Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Letter to the PGCB

I include here a letter I recently sent to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board concerning the proposed casino at Gettysburg.

To Whom it May Concern,

I wish to express my displeasure with the continued manner in which the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) informs the public of both the correspondence and testimony offered concerning the proposed casino at Gettysburg. On April 5 2006, at the PGCB Hearing at Gettysburg College, the vast majority of the people who testified expressed their vehement objection to allowing Chance Enterprises to build a casino near the Battlefield. Of the 33 private citizens to speak, 29 opposed the casino. After listening to the others present, I left the hearings encouraged. Knowing the government’s charge of representing the will of the people, I felt that Gettysburg might emerge free of a scourge that threatened to desecrate and damage the grounds upon which our ancestors fought and died.

However, as time passed, I realized that the PGCB had made public none of what we said that day. I contacted your offices seeking transcripts of the testimony. After some time awaiting a reply, and receiving notification that you would not publish this on-line, you informed me that I would need to go through a private company to obtain the transcripts. Unlike other minutes that the PGCB freely and publicly posts on-line, I would need to pay for a copy of our public record. Much to my continued exasperation, the company to which you directed me declined to quote a price. In fact, they ceased to respond at all.

I felt some measure of resurgent optimism when I noticed that the PGCB had posted a series of casino related public comments on their site. However, instead of posting searchable, easily readable text, the PGCB instead chose to post massive files of collections of scanned copies of some of the original documents. In doing so, the PGCB has contributed to the impression of bias concerning this issue. The first four web pages of posted comments concerning the Gettysburg casino contain almost exclusively if not entirely letters in support of that casino. The final eight pages hold the letters and petitions containing hundreds of vehement objections.

Along with rendering the task of reading the comments arduous at best, the PGCB has padded the first files which people are likely to read with those comments in favor of the casino. Nothing on that web page notes or explains this. The reader scanning the first few pages of comments may naturally assume that the citizenry expressed an overwhelming degree of support for a casino at Gettysburg. The PGCB must be keenly aware that this is most certainly not the case.

If I counted correctly, as of four days ago, the PGCB site hosted 687 pages against the casino and 243 pages in favor. The pages expressing support for the proposal included letters from persons working for or linked to Chance Enterprises, the Company wishing to build the casino.
Of note, I did not see any of the correspondence that I sent to the PGCB nor did I see the transcript of my testimony that I submitted to your stenographer the day of the hearing.

I would hope that, when you submit your final decision, you will support the will of the people and not permit a casino anywhere near the sacred ground of Gettysburg.



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Judi said...

How do you keep from becoming apoplectic over their shenanigans?!!

Randy said...

Hi Judi,

Nice to see you here again.

To answer your question, it helps that I probably couldn't have spelled apoplectic or shenanigans correctly, at least on the first try.

Seriously, as I understand it, the board members are appointed and not elected which may explain why they seem to care little for popular opinion.

Sad. Very sad.