Friday, October 31, 2014

Follow the CCA Money

On October 18th and 19th the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee held two fundraising gatherings so that they could introduce their local candidates to the voting public. 

The turnout was good and they made a little money, but outside of Democrats some interesting visitors turned up.......Republicans and Independents. Overall, more Republicans and Independents showed up than Democrats. Although they had many local concerns, the one thing that stood out was their concern over the continued takeover of our town government by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) and their "out-of-state" money fundraising machine. 

 So I decided to do a bit of research and found the following:

What is the Charlestown Citizens Alliance? The CCA is a Political Action Committee or (PAC), which is registered with the State of Rhode Island. 

What is a PAC? PAC's are formed by special-interest groups to raise money.

How much money has the CCA PAC raised? At the end of the last filing period with the Board of Elections, the CCA had a starting balance of $13,942.32. After expenses, their ending balance for this period was $10,595.45.

How much is out-of-state money? 50-60%.

Where do their candidates live? The CCA has five candidates running for Town Council and one for Town Moderator. Of those six, three live in Quonochontaug and one in Arnolda, both of which are expensive waterfront communities.

Who runs the CCA? According to their web site, the CCA is run by their "Steering Committee" which consists of eight members, three of whom live out of state and are not residents of Charlestown.

Are they all independent candidates? Yes, all the CCA candidates are running as independent or unaffiliated but are under the control of their "Steering Committee".

Before casting your vote, you may want to consider the following questions: 
  • What do you think of the way this organization is run? 
  • Do you think that these individuals can relate to the hard working families of Charlestown? 
  •  Do you want your town to be controlled by "out-of-state" money and to be governed by people who don't reside in our town? 
 I know I don't.

Please vote for the local Democratic Candidates and help them give the CCA a run for its ("out-of- state") money.

Jane Glander, Charlestown
This Letter to the Editor was previously published in The Westerly Sun

Water Discrimination

After almost twenty years of owning a summer home in Charlestown, I recently became a resident and with that came the privilege of registering as a new voter. I have learned a bit about my newly acquired town government by talking to friends and business people in town and hope to participate in the near future.

While visiting one of the local coffee shops, I overheard a conversation about a state agency that came into Charlestown to find a fresh water source for the residents of the Cross Mills area. Needless to say, I was immediately engaged in their conversation because not only do I live in this area but my well was contaminated during the 100 year storm that we all experienced a few years back. In my neighborhood, lot sizes are small, homes are very close together and the septic systems are too near our well water. As I started to participate in the conversation, one gentleman told me to go to the Town of Charlestown's web site and watch the Town Council meeting of June 9, 2014, which you can find under "Clerk Base" to get more information. It took awhile but I found it under.....NEW BUSINESS 8b.

As I headed home to view this video on my computer, I thought to myself, how great is it to have moved to a state that is so forward thinking that they are preserving future water sources for its citizens. After all, the health of their citizenry should be the first and foremost function of any town or state government.

As I watched with anticipation and listened for a few moments, I couldn't believe my ears. I thought, "Who are these three men on the Town Council and why are the attacking this man from the State's Water Resources Board? Don't they realize that the residents of our town need fresh drinking water? Don't they realize that we may be drinking, cooking and bathing in our neighbor's sewerage?"

After watching this antagonistic town meeting, I researched the local papers and found some interesting information. The three men on the Town Council are from a group called the Charlestown Citizens Alliance. They were very negative. Imagine, your state sends a representative to your town, wants to purchase land that will be held in trust, it won't cost the Charlestown taxpayers anything, the land becomes open-space and that water is preserved forever. Who are these people that run this town?

Additionally, three of the six Alliance candidates that are being challenged for election enjoy fresh water because they have a public water supply. It is rather hypocritical that fresh water is good for them but not for my neighborhood. Don't other taxpayers deserve clean water?

As Election Day nears, we all need to review each candidate's stand on issues. After speaking with Democratic candidates, I came to appreciate their concern for the necessity of providing our citizens with clean water. On Nov.4 we, the voters of Charlestown, have a choice. Please help protect the right to enjoy clean, fresh water by voting for the democratic slate. Re-elect Town Council Vice President Paula Andersen, along with Brandon Cleary and Ron Russo. They will help preserve fresh water for our future.

Susan O'Donnell, Charlestown
This Letter to the Editor was previously published in The Westerly Sun

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CCA Bullying Tactics Won't Work

Have you noticed that over the past couple of weeks the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) has gone into "ATTACK MODE" against the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee? Why do you think this is?

Could it be that the incumbent democratic candidate for Town Council, Vice President Paula Andersen, who won three of the four voting districts along with the mail-in ballot count in the last election, might have them a little on edge? 

Could it be that they are so fearful that she and our other candidates, Brandon Cleary and Ronald Russo might take the council majority in this election? 

You bet they are. Why else would this Political Action Committee (PAC) who claim to be so CIVIL (respect for differing opinions), INCLUSIVE (represent the population in its entirety and guard against domination by special interests) as they attest on their web site, use the bullying tactics we see and will continue to see in the upcoming week? If they are truly CIVIL, why have they resorted to negative campaigning? If they are truly INCLUSIVE and guard against special interest, like themselves, why are they running a candidate for every office in Charlestown....isn't that domination?

The CCA controls the Planning Commission, refused to re-appoint Zoning Board members so that they could gain control of that board by replacing them with the CCA faithful and appointed School Committee members from their own membership, but that's not they want it all. Their hunger and thirst for power has no bounds. They want to control our entire town government...period.

Good government comes from opposing factions coming together for the good of the whole so that all of our citizens have a voice in our future.

On Nov. 4th, give yourself a voice in our town government by voting for the Charlestown Democratic slate. Re-elect Town Council Vice President Paula Andersen and help elect Town Council Candidates Brandon Cleary and Ronald Russo along with Henry Walsh for Town Moderator.

Letter to the Editor from Frank Glista, Charlestown
Glista is a member of the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee

Beware of False Independents

In-de-pend-dent - not dependent: as not subject to control by others, not affiliated with a larger controlling unit, not requiring or relying on something else, not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct, not bound by or committed to a political party (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

In the upcoming Charlestown local election, there are nine candidates on the ballot who will be listed as Independent. There is only one candidate who fits the definition as stated above: Craig Louzon, who is running his campaign with his own opinions and financing.

The claim by Charlestown Citizens Alliance that their candidates are true "independent candidates" is questionable and misleading when you consider the following:
  • They are all endorsed by one political group - Charlestown Citizens Alliance 
  • They campaign under a unified platform - Charlestown Citizens Alliance 
  • They campaign as united candidates - Charlestown Citizens Alliance 
  • 100 percent campaign financing by one entity - Charlestown Citizens Alliance 
  • 60 percent out-of-state financing - Charlestown Citizens Alliance 
Charlestown Citizens Alliance is not an officially-recognized political party; they are a registered Political Action Committee or PAC whose sole purpose, by definition, is to raise money for special interest groups. If their candidates are truly independent, why is it not a single one has offered their own platform, sent out their own campaign material or secured any individual funding?

With Charlestown Citizens Alliance providing everything for their campaign, how can their candidates claim to be independent? More importantly, can they be trusted to be "independent" if elected?

Your vote is important. Vote on Nov. 4 and please support Paula Andersen, Brandon Cleary, and Ron Russo for Town Council, Henry Walsh for Town Moderator and Craig Louzon for School Committee.

Suzanne Ferrio
The writer is a member of the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Meet our candidates this weekend

Events on Saturday and Sunday to
have a snack and chat with our candidates.

Saturday, October 18, 
from 2 to 4 pm at the Quonochontaug Grange,
5664 Post Road.

These candidates will be there:
  • Donna Walsh - for re-election as your State Representative for District 36 
  • Paula Andersen - for re-election to Town Council 
  • Brandon T. Cleary - for Town Council 
  • Ronald Russo - for Town Council 
  • Henry Walsh - for re-election as Town Moderator 

RSVP is optional on our Facebook page.

Sunday, October 19, from 2 to 4 pm at K & S Pizza, 469 Carolina Back Road.

These candidates will be there:
  • Donna Walsh - for re-election as your State Representative for District 36 
  • Paula Andersen - for re-election to Town Council 
  • Brandon T. Cleary - for Town Council 
  • Ronald Russo - for Town Council 
  • Henry Walsh - for re-election as Town Moderator 

RSVP is optional on our Facebook page.

We look forward to seeing you and our candidates are eager to meet you to discuss your questions, concerns and vision for Charlestown.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Great time at The Breachway Grill

Congressman Jim Langevin talking to Town Council
candidate Brandon Cleary and son Logan.
Town Council candidate Ron Russo in background, left.
Our candidates were pleased to have conversations with a number of voters and we were honored to have U.S. Representative Jim Langevin visit on Saturday.

The rain washed out his plans for door-to-door canvassing visits with Donna Walsh and some of our Council candidates but Langevin still attended our Snack & Chat event at The Breachway Grill.

The pizza was great and, before we knew it, we had run over our planned 4 pm end time.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

CCA no show.....again.

The following letter was published in The Westerly Sun. Author Frank Glista is a member of the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee and submitted the letter for publication here.

On Sunday October 5th, the Charlestown Rathskeller restaurant hosted an event called "The First Annual Twin Peaks Preservation Stroll". This well advertised American Cancer Society fundraising event catered to those who are or have suffered with breast cancer. It was a beautiful crisp morning as the crowd of over 100 people gathered to share stories about this horrific disease and the loved ones that it has taken, but also to celebrate the ones that have survived.

Rep. Donna Walsh took the microphone and told the audience about the legislation that she co-sponsored named "The Dense Breast Notification and Information Act" that took effect on October 1st. Because it is difficult to detect a tumor in dense breast tissue during a mammogram, this act allows women to be notified immediately for further testing, if this condition exists. The crowd applauded enthusiastically.

Our Town Council Vice President, Paula Andersen, privately shared stories about her paternal grandmother, two aunts and her daughter-in-law who have all experienced this ravaging illness. One speaker asked the crowd to raise their hands if they have breast cancer or have survived it. I was absolutely shocked to see the number hands reach to the sky letting the world know that this illness has touched their lives. I felt honored to witness the strength of these beautiful women who are committed to conquering this disease.

Although this was not a political event, comments were made. As we walked along Old Coach, Road during the 5K portion of the fundraiser, we passed one of the "bigger than life" Charlestown Citizens Alliance signs supporting all of the Independent candidates that are running for Town Council. I overheard one of the comments made by a woman walking ahead of me, "I wonder why none of these people are here?" she asked her friend as she pointed to the sign. Although I remained silent, it gave me reason to pause and reflect on her question.
Surely the Independent candidates, that are supported by the CCA, or their members have loved ones that have or are suffering from this terrible disease? Is weekend canvassing and winning an election really more important than supporting and participating in this wonderful local event?

Frank Glista

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Meet our candidates today!

Have a snack and chat with our candidates.
Representative Jim Langevin will attend.

Today: Saturday, October 11, from 2 to 4 pm at The Breachway Grill, One Charlestown Beach Road.

Have a taste of their popular pizza.

These candidates will be there:

  • Donna Walsh - for re-election as your State Representative for District 36
  • Jim Langevin - for re-election as your U.S. Congressman
  • Paula Andersen - for re-election to Town Council
  • Brandon T. Cleary - for Town Council
  • Ronald Russo - for Town Council
  • Henry Walsh - for re-election as Town Moderator

RSVP is optional on our Facebook page.

We look forward to seeing you and our candidates are eager to meet you to discuss your questions, concerns and vision for Charlestown.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Our Candidates at local breast cancer awareness event

Paula and Donna at The Rathskeller after the Stroll
Our State Representative Donna Walsh and Town Council Vice-President Paula Andersen walked in today's Twin Peaks Preservation Stroll.

Donna was also one of the speakers before the walk, at the Charlestown Rathskeller Tavern.

All proceeds are going to the American Cancer Society.