Our thoughts and prayers are with Boston this week, where a horrific attack on its marathon and its citizens united the country in empathy for the victims. The world of politics can seem meaningless in the wake of irrational and wanton destruction. But the Northeast has recovered from acts of terror and will show its resolve once again. Aside from the tragedy, as always, we have your winners and losers.
Can’t get enough of our winners and losers? Tune in to the “The Capitol Pressroom” with Susan Arbetter each Friday at 11:05 a.m. to hear about our weekly picks.
Sean Eldridge - Following the latest crime spree in Albany, campaign finance reform is back in the spotlight, and so too is Eldridge—one of the deepest pocketed advocates for limiting the influence of money in politics in the state. As if that description doesn’t come across as contradictory enough, Eldridge disclosed this week in a filing that he raised $311,215 over the past three months for his maiden run for office, against Rep. Chris Gibson. Gibson, who pulled in a paltry $131K, demonstrated this week that he’s not taking Eldridge’s challenge lightly, announcing that he has no intention of giving up his seat to take on Cuomo—who is reportedly ready to put his “full support” behind Eldridge for Congress.
Steve Israel - The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised a record-breaking sum this past quarter—$22.6 million—and no Dem did better than the DCCC’s chair, Rep. Steve Israel, who hauled in $568,000 in contributions. As if those numbers were not heartening enough for the Long Island congressman, many of his freshmen colleagues across the country who will have to fight hard battles to hold onto their seats pulled in big money too.
Sandra Lee - First the governor redefined what marriage means in New York State. Now he’s redefining what benefits a girlfriend gets too. This week the governor’s “domestic partner,” Sandra Lee, was cleared by JCOPE to fly on his state-owned aircraft at taxpayer expense when Cuomo is travelling on official business. We’re glad that JCOPE is vigilantly tackling the tough ethics issues in Albany and that this pressing concern has finally been resolved.
Tom Prendergast – Months after former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota threw his hat in the ring for New York City mayor, Gov. Cuomo finally filled his shoes by naming Prendergast the new CEO of the transportation authority. By all accounts, the governor made the right choice, as Prendergast is being hailed as by the far the most qualified choice to run the $13 billion agency, with decades of mass transit experience, having headed the Long Island Rail Road as well as New York City’s mass transit system. He’s got his work cut out for him, with the MTA’s finances careening out of control, and billions of dollars in repairs still needed from the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, but if the high praise is any indication, Prendergast should provide a steady hand to steer the agency.
Janette Sadik-Khan – It wasn’t long ago when it seemed that New York City’s bike share program would be relegated to mothball status after several false starts. Well, credit the persistence of Sadik-Khan for seeing the project through, as the registration for the bike share system, which will provide 330 docking stations and over 6000 bicycles available to rent from Manhattan to Brooklyn, began on Monday. Already the sign-up numbers have exceeded expectations. Nonetheless there are some who are still skeptical about the success of the program and see it as a Mike Bloomberg vanity project. But Sadik-Khan has the reputation as an innovative and creative thinker, and the success of the program could very well end up a nice notch on her belt, perhaps her last hurrah as her tenure winds down.
Col Allan - The New York Post screwed up crucial details of the Boston bombing, botching the number of fatalities and misidentifying two suspects on the cover of its paper. One of them, a 17-year-old track star, took to the airwaves to immediately discount the story, and now Allan may even have a libel suit on his hands. How could the Murdoch-owned tabloid be dead wrong in such audacious fashion twice in one week? Was Col Allan sleeping through the news meetings?
Bill de Blasio – Does New York City’s public advocate even vet the people he hires? Just a few weeks ago a campaign staffer was exposed for her profanity-laced tweets blasting the NYPD and the NAACP and expressing support for a former LA cop accused of killing multiple people. While that aide stayed on de Blasio’s campaign, another staffer in his public advocate office resigned this week after some offensive comments about Jews and Council Speaker Quinn were published in the Post. Which makes us wonder: whose career will Twitter derail next?
Sharon Lee – The former spokeswoman for New York City Comptroller John Liu had an immunity agreement in the campaign finance trial involving another Liu aide and a fundraiser, but this week a prosecutor said that Lee had decided not to stick with it. As a result, prosecutors said, when she takes the witness stand she risks committing perjury. And while the trial has yet to play out, this week the decision makes her a Liu-ser.
Colin Myler – Not to be outdone by the inaccuracy of the New York Post, Myler and the Daily News contributed to the irresponsible press coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing by doctoring a photo of the incident that appeared on its front page. The original photograph showed a woman with a mangled leg lying in a pool of blood, but in the picture that ran on the cover, the woman’s wound is gone. It seems strange that the News felt comfortable running what is still a gruesome photo, yet omitting this detail. A spokesman for the paper said that they fixed the photo out of “sensitivity” to its readers, but the News violated a basic journalistic principle of maintaining the integrity of a photograph’s content and context and not manipulating an image to misrepresent a national tragedy such as the bombing.
Malcolm Smith - Smith returned to the Senate on Monday but found that his co-workers didn’t want him to be there and weren’t shy about telling him. Jeff Klein and his cohort immediately voted to kick him out of the Independent Democratic Conference while Senate Democrats said they didn’t want him either. One senator told us that Smith’s options were to go to trial, cop a plea or flee to South America. We here Sao Paulo is nice this time of year.
Tags: Bill De Blasio, campaign finance reform, Chris Gibson, Christine Quinn, Col Allan, colin myler, Daily News, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Janette Sadik-Khan, JCOPE, joe lhota, John Liu, Malcolm Smith, MTA, New York Post, Sandra Lee, Sao Paulo, Sean Eldridge, Sharon Lee, Steve Israel, Superstorm Sandy, Tom Prendergast, twitter