As most readers know, Albany granted Seneca legal superiority over Americans in Niagara Falls, including the right to open casinos and any kind of business tax-free. This created an unlevel playing field which, if not stopped, may result in Seneca capturing the town, and Niagara Falls, N.Y., becoming literally Niagara Falls, Seneca.
Perhaps, however, Americans in Niagara Falls might wish to deploy a strategy to create “Equality with Seneca” and end the racist and unpatriotic law that makes Seneca legally superior to Americans here.
I am therefore calling a meeting of townsfolk; all are invited.
Time: 7 p.m., Monday, September 15 Place: One Niagara (the former
Occidental Chemical Center)
360 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls
Admission is free
The place of the public meeting:
One Niagara, 360 Rainbow Blvd.
corner of Niagara St.
Points to ponder:
Good government secures the rights and preserves the prosperity of people they are elected to serve. But Albany, governing otherwise, ruled that, for Americans in New York, gambling is unconstitutional.
Consider then the monumentally decrepit governance whereby Albany gave U.S. land, in Niagara Falls, to the Seneca Nation of Indians, so that Americans could go on foreign soil — which used to be American soil — and gamble, constitution or not.
SEEDS OF DISCONTENT: In feudal Niagara
Falls (2008), Seneca has vastly superior rights to Americans. But a growing number of Americans are unhappy with the unpatriotic and racist law that makes Seneca rich while Americans in Niagara Falls are impoverished. They will be meeting at One Niagara on Monday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. Join us, won’t you?
CONVENTION CENTER LOST
It began at remarkable cost: Seneca displaced our convention center where out-of-town people convened, then went to local hotels and restaurants. It became a foreign casino where gamblers are mainly regional, and rarely patronize American-owned businesses. They stay at the glistening Seneca hotel, eat at the tax-free elegant Seneca restaurants, buy souvenirs at the shimmering tax-free Seneca stores and, perchance, take a hasty walk to the state park, then come hurriedly back without spending a dime in our failing, aging, unglam-orous city.
Ironic: The Convention Center made money for locals from out-of-town people; the Seneca Casino makes money for out-of-town people (Seneca and Albany) from locals.
More ironic: Seneca is planning to open its own convention center, while we, a tourist destination, stand stripped of a convention center — a crime in and of itself.
IS SENECA BETTER THAN AMERICANS?
Some people are blithely unaware that Seneca has superior legal rights. For these, please note: Based on ethnicity alone, a Seneca can open a casino. An American may not. They can open a business tax-free. We may not. They can build without complying with building codes. We may not. They can seize land and take it out of America and make it part of Seneca for more tax-free businesses. They can secede from the Union, piecemeal. Obviously, we may not.
These things give Seneca a pretty big advantage, which they exercise, not on a reservation, but in downtown Niagara Falls, historically part of the USA.
POSITIVE SPINOFF? The tax-free Seneca having an impact on neighboring properties in Niagara Falls.
THE HARM SENECA HAS DONE
Those who wish to preserve foreigner superiority generally neglect to mention that land ceded to the Seneca nation is property tax-free. Items that used to generate sales tax are purchased sales tax-free in Seneca stores. Yet Americans pay for roads, sewers and water that lead to Seneca.
Nor do those who wish to keep Seneca above us like to mention that tax-free Seneca businesses compete against tax-paying American businesses in one of the highest-taxed places in the USA. While Seneca is gleaming, the area adjacent to Seneca is desolate. Lost in Seneca’s wake, besides the convention center, was the community ice-skating rink. Closed to date: 11 restaurants, 26 taverns, 14 retail stores and four hotels.
ALBANY’S IDEA OF FAIR PLAY: The long-established and excellent Como restaurant pays an
estimated $300,000 in combined property and sales taxes annually, while the new Seneca-Italian restaurant pays zero. How many bowls of spaghetti does the Como have to sell before achieving the same profit, or to say it bluntly, get equality with Seneca?
Meanwhile, Seneca has opened restaurants, taverns, retail stores and a giant hotel — all tax-free.
Even a dunce can understand: It’s the transfer of wealth caused by an incredibly unlevel playing field.
But — and this is the critical point — the Seneca/Albany compact provides for Seneca acquiring additional adjacent land — to remove from the USA — for more tax-free businesses to compete against us.
More stores are coming, and the effects have not been seen. If people drive miles to rural reservations to save a few pennies on cigarettes and gasoline, imagine how far they’ll drive when Seneca has as many stores as the Galleria Mall.
And consider, also, the deterrent effect: what new business would, in a highly taxed, over-regulated and declining city, want to invest and compete against a tax-free nation next to it?
Consider the Seneca-Niagara Hotel, the largest in the area, has deluxe rooms and pillowtop beds. Local hotels would have pil-lowtop beds too, if they paid no property tax, sales tax, income or bed tax. And Seneca plans two more hotels, with a combined 1,250 rooms — all tax-free. It won’t be long before they capture all local hotel business because of their massive tax-free advantages.
ISN’T IT STRANGE? This $1 billion Seneca hotel pays less in taxes (zero) than any struggling homeowner in Niagara Falls.
DO WE HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION TO SURRENDER TO SENECA?
In light of this, I have publicly said I do not think we should allow foreigners to have more rights than our own children.
“Foreigners?” my critics chastise. “They are more American than you!”
But Seneca, by self-acclamation, is a sovereign nation. You can’t have it both ways: American when it suits you, a foreign nation when it helps you.
“Still,” referring to people such as Columbus or Custer, my critics hotly rebut, “We savaged the Indians!”
But their argument that I, you, or we should have lesser legal rights, based on deeds done by others, prior to our birth, just because they had the same skin color, I tell them, is blatantly racist.
“Demanding equality, however, is not racist.”
That usually gives them their quietus.
However, some emasculated hyenas still feel they owe the debts of ancestors who they think “stole” Niagara Falls from the poor (now rich) Seneca. Actually, the Neutrals occupied Niagara Falls until the mid-18th century, when Seneca “stole” Niagara Falls and exterminated the Neutrals. Seneca squatted here only 50 years before the Europeans threw them off and made Niagara Falls, ultimately, part of America.
To assuage the guilt of the feeble-hearted, kindly remember the warlike Seneca would have conquered your ancestors if they’d had the strength. The difference is, had Seneca won, it’s unlikely their descendants would feel guilty. Ask a Seneca if they think they should share their gaming profits with the descendants of the Neutrals.
CALL IT A THREE-FOR: According to the U.S. census, nowhere in America
are property-tax rates higher than Niagara Falls. And New York state is first (among all 50 states) in state and local government taxes. On top of that, Niagara Falls businesses get to compete against a tax-free nation siting plump in their downtown. Excelsior!
That we, the people of Niagara, should passively allow a foreign nation to have superior legal rights to Americans in our town shows an amazing lack of patriotism.
If the people here cravenly say that Seneca is to rule and the people of Niagara are to be docile servants of a foreign nation and our immensely corrupt ruler Albany, then, I suppose, the world is wide enough for those who find this galling to find a place where people are legally equal. Many young people are doing that already — leaving this Albany-strangulated town for places where governance is good and the people are prosperous.
For those strong enough to understand, it’s time to demand equality with Seneca now.
And that’s what this meeting is about.
Frank Parlato Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.