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?
March 18, 2021

Gov. Andrew Cuomo sure wants to hang with his friends nowadays – and no one else apparently considering his newly-implemented ban on questions at press events. Some leading figures in the Black community have been conspicuously willing to stand by Cuomo as he touted just how great things are going at several events this week. While getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is undoubtedly a good thing, the press-ducking big man is hardly the only person who needs a shot of something else this week. Some might wanna drown their sorrows in something strong while it’s bubbly time for others. 

Winners: 
Selvena Brooks-Powers

It took several weeks of uncertainty, but it’s official: Selvena Brooks-Powers won her special election in Queens for Council District 31. And it’s a historic win to boot – this was the first race the city utilized ranked-choice voting tabulation to determine a winner. Exciting! Brooks-Powers finished election night in the lead, a lead she maintained through nine rounds of vote counting and elimination. When all was said and done she had received over 51% of the vote.

Jeffrion Aubry and Julia Salazar

Next up on criminal justice reform for the state legislature: restricting solitary confinement. Both the Assembly and Senate have now passed the bill limiting its use, aptly named the HALT Solitary Confinement Act. The real win won't come for its sponsors, Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry and state Sen. Julia Salazar, until the governor signs off, of course. But it still goes to show how far the state legislature has come in taking up criminal justice priorities. Advocates for the bill can only hope that it wouldn't eventually get the bail reform treatment and rolled back after some members get too much heat over its passage. 

Oskar Eustis

Kick up your heels and cinch your new doublet, because the Bard is back in Central Park. Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Public Theater’s Oskar Eustis announced this week that Central Park’s open-air Shakespeare productions will return this summer, providing a boon to New York’s struggling arts scene after the pandemic forced closures of not just indoor theaters but the outdoor amphitheater that hosts Shakespeare in the Park last year. The winter of our discontent may give way to a midsummer night’s dream after all.

Losers: 
Carl Heastie

The Democratic Assembly speaker recently announced his decision to start an investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Unfortunately for him, a recording of his private meeting on the subjectgot leaked – revealing that some legislators think the investigation might just be “buying time” for Cuomo. To top off his crap week, the Assembly Judiciary Committeewasn’t even included in selecting the law firm involved, and found out the same time the public did. Oof!

Larry Schwartz

New York’s vaccine czar, and one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s most trusted allies, reportedly mixed business with … more business when he decided to ask various Democratic county executives about lending their support to the governor while on calls about vaccine distribution. Schwartz has denied all allegations and has insisted that he did not bring up political matters while discussing the state’s COVID-19 response policies. However, Cuomo’s top aide’s behavior resulted in a complaint being filed against Cuomo’s administration with the state attorney general’s Public Integrity Bureau.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Just as her generation is accused of killing the housing market or killing the diamond trade, this millennial member of Congress has been credited with killing Amazon’s expansion into Queens and the death of the DCCC blacklist. But not even AOC can stop a moving train, even if it’s relatively small and kind of slow. Despite Ocasio-Cortez’s complaints, the feds gave final approval to the “Wrong-Way” LaGuardia AirTrain in her district – even if it’s the last thing Cuomo ever builds.

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City & State
20210415