For serious consideration

Friday, October 01, 2010

For serious consideration

Updated 10/02/2010 – 10:41 am

The enormity of this afternoon's headline on

Shinnecocks get final word, become 565th recognized tribe

...has yet to sink in with all the well-wishers making congratulatory comments.

Oscar Wilde knew what the Shinnecock Indian Nation has yet to learn: one of the great tragedies in life is getting what one wants.

New York Coalition for Shinnecock Gaming

And the Shinnecocks have never made any secret of what they want to do now that they have achieved of­ficial recognition status: open a casino, perhaps as many as three casinos, on Long Island.

There's a strong possibility that one of those casinos will be at Gabreski Airport... just what the Village of Westhampton Beach or Town of Southampton doesn't need!

Everyone is wringing their hands about the renewed "threat" of an eruv being established in the area because they fear the Western Hamptons will go they way of the Five Towns area in Nassau County.

I wonder how many have weighted the reality of the proposed eruv against the reality of a casino at Gabreski?

I'm not in favor of either, but I'd man to the barricades against the casino before the other, so dangerous to our Village would be gaming just outside the municipal limits.


1. First Hampton said...

Perhaps they will have to raze the building occupied by Holy Moses Cheesecake, to build the Casino!

Nah, but Tucker'll wish they had.
– Dean

2. Ace Face said...

What have you got against casino gambling that you would quote a dead English degenerate to support your position?

Or is it the Shinnecock's official status you're raising a fuss about?

It has nothing to do with the Shinnecock Nation and everything to do with what happens to areas where casinos are built. Go to Atlantic City and look just two blocks inland from the Boardwalk. Same thing with the Norwich area of Connecticut. Sure, the casinos themselves look great, but look at the surrounding areas and talk to some of the people who've lived there before and after.

The crime rates are appalling... and the comparison was drawn for the simple reason that, while they may exist, I've never heard of a Hasidic hooker.

O, and while we're at it, Wilde was Oirish!
– Dean

3. Ray Overton said...

Dean, I have supported the Gabreski option since it began. With proper planning, such an enterprise could have a very positive impact for the East End. Atlantic City was a sewer before the massive reinvestment of the gaming industry and there was no industry whatsoever in the communities around Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun. The Shinnecocks are going to build a casino. As an East End tribe, we should be examining opportunities to partner with them for a first class facility that benefits the East End, not export more $$ to either Nassau County or the five Western Towns. I know I am going to get pounded by some for this point of view, but then again, I got berated often over support of the traffic "oval" too.

Atlantic City is still a sewer 1½ blocks off the strip of casinos, Ray, and take a good look at the crime stats... from quality of life on up... then and now around the Connecticut gaming venues.

There's the old gag about the gal who hypothetically agrees to go to bed with a guy for one million dollars, but balks at doing it for two dollars. "What you you think I am?" she asks indignantly. "We've already established that," he tells her. "Now we're just dickering about price."

I don't think partnering with the gaming entrepreneurs is an answer, #1, and, #2, why would the Shinnecocks want to hook up with us now?

4. Champ19 said...

Yeah, they think airplane noise is bad. Just wait till the casino moves in to the airport. They ain't seen nothing if that happens.

5. Hambone said...

Atlantic City was a mass of urban blight before the casinos in 1978 (originally they insisted on jacket and tie to access the gaming floor... that went by the wayside FAST). The casinos promised urban renewal and it never happened. So in Atlantic City's case it neither caused the mess nor cured it.

BTW, I was actually there the Memorial weekend that Resorts opened... ahh, what could have been! No matter to me, I don't gamble.

Atlantic City is still a mass of urban blight (immediately) outside the casino strip. So just who is benefiting?

6. Hambone said...

  1. Your comment "why would the Shinnecocks want to hook up with us now?" Is right on the mark. They don't need "us" to take a cut.
  2. So who does benefit when a casino is in operation? Given Feathernews numbers, you'd think no one. Owners are tottering on bankruptcy (in Atlantic City especially) and while Bondholders gain ownership in a Chapter 11 filing, it is often at cents on the dollar (realized loss with the hope of a gain in future... maybe). in my eyes, the only sure bet is payroll taxes and I really don't know how that works if a sovereign nation is leasing land, owns it outright, or any of the other possible permutations. Most Indian Nations lease their rights to real gaming companies. (Mr. Gumbs will not be taking bets in other words.)
Just to be the stickler that I can be, many folks will bark it does not fit with the Hamptons image but does the Riverhead raceway? Did the Westhampton drag strip draw a wine and cheese crowd?

Personally, I think it would be very good for the local economy not that I can readily quantify or qualify that. I think the whole Hamptons image thing is a myth. Tastefully done it could work but there are major hurdles e.g. no plans for golf, no ocean access, no yacht club, not a corporate destination.
The dragstrip never drew a wine and cheese crowd, but it did draw from all over, especially after the short track in Islip closed down.

We differ on your economic view, of course.

7. Hambone said...

I can understand differing but I fully hold that I don't get the economics. Baseball stadiums to me are a parallel. The argument that by building a stadium it was good for whatever city stuck it to the taxpayers. All post economic analysis says the assumptions were myths (logic would hold for me that it's hard to make a billion dollars back with 81 home dates... but I'd like to be proven wrong).

So what is the math of a casino. Some Atlantic City casinos pull in 300mm per month (yes, that is millions and, yes, that is a light number). Granted there are fixed costs but it's not quite the MTA is it? So what are the expenses to make 300mm per month?

Dunno... numbers with dollar signs attached are your thing, not mine.

Suggest that you join a Business and Finance Usenet newsgroup devoted to such pursuits.

8. Ray Overton said...

Believe it or not, the members of the Shinnecock Nation are our neighbors and, I believe, understand how their operation of a gaming facility within the Town of Southampton can help their neighbors. Short of an operation like this, the Hamptons are doomed to rely on a four-month economic cycle. Providing a real 12-month attraction is an absolute necessity for that economic health. Development at Gabreski that integrates naturally with our existing resort economy including an appropriate resort and convention hotel, as opposed to the technology park with a business hotel facility. Our community is not Islandia and I don't believe trying to turn it into Islandia benefits our community in the least.

I have no dispute with the assertion that the Shinnecock Nation is our neighbor, Ray, or that a real 12-month attraction is highly desirable.

My issue is that there's no such thing as a free lunch, and that a casino anywhere on the East End would bring with it more problems than benefits.

I also have reservations about how warmly the Shinnecocks feel... either emotionally or pragmatically... toward their neighbors. We certainly haven't given them a lot of reasons to do so.

9. EastEnd68 said...

$300mm per month is taken in(bet) - about 80% or more of that is paid back out in pay-offs.

That's what they tell you... although I hope you meant "pay-outs" because $249mm per month is a lot of baksheesh.

10. Jeanne Speir said...

Sheesh! They may be entering the market a little late... gambling's getting to be a very risky venture, even at the most successful casinos. Simply "Google News" casino stocks.

In this economy, the amount of discretionary income has dwindled for many.

Yet locally, we seem to enjoy a surfeit of the very wealthy. Who knows? Gabreski is big enough to manage huge jets, and please observe that the Village of Westhampton Beach "banked up" with abundant financial institutions.

Yes, dear... the sudden eruption of new banking locations within the Village in mid-decade gave rise to the speculation that the financial institutions knew something we didn't.
– Dean

11. Hunt Marckwald said...

The comparison to Atlantic City is totally without merit. The city was a dump when the casinos moved in and afterwards it became a high-priced dump with huge crime. Our area is NOT a dump, we don't require economic assistance and, in my view, the establishment of a casino at Gabreski would only benefit hookers and drug dealers.

12. Nutbeem said...

Hambone, did you really mean to type, 'Tastefully done' in a comment about a casino? Find me a casino 'done' in any manner even remotely considered tasteful, and I'll eat my hat. Surely casinos are intentionally built in a gaudy and vulgar mode? I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a limestone Beaux-Arts pavilion set in verdant grounds. More likely it will be a gargantuan steel-framed hangar wearing a vinyl wedding-cake disguise, approached from a sea of regularly divided asphalt.

13. Seeker said...

Some random thoughts...

  • From what I've read about Native American gaming establishments, particularly those in the western U.S., they're never of equal benefit to ALL of the members of any tribal community, just those in so-called leadership positions (just like the white man).
  • How about creating something more positive with the Federal recognition - wind or solar farms for example. (i.e., "SPA" - Shinnecock Power Authority)
  • Eastern Long Islanders (regardless of skin color or origin) do NOT need more service industry jobs.
  • We don't need or want to see any more traffic directed out here.
  • On your last comment, Dean, I always wondered who leaked to Commerce (now TD Bank) and the other financial entities about what was being planned for Gabreski - maybe a certain ex-Trustee who worked for the County Legislature and who tried so hard to run s--t uphill from the Village's Main Street to Gabreski for the benefit of the Village merchants and to the detriment of the residents who'd have been stuck with the bill
In re #2: terrific idea! A win-win one! But again with easy money in the offing, why would the Shinnecocks want to take the altruistic route?

Retailers might disagree with you about "more traffic."

And I'm not so sure Tim Laube's ideas about hooking up the downtown area to a sewerage treatment plant was all that bad an idea. Gawd forbid that we have some more restaurants on Main Street and fewer real estate offices!
– Dean

14. Forest Markowitz said...

I of course can not speak for all of us here in your old 'hood but the sense I get is that folks here like the idea of the high tech park and are very wary if not opposed to Gabreski going casino. Service jobs? Nope - the high tech plan does hold out the chance for better paying year round employment.

One curious development of late - the Coast Guard housing has a lot of vacancies, at a time when the Coast Guard raised the subsidy for its personnel for off-site housing - meaning, don't come here, we'll give you money to go somewhere else. Yet at the same time the Coast Guard renovated two of their attached properties to become single units, therefore each structure holds more people. We've written both Tim Bishop and the Coast Guard and after interpreting some Orwellian doublespeak it seems the Coast Guard is here to stay, but perhaps in a reduced role. This of course makes Hampton Westers a bit paranoid - have you heard anything?

Nothing! Zero, nada.

But I observe, and I spy with my little eye the rebuilding of some of Grabreski's infrastructure... just look straight across as you come down Stewart Avenue. Why now?

15. Forest Markowitz said...

The fear was that the Coast Guard site was going to be used to house the handful of Town sex offenders that will be moved out of the trailers currently in Westhampton and Riverside. The Press fueled this a bit by reporting the site selection was "secret" until implemented. We wrote both him and the head of the not-for-profit administering the plan, someone who I know from past issues at Hampton West. We were assured by him we were not the site. (Schneiderman to date has not responded.)

The improvements to Gabreski are welcomed but we have a very wary eye cast on the development proposed at the airport.

Didn't we have our share of sex offenders in the past up there?

Schneiderman's a weenie!

16. Forest Markowitz said...

We routinely check the State's offender website and there's been nothing in the seven years the site has been up and running. We'll do our best to keep it that way.

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