Winners And Losers 7/25/14

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Winners And Losers 7/25/14

Winners and Losers
July 24, 2014

Questions about interference into the Moreland Commission once again swirled around the governor and his administration this week, upending a sleepy election season. But don’t worry, City & State's winners and losers voting process is completely transparent and independent, so you can feel at ease casting your ballot.



Rob Astorino and Zephyr Teachout - Last week their candidacies looked like a lost cause. This week they're still the longest of longshots, but there's a glimmer of hope where once there was none. In part, this reversal of fortune can be attributed to the duo's audacious decision to team up in tearing down their common enemy: Gov. Cuomo. Whether the flurry of press that came their way this week following the New York Times piece on Moreland and Astorino's comments calling out Chris Christie translates into any movement in the polls or in their campaign accounts remains to be seen, but at least on social media their supporters appeared energized.

Bill de Blasio - Setting aside the food, culture, and lack of work that goes along with a trip to Italy, de Blasio is surely enjoying an LIRR strike-free vacation and being an ocean away from questions about the Moreland Commission and Cuomo. At least we think he is … has anyone seen any City Hall reporters since they’ve landed? Perhaps somebody should check the nearest gelato stand.

Preet Bharara - If the tale of the Moreland Commission were a weekly comic strip, Cuomo might just be the villain. And if Cuomo is the villain, then Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, might just be the hero. And as this weekly installment reminds us, a loss for the villain is always a win for the hero.

Bob Megna - A holdover from the Spitzer and Paterson administrations, Megna has lived up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's expectations so far as budget director, helping deliver four straight on-time budgets. And this week yet another ratings agency, Standard & Poor's, cited that feat in its decision to raise the state's credit rating. But Cuomo, who celebrated a similar upgrade by Moody's by eating cake with legislative leaders, was stuck eating crow this week for his contradictory statements on the Moreland Commission's "independence."

Les Moonves - Good deal! Moonves, the CEO of CBS, negotiated a $16 million giveaway from the Cuomo administration to persuade the company to do what it wanted to do anyway: keep the Late Show in New York. If City & State donates $55,000 to the governor's campaign account, like CBS and its affiliates did this year, can we get $16 mil from the state, too?



Greg Ball - Generally, things are not going well for you when you hire Joe Tacopina. The high-powered defense attorney notorious for defending Hiram Monserrate (in state political circles) and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (in all other circles) was handed a cool $25,000 from Ball according to his latest campaign filings, setting off a lot of alarm bells. At least Ball sprung for the best with the campaign warchest he has leftover following his decision not to seek reelection. We wonder if there is any connection between Tacopina's new gig and this City & State story from back in May.

Bill Bratton - A mere seven months into his second go-round as police commissioner, Bratton has his first full-blown crisis. Putting it mildly, the viral video of Eric Garner dying from an illegal police chokehold is a stain on the NYPD and further frays the already tense relationship between the department and the city’s black community. The pressure is on Bratton and the de Blasio administration to respond swiftly, but the mayor’s Italian vacation ensured that Bratton would be the one taking the heat for now. The Garner debacle generated so much attention that a security breach involving bleached flags on the Brooklyn Bridge ended up a mere footnote to Bratton’s week.

Andrew Cuomo - What could be more ironic than being accused of corrupting a commission designed to root out corruption? After Cuomo’s vow that no one was above scrutiny from the Moreland Commission, his top aide Larry Schwartz had to let them know that the governor, in fact, is above scrutiny. Of course, Schwartz only interfered to advise the commission to improve its “fairness.” 

New York City Council - Most private businesses have a probationary period for new employees. It's a time to see how quickly newbies can be pick up the nuances of their job and prove they're up to the task. Three months is pretty standard; it's presumed that even the slowest employees can get up to speed within 90 days. Surely, if you don't master the basics of your job after seven months, most companies show you the door. Well, that's how long the new City Council members have been in office, yet this week the Council had a mock session for its members to learn the basic, legally mandated rules of the chamber. Reports suggest the training session was held at the request of several of the freshmen members who wanted to bone up on parliamentary procedure. At a salary of $112,500 per year (plus lulus for committee chairs—and practically every member is a chair of some subcommittee), the people of New York should be able to expect more from their august representatives, no?

Frank Seddio - State Sen. John Sampson, who was indicted not once but twice on multiple corruption charges, is presumed innocent until proven guilty. But when credible evidence was presented that the lawmaker embezzled $400,000, sought the names of cooperating witnesses to "take them out," and lied to the FBI, it was no surprise Senate Democrats booted him from the conference and donors looked to back other candidates. Yet loyalty is more important to Seddio, the Brooklyn Democratic chair who's pushing hard for Sampson to win reelection, and the "new" Brooklyn Democratic Party, embraced by reformers as a departure from the bad old days of Vito Lopez and Clarence Norman, is reportedly going right along with its boss.


CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this post said that the mock session referred to in the New York City Council losers entry was "the first in its history." This information was based on the New York Post's reporting that called it a "first-of-its-kind group lesson." A Council spokesperson objected to our characterization, saying that over its history the Council has often given brush-ups in parliamentary procedure to its members, so we have struck the description from the entry. We will leave it up to our readers to decide whether the Council spokesperson was splitting hairs. We think the need for the Council to have a mock session after 15 stated meetings and seven months on the job speaks for itself.

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