Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Once again, a Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) supporter is spreading misinformation.

The Facts Speak for Themselves.

Deborah Carney, Charlestown Town Council President

This article originally appeared as a letter to the editor of the Westerly Sun and reprinted here with permission of the author.

When you have the truth on your side, the facts speak for themselves.

The author of the recent letter, “Charlestown council limits public participation,” (6/25/23) made several false statements.

Fact: The current Council did not initiate a “new” policy, nor did this Council announce a “new” policy.  Contrary to what the letter writer claimed, the public comment policy has been in effect for more than 20 years.

Fact: Town Council Rule 6 provides that individuals be given the opportunity to speak at Council meetings for a two-minute duration during the “Public Comment” item on the agenda for items not on the agenda. The policy further states that “the President may permit comment from the floor at an appropriate time of not more than one comment per speaker for a two (2) minute duration if such comment is relative to a specific agenda matter.”

Fact: Rules that have been in existence for 20 years are not new. (The Town Council rules and procedures were adopted on December 13, 2004).

If anyone is interested in watching years of past meetings, it is obvious that I am very liberal with encouraging public comment.

Fact: The Council president did not, “announce the policy one day later at the Charter Revision Advisory Committee meeting where no public comment is allowed at all.”

Fact: The Charlestown Charter, C-165 states, “All regularly scheduled public meetings held by the Town Council, and all Boards and Commissions will require an agenda item for public comment.” During the last Charter Revision Advisory Committee meeting, I noted that the current Charter does not include “committees” in the list of public bodies that require “public comment.” I did not state a “new policy”; I read from the Charter.

I will note that just because “committee” is not included in that list, that does not prevent a committee from permitting public comment. In fact, the letter writer spoke multiple times during the one Charter Revision Advisory Committee meeting she attended.

Fact: Over the past few years, certain CCA supporters have repeatedly spread misinformation.  These individuals do not care about the facts or presenting the truth. Enough already.

Like my fellow Councilor, Stephen Stokes, I also urge you to watch the Council videos on the town’s website,, and hear the discussion for yourself. If anyone would like to contact me, my email address is

EDITOR’S END NOTE: The opening to Deb’s rebuttal letter to former CCA town councilor Bonnita Van Slyke, resembles a great quote attributed to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes:

“If you’re weak on the facts and strong on the law, pound the law. If you’re weak on the law and strong on the facts, pound the facts. If you’re weak on both, pound the table.”

Since stepping down from the Town Council, Van Slyke has become de facto CCA Propaganda Minister, peppering the Westerly Sun with nonsense letters full of misstatements, misinterpretations and, dare I say it, outright lies.

I suspect that much of Van Slyke’s material comes from her mistress Ruth Platner, the CCA’s actual leader and also Charlestown Planning Commissar.

I wish the Sun would do some fact-checking before letting its pages be used for the CCA’s fake news.   – Will Collette