York Co. politicians vow to oppose Catawba Indian casino | The Herald
The county should demand and get all the details about the casino and do its own bean-counting — how much it would cost for rights of way, road improvements, water and sewer, police and fire protection and public safety — then compare it to jobs and salaries and taxes that might come in. Video poker continues to be what people remember — and for good reason. It comes with the original guitar case. Deborah Long, an Indian Land Republican whose legislative district includes the reservation, said the news of the casino was a "surprise" to her and she is neither supporting or opposing it. In a new place every day but these Beach Mortgage Company Email. There is no way around it.
A casino would employ thousands and fill state coffers with taxes, tribal leaders maintain, but several area politicians say a casino is not an acceptable way to boost the economy. York County Council Chairman Britt Blackwell, a Republican who proudly wears the label of pro-business, said Thursday a casino is "not the kind of economic development we are envisioning.
Although the County Council has not met to discuss the casino, Blackwell as chairman said he is confident the group will stand with law enforcement and state politicians who oppose the casino. The Catawbas say they have dealt with generations of discrimination, widespread poverty and injustice. Some tribe members who personally oppose gambling say the casino is an economic necessity not just for the tribe, but for the region as it deals with double-digit unemployment.
In a lawsuit filed this week, the tribe argues the state changed the rules when it allowed casino-boat gambling near Charleston. The Catawbas have the legal and economic right to open the casino, advocates say, and reap the economic benefits denied them for too long by governments that did not honor past deals. In the lawsuit, the tribe claims a state law that allows cruise ship gambling off the coast of Charleston means the tribe should be allowed to have gaming, which the Catawbas were granted in a land-claim settlement with the state and federal governments.
That settlement guaranteed the Catawbas two gaming halls, including one in York County, but courts have ruled that they lost the right to operate video poker when the state outlawed it in In , the tribe closed a bingo hall it operated on Cherry Road in Rock Hill, blaming a new state-run lottery for taking away business.
Former tribal executive committee member Dewey Adams, who helped lead the tribe for more than two decades including the time around the settlement, said the casino is "a long time coming. Tribal members were not allowed to vote until almost , could not legally marry outside their race until not long after that, and attended segregated schools until the s. The settlement over , acres of disputed land in York and Lancaster counties was an attempt by all sides to right some past wrongs, Adams said, but the state of South Carolina continues to treat the Catawbas unjustly and illegally.
It will make money for the tribe and for the county and state. It is a win-win. A casino - or rather, the vice of gambling that drives it - is just not acceptable in York County, said state Rep.
Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill. He vowed to push for a resolution from a majority of the county's overwhelmingly Republican legislative delegation to oppose the casino and support the state's fight against it. In the lawsuit, the Catawbas have asked a judge to bar police from confiscating any video machines or arresting any tribal members for possessing machines as the suit moves forward, but no date has been set for a hearing on that injunction.
A spokesman for the state Attorney General's office said Thursday the tribe's claim does not follow current law. The tribe's lawyer, Wally Fayssoux of Greenville, said the tribe has the legal right to build the casino and the settlement guarantees that on the reservation, any gaming available anywhere in the state legally can be used on the reservation.
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