Comments by dagiacalone
Posted on June 10 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Marion Porterfield and Vince Riggi should be thanked and congratulated for withstanding the immense pressure to go along with a Yes vote in order to present the look of unanimity. They did their homework, racked their brains, and searched their hearts. It is difficult to believe that the Council members who have been bubbly enthusiasts for a casino long before the details were known and constantly thereafter ever bothered to look into the real effects of an urban casino and the broken promises that come after every casino developer's pitch. The list of studies that should have been made and research done that apparently were ignored by City Hall is long enough to shame a high school dropout, much less a responsible public official.
I appreciate the opportunities the Gazette reporters have given me to express my views. But, I did think I expressed them a little more clearly than the quotation in the above article. To my recollection, I was asked which of the many concerns of opponents I shareded. I replied that the only major concern that I did not personally share was that gambling itself is immoral. I then said I believed it was not moral, and search for a less-moralistic word, and chose "ethical", to base our tax policy and desire to reduce taxes on a plan that would take so much of its revenues from the poor and vulnerable, who would gamble more with a casino right in our City. If I was less clear than that outside the Meeting room, I am grateful for the chance to do some editing here in a Comment.
Posted on June 7 at 1:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)
The County should have offered to split the cost with NYS Department of Transportation to install guardrails between the roadway of the high-speed Western Gateway Bridge and the sidewalks, which include a newly-designated, two-way, bike-ped trail segment, connecting the Scotia and Schenectady trails. County and City Planners were asleep at the wheel when DOT unveiled the plans for the Bridge, and did not raise an alarm when the recent $17 million Rehab Project was designed with no sidewalk guardrails along its curbs for the first time in 40 years. Why not correct that mistake with part of the federal grant money? See http://tinyurl.com/WGBIssues for photos and discussion.
Posted on June 1 at 4:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Mr. Tocker, It doesn't look like a referendum is possible, as the casino siting process was clearly set up to leave the question to the elected leaders closest to people and businesses that will be most impacted. Kinda makes one yearn for recall and impeachment powers at the City level.
Note: When explaining above why a County is not a Host Municipality that can give the required approval, I forgot to include the most direct passage in the Request for Applications. At page 7, it says "For purposes of this requirement, the Host Municipality of a Project Site located in a city is the city."
A cynic might think folks in the County Building and at Metroplex were lending Mayor McCarthy a helping hand for arm-twisting. Undecided Council members might have concluded over the weekend that the courage it takes to resist the Party's bullying tactics was simply not worth the aggravation: If the County could override their No vote, it would simply be symbolic and quixotic. Please let Mssrs. Erickson and Mootooveren know a no vote can indeed be worthwhile and gratifying.
Over at tinyURL.com/noalcocasino , reasons for opposing this urban casino will be collected and posted over the next two days, along with a Petition to download and sign, and information on the Anti-Casino Rally at 1 PM Saturday, June 7, at Arthur's Market, across from Lawrence the Indian, at Front and N. Ferry Streets.
Posted on May 31 at 11:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)
mezz3131, I wish I had the time to do this, too. But, it seems too important to ignore, so I am giving up a lovely weekend. As you have probably seen, the proponents of casinos have had lots of press and lots of meetings with the powers that be, and they spend millions to make their billions, so can hire pr firms and cheerleaders.
The best neutral information I have found says that urban casinos do indeed bring several kinds of street and financial crime with them. The neighborhoods nearest a casino are negatively impacted. It is a gamble I am not willing to take with my neighborhood, especially given the excessive predictions of tax revenues and the trends in many places of a significant drop-off in revenues. And, what happens when businesses not connected enough to partner up with Galesi-Rush suffer greatly and reduce staff, go out of business, or move to the suburbs.
Thanks for disagreeing without getting ornery.
Posted on May 31 at 12:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)
The City of Schenectady is the only Host Municipality that can approve a casino application. The definition of "Host Municipality" in the Gaming Commission's Request for Applications (page 9) is "each town, village or city in the territorial boundaries of which the Project Site described in an Application is located. " The County cannot supply the needed "local support" if the City fails to pass an approval resolution.
Posted on May 29 at 2:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)
I hope the appearance of a tornado in Town gives the Duanesburg Town Board, and its new Supervisor, second thoughts about letting the Town's scofflaw Planning Board grant a special use permit to Long Energy for placement of a 30,000-gallon propane tank in the Town. Duanesburg's Zoning Ordinance places the storage of explosive and flammable materials in the category of a Heavy Industrial Use, and the Ordinance allows no heavy industrial use anywhere in Duanesburg. That did not stop the Planning Board from granting the huge storage tank a special use permit under the business category of a "shop or store," although there was no shop, no personnel, and no customers or sales allowed at the bulk propane storage facility.
Long Energy brought no new jobs to Duanesburg, and surely lowered values of nearby properties. The Town Board could have taken the question of whether a tank is a store to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which should have ended the farce. It also could have refused to pay to finance a defense of the special use permit when it was challenged in court (the petitioners lost under the doctrine of laches, because the court said the nearby family had waited too long to bring their lawsuit, despite having acted within the short statute of limitations).
As for safety, the Planning Board let Long Energy place the tank 75 feet from Western Turnpike, within 200 feet of the nearest home, and near many other homes and a church. The tank also sits atop a hill with no barriers to protect it. The Planning Board said there was no danger of an explosion harming neighbors, because it never considered what would happen if there were a large rupture of the tank. It simply accepted Long's data, which only covered normal leakage from small tubes or pipes.
The Town Board should make sure no other huge propane tank or other bulk storage of explosive or flammable materials is allowed in Duanesburg, perhaps by further clarifying the Ordinance, for those who do not use dictionaries. It might also consider ways to refuse the renewal of the tank's certificate of occupancy, as it was and is inconsistent with the Town's Zoning Ordinance. Also, the doctrines of laches and estoppel would normally not apply to a governmental body wanting to remove an unlawful dangerous use that was not grandfathered in. The Board should perhaps consider bringing a lawsuit to have the bulk propane facility declared to be a dangerous inconsistent use, which must be ended. That might sound harsh to Long Energy, but a propane tank can be merely placed on the back of the same kind of truck that brought it to Duanesburg, and brought to an appropriate location.
What would have happened if that tornado lifted or toppled, or hurled a large object into, a 70-foot-long propane tank?
[Note: I was the lawyer on the appeal by the neighbors who had hoped to stop the tank, and I still wonder how it ever could have been allowed.]
Posted on May 29 at 12:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)
JIMOCONNOR: The Applicant is only required to obtain an approval resolution from the legislature of the host municipality. So, the County and Metroplex can let City Hall get a backache from posturing.
Posted on May 29 at 8:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)
It is not believable that the ardent supporters of the Casino in City Hall did not know they needed to have a resolution passed by the end of June, or had a senior moment and let it slip their minds. What is very believable is that Ms. King would be willing to look foolish in order to cook up an excuse to avoid a public hearing. She and the Mayor have been twisting the arms of Council members to get unanimous support for the Casino, in order to present the Gaming Facility Siting Commission with an image of solid support in the community for the Casino. A public hearing could, of course, reveal the size and strength of the opposition.
The leaders of the Stockade Association apparently also want to avoid any public controversy over the Casino at the close-by ALCO site, so they have decided not to call a meeting of Association members about the Casino, even though a solid majority of Stockade residents voting on the casino proposition last November said No to any upstate casino. This leaves us with very public support and cheerleading for the casino by the Association president, but no official statement or resolution by an Association chartered to represent the Stockade neighborhood before government bodies, and pledged to preserve the residential nature and safety of the Stockade.
Posted on May 21 at 10:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Mr. Kosiur [BlueEd], Asking tough question before jumping on a bandwagon is not negative, it's realistic and responsible. We would not have to be quite so negative so often, if more of our City Council members would stop being rubber stamps for the Mayor, worrying more about getting appointed or being nominated again by the Party, and started asking tough questions about proposals, and doing some actual research about facts and figures and the basis for revenue projections. When we see the Council acting like they take their jobs seriously, acting like truly elected officials with the individual and collective authority and responsibility to serve the public and not the Party, we won't have to be skeptical of their ability to make wise decisions.
Why should we believe that a City Hall that can't even put a parking meter ordinance together after a year of trying, has thought through the ramifications of hitching Schenectady's future and reputation on a casino?
Have you asked yourself what the prominent business leaders have/hope to gain from supporting this casino and whether their interests are consistent with those of less-favored businesses and the average citizen? Or, asked how big a gamble you are willing to take with the quality of life of our City, and whether there are less risky uses for that property? Mr. Galesi and Mr. Buiko certainly could not have counted on winning a casino license when they proposed the Harbor Project. So, they must have a Plan A and Plan B for making the Harbor project work successfully without sole reliance on this Plan C[asino].
P.S. Have you noticed that Rush Street and Galesi have not mentioned how many post-construction jobs the casino will generate, or estimated how many jobs non-favored "leisure" businesses will lose when their income is drained away to the casino?
Posted on May 20 at 2:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Is Rush Street Gaming a good partner for a casino and good neighbor for Schenectady? I wonder how Rush Street answers the very specific claims made against it by a citizens' group in Worcester MA. See
The webpage looks at Rush Street's record at its casinos regarding taxes, fines for gaming violations. crime, broken promises, jobs & labor, salaries, economic impact, and Neighbor relations, with footnoted links to relevant media sources.
And, I wonder what Schenectady's Casino Cheerleaders have to say about Rush Street's record operating casinos.