Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

When 10 taxpayers formed a group to stop the land sale for a proposed casino I had a conversation with a friend and predicted that we would soon hear voices saying that these folks were stopping progress and keeping jobs from coming to Fall River. And sure enough I've heard, read, and had conversations where that very viewpoint has been expressed. I further said sooner or later someone would suggest suing the ten taxpayers because they were stopping job development. Sure enough I've seen those comments pop up too!

This whole issue has been framed as being about jobs. You're either for the casino or against jobs. Mayor Flanagan looks at the opposition as a "war on jobs" Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.

How do you tell someone who is out of work and at risk of losing their home that jobs aren't important? How do you tell someone who can't put food on the table that we need to think "long-term"?

What's the old saying "desperate times call for desperate measures"? Well times are tough and people want jobs now. Unlike some I have no doubts that if this were brought to the ballot as either a binding or non-binding referendum it would pass.

You can almost hear the rally: "what do we want? JOBS!!! When do we want them? NOW!!!!

But for some reason all these people who are crying for a casino don't seem to understand that it's NOT going to bring jobs now. It's not going to bring jobs for YEARS! All the arguments that a biopark won't bring jobs for years seems silly when the alternative won't bring anything immediately either, if at all. Even if the city is able to somehow have the injunction against the land sale overturned, even if the injunction never took place, the land sale does not create jobs because you can't build a casino there!

Everyone in favor acts as though legalized gambling is a given, well it's not!

Already you have Governor Patrick publicly stating that a gaming bill is no longer a priority. You also have Speaker DeLeo saying the same thing. Even if they change course and suddenly but this back on the front burner there is no guarantee this is going to pass. It just FAILED to pass because nobody could come up with a compromise! Oh, of course we have the brilliant Plan B, where the Wampanoag's will be able to put the land into trust and no longer have to deal with whether or not gaming is legal is Massachusetts because this will be Indian land. Well that isn't a given either. The tribe's tie to the land seems to be nonexistent and it's been said that other applications are of a higher priority. Of course let's not forget that if for some reason the tribe WAS able to go this route they don't have to worry about gaming being legal, or the environmental protections on the land, or labor laws, or any other protections we take for granted that wouldn't apply to Indian land. Oh yes, our crack legal minds will make sure to carve out the best possible deal for Fall River to make sure our interests are protected. Bullshit. This administration is so desperate to see this happen that they'd give away your first born if that is what the tribe demanded. I have zero faith that our leadership will protect our interests and you should too. Of course brilliantly as a casino faces all of these obstacles we'll spend thousands of dollars fighting an injunction because if we win we can then be stopped by the fact that it's not legal, if it were Fall River might not be picked, that there are no guarantees that the land will ever be put into Indian trust. Flanagan is spending money we don't have to win a battle, and not the war!

So meanwhile, injunction or no injunction we sit and wait. We wait to see if gaming gets legalized. We wait to see if the land becomes Sovereign land. Meanwhile weeds are growing on 300 acres of land and no jobs are being created. Even IF gaming is legalized in the state we still have no guarantee that Fall River would be one of the selected sites. So we wait and wait some more. If the land sale does go through well the RDA can help UMass Dartmouth secure a parcel for the Bio-facility (it's not longer a park) and they can PAY Ken Fiola. Well that's good it's great to know that if we sell off some of this land we can at least RETAIN a job. It would be awful to see Kenny looking for work.

In the meantime as the days, weeks, months, YEARS trickle by, this will all be time that the biopark, because it was shovel ready, could have been built and developed and marketed and maybe start attracting some job opportunities here. Yes, a lot of those jobs would be higher education jobs but there would also be tons of jobs that wouldn't require a college degree. And it's not just jobs.

Oh there's the cry again: Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

Jobs are important but so is development. You can put all sorts to people back to work in Fall River but if the city is going to prosper we need more revenue and that requires development! Good example, Meditech now plans to build a huge facility in Freetown, job-wise whether it's here or there probably doesn't make a huge difference. However, Freetown is going to get a real estate tax for that new development. If the Biopark had never been disrupted maybe Meditech would have built here in Fall River and we would be getting all that tax revenue.

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

Have a conversation with anyone who is in favor of a casino and tell them you're not and they say don't you want jobs? Don't you know we need jobs? But hold on, it's not going to bring jobs today, or tomorrow. In fact it could be costing us jobs because we've totally derailed a project that we've worked for a decade to bring here for one that we can't guarantee will ever see the light of day because it faces ½ dozen hurdles. It's not as simple as a casino = jobs and no casino means you're against. How much time have we spent discussing the negative issues? What will this do to existing business? What will this do the city's crime rate? What social issues will this bring to the city? I'm told that one city councilor said that people are adults and responsible for their own choices. THAT just isn't true. We as a society shoulder a large burden for the choices adults make and then take no responsibility for. This is particularly true in communities like Fall River!

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

That's all I hear! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

Whether you're for this or not, do yourself a favor, grab one of our elected officials and ask them how many people will be put back to work in the next 6 months because of the casino? If you don't include LAWYERS, I'm pretty sure the answer is ZERO. Seriously go ask one of our city councilors, go ask Flanagan, or Fiola, or any member of the RDA. How many people will be put back to work in the next year? 18 months? 24 months? And if they give you an answer question it! If they tell you ground will be broken by the summer ask how? Ask how are we getting passed the legalization. How do we know when it MIGHT become sovereign land? They don't know! They can't tell you! And if you press every answer and just don't nod dumbly and walk away they're going to get mad at you asking. They're going to start throwing out "facts" that they can't back up and start making excuses. They'll blame these 10 taxpayers when the legislature failed to put a bill in front of the Governor that he would sign. They'll say the majority wants this, even though they have no facts to back that up. They'll tell you that a biopark wouldn't have put anybody to work either, when the fact is some construction could already be taking place and Fall River could possibly have had Meditech as one of the parks first tenants. Then they'll tell you we need the jobs, because they have no answers just buzzwords and rhetoric.

7 comments:

Skoorey said...

Good Job Lefty! :-) You said it all.

When Bush was president I said that while I totally disagreed with practically everything he did, thought he was ruining the country economically, and starting a war in Iraq that was unnecessary, I had to say in my heart I thought he was doing what he thought was best, however misguided he was, however insane he seemed to me.

It is the same here. I will give them all credit, the mayor, casey, Mitchell, that their heart is in the right place, but they are MISGUIDED. Casinos are not the answer. If you want jobs now for Fall River, with a population that is undereducated, you bring in service industry companies or manufacturing. You look for call centers and support staff positions. It is possible. Totally possible. But they all have their eyes on this bogus prize. A casino. The magic answer to all of Fall River's ills.

Baloney. They do not know what they are talking about. They want to believe, they need to believe. But they are avoiding reality.

We all want jobs. We all want a better Fall River. There isn't anyone who doesn't. But Pat Casey said to my face yesterday that I must hate Fall River because I am against a casino.

That was a new one for me. I had heard that if you are against the casino you are against jobs. That is a load of crap, as we all know.

But to say that I hate the city because I am against the casino-----well that must be the new meme they are going to throw out at us.

I came here by choice. I moved here on purpose. I came to love this city and all its whacky ways. I adore it now. And I am terribly insulted that a city counselor would say such a thing to me.

It was as if she was telling me to leave. Get out if you are going to get in the way. Leave us to our city. It issn't yours to protect.

Crazy talk in crazy times. But incredibly telling, don't you think?

Middleboro Remembers said...

You said it all! Kudus!

Communities that fail to conduct an impartial cost benefit analysis are doing their residents a disservice.

Along with Slot Barns comes CRIME and much else.

As my friend, Gladys pointed out, Middleboro was told a Mega Casino was inevitable. In the interim, many of us continued to educate ourselves, read books, read reports, read newspaper articles about the devastation
government sponsored gambling caused communities.

I always wonder "If Slots pave the streets with gold, what happened to
Atlantic City?"
"What happened to Las Vegas?"

Las Vegas has the nation's highest dropout rate. Nevada, the lowest college graduation rate. Nevada has 5 times the national rate of foreclosures and a homeless population that is growing.

Both have high poverty, high crime.

What is it we want in our future? Crime and low wage jobs?

A federal report determined that for every $1 in revenue provided by the Gambling Industry, the cost to taxpayers is $3. It also determined that Gambling Addiction doubled within a 50 mile radius.

These were offered on Middleboro Remembers:
Fall River Herald News: All Fluff and No Substance

Fall River Herald News

Kudos to Superintendent of Schools Ovick!

The Mississippi Gulf Coast experienced a 43 percent increase in crime in the four years after casinos arrived, as reported by the Mississippi Coast Crime Commission.

U.S. News and World Report found crime rates in casino areas 84 percent higher than the national average.


Banor, Maine experienced a 40% increase in crime after Hollywood Slots opened.

We need jobs we can be proud to work, that provide an opportunity for advancement and a future.

Fall River has been truly blessed with a beautiful community that has great potential that with some inspired leadership, would blossom.

Middleboro Remembers said...

BTW, since you addressed the issue of JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, allow me to comment that the job creation figures are grossly overstated.

Scott Harshbarger wrote this in April, based on figures from the American Gaming Association figures that are surely outdated now:

The three states with the highest unemployment rates in the nation are Michigan, Nevada, and Rhode Island, all home to casinos or racinos. With decreased earnings, fewer gamblers, and limited casino borrowing, layoffs are hitting their casinos.

The number of jobs the proposed legislation would create has been wildly exaggerated. We are told that two casinos and four racinos will net about 16,000 construction and permanent jobs. But in Indiana it takes 10 riverboats, one casino and two racinos to generate 16,000 current jobs and Louisiana requires 18 casinos to employ 17,268, according to the American Gaming Association.

The states that most closely mirror the current legislation suggest that the real results will be but a fraction of the job estimates we have been hearing. Michigan’s three casinos net 8,568 permanent jobs and New Mexico’s five racinos employ less than 2,000 people.

After jobs, the argument for casinos is that they provide a new state revenue stream. But the numbers don’t add up.

Commonwealth Magazine reported that in order to reach the revenue estimates when the bill was unveiled — of between $1.4 billion and $1.9 billion — somewhere between $5.6 billion and $7.2 billion must be bet and lost at the two proposed casinos every year.

In Las Vegas, it takes 266 casinos to bring in $11.6 billion in gross revenue, which translates into $924 million in tax revenue. Even the $300 million to $600 million now estimated here is a stretch based on that data.

The list of questions based on the experience of other states about the costs — fiscal, economic, social, and human — only grows from there.

That is why we and others have argued for a full cost-benefit analysis before the House votes. That seems like a common sense thing to do on an issue this important and the governor agrees.

Let’s hope this cost-benefit analysis includes a detailed study of the millions of dollars in Lottery revenue that will be lost to casinos, all of which now goes to the cities and towns to try to keep property taxes under control; the significant, unmeasured law enforcement and public protection costs involved; and the estimated 100,000 gambling addicts that will emerge and the appalling costs to families and communities that they will bring with them."


Foxwoods defaulted last year. Mohegan Sun has slashed staff. Tribal 'casinos' around the country have defaulted. Capital markets have dried up because of the bankruptcies, renegotiations of lending, declining revenues, market saturation.

New Jersey is struggling because of evaporated revenues.

The recently opened SugarHouse employs less than 1,000 people and revenues are declining.

Lefty said...

Thanks to the both of you.

The problem I have is I think the "jobs" message resonates more than the facts behind it. It's amazing that as a community we could be behind a biopark until we decided we wanted something else and NOW the powers that be say a biopark wouldn't bring jobs. I really do understand the need and wants to jump start some economic growth in Fall River but I believe that anything we do to improve Fall River today has to be weighed against how this will shape Fall River of the future.

I honestly don't think that is being done here.

Anonymous said...

The financial backers of the Mashpee Wampanoag/Fall River Jobs Casino are opening in New York, so far the jobs look to be 800 permanent and the jobs may not go to local residents:

http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2010/11/26/queens/qns_naacp_aqueduct_protest_20101125.txt
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Aqueduct racino has been touted as an economic boon to the borough, but southeast Queens activists contend their residents should be the ones to reap the benefits of the multimillion-dollar project.

About 30 people gathered outside the former race track in Howard Beach Saturday morning to call on developer Resorts World New York to look at local companies and prospective employees as it goes through its hiring process for construction and permanent positions at the site.

Leroy Gadsen, president of the Jamaica NAACP branch, which organized the protest, said he was concerned about the developer’s decisions after they reportedly hired a New Jersey-based company for some of the $30 million construction.

“We don’t live in New Jersey, we don’t work in New Jersey. We want jobs here,” he said.

The racino project will bring in 1,200 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs, according to the New York Racing Association. The new gambling site will have 1,600 video lottery terminals and is expected to generate $300 million in revenue for New York state, NYRA said.

The contractor for Aqueduct, Tutor Perini, has said that it will award at least 25 percent of its contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses, but has not specified if it will only search for companies in the borough.

Gadsen said Genting, Resorts World New York’s parent company, and its contractor should be mandated to look at southeast Queens for the job opportunities. The neighborhood has become ground zero for the foreclosure crisis and thousands of residents are desperately looking for good-paying jobs, according to the activist.

“Our message is simple,” he said. “We know we have unemployed people ... we demand that you give us what is rightfully ours,” he said.

A spokesman for Genting said it has listened to the community’s concerns and would be cooperating.

“Resorts World New York will fully honor the commitment we made to hiring from the community for both construction and permanent jobs,” spokesman Stefan Friedman said in a statement.

Former City Councilman Archie Spigner agreed because the project has been stalled for years and residents have been eagerly awaiting its opening.

“We’re not going to let this opportunity pass,” he said.

Middleboro Remembers said...

Lefty,

When you say:

"I honestly don't think that is being done here."

I believe that's only part of the case in this instance.

Senator Rosenberg (the Senate "Guru" of Gambling who refused to consider an Independent Cost Benefit Analysis) has publicly acknowledged that it will require 18 months to set up the bloated regulatory bureaucracy before the first license would even be considered.

That's an understatement if one considers the history of other states.

In Ohio, they're going to fight over the appointments, with a lame duck legislature.

In the case of Massachusetts, the slap-dash legislation that was sent to the Governor was grossly flawed, containing pages of 'errata,' some of which changed the intent.

Those who are unemployed and desperate might like to fantasize that this will happen immediately, but the only thing that will happen immediately is a comparable mess.

When legislation is conceived and considered behind closed doors, in secrecy, with meetings conducted with the Industry, and legislation actually written by Spectrum Gaming, you can be assured that it will not be in the best interests of the Commonwealth.

In addition, the crimes bill was included with the Gambling legislation which failed to allow for serious consideration and discussion of the separate changes in criminal law, among other things.

It seems we are allowing our desperation to cloud sensible judgement, not just for the future of Fall River, but the Commonwealth as well.

While the media focused on the smoking ban, they ignored the serving of free alcohol 24/7.

Not only will that allow an unfair advantage with which private businesses will be unable to compete, but the presence of drunks on the road 24/7/365 makes each of us a potential victim.

Drunken Driving Fatalities and Accidents Increase: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have at least 50% more OUI arrests than any other State Police troop in CT. Drunken driving related fatalities almost doubled in the area during 2009 vs. 2008 because the casino revenue to the state decreased leading to budget cuts in police force. Before “Happy Hours” were outlawed in Massachusetts in 1984, there were 411 drunken driving related fatalities compared to only 151 in 2008.  Casinos will have Happy Hours 24/7/365!!!

It should be noted that CT does not allow 24 hour alcohol service.

Instead of believing wild promises, let's talk. Let's have a serious discussion about 85% of new jobs originating from small businesses. Let's find ways to buy local, support small businesses, instead of sending local discretionary income to Malaysia.

We can do this if we all work together!

Middleboro Remembers said...

Lefty,

When you say:

"I honestly don't think that is being done here."

I believe that's only part of the case in this instance.

Senator Rosenberg (the Senate "Guru" of Gambling who refused to consider an Independent Cost Benefit Analysis) has publicly acknowledged that it will require 18 months to set up the bloated regulatory bureaucracy before the first license would even be considered.

That's an understatement if one considers the history of other states.

In Ohio, they're going to fight over the appointments, with a lame duck legislature.

In the case of Massachusetts, the slap-dash legislation that was sent to the Governor was grossly flawed, containing pages of 'errata,' some of which changed the intent.

Those who are unemployed and desperate might like to fantasize that this will happen immediately, but the only thing that will happen immediately is a comparable mess.

When legislation is conceived and considered behind closed doors, in secrecy, with meetings conducted with the Industry, and legislation actually written by Spectrum Gaming, you can be assured that it will not be in the best interests of the Commonwealth.

In addition, the crimes bill was included with the Gambling legislation which failed to allow for serious consideration and discussion of the separate changes in criminal law, among other things.

It seems we are allowing our desperation to cloud sensible judgement, not just for the future of Fall River, but the Commonwealth as well.

While the media focused on the smoking ban, they ignored the serving of free alcohol 24/7.

Not only will that allow an unfair advantage with which private businesses will be unable to compete, but the presence of drunks on the road 24/7/365 makes each of us a potential victim.

Drunken Driving Fatalities and Accidents Increase: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have at least 50% more OUI arrests than any other State Police troop in CT. Drunken driving related fatalities almost doubled in the area during 2009 vs. 2008 because the casino revenue to the state decreased leading to budget cuts in police force. Before “Happy Hours” were outlawed in Massachusetts in 1984, there were 411 drunken driving related fatalities compared to only 151 in 2008. Casinos will have Happy Hours 24/7/365!!!

It should be noted that CT does not allow 24 hour alcohol service.

Instead of believing wild promises, let's talk. Let's have a serious discussion about 85% of new jobs originating from small businesses. Let's find ways to buy local, support small businesses, instead of sending local discretionary income to Malaysia.

We can re-build our economy is we all work together.