Monday, October 31, 2011

Detroiters have already Seduced Elmont Chamber of Commerce into supporting their Casino Schemes

The Detroiters pushing for a Shinnecock Indian casino at Belmont Race Track have already infiltrated, the Elmont Chamber of Commerce. Traditionally their first target of opportunity is the local Chamber. Here's how they'll seduce the Chamber:  (1) Embrace the local chamber establishment because they’ll be blinded and overwhelmed by the largess of your big hollow economic arguments; (2) Sell them the miracle drug (often a placebo) that will get their desperate economic circumstances moving in a positive direction again and let them wash it down with the Kool-Aid ; and (3) keep them satisfied by throwing around a couple hundred dollars here and there that they can use to go shopping.

But think about it... if these tired their promises and strategies had any truth to them, why is Detroit the worst city in America by nearly all accounts -- but certainly economically?  And now that Detroit's has had the benefits raking in the casino cash for nearly a decade, why did Forbes just rank Detroit #1 Most Dangerous City in America? And how is it that Detroit taxpayers are across the board worse off than they were ten years ago and yet Forbes reports that in the last year alone, the net worth of Mike and Marian Ilitch, they’re the Detroiters behind Gateway Casino Resorts, jumped from $1.7 billion to $2 billion?  

Here’s how:  target places that are already economically challenged/depressed.  Create economic arguments, pulled together by third party consultants that are simply recycled from the last campaign they ran using models that are untested in the real world or purely theoretical.  Reports and messages suggesting a windfall; talk that suggests public/private partnerships but truly leans on the backs of hardworking taxpayers; and shameless about pushing special exemptions, freebies, condemnations, grants and other taxpayer subsidies.

Put on a few Dog & Pony Shows (but please no cameras)
On October 20, 2011, Detroiter Michael Malik flew in his crew to Elmont and at a regularly scheduled meeting of Chamber members, provided what was billed as a detailed peek at renderings and plans for the proposed project.  Malik forbid, however, any photographs of the renderings and failed to distribute any of his own images for people to take with them.  Either those images were re-cycled architectural images that have rolled out previously elsewhere, or they’re renderings that haven’t been approved by Shinnecock leaders or others who will have input/veto and could change significantly. But pictures get people excited and suggest, often falsely,  that things are moving ahead quickly.  If that was the case, images would have been released or photography allowed – at least by local news outlets.

Buy Some Ads
There are Shinnecock favorable ads and advertorial now in rotation on the Elmont Chamber’s website:  A video shares a glimpse into the Shinnecock heritage and culture and links to the Shinnecock Indian Nation website.  An ad graphic showing two men in hardhats touts “A Belmont Casino Would Create Up To 5,500 Good Paying Jobs for Elmont” with a “Learn More” button that when clicked lands visitors  on a Facebook page for a group calling itself “Alliance for a Belmont Casino.” 

Create the Appearances of a Grassroots Movement
That Alliance Facebook page appears to have been created sometime before June 23, 2011.  To date there are a little more than 100 Facebook users who “Like” the page. Posts generally visible are added by the administrator of the page and there is very little fan interaction at this time.  The info tab on the Facebook pages suggests it has been set up by the Shinnecock or their agents because the only link/contact details provided lead back to the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s website.

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