Winners & Losers 2/10/17
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s comments opposing marijuana legalization because it’s a “gateway drug” sounded more “Nancy Reagan” than “liberal lion” and were a bit behind the science, too. But what does Cuomo care? He’s busy with his favorite subject: snow! Read on to see who’s enjoying the snow day and who’s shoveling themselves out.
Bill Perkins – The Harlem state senator dodged a bullet when a judge threw out a lawsuit accusing him of petition fraud, allowing him to stay on the ballot for an open New York City Council seat. As the only elected official running, he’s now in a strong position to win. Victory would mean ending those pesky trips to Albany as well as a hefty pay raise. And if he falls short, he could always make a quick buck by joining the Independent Democratic Conference.
Larry Scott Blackmon – Blackmon, another candidate for the same New York City Council special election, was booted for declaring himself part of the “Harlem Family Party” – which the New York City Board of Elections said sounds too much like “Working Families Party.” But thanks to a good lawyer and what the Post called an "extraordinary political deal," the FreshDirect exec – and favored choice of Inez Dickens and Keith Wright – will be on the ballot come Feb. 14.
Elise Stefanik – Washington, D.C., may still be in turmoil over the new Trump administration, but the North Country congresswoman is on the rise. Despite her relatively junior status, Stefanik was recently named chairwoman of the House Armed Service Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, a rare achievement for a sophomore representative. She also has gotten praise for distancing herself when needed from the GOP orthodoxy. She’s a lawmaker to watch.
Mohamed Mohamed – A revered Buffalo resident is becoming the face of Somalia’s hopes and dreams – and a giant middle finger to President Donald Trump. Mohamed, who fled Somalia during upheaval and became an American citizen, was elected president of Somalia in the country’s first organized presidential election in more than two decades. In New York, people are citing Mohamed as an example of why Trump’s attempt to ban travel from predominantly Muslim countries like Somalia is misguided.
Jason Wilcox – The head of the Bronx Detective Bureau is getting some reinforcements. The NYPD announced this week that the beleaguered borough will be receiving 75 new detectives to help with the huge case backlog that has hindered investigators for decades. Hopefully the new officers will be able to bring the Bronx more in line with the rest of the New York City, which is enjoying some of the lowest crime rates in its history.
Elizabeth Rose – The New York City Education Department’s deputy chancellor for operations is in hot water after new protocols for testing lead in drinking water in the city’s public schools showed higher levels of the toxic metal. The latest methods, which city officials originally said would produce the same results as previous tests, found nine times as many water outlets with lead levels above U.S. Environmental Protection Agency thresholds. Rose and the education department may have found it easier to cut corners, save money and produce better results, but now that decision is coming back to bite them.
Rory Lancman – Any momentum the New York City councilman envisioned he could have in a mayoral run was cut short when staffers threw cold water on the idea. Shortly after what must have been an awkward conversation, Politico New York reported that Lancman fired three of those employees. He has denied that the staffers’ thoughts on his mayoral musings influenced the move. Even if this isn’t true, the departures will only help drag down potential voters’ first impressions of Lancman.
Jose Peralta – When the Queens state senator decided to join the Republican-aligned Independent Democratic Conference, he probably thought it would be to his political advantage – but so far, that hasn’t been the case. Peralta faced protests and angry constituents this week while trying to justify his decision at a town hall. That snickering you hear is the mainline Senate Democrats, who may finally be getting their just deserts.
Louis Ciminelli, Kevin Schuler & Michael Laipple – These three former LPCiminelli execs aren’t just in legal limbo – they’ve caused major financial trouble, too. The scandal-tainted trio have denied the federal charges against them in a case involving misspent Buffalo Billion funds, but their latest court filing shows that they cost the company nearly $4 billion. They’re now trying to get the case dismissed – or at least moved out of Buffalo – but U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s pushing back.
Gina Argento – This longtime Bill de Blasio donor has found herself and her firm perched uncomfortably at center stage. Argento’s Broadway Stages was slated to buy a former correctional facility from the state in Staten Island, where they were planning to build five sound stages. But the state comptroller nixed the deal because Argento and her company are linked to an investigation into de Blasio’s fundraising, according to the Staten Island Advance. It’s looking like the mayor's scandal-tainted stench is extending out far past City Hall at this point.