, Newburyport, MA


May 15, 2014

Some cheers and jeers

A few items in the news of late gave us something to cheer and jeer over.

CHEERS to the state Department of Transportation for doing “the right thing.” The state has bought a condo next to the Interstate 95 bridge project, a home that had become a miserable place to live for the owners. Constant noise, rattling, banging — all happening within a few feet of the condo — had made it impossible for the Taylor family to live there. Add to that the taunts from workers that the Taylors received, and the situation had become untenable.

Originally, the state had said it would not take any property along the highway route by eminent domain. That changed when the Taylors’ situation became front page news. It’s good to see that the state is willing to adjust and react to unanticipated problems with the project. There will be more problems as this massive project moves forward, indeed we have been hearing about cracked foundations, excessive noise and vibrations affecting some Newburyporters who live near the Ferry Road bridge. Hopefully the state will be proactive in taking care of this problem too.

JEERS to the continuing mess public officials are making of plans to bring casinos to Massachusetts. First, Stephen Crosby, chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, chose last week to recuse himself from the debate over casino proposals in the Boston area. Crosby, who is essentially the face of gaming regulation in the state, made the ill-advised choice to attend the opening-day thoroughbred facing festivities at Suffolk Downs. The racecourse, as everyone knows, has teamed with Mohegan Sun to pursue a casino license.

Crosby noted that he paid his own way to the party, but one has to wonder if he has any understanding of the public’s perception of his choices. The commission touts an “enhanced code of ethics” and has promised a fair, above-board appraisal of the candidates for an Eastern Massachusetts casino. Showing up at a party thrown by one of the key applicants does little to build the public’s trust in the process.

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