Casino Proposal, Mayor’s Race Dominated News in 2013

Looking back on the past year, there were really only two news stories that dominated the headlines in 2013 and they were inexorably linked in the minds of many voters.

The re-election campaign of Mayor Carlo DeMaria, who faced a challenge from veteran Alderman Robert Van Campen was the top political story of the year, especially since the race represented the first four-year term for a Mayor in Everett’s history.

However, it was the Wynn Resort Casino proposal that overshadowed all other news in the city this past year, including the Mayor’s race.

For, while the race for mayor was sure to be a closely watched and hotly contested event in the city in 2013, the fact that Steve Wynn had decided to try his luck with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in Everett, benefitted the incumbent mayor immeasurably. From the first reports late in 2012 that Steve Wynn was negotiating with the city for an opportunity to develop a casino proposal on the former Monsanto Chemical property on lower Broadway, the potential development was credited to Mayor DeMaria.

And, when more than 80 percent of voters on a Saturday election in June turned out in favor of the casino proposal – the first successful host community casino vote in the state – the wind seemed to be filling Mayor DeMaria’s sails for an easy re-election.

To be sure, Mayor DeMaria has accomplished much in his first two terms leading the city. This past year saw a number of impressive changes taking place as well, as DeMaria hired a new City Services Director, new Inspectional Services Director and new City Auditor to help get the city working as professionally as possible.

City finances also had a strong showing this year, with more than $5 million of free cash reported and several major capital project were approved by the city council and are set begin in the coming year.

But it was Mayor DeMaria’s ability to quickly negotiate with Steve Wynn and his company that boosted the Mayor’s profile the most.

Now, just 14 months after the first rumors of a Wynn development in Everett surfaced, the Mass. Gaming Commission has found Wynn Resorts is a suitable applicant and the state is just months away from ruling on the Wynn proposal in Everett and a competing proposal in at Suffolk Downs in Revere – which still needs to pass a ballot test in February.

Whether a casino ultimately is built on lower Broadway or not, the fact remains the possibility of such a development was the biggest story 2013 and the man who gets most of the credit for making it a possibility is Mayor Carlo DeMaria.

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