Monthly Archives: October 2008

Current Highway Patrol Capt: “Taking Away the Players Card Takes Away a Great Enforcement Tool”

Highway Patrol Captain Lester Elder is the supervisor of the 100 plus troopers in the gaming enforcement division, and he has a unique prospective on the $500 loss limit.  In a recent newspaper interview he explained that The Patrol doesn’t take official stands on election issues.  However, he was very open about the value of the player’s cards and the effects of removing the kinds of mandatory identification requirements that Proposition A removes.

When asked about the Highway Patrols ability to solve 95.8 percent of almost 1,700 crimes at the casinos, Capt. Elder said there is something to be said for he status quo:

“We have a good case solvability rate,” he said. “We do utilize the Player’s Card for identification of criminals when that situation arises. That’s not something we access on non-criminal issues, but if there’s an assault or a theft or some crime that occurs, we’re able to identify on that casino floor who that person said they were when they came in to get their Player’s Card.

“There are always thoughts that if the loss limit’s not there (then) there may be your larger criminals coming in because there’s more opportunity for them to gain more money by cheating at gambling. I don’t know. We’re going to have to wait and see.

Proponents of Proposition A claim that they are unnecessary and have even provided retired Officer Larry Buschjost with over $13,000 in an attempt to undermine the Highway Patrol’s facts.  But the unpaid, and current highway Patrol Captain disagreed:

“Obviously there’s video of everything that occurs on the casino floor. Video is great, but when you couple that with the Player’s Card, not only do you have a video but now you also have a possible identity of a person. Without that possible identity via the Player’s Card then, sure, you take away a large tool for criminal enforcement.”

If the Player’s Card/loss limit distinction is eliminated from the equation by means of a yes vote on Nov. 4, Elder said he and his troopers will still try to maintain their current high standard of effectiveness.

“We’re going to do the most professional job we can do with the tools that we’re given,” he said. “Any time we investigate a crime, you can rest assured the Highway Patrol is going to devote its best resources to do that—to be able to try to solve that, to protect the citizens of the state. Now taking away the Player’s Card, does that take away a great enforcement tool? Yes, it does.”

Please don’t put our families at risk or put our law enforcement in a situation where they have fewer tools to keep Missouri safe: Vote No on Proposition A


Yes on A campaign paid retired Patrol Captain $12,000 in an attempt to undermine facts from current Highway Patrol

(Oct 31, 2008)  ST LOUIS – According to Missouri ethics reports, the Yes on A coalition has paid retired Highway Patrol Captain Larry Buschjost $12,000 plus $1,668 for expenses.

The Yes on A coalition faces opposition from the NOonA.com campaign as they released figures from the current Missouri State Highway Patrol.  Those statistics indicate the Highway Patrol was able to solve 95.8% of almost 1,700 crimes at the casinos last year alone, because of the player’s cards which Proposition A would do away with.

The Highway Patrol distributed those statistics at the State Capitol during this year’s legislative session in an effort to urge lawmakers to keep the player tracking cards.

Examples of crimes solved include: 303 crimes involving theft or stealing, 215 crimes involving ID theft, forgery and counterfeiting, 29 crimes involving sex offenses, drugs, assaults.  They also apprehended illegal aliens, bank robbers, a child sex offender, a rapist, and a murder suspect.

Evelio Silvera, spokesperson for the NOonA.com campaign said he is not surprised they paid a retired officer in attempts to refute the damaging facts being released by the current Highway Patrol.

“The casinos have spent over $15 million dollars in an attempt to buy a law that benefits their bottom line.  It comes as no surprise that they have paid retired law enforcement in a desperate attempt to undermine the damaging evidence from our current law enforcement officials.” Silvera said.

Current Highway Patrol Captain Lester Elder is the supervisor of the 100 plus troopers in the gaming enforcement division, and he recently explained in an interview that the Patrol doesn’t take official stands on election issues.  However, he was very open about the value of the player’s cards and the effects of removing the kinds of mandatory identification requirements that Proposition A removes.

“We’re going to do the most professional job we can do with the tools that we’re given,” he said. “Now taking away the Player’s Card, does that take away a great enforcement tool? Yes, it does.”

Larry Buschjost, the paid law enforcement official, has argued that good police work could solve those crimes and that the removal of the players cards would have little to no impact.

Captain Elder disagrees.  “Obviously there’s video of everything that occurs on the casino floor. Video is great, but when you couple that with the Player’s Card, not only do you have a video but now you also have a possible identity of a person. Without that possible identity via the Player’s Card then, sure, you take away a large tool for criminal enforcement.”

Related Information:
Missouri Highway Patrol  – Facts and Figures (2 pages)
http://nopropa.com/dox/hp.pdf
http://nopropa.com/dox/hp2.pdf

Yes on A coalition  – Ethics Commission Report
http://www.mec.mo.gov/Ethics/CampaignFinance/CFCommitteeInfo1.aspx?MECID=C071387&Year=2008

###


Another Teacher Comes Forward Saying She was Tricked into Supporting Prop A

We first reported that a teacher came forward who explained the unethical practices used by the casinos to get teacher support for Proposition A.  Now Marjorie Ball, a substitute student-teacher supervisor for the Carl Junction school district has also come forward claiming she was used by the casinos to promote Prop A when she thought she was filling out a survey from the state.  KOAM in Joplin interviewed her and the fist teacher to come forward,

Marjorie Ball said during the televised interview:

“I just thought [the survey] was something that supported education.  Obviously I support schools; I support education. I guess the hidden part was the casinos part.”

There is no doubt that other educators across the state have suffered the same unethical treatment by the casinos and they too are being used to expand gambling in the name of education.  As more and more educators speak out against Proposition A, it looks like its really just Yes for Casinos First.


Latest Educator in Yes on A ads received nearly $14,000 for Endorsement

The latest Ad from the Yes on A coalition features Dr. Gene Oakley.  In the ad he says that he is an education advocate and supports Proposition A.  What the ad doesn’t tell you is that DR Oakley received $13,558.67 for his endorsement.  Reports from the Missouri Ethics Commission show he received money on six different occasions.

The proponents claim Prop A is about education and supported by educators, yet superintendents all over the state are speaking out against Prop A.  The coalition also failed to get the support of teachers unions as ALL THREE refused to endorse Proposition A calling it a gambling issue not an education issue.  On top of those damaging issues, recently discovered unethical practices used by the coalition to obtain teachers support has called all teacher endorsements into question.

Proposition A is not about education and it seems the only way they are getting educator support is through unethical and tricky surveys and by paying education advocates for their endorsements.  This is the same old and tiered game the casinos play at election time. Don’t be fooled again, vote No on Prop A.


School teacher’s name falsely used to endorse Proposition A

(Oct 29, 2008) ST LOUIS – A southwest Missouri school teacher’s name has falsely appeared on promotional materials for Proposition A, and he said it was done unethically.

Doug Campbell, Vocal Music Instructor at Carl Junction Junior High School was astonished to receive mail from the Yes on A collation that said he was one of many teachers in support of the measure.

“I was very embarrassed to see my name supporting a proposition that expands gambling,” Campbell said.

“I understand first hand the dangers of gambling, as I’ve seen people who have suffered the terrible consequences of gambling addiction.  I don’t support removing the $500 loss limit or anything else that will benefit casinos.”

The Yes on A coalition has claimed that hundreds of school teachers around the state are supporting the measure but Campbell has his doubts.  He believes the method the casinos used to obtain such support was completely unethical and seriously misleading.

“I received a survey asking if I thought more funding for education was needed. The survey had the appearance of an official letter from a state educational organization with several educators and their schools listed, so I filled it out. The only question concerning casinos asked how important it was to prohibit the legislature from using revenue from casinos for these funds,” Campbell said.

Evelio Silvera, Executive Director of Casino Watch Committee was shocked to learn that the survey did not ask teachers if they supported proposition A or opposed it.

“There is no telling how many other educators around the state have been used by the casino industry.  Mr. Campbell’s bravery to step forward has exposed this unethical practice and I hope more teachers will come forward to tell their story, “ Silvera said.

In 1994, during the Amendment 6 campaign, the casinos published a list of people in the Kansas City Star claiming they were in support of the gambling measure.  Rep. Don Lograsso, and at least 15 others, were listed as its supporters even though they were clearly against the measure.  The Yes on Amendment 6 Committee issued an apology letter but as Rep. Lograsso said, the severe, irreparable harm had already placed people’s reputations and careers in jeopardy.

Doug Campbell hopes people will understand that he is not supporting Proposition A and hopes his reputation can weather the storm.  He has made many apologies to friends, colleagues and church members who have questioned why he would support such a proposition.

These unethical and harmful practices call into question all of the teacher endorsements for Proposition A.  All the money in support of Proposition A has come from the Las Vegas-based Ameristar & Pinnacle casino companies and from the Missouri casino lobby.  No money has come from educators and it’s no wonder all three Missouri teachers unions have refused to endorse Proposition A.


Columbia Tribune: Vote NO on Proposition A

The Columbia Tribune warned voters of the dangers of Proposition A, but today they came out with a NO Vote on Proposition A endorsements:

The proposition is being promoted and funded by two big casino companies that already operate in the state. They want to limit future competition, and no current legislation, whether approved by voters or not, can ensure future legislators will expand general revenue school budgets to reflect increasing casino taxes. Even if that revenue goes into an education fund, as the initiative mandates, the General Assembly can and will reduce other potential education funding, meaning nobody can “guarantee” the proposal will increase education funding as the proponents allege.


Bolivar MO News: No’ on Proposition A

From Kansas City, to Joplin, Springfield to Jefferson City, and Columbia to St Louis, major news sources are urging a NO Vote on Proposition because they understand it weakens our law enforcement, expands gambling at the worst economic time, and exploits our schools, all for the casino’s economic gain.

Bolivar MO News editor, Charlotte Marsch, has come out against Proposition A and the paper’s opinion echoes those superintendents and Missouri teachers unions who refuse to endorse Proposition A, because they know its not for education, its for the casinos:

This proposition was not dreamed up as a way to increase funding for public schools. It was developed as a way to help Missouri casinos ensure their revenue stream and limit competition. They knew they had to figure out a way to sell it to the public, and what better way than to increase funding for education.

For as long as casinos have been in Missouri, casino companies have tried to make the public believe casinos are a good thing because they provide funding for education. But don’t let them mislead you this time. Proposition A really isn’t about education but all about the casinos protecting their profit margins.

The full article is below:

http://www.bolivarmonews.com/articles/2008/10/24/opinion/doc49022612e82bd634700532.txt


Jefferson City News Tribune: Vote ‘no’ on deceitful Proposition A

The News Tribune in Jefferson City adds its self to the impressive list of major serving papers to urge a NO vote on Proposition A.  They view this proposition as highly deceitful and something the Show-me State should soundly reject:

If honesty is the best policy, the campaign for Proposition A is the worst we’ve seen in a long time…Our opposition to Proposition A is largely because this is yet another bait-and-switch tactic by the casino industry since it got its foot in Missouri’s door 16 years ago.

Check out the full article below.

http://www.newstribune.com/articles/2008/10/27/opinion/066op10.txt


“Casinogate” – the biggest lie and deception behind Proposition A’s “30%” funding estimates

In an article published by the Joplin Independent, State Rep. Ray Salva outlined the deception and lies behind the main statistic used to determine the amount of money Proposition A would generate.  The Missouri Gaming Commission claimed that 30% of Missouri gamblers leave the state due to the $500 loss limit.  They reason, then, that removal of the loss limit would bring those gamblers back to Missouri and increase the money generated by casinos.  The problem, however, is that conclusion is not supported nor endorsed by the authors of the study.  Rep. Salva supplied the personal email from the researchers behind the Missouri Gaming Commission’s Market Survey conducted by the University of Missouri St Louis:

The study did not address the impact on gaming revenues associated with the elimination of loss limits.

While the study did not estimate the fiscal impacts in Missouri of loss limit repeal, it is possible, that some person(s) (other than the University of Missouri and/or its employees) created estimates of fiscal impact on their own accord drawing inferences from information disclosed in the study. If so, such estimates were generated and reported without the participation of the study’s authors or the University of Missouri. The fiscal impact estimates currently set forth in the fiscal note accompanying Proposition A were generated without the participation of the study’s authors.

So why is this important.  If 30% leave the state to gamble outside of Missouri because of the loss limit, then why would it matter if the conclusions were drawn by the original researchers or the Missouri Gaming Commission and the Casinos who purport how much money Proposition A would generate?  The reason it’s important is because the Market Study DID NOT CONCLUDE THAT 30% OF MISSOURI GAMBLERS LEFT THE STATE AS A RESULT OF THE LOSS LIMIT.  The authors would have never come to that conclusion because they understood what questions they were asking and what answers were generated as a result of the questions.

This false statistic is generated from page 57 of the Market Survey where respondents were asked:

“During the past five years, have you played the slot machines or table games at a facility in Las Vegas or other parts of Nevada, Atlantic City, New Orleans, Iowa, Tunica, Mississippi Gulf Shore, or at a Kansas Indian Tribe facility, or any other gaming locale located outside Missouri and Illinois?”

30% of respondents had, at least once, taken a trip to go gamble.  This question does not address those gamblers leaving Missouri to gamble in Illinois because of a loss limit, the loss limit was not even mentioned as a possible cause for such a trip.  The question clearly excludes gambling in Illinois, the only real competitor for Missouri casinos, and the question is clearly addressing leaving the Missouri/Illinois area for a gambling trip to some place like Vegas, Atlantic City or Tunica.  They even indicate on page 56 that the nature of this question lends itself to asking about destination gambling, not a local gambler who might care about loss limits.

HOWEVER, the study did clearly ask a very direct question which would address whether or not loss limits effect gamblers decisions:

“If the $500 loss limit for Missouri’s gaming facilities was eliminated, would you be more likely or less likely to visit casinos in Missouri or would it not make much difference either way? (page  40 of the study)

84% of respondents said that removal off the loss limit would not influence their decision to gamble in a Missouri Casino and only 7%, NOT 30%, indicated they would be more likely to gamble here, but the remaining 7% said they would stop going to Missouri casinos resulting in a net wash.  The study also indicated that loss limits were the least likely factor in determining which location they go to in order to gamble, indicating that proximity, number of slots, and quality of the facilities were the factors which influenced gambler’s decisions.

The bottom line is that the casinos and the Missouri Gaming Commission have twisted a statistic, in the worst way, to build a fiscal argument, with the intent of showing greater numbers, in an effort to frame this debate around how much money is being lost, thereby creating a need to remove the loss limit.

I have no doubt that the casinos will benefit greatly as a result of this proposition; they wouldn’t spend $16 million if they didn’t believe that to be the case.  The source of that revenue might very well come from the 13,000 addicted gamblers who have placed themselves on the self-ban list that would be able to walk right back into the casino and lose everything should Proposition A pass.  The source of this new revenue is debatable, but to say that 30% are leaving the state because of the loss limit is a lie, and to that degree, their promise for $100 million in new tax revenue is sophistry.


More State Legislators Speak Out against Prop A

Every day more and more elected officials, school superintendents and people in charge of our educational funding speak out against Prop A.  State Senator John Loudon was recently quoted saying this Proposition is just another shell game:

A multimillion dollar advertising campaign by Las Vegas-based gambling companies to convince Missouri voters to lift the state’s $500 loss limit is “just another shell game being pushed by the gambling moguls to wrap themselves in the interests of education and veterans to squeeze more money out of everyday Missourians,” according to state Sen. John Loudon, R-Chesterfield. “Our economy is struggling, people are losing their homes to foreclosures, and bankruptcies are at an all-time high.”

He added: “Now, the gambling companies want to take the lid off what their patrons can lose. Like the CEOs on Wall Street, they want more of people’s money when we can least afford it. That’s the wrong message for Missourians.”

State Rep Bryan Stevenson of Joplin also spoke out:

“We have seen this before,” said state Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Joplin. “They will tout education and economic development, but in reality it is just a way to dig deeper into Missourians’ pockets for their own profits. In this economy I have some real problems with this ballot language.”


St Louis Post Dispatch points out serious flaws in Prop A

On the front page of the St Louis Post Dispatch this morning, Joe Crawford outlined several clear flaws in Prop A including more elected officals explaining why the casinos are making empty promises about education dollars:

Rep. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, said there is no way to obligate the Legislature to spend a specific amount on education. “No department in government has a locked-in amount that they know they’re going to get,” said Cunningham, chair of the education committee in the Missouri House.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education can only explain where $54 million of the more than $105 million in potential new revenue might wind up. The uncertainty about the remaining money is owed to the fact that the state’s new school funding formula won’t be fully implemented for several more years.

For the complete story, click on the link below:

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/education/story/442222925897CD8F862574EA00120D4E?OpenDocument


NOonA.com Campaign Releases First Web Video Ad Against Proposition A Featuring School Superintendent Statements

(Oct 22, 2008) ST LOUIS – The NOonA.com campaign has released the first of many video advertisements in opposition to Proposition A.

The video, entitled, “School Officials Speak Out,” catalogs various school superintendents who have spoken out on Proposition A.

The ad release follows editorial endorsements from the St Louis Post Dispatch and Kansas City Star, in which they both call into question the claims of schools funding ‘promised’ by the casinos and both endorse a NO Vote on Proposition A.

Evelio Silvera, spokesperson for NOonA.com says the ad comes at time when the ‘Yes on A’ coalition is struggling for support.  “Not only are the major newspapers of the state calling for a No vote on Proposition A, all three Missouri teachers unions are refusing to endorse Prop A, instead calling it a gambling issue which some believe will have devastating consequences on those who can least afford to lose.”

Brent Belvins, Forsyth Superintendent, was quoted saying the Missouri Association of School Administrators is also failing to endorse Proposition A.

NOonA.com features school superintendents all over the state who see this as a gambling issue, not an education issue, and who believe its wrong to try to persuade voters to expand gambling on the backs of our children and our schools.

The “School Officials Speak Out” Ad can bee seen along with other statements from School Superintendents at: http://nopropa.com/schoolofficials.html

####


Another Hit to the Casinos: The KC Star says Vote NO on Prop A

Another major new source is tell the casinos thanks, but no thanks.  The KC Star has joined the St Louis Post Dispatch, The KC Tribune, and the Joplin Globe, in calling for a NO Vote on Proposition A.  The Star outlines many key reasons, explaining how each is an independent reason to reject Proposition A:

With Proposition A on Nov. 4, Missouri’s casinos are asking voters for unfettered access to gambling dollars. Don’t give it to them.  Proposition A would:
• Repeal the state’s $500 loss limit per gambling session, making it much easier for people to lose thousands at a time.

• Unfairly protect existing and planned casinos from any future competition in Missouri.

• Remove safeguards against gambling by felons who are banned from the casinos; no identification checks would be required and law enforcement difficulties would be increased.

• Increase, probably dramatically, the number of problem gamblers and the associated social costs.
Each of these reasons alone would be enough for a “no” vote on Proposition A.

The casinos are promising millions of dollars more for education if this measure passes. Where have Missouri voters heard that before? They should not be taken for a ride on this issue again.

It seems all the ‘Yes on A’ coalition can do is keep throwing money at voters.  They have an advantage with slick television ads and fancy mailers, but the people see the truth.  Tell everyone you know to visit NOonA.com for a list of all those in opposition to Prop A including the most pivotal school organizations who are refusing to endorse Prop A


Yes on A takes another major blow as the recent ‘symphony’ court ruling provides yet another authority exclaiming the money is not guaranteed

The KC Symphony sued the State claiming they were entitled to receive millions from a fund set up to finance the arts. The Kansas City Star has reported that the recent court ruling in that case will have devastating consequences for Proposition A:

In a court ruling Monday, Cole County Circuit Judge Richard G. Callahan pointed out that the Missouri Constitution gives the General Assembly the authority to appropriate money as it sees fit.

“The legislative practice of enacting new taxes with a claimed promise to taxpayers as to how the money will be spent is all too common, bringing to mind the old axiom, ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,’ ” Callahan wrote. “Unfortunately, while there are many statutes with seeming ‘promises’ by the legislature as to how revenues from a particular tax will be spent, these ‘promises’ are but empty words that have no legal consequence.”

So what’s the connection to Proposition A?

The measure was placed on the ballot through an initiative petition, which promises to use some of the extra gambling funds for local school districts.  But Callahan’s ruling opens up a huge question mark about whether the state has to abide by what the voters say.

This is just one more source of authority proving that the money is not guaranteed to reach its target.  To learn more about how the casinos are exploiting our children for their economic gain, visit www.NOonA.com


The neediest schools wont be helped by Proposition A – don’t fall for their deception

The Kansas City Star provided commentary on the new mail piece by the casinos who are funding and backing Prop A.  Even though the mailer points out that some money will be accessible in KC, they failed to point out which schools would receive nothing:

Here’s what the ad conveniently leaves out of the ad:

Most of the financially troubled school districts and most students in Jackson County would not receive new money soon if voters endorse the pro-gambling proposition.

Instead, well-off districts such as Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit would get $5 million of the funds.

Those two districts have about one-third of the county’s schoolchildren, but would get almost two-thirds of the new gambling money.

Here are the schools that would not get the funds under the state of Missouri’s school funding formula:

— Kansas City School District, around 20,000 students.

Independence School District, 13,000

Hickman Mills, 7,100

Fort Osage, 5,000

Grandview, 4,000

Center

These are some of the neediest districts in the area, in terms of having students and taxpayers struggling to provide high-quality education for their children.