The voters have spoken and Pinnacle is on their way to changing the face of River Road and gaming as we know it in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Gaming is an extremely controversial issue as shown by the passionate arguments of those deeply involved in activities leading up to yesterday’s election.
Christian conservatives spoke out, rightfully so, against an institution that drains the pocketbooks of families in our parish.
The more liberal democrat leaders looked past the woes of gaming and pushed for the expansion claiming economic development was more important. Thousands of jobs, more taxes and a promise of a premier gaming facility with world-class entertainment made sugar plum faeries dance in their heads.
One of the questions we must ask is how this election was affected by politics.
Mayor Kip Holden said he was not going to lobby for either side, but he pushed Pinnacle and the two existing boats for higher fees shortly before the election. Ironically, Pinnacle was also invited to be a sponsor of the 100 Black Men’s Gala Banquet last year. If you read between the lines, Holden took a safe but apparent stand for the new casino since he seemed vague at best about his position on the new gaming development publicly.
Millions of dollars have already poured into our community by Pinnacle in this campaign in an effort to sway the voters to their side. Consultants, television, radio, newspaper and other vendors such as bus companies were the winners in this election. One of the consultants against Pinnacle claimed that by the time they attempted to buy radio time they realized it was too late — Pinnacle beat them to the punch. Likewise the anti-Pinnacle group spent millions.
Politics in East Baton Rouge Parish play a significant role in almost every decision we make in the council chambers. As they say, money talks and you know what walks. A great deal of money flowed into pocketbooks in order to buy their way into the hearts of leaders and voters.
What effect will the new casino have on the voters this fall in the upcoming election for our parish?
Holden has already gone to great efforts to show his prowess against white christian conservative ministers over his ‘One Baton Rouge.’ This time he refused to take a position publicly against increasing gaming for EBRP. Conservatives must consider this just another issue when they go to the voting booth this fall. One thing I know for sure is that in the voting booth every dog has his day.
Until next time,
Red Stick Republican