Blogs > Saratogian Newsroom

The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, March 5

Everyone agrees on the vote, but not its meaning

Tuesday's vote on casinos in Saratoga Springs was unanimous, but its impact certainly isn't. Both sides have issued statements supporting the vote and claiming it means different things. 

Statement from Destination Saratoga Co-Chair Dan Hogan

“Destination Saratoga applauds Mayor Joanne Yepsen and the City Commissioners for passing a resolution that is exactly what we've been calling for throughout this debate: reserving judgment on expanded gaming at Saratoga Casino and Raceway until the state's request for applications is released and the details of the casino's bid are finalized. Any action before that time would be based on speculation and conjecture, and would be contrary to the best interests of Saratogians.

“We wholeheartedly agree with the City Council that Saratoga is a special place and that a Las Vegas style casino has no place in our city. We also know that Saratoga has successfully hosted a casino for the last ten years, and the benefits of that relationship are evident on Broadway and beyond. We are confident that once the facts are available, the city council and the public alike will see the benefits of an enhanced Saratoga Casino and Raceway and also recognize the negative consequences of sending those benefits to another nearby community, and the choice will be clear. We applaud our elected officials for standing up to baseless fear mongering and waiting until all facts are available to make this critical decision on behalf of their constituents.”

                                                 Saratogians Against Vegas-style Expansion


Saratoga Springs, NY - The Saratoga Springs City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution opposing casino gambling expansion in the city at a packed City Council meeting on Tuesday night. Over 300 people attended the meeting, which was moved to the City’s Music Hall to accommodate the huge crowd. This resolution negates one that was passed by the City Council in December 2012 that favored a casino.

Calling the divisive debate over gambling expansion “the issue of the decade,” Mayor Joanne Yepsen, introduced her resolution saying,” After months of due diligence it is time to act.”

“The full support of the City Council rejecting a casino shows clear vision for the future of Saratoga Springs and it recognizes the fact that continuing our economic successes, preserving our quality of life and moving forward in a positive way that focuses on maintaining a strong downtown, protecting the horse industry, guarding the event spaces and maintaining control of our own economic future does not align with the goals of a casino,” said Colin Klepetar, co-founder of SAVE Saratoga. “We are pleased to see that the Council did not decide to wait for the RFA. It shows they understand the RFA will hold no surprises and they have presented a united front against the Casino. We hope that the Gaming Commission, the siting board and the Governor have finally realized that our community does not support siting a casino here and we hope that they will respect our collective voice.”

We are grateful for the fact that Commissioner Scirocco brought a resolution to the table, Mayor Yepsen for building a consensus on this historic issue with her resolution, and the rest of the Commissioners for supporting the community,” said Klepetar.

In their comments before the vote, the commissioners acknowledged that the vast majority of their constituents were against casino expansion. Commisioner Scirocco held up a stack of emails saying, “it’s clear to me that the citizens of Saratoga are against it.” 

SAVE spokesperson Sara Boivin commended the commissioners for representing the 58% of voters who opposed gambling expansion in the November election. She said, “The city council gave its citizens a voice where we had none.”  As for Albany, Boivin noted,  “The Council has sent a clear message to the Siting Board in Albany, that a casino has no place in Saratoga Springs.”



Saratoga Springs, NY – In advance of SAVE Saratoga’s March 6th fundraiser at Putnam Den, local artists have stepped forward to add their voice and talent to the movement. 

“Local artists have been a part of SAVE Saratoga from its inception,” said Colin Klepetar of SAVE Saratoga, “from the design of our logo, to the set up and execution of Thursday night’s fundraiser at Putnam Den, to our continuing efforts to in Albany.”  The SAVE fundraiser, ‘Casino Blues Bash’, will feature artists MaryLeigh Roohan, Freewater, The Dirty Harri Band and Bo Peep and The Funk Sheep.  All local performers donating their time and talent because they believe they have a stake in whether a casino license is granted here in Saratoga Springs.  “For me, quality of life doesn’t mean more gambling culture in Toga,” said Jonathon Newell, leader of The Dirty Harri Band.  “Who is casino expansion good for?  Statistics clearly show the ‘house’ wins.  The community loses.  And we all, 58.2%, already said we don’t need it, our Mayor and City Council have unanimously rejected it – it should be crystal clear to the Siting Board in Albany – we don’t want it.  They still gonna try and get it over on us?  No way!” said Rob Wright of Freewater. 

Also, performing his original song on Thursday night, “The Casino Blues,” Clem Marino adds his voice and song dedicated to the movement.  “I was moved by the recent events of Proposition 1 and how it may affect local host communities, specifically my hometown of Saratoga Springs. I wrote ‘Casino Blues’ to honor Pete Seeger who set the standard for musicians and artists using their talents to further a worthy cause.”  Marino recorded his song at a local studio, JBrown Noise, owned by Jason Brown who recorded free of charge. 

From recording artists, to graphic artists, to cartoonists, SAVE Saratoga has been buoyed by the visual and vocal representation of the citizen’s struggle against a state imposed casino.  Russ Pettinger, a local landscape architect, took his frustration and turned it into a cartoon series that has been seen across social media.  “I've created over 30 cartoons discussing salient topics regarding a casino coming to town.  The very idea of bringing a casino to Saratoga Springs was so appalling to me that I tried to create a metaphor to fully describe my feelings of helpless indignation and outrage.  My goal is to encourage the undecided to learn more about the subject, to entertain those who oppose full gaming and to irritate those who would risk our city in favor of personal short-term profits.  If I can provide information and promote discussion in a thought-provoking way, I've done my job.”

More local artists join the movement each day seeking opportunity to plug themselves in in the most supportive and impactful way.  Benj Gleeksman, SAVE logo designer, has volunteered his talent more than once saying, “my family and I have strong feelings against bringing a new casino into Saratoga, so I'm always more than happy to help SAVE with their design needs.”

Amejo Amyot, Ph.D., founder, Arts district on Beekman describes her motivation for organizing around this issue,  “We must not compromise our morals and ethics for financial gain nor do anything that endangers our well being for financial security.  When we sell ourselves, we lose all connection to our creative, imaginative selves.”

Local Saratoga Artists who have contributed to the SAVE Saratoga effort to date:
Clem Marino
Jason Brown
Hudson photo
Megan Mumford
Charlie Samuels
Rob Wright and Freewater
The Dirty Harri Band
Annie and the Hedonists
Russ Pettinger
Benj Gleeksman
Bo Peep and the Funk Sheep
Amejo Amyot, Ph.D.
MaryLeigh Roohan

SAVE Saratoga Casino Blues Bash Fundraiser
Thursday, March 6th 7pm at Putnam Den

Celebrate our community stand against casino expansion!
Come out in your red to show your support, donate your cash and party with some of the best bands in town!
MaryLeigh Roohan Clem Marino sings the Casino Blues Freewater Bo Peep and the Funk Sheep
$10 cover ($5 with student ID)
SAVE tshirts, signs and concert posters for sale! All proceeds benefit SAVE's efforts to STOP THE CASINO.


Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home