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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board: It's Bethlehem!

After a suspiciously late start, Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board quickly got down to business. It's Bethlehem!! Damn! I just lost $20. Allentown is going to be pissed, especially since Rendell just dropped off $18.5 million in Bethlehem on Monday.


Chris Casey said...

This is the best thing that could have happened to Allentown.
Now they have to deal with their actual problems without the surrealistic income projections from gambling. It's Bethlehem's problem and their desperation makes them a willing bedfellow for the unscrupulous Sands.
I think the Aztar in Allentown would have been the best of a bad situation, but I still think the reality of it all will force Allentown's leadership to make decisions they were trying to avoid.

LSTresidentPIA said...

Lower Saucon is going to be upset too because they were fighting the casino in Beth tooth and nail. I can't wait to go to the township meeting tonight!

I have my reservations about this. It will create more traffic in the township and we the tax payers are goin to have to pay for that. The traffic studies did not include the surrounding municiplaties, so we lose out on any money they would have to pay for road improvements.

I wonder how many jobs it is really going to create for locals? I am sure that the casino will be bring in their own people in. ? The types of jobs that will be created are service jobs like waitresses and bartenders that have a low base salary and depend on tips. Not good jobs in my opinion. Will they be using local conatractors to do the construction?

The traffic problems on 412 at the Hellertown interchange are bad now, how bad are they going to get?


Billy Givens said...


I've e-mailed you the video that show's my family's long-time friend, Meredith, at the December 11, 2006, PGCB meeting in Harrisburg at which 8 casino protesters were arrested.

Meredith, an activist member of NCPA (No Casinos in Pennsylvania), and her husband Jeremy, recently bought a home in the Fishtown neigborhood, near the proposed Sugarland casino.

To show her and her fellow activists support, I drove to Philadelphia in April, after my temporary discharge from the Wilkes-Barre Veterans Administration and prior to surgery, to participate in an anti-casino protest held at the Pennsylvania State Building on Spring Garden Street.

Diane Berlin of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling also attended, as did third-party candidate Russ Diamond and Bucks County state representive Paul Clymer.

If I seem zealous about this issue, it is due to the fact that I feel a deep personal responsibility:

On January 3, 2005, I, accompanied by our friend John Todaro, attended the new year's first Northampton County Council meeting, held in downtown Easton's historic Jacob Bachmann Tavern, and asked council to conduct public hearings on the casino and racino gambling facilities proposed for Northampton County.

Council concurred and held its first, and only hearing, in Moravian College's Foy Hall on June 28, 2005.

After that hearing, council allowed Bethlehem City Council to hijack the hearings, the first of which that body held on July 5, 2005, in Bethlehem's City Hall.

That meeting was followed by two consecutive meetings in the Broughal Middle School, and a third and final meeting back at City Hall, attended by BethWorks partners Michael Perrucci, Barry Gosin, and Las Vegas Sands Chief Operating Officer William Weidner.

LSTresidentPIA said...

I am not for or agaisnt gambling, I realize it has it pros and cons, but I would say that with in a few years we will have full blown gambling in Pa.

I have been to Atlantic City and have played the slots. I broke even. I am too cheap to do anything other than that. I am not a card player, so they do not interest me.

At least Atlantic City has the boardwalk and the beach. What does Bethlehen really have that would draw vistors? The south side? downtown, which is more about shopping than it is historic. The Lehigh River.? I don't think it is really usable is it? because it is not that deep in most places. The only draw this project will have is more expensive, overpriced shopping.

And I really don't go for the idea that it will or should be a family entertianment place. Aren't there movie theaters planned?

Do you think that they will allow Gamblers anyomous in too?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I wonder if I can get a job as one of those cocktail waitresses.

LSTresidentPIA said...

I doubt it, but in this age of diverisity and equal opportunity, if you don't you could sue...

lvaddict said...

I'm strangely curious to see Bernie O'Hare serving drinks in a French Maids' outfit!

Anonymous said...

I think may not be the best thing for the Lehigh Valley. I am really concerned about the wages that will be paid at the BethWorks Sands. this info has not been released. At least Aztar was going to pay an average of $35,000 a year.

The sands certainly had the better looking plan, but I think much more money will leave the valley than with Aztar's proposal. I am very worried for my family's future here, and i don't even live in Bethlehem.

I also think the people behind Sands may prove to be a bunch of suckers. Nothing has been put in writing. I give the blast furnaces 50/50 chance the will make it. Only time will tell now.

LSTresidentPIA said...

Anon:2:47 Your concerns are being echoed by many who don't think that family values and casinos make good neighbors.

Unless Bernie confesses to what he really does when he is not blogging or at council meetings, they most likely would put him in tight leather pants,not a french maid outfit, What a sight, all that body hair and that gut...for all the old ladies.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of all these SLUGS (Suburban Liberal Unresolved Guilt Syndrome) giving all of their pointless opinions regarding what is good for Allentown while they sit in their subdivisions taking advantage of the benefits provided to them by de-fato racial and economic segregation.

If they really gave a darn they would welcome regional schools and governments. Their silence on such issues is the true measure of where their hearts truly lie.

RadCenter said...

The BethWorks Sands project was vastly overhyped and vastly understudied. As a Bethlehem native living in exile in Emmaus (or, as I call it, "mini-Bethlehem"), I think this is the saddest day for the city since the day the Steel declared bankruptcy.

Since its founding, Bethlehem has been a model of industry and thrift. It is now about to build its future on idleness and profligacy.

Hold on to your socks, because the price of real estate is about to blow them off. Service-wage casino workers will not be able to afford to live in the city where they work. Guess where they'll be living? Allentown and Easton, where there are already shortages of low-income housing. Ignore anyone who promises "average salaries" of X amount to casino workers. Oprah Winfrey and I make an "average salary" in the millions, yet somehow I don't feel rich. And even if the casino would pay every single employee a minimum of $35,000 a year, that won't go far if the rents skyrocket to more than $1,000 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment and no house can be bought for under $300K.

Every transportation corridor leading to the BethWorks site is outmoded and already under stress, so how are they going to handle thousands more cars a day? Besides adding to native residents' traffic nightmares, this makes no economic sense, either—did anyone even attempt to estimate how many current visitors to Bethlehem would be driven away by the extra traffic, taking their dollars with them?

I drive to Bethlehem from Emmaus several times during a typical week. In light traffic, this takes 25 minutes; in heavy traffic, 40. In casino traffic, it could take close to an hour. At that point I would simply have to stop going to Bethlehem.

Mayor Callahan signed the Global Climate Initiative. Does he have a way of rendering all of this extra auto exhaust harmless? No. Does he plan to impose green-building standards on the BethWorks project? Not that I'm aware of.

For all of these reasons and more, I believe December 20, 2006, will go down in history as the day Bethlehem sold its soul for 10 million pieces of silver.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 4:12, These SLUGs, as you label them, are human beings just like you. I think you could make your point more effectively if you did not insult people you don't even know. I happen to agree we need more regionalism, especially in our fragmented quagmire of municipalities and school districts. No need to insult people. Let me do that.

Anonymous said...

I'm putting my house up for sale!!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Radcenter, I don't really give a shit about gambling. But from what I'm told, Sands is pretty much a nonunion shop and pays slave wages when it can get away with it. I was told that by someone who opposes gambling in Bethlehem, so I don't know if it is really true. If it is, many of your fears will become realities.


Don't forget Mt Airy Lodge. "Beautiful Mt Airy Lodge all you have to bring is your love of losing everything!"


ANON 4:12 your a true gutless coward in the style of Micheal "Savage" Weiner. Hide your true idenity and smear those who don't see the world through your tinted shades.

From the sounds of it you probaly also still love President Che Gureea I mean George W. Bush.

Sorry the stay the course speach rings of Che in Bolivia back in the day!

Its called history someting Neo-Cons lack knowledge of.


Bernie O'Hare said...

LST, You must have caught me dancing at the RamRod last weekend. Those leather pants were a gift. I had to wear them. They make me look a little more lean. I have no excuse for the body hair.

RadCenter said...

One of the arguments that City Councilwoman Jean "It's All About the Money" Bellinsky made in support of the Sands project was that the company provided better wages and benefits than other Las Vegas casinos. Not mentioning, of course, the glaring fact that in Bethlehem, unlike in Las Vegas, THERE IS COMPETITION FOR CASINO WORKERS.

As for gambling, I would be against this project even if the casino weren't a part of it. It is entirely designed as a place where the "haves" can shop and party while the "have-nots" empty their ashtrays and clean their Jacuzzis. Its biggest rewards will be siphoned out of state. Its biggest negative impacts will stay right here. Ugh!

dumb guy said...

can't allentown & pocono manor & the rest of 'em get their own slots licenses in just a few years or something?

LVDem said...

Alright, I don't run this blog but the next person to bring up Bernie in a french maid outfit loses the right to post. Sheesh. Little eyes are watching.


LVDem what about a Sexy Nurse?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dumb Guy, I don't see that in the cards.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dumb Guy, I don't think that's in the cards.

t.g. said...

lstresidentpa said,"I wonder how many jobs it is really going to create for locals? I am sure that the casino will be bring in their own people in."

Damn right. I live in Wilkes-Barre. As soon as the sale of Pocono Downs to the Mohegan Sun was complete, you started seeing Connecticut license plates everywhere. Everywhere. They brought a ton of workers from the original casino, and the wages they are paying those locals that did get jobs are far less than what they promised they would be paying (because they know that the area is depressed, the pool of applicants is huge and people will work for little - don't like it, there is someone that does).

LSTresidentPIA said...

All the licenses that were issued in PA are on the east coast. Yet big cities like Philly did not get them? Nothing to the west of Harrisburg was issued a slot license correct? Casinos are the new tourism of PA since all the quaint farmland is gone. This is just the first stage. In a few years, more slots licenses will be made available because the rest of the state will be crying foul. There will be full blown gambling in PA with card games soon too.

I find it interesting what t.g. has to say. My mom's family is from a little town called Trucksville. He is right though about that fact that someone will take those jobs for some, some money is better than none.

I also find it interesting that it was reported by WFMZ that a member of the Bethlehem Defense Fund who vowes to fight the casino is none other than Ron Angle. I find it curious. What does he have to gain from fighting the casino?

But what is the most intersing is that fast Eddy seems to have all of PA up for sale, now he wants to lease the turnpike to foreign investorrs for an infusion of cash that will provide shortt term relief, while the state loses out on long-term projected rev of up to $130 million. This state is really going to pieces... to the highest bidder.

nick in Bethlehem said...

I like the idea of The Bethworks project.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Nick, It certainly has divided the community in Bethlehem. I think many more people feel like you. Time will tell if this is a good idea. I have no problem w/ gambling, but just don't think it fits in Bethlehem. But I don't live there. And it's coming.

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