City Hall News: This Week’s Winners and Losers

This week saw Occupy Albany hit its stride, while its older brother in Zuccotti Park discovered bumps in the road. The recession took a toll on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Halloween candy, and Democratic candidates across the state felt the love from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Here’s how the rest of the week shook out for our Winners & Losers:

City Council Member Letitia James speaking at a press conference at City Hall in 2008. Her push for more oversight of city contracts paid off this week. Wikimedia Commons/Thomas Good/Next Left Notes

Letitia James — Team Tish scored a victory this week when City Council Speaker Chris Quinn announced her support for a bill to monitor outside contracting, something on the Brooklyn councilwoman’s hit list since CityTime was just a little a twinkle in the Bloomberg administration’s eye. She looks wise, fiscally and ethically, a good trait for a politician some say has sights set on becoming the next city comptroller or public advocate.

Sheldon Silver — The stars are aligning for the Assembly speaker. Progressives are marshaling their forces on his side in anticipation of a knock-down brawl with the governor over extending the millionaire’s tax; Silver’s Iran divestment proposal got big-upped by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos; and his letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg urging a quality-of-life crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street campsite is being treated by the administration with increasing seriousness.

Phil Ragusa — The boss of the Queens Republican Party had reason to crack a below-the-mustache grin after  a Queens judge ruled he is the rightful party chairman — at least for the next two years. And even in the midst of all the inner turmoil in the party, the Queens Republicans fielded a full slate of judicial candidates for Nov. 8, the only Republican organization in the five boroughs to run even a single one against a Democrat. Headaches remain — most immediately, whether Republican Councilman Peter Koo will abscond to the Democratic Party — but that’s a problem for another week.

Robert Johnson — Say what you will about the Bronx D.A.’s conviction rate: he looks awfully brave as the only prosecutor to go after cops in the ticket-fixing scandal, an epidemic now widely assumed to exist in every borough. The jury is still out, literally and figuratively, on whether other D.A.’s shied away from indictments for the city’s finest or just haven’t received referrals from Johnson’s office, but the picketing and protesting he’s facing now may pay dividends on some future Election Day.

Ken Brynien — Cuomo praised the Public Employees Federation leadership for letting “cooler heads” prevail. And while Brynien, the union’s president, may have been more successful in convincing his membership to accept the state’s offer this time around, he has given no indication of letting the administration get away with additional budget cuts without going to the mattresses. He said he plans on fighting against Cuomo’s plans to further reduce spending and trim pensions, and doesn’t expect the millionaire’s tax to go softly into that good night.

Tonye Iketubosin — Being arrested for sexual abuse of fellow protesters in Zuccotti Park is bad enough, but becoming the face of everything wrong about Occupy Wall Street is even worse. The accused creep has given everyone from Bloomberg to the New York Post an excuse to clear out the park as a public nuisance. If Iketubosin represents the 99 percent, we’re all in trouble.

Pat Lynch — Leading a raucous rally of cops outside the Bronx courthouse where their colleagues were charged with corruption might have made the NYPD union head a hero to his Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association brethren, but the rest of New York saw an ugly display of privilege and power. That’s a bad message in good times, but with corruption and abuse cases popping up across the five boroughs, it resonates even worse now.

Richard Ianuzzi — Times are tough for teachers and unions, but not so for the state’s largest teachers union and its president. Iannuzzi’s total compensation was boosted to nearly $346,000 in 2009, and his New York State United Teachers reportedly hired dozens of new staff as well. NYSUT, which is funded by members and thus only indirectly paid for by taxpayers, disputed news reports about Iannuzzi’s raise. But the union refused to say how much Iannuzzi is actually getting paid, which doesn’t look good when the union is trying to paint itself as part of the 99 percent.

Ed Cox — After keeping his politicking to a minimum, Cuomo is going all out for Democratic candidates in local races. And that spells trouble for Cox, the state Republican Party chair, and his chances of winning or keeping a handful of important seats. The popular governor has endorsed at least 70 Democrats across the state, and if the candidates capitalize on the high-profile support, it could dampen the good vibrations Cox was feeling after Bob Turner’s come-from-behind special election win earlier this year.

Greg Meeks — Set your watch to it: the New York Post will run a negative article about the Queens congressman this Sunday. Or it’s seemed that way lately — with articles about his unpaid water bill,  his dealings with shady real estate dealer Ed Ahmad and campaign cash used to fix his Mercedes. Has it all been fair? Maybe not. Still, Meeks didn’t even get to celebrate this week when the Aqueduct racino opened in his district after a decade of delays. (He was listed on the invitation as a speaker, but didn’t show.) Of course, Meeks was reportedly wrapped up in the bidding scandal for that project, too. Will we read about that Sunday?

Read the full post at City Hall News.


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