The Benton Harbor/Twin Cities NAACP Chapter is in agreement with the letters excerpted below. Many thanks to the authors for their time and effort.
Casino is the last thing that Benton Harbor needs
...Benton Harbor's problems cannot be fixed with gambling. Having a casino in the area can have nothing but a negative effect on the community, and more specifically on families. With legalized gambling so close at hand, the people who can ill afford to gamble, will. They're sure they're going to get lucky.
...A casino in Benton Harbor can be nothing but a detriment to the whole community. It will be especially harmful for kids and families.
Anita Schultz, St. Joseph
We must all say 'no' to a Benton Harbor casino
Saturday's paper examined the state of Michigan's consideration of expanding the number of casinos that may be legally operated within its boundaries, marking Benton Harbor as a possible site. The states commission, by a vote of 3 to 0, has unanimously indicated its support for expansion. If it gets the proper signatures, which seems likely considering the need for a mere 3.8 percent of the population (an amount less than the number of state employees), the law will pass to a general vote.
Benton Harbor City Manager Ronald Carter Jr. said he's doing his homework to see if a casino is something that makes sense or something that could be supported. We must do the same.
I have no doubt that a casino, in some form, world be financially viable in Benton Harbor. Any corporation selected would stand to make a considerable return, provide a contribution to the tax revenue and create jobs. The state and its voters, no doubt, will see this.
The question turns to whether a casino makes sense. To put this another way, it is whether we judge, as those living in and in proximity to Benton Harbor, a position which neither the state nor the majority of its voters can claim, it desirable or not to have a casino in Benton Harbor. I, for one, answer immediately and emphatically "no." The effects of gambling legalized and facilitated by the state of Michigan are already ruinous to the city, and the state's budget is no more helped by this venture, despite its claims.
Yet, what else of gambling? Have you never seen someone lose their house to it? Their family? Friends? Their life, in suicide? Gambling creates poverty in everything that it touches, for even the money made in gambling is impoverished by how one gets it. [emphasis added]
Matthew Curtis, Watervliet