Item 8, subsection B, of this month’s regular Town Council meeting agenda in Charlestown discloses that council president Tom Gentz and his Charlestown Citizens Alliance handlers have not finished with their attempted intimidation of Mr. Ken Burke, general manager/treasurer of the Rhode Island Water Resources Board.
It is instructive to recall that at its June 9 meeting, Gentz subjected Mr. Burke to a malicious personal attack because he decided that the state should buy some land from the Glista family located on Genwood Drive. Mr. Burke appeared before the Town Council as a courtesy to explain the state’s decision to buy the property, which it intends to reserve as the future site of a well head for a public drinking water well.
Even though the town has no standing in the purchase and sale of the property Mr. Burke did his best to outline the process and the state’s decision. During his attempted explanation Mr. Burke was constantly interrupted and ridiculed by Gentz in what can best be described as an inquisition. It was obvious that Gentz and his Charlestown Citizens Alliance handlers were very angry because Mr. Burke had the audacity to come into Charlestown, without its permission, to buy a piece of “private” property.
As payback, they now intend to direct the town solicitor to write a letter to Mr. Burke, with copies to his boss and Governor Chafee, demanding that he explain the process he used to buy the property. If Gentz had not been so uncivilized and intent on intimidating Mr. Burke at the June 9 meeting, he would have heard Mr. Burke’s explanation of the process that he used.
It can only be hoped that the taxpayers and voters of Charlestown understand the very dangerous precedent that Gentz and his Charlestown Citizens Alliance handlers are setting in the case. Since this is a private transaction between a willing seller and a willing buyer the town has no standing to interfere. However, Gentz is demonstrating that he is willing to carry out the dictates of his Charlestown Citizens Alliance handlers. He is willingly using the power of the town to bully and harass Mr. Burke in an effort to prevent the state from buying the Glista property.
That raises a very important question. Is this something the rest of the town’s property owners should fear if they should decide to enter into a private purchase and sales agreement that the Charlestown Citizens Alliance doesn’t like? That is a question that everyone should think about.
James M. Mageau