- The stormy relationship between Governor Spitzer and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has moved into the no-holds-barred stage as the two have made their dislike for each other quite public in the wake of the legislature's adjournment last week. Spitzer blasted Senate Republicans, and Bruno in particular, on Wednesday during a speech to a broadcasters group in Lake George, during which he chided the GOP for thwarting his initiatives, especially his campaign finance legislation (an issue on which the U.S. Supreme Court is going in the opposite direction.)
"We're going to play 'Where's Waldo' and ask, 'Where's your senator?' " Spitzer declared as he flayed Bruno - and displayed his picture on a large screen - in a speech to the media executives.The governor singled out Bruno on the campaign finance reform issue, displaying a slide quoting the senator as saying: "I laugh when I read that people gain access by their contributions. So what? So what?" [NY Sun]
He accused Bruno and the Senate's Republican majority of leaving the Capitol last week with major work undone, although he said they still found enough time to make it "a priority to raise their own pay."
"What should New Yorkers do?" Spitzer continued. "Tell your senator to come back and finish the people's business," he said. [NY Post]
"He's worried that if we change the rules, he won't be able to hold onto his majority," Spitzer said. "Joe Bruno's statement to me is, 'We need that money.' That was when they walked out. That was a direct quote: 'We need that money.'" [NY Daily News]As you might expect, the feisty Bruno fired back, echoing a complaint by his Senate Republican constituency that the governor has reneged on campaign promises to embark on an upstate restoration plan (a sentiment certainly shared by Jeff Perlee and Empire Racing).
“There was a rare sighting of Governor Spitzer in upstate New York,” adding that Mr. Spitzer had “delivered more empty political rhetoric” instead of “hope that he might actually deliver on his campaign promises to create jobs upstate.” [NY Times]And oh yeah, it's getting personal too.
"He's too temperamental. He can be charming, he is extremely bright, he's very personable, he's very articulate, when he wants to be,” said....Bruno. “But just as soon as you're telling him things that are disagreeable to him well then you can see the change take place in his face. He flared up with me a couple of times on the phone and in person in a very unbecoming way. All I could think about was some little rich kid having a tantrum. I almost expected him to be wandering around stomping his feet." [NY1]Of course, the instances when the governor is talking about horse racing and the franchise situation are not among those times Bruno referred to when Spitzer wants to be articulate. Once again, he babbled on almost incoherently to reporters on the subject he knows little about.
“There are three tracks. Saratoga is the gem of the racing establishment in the nation. Belmont is one that still draws a fair crowd. Aqueduct, I think, people have had meaningful conversations about whether having the track there is the best use." [Bloodhorse]I'm not really sure who these "people" are who he keeps referring to as "having conversations" about closing Aqueduct. It sure ain't anyone in the racing industry. And it's certainly not Joe Bruno.
"I'll give you my own personal impression. Aqueduct is not for sale," Bruno said. "Aqueduct is going to be a race track and it is destined to have VLTs (video lottery terminals or video slot machines) there. And that's what the Assembly members want, and that's what my Senate members want ... I'm hearing that Aqueduct is critical to horse racing in this state." [Saratogian]In the past, that would be it as far as this discussion goes; as one of the three men in a room, Bruno's opposition would be more than enough to kill this ridiculous plan. Who woulda thunk that we'd be counting on Bruno to save us from Spitzer? But Bruno is under the cloud of a federal investigation that could still result in his indictment; so we don't know just how long he'll be in that room.
And, if it's at all possible, the situation took an even more bizarre turn, as reported by Tom Precious on Bloodhorse.com.
Spitzer said his aides have been trying to sort out whether it makes sense to have three different entities – one for racing, one for casinos, and one for real estate development – involved in a future franchise.Huh? Did he really say that about Saratoga? As even the clueless Spitzer should know, Saratoga is hallowed ground. What politician in his right mind would suggest, even tangentially, tampering with the property in any way? Wait until this quote makes its way into the Saratogian; mayor Valerie Keehn may threaten to secede from the state!
“There is significant real estate development opportunities at Belmont, at Aqueduct, even at Saratoga. These are issues that have to be thought through. And those who know how to run a race course don’t necessarily know how to run a real estate company,’’ Spitzer said. He did not elaborate.
Perhaps Spitzer is just trying to get under the skin of Bruno, a strong Saratoga defender who represents the area, and who will certainly be apoplectic when he hears of this statement. I can't possibly imagine that even Governor Steamroller would be stupid or arrogant enough to propose any kind of development at the upstate track. But if he's serious about adding yet another component to the deal, no need to split the franchise up into real estate, slots, and racing. He can make a single phone call to Mr. Frank Stronach. He should be sitting on a pile of cash now that he's not buying Chrysler, and he has plenty of experience fucking up all three.
- Spitzer's slide show attack on Bruno and the Republicans can be seen here (pdf document)