Guest Post by Michael Chambers
One of my favorite quotes by H. L. Mencken is the definition of Practical Politics: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” This tactic is usually unsuccessful when the electorate is well-informed and asks the critical questions that clarify the issues facing their town. The Charlestown Citizens Alliance consists of individuals who consider themselves Democrats, Republicans, Moderates, and Independents. The common denominator among these citizens is to preserve the quality of life in this town. From personal experience, by asking for an explanation of the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee (CDTC) political platform, I received no answers but did receive several insulting retorts from the Democratic Bloggers. This doesn’t bother me as much as knowing the CDTC has no answers to their rhetoric.
So how does the Mencken quote relate to politics in Charlestown? Let’s take a look at the latest hobgoblin that the CDTC has created. “This election will determine whether the same group that has dominated Charlestown politics for the past six years will continue its policies that have pitted neighbor against neighbor, favored out of state vacationers over residents, favored tax cuts for the wealthy, attacked small businesses and working families, and intruded into the lives of every family and business it town.” To what group do they refer? I am being a little obtuse here because the CDTC certainly is referring to CCA. They don’t care about the Republicans or the other independent groups in this town. Dominating Charlestown politics is definitely deceptive. Of the five Town Councilors, two were CCA, two were backed by the CDTC, and one was independent. The Zoning Board is not made up of CCA members. Most of the committees and commissions in town consist of CDTC members. So the CDTC must be referring to the Planning Commission, elected by the voters, and who kept their campaign promises to the citizenry by protecting our natural resources and maintaining a high quality of life.
“Policies that have pitted neighbor against neighbor”: this must be one of the well-known CDTC comical interludes. Whalerock isolated a whole neighborhood when the CDTC referred to them as NIMBYs, the Homestead Tax Exemption proposal of the CDTC would have pitted full time residents against summer residents by trying to separate our neighbors on a rich vs. poor issue. The CDTC also tried to separate the town from its Federal neighbors regarding lights in Ninigret Park. Through all this the unifying force has been CCA members.
Tax cuts for the wealthy: this is as close to a lie as I have seen during this campaign. The town can levy taxes only on property. All taxes levied by the town are based on the assessed value and that levy is the fourth lowest in the State. Therefore the higher assessed values pay a higher base than lower assessed values. So income has nothing to do with property tax assessments.
Attacked small businesses and working families: this accusation demands an explanation, but don’t look for one because the CDTC doesn’t offer them. I am sure the CDTC members will try to trash this article and me for asking for the facts but will not explain the accusations. I am still waiting for an explanation of their platform. The CDTC will depend on that sector of the population that is easily swayed by accusations and who don’t seek the facts of the issues.