While I agree with John Arbeeny that a public hearing which is advertised widely is appropriate for any major, controversial issue facing the city, I think he overestimates the value of the arguments against gambling he and the Save Lakewood website offer and find his approach to this issue a bit self-serving. Clearly there are differing opinions on the gambling issue and its perceived dangers and benefits. It seems to me that the opponents of gambling offer their perspective that gambling is totally evil and then tailor their arguments to support this viewpoint.
I, for one, would prefer to have facts, not quotes from op-eds and letters to the editor. What is the revenue to the city? How would that revenue be replaced if gambling were prohibited? What potential cuts to city services would occur should the revenue loss NOT be replaced in some way? How much does the city and/or police department spend dealing with crime directly associated with the gambling facilities? Does anyone really have data showing the social costs of gambling to members of this community (not just extrapolations of data)?
Frankly, I don’t know how I would vote on this issue should the initiative drive be successful and I won’t know until objective information is available. I don’t patronize casinos, but I’m not persuaded by the information I’ve seen so far that they are a detriment to the community.
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