Winners and Losers 06/06/14

Winners and Losers 06/06/14

Winners and Losers
June 5, 2014

We won't know for at least a week if the New York Rangers will emerge as winners in the Stanley Cup Final, but we can tell you this: Whoever gets the most votes as winner in our weekly list deserves something better than lightly salted organic brown rice cakes from Lundberg Family Farms.



Andrew Cuomo - "It's very simple at these political conventions. You either win or you lose. I won." Can't really fault that logic, no matter how ugly it may have been.

Bill de Blasio - The mayor came out of the Working Families Party-Andrew Cuomo scrum last weekend looking more powerful than ever, helping broker the final agreement to give his buddy the governor a little bit of extra progressive street creed as he gears up for his re-election campaign. The fact that Cuomo called on de Blasio for help reflects the shifting tide of Democratic politics in the state toward the left, and reinforces the notion that the mayor is the progressive hero of the party, despite the governor generally outfoxing him during budget negotiations. The mayor also one-upped the gov in a more lighthearted way: his Stanley Cup bet with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was way juicier than the “rice cakes for buffalo wings sauce” wager agreed upon by Cuomo and California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Patrick Gaspard - It's always a good week when you are cleared of violating federal law. Of course it was never likely that the Ambassador to South Africa was going to be busted for violating the Hatch Act through his efforts to help New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio get elected. And while he is still not off the hook as he might have violated State Department regulations, nonetheless Garpard's got to be breathing a sigh of relief. 

Mark Poloncarz - You can't say New York state hasn't at least tried to turn Buffalo's luck around. Eight of the 12 businesses that were approved this week to land in tax-free zones as part of the Start-Up NY program willl set up shop on or near University at Buffalo campuses. For Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, that's eight more biotech and information-technology companies to add jobs in his county and add to the rust-belt-city-turned-tech-hub image Buffalo is aiming to cultivate. Last month, seven of the eight businessses were reported to be ready to move in, but now there are more details, including the fact that five are local companies and three are moving in from out-of-state—additional ammo for Cuomo as he touts his economic development record and for Poloncarz when he pitches Western New York's most populous county as a revitalized landing spot for new business and young people.

Zephyr Teachout - Two weeks ago, practically no one knew who Teachout was. Now, after getting 41 percent of the Working Families Party's backing, countless headlines, including even some national media attention, Teachout has become something of a darling of the left. Her bid for governor may not make it out of the starting gate, but her signature issue of campaign finance reform has been reignited in Albany. Plus, she has a book coming out in a few months... and we all know any press is good press before a book tour.



Daniel Dromm - Dromm, a Queens Councilman, set off a mini-firestorm this week by declaring that the New York City school system’s junior ROTC programs train high school students for a “war machine,” a somewhat hyperbolic remark that sparked criticism from other lawmakers and editorial pages. Dromm’s perception on the merits of the program is askew—not all JROTC members enter the Army—and regardless of his political views, the military is certainly a valuable alternative for many students and families depending on their economic situation. Dromm should choose his words more carefully, and, as chair of the education committee, perhaps take proper inventory of the ROTC programs across the city.

Shola Olatoye - Despite being on the job a mere four months, Olatoye had to put on a brave face and take some of the hits for the New York City Housing Authority’s notorious bureaucracy. Olatoye was grilled by the City Council, and her agency was criticized by the mayor, no less, for not expediting the installation of cameras and other security measures after the horrific stabbing of two children in East New York. That’s not the only thing Olatoye has on her plate: she will also have to move quickly to negotiate an agreement with the City for funds to keep struggling community and senior centers open. Hey, nobody said this job was going to be easy.

Charles Hynes - You might have expected the former Brooklyn district attorney's losing ways to have ended when he was voted out of office last fall. Not so. This week it was revealed that Hynes allegedly took funds seized by his office and used them to pay consultant Mortimer Matz, according to the New York City Department of Investigation. Emails show that the DA was consumed with his chances against his challengers, and he was even accused of getting political advice from a judge, Barry Kamins, who also landed in hot water. Meanwhile, Hynes' successor, Kenneth Thompson, exonerated yet another man wrongfully convicted of murder—an indication that Hynes should have been focusing more on his office than his own political survival.
Dora Schiro - Joe Ponte may now be the overseer of New York City's criminals behind bars, but he didn't keep his thoughts about Shiro's time at the helm of the city Corrections Department under lock and key this week, blasting her with some of the sharpest criticism a de Blasio appointee has directed at a Bloomberg administration official. Citing a rise in use of force, slashings, stabbings, assaults on staff and overtime costs, Ponte used a City Council budget hearing to say the department's performance under his predecessor was "unacceptable." He then used Shiro as a reason why he needs time to fix the department, saying it will take "a little bit" to figure out exactly what happened during Shiro's tenure and determine a way to turn around the system.
Dean Skelos - Maybe Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn't really want to break up the good thing he had going with the Senate Republicans, but it sure didn't sound like that when the governor won the Working Families Party's line last weekend. Skelos, the Senate Republican leader who shares power with the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, can't be happy that Cuomo asserted that "we must change the Senate leadership," even if the governor quickly pivoted and has since conspicuously played up everything the GOP has helped him accomplish in his first term. Whatever the case, Skelos is already starting to feel the impact, with 1199 SEIU shutting off its flow of money to the Senate GOP this cycle.



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