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Petition to Enlarge Town Board Takes Next Step

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y.—After a summer of petitioning for a change in government, Manny Areces and the Ad Hoc Citizens’ Committee for the Representation Referendum have taken the next step, submitting a petition Thursday to be included in a referendum on the November 8 ballot.

It calls for the increase in size of the town board from four to six members to represent the six wards in the town of New Castle.

“We will be meeting with counsel to review this petition and take the necessary steps for the expediation of this process,” said Jill Shapiro, New Castle Town Clerk.

Areces only needed 346 signatures to submit this petition. He far exceeded that requirement, submitting the petition with a total of 512 signatures.

“The best way to approach this is to have the electorate be involved in it,” Areces said. “It’s not about talking to town board members and supervisors. It’s about people who understand the process.”

Areces’ intentions are to get more people talking, to open the lines of communication between the government and its’ citizens.

“This whole process is about getting people talking together,” said Charles Napoli, who collected signatures for Areces. “Having more people on the board talking together is the same as having more people in these districts talking together to work out these problems. The key is the process of negotiating and talking.”

Areces is challenging the status quo, which has been true in Chappaqua for about 25 years.

“The process system at large lends itself to huge concentrations of power,” Areces said. “The system we have now lends itself to be run by a small party with the absence of transparency and participation. It limits your choices and you have to choose whoever is chosen for you.”

The next step is the referendum on the November 8 ballot, which will put New Castle residents in control of their representation in town government.

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