Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Gladoween

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Back in Blue

You didn't think Gladys and the gang just laid down and died after the Middleboro town meeing, did you?
Well...if so...ye of little faith!

Because we've just been picking up speed.


CasinoFacts.org - PAC is delighted to announce that we have officially become a member of the new Statewide effort to kick casinos out of the Commonwealth.

Check it out!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Who Needs Casinos, Anyway?!

In the dash to cram the commonwealth full of mega casinos, gambling evangelists have failed to account for a dangerous new rival - one which could potentially suck away a healthy share of their imagined profits and do for their industry what the DVD did for the local movie theatre.

No, I’m not referring to Internet gambling. I’m talking about armchair gambling.

That’s right! You can now bet the farm, your kid’s college education and the SUV right there in the comfort of your own home!

This revelation came to me in the form of the latest Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. Leafing through the colorful pages of this big-boy toy emporium, one finds a handsome variety of affordable and entertaining outlets for America’s newest cowboy – the recumbent gamer.

Take, for instance, what you can get for less than $120.00 (plus shipping and handling) -
THE TOUCHSCREEN PORTABLE VIDEO POKER GAME
$119.95



For the more adventurous risk-taker how about
THE CLASSIC DESKTOP SLOT MACHINE
$199.95


But play like a professional with
THE HOME VIDEO POKER MACHINE
$249.95


And for those high-rollers among us who can't get enough - there can be no other than
THE SKILL-STOP SLOT MACHINE
$399.95


What's that? Already blown the Christmas club at Mohegan? Well... next time you'll hit the jackpot! You know you will!! In the meantime ease into the sport with this little gem...
HANDHELD TEXAS HOLD ‘EM POKER


At only $9.95 it makes the perfect stocking stuffer!
Hurry! It's on sale!

And - don't tell me these guys at Hammacher don't have their finger on the pulse, because just take a look at what I found in the toy section!
CHILDREN'S TOUCHSCREEN ATM BANK
$69.95


What a much needed boon for the average casino patron, worn to a frazzle from all those unnecessary trips to the local casino under the guise of catching a Gary Puckett show and throwing away a bunch of Benjamin's on five-star meal - when all they really want is the excitement that only comes from chasing the odds.

And I bet (no pun intended) that there’s more than one slot jockey out there scratching their chin and thinking of the benefits and sheer beauty of this industry interloper.

No more need to explain to the spouse where the mortgage money went.

Can’t find a sitter? Don't leave the kids home alone all night anymore! Put'em to work - make them go get you a beer!

And maybe you can even save enough money to put back in the company bank account before the boss starts getting suspicious!

Obviously, the home-gaming concept has nowhere to go but up. Stay tuned to this trend, people. Studies have shown that most gamblers don’t even care about the money – just the thrill. Apparently, even Jack Whittaker, the $315 Million powerball winner from slot-soaked West Virgina – still gambles.

And you and I both know it won't be long before some quick thinking entreprenuer comes up with a sounds-of-the-slot-parlor CD or a nicotine-and-Old-Spice aromatherapy device to recreate the subtle ambience of the full service casinos.

Let’s face it, when folks start to catch on to the pure adrenaline-pumping joy of being able to pull that lever from the comfort of their own bathroom, we can say so long to those much-ballyhooed local revenue streams!

But cities and towns can rest easy. Deval Patrick and Tim Cahill are are surely studying the home gaming issue at this very moment, and are no doubt prepared to put together a brilliant plan for recouping the revenue the state could potentially lose as gambling moves to individual households. Perhaps by issuing 1 million residential slot licenses?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Adam's New Tool

Every now and then - don’t ask me why - I go in search of Adam Bond’s web site.

Bond’s fabled site has become the stuff of legend. As disputed, elusive and questionable as Sasquatch sightings in the Hockomock swamp.

It's just difficult to understand how, in this century, a self-employed individual as obviously as fond of the spotlight and with as natural a gift of gab and YouTube personality as Mr. Bond, hasn’t managed to so much as pitch a pup tent along the information super highway by now.

Oh, to be sure – he’s got a mention here and a one-liner there on a couple of other lawyer-centric sites. But, let's face it, it's a whole big bunch of nothing considering the fact that Bond's been a deafening, one-man public relations cacophony, not to mention celebrated media darling these past six months.

Mr. Bond, according to his own PR, is a big-shot-Wall-Street-stock-juggling barrister with Supreme Court credentials - hailing from the hippest city on Earth - yet somehow he’s never quite been able to get beyond the “under construction” page of his very own digital universe.

And this vacuum between the disparity of what Adam supposedly is, and what we've actually seen, has been causing a lot of people, including your's truly to speculate as to what he could possibly be hiding.

Well folks, I’m pleased to announce, here on the old blogspot, that Adam Bond has, at last, shed his shroud of mystery. After banging the stones together long enough, he's finally discovered fire. And after checking out the site for myself, I’d like to reassure you all that the only thing Mr. Bond has been trying to hide all this time with his lack of a web address, is his own trademark goofiness. Yes, it’s true.

To learn all about the inner Adam (at least all that’s fit to print) follow the link to:

http://www.middleboroughattorneys.com/index.html

Highlights:

we are selective in the cases that we take, since we DO NOT believe that the purpose of the law is to shift the resonsibility from those at fault to those with money. If we believe in your case we will usually take it. If we do not believe in your case, we will try to find you the name of someone else who might have an interest.
Well, it’s obvious that Adam doesn’t ‘believe’ in many cases.

And, is that the royal “we”? I mean - it’s just Adam. Why try to sound like some sort of deep-pocket, pin-stripe John Grishom law firm? It’s not as if Adam actually employs a vast staff of personal underlings - unless you count the day shift down at the Honey Dew.

And how do you spend all day sipping out of a Styrofoam cup and still make a living practicing law, anyway?

Oh - and have you noticed that suddenly Adam has become an expert at

Gaming Law


Sure… ever since CasinoFacts president Rich Young gave him that painful public lesson in ‘comp rooms’….

And, apparently, Adam's the man to call when you need some

Contract Negotiations

Just be ready to rent some really big expensive tents at short notice...

...and promise to promote something no matter what...
...so that, eventually no one will ever know if you're telling the truth.

And I find it amusing, to say the least, that Adam trumps the expertise of both Pat Rogers and Steven Spataro by claiming to provide a service in something called

‘political engineering'

Is that what they're calling BS these days?

Can you build bridges with those engineering skills? Figure out how to make a campaign run? Mark out a blueprint for the future?

And engineers have to be good at math, Adam:

at one of the largest Town Meetings in New England's history, Middleborough citizens voted 2-1 in favor of accepting the intergovernmental agreement with the Town

2387 FOR and 1335 AGAINST doesn’t = 2 to 1

Go back to school!

Hey, here's a juicy part:

Negotiated the first Tribal/Municipal Compact for a casino to come to the Town of Middleborough,

...so there's going to be a few more Tribal/Municipal Compacts? Good thing we can call on you!
the first in Massachusetts;

Seriously, how do you sleep at night??

handled all press contacts during Casino negotiations,

Alice, Christine... how do you feel knowing you've been 'handled'?

as well as the political marketing of the casino concept;

oh... I thought you were an official elected by the public. My mistake.

participated in the logistical set up and execution of the largest Town Meeting ever held in Massachusetts;

Boy, if I were Roger Brunelle right now, I'd be really PO'd.

And good gracious - despite the fact that he's argued before the supreme court, he can't say enough about that proposed gosh darned casino:

This project required extensive relationship building and strategic thinking in relation to each of the Town's citizens, various Town Boards and Departments, the Wampanoag tribal leadership, the casino resort developers and backers, various counsel, the press from several states, government officials from abutting Towns, the State government, and various opposition groups. This was a complex project (which is ongoing), and, at least, the first stages are complete.

I’m not sure why Bond’s first class strategic thinking didn’t lead him to check into Glenn Marshall’s past. Or why his stellar relationship building skills still managed to leave Middleboro residents at each other’s throats and ruin it’s relationship with surrounding towns. And, as for ‘various opposition groups’ – well, it was none other than Adam Bond who decided to ‘expose’ and ‘sanction’ said opposition publicly for things written in e-mails and on an obscure internet forum.

Way to build relationships, Adam.

But of all the wonderful, amazing, incredible things Mr. Bond supposedly did regarding the casino, it wasn’t him, but Rich Young and the good folks at CasinoFacts who brought the League of Women Voters, the Citizens For Limited Taxation, and the Mass. Council on Compulsive Gambling to Middleboro to speak to anyone who cared enough to listen - organizations which have studied casinos and gambling for decades. Not months.

Unlike that razor sharp gaming expert and political engineer, Adam Bond.

But then, why bother? Adam already knows everything worth knowing – right?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Monday, October 15, 2007

Mrs. Kravitz Goes to Washington

In the wee hours of the morning this past Friday, a small delegation from CasinoFacts.org, including your's truly, threw it’s suitcases, cameras and laptops in the back of a car and drove down to DC to attend the annual conference of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling (NCALG), and the National Coalition against Gambling Expansion (NCAGE).

There are so many things I’d like to share with you about the conference. Over the next few months, I’ll try to devote separate postings to some of the individual topics covered in DC.

But of all the many important things I took back from Washington this weekend – the one thing I wanted you to know right now - is that we are not alone. We are truly a united national fellowship of just ordinary people committed to doing the right thing.

Seated together in that conference room were delegates from California, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Texas, Illinois, Maryland, Florida, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and a few other states I can’t even remember.

We were republican, democrat, independent and libertarian. We were conservative, moderate and liberal, religious or otherwise, and also urban, suburban and rural.


At one point in the conference our delegation was recognized and our state referred to as being ‘the latest victim’ of the shallow promises of the gambling industry and the Svengali-like effect it has on our legislators.

The other delegates smiled at us knowingly. Their states were the early ‘victims’ and most of them have been fighting this battle for many long years. Some, for decades. Which is why I realized how very truly fortunate Massachusetts is to be able to learn from their experiences. Our state’s fight will have it’s own unique challenges, but at least, thanks to them, we won’t be re-inventing the wheel.

But Massachusetts didn’t show up at the conference empty handed. It turns out that, for us, technology in the form of blogs has opened up a new frontier for reaching the generally unreachable - politicians. It's also become a fertile frontier for galvanizing the grassroots, and sharing ideas (not to mention a sense of humor) unlimited by the constraints or opinions of the traditional media - speaking of which - reporters are reading them, too.

Les was just one of a panel of incredibly diverse and knowledgeable speakers, including - for the first time - two inside whistle-blowers. But as someone from a state just entering into this conflict, I learned what may perhaps be the two most important lessons for our commonwealth simply by listening to the more experienced delegates.

At dinner and lunch and during breaks CasinoFacts listened to anti-casino veterans relate an all-too-familiar story of how casinos were supposed to be their state’s salvation. That addiction could be contained, and every problem mitigated. That jobs would multiply, the economy flourish, and taxes go down. And yet, in each and every state, this proved not to be the case, many with disastrous consequences.

Lesson #1 – there are NO success stories for a state with legalized gambling.

Another observation I made was that all of these delegates came from states which initially opened up legalized gambling along with numerous restrictions in place, like those planned for Massachusetts, only to see those restrictions, over time, lifted, subverted or abandoned.

One casino invariably leads to another - despite promises and assurances to the contrary. Gambling parlors onboard riverboats with a maximum $500 per hour limit and a 2 hour tour would eventually become “boats in a moat” – a riverboat shaped gambling casino with an artificial moat dug around it and hence, a never ending cruise - with a $500 per hour limit.

The numerous ‘creative’ ways the gambling industry has found to get around state laws is mind blowing.

And States which legalize gambling for the purpose of acquiring additional state revenue - eventually become dependent on it. And when they need more revenue, gambling will expand.

Lesson #2 – Once you open the door, it can’t be closed.

But Massachusetts will be different, right?

I have no way of knowing how long this battle will rage, but I do believe it’s a battle worth fighting. Legalized gambling is a disease which feeds on the body, mind and soul of both state and nation. Irresponsible government fiscal policy, at the expense of citizens, under the guise of entertainment, for the sole benefit of billionaires.

With only six months of this conflict under my belt, and still much to learn and experience, I’m honestly encouraged by how many things, according to the other delegates, our little group has already done right.

In the last hour of the conference delegates were offered a chance at the microphone. People I’d never met, whose names I never knew, but who share with me a common drive and purpose stood up and shared their success stories, their battle scars and their knowledge.

Looking around that room I saw no victims. Only survivors.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Recall Wrap-Up

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
They won.
You lost.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Biggest Fan

I'm delighted to admit that I have quite a few repeat visitors to this blog. Some of these visitors have even left kind comments about their favorite posts. Many take the time to tell me, in person, how much they appreciate this particular post or that. Believe it or not, I've even received praise for this blog from pro-casino people. So, it never fails to amuse me that my biggest fan, my most frequent visitor, obviously hates my guts.

I rarely visit pro-casino blogs or web sites. Once, while doing so I came across someone insisting that the relatives of the late Sandra Gould, the actress who played Gladys Kravitz, should sue me for using her photograph in my blog.

O-kay...

But I was getting so many hits from this particular forum posting that I felt I should investigate. Imagine what I found - from my biggest fan!
I note that one of Gladys' recent blogs includes a post that appears to be accusing a local resident of comitting ARSON! More troubling is the implication that the Fire Department allegedly acted as co-conspirators deliberately allowing the home to burn to the ground. Then, of course, all this criminal activity was allegedly hidden from the public by the allegedly corrupt local newspaper! I don't hold "annonymous" responsible for that posting. I hold Mary Tufts, the self identified blog owner, who screens all postings responsible for that post. When will it stop? Someone needs to take some sort of legal action against this woman, because she is out of control. The longer she gets away with this crap - the bolder and more outrageous she becomes.

I really wonder why someone hasn't sent links to these blogs to these people's employers. I know that if I had someone working for me that was operating or involved with an Internet "hate" site that contained potentially libellous accusations about people, I'd want to know about it. If they were monitoring that site or blog and posting to it on my company's time or from my company's computer - I'd want my IT department investigating that. These people need a real life wakeup call. Their often irresponsible annonymous postings affect the real lives of real people and I feel that they deserve a taste of their own medicine. What kind of people attack victims of a fire? Maybe someone should start a blog dedicated to criticizing Gladys and her blog?
Wow. I sound like a real piece of work.

But let's take a closer look at the accusation, made by someone known as 'VegasVal'. Here's the anonymous comment in question, which was in response to my recent Twilight Zone parody:

Case in point of screwy things in the twilite zone of Middleboro.
In this Saturdays Enterprise Oct.6 theres a story of a small house fire with picture, YET not long ago there was another house fire on Barrows street in Middleboro that was likely arson and just .2 miles from the fire station that almost burnt the three family structure to the ground. "just two walls left standing" flames over 100 feet in the air and and damaging two other property's and the only thing there now is a blue tarp covering the foundation hole, When residents sent pictures to the Enterprise of it fully engulfed in flames the story NEVER even made it into the Enterprise. Theres many why's to this...

Well, the comment does mention arson (small caps), but it doesn't accuse any local resident. Does VegasVal know something that we don't?

What kind of people attack victims of a fire?

Excuse me?

More troubling is the implication that the Fire Department allegedly acted as co-conspirators deliberately allowing the home to burn to the ground.
Or... they could have been busy across town getting a cat out of a tree. In no way does the comment in question imply a conspiracy. Nor does it imply ineptitude or negligence. Simply the irony of a house burning down in close proximity of a fire department. This does occur from time to time.

...this criminal activity was allegedly hidden from the public by the allegedly corrupt local newspaper!
VegasVal, I think your Freudian slip might be showing.

Once again, VegasVal seems to see a conspiracy around every corner. To me, this comment only implies that the Enterprise didn't feel the story was newsworthy - and that the poster disagrees. It's a free country.

I've watched the Enterprise and the Globe take a decidedly pro-casino stance in the past few months, so I understand where this poster is coming from. It doesn't imply corruption - many papers will take an editorial stance regarding an issue one way or another. That's why I now get my news from the Cape Cod Times.

Now... as far as being responsible for publishing the post, fine. They aren't my words, but I have no problem publishing them, and further, I appreciate the people who take the time to comment on posts on this blog, conspiracy theories or not. I welcome my visitor's observations and opinions, and the discussions they sometimes spur. And no, I don't publish them all.

So, why does VegasVal seem to think that she alone has the priviledge to make accusations and cry 'conspiracy'?

I mean, for people to disagree with me or dislike me for things I actually write or do - well that's one thing, but VegasVal's post is a piece of fiction! Jeesh!

So, am I really "out of control"? Is it me twisting a simple comment about 'screwy things' into a call to arms against a vast Gladys Kravitz conspiracy to attack fire vicitims? Is it me inciting people to take legal action against a private citizen - for what? Free speech?

And I'd hardly refer to this blog as "an Internet "hate" site". VegasVal seems to be biggest 'Hater' on either side of this casino issue, projecting her own personal brand of acrimony and hostility onto her posts. And her inflamatory tone makes me wonder if she is merely suggesting that someone out there sue me - or perhaps something more sinister...

Certainly, VegasVal, there are a zillion more interesting things to do when you can't sleep than comb my blog for nuggets of controversy. Have you tried watching Jimmy Kimmel? What about the thousands of internet gambling sites out there just waiting to take your money. No? Then why not spend some time visiting CasinoFacts.org and reading up on some of the research about the effects of a casino on the people who live around them.

Oh, and sorry to disappoint you, Val - but I'm self-employed.

And as far as there being "a blog dedicated to criticizing Gladys and her blog", VegasVal's posting was found on one of them!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Regional Task Force (of Nature!)

This past Wednesday I attended the meeting of the Regional Task Force on Casino Impacts at the Lakeville library, disappointed but not surprised to, once again, be the only resident of Bridgewater, a town of 27,000 people, in attendance.

I guess our representative to the Task Force, Bridgewater Selectman Mark Oliari, once again, had something better to do. Not venturing out much these days - possibly to avoid a run-in with the roaming packs of torch and pitchfork wielding ex-employees of the library.

To be fair to Mr. Oliari, the representative from East Bridgewater, a town of 14,000 was also a no-show. But still, Bridgewater is an abutter. And there were reps at the meeting from Kingston, Plymouth and Pembroke, taking the matter as seriously as it should be.

If Mr. Oliari and the East Bridgewater rep only knew that Senator Marc R. Pacheco (D – Foxwoods) would be in attendance at the meeting! How exciting! A chance for a free and open discourse with the state rep for most of the Task Force’s towns.

I was joined at the meeting by fellow CasinoFacts friends and board members from Middleboro, Plympton and Lakeville,

As the meeting settled down, an unexpected visitor arrived – Ruth Geoffroy, Middleboro Town Planner – and raised her hand. Nancy Yeatts, Lakeville selectwoman and Task Force chair, avoided eye contact and continued with the meeting.

That’s when Ruth made her first mistake. When her hand was ignored, she spoke out of turn, again and again, and asked that Middleboro be allowed to join the Task Force.

Don’t interrupt Nancy. Don’t ever interrupt Nancy.

I’m not going to lie. It felt a little good to see the gavel on the other foot… eh, in the other hand, for a change. I hoped Ruth would understand that it wasn’t personal. She was just the unfortunate messenger from Middleboro. And actually there wasn’t even a gavel.

(I wondered briefly why the Middleboro Board of Selectmen didn’t send one of their own before it dawned on me that they are, under contractual obligation, forbidden from speaking with any honesty about a casino.)

With Ruth thoroughly, if not brutally cautioned and left to sit quietly in the front row cauterizing the nub of what had been her left arm, Nancy asked the Task Force members to introduce themselves.

Along with all the towns (except Bridgewater and East Bridgewater, of course) was a rep from SRPEDD, and someone from the Old Colony something-or-other I didn’t quite make out because he was mumbling. If anyone knows, please enlighten me.

As I looked across at the table, it was with no small amount of personal satisfaction that I recognized, along with Ms. Lakeville, selectmen from Plympton, Carver and Halifax. These were the towns I’d personally spoken to, hoping to alert them to the true consequences of a proposed casino in our region.

And, while my part in speaking to those towns, was very very small - just a few words, really - the opportunity do it at all meant quite a bit more to me than many of you might realize.

How many meetings in Middleboro, how many hours did I quietly log in that town, through Spring and Summer, as the sole non-resident? I’d written editorials and created blogs and held signs, but to simply have the opportunity to share what I’d learned, as a fellow neighbor, with the concerned citizens of other towns, well - it was like taking a burden off my own worried shoulders, and watching with quiet gratitude as they willingly hoisted it onto their own. To have my neighboring towns recognize that we shared this, that we were all in this together, and to come together, is worth more than I can say – particularly in the face of my own town’s lack of involvement.

Senator Pacheo was introduced. He insisted he could not stay long, then spent an hour and a half letting the Task Force know that Massachusetts is broke and cannot be fixed without a big fat hypodermic full of gambling revenue.

He’s been in office 20 years now and has seen this debate come and go. But now, more than ever, we need the money.

I realized, with depressing clarity that I’d actually voted for Mr. Pacheco in his very first election back when I was living in East Taunton. And not just him, but also, while living in Plymouth, for Therese Murray. Two people who sounded really smart at the time. Now it’s obvious that their sight is so short they can’t see a life for our region beyond the flashing lights of a slot machine. Slide this lesson into the ‘live and learn’ column.

Suddenly, I notice a police officer standing at the back of the room. Do state senators always travel with police presence, I wondered.

Back at the front of the room, Mr. Pacheco revealed that he enjoys his excursions to Foxwoods. Once there, he is greeted by name, slapped on the back and shaken by the hand by numerous South Shore constituents. Constituents he, no doubt, recognizes by their dollar value. Not only to his campaign fund, but to his thinking, revenue which could stay in the region.

But wait! Didn’t we understand? He’s the champion of surrounding communities! He tells us a healthy cut of the gambling revenue will be divvied up by the state and sprinkled like manna from heaven to us - because he has a plan.

He has recognized four categories of need stemming from a casino or two or three or four in the region:

Contiguous – meaning abutting communities like Bridgewater, Halifax and Plympton et al.

Exclusivity – meaning communities which already have some sort of claim to gambling revenue (which can only mean the Raynham dog track)

But For’s – communities which, for example, depend on bingo nights etc. to help fund local organization like cub scouts, churches, you get the idea…

And another category which I didn’t hear because I couldn’t get the image of a butt with a big number 4 being burned into it with a branding iron, out of my head.

I wonder idly if Senator Pacheco had used the word ‘contiguous’ rather than ‘abutting’ for the first category in an attempt to avoid an excessive amount of big butts.

(It's been a long week.)

One of the first things Pacheco did that night, the currently popular strategy of the pro-casino lobby, is to insist the impetus is on the towns to find ways, if not to become dependant on gambling, to solve the fiscal crises facing the region. Want to complain? Come up with an alternative. Pacheco claims a desire for ‘a dialogue’ with the towns on this, yet it becomes clear that this dialogue will one-way. His way.

Through the course of the evening, I come to realize that Senator Pacheco doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid. He is the Kool-Aid.

John, from Plympton, whispers that the police officer in the back of the room was summoned by Nancy Yeatts in response to Ruth's repeated attempts to inject herself into the Task Force.

Well, I thought, that’s a bit harsh. To be honest, having once been gaveled by my own selectman, my heart went out to Ruth. She knows her job in and out, is always there at the meetings and, except for having a blood-Kool-Aid level of about 1.6 and a voice which could put Ambien out of business, she’s always seemed perfectly nice. No reason, I thought, to call in the gendarmes.

Or is it?

Nancy Yeatts saw, as I did, the events transpire over the summer in Middleboro. She’s heard about chest-thumping flying monkeys in orange shirts and executive limos, and she knows that Middleboro voters approved a casino agreement because they were convinced they had no choice. Thanks to CasinoFacts she knows that, instead of studying real casino impacts, the town listened only to the Tribe and a tribe of lawyers. And she watched the whole damn thing go down quicker than a Josh Beckett fastball. Then, she got a great big load of Adam Bond at the first Task Force meeting. Nancy Yeatts has a town - and now - an entire region to protect, and God help anyone from Middleboro who tries strong-arm their way onto her table.

That cop wasn’t for Ruth. He was a big flashing neon casino-sized ‘Keep Out’ sign for Middleboro.

Haven’t you done enough, already?

Something that was becoming clear as I listen to Senator Pacheco speak, is that he really doesn’t quite understand the scope of this project. He, like many people I’ve spoken to and heard from, view giant casino resorts from the lens of contemporary perspective. They drive there, play there, have a good time and come back. They don’t see what was there before, what was lost, and the damage done to the region beyond a casino’s front gate. But we must.

The Senator goes on to repeatedly compare the Connecticut gambling casinos, and what the impact of a similar project (or two or three or four) in our region might be like, to another mall, or a Great Woods, or a Gillette Stadium.

A that moment, my friends and I from CasinoFacts shared with each other a similar expression. We were all thinking the same thing; A Foxwoods-like resort casino is in no way, shape or form comparable to any of these things. Think more... a mall, a Great Woods, a Gillette Stadium, two or three Las Vegas Casinos, a Water Whiz, and every club on Landsdowne Street (if they were open for business and sold free drinks 24/7) – within 5 miles of residential neighborhoods, and about 50 public schools. Not to mention on the direct evacuation route for the Plymouth Nuclear Power Plant. Something more on those lines.

The longer Senator Pacheco continues to speak, the deeper I spiral into my own small personal depression.

I love my town. I love this whole region. And I’ve always loved the state of Massachusetts in a more-than-heart-felt way that it’s hard to explain. To me, it’s always felt like a privilege to have been born and raised here – here in this intellect- rich, politically charged, historically significant, rurally and coastally beautiful, gambling-free, drive-too-fast, talk-too-funny, do-the-right-thing, sort of a state.

I’ve traveled across this country, met people from everywhere and still, no other place could inspire me in the way Massachusetts does. You can keep your OC, your Manhattan, your Hamptons, your 90210. As far as I’m concerned, the world’s best zip code is 02324.

But, as I watch Senator Pacheco perform his pro-casino Macarena at the front of the room, and the empty seat which should have been occupied by my own absentee selectman that evening, and think of the exuberant and uncompromising pro-casino stance taken by Ms. Murray, not to mention Treasurer Cahill, and Governor Patrick, and and my state rep, David L. Flynn (D – Slots) - I suddenly realize how completely and truly unrepresented I am.

So lately, it's been sort of like watching the love of your life turn into a real jerk.

I look, with envy, at the leadership enjoyed by fellow my CasinoFacts co-directors in attendance. Carl, who's fortunate to live in a town where a person like Nancy Yeatts is on the Board of Selectmen. John, whose towns stands, almost to a man, against the casino. And Iron Mike, from Middleboro, the town which, while it's government courted the casino, it's citizens founded CasinoFacts.

Is it any wonder I have a blog? Or write editorials? Or hold a sign? Or have the world’s largest no-casino sign on my front lawn. I am anti-casino. Hear me roar. The more you try to contain the voice of the public in a democracy, the more it seeps out the sides and leaves a nasty stain on your shirt. In the end, you can’t ignore it.

I wake from my reverie when Mr. Pacheco loudly proclaims that he gets more calls to his office from pro-casino constituents. He expects us to be surprised, but we're not. Perhaps I could fax the Senator my chart detailing the make-up of this majority, compiled from empirical data gathered in the field. He claims that, sure, this force is only marginally louder, but it’s still louder.

(Must be the Butt-Force. )

The Senator takes questions. And my faith is renewed. The well-spoken rep from Plymouth trumps the Senator by stating that in his 37 years in politics he’s seen this happen more than once.

"It’s a very old song being played once again," with the state sort of promising tax relief to cities and towns but making no concrete promises. "This is a very quick fix at the state level" but "the buck truly does stop in local communities," he said. "We're at the end of the trail.


The Senator claims someone at that very table, who’ll he’ll leave nameless, called him that week looking for aid, but before he could finish his sentence, brave little Berkley spoke up to announce that she wasn’t embarrassed if he used her town as an example or not.

Carver, West Bridgewater, Pembroke and Halifax all politely rebuke the Senator’s claims that there is no other road to travel than the one lined with casinos.

You're not going to find the South Shore's family jewels at the State House - because they're right here in this room.

Lacking the support he no doubt expected, the Senator finally lays all his cards on the table by proclaiming that there is nothing, nothing that can not be mitigated with enough money.

The room is quiet. We’ve come to an impasse.

Perhaps, long ago, before he set out on his long and glorious career, the Senator once understood what is still obvious to everyone else in the room: Money can’t buy you love. And these representatives from around the table, love their towns, and love what their towns are all about. And you can tell that they're disappointed, some to the point of disgust, at the Senators attitude.

But then, not everyone has an appetite for Kool-Aid.

Finally, after not being able to stay, and yet never seeming to be able to leave, the Senator packs up his Blackberry, and makes an exit.

Ruth Geoffroy bounds up and follows the Senator out the door.

While she is out of the room Nancy calls for the Task Force to vote whether or not to include Middleboro in the Task force.

The result: A unanimous, unapologetic and resounding NO!

Returning to the room, Ruth asks to be recognized and makes another plea for Middleboro. She has no idea that her presence here is like having the person who burnt down the apartment building with their unattended cigarette, demand to be allowed into the tenants association.

When she gets the news, she flees the room to catch up with the Senator.

Meanwhile, with Middleboro and the Senator gone, the group can finally get down to discussing the real issues, and with luck, some real solutions. To my relief, and utter delight, the Senator’s efforts to downplay the impacts of a casino, seemed only to invigorate and galvanize the Task Force.

Well, we’ll just have to do it without him.

I look at my watch. Thanks to Senator Pacheco, I was already an hour late for the sitter. As much as I hated to leave now that the Task Force was getting to work, I had no choice.

But I could tell they were going to be just fine.

On my way out, I passed the Senator, alone and checking his Blackberry, on the library sidewalk. It’s my chance, I knew, to talk to him one-on-one, to tell him all I knew, to try and change his mind.

Instead, I kept walking to my car. It was late. The sitter was probably sitting in her car with the engine on. And I didn't have a jack hammer handy to get through to him. Besides, I was still suffering from butt force trauma to the head.

I think I’ll just give him a call.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007

I'll have another cup of Kool-aid, you'll have another piece of pie

The Boston Globe recently published the results of a poll conducted to determine the level of support Massachusetts residents are willing to give to the Governor's plan to locate three casinos in the state.

This poll surveyed 500 people and determined that 53% of them approved the governor's plan. According to the Globe, "The support is very broad and cuts across all ages, races, and geographic areas."

However, on closer inspection, who exactly are those 53%?

Gladys wanted to know, so she dug a little further...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Polls can be tricky, and statistics can say whatever you want them to. For an actual analysis of the Globe poll, click here.

ShareThis