The interim medical care director could get $76 million for renovations at the Buffalo VA Medical Center, according to Senator Minority Leader Charles Schumer. This would be part of a $4 billion increase in federal funding, the result of a bipartisan bill recently passed by Congress. The Buffalo News reported that Schumer also said that he will concentrate his efforts on making sure the ‘most possible money’ goes to upstate New York – and also wants the VA to name a permanent director. Just make sure President Donald Trump doesn’t figure that it’s a Schumer priority.
Who's up and who's down this week?
Who's up and who's down this week?
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has had to deal with some negative headlines from the corruption trial of former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, but it turns out he won’t have to show up to testify. And while outgoing NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye was back in the spotlight now that she’s stepping down, it’s not like de Blasio would have to quit over the scandal. So the mayor had a mixed bag this week – unlike these Winners & Losers.
New York City isn’t getting congestion pricing to fix the frustrating subway system, but at least low-income riders might have some help. This week, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined a growing number of politicians in getting behind “Fair Fares,” a plan promoted by the Community Service Society’s Jones and the Riders Alliance’s Raskin that would subsizide MetroCards for New Yorkers who can’t afford them. Now it’s all about persuading the mayor, who has insisted on a millionaire’s tax instead – his answer to everything that never goes anywhere.
Where is Steve McLaughlin planning on going? The Rensselaer County executive received a travel budget of $5,000, the most ever budgeted and five times the amount from last year. Road trip, anyone? Perhaps not. A spokesman said the money is to pay for trips related to economic development, although only time will tell where McLaughlin will venture. Plus, he also got to hire a second secretary. Maybe one was not enough to listen to all the verbal abuse he doles out.
Tears of joy! Murphy’s New York-based marijuana booster scored former House Speaker John Boehner for the board at Acreage Holdings, lighting up media reports with burning questions about how Boehner went from “unalterably opposed” to the herb to being politics’ lead ganja gangsta. Perhaps seeking greener pastures in the age of Trump, Boehner is blazing a new trail for Republicans, opening the prospect of a joint effort with Democrats to legalize it. You don’t need smoke signals to read the tea leaves here: Murphy is riding high this week.
Getting $30,000 for an unconfirmed rumor? That was the deal the National Enquirer signed with Dino Sajudin, a former doorman at Trump Tower in New York City. Sajudin was paid $30,000 for the rights to a story that Donald Trump had a child with an employee – and agreed to pay $1 million if he told anyone else about the story. The contract was signed soon after Trump announced his presidential campaign, but the story was never verified and it never ran – similar to the stories of two porn stars who have claimed they had affairs with Trump.
The investigation into de Blasio’s wayward nonprofit continues, but JCOPE has claimed its first scalps – er, a couple of loose hairs? Look, nobody likes paying a $40,000 fine, but IBM pays Capalino $10,000 a month to lobby de Blasio, and that’s just one of his 100-plus clients who like knowing that Capalino is close to the mayor. Anti-carriage horse crusaders Nislick and Neu aren’t so blessed, and were fined $10,000 for sketchy donations during their failed pursuit.
Owing $54,000 in unpaid taxes on massively devalued New York City taxi medallions is the least of Cohen’s worries, after President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer had his office and hotel raided by the FBI. The one-time Upper East Side City Council candidate already admitted to paying Stormy Daniels for her silence, but investigators think there could be more where that came from. Cohen’s just following the playbook – and now his spiritual predecessor Roy Cohn’s getting burned nightly on Broadway.
Long Island Rail Road commuters, rejoice! After overseeing the worst year of on-time service in 18 years in 2017, and overall just bad service (commuters created a Facebook group, now over 2,000 strong, just to vent about it), Nowakowski is stepping down as LIRR chief. He had long been criticized for poor decisions and not keeping people informed. Now the mess is the problem of Phillip Eng, who will replace him. At least Nowakowski doesn’t have to fear the wrath of angry commuters any longer.
The NYCHA chairwoman finally resigned this week. After months of criticism, perhaps the job was no longer appealing. She painted herself into a corner by leading the federal government and the New York City Council astray and failing to conduct lead inspections that may have damaged the young minds of children. Maybe she just couldn’t take the heat? At any rate, now she’s left out in the cold … just like her NYCHA tenants were, literally, this winter.
Is the BQX DOA? Some say maybe, others say that’s just fake news. In the middle of this mess is Jessica Schumer, who runs Friends of the BQX, a group pushing for the proposed Brooklyn-Queens streetcar line. The latest line from the mayor is that Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, might save the project by landing federal funds. And that’s awkward, because a.) the project was supposed to pay for itself, b.) a lot more riders would benefit from federal funds for the Gateway tunnel, and c.) Chuck Schumer is Jessica’s dad. No wonder the Schumers don’t want to comment.