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Thursday, October 10, 2013

State Defense is Technically Outrageous

The judge who will rule on the lawsuit challenging the ballot language of the casino referendum is an appointee of former Governor George Pataki; a bit ironic in that it was under his leadership that racinos were first legalized in New York, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Paul M. Collins, the Board of Election's in-house council who will defend the state rather than the Attorney General, will ask Justice Richard Platkin to throw the suit out.  Not on substantive grounds, not at all surprisingly; but rather on a technicality.

Collins said the board had to certify and transmit to the county boards the abstract and form of ballot “at least three months prior to the general election at which such amendment, proposition or question is to be submitted… It is for that reason that it required that a proceeding to challenge such language be instituted within fourteen days of such certification. Here with the November elections scheduled for November 5th, the certification was due on August 5th and any proceeding to challenge same must have instituted by August 19th. [Capitol Confidential]
Well, there's just one little problem with that, dickbrain.  As Michael Gormley reported for the AP:
The state put the controversial referendum on its web site Aug. 23, well after the deadline to sue.
Now, the meeting at which the notion of altering the neutral language that was recommended by the Attorney General's office was discussed was at a public meeting held on July 29 and streamed on the Board's website.  However, an amendment to Eric Snyder's original complaint [revised complaint is posted in its entirety below] points out that the actual text of the "Advocacy Language," as it so beautifully and aptly denotes the ballot wording, was not explicitly discussed; only a reference to words "to review the legislative purposes in the underlying statute."  So, the complaint contends that the actual text was, in fact, not discussed nor approved at the public hearing, but rather behind closed doors afterwards; and thus constitutes a violation of the Open Meetings Law.
 The Board of Elections did not approve the wording of the Gambling Amendment at a meeting open to the general public in violation of 103(a) of the Open Meetings Law.
That could perhaps be considered a technicality as well; the Board will surely argue that the meaning of "legislative purposes" was clear. However, it may very well take on extra resonance in light of the state's defense that the suit was filed too late.  The Advocacy Language (you're gonna be seeing a lot of that around here - I love it!) was never discussed in public, and not posted on the website until after the deadline.  (It wasn't reported in the papers until mid-September.)

I mean, is anybody really paying attention to what's going on here? Politicians receiving ample money from individuals and corporations with an interest in expanded gaming in NY twist the language squarely to their side, slip it into the language away from public view, sneak it onto their website more than three weeks later and well after the deadline to challenge it, and then have the unmitigated nerve to say that it's too late to recall the ballots??  If there was a well-funded opposition, I could just see the ads with the grainy slow motion black and white shots of Cuomo and Silver and Skelos with the amounts of the campaign contributions superimposed, and the ominous voiceover describing the entire tale of deception.

Alas.  Money buys elections, especially with the Supreme Court rooting it on.  And, in this case, all the money is on the same side.  Seems to me that this thing is gonna pass, no matter what happens in the court room on Friday and, perhaps, beyond.  If the language remains as is however, and if the polls are any indication (as they generally are), this vote will be like the Broncos against the Titans Jaguars.  (Sorry, Titans.  For some reason, I always mix those teams up.  Nothing to do with the butt-kickings you've administered to the Jets.)

Snyder Amended

 - Pretty brutal card to handicap at Belmont today with five consecutive maiden races in the middle of the card - three of them of the claiming variety.  Last two races of the day look fairly interesting, but with the likelihood of rain, who knows what the track condition will be by then. Only race I'm a bit interested in - should it remain on the grass - is the 5th. I picked Fiddlers Chico (7-2) in his last race; and he missed, at 7-1, by a nose and a neck, the latter being the margin behind Plausibly (3-1). Thought Fiddlers Chico was the better horse considering his wide trip. Race figures to set up the same way today, with Plausibly tracking Cielo Soleggiato, and can't really come up with a solid reason to think that Fiddlers Chico won't again be trying to rally wide.  But I do think he's the better animal, and still trying to catch trainer Jena Antonucci, who got nailed on the head bob with 8-1 Currency Union in the 6th yesterday.  So, I'll check out the tote and the track conditions come post time and see if there are any opportunities, as I do prefer these two over the rest.  Best of luck and have a great day.


jk said...

Plenty of cash to go around for all of the players....

Cornell beefs up its vet school

This makes sense, their President, David Skorton heads Gov. Cuomo’s NYRA reorganization board, and the school has apparently been hindered by its physical size limitations. So now, Cornell’s veterinary college is expanding, largely with state funding.

Figless said...

And the beat goes on...Great stuff JK