Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gainer's pro-casino video gaming machine ban approved at today's Cook County board

Bookmark and Share

Cook County Commissioners bowed to the only casino gaming interests in the county and backed casino Commissioner Bridget Gainer's pro-casino legislation to ban video gaming devices in suburban unincorporated areas of the county. Amazingly, two controversial suburban commissioners, Deborah Sims and Joan Patricia Murphy, decided to do the right thing during the final effort to delay the legislation, but it still wasn't enough.

The first vote was 9 to 5 to defer. The final vote was 10 to 4 to pass Gainer's pro-casino legislation.

Commissioners Sims and Murphy joined Commissioner Liz Gorman and Commissioners Edwin Reyes and Joseph Mario Moreno to support the deferral of the ban to give taxpayers and voters a chance to express their views and wishes on the issue. Commissioners Tim Schneider voted "present" and Larry Suffredin, a full time casino lobbyist, was out of town and did not vote. Both are suburbanites and that's two suburban votes down the drain.

Does anyone care about the taxpayers? Gainer just wants to be Cook County Board President or maybe congressman. She has high aspirations, apparently.

Most of the county votes were driven by selfish interests, not the best interests of the taxpayers, like the case of County Commissioner William Beavers who backed Gainer's casino legislation all the way. The Cook County casino wants this video gaming machine banned in Cook County so the machines won't compete with them. The unions supported fighting the video gaming machine ban and Beavers had it in for the unions.

The unions supported Sandi Jackson against Darcel Beavers, who was appointed alderman in the 7th Ward to succeed her father, Commissioner Beavers. And Beavers has a long memory and voted to support Gainer's pro-casino video gaming machine ban.

If any two of the nine commissioners who supported Gainer, including Commissioners Gregg Goslin, who moved to defer Gainer's pro-casino ban on video gaming machines at the Finance Committee hearing last week, had switched to defer, the taxpayers would have had a chance to more closely weigh this bill. What's that all about?

Commissioner John Daley's vote to support Gainer's pro-casino legislation is odd because his brother, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has suggested he might reverse the city ban and permit video gaming machines as a revenue source.

Commissioner Peter Silvestri left the meeting early. Silvestri is mayor of Elmwood Park which voted to ban video gaming machines, although he voted for deferral last week.

If Silvestri and Goslin had stuck to their guns, the interests of the taxpayers would have been defended.

Tragedy for taxpayers, tragedy for unions, tragedy for the state's $31 billion capital improvements plan, but not so un-lucractive to Gainer who told a TV reporter than the donations from the casinos came from "two women" she met at a wine and cheese party.

Ahh, Leslie Bluhm, the daughter of Neil Bluhm the chairman of Midwest Gaming and Entertainment LLC which is getting the 10th license is a woman. But Gregory Carlin, the president of Midwest Gaming who gave Gainer $1,000 -- not chump change by any stretch of Gainer's imagination -- is, I believe, a man.

A win and cheese party? Hosted by who? The county's milk contractor? Stay tuned ...

-- Ray Hanania

No comments: