Tag Archives: slots parlor

THIS JUST IN! Wyman Gordon site: worst possible site for slots parlor

By Edith Morgan

I am a “Johnny-come-lately” to this discussion of the locating of the slots  at the Wyman-Gordon site.

I have to confess that I believe that this site is the worst possible site for such a business. We have all heard the arguments about the evils of gambling, the encouragement of a deadly habit on the part of those who can ill afford it, and the concomitant crime and degradation which often accompany the establishment of such a facility.  We have also heard the argument that it will bring some quick cash into the city, at a time when it is badly needed. And it will put something in the place of an unused, polluted ugly piece of property.

But let us look carefully at this location: have you all ever driven through Kelly Square, even when it is not rush hour? Many of us have gotten through there on a wing and a prayer, to get to I290, or the Senior Center, the Girls’ Club, or Worcester Academy. I know there are plans to reconfigure this area, but even if traffic is improved, there are so many destinations in that part of our city that will still have to be accessed by that route, that adding traffic from a facility whose sole purpose is to pull coins out of the pockets of visitors is not adding to the improvement of this area.

There HAVE to be better uses of that piece of property: Deb Cary of Mass Audubon has suggested several. And I am sure that the many citizens working on the Canal district projects and the improvements of Green Street’s business improvements have ideas.  Do we really have to sacrifice the Green Island area for a short-term gain of some dubious tax money? Worcester has always been known  as a city of neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive style. Green Island may not be rich in cash, but it is home to much history and ethnic diversity. The present bad times, brought on by the injudicious ( and sometimes even criminal) investment of banks and other greedy entities, cannot last forever, though it should have been over some time ago. 

Let us take the longer view, and not be for sale to the first, or highest bidder. We ought to have learned something from the destruction wrought by the way I290 was allowed to slice right through the city without regard to neighborhoods and businesses, killing the heart of the city, just to get through it fast…

I have been to Foxwoods and Mohegan – both are located way out in the country, away from population centers. They include eating places, hotels, and shopping malls, and are not connected  to the surrounding towns. Both are full-service gambling establishments, offering live entertainment as well as many different kinds of games, not just slot machines… They are basically separate countries, with their own police forces, small Indian nations sitting in the midst of the State of Connecticut. What we are being offered  is a pure and simple mass of slot machines, offering nothing more than just an opportunity to lose money .

Do we really want to sell out our city for such a short gain , sacrifice this area because we have not the foresight to see what this will do to Green Island? Are we really so greedy for some quick tax dollars that we can not see beyond the immediate future? Does money really trump all other values now? And is this the best that our city , the cradle of so much creativity and independent thought, can come up with for this property?

 

BE THERE (with yer pitch-forks!)! (and a song)

Slots parlor developers to detail plans at Worcester City Council (joint subcommittee) meeting Wednesday, 7 p.m., City Hall, Main Street. BE THERE!  … And a Jackson Browne song because the people of Worcester are more than Happy Idiots Struggling for The Legal Tender! – R. T.

 

Once again:

Is Worcester so desperate for revenue …

By Rosalie Tirella

… that it needs a slots parlor to fleece the region’s poorest folks?

Are we Holyoke or Springfield, dying cities, cities where slots are deemed civic saviors?

Are we a city without several colleges, several hospitals, a major teaching hospital, bio engineering parks?

Are we a city whose downtown lacks all hope, investors, developers, plans, etc?

Are we a city of fast folks, people looking to make a fast buck without fear of gaming’s social, economic and psychological repercussions?

Are we a city that does not value its city scape, the way the city feels as you drive, bike or walk through it?

Do we have city councilors and a city manager who disrespect Woo citizens, especially our most vulnerable folks?

I SAY A RESOUNDING “NO” TO ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Worcester is a little pinched around the edges, but otherwise a grand town. A thriving city filled with good people, lovely parks, solid public schools, good colleges, hospitals, museums, restaurants, fairs and cultural events. The region’s economy is solid, thriving.

WE DO NOT NEED A SLOTS PARLOR IN GREEN ISLAND.

LOOK AT HOW STRONG OUR CITY IS. REMEMBER ALL ITS ASSETS.

Let’s not tart up and degrade our urban grand dame. I like her slow and steady conservative, sometimes too conservative, style. It means we don’t do rash, stupid things very often.

SAYING “YES” TO A SLOTS PARLOR IN GREEN ISLAND WOULD BE A RASH, STUPID THING TO DO.

 

 

You can see why Rush Street Gaming …

By Rosalie Tirella

… has a vise-grip hold on the minds and souls of so many on the Worcester City Council: jobs, tax revenue, cool new downtown hotel built for the city for free, restaurants, luxury spa etc.

But I believe what really attracts a good, progressive Worcester city councilor like Joe O’Brien to this passel of goodies is … GOOD-PAYING JOBS FOR THE CITY’S UNSKILLED WORKERS. A paycheck with health benefits, a paycheck that is NOT A MCJOBS PAYCHECK. A paycheck out of poverty. A paycheck that will enable the working poor and working class to pay the bills and then some.

This is so important! So many of Wusta’s peeps struggle, so many are on Food Stamps, so many live tuff/mean lives. A generation ago, and I count many of my first-generation European immigrant relatives among that generation, these folks would have found good paying jobs in Worcester’s scores of factories – what must have felt like several in each of our blue collar neighborhoods. A hard but sure-fire way up the ladder to middle class life.

Now the factories no longer thrum with activity. Yet there are thousands of unskilled workers in the city who need jobs.

The casino package would bring jobs, opportunities, to Wusta’s ‘factory’ peeps. This, I believe, is why City Councilor Joe O’Brien has not taken a public stand against the slots parlor. Especially if workers are union workers. Union gaming job salaries hover around the 40 K plus benefits level. A solid factory job paycheck.

Question: If we say NO to slots, can we provide all the folks who did not have the good fortune to attend college with a good paying job? Can we get the good but untrained kid a job which allows him to own a car or start saving money for a down payment on a house or condo?

The global economy has been brutal for America’s unskilled workers. Maybe folks like Joe O’Brien, good progressive city councilors, feel gaming, if tightly controlled, will ultimately help city workers who for so long have been looking at $8 an hour paychecks.

Backwards – all the way!

By Rosalie Tirella

Yup. Makes sense: The City Council is most likely to vote in favor of City Manager Mike O’Brien crafting a Host Agreement with Rush gaming. This happens next Tuesday at the City Council meeting, held at City Hall. The inanity/insanity begins at 7 p.m.

Then, as only craven politicians with their heads up their butts can decide, there will be a public hearing on Rush gaming and the proposed slots parlor THE NEXT DAY. NEXT WEDNESDAY, 7 p.m., City Hall, during which time all the public protesting and fulminating won’t make a damn bit of difference because the City Council will have already voted in favor of wheeling and dealing with (pun intended!) Rush Gaming. Talk about putting the cart before the jackass!

Are our city leaders this desperate – and dumb? Do they think we Worcesterites are this desperate and dumb?

I say GO TO BOTH MEETINGS AND RAISE HELL. Rail against the slots parlor in Green Island! Rail against the half-truths and bull shit. Rail against the convoluted process!

So our city leaders know that we, the people, aren’t the SUCKERS they think we are. That we know that the process has been rigged against us. Again.

Our Worcester City Council – the cowards

This just in! A press release from the Mayor’s office. A slap in the face to the good people who want the city council to REJECT a host agreement/tell the gaming guys to LEAVE WUSTA! Immediately! We do not have to agree to a host agreement. The city council can direct the city manager to tell the gambling guys: This city is not interested in slots. This city is not interested in environmental injustice. This city will not exploit the area’s poorest folks. GO AWAY.

But they are doing the opposite! Our city leaders are too lazy to do real economic development, too lazy to go to cities that are luring light industry to their municipalities and to pick these cities’ leaders brains so Wusta leaders can also lure good paying jobs to Wusta –  for its low skilled folks, folks who need a leg up – not a slot machine addiction.  We need leaders to hire a crack economic development team to go out and RECRUIT LIGHT INDUSTRY to Worcester and think outside the box. Let’s do economic development right! Let’s not grab at this deal with the devil because our downtown is a ghost town and we are desperate.

No slots parlor for the Wyman Gordon site!!!

AND: Let’s remember this new  political nadir during election time. Let’s remember that no city councilor – except for Konnie Lukes – made his/her opinion public. The biggest piece of economic development to come down the pike in years – and not a peep from our elected officials, people who we vote into office to represent our best interests, people who will gas on and on and on about food trucks. People who bloviate over pit bulls. BUT HAVE NOTHING TO SAY about this mammoth project.

Here’s the mayor, trying to big foot the anti-slots crowd. I have made some sentences bold.   – R. Tirella

********

Last night a motion was made on the floor of the City Council, “That the City Council of the City of Worcester in accordance with state law, does herby authorize the City Manager to negotiate a community host agreement with the intention of placing this document before the people of this community so that they may exercise their right to be educated and to vote on this all important topic.”

This order is endorsed by: Mayor Petty, Councilor Economou, Councilor Eddy, Councilor Germain, Councilor O’Brien, Councilor Palmieri, Councilor Rivera, Councilor Rushton, Councilor Russell, Councilor Toomey.

This order is not an endorsement by the council of the proposed slot parlor. This order is to request the City Manager to negotiate the best host agreement on behalf of the residents.

It is not our purview to decide if gaming is right or wrong or should or shouldn’t happen. Gaming is coming to Massachusetts – that is a fact. What is our purview is to make sure the developers who have selected Worcester as their preferred location have a full understanding of our community.

This decision will not be one forced down upon anyone. Nor will it be without significant public participation and nor will it be anyone but the voters who ultimately decide if we have a slot parlor in the City.

What we pledge to you is that we will fight for the best agreement we can get. We pledge we will make sure every voter in the City ofWorcester has the accurate information to make an informed decision at the polls.

Joseph M. Petty

Mayor

 

Another public hearing on the proposed slots parlor NEXT WEEK …

… Wed., Apr. 17, 7 p.m. – Worcester City Hall (Levi Lincoln room), Main Street.

***********

At yesterday’s public hearing on the slots parlor, Deb Cary made a wonderful suggestion: Why not a water park/sports facility for the Wyman Gordon site? A place where folks can splash in the water, slide down cool, slippery water slides or … run, walk, play tennis, play games, enjoy … miniature golf or batting boxes … . How super for inner-city families! Good, healthy fun! And the water park could be wonderful enough to draw people from all over the region.

This is how Worcester, a family town at heart, should be thinking!

– R. Tirella

 

 

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!

Perspective – Part 1

By Rosalie Tirella

I suppose if you do not live on Lafayette, Lodi, Meade, Grosvenor, Scott or Langden – the streets ACROSS from the old Wyman Gordon – the proposed slots parlor looks like a pretty good deal to you.

After all, city movers and shakers have gotten the city a hotel and other downtown amenities as a big thank you from the gaming guys. A big bribe for Worcester to sweeten a horrible dish – a slots parlor, for the Wyman Gordon site in Green Island. A slots parlor with 1,200 computerized slot machines that take credit and debit cards. A slots parlor, the kind of attraction no city or town wants.

When I was a kid growing up on Lafayette Street I was keenly aware of the fact that I was living in one of Wusta’s tuff neighborhoods. Not so much as a child, attending nearby Lamartine Street School, but as a teenager attending Providence Street Junior High, and later Burncoat Senior High. All my junior high and senior high pals were great, but I always cringed whenever they picked me up or dropped me off in their cars to go somewhere. At the beginning of Lafayette Street you had a strip joint (today, true to its stripper roots, a Hurricane Betty’s). Millbury Street, where my mom worked and my family shopped, was home to almost a score of seedy bars, places out of which men and women would stumble, drunk and bellicose. Lafayette Street had two bars, for Cripe’s sake: Ben’s Cafe and the old PNA club.

I was awash in booze!!! But I had a great mom who kept her girls straight – school every day, church every Sunday or Saturday eve,The Girls Club in summertime, after school jobs as soon as we turned 14 and a half years old (kids got work cards then). Summer and weekend fun with my aunts and uncles and their kids.

I was too busy being raised by Mrs. Tirella to sink into the world around me, even though my sisters and I were real neighborhood girls. We played with the neighborhood kids, walked to church, walked to Millbury Street every day for after school treats like burgers and cokes at the old Peter’s Dairy Bar or Messier’s Diner or even a bowl of clam chowder with our mom at Charles Restaurant – heaven! We were totally part of our urban environs. I saw lots of good and bad things. Stuff that delighted me, stuff that scared me. But out my mom and sisters and I went every day into what I now realize was a very rich, complex urban environment.

In a way, the Wynan Gordon site, then the Wyman Gordon factory, kind of anchored my world. It was where people worked, worked hard. It was a gated, no-fun place for me as a kid. A place that was noisy with machines and guys in hard hats worked hard. Big steel tubes were stacked in pyramids. They sparkled in the sun. I was kinda proud of the factory. It was always busy, it was always safe to walk by it as we made our way to the Worcester Public Libray on Salem Street. A City of Worcester Fire Station was right across the street as we made our way under the concrete over-pass. Urban, hectic, noisy. Sometimes unsafe, even violent. My old neighborhood.

Does Green Island need more noise, more social ills, more pain?

Why slot machines are like cocaine …

We ran this New York Times story in January. We re-post it in light of tonight’s city council meeting. We ask all Worcesterites to please say NO TO THE SLOTS PARLOR IN GREEN ISLAND!! Thank you!

– Rosalie Tirella

How Slot Machines Raise Our Hopes, Even When We’re Losing

Lloyd Miller

By RANDALL STROSS, The New York Times

Published: January 13, 2013

STEP into a casino and chances are good that slot machines are filling much of the space, as far as the eye can see. That dominant presence reflects the preference of many customers for machine gambling over human-mediated table games. Not surprisingly, electronic game machines contribute a clear majority of casino revenue in the states that permit them.

What may not be so evident is how a shift in casino gambling to screen-based games contributes to gambling addiction. It’s a story that would fill a book – and just such a book has arrived: “Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas” by Natasha Dow Schüll, an associate professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at M.I.T. The book offers a history of digital technology in casino gambling and shows how it grabs hold of players in ways never before available to equipment makers.

Professor Schüll, a cultural anthropologist, spent considerable time in Las Vegas casinos as part of her research. She met players who told her how they sought to enter a mindless state, a “zone,” in which all else is obliterated, and to stay there as long as possible.

“You aren’t really there – you’re with the machine and that’s all you’re with,” one subject said, describing the zone “where nothing else matters.”

This isn’t the only place where gamblers can reach such a state of mind. It’s also known to occur at table games and at the racetrack. But casino machines arguably supply the most immersive, distraction-free gambling experience.

Speed is one design element of modern gambling machines that helps preserve that zone. When the machines’ gear-driven handles were replaced by electronic push-buttons, the number of games that could be played in an hour doubled. On today’s video slots, played with credit cards instead of coins, players can complete a game in as little as three seconds. There is virtually no pause between plays, and virtually no opportunity to process what has just transpired. …

To read more, click here.

 

 

A song and … my car broke down …

… and the Old Injun Fighter came through for me and drove me around today (what a good egg!)  This morning, still missing his gnarly presence in my life, I asked him what he thought about my anti-slots-parlor crusade. The OIF is a realist, in the most brutal terms. Looking straight at me, he said: Yes. The people of Worcester will vote yes for this mess.

He told me people like this stuff. He couldn’t care one way or the other, but yes, Worcesterites will vote YES for the Green Island slots parlor and other gambling goodies/bribes slated for downtown.

This depressed me and I yelled at him: BUT YOU’LL VOTE NO DURING THE REFERENDUM, RIGHT?! YOU’LL VOTE NO!! VOTE NO!!!

Usually, he will vote the way I ask him to/ in a liberal/libertarian/progressive way, especially when it comes to the environment (which he is passionate about). But he was not up for the politics this morning (I always am). So I let up. But I did get his vote against the slots parlor!

Well, now that the “oracle,” has spoken, I am … blue. About slots. About losing him. We went to scores of concerts together. Saw The Moody Blues two or three times. I love this group, despite their kooky forays into poetry. Thought of this Justin Hayward song after the Old Injun Fighter dropped me off.

– R. Tirella

click on link below pics to hear a very romantic MB tune, written and performed by the lovely Justin Hayward!

Click here for song!