Guest Post by Michael Chambers (guest posts are moderated, but not approved or endorsed by the CCA Steering Committee)
Here it is mid-January and we already have been treated to two of the more bizarre stances taken by some members of the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee.
The first has to do with the Master Lever. Even the local Democrat-supported Donna Walsh is reported to have come out against the Master Lever because it does not level the playing field for all Rhode Island political candidates. So the CCA and Donna Walsh are on the same side of this issue. The local Democrats have stated that CCA needs to have the Master Lever eliminated for their own self preservation. Obviously, Current Events and Math are not subjects that these commentators embrace. In November, CCA carried seven of their nine supported candidates to victory which surpasses the two winners out of seven candidates the Democrats supported. This was accomplished without the Master Lever crutch the Democrats needed to get the votes they did. So, it is illogical to infer that CCA needs the Master Lever eliminated to survive. Their stance has more to do with fairness to all candidates, something the local Democrats have not understood and cannot accept. They subscribe to the notion that everyone else has to play by the rules but they do not because they are Democrats in a Democrat-heavy state. There should be some entitlements coming their way from the state legislators; so they think.
During the election, we had some very interesting and enlightening conversations with some of the Democratic candidates. Some of them were campaigning in spite of the local Democrats and the unfortunate connection of their Chairperson with libelous and hateful writing. There is enough reason to believe that there may need to be a shakeup in the CDTC before the Democrats of this town get back to considering the residents of Charlestown first and their Party affiliations later. Right now, the opposite approach is the way the local Democrats operate. I expect the more moderate political candidates under the Democratic umbrella will soon tire of the burden placed on them by those who currently control the local Party.
The second is the issue of the Chariho Superintendent wanting to withhold funding from students who choose to attend charter schools rather than matriculate to the Regional High School. The local Democrats see this as an economic issue, saving tax dollars at all costs. They tend to forget that the student’s educational welfare and not the money should be of prime concern. If a student wishes to attend a charter or technical high school rather than Chariho, even though the student would most likely flourish in the charter or technical school, the local Democrats would withhold the funds allocated for that student. They worry about losing the funds that the State and Federal Departments of Education have earmarked for the student and not the educational needs of the student. This is not the place to argue all the ramifications of the proposed amendment that Superintendent Ricci has drafted, but the bottom line is who should benefit – the student or the Superintendent? Why were the funds apportioned – to educate the student or to leverage the power of the Superintendent? I suppose we will hear more about this issue now that the Town Council has wisely decided to take a closer look at the proposal. I don’t believe the local “Progressives”, who are not educators, took a close look at this before wading in on the issue.