It was hard to know whether the Town Board tonight was embarrassed or defiant as it quietly passed a local law nobody seemed to want except Town Supervisor Paul Feiner that granted a request by Edgemont’s three competing new car dealers for the right to expand while at the same time barring any new dealers that might want to compete against them from opening up their own showrooms.
Residents and the Edgemont Community Council said the new legislation would needlessly expose the Town to the risk of an antitrust lawsuit and urged the Town to reject the proposal in favor of one that would legalize the right of all car dealers to compete along Central Avenue.
Alternatively, they asked that the Town insist as a condition for approving the new law that the competing car dealers that asked for it indemnify the Town and its taxpayers against any antitrust lawsuit that might be brought. The dealers said this was unacceptable and town officials didn’t insist on it.
As the new law was passed, Mr. Feiner tried to fix the problem he created by introducing a new local law to allow all other new car dealers to compete along Central Avenue in Edgemont.
But Mr. Feiner’s proposal was dismissed by residents who saw it not as a serious attempt to introduce competition, but more as a public relations ploy to rebut all the criticism he had been receiving.
As one resident explained, all Mr. Feiner seemed to have done was have the Town’s planning commissioner interview himself and the Town Code to quickly draft a proposal that would in theory allow new car dealers to open showrooms on Central Avenue – but without knowing what today’s new car dealers might actually need in terms of the kind of showrooms that would persuade them to open up in Greenburgh.
Mr. Feiner promised to talk to prospective new dealers and “tweak” the planning commissioner’s draft proposal so that the new proposal, if adopted, would actually work in recruiting competition.
The rest of tonight’s town board meeting dealt with an unusually lengthy rambling outburst from Town Clerk Judith Beville who bridled at criticism that, as the person responsible for the town’s transmission of town board meetings, she had failed to address repeated complaints from the public that the Town’s sound system did not work well.
Ms. Beville denied there were any problems, said if there were any problems they were not her fault, but the fault of residents demanding perfection or the fault of town board members not using their microphones properly, and said even if that were not the case, she herself was not to blame because the sound problems had been there ever since the Town moved into the building more than ten years ago.
One resident who was kept waiting to speak said that if Ms. Beville were his employee and came to his office to make a speech like that, he would have had her fired on the spot.
Mr. Feiner ‘s failure to do anything to stop Ms. Beville from speaking so angered town board members that town councilman Ken Jones finally took the large gavel from in front of Mr. Feiner place at the dais and loudly gaveled Ms. Beville to be quiet, which she did briefly, only to resume speaking yet again.