Critics of Amazon’s now-cancelled headquarters in Long Island City may be experiencing some post-mortem regret right now, as polls keep showing that most New Yorkers favored HQ2. Stuart Appelbaum, however, gets to say “I told you so.” The president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union was one of HQ2’s most vocal critics, but this week a former employee at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse accused the company of firing him for speaking out about working conditions. Appelbaum can now argue that his criticism of the company’s labor practices was right all along.
Gounardes, Glick and a Golden opportunity
Gounardes, Glick and a Golden opportunity
Update: State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (along with Assemblywoman Deborah Glick) spearheaded a bill expanding speed cameras in New York City school zones, winning over their colleagues (and City & State voters) while rubbing salt in the wounds of ex-Sen. Marty Golden, the Brooklyn Republican who waffled on the issue and was beat by Gounardes last fall. As for the biggest loser last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio beat out his ideological opposite, Jeanine Pirro, for top (dis)honors.
Despite the ongoing drama, the back-and-forths, and the billions of dollars at stake, just mentioning the state budget is enough to make many people’s eyes glaze over. Luckily, the Capital Region always seems to provide new fauna for the LCA to anthropomorphize right around budget season. Last year: The Budget Coyote. This year: The Budget Seal! Yes, an adorable pinniped was spotted resting on an Albany ice floe after the long trip up from the Atlantic. For more tricks on how to make boring news interesting, read this week’s Winners & Losers.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has officially announced her candidacy for president after a brief exploratory run, and she snagged her first home-state endorsement from Carolyn Maloney. The Dem primary pool is deep, and Gillibrand will have to work hard to stand out. Right now, she’s not even leading the pack in her own state. But a recent campaign video showed that she does have one thing over the competition: she’s pretty yoked. Maybe she can muscle her way to the top.
Brooklyn state Sen. Andrew Gounardes is making a habit of showing he is no Marty Golden – his controversial predecessor. First came a bill prohibiting family members from getting in on campaign business – a.k.a. the “Golden Rule.” Now, the freshman lawmaker has teamed up with veteran Manhattan Assemblywoman Deborah Glick to drive a bill through the Legislature that will install 750 speed cameras outside New York City schools, another rebuke of the speed-camera-hating Republican. What’s next, Andy? A ban on state-sponsored etiquette classes for women?
That New York would even need a Maternal Mortality Review Board is not exactly positive. But the rate of women dying in childbirth or due to complications related to pregnancy increased between 2005 and 2016 in the state, which ranks 30th in the country for maternal death rates. So it’s a win for these two lawmakers that their bill to create the review board has passed in the state Legislature – and a win for expectant mothers everywhere. The board would be composed of doctors and maternal death experts, and would also include an advisory council to make policy recommendations.
What is it about geometrically named redevelopment projects in New York? There’s the Baychester Square project in the Bronx, which was killed by the mayor in 2017. In Buffalo, there’s the long-delayed effort to turn Gates Circle into Lancaster Square. Breaking with the trend is the Broadway Triangle redevelopment in Brooklyn, which is finally moving forward after nearly a decade in court. And that’s a win for Eric Enderlin, the acting HPD commissioner who apparently had the right angle in getting everyone on board.
It’s fair to say the mayor will do anything to keep his beloved NYC Ferry afloat – even if that means striking a private deal so generous that the comptroller had to halt it and take a closer look. The real sinker this week: Stuyvesant High’s accepted class being just 1 percent black students, an issue de Blasio tried and failed to fix last year after botching the roll-out of his plan to scrap the controversial admissions test. Can’t say anyone was surprised by his dismal performance in the latest poll of New York presidential voters.
Trial-by-combat lawyer Richard Luthmann has, for whatever reason, chosen to forgo his preferred method of adjudication in favor of a plea deal for his crimes related to a scrap metal scam. He agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of extortion conspiracy, rather than face a jury on kidnapping and money laundering charges.Ultimately, Luthmann must have decided that if he’s about to go down for a crime, he might as well do it with all of him intact.
There is a red line at Fox News, and Jeanine Pirro, a political commentator and former Westchester County DA, has crossed it. The network, known for its conservative commentary that eschews political correctness, bumped Pirro’s “Justice with Jeanine” program following xenophobic comments she made on-air about Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. Pirro implied that the Muslim lawmaker might be disloyal to the U.S. because she wears a hijab. One powerful fan is actively – and loudly – campaigning to get the show back on-air: “Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” President Donald Trump implored on Twitter.
The treasurer of a charity to benefit families of slain NYPD officers was charged this week with embezzling more than $400,000. The sticky-fingered treasurer, Lorraine Shanley, is accused of using the funds to pay for a grandchild’s private school tuition, dental expenses, and, of all things – Barbra Streisand tickets. Send in the defense attorneys.
The former superintendent of the state Department of Financial Services thought she was going to have more time to do her Italian mom thing since stepping down in January. But now, she’s being dragged back out of the house for some office talk. A federal judge has ruled that The National Rifle Association gets to question her under oath about how New York might have illegally tipped the regulatory scales against an insurance program for gun owners. Chances are, she’s going to be late for dinner.