Vote No on Issue 3

As tomorrow is election day, I wanted to wrap up my discussion about Ohio's Issue Three. There's obviously strong data that suggests casinos in our state will be of no benefit at all. Additionally, having a gambling monopoly written into our state's constitution is disconcerting. But before you vote, I offer you a final emotional appeal. The most compelling argument offered by proponents is that the casino will be a source for new jobs. But we need to expand our vision when examining this question. What is the cost of all these new jobs? Who is really footing the bill?

When we moved back into the city four years ago, we picked a place right on a major thoroughfare; Gilbert Avenue is a major artery out of downtown, connecting the central business district with the major of the east side. Closer to town, the street grants access to communities like Walnut Hills, Evanston and Avondale. These areas are seeing some revitalization— throughout our neighborhood live middle and upper class individuals who enjoy our proximity to the city center. But the vast majority of people are living at or below the poverty level.

Since our townhouse faces the street, we can see the many people that traverse up and down the Gilbert Avenue hill. There are people who use the hill for exercise, as jogging access to Eden Park. But there are many more people who use these sidewalks to access the social services available at either end of the hill. The hill for them is not a convenience, but a barrier between their low income housing and the services they use. But if Issue Three passes, at the bottom of Gilbert Avenue, there will be perceived relief. The casino would become a bastion of false hope. Don't have enough money to feed the kids? Take a chance at the slots and you could get enough to help them out.

Sure, people would enjoy the casino. Maybe we'd even keep our gambling dollars in state (whatever that means). But while the majority of people will drive into our community to gamble, the residual chaos will be left to those in the community to grapple with.

I will admit that I'm claiming NIMBY (Not In My Backyard), but not a usual case. I predict that my property values will rise if the casino moves in; we are within walking distance, but far enough away that you won't be able to see the bright lights. Financially, since I don't gamble, the casino could be quite a benefit to me. But I am sincerely concerned with my community's backyard. A casino is a reallocation of funds, from my impoverished community into the pockets of the casino's investors. Does it matter if the casino helps our state when it will pillage my neighborhood?

There's a desperation in my community, one that will not be enhanced by a casino. You might think it is inconsequential, but there's a lot riding on this issue. That's why I'm asking my fellow Ohio residents to vote it down. It's not the solution Ohioans need.