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Dec 10, 2008 10:33 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

County backs Shinnecock casino effort

Dec 10, 2008 10:33 AM

The Suffolk County Legislature has proposed creating a gaming task force to help the Shinnecock Indian Nation find a suitable site on which to build a casino.

As the Shinnecocks move closer to federal recognition and the right to build a casino, Suffolk County wants to be part of the process, according to Presiding Officer of the Legislature Bill Lindsay, who is cosponsoring the bill with Legislator Wayne Horsley.

“A gaming establishment on Long Island could be an economic jackpot for the county, for the construction industry and for job seekers,” Mr. Lindsay said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Government leaders must seek new and innovative ways to generate revenues to address fiscal problems we face.”

The press release said a gaming establishment could generate millions of dollars in revenue, 10,200 new jobs and $445 million in local salaries, plus more than $2.5 billion in new revenue to local and state governments.

The secondary benefits, according to Mr. Lindsay, could be 4,000 new non-gaming jobs and $581 million in revenue for local businesses. He said county residents taking the ferry to casinos in Connecticut currently contribute $234 million in estimated out-of-state gaming funds, which could be brought to Long Island.

The task force would study appropriate sites for a casino in Suffolk County, which, according to a new law published by the Department of the Interior in May, can be within 25 miles of sovereign reservation land. The task force will also study traffic issues associated with a casino, and the availability of public safety enforcement, such as police, fire and ambulance services. It will consider adequate buffer zones between the existing community and proposed gaming sites, the likely economic impacts of a casino, the legal feasibility of placing a gaming facility in Suffolk County, and the social impacts it may have.

A wide range of individuals will make up the task force, including representatives of County Executive Steve Levy’s office; the County Legislature’s presiding officer, minority leader and chairman of its Economic Development, Higher Education and Energy Committee; and representatives of Suffolk Off Track Betting Corporation, the county’s Department of Planning, the Shinnecock Indian Nation, the county’s Supervisors Association, the Nassau-Suffolk Building Trades Council and the Long Island Association.

The chairman of the Suffolk County Economic Development, Higher Education and Energy Committee will serve as chairman of the task force.

A casino wouldn’t be possible until the tribe achieves federal recognition, but over the last year the Shinnecocks have closed in on that goal. The battle for recognition is currently playing out in court and, despite what appears to be the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs’s best efforts to stymie the process, which has been in motion since 1978, a judge has ordered that it be expedited.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas C. Platt determined that the Shinnecocks were eligible for federal recognition in 2005, but the Bureau of Indian Affairs process had been stalled even though volumes of evidence exist to prove the tribe’s heritage, according to Shinnecock Trustee Lance Gumbs. In another bid for recognition in April, tribal leaders successfully argued that the U.S. Department of the Interior was delaying the process.

In the past, Southampton Town had been vehemently against a casino on the South Fork, and though new Town Supervisor Linda Kabot continues to oppose a casino on the East End, the town allowed their right to appeal Judge Platt’s decision to expire in April.

County and town officials may be warming to the idea of a casino, but local leaders continue to be cautious and staunchly against seeing a facility on the South Fork. County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who serves the region from Montauk to East Moriches said on Wednesday that he was not involved in the new proposal and will fight against any plans for a casino on the East End.

“My position has been that I don’t want to see a casino in my district,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “The traffic and other negative side effects will affect our way of life.” That said, the legislator added that a casino might be good for economic development in other parts of the county.

The tribe has showed a willingness to cooperate with the county and find a mutually agreed upon site for the casino, if it gets built. The Shinnecock Trustees pitched the benefits of a casino to members of the County Legislature in May and they met in July to discuss the issue and consider several sites in areas outside Southampton. Among them, county-owned land in Yaphank and a defunct outlet mall in Bellport along Sunrise Highway. Mr. Gumbs had noted that any site must be close enough to allow an easy commute for tribe members who work there.

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Just one question. Who pays to widen Sunrise Highway from 2 lanes to 4 lanes? Because thats what it would take to make traffic manageable. And that might not be enough. As far as "Press releases". I was just a child, but my grandmother (RIP) lived in Atlantic City before the casinos. And I remember the grown-ups talking about how great the casinos were going to be. Have to been to AC lately.
It's a ___t hole pardon my french. I used to love that city. I still have family there and they all curse ...more
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Dec 10, 08 9:03 PM
Ah Soundview - so true - my wife's family owned land in AC and thought they woul;d find salvation in the casinos - never happened - and go there today away from the "glitz" - youy are so correct.
Anyway - does anyone remember Paar Meadows? Do they remember the financial promises for Crook - I meanBrookhaven Town?
Can you really trust the Tribe? Look at their track record.
If NY State wants casinos - I think the Catskills look pretty good.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Dec 10, 08 9:35 PM
Build it further west, not in C.A.V.E. country
By typical (63), southampton on Dec 10, 08 9:59 PM
This is just more political posturing by Bill Lindsay. Mr. Lindsay represents everything that is wrong with politics in this County. His patronage hiring practices of Brookhaven political allies exemplifies the type of politician he is. He will jump on any band wagon as long as there is media coverage. Read his County website… his position of the month selection seems to contradict his noble rhetoric… wake up 8th District! Bill Lindsey has no moral compass. We should be looking to Steve Levy for ...more
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Dec 11, 08 8:55 AM
Bellport and Yaphank sound like good places for this casino if they really have to build one. Definitely don't want one in the East End's Backyard. Having one in the county will bring in alot of tax revenue and create jobs, but on the other hand, think of all the gambling addicts who will lose their paychecks to this place.

Anyone know how the outskirts of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods has changed since the construction of those casinos?
By landarchi (33), Southampton on Dec 11, 08 9:10 AM
If we legalize prostitution and drugs the County stands to gain a ton of new tax revenue. Think of the construction jobs created for all the whorehouses that will need to be built.

The sheer stupidity of a casino almost out does a ski mountain in Calverton.

By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Dec 11, 08 1:01 PM
I understand your adamancy against construction of a casino, but comparing it to prostitution and illegal drugs is a bit overboard.

There are pros and cons and we just have to discuss which one out weighs the other.
By landarchi (33), Southampton on Dec 11, 08 1:38 PM
Yaphank or Bellport sound like much more realistic options than a casino in Hampton Bays , which I'm worried would pollute the Peconic and Shinnecock Bays.Hampton Bays couldn't handle all the traffic either.
The Shinnecock Tribe deserves a casino and depriving them of one is just manifesting a long history of repression against them , in my opinion. Just like efforts to shut down their cigarette sales. :-P
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Dec 11, 08 2:02 PM
C'mon folks--you all know you want to play some blackjack! Let's pump some of that money into our local school districts and get control of our school taxes for once and for all. All of you rich people are spoiled rotten. Let's play cards!!!
By Change up (4), WHB on Dec 11, 08 2:20 PM
There is really no disputing the fact that the Shinnecocks are a sovereign Native American tribe, and as such, deserve the right to build a casino (as well as all other rights and benefits granted by our gov't). It's only a matter of time before they are officially recognized by the federal government. Deal with it.

So instead of lamenting the beauty lost in another state in another era, the focus should be on how to best plan for this inevitable future.

To the commenter CommonSense: ...more
By Agawam Yacht Club (69), Southampton on Dec 11, 08 2:21 PM
Also, to commenter "Typical", what's C.A.V.E. country?
By Agawam Yacht Club (69), Southampton on Dec 11, 08 2:23 PM
Yaphank has so much ***t here,I cant imagine having a casino .The traffic on on home roads,not to mention the congestion on sunrise and the expressway that canot handle the traffic as it is.Not a good idea.
By donna (1), brookhaven on Dec 11, 08 3:54 PM
The county wanting to give a helping hand to the Shinnecock's. Man give me a break. They're just out to make sure they get their cut, if and when it happens.
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Dec 11, 08 4:19 PM
Donna, you're probably right. Bellport Outlet Center, which is doing very poorly would be a great site for the casino. Right off Sunrise, it wouldn't bring too many cars into local roads. Let's play some Blackjack and Hold'em baby!
By landarchi (33), Southampton on Dec 11, 08 4:40 PM
maybe we can put it in the old southampton library on job's lane now that the idiot museum has moved to watermill.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Dec 11, 08 9:11 PM
In response Agawam Yacht Club:

Just because something, such as a casino may generate revenue does not mean it is a sound idea. How do you deal with the increase in traffic or the increase in crime for the surrounding area? Is it terrible that Town residents, myself included, object to a casino because home values, already on the ropes, will fall further while local crime rates skyrocket.

Objecting to a casino has nothing to do with whether the Shinnecocks are a nation or whether ...more
By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Dec 12, 08 12:38 PM
To CommonSense,

I think you miss my point completely. At no point in my letter to I say that I think a casino would be a good idea. In fact, I'll go on record now as saying it's probably a bad idea.

My point is that it's an inevitability we as East End residents need to come to terms with. The Shinnecocks will one day achieve federal recognition (deservedly so), and with that follows a casino. It is with this fact in mind that I think we need to plan for the future.

Also, ...more
By Agawam Yacht Club (69), Southampton on Dec 12, 08 1:25 PM
EVERYONE LISTEN!!! We live on a LONG ISLAND! ISLAND is the operative word here. This is a matter of logistics. The LIE is already at emergency capacity. Sunrise Hwy can barley deal with rush hour traffic. This has nothing to do with rights to have a casino. Who will be asked to foot the bill to rebuild access roads... TAXPAYERS! No disrespect to Agawam, You must be a weekender. Or you've never been to AC. How can you be so dismissive. Shame on you! I'm not being nostalgic. I'm realistic. A casino ...more
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Dec 12, 08 1:28 PM
The only place it would work would be on the Grumman property in Calverton. Forget the ski mountain, that whole project is a joke.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Dec 12, 08 1:40 PM
As a point of fact, I am a life-long, full-time (with the exception of college years) resident of Southampton Town.

And to 'Soundview', it has everything to do with rights to build a casino, because once that right is granted by the federal gov't., there will be no stopping the Shinnecocks from building one.

Now, even the Tribal Council has publicly stated they'd rather not build on tribal lands, and would do so only as a last resort. It's for that very reason we've got to begin ...more
By Agawam Yacht Club (69), Southampton on Dec 12, 08 2:10 PM
further west
By OrignialLocal (34), Southampton on Dec 12, 08 2:37 PM

If you believe that a casino is a bad idea, why advocate for it? Remember a few years back when Shoreham was inevitable, as was a jet port in Calverton? Both plans, because they were poorly thought out did not survive largely because people opposed them publically, and expressed their opinions rather than sitting back and letting the "inevitable" happen.

Preserving my block is not my sole concern. A casino for Long Island, with its traffic problems is a bad idea. ...more
By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Dec 12, 08 3:00 PM
How can we complain about the Shinnecocks or make suggestions on their behaviour ? The balance sheet shows that it is time to put our own house in order.The only honest way to approach this is to offer them fair compensation:which by the way we alrady owe them.
By native son (9), Cutchogue on Dec 12, 08 3:54 PM
I think everyone has really good points here. It's healthy to discuss these issues in a mature and logical fashion. Let's keep the discussion going.

By landarchi (33), Southampton on Dec 12, 08 4:34 PM
Put the casino on the Grumman property. A hotel, conference center and casino there would be logical. The property is large enough that, if done tastefully, it's impact would be minimal to even the surrounding area. The Hampton Bays issue would be resolved and there would be good access all the way around, with no traffic impacting the Hamptons.

It might already be too late as there seems to be a project in place. The proposal for the property now is the most destructive, ill-conceived ...more
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Dec 12, 08 5:19 PM

Where does Tanger get it's power from? Where does SplishSplash get it's water from? Who are you to say what large-scale projects get the OK or not?

I guess the point that a lot of people are missing is that once federally recognized, it will be the Shinnecock's right to open a casino, whether we like it or not. Shoram,Calverton jet port, etc., these were private projects, open to community and political pressure. In this case we're talking about a sovereign Nation, ...more
By Agawam Yacht Club (69), Southampton on Dec 12, 08 6:25 PM
Of course this is a hot issue and I'm getting tired. But to say that once the Feds say so. Anything goes... That's ridiculous! Lets not forget who they work for in the 1st place! Some people need to put down the Kool-Aid. Do we need to start talking about famous federal mistakes in history? I think not.

This is all about "We the people" Our community. Our rights. Agawams got one thing right. We do have a choice. Stick together and it doesn't happen here.

As far as the impact ...more
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Dec 12, 08 9:43 PM
Who am I to suggest what projects are done? Well let's see, I am the taxpayer who all of these projects directly impact along with my children and their children. The point about Tanger and Splish Splash make my point, how many large scale projects can Long Island withstand? Maybe we should pave over everything from Montauk Point to the Suffolk Nassau border? Future generations don't need clean air or water . . . . . So long as the politicians get rich at our expense, maybe we can outdo the ...more
By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Dec 13, 08 6:08 PM
It's not the Indians who ruined the area but the white man. Look at all the development shopping centers and mansions that have been built on the east end. I think we have paved over most of the east end already. What's wrong with gambling I bet most everyone has bought a lottery ticket or a scratch off. To keep the indians poor and living in substandard conditions when they have the opportunity to better themselves is ridiculous and prejudicial.
By harbor man (47), sag harbor on Dec 13, 08 8:21 PM
Harbor man I thought I could hold my tongue but alas... Don't you mean "W____ Devil"

This is 2008. Please tell me who is "keeping the indians poor and living in substandard conditions... Is that true? Do they have to live in substandard conditions? Are you implying the "White Man"? is forcing them to live on the reservation? What is this "Creature" White man?

This is Southampton NY. 2,5 million dollar an acre Southampton. Not the "South side of Chicago". Who is forcing them to ...more
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Dec 14, 08 10:19 AM
Instead of giving concessions for tribes to gain wealth through gambling, why don't we guarantee all kids on the reservation a college education. Maybe that will produce future generations of college students. Then they can qualify for jobs and not claim they have been discriminated aganist. Obama can be a president ,an indian can get a job in this day and age!!!
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Dec 14, 08 8:15 PM
C.A.V.E. stands for Citizens Against Virtually Everything and it best describes the east end of Long Island
By typical (63), southampton on Dec 15, 08 8:42 AM
I read with interest the article in the most recent Dan's Papers about the woman who stole from the Montauk Fire Department to pay for her, wait for it, wait for it . . gambling debts.

Mets fan is correct, a college education may enable future generations of the Shinnecocks to do something other than offer a player to split his or her aces.
By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Dec 15, 08 11:09 AM
Mets Fan's idea, which has good intentions, is a legislative mess. I'd guess college-age and younger Shinnecocks make up less than 15% of the total Res population. What about everyone else?

But the real problem with that idea is this: Why write new laws in an attempt to fix a problem when there is already a solution used successfully nationwide? Indian gaming was created as a solution for the EXACT SAME problem the Shinnecocks are experiencing.

And to Soundview, while we may ...more
By Agawam Yacht Club (69), Southampton on Dec 15, 08 11:54 AM
Soundview are you suggesting that the Indians are not hard-working individuals and are not educated? Wanting to keep their heritage intact and living on a reservation is wrong? One of their biggest problems of wanting to stay on their reservation is that they are not able to get mortgages or home improvement loans to better their living conditions. Therefore they need to find ways to generate large amounts of money to keep this way of life alive. This does not make me pro casino, but let's ...more
By BeachGal12 (8), Hampton Bays on Dec 15, 08 12:04 PM
Not at all!

My response was specifically aimed at Harbor Mans comments. He might not have meant it but his statement is soaked with racial overtones. Be-it a little backward. If you digest the entire comment you would see what I mean. PS I am not a "White man" if you were curious? BeachGal You need to read the entire thread. Thats quite an accusation. Actually my family has been actively involved with native Americans for over twenty years. They have been an integral part of my family ...more
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Dec 15, 08 2:48 PM
A casino anywhere on Long Island would be a disaster. We are just not geographically capable of handling that much more traffic. Nobody in Bellport wants a casino, the former outlet area of North Bellport in question is depressed and I could see why some people might think that is a good place but in reality Sunrise Hwy is still only 2 lanes in this section and could in no way handle the traffic. Widening the road would be a huge project and would change the landscape of the area drastically as ...more
By catboat1 (3), Bellport on Dec 16, 08 1:09 PM
My comments were not meant to soaked with racial overtones just factual. Racism still does exist Obama is not referred to as the 44th president but as the first black American president when in fact he is 1/2 white Why are we still attaching labels to people. Beach gal is right it is impossible to obtain a mortgage on the reservation. It was not the Indians who built the Kmart shopping center and the Mc mansions on the ocean and in the farm fields. If anyone has a chance to better themselves ...more
By harbor man (47), sag harbor on Dec 16, 08 8:13 PM
I think the casino should go up by the airport in Westhampton. this would place it in Southampton town which would bring alot of revenue to the area. Look how dead Main St. Westhampton Beach is in the winter. Come on folks, this area is slowly dying, we need something like this in the area. The Westhampton exit is the first one inside Southampton town its the best place. Sunrise can handle to the traffic and with 111 one exit away it provides several ways out of the area.
By The Truth (15), Westhampton on Dec 16, 08 9:41 PM
I'd like to build on what 'The Truth' just wrote above. He's right when he says the area is slowly dying. I grew up in Southampton but can't afford to buy a house in good condition. Without us younger people living here the area will surely die.

A few months ago (maybe even a year ago) there was a very interesting article in the Residence section of the Press. I think it may have been written by Joe Shaw. In the article he proposed that Southampton Town, via the Community Preservation ...more
By Agawam Yacht Club (69), Southampton on Dec 17, 08 11:50 AM
The CPF was instituted as a land preservation measure, not a piggy bank. The more alternative uses for it are proposed , the more likely it is it's original use will be forgotten and the money misused.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Dec 17, 08 1:28 PM
Mr. Rodney,

Please take a closer look at my comment. I'll highlight the sentence that you seem to have overlooked:

"Now, I'm not sure if the CPF is the right place to draw these funds from, BUT, what if this money came from a housing fund financed by the casino profits?"

By Agawam Yacht Club (69), Southampton on Dec 17, 08 2:19 PM
This is turning into a forum
I'd like to address the actual article and the problems associated with a casino in this area.
The projected estimate of visitors is approximately 3.3 million a year. Thats just under 1000 a day (by car)? Or approximately 6300 per weekend.

Do you know that Mohegan sun gets over 11 million a year. And they're not on the ocean.

You don't think that will strain our municipal resources? Lets ask the police dept. for ...more
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Dec 18, 08 11:07 AM
A casino in Hampton Bays has about as much chance of happening as does Peconic County. The Shinnecocks went into the thing half-baked with a fly-by-night investor/adviser who flew the coop once he checked out reality.

The location in Red Creek ( or whatever it is called ) is too small. Tha land they cleared was a symbolic gesture - the bingo hall they drew up would never become a reality. Let them build it in Calverton, and close the door on Hampton Bays.

The idea of a casino ...more
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Dec 19, 08 11:58 AM
I'd like to see a Top of the Line Casino where members can socialize and relax.
By watermillionare (2), Watermill on Dec 17, 09 12:16 AM