Winners & Losers 12/8/17
Well, you know, it seems like it’s quite a hike from Gracie Mansion, but the ride to the Park Slope YMCA is really just 20, 25 minutes when you have a convoy of black SUVs that drive you everywhere. So take five minutes to read this week’s Winners & Losers, Chirlane, and you’ll still have 15, 20 minutes to discuss how to score an invite to your new friend Phil’s sweet gubernatorial beach house.
Kirsten Gillibrand – She took charge and led the wave of Democratic senators to demand that U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota resign. Or rather, soon-to-be ex-Sen. Franken, as he officially declared he would be stepping down. Gillibrand also made headlines recently when she said former President Bill Clinton should have resigned over his sex scandal. Stepping up and taking hard-line positions as more allegations emerge could be a good move looking forward to, say, 2020.
Chuck Schumer – The state’s senior senator asked the president to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel and Trump delivered. Folks are debating the wisdom of that move, with violent protests breaking out in response, but the Brooklyn lawmaker sure scored points with his pro-Israel constituency. Never mind that many in his own party were less than thrilled with the choice. We’ll count this as a win for Chuck.
Kathy Sheehan – Albany’s mayor will have Gov. Andrew Cuomo all to herself for this year’s State of the State, without the governor running around the state to deliver several versions of his annual address. Politicos from all over the state can descend together to pump some beer money into the city’s pockets and kick off the legislative session!
The Silence Breakers – Time’s Person of the Year was not one person, but several – the women and men who propelled the anti-sexual harassment #MeToo movement. Several of the people profiled were New Yorkers, including University of Rochester professors, workers at the Plaza Hotel and even Tribeca resident Taylor Swift. American culture is quickly changing, and these women are at the forefront of the battle against sexual misconduct and abuse.
Errol Toulon Jr. – Toulon finally won the Suffolk County sheriff’s race, after Republican opponent Larry Zacarese conceded on Monday. Toulon, who defeated Zacarese by 2,000 votes out of 300,000 cast, is Suffolk County’s first African-American countywide elected official who isn’t a judge. The contested race involved a lot of behind-the-scenes machinations by party leaders – the kind of politicking which, now that he has been elected, the new sheriff will hopefully avoid.
Pat Gallivan & Mickey Kearns – There’s something heartwarming about lawmakers reaching across the aisle to work together on shared issues, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn’t one for feel-good stories – unless they’re about him. The Republican state senator and the Democratic ex-assemblyman had joined forces to back legislation to save the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center, but the governor’s veto means the state can now merge it with another facility as planned.
John Hockenberry, Leonard Lopate & Jonathan Schwartz – Nobody loves uncomfortable silences like WNYC’s resident Big Band aficionado Schwartz. But it seems like he may no longer be the benefit of workplace silence, after he and fellow septuagenarian broadcaster Leonard Lopate were placed on leave pending investigations into allegedly inappropriate conduct. That, after retired WNYC host Hockenberry was accused of numerous incidents of sexual harassment and workplace abuse. The next member drive could be a tough sell.
Melissa Mark-Viverito – Unlike her predecessors, the New York City Council speaker wasn’t going to leave office fresh off a losing bid for mayor (if only because she didn’t run). But she has been finding other ways to lose as her term winds down, from barring the press from parts of City Hall (then backing down) and trying to install a buddy to the city Board of Elections (and getting blocked by the county leaders, then in court).
Shola Olatoye – When was the last time she had a good week? Amid an ongoing stream of bad headlines about the New York City Housing Authority lead paint inspection scandal, Olatoye was grilled this week by the New York City Council. And she didn’t do great under the pressure, struggling to answer questions and forced to admit that NYCHA had failed.
Joe Ponte – While New York City officials are getting grilled over their lack of progress in closing Rikers Island, old New York City jails chief Ponte was probably kicking back in a La-Z-Boy somewhere in Maine. But City Comptroller Scott Stringer still found a way to spoil Ponte’s lobster roll, halting payment for unused vacation days, on the grounds that Ponte’s wild rides in a city-owned vehicle may come back to bite him yet again.