Offshore drilling ban sponsors soak the competition
Bill de Blasio unveiled the city's budget, while Andrew Cuomo padded his in this week's Winners and Losers.
Update: The two state lawmakers who sponsored legislation aimed at blocking offshore drilling in New York's waters - state Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Assemblyman Steve Englebright - were the top winners, with 50 percent of the vote. And topping last week's losers list was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who got close to half the vote in a field that included an embattled jail warden and an indicted ex-assemblyman.
After a jam-packed start to the legislative session in Albany, this week featured less of the fanfare for high-profile bills that we all got accustomed to in January. Not that progressives should worry, mind you. Democratic lawmakers are looking to keep their streak going with a package of legislative on criminal justice reform, and some hope the momentum will carry through to tougher lifts like congestion pricing and school aid – which are sure to create even more Winners & Losers.
Andrew Cuomo -
His third term just started, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about the next election – and to begin collecting cash. Cuomo is a prolific fundraiser, amassing over $30 million in his campaign account at the height of his reelection campaign thanks to big-dollar donors. And now, he will be able to take in even more dough. The state Board of Elections has raised the limit on individual donations to $70,000 for the next four-year election cycle, up from a paltry $65,100. To be fair, he has proposed smaller campaign finance limits – but if they don’t go through, he will surely reject all those big-dollar donations. Right?
Steve Englebright & Todd Kaminsky -
The waters off Long Island might stay a little more pristine now that the Democratic-controlled state Legislature has passed a ban on offshore drilling. The legislation appears to have a smooth path towards approval since Gov. Andrew Cuomo has expressed support for the idea, which would bar the state from granting permits for oil or gas exploration. Plus, it gives Democrats an opportunity to throw cold water on another Trump administration priority – drilling seemingly everywhere except the battleground state of Florida.
Michael Gianaris -
Scoring progressive political points by railing against the Amazon HQ2 deal is one thing, but being nominated to an obscure state board that might actually kill the deal? That’s real power. The state Senate’s decision to nominate state. Sen. Michael Gianaris to the Public Authorities Control Board means that Gianaris could have the power to single-handedly kill the deal – unless the governor somehow outmaneuvers the Queens lawmaker.
Kathryn Garcia -
New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia just got a new clean-up job. This week she was unexpectedly tapped to replace Stanley Brezenoff as interim NYCHA chair. It’s a major promotion that will require Garcia to work with the federal government to fix up the city’s public housing – or, at the very least, ensure the publicly-funded residences have reliable access to heat and water. The assignment is temporary, but it’s a show of confidence from the mayor, especially after the stinging criticism over the city’s response to a November snowstorm on Garcia’s watch.
Jed Walentas -
The desire has always been there. Now it’s looking like New York City might actually get the streetcar. The proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector – also known as the BQX – is moving ahead with an environmental review for the project, with a consultant signed up to oversee the process. The line may or may not ultimately get built, but if it does, one of the biggest beneficiaries will be Walentas, who has some prime real estate along the streetcar’s proposed path.
Bill de Blasio -
It must have been fun throwing around around billions and billions of dollars for the last five years, but thanks in part to the volatile stock market, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s going to have to tighten his belt for the first time and ask for budget cuts from each of his commissioners – even the NYPD’s Jimmy O’Neill. Luckily, there’s still money for profile-raising jaunts to Boston … and Los Angeles … and Iowa …
Joe Errigo & Robert Scott Gaddy -
The list of Albany insiders who have been convicted of corruption is long and distinguished. Former Assemblyman Joseph Errigo and lobbyist Robert Scott Gaddy may eventually be added to it, depending on how their court cases play out. The pair pleaded not guilty this week to charges of bribery and conspiracy that stem from an FBI sting operation. Prosecutors may say they now have the goods, but legal troubles are nothing new for Errigo.
Freddy Ferrer -
After all the uproar over whether or not the L train will shut down, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was forced to close service on the line for a few hours this week after noxious chemical odors on the train caused several riders to faint and vomit – one more headache for the MTA’s acting chairman Fernando Ferrer to deal with. Ferrer also has to be hoping that the governor doesn’t have to follow through on his threat of 30 percent fare hike.
Danny O’Donnell -
Note to all public advocate candidates: A “good luck with that” is not an “I endorse you.” It seems that the well-liked Upper West Side assemblyman got his wires crossed with a couple colleagues. Now Rep. Anthony Brindisi (a former assemblyman) and Assemblywoman Michele Titus both claimed they never endorsed O’Donnell’s campaign despite their names being touted on an O’Donnell press release. Danny, oh boy.
Herman Quay -
The warden at the Metropolitan Detention Center doesn’t seem to care how cold his inmates are. When the heat recently went off at the federal jail in Brooklyn, Quay allegedly lied about the extent of the crisis and downplayed the facility’s issues, so much so that a lawsuit was filed against the Bureau of Prisons by the Federal Defenders of New York. Amidst the eruption of protests and a pending lawsuit, Quay couldn’t be bothered to make an appearance at Tuesday’s hearing where detainees testified about details of their predicament, with one claiming his cell temperature was between 30 and 40 degrees. Family members and attorneys were also prohibited from entering the jail for days, something Quay also denied. That’s one icy dude.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly suggested that former Assemblyman Joseph Errigo and lobbyist Robert Scott Gaddy were convicted of corruption. They were charged with crimes but pleaded not guilty.