Thursday, October 1, 2009

Eastie Chamber backs Suffolk casino

The East Boston Chamber of Commerce generated a "Breaking News" headline yesterday on the Boston Herald's web site when the group released a letter announcing that it "strongly supports expanded gaming at Suffolk Downs."

The rationale, according to the letter, is the job creation and the "ancillary economic benefits for East Boston businesses" generated by a local casino. Also, that a casino "would produce up to $500 million in annual revenue for the state," that Suffolk Downs has "expanded its community outreach and philanthropic efforts over the last few years," and that track owner Richard Fields has pledged to "buy goods and services locally."

It seems to me that the expected benefits will be outweighed by the negative consequences of situating such an operation so close to an urban residential neighborhood; that the state revenue number quoted is almost certainly overblown; that Suffolk's recent philanthropy is clearly part of a strategy to enlist local support (Why not spend thousands in order to make millions?); and that Fields' "pledge" will likely be discarded the first time he can save a penny per item on something that he needs in quantity.

I would hope that the Chamber isn't solely motivated by the fact that there is money to be made here. I would have expected that any support on this issue by a local civic organization would be tempered by a few words saying, "There may be some negative effects and we hope that these measures are in place to counteract them." The Chamber's letter, however, says in essence, "Full steam ahead!" One can't help but feel that people in and out of the state see a money spigot about to turn on and they're all lining up with cups in hand.


John said...

As a relative newcomer to East Boston I don't know much about the chamber. However, I'm wondering how many business owners in the Chamber or on the Chamber's Board live AND work in East Boston. As a Jeffries Point resident, I'm not looking forward to increased traffice, crime, pollution, more drunks on our streets. If casinos were good for an area you would see influential towns like Wellesley and Weston lobbying for them. Instead the residents of Eastie will suffer from the social consequences of a casino without any of the financial benefits.

Murdock said...

This is an awful idea that will only benefit a select few, at the expense of the entire community. Do you really think well-heeled gamblers (oops, “gamers”) will flock to East Boston, with our lovely triple-deckers covered in satellite dishes and congested, trash-strewn streets to waste away their money? Of course not. The project in East Boston will be nothing like Vegas or Foxwoods – heck, we’d be lucky to land an AC caliber casino. It’s much more likely that we’d end up with a Verona, NY type casino, where dealers hardly speak English, and blue hairs and people with mullets spend money they can’t afford to lose. A casino in East Boston is destined to become the neighborhood’s next “Tequila’s” times a thousand and nobody except for problem gamblers and residents from East Boston and Revere will go there after the initial novelty wears off and the sad reality sets in. Shame on the Commerce – not all business is “good” business. No more dumping undesirable projects in East Boston.

Anonymous said...

I am somewhat surprised by the lack of reservations on the Chambers behalf.Suffolk Downs has done some public relations particularly of late,but the problems that location presents are enormous to say the least.The traffic issue is a major hurdle, as is crime in the surrounding area mainly East Boston.For residents of this community the negatives far outweigh the pluses.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the EB Chamber of Commerce has as its web site home page banner an ad by Suffolk Downs.

Anonymous said...

They are all a bunch of crooks,and to the first poster very fe live in Eastie,or own a business in Eastie.

Hey Mr. Chamber

Please print on this blog the exact names,titles,and places of resident for every single "alledged Chamber member",including what stores,or restaurants etc they own.

I like Masons posts on the other section of this blog,and boy did he hit a hom run.Go Read the other fine Jimbo post about this,and the Times editorial.

I also think that guy on the hill g.g. is a smart guy,get out now before even the rich are trapped .

This is the final nail in the coffin,but a serious review over the past two Chamber Presidents will show you just how much they have sold this town out for personal gain.

One example; Tequilas,and the Chambers ringing endorsement to allow hire Armed (gun) security,and shut anyone under 21 out after 10:30 .
It destroyed the O.H. Square ,and the lives of the next door neighbors the Burris.
Nice Job Joe Ruggerio,way to go !

Freakin out in Eastie,and also starting to look for the best deal out.

Josh said...

I'm not surprised - the chamber of commerce markets itself as a civic organization concerned about the community, but they only care about lining their own pockets. If a casino does create jobs, they are sure to be low wage / no benefits while sucking income out of the wallets of local families that are already struggling.

Anonymous said...

So what's the solution here? Do we write to the business that are on the Board for the Chamber and express our displeasure? Start to boycott chamber business? We can bitch all we want but unless we come up with an alternative there's no use of complaining.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jimbo, hope all is well.
I just want to point out that an endorsement from the chamber means absolutely nothing. The executive dir. lives in Chelsea and its President lives in Winthrop.
Do you believe that? Two people not from this community are telling us whats good for us? Its like Joe Mason trying to tell people"you need to come in front of LUC if you want a permit"! Its a joke that we have people in this community who think they have the drag! Lets fight the fight Jimbo.
I saw that you may have shirts made up Jimbo?

Anonymous said...

Rich Petruccelli designs and administers the Chamber's web site, according to the fine print. Does that mean that his brother might have changed his mind on the casino idea? Is Anthony going to force DeLeo and Murray to fix 1A and nearby roads before construction starts at the casino?

Anonymous said...

Most of the posters on your blog are mentally deficient (in my opinion). The Chamber of Commerce does not bill itself as a civic organization. It is, and always has been by definition, a business organization. It's mission is to promote it's business members and to promote the neighborhood in hopes of bringing more business to it's members.

That said, it is your local businesses that are the first ones to support the multitude of non-profits in East Boston. It's always your local businesspeople that buy the $300.00 tables at the YMCA breakfast, or the Social Center fundraiser. You can be sure it's not the likes of Joe Mason making the financial donations that keep these non-profits from closing. As for the list of Directors and Members, just go to the Chamber's website and you'll find both lists, you probably have nothing better to do, so you can call the 200 or so numbers and ask if they live in Eastie.

As long as I've been around, the majority of the Board of Directors has always been made up of East Boston business owners that were also East Boston residents and they have just as much right to express their opinion on a casino at Suffok Downs as anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Sen. Petruccelli's always been skeptical and is probably the only one. The Mayor's for it so Sal LaMattina, his sheep, is for it and Rep. Basile will be for it if the Speaker's for it. Keep up the good work Senator and fight for Eastie don't let a smelly den of gambling come here, it will do nothing for the neighborhood.

-Eagle Hill resident.

Anonymous said...

To the Anon poser:
Who said Myself,and most posters are " Mentally Deficient"
10-1-09 at 11:32 P.M.on Jimbos blog

I say the only thing to say is what I always say,your a coward who is ashamed of his /her name,and family.

Why else would you pose as an Anon,and then say were all nuts,so I guess you were speaking about yourself also.

Get a life people have caught on to who you are.

They no longer think I am the cause of Easties problems.

How are those e-mails coming along? My Request for your emails are about to be filed ,and I cant wait to post them on line.

You got sold out. A person you think is a friend forwarded me e-mails between you,and another person with the same first name as you.

I think your boss is going to be furious because were going to go for all emails from all email sites at his,and your locations.

Now to the Casino
The Idea Sucks ,plain,and simple.

An accusation was made that I was in favor on this blog, WRONG!

I wrote I was in favor of Slot Machines,to help save the tracks.

At least you wouldn't get huge hotels,concert halls,tons of crime,prostitution,drugs etc.,and tons of traffic.

Every traffic accident ,even by people who do not live here count as they do today against us,and drive premiums up.

If a Casino is allowed in Eastie Mr. G. is a smart man to get the best money he can.NOW

Lets not forget we lost Woodisland Park to a domain taking for 1.00 dollar .

It stood in the way of progress(Logan Airport)

So everyone within a 1/4/to 1/2 mile radious is in danger of being forced to move.That would mean the end of most of Orient Heights ! Yikes !

Mr. Dudley of the Chamber
As you know I called you today to express my feelings about this endorsement,and being upset that you did not reach out to the community first.

After all its the residents who should say what they want,not any one single body.

I agree with the poster asking you to put on this blog the full names of all Chamber board members,where they live,and if they own a store in Eastie.

I was told today many do not live here,and only a few own a business here,and thats why most of the Latino owned busineses walked a way from the Chamber.

Please put the rumor mill to rest,and publish this information.

Now people let this be a lesson to you about repeat voting for the same old same old,
this Mayor who like always is using Eastie as a dumping ground.

Dont vote Menino !Vote Change !

A Proud son of Life Long East Boston Residents,who is also a life long resident,not a COWARD!

Joseph J.Mason

Anonymous said...

Jim, what do you think of the CDC's proposed project for Maverick Street? Another 27 units of low income housing in the neighborhood. CDC PROJECT TO GO BEFORE ZBA; Variance for 170 Maverick Street. October 20, Room 801.

-another mentally deficient blogger

Jim said...

As an uber-liberal, I am always in favor of more affordable housing.

Anonymous said...

To Jimbo, you won't post this but still going to try! Your noy an ultra liberal, you are a socialist. You believe there should be one class because you have a simple life that should mean everyone else should too. You don't have kids so therefor you couldn't imagining giving them the best possible and I'm sure you don't own a house. I'd bet my life you think Obama is a good president! right? LOL
Wake up Jim, where the hell did you grow up?

Jim said...

Lots of hostility in the comment of 10:04 a.m., but I will try to answer the questions and implied accusations rationally.

I am a registered Democrat and have been for most of my life, although I did switch for a couple years to the Green Party when I felt, under Bill Clinton, that Democrats were moving too far to the center.

I like Barack Obama and I voted for him in the primary and, of course, in the general election. I think he is doing OK in a climate filled with a host of complex and difficult issues. He is clearly motivated by rationale thought, by thinking things through cautiously and by building consensus. I am sometimes disappointed in him for not being liberal enough and for not acting more forcefully -- on health care (I'd like single-payer, but at least let's have meaningful reform with a public option), on Afghanistan and Iraq (time to get out of both), on "enemy combatants" (which should be abolished as a category; try those who are guilty of war crimes and release those who we have no evidence against), telecom companies and surveillance (hold the companies accountable and stop warrantless spying on Americans), on access to information (everything should be visible to the people except the most sensitive stuff that really does affect national security), etc.

In the broad realm of political theory, I do agree with some tenets of socialism. I'd rather see workers own the means of production that the wealthy class. However, I personally try not to be motivated by material goods (as it says, I try, I am no better than anyone else) and Henry David Thoreau is probably my most revered hero, so I am not so much interested in matters concerning wealth and possessions as I am with people being free to find their own happiness, in whatever form that might be (as long as the pursuit isn't injurious to others). As a result, I seem to be most drawn to some forms of anarchist thought, which acknowledges the old and widely accepted maxim that "power corrupts." I'm not saying that I completely understand how such ideas would be applied and even if they could in a world as developed and stratified as ours, only that the ideas intrigue me. I also have some Luddite tendencies (yes, despite owning a car, a PC, a laptop, a cell phone, etc.)

Capitalism, judging by everything I've seen and heard and read in my life, is clearly the most evil economic system possible. That doesn't mean that I want a totalitarianistic communist society, but it states a fact that I find indisputable.

And yes, I don't own a home, but rent, and I have no kids, though I'm not sure that dragging my personal life into this is relevant.

Anonymous said...

To Jimbo, how articulate, bravo to you. Where did you grow up that you are so liberal? what world do you come from and I'm not being a wiseguy. You were brought up in East Boston, hung around with eastie guys and yet you seem to be from another place. Why do you think being so liberal is a good thing?
Theres this thing in america that if you work hard you can have what ever you want. Again, if you WORK hard but yet you want to reward people for being lazy. Yes, I too believe in helping others that can't help themselves. You want to help those who don't want to work.
You should give your own money away and not mine! You sound very foolish but still thank you for the discussion

Anonymous said...

P.S Jimo don't talk about the war if you aren't ready to go yourself because I did my 2 tours and you know nothing other than what you read from the lefties. So please< refrain yourself from speaking about nothing you don't know and that goes for everyone.
This is the shit that really bothers me, we go over to protect your freedom and the thank you we get is getting bashed by an ultra liberal. take care Jim

Jim said...

"...don't talk about the war..."

I was under the impression that in America we can talk about anything we choose. While I'm not quite a pacifist, I think the military's role should be limited to legitimate cases of national defense -- World War II and Afghanistan post-9/11, for example.

Invading Iraq did nothing to protect the freedom and safety of Americans, but unfortunately the last president thought nothing of sending hundreds of thousands of military personnel to war there. They and their families will continue to be greatly affected by this misguided policy.

If US forces hadn't been sidetracked I think they would have completed the mission in Afghanistan years ago. Now I think we need to withdraw because the mission is not defined and broad goals seem unattainable. How can the US "succeed" now? Out military won the actual battles in both Iraq and Afghanistan in short periods of time, but leaving them there to do tasks they aren't trained for in order to fulfill policies that are unclear just isn't fair. Agreed?

JohnW said...

Sorry Anon, but if you're going to bring your personal life (and Jim's) into this, but don't want to identify yourself, then your argument blows.

"I did two tours." And that means whatever you say is correct? Don't think so. And as is painfully apparent from many posts here, there's a lot of "poster fraud", so unless you say who you are I'm not going to believe you anyways.

Now if you present your opinion not based on "I was there" but on the facts of the case, in a logical argument, then that's good enough for me regardless of whether you served your country or not. And you can happily remain anonymous, because who you are doesn't matter, but the strength of your argument will carry you through.

And there are plenty of veterans who are against the US's activities in Iraq and some who don't think Afghanistan is such a good idea either (myself, I'm not too sure about Afghanistan, but Iraq, hell no).

But given that this originally was a posting about a casino (damnit, I did two tours in Foxwoods!) perhaps military interventions is not the appropriate topic here.

Anonymous said...

It makes me even more of a liberal to read these illogical, nasty posts by people who are against liberals. I am an uber-liberal too. I happen to own a house and have kids. I want the best for my kids, but I don't think that means at the expense of others. I don't see how affordable housing and making sure other children have enough to eat is going to hurt my children and frankly I'd rather them live in a world where that was the case, where people actually cared about those who are down on their luck or don't have as much as my children do. That would be the BEST for me and my children. I don't think having my children surrounded by so many hateful people (as many on this blog seem to be) is the best, that's for sure...wish that would change.

But all of that is frankly beside the point. I believe that someone who does not own a house or have children can have a viewpoint (different or similar from my own) that is just as valid as mine. It is ridiculous to say that someone's opinion is less valid than yours because they don't have the same life experience as you do.

Jim, I'm impressed that you would answer someone directing such hatred (and non-logic) with a polite and wise response, keep up the good work!

PS: And yes, I know, I could be a single person who rents and making this all up, but posting anon is no different from the person who posted with a name that can't be verified. Basically no one but Jim can be.

Anonymous said...

To John W, why don't you give your real name and street? You too are hiding behind a phony name so don't call others out. Jim, you made a great arguement. Keep up the good blog

JohnW said...

I don't give out my real name and street because I'm not an idiot. There are some serious loons in this world and some of them post on this blog. I always post the same screen name, with the idea that the ideas put out there are associated with one person, like Joe does with his posts. I don't post under other names or anonymous (which may not be the case with Joe), as I feel the screen name gives me enough anonymity but leaves me answerable for my previous posts.

The important thing is that who I am or who you are should not have much of a bearing on an argument. As Anon at 8:49 said, the arguments that were tossed out there were pretty nonsensical. "I was there, therefore my understanding of the entire issue has more validity than anyone else." What I'm saying is that if the central point to your argument hinges on who you are, then state who you are. None of my postings require anyone to know who I am to be able to say "you're full of crap -- your logic makes no sense." The idea would be that you present a better, more logical argument, that wouldn't necessarily require you to say who you are.

If the arguments are based on who someone is (old timers versus new comers, immigrants versus immigrants who've been here for maybe 2 generations longer, renter versus owner etc...) then we don't have an argument, we have a schoolyard brawl.

Anonymous said...

John W, you were to state first to Anon that he or she should post their name. I too agree with giving your real name would be foolish but you were the one who called the out!
My point is don't speak with a split tongue and you going on and on about nothing is non sensical. Just be aware of what you type cause it can make you look foolish.

Anonymous said...

I think if the casino were to happen , eastie, winthrop, and revere will be over populated with white trash, along with hoes and dope dealers, it will ruin eastie's commerce, as well an increase of drunk drivers, habitual gamblers from fall river to lawrence all at suffolk downs a throw away from families who live on faywood and orient ave. A casino is quite dangerous, for those who live nearby.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to follow up on Anon’s 10/2 @ 9:40 PM post. There is a zoning hearing on 10/20 at 10:30 City Hall Room 801 for the variance for the 170 Maverick Street affordable housing project. This neighborhood needs more affordable housing like we need a casino to bring more crime and economically disadvantaged into our backyard – not at all. The housing available in East Boston is overwhelmingly affordable when compared to median prices in MA and throughout most of Boston. The affordable housing project on Border/Falcon has not even sold out and, like the affordable project on Meridian Street, is not desirable to buyers, namely because they can get better deals buying “non-affordable” units without the deed restrictions. Just look at condos for sale in East Boston – there are a dozen to choose from at prices less than the “affordable” units. No more affordable housing in East Boston – we’re already cheap and struggling to deal with our existing lower income population. The economic diversity this neighborhood lacks is of the upper income variety. Please attend the variance hearing if you can or write to our local politicians to stop NOAH and CDC from the further ghettoization of our neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

In response to the anonymous poster at 12:12, the housing will be for rentals only. They will not be turned into affordable condos and my understanding is that 80 percent of the units will be for renters who have an income of 60% of the average area income. I'm not sure if I'm using the accurate terms but basically families making no more than 60% of the average Boston income. For a family of four that's families of four making under 45k or so.

Anonymous said...

And why do we need more affordable rentals in East Boston? Our rental rates are also well below city averages (there is no shortage of $800-$1000 two bedroom apartments in the neighborhood) and we have an abundance of housing projects (sorry, I won’t use the “inclusive housing community” euphemism) at Maverick Landing, Carlton Wharf, Brandywine, Border Street, etc. Won’t the new Boston East project have affordable housing as well? Yes, there is a continual need for affordable housing, but East Boston has already fulfilled its obligation and then some. NOAH and CDC are wasting away limited tax credit and state financing resources to build overly expensive housing projects in a neighborhood which already has plenty of affordable housing. Enough already.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jimbo
How are you ?

I Love the fact that you responded very sharply to the looooser Anon attacking you about being Liberal.

First: let me say a few things about attacks on family,they suck,and should be deleted .

Second: the words Affordable Housing means just that,and if you Mr. Anons posters do hate it,,and think we have enough.
Why do you support the Mayor,and vote for him.

Third: some factual info about the conditions on building anything like the Maverick Street project.

It has changed in numbers since last year.The citys laws say you must have 1.25 parking spaces for every unit built.But thats blown a way every day all over Boston,case in point 156 Chelsea st 13 condos NONE 0 parking spaces.

Now again you negative Anons,its your mighty Mayor who DICTATES a law the says "You must give me 1 Affordable Unit for every 10 you build" or NO PERMIT.

Come on Forbes tell them the truth.

On that project,like Mavericks to off set not having enough parking,the Mayor says I WANT MORE THEN 1 FOR EVERY TEN,and will look the other way about parking.

So before you bend over ,and look at you behind get the facts.

If you don't like us liberals,and affordable housing you can either Not vote for Menino,or move . The last time I checked theres no law saying anyone has to live anywhere.

One last bit of info,at the end of each year the Mayor files papers with the feds showing how many Affordable Units hes got built,and Shazam he gets millions.

Do your home work dudes,and I never sign as a coward Anon,and am not afraid to post my email,as I have pointofemail tracer on all inco,and out going emails.
Joseph J.Mason
Proud EastBostonian.

Anonymous said...

Joe you are again being foolish and ranting and raving about nothing as usual.
Affordable housing is determined on what the median household makes in a particular area. Joe you make no sense.
About the Mayor, he is going to win and we will remind everyday at Dunkin Donuts. God Bless you Jim, you actually have to read all of Joe's rants. Be well all

P.S Oh Joe i'm scared that your going to get my email. Give me a break

Anonymous said...

Joe, let’s not make the affordable housing debate political or tied to the upcoming election. You have no idea whom I support for mayor nor do you know anything about my political persuasions. The “one affordable unit for every ten units” ratio you cite (I make no representations as to the accuracy of this statement because, in my experience, the final affordable unit count is often negotiated in conjunction with crossroads, linkage, etc. on a project by project basis) is irrelevant. NOAH is not proposing a market rate development at Maverick Street, but rather something that is predominantly affordable, so your point makes no sense. The Mayor, BRA, etc. are not requiring these affordable units – NOAH is proposing to build them on their own volition.

Remember the Burger King controversy? Initially, many of the local politicians opposed the project because they didn’t feel there was a community need for another fast food restaurant. The same argument could be made about more affordable housing in East Boston. Of course no politician is going to come out against affordable housing, so it is up to us, the community to take a stand.

PS – while I hate the idea of censorship, having to read Joe’s longwinded, irrelevant rants is really turning me off of this otherwise great blog. Is there anyway to at least limit the length of these posts or create some sort of “filter” function?

Anonymous said...

I think the Joe Mason filter could be an easy fix. Just set the parameters to delete any email with excessive commmas and no spaces between words. For example,this posting,would be deleted.

Seriously though, the project on Maverick St has 24 affordable units with rents based at or below 60% of the area median income. 3 of the 27 total units will have rents based at or below 30% of the area median income. There will be total of 15 or 16 parking spaces for the 27 units. Each unit will be between 2 and 3 bedrooms.

Anonymous said...

The posts complaining about Joe Mason are WAY MORE ANNOTYING than the Joe Mason posts.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jimbo

Hey Anons

Its the law ,go check it out .
1 affordable for every 10,or no permit.

To you people in the old Bra factory they gave the mayor 33 units as affordable. HA hA.

Now lets see if you go to

Scroll down to Article 53 Also known as East Bostons Zoning Code.

Every section of Boston has a different one.

You will see the cold hard facts you Mayor coat holders know ,but wont say.

It also has a section for signage regulations,but its as you can see all over Eastie not enforced.

Bye for now,and good luck with your hate.

You call it rants the Mayor calls it $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Jimbo,please publish Article 53 for these people.

Sign your names,or to me you are as good as the dirt under my shoes each day!

What are you stalking me?You mention me being in Dunkins on two different posts dude,
don't let me catch you.

Joe Mason
A proud EastBostonian
Joe Mason

Anonymous said...

Joe, I actually feel bad for you.You have nothing else to do but look at everybody's else lives.
What you say never makes sense and you should thank JImbo for allowing you to post.
First of all, the Bra factory is a much better place to look at now and its because of the mayor.
Secondly, i'm telling the truth when I say people in Dunkin Donuts don't want to speak to you any longer because your a hateful man.
Jim, you actually have to read all his blogs? Geez!!
By Joe and go to work