City & State: This Week’s Winners and Losers
Not all of New York’s winners were showered with ticker tape on Broadway this week, but not all of the losers are as sore as Tom Brady… or Gisele Bundchen. Here’s who’s up and who’s down this week in New York politics:
Rory Lancman — It seemed a little bit crazy when Rory Lancman declared his congressional candidacy earlier this week, but by the end, it made a lot more sense. Long Island Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is reportedly the one whose seat is getting axed, which means Lancman would get a chance to run against GOP Rep. Bob Turner. And with a slick media rollout, Lancman showed that he’s a much more polished candidate than Assemblyman David Weprin, who lost to Turner last summer. And the panic button for housekeepers – that was partly his idea.
Peter Ward – He’s also a button man! The Hotel and Motel Trades Council president not only inked one of the best private sector labor contracts in recent memory, he also managed to get his union’s above-par health clinic featured in Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s State of the City speech as an example of how to provide cheap, quality care to workers. And then there was the so-called “panic button” for hotel maids who find themselves in a DSK-esque situation. Big raises and protection from groping hotel guests — not bad for a week’s work.
Chris Ward — The former Port Authority boss was widely expected to be blamed for massive cost overruns at the World Trade Center in a politically motivated hit job masquerading as an audit. But when the report by Port Authority consultants came out last week, Ward name was nowhere to be found, as blame was spread widely among past leadership. Bloomberg still has Ward’s back, the worst rumors about an audit didn’t pan out, and Ward has a nice private-sector gig to cushion him for a while. Not bad.
Ray Kelly – He’s not know for smiling, but the NYPD commissioner has to be happy after prosecutors cleared his son, Fox 5 anchor Greg Kelly, of a rape allegation. And even though the latest Quinnipiac poll left him off the list of mayoral contenders, his popularity remains high even among black and Latino New Yorkers — helping explain why City Council Speaker Christine Quinn only took baby steps to criticize him about stop-and-frisk this week.
Eric Schneiderman — The progressive world is falling all over itself praising Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for sticking to his guns on the mortgage settlement and refusing to sign on without a more narrow immunity for the big banks. The Working Families Party even went so far as to compare the AG to Giants’ Quarterback Eli Manning — even though Schneiderman is more of a yoga guy than a football guy. Still, the mortgage deal looks like a big win so far, especially as that $136 million for distressed homeowners begins to roll out.
Dean Skelos — Don’t ever talk that way to U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe! The judge this week blasted Senate Republicans for their insistence on holding the state’s Congressional primary in August, which would disenfranchise military voters overseas and violate federal law. Skelos, the Senate majority leader, isn’t likely to go down the way Cool Hand Luke did, but Sharpe’s allusion to their “failure to communicate” was a stern rebuke to the caucus and a win for Assembly Democrats, whose proposal for a June primary again won the judge’s support as the only legal option.
Carolyn McCarthy — The news broke this week that the congresswoman’s Nassau County district could soon be sliced and diced away, one of two that will be eliminated in New York this year due to slow population growth. Word is her seat could be combined with fellow Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman’s, but drawn to his advantage. That may save the district of Rep. Bob Turner, another potential victim of redistricting, but only because Democrats think they can oust the rookie lawmaker at the ballot.
Velmanette Montgomery — The Brooklyn senator’s comments this week at a LATFOR hearing that “none of us like State Island” may have been a joke — and she soon apologized. Still, it’s the kind of thing that makes people wonder whether the Senate Democrats are savvy enough to reach beyond their current reach and have cross-over appeal.
Andrew Cuomo – Most weeks are good weeks for the governor, but not this one. The Port Authority audit his office leaked to Fred Dicker two months before it began didn’t land, the State Comptroller won’t let up on criticizing the Tier VI pension proposal, Queens doesn’t understand why they need two convention centers, Republican Senators don’t like the nonprofit compensation cap, and lawmakers usually inclined to go with the Status Cuomo were weirded out by an agreement between the Tax Department and the Inspector General’s office that seemed to grant Ellen Biben and all her staff free rein to peep at all state workers’ tax returns. Even a fun Superbowl party (a tame video of which he may have yanked from the Internet) can’t put lipstick on the pig of a week Cuomo’s having.
David Grandeau – The former Ethics Commission Chair and blogger who’d taken up a position as critic of Cuomo’s transparency issues took a job the Cuomo administration offered to him as ethics consultant at the Port Authority. Then he refused to talk about the new job, slammed the press for what he saw as one-sided criticism, and said nice things about new JCOPE Executive Director Ellen Biben and Andrew Cuomo on his blog. Time will tell, but for the moment, Mr. Grandeau seems like he shrugged off his whistleblower mantle for a nice six-figure salary. The lesson? If you can’t beat em, join em.
Vote for this week’s winners and losers at City & State.