Winners & Losers 3/17/17
Preet Bharara is out of a job, Bill de Blasio is now likely to keep his, and Andrew Cuomo just keeps doing what he does best: getting photographed touring the state in the wake of a major storm. But did any of them end up on this week’s Winners & Losers list? Read on to find out – and vote for your favorite picks.
Bill de Blasio – Could you hear the sigh of relief coming from the Park Slope Y? The New York Post proved prescient by predicting Bharara’s firing would make de Blasio “Preety Happy.” With coordinated all-clear messages from the U.S. attorney and Manhattan district attorney (despite a “you-should-have-known-better” rap on the knuckles), the mayor’s greatest threat to re-election was vanquished before Republicans even had the chance to start a chant of “lock him up!”
Kathryn Garcia – All politics is local, and what hits closer to home than a snowstorm? Indeed, blizzards don’t just disrupt daily routines and shut down schools and subways – they can also undermine a politician’s hard-earned reputation as an effective manager. But this week, New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia largely avoided the snow day complaints that have showered city officials in recent years. And that’s exactly the kind of job performance her boss wants in a re-election year.
David Cay Johnston – How’d this journalist get the scoop of the week? First, he put in decades of reporting on Donald Trump and taxes, winning a Pulitzer Prize in the process. Then, the first two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax return showed up in the mailbox at his Rochester home. Hard work pays off, and this week Johnston became, deservedly, a little more of a household name – at least among us nerds.
Karen Magee – The New York State United Teachers president notched some major victories during her tenure, such as when the Cuomo administration backed down on the use of Common Core-aligned tests in teacher evaulations. And now that Magee’s set to step down next month, state education officials are giving her a going-away present: They’re dropping tests for prospective teachers that were blamed for disqualifying too many black and Latino candidates.
Merryl Tisch – While someone with little money donating $20 to a charity is just as commendable, the former state Board of Regents chancellor and her husband donated a whopping $20 million to the New York Public Library – which, of course, is easier to do when you’re worth billions. Still, it’s a huge donation for the library and a boon for New Yorkers. So, go out and check out a book today!
Marisol Alcantara & Michael Gianaris – If anyone thought New York politics is dignified, they’d only have to watch Wednesday’s state Senate session to be disproved. Gianaris, a mainline state Senate Democrat, attacked the rival Independent Democratic Conference as a bunch of Trump Democrats for their “Republican lite” budget proposal. Alcantara, a freshman lawmaker in the IDC, fired back by blasting Gianaris’ “white privilege.” There are no winners in this situation.
Ricardo Brown – When candidates for elected office in New York City get fined by the Campaign Finance Board, it’s often in the range of a few hundred or perhaps a few thousand dollars. But in the case of Brown, an accountant who failed to unseat City Councilman Donovan Richards in 2013, the board just levied a $71,000 fine for using his campaign to enrich himself and more than a dozen additional violations. The only question is why it took the CFB this long to act.
Robert Kent – The Rev. Peter Young’s substance abuse nonprofit has been banned from receiving grants government contracts for five years after some financial scandals, but the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services’ general counsel didn’t think Young had suffered enough. Kent berated berated the 86-year-old priest at a meeting, saying, “We are sick of you” and “This is fucking over.” Maybe a trip to confession is in order.
Nonie Manion – Tax time is already stressful enough for everyone. So it can’t be helping that computers at Manion’s state Department of Taxation and Finance are on the fritz with just a few weeks to go until the big deadline. Some employees are reportedly grumbling that the shift to centralized computer services – in line with the governor’s never-ending push for consolidation – is going poorly. All we know is the agency better not let any technical difficulties keep refunds from going out.
Lowell McAdam – Verizon has offered plenty of explanations for why its rollout of Verizon Fios in New York City is taking longer than expected – and for months city officials were fairly patient. But this week the de Blasio administration decided it had waited long enough, and sued McAdam’s company for allegedly breaking a contractual agreement to link fiber-optic cable to every home in the five boroughs. So much for leaving slow internet behind!