Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jackson County Residents Opposed to Richton Salt Dome

More than 30 county residents appeared before the Jackson County supervisors Monday to request the board take action against a proposed oil storage facility in the Richton Salt Dome.

The board decided to withhold any action until its Jan. 7 meeting.

I plan to be at the meeting voicing my opposition to a project that is environmentally unsound.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

We deserve public input on the Richton Project

George County supervisors are asking President Bush, the Energy Department, U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor and the state's two senators to help organize public hearings about plans to use the Richton salt dome for oil storage.

The supervisors, who passed a resolution at Monday's board meeting, want hearings in Jackson, George and Greene counties, and they want full notice of reasonable dates, times and places for those hearings.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Protect our endangered species say NO to the Richton Site

The Pascagoula River basin is home to species that exist nowhere else in the world. Gopher tortoises and black pine snakes live along the proposed pipelines, said Rebecca Stowe, director of the Nature Conservancy's office in Merrill. The river itself is home to the endangered Gulf sturgeon and yellow-blotched map turtle, and the pearl darter, a fish whose status is under consideration. Of the sites under consideration for the new reserve, DOE documents say only development of the Richton site could harm endangered species.

It's a no brainer the Richton site should not be considered. We must protect our endangered species.

The brine water will be shot through a diluting machine into a major migration pathway for young shrimp and other economically important sea life, said fisheries expert Mark Peterson of the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab. Many creatures important to the seafood industry reproduce offshore, and their young depend on currents to get to estuaries near shore, where they mature. Areas near Horn Island could see a large jump in salinity from the salt dome plan, forcing many young off their path. Some creatures may die. The brine will be heavier than the water around it, he said. It will sink to the lowest point in the Sound, which is the Pascagoula Ship Channel. Ships passing through could move the water northward, into the estuaries and the river.

"As for pipelines carrying brine running along freshwater bodies, all you have to do is have one 36-inch pipe break. Everything surrounding it would be killed," Peterson said. The current assessment, he said, doesn't take into account all the "what-ifs."


Not to mention the havoc that will be caused to our seafood industry.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Gopher Frog Woes

A conservation group is suing the federal government on behalf of a frog that used to live in ponds throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama but now lives in just three places in De Soto National Forest and Jackson County.

The Mississippi gopher frog's population had dwindled to about 100 breeding adults, prompting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2001 to declare the animal endangered.

Salt dome plan is a disaster in the making

This was in the Letters to the Editor (Sun Herald)

Salt dome plan is a disaster in the making
The plan by the Department of Energy to use fresh water to hollow out the salt dome at Richton for oil storage is a disaster in the making.
The DOE plans to pump 50 million gallons of fresh water per day from the Pascagoula River to dissolve the salt in the dome. The salt slurry would then be pumped through a 100-mile-long pipeline and discharged into the Gulf of Mexico near the Pascagoula ship channel. This process would last five years. Once the dome is hollowed out, oil would be pumped into the cavity via the same pipeline.


The federal government deems this necessary for national security. I will not argue with national security, but I, and many others, take strong issue with the plan. Given the current drought conditions, and fights over water resources in neighboring states, it makes no sense to turn 50 million gallons of fresh water per day into a toxic salt slurry, then pump that slurry into a prime wildlife habitat.

The DOE-prepared environmental impact study concludes that there will be little environmental impact, yet cites the potential for brine spills of up to 34.7 million gallons (as has already occurred at another storage site), that the brine plume would enter the Pascagoula ship channel, and that there would be an adverse impact on water resources. Removing 50 million gallons of water per day from the river system and dumping 140 billion gallons of salt brine will have more than a little environmental impact. This amount of brine will impact the entire Mississippi Sound.

The DOE is moving ahead with this plan, partly because there was very little comment from the Coast counties at public hearings held immediately after Hurricane Katrina. Before this goes any further, independent studies should be required.

If the storage site at Richton is necessary, at least modify the plan to reduce the environmental impact. Pull the water from the Gulf instead of the river, and discharge the brine farther out into the Gulf.

This impacts all of South Mississippi. Please voice your concern to our governor, senators and congressmen.

ERIC RICHARDS Pascagoula

I plan to start writing letters ASAP.

Department of Energy slips the Richton plan through the cracks in the days after Katrina.

On Sept. 1, 2005, just three days after Katrina, the Department of Energy announced its intent to explore the environmental impact of building the reserve at Richton and three other sites, including one in Claiborne County.

"Nobody had a TV or electricity," said Rebecca Stowe, director of the Nature Conservancy's office in Merrill. "It definitely seems to have flown under the radar." She said she had no knowledge of the announcement or subsequent public meetings, and she believes George County officials also knew nothing of the plan.


Not only did we not have TV, Internet Service or electricity we were not getting any mail for several weeks.

The agency cancelled public meetings in Hattiesburg and Pascagoula scheduled for early October 2005 because the meeting places had been damaged. They rescheduled the meeting for two weeks later in Jackson (the state capital, not the county). The Jackson County Board of Supervisors was left out of the loop, said Supervisor Frank Leach at a recent Sierra Club meeting about the project.

The report said more than 1,500 acres of wetlands could be altered, filled or damaged through the Richton program, and 150 acres of prime fish habitat could be damaged.

By May 2007, said a Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks official, meetings between state and federal agencies concluded the Leaf would not support the mining process, which would draw enough fresh water to create about 1.2 billion gallons of brine nearly 10 times saltier than the waters of Mississippi Sound it would then be dumped into. Fifty million gallons is roughly the equivalent of 11 football fields, measured goal post to goal post, each sitting under 10 feet of water.

Thoughts turned to the Pascagoula River, the only river in the lower 48 states that has not been dammed.


Mississippi deserves better then to be treated as a dumping ground by the rest of the nation. We must rally to protect our wetlands, our rivers and the Mississippi Sound.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Choctaws ought to have a clear view that they will face opposition if they continue to pursue a casino in Jackson County

Given the Ocean Springs Board's opposition, the referendum and Monday's vote by the supervisors, the Choctaws ought to have a clear view that they will face opposition if they continue to pursue a casino in Jackson County.

However, after the election Choctaw leader Miko Beasley Denson said the tribe would continue the process to obtain approval for a casino. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the governor must approve a casino.

The referendum outcome and votes by local elected officials send a signal to the governor's office that countering the wishes of Jackson County may have adverse political consequences. The Bureau of Indian Affairs ought to see a public record of opposition to the casino.

The Choctaws have spotted an economic opportunity in Jackson County. Perhaps there is something other than a casino that can achieve the tribe's financial goals without compromising the will of the Jackson County voters.

The casino proposal is behind us, but Jackson County would be wise to keep an eye on it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to take a stand against the Choctaw Casino

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to take a stand against a casino proposed for the county by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

More than 60 percent of voters in the general election earlier this month came out against the casino. The referendum was taken to gauge voter opinion on the issue, but is not legally binding.

So supervisors Monday took a stand that reflects the vote.


At least someone heard us when we said NO. Jackson County residents should take note that Tim Broussard voted for the casino over the objections of the voters he is suppose to represent ( remember this at election time folks). Robert Norvel was absent.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It is now up to the Board of Supervisors to lend its official stamp to the casino vote

The opinion of voters does count and can be reinforced by supervisors passing a resolution in support of the Nov. 6 vote at their next meeting, Nov. 26. The resolution would be the beginning of local officials expressing their opinion on the Choctaw casino to the governor and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The voters have made this easy for the supervisors. Prior to the vote, it was not clear whether Jackson County citizens approved or disapproved of a casino.


There are those who may discount the vote by arguing that a few thousand ballots supporting the casino would have changed the results. There was equal chance to cast ballots Nov. 6, however, and the casino lost. The balloting speaks clearly to the supervisors about the county's opinion.

It is now up to the Board of Supervisors to lend its official stamp to the casino vote.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Denson is a man who cannot be trusted

Letters to the Editor ~ The Sun Herald

New chief gets off to a very bad start

The decision by Chief Beasley Denson to ignore the 60 to 40 percent defeat suffered by the Choctaw casino issue would make it abundantly clear that he is a man who cannot be trusted. All the voters who believed his "pie in the sky" promises should question whether they have been deceived by a "wolf in chief's clothing."

I would not feel comfortable in any future dealing with this man. Unlike Chief Martin, who is a man whose integrity has never been questioned, the new chief has gotten off to a very bad start.

LONNIE O'NEAL Ocean Springs


Denson had no problem breaking the Choctaws' word once, why should we trust him about anything?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jackson County Board of Supervisors plan to support voters NO

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors may take action as early as today to pass a resolution opposing a Choctaw casino proposed in the county.

In a nonbinding referendum Nov. 6, slightly more than 60 percent of county voters cast ballots against the casino.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Secret meetings between the Mississippi Band of Choctaws and Jackson County supervisors

Present and incoming supervisors ought to take Leach's complaint to heart and work for open government. Public officials often argue that economic development should involve a degree of confidentiality. Maybe that's true, but when a business project is asking for the public's help, the public deserves to be informed. The Choctaw casino was such a project and the public should have known the details early in the process. This isn't about security issues, but it is about letting people know about what is happening in their county.

Leach may be making a late call, but it is the right call. As supervisors deal with development they should keep in mind that they do so on behalf of the public and they should keep those who elect them informed through open government.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The vote ought to stand as a clear message to the political leaders and the Mississippi Choctaws that Jackson County does not want this casino.

While voters are reminded that their votes count, a different message is being sent to them after the non-binding referendum on the Choctaw casino in Jackson County. Sixty percent of Jackson County voters casting ballots rejected the casino. Even though the referendum is non-binding, the vote ought to stand as a clear message to the political leaders and the Mississippi Choctaws that Jackson County does not want this casino.

It is time for everyone concerned to let this issue rest in Jackson County. There are some who contend if the county was given a question on fully taxed gambling, the outcome may have been different. However, the 60 percent majority suggests there is a strong opinion against allowing casinos into Jackson County.

The opinion of 18,865 Jackson County voters on the gambling question should be respected.


I couldn't have said it better myself. Respect our vote and stop trying to ram a casino down our throat Chief Denson.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Today's Soundoff

• The referendum for the Choctaw treaty was 60-40 in Jackson County that did not want it. The media is very careful to tell us it's non-binding. If I were a politician in office now, though, I'd consider it very binding if I wanted to have a job next election.

Denson and 'supporters' lost no time dismissing majority of county's voters

Sun Herald ~ Letters to the Editor. ANNE C. BURKE brings up some troubling points.

Denson and 'supporters' lost no time dismissing majority of county's voters

Chief Denson's decision to press ahead with a casino should not surprise those of us who have voted against that decision. He has publicly stated that the opinions of the people who have to absorb his tribe's intrusion are meaningless to him.

He states there is a "coalition of business leaders and individuals in support of the Tribal resort casino"? Is he capable of enough honesty to furnish their names? I'd like to ask these "supporters" what they find persuasive about a casino in Jackson County. Obviously they believe they have something to gain by forcing a casino on a majority of residents who don't want it.

Having closely watched the politics of Mississippi, Ocean Springs and Jackson County for many years, I think it's just a matter of time before we hear: "Even though the people voted against it, we feel that in the interest of economic development... .

Or, "Even though the people voted against it, we think in the long run... .

Or, "Even though the people voted against it, we were elected to make these decisions for the people."

Or, "Even though the people voted against it, Chief Denson assures us... .

My personal observation is that the word of most elected officials has a shelf life roughly equivalent to the time it takes the voter to get out of earshot.

ANNE C. BURKE
Ocean Springs

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Choctaws prove they are liars

Former Chief Philip Martin said he would abide by the referendum and the Choctaw Tribal Council passed a resolution in agreement.

The residents of Jackson County voted NO to the casino, but Denson proving that we can't trust the Choctaws to keep their word plans to ram the casino down our throats.

Choctaw Chief Beasley Denson said, "I am disappointed that a majority of the voters missed this opportunity to embrace a real partnership with our tribe." Although the voters rejected the project, "We built a coalition of business leaders and individuals in support of the Tribal resort casino," Denson said, and the Tribe will continue the permitting process.

After this does anyone believe the Choctaws would have kept their word about the impact fees (donations) they would have made to the County?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Choctaws should play by the same rules as others on the Coast

The Choctaws, in an effort started by former Chief Phillip Martin, want to expand their gaming operations beyond their present two tax-free tribal casinos in Neshoba County. In particular, they want a slice of the increasingly lucrative market on the Coast, but they don't want to play by the same rules as the non-Indian casinos already located there.

They are seeking to have some land they've acquired in Jackson County designated as reservation land, even though historically it was no such thing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We need to send a resounding "NO" to the tribal leaders.

Letter to the Editor in The Mississippi Press.

As Nov. 6 quickly approaches and the vote in the non-binding referendum on the Choctaw casino in Jackson County, it has become abundantly clear just how low the Choctaws will stoop in their media campaign to con the citizens into voting for the casino.

I have noticed that in the latest commercials that have aired that they show areas of "hurricane" devastation in the county that their casino would help rebuild. Apparently, whoever shot the commercial for the tribe did not do any research on some of the locations that were used. The one location that really stuck out was the images of Belair shopping center in Pascagoula. The commercial showed boarded up and heavily damaged buildings, implying that Katrina did the damage and that the economic impact of the Choctaw casino would rebuild it.

I believe the record needs to be set straight on this misrepresentation. Belair shopping center has been an eyesore for Pascagoula for close to 20 years. The owner has defied the city on every attempt to clean up or tear down the buildings.

Another point I would like to bring up is that the Choctaws' claim that their casino would put $7 million a year in the county coffers from now on. They have yet to explain just exactly how that is true. They are exempt from paying taxes and they cannot pay impact fees because those have already been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as being unconstitutional. Plus there is nothing that says the Choctaws have to continue paying anything to Jackson County if they choose not to.

The Choctaws also claim that the casino would bring 3,000 new jobs to the county. While there may be that many jobs brought in, just exactly how many of those jobs will be in mid and upper level management? If they are like most of the Indian casinos in the country, those positions will go to only members of the tribe.

I suggest that if the Choctaws really want to make their case for a casino in Jackson County that they be totally truthful. If the residents of Jackson County really want casino gambling here, then let us vote on allowing any casino to operate and therefore have a real benefit from them being in the community. Otherwise we need to send a resounding "NO" to the tribal leaders.

Bill Waggoner

Our tax money should not be spent foolishly

Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown has written a book praising himself and MDOT, and 5,000 copies - printed at taxpayer expense - will be handed out at a festival just five days before voters decide on his re-election bid.

In addition to the book, taxpayers are also footing the bill for an epic party; an extravaganza to mark the opening Thursday of the Biloxi Bay Bridge, a federally funded building project overseen by the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Some, including Larry Benefield, Brown's opponent in the election for Southern District transportation commissioner, question the timing of the party. They wonder whether the bridge could have been open to traffic earlier, had re-election politics not been a factor.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Jackson County already voted 'no' on gambling

From Letters to the Editor (The Sun Herald)

Jackson County already voted 'no' on gambling

I know we are going to vote again on the issue of gambling in Jackson County, what I don't understand is why. We have already voted on the issue and the answer was, "No, we don't want or need gambling in Jackson County."


Are we just going to have to vote gambling down over and over to please special-interest groups? Why is the issue even being broached? The Choctaws' land off Mississippi 57 isn't historical tribal land but land they purchased, if I understand correctly. Does that mean if they purchased land in downtown Ocean Springs, they could just request permits and variances to open a casino there? Why not a brothel since we don't have any of those operating openly (that I know of)?

We have a fairly quiet, charming little town that appeals for just that reason. Why mess with success? Vote "no" again and let's keep the traffic, crime, and 24-hour rat race out of our area.

DEE WICHMAN Ocean Springs

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ads promoting Choctaw casino are offensive

So it's not just me, others too have found the ad's implying that Jackson County Residents are a 'poor, down trodden people' that the Choctaws will rescue distasteful. Jackson County is doing just fine without the Choctaws, especially the area they want to destroy with their casino. And using children to promote gambling is sickening, no matter who does it. With the Choctaws financial resources they can afford slick TV ad's to flood our airwaves, and mass mailings (fresh off their very own printing press) to stuff our mailboxes, unfortunately those of us opposed to the Choctaw casino do not have the same financial resources.

Television commercials promoting the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians' effort to put a casino in Jackson County are offensive.
As opponents of the Choctaw casino, we would hardly be expected to agree with the tribe's methods to sway voters in a non-binding referendum to be held on Nov. 6. But the televised ads we have seen this week are not just disagreeable, they are insulting to South Mississippians in general, and Jackson Countians in particular.


Opening with scenes of devastation supposedly caused by Hurricane Katrina, the ads go on to suggest that unless Jackson Countians vote in favor of a monopoly casino franchise for the Choctaws, such scenes of ruin will remain in the county.

What utter nonsense.

Jackson County is no miserable disaster area.

We haven't been for a very long time, maybe they have us confused with New Orleans.

For the Choctaws to employ such painful images in pursuit of profit undermines the efforts by the tourism and hospitality industries to showcase the area's comeback. It exemplifies the tribal leadership's conspicuously bad judgment, and raises serious questions about their understanding of this region, its people and their attitudes.

In inexcusably poor taste is the Choctaws' commercial use of children as cheerleaders for their proposed casino. At one point the Choctaws show kids giving a boisterous "thumbs up" to gambling.


Read the rest of the editorial here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We would not reap the same tax benefits that Harrison and Hancock counties do as the Choctaw Indians WILL NOT HAVE TO PAY TAXES.

David French in a Letter to the Editor in the Mississippi Press said, “It would only make good economical sense that we should reap the same tax benefits that Harrison and Hancock counties do. If people want to gamble, they're going to gamble, so why shouldn't they be able to do it closer to home”

Apparently Mr. French doesn’t pay attention. We would not reap the same tax benefits that Harrison and Hancock counties do as the Choctaw Indians WILL NOT HAVE TO PAY TAXES. The Choctaw casino will also be unregulated, unlike the casinos in Harrison and Hancock counties, which are regulated. Any person injured or harmed while on a reservation cannot call or rely upon local law enforcement. No local, State or Federal Law Enforcement is allowed on tribal land. Also the Choctaws will not have to obey our zoning laws, so they will be able to build whatever monstrosity they please, no matter how much of an eyesore it is to the surrounding communities.

Chief Denson has also publicly stated that he thinks more Choctaws should hold the high paying jobs in a Choctaw casino. Therefore many non-Indian Jackson County residents may be out of work if they lose their jobs in Harrison and Hancock counties due to an unregulated, untaxed, Choctaw Casino in Jackson County.

Jackson County residents are already complaining about the lack of affordable housing, the Choctaw Casino will further exacerbate the problem, we will also see an increase in traffic, an increase in drunk driving and our taxes (in a county that already leads the state in high taxes) will go up.

There is also the Environmental Impact on the MISSISSIPPI SANDHILL CRANE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, THE PASCAGOULA RIVER AND OUR WETLANDS, to consider.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Letter to the Editor ~Choctaw casino proposal raises many questions

Choctaw casino proposal raises many questions

I applaud your editorial about the trustworthiness of Chief Beasley Denson. If he was serious about contributing 4 percent of gross gaming revenue to local governments, he could have come with a signed, written promissory agreement to that effect.

Even so, I wonder what happens in a few years when there is a new chief. Would that agreement still hold? And who determines how much the gross gaming revenue amount is? Is it someone hired by the Choctaws? How about an audit and someone from the local government also having a hand in determining that figure?

I also wonder if the Jackson County law enforcement agencies would have any jurisdiction on the Indian resort property. For sure the state Gaming Commission would not be allowed, and I wonder if the state Highway Patrol would have jurisdiction.

Chief Denson speaks of competition, yet he places himself above the competitors by locating right off the interstate, not paying state taxes, and not abiding by the regulations of the state Gaming Commission. If he wants to compete with other casinos, he could buy the former Broadwater or President site... or a site near the port of Gulfport or one in Hancock County. He seems to want a competitive economic advantage at the expense of the citizens of Jackson County, who do not even want a casino there.

BILL ESTERLY Biloxi

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Reasons to Vote Against Tribal Gaming

  • 50 million a year in Federal Aid and grants is given to the Choctaw tribe annually (there are less than 5,000 tribal members in Mississippi) They do not pay taxes.
  • It has been established in our courts (case law) that the tribe can not pay taxes or a percentage of revenue, which is considered a tax. A pledge by Chief Denson to pay Jackson County a per cent of revenues is unlawful and he knows it. (This will not happen, It is another false promise).
  • There is no possible way to force the tribe to abide by any promise or pledge that they may make. Once they are here we will be helpless to enforce any laws or promises.
  • The impact upon Jackson County will be negative. Resulting in higher taxes (for non-Indian residents of Jackson County, Indians will not pay taxes, not even property taxes) in a county that already leads the state in high taxes. (you can also forget about affordable housing for the residents of Jackson County).
  • Any person injured or harmed while on a reservation can not call or rely upon local law enforcement. No local, State or Federal Law Enforcement is allowed on tribal land.
  • Tribal casinos are not regulated by the state gaming commission. Casino winnings, jackpots, etc. are also not regulated. Any dispute goes to Choctaw Tribal Courts.
  • A Choctaw Casino could bring a bad element into our county as the tribal casinos are not subject to any State Regulated Scrutiny.
  • Roads, schools and the county infrastructure will be strained and overburdened with no tax benefit to off-set this burden except the non-Indian tax payers of Jackson County (Indians do not pay taxes not even property taxes).
  • Tribal casinos are not required to report their 'gifts' to elected officials nor to report campaign contributions. This can lead to corruption and fraud (Panel Says Abramoff Laundered Tribal Funds).
  • The tribe has proposed establishment of retail business, hotels & restaurants on the casino site which will compete with local business ( while the INDIANS WILL NOT HAVE TO PAY TAXES, the local business will making the competition unfair and unequal).
  • More the 7,00 Jackson County Residents currently work in the casino industry in Harrison and Hancock Counties.........The impact of the proposed Choctaw Casino could force some of these residents out of work. (Denson has publicly stated that he thinks INDIANS should hold the high paying jobs in a Choctaw Casino).
  • The Environmental Impact on the MISSISSIPPI SANDHILL CRANE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, THE PASCAGOULA RIVER AND OUR WETLANDS.

I will attempt to do a follow up on the environmental impact within the next few days.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Denson says Choctaw casino would be outside the control of Jackson County zoning ordinances

A proposed Choctaw casino would be outside the control of Jackson County zoning ordinances, wrote Mico Beasley Denson in a Monday letter to the Jackson County Board of Supervisors.

So unlike the rest of us, they can do whatever they want.

The letter also states the tribe has purchased 61 acres in the area in addition to its current land holdings of 40 acres.

And there is nothing to prevent them from gobbling up more of our land.

Once the land is acquired in trust, the tribe would have jurisdiction to determine land use, and the local zoning ordinances would not apply," Denson wrote.

While the proposed casino would fall within the zoning uses of the land, a hotel tower proposed as part of the $375 million project would not. The tower, which would contain about 1,100 rooms, would be about 20 stories high.

Jackson County zoning regulations limit buildings to 50 feet in height.


So Jackson County residents will have a 20 story eyesore to view, rather they want it or not.

"If the four properties are acquired in trust, payment of annual taxes on the 61 acres of about $4,400 will cease," Denson writes.

So now they pay taxes like everyone else, but once it is acquired in trust payment of the annual taxes will cease.

"But this small reduction in sales taxes would be more than made up for by increased gross receipt (sales) taxes based on increased off-reservation economic activity in the surrounding communities and increased property taxes on any non-Indian tenants."

So our community will be flooded with Indians who will not have to pay property taxes like the rest of us. Only non-Indian tenants will have to pay property taxes.

Denson writes that the tribe will have its own police force at the casino.

Police who will be free to treat non-Indians anyway they please.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Letter to the Editor ~ Mississippi Press

Community needs to do the right thing
Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Choctaw tribal leaders are discussing and implementing plans to construct a casino on Miss. 57.

Many local companies are currently undermanned in professional and lay workers with more personnel necessary for pending contracts. Our current local economy is already struggling to keep its existing workforce against other honest industries along the Gulf Coast who are maintaining a balanced spirit of competition. Future local contracts already in place will require more people to accomplish these requirements to fulfill each obligation. As our Mississippi Gulf Coast grows to maturity in the following days, the rest of the nation will keep a watchful eye to monitor the results of their investments.

In the early 1990s, Mississippi voted to allow the casino industry to invade some of our Coast counties after their repeated attempts. Many of us still welcome their presence and hiss at those of us who oppose such things as the "land based recovery effort." That is the effort to move the casino building requirement from water to land that passed so easily while hard working individuals were still misplaced and rebuilding their homes after Katrina.

Jackson County has a history of being a home of honest companies with real compassion and integrity. Jackson County is home to the kind of honest companies that invest in families and community. Not just on the surface, such as on billboards, newspapers and community events for everyone to praise, but in quiet corners where no monetary gain or publicity is sought.
Can you truly say that the gambling industry is one that portrays these qualities? Can you truly say that a company that profits from a person's weaknesses really is concerned for those who darken its doors?

We are smarter than this! Not only will jobs be at stake, but even more disruptive are the problems associated with the gambling industry that never catch the public eye. Ask any pastor of any local denomination for a rough percentage of the people they counsel for related problems and you will very likely be surprised. But be aware, these are just the people that will speak to a pastor.

The gambling supporters will advertise each public vote as, "once and for all." They do this to imply that this issue will not come up again. But, buyer beware! If you believe that, I have some swamp land to sell you with spotted owl inhabitants ripe for a new vacation destination investment! The truth is, this works similar to a school bond issue. It can be brought up every year until it passes. When it passes, there's no going back. This helps explain why the Gulf Coast communities rallied so quickly to get the land based legislation passed. Many employees were displaced with little or no trade skills other than taking money.

The drug addict normally will not quit until one of two things happen. Either he dies or someone extends a hand when he hits rock bottom. The gambling industry is not like this you say. Tell that to the father who sold everything, resorted to theft and eventually lost his family, friends and job. Won't happen to me you say tell that to your children and grandchildren who may have a problem with it later. The ones who look up to you and say, "Daddy (or Mama), I love you with all my heart." The ones who see Paw Paw or Gramps as a hero who taught them wonderful life lessons that will last their lifetime. There's more at stake here than we can imagine. Our children deserve a responsible, thoughtful and caring community. The kind of community that believes compassion, integrity and honest wages are important. This community needs to stand up and continue to do the right thing. Please put your voting hat on this November. On Dec 4, 1990, Jackson County voted 9,508 (38 percent) for and 15,351 (62 percent) against dockside gambling. Let's send an even stronger message against the gambling industry this time!


David Reeves
Pascagoula


Score One For the Residents of Jackson County ~ Board of Aldermen Vote to Oppose Casino Gaming

The Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to reaffirm its resolution opposing casino gaming in Ocean Springs and Jackson County. The motion was made by board member Matt McDonnell and seconded by board member James Hagan.


Board members held a lengthy discussion about the proposed Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians casino project on Mississippi 57 in Ocean Springs.

At least someone is listening to the residents of Jackson County who do not want casino gaming. The residents of Jackson County have consistently voted AGAINST gaming in their County. The Choctaws have no right to try to ram it down our throats. If they want a casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast they are free to put a casino in Harrison or Hancock County. Counties that voted FOR legalized gaming.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Will Denson keep his word about 'impact fees'

Martin had personally vowed to abide by the outcome of the referendum and withdraw plans for the casino if the voters in Jackson County opposed it.

But not Denson.


One of the first things he said after defeating Martin was that he would not abide by the results of the referendum. Of course, that should not have come as a surprise, since he said before being elected that his decisions as chief would not be based on the opinions of non-Indians.

So why would we be naive enough to belive that Denson would keep his word about paying 'impact fees' (The Mississippi Supreme Court in June 2006 upheld a lower-court ruling saying the city of Ocean Springs has no legal authority to assess impact fees on developers, essentially calling them an illegal tax.) to non-Indians. It's apparent from his statements that he doesn't respect the Jackson County residents right to decide if they want gambling in their County.

Denson has made it clear that the opinions expressed at the polls in Jackson County next month do not matter to him. Jackson Countians - especially their elected officials - should make it clear how little Denson's opinions matter to them.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Jackson County Residents Oppose Casino

Residents of Jackson County oppose the proposed Choctaw Casino watch the video here.

A proposed Indian casino is ruffling the feathers of some people in Jackson County, Miss. The Choctaw Indians want to built a casino resort south of I-10 near Ocean Springs, Miss. As NBC15's Andrea Ramey tells us, their plans for economic development has not exactly hit the jackpot.
The sound of slots machines dinging and pouring out quarters can't be heard now, but the bright twinkling casino lights could be catching your eye in the near future. Choctaw Indian leaders say that equates to thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for Jackson County. "We are an economic engine. You know, their families might be working there," Choctaw Chief Beasley Denson said.


The proposal includes 1,100 hotel rooms, 2,300 slot machines, a large show theater, and a convention center, but when Choctaw Chief Denson layed it out on the table, the plan was met with some heated questions.

Opposition to the casino goes beyond the board room. A grassroots group in Jackson County is spreading messages that say, "How do you say not in my country in Choctaw," and "You pay taxes, they wont."

"It's like having a foreign country in your midst. They're not going to pay taxes, even though they say they're going to pay impact fees," grassroots organizer Cissy Jordan said.

Federal law said local and state governments can not tax Indian developments. Yet Choctaw leaders promise to pay a portion of their revenue, which would equate to $7 million a year. A jackpot many in Jackson County don't want to win. "We don't need them here," Jordan said.

"We've always had obstacles to do anything," Chief Denson said.

This obstacle is taking their fight to stickers on car bumpers and signs in front yards across the county in hopes of blocking the bright casino lights from ever coming to town.
The people of Jackson County will vote on the casino proposal in November. It will not decide anything. It's strictly a way to gage public opinion. It will be up to Governor Haley Barbour to make the final decision.


Cheif Denson has already reneged on promises made by his predecessor whose to say when the Choctaws elect a new chief he won't simply decide not to honor the impact fees Denson promised to pay.