The debate over casinos in Massachusetts clearly isn’t settled yet.
Sen. Jamie Eldridge of Acton says a recent change in state law allowing casinos to continue serving alcohol two hours longer is proof that “our worst fears about casinos are coming to fruition.” He says the new 4 a.m. “last call” is not only a danger to public safety and a threat to local bars and restaurants, but a sign of the growing political influence of corporate special interests on Beacon Hill.
Not surprisingly, the mayor of Everett, where the Wynn Boston Harbor casino is under construction, holds a very different view. Carlo DeMaria says the Wynn resort is helping, not hurting, local businesses and propelling a turnaround for his city.
“A five-star gaming resort that’s the caliber of Wynn Boston Harbor does not take away from local businesses,” he says. “Rather, Wynn is bringing in tourists who would never otherwise have visited our city, while generating $660 million a year in taxes, payroll, goods, and services—including at least $100 million in commerce with local vendors. That’s nearly $2 million a day injected into our local economy. And that’s not counting one dollar of secondary spending in and around Everett by Wynn’s 8 million guests a year, or Wynn’s 4,500 employees.”
Edridge, meanwhile, goes a little overboard when discussing how the provision became law. He accuses Wynn Resorts of “sneaking” the last call provision into the fiscal 2018 House budget, and claims the provision became law when Gov. Charlie Baker “failed to veto it by the end of July.”
The provision does have an interesting history. It was inserted into the House budget by Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill, the chairman of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee. Dempsey left the House shortly after the budget was finished to work for ML Strategies, the lobbying firm that represents Wynn on Beacon Hill.
But it’s hard to put all the blame on Baker for the provision becoming law. After all, the Senate went along with the provision in the House-Senate budget conference committee, even though Senate President Stanley Rosenberg had previously slammed the measure. “This is the yellow light, the caution light. If you approve this, next month there’ll be another proposal and another one after that,” Rosenberg said at the time. “This is an industry that, if you’re not careful, starts to run the table.”
Carol Rose of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts criticizes Gov. Charlie Baker’s embrace of the “Trump deportation machine” and says Massachusetts shouldn’t collaborate with ICE beyond what the law requires. (CommonWealth) A Boston Herald editorial accuses opponents of the Baker legislation of engaging in appalling falsehoods.
Charlottesville regroups after the violence that spun out of control in the wake of a rally by white nationalists. The man accused of driving his car into a crowd and killing a woman is described as a Nazi sympathizer. (New York Times) Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he doesn’t want the city playing host to the Boston Free Speech Rally, which includes many of the speakers who appeared in Charlottesville. (Boston Herald)
President Trump condemned the violence in Charlottesville, but didn’t single out one side or the other. (Washington Post)
A new generation of white supremacists emerged in Charlottesville. (ProPublica)
Masked anarchists hijack a peaceful anti-racism protest in Worcester, leading to three arrests. (Telegram & Gazette)
Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno condemns one of his city’s police officers for a Facebook post in which he laughed at reports of a car plowing into protesters in Charlottesville. “Maybe people shouldn’t block roads,” he posted. (MassLive)
Jordan Evans, a local official in Charlton, explains what it’s like being transgender and Republican in the time of Trump. (CommonWealth)
US Sen. Elizabeth Warren says liberals have taken control of the Democratic Party. (New York Times)
Concerns about the flammability of wood-frame structures have been around a long time,but only now, in the wake of two devastating fires, is the industry starting to take notice. (Boston Globe)
Women in Communist and socialist regimes had more and better sex than their counterparts in western democracies, and the difference can be traced to government supports.and the nature of the economy. (New York Times)
Uber is getting close to selling a big chunk of itself. (Time)
Free summer-learning camps are targeting about 10,000 children in Boston, helping to close the achievement gap. (Boston Globe)
Low-income students are rare at Ivy League universities. (Boston Globe)
A Boston Herald editorial opposes rebuilding the bridge to Long Island, and treating addicts there.
A Boston Herald editorial slams Rep. William Straus’s idea to tap the Massachusetts Port Authority for money to upkeep Boston’s tunnels. Former transportation secretary James Aloisi called it a “whopper of a bad idea” last week. (CommonWealth)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing new tolls and congestion pricing to provide financial support for New York City’s transit system. (New York Times)
Opponents of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station are relieved the Baker administration’s new strategy for reducing carbon emission doesn’t include any subsidies or tax breaks for the power plant. (Patriot Ledger)
Photographer Ryan Kelly tells how he captured the photo of James Alex Fields Jr. plowing his Dodge Challenger into a crowd in Charlottesville, killing one and injury many. (Columbia Journalism Review)
PASSINGSNeil Chayet, whose “Looking at the Law” radio show on WBZ made him a household name, passed away over the weekend. He was a long-time board member of MassINC, the publisher of CommonWealth. (Boston Herald)
Boston Herald editorial page editor Rachelle Cohen pays tribute to political columnist Wayne Woodlief, who died Sunday. (Boston Herald)