Winners & Losers 12/15/17
Republicans in Washington were on the verge of a long-awaited victory this week with a deal on their sweeping tax plan, but some kinks remain. While the federal plan would have major impact on New York – and likely a negative one – we’ll look closer to home for this week’s Winners & Losers.
Michael Fedorko – In the latest terrorist attack in Manhattan, New Yorkers were lucky that the pipe bomb set off in a subway passageway only resulted in a few injuries. But credit also goes to Fedorko and his Port Authority Police Department. While James O’Neill’s NYPD is getting credit for New York City's record-low crime rate, in this case it was four PAPD officers who confronted the would-be suicide bomber.
Pat Gallivan & Amy Paulin – After backers of a similar bill were foiled in 2015, Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week signed legislation sponsored by state Sen. Pat Gallivan and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin that gives a boost to truth-seekers who have a hard time getting their hands on government information. Going forward, whenever a judge rules that a state or municipal government wrongly withheld documents, they’ll be on the hook for the attorney fees. For a governor with a mixed record on transparency, this is welcome news.
Kirsten Gillibrand – Before this week, your average Iowa Democrat may not have known Kirsten Gillibrand from Kristin Chenoweth. But thanks to President Donald Trump’s shocking tweet, Gillibrand’s seeming more like the perfect foil to Trump in 2020. Extra-damaging damage control from Trump’s adult son and a barn-burning editorial from USA Today helped extend her moment, but Gillibrand worked for it too, introducing bipartisan truck safety legislation and timely reforms to sexual harassment reporting in Congress.
Danielle Laraque-Arena & Randy Wolken – The winners of the annual Regional Economic Development Council Hunger Games awards were announced this week, and Central New York won big. Laraque-Arena and Wolken are the lucky REDC chairs who received $86.4 million, narrowly outdoing last year’s winner, the Mid-Hudson region. The awards will support 112 projects, including specific funds for companies to build and renovate facilities in the area. Take that, runner-up Mohawk Valley.
Antonio Reynoso – New York City Councilman Antonio Reynoso vowed in April that after three years, 2017 would be the year the Right to Know Act passes. He’s at least half right. Reynoso’s piece of the two-part legislation earned widespread praise, and the council is expected to pass his law regarding consent for police searches. Plus, Reynoso sidestepped the controversy surrounding the act’s other half, with dozens of criminal justice groups denouncing the compromise City Councilman Ritchie Torres reached with the NYPD.
Andrew Cuomo – Well, let’s start with Cuomo making GQ’s list of “least influential people.” But more broadly, it looks like the governor’s two-pronged strategy of hiding from the press and then glaring at them menacingly may not be working out as planned. Early in the week, he wanted to ignore the FBI investigation into his payroll practices and instead talk about Puerto Rico while, naturally, refusing to take questions. Then, he mocked a reporter for asking about said FBI investigation, mustering his best mobbed-up mug – “Have you been in Albany?” – before the coup de grâce: lecturing a veteran female journalist about sexual harassment, which then got picked up twice by the AP in as many days. No wonder Andy tries to plant questions with the press!
Marty Golden – First, his driver allegedly tried to use a bike lane to get around traffic. Then, the Brooklyn state senator flashed his parking placard and claimed he was a cop, according to cyclist Brian Howald, who was in his way. Finally, the lawmaker tried to avoid being photographed as he sped away – which Howald posted on Twitter. Golden – who actually was a cop once – denied impersonating one, but the incident has dredged up other evidence of more bad driving behavior.
Shawn Morse – The embattled Cohoes mayor was first made a loser due to domestic abuse allegations against him by his wife. This week, the Times Union reported that the accusations of domestic violence against Morse span decades. Despite calls for him to resign by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy and other prominent Democratic leaders, Morse insists that he will not step down – choosing instead to sink lower.
Anthony Santino – It’s hard to be a lame duck: Nobody calls anymore, you’re about to lose your office and everybody’s excited about the up-and-coming replacement who’s about to take it all away from you. So while you’ve still got some authority left, why not go out with a blast by giving everybody raises? That’s what Santino, the outgoing Hempstead supervisor, decided to do, but it probably doesn’t sound as good to constituents as it did when he cut the backroom deals.
Christopher St. Lawrence – For the former Ramapo supervisor, it was the Field of Broken Dreams. After lying for years about the town’s financial mess in an effort to convince others to help him build a baseball stadium, St. Lawrence was sentenced to 30 months in prison for fraud. In his defense, sometimes it seems like our state’s politicians might not know that it’s a crime to “chose over and over to scheme, hide the truth and lie” in New York politics.