This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

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This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down this week?
July 30, 2020

Oh, Donny boy, the election, the election is coming! President Donald Trump raised the idea of postponing the presidential election in a series of tweets, citing concerns stemming from New York’s absentee voting troubles. But many were quick to remind him that he can’t actually do that legally. Some have theorized that Trump is just trying to stall his inevitable loss in the election. Sad.

Winners: 
Bhairavi Desai

Efforts to obtain more employment benefits for gig workers have lagged in New York even as California has taken sweeping action on that front. But Uber and Lyft drivers – who, like many others, have lost business during the pandemic – scored a victory this week. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, the drivers’ advocacy group led by Bhairavi Desai, won a preliminary injunction in its lawsuit against New York demanding timely payment of unemployment benefits for Uber and Lyft drivers. The state now has to pay out those benefits promptly. Here’s hoping the Department of Labor’s interpretation of the word “promptly” has evolved since this past spring.

Donna Lieberman

While some advocates and activists are new to the fight against police misbehavior, the NYCLU and its veteran leader, Donna Lieberman, have long been on the front lines. And the civil rights group has won the latest battle in its long-running war, thanks to a federal judge lifting an order that had blocked the NYCLU from publishing police disciplinary records on a database of tens of thousands of NYPD misconduct complaints. And if it’s really just a few bad apples ruining the bunch, why not make a point of pointing them out? 

Andrea Stewart-Cousins & Carl Heastie

For years, redistricting in New York was done by state Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats: The GOP gerrymandered districts to protect their narrow majority, Democrats reinforced control of their own house, and relatively few people paid attention. But Democrats seized control of the upper house at the right time, and now the Senate majority leader and the Assembly speaker are set to rewrite the redistricting rules to be more fair – or perhaps just to solidify their legislative gains.

Losers: 
Alyssa Aguilera & Jeremy Saunders

The balancing act of taking government money while also protesting against the government has put VOCAL-NY in an tricky position. The organization lost out on more than $2 million in New York City money set aside for a headquarters in this year's budget. While that could be chalked up to an unfortunate coincidence given the billions of dollars that has been cut in the budget, VOCAL-NY leaders have charged that Council Speaker Corey Johnson acted out of retaliation. Johnson has denied the accusation, but it goes to show that protesting in front of the speaker's boyfriend's home may not have been the most effective strategy to earn his sympathy.

Frank Reig

Just a few weeks ago, Revel’s rental scooters were hailed in The New York Times as a viable transportation alternative during the pandemic. But this week, following the deaths of two Revel riders in New York City, the company quickly suspended its service in the city. Some have made the argument that cars kill far more people – and that other modes of transportation should be prioritized above cars. But facing the back-to-back deaths of Revel riders, CEO Frank Reig and his bright blue scooters are the ones under the microscope now.

Jay Schneiderman & Jesse Warren

When you put on a concert with a band called The Chainsmokers during a severe respiratory illness pandemic, you’re just tempting fate. At the very least, it turns a bad look (holding a concert when people should be socially distancing) into an ironically horrible look. But that didn’t stop a charity “drive-in” concert in Southampton, Long Island. In what should have been a surprise to no one, revelers did not stay in their cars and packed together near the stage. Now the state is investigating  the event and its aftermath for the apparent violations of public health regulations. Not something either of these local officials wanted to happen on their watch.

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