Who would be the winners in a potential Bill de Blasio administration? Would Robert Mugabe get the nod to head up the Human Rights Commission? Daniel Ortega as deputy mayor for economic development? Fidel Castro as commissioner in the Department for the Aging? But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, so for now, here are this week’s 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.
Pamela Brown - Days before the May school board elections, 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino called for the resignation of Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown. A few days later he was elected to the board, and he immediately took it upon himself to push for Brown’s removal. Love him or hate him, you cannot deny that Paladino has power in Western New York, so his fixation upon ousting Brown had to have the superintendent worried. It all came to a head this week when a vote was forced on Brown’s removal. After a seven-hour meeting, Brown hung onto her seat in a 5-4 vote. Round 1 goes to Pamela Brown, but something makes us think this fight is far from over.
Jonathan Lippman - The chief judge’s job is not just to preside over the state’s highest court, but also to set policy for the entire court system. And this week he announced that New York will be the first state in the nation to have special courts designed to steer prostitutes, oftentimes forced into the profession against their will, onto a different path and away from the sex trade. Gov. Andrew Cuomo likes to say New York is the progressive capitol of the world. This week that is true, with Judge Lippman leading the way.
Dan Maffei - The on-again, off-again congressman from Syracuse might have an easier time keeping the seat he now holds, thanks to the decision by his successor, predecessor and former rival Ann Marie Buerkle to stay out of the fray in 2014. Buerkle knocked Maffei out of office in 2010, then went on to lose to him in 2012. This week she cited her new role at the Consumer Product Safety Commission as a reason to take a pass, but maybe she’s just tired of playing musical chairs with Maffei.
Joe Mondello - Mondello, the head of the Nassau County Republican Party, is not someone known for playing nice with others, with a reputation as an iron-fisted machine leader. So it was rather surprising when he put aside his decades-old policy of not cross-endorsing Democratic judges in order for Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer to give his party line for the state Supreme Court to two Nassau Republican judges. Mondello even went as far to say that he “totally trusted” Schaffer and that they would explore future cooperation between the parties. How’s that for some inter-party love?
Victor Pichardo - He might be the only Bronx Bomber who had a successful September. Pichardo slipped by his rivals and won an Assembly primary to fill Nelson Castro’s vacated seat by only 72 votes out of 5,200 ballots cast. He still has to stave off a lawsuit by his rival, Hector Ramirez, but Pichardo is clearly in the driver’s seat–and it’s heading up the Thruway to Albany.
Bill de Blasio - De Blasio has said that he’s not used to being a frontrunner, but he certainly learned this week how it feels. Oppo came flying from every direction: de Blasio spent his 20s hanging around with the Sandinistas; he fixed tickets for his constituents as a councilman; he changed his name multiple times; and on Monday he unabashedly accepted the endorsement of a guy whose middle name is Hussein and whose last name rhymes with Osama. Of course, de Blasio might have been able to cooly defuse these fiery attacks as nothing but smoke, but he continued to dodge debates and hide from the press in a calculated effort to run out the clock and cash in on his 40-point lead. Or perhaps it’s all just a ploy to promote his forthcoming non-interactive children’s book “Where’s Wilhelm?”
John Catsimatidis - Criticism of the failed mayoral candidate’s impressive appetite this week was a cheap shot, but the Democrat-turned-Republican makes the list because of his remark that his primary loss to Joe Lhota “doesn’t smell right.” The billionaire businessman’s 11-point loss to Lhota was closer than some expected, but it’s virtually inconceivable that enough ballots were lost (or worse) to have altered the final outcome. Then again, Catsimatidis’ promised investigation could prove us wrong.
Ed Mangano - Mangano’s week started off well, with a report that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was plotting to endorse him over Nassau County’s Democratic county executive nominee Tom Suozzi. His week got a little worse when that story was later found to be questionable, as sources say Cuomo will stick with the Democrat despite a solid working relationship with Mangano. Then state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, always the party pooper, made it a really bad week by naming Nassau as one of the most fiscally stressed counties in the state, lending credence to criticism that Mangano has poorly managed the county’s finances since being elected in 2009.
Judy Rapfogel - Not since mega-crook Bronx boss Stanley Friedman’s wife, Jackie, has a politically savvy spouse been so blissfully unaware of her husband’s apparent malfeasance. And how about Shelly Silver reprising the role originated by Ed Koch as the brilliantly insightful pol suddenly able to suspend all disbelief when it comes to accepting the alibi of a close aide? Really, who looks in all of their closets anyway? And even if Judy did, why wouldn’t she have concluded that those stacks of cash were anything more than a new form of green insulation? How cynical this state has become!
Eric Stevenson - Just as Mr. Pichardo is the Yin in this week’s list, Mr. Stevenson is our Yang. The disgraced but still employed assemblyman saw four businessmen plead guilty in Manhattan federal court to bribery and conspiracy charges that also implicated Stevenson. Stevenson has maintained his innocence in the caper, which goes to show you that denial can be just as powerful as the truth.
Tags: Andrew Cuomo, Ann Marie Buerkle, Bill De Blasio, Carl Paladino, Dan Maffei, Ed Koch, Ed Mangano, Eric Stevenson, hector-ramirez, Jackie Friedman, joe lhota, Joe Mondello, John Catsimatidis, jonathan lippman, Judy Rapfogel, Pamela Brown, Shelly Silver, Stanley Friedman, Tom DiNapoli, Tom Suozzi, Victor Pichardo