Bicycle land, not gambling land
To the Editor:
Looking at the wording of question one -- the vote to allow a casino in Oxford County -- I don't see the following in the initiative:
1. There's no yes-vote mandate that jobs are to be given to locals or current Maine residents. Without that there's no guarantee workers, living in casino dormitories, won't be rotated into and out of the community on temporary visas to fill these jobs. Sunday River hires such workers but they find their own places to stay.
2. There's no stipulation that gambling losses for Mainers will be tax-deductible. the Corporation running the casino can only benefit by gambling losses to individuals, so it makes sense to protect both individuals and the state this way. Perhaps the wording might include that the Corporation is to make up the deficit to the state from such loss-deductions.
3. There's no stipulation for the casino owners to foot the real bill: to help individuals in the local area suffering from the virulent disease, gambling addiction. The community as a whole would suffer from the associated costs of health care and counseling, not just families and individuals.
Do you see benefits for local small businesses with this casino and its proposed accompanying hotel and restaurants?
Another, perhaps better, idea (which might conceivably be supported by stimulus money) would be to cater as a tourist destination to bicyclists. Maine is not a bicycle-friendly state, although with its currently low crime rate it should be. Small-business would benefit if secondary roads had paved shoulders; if defunct rail beds were paved bike paths, and if there were easements provided for bicycling on private land. Even locals and their children would get around on bikes safely, saving on gas, if we attend to the formula: "Maine: bicycling the way life should be."
Maine: "Bicycle Land." Not Gamblingland. Not Gamblingland.