State Sen. Greg Ball represents the pulsating id of New York’s conservative voter base, tweeting thoughts that some conservatives may be reluctant to say. This week, he tackled torture. Specifically, with a baseball bat. Then he called most politicians, his colleagues mind you, “completely full of crap.” His tweets and Albany interviews got him a national audience and he used it to belittle Piers Morgan on CNN. We can’t tell whether this makes Ball a winner or a loser this week, so here are some other choices:
Can’t get enough of our winners and losers? Tune in to the “The Capitol Pressroom” with Susan Arbetter on Friday at 11:44 a.m. to hear about our weekly picks.
Noam Bramson – Watch out, Rob Astorino! There’s another young up-and-comer in Westchester County, and now he’s looking to knock the current county executive out of office. Bramson, the mayor of New Rochelle, is 43 years old, but he had enough political experience to win the favor of the Westchester Dems, who picked him as their candidate over two county lawmakers. And with Astorino regularly cited as a potential challenger to the governor, you can bet Bramson will have plenty of backers outside of the county.
Ruben Diaz Jr. - If you would have told us five years ago that you could go figure skating or play some hockey at a world class ice rink complex in the Bronx, we would have put you in the penalty box. But Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. fought off Related’s plan to rezone the Kingsbridge Armory for commercial purposes and put forward a vision instead to turn the site into the world’s largest indoor ice skating center. This week Bronx officials and Mayor Bloomberg reached an agreement on the development project. Could the Bronx Winter Olympics be far behind?
Steve Katz - Talk about a happy 4/20! All of the buzz kill penalties Assemblyman Katz probably would have delighted in throwing at those law-breaking potheads luckily didn’t apply to the busted lawmaker this week as he accepted a plea deal on his arrest for marijuana and speeding charges. Katz totally didn’t even have to cop to possession, though his lawyer had to do some mind-blowing verbal gymnastics to avert answering direct questions about whether Katz actually had the 3.5 grams of weed on him court papers allege he had when he was stopped. Dude, good thing for short-term memory loss! Maybe Katz’s constituents will forget his hypocrisy by the time he runs for reelection next in 2014.
Hank Morris - What could be better than being paroled after 25 months in prison? Leaving prison almost two years early to start a job that is reportedly going to pay you $200,000 to $300,000 a year, of course. If that weren’t reason to earn Hank Morris the distinction of one of our winners of the week, he would have been in the running by never really having to take full accountability for his actions, insisting that the damage he caused to society was “not a pecuniary one” because the pension fund increased in value during the time he was exploiting the state comptroller’s office to make millions. Although where Morris is going to work is redacted from court documents, we’re guessing that gift for tortured logic means he’s headed right back to a job in politics.
Bill Thompson – The private sector treated Thompson well last year, with income returns revealing that the former New York City comptroller took home $774,621 in total earnings in 2012, significantly more than his Democratic rivals. Aside from stacking paper, Thompson also received a notable assist from Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, who announced this week that she would be serving as chairwoman to his campaign. With their combined account balances alone, Tisch and Thompson could make it rain in this race.
Rob Astorino - The feds won’t let up on Astorino over Westchester County’s failure to comply with a 2009 fair-housing settlement, directing its muscle, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, to seek a contempt ruling against him unless he complies with a federal appeals court ruling. Bharara has made a hobby recently of collecting electeds’ scalps, and he may have spooked Astorino, as the county executive sent a letter this week to the county Board of Legislators along with the key legislation the Feds are calling for and a pledge to sign it if passed. Astorino’s not out of the woods entirely with HUD still on his case, but trying to get off Preet’s naughty list is a wise career move.
Andrew Cuomo - The governor earned the number one slot on our Albany Power 100 list, but that did not exempt him from a mention here after a fraught week in the press. Cuomo earned criticism for conducting a radio interview on policy issues while the city of Boston was shut down to conduct a manhunt for its bombing suspect. And columnists Fred Dicker and Bill Hammond both took shots at Cuomo for untrustworthiness and running misleading television ads about the state’s economy, respectively. Furthermore, the governor could have more fracking headaches after environmental advocates asked the state to redo its economic impact study because of a potential conflict of interest. Maybe a hike on Bear Mountain this weekend would help Cuomo clear his head a little bit.
John Liu – It was already bound to be a bad week of press for the city comptroller, thanks to the court proceedings against his former campaign treasurer and a donor. During the trial, another former Liu aide admitted that she had offered to skirt campaign finance rules by reimbursing donors to his campaign, even though she knew it was wrong—which Liu responded to by saying that he had “full confidence” in her. Apart from the ethical and legal quandaries, the comptroller’s messaging was a bit off as well, with an innocuous but poorly timed campaign email titled “It’s a Marathon!” arriving in inboxes days after the Boston Marathon bombing.
Charlie Rangel – The congressman has every right to try to clear his name, but why drag it through the mud again just to do so? Rangel decided this week to bring a lawsuit against the House Ethics Committee over the alleged withholding of confidential evidence by investigators, among other reasons why he believes his congressional censure should be overturned. People were just starting to forget about Rangel’s shady dealings and it seems strange that the 82-year old congressman would actively want to revisit this unsavory part of an otherwise commendable career.
Anthony Weiner - Questioned in a cavalcade of television interviews about his sexting scandal, Weiner said this week that there weren’t 20 more compromising pictures of him out there, but he assured us that more could be forthcoming. How much does that mean? 1? 19? The difference between those two numbers in probably going to mean more to voters than the former congressman would like. Not that Weiner seems adequately focused on what people think of him. This week, despite the necessity of appearing outwardly to be apologetic, Weiner was hardly able to contain his haughtiness with some reporters, while looking oddly haggard in several of the on-camera interviews he did.
Tags: Andrew Cuomo, Anthony Weiner, Bill Hammond, Bill Thompson, Charlie Rangel, Fred Dicker, Greg Ball, hank-morris, John Liu, Kingsbridge Armory, Marijuana, Merryl Tisch, Noam Bramson, Piers Morgan, Preet Bharara, Related, Rob Astorino, Ruben Diaz Jr., Steve Katz, Susan Arbetter