Monday, January 19, 2009

A Worthy Public Service

Hi Everyone:

Today is Martin Luther King day, a day that our soon-to-be-inaugurated President-Elect has asked us to observe by performing a community service. We in Middleboro and Southeastern Massachusetts are currently buried under several inches of snow, with "flurries" expected for the remainder of the week.

I'd like to propose, as a fitting and worthy public service to our fellow residents, that we take Gladys Kravitz up on her suggestion and write to the office of the United States Secretary of the Interior, the office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the office of the United States Attorney General, and voice our concerns as citizens over two things:

1. The taint of corruption surrounding the land into trust application filed by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which should go to the secretary of the department of the interior, with a cc: to the Massachusetts Attorney General and the United States Attorney General, and

2. the taint of possible corruption surrounding the signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Town of Middleboro and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, and the need for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the negotiation, approval, and signing of the IGA. This letter should go to both the United States Attorney General and the Massachusetts Attorney General.

The addresses are on Gladys' blog, and I've shamelessly copied and pasted them below:

Secretary of the Department of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.Washington DC 20240

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

Office of the Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

In your letter to the United States Attorney General and to the Massachusetts Attorney General please ask the Attorneys General to investigate the circumstances surrounding the signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Town of Middleboro and the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. Check out any of the blogs and the local news websites for references or inspiration. New material is coming to light every day.

Regarding the application for land into trust, Gladys says it better than I could:

...write a letter to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and the BIA telling them why the land in Middleboro shouldn't go into trust because of the corruption within the Tribe and its investors, and the sleazy way the agreement was pushed through.

You don't have to be a superlative writer or a legal expert for either letter. All you need to be is a concerned resident of Middleboro, or of one of the surrounding communities, and feel that your voice was not heard, or that you were not even given the chance to voice your concerns, that your rights were trampled by the very representatives whom you elected to represent you, or that your elected representatives were not even offered the courtesy of an invitation to discussion. Please discuss what you feel was wrong with the process by which the resort-bingo-hall was presented to the public, discussed (or NOT) by your elected officials, and then signed off on (or NOT) by them, from your perspective as a resident and voter. Please discuss what you feel is wrong with the land-into-trust application, based on recent revelations and recent revisions to the IGRA guidelines. Again, the blogs on this topic provide much information.

Please do send actual, physical letters, since e-mails will likely not reach the intended recipient. Snail mail has a far better chance of being received, noted, and possibly acted upon.

Thanks in advance to everyone who chooses to observe Martin Luther King day with this public service.

I'm working on my letters now, and will have them done today.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Things are tough all over, or "Happy Birthday to Me"

The Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe (in an article by an LA Times reporter) are saying much the same thing. In a contracting economy, all that glitters is not necessarily casino gold. We need to understand that achieving the same compensation as a "commercial casino" may no longer be good enough, given how casinos across the board -- reservation and commercial alike-- are currently performing.

And in local news...there are apparently no local investors willing to help Mr. Strather with giving the friendly, small-town resort bingo hall the financial shot in the arm it needs to move from fevered CRAC-pipe-dream to reality.

To top it all off, Mr. Bond has decided to voice, very publicly, his concerns as a private citizen, about the IGA and the implications of the past misbehavior on the same.

It's time to WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE (looking at you, Selectman Spataro, Selectman Duphily, and Selectman Brunelle)

The casino industry is in trouble, not only in California (where the market is saturated), but also in its historic strongholds, Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Both the licensed commercial and the reservation model are faltering, and the dollar-sign scales are falling from local and state level politicians' eyes around the country. To top it all off, our own most vocal proponent of the deal is certainly having second, and third, and fourth, and fifth thoughts about the current terms of the IGA, given what we NOW KNOW about the past and current behavior of the leadership of the tribe.

Today is my 47th birthday, and I could not have had a better present than some of the articles and blog posts I have read today.

Happy Birthday to me indeed.