The Race for City Hall

Walczak urges citywide casino referendum vote on same day of the preliminary mayoral election

Bill Walczak is urging the Boston City Council to schedule a citywide casino referendum vote on the same day of the preliminary election for mayor on Sept. 24.

Whether a vote on casinos should be limited to East Boston or opened to the entire city has been a hot topic on the mayoral campaign trail.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who signed a Suffolk Downs casino deal Tuesday that would pay the city at least $32 million year, has stressed that he prefers to leave the voting to East Boston residents, because they would be the most affected by the project. City Council President Stephen J. Murphy has said councilors might not be willing to expand the vote citywide.

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Walczak, an community advocate who helped revitalized Codman Square, contends that the council has the power, under the state’s gaming law, to allow a citywide referendum on the casino question. He plans to create a petition—via Change.org—and will urge people to sign up so “everyone’s voice can be heard.”

The proposed Change.org petition, addressed to the City Council, stresses the ill effects the casino will inflict on all residents and points to a dramatic increase in crime rates within a 10-mile radius of a casino, according to the Walczak campaign.

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