- Teresa mentioned Charles Hayward pushing back in the Thoroughbred Times against the complaints from Elmont , and indeed, there he asserted that NYRA is not to blame for the surrounding area’s empty storefronts and economic decline:
“We provide the same economic relief there that we do in Saratoga, with property taxes and admissions tax...There are certainly some improvements we can make with relations with the community.Hayward's comments may be a little misleading, as I'd imagine that any revenue from admission taxes are lower than that from Saratoga. And it's also fair to wonder if the bankrupt association has actually paid any property tax of late. But as mentioned previously, I'm sure there's a lot of posturing here on the part of the community with the possibility of slots on the horizon.
“If this hearing results in the opening of better lines of communication that’s great. But I think some people have unrealistic expectations about what NYRA can do for the community. It’s a two-way street.”
Another reader asks where and how the mile and 70 yard distance originated. That distance equates to a mile and .318 furlongs. Does anyone know how that came about?
- Wayne Barrett has a very long and worthwhile piece in the Village Voice regarding The Truth Behind Troopergate. Now, this is the Voice's version of the truth, which, for those on the other side, would be considered to be as credible as the opposing view being pushed by the NY Post - the "Paper of Rancor," according to Barrett. I'm of course far more inclined towards the Voice, but I think it's only fair to point out its sometimes rather extreme liberal take on matters.
Among many others, Barrett makes the point that the ballyhoo over the transgressions by Spitzer's office, which might be nothing more than bad manners or rough play, have overshadowed the possibility that Bruno's trips may indeed have been illegal, or even criminal. And he particularly takes aim in that regard at the report by Andrew Cuomo that set off two other investigations that exonerated the Governor of any illegality (including the one by the Albany DA David Soares, who concluded "I do not believe there was a plot to smear Senator Bruno.").
Barrett discusses two of Bruno trips which included an evening fund-raiser. He points out that Bruno didn't fly back to Albany until the next day. Since the state helicopter returns to Albany each evening, that means that a second round trip, at a cost of $6,000 each, was required to pick him up on days that he had no state business. Or at least, the writer speculates, legitimate state business.
That second overnight trip is also troubling. Bruno did have a 9 a.m. meeting at Aqueduct...on May 4, the day after he attended a gala for the state GOP. But...Charles Hayward says Bruno asked to be taken on a tour of the facility that morning, just four days after the track ended its spring season, and the NYRA had to reopen a closed facility to accommodate him. The strange timing—it might be smarter to see a track possibly slated for mothballing when it was actually operating—suggests that the tour was deliberately arranged to dovetail with the trip Bruno already had planned for the party extravaganza. The 1995 ethics opinion requires that such trips-—including the second round trip made on May 4—must be for a "bona fide" state purpose. [Village Voice]A lot of interesting stuff in this piece, including details of the Cuomo family's own history with utilizing state aircraft; check it out.