Prove that casino would be benefit for local economy
A year ago, the Toronto City Council voted 40-4 against the downtown riverfront mega-casino proposal. It wasn't a difficult vote for the councilors. They debated the issue for a year and engaged local economists at the University of Toronto, who provided several studies on the impacts of a local casino on their city and the health and well-being of individuals.
They all concluded that a local casino makes poor economic sense, is a poor use of precious downtown land, with no evidence that it will attract tourist dollars. In addition, a casino would have a devastating impact on local restaurants, bars, hotels and theater. A casino would have serious negative social impacts, including problem-gambling, bankruptcies, crime, traffic gridlock and parking problems. Furthermore, gambling is morally wrong and preys on the poor, the unsophisticated and the addict.
Residents signed 22,000 petitions opposing the casino proposal, enlisted business owners and faith leaders, discussed the issue on social media, collected donations, and placed 3,000 lawn signs throughout the city.
A local economist stated that gambling is one of the least productive economic activities imaginable -- removing money from one set of pockets and putting it in another, without producing anything concrete as part of the exchange. He also said that statistics concerning casinos throughout the United States show that after three to five years, almost two jobs are lost for every one that's created. Most places that introduce gambling see a quick upward spike, followed by a steep decline.
Unlike Las Vegas, most casino goers are locals, and their gambling money would otherwise be spent on other options in the city. No serious tourist dollars will be generated. It would be the locals who spend their hard-earned money and Social Security checks.
Until we have evidence that a riverfront casino would make good economic sense, promote tourism and would not destroy local businesses and the social fabric of our city, the Schenectady City Council should not vote for the proposed casino.
Still questions about Alco waterfront plan
I especially enjoyed the May 28 editorial, "It's time to shut down RPI reactor." Thanks to The Gazette for bringing this up. I firmly agree that the old RPI reactor needs to be decommissioned, whether the site is developed or not.
I also appreciated the May 25 editorial reminding us that the Alco redevelopment site is on a flood plain. Multiple articles have kept us reminded that this is a brownfield clean-up site.
There was a question whether the proposed new bay in the development proposal would enable ice jams, but I haven't seen anything about the proposed bay leaching brownfield material into the river.
My two concerns about the development plan are: building residences on the floodplain and leaching brownfield material from the proposed bay. Imagining myself as a developer or investor, I might be a bit frustrated with these objections, but I would address them and value them as protections for my investment.
I do believe the site can be positively developed to provide some economic activity and flood accommodation. Jumpin' Jack's Drive-In gave us an example of this.
Keep debate open on climate change
I am writing to respond to a May 23 letter about climate change from Prof. Jeffrey Corbin, of Union College. The professor seemed miffed at The Gazette for actually allowing debate on the subject of climate change. (He referred to two articles -- one pro climate change and one denying climate change -- that appeared in the May 18 Gazette as Viewpoint articles).
Maybe the professor forgot the difference between scientific theory and a hypothesis. Are we really there yet? Has all of the data been analyzed, tested, and verified? Is the hypothesis (human activity through burning fossil fuels is responsible for the increase in global warming) ready to become a theory? I don't think so.
Science is based on fact, not opinion or preferences; and the process of science is designed to challenge ideas through research. Why does the professor want to limit the debate (and words) as he suggested, to a ratio which reflects those who advance climate change (97 percent) to climate-change deniers (3 percent). When did scientific debate become majority rules?
In the 16th century, the majority of scientists believed as "fact" that the Earth was the center of the universe and all of the celestial bodies revolved around it.
But Copernicus' theory of a heliocentric universe challenged the conventional scientific "theory" at that time. Galileo, who advanced Copernicus' theory, was threatened with torture, placed under house arrest, and ordered not to speak or write on the subject. Sounds like the professor wants to do the same -- silence dissenters. And by the way, Copernicus and Galileo were right.
As far as global warming (it's now called, "climate change," by the way), for the past 15 years the temperatures at the Earth's surface have been flat, while the amount of carbon dioxide has continued to soar year after year.
Climate scientists have no good explanation for that little tidbit. Climate scientists cannot even agree on the best model to use when calculating the numerous variables in climate science.
And, why should the United States wreck its economy, while China, Russia, India, and Japan continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere at record levels?
In fact, those four countries I mentioned above together put twice as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as the United States. I don't see China rushing to build windmills and install solar panels in Tiananmen Square.
We are still in the hypothesis stage, so let's continue the debate.
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