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Monday, July 8, 2024

Charlestown Republican chair denounces Charlestown Citizens Alliance “election deception

CCA runs stealth ticket to confuse voters

By Will Collette

I’m not the only one who thinks the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) has come up with a new trick to continue cheating its way to power in Charlestown. CLICK HERE for my commentary.

Since 2008, the CCA ran its candidates exclusively as “independents.” They disparaged traditional parties and claimed their candidates were the only ones without strings.

They don’t mention that every person running under the CCA banner swears to obey the CCA platform, which changes depending on the whims of campaign donors. If elected, they must follow orders from the secretive CCA Steering Committee, usually conveyed by CCA founder and de facto leader, Charlestown Planning Commissar Ruth Platner.

In 2022, Charlestown voters ousted the CCA and elected a supermajority on the Town Council who were endorsed by Charlestown Residents United (CRU). CRU candidates ran openly under the party affiliations and have governed as a coalition.

In 2024, the CCA decided – without explanation – to toss out its founding principle of nonpartisanship. Most of its Council candidates are running under a party label whether or not they have any real ties to that party. The practical effect is to scramble the ballot, mixing CCA and CRU candidates without differentiation.

The Charlestown Republican Town Committee (CRTC) is also outraged at this decision based on this statement from CRTC Chair Laura Rom:

The CCA deception machine is beginning the campaign season in full swing.

Ruth Platner and Bonnie Van Slyke were registered Democrats until they declared a run on Wednesday for Town Council as "Independent Candidates".

Angela Jalbert was a registered Independent until she declared for Town Council and is now a registered Republican, however the very active Charlestown Republican Town Committee has never heard her name.

All the best to all the Candidates that are willing to make the commitment to help better Charlestown. Let's make this an honest campaign, the voters of Charlestown deserve that from all the candidates.

Laura Rom, Chair Charlestown Republican Town Committee

Ruth Platner responded in Nextdoor.

Ruth Platner

Carolina Back - S County•14h

I have run in non-partisan elections for more than 20 years and have been unaffiliated, namely "Independent". In RI statewide politics most of the real choice is in the primaries. I voted in the governor's office primary in 2022 and probably failed to disaffiliate.

I discovered that this spring and [SIC] you can't disaffiliate close to an election if you are a candidate. I have also voted in Republican primaries. RI has open primaries and unaffiliated voters can vote in either primary.

One of the laws this general assembly passed was to make disaffiliation automatic for unaffiliated voters who vote in primaries. Had the law been in place, I would have automatically been returned to unaffiliated after voting in the primary.

When John Chafee was our US Senator, I was registered as a Republican as his brand of pro-environment politics very closely fit my political view. Claudine Schneider was our congressional representative then, a Republican, and also a strong environmentalist.

Political parties are not one thing, they change, and town political committees don't own the ballot. There are a lot of different ways to be a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent. You should vote for the person and not the party.”

Platner does not address the party affiliation of her faithful servant, Bonnita Van Slyke, nor the other CCA candidates running under party labels even though they never asked for party endorsements. Indeed, the CCA slate carries nobody’s endorsement other the CCA Steering Committee, which means Ruth Platner.

So begins what Republican Chair Laura Rom calls the CCA’s “campaign of deception.”

NOTE: For clarity, I added line breaks to both Rom’s and Platner’s statements rather than run them in one long block of text as published in Nextdoor.