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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Welcome, Summer Visitors! Now get out!

This is NOT the Welcome Wagon
Charlestown has a love-hate relationship with its thousands of summer visitors. We sure do love your money, but, as a general rule, we can’t stand you. If we could do it, we’d set up collection points on the routes into town, take your money and send you on your way to Westerly, South Kingstown or anywhere but here. And you can’t use our restrooms, either.

In a week – on June 6 – Charlestown voters will decide whether to provide our two town beaches with basic sanitation. Now, in most towns, this would not be an issue because in a civilized society, adequate toilet facilities are not just a matter of decency, but of public health. 

But in Charlestown, there is a vocal though anonymous faction who say that if you don’t live within walking distance, you don’t belong at our beaches. Or you should just hold it until you drive home. Or you should pack it and take it out with you. And if we provide better beach facilities, that will only encourage more of you to come. I’m not joking.

We’re not too keen on other amenities, either. Take for example, starting a new business. If you serve food or liquor, chances are we will torture you before giving you a license. However, we recently did approve an honest-to-God ice cream truck (ah, the childhood memories….), but summer visitors will never see it. The ice cream guy is under written orders from the Chief of Police, with the blessing of the Town Council, to stay away from the beaches and any other area summer visitors are likely to congregate.

You won’t be able to find Blue Shutters Beach unless you know where it is. We don’t provide any sign-posting for Blue Shutters. But then again, we don’t do much sign-posting anywhere in town. Our town philosophy is that “if you don’t know where you are, you don’t belong there.” That even applies to fire and rescue personnel responding to emergencies.

If you stumble off the beaten path, especially near the water, you’ll quickly find yourself in one of our many private communities where you are warned that you are trespassing. If you don’t get the hint from that, you will when you hit one of their ten-inch high speed bumps.

The town is looking into whether we can use “Keep Out” signs and speed bumps along Route One. Having traffic signals every one hundred feet and perky traffic enforcement hasn’t been sufficient to curb the influx of outsiders. We also have billions of ticks and mosquitos, all trained to bite outsiders first. Did I mention the bears, coyotes and rabid foxes?

If, after or despite of all this, you decide Charlestown is a nice place and decide you want to live here, STOP. Don’t even think about it. Under the leadership of Charlestown Family Planning Commissar Ruth Platner, we are in the process of de-populating the town. Seriously.

We don’t want more people. We want more open space. And if we have to get rid of every family with children or senior citizen with cats to get us some more open space, then so be it.

We have very little affordable housing. The only rentals we tolerate are summer rentals. If you try to build something new, faggedaboudit!

On June 6, Charlestown voters will have the opportunity, through the democratic process, to make a statement about our town’s attitude toward our visitors. If the majority votes NO to providing basic beach facilities, Charlestown is basically saying NO to summer visitors. I will be voting YES because, hey, we need their money.

All voting will take place at Town Hall between 8 AM and 8 PM on Monday, June 6. Vote early, vote often.

Author: Will Collette