This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

The debate over vaccination policy has always been contentious.
The debate over vaccination policy has always been contentious.

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down this week?
September 5, 2019

So what if you land on the losers list? In America, you can turn your fortunes around in as little as 72 hours! All you need to do is a game-changing viral moment, like this … or like this … or like this.

Then again, sometimes you’re just in a lose-lose situation, and you have to swallow your pride and try to make the winners list the next time around. 

Oxiris Barbot

Fifty-two hospitalizations, 654 infections and $6 million later, New York City’s months-long public health emergency over Brooklyn’s measles outbreak is officially over. City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot got to celebrate the fact that the outbreak didn’t result in any deaths. But like any good doctor, Barbot slipped in some medicine with that spoonful of sugar, reminding the city that the entire crisis could have been easily averted with vaccinations.

Kumiki Gibson & Beth Garvey

Having the ear of Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a valuable thing Albany, and Kumiki Gibson and Beth Garvey just struck the jackpot. A month after the departure of Cuomo’s former counsel Alphonso David, the governor has named Gibson to the position, making her one of the most powerful person in the administration. Garvey was named special counsel and senior adviser, apparently taking on part of David’s old role as well. They join Cuomo’s right-hand woman Melissa DeRosa in the governor’s inner circle. The future is female, amirite? 

Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James racked up another win for New York this week, securing a settlement from YouTube and parent company Google for violating children’s privacy laws. New York will get $34 million of the $170 million settlement, with the rest directed to the Federal Trade Commission. Some may contend that fines don’t do much to keep Big Tech in check, but few can argue with James’ talent for bringing homethe big bucks

Anna Kaplan & Ken Zebrowski

Survivors of domestic violence have double the time to file civil lawsuits, thanks to a new law championed by first-term state Sen. Anna Kaplan and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski. The measure extends the statute of limitations on such cases to two years, a fitting follow-up to another signed two weeks ago that gives employment protection to domestic violence survivors.

Troy Waffner

When you can get 1980s power popper Rick Springfield *and* 27 horse teams pulling ornate wagons and drivers in fancy dress *on the same day*? And we didn’t even mention the butter sculpture. Yes, that was the winning equation for Waffner, the Great New York State Fair’s director, on Aug. 31 when Syracuse’s finest attraction set its all-time daily attendance record of nearly 148,000 fairgoers. 

Eric Adams

Combatting parking placard abuse is becoming a losing issue for the 2021 mayoral hopeful. First he said an anonymous Twitter critic was acting in “the tradition of others who hid themselves with white hoods.” Then he denied that this was a KKK comparison: “How could you tell me it was? You thinking for me?” Then he made things worse at a town hall meeting by announcing that he will only crack down on placard abuse by his staff – when other elected officials do the same. Way to lead from behind Mr. Beep!

Daniel Austin Sr.

It's not often that the term grave robber is used to describe the people managing a cemetery, but in Daniel Austin's case it may well be true. A lawsuit from the state attorney general points to a few skeletons in his closet: amassing millions of dollars from a run-down Queens cemetery he ran for decades and staging a fake retirement for extra cash. But he's hardly the only tomb raider, with six other cemetery directors accused of mishandling funds.

Greg Russ

It wasn’t his fault, but it’s now his problem, as the new chairman of the New York City Housing Authority. And it’s quite a problem indeed: NY1 found that elevator outages in public housing are chronic and they are increasing – more than 121 a day last year. And they’re not quick fixes, either – at least one elevator has been trapping disabled residents off and on for months. Russ better find a pick-me-up for his lackluster team, because NYCHA’s response to the story was “something close to a yawn.”

Joseph Spano

The Westchester County correction commissioner had a fugitive on the lam last week when guards mistakenly released an inmate from the county jail. To make matters worse, Spano (a cousin of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano) did not even find out about the mistake until New York City officials came knocking to retrieve that robbery suspect they loaned to the county for a court appearance. Luckily for Spano, police cleaned up his mess the following day by tracking down the lucky runagate. 

Lovely Warren

Kids are headed back to class for the new school year, but Lovely Warren is the one who got schooled. After a judge ruled it illegal last month, the Rochester mayor tried one more time to get a referendum on the November ballot that would have wrested control of the city’s troubled public schools away from the city Board of Education. But the appeals court ruling upheld the original decision and Warren is left with nothing but summer memories of what could have been.

City & State