Comments by dagiacalone
Posted on December 21 at 11:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Just a minor question: Why are so many newspapers and tv stations using an image that is not the Casino and Resort portion of Mohawk Harbor? It is the marina-condos-offices portion owned by Galesi, which would have been built even with no casino. The Casino will not be situated on the "embayment", which apparently will not be visible from the casino grounds. Granted, this part of the 60-acres does seem a lot more attractive than the unimpressive casino and humdrum hotel shown in the Application for the license. Why not show your readers what the casino complex is projected to look like?
Posted on December 21 at 8:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)
The group Stop the Schenectady Casino wants the community to know that we hope both sides of the casino issue in our community will work together to gets the most benefits from the casino while avoiding the predictable harm. Casino boosters no longer have to pretend that only good things will come from a casino, so they can start to look at strategies to minimize the problems that come with an urban casino. Here is our summary at our website:
"We members of Stop the Schenectady Casino and our allies in opposition to the casino hope to work in good faith with government and community leaders, along with the casino operator, to gain the most benefits for the community from Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor while producing a minimum of negative effects. If the casino is indeed a reality, we need to turn our efforts from a short-term “fight” to try to stop a casino from being located in Schenectady into a longterm “mission” to make Schenectady the first city to avoid the social harm that comes with any urban casino. That is a goal that both casino proponents and opponents can surely agree upon and unite their talents and resources to meet. The good news is that we have a couple of years to think through the issues and work on solutions (and perhaps the funding many of them will need)."
The Gazette spent the last few months pretending that there was no city-wide group against the casino, and that the only opponents were a few Stockade residents against change that might bother their neighborhood. The editorial page therefore ignored our Letter to the Editor announcing the future-looking message we have announced at our website.
Posted on December 18 at 12:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)
As the main spokesman for Stop the Schenectady Casino, I agree that having the casino fail would be a disaster. It would not have a slow death, but would shed employees in stages, reduce revenues to the City and County, and surely ask for more tax breaks and subsidies before it died.
Our hope is that the City and County of Schenectady will work closely with the casino operator, affected neighborhoods, and interested community and business groups to limit the potential adverse effects of having a casino in our community. It will not be enough to count on Rush Street and Galesi Group to fulfill the promises made in their application. Training employees to spot problem gamblers is almost meaningless, as is letting gamblers put themselves on a "please don't let me in" list.
Rush Street, like all casinos that do not attract major high-rollers from across the nation and world, must rely on local people who come more than once every week. At its other casinos, it offers instant loans (that can only be used in the casino) to keep a gambler who is losing at the table, trying to get even.
The City needs to do its best to ensure that Rush Street does not entice problem demographic groups with promotions like free trolleys to bring them to the casino, retiree specials, and special new games and amenities to attract young gamblers. And, Union College and our public school system need to get serious about dealing with the very real problem of young gamblers (especially binge drinkers) becoming problem gamblers.
It is hard to see how the Applicant, as the Board suggested, will work to mitigate negative effects on the community when (1) it has refused to admit there will be any negative effects such as increased crime and intolerable traffic in the Stockade; and (2) it will be promoting its business partners and doing all it can to otherwise keep customers on the casino site spending their leisure dollars.
We wish the Gazette had not pretended that Stop the Schenectady Casino did not exist and our research not worth sharing with the public, or that it was a campaign focused solely on the parochial and trifling interests of a few Stockade residents. Most of the people who worked actively on this campaign and signed our Petition live outside the Stockade. More important, our concerns were many and deep, and our research and advocacy could have helped the public truly understand what a casino could do to the fabric of its community. [see http://stoptheschenectadycasino.com/ ] For example, the Gazette never reported that Rush Street's Philadelphia casino reduced some forms of crime around the casino because Philadelphia put a dedicated 14-man police patrol on duty 24/7, covering less than a half-mile square. There were several kinds of crime that were merely pushed a half mile away and increased significantly.
We all need to figure out how to help the casino "succeed" without damaging our City's heart and soul and reputation.
Posted on December 18 at 9:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)
The Gazette chose to ignore the fact that Rush Street Gaming aggressively targets young gamblers and is in fact the leading casino working (through social media and websites) to turn adolescents and 'tweens into customers of concrete-and-brick casinos. See
Posted on December 17 at 4:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)
You have to be 21 to gamble at the "destination casinos", but 18 for any other form of gambling in NYS.
After months of being asked to comment on the problems of young gamblers and a closeby casino, Mr. Ainlay gave the Gazette one sentence, with no particulars or explanation. The College did not let the Location Board know of any concerns, despite being urged to do so. Speculation suggests that no one wanted to irk a favorite fundraiser, Dave Buicko, CEO of the Galesi Group, or the rest of the Schenectady development and government establishment.
Posted on November 15 at 12:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)
p.s. You ask "Sarcasm or racism?" in the sub-headline. Don't you mean "Satire or racism?" If so, the answer is Satire.
Posted on November 13 at 10:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)
I'm surprised a Gazette news article makes the judgment (repeated twice above) that a phrase is "tasteless", and doesn't even bother to put the word in the mouth of a fictitious passer-by. Supermarkets in poor parts of cities have been dubbed to be "ghetto" locations of the various chains for many decades. It is verbal shorthand: an adjective used to indicate that inner city stores are often much smaller than other local supermarkets, with fewer choices and services. (Nowadays, of course, many chains simply pick up roots and refuse to have any markets in poor neighborhoods.) In Washington, D.C., people of all races and social classes in a slowly gentrifying part of the City where I lived in the early 1980s used the phrase "Ghetto Safeway" for our tiny nearby Safeway. Sometimes, the food we bought there was virtually "tasteless" due to it being less fresh when it arrived or simply on the shelves too long.
Phrases like "Ghetto Price Chopper" or "Ghetto Safeway" can be used with affection, frustration, or outrage at the inequality foisted upon people living in poorer parts of town. Often, it was used to explain to our friends from wealthier neighborhoods why we did not have the low-fat version of a product or the latest trendy coffee to serve them.
Mr. Owens makes some pretty good points, which I will not repeat. I'm not sure I would have chosen to use a gun in the logo, but I have not been able to come up with a suitable substitute object that is shaped so much like the PC hatchet.
By the way, I've been more than satisfied with the selection at the Eastern Parkway Price Chopper in Schenectady, and would conclude that the word "Ghetto" isn't tasteless, but is inaccurate for that store.
Posted on November 12 at 10:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)
The public deserves to know about the commission of major felonies when they happen, not when it happens to suit the image-control purposes of City Hall. If SPD can't write a press release about a crime without endangering the progress of its investigation, it needs a new public relations team with stronger English language skills.
Of course, this is all about public relations, as was stifling news about the assault inside the Bow Tie theater last year. Do Mr. Gillen and Mayor McCarthy control the timing of SPD press releases? Are they afraid to spook the Casino Facility Location Board by reporting on a Crane Street gunpoint robbery and a Nott St. knifepoint robbery in the same week?
One more question: Why does it take the only Independent on the City Council to raise these issues?
Posted on November 12 at 10:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)
No one re-brands in order to charge lower prices or to maintain their current price strategy. The branding process is all about making customers willing to pay more for your product.
Posted on November 9 at 3:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)
I hope the Gazette and the Race coordinators will survey runners to get their impressions of the course changes.
You will find about 70 photos taken at the Stockade portion of the Stockade-athon at