In last Sunday’s Westerly Sun there are two letters supporting Charlestown Citizens Alliance candidates for town offices this November. One letter extols the performance of Ruth Platner as the chairwoman of the Planning Commission. The other letter tries to portray the performance of the CCA-dominated Town Council and Planning Commission as laudatory. Both letters distort the facts and need elaboration.
The Planning Commission has had only CCA members for several years. Interestingly, the voters of Charlestown in 2018 voted Ms. Platner last of the candidates running that year. Nonetheless, she is now the chairwoman of the commission (welcome to the world of CCA).
Over these years, the CCA, through its dominance of the Planning Commission and the Town Council, has worked hard to restrict development and use of Ninigret Park. They even proposed an unneeded $3 million community center for the park to obstruct any other uses that might be proposed and to exhaust the town surplus, which has grown under CCA leadership, despite yearly tax increases, under the banner of maintaining “dark skies.” One wonders what influence the many CCA members and supporters who live near the park had on this decision. While taking credit for stopping the opening of a Dollar General store in Charlestown Center, the difficulties they placed in the way of small and local businesses expanding in town opened the door to stores like Dollar General attempting to come into town. And the effort to stop it was mounted by all of Charlestown residents, not just the CCA. They have also been known to require residents seeking to develop their property to agree to ”conservation easements” for which they are not reimbursed.
Mark Hinkley, in his letter, points to 40 years of continuity, meaning “[S]o much has NOT changed.” Perhaps he, and other CCA supporters, need to realize that anything that does not change over decades is likely to wither and die. Charlestown Residents United is dedicated to change that is open to input from and that benefits as much as possible all Charlestown residents. That means preserving the great elements of this wonderful town while still allowing it to prosper and grow. The CCA does not seem to understand or accept that this can be done with thoughtful and responsible leadership, such as CRU’s one current council member, Deb Carney, has demonstrated. The entire slate of CRU candidates, from both political parties, likewise are committed to this goal and deserve your support.
Kenneth Robbins, Charlestown
This article appeared as a Letter To the Editor in The Westerly Sun on October 18.