This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down this week?

It happened a few years ago, but long after the ’90s: Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, responded to a story by intrepid reporter Anna Sanders by putting his finger and his thumb in the shape of an “L” on his forehead. And then, readers, he called her a loser. While normally anything the mayor does to humanize himself is appreciated, this was a step too far. Calling people losers is OUR thing.


Justin Brannan -

Row, row row your billboard, gently down to Florida. It’s not hardcore, but the punk Brooklyn city councilman can sing it anyway after the much ballyhoo’d floating electronic billboards got banned for good from New York waters. Brannan gets credit for leading the charge on Twitter, but this was a team effort, along with fellow haters of free enterprise capitalism City Councilman Mark Levine, state Sen. Brad Hoylman and the New York City Law Department.

Brooklyn Street Sign Hackers -

Rather than trying to mess with our elections, these hackers messed with something even more quintessentially American: car culture. They programed electronic street signs with a fun variety of anti-car slogans like “BAN CARS STOP DRIVING,” “CARS RUIN CITIES” and “CARS ARE DEATH MACHINES.” Corey Johnson, if this is part of your strategy to “break car culture,” we promise to keep your Mr. Robot-style public transit advocacy a secret.

Michaelle Solages & Roxanne Persaud -

What’s the creepiest thing you can imagine? Got it? Good, because Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages and state Sen. Roxanne Persaud just got it banned. It’s apparently really common for medical students to perform pelvic exams on sedated women in teaching hospitals without their consent, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law Solages and Persaud’s bill to end the practice. Sure, it kind of seems like something that should have already been illegal, but these lawmakers get props for ensuring that it is.

M. Stanley Whittingham -

Now there’s the name of a guy born to win a Nobel. M. Stanley Whittingham, Ph.D., a professor at Binghamton University, was a co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in developing the lithium-ion battery. So the next time an airline tells you you need to lug your laptop in your carry-on because it’ll explode in your checked luggage – you know who to blame.

Keith Wright -

The Manhattan Democratic Party boss gets to keep his lucrative lobbying job after crushing a rebellion from local district leaders, who wanted him to give it up. So Wright gets to stay in a position to punish the very people he lobbies. (He says he doesn’t.) Either way, the unsuccessful interlopers might want to start begging for mercy, because if you take a shot at any king, big or small, it does not end well when you miss. 


Alec Baldwin -

Yeah, yeah, it’s great that City Hall is cracking down on the predatory ticket sellers in Battery Park who sell sham Statue of Liberty tours. But let’s consider why: Alec Baldwin got played like a chump! Yes, the supposedly streetwise actor who has lived in Manhattan for, like, 40 years, made like some frickin’ Iowa tourist and got scammed into a B.S. Jersey bus ride. The only loser bigger than him may be … the rest of us, who don’t get VIP rooftop access to the Staten Island Ferry. 

Anne-Marie Hendrickson -

Wow, that’s a whole lot of Cracker Jacks. New York City’s Deputy Housing Commissioner Anne-Marie Hendrickson was fined $6,000 this week for trading inside information to the owner of a title insurance company in exchange for Yankees and Nets tickets. Sure, now she has to pay up, but until she got caught, she must have felt like a winner watching in the crowd, free of charge. 

Carolyn McIntyre -

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, but things are looking pretty bleak for WBAI, New York City’s longtime independent radio station for left-wing politics. The station’s owner – the nonprofit Pacifica Foundation – abruptly announced that it was shutting down the station’s local programming, with no warning to the staff. Even though a judge ruled Pacifica had to (at least temporarily) return the signal to local hands, they haven’t yet. (Carolyn McIntyre, WBAI’s board chair, called the situation a “9/11 style attack” – which seems a little strong, but we understand the anger.) Staff will continue streaming shows via the internet in protest, but there’s no pirate radio here.

Andrea Stewart-Cousins -

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins can talk the talk, but can she walk the walk? Senate Democrats helped strengthen sexual harassment protections in this year’s banner progressive session, but the Senate still hasn't completed its own sexual harassment training ahead of an Oct. 9 deadline mandated by law. With Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie having successfully completed training for the Assembly in March, Stewart-Cousins has some ’splaining to do. 

Joseph Tsai -

The billionaire Brooklyn Nets owner – and Taiwan native – ditched his apolitical profile to parrot Chinese Communist talking points after the Houston Rockets’ GM tweeted in support of democratic protesters in Hong Kong. Basketball has gotten huge in mainland China – and apparently free speech has little value when it could cost millions of dollars. Let’s see if Brooklyn fans care – and if those tickets drop in value (see Anne-Marie Hendrickson’s profile).