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Cicilline Calls Proposed Casino "Lazy Economic Development" (posted June 27, 2004)

Providence Mayor David Cicilline called the proposed Harrah's casino about to be placed on the November ballot "lazy economic development". The Mayor made his comments today on the WSBE-TV show "A Lively Experiment". He argued the casino in West Warwick would suck jobs out of Providence and hurt the city's restaurants and nightspots. "It changes the dynamics of the state," he said. "I just know the danger it poses to the capital city."

Another guest, Guy Dufault, who provides consulting help for the Narragansett Indian tribe on the casino, discussed confidential polling data he had seen on the casino. He said that his private polling showed that having the Narragansett tribe associated with the casino added "18 points" to public support for a casino. This finding is relevant in light of whether the casino actually is sponsored by the Narragansett tribe or by the out-of-state entertainment company Harrahs.

The show featured negative comments about the General Assembly's recent budget decisions and process. University of Rhode Island political science professor Maureen Moakley described a legislative decision to remove the judicial branch from state purchasing and personnel procedures and from review by the governor a "disaster". She said she was concerned about the potential of deals between the judiciary and lawyers in the legislature with the governor having no effective review of judicial actions.

Former news anchor Dave Layman complained about the budget being "rammed through" without adequate discussion. His comment came in light of news reports that legislators got the text of the casino bill minutes before being asked to vote on it.