Winners and Losers 03/27/15
It may have been the first official week of spring, but few are feeling it—especially in Albany. The cold, dreary weather and budget negotiations have delayed the good feelings of spring until after April 1. While it’s too early to call any winners and losers from the budget negotiations, as everything is "still on the table" like always, we had to look to other sources to fill out our list.
Bill Bratton - The NYPD commissioner said officers are on track to collectively cut “contacts” with the public by one million in 2015, mostly due to drops in stop-and-frisks, summonses and marijuana charges. Daily News columnist Harry Siegel lauded the commissioner's efforts, saying he found "the policing sweet spot.” Plus, there’s still talk of bolstering the NYPD’s ranks. And, all this drowned out the criticism from the Post saying Bratton agreed to continue a controversial antiterrorism program that deploys detectives in 11 areas around the world. All in all, a good week for the PC.
Jeff Gural - He lost all his chips in the last round, but the Tioga Downs racino owner is back in the game. After Gural pushed hard to legalize full-fledged casino gambling in New York, the state initially bypassed the Southern Tier, home to Gural’s racino. With the state changing course—a new RFP was just issued for the region—and no other competitors in the field so far, Gural’s got a whole new hand to play.
Chris Jacobs - The Erie County clerk got the blessing of his GOP colleague—County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw Jr.—in his expected run for county executive this year, even if he hasn’t officially announced that he plans to run. Mychajliw, who was also rumored to be gearing for a run at incumbent Mark Poloncarz, announced that he would not primary Jacobs and would instead endorse his not-yet-official candidacy, clearing the path to the general election. That is, if he decides to run.
John Katko - Katko has not given up his winning ways. The freshman congressman, who knocked out incumbent Dan Maffei last fall by about 20 points, made the game-winning shot in the Congressional Hockey Challenge this week. The Syracuse Republican also took a bold stand in voting against his party’s budget, saying it would hurt New York families, but it was his exploits on the ice that won him universal praise.
Eric Schneiderman - The AG continued to make headlines—and ones he likes—landing him on our list for the 3rd week in a row. His office shook up the Dominican Day Parade, announced another major drug bust, and now there is news that he is probing Cooper Union's decision to charge tuition—which created an uproar two years ago that hasn't abated. This string of good headlines can't continue, can it?
Tucker and Buckley Carlson - Where to start with these two? Daily Caller reporter Buckley this week accidently hit “reply all” in an email he sent to his brother Tucker—the paper's editor—in which he describes de Blasio spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick with incredibly derogatory and sexist language that we won't repeat here. (You can read it here, but trust us, it's R-rated). While flacks and reporters by their very nature are often at odds with each other, nothing allows for that kind of behavior. Maybe the Carlson brothers' parents should have taught them something about not being sexist jerks. And we mean that in the nicest way.
Laurie Cumbo - The Brooklyn councilwoman raised eyebrows by asking why “blocks” of Asians had the opportunity to move into New York City Housing Authority developments in her district at a City Council hearing. NYCHA has an extensive wait list, which gives preference to homeless families and domestic violence victims, but otherwise offers up homes in chronological order. Cumbo later said she did not mean to offend any ethnic community, just sought to bring transparency to the “randomization process” NYCHA uses to select tenants—but it was too late, as the dailies had already pounced on the words.
Carl Paladino – The abrasive one-time gubernatorial candidate failed to garner the support of his Buffalo School Board majority colleagues in his quest to fire interim Superintendent Donald Ogilvie. Paladino planned to bring a resolution at Wednesday’s school board to immediately boot Ogilvie—who was hand picked for the position by the majority—for engaging in “betrayal and treachery” and failing to carry out the board majority’s agenda. Paladino didn't introduce the resolution during the six-hour school board meeting filled with the petty bickering that has come to be expected from the board, despite vowing to do so even without the backing of the rest of the majority.
Nelson Pena - The veteran organizer of the Dominican Day Parade was ousted this week, which was not surprising when you heard why. The Attorney General's office literally struggled to probe potential financial impropriety because Pena didn't keep any records. Of any kind. His attorney admitted as much, saying he "didn't do the right paperwork," before defending his client from wrongdoing. The good news for Pena is he is not facing criminal prosecution after acceptiong a three-year ban from any official role in the parade.
Tom Prendergast - Running the MTA has never been a breeze, but it must have been particularly frustrating this week, as reports of increased crowding and delays coincided all too perfectly with a planned fare hike. What's more, a Citizens Budget Commission report suggested the budget gap in the upcoming capital plan is more like $19 billion, not the $15 billion the MTA suggests. What's a few billion dollars between friends though, right?