Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Duck and cover -- hide and obstruct -- the LAW is getting ready to kick in doors and YANK out those video poker machines

Pittsburgh City Council, bill number 2008-0024:

Resolution authorizing the city to enter into a grant agreement with the PA Gaming Control Board for the receipt of grant monies in the amount of $181,129 for ENFORCEMENT and PREVENTION of unlawful operation of illegal slot machines and illegal gambling.
Texas Hold Em tournaments -- watch out.

Church Bingos -- beware.

NCAA Tournament Bracket Organizers -- take note.

Super Bowl office pool participants -- clipping expected.

Tavern owners with video poker machines -- the Onorato tax was just the beginning.

I'm not happy to have these thugs -- PA GAMBLING CONTROL BOARD -- paying off our police department. I don't want our police department giving up turf to them. And, I don't want the police to do the dirty work on their behalf.

$181K covers the salaries of a lot of crossing guards.

I'd love to see the details of that 'grant.'

Can it be posted to in full?

This is the work for Bruce Kraus to push ahead. Meanwhile, citizens get pushed around.

Furthermore, the money used for enforcement is going to cost the taxpayers. There won't be those funds available to pay for reductions in property taxes, as promised. And, the heartache that these police acts are going to cause are sure to wreck businesses and destroy family investments. The fines, penalties, jail time and unpleasant reactions in dealing with the guys in badges is costly.

These guys are not going to be working to improve the valet parking services at the new casino. These guys are going to be crawling around all parts of the city, undercover.

Have the slots parlor operators take care of their own matters. Don Barden can hire private investigators if he feels that gambling incomes are slipping outside the reach of the monopoly that he was able to purchase from the state.

The commander from NARCOTICS and VICE goes to the table to talk about the bill.

Kraus wants to amend the bill to read from slots machines to "all electro mechanical gaming devices."

Money is coming from the confiscated -- asset forfeiture funds. This is used for 'buy money' on the streets, said Commander Huss. Funds allow officers to work in conjuction with other agencies, DEA, ATF, DA. The city reaps a portion of those funds.

What is the criteria for spending and not spending these moneys?

Predominantly for equipment and 'buy money.' But -- if you ask me -- the criteria and predominance is not the same. It includes weapons.

Officers in the vice unit will be used. This is for overtime for existing officers. Not new hires.

The grant has $30,000 is for public outreach. Kraus thinks it is for education. Telling bar owners that these devices are now illegal. They want a 24 hour tip line. Advertising, billboards, newspaper ads. Give people the opportunity to give the info to the police to give up their neighbors. The tips can come via 3-1-1.

BBI is charged with dispensing the licenses for gaming devices. None of the money goes to that department. BBI does not have an enforcement role when it comes to illegal gambling.

The city is still going to turn a blind eye to video poker. Cost is $250 per machine.

Money is to rental vehicles, $30,000. Do we have a fleet in the city? Why are we renting cars? When you switch out the cars they are less obvious.

Some money is for CPA services. Why hire them? To look at the books of their providers.

Motznik wants the entire city to be targeted, not just specific locations. Motiznik is going to rat out a few locations, after the meeting.

Gambling is going to put a strain on the public safety of the city -- so wonders Dowd. What level of activity do we anticipate seeing. Are the funds going to cover the costs we'll incur.

This is all new to us, said Huss. This is money to try to curb illegal gambling. They want all the gambling to be legal, in the state sanctioned joint owned by out of state developers. Huss said that a big cost in another area was for medical expenses on people tripping over a big curb. -- Say what???!!! --

What is going to be the increase demand on the police force, EMS, etc. We are going to have a greater strain.

Huss said that they'll be bringing the STATE POLICE and In-House SECURITY.

Burgess talked about money that is seized and then put back into operations of the police. If money is taken from district 9 -- is it put back into district 9? Is there any judging as to putting the money back into the community from where it was taken from? Is there any thought about that? Are there documents and data to see how much money is seized and how it is put back in use.

Huss -- I've never looked at that. We've kinda looked at that on the whole -- citywide.

Harris asked for more advertising on illegal drugs so that the public can call in for their tips. Harris wants the neighbor rat line to be put on the city cable channel. Wheere to get drugs in the city. There are silent complaint forms and the phone to the police office works.

Humm.... $70K confiscation narcotics trust fund is being spent. The 'lock box' mentality. What is the criteria on spending money from this trust fund. Otherwise, we should NOT have the trust fund. Wants to stay true to the creation of the trust fund. Peduto will abstain. Worried that the public will think that the police are not being targeted.

Pin ball machines.

That is the 'intent.'

Where are the project naratives.

Great opportunity for citizen observer, said Peduto.

So, everyone on council is ready to expand the scope of the enforcement.


Anonymous said...

Before you blame the Gaming Control Board, look to the gaming act and see that this grant program was written into the law by the legislators. The Board is carrying out the law and it is specific to slt machines, not small games of chance.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The blame for being thugs is because of the Gaming Control Board deeds and of those it has hired in the past.

The law stinks and they are not welcome here.

To say that this is specific to slt machines is to put your head in a dark space again -- still.