Friday, 06 January 2012 00:00
The voters of Floral Park have been generous to Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy in elections over the past decade. In recent years, she has not returned it in kind. She was aggressively in favor of the third track proposal by the MTA and now strongly favors a full-fledged casino at Belmont Park, both positions very much opposed by an overwhelming majority of the residents of Floral Park and Bellerose. I wholeheartedly support the effort to stop the casino. I agree with those who believe it will expose Floral Park to enormous harm: lower property values, increased crime, moral threats to our children and environmental disaster. The tidal wave of increased traffic that a casino will bring to our area will crush the communities surrounding Belmont Park.
Ms. McCarthy envisions the casino as a source of jobs and tax revenues, while apparently ignoring its negative consequences or not caring about them. The crush of thousands of additional vehicles on our roads will harm not just Floral Park and Elmont but will spread far and wide along the Cross Island Parkway corridor, like a toxic spill.
When Foxwood’s opened in Connecticut for the first casino northeast of Atlantic City, gamblers were stuck in miles-long traffic when the infrastructure could not support the number of customers the casino attracted. Will not the same paralyzing traffic congestion force a massive infrastructure change on the Cross Island Parkway and perhaps its possible opening to commercial traffic? With the opening of a casino at Belmont, it will be the only casino on Long Island and a short trip from anywhere in NYC—and exposure to millions of residents that have been venturing to Atlantic City or north to Foxwood’s or Mohegan Sun.
Many of the politicians seem to believe their own hype about the influx of money and what it will do for the community, which explains why some in Elmont have fallen into line in favor of a casino. Yet one only needs to look at Atlantic City and realize that since promising the revitalization of the city from a decrepit old city, it remains a crime-infested area since gambling began in 1978 with no visible benefit to the surrounding community in over 30 years.
Would Rep. McCarthy tolerate a casino proposal in or near Garden City or Mineola? Not on your life and for the same reasons I have given in defense of Floral Park. That she seems tolerant of an environmental disaster on our doorstep but not on hers smacks of rank hypocrisy.
My criticism of Ms. McCarthy is all the more painful because of the utter abandonment of Floral Park by Nassau County’s Republicans. Rep. Peter King, NYS Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, County Executive Edward Mangano and State Senator Jack Martins in fact have spearheaded the proposition for a casino at Belmont. For reasons I cannot fathom, they seem to have gotten the impression that Floral Park would love the idea and therefore would continue to reward them at the ballot box as it has done unfailingly for a century.
In light of what we now know, I wonder, have they made deals with the gambling industry, investment banks and unions that they can’t get out of? Are they taking Floral Park for granted, not even considering its impact on us? Why are they conspiring with Governor Cuomo to poison our model community? Have they concluded that Floral Park is expendable just so the state and county can get more money to pay their deficits instead of cutting spending and balancing their respective budgets?
Unfortunately, Floral Park is in a fight for its life. I hope everybody in our village joins the effort to stop the casino at Belmont Park. There will be a meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the United Methodist Church at 35 Verbena Ave. on Jan. 11 to solidify our effort. It is in your interest to be there and offer a helping hand. Protect your community—protect your property value.
As for Ms. McCarthy, she will need to re-think her blind support for a casino or my fellow residents will need to re-think our support of her election in November.