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Lottery has been the state’s version of three-card monte

Saturday, March 22, 2014
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Lottery has been the state’s version of three-card monte

I reluctantly admit I’m old enough to remember the hoopla when the New York State Lottery was created in 1968.

At the time, a decades-old illegal source of income for organized crime was called “numbers” or “policy.” People would bet a few bucks with their local wiseguys, from Queens to Buffalo every day, hoping to match the last three numbers of the total “handle” of a local horse track. The wiseguys then paid off the winners in what amounted to a “50/50.”

At the time [the state lottery was created], the public was told 100 percent of the lottery’s proceeds would go to education throughout the state, reducing taxes and improving our schools. But in practice, that didn’t happen in 1968, and it’s not happening in 2014.

Whatever gambling proceeds that have gone to education from the lottery have been offset by less school support from the state’s General Fund, almost dollar to dollar! Then-Comptroller Carl McCall confirmed this in 1998, after an extensive study.

The current lottery TV commercial features a guy buying a lottery ticket at a 7-11 store. Suddenly a group of adorable children appear, singing “Thank You For Being A Friend!” Instead of the children, it should feature a chorus of sketchy-looking politicians singing “Thank You For Being A Sucker!”

Graham Higgins

Schenectady

Put Mech’ville sports in Foothills Council

I’m a graduate of Mechanicville High School, and I read with interest the March 15 letter about Mechanicville’s decision to move to the Wasaren League.

Generally such decisions are made by responsible athletic directors for many reasons — such as distances, sports programs, etc.

About your only recourse, except to make a lot of noise, is to vote out board members who [approve] such moves.

If Mechanicville High School has an established girls’ bowling team, perhaps they could operate independently or join another league that has such a program.

Schuylerville and Amsterdam schools both are going into the Foothills Council, where they have found good fits. I’d like to see Mechanicville go into the Foothills Council, where they would renew playing against some old rivals of the Western B League. I’d also like to see Fonda-Fultonville join the Foothills and leave the Colonial Council.

Thomas J. Farnan

Johnstown

Day Haven offers good program right in Sch’dy

Re Kelly De La Rocha’s March 16 article about adult day programs: Schenectady County residents do not need to look to Colonie or Burnt Hills for their daily respite needs. Catholic Charities’ Day Haven on Nott Terrace is much closer.

I appreciated their efforts on behalf of my mother — she as a participant — so much that, 10 years later, I work there, putting to good use all that I learned from her during her dementia years.

Shirley Morehouse

Scotia

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