Letters: No casinos, Fortis concerns, level the teachers’-contract playing field

lttesquareNeither moral nor healthy

In “Regionalism: The new realism” the article by Susan Barnett (March 7 Kingston Times) Sullivan County Executive Scott Samuelson was quoted as saying that casinos while “no panacea, [are] a part of our tourism.” He went further to say that “regionally the economic benefit could be shared with other counties, i.e., Ulster.”

I rise to say wake up Mr. Samuelson and read the papers. It is becoming increasingly clear from the bankruptcy of some Indian casinos as well as casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas that casinos are no longer automatically a money cow for cash-strapped states.

While new casinos become immediate tourist attractions, it has been the experience of states across the country that the attraction will be temporary because as soon the next new casino is built, tourists are lured away and go to that new one.

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SullivanCounty, of all the mid-Hudson counties, should well know that basing an economy on tourism is not financially sound policy. Witness the shells of the former hotels and bungalows, vacant and falling down.

So what happens when tourists stop going to the Sullivan or Ulster casinos, the money rolling into the casinos will come from the addicted and the elderly local inhabitants … not a moral or healthy base to build an economy on. Visit www.nosaugertiescasino.com for more information about why casinos are not good for New York.

Susan Puretz, Saugerties

Level the playing field

While our economy was in the toilet we were spared the cries of anguish from teachers unions over working with expired contracts. For that we can thank our Albany Legislature for continuing to enforce the Triborough Amendment which allows expired union contract terms to continue until a new contract is negotiated with more favorable terms in sight.

Now that our economy is improving we can expect union interest in “having a contract.”  Here’s the playbill: union hires lawyer(s), school district hires lawyer(s), lawyers negotiate, lawyers present agreements to both parties, union presents agreement to members for vote, school board decides on its own. If union members say no, it’s back to negotiations.

What’s lacking in the above? The people the school board represents weren’t consulted before agreeing to the ultimate cost. Since union members can say no, shouldn’t the taxpayer have the same right? No state law changes needed here, just local leveling of the playing field.

Ronald E. Dietl, Kingston

Fortis substandard

Most people are unaware that Central Hudson is about to be taken over by Fortis, Inc., a large holding company based in Canada. Fortis has a bad record of substandard service and disregard for environmental issues. It promotes shale gas and other highly polluting extraction methods and, as a multinational corporation, will be in a position to invoke NAFTA to override New YorkState standards and regulations. Rate increases, emergency service, and other critical issues may well be decided outside the purview of the New York State Public Service Commission.

The proposed merger will make a few high level executives and shareholders at Central Hudson very rich, while CH ratepayers bear the cost of the sale and face the strong possibility of severely eroded service. IBEW Local 320 union members will lose jobs and Central Hudson customers could be at the mercy of outsourced workers when severe weather effects power outages and loss of service. (The take-over proposal states that CH workers are only “guaranteed” their jobs for two years, leaving Fortis free after that to increase the use of outside contractors, eliminate jobs, and with it the local knowledge base of this service area.)

While other communities throughout the country are working toward more local control of public utilities, here in the HudsonValley we are losing control of our power and we don’t even know it.

The public and our elected officials need more time to consider the ramifications of this proposed acquisition. Contact the New York State Public Service Commission at secretary@dps.ny.gov and ask for an extension on this decision (now due March 22) to provide more time and transparency. Or contact Kevin Cahill, New York State Assembly, or your state and/or county legislators and ask why they would even consider allowing this proposed acquisition to go forward.

Patricia J. Anderson, Stone Ridge

 

There is one comment

  1. The Red Dog Party

    I agree with Ms.Puretz, and would go even further. Casinos are not any sort of solution for economic woes; rather they are a drain on our community in many other (both) quantifiable and hidden outcomes. If County Executive Hein continues to pursue this strategy of welcoming casinos to our county, he will not be receiving my vote or support (as if that will make a difference).

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