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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

With a whimper

One of the more controversial issues in recent Massachusetts history is playing out quietly in the Massachusetts Senate this week.

It's not that casino gambling doesn't provoke passion any more. But amid the epic Red Sox collapse and cat fight gridlock in Washington, it seems as if the spirit has been wrung out of the debate. Oh wait a minute: what debate?

Sure the Senate plans to spend a large part of this week and next on the topic, but it's really nothing more than a civics class exercise for students who may hang out in the gallery. The fix was in for this piece of legislation since it emerged from behind closed doors in August.

Gone are the days of drama: Deval Patrick battling Sal DiMasi and a House firmly opposed; Deval Patrick battling Robert DeLeo and a House firmly behind a different bill that held sweetheart provisions for DeLeo's district.

Head-swiveling changes like that sucked all the drama out of the debate, enabling the Big Three to craft a bill that has barely managed to grab attention despite the reams of copy written about it.

That's also a product of a process where the lobbyists held center court. Was their a public hearing this year? Probably but who can recall. It would have been another piece of theater, irrelevant to the task dominated by lobbyists plying their craft -- on one side of the issue.

A slim majority of residents are said to support casinos with their promise of jobs and the chance at untold wealth. Nonetheless the bill offers little opportunity for opponents to air their views.

Against a casino in Boston? You are out of luck in voting your preference because the referendum will only be in East Boston, likely home of the DeLeo Dome.

So lean back and enjoy democracy in action. And place your bets on who pays the most to influence where the three casinos and slots parlor are eventually located. Anyone choosing Suffolk Downs-Wonderland wins. Big.

Which is more than can be said for the Red Sox.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

And remember it's with total Democratic control. Here's an idea, why don't the Democrats use this opportunity in history to set an example for the nation. Tax millionares to the hilt, increase benefits to the poor (we give them free cell phones, maybe free internet?) and show how socialism is really the way to go. Unemployment in the state could go to 0%, just give everyone a weekly stipend. We could send a beacon from bacon hill that would shine as an example to the country.

September 27, 2011 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some interesting glimpses of the Democratic party (the only party that matters) coming out of the casino debate. One Dem introduced an amendment that noone currently in the legislature could go to work for the casinos for 5 years after they left office. That's too long to wait for the payola for the Dems, the amendment was changed so they'll only have to wait a year. Sad

September 28, 2011 9:06 AM  

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