WARD WARS IN CLARKSTOWN

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BY JACOB SCHNEIDER
Clarkstown citizens were heated on Tuesday, June 7 during a public hearing over boundary lines for a new ward system established in Clarkstown.

Some were angry with the town board’s desire and later decision to pass a local law giving the town control over establishing ward district boundary lines, potentially resulting in increased Republican power in the town. The board currently consists of four Republicans and one Democrat.

The law allows the town board to draw boundary lines for the new ward system that was established in Clarkstown to elect town councilmembers. A state rule for localities suggests but does not require that this power reside with the County Board of Elections.

Citizen after citizen stepped up to the podium during the public hearing to voice their disapproval of the bill. “I want to know if this town is becoming another Town of Ramapo,” said a female Clarkstown citizen. “The town is voting one way and the board is doing the opposite.”

The speakers consistently urged that if the board were to draw out the new boundaries, then they should use geographic landmarks to make them logical. The bill was adopted and Town Supervisor George Hoehmann promised future town board workshops for people to come voice their opinions and concerns. Dates for these workshops are yet to be announced.

Supporters of the town board’s decision said the Board of Elections was not as impartial as one might think and that outside, negative influences could seep into the town if the Board of Elections had control over the process.

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