To the Editor: Calls out Leahy on accusation

Wow! I’ve seen a growing trend, and it isn’t good. According to Scott Leahy [News Review, April 27, 2018] because I don’t share the same opinion as him with respect to the casino, I’m a fundamentalist and a racist.

It is so interesting to me how name calling and the ‘R’ word just gets thrown around by some people just because you don’t believe the same way they do. In my opinion, when someone starts throwing the ‘R’ word around, they are desperate and trying to shame you for having an opinion that differs from theirs. Remember, we are all entitled to our own opinions and we should be respectful to each other even though our opinions differ.

And before you try to pin the label ‘racist’ on me, know that I’m happily married to a man who is not the same color as I am, and I have a sister-in-law who is Native American.

My first opposition is the shady way the city council handled the casino. It was a secret back-room deal that the citizens of our community had sprung on them as pretty much a done deal; and now, seeing Jim Sanders’ letter confirms that this was indeed the case. I do not question Mr. Sanders’ integrity, and I believe what he has stated in his letter because I know him and I know him to be a man of integrity. I do question the integrity of others who have been and some who still are on the city council.

I think our mayor has selective remembering when it furthers her opinion, and oh, by the way, we have a former city councilwoman who is now working for the casino, not to mention the former mayor’s wife was half owner of the property. It is all about perception.

My second opposition is that I don’t believe anyone really looked at what happens once the land is transferred to the tribe, and those questions were never really answered. My understanding is it would become a sovereign nation, meaning it would govern itself. The city would have no say in anything, even though the casino would reside within the city limits. This item was pushed through so fast, by design, so all of these questions could not be asked or addressed.

Location is a concern. Really, did anyone consider how it may impact our largest employer in the valley? The majority of jobs in this valley are either people working as federal employees for the base, people working on contracts that support the base or people who work in support functions for people who live in the valley because they work for the base, i.e., schools, stores, etc.

As for the gambling aspect, I don’t believe overall or in the long run it will be good for the citizens of our community. Gambling brings its own set of problems and challenges, which our local infrastructure will have to address. How is the city going to absorb those additional costs to our infrastructure? Don’t tell me the token amount given in the “deal” will take care of these additional costs.

And lastly, the casino should be no different than anything else and should have to have an environmental impact assessment performed. The tribe should not be allowed to sidestep the process. Water is a huge concern in this valley. Citizens in Ridgecrest have all been told we have to conserve, get rid of our grass and gardens, only water at specific times and on specific days, etc. Shouldn’t there be an environmental impact performed to address these and other environmental issues?

I’m opposed because I think the casino was a shady deal from the get-go and will not provide enough benefits (if any) to this community to outweigh the issues and problems it creates.

Terry Mitchell

Story First Published: 2018-05-04