Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Casino Stink: Town Residents Get 1 Week to Review Plan

Good luck to Middleborough's 15,000 registered voters, because they get 8 days to review a 45 page document. And, honestly, who knows if the town would have posted the agreement ever unless the Secretary of State, Bill Galvin, intervened.

While the agreement with the tribe was reached Friday, town officials did not release it to the public until yesterday afternoon [Monday], by posting it on the town website after Galvin intervened. Galvin's office has administrative authority over the state public records law, which covers the agreement.

You know things are really bad when even Galvin raises his voice and asks serious questions. How the town thinks it can plan a 15,000 person town meeting in under a month is a serious concern - the town should have had months to plan such a large and important meeting, giving that time to both allow residents to vet the plan and town administrators the time to plan a safe, reputable massive town meeting. The last time we may have seen direct democracy on this scale is ancient Athens... and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison had a few concerns about that style of governance, especially given 8 days to 15,000 people to decide 45 pages worth of concerns.

The forces that be are pushing this proposal beyond all measure, waving their fingers arrogantly at both democracy and basic fairness in the quest to get $11 million more in additional funding. Who knew greed came so cheap? Never mind the fact that the casino seeks untold millions in state money for infrastructural costs, added police and fire presence and who knows what else, the people of Massachusetts are about to get fleeced.

The leadership at Beacon Hill must act boldly, even if Middleborough's leadership plans on pushing proposals through without giving residents enough time to truly weigh their decisions. We elect representatives across the state to protect the people: they have a solemn duty to do what Middleborough's leadership hasn't - truly vetting the decision and making sure they're looking out for what's good and right in Massachusetts.

There is nothing that should compel Beacon Hill to automatically pass slots gambling for this particular casino or any, should it get through Middleborough's voters come this Saturday: no casino will ever be built in this great Commonwealth unless and until our state government concedes on legalizing slot machines. The casino proponents should have come to the state directly, instead of some random town. They've tried to force our hands and we ought to say no. The residents of a small town may need a little luck to avoid being fleeced by the powers that be, but it's much harder to do so against the entirety of the people of Massachusetts: we've waged bigger battles and fought harder wars than to be defeated by some casino.


Anonymous said...

Considering the impacts presented at the town meeting were based on river boats - I urge the Governor Patrick to investigate the selectmen in Middleboro.

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