THE BLOG
08/07/2013 05:53 pm ET | Updated Oct 07, 2013

A Call to Action: Rally 'For' and Support Legalized Gaming in Catskills and New York State

As most of you know, I was born, raised, and spent much of my adult life in the Sullivan County Catskills. Now, I plan to die here too. I love where I live and never want to leave these beautiful mountains again. I also want them to prosper like they did when I was a young child growing up in Monticello.

During my lifetime, I witnessed the sad decline the Catskills. During high school, college, and law school, I worked my way through working the hotels-waiting tables and working convention services at the Concord. Those days are long gone. Now, all those great hotels small and large have been either torn down or occupied by tax exempted schools and religious groups.

During the last 40 years, one of the hopes to revitalize our Catskill Mountains has been the legalization of gaming in New York State and the building of casinos in Sullivan and Ulster Counties. At various times, our dream to rebuild have risen with efforts to establish both institutional and Indian gaming-but they all failed. At the same time, the economy in upstate NY and Sullivan County basically died.

But now the Catskills stand closer than ever before to achieve a rebirth with the passage of a constitutional amendment legalizing gaming in New York. That means jobs, new employees buying and renting homes, and local businesses busy again on a year round basis.

And truthfully, gambling is legal in many forms already in New York State and various Indian tribes have established casinos throughout the state. "Legalized" gaming is long overdue in New York State. Pennsylvania has it, New Jersey has it and Connecticut has it.

The Catskills should be such a venue too.

It's time to capture those dollars and to use them to rebuild the Catskills-and also use gaming revenues to reduce the local property tax burden and fund better education in NYS too.

Now a new effort is underway in the Catskills to get the message out to NY voters to vote YES for the constitutional amendment to legalize gaming.

Here in Sullivan County, there's a kickoff rally scheduled to get out the YES vote on August 14, 2013 at 6pm at The Sullivan Hotel in Rock Hill. For all my SC readers, please attend. It's extremely important to show that we want this gaming amendment passed and SC residents and businesses must show their support for it. Business leaders are being joined by a bi-partisan effort by government officials to work together to jumpstart this important effort. We're united on this issue.

For my readers in South Florida and elsewhere, it's also important that you support this effort by urging your NY relatives and friends to vote YES for the amendment in November. It never ceased to amaze me when I lived in South Florida how many people I ran into there and elsewhere who had great memories and a permanent life connections to the Catskills. I ask you to translate these memories into action by taking a moment to tell your connections in NYS to vote for the gaming amendment in November. We want you to come back again and to enjoy first class accommodations-and maybe a blintze and some great comedy too.

Well, that wasn't too short after all. That's because I'm passionate about where I live. Please share that passion by supporting this worthy cause.

To start, forward the email to 10 others who love the Catskills and ask them to do the same. Tweet and Facebook it too using #voteyesforNYgaming hashtag too. Let's build the critical grassroots effort to get this Amendment passed.