This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down this week?

Bald eagles are doing well in New York. So well that the state wants to take them off the endangered species list, among other now-thriving species like humpback whales, wolves and – of course – the eastern fence lizard. City & State loves a good list, but we’re not ready to make any changes around here – crooked politicians were never an endangered species in the first place.

WINNERS:

Matthew Driscoll -

No more “sorry, eh” – it’s time to pay up, Canada. For years, Canadians got a free ride on the New York State Thruway because the state had no way to send bills to hosers without E-ZPasses. But now, the Thruway Authority and its executive director Matthew Driscoll have come to an agreement with Ontario, allowing the agency access to the addresses of the province's toll-skirting Canucks. Next stop, Quebec, ça va?

Allie Feldman Taylor -

In a triumph for the animal kingdom, the president of Voters for Animal Rights scored some big wins this week after the City Council voted to tighten rules on horse carriage operators and ban foie gras. The former means fewer annoying tourists in Central Park on hot summer days – which is really a win for all New Yorkers, wouldn’t you say? And pretentious francophiles won’t be able to get a fix of savory fattened goose liver anymore, but at least there are still plenty of snails to go around. Bon appétit!

Corey Johnson -

New York City is about to look a lot more like Copenhagen, ja? The New York City Council passed the speaker’s safe streets legislation, a 10-year $1.7 billion plan to make the city a more bike– and bus-friendly place, with 250 miles of protected bike lanes, 150 miles of bus lanes, and 1 million square feet of new pedestrian plazas. All we have to do is wait until 2022 to get started – as long as we’re not getting around with flying cars and teleportation by then.

Anna Kaplan and Ken Zebrowski -

Who doesn’t love getting sloshed and operating high-caliber weaponry? Alas, good old boys will have to cut back on the suds under these suburban lawmakers’ new law – signed by Cuomo this week – that limits how drunk you can be while hunting. Now you have to be at least sober enough to drive a car to shoot a whitetail – and where’s the fun in that? But at least now hunting will be safer … for the humans at least.

Antonio Reynoso & Kathryn Garcia -

You know that creepy, echo-y Upside Down version of New York City that happens late at night? That’s the lawless “Wild West” where private trash haulers have operated, oversight-free: a horror show of dangerous working conditions and pedestrian fatalities. This week, New York City Councilman Antonio Reynoso and Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia celebrated the end to a nearly decadelong effort to reform the industry after Reynoso’s commercial waste zone bill passed the council Wednesday, imposing some much-needed regulation. Props to Reynoso and Garcia for continuing to make a stink about trash all this time.

LOSERS:

Charles King -

Turning into a union buster is a surprising development for Charles King, who saw more than 100 Housing Works employees walk out on the job this week. While they're serving New York's neediest, workers say they're left overburdened, underpaid and stuck with skimpy benefits. And though King, who started as an AIDS activist, said workers can organize, he balked at signing an agreement with them and hired a union-fighting lawyer – a bad look for the purportedly progressive group.

Melanie LaRocca -

New York City's elevator safety efforts are stuck at the ground floor. Two months after a man was crushed to death by an elevator in Manhattan, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s audit found that the city Department of Buildings headed by LaRocca is slacking on enforcing safety regulations. This isn’t a first: last year DiNapoli flagged the department's contractors for falsifying inspections and overlooking violations. 

Jay Jacobs -

Jacobs was appointed to the Public Campaign Financing Commission by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and he’s been living up to the fears of critics who thought he’d do the governor’s bidding and kill the Working Families Party. In an email sent only to his eight colleagues and a lawyer, Jacobs suggested quintupling the gubernatorial vote threshold to obtain a ballot line, which would likely end all third parties other than the Conservative Party. Jacobs got fierce criticism from progressives, including Elizabeth Warren. When Cuomo offered his two cents, it just happened to be the same, almost word-for-word, as Jacobs’. 

Andy King -

Every politician wants to make history, but being known as the first member suspended from the New York City Council in recent memory is likely not what Andy King had in mind. On Monday, the Council voted to suspend King for 30 days after the Ethics and Standards Committee substantiated charges against the Bronx councilman including harassment and retaliating against staff. But it could always be worse – 12 of King’s colleagues voted to kick him out for good.

David Chang -

The chef behind the Momofuku empire didn’t take too kindly to New York City’s foie gras ban – a move he called “idiocracy” before appending words unsuitable for a family magazine. At least his political analysis was more straightforward than that of Tocqueville chef Marco Moreira who asked – in a flimsy argument unworthy of his restaurant’s namesake – “What’s next? No more veal? No more mushrooms?” The Council’s likely response: “Yeah, probably” and “What kind of mushrooms are you cooking with?”

Correction: Jay Jacobs isn't the chairman of the Public Campaign Financing Commission. He just acts like it.

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