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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Deer in the headlights

(Credit: Mwanner at en.wikipedia)

The CCA breaks their silence to tell us “Beware of rutting deer.”

By Linda Felaco

It’s been pretty quiet over on Regressive Charlestown (aka the Charlestown Citizens Alliance website) the past couple of weeks. Michael Chambers has slacked off in his demands for platforms from candidates for town offices. And the only reader comment the CCA has seen fit to publish is one asking which template they use for the site. (Response: It’s “home grown,” doncha know. And probably organic to boot.)

When what to my wondering eyes did appear in my inbox yesterday morning but an e-bleat from Planning Commissioner and Town Council candidate George Tremblay comparing candidates for office to rutting deer.

And yet I get accused of making “sexually explicit comments.” Go figure.

Anyway, thanks for the laugh, George. Touché. I suppose we deserve it after all our little caricatures of town officials.

But to get to the meat of his missive, no pun intended: Apparently, Tremblay has gotten hold of a fundraising letter sent out by Town Council candidate Paula Andersen and Planning Commission candidate Frank Glista—guess things do get around in a small town—and he wants to warn us about what he calls some “unsubstantiated claims” made in it about employee morale down at Town Hall. He then counters these claims with some equally unsubstantiated claims of his own. Stalemate.

Though it seems to me that if anything, seeing as how the CCA currently controls town government, a CCA candidate is less likely to get an honest answer from a town employee about morale than anyone else. What do you say when your boss asks you how you like your job? You say you like it, of course, unless you just won the lottery and were about to submit your resignation.

“We have to be extra cautious about separating fact from fiction,” Tremblay says, because with the election approaching, candidates, like rutting deer, have only one thing on their mind: to get your vote.

Wait, hang on. Tremblay himself is one of those rutting-deer candidates with only one thing on his mind. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Ha! I may have to take back everything I ever said about the CCA not having a sense of humor.

Now, I don’t claim to have any special insight on Town Hall morale other than what I see any time I’ve been down there to license my dogs or get a CRCC pass or beach sticker or pay my taxes. I’ve always received very prompt, friendly, professional service from town hall staff. But how good can it be for employee morale to be accused of “rigging” the lottery for ballot position in November’s election? (Hint: It was a CCA steering committee member who made this accusation.) 

I don’t think we can judge employee morale on election returns either, seeing as how few of our town employees can afford to live here, meaning they don’t get to vote on who their bosses are.
Tremblay then goes on to say:

“The authors [i.e., Frank and Paula] claim that the CCA minority and a rogue councilor ‘govern Charlestown as they see fit’. Might it be that these three, who won the most votes in the last election, govern as best the voters see fit? Is it enlightening to challenge the faith of these councilors in their constituents?
“If this is the DTC case for support, it’s pretty weak.”

So if the CCA cabal is governing according to the voters’ wishes, how come voters keep challenging their actions over Y-gate, Ninigret Park, the lighting ordinance, and so on? Would voters have elected the two current CCA councilors plus Lisa DiBello had they said they would:
  • Repeatedly violate open meetings and open records laws
  • Hold secret meetings and make secret deals to hand over $475,000 in town money for a private land deal
  • Carry out a series of witch hunts
  • Harass town businesses
  • Attack the Chariho schools
  • Sue the town for $1.5 million “because I care”
  • Conduct a character-assassination campaign against the town administrator
  • Try to turn Ninigret Park over to the feds, Frosty Drew, and Arnolda
  • Oppose proper sanitation at the town beaches, and then, when the voters approve it, proceed to micromanage the construction
  • Impose intrusive and unnecessary regulation on town businesses and homeowners.
[Note that this is just a partial list, but I’m getting carpal tunnel syndrome typing it.]

Tremblay’s selective quotes of course do not constitute the entire Democratic Town Committee case for support, but he doesn’t deign (or perhaps dare) to quote the rest of Frank and Paula’s letter. Though if Tremblay’s missive is the best the CCA brain trust can come up with to make their case for support, I don’t see much that voters would find “en-deer-ing.” Then again, given the list above, the prospect of running on their record is probably what’s giving the CCA candidates that “deer in the headlights” look.