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Evmorphia Stratis: No casino for Everett

Evmorphia Stratis is a lifeling Everett resident who opposes the casino proposal.

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Evmorphia Stratis is a lifeling Everett resident who opposes the casino proposal.

Q. What would be the most significant impact a casino would have on the residents of Everett?

A. I’d love to support a casino that creates jobs, business growth, and tax revenues for Everett. But Steve Wynn’s casino plan would destroy jobs, cannibalize businesses, rob Everett of legitimate tax revenues, and destroy our quality of life in the process.

Q. Can concerns over traffic caused by the casino be addressed?

A. Of course they can be addressed, but can they be solved? The traffic study cited in the host agreement was financed by Wynn. Where are the independent traffic and transportation studies? After all, if there’s going to be another 15,000 to 20,000 cars a day shoehorned into that small area where Everett abuts both Charlestown and Somerville, shouldn’t there be a plan to handle that traffic and the likely impacts on our community and quality of life?

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Wynn proposes to widen Broadway “if easements can be obtained.” This is very unlikely. Homes and businesses are within 8 feet of the street.

We are already trapped in Everett with horrible traffic problems. Imagine the busloads of people coming into the city.

Q. Are you worried a gambling operation would attract crime?

A. I am very worried about increased crime. There are comprehensive studies on how crime will increase; larceny, car theft, burglary, aggravated assault, and rape. Domestic abuse also increases. We already have problems with that in Everett. The mere nature of a casino, a place where you gamble and lose your money, is a magnet attracting criminals to exploit customers and allowing easy access to our children and property. And you don’t need to read studies, just talk to people who live near a casino and find out the truth.

Q. Does the language in the host agreement ensure that jobs would go to Everett residents?

‘Even just the talk that there couldbe a casino in Everett has compromisedour propertyvalue.’

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A. No it does not. The contract says it will “give preferential treatment to qualified Everett residents for contracting.”. . . First of all, construction jobs are not forever. This is short-sighted for long-term employment. The same words apply to all the jobs, “reasonable preference to properly qualified residents of the city. . . . ” What does that really mean? I see most of the jobs being low-paying service jobs. Steve Wynn has left us with far too many unanswered questions, questions that Mayor Carlo DeMaria neglected to answer in his rush to sign a casino agreement.

The host agreement as it stands is a great deal for Wynn, but it’s an incredibly bad deal for Everett, its residents, its businesses, and its schools.

Q. How would the presence of a casino change the quality of life for people who live in Everett?

A. The quality of life for Everett residents would decline. Our property would decrease in value. Even just the talk that there could be a casino in Everett has compromised our property value. What family or professionals decide to move into a city that is 3.5 square miles and has a casino? It is common sense and we don’t need studies, statistics, etc. to see how traffic will be overwhelming. Where’s the community business plan? Doesn’t it make sense that when a casino titan like Wynn pledges that guests will be able to satisfy all of their gambling, entertainment, and shopping needs within his casino walls, that Everett’s local restaurants, pubs, stores, and other retail outlets will likely be cannibalized?

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What will the rest of Everett look like? Having a casino open 24/7 has a direct impact on the drinking and driving problem. Light and noise pollution is a concern. What happens to all the residents who live in the immediate area? Does this mean all of the many bars in Everett will also be open 24/7?

This is not Milford, a town with about 25,000 people in an area of 25 square miles. There are more than half a million people within a 5-mile radius of this site in Everett. We need a better vision for our city to create real jobs without all the risks and negatives a casino will bring. For the silent minority or majority who are against this casino: Vote on June 22. Let our voice be heard!

Kathy McCabe can be reached at kmccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe

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