Lawmakers get on board with school bus safety
Who’s up and who’s down this week?
Update: Another Albany tag team took their turn atop the winners list, as state Sen. Tim Kennedy and Assemblyman William Magnarelli reached a deal on school bus camera legislation. (After all, who's opposed to making students safe?) Another state lawmaker wasn't so lucky, as state Sen. Fred Akshar was embroiled in a sex scandal that made him the biggest loser last week.
Instead of hobnobbing with decadent Democratic donors – plus Kanye – at the Met Gala Monday night, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was presumably plotting a presidential run in his riverfront mansion.
By skipping the “elite” gala, cutting the city’s museum funding and threatening to cut it even more, de Blasio has made it clear he’s not a “Met” guy. And his notorious cargo shorts make clear he’s not a “fashion” guy. But his delaying a presidential announcement also kept him from being a “loser” guy – at least this week.
Lillian Bonsignore -
New York City has never elected a female mayor, and fewer women are elected to the New York City Council each cycle, but there’s increasing gender equality elsewhere in city government. A recent example is Lillian Bonsignore, the new leader of the New York City Fire Department’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services – and the first woman to become a four-star chief in FDNY history. The promotion, which comes after several decades of working her way up in the department, also makes Bonsignore the highest-ranked woman in the uniformed service and the highest-ranking member who’s openly gay.
Darcel Clark -
Several of New York City’s district attorneys are trying to outdo each other in implementing progressives reforms, but these elected prosecutors like to make news for other reasons too – and a headline-grabbing seizure of cocaine by the Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, along with the NYPD and federal agents, fits the bill. The massive drug bust was the culmination of a year-long investigation, resulting in 19 indictments and the seizure of 176 pounds of cocaine – which could be net $3 million on the street.
Tim Kennedy & William Magnarelli -
A school safety measure long on the shelf is finally moving forward, thanks to an agreement struck by state Sen. Tim Kennedy and Assemblyman William Magnarelli. The Democratic lawmakers agreed on a compromise to allow school districts to opt into a new program using cameras on school buses to catch drivers who fail to stop for students boarding or leaving the bus. With the governor set to sign the bill after it passes, Kennedy and Magnarelli showed the kids how it’s done.
Mark Levine -
Landlords hate him! Tenants love him! Who is he? New York City Councilman Mark Levine, who, along with 10 other colleagues, passed a package of bills Thursday to protect tenants from getting booted. The new laws are coming just as the fight over extending rent regulations heats up in Albany. But the City Council has learned the hard way – don’t bag a good law, just because Albany might screw it up.
David Yassky -
When David Yassky was named Pace Law School’s dean in 2014, the ex-New York City councilman and city taxi commissioner was thrilled. “What could be more fun than working at a law school at this moment?” he told The New York Times. But the fun times didn’t last, and after a controversial attempt to seek elected office, Yassky was dismissed. Thanks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, Yassky has landed on his feet – as New York’s latest director of state policy.
Fred Akshar -
The Republican state senator is playing the victim in an ongoing sex scandal that has spurred calls for his resignation. It all began when Akshar was working as a captain in the Broome County Sheriff’s Office in 2013. Things got a little intimate between Akshar and a certain lady during his involvement in the investigation of the murder of her son. The relationship was “brief” and ended amicably enough, Akshar said in a Facebook video. The only reason it is coming up now is to “smear” him before his wedding. The problem is that the woman now says she did not exactly consent to the encounter.
Bhairavi Desai -
After a lot of hype, Wednesday’s worldwide ride-hail strike landed with a whimper, with only around 500 Uber drivers participating in New York City. That number comes from Uber, so while there may be reason not to trust it entirely, it’s far fewer than the 10,000 participants that New York Taxi Workers Alliance President Bhairavi Desai hoped to attract. If there’s an upside, it’s that what the strike failed to attract in terms of participating drivers, it more than made up for in media coverage.
David Hansell -
It is proving hard to give the Administration for Children’s Services a new public image when the past keeps catching up. A new report found that the city agency has been handing over neglected and abused kids for years to foster care agencies that lacked proper record keeping. If that were not enough to embarrass ACS Commissioner David Hansell, a state appellate court ruled this week that ACS can no longer dispatch cops to round up runaway foster children. This was not the way Hansell was looking to make headlines this week, but he oversees ACS, so things could always be a lot worse.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. -
If you’re an anti-vaxxer, there are a lot of people who aren’t happy with you: parents with young children, teachers worried about the health of their students, scientists and doctors who try desperately to change the minds of people who believe vaccines are dangerous or ineffective. Or, if you’re RFK Jr., your own family. They may still love him, but Kennedy’s family isn’t standing by his side. Rather than silently live in shame of their science-denying relative, they have forcefully and publicly denounced Kennedy’s vaccine skepticism as “tragically wrong.”
Ed Mullins -
So you’re upset about congestion pricing. Plenty of drivers are. What do you do about it? If you’re the Sergeants Benevolent Association, you tweet about your dissatisfaction – along with a sexually graphic video shot at a subway station. You offer no explanation about how the two are related, then delete the tweet in response to the backlash. This is certainly not a good look for Mullins and his union, but at least it’s got people talking. Any press is good press, right?
NEXT STORY: Rubén Díaz Sr.’s habit of offending