Who's up and who's down this week?
Sending New York lawmakers on summer vacation with another edition of Winners & Losers.
The federal government separating immigrant children from their guardians at the border absolutely dominated the news cycle this week. So it was nice of our leaders in Albany to do essentially nothing at the end of the legislative session, allowing New York’s ever-dwindling press corps to focus on the evolving issue. So lawmakers, kick back with some newly legal alcohol-infused ice cream, and enjoy the beginning of your six-month vacation from Albany by reading who won and lost this week.
Andrew Cuomo -
Albany’s power players have left the field, but there was no “red flag” bill on the final play – so Cuomo isn’t getting tagged with that loss! Amid the national outcry over immigrant children separated from their parents, the governor took the opportunity to run interference on the Trump administration’s policy – by threatening a lawsuit, of course. The result? He got the national media podium and sidestepped legislative gridlock in the Capitol … where he works.
Timothy Dolan -
In a win for the Catholic Church, and a loss for victims of childhood sexual abuse, the long-debated Child Victims Act once again failed to pass before the end of the session. Cardinal Dolan has vocally opposed the legislation, saying it would be “toxic” for the Catholic Church if victims of any age were suddenly allowed to sue their abusers. Dolan also got good press this week when he condemned the separation of migrant children from their parents at the southern border. Evidently, he is capable of feeling moral outrage over the suffering of children, as long as they don’t pose a threat to the church.
Sarah Lenti -
Lenti's obscure Serve America Movement party is becoming a little less obscure. Former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has taken up the centrist party's flag as she joins the New York gubernatorial race. Though she's unlikely to win, if she earns 50,000 votes in the general election, the party will at least earn itself a permanent ballot line in the state for the next four years. And if they play their cards right, they might pull just enough votes from Cuomo to make Molinaro our next governor.
David Mack -
Mack's back. The politically connected developer has returned to the MTA board he disgracefully resigned from in 2009 because he refused to cooperate with then-AG Andrew Cuomo's investigation into state police. At the time, Cuomo pointed out that the then-state police deputy superintendent had no law enforcement experience whatsoever – he was just a fanboy with friends in high places. But it seems it's all water under the bridge now, as Cuomo picked him over a former mayor/NYPD widow and a non-disgraced developer.
Michael Mulgrew -
This week, Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, New York City’s biggest public-sector union, hooked a three-pointer with the clock running out on the Supreme Court’s looming decision on Janus vs. AFSCME. After a long campaign by the union, the city announced it will begin providing six weeks of full-salary paid leave for new parents. If there’s one lesson we all learned this week, it’s that it’s generally a good idea to let parents be with their children.
Bill de Blasio -
Is there anybody who gets less of what he wants in Albany? Forget the millionaire’s tax – the mayor so bungled the roll-out for his specialized high school admission plan that it wasn’t even on lawmakers’ minds at the end of session. And nothing passed among the dueling bills to extend – or expand – the city’s speed camera program. Now Vision Zero is in need of a Vision Hero, and the cameras will be turned off.
Joe Crowley -
Much like how Gov. Andrew Cuomo is Muslim, Jewish, black and gay, Crowley for one night was Latina. Rather than attend a local debate with his primary challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Crowley sent former New York City Councilwoman Annabel Palma, ranked one of the city’s worst lawmakers, to debate in his place. Crowley’s not exactly the first lawmaker to skip a small-ball debate, but Ocasio-Cortez called him out for shamelessly sending another Latina from the Bronx, prompting angry op-eds castigating Crowley for his absence.
John Flanagan -
Odds are that this was Flanagan’s last session as Senate majority leader, as Democrats have a good chance of retaking the Senate in the fall. Flanagan needed this session to go out with a bang, but instead it died with a whimper. Four bills failed under his watch, the most to fail in a year since 2009, because he didn’t have a stable majority. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s buzz around the Capitol that Flanagan wouldn’t even be his party’s pick for minority leader if the Republicans lose their majority.
Yaakov Miller and Oscar Ramos -
“Just say no” didn’t work for child drug use (sorry Nancy) and New York City lawyers say it definitely doesn’t work for landlords who want to refuse housing vouchers. Or so Miller and Ramos discovered after being sued by the city for turning away homeless and low-income New Yorkers who had vouchers, actively contributing to the city’s housing crisis amid record-high homelessness rates. It’s not clear how their alleged broker, Everton Campbell, got mixed up in all this – he says he doesn’t even know the guys! Well, as they say, Mr. Campbell, now you’re really in the soup.
Andy Pallotta -
The head of New York State United Teachers was hoping to have teacher evaluations decoupled from their students’ scores on standardized tests, a review process that will happen beginning in 2019. But Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats weren’t able to make a deal, leaving NYSUT and the teachers it represents in the lurch … when it turns out a whole year of a child's life can't be neatly summarized on a Scantron sheet.