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Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Poor Bonnie

Van Slyke's lament

By Will Collette

Van Slyke (right) at a Council meeting with her BFF
Ruth Platner, leader of the CCA
I wrote this as a letter to the editor of the Westerly Sun in rebuttal to a long screed the Sun had published from Van Slyke. The Sun published my letter earlier today.

Here's my letter: 

Ex-Charlestown Town Council member Bonnie Van Slyke is upset that the new Town Council majority is holding too many meetings [Letter: Charlestown special meetings inefficient, not transparent]. She and what’s left of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) can’t keep up.

That’s not “transparent,” she says, and it’s “inefficient.”

When the CCA ran Charlestown, Council decisions were made
in the secret CCA clubhouse. Very efficient.
In the decade-plus the CCA ruled Charlestown, Council decisions were handled very efficiently.

The CCA would hold its secret steering committee meetings at undisclosed locations and make the decisions the CCA Council members would vote in lockstep to enact.

Very efficient and, in its way, transparent since we all knew that was how the CCA ran the town.

They made sure their compliant Town Administrator clamped down on public access to information on shady land deals, financial foul-ups and imaginary threats concocted by the CCA to drive fear among the voters. 

NOTE: former town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz even kept his own departure secret, lining up a new job in Berkley, MA even before voters booted the CCA. In the bargain, he made the CCA look like chumps.

It took more than a decade of this, but last November, Charlestown voters wised up and ousted the CCA from power. The new Council majority has indeed been calling a lot of meetings because it takes time and effort to clean up the mess the CCA left behind. They don’t consider it an option to make those decisions in secret.