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Tobacco shop and tax-free gas planned at Splash park

Niagara Falls Repoerter

Death to American businesses, says the Seneca compact

June 01, 2010

By Frank Parlato Jr.

Albany created a monster known as "Niagara Falls, Seneca," a 50-acre "country," with a tax-free hotel, tax-free souvenir, gift and clothing stores, tax-free restaurants and taverns, a conference center, and a monopoly on casinos.

It was created not on an Indian reservation, but, uniquely, on U.S. land smack in the middle of Niagara Falls, given away to a foreign nation to compete tax-free against tax-paying Americans. It would be treason anywhere else.

But we and our local leaders welcomed them with open arms, not realizing, of course, the damage that would one day be done by having a tribe of royalty in this town, a race of such superior legal rights to Americans living among us, so that by sheer economics they must one day rule our entire town.

And the men lie down like weaklings here.

Some people, of course, are unaware that Seneca has superior legal rights. Based on ethnicity alone, a Seneca can open a business tax-free. We may not. They can build without complying with building codes. We may not. They can seize land, take it out of America and make it part of Seneca for more tax-free businesses. They can secede from the Union -- piecemeal. We may not, of course. And a Seneca can open a casino. Should a person who is an American do it, he will be arrested and charged with a felony. These things give Seneca a pretty big advantage.

In Niagara Falls, there is a law that actually makes it legal for someone who is racially and ethnically a Seneca to have slot machines, but illegal for an American.

And there's more. Now, according to sources, Seneca leaders are contemplating building a tax-free gas station and smoke shop on the old Splash Park property.

The property, formerly owned by Niagara Falls Redevelopment, was seized by New York state through eminent domain and taken out of America to give to the sovereign Seneca Nation. It is perhaps the first case of America losing land to a foreign nation through eminent domain.

Although only in the planning stages, if Seneca follows through on its tax-free smoke shop and gas station plan, many local convenience stores and gas stations are likely to close.

While Seneca is 100 percent tax-free, Niagara Falls is the highest-taxed city in the USA in proportion to residents' income and the value of their real estate.

Seneca to date has been tight-lipped about their plans for the old Splash Park property.

Many readers may be surprised to learn that Seneca, after they enlist the state to seize properties from Americans, can do whatever they like with their land. They do not have to operate casinos, as many erroneously think.

As one attorney familiar with the Seneca compact said, "If they choose, they can grow corn there."

While it is unlikely Seneca will undertake agricultural operations on any of their 50-acre nation, it is almost certain they do not have to run gaming operations there.

In recent negotiations with the state, Seneca leaders made it clear they will develop according to their master plan, which includes gaming and multiple hotel complexes, only if market conditions warrant it. In short, they can use the land for a giant tax-free smoke shop, tax-free clothing store and gas station, the likes of which have never been seen in any American city.

It may be time to start charging tolls to get in and out of Seneca. That will put them on a level playing field fast.

This making of the splash park into a smoke shop, convenience store and gas station should sound the death knell for most convenience stores and gas stations in Niagara Falls. Wilson Farms, 7-11 and small mom-and-pop stores are advised to contact their local realtor to list their properties at sacrifice prices.

The tax-free Seneca will be able to offer gas at 30 cents less per gallon than highly taxed American gas stations.

Cigarettes that are selling for $70 per carton, the Seneca can sell for $25 per carton.

They can sell clothing, soda, bottled water and prepared foods at 8 percent less to start, since they do not charge sales tax.

Their overhead is also less, since Seneca pays no property tax, so they can sell their products for far less. And when they build, they can build cheaper too, since they do not have to comply with New York state building codes.

All this adds up to a completely uneven playing field.

People will no longer need to drive to the faraway reservation for cigarettes and gas. And there will be no need for anyone in Niagara Falls to buy any gas or cigarettes from any American business.

This, if it comes to pass, will be only one of several incursions by Seneca that were not thought of at the time of the compact in 2002.

The Seneca 50-acre sovereign territory is already far more than a casino complex. Seneca has opened a buffet, a pub, a "high-end" steakhouse, an Italian restaurant, an Asian restaurant, a glamour spa, a conference center, a bistro, a coffee shop, a nightclub, shops selling gifts and souvenirs, as well as electronics, jewelry and clothing, and a 26-story, 604-room hotel. All tax-free. More stores, more hotels are coming. When the 50 acres are filled, the Seneca/Albany compact provides for acquiring additional, adjacent land -- from the USA -- for more tax-free Seneca businesses.

Two more hotels are planned, with a combined 1,250 rooms.

Even the feeble-minded ought to comprehend that when you open brand new, glistening hotels and pay no taxes, you have a distinct advantage over aging American hotels that are groaning under the weight of the state's high taxes.

It's Economics 101: The transfer of wealth. Seneca is gleaming, while more than two dozen American businesses collapsed. Four hotels closed. The ice skating rink closed. The convention center lost. As readers know, Albany gave Seneca our convention center, which generated millions for local hoteliers and restaurateurs. Now that the lure of a convention in famed Niagara is gone, they are not choosing Buffalo as runner-up city.

The area adjacent to Seneca plunged deeper into desolation.

Still, Albany wants us to think Seneca is having a positive impact. True, slot revenues generate millions for Albany annually, and millions were paid to locals in payroll. Yet studies suggest that for every job created by a casino, at least one regional job is lost. There aren't more jobs, just more of us working under Seneca.

But can we fight back?

We could burn tires and blockade roads -- like Seneca does when it want to make a point.

We could sue Albany on the faultiness of a compact that left locals on an insurmountably uneven playing field.

We could organize local businesses to protest and demand equality, and vote accordingly.

Before the clever Seneca exterminate us like they did the Neutral and Erie tribes 300 years ago, I would like to demand equality with Seneca now!

Of course, to stand up and fight creates a public relations challenge.

The politically correct apologists claim we stole Niagara Falls from the Seneca, and so somehow we must stand aside like cowards and let them capture our town.

The historical facts are quite the opposite.

Seneca stole Niagara Falls from the Neutral tribe in the mid-17th century, then squatted here a mere 50 years, until early Americans threw them off and Niagara Falls became part of America.

Of course, some may object to calling Seneca non-American, but remember they are, by their own acclamation, a sovereign nation, separate from the laws and rules of the United States. You can't have it both ways -- American when it suits you, and a sovereign nation when it helps you.

Regardless, should every white person feel white guilt?

Let me start by being unapologetic. I have no "white" guilt -- that idiotic, disgraceful, illogical, cowardly belief that I, by virtue of my race, am somehow responsible and should feel guilty for deeds done by people who died before I was born, because they happened to have the same skin color as I.

I have no guilt whatsoever.

Still, for those tormented because of the sins of their ancestry, I suggest it's time they stopped feeling guilty for the manhood of their European-American ancestors. Seneca's ancestors were warriors too. If your ancestors conquered them, kindly remember they would have conquered your ancestors, as they conquered the Neutrals, if they had had the strength.

Ask any of them if they think they should share their gaming profits with the descendants of the Neutrals.

Of course, some might like that a handful of Seneca men rule, while we, the men of Niagara, sit weak-kneed and submissive, poor and docile, passively allowing Albany to grant Seneca superior legal rights, as we, like hyenas, cravenly wait upon the carcass until our leonine masters -- Seneca and Albany -- are sated.

Meanwhile, this inequality violates every principle of manliness I have ever known. Your government's telling you that because a man is a Seneca, he has more legal rights in your own town than you, an American.



  Copyright © 2008 Frank Parlato Jr.