Ellis Island may have been a grim facility in its heyday as an immigration center, but it provided a colorful setting for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s third inauguration on Jan. 1. Not only did Cuomo get to indulge his love of video-making, he also got to tout a deal he struck with the National Park Service to keep the island open with state money during the federal shutdown. But King Cuomo was not done yet. He has vowed to ram through an ambitious legislative agenda through his state budget, and his newly-announced plan to prevent the shutdown of the L train might win him some more loyalty from the beleaguered people of Brooklyn. Will he run for president in 2020? Hamlet on the Hudson Part II has yet to definitely prove that he won’t. But if he did, then he would risk upsetting the good things he’s got going in the Empire State.
Who's up and who's down this week?
Who's up and who's down this week?
All President Donald Trump wanted to talk about this week was his long-promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Here in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is going on and on about another kind of wall – the benchwall in the L train tunnel. Whether they’re building walls, fixing walls, climbing walls, tearing down walls or banging their heads against the wall – here are the New York politicians on this week’s Winners & Losers list.
It’s been a rough stretch for the Bronx politician who had reached the pinnacle as the fourth man joining the “three men in the room,” as he dissolved his expanding breakway conference, spent a ton of campaign money, lost his state Senate seat in a major upset, saw most of his former Independent Democratic Conference colleagues ousted at the polls as well – and, of course, was accused of sexual misconduct. But this week he landed at the consulting firm Mercury Public Affairs – and while he has far less power, he now has a job that probably pays better and has better hours.
Beginning midnight Jan. 1, Johnson officially took on a temporary second job – he will serve New York City public advocate until a special election to fill the position takes place in late February. Although his tenure will be short, he already has a jam-packed to-do list. The new position also puts Johnson closer to the mayorship than he has ever been – for two months, he is next in line to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio. Then again … is Johnson already mayor? Maybe not quite, but he’s getting closer every day.
Sure, going to the Grammys is fun, but fighting President Donald Trump is the new rock ‘n’ roll. So Menin is excited to be out of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and into a newly created role as the city’s census czar, where she’ll lead the city’s outreach to make sure all 8.6 million (or more) of us get counted. At stake: a congressional seat, millions of dollars in federal funds and a high-profile springboard to elected office.
The NYPD commish is juggling a lot of responsibilities, but never dropping the most important one – keeping crime numbers down. He and the mayor announced another year of record lows in murders, shootings and major crimes. And even though NYPD corruption isn’t good to see in the headlines, one of O’Neill’s former cops got off scot-free since jurors didn’t buy a prostitute’s testimony.
Poor, poor de Blasio, only given six and a half short months for the heroically difficult job of … giving people half-priced MetroCards. Yes, it seems nobody in Hizzoner’s growing City Hall staff could get it done on time, raising the question of whether he wanted to do it at all. What was he doing instead? Certainly not filling judicial vacancies. Maybe he was busy planning for the city’s response to the L train shutdown … which has now been rendered largely unnecessary.
New York Citiy Councilman Mark Gjonaj’s checkered past with Sanitation Salvage has come back to haunt him again, even though the trash hauling company was shuttered due to its unsafe business practices. Gjonaj defended the owners, the Squitieri brothers, even as they faced accusations that they had covered up employee deaths. And sure, they were friends, but they never had a business relationship. Surprise! ProPublica has revealed that Gjonaj lied and that he did go into business with the Squitieris. It’s a bad look made worse by his growing number of ethically questionable actions.
The Long Island congresswoman led the opposition to Rep. Nancy Pelosi regaining the speaker’s gavel. Then Pelosi agreed with some of her critics to step aside in four years and make some reforms. Rice, still unmollified, was isolated: She was one of only 15 Democrats to vote against Pelosi’s ascension on Thursday. Now she’s on the outs with her party’s leader and looking vulnerable to a potential primary challenge.
It’s her birthday and she can cry if she wants to. New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera got some bad news – on her birthday, no less – when a federal judge blocked a law she sponsored to require Airbnb to disclose data on their hosts, saying it would likely be unconstitutional. Rivera and her colleagues now face an uphill battle in regulating short-term rental companies – a real bummer of a birthday gift.
Assemblywoman Latrice Walker needs all the help she can get if she wants to be the next New York City public advocate. So it did not help the dark horse candidate’s case that a nonprofit she helps lead has spent a lot on partying at Albany’s annual “Caucus Weekend” but not much on the students it is supposed to help. Walker has denied any knowledge of why the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators did not give a single penny to students in 2015-16 despite raising a half-million dollars ostensibly for their benefit. But with less than two months until the Feb. 26 public advocate election, she has more to explain to voters.