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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CCA adjusts leadership as old members leave the state

Did they have elections and nobody knew?
By Will Collette

With no announcement, just some minor modifications to the leadership list on their website, the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) has changed its line-up. Their actual process for making such decisions is a closely held secret

CCA President Bernice Krantz will hand over the scepter of power to Virginia Wooten in June. Leo Mainelli will remain as the CCA’s Treasurer.

Mrs. Krantz and her husband Dr. Milton Krantz are moving out of state after selling their home on King Tom Road for well over a million dollars. They are remaining on the Steering Committee.

Immediate past president Kallie Jurgens and her husband John, the CCA’s past Treasurer, have disappeared from the CCA Steering Committee list. As in the book 1984, “down the memory hole.” The Jurgens had declared their legal residence to be Stuart, Florida.

Kate Waterman remains on the CCA Steering Committee list even though she too has moved out of Charlestown to Connecticut.

Rounding out the rest of the CCA Steering Committee are Town Council President Boss Tom Gentz, Faith LaBossiere, Dick and Marge Newton and Charlestown Planning Commissar Ruth Platner’s husband Cliff Vanover. Platner herself lurks in the background without a formal leadership role, as does Deputy Dan Slattery.

The changes in the leadership roster have the practical effect of boosting the average age of the CCA Steering Committee to 73.3 years.

Deputy Dan Slattery - one of the CCA's behind-the-scenes leaders
Surprising by omission – I had expected the CCA to add Mike and Donna Chambers, and Ron and Maureen Areglado as a reward for their stalwart actions in carrying water for the CCA throughout the past year. You could always count on them to mouth the CCA line on just about every controversial issue. And Mike Chambers, in particular, has become the CCA’s primary political and economic pundit in his numerous blog entries on the CCA’s "Oppressive Charlestown" website.

Maybe they lost Mike’s application. Or maybe he and the others just didn't make the cut.

Toward the end of June, when candidates for office must declare themselves, we’ll see what kind of a slate the CCA puts out there in their third election cycle as a Political Action Committee (PAC). Will the aforementioned Chambers and Areglados be on their list, even though they have not been admitted to the inner sanctum of CCA decision-making? We’ll know by June 28th.

Town Council Boss and CCA leader Tom Gentz
Based on its success in the last two elections, the CCA currently controls the majority of the town’s elected offices. They hold a Town Council majority as long as they can convince Lisa DiBello not to jump ship. All the current Planning Commission members ran as CCA candidates with the exception of Joann Stolle who was hand-picked by Ruth Platner.

Numerous errors – often caused by over-reach, insensitivity and political miscalculations – will put the 2012 CCA candidates in the tough spot of trying to defend the indefensible (e.g. Y-Gate, the attack on Ninigret, etc.)

Their likely strategy already seems evident in the increasing number of instances where Deputy Dan Slattery and Boss Gentz attempt to make problems go away by denying they ever existed and by creating alternative facts.

In six months, we’ll know how well that strategy works for them.