2014-06-19 / Opinion

Think Beyond the 'Boutique Casino'

To the Editor:

I write this in response to citizens who have publicly criticized CCACG (Concerned Citizens About Casino Gambling, of which I am a member) for spending money on ads; money, they said, which might have been better spent feeding the poor.

I wonder if they ever considered how much money Mr. Paolino has already spent: money spent on trolleys to ferry almost a hundred Newport Grand employees both to and from the city council meeting on May 28; money spent on lunches and perhaps cocktails with influential members of the community, including city council members and state legislators; money spent on the Jobs for Newport website and all of their full page ads and campaign buttons; and money spent on lawyers, designers, marketing professionals and architects.

I can guarantee you that Mr. Paolino has spent many times over what CCACG has spent on ads. And please don't confuse our ads with the independent ads of Elizabeth Meyer, who is not a member of CCACG, although we do appreciate her independent research and efforts to expose this expansion which gives the state legislature greater jurisdiction over whatever future casino operators care to do.

You see, I have no issue with Newport Grand and I do care about their employees and the jobs they cherish. But I happen to think that their jobs were more secure before we gave the farm to Mr. Paolino. For what we have done is relinquished our local autonomy to state government, which can formulate the terms of the November referendum. And how many of us voters will know all the details and repercussions of it before casting our vote?

In short, I don't think people are thinking beyond the "boutique casino." There is no guarantee it won't be sold to another company, and then those jobs are no longer secure. There is no guarantee of a substantial host community agreement, either. We gave that up on the evening of May 28, when the council voted away any future negotiating capability. Toni Wallace Ciany


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