The McHenry County Board meeting debate Tuesday was extraordinary in its lack of focus on the gambling issue.
Algonquin’s Marc Munaretto put it best, asking why two resolutions, one to hold an advisory referendum on the issue and the other to ban video slot machines in unincorporated areas had gotten out of the License and Liquor Committee.
I wasn’t at the committee meeting when that happened, but someone who was told me that Barb Wheeler had made a motion to recommend a resolution banning video gambling and it almost failed for lack of a second.
The majority of the committee pretty obviously wanted a vote on the referendum resolution first, although Mary McCann may have changed her mind, because she voted against holding an advisory referendum.
The committee being a collegial group, however, both resolutions were forwarded to the county board.
A vote on the referendum question was scheduled for Tuesday; the one on the outright ban at a later meeting.
This did not please Wheeler, who tried to change the agenda so the ban could be voted upon Tuesday.
Clearly Wheeler is against this extension of gambling and was satisfied that her vote would represent her constituency.
It is much less clear how her colleagues would have voted today or will vote in a month.
If any of the opponents have taken the kind of tallies I used to take on the House floor in Springfield before one of my important bills, they have not shared that with me.
With many of the members up for re-election, going to a referendum could be considered a cop-out, that is, a way to avoid making a potentially dangerous political decision before the Feb. 2nd primary election.
Others believe with Mary Donner:
“I truly believe in my heart this belongs on a referendum first.
“I want to know what the voters in McHenry County feel about this.”