The Big, Bad Bass-Baritone!

Internationally-acclaimed Bass-Baritone Eric Owens will be in Vancouver this week for a concert presented by the Vancouver Recital Society – next Sunday, Oct 21, at 3pm, in the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre. The quote cited for his concert on the VRS website? “Because he … Read more…

Well-Tempered Bach

Last Friday night the Vancouver Recital Society presented Andras Schiff in a recital of Bach’s first Book of Preludes and Fugues at the Chan Centre at UBC. (Andras is managed today by Kirshbaum Demler Associates in New York.) It was a transcendent experience, the … Read more…

Culture Shock: The Ostrich And The Cuttlefish

“The trouble with change is that the new is not yet born while the old is not yet dead, and in the interregnum a variety of morbid symptoms begin to appear.” Antonio Gramsci, Marxist Revolutionary “The only constant is change.” … Read more…

My Titanic Daliance With Ricky Martin & Bo Xilai!

It’s amazing how The Titanic keeps coming up! In the news I mean. First there was Director James Cameron‘s death-defying plunge into the icy depths of the Mariana Trench; then the media craze over the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, … Read more…

Making Music In Manhattan

I was born at the dawn of the Space Age in a nation not yet formed, subject of an Empire that no longer exists. I remember staring starstruck up at Sputnik, that first resounding Soviet shot across our technological prow, watching … Read more…

Happy New Year!

“Out with the Old and In with the New!” has never rung more true for me than it does with the advent of 2012! It’s only been five years since I moved back to Vancouver after twenty years away in New York. … Read more…

Dear Friends, Supporters, Donors & Volunteers

Many thanks for the thousands of kindnesses you’ve shown me over the past eight months! Thank you for the hours spent phoning, the free haircut, the time spent on cold, rainy nights handing out my flyers, and for the friendliness … Read more…

My Remarks To Council On Mega-Casino Proposed for Downtown Vancouver (amended)

Mr. Mayor, Councillors, Dr. Ballem, City Staff and Concerned Residents of Vancouver:

My name is Sean Bickerton and I’m speaking today as President of Paris Place Strata, as a Director of the False Creek Residents Association and as one of the founding members of the Vancouver Not Vegas! coalition.

I would like to state on behalf of the members of the coalition that we fully respect the workers here tonight, their jobs and the heart-rending stories they have shared with us.

But i’m also wondering, as you must be, how a one-word footnote in an appendix of a 50-page report somehow morphed into the largest casino in Western Canada …

I’m also wondering how, like some creature from the movie Aliens, it managed to glom 0nto BC Place, our family-oriented sports stadium? We’ve recently learned that families and children will be banned from one of the main entrances to BC Place – an entrance paid for by the taxpayers of BC – because that once-public stadium entrance will be taken over by Paragon’s private new megacasino!

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Timeline of Correspondence with Paragon Gambling – In Response To Councillors Reimer, Meggs & Jang

In response to false challenges to my veracity by Paragon Gaming, and questions raised by Councillors Reimer, Meggs & Jang following my address to council last Monday, March 14, I have provided the following timeline of correspondence to Mayor and Council.

The correspondence was with Paragon Gambling Corp’s legal counsel George Cadman of Boughton Law Corporation, and their spokesperson, Tamara Hicks, in which I sought a meeting on behalf of the False Creek Residents Association to discuss community concerns regarding Paragon’s proposal to build a mega-casino at BC Place:

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American Casino Bankruptcies- In Response To Councillor Deal

On Monday I addressed Vancouver City Council during the third night of public hearings held to consider Paragon Gambling Corp’s massive megacasino proposed for downtown Vancouver. My presentation challenged some of the core economic assumptions the proponents have used in trying to sell their project to the city.

Councillor Deal asked for additional information in relation to my observation that approximately half of the casinos in the United States are in bankruptcy or receivership.

In response to the good councillor’s request, I spent a few hours perusing respected news journals, financial reports and court bankruptcy documents.  It is only partial and not meant to be comprehensive – I don’t have a city staff of 1000 to do my research – but it’s certainly representative. My brief research was limited to the past twelve months. There wasn’t time to include casino bankruptcies in 2009, a year that saw many others.

The result is a compilation of 50 major destination casinos across America that are in bankruptcy or receivership awash in billions of dollars of debt.

Unemployment in Las Vegas reached 15% last October and remains well above 13% today. And future prospects for the industry are worse, according to the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, who reported on February 8 that “he expects more casino bankruptcies in the stagnant economy.”

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