Separating fact from fiction on casinos in Tukwila | Letter

Can Money Buy Elections? Tukwila will find out as it votes on Advisory Measure No. 1 asking residents if they support casinos in Tukwila.

Can Money Buy Elections?

Tukwila will find out as it votes on Advisory Measure No. 1 asking residents if they support casinos in Tukwila.

Recently “Families for a Better Tukwila” was exposed as a lobbying arm of the casino industry – http://www.tukwilareporter.com/opinion/letters/131473958.html. On the official filling form, the campaign address is a casino office. One of four committee officers is a casino manager, one a political consultant.

Only one of the addresses was a Tukwila resident. Ironically, Tukwila was misspelled seven times.

Since then they’ve amended the C1 and fixed most of the misspellings. They’ve also added an additional

Tukwila address. Still, one only needs to look as far as the money. The casino lobby does not have a single monetary contribution from a Tukwila citizen. Not one. Yet this large special interest group has managed to outspend local families by a factor of 20:1

The gambling lobby churns out distortions about police and fire departments budget cuts. It portrays

Tukwila citizens as a “small cadre of “no” advocates who just want to feel good about themselves”. The casinos mischaracterize and disparage City Council members they don’t agree with. Without evidence they assert the $2 million (3.6 percent of Tukwila’s $52 million budget) loss of revenue will gut popular programs. They bemoan the loss of 450 “family wage” jobs and paint themselves as bastions of good stewardship with low crime rates.

Let’s bring clarity to this conversation by reviewing statements from Families for a Better Tukwila:

  • “There are only two choices! One is to increase our taxes! The other is to cut funding to essential services such as police and fire or to cut family, child and senior programs.”
  • Fact: Every Tukwila City Council member has stated on record they will not increase taxes or cut funding to essential services.
  • “The Card Rooms provide approximately 450 family wage jobs”
  • Fact: Casinos jobs are low pay. Of the 414 jobs provided by Tukwila casinos, 316 are full time and most

of these pay below poverty level.

  • “These responsible businesses contribute substantially to our local economy; they … provide much

needed tax revenues to the city.”

  • Fact: Costs associated with the darker side of gambling – fraud, theft, child neglect, domestic violence

are well documented and outweigh casino tax revenues six to one.

  • “To suggest that other crimes associated with gambling happen “off site” is simply speculation and has

not even been remotely supported by the police department…”

  • Fact: Numerous independent studies reveal gambling can have a negative effect on communities.

Tukwila Police records paint a different story. Recently masked gunmen robbed the Riverside Casino at

gunpoint. A dispute at a Tukwila casino spilled into a nearby neighborhood resulting in a murder on a

residential sidewalk. And a Tukwila hotel manager has been imprisoned for embezzling $1.4 million to

pay for his gambling habit.

In the end voters will separate fact from fiction. Don’t’ let the casino buy your vote. Vote no on Tukwila

Advisory Measure No. 1. For more information visit www.freetukwila.org.

 

Todd Hutchinson

Tukwila

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