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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, December 06, 2011

Hide and seek

Whether it's the promise that children "can't see the equipment" or interviews taped in the Patriots studio for local airing, there's a sense team owner Robert Kraft is worried about losing control of his casino land-lease deal.

Rep. Dan Winslow, the local state lawmaker, certainly thinks so:
“We have to be very careful to ensure an open, transparent, public process and to avoid even the appearance of undue coziness between casino advocates and public officials.”
The carefully controlled interviews involving Kraft and casino mogul Steve Wynn may well be the tip of the iceberg of the lobbying efforts designed to enable Kraft to lease land across the street from Gillette Stadium to enable Wynn to build a casino that “fits in the woods’’ of Foxboro.

Kraft and Wynn triggered a firestorm with the announcement of their idea for a destination casino across the street from the stadium and Kraft's shopping mall. The idea has floated like a lead balloon in the town that finds itself battling traffic gridlock on game days and fears what would happen in a 24-7-365 scenario.

Wynn, who has made his career based on glitz, glamor and grandeur, appears to be channeling a new personality in saying its really about the experience, not the slot machines:
"The casino helps pay for it,’’ he said “That’s really what casinos have meant to me for the past 40 years, a chance to build dancing waters and fountains and volcanoes that erupt, tigers and sharks that swim behind the front desk.’’
How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, after they've seen Foxboro, eh Steve?

Kraft is equally disingenuous, banking on his 25-year relationship with town officials and residents in proclaiming the land lease is just business and the project would create 10,000 construction jobs -- double that of the Big Dig at its peak :
“It’s just like Staples coming in and renting space from us,’’ said Kraft, who is chief executive of The Kraft Group, which owns businesses in real estate, sports, paper and packaging, philanthropy, and other sectors.
Staples with sharks that swim behind the front desk?

Residents of Foxboro and neighboring towns are understandably furious about this sneak attack and what would be a dramatic and traumatic overhaul of their town. The scenario proves all the concerns raised by casino foes in the relentless march to enabling legislation.

Deval Patrick and the lawmakers who supported the concept as a jobs and revenue program can't shrink to the sidelines now as the chaotic process to site casinos begins. They owe it to communities to ensure that dreams don't turn into nightmares with sharks swimming wherever they want.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deval and company will be too busy sifting through the applications from their cronies to staff the new agencies created to watch over the gaming. The gaming commission, the state police gaming commission, the attorney generals version. But government has the best iterest of it's people at heart.

December 06, 2011 9:27 AM  

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