Two weeks ago the Boston City Council announced the creation of a casino study committee to be headed by Councillor Sal LaMattina. Late last week, City Council President Stephen Murphy announced that the council study committee had been dropped and with it, LaMattina’s leadership role at the head of it.
With the end of this committee also came the virtual end of some councillor’s efforts to insure that there is a citywide referendum on the casino matter in Boston.
Mayor Thomas Menino is believed to have used his influence with Murphy to disband the committee and to set LaMattina free of a certain no-win situation.
The Menino inspired move by Murphy has almost certainly put to rest the idea of a citywide referendum on a casino to be located at Suffolk Downs.
The mayor believes, as we do, that a citywide vote on a casino to be located at Suffolk Downs is not needed, is not necessary and would do little meaningfully for host neighborhoods of East Boston and Revere.
There is absolutely no interest whatsoever in Hyde Park, Dorchester, Roxbury or in nearly all of Boston’s neighborhoods about what happens in East Boston. Boston at large has never had a referendum to ask East Boston whether or not it wanted tunnels and an international airport so why should there be one now when a casino may be built here.
Senator Anthony Petruccelli said it best when he suggested last week that a citywide referendum is not needed – a belief he shares strongly with the mayor.
“It is up to the impacted neighborhood to vote up or down the matter. It is not about neighborhoods not impacted telling us what we ought to do,” he said.
And he is right.
East Boston and Revere need to approve or to deny a referendum on casino gambling at Suffolk Downs. No other neighborhood needs to be involved.