Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Questioning motives in Holyoke mayor’s shift

To the editor:

Here’s my read on what’s behind Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse’s change of heart on casinos in Holyoke: Eric Suher. Suher is worried about losing money. He revealed all in a comment in the Nov. 26 paper about how a casino cited in Springfield would “pose a direct threat to businesses farther up the Valley ....” It’ll be a threat all right: a threat to his business interests as music mogul of the Pioneer Valley. A casino in Springfield that offered concert halls and had the financial muscle to bring in world-class entertainment would no doubt siphon talent and dollars away from Suher’s many music venues in the Northampton area, including Mountain Park, which, of course, he owns. So for him to see a casino in Mountain Park would not only enhance his investment in it, but also let him expand control over the Valley’s entertainment dollar.

And what’s in it for Morse? He could just be looking out for the best interests of Holyoke, as he claims, but to turn against the core reason that got him elected, and thus insult every voter who supported him, suggests a darker reason. Surely, his embrace of the idea of a Holyoke-based casino has compromised his chances for re-election, but maybe he doesn’t care. Maybe he doesn’t care about being a one-term mayor because maybe there’s bigger reward awaiting him once he‘s booted out of office: a high-dollar job to help run an entertainment empire.

Like I say, it’s just my read.

Douglas Roosa


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