In a ho-hum election year with New York City's incumbent mayor expected to cruise to victory, Bo Dietl is doing his damndest to keep things interesting, saying he’d like to punch “Big Bird” de Blasio in an elevator and showing up outside the primary debate with the actual towering yellow muppet. For more news at the intersection of politics and entertainment, here’s this week’s Winners & Losers.
Andrew Cuomo – Anytime a politician gets to slap his name, or his father’s, on a major infrastructure project, it’s a good day – even if it makes some people gag. He may know more about sausage than infrastructure financing, or hitting the jackpot with casinos, but we bet the governor is pretty pleased about the opening of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge this weekend.
Carmen Fariña – New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina was proud to announce on Tuesday that students in grades three through eight scored higher than the previous year on state English and math exams. It’s also the first time that these city students outperformed the rest of the state in English, beating out the statewide average by 1.4 percentage points. Looks like somebody did her homework.
Brian Kavanagh – It’s early on but the assemblyman’s looking strong – Kavanagh snagged a plum endorsement this week from the Working Families Party. He was lightning fast, dropping his name in the hat just hours after state Sen. Daniel Squadron announced his impending resignation. Who knows, maybe the early bird does get the worm?
Chuck Schumer – If Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump are no longer talking, that’s only good news for the leader of the loyal minority. Congress also needs to approve new spending bills by Oct. 1, otherwise the government shuts down. Trump has threatened to veto any spending bill if it doesn’t include funding for his border wall with Mexico, which would trigger the first government shutdown while a single party controlled both Congress and the executive branch. Moreover, the Republicans will need the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling next month.
Jack Weinstein – This Brooklyn federal judge implemented new guidelines for his courtroom this week that will give more women and minority lawyers bigger roles in cases that he is hearing. The rule encourages junior lawyers – who are disproportionately women and people of color – to “argue motions they have helped to prepare.” Weinstein has said that he designed this rule explicitly to increase diverse representation in courtrooms. For ensuring equality within the law profession, as well as before the law, Weinstein is a winner.
Bill de Blasio – Despite watching his former boss Hillary Clinton relentlessly attacked for her email conduct, de Blasio’s given his own ammo to the “but, his emails!” crowd, with a new document showing the mayor’s used his personal email for city business a lot – at least 1,850 times. Bad for transparency, and more bad news on a week that saw his little-known, little-funded challenger elevated to equal footing in a debate.
Ed Mullins – Thanks to Mullins' police union, “racism” is in danger of becoming the new “fake news” – a once-legitimate term to describe a serious issue, now so misused and overhyped as to render it almost meaningless. The Sergeants Benevolent Association’s “Blue Racism” video on discrimination against police officers got laughed down with pictures of smurfs and the Blue Man Group, and Mullins had to admit to The New York Times that “racism” wasn’t the right word.
Francisco Moya – According to New York City Council rival Hiram Monserrate, Assemblyman Francisco Moya may have lied about his residency. Records show Moya obtained a mortgage in 2010 that required he live in Long Island City for one year, but in that same year he filled out paperwork stating that he was living several miles away in Corona. A Moya spokesperson disputed the account – but for a candidate who's done this, this and this, Monserrate is managing to land some blows.
Diana Richardson – No one likes to get a parking ticket, but when the assemblywoman got caught using her parking placard in a driving lane outside her district office in Brooklyn, she took it a step too far – publicly naming and shaming a rookie traffic agent on Facebook with a picture, after the poor guy dutifully laid down a $115 fine. “Sigh…” At least she didn’t beat anybody with a broomstick?
Michael Tolkin – In a desperate attempt to square off against opponents Bill de Blasio and Sal Albanese in the primary debate on Wednesday night, Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Michael Tolkin donated $175,000 of his own money to his campaign. After an appeal to the New York City Campaign Finance Board, he was cleared to participate, but was then shut down by the debate sponsors who refused to include him.