|By G. Michael Dobbs|
Dec. 6, 2011
Last week as I walked to the construction site of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, I noticed a homemade cardboard sign propped up at the street corner. It urged Gov. Deval Patrick to bring a casino to Holyoke.
Of course, the Patrick Administration is having nothing to do with the specific location of the three casinos, as Lt. Gov. Tim Murray told me. The reason the new casino commission is being formed is to try to keep politics out of the process, he said, and to insure a transparent process.
When I spoke to Patrick he said the timetable to select the commission, which will then begin to construct the governmental bureaucracy, will be in three or four months.
So when the commission is set, they have to make up the rules. Then once a site and developer is selected construction will start. All of this is going to take years.
Brace yourself for a long time of lobbying local voters.
The issue of casinos in the Bay State has moved like a glacier through the Legislature with key members first keeping the proposal down and then performing an about face.
A wild card is the new movement to seek overturning the legislature that created the potential for casinos.
And I don’t believe, as some other elected officials to whom I spoke do, that all of the potential sites and players have revealed themselves. So far, we have a site in Palmer, one in Springfield, one in Holyoke with some unconfirmed mutterings about a site in Chicopee and another one in Springfield.
I thought this conversation was appropriate at the event celebrating the completion of the ironwork for the computing center. While the dragged-out and often hypocritical casino debate has shown the worst elements of Massachusetts politics, the computing center has shown the best in a private and public alliance that has moved a needed project forward.
This facility will be completed in about one year and already there are ancillary businesses inquiring about Holyoke. This is great news as attracting businesses is one of the effects the computing center is supposed to have. Ultimately this computing center may be the greatest accomplishment of the Patrick Administration for Western Massachusetts.
If there’s a great negative legacy for Western Massachusetts from the Patrick Administration it is the proposed biomass plant for Springfield that will add more pollutants to the air.
Yes, yes, I know the plant will employ the latest scrubbing technology. Yes, I know the state so far has given them the thumbs up. But putting any additional junk in the air is not a good idea.
I suppose I should trust all of the bureaucrats, right?
What I question is the need for this kind of generator producing the amount of electricity that it will at the location that has been selected. Burning green wood much less the initially proposed construction waste is a bad idea. The plant is not going to be churning out huge amounts of electricity and it’s smack dab in the middle of the city.
The question shouldn’t be whether or not the plant as proposed is legal. The question is whether or not it makes sense as proposed for this city and the neighboring communities.
I thank the members of the Springfield City Council who are trying to prevent something very unfortunate from happening to this region.
As the participants and observers of a historical event pass on, that event fades from being something real to being something people just read about if that.
This Dec. 7 will make the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the start of World War II. One local man, Navy vet Edward Borucki of Southampton, survived the attack and is traveling to Hawaii for the observation of that day.
This is the 20th time he has gone to Hawaii for this purpose.
Ever since I’ve been working in the Valley’s press, Borucki has been championing the awareness of this momentous event in American history and recognition of the men and women who were serving there during the attack.
If you remember to do so, consider taking a moment on Dec. 11 to silently thank those who served their country nearly a lifetime ago.
Hey, agree with me? Disagree? Drop me a line at email@example.com or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.
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