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Letters to the Editor for March 17

Monday, March 17, 2014
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State’s legalized gambling as bad as the bookies of yore

A casino for Schenectady (March 13 Gazette story) brought to mind nightmares I had as a child.

My father was one of those “bad people” called a “bookie” and our home was raided by the state police, Schenectady vice squad and even the FBI — breaking down our doors with sledgehammers without regard for me as a child witnessing this act of terror.

Many times the doors and windows were not even locked, and “the law” still broke them to get at my father and his gambling or “policy slips,” showing what had been bet, as evidence of his lawlessness.

Parents of friends, neighbors and teachers ostracized me because my father was a criminal and gambling was a terrible crime.

The time was the 1940s and ‘50s, and Americans had a moral code much different than today.

Now, the same government that condemned gambling as immoral uses it to offset taxes, which makes gambling more palatable. At one time, lawmakers touted the sins of gambling, and spoke about how it corrupted and cheated citizens of their hard-earned money.

Now the lawmakers are corrupting and spreading the sickness to those who spend their last dime trying to beat the odds. Many lose their homes and families as the sickness spreads throughout society.

Bookies could never have done as much damage as has been done by legalized gambling.

I thank God I was never bitten by this disease, even though I was closer than most. I do, however, remember the days when America had moral codes that have all but disappeared.

Today we have lines of people at places that sell lottery tickets, each thinking a pot of gold awaits. The sad news is many of them are spending their family’s food money, rent and other funds needed by those who depend on them. The real sad fact is that after all the expenses operating “legalized gambling,” the percentage left to reduce taxes is small!

Sodom and Gomorrah were not much different than where we are today.

Gary P. Guido

Rotterdam

America East tourney format is fine as is

My husband and I just spent a wonderful weekend at the America East Tournament hosted by the Albany Great Danes. We enjoyed the pep bands, cheerleaders, dance teams — all of the hoopla. We sat next to Vermont fans and enjoyed talking and cheering with them, even when our two teams faced each other in the semifinals.

Now I find out, quite by accident, that the America East powers-that-be have decided to scrap the tournament format. When I questioned the commissioner about this decision, Ms. [Amy] Huchthausen was rather dismissive. She mumbled something about travel costs and fans not being able to get to the venues. My question is, were any fans included (or even thought of) in these deliberations?

An even bigger question: Why did the America East decide to move to Division I if they didn’t want to make the commitment to equaling other D-1 conferences? Every time I think the America East is taking a good step forward, they then seem to take 12 steps back.

There are at least three excellent facilities in the conference that can hold a successful tournament. Since three teams can’t make it to the championship game, the final could certainly be scheduled on a neutral court.

Could it be that the teams that have not made it to the championship want a different route to the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] dance? If so, this is sad. And once again, it is the fans who pay.

Sherry D. Haluska

Schenectady

 

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