J. Gary Kavanagh suggests (March 5) that “there is no threat of any kind to Fairchild Air Force Base’s” operations from the Spokane Tribe’s proposed casino in Airway Heights. If he believes that, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn, N.Y., that I would like to sell him.
Former base commanders and the Spokane County commissioners have no clue as to what Base Realignment and Closure Committee will do. As a longtime resident, I ask whether the risk of losing Fairchild is worth it. This project has no economic value to the greater Spokane community other than adding more low-paying, minimum-wage service jobs.
Research often shows that gambling drains the regional economy of millions of dollars per year while adding increased use of costly social programs. Many local residents patronizing such casinos often substitute gambling for other more important survival goods and services, which may include rent, food and utility payments. Those who seek to hit the jackpot should realize that the expensive “first-class” casinos they frequent are built with their hard-earned wages.
The STEP project will simply become another venue that will divert regional customers from Spokane and Coeur d’Alene hotels, restaurants, movie theaters and other entertainment venues.