Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, a candidate for Boston mayor, is following up his call for a citywide vote on a Suffolk Downs casino by urging the City Council to hold hearings throughout the city about who should get to vote on a casino project at the track, according to a letter Conley sent today to the council.
“Regardless of whether people support or oppose a casino, people want and need to be heard on this important issue,” Conley wrote.
Conley on Monday called for a citywide vote to decide if Boston would accept a casino at Suffolk Downs, a departure from the firm policy of Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Menino insists that the vote should be limited to just East Boston, where the track is located. No casino can earn a state license until the voters of the host community endorse the project in a referendum. State law allows large cities such as Boston to limit the vote to the ward in which a casino would be located, or to expand the vote citywide.
Conley has suggested the city should not permit a casino at Suffolk Downs unless the project is approved both by voters citywide and within East Boston.
Several members of the council who are also running for mayor are on record against a citywide vote, including Felix Arroyo, John Connolly, Robert Consalvo and Michael Ross.
“While many members of the body have expressed their position on the referendum it should not preclude the idea of neighborhood hearings on the matter,” wrote Conley.Mark Arsenault can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark