Winners and Losers 06/13/14 [Corrected]
Winners and Losers 06/13/14 [Corrected]
The state Senate voted to make the wood frog the state amphibian, a carriage horse broke free in Central Park and the latest Quinnipiac poll revealed that “New Yorkers like horses 2-1,” but are “mixed on ferrets.” Even a rocking Dennis Gabryszak was spotted in Albany, in a somewhat more animalistic form. The week was also beastly for our losers—but not for the Winners of the Week.
Bill de Blasio - The mayor’s approval ratings edged back up above 50 percent, showing that his pre-K and inequality-centric messaging is connecting, though interestingly, not with white voters. The poll shows a 25-point gap between black and white perceptions of de Blasio’s performance, a four point increase from March, after an election in which black voters heavily supported the mayor. New Yorkers aren’t too crazy about his proposed ban on horse carriages, nor are they wild over allowing ferrets as pets, but overall the Big Apple's answer to "How'm I doin'?" as far as the new mayor is concerned almost half-way through his first year in office is "Not bad."
John DeFrancisco - If it weren't for the Syracuse state Senator we wouldn't have had the great wood frog debate of 2014 this week. DeFrancisco's bill to make the lithobates sylvaticus the official state amphibian was just the type of end-of-session legislation that proves the state Senate can agree on something—other than its appreciation of Tony Danza.
Tom DiNapoli - The ever-polite state comptroller gave us all a glimpse into what it’s really like at 110 State St.—and it’s “serious as a (expletive) heartattack” in his office. DiNapoli’s rebuttal to the 2014 LCA Show drew belly laughs from the audience and the press corps as he sparred with Carl McCall and Richard Ravitch, gifted a rattlesnake to Shelly Silver for the state's public financing pilot program and made First Deputy Comptroller Pete Grannis test muffins from the governor to make sure they weren’t poisoned. (Surprise! They were.) The profanity-laced (well, we’re pretty sure what was actually bleeped out was the word fudge) skit topped those of Rob Astorino (who apparently is a closet toker and enjoys liquor with breakfast) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (whose video featured a CNN—Cuomo News Network—broadcast). A word of caution, though: If you didn’t enjoy DiNapoli’s Wolf of 110 State Street, keep it to yourself (watch to the end if you don’t know what we mean).
Bakary Janneh – If anyone has ever deserved a raise, it's this guy. The state Assembly staff member was publicly honored on Wednesday after he used the Heimlich maneuver last week—for the first time in his life no less—to save Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, who was choking on a piece of melon.
Peter Ward - Who said the middle class was shrinking? Thanks to a favorable contract extension with the city’s hotels, Ward scored healthy raises for maids, lifting their annual pay to $68,000 in 10 years. Since taking over as president of The New York Hotel Trades Council, Ward has shrewdly reaped the benefits of the city's robust tourist economy, consistently securing raises for his workers. The union has also received praise for being a model in providing healthcare to its members at a lower cost to the city. As long as occupancy rates are high, and prices even higher, expect Ward to keep delivering.
Dan Cantor - The state Court of Appeals dealt a blow to the Working Families Party in a case that just won’t go away, overruling the WFP's lawsuit hoping to invalidate the special prosecutor investigating the party’s role in Councilwoman Debi Rose’s 2009 race. The party maintains it did nothing wrong in regard to the investigation, which is probing whether Rose received improper support from the WFP’s for-profit campaign arm, citing the fact that the U.S. Attorney’s office and Campaign Finance Board both cleared it of wrongdoing. It has to be irritating to Cantor knowing the probe is going to continue at a time when the party is coming off the momentum boost of the Cuomo 2014 endorsement.
Micah Kellner - This week on Pols Behaving Badly: Micah Kellner and the case of poor listening skills. While we don’t actually know if Kellner has trouble hearing, we do know he can’t follow directions after an Assembly Ethics Committee investigation revealed that he broke restrictions barring him from having an intern, tried to cover it up and engaged in “unwanted and inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature” toward two female staffers. Now Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has shuttered Kellner's district and Albany offices and reduced his staff allocation to zero, leaving the disgraced assemblyman the lamest of ducks as he rides out the remainder of his term.
Chris Kay and Patrick Nowakowski - If the 100,000-plus spectators weren't disappointed enough after California Chrome failed to win the Triple Crown, their attempts to escape Belmont Park were sure to leave them upset and angry, to say the least. For the thousands crowded onto the platform of the LIRR for hours, it was natural to direct their outrage at the railroad, and as its president Nowakowski couldn’t be happy about that. In his defense, Nowakowski had been upfront about the infrastructure challenges the trains were going to encounter getting people to and from the track. NYRA on the other hand seemed utterly unprepared for the mass of people. Several track goers complained that there were no instructions about what to do, so they just walked a few miles to the nearest train stop. If you were unfortunate enough to have driven to Belmont—and got stuck in a back parking lot—you ended up sitting idle for hours. Heck, even NYRA’s own bus drivers were stuck in the traffic jam until past 10 p.m., even though the race ended at 7 p.m. Bad press is not new for NYRA, but for Kay, who was recently appointed to turn around the agency, this was not a good week.
Christopher Moss - Watch out, Kathy Hochul! Moss, the GOP's lieutenant governor nominee, was in the news this week for allegations of workplace harassment in his role as Chemung County sheriff. At an awards banquet earlier this year, he played a parody of a campaign video of Art Laurey, a rival he beat in the sheriff’s race, prompting the correction officers’ union to formally complain. Moss, who refused to share the video with the county attorney, denied harassing anyone and suggested that Laurey simply didn’t like that he was being “picked on.”
Sheldon Silver - The Assembly Speaker is not getting away so easily from the allegations of sexual harassment against former assemblyman Vito Lopez and the accusation that Silver did not do enough to crack down on Albany’s “culture of sex-based discrimination.” A federal judge ruled this week that a case could move forward to determine the Speaker's responsibility, despite Silver’s argument that he responded quickly to the complaints against Lopez. Then again, maybe we’re confusing him with that Sheldon E. Silver fellow. Or was it Sheldon T.? Or Sheldon U.?
CORRECTION: An earlier version of Bill de Blasio's winner entry stated that he had less support from black voters than white voters, when according to a recent poll, black voters view the mayor more favorably.