Ahhh, the first week of fall! The leaves are turning, reporters are canoeing with the governor, and Rep. Michael Grimm sees conspiracies where the rest of us see only schoolchildren. We’re six weeks from a presidential election, one year from a mayoral election, and an undetermined amount of time from Cuomo’s first annual beer, wine and cheese summit. In the meantime, fetch your own mug and a fine sharp cheddar, and read about this week’s winners, and their unhappy counterparts, the losers.
Brian Brown – Kathy Marchione may have won her state Senate primary in upstate New York, but National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown won a larger battle – rendering LGBT rights groups incapable of claiming that no Republican legislator who voted yes on same-sex marriage has ever been defeated because of it. Initiatives against same-sex marriage in other states might not come about in exactly the same way – through floor votes in a Republican-led legislature – but the example of Roy McDonald will probably serve as a cautionary tale, making it that much harder for bills to pass in the short term.
Andrew Cuomo – After a Sunday where Gov. Cuomo seduced the Albany press corps by taking them on a picturesque jaunt through the Adirondacks, he likely could have done no wrong this week. And still he compounded the love fest by coming out for Roy McDonald in his time of need and winning federal approval for his principal infrastructure priority, the Tappan Zee Bridge. Oh, and did we mention he even caught a fish—an eight-inch brook trout he promptly released? Is there anything this guy can’t do?
Kathy Marchione – The Saratoga County Clerk could be travelling south to Albany a lot more often after beating state Sen. Roy McDonald by a nose in the photo finish of a primary that was largely a referendum on same-sex marriage. Don’t underestimate Marchione, who could beat her Democratic opponent, keep the Senate in Republican hands, and maybe bring back a few lulus to small businesses upstate. Also, we hear she’s a pretty good shot.
Bruce Ratner - It has been 10 long years since developer Bruce Ratner proposed opening a professional sports arena and more than a dozen towers at Atlantic Yards. Forest City Ratner has not yet developed any housing on the site – fending off lawsuits and earning the ire of thousands who live in Brownstone Brooklyn – but the Barclays Center opens its doors this weekend with a string of sold-out Jay-Z performances. Ratner’s legacy in New York may further erode, but the arena’s opening marks a high point, and perhaps the apex, of his career.
Louise Slaughter – Despite allegations from her opponent, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, that she is running a “deceitful” campaign, a Siena College poll released on Thursday showed that Slaughter was leading Brooks by 10 percentage points—52 percent for Slaughter, 42 percent for Brooks—in her re-election campaign for Congress. Coupled with claims from a Brooks spokesperson that State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s recent audits of her county were “prejudicial”—all audits from DiNapoli’s office are non-partisan—it might be time for Brooks to re-shape the messaging of her campaign.
Bill Eggler – In the online comment sections of several newspapers, no woman was more passionate and adamant in defending Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver against allegations that he had improperly handled accusations of sexual harassment than Sophia Walker. The only hitch is that it turns out Walker is actually a man, and not just any man, but Bill Eggler, a longtime legislative writer for Silver. When are people going to learn that there’s no such thing as anonymity on the Internet?
Michael Grimm – A recent poll shows the Staten Island congressman holding a comfortable lead in his re-election bid, but instead of capitalizing on it he’s been making headlines for overreacting to an act of vandalism at a campaign office. Grimm claimed that the attacks were “politically motivated” – even invoking Gabby Giffords and violence in the Middle East – and said that hard drives with sensitive data were erased. He walked back his claims – and gave his Democratic challenger more fodder for criticism – when a couple of teenage boys admitted to smashing a window at the office.
Ray Kelly – Kelly’s had a rough go of it, starting with last week’s incident involving Councilman Jumaane Williams being shoved by a police officer. On Monday, the City Council announced that a hearing on four bills that comprise the Community Safety Act—which would reform stop-and-frisk among other controversial tactics—would be held on Oct. 10, followed by field hearings in Brooklyn and Queens. Then Bronx DA Robert Johnson twisted the dagger by stating he would no longer prosecute individuals stopped in housing projects and arrested for trespassing, dealing another blow to stop-and-frisk. And finally for good measure, hundreds of New Yorkers staged a rally in City Hall Park drumming up support for reforms. Your move, Commish.
James Molinaro – The Staten Island borough president really drew attention to the issue of drug abuse this week when he called Lady Gaga a “slut” for smoking pot onstage at one of her concerts. Wait a minute, no he didn’t. He drew attention to the fact that he doesn’t know what the word means, and that it’s not really a nice thing to say about anyone, especially if you’re a public official. He marred what should have been a perfect week capped by news that his borough was possibly inheriting the world’s largest Ferris wheel!
Rupert Murdoch – Are Democrats democratic? Republicans republican? Yet another pair of confusing political terms – independents and Independence – seems to have befuddled the News Corp. CEO, who apparently wanted to be an independent when he registered with the Independence Party. What’s more, Murdoch’s New York Post has been highly critical of New York City’s Independence Party, even labeling its leader an anti-Semite. And things aren’t much better across the pond, where former top Murdoch editor Rebekah Brooks went to court this week in connection with the ongoing phone-hacking scandal.