I am responding to Mr. Mageau’s Las Vegas-style, editorial title, “Smoke and mirrors,” and what appears to be Mr. Mageau’s repeated yearly attacks on Ruth Platner’s character.
Two years ago, Ruth Platner was voted in as an alternate on the Planning Commission. Unfortunately, due to personal family matters, two voting members left and voting positions became vacant, one soon after the election and another, months later. I, Sherry Krupka remained as the chairperson until reorganization occurred, which, per the Charlestown Planning Commission Charter, reorganizes yearly. During reorganization, Planning Commission members vote for a chairperson, vice chairperson, and secretary.
Ruth Platner was voted in as chairperson unanimously. What happened to Sherry Krupka? I am still on the Planning Commission and also voted for Ruth Platner for the position of chairperson.
The bigger question is why did everyone on the commission vote for Ruth Platner? The answer is, she is incredibly dedicated to preserving Charlestown’s natural beauty, keeping low taxes, and balancing growth. No, she obviously does not singlehandedly halt trains ripping through the middle of Charlestown, nor box stores, but she is always there as a quiet, dedicated leader.
The Planning Commission members spend countless hours reviewing development plans, sitting through meetings sometimes up to 11 and even 12 at night. They have worked years along with our town Planning Department to update the Charlestown Comprehensive Plan. Serving on the Planning Commission is a volunteer position that requires hours of study and work to do the job correctly. Each meeting entails tedious review both in terms of preparation and methodical scrutiny during meetings. In the continual quiet battle to keep Charlestown’s beauty and character, Planning Commission members have not taken their position lightly. We voted for Ruth Platner to be chairperson because of her intricate knowledge of state and local regulations and because her agenda isn’t about how much money she can make on a plot of land or business that has pushed for the largest footprint next to a wetland that it can squeeze in.
If you want a vison of what can happen to Charlestown’s rural beauty within a decade, you need not go far. Drive North on Route 1 about 25 minutes and gaze a long time to your left. What was a large, country field is now a two-phase condominium, box store, mini-city. It took 10 to 20 years to get there, and it can happen to Charlestown in a heartbeat.
Why Charlestown has been so lucky to have Ruth and other dedicated individuals who wish to preserve the jewel that Charlestown still is, I do not know.
These are the people on the ballot this year, many who have also spent years protecting Charlestown, who will best represent what Charlestown needs in terms of preservation balanced with careful growth: Charlestown Planning Commission: Gordon Foer, Walter Peter Mahoney, Ruth Platner, Francis Topping; Charlestown Town Council: Shiela Andrew, Cody Clarkin, Susan Cooper, Bonnita “Bonnie” Van Slyke, David Wilkinson; Chariho School Committee: Gail “Linda” McAllister; Town Moderator: Ronald Areglado.