- Faith & Family
There are plenty of pros and cons as to whether Miami should allow destination casino gambling to take up residents in our town. State officials seem to be salivating with the possibility of a 10 percent return in taxes on the take from the casinos. But as it has pointed out time after time, where will Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami fit in? Someone will have to deal with traffic problems – like when the Heat or there’s a major concert at AmericanAirlines Arena while just down the road the Arsht Center is hosting a sold-out show. On nights like those, we’ll need a whole lot more police officers. But who will pay them and what communities will suffer with slower response time when the cops that normally handle their areas have been pulled away for downtown duty?
Forget the potential increase in crime or addictions. What will happen to the small businesses that are interspersed in the downtown area? And what about some of our newer business districts – the Design District and Wynwood – or even the convention center in Miami Beach. If the designers of the casinos follow previous examples, they could make their centers such wonderful places for gambling, fine dining and entertainment that folks may not need or want to frequent out in search of other venues.
Finally, even if our city and county commissioners are able to negotiate deals that handle the concerns we have raised thus far, there’s still one thing that has not been adequately addressed: what percentage of Blacks will have an opportunity to own parts of these new endeavors? The AAA and Marlins Stadiums projects created several new millionaires we hear – none of whom were Black.
Black commissioners have been clear about the need for job training for Blacks. But unless policies are changed – changed in writing – many of our people will be ineligible to work in any casino because they or someone in their family has a criminal record. And while Overtown becomes overrun with new money and new money makers, where will the current residents fit in – or will they?
Let’s make sure our Black leaders don’t give their votes to any casino project unless we have guarantees that we won’t be left out in the cold . . . again.