Winners & Losers 9/8/17
There are some competitive matchups in next week’s primary races, and plenty of the allegations and accusations that inevitably arise as Election Day approaches. But what everyone really cares about is the cheating scandal that has blown up as the Yankees and Red Sox battle for the best record in the AL East. So if politics is its own kind of sport, here are this week’s highlights, from the biggest home runs to the costliest errors.
Denny Farrell – The plaudits keep on coming for the outgoing assemblyman, who this week had a Manhattan state park officially named after him. Politicians on both sides of the aisle praised his stature and his civility. And nobody was so crass as to point that the timing of his retirement essentially allows him to hand-pick his successor – and to keep those pesky voters out of the whole process.
Jimmy Oddo – Amazon announced a new facility coming to Staten Island at the Global Logistics Park, slated to open in fall of 2018. The 855,000-square-foot warehouse is expected to create 2,250 permanent jobs, and it will also host robot workers. The facility is a boon to Oddo, who has dubbed the West Shore of Staten Island as the “Jobs Coast.” With Amazon introducing innovation and providing employment for the humans and robots of Staten Island, that name seems pretty accurate.
James O’Neill – The NYPD commissioner had two pieces of good news this week, as crime dropped at J’ouvert and in the city as a whole compared to last year’s numbers. There was no violence reported at Monday’s pre-dawn celebration, a significant improvement from last year’s two shooting deaths. O’Neill then announced on Tuesday that there was a 60 percent drop in murders last month from August 2016, with violent crime in general in decline.
Donovan Richards – Aren’t rezonings controversial? The Queens councilman and the de Blasio administration worked together closely to pass the rezoning of downtown Far Rockaway with none of the protest that has killed or marred other rezonings. Waves of development may soon be pouring in, including a new park, and the smooth passage should only boost Richards’ profile as the leading compromise candidate for City Council speaker.
Chuck Schumer – Geography trumped party in this case, as the Brooklyn-bred U.S. senator struck a deal with the Queens-born president to raise the debt limit and keep funding the federal government, despite the protestations of Trump’s fellow Republicans. With Trump also vowing to work with Schumer on immigration, and hosting New York leaders to talk about the Gateway Program, Schumer looks like the new Steve Bannon in the president’s ear.
Joel Abelove – The Rensselaer County district attorney is facing a grand jury investigation by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over his actions in the case of a fatal police shooting of an unarmed driver. After a man was shot and killed during a traffic stop in 2015, Abelove presented evidence to a grand jury, which did not bring charges against the officer. Now Schneiderman will investigate him for his role in this case as well as the circumstances around the shooting. According to Schneiderman, Abelove didn’t have the authority to investigate this shooting – and now he may pay the price.
Robert Antonacci – Onondaga County comptroller will have to give up his outside work now that new county legislation is set to block it – including moonlighting as a paid high school basketball referee. Lawmakers swatted away Antonacci’s best shot of keeping his outside tax and bookkeeping pay with the new law, blowing the whistle on any future attempts to get any extra-time income. Perhaps it’s an early sign that all Albany politicians making outside money might someday be wearing stripes?
Donald Capoccia – The managing principal of BFC Partners’ megaproject in Crown Heights has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, with opposition to the Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment becoming a litmus test for progressivism. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams proved his opposition this week, giving the current project the thumbs down while asking BFC to increase the affordable housing and even set aside units for homeless families – a tough sell for the for-profit developer.
Steve McLaughlin – Nothing to McLaugh about here. A female aide accused the assemblyman of roughing her up in early August, which he denies – but she recorded a recounting of that incident as well as McLaughlin calling her “fat,” “an awful human being,” and a certain c-word. Now, both he and she are saying it’s all a misunderstanding and the timing of the report is politically motivated. No matter who you believe, McLaughlin comes through loud and clear in the recordings.
Judith McMahon & Stephen Rooney – A warning to mouthy magistrates: These Staten Island judges resigned from their top administrative positions after secret recordings by their county clerk were given to the inspector general. We don’t know what was revealed … but we do know Rooney will remain a judge in the borough, and McMahon, wife of Staten Island District Attorney Mike McMahon, will be transferred to a Manhattan courtroom. Beware Manhattanites, she allegedly “has a habit of screaming at people.”