- Thanks much to the reader who called attention to Gov Spitzer's comments on the racing franchise in the Troy Record this past weekend; and no, I had not seen this before. The reader notes: Nice to see the "leadership" at the top. He apparently has no idea what the ad hoc committee or his own group have done..
"The first step is to figure out what we want and then open it up to the interested parties and ask 'what will you pay for it?' " [Spitzer] told The Record Editorial Board. "The right questions should be what the structure is - what is the relationship among not only the three tracks but among OTB, VLTs and entertainment. There are a couple issues that have to be thought through before we say 'send us an RFP.'" [Troy Record]Send us an RFP? For one thing, isn't it the other way around? And besides, haven't we already gone through these steps? What is he talking about? Have I stumbled across another outdated interview and presented it as news? This could be a quote from George Pataki three years ago. Wouldn't you think that if the governor has an appointment with a reporter on his schedule, that his aides would brief him to an extent at which it would seem as if he has at least a basic grasp on the subject matter?
"Look at how they responded and you can say they responded to different models," he said. "What we need to do is figure out what we think the right model is and they say OK, now tell us what you are willing to do."Huh?
Spitzer also said there are people who "asked legitimate questions about the need for two downstate tracks." Who said that? Tom Suozzi? Certainly not any of the four bidders that have proposed to build racinos at Aqueduct, that's for sure. I was just the other day thinking gratefully about the fact that you don't hear talk of closing the Big A anymore. On the contrary; it is of course at Aqueduct where the damn racino is supposed to be built, and it's not even legal at this point for one to be located at Belmont. I wonder if the governor even knows that?
Spitzer also told the Record that the land issue is in bankruptcy court and while he could not say much about the case he did tell Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to "win the case." I imagine that there is much going on behind the scenes of the case. It's no wonder that NYRA's dates in court (and approval of the racino) keep getting postponed due to ongoing negotiations. It sounds from that comment that the state is looking to put the issue behind them once and for all. Why NYRA would give in at this point for anything less than a meaningful extension of the franchise, I can't really imagine. What does NYRA really care at this point in time about a racino for whose opening they might very well not be in existence for?