Winners & Losers 12/02/16
With Thanksgiving over, the eyes of the nation are once again back on Trump Tower, and as Cabinet candidates exit those golden elevators, everyone is wondering who’s leaving as a winner and who will go home a loser. But here at City & State, we’re casting our net wider than White House North, and with news in Albany and City Hall, there are plenty of leftovers to go around.
Tony Avella - The mute swans’ main state legislative ally appears to have given them a voice in Albany. After years of unsuccessfully sponsoring legislation, Avella got his latest bill signed, which bars the state Department of Environmental Conservation from euthanizing wild swans for two years.
Preet Bharara - The “Sheriff of Albany” will ride again! After meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, Bhararaannounced he will continue serving as U.S. attorney under the new administration. If you listened closely, you could hear the collective groan of all state and city politicians when they heard the news.
Patrick Burke – The Erie County legislator’s Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Childhood Endangerment law, the PENCE bill (clever use of acronym), would ban conversion therapy, a controversial practice that attempts to turn gay people heterosexual, which Vice President-elect Mike Pence has been accused of supporting (something a spokesman recently denied). News of the proposal spread far and wide, with major outlets like NBC News and Huffington Post picking up the story, elevating the profile of the local lawmaker. It’s doubtful that the bill will go anywhere in the Republican-controlled body, but Burke has likely already accomplished what he set out to do.
Tom DiNapoli - For such a “nice guy,” the state comptroller sure is having some fun with the governor. DiNapoli this week announced his office would move to strengthen its contract oversight role in the wake of the bid-rigging and fraud scandals tied to the Cuomo administration. The move netted him props from the media, and you can almost picture him giggling with joy at the idea of one-upping the governor.
Bill de Blasio - What a week for the mayor. People believe his initiative to curb pedestrian deaths is failing. Perhaps he didn’t notice because he prefers the view from the NYPD chopper to driving. All this after The New York Times blasted his administration’s dump of unflattering news as people began preparing for Thanksgiving. The developments included that the city’s spending $1.3 billion more than anticipated this fiscal year and that a court ordered the city to release emails de Blasio exchanged with private consultants. It’s easy to understand de Blasio’s skittish approach when you take into account that he hosts near-monthly press conferences showing crime rates are down, yet the public doesn’t buy it.
Jay Hershenson - Gov. Andrew Cuomo has set his sights on reforming CUNY, and it appears that power broker Jay Hershenson is the first target. After 32 years with CUNY he is being reassigned to Queens College. A tough break for the influential higher-ed leader.
Delmar House - Keep it in your robes, bro. This North Country village judge was accused of some truly objectionable conduct: decreasing a traffic fine in exchange for sexual favors. Busted by the attorney general, the Honorable House faces up to seven years in the Big House. Turns out the law will always find you, even if you’re wearing full camouflage.
Susan Kent - Talk about tough politics. The internecine war at PEF has seen the former union boss banned from all union activities after an ethics report slammed her for the way she handled an alleged embezzlement investigation. How the mighty have fallen.
Tara Lenich - “The Wire” this is certainly not. Lenich, a Brooklyn prosecutor, is being accused of running an illegal wiretap to spy on a police detective and one of her colleagues in what is being called a love triangle gone wrong. It’s hard to tell what’s worse – the crime itself, or the fact that Lenich could so easily obtain a wiretap without anyone at the D.A.’s office noticing.