Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Springfield Neighbors Flip Flop

(November 5, 2014) Before the November 4th vote, West Springfield and Palmer voted to not have a casino in their back yard.  Mohegan Sun had set up an office in downtown Palmer and a big sign was visible by driver's getting off the Mass Pike at exit 8.  Holyoke had controversy with their Mayor, who initially expressed interest in a Holyoke Casino, and eventually chose not to entertain the idea of having a casino in their city.  The people of Holyoke and supporters of the Mayor made it clear they did not want a casino.  Two years ago, Springfield voted to let MGM build a casino.   A licensed was issued to MGM for Springfield.

Last Summer, the Massachusetts State Supreme Court agreed that the casino issue should be a state-wide vote.   Question # 3 was added to the November 4th ballot.  A "yes" vote meant a "no" to casinos.  

Before the November 4th vote, West Springfield voted not to have the Hard Rock Cafe or any casino in their neighborhood. The Hard Rock Cafe  casino plan for West Springfield was defeated 55-45 percent.  Tim Maland, president of the proposed Hard Rock Hotel & Casino New England, said the people of West Springfield didn't want a casino — regardless of who might operate it.  Of course the vote was different on November 4th.   They didn't seem to care if the casino is on the other side of the river.   

In Holyoke, Mayor Alex Morse initially desired to have a casino until his supporters showed frustration and disappointment.  Holyoke didn't want a casino.  On November 4th, they didn't seem to show that frustration and disappointment.  

In Palmer, the town that fought hard to not have a casino had voted out Mohegan Sun.  At one time, Mohegan Sun had an office in downtown Palmer.     However on November 4th, their "YES" vote was 40, leaving 60% approving a casino.   They kicked out Mogehan Sun from their town, but didn't seem to mind MGM in Springfield.

In Springfield, the city only supported 36% to not have a casino while 66% were in favor of having the casino.   This isn't too far different from the vote two years ago.  

As I have toured Massachusetts with the fuel of Project Furious, I had observed that if people didn't live in an area of a casino then they strongly wanted it.  An example is the Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick  would vote against a casino if one were proposed in Richmond, the western Massachusetts town where he owns a home.  (MassLive Nov. 13, 2014)

Here’s how all of the eight surrounding communities voted on ballot question #3, where a “No” vote kept the casino gambling law in place, and allows casinos in the state:
  • Chicopee:                No votes= 10,285 Yes votes= 5,498
  • Agawam:                 No votes= 6,163 Yes votes= 4,046
  • Ludlow:                   No votes= 4,364 Yes votes= 2,175
  • East Longmeadow:  No votes= 3,382 Yes votes= 2,784
  • Holyoke:                 No votes= 6,103 Yes votes= 3,917
  • Wilbraham:             No votes= 3,688 Yes votes= 2,343
  • West Springfield:     No votes= 4,458 Yes votes= 3,931
  • Longmeadow:          No votes= 3,307 Yes votes= 3,968

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