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City needs ward representation

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

Are you surprised the pet spa/hotel idea for the building that briefly housed the ill-fated Gold Club strip bar fell through?

I'm not.

Now, I hadn't mentioned the idea to our spoiled dog, Lucky the Wonder Bichon, for fear he'd steal my credit card and book a weekend or two. I did discuss it with a number of people that I couldn't see our area supporting a high-end pet "hotel" maybe in Boston, maybe in Fairfield County, Connecticut, definitely in Los Angeles, but not here.

Sorry, Lucky.

So what should happen to the building now? Restaurant? Office space? I don't know. What made it ideal in the urban planning sense for the location of a strip club it wasn't near any other business, residence, church or school makes it a challenge for most any other business. The site forces whatever enterprise to go into the building to be a destination point. It has to be compelling in order for people to go out of their way to reach it.

And being next to the Pike is a mixed blessing. Folks on the highway can see the building, but may not know how to get to it.

What are your ideas?


My wife and I went to Maine recently my first time to the state and our hotel graciously provided each room with a copy of the "Maine Sunday Telegram." Besides news of the winning Red Sox on the front page, there was a large story about the efforts to bring legalized gambling to the state.

That's a state next to ours where they're trying to bring in more legal gambling.

Four years ago, the article reported, there was an effort to bring casinos into Maine, which was defeated by voters.

Now the Passamaquoddy Tribe seeks permission to build a racetrack with slot machines a "racino" in Washington County.

Here's something to consider: by the time we actually make our mind up about casino gambling will other states have beaten us to the punch? The Massachusetts casinos, as people have spoken about them, must be destination points that out-do the two Connecticut casinos. Would that be a problem for us if there were other gambling operations around New England?

I'm surprised that "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire hasn't gotten into the casino exploration act. I couldn't imagine the state that wants our booze, tobacco and fireworks money would turn up its nose at casino gambling.

I think the Legislature needs to actually discuss this sooner than later. We need to fish or cut bait on this issue.

And do you think "What happens in Chicopee, stays in Chicopee" has a nice ring to it?


I have said that I don't endorse candidates and I won't. There are many important elections coming up and I hope people will take the time to vote, rather than complain about what happened.

I was at Jake's eating a fine sandwich recently when a politically connected person told me the real big issue in the Springfield election wasn't the mayor's race tell Charlie and Domenic that it was the ward representation vote.

Well, don't take this as an endorsement. It's just part of a discussion. I will share how I'm planning to vote on one issue in Springfield. I support ward representation on the City Council.

Springfield needs a revitalized City Council and the only way to bring effective representation of all parts of the city is through the creation of ward seats.

Chicopee and Holyoke have combined councils of ward and at-large representatives and it's time Springfield joined them.

I truly hope it's going to pass this time I voted for it last time it was on the ballot but the thought scares my wife a bit. I've said I would be tempted to enter politics if I could just run in one ward.

Don't let that unlikely occurrence sway you, though.


Halloween is here, which means Christmas shopping begins Nov. 1. Thanksgiving? We don't need no stinkin' Thanksgiving! It's just a speed bump on the road to Christmas.

We're not handing out candy this year as we're tired of 17-year-old kids with pillow cases begging for candy and then asking for an extra portion for their baby brother back home and young mothers carrying infants and saying the candy is for their kids.

I love handing out candy to kids who are between the ages of two and 12 and who are actually into the spirit of the holiday, but I no longer want to participate in the slightly disguised extortion that is young adults asking for candy.

I guess I'm just getting old.

This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.