Friday, July 23, 2010

Land Sale

To the surprise of no one the Redevelopment Authority voted 3-2 to sell 300 acres originally designated for a BioPark to the Mashpee Wampanoags to build a destination casino.

I know Fall River is full of casino supporters, so let's string up the banners and have a ticket tape parade down Main Street.  Let's hear how this is going to mean jobs and prosperity for all. Hip Hip Hooray…

The agreement certainly is a good one…for the Wampanoags. They have covered themselves well. They can back out of the deal if gambling isn't legalized, if the land restriction isn't overturned, if Fall River isn't awarded a license, if the referendum vote to approve doesn't pass and pretty much any other risk they may have faced.

The meeting, much like the entire process so far seems to have been conducted in a great rush, full steam ahead, don't worry about the icebergs.  Flanagan's three stooges all voted to cut short any discussion. Meanwhile the other 2 members wanted more public explanation of the contract. A sticking point for Chairman Kenney is the possibility that the Wampanoags could convert that land sovereign immunity land. He also noted that the city may need to make concessions depending on the tribe's legal status on environmental and labor issues. I assume that means if the land is under sovereign immunity we're going to have to negotiate for them to adhere to certain employment and environmental regulations that the tribe would be under no obligation to honor.

Mayor Flanagan weighed in afterwards stating that:

"When I sit down and negotiate a deal on our behalf," Flanagan said later, "I'm going to negotiate a deal in our best interests to create jobs, protect our legal interests and generate revenues."

Of course that likely means without the input of the city council, concerned citizens or any other concerned party.

This is a decision and a course of action that is going to change the face of this city forever. Why are we not exercising caution and taking the time to make sure we are getting this right? There are enough reasons to be concerned. Instead this administration has proceeded at a reckless pace while often keeping everyone including the city council in the dark.

Mayor Flanagan has certainly demonstrated an arrogant tendency to want to have things his own way. His remarks tonight seem to be a pretty good insight into his leadership style:

"It's important mayoral appointments and the mayor be on the same page to approve developments in the city,"

That's right it' s not important to appoint the best qualified or the those with a sincere interest in serving. No, it's important to appoint those who will agree with you and rubber stamp the agenda that you push forward.

Flanagan himself admits "this is a hotly debated issue", he just doesn't believe he should have to listen to that debate.


Lazurusisus said...

In the long and storied Fall River history of back room deals, tortured justification reasoning and "me first" selfish elected official decision making, this latest chapter takes the proverbial cake. As Tumbleweed Flanagan orchestrated statements by local officials from the back of the room with a sparse audience in attendance, which made this bit of bad acting all the more obvious, this sad episode of Fall River's own entry in the "Reality TV" stumbles into oblivion, and Fall River with it, I fear.

I never thought I'd EVER say this...this guy makes Bob Correia loOk like a candidtae for best local politician of the year! At least the Great Destroyer never lied about who or what he was - and sometimes that's the only kind of TRANSPARENCY that counts!

Anonymous said...

The choice was Bob in a dress or Bob Correia Jr. except we didn't know he was Bob Correia Jr. at the time. Either way, it wasn't much of a choice last election.

Anonymous said...

Lefty, What happened in CT. How do they treat their workers?

Lefty, What good would it do if the tribe could not back out of the deal if they could not build a casino?

Lefty, What are the chances of the Biopark being built?

Lefty, What will the city do for jobs if there is no biopark or casino?

shamrock said...

Lefty, If I may......

Anon 9:41 AM July 25, 2010, RE:
"What happened in CT. How do they treat their employees?" Short answer: they treat their employees anyway they damn well please and there is nothing the state or federal government can do about it.

For example (not a CT casino but sovereign nonetheless), "Rich Iacone was two months shy of his 60th birthday when he was fired last year after nearly 13 years at Turning Stone Resort and Casino. The federal agency that oversees age discrimination complaints wouldn't take Iacone's case against the Oneida Indian Nation, which owns Turning Stone, because the nation is a sovereign Indian tribe. Iacone couldn't go to court, either, because the nation is immune from lawsuits. "I was denied my opportunity to bring this before an impartial justice system," said Iacone, who lives in East Syracuse. "When you work for an Indian nation, you forfeit any civil rights an American citizen normally would be entitled to." (4/30/07 - Workers forfeit rights)"

Anon 9:41 AM July 25, 2010, RE: "What good would it do if the tribe could not back out of the deal if they could not build a casino?" Short answer: Well it certainly wouldn't do the tribe any good at all if they couldn't back out of the deal: BUT, who the hell cares about the tribe's interest (except, of course, Steve Torres)? This is about Fall River's interests (*note to Torres).

Anon 9:41 AM July 25, 2010, RE: "What are the chances of the Biopark being built?"
ANSWER: 100% - the biopark WILL be built. Just not in Fall River. And that goes for all other UMass projects - they WILL be built, just not in Fall River.

Anon 9:41 AM July 25, 2010, RE: "What will the city do for jobs if there is no biopark or casino?"
Drive to New Bedford and work at their UMass biopark.

Lefty said...

Excellent response Shamrock!

I would just stress the point that if a casino can't be built the tribe walks away from it all. However Fall River will have lost the ability to but a BioPark there and the time and energy spent for that project and the time and energy spent on a casino. On TOP of that there is talk that Fall River is trying to purchase land in Freetown for the BioPark so there is time and money involved that if nothing else cannot be applied to other projects

Fall River should get certain assurances and compensation in case this all falls through. Fall River should demand compensation if this all falls through.

Anonymous said...

Lefty, any plans on interviewing the 3 senatorial candidates? They each have a web prescence.

Anonymous said...

Key pols fly coop during casino talks
By Hillary Chabot, Dave Wedge and Jessica Van Sack
Thursday, July 29, 2010 - Updated 3 hours ago

E-mail Print (32) Comments Text size Share Buzz up!Key Bay State lawmakers flew out of town this week to hobnob with lobbyists at a bourbon-swilling hoedown in the home of the Kentucky Derby - blowing a crucial deadline last night meant to break the stalemate on legalized casinos.

“I think it’s outrageous that at this critical point in the legislative session that they’re down there to be wined and dined,” said Thomas Whalen, a political professor at Boston University. “It just looks bad all around.”

At least three state lawmakers -including Senate President Therese Murray - hit Louisville for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual summit this week despite another looming deadline - the July 31 end of the legislative session.

The four-day taxpayer-funded junket featured a private serenade by Wynonna Judd and Loretta Lynn and a night of bourbon sipping and live horse racing at Churchill Downs’ “Millionaires Row,” according to the group’s Web site.

Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg (D-Amherst) - one of the lead negotiators charged with breaking the deadlock on casinos - bolted Tuesday night and spent most of yesterday in Louisville to receive a “leadership in the arts” award.

“This is a lifetime achievement award,” Rosenberg boasted, adding that he was on the phone with conferees before and after his award ceremony. He returned to Beacon Hill last night. “I’m sorry. I’m entitled to take four hours. I worked on (casinos) for three years.”

With many critical bills bottlenecked in the Legislature, lawmakers last night again failed to hammer out a compromise on casino legislation even though they set themselves an 8 p.m. deadline. They also cut out at 5 p.m. sharp Tuesday.

Sen. Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge) went to the Kentucky blowout Saturday and stayed all week as he prepared to be crowned the new president of the NCSL. He plans to return to Boston today.

“He’s certainly been apprised of everything. It’s not like he’s in another universe,” said spokesman Jared Cain.

Murray attended the confab Saturday and Sunday while House and Senate lawmakers were in tense negotiations about the casino legislation.

“(Murray and I) were in touch by phone constantly - the technology makes it totally possible,” said Rosenberg, who added that he talked with Murray “seven or eight” times Sunday.

Meanwhile, workers at the state’s racetracks held a rally yesterday inside the State House, begging lawmakers to save their jobs by legalizing slot machines - a potential deal-killer for Gov. Deval Patrick.

For his part, Patrick urged Beacon Hill leaders to extend the legislative session yesterday to ensure vital bills are passed.

“I hope it can get done at the end of the day on Saturday. . . . But if it doesn’t, the Legislature needs to stay in session. I’m calling on them to do just that,” Patrick said.