A big racino deal is actually on Governor Paterson's list of bills to be considered during Wednesday's extraordinary (to say the least, if Tuesday's was any indication) session of the New York State Senate. However, unfortunately for NYRA and its customers, it involves not Aqueduct, but Louis Cappelli's pared-down Concord hotel/racino/harness track deal. As with the original $1 billion plan, Cappelli would keep 75% of gaming revenues (the TU post is incorrect). Who the hell is this guy's lobbyist anyway??
Considering the events at Tuesday's special session, I think we've all run out of words to describe what's gone on in the Senate. Words like bizarre and surreal are no longer descriptive enough. And more judgmental descriptions such as disgraceful or farcical actually seems too weighty; I don't think it deserves anything more than silly.
The two sides, like feuding junior high schoolers refusing to acknowledge each other, began holding separate legislative sessions at the same time. Side by side, the parties, each asserting it rightfully controls the Senate, talked and sometimes shouted over one another, gaveling through votes that are certain to be disputed. There were two Senate presidents, two gavels, two sets of bills being voted on.James T Madore has a running account on Newsday.com. 99 bills passed, 85 in the GOP "session," all by a vote of 62-0, even though nobody actually voted. No one objected either, and since there was a quorum present, both sides claimed their session was the official one. Still, the validity of the votes is very much in question.
Democrats scored a tactical victory by seizing the official Senate gavel, which is large and made of black walnut, its whack echoing through the chamber with authority.
Senator George H. Winner Jr., who was presiding over the Republican session, was left to peck the table in front of him with a small gavel used by Republicans for their private conferences. “It’s better than the eyeglass case I was using before,” Mr. Winner said. [NY Times]
However, you can bet that the defiant acquiescence resulting in unanimous votes won't be the case on Wednesday, since #1 on Paterson's list is the question of gay marriage. Add that volatile issue to this mix, and who knows what the hell will happen, especially with Senator Ruben Diaz, a virulently anti-gay marriage Democrat who has flirted with the GOP before, threatening something big.
Sources say while Diaz may be flirting with Republicans, he is not likely to leave the Democratic conference because it would not only hurt his political career, but it could potentially damage his son's, who is the newly minted Borough president in the Bronx.Paterson may be just rolling the dice, potentially throwing gasoline on a fire, but he seems to have little to lose at this point. And it should be fun if nothing else.
But if Diaz is anything, it’s unpredictable and angry, saying now is not the time to vote on gay marriage when more time sensitive legislation needs to be passed. [Capital News 9]