Michael Bray

Author of A Time To Kill

Casino Actions 2007

Casino Meditaions
Fall 2007

The three Clinton County Commissioners, like three blind mice, don’t know where they (and we) are going. They cannot tell light from darkness, but they sure can smell the cheese.

Did they go out to lunch with the casino men when they showed up on August 29 at the Commissioners meeting? Developers Brad Pressman and Rick Lertzman along with another (Matthew Lertzman) appeared at the Commissioners meeting for only ten minutes. Cleveland is a long drive for only ten minutes.

Let’s assume the best intentions. The Commissioners had plenty of discussion and time to formulate an opinion on the propriety of a casino in the county they are paid to lead and serve. From May 23 until 1 October, discussion of the casino appears in the minutes of the Commissioners 19 times on 15 different days. It is fair to assume they had additional information gathering lunches or other meetings with these entrepreneurs concerning some development possibilities for Clinton County. They entertained the idea that there could be some net gain in the establishment of a casino in the county. And they were well wooed by the investors.

But what did the three conclude?

After all their time and investigation, Mr. Riley says he supports a casino (the meaning we take from the representation of his views in the Journal; viz., that “he would not be opposed to the casino”; WNJ, 25 Oct., 2007). Mr. Riley is to be commended as the only Commissioner who attended the grass roots Our Clinton County Coalition (opposing the casino) informational meeting of several hundred citizens held in July. No grass roots citizen organization has been formed to advocate for the casino.

Mr. Curry has said nothing.

Mr. Stewart said in July that he could not offer an opinion until he saw the ballot language. After the long-awaited ballot language was formally presented on 24 October to the Commissioners by the Messrs. Pressman and Lertzman, Mr. Stewart said he needed to wait for the “results of the impact study, which Brooker said should be done Dec. 1” (WNJ, 25 Oct.).

County Administrator Mark Booker and Commissioner Randy Riley drove up to Columbus on October 3 to meet with the casino men and Governor Strickland’s office. The Governor wanted to know what Clinton County thought about the impending casino.

Apparently Mr. Riley represented his own opinion since the other two could not formulate one. Or did our fence sitters represent support for the casino?

We are left to speculate. We have no choice, since the leaders refuse to talk. But the evidence, such as it is, is in. These commissioners, blind to the obvious ills that a casino will bring, have broken faith with the people whose well being they were commissioned to protect. They have disserved the people by encouraging the establishment of a casino in Clinton County.

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