Winners & Losers 1/20/17
The biggest winner this week is indisputable: Donald Trump, who’s set to be sworn in as president around noon today, barring any unexpected gaffes. The biggest loser, arguably, is Hillary Clinton, who probably expected months ago that this day would be all about her. But they’ve become such national – even global – figures that we limited it to more local folks for this week’s Winners & Losers.
Melissa Mark-Viverito – Nothing could make her feel like a plastic bag this week! The New York City Council speaker finally got her wish after years of fighting for Oscar Lopez Rivera’s release, as President Barack Obama commuted the Puerto Rican activist’s sentence. He’ll get out of prison in May, but this week MMV got to cry tears of joy, celebrate at La Marqueta and even make plans with Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Paul Massey Jr. – If people vote with their wallets, then the Republican real estate developer may be poised to give New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio a real challenge. Massey raised more money than de Blasio in the past six months, and while he attracted fewer individual contributors than the mayor, Massey’s ability to inspire real estate big shots and others to dig deep into their pockets can’t be making de Blasio feel too comfortable.
John Samuelsen – New York City subway workers may be the only ones moving forward under their proposed contract. The Transport Workers Union Local 100 president boasted that his members would get “solid” raises” under a contract both sides are expected to ratify. These perks, however, are not likely to come cheap for commuters, who at least one government watchdog group believes will get saddled with larger fare increases.
Elise Stefanik – After just two years on Capitol Hill, the Republican congresswoman has gained a highly desired spot on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, yet another signal to her swiftly rising status in Washington. Hey, she might not be the most successful person from her 2006 Harvard class (cough, Mark Zuckerberg, cough), but the North Country representative is doing pretty well for herself.
Rowan Wilson – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Court of Appeals nominee brings the justice system one small step closer to looking like the state’s gorgeous mosaic. If confirmed, Wilson will be one of two African Americans on New York’s highest court and its only commercial litigation specialist – a designation that has earned him praise from business groups. It’s a honor for the Cravath, Swaine & Moore partner and a win for Cuomo, who soon will have appointed all seven of the court’s judges.
Tony Avella – Avella may say he’s a man of the people, but it sure looks like he’s part of the 1 percent – that is, the 1 percent of voters who think he should be mayor of New York City, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. If this is the kind of showing Avella is putting up when he’s the only elected Democrat currently opposing de Blasio, what’s he going to be at when others officially join the fray? .001%?
Chris Collins – What should be a banner week for the Western New York congressman and Trump supporter quickly went off the rails. Collins found himself at the center of insider trading allegations after reports that he had bragged about making people millions of dollars in the stock market as he and Trump health secretary nominee U.S. Rep. Tom Price draw scrutiny for trading activity surrounding a New Zealand-based biomedical company. If that weren’t enough to ruin his week, Collins drew heat for referring to a civil rights icon, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, as a “spoiled child." This can’t be the way the congressman imagined this week would play out.
Gary McCarthy – Unless you’re a bodyguard, there are very few non-creepy reasons for following a woman around in your car in the early morning hours. Yet that’s exactly what Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy did last May. The woman, Sarah Dingley, recognized the mayor and claimed to smell alcohol on his breath. No charges were ever filed, but police are now conducting an internal probe into the department’s response, which may have something to do with McCarthy’s weak excuse – he thought she may be a burglar.
John Sampson – The long saga is finally over for the former state senator, who was sentenced to five years in prison for obstructing an FBI investigation and lying to officers about an embezzlement scheme he ran for eight years. Sampson’s defense knew he was screwed, too – they tried to argue that Sampson should be given a light sentence because his crimes weren’t as bad as those committed by former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Well, tough luck, Mr. Sampson, it turns out you’ll be spending just as much time as your fellow corrupt compatriot.
Kathy Sheehan – State lawmakers usually have plenty of bad things to say about the city of Albany. Well, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan doesn’t have much nice to say to those at the Capitol after the governor’s proposed budget failed to include $12.5 million to help close the city’s budget gap, which the city claims stems from the non-taxable real estate earned by the state. If she keeps this up, Sheehan may be asking Cuomo to make his next big legacy project be a new state Capitol in another city.