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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fruitport Casino

Went to a meeting of the Fruitport board last night dealing with the controversial “Casino” issue. I didn’t even know of it because I was busy paying attention to other things. I had called up Marve Engle about where he had his oversized beautiful postcards made and the cost etc. when he told me about the meeting of the board in ½ hour. He told me that there were some divisions in the board over the issue and said there might be fireworks.

Sounded like fun. The “incident” ranged from inspiring to the embarrassing.

First I went to the Fruitport city hall and they had a guy there saying the meeting had been moved to The Fruitport Middle School Auditorium. Next I walked in with a minute only to spare before we stood up to say the Pledge of Allegiance when it was realized there was no flag. In a heart beat we all turned and gave the pledge to a man wearing a t shirt with the flag on it. He seemed proud, everyone was serious, a flag is a flag. That no nonsense approach and the way in which it was done was the inspiring part of the night.

The tribal chief from the band that is based out of Manistee was there with others from the band. Their presentation was well done. They obviously were used to giving it. There point was that they were serious as proven by their purchase of the land (I think it was 53 acreas south of the abandoned Horse Race Track. They made their case that they were the best tribe to set up the casino. They were tossing around figures in the millions and jobs #s of around a thousand that Fruitport would at least share in. It also became apparent that they were expecting to come away with a resolution from the Fruitport Board stating that they were in favor of them pursuing the Casino.

As background, the Chronicle in an article said that no vote was to be taken, that the purpose of the meeting was to get input from the residents. Most there had read the article.


Quote from the above link, the quote came from the Superintendent of the Board. {Supervisor Ron Cooper confirmed Friday that the board plans to discuss -- but not vote on -- a resolution by the Manistee-based Little River Band of Ottawa Indians' to place a casino at the former Great Lakes Downs site. } From the article we see that the County swiftly gave the go ahead and is on board. The Manager of the Lakes Mall also is for it and was at the meeting saying so.

The article was good as it framed the division and the players on the Board.

The meeting soon fell apart over the divisions. Also over any type of proper rules or respect. A certain board member (I think he was running for the leadership spot in the upcoming election and thought he had a winning issue here) kept interrupting any speakers who were not in favor of the resolution board member or not. Any one even nice old ladies from the audience who dared ask question that seemed to be negative were rudely treated. That was the embarrassing part.

Speaking of the resolution that the board member wanted the board to vote on favorably It didn’t exist. At one point it was worked out that because the main stumbling block was the need for the agreement to have in it some guarantee that the board would be a part of later negotiations. That seemed agreed to but come vote time, it was left out and whatever coalition was formed evaporated and something was passed, and it still never was stated clearly what it was. The vote was 4-3. This was a prime example of how without any rules a group can fall apart and the loudest shouter rules.

It seems ok in Detroit, that’s far away. But in Fruitport??? I’m depressed about that. I agree that the Superintendent didn’t run the meeting well and at times seemed befuddled, but that other guy took a page out of the book of Detroit politics. “ If they’re against what you want, belittle them, laugh at them, shout at them and while it didn’t happen last night in Detroit the intimidation gets physical and that board member seemed pretty close. That was another time I was embarrassed.

I admit I don’t live in Fruitport, and I don’t know the players, or the issues. But I saw what I saw and I hope the board gets itself right. That was not a good example of adults trying to govern. It was more like kids at recess. Partisan politics reared it’s ugly head in Fruitport fueled by millions of dollars as incentive and a thousand jobs to people who are losing both money and jobs. This Casino will happen, and as a conservative who deals with what is at hand, I’m in favor of it. As a conservative the only question I had was when the spokesmen for the tribe kept talking of the local cut being 2% of the net. I wanted to know who had oversight on figuring out just what the net was? The State was the answer. The Money is needed and the Jobs are really needed I along with the losing side would like to be able to have as much say as possible that all the talk of helping police and safety issues and some ethical issues are lived up to. I doubt that will happen.

What is really sad is that a poor man has little say over the scraps that are given. It’s sad that Granholm and co. has brought us to this point. I hate begging for scraps, but I’ll take what I need to eat. This is a good thing. However I will work harder for better. I will fight harder for business tax breaks, so that the only new business’ need not be tax exempt ones.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

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