A mystery in the form of several boxes of casino-related
"engineering studies, maps, deeds, plans, letters and public notices"rests in assorted corners in the offices of Middleboro Town Manager Charles J. Cristello and Planning Director Ruth M. Geoffroy, awaiting public inspection.
No one is quite sure why.
But apparently, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe filed a public-records request last month for various ephemera relating to the Middleboro casino chronicles and paid $3,000 for the privilege.
Does this have anything to do with the Tribe's casino defection to Fall River? Or the Town's claim's that the Tribe can't be trusted? Could it be related to certain un-paid bills? A bizarre form of intimidation? Or perhaps the fulfillment of some cryptic federal requirement triggered whenever a Tribe attempts to renege on a done-deal?
And wouldn't it be poetic justice if the Tribe's lawyers somehow end up using Article 3 or the slightly less than 2/3 vote on the intergovernmental agreement vote as their own 'get out of Middleboro Free" card?
The article sheds no light on the mystery, but being the Enterprise, that's hardly surprising. Still... the Town seems equally befuddled, and Cedric Cromwell isn't talking.
And so that can only mean one thing. That this is no great mystery, but yet another installment of our favorite, long-running soap opera, The Stupid and the Damned.
And while Stan Rosenberg may be glued to the screen, most of us have already changed the channel.
Because, just speaking for myself, it's difficult maintaining a suspension of disbelief having watched Cromwell insist his Tribe lives in dire straits, only to discover he's retained an attorney and shelled out three grand for a bunch of dusty crap from the era of inevitability.
If Cromwell, a one-man Peyton Place, wants to know why his Tribe keeps getting dissed left and right, he need only look in a mirror. Between this pouty little intrigue and his other less than stellar actions, it makes it hard to trust him as the leader of a neighboring sovereign nation, let alone the captain of an industry so well associated with corruption and greed.
And, if he's waiting for the town fathers to figure out his mysterious motives, he may as well pull up a comfortable chair and have a nap.
Oddly enough, I too, have a box of ephemera collected during the last three years. It contains, among other things, a handwritten letter from a State senator thanking me for building the USS-Mass web site, my crumpled and discarded testimony from the 2008 casino hearings, notebooks, a cherished t-shirt with the word "Honest" across the front that I received as a gift, an crumbling long-stem rose from a winter's evening at Faneuil Hall, political cartoons snipped from newspapers, highlighted reams of federal regulations, and a letter from a State Rep expressing his amazement that so few of his colleagues are willing to vote their conscience.
My collection reminds me that, while we wait for the next twist in the plot of this endless melodrama - or at least for the Cape Cod Times to flesh out the facts of the mysterious ephemera on view in Middleboro - there is at least one thing of which I'm already certain - and that is that there is more truth and integrity to be found among my collection of dusty little artifacts than was ever contained within that Pandora's box opened three and a half years ago.
And like sands through the hourglass, my friends, so are the days of our lives.