Winners and Losers 01/09/15
Winners and Losers 01/09/15
Gov. Andrew Cuomo really stepped up to the plate this week, or delivered a slam-dunk if you will. The press has lauded the eulogy he gave for his father Mario as the most emotionally real speech of the governor’s career. And while it was sprinkled with political messaging—at one point Cuomo promised his late father that the city would “come together” and move forward, a reference to the yawning rift between New York City’s mayor and the police—the governor still managed to strike an appropriate tone. This all sounds like the description of a winner, but out of respect for the family’s loss we’re keeping the governor above the fray this week. To find out who wasn’t so lucky, read on … and be sure to vote!
Elizabeth Crowley - The City Councilwoman was able to advance her bill to boost pensions for disabled police and firefighters in the city this week. By putting the issue front-and-center, she got enough of her colleagues to sign on, which pigeon-holed Mayor de Blasio, who has expressed opposition to the bill in the past but now is reconsidering as he doesn't want to do anything else to upset NYPD officers while the rift with union leaders continues to hang around his neck. Crowley's timing couldn't have been better to move through the bill, which has also been opposed by Speaker Mark-Viverito in the past.
Dan Donovan - Dan’s the man! The Staten Island district attorney hasn’t officially put his hat in the ring—and there isn’t technically a ring, since a special election has yet to be called—but a number of the borough’s most prominent Republicans are already rallying around him to run for the House seat vacated by Michael Grimm. Of course, another GOP official, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, is garnering some support too, and Donovan’s key role in the Eric Garner case could hurt his chances—but it might help him, too.
Rachel Noerdlinger - Sure, her reputation took a hit last year when the City Hall press corps dug up one embarrassing disclosure after another. But things are starting to look up for Noerdlinger, who just made a soft landing as a managing director at Mercury Public Affairs. Plus, presumably she no longer has to deal with the struggles of her two previous employers—the Rev. Al Sharpton and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who are now two of the most controversial figures in the city.
Sanford Rubenstein - Well, Mr. Rubenstein, you’re a winner this week. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office tried its best to pin a rape charge on you after allegations from a National Action Network employee that you escorted her to your apartment and attacked her. You're still facing a civil lawsuit and Al Sharpton has maintained a cool distance from you, dealing your career as a high-profile defense attorney a pretty serious blow. But no time in the clink for you. So you win.
Sheldon Silver - Silver may have 99 problems but his conference ain't one. The Manhattan Democrat was re-elected once again as Assembly speaker for the 2015 legislative session. The decision was nearly unanimous with only one dissenting vote (albeit a loud one) from freshman Assemblyman Charles Barron. Now if only that pesky federal investigation would go away...
Bill de Blasio - This week the mayor once again finds himself engaged in a spiral of mutual destruction with New York City police union leaders and specifically with PBA President Patrick Lynch. The press has dug in to see how this drama is going to play out. Editorial boards have struck gold, delivering scathing attacks on both men day in and day out, depending on where their publication falls on the ideological spectrum. At this point, public opinion of both de Blasio and Lynch continues to decline. The only question is who is the bigger loser, which we leave up to our readers to decide.
Patrick Lynch - See above.
Louis Ciminelli - More than ten years ago, the Buffalo-based developer won a $1.4 billion contract to repair and rehabilitate the crumbling, vintage buildings of the Buffalo school district. The project is now in its final, $175 million phase, but it’s hit a snag: $41 million can’t be publicly accounted for. Earlier this week, Buffalo school board members Carl Paladino and Larry Quinn called for an audit of the last phase’s expenditures and darkly suggested that payments to Ciminelli should be withheld if he isn’t cooperative. There is, of course, the distinct whiff of insider Buffalo politics here. Paladino and Quinn are both developers, and for years, they have been locked in a bitter rivalry with Ciminelli, who most recently scored the contract to develop the $750 million RiverBend/Solar City project. But when you can't account for $41 million in taxpayer money, you have a problem.
Jeff Klein - Call them “minor details” all you want, but the fact is that the Independent Democratic Conference leader has substantially less power than he did during the past two years. The state Senate’s new rules strip Klein of his veto over which legislation comes to the floor for a vote. His conference will still be “consulted”—whatever that means—but he also lost his status as Senate co-president. Klein insisted that such titles matter more to the media—but we’re guessing they matter to him, too.
Hamdi Ulukaya - How fast the fortunes of the entrepreneurial can change! Turkish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya and his successful Chobani yogurt business were veritable symbols of the effort to reverse upstate New York’s economic fortunes—yogurt was even crowned the official state snack by the Legislature last year—but while Chobani lives on, Ulukaya will no longer be running the operations as CEO of the company he founded. Other parts of the story are up for debate: Ulukaya vehemently denies a report that he may be ousted as chairman as well. But there’s no denying the company experienced a financially destructive product recall in 2013, and there have been reports of a poorly designed factory in Idaho as well. Irrespective of what’s really going on behind the scenes at Chobani, Ulukaya can’t be too pleased with way things have gone.