Voting No On Issue 3

It’s about a month before the election, and already we are being bombarded with commercials urging us to vote for Issue 3, which would allow “full-service” casinos to be established in Columbus and three other Ohio cities.  For weeks, we’ve seen the Fraternal Order of Police arguing in favor of Issue 3, and most recently the pro-Issue 3 ads have featured former Ohio State Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow, who reassures us that the casinos will, in fact, pay their taxes, and two women who are riding us a bus to a casino in another state and lamenting that they can’t gamble closer to home.  So far, I don’t think I’ve seen a single ad against Issue 3.  Obviously, the moneyed interests strongly favor casino gambling in Ohio.

Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure I’m going to vote against Issue 3.  The proponents of the Issue say it will create 34,000 jobs connected with construction and then operation of the casinos and keep $1 billion in Ohio that Ohio citizens would otherwise gamble away in Indiana or West Virginia or Detroit.  I don’t know whether those statistics are reasonable or valid, and I don’t care.  I just think casinos are bad for communities, and I don’t want one in Columbus.  I’ve been to Detroit, where casino gambling was supposed to revitalize downtown, and I don’t think it has worked.  In fact, I think the contrary is true.  The “Greektown” section of Detroit is pretty grim — a few casinos in an otherwise blighted area that doesn’t seem safe to walk around.  Why would we want that in Columbus?

I don’t buy the “jobs at any cost” arguments.  Other forms of vice — such as prostitution, opium dens, or legalized underage drinking — no doubt also would produce “jobs” and keep money in Ohio, or maybe even attract “vice tourists” from other states.  The fact that other states are willing to slip into sleaze doesn’t mean Ohio needs to follow suit just to keep a few bucks in the state treasury.  Casino gambling seems to bring with it crime, prostitution, guns, theft, drunkenness, and other generally inappropriate conduct.  If 34,000 jobs and $1 billion in lost revenue is the price to pay for avoiding having that unsavory atmosphere in my home town, I am perfectly willing to pay it.

In Ohio we have had statewide initiatives on casino gambling repeatedly in recent years.  Last year a bruising campaign produced a strong rejection of casino gambling at the ballot box, and yet it is back on the ballot, again, this year.  It seems unfair to allow moneyed interests to put the same issue on the ballot over and over again, until their less well-heeled opponents have exhausted their resources and the proposition finally is approved after repeated defeats.  In my mind, that is just another reason to vote against Issue 3.

A Work In Progress At The Rock

The Buckeyes beat the Indiana Hoosiers last night, 33-14.  They were expected to win, and by about the actual margin of victory.  And, in the Big 10 as in any league, conference wins on the road are to be savored.

As with most games, however, last night’s contest saw some positives and some negatives. The positives included scoring four TDs (all of which involved Terrelle Pryor) and, for the most part, bottling up Indiana’s offense.  It appeared that the Ohio State coaches called a few more planned options and running plays for Pryor, and they were very effective because Pryor is a tremendously gifted runner.  He also showed his trademark elusiveness and ability to scramble, attempting to turn a blocking breakdown and busted play into a positive gain (although some of the throws that resulted could have used a bit more zip).  I liked that Ohio State spread the ball among its receivers, including a touchdown throw to the fullback, and I thought Brandon Saine ran the ball effectively.  On defense, the Ohio State front four once more won the battle of the trenches.  Indiana moved the ball with relative ease last week against Michigan; this week (with the exception of one first-half drive and a touchdown against Ohio State’s subs at the end of the game) they struggled to gain yards and move the chains.

The negatives were Ohio State’s inability to put the game away in the first half and, in my view at least, less than stalwart play in the defensive backfield.  Although the missed field goals were troubling — particularly because Coach Jim Tressel’s scheme relies so heavily on the kicking game — I was disappointed Ohio State needed to try those field goals at all.  On many plays, too, Indiana receivers appeared to be open; they just weren’t hit by the IU quarterback due to pressure.  It makes me wonder, again, if Ohio State would have trouble with a team that can pass block more effectively.  Other negatives were a botched effort to run the two-minute drill in the fourth quarter and some poor tackling on kick-offs.

So, the Buckeyes seem to be making progress, but there are things to work on.  Next up is Wisconsin, Saturday afternoon at the ‘Shoe.  I’ll be there.