Mayor Martin Walsh announced last week in a live interview with the Boston Globe at Suffolk University that he plans to run again for mayor in two years and he will sit down soon with casino developer Steve Wynn to have a conversation about Charlestown.
The interview, which was videotaped before a live audience and titled ‘Political Happy Hour,’ focused on numerous issues, but one of the more pertinent issues citywide was the mayor’s comments on his desire to run again.
“I am running for re-election and I’m announcing it here,” he said during the video interview. “To be the mayor of Boston, there’s nothing like it.”
Walsh took office in 2014 and wouldn’t face re-election until 2017, but indicated he wanted another term.
Most important for Charlestown were his comments on the Wynn casino in Everett.
He said that he plans to sit down with Steve Wynn and that his team is working on a meeting.
“We haven’t set that up yet,” said Walsh. “Steve Wynn is a business man. Certainly he’s upset. He’s invested tremendous amounts of money trying got build a casino. I’m the mayor of Boston and I’ve invested tremendous amounts of time to make sure the people of the neighborhood get a voice. I think at some point we’re going to have a conversation. I’m waiting on them to call and have a meeting. We’ll sit down and talk…It’s not one way or the other. We said we’d get together after Labor Day. We’re working on something. My team is working with their team to set a meeting up…I’m not going to say if I want a casino built there or not. I’m not going to take that position, but I’m willing to sit down and have a conversation about the traffic impact on the City of Boston, on Rutherford Avenue, on Sullivan Square and in Charlestown.”
He said that so much has changed in the casino conversation over the years, and that so much has changed with the traffic conversation in Charlestown – including the casino and other developments – since the “surface option” was drawn up in 1997.
“When that plan came up (under the Menino Administration), we didn’t have North Point in Cambridge adding thousands of cars to the roads, we didn’t have Assembly Square adding thousands of cars and we didn’t have a $1.8 billion casino proposed in Everett that drastically changes the idea and perception of what people talked about there. So, there are a lot of moving parts here and it’s not a simple solution.”
Along with the Olympic bid, he said the casino was one of two things he has had to say ‘no’ to during his first term – decisions that he indicated were controversial and maybe lost him a few friends.
“On the casino, being a tough negotiator for the City and not most especially for the people of Charlestown,” he said. “I think I might have lost a few friends there. Those are two controversial things where I was advocating for the City.”
He also reminded the public that shortly after being elected, he was faced with critical decisions around the Mohegan Sun casino and the Wynn casino. He said two hours after coming into office, he was approached by the City’s legal team with 45,000 pages of documents to go though, and an important decision to make.
“The casino conversation has gone through two mayoral administration and now two gubernatorial administrations and there’s been not a lot of consistency there except the operator of the potential casino has been the same,” he said. “There’s been a lot of stops and starts here.”