- In the wake of the finalization of the deal by which the state will take over New York City OTB and keep it running, Governor Paterson absolutely blasts Mayor Bloomberg in a Fredric U. Dicker exclusive (which he now denies). In one fell swoop (and according to Dicker, who I have not recently noticed being forced to retract a story), Paterson not only portrayed the Mayor in some of the most unflattering terms possible, but he also issued what I believe would be his first public rebuke of his disgraced predecessor.
"Eliot Spitzer's tantrums were bizarre because you never knew when they were coming or why, whether it was contrived or whether he was a psycho," the governor said.Dicker reports that Paterson, "furious" over the 1500 jobs that Bloomberg seemed so flippant about eliminating, referred to the Mayor as a nasty, untrustworthy, tantrum-prone liar who "has little use" for average New Yorkers.
"With Bloomberg, you know why he's upset, but he has the same kind of anger that reminds you of Spitzer." [NY Post]
The source quoted Paterson as saying of Bloomberg, "There's some kind of destabilization over there."If you don't mind me saying so, the theme of the Mayor's legislative defeats in Albany increasing his frustration level is something that I've mentioned on at least a couple of occasions here. Paterson accused Bloomberg of lying when he said that he was taken by surprise by the press conference announcing an agreement on Friday; and added that "it wasn't the first time he'd misrepresented the facts."
"His presidential thing didn't work out, term limits is looming to force him out, he's waiting and waiting to be asked to be vice president, congestion pricing didn't happen, he lost teacher tenure, the Jets stadium, and OTB isn't going the way he wants it."
Paterson also told friends he was surprised at Bloomberg's seeming lack of political sense in the OTB battle.That's the impression that I've had, and I'd be interested to see just how the city will fare financially. It's been reported that Bloomberg was ignoring some $18 million worth of surcharges in claiming that OTB was a financial drain. Under this deal, it will receive only about $4.25 million (representing surcharges from bets actually made in the city), plus another $3.25 million for broadcast rights on local channel 71 (which I'd been previously told was being provided for free). What financial relief the city will receive from no longer running the operation is not clear to me.
"The mayor totally misplayed this," he said.
Of course, the fact that the state will be running OTB rather than the city certainly doesn't guarantee that it will be run any more efficiently, or become any less of a patronage pool for politicians. However, we are hearing the kind of language that we could only previously dream of. According to several published reports in what I find to be a stunning development, Paterson is looking at eventually consolidating all of the other six OTBs as well.
"The governor has indicated he wants to take a holistic look at racing just as he has with property taxes and mass transit," said Sen. John Sabini, D-Queens, Paterson's nominee to take over the state Racing & Wagering Board. [Albany Times Union]Already, the head of one of the regional OTB's is pushing back against the idea of its being folded into the state. But John Signor, who runs Capitol OTB, still mentioned common sense concepts that have not heretofore been part of the discussion.
"There should be a statewide Internet site for all the OTBs and NYRA and one centralized phone betting center that all the OTBs can share and a coordinated marketing campaign with OTBs and tracks," he said.- The Times Union's Capitol Confidential reports that Capital Play may have the inside track on the Aqueduct racino. It also reports that the idea of moving NYCOTB's offices to Aqueduct is actually that of Capital Play; but that it has appealed to Paterson, as well as to Bruno and Silver.