Slots in Lakewood – Part 3

On February 15th, the third email about legalizing slot machines in Lakewood was sent out by Trustee Paul Serwatka.

It is below:

Paul Serwatka

Reporting on yesterday’s village board meeting, I’ll get right to the agenda item that I know everyone is waiting to hear about:

The Motion to Approve an Ordinance Removing the Ban on Video Gambling Within the Village of Lakewood.

Prior to our meeting, I received feedback from 84 residents regarding this issue. Exactly 5 were in favor of approving the ordinance to remove the ban and allow gaming, while 79 were vehemently opposed.

Another contrast to consider was the degree of passion voiced by all.

Of those who were in favor, I can’t say that they expressed any notable degree of passion toward the issue, while those opposed made their immense passion and convictions against, quite clear.

Approximately 50 people attended the meeting and several spoke out strongly against approving this ordinance.

Some even took the time to prepare quite lengthy statements expressing their strong feelings toward this issue. As I recall, there was one resident who spoke in favor.

Public comments and deliberations over this issue lasted well over an hour.


As deliberations ensued, it became quite clear that President Smith, village attorney Michael Smoron and trustees Iden and McMahon did not want to “vote this ordinance down” and much talk began of “tabling the issue” which essentially means it would not be voted on, but rather it would be set aside and revisited at some time in the future.

I expressed my thoughts that while there is no stronger opponent of government over-regulation or interference by government in economic affairs, than I – I felt this issue was about more than just regulating business.

Particularly, with Turnberry Country Club being the driving force behind this ordinance, I believe this was perhaps even moreso about the direct and negative impact this would have on an otherwise, small, quiet residential community of people who by-and-large do not want this in their community anyway.

I also spoke of the number of residents who voiced opposition, as well as the degree of passion with which this opposition was voiced.

Trustee Furey then commented that he too strongly opposed approving this ordinance, as did trustee, Thomas.

Trustee McMahon (who was recently appointed to replace trustee Ken Santowski after his recent resignation from the board) had concerns about voting against the ordinance, essentially stating that he feared that Lakewood isn’t presenting itself as being “business friendly” but rather “Lakewood is becoming known as the village that says NO to everything”.

He then cited the resident opposition of the Sportsplex, opposition to the Turnberry Condo Development and now opposition to video gaming.

Trustee Iden stated that he didn’t like the idea of over-regulating businesses, yet he did understand the concerns residents had regarding gaming.

Calling the Question

As deliberations continued, it was becoming abundantly clear that this issue was heading down the path of being “tabled” and pushed off & left to revisit another day.

At this point I interrupted the deliberations and “Called the Question” making a motion to vote on the issue now, in front of the 50 residents who made it a point to attend.

President Smith interjected asking that we not move too hastily and encouraged the idea of tabling the issue rather than voting it down.

I then reiterated my motion to vote now and asked trustee Furey if he cared to second it.

And he did. (Put that one in the history books!)

Paul Serwatka and Gene Fuery clashed at an earlier Village Board meeting.

At this point village attorney Michael Smoron, again interjected, asking that we consider just tabling the issue rather than voting it down.

President Smith then joined in echoing his words.

I reminded them that, at this point, my motion was already on the floor and was already “seconded” by trustee Furey – and that according to the parliamentary rules, it must now be voted on.

A roll call vote was then taken.

I voted NO, followed by Trustees Furey and Thomas, who also voted NO.

Trustee McMahon then abstained from voting as did trustee Iden.

According to parliamentary rules, the two abstentions run with the majority NO votes – so the motion to remove the ban on video gaming within the village of lakewood was defeated and the ban remains.

As always, your thoughts, questions and concerns are always welcome and always valued.

A Side Note: We have made some changes, and added an “ABOUT” Page, to the Lakewood Tax-Fighter website, and will be adding some more pages very soon. I hope you’ll take a minute to visit at:

I also hope you’ll SHARE this newsletter with others and encourage them to get our newsletter as well.


Slots in Lakewood – Part 3 — 2 Comments

  1. Paul, I’d like to thank you for being the first elected offical in the county to pickup on letting us vote on levies.

    You got the ball rolling, and I hope you keep kicking that in the … so it becomes law.

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