Archive for casinos

Four Questions for MA Voters

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MA, thanks to the legislative gods, is not at the head of ballot initiatives. That onerous crown still belongs to CA. There, virtually any crackpot with a loony fetish can get it on the statewide ballot, given enough petition signatures. Here at least, all proposals go through that process, then a stringent screen by the Attorney General for legal stuff like constitutionality, and then legislative action in one or two sessions.

For fun, look at the AG’s filings here and Ballotopedia’s who-made-the-cut table.

Eventually the laggard Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will mail a booklet to registered voters listing the details of the four questions on November’s sheet. I’m a warden at a Boston polling place and I suspect that 90% or more of voters won’t read the booklet and arrive ignorant.

Pity, there are some goodies that made the cut. I deal with:

Q1: Expanding slot machine gaming.

Q2: Charter School Expansion.

Q3: Conditions for farm animals.

Q4: Legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

I give an example or two of what didn’t make the ballot and why.

If you’re like most of my precinct’s voters what you want is the word. I can’t say on election day, but my call, just for you, is N, N, Y and Y.

icon for podpress  2016 MA Ballot Questions [29:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Ballot Questions and Public Transit Shows Coming

The next two Tuesday shows have disparate topics:

  • TU 8/23, I’ll cover the four, likewise disparate, Massachusetts ballot questions for November 8th.
  • TU 8/23, the interim director of Transportation for MA (a huge coalition of public interest groups) joins me to discuss how to get everyone from home to work and back at a reasonable price on a reasonable schedule, safely.

If you want to listen live or chime, click here at 2:30 PM Eastern on 8/23 for the ballot questions. Likewise, if transit equity is real to you, click here at 1:30 PM Eastern on 8/30 or the T4MA show.

As always, the shows are available afterward back here, at the show URL or on our iTunes page.

 

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No! Town, Boston

You want to do something exciting and edgy? Boston will watch from a distance.

Let’s not talk about the old Banned-in-Boston literature and performance. Let’s not talk about Blue Laws. Let’s come to recent times, the past few years

The mayor, other pols, and citizens have defeated:

  • Summer Olympics
  • More, easy-to-get liquor licenses
  • A single F1 car race
  • In town casino
  • 24-hour mass transit
  • Late-night mass transit

What gives in a city, town really, that loves to brag it is world class? Alas, Adam Gaffin over at universalhub.com is like spot on when it call this the city that always sleeps.

A few centuries ago, Boston and Charleston SC were seen as sister cities. Their social conservatism accounted for much of the zeitgeist. They did develop stifling Blue Laws together. Boston also hid behind Puritans, then and still it ducks behind its Roman Catholicism. Those were supposed to account for and excuse the petty and nasty limits on human behavior, speech and even thought.

I’ve lived in Boston for 36 years, after a decade in Manhattan. I draw my conclusions on why this town will live vicariously through its huge student population and asthenic arts life, as though that was plenty of vitality and creativity for everyone. Harrumph.

icon for podpress  No! Town: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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King Who Would Be Senator Podcast

Dropping note: OK, boys and girls, word at MassLive is that King decided to drop out of the race the day after our show with him. I hope it wasn’t something we said. Enjoy the commentary in that context.

Jim King does not accept being an afterthought candidate in the race for the Dem nomination to challenge US Sen. Scott Brown this fall. He figures his platform is the best, he’ll have enough money to compete, and he’ll get the 10,000 signatures and 15% of party delegates for the June convention. He intends to get on the September ballot, at the very least.

He takes strong positions, which he tends to back up with detailed historical and economic reasoning. Some, like energy independence and employment, he has particular passions for as well.

He told us plainly why he was in the race. “Number one is to beat Scott Brown,” he said. He believes the incumbent’s victory in the special election following Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death was an anomaly. He feels Kennedy “gave us a tremendous legacy,” one Brown has not done well by. He added that this position may not be Kennedy’s seat, “but he showed us how to use it.”

Click below to listen to King’s positions including:

  • Jobs — we need WPA/TVA-style public works projects as well as developing and expanding high-tech here
  • Casinos — no economic panacea
  • Corporate taxes — eliminate outdated subsidies like petroleum depletion and exploration credits, and make U.S. companies pay taxes on foreign holdings
  • Immigration — For non-violent/non-drug crime illegal immigrants, have them pay fines, make them follow the path to citizenship, and forget expensive, counterproductive long jail terms or deportation
  • Regressive politics — Brown among other GOP legislators are too often atavistic in promoting states-rights positions on health-care and more

King also believes that there is enough money to fund important development, like tidal power plants and wind turbines, without tapping the military budget. He acknowledges that self-interested Congress members might prefer to send money to pet projects, but he says, “Then let’s have a fight about it.”

His website has a clear, detailed section for each of his position.

icon for podpress  Jim King [32:04m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Boston Council President Podcast

smurphy.pngSteve Murphy, president of Boston’s City Council, joined us for an update on key issues. He’s a pivot for many heady problems (a.k.a. opportunities, to optimists).

We touched on the interlocking casino in Boston/hole in the ground at Downtown Crossing, where the city’s money will come from and go in these tight times, the PILOT moneys from universities and other non-profits, and the roles of the Council and Mayor Menino in the big issues.

Listen in as the ever ebullient Murphy describes the row of huge issues before him as “real exciting.” Where others might turn and run, he’s eager to engage in the battles and policy.

He describes what I termed as a tag team with Menino and him on pressuring the developer who left the huge hole where Filene’s used to be. He also goes to the heart of whether the East Boston ward or whole city will be in on the casino-siting vote (hearings first; evaluation of role of public money second; vote decision after the process advances).

We didn’t cover everything, but did have a wide-ranging check-in on Boston.

~Mike

icon for podpress  Steve Murphy [32:01m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Grossman Casinos Podcast

Steve Grossman talked casinos, commissioners, goals, and site awards with us for the law in place to allow three casinos and a single slots parlor in MA. The public wants action — revenue, short and long-term jobs, and other proof that large-scale commercial gambling (euphemistically gaming) beyond the lottery is the right thing to do.

Treasurer and Receiver General Steve Grossman joined Left Ahead today for an abbreviated (20-minute) show focused precisely on the what-now factor. Click the player below to hear what he says about:

  • Selection of the five commissioners to set up and oversee the works
  • What we expect to gain from the operations
  • How fast we ramp up
  • What his concerns are about the commissioner he picks, the two others he co-chooses, and the whole process

Even though he’s the commonwealth’s pivotal money man and financial policy visionary, Grossman is quick to point out that he’s largely a spectator once the commission’s in place and the sites are awarded. He guides at this stage and then has to be hands off. Ideally, he’ll be figuratively counting money from the operational proceeds.

It was just he and I today on this short show. I was plain about my trepidation.

Grossman inspires the obvious observation that he was an Eagle Scout and like most of them largely remains the honest and stalwart fellow. In that vein, he stressed how demanding he will be in his choice of commissioner. The Governor has already chosen the chair, the Attorney General gets a pick, and the three of them agree among themselves on the other two to make five. The process at least on paper/online looks like the qualifications in the description and application will avoid conflicts of interest, guarantee objectivity as much as humanly possible, and bring the proper mix of relevant knowledge and skills. Check the commonwealth site here for the specs and application.

I was also very concerned about the vague and seemingly naive objectives in the law itself. Scroll to lines 138 through 149 for key goals. Pretty much, the lawmakers and governor want new jobs as well as protection and expansion of local business and tourism.

These generalizations are a far cry from what is in the literature about successful implementations of gambling facilities. Most of those are overseas and typically took years of planning and bids that required the investing company to spend tens of millions meeting the governments specifications in elaborate proposals. The clearest case I heard was from casinos expert Prof. William Eadington at a recent Rappaport forum.

While Grossman did not promise that level of smart planning, he did agree with the concepts. Listen in as he describes that meter running. He figures we have one chance to do this right. He wants the commonwealth, in the form of him, the AG, Governor and commission, to apply principles like those he used in his successful business. He does not want anyone rushing and expects high quality instead of speed of implementation.

Likewise, he spoke of trying to capture the revenue that goes to out-of-state casinos and would not promise an effort to attract out-of-state and out-of-U.S. tourists. However, he likes the ideas behind the successful implementations in foreign casinos. Those typically built such attractive tourist resorts that they are true destinations, ones where the wealthy happily bring their families for a week or more, shopping, dining,clubbing, sightseeing, and sure, gambling too. He said that is possible here as well.

He promised updates as the process continues. We intend to take him up on that.

Cross-post:
This also appears at BlueMassGroup.

~Mike

icon for podpress  Steve Grossman [20:32m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Treasurer Talks Casinos

grossman.pngSteve Grossman with join us for a session on casinos, following the recent enabling legislation. We’ll try to maximize with focus — like what is the real aim of expanded gambling, whether fully fleshed out proposals or just down and dirty bidding will determine locations and features, and can we ensure as some cities and countries have that the overseeing commission will be ethical?

If you can join us live, click here, Monday, 12/19 at 3:30 PM Eastern. Afterward, the show will be at that URL, here at Left Ahead and on iTunes.

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Political Thanks Podcast

If snide lefties bother you, this is not your podcast. Ryan and Mike chatted up almost entirely political folk, events and trends they are thankful for this season and year.

We didn’t like casinos and slots passing into law. On the other hand or hands, we’re still delighted with the GOP Presidential band of buffoons. We talked up the good competition on the Dem side for U.S. Senate, the Occupy movement and much more. We had a good time.

icon for podpress  Political Thanks Due [29:49m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Casino Bill Podcast

No James Bond or other high-roller types here. We touched on the current 3 casino/1 slot parlor bill in debate on Beacon Hill. It seems certain to pass this time.

Fortuitousness (no gambling pun intended), Mike went to a Suffolk Law Rappaport Center program yesterday on the broader subject. The speaker was William Eadington, University of Nevada at Reno economics professor and director of its Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming.

Mike and Ryan are not casino supporters and would like one of the slim hopes that this bill fails to manifest. Ryan describes some of the outcomes, including lawsuits and ballot initiatives. Even if the bill becomes law this fall, casinos would be several years away.

Listen too as Mike relays some Eadington experiences and judgments, including:

  • If you’re going for casinos, the commission setting up and regulating it needs to be totally transparent and populated with those of absolute integrity (not something we’re famous for here)
  • The process should take four to six year, and ideally will start with proof of concept plans from bidders, before any sites or operators are chosen
  • The jurisdiction needs to be very clear about what it expects from casinos, prioritizing its goals

Eadington was plain that expecting financial miracles from casinos is totally unrealistic. However, mandating investment in resort casino(s) to create vacation areas to elevate the site and bring in tourists is possible.

Listen in as we begrudgingly discuss the likely and possible.

icon for podpress  MA Hearts Casinos [31:35m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA on Casino Abyss Brink

It’s highly likely that MA will take the first giant step to casinos. We’ll do an update show today. We’ll talk economic realities, as well as fantasies.

Join us live here at 2:30 PM Eastern today, Tuesday, September 27th.

You can always hear it later at that URL, here at Left Ahead, or on iTunes.

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