By G. Michael Dobbs
A little arm-twisting
Springfield's most prominent corporate citizen, Peter Picknelly, has issued a statement that some people could view as a threat to the city to which he professes love and support.
He insisted it's just good business sense.
Picknelly recently said that unless Penn National Gaming receives the license to run a casino in Springfield, he would not be moving his bus operation into the Union Station intermodal transportation center.
He said there is no reason for him to move out of a building he owns and into a building where he would have to pay rent. I understand the business logic, but it's an interesting statement to make at this time.
Now the only way that could be assured at the city's level – as, after all the ultimate decision is made by the State Gaming Commission – is to put only the Penn proposal before the voters in the referendum.
One can see that there has been a bit of pressure placed on Mayor Domenic Sarno by this statement.
Prior to Picknelly's admission, Sarno had been advised by both his city solicitor and his chief development officer only to advance one proposal to the gaming commission as they fear having two proposals before that body would make it easier for one of the other two casino developers to win the license.
While I understand the logic in that argument, I believe that both developers should be on the ballot and the people of Springfield should let the mayor know which one they prefer.
I'd be willing to bet – an appropriate phase here – that MGM would win among the voters if the count were taken today. They have been clear in their message of economic development from day one, unlike Penn, which initially ran commercials talking about the excitement of their casinos. Who cares? The city and region need jobs and Springfield needs tax money.
Picknelly's statements made me wonder what the "Plan B" is for The Republican. Will the daily still try to move out of its building? Will the Paramount Theater still undergo a restoration?
All I do know is that I've been assured the Union Station project is still underway and that's great as the city really needs the economic development that building represents.
A Republican Democrats could like?
Wow! Gabriel Gomez has really turned up the populist reformer rhetoric and I must admit that if he is sincere, I'm impressed.
Last week, Gomez issued a plan to "reboot Congress" that included seven steps:
• Instituting a lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming lobbyists.
• Putting in place a two-term limit for members of the Senate and a three-term limit for Representatives.
• Holding congressional paychecks, if Congress misses a budget deadline.
• Controlling Congressional spending with a line-item veto.
• Requiring a federal balanced budget.
• Eliminate Congressional pay raises and have members receive the same level of pay through their service.
• Starting mandatory blind trusts for members of Congress so they can't use insider information to enrich themselves.
Some very interesting ideas, yes? What do you think? I wonder if Ed Markey would agree with these proposals?
Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.