STATE SENATOR Anthony Petruccelli argues that only East Boston residents should get to vote on whether to approve a proposed casino there (“Suffolk Downs vote belongs in East Boston,” Op-ed, Sept. 21). His central argument — Would you want the entire city to determine the fate of your neighborhood? — has already been answered: it happens all the time.
For instance, others decide, for the collective good of all city residents, on issues such as police deployment, garbage pickup, and street cleaning. These decisions are determined for my neighborhood, my street, and my home, and I accept these decisions, because I am a part of the city as a whole.
When an issue as important as the casino vote is considered, it should be cast by all of Boston, as we all will be affected by its spillover effect of increased crime, addiction, and the drain on our city’s stretched resources to mitigate the damage that this enterprise will inflict on our entirety.
The fact that a harbor separates this specific neighborhood from the rest of Boston hasn’t stopped its residents from enjoying the many benefits that all Bostonians enjoy, whether in park improvements, street lighting, or inspectional standards to safeguard our population. These are a part of the contract that we as a city have agreed to, and any decision made with such far-reaching and enduring impact should be considered by the entire city.
And to answer his question: Yes, I would want my entire city to vote on a casino in Dorchester, because I recognize that my neighborhood is in Boston, our city, and that civic engagement is something larger than just a provincial and narrow viewpoint.