This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Charging Bull
astudio/Shutterstock
The Charging Bull statue.

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down this week?
September 12, 2019

Campaign funds can be used to cover child care, so why not payments to everyday Americans to test innovative policy proposals? Presidential candidate Andrew Yang announced during Thursday night’s debate that he’ll distribute $1,000 a month to 10 lucky people in order to sell his idea of universal basic income. Less fortunate are all those robots that the other New Yorker who’s in the race (but wasn’t on the debate stage) wants to tax, which, you know, is probably easier than taxing millionaires. To see who else broke through – or bottomed out – read on. 

Winners: 
Andrew Gounardes

The Brooklyn state senator, who chairs the Civil Service and Pensions Committee, never forgot to make sure that several 9/11-related bills passed the Legislature this year. Now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed them into law, public employees and their families will get some much needed help dealing with the health problems that resulted from their work at ground zero 18 years ago.

James O’Neill

Get this man a book deal! Whether it was the NYPD commissioner himself or Caroline Calloway’s ghostwriter, somebody wrote a snappy, sneering takedown of all of O’Neill’s critics who didn’t like the way he fired Daniel Pantaleo. His answer (as always): Check the crime rate scoreboard. Of course, the NYPD still has some problems, and the Commish did his best to address at least one of them this week by letting cops who get mental health treatment to keep their badges

Ronnie Hakim

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is in for a shake-up – quite a seismic one, by the looks of it – and Managing Director Ronnie Hakim, a veteran of the agency, is retiring at just the right time. Despite dirty subway cars and messy internal politics, Hakim can walk out on a high note, as this week the MTA celebrated 84% subway on-time performance for the month of August, marking a six-year high.

Alison Hirsh

As vice president and political director of 32BJ SEIU, Hirsh has long been a trusted de Blasio ally. Now she gets to make the jump to “trusted staffer.” Hirsh will take up the role of senior adviser for strategic planning in October, timed perfectly for when the mayor will likely drop his bid for president and finally return his attention to the city he’s ostensibly running. And there she will be, ready to guide de Blasio’s agenda for his final two years in office as part of his exclusive inner circle.

Carlos Menchaca

The Brooklyn city councilman is throwing his weight around, reportedly brokering a rezoning deal with Industry City that includes major concessions for the broader community. A new vocational school, space for a nonprofit and a beautified streetscape sweetened the deal for his sign-off, and should make Sunset Park hotter than ever – a perfect fit for the progressive politician/part-time model

Losers: 
The Charging Bull

The Wall Street symbol can’t get any respect. First it was the Fearless Girl. Now, the iconic Financial District statue has a nasty scar after a man started hitting the bronze bull with a metal banjo. Though an unusual choice of bludgeoning tool, the attacker did some damage, leaving a gash several inches long on the bull’s horn. Repairing the statue is expected to cost thousands of dollars, but at least one group has already expressed interest in helping to shoulder the cost. 

Dustin Czarny

Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny may be cheating on Onondaga County with a younger, sexier, dare we say “bad boy” employer: Uber. Onondaga County Comptroller Matthew Beadnell accused Czarny this week of driving for the ride-hail giant during hours he was supposed to be working for the Board of Elections. We can’t fault a man for hustling to make a few extra bucks, but doing it on the county’s time isn’t the right way to go about it.

Carl Heastie

The buck apparently stops with unidentified individuals in the office of the Assembly speaker, whose taxpayer-funded vehicle has no problem speeding past traffic cameras – including twice already this year. This has happened seven times since 2016, and each time the drivers – whom a spokesman refused to identify – had to pay the resulting fines for Heastie’s hastiness. To be fair, Heastie is not the only public servant who acts like he owns public places.

Brian Niccol

Amazon, Equinox, Uber … do socially conscious New Yorkers now have to boycott Chipotle, too? This week, the de Blasio administration filed a lawsuit accusing the popular fast-casual restaurant chain of violating the city’s “Fair Workweek Law” by changing up workers’ schedules with little advance notice. Niccol’s company may be delivering “food with integrity,” but it seems that the workers serving up those tasty burrito bowls could be treated a bit better.

Peter Vito

Vito got vetoed. It’s not the biggest embarrassment for the embattled Rep. Chris Collins, but the blocking of his pick for U.S. marshal for Western New York was yet another sign of the congressman’s dwindling influence. Peter Vito, a Buffalo-based private detective, saw the writing on the wall and withdrew his candidacy this week. In the end, Collins’ Trump ties couldn’t overcome the bipartisan backlash to his decision to break protocol and nominate a Buffalonian over a Rochesterian.

City & State
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