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Thursday, June 22, 2023

Leo Mainelli thinks others shouldn’t politicize Charlestown water issues – that’s his job

CCA leader should stop clutching his pearls and tell the truth 

By Will Collette

I wrote this as a letter tlo the editor of the Sun. They ran it Thursday morning.

While I don't have a lot of patience with playing LTE serve-and-volley, I felt that CCA Prez Leo Mainelli's letter was so hypocritical that it demanded a response. And here it is.

In his June 15 letter to the Sun, Charlestown Citizens Alliance President Leo Mainelli is mad at people who “politicize drinking water” since that’s his job and that of the CCA. 

He attacks Frank Glista for reminding Charlestown voters of theCCA’s epic fight to block the state Water Resource Board from buying his family’s land to protect potable drinking water. CCA Council leaders Tom Gentz and Dan Slattery were so crude in their attacks on that plan that they were eventually forced to apologize. 

Leo doesn’t remember it that way. Instead, he lionizes that same Tom Gentz for setting up some committee that, according to Leo’s own re-telling, turned out to be an exercise in futility. He says they couldn’t get the money; well-drilling was too expensive; piping water crosstown was impractical and they couldn’t strike a favorable deal with South Kingstown or Westerly. 

Then he complains the state had the money to buy the Glista family land, but the town didn’t have the money to do the same. But please, let’s not politicize. 

In the end, according to Mainelli, the town settled for enforcing the state law and town ordinance banning cesspools and substandard wastewater treatment systems. A good thing, but nothing to do with Gentz or the CCA since both the state law and town ordinance pre-dated Gentz and the CCA. 

But yeah, let’s not politicize.

END NOTE: Let's also recognize that drinking water has ALWAYS been a political issue. In fact, just yesterday, the US Supreme Court threw out the Navajo Nation's suit in which the tribe sought a fair share of Colorado River water. Wars were fought millennia ago over the waters of the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Virtually every year it was in power, the CCA found some issue they could portray as a fight over water, whether that was true or a stretch of their imaginations. Where Leo goes off the rails is to assert that none other than the CCA can deal with water issues.

So, Leo, if you guys want to win back power and rebuild the CCA's shattered credibility, then try telling the truth at least once in a while.