A fiery Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero visited Charlie Langton’s morning show on Talk Radio 1270 Tuesday to defend a plan to add a casino to the state capital.
What does he have to say to all those people who oppose it, saying it would detract from casinos in Detroit and Mount Pleasant? And, what does he say to people who question the partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie tribe that lost control of the Greektown Casino in Detroit due to bankruptcy?
“Oh, boo-hoo, Oh, boo-hoo,” Bernero said. “Really, you mean in a tough economy people make mistakes? Please. This is nothing but avarice and greed. It’s cut-throat competition and the media is playing into it with all this nonsense. Bottom line is they’ve got theirs, they don’t want anyone else to get theirs. I’ve got people who need jobs, I make no apologies.
“I say ‘screw off’ to those people.”
Bernero said Lansing needs the casino to keep the momentum of its recent upswing. To win approval, the federal government and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder would both have to sign off on it.
“Am I allowed to say horse –? This (objection) is absolute poppycock,” he said. “We’re going to keep the development in our city. We’re the center of the state, the capital city. These people will say anything and do anything … to kill the competition. What happened to the free market? It’s amazing, these Republicans.”
Bernero argues this casino would bring 2,200 jobs, 1,500 of them permanent, good-paying jobs. He said the casino would generate up to $400 million a year.
“We would use all the (city’s) proceeds … to send Lansing students to college for free,” Bernero said, pointing out that Kalamazoo has had a 20 percent increase in its school population after introducing the “Kalamazoo Promise” scholarship that sends the city’s students to college for free.
Plans call for the casino to be constructed on the back end of the current Lansing Convention Center. It’s a $245 million project, and Bernero argues new businesses would spring up around it.
“It would not be a city unto itself,” he said.
But owners of competing casinos, including Greektown-Casino Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit and the Soaring Eagle in Mount Pleasant said they would file suit to stop the plan.
“It’s reverse NIMBY (not in my backyard) — This is ‘not in your backyard,'” Bernero said. “This is about good government, this is about what’s good for Lansing. We are a growing concern. Come and tell me we’re not ripe for a casino. We’re not looking for this to solve all of our problems. Who should say that they deserve a casino, but that we in Lansing don’t?”
Hear the entire interview below.