Wednesday, March 15, 2006

107: “Gettysburg Casino Blocked by PA House”

A minor step was taken last night in Pennsylvania’s road to recovery from governmental hubris, incompetence, and outright greed. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a legislative package including an amendment that would prohibit construction of a casino in Adams County under its current designation as a sixth class county, based on six year old census statistics. The amendment, sponsored by local representative Steve Maitland, passed in the chamber by a 199-0 voted.

The House unanimously declared that no such operation belonged near a heritage tourist area. The explanation why placing a casino in Limerick, Montgomery County and only 7 miles from historic Valley Forge National Military Park was not also considered for such exclusion is that there is no way found yet by the House to formulate a bill that would do so, that would not also affect proposed casinos in Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh because of the location of National Historic Parks in those two cities.

The house also eliminated the right of legislators to own percentages of casinos, but inserted language restoring the right of the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board to override local zoning laws when granting licenses. The zoning override portion of the original enabling legislation was struck down by the State Supreme Court last fall. Like the rest of the package (the Gambling Ethics Bill), there is no guarantee of the future of any of the legislative package as it must now go to the Senate, and perhaps a committee to work out a format acceptable to both chambers. Then, of course, it must go to the governor.

What Rendell may do is totally a mystery. While he has gone on record as saying a casino in Gettysburg is a bad idea, he may find something in the legislation to warrant a veto of the whole bill. In other words, there may be a poison pill in the bill now, or it may be inserted later by the Senate. Nevertheless it is cause for some restrained celebration locally as this is a major step in eliminating the threat of a casino from the Gettysburg area. Still to come are the hurdles of the Pennsylvania Senate and the governor’s signature. There is also the threat of some potential litigation if David LeVan and company “do not go gentle into that good night.”

Also, the jury is still out on what happens if Adams County no longer meets the criteria of “sixth class county”. With the development juggernaut at full steam ahead in Straban Township, and other areas of Adams County, the next census will not have Adams placed that low. It is one of the fasted growing counties in the state.

As this blogger has made clear repeatedly, the casino, while anathema to the historical aura and name of Gettysburg, is not the biggest threat to the county. The run-away development in Straban, Cumberland, Mount Joy, and other townships, and in the boroughs and surrounds of Biglerville, and Fairfield, threaten to forever change the nature of Adams County and Adams County tourism, and very soon. What the casino symbolized the developers will accomplish over the next five years unless Adams County citizens start making demands of their township and county elected officials to stop it.

Finally, we will be the first to congratulate Mr. Maitland on his work if the bill goes through and if it contains no loopholes allowing a casino back in after Adams experiences its expected growth rate in the next few years. But even that is soured by his record last year. Much to his great shame and discredit, Mr. Maitland still refuses to return money received unconstitutionally and illegally from the Pay Raise of last July, even after it was repealed. Not only will Mr. Maitland keep the money illegally, he attempts to justify it by claiming he is using it to pay for his law school tuition so he can better serve his constituents. Mr. Maitland will not only benefit from retaining these illegal funds, but they will count toward increasing his retirement, and no one knows how long that will pay out. We would still like to see those who have not returned the money arrested and charged with felony theft. They should also be stripped from the legislature immediately with a loss of all rights, privileges and benefits, including retirement. No one should benefit from a crime.

Apparently Mr. Maitland has not yet passed his ethics and logic courses in law school.

In the meantime, we remain committed to Mr. Maitland’s removal from office by the electorate, along with all the other incumbents in the legislature and the governor’s mansion. We have endorsed Maitland’s Democratic challenger, Alan Henry, an Operation Clean Sweep candidate.

Along those lines, we are pleased to note that Operation Clean Sweep has fielded candidates for Governor [Russ Diamond], and for Lieutenant Governor [Gene Stilp]. More about them in an upcoming essay.

GettysBLOG

“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” --
THE CENTRIST

“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!" --GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” --GettysBLOG

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4 comments:

PennPatriot said...

How does the sweet taste of victory feel Gettysblog. Now lets push for a full repeal of Act 71. Gambling will be a ghost that will forever haunt the future of our Commonwealth.

GettysBLOG said...

It tastes pretty sweet. It'll be a lot sweeter when we kill the entire snake, not just its rattle.

Still, it's nice to win one. No Casino Gettysburg and Steve Maitland did the heavy lifting on this, so make sure you go to their websites and congratulate them.

Thanks for the comment!

GettyBLOG

Anonymous said...

PACleanSweep is NOT supporting or recruiting candidates for Governor or Lt. Governor.

Novus Livy said...

I double checked and you are correct. Clean Sweep is staying out of the statewide races.

Gene Stilp is running, and Russ Diamond may run (I certainly hope so!), but neither will be endorsed by Operation Clean Sweep.

Their credentials are certaionly good enough for me.