Thursday, October 11, 2007

When the chick hits the can

Where is Charles Collins when you need him? As the legislative stink in Albany slowly permeates up the Northway, the state Senate could sure use the Collins’ treatment, especially during their recent eleventh-hour dickering with the New York’s racing franchise agreement.

Collins, as some may recall, was the Troy radical so disgruntled by his treatment in Albany’s higher courts that he drove his truck to the Capitol and proceeded to hose down the state Court of Appeals with a 55-gallon drum of chicken shit. The stunt landed the part-time para-legal and outspoken divorcee in the clink for a one- to four-year sentence, but created an awe-inspiring example of how to turn words into action.

True, the circumstances surrounding the franchise agreement are drastically different; Collins beef was with Chief Justice Judith Kaye and not the senate or Legislature as a whole. But given the recent wind bagging of Senate Republicans over re-upping the New York Racing Association’s lease on life, perhaps they could use a sobering stream of horse manure cascading down their chamber windows.

After too many years of studying, haggling, lobbying and bartering, first-term Gov. Eliot Spitzer finally chose NYRA to run the state’s thoroughbred tracks. It was the most logical choice for the governor to make, simply because NYRA has a proven track record of bringing and maintaining quality racing to the three tracks. Besides, NYRA might be a bunch of crooks, but they’re our crooks, and no more twisted than the foul, legislative cretins that commissioned them 50-some-odd years ago.

Of course, this decision didn’t settle well with the other three suitors, which along with NYRA contributed more than $2.3 million worth of state campaign funding in just 18 months. And this is excluding the torrent of lobbying that undoubtedly occurred under the Pataki Administration, which quite clearly hamstrung NYRA during its dying days in office.

At the time, the lame-duck Pataki had all his chips in one corner: Empire Racing. These blessings were candidly supported by the state GOP –namely one pugelistic senate majority leader –and made the impressive collective an almost sure-fire bet to win the franchise agreement. On the other side of the isle, it was said that Spitzer, then the all-but-elected governor, was clearly backing Excelsior.

Yet after the inauguration in January, everything changed. Spitzer scoffed at advice from the Pataki-era committee on the future of racing and its recommendation of Excelsior. He then toiled with his own committee for most of the summer, before returning what was probably the most solid verdict that could come from the whole morass: keep racing with the race operators and leave the casino gaming up to casino operators.

But this isn’t good enough for Hollywood Joe Bruno’s boys. The Republican-dominated Senate Racing and Wagering Committee are now raising red flags over Spitzer’s deal, in a way that is politicizing the whole affair even more than it was in the first place. Rather than working with Spitzer’s agreement, they’re bandying about the notion of re-opening the whole process less than three months before the franchise agreement expires.

The whole affair stinks worse than the Court of Appeals façade did on that brisk January morning after Collins’ visit in 1998. The sore-loser competitors are now smelling weakness in the bidding process and are making a push for the inside post, even though there’s theoretically no longer any race running.

“We’re at the 16th pole,” Excelsior team member and former jockey Jerry Bailey told the Times Union Wednesday. “It’s time to get the whip out.”

No Jerry, it’s time to get out the spray hose and give good ol’ Charlie Collins a call.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Anonymous 2nd:

You are right... that was a stupid joke at the expense of a pretty tragic situation. I apologize, and ask Horatio to remove that comment from the board.

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apology accepted. Thank you. And I would also ask that Horatio remove my retort to you from the board.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now boys, don't you know that all of these apologies, retractions, deletions, and thank yous are not acceptable in modern day politics. Just ask Bush and Cheney.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Frawgy Dawgy said...

All this second hand smoke crap is getting on my nerves! Today our local big mall, Carousel Center, banned smoking on it's grounds. Bar and restaurants did a few years ago.....ATTACK OF THE PC POLICE! uGGH! Sorry folks but I've never heard of someone dying directly from second hand smoke; and if you want to get real knit-picky what about the garbage smoke that is released into our air from places like Bristol Myers in Syracuse and thousands of other industrial sites in this country. Why don't we ever hear about the effect those have on health and how many people have died directly as a result? I suppose that's not harmful. Bottom line, people have smoked since the beginning of time and always will but policians conveniently demonize it so they can tax the hell out it. By the way, where's the ACLU on this one?

Second, what's up with this rapidly spreading and very deadly strain of staff infection? Pretty creepy if you ask me. I heard on the news it's been around for 10-15 years and kills more people than AIDS in the US every year.....????(source, a local doctor interviewed in Syracuse..Gilroy I think her name was). If that's the case why am I just now hearing about this? Whose agenda does it fit to keep it quiet while we hear about AIDS everyday? Kinda weird.

Last, this treaty being discussed in the Senate, giving the UN control over waterways and the ability to "levy fees"....or should we call it what it is, tax our country. I'll make a statement here and I believe 99% of America is with me on this.....I AM A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES, not some convuluted global community. I have no allegiance to any government other than the United States and I sure as heck hope our politicians feel the same way; OR AT LEAST START ACTING LIKE IT.

Question of the day: Why was Scooter Libby's sentence commuted and not our 2 border patrol agents who are in jail for doing their jobs? Can Pres Bush answer that tough question? Folks, you may not always agree with my views, I know the smoking one is not popular; but I really don't care. I am informed about things and even if a disagreement with my views causes someone to look further beyond the surface level bullcrap we are fed everyday, that's a good thing in my book.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, frawgy dawgy why don't you go back to counting the jelly beans in the jar, so you can win the prize.

12:06 PM  

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