Thursday, May 25, 2006

Burning My Cookies

When I approached a downtown street corner Tuesday I was asked by a clipboard-toting young woman if I’d like to support the establishment of scholarships for children in Ohio from kindergarten to some grade I can’t recall. I remembered reading about the casino gambling lobby’s ploy of slot machines supporting education and asked, “Is this about the casino gambling initiative?”

The young woman’s smile disappeared when she confirmed my suspicion. I declined and walked away. When I turned back to take an informal sampling of her efforts, I saw that she managed to get three of the next four people who passed to sign after she made her one-line pitch. I didn’t see anyone ask her about the petition.

About an hour later, when I returned to the same corner, she was still getting people to sign. I approached a women who signed and asked if she knew she’d just signed on to support putting the casino gambling initiative on the November ballot.

“No,” the woman said. “She said it was about education.”

Talk about a spin job! Those who support casino gambling complain opponents aren’t looking at the big picture and yet those supporting it are doing exactly the same thing by touting it as a means to support children, education in particular. While I haven’t seen any study that links gambling to better schools and more highly educated students, there are numerous studies that link gambling with an increase in crime (Casino Gambling Causes Crime).

People who claim to support community development for the sake of children — including better education, inclusion and economic development — are jumping on the casino bandwagon because of the cash we supposedly lose. What I’d like to know is how people, who all love children, can support lower crime rates and stronger schools and then endorse a scheme that’s been proven to increase crime and isn’t proven to have any effect on education?

The method of duping people in to signing the ballot imitative really burns my cookies. Truth in advertising is required of businesses; I think it’s about time people with ballot petitions ought to be required to follow the same rules. Partial truths and half-information isn’t the way to bring about the kind of change and positive community development this state, or our city, need.

— Margo Pierce


  • Excuse me, but wasn't 'the lottery' supposed to help education?

    By Anonymous Natasha, at 9:17 PM  

  • Margo, other petitioners hired for this effort are using the same approach, as originally reported by the Cincinnati Beacon and as I witnessed yesterday. I agree that there should be a penalty for such significant misrepresentation of an issue, and it sets off my smoke alarm too. When I asked the petitioner how it would be funded, he said the measure was for slot machines at race tracks and had "nothing to do with the downtown issue" (referring to the Broadway Commons proposal).

    By Blogger Josh Krekeler, at 4:33 AM  

  • When I encountered a petitioner at Taste of Cinci, she seemed to be reciting a revised schpiel, closer to the truth.

    By Anonymous david gallaher, at 8:16 PM  

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