- Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Assembly Democrats stand with Governor Paterson in favor of Delaware North's selection to run the Aqueduct racino.
"We support the governor's choice," said Sisa Moyo, spokeswoman for the Assembly speaker. "We understand there are some community concerns, and we will work with the governor to encourage all parties to work together to address the concerns." [Associated Press]It's worth recalling at this point that, as noted here in the past, Delaware North's lobbying efforts have been led by Patricia Lynch, and that Ms. Lynch is a former top staff member of Speaker Silver, for whom she worked for eight years. And that Ms. Lynch's team includes Brian Meara, also a former key aide to the Assembly Speaker.
While I did, in the last post, question the motives of the Senate Republicans in light of the Senate elections, it is a cold fact, as we saw in the Queens Chronicle article last week, that the community is extremely unhappy with Delaware North, which, as opposed to the other bidders, has made no effort whatsoever to engage and involve it in their plans. And, as a commenter noted, Democratic Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, is not pleased either.
"I'm disappointed. They were not my first choice, or my second choice,'' she said. She said the other bidders offered more "pizzazz''.So, for whatever reason, the GOP is raising legitimate concerns regarding both the local issues and the lack of any vision beyond the inflated downpayment that has apparently won the day for Delaware North. However, why the Republicans didn't raise these specific and worthy objections until after the governor made his selection, I don't really know. That lends credence to the notion that they didn't have the matter on their radar screens at all until Paterson's endorsement of Addabbo in the Senate race. But whatever the motive, they're on the right side of the issue here in my opinion.
"We don't want just a fancy OTB parlor,'' she said. [Albany Times Union]
Here's Seante Majority Leader Dean Skelos' statement on the matter, and thanks to another reader for that. A spokesperson from the governor's office replied:
"It is shocking that Senator Skelos, who claims to understand the importance of this revenue stream and who has repeatedly and publicly called on the governor to award this contract, has now decided to stall a significant economic development project."I'm wondering if this will all lead to the matter of slots at Belmont being brought back into the picture. Skelos is a strong proponent, and Silver has been the man mostly responsible for blocking it. Perhaps we'll see just how badly the Speaker wants to see his friends' client prevail.