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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bruno: 2-1 on Franchise Agreement

- Joe Bruno, under fierce pressure from his Saratoga Springs constituency to engineer a franchise settlement, is nonetheless still holding out for a NYRA extension of less than 30 years (15 to 20, he says), a completely reconstituted NYRA board, an oversight agency with “specialists" to help run simulcasting and marketing, and slots at Belmont. However, Tom Precious reports on Bloodhorse.com that Bruno feels that it's 2-1 that a franchise deal comes together before Dec. 31. This despite the Assembly's absence from Thursday's special legislative session, and Charles Hayward's stated opposition to all of the above save the Belmont slots, which are staunchly opposed by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, though now apparently supported by Spitzer.

Of the abbreviated special Senate session, which won't even start until 3 PM, Bruno said:

"We're here because we're literally running out of time....We cannot govern singularly, by ourselves. I wish we could, because we don't have a partner with the Assembly and this governor doesn't appear to be able to or willing to govern," [Newsday]
If the Senator is referring to the fact that the Governor either can't or won't generate any influence over a Speaker and Assembly of his own Democratic party when he says that Spitzer seems unable or unwilling to govern, he certainly has a point. Sheldon Silver seems to operate in his own little world where party designations mean nothing. He strikes me as a man of little principle other than his own self-interest and status quo. His opposition to the Belmont VLT's, which could end up being the eventual final issue in the matter, is likely nothing more than a negotiating ploy to obtain concessions in other matters, including his drive to obtain pay raises for his members.

Bruno now says that he could accept a "handshake" deal on the framework of a deal which would retain NYRA, and return after January 1 to work out the details.
The idea was first floated Dec. 12 by Gov. Eliot Spitzer. “It’s conceivable that you could have no resolution by the 31st, but we could have agreements that keep us moving forward and a resolution in the first week of January," he said.

“We’ve done that before, so I guess whatever works, works,’’ responded Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, whose district includes Saratoga. “The important thing is that we have continuity, that we have something definitive." [Bloodhorse]
Tom Precious also reports that Capital Play is still heavily involved, and that they have hired two lobbyists that are close to Bruno.
Capital Play is seeking a deal that would let NYRA run the racing operations, but it would control the other aspects of the business, including the simulcasting and casino developments.
If that is true, their continued misleading and vicious attacks on NYRA are the height of hypocrisy. Sure, NYRA is an evil incompetent monster that is taking money away from our precious schoolchildren, but yeah, if we get a piece of the casino action, then OK, we'll overlook that. Gimme a break.

7 Comments:

Teresa said...

"Capital Play is seeking a deal that would let NYRA run the racing operations, but it would control the other aspects of the business, including the simulcasting and casino developments."

Have we learned nothing about separating racing interests? Other than the political patronage involved, what on earth would be the benefit to the racing industry of doing this?

ljk said...

Off topic I know, but have you seen the NYRA stakes shedule? The 3rd Saturday at the Spa features.......the Yaddo. In 2009 perhaps a State-bred NW2X.

Am I the only one who even noticed that last year they simply eliminated the Saratoga Cup? A race first run in 1865 and won by a who's who of hall of famers, and recently by horses like Awesome Again and everybody's new darling Evening Attire (twice).

Anonymous said...

If Albany ends up giving NYRA a short extension to run things until a deal can be struck, I'm curious how that will impact ADW contracts and TVG's broadcast rights. I assume that they're set to expire on December 31, with the scheduled expiration of the franchise. NYRA certainly wouldn't be authorized to enter into long-term replacement contracts. Would they be able to work out short-term extensions and get them through the Racing and Wagering Board, or would those sources of income and exposure be temporarily lost?

BitPlayer

alan said...

>>If Albany ends up giving NYRA a short extension to run things until a deal can be struck, I'm curious how that will impact ADW contracts and TVG's broadcast rights.

Excellent point. I wonder if it would even pay to conduct racing without any out-of-state simulcasting.

And not only that; from the Thoroughbred Times this morning:

>>Daily operations from track maintenance to manure removal would have to be worked out, according to Hayward.

steve in nc said...

"Daily operations from track maintenance to manure removal would have to be worked out, according to Hayward."

At least no matter what happens, we're assured of continue manure production next year, both in the barns and in Albany. (Forgive me. If I keep this up, I'll have to change my moniker to Scat Daddy.)

Anonymous said...

Latest from the Albany Times Union Blog:

Bruno: 2007 Session Ends Today

December 13, 2007 at 3:31 pm by James M. Odato

As the snow piled up in Albany, so did the various words to describe frustration from the lips of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

He told a room full of reporters that today’s special session will be the last get-together of his chamber.

Disappointed that the Assembly chose to stay away, he said not to expect the Senate in town again until Jan. 7.

If a racing franchise deal surfaces, the Legislature will have to deal with it then, he said. He’s hoping the racing oversight board will allow the New York Racing Association to keep running races until the Assembly and Senate can pass legislation on the next franchise holder. NYRA’s franchise expires Dec. 31.

The oversight panel is supposed to take control of the three state tracks if NYRA no longer holds the franchise.

The Senate will pass pay raises for judges, confirm some of Gov. George Pataki’s picks for various boards and commissions and judgeships and then travel, carefully, home.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can not believe you expect these overworked underpaid legislators to actually get something as unimportant as this accomplished before the Holidays.

After all it is December 13th already, and the weather outside is frightful.

Doesn't everyone get two weeks before and after Christmas off, why should they work?

When do you expect these poor souls to get any shopping done?

1300 Nyra jobs in limbo and they are off to sip eggnog.

Would they treat any other industry this way?