SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 15, 2014

Our view: Cheers, jeers for recent newsmakers

CHEERS to the citizens of Salem for once again reaching out to help neighbors struck by disaster.

In this case, disaster was a two-alarm fire in a Dow Street apartment building last Tuesday morning that left roughly 45 residents homeless. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries, but many tenants were left with nothing.

Organizations like the Red Cross and the Salem YMCA were quick to offer help. Members of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department were on the scene the morning of the fire, bringing residents to the senior center to be cared for. Staffers helped many children get to school Wednesday morning.

Last weekend, more than 40 volunteers showed up at the Salem Y to help sort and organize more than 5,000 donated articles of clothing, linen, toys and household items for those affected by the fire. It was an impressive showing, one of which the Salem community should be proud.

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 racing 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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