City Hall News: This Week’s Winners and Losers
We would have made the leader of the growing Occupy Wall Street movement a winner this week, if the rag-tag band of protesters had a leader. And we would have made NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna a loser for pepper-spraying protesters, if we thought he would actually be punished for it. So here are 10 other individuals who did make the list:
Shelly Silver — The notoriously low-talking Speaker seemed to find his voice again this week, pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the millionaire’s tax and the livery street hail bill, while also pulling an Al Gore-style “I did it first” move on Cuomo’s nanotech announcement. His timing, as usual, was impeccable. And his recent scarcity made the weighing in all the more effective.
Dan Cantor — The Working Families Party got a boost this week when former President Bill Clinton gave a special shout-out to on-bill financing, which provides payment options for weatherization projects and was fought for by the labor-backed party. Cantor may have seen his preferred Assembly candidate lose earlier this month, but a thumbs up from Bubba, plus more union involvement next week in the Occupy Wall Street protests, are sure to improve his mood.
Rose Marie Belforti — The Ledyard town clerk made her personal opposition to same-sex marriage into a national issue, and was able to personalize the opponents even after the law was passed. She may lose this case (and her job) on the merits, but be sure someone’s already pegging her to run for a higher post.
Christine Quinn — She swatted away a bill to force the mayor to disclose his whereabouts, backed a bill to put new scrutiny on the mayor’s contracts, and may be able to convince the mayor to lean harder on city banks. Forget the merits of each issue — the City Council speaker is showing both her members and the mayor that she has power.
Ed Cox — It wasn’t so long ago that the state Republican Party chairman was looking vulnerable, with party members grumbling about his ineffectiveness as a leader. But these days, Cox can point to Bob Turner’s win over David Weprin in the race to replace disgraced Democrat Anthony Weiner, not to mention his own re-election for another two years leading the state’s Republicans after challengers backed off. He’ll face other challenges ahead in keeping the Senate Republicans in power and boosting the party’s declining enrollment, but for now he’s on a high.
Ken Brynien — It was only a matter of time before someone decided not to play by Cuomo’s rules, but Brynien is getting slammed by editorial boards across the state for failing to communicate the potential wrath of the Cuomo administration, should PEF contract talks fail. Cue the layoffs — the largest statewide in more than a decade. The union made its point, but cut off its nose to spite its face.
Tom Ognibene — The former City Council minority leader wanted to get back into the game by unseating Queens county chair Phil Ragusa. But even with Turner’s big congressional win – which Ognibene’s insurgent faction took some credit for – he could not mobilize people in enough district leader races across the borough to win. Ognibene is trying to contest county leadership election results from Wednesday night in court, but any neutral analysis says Ragusa will likely prevail. That’s probably why Cox called Ragusa yesterday to congratulate him on his re-election.
Ed Koch — The former mayor just did a complete 180 on Obama, from backing Turner to send the president a message on his Israel policy, to rallying to the president’s side weeks later. But how well Koch landed his flip-flop is open to some debate, with observers scratching their heads about how quickly he jumped back on the “Obama Re-election Express.” Koch did cite Obama’s recent speech supporting Israel and the president’s opposition to Palestinian’s bid for statehood at the U.N., but maybe he just wants some media attention, too.
Patti Harris — The mayor’s top aide isn’t used to the spotlight, much less having to disclose the inner workings of Team Bloomberg under oath, much less having an opposing lawyer yell at her. But that’s what she faced in court this week at the trial of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign aide John Haggerty. Harris is one of the city’s most powerful women but rarely exercises that power with a public voice. Surely Bloomberg would rather have signed away the $1.1 million Haggerty is accused of stealing than put her through the experience, but it wasn’t her call.
David Frankel — Another hearing, another embarrassing disclosure. The city Finance Commissioner admitted to the City Council that he overbilled 15,000 landlords on their tax bills in July, just the latest in a series of billing screw-ups. This is from the agency that can sell a lien on your home if you miss a payment. Getting people’s tax bills right is a basic function of Frankel’s department, but the Council members who control his budget have a limited tolerance for screw-ups like this.