Column: Outsiders pulling the strings on off-reservation gaming

The shuttered Bay Mills Indian Community casino in Vanderbilt, Michigan. Photo © Bay Mills News

Writer says outside interests are preventing the Bay Mills Indian Community from opening an off-reservation casino in Port Huron, Michigan:
The strongest argument, at least in my view, involves home rule. Or to put it another way: Who the hell are you to tell us what we can and cannot do?

In 2001, Port Huron voters blessed a casino. By 2007, billionaires Jim Acheson and Chris Ilitch were collaborating on an ambitious plan where a casino-hotel would anchor the redevelopment of downtown Port Huron, creating thousands of jobs in the process.

Local business and labor leaders backed them. City and county office-holders gave unanimous votes of approval. The local legislative delegation lined up in enthusiastic support.

A Republican governor, John Engler, had signed off on a casino in 2002. His Democratic successor, Jennifer Granholm, followed suit in 2007. On Capitol Hill, our congressional representative, Candice Miller, lobbied for it. Our senators, Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, endorsed it, too.

The opposition was vocal, but not local. In the end, the community’s wishes and best interests didn’t matter. Outsiders showed who pulls the strings.

Some call it politics; I call it puppetry.

Get the Story:
Mike Connell: Casino is not politics; it's puppetry (The Port Huron Times-Herald 6/28)

Supreme Court Decision:
Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community (May 27, 2014)

Oral Arguments on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud:

Relevant Documents:
Oral Argument Transcript | Supreme Court Docket Sheet No. 12-515 | Supreme Court Order List

Related Stories
Column: Bay Mills maintains ties to off-reservation casino site (06/23)

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