Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Guide to the Charlestown Citizens Alliance, Part 1

If you "join" the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA), you will get an occasional e-mail that sometimes carries a little information, such as dry descriptions of recent meetings. But mostly, you will get a compilation of anonymous opinions about hot button issues.

The CCA has the right to address issues whatever way they choice, but I find their approach raises questions.

First, why doesn’t the CCA say where it stands, as an organization, on current issues?

Maybe they might feel no need to state a position. After all, they control Charlestown by owning every member of the Planning Commission. Plus, they have a working majority on the Town Council as long as Lisa DiBello stays aligned with them. So for all practical purposes, the CCA is our shadow government.

Second, how does this shadow government operate? Does the CCA have elections? Who gets to vote? Do they have bylaws? They are listed as a political action committee and file reports with the state Board of Elections, though not always honestly. Their most recent report shows a treasury of $2681.50.

Third, who do they represent? According to their website, they don’t have membership. You can’t join. Yet somehow, they have officers (two out of four claim Florida as their home) and a Steering Committee. Town Council President Tom Gentz is a CCA officer, yet isn’t a “full member” of the Steering Committee. When does the Steering Committee meet? Where? Do they have a secret club house hidden among the marsh grass next to one of the salt ponds?

The President’s Message (actually from the Steering Committee) says they like to think they represent everybody. It also says the CCA has 1000 e-mail addresses. Those 1,000 e-mail addresses are CCA's vox populi. It's how the CCA runs the show - they quote negative comments from these nameless, faceless e-mail addresses about some project or some idea and, badda-bing, that project or idea is dead.

We’ll be looking at the faceless voices we hear in those e-mail comments to see if they give us a clue about who these CCA people really are.

In the meantime, consider this puzzling observation at the end of the CCA President’s Message:
"In Charlestown we need to create a government that serves the people. We don’t have that yet [emphasis added] and until we do, a group like CCA is needed to create a town meeting where anyone can speak, for as long as they choose, on any topic they want."

Since the CCA now controls town government, what went wrong? And when was the last time CCA held an open town of any kind? As for holding a meeting where anybody can talk about anything they want for all long as they like, will the CCA pass out sandwiches, pillows and blankets?

Stay tuned as we explore the mysteries of Charlestown's shadow government.

Author: Will Collette