Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The story opens in Massachusetts State Representative David Flynn’s office (D-Bridgewater) where he barks out orders to his personal aid, Cratchit, to “get the Governor back on the phone!”. Apparently Representative Flynn is upset because anti-casino forces had put together a forum at the State House for legislatures, educating them about the dangers of gambling addiction – and damn it, the forum had been effective!
Representative Flynn, being an obvious pro-casino constituent is visited by three ghosts….well, read the story for yourself if you haven’t already. It is an excellent and entertaining read….eer, unless you'r selectman Christopher Flynn of Bridgewater.
Here is the comment that left me slack jawed.
A comment on Gladys Kravitz blog “A Casino Carol – part 1” from Selectman Christopher Flynn – Bridgewater (bold font courtesy of carverchick..)
Ah yes, the glories of anonymity...or should I say, lack there of. I must say that "anonymous #2" was correct in one regard and that is transparency. You will never find another elected representative who is more transparent and honest about their thoughts and positions than Dean Flynn. If people would take the time to sit down and listen to Dean Flynn and his 50+ years of experience in the legislature, you would actually understand the FACTS surrounding his stance on Casinos and where they should, and will, go. Casino gambling will happen in the Commonwealth regardless of anyone's efforts. The only question remaining is where they will go. The stories and anecdotes are cute but they aren't productive. If you want to get something done in Government you accomplish that through collaborative efforts with those in positions or offices that can make the difference. Not by posting their picture in these ridiculous photos. I appreciate and admire the tenacity and dedication of your efforts however there are far more productive ways of accomplishing your ultimate goal.
Whoa….hold the phone here…..which part of selectman does Mr. Flynn not understand? He was selected to represent the citizens of Bridgewater…..regardless of whether he agrees with them or not he has a civic and moral obligation to represent the citizens of his community – not to tell them their opinion doesn’t matter. I really don’t think that telling a citizen that they don’t or can’t make a difference is the best approach to “representation”. I have no problem with selectman Flynn’s pro-casino stance…what I do have a problem with is his attitude regarding our liberties – according to him, we mere lowly citizens of Massachusetts aren’t capable of making a difference….that we should just roll over and play dead because casinos are inevitable. Our criticisms and arguments are worthless…useless and futile without elected officials. Ummm…..perhaps now it the time to point out the word “elected”.
It seems to me that selectman Flynn here has had a bit too much kool-aid. You know what I mean…hallucinations of a repressed system where voting citizens opinions and concerns don’t matter….that the elected officials have all the power…casinos are inevitable so stop with that silly blogging. Mr. Flynn needs to find his way out of the rabbit hole and back to reality….we live in a Democracy. Citizens are the ones who can make a difference and it will serve him well to remember that.
As far as bloggers not being productive is concerned….. well those cute little stories and anecdotes finally got Bridgewater involved after a five month no-show, now didn’t they. They certainly opened my eyes to this casino plan and inspired me to do my own research and to come to my own conclusions. In fact, it is bloggers like Gladys who opened many eyes, and pulled many from the rabbit hole.
Perhaps if Mr. Flynn had followed the lead of the surrounding Town's selectmen and took the time to listen to concerns of Bridgewater citizens he might have something better to say than Casino gambling will happen in the Commonwealth regardless of anyone's efforts. The only question remaining is where they will go.
In my opinion, if Selectman Christopher Flynn of Bridgewater really believes that casinos are inevitable, then he is in the wrong business. When a person is elected to represent a community he cannot and should not assume inevitability for any issue that is brought to the table. It is equivalent to rolling over and playing dead.
Well, Mr. Flynn….here are some real facts that you may have missed while wandering around in Wonderland:
Casinos are not inevitable unless we let them be inevitable….
Other states that already have casinos have higher taxes and higher unemployment rates than Massachusetts.
New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut are in financial crisis and are now dependent on casino revenue. Casino profits are hitting record lows and those States are suffering due to lower payout.
Casinos will bring crime, increase traffic in an already congested area, contribute greatly to gambling addiction, stress our town services and schools as well as create a host of environmental nightmares.
Oh and one more fact to keep in mind.....us antis never learned the trick “roll over and play dead”. . and we never drink beverages with notes saying "drink me" on them. Believe it or not, we don’t need those in positions or offices telling us how to think or what we can or cannot speak up about. And we certainly won’t roll over and play dead. Telling any citizen in this State that they don’t matter and cannot make a difference is disgraceful. I honestly find myself questioning the integrity of your leadership and representation. We don't believe in the myth of inevitability, and as a selectman, neither should you.
- be the change you want to see in the world -
Thursday, January 24, 2008
On the other hand …others will say, if any endangered or threatened species are present there is no need to fret….casino developers have found a way around that! Why, just move ‘em somewhere else….eeesh, doesn’t that sound familiar!
That “one” species of special concern that Ms. Capone is so quick to dismiss is the eastern box turtle…and too bad for him!! Although the State lists the eastern box turtle as a species of special concern, the Federal Government does not. Now, I understand that “eastern box turtle” isn’t nearly as cool of a name as the red-bellied cooter, but you would think that the Federal Government would at least recognize the fact that there is concern for their survival in our region – on that site.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
I have to admit....I needed to really think about it for a while...how could putting land into trust in the original thirteen colonies be legally considered unconstitutional? So of course I did what probably many of you did....I read the United States Constitution. From reading this document and the conclusions from the previous 2007 United States Court of Appeals Carcieri v. Kempthorne - this is what I can surmise....
Preamble to the United States Constitution
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The Tenth Amendment states:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution clearly shows that the original thirteen States had carefully and resolutely reserved the majority of political power to themselves. The powers which they delegated to the Federal Government were limited and general in their character and the powers which the States reserved embraced their original and inalienable sovereignty. I think it is safe to argue that no State intended to surrender it's sovereignty when the Constitution was adopted. In fact, it was James Madison who pointed out the fact that "a delegated power is not a surrendered power."
Fisher Aimes, a founding father of our wonderful Country and the author of the First Amendment, made a statement regarding the protection of State Sovereignty: "...The State Governments represent the wishes and feelings, and local interests of the people. They are the safeguard and ornament of the Constitution; they will protract the period of our liberties; they will afford a shelter against the abuse of power, and will be the natural avengers of our violated rights."
It is quite clear to me that the intent of the Tenth Amendment was to emphasize the limited nature of the powers that the original States so carefully and cautiously delegated to the Federal Government. In regards to the BIA taking land into trust in Massachusetts under the IGRA, it is critical to understand one very important fact of American history - the fact that the federal government was created by the original thirteen States. It is this fact and this amendment that makes the IGRA and the BIA placing land into trust without the State's permission unconstitutional.
Since Massachusetts wants to pass the resolution proclaiming its sovereignty, then it may claim exemption to the Federal IGRA mandates under the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The State is basically saying that the BIA cannot put land into trust and force Massachusetts into a compact with the Wamanoag Indian Tribe for gaming rights using the argument "It's a federal mandate. You have to do it".
The bottom line in my opinion is, the State isn't saying the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians can't have land into trust, or that they can't have gaming. What the State is saying is, if the Tribe wants to put land into trust for the sole purpose of gambling, then they should be required to follow State and Local laws regardling land use (zoning), taxation, labor laws, water and wastewater use, air quality standards, MA Wildlife regulations, as well as every single other State Law required by all businesses... and not hide behind the Federal Government's grant of sovereignty, left to do whatever they please.
- be the change you want to see in the world -
Thursday, January 17, 2008
“Every standing oak is an example of a nut who stood his ground” – unknown
"The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more" - Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is trouble in the forest, And the creatures all have fled, As the maples scream "Oppression!"And the oaks just shake their heads - Rush, The Trees - Farewell to Kings
In light of recent developments where my favorite pro-casino bus driver equated saving trees with destroying lives, I thought I would take the time to point out how trees actually save us, not destroy us. Honestly now, for the life of me I cannot even begin to fathom how anyone could think that protecting and presevering our forests could ever destroy a life. A mega resort casino ….ummmmm…..yeah, I can see that destroying plenty of lives - along with a host of other things…but a tree?…please!
Wow…but doesn’t that USDA list look strikingly like the list of negative impacts a mega resort casino will bring to this region!
Oh, but let’s not forget about our furry little friends the Bar-ba-loots who rely on trees for survival. I mean, trees not only benefit our physical environment, but also benefit a whole host of critters. Trees attract birds and other wildlife, making our region a much more pleasant and enriching place to live. I cannot even imagine the eerie silence that would befall our region if the song of birds were entirely absent – or drowned out by the traffic noise….
Trees Have Environmental Benefits
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is one of the major contributing elements to the greenhouse effect. Trees trap CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and make carbohydrates that are used for plant growth and give us oxygen in return. One acre of trees can absorb up to 6 tons of carbon dioxide per year and return to the atmosphere, 260 pounds of oxygen per year.
A mature tree can absorb roughly 48 pounds of CO2 a year. The tree in turn releases enough oxygen to sustain two human beings.
Modest increases of 10% canopy cover in the New York City area has shown to reduce peak ozone levels by up to 4 parts per billion or by nearly 3% of the maximum and 37% of the amount by which the area exceeded its air quality standard. Similar results were found along the East Coast from Baltimore to Boston.
The leafy tree canopies catch precipitation before it reaches the ground, allowing it to gently drip and the rest to evaporate. This catching of precipitation lessens the force of storms and reduces runoff and erosion allowing for greater groundwater recharge and cleaner water. Research indicates that 100 mature tree crowns intercept approximately 100,000 gallons of rainfall per year, reducing runoff and providing cleaner water and a typical community forest – such as the proposed site for the mega resort casino – will retain approximately 10 million gallon of rainwater per year.
Trees reduce noise pollution by absorbing sound. A belt of trees 98 feet wide and 49 feet tall can reduce highway noise by 6 to 10 decibels. That’s good news for those folks who have houses next to route 44.
Trees Have Economic Contributions
Research shows that shoppers in well-landscaped business districts are willing to pay more for parking and up to 12% more for goods and service. I am wondering if the the casino will have an indoor arboretum in its shopping monstrosity. Perhaps…
Landscaping, especially with trees, can significantly increase property values. A value of 9% was determined in a US Tax Court case for the loss of a large black oak on a property valued at $164,000. Check this out:
Amenity and comfort ratings were about 80% higher for a tree-lined sidewalk compared with those for a non-shaded street. Quality of products ratings were 30% higher in districts having trees over those with barren sidewalks. Gosh, perhaps Middleboro should take some of that $ 250,000 of mitigation money and plant a whole bunch of trees in the downtown area…seriously!
"Trees can be a stimulus to economic development, attracting new business and tourism. Commercial retail areas are more attractive to shoppers, apartments rent more quickly, tenants stay longer, and space in a wooded setting is more valuable to sell or rent. - The Arbor Day Foundation
The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. How many HVAC units will be needed for the casino resort? …I sure as heck don’t know, but I am sure it will be a whole bunch more than 10 room-size air conditioners…
And for you homeowners….The shade from two large trees on the west side of a house and one on the east side can save up to 30% of a typical resident’s annual air conditioning costs in the summer. Also, rows of trees can reduce wind-speed approximately 85%, with maximum reductions increasing in proportion to visual density. This means that compared to an open area, a good windbreak that does not shade the house will save about 15% of the energy used in a typical home.
Trees add beauty to our environment and also contribute to our health and well being by cleansing the air we breathe and the water we drink. Mega resort casinos are not beautiful and do not contribute to our health and well being, nor do they cleanse the air we breathe or the water we drink…this one casino will however, pumps tons and tons of CO2 into the air and most likely affect the quality of our water.
It has also been shown that views of nature reduce the stress response of both the body and the mind. One study showed that hospital patients recovering from surgery who had a view of a grove a trees through their windows required fewer pain relievers, experienced fewer complications, and left the hospital sooner than similar patients who had view of a brick wall.
Studies also show that drivers exposed to roadside nature scenes have a greater ability to cope with driving stressors. Yes, that beautiful tree lined stretch of route 44 actually reduces stress….
Another study shows that symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children are relieved after contact with nature. Specifically the study shows that ADHD kids are better able to concentrate and complete tasks and follow directions after playing in natural settings. The greener the setting, the more relief. – Source: Taylor, A.F.; Kuo, F.,; Sullivan, W. 2001. Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings. Environment and Behavior.
Other studies indicate that trees help girls succeed. According to a 2002 article published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, on average, the greener a girl’s view from home, the better she concentrates and the better her self-discipline, enabling her to make more thoughtful choices and do better in school. Gosh, I suddenly really appreciate all those trees I could see from my bedroom window growing up…
Trees also reduce crime. According to a 2001 study published in Environment and Behavior, apartment buildings with high levels of greenery had 52% fewer crimes than those without any trees. Buildings with medium amounts of greenery had 42% fewer crimes. Jeeeez, and here the Middleboro BOS and the casino investors want to bulldoze acres and acres of trees to introduce an industry into the area that is known to increase crime.
Trees Provide Nourishment
All That Smog You've Smogged-Up Around Here
I am not sure of the actual acerage of land to be cleared for this project, nor am I truly sure of the negative effects this project will have on our air. I do know that several hundred acres of pristine land will be destroyed and paved and it really makes me wonder…is it really that big of a secret that trees help the environment in which we live, or do we just take it all for granted? With global warming such a hot topic these days, one would think that we as a people would take a more active interest in preserving our open spaces instead of wanting to bulldoze them down to build a mega resort casino – or several of them if the Governor has his way. Lets face it…we are all responsible for protecting this planet. We cannot and should not expect our government to take care of the issue…it needs to start personally and most importantly, locally. We can’t just wish environmental issues away…or ignore them. We need to ensure that we support entities such as SRPEDD, the Regional Task Force, and Representatives like Tom Calter, who work in our best interest by looking for smart, sustainable economical growth for our region. Growth that allows for all of us to thrive, including the Bar-ba-loots the Humming-Fish and the Truffula Trees….
Monday, January 14, 2008
Be proud of your fight, Save a tree. Destroy a life!!!!
- Mr. Limo
I am proud of my fight.....but as far as destroying a life by trying to protect over 500 acres of pristine land from being bulldozed down to put up a mega resort casino, or "hugging a tree" as stated above -- hardly. In fact, protecting and preserving the environment, especially trees actually save lives - as well as cut down on energy costs, increase property values, relieve stress and are purported to calm children with ADHD. Trees are a crucial to maintaining a healthy and stable planet, and apparently healthy and stable people too...aaah, but I am tired so I will save that topic for another day....For now, I would like to share an excellent story written by Dr. Suess titled the Lorax. It is a cute story with an extremely important message. Yup, Dr. Suess sure did get it right!
by Dr. Seuss
At the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows and no birds ever sing excepting old crows...is the Street of the Lifted Lorax.
And deep in the Grickle-grass, some people say,if you look deep enough you can still see, today, where the Lorax once stood just as long as it could before somebody lifted the Lorax away.
What was the Lorax?And why was it there?And why was it lifted and taken somewhere from the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows? The old Once-ler still lives here. Ask him. He knows.
You won't see the Once-ler. Don't knock at his door. He stays in his Lerkim on top of his store. He stays in his Lerkim, cold under the roor, where he makes his own clothes out of miff-muffered moof. And on special dank midnights in August, he peeks out of the shuttersand sometimes he speaks and tells how the Lorax was lifted away. He'll tell you, perhaps...if you're willing to pay.
On the end of a rope he lets down a tin pail and you have to toss in fifteen cents and a nail and the shell of a great-great-great-grandfather snail.
Then he pulls up the pail, makes a most careful count to see if you've paid him the proper amount.
Then he hides what you paid him away in his Snuvv, his secret strange hole in his gruvvulous glove. Then he grunts, I will call you by Whisper-ma-Phone, for the secrets I tell you are for your ears alone.
Down slupps the Whisper-ma-Phone to your ear and the old Once-ler's whispers are not very clear, since they have to come down through a snergelly hose, and he sounds as if he had smallish bees up his nose. Now I'll tell you, he says, with his teeth sounding gray, how the Lorax got lifted and taken away...It all started way back...such a long, long time back...
Way back in the days when the grass was still green and the pond was still wet and the clouds were still clean, and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space...one morning, I came to this glorious place. And I first saw the trees! The Truffula Trees! The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees! Mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze.
And under the trees, I saw Brown Bar-ba-loots frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits.
From the rippulous pond came the comfortable soundof the Humming-Fish humming while splashing around.
But those trees! Those trees! Those Truffula Trees! All my life I'd been searching for trees such as these. The touch of their tufts was much softer than silk. And they had the sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk.
I felt a great leaping of joy in my heart. I knew just what I'd do! I unloaded my cart.
In no time at all, I had built a small shop. Then I chopped down a Truffula Tree with one chop. And with great skillful skill and with great speedy speed, I took the soft tuft. And I knitted a Thneed! The instand I'd finished, I heard a ga-Zump! I looked. I saw something pop out of the stump of the tree I'd chopped down. It was sort of a man. Describe him?...That's hard. I don't know if I can.
He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy.
Mister! he said with a sawdusty sneeze, I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs--he was very upset as he shouted and puffed--What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?
Look, Lorax, I said. There's no cause for alarm. I chopped just one tree. I am doing no harm. I'm being quite useful. This thing is a Thneed. A Thneed's a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need! It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove. It's a hat. But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond that. You can use it for carpets. For pillows! For sheets! Or curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats! The Lorax said, Sir! You are crazy with greed. There is no one on earth who would buy that fool Thneed!
But the very next minute I proved he was wrong. For, just at that minute, a chap came along, and he thought that the Thneed I had knitted was great. He happily bought it for three ninety-eight. I laughed at the Lorax, You poor stupid guy! You never can tell what some people will buy.
I repeat, cried the Lorax, I speak for the trees!
I'm busy, I told him. Shut up, if you please. I rushed 'cross the room, and in no time at all, built a radio-phone. I put in a quick call. I called all my brothers and uncles and aunts and I said, Listen here! Here's a wonderful chance for the whole Once-ler Family to get mighty rich! Get over here fast! Take the road to North Nitch .Turn left at Weehawken. Sharp right at South Stich.
And, in no time at all, in the factory I built, the whole Once-ler Family was working full tilt. We were all knitting Thneeds just as busy as bees, to the sound of the chopping of Truffula Trees.
Then...Oh! Baby! Oh! How my business did grow! Now, chopping one tree at a time was too slow.
So I quickly invented my Super-Axe-Hackerwhich whacked off four Truffula Trees at one smacker. We were making Thneeds four times as fast as before! And that Lorax?... He didn't show up any more.
But the next week he knocked on my new office door. He snapped, I'm the Lorax who speaks for the trees which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please. But I'm also in charge of the Brown Bar-ba-loots who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loot suits and happily lived, eating Truffula Fruits. NOW...thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground,there's not enough Truffula Fruit to go 'round. And my poor Bar-ba-loots are all getting the crummies because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies!
They loved living here. But I can't let them stay. They'll have to find food. And I hope that they may. Good luck, boys, he cried. And he sent them away.
I, the Once-ler, felt sad as I watched them all go. BUT...business is business! And business must grow regardless of crummies in tummies, you know.
I meant no harm. I most truly did not. But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got. I biggered my factory. I biggered my roads. I biggered my wagons. I biggered the loads of the Thneeds I shipped out. I was shipping them forth to the South! To the East! To the West! To the North! I went right on biggering...selling more Thneeds. And I biggered my money, which everyone needs.
Then again he came back! I was fixing some pipes when that old nuisance Lorax came back with more gripes. I am the Lorax, he coughed and he whiffed. He sneezed and he snuffled. He snarggled. He sniffed. Once-ler! he cried with a cruffulous croak. Once-ler! You're making such smogulous smoke! My poor Swomee-Swans...why, they can't sing a note! No one can sing who has smog in his throat.
And so, said the Lorax,--please pardon my cough--they cannot live here . So I'm sending them off.
Where will they go?...I don't hopefully know. They may have to fly for a month...or a year...To escape from the smog you've smogged-up around here.
What's more, snapped the Lorax. (His dander was up.) Let me say a few words about Gluppity-Glupp. Your machinery chugs on, day and night without stop making Gluppity-Glup. Also Schloppity-Schlopp. And what do you do with this leftover goo?...I'll show you. You dirty old Once-ler man, you!
You're glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed! No more can they hum, for their gills are all gummed. So I'm sending them off. Oh, their future is dreary. They'll walk on their fins and get woefully weary in search of some water that isn't so smeary.
And then I got mad. I got terribly mad. I yelled at the Lorax, Now listen here, Dad! All you do is yap-yap and say, Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad! Well, I have my rights, sir, and I'm telling you I intend to go on doing just what I do! And, for your information, you Lorax, I'm figgering on biggering and Biggering and BIGGERING and BIGGERING!! turning MORE Truffula Trees into Thneeds which everyone, EVERYONE, EVERYONE needs!
And at that very moment, we heard a loud whack! From outside in the fields came a sickening smack of an axe on a tree. Then we heard the tree fall. The very last Truffula Tree of them all!No more trees. No more Thneeds. No more work to be done. So, in no time, my uncles and aunts, every one, all waved my good-bye. They jumped into my cars and drove away under the smoke-smuggered stars. Now all that was left 'neath the bad-smelling sky was my big empty factory...the Lorax...and I.
The Lorax said nothing. Just gave me a glance...just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance...as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants. And I'll never forget the grim look on his face when he hoisted himself and took leave of this place,through a hole in the smog, without leaving a trace.
And all that the Lorax left here in this mess was a small pile of rocks, with one word...UNLESS. Whatever that meant, well, I just couldn't guess.
That was long, long ago. But each day since that day I've sat here and worried and worried away. Through the years, while my buildings have fallen apart, I've worried about it with all of my heart.
But now, says the Once-ler, Now that you're here,the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
SO...Catch! calls the Once-ler. He lets something fall. It's a Truffula Seed. It's the last one of all!You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs. Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.
Gosh, what a great story.....I think we can all guess what the moral is....
-be the change you want to see in the world-
I bring up the job argument because I recently read an interesting statement from our favorite bus driver, Ralph Kramden. Apparently, Ralphy-boy wants to send us to the moon….he accuses anti-casino people of destroying lives, that working people will go hungry if there is no casino…..jeez, I think Ralph has been breathing diesel fumes for too long…Here is an excerpt from my favorite pro-casino web page. I go there from time to time to get a good laugh at the foolishness posted there.
Antis are trying to take food from the mouths of the working famlies.
Keep up the good fight but please replace the resort with something that generates revenue and jobs for the working class!
Show me some solutions.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported on December 20, 2007 that the Bay State has added 25,000 new jobs to date in 2007, and at 3,285,300, jobs are up by 29,300 or 0.9 percent from one year ago.
The truth is, the unemployment rate for Massachusetts has remained at a six year low of 4.3 percent.
The truth is, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts is lower than the National Rate.
The truth is, the unemployment rate in Connecticut is 5.0 percent - an unemployment rate that is higher than Massachusetts and higher than the national average.
The truth is, the casino will not so much create new jobs as re-shuffle workers from other established local businesses.
The truth is, with a 4.3 percent unemployment rate, the people who want jobs, have them.
The truth is, there are plenty of jobs available in Massachusetts for what Ralph calls the "working class" - The Massachusets Department of Labor reports that Leisure and hospitality jobs are up by 5,100 or 1.7 percent over the year
With 25,000 new jobs added in Massachusetts in 2007, and job growth occurring in nearly every industry, I would think that we are doing just fine without a mega resort casino – we certainly are doing better than Connecticut, and that state has two mega resort casinos…..
So the truth is that we are not hurting anyone or taking food out the mouths of people by being anti casino – maybe we are helping to keep food in the mouths of people and to keep good jobs in Massachusetts. Is that selfish and greedy? Nope....what is selfish and greedy is one town signing an agreement to build a mega-resort casino even though the residents voted against a casino being built in town. What is selfish and greedy is this same Town completely disregarding impacts to the entire Region. What is selfish and greedy is the Town's Casino Resort Advisory Committee (CRAC) stating they don't give a damn about Bridgewater....Well, they don't seem to give a damn about any other town either considering one BOS member stated that he didn't care where the trash from the casino went, as long as it didn't stay in Middleboro....now that is selfish and greedy. The way I see it, you should always tell the truth, but apparently the truth isn’t for everyone.
Get the real facts at casinofacts.org.
- be the change you want to see in the world-
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The Nemasket River flows north from Assawompset Pond in Lakeville, then winds through Middleboro before emptying into the Taunton River. It has been noted as one of the most productive warmwater fisheries in eastern Massachusetts and is also the state's largest and most important Alewife fish runs. In the early spring the Nemasket River is said to run black with fish heading for the spawning grounds and it is notably a popular place for the canoeing enthusiast. What got me interested in the Nemasket River to begin with was the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Wampanoag Indian Tribe and the Town of Middleboro. The agreement has raised concerns about how much water the “project” would be using in regards to water conservation. This has lead me to question how much water the “project” will be discharging, and where it will be discharged too.
Under the agreement, the Town is required to provide utilities which not only includes water usage, but also includes wastewater discharge through Middleboro’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The same plant that discharges treated wastewater effluent into the Nemasket river. So why the concern?…..I mean, it’s not like I actually live in Middleboro, right?
Well….clean water has been a national concern since the early 1970's. Because of that concern, in 1972, Congress adopted the Clean Water Act to protect all U.S. waters. Through this act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and corresponding state agencies have been given the responsibility to regulate activities which threaten the quality of the nation's water resources. It is through the Clean Water Act that Congress was able to establish a comprehensive water policy for the nation and set as a national goal the elimination of pollutant discharges to the navigable waters of the U.S. by 1985. An interim goal was also set to insure that all navigable waters would be clean enough for fishing and swimming by 1983.
The U.S. Congress established this critical regulatory framework to ensure that
- No one has the righ to pollute the navigable waters of the United States. Dischargers are required to obtain permits.
- Permits shall set limits on the concentration of the pollutants being discharged. A violation of established limits can carry a penalty of fines or imprisonment.
- The best technology available shall be used to control the discharge of pollutants.
Each state, through a designated regulatory agency, which in our case is the MADEP, issues discharge permits and enforces the discharge limits established in the permit.
Wastewater treatment is a complicated multi-stage process that treats wastewater before it reenters a body of water, is applied to the land, or is reused. The goal in treatment is to reduce or remove organic matter, solids, nutrients, disease-causing organisms and other pollutants from the water before discharge. Sewer pipes are the means to collect the wastewater from homes and businesses and transport it to the treatment facility. From there it goes through the following steps:
Preliminary Treatment – The Preparation Step
Preliminary treatment is designed to screen out, grind up, or separate debris such as sticks, rags, large food particles, sand, gravel, toys, and anything else you can think of. Debris is removed at this stage to protect the pumping and other equipment in the treatment plant. The collected debris is usually disposed of in a landfill.
Primary Treatment – The First Step
Primary treatment separates suspended solids and greases from wastewater using settling tanks where it is held for several hours allowing the particles to settle to the bottom and the greases to float to the top. The solids drawn off the bottom and skimmed off the top receive further treatment as sludge. The clarified wastewater then flows on to the next stage of wastewater treatment.
Secondary Treatment – The Second Step
Secondary treatment is a biological treatment process that removes dissolved organic matter from wastewater using concentrated micro-organisms. Sewage microorganisms are cultivated and added to the wastewater. The microorganisms absorb organic matter from sewage as their food supply. There are three ways to accomplish secondary treatment; fixed film, suspended film and lagoon systems.
Final Treatment – The Third Step
Final treatment is required for the removal of disease-causing organisms from wastewater through disinfection (adding chlorine) or by using ultra violet light. Since high levels of chlorine may be harmful to aquatic life in receiving streams, treatment plants often add a chlorine-neutralizing chemical to the treated wastewater before stream discharge.
And then there is the lesser utilized step of….
Advanced treatment is a vital step in the removal of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater. Chemicals are added during the treatment process to help settle out or strip out these nutrients. This is actually an important step because high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are known to contribute to algae blooms and can kill fish in aquatic ecosystems.
The interesting thing here is that Massachusetts currently has 126 treatment facilities (not including Deer Island Treatment Plant) that discharge up to 435,000,000 gallons of treated wastewater but only 18% of these facilities have the advanced treatment process – source newwa.org.
The fact that advanced treatment is so underutilized should cause concern. High nitrogen and phosphorus loadings, or nutrient pollution, result in harmful algal blooms, reduced spawning grounds and nursery habitats, fish kills, oxygen-starved hypoxic or "dead" zones, and public health concerns related to impaired drinking water sources and increased exposure to toxic microbes such as cyanobacteria. Nutrient problems can exhibit themselves locally or much further downstream leading to degraded estuaries, lakes and reservoirs, and to hypoxic zones where fish and aquatic life can no longer survive.
Nutrient pollution, especially from nitrogen and phosphorus, has consistently ranked as one of the top causes of degradation in some U.S. waters for more than a decade. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus lead to significant water quality problems including harmful algal blooms, hypoxia and declines in wildlife and wildlife habitat. Excesses have also been linked to higher amounts of chemicals that make people sick. – source EPA
The Middleboro Wastewater Treatment Plant is a conventional activated- sludge facility that does utilize advanced waste treatment methods, such as nitrification for ammonia-nitrogen reduction and total phosphorus reduction by multi-point chemical addition. The facility is equipped with effluent sand filtration and utilizes sodium hypochlorite for seasonal disinfection and sodium bisulfite for dechlorination and releases treated wastewater effluent into the Nemasket River under an NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit issued through the US EPA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The Middleborough Wastewater Treatment Plant is the only NPDES permitted facility that discharges to the Nemasket River. – source MADEP
Although the Middleboro WWTP does utilize advanced treatment, there has been concern about the nitrogen levels being discharged as noted in public comments conducted during the last permit renewal process, and not without reason.
Water quality assessments of watersheds and subwatersheds have been performed by the MADEP Department of Water Management (DWM) to determine water quality status for supporting aquatic life as well as for use by people . There were two segments of the Nemasket river that were evaluated during this assessment:
Nemasket River (Segment MA62-25)
Location: From the outlet of Assawompsett Pond, Lakeville/Middleborough to the Middleborough WWTP, Middleborough.
Segment Length: 6.1 miles
Nemasket River (Segment MA62-26)
Location: From the Middleborough WWTP, Middleborough to the confluence with the Taunton River, Middleborough.
Segment Length: 5.2 miles
Summary for Nemasket River (Segment MA62-25)
In August 2001 DWM evaluated the habitat at one station (NR01) on this segment of the Nemasket River, approximately 200 meters upstream from Route 44, Middleboro. An alert status was issued for the support of aquatic life due to findings in the lack of stream sinuosity, homogenous flow regimes, and an absence of stable cover which resulted in poor fish habitat. Below is a summary of the assessment:
Designated and Uses Status
Aquatic Life - SUPPORT*
Fish Consumption - NOT ASSESSED
Primary Contact (eg.swimming) - NOT ASSESSED
Secondary Contact (eg. canoeing) - NOT ASSESSED
Aesthetics - SUPPORT
*Alert Status issues identified.
Summary for Nemasket River (Segment MA62-26)
The Aquatic Life Use was not assessed for the Nemasket River Segment MA62-26 due to too limited quality-assured water quality data available to evaluate effects, if any, of the Midddleboro WWTP on the Nemasket River. See below for table summaries
Nemasket River (MA62-26) Use Summary Table
Designated Uses and Status
Aquatic Life - NOT ASSESSED
Fish Consumption - NOT ASSESSED
Primary Contact - NOT ASSESSED*
Secondary Contact - NOT ASSESSED*
Aesthetics - SUPPORT*
*Alert Status issues identified.
The above information was taken from the MADEP website. Click here if you would like to view the actual study for the Taunton River sub-basins.
Now I understand that all this probably seems irrelevant to many people, but I ask you to take into consideration the Middleboro Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) discharges into the Nemasket River and subsequently the Taunton River. The Taunton River has been placed in the impaired category based on data from the MADEP water quality assessment study yet both rivers are enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts. The quality of the discharge from the Middleboro WWTP is critical to the health of the Nemasket and the Taunton River.
According to the NPDES permit for the Middleboro WWTP, the total flow discharge limit to the Nemasket River is 2.16 Million gallons per day average over one year but is currently discharging 1.25 MDGP from existing users. To date, there is little to no data as to the effects of the discharge on the Nemasket River. Now take into consideration the casino “project”. If you read the section of the agreement regarding wastewater it states that the Tribe will be allotted a discharge to the treatment plant a maximum average daily volume of 500,000 gallons, with a maximum 24 hour volume of 1 million gallons. Gosh, that sounds eerily familiar…so does this….
Section 11 of the Intergovernmental Agreement– Sewer and Wastewater Service
The Tribe will investigate developing on-site wastewater reclamation capacity to reduce sewage flows to the Town’s publicly owned treatment works facility.
Okay…. According to the agreement, the Tribe will assume all costs for infrastructure improvements for the existing Middleboro WWTP to accommodate wastewater generated from the “project", but does this section also give the Tribe the option to build it’s own wastewater treatment facility? Will this discharge also be introduced into the Nemasket River? I don’t know…and neither does Middleboro since no one has yet to see or hear about any conceptual design. However, we do know according to the agreement, the maximum potential discharge for the casino “project” to the Middleboro WWTP is an average discharge of 500,000 GPD with an allotment of 1 million gallons over 24 hours….one facility (mega resort casino) has the potential to discharge in one day, almost the same amount of water as the entire town of Middleboro, as well as sections of Lakeville on an average day. Jeez, if the Tribe also plans to have private wells on top of their water usage from the Town supply, I guess they will need to have an on-site treatment plant for any potential excess wastewater that can’t be treated by the Town.
Here is another thought to consider…The WWTP is allowed under its existing permit, a maximum discharge of 2.16 MGPD. Currently the Treatment Plant receives wastewater from the existing sewer lines at a total of 1.25 MGPD. An additional 200,000 GPD has already been allocated for an existing permit commitment for an industrial user. Now add in the 500,000 GPD proposed by the casino project and the reserve capacity for future expansion of wastewater for the plant totals 210,000 GPD. In my opinion, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for future growth for homes or business for Middleboro or for Lakeville.
So I ask….with all this need for increased wastewater treatment for what I consider to be a totally irresponsible project, what will become of the nitrogen levels in the Nemasket river? I mean, there is no data supporting the idea that increasing the discharge into an already stressed watershed won’t have a negative impact - there isn't any data to say that it doesn't already. Are we going to dismiss the potential damages to the river as trivial or not of a concern - all for the sake of “entertainment”?
Once again, I need to point out that there are groups of private citizens who work tirelessly to protect the Taunton River Watershed. They are trying to protect the diverse ecology so that they, and generations after them may enjoy this beautiful region. There are so many people, residents of this region, that see the beauty of the rivers and what they have to offer in the form of entertainment. What they don’t see is an inexhaustible water supply ready for the taking by deep pocket investors. We cannot allow anyone to dismiss the efforts of local groups and private citizens who have worked tirelessly to save the Taunton River and the watershed and move forward with such a “project” without even thinking twice about what people in other towns care about. In my humble opinion, I do not believe that any agreement to build a mega-resort casino should have been signed by anyone until a proper regional impact study was completed and assessed. Let’s face it…as my friend Gladys has so clearly stated in one of her blogs …what happens in Middleboro won’t stay in Middleboro.
I will say that I am honestly hoping that the environmental hearings will shed light on this “project” and answer some troubling questions regarding quality of life issues…knowing the design of the “project” would greatly help in determining the depth of the environmental impacts to our rivers and streams and subsequent impacts on the aquatic life in those rivers and streams. Now if only the drawings were disclosed before the hearings with adequate time for review, then perhaps concerned groups like the Regional Task Force, who represent the residents of the entire surrounding region, would have a true opportunity to prepare for the hearings based on facts about the true scope of this “project” instead of having to rely on the elusive wording in the Middleboro Agreement and data from Connecticut and other States.
- be the change you want to see in the world-