Winners & Losers 7/21/17
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio came together this week to oppose the effort to repeal Obamacare, but soon enough they were back at it, bickering over the cost of installing LED lights on bridges and who really runs the subways. So while we are delayed by government incompetence, don’t wait around for them to apologize for any inconvenience – instead, distract yourself with this week’s Winners & Losers.
Rob Astorino – The 11th time was a charm for the Westchester County executive, who finally got the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to accept an analysis that the county government submitted in its long-running affordable housing standoff with the federal government. Astorino’s office concluded that local zoning codes did not, in fact, further racial segregation in the county. And while a certain Trump appointee may have made all the difference, Astorino called the decision a “vindication.”
Martin Dilan & Michael Miller – The Brooklyn-Queens border is the luckiest spot in town, with these two lawmakers in neighboring districts being revealed by the New York Post as lottery winners in their latest financial disclosure forms. Sen. Dilan won $25,000 – enough for a down payment on his new house – while Assemblyman Miller won somewhere between $5K and $20K, although he was misnamed as “Robert Miller” in the article. Reminder: The house always wins.
Jimmy Fallon – "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" moved to New York from California in 2013 after the state dangled millions of dollars in tax credits, and now the time has come to pony up. The late-night TV show raked in nearly $21 million from New York taxpayers for its first season. The costs cover production, and not on-air talent, but it’s still a win for the goofy host whose star power is apparently enough to lure the show to the East Coast and make New Yorkers pay for it.
John Flanagan – Senate Republicans are riding on a tidal wave of cash, while the Dems are trying to stay afloat – comparatively, anyway. Republicans reported $12.2 million on hand, after raising $5.2 million in the first half of 2017. Meanwhile, the mainline Democrats have just $3.1 million on hand, after taking in just $1.6 million during the same period. And while these numbers are pretty consistent with previous years’ figures, any liberal hope of anti-Trump sentiment bringing in a flood of cash is looking like a fantasy.
Kalman Yeger – New York City Councilman David Greenfield dropped a Yegerbomb this week, announcing his retirement and effectively handing off his Brooklyn City Council seat to his former adviser and fundraiser Kalman Yeger. Instead of waging a fierce fight against City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, Yeger now gets to spend the next four months looking for a home in his new district, where he has to move before he’s elected unopposed in November.
Hillary Clinton – While President Donald Trump just recorded some of the lowest approval ratings of any White House occupant in recent memory, there is a silver lining: Hillary Clinton is still doing worse. The latest Bloomberg poll shows that only 39 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the 2016 Democratic candidate, two points lower than the Donald. It begs the question, has Hillary finally hit rock bottom?
Chris Collins – Pro tip: When you’re under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics for investing in a sketchy biotech firm, don’t discuss stock trades for that company on your cellphone in the U.S. Capitol. It’s unseemly. Collins also lost this week when the Senate health care bill failed to pass, as it included an amendment proposed by him and Rep. John Faso that would have shifted Medicaid costs from New York counties to the state. Even worse: Collins now has a Democratic challenger for the 2018 race – and she has a long resume of public service that doesn’t include investment in obscure Australian companies.
Geoffrey Szymanski – The mayor of Lackawanna got the bad news this week that he’s not going to get the state aid he really wanted – $550,000 in costs to put out a four-day inferno at an industrial park on former Bethlehem Steel property late last year. He got word in the form of a terse two-paragraph letter rejecting the city’s plea for help. For victims of the fire, that’s just cold.
Lovely Warren – When financial records showed that $30,000 was transferred from Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren’s political action committee to her own official committee, Friends of Lovely Warren, her campaign blamed it on a “PayPal error.” New York state has strict rules forbidding PACs and committees from coordinating, and this type of negative attention won’t help her for the Rochester mayoral primary set to take place in September.
Ruben Wills – When there’s a Wills, there’s NO WAY, said the state Supreme Court, convicting the Queens councilman of stealing more than $30,000 in state grants meant for single parents and obesity prevention and using it on the important causes of … a Louis Vuitton handbag, terry cloth slippers, and – in a ironic, obesity-causing twist – purchases at Dunkin' Donuts. Wills loses his seat with the conviction, and, presumably, his re-election bid.