Blue Mass Group
Reality-based commentary on politics.
March 30, 2010 By gladys-kravitz 20 Comments
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This says it all.
I wish that more information was presented here. Without such information, this is just a fear-mongering piece. The message is “somewhere, a factory came in and didn’t do what it promised, so casinos are going to do the same — but we’re going to make you do the actual research to figure that out”.
p>I think that plenty of cities and towns would kill for a factory right about now — not one that gives everyone cancer, but one that provides good jobs to residents.
p>I do not want to see casinos in Massachusetts, but I’d like to be able to argue from a position of reason, and not by just scaring people.
Sometimes too much information puts things out of reach for people, additionally it’s much easier to visualize a concept for most.
p>If you want more information, there’s my diary that’s also on the rec list.
Three years ago when the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe wanted to build a casino in Middleboro, the town next door, I did some research on what that might mean. It was even worse than I expected.
p>And so, I offered my help as a web designer to a just-formed group, casinofacts.org. Along the way I kept learning more and more about this issue and this expanded gambling fairy tale that people like DeLeo and Murray and Reinstein want you to believe in.
p>Since then I’ve built 7 web sites to educate people on the effects of slots and casinos – the most recent, and most comprehensive being United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts.
p>The thousands of articles, examples, reports, first hand accounts, etc on that site inspired the making of this video. Every impact shown in this video is exactly what a community, and communities 50 miles beyond can expect with a casino.
p>If you or anyone else don’t believe it, please visit the web site and see for yourself.
I watched this video and tried to decipher the message. Factories are bad? Jobs are bad? I get the ending, casinos are very bad. But the video as a whole seems to say that all kinds of facilities that might employ people or make things are bad. That’s wrong, and greatly weakens the video.
I’m trying to see where the video says all factories are bad.
p>This factory, which promised this, and ends up producing that and which hurts people as a bonus is, yes, bad. And not all jobs are good. Jobs which don’t pay a living wage and hurt people are not good. Because we can do better.
p>The videos says, look at this nice place. It has hit hard times but it’s still a nice place. Then an industry comes in that wants to make things better. But it doesn’t. It makes the nice place worse. And when people complain – their politicians decide what they need is another factory just like it. Not something better that might actually improve things.
p>That is the case right now in Massachusetts, being debated behind closed doors. And as the web designer for USS-Mass.org I can tell you that very few folks at the Statehouse have even bothered to check out the site to see for themselves.
p>I hope this clears things up. I do wish you would visit the web site mentioned at the end of the video (which was a pretty clear message)to read what officials from gambling communities across the country have to say about these facilities and the difference between what they promised and what they deliver.
p>And that is the message.
the factory analogy as presented didn’t do much for me either. I disagree with the implication that any factory is by definition bad and damaging for the community. (Remember Aaron Feuerstein and his polartec factory?) When conventional factories don’t live up to their promises, the reasons for their problems have little to do with casinos.
p>I think the video would be stronger if the casino was immediately introduced as the new “factory” that is not your father’s or grandfather’s widget plant. Emphasize the problems that cause casinos to stand out against conventional factories, such as the blight on local small business, increased crime, and an increased need for social services.
It’s obviously a factory that promises something, delivers something else, and hurts people. The old shoe factories in the town I grew up in kept a lot of families afloat.
p>This video pays homage, for those old enough to remember it, to a movie from the 60’s called “Cold Turkey”: A whole town decides to quit smoking (remember it’s the 60’s) for one month to win a huge multi-million dollar tabacco company give-away, and in turn, a contract for a huge defense contract. The irony was, the town managed to win, but a bunch of folks died in the process, and the final scene was a shot of this giant smoke-belching factory rising up out of the middle of town. That movie made a big impact on me when I was a kid, and ever since this issue landed on my lap, it’s always seemed appropriate.
p>Revealing the true nature of the factory at the beginning of the video would have been counter productive to what I’m trying to point out – that most people just don’t see casinos as a poison leeching factory. And, my experience, in having researched them for 3 years is that they are.
p>Moreover, at the video points out at the end, there is a readily available comprehensive web site, with 42 pages, hundreds of articles, reports, quotes, and 49 other videos that you might prefer to this one, to demonstrate that point.
The test of the movie is whether people who watch it find the expression of the message clear. This movie is failing the test.
It’s a great piece of work, clever with a strong message. If you are not clear on the message it does not mean that “people” are not clear on the message. Everyone’s a critic….the creator is doing something….civic engagment with a flair. Well done, Gladys!
I think the critics of the video are missing its point. Not all factories are good and not all promises are kept. The next step, though, is to make another video that shows how casinos, in particular, will not provide the benefits that are being promised by the politicians. Obviously, casinos will not pollute the air and water and make people sick, as way many factories have. But they may lure crime, create more addicted gamblers, and cause congestion and other unanticipated costs to surrounding communities, which the casino backers don’t want to talk about.
I’m not fully decided on the casino issue. I lean against casinos, but this video makes me more inclined to support them. There’s no logical relationship between a factory moving in and local businesses going under, unless we’re talking about competing factories. If casino opponents’ positions are as poorly thought out as the relationships in this video, then casinos deserve another look.
p>And the elitism in Gladys’s comments definitely makes me question the anti-casino position. A job is a job. Having them is better than not having them. Living wage jobs are better than non-living wage, but just declaring that it doesn;t count if it’s not living wage is ridiculous.
p>Yes, if non-LW jobs are created at the expense of LW jobs, that’s bad. But you haven’t demonstrated here that that’s what casinos are doing. All you’ve said is that the jobs they create aren’t LW. That’s still better than unemployment. Limousine liberals have the luxury of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. People who need jobs don’t.
p>If they’re really bad for jobs, show me a union that opposes casinos.
This has been well documented in studies done by people like Professort Kindt. The only difference between the jobs they wipe out versus the ones they create are the jobs that are gone were the home-grown jobs. They were your neighbor’s business. The jobs they are replaced by is the industry’s jobs. That means the jobs that were fueling the local economy, recycling and growing funds, building off one another, is now being sucked into the casino void, to executives and shareholders the world over, who don’t give a damn about Massachusetts, save how much they can suck us dry for. A lot of that money will never go back into the economy again, sitting in comfy bank accounts of millionaires and billionaires while Massachusetts citizens across the state continue to struggle.
p>If you want to see a more numbers-intensive argument, my diary on the flawed methodology of the figures that casino proponents use to boast about Connecticut’s gains is still on the rec list. I encourage you to read that, check out my posts on RyansTake.net or check out all the testimonies posted on uss-mass.org, such as Proessor Natasha Schull’s or Dr. Hans Brieter.
p>If we want jobs, let’s go after ones that won’t cannibalize the entire foundation of the Massachusetts economy: our small businesses.
I’d be very surprised if casino workers aren’t covered by a union contract, so a decent wage, health insurance and retirement are likely. I’m torn on the casino issue, but many of the jobs they create are significantly better than the low wage jobs from small business they destroy.
p>The cult of ‘small business can do no harm’ gets very tiring. When you look at the largest perpetrators of wage theft, it’s not big business vs. small business, it’s non-union employers vs. union employers. Your neighbor who owns that nice little restaurant down the street, the same neighbor who coaches your kids soccer team… yeah, they’re just as likely to force their employees to work off the clock or deny overtime as some big bad out of state business and they’re just as likely, if not more so, to break the law when employees try to form a union.
Honestly, the jobs may be similar in salary, depending on the exact industry, some better than others — on each side of that coin. The point with small businesses is not that they’re always better jobs, but that those jobs grow more jobs in the local community, because local businesses use other local businesses, and local workers shop at local businesses. Every local job, created at a local business, is going to support at least one or more other, nearby job. Statistical fact. Just about the opposite can be said of casinos.
p>Furthermore, whether or not the casino jobs would be union is completely unknown. There’s no legislation that can force the casinos to have to be union — I was at the hearing where state legislators were admitting that fact. Across the industry, at casinos, it’s about 50/50 in terms of whether resort casinos will be unionized, with 50% of them having some (but not all) union jobs. Those jobs don’t really pay any better, but I will admit they usually come with decent benefits, but again, that’s a slice of a slice. Meanwhile, those jobs would be at the cost of already-existing jobs, that are owned by struggling, local neighbors, that do have a very strong multiplier effect, compared to a casino’s negative multiplier effect.
p>I’m simply not willing to push an industry that can destroy local economies and communities by playing economic favorites to the industry that can afford to pump millions of lobbyist dollars in this state yearly. We don’t have to make that kind of choice, pitting two aspects of job creation that we should be fundamentally united behind (union jobs and local businesses).
p>I’m more than happy to push for union jobs. I’ve even suggested where we could do it — to the tune of tens of thousands of jobs: better spending the state’s wasted tax credits. That’s up to $1.7 billion a year which could be instead spent at the 100% union MBTA, the heavily union public higher education system and, of course, to help offset budget cuts going to cities and towns across the state, representing thousands of union jobs. You want to create and preserve tens of thousands of good-paying, widely-available jobs in short order using the power of government? That’s how to do it. Otherwise, we’re playing a tragic game of race to the bottom.
I forgot to mention above…
p>4 out of the 6 locations that the Speaker is proposing would absolutely, positively not be union… the racinos and slot parlors. So, we’re going to roll the dice on our local businesses, without so much as a comprehensive, independent cost-benefit analysis, and hope that at least one of the two proposed casinos has at least some union jobs?
p>Like I said, race to the bottom. Let’s go with the gauranteed way to create thousands of jobs in this state, union jobs at that, by continuing to harp on that $1.7 billion in tax credits a year. Let’s use that money much more efficiently by creating real jobs, that spur other jobs and make the lives of Massachusetts citizens easier, better and more affordable — spending it on public transportation, public higher education and local aid. All three of those priorities have dire needs and represent thousands of jobs — and yet we’re wasting that $1.7 billion a year as we speak.
I think UNITE HERE local 26 represents folks at both, and the IBEW definitely represents folks at suffolk downs. I’m not sure what the other tracks are, so maybe you’re partially right, but I’d check before you start going off on how the tracks are non-union. As to whether the resorts would be union, I’ve got more faith in UNITE HERE extracting agreements from employers before they even open for those to be union than I do in small business. I can assure you that if a cook at a resort casino is covered by a union contract, that’s a better job than a cook in a family restaurant, they’ll have insurance, they’ll have retirement and they’ll have a mechanism to fight back when they’ve been wronged.
p>As to this,
The point with small businesses is not that they’re always better jobs, but that those jobs grow more jobs in the local community, because local businesses use other local businesses, and local workers shop at local businesses. Every local job, created at a local business, is going to support at least one or more other, nearby job.
Read that out loud again and tell me if you’re convinced… After you’re done, look at this study, by the Kaufman Foundation.
p>Small businesses grow more jobs in the local community? No, they don’t. It’s NEW business that create jobs, in fact,
nearly all net job creation since 1980 has occurred in firms less than five years old.
p>But wait, I was told by the nice people in the small business administration (and who happen to control the elected seats in most towns) that it’s small business that are the engine of our economy? Sorry, not true…
the smallest companies (fewer than twenty employees) account for an enormous share of all companies (89 percent), they also account for only a small fraction (less than 20 percent) of total employment.
It’s new business that create jobs. Yes, these new businesses tend to be small, but the notion that we should stop development because it will force small local businesses under assumes that these older businesses are creating jobs – they’re not. If it’s been around for 5+ years and isn’t a big employer, it’s not adding to job growth. It might make a very nice special or be a centerpiece of a downtown, but it’s not creating jobs. Now having a vibrant restaurant scene or a bucolic new england downtown are laudable goals, ones that I support, but the local hardware store isn’t creating jobs, it’s casinos and the restaurants on the way to the casino that are.
better than 2 jobs in the local community?
p>How ’bout 100 cooks versus 100 cooks + 100 local businesses who provide their local patrons?
p>When you wipe out local businesses, you wipe out the multiplier effect they have, which casinos don’t. And you wipe out the local entrepreneurs who are often a huge presence in the community, even if they don’t necessarily make a lot of money (the average small business doesn’t). These people actually give a damn about the places that they live and fight for them, whereas the casinos don’t. At all. If you don’t think that’s a problem, look at what happened to cities like Lynn when a lot of the upper-middle class residents started to head out of the city. Their kids were robbed from the public school system, their taxes were gone and entire neighborhoods and business areas were wiped off the maps, allowed to become completely run down — and it’s taken years to even begin to offset the damages. Most of our cities and towns can’t handle another hit like casinos.
p>If the goal is union jobs, I’m right there with you, but I will never engage in divide-and-conquer territory, which is exactly what this argument is about. We don’t need the Massachusetts government picking economic winners and losers, siding with powerful special interests and against our own residents, who work, own and patron at our local businesses.
p>Let’s craft policy that lifts up everyone. Let’s craft policy that makes union organizing easier, even at small businesses. Let’s target that $1.7 billion in tax credits to private businesses that don’t need them, and dedicate it to growing good jobs, most of which could easily be union if they’re focused on things like the MBTA, public higher ed and local aid. There are ways forward in which we don’t have to turn to predators stalking our friends and neighbors who own small businesses, supporting an industry which wreaks havoc on regional communities.
I don’t get the defensiveness against what I see as constructive criticism of the piece by people who should be considered allies. If I put something together with the intention of winning hearts and minds and some of the folks on my side said it’s not working for them, I’d want to know that. The meaning of a communication is the reaction you get and all that. I like to be effective and incorporating feedback, both positive and negative, is part of doing that.
p>I encourage people to give this one a go. It’s both funny — and sharp.