Governor Cuomo made it exceedingly clear that the locations of casinos will not be determined before the expected referendum on the subject next fall.
“I would like to see a competition where we have the ability and opportunity to attract the most exciting, aggressive proposals from the best operators in the world. And then we get to pick among the best options and my druthers would be a more flexible, open process to get the best applications, the best plans that we can." [Buffalo News]That's classic Cuomo-ese. Rather redundant, often rambling, and clumsily verbose without ever approaching elegance. Druthers, lol.
“They could know regions or parts of the state, but I wouldn’t limit it by picking a location because that assumes you’re picking the best location from a market point of view. I would leave it to the operators, the experts, to say you tell me within these regions of the state where you think the best market is, where would you site it to maximize economic opportunities, maximize job growth, etc,’’Huh? What the fuck is he even talking about?
The cynic in me immediately directs me to think of all the casino-related campaign contributions that will be flowing into the coffers of legislators of both parties and to the governor himself. Of course, that would never be on the mind of this governor. But his decision will certainly give plenty of time to allow the special interest influence game to be fully played out, and probably create a few lobbying jobs as well. I'm sure the good government groups will be thrilled.
That's all well and good for the lobbyists and politicians, but the voters will be left in the dark. I would think that people in the Catskills region, teased for years by the prospect of casinos that would presumably revive its long-dormant tourist industry, have a vested interest in knowing whether they are voting for gambling there or to merely be disappointed again. Similarly, a voter with mixed feelings about the benefits of gambling revenues to the state and the effects of casinos located near populations that may be vulnerable to the addiction of gambling would want to know where they are. Might keep a fair amount of people away from the polls, which could very well favor proponents. And maybe that's the idea.
- Senator John Sampson is finally out as the leader of the Democratic conference, and the new Leader of the Majority Conference That's Still in the Minority is Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Sampson has nobody to blame but himself (and, should Republican George Amedore ultimately prevail in the still-undecided contest upstate, turncoat Senator Simcha Felder), for his party's plight in the Senate. Democrats won at least 32 of the 63 seats at the ballot box, yet still find themselves on the outside looking in, with the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) teaming up in coalition with the slimy Republican Leader Dean Skelos. It was Sampson's leadership - or lack thereof - that initially prompted four Democrats to break away from the conference not long after the release of the Inspector General's report that skewered him for his role in the AEG/Aqueduct scandal. And that was in addition to the coup and the debt that resulted from his stint as Majority Leader in 2009-10.
The Democrats no doubt have their eye on eventually luring the IDC back to the fold with the change, though its Leader, Senator Jeff Klein, asserted that his coalition with the GOP remains intact for now. Klein has assured nervous Democrats that he favors a progressive agenda, so we will see what happens down the road should Skelos attempt to prevent matters such as the minimum wage, stop-and-frisk restrictions with respect to marijuana, and campaign finance reform from coming to the floor for a vote. (Where the result of the Amedore-Tkaczyk (no relation to this guy) race will go a long ways towards determining their ultimate fate.) Klein has always had leadership aspirations of his own, and now that he has turned the three men in a room into a quartet, he may not be so quick to give that up no matter what happens. He's an Albany politician like the rest of them after all, so he's full of it too, as clearly evidenced by his welcoming of Senator Malcolm Smith into the IDC. Smith was very much a part of the corruption and dysfunction that prompted the formation of the IDC, but I guess Klein is willing to overlook that in order to add some racial diversity into his conference.