Winners & Losers 8/19/16
Some of us go out on top, like Michael Phelps did by adding to his medal haul with another five golds and a silver to boot. And some go out in other memorable ways, like Ryan Lochte with his disappointing performances, weird hair, and an even weirder story about getting held up at gunpoint by cops in Rio. The political games in New York are not so Olympian, but this week there were still plenty of Winners & Losers.
Marisol Alcantara – Revenge is best served cold – and this Democratic candidate gunning for Adriano Espaillat’s state Senate seat is friends with the chef. Elder statesman Fernando Ferrer endorsed Alcantara over her opponent Micah Lasher, who 15 years ago may or may not have passed around a crude cartoon of Ferrer kissing Al Sharpton’s butt during the 2001 mayoral race. And that’s small potatoes compared to support from Sen. Jeff Klein and the IDC, which is set to position itself as a power broker come November no matter how many seats the Dems win.
Sean T. Campbell – After years off trash-talking about the commercial sanitation sector, the Teamsters Local 813 boss is seeing the city move toward his preferred regulation system. The de Blasio administration announced it has found carving up the city into zones – and having companies bid for the exclusive right to haul trash in them – would reduce truck pollution and give the city more regulatory authority over the industry. The reforms could also help workers in Campbell’s union, which has been highlighting poor working conditions to reporters from several outlets in the city.
Mike Gianaris – While Donald Trump disagrees with the New York Democrats on pretty much every issue, the Republican presidential candidate may have earned a soft spot in their hearts this week when a poll showed Trump down by 30 in the state and another poll found 62 percent of voters believe Trump will damage the Republicans’ bid to maintain control of the state Senate. Political observers had already predicted as much – but the new numbers are making Republicans like Cathy Young, the chairwoman of the state Senate Republican Campaign Committee, sweat just a little bit more.
Michael Israel – With an income of $2.2 million, the Westchester County Health Care Corp. CEO tops the list of the state’s highest paid public authority executives. While having your name atop a list that can draw the ire of the public isn’t ideal, we’re pretty sure Israel can think of more than a few ways to ease the pain of having his salary scrutinized. If not, he can always sop up his tears with $100 bills.
Phil Pidot – The primary is back on! Who knows if he’ll win, but the congressional candidate is still alive after a federal judge ordered a GOP primary versus state Sen. Jack Martins for an open Long Island seat on Oct. 6. Pidot will have to spend the next month and a half drumming up some serious support, because there are two things in New York that voters especially don’t turn out for: primaries and special elections.
Marylynn Cellamore – What is with campaign volunteers stalking rival candidates this election cycle? Cellamore, a volunteer for Janine Materna’s campaign, became the latest to make headlines this year when she got arrested for sending unsettling letters to the private residence of Assemblyman Ron Castorina, whom Materna will face in a GOP primary. Everyone knows politics can be a blood sport, but it’s not usually this creepy.
Andrew Cuomo – The governor once again faced a critical audit this week, this one taking to task his administration’s handling of federal tourism funds in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and other natural disasters. Some leaders appreciate audits as a tool to weed out mismanagement and waste. Cuomo went in a different direction – insisting that federal officials just don’t understand the requirements at HUD (an office Cuomo headed during the Clinton administration). Then again, this is coming from someone who views audits as merely an “opinion.”
Vanessa Gibson – Sure, it all happened before the Council gave itself a raise, but the councilwoman certainly could have afforded a $200 traffic ticket even on her old salary. A new lawsuit from a cop includes the allegation that Gibson had a superior NYPD official make sure she didn’t get a ticket. When Gibson didn’t deny it, the Daily News called on her to give up her position as chair of Public Safety Committee. (After all, she was ticketing for talking while driving.) The incident garnered enough attention that reporters asked the Council speaker about the matter – and she said Gibson will remain in her post.
Joseph Ponte – Ponte must be facing the wrath of de Blasio this week after new records showed the New York City Department of Correction failed to get inmates to mental health appointments 40,000 times over the last four months. When the top priority of the city’s first lady is mental health, you do not screw up this badly and just walk away scot-free.
Eric Stevenson – The former Bronx assemblyman currently serving time for bribery and extortion charges did what his colleagues in Albany couldn’t and passed pension forfeiture! … kind of. A federal court ruled that Stevenson’s pension can be raided in order to make forfeiture payments. Now Stevenson is down $22K, and the precedent could hurt the Silver-Skelos gang too if they ever end up in prison.