’Tis The Season! Merry Fluxmass – Christmas – Hanukkah – Kwanzaa - Solstice – Saturnalia or whatever Gods or Demons that you may celebrate this season. This goes out to all the Anarchists out there working hard to make this world a better place. Thank you.
Yes, the casino… Well, that all changed quickly. I must say that I am pleased with the result. There was not much posted here because I was working on a project with all sorts of material related to this story that I will now not reveal because this is no longer an issue. Really, that part is too bad. I spent some time on this and it was original art by myself and a couple others involved and it all must be scrapped. No big deal I guess. My loss only. Everyone benefits by the fact that common sense won out here. Now let’s hope we can put a wrench in Springfield’s plans.
The Halos and Horns edition gives Patti Devine her second (or third?) set of horns; this time for her bullying of CRUSH to censor my work.
Thanks to the Advocate for your continued support of Holyoke and your stand-up defense of free expression.
…and special thanks to Patti. What would we do without a nemesis? I am indeed somewhat sad that you lost. You were inspiration. Most of all, thank you for coining the term ‘pronography‘. That was brilliant. I hope you have a happy New Year.
For those arriving for the first time here is the back story:
So…. it happened. The bar has been officially been raised. I don’t think that elections in this city could ever be the same after this. Yes, we have two years to shake this out and really absorb what has happened… my only hope is that now we can have more folks step forward to rid this stale environment of its collective inertia. I also hope that never again we can rely on names, political favors and yard signs as an indication of the political climate – that we have popular engagement, emotion and true spirit driving the action. I do believe Alex’s credo when he says: “This is not about my campaign, this is about Holyoke.” People need to stand up and make this true and support him in this effort. Yes, he won. Now we have work to do.
Morse won… Devine lost. Lisi held on. Tallman is a winner. That is some serious joy to be shared. Sure, we gained that jackass Bresnahan and still carry a ton of dead weight, but I do hope that we end with a council that will work with our new mayor. At-large did not have that great of a shakeup because there was not the competition, but Morse’s win is a mandate… I hope that these people see his win as affecting their political liability if they are expecting to work against Morse. …and down the road we need to challenge McGee, Vacon and run a larger field of at-large in two years to make this possible. I said that I wished that I could vote in Wards 1, 3 and 7. They went my way except for Ward 3. Purcell’s loss was the biggest disappointment here. Of course, with the at large not being contested there is no way it could have gone my way and seen Vega, Devine, Murphy, Leahy and Bresnahan as losers (in the election, that is… they are still losers)… so I am at least happy to see the exit of Devine. Purcell would have been the sole progressive voice on the committee. Sure, there are some that lean left, but he was my most politically aligned candidate. I do hope he keeps it up and is part of the 2013′s at-large contest to eliminate more of the chaff.
Of course, I do hope that the progress we see is not “growth” and not gentrification but rather efficiency. We are a severely divided city. Downtown is not the desert that many view it as… it is an asset. We do not need “revitalization”. We have a vibrant culture that needs to be engaged, lifted up and made our calling card. It is all about perspective. The Latino community and the burgeoning artist district are our diamonds in the rough. Yeah, with the casino versus data center I will always choose the later, but I would never bet the house on some high tech computing that will possibly have military and surveillance applications. I know that this is a campaign issue, but I would be happy with neither happening. This election was about the people… Holyoke has what it needs to make it happen right now without the “jobs” mantra or this versus that bad idea.
The campaigning for 2013 has already started for many, that is the sad state of affairs in our political environment but we can only hope that the Old Guard has seen the writing on the wall and that this is the beginning of a sea change for this great city.
I dedicate this song, to you, Holyoke:
(yes, I want to make love to Holyoke… every one of you)
How a Holyoke CASINO Will Affect You and Your Family
(and why your vote on Tuesday, November 8th matters)
A casino has been proposed for Wyckoff Country Club. Word is that a proposal for a casino in a different Holyoke neighborhood may be forthcoming soon. And outside casino developers are spending significant amounts of money to elect pro-casino candidates to influential positions.
With the Holyoke election just a few days way, you might want to consider how your vote could seriously affect your home, your family and your neighborhood.
Here are some troubling statistics on what casinos bring to their host communities:
within 5 years of the opening of a new casino:
• robberies are up 136%
• auto theft is up 78%
• larceny is up 38%
• aggravated assaults are up 91%
• burglary is up 50%
• rape is up 21%
• Incidents of prostitution, drunk driving and embezzlement also skyrocket
• all this happens despite significantly increased police staffing and increased police budgets http://uss-mass.org/crime.html
Casinos cause nearby property values to plummet by as much as 20%
Casino developers and proponents are touting “potential” property tax reductions, but you might want to do the math first. If your $200,000 home loses just 10% of its value after a casino comes to town – and assuming the City lowered your yearly taxes by $500 (which is way more than projected) – it would take 40 years for you just to break even.
If you own a business – or work for someone who does – you should be concerned:
Casinos siphon money away from locally owned businesses and into the pockets of distant owners. They bleed local businesses dry. Businesses close or move out of town, along with their owners. Neighbors lose their jobs. In Atlantic City, the number of independent restaurants dropped from 48 the year casinos opened to 16 in 1997. Within just four years of the casinos’ arrival, one-third of the city’s retail businesses had closed.
“There has been no economic development spin-off from the casino. Businesses do not come here. Tourists come mainly to gamble. Gamblers have one thing in mind: get to the casino, win or lose their money, get in their cars, and go home.”
– Mayor Wesley Johnson of Ledyard, Conn (home of Foxwoods casino in Connecticut)
Telling Statement from CEO of the American Gaming Association:
“If someone were to come along and tell me that they were going to put a casino in McLean Virginia, where I live, I would probably work very, very hard against it. What’s the old saying . . . ‘not in my backyard’. Now I may be in favor of ‘gaming’, but I just don’t want it in (my) area.” — Frank Fahrenkopf CEO of the American Gaming Association
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IF A CASINO COMES TO HOLYOKE:
Report after report shows that casinos negatively affect their host communities. They create traffic gridlock. They increase crime by an alarming percentage. They decrease property values. They siphon money away from local businesses, causing them to close or eliminate jobs. They discourage other businesses from moving into town. They increase the transient population. The middle and upper classes move out. Low-wage casino workers move in, often living in dorm-like arrangements. They ruin neighborhoods and communities and scare potential new residents away.
This effect has been repeated in community after community that has hosted casinos, and it is well documented. You don’t have to go to a fortune teller to know that all these problems are in store for Holyoke if a casino is built here.
Even the CEO of the American Gaming Organization – the very organization charged with promoting casino development – has said he would fight against a casino that wanted to locate in his home town.
While every one of us is for creating jobs, the “jobs, jobs, jobs” argument made by developers and proponents is irrelevant to Holyoke and is deliberately misleading. Virtually every applicant who would be qualified to work in Holyoke will be just as qualified to work in Palmer. So, if it’s not really about jobs, what is it all about? The answer is money – how much and to whom. But no amount of money can make up for the permanent damage casinos cause to their host communities. And every one of those problems happens despite significant amounts of money being paid by casinos to host communities. Money doesn’t prevent the decline!
The City of Holyoke is poised to take its first giant steps forward in decades. With the green, high-tech Computing Center (and all the forward-thinking businesses and residents it is already attracting to Holyoke); with the budding artist community and the rejuvenation they bring to older communities; with the restoration of the Victory Theater; Canal Walk and Heritage State Park. A casino will stop much of that progress dead in its tracks and will only serve to send many of those investors, entrepreneurs and new residents fleeing in another direction.
ANTI-CASINO VOTER’S GUIDE:
On Tuesday, November 8th, casting your vote for the following candidates is the best way to stop a Holyoke casino:
MAYOR: Alex Morse
(Reflects those in contested races who replied indicating opposition. Note: casting less than the 8 allowed votes in the At-Large race improves your candidates’ chances of winning.)
Gordon Alexander (Ward 7)
LEANING OPPOSED (SERIOUS RESERVATIONS OR TALKING SHIT?):
Who on Team Pluta thought that this was a great idea?
(Lisi = null)
H.U.S.H member Krampus Boardway forwarded me this link, Elaine Pluta’s Community Service Page. If this page changes between now and your reading, here is a screen shot. Just click to view full resolution:
Once again, here is another website that I added to Archive.org. There was a snapshot from Feb 2011 but nothing since.
Why would you edit out “Lisi” from these signs rather than simply using a different image? There was no historical record of this page at Archive and Google Cache has this as current. I wonder, was the image previously of these signs with the name included? It would be interesting to know if the image changed after Lisi gave support to Morse. Either way, it is an odd move. The page simply lists Pluta’s service history so the image is not really relevant to the content… so, any image could takes its place. Why use an image that is obviously altered and makes a statement about Lisi? Odd, I say.
There is one thing I regret in this election cycle. I saw Pluta standing out on the Beech and Northampton intersections holding her sign BACKWARDS for over a minute displaying a wood stick and staples to the traffic. I took my time to yell at her “your sign is backwards” while she cupped her ear “Huh?”. I yelled three times before a supporter standing with her corrected it. It was beautiful. I wish I snapped a photo rather than heckled her. Oh well.
(What is up with the large rings that Mike Plaisance wears? I hear he also has an impressive collection of pewter dragons.)
Everyone looked sharp last night. Both Pluta and Plaisance were sporting new hairdos. Though, it was odd to see that Pluta dyed her hair to match Morse’s color? I was told that this was this was Nelson Roman’s decision. Bad call, dude. Also, Elaine walked in wearing this leopard fur collared coat. She looked fabulous but it was slightly over the top… something that I’d expect to see worn at a five-star resort rather than the sober event that is a political debate. Morse did wear a great tie. I must admit, I lament the fall of Gaddafi for one very good reason… they have returned to the pre-1969 and post-colonization flag. I think most flags to be ugly and too busy. The Libyan flag of recent times was an amazing austere solid field of green, my favorite color… I think that everyone presented themselves very well with their answers. Both Pluta and Morse have run good campaigns with the exception of a few wrinkles on Pluta’s part with the “agenda money”, which was mostly addressed in this debate.
I have got to fault Plaisance on a few of his questions. At first I thought he was biased towards Pluta but then it became clear that he’s biased to sensationalism. First he twists words from Morse’s campaign about what Morse will bring to the office of mayor and that if he is bringing those things does that not imply that she is lacking them? A negative campaign does attack the other player, but he’s really speaking the truth here – and mostly about himself. Let’s be honest here… If you watch Pluta she’s not at all energetic. She shuffles about like zombie, uses almost no body-language and when she tries to speak with emotion she sounds all monotone like Donald Duck. As far as vision, we can all have different opinions about a casino… Pluta has been a strong supporter of Holyoke as a host city, lobbied for us in Boston and received campaign contributions from those involved. Then she praises Taco Bell? If this is part of her vision, then I must say it is indeed lacking. The idea that we must base success, jobs and tax revenue on vice and fast food is absurd. Sure, gambling should be legal, but I’d prefer back room and bar gambling to some billion dollar monument to sickness. Resources can be much better spent. The new legislation that Deval will sign into law is several steps backwards for our great state. Then, this troll hunter goes on to bring up Morse’s age. Has this not already been beaten to death and deemed a non-issue? He’s running a solid professional campaign, he’s serious and obviously he has what it takes. Could we not have asked questions about issues, ideas and leadership rather than this bullshit? Maybe if that were the case those that may have doubts about him would learn more than directly addressing the prejudice. We all know how old he is. Plaisance did take his turn with Pluta, asking her about her claim of having “the fight of her political life” and why does Morse “come out of nowhere” as a serious challenge to her position? It would have been much more useful to those witnessing the debate to get beyond the tabloid nonsense and instead to issues in Holyoke . These questions really did not cover any new ground for most of those in attendance and were a serious waste of time.
I don’t dislike Pluta. I just don’t think the results match her claims. I’ve witnessed much poor communication and bad ideas come from her in a brief two years. I do feel some sort of pity for her, I feel that she wants to do good for the city, but honestly, she does not have what it takes and the whole casino issue is a major flaw. I also think that she did not run an honest campaign at times. Those several different letters that went out concerning “agenda” and “out of town money” were downright sleazy fear-mongering. Sure… if I was watching this campaign from afar and I was not connected to the city or its politics I might actually donate to someone like Alex because it is downright inspiring. Speaking of good ideas and the digital age I do stuff like this all the time with organizations like Kickstarter, Kiva and various activist groups – I give more money out of town and out of the country than I do locally. Good ideas and progress are just that… so it really is no matter where they are happening… but of course, when hits home like we see here it is really wonderful.
I consider this election over. Morse is going to win. I had my doubts at first but there really is no way that the majority of Holyoke is that dim that they would agree that things are on the right path or that Elaine has proven herself thus far. It really has been a long time. We need some real leadership now. (and responsible media in the form of a daily newspaper)
Audio from the October 20th City Council Candidate Forum held at Dean Tech High School.
The event was sparsely attended and was lacking H.U.S.H.’s favorite candidate Patti Devine. Rumor has it that she was afraid to show up because I was recording the event and planned on editing her statements into a musical remix. Rosado and Murphy’s main-squeeze McGee also had better things to do, but McGee was later seen in the audience during the At-Large portion of the forum. Rosado and McGee had placards with their name and empty seats. The same should have been done for Devine, not sure why she gets special treatment here.
The format was a little odd with a different setup for the Ward versus the At-Large candidates. The Ward candidates were able to ask the opponent a question and then have rebuttal where the At-Large were fielded questions, some repeated, asked by representatives of The Republican and El Pueblo Latino. As a result the At-Large forum did seem to cover a lot more ground. The issues of the night were casinos, attracting business with our tax rate and the charter question.
I do need to gripe about the audio… next time rent some mics so that each person has one, put foam wind-screens on them and before the event explain to the candidates that they need to not touch their lips to the mic when speaking. 6″-8″ away and a normal speaking voice should be used.
If there was one clear winner here it is Gordon Alexander. Sure, many of these folks might not have public speaking as their forte and might be nervous up there… and certainly Jourdain, Tallman and McGiverin presented themselves very well, but of the newcomers it was Alexander that stood out. I did speak to him after saying that I wished I lived in Ward 7 so I could vote for him. Menwer was also a pleasant surprise. I probably will be voting for him (and finding out who is his dentist). If there was one person that looked like they did not belong there it was Brenna Murphy. She appeared as if she was extremely bored. Maybe lemon-faced is simply her normal demeanor but she does lack the charisma that sells candidates in the media – maybe she should have taken Devine’s cue and pulled a no-show… I doubt that she won any votes with her performance.
There was a good deal of intentional and unintentional humor. Tallman did declare that “we should not sell Holyoke short, so vote for the tall man”. Yes, I will be voting for him and he is indeed tall. Though, I do wish he’d invest in some pants that fit him as it was his bare shins exposed by his high-waters that kept distracting my attention. Bresnahan went on a wonderful tangent about internal organs and sexual intercourse. I am glad I have all that recorded, his dialog will be uploaded into my sampler this weekend. Murphy stated that she went to college “because her parents told her to”… obviously, she’s running for office for that very same reason. Purcell claimed that some of the folks on stage were criminals. He’s correct, but it was just funny to hear it said. Vega was vague when asked about the charter question and wasted his time explaining to the audience that he did not want to tell people how to vote on the issue – thanks, we know how we are voting on the issue – we wanted to know where you stood. Leahy expressed his love for some of the people in Holyoke, not all of them. Fletcher claimed that the only crime to speak of at casinos is children and pets locked in cars at the parking lots?!? Good stuff!
Pluta issued another statement. This letter was sent to folks not in Ward 7… because it was in Ward 7 that she lost to Morse mostly because of the casino non-issue. There is a third letter. If you can make a good scan like above and email me, please do.
This whole casino dialog is meaningless. Why is “The Casino” a talking point for the election when gambling is not even legal at the moment? The bill does not have the Governor’s signature on it nor has it passed the senate vote yet. If this bill does succeed it may end up in a very different vision than the original as there are already 182 amendments to the bill with the original allowing slot machines at the airport, in public schools, and at convenience stores – these have all been nixed in the senate debate. There is no guarantee that there will be a casino at all and if it does happen that it will be in Holyoke. Have you witnessed this Paper City Development crew in action with their attempts to manipulate the city council? They will not say where their money is coming from, and they appear at meetings making promises to every possible challenge that the council proposes. “Oh, sure, we will do that”. Nobody should listen to these freaks until the ink is dry and they provide exactly who they are working for with proof that they have the capital to cover this project. In the end, any casino built in the state will require a license and those licenses will be sold to the highest bidder. If Donald Trump suddenly appears in Holyoke (like he did back in 2007) and he plans to build a casino on top of that other monument to human sickness that is the Holyoke Mall then that is probably where it will end up. God forbid that be the reality, but if it does happen I’d rather it be gloriously tacky with caged lions, martini fountains and a waitstaff of Oompa Loompas that Trump would offer over the the low rent sleaze that the Paper City Development will create. In the end, if Mohegan Sun has land, architectural plans and an office in Palmer you can bet that is where it will end up if Western Massachusetts gets a money pit.
Equally absurd in this whole drama is the very idea that we need to base tax revenue, jobs and “growth” on gambling. I understand that games of chance and gambling have a history that is as long as civilization itself but here in the USA we dress up the ugliness that is the American Dream with it, preying upon the poor and the weak, luring their “disposable” income into a “Luxury Five-Star” trap that makes very few people rich while funding the state tax coffers with dirty money. Preexisting gambling in human history we all know that mind-altering substances have always been around and so has the “oldest profession”. If the state wants to capitalize on vice then they should legalize prostitution and drugs and take all tobacco and hard alcohol sales into state control much like New Hampshire does. This is a lot less risky than a casino because in the worst of economic times people will always be fucking and doing drugs (for the “casual” visitor to H.U.S.H., yes… alcohol and tobacco are drugs).
We should all be curious as to what Pluta really means when she says “Five Star Resort”. I have had that chance to hang out with our lovely mayor on a number of occasions and I can only imagine the horror of what she has in mind. She’s probably thinking Bon Jovi concerts and crab rangoons on a club-card complimentary buffet. Star ratings are almost meaningless except in Europe where an industry association applies the award under strict standardization of requirements. Remember when the Burj al Arab in Dubai lauded itself with the off-the-scale “seven star” award? It was probably deserved because it was the first hotel that actually required an entry fee to simply walk through the door. In the USA I have stayed in many “Five Star” hotels. All that has meant to me is that there is a place to sit in the bathroom other than the toilet, functional wireless internet access, wet bar and an El Salvadorian immigrant cleaning the room twice a day. Big deal, I can accomplish all that in the comfort of my own home. I have also stayed at what have been called “Five Star” hotel resort casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic city. These followed similar requirements but in addition to the comfort, internet and maid service was the use of large amounts of Febreze™ to cover up the smell of vomit, hooker and spilled ninety-nine cent shrimp cocktails. Again, I can accomplish all this in the comfort of home but since I cannot stand the smell of Febreze™ I instead use Pine-Sol™. …and the nicest of “Five Star” places that I have been to were those that were family oriented, usually associated with some pop-ugliness that is Disney, Universal Studios or the like. I don’t see that happening here nor is it appealing. I’d prefer to see cheap prostitutes over people dressed as mascots. Wait a minute…? Whoa, I never thought about that.
Shiny new great paying jobs? The casino will import experienced management and trained table game operators. The remaining jobs, while still requiring a credit and background check, will be valet parking, ash-tray cleaner, buffet stock-person and toilet attendant. Just what we need here in Holyoke. Full time jobs to keep the poor folk poor. There has got to be a better way to create jobs. When this casino operation is finally off the ground it will cost near a billion dollars. To what gain?
We should also not forget the “Internet Cafes” that were deemed illegal in Massachusetts by our State Attorney General. When two of these abominations appeared in Holyoke it was Pluta that said: “They have all the right permits, so I welcome the new business that is there, as I welcome all new business to the city.”
Yes, I do go to casinos. I love to play poker tournaments. I also play mid-stakes cash game poker because at those tables waitresses will deliver free top-shelf liquor or craft beer to me gratis and I can get a back massage while seated at the game. I make a good amount of money playing poker but I never play slots or table games. Call me a hypocrite here if you desire… I’d rather drive long distances to go to these places because I know that with New York and Connecticut already having established gaming we are going to be creating a glut. Whatever ends up in Western Massachusetts will either arrive as or soon deteriorate into a honky-tonk nightmare. Plus, I believe that we can, as a state, come up with better ways to make things work. I don’t see casinos as an answer.