A new schools chancellor, squabbling on guns and a deadlocked jury

Richard Carranza
Richard Carranza
Ed Reed/Office of the Mayor
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces Richard Carranza as his schools chancellor.

A new schools chancellor, squabbling on guns and a deadlocked jury

Recapping the top political news in New York
March 10, 2018

The state got hammered by not one, but two nor’easters over the course of a week. Some communities were still without power days after the first storm, then got hit with another storm on Wednesday, causing even more outages. Commutes were snarled as train and bus service was either delayed or suspended. All the while, another storm may be brewing in New York City Hall as first lady Chirlane McCray faced scrutiny for her unofficial political influence, like her role in helping to choose a new city schools chancellor. For his part, Mayor Bill de Blasio thinks she is doing great work and wishes he could change nepotism laws to pay her. That and more in this week’s headlines.

Second time’s the charm

New York City has a new schools chancellor … for real this time! Mayor Bill de Blasio tapped Houston Independent School District Superintendent Richard Carranza, making sure Carranza was in New York and by his side when he announced this appointment. Carranza appears fairly aligned with the mayor’s beliefs, particularly when it comes to charter schools. He also happens to be a member of the Mariachi Hall of Fame. But Carranza is already dealing with some negative press. A San Francisco court filing alleges he ruined a colleague’s career when she called him out for flirting with a woman who was not his wife. Critics also questioned his achievements in his past school districts. But he will still be getting an impressive $345,000 paycheck, $100,000 more than outgoing Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

Back and forth on guns

The state Senate and Assembly passed 20 bills over a 24-hour period addressing guns and school safety. Despite the action, neither party could really agree on the best way to approach the problem. None of the bills passed by the Republican-controlled state Senate directly addressed gun control, instead focusing on school safety, which Democrats think is the wrong way to go. Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman dismissed GOP state Sen. James Tedisco’s proposal to raise funds for school safety officers by selling “Guardians for Schools” license plates as “harebrained,” prompting Tedisco to call Democrats “hypocrites.”

12 tired jurors

After weeks and weeks of testimony, it came down to the jurors to decide the fate of Joseph Percoco, a former top Gov. Andrew Cuomo aide, and three business executives charged in the case. But now, the jurors say they’re deadlocked, inching the proceedings closer to a possible mistrial. One juror said in a note that the only thing they could agree on is that they disagree. Another wrote: “I physically and emotionally cannot do this anymore,” after two days of deliberation. They got a snow day on Wednesday, so perhaps the break did some good as they resumed deliberating on Thursday.

Rebecca C. Lewis
is an editorial assistant at City & State.