Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hanks is feraginit ... he's neither fer it nor agin' it

Unless there is some benefit for Hanks, he just can't seem to take sides.

Oh, sure, if his buddies were behind the casino, Hanks would be onboard. But ...

It's better for him to wait and see how the chips fall (and how many fall in his direction) before taking a stance.

Hanks. You just gotta love the guy.



From The Delaware Gazette:
Anti-casino resolution voted down
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
By ANDREW TOBIAS

Staff Writer

Delaware County commissioners on Monday voted down a resolution that would have formally asked Columbus to dismiss the Polaris area as an alternate site for a proposed casino.

Commissioner Ken O’Brien asked for the vote on the heels of a letter from Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost to Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman that formally asked that the Polaris area in southern Delaware County not be considered.

Following a vote-approved ballot issue this past November, the state constitution currently calls for a casino to be built in Columbus’ trendy Arena District, to the chagrin of Columbus officials. In a letter to officials with the gaming company that would run the casino, Coleman suggested four alternate locations, including the Polaris area in southern Delaware County.

However, commissioners Todd Hanks and Tommy Thompson said it was premature and irrelevant for the commissioners to take a stand on the issue at this point in the process.
“It would be like us voting to tell the governor of Montana that they should slaughter less buffaloes for buffalo burgers,” said Hanks, who abstained from voting saying he needed more information about the impact of a casino.


Thompson voted against the resolution, but said that the board may consider formal action at some time in the future.

O’Brien said he drafted and voted for the resolution after he was contacted by several concerned residents in the Westerville area. Even though the county commissioners don’t have a say where the casino would be placed, O’Brien said formally denouncing it could potentially have an impact as the process moves forward.

“This (resolution) is a way of giving input, and I think it’s making a clear statement where we stand,” he said. O’Brien and Westerville officials have said they are concerned about traffic, noise and crime increases that might come along with a casino.

However, Hanks said he preferred the process to play out on the state level. He did say a casino might bring in property taxes that could benefit the Olentangy School District and Delaware County District Library, among other entities, but that he wasn’t prepared to take a position without more information.

“I’m not against it; I’m not for it,” he said.

Changing the casino’s location would require a constitutional amendment, which would need to be approved by a statewide vote. In order for the amendment to appear on the May ballot, state legislators would have to vote to do so by Feb. 3.

If the location of the casino does change, Penn National Gaming Inc. prefers the Polaris site the least of the four alternatives, sources have said.

There has been speculation the prospective location for a casino in the Polaris area is the site of the now-defunct Germain Amphitheatre. Westerville and Genoa Township officials have said publicly a casino in the area would not be welcome.

atobias@delgazette.com

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