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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Change of Mind

It was just a few weeks ago that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was telling the NY Daily News that a casino in New York City would be the wrong bet.

"I don't want to see people going out for lunch during work and losing a week's pay or a month's pay."
Silver says there is a big difference in the clientele a city racino would attract versus a full-blown casino - "people who want real gaming, real action as they call it, don't go to racinos."

And he's accustomed to getting his way inside the Capitol. "He could be a serious impediment if he wants to be," said Democratic strategist [and pleader of the Fifth Amendment during the AEG investigation] Hank Sheinkopf. [NYDN]
Well, I guess he doesn't want to be, because now, according to Fred Dicker in the Post, the Speaker would be willing to have at least one casino in New York City -- at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens
“We have it all over, in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, in Native American casinos in New York [not to mention Massachusetts], so we might as well take part in the revenues that come from casino gaming.."
He added that casinos should be permitted everywhere except in “the middle of inner-city” neighborhoods that have heavy populations of poor people.
I dunno, if we're talking about the lure of a new gambling palace on vulnerable residents of an urban neighborhood who can't afford to piss their money away, I'm not at all getting the distinction between what the Speaker terms "inner-city" and a working class neighborhood such as Ozone Park. Seems arbitrary and meaningless, not to mention rather callous.

The Speaker's original comments came a couple of weeks after Governor Cuomo made some carefully-worded comments that were nonetheless widely reported by the press to be signaling his unqualified support for casino gambling.
“It’s really not an issue anymore of ‘Well, if we don’t officially sanction it as a government, it’s not going to happen....It is happening.”

“So now you have to go to the second step....If there is going to be gaming, how should it be done? And that issue, that question, is an important question for the statee.” [NY Times]
But on Monday, the governor took an even more steadfastly noncommittal tone.
“I’m not encouraging, I’m not dissuading. I’m studying — I’m reviewing....It has tremendous ramifications on a number of levels, and we are working through that.” [Capitol Confidential]
Here, Cuomo is expertly straddling an issue which has never defined itself in a partisan way along political lines. With Silver and Senate Majority Leader Skelos on board at this point, he can stand back and let the matter run its own course without taking the lead in a process which would ultimately be decided by the voters. I don't think any politician with presidential aspirations would ever want to be caught on tape saying that he or she is in favor of casino gambling.


jk said...

I will take the cynical view Silver has changed his tune at the behest of his public employee union masters.

The unions see the State is cash strapped and casinos are a new revenue source. There are raises and pensions to be paid for. Gas drilling upstate and casinos downstate will pay the bills going forward.

Anonymous said...

Silver is another in the line of New York Marxists.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:52 is another in the line of internet wussies.