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Thursday, February 04, 2010

No Reason For Delay

Noticed some angry readers on this comment thread, accusing politicians and the press, including, I guess, myself, of trying to "delay" the racino at Aqueduct with skeptical comments and coverage, and threats of inquiries into the governor's selection of Aqueduct Entertainment Group.

Regarding the press, I guess that's the old story of blaming the messenger. Sure, there are cases when the media creates a story itself, is biased, or is not really a news organization at all. However, in this case, I just see the press doing their job, probing a process which was so totally opaque that, as the Daily News editorial put it, we're entitled to assume the worst...especially considering the outcome and its immediate aftermath. I think the fact that the Budget Director Robert Megna was compelled to state that AEG was a viable bidder says it all. Does anyone believe he would have had to say such a thing about any of the other bidders?

While the continued chaos admittedly makes for good blogging, I have absolutely no desire to see this deal fall through. As stated by Richard Violette, the president of the NYTHA (which, I'm told, was informed by a knowledgeable Albany insider at a recent meeting that the thinking in the capitol is that there's no more than a 10-15% chance of this being settled by Election Day), “This window of opportunity could shut very quickly....We’ll be out of business.” None of us who love New York racing want to see that, it goes without saying. However, as not only a horseplayer, but a taxpayer in this state who is directly affected by proposed cuts and fee increases deemed necessary to close the budget, damn right I have a right to know why the governor and the Senate leaders were willing to leave $101 million on the table! And to know just what about this second-rate casino operator was so compelling and important so as to bypass more experienced companies?? Indeed, the Times was certainly not the first to report that AEG received low grades from the Lottery!

As far as Sheldon Silver goes, I certainly may be wrong and naive here, but personally, I don't see where he has any personal stake or preference at this point. He took his shot last year for Delaware North, the client of his former close aide Patricia Lynch; and because they blew their shot (and due to other considerations), I personally don't believe he'd be willing to stick his neck out for them again now. In this case, I think that the Speaker merely wants the state to receive everything they would have from the highest bidder. I believe he's absolutely right to make the demands that he has, and to insist that they are not negotiable.

Now, on the other hand, I agree with the sentiments expressed about Senator Skelos' demand for hearings. He and his obstructionist conference have done absolutely nothing towards governance in any area since they were booted to minority status. If SL Green won, he'd call for hearings on the Seminoles' behavior in Florida, and the company's connections to Bill Lynch. If Penn National won, he'd call for hearings as to why an outsider company with no connections to New York was awarded the deal. So, please. That's just f--king retar.... stupid.

The fact is that, as shady as this deal may be, and as dumb as the governor was to rush off to meet Floyd Flake the very next business morning after it was announced, there's no reason at all for any delay. AEG said they would meet the Speaker's terms. So? Sign a deal based on the stated terms, throw out any shady characters (Karl O'Farrell???), crank up the bulldozers, and show us the goddamn money. Now.


jk said...

This deal is toast. Hard to say what happens next.

Anonymous said...

It's time to run all the rascals out in Albany. The state government has been dysfunctional since BEFORE the Declaration of Independence!! I can't envision that things would be any worse with a legislature filled with freshman senators and assemblymen. I'm a lifelong Democrat from Queens but it looks like I'll hold my nose and pull a lot of Republican levers this year, not only for this nine year travesty but a myriad of other issues that I won't bore you with in this space. New York racing used to be the Tiffany standard, today only the MEC product leaves it from a full free fall from what it once was. When Yonkers is your "cash cow" it speaks volumes for how far the powers that be have done a simply awful account of themselves. What New York State needs is a new revolution at the polls this November....

Anonymous said...

Are you ever going to admit how wrong you are (I know how hard that is for self-righteous liberals)....that this governor is a complete idiot?...that if Floyd Flake and his flunkies weren't involved, AEG never would have gotten a sniff...and that's why VLT's for AEG are DOA?

Alan Mann said...

>>Are you ever going to admit how wrong you are (I know how hard that is for self-righteous liberals)....that this governor is a complete idiot?

I think I've been pretty harsh on him regarding this fiasco if you've been reading the last few weeks. Having said that, I don't think he's a complete idiot as you say. But he's handled this very poorly, and it's probably the last straw for him politically.

Anonymous said...

The Governor, Senate and Shelly made a mistake because of what? Because losing bidders and their high paid lobbyists said so? You and I, and a band of monkeys could make slots at Aqueduct successful, so what's the beef? The NYRA says it doesn't like these guys? That would be my primaty reason for favoring them!