Monday, December 10, 2007

A CASINO CAROL
Chapter 1

“Cratchit!”
“Yes, Mr. Flynn?”
“Get the Governor back on the phone.”
“Yes sir, Mr. Flynn, right away.”
“Damn that Donald Trump!”
“Yes sir, Mr. Flynn.”

Massachusetts State Representative David Flynn (D-Bridgewater) of Plymouth’s Eighth District, dropped the newspaper he’d been reading onto his desk, squinted and pinched hard the bridge of his nose, as if trying to rid himself of the latest headache in the casino debate.

Flynn had been not so quietly seething since anti-casino forces at the Statehouse had put together a forum for legislators, “educating them” them about all the “dangers” of gambling addiction. And dammit, the forum had been effective – even influencing a fellow pro-gambling rep from a neighboring district to change his position.

Being a man of action, not to mention the chair of the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, Flynn was not about to be outdone, and had spent the last two weeks hastily putting together his own panel of experts to paint a more positive picture for the State’s decision makers.

So far he’d managed to stack the deck of the casino hearing panel with seven proponents along with one token opponent to speak about legalized gambling. He was getting cozy with the Governor, and lately, had been grinning like a Cheshire cat, sitting on a top secret surprise guest to top off his panel like a multi-million dollar maraschino cherry - until the Boston Globe unceremoniously informed him that The Donald would not be joining them.

“Damn these people!,” cursed Flynn at no one in particular.

In the next room, Flynn’s good natured and long-suffering aide Bob Cratchit knew his boss appreciated feedback. “Yes sir, Mr. Flynn.”

“You get hold of the Governor yet?” Bellowed Flynn, who meanwhile pulled a cigar from his desk drawer and fired it with a ancient solid gold lighter. On the side of the lighter was a simple inscription, “In Appreciation”. A lifetime ago it had been a gift. Funny, he couldn’t remember who it was from. Some union maybe? The track people? Both, probably, he grinned, taking a moment to bask in the satisfaction, if not the clearest memories of a long political career.

Well, until he could speak to the Governor, he knew he’d feel better if he got up and did something. “I’m going out.”

“Yes Mr. Flynn. Any idea when you’ll be coming back to the office.”
“When I’m damn good and ready!”
“Yes sir, Mr. Flynn.”

Several minutes later Flynn pulled his white Town Car into the parking lot of Castaways, a popular local restaurant and tavern. He stubbed out his cigar outside the door, ”Damn smoking ban!” and took a seat at the bar. He ordered up a Dewar’s and sat at the bar while waiting for his sandwich, chatted up the regulars, and started feeling better.

“Whattaya doing for Christmas, Dave?” asked the bartender.

“I'm planning on finally legalizing slots in this State, that’s what I’m gonna do!” Flynn shouted, raising his glass.

This elicted laughter from most of the patrons, starved for some excitement between Keno games on this sleepy winter afternoon.

“God,” thought Flynn, basking in approval, “I love this place.”

After his lunch, Flynn took a drive around town, circling Bridgewater’s old fashioned town square, strung with lights and painted plywood cut-outs of Santa, candy canes and snowmen. Neil Diamond was crooning a carol on the CD player, and Flynn puffed on his cigar, smiling to himself and marveling at how much his hometown reminded him of the picture perfect world inside one of those glass holiday snow globes at this time of year. It was even making him feel better about the whole Donald Trump thing - when suddenly he saw something up ahead which caused his imaginary snow globe to go crashing to the pavement.

A small group of protestors stood at the side of the rotary holding bright red signs which said “Stop the Casino”, “Get the Facts”, and “No Casino”.

“Damn these people! They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about…”

Flynn drove around the rotary two more times before pulling his Town Car to the side of the road next to the protestors.

Rolling down the side window he shouted “Don't worry - a casino can't even get approved for 11 years!” He took a moment to puff on his cigar, “You don’t know what your talking about!”

Then, satisfied he’d given them what-to-for, Flynn pulled back into traffic. That'll shut 'em up, he thought.

“Mr. Flynn!” called out Mary, a protestor who lived in Bridgewater, “Come back and talk to us!”

Flynn just laughed, and turned left at the light. "Bah!"

“Who was that guy?” asked Mike, from Middleboro.

“Unfortunately, he’s my State Rep,” said Mary. “He lives here in Bridgewater, so I thought he might actually care about this town and what a mega casino next door might do to us. So I wrote him a long letter. Never heard back. Now he's holding a pro-casino hearing in Boston on the 18th.”

“What was that thing about 11 years?” asked John, who called Plympton home.

“I have no idea… that’s a new one on me.”

Then, Carl from Lakeville laughed, “Judging from all the cigar smoke, maybe he’s not too worried about what the town will look like 11 years from now.”

Mary smiled, “Well… I do. That’s why I’m here holding a sign.”

Flynn’s Town Car traveled a short way down Rte. 28, then pulled into a Dunkin’ Donuts. Flynn needed a cup of coffee. He didn’t like the drive-thru. He preferred to press the flesh in person. Work the room. Feel the love.

He walked right up to the counter, chatting up the friendly woman who served his coffee, still managing a pleasant conversation with the police officer behind him in line, and an elderly couple at one of the tables. On his way out he raised his Styrofoam cup in the air, turned and wished the group a hearty, “Merry Christmas!”

As the door swung shut, the policeman rolled his eyes, the woman at the counter shook her head, and the couple at the table waved their hands in disgust.

Flynn turned the Town Car down an old country road. At the corner was an old one room school house. It had been rehabilitated in recent years as a youth sports clubhouse. Flynn had to smile. He could remember back when it was still a school.

As he headed South he passed by a home with a giant, hand painted sign in the front yard. He slowed down and stopped to take a look. “Always good to know what the folks are saying,” thought Flynn.

A casino in Middleboro is bad news for Bridgewater,” read the sign.

“Damn these people!” he thought, “What are they afraid of? Jobs? More business? More money coming into this town? Bah! Humbug!”

It was all enough to make him choke on his cigar.

He kicked the Town Car into high gear and headed out down to Middleboro, passing over the Taunton River, beautiful even in winter. He remembered fishing there as a boy. Bass, mostly. Great fun.

As he wound his way into the next town, he saw more No Casino signs dotting front lawns.

Then, rounding a corner he passed by a small cranberry bog, where a soft coating of frost muted the red carpet of berries. He sighed. Ah, now… that’s something, he thought – the quintessential New England scene. And that’s what these ya-hoos – these malcontents – these bleeding hearts - should be focusing on! This is a great place to live! Nothing’s going to change around here if a damn casino comes!

A few minutes later Flynn arrived at the proposed casino site in Middleboro. He spent a little time driving around it, then stopped the car. Putting down his cigar and rolling down the window, he could smell smoke from a nearby woodstove. God, how he loved that smell.

If these people were smart he thought, they’d harvest all this wood for kindling and sell it before they break ground for the casino.

Looking into the property, he saw nothing worth getting worked up about. He didn’t understand these people. No not one bit.

“Trees! Bah! Humbug! Who needs ‘em!” And with that, the honorable Mr. Flynn got into his car and drove back to the office.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well done!

Anonymous said...

Flynn's hearing is so one-sided and transparent, did he think no one would notice?
Some of these clowns...oops! I mean venerated elected officials are successfully laying the groundwork for their overthrow.
And any warm body will do!
As voters, we need to pay close attention to their actions and vote them OUT!

Selectman Christopher Flynn said...

Ah yes, the glories of anonymity...or should I say, lack there of. I must say that "anonymous #2" was correct in one regard and that is transparency. You will never find another elected representative who is more transparent and honest about their thoughts and positions than Dean Flynn. If people would take the time to sit down and listen to Dean Flynn and his 50+ years of experience in the legislature, you would actually understand the FACTS surrounding his stance on Casinos and where they should, and will, go. Casino gambling will happen in the Commonwealth regardless of anyone's efforts. The only question remaining is where they will go. The stories and anecdotes are cute but they aren't productive. If you want to get something done in Government you accomplish that through collaborative efforts with those in positions or offices that can make the difference. Not by posting their picture in these ridiculous photos. I appreciate and admire the tenacity and dedication of your efforts however there are far more productive ways of accomplishing your ultimate goal.

carverchick said...

wow selectman Flynn, and here I thought you were actually interested in the "peoples" concern about casinos in Massachusetts. Heck, it only took you 5 months to finallyh show up at the Regional Task Force meetings. Perhaps if you and Rep. Flynn weren't so quick to give the tired argument of "casinos are inevitable", some of us might be interested in hearing Mr. Flynn's facts regarding casinos. Here are some facts: Other states that have casinos have higher taxes and higher unemployment rates than Massachusetts. NY, CT and RI are in financial crisis and are now dependent on casino revenue....casino profits are down and so it the payout to those states. Mitigation of negative impacts will cost far more than a casino will pay out to this State. Here is another fact...these stories and anecdotes apparently ARE quite effective...they got you to finally get involved, didn't they?? They certainly opened my eyes to the situation and inspired me to do my own research. If you believe that casinos are inevitalbe, then you are in the wrong business...when you represent a community, you cannot assume inevitability for any issue...it is equivalent to rolling over and playing dead. Well, I'm not dead, and Gladys and Bumpkin and a whole bunch of others are not dead either...we don't believe in the myth of inevitability and as a selectman, neither should you. My goodness am I ever glad your not my selectman!

Bellicose Bumpkin said...

You've been a real no-show on this issue.

Cute blogs like this are what one resorts to when their government turns a deaf ear to them - or in some cases actively works against them.

Just sit back Mr. Flynn and let the big boys take care of this for you. If you'd taken the time to educate yourself on this important regional issue, you wouldn't be so "supportive" of your constituents.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Flynn the casinos will not come if the people don't want them. Democracy is supposed be government FOR and by the people, not for the rich FOREIGN investors who will be raping our Commonwealth for every penny. Have you seen the agreement between the Wampanogs and their investors? When you do you tell me where the money is going and who is paying for it (aside from casino investors who are filling the coffers of our elected officials in order to expand their empires)
P.S. Carverchick you are doing a phenominal job please keep exposing the facts that are being so quietly swept under the rug.

cdplakeville said...

Mr. Flynn,
I can understand your slight frustration at having cute pictures of relatives broadcasted on the web for all to see. But, it is political satire and should only be taken as such. It does have a happy ending you know. :)
I to take issue with your statement, "Casino gambling will happen in the Commonwealth regardless of anyone's efforts." If that is the case then be transparent and tell use what you know that makes our efforts fruitless. Present the "facts" that lead you to your conclusion. Frankly there is too much collaboration of a bad kind on Beacon Hill and we have no plans to collaborate with those who conflict with our goals and that is NO CASINO! But, we do have legislators who agree with us, so we collaborate with them. We are implimenting ways to accomplish our goal and it is working. This Casino Carol is tame compared the things that have been thrown at myself and our group. So, lighten up. It's satire.

Bellicose Bumpkin said...

Flynn's unbelievable comments are indicative of the sort of political immaturity that runs rampant among the Middleboro BOS. When when a person hangs their hat on a single issue - they're left with hat in hand when that issue disappears.

Having been on the receiving end of a Selectman who doesn't like my casino opposition, I can tell Mr. Flynn that when a person feels unrepresented, he/she tends to represent themselves by blogging and other outlets.

Flynn clearly has not grasped the fact that blogs are a major part of the political landscape and have an ever increasing weight with policy makers. He clearly is behind the times with technology - which in my mind is unforgivable given the key role of technology in today's society.

Mr. Flynn you can disagree with Gladys on the casino but when you attack her in this fashion and ridicule the role of the internet in policy making - it just makes you look immature and uninformed.

Bridgewater voters take note

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