Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s proposal to bring a casino to Coney Island has the Sephardic Community Federation spearheading an effort to prevent the casino from becoming a reality.
The Sephardic Community Federation, which boasts a membership of 100,000 Sephardic Jews in the New York metro-area, has been running a series of ads against the casino stating that gambling presents a host of moral issues and a very real risk of leading people down a path to addiction, the Brooklyn Daily reports (http://bit.ly/Uw9T3s).
“When you bring a casino, everything negative goes up, crime, gambling addiction,” said Steve Zeltser, spokesman for the Stop the Coney Casino campaign. Zeltser said the Federation became interested in this issue because so many Jews live in the area, but insisted, “This isn’t a Jewish issue. It’s a south Brooklyn issue.”
Zeltser has been working to gain the support of southern Brooklyn’s elected officials. Assemblymen Bill Colton (D-Bensonhurst), Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brighton Beach); and Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park), as well as Senator Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge) have all said they will oppose the measure when it comes to the floor for a vote. “We’re building a coalition from Bay Ridge to Marine Park,” Seltzer said.
Thus far, organizations such as the Russian-American Jewish Experience, Friends of the Boardwalk and Safe Foundation have all joined the Federation in protesting the casino. The Federation is hopeful that the Catholic Diocese, as well as other congregations, will also lend their name to the cause.
But Markowitz has no plans to back down. “We already have the built-in powerhouse branding of Brooklyn and Coney Island,” the Brooklyn Borough President said. “The addition of a casino would serve as a catalyst for further economic development and solidify Coney Island as the city’s premier year-round amusement and seaside entertainment destination. When you really get down to it, where else but Coney Island?”