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[January 22, 2013]
The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Todd Dorman column
Jan 22, 2013 (The Gazette - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Just Say No Casino has launched its first TV ad in its campaign to defeat a casino referendum on March 5. And they've decided to make lead "casino salesman" Steve Gray the focus: It's been pretty clear, from the beginning of this saga, that big gaps in some key details about the potential casino, it's location, investors, etc., would provide a ready made weapon to its opponents. The whole "what are they hiding " tactic is a pretty common and effective argument, regardless of its accuracy. From my perspective as a nosy hack, Gray hasn't always given me the answers I want, but he has been willing to make himself available for questioning.
The fact that investors are now speeding up their search for a location, which could deliver, at least, a narrowed list of possibilities by voting day, is an indication that they understand the gap threat. I also expect a more complete list of investors to go public at some point before March 5.
The job predictions made by Vote Yes Linn County are fair campaign game, clearly. I think the 362-jobs figure for the actual casino itself is probably in the ballpark, based on employment at existing facilities. The squishiest number is the 134 "indirect" jobs backers say would be created in other businesses through economic activity generated by the casino, a.k.a., the multiplier effect.
As far as how many bars and restaurants would be harmed by the casino, I'd like to see what sort of numbers Just Say No has to back up its claims. That's the argument Vote No makes that's most interesting to me. We're trying to set up an editorial board meeting with opponents, hopefully this week.
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