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Ryan speaks on his health, casinos and the FCB

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD Mayor Charles Ryan showed no ill effects from his recent health scare at his press conference on Jan. 16 and made strong statements over the possibility of casino gambling and the need for the continuation of the Finance Control Board (FCB).

Ryan described his stay in the two city hospitals when he experienced a sensation in his left arm. Ryan's doctor told him to report to the emergency room at Mercy Medical Center.

After initial tests at first Mercy medical Center and subsequent ones at Baystate Medical Center, Ryan was given a clean bill of health. Because of an incision made during a procedure, Ryan was advised to work from home last week.

"There's no blocking and no disease," Ryan said of the threat of a heart ailment. "I walked away with an 'A' on my report card."

When asked to comment on Governor Deval Patrick's statement that he would consider the question of casinos in the Bay State, Ryan said casinos were " a one-way ticket to poverty, to shattered lives."

Ryan had led the campaign against the two casino referendum questions in the city during the 1990s. The voters defeated both questions.

"All the things we don't want come with casino games," Ryan added.

Ryan also said he recommended a three-year extension to the FCB stay in the city. The mayor said when he met with Patrick in Octobers before Ryan endorsed him, he told Patrick he was in favor of another three years.

The FCB, under its current legislation, would end its term June 30. Ryan said the problems facing the city are "extraordinarily complex."

He said the FCB has established the city's creditability again through balanced budgets and improvement of the city's bond rating.

Fearing the City Council still has some of the same people who "drove the city into the Connecticut [river], Ryan said the city needs "to re-build a new cadre of people on the City Council who can understand and fight for these things."