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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Board Member Doubly Confused

Been meaning to mention something that I heard during the public comment hearings last week. Honestly didn't have a chance to watch most of the three days, but happened to catch this: A speaker who expressed revulsion towards casino gambling in general drew a rebuke from a member of the location board. I think I know who the speaker was, but they were all off-camera, so I won't venture a guess as to who he (which certainly gives away nothing) was. Anyway, the location board member pointed out that the question of whether or not there should be casinos is not the question here. That has already been decided, he pointed out, with the measure being approved twice by the voters, and once by the legislature.

Of course, he had that backwards. The legislature has to pass a constitutional amendment twice, after which it goes before the voters, once. I don't think that's a small point. For one thing, c'mon man, these guys should know that! This board seems to be earnest, but from time to time they have displayed befuddlement or ignorance of basic points. I don't really feel as if they have dived into all of the background and facts as much as they should have. Another example of that is the fact that they had to be told by an East Greenbush opponent to go and visit the site. Really, they should have already made inspections of all of the proposed sites, if they were really doing this right. Instead of cramming the three public comment sessions into three days, they could have taken a day (or two in the case of the Hudson Valley region) to go check them out....and maybe chat with residential and business neighbors-to-be who maybe couldn't travel to Albany or Ithaca or Poughkeepsie to state their case, for or against.

Anyone who truly believes that the voters approved this thing twice is giving more weight to the idea that the people are for this than is warranted by the one vote based on biased ballot language, and carried in part by support in areas not immediately affected, like NYC. And it's also interesting to consider what would have happened if indeed the voters needed to approve this twice and the second vote was set for November. Assuming that the ballot language would be stripped of advocacy, now that good government groups are hip to that scam, and considering all of the much-publicized bankruptcies in Atlantic City (as well as the declines in the racino business in the state), I would think that a decently-funded opposition campaign would have had a decent chance of success, don't you?


1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. I heard the testimony and can corroborate this statement:

"Anyway, the location board member pointed out that the question of whether or not there should be casinos is not the question here."

The board member is wrong! The location board has the authority to issue UP TO four licenses, and could in theory issue NO licenses. The legislature and the voters may have authorized the licensing of casinos generally, but whether or not there ultimately should be any casinos in NY is still up for debate, particularly in light of developments in NJ since the referendum last fall, and the board has the power to nix the whole idea. That's highly unlikely, but it's still possible.