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Advertise on the Tentacle

November 12, 2007

Worcester County and Slots

Tom McLaughlin

When it was announced that Ocean Downs raceway had been selected as a location for a slots parlor, local rich hotel-condo and real estate owners had an angina attack.

Do you think they cared about locals getting addicted to the machines? Noooo!

Do you think they gave a hoot about the destruction of the moral fabric of society? Nooo!

The only thing they cared about was there own greedy interest and here's why. Fear, my friends, fear.

As I have written earlier, the business people have their prices so jacked up that most vacationers maybe have a dime left over for other entertainment. Let's follow that dime.

First, they could spend it on the boardwalk. That would be great. Or, they could spend it in a local restaurant, another good thing. Or, maybe, the tax charity known as Trimper's rides.

But, whoa, that dime may just go to the slots parlor across the Back Bay. Lions and tigers, oh, my! No money left over for the business people.

The slots parlor, or den of inequity, or the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah according to some of the Ocean City and Worcester County councilmen, would also provide living wage jobs. The fear here is the workers would flock to the casino and leave Ocean City without labor. God forbid if the owners had to bus a table, clean a motel room or empty a trash can, like their parents did.

Another great fear is that the owners may just have to pay living wages to their employees instead of contributing a pittance, much of it under the table to foreign workers who are forced to live in slum-like conditions owned by you know who.

I know that the majority of people in Worcester County, about 65% of them, want slots. I don't give a damn either way, but I do care about the will of the people. The thinking among the working class is "if its slots or a tax increase," slots win handily.

The question is: does the legislature listen to "we the people?" Do the city and county council really represent the people? In this case, I think not.

"The officials have made no public and official attempt to ascertain the wishes of Worcester County's citizens, preferring to wait for the state to take care of conducting a vote," states Cara Dahl, staff writer for The Dispatch, the local newspaper. But, they went ahead anyway, people be damned.

The legislators across Maryland must realize what a farce this is and reinstated Worcester County as a slots site. Then, the commissioners must hold hearings and ascertain the will of the people in an open and public forum.

Given the short space of time, alternatively, the legislator should reinstate Worcester County and let things sort themselves out after the referendum. This is the only fair way instead of letting a bunch of greedy Worcester County commissioners, Judy Boggs and Virgil Shockly excluded, to ram this thing down our throats.

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