Friday, October 31, 2008

Market worries

The spin is already on for the asphalt-field redevelopment project slated for the soon-to-be-former “Ghetto” Chopper property on Railroad Place. With the post-noon “economic development” announcement just around the bend, most folks didn’t seem all to interested in hearing the bottom line, which is that the somewhat shabby grocery store will be replaced by something shinny and new; perhaps even contiguous with the towering structures that have created a corridor through what was once the main rail line through the city.

“It’s just another good thing gone, and it's all about money,” lamented one customer interviewed by the Post Star.

This glum sentiment was echoed by several other customers interviewed by the paper, even though prospective owner Sonny Bonacio has already adamantly insisted a market is in the works for the site. He reiterated these claims in a short news release chucked into the flotsam and jetsam of the media late Thursday afternoon, but it did nothing to allay the ongoing concerns about what he is planning there.

Fact is many people simply don’t trust the dickering between the Spa City’s most ubiquitous developer and the Capital Region’s premiere grocer. Most simply don’t buy the notion that either has any “commitment to continue serving the center city of Saratoga Springs.” The standard shopper at Ghetto Chopper’s reaction is that whatever replaces their somewhat quaint inner-city grocer will be bombastic, expensive and tailored to the teaming numbers of aristocrats filling the growing number of million-dollar condominiums.

In theory, Bonnacio’s notion of “announcing” his development was the right one: Alert the media well in advance, make sure all editors and producers within a 50-mile radius have a stake in the official announcement and then curry favor with the city representatives so that they can deal with the inundation of overzealous reporter calls and panicked cries from the public. But when you’ve got a broad cross-section of residents waiting with baited breath over the whole issue, it’s best to not put of any announcement, even if it’s for a paltry 24 hours.

Update: On the fifth day, Bonacio said “Let there be project.” And there was a project. And it was good...For those living in a news vacuum, Sonny and Neil(Golub that is) pitched their plans for a new market, about 10,000 square feet smaller than the existing one. The project would be built sometime within the next four years and would likely feature the Central Market brand name the Golubs are looking to resurect. Interesting Sonny. Keep talking. And when you get to the part about beer, make sure to follow it with the term ‘in copious amounts.’

Allowing this sucker to stew is perhaps the worst thing to do, seeing as though the channels of misinformation are now wide-open, as they were last winter when word of the sale was pushed through the public rumor mill. To put it mildly, people are freaking out. And they’ll still be freaking out long after the news vans pack up and the process of change begins its descent through the planning process.

While there are indeed some who simply can’t stand any change no matter the circumstance, there are many others who see the shabby market as part of the city’s collective identity. It’s a scar on an otherwise flawless countenance, but one that illicits a sense of home for anyone who dwells within the city proper for a prolonged period. It’s akin to Salomon Grundy’s or the Pope’s Pizza barn on Broadway; the Ice House when it was a garage where a bucket of rocks cost six bucks and a smile or the Golden Grill during the pre-Putnam gentrification days; and now the YMCA, before the block was leveled for high-rise condos.

All these places were arguably changed for the better. The buildings that stand today are far nicer, carry attractive businesses and arguably add to the economic vitality of the city far more than their respective lots did in their previous incarnations. Just think how many slices of grease pie Paul Amato would’ve needed to sell to equal the business Borders’ does in an hour; likewise at the Stadium. How many families and sports fanatics that fill the bar every weekend would have been content to hang with the rough-and-tumble crowd that once stewed in the juices poured at Grundy’s and then La La’s?

Still, there was a feeling of comfort about these places that’s been steadily erased by the steady drum beat of economic development. The Ghetto Chopper is –or rather was –among the last bastions of this faith, and one that was an all-encompassing center where all walks of life converged. Regardless of Bonacio’s plan, there are going to be many he simply won’t appease, even if he suggests handing out hundred-dollar bills to the first million customers through the door.

It’s a quandary the developer will increasingly face as he molds downtown into his own vision. Keep in mind, his projects have largely filled voids of scrubland in the heart of the city, or vacant stretches of buildings that had no marketable use absent his Midas touch. But rolling over the Ghetto won’t be nearly as easy, even though city officials are already tacitly endorsing a project that hasn’t even been proposed, much less approved. This time, he’ll have to do much more to charm the growing numbers of skeptics of the city.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kiss of death

Seeing Rudy Giuliani waltz through your fire station wasn’t a happy occasion seven years ago. Sometimes it meant a pair of planes did a kamikaze dive into the towering high-rise overhead. Other times it meant half your fire company was dead or missing after the aforementioned high-rise collapsed.

Then it all changed for some reason. The former New York City mayor became synonymous with household jingoes like These Colors Don’t Run, God Bless America, and Remember 9-11. Suddenly, Giuliani couldn’t set his feet on the ground without someone offering to toss a red carpet or rose petals beneath them.

And then it changed again. As the nationalistic fervor died down, it became clear that Giuliani wasn’t going to supplant anyone from the Bush Administration, nor would he have the backing of his party for a run after W’s pending retirement. Though he would later limp through an impotent run in the primaries in 2008, it was clear way earlier on that his best days in politics were basically buried with the rubble of Tower One and Tower Two.

All this hasn’t stop the bumbling New York GOP from trotting Giuliani out anytime they figured a close race was at hand. Most notably was the race for the 20th Congressional District in 2006. Incumbent John Sweeney was facing the ride of his life after six years of sleazing through congress unabated. Suddenly, the district’s electorate awoke to realize the fellow they had in Washington was nothing more than a strong-arm thug that had drank his way to the top and jumped in the sack with every lobbyist along the way.

But the Republicans figured Sweeney could get a bump from Giuliani. They figured district voters would still vividly recall the images of the soot-covered mayor leading crowds of terrified people through the smoke-filled streets of Manhattan. They figured his shimmering status as America’s mayor would add a sheen to Sweeney’s lackluster campaign.

They figured wrong. In fact, Giuliani’s appearance in a Saratoga Springs Fire Station was enough to spur a city Ethics Board investigation. The theory was the station itself was a public building and not intended for political stumping, which is exactly what Giuliani and Sweeney used it for. The board reached the decision that found Giuliani’s appearance was a violation and resulted in disciplinary action against the fire department.

“Officers or employees shall not make use of a city workplace to request, or authorize another to use a city workplace to request that any officer or employee participate in an election campaign, political event, or contribute to a political party or committee,” the ruling stated. “Officers or employees shall not display, distribute or otherwise utilize election campaign literature or materials at a city workplace.”

And we all know how well Sweeney’s campaign turned out. But apparently, this is all ancient history for Sandy Treadwell, who is trying to mop up the pieces left in the wake of the Sweeney Tsunami that washed the Republicans out of a badly gerrymandered GOP-dominated district.

Treadwell, the independently wealthy trust-fund son of a General Electric magnate, was obviously too obsessed with spending through his millions when he decided to ignore the foreboding signs Giuliani offered his predecessor. Instead, he appeared alongside the former mayor at two fire stations Wednesday, brazenly riding Giuliani’s badly tattered coattails from the post-September 11th era.

“My first year, Mayor Bloomberg was elected. And Governor Pataki was elected for the third time,” Treadwell told the Saratogian. “Now I'm the candidate.”

So let’s recap: Treadwell helped elect a mayor who openly shunned his party several years later, re-elected the governor who presided over a one of the most corrupt administrations that personally contributed to the ballooning state debt and is appearing on stage with another New York mayor who was too obsessed with his own contracting business to launch any semblance of a political career outside of shouting ‘nine-eleven’ in crowded fire halls. Now that’s the type of winner you can vote for!

But let’s give Treadwell a bit of credit where credit is due. At least he’s admitting to his abject failure as the state Republican’s number-one booster, albeit in a rosy way that’s sort of like saying that the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima saved lives. However, the fact that he’s out-of-touch enough to think a hack like Giuliani can push ahead the campaign of a hack like himself is unnerving to say the least. Voters should take this message to the polls with them and realize that every Enola Gay needs at least one bombardier.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am cop, hear me roar

Do you want to kill Patrolman Adam Baker? Are you coldblooded enough to whip out a box cutter, slash him in the neck and watch him bleed out before your eyes? Can you live with yourself by letting all the fucking crazies at Four Winds run roughshod across Saratoga Springs, raping and pillaging at their leisure? Will you stand by idly while the strolling masses attending the Victorian Street Walk this year are hacked into itty-bitty bite sized pieces as they attempt to enjoy this goddamn Christ-loving Democracy of ours? Are you in for a bit of the old, ultraviolence?

Well if you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you’re probably the brand of sick-o fighting against the more than 25,000 hours of police overtime doled out by the Public Safety Department this year. Or you’re just flat-out unpatriotic; maybe the commie-type freak who likes hunting bald eagles and roasting their gutted bodies over a fire stoked with bibles and fanned with a shit-stained American flag.

Residents of Saratoga Springs, take heed: If you cut the police overtime, you’ll all face a grisly demise at the scarred hands of the barbarian hordes, which now bang their clubs at the heavily fortified gates of the city. Move one officer from these entrances, and they’ll all come in for sure. They’ll be reclining in your baraclounger and chugging your aged Chianti collection like it were a case of the finest Pabst Blue Ribbon money can buy.

Your only salvation –your only way to remain free in America –is to dump out your wallet at the Lake Avenue police station and pray to Police Chief Ed Moore. Give him what he wants, and it’s not much. Just hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime and a new, $17 million dollar police station for his officers to rollick in when they’re not hitting on the Skidmore chicks or corn-holing the Caroline Street drunks.

Not convinced yet? Well then take Lew Benton’s word for it. Because if there’s one thing the city’s patronage sponge knows, it’s how to suck up tax dollars like the Bounty quicker-picker-upper. And hey, we’re all making out like bandits because of our vastly overvalued homes, right? We can all afford to pay just a bit more during these trying times, Benton told the Daily Gazette Tuesday.

Yes, the fear campaign is in full effect now, as anyone who sat through Moore’s two-hour presentation Tuesday could attest. The fact that he tried to justify his department’s rampant overspending is grounds for termination in most lines of work. But the fact that he prattled on from the early afternoon until the mid-evening is grounds for him to be throw into a center-square pillory for a week or two.

It would have helped if Moore’s presentation echoed with an ounce of truth. Instead, he fear-mongered the city council with the panicky 911-call placed after Baker was slashed in the throat by Seth Dawson, a fellow who wasn’t keen on his mother admitting him to an out-patient mental health clinic. His sick and twisted implication: Absent overtime payments to the police, who knows if he would have survived?

Well, let’s set the record straight. Were it not for a quick-acting 13-year-old girl giving Baker a towel to thwart at least some of the bleeding from his mortal gash, the outcome would have been a lot different. Even Moore himself credited the youngster’s actions with saving the officer’s life. At least he did one year ago.

But with the conversation on overtime, the credit quickly shifted to the veritable invasion force that crowded Jefferson Street to apprehend a mental patient on the loose. Were it not for police overtime, there would have been no one at the station able to help the badly injured Baker, Moore seemed to imply; there would have been no evidence collected, and it is likely Dawson would still be slashing his way through downtown to date.

Of course, the key word is ‘imply.’ And Moore’s speech had no shortage of implications if he doesn’t get his way. The main one was that the Spa City will somehow descend into the throngs of a crime wave without an inflated level of police overtime.

The less spoken message is that Moore is literally poised to hold the city ransom for more funding. First, he’s going to bang the taxpayers for an over-budgeted $11 million “public safety” facility, which will ultimately cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain. Then, he’s going to have Public Safety Pushover Ron Kim stamp a new police contract that will earn his officers a very comfortable living when they do work regular hours. Lastly, he’ll push through the overtime component, so those on the bottom rungs of the pay scale can net what most other departments pay only their high-ranking senior officers.

True, safety is a key component of a healthy downtown. But to consider Saratoga Springs a high- or even moderate-crime area is just mind-boggling. Thanks to ridiculously high property taxes –ironically spurred in part by police overtime –the criminal element simply can’t afford to live here, much less ply their trade. Increasingly, it seems what the department is taking home in pay is the real criminal element in the city. And it seems this cash could be better allocated than being used to stock an over-sized station with 10 times the number of cops needed to take down a 130-pound hyper-paranoid razor-wielding anti-authoritarian.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Takin’ care of business…

…And working overtime. Guitar!

This Bachman-Turner Overdrive classic rapidly became a quasi-anthem for the nine-to-fiver toeing the line during the 1970s. In later decades, the melody became synonymous with the ‘things are getting done’ montage and Jim Beluishi’s predilection for wearing Hawaiian shirts. Today, city residents might consider humming this tune as they drop off their property tax bills. Maybe even get the clerk to join in for the last refrain. After all, it’s going to take a lot of business to pay up the hundreds of thousands of dollars city workers are slated to receive in overtime.

The $38.2 million city budget proposing a 3.8 percent tax hike also includes roughly $798,000 to pay workers overtime in 2009. This cash will go toward paying everyone from the highway department worker pitching in a few early morning hours to clear snow-choked roads to the cop working an extra eight hours because the department is short staffed. Overtime in the 2009 budget will be haplessly pitched into a slush fund within each department and doled by supervisors on an ‘as needed’ basis. In other words, it will be spent in its entirety and then some.

Now for some of the Spa City’s platinum card-carrying residents, $798,000 might not sound like a big deal. After all, it’s only a fraction of the overall budget. But consider this: If the city were to magically eliminate overtime spending from the general fund altogether and that savings was applied to the $14.3 million tax levy, city residents would see an almost flat budget this year.

What is even more startling is that the proposed allocation for overtime this year is actually pretty good, as compared to what Finance Commissioner Ken Ivins is projecting the city will spend this year. Estimates in the 2009 budget show the city will fork over more than $1.02 million in overtime expenses.

This overtime is broadly spread across departments and ranges from $13,082 earned by city garage personnel to $15,825 afforded to workers at the Weibel Avenue Ice Rink. Tree cutters will garner $3,200 of time-and-a-half pay, while the Finance Department’s ‘data processors’ will net a clean $3,000.

Update: The natives are already restless over the proposed cuts in overtime. Not even a day after this post, business leaders are allegedly calling for a meeting with city officials to see if the overtime cuts might impact the Spa City’s never-ending stream of street festivals. Well here’s a quick answer based in fact: They won’t. But this is the response they’ll probably get from Kim and his new best friend, Public Works Commissioner Skip Scirocco:

“There are no bodies to put out there.”

Well, Skip, they were actually asking about who will help with these events, not where the city might get cadavers for an ultra-realistic Halloween ghoulfest. But now that you mention it, please do explain to us what your “bodies are doing out there.” ’Cause when I see them, they’re usually doing a lot of standing around.

But the cake for best wastrel of overtime dollars naturally goes to Ron Kim, whose Department of Public Safety seems to be a veritable black hole of time-and-a-half earners. Take for instance the dispatchers. This year, they are anticipated to earn a jaw-dropping $130,000 in overtime, which is just $32,000 short of what the city firefighters will earn for actually being dispatched to calls. This year, Ivins chopped their allotment to a still-impressive $65,000, which is about $13,000 less than they collected in 2007.

And then there are the patrolmen. Aside from all their other volumes of contracted benefits, the city cops will take home roughly $400,000 in overtime, accounting for more than a third of the extra pay the city will dole out this year. This overtime blasts through the $330,200 the department was originally budgeted in 2008, which was a more than $70,000 increase from what they earned the previous year. Fortunately, Ivins decided to push back a bit, knocking the cops’ budgeted overtime back to $275,000. Still, this is a ludicrous 48 percent increase over what the department was initially afforded in the 2008 budget.

As aforementioned, the firefighters are no slouches themselves when it comes to collecting overtime. Yet the line item for the fire department has remained remarkably static when compared to the police spending over the past two years. The firefighters brought home $143,000 in overtime payments in 2007 and were afforded a modest $24,000 increase in the revised 2008 budget. Unlike their cop counterparts, the firefighters appear to be about $7,000 under their overtime budget this year, a stunning thought considering the rest of the city’s departments generally spent up to their limit and even over in some cases.

The comparison between the firefighters and the police is important to note, seeing as though they both have very dangerous jobs that sometimes result in injury. In the private business world, injury is one of the few excuses employers have for accepting overtime on the payroll. After all, it’s illegal to dismiss an injured employee and filling that space on the short-term basis is difficult to say the least, especially if the position requires months of training.

With this noted, it’s interesting to see the fire department has more-or-less forecast their overtime needs, while the police have almost chronically ignored their budget. Perhaps this is because Chief Ed Moore is spending more time on vacation than he is managing his department. Or perhaps it’s because the Public Safety commissioner is nothing more than a paid shill for the increasingly powerful police union, which just happens to be working out a new contract with the city.

What is even more remarkable is that Kim can piss and moan about his department being on the receiving end of proposed job cuts, when the two agencies he is intrinsically tasked to manage are running roughshod over their overtime budgets. Were he to trim the budgeted overtime by even half, he could hire five full-time workers at $50,000 annually. It’s something conscientious taxpayers should take to the upcoming budget hearings.

The bottom line is the overtime is unacceptable, no matter what department is collecting it. Massive overtime payments are almost always indicative of poor management, whether it’s ensuring enough people are on the job, or more importantly, the right people are on the job. But when the entire budget process gets mired in piddling issues –whether or not to buy a new phone system for City Hall –the larger piece of the pie gets left in the fridge to marinate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Man’s best friend?

Like man, some dogs are genuinely good-natured at heart. Some are cognizant of your demeanor and will try to cheer you up when you’re down. Some will voraciously defend your property and even alert you to impending tragedy.

But like man, there is another side to the nature of dogs. There are some that are…well…assholes. You know, the kind that seem more interested in humping the Shih Tzu next door than barking at the guy carrying your flat screen out the front door. Or the mutt that takes great pleasure in pissing on the Persian rug you just bought because he liked the old hair-matted carpet better.

Anyone doubting this canine dichotomy should take a gander at Wednesday’s Daily Gazette. The front page features an article chronicling how a 2-year-old Vizsla-bred hunting dog named Cindy alerted her elderly owners of a blaze that was ripping through their historic home in Malta early Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, they couldn’t convince the dog to follow them from the burning house, and it tragically succumbed to the flames.

"I tell you, if not for that dog ..." related the couple’s daughter after the fire.

But turn to the Gazette's B-section and there’s an entirely different story. Nearly 35 miles west in Fulton County, a propane explosion sent the roof of a Johnstown residence hurtling more than 80 feet in the air and touched off a blaze that scorched what remained of the structure. The blast left only rubble of the Elmwood Avenue home and sent its owners to a burn unit in Syracuse with critical injuries. Authorities are now blaming the catastrophic event on the family dog, which sauntered through the basement and “apparently opened a valve on the propane line,” county Sheriff Tom Lorey told the Gazette.

Authorities believe a spark from a water heater touched off the low-lying gas as the couple was investigating the smell. The explosion toppled the three-story home and trapped the couple in the cellar. The offending family dog was allegedly found wandering the property and aflame, but quickly doused by responding firefighters without incident. No word on whether the dog was previously disgruntled with its family or if it will face arson charges for opening the valve. Now, if not for that dog…

So there you have it. If you’re looking for some canine companionship, choose your dog wisely. After all, it might be the last choice you make. And if you happen to nab one that looks freshly singed, make damn certain you keep your propane canisters under lock and key.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


The proposal to build a $6.5 million indoor recreation center sits on the edge of the city budget like some of the DWI wrecks the cops like to haul in front of high school campuses around prom season. It stands a grizzly testament to the reckless behavior of city officials, who make very poor decisions while drunk on their own power. The hapless recreation center remains no closer to becoming a reality than it did more than two years, when the equally hapless administration of Valerie Keehn goaded the City Council into selling bonds for the project.

Only now, the economy is in what appears to be a death spiral and city residents are facing yet another property tax increase. Come next year, the average working-class homeowner –if there are any left –will be paying more than $1,110 in city taxes alone. And it’s not too reassuring to know that about a half-million of these inordinately high tax dollars will go toward paying interest rates on a non-existent recreation center. To put this in overly simplified terms, were the two years of interest on this bond distributed among each of the city’s 10,723 parcels, the bill would be about $49 per property.

Angry yet? Well then consider a handful of these property owners will happily pay this estimated interest cost in addition to exorbitant legal fees so that all the other property owners can face even more costs associated with stalling the project. These open-field loving NIMBYs are planning to file a ludicrously frivolous lawsuit against the city, arguing that a proper “environmental review” was never conducted. Simply put, their assertion is ludicrous. But this isn’t stopping the South Side wreckers from throwing what could be an industrial-sized wrench into the project.

“What Johnson doesn't realize is that this will cause a lot of resentment among the taxpayers, because we'll be footing the cost of defending the suit,” boasted Lee Pokoik, a member of the wreckers and a self-professed “part-time” city resident.”Next year he’ll be running for re-election and this will be cause for some people to want to throw him out of office...We can’t be wasting money on ridiculous lawsuits.”

Ahem. Filing ridiculous lawsuits? Wasting money? Isn’t that exactly what the South Siders are doing here? Provided a lawsuit is filed, any lawyer worth his salt would immediately file for an injunction to prevent construction from beginning. And provided they can keep the injunction in place for the next seven months, they might just land the city into a financial quagmire. After all, the city is supposed to spend the first $1.8 million of the recreation center bond by April. To date, no city official has indicated exactly what will happen if these funds are not spent.

Eventually, these wastrels will run out of money and their case will be thrown out of court, but not before they cause untold damage to the project’s budget. Speaking of budget, who’s to say the building could even be built for the estimated $6.5 million? The cost of everything from asphalt to aluminum has skyrocketed since the Keehn Administration adopted this bastard project as its own back in 2006. Not to mention, the cost of heating the cavernous center during the winter has most assuredly increased, which is something Linda Terricola probably didn’t figure into the equation when she said the building would “pay for itself.”

The boondoggle has left Mayor Scott Johnson in a sort of quandary, perhaps the first of his 10-month-old administration. He’s gone too far to scrap plans for locating the center on the south side, which is quite clearly the best location for the building if any exists at all. He’s also facing an economy where sales tax is down, mortgage tax receipts are dropping to their lowest rates this century and the city’s departments are pining for budget allocations that would increase taxes by 29 percent. And next year could be even worse.

Sadly, it seems as though the recreation center simply doesn’t fit into any plan to downsize the city’s over-inflated budget. No matter what its proponents say, the building will require city staff and city-funded utilities to operate, meaning there will be a cost to homeowners even after the bond is paid off. So it’s probably time to investigate what it would take to hatchet the whole project, even though this would regrettably give a handful of overly vocal obstructionists the endgame they have sought since a certain vapid former mayor galvanized them last winter.

In theory, the city could simply pay off the bond and suck up the hundreds of thousands already paid in interest. It might just be Johnson’s only way out from underneath an incomprehensibly stupid decision by the Keehn-lead council to bond a project that wasn’t anywhere near ready for construction. Perhaps the council could throw in a few extra dollars to purchase a plaque for the South Side fields: Here was the last stand of the greatest tax-funded waste under the failed Valerie Keehn administration.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Rejoice New York! Regale, Capital Region! After more than a decade of governmental planning, prostituting, proselytizing and pontificating, officials from Advanced Micro Devices have announced they plan to move forward with their long-anticipated chip fabrication plant in proposed Luther Forest Technology Park in Malta. The new plant will bathe New York with untold riches, spreading highways of gold from the nanotechnology facility in Albany to the bumper-crop of engineers being cultivated at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, turning the frightfully industry-free Hudson Valley into a burgeoning Mecca of the high-tech industry.

AMD, who some have and continue to regard as the Capital Region’s reigning Messiah, announced the news abruptly this morning, when they unveiled a deal to sell a good number of their assets to a shadow company owned solely by the government of the wealthiest city among the United Arab Emirates. This deal will create a partnership between the failing AMD and Abu Dhabi, which will then create a wholly new company that will build the $3.2 billion $4.5 billion chip fabrication plant in Malta.

All this and more will occur once New York State opens up its purse strings and doles out the $1.2 billion in aid formerly promised to AMD when they were the sole developer of the project. Ironically, this aid is just a hair short of the roughly $1.2 billion of debt AMD transferred to Advanced Technology Investment Company, the fledgling business created by Abu Dhabi and the Mubadala Development Company to “generate returns that deliver long‐term benefits to the Emirate.”

“This event will certainly go down as the most important transaction in the history of AMD and one of the most in the history of the semiconductor industry,” said Dirk Meyer, AMD’s President and CEO, during a telephone news conference Tuesday morning.

The new company –now called the Foundry –will have a split ownership between AMD and ATIC, which will own a majority of shares. AMD’s Hector Ruiz will assume duties as the new company’s chairman of the board of directors and Doug Grose, now the senior vice president of AMD, will become the CEO. In total, the Foundry Company will represent a $5.7 billion investment, which involves a 12-month agreement with the aforementioned Mubadala Development Company.

“It begins with great prospects,” said Waleed Al Mokarrab, the chairman, ATIC. “It has strong leadership, strong technology and a strong and sound financial basis.”

Let’s pause here and take a breath. Is your head spinning yet? Are you drunk on the idea of one of the world’s richest cities showering gold and platinum confetti over Saratoga County? Or are you just a bit sketched out by the fact that AMD’s rapidly deteriorating business has suddenly snagged interest of a bunch of investors who are looking to maximize on their return during a period of almost unprecedented global economic turmoil.

The timing of the deal comes as Gov. David Paterson is calling state legislators back to Albany to bridge the growing budget gap, which also happens to be around $1.2 billion. Still, Paterson says the AMD project is worth it: 1,500 high-tech positions for the long term and 600 construction jobs in the short term. And he’s basically right, even if it spells doom for many of the state-supported programs acting as a safety net for many underprivileged New Yorkers. The return of industry is the only thing that can save the state’s dire economic forecast. The lack of industry has created a void that can’t be patched by adding service-related jobs or creating market bubbles.

“Now we believe the money is going to be there,” he told the New York Post’s Fred Dicker Tuesday morning. “It could be one of the most significant technological developments this country has ever seen.”

But there’s still an air of doubt about the project, lingering like ill-timed flatulence in a closed elevator. Even during Tuesday’s conference call, the AMD press flack warned the listening reporters and analysts that the statements made by officials “shouldn’t be relied on as predictions of future events” and may face “uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from our current expectations.” In other words, everyone is ready to sign on the dotted line except AMD and their new Arabian partner.

So what happens when the incentives run out? What happens when New York begins to tax the Arabs like the rest of the state? What happens if the state forks over the cash and suddenly “current expectations” don’t dictate such a project? Who buys all the damn chips that “the Foundry Company” produces if AMD suddenly goes belly up? And what will be the inevitable push-back from the almighty Intel in response to this bombshell announcement by their leading competitor?

Update: Sure enough, Intel has some serious questions about the Foundry Co. deal. Turns out the new deal might violate an agreement they had in place with AMD. Putting it in more succinct terms, stop the backslapping and get the lawyers on the horn. We have a multi-million dollar international lawsuit in the works here.

Well folks, these are questions for a later date. This day is reserved for the architects of this deal to reach down into the tray of the slot machine they’ve been sitting at for the past two years and grab the one shinny coin the damn thing has spit out over all that time. It’s also time for them to take that coin, plug it back into the one-armed bandit, and let this fucker ride. Who knows? This baby might still come up sevens.

View My Stats