing, including your use of outside help, was a farce.
Your decision is based on factors which hold as little water as your unlawful use of taxpayer funds for the private investigators:
- You contend that there is a lack of common certainty of the territory’s legal description that was approved by the Westchester County Board of Supervisors in 1923 and has never been changed since. Common certainty of boundaries is based on these approved maps and descriptions, but since the objectors themselves are confused, you simply just accepted the objections, and redefined “common certainty.”
- You removed 296 signatures on unsubstantiated claims from one Hartsdale resident that six of them were erroneous or fraudulent. If those claims were substantiated, the law says just those six, or at worst, the petition pages those six sit on (less than 15 signatures) should be removed. Throwing out those 290 signatures without any suggestion that any one of them was suspect in any way, is a deliberate act of voter suppression. If your action were lawful, it would open any petition (even yours for ballot) to poison pill attacks.
- You inflated the minimum number of signatures required by including voters who have since died or moved away. The list of qualified voters was thoughtfully put together, and you failed to check if the additional names you added were still alive and residents.
- Finally, you objected on a supposed failure to include a reasonably accurate list of regular inhabitants when your own list of such inhabits inexplicably includes people who have died or moved away.
In short, as we will demonstrate in court, you failed to justify the decision with reason governed by statute or relevant case law. Based on Tim Lewis's comments at the hearing, we also understand that you would rather spend more taxpayer dollars on litigation than allow your constituents their due process and rights to vote.
As such, we will both pursue legal action and create a new petition. We believe your actions have only served to galvanize the sentiment of Edgemont to incorporate.
We had hoped that we would be working together by now. However, we will not be discouraged by these tactics, and will continue working hard to afford Edgemont residents their right to vote.