Moving Forward at Aqueduct

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It appears the company hired to turn Aqueduct Race Track into a casino is making the right moves. Resorts World New York said last month that more than a third of its massive contracts will go to Minority Women Business Enterprise businesses.

These companies will help turn the race track into a destination by introducing video lottery terminals. Hopefully, they will create employment for thousands of local residents. The Aqueduct contract with the state required the bidder chosen to create and run the lottery terminal to award at least 25 percent of its contracts to minority-owned businesses.

Although we have expressed reservations about anything that encourages residents to lose even more of their money gambling than they already do, we are happy if the video lottery terminal succeeds in creating high-paying construction jobs and permanent work for people living in southeast Queens. This area has been hit particularly hard by the recession, with unemployment far greater than the city average. The new jobs are welcome.

Our one caveat is that we hope the businesses in question truly are minority-owned. There have been times in the past when “minority owners” were nothing more than figureheads. Hopefully, the casino will create jobs in communities that need them the most and will become a shot in the arm for the city’s economy.

What a Waste

The state Senate spent $376,464 to get rid of ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate. The Senate spent the money on outside legal help in expelling the man convicted of beating his girlfriend.

It would be hard to argue with Sen. Martin Golden, who called this “another outlandish expenditure that the taxpayer has to pay for.” This money should have been spent on aid for the borough’s public schools.

A Senate spokesman says an outside firm was hired to avoid a conflict of interest since the Senate lawyers would have been reporting to committees on which Monserrate sat.

Nonsense. Monserrate could have been barred from any discussion of his case with the lawyers.

The attorneys hired by the Senate worked pro bono, so where did more than a quarter million dollars go?

Updated 10:33 am, October 12, 2011
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