Winners and Losers 09/26/14
Winners and Losers 09/26/14
This week the focus was on the environment, with the People's Climate March drawing hordes of environmentalists to Manhattan and the UN Climate Summit spurring discussions about greenhouse gases. But politicians who tried to get in on the act didn't make it onto our Winners list—not even Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose ambitious clean energy plan for city buildings was overshadowed by a scandal that landed him on our Losers list.
Preet Bharara and Loretta Lynch - It's probably little more than speculation at this point, but the pair of U.S. attorneys in New York were both mentioned on a number of short lists of potential replacements for outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. But since whether either one is nominated is still up in the air, here's hoping that they stick around the state long enough to keep holding our elected officials accountable.
Michael Long - Not everyone lives up to their name, but it's fair to say that the chair of the state Conservative Party has done just that after more than a quarter century—26 years, to be precise—on the job. And it looks like that's not even "Long" enough for Long, who was just elected to another two-year term this week.
Elon Musk - If someone could bottle Musk’s powers of persuasion, they’d make almost as much money as he does. A few months back, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur got the Nevada state government to subsidize his Tesla Motors electric car company to the tune of $1.2 billion. And last Tuesday, governor Andrew Cuomo arrived in Buffalo to announce a plan to spend $750 million to convert two old steel and coke facilities into a solar manufacturing center—and then lease it to SolarCity, Musk’s solar energy company, for $1 a year for the next ten years. The project is expected to provide roughly 5,000 jobs, and Buffalo could certainly use that. But it takes a special talent to convince someone to do all your work for you.
Robert Sweeney - One would hope banning a chemical in children’s toys and furniture that’s proven to cause cancer would be a simple process, but the retiring Assemblyman’s bill was finally signed into law by Cuomo, after years of Sweeney pushing for the ban.
Jeremy Zellner - With the chair of the Erie County Democratic Committee standing for reelection last weekend, a group of local Democratic hotshots, including Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and state Senator Tim Kennedy, backed a last-minute move by Amherst town councilman Mark Manna to unseat him. But Zellner survived the challenge with 69 percent of the vote and will live to plot revenge another day.
Bill de Blasio - Mayor de Blasio's butterfingers proved to be fatal, with the news that famed groundhog Staten Island Chuck (née Charlotte) passed away one week after the mayor dropped her on Groundhog’s Day. Making matters worse, the zoo tried to cover for the mayor by saying the animal died of “natural causes.” Between dragging their feet on banning horse carriages and Groundhog-gate, poor animal relations could be a crippling blow to the de Blasio mayoralty.
David Denenberg - The Democrat had been running for a state Senate seat when his own law firm claimed he had billed clients more than $2 million for hours he never worked. He has since withdrawn from the race, but he still makes our Losers list for running under the campaign slogan, “No one works harder.”
Rachel Noerdlinger - Noerdlinger’s personal life put the de Blasio administration in an awkward position after a report that her live-in boyfriend was convicted of shooting somebody, posts message on social media slamming police officers, and is a convicted drug dealer to boot. Adding to the poor optics of the situation, news of Noerdlinger’s boyfriend broke days after it was revealed that her boss, Chirlane McCray, attended an NYPD Compstat meeting. You can’t help who you fall for, but one would hope an individual with as high of a profile as McCray's chief of staff would show better judgment.
Tom Prendergast - Poor Tom. The MTA’s $15.2 billion shortfall in its five-year capital plan isn’t his fault, really. But now he has to deal with it. We guess that’s what you get for aspiring to public service.
Dora Schriro - You can take Dora Schriro out of New York City, but you can’t, it seems, separate the city’s baggage from Dora Schriro. Now Connecticut’s public safety commissioner, the former head of the City Department of Corrections is coming under fire for her role in perpetuating the “culture of violence” that plagues Rikers Island—specifically for using her authority to scrub critical comments regarding two key subordinates from a 2012 internal investigation before handing it over to the Feds. Those subordinates allegedly declined to account for hundreds of fights in their own statistical violence reports. Schriro even promoted one of them—a Mr. William Clemons—for his hard work. We’ll have to wait and see what her new employer thinks of all this, but the Connecticut press is already closing in…