To criticize Kristopher Hammond (“Steve Hofman: Get educated,” Wednesday’s Steamboat Today) patently is ironic.
Hammond is an experienced criminal lawyer and a long standing resident in Steamboat Springs, and while his letter to the editor (“Build casino for me,” Sept. 9 Steamboat Today) may have been somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it nevertheless points to the truism that his legal practice work undoubtedly will increase. His assertions are supported simply by the factual evidence of other addictive and socially disruptive behaviors.
In this casino debate, authoritative and definitive research is imperative. This has not been shown by the Sleeping Giant Group. Pretty pictures, slick presentations and a 200-person phone poll by a Wall Street journalist is not academic research.
If you visit www.casinowatch.org and look at the many university studies, this is where you will find data supported by true evidence. Much of the research reported on these websites is overwhelmingly negative on social, economic and employment issues.
Rob Douglas recently highlighted in this newspaper the implications, mainly negative, for the American Indian tribe that may become partners in this development. It is known that the tribe will have total jurisdiction over the casino owned and operated by themselves. Local law enforcement only can be invited upon their premises at their request. Tribes are not bound by employment and equal opportunity hiring legislation. Any taxes payable to the town of Hayden are subject to a voluntary agreement at the discretion of the tribe. The casino property in effect becomes sovereign land under tribe control in perpetuity.
The No Casino group is finding that the Yampa Valley community wants reliable, informative details and data, not spurious, dressed-up, disingenuous diatribes. The opposition put great claim on transparency, honest research and community involvement. Let’s see it!
Much concern is being expressed in the community on the negative impact this proposal will have on the cultural image of the area. This emotive subject with its deep economic, employment, social and state constitutional issues is too vital to the future of the Yampa Valley to allow its approval to be swiftly waved through by our elected officials.
In the same way that debate, views and decisions have taken place on oil and gas exploration, this community matter requires a stance being taken by state and local elected officials. Above all, thoughtful and serious consideration within a broader framework is required by all concerned.