Former councilman McIntosh first to apply for District 3 seat

CHAMPAIGN — Former Champaign City Council member Vic McIntosh on Tuesday night became the first to publicly throw his hat in the ring for an appointment to the soon-to-be vacant District 3 council seat.

The city has begun accepting applications for the seat after Kyle Harrison told officials he plans to resign on June 15 as he moves into a new home outside the district. Council members plan to appoint a new member on June 19.

McIntosh retired from the council in 2009 after choosing to not seek re-election. He had served more than a decade after being originally appointed in 1998 to fill a vacancy and twice winning re-election.

At the time he retired, he was still working, and his wife had health problems, he said, and he was concerned that he would not have time to devote to his council duties. He has since retired, and his wife "is feeling a whole lot better."

He has since worked on a committee that designed the new storm-water utility fee and says he misses city council work.

"When my name comes up (Wednesday) morning on your caller ID, you will know why I'm calling you," McIntosh told council members.

In other business, council members approved a rewrite of a section of the city's gambling ordinance to parallel a state statue on video gambling.

The new language does not really change anything, said City Attorney Fred Stavins. It is just a "cleanup" of an existing ordinance.

What did change, however, was a state statute in 2009 that legalized and established a tax on the proceeds of up to five video-gambling terminals at certain licensed establishments. The statute provided that a municipality may prohibit video gambling at bars, truck stops, veterans' and fraternal establishments, but that would also disqualify that community from receiving money from a state capital-projects plan.

As of Feb. 21, according to city documents, 78 communities and four counties had prohibited video gambling. With Tuesday's 7-2 approval of the rewrite of the city ordinance on video gambling, council members effectively chose not to prohibit it.

"Adults are well able to decide for themselves how they want to entertain themselves and what they want to do with their disposable income," said council member Tom Bruno. "And we don't need to be this level of a nanny state."

University of Illinois business Professor John Kindt — an academic expert on gambling — told the council about his fears of video gambling. He said video-gambling terminals are like the "crack cocaine of creating new addictive gamblers."

Council member Michael La Due, who voted against the ordinance rewrite with Will Kyles, said he worried that the state's actions in manipulating gambling to collect new money is disingenuous.

The state statute is "exploiting people's dreams to generate revenue," he said.

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