What is Permissive Referendum and how does it work?
May 30, 2014
~ from Peter and Erin Chase, and Carla Gambescia
Chappaqua Station Permissive Referendum Fact Sheet:
You Have a Voice, You Have a Choice
Permissive Referendum is a powerful tool for citizens to directly participate in decisions that affect their day to day life.
It is a legal mechanism available for a community to contest and stop the sale or lease of Town property; an avenue for registered voters to directly challenge and overturn the decision of a town board. It is a two stage process requiring: 1) that 5% of registered voters, in the Town of New Castle, who voted in last gubernatorial election sign petitions calling for the referendum and, 2) that a special election be held within 60 days to overturn or uphold the decision of the Board.
Why does this matter?
The station lease process and its lack of transparency is “the tip of the iceberg” of a Board that is not living up to its promise of openness and fair play in governance and its promise to foster a pro small business climate to help revitalize our struggling hamlet.
From start to finish the process that led to the selection of a food service provider for the station was highly irregular and neither fair nor open, including the initial decision not to honor the prior Town Board’s lease awarded following an earlier open and competitive process.
The RFP (Request for Proposal) from the new Town Board was public for only a week and the lease was ultimately assigned to the one participant who had been personally invited by two of the newly elected Board members.
The “winning” proposal is geared to commuters (take-out with limited table service) and offers less for the community at large AND less monetary value than the proposals by the Chases and Via Vanti!, when capital improvements are factored in. Further, the assignment of a lease for 15 years (10 years with a 5 year option) is unusually long given the limited services offered and absence of any intended capital improvement to the Town’s property. [Please make your own judgment: all three written proposals viewable at mynewcastle.org/index.php/helpful-links/bids-rfp. Exercising such an action will serve as a wake-up call to our elected officials to listen more closely to the wants and needs of the voters who trusted them and put them in office.
How to make your voice heard now
A FaceBook page, Our Station, Our Town, www.facebook.com/OurStationOurTown has been established to provide information about the referendum process and how you can have your voice heard. In the next three weeks petitions will be available at Kent Home (77 South Greeley Avenue) and other locations in Chappaqua, Millwood and at Via Vanti! Restaurant & Gelateria in the Mount Kisco train station building.
Check our www.facebook.com/OurStationOurTown to learn where to find a petition to sign.
To download your own copy of the petition. . .
To download a petition, go to: http://ourstationourtown.squarespace.com/. In order to participate in the process, those signing the petition must be registered to vote in the Town of New Castle, NY.
Please drop off all petitions to Via Vanti! (Mt. Kisco train station) or Kent Home (77 South Greeley Avenue) by June 18th. Even a petition with 1 signature and 1 witness will be collected.
Related: Ladle’s Leslie Lampert awarded train station lease for “Love at 10514,” NCNOW.org, 5/28/14
Open Letter to TB members: New Castle doesn’t deserve “good”—it deserves “great”—Applicants for train station lease gravely disappointed in the process and final decision, NCNOW.org, 5/19/14, by Peter and Erin Chase