Winners and Losers 3/7/14
It was crash week for Gov. Cuomo. First he crashed a birthday party for some LCA reporters. Then he crashed Eva Moskowitz's charter school rally, much to her delight. And in so doing he crashed Bill de Blasio's Albany lobby trip, leaving the new mayor scratching his head. It's clear who the winner and loser was in that exchange, let's go to the big board for this week's other winners and losers.
Byron Brown - Buffalo has long been losing population and it's been under a state-appointed financial control board for a decade. But things are really starting to look up in the Queen City. The latest positive sign was Standard & Poor's decision this week to bump the city's bond rating up to an A+, in part because of all the state funds being invested there. A winner last week for IBM setting up shop to his downtown, Thursday's credit upgrade once again puts Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in the top five.
Andrew Cuomo - The governor played the political chess match to perfection this week. Rob Astorino, announces his candidacy for governor? Cuomo counters with a fresh poll showing him 40 points ahead of Astorino, an A+ bond rating for Buffalo to buttress his economic development record, and clearance from a federal judge for his casino exclusivity deal with the Oneida Indian Nation. Bill de Blasio storms into Cuomo's backyard ready to suck up all of the oxygen with his universal preschool rally? The governor upstages him by attending a competing—and better organized—charter school rally. Most notably, Cuomo doesn’t seem to be blinking in the staredown with de Blasio over funding universal pre-K in New York City. Checkmate?
Kerry Kennedy - Not Guilty!
Eva Moskowitz - Give Eva credit, she has a knack for making friends in high places. Many believed Moskowitz was in for a rude awakening when her ally Michael Bloomberg, who gave her free reign to set up her Success Academy charter schools all over New York City, left office. This week Bill de Blasio, a longtime adversary of Moskowitz's, declared open war on her when he overturned three Bloomberg administration approvals for co-locations of new Success schools. But Moskowitz held the trump card after all, luring Gov. Cuomo to a massive charter school rally outside the state Capitol and winning his support. Even if she is a pawn in the chess match between the governor and de Blasio, thanks to the mayor in the public's eye she is now the undisputed queen of the charter school movement.
Mike Neppl - Lobbying state lawmakers during budget season is no easy task. They take countless meetings with advocates from every cause under the sun until night fall when they head to their favorite watering hole and order a cold pint to get away from it all. That's just why the beer coaster advertising scheme dreamed up by Neppl, the director of government relations and advocacy for the New York Library Association, is pure genius. Heck, Gov. Cuomo may even be persuaded to boost library funding if he makes another late night trip out for drinks with the Capitol press corps.
Eric Adams - The borough president just cannot shake the heat. Adams’ office came under the eye of the Department of Investigation this week for allegedly hitting up local businesses and community leaders to cough up money for a nonprofit organization called One Brooklyn that doesn't even legally exist, the latest in a string of mini-controversies that have checkered his political career. Adams has dealt with questions surrounding his involvement in the Aqueduct casino bidding scandal, and his being wiretapped by former Senate colleague Shirley Huntley. While none of these incidents have sparked enough of a blaze to implicate Adams, he would probably be wise to stop generating so much smoke—especially as he’s made no secret of his higher political ambitions.
William Boyland Jr. - Guilty. Go Directly To Jail. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Steal $200.
Jose Rivera - It was only a matter of time before Rivera got in trouble with his ever-present video camera chronicling his escapades. The Bronx Assemblyman filmed himself and buddy Adam Clayton Powell IV cruising around the Dominican Republic lewdly hitting on young women—always a good idea when you are an elected official from a major U.S. city. Powell defended the video as capturing a moment when he and Rivera were “young and sexy.” Never mind the fact that the video was filmed in 2005. But, hey, we all make mistakes when we’re 68, right?
David Samson - Something is rotten in the state of New Jersey. The latest unsavory player to be exposed on the other side of the Hudson is Samson, the chairman of the Port Authority and a close friend of Governor Christie’s. In a haymaker of an investigative report this week, The Times laid out Samson flat, exposing a host of apparent conflicts of interest between his work at the Port Authority and his lucrative legal practice. Perhaps all of those profitable coincidences will prove to be legal, but they certainly don’t pass the smell test—even in North Jersey.
Aaron Woolf -Running in the biggest congressional district geographically in the state as a first-time candidate virtually unknown in the North Country, one would think that the Democratic Party’s choice to succeed Bill Owens would seize every opportunity possible to engage with the media. Instead, Woolf has dodged reporters, avoided the limelight and admitted—get this—that he’s more of a “press release kind of guy” (who hasn’t even issued a lot of press releases). If he continues with this unorthodox strategy, either Woolf will upend campaigning as we know it by scoring one of the most shocking wins of this cycle or he will wind up the front man of one of the stupidest campaigns of the year.