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Monday, May 23, 2011

Voices of Greed: Beach Toilets

The Charlestown Citizens Alliance puts a lot of effort into creating the illusion they channel Charlestown’s “voice of the people.” The CCA claims an e-mail distribution list of 1,000. That’s not a “membership” list because you can’t actually join the CCA.

They use this list to create a feedback loop: they send out anonymous comments supposedly from their list back out to their list, get more anonymous comments, send those out and so on.

Although, for such a large list, and the CCA's repeated claim that they are "swamped" with e-mails - but will get around to publishing them all, they actually send out very few.

The CCA takes no responsibility for false information, distortions and sometimes outright lies from their faceless followers. The CCA says it’s just providing a forum.

On projects the CCA dislikes – and that includes anything big or modern-looking – they run the feedback loop until the project dies. Then they declare another victory for “the people.”

But the voices you hear in the CCA echo chamber are not the “voice of the people” so much as they are the voices of greed. We’ll be sharing those voices with you so you can judge whether we’re being too harsh or not harsh enough.

First in the series are the anonymous voices of greed who oppose the June 6 ballot question asking Charlestown voters to approve bonds to build basic sanitary facilities at the two town beaches. Nothing fancy, nothing extravagant but facilities to help prevent our beaches from being Ground Zero for some water-borne epidemic. To be perfectly clear, Progressive Charlestown urges voters to vote YES on June 6, so please understand the following comments do not reflect where we stand on this issue.

I must say that I am totally against spending in this economy especially on beach facilities.  Why cant we keep it simple.  I do not want to attract more tourists by rewarding them with fancy digs. We all (residents) have a shower at home. We can barely get into blue shutters before they give over the parking spaces to all the out of staters. That's a real problem that I think is much more important to us residents, at least to my family. There should be a later deadline for us taxpayers to get a spot.  This economy does not warrant unnecessary spending and in fact we should be cutting expense.  I think Blue Shutters should have a fee hike for non residents, hold our parking spaces longer, and let the non residents go to Charlestown beach.  These are our beaches!!!!!  Thank you for your great informative work.

The beaches are full as they are now, why increase the costs to the town for something that is not necessary at this point.  We can only increase the user fees so much before people go elsewhere, and the taxpayer is taxed out right now!  We love our rustic beaches, that is why we move here and people have their houses at our beaches.  We like the "quietness" as we know it.  I think $1.6+ million (interest included) is a bit ridiculous in this economy and it is for the beach.  The walk is not that far to use the facilities, many of us can use the exercise, and pack a lunch, it is healthier and cheaper.  Pack it in, pack it out.  If there is that much money available for a beach pavilion, why is it not available for school building renovations, etc.?  We have roads and town buildings in disrepair.  I don't get it.  Let's fix what needs fixing, leave what's beautiful and natural alone and save some $$ for a rainy day.  

If the INCOME from the beach parking/facilities will pay off the Bonds and facility maintenance , salaries etc. than I would vote for it, if not, against it. It is not a hard decision. Show us a projected budget based on current revenue  to pay the above and if not adequate, what we would have to increase revenues to make it self sufficient. Living on East Beach Road, I am positive that more than 50% of beach goers are from not only out of town, but out of state. We turn away on sunny weekends literally a hundred or more cars each day. I know because the police turn them around right in front of my house. I believe you can double the  rates on weekends and would still turn people away from Blue Shutters beach This project MUST be self sufficient !!!

Blue Shutters is what it is.  Abutting owners had the opportunity to buy it for $475,000.  Instead the taxpayers paid $1.4 Million to buy it.  There is about 150 feet of frontage on the beach (Town land) and the rest of the beach patrons sit on privately owned land.  So what is the Town asking for?  Bring on all the Connecticut day trippers to bring all their trash, speed down East Beach Road & when they are turned away from a full parking lot they speed up the road endangering local children.  Sounds like a deal to me...

Our next hope is that the road to the Charlestown and State Beach, which is unacceptable disrepair,  is repaired before the season opens. Additionally, it would be lovely to be able to park at our PRIVATE beach, instead of being turned away at 11am on a weekday, because it is full. Keep up your great work.  You make the difference.

From reading your daily emails on the beach-and thanks for this valuable service you are providing-it looks like the beach facilities are doomed to fail. I think it's pretty clear to anyone-except for the adhoc beach facility committee-that Charlestown residents are hurting financially. What was this committee thinking? Why didn't they propose small facilities-ones that would provide enough bathrooms for the beach population and those pole showers like you see all over the South-where people push a button and they get water for a shower and to clean their feet? Instead, each facility is almost 2400 square feet with 13 toilets!! And there is no mention of how many showers!! And you will lose parking spaces to build such a big facility-so how do we make more money from the people who use it to offset our taxes?? And that means fewer spots for residents. So, really WHO does benefit here?  Let it be defeated and come back with a smaller building we can all vote for!!

The only "help with costs" will be a benefit to the developers and builders of this project. I am totally against it.

As it is, parking on weekends in season at the beach is already impossible. Why would we spend so much money to attract more day trippers in order to make parking for residents even more difficult?  

I wonder what these facilities will look like. Also, I hope they indicate how many parking spaces would be lost. The food concession I assume would be in the facility which again raises the question of what's in the facility? I personally think the answer is a portable dressing van of a sort and the same for the food. Why build something that nobody really needs. We don't have the money so why incur additional expenses?

I have yet to see a BUSINESS PLAN that shows in plain ole dollars why we need permanent beach facilities. Charlestown attracted me to it as I was looking for a quiet, slow going community. If I had wanted a more active, faster paced, and accommodating to others beach area I would have looked at Westerly- Misquamicut.This beach development, and that of Mud Cove are not enhancing either my sense of community or my property value. I would strongly urge residents to join me in voting for no improvements at any of our beaches. If we need more revenue to continue being Charlestown, let's raise the parking rates .

We bought here in the mid 1980's to enjoy a quiet,  slow going community. We understand/understood the value of this being a vacation mecca. Why are we so determined to help this area become even more active, faster paced, and accommodating to others than live here and enjoy the tranquility? I live close enough to the beach to use my own facilities.  I would strongly urge residents to join me in voting for no improvements at any of our beaches. If we need more revenue to continue being Charlestown, let's raise the parking rates .