Thursday, May 15, 2008

True stories from casino land ... is this the kind of scene we want in Ohio?

The BizzFlip business blog has a great story about a lesson learned from a casino trip experience.... The writer won big at a casino on his first night out, and so the next night....

You guessed it; we decided that since they were just giving money away at the casino it would be stupid not to go back. When we got there we already felt like we owned the place. I remember we got comped a late night dinner. I had never before heard of anyone getting comped at an Indian casino. I felt like Rockefeller as I ate my gratis country fried steak and eggs.

And then the inevitable happened. We decided to press our luck. I don’t remember if it was after the 4th or 5th trip to the ATM when I started to feel sick to my stomach. All I know is that as we were leaving the casino I will never forget what happened. A couple gals who worked there stopped us and as they were holding back their laughter had the tenacity to say, "We were wondering how many times you guys were going to go to the ATM." Those words haunted me the entire drive back.

And this is the kind of industry My Ohio Now wants to bring to our state to make us stronger and better. A reader comment to the post really hit home....
I don't even like to step into casinos anymore - the energy is filled with dark fear, people's faces are like masks disguising all the pain and fear in their lives. And then they get upset at the dealer or the casino when they lose, once again? In general, there are two kinds of people in casinos, losers and LOSERS! I'm sorry but it's true. The whole casino eco-system exists because of late nights, alcohol, drugs, lust and the burning of hard-earned money.

This isn't a matter of personal liberty. Anyone is free to log online and throw their money away gambling. Anyone is free to drive to a casino anywhere in the US and gamble. The Founders of our nation gave the rights to the states to regulate business within their borders for the express reason that different states have different standards and different plans for being great communities. Ohio has carved out a niche by saying we're going to be better .... we're not going to rely on the emotional sink holes of casinos to provide a crack-cocaine like boost our economy. Instead we're going to focus on our strengths.

So let's look to where we're already strong. And let's build Our Ohio Now!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Strengths of Cincinnati -- an outsider's view

I came across this blog post from the Urbanophile .... he lists some great assets of Cincinnati: great geography, spectacular neighborhoods, innovative architecture, top notch cultural institutions, major corporate headquarters, a genuine regional culture. He also highlights some of the urban decay of Cincinnati (the same decay that has led some local leaders to clamor for casinos like other cities have). He's got great photos....check out his post.

Urbanophile makes an interesting comment:
It just goes to show that what I said in my pecha kucha presentation was true: cities are about people, not just buildings. All the great geography, architecture, etc. in the world isn't a sufficient condition to create a thriving, dynamic city.

I looked at Urbanophile's comments from the pecha kucha presentation .... and some of it struck true for Cincinnati and Ohio....permit me to modify some of his aphorisms (and feel free to follow his link above to see them in context applied to his hometown of Indianapolis)

  • "Ultimately [Cincinnati] can only be a world class city by being a world class [Cincinnati]"
  • "We've got to build a city on what we are, not what we're not."
  • "[Cincinnati] doesn't have to imitate any other place to go to the next level. Instead, get to the place where people are copying us."
  • "If a city shows it doesn't care about itself, why should it expect other people to care to live there?"
  • "Talented, educated, ambitious people want to live in cities where the civic aspiration matches their personal aspirations."
  • "Cities are about people, not just buildings. You can't love the neighborhood if you hate the neighbors."
  • "There can't be a successful [Cincinnati] without a successful [Ohio]"
  • "People in [Ohio] are [Buckeyes], and I think that's a source of strength, not weakness. It's a part of that unique culture for us to build our own greatness on."
  • "A world class [Cincinnati] will be a world class [Ohio] city."
The strength is within us .... in our God given talents and abilities. We don't need some quick fix of casinos to make us into a poor man's Vegas. We need to build on our strenghts and be the best Ohio we can be. All the states around us have legalized casino gambling....good for helps make it clear that we're different .... we're exceptional. Now let's start acting like it.

Let's build Our Ohio Now

Monday, May 12, 2008

Letter to the Editor in the Cincinnati Enquirer -- we can do better

The Cincinnati Enquirer ran this letter to the Editor from Teresa Davis:

For my Ohio now, I must say no to a casino ("Ohio voters could make casino resort reality," March 13). Even if I were to lose my mind, morals and values and become gung-ho for a casino in Ohio, the "My Ohio Now" advertisements with Vicki Lawrence and Jamie Farr are insults to my intelligence, my vested interest in Ohio (native of 43 years) and my sense of humor. I would vote a hearty no because of the ads alone.

But the core reason My Ohio Now should not include a casino in Clinton County is that casinos are nothing more but increased taxation on the poor. The wealthy are not pouring money into the casinos and adding profit to the state. The poor who want to turn their basic living wage into a fortune go and give their money away based upon this false hope of windfall with the roll of the dice.

It also is amusing to hear the advertisement state that all of the bordering states of Ohio have casinos and our money is leaving the state at 65 mph. Let them leave and let them go. Children learn the lesson early, but advertising executives and casino owners must have forgotten: If Indiana jumps off a bridge, does that mean we have to too? No.

The population of Ohio has not clamored and demanded a casino thus far. The private owner of this proposed casino, however, is clamoring for such and filling the airwaves with nonsense.

Moreover, we are more creative people and can do better than a quick fix at the blackjack table. Ohioans are hearty, smart people who have held up through labor and economic hardships. A long-lasting, fundamentally life-giving industry must be considered long before a casino.

Here at Our Ohio Now, we couldn't agree with you more, Teresa. The idea that we ought to jump on the bandwagon because "all the cool states are doing it" is pretty insulting. Instead, let's encourage our homegrown grassroots talents. We as citizens can, through our own initiative, be about making things better. And we don't need casinos to do it!

Let's build Our Ohio Now.

Hopes and Dreams - May 12 2008

What are our strengths? Each county and municipality will have different strengths to share. Here in Cincinnati, we are strong on the arts. With world class arts organizations like Playhouse in the Park, the Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati Arts Museum, we have solid foundation. Then we have great innovative arts coming out of the Art Academy, Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, and dozens of other independent organizations.

Investment in the arts creates a vibrant atmosphere that draws in regional tourism. It also helps to foster a culture of creativity. Shown here are photos of a local college's chorus and orchestra in an outdoor performance .... investing in the Arts helps us all to build something better for Ohio.

How can we build on this strength ... support local arts organizations that are producing work that interests, entertains, and challenges you. Consider taking a class and creating some art yourself. Paint, write, build, perform. Any of it would be better than spending countless hours in a dark casino plunking quarters into a one-armed bandit.

Lets build Our Ohio Now!