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

Patrick’s corruption tax

The Boston Globe’s Frank Phillips reports that Gov. Deval Patrick has decided to support three Massachusetts casinos. Under his plan, the state would put them out to bid, and the Mashpee Wampanoags would receive no special consideration. Given the avalanche of trouble under which the tribe’s proposed venue in Middleborough has fallen, I’ll stick with my prediction that that particular casino will never be built.

(Update: Or should I say backdate? Boston Herald reporters Scott Van Voorhis and Casey Ross had essentially the same story yesterday. An alert commenter called my attention to it, but for some reason Blogger ate it when I tried to post it.)

But this isn’t just a tragedy — it’s a tragedy foretold. Patrick and the officials around him have been watching as the Middleborough proposal has dissolved into corruption, investigations and recriminations. Three of the five selectmen who support the plan face a recall election, and the other two, also casino supporters, would if they hadn’t been elected too recently. Patrick knows exactly what he’s getting into; his eyes are wide open. He’s putting his entire governorship at risk, and he’s doing it strictly for money.

Will House Speaker Sal DiMasi stand in Patrick’s way? He’s a longtime opponent, and Phillips reports that DiMasi’s recent conciliatory rhetoric on the issue is nothing more than an attempt to avoid embarrassing Patrick. It shouldn’t take a huge amount of backbone on DiMasi’s part to stick to his principled position. He’ll have Cardinal Seán O’Malley, former attorney general Scott Harshbarger, former John Hancock chief executive David D’Alessandro and a host of other good people in his corner.

The governor must be stopped. Together we can!

My standard disclosure.

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Beyond the FBI’s casino probe


New Bedford’s loss, Middleborough’s gain


  1. mike_b1

    Dan, what if Patrick is posing on his pro-casino position? In other words, what if he and DiMasi have a deal whereby DiMasi will render the casinos DOA. Then Patrick will say, “Hey, we tried, but the legislature wouldn’t have it. So now we have to go to plan B.” Which would be raising income taxes.

  2. Bill Toscano

    Dan, I love ya!I really do.I appreciate your views on this topic, and I agree with them. I also appreciate your dislaimer.But . . . this is a media column.I think this:The governor must be stopped. Together we can!cross the line.Just the opinion of an avid reader

  3. don

    Whenever there’s a proposal for a huge project, two groups will inevitably have the most to say: the investors who hope to make a bucketful of money from the project, and the locals whose community would be disrupted by it. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a mega-proposal like a casino or a WalMart or beer license for a local pizza parlor.Just as inevitably, there’s a group who are silent: the people who would make use of the project. We don’t hear from the (legions of) people who now go to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun, nor do town and city halls hear from the everyday people who would go shop at Walmart or have a Bud with their large pepperoni & onion.The nut of the problem is that the greatest numbers of people who might “benefit” by a casino are underrepresented in the discussion. There’s talk about increased tax revenues, talk about irreparable degradation of a community’s character, talk about propagating the evils of gambling, talk about new job creation – but no one talks about the people who go to these places. Now I have been to Mohegan Sun once and to Foxwoods once, and I don’t expect to go back to either one. But there were (very literally) busloads of people who do go there regularly, and I suppose they enjoy it. I know for certain that I would not be in favor of a casino anywhere near my community, but nevertheless I do believe that the casino-goers ought to have a stronger voice in the matter.

  4. Mike from Norwell

    Now the Caddy and drapes can be marked off to rookie mistakes, and the 9/11 remarks can be put on traditional liberal feelgoodness, but this? Anything in that report about state-run brothels? Opium dens? Why not profit on all of the vices while we’re at it!Couple this w/ the proposed gas tax rise and GPS monitoring for 5 cents per mile in the next front page article, and the “Progressive” agenda has about 3 years to go before this state turns from blue to red.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Bill: I appreciate your comments, and call your attention to what’s at the top of this blog: “The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions.” I make no secret of the fact that I’ve taken an advocacy position on casino gambling. I also know I run the risk of boring or alienating loyal readers. But I believe I’m doing the right thing, and I’m not going to stop.

  6. Larz

    Sooner or later, the market for ever-bigger casinos is going to bust. I see it as a Ponzi scheme on steroids. Sure, Foxwoods is a big draw. But how many casinos can an area support?

  7. mike_b1

    What’s the state unemployment rate, 5%? The complaint I hear most often from business owners is the dearth of good employees. Does the state really need the jobs the casinos would purportedly create? Is there a difference between dishing up fries at a casino buffet vs. the local Burger King?

  8. Peter Porcupine

    Dan – I’ve said it all along. The Governor will back casinos because he needs to pay off on at least SOME of thsoe pesky campaign promises, without reverting yet again to Healy’s 50 point program for ideas. The fact that he was anti-casino pre-election is a buried fact, deep in the Globe archives, where it won’t be brought up again by them.All along, the objectons of Cahill and Menino centered around the State not getting a big enough cut. BTW – who will operate these three casinos? Cahill’s office? A new entity like GamblePort, which can become a haven for tolltakers if they merge the Pike with MassHighway? They DO have experience with handling quarters.The Democrat establishment wants casinos in New Bedford, Worcester and Boston. The problem all along has been that the Indian Gaming Act stipulates that tribal casinos must operate within 50 miles of tribal lands – and there aren’t enough Dorchester Democrats looking for patronage in Mashpee. So – they’ll do this legalization.Still – the tribe can put its Middleboro lands in a Federal trust and operate a casino per the voted agreement with the town with NO cut to the state. It can be a much smaller operation and still be profitable without the Beacon Hill Vampires to assuage.

  9. O-FISH-L

    An open question to Dan, David D’Allesandro and the others who are against a casino in Massachusetts. I’m just curious, in this entire debate if we inserted “abortion” for gambling and “abortion clinic” for casino, would any of you be so passionate in arguing against the freedom of choice?Why is it OK to force me to risk my life traveling out of state or to a back alley or to a seedy North End cheese shop to place my bets, when it’s a moral outrage that a woman might have to do the same thing to kill the child growing inside of her? Something is greatly askew when educated folks fight for “choice” on aborting human life but against choice for adults who want to gamble at a local casino.By the way, I’m sure there were plenty of folks in Brookline and Chestnut Hill (and wherever the abortion mills are now) that didn’t want them there. Just wondering if those opposed to the casinos will also be similary forced to protest in a “buffer-zone” far, far away.

  10. mike_b1

    Yeah, o-fish, you’re right! But why stop at abortion? Why not pederasty!? Give the people what they want!Swell logic.

  11. Neil

    I didn’t realize they perform abortions in those seedy North End cheese shops. I hope at least they use a separate room.

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