The Casino as Nirvana
By Josh Resnek
When the idea for the Casino in Everett was first dreamt up, when the plans we presented and approved and when the building began to take shape and employees began making their way there to work, as friends and family began making plans to head there for an evening or a weekend or just to put a few bucks in play, there was the thought that the casino might be a panacea for the city of Everett.
That is to say, it might become the single biggest and best thing that has ever happened to the neighborhood. There was the thought that somehow millionaires and maybe even billionaires would come stay, and play, and take an interest in an area that is otherwise depressed; and the idea that millionaires and billionaires might be playing and staying close to the Eversource power plant, and the MBTA bus yard and tug boats floating through the mystic river, the idea was exciting.
Now, as the Casino has opened, we see that the calm before the storm has, well, continued. Rather than taking the neighborhood by storm, it has very calmly, peaceably, and in many ways gently entered our community, like a guest who sleeps in the night, makes breakfast in the morning and quietly wakes us when ready.
Police are pressed perfectly and direct traffic confidently and with smiles. All the way to Chelsea police officers take details and work and give the entire area a feeling of calm and safe, and order. There is the idea that maybe they are there to deal with some of the crime or traffic or other forms of disorder that might arise. But then, if that’s what they are there for, they are either doing a very good job, or none of that has come to fruition.
Passing by the casino to head into Boston is more than feasible, a welcomed alternative to taking the crowded Tobin. Any frustration that has occurred on account of the Casino has not reared its face…yet.
Of course, there is no telling here how the casino might be affecting those who gambling problems, struggles or addiction, problems in the home, and the like. Indeed, we will probably be left to speculate about the social costs of this kind of toll. But what we know from all the visible signs is that the Casino has become a veritable member of the community, by any sense of the word. In fact, not only has it become a member, it has become a contributing member.
Take a stroll down Route 16 to find out. Just the idea of taking a walk down Route 16 would have been unfathomable before this spring and summer. But if you should happen to pass by the casino on a warm summer night, you will see folks walking from everywhere to come to the casino. Not in hoards or in long rushed lines but simple slow trickles of tight-knit families, jovial, well-dressed, looking forward to a nice night.
And in the end, that’s probably the greatest part about the new casino, the city revenues aside. The casino is, for those looking for it, something to do, by ourselves, or with our friends or families. And in the end, what more could we ask for from a member of the town?
But the Mayor however, in his highly personalized effort during the past eight years to break deals with everyone and anyone that stood in his way, is trying to personalize the casino as thought it were his own.
Yes, that’s how the mayor does things here. “I brought it here. It was my idea. You owe me. I don’t owe you. Everyone owes me for bringing this to Everett,” the mayor has said repeatedly during the past two years. He said it as recently as three weeks ago at a city council hearing when he awarded himself a free automobile for $12,000 a year and then made the claim to the city council about its hesitancy in granting it. “After everything I’ve done for you people you’re gonna short me on this? I’ll show what ill do to your budget. You short me on this you watch what I do.”
And so with the new ambience that we can all take advantage of on lower Broadway being able to walk amongst the smell of trees and pine and grass on land once arguably the most unmediated fowl land in America, now America’s example of thoroughly polluted remediated land in its new shape and form, what comes to pass now is what do we owe the Mayor for this? And more importantly, how do we pay him?
And more importantly again, what do we pay him? Or int his case ultimately who pays him?
There are some people and investigators and secret FBI documents as well as grand jury reports and wiretaps which show how, with unsurpassable simplicity the defrock Steven Wynn, might actually have handed our mayor a million dollars in chips for making the deal.
Now maybe this didn’t happen. Maybe it couldn’t happen. Maybe these are just the bitter entrails of all the dirtiness and the chicanery and the underhanded business dealings which led to the Encore casino on this spot where it stands today.
But let’s think about it again. The mayor doesn’t do anything for anyone. Unless he’s paid. In fact, his favorite expression well-known among the FBI: what’s in it for me?
But listen, were not gonna go on and on again. Let the mayor have his party right now. The casino is opened, the ghosts appear to have been dispersed at least temporarily, as one never knows what the government does with its investigations into municipal corruption. He’s just become the mayor again. Of a city with a casino and hotel. He doesn’t own the Casino. He doesn’t own the hotel. Right? He doesn’t even own the city. Except in his own mind, where it’s a very powerful place for such ideas to take such strong root in someone so classically immoral and maniacally corrupt as Carlo Kickback DeMaria.