Upstate Rep. Anthony Brindisi was appointed this week to a seat on the House Armed Services Committee formerly held by former California Rep. Katie Hill – a sign that Democratic leadership thinks Brindisi is meant for big things in the years to come. To move up, he’ll likely have to give up his spot on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, but it is safe to say that Brindisi will get over the loss. Less certain is whether the freshman lawmaker can survive another political fight next year in one of New York’s only swing districts.
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
Forget your “Feminist” branded t-shirt. The newest way to be performatively woke in New York City is buying a churro from a vendor in the subway. That’s because the NYPD was caught hassling two separate Churro Ladies in Brooklyn – who usually benefit from the city’s benign neglect. Protest often veers into illegality, but rarely does it taste so good – just like a fresh batch of Winners & Losers
This Veteran’s Day in New York, it was don’t give us Don’t Ask Don’t Tell no more. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed state Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett’s bill that allows those denied an honorable discharge due to sexual orientation or gender identity to claim their state benefits. So it was a good day for gay and trans vets. The law also applies veterans who did not get an honorable discharge over military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury or PTSD.
It's one thing for the Legal Aid Society to flag suspicious behavior from the NYPD, and another to actually change it. But that's exactly what Dawne Mitchell's team of juvenile rights attorneys accomplished, successfully pressuring the department to shutter its illegal database of juvenile fingerprints. The news also gives the group a major springboard to criticize other policing practices, like facial recognition technology.
A prominent New York City drag queen made headlines at the first day of President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearing, and no, we’re not talking about Rudy Giuliani. Pissi Myles, a drag performer who covered the hearing for the news startup Happs, arrived at the Capitol on Wednesday in a striking red ensemble, stealing the spotlight from lawmakers and witnesses in their drab gray and blue suits. Rep. Adam Schiff may have gotten the Democrats off to a good start as he led the proceedings, but the Dems can only dream about matching Pissi Myles’ ferocity as the hearings continue.
Some (definitely not us) may have chuckled at the prospect of another alliterative upstate economic development initiative when Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year announced a $200 million “Syracuse Surge” designed to make the upstate city a tech hub. But by the looks of it, Syracuse Surge is off to a strong start. Just this week, Cuomo announced the completion of Central New York’s 50-mile drone corridor and a $16.5 million expansion of the Syracuse Tech Garden. Walsh may be under some heat in a separate issue – for keeping his police chief on despite the fact that he has yet to receive state certification as a cop – but at least Walsh gets to celebrate the tech investment in his city. Surge on, Syracuse.
Hizzoner has always been smug when it comes to his predecessor. After all, he won the mayoralty by bashing Michael Bloomberg. So imagine Blaz’s shame when Bloomberg jumped into the presidential race and immediately was taken more seriously – and garnered more attention – than he ever did?! Oh, also a campaign donor won sought-after NYCHA air rights and another donor paid up $10,000 to settle ethics charges with JCOPE, both of which just puts a spotlight on de Blasio’s sketchy possible pay-to-play relationships. But we know he cares more about Bloomberg.
For a guy who likes to contrast himself with President Donald Trump, Gov. Andrew Cuomo sure likes to meddle with investigations. The Times Union reported this week that the former appointer/destroyer of the anti-corruption Moreland Commission called Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to vent about how a Heastie appointee to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics voted on a certain – supposedly confidential – case. The funny thing is this happened around the time the commission was looking at former Cuomo aide Joe Percoco. Something in the water must make Queens boys like Trump and Cuomo allergic to scrutiny!
The Guv is playing hardball with National Grid, threatening to revoke the electricity and gas utility company’s certificate to operate its downstate gas franchise. In a letter addressed to U.S. chief executive John Pettigrew and president of New York operations John Bruckner, Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted National Grid’s “reckless disregard” after the company declared a moratorium on service to new and returning customers in reaction to a stalled pipeline project. The moratorium, as Cuomo put it bluntly, is “either a fabricated device or a lack of competence.”
Fatal stabbings, rats, poor heating and eviction threats – if you complain – are some of the amenities on offer through Raul Russi's sprawling network of shelters and facilities in New York City. The controversy surrounding the already scandal-ridden Acacia Network has become so heated, even the governor joined in on calls to investigate. And the cherry on top is the revelation that New York City just dumped millions more in contracts to an Acacia affiliate, even though it owes the state money for misusing grants.
Doesn’t Chuck know that the days of bipartisan friendliness are over? Well, the U.S. Senate Democratic leader certainly got a reminder this week when a congratulatory tweet about retiring GOP Rep. Peter King incited the wrath of the left. Schumer’s tweet received over 10,000 replies, many from outraged individuals who aired a litany of complaints regarding King’s most controversial opinions and political stances – including some who want to chuck Chuck out of Washington.