City Hall News: This Week’s Winners and Losers
Heckuva town. Even in New York City, August means news is so slow that endless rain is a compelling headline. But fear not! There was still politicking. And where there’s politicking, there are political winners, and their counterpart, losers. Here we present to you our primer on who’s up and who’s down in the world of New York politics.
Danny Donohue – At least it’s over. CSEA president Donohue agreed to concessions with Governor Cuomo in contract disputes, and though cuts are never agreeable, Donohue must be relieved. By ratifying the contract, Donohue and members shift the threat of job loss to other unions.
Bill Bratton — The American “supercop,” as the British press dubbed Bratton, lost out on running Scotland Yard after U.K. officials decided that only a native should run the troubled police force. Still, the former NYPD and Los Angeles police commissioner returned to glowing headlines for a week and didn’t even have to suffer cold British winters in the process. That was capped off by a stunningly positive piece in the Times about how Bratton had saved the Los Angeles police force. Bratton, who is eyeing a run for mayor, couldn’t have planned it any better himself.
Eric Schneiderman — The new sheriff is starting to earn his spurs. Schneiderman fired off a few subpoenas this week to gas drilling firms, in an attempt to rustle up intel on the profitability of the hydrofracking process. On top of that, the Nevada attorney general is joining Schneiderman’s efforts to block a settlement with the major U.S.banks over mortgage fraud, not to mention recent reports of escalating tension between the AG and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. If Cuomo starts to actively dislike you, that must mean you’re doing something right.
Michael Bloomberg — Who cares about good poll numbers when you’ve got good lawyers? Mayor Mike had a good week in court with a harassment claim against Bloomberg LP getting tossed, along with the lawsuit to remove the Prospect Park West bike lane. For all the whining by Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie about who gets to speak at the 9/11 memorial, Bloomberg has come out looking like the bigger man. All of that was capped off by a Wednesday afternoon spent playing putt-putt with some recently returned astronauts.
Marty Markowitz — Another politician might have been shunned after paying a $20,000 ethics fine, but not the irrepressible Brooklyn borough president. He hosted Bloomberg and a team from his administration for an announcement of new city development in downtown Brooklyn this week, and Assemblyman David Weprin hopes Markowitz’s support will help him win a seat in Congress. As Markowitz has long known, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
Iris Weinshall — The former city transportation commissioner put her reputation on the line when she joined a lawsuit against the Prospect Park West bike lane. This week, to the delight of cyclists across the city, a judge tossed the suit. Weinshall, wife to Sen. Chuck Schumer, may want to think twice before she decides to wade back into the contentious battle of the city’s streets. Or wear a helmet.
John Liu — This was the week City Comptroller John Liu got into a slap fight with Bloomberg. The two have beef, sure, but the mayor moved their noted quarrel from regular speed to ludicrous speed by telling the Daily News editorial board that Liu “doesn’t know what he’s talking about” when it comes to pensions. Harsh. And speaking of “Spaceballs,” that photo of Liu in fireman garb at a city firefighters’ conference did him no favors – he looked more like Rick Moranis than the next mayor of New York.
Barack Obama — This isn’t your average mid-life crisis. The president is faced with unruly Republicans, a stumbling economy, and, perhaps worst of all, reaching the ripe old age of 50. Now even solidly blue New York is giving him headaches. In New York City, politicians upset over deportations are pushing to put more distance between the city and federal immigrations officers, and a state lawmaker said suing over the federal Secure Communities program is an option. Among the state’s voters, a recent Siena poll shows nearly as many of them would vote for someone else in 2012 as those who would vote to re-elect the president. No wonder he’s so blue.
Andrew Cuomo — His poll numbers are still sky-high and the CSEA vote was a victory, but an otherwise slow week in August translated into some bad press for the governor. One story reported the governor was pushing Bloomberg to get more control over the program for the 10th anniversary ceremony of 9/11, which has always been a non-political affair. Other stories knocked the governor for using state aircraft to commute home and for being secretive with the flight records. At least he’s got some time off for a vacation with Sandra Lee and the kids, even if he’s still not letting himself get out of the state.
Elizabeth Spiers — The New York Observer editor lost two of the city’s best political writers, Azi Paybarah and Reid Pillifant, to the growing Capital New York website. Filling their shoes won’t be easy, and more competition in political media will make it even harder for her organization (or anyone else’s) to stand out. Fortunately she still has our former colleague David Freedlander to blaze the trail.