City Hall News: This Week’s Winners and Losers
Here’s our scientific assessment of who’s up and who’s down this week.
Greg Ball — The Hudson Valley lawmaker raked in nearly $337,000 in campaign cash during the first half of this year, more than any of his fellow first-year state senators. This is a positive development for Ball, who made headlines in the past by finding a dead goat outside his home, which he considered a death threat, and being accused of groping a waitress. The extra cash should come in handy for Ball, a Republican who won his seat with only 51 percent of the vote in 2010. So far, he’s on the ball.
Robert Duffy — In this administration, it looks like the lieutenant governor will be more than a figurehead. Duffy got his marching orders this week as Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled long-awaited regional economic development councils all across the state. Duffy, a former cop and Rochester mayor, will chair the councils and be responsible for continuing the governor’s string of early successes as he carries out the centerpiece of the “jobs, jobs, jobs” agenda. With little else on his plate, Duffy may as well change his official title to regional economic development czar.
Janette Sadik-Khan — Did somebody say the Transportation Commissioner’s bike lanes were controversial? The latest Quinnpiac University poll found New Yorkers back them 59-35 percent, which goes a long way toward painting the opponents as a vocal minority. Perhaps that’s why a new report found the number of commuter bicyclists has risen 14 percent in just the last year, as riding a bike on city streets keeps getting safer. If bike lanes were a battle, Sadik-Khan won.
Jerry Goldfeder — When the veteran election lawyer made his case last December for throwing out $619,125 worth of Sanitation Department tickets for illegal posters hung by Bill Thompson’s 2009 mayoral campaign, it looked like a lost cause. Yet the tickets got thrown out on appeal this week for technicalities, making Goldfeder look more like a miracle worker. Whatever he charged the Thompson campaign for his services was worth it, but what it did for his reputation may be worth more.
Michael Grimm — Before he was a congressman, Michael Grimm was “Mikey Suits,” a charismatic, smartly-dressed mafia-buster for the FBI. Now his dapper ways are being recognized within the Beltway. The Hill named him among its “50 Most Beautiful of 2011” list, where his winning traits were his love of fitness regimes from the 1970s, his Yorkshire terrier puppy and the fact that he’s single. Ladies?
William Boyland, Jr. — The indicted Brooklyn assemblyman finally has an explanation for missing one-third of this year’s sessions and introducing no bills: A Facebook addiction. As The Capitol exposed this week, Boyland was tending to imaginary constituents in the online game CityVille while ignoring his actual ones. When his corruption trial starts in January, check back here for coverage of his online activities.
Richie Kessel — The flamboyant New York Power Authority CEO, who survived for three decades under Democrat and Republican governors alike, finally met his match in Cuomo. It turned out the only power generated by all the generous “donations” he gave to various civic groups over the years was his own. At least Kessel will have bought a lot of friends if he pursues a long-rumored run for Nassau County executive.
Marty Markowitz — Being fined $20,000 for anything is no picnic. But when it’s for something you expressly vowed you would never do, its hard to sympathize. The Brooklyn borough president got caught taking his wife along on trips paid for by foreign governments. His solution? Appeal to the City Council to change the rules. None would touch it, and even Mayor Michael Bloomberg felt compelled to wag a finger. And while the silver lining for the Beep is an unexpected second-place showing in a poll of 2013 mayoral hopefuls, it doesn’t do much to keep that 20 grand in Marty’s pocketbook.
Greg Meeks — The arrest this week of Ed Ahmad, the shady lender who gave Meeks an unreported $40,000 home loan, must have the Queens congressman sweating. Plus any day now, the Congressional ethics committee is expected to issue findings about Meeks’ conduct that could lead to another Charlie Rangel-esque trial. At least Meeks has his 6,000-square-foot mansion to fall back on.
Michael Mulgrew — The UFT chief was out of town this week, but back home his union took a beating. A judge dismissed two lawsuits, one to block the city from unilaterally closing over a dozen schools, the other to get the Department of Education to set up its efforts to reduce class size. Then Bloomberg announced the city has effectively prevented hundreds of teachers from receiving tenure this year. When Mulgrew gets back to the city, he’ll have more than some unopened mail to catch up on.