By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Middleborough rejects casino

Despite all the propaganda, despite the loathsome efforts of casino supporters to cast opponents as friends of the Ku Klux Klan, Middleborough residents today did the right thing and said “no.” Keep that in mind when you hear that folks who attended the town meeting approved the selectmen’s proposed deal with the Wampanoags. To wit:

  • The Enterprise: “After a grueling four-hour town meeting in more than 90 degree weather, more than 3,000 voters at today’s historic town meeting voted overwhelmingly to accept the agreement to put a casino in town.”
  • The Globe: “Voters in Middleborough today approved a historic agreement to bring a casino to the semi-rural town 40 miles south of Boston.”
  • The Herald: “Middleboro OKs casino by 2,387 to 1,335.”

So, is Media Nation hallucinating? Not at all. Here is the key, explained farther down in the Globe story:

The voters, however, sent a mixed message. In a separate, non-binding question before the town meeting, the residents voted no on a proposal to have a casino in the town. Town officials insisted that the open ended question — approved by a voice vote — had no impact on the agreement with the Wampanoags. But casino opponents were nonetheless cheered by that result.

That is not a mixed message at all. That is a clear message that though the voters believed the proposed deal was the best they could get, their preference is no casino at all. Over and over, the townspeople have been told that if they rejected the deal, the casino would be built anyway, and the town would get far less than it would by signing the agreement. Thus the “yes” vote on the agreement was entirely predictable.

But they rejected the casino itself, and that ought to be the end of it. It will be interesting to see how the pro-casino forces spin this one. I just hope the media catch on better than they have so far.

Update: Here is the warrant for today’s town meeting. As you can see, Article 2 was on the agreement, and Article 3 was on the casino itself. Here’s what voters said “no” to in Article 3: “To see if the Town approves of the creation of a Gambling Casino Resort Complex within the Corporate Boundaries of the Town, or act anything thereon.” Clear as a bell.

Update II: Great report from Sabutai at Blue Mass Group. Check out his description of orange-shirted, pro-casino union forces, who pushed their way into the crowd and apparently even managed to cast some voice and hand votes. The “yes” vote should be challenged immediately because of this shocking breach of protocol. Remember, town police took some pains to keep the media at bay — why couldn’t they do the same to the IBEW?

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  1. Bart

    I don’t think you are justified in saying that the casino-friends group considers everyone who is against the casino as KKK. Reading the site, they are saying that some members of the anti-casino groups have shouted racial epithets and thus challenging the anti-casino group to prove that it’s not bigoted based upon racial or class lines.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Bart: I didn’t say “everyone,” you did. Don’t put words in my mouth. is playing classic guilty-by-assocation, trying to force casino opponents to defend themselves against charges of being racists instead of talking about the real issues.

  3. Anonymous

    I know why the smear campaign. The unions were behind it. The investors promised deals to certain town citizens. They are professionals at getting what they want. For example, LT. Gates (Middleboro Police) used his influence to make sure there was a yes vote. He stands to make millions from selling his land. You think he was stopping the union supporters from any smear campaign, out of towners picketing, lawn signs being pulled up, ‘no casino’ cars being keyed? Unions and the Investors mobilized and had professional picketers, (bums who cannot do much work but are on the union payroll) How do you suppose they got the shirts, hats, stickers handed out yet the police told the people they could not hand out a flyer? We could not pick up and drop off the elderly, yet, the town made an exception for MSM limousine that backs the casino. Putting the cops in front of the voters to stare down the dissenters. Cops threatening people not to continue debate as it is detrimental to people’s health in the heat, even suggesting the possible death that may occur will be on your hands. The documented list of egregious acts went on because local crooked government has made sweet deals for themselves, and needed to push people into another bad decision.The town was told if you vote no, they will come anyway and we shall receive zero dollars. If that is true, you should have voted yes. However, that was not true and is still not true. It would have been very easy to end this yesterday, will a no agreement the investors would have had to rethink there timeline (No one has seen) the conceptual design for the casino (no one has seen).Middle class people are already leaving. Debbie Blaise has already had deals fall through. There are almost as many for sale signs as pro casino signs. Whos is going to buy a house that bordors a casino? The 2/3 that voted either has something to gain, or, they think it is coming anyway let’s get something. Even if the deal is bad, it is something. The most agreed to item I could tell was the town management must go. I, by accident, called my apathetic brother (it’s generational thing) and said it was coming, he said ‘get good at gambling then you can walk to the casino.’ This is what brought the yes vote, the ‘What Ya Gonna Do’ people. The people who were defeated before this came to a vote. I went to town meetings, me and about 20 others at the most. I watched the town go down the tubes because of the nitwits making the decisions, and because we did not dissent then we have this debacle now. Yesterday, I stood in the face of tyranny and voted no, I glared back at the cops and raised my hand in dissent, I looked at the pro casino union drunks voted no, I voiced my opinion, I was cordoned off and faced down all dirty looks, I called for the 2 minutes on that nasty ugly Mrs. Bond as she screamed at us country podunks, I stared at Mr. Bond as he lied, (all lawyers lie but getting bullshitted by a NYC casino investor implant seems worse), and I still feel I did not do enough. Enough to say I did everything I could when I read in the paper a coked out gambler, gambled away his house, and now took the gamble to drive 90 down a back street to avoid police and slammed into a minivan full of kids on their way to school. Well at least I will not be contributor, who lied and said it would not happen. I can say I was not the; a crooked paid off cop, a slimy lawyer selectman, a selfish union worker, and the worst; an apathetic weakling who refuses to take a stand.

  4. Anonymous

    Update II, the “orange-shirted pro-casino forces” part, proves that you can’t start a casino without organized crime. Only this time, instead of the Mafia, its the IBEW. I wonder how much they got paid.

  5. Anonymous

    Has any town ever successfully fought a casino? Perhaps you could seek out some advice there.If the majority of people don’t want it, then you should not give up. I know it’s hard to face the “What are you gonna do?” apathy/defeatism. But if you saw a majority vote “no” even if it wasn’t binding, don’t give up. I live in Kingston and it took us years to get sewerage. I had to face huge voter apathy. Begging people to stand up and fight. Saying over and over “I know we’ve lost in the past, but we must keep fighting”. It was tough, but in the end we got it.Don’t give up. If the majority of citizens don’t want it, don’t give up.As far as non-voters breaching the lines. Don’t give up on that either. I am shocked. I am an appointed election worker in Kingston and I am telling you that your election workers take that seriously. Again, back to the sewerage vote. We had a section cordoned off of property owners who were not voters. They were recognized and allowed to speak, but of course, not to vote. As bad as I wanted sewerage, I didn’t want it enough to allow any one of them to sneak a vote. Election workers in the Commonwealth swear an oath. We take it seriously.Diane Miller

  6. Peter Porcupine

    Gee – the last time I ran into the IBEW punks, it was at the Kerry-Weld debate, where the police had to escort the Weld supporters out of Faneiul Hall. Of course, they got into trouble rocking Tim Duncan’s car when he was going to a political event since he had the temerity to Terry Murray.Maybe the police didn’t keep them at bay due to decades of having them routinely interrupt public events on behalf of Democratic candidates? This seems to be one their few non-partisan gigs.

  7. Anonymous

    yet, the town made an exception for MSM limousine that backs the casino.I need to tell you I drove anybody pro or anti I just need another hotel in the area. thats hwy Im so for it.Msm exec

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