Thursday, April 23, 2009

Of mayors and casinos

I'd like to see Tom Menino step aside for the next generation of local politicians, but the mayor announced yesterday that he is running again. It'd be nice to see the 66-year-old Menino, who will become Boston's longest-serving mayor in July, leave office with high favorable ratings and serve as an elder statesman of sorts. Some people -- especially athletes -- try to hang on too long, and so I fear the same is true with the mayor.

I'm also not happy with Menino's stance on bringing casino gambling to Suffolk Downs. Earlier this week a group of union leaders and elected officials, dubbed the Massachusetts Coalition for Jobs and Growth and led by the mayor, sent out letters to line up support for legislation that would legalize casino gambling in the state. In tough economic times it makes sense to bill this as an issue of "jobs and growth." There will be some mediocre- and low-paying jobs for local residents, but more money will be sucked out via a nearby casino than pumped in.

The real growth will occur in Richard Fields' bank account. The millionaire principle owner of Suffolk Downs is giddy with excitement now that slots and/or casinos would seem to be a foregone conclusion. Visions of dollar signs are dancing in his head.

The mayor and other elected officials should think carefully about what they are doing to local communities and should engage in some conversations with people who live in places that will be greatly affected by casinos in Massachusetts. All that glitters is not gold.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just leaving politics aside for the moment,I know you will get a large response on this subject.Regarding Suffolk Downs,the traffic problems are virtually insurmountable to have a casino location there.The infrastructure would need massive changes to even attempt to accommodate the traffic.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, there's no money for road improvements, just slot machines. Don't worry, the traffic in Back Bay and Beacon Hill will not be impacted, just Eastie and Revere.

I too would like to see a change for the city. Unfortunately I don't see a qualified candidate other than Menino. Flaherty's a fool and Yoon couldn't find East Boston if you drew him a map.

Anonymous said...

I feel that Menino's administration ran out of steam years ago--he would be over 70 after his next term,its time to go Tom.I think he is hanging on to power just for the sake of having it. Deeply insecure, he never recovered from being nicknamed "Mookie" when he was an errand boy for Timilty.He relishes being in charge.EB will not improve with four more years of Mookie.time for a change.

Madam Margie said...

I think Menino has done good by the city. I understand all the criticisms leveled against him, but I'm not sure it's quite time for him to go.

As for the casinos, yeah. It will go a long way towards ensuring Eastie's status as the red headed stepchild of Boston neighborhoods. Give us the traffic, the tolls, the low income housing, and the casinos...we could really use a strong advocate in City Hall.

Maybe LaMattina should run for mayor?

Anonymous said...

Wow judging from the lack of comments on such a hot topic Jimbo,it don't look to good for the Mayor.

I was expecting to see at least a couple of hundred Anons saying how great this guy is. Ya Right.

Now to Casinos;
It is a proven fact at places like atlantic city(about same type of city as Eastie)
That apx 6 to 10 blocks around a casino turn to slums from hookers,drugs,and crime to support an UN winnable situation.

Dont think I am speaking the truth,Google it,or for you gamblers.The next time your in atlantic city,take a walk a way from the immediate area,and head to the outter neighborhood.
Maybe you might get back alive.

So that would pretty much wipe out the hils of Orient Heights.

Good Luck,but I like Mike F.casinos or not.

He will take Eastie,and his Honor is going to loooooose.

Donna D

Anonymous said...

Maybe it really isn't much of a race, and Flaherty/Yoon aren't much competition for hizzoner.

JohnW said...

I agree with Anon at 11:59, unless someone gets a photo of Menino wearing a Yankees cap or pistol-whipping a nun, the opposition doesn't have a chance. I don't know if there are enough disenchanted people in Eastie who would actually turn-out to register a protest vote against him, but he will no doubt coast to victory as he hasn't royally screwed up and the other candidates are, superficially, less than inspiring.

As far as casinos go, I agree with Anon at 7:28. Although Orient Heights may not immediately go to pot, you can bet Beachmont, Revere Beach area, nearby Chelsea, Winthrop and other parts of Eastie will see an uptick in some of the activities that we would like to keep out of here. Atlantic City is probably a good analogy, sadly enough.

Rocinante said...

If you want to get an idea of what is wrong with East Boston politics and East Boston politicians just look at this week’s East Boston Times. The Times ran a picture spread of a rally for the Mayor. All white, all Italian, mostly male. Good to see the old boy network is still in effect. So while the E.B. Times keeps telling us what great guys they are our three lap dogs will go about rubber stamping the Mayors agenda and East Boston looses. East Boston had its chance, Mota or Berninger. I don’t think either of them carried around rubber stamps in their pockets and both of them had more knowledge of the issues then, than Mr. Basile has been able to accumulate to date.

Anonymous said...

To the Rociante post,and the one before that are you the same person?lol

I ask because both posts are right on the money,as well as the analogy of Atlantic City.

Just 4-6 blocks out all the way around it have been driven into slum areas.

Goodbye to your way of Life in the hills on that other city where the 3 American amigos live,aka Orient Heights ,and the Mayor.

Now to Mr. Basile;What an extreme let down to our community.

It took him all but about 6 months to be just like the others.

Carlo:You got my Support,My time,and most of all my Money last time.
This time,you gonna get nothing,even if you are unopposed,and if you are opposed.
The many you have let down will back him/or her.

I to was expecting tons of posts ,but folks believe it,or not their crowd is shrinking.

Nothing lasts forever.

Not even corruption.

Anonymous said...

For a lot of us Basile isn't a letdown because we couldn't see anything to get excited about in the first place. Who knows what he is doing, but based on what I read about him, that is exactly what I expected...not much of anything as far as I can tell.

Anonymous said...

7:46 hit a home run with those comments.Basile's alliance with Menino is ticking off alot of people.You may be surprised when Flaherty gets a good vote here,alot of voters have Meninofatigue.

Anonymous said...

If a casino were to be built, they might as well add a trailor park at the new greenway bremen st park, I think a full scale casino would benefit the area, than again north end resturaunts will lose business, built a casino without resturaunts, movie stars commedians and rock stars will come to the new casino, if these celebrities want to eat something let them come to the neighborhood of east boston, sounds like a perfect deal for eastie residents, a casino with resturaunts is a slap in the face to east boston, and the north end.

Anonymous said...

As long as we want to Basile-bash, did you see the legislative roll call in the EB Times? Carlo voted in favor of all sorts of benefits for government hacks -- pension scams and other benefits. So while everyone else is in a financial crisis this guy keeps the status quo for the jerks who got us into the mess. He's not gettin my vote next time. Throw out the hacks and keep out the casino.

Murdock said...

I think a casino is East Boston is an awful idea that will only benefit a few fortunate stakeholders while leaving the community to deal with all of the adverse impacts. There’s an editorial in this week’s East Boston Times arguing that, in effect, a casino at Suffolk Downs shouldn’t have much of an impact because the site is isolated and separated from the neighborhood and that people in Jefferies Point and Eagle Hill won’t be affected at all. Really? The airport is pretty isolated too, yet we all have to deal with the traffic through the tunnels, on 1A, and cars cutting through local streets (in addition to noise and pollution). You don’t think a casino will bring more of the same, never mind the well documented, undesirable social costs which will only exacerbate Eastie’s current woes? Our neighborhood has been a dumping ground for the city for too long; we need more public housing – put it in Eastie, we need more elderly housing – put it in Eastie, we need more halfway houses and drug treatment centers – put it in Eastie, and on it goes. There’s tons of land available in the Seaport district, with superior and modern transportation access, better separation from residential areas, and close proximity to the amenities of downtown. Oh, by the way, there is a brand new convention center there and tons of new hotels too. But I guess that would make too much sense and won’t benefit the chosen few who are pushing the mayor for a casino in Eastie.

Anonymous said...

Menino wants this casino and wants it to be at suffolk downs, obviously the suffolks owner must be a big contributer to meninos campagn funds,does he know that the majority of people who live in this neighborhood and communities in a 5 mile radius working class areas are financially struggling day to day, he will be provoking people to gamble thier checks a way, i could see it now in connecticut casinos, grandmothers with ciggerettes dangling from their mouths and spending their retirement checks on slot machines hoping that they would win, there are plenty of islands in the boston harbor, menino should have a casino at one of the harbor islands,This way no neighborhood should be impacted by traffic and everything that goes with it, just think about it, the city can monopolize by having thier own passenger boats and charge 20 dollars ahead for a boat ride from longwharf to one of the islands where this casino could be.