To the Editor:
Many Illinois communities, including Chicago, unincorporated Cook County, and most of Chicago's suburbs rejected video gambling but the Highland City Council allowed it.
The City Council could have rejected it in a vote. Some say the city council didn't want to take sides, but due to the City Council's inaction, video gambling will automatically take effect in Highland.
The Highland Newsleader interviewed Mark Voegele, a tavern owner who said 'freedom of choice is what people want.' Thus, one must conclude gambling is about 'freedom.' Throughout America's history, nineteen of my extended family served in the military to preserve 'freedom.' They didn't don America's uniform to preserve video gambling but did serve to preserve 'our right to vote.'
Lou Lang (D) Skokie, a big time gambling proponent and the bill's sponsor made it difficult to force a vote. Since citizens must collect signatures from 25 percent of Highland's voters, the sponsor knew if a city council required voters to petition it might make no difference what the majority of voters thought.
When Highland's lawyer gave pastors the petition paperwork, it reminded me of the Wizard of Oz telling Dorothy to get the witch's broom if she wanted to return to Kansas. Can you see the words 'surrender your vote' spelled out in smoke high above Highland?
If the town council or video gambling proponents desired 'freedom of choice,' they would have placed a referendum on the November ballot.
If they act by August 20, they still can. What do you think? Should video gambling be decided by the voters in an advisory referendum?
Philip W. Chapman