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Monday, September 12, 2011

Town Council ban on Democrats is discriminatory, hypocritical

Long list of groups have had representatives speak before the Council
By Will Collette

After the Town Council’s September 7 vote (3-1) to ban the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee from having its representative speak before the Council, I searched the official minutes to see which groups DID have representatives speak for them before the Council. I covered the past five years.

Search for yourself on Clerkbase. I probably missed a few (looking through a whole bunch of these minutes can make your eyeballs explode).

This list does NOT include representatives of town departments, town commissions or other governmental or quasi-governmental bodies. I also did not include businesses. And I did not count the times when it wasn't clear that the group leader was speaking on behalf of the group. When Dan Slattery was President of the CCA, he shows up in Council minutes about 20+ times. One of my favorite examples is the October 13, 2009 meeting where Slattery and a contingent of CCA leaders totally disrupted the Council's meeting. Those 10/13/09 minutes make very interesting reading.

NOTE: the democratic process in our government grants the right, and indeed requires, citizens to associate themselves into groups and petition the government for redress of grievances. I think it’s great that such a long and diverse list of groups have sent representatives to speak before the Town Council. Why would the CCA controlling majority on the Council vote to single out the Democrats for censorship?

Especially when the CCA leads this list.
  • Charlestown Citizens Alliance had a representative speak at least nine times
  • The Narragansett Tribe, at least three times
At least twice:
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Frosty Drew Observatory
  • RI Statewide Coalition (a.k.a. Shoreline Coalition)
At least once:
  • Atlantic States Rural Water and Wastewater Association
  • Catholic Diocese of Providence
  • Chariho Substance Abuse Taskforce
  • Charlestown Historical Society
  • Charlestown Land Trust
  • Domestic Violence Prevention Center
  • Fort Neck Association
  • Foster Cove Association
  • Kent-Washington Realtors Association
  • Quonochontaug East Beach Association
  • Rhode Island Audubon Society
  • Rhode Island Farm Bureau
  • Rhode Islanders for Clean Air
  • Salt Pond Coalition
  • Save the Bay
  • Sonquipaug Association
  • Southern Rhode Island Volunteers
  • St. Mary’s St. James Food Pantry
  • Tri-State Horseman’s Association
  • WARM Center
  • Watchaug Heights Homeowners Association
  • Wood River Health Services
  • YMCA
As recently as April 7, 2011, Dan Slattery stepped off the Council platform and walked over to the floor podium to speak as an officer of the Watchaug Heights Homeowners Association on the controversial YMCA camp development issue. 

But that's OK cuz Dan ain't a Democrat. 

Just an autocrat.