Winners & Losers 12/30/16
Winners & Losers 12/30/16
Politicians are making their New Year’s resolutions this week, and staying off our losers list clearly should be one of them. But, alas, some politicos can’t help but put their foot in their mouth when making 2017 wishes. Read on to find out who we are talking about.
Byron Brown - Buffalo’s mayor was joined by members of the city’s Common Council and dozens of people from the city’s planning department and elsewhere who contributed to the complete overhaul of the city’s system of building codes and ordinances – the new system has been dubbed the Green Code – with the approval of the legislative body this week. In passing the new ordinance, which took six years and hundreds of public meetings to concoct, Buffalo joins only Denver and Miami as U.S. cities to go through such thorough revamps, putting in place codes that promote density and urban design.
Rachel Freier - Lawyer, activist, paramedic and founder of the first all-female volunteer ambulance service in Brooklyn, Freier will get to add another title of first Hasidic Jewish woman to hold elected office in the United States when she takes office as a Civil Court judge on January 3. Freier got a glowing write-up in the Daily News noting Brooklyn as a borough of trailblazers.
Sarah Geisenheimer - Despite New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reputation as a pseudo-communist, The Fund for Public Schools’ executive director managed to pull in donations for his education initiatives from corporations and other unlikely parties, including a foundation tied to a billionaire Trump supporter. Geisenheimer dramatically increased donations to the city education department’s nonprofit arm over the past year, raising a total of $26 million. To put this in context, Geisenheimer’s predecessor reeled in just $2 million during her final six months.
Wendy Lecker - Lawsuit after lawsuit has failed to nudge the state’s school funding formulas and policies, but the senior attorney and her team at the Education Law Center convinced a judge that the state must hand over nearly $9.5 million to three schools. The schools were slated to receive two-year grants because they were deemed “persistently struggling” and given resources to implement turnaround plans. But the state froze the funding when new data showed the schools had improved enough to lose the “persistently struggling” designation.
Gurvinder Singh - The president of the Sikh Officers Association is going to be celebrating a very happy New Year's – the NYPD announced just days before the holiday that it would now allow Sikh officers to wear beards and turbans while in uniform, marking a major victory for the 150 members of the officers association who previously were forced to choose between their religious practices and their chosen profession.
Andrew Cuomo - Try as he might, he failed to bring legislators to Albany for a special session and managed to piss off a ton of lawmakers in the process. Bad karma from the ghost of Todd Howe? Plus, ProPublica found this week that a stern talking-to didn’t do much to sway landlords into following the law. If that wasn’t enough, Cuomo’s decision to hold six separate State of the State addresses has further angered lawmakers and, likely, his hard-working advance team.
Bill de Blasio - The mayor took heat from the press for the release of a video touting his accomplishments this week, but the real tragedy was the awful production value of the piece. Rolling subtitles? That’s so 2004. I have seen better videography from CUNY freshman. Chirlane, you are on camera 2! Billy D.B.? Who calls him that? (What’s next, Andrew M.C.?) 3:35 for a video? Who in NYC has that much time? And can someone explain to me why the mayor isn’t using FaceTime? I mean, if you actually want to see something you use FaceTime. It’s 2016. If I can’t make it to my kids recital, I don’t ask my spouse to hold the phone up so I can hear … you FaceTime. 90 year-old grandmas (a demographic the mayor needs in his re-election) know how to use FaceTime. Finally, why is de Blasio in a car? We all know he uses helicopters to get around the city.
Leonard Litwin - JCOPE fined the 102-year-old (that’s older than FM radio!) Litwin’s real estate firm, Glenwood Management, $200K for its role in the corruption scandals that brought down the leaders of both legislative houses in 2015, but the real loser may be the notoriously weak JCOPE, since that fine to a billionaire (and Cuomo’s biggest donor) is pretty much like charging the average New Yorker 20 bucks.
Josh Mohrer - How mad would you be if your Uber driver showed up three months late? Now imagine how mad Uber’s man in New York must be after plans for a special session fell through. He’ll have to set his sights on 2017 to get upstate New York up to date with Kazakhstan and is still stuck paying too much for the ride from the Rensselaer train station to the Capitol.
Carl Paladino - Carl’s racist remarks have had him in hot water plenty of times before, but never has he drawn such wide ranging attention. Paladino says his most recent responses to a 2017 wishlist survey were “accidentally” forwarded and his hateful comments were only meant for friends. Hard to believe. His previous racist rants and emails have not kept him from being duly elected to Buffalo's school board twice. But this time, even his closest allies, including his own son and President-elect Donald Trump, have refused to write this off as Carl being Carl. Will this be the final straw?