The gambling industry wants David Irons elected King County Executive…? Who’d have thunk?
Well, if you are a regular HA reader, you‘d have thunk, because I wrote about the $10,000 in campaign contributions he received from gaming interests, way back on September 8: “David Irons… gambling industry lapdog?” Now, thanks to an article in today’s Seattle Times (“Minicasino owners donate to Irons’ campaign“), a couple hundred thousand other voters are aware of what they might lose should Irons win.
A soon-to-open minicasino opposed by King County Executive Ron Sims has given more than $4,000 to David Irons, Sims’ opponent in the Nov. 8 election.
Kingsgate residents who oppose both the cardroom business and its efforts to obtain a liquor license are pressing Irons to detail his position on this cardroom, to be called Casino Caribbean, and on any expansion of gambling in unincorporated King County.
“We’re waiting for him to take a stand,” said Brad Roetcisoender, a neighbor of the casino and an organizer of the opposition group, Stop Neighborhood Casinos.
Don’t hold your breath, Brad. Irons is not going to come out and publicly support expanding gambling, but you know he wouldn’t be the beneficiary of such gaming industry largesse if he hadn’t privately assured his donors that he would, at the very least, step out of their way. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that a political contribution is necessarily an indication of a politician’s stand on one issue or another… but in Irons’ case, he has a proven track record of privately telling donors and supporters what they want to hear, even as he maintains public silence.
Of course, Irons could prove me wrong, and unequivocally state that he opposes expanding gambling, and that he will work as hard as Ron Sims did to block the Kingsgate casino — which stands in the midst of a residential neighborhood, 500 feet from a day care facility and 700 feet from a community swimming pool — from getting a liquor license.
But he won’t.
Anybody who lives in the Kingsgate community, who opposes this casino, but votes for David Irons, is voting against their self interest… as would be every other King County resident who would object to having a casino or cardroom in their neighborhood. The decision to locate Casino Caribbean in a residential neighborhood is not accidental or unusual… it is part of an industry strategy that another Irons contributor, the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, describes in a video to investors as “community based gaming.”
In the video, Great Canadian CFO Anthony Martin explains that people tend to game “in close proximity to where they live,” and so they have placed their casinos in the “bedroom communities” surrounding Seattle. He goes on to explain how these “local community casinos” were all purpose built to accommodate the slot machines that I-892 would have allowed. Last year’s failed Eyman initiative was entirely sponsored by the gambling industry, and Great Canadian was its largest donor.
What should be absolutely clear to voters is that the gambling industry — tribal and commercial — has a long history of using its money to manipulate WA’s state and local politics… and they wouldn’t be backing Irons if they didn’t expect to get something in return. That something may in fact be nothing, for all they need is a county executive, unlike Sims, who is willing to quietly sit back and not interfere with their efforts to expand gambling into our local communities.
Quite frankly, the residents of Kingsgate and the rest of King County simply can’t afford to gamble on David Irons.