Casinos: A Many-Sided Issue
Thank you for your coverage questioning the wisdom of casino gaming in Massachusetts. It has now been one year since Springfield’s host community vote (July 16, 2013). We are still very upset about the way it was conducted.
MGM and the city signed an agreement in late May, 2013. Officials then rushed the vote through in a special election paid for by MGM. Why do you suppose they didn’t wait for the regular November election? A casino license wasn’t even going to be awarded until well into 2014. How many voters are focused on issues and elections in the middle of the summer?
Also, MGM and the mayor refused to debate even when formally invited to do so by the leaders of Citizens Against Casino Gaming. Mayor Sarno threatened 100 layoffs if a casino wasn’t voted in.
To our knowledge, no member of the City Council expressed any concern or objection while all this was going on. Ballot question 3 in November will give voters the time for contemplation they should have had in 2013.
David and Eileen Pratt
There are many pros and cons on the casino issue, and you will have a say in the outcome if you vote in November. Do vote!
I agree that there are some drawbacks to a casino in Springfield, but there are many positive aspects that must be considered. People who are going to gamble will do so here or in Connecticut—somehow or someplace.
The South End of Springfield [near the area proposed for the MGM casino] needs to be restored after the tornado destroyed most of it. We do not have enough funds to do this, and think about this next statement: most people who do not want a casino in this city do not live here. They don’t care if the South End gets rebuilt or not. I do. I live here. They do not pay taxes here. I do.
People will gamble in the casino and then want something else to do. All they have to do is step outside the door and they will be in downtown Springfield. They will go to City Stage, Symphony Hall and the Basketball Hall of Fame and eat at the fine restaurants.
Even if it doesn’t work out as we hope, we will have brought in some bucks, rebuilt our downtown and continued to make our city move ahead. That’s the picture; be part of it, the part that brings in money and restores downtown Springfield to what it is capable of being.
While this (“The Pipeline Revolt,” July 24, 2014) is a great article, one clarification is needed. The argument on how to replace power plants with renewables is not exactly what most pipeline opponents are saying. This is because you cannot replace a 700 megawatt nuclear plant with 700 megawatts of solar panels; to do that, the sun would have to shine bright all the time.
Instead, you can replace those megawatts with a combination of several forms of power: solar for hot days when people run their A/C in the summer, winter use of hydropower stored in dams in Canada, wind power, and most important, energy efficiency.
Almost all homes are cutting electricity use by installing efficient bulbs. We have programs all over New England that allow hundreds of thousands of homeowners to weatherize their homes for a minimal cost ($500 to $700) that they will recoup in a couple of years. Utilities have designed these programs to reduce the amount of new power plant construction. The idea that we need to build four new power plants and a $6 billion pipeline from Pennsylvania to replace the one nuclear-fired and two coal-fired plants that are closing is not true. Efficiency has reduced the number of plants we will need, and applications have been filed for much smaller pipeline expansions that can alleviate natural gas bottlenecks.
The Mass. Department of Public Utilities has shown that of all of the options, energy efficiency is the lowest-cost option. An analysis by ICF International in May, 2014 showed that a $2 billion pipeline would be even more expensive than imported gas. Well, now, Kinder Morgan says its pipeline will cost three times that amount.
We do not need this behemoth.