2014-10-30 / Community Blog

Promises, Promises!

By Beth Milham

Promises, Promises!


To the Editor:


“Promise her anything, but give her Arpege.” That quote popped into my mind every time Joe Paolino opened his mouth last Wednesday at the ALN casino debate at CCRI.


“This fronton will be a performing arts center, a place where the community can gather….” “Gambling will never grow beyond Jai Alai….” These are loosely quoted memories from the days when Jai Alai was trying to get a gambling foot in Newport’s door. Anyone ever attend a concert at the fronton? Of course not. The acoustics were all wrong for performance. Do we still have Jai Alai? Do we still have gambling? Empty promises.


As recently as late 2012, I remember reading a letter to the editor from Newport Grand’s Diane Hurley, saying it had come to her attention that people didn’t like her “slots” sign—the first symbol of Newport visible from the Pell Bridge after dark. She was flabbergasted, obviously never having read any other letters to the editor, but stated she was committed to removing it. If memory serves, that promise was not contingent on passage of that year’s table games referendum. Is it gone? Of course not. It’s just temporarily covered by equally blatant advertising. More empty promises.


Those at the casino debate heard a sparkling cascade of promises from Paolino. A gorgeous full-service entertainment center.  A million to go to Newport for…what? Education? Something else you want it for? We’ll ante up a million. Cable cars to take people to take casino patrons to downtown restaurants. (Unsaid: if they can be pried away from the gaming tables.)


My favorite quote of the evening: a rewording of one attributed to Samuel Goldwyn: "A verbal agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on." Will we be swayed by empty promises? The thunderous applause every time Joe even hiccupped would indicate that a lot of people already have been. But if we are, we’d better watch out. We may just end up with the proverbial bottle of perfume.


Beth Milham


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