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Saturday, October 20, 2012

George Tremblay: now it’s BILLIONAIRE elderly embezzlers

Tremblay throws the baby AND her grandma out with the bathwater
By Will Collette

CCA Town Council candidate George Tremblay has decided to again start pumping his crackpot theory that affordable housing will attract wealthy elderly people intent on ripping off everybody else by moving into affordable senior citizens housing. You’ve just got to read his latest off-the-charts missive in the Westerly Sun’s Letters to the Editor column.

This is becoming truly embarrassing. First, Tremblay wasted town resources and a lot of people’s time on a disturbingly bad “research[1]” report on affordable housing. Tremblay ended up writing the report himself even though the Town Council actually authorized spending town money to hire a consultant to do the research and write the report.

Tremblay wants to stop this menace before it spreads
However, the only person who applied for the consultant position was unacceptable to Tremblay, even though she had all the right credentials, lives in Charlestown and offered to do the work at a fraction of what Tremblay had expected to pay. But, uh-uh, no contract for Melina Lodge, no matter how good her credentials, because she was politically unacceptable to Tremblay and his CCA masters.

So Tremblay’s report, rife with errors, bias and missing critical data on year-round rentals, was presented first to the Planning Commission and then to the Town Council without ever consulting with the Affordable Housing Commission. 

In fact, it seems he kept the “report” so close to his chest while he was compiling it that he didn’t even want to give the appendices to a typist to type up for him and his handwritten lists of “data” appear in the final report. Then the Town Council voted to send it all over the state, including to every state legislator, again without consulting the Affordable Housing Commission and over the objection of the AHC Chair.

Tremblay’s “findings” supported the CCA’s long-standing position that we do not need any more affordable housing in Charlestown, thank you very much, because housing prices have been depressed due to the recession. Let’s just call all those properties “affordable” and then see if the state has the cojones to stop them.

"Bring me back some ice-cold affordable housing...and make it snappy!"
But instead of simply producing cooked results to support CCA orthodoxy, Tremblay couldn’t help but leap into the void of crazy by claiming there are hordes of millionaire elderly people who want to scoop up affordable housing for investment, although he was later forced to recant that portion of the report because he couldn’t produce any data to support his claims.

Now, in his October 16 Sun Letter to the Editor, Tremblay has upped the ante by claiming there are BILLIONAIRES exploiting affordable housing in Manhattan. He cites a CNBC discussion from October 11 (except it was actually reported on the 10th, but who can fault Tremblay for getting this number wrong. It’s not like Tremblay claims any expertise in math or research or accuracy or technical stuff like that.).

Anyway, in that October 10 CNBC report, a reporter described a sketchy story he was working on that a New York City condo developer was going to get affordable housing tax credits for his luxury condo building.

The reporter admitted that the October 10th story was far from complete since he had not heard back from city officials but, as things work on TV these days, what the hell, let’s put it on the air.

Then, Tremblay apparently missed the October 12th follow-up story, written after officials of the City of New York said the developer had not received the tax credits and that the developer’s application was incomplete and would not be processed until the city was satisfied it had the information it needed.

Tremblay also does not acknowledge that the unique “421a” New York City program tax break program has nothing whatsoever to do with Rhode Island.

Nonetheless, George Tremblay urges voters to reject Rhode Island ballot question #7, which would provide more funding for affordable housing, because maybe his fuzzy version of events in Manhattan will somehow happen in Rhode Island.

First it was elderly millionaires running amok, and now it’s billionaires. Never mind how sketchy the story is, never mind that it has nothing to do with Rhode Island – it is a menace that must be stopped at all costs. Just in case. Even if it doesn’t exist.

And this guy wants your vote for Town Council based on yet another CCA-concocted Fear Factor phony issue.

The bad news is that Tremblay is also still sitting on the Planning Commission till 2016 and if voters rightfully decide not to elect him to the Council, we’re still stuck with him on Planning. Hmmm, let’s go back and read that Town Charter provision on recall.

[1] In his CCA campaign bio, Tremblay cites his long career as a science researcher at URI. I am now even more convinced than ever that URI really needs to take a close, hard look at his work there to see if he used the same “research methodology” that he has displayed for us here in Charlestown.