Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A losing hand

The East Boston Times has an editorial on Page 4 of this week's paper that is long on praise for putting a casino in the neighborhood, but short on facts and logic. I don’t believe that it’s a good idea for the state and especially not for East Boston. From everything I’ve heard and read, most of the upside to legalizing casinos is wiped away by the numerous downsides.

***Hundreds of millions of dollars will be wagered, but most of that will go to casino owners and developers, many of them from out of state (like Suffolk Downs owner Richard Fields). This is yet another example of the rich getting richer. Whatever retail and food options a local casino provides could take money away from local small businesses. A study on introducing casino gambling to the state from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government said that “general merchandise earnings among businesses in a 50-mile radius … [of] commercial casinos reduced such earnings by 13 percent and Foxwoods-style Indian casinos did so by 57 percent.” So we’d be taking money from local business owners and giving it to millionaires.

***Millions of dollars in taxes will be generated, but much of that will be needed to pay for more police officers, redesigned roadways and other infrastructure adjustments. The study said that “the introduction of a commercial casino corresponds to a 21 percent increase in motor vehicle thefts and a 27 percent increase in robberies,” and that, “In Ledyard, Connecticut [the location of the Foxwoods casino] the total number of crimes increased 632 percent” from 1991 to 1998. To combat this, the study said, the “average police expenditures in the 16 largest recent casino counties increased …39 percent faster … across the states in which casinos were located.” The Times editorial says that the state lottery “will be affected a bit,” but remember that most of that money goes right to cities and towns, so whatever is lost will be cut from municipal budgets and put into the wallets of wealthy casino owners.

***Jobs are created when people are hired to build the casinos and then to staff them, but most of the long-term jobs are minimum-wage positions cleaning toilets, selling merchandise, dealing blackjack, etc. (Before praising multi-millionaire Richard Fields as a champion of labor, ask him why the jockeys at Suffolk Downs have no health care.) Sure, people will take those jobs, but let’s not make a future casino out to be a fountain of good-paying jobs. Also, according to the Harvard study, “Casinos could also reduce local employment (or at least redistribute jobs away from local businesses) if people come to a casino instead of patronizing local businesses.”

***A local casino would increase traffic. “Ledyard’s Planning Director calculated a 4-fold increase in traffic on roads in their jurisdiction since the casino opened,” says the Harvard study. McClellan Highway is congested at rush hour as it is, and vast numbers of cars would be headed toward Suffolk Downs if there were slots or a casino there. Some of those cars would spill onto local streets in order to avoid the highway. More traffic means more accidents; more accidents in East Boston means that our auto insurance rates go up. The Ted Williams Tunnel reduced the back-ups that we saw every day on neighborhood streets. Would we be inviting all of that back?

***The study also says that, “residents of communities near casinos were twice as likely to have pathological gambling problems” and “counties with casinos also experienced 10 percent increases in personal bankruptcies.” It’s not true that local residents who gamble at a nearby casino would have just spent that money on a trip to Connecticut. The study notes that, “the presence of a casino within 50 miles was associated … with an increase in average per-capita casino expenditures from $52 to $178.” People drop three times as much at a casino if it’s more convenient to get to. Also, the study points out, “Large quantities of cash may also attract organized crime, money laundering, and petty corruption.”

There seems to be little doubt that gaming in some form is coming to Massachusetts soon, as Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Bob DeLeo are all on board on the matter. Mayor Menino has also expressed support of a casino in East Boston (though strangely, not in Readville).

There may be more facts and opinions to review and discuss on this matter, and reasonable people can disagree, but the East Boston Times editorial takes an issue that is of major importance to this neighborhood and cavalierly dismisses the negative issues. The concerns raised by those opposed to legalized gaming in Massachusetts have merit and should be addressed seriously by the media and by those in power.


Matthew said...

I think you should send this to the Times. Maybe there'll be a miracle and they'll even print it. There are a lot of residents who don't have internet access and get most of their information from the Eastie Times. You should really push to get them to print an alternate view.

Anonymous said...

Suffolk Downs simply cannot handle the traffic that would result in a casino being there. At rush hour traffic is already a major problem.In order to be competitive we would need to build an entertainment center,can you imagine 40,000 people leaving that location at once after a Beyonce concert? What a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Suffolk Downs casino just won't work and it will hurt us as a society. Its funny but if my mind seves me right a so called activist said that a casino would be good for eastie. That person was Joe Mason and guess what your wrong Joe.
Your right on the money Jim

Anonymous said...

Here we go again,all tainted by in the pocket politicians.

Folks sell your houses now while theres still some respect,and value for Eastie.

Its a proven fact that Casinos destroy the immediate surrounding neighborhoods for up to 12 blocks.

To the first poster why dont you call them at 781-284-2400 ,and ask for Mr. Resnick.

If he ever picks up ask him if a Casino is good for his hood,where you can't see the next house.

Also ask him for proof of how many papers they print,in Texas,yes thats right Texas.

I was told by an insider its only 5000 papers in a town of 40,000.
Good way to silent the masses,give them no info.

Jimbo you know they are a controlled in the tank paper that sks,like the politicians drewling at the mouth on their kids,kids getting jobs.They sk!

As far as traffic goes say good by to your little friend (aka)the side streets =Chelsea,Paris,Bennington,Bremen,A1 and all the little streets inbetween.

Well all you rich fat cats up the heights get ready,your property can be taken by eminent domain,but even if not you are going to get 24 hour a day being afraid of

being robbed,raped,murdered,as well as more drugs,and guns,and violence you have ever seen.

Before you didnt care because it was all in LOWER Eastie,now its comming to you.

A gift from Trav,Petro,Sal,and the infamaous atty mr.lynds.

Thats the real story folks on why the Times won't show the truth ,5000 ,in a town of 40,000.

I have read so much about that Mason guy you all seem to hate,well I am now starting to see the only reason why they hate him ,is he lets us know what the Times hides from us.

So glad I did not vote for Menino,and will not be voting for him in the finals.

Come on Eastie throw the bums out,they don't care about us,because they will just move,and take a fat check job.
Example ;Robert Trav,R.Lynds moved out because they know they are going to reap huge $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Screw the Times,and one more thing Mr. Mason.
You are right. They should take the name of East Boston off their paper,as they do not reflect,or give a shit about us.

My house over looks the track,and by Monday theres going to be a Mario real eastate sign on it.

What a loser paper


Anonymous said...

To the Anon
I have never said it would be good for Eastieit will desrtoy us,but its a nice try deflecting ,so people dont stop and think about how much your paper is a loser paper.Maybe you can hide,but thats the cowards way.


Once again folks ,another Anon,ashamed of his name.A LOOOOOOOSER !

Hey heres my email,email me,and we can arrange some time at the meeting for you,and me to debate this.

Joe Mason

Anonymous said...

Joe Mason

Hi Joe its G.G.,how are you feeling,heard you had another stroke,my family prays for you.

Your comments about crime just like Jimbos are correct,I checked Atlantic city,Detroit,and all had a huge increase in crime.

I have already done the paper work on selling my house.

I thought guys like Sal,Anthony,and Carlo who live up here would care ,but you are right,they will use the same moving company as Trav did.

Why not for them its a win,they make like Trav about 80 k,Trav went right up to 600,000.00 a year plus lobbying fees,a bunch of crooks is all they are,and I will never vote for any of them.

Ill make you smile,I took down my Menino sign,and put up a Flaherty sign.

Within one day the henchmen for Menino called ,you know guys like Jeff Drago,Forbes,and that poor excuse of a person Albano demanding I put the Menino sign back. Up yours guys.

A very special message to Carlo Basile: You are a sell out !

Joe,let them say what they want,by backing this Casino ,it will prove your credibility.

Let the coward anons (The Times,and City Hall Henchmen) say what they want,youve been right from day one. They had me fooled about you,but not any more.

Hey Resnick,why wont you call me back,or have your boy Lynds put 100% correct info on this blog where you print your paper,and how many you print?

I checked this entire blog going way back Resnick,youve been asked over 20 times for this information.

What have you got to hide.

Well one of my friends who does advertise a big ad,is going to tell you show me this info,or I am dropping my ad.

You see Joe people are catching on,Thanks for hanging in there,and not quitting.

Throw the bums out,esp Mayor Menino.

I am warning my friends a vote for the Mayor,Sal,Anthony,or Carlo is a vote to destroy Eastie.

Not to mention that corrupt midget from Winthrop Deleo,boy does he sk.

Anonymous said...

Is there any doubt that G.G. posting at 3:51 is Joe Mason? I raise this only because he says he proudly signs his name to every post and it really goes to his credibility. I don't sign my name, but I don't pretend to be someone else either! The clues are so obvious: Length of post, use of "sks" as an for the word "sucks"; grammar and spacing, anger towards elected officials and Menino; using multiple letters/symbols to emphasisze his point (i.e. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ or LOOOOOOOOOSER); pretending that someone is actually defending him; and then his own post 6 minutes later!

Joe why is it that you are so angry about other people's opinions? Don't you notice that the only time someone takes a shot at you on here is after you toss the first bomb? Maybe if you lived in the real world, where people get up everyday and go to work, earn a living, have some social interaction, and contribute something to society, you wouldn't be so mad at everyone. So get off your computer, put the twinkies down and give it a try - we will all be better off for it I am sure. Have you even attempted to get a job? Even if you worked at Shaws - at least you would get a better perspective of society than what you get from your computer screen.

Jimbo, thanks for posting this I mean it in a good way and hopefully it will help Joe with his anger issues. Keep up the good work! (and where are those Hubster T Shirts!!!)


Anonymous (aka Anon)
Proud Lifelong East Boston Resident - 31 Years

Anonymous said...

To Joe Mason, I take offense you calling my cousin Sal and my friends(Anthony and Carlo) sell outs! Let me ask you one thing, how many times have you moved in the last 5 years? A whole bunch, thats how many times because you start with your landlords as you do with everyone else.
Jimbo, you know that we don't have corrupt politicians and Joe needs to be called out on this one because its a serious accusation.
C'mon Joe, give us some examples.
Good job Jim on letting us exchange thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim, hope all is well with you!
I can't believe this guy Joe Mason, he is so transparent! He gives himself up when he tries to hide under false names.
Let me give you some advice Mr.Mason, enough with the hate and be a giving, caring and good contributor to this great community.
How much time do you spend trying to stir up situations? Instead with all that time try to be productive.
I'm just giving some friendly advice because I don't know you but I hear the same thing about you for years. Be well all and Jimbo where are those T-shirts?

Anonymous said...

To Joe its me Anon and I can be Anon because this is Jimbo's blog and its his rules. I would come debate you at Land Use but I thought LUC wasn't a place where politics was allowed? You need to think before you type because over and over you said LUC doesn't allow or play any politics!
Jimbo, you can go back to his blogs regarding this subject when the mayor's debate came up and he repeats it over and over.
So which is it Joe? Does LUC get involved in politics? Agin, your being called out on something YOU said and NOBODY else.
Just stating facts Jim

JohnW said...


This is your blog and you could allow whoever posts whatever on this, but the Joe Mason, Joe Mason pretending to be other people, potentially other people pretending to be Joe Mason pretending to be someone else, John Lynds, Times-Bashing, Times-supporting, etc... while amusing, is not all that relevant to whatever topic you had originally posted (in this case casinos).

Posting anonymously is a good thing for those who don't want nut-cases chasing them down in the streets, provided you don't start abusing the anonymity to try and misrepresent yourself or others (even if the others are your imaginary friends). Once things start to get personal, posts should be signed by the accuser/defender and be at least reasonably reliable. "Attny J.L." and "G.G." who have posted on this blog in the past, strike me as less than reliable. Joe's posts should be put up there, but at some point stuffing the blog with multiple rambling posts from a variety of personalities seems like something you might want to discourage, in my opinion.

Yes, it is entertaining but is it the blog equivalent of rubbernecking at a car wreck or watching E! ?

Anonymous said...

I don't see how Joe Mason's posts (and his fake posts) are any worse or less on topic than all the nasty people who reply to his posts. They spew at least as much or more hate than Joe Mason does. It ALL gets a little tired sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Tired? I think it is absolutely wonderful. I wake up in the morning excited to see what new rant is on the HUBSTER. These last couple of days have been my favorite. Think about it, Joe Mason is writing under three different people. It's great fun!The best part is that he has no idea how funny he actually is. Did you see the piece that he claims he is an attorney? Talking about case law in one line paragraphs, I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Joe keep up the good work. It's great to see that you have found your calling in life: "the town fool".