Winners & Losers 1/12/18
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson can sing. He can dance. He can stand up to Mayor Bill de Blasio – or so we’re told – and he just got to pick the winners and losers in the city’s legislative body. So why isn’t he on our latest Winners & Losers list? Simply put, he was sent to the showers for admitting he’s a Red Sox fan – and, even worse, he roots for the Patriots!
Danny Dromm & Rafael Salamanca – The way rank-and-file New York City Council members talk about the Finance and Land Use committees is the way Little Leaguers talk about the New York Yankees. It’s the big leagues! And Dromm and Salamanca are the latest to don the pinstripes, with Dromm being named Finance Committee chairman and Salamanca being named Land Use Committee chairman. County loyalty paid off for this pair, but they can’t get complacent, or former Rookie of the Year Ritchie Torres may lead the Oversight Committee to the World Series.
Shelley Mayer – A special election hasn’t even been called yet to fill Westchester County Executive George Latimer’s vacant state Senate seat, but Shelley Mayer is already ahead of the competition. A miniconvention of county party leaders designated Mayer the party nominee for when the election is – eventually – scheduled. Democrats have a registration advantage in the county, and no convention has been scheduled yet for the Republicans, so Mayer can take advantage of this potentially long waiting time.
Hillary Peckham – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have paved the way for federal prosecutors to take down the marijuana industry that’s growing state by state, even in places like New York that have only legalized medical marijuana. But the industry isn’t slowing down here, and Exhibit A is Etain Inc.’s recent approval to provide pot in additional forms like lozenges and drink powder. That’s just the kind of moxie we expect from Peckham, an executive at Etain and one of our past 40 Under 40 Rising Stars.
Polly Trottenberg – New York City has hit the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1910. The reason: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious Vision Zero plan, first established in 2014. The number of pedestrian fatalities dropped to 101 in 2017 as the streets continue to get safer. Although that’s still a considerable ways off from the eventual goal of zero traffic fatalities, this is certainly a good step.
Oprah Winfrey – The iconic talk show host and actress – who has had ties to Manhattan – had the entertainment and political worlds abuzz after her speech accepting a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes on Sunday. Her rallying cry against misogyny left Democrats wondering if another billionaire celebrity could make it to the Oval Office, while New Yorkers from U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson heaped on praise. Oprah is now reportedly mulling a run, although it remains to be seen if her campaign platform will include everybody getting a car.
Anthony Annucci – The Mooch had his 15 minutes of fame. Now, it’s time for the Nooch. The harsh headlines have to do with the acting state corrections commissioner’s new purchasing policy that makes it a lot harder for inmates to get books, among other items. Annucci’s line is that he’s “heard the feedback,” but the timing couldn’t have been worse as his boss, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, just rolled out a package of measures intended to help inmates and those accused of committing crimes.
Rick Cotton – It’s not easy to be the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which isn’t as hated as the MTA, but certainly isn’t a beloved government institution. This week, Cotton’s Port Authority had to deal with one of Kennedy Airport’s worst weeks ever. Last week’s blizzard left the airport crippled for days, stranding passengers not just in waiting rooms, but on tarmacs as well. Compounding the already long list of problems, one of its terminals flooded, causing a partial evacuation.
Pamela Harris – It was a bra-zen scheme. The future state lawmaker “was busy brewing a storm of her own” in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, federal authorities said, taking $60,000 in state and federal funds in several scams that allowed her to spend the public’s money on lingerie, among other things. And while the president might tout being “45,” this state assemblywoman probably won’t love being “44” – that is, the 44th New York lawmaker to face ethical or corruption charges since 2000.
Jeff Klein – The IDC power couple Klavino frantically denied allegations this week that appeared just minutes later in HuffPost that state Sen. Jeff Klein “shoved his tongue” down a staffer’s throat at an Albany bar during celebrations after the 2015 budget passed. Now, Cuomo is calling for an investigation and the alleged victim is calling for political reforms in Albany from her Facebook page. Whether the claims are proven true or not, it looks like the #MeToo movement has arrived in Albany with a vengeance.
Jumaane Williams – Williams put all his chips into the pot and lost, with the prominent and productive New York City councilman blocked from getting even a single committee chairmanship. Could it be because his opposed City Council Speaker Corey Johnson until the bitter end? Johnson claimed no vindictiveness, but granting Williams membership on the no-power leadership team and the lowly chairmanship of the City Workforce Equity Task Force sure seems like it. Tough break for a guy who was just slammed against the hood of a car and arrested.