This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down this week?
December 5, 2019

There are many worthy nonprofits that need donations on Giving Tuesday, the global day of charitable giving. Assemblyman Michael Blake thought his congressional campaign was one such worthy cause, asking donors to “please contribute today on Giving Tuesday.” Campaigns are technically nonprofits – especially if you lose – but it seemed to go against the spirit of the day. That said, thank you for your weekly donation of time to reading about this week’s Winners & Losers.

Winners: 
Rodney Harrison

 After awkwardly snubbing New York City's black top-ranking cop to pick yet another Irish guy to serve as NYPD commissioner, the city appointed the department’s first black chief of detectives. Rodney Harrison is heading into the new position after serving as chief of patrol, a post which is being filled by Fausto Pichardo, a Dominican-American officer with 20 years at the department. So while the NYPD's top brass still hardly looks like the rest of the city, progress may be inching forward.

Jay Jacobs

It’s a good time to be the de facto chairman of a potentially unconstitutional government commission that has binding statutory power. The Campaign Finance Reform Commission – which Jay Jacobs serves on as a commissioner, but is technically not in charge of – released its final recommendations for a statewide public campaign finance program. The changes also include new hurdles for third parties like the Working Families Party. The Legislature could come back and reject the proposals, but Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he “wasn’t alarmed” by any concerns raised by his members. This apparent green light for the recommendations that heavily reflect Jacob’s desires could be good news for next session too, especially if Heastie doesn’t feel compelled to push for changes then, either.

Todd Kaminsky & Amy Paulin

Nothing brings people together like a shared hatred, and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and state Sen. Todd Kaminsky demonstrated that in June with the unanimous passage of their Nuisance Call Act. The bill closes a loophole to require that live telemarketers inform people that they have a right to be added to a do-not-call list and requires customer consent before sharing or selling their contact information. The bill, which the governor signed this week, has an opt-out measure allowing telemarketer-haters to avoid such calls, while leaving open the option for any telemarketing fans to continue to receive constant calls from unknown numbers at inopportune times. To each their own.

Kat Sullivan

The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics abandoned its controversial case against the Troy rape survivor, who had been accused of illegally lobbying for the Child Victims Act. Sullivan could’ve faced a $25,000 fine for not registering as a lobbyist after spending more than the $5,000 on billboards and hiring a banner airplane in support of the legislation. Now she can get back to her life and JCOPE can get back to what it does best: embarrassing itself by dragging its investigative feet on probes into people who actually had power. 

Tony Utano

Christmas came early for several labor unions, most notably Tony Utano’s TWU Local 100. The subway and bus workers he represents would enjoy raises of 2.3% over four years under a tentative contract agreement, and Utano said he expects the deal to be approved “in overwhelming fashion.” Meanwhile, CUNY professors led by the Professional Staff Congress’ Barbara Bowen ratified a contract with wage hikes, and the New York State Nurses Association’s Judith Cutchin notched a victory for public sector nurses at NYC Health + Hospitals, who also reached a tentative contract deal.

Losers: 
Ras Baraka

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka may be unhappy with New York City for sending homeless people to his city, but the New Jersey mayor’s lawsuit against Mayor Bill de Blasio may have backfired. The Daily News’ editorial board slammed Baraka for filing a complaint against the city and turning his nose up at those attempting to forge a better life for themselves – in addition to poking fun at Baraka for outing some of his own city’s housing as “illegal and uninhabitable” in his lawsuit.

Spencer Freedman

The state’s executive deputy inspector general showed this week how not to investigate alleged wrongdoing by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. At issue is whether someone at JCOPE illegally leaked to Cuomo how Heastie’s appointee to the ethics panel had voted on a case involving former Cuomo aide Joe Percoco. Rather than ask Cuomo and Heastie what they knew, Freedman essentially made JCOPE commissioners and staff pinky swear that they never leaked details on votes. Case closed, Freedman effectively said in a Thanksgiving Eve news dump.

Richard Malone

Pope Francis’ press office announced this week that Bishop Richard J. Malone was stepping down, bowing to intense pressure from the local Catholic community and others in response to his mishandling of credible accusations of sexual abuse by members of his clergy. The Buffalo bishop had sought to remain in his position until his 75th birthday, when it is customary for bishops to resign. But having fallen short by 15 months, Malone will have to find something else to do to mark the big day. 

Vincent Sapienza

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend was ruined for the residents of 74 homes in South Ozone Park that were inundated with raw sewage, and now it appears that New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza will soon be up to his ears in it, too. City lawmakers want to know what caused the sewer line blockage in the southeast Queens neighborhood, and at a City Council hearing next week, Sapienza will be left to answer for the disgustingly sticky situation. 

Donald Trump

“The world is laughing at us,” the president has said many times, appealing to voters’ sense of pride. It turns out he was right … but this week it was actually world leaders, and they were laughing at Trump. Trudeau, Macron & Co. hurt his pride so bigly that he cancelled a presser and went home early. While that shaming was supposed to be private, there was a far more public – and more consequential – development as the House of Representativess officially announced its drafting articles of impeachment against the president.

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