FIRE DISTRICT ELECTIONS
By law in New York State, there are annual elections for fire commissioners. For most of the State, this election is held on the second Tuesday of December.
The annual election of New Castle Fire District No. 1 (Chappaqua Fire District) will take place on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Bedford Road Firehouse located at the intersection of Routes 120 and 117 and for the Millwood Fire District, same date and time but at the Millwood Firehouse at 100 Millwood Road (Route 133).
Each election is for one commissioner of the district, elected to a five-year term, beginning January 1, 2016 and ending December 31, 2020.
Residents of the district who are registered with the Westchester County Board of Elections on or before November 16, 2015 are eligible to vote.
Not sure which fire district you vote in? Check your town/county tax bill from April. The tax bill lists your town, school district, fire district, police district, ambulance district and water district.
The League is contacting candidates and will prepare a brief voters’ guide that you can access here next week.
Thank you to all who ordered desserts in our Thanksgiving fundraiser!
Town Budget Forum
CONCURRENCE MEETING: RAISE THE AGE
You are also invited to attend a Concurrence Meeting*, “Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility,” on Wednesday, December 9th at 11:00 a.m. in Town Hall in Chappaqua. In June 2015, the LWVNYS delegates approved a recommendation from the NYS Board to hold concurrence meetings of all local leagues to concur (or approve and adopt as the NYS position) portions of Ohio’s Juvenile Justice Position. Updating the League’s position is necessary if the LWVNYS is to advocate for change in Albany.
If you have the time, you can look at the concurrence materials, "
Proposed Concurrence with LWV of Ohio’s Juvenile Justice Position,” and a PowerPoint, “Raise the Age in New York,” before the meeting.
Lunch will be prepared by LOCAL Restaurant and will be served on site. The cost for lunch is $15.00. Because we are ordering lunch, please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 4th, and bring $15 cash to the Concurrence Meeting. If you prefer not to eat lunch, that is fine as well.
We expect the Concurrence Meeting and lunch to be finished by 1 pm. If you have any questions, please let us know by calling Sheila at (914) 238-4786 or by emailing email@example.com.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES THIS FALL!
League of Women Voters of New Castle Healthcare Forum
LIFE AND DEATH WITH DIGNITY:
Taking Charge of Healthcare Decisions
If you became too sick to convey your wishes, would your family, friends or doctors know what kind of medical care you want? Do you struggle with knowing what end-of-life healthcare options are available for family members? Planning ahead can reduce stress and allow greater autonomy when making end of life decisions for your family or yourself.
The League of Women Voters of New Castle hosted a healthcare forum to start a conversation about palliative care, hospice, advance care planning, and other issues to consider when taking charge of present and future healthcare decisions.
Voter Participation in New Castle and Our Survey Results
“I always vote. It is a citizen’s civic responsibility and a privilege.”
“I have never missed an opportunity to vote, never will. It’s an obligation of living in a democracy.”
These quotes from two New Castle residents capture the sentiment expressed by many in our community who completed the recent voter participation survey conducted by the League of Women Voters of New Castle. Although New York State’s participation in the midterm elections was the fourth lowest in the country at 28.8%, we are pleased to report that the voter participation rate for New Castle was almost 50%.
The League’s objectives in doing a survey were to find out whether the community feels it is getting the information it needs about the candidates and the issues, and the community’s thoughts on what would make voting more accessible.
About 300 people participated in our survey; 82% of survey respondents had voted in the last election and 63% of respondents felt that they were sufficiently informed.
The following chart illustrates where survey respondents obtained their information on the candidates:
Of the 50 respondents who had not voted, about 40% stated that they were disillusioned, disgruntled or otherwise not sure their votes mattered. Here are a couple of their quotes:
“My vote can't change anything in politics."
"Difficult to determine who was telling the truth and who was not. So many negative ads and constant phone calls left more questions than answers.”
Research shows that negative ads late in a campaign can reduce voter turnout (see http://mediaproject.wesleyan.edu/blog/what-matters-with-negativity-is-timing/).
About 40% of nonvoters said they could not get to the polls because of their jobs. Suggested remedies included early voting, voting on the weekend, voting by mail or online voting. Early in-person voting and no-excuse absentee ballots are reforms that the League of Women Voters of New York State supports. In fact, New York is one of only 14 states where early voting is not available and an excuse is required to request an absentee ballot. The New York State Assembly has passed an early voting bill over the last two years, but the Senate has opposed it.
Our survey findings reflect only the opinions of those willing to complete our survey and are not meant to be a statistically valid sample. However, the survey provided us good information from the community. While our survey confirmed that the League’s Voters Guide—a Guide that the New Castle League provides free to every household in New Castle—is still a valuable resource to the community, the League’s interactive voter information website, www.vote411.org, is a great resource for candidate information but rarely used. We now know that we will need to more actively promote this site. Voter participation is a measure of the health of our democracy. Many residents shared their views on the election process. The League will continue to advocate for transparency in government, campaign finance reforms and election reforms. If you agree that we need easier access to voter registration and voting, campaign finance and election reforms, please support the League’s efforts by becoming a member (www.lwvnewcastle.org) or contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information on how to contact your elected representatives to demand change.
On December 9th, the League of Women Voters of New Castle hosted a forum with Town Comptroller Robert Deary, Town Administrator Jill Shapiro and Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein. Comptroller Deary provided an overview of the budget process and discuss the revenue and expense factors that have influenced the decision-making.
The Town Board approved the budge on December 9th. Copies of the budget are available upon request at Town Hall or online at www.mynewcastle.org.
The League of Women Voters® of New Castle invited the community to join in a conversation with Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein on Monday, September 29, 2014 at the Chappaqua Library Theater.
Rob Greenstein is the Supervisor and chief fiscal officer of the Town of New Castle. He establishes agendas, presides over Town Board meetings, signs all agreements and contracts on behalf of the Town and is responsible for maintaining financial stability of the Town of New Castle.
On September 21, 2014, League members and friends joined over 400,000 people in New York City for the People's Climate March. The March was organized to call attention to the strong public support for moving ahead with meaningful action to fight climate change in advance of the United Nations Climate Summit in September.
Brandon Hilfer Attends League of Women Voters' Students Inside Albany Conference in May
Brandon Hilfer, a 10th grade student at Horace Greeley High School chosen by the League of Women Voters of New Castle, attended this year’s Students Inside Albany Conference, organized by the League of Women Voters of New York State. This fourteenth annual Students Inside Albany Conference took place from May 18-21, 2014, and brought together approximately 60 students from across the state to Albany to get a first-hand education about their state government. Brandon's report can be read here.
GIRL RISING FILM SCREENING
Our Girl Rising screening at the Chappaqua Library on January 16th was a great success! It was a sold out show of over 170 seats. $2,200 was raised to sponsor 2014 annual school fees for girls in low-income countries through The School Fund. For more information about The School Fund, go to www.theschoolfund.org
The screening was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters® of New Castle and Molly Rosenthal. Molly is a 7th grader in New Castle who attended a Girl Rising screening last spring and was inspired to bring the film to her own community.
Make a tax-deductible donation to our Citizen Education Fund now:
Greeley Junior Melanie Leason has been selected by the League of Women Voters of New Castle (LWVNC) to attend the 2015 Students Inside Albany conference to be held from May 17 to 20, 2015 in Albany. This student conference, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of New York State Education Foundation, Inc., is designed to increase students’ awareness of their responsibility in a representative government and provide the tools necessary for meeting that responsibility. This interactive conference will bring together high school students from across the state to learn about New York State government and the process by which citizens can participate in the policy-making arena. As part of the program, students will also tour the Capitol and observe the Senate and Assembly in action by spending an afternoon shadowing their legislators.
Last year LWVNC sent Horace Greeley High School student Brandon Hilfer to the Students Inside Albany Conference. Brandon found attending the conference to be a very worthwhile experience and highly recommends the program to fellow students:
SIA was truly a life changing experience for me. I saw that our state government is comprised of many different vibrant, multi-faceted institutions. Individual personalities play an enormous role in these institutions’ accomplishments. After my time in Albany, I am inspired to bring back the lessons I learned to Horace Greeley High School. As a student leader, I want to combat apathy by giving different sectors an organized way of sharing their views. SIA gave me the tools to strengthen my own community, and I am grateful to have participated in the conference.Melanie will join other students sponsored by the over 50 local League of Women Voters chapters throughout New York State. Attendance is free: the LWVNC will provide train fare for the student to travel to Albany; all other costs of attending the conference, including three nights’ accommodations at the Hotel Albany in downtown Albany, will be covered by the League of Women Voters of New York. All applicants will receive a student membership in the LWVNC and the winner will be invited to share their Conference experience with League members.
LWV Social Events
LWVNC members and their guests gather on a late, sunny summer afternoon enjoying lively conversation, delicious finger food and a variety of wines. The League has scheduled several upcoming informational and educational events so please check the League calendar for details.
Co-Presidents Jennifer Mebes Flagg and Sheila Bernson attend the 2014 LWVUS National Convention in Dallas