Letters to the Editor: No On Nassau Sands

No To Casino At Coliseum Site!
The proposed construction of a casino at the site of Nassau Veterans Coliseum in the predominantly Black and Brown community of Uniondale, New York, would be a destructive decision that could negatively impact neighboring Hofstra University, Nassau Community College, and the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Nassau. Casinos have long-term colleagues such as gambling addiction, crime, and prostitution, that are not in the best interest of the residents of Nassau County, the students at Hofstra University, and Nassau Community College. As well as the struggling cancer patients at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Nassau. This effort could rob, rape, and ruin the lives of many broken, battered, and bruised Nassau County residents, students from home and abroad, and cancer patients, fighting the forward fight to survive.
Efforts to weaken the Black and Brown vote through redistricting in America’s largest township, the Town of Hempstead, and one of America’s richest counties, Nassau County, literally adds insult to injury. The corrupt trinity of environmental racism, classism, and sexism, baptized in pure greed, wants possession of the very soul of our beloved township and county. The concerned residents of the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County must stand up, speak up, and seriously fight the forward fight for our future and survival.
-Pastor Arthur L. Mackey Jr., Senior Pastor, Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral

Bracing For Impact
The news that local leaders in Garden City voted to officially stand against the proposed Nassau County casino floated by Las Vegas Sands Corporation is music to the ears to those of us who have been saying NO all along. This is the third attempt by developers to bring a casino to this part of the county and although the pushbacks by community members have been sustained and tremendous, developers keep coming with different versions of the same thing.
Although the action by Garden City leaders is encouraging, the final decision rests with the county Legislature, and if we are to take a cue from Legislator Siela Bynoe’s (D- Westbury) letter to the Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., published in the Nassau Illustrated News, the decision could go either way based on his response. Bynoe posed the following pointed questions to the CEO:
“Provide my office with data specifically outlining the number and nature of employment that were created in similarly positioned host communities; the salary and benefits associated with each; professional development and advancement opportunities that are offered to recruits; the average duration of employment in each of these specific job titles; and the number of union employment opportunities that were created through these endeavors; identify local hiring plans that were implemented; the extent to which these goals were achieved; steps that were taken by your organization to achieve those targets.”
Bynoe asked other questions similarly along the lines of employment and employment opportunities, including opportunities for minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) and disadvantaged business enterprises. (DBE)
I will not be surprised if this is the way most politicians will decide to go: seek assurance for jobs and employment opportunities from these business people, especially since urban casinos are on the rise in the northeast. According to the data, three major urban cities – New York (NYC), Philadelphia and Baltimore/Washington, D.C., collectively opened seven casinos from 2004 to 2012. The promise of jobs and employment opportunities seems to be the lure, but critics and opposers argue that there is a symbiotic relationship between casinos and local neighboring communities that could potentially increase problem gambling and have severe economic consequences such as economic distress, homelessness, mental disorders, and domestic violence. Detractors also make the association between the proliferation of undesirable businesses such as pawn shops, pay day loans, and check cashing stores- not exactly what some see as economic development.
I will also not be surprised if Legislator Bynoe receives glowing reports to her many questions which will help her to make a decision, especially since they are in a business in which the “house” never loses. They might even throw in a few “sweeteners” as sales people often do with hard to sell products. I am under no illusion that this fight will result in the same outcome as the previous two, since there are so many heavy hitters involved; the public relations officer is former governor David Patterson, County Executive Bruce Blakeman is a major backer and chief cheerleader and I believe so is Governor Kathy Hochul. It might be akin to a David vs Goliath battle, but like David, we are not deterred and are bracing for impact but prepared for a soft landing.
-Chester McGibbon, Westbury

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