Winners & Losers 4/7/17
Every Friday, we have the latest Winners & Losers. But this week, pretty much every New Yorker was a loser. In the downstate region, a New York Penn Station snafu set off a series of exasperating transit delays. In Albany, there’s still no state budget. And in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Senate’s long tradition of bipartisanship took another hit.
Anthony Atamanuik – Who needs Alec Baldwin? At the annual Inner Circle Show last weekend, Atamanuik nailed his Trump impersonation, upstaging “boring” Bill de Blasio in a fake debate. Even better for the actor, Comedy Central announced that he’ll be reprising the role each week in a new show that is imaginatively called “The President Show.”
Byron Brown – Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn’t get a seventh straight on-time budget, but he did get a few things done. Even while the final spending plan is up in air, the second phase of the Buffalo Billion economic development initiative went through. The governor apparently hasn’t forgotten his ally, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, and he still remembers “forgotten” Western New York – even if lawmakers disagree.
Linda Fiacco & Peter Freeman – Peter Freeman, a Brooklyn ice cream purveyor, and Linda Fiacco, who co-owns an upstate hair salon, took state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to court – and took a swipe at his stance on credit card surcharges. Schneiderman said state law protects consumers by preventing posted prices from rising at the register. But the U.S. Supreme Court just sided with the store owners, ruling that the law violates business’s freedom of speech.
Melissa Mark-Viverito – A year after MMV jumped on the close-Rikers bandwagon in a big way in her 2016 State of the City, the mayor’s finally on board. The independent commission she created wrote the roadmap, and for the first time in forever, Rikers is no longer frozen. Credit too goes to activists like JustLeadershipUSA’s Glenn Martin, who was relentless in his quest to revive the movement.
James O’Neill – The NYPD commissioner may not like to divulge much detail on NYPD’s surveillance of groups like Black Lives Matter or sensitive investigations, but he sure likes to talk crime stats. O’Neill hosts near-monthly update briefings. And no wonder – he just announced the city has had the safest quarter since it began using CompStat in 1994.
Chris Christie – Somehow New York Penn Station got even worse this week after a minor derailment led to a major dayslong commuting headache because of the old rails with zero room for error under Manhattan’s West Side. The New Jersey guv had the chance to ease the pressures by next year. Instead, he killed plans for a second cross-Hudson rail tunnel in 2010. So while commuters fumed, he hid in Atlantic City and whined in Florida.
Andrew Cuomo – There are four men in a room who have failed to reach a final agreement on the state budget, but only one of them repeatedly touts his skills as a negotiator who is able to reach deals after years of dysfunction in Albany. Ultimately, the buck stops with the governor. Now that he’ll no longer be able to tout his on-time budgets, we wonder how he’ll start nearly every speech he gives.
Rudy Giuliani & Michael Mukasey – Ex-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had to have a good laugh at this one. A judge ordered Rudy Giuliani and Michael Mukasey, whose son is a front-runner to replace Bharara, to turn over their retainer agreements with Reza Zarrab, whom Bharara’s office had charged with scheming to violate Iran sanctions. The two GOP power brokers are trying to free Zarrab through a diplomatic deal. But a judge was convinced their contracts deserve attention after Bharara’s successor argued they have conflicts of interests in the case.
Elias Husamudeen – Closing Rikers could mean losing correction officer jobs, so the union prez came out strongly against de Blasio’s support for shutting it down. But Husamudeen’s officers aren’t helping his case, with Rikers’ federal monitor reporting that guards are still using brutal force against inmates at an “alarming rate” and then lying about it. COs are victims of violence too, but if you want to keep Rikers open, stop contributing to its dysfunction.
Joe Lentol & Velmanette Montgomery – For a state deemed one of the most liberal in the state, one wouldn’t think there’d be much discussion around following nearly every other state's move and raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old. However, negotiations around the legislation sponsored by these two politicians have apparently held up budget talks. At this rate, some of the 16- and 17-year-olds who would be affected by the change might turn 18 by the time a deal is reached.