Comments by dagiacalone
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.
Posted on May 13 at 10:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)
JoeK, Is it your idea of good leadership for our elected officials to jump on a bandwagon without kicking the tires and peeking behind the rosy promises? If no one is allowed to speak out against a bad idea, or at least urge caution and raise questions, without a viable alternate plan, you'd have a lot more free time. Should we automatically accept any large project willing to come to Schenectady because we want our taxes to be lower (even though there is never any guarantee that taxes would go down)? Maybe we could have a Stockade Maximum Security Prison, or Goose Hill Garbage and Nuclear Waste Dump.
How many net jobs will be produced by a casino? Would they be quality jobs that go to Schenectadians? What competing "leisure" and tourist businesses that have stuck it out in Schenectady will go under or move to the suburbs? Check out the unemployment rate in Atlantic City over the past few decades with its casinos. It is consistently higher than the county around it and the entire state of New Jersey. Also please look into crime rates around the casinos and in towns along major roads leading to the casinos, and visit the neighborhoods beyond the casino district to see if they are thriving. Also, you better call ahead before heading out to eat at any Atlantic City restaurant that existed before the casinos arrived.
Schenectady is not so desperate that it needs to risk the quality of life of its people on a big gamble like a casino, which we cannot wish away once it arrives, no matter how many problems it creates and promises fail to come true. What is it worth to you in reduced taxes, if Schenectady continues to be known for what it used to be, and is saddled with the image of a city with so little hope it risked its future on being just one of numerous casino towns within a two or three hour drive?
Posted on April 30 at 9:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Seeking or giving support for a Schenectady casino without even knowing the identity and plans of the Applicant seems rather risky. And, accepting at face value the glowing expectations of our professional development cheerleaders and of business leaders planning to partner with any casino, is an even bigger gamble.
When estimating or anticipating benefits from a casino, we need to keep in mind that a stand-alone casino draws far fewer people from outside the area than a resort-style casino. The NYS Gaming Task Force Report to the Governor (1996) did a close analysis of market areas and segments, and pointed out that most regular customers would be coming from a primary zone of up to 25 miles away and would not need to stay overnight; they would, however, be spending money that would be part of (that is, competing with) the regular local leisure market.
Customers from the secondary zone come from 25 to 75 miles away and are expected to come less often that those in the primary zone. The Report assumed "that only a few of the secondary zone people (15 percent) would be staying the night in the immediate area." Customers from the tertiary zone of 75 to 150 miles would come "much less frequently", and only 35% would stay overnight. The Task Force Report also noted that the potential customer base is reduced by having other casinos within the 150-mile area that is the "limits of a realistic market size for a casino."
We also need to know what kind of tax deal Mr. Gillen and Metroplex, the City and County plan to offer an applicant, before counting revenues that would reduce the tax burden of Schenectady tax payers. And, to remember that property values going up could mean higher property taxes for individuals that offset any predicted budget cuts.
The Task Force Report also notes that "[C]asinos in urban areas should be concerned with the potential for prostitution, panhandling, pick-pocketing and purse snatching. Urban casinos would be adversely affected by unsafe urban environments, so that more resources would have to be devoted to maintain order and protect citizens from street crime." (at 219) In addition, "Traffic-related problems, including drunken driving, road congestion, stranded motorists, parking lot accidents, and automobile break-ins, were also viewed as more prevalent." (at 217)
Moreover, pathological gamblers "will likely commit additional income-generating crimes", and "Larceny, embezzlement, check forgery, loan fraud and tax evasion are thought to be the most common crimes."
Finally, before neighborhood leaders announce their support, they should look at the Nov. 2013 election vote on the Casino Proposition. For example, 55.8% of people who voted on that Proposal in Schenectady District 2, which is comprised solely of the Stockade and East Front St. neighborhoods, voted against having any casinos in upstate New York.
Posted on April 26 at 11:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)
In other cities that wanted to experiment with using variable rates that depend on demand for parking spaces, or that wanted to delegate the power to a Mayor or commission rather than the City Council to set rates, they 1) looked at their entire parking and meter law in order to make sure the pieces fit together; 2) set guidelines and stated goals for rate-setting, so that the delegation of the legislative power would be legal and the rates set would be consistent with city council policy; and 3) often wrote amendments that were several pages long in order to assure that all necessary topics were included. Good luck finding any discussion of that topic by our City leaders.
In Schenectady, they spent months futzing around and ignoring both the illegality of the delegation to the Mayor and the weakness of revenue expectations, and came up with an amendment that was one sentence long and had a typo (which they included even after the typo was pointed out), with no guidelines other than setting a $2 maximum.
Apparently, no one in the Mayor's office or the Corporation Counsel's office, nor on the City Council thought it was his or her job to read the relevant parts of the City Code (and NYS law) and to write a law that made sense, despite the importance of parking rates to attracting people downtown and to revenue generation.
Besides the requirements in the Code for the closeness of a meter to a vehicle, common sense suggests that our weather conditions could often make having to walk to a kiosk and then back to one's car quite difficult for some members of the public.
Posted on April 23 at 8:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Proof of the need for local minimum wage legislation: A housing report discussed in detail in yesterday's Washington Post (April 22) says that to afford the rent and utilities for a "modest" one-bedroom apartment, a person working a 40-hour week would need to make, for example, $14.42 an hour in Albany, Saratoga and Schenectady Counties, $25.17 in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, $10.96 in Erie County (Buffalo), and $9.81 in Allegany County.
Posted on February 26 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)
This is a victory for every New York State resident -- present and future -- who believes our state environmental review laws must be taken seriously and not treated like a joke, which zoning and planning boards and Supreme Court justices around the State have been doing for years. I hope the Appellate Division and Court of Appeals will have the opportunity to affirm the ruling by Judge Devine that “The failure to strictly comply with requirements set forth in SEQRA must result in the law’s annulment." And, I hope that other judges who have been rubber stamping even the most irresponsible and facetious SEQRA rulings by local boards will pay attention and start doing their job, which is to ensure that local boards follow SEQRA requirements.
Posted on February 15 at 8:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Despite the storm, about two dozen pink (plastic) flamingos returned to Lawrence Circle in the Stockade for Valentine's Day, reviving a fun and romantic Stockade tradition. Check out the colorful display at
From: Area digs out yet again
Posted on January 24 at 9:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)
"There would also be a protected lane for walkers and bicyclists to connect bike and hike trails on each side of the river." Interesting. For 40 years, walkers and bicyclists on Western Gateway Bridge were protected from traffic by both a shoulder and a guardrail. Now, after the newly competed "rehab", they are "protected" by only a curb, although more and faster bicycles are expected on the new ped-bike connector pathway.
NYS DOT Regional Director Zhou insists that having only a curb on the high-speed bridge is no different than with sidewalks on City streets and that the WGB sidewalk users are safer than before. Since that is DOT's idea of putting safety first and protecting sidewalk users, I suggest that the public remain vigilant and local leaders raise their voices early and often.
Posted on January 17 at 11 a.m. (Suggest removal)
p.s. I apologize for posting a broken link yesterday. This link to "suns along the Mohawk" will work: