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?