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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Some people don’t want you to vote YES to save the General Stanton Inn

And they are willing to commit criminal acts to “convince” you
By Will Collette

Unless it was done by a passing bus tour from the Nordic Lodge, it appears that some Charlestown residents engaged in a lot of vandalism and theft sometime Friday night to make a negative political point. 

Nearly all the yard signs supporting town purchase of the General Stanton Inn were vandalized wih spray-paint or stolen.

Charlestown Police have been notified. Theft and vandalism are crimes under Title 11 of the RI General Laws.

In 2014, there was a lot of sign theft, especially of signs for Democratic candidates. The CCA Party’s signs seemed to remain largely untouched. 

It bodes ill for this current campaign season to see this kind of thug behavior happen so early and against such as innocuous campaign as the one to Save the General Stanton Inn.

The yard sign in front of my house was one of those hit by vandals with a spray paint can. 

I’m leaving the sign up, graffiti and all, so town residents can see the kind of people who are opposed to a town citizens’ initiative for historic preservation.

They are not just the trolls who post misinformed opinions or unsubstantiated attacks on the official Charlestown Citizens Alliance website.
The mailer from the anti-General Stanton "group." Note the return

They’re not just the astro-turf group “Friends of Common Cents Government.” This “group” is apparently being run out of the home of Nordic Lodge owners Steven and Lorna Persson whose home address is on the postcard opposing the Citizen Initiative to Save the General Stanton Inn.

They’re not just CCA Town Council members like George Tremblay who threaten to simply not spend the money even if a majority of you vote YES tomorrow, June 6 to authorize town purchase of the General Stanton Inn.

More of the vandals' handiwork on Old Post Road
If you asked people around Charlestown if they thought the General Stanton Inn was important to the town, nearly all would say yes. Nearly all would consider it an important part of Charlestown’s history. Nearly all would call it the historic heart of Charlestown’s core Cross’ Mills village.

Where consensus lessens is on how to make sure the General Stanton continues to be part of the fabric of life in Charlestown. Some want the Inn to be bought by private commercial owners.

That’s a great idea, but one that owner Janice Falcone has not been able to do.

She had to take the Inn back from the last two “owners” who failed as innkeepers and restaurateurs and actually caused damage at the Inn that Janice had to fix. 

The Town Council rebuffed her attempted sale to a religious group that pledged to keep the Inn intact, but planned to use it as a residential drug rehabilitation facility.

The Inn is now on the edge. I support the town’s purchase because I want the Inn to be kept safe from arson, decay or the wrecking ball. I would also like to see the building used to showcase Charlestown history, arts and culture and to be used as a community center.

That’s also the vision for the Inn held by CCA Founder and Steering Committee member Faith Labossiere:

“How many towns country wide wish they had the chance to shape their village center? How many towns even have an iconic pre-revolutionary structure that is a handsome viable building? Charlestown has this opportunity by coming together to approve the purchase of the General Stanton Inn at the June 6 referendum. As important as it is to protect this significant historic inn, this opportunity will provide added value to the town of an enhanced village center, a tourist attraction, an artisans space, museum, a lecture hall, meeting room….the ideas are endless. A cultural, recreational and social center with a thriving flea market will be boon to the economic health of Charlestown.”