- As a couple of readers noted, Bennett Liebman is amongst Governor Paterson's appointees to the new NYRA's Board of Directors. Nice to see that the Governor, or at least someone on his staff, is actually paying attention. I hope that Mr. Liebman, every reporter's go-to guy when it comes to getting the real lowdown on racing in New York, can continue to run the Racing and Gaming Today page, though I suppose we'll have to do without some of his commentary. Here's the complete list of Paterson's selections:
Chester F. Broman - NY - Thoroughbred Breeders’ Representative - Director of NYTBPaterson was required by the franchise agreement to select representatives recommended by the two horsemen groups and the AFL-CIO, as well as "a current or former officer or director of a New York State off-track betting corporation." Thus it's due to the latter that we have Michael Hess, whose association with the repugnant former mayor of NYC is unfortunate. Regarding Riggio, the NY Sun reported over the summer that he and his wife have contributed $100,000 to Paterson's campaign fund. Just thought I'd point that out.
Michael D. Hess - Off-Track Betting Representative-Vice Chairman, Giuliani Partners
Denis M. Hughes - AFL-CIO Representative - President, NYS AFL-CIO
Richard A. Violette - NY Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Representative - President, NYTHA
Michael Dubb - Founder, Beechwood Organization
Bennett Liebman - Executive Director, Government Law Center–Albany Law School
Leonard Riggio - Chairman, Barnes & Noble, Inc.
- I've wondered here on at least a couple of occasions why it's been difficult for us to get information on who exactly is lobbying our elected officials. Now, via the Albany Times Union's Capital Confidential blog, we have new websites from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Senator McCain's favorite Democratic Attorney General. This site is way cool; you can search for lobbyists by specific companies and by specific bills. Punch in Delaware North, and you'll see names such as Patricia Lynch and Brian Meara who we've discussed in the past. Drill down further, and you can even see that the company is paying Ms. Lynch's company some $7500 a month for its services. So nice job there; and another site will allow you see the expenditures, including salaries, of various state agencies.
- Also on Capital Confidential is this excellent summary by Irene Jay Liu of the State Senate races which will determine if the Democrats are able to gain control after 40 years of GOP domination. Polls released by Siena College yesterday show that the fate of the chamber may come down to two races - currently rated as tossups - for seats currently held by Republicans: the 61st Senate District in and around upstate Erie County between former pro boxer "Baby Joe" Mesi (D) and Mike Ranzenhofer (R); and the 15th S.D. race here in Queens between 20 year incumbent Serph Maltese and Democrat Joseph Addabbo.
The Democrats, none of whose incumbents are thought to be in danger, need to pick up a net of two seats in order to gain a clear majority. A gain of just one would leave the chamber in a tie, and raise a lot of constitutional questions given the fact that there is no lieutenant governor to break ties.