Winners & Losers 4/28/17
New York pols are stuck in the past. Gov. Andrew Cuomo hopped behind the wheel of FDR’s 1932 Packard for the opening of the new Kosciuszko Bridge. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is inviting back the 1986 Mets for a celebration on the City Hall steps – making us wonder if the diehard Sox fan will shed a tear. Relive the recent past, and see who was a Ray Knight and who was a Bill Buckner this week.
Alberto Amore – Some sleuthing into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s election-year manicuring led the Daily News to his barber, Alberto Amore. The barber said he doubts de Blasio has been dying his hair because, if de Blasio has been, the mayor has been relying on another hair stylist. Amore did not seem to mind questions about a 30-year-client straying. As the saying goes, any press is good press!
Mary Bassett – City Hall claims it can’t do more than reduce the homeless shelter population by 4 percent over the next five years. But when it comes to homeless animals, the city has been able to provide permanent homes in a pinch. Health Commissioner Mary Bassett trumpeted stats showing the city’s animal shelters found homes for 94.3 percent of pets in their care during the first three months of 2017.
Maria Comella – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has had a rough year – and apparently his staff knows it. Comella, a former top aide to the increasingly unpopular Christie, just landed a new role as chief of staff to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, another politician widely thought to harbor presidential ambitions. And considering the career trajectory of the last chief of staff to Cuomo, it could be a stepping stone to something bigger for Comella.
Kristina Johnson – A hastily approved “free tuition” plan could hurt SUNY students as much as it helps. A bipartisan bill would bring back more oversight over SUNY contracts. Other challenges include financially struggling institutions like SUNY Downstate and a governor who likes to meddle. But Johnson’s appointment as the next SUNY chancellor was widely praised, and if nothing else her new $560,000 salary will make it easier to handle the stress.
Dan Garodnick, Brian Kavanagh, Liz Krueger & Carolyn Maloney – There’s a new Fantastic Four in Manhattan.These east side reps have been pushing to close a gap in the borough’s Waterfront Greenway for a decade, and the plan’s finally getting legs thanks to $100 million of support from the city and approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers. This high-level dealmaking included power players like the United Nations and Con Edison – all in a day’s work for a no-nonsense negotiator.
Judith Clark – This week, New York’s political world got a helpful vocabulary lesson: to commute means “to change (a prison sentence or other penalty) to a less severe one,” while a pardon is “a release from the penalty of an offense.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo made headlines last year for commuting the sentence of Judith Clark, the getaway driver in a deadly robbery, but he didn’t pardon her. And in the end, she was still denied parole.
Paul Dean, Robert Espinel & Gaetano Valastro – The brothers in blue are throwing one another under the bus. After a group of corrupt cops pleaded guilty and began cooperating with prosecutors, an alleged scheme of pocketing bribes in exchange for expediting gun permits has snagged three more retired NYPD members. Gaetano Valastro opened a firearms training center after he left the force, and allegedly leaned on his friends in the department to get permits. Paul Dean and Robert Espinel allegedly solicited and accepted a variety of perks in exchange for fast-tracking permits.
Bo Dietl – After starting off the week strong with an endorsement from New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich, political party-less mayoral candidate Dietl shot himself in the foot, making a questionable remark comparing a judge to #FLONYC Chirlane. While Politico reminded readers of Dietl’s history of inflammatory comments, Dietl himself sent out an email with a headline that’s best avoided – “BO DIETL: I AM NOT A RACIST!!”
Thomas Lopez-Pierre – New York is no stranger to disgraceful public officials, but this political wannabe may take the cake. As if his anti-Semitic platform wasn’t galling enough, he has also pleaded guilty for violating a protection order issued by his ex-wife. To top it off, he took advantage of the backlash by setting up a “Stop Thomas Lopez-Pierre Hate Campaign” scam.
Peter Ward – The influential Hotel Trades Council chief is reinventing himself a leader in the fight to win Democratic majorities in state legislatures all across the country, which would give the party control over redistricting and, in turn, a better chance at winning congressional seats. But while he whined to the Daily News that the Obama years were “an absolute bloodbath” for the party in many state legislatures, Ward himself has left state Senate Democrats feeling bruised and bloodied here in his home state.