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O.C. Officials Fire New Salvo at Casino Proposals : Election: Assemblyman Pringle, Dist. Atty. Capizzi and council members in five cities warn of crime, lower property values.


WESTMINSTER — With a few days left before voters in Stanton and Cypress decide whether to allow card clubs in their cities, about a dozen Orange County officials gathered Friday afternoon to reiterate their opposition to gambling in the county.

Assemblyman Curt Pringle, Dist. Atty. Michael R. Capizzi and council members from Westminster, Los Alamitos, Stanton, Cypress and Garden Grove said a card club would increase crime, lower property values and ruin the moral fabric of the county.

"I believe that card clubs will destroy neighborhoods," Pringle (R-Garden Grove) said.

In Stanton, a yes vote on Measure A Tuesday would allow card clubs into the 3.1-square-mile city. In Cypress, a yes vote on Measure A would allow a casino at the Los Alamitos Race Course.

As he has been saying the past few weeks, Capizzi reaffirmed his "very firm opposition" to card clubs in the county.

"I don't feel that they are good neighbors," he said. "Obviously, my interest is in reducing crime, not increasing crime."

Calling card clubs a "bad bet," Capizzi said having cities relying on gambling revenue would be bad government. Some, pointing out that the California Lottery hasn't helped schools as much as was advertised, said card clubs would not solve cities' financial woes.

"Card clubs do not an all-American city make," said Westminster Mayor Charles V. Smith.

Cypress Councilman Walter K. Bowman agreed. A card club in Cypress and the additional traffic would impede expansion of a nearby business park, he said.

Tony Lam, the Vietnamese-American councilman from Westminster, represented the Asian-American community.

Referring to the Asian penchant for high-stake gambling, Lam said card clubs would destroy and bankrupt Asian-American families.

A board member from the Anaheim Union High School District, which covers Cypress and north Stanton, said the "real losers" of casinos are "our future, our children."

"In these days of alcoholism, drugs, single-parent families and homelessness," said Robert Stewart, "do we need to add another problem for dysfunctional families to deal with?"

Some residents also spoke out against casinos.

"Card clubs create poverty, frustration, crime and I don't know how many broken marriages," said Westminster resident Stan Hirsch. "If you want to spend money, go buy a Lotto ticket. Help education."

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