Powers Withdraws Motion Calling for Local Referendum

Thursday, October 6, 2011
By Cary Shuman

Town Councilor-at-Large Larry Powers withdrew his motion to hold a referendum that would have given Winthrop residents an opportunity to vote whether they favor or oppose a casino at Suffolk Downs in East Boston.

Powers said when he made the motion two weeks he had not yet read the legislation coming out of the House of Representatives.

“My concern is for the well being of the town and I believe the Council has a vested responsibility to look out for the best interests of the town,” said Powers. “One of things I heard was that Winthrop was left out of the legislation altogether but I found the definition of surrounding communities and based on the definition, if and when a casino is proposed for Suffolk Downs, that definition cannot help but fit Winthrop.”

Powers said that the talk that Winthrop was left out of the legislation was “misleading and false.”

“After reviewing [the legislation], I’ve come to the conclusion that Winthrop’s interests actually are very well represented in the language,” said Powers. “We’re still talking about a bill regarding expanded gaming – we’re not yet talking about anything to do with Suffolk Downs. I think it’s premature at this point to worry about a gaming facility at Suffolk Downs.”

Winthrop resident John Ribiero, an opponent of casino gambling, said he was “very disappointed” by Powers’s decision to withdraw his motion.

“The points that the councilor raised as far as what’s in the legislation are not binding,” said Powers. “The gaming commission will be appointed by the Governor and the Legislature and those will be politically controlled positions as well. So the fact that Winthrop does not have a vote and will not have a vote is true. Winthrop is not protected as the councilor has suggested. I wanted all the councilors to speak out on the issue and see where they stood on the issue and we still don’t have representation here in Winthrop on this issue.”

  • Guest

    The issue was never whether Winthrop was a SURROUNDING community, but whether Winthrop was a HOST community and its residents would have a vote/voice on the potential casino at Suffolk Downs.  As the legislation now stands, only Revere and East Boston (not the entire city and not Winthrop) would have a vote in a local referendum to approve a casino at Suffolk Downs.  The numerous people attending Town Council had requested that Winthrop be included in a such a vote and NOT that the Council confirms that Winthrop is a surrounding community – a moot point that has nothing to do with a vote on the issue.  I cannot help but feel that Larry Powers and the Town Council willfully turned a blind eye to this issue.  Thankfully, Secretary of State Galvin has zeroed in on this issue and is challenging the provision – although Winthrop still won’t get a vote.  Shame on DeLeo – only $13,000 in donations to sell out your town? – and shame on the Town Council for failing to act.

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