The best description in the traditional media of the Middleborough town meeting that approved the casino-gambling deal appears in an editorial today in The Enterprise of Brockton. The whole thing is a must-read (linked moved; now fixed), but check this out:
This is a decision that will affect the state for generations. It will alter many lives, change the economy of the Bay State, create new issues and have many consequences. It is not a decision to be made lightly or hastily, so no one should hold Patrick to his previous promise to make a decision this week.
This rational approach is in sharp contrast to what has happened in Middleboro in recent months where residents reluctantly voted to support a casino, to be built by the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe (or more accurately, their billionaire backers). There was little time for debate and reflection on how it would affect the town and the region, especially since there was always the subtle threat that if Middleboro didn’t make up its mind — and fast — the Indians would take their slot machines elsewhere.
To which I would add this: The “subtle threat” was not so much that the Indians would take their slot machines elsewhere, but that they would build them in Middleborough whether residents liked it or not. That’s why people were told to vote “yes” on the deal even if they opposed the casino itself. That’s why they turned right around after the first vote and voted “no” on an advisory question asking whether they wanted to see a casino built in town.
The editorial urges Gov. Deval Patrick to take his time on making a decision (apparently he needs no such urging), and concludes: “This may be the most important decision you ever make as governor. Don’t let anyone from any quarter put pressure on you. Do what is best for the long-term welfare of the people of Massachusetts.”
Look at what we’re dealing with now. A tribal chairman, Glenn Marshall, who left in disgrace. The entire tribal leadership facing a recall election. Three of Middleborough’s five selectmen facing a recall election. (The other two, including the chief casino enabler, Adam Bond, escaped only because they were elected too recently.) Two of the investors with dubious legal records. A mysterious meeting with the ethically challenged state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.
Just walk away, governor. You don’t need this.