Letters to the Editor for March 10
Casinos belong in Catskills, not Saratoga Springs
The casino siting board to be selected by the New York Gaming Commission has several factors to consider, but location is by far the most important for a casino debut.
Perhaps the most obvious siting choice at this point is Saratoga Springs, due to its resort and horse racing identification. Opposition to this selection comes from a well-organized group of Saratoga burghers who own stores, shops, businesses, bars, nightclubs and restaurants that run along Broadway and its side streets. This segment of Saratogians is probably prepared to seek a judicial remedy in the courts to block a casino from reducing their incomes.
A better siting option is Sullivan County, in the southern Catskills, only a little more than an hour by car from New York City and wealthy northern New Jersey. Between 1960 and 1990, Sullivan County hotels and resorts were one of the major vacation draws in the Northeast — until cheap travel and trendy locales in Mexico and the Caribbean spelled the demise of their industry and its booming economy.
What remains of this today is a handful of large, shuttered resorts, some great golf courses and a knowledgeable workforce that has been praying for the resurrection of their economy by some casino.
Three groups of investors have recently made proposals for three casinos there. Empire Resorts wants to build on the site of the largest of the old resorts, the Concord Hotel. Louis Cappelli, owner of the old Grossinger resort, is proposing a large casino, convention center and housing on his property, and Muss Development is partnering with Foxwoods (from Connecticut) to build a casino near the Grossinger location. In addition, the new owners of the closed Nevele resort in Ellenville have expressed an interest in adding a casino.
For many years, venture capital wasn’t available or interested in Catskill casinos. State licensing and native American land claims also presented obstacles for investors. But today heightened public interest, money and statewide support seem all lined up waiting for a signal from the state.
Sullivan County is the best option for all those concerned with the success of this venture if politics and quid pro quo can be kept out of the picture.
Give rapist/murderer death, not a degree
The man who is accused of raping an 11-year-old girl beginning in 2006 and continuing until 2013 [March 6 Gazette], making her pregnant and killing her newborn baby, should receive the death sentence if found guilty.
However in New York state, he will probably get life in prison, which will cost taxpayers $60,000 a year, plus an additional $5,000 a year for his college education.
How does this make any sense? It seems that Gov. Cuomo and the state Legislature have completely lost their minds.
Remain vigilant with oil trains, railroads
On Feb. 25, an oil car and engine derailed in the town of Ulster [March 6 Gazette]. Luckily the car was empty.
On Feb. 28, the governor declared the completion of an “inspection blitz” at the Port of Albany.
The two events may not be related, but everyone can clearly see the urgency in this matter.
In two miles of track, they found 36 loose rail couplings and oil tankers with bad wheels and brakes. Isn’t it understandable why there are so many derailments?
Lack of maintenance and constant pounding can only result in one thing — a disaster. The state has only five inspectors to find the problems in the whole state.
We need more inspectors, more maintenance crews and the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Reduce the number of trains by using the pipeline and reduce the danger.
If that makes sense to you, call your elected representative.