Winners & Losers 9/29/17
Washington may have a monopoly on government dysfunction, but New York isn't giving up in the competition to be the most scandal-plagued place in the country. In the space of a couple days, a man who might have been New York City's mayor was sentenced for his sleazy online behavior and yet another former legislative leader had his corruption conviction overturned – at least for now. But how do they stack up among this week’s Winners & Losers?
Rob Astorino – Last month, the Republican Westchester County executive vetoed a bill intended to protect undocumented immigrants, saying the legislation would threaten access to federal funding. On Monday, county legislators came one vote short of overriding the veto, meaning that Westchester will not become a so-called "sanctuary county" – although Astorino did issue an executive order directing county officers not to inquire about immigration status.
Bo Dietl – Big Bird can’t run. Big Bird can’t hide. Big Bad Bo Dietl will be at the debate! “I guess he's got to face me finally,” said the private eye for mayor. But don’t expect “Wild Man Bo” at the debate, the mouthy former cop says. “I’m going to be a gentleman with specific facts. I’ve got real numbers that I’m going to push.”
Vincent Gentile – Far back in the New York Post archives, in the Bloombergian days of 2010, you’ll find this headline: “Gentile wants to smoke out hookah bars.” The councilman’s strategy took longer than expected, but seven years later, his bill finally passed, banning new hookah bars on the basis of the health risks. The term-limited Democrat can end his career on a high note, showing that he’s a man of action – and not just blowing smoke.
Gary LaBarbera – “There is this perception out there that the bill is our bill,” the construction union prez said about the controversial construction safety bill that finally passed the New York City Council. “The bill is the City Council’s bill.” But it was hard to ignore the neon-shirted roaring crowd at City Hall Wednesday, celebrating the passage of a bill that LaBarbera’s Building and Construction Trades Council has pushed for years. Expected: fewer deaths, but also more business for union contractors.
Dean Skelos – Anytime you can be convicted of corruption and have judges convinced not once, but twice that the evidence was sufficient to convict you for an old-fashioned quid pro quo, and still walk free? You’re having a good week. But that luck may not last, as a new trial likely looms for Dean.
Steven Brisee – It’s not uncommon for the rich and powerful to shoplift in designer stores, but a congressional candidate arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle $1,500 worth of men’s clothing out of Kohl’s? Now Brisee faces a felony grand larceny charge, although he insists it’s not true. We thought politicians like to stick to white-collar crime ... well, maybe he did.
Jared Kushner – The president’s son-in-law has had a lot on his mind lately, from bringing peace to the Middle East to reinventing how the federal government operates. So can we really blame him for forgetting not to use his private email for government communications, just like Crooked Hillary did? Fair or not, the press is also piling on about the family empire he’s squandering, his lack of political prowess and an odd glitch that showed him registered to vote as a woman.
Denise Mejia – Mejia was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment after she allegedly fired a shotgun into the back of an abandoned car and at a building, which is odd behavior for pretty much anyone, but especially a member of the Niagara Falls Human Rights Commission. She claims her innocence, saying that the gun “just went off” while in her possession. As we all know, sometimes human rights advocates just happen to be holding guns that just happen to be pointed at cars and buildings.
Anthony Weiner – Weiner’s spectacular fall from progressive hero to sexting punchline made him one of our Losers of the Decade last year. And somehow, his life has gotten even worse since then. Sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting a teen – and some even blame him for costing Hillary Clinton the presidency – this will hopefully be the last time we see Weiner’s name on this page for a long while.
Keith Wright – Not only is the average voter excluded from picking the replacement for ex-state Sen. Daniel Squadron – committee members don't have a say in the matter either, even in the relatively reform-oriented borough of Manhattan. As a result, enraged party officials this week took aim at Wright, the Manhattan Democratic boss, with a proposal to bar him from keeping his questionable day job at a lobbying firm. Wright narrowly avoided having to pick between one job or the other, but this fight’s not over yet.