Winners & Losers 1/6/17
Donald Trump is flip-flopping on Goldman Sachs. Congressional Republicans are dropping a plan to shut down the Office of Congressional Ethics. Will the state Senate GOP be more resolute when it comes to a plan to bar members from taking cell phone videos and photos in the chamber? Only time will tell. In the meantime, we won’t be backing away from our nominations for this week’s Winners & Losers.
Bill Bratton & James O’Neill – The crime statistics for 2016 were a work of art, and it’s the NYPD’s job to put them on permanent display. Bratton, who started the year as police commissioner, and O’Neill, who ended the year in the role, deserve much of the credit for for having the fewest major crimes reported in New York City in the modern era. Indeed, the city had one-fifth the crime of 1990 with a million more people.
Judith Clark – She’s not out of jail yet, but by reducing Clark’s minimum sentence to 35 years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is giving the former radical a chance for parole when she becomes eligible in the first quarter of 2017. Clark should consider herself extremely lucky – Cuomo has used his clemency powers sparingly, and Clark drove a getaway car in a 1981 Brink’s armored car robbery that left three people dead. The commuted sentence came after an in-person meeting with the governor, so Clark must have made an impression.
Andrew Cuomo – Cuomo owned New Year’s, kicking off 2017 with a long-awaited ride on the Second Avenue subway. Days later, CNN went live with his Bernie-backed plan for free college tuition. Add in fawning press releases on a JFK revamp proposal and an expanded child care tax credit and Cuomo is starting his State of the State World Tour™ with irrational dreams of 2020 dancing in his head.
Pat Foye – The head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has a pretty sweet deal waiting for him: Foye and about 50 other executives are eligible to collect pensions from both the state and the federal Railroad Retirement Board – a longstanding New York tradition known as “double-dipping.” Plus, if he ever actually leaves the Port Authority, he might have the chance to build up more retirement benefits at the helm at the MTA.
Alicia Glen – The de Blasio administration is racking up rent-regulated units. City Hall is on track to meet its goal of building or preserving 200,000 affordable homes over a decade, according to Politico New York. Several optimistic quotes from the deputy mayor for housing and economic development were also featured, including her dubbing 2016 “maybe the best year in housing ever.”
Clifford Crouch – There may be legitimate reasons to push back against the governor’s decision to form a task force to educate business owners and investigate cases of wage theft as the state’s minimum wage hike is implemented. But to compare the state workers to the enforcement arm of the Nazi Party, as Assemblyman Crouch did in a written statement, is ludicrous and insulting to the memory of the millions of people who suffered and died at the hands of the Third Reich. For shame.
John DeFrancisco & Patricia Fahy – A bipartisan bill requiring the state to pay for public defenders, a cost currently covered largely by counties, fell by the wayside over the weekend. Cuomo vetoed the DeFrancisco-Fahy bill, his administration said, because there was no clear method for funding the plan. The administration vowed to continue working on the issue this session. Still, with the law having already gained approval of the legislature, lawmakers and criminal justice advocates are viewing this as a significant setback.
Melissa Mark-Viverito – It shouldn’t took a 5,500 word exposé. The City Council speaker persuaded de Blasio to hire more than 1,000 cops, but apparently not enough new hires went to the 40th Precinct, which covers part of her district. Mark-Viverito did not make a stink about this until the Times delved into life in the 40th; now she’s calling for the NYPD to fix inequities in its deployment practices.
Patrick Nowakowski – The president of of the Long Island Rail Road will have to answer to federal investigators as to what caused the derailment of a commuter train at the Atlantic Terminal, which left more than 100 people with mostly minor injuries. Although the accident caused no deaths, the crash on Nowakowski’s rail network is just the latest in the New York metropolitan area and revives questions about the adequacy of aging infrastructure in the region.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins – Democrats all around the country had a lackluster 2016, highlighted by Donald Trump’s surprise victory – and New York is no exception. State Senate Democrats failed to pick up as many seats as they hoped in November. IDC Leader Jeff Klein announcing he will once again partner with Senate Republicans was just the final nail in the coffin. There’s always 2018.