Saturday, January 21, 2006

85: “GettysBLOG: Call for Anti-Slots Summit!”

GettysBLOG would like to take this opportunity to welcome three allies to the statewide fight against the casinos.

It has been around for a little while, but
Valley Citizens for Casino-Free Development, in the Lehigh Valley area, is making an effort to stop the casinos entirely, by repealing Act 71.

The East Falls section of Philadelphia, located north of the center of the city, and along the east bank of the Schuylkill River, is the location of the former Budd Manufacturing plant, which once made rail and subway cars for the nation. Efforts are afoot to build a Trump Casino there. They are extremely concerned ‘…that aggravated social problems, increased crime, excessive traffic and real estate speculation may do irreparable harm to the neighborhood.’ Among other things in their area that may suffer from the presence of the casino is Laurel Hill Cemetery, which counts among its honored dead the late great Major General George G. Meade, victor of the Battle of Gettysburg, and family. Accordingly, The East Falls Community Council has established a website to fight this intrusion at the
Casino Free Zone .

Last, but not least, is the brand spanking new site at
Stop the Casinos. This shiny, slick entry is growing fast, and getting an awful lot of traffic. It’s opponent is the proposed Borgata casino next to the Limerick Nuclear Power Generating Station, ten miles from Valley Forge National Military Park. Because they got hit with this eleventh hour entry into the bidding war over the two free standing slots parlor licenses the state will be granting later this year, the Stop the Casinos folks have not been organized as long as the others, but they are not far behind in getting their message out, drafting petitions and gathering signatures, and networking with other anti-casino groups.

We have yet to make contact with the Pittsburgh area group No Dice, which has been fighting to prevent casinos there for ten years or so, since back when they casinos were only supposed to be four or five riverboats in four corners of the state and one in Harrisburg.

And of course, there is the hometown organization,
No Casino Gettysburg, that has been organized since about the same time Chance Enterprises announced their plans to build a slots palace in Gettysburg, America’s Town!

GettysBLOG would like to report how much admiration there is for the good folks who commit themselves to a fight like this. With the risks involved, this fight will likely get very nasty. The investors have much to lose. The politicians have much to lose. Neither have as much to lose as do the good citizens of this great Commonwealth. So everyday people like the ones behind these groups, are forced to become civic heroes, and dedicate large portions of their lives to this fight that should never have been needed. They are indeed, all of them, heroes.

Now, Gettysblog has some advice for the people behind these efforts:

Talk to each other. Get together, meet somewhere central, and get to know each other. Spend some time exchanging views and ideas. You all have a common goal and that is to prevent a casino from being built in your area.

Remember the basics: there is strength in numbers. If one of you is organizing a march on Harrisburg in the spring, the others should get on board, and instead of 10,000 people surrounding the State Capitol, how about 100,000?

Remember the basics: numbers count! How about modifying all your petitions to include the same basic language so they can all go to the same place as one package from across the state.

Remember the basics: in unity there is strength. A coordinated, concerted effort from across the state will reach legislators across the state, not just those in the casino target areas.

Above all, however, maintain your separate identities, because each is unique in the impact, and local situations with which you have to deal.

Try, at least try, to unify some of your efforts. GettysBLOG believes that the only sure way to stop all of these casinos from happening is to repeal Act 71 of 2004, which was passed in the very same fashion as the Midnight Pay Raise last summer. With that in mind, a coordinated effort statewide to back Representative Paul Clymer’s (R-Bucks) bill to repeal Act 71 of 2004, would put enough pressure on the state legislature to not only pass the repeal, but override any veto from the Governor. GettysBLOG believes the atmosphere in the General Assembly these days is such that there may be no better time to accomplish this. And it must be done soon, before it gets too expensive to repeal it. But it will take a very strong, concerted effort of email, phone, and snail mail contacts with state legislators to repeal this, perhaps the most ethically challenged piece of hubris-laden legislation the Commonwealth has ever seen.

At the very least you can compare notes, share experiences, save each other from going over the same ground someone else has, and share ideas.

No Casino Gettysburg cannot rely solely on the efforts of local Representative Steve Maitland, who may not survive the primary. He is vulnerable due to his refusal to repay the unvouchered expense he collected as an early advance on the pay raise that has since been repealed. Maitland has a bill in committee directing a 15 mile setback from National Historic areas, which would directly affect Gettysburg, Limerick, and possibly East Falls. If he does not get re-nominated for his seat, the bill will die with his legislative career.

However it turns out, GettysBLOG believes that a gathering of heroes such as this can only bring strength, and success.

To our readers, please do not hang back. Get involved, contact one or more of these groups and offer to help. Circulate petitions. Contact your legislature! Ask merchants in the casino target areas to place signs of opposition in their storefronts.

It’s time to stop this abomination dead in its tracks!


“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!"

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

Please remember to donate your time, talent and funds to
NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!

Remember in May! Before you vote,

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