The governor just signed a new law that makes it a misdemeanor to get a manicure or haircut without paying up. Before state Sen. Marisol Alcantara and Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman shepherded through the legislation, it was a matter for small claims court rather than the criminal justice system. The new law is a swan song for Alcantara, who lost her primary to Robert Jackson earlier this month. It remains to be seen whether the new law will result in fewer nail salon brawls over botched eyebrow jobs.
Who's up and who's down this week?
Who's up and who's down this week?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law banning the predatory leasing of pets. Our fearless leader also revealed that snakes and eels give him the willies. And now there’s a yet another problem plaguing New York City’s public transit – bedbugs on busses. To see what else made it a wild and woolly week in New York politics, check out the latest Winners & Losers.
SoHo no mo fo luxury car maker Cadillac. CEO Carlisle is driving the company back to its roots in the Motor City, even after New York gave Caddy a million bucks to renovate its downtown HQ. The state claims the money was never paid out, but what a boss move, showing that local pride is more important that development bribes – er, grants. Cuomo can’t point to Detroit’s beautiful weather for this one – the real blame is Escalade-ing costs.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey just secured as many as 40,000 airport workers a minimum wage of $19 – the highest for any public agency in the country – and another big winner here is Hector Figueroa, whose union represents many of these workers. Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU, won Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s support for the wage hike, which will affect everyone from baggage handlers to cabin cleaners at the three big New York City-area airports: La Guardia, Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International. The $19 wage is set to take full effect by 2023, which Figueroa calls a “significant breakthrough.”
The former Daily News city editor has a new gig – helping to save local journalism. He will lead The City, a new nonprofit website that will seek to fill in the gaps led by the decline in local news coverage in New York City. Nearly $8.5 million has already been raised for the new project, which aims to starting publishing stories in January. Hester will be helped in the effort by Ben Smith, the editor of BuzzFeed News, who will chair The City’s board. A partnership with New York magazine will also ensure that The City gets in front of lots of eyeballs. However, the goal of the project is not to simply to cover the local stories that other outlets can’t. ““We’re really hoping to not only do some good here, but also to kind of reconnect people to civil activity,” Hester said.
The Republican chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature will most likely be installed in the office of county executive for the next year, and he didn’t even have to hit the campaign trail to get there. After County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced her resignation to take a new position at the the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, an Onondaga County elections commissioner announced that a special election could only be held if it happened before Sept. 20. Mahoney told Gov. Andrew Cuomo she’d be making a move back in August, meaning she’d been planning her move for a month before she resigned … on Sept. 24. Impromptu? Maybe. Surprise? Nope.
The Western New York congressman, once a sure bet for reelection, has spent the past week in a tailspin. Collins was indicted on insider trading charges in early August, and this week he has a fresh slate of bad news: At least one expert is calling his race a tossup, the NRCC won’t spend a penny on him, and his recent ad against Democratic rival Nate McMurray has been blasted as racially tinged at best, and outright racist at worst. While he gears up to fight a tougher race than he likely expected, Collins may also want to prepare for a confrontation from his Democratic colleague, Rep. Ted Lieu of California, who said on Twitter: “Take your racist ad and shove it.”
It turns out the health insurance company Crystal Run did reach out to the governor’s campaign about potentially improper contributions, despite his emphatic denial of any such interaction earlier this month. Crystal Run is under investigation for allegedly making illegal straw donations to Cuomo’s campaign. But he says he wasn’t lying when he said the company didn’t make contact – because he didn’t know. Neither did his spokeswoman, according to her statement. Then Cuomo brushed off the implications, saying that the outreach was months ago and was no big deal. At worst, the governor lied on record and has now been caught, but at the very least, it’s another striking oversight for the famous micro-manager.
Hizzoner had to release another round of private emails with “Agents of the City” on Thursday. And if he thought the Senate’s Kavanaugh hearing would distract reporters, then he underestimated the New York City press corps. Of course de Blasio likes insulting the media – we keep uncovering unflattering truths, like his secret dossier on a political rival, Investigations chief Mark Peters. Or the fact that the city has NEVER used its legal right to sue a landlord for failing to inspect lead paint. But the press isn’t the only group to reveal embarrassing truths – NYCHA tenants can do it themselves just fine.
Back in July, the former New York State Common Retirement Fund chief investment officer landed a cushy job on the board of directors of the natural gas and pipeline company The Williams Companies. Fuller got appointed within a week of retiring from her government job, and on her watch the pension fund invested heavily in Williams Company and refused to divest from fossil fuel companies. Nearly two months later, Fuller is facing greater scrutiny for her new job thanks to an investigative report from WNYC, Sludge and Capital and Main that sheds light on the potential conflict of interest her new post represents.
With affordable housing a hot topic in New York City and Albany, it’s important to have accurate data to inform the debate. One would expect the city comptroller to be helpful there – but this week, Stringer’s office had to apologize for getting things wrong. It estimated that the city lost more than a million apartments going for $900 or less, when it actually lost less than half of that. Turns out someone forgot the difference between multiplying and dividing. Coming on the heels of another controversial report from Stringer’s office, critics were not very forgiving.