Latino and African American aldermen today prodded Gov. Pat Quinn to sign legislation that would allow Chicago to get a casino.
The City Council members said a casino would help create badly needed jobs for the city’s minorities because it would provide immediate construction work and eventual gambling jobs. And it would create other jobs over the long haul, they said, because Emanuel has promised to pump the casino’s profits into upgrading the city’s water mains, CTA lines, schools and roads.
“The infrastructure in Chicago and within the neighborhoods we represent are crumbling,” said Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st, chairman of the City Council Black Caucus. “Not only is it the physical infrastructure, but we’re also talking about human infrastructure.”
Brookins stood with nearly 20 aldermen, all members of the Black and Hispanic Caucuses, as well as new City Clerk Susana Mendoza.
In recent weeks, Emanuel has been pushing Quinn to sign a major gambling expansion bill about which the governor has expressed deep reservations, saying it’s “top heavy” and could weaken gambling oversight.
Like Emanuel, Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th, said those concerns are best addressed in follow-up legislation, an approach Quinn also has expressed reservations about, saying legislators should send him the bill as is so he can act.
“Safety, education and jobs are going to be the direct result of this casino bill being signed and a casino becoming a reality in the city of Chicago,” said Solis, chairman of the Hispanic Caucus.
As the minority aldermen spoke, powerful Ald. Richard Mell, 33rd jumped in, quipping that he was “the white caucus,” and expressed his support for a Chicago casino, something he has supported for many years.
“We should be committed to help bring gambling to Chicago,” he said. “The genie is out of the bottle. Gambling is in almost every state in the union. We are silly for not having this done.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times