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Legislator Solages Takes Stand Against Casino at Belmont Park

 

No_CasinoAfter weeks of protest by Westbury and Carle Place residents, plans to develop a Casino at the former Fortunoff property were called off by Nassau OTB management. It seems the rallying cries of thousands of residents were heard by either the politicians who appoint the Nassau OTB or the Board members themselves when they announced Saturday that they would no longer pursue the Fortunoff property as a site for a casino. While the Nassau Legislative Democrats understood that this was a big win in their fight to stop a Westbury casino, they have always had major questions as a caucus as to whether there is any appropriate place in the County for a casino.

In the last weeks the Democratic Legislative Caucus has worked tirelessly to bring transparency to the process of selecting a casino site anywhere in Nassau. That is why their bill to replace the Nassau OTB Board Members contained two critical demands that the new board members must 1) cease negotiations on the proposed casino property in Westbury and 2) commit to an open, public process if they chose to move the casino proposal elsewhere in the County. Unfortunately, even after hundreds of local anti-casino activists filled the last legislative hearing on a snowy day, Presiding Officer Gonsalves still refused to bring the bill to the floor. While the outrage shared at that meeting might have helped end the poor plan by Nassau OTB to bring the casino to Westbury; Legislator Carrie Solages believes that due to the lack of legislative action taken by Norma Gonsalves; “the people of Elmont are left with no legislative protection to get a fair and transparent process that would give their community a real voice.”

Today Carrie Solages stood with local leaders, community activists and future leaders to send a united message to Nassau OTB Board Members; “There’s a NO in CasiNO in Elmont too.” Legislator Solages went on to say; “It’s clear they are casino shopping and Elmont is the next stop. My concerns are similar to those of the people of Westbury and Carle Place and frankly I think any community would have reservations before willingly taking on this kind of burden. That is exactly why we first need a minimum commitment by the Nassau OTB Board, appointed by Norma Gonsalves and the Republican Legislative Majority, to hold a public hearing giving the local community a chance to express their concerns.”

 

In addition to his demand for a public hearing, Legislator Solages also called upon the Nassau OTB Board not to repeat the same mistakes they made with the Westbury Casino proposal. “It’s about transparency and being honest about the process with the Community. They are the ones who live here. They are the ones who will have to deal with the day to day burdens a casino would bring. They deserve an honest dialogue.” At the community-organized meetings concerning the Westbury casino proposal; the Nassau OTB Legal Counsel was greeted with jeers when he would say that that ‘negotiations were confidential’, furthering the divide of the community with the proposed plan. While Legislator Solages does NOT want a Casino at Belmont Park in Elmont, he additionally wants there to be a process that is created to give any and every community a voice if Nassau OTB proposes the plan in any community. “It’s just time to be fair. To think they would build one of the most significant government driven projects in Nassau’s history and not even consider a fair process and open dialogue with the community is outlandish. They committed to not doing that in Westbury and it was unfair if they try to do it in Elmont or any other Nassau community – STILL UNFAIR.”; Carrie Solages exclaims.

“Lastly, I do invite my partners in government to join the cause for our community like they had for Westbury. This will take a team effort and we will need all leaders to step up for the great people of Elmont.” concluded Legislator Carrie Solages.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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