Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Little Economic Engine that Couldn't - Part I

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...

  • 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

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.

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.

Well, naturally.

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.


Carl said...

This makes perfect sense now. The whole casino economy is run by a flying "monkey wagon." Thank you so much Gladys for clearing this up for us.

Gladys Kravitz said...


I swear to God. I KNEW you would be the one to pick up on 'monkey wagon'!!




Raymond Tolosko said...

It's amazing how our discussions come full circle.
When you think about it, our concerns have always been the same...

Nichols Mullane's letter said it so clearly to us in the beginning

...we just needed to listen.

Mark Belanger said...

Post casino, I had one selectman tell me about the wonderful benefits of some new hotels that were being built in/around the CT casinos. Later I heard another selectperson parrot the same thing. So I did what any good anti-casino person would do. I read and investigated it.

Turns out, if you look at the revenue of every casino around Ledyard, Mystic, Groton, New London, etc, and add up all the revenue, it's actually very small.

I'm still waiting to see how this is not a caboose.

Anonymous said...


You mean to tell me that Middleboro, and the surrounding communitites, will experience these horrible and negative things if we get a casino here?

I don't think that's possible, because, we're getting 7 million dollars.

Afterall, our Chief of Police said there would be no increase in crime, and someone else told me that because Middleboro was getting 7 million dollars in mitigation money, there would be MORE police, so there would be LESS crime.

You can't get 7 million dollars and have negative impacts. That's what the 7 million is for, to make all the bad stuff go away!

So think very carefully about whether or not you want a casino in Middleboro. I think you will agree that 7 million dollars is a good thing and will improve the quality of life in our communities, thereby making the casino the next best thing to the people that brought it here, the Middleboro Board of Selectman!

Signed, a concerned Middleboro resident.

PS - Hi Mr Srather! Can I get a check now, too?

Gladys Kravitz said...

Bumpkin, funny how we have both looked into this economic engine thing and turned up a caboose!

I remember that most excellent blog post of yours! Definitely a Must-Read on casino peripheral development.

I also remember the good people of Carver not buying the hotel arguement either when your CRAC chairman inexplicably tried to sell it to them last summer.

You can fool some of the people some of the time...

carverchick said...

What I find amazing is that pro casino people will still insist that Mr. Mullane is exaggerating, or lying and that a casino in Middleboro will be wonderful for everyone. Yeah, well I guess you could think that way when the Tribe considers things like increased crime in the area as not applicable - not worthy of mitigation as so kindly stated in the EIS scoping document.

Oh, yes...the communities are the monkey wagon caboose. The Tribe is betting on that.

Anonymous said...

As always, an interesting analogy.

Anonymous said...

I will *never* understand the position some of my life long friends from our hometown, could be on the pro-casino side??? I did my research *before* I made a decision, after all this is a one shot deal, no going back if it doesn't work out like the BOS said it would. How could you not take the time to do some investaging??
So, after listening to this letter being read, from a very realiable source, I figured, OK, I'll make the short trip myself and ck. out the areas of *both* the CT casino's.
That was around June of 07, *Oh my God* I was in a different kind of "culture shock" (not the good kind!), I went to the surrounding business's, the schools, talked to everyone and anyone. and again with shock I have to say, *Oh my God* why would anyone with even a little bit of intelligence want a casino in their town.
Afer making my *own* dedermination on the benifits of a casino, (not someone telling me I want this because, *we* said it would be good for you), I supported I feel sorrowful that my friends only believed what they heard,(now I can say from very unreliable sources), and didn't go the extra mile to "see" for themselves how a casino *really* effects your community.

Don't the BOS, chief of police, even go there about the less crime, and the whopping seven million dollars,(written with contempt), my hometown is getting!! It's a joke, and the joke's on us!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Gladys, bloggers, and casino"facts".org for always giving us the other side of the issue.
After going back a few weeks ago and re reading the articles on Middleboro's proposed casino in the newspaper, printed for over a year, especially all the letters to the editor, (I saved them all from Brockton Enterprise), I noticed that just about every letter from a pro-casino person only used negative, hurtful, offensive remarks about anyone from the anti casino side, and never gave one fact to back up the claims, with documentation, about how a casino would be "good for us" So, I have come to this conclusion:

To all the pro-casino supporters:

Anonymous said...

In defense of the casino, a selectman listed all of the development in surrounding towns that impact the 'boro. Never once did he list the commercial/industrial development that Jack Healey discouraged. Maybe it went no further than Jack, but maybe Wayne Perkins knew as well. Those 2 did more to negatively affect the town because residents weren't paying attention than you can imagine. They used the town as their playpen. And the other 4 members of the Bored of Selectmen sat silent and were brain dead. And condemnation of the school committee and superintendent for their complicity is deserved.
Like others, I did my homework early in the process and have supported the opposition. Proponents have no argument other than personal attacks and venom, just like that Vegas Val caricature and the other anonymous creeps.
To all of you bloggers, keep blogging. We're reading and we support you. You're just braver than we are to tolerate the mindless attacks.

Anonymous said...

The proposed Wampanog casino will gridlock the entire region and for that reason alone it was misguded. Can you even imagine a sumer weekend with Cape trafic and the additional casino trafic?
On summer Friday and Sunday evenings, we come home and PARK.
Even with the price of gas, there is no going out for dinner on a Friday night because of the traffic unless we're going in the oposite direction.
That reason alone should alert all of the surounding towns to the potential.
Yesterday afternoon, there was a serious accident at the intersection of Route 44 and Everet St that backed up trafic. And there was another at the Rotery somewhat later that also backed up trafic.
If you can't keep trafic moving now, how do you add 50,000 cars per day?
And thats before we consider the other related issues like acidents, DUIs. It makes no sense that those that live in other towns aren't more activly involved.