TO: William H. Ryan, Jr., Chairman and Commissioners Gregory C. Fajt, Annmarie Kaiser, Keith R. McCall, John J. McNally, III, Anthony C. Moscato, David W. Woods, and Staff of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
FROM: The Philadelphia Public Record
We had the pleasure of taking your photo as a group Tuesday when you visited Philadelphia again, this time to take testimony from city officials on how they viewed the six proposals for a second casino now before you.
We saw honest faces on earnest men and women determined to give Philadelphia’s taxpayers some relief by awarding the best possible proposal for a casino license – one that would bring jobs, tax revenues and community benefits.
We were left with the feeling the City Administration didn’t really want to take a stand, except for a vague consensus the Center City locations were the best.
Unfortunately, that has been the pattern of this administration’s decisions in most actions where decisive leadership has been called for. It has staff of its own along with entrée to SEPTA, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, etc. Yet with all these information resources as well as others within walking distance of City Hall, the best its spokespersons could offer is for you to “consider the Center City locations.”
We had hoped they would come in with strong support for one location or at least two; or, even better, ask you to make the decision they could not make and urge you to make it speedily.
How much longer must we wait, while anti-casino forces hype the claim a second casino for Philadelphia is overkill and deluge you with more fanciful reasons why Philadelphia should be short-changed?
A second casino is our due by legislative rights. Had it not been for the Paul Revere alarm sounded by State Rep. Rosita Youngblood, the second casino would have faded into oblivion.
We urge a fairer consideration of non-Center City casino proposals. We believe the City Administration has lost sight of the axiom “Like businesses draw more traffic when together than when separated.”
It does not understand what makes areas of this city grow economically and prosper. Yet we see like businesses next to like. Great examples are this city’s 52nd Street Strip, Manayunk’s Main Street, East Passyunk Avenue, South Street, Chestnut Hill and the Sports Complex.
Parking, as an issue, has been resolved to a great degree at these tourist, business, and entertainment meccas. Parking problems do not exist at all with the casinos that have been ignored by the City Administration. Each of their proposals deals more than well with automobile and traffic congestion. In fact, their impact on traffic conditions is more favorable than the two that drew encouragement from the City Administration.
The Sports Complex provides a key reason why one of the casinos suggested for that area should be considered by you. Traffic flows smoothly there at all times. Even when there are as many as three major events going on at the same time, it is easily handled. Add to that, those venues have demonstrated proper handling of pedestrian and public-transit traffic as well.
So we ask you to come again as a group. Tour the sites individually, and then reflect on what we cite here in addition to what the City Administration has offered.
We ask you to speed up your scheduling and give us your pick as soon as possible.
On behalf of overwhelming numbers of taxpayers in this city, we implore you to move rapidly. A second casino will bring needed jobs, tax benefits, and neighborhood improvement districts … all sorely needed.