Economic Geography?

Guest Post by Michael Chambers
There is a recurring theme that the local Democrats have promoted that the rich people live south of Route 1 and the poor and middle class live north of Route 1. At the polls during the last election, while campaigning against industrial sized wind turbines placed too close to a residential neighborhood, I was told by one of the North dwellers that she supports the turbines because “you rich people on Route 1 should put up with a little discomfort.” I didn’t even have a chance to say another word before she grabbed her daughter by the hand and tugged her into Charlestown Elementary School polling place. I would have said I am a North dweller too, but I don’t think that would have mattered much because the North/South line is so ingrained in some people.

After the Homestead Tax Exemption proposal, embraced and authored by the local Democratic Town Committee, was defeated after heavy opposition by the general population of Charlestown, one Democrat wailed that the town is run by the rich. Notwithstanding the makeup of the speakers that night came from a broad cross-section of the town’s taxpayers, this statement was naïve and too unscientific to mean anything. But there was that North/South, rich/poor divisive thinking that keeps this town from really being an ideal town in which to live.

So I got to thinking about the CCA candidates. The local Democrats contend that CCA consists of rich people who make their primary residence out of town. I reviewed the nine endorsed candidates for Town Council and the Planning Commission and do you know what I found? EIGHT OUT OF THE NINE candidates live north of Route 1 and none of the candidates would qualify as “rich” as defined by the CDTC. That is 88.9% of the endorsed candidates. So CCA was not backing rich or South-dwellers to see this town through the future. So what was it? The fact that these candidates are experienced in program management, well-educated, knowledgeable in many aspects of life in Charlestown and are committed to improving the quality of life for its residents is a clear indication that rich/poor, North/South separation is nothing more than a smokescreen or hobgoblin to divide this town rather than bring it together.