I was going to publish another blog today, but instead I'd like to echo my lovely friend Bumpkin, whose blog this morning revealed enlightening comments from a former mayor of Ledyard, CT, which as you know is home to Foxwoods Mega Casino and Resort.
Because this reminded me that I have a copy of a May 2007 letter from Nicholas Mullane, Current First Selectman of the town of North Stonington, CT - which is the town next door to Ledyard. Mr. Mullane was selectman before, during and after the building of Foxwoods. This is what he has to say:
Casinos don't sleep, you can expect a similar situation to Fenway Park, 35,000 - 50,000 people twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days per year. Increased traffic will impact your Fire, Ambulance and Police Services, not only will the major roads be impacted but the secondary roads, because of the diversion of the local people, casino patrons, and the casino staff. Even your Highway Department will have additional work with more wear and tear on your road infrastructure.
The local money will be diverted from the normal business purchases to the casino for everything from restaurants, refrigerators, automobiles, mortgages, and even college educations.
Gambling problems will affect the way local and municipal businesses operate. Your quality of life and the way of life that you have today will change completely. Your gas stations and donut shops will flourish...I dunno. This doesn't exactly sound like the robust iron-horse rivet-popping economic engine some people seem to think it will be.
The following items are from a bullet list of casino impacts that Mullane also put together...
Remember folks - this is the town NEXT DOOR TO FOXWOODS. Not the host community. This is what Bridgewater, Carver, Lakeville, Halifax, Plympton and Raynham will face. And, oh yes, Middleboro, too.
- Increased traffic through Town, 8,800 to over 25,000 vehicles per day.
- Increased traffic on Town's secondary roads.
- With increased traffic comes litter, traffic violations and accidents
- Closed two houses of prostitution, one with immigration violations
- Now have one pornography Super Store and a Smoke Shop
- Started with one Trooper, to Two Troopers, now to Three troopers with an added $50,000 budgeted for overtime services.
- This area has the highest DUI/DWI rates in the State of Connecticut
- This area has the highest Gamblers Anonymous Rate in the State of Connecticut
- Embezzlement rates have increased due to gambling problems 2 to 3 times what they were prior to the opening of casinos.
- Higher 911 Dispatching fees due to increased traffic calls
- Had to implement an Incentive Program to retain volunteers
- Highway Department has suffered a loss of efficiency due to constant high traffic volumes at various Town/State intersections and Town Roads.
- Property tax were devaluation on all residential property along Rte. 2
- No economic development in sight with traffic volumes and competition of Casino businesses.
- Tribe has maximized commercial development on it's Reservation
Someone had tried reading Mullane's letter at the May 2007 meet-and-greet (aka dog-and- pony show) with the not-as-yet disgraced former Mashpee Wampanoag chairman Glenn Marshall - whereupon Marshall loudly declared that Mullane was a racist.
Mr. Mullane prophetically ends his letter by saying,
I wish your community well, it is a very complex far reaching impact that is difficult to explain and much more difficult to understand.What isn't difficult for some of us to understand is that the only real 'economic engine' a casino will be for our region is the type that leaves us for last, dragging us down it's own track while tossing whatever 'mitigation' we can beg for into our powerless outstretched hands.
And now, doesn't that really make us the caboose?
From the Wikipedia definition of Caboose:
Of all the implements of railroading, none has had more nicknames than the caboose. Many are of American or Canadian origin and seek to describe the vehicle or its occupants in derisive ways. Often heard amongst crews was "crummy" (as in a crummy place to live, not elegant, often too hot or too cold, and perhaps not especially clean), "clown wagon," "hack," "waycar," "dog house," "go cart," "glory wagon," "monkey wagon" (a term that indirectly insulted the principal functionary who rode therein, no doubt coined by an engineer), "brain box" (the conductor was supposedly the brains of the train, as opposed to the "hogger" or engineer, who was presumed to be pigheaded), "palace," "buggy" (Boston & Maine/Maine Central), "van" (Eastern and Central Canada, usage possibly derived from the UK term for the caboose), and "cabin." There were others as well, some too profane to appear in print.