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Friday, January 16, 2009

Same Meeting, Different Take

- With the Albany press corp focusing on the New Order in the New York Senate and the drama of Governor Paterson's selection of the new junior Senator from New York State (the climax of which is said to be coming "Very, very, very soon"), it's been left it to the local Queens papers to report on developments in the saga of the thus-far mythical Aqueduct racino; specifically last week's presentation by Delaware North officials to Community Board 10.

And it's certainly interesting, and possibly quite revealing, to see that, on Thursday, the Queens Chronicle presented the affair in a whole different light than the Queens Courier did the day before.

Much to the surprise of Community Board 10 members, Delaware North Companies announced at last week’s meeting in South Ozone Park they have not yet set a date to begin construction of the long-awaited video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Racetrack.

A Delaware North representative said once documents are signed with the state and architectural work is completed, construction of the facility would take 14 months. [Queens Chronicle]
It's almost like there were two different sessions. The Courier article, by contrast, said that Delaware North had "finalized a contract" to construct the place; and quoted Assemblywoman Audrey Pfeffer as saying, "I'm very excited!" (Exclamation point added by me for effect.) Which depiction of the tone of the meeting do you believe?

A lot of really worthy comments on the last post on the subject; the kind of intelligent discourse which keeps me going here after nearly four years of doing this thing. One anonymous poster pretty much sums it up when he or she asks, " maybe things are happening there that the public can't see?" Indeed, this entire process has been completely behind closed doors ever since the Ad Hoc Committee, which was, by contrast, one of the most transparent processes that I've seen.

Another reader notes the more competitive pricing in Pennsylvania, and wonders why New York farms are not being creative in their marketing efforts. One horsemen is shipping mares out to PA; and, in response to El Angelo's question, explains his reasoning.

And to the Watchful Horseman, whose kind words are much appreciated, you seem pretty knowledgeable yourself! I've actually been learning from you, as I do from all of my commenters....well, most of them anyway.. I would hope that I can assist you best by performing what I see as one of my functions as a opposed to that of a journalist (oh no, not that again). That is, to take all of the news reported by the real reporters, weed out the bullshit, find discrepancies as the one above, pose questions about both the news itself and the way it's being reported (or not), present what I see to be the real facts in a clear and objective manner, and then, when warranted in my own humble opinion, rip them to shreds.

For example, any ol' reporter could have read Paterson's Belmont proposal and given his editor 1000 words. But what did it mean? To me, the fact that a memo regarding slots at Belmont would contain a provision conditionally raising Delaware North's percentages at Aqueduct has to mean that the company is seeking to renegotiate their deal there. Add in the continuing delay since the deal was announced, and one might deduce that those negotiations are progressing slowly, if at all. I might turn out to be completely wrong, but that's my informed opinion, and it's my hope that I can be of some assistance in some way as you reach yours.

Paul Morose, whose post a week ago still has some sensitive bloggers up in arms, and whose own "blog" is wrapped in more ads than the sideboards at an NHL game, was off to Central America to spread his special brand of gloom beyond the borders. But I see that he checked in, reprinting some press releases in their entirety, and providing another one line tout to promote his paid handicapping site. There must be a name for that, but I know that it's neither blogging nor journalism.


Anonymous said...

Nice work looking at the two different sounding reports. Let's call them "No Date Yet" versus "Thousands More Jobs." I think it was at the end of the 10 days between Paterson & Silver agreeing on DelNorth and Skelos being persuaded to do so, a union rally was being planned with thousands of participants for the Aqueduct site to lobby for the jobs that were the only real focal point of the DelNorth plan at the time. With all polls fighting to keep the unions happy, it's no wonder Skelos caved and went along with the ill fated selection.

Maybe the delay is on account of the Bill being introduced to permit the new style interactive games? Of course Alan could be spot on as he suggests there could be some renegotiating going on behind the scenes in regards to operator percentages and the timing of the alleged "up front" payment of $370 million to the State. If this is the case, how can the State renegotiate a definitive bid on a state procurement contract without all the other bidders getting a chance to modify theirs under the new terms and conditions? Seems unfair to me.

El Angelo said...

That Thoroughbred Zone post and Moran's response are both equally inane and hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman.

Alan thanks, but my Friday lunch starts about now, will revert bk to yr well scribed / informed blogs over wkend.
Actually send a couple of my rare blogs, as not into it, believe it, to 2 other racing sites today, directing them to your site....yes, they haven't thus far, posted my blogs....haha..

Anonymous said...

This whole blog v journalist thing is such a sensitive subject...nice coverage and well researched.

SaratogaSpa said...

The one thing both the Chronicle and Courier agree on-NO construction start date at Aqueduct is known.