Town of Wallkill


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See the Casino Time-Line at:
The Times Herald-Record

September 11, 2014


The New York State Gaming Commission will be holding a hearing in our region to accept live public comments on where casinos should be located. The Democratic Alliance has led a coalition for the last several months OPPOSING the placement of any casino in Orange County. The name of our ad hoc group is casiNO orange. We have explained that placing even one casino in our county will stymie economic renewal in our neighboring counties, Ulster and Sullivan, the prime locations for this form of development. Moreover, the most heavily congested areas of our county, the Thruway/Route 17 corridor, does not need this tremendous congestion.

We have the occasion to express our views on September 23 at the Grandview Hotel at 176 Rinaldo Blvd. in Poughkeepsie. The Commission will hold public comment for 12 hours, from 8am to 8pm. We intend to be present with a strong presence from our county, opposing casinos here. Signs and other forms of demonstration, like buttons or hats, are welcome. We will have a planning meeting for our participation on Friday, September 19, 2014 at 7 pm at 1 Railroad Avenue, Goshen, NY on the third floor. I hope to see many of you then.

Michael Sussman

PRESS RELEASE – casiNO ORANGE – June 30, 2014

On June 16, 2014, 40 people from our region held an initial meeting to discuss a regional approach to the placement of casinos.  The group overwhelmingly agreed on these basic principles:

1.  Casinos were intended by the State Legislature and the people who supported the November 2013 enabling referendum to assist and stimulate economic development in areas in great need of such revitalization, specifically, Sullivan and western Ulster County.  Residents of these areas have been "betting" on, and working toward, the placement of casinos in their locales for several decades.

2.  Orange County was not the intended destination for a casino and has many other development options which are viable and have made it the second fastest growing in the state during the last two decades.

3.  The sites available in Sullivan and Western Ulster County are superior to those proposed in Orange for many reasons, including: [a] they are larger sites which provide for a greater diversity of activity and make them more attractive as entertainment centers; [b] they are in less congested areas of the region and the impact on infrastructure can be handled more easily than in areas like Woodbury, Tuxedo or Harriman, where sewage capacity and scarce water supply have been issues for many years; (c) more work has been done to prepare Sullivan and Ulster sites for development and several sites in those counties are shovel-ready and can be developed quickly and [d] there is much less likelihood that the sites in Sullivan and Ulster Counties will be used for other constructive purposes than the proposed sites in Orange County and, from a regional perspective, balanced development is critical.

4.  A regional approach to casino siting is preferable than one which focuses solely on the perceived attributes of any given site; from this perspective, placing even one casino in Southern Orange County would act as a block to the success of any casino in Sullivan or Ulster County. This result would substantially compromise the purpose of casino development in the region and help the rich get richer and the poor stay poorer.

5.  Orange County will reap some financial advantage from casinos in the region. A share of the revenues generated by casinos in adjacent counties will be shared with our county.  These funds should be used to fund programs which meet pressing human needs in our County.

6.  Residents and community leaders in the region should jointly advocate a regional approach, not focus merely on what financial gain might accrue to the placement of a casino in their town.  This approach is too short-sighted and neglects the very substantial externalities and impacts which casinos may well have.

7. Likewise, placing a casino in urban areas of our county is not viable and tends to abet social problems already too prevalent in the region's cities.

Our group will sponsor a public meeting on Thursday, July 10, 2014 at Town of Wallkill Town Hall, Tower Drive, Middletown, New York. YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND and join our efforts. We intend to communicate these views to state, county and local policy-makers.  We will publicize our perspective and believe that decision-makers should be informed by the public's opinions on this very important subject.

FROM ORANGE COUNTY: Hon. Matthew Turnbull, Michael H. Sussman, Esq., Greg Winner, Dottie Winner, Madeline Shaw, Frank Carbone, Jr., Robert Zgonena, Bennett Weiss, Sue Scher, Grey Duffy, Valerie Maginsky, Jack Austin, Nan Gill-Wilson, Dante Deleo, Julie S. Raphael, Rudy LaMarr, Barbara Doty, Keith Kinneberg, Francis and Patricia Wickham, Len Silver, William Werner, Anne Horsham, John O'Malley, Vincent Ferri, Hon. Kevin Mulqueen, Jonathan and Tara Goldman, Laura Mallon, Tabitha M. Decker

FROM SULLIVAN COUNTY: Mayor Gordon Jenkins, Rochelle Marshall, Elliott and Sandra Baron, Leslie LoFreese, Valerie Budd, Maureen Goodman, Tom Nolan, Dan Brunjes, Caralina Peruchet, Iliana Peruchet, Ralph Soto, Christopher Ng, Nancy McClain, Jack Luster, Jean Galli, Donna Dunbar, Elizabeth Pedraza, Anne-Louis & Anthony Scandariato, Evelyn Gonzalez

FROM ULSTER COUNTY: Sandra & Don Oglesby, Cheryl LaSonde, Maude Bruce, Raymond Tartakoff



January 24, 2004

Honorable George Pataki

Executive Chambers

Albany, New York 1224


Dear Governor Pataki,

The Orange County Democratic Alliance has agreed upon, and now releases, the following position statement on casino gambling:



In recent weeks, the Sullivan County Legislature has debated the merits of a proposal forwarded by Governor Pataki to place five major casinos in its County. The County Legislature is slated to vote on this issue on February 3, 2005. For the reasons explained below, we strongly oppose this resolution and believe the legislature should not go along with the Governor's proposal.

Casino gambling has long been proposed as an answer to the chronic unemploy-ment and economic depression in Sullivan County. Seizing upon this history and animated by the State's need to satisfy a $10,000,000,000 judgment in favor of Native Americans seeking compensation for historic land claims, Mr. Pataki has framed this as an all-or-nothing proposition: that is, take all five casinos or I will not support any casinos in Sullivan County. This is contrary to the longstanding proposal for three new casinos for Sullivan County.


The Democratic Alliance has followed this issue with interest and offers the following:

1. Sullivan County has tremendous natural beauty and "green" resources which have, and, again, can form the basis for a strong economy. As more and more families leave congested urban areas, controlled development will allow Sullivan to house many moving west and north. This will occur in the absence of casino gambling and the building boom, already underway, will provide employment to many in the county.

2. Alan Gerry is currently building a summer home for the New York Philharmo-nic Orchestra in Bethel. His center will, we believe, be the first of many cultural resources created in Sullivan County, creating a Tanglewood in New York State. Such developments are not compatible with the proliferation of casinos which will cause untold congestion and make the county less palatable to other recreational uses.

3. In a highly electronic economy, many young professionals will likely be attrac-ted to the quality of life of Sullivan County, if it is properly promoted. More and more companies are encouraging off-site employment and exurban areas provide families with excellent opportunities to re-settle and improve their quality of life. This process will be hindered, not helped, by the placement of five casinos in Sullivan County.

4. Sullivan County towns are split on the prudence of approving the Goverrnor's plan. Those towns opposing casino gambling point to massive dislocations, in-creased pollution, congestion and taxes. The County Legislature is currently divi-ded on the Governor's proposal, though all members have criticized the governor for failing to consult with county leadership before making his proposal public. We believe that a public referendum is the fairest way to gauge Sullivan County's will and resolve. As the Governor himself has repeatedly stated that the County has a decisive role in the decisional process, the County should speak through all its residents on this pivotal issue.

5. In our judgment, if state-supported at all, casino gambling should not be con-centrated in one area of the state. Doing so only increases inefficiency and makes that area of the state overly dependent on this dubious source of revenue and vul-nerable to the negative impacts of gambling. Instead, if developed, casino gam-bling should be distributed nearer to major population centers, reducing the popu-lation's dependence on automobiles, and making it less likely that any area of the state will be inundated by the social problems long related to gambling.

6. It is dubious to resolve Native American land claims through the provision of non-Indian lands for gambling casinos. It would be far better to reach a reason-able monetary settlement with these plaintiffs or an equitable settlement which, for example, would stimulate projects affording more diverse education, job training and employment and commit monies to the full panoply of health services where Native Americans live. Native Americans continue to suffer far lower life expect-ancies than other groups in the United States.

7. Finally, the current proposals ignore the substantial impact of casino gambling on neighboring counties, particularly Orange. Whether called Route 17, "the quickway" or Interstate 86, the major artery connecting New York City to Sullivan County is also over-congested. Air pollution indexes regularly report advanced levels in southern Orange County. Significant development pressures have already altered much of the natural beauty of our county. Making Sullivan County into casino heaven will further these negative trends.

For all these reasons, we believe that Sullivan County Legislature should reject the Governor's "take it or leave it" proposition or place the matter before the electorate for a vote. The balanced creation of casinos, strategically located in the state to minimize social and environmental consequences, represents one part of a statewide economic development strategy. Concentrating such resources in one small county, which lacks the infra-structure to handle the consequences, is a recipe for chaos.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael H. Sussman
Convener, Democratic Alliance of Orange County

cc: Edward Diana, David Church, Maurice Hinchey, William J. Larkin Nancy Calhoun, Aileen Gunther, John Bonacic