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Monday, September 03, 2012

Happy Days for Bars and Restaurants in Aurora Due to Video Gambling?

The significant issue on the Aurora City Council agenda on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 was F12.165 regarding video gambling.

Kevin Mathews rose to speak against the proposed ordinance and focused his critique on the "image of Aurora".  He reminisced on how he had recently attended city meetings that discussed licensing tattoo parlors in Aurora.

At that time, not many months ago, Mathews argued that the council voiced concerns about how tattoo establishments, when uncontrolled, would certainly tarnish Aurora's image. To maintain our stature, we imposed additional fees and limited the number of places that could provide body art.

Video gambling, according to Mr. Mathews, is even more of a dirty mark on Aurora's image and it ought to be viewed as such by the council.

"The community suffers" extolled Mathews because, as everyone knows, gambling operates by attracting quarters, nickles, and dimes from the "lowest tiers" of the community, the people who can least afford to gamble their few dollars away while sitting in a bar.

Fran Shaw spoke quietly and opposed the proposed ordinance and emphasized that "this is not the way to improve the image of Aurora. Everybody loses, especially the poor".

The vast majority of the attendees at this meeting represented bars and restaurants in Aurora where this kind of gambling takes place.

Denise Toulene (sp?) of Aurora acted as spokesperson for the large group and pleaded for passage of the proposal.

She cited how the establishments have been hit hard by the no-smoking ordinances and she emphasized that without Aurora's approval customers would go to other communities to eat at restaurants and drink at bars that have video gambling.

As evidence that the new laws would be handled properly and ethically she pointed out that licenses wee granted only after strenuous background checks and the completion of a twenty-eight page application. 

Kathy Gliroy, not from Aurora, rose to point out the overall dangers of expanding gambling in a city. One interesting fact is that the video machines will extract over $11 million dollars from players in order to payout the $550,000 in taxes suggested.

Those taxes can help Aurora? They represent less than 0.15% of the annual expenditures of Aurora.  On a smaller scale, 0.15% of a $50,000 salary is $75.00.  Gambling is not new business - but only a redistribution of money from one pot to another - a new pot that charges higher taxes than the original.

Alderman Richard Irvin made an effort to respond to and refute Mr. Mathews' suggestion that to be consistent with his past votes, the alderman should vote NO.

In a halting, controlled tirade, Mr. Irvin even suggested that Mathews was speaking as a hypocrite - as Aurora already garners tax dollars from gambling on the "boats" Irvin said, "We all depend on gambling money".  Regardless of the alderman's oratory, the fact remains that we depend on it but we really shouldn't have to. But, that's another argument.

Alderman Rick Lawrence let it all out and tried to explain that this isn't about just Aurora and its problems. It is about the shenanigans of state government.

Lawrence decried the commentary that "its for the children" when there's talk about gambling money.

"Its BS. Its BS. That's what it is."  

Oh, there's more, but it was time for the vote. Say what you will about politicians and political aspirations, but two aldermen stood by what I want to believe is their personal principles on the matter.

Aldermen Lawrence and Kifowit voted NO on this proposal and it passed 10 to 2 with a cheer from the remaining barkeeps in attendance.

I can't say I share their joy. Aurora has suffered another blow and it gets more difficult every day to even think we'll somehow turn things around and again be a proud, honorable community.

Most of our professional politicians don't see it that way.

Instead they buy into the belief that you do what needs to be done - and they've shown the rest of us that they believe they needed to expand video gambling in Aurora to make our town a better place. 

-Commentary by Larry Frieders via Lawrence of Aurora


Anonymous said...

Bars and clubs have been paying out on video gambling for years in Aurora. Whats the problem with taking it out of the shadows?

Anonymous said...

The bar keeps can cheer all they want. I live in Aurora and still go elsewhere to eat and drink. Face it Aurora is a hole and until we flush the whole COW then we're stuck with what they jam down our throats.

Anonymous said...

The District 129 issue is another Denise Crosby created crisis to fit her opinion. Denise never lets facts get in the way of her stories.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Larry almost completely.

I don't think Kifowit voted due to principles, but due to the fact she knows she's going to get whacked politically in the campaign if she voted for it.

It's very sad to see Aurora keep taking steps backwards instead of doing what is right.

Anonymous said...

I was very surprised to see Openline say something positive about Kifowit, til I got to the end and saw it was Larry and NOT Openline. In this case, it was appropriate because I agree w/ her and Rick on this one (and she and Rick have actually voted together on a lot of issues, but Openline usually doesn't mention that).

As far as saying she voted this way for political reasons, supposedly she's under the control of Madigan (according to Openline). Madigan would have wanted her to vote Yes. THAT would have been for political purposes.

Anonymous said...

Poli-sci 101. In some cases when the outcome of a vote is predetermined, the handler (Madigan) will allow the puppet (Kifowit) to cast a vote which represents the voice of their constituents even if contrary to the desired outcome.