The New York City Democratic mayoral primary had its first in-person debate and there was a clear winner: the mute button we had when these types of events were virtual only. We truly did not know what we had until we lost it. Speaking of things that are looking better in retrospect, Bill de Blasio again got to have some fun this week. All of his potential successors are forced to squabble on TV while he gets to share ever decreasing COVID-19 statistics, publicly proclaim his love for Big Bird, and tweet about basketball. An absolute mood.
Margaret Chin & Gale Brewer -
New York City’s back: Broadway, movie theaters and summer camps are all opening up. But for weeks, the city remained mum on whether senior centers were being revived as well, to the chagrin of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Margaret Chin. Thanks to declining COVID-19 cases and vaccinations, the mayor finally gave the OK to let older adults head back to centers for in-person activities starting this month.
Gary LaBarbera -
The last year has been a little rocky for the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council, what with their former president getting indicted for racketeering and fraud in October. But Gary LaBarbera took the helm of the state chapter, and now the state legislative session is ending with a major win for the construction union. Both chambers passed a wage theft bill that would make contractors more liable when subcontractors stiff employees. It was a priority for LaBarbera, and he saw it done with session winding down.
Zellnor Myrie -
On Thursday, a bill sponsored by the state Senator, allowing civil lawsuits to be filed against gun manufacturers was passed by the state Senate. Myrie introduced the legislation last year in response to the ongoing gun violence in the city, in the hopes that individuals would be able to hold gun manufacturers accountable for the damage and harm caused by their products. Maybe if Assembly Member Pat Fahy, the bill’s Assembly sponsor, can get the body to pass the bill as well, she’ll find herself in the Winner’s circle soon.
Rafail Portnoy -
Ransomware attacks are all the rage, so it’s curious why the reportedly Chinese government-linked hackers who infiltrated the Metropolitan Transportation Authority this April didn’t demand any ransom as part of their massive breach of the authority’s computer systems. Could it be that even the hackers know the MTA needs to save every penny it can to implement its capital plan? Maybe they didn’t bother trying to access the systems that control train cars, knowing that the MTA’s ancient signal technology wasn’t worth the trouble of trying to commandeer. Whatever the case, MTA Chief Technology Officer Rafail Portnoy and the rest of the agency now face the unenviable task of fortifying their safeguards and ensuring the hackers can’t continue to breach their systems.
Suzanne Silverstein -
The state Court of Appeals has ruled that New York City has every right to put homeless shelters in rich and poor neighborhoods alike. Too bad for Silverstein and the merry band of NIMBYs she leads as president of the West 58th Street Coalition. They have litigiously fought tooth-and-nail to keep the homeless away from Billionaire’s Row in Midtown Manhattan, but everyone has a right to shelter under the New York State Constitution even if that means the rich cannot ignore the fruits of their beloved capitalism.
Michael Benedetto -
The Assembly Education Committee chair has a curious take on legislative oversight. If the State Education Department says things are A-OK then why not take them at their word because they’re like really learned? That was his reasoning for holding up a bill to examine how much students are learning about the Holocaust amid ongoing anti-Semitic attacks. As it turned out, someone was listening and the whole episode came to light despite Speaker Carl Heastie’s ongoing failure to make committee meetings publicly available after the fact.