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Thursday, May 26, 2016


Ignore the stupid rumor
By Will Collette

Photo by Will Collette
There is a stupid and malicious rumor going around that somehow I have “flipped” and no longer support the citizen referendum for Charlestown to purchase the General Stanton Inn.

That rumor is false.

Totally false. 

As if the display ads (top left and right) saying “Vote Yes!” on the front page of Progressive Charlestown weren’t enough, we have a VOTE YES yard sign on our Route One frontage. Cathy and I have also donated to the Friends of the General Stanton Inn.

I was in favor of the town’s purchase of the General Stanton Inn before the petition even started to put the question on the ballot.

The opposition speaks, claiming oppression by the minority. They must
have missed the civics class where the MAJORITY is 50%+ of voters
who show up to vote. We'll find out who the majority is on June 6.
I think they really needed to add a few more flags. (Photo by Will Collette)
I understand the opposition wants to have someone else, other than the town, own the General Stanton. They say the Inn should be run as a business, as a hotel and restaurant as it is currently designed.

Sure, that'd be fine but in fact, several different “owners” have come along to try that. But none of them could make the Inn a commercial success as a hotel and restaurant.

Indeed, each of these successive owners left the Inn in worse shape and stuck long-time owner Janice Falcone with major bills to put this right.

I think voting YES is the right choice for both positive and negative reasons. 

Stating the proposition in the negative, Charlestown can’t afford to lose the Inn. It is the heart of the Cross’ Mills historic district. Failing to secure the Inn could lead to its destruction. In the mean streets where I grew up, a vacant building like that would be torched.

Here, it would be more likely to simply decay, like the sad old Lobster Pot Restaurant or be demolished, as the Larchwood Inn in Wakefield is likely to be.

Photo by Will Collette
Stating the proposition in the positive, you should vote YES because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Charlestown to create the kind of  historic district that could serve as a year-round tourism draw. It could serve as a welcome and information center, a historical display, public space for meetings and gatherings and many other things.

We are only limited by our imaginations (and money, of course).

Speaking of money and creativity, the Friends of the General Stanton Inn issued a white paper that addresses in detail the key financial questions that have nagged some of the opponents.

One of the best things about the citizens’ campaign to save the General Stanton Inn is that it cross-cuts Charlestown’s usual political divides.

It helps that it’s hard to find anyone in town, even the referendum’s opponents, who disagree with the core principle that the General Stanton Inn is important to this town and must be saved.

The only real disagreement is how to do that.

I happen to think that town ownership is the most direct and efficient way to save the Inn and buy the town some time. 

I happen to like the ideas for what could happen under town ownership. However, maybe some white knight will come along and make the town an offer it can’t refuse.

Yes, this is the second time this graphic appears in this
article. It's for those who have trouble taking "yes" for
an answer.
Hey, maybe the Filippi Brothers – Blake and Steve – who are creating their own little chain of historic hotels on Block Island will decide to expand their empire to the mainland.

Those boys are rich enough to buy the General Stanton with change found in their hotels' couch cushions.

I guess it was too much to hope that this referendum would act as a balm soothing the partisan fires that rub Charlestown raw. 

This false rumor that I am now opposing the purchase of the Inn is an amazing piece of campaign trickery that bodes ill for this year's election season.

I’d love to know who started the rumor but I doubt the coward will come forward.