While I am opposed to bringing casino gambling to Suffolk Downs, I would ask those elected officials who are leading the charge to legalize casinos in Massachusetts and to site one such establishment at the local racetrack that two steps be taken before they throw their lot in with the casino-developing millionaires instead of with the citizenry.
First, I'd like to see an objective study of the issue. A serious and comprehensive look into what it will mean for the future of the state and its residents is certainly in order before anyone makes a decision on this matter. So far we've seen a mish-mash of statistics and anecdotes. Let's get hard facts so that we can debate and decide from a position of strength, not guesswork.
Secondly, I like the idea that state Sen. Anthony Petruccelli is advocating: a referendum by the people of East Boston and Revere (and, I'd add, any other city or town that will be asked to host a casino). Petruccelli raises the idea in a good article in this week's Revere Journal. In the story, the senator called the proposed casino "the most significant land use change in Revere and East Boston since the development of the airport in the 1960s."
He's right, and therefore there should be a vote -- but not until we can all review a complete and unbiased assessment of the casino issue. I think that if Gov. Patrick, House Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Murray and Mayor Menino are about to ruin my neighborhood, this is the least they can do.