City & State: This Week’s Winners and Losers
The Legislature’s redistricting maps made losers out of a handful of Senate Democrats, who now find themselves living in districts represented by their colleagues. And NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly’s week – already pretty cloudy due to a storm over his involvement in an anti-Muslim video – got a lot more grim when news about an allegation of rape against his son surfaced. Here’s how the week shook out for the rest of the political world:
George Amedore — The Legislature’s proposed redistricting maps have infuriated Senate Democrats, goo-goos and Ed Koch. But some people think they aren’t so bad, and one of them is Assemblyman George Amedore. That’s because the controversial addition of a 63rd Senate seat, which could help keep Republicans in power, is rumored to be designed just for him and his personal wealth. Amedore’s been noncommittal about running in the new district so far, but says he certainly interested in looking at it. The only real question at this point seems to be whether the redistricting plan that created the seat stands up to an expected legal challenge.
Brad Gill — The natural gas industry heard the exact message on hydrofracking they wanted in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, and they hope others will take heed. The president cited a natural gas supply “that can last America nearly 100 years,” and said he would “take every possible action to safely develop this energy” and create “more than 600,000 jobs” – all music to the ears of Gill, the president of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York. Of course, New York will decide for itself whether and how to move forward with hydrofracking, but with thousands of New Yorkers opposed to drilling, it can’t hurt to have the president’s support.
Mark Grisanti — Holy favorable partisan gerrymandering, Batman! The freshman Buffalo Senator may be here to stay if the lines drawn for him by Senate Republicans remain in place. The GOP have cut about a third of the people who voted for Obama in the last election out of his district and moved it totally within Erie County, thereby neutralizing Conservative Party Chair Mike Long’s threat of withholding the party line in the next elections as punishment for Grisanti’s “yes” vote on same-sex marriage. If Grisanti was sweating his upcoming re-election campaign, he can take a little break for now. Looks like his party isn’t throwing him to the wolves.
Danny O’Donnell — Up in Albany, there’s often a real disconnect between the bills lawmakers pass and how those bills end up affecting people’s everyday lives. But this was a happy week for Assemblyman O’Donnell, who was a direct beneficiary of the state’s legalization of same-sex marriage, a bill he helped to champion. He applied for the license to wed his longtime partner this week. Weddings are a joyous thing, but we think Assemblyman O’Donnell’s might be just a wee bit more joyful than most. Congratulations are in order!
Eric Schneiderman — President Obama may not have mentioned him by name in his State of the Union speech, but Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s appointment to serve on a newly created mortgage fraud protection unit was seen as a huge bone thrown to the president’s starving progressive base. Schneiderman, who has been a persistent critic of the White House during the 50-state mortgage settlement process, said the new post wouldn’t diminish his effort to bring more accountability to the final deal. Either way, the AG now has a nice national perch from which to better communicate with his legions of liberal fans.
Tonio Burgos — Everybody in Albany may do it, but this prominent lobbyist, got caught in the act. Burgos was outed by the New York Times this week for sending out a fundraising pitch that offered a chance to sit next to Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a dinner in exchange for a cool $50,000. That raised questions about trading dollars for access at the very time Cuomo is pushing campaign finance reform.
Paul Browne — The NYPD’s chief spokesman has long been one of Commissioner Ray Kelly’s top advisors, zealously defending a department and a boss who has remained popular despite scandals. But with Mayor Michael Bloomberg seriously upset about the anti-Muslim video shown to cops, who’s more likely to fall on his sword if a sacrifice is needed — the hero commissioner or his loyal aide?
Marc Cenedella — He’s not even a declared candidate, and already Marc Cenedella’s online life is being picked apart like he were a congressman named Weiner. News that Cenedella’s personal blog contained suggestive posts and links to porn sites is the latest example for an electorate that has come to expect R-rated shenanigans from politicians. And even though his prospective opponent, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, found herself in Internet disfavor over her support of SOPA, Cenedella is the one with the steeper hole to climb out of. Too bad he can’t just press Ctrl-Z.
Joe Crowley — The Queens congressman and party chairman is faced with a political map that absolutely tears up the districts of his loyal incumbents. If lines hold, Sen. Tony Avella will likely be pitted against Sen. Toby Stavisky. Sen. Mike Gianaris is in the same district as Sen. Jose Peralta. And as the Democrats cry foul, Republicans can simply say that they’re creating districts that reflect the diversity in an increasingly diverse borough – which actually has a hint of truth. Even if Queens’ white Democrats survive, though, Crowley has to wonder what this round of redistricting portends for his own congressional district.
Tom Farley – The city Health Department’s earnest ideas to make New Yorkers healthier have blown up on Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the past, but this week’s flap over a model who lost his leg to Photoshop instead of diabetes showed that the health commissioner still hasn’t mastered health optics. Every agency has its big thinkers, but senior people are supposed to balance their ideas against what’s practical – and never embarrass the boss.
Vote for this week’s winners and losers at City & State.