In his letter to the editor “Let’s not politicize drinking water in Charlestown” (June 15), Mr. Mainelli takes the reader of this newspaper (The Westerly Sun) through the typical Charlestown Citizens Alliance spin cycle where the truth is nowhere to be found.
He starts out by saying that I was politicizing the water situation in Charlestown (“The real monkey in the room in Charlestown", June 5) but fails to disclose that he is not only a supporter of the CCA but also its president.
Then he tries to convince you that the CCA worked hard to find water sources in Charlestown (other than my family’s property) that was put into the “capable leadership” of former Town Council President Tom Gentz. The Potable Water Working Group, which Mr. Mainelli wrote about, dealt mostly with the Quonochontaug area and provided little relief in solving their water issues. However, they did put out some nice Aquifer Protection signs.
If Mainelli is doubtful that my family, Mr. Ken Burke (former manager of the Water Resources Board) and I were attacked, as he stated, he should go back and read some of the letters to the editor that his CCA cult members wrote. He then suggests that the town of Charlestown made an effort to buy my family’s property but didn’t have the funding. That’s an outright lie. No one from the town ever approached anyone in my family about buying our property ... EVER!
He continues by saying that the state paid my family $2.3 million for our Cross Mills property. They did not. This purchase had three components to it, starting with my family receiving $1,282,500.00 for seven lots and $555,500.00 for my three lots which totals $1,838.000.00. The balance of $520,000.00 went to the former owner of the Ocean Aire Motel. So here again, Mainelli refuses to do simple research but instead relies on past false statements from the CCA. He further misrepresents the truth by telling you that the sale was “... the highest price paid for open space ever in Charlestown.” Our property had been subdivided, a road constructed and septic systems designed, making its value much greater then open space. Hence the real estate term, “highest and best value.” Any improvements made on a piece of property always increase its value.
It may please the reader to know that Mainelli and I had a conversation about the political environment in Charlestown years ago. He approached me at a Town Council meeting and asked, “How can we stop the rancor in our town?” I told him about how the CCA tried to prevent me from selling my land to the state of Rhode Island. I asked him how he would feel if someone tried to stop him from selling his home. His response: “I’d be pissed.”
Finally, he closes his letter with this statement: “Mr. Glista included in his letter a meaningless line about people drinking sewerage ... a line of no useful purpose, since all of Charlestown is on well and septic.” First, the line “You’re drinking recycled waste water” came from Lorraine Joubert, who at the time represented the Department of Natural Resources at URI. Second, I thought Quonnie had two public water systems and Shady Harbor had another? Again, he misrepresents the truth.
Do you really think Mainelli cares about the water you’re drinking in Charlestown? Maybe he’s more concerned about maintaining the value of his $1,852,000.00 million dollar waterfront estate. What do you think would happen to property values in Quonnie or Charlestown in general if word got out about some of our water issues?
An interesting side note: “Capable leader” Tom Gentz recently sold both of his Quonnie homes ($2,259,500) and left Charlestown ... maybe he didn’t like the taste of the water.
Frank Glista, Charlestown
This article first appeared as a Letter To the Editor in The Westerly Sun on June 28, 2023.