Every year, the state’s top politicos dutifully make their pilgrimage to San Juan for serious discussions of consequential policy and quiet, sober contemplation of the year ahead … Just kidding! Somos is the biggest fiesta in New York politics, and, with Marcos Crespo stepping down from the role, Brooklyn Assemblywoman Maritza Davila is your new host. Granted it’s not all fun and games – it’s never been more crucial to stand in solidarity with Puerto Rico – but we're stoked to see what a new party planning committee brings to the festivities.
Who's up and who's down this week?
Who's up and who's down this week?
They’ve paid their dues in the public sector, and now it’s time for New York City Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and New York state Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo to retreat back to the private sector and start raking in the big bucks. With the stock market tanking you can’t blame them – those Christmas gifts aren’t going to pay for themselves. For those still stuck in government, we’ve got your weekly gratuity of candy and coal.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo can kiss the $600 million he hoped to raise from taxing opioid manufacturers goodbye. And unfortunately, those addicted to opioids can kiss goodbye whatever treatment the money could have been used for. But Drew, the chairman of the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, is most likely a happy camper after winning a lawsuit challenging Cuomo’s Opioid Stewardship Act, which went into effect in July. Now Drew and other pharmaceutical bigwigs can keep selling their drugs unimpeded.
Albany leadership is becoming less white and male every day. Peoples-Stokes was named Assembly majority leader, the first woman and the first person of color to ever hold the post. She replaces Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, who’s off to Washington as a member of Congress. As a Buffalonian, Peoples-Stokes brings some much-appreciated leverage for Western New York to the Assembly. Although she won’t be one of the “three (wo)men in a room,” Peoples-Stokes’ appointment is nonetheless historic and another step in the right direction.
Google’s CFO Ruth Porat can celebrate not only the company’s $1 billion expansion in New York City, but also the warm reception it has had in the press for not demanding any tax incentives to do so, unlike a certain other internet giant. Amazon may be getting nearly $3 billion in tax breaks, but Google will be spared the unending protests.
Lame ducks take note: THIS is what you do with your last weeks in office. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood continued her hot streak this week, scoring a huge settlement from Charter Communications (formerly Time Warner Cable) and single-handedly forcing the Trump Foundation to dissolve. Though the biggest victory may be becoming the subject of a Trump twitter rant – a badge of honor for any of the president’s defiers.
On her way out as New York City public advocate, Letitia James delivered a parting blow to NYCHA – and its interim chairman and CEO, Stanley Brezenoff – naming the Housing Authority the worst landlord in New York City. The list of shame has always been one of the public advocate’s most effective tools, so hopefully between it, the lead paint, heat and hot water shortages, rodent infestations and, oh yeah, the threat of federal receivership, we hope somebody finally gets the message.
Watch out for Jekyll and Hyde in Queens. A new lawsuit claims that Cook, an 80-year-old Queens assemblywoman, is a corrupt racist prone to angry outbursts who verbally abused her staff, especially a biracial employee. But, the lawsuit alleges, she could also be very sweet – and employees never knew which woman would walk through the door. Even if the allegations aren’t true, Cook is left spending her golden years fighting an ugly lawsuit.
It almost seemed like the mild-mannered state Senator had put his well-documented history of minor violence and major anger issues behind him. But then a Republican staffer called him out on Twitter for parking placard abuse, and Parker’s dam broke, responding to the message: “Kill yourself!” The story went national, and even other Democrats swooped in to condemn his remark. So Parker apologized – before making things worse by arguing that the Republican deserved it, after all because of her political beliefs. Now he’s lost respect – and his position on Jumaane Williams’ public advocate campaign team.
This week, the president’s charitable foundation, accused of “a shocking pattern of illegality” by New York AG Barbara Underwood, announced it’s dissolving, his precipitous troop withdrawal from Syria drew bipartisan boos (although it made Vladimir Putin happy) and his threatened government shutdown unless he gets border wall funding is overwhelmingly opposed by Congress. At least no more of his cronies were indicted – yet.
Look, it’s hard to be in the media business. We know. But you don’t get to make $1 million a year at a nonprofit while begging poor grad school students for contributions. You don't get to run a renowned bastion of liberal thought while making business deals with all-our-anchors-must-read-this-pro-Trump-screed Sinclair Broadcast Group. Add in some reportedly poor handling of high-profile#MeToo incidents, and it's no surprise WNYC's board kicked its CEO to the curb – before she did any more damage to New York Public Radio’s money-making “halo effect.”