- 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.Tom Precious also reports that Capital Play is still heavily involved, and that they have hired two lobbyists that are close to Bruno.
“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]
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.