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?
October 30, 2020

Not even Western New York is safe from Borat embarrassment. This week, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz had a (real) meeting with Kazakhstan health officials on COVID-19 responses. It was all very nice, but then Poloncarz accidentally tagged the fake @KazakstanGovt handle created to promote Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie. Needless to say, those behind the Twitter account couldn’t pass up an opportunity to humiliate a public official, apologizing for their “Premiere” dropping the video meeting to make a “sex chat line” call. It’s not exactly Rudy Guiliani’s run-in with the Sagdiyev family, but it’s definitely good for a laugh.

Rachel Fee

New York City slashed $1 billion from its housing budget earlier this year, setting back its affordable housing plans in a big way. But pressure from Rachel Fee and others at the New York Housing Conference seems to have made a difference. The organization's analysis this month found that the hefty cuts to the city's capital budget would've only led to a measly $30 million in savings, because it's funded through bonds. Soon after, Mayor Bill de Blasio restored about half of that funding, which could be used to fund the creation of about 11,000 new affordable housing units. Turns out a little math goes a long way.

Henry Garrido

For months, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has suggested municipal layoffs are imminent for tens of thousands of city workers if the city doesn’t get a federal bailout or borrowing authority from the state. But District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido has worked out a better – if temporary – solution. The city and its largest municipal union announced a deal that will keep those jobs safe at least through June 2021, with the city stopping payments to some DC 37 funds for employees and retirees. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than sitting around waiting for the state or federal government to help. 

Ray McGuire 

Just over a week into his New York City mayoral run, former Citi executive Ray McGuire is giving career politicians a run for their money – literally. In a matter of days, McGuire raised $1.1 million, already roughly half of what city Comptroller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams – two of the race’s frontrunners – have raised this whole time. And while skeptics may look to McGuire’s Wall Street connections to explain the sudden infusion of cash, his campaign also points to donations from small businesses in minority communities. Just imagine how he’ll do after he officially kicks off his campaign.

Joseph Brady

The former legislative aide is hardly the only gearhead to travel in state political circles, but he is the only one we’ve ever heard to reportedly lead a violent street gang. His arrest for allegedly sexually abusing an 18-year-old, and possible involvement in the death of a fellow biker, could mean that Brady is done for good driving civil service-related legislation through the halls of power. 

Dane Pfeiffer

Boyfriends, beware. If you date one of the governor's daughters, you may become a running joke on television – or get sent away to the Canadian border. The forbidden romance between State Trooper Dane Pfeiffer and Cara Kennedy-Cuomo reportedly started while Pfeiffer served as one of the governor's bodyguards. It’s hard to believe, but Cuomo disapproved, and Pfeiffer ended up being transferred all the way up to northeastern New York. But, hey, look on the bright side, trooper – you’re not THE boyfriend, who is, ominously, “no longer with us.”

Mike Ryan 

Has New York City truly held an election if Board of Elections Executive Director Mike Ryan doesn’t end up on the Losers list? New York had its first early voting period ever for a presidential election, and in New York City, things could have gone smoother. Throughout the week, people had to wait two, three, four hours to vote at some polling places – including Mayor Bill de Blasio. Now hizzoner is calling for a complete overhaul of the BOE – and, not to be outdone, so is Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the lines a form of voter suppression. The city wasn’t alone bungling early voting – across the state, poll sites were overwhelmed – but let’s face it, long lines in the North Country aren’t the ones making national news.

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