Driving in the old Green Island neighborhood …

By Rosalie Tirella

… a few days ago. Millbury Street, my old stomping grounds. Saw a guy being handcuffed by a cop outside the Honey Farms store. I thought to myself: Some things never change. All the canal fests in the world, all the frou frou street lamps in the universe can not wipe away poverty, desperation.

Criminals never look like the actors and actresses who portray them in movies and TV shows. In real life petty thieves look a lot like the guy I saw outside Honey Farms: underfed, skanky, poor. Like a guy who needs a good meal and some new, warm clothes.

I wonder how a slots parlor in the old hood will affect local businesses like Honey Farms. You know – the small stores on Millbury Street that cater to the residents of Lafayette, Lodi, Ellsworth , Sigel, Grosvenor and Meade streets, etc. The streets of Green Island. The streets where poor/working class folks live, usually in three deckers. More crime? More poverty?

Yesterday, still alarmed by the prospect of a slots parlor at Wyman Gordon, I went a callin’ on an old family friend on Lafayette Street. Let’s call her ‘Mary.’

I asked Mary, a smart, once fiery lady, what she thought of the slots parlor in her neighborhood. This life-long resident of Green Island knew exactly how things would play out in Wusta, land of the connected, home of the spineless politician. She said the slots were coming because none of the area’s leaders were gonna make a big effort to stop them. The deal has been made, she said. Without any in-put from Green Islanders, as usual.

Funny. She brought up Allen Fletcher. She said: Where is Fletcher on this? He has got his big school house on Ash Street. He lives near Wyman Gordon.

I told her I heard he is against the slots parlor but not really saying so, in a vociferous, public way.

Mary just smiled and shook her head and said: He knows on which side his bread is buttered.

I agreed. Allen is against slots, but why make waves and piss off the city manager and other city officials? People who have given him his frou frou street lamps on Millbury Street/Green Island. Why bite the hand that has been feeding you all sorts of goodies – of no real import to real Green Islanders – for years?

And so it goes. The grit in Green Island remains. Things will most likely get grittier as the locals make their way, WALK DOWN, to the slots parlor on Madison Street. To get lucky. But for the most part, they will leave uthe slots parlor poorer than when they entered its whirring, ringing, binging environs. More Green Islanders will struggle to pay rent and bills. A few desperate souls may rob the Honey Farms on Millbury Street. None of this will be pretty; some of it may be bloody.

We can count on ‘neighborhood leader’ Allen Fletcher to keep his rich, flaccid mouth shut. For the most part.

And do not get me started on our pointless city councilor, a pastor with a pastor husband. District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera is keeping her opinions to herself. Not coming out against gambling and its social ills, like a good pastor should. Not leading on this issue. Not advocating for her district. She has a big mouth when she wants to have one. Now, when we need it most, she has decided to shut her pie hole. Pathetic. Call her PASS-THE-BUCK RIVERA!

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