Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bumpkin & Bond Round-Up

I have to say that Mark was a pleasure to interview. Smart, polite, and firm in his conviction that the CASINO IS NOT COMING. In fact, he was dying to share his theory—which is not untenable, but can be changed with the political winds. We all know how politics blows. It was one of those interviews that just flowed so well that the hour just passed, before we could get any calls. Sorry folks.

We hit some of the following topics:

Civility in Debate—I think we both agreed that the quality of the debate needed to move away from the personal, to the factual. We have committed to try to set that example. I am glad that Mark and I had the chance to discuss this publicly.

Impacts—Spill Free Gaming Article)—While the article states that the spill over effects of the two CT casinos has been statistically insignificant, Mark questioned the methodology (which is never explained in the article), and he also questioned the conclusions as counterintuitive. My questions about the article focused on the fact that the linear regression models are an incredibly awkward way to attempt to predict these factors of crime, congestion and property values.

Sovereignty and legal ramifications: We discussed how Mark believes that a patron of the casino being subject to the Tribal Courts and the damages limitations is something to be worried about. He also thought that there would be the possibility of bias by tribal courts. I came back with the fact that you are entitled to “actual damages” plus 100% (i.e, twice actual damages), no matter what the amount, and there is a MINIMUM wrongful death payment of $100,000. I thought that this is better than the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act limit on its sovereign immunity of $100,000…period. On further thought, I wonder if Mark has considered that if the Tribe put a supermarket on the property, workers and visitors still would be subject to the Tribal Courts—is this any better? Or, should the Tribe simply be told they can’t have Tribal Courts, except for Tribe members—meaning that we simply remove their sovereign status. In any event, I think we both agreed that this is another issue that needs to be dealt with in any Tribal/State compact.

Cooperation between CFO/Opponents and the Proponents in this process: We discussed that, in addition to the opponents fighting the casino, that we ALL TOGETHER need to work on the rear guard plan of forcing the State to address the money issues with the region. We also agreed that the opponents have an awful lot to offer with regard to zoning changes and other impacts, intended to mitigate a possible casino. Essentially, we still do have some things in common, and that we need to stick together to work a plan B.

Other revenue sources—actual examples: I am still not sure that Mark provided any actual examples of alternative revenue sources. We did learn that many were not aware that the casino site was slated for commercial development in the Master Plan. But if anyone has other viable, specific revenue sources…please comment.

Trust the State not the Indians: Finally, I think that in the long run, Mark believes that the circumstances here lead him to trust the state to take care of the host region, more than he trusts the Tribe. I do not agree that the State can be trusted to do anything more than to take money in and spend it in those areas that have a significant voting impact—which is not Middleborough. You need to decide for yourself.

All in all… a pretty kick a** way to spend a morning. Thank you Mark. I’ll be asking you to come back soon. You were an excellent guest!



Bellicose Bumpkin said...

Thanks Adam.

I had a great time on the show - thanks for your hospitality.

I'll get back to you on the alternative revenue thing. I had more to say on that but time was running short.

carverchick said...

Great show....I caught most of it, but I was heading into Boston at the time and it was fading in and out - perhaps you discussed this, but my concern with plan B, and the contention that the region needs to work with the State on mitigation is that if the Tribe goes with a class II gaming facility, they are not required to have a tribal/state compact. Perhaps the Tribe will work with the State regardless, but if there is no State compact there is no money for the region. Again, perhaps one or both of you can comment on this.