City Hall News: This Week’s Winners and Losers
We’re not sure what to think about MTA Chairman Jay Walder’s resignation. He’s a winner for landing a lucrative job building the future, but a loser for leaving the job he was born to do. Transit union head John Samuelson is a winner for outlasting his foe, but a loser for having to brace for whoever comes next. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a winner for getting a plum appointment to award, but a loser to have to find someone who can do it. And MTA riders? Write your own joke.
Wendi Deng Murdoch — Suddenly, the world knows she’s tough. By jumping to protect her husband from a pie-throwing protestor, the 42-year-old third wife of 80-year-old Rupert Murdoch looks like a contender in the Shakespearean family drama of how News Corp. will run when he’s gone. If she ends up steering the editorial policy of the company’s New York Post someday, New Yorkers will know she can throw a punch.
Chris Ward — Cuomo has long been rumored to want to push out Ward, the head of the Port Authority, after the 9/11 anniversary. But with Walder’s job open, Cuomo is unlikely to force another vacancy in a top transit post.
Lew Fidler — The term-limited Brooklyn councilman raised $323,711 in seven weeks for an unspecified state office, more than almost every legislator in Albany. That’s a nice pile to put toward a special election for indicted Sen. Carl Kruger’s seat, since their districts cover the same swath of Brooklyn.
Liz Krueger — The wonky Upper East Side senator often leads a lonely crusade against Albany insanity. No longer! Her No Bad Apples PAC, designed to entice do-gooders to run for public office, reported more than $100,000 in donations over six months. That’s a lot of money for a state-specific PAC on a decidedly unsexy topic, with no candidates yet announced as mascots. How did she do it – diligent under-the-radar fundraising, or just an appealing logo with a shiny apple?
Benjamin Brafman — Ah, to be a white-collar criminal defense attorney. Indicted state Sen. Carl Kruger’s campaign finance report showed Brafman got $710,000 in legal fees since mid-March. Of course, if Kruger’s case goes as well as that of fellow Brafman client Dominique Strauss-Kahn, he’ll be worth every penny.
Bill de Blasio — Just when the public advocate thought he found a slow news day for his report about school co-location, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer upstaged him with a sharper report on eliminating member items. But the real blow came when new reports showed de Blasio already spending more than $300,000 on a presumed mayoral run, busting through a pre-2013 spending cap. De Blasio has millions more dollars to raise before then—and every cent he gives to his highly compensated fundraising team before then will eat into the amount he can spend when the race is actually on.
Ed Mangano — The Nassau County executive is getting beaten up from all sides. His budget was rejected by the Nasasu Interim Finance Authority, at the same time his plan to hold a public referendum on a new stadium was put on shaky legal ground. Nassau County has plenty of beaches; perhaps Mangano needs some time on one to rethink his political strategy.
Carl Kruger — The Brooklyn state senator’s mighty fundraising apparatus screeched to a halt this month when he reported raising only a fraction of his past totals. Sure, his federal indictment may have had something to do with it. But flipping sides to vote for same-sex marriage didn’t even earn him a few campaign dollars from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, unlike other converts. He says he has no plans to step down, but it’s tough to get re-elected without money.
Anthony Weiner — Just when he thought the Weiner jokes had stopped, the media took one more shot at the ex-Congressman – at least the Al Qaeda branch of the media. “Inspire,” the terror network’s online magazine, ran a full-page mock ad titled “An angry Weiner head.” Even America’s enemies have time to come up with a pun.
Brian Brown — The head of the National Organization for Marriage has his work cut out for him. Not only did same-sex marriage advocates outraise his opposition forces during Albany’s debate, but his promised $150,000 mail campaign against senators who voted for it fell flat. Comparing Sen. Mark Grisanti to Benedict Arnold doesn’t exactly resonate with modern voters; if Brown’s threatened $2 million campaign next year is equally tone-deaf, he’s in trouble.