Tuesday, November 21, 2006

GettysBLOG: Get Ready for the Casino


It’s been a while, so let’s catch up quickly. The local election for State Representative to fill the seat formerly held by the ejected and ethicless Steve Maitland was won by Republican Dan Moul over our endorsed candidate Patrick Naugle. For red county Adams, Naugle almost pulled it off. But this was a referendum on the future casino in the Gettysburg area. And if you think for one moment David LeVan was going to allow Moul to lose you are dead wrong.

On the night of the primary, Moul was photographed (for the Gettysburg Times) celebrating in LeVan’s biker bar, The Pike, on Baltimore Avenue just south of Cemetery Hill. LeVan doesn’t own the place, but he might as well, as he and his biker pals have taken it over. LeVan was featured prominently in the background celebrating with “his man” Moul.

A last minute mailing purportedly done by the State Democratic Party showed an edited version of that photo, with both Moul and a smiling LeVan, and the caption, “Don’t let Dan Moul gamble with Gettysburg’s future”, or words to that effect. A hue and cry went up from the Moul campaign. Naugle, who apparently did not authorize the mailing, had no choice but to condemn the mailing even though its essence was essentially correct.

Despite protestations to the contrary, LeVan backed Moul all the way. While he may not have put money directly into his campaign, it is likely that at least he saw to it that Moul received money from the LeVan circle of friends and supporters. LeVan NEVER passes up an opportunity to grease the skids for his own benefit.

[Note: We continue to call for a boycott on all things LeVan, including Battlefield Harley Davidson, Just Jennifer, and the eponymous performing arts center at the Majestic Theater, and all the assorted “rides” and bars, and bar fights he and his biker pals engage in. While we are at it, we might as well add the Crossroads Casino, soon to be renamed the Gettysburg Casino. It’s coming folks. Brace yourselves for another BOHICA!]

As we mentioned above, the local election was a referendum on the Casino Project. Both sides got out the vote, but LeVan was able to get out more. It was close, especially for Adams County, which seldom has two Democrats to rub together. Usually there are more Greens than Dems. But make no mistake about it, Adams County is a solidly red county. Moul should have won by three times the margin he did. But the race was simply not partisan except in name only. Unfortunately, Republicans voted the party ticket. LeVan was counting on that.

There were other factors involved in our coming to the conclusion that the casino is a sure bet for Gettysburg. Over a year ago we called [repeatedly] for the many groups that rose in opposition to casinos locally around the state to band together to support a movement in the General Assembly to repeal the Gambling bill. Lawsuits would not kill it as the fix was in already in the courts, tied inexorably to the Pay Raise issue by dint of identical methods of passage. Local opposition was not enough: it could kill one or two projects, but not all, and each local one killed increased the odds of another one getting a license. For example, the withdrawal of the casino proposed for the Limerick area was a combination of common sense and public and official pressure – very few locals supported the proposal. When it died, odds became more favorable that Gettysburg would receive a licensed casino because the competition was reduced for the two free standing casinos; hence, the double edged sword of local opposition working against all other casino opposition groups.

An effort was made to unify the groups; however, it remained unfocused, and appeared to only be a central clearinghouse of information, rather than offering direction on how to make the fight statewide, and get local groups pushing their Representatives in the General Assembly to sign on to the repeal legislation.

That movement was the ONLY shot to solve ALL the casino groups’ issues. And it was doomed to failure because of a lack of support from the Gettysburg area, which refused to go statewide in addition to its well publicized local efforts, and the lack of direction from the one group that tried to centralize the effort. The Gettysburg opponents had something that no other local anti-casino group had: International support and recognition for their efforts. They could have parlayed that into a statewide effort, instead of the counter productive NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) efforts. Gettysburg was the first group to rise and it got coverage literally from all over the world. Sadly, they refused to see this, and lacking their very visible support, the statewide effort failed.

Not wanting the expansion of gambling is not the only reason to have opposed the legislation, either. The manner in which the Bill was passed in 2004, identically to the sneaky way the Pay Raise was passed in 2005, was highly unconstitutional, regardless of the decisions and rulings of the State Supreme Court. That much would be obvious to anybody with a second grade reading level or higher. Secondly, the bill contained such miserably worded language it has had hundreds of modifications proposed, and many adopted even before the first token was dropped into a slot last week. The bill still contains many areas that are problematic, not the least of which is the arrogant usurpation by the Gambling Board, on the arrogant authorization of the General Assembly and the Governor, of local zoning laws. Finally, the members of the board are political appointments. In other words, the fix is already in. The casino proposals that will receive licenses were already decided long before the first appointee was named. The appointments were politically placed to insure those decisions.

Repeal could have stopped it. Repeal could have also sent the gambling lobby packing, instead of corrupting our General Assembly and co-opting the legislative process by removing it from the hands of the citizenry. That graft and corruption has now spread deep into the party hierarchies of both major parties. Its influence will be with us for decades…or longer. Thank you Ed Rendell. You are the Typhoid Mary of government officials for bringing gambling upon us in this fashion.

So there you have it folks. Money wins over principle. The voters have spoken. The Gambling Control Board has only to look at the results of the election in the 91st Legislative District to confirm that opposition to the casino project there is in the minority, despite all the independent polls to the contrary.

Be ready Gettysburg citizens, for your early Christmas gift, as licensed glitz and legalized theft comes to Gettysburg. BOHICA!

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

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