Monday was the day that Governor Paterson had planned to convene a special session to deal with, for one thing, a $300 million shortfall in the budget and, perhaps, OTB's plan to reorganize and restructure itself and emerge from bankruptcy. The governor still hopes to convene the preoccupied legislature before the end of the year, which is the deadline Greg Rayburn has given for his OTB to run out of cash and go out of business.
If and when lawmakers do get back together, the proposal's fate seems uncertain, with Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering Chairman Gary Pretlow skeptical of several provisions, including the one that would lower the minimum racing dates for the harness sport; and opposition from Mayor Bloomberg as well (though the Mayor hasn't had much luck swaying those in Albany).
I've posted before on the harness horsemen's fierce opposition to the measure, and some of us here were wondering where the thoroughbred horsemen stand. So, in playing catch-up after a few weeks of Breeders' Cup stuff, I was interested to read Matt Hegarty report late last month that the NYTHA supports the plan.
“Obviously, there are parts of it that we’re not happy with as horsemen,” Violette said. “There are some things to like and dislike. But the options aren’t nearly as clear-cut as some of the outsiders make it. When you dig really deep into it, you see that there are trade-offs, but OTB had dug such a deep hole, it was going to be painful for everyone to dig out of it.” [DRF]Of course, they're not having their racing dates cut. One might think there would be a little solidarity amongst horsemen here, but I'm sure that the thoroughbred guys have long been watching the harness guys with slots envy, and are not looking much beyond their own new-found good fortune at this time.
It's the State Senate that is the preoccupied one of the two legislative chambers.
Gov. David Paterson had originally wanted lawmakers back today, but said with three Senate races still up in the air that appeared unlikely. [Politics on the Hudson]Too busy with politics to bother governing I guess. The three races will determine which party has the majority in the Senate; and that will be the GOP if, amidst the court and ballot challenges, absentee vote counts and possible recounts, they hold on to the leads they currently have in two of the races.
I've read some say that Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo might actually find it easier to execute his plan to cut spending and take on the unions with a Republican Senate (assuming of course that would-be Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is not rewarding unions for investing with a company he works for). And that may very well be the case. However, in the video in which the governor-elect announced his candidacy, he articulated an unabashedly progressive agenda, including support for women's right to choose, marriage equality, abolition of the death penalty, "serious ongoing regulation" of Wall Street, global warming as a "real threat to our planet," a cry against discrimination, and the notion that "women still face a glass ceiling that must be shattered." The kind of stuff that could maybe start to get me a little excited about this guy.
Of course, you can forget about that stuff if the Republicans strut back into the Senate majority with their policy of 'no' that has been, temporarily I think and hope, vindicated by the recent national elections. Say what you will about the Senate Democrats, and I certainly have given the corruption, coups, and arrogance we've seen in their brief two year reign which seems likely to disintegrate to, at best, an unprecedented 31-31 tie whose consequences remain to be seen. But they did at least finally roll-back the Rockefeller drug laws, passed no-fault divorce, and at least managed to get gay marriage debated and voted on. You can forget about any progressive reforms under the GOP, who will be too busy redrawing voting districts to bother with anything resembling governance.
- Gotta mention the Jets' dramatic 26-20 OT victory in Cleveland which made them the first team in NFL history to win back-to-back overtime games on the road. So there, I mentioned it. In case you missed it...