Country clubs and dollar bills, Bloomberg’s got more money, soda shots you can get refills, but he’s got more money. The soda ban’s popularity is going down in recent polls, and he’s still got more money. At four o’clock Bloomberg vowed to appeal the court’s decision, and he still got more money. Sugar makes the world go around, soda bans make Pepsi’s lobbyists frown, lot more campaign cash where that came from, the look in your eyes I know you want some … 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.
David Carlucci – When Gov. Andrew Cuomo wanted to chop $120 million in funding for developmentally disabled services from the state budget – about 6 percent of the budget for the agency for the disabled – legislators threw a fit. With the support of many officials the Assembly quickly moved to restore the funds in their one-house proposal, while Carlucci publicly spearheaded the effort in the state Senate. He held events in his district and in Albany decrying the cuts and greeted demonstrators in the Capitol who came to lobby lawmakers. The Senate, often loath to include funding restorations, put Carlucci’s bill in its budget proposal too. Now Cuomo is under pressure to follow suit. We have to say, Carlucci’s Way has a nice ring to it.
Ruben Diaz Jr. – The “New Bronx” is shaping up to be more than just a slogan. Last month Borough President Diaz Jr. made the “New” frame the rhetorical centerpiece of his State of the Borough speech, declaring “crime is down, investment is high, our neighborhoods are cleaner and our economy is growing.” While anyone who has been to the borough recently likely has seen for themselves that the Bronx is on the move, the statistics are there to back up the hype, too. This week, U.S. Census figures showed that after decades of declining population, the number of Bronxites is going up. Sure, the net migration was only 115 people, but considering that two decades ago the Bronx lost 20,0oo residents in a year, the totals show how far the borough has come. The Boogie Down Bronx even scored a glowing profile in the Times this week that made it sound like the “New Williamsburg.”
Peter King – The Long Island congressman has never been one to back down from verbally sparring with his opponents, and King took that pugnacious spirit to the boxing ring this week, facing off against a former New York kickboxing champ to support a local business. King, at 6’2″ and 230 pounds, towered over his opponent, “Irish” Josh Foley, but Foley, who is 37 years younger than King, had youth on his side. Still, King managed to stay upright for two rounds and received decent reviews for his fighting style, notable for a man who’s old enough to collect Social Security checks. Unfortunately, he’s also being criticized by watchdog groups for appearing to favor one local business. But at least now we know which legislator is most likely to start a congressional fight club.
Joe Lhota – So much for playing catch-up. Despite entering the race later than many rival candidates for mayor, Lhota made up for lost time by raising roughly $720,000 since mid-January, an astounding rate of $100,000 per week and far outpacing his Democratic opponents. His service in the Giuliani administration has surely helped, as city Republicans still speak of the former mayor with great reverence. Giuliani has also been reportedly working his connections to fill Lhota’s coffers, and Lhota’s wife, Tamra, is proving her reputation as a prolific Republican fundraiser. Lhota helped himself with solid showings in recent debates against a fairly weak slate of Republican candidates. With his campaign gaining traction, Lhota could run away with the GOP nomination.
Chuck Schumer – New York’s senior senator flexed his political muscle this week in securing millions of more dollars from the federal government to fix up the Long Island coastline, which is in need of repairs after Superstorm Sandy and had several dune and erosion projects in the works even before the storm. Schumer got the Army Corps of Engineers and federal budget officials to ease restrictions on four projects that had been cleared but were unfunded, resulting in an extra $436 million for New York and saving the state and local communities from rustling up the cash themselves.
Michael Bloomberg – Everything would go so much smoother if everyone just did what Mike wanted. But once again this week, those pesky courts and the sugar-loving New Yorkers with the audacity to sue for the right to get as fat as they want foiled the mayor’s plan to ban oversized sodas. Despite being a diabetic, State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling blocked the ban the day before it was to take effect, calling Bloomberg’s latest health initiative “arbitrary and capricious.” Is this the last straw? The case will go to appeal, but it will likely be the next mayor who will ultimately decide whether the city should go forward with the fight, thus denying Bloomberg one of his most high-profile intended achievements in the waning days of his administration.
Ry-Ann Hermon – William Boyland seems to make a case every week for inclusion in this half of the winners and losers list, and this one was no exception. This time around the Brooklyn assemblyman’s troubles stem from Hermon, his former chief of staff, who was arrested in 2001 and charged with accepting bribes from undercover FBI agents. On Thursday, Hermon pleaded guilty to several of the 21 counts of political corruption with which she had been charged, and then immediately turned around and testified against her embattled former boss in his own ongoing legal travails. Will this finally sink the FarmVille Fanatic? Tune in next week for another depressing installment of The Boyland Chronicles.
Ray Kelly – In what was supposed to be a routine budget hearing this week, the NYPD commish was grilled about the shooting death of 16-year-old Kimani Gray at the hands of police officers. Kelly said that Gray had a gun when he was killed, and Gray is accused of pointing it at the officers, but Councilman Jumaane Williams, a frequent critic of Kelly and his policing tactics, went on to blast the city’s stop-and-frisk policy. If that wasn’t enough, Kelly also faced accusations that he inappropriately diverted money from police pension funds and was pressured to read a report criticizing his department’s surveillance of Muslims. No wonder he doesn’t want to run for mayor.
Vito Lopez – The news keeps getting worse for the former county leader. The Daily News splashed Lopez on its cover on Monday for racy rumors that he fantasized about having sex with teenager girls, one day after its reporters found that Lopez staffers called the cops on him for urging an aide to dress more lasciviously – like a 14-year-old intern in his district office. Lopez has stayed away from Albany this week while he recuperates from a bout of pneumonia, but his fifth floor sign disappeared. An aide said it fell off, but may have been stolen – like the innocence of any number of young women who had the misfortune of working for him.
John Sexton – The anti-Sexton sentiment amongst NYU faculty seems to have reached its boiling point, resulting in the university’s largest school holding a five-day vote of no confidence against the university president. Central to their case against Sexton is a planned campus in Abu Dhabi, where a lack of academic freedom in the city and the prioritized hiring of adjunct faculty at the campus has angered faculty on the campus back home. Professors are also up in arms over what they view as lack of input in the development of the Abu Dhabi campus, describing the project as a “quintessentially Sexton operation.” Coupled with continued opposition to the NYU 2031 plan to expand the campus’ footprint in Greenwich Village, and Sexton better hope he comes out of this five-day vote unscathed.