Niagara Gazette — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo pledged in his earlier State of the State addresses that he would change the culture of Albany.
In his administration, government was to be open, frank and candid. In a word, more transparent than what voters in the Empire State have come to expect for too many years.
Now Cuomo, ostensibly to spur economic development upstate, is asking the Legislature to approve second passage of amendment to the State Constitution to allow up to seven casinos in New York. At this point, no one knows for sure where the casinos would be located.
In the initial announcement, Cuomo said the first three should be upstate which could mean Westchester County, Plattsburgh or Niagara County, among other municipalities.
There are more questions than answers, as the right-on-the-money editorial in the Albany Times Union stated Tuesday.
• What impact would the new casino plan have on racinos, the gambling halls that offer video lottery terminals?
• Would casinos create jobs and bring in new business? Or would they simply suck money out of one community into another?
• Will money be set aside to offer gambling addiction help?
•  What about the whole issue of home rule? Is the state going to ram the casinos through even if the majority of residents in an area oppose the plan?
It’s a little like buying a house without a clue about mortgage payments, taxes, and the zoning ordinances. After all, it helps to know what kind of neighborhood you’re moving into.
ON THE AIR: Lew Custode, a trumpet player and vocalist known to thousands of Western New Yorkers, will start a weekly radio show June 5 on WJJL (1440) in Niagara Falls. “It will feature traditional jazz,” Custode said. The Wednesday program will air from 3 to 4 p.m.
“I’m really looking forward to this,” he said, explaining the show will include guests and local artists as well. Custode’s work has run the gamut from rock bands, jazz and commercial dance groups to big bands, bass quintets and marching bands. He also has gained popularity on the summer concert series like his band’s annual engagement in Youngstown. Custode also is in entertainment spotlight with The Barroom Buzzards, a quartet formed in 1966.
ON THE WATERFRONT: Mike Fox and Chris Bohnenkamp, co-owners of Fox BoyZ Marina, who took their 26-foot BWC Gatlin jet boats Saturday from Youngstown through the Whirlpool and rapids to within 100 yards of the falls, have no intention of operating a regular commercial trip over the same route. “We just wanted to show how reliable and safe the two boats are,” Fox said, adding that the plan is to run a course parallel to the current Whirlpool Jet boats operating out of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and the Lewiston Landing.
OUT OF THE PAST: The Niagara County Historical Society, Lockport, will host a program “The War of 1812 in Niagara County,” at 7 p.m. May 23 at the History Center, 215 Niagara St. The event is funded by the New York State Council for the Humanities. Additional information is available by calling 434-7433.
BIG WINNER: Carl Paladino, a Buffalo-based developer whose holdings include the upscale Giacomo, a boutique hotel and apartments (the former United Office Building) in downtown Niagara Falls, easily won an open seat on the Buffalo Board of Education Tuesday night. With all precincts reporting, Paladino carried almost 80 percent of the vote.
Many of the developers’ grandiose schemes for this city’s South End failed during the past 40 years. Paladino turned his hefty investment into a splendid property, once the tallest building in Niagara Falls.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I knew something was wrong when a pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms” — Charles Ramsey, a restaurant dishwasher who broke down the door at a house in Cleveland to help rescue the first of three young women held captives for 10 years.
Contact reporter Don Glynnat 282-2311, ext. 2259.Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2259.