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Sunday, April 21, 2013

UPDATED: Special Meeting on Rhythm and Roots controversy

Is this the beginning or the end of another Ninigret Park fight?
See memo from Town Administrator recommending approval of request
Monday night - watch Councilor Dan "Buzzkill" Slattery 
come out snarling
By Will Collette

The Town Council will hold a special meeting on April 22, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall, 4540 South County Trail. As listed on the town’s website, the sole purpose of the meeting is:

Discussion and potential action regarding a request from the promoter of the Rhythm and Roots Festival at Ninigret Park for two-hundred new camping spots to be added to the formerly permitted fifteen-hundred camping spaces resulting in a total of seventeen-hundred spaces this year, with the site formerly cleared for the “MET Tower” to serve as the site proposed to be utilized for “Staff Camping”, along with adjacent space that has been cleared. Park reservation dates are 8/24/13 – 9/5/13

At the April 8 Town Council meeting, this topic went from being a non-controversial “Consent Agenda” slated to be approved among other non-controversial items without debate to being a another classic CCA Party “Sturm und Drang” Wagnerian conflict.

Here is a memo from Town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz to the Council with his advice that the Council approve Wentworth's request.

On April 8, when Slattery described seeing bad things happenings at the
Rhythm and Roots Festival, was he having a flash-back about Altamont?
Or was this
 (click herewas he's afraid of?
CCA Party Town Councilor Dan Slattery, acting on behalf of residents of the Arnolda neighborhood, torpedoed a simple request from long-time Festival promoter Chuck Wentworth for an additional 200 camping spaces that would allow his staff and volunteers to sleep better after working a long day.

Perhaps fearing that these tired staff would somehow catch their second wind and begin some unspecified debauchery, or perhaps fearing that the dog-tired volunteers would snore too loudly, Slattery launched a snarling attack against the Festival and the Parks and Recreation Department for trying to accommodate the Festival’s request.

Dan Slattery, circa 1969
Using his usual meticulous but most likely fictitious “research,” Slattery crafted an image of wall-to-wall fighting, drunkenness and depraved behavior the like of which hasn’t been seen since the infamous 1969 Altamont Festival

For our younger readers, the Altamont Speedway Free Festival was held in California, not Charlestown. It was supposed to feature the Rolling Stones, but ended up starring the Hell's Angels. 

Slattery also raised the specter that the cost of allowing Rhythm and Roots the additional camping spaces would be prohibitive.

Neither town staff nor the concert promoter were prepared to respond to Slattery’s sneak attack. 

Apparently, the only ones tipped off in advance to Slattery’s attempted political mugging on April 8 were Councilor Lisa DiBello, who will routinely oppose anything that current Parks and Recreation Director Jay Primiano proposes, and some Arnolda residents who testified to the fact that this popular annual music festival involves, to their shock and dismay, amplified music.

Is this the beginning of another CCA Party campaign to purge human presence from the park after their failure to win last year’s “Battle for Ninigret Park?” 

Is it the beginning of another CCA Party purge of town staff, like their “Kill Bill Campaign” from last year.

The matter of Chuck Wentworth’s request for the additional camping spaces was supposed to be deferred until the May meeting to allow staff time to respond to Slattery's voluminous objections. However, to the surprise of most, the CCA Party leadership decided to move up the date to Monday, April 22.

Presumably, they will then make their intentions clear.