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Op-ed: Common Sense- Better times

Do you recall the 1930s song “Happy Days Are Here Again?” I was singing it under my breath most of the day that the Wilpon family announced that they would be selling their controlling interest in the Mets. My only regret is that they will continue to have some role for the next five years.

The Mets had a decent year despite the ownership. And that is the point. Few management decisions seem to manifest themselves in wins.

Often, the lackluster nature of the ownership can be traced to poor player acquisition and handling during the playing season. How the Mets can annually become the orthopedic center of baseball with major players missing entire seasons is a mystery for me and many fans alike.

The Mets have been fortunate in having younger players attempting to make a name for themselves waiting in the wings who fill these big holes caused by so many injuries. Then, after a few fine seasons, the Mets, instead of making an effort to sign these players to longer term contracts, allow them to be picked up by other teams or simply trade or sell them in poorly regarded actions.

A New York City sports franchise, regardless of the sport, will be one of the most valuable franchises in America. The New York City media market alone provides the Mets, even when they are losing, with more revenue than most any other baseball team in either league.

Yet, the Wilpon family, instead of using the large sums of cash they accumulate to build a playoff-quality team, makes decisions based on making money for itself. This could be a result of the enormous financial losses the Wilpons took in the Bernie Madoff scandal. 

Although it is too early to know what the future holds for the team under the new ownership of hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen, we do know that he has indicated his intentions of spending the money necessary to make the franchise a big winner. Inasmuch as he is super-wealthy, losing the Wilpons and gaining Cohen makes me feel that we are in for some really exciting times.

Let’s Go Mets!

***

The New York State Conservative Party, which I chair, will be in State Supreme Court in Niagara County for a hearing anticipating a summary judgment regarding our belief that the Commission on Public Finance represents an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to a nine-member unelected commission.

If we win, the $100 million state public campaign finance scheme, which is no more than your taxpayer dollars being used to help out politicians you may not support run for office, will not go forward. It will also stop efforts to eliminate third parties, for whose candidates as many as 600,000 New Yorkers each year choose to vote. The Democratic effort reduces political choice and, as an extension, free speech.

We feel we have strong arguments as well as simple logic on our side. In my view, if we win, you win, with $100 million being saved at a time that the state has a record $6.1 billion budget deficit.

***

I wish to express my condolences to Assemblymember Peter Abbate on the loss of his mother.  Mrs. Abbate was just short of her 101st birthday. Talking with Peter, it sounds like she had a wonderful life. Regardless, this is a sad time for the Abbate family. They are in my prayers.

On a happier note, best wishes to State Sen. Andrew Gounardes who celebrated his marriage to Melanie Graf.  I wish them many, many years of happiness.

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