2010-10-21 / News

Winsor unsuccessful at getting advisory removed from web

By Phil Zahodiakin

At Monday night’s meeting, the Town Council discussed – and voted down – a motion from member Ellen Winsor to remove from the Jamestown Threat Committee web page an advisory which states that she does not have council authority to represent the town in her advocacy for the LNG Working Group Resolution against the LNG terminal proposed for Mount Hope Bay.

Winsor has maintained that, in her presentations to the councils of other municipalities, she has never identified the resolution as a work product from the Jamestown Town Council – and that she never identifi ed herself as a council emissary. Rather, Winsor said, she always identified herself as the founder of the Working Group, first; and as a Jamestown councilor, second.

Schnack and Murphy, however, argued that confusion about Winsor and the Working Group resolution persists. Bowen said that, “Unfortunately, situations arise where we still need that advisory as a formal reference for people who are calling from other towns to ask questions [about the provenance of the Working Group resolution].”

White expressed “disappointment” with every aspect of the controversy, including “the hard line we had to take against [Winsor].” White also expressed disappointment that Winsor “kept going to other councils after we admonished her” and leaving those councils with “perceptions” that didn’t align with “what she was doing.” Nevertheless, White argued that “it was time to put inflated egos and petty disagreements aside.”

Schnack, however, argued that the advisory “is not an advisory against [any individual person]. It just says that [Winsor] is acting on her own behalf, and it does not contain any statement which is untrue or derogatory.”

Winsor strongly disagreed, blasting the accusations against her as “trumped-up charges” and arguing that “it was not the case that I was misrepresenting myself.” Pointing out that she had brought her advocacy for the resolution to the attention of the council many times during the first half of the year, Winsor said, “All these months after those conversations, there’s an advisory [posted on the Jamestown home page]. Any [assertions of] ‘confusion’ were manufactured. This is absurd.”

White’s support for the motion, along with that of Winsor, was not enough to pass it – with Schnack, Bowen and Murphy voting to keep the advisory on the town’s Threat Committee web page – where the advisory was moved after initially residing on the town’s home page.

In other business, the council agreed in principle to provide the Church Community Housing Corp. a 12-month, interest-free, $84,000 bridge loan that will enable CCH to buy a Swinburne St. property where the group hopes to build three affordable houses. Bridget Ryan, a senior project manager for CCH, explained that her group needs the loan because the 2010 Community Development Block Grants from the state did not award any money to Jamestown – and the terms of the CCH purchase and sale agreement require CCH to settle on the Swinburne property by early November.

Ryan said that her group has received a CDBG commitment to provide Jamestown with an affordable housing grant in 2011, and that the money would be used to pay off the bridge loan – which would be sourced from the town’s Affordable Housing Fund. Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero said that his law partner would draw up the loan agreement, which will identify the Swinburne Street property as collateral, for the consideration of the council – which expressed unequivocal support for the loan.

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