Last Tuesday evening, City Councilor Sal LaMattina testified at the Casino Commission hearing and expressed his frustration over the whole process and feels East Boston and Boston proper should be considered a Host Community and allowed to vote again.
“I have been dealing with this issue for over 6 years and have had many sleepless nights,” said LaMattina. “I have been a proponent of a Casino at Suffolk Downs because I really believed that it would provide jobs and opportunity for my neighborhood and it would keep the track open, the infrastructure is already there and I really do like the track and enjoy having it in my neighborhood.”
However, LaMattina, an advocate of an Eastie only vote, said it was his understanding that both Revere and Eastie would have to vote in affirmative for a casino to be approved at the Suffolk Downs site—a property where two thirds is contained within the City of Boston.
“I know that there are some residents in my neighborhood here today that want me to stand here today and demand that you don’t grant a license to Suffolk Downs,” said LaMattina. “As the City Councilor who represents District 1 I have to do what I think is right for my District. Today I would like to go on record in support of Mayor Walsh in his quest to achieve host community status. My reasoning on this is very clear; Mohegan Sun may be building the entire project in the City of Revere, but the City of Boston plays an integral and vital role to the success of the establishment.”
LaMattina argued the entrance to the resort is a matter of mere feet, not miles from Eastie, so it needs to be recognized that all of the major roadways, bus and rail services, amenities, and many other services are heavily accessed through the City of Boston.
“But more importantly members of the Commission–my neighborhood will still be as heavily impacted as the original proposal,” said LaMattina. “I have to agree with Mayor Walsh that Boston will be the key selling point of the proposed casino in Revere. All the branding will be Boston. All the marketing for the casino will be Boston. A major attraction to this casino will be Boston.”
In closing LaMattina said he has had a close, cooperative and symbiotic relationship with Suffolk Downs and they have been very generous and inclusive throughout the whole process. LaMattina added “it’s more than I can say for Wynn.”
Some Eastie residents present at the hearing who also testified backed LaMattina.
“I should not be standing here now,” said Rita La Serra of East Boston, “By allowing this application process to go on, after the no vote, what you are saying to the people of East Boston is, your vote doesn’t matter. You dismissed and disrespected an entire community.”
However, Eastie residents like Kathleen Orlando spoke in favor of the casino in Revere and believes it will benefit both communities.