Winners and Losers 03/06/15
Mayor Bill de Blasio bungled Groundhog Day a year ago, dropping—and perhaps killing—Staten Island Chuck. Then he botched it this year too, since his prediction that spring was on the way has been proven undeniably false—and the extra six weeks of winter make us all losers. And then there are this week's winners and losers.
James Capalino - We rolled the dice a little bit a few weeks ago when we predicted that Capalino + Company would take over as the top lobbying firm in New York City in our Power 100 list. Luckily for our credibility's sake we were right, as shown by the lobbying dollars announced this week by the city Clerk's Office. Capalino narrowly edged out lobbying giant Kasirer Consulting. The two are clearly the cream of the crop, cornering more than 20 percent of all lobbying income in the city.
Marcos Crespo - As was expected by many, the assemblyman was tabbed to be the next Bronx Democratic chair. The election elevates him into a position of power in both Albany and in New York City and one could argue it also makes him the most powerful Puerto Rican lawmaker in the state since he is also the head of SOMOS El Futuro. At the age of 34, he is the definition of a rising star. And he also claims the No. 61 spot on our New York City Power 100 list (which we were holding for Crespo, or whoever was picked to lead the Bronx Dems).
Greg Ebel - Hydrofracking has been banned in New York, but that won’t stop the development of natural gas pipelines across the state. Just this week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the okay to Spectra Energy’s Algonquin pipeline, removing a major hurdle. The company has touted the project as a way to provide cleaner, low-cost energy to homes and businesses—yet it also means more money in the pockets of Spectra’s top executives, like President and CEO Greg Ebel.
Ann Kansfield - Not only is the FDNY’s newest chaplain a woman, she’s an openly gay woman—two firsts for the New York City Fire Department and a great honor for the Rev. Ann Kansfield, who was appointed to a new EMS station in Brooklyn on Tuesday. A former stockbroker who comes from a family of firefighters, Kansfield said she had dreamed of working with the FDNY, but never thought it would actually happen.
Linda Sarsour - Starting next fall, New York City public schools will observe two Islamic holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, for the first time. And Mayor Bill de Blasio made sure Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association, was front and center when he announced the policy change. The move marks a crucial step forward in the oft-fraught relationship between Muslim communities and city government.
John Dunleavy - The head of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade can’t seem to shake his mayor problem—namely that Bill de Blasio has again refused to march. De Blasio took issue with the organizers’ choice to let only one gay group fly its flag in the parade this year—which the mayor said is an improvement over previous years—but still not good enough to quell the criticism. He's going to have to do better than that if he wants the city’s chief executive back in the fold.
Craig Fugate - The latest challenges facing Fugate’s Federal Emergency Management Agency are both real and imaginary. As for the real, a “60 Minutes” report documented allegations of post-Sandy fraud by insurers overseen by FEMA, spurring calls for hearings. As for the fake, FEMA took to Twitter to oppose the fictional President Frank Underwood’s exploiting of the agency in the show “House of Cards.” Worst of all, FEMA’s tweet spoiled a key plot line for those of us who haven’t seen the new season yet.
Dan Halloran - The former Queens councilman attempted to plead insanity and sought leniency on account of the service he provided as a scuba diving instructor, but ultimately he sealed his fate while taking a more traditional criminal defense strategy and assuming the witness stand. A federal judge said Halloran knowingly perjured himself during the trial. He then sentenced Halloran to a decade behind bars for his role in former state Sen. Malcolm Smith’s failed attempt to bribe his way onto the GOP line in the mayoral election. It's a sad day for the former lawmaker ... and also the tabloids, who clearly enjoyed themselves as they chronicled Halloran's saga.
Mark Peters - The city Department of Investigation recorded one of the steepest performance declines of any agency at the beginning of the fiscal year, prompting legislators to say they’re eager to question the commissioner. Many have questions have been raised ever since his good friend Bill de Blasio nominated him, which elicited scrutiny because Peters served as the mayor’s campaign treasurer.
Frank Seddio - No candidate will appear on the Democratic line in the special election to replace Crown Heights Assemblyman Karim Camara—and that is oddly good news for the Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman. After perennial candidate Guillermo Philpotts secured the Democratic nomination because the Brooklyn establishment failed to stock the county committee with supporters, Philpotts failed to hand in paperwork to the Board of Elections on time—but the episode left a lot of people questioning Seddio's clout.