and Joel Marks

and Joel Marks

The Coquille Tribe wishes to install a gambling casino in Medford.

The tribe's plans include excluding the land on which it is proposed to be installed from city, county and state jurisdiction, and operate the facility with what it calls sovereign nation status.

The tribe's articulate advocates state that 233 jobs would be created and local suppliers would gross $6 million the first year. The tribe also speaks of the many other benefits the casino brings to the community, which is employment benefitting the purveyance of gambling.

The tribe does not talk about the social and human damage that a commercial gambling business brings to the community. Such a facility impedes the ability of addictive gamblers to bring order to their lives, and it disrupts the financial stability of nonaddictive gamblers, and creates financial and marital discord within families who are struggling to make ends meet.

How much can society endure debauchment of our community?

We try to teach our children a value system that includes industrious employment over a lifetime. Commercial gambling does violence to that value and instead encourages a get-rich-quick mode of life.

The product the tribe wishes to sell is a toxic product designed to draw money out of the community, much of it from the poor and financially strapped, for the benefit of the tribe's members. The economic benefit does not outweigh the cultural degradation.

The citizens of the county and the city of Medford, as well as the county Board of Commissioners and the City Council of Medford, should be concerned about a sovereign nation operating a business in its midst, apparently without any control over building codes, zoning requirements, policing policies or fire protection policies. There also should be concern as to whether and how the Medford Water Commission, Rogue Valley Sewer Services, and all the other entities that provide utility services wish to do business with this sovereign entity, which seemingly is not required to operate by the rules of law that bind all others.

We are aware that the city of North Bend raves about the tribe being a good "partner," but without rules of law, we have no guarantee that this will continue. We must preserve the sanctity of Southern Oregon by arranging an economic development framework commensurate with community values.

The Medford Police Department informs us that higher crime rates surround this type of business. The tribe's spokespersons blandly assure us that these problems will be addressed. We should not feel secure about this, particularly where we have no control of policing policies.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners announces that it opposes the proposal to install a gambling casino in our midst.

Gov. John Kitzhaber opposes the proposal.

The Medford City Council has enacted a resolution that sets out numerous reasons to oppose the proposal, but the resolution fails to definitively oppose the proposal.

We urge the Medford City Council to summon the courage to unconditionally oppose the proposal in the interest of making our community a better place to live.

William A. Mansfield is a former Medford City Council member. He and Joel Marks are members of the Rogue Valley Transportation District board.