Perhaps this is a good time to review the definitions of on the record, on background and off the record. On the record means your I-can’t-believe-you-just-said-that rant is going in the story. On background means, the general thrust of your rant is going in the story but we won’t quote you saying that. Off the record means, we’re going to try to put your seriously-that’s-the-most-insane-thing-I-ever-heard rant in the story somehow. Or something like that. For the record, here are your 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.
Bill de Blasio – In the last two weeks, de Blasio has gone from treading water in the mayoral race to neck-in-neck for second place with Bill Thompson in the most recent poll, a clear result of Anthony Weiner’s personal … issues. How has he done it? Besides not being Weiner, give de Blasio credit for staying the course and being highly visible on issues that resonate with voters, such as hospital closures and affordable housing. He’s already gotten the personal life stuff out of the way—the story about his wife’s lesbian past is entirely benign compared to Weiner and Eliot Spitzer’s skeletons—so barring some unforeseen implosion, it looks like de Blasio is part of a three-horse race.
George Pataki – Getting sued for making policy decisions is part of the life of any governor. But facing a lawsuit more than six years after you’ve left the executive mansion is rare. That’s the situation former Gov. George Pataki found himself in when six convicted sex offenders sued him over his controversial decision to evaluate their mental health and then hold them in custody after their prison sentences ran out. The judge in the case ruled that Pataki was not criminally liable for his decision, and for that he is a winner this week.
Tom Prendergast – It’s not like everything is chugging along for the MTA chief—Hurricane Sandy put a severe dent in the transit authority’s finances, for example, and fare hikes are still as certain as death and taxes—but some things are looking up. After last week’s announcement of subway and bus service restorations, reversing some 2010 cuts, the MTA revealed this week that its $1 charge for new MetroCards has brought the authority nearly $11 million in just four months. We haven’t arrived at the no-swipe subway card that some are pushing for, but the MTA can use the extra cash–plus, it can now cut its order for new cards by a whopping 60 million next year.
Kathy Sheehan – Don’t look now, but Sheehan is the odds-on favorite to succeed Jerry Jennings, who has been mayor of Albany since the beginning of the Clinton administration. The city’s treasurer has more than double the support of her nearest Democratic rival, former Albany Councilman Corey Ellis, securing 54 percent support in a recent poll. If she wins, hopefully she’ll have a better career than former mayor Elisha Jenkins, who got in a fight with Gen. Solomon Van Rensselaer in 1807 in a riot after passing a resolution questioning Van Rensselaer’s honesty. Fun fact! Jenkins’ nephew struck Van Rensselaer with a cane, prompting several lawsuits.
Dennis Walcott – The city’s schools chancellor has been on the front lines of the fight over education reform, from teacher evaluations to new curriculum standards, and one of his weapons in this fight has been the Fund for Public Schools. This fundraising arm for city schools has been a way to spend money on controversial pilot programs, often frustrating the UFT. Well, the fund has never been better. It bankrolled $47 million this past year, more than the two previous years combined. And that cash is surely going to be put to use promoting the Bloomberg administrations policies having an impact after he’s left Gracie Mansion.
Susan Bruno and John O’Connor – It’s great when your dad is in power. From 2005 to 2008 Susan Bruno didn’t skipped showing up for work at the SUNY Research Foundation more than 40 times–but hey, her father was the Senate Majority leader and her boss, John O’Connor, looked the other way. Now the pair face the prospect of having to pay more than a $1 million in damages after a criminal complaint was filed this week by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. You were a winner for more than three years… but now you are riding the loser train.
Regina Calcaterra – Who would know more about catching violators of the state’s campaign finance system than someone who was sued 17 times for violating the system. That may have been the logic from Gov. Andrew Cuomo when he tapped Calcaterra to be the executive director of the new Moreland Act commission charged with weeding out public corruption. As the treasurer of a political action committee from 2001 to 2009, Calcaterra was repeatedly targeted by the Board of Elections and paid a $144 fine for two cases. Let’s hope that experience helps her track down other violators.
Barbara Morgan – What exactly is a slutbag? [Looking it up on the Internet]. Whoa! So Barbara makes the list this week for unleashing an on-the-record diatribe against a former intern who spilled Weiner campaign secrets. It’s the most shocking rant that we’ve seen since Carl Paladino threated to take out Fred Dicker. Morgan at least had some success in deflecting media attention away from her boss, who has had a significantly worse week than she has, and tweeting a photograph of a swear jar filled with hundred dollar bills and a Visa card was clever. Of course, contributing to the narrative of the Weiner campaign as a train wreck doesn’t help.
Eric Stevenson – Really? You’re asking lobbyists to give money for your legal defense fund and all they’re getting back is an evening of jazz in the Bronx? No steak dinner? No lucrative adult day care centers? How about at least some legislation that never makes it out of the Rules Committee? That’s gotta be worth at least $2,500 a head, right? Who do you think you are anyway, William Boyland Jr.? Is this thing on?
Bill Thompson - Thompson continues to puzzle with his position on stop-and-frisk policing, seemingly unable to decide whether to appease his base of African-American voters or satisfy the law enforcement unions that have endorsed him. He says stop-and-frisk has been abused by the Bloomberg administration, yet he also opposes City Council legislation that would establish an inspector general for the police department and allow individuals to sue the NYPD over racially profiling. He also made a dicey comparison between the NYPD suspects and George Zimmerman chasing down Trayvon Martin, exploiting a national story to make a headline. Two of his opponents, Sal Albanese and Bill de Blasio, have been hitting him on his flip-flopping, so it may be time to pick a side.