Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A QUICK HOLIDAY ROUNDUP

BEEN AWAY FOR A BIT.....AND NOW BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN.NO PUN INTENDED)..HERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT ARE CREATING POLITICAL FIREWORKS.....

Bruno continues to war with Spitzer, paper over use of chopper - The Journal News / Lohud.com - 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.

FRANKLY I WOULDN'T EVEN GET IN A HELICOPTER.......WHO WOULD POSSIBLY ISSUE BRUNO DEATH THREATS??? MAYBE THE SAME CREW THAT HEVESI WAS TALKING ABOUT???

MEANWHILE........THEY ARE OFF TO THE RACES.......WELL NOT QUITE....

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.

AHHHH.........GOOD OLD JEFF PERLEE.....FORMER STATE LOTTERY DIRECTOR......MAYBE THESE HORSE GUYS KNOW SOMETHING WE DON'T??? OR MAYBE THEY JUST UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FRONT OF THE HORSE AND THE REAR???

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