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Monday, February 27, 2012

Ill Wind Blows Monday Night

Charter Revision Committee holds first (maybe last) hearing on proposed Charter changes tonight, February 27, at 7 PM in the Town Council chambers
By Will Collette

NOTE: tonight's hearing will NOT be recorded on Clerkbase. You CANNOT watch it from home or watch it tomorrow.

Correction: I have been calling this committee by the wrong name, using the name that their Secretary Maureen Areglado has been using in their minutes. Their official name is Charter Revision Advisory Board (CRAB). I'm not making this up. Correction on the correction - the TOWN CHARTER actually gives this committee a name (not Maureen Areglado). Under the Town Charter, the group is the Charter Revision Advisory Committee.

In the past couple of weeks, I have written extensively about one of the most boring subjects in Charlestown politics – the biennial process of preparing ballot questions for changes to Charlestown’s Town Charter.

This time around, the subject was made more interesting by the take-over of the Charter Revision Commission (CRC) by Charlestown’s resident anti-wind-power NIMBY group, Ill Wind RI. It’s clear from the CRC minutes, and from the seven Charter changes they propose, that this group (a) should have stuck with being NIMBYs, which is what they know best and (b) is more interested in revenge and their narrow agenda than the public interest.

All seven of their proposed Charter changes fail to meet the minimum standard you would expect for changes to the town's "constitution. The CRC proposal are not necessary, do not resolve genuine problems that can’t be resolved by less drastic measures, and could do Charlestown a lot of harm.

Read up on the changes here. Then read my analysis of the composition of the membership of the CRC here. My analysis of Questions One and Two is here. My analysis of Questions Three, Four and Six is here and here. My analysis of Questions Five and Seven is here. My suggestions for changes that would actually do some good is here.

Yes, I know. That’s a lot to read and, besides, who cares? The thing is, the Town Charter really is the town’s constitution. It defines how town government operates as it governs over every resident and property owner. It is the document the present town government uses as the basis of its far-reaching power and control over every home and business in town.

And a special interest group has hijacked the amendment process for its own purposes.

None of the seven Charter changes proposed by the CRC should go any further than the February 27 hearing.

Please do as much homework as you can bear and come to the public hearing.