Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Goons on the Ice

A nice woman from Middleboro, with whom I had become acquainted in the anti-casino movement, met me yesterday in Bridgewater. The funny thing was though, she wouldn’t get out of her car until I showed up, parked and got out of my own car. The reason? In a far corner of the parking lot was one of those huge white limos the pro-casino movement would always show up with in Middleboro - and there were some people standing around it, several of whom wearing orange T-shirts. For those who haven’t been involved in the casino issue - these are more than symbols of the pro-casino lobby.

My friend was literally afraid for her personal safety. And she wasn’t even in Middleboro.

How can we conscience, how can we tolerate, that on our own South Shore, a person with the courage to speak up for her beliefs, and with the desire to protect the quality of life for herself and her family is, because of certain elements, afraid to step out of her mini-van in her own town - not to mention mine?

Despite what you may have heard in the press, on pro-casino web sites, or a from a certain Middleboro selectman, my friend’s reaction is a direct product of the fear and intimidation tactics demonstrated since the beginning by Middleboro Board of Selectmen and the pro-casino lobby. Instead of debating you on the issues, they’ll invent personal attacks to divert your attention, and that of the public and the press.

Recently our web site began an on-line forum to allow us to communicate with each other and answer questions that people new to the issue might have. In the past, I’d had an extremely positive experience with on-line forums after suffering a personal loss. The camaraderie, humor and open sharing of information and experiences became a powerful influence during a difficult chapter in my life. Though it was almost a decade ago that I joined my first on-line forum, I’m still in contact with a valued friend that I made long ago in that same forum. And so, I was truly looking forward to having this new forum available for our group, with whom I’d been working so hard all summer.

Except that, as usual, this forum was immediately hijacked by pro-casino forces. They flamed, taunted, incited and baited us. They added little new, and continually insisted, with bizarre perseverance, that we had only one reason for not wanting a casino – that we simply didn’t want it. When in fact, there are myriad reasons we don’t want a casino which are presented on the web site casinofacts.org.

Making it worse, those of us who have posted on the forum have had some of our words taken out of context, then cut and pasted into any shape or form the other side feels would be the most damaging. Subjects intended as humor, and taken as such by others, were twisted by a few into creepy new fictions to suit their current defamation campaign. A place where we should have felt safe and able to speak freely was used against us. We also allowed pro-casino members to post on this forum, even when they were disrespectful, in order not to appear unbalanced – and since we knew they would pounce on any opportunity to do so.

The pro-casino side is perfectly capable of creating their own forum, and we invited them to do so, but it best suited their purposes to commandeer ours. From the beginning, they’ve tried to paint the anti-casino movement as something we’re not, and used fear and intimidation as tools to prevent us from speaking out.

At a recent selectman's meeting Selectman Bond called for a censure of CasinoFacts and apparently took issue, with something I once wrote about 'getting the surrounding communities p-------'. I don’t really remember it, but since I rarely use profanity in public communication, it seems like that particular quote may have been extracted from what I believe to be part of a private correspondence to another member in separate, invitation-only forum.

But since we’re on the subject of the surrounding communities, they should be p-------. They should be extremely p-------. I'm from the surrounding communities and I've been p------- since April. And we should all be especially p------- that Mr. Bond and his fellow board members took three months to cavalierly enter into an agreement that wouldn’t only effect the future of his own town, but that of the entire South Shore of Massachusetts. This isn’t like building an office park or a shopping mall - this project would carry with it extreme economic, environmental and social consequences. Any of our towns would have been required to study such a project in tortuous detail, provide thousands of pages of carefully laid out plans and approvals, and jump through several million hoops. But it’s not as if Mr. Bond needs me to get the surrounding towns p-------, he does a fine job of that on his own.

More? No, I won’t devote a full blog or web site to them. I’ll only offer you three of my personal favorites and let you judge. I know the identities of the persons who posted these quotes on the now-extinct forum but, since it’s not my intention to bully, but to bring some perspective, I’ll leave them off. And just so you don’t think I’m picking on an errant one-or-two-time poster, these quotes are from full members who posted numerous times virtually every day while the forum was up. In fact, the number of their posts exceeded ours!

From a Middleboro resident:

8-16-07
“The Orange Shirts aren't saying we are supporting this because
of the tribe, though that certainly is another reason to feel favorably toward it. But it's hardly a reason.. no, we're in this for the money. Pure selfish self-interest - how nice that it helps them too, but that isn't more than a parenthetical aside.”

From a Raynham resident in one of the very few local industries which may actually benefit from a Middleboro casino:

8-17-07
“I was never here to make sense, I want a Resort 1500 room
Hotel, it will help me. Before you say it YES! its all about the Money.”

8-20-07
“Supposed to look something like this,


You can still see the Night stars twinkling in the windows,No
lie you will probably be able to see them in Carver!”


I could go on, but you get the idea. I guess it's probably a good idea for them that they never had their own forum.

Do I, personally, have strong opinions about some members of the pro-casino side? You betcha. And let’s not leave out the Middleboro Board of Selectmen. Do I voice my opinions? This is still America, right?

The more I kept going to Middleboro, the more I realized how much fear and intimidation were becoming an important part of the effort to ram a casino into being. I once wrote a blog, called the Laugh Factory, in response to this.

There are many good people on the pro-casino side. In fact, one of them is my life long friend. We all know that not everyone on a team is a goon. Just the ones that make the rest of them look bad.

But sadly, instead of focusing on the issues, the major pro-casino web site and Mr. Bond now accuse our group of child endangerment. Because of his position as a selectman, the hard work of my group, CasinoFacts, is thrust aside by the press to address his concerns.

In fact, the majority of our members are parents. I am a parent. For many of us, this whole issue has been about our children and the future and quality of life of the children of our towns and state. I am personally disturbed that Mr. Bond would pervert words out of context regarding children to further his own agenda or imply his own perceived injury.

The pro-casino web site has printed pictures of our children, the children of the anti-casino movement, without permission, for their own purposes. No one in the anti-casino movement, including myself and the webmaster of CasinoFacts.org has, for even a moment, ever considered, ever, posting a picture of a child on either side of the debate on any of it’s web outlets as part of this issue.

And in case Mr. Bond feels he and his family are the sole casualties of the casino debate, I recieved the following little love note in my inbox one morning.

In response to your outrageous and inappropriately threatening posting to Adam Bond, I would like to assure you Madam/Sir that you will not be anonymous for long - so I'd be mighty careful as to what you say. Clearly, you and others have not done adequate research on Mr. & Mrs. Bond. Mrs. Bond, who you are so fond of criticizing, comes from a prominent family with significant political ties, on a national level. The proper authorities ARE taking your threats of violence against this man and his family quite seriously. Whether or not Mr. Bond will seek
financial retribution from you is up to him. I will say, however, that the well-established Massachusetts family behind the "Bonds" would be glad to see each and every one of you loose your homes in a series of well justified libel suits. If I were you I'd think long and hard before posting anymore libellous, threatening or defamatory statements about Adam Bond and his family. Statements such as these are not covered by "free speech" and the law is not on your side.

The Voice of Reason
Oddly enough, this vitriol was spewed at me after I attempted to defend Mrs. Bond. Not because I care for her behavior or sentiments towards anti-casino folks, or for using her position to gain a platform, but because, like me, she is a mom to small children, living in a small town, and expressing her opinion - and not a public figure, member of a committee, or elected official.

I'm not the only one to receive these threatening messages from the pro-casino side. It's becoming common practice.

I currently moderate the comments on this blog. I publish the great majority of them, including the negative ones, if I feel they express a valid concern. But there have been a few I haven’t published due to their agressive nature. There is one of these however, I personally treasure. The author, anonymous of course, simply left for me the following words to unwrap like a special and unexpected gift one morning: “rude bitch”.

So, if you want to talk about name-calling, venture no further. I would like to point out that, on our forum, while it existed, nothing remotely ever came close to approaching the exquisite profanity and wrath of those two profound words: ‘rude bitch’. I’m thinking of having it printed on a t-shirt.

There is a very large, very wealthy law firm which is represented by an attorney named Dennis Whittlesey, whom I parodied in my blog Transylvania 947, which has, since it’s publication, been checking my blog at least three times a day.

As if I hadn't been downing enough Maalox since April.

Am I intimidated? Sure. Am I getting afraid of going to Middleboro? I’m sad to say this because I really love that town, but – yes. I’m frequently reminded of another anti-casino mom, who came out of a Middleboro supermarket recently with her kids, where they discovered a man spitting on their car.

Make no mistake, my guys aren't the goons on the ice in this hockey game.

I don’t go to visit pro-casino sites. Why bother? I tried once or twice, but it was mostly personal attacks. I’ll usually hear about those things from others. I don’t respond to them. It takes too much time away from my efforts against this proposed casino and the misinformation surrounding it.

But now the attacks in the press are disturbing. Not just to me but to my associates in this campaign, who are good, informed and responsible people

We're a grassroots organization, not a professional lobbying group. We’re learning as we go along, and learning that it doesn’t always pay to be nice. Though as far as I’m concerned if lawyers and politicians are going to cry like babies and go on the attack when people say unpleasant things about them, then they’re definitely in the wrong profession.

Aside from that gem of a comment ‘rude bitch’, I’ll never forget something someone once commented to in response to one of my blogs:

Gladys, a number of Middleboro residents have stepped forward to ask me to express their appreciation to you for keeping 'certain others' off the streets of Middleboro, some lurking in corners waiting to snap pretend photos (with an empty camera), others .... well just 'lurking.' You have 'lurk-proofed' the street of Middleboro, for which they are forever grateful! Please keep up the good work of cleaning up our streets! And otherwise occupying the riff-raff!
So I guess I’ll keep blogging. I’ll keep fighting. I’m just a mom, just a person who loves her town and values her part of the world, and is trying her best to defend it. And like the saying goes, if I didn’t laugh, I’d cry.

And sometimes, I wonder if a hundred or more years from now, a student of history will ever find themselves leafing through the official minutes of the town of Middleboro, only to discover to their utter bewilderment that a certain early 21st century selectman by the name of Pat “Tank Man’ Rogers once mentioned enjoying a ‘wonderful’ video with dog heads.

But hey, that’s why I’m here.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

So who is Bond tied to in the big political world, does anyone know???
Is that why certain people have so called "protection" in this town ??

Middleboro_Mom said...

Gladys:

You are doing good work, for our town and for the area.

I was very upset to see the article in the Globe last night painting CFO forum members in such a bad light. I worry that because of the instigation of a couple of pro-casino posters on the site, we have lost credibility. That's soooo frustrating, because all we want is to save our town from loosing the rural character it has maintained for centuries. We want to raise our families in a safe, healthy environment. Of course we realize that change is inevitable. But a casino would bring such drastic change and many problems. And it wouldn't solve all the fiscal woes.

Am I afraid? Of course. We had to take our signs down to stop harassment, much of it vulgar and mean-spirited. The pro-casino side came out of this smelling like roses in the press, when in truth, many of them employed tactics worse than name calling. I AM afraid, and I find myself keeping much more to myself these days. We were used by our opponents on that forum, which could have been a very positive experience, and that's foul play. Considering the direction the forum was going in, Rich and Mark made the right choice to take away the platform of those who would try to bully us into their camp.

I don't know the answer except to keep on working as a group to influence neighboring towns to join us. I hope the Governor, lawmakers, and federal agencies will disallow a Casino here in Middleboro.

Keep up the good fight. My best wishes to you.

I'm sorry that you have been subjected to such crass, demeaning verbal assaults. Nobody deserves that.

wayne said...

As a resident of Middleboro, I am truly sorry that anyone feels intimidated. That is not what this town should be about.
At the meeting 7/28, I placed my vote against the agreement with not only my family in mind, but friends and relatives in surrounding communities as well.
It is unfortunate what this proposed facility has done to our community. What started out as a debate over the positives versus the detriments of the facility has turned in attacks and defenses of town leaders, community members, concerned residents of surrounding towns. Gladys, it reading that story upset me greatly.
Those who present that "intimidating " nature need to examine objectively what their purpose is.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Bond does have a connection with a nationally known politician and " THEY WILL " look into whos who is quite a threat.
Does anyone know who that person might be ???

Anonymous said...

There is absolutey nothing Mr.Adam Bland can do to stop name calling,thats ridiculous. Can you picture this,"Hey Mr.National politician relative,that person said he/she doesn't like me,and wishes I would go away"."So take away their house." Middleboro isn't Iraq or N.Korea.We can have an opinion of someone, especially an elected official,be it good or bad.We can call him names all day.As long as we don't threaten bodily harm,or do deformation of character.We can say,...think Mr. Bland is a fool,or...think Mr. Bland is a terrible politician,or...think Mr. Bland is the devil.
The fact of the matter is WE NEED TO GO TO THE STATE HOUSE OURSELVES AND LET ALL THE OPPONENTS KNOW THEY HAVE A VOICE.NO FEAR MEANS NO TEARS.ENOUGH TALK LETS SEE SOME ACTION.FROM MIDDLEBORO AND ALL THE TOWNS NORTH AND SOUTH.IT'S TIME TO FIGHT THIS WITH MORE THAN WORDS.NOTHING IS MORE PUBLIC THAN A TELEVISED RALLY/PROTEST IN FRONT OF THE STATEHOUSE.IF YOU DON'T WANT IT YOU HAVE TO FIGHT YOU CAN'T WISH IT AWAY.COME TOGETHER ALLTOGETHER.

Anonymous said...

I'am with you... Lets keep this fight up. We have fought fair from the get go with just the facts. We need to let the right people know that "WE DO NOT WANT A CASINO IN OUR TOWN". Lets not feel intimatated by people who have name called or have their own agenda of trying to have this tower of shame build in our great town. Lets keep this fight up so we do not lose our towns....Hold your head up and roll up your sleeves and get the job done.....

Anonymous said...

Gladys,
I have a wonderful idea! How about a BOS vs. challengers boxing match for charity,imagine the line at the door.There would be fights to determine who gets in first.Na,we have more important things to do.
N O C A S I N O

Middleboro_Mom said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

What about an informational spot on Bridgewater and Middleboro local comcast stations?

I've watched one of your Bridgewater selectmen speaking on various local topics for 1/2 hr. spots. I also noticed that Comcast allowed him to produce them. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to do that. Wonder what the price tag is?

Which brings me to another subject, We have to raise some $$$$$$$$$$. Donations and fundraisers.

Gladys Kravitz said...

I have requested that the Bridgewater cable station do something on this topic...

Still waiting...

Mark Belanger said...

There were two posts in particular on the forum that Adam was upset about and rightly so. Once that was attempting to be humorous and mentioned his daughter. I think all parents would feel the same way. The forum was a good theory that just didn't work and ended up hurting us in the end. You know what they say - "There's noting sadder than seeing a good theory get mugged by a gang of facts".

CFO is strongest when it is discussing the issue of the casino. Discussing specific people tends to back fire and detract from the issue - that a casino will ruin our quality of life and put people at risk.

Many of us have had personal attacks - I was repeatedly called a liar on my own forum. Words are not the worst of the attacks that my family has endured. My advice to all is to stick to the issue of the casino - there is plenty of material right there.

Anonymous said...

The adam Bond/dancing comment was in there for a while so why are they now complaining about it, Maybe because the blog was just starting to get some real interest and traction .
The comment was unnessary and ALL parties should leave everybodys families out of the debate. On both sides...

wayne said...

I think it is too bad the forum didn't work out. A good by-product of it was the ability to "get to know" others in the organization.
Every team needs "chemistry" to be successful, the forum helped that along. It is really unfortunate how it turned out.

Anonymous said...

Wayne,
Chemistry gives you potions,this fight gives you passion.Forget the forum we have bigger fish to fry,stinky casino flounder.It ain't over til' it's over.I feel a big something coming our way.There has to be uproar around the corner.There are alot of factions behind the scenes fighting as our allies.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Don't count on an uproar.

CREATE ONE.

People may be starting to wake up to this issue, maybe not. But if everyone who alreadys has works their hardest, progress will be made.

Anonymous said...

Look who now has their own forum......

http://www.middleborocasino.com/

Middleboro_Mom said...

Anonymous wrote:

Look who now has their own forum......

http://www.middleborocasino.com/
________________________________

A one note song...........LOL

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