Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CasiNO

GUYS. Time to get political. I'm all over this.

(Excuse the beaten up chalkboard, it's seen better days and needs a fresh coat of paint! It's on our never-ending list.)
Just in case anyone was wondering our official stance on the matter, White Elephant is totally, completely, 100% against the proposal of a downtown casino here in Hamilton. We could sit here all day and talk your ear off about the social implications, the fact that we don't see it helping the local economy since casinos don't encourage patrons to go out and see the sights of the city, and simply the fact that there are countless individuals who have worked so hard to beautify downtown for the last couple of years and a casino would be a slap in the face to that genuine and organic revitalization happening. So I'll just mention all of that quickly.

We think it's really important to get involved in civic matters and to let your voice be heard. It doesn't take long to write a quick letter to City Council letting them know your feelings on the subject. I run my mouth off to politicians all the time, and I can assure you it really only takes ten minutes of your day, if that, AND you can feel super good about yourself for the rest of your day knowing that you are an engaged member of society.

I run my mouth off so much that I even told City Council that White Elephant would CLOSE if a casino opened downtown. The thing is, Jane and I do kind of feel this way, even though we love White Elephant with all our hearts and I couldn't imagine life without our little baby elephant. On the other hand, a casino would completely compromise the vision of a sustainable community that so many folks have been building here for the most part, altruistically. It's becoming a scary reality that our City Council is really only in this for the bottom $$$ sign, and that's not at all what we are about over here.

We don't ask often, but we need your help. If you're aware of the debate, and you have strong feelings about it, you have to speak up, or else you'll never be heard. If you love downtown, and what is happening there, speak up. You don't need to be eloquent or long winded. A simple "no thanks to a casino downtown" is all you need to say.

You can find a complete list of City Council here.

Is this considered lobbying? Can we get in trouble for this? We're just a lil cute innocent handmade shop. We love baby goats and doodling hearts and smiles and rainbows and kittens. And stickin' it to the man.


Activist extraordinaire and radio show host Matt Jelly invited us on his show In The Neighbourhood last week, and we had such a great time chatting. The conversation did inevitably turn to the casino, and you can hear our thoughts and the show in it's entirety here. We're around the 28 minute mark. There's one part that stands out to me, when Matt asks us what concerns us most about a casino downtown, and simultaneously Jane and I let out heavy sighs, and are left speechless with all the negative effects that one could have on our city.

We love our Hamilton. We love downtown. There is so much good to be found in our city, and we want to keep creating and building and contributing to the bright future that we all seem to have here. Letting City Council know how you feel about a casino downtown is the first baby step to that bright future.

4 comments:

  1. Great stuff. I also feel like there's no point in continuing as a business owner downtown if council takes this leap off of the casino cliff. And it's not just the social impacts. The problem is, the council sees a 5 million dollar kickback form the OLG but they do not understand that we will lose much more money than that by hosting a casino. The OLG's new mandate is to create more Ontario gamblers and to move the games closer to their homes. This is to make up for loss of money from American gamblers that no longer cross the border to gamble.

    What this will mean for Hamilton as a casino city is millions of dollars lost to the casino by local citizens. The OLG takes over 95% of this money and does what it sees fit, including giving a bunch of it to an American operator. We only get to keep <5% of our own money. Council thinks they are gambling the social costs away in return for financial gain but they are wrong. we will lose on all levels. There is no payout. There is no economic benefit. The only people who win are the OLG, their US operator partners, and the local hotelier who wins the bid for the attached hotel/restaurant.

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  2. I just registered my NO to my city guy! Thanks for encouraging your readers to make themselves heard.

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  3. Still struggling to believe that anyone could think that a casino would add to our downtown.

    Definitely NO! Forever NO!

    Incredibly stupid idea that wastes all the $$ and work that has been done to create the downtown that we now have.

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  4. I emailed my councillor! A casino is such a terrible idea, like embarrassingly terrible, I would consider moving out of Hamilton if this goes through, probably to a different province.

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