COUNCIL DISTRICTS FOR ISLIP
On March 7th, 2006, the Town Board of Islip voted to place a referendum on council districts, or the "ward" system on the ballot on for November 7th 2006. Unfortunately, a vote-no mailing, which contained no information on who was sending it, reached voters homes the weekend before election day with a dishonest claim that council districts would cost tax-payers millions of dollars. The coalition working for reform had no time to respond to this disinformation, and the referendum was defeated.
The Neighborhood Network advocates Council Districts (also known as the ward system) for Long Island Towns, as an important fundamental reform of town government. In a Council District system, each town council member represents a specific geographic area of the town, and they are elected in single-seat, head-to-head elections. This is the same way County Legislators, State Assemblymembers, State Senators, and U.S. Representatives are elected. This system makes town council members more accountable and more responsive to voters.
To bring about systemic reform, a broad, non-partisan coalition of civic groups, good government organizations, and editorial boards is support council districts for Islip.
PETITION FILED FOR COUNCIL DISTRICTS REFERENDUM IN ISLIP.
On Friday, August 26th, 2005, the Neighborhood Network and a coalition of Islip citizens filed a petition to place a referundum for the Council District "ward" system on the ballot in the Town of Islip. The petition contained the signatures of 5,263 Islip residents, collected by the Neighborhood Network, local citizens groups, and individuals from Islip. Only 3,420 signatures are needed to place the question before the voters.
5,263 PETITION SIGNATURES FILED
Let the People Decide
New York State law allows citizens of a town to change from an “at large” system of electing their Town Board, to a council district or “ward” system, in which each board member is elected from a specific district that he or she lives in.
Council Districts help give voice to political and cultural minorities. Islip has the largest hispanic population of any New York State Town outside of New York City, however there has never been a hispanic member of the Islip Town Council.
Council Districts is supported by a wide range of citizens' groups, elected officials, and the Newsday Editorial board. A Newsday editorial from August 27th, 2004 stated that the current at-large system "makes it impossible for citizens to hold any one council member responsible. The at-large system, which requires costly townwide races, also protects incumbents wherever it exists, which is why they want to keep it."
From a Newsday editorial printed September 2nd, 2004
HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION
You can do something to make a real change in the way Islip town government is run.
Registered voters in the Town of Islip can help make a change to more responsive and accountable government voting yes on the referendum on Election Day November 7, 2006..
The coaltion of organizations and individuals that support council districts for Islip have registered a political committee to conduct the vote yes campaign. Help fund the camaign by sending a contribution to Citizens to Advance the Ward System in Islip, at:
Citizens to Advance the Ward System in Islip
One East Main Street
Bay Shore, NY 11706
To get more information call:
The Neighborhood Network at 631-963-5454