Those we choose to lead us have to keep one good finger on the pulse. It's a job requirement. We appreciate it when our elected leaders appear able to discuss current events. We expect it, actually. It shows they've been paying attention. We notice it, however, when it appears they can't.
Which is why we were surprised by the questions asked by 2nd Ward Alderwoman Valerie Beekman Tuesday night during an Amsterdam Common Council committee meeting. Among the items on the agenda was a discussion local municipal boards have been asked to have regarding the potential siting of a casino in Montgomery County.
It's been in all the papers (after having been in this one a couple of times). It has been discussed on the airwaves and, we have to believe, at the coffee shop, sewing bee, and corner tavern. It's been pretty hard to ignore.
We are among the handful of counties in the capital region that is being considered for a casino gambling operation. A pair of properties along Route 30 near the border of the city of Amsterdam and the town of Florida are being promoted as a potential site. The 512 acres feature road frontage bordering the southern side of the state Thruway near Amsterdam's Exit 27. So, the location has been identified.
Step 12 in a 1,000-step process involves the city, the town of Florida and the county legislature lending their support to the idea. It's a rudimentary action required by the state. The county is already on board. Florida is expected to talk about it Monday night.
This part we get. Again, this is no longer new news. Alderwoman Beekman made it seem otherwise.
"Are we just looking for land?" she asked Tuesday. "Or looking for property? Looking where to put this?"
No, no and no.
She also asked if a casino would be beneficial to Amsterdam. And if a casino in Saratoga Springs -- which is considered the regional front-runner for such an operation -- would be more beneficial.
Well, yes and not as much.
Aside from the fact that the local potential for jobs (construction and gaming), infrastructure revenue (water and sewer chief among them), spin-off businesses, traffic and visitors could make it a revenue-generating game-changer, it does, granted, have its downfalls. But this is not the conversation at this stage of the game.
The conversation right now is: Do we want to be dealt in?
A follow-up question might be: You heard about this, right?
Please say yes.