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'Old Balls' Has Answer to Gaming War

By Moose, Jr.

Neighbors:Here's what they got (Seneca [below]). Here's what we got (Niagara Falls [above]).
Barry Snyder, president of the Seneca Nation, represents a sovereign nation (and gaming corporation) that takes from Niagara Falls but doesn't give anything back. In the end, it will likely go quite badly for Seneca, for no one can long endure who takes but does not give in return. The Senecas should immediately pay the city of Niagara Falls for it has fulfilled all its obligations as host city regardless of what Albany has or has not done.

One night while pondering the plight of Niagara Falls, and how the city was going broke, I thought to myself: What could I do?

And then it came to me.

I would try to negotiate a settlement between New York State, the Seneca Nation of Indians, and Niagara Falls.

So far, the mayor has done nothing, the council is all but powerless, the governor could not care less about the city, and if it were left up to the lawyers, they would drag this thing on forever for their own gain at the taxpayer’s expense.

So why shouldn’t I give it a try?

One of my close friends is a Seneca Indian, so we had a few drinks at the casino bar to discuss the matter.

I asked my friend, "what Seneca leader might be sympathetic to my plea?"
He thought a moment and suggested I speak to an old Seneca man that he knew who is referred to as “Old Balls.” So I asked, “why is he called that?” “Because, like any good Seneca in the gaming field, he is always willing to give you a few beads of sweat from them, anytime you were in need,” my friend replied.

My friend introduced me to Old Balls in the Seneca coffee shop, and left us alone to talk.

Old Balls had a kindly face, seemed wise and interested. I recounted the feud between the Senecas and the state over the casino revenue, and that the city was caught in the middle. I went on further to say that Niagara Falls never broke any agreement; its people provided a percentage of good casino workers; they patronized Seneca restaurants and concerts, and gambled and lost plenty of money, too, while their police department protected their customers and the fire department was on call in the event of an emergency -- all paid for by the city of Niagara Falls. The department of public works made sure the streets were paved to their doors and gave them service without questions asked.

In fact, the very casino itself was given to the Senecas for one dollar. It used to be our beloved convention center, which we lost. Now to make room for the Senecas, we no longer can have conventions in our town. On top of that, the city tourism efforts treated the Senecas like a brother, promoting the casino and its entertainment as if it were one of their own, despite the fact that all the Seneca businesses paid no taxes, while the businesses outside the casino had to pay among the highest taxes in the USA.

So why should the city of Niagara Falls be punished and impoverished for what the state did by allegedly breaking the compact?

The city, which attracts millions because of its waterfalls, and the locals who gambled and regularly lost, are the very reason for the Seneca’s success. And, at the end of the day, the Senecas could help the city immensely without hurting the Senecas in the slightest and they could still have their fight with Albany.

"I mean, after all," I said, "the city has been nothing but good for the Senecas."

Old Balls took in everything I said and looked at me intently. After a few moments he spoke:

“A long journey starts with the first step and my advice to you, my son, is to go and get a very large bucket, fill it up with your own quarters, and head for the slot machines here. With all that good karma you mentioned, and a little bit of luck that you deserve, you just might get the ball rolling and save the city of Niagara Falls all by yourself.”

But what if I don't win? I asked.

"Then come back here and I'll give you more than what the Senecas have given Niagara Falls during these last three years, while we have made millions off this city."

What will you give, Old Balls? I asked.

"A bead of sweat, my son, from my old balls."



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Feb 19 , 2013