Encourage your Lakewood City Council and state representatives to kill House Bill 2873. This bill would permit Lakewood to limit casinos but at the same time prevent the council from repealing the law for ten years. HB 2873 will receive a public hearing before the House Labor and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 1:30 p.m. You can read the entirety of the bill at the link. Contacts for council and state representatives are listed at the end of this letter.
Similar attempts by lobbyists, hired jointly by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) and Lakewood, have failed in past years. This latest effort effectively ties the hands of our city council while giving a free-hand, not to mention a monopoly, to casinos.
While HB 2873 would limit the number of both casinos and tables, the bill does not prevent an existing casino from relocating within the city. And given recent gambling expansion proposals before the State Gambling Commission, the ’10-year-no-repeal-rule’ could mean a renewed pressure for slots which the city council could do nothing about.
Who actually then is being represented in HB 2873? The AWC and casinos, or the citizens of our city? As a citizen did you even know about this effort? Does it reflect your economic and community values?
To pass this bill would be a legislative endorsement of the kind of tactics used by casinos in the fledgling days of our city of which then Mayor Bill Harrison said, “they (the casinos) told us if we did not go along with this (let casinos survive and expand) we were going to be sued and break the city” (www.savelakewood.com).
Lakewood has always had the tools to control gambling. The tax-rate charged casinos has gone down, not up. Playing the ‘poor economy card’ as reason for defeating the anti-gambling initiative in 2008, belies the potential for actually bolstering the economy through taxing the casinos even up to the limit allowed by law.
You did not elect your city council representatives to bypass you on the way to the state legislature. You should have been apprised of city leader’s specific intentions with regards legislative priorities. And the council, in the interest of gambling control, should not have control taken away from them by the state for 10 years. And you should not have your voice silenced for no less than five election cycles on this issue.
But you will, if you don’t speak up now. Tell your elected representatives they need to represent you. Tell them you do not want HB 2873 passed.
Representatives in our 28th District are Tami Green, D, 360-786-7958. Green is co-sponsor of HB 2873. And Troy Kelley, D, 360-786-7890. Senator Mike Carrell, R, 360-786-7654. Lakewood City Council – Contact City Council
David Anderson, Chairman