Letters to the Editor

October 24, 2014
By

The Insidious Gaming Industry Influence

Dear Editor:

In the last six weeks, the insidious influence and impact of the gaming industry on the Commonwealth’s political and criminal justice systems has become clear.  The Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the federal and state law enforcement offices have embraced and responded to the casino influence public policy in Massachusetts.

Since the gaming legislation was enacted, the Governor’s Office, the Legislators, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and now the federal and state law enforcement communities, have facilitated the introduction of an industry which is subtly corrupt and insidious, and which often operates below the public radar screen.

There are two recent and striking examples of this insidious influence. In November 2013 the Globe investigative report revealed the organized crime relationships of some owners of the Everett casino site. Later, the Globe investigative report described the Everett Mayor’s social life with convicted felons.  These criminal relationships were known to the Gaming Commission and to Wynn.

Despite this evidence, in conflict with requirements of the Gaming Legislation, the Commission awarded a gaming license and Wynn celebrated.  Yet, in early October, both federal and state prosecutors indicted the three owners for fraud, confirming the organized crime relationship and the steps to obscure it, and called Wynn a  “victim” of the fraud despite his clear understanding and knowledge of the criminal relationship.

These events materialized due to powerful influences.  The Governor’s Office and the Legislators have their credibility at stake, and it is reasonable to assume that the political pressure on the Gaming Commission to name a winner was intense, despite the obvious difficulties with the Everett site and Mayor.

The decision to call Wynn a victim rather than a participant in fraud flies in the face of the evidence that he participated in the fraud by agreeing to continue $100,000 annual payments to the owners to secure his option to buy.  What force persuaded both federal and state prosecutors to protect Wynn from an indictment for fraud? The answer to that question remains hidden.

This is undue influence on our political and prosecutorial systems points to a kind of subtle corruption that is insult to this state and its citizens, and is a cause for profound concern. We should repeal the Gaming Legislation before it contributes to further corruption.

Ivey St John

Monument Square

Charlestown

A Letter to Commissioner James F. McHugh

Dear Mr. McHugh,

First I would like to thank you for the time you spent with us last week discussing the issues that our community has with the selection of the Everett casino.

My opinion hasn’t changed after the meeting and I am still very dissatisfied by what I am afraid is going to happen to our neighborhood, but as you mentioned early in the meeting changing our mind wasn’t your goal. I have to admit your time on the podium was very informative and helped me understand your role in the process, your authority, and the accomplishments that were achieved during the negotiations with the Wynn corporation. I am looking forward to seeing the traffic study and solution documents you promised on your website.

I do realize that our traffic problems are there now and we can’t expect a new business to solve problems they didn’t create, I am very aware of Wynn’s business plan that has less slot machines and more table games while promoting revenues through entertainment and retail, I am thankful of the millions of dollars you put on the table through your negotiations so we can finally start working on the infamous “Rutherford ave Sullivan Square” project. I disagree though with your optimism on the “Good Faith” of a big corporation like Wynn and know that the Gaming Commission’s leverage over Wynn will be minimal when they threaten to shut down after 5 years of operation scaring local politicians with heavy job and tax revenue losses.

Maybe the Boston Mayor’s office is playing politics by refusing to enter a surrounding community agreement and perhaps their intent is to veto Wynn’s proposal but I am sure the law’s intent wasn’t to ignore the very people it serves. You may have been within the legal boundaries when you decided to “Ignore” us so you can move on with the process, as Commissioner Cameron told us last week answering a question, but in my opinion you overstretched you authority ignoring the people of Boston especially your neighbors in Charlestown.

Mano Katsompenakis

Thanks community residents for their help

Dear Editor:

In honor of my sister Kathy, I wish to thank everybody for making her final resting day so very special.

First, to Phil Carr, his son, and all the staff for the excellent job they did preparing her and us as to what to expect and for making sure we had what we needed. Thank you to all.

To you, Fr. Ronan, pastor of St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena, Fr. George Evans, Deacon Tony, and Sr. Nancy Citro, for the fine funeral mass, the spiritual guidance you gave us made it so comforting. You were so supportive in bringing it all to a close. Also, a special thanks to, David Saucedo and vocalist Katie O’Reilly for the fantastic job, you both did a really awesome job.

Finally, I wish to thank all my family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and everyone who came to the wake, to the church and to the cemetery to say a final goodbye.

Thank you and God bless you all,

John M. Devlin, Jr.

Setting the record straight

Dear Editor:

Your Oct. 6, 2014 article “Local Facility to Start Turning Food Waste into Fuel” contained a number of errors that the Wastewater Advisory Committee wishes to correct.

1. Waste Management’s site in Charlestown will not be turning food waste into fuel. Instead, it is a waystation for food waste that could eventually be barged to Deer Island to be digested along with sludge to create methane gas, a natural fuel.

2. The food waste would not be composted, it would be digested using the anaerobic bacteria in the digesters. Large-scale composting operations are already on-line in other areas of the state, but are usually not suitable for urban settings.

3. The MWRA will be producing the fuel for its Deer Island operation, increasing the availability of renewable, on-site, green energy from its current rate of 25% (representing more than $5million in savings annually for rate payers). The Charlestown site will not be producing gas.

4. The MWRA Board has not yet approved a pilot program for Deer Island waste food –to-fuel production. Grants and loans from the state will be required to start such a program up. The timeline is not fixed yet.

5. The Charlestown site was part of the proposed pilot that was put on hold when trucking through Winthrop was ruled out. It could be the site of processing and transportation via barge to Deer Island, if the pilot is approved.

6. The original pilot proposal would not have reached 9 truckloads a day (18 trips if each round trip were counted as two) until late in the first year of the pilot; it would have started with one truck and gradually increased as the capacity of the pre-processing at Waste Management’s Charlestown facility increased and Deer Island’s digesters had the capacity to receive the material.

7. The original pilot anticipated truck delivery of food waste five days a week, not seven.

The Wastewater Advisory Committee, a volunteer citizens group extant since 1990, has been closely following the MWRA’s work on the proposed co-digestion pilot. If successful, the program could beneficially use organic waste and save MWRA rate payers funds now used to power the Deer Island facility with fossil fuels. We are pleased that the MWRA is exploring this option carefully to maximize benefits for the state and the ratepayers.

We appreciate your interest in the subject. We hope that the corrections we provided are useful in future coverage, and that you will share them with your readers.

Stephen Greene, Chair

Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA

  • Mary Walsh

    Having been brought up in the shadow of Bunker Hill, I envy the 17 communities in the Commonwealth that have had the luxury of voicing their opinions and have voted down a casino in their area. Charlestown residents are in the unenviable position of bearing the brunt of the gaming commission decision with no input and little time to organize. If you lived here, you’d let out a big moan now.

    Top among my list of innumerable reasons I’m voting Yes on 3 is because I’m not in favor of replacing Monsanto’s toxic waste with Wynn-Everett’s toxic greed.

    Geographically and philosophically, I see the proposed Wynn-Everett Casino as an unwelcome pain in Charlestown’s Neck. And more broadly, a great step back from the words of John Winthrop on a plaque at the Harvard Mall in City Square urging the early colonists to, “make others conditions our own…rejoice together…mourn together…Labour and suffer together as members of the same body.

    I hope all the citizens of Massachusetts will recall the history so ubiquitous in the Metropolitan Boston but manly other places in Mass as well. Let’s let history repeat itself as it did at the Battle of Bunker Hill and work for the Common Weal and not fall for the gambling industry’s specious spiel.

    It seems a very telling commentary on the whole process that 1.7 million citizens live within 10 miles of the proposed casino and only Everett, Revere and East Boston had the full use of our democracy at its most fair.