Home Politics Limping but breathing: How Steve Cohen’s casino team will move forward

Limping but breathing: How Steve Cohen’s casino team will move forward

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State Senator Jessica Ramos formally announced her opposition to billionaire Mets owner Steve Cohen's casino bid.

With help from Shawn Ness

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RAMOS ROARS: In a single announcement, State Senator Jessica Ramos today dealt a blow to one of the richest men in America as he feverishly tries to expand his presence in New York City.

But Steve Cohen, the billionaire owner of the Mets, isn’t done yet.

The large platoon that makes up Cohen’s team showed no intention of giving up after the progressive state legislator declared his opposition to his plans to build a casino at Citi Field. Anyone who had paid attention to Ramos’ statements in recent months would have assumed that she was going in that direction and that she was prepared for it.

“While we respect Senator Ramos’ point of view, the state never intended for a single person to have the ability to stop or approve a gaming project alone,” said Karl Rickett, spokesman for the Metropolitan Park project. Cohen, in a statement.

“With Metropolitan Park enjoying overwhelming support from elected officials, unions and the local community, we are confident we have the best project in the best location,” Rickett added. “We have more than a year and multiple avenues to obtain the required approvals. “Our team remains committed to bringing Parque Metropolitano to life.”

Rickett also noted that gaming is “the only viable economic engine to enable 23,000 jobs, $8 billion in investment, and substantial community benefits,” referring to Ramos. decision to present a bill that would free up the land in question for a convention center and hotel, but not a casino.

Cohen needs the state Legislature to dispose of the land in question: a parking lot designated as a park in Ramos’ district. Without his support, the bet becomes more difficult, but not impossible.

Your team could rely on support from local businesses and other Queens politicians, and I hope it all becomes so overwhelming that the senator changes her mind, a possibility Ramos effectively ruled out today.

“No elected official should be the sole arbiter of this $8 billion investment, which is why I strongly urge Governor Hochul and the state Senate to explore other avenues to make the Metropolitan Park proposal a reality and ensure Queens continues to receive the money it deserves. we deserve ” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards posted on X today.

In fact, the Mets owner could try to persuade one of Ramos’ colleagues in the Senate to ignore it and sponsor a bill to free up the land. But that move, which has little precedent in a state legislature with deference to local members on land use issues, would mean going to war with Ramos.

A state Senate source who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation said Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ​​was unlikely to sign a bill that would ignore Ramos’ opposition and free up green space in her district. .

Bronx Sen. Nathalia Fernandez’s district includes Bally’s Golf Links in Ferry Point, the site of another casino bid that also requires a parkland bill. It has been floated as a possible solution for Cohen’s team, if he were to introduce a bill that would free up green space in the Bronx and the site next to Citi Field at the same time.

But Fernández rejected that idea today.

“Out of respect for her colleagues in the Legislature, if the senator decides to introduce any greenfield alienation bill, that bill will not include any areas outside of her district,” Justin Sánchez, chief of staff for the Senate, told Playbook. Fernandez. “Today’s news doesn’t change that.”

Since New York state announced it would grant three casino licenses in the New York City area, Cohen has taken every opportunity he could to win one, hiring an army of lobbyists, sending out hundreds of mailers and winning over a group of local politicians. He has spent lavishly in the process.

But from the beginning, the progressive senator, who occasionally presents himself as Mayor Eric Adams’ main rival in 2025, stood in his way. After months of insinuations, Ramos finally spoke out publicly today against the project.

“I think it’s a sad situation that casinos are the main idea of ​​economic development in our state,” he told reporters today from the second floor of the Capitol. “The casino business model, by definition, is to extract wealth from people. … This is not something that would be beneficial.” —Jason Beeferman

Gov. Kathy Hochul wants social media companies to work with lawmakers to protect children under 18.

HOCHUL PUSHES FOR A SOCIAL NETWORKS LAW: Cooperating with the state in writing laws to protect children under 18, or taking care of it: That’s the message Gov. Kathy Hochul is sending to social media moguls.

The push to limit social media use by minors — one of the most prominent fights left this session in Albany — is pitting tech companies against the Democratic governor. And with few legislative disputes left to resolve, Hochul is putting a lot of power into this one.

“We are not against corporations, we are against harm to our children,” Hochul told reporters Tuesday. “They should see that and work with us on this legislation instead of saying no. So I think we’re making some progress; “Some of the responsible companies are already taking action on their own and I congratulate them.”

The measure is intended to protect the mental health of children who view content that proponents, including the state teachers union, say could be addictive and otherwise troubling to them. He has faced backlash from wealthy social media giants across the country, including Meta.

But Hochul remains optimistic.

He said part of the legislation being drafted would include a stricter process for proving that users are over 18, although he did not clarify what those checks would look like.

“Companies already have to do this with online gaming and tobacco sales,” he said. “You already have to do this, for them to say you can’t do that, I don’t believe it.”

Julie Samuels, president and CEO of Tech:NYC, said the organization is having “productive discussions with lawmakers and community groups about these bills.”

“But this is an extremely complicated task, and we must be careful to avoid the fate of all the other states that have passed similar bills: years of delays in getting supports for children, while rushed legislation remains stalled in the courts.” Samuels added. Katelyn Cordero

KENNEDY AND STEIN CLAIM ACCESS TO THE BALLOT: Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein stopped by the Capitol this afternoon to say she would soon submit enough petitions to the state Board of Elections to secure a spot on New York’s ballot.

“We know from the Democratic primary held a little over a month ago in this state that the Democratic Party has lost ground,” Stein said.

The Greens lost their automatic voting status in 2020, thanks to new rules that disadvantage minor parties. Now they need to present 45,000 signatures for a vote,

Stein declined to say how many they were actually presenting. “We don’t really know,” she said. He stated that “the system is so oppressive” that it makes it impossible to count signatures.

Another candidate filing petitions in New York today: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who raised more than 135,000 after a collection process that has faced some accusations to deceive the signatories. That’s more “than any presidential candidate has ever run in the state,” Kennedy said in a tweet.

That also seems to be a maximum for any candidate. The record was previously claimed by Kennedy’s then-brother-in-law Andrew Cuomo, who rallied 100,000 people for his gubernatorial bid in 2002. —Bill Mahoney

CARD WARS — New York City Mayor Eric Adams is keeping tight control over his newly announced charter review commission. At a news conference today, his administration said he does not plan to hire outside staff to help with the task, which involves opening the city’s governing document and suggesting changes to be presented to voters on the November ballot. .

The mayor’s break with custom (most mayors have created multiple charter review commissions) makes the operation more responsive to the City Council’s wishes at a time when the commission’s creation is already widely seen as an answer. ad hoc to pressure from the City Council for more advice. and consent to Adams’ appointments.

“If you really want to take this seriously, you need to have staff,” John Kaehny, head of the government reform group Reinvent Albany, said in an interview. “(The mayor’s commission) lacks any kind of gravitas, and the mayor is really giving ammunition to critics who say it’s a foolish political exercise.”

But speaking to reporters, Adams said previous mayors have spent too much money on charter revisions. “I believe in efficiency, speed and getting things done,” he said. “We spend too much money on window dressing. “We can do a better job.” —Joe Anuta

— Former State Senator Todd Kaminsky is using a legal loophole to put pressure on environmentalists. (Bloomberg)

— The sun will set perfectly between buildings over the next two days in Manhattan. (Daily News)

An appeals court ruled that the state violated the due process rights of opioid companies, which could mean New York would have to refund millions of dollars. (Union of times)

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