Left Justified: My suggestions for the elections

Had enough? We’ve been barraged so much during this election. I’m sure everyone will be relieved when it’s over. The national election’s got most of the attention (of course, I urge you to vote for Senator Kerry). I’m afraid we haven’t paid enough attention to the local campaigns. So here in a nutshell are some of my suggestions for your local yokel vote.

Let me start off with a Republican. I’m a friend and supporter of Dave Winters. He's always voted for the environment and against the casinos. And those few times when he hasn’t been on my side, he will at least listen and tell me why. Of course, Chuck Jefferson is my favorite Democratic state representative. Not only has he supported Rockford in Springfield, but his staff has continued Zeke Giorgi's tradition of helping those in need.

I met Winnebago County candidates at the Trinity Lutheran Church forum. Most of them were very capable and personable people. One or two had an ax to grind or seemed uncomfortable in front of a crowd. Those that I can support include Polly Berg from District 7, Jim Hughes from District 11 and L.C. Wilson from District 12.

I do like Paul Gorski for Chairman of the Winnebago County Board. I think Scott Christiansen is too closely connected to urban sprawlers. I like Paul's support for “smart growth.” Amazingly enough, in this race, the Republican candidate supports a casino, and the Democrat is against it. I think Mr. Christiansen knows the investors of the proposed riverboat gambling enterprise. During the forum, Paul related how he knew people who were compulsive gamblers. I hope and pray that Paul makes a good showing, if nothing more than to give pause to the county powers that be.

And for those of you who live within Harlem Township, you will have the blessed opportunity to vote yea or nay on a casino for Rockford. Somehow, Doug Aurand was able to put it on that ballot. Unfortunately, it won’t get a full countywide vote.

Let me tell you why you should vote “no” on the casino, if you have a chance. There isn’t enough information about where the casino will be placed, who owns it, how much will be given back to the city, and whether the county will receive any funds as well. For those of you who think it’s “just entertainment,” I wish it were. But to run a successful casino, you have to find the compulsive gamblers in the local community. You can’t make your money just off those who visit, spend a few bucks and buy a cheap dinner. The casino is out there trolling for the addict—the compulsive personality—that person who will spend no matter the damage to family, business or community.

Eighty percent of a casino’s revenues come from 20 percent of the patrons, and those 20 percent are your friends, family members, relations and acquaintances. You don’t want to see them exploited by a large business concern just so the city can get an extra $10 million to put into street lamps. I know I’m going to keep my fingers crossed.

Pre-election party

Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee is hosting a pre-election night showing of Fahrenheit 9/11—Part 2. This will be the extra 90 minutes that’s attached to the regular DVD. You are welcome to join us Monday, Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St., Rockford. We’ll have munchies, show the film, and have a little discussion.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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