Remember how, back in the good old days, whenever some 'issue' surfaced amongst the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, paid spokesperson Scott Ferson would magically appear, perform the danse inévitable then slink back to his hidey hole?
Ah... good times, good times.
These days the Tribe is reduced to speaking for themselves, complete with threats and an utter denial of reality.
In yesterday's Boston Herald, Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell was quoted as saying,
If the governor refuses to deal with us and distributes licenses to other casino operators, we won’t give the state a cent when we build a gaming facility in Southeastern Massachusetts,”The article failed to mention if Cromwell then put a hand on one hip, stamped his foot and stuck his chin in the air, but I suspect so.
“We know the governor is a busy man, but it’s very important for the administration to meet with us because we are a sovereign nation,” he said.That's right, Ced, the Governor is a busy man. Just look at how long he took to meet with the expanded gambling opposition here in Massachusetts. Two and a half years.
And to accomplish that we had live through his three-casino agenda, witness the incarceration of one of your predecessors, survive a Supreme Court decision, experience an economic meltdown, extract a resolution from the Democratic party, form a new organization and wait for a shift in the political climate.
But of course he'll meet with you. Doesn't he always drop everything to talk casinos with you? He's probably met with your Tribe more often than he's met with his own staff. Frankly, I'm surprised you don't have him on speed-dial like Glenn and Sean did.
And, I mean, why wouldn't the Governor want to meet with a 1,500 member sovereign nation with a colorful reputation for corruption, political-infighting, violence, and whose members struggle, according to you Ced, with substance abuse, and whose apparent singular goal is to bring casino gambling, an industry well known for it's association with crime and addiction, to a large section of the State under the guise of economic development that even some members of your own tribe oppose.
Who wouldn't pass up an opportunity like that?
But hey, please keep threatening to leave the State out of your imaginary casino revenue as it certainly gives the Governor just one more reason not to pass slot legislation.
Oh, and don't forget, if by some unholy miracle your tribe did get a.) Carcieri fixed b.) land into trust for 'gaming' c.) a favorable EIS and d.) a quarter of a billion for infrastructure improvements, you would STILL have to negotiate a compact with the Governor. And I suspect it would not involve the State getting bupkiss for gambling revenue.
In that event, sure, I suppose you could work the court system for a few decades in an attempt to weasel out of a compact ...Which would just give this great country of ours more time to realize how truly out of control and 'inequitable' (your words, not mine) federal Indian policy is in this great big modern cultural melting pot. That works for me.
By the way, as an aside, Senator Byron Dorgan, who introduced the latest Carcieri 'fix' has just announced his intention to retire. As did Connecticut's Chris Dodd, one of the men who helped usher in the age of inevitability for tribal casinos here in New England. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Chris.
And speaking of other 'fixes' that won't be forthcoming... The Brockton Enterprise (the same pro-casino daily which famously neglected to mention Article III from the July 2007 Middleboro Town Meeting from Hell) has gotten it wrong once again.
On the federal issue, Middleboro’s Richard Young, former president of the statewide anti-gambling group United to Stop Slots, said his group will lobby Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, a staunch opponent to tribal casinos.For those who are unaware, Rich Young has never had any association with United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, and should not be quoted by the media speaking for that organization.
Rich Young is the former president of CasinoFacts.org and of the now-defunct CasinoFreeMass.
Kathleen Norbut is the president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts and has been president of this organization since it's inception.
Frank Dunphy is the current president of CasinoFacts.org
Contact information for United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts is and has been clearly posted on it's web site for some time now.
USS-Mass, as many of you may know, is also the same organization which, in just the past several months has testified at the statehouse hearings on expanded gambling, met with the Mass. AG's top staff, as well as with the Mass. Secretary of Housing and Economic Development (twice), the Secretary of Health and Human Services (twice), Governor Deval Patrick, and held a large, well-publicized public Forum at Faneuil Hall featuring former governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis and his wife Kitty, Former AG Scott Harshbarger, Mass State Senator Sue Tucker, republican and former New Hampshire state senator Jim Rubens, and former democratic candidate for Ted Kennedy's senate seat, Alan Khazei.
And so, as you can see, it's perfectly understandable how the Enterprise reporter might have thought the group was too inactive and uninformed to be contacted.
But, for the record, I did personally alert the editor of Enterprise to the faux pas this morning (which remains uncorrected as I publish this post) but do continue to maintain complete faith that the paper will ignore the correction, repeat this and other glaring gambling-related errors, and continue to provide the public with similar exciting fiction in the future.
No Soup, one year!