Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Governor Cuomo Looks To Impose Casinos On Any Community He Wants - Without Their Input

Just as the governor imposes an education policy without regard for what the public in the state wants, he is going to force communities to accept casinos in their midst whether they want his "generosity" or not.

The Times-Union has an interesting editorial on this issue - see how many analogues to the education reform issues we have been dealing with these past years you find in this casino issue:

THE ISSUE:

The governor brushes off legislation to let localities accept or reject a casino.

THE STAKES:

What he calls mere politics is people wanting a say in their hometown's destiny.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo may see gambling as the salvation of upstate, but not all of upstate agrees. And perhaps the most conspicuous place where the governor's view conflicts with local opinion is Saratoga Springs.

Last fall, Saratoga County was among the areas where more people voted against casino legalization than for it. The question now is whether the governor gets to impose a casino on any community he and gambling interests choose, whether citizens like it or not.

Here's Mr. Cuomo's office, suggesting that a bill to allow communities to reject a casino would "politicize the selection process." So the will of city councils, town boards, and ordinary citizens is now just politics? They're the special interests, not the gambling corporations with their lobbyists and generous campaign checks?

Surely Mr. Cuomo appreciates that New York is a "home rule" state, requiring, for some matters, both state and local approval. The city of Albany, for example, couldn't create a neighborhood parking permit system without the consent of both the Common Council and the state Legislature. Nor can New York City raise income taxes on rich residents without both state and local approval.

It's a cumbersome system, perhaps, but it also reflects how sometimes the interests and concerns of local residents and the state are equally important, and demand consensus.

At the moment, however, that's not how the law views siting of casinos. With approval last year by state voters of a constitutional amendment to allow Las Vegas-style casinos in New York, the decision on where to place them will rest with a siting board. That board will be appointed by the New York Gaming Commission — another new body, this one dominated by the governor's appointees. This process was set up in legislation months before voters approved the casino amendment.

The legislation also lays out how applications by casino interests will be weighed — 70 percent on economic development, 20 percent on local impacts, and 10 percent on labor matters. So local objections are, at best, secondary to the dollar signs. And in practice, they could mean nothing; If the siting board decides that all the traffic worries and other logistical local concerns are addressed, how people feel about what a casino would do to the character of their community might well be deemed moot.

Some lawmakers don't think that's right. A bill sponsored by Sens. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, and Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, would apply home rule to casino siting decisions, requiring consent by the local government.

But a spokeswoman for Mr. Cuomo says the governor isn't going to let politics be injected into the selection process with such unnecessary legislation. The governor shrugs off a vital home rule issue as if it's no more serious than choosing a state muffin.

There will be plenty of communities eager for the construction cranes that Mr. Cuomo waxed on about in his State of the State address. What nobody likes is a steamroller. 

A policy imposed by the governor, with little regard for how people in the municipalities or regions are affected by that policy - that's our Governor Cuomo in action.

And anything Cuomo doesn't like becomes "politics" - even though he engages in those same "politics" by imposing policies onto parts of the state without their input or okay.

We have an autocrat in the governor's mansion who has decided he knows best on everything and anybody who stands in his way is going to get steamrolled or told to get the hell out of the state.

Isn't it time somebody clips Governor Cuomo's ego sails and lets him know that he's not the autocrat of the state?

Someone in the comments writes:

Cuomo is acting more like a king than a governor. Does he see this as a winning election strategy? All that war chest money does not guarantee a win.

Let Saratoga decide their own fate.

Indeed.

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