For those of us who know Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, his threat to scuttle the Wynn casino development in Everett (since it is being built on a sliver of Boston land) should be a reason for concern for officials in Everett. Mayor Menino is a politician from the old school who knows how to get what he wants — and what the Mayor wants is the casino and its revenue solely for the City of Boston.
Menino has said that since the Wynn proposal has that sliver of Boston land in the development, then Boston must be designated as a host community. And since the Mayor is unwilling to provide a host community agreement to Wynn, the Wynn proposal effectively cannot go forward.
We know that there may be more than a grain of truth to Mayor Menino’s threat, since both Wynn and Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria were careful to say in the beginning of their process in December that the Boston land was not to be used in the development. But the property lines that are in contention go back to the 1600’s and since Boston and Everett are in different counties, the ambiguity can be all the more difficult to properly adjudicate.
This action by Menino may be a small skirmish in the Boston-area casino fight. The larger fight rests with getting a host community agreement written and presented to Boston voters. We urge our city officials quickly to draw up a host agreement. Wynn has come in with his proposal at the 11th hour, capitalizing on all of the work accomplished by Chip Tuttle of Suffolk Downs over the past seven years. Without a host community agreement, Wynn would win by default.
We are not at this juncture debating whether the casino should be built — we believe that the voters of Boston should decide this question. What we are advocating is for a Boston host community agreement so this issue can be decided in a plebiscite as soon as possible.