We've been down at my mom's house in Florida the last few days. And though the wireless is fixed, I had no inclination in the heat and humidity for work of any kind, so sorry for the lack of posting during that time. We're now at Tampa Airport, waiting for our delayed flight home. Last time we flew home from down here, our Jet Blue flight was canceled, so it's the second consecutive snafu courtesy of that airline. Hopefully, we won't meet a similar fate!
Anyway, went online via the airport's free wireless service, and saw an email with a link to an article on Bloodhorse.com with the subject line Hayward Addresses Criticism of NYRA. Eagerly clicking on, I got the following message:
This domain is blocked.Hmmm....that seems a little harsh, doesn't it, especially considering the billboards I saw on the way here for the nearby Hard Rock Casino featuring blackjack, roulette and slots. (I can't access their website here either.) Not like this is Mormon country around here or anything. A similar foray to the Form's site met with similar results, so so much for passing the time handicapping tomorrow's races. However, I was able to access an article on Hayward's remarks on the Wall Street Journal's site. Because, after all, playing the stock market is NOT gambling, right?
Site blocked. www.bloodhorse.com is not allowed on this network.
This site was categorized in: Gambling
Hayward defended the executive raises criticized last week by the state Budget Director Robert Megna.
The 3 percent raises that took effect in January were justified because the executives haven't had raises in three years, while their health insurance payments have doubled over that time,Personally, I think that there wasn't really a significant issue here, and that Hayward should have just have left it at that. Sometimes, when one replies to petty accusations they can end up sounding petty themselves. I'm sure that nobody wants to hear anyone complain about their health insurance costs, and not all of us have gotten raises to cover them. Besides, the state was some $10 billion in the hole before the budget was passed, and I don't recall anyone demanding the details of Megna's salary (though it is public record...he makes $178,000 as the Budget Director, vs. $127,000 as Commisioner of Tax and Finance in 2008).
Hayward cited some of the challenges the organization has faced, including an overall decline in interest in racing and last December's collapse of New York City's off-track betting operation, a move that left NYRA being owed some $28 million. He said NYRA reduced its operating expenses from $146 million in 2009 to $142.7 million last year.
"NYRA hasn't had a profit since 2002," Hayward said. "I don't think the raises should be determined necessarily by profit alone." [WSJ]
More significantly in my view, was Hayward's succinct response to Megna's assertion that he couldn't see how NYRA could make a profit even with revenues from slots. "We will definitely be in the black in 2012." NYRA expects to lose some $11.7 million this year.
- Well, if I can't access a "gambling" site here, the morals police may accost me if I dare write about same-sex marriage here. Suffice to say that its an issue whose time as come, and I think its legalization in New York will serve to hasten its spread. While the four Republicans in the Senate whose votes put it over the top - Sens. Roy McDonald, Stephen Saland, Mark Grisanti, and James Alessi (their websites are blocked here - This site was categorized as: pornography and perversion) - deserve full praise - as does, though more grudgingly on my part, Majority Leader Dean Skelos for allowing it to come to a vote (not doing so would have been a crass slap at the democratic process that conservatives claim to know and love), there were ample financial inducements for them to do so which they hope will soften any political implications. The Times had a great article about the whole process over the weekend (presented here via the Boston Globe for those of you who may not be able to access the Times these days.
And, of course, Governor Cuomo was the driving force behind the whole thing. No question that there was a fair amount of arm twisting on his part. There were reports of several meetings between he and Skelos. No doubt that he reminded the Majority Leader of his own soaring approval ratings and the fact that the unwritten rule that governors don't get involved in state Senate campaigns is just that - unwritten, and a rule made to be broken.
OK, that's about it from Tampa, time to hit the bar (as the flight as just been delayed by an additional eight minute, time for another shot). Speak to you when we get back.