State Legislators Sue to Stop End-Run of Sugarhouse

A few weeks ago, the City's Commerce Department, with the assent of the Street Administration, including City "Solicitor" Diaz, over-stepped its bounds in awarding a submerged lands license to HSP Gaming, the entity responsible for the Sugarhouse casino. At the "hearing", both State Senator Fumo and State Representative O'Brien testified that, granting a submerged lands license would violate the sovereignty of the state legislature and would not hold up in court. It is time to find out.

Today, State Legislators representing the entire length of the Delaware River through Philadelphia filed a statutory appeal in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The appeal seems to take the position that the license issued by the Commerce Department is revocable as it is not based on legal authority. Only the state legislature can convey riparian land--not the City of Philadelphia.

Presently, Sugarhouse does not own the land it wants to build on. Sugarhouse has an option for 47-48% of the land. The remaining 52-53% is riparian land and owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and held, in public trust, by the legislature for the benefit of each of us. If the City's action is allowed to stand, it would set a precedent that local governments can buck the sovereignty of the Commonwealth and can deprive it of revenue.

Read the lawsuit for yourself here.

Also, it must be noted that Senator Fumo and Rep. O'Brien organized this suit, filed by counsel Welsh and Recker and Christopher Craig (Senator's office). Other participants include Senator Stack and Reps. Keller, Taylor and Donatucci.

It's a bit puzzling...

They voted and helped draft the state legislation authorizing the casinos, and now they are suing to stop them?

And my guess is that each one of them gets re-elected next year, except for Fumo.

You're looking at it the wrong way . . .

Yes, voted and passed the Gaming Act.

But, never gave riparian rights to the Sugarhouse casino.

Two different issues.

The lawsuit isn't about banning casinos in Philadelphia, but ensuring the rights of the legislature is protected. That was made very clear.

I am working to elect Larry Farnese to the General Assembly. Unless otherwise expressly stated, this and every comment or blog I post on YPP and any action I take hereon is solely attributable to me and not Farnese or Friends of Farnese

Don't you think, though

that had the slots bill been thoroughly vetted and properly aired, that perhaps someone, somewhere might have seen this as an issue, being that waterfronts are always prime locations for new development such as a potential slots parlor?

Same with the 1500 ft. buffers. Might have been considered had Vince & Co. not been in such a hurry. Fools rush in...

You thought you knew. Now you do.
Tip of the Spear

Let's not be cute

We all know that this lawsuit is another salvo in the alleged "War on Gambling" being waged by a handful of community groups and their elected officials who greatly fear them.

I am cute. I'm also right.

Just about every civic association within a mile of the proposed sites think the sites are terrible and do not want them.

There is a war on gambling. At the very best, however, this lawsuit is not a war on gambling, but a part of the mounting frustration related to these two locations. None of the legislator-petitioners are anti-gambling. But, don't you think developers should have to abide by the law too?

Also, in case you didn't know, the General Assembly removed those portions of Act 71 that would have granted riparian rights.

Also, have you read the lawsuit? If not, then how can you characterize it in this way? If so, perhaps you have just misunderstood it. You should be aware, this is a separations of power issue and one that, was rightfully filed.

I am working to elect Larry Farnese to the General Assembly. Unless otherwise expressly stated, this and every comment or blog I post on YPP and any action I take hereon is solely attributable to me and not Farnese or Friends of Farnese

The question remains

To what extent is this motivated by
a.) a sincere desire for state government to once again reassert its primacy over local government, how much by
b.) wanting to appear anti-casino in time for certain primary races (while actually pursuing a.))
or c.) one more chance for the state legislature to insert itself into a prime negotiating spot for hashing out Community Benefits Agreements if and when the casino issue moves to what Gaetano has called "Plan B".

I personally suspect its mostly a.) and c.) while strategically being portrayed as b.) at least until April.

-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

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