Winners & Losers 6/16/17
When is a “thank you” not a “thank you?” When there’s so much tension between the IDC and state Senate Dems that a run-of-the-mill phone poll signoff was misheard as a swear – “f–k you!” – for giving the wrong answer. The Working Families Party denied it all and had the tape to prove it, but there are no winners with accusations like this. Read on for clearer cases. Fuck Thank you!
Reginald Connor & Everton Wagstaffe – These two men who were wrongly convicted in the 1992 kidnapping of 16-year-old Jennifer Negron are to be paid a total of $25.6 million from the government. Wagstaffe served nearly 23 years, while Connor served more than 15. While their convictions have been reversed, they have yet to receive any form of apology or admission of wrongdoing from the city.
Andrew Cuomo – The governor’s favorability rating hit 61 percent in a new poll, a second-term high. Another poll showed him coasting to a third term, with every potential GOP challenger – including the president’s son – down by at least 30 points. He also catered to key constituencies with a groundbreaking judicial pick and the introduction of a long-awaited bill, and was able to do it all without even bothering to spend much time in Albany as the legislative session sputters to a close.
Melissa Mark-Viverito – Crack open a cold one on the street and toss the can on the sidewalk afterward, because the Criminal Justice Reform Act is finally in effect! The widely misinterpreted law championed by Mark-Viverito doesn’t actually decriminalize acts like peeing on the street, but it keeps offenders out of court, sending them to an administrative hearing instead. The NYPD has a way of bending rules to its interpretation, but this one seems to be going into effect as intended.
Andy Pallotta – The New York State United Teachers president claimed victory on Monday after the state Education Department voted to reduce the number of days students take standardized tests in English and math. The changes, affecting students in grades three through eight, will allow teachers to have more time with their students. It's a win for Pallotta and his union, but also for all kids who dread exam days.
Richard White – Last week, the “predatory” landlord/convicted felon Steve Croman landed on our losers list. This week, his adversaries in the state’s Tenant Protection Unit had another legal victory when a judge ruled that the TPU has the authority to investigate shady landlords who try to take advantage of rent-regulated tenants. Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted it as a victory, but it’s also a win for White, the deputy commissioner at the state Homes and Community Renewal who oversees the TPU.
Sal Albanese – The long shot Democratic mayoral candidate planned a press conference on Wednesday outside of the gym where Mayor Bill de Blasio is driven to work out every day, hoping to challenge the mayor for not using public transportation. Not only did he miss de Blasio, Albanese arrived 40 minutes late to his own event – because he drove from Staten Island, and got stuck in traffic. Not great optics for the man who wants to be the “mass transit mayor.”
Travis Kalanick – The Uber CEO is taking a leave of absence as his ride-hailing company looks to overhaul its corporate culture in the wake of sexual harassment allegations and other scandals. In addition, an Uber board member stepped down after making a sexist remark. And here in New York, a state court ruled that the troubled transportation startup’s drivers must be counted as employees, which make them eligible to receive employee benefits.
Martin Golden – President Donald Trump may have lowered the standards of political discourse, but we’re not giving Golden a pass for calling New York City Council candidate Justin Brannan “fat boy” when the Brooklyn state senator couldn’t remember his name. Just as bad as the gaffe was the attempted cover-up, with Golden threatening not to talk to a Brooklyn Daily reporter again if she published the senator’s slip.
Michael Grimm – Rental income from former the former rep's Staten Island building is being seized by the federal government to make up for late restitution payments. Grimm, who was convicted of filing a false tax return in 2015 and sentenced to eight months, had paid only a little over $10,000 of the nearly $150,000 judgment. This doesn’t seem like the best way for the ex-congressman to “restore and redeem” his reputation, but what do we know?
Jim Yates – New York’s ethics boards have had their share of colorful characters, but few have sparked as much controversy recently as Jim Yates, one of the latest appointees of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. It wasn’t so long ago that Yates was working for another Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, who made sure accusations of sexual assault by another assemblyman were not referred for investigation. Heastie insisted Yates is “absolutely qualified” – and given JCOPE’s track record, that may be true.