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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Fakery in casino opposition

The Oregonian runs a story that fleshes out some of the opposition to the proposed Cowlitz casino in Clark County, and (surprise surprise!) some folks in Oregon have teamed up with locals.
Before they voted Monday night to formally oppose a tribal casino near La Center, Vancouver City Council members were told that they were doing the bidding of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

To that, most council members replied with a collective "huh?"

Although the Oregon-based tribe apparently has not dealt directly with council members, it is a significant part of an opposition group, Citizens for a Healthy Clark County. And the tribe is providing the bulk of money to buy television advertisements that have been airing in recent weeks opposing the proposed casino.
And further down:
Along with the Grand Ronde, Citizens for a Healthy Clark County includes North Clark Conservationists, No Ridgefield Casino and the Faith and Freedom Foundation.

Coalition spokeswoman Ann Rivers declined to say how much the Grand Ronde had contributed to the coalition. Taylor said she didn't know.
The web site No Clark offers very little information, but if it's this Faith and Freedom Foundation, then it would be the one run by uber-wingnut Gary Randall, a retired co-founder of Pamplin Communications.

Pamplin owns The Portland Tribune and KPAM radio, among other outlets, in Oregon.

I can't honestly offer an explanation for much of this right now, other than to state the obvious: there are a lot of outside players. It would be easy to assume Pamplin might want to protect advertising revenue that comes from the Spirit Mountain casino operated by the Grand Ronde, but then again, the Cowlitz casino would likely have a rather large advertising budget if it is built, so I would be cautious about jumping to economic conclusions until we know more.

It's a little simpler to understand why people who live in north Clark County might not want a rather large casino plopped down nearby, and since Clark County has traditionally been home to large numbers of extremely conservative fundamentalists, property rights types and other assorted wingnuts, it makes sense some of them would turn to Gary Randall. Birds of a feather and all that.

Really, it would be shame if this becomes a partisan issue. There are people in this community who like gambling enough that they take vacations to do it, or ride buses for hours, so you can't exactly say it's against community standards. That being said, how big the casino is and where it is located is a legitimate issue for the citizens of Clark County to be concerned about.

I guess everything these days is subject to third-party campaigns with fake names, but I still think it's a shame, because I doubt that Gary Randall or the Grand Ronde really care all that much about my health.

A Little More Background: I found a Blue Oregon post from about a year ago detailing ads the Grand Ronde tribe paid for attacking Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski during the primary. Worth a read if you're interested.

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