There’s a player out there in pro-casino land by the name of Fact Finder - who is actually a guy named Brian Giovanoni - who headed up a committee this summer charged with analyzing potential casino impacts - a committee which which would eventually come to be known as the Committee to Dismiss Public Input.
But, at that first meeting, I was impressed with Brian. He seemed to take his original charge very seriously, and at the end of the night went around the table asking all of us all why we were there, and if we had questions. And that’s the first opportunity I had to tell him and everybody else that I was from Bridgewater, and that there was concern about this project in the surrounding communities. Not that it mattered for much in the months to come.
One thing you can say about Brian is that he has a lot of energy. Unfortunately he expends much of it on extensive and colorful calculations, convoluted explanations and definitive proclamations that “prove” a casino is a good and righteous thing for both his town and ours.
Having had quite enough of the Committee to Dismiss Public Input, it’s shallow research, pat answers and conviction that all impacts could be mitigated with enough money, I seldom feel the need to visit Brian’s blog. But today a friend alerted me to a new post in which Brian appears to suggest that we in the surrounding communities should not only not be griping about potential impacts, we should actually be genuflecting to Middleboro for its magnanimous foresight in courting the casino industry to our region.
By signing the agreement with the Wampanoags, according to Brian, Middleboro “single-handedly fixed the traffic problems which has thwarted full economic development in the region.”
Wow. Should I send them a thank you card?
Turns out that Middleboro is already sharing it’s mitigation money with the rest of us in the form of the $172 million dollar Rte. 44 reconstruction project – which will supposedly spur economic growth and tourism in the region.
Then Brian takes it a step further and lists the numerous things on which $172 million could have been spent if Middleboro had kept it all to themselves - and not shared it with us. Like, for instance, a new $20,000 car for everyone in town, or 172 new ladder trucks, or paying everyone’s sewer or water bill for 30 years, or 172 years of curbside trash pickup or three new schools. His astonishing list goes on…
Brian not only chugs the Kool-aid, apparently he’s tapped a big keg of it in his backyard and wants us to come to the party.
Let me sprinkle some snow on this poppy field.
Rte. 44 highway reconstruction will be paid for with taxes. That means WE will ALL pay for it. This doesn’t exactly make it manna from heaven. Additionally, Brian's $172 million doesn’t seem to cover any reconstruction to 495. Additionally, it doesn’t pay for mitigation for the burden of increased traffic down secondary roads leading to the proposed site (like mine). And it doesn’t pay for increased law enforcement or emergency services that surrounding towns will need in order to deal with the increases in DUI’s and accidents we can expect. And, with 50,000+ additional cars on our roads, who’s going to pick up their curbside trash? You, Brian?
As for spurring economic development – doesn't he really mean siphoning off existing business?
I once attended a forum in Carver and watched as Brian went to the microphone, again and again, to assure residents that a casino would, among other things, help their town explore new and exciting economic opportunities - such as scorching the earth on either side of Rte. 44 so they could sprinkle it with Econolodges and Red Roof Inns. And for a moment there, it seemed as if those 160+ people wanted to leap on Brian and tear him limb from limb.
Poor Brian. He means well. He just doesn’t understand that some people actually care about their quality of life. And he's apparently oblivious to his own arrogance.
And as for allowing for the “smooth flow to and from Route 495 from Routes 28, 18 and 44 for all to use” as Brian suggests – I suggest Brian sit in slow-moving traffic behind an exhaust-belching casino tour bus just like I did on a field trip to Ledyard.
And finally, no one was ever going to give anyone $172 million for schools or new cars or trash pick-up. This has all been about servicing a casino - which does a disservice to surrounding communities and leaves us like beggars at the door seeking a hand-out from the state for "mitigation" for a whole slew of problems we didn't have to begin with.
So really Brian, thanks for that.