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LETTER: Casino could be a net plus for Grand Forks

WARREN, Minn. — A proposal for establishing an American Indian-owned casino within the city of Grand Forks has resurfaced. The debate is on as to whether this would be a positive venture for the city.

Strangely enough, “gaming expansion” is a topic that often brings together the extremes of both political parties in opposition. Right-wing conservatives who see “decay of our moral fiber and the destruction of our society” with such expansion are joined by left-wing liberals, who contend that the money spent in casinos takes food, shelter, and clothing from innocent children and families.

Both extremes seem to want to control the lives and choices of free citizens in our society.

In my view, gaming is less of a cause of either as other forms of so called “sins” for which the city grants licensure.

I have faith in the city leadership to negotiate with Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa a contract that will not only attract people to the area, but also enhance other businesses and promote economic growth.

Such developments could generate increased revenues with which to build schools, libraries and needed infrastructure. Some of the “naysayers” seem opposed to increasing taxes for those things.

In Minnesota’s most recent legislative session, the White Earth tribe proposed building a casino in the Twin Cities and even offered to use the expected revenues to fully fund a stadium for the Vikings. But again, the far extremes of both political parties joined forces to squash such an effort.

And as a result, taxpayers are on the hook for most of the stadium cost.

I can see a casino as a positive force for the growth of Grand Forks and an enhancement of city and business services alike. It could be a positive force for Turtle Mountain since the tribe is located in a remote part of the state, and such a venture could improve the members’ economic status.

Extremists of either party also are citizens and entitled to voice their opinions. But it’s time for political leaders to listen to the “average Joe’s and Jane’s” and not those who raise their voices the loudest to foist their views on others.

John Johnson