Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

Oct 5 - Oct 19, 2005
Issue #85

  ..Buffalo's Best Fiend
Bursting the Bennett Bubble
Count me out on this one
Allan Uthman

Post-Katrina, Pre-kaboom?
The Nukes are Loose
Russ Wellen

Tenet & the Bare Necessities
Touch the CIA Director
A Monkey
Fristing America
In Search of the Senator's Rolex
Ian Murphy
Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Gasoline
Kit Smith
Bush Declares War on Hurricanes
"It's time to fight back"
Luke Allein
Ask a Janjaweed Militiaman
Genocidal social advice
How to Wipe Your Ass With Buffalo Current
New paper finds its niche

Visitor's Gude to  Buffalo--Cheektowaga
Tom Maccio

Buffalo in Briefs
Wide Right
Bills Football
Ronnie Roscoe
Kino Korner: Movies
Michael Gildea
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
[sic] - Letters
 Cover Page

Idiot Box
Perry Bible Fellowship
Bob the Angry Flower

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Last Issue: (84)

Folding on the River

The Seneca Nation is focusing on the Cobblestone District on the outskirts of downtown for Pataki’s casino. We’re glad it won’t be smack in the middle of downtown, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a bad idea in the first place.

We’ve been hearing for a while now about all the wonderful money the casino will bring the city. Mayor Masiello says it’ll “bring great benefits.” But the state gets about four times the share of the city and county combined. Ultimately, the city and county will split about 4 or 5 million bucks a year, which is peanuts when it comes to government.  But the dogma of the casino bringing in big cash has been repeated enough that it is presented now as a given, as in a recent report on Channel 2:

If the proposed Buffalo casino becomes a done deal, it will generate more jobs and money for the city. The question is whether it will lift up the area around it.

But that question has been answered time and again across the country, as UB Prof Bruce Jackson illustrated in a statement to the Common Council last week. Instead of rewriting what Jackson said so eloquently, we’ll just let him do the work:

Dollars spent in a town are not spent once. They have a life, a trajectory. They multiply. The money you spend in a restaurant pays for the restaurant's physical plant, its supplies and utilities, and its employees. If the suppliers and utility providers and workers are within the community, they in turn spend the money they get from that restaurant, and that spending provides more jobs and more taxes. All studies show that the arts have the highest dollar multiplier of any kind of spending within a community….

Casino spending, on the other hand, has the lowest multiplier effect of any kind of spending. It is money that doesn't stay around; it is money sucked out of the community as soon as it is spent. It goes to the owners and operators of the casino, none of whom are community residents. In our case, the casino owners wouldn't even pay local taxes... The jobs provided by a casino are mostly minimum-wage jobs, and they come at the cost of the jobs they displace in the locally-owned establishments they drive out of existence. The only economic benefit a community gets from a tax-exempt casino is the money made during the initial construction. That is a short-lived gain for a few in trade for a long-term loss for the many: greedy developers might be happy with that deal; it does nothing for the rest of us and we should do anything we can to reject it.

But, according to the Buffalo News’ Donn Esmonde, we should just bend over and take it like men:

I am not a big fan of casinos, especially ones like this that will mostly fleece the locals instead of bring in outside dollars. But if we have to have one, and the governor and state lawmakers cut that deal years ago, then a half-empty, long-forgotten train building surrounded by parking lots is the place.

Esmonde is right that the location could have been worse, but the truth is we don’t “have to have one.” The casino is not a done deal, or wouldn’t be if the News had the stones to oppose it. Public sentiment seems to be largely against the casino, and there are citizens mobilizing against it, notably Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County (despit their lack of acronym savvy).

It is admittedly an uphill battle against corrupt politicians and developers exploiting Native Americans in order to circumvent state law. But opponents shouldn’t give up by convincing ourselves something is inevitable, when it’s only inevitable if they give up.

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