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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Charlestown goes to the polls

Large number of early votes

By Will Collette 

Note Charlestown's blue voting pattern. (Ted Nesi's blog)
I’m not going to bury the lede so here’s the really important stuff:

  • VOTE! In my 71 years of life, this is the most important election I have ever witnessed.
  • VOTE for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We must end Donald Trump’s Reign of Terror.
  • VOTE for the Charlestown Residents United (CRU) slate and end the CCA Party’s decade long Reign of Error.
  • VOTE for Rep. Jim Langevin and Sen. Jack Reed.
  • VOTE for Jennifer Douglas for state senator if you live in the northern end of Charlestown so we can end the embarrassment of right-wing nut Elaine Morgan. 
  • VOTE Approve on State Question 1 to take “Providence Plantations” out of our state’s official name. It’s a pain-free gesture against institutional racism. 

A plurality of Charlestown voters are unaffiliated (44%). 35% are registered Democrats and 21% are registered Republicans.

We have 6,115 voters in Charlestown deemed “active,” with another 711 deemed “inactive” because election mail has been returned marked “undeliverable.” 

As of noon October 22, 29% of Charlestown voters have already cast their ballots either by early voting – at Town Hall only – or by mail-in (via US Postal Service or placed in the well-marked, secure drop-box on the right side of the main entrance to Town Hall). Lots more mail ballots are in the pipeline

Charlestown voters are out-pacing the rest of the state for early voting – we have nearly 30% who have voted compared to 20% for Rhode Island as a whole. 

In 2016, 4,443 Charlestown residents cast votes for President with a 10-point margin for Hillary. 

If the current pace of early and mail-in voting continues, we may exceed 2016’s turnout days ahead of Election Day. 

Progressive Charlestown has published a large quantity of material on the actions and failings of Donald Trump and his band of grifters. 

If you are still undecided about Trump or are one of the 1,906 Charlestown residents who voted for him in 2016 and plan to do it again, despite all, I really can’t help you. Just drink some more Kool-Aid.

Our municipal election strikes me as the most competitive thing on the ballot, along with Jennifer Douglas' bid to unseat Elaine Morgan for Senate District 34.

Charlestown will almost certainly vote for Biden/Harris and Jim Langevin and Jack Reed will be re-elected. But how our municipal races will turn out is an open question.

For over a decade, the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) has held an iron grip on town government. 

This year, they face strong opposition from a full bi-partisan slate fielded by Charlestown Residents United. 

Under the banner of “rural character” – a term the CCA Party has never defined – the CCA Party has worked to: 

Keep people out. Housing, especially affordable housing, is in short supply. The CCA Party has openly stated its intent to prevent families with children from moving into town. As a result, our population has aged and shrunk, as even the children of long-time residents find they must move out of Charlestown for lack of housing for new families. Rural character does not apply to children. 

These three CRU candidates for Town Council have also been endorsed
by the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee. CRU candidates
Grace Klinger and Stephen Stokes have been endorsed
the the Republican State Committee

Keep residents in line. Progressive Charlestown has chronicled an endless array of CCA Party-driven ordinances have been enacted to govern everything from whether your home or business can have wind power, lights, shrubbery, building materials, etc. No detail is too small for the CCA to regulare.

In good times and bad, the CCA Party has worked relentlessly to drive businesses and jobs out of Charlestown. Rural character does not apply to business, unless you are a blacksmith. 

Keep the Tribe down. The CCA Party keeps a lawyer on the town payroll for the sole purpose of thwarting any effort by the Narragansett Indian Tribe to do anything that does not have the town’s advance, expressed permission. This is a shameful display of institutional racism toward the original residents of our rural paradise. 

Along with these three main reasons to vote the CCA Party out, you can add the sneaky and underhanded way they run town government. 

They purge qualified people from volunteer town commissions and boards. They hide vital public information. 

They operate a “pay to play” system where their friends, allies and donors get deals and favored treatment. The most blatant current example is SPA-Gate (CLICK HERE for more information on SPA-Gate). 

To be honest, I like “rural character,” too. But I suspect my vision of rural character is different than that of the CCA Party. For example, my vision does not include Charlestown being turned into a retirement enclave for rich New Yorkers. Nor does it include endless war with the Tribe. 

Each time the “rural character” issue comes up, I call out the CCA Party to define what they mean. It is not sufficient for it to mean whatever Planning Commissar Ruth Platner says it is. 

By the way, the Planning Commission is also up for a vote. In the 2018 election, Platner was denied her usual high vote count, even though only CCA Party candidates appeared on the ballot. 

Her last-place finish meant that she stayed on the Commission only as an “alternate” and subject to having to run again two years later – this year. Also despite her last-place finish, her CCA Party colleagues nonetheless elected her Planning Commission chair.

Charlestown Residents United has two candidates running for the Planning Commission - Patricia Stamps and Howard Stephens.

The CCA Party has its full slate running for the four open seats. That’s 6 candidates. If Platner does not make the top four, she’s out! 

She can then spend her time out of office coming up with a definition for “rural character.”

Finally, please support Charlie Beck, well-known owner of the Mini-Super, who is running for re-election as as Town Moderator on the CRU ticket.

His CCA Party opponent is Ron Areglado, the central figure in the SPA-Gate scam and the failed leader of the botched opposition to the Whalerock project that caused the town to have to spend $2.1 million.