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Niagara Community News letter to the editor

Thanks, and a request, to the Seneca Nation

Back when the visionary politicos in Niagara Falls were contemplating, for years, whether or not to allow legal gambling in the Falls, I wrote a commentary suggesting that they consider, quickly, the building of downtown casinos.

This, before out-of-town developers bought up enough of the city to ghettoize most, if not all, of downtown. Well, they didn’t. Matter of fact, they waited so long and let the city deteriorate to the point that, when the final decision was finally made, only the Seneca Nation was willing to take a chance and only on its terms.

After spending a large amount of time in Atlantic City, N.J., I suggested that in Niagara Falls – as in New Jersey – the casino area would turn our city into a sea of poverty with an island of affluence at its center. One must judge for themselves if this has, in fact, taken place.

I feel that we as Western New Yorkers owe a vote of thanks to the Senecas and a vote of thanks for the revitalization that they have done in the city.

Yes, they could have done more, as could have the county and citizens of Niagara Falls.

To those folks who feel trapped in the city by its poverty and those who feel afflicted by the poor around them, I would ask what you would have done to improve the situation. Do you partake in community activities? Have you taken advantage of educational programs available in the city and county? Are you aware of your abilities or lack thereof? Have you put your money where your mouth is and invested in the city or run for office? Do you vote? Are you making your community better or pandering to your prejudices and those around you?

To the Senecas, I would ask, respectfully, please do not put a 24-pump gas station and Jiffy Mart-style cigarette store and grocery downtown. I understand this is part of your nation and I respect that fully. My request regarding this is twofold: one, to ensure the ability of local businesses in the area to make a living and, two, to ensure the prosperity of the Seneca Nation on its other local territory. I believe this small token to both business owners and communities is an investment in the future of both of our nations.

Kenneth W. Hoffman