I was reading the Times on the subway this morning, and ran across this story.
The Bloomberg administration announced Wednesday it had selected a Portland, Ore., company to run an ambitious bike-share program in New York City, but don’t break out the spandex cycling shorts just yet...Wait a minute, I thought. Something seems awfully familiar about that....Where? Oregon?....where have I seen that before? Umm...
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has blasted New York Racing Association for contracting with Churchill Downs’ TwinSpires.com in Oregon to handle its telephone wagering business.Er....yeah, but....what about....I thought....
Cuomo, in a Thursday letter to NYRA, asked that any activity under the contract be done by New York employees.
“NYRA's decision to locate these activities and the potential jobs out of state is extremely troubling given the extraordinary investment New York state has made to maintain NYRA's viability over the years." [Thoroughbred Times, 4/29/11]
I know it's not quite the same situation; but one could surely argue that the state makes a far greater investment in aid to the city considering that a reasonable person might contend that the investment the state has actually made in NYRA is something around, say, $0.
Besides Alta Bicycle Share, the Oregon company, their bike supplier, Public Bike Service Company, is headquartered in Toronto.
The obvious point about hypocrisy in politicians needs not be pointed out. I rather doubt that Governor Cuomo will have anything critical to say....lest he trigger another round of contributions by the billionaire mayor to the NY Senate Republicans.
Of course, you can't really blame the city for seeking out a solution that is best for the situation (no more so than you could have blamed NYRA for seeking out the best solution for theirs). Replicating the vast experience of these two esteemed companies in this particular field from scratch is surely more complicated than training employees to take horse bets on the phone. I do imagine though that some sharp unemployed investment bankers could have figured something out. Renting bicycles....doesn't seem as complicated as running a racetrack.