Frank Nero and Luther Campbell: Great Minds Thinking Alike?

The head of Miami-Dade's semi-public economic development arm is in tune with Miami's raunchiest columnist. Beacon Council President Frank Nero told the Miami Herald today that he believes plans by companies from Malaysia and Las Vegas to build mega-casino resorts in downtown Miami "would serve as vacuum cleaners that suck customers and dollars from surrounding establishments."

Nero's comments echo Luther Campbell's recent column warning Miami-Dade residents that the Genting Group's proposal to transform the Herald's waterfront property into the $3 billion Resorts World Miami would wreak havoc on local restaurants, nightclubs and shops.

"The type of resort that Genting executives are promoting will suck the life out of everything else in the Magic City and Miami Beach ... In order for the project to be successful, Genting must make sure no customer ever leaves the site."

Speaking from his prior experience as a New Jersey county commissioner during the 1970s, when casino gambling came to Atlantic City, Nero said: "Before we get on this train -- this fast moving train -- we better find out where it is going."

Nero joins a growing contingent of important people in Miami setting up roadblocks against placing casino gambling in the city's center. We recently reported on opposition being mounted by former Miami Mayor Joe Carollo against Genting's massive project, which will sit on 13 plus acres of private land the company acquired from the Herald's parent McClatchy Co. earlier this year.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.