Pro: Smell the History
some people scoffed at our contention that the Bass Pro project
might be a harbinger of casino development at that site, it’s
important to note that the DL&W casino site is just a
stone’s throw from the old War Memorial Auditorium which
will be home to Bass Pro. That means that the free, taxpayer-financed
parking ramps available to Bass Pro patrons may also be used
by casino patrons. Will anyone check if supposed Bass Pro
patrons hit the casino for a couple hours of video crack?
Don’t bet on it. If the Casino is successful on the
second floor of the DL&W Terminal, it may be able to “grow”
into the old Aud and no one will be able to stop it.
another family affair item of importance to Casino Paladino,
we noted that Tony Gioia sits on the Erie Canal Harbor Development
Corp., while his brother Bob is on the board of the NFTA.
This raises the possibility of a conflict of interest if the
NFTA turns the terminal over to the Harbor Development Corp.
and ultimately, the Senecas. In wresting control of the waterfront
away from the NFTA, Freshman Congressman Brian Higgins promised
that his plan for the waterfront would end NFTA’s deathgrip
on waterfront properties under its control, including the
DL&W Terminal. A casino might actually be worse than the
NFTA’s years of incompetence, however.
his campaign literature Higgins said, “Under the NFTA,
these properties have tax-exempt status but would return to
taxable status as these properties are developed, all of which
accrues to the benefit of the City of Buffalo in expansion
of the city’s tax base.” A Seneca casino in the
terminal would, of course, be tax-exempt.
whole point of the Bass Pro project is to return the long-vacant
Aud to the tax rolls. However the language of the Memorandum
of Understanding between Bass Pro and government entities
is sufficiently vague to allow Bass Pro or any entity that
swallows it up to do anything with the property. This could
lead to an expansion of the adjacent casino. If nothing else,
it allows for the Senecas – a tax exempt entity - to
reap the benefits of Bass Pro’s infrastructure, which
will be provided at taxpayer expense.
government-sponsored Erie Canal museum to be located on the
premises of Bass Pro is also a little fishy. The last time
Gov. Pataki decided that a certain community needed a little
history lesson on its once great maritime heritage, he earmarked
government money for the Shinnecock Canal Museum in the Hamlet
of Hampton Bays. Soon after, residents were presented with
a casino proposal by the Shinnecock Nation of Indians to go
along with the museum.
idea of paying homage to a region’s history of commerce
while subsidizing entities that have been proven to destroy
local commerce (i.e. the big box development of Bass Pro and
an urban casino) is vintage George Pataki. The irony of using
Native Americans - whose culture was decimated by the very
commerce which is supposedly being celebrated in Pataki’s
museums - to leech said post-industrial community through
the mechanism of a casino targeting the poor and elderly is
1. Some People Have Spoken
2. ...But Who's Counting?
3. The Red Sea
5. Slaughterhouse Jive