Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The New York Political Roundup

Jay Z and Floyd Flake have dropped out of the AEG bid for a casino at Aqueduct race track. The odds that this particular plan will go forward are getting longer with each passing day. It's not without a sense of irony that the state budget was counting on that plan being approved to help balance the budget.

That there's no deal means that the state isn't getting a much needed infusion of funds.

Meanwhile, Governor David Paterson continues to deal with the swirling accusations of wrongdoing and that he may have used a state aircraft for personal campaigning rather than for state purposes. Paterson might not face charges in tampering with the domestic abuse case because the Attorney General's office hasn't found sufficient evidence to proceed. Sherr-una Booker has apparently told investigators she didn't think that Paterson threatened her. So it was just a coincidence that after the call that she failed to appear in court for the domestic abuse case against Paterson's top aide? Still, the appearance of the phone contact with the alleged victim smacks of being tampering. The lies and obfuscation over that contact also fall in to the realm of obstruction of justice.

The NY Times reports that his father, Basil Paterson, is besides himself with the way things have gone down. His father helped select David to be Eliot Spitzer's running mate, and while he was Spitzer's fourth choice, it was a fateful decision that put him in charge when Spitzer succumbed to a scandal of his own and resigned in disgrace. There are also reports that Spitzer might be eying a political comeback.

In another Spitzer-era scandal, David Loglisci entered a guilty plea on securities fraud and allocuted to helping steer pension money to political contributors to then State Comptroller Alan Hevesi and to companies that paid kickbacks to Hank Morris, his political consultant. Can you say culture of corruption? I know you can - but so did Loglisci in saying that Morris had to sign off on deals before senior officials within the Comptroller's office would do so.

Meanwhile, a Buffalo-area Tea Party activist, Carl Paladino, is threatening to run on the GOP line and bypass the state GOP convention, claiming that the state GOP has already settled on Rick Lazio. The state GOP says in response that they welcome challenges and calls for fiscal responsibility but to run through the party channels - to make his case to the county chairs. Paladino is a real estate developer, but he's a political unknown.

Meanwhile, Steve Levy, a Democrat is courting GOP support for a possible run in the general election (as a way to sidestep what is likely an inevitable Cuomo nomination on the Democrat line).

I think Paladino is putting the screws to the state GOP precisely because Levy is contemplating a run on the GOP line to avoid a Democratic party primary - that Levy would be a true RINO-style candidate.

That said, none of the candidates in the ring thus far ignite the passions, and the only one who has statewide experience is the one guy who isn't in the ring - Cuomo.

At the same time, the most important issue facing state politicians is the budget, and Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch announced a plan to help bring the state into fiscal balance, but it involves serious borrowing and accounting tricks that are just as likely to blow up in everyone's face as the current situation. Instead of curbing spending that remains out of control, we're looking at ways to sustain the state budget at its current rate. 

More news items from around the state, including that Doug Hoffman who ran a failed campaign in NY-23, is actually moving into the district, can be found here. I guess we'll expect to see another run for that office in November.

It's official. The Aqueduct casino bid by AEG was tossed out because it couldn't pass regulatory muster. That means that the $300 million that the state was hoping to get to help balance their books isn't coming either.

The state will have to relet the contract and will likely attempt an expedited contract process to see which casino group will win.

The AEG bid was marred by all manner of problem and multiple investigations opened into how it won the bid. Gov. Paterson had recused himself from that process.

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