This week brought us the retirement of a venerable Assembly majority leader, compromises on living wage and NYU’s expansion plan, remembrances for the Titantic and a mixed bag for Grace Meng’s campaign team. It also showed that Friday the 13th isn’t so unlucky for everyone: while it was a horror for our losers, it was a monster week for our winners.
Stuart Appelbaum – It’s not often that Kathy Wylde and the Partnership for New York City don’t get their way. But that was the case when Council Speaker Christine Quinn sided with labor over the Partnership on a proposed alteration that would have weakened the living wage bill, causing the Partnership to pull its support. Perhaps even more surprising is that RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum’s union was the one who pulled off the victory. Without as much political power as some of the city’s bigger unions, RWDSU often has to rely on Appelbaum’s very, very loud vocal chords to get things done, which brings its fair share of detractors. But you certainly have to give him credit one this one.
Charlie Rangel – The 81-year-old Congressman made a return to the public eye this week after a long back-ache-induced absence, and he was in fine form, holding court with reporters, teasing David Dinkins, high-fiving Keith Wright and attempting to quell suspicions that he is in too poor shape to run against his first real challenger in years, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat. He largely succeeded and spoke graciously of his challenger, while political insiders noted the presence at his presser of key Dominican-American ally Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, who is officially “still deciding” whether to support Rangel or not, but surely is not so opposed to the idea that he would absent himself from Rangel’s public event.
Eric Schneiderman – It takes guts to pick up a political time-bomb like stop-and-frisk and say to the world, “Let’s see what makes this thing tick.” That’s what Attorney General Eric Schneiderman did this week in announcing his plan to review the controversial NYPD policy. And seeing as how there’s a good chance Ray Kelly will stay on as commissioner beyond Bloomberg’s time in office, it’s not like Schneiderman is doing this flippantly. In addition, the AG opened an office to review wrongful convictions, and busted a shady Brooklyn charter school operator. Class dismissed!
Nathan Smith – Grace Meng’s congressional campaign had a tough start with labor, with her Democratic opponents landing all the labor support. But things seem to be turning around, as Meng got the Hotel Trades Council this week and is set to get the backing of UFCW Local 1500 as well. We put Nathan Smith, the Red Horse Strategies operative who is in charge of lining up support for Meng, on the losers list a couple weeks ago when Meng’s campaign was struggling with labor, so it’s only fair that he’s now a Winner. And beyond the labor world, Meng has racked up a slew of support from elected officials, though the Queens Democratic Party nod also certainly doesn’t hurt there.
Scott Stringer – The Manhattan beep flexed what muscle he has in getting NYU to scale back its controversial expansion plan, winning praise from some neighborhood activists concerned about the project’s impact on their beloved Greenwich Village – and even getting a hug from NYU’s president. The revised plan didn’t please everyone, but it reduces the height of four new buildings, paves the way for construction jobs and tax revenue and, perhaps most importantly, gives Stringer’s mayoral hopes a boost.
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