Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thank you, Captain Obvious

When it comes to deciding the future of New York’s racing franchise, Mayor Valerie Keehn is putting her foot down. In a ground breaking, earth shaking letter to Governor Eliot Spitzer, Keehn asked –rather demanded –that a decision be made no later than New Year’s Day in 2008.

“Our Saratoga Springs community is developing a sense of anxiety about the lack of a clear plan for 2008 and beyond, especially since thoroughbred racing plays such a central role in our local economy and culture,” Keehn prattled on in one of her trademark wordy letters.

In other news, Keehn is expected to call on the state to continue thoroughbred racing in Saratoga Springs, keep the Northway open up to Exit 15 and to continue with a calendar year that includes 12 months. She is also asking the governor to continue allowing unabated photosynthesis within the confines of the state park.

When it comes to influence in the governor’s office, the Spa City’s mayor in just a step above the janitor that sweeps up around the Capitol and just a step below Spitzer’s dog James. True, she is a Democrat who has ties to both the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Attorney General’s Office, the governor’s old stomping ground. But with Spitzer himself, she might as well be a gnat whistling Dixie.

Of course Spitzer is going to make a decision before next year. He doesn’t really have a choice in the matter other than to dissolve racing altogether. After all, the franchise expires on the last day of December and there’s no real contingency plan in place if a choice is not made before then,

Spitzer has made it quite clear that he’s going to take his time choosing the next franchisee, and rightly so. Like many of the public authorities operating under the Pataki Administration, the New York Racing Association was a model of inefficiency spurred by cronyism and corruption. This culminated with Pataki’s own last-ditch effort to privatize New York’s tracks by literally choking NYRA out of existence.

Had Spitzer made a knee-jerk decision and endorsed the November recommendation of the ad hoc committee on the future of racing –of which Keehn was a member –the city would now be contending with a 2007 track season run by a group that has encountered a great deal of tumult as of late. The one-time front runner is now a long shot in the bid for the franchise, after the Steinbrenner family severed ties with the group; Las Vegas casino developer Steve Wynn then replaced Steve Swindal, the now estranged heir-to-be of the New York Yankee franchise, and thus changed the dynamic of Excelsior’s bid altogether.

Instead, the govenor rightly decided to let the dust settle before making any decision. It’s expected that he’ll continue to hold on a decision until after Labor Day, which also happens to be the last day the racecourse is open this season. This is wise for two reasons. First, because it gives NYRA a chance to show it can pull itself up by the bootstraps and run a successful franchise. And two, because it gives continuity during the season in Saratoga, allowing whatever incarnation awarded the bid to plan for a solid year before taking over the crown jewel of the state’s tracks.

With her choice dashed in this race and facing a tough battled for re-election, Keehn is scrambling to garner an ounce of political mileage from this whole pissing match. By sending this milquetoast letter to the governor, Keehn will keep her fingers crossed that he’ll make a decision before September’s Democratic primary. That way, she’ll be able to list it among her list of accomplishments. So far, these accomplishments include restoring the Saratoga’s VLT revenue –an achievement that had Hollywood Joe Bruno’s name all over it –and establishing a CDTA bus route through the city that no one rides.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Boyd sent a letter to the governor several weeks ago about the racing issue, all his (i.e. McTygue's) supporters crowed about what a big deal it was. Now his opponent, incumbent Mayor Keehn writes a letter to the governor about this same issue, after attending the April 2007 hearings of Spitzer's committee in Albany (unlike Boyd, but that's typical of him) and the same people dismiss Keehn's initiative. What a bunch of hypocrites the Boyd/McTygue supporters are! Boyd has no influence with the governor, and McTygue didn't bother to support him, just like Tommy doesn't support real Democrats --- only his handpicked cronies like Hank K. in 05 and Boyd this time around. DPW workers are really unhappy with Pat Design's departure. Tommy Boy is losing his base. And hotshot Bruno keeps getting in more legal trouble. He's not going to be around much longer to help our city get state money. Keehn is a great asset to the city in dealing with Albany. Beyond writing letters, she lobbies state officials and works tirelessly on behalf of the city. Boyd's dismal attendance record at the Comp Plan Commission meetings tells city residents all they need to know about this incredibly arrogant man who doesn't show up when it counts.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You, of all people, say Keehn is known for "wordy" writing? ROFLMAO! Why not try editing a few tons of lard out of your own rants, HO-ratio?

6:21 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

True, iSaratoga is the cheesecake of writing. If you’re looking for some quick digestion or lean reading to cut down on the literary calories, you’re probably better off perusing the newspaper headlines and then skipping to the community briefs.

No folks, you’re not likely to slim down the brain cells on this writing. But hey, even the most anemic of readers needs to indulge now and again, especially if they’re using hackneyed cyberlingo like “ROFLMAO.” Take the plunge. Enjoy all the English language has to offer.

Seriously and with all politics aside, Valerie Keehn thirsts for a decent speech writer; someone engaging and interesting that has a knack for the creative. Take for instance her campaign announcement or her state of the city address. Uninspiring is a major understatement.If this blog is lard, then her writing is Crisco; at least fat has flavor.

Now, onto the political blustering. I think you’ve gotten this blog mistaken for some other corner of cyberspace, because this plot certainly doesn’t advocating any candidate for city office, or any office for that matter; not Keehn, not Boyd, not McTygue and certainly not Bruno. Politicians are an inherently sleazy and self-absorbed folk. I’ve yet to meet one that has inspired anything but vitriolic diatribes.

To humor your postulations however, I’ll retort. Keehn made her choice and that choice was Excelsior; her work is done now. If she was really concerned about the fate of racing and the timeliness of the governor’s decision, she would have been writing such love letters the first month she was elected. This is a political ploy and a thinly veiled one at that.

Now, if Keehn was really concerned about city hall, she’d worry a bit less about the Department of Public Works and a bit more about her own keister. It’s clear that she placed her bet on the wrong horse and lost. But instead of putting her nose to the grindstone and achieving some of the hollow promises she made during the 2005 election cycle, she’s engaging in a battle of politics with the one fellow she rightly views as her main adversary. Well, the voters aren’t interested.

Boyd might not be much better. Hell, he may even be worse. And then there’s Johnson. But the bottom line is there are a lot of commoners out there –the same “people” Keehn claims to represent –who are pissed; real pissed. They’re going to vote for whoever’s last name doesn’t begin with “K” even if McTygue turns up naked in an Arbor Hill crack house shacked up with some neo-Nazis and a 12-year-old Taiwanese whore. At this point, the only thing she’s close to is becoming the democratic version of Michael Lenz.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Funny Cide for Mayor said...

This is the same woman, that shortly after she was elected (well, coat-tailed might be the anaylysis of a competent poilical scientist)into office as Mayor of the City of Saratoga Springs, said something to the effect of "I really dont know that much about the thoroughbred horse racing industry."

WTF?

That's like me getting a medical license, then stating "By the way I never went to med school."

Or "Thanks for appointing me as a Supreme Court justice; now what is this thing called the Constitution you keep mentioning?"

Or "Thanks for appointing me the CEO of this fine corporation. Now what exactly is it that we do?"


Plain and simple: Mrs K. is an absolute disaster.

The only ones that are more clueless are her advisors and supporters.

Thy've dome more damage to the Democratic party in this town than they can imagine.

And I'm a lifelong, liberal leaning Dem! I'm just sickended by this woman giving us all a bad name--not to mention making me ashamed I actually pulled the lever for her myself.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey you can knock Keehn or any other pol, Horatio, but don't diss the buses you limousine liberal.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Chuck Brezlin said...

NYRA reported that 72,000 people were admitted to the raceway on Sunday. Let me let you in on a secret - it's not true, it's a sham. At $3 each admission stub, every ONE admission stub was granted a very nice Saratoga lawn chair - clearly valued at more than $3 a piece. Each person was able to buy FIVE tickets, and for each ticket, we all got ONE chair each. I went; I bought FIVE for $15, and promptly left and did not place a bet. The parking lot was busy with people just like me driving OUT at the very start of the day, cars filled with lawn chairs. Some even went back a second time and bought another FIVE. I just have EIGHT; it was all my wife would permit me to bring home.

Ask NYRA for the betting revenues or the concession numbers, not the mere entrance tally. You'll find a discrepancy.


I live in Saratoga, love the races and the idea of it, but hate what NYRA has turned it into. The backstretch is not kept up; the horses are shuttled daily from Aqueduct at BANKRUPT NYRA’s expense because the Saratoga stables are kept in poor condition. They cannot be allowed to have this again. Look into it, expose the fraud – for all of us racing lovers up here.

Thank you

Chuck Brezlin
Grangerville, NY

6:09 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

"you limousine liberal."

Hilarious. Simply hilarious.

12:30 AM  

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