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

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