Winners & Losers 1/19/18
Winners & Losers 1/19/18
Is President Donald Trump a winner, thanks to his “excellent” health and perfect score on a cognitive test? Or is he a loser, owing to an unofficial diagnosis of heart disease and jabs about his ample girth? While the partisans weigh in (perhaps we can all at least agree with the president that red and pink Starbursts are best?), we turn our attention to this week’s bipartisan list of Winners & Losers.
Christopher Columbus – His future was a shaky for a while, but Christopher Columbus is here to stay. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s monuments commission has decided to keep the statue of the Genoan explorer at Columbus Circle, despite criticisms that the city shouldn’t honor a brutal colonizer who exploited native populations. The city did make a small concession, with the commission deciding to add historical markers to “continue public discourse,” but Columbus is still riding high and lives to spark protests another day.
Ed Cox – High off his mention in the Oscar-favorite “The Post” (marrying Richard Nixon’s daughter has its benefits), the state GOP chairman got some more good news: They beat the Dems! In 2017 fundraising, at least. Sure, the Republicans got clobbered in the November races. And sure, they can’t find a halfway decent challenger for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But at least the GOP can shovel some more pennies to sacrificial lamb Brian Kolb, who has raised .05 percent of the governor’s money.
Andrew Cuomo – The governor just exceeded the $30 million mark in campaign fundraising (thanks real estate LLC’s!). He’s in the national headlines as a likely presidential candidate in 2020, and one who is facing an easy path to re-election in his current office. His favorability numbers are on the rise, according to a Siena poll. And to top it off, he rolled out a spending plan this week to balance the state budget, putting himself forward once again as the man who can get things done in Albany.
Sonia Ossorio – Harvey Weinstein donates generously to women’s rights advocates! Well, sort of. Gov. Andrew Cuomo somewhat begrudgingly kept his word, offloading six figures of tainted cash from the nation’s new archetype of (alleged) serial sexual harasser. Cuomo donated the $111,000 in contributions he received from the disgraced Hollywood executive to Ossorio’s Women’s Justice Now that will go to helping women and girls in New York through activism and advocacy.
Al Sharpton – Years ago, Al Sharpton was something of a political pariah, but the reverend has reinvented himself a respected social justice leader. All the Democratic bigwigs in the city and state showed up for Sharpton’s National Action Network Martin Luther King Jr. Day event on Monday, including U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who gave a rousing speech. Sharpton joked that since he started the “run, Jesse, run” campaign for Jesse Jackson to run for president, his support for Gillibrand could lead to her running as well. If she does get in the mix in 2020, we know who will take credit.
Marcia Bystryn – Marcia, Marcia, Marcia … too bad no one gave her all the attention on The Plastic Bag Task Force. How many times can her buddies bag out on a statewide solution? A year after Cuomo blocked New York City’s plastic bag fee – what opponents called a bag tax – Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, was left to kick up dust by dissenting from the panel’s final report, which failed to reach a consensus this week. Bystryn was so close, but will she ever have it in the bag?
Shirley Collado – The #MeToo movement is gaining momentum, and one of the latest high-profile New York figures to face scrutiny for sexual abuse allegations is Collado, the president of Ithaca College. The school’s student newspaper reported this week that in 2001, Collado “was accused of sexually abusing a female patient while working as a psychologist” – and that even though she denies it, she pleaded no contest to misdemeanor sexual abuse at the time. Of course, the story – which was widelypicked up – has several sides to it.
Bill de Blasio – Bigger than Cuomo in stature, the New York City mayor will always be smaller than the governor in power. This week alone, Cuomo screwed de Blasio out of design-build authorization, put him on the hook for MTA funding, and tipped off reporters that a NYCHA funding delay was the mayor’s fault. Unable to even assert his power over a former Nazi collaborator, Hizzoner also went low by insulting a reporter.
Thomas Raffaele – This Queens Supreme Court judge claims a police officer karate chopped him in the throat – and that’s not even why he’s a loser this week! Raffaele made it onto the list because his complaint was thrown out not once, but twice, first in criminal court and now again in civil court. The reason? He continually ignored court orders to move the suit forward, so a judge tossed the case. Raffaele, who, to reiterate, is a judge himself, delayed his own case for months, leaving the cop in the clear to karate chop someone else.
Sheldon Silver – Almost exactly two years after Silver was arrested on corruption charges, New York continues to witness his downfall. When the former Assembly speaker had his charges vacated last year because the jury instructions in his trial were wrong based on a 2016 Supreme Court case, federal prosecutors swore they'd retry him. Silver requested that the SCOTUS take up his case, but they decided not to review it, paving the way for a retrial. He has avoided jail time so far, but with the Supreme Court’s dismissal, his luck may run out.