Tuesday, January 31, 2006

89: "A Call For Official Action"


Close friend W. G. Davis over in Gettysburg has written to the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett. He has also sent the same letter, an open letter, to the Gettysburg and Hanover newspapers. Here is the letter:

An Open Letter to the Pennsylvania Attorney General:
The Honorable Tom Corbett, Harrisburg

Mr. Attorney General,
I am a taxpaying citizen of this Great Commonwealth. I am formally and directly requesting that you file charges of "Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received", and/or "Theft by unlawful taking or disposition" in Commonwealth Court against all members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the Pennsylvania Courts, and the Pennsylvania Governor's office who have illegally retained money collected under the now repealed pay raise passed by the legislature in July, 2005.

It is my belief that those who have thus far refused to return the money that the legislature repealed in good faith last November, are in violation of the criminal code of Pennsylvania.

Thank you,

William G. Davis
Gettysburg, PA

Here’s hoping it does some good. Shame and guilt have failed to register on these crooks, perhaps a criminal complaint will do the job. That’s one way to pry them out of office!

Sharpen up your resumes, you clowns, the Circus is hiring down in Florida where it winters!

“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!”

GettysBLOG

“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.”

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, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

88: “Seeing the Light”


The Hartford Courant is the oldest daily newspaper in the country, and in fact, it proudly claims to be “older than the nation”. They began publishing in 1764, and have made every daily deadline since then. That’s quite a legacy.

A recent article and accompanying editorial in their online (and print) edition caught GettysBLOG’s eye. The Courant sent a reporter and a photographer to Gettysburg to find out what’s going on with the proposed casino here. There is interest because of Connecticut’s own casinos, principally, Foxwoods.

The article was written by Courant Reporter Rinker Buck, and was published as part of their NE Magazine. GettysBLOG regrets the inability to publish the accompanying photos taken by Photographer Richard Messina, but anyone wishing to see them can go to the following link for the article, "The Second Battle of Gettysburg", and click on the link in the Photo Gallery box on the right side of the page.
The Photos are well worth seeing. Here is the article, reproduced here with the permission of the Courant:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Second Battle Of Gettysburg

By RINKER BUCK
Photographed by Richard Messina

January 22 2006

GETTYSBURG, PA. -- As it moves into retirement, the Baby Boom is leaving one uncontestable mark on American life: the proliferation of casino gambling. Debated a generation ago as the start of a slippery moral slope, casino gambling has become a pervasive feature of our economy.

Starting from a remote, desert enclave in Nevada in the 1950s, commercial and Indian gaming enterprises have grown to a network of more than 300 casinos in 24 states. More than 60 million Americans now willingly part with upward of $50 billion a year at the nation's gaming tables and slots.

Thoughts like these may not ordinarily strike a visitor standing atop Little Round Top on a crisp winter afternoon, as the setting sun casts orange and purple reflections on one of America's most exquisitely preserved battlefields. But the spread of casino gambling and its impact on America - in places both sacred and profane - is now an unavoidable subject in this serene southern Pennsylvania town. In what has been called "The Second Battle of Gettysburg," an epic struggle over the spread of legal gambling has been raging here for months.

Gettysburg's - and Pennsylvania's - troubles began in 2004, when the administration of Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell began worrying that proposals to introduce gambling in neighboring Maryland and New York put pressure on Pennsylvania to do the same or lose potential revenues. (New Jersey and West Virginia had already introduced gambling.)

In July that year, in a dead-of-the-night vote that caused a furious political storm, the state legislature passed Act 71, allowing up to 61,000 slot machines at 14 locations across the state, most of them at existing pari-mutuel racetracks. Two stand-alone betting parlors in existing tourist areas were authorized, inviting a scrum of local real-estate entrepreneurs, out-of-state gaming companies and politically connected investors to propose casinos everywhere from the Poconos to western Pennsylvania.

Both of Connecticut's gambling behemoths are planning to invest in the Pennsylvania boom, mostly to protect themselves from losses in revenue if Northeastern gamblers are diverted to the new Pennsylvania gaming spots. The Mohegan Tribe, which purchased the Pocono Downs racetrack in 2004, is assured of one of the licenses and is now upgrading an aging horse track and transforming it into a small Mohegan Sun. The Mashantucket Pequots, who own Foxwoods Resorts Casino, recently applied for a license to open a slots parlor in downtown Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board will choose from among the eight proposals for the stand-alone slots parlors and award licenses later this year.

Gettysburg's entrant is David M. LeVan, a Gettysburg native and local business hero. His involvement in this scramble has surprised and divided the town, where historic preservation and protecting the community's tourist environment are perceived as next to godliness.

LeVan returned to this small town of 7,400 people in 1998 to enjoy the modest fortune he earned as chief executive of Consolidated Rail Corp., opening a Harley-Davidson dealership and throwing himself at civic efforts in town. Among other accomplishments, LeVan, as chairman of the board of his alma mater, Gettysburg College, presided over a $100 million capital improvement at the school, helped restore the train station where Abraham Lincoln arrived to deliver the Gettysburg Address, and raised money for the revival of a downtown theater.

He also sold 45 acres of family land to a group planning a Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum near his restored Victorian farmhouse on Gettysburg's Baltimore Pike, and he is helping raise money for the project.

Although he tools around town on a Harley with his ponytail blowing in the breeze, LeVan was the last person most residents expected to join a group of Harrisburg investors who propose to build a 3,000-slot parlor on 44 acres along Route 30 east of town.

The group, called Chance Enterprises, announced in April 2005 that its Gettysburg Gaming Resort and Spa would include a four-star hotel with 224 rooms and a 30,000-square-foot spa. Last fall, after opposition mounted to the project - particularly over the exploitation of the Gettysburg name in promoting the development - Chance Enterprises members announced that they were changing the name to Crossroads Gaming Resort & Spa. A subsidiary of Wall Street investment giant Morgan Stanley has pledged $80 million in backing for the $300 million project.

"They [Chance Enterprises] were looking for someone locally to bring credibility to their proposal," says LeVan. "My immediate reaction was twofold. I could see the real potential from the economic impact, but I also recognized the potential for the emotional debate that takes place over the pros and cons of gambling. ... I take the view that gambling is just another form of entertainment."

But gambling as just another form of entertainment did not mesh at all with Gettysburg's image of itself.

Susan Star Paddock, a psychotherapist and professional coach who lives on a 130-acre farm near the battlefield, was immediately opposed to LeVan's plans when she heard about them last spring but initially doubted the depth of local concern. Her husband, Jim Paddock, is one of the founders of an Adams County land conservation group, and together they helped organize meetings of anti-casino residents last spring and summer.

"It was standing room only at those meetings, which is when it became clear to us just how much opposition there was," Susan Paddock says. "This is the place where the decisive battle was fought making our nation free of slavery. This is where the Union was confirmed and Abraham Lincoln delivered the most famous speech in the world. Gambling just didn't fit on this hallowed ground, and it was amazing to see how many people here shared such strong values. Adams County was full of people who valued history and the family-friendly environment that surrounded this battlefield."

By the early summer, Paddock had been named head of a lively and well-organized anti-casino group - No Casino Gettysburg - that has pursued a two-pronged approach. While organizing local citizens opposed to Chance Enterprises plans, No Casino Gettysburg has also acted as a local clearinghouse for a broad array of national groups that have campaigned against the Crossroads casino, elevating the battle to a level that is difficult for one group of local investors to fight.

To date, the gambling proposal has been opposed by the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, 36 local churches, the faculty at Gettysburg College and 70 local businesses. Four well-funded national groups - including the Civil War Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation - have come out against the Gettysburg casino, as have both of Pennsylvania's U.S. senators and the local congressman. The National Council of Churches is also opposed.

Even Rendell, who signed the enabling legislation, said during a September 2005 television appearance, "I wouldn't want [a casino] anywhere close to the historic area of Gettysburg." Rendell has reiterated his opposition to gambling in Gettysburg in subsequent interviews.

According to the Rev. Tom Grey, a former U.S. Army infantry captain, United Methodist minister and field coordinator of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, "It's very appropriate to call this the second battle of Gettysburg because when the Union general [John] Buford arrived in Gettysburg on the first day in 1863, he immediately perceived that he had to commit to hold the high ground along Seminary Ridge.

"That's exactly what Susan Star Paddock and her group have done now," Grey continues. "We've found in fighting these casino gambling proposals all over the country that if you start reacting to these predatory investors, you lose. You have to define the terms of the battle first. Paddock and her group have been very good at defining this as a national issue revolving around the point of what kind of community Gettysburg should be."

The outpouring of national support for her group has dramatically changed Paddock's perception of the community she has lived in since 1993.

"There was just this huge amount of interest in this story as soon as we organized, which we couldn't believe at first," Paddock says. "We began to realize that, next to their own hometowns, Gettysburg is one of the most beloved towns in America for so many of its visitors. It comes from reciting the Gettysburg Address in school and studying the Civil War. People just have this instinctive reaction - Gettysburg and a casino in one thought is just repulsive. We still don't understand how these casino investors didn't instinctively see this themselves before they announced their plan."

LeVan dismisses this criticism as so much blue-nosing by opponents who simply don't understand the distinct business advantages of introducing slots to a heavily traveled area where visitors have free time on their hands after an afternoon of heritage tourism.

"A lot of the people in the opposition have been quite self-righteous and personal in their attacks on me," he says. "The opposition is based on an anti-gambling moral bias. In my opinion, that debate already occurred when the state of Pennsylvania enacted legislation allowing gambling."

In fact, Paddock and her new best friends in the national battlefield preservation and anti-gambling movements have marshaled many convincing arguments that the economic benefits of the proposed gaming operation don't begin to outweigh the known consequences of establishing gambling: unimaginable traffic snarls, gambling addictions within a local population that hadn't experienced it before, crime and a rise in personal bankruptcies.

As part of its application for a casino license, Chance Enterprises has commissioned an economic impact study by a George Mason University economist who projects that the $300 million project would create 3,052 new jobs in the area. New business activity would generate an estimated $148 million of increased spending, and the Gettysburg Area School District would realize more than $2 million in tax revenue. Most important, the casino investors say, the new gambling hall would attract 3 million visitors year-round to Gettysburg, evening out a now-seasonal tourism industry in which most of the 1.8 million visitors come in the summer months.

In short, gambling would more than double the number of tourist visits to Adams County, extending its existing business into the winter months and filling hotels at exactly the time that traditional "heritage tourists" are not visiting the battlefield and downtown shops.

But the real question goes beyond how much gambling would change the historic qualities of Gettysburg. How much would new gambling business pillage existing tourism?

Figures produced by the Civil War Preservation Trust show that the various Gettysburg battlefield attractions, museums and local businesses support 2,653 local jobs and generate $17 million in state and local taxes. Overall, Gettysburg's 1.8 million visitors generate $121 million annually in retail spending.

Earl L. Grinols, of Baylor University economics professor, is nationally recognized for conducting studies that measure the benefits and costs of introducing gambling. He likens Gettysburg's situation to Branson, Mo., the town with dozens of country music theaters that in 2004 rejected a gambling proposal because it would too dramatically alter the town's existing image and probably economically detract from its music franchise. (Barbara Ernico, one of the investors in Chance Enterprises, has visited the Vicksburg, Miss., battlefield area and argues that riverboat gambling in that area has not adversely affected that Civil War site.)

"In a place like Gettysburg, where you already have a lot of tourists coming in, how do you know that the casino won't just cut away at the existing base?" Grinols asks. "You would need to create some economic models to specifically measure this, but they would probably show that you would only be cannibalizing existing tourist revenues by introducing gambling."

Grinols points out that most studies of gambling show that "regional convenience" gambling parlors like the proposal in Gettysburg draw a high percentage of customers from a radius 35 to 70 miles away, drawing most of their money out of the local population. A high percentage of these revenues, Grinols says, comes from "addictive and pathological" gamblers who now have a local opportunity to play the slots.

Grinols also rejects the argument that opponents who cite the "hallowed ground" value of a location like Gettysburg are making a weak argument that appeals to the emotions instead of hard economic sense.

"The `hallowed ground' argument is not specious," Grinols says. "Abraham Lincoln went there and called it that. People misunderstand what is economic. Anything that enhances the well-being of human beings, that is valued by human beings, is economic. So, by destroying what the conception of Gettysburg is, we've destroyed economic value."

No Casinos Gettysburg has drawn a great deal of its national following from the visceral response outsiders have to the idea of introducing gambling to such a recognized national landmark. At the height of the summer tourist season last year, Jim Paddock often helped his wife man tables set up downtown to collect petition signatures against Chance Enterprises' plans.

"We've literally had people come up to us on the street, " Jim Paddock says. "They say , `Oh no, don't let them do that here. We're from Connecticut and we have Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. We've seen what a casino does to a town.' "

In 1863, Washington, D.C., figured prominently in the development of the battle at Gettysburg because Confederate General Robert E. Lee marched north in an attempt to either destroy the Union forces or slide around their left in order to harass the capital city along the Potomac. Washington figures just as prominently in the second Gettysburg go-round.

The exploding suburbs of the Beltway area - some of them only 45 minutes from Gettysburg - need to relieve pressure by pushing north. Lower land prices in southern Pennsylvania and the fact that the state doesn't tax pensions has led to an explosion of 55-plus retirement communities. Semi-rural Straban Township just outside Gettysburg, where the Chance Enterprises casino would be built, faces the prospect of some 19,000 new homes going up over the next 10 years, according to a consultant presenting a recent "land use assumptions" report to the community.

"That's exactly why we're building this casino" says Chance Enterprises partner Barbara Ernico. "The township is already booming with all this new building," she said, and tax revenue generated by the casino would fund the required additional town services and police support.

But there's considerable evidence that this classic developer's argument - building begets more building to pay for the services an expanding town can barely afford - isn't working in Gettysburg.

Faced with the opposition of Pennsylvania's governor, the state's congressional delegation, powerful national preservation groups and what appears to be the majority of local residents, the Crossroads casino is not given much hope of winning a state license from the State Gaming Commission.

And, as in 1863, most residents in town look forward to the battle of Gettysburg just being over. They vow not to exact revenge from the enemy once the smoke has cleared.

Dean A. Shultz is a well-known and loved Gettysburg surveyor, a battlefield tour guide and a founder of the Land Conservancy of Adams County. He grew up just down Baltimore Pike from David LeVan, knows him well, and has vocally opposed his neighbor's plans for a casino.

"Oh, look, let's just get it straight - we all like David LeVan quite a bit," Shultz says. "He's a local boy who left town, made his money, and then came back and did a lot to preserve this town. How or why he got tied up in this casino business we'll never figure out. But I just figure he'll be riding by on that motorbike of his and finally figure out that this gambling project isn't good for us, or him."

Rinker Buck is an NE magazine staff writer.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I doubt the reader will be able to find a more honest appraisal of the situation in Gettysburg regarding its proposed casino.

Newspaper editors are often portrayed as extreme, heartless, or even worse, political. We seem to think we might have found one different from the stereotypical News Room Editor. Jennifer Frank wrote a companion editorial to Rinker Buck’s superb article above. Here is that editorial, reproduced with permission of the Courant. Ms. Frank’s article can be seen at the online Hartford Courant NE Magazine site at "The Final Resting Place".

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Final Resting Place

By Jennifer Frank

January 22, 2006
As writer Rinker Buck began work on this week's cover story, the subject matter seemed to me to both expand and deepen. We started with, merely, the idea of a casino in Gettysburg, Pa. The not terribly witty quips quickly flew around the office, about the Pickett's Charge Motel and the Robert E. Lee Dunkin' Donuts across the street from the George G. Meade Starbucks.

But the whole concept and tone of the story changed, at least to me, when Courant photographer Rich Messina returned from several days in Gettysburg and we saw his pictures. Photos do that, of course. When the abstract becomes concrete, it's harder to look away, harder to look past what's real, harder to joke. So we suddenly saw the site that was the subject of Abraham Lincoln's most famous speech, an address inspired by the ungodly number of deaths on those extraordinary battlegrounds. We stared at those fields and monuments to people like Lee and Joshua Chamberlain, and at places like Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top. They seem emblematic of so much more.

Many students of American history assert that it was at Gettysburg, in our bloodiest conflict, that the fate of our country was determined. If so, the end of American slavery can be traced back to what happened there over those three terrible days in 1863. With the Emancipation Proclamation, and the end of the Civil War two years later, our country finally had the potential to assume the moral stature and character our Founding Fathers envisioned - one in which freedom could exist for all of its people.

The conflict over a casino at Gettysburg, then, as Buck writes, becomes more than a question of bringing jobs or revenue. It becomes more than the conflict between money for the state vs. the social costs of casinos, as Rick Green, the Courant's gambling and Indian affairs reporter, writes on Page 5. It becomes a matter of national identity, of what must be seen, even to the most cynical of us, as hallowed ground. Looked at in this way, a casino in Gettysburg becomes as inconceivable as poker at Plymouth Rock or baccarat at Ellis Island.

To paraphrase Lincoln's address: It is neither fitting nor proper that we should do this.


E-mail: frank@courant.com

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GettysBLOG does not know if there are single article Pulitzer Prizes, but if there are, each of these three staffers from the Hartford Courant is deserving for their work on this one project. A news organization as old as the Courant certainly ought to know its business, and this set of articles and photographs certainly proves that point. The Courant is to be congratulated on their fine work.

Being a ‘casino town’, of sorts, the good people of the Hartford area, as represented by the Courant, certainly have the practical ground on which to take a stand on this issue. The amazing thing is that from several hundred miles away, a news organization can see the realities of the casino project in Gettysburg with a clarity that all of the Crossroads investors lack.

This is THE major point that the Crossroads people are missing. They do not look at Gettysburg as ‘America’s Town’, they look at Gettysburg as a market in which they can reap great profits. And the clincher is, that in doing so, they are destroying the very thing which they are counting on to make their money.

GettysBLOG

“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.”

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, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

87: “PACleanSweep to Make Historic Announcement


GettysBLOG is always amazed and awed by courage, whenever it manifests itself. That’s why we were floored when we read the press release below. Russ Diamond at Operation Clean Sweep (and others, like Tim Potts at Democracy Rising) should be commended for maintaining the courage, integrity, and perseverance in keeping the fire stoked while holding the feet of the legislature to it. Such undaunted courage and leadership has led to a movement among the voters, and an unprecedented challenge to the legislators of our Commonwealth. All 230 members of the House, and half the 50 members of the Senate are up for re-election. A large number of them have already decided not to run. The following announcement should stun you, and hopefully, galvanize you into action. It is not too late!

PACleanSweep to Make Historic Announcement


PACleanSweep Candidate Announcement
Monday, January 30, 2006, 11:00 a.m.
Capitol Rotunda Harrisburg PA

ANNVILLE, PA [01.26.06] - PACleanSweep will make history next week when it introduces over 70 candidates for the Pennsylvania General Assembly in the Capitol Rotunda. The non-partisan grassroots organization has been working to raise, interview and approve challengers to incumbent lawmakers across the Commonwealth since it was founded last July.

"A revolution is about to begin in Pennsylvania," said Russ Diamond, PACleanSweep founder and chair, "and this group of candidates is just the opening salvo. We have a backlog of candidates who are seeking our support. Each is committed to the restoration of honor, dignity and integrity to a legislature which has become self- serving, unresponsive and out of touch with ordinary citizens."

"There are currently over 140 candidates who have signed our declaration, and we continue to receive new declarations in the mail every day. There's no telling how many will be in the field for the May 16th primary."

Fallout from last year's pay raise debacle has sparked citizen action, voter outrage, an unprecedented legislative reversal and the defeat of a Supreme Court justice - a Pennsylvania first. PACleanSweep hopes to raise the largest number of legislative challengers in recent history.

In addition to submitting the PACleanSweep Declaration, the candidates to be introduced at the Rotunda have completed a personal and political profile and have been interviewed by members of the organization's Board of Directors over the last three weeks. A list of these candidates will be posted at www.PACleanSweep.com on Tuesday, January 31.

The announcement allows voters two weeks to become familiar with candidates before petitioning begins on February 14 for the May primary election. Republican and Democrat candidates for the House of Representatives must gather 300 signatures from registered voters in their party to have their name appear on the primary ballot. Senate candidates need 500.

The public is encouraged to attend.

About PACleanSweep:
PACleanSweep is a non-partisan effort dedicated to defeating incumbent elected officials in Pennsylvania and replacing them with true public servants. For more information, please visit www.pacleansweep.com.

For More Information contact:
Russ Diamond
PACleanSweep
Chair
info@pacleansweep.com

Or Contact
Jerry Kelley
PACleanSweep Media Relations Director
publicity@pacleansweep.com

70 Candidates vetted, and another 70 plus in the process. There are 228 combined seats up for grabs in both houses. That leaves 88 candidates to go for the legislature. And the call is out to make the primaries open this year, by asking the party state committees to withhold endorsements until after the primary. They likely won’t, but then, what do you expect from the machines that keep sending us bozos to fill the seats in the Capitol, on the bench, and in the Governor’s mansion. Do your part! Contact Russ at Operation Clean Sweep. Run for office!

"Let's kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!"

Now, about that Governor’s race…

GettysBLOG

“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.”

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,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

86: “Slaying the Serpent in the Garden of Gettysburg!”


[Reprinted from the No Casino Gettysburg message board, in reference to the fact that Representative Steve Maitland (R-Adams) has reworked his proposed legislation barring a casino from the Gettysburg area by narrowing its focus from “15 mile proximity to all historic areas administered by the National Park Service” to just Adams County, thus making way for projected casinos near Valley Forge, Fort Necessity, and Independence National Park.]

Let me tell you what is going on here.

Nobody except a group of very greedy investors, wants a casino near Gettysburg.

That should be abundantly clear by now. Nobody wants it, not even the casino industry, although they'll jump in with both feet if one gets approved. Until then, however, they won't touch it with a ten foot pole.

So, Maitland's bill wasn't "narrowly focused" enough. It touched too many casino projects in too many areas.

While no casino should be built within ten miles of Valley Forge (let alone 1 mile from a Nuclear Power Generating Facility!), too many powerful reps, like Godshall (Robert Godshall, R-Bucks, Chairman of the Tourism Committee in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives), who likely as not have much of their own money tied up in casinos, felt threatened by the bill.

You can probably get a good idea who stands to gain from a casino project by looking at the way they responded to Maitland's bill. Its a shame it didn't come to a public vote, since then they would be on record for all to see who had a monied interest!

While Maitland's bill stands a good chance of getting through IF it only affects Adams County, and IF the legislators can see it would not affect any other area now or in the future; it only solves ONE problem...the Gettysburg problem.

Hence,
No Casino Gettysburg has a choice to make. Do they only support Maitland's bill, or do they follow the lead of the majority of their research and ALSO start to fully support Clymer's proposed repeal legislation (Paul Clymer, R-Bucks)?

Keep in mind, with the exception of the statistics on Heritage Tourism, and the Historical aspect of the Gettysburg Battlefield area, (which would apply to those proposed casinos in Limerick, Philadelphia, and near Fort Necessity out in the Pittsburg area), the statistics and anecdotal information gathered here in the past 10 months applies just as much to every other casino project in Pennsylvania, as it does to Gettysburg.

We all know the Biblical passage from the Old Testament Book of Genesis, where Satan appears to Adam and Eve in the form of a serpent. Innocence is lost after Eve is enticed by the serpent to take a bite of the forbidden fruit.

Well, it wasn’t Eve this time, it was Ed Rendell. Rendell took campaign money from the gambling interests. Lots of money. Tons of money, literally. At the time he was Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and looking desperately for funding streams to shovel to targeted Congressional Elections. That was during the Clinton administration.

It is quite likely that Rendell then promised to get gambling installed in Pennsylvania in exchange for huge campaign contributions for his run for governor, from the same national gambling interests. It wasn’t his innocence that went down the drain, it was yours…every person in this great Commonwealth.

I put it to you thusly: Gettysburg's problems with casinos do not end with the passage of Maitland's bill (which could always be struck down later by the courts!). The only way to kill this serpent dead-dead-dead is to cut off its head and cut out its heart: repeal. Gettysburg is a part of Pennsylvania, and as such, the many negative reasons put forth by
No Casino Gettysburg apply just as much to any other community as they do to Gettysburg. In other words, it is not just a bad idea for Gettysburg, it is a bad idea for Pennsylvania.

All of you know the many ethical lapses, and downright corruptions in that legislation:

for example:

making it legal for those who passed the legislation to:

--own a part of a casino;
--to have their names hidden from the public;
--be a part of the appointment process to the Gaming Control Board.

and giving the Gaming Control Board (GCB) the authority to:

--grant contracts without a competitive bid process;
--farm out the vetting of GCB employees to a private firm over the State Police;
--grant a license to an applicant no matter what the public sentiment is locally;
--grant a license to an applicant regardless of any local zoning restrictions.

This is not legislation, this is corrupt tyranny!

In gambling, the house always wins, and the public always loses.

In Pennsylvania, the House and the Senate, and the Governor always win, and the public always loses.

It may be all about the money, but I assure you, it is not about any money that may be coming your way.

This legislation was passed in the dead of night in July, 2004, just like the Pay Raise of July, 2005. It can (and should) be repealed in the same manner the Pay Raise was repealed, and if necessary, by turning seated individuals out of office to get the message clearly to the General Assembly and the Governor. Even if it costs many elected officials their seats, and Justices, too!

GettysBLOG

“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.”

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,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

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!

GettysBLOG

“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.”

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,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Gettysburg Casino Developers Refuse Public Meeting


In response to the stepped up print and radio advertising campaign by the Chance Investors, backers of the proposed Croosroads Casino, Resort and Spa, at Gettysburg, the opposition has issued an update:

From: No Casino Gettysburg-- a non-profit, grass roots citizen action committee.
www.NoCasinoGettysburg.com
PO Box 3173, Gettysburg, PA 17325
Contact: Susan Star Paddock, Chair

Updates:

Gettysburg Casino Developers Refuse Public Meeting; Virtual Debate Rages On
On 1/11/06, after the hearings before the House Committee on Tourism for the Maitland Bill, No Casino Gettysburg Chairperson Susan Star Paddock introduced herself to Chance Attorney Kathryn Lease Simpson, and asked if Chance would participate in a public debate with No Casino, or if not a debate, appear at the same meeting to give a presentation.

Paddock reports, “I told her about our planned meeting Feb 11 at the Seminary from 9-12, and said that might be a good forum. She said she'd ask about it. Then I saw an opportunity to talk with Chance attorney Jeff Ernico, husband of investor Barbara Ernico, and a third Chance attorney, Robin Ross of Greenlee Partners of Philadelphia.

I asked Jeff the same thing I asked Lease, but he clearly doesn't need to check with anyone before answering. He seemed angry that I asked and said NO! He said they would only appear with us when invited by an "appropriate government authority" and would not participate "in a sideshow".

I asked him directly because over the last months several people have approached me with the idea of organizing a public forum for the two sides. We always say yes; Chance always says no. They will not meet the public. Even their first press conference was invitation only, and according to Mark Berg, it was the Chance Attorney Jeff Ernico who ejected him from that meeting at the Gettysburg Hotel before it began. This attitude makes their claim of caring about the people of Adams County questionable at best. I believe that listening to people is a basic way of establishing a relationship of mutual care.

I guess the "appropriate government authority" would be the PGCB's public hearings to be held in our County sometime in the future. We'll be there.

Virtual Debate Rages On
On the home page of
http://www.nocasinogettysburg.com/ we have posted

  1. Chance's unabridged "Local Impact Report".
  2. Expert Mike Siegel's preliminary notes on what is missing from the report.
  3. Keith Miller's FACTS report on social impact costs of the casino, AND
  4. Chance's Answers to Miller and Siegel with Miller's answers to Chance's comments.
This is a virtual debate, since Chance Enterprises has refused to debate or even to appear in public with No Casino unless required by an "appropriate governmental authority."

So the virtual debate continues!

Public Seminar and Citizen Mobilization Conference 9-12, Saturday Feb 11, Lutheran Theological Seminary. You’ll get ALL the facts and Figure out how YOU, whoever you are, can help.

1/10/06 Public Presentation to the Commissioners:
Thanks to everyone who sent in donations to make our presentation to the commissioners successful. The room was an overflow crowd and about 30 people could not get in. The Commissioners had set the date and time and place, and refused to offer a larger room. The room was under construction and only about 30 chairs were available. Many people stood through the entire meeting. Chance attorneys Jeff Ernico and John White did attend, stood, and took careful notes. Two posters on the message board, Bob and Sharon Walters, came in “Go Casino” t-shirts. There was good local news coverage.

Commissioners Lucy Lott and Glenn Snyder attended. Tom Weaver did not, saying he didn’t need to listen to our “propaganda” since he knew what we would say, and he is for the casino. Susan Paddock told a reporter later that he was “bought and sold”, and he threatened to sue. I amended the statement to say he had “bought Chance’s report and sold out the County.” I also said his pro-casino stance would cost him the next election, since the Susquehanna Polling and Research poll last July found the majority of Adams County voters are AGAINST the casino.

Jim Paddock presented a map we obtained from the County revealing that the site is exactly 1 mile from East Cavalry Field, and 1.46 miles from the rest of the battlefield.

Keith Miller, business consultant, and NCG volunteer, presented a report that shows that the Casino costs will be 10x the income to the County. That full report is downloadable on the
http://www.nocasinogettysburg.com/ website on “The Investors” Page. Miller’s report on the devastating social impacts for Adams County was done in consultation with two national experts, economist Earl Grinols, author of “Gambling in America: Costs and Benefits”, and psychologist Robert Breen, Gambling Addiction expert. Rhode Island Hospital Gambling Treatment Program.

The main presentation will be by Michael Siegel of Public and Environmental Finance Consultants in Washington, DC. Mr. Siegel presented a preliminary report on fiscal impact of the Gettysburg casino, identifying the weaknesses in the Chance report.

“Mr. Siegel hasn’t had time to do a complete analysis, said Paddock, but his report showed that this casino is not competitive, so would not benefit the state. His preliminary evaluation of the weaknesses in the Chance report is downloadable as a PDF file on “the investors” page of
http://www.nocasinogettysburg.com/. Incidentally, the entire Chance Enterprises Local Impact Report is available ONLY on our website as well.

1/11/06 Highlights of Hearings on House Bill 2264 1/11/06

Quite a few No Casino Gettysburg supporters attended this hearing.
Four of us testified for No Casino Gettysburg on the Bill that would keep a casino 15 miles from the Gettysburg National Military Park:
Susan Star Paddock, Chair No Casino Gettysburg, Larry Clowers, Director of Civil War Studies, American Museum of Military History, Mary Goundrey, Civil War Preservation Trust, and Keith Miller, MBA, Business Consultant.

We enjoyed testifying in the legislature, and we made an excellent case that Heritage Tourism, a mainstay of our economy and a benefit to the state as a whole, would be harmed by the introduction of a casino near Gettysburg. Heritage Tourism is down 25% in Harpers Ferry (Charles Town is 6 miles away) and Vicksburg, based on NPS data. Tourists stay away because they don’t want to battle casino traffic to get to the Battlefields, and because the casino changes the town’s character.

I don’t yet have the transcript from the hearing so all quotes are approximate.

At the hearing before the House Committee on Tourism, Chance attorney Kathryn Lease Simpson says Chance should not be penalized from putting a casino exactly 1 mile from East Cavalry field because of “an accident of geography”. She says Chance’s claim that their facility was “nearly 3 miles from the battlefield” came from a road sign on Rt. 15/30. She said there is no good road from E. Cavalry Field to the site, forgetting Cavalry Field Road where Battlefield Harley sits. She suggested that almost no one visits East Cavalry Field anyway.

She says they do intend to install the maximum number of slot machines, 5000, in stages, starting with 3000. She repeated the claim made in Chance’s Local Impact Report that visitation in Vicksburg was up, in an attempt to refute our claim that the casinos had harmed heritage tourism there and it was down. One of the Committee members, Rep. Boyd, asked her if she had any figures to back that up, since our claim that it had fallen since casinos came in was based on figures from the National Park Service. She had no figures to back up her claims. In general her testimony was extremely weak.

The Committee members expressed concern that the bill would open the legislature to lawsuits and Chairman Godshall said it would cut out other applicants like all but one of the Philadelphia City applicants, an applicant near Ft. Necessity near Pittsburgh, and an applicant 10 miles from Valley Forge. The bill is flawed, but Paddock challenged the legislators to re-draft it, saying, “we are the amateurs; you have the means to draft a bill that would pass the legislature and save Gettysburg.

Several legislators suggested re-drafting the legislation to apply only to Adams. One suggested putting in a provision to provide compensation to the investors who applied in good faith. The bill, if passed, could let Chance depart happy because they have a big chunk of money in compensation and perhaps are thus better off than if we let it go to the PGCB, who will reject it and then they get nothing.

The advantage of the bill for us is that it protects Gettysburg in the future from casino speculation. So everybody wins.

On 1/13/05 Steve Maitland said the legislators will amend the bill, because the sense of the legislature is they do want to protect Gettysburg.

--end--

GettysBLOG urges all you readers to visit the NoCasinoGettysburg website and read these documents.

GettysBLOG

“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

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, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 13, 2006

84: “Top Ten Reasons Not to Build a Casino in The Gettysburg Area”


Not to be outdone by David Letterman, Jay Leno, et al., we herewith present the top ten reasons why a slots casino should not be built in the Gettysburg area:

10. “Chance Enterprises should not be discriminated against because of an accident of geography.” Kathryn Lease Simpson, Attorney for the investment group trying to build a casino near Gettysburg, at a hearing for Representative Steve Maitland’s bill proposing a 15 mile casino free zone around historic areas. [Planning for the Gettysburg Campaign began in December, 1862, seven months before the battle.]
9. “The scare-tactics of No Casino Gettysburg would make Chicken Little proud. With utter disregard for the facts, the group continues its campaign of misinformation, providing the county with misleading statistics and half-truths in order to further its moralistic crusade against gambling. We respect honest opposition to our project but cannot sit idle while the facts are ignored.” Jeff Ernico, Attorney for the investment group trying to build a casino near Gettysburg, husband of one of the investors, Barbara Ernico, in response to an Impact Study presented to the Adams County Commissioners by No Casino Gettysburg. [ummm, if NCG is moralistic, does that make Chance Enterprises immoral? The Impact Study presented by NCG was a fine collection of facts, statistics, and anecdotal evidence supported by full documentation. Unfortunately, Chance Enterprises own Impact Study failed to reach those standards.]
8. "Chance never stated a casino would not generate social ills. What we said, is when you are looking at the big picture, they are incidental, if at all, and hardly worth putting to numbers". Jeff Ernico, Attorney for the investment group trying to build a casino near Gettysburg, husband of one of the investors, Barbara Ernico, in response to the Impact Study presented by the No Casino Gettysburg group. [What is it they call going backwards on a bicycle? Oh yeah. Backpedaling.]
7. “Crossroads will likely enhance historic preservation, local tourism and increase visitation to the battlefield, according to an analysis by Penn State University Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management Asst. Prof. Duarte B. Morais.” A published release by the Chance Enterprises Investors, responding to the NCG Impact Study. [Tell me again how a casino enhances historic preservation? After losing their money in the casino, will visitors really want to tour the battlefield?]
6. "We think we have a strong application and we have a good location." Investor and sometime casino spokesperson, Barbara Ernico, commenting in a Hanover Evening Sun article about the filing of license applications by casino hopefuls. [Chance filed an incomplete application, and still has not found a casino management company to actually run the operation. Most of the other applicants have signed casino management companies, such as Trump, Harrah’s, Boyd’s, etc.]
5. “At least four Bucks County towns and a regional sewer authority have been served with federal subpoenas seeking records detailing their financial dealings with Commerce Bank, documents obtained by The Inquirer show. The Bucks County subpoenas seem to signal an expansion of the City Hall corruption investigation into the suburbs. Last year, two former Commerce executives, Glenn Holck and Stephen Umbrell, were convicted of conspiring with then-City Treasurer Corey Kemp to trade favors and cash for city contracts. Both bankers were sentenced to more than two years in prison.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, in an ongoing investigative report on the dealings of Commerce Bank and local and municipal officials. [Several of the investors in the group comprising Chance Enterprises are connected closely to Commerce Bank in the Harrisburg/West Shore area: board members, stock owners, or close relatives of the same.]
4. "I can’t speak for the Board itself. I know what the Board is going to take into consideration, is public opinion, absolutely, community opinion. Now it can’t be the sole driver. But it can be an important factor. And I’ve said before, David LeVan, one of the movers in Gettysburg, is a personal friend of mine and a good contributor of mine. And I’ve said, my own personal opinion, is that we shouldn’t have it anywhere near a historic site. For example, I don’t want one in downtown Philadelphia, because downtown Philadelphia is Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Constitution Center. I don’t want people to bring their families, and to walk by a casino to get there. The river is perfect as a site." Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, the man who brought casino gambling to Pennsylvania, in a recent interview with Terry Madonna, for the Pennsylvania Cable Network. [This is not the first time the Governor has made this statement.]
3. "The people who make up this county have strong values and a high work ethic - I don't think there's going to be social problems. I could be wrong, sure - but if I am, there's money there to deal with it." Barbara Ernico, Investor in the group trying to build a casino in the Gettysburg area, responding to a reporter’s questions about social problems stemming from the presence of a casino. [ So, alcoholism? Throw money at it! Addiction to gambling? Throw money at it! Family bankruptcies? Throw money at it!]
2. “I have become an investor because I believe the casino will provide much needed revenue to Adams County and that the people of this community will not be harmed. They don't have to be harmed if we all work together, responsibly, to build and support Adams County.” Barbara Ernico, Investor in the group trying to build a casino in the Gettysburg area, on the No Casino Gettysburg message board. [A blatant threat.]

And the number one reason not to build a casino in the Gettysburg area:

1. "But there would be a tremendous economic benefit to the county economy. Money coming to the county can be a tremendous benefit for many programs we can't afford to do now, like open space and agricultural preservation. While there will be a slots parlor at the commercial corridor of Adams County, this project can save Adams County from unchecked, unplanned development." Adams County Commissioner Tom Weaver, on a local radio broadcast prior to the NCG presentation of their Impact Study. Weaver was explaining he would not attend the presentation because he favored the casino, and didn’t need to hear what NCG had to say. [This one speaks for itself.]

There you have it. The Top Ten reasons there should be no casino built in the Gettysburg area. Some of the statements are, well, the only word that comes to mind is “ludicrous”. And these folks want to run a $300 million slots casino!

Not in “America’s Town”, thank you!

GettysBLOG

“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.”

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, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

83: “No Casino Gettysburg presents Impact Study”


Late this morning, and stretching into the afternoon, No Casino Gettysburg presented its own Impact Study in rebuttal to that of the Investors filing for a license to build a casino in the Gettysburg Area. The Investor Group, Chance Enterprises, a group of out of town investors headed by the lone local, entrepreneur David LeVan, presented their Impact Statement at a quietly arranged meeting with the Gettysburg Chamber of Commerce, and the Adams County Commissioners before Christmas.

Here is a first hand report of today’s meeting from one of No Casino Gettysburg’s leaders:
It was standing room only.......even out into the hall. People kept coming and coming and coming. The room was too small for something like this. The presentations were well done and well presented by Jim Paddock, Keith Miller and Mike Siegel. I spotted Jeff Ernico, the attorney for Chance there early on. Later, Susan saw him and went up to him and thanked him for coming....he had to stand through the whole thing, incidentally. The seats were all taken when he arrived.

The facts and figures presented refuted the PR spin put out by Chance Enterprises. There was laughter from the audience when Keith Miller referred to the fact that Chance Enterprises expected no social ills as a result of a casino. I saw a couple of casino supporters there; I think I saw Sharon Walters, but I can't be sure of that. But other than her, if it was her, and Jeff Ernico, and maybe one or two others....the room and the hall outside was solidly anti-casino. Guess that sort of indicates how the community feels. Wonder how Jeff Ernico felt, remembering what he said to the TV cameras the day the slots license applications were brought to the Gaming Board. He said with a totally straight face into the camera, "We have community support." Which drew laughter from some of the reporters there, I understand. Not this community, you don't, Mr. Ernico. Not from what I saw today. There were folks there who have never publicly indicated how they stood on the casino. I counted 22 people who have had no connection with No Casino Gettysburg who were all making small talk against the casino. There were many more citizens I didn't know.

Susan announced that on Feb. 11 from 9 a.m. to noon, there will be a sort of mini-conference sponsored by the Lutheran Theological Seminary. She thanked everybody who had been patiently standing throughout the presentation and told them there would be plenty of seats, and plenty of room, and plenty of information on Feb. 11.

I was proud of all those people for coming today and most of them standing through the meeting.

Commissioner Tom Weaver was not present. Commissioners Lucy Lott and Glenn Snyder had no comment, and Snyder said at the outset this had not been an "advertised" meeting, so there would be no question and answer period. Well, it was front-page news in the Evening Sun yesterday, and even though there was nothing in the Gettysburg Times yesterday, there was a front page block about it today (after Jean and Dan Siderio raised Cain about nothing being in the Times the day before). So what is an advertised meeting? Oh well. It was a job well done, and obviously the community wants the straight scoop. They got it today. And there will be opportunity for them to get it on Feb. 11.

Good job, Susan, Jim, Keith, and Mike. Well done.
Bravo! Well done No Casino Gettysburg. The last thing we need is a casino sullying the atmosphere of “America’s Town”. No Casino Gettysburg is not going to let up, not for an instant, despite badgering and insults from the casino supporters, and threats from one of their investors. And let us be perfectly reasonable about this, "our town", "our community", "Gettysburg", and "America's Town" all mean the same thing here, and its not about boundaries.

The message is clear, the message is loud. The message is simple.

No casino in Gettysburg. Not in our town, not in “America’s Town”!

GettysBLOG

Not in “America’s Town!”

“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.”

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,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 09, 2006

82: “Gettysburg – America’s Town”


Frequent reference is made to “small town America”, as opposed to “urban America”, and “suburban America”. When the Main Stream Media does it, they usually find some farm community in Iowa, or someplace like Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, scene of the most horrific battle of America’s Civil War, is small town America, also. It is surrounded by peaceful farms, and abundant orchards, nestled near the famous South Mountain, which protects the east side of the fertile Cumberland Valley.

Adams County, in which Gettysburg sits, has some light industry (publishing, for example), but its economy is based on the delicious apples, peaches, pears, plums, and nectarines grown in Adams County (on 20,000 acres of orchards!), and other agriculture in corn, and wheat, and dairy products. But its economy is also rooted deeply in its history. That history was thrust on it over about a two week period in late June, and early July of 1863, when the Union’s Army of the Potomac turned back the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia, culminating in three days of pitched battles that saw over 50,000 casualties.

The American Civil War was a war which redefined the United States of America, and gave us a national identity on the world stage. It came at the height of the nationalism movement around the world. It was, in the minds of Americans, at Gettysburg that the tide was turned in the war, where Union defeats became Union victories.

The American Civil War, and the Battle of Gettysburg redefined the town of Gettysburg, and Adams County as well, for better or worse, for all time. The worse part was pretty much taken care of over the past 142 years with the ongoing removal of commercial intrusions on the Battlefield, the establishment of the Gettysburg Battlefield National Military Park, and the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Presidential Site. Administered in fine fashion by the National Park Service, GBNMP (for short) is staffed by trained historians, licensed Federal law enforcement officers, and preservation artisans, and a support staff that oils the wheels. They are constantly improving the park, and delving deeper, and deeper into its history, thus providing a clearer understanding of what occurred here, and why.

The Park has become a national shrine, bringing over a million visitors each year. It also brings in millions of dollars to the local economy.

Like it or not, the town of Gettysburg, and GBNMP are inexorably linked. While little in the way of actual combat occurred in the Borough, the battle was fought in the immediate environs of all sides of the town. One civilian was killed while baking bread in her kitchen. Homes were occupied by Confederates, and some were used as sniper positions by the Rebs. Union soldiers nearly captured in the rapid retreat through town on July 1st found refuge in civilian cellars, and sheds, and some of them had their wounds cared for while in hiding. Pennsylvania College, now Gettysburg College, and the Lutheran Seminary, and many of the town’s churches became makeshift hospitals, and the town’s people ministered to the dead and dying of both sides.

Adams County was, originally a Quaker farm settlement, part of a land grant given to a son of William Penn. It quickly became filled with German farmers as well. Eventually, James Gettys developed the area around the many crossroads, and the town of Gettysburg grew up. Adams County was a part of York County until the early 19th century, when it was split off and named for our second president, John Adams. Gettysburg was named the County Seat of Adams County. It became the haven of free Blacks and escaped slaves crossing north of the Mason-Dixon Line up to the Civil War on what is known as the Underground Railroad.

How appropriate that so many Blacks settled here, where, eventually, the greatest battle was fought in the War that ended slavery.

Because of the location of the Battle areas immediately surrounding the borough, the town can never physically grow.

In the statistics of the United States Census Bureau, and those of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Adams County lags behind, or below the other counties in the state in almost all the categories listed (average education level, for example) but has higher than average household size, higher than average home ownership (single family dwellings), and a substantially higher than average household income (though per capita income is lower than average due to the migrant workers in the fruit industry). The cost of living is lower here, as well.

What’s not to love? While it has changed since the great battle of 1863, the town has not really changed that much. Many of the town’s buildings present during the battle are still present, and in use. The hospital has modernized, the hotel has expanded, and some new businesses surround the “Diamond”, as the town square is called. It has a commercial strip along what is known as Steinwehr Avenue that basically subsists off the tourist industry. In spite of these intrusions, Gettysburg has retained its quaint charm. The train station into which President Abraham arrived to deliver his remarkable Gettysburg Address is almost fully restored, as is the house of David Wills, the local attorney with whom Lincoln stayed the night before he delivered his address dedicating the National Cemetery.

It is a small American town steeped in American history. Freedom didn’t start here, but America’s claim on Liberty was renewed and expanded here. The freedoms outlined in the Declaration of Independence were here won for those to whom those freedoms had been previously denied.

There really is no other place in the country as deserving of the title, “America’s Town”.

Say it. It rolls so smoothly, and sweetly off the tongue, it feels right, and, indeed, it is right. “Gettysburg - America’s Town”.

GettysBLOG

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,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

81: “Gettysburg Casino Lies”


Chance Enterprises/Crossroads Gaming Resort and Spa is running ads touting their benefit to the economy.

The ads are so riddled with lies and twisted facts as to qualify for fraudulent advertising.

Try lie number one:

"The casino will bring much needed jobs to the area!"

Adams County does not need jobs. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the state, and one of the lowest in the nation! It has been this way for years. It runs between 2.8 and 3.9%. It does go higher in January and February each year because of the weather, but it comes right back. And it doesn't go that high. It has been well below the national and state averages for a decade or more. Don’t, believe me? Look it up.

Or, you could visit GettysBLOG # 37, from August 6, and read this:
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor publishes a monthly statistical analysis of employment statistics by county, including the seasonally adjusted raw and percentage employment/unemployment statistics. They can be found at the County Profiles page on the Department’s website. As this little gem will attest, at 3.7 percent Adams County indeed has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the state, tied with several other counties in the region, and surpassed only by Franklin County (3.5%). The State unemployment rate is 5.0 percent, a little below the national average. Here are some comparisons:
  • The eight counties of northeastern Pennsylvania (Carbon - 5.8%, Columbia - 6.2%, Lackawanna - 5.6%, Luzerne - 5.9%, Monroe - 5.0%, Pike - 5.1%, Susquehanna - 5.0%, and Wayne - 4.4%) have an average of 5.4% for the region. Adams County is at 3.7%!
  • The eight counties of northwestern Pennsylvania (Armstrong - 6.1%, Cameron - 6.2%, Clarion - 5.1%, Crawford - 6.1%, Erie - 5.4%, Elk - 5.9%, Forest - 10.1%, and Venango - 5.9%) have an average of 6.4% for the region. Adams County is at 3.7%!
  • The five counties of the Philadelphia area (Philadelphia - 6.9%, Bucks - 4.0%, Chester - 3.9%, Delaware - 4.7%, and Montgomery - 3.8%) have an average of 4.7% for the region. Adams County is at 3.7%!
  • The six counties of the Pittsburgh area (Allegheny - 5.0%, Armstrong - 6.1%, Beaver - 5.8%, Butler - 4.9%, Washington - 5.6%, and Westmoreland - 5.5%) have an average of 5.5% for the region. Adams County is at 3.7%!
  • The eight counties of South-Central Pennsylvania (Adams - 3.7%, Berks - 4.9%, Cumberland - 3.8%, Dauphin - 4.3%, Franklin - 3.5%, Lancaster - 3.7%, Lebanon - 3.7%, and York - 4.3%) have an average of 4.0% for the region. Adams County is at 3.7!
Lie number two:

"It will be a boost to the local economy."

During construction, the crews (who will mainly come from outside the county), will add minimally to the local economy. Sheetz will do a booming business filling the pickup trucks with gas, and their drivers with coffee. The fast food joints on the strip will boom with the crews' lunches, and sometimes dinners, and they will sell a lot of egg McMuffins and coffee in the mornings.

All of those businesses are franchises, and will be sending much of their increased income outside of the area.

After construction, the casinos will import all of their management and skilled staff from other parts of the country, where casinos are already in operation. The jobs open to locals are the menial ones: housekeeping, janitorial, car hop, bell boy, waiter, waitress, busboy, kitchen help, scullery, and the people in the casinos who walk around constantly picking up after the customers, cleaning up the spilled drinks, and the drunk's puke.

They are minimum wage jobs.

As for the investors, their money goes elsewhere, also. Only one, LeVan, is from Adams County, and look for him to get out quick and take his money to Montana or wherever he has his place out west.

Thanks to Adams County's two main industries, Tourism, and Fruit/Agriculture, we have a stable economy here. It weathers outside (National/Regional) problems, and keeps perking along.

Ask yourself, why did Chance have to go to someone like Morgan Stanley for the $80 million guarantee (and it is only a guarantee...essentially a credit limit)?

That's big money, but not too big for a local bank, like Adams County National Bank. They are capable of handling that, and the money would be local. Not even LeVan could get them to sign on. There's a reason for that. Chance's only local investor is LeVan, and they have no casino management company signed on with money.

It is a bad investment. That Morgan Stanley guarantee, is probably secured by the investors' money.

Our job market and our local economy do not need the casino. The casino, and the development that the Strabaddies are fostering in their township will not aid the local economy, it will seriously hurt it. Every square yard of development is taken right from the Agriculture industry.

And "The Strabaddies" are deeply in favor of development. Who do you think their campaign contributors are?

Get your head out of that dark hole in the sand! Get going! Go to those Township meetings and hold those cretins accountable. Start recall petitions to remove them from office! Shut them down before they steal every farm in Straban Township and turn them into huge housing tracts, strip malls, and casinos.

Go to the County Commissioners meetings. Who do you think their campaign contributors are?

Hold them accountable, or shut them down. Recall them, or force them to resign.

None of your elected officials in Adams County are truly representing you.

They are all beholden to the developers, and are in the process of paving over Adams County.

Grab your neighbors, and take them to the township and county meetings. Make your voices heard!

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

“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

GettysBLOG

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,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

80: “No Casino Gettysburg’s Impact Study Announced”


In an effort to counter the patently false, misleading and dishonest claims made in Chance Enterprises so called “Economic Impact Study”, and their dishonest advertisements, the No Casino Gettysburg folks have prepared their own impact study. Here is word from Susan Star Paddock, Chair of No Casino Gettysburg:

From: No Casino Gettysburg-- a non-profit, grass roots citizen action committee.
www.NoCasinoGettysburg.com
PO Box 3173, Gettysburg, PA 17325
Contact: Susan Star Paddock, Chair
717-334-6333 / cell 717-253-1316 susan@nocasinogettysburg.com

County Commissioners, Chamber, Public to Hear No Casino Gettysburg

Chance Enterprises had time to present their “local impact report” to the County Commissioners, and now the opposition group, No Casino Gettysburg, has requested time to present their response. The public is invited to the meeting, which will be held Tuesday, January 10, 2006, at 1:30 pm in the Adams County
Courthouse, 2nd floor Commissioners Hearing Room.

The Chance “local impact report” presented on December 20 in private meetings with the Chamber of Commerce and Commissioners, said there were no social ills associated with the proposed slots casino, and therefore no costs to the County. Susan Star Paddock, No Casino Gettysburg Chairman, said, “We want the public to have all the facts, so we’ve posted Chance’s unabridged local impact report on our website.”

The Commissioners are interested in listening to both sides of the slots issue as it relates to Gettysburg and Adams County. Commissioner Glenn Snyder said, “We are interested in addressing the uncertainty of the funding which would come to the County, and how much the casino would cost the County.”

The Chamber of Commerce President Peg Weaver said she would invite their Board members to attend.

Susan Star Paddock, No Casino Gettysburg Chairman, said, “We will present solid data to counter the unrealistic picture painted by Chance Enterprises.”

The presentation will open with a report on social impacts developed by strategic planning consultant Keith Miller, MBA, in consultation with two national experts, economist Earl Grinols, author of “Gambling in America: Costs and Benefits”, and psychologist Robert Breen, Gambling Addiction expert. Rhode Island Hospital Gambling Treatment Program.

The main presentation will be by Michael Siegel of Public and Environmental Finance Consultants in Washington, DC. Mr. Siegel will present a preliminary report on fiscal impact of the Gettysburg casino, as well as identify the weaknesses in the Chance report.

“Mr. Siegel hasn’t had time to do a complete analysis, said Paddock, “but we are eager for people to hear his preliminary findings.”

Additional contacts:
Adams County Commissioners,
Lucy Lott, Glenn Snyder, Tom Weaver, 717-337-9820
Chamber of Commerce:
Margaret M. Weaver, President, 717-334-8151
mweaver@gettysburg-chamber.org

Note: The 49 page Report by Keith Miller and talking points from Michael Siegel’s preliminary report will be available on the No Casino Gettysburg website Tuesday afternoon after the meeting.

No Casino Gettysburg has remained open and above board during the sometimes nasty fight over the casino. Their courage, and resolve on this issue is commendable, and GettysBLOG only wishes that same honesty extended to Chance Enterprises people. Sadly, it does not.

Watch for an honest report on the study in the Hanover Evening Sun.

GettysBLOG

“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.”

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,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.