Woman Playing Classic Slot Machine Inside Las Vegas Casino. One Handed Bandit Game Play.

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   It’s not about the casino, it’s about the contempt – the contempt for the people, their elected representatives, and the democratic process.


               The secret deal between New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Seneca Nation of Indians is a sinister subversion of how a free society is supposed to work. It is a betrayal of her oath of office and of the most basic principles of good government.


               In complete secrecy, and in an active act of deception against the state legislature, Kathy Hochul agreed to let the Senecas build a casino in the Rochester region, in all likelihood in the city of Rochester itself. She did this without consulting in any way with the people or elected officials of Rochester, Monroe County or the Rochester region.


               Not a word. To anybody.


               That is a staggering dismissal of the people’s interest and of the role of the elected leaders and representatives of those communities. In an area where the possibility of a casino has been debated – and rejected – repeatedly over an almost 30-year period, to completely sidestep public opinion or even notification is a treasonous affront to the concept of representative government.


               It tells the mayor, the county executive, the town supervisors, and the state legislators that the governor dismisses and disregards the authority the people have vested in their offices. She has shown by her actions that she considers them nobodies, complete jokes who can be dismissed and disregarded at her whim.


               Further, she has reminded the people of Rochester and its region that they are meaningless, that their opinions and interests are inconsequential to her and to the business of the state of New York.


In a word or two in an authorization bill, empowering her to negotiate and sign a gaming compact with the Senecas, she has sought to deceive the Assembly and Senate into ignorant complicity in her subterfuge.


The Senate fell for it; the Assembly was spared because of a Friday-night leak to an upstate radio host and a downstate newspaper reporter. Otherwise, this would have been a slam dunk, something slipped secretly into a drink so that something evil could be done.


               As it stands now, the casino is in the wind. With awareness comes power, and the people and politicians of the Rochester region now have a seat at their own table – at the head, where they belong. That is good. They will decide what they want.


               But the breach remains. The demonstration of venal contempt has been revealed.


               There is the issue of the Buffalo state senator, acting like a bought-and-paid-for agent of the Senecas, pushing forward this deal while simultaneously and also secretly blowing up the decades-long structure of Western Regional Off Track Betting, which already offers gaming in the Rochester region.


               There is the issue of the “non-disclosure agreement” which the governor entered into, pledging secrecy to the Seneca Nation of Indians at the expense of openness and honesty with the people of the state of New York. Somehow she believes – and expects us to believe – that a private agreement supersedes a public obligation, that the Seneca demand for secrecy trumps the public right to transparency. In this NDA, Kathy Hochul has shown that the Seneca Nation of Indians stands first in line and the people of New York stand second, that the prospect of making money is more important than the duty to protect liberty. All state laws about disclosure and freedom of information go out the window because the governor said so.


               Finally, there is the issue that the governor’s husband is employed by a company that works in the gaming industry in this very region. Asking people to pretend there is no connection strains credulity. William Hochul spent his entire career as a federal criminal prosecutor and was hired upon retirement to become a senior vice president and general counsel of the Delaware North corporation – a position focused exclusively on corporate law, which he had never practiced. He got the job because his wife was a powerful politician – period.


               And here we are, with a secret agreement ultimately valued at north of a billion dollars being forced on a politically powerless region by a governor who doesn’t give a damn about what the people want. Monroe County voted for her in the last election. Its mayor, county executive, and Democrat state legislators have been obsequious and compliant with her every political whim. They were her apostles.


               And this is how she treats them.


               With contempt.


               Because that’s how tyrants roll.


               And that’s the story of the Rochester casino.


               The only remaining question about the agreement between Kathy Hochul and the Senecas is whether it should be investigated by the comptroller, the attorney general, or the FBI.


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