Winners & Losers 11/17/17
A week and a half after the general election, a few of the races that were too close to call have finally been resolved. Two of the victors landed on this week’s list, along with a few lawmakers who notched legislative victories, several commissioners who committed unforced errors and more.
Chris Collins & Tom Reed – While some of their colleagues in the state’s Republican congressional delegation don’t agree, these two Western New Yorkers were happy to vote for the controversial tax reform proposal that passed in the House this week. Reed helped craft a key compromise on local and state tax deductions that advanced the plan, while Collins said it will save his constituents money. What’s more, the federal government declared Lake Ontario a disaster zone after spring flooding, another top priority for Collins.
Richard Gottfried & Diane Savino – The Manhattan assemblyman and the Staten Island state senator's legislation allowing medical marijuana to be used for treating post-traumatic stress disorder was signed into into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Veterans Day, expanding the list of ailments that may legally be treated by cannabis. In a state where any legislative action can be incredibly slow, the bill passed with bipartisan majorities, and was touted by the governor as part of a package supporting veterans, making it a high point for the lawmakers.
Bob Holden – Bob’s your uncle – I mean, councilman! Holden officially won a New York City Council seat, besting nine-year incumbent Elizabeth Crowley in a nailbiter of a race that ended only 137 votes apart, with Crowley conceding on Thursday. Holden, a registered Democrat who received Republican backing after the primary, is now being courted by both parties just as the New York City Council speaker’s race heats up.
Rory Lancman – It took the New York City councilman from Queens more than a year to criminalize an activity that is indefensible: revenge porn. But the New Yor City Council succeeded where the state failed, and thanks to Lancman’s efforts, sharing people’s intimate photos with the aim of embarrassing or hurting them will now cost the perp up to a $1,000 and a year in jail.
Steve McLaughlin – The outspoken GOP assemblyman is known for criticizing the leadership of elected officials, from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. Now that his Democratic rival in the race for Rensselaer County executive has conceded, McLaughlin will see if he has what it takes to lead. The lawmaker finally has the last McLaugh – and hopefully that’s the final time we use that pun.
Cynthia Brann – After New York City Correction Commissioner Joe Ponte resigned after misusing his city vehicle, Brann was promoted to replace him. The city got reminded of that fact this week when the $6,000 fine against de Blasio’s new jails chief was finally announced. And the leader of “New York’s Boldest” got slapped on the wrist for another bold move – getting a subordinate to write the check for her.
Jonathan Cohen – In New York City, where everyone believes they have the worst landlord, the real dishonor officially goes to Cohen after the New York City Public Advocate’s office bestowed the ignominious distinction on the Silvershore Properties manager. Apparently, Johnny C. racked up an average of 1,090 open violations on 188 units in 19 buildings. It’s only an average of 57 violations per building, or 5.8 violations per unit … could be worse next year!
Jacques Jiha – How much of a difference can a single numeral make? In New York City, it added up to a whopping $26 million. Jiha’s New York City Department of Finance had to invalidate hundreds of thousands of parking tickets and send out reimbursements when the city inadvertently left a zero on the end of a code number for the tickets. First of all, shouldn’t someone have noticed the mistake sooner? And second, if people are getting out of paying parking tickets, shouldn’t there at least be some kind of payoff for someone?
Shawn Morse – Late last week, the Cohoes mayor’s wife called the police, reporting that he had grabbed her by the neck and thrown her to the ground. The case was handed to the New York State Police after it was revealed that a police captain who visited the house in response – a friend of Morse’s – made the decision not to arrest him. Morse denied that his wife even said that he attacked her, despite evidence from the police dispatcher record. For Morse’s future reference, alleged assault and trying to cover it up is a good way to get on the loser list.
Shola Olatoye – The New York City Housing Authority has long been plagued by problems ranging from toxic mold to lead poisoning, all of it exacerbated by severe funding problems. But any sympathy for the gargantuan challenges that Chairwoman Shola Olatoye faces evaporated this week when it was revealed that she and her agency lied about carrying out lead paint inspections in NYCHA apartments, according to a bombshell city DOI report. The de Blasio administration initially downplayed it as an unintentional error, but New York City Public Advocate Letitia James is calling on Olatoye to resign.