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Thursday, September 20, 2012

CCA family values

The only time the CCA ever talks about families is to tell us about their own

Part 1: Actions speak louder than platforms
Part 2: “We have met the enemy and he is us”


A community with no children is a community with no future.”
—Comment by sisyphus-opine on March 8, 2012 9:54 AM

When I reread the 2010 campaign flyer for the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (see here, here, here, and here), since expunged from the CCA website, I couldn’t help noticing that the only time the word “family” is used is in Tom Gentz and George Tremblay’s bio blurbs. (Just for comparison’s sake, the word “special” is used five times.) Gentz, we were told, has “deep roots” in Charlestown via his wife’s family. And George Tremblay and his family moved here 27 years ago.

To some folks, they’d all be carpetbaggers.

Me, I don’t claim any deep roots here in Charlestown, though I was born and will die a Rhode Islander. I keep trying and failing to envision a scenario in which my husband tries to claim “deep roots” in Cranston because I grew up there. Or if we were to move to Torino and I tried to run for office on the basis of his family having lived there for generations. I just don’t see anyone buying it. Hell, my father grew up in Naples and I’m still a foreigner when I visit.

Yes, most of us do have families, and government services are largely geared toward families, so it seemed distinctly odd for a group of people to be campaigning for public office without ever once saying a word about what they’d do for families.

Though perhaps not so odd when you consider what we’ve been calling the CCA’s war on families. Really, their motto ought to be “of the retirees, by the retirees, and for the retirees.” Yes, it’s lovely that so many of our local retirees want to remain active in their golden years and serve the community by running for office.

But they don’t represent me.

I first got an inkling of the CCA’s attitude toward families last year during the referendum over the beach pavilions. Silly me, I thought they were a slam-dunk. How could anyone look at those crappy old crappers we used to have and say, “Nah, we don’t need new ones”?

Yet the recurring refrain among the opposition, overwhelmingly expressed on the CCA website (strangely, we got very few “anti” comments here on PC), was “We don’t need them, we can just walk home.”

Subtext of course being that they obviously didn’t have kids and so completely discounted the needs of families with small children who might have an urgent need that couldn’t wait to be met till the parents could get the kid home.

That whole debacle would’ve been bad enough, in my book—but then we were treated to Town Council Vice President Dan Slattery’s (CCA) witch hunt against the Chariho budget because he couldn’t figure it out and so assumed someone was hiding something from him. Not to mention the spectacle of Town Council President Tom Gentz (CCA) browbeating Chariho School Superintendent Barry Ricci over the budget at the February Town Council meeting.

Then just to make absolutely sure that there’d be no doubt in anyone’s mind who the CCA operates on behalf of, they came out with that “Cost of Development” calculator to try to prove mathematically that families with children are parasites. Hell, I don’t even have kids, and I was deeply, deeply offended by it. And wouldn’t ya know, it was even there in embryo (no pun intended) in their 2010 campaign literature:

How ominous. “[T]hese additional homes will increase the tax burden on the taxpayers by over $1 million, each and every year, forever.” And ever, and ever, and ever … because children never graduate from high school, or drop out, or people maybe just keep on having more and more kids till their ovaries give out to make sure they’ve got one or two in school at all times? I haven’t been able to figure that one out.

We don’t have public water or sewers, or much of anything in the way of town services, so where is that $1 million a year going? Road bonds somehow never get paid off, we have to keep paying them year after year, forever and ever for each new subdivision?

But I did get a chuckle out of how they refer to these “irresponsible” members of the “current government” without ever once mentioning that all five of them were handpicked by the CCA in 2008.

Schizophrenic much?

Math has never been my thing, but it seems to me that if building new houses were such a drain on the tax base, there wouldn’t be a single solvent community anywhere in this country, because homebuilding has always been one of this country’s major industries.[1] The American dream, after all, is to own your own home.

Yet the CCA’s solution to Charlestown’s chronic shortage of affordable housing initially was “Why can’t we just give them vouchers to move to Westerly?” Their next bright idea: Drive up to Providence to try to get the General Assembly to overturn the Affordable Housing law.

I’m guessing Gentz didn’t drive the Porsche that time.

[1] Let’s not forget that families having and raising children is what keeps the human race going.