Winners & Losers 6/23/17
Like an old vet being called back to war, or a poor soul being dragged back into hell, Joe Lhota is once again taking arguably the worst job in New York: chairman of the MTA. Lhota’s got a lot to figure out, like how to pacify furious commuters while updating an 80-year-old signal network, but his first job may be the hardest one of all: getting Cuomo to take responsibility. Read on, while you wait for your train to show up.
James Blake - New York City's Civilian Complaint Review Board is creating a fellowship in the name of James Blake, resolving his legal claim against the city for police harassment. Two years ago, the tennis star was tackled to the sidewalk by an NYPD officer. Blake settled his lawsuit against the city by finding a way to turn this incident into a teachable moment, or rather, a teachable two-year fellowship. The fellow will advocate for victims of police brutality and educate them on navigating the legal system to pursue claims.
Carlos Cardona - The former Ground Zero recovery worker and undocumented immigrant has been pardoned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a nonviolent drug crime in 1990. Cuomo's clemency will allow Cardona's lawyers to argue that his deportation be deemed invalid, yet the final decision is still in the hands of President Donald Trump and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Mario Cilento – Unions may be under threat across the country, but New York is doing all it can to give them a boost. Earlier this year, Cuomo quietly inserted legislation to make unionized workers' dues tax-deductible. Then, this week, the governor cut a tentative deal with CSEA, giving them heftier paychecks than the last time around. And Cilento’s state AFL-CIO closed out the week with the passage of “Buy American” legislation that he had been pushing for all session.
Paul Feinman – After being nominated by Cuomo last week, the state Senate confirmed Feinman to the state Court of Appeals on Wednesday. He is the first openly gay man to join the state’s highest court. It’s a win for Feinman’s judicial career, and for gay rights activists who can take pride in this respected jurist taking his place on the court.
Brooke Guinan - New York City's first and only transgender firefighter has been named as one of three grand marshals to walk at the Pride Parade on Sunday. Guinan has been praised for actively defying gender roles, taking up a profession that is usually typecast as masculine and heterosexual. As Guinan becomes a more visible role model to the LGBTQ community, it isn't hard to see that she truly is one of New York's Bravest.
Bill de Blasio – Cheap rent, good pizza and mayoral control – pretty much every New Yorker can agree on those, so it’s unthinkable that Albany would end the legislative session without renewing the mayor’s control of city schools – but here we are. No deal was reached, despite the mayor’s 11th hour phone calls. Now everyone’s pointing fingers, leaving us wondering how this got bungled.
Andrew Cuomo – Anyone who has been to a speech by the governor has heard him tout his ability to make “Albany function” after years of dysfunction. Cuomo has prided himself on on-time budgets and end-of-session deals. This year, however, his streak has been officially broken. The budget and end-of-session deadlines came and went with no major agreements. One has to wonder if he has bigger aspirations these days …
Thomas DiNapoli – The state Legislature failed to address state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s calls for a law that would grant his office greater oversight into the state’s economic development programs. DiNapoli has claimed that the lack of oversight into state contracts has opened the door for corruption and favoritism in the spending of taxpayer dollars. But it seems Cuomo and other officials are content with the current arrangement.
Brad Hoylman & Linda Rosenthal – Politically speaking, it’s tough to defend being against these two state lawmakers' legislation that would help sexual abuse survivors hold their abusers accountable – and yet, that's exactly what happened. After both the governor and the Assembly supported legislation to allow survivors to bring civil cases against their abusers until their 50th birthday and criminal cases until their 28th birthday, the Republican-led state Senate refused to vote on it. The Roman Catholic Church and Boy Scouts of America were not available for comment.
Carrie Solages – While a politician assaulting a reporter these days seems to go unpunished, one hopes assaulting your significant other in front of children means your political career is dead. The Nassau County legislator was charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child this week after he allegedly grabbed his girlfriend by the arm and neck and threw her against a wall. What a public role model.