Wednesday, July 18, 2007

GettysBLOG: "What Fools Does Greed Make Of Men!"

A recent report in the Philadelphia Inquirer indicated a group involved with the Valley Forge Convention Center is applying for one of the two “Resort” licenses to be assigned by the state Gambling Control Board.

Forgive the exasperation, but are these morons so greed-blinded by the smell of gambling money that they failed to grasp the significance of the defeat last December of David LeVan’s attempt to impose a casino on Gettysburg? While LeVan’s project was defeated for two reasons: the Historic Heritage inspired local resistance movement, and the purely business reason that with Charlestown, West Virginia allowing table games at their “racino”, and Maryland soon to allow gambling, the business estimates provided by LeVan’s group were considered too optimistic.

The Valley Forge area, in addition to the historical heritage of the region, where America’s first army found its character, is not really the tourist mecca to the degree foreseen by the Gambling Control Board. To call it a resort is spin of the most severe degree, and flat out dishonest.

Yes, people from all over the world visit Valley Forge, but for the most part they stay elsewhere. They do not come to the region for other tourist venues, no world class amusement park, the nearest botanical gardens closer to Brandywine Battlefield State Park than to Valley Forge. The region does not draw especially well from Delaware or Maryland, and certainly not from New Jersey. So, who are they targeting, who are they counting on to meekly submit to the lightening of their purses in a casino located at Valley Forge? Locals! Never mind that some twenty miles away in Philadelphia’s greater Center City area there are going to be two new casino resorts built in the near future, thanks in large part to our graft-ridden State Supreme Court, or that just a little way farther south there is a brand-spanking new race track and casino at Chester. About 60 miles to the west there is the Penn National Race Track and its Casino.

What fools does greed make of men! When was the last time any of you readers transited the Valley Forge area? Except on the turnpike it is an exercise in frustration with all the roads clogged to the max, and even the Turnpike gets jammed frequently.

Nearby Montgomery County successfully, and wisely, discouraged a potential casino project by simply citing the fact that the area was too overburdened by traffic to consider such a plan. In addition, the fools behind the project were going to put it right next to a nuclear power plant. Does the term “security risk” come to mind?

We are NOT anti-business, nor are we anti-development, or even anti-gambling, but sometimes you just have to say “NO.”

Slow growth is good…it gives folks time to adjust. It gives the new development time to grow into the area and become established. Development like what the Gettysburg and Hanover areas are suffering from the likes of “Illegal” Bob Monahan, David LeVan and David Sites, is simply tantamount to having 20,000 new homes, and their occupants, plus a dozen new hotels, water parks, race tracks, casinos, and restaurants shoved down your throats at one time. It is rampant runaway development that serves only one purpose: to make Monahan, LeVan, and Sites infinitely richer than they already are. Oh, and I forgot, to stroke their petty egos as well, especially LeVan, who likes to get his name on everything he can, regardless of how much it costs him. [Ask yourself why Monahan doesn’t live here any more.]

And all at YOUR expense. They can afford the taxes, you cannot. They can afford the headaches and growing pains that goes along with aging infrastructure upgrades, new schools, hospitals, more fire and police, greater government controls over your rights, and the loss of green space. For those of you who believe in global warming, a large part of the guilty parties causing it are people like LeVan, Monahan, and Sites.

It is simple really: green, especially trees, exchanges carbon monoxide for fresh oxygen, removing some pollutants from the air and providing fresh clean air. According to About.com, “A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.”

Sadly, heritage and green space are losing horribly to the Monahans, Sites, LeVans, and the wannabes at Valley Forge. Money talks. But you’ll never see any of it as you struggle to keep pace with rising taxes, and rising costs of living in an area that has been stable for at least a half-century. That is, stable, not stationary.

Sometimes you just have to say “NO.”

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