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HUSH Voters Guide 2013

2013/11/03 in Alex Morse, Bresnahan, Casino, Elections, H.U.S.H., Lisi, Mailbag, Mayor, McGee, Walmart

“The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

ON QUESTION #2: Vote YES for NEP.  There’s a strong vibration of anti-reason and anti-science in American politics.  Holyoke is certainly no exception.  So, I’d like to discuss the needle exchange first, because that is the most utterly confusing thing on this ballot (well, except for maybe Dan Bresnahan and Brenna McGee as candidates).  I am not a doctor, though I did have aspirations to be one and was at one point seeking enrollment in a PA program on reenlistment into the US ARMY some years ago – which never happened due to a mountaineering accident.  At that time I was a Microbiology and Chemistry student and in that combination of disciplines was focusing on the biochemistry of immunology – I did go on to work in healthcare both in a laboratory and in a NICU but that was a long time ago.  Now, I am no expert, and I will be the first to admit that…  However, from what I do know; the best way to slow down the spread of a disease is to disrupt the vector of a pathogen. It really is pretty fundamental:  Spread by aerosol?  Wear a mask.  Spread by drinking water?   Treat / filter the water.  Spread by direct contact?  Wash hands / use condoms.  etc, etc.   Dirty needles spread disease and removing dirty needles from the equation greatly limits the spread of related communicable diseases.  I also believe in leaving some things up to the experts and leaving some other things up to the democratic process.  The needle exchange is not something that should be “decided upon”.  It simply makes sense and should be established so leave it up to health experts and not some democratic process… What does boggle my mind is folks like Linda Vacon, a registered nurse that supposedly knows and cares about healthcare, and others who claim to “be good with numbers” oppose this program or say the ills of the program outweigh any benefits.  The benefit is that is saves lives.  The possibility to save one life makes the program invaluable.  Opposition can only come from absolute ignorance or, more likely, a desire to have “those people” die because they are less than human.  It also reminds us of those tin-foil hat wearing Alex Jones fans that think that vaccines are a some sort of government conspiracy eugenics program or, equally so, that climate change is a leftist conspiracy.  It is all part of the general dumbing down of America where people are more likely to be motivated by fear than they are by the truth. For those that might want to read more on the realities of NEP please see this document from Drug Policy Alliance or this link from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Also, this well done video staring my girls has a great message (while strongly appeal to emotion it is the truth) that comes from A Clean Holyoke / Tapestry Health:


ON QUESTION #1: Vote NO Casino in Holyoke.  I am opposed to the Holyoke casino idea – for a number of reasons – probably #1 was the site plan right along the Metacomet and Manadnock trail and pristine Mt Tom Reservation.  I am not not a fan of casinos but I am not opposed to gambling or casinos in general; however I think they are not the right fit for Western Mass and see the over-saturation of gambling in New England making this whole plan a failure.  Keep the ones we have and build no more.  Let Vegas be the destination that it is.  …and vote out of office every legislator that made this bill into law.  Then repeal the legislation before groundbreaking happens. This non-binding question seems like a waste of time by everyone involved, mostly because the timeline is moving, Springfield and Palmer are potential sites – Springfield passed the referendum with Palmer deciding on Nov 5th.  For Holyoke to be a possibility the entire Gaming Commission timeline would need to be set back to zero if for some reason that Palmer failed the vote and Springfield was denied by the commission.  Also, seeing that there is so much already invested I see the plan going full steam ahead in Springfield if Palmer fails because, they want that casino and with a new governor incoming and an actual bill in the works to stop the casino plan they want groundbreaking before any traction is made in repealing the law.

The question, the casino timeline and the politics here in Holyoke makes interesting the publishing of a mailer that lists an anti-casino candidate voting slate with a number of glaring omissions of would-be casino opponents.  An anonymous group called Citizens For a Better Holyoke which claims to be a “factually oriented group that works together with community members from all over Holyoke” that is “dedicated to providing the public with information”.  Well, I disagree.  Repeated attempts to find out who meets and decides on what is communicated was met with silence.  A few folks admit to being part of the group but on the literature, nothing… and the Facebook page there is no “About Us” that defines who was behind the mailer.  Not responding to queries is NOT working with the community and not providing a complete list of anti-casino candidates fails to educate and only exposes either the political bias of the organization or its failure to be able to live up to its mission statement.  HUSH was contacted by a few candidates that felt like the mailer misrepresented them.

Rick Purcell, previous Green Party Candidate for Lt Governor with Jill Stein and Ward 3 Holyoke candidate now running at large has maintained a solid anti-casino stance since well before CFBH formed and before legislation was passed.  His omission from the list is indeed strange because his position is very well known.  Rick claims he was not contacted for this mailer and that John Epstein, one of CFBH members, was hostile towards him 2 years ago.  I don’t know what to say here except that I am not sure why not each and every candidate was contacted about Q1 and inclusion on the mailer.  Yes, CFBH did revise a pdf to include Purcell but this is after the mailer was sent.  It may actually help Purcell to be excluded because of the scrutiny over the mailer.

Kevin Jourdain cried a river over not being included in a long press release published on his FB page and Masslive / Republican Newspaper.   He writes:  “I actively opposed the casino at the 1995 and 2002 ballot questions. A casino proposal has only once come before the Council in my tenure and that was during the 2010-2011 term. As Chair of the Redevelopment Committee at the time, I led the charge to oppose the Wyckoff casino and stopped the two proposals on the project both for a land transfer they needed of 5 acres of city property, as well as, for the city to forgo its right of first refusal on other areas inside Wyckoff. Not talk but votes on the issue. When others were looking to rush things through, who did casino opponents turn to? Kevin Jourdain.”  He is correct.  I saw some of this in City Council meetings.  In an email to me Kevin Jourdain said: “I got dumped because I voted on allowing the non binding question on ballot not because I am pro casino. It is not fair. I always allow those questions on fill in the blank topic. That has nothing to do with casinos.”  I am somewhatin agreement here.  Similarly, I almost always will sign papers for someone running for office.  I may not actually vote, but everyone deserves a chance.  Well, I do believe that I might take exception at some point.  I might not sign papers for a total bat-shit loon Tea Party member like Linda Vacon.  Similarly I might see a question like this one as a waste of time and resources.  Indeed, Kevin has been anti casino and his support of the ballot question is not indicative of a pro-casino stance.

Yassir Menwer forwarded me his email from John Epstein, which is interesting because it is very elusive.  Looks like a private citizen from Ward 7 contacting a Ward 5 candidate with a simple question and not representing an organization:

Hi Yasser,
    Dozens of people who are strongly opposed to a Holyoke casino have been coming up and asking me “who should I vote for” in the upcoming election?  And naturally I want to know, myself.
    For the record, would you please tell me if you are in favor of, or opposed to, a casino in Holyoke.
    Thanks,
    John

Whoa.  That’s good stuff.

Yassir provides a detailed response where he states that he believes that the casino is a bad idea, but if it were to happen that he would work to make it the best possible plan for the city.

In a reply:

Hello Yasser,
    Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
    Before I finalize what I’m doing, I wanted to make sure I was representing your position properly.  So rather than me trying to project my own interpretation upon your response to me, I’ve decided it would be best to provide you with a choice of several categories from which you can describe how you feel.
    Which of the following would you say most accurately describes your position on a casino in Holyoke:
    Pro-casino
    Leaning pro-casino (appears promising)
    Neutral
    Leaning anti-casino (serious reservations)
    Anti-casino
    Thanks for your patience!
    Best,
    John

 

Yassir responds “Leaning anti casino”.  Granted, I like my candidates to say exactly what they believe, but like Rick claims he experienced similar here two years ago…  who / what / why?  I think some might have reservations being subject to such a cold calling.  Instead, if there was full disclosure “we are Citizens For  A Better Holyoke, an anti-casino group and we want to know your position on such and such” you might get full disclosure and less CYA.

Anyhow.  CFBH needs a new ringmaster.

Mayors Race: Alex Morse.  As many know, I have butted heads with Alex on a number of occasions on some key issues.  He’s also landed in the right place each time.  I have also had the opportunity to work with Alex on the cable advisory board, where I see a great opportunity unfolding for Holyoke with a new media center in the works and the possibility of utilization of a neglected downtown property funded by Comcast.  Before the field of candidates unfolded I actually was not sure if I would have a horse in this race and when Jeff Stanek appeared I thought there might be some serious competition when Stanek started attending the anti-Walmart meetings.  But as more was revealed it began to appear that Stanek was not only not my candidate but quite possible the absolute worst case scenario with his history of corruption, bad business dealings and some very interesting campaign financial support.  Not to mention failure to attend two debates and absolutely horrible presentation in those where they did face off.  As well, some very illuminating discussions that are borderline racial profiling like NYC’s Stop and Frisk policies…  Stanek wants police checkpoints?  What, is he from North Korea?  The choice is very clear.  Alex is moving Holyoke forward and Stanek represents quite the opposite.

The rest of the races have some interesting fresh faces and motivated people stepping up to lead the city.  Mark Riffenburg, Mimi Panitch, Jim Chevalier (in a write-in sticker campaign), Rosalee Tensley Williams, Jossie Valentin and Christine Alger are new to political scene and offer a lot to our great city.

I’d like to go on at great length about all these choices and may return to edit more.  But for now, here is the HUSH endorsements…  and remember, anyone BUT Dan Bresnahan if you see the need to fill out more bubbles on the at-large section:

Mayor:
Alex Morse

City Clerk:
Louise K. Bisson

City Treasurer:
Jon Lumbra

City Council At Large:
Rebecca Lisi
Richard Purcell
Mark Riffenburg
Mimi Panitch
Kevin Jourdain
Peter Tallman

Ward 1 City Council:
Gladys Lebron-Martinez

Ward 2 City Council:
Anthony Soto

Ward 3 City Council:
David Bartley

Ward 4 City Council:
Jossie M. Valentin

Ward 5 City Council:
Yasser Menwer

Ward 6 City Council:
Jim Chevalier

Ward 7 City Council:
Gordon P. Alexander

School Committee at large:
Devin M. Sheehan

School Committee Ward 1:
Mildred I. Lefebvre

School Committee Ward 2:
Rosalee Tensley Williams

School Committee Ward 3:
Dennis W. Birks

School Committee Ward 4:
Christine Alger

School Committee Ward 5:
Kellie M. Pond

School Committee Ward 6:
Joshua Garcia

School Committee Ward 7:
Erin B. Brunelle

State Senate:
David Bartley

Question 1 “Should the city of Holyoke have a resort style gaming casino?”:
No

Question 2 “Should the city of Holyoke have a needle exchange program?”:
Yes

 

 

Happy Fluxmass

2012/12/15 in Anarchism, Casino, Consumerism, Occupy, Police, Politics, Video

 ’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.

 

Audio of Morse Apology for Casino

2012/11/26 in Absurd, Activism, Alex Morse, Audio, Casino, Holyoke, Lies, Suher

Audio From Today’s Press Conference

 

Link to MP3

H.U.S.H. in the Advocate again.

2011/12/28 in Activism, Art, At-large, C.R.U.S.H., Casino, Chickens, Elections, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, Mailbag, Patti Devine, Press, pronography

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:

Meet Our Founder

H.U.S.H. in the news

H.U.S.H. Mailbag

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

H.U.S.H. in the Advocate again.

Potty Divine

 

 

 

The Quiet Revolution

2011/11/09 in Alex Morse, Bresnahan, Casino, Charter, Council, Elections, History, Holyoke, Lies, Mayor, Patti Devine, Pluta, Politics, Purcell, Tallman

Oh, What A Night!


(this is our new mayor)

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)

Casinos win by betting on losers.

2011/11/07 in Activism, Alex Morse, Bresnahan, Casino, Council, Development, Economics, Elections, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, Jobs, Law, Lies, Lisi, Mailbag, Mall, Mayor, McGee, Murphy, Patti Devine, Pluta, Politics, Vega

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

CITY COUNCIL:

(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.)

OPPOSED:

Peter Tallman
James Leahy
Rebecca Lisi
Gordon Alexander (Ward 7)

LEANING OPPOSED (SERIOUS RESERVATIONS OR TALKING SHIT?):

Aaron Vega
Kevin Jourdain
Yasser Menwer

Presented by:

Holyoke Against Casinos

Holyoke Mayoral Candidates on WGBY

2011/11/03 in Alex Morse, Art, Boob Tube, Casino, Elections, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, Mayor, Pluta, Vimeo, WGBY

For those that missed it – Pluta and Morse on Connecting Point.

 

 Wampum points and jobs for the poor = pennies on the dollar.

 

 

Team Pluta Photoshop

2011/10/29 in Activism, Alex Morse, Art, Casino, Council, Elections, Holyoke, Lies, Lisi, Mayor, Pluta, pronography

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.

Audio from the Morse and Pluta Debate

2011/10/27 in Alex Morse, Casino, Elections, H.U.S.H., Lies, Mayor, Mike Plaisance, Pluta, Politics, Press, pronography

One Ring To Rule Them All

 

 

(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)

Listen for yourself:

 

Audio from the October 20th City Council Candidate Forum

2011/10/20 in Audio, Casino, Charter, Council, Development, Elections, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, Jobs, Lies, Patti Devine, Politics, Press, Vega

 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!

Listen for yourself…

 Ward Councilors:

At Large Councilors:

 

Circus Circus

2011/10/04 in Casino, Elections, H.U.S.H., Mayor, Politics, pronography

The five star fear-mongering letter:

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.