The state got an early budget, Lew Fidler found some more votes and Andrew Cuomo’s secret Miami vacation was exposed — until it wasn’t. It was a week of hoodie protests, empty mansions and dog waste underfoot. In other words, your standard week for New York politics. Here’s who’s up and who’s down.
Andrew Cuomo – If an on-time budget was a rare sight inAlbany, an early budget was the equivalent of a pig piloting a Sopwith Camel. So kudos to the governor for making believe in miracles. And in the end, he got most of the things he wanted: contract approvals that can bypass the comptroller’s pre-audit function, limited authority to move money around without legislative approval, a fully funded MTA and a chunk of change for competitive education grants. But his most audacious magic trick of all? MakingAlbanyboring again. Well played, sir.
Dan Garodnick – The councilman’s proposal to give the Civilian Complaint Review Board oversight over the NYPD became a reality this week, giving Garodnick a victory amid the uproar over the department’s stop-and-frisk policy, its counterterrorism surveillance and a string of scandals. Things are also looking good for Garodnick’s likely run for New York City Comptroller, with $1 million in the bank and the embattled incumbent John Liu looking weak but reportedly vowing not to run for re-election to his old office.
Omar Hernandez – A guy named Omar became the mayor at City Hall last week – at least on Foursquare. Hernandez, an IT worker, briefly supplanted Mayor Michael Bloomberg as “mayor” after regularly checking in at City Hall on the location-based social networking site. Bloomberg has since regained the title, and as he fights off other potential social media usurpers he at least won’t even have to worry about pesky details like term limits.
Bob Master – You win some, you lose some, but rarely do you win in as swift a fashion as CWA political director Bob Master did this week. He called for the removal of a provision in the budget that would preempt regulation of internet phones, and by golly, it got removed. He won the fight without a single shot being fired. Some said it was Cuomo trying to make up for Tier VI with the unions, but whatever the reason, Master mastered the situation.
Jack McEneny – If Albany is Narnia – as the retiring assemblyman’s son recalled his dad claiming – then McEneny would be its Aslan: wise, affable and always willing to defend the city’s seedier elements. He took offense when outside groups called the state capital “dysfunctional” and stood by unpopular positions, like allowing the Legislature to draw its own district lines. But even though he’s retiring, McEneny will likely still be seen roaming the hills and hallways of Albany. After all, it’s his kingdom.
Matt Doheny – When will the politicians learn that no hip gathering of political operatives is safe as long as there are camera-phones in the world? Didn’t Matt Doheny read that New York Times article about spring break? Granted, the cell-phone photos Gawker posted of upstate Congressional Republican candidate Doheny smooching on a campaign consultant aren’t career-ending in the way we’ve determined that trucking with hookers or tweeting crotch photos can be, but they aren’t good for him personally. The lesson is, if you’re going to get up to no good, by all means, do it in a place where there’s no cell service.
Colleen Gardner – First the state labor commissioner was sidelined by Cuomo as he installed a deputy to really run the agency. Then she was pinned to the wall for heavy-handed fines on a pizzeria owner. Then Crain’s revealed her powerlessness to the world. Then Cuomo announced he would replace her with Assemblyman Peter Rivera. New York has more than 200,000 state employees, and Gardner’s scalp is a warning to all of them.
Ed Koch – After spending two years trying to berate lawmakers into passing an independent redistricting bill, the former mayor is now giving them a pass. Koch said this week that he won’t call lawmakers who voted for gerrymandered lines out for having “pants on fire” – and he may even endorse them. It reminds us of Koch’s adamant stance against Obama’s Israel policy, and sudden reversal. And he also has a bridge to sell you in Queens.
Emily Smith – The editor of the New York Post’s Page Six gossip column let an embarrassingly wrong item into print claiming Cuomo and girlfriend Sandra Lee were spotted dining at a swank Miami restaurant. Far worse than being wrong, though, is that she handed Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto a cudgel to beat up the Post for every story they don’t like for years to come.
Nathan Smith – The Red Horse Strategies operative was brought on to Grace Meng’s congressional campaign to line up labor support, but so far, all of it is going to her opponents. Rory Lanmcan has lined up 32 BJ and RWDSU, while Liz Crowley got the firefighters. It’s not the easiest task, since Meng is relatively moderate (especially compared to Lancman), but she should be able to land some backing as the perceived frontrunner. Of course, Lancman had a head start, and Crowley chairs the fire safety committee, so perhaps Smith can help Meng catch up in the months ahead.
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