Tis the season to express holiday wishes before a busy year to come. Transit advocates are asking for more trains and state legislators are fretting whether gubernatorial Santa will deliver on bills big and small by New Year’s Eve. The impending delivery of COVID-19 vaccines is just one sign of how Christmas is coming a little early for many New Yorkers. But no matter if you’re naughty or nice, lumps of coal have a way of stuffing more than a few political stockings.
Letitia James -
Since taking office as state attorney general in 2019, Letitia James has made a point of taking on all the Big Bads of the moment – at least from Democrats’ perspective – including President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association. Now, she’s taking aim at Big Tech too. James led a coalition of 48 states and territories – in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission – in filing antitrust lawsuits against Facebook on Wednesday that threaten to break up one of tech’s great behemoths. James and her co-plaintiffs face a tough fight in making their case against Facebook, but for the time being, James has proved successful at building a national profile as a true antitrust crusader.
Peter Koo -
Member deference is alive and well in Queens – and this time, the project got approved. New York City Council Member Peter Koo came out in support of the controversial Flushing waterfront rezoning for a mixed-use development, despite some very vocal pushback by some members of the community, as well as other Council members. Although it’s not quite as high profile as the scrapped Industry City rezoning or recently collapsed neighborhood rezonings, the Flushing project was still major enough to draw attention. While Koo did not enjoy unanimous support from his colleagues, the rezoning managed to avoid the ever growing development graveyard.
Liz Krueger & Félix Ortiz -
State Sen. Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Félix Ortiz for years have pushed legislation that would force New York's pension fund to drop its fossil fuel stocks. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has balked at having the legislature supersede his authority over the fund. But they came to a compromise recently, as DiNapoli announced his plan to review and divest from many fossil fuel companies. And his latest plan goes even further than Krueger and Ortiz's proposal, pushing for net-zero emissions across the fund’s whole portfolio by 2040. The two lawmakers – along with the many climate change activists who pushed for it – can now do a victory lap for pushing the country's third largest pension fund to get greener.
Robert Carroll -
One Brooklyn Democrat incurred the wrath of his fellow progressives after suggesting the time is now to discuss a proposed bill that would impose a $3 surcharge on package deliveries in New York City. Once Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez started tweeting about it, the actual details of the legislation became besides the point, as the once environmentally-minded proposal became the latest bone of ideological contention before the political left and right. Wonder why the state Senate sponsor wasn’t retweeting Bobby on this one …
Something smells at New York Waterway. It isn’t clear if the ferry company, led by Chairman Armand Pohan, really dumped sewage straight into the Hudson River for years. But that’s what two shit-stirrers – er, whistleblowers – claimed in a lawsuit. The EPA has been investigating, and in a difficult year since the Coast Guard briefly halted the ferries’ service for safety issues, this is another brown mark on their record