I am a retired teacher and NYSUT member and I was shocked to read that the United Federation of Teachers deposited $250,000 into a pro-casino PAC, as Jimmy Vielkind reported this week. The UFT is a union of teachers, nurses and other professionals working in New York City’s five boroughs. What the heck are they doing lobbying in support of casino gambling?
The UFT says they are "advocates for children and for the communities in which we work." Well, if that is true, then they have made a very misguided donation.
Consider the impact of casinos on a city’s quality of life, Councillor Adam Vaughan writes in a Toronto newspaper. "From a social perspective, crime goes up. Street crimes, fraud, loan sharking and prostitution rise when a casino comes to town. Before the casino, Atlantic City rarely made the top 50 list of crime ridden cities. Since gambling came to town they almost always rank near the top."
In the New York Post, Steve Malanga wrote, "...when problem gambling grows, bankruptcy, unemployment and jail time also rise."
Gee, United Federation of Teachers, that doesn't sound very family- or community-friendly. Could it be that you were just hoping to claim a few crumbs for increased teacher pay in this deal and you really don't give a hoot about the social consequences of casino gambling? Shame on you.
In my own county, the Saratoga "Racino" has already changed its name to "Casino", despite the fact that casinos are not yet legal here (see photo, above.)
I am voting NO to Proposition #1 on Election Day, Tuesday, November 5. I invite you to do the same.
~ Bee Balm Gal is the blog of Barbara Conner, a registered Democrat, a resident of Saratoga County (NY), a retired public school teacher, and NYSUT union member.