2014-07-24 / Opinion

Host Community Agreement Would Balance Interests

To the Editor:

I have been thinking a lot about the casino issue. My position is that, by all means, we should encourage rejection of the casino extension ballot in November. If we stop it, we should then pursue the alternate course of establishing a HCA (Host Community Agreement) with the prospective owners to then be put to yet another ballot.

I think the issue is fundamentally a matter of balancing the owners' lawful Constitutional rights of property and liberty with the sincere (albeit not necessarily lawful) concerns of the host community.

The words "community" and "democracy" do not appear anywhere in the Constitution or its amendments.

What the constitution and its amendments do say is this:

"No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

When you research a bit further, you find that the “liberty” bit refers to being able to do whatever you want to do with your own property, i.e.:

MYOB.

Keep your hands off my stuff.

Given these fundamental facts:

When it comes to the ballot, some people will care, many will not, and if too many do not then it will proceed into being with relatively little or no direct assistance to the city: us.

Better to drive a stake through its heart at the very next opportunity, which would be after a resounding NO in November.

That would be accomplished by (among other things) pursuing establishing a HCA (Host Community Agreement) with the prospective owners to then be put to yet another ballot.

At present, this is the landscape as presented to me:

Lincoln gets approximately $7 million in cash payments, plus indirect aid in the form of jobs.

Newport currently gets approximately $350,000, plus indirect aid in the form of jobs.

The non-guaranteed state offer is a temporary annual payment of $1.5 million, decreasing to $1 million after 4 years.

Given all that, what to do?

Councilors have written and proposed a comprehensive HCA with a full bodysuit of legal language that would serve the purpose of:

Protecting the property and liberty rights of the owners;

Appeasing the community concerns and improving the monetary proceeds to the host community: us.

I think it is certainly comprehensive and generally brilliant. It should be pursued.

This approach is a lot smarter (and more effective) than continuing to waste time arguing about niceties over which we have no control.

Although admittedly, actually doing something is a lot harder than just spouting opinions.

Nothing is easy, and no one promised us a rose garden.

But Newport may be as close as it gets, which is why the third part is: commitment. C. A. (Andy) Lavarre

Newport

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