Saturday, July 07, 2007



Gov. Eliot Spitzer has withdrawn his controversial nomination of industry insider Angela Sparks Beddoe as commissioner of the Public Service Commission, according to Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s office.
The Senate has been sitting on the nomination while another PSC issue - alleged threats by Spitzer aide Steven Mitnick against Cheryl Buley, another PSC member - are under investigation.
AP reports that Sparks Beddoe withdrew herself, telling Spitzer in a letter, “I believe it is time for me to move on and refocus my attention on my family and professional life.'’(CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL)

There are several new folks in top jobs at the state Department of Environmental Conservation, I’m told and staffers recently got a run-down on some of them, including:Stuart Gruskin, executive deputy commissioner, who will oversee day-to-day ops and comes from the Cozen O’Connor law firm.Alison Crocker, goes from DEC’s acting general counsel to general counsel.
Mike Lenane, deputy commissioner for regional affairs and permitting, comes via DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis’ office from when Grannis was in the Assembly.
Val Washington, deputy commissioner for solid and hazardous materials, environmental
remediation and mineral resources. She had been with the AG’s office and then New Partners for Community Revitalization, Inc. (NPCR), a not-for-profit organization that assists community organizations in neighborhood revitalization efforts.
Also coming to DEC from the attorney general’s office are Jared Snyder, assistant commissioner for air resources, climate change and energy and Jim Tierney who is now assistant commissioner for water resources.
While with the AG, Tierney also served as the New York City watershed inspector general.(CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL)

A state official who was bumped from his job but given a $135,000 post to tide him over till retirement says he’s decided not to take the offer.
Peter Smith, who was head of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority head but stepped aside last week for Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s pick, Assemblyman Paul Tonko, had been offered a job as one of five deputy commissioners under John Egan at the Office of General Services.
Although it meant a more than $13,000 pay cut, the job was good for ten months, enough to take Smith to the retirement age of 55.
Smith, however, said that while he’s grateful to Egan and Spitzer’s appointments secretary, Francine James, for “giving me a safe landing,'’ he’s opting for a private sector job offer. He didn’t offer details except to say it comes with a one year contract.
He said he checked on his employment situation with the state and found he has more than 30 years of credit, so he can retire at 55 without penalty. Only hitch is, he loses state health insurance.
“I hope I make a lot of money,” he said. (CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL)

The New York Power Authority’s deputy counsel quits after admitting to keeping his ex-wife on his insurance policy. Carmine J. Clemente, 64, loses his nearly $199,000 job, pays a $34,000 fine, and can’t hold a state job again.

now that the nominees are coming from a democratic governor, the republican-controlled senate embraces its confirmation power with gusto...........

State Republican Chairman Joe Mondello is questioning Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s nomination of a political contributor to head the MTA, accusing the Demcratic governor of instituting “a brazen ‘pay to play’ culture in Albany that is disappointing and shocking to the people of New York State.”
Spitzer nominated Dale Hemmerdinger, a real estate mogul who would replace former Gov. George Pataki’s pick, Peter Kalikow, as head of the massive mass transit system. He is also former chairman of the Citizens Budget Commission, a watchdog group.(CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL)

Spitzer names New York City real estate developer H. Dale Hemmerdinger as MTA chairman.

Charles “Skip” Carrier has been serving Assembly Democrats for five speakers, but after this session he’ll be moving to the state Department of Transportation as its chief spokesman, officially taking over there July 16.
He has been Speaker Sheldon Silver’s director of communications since Pat Lynch quit to become a lobbyist almost seven years ago.
Carrier has been working on the third floor of the Capitol since 1977. So showing up every day at DOT’s headquarters on Wolf Road across from Colonie Center instead might be a culture shock. But getting out of work at a reasonable hour might be a bargain for the 60-year-old.
One downside of the move: this is the time of year when Carrier and other Assembly staffers start looking forward to using all that vacation and comp time they banked during the session. But they can’t take it with them to an agency.
Moving into Carrier’s spot. we’re told, is Dan Weiller, who’s been at the state Comptroller’s office for the past four years.
Update: The salary for the DOT post will be $116,000 a year. Carrier’s currently paid $105,997.65 (sorry for the delay; we overlooked this Friday and have been a bit busy with other things today.)

ALBANY -- Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Tuesday nominated former state comptroller and gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall to the State University of New York board of trustees. As expected, Spitzer chose former state schools Chancellor Carl Hayden, an Elmira lawyer, for chairman of the board. His third nominee was Linda Sanford of Chappaqua, a senior vice president at IBM.

More on Spitzer’s SUNY appointments. And here and here.

The Senate Finance Committee this afternoon gave a blessing to Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s nominee to become the next Medicaid inspector general.
The full Senate is expected to follow with a vote in favor of James G. Sheehan and his $136,000 pay.
“You may have the most important job of anything we do this year,” Sen. Dale Volker, R-Depew, told him at the Finance Committee meeting. “I don’t envy you.”

Governor Eliot Spitzer has nominated Tina Marie Stanford, an assistant district attorney for Erie County, to chair the state’s Crime Victims Board, which compensates ($26 million in 2006) to victims of crime.
Stanford, 43, of Buffalo, would be paid $101,600 in the post, which requires Senate confirmation

Long-time lieutenant to former Assembly Insurance Committee Chairman Alexander “Pete” Grannis, Peter Newell, joined the United Hospital Fund.
Grannis’ former aide goes to former Assembly Majority Leader James Tallon’s outfit and will split time between Albany and Manhattan.
As senior health policy analyst, Newell will work on issues related to expanding health insurance coverage in New York. Grannis’ aides have spread out, some going to the Department of Environmental Conservation, where Grannis took over as commissioner

Gannett News Service reporter Yancey Roy is heading to the Department of Environmental Conservation as the chief spokesman.Erik Kriss, recently departed but long-time Syracuse Post-Standard correspondent, is getting a similar post with the Department of Correctional Services. Scott Reif, a press officer for the Division of the Budget, who is also a holdover from the Pataki administration is going to be an assistant press secretary for Senate Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who frequently criticizes the DOB, often complained that Reif’s old boss, John Cape, couldn’t couldn't count.

The state has a new ad firm to market tourism and it will be trying to steer some ofthe 44 million annual visitors to New York City to upstate, Gov. Eliot Spitzer said today.
Empire State Development Corp. chose Saatchi & Saatchi to run the “I Love New York'’ adcampaign. The firm will be signing a three-year contract, having beaten two dozen competitorsfor the chance to tap into nearly the $22 million tourism promotion program.
Spitzer said the state has failed to market itself effectively in the past, referring tothe years when the program featured Gov. George Pataki as the tourism spokesman.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer tapped Cornell University’s former leader to direct a new higher education commission to figure out ways to make the SUNY system a better place to learn.Hunter Rawlings, president emeritus of Cornell and the University of Iowa, is chairing a group that must report back by Dec. 1 and complete a final recommendation document in June of 2008.Spitzer said he wants the SUNY and CUNY system to be looked at as highly as the public systems of California and Wisconsin.The commission will include a few lawmakers, including Sen. Ken LaValle, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples.Others: William Scheuerman, president of the United University Professions; John Clark, interim of the SUNY system; Carl Hayden, former chancellor of the Regents; and Richard Mills, commissioner of education.

Brad Maione, one of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s press officers, is heading to the Office of General Services to lead the public information effort there. Commissioner John Egan will keep him busy.

Trustees at the State University of New York have nominated John Clark as interim chancellor, who would take over in June with the departure of John Ryan.
Clark currently serves as interim head at SUNY Alfred and has served as interim president at Brockport, Plattsburgh, the school of Optometry and as acting vice chancellor of enrollment and university life for the SUNY system.

Matthew Walter is the new communications director for the Republican State Committee, meaning he’s moving a few blocks to 315 State St. from Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s press office in the Capitol.
Bruno helped install Joseph Mondello as the party’s chairman.

Jonathan Lippman, New York’s longest-serving chief administrative judge, was appointed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer as Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department.

John Stouffer, the executive director of the Sierra Club, joins the list of environmental leaders in Albany trooping from the nonprofit sector for a state government post. Unlike the others, (Willie Janeway, Val Washington and Peter Iwanowitz to name a few) however, he’s not joining the Spitzer administration.
Instead, he will become an environmental policy analyst for Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Rathod Appointed to Key Position by N.Y. Governor Spitzer

By KETAKI GOKHALEIndia-West Staff ReporterNick Rathod, formerly a manager at the Center for American Progress, was recently appointed associate director of political affairs for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. The Washington, D.C.-based attorney will now be in charge of working with New York's congressional delegation in the nation's capital to make sure that the state's interests are represented in federal legislation."My main job is to make sure that the governor is positioned as a leader on a number of issues," Rathod told India-West. "New York's a large state, so many people are looking to him for leadership."

I love it...........New York is a large state :-) andy

Friday, July 06, 2007

Spitzer vetoes binding arbitration bills



ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Gov. Eliot Spitzer vetoed a series of bills that would have expanded binding arbitration in New York for police and other municipal workers. Among dozens of vetoes handed down Friday, Spitzer rejected bills that would have given binding arbitration rights to Office of Mental Health security assistants, downstate court workers and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police and firefighters. He also vetoed a bill that would have expanded the power of arbitration boards handling cases involving state troopers and another that would have set new requirements for boards for Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority officers. Spitzer said he was concerned about expanding binding arbitration, which transfers power from municipal officials to an independent authority. Critics claim that union contracts for police and firefighters reached through arbitration have proved too costly. "It should come as relief to taxpayers that he did this," said E.J. McMahon of the fiscally conservative Empire Center for New York State Policy. Some of the bills had previously been vetoed by former-Gov. George Pataki. And following Pataki's lead, Spitzer also rejected a bill that would have given higher workers' compensation benefits to privately employed medical responders dispatched to the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks. Spitzer said the measure would create an "anomaly" by giving those injured workers more than other private workers. Spitzer also vetoed separate measures that would have granted peace officer status to court officers in the Town of New Windsor and the Village of Westhampton Beach, Wayne County animal abuse investigators, Union College security guards and Jefferson County civil enforcement officers. Peace officers have legal powers to make arrests, issue appearance tickets and conduct searches. But a full-time peace officer requires no more than 35 hours training, compared to 635 hours of instruction and training for police officers, according to Spitzer. "These are very far-reaching powers that should not be granted lightly and should only be granted to those who have received sufficient training," Spitzer said in a veto message. Also Friday: _The governor signed a law requiring any state agency with a Web site to post information about New York's Freedom of Information Law. Agencies will be required to provide basic information about how citizens can request information, such as contact information. Sponsors said state agencies have been inconsistent when it comes to posting information online about the law. _A law signed by Spitzer prohibits "juice bars" from hiring nude or topless dancers under age 18. The bars _ which are not regulated by the State Liquor Authority because they don't serve alcohol _ had been allowed to hire performers as young as 16, according to the bill memo. The higher age limit goes into effect Nov. 1.

Spitzer, Bruno well past settling differences



This is what an all-out war looks like at the state Capitol.Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer's continued offensive against Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno has intensified past the point where a truce or a handshake could restore the usual ways of doing business.Spitzer's aides say they were asked by state police about a request from Bruno to use a state helicopter for trips to New York City - and that they replied that the troopers should do so, but log their travels.Such records are not generated for other state officials - such as, say, the governor. From what we can tell so far, Bruno used the resources to attend a couple of big GOP fundraisers in the city, and mixed the trips with what was arguably legislative business.Then came the fireworks.After the contents of the records were published by the Times Union in Albany, the governor's office sent documents to the attorney general and the local district attorney to investigate Bruno's use of these resources. This raised the ghost of last year's take-down of Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who was prosecuted and forced to resign for misusing state cars and staff.Now Spitzer's antagonists are arming and firing back. The governor took the aircraft on a trip to Monroe County, where he addressed a Democratic fundraiser, they said, and his lieutenant governor, David Paterson, was taken to Washington, where he met with party chief Howard Dean.In the GOP counter-narrative, Spitzer performed dirty tricks against a partisan foe."I was stunned to learn that Governor Spitzer is using the fine men and women of the New York State Police to conduct surveillance on me," Bruno declared. "This type of dangerous abuse of power is despicable, possibly illegal and undermines our democratic form of government."Spitzer spokesman Darren Dopp disputes the claim of "surveillance" - insisting that state troopers merely logged where they went and when.But from the start of his tenure, Spitzer, 48, has given every impression of seeking to take down the 78-year-old Bruno - with a kind of pugnaciousness that Albany veterans say they have never seen before. The governor's actions carry a risk, too: that voters will decide the Senate should stay Republican, if only to check his powerful ambitions.Stridency has long been a Spitzer trademark. As state attorney general, he caused shock waves only a few years back by charging with wrongdoing such powerful, wealthy men as Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, legendary chief of the insurance firm American International Group Inc., and Richard Grasso, head of the New York Stock Exchange.Shortly after becoming governor, Spitzer tweaked the accepted turf divisions by campaigning for Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington) in what had been a Republican Senate seat, reducing Bruno's thin majority. He slammed Bruno's (ultimately successful) effort to restore billions in state health funding in the state budget as a reckless bid to serve special interests. Spitzer condemned GOP senators for defying his campaign finance proposals.On one of his trips to New York, Bruno met with business leaders at the firm C.V. Starr & Co. - which Greenberg has run since being forced to retire from AIG in 2005.Neither man's spokesman would say yesterday whether Greenberg and Bruno met - or whether their common pursuer, Spitzer, was discussed.But one can guess

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mondello Calls for Special Prosecutor to Investigate Spitzer

News From New York Republican State Committee


ALBANY, NY (07/05/07; 1206)(readMedia)-- Given the shocking allegations surrounding Governor Spitzer in today’s New York Post, I am calling for a special prosecutor to immediately begin a thorough and independent investigation into Governor Spitzer’s reported abuse of power.
As Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer bullied and infringed on people’s rights in order to gain publicity for himself. As Governor, he has threatened, verbally abused and insulted anyone who does not do his bidding in an effort to advance his personal, political agenda.
Now, it is reported that he has ordered taxpayer-funded state police to serve as his own private detectives in a disturbing attempt to dig up dirt on his political opposition. If these allegations are proven to be true, it represents a frightening, Nixonesque abuse of power that should concern every resident of New York State.
Reports of Governor Spitzer’s latest attempt to enact personal revenge and retaliation against his political opponents reinforce his well-known reputation for having disdain and lack of understanding of the democratic process and checks and balances. These latest allegations are a serious breech of trust with the people of New York State and strike at the very heart of our system of Government.

Fighting Words: Bruno Calls Spitzer's People "Hoodlums & Thugs"


Would you believe all this fuss is over a story in the NY Post???? the good old reliable post..the bastion of integrity and truthful reporting.....not........what total nonsense..........andy

July 5, 2007 08:29 PM
The back-and-forth between Senator Joe Bruno and Governor Eliot Spitzer is back on, as the Senator is now calling for an investigation into the Governor's actions - and he is not being shy about it!
NEWS10's John McLoughlin brings us up-to-date on the latest in the war of words.
Bruno is now accusing the Governor of "political espionage," and he likened Spitzer to a "third world dictator."
"With the hoodlums around him and the thugs around him, pushing him to bury me - if they can, well, here I am."
That is Bruno's reaction to a page-one story in the New York Post, quoting a Spitzer staffer confirming that the Governor used a State Police security detail to keep special records on Bruno's use, or misuse of state aircraft.
"What happens next?" says Bruno. "Does he follow me on a personal basis for political advantage? What country are we in?"
It all began last Sunday when the Albany T.U. reported that Bruno used the state helicopter on several occasions to attend political fundraisers. Bruno claims they were business trips, with politics mixed in.
Thursday afternoon, the Spitzer aide quoted in the New York Post story denied that there has been any State Police surveillance of Bruno, calling the story inaccurate and false. Still, Bruno wants the Attorney General and others to investigate, and says no longer can he trust what Spitzer tells him.
"If this Governor is capable of ordering that, what next?" Bruno says. "And you in the media ought to be asking that."
The New York Post says the Spitzer aide said Bruno got special surveillance after a complaint from Mike Long, Chairman of the Conservative Party. But Long told radio station WROW he never complained about Bruno's security detail, and he says the Governor's people are using him to try to cover their own tracks now.
Bruno, meanwhile, is calling for nearly all manner of investigation, starting with the Attorney General on down.

Don’t Get on the Wrong Side of New York Governor Spitzer


I love how unbiased and unrepublican the fox news crew is....not :-) Here is their latest cartoon journalism...........enjoy ........andy

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Police Surveillance
New York Democratic
Governor Eliot Spitzer reportedly has targeted his chief political rival for unprecedented surveillance by the state police.
The New York Post reports Spitzer insists he authorized detailed record-keeping on Republican State Senate Majority Leader
Joseph Bruno’s use of state troopers for travel and protection — after a complaint from the head of the state's conservative party.
But conservative party leader Michael Long denies ever making any complaint — and calls the Spitzer contention — "a bald-faced lie."
A senior state official familiar with the surveillance told the Post he believed the governor was trying to "set up" Bruno.
The monitoring by state police did lead to allegations that Bruno improperly flew to political events on a state-owned helicopter. Bruno says all his trips on the helicopter were for state business.

New York Doctors Frustrated Over Malpractice Insurance Hike

New York Doctors Frustrated Over Malpractice Insurance Hike

A 14 Percent Increase a Temporary Fix -- With Possible Lasting Ramifications
July 4, 2007 —
New York State approved a 14 percent increase in the price of medical malpractice insurance Wednesday -- a step the state's government admits is aimed at temporarily fixing a broken system.
The New York State Insurance Department, which sets malpractice coverage rates for the state, justified the increase by saying that while it would be difficult for doctors to pay, it was a necessary step to avoid "perhaps an irreversible crisis" for insurers in the state.
"After years of failing to confront the fundamental problems that have led to this current environment, we have inherited the worst of both worlds -- physicians who cannot afford to practice medicine, and insurers whose financial condition is rapidly eroding," said Eric Dinallo, the state insurance superintendent. "The cause is high medical liability costs, and this administration is going to address it."
After announcing the rate hike, Gov. Eliot Spitzer appointed a committee to look into the causes of the high cost of insuring against medical malpractice.
"Due to years of inaction, the medical malpractice insurance market has reached a crisis level," he said. "This administration will not turn a blind eye to this situation. We will tackle this problem head on."
Hikes Threaten Practices
Doctors are concerned about how the rate hikes will affect their practice.
"The way medicine is structured, your income really depends on how many operations you do," said Dr. Roger Hardl, a neurosurgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital. "That means that you are put into a position where you have to operate more. I'm not sure that's in the best interests of the public. I'm not sure that's in the best interests of practicing good medicine."
Hardl blames the problem on the lack of a cap for medical malpractice lawsuits in New York state.
He also said he has neurosurgeon colleagues who have given up operating on the brain entirely, focusing on the spine, an area of practice where they don't face such hefty lawsuits.
Dr. Steven Goldstein, who practices obstetrics and gynecology at the New York University School of Medicine, sees the rate hike as a small part of a large problem.
"There's nothing unique about New York, and there's nothing unique about this year, and it's a very sad thing," he said. "There's been a 'malpractice crisis' for as long as I can remember."
Indeed, malpractice insurance premiums appear to be increasing across the board. According to a June 2005 study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, doctors can expect to pay $250,000 or more every year on malpractice insurance premiums, depending on their specialty and the state in which their practice is based.
And costs are on the rise throughout the nation. Study author Scott Ransom and colleagues at the University of Michigan School of Public Health noted that rates in major metropolitan areas rose sharply in some areas between 2003 and 2004 -- such as in Dade County, Fla., where average premiums rose from $249,000 to $277,000, an increase of about 11 percent.
Or Cook County in Illinois, in which average premiums jumped about 67 percent from $138,000 to more than $230,000 during the same time period.
Rising rates seem to take a particular toll on the obstetrics and gynecology field. Though there may be many reasons for this, some doctors suggest it could be due to high expectations on the part of expecting parents -- and subsequent litigation when outcomes don't match their hopes.
Goldstein said he doesn't think that insurance underwriters for medical malpractice are benefiting heavily from the increases, but that their cost for providing malpractice coverage is increasing as well.
"The system is broken, and nobody seems to want to take the true initiative to fix it," said Goldstein.
But according to its governor, New York State is going to try with its new commission, which will report on the malpractice issue by the end of the year.
David Neustadt, a representative for Dinallo, said the committee had not yet determined what direction it would take in evaluating the problem. "It's not helpful for me to speculate on what solution they will eventually develop," he said.
For Goldstein, that solution is critical.
Among the detriments of malpractice lawsuits, he points to a decrease in the number of physicians in the United States, as some doctors have to close up their practices and potential doctors will choose career paths elsewhere.
"Some of your best and brightest don't want to be doctors anymore," Goldstein said.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007



Bruno continues to war with Spitzer, paper over use of chopper - The Journal News / - TROY - State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno let his ongoing criticism of Gov. Eliot Spitzer simmer somewhat yesterday as he launched diatribes against a local newspaper that reported on the senator's use of a state helicopter to attend GOP fundraisers.
The Times Union of Albany reported Sunday that Bruno, a Republican from Rensselaer County, had used taxpayer-funded state aircraft three times this year to attend fundraisers in Manhattan and had certified he was conducting legislative business on the trips.
After saying Monday that he attended the fundraisers because they occurred on the same days he was on legislative business, Bruno yesterday lashed out at the newspaper for what he called stories that weren't "accurate" and "factual," although he didn't deny taking the trips. He said in a news release that he canceled his subscription and his office got calls from an advertising representative who said he would need to buy ads to get fair coverage - which the newspaper disputes.
"I always know what the Times Union is going to write. It'll always be something negative about me. And they seem to be making a career out of ending my career and, so, I've canceled my subscription today," he said.
"Every trip that I took was government related, totally legal, totally qualified. We request a helicopter from the governor's office. They approve it and without their approval you don't fly in the helicopter, even though it's run by the state police," Bruno told reporters outside the Troy Boys and Girls Club, which he gave $50,000 in state funds.
Times Union Publisher/CEO Mark E. Aldam said in a statement that the newspaper regrets "losing Senator Bruno as a customer, but it won't interfere with our fair and truthful coverage of what he does."
Aldam confirmed that an ad rep contacted Bruno's office yesterday to set up an appointment to sell "issue-based" advertising "relating to the ongoing political dispute between Senate Republicans and Governor Spitzer."
"We do not believe it is true that the sales representative suggested, as the senator's press release states, that he would 'need to buy ads in the paper if (he) wanted to get fair coverage,' " Aldam said.
Aldam said Bruno was trying to deflect criticism by going after the newspaper.
Spitzer's office has forwarded documents regarding Bruno's use of the helicopter to the state Attorney General's Office and the Albany County District Attorney's Office.
The governor, a Democrat, has authorized an assessment of Bruno to see if it is appropriate for him to have ground transportation by state police. Bruno said he has received death threats and the transportation arrangement is appropriate.
State ethics laws prohibit lawmakers from using their positions to secure "unwarranted privileges" for themselves or others. Violations could result in suspension, fines or removal from office.
Bruno said using a helicopter to attend a fundraiser is legitimate if the trip also involves legislative business.
Bruno said he has rented planes probably 10 times in the past two or three years to attend political events in such places as Rochester and Washington.



Horsemen leave Empire's racing bid Newsday ALBANY, N.Y. -- A group seeking to run New York racing has lost a major partner, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association announced Tuesday. The decision to withdraw the horse owners' endorsement is a blow to Empire Racing, a Saratoga Springs group that includes Churchill Downs, Magna Entertainment, Delaware North Companies, Woodbine Entertainment Group and Scientific Games Holding Corp. The entity came in a close second last fall in the first round of consideration to continue the state racing franchise for perhaps the next 20 years. Horsemen's Association President Rick Violette said the group was ending its membership with one franchise competitor to assure its independence in working with the group that the Legislature and Gov. Eliot Spitzer eventually choose. "Regardless of which entity is ultimately awarded the franchise, it is imperative that the horse owners and trainers be fully represented and their interests, along with the entire thoroughbred industry, be given significant consideration in any resolution of the franchise question," Violette said. Empire CEO Jeff Perlee said the group is continuing efforts to run Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga race tracks. In a letter to the governor's office, he said the Horsemen's Association plans to lobby the state on behalf of the industry, but found it was barred from the activity because it was part of a group seeking the franchise. He cited lobbying rules regarding procurement of contracts. The Horsemen's Association announcement comes a day after the state Inspector General's Office report released its review of the "integrity" of the competitors. It reported that Empire's competitors believe if Empire wins the franchise, the horsemen wouldn't run racing. Instead, the view goes, New York racing would be run by the Canadian groups Magna and Woodbine and Kentucky's Churchill Downs _ an idea rejected as inaccurate by Empire's Perlee. "NYTHA and its 5500 members are looking forward to working with Governor Spitzer, Senator Bruno and Speaker Silver to make certain that the horsemen's interests are represented and protected in this process," Violette said. Empire faces three others in the field: Excelsior Racing Associates, which includes casino developer Richard Fields; the New York Racing Association that has held the franchise since 1955; and Capital Play, which turned around Australian racing. NYRA's franchise expires Dec. 31. Gov. Eliot Spitzer said the franchise could be split _ one group could run racing and another could run video slot machines at Aqueduct and Belmont.



HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Letter from Gov. Spitzer

The Legislative SessionMake Your Voice Heard
Dear Andy,
I came to Albany in January with an aggressive agenda to enact the reform our state sorely needs.
When I was elected, many doubted that I would be able to change the status quo enough to put into effect my administration's ambitious plans. It hasn't been easy, but we have achieved significant success.
Over the past six months, we have managed to push through substantial gridlock in the state legislature to make some huge advancements for New York:
In addition to making a historic investment of $1.7 billion in education, we have targeted assistance to the districts that need it most, and tied investment to accountability and reform.
We created the first building blocks to universal health care by expanding Child Health Plus to cover all 400,000 uninsured children, and vastly simplified Medicaid enrollment.
Property taxes have been reduced by $1.3 billion, and 60% of New Yorkers will see benefits within the next year.
Our beleaguered upstate cities will receive $200 million for economic development, technology innovations, and assistance in fighting crime. Major downstate projects- like the redevelopment of Ground Zero and the expansion of Stewart Airport- have been pushed through legislative gridlock and are finally underway.
Lawmakers and government employees are now subject to comprehensive Ethics and Lobbying Reform that prohibits them from taking gifts from special interests and makes them accountable to the people of New York State.
A lot has been accomplished, but there is still so much to be done- from major environmental initiatives like cleaning up brownfields, to the revamp of the Wicks Law, to campaign finance reform measures that make our government more responsive- and it must be done now.
Last week, the Senate majority chose to end the legislative session and go home, rather than stay in Albany to finish the people's business.
Our state government must work as effectively and diligently as the companies, organizations and people that make New York great.
You can learn more about what's been going on in Albany by clicking here to view a presentation I've been making across the state.
I urge you to contact your legislator, which you can do from my website, and encourage him or her to return to work in Albany, and finish the business we came here to do.
Sincerely, Eliot Spitzer

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