Johnny Spillane and Steve Hofman: Douglas got it wrong

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Rob Douglas raises a number of vital and valid questions about a possible casino near Yampa Valley Regional Airport in his recent column (“Casino raises questions,” June 8 Steamboat Today). As members of the partnership looking into the viability of this project, we have been asking many of these same questions and have worked hard to get informed answers.

Our due diligence has extended to a number of fact-finding steps. We thought it prudent to first understand the process by which a casino could be developed here in the Yampa Valley. We also commissioned a couple of economic studies to understand whether a casino was viable as a business in the region and then what its impact possibly would be in terms of jobs, regional income, tax revenues and resource demands, among many factors. One of these studies was completed just a few weeks ago. We also held more than 55 meetings with a wide range of people across the valley to help us better educate ourselves about the various questions and concerns that come with a project of this nature. In doing so, we now are better prepared to answer such questions in an honest and thoughtful way. 

All of this takes time and effort. On March 22, the Steamboat Today ran a front-page story about the possibility of this project. At that time, we were still gathering key facts and data and didn’t have answers to many of the questions that any common-sense discussion of this project likely would have raised. We told the Steamboat Today that. But we did answer all the questions we could. And we did meet, at our request, with the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s editorial board to answer their questions. Rob Douglas has characterized our efforts as “behind closed doors.” It has been anything but that.

In the upcoming weeks, we anticipate completing our initial due diligence and making all the information we have gathered fully available to each and every member of our communities. We will have a website that will contain our economic studies, a full description of the process involved in siting a casino near the airport, a document that addresses many of the questions likely on the mind of most people, a site plan and an artist rendering of what such a site might look like. As importantly, the website will allow the community to raise questions that most concern them directly with us. We view this step as a beginning of this project’s public process.

Our commitment is to be fully responsive to each and every issue raised by this project. Rob is right when he says there are “pros and cons of an Indian casino in the Yampa Valley.” But we respectfully disagree with his notion that this project should be governed by a timetable that is artificial and prevents the beginning of an informed and thoughtful valley-wide conversation.

Johnny Spillane and Steve Hofman

Partners, Sleeping Giant Group

Comments

jerry carlton 2 years, 6 months ago

Do you have enough faith in the project and enough guts to put it on a countywide ballot? That way you can find out if the voters of Routt county want it in their county.

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John St Pierre 2 years, 6 months ago

Indian property does not pay Property taxes, State or Federal on the income..... it's a sovereign nation.....

This economic impact study should be fascinating.... every person who goes to the casino is someone who will not be spending the dollars locally on main street,,,,, and if you think its a boon look at Blackhawk.... what business's are there in the entire town...none except a gas station on the outskirts... Visit Tunica, Miss or FoxWoods/Mohican Sun in Conn..... the only boon they brought are lots of $8-10@hr jobs... but they destroyed the surronding communities restaurants, Bars, gift shops.... Casino are designed to keep you on the property......

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 6 months ago

Since you have done the research and the paper's articles have not, can you please describe the approval process as you understand it?

Presumably, it is nontrivial for investors/developers to team up with an Indian tribe and open a casino on land not currently part of the tribe's reservation.

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John Kinkaid 2 years, 6 months ago

http://www.library.ca.gov/crb/97/03/Chapt9.html

I don't see a net improvement for the Valley. I haven't read a positive study yet. John Kinkaid

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Doug Matthews 2 years, 6 months ago

JLC, there is no reason why it would be valid for the general population of the county to vote on what a private group of investors want to legally do on private property. Something like Steamboat 700 was a vast departure from conventional land use, but simply having a resort/hotel complex built next to an airport is "business as usual" in the world today. Is it the "sin" aspect of the gambling component that you have an issue with? How about having a countywide vote on all new liquor outlets?

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jerry carlton 2 years, 6 months ago

zorro Check out the criminal activities in Nevada and Las Vegas in particular. A subdivision is a huge departure from conventional land use? How many subdivisions already exist in this county? How many Casinos exist in the county presently? When you state resort/hotel you seem to have forgotten the casino component. How convienent of you. There have been liquor outlets in this county since the first bootlegger made home made liquor. I accept the MMJ outlets because the voters of this county accepted them. A casino for Routt County is totaly new for the county and any other county other than the few approved by a Statewide vote years ago. What is your problem with a vote? Do you have a financial stake in this? Your argument is pathetic. I have a problem with the "sin" issue in that increased crime and prostitution will follow in the footsteps of the casino. If you read the paper you will know that in the past two months we have had heroin dealing, attempted murder by a stranger, and an armed robbery. The big city is moving to Routt County and a Casino will only accelerate the process.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 6 months ago

Zorro I retract the statement that your argument is pathetic. That was rude and I apologize. I replace it with the statement that your reasoning is totaly unconvincing based of the above stated questions and reasons.

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Doug Matthews 2 years, 6 months ago

JLC, do you actually anticipate rampant crime as a result of having a gambling venue located in Routt County? Everywhere has increased pressure from higher populations, more people in a smaller space, and personal acts of desperation from the current economic conditions. Except for the armed robbery a few days ago, we have had the crimes you listed in this community for a very long time. I never "forgot" the casino component, but I did ask if that was the part of the proposal that bothered you. Apparently it is. I have no financial stake in this business, and it may actually take away some of my own business. I just don't see anything inherently wrong with someone operating a legal business that may be out of the current mainstream of businesses in Routt County. When I lived in La Plata County and they opened the casinos in Ignacio and Montezuma County, there was no increase in crime in the surrounding communities. Just more revenue from people responding to the attractions and spending additional vacation time there. Sorry if you find that pathetic.... :)

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 6 months ago

This idea of this proposal just being investors trying to open a legal business is a big stretch. Opening a casino using Indian tribe special rights on currently private land far from an Indian reservation is hardly comparable to opening a typical business.

Still no one involved has stated what is exactly the process for that. Since there are not Indian casinos on private land near every city then it is presumably a nontrivial process to successfully complete.

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rhys jones 2 years, 6 months ago

Whether I agree with you or not, brevity looks good on you, Scott.

After this morning's shocking news, everything else seems rather trivial to me right now.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 6 months ago

Zorro I guess you did not see my apology for the pathetic remark or did not accept it. You still gave no valid response for why this issue should not go to a county wide vote.

Rhys I will bite. What shocking news?

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rhys jones 2 years, 6 months ago

Janet Russell. While I only know John through these forums, somehow that still hit close to home.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 6 months ago

Rhys I agree. Really sad when someone that young dies especially when the have children.

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