A good memory is vital to Charlestown politics

The following letter appeared in the Westerly Sun and is printed here with the permission of the author
What could be funnier than James Mageau kvetching about open meetings violations? Anyone with even a short memory can recall the time when he hired both a solicitor and an administrator for the town at an illegal meeting. And he hadn’t even been sworn in yet! A good memory is vital to Charlestown politics. This year it is more critical than ever.

There are a number of candidates running who have a bit of a history in town. Some good for the Town, some, well, candidly not so good. It helps to know who is who. One absolute certainty can be anticipated in this year’s local elections: there will be a number of new members on the Charlestown Planning Commission. On this seven member panel only two incumbents are running for re-election: Ruth Platner and Gordon Foer. All five CCA candidates, Connie Baker, Gordon Foer, Peter Herstein, Jan Knost and Ruth will provide the town with excellent and consistent stewardship but this letter is in special recognition and support of Ruth Platner’s candidacy and of her value to the town of Charlestown.

No single individual can dictate the direction of the Planning Commission, but one person, Ruth Platner, can be and has been efficient in keeping the process on track. The learning curve for the Planning Commission is inordinately steep. Five new members will have a challenge. It stands to reason that the town will be best served by retaining and re-electing those who have an understanding of the process and its requirements.

Ruth Platner has consistently provided the town with quiet and effective leadership over the past three decades. She is our living municipal memory. Her knowledge and her expertise must not be jettisoned in this election, it should be celebrated by re-electing her to the Charlestown Planning Commission lest we lose our history, and our defense of what is important, of what has been threatened, and the processes by which it has been saved. Please reelect Ruth Platner to the Charlestown Planning Commission.

Kate Waterman (now of Mystic)
The writer is a former member of the Charlestown Conservation Commission, Town Council and Planning Commission. She retains a small property in Charlestown.