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Straight No Chaser: Supporting a Casino in Downtown Rochester

Op/Ed By Gloria Winston


gloria newRecently, I read, with interest, an editorial written by Brian Sharp in the Democrat and Chronicle.

The editorial was titled, “Casino Opponents Lining Up.”

However, the title should have read, The Mayor’s Enemies are at It Again!

Do you think Brain Sharp will give an objective view of this issue any time soon?

If so, don’t hold your breath.

I have seen very little in writing that has supported anything the mayor has proposed since she’s been in office.

And Sharp constantly appears to lean in the direction of those who may be positioning themselves to challenge the mayor, should she run for a second term.

In addition, much of what has been written regarding opening a casino in downtown Rochester has focused on the cons, not the pros of the possibility, so I thought it may be time to examine the positive side of the issue, since the Democrat and Chronicle has used more than enough ink to focus on the negative.

In light of the city’s economic climate, and need for jobs, I’ve failed to understand how any politician thinks he or she can argue against the addition of 450 to 500 jobs in Rochester, when those jobs may be employment opportunities our community badly needs.

Also, would not the increase in employment help to ease the burden of families on welfare? And, wouldn’t the casino automatically become a tourist attraction, which would increase tourism dollars, and encourage guests to stay in the area?

We certainly have enough hotels and restaurants downtown, which might be appreciative of the potential increase in revenue.

A casino would also no doubt satisfy the city’s need for downtown entertainment opportunities.

If the plan is to revitalize Rochester, I don’t quite understand why there has been so much opposition to the project, from those who have allegedly claimed to be so concerned about our community.

I also found it particularly amusing when, in the editorial, the three main characters Sharp mentioned were Elaine Spaull, Monroe County Legislator James Shepherd, and Rev. Marlowe Washington.

The term, “The Three Musketeers” came to mind.

And, what I found to be most curious, was one fact that the editorial failed to mention.

What Sharp did NOT mention, was the fact that one of the two contractors who have allegedly been “opposed” to the casino is Elaine Spaull’s brother, Andrew Gallina, the president of Gallina Development Corp.

Consequently, this is an oversight which begs the question: Why did Sharp fail to mention the relationship between the councilwoman and the contractor?

I think it’s important the community always knows what’s going on behind the scenes, and that the players’ REAL agendas be placed under a microscope.


If this were a relative of the mayor’s, or any councilperson of color, I bet it would have made front page news, written in mud.

And, for those of you who are interested, and don’t wish to be kept in the dark, let me give you something else to consider.

First of all, neither Elaine Spaull, nor Marlowe Washington, nor James Sheppard have been supporters of the mayor.

They have likely been scheming to challenge the mayor, and nothing less.

I don’t believe they really care about a casino.

What they really care about are media reports that include their names.

As a matter of fact, as we speak, they are probably somewhere planning James Sheppard’s campaign to run for mayor.

And, it would be a candidacy that would go nowhere.

Previously, from what I’ve heard, Spaull’s attempts to back-stab the mayor, when the mayor had been city council president, blew up in her face.

And, I am also told not much has changed in terms of her failure to be forthcoming.

Marlowe Washington has also had his credibility called into question, on more than one occasion, but has somehow demonstrated he is a survivor, to say the least.

And, I guess Sheppard is merely trying to brush up on his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” skills.

It seems selling out the community, simply because you have a personal axe to grind, is the way it usually gets done in Rochester.

It also seems that, whenever we identify, and elect, effective leadership in Rochester, you can always find the Negros in a corner, currying favor from the white folks who would otherwise have no use for them.

Wake up, people!!!

That’s why we have nothing now.

The divisiveness, the backstabbing, the refusal to support someone that looks like you, unless it is you, is clearly not something I call UNITY.

Has anyone ever noticed Sheppard does not appear in any photos with his colleagues, including Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, LaShay Harris, or Vince Felder???

It’s because he’s been bossed, bought, and sold, I’d gather.

In my opinion,  James Sheppard has a big axe to grind.

That’s why it’s been rumored he plans to challenge the mayor.

Remember when he was chief of police, and assumed he would be a shoe-in under her administration??

I will, at some point, let you know why “Mr. Integrity” may not be who you think he is.

The skeletons in his closet are about to fall out completely. Stay tuned.

However, it does appear, from the editorial, that Andrew Gallina may not be totally opposed to a casino, but he may want to make sure he is included at the table.

Still, I think it’s important to pay attention, because his sister should be abstaining from any and all votes that her brother may be voicing opinions on, or any in which he may hold an interest.

So, pay attention to the movement.

The editorial also mentions Robert Duffy. However, so far, Duffy seems to have sense enough to take the high road, and does not seem to be taking anyone’s side at this point.

I can’t say I blame him.

Whether you are for, or against, a casino, for me, that is not the issue.

Instead, what I hope my readers will consider, are the smoke screens the mayor’s opponents may be attempting to use in order to blind them from their real agendas.

We often walk around this community with our eyes wide shut, and may not always see the forest for the trees.

So, make your decisions regarding the casino wisely, whether they are pro or con, and base them on intelligent data, not on alleged opposition from individuals who may have axes to grind.

You should always know what is happening behind the scenes.

In my opinion, it may not be the casino those quoted in the aforementioned editorial are targeting, as much as it may be their intent to make sure the mayor does not win a second term.

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