Wednesday, March 28, 2007

23 is No Longer Enough

Grand Rapids' favorite son, Ambassador Peter Secchia, now appears as though he has changed his mind. Formerly the chair of "23 is Enough," an anti-Wayland casino group, Secchia now seems to believe that 25 is just right.

According to Sunday's Grand Rapids Press, Secchia has resigned his position at 23 and is now campaigning for a new casino in downtown Grand Rapids. One wonders why the change of heart.

The idea is that the GR casino would be basically a funding mechanism for the government, paying for the local pools, museums, parks, etc. While the idea seems to be in the right place, we're very skeptical of any government unit owning an running an enterprise that the private sector should. Each time one of these publically-owned enterprises comes into existence, it generally entails the creation of new bureaucracies and un-elected governance boards (such as the DDA, the money-losing Kent County Convention and Arena Authority, etc).

One is left to wonder, though, when Secchia makes a statement like this, "I'm talking about a casino like Detroit has, (but) owned by the city, county and local people who would share the profits..." Does Secchia plan to be one of the "local people" who shares the profits? Who would own the casino? Who would operate it? Will it be just another government boondoggle, like the current city-owned golf course?

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