Winners & Losers 4/8/16
Winners & Losers 4/8/16
Bernie Sanders thinks subways still use tokens. Hillary Clinton struggled with her MetroCard. John Kasich ate pizza with a fork. And Ted Cruz’s “New York values” remark won’t help much here. At the end of the day, the biggest winners may be New York’s voters, but the polls aren’t open yet – unless it’s for our Winners & Losers.
Sandra Lee – Just in time for paid family leave, New York’s favorite live-in partner is back to work! The 49-year old TV chef and first lady of New York came back to the Food Network for the first time in almost a year after a tough battle with breast cancer. May she rise again in the cooking world like a phoenix.
Errol Louis – While Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are busy trying to boost their Brooklyn bona fides, the intrepid “Inside City Hall” host is prepping for the nationwide stage. Louis has been tapped to co-host the Democratic presidential debate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard next Thursday, and we know this Brooklynite will make the Empire State proud. After all, he’s the 30th most powerful person in New York City.
Crystal Peoples-Stokes – A veteran of the Western New York delegation, Peoples-Stokes has focused on education, particularly in poorer and urban districts, since being elected to the Assembly 13 years ago. In the new state budget she scored one of her biggest wins on that front yet, securing $175 million in funds for community schools. The money will be used to turn school buildings into the centers of the neighborhoods, serving not just students but their families, staying open later and offering a variety of services to give residents a hand up.
Basil Seggos – Joe Martens must be feeling green with envy. When Martens ran the state Department of Environmental Conservation, he was often asked when the state would ever complete its years-long hydrofracking review, and another persistent question was whether DEC had enough cash to actually do its job. Now that Seggos is running the place, the fracking fight is fading – and the new budget’s $300 million for the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and $200 million more for water infrastructure are step toward loosening DEC’s tight budget.
Harvey Stenger – After the state passed a budget in the $150 billion range, a few million dollars may seem like crumbs. Still, the $20 million Binghamton University received this week from the state probably put a smile on the university president’s face. Not only that, Cuomo got to tout his support for upstate manufacturing – a win-win for all.
Philip Banks – Quitting while you’re on top doesn’t work quite as well when the FBI is involved. Then-NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks resigned in 2014 rather than accept a promotion. At the time, rumors swirled that he stepped down because he did not land the commissionership, but it now appears FBI agents were probing whether he accepted gifts from two businessmen – Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg – in exchange for doing favors. The investigation, which led the NYPD to discipline four officials, apparently grew out of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s examination of the city corrections’ union boss Norman Seabrook.
Bill de Blasio – It’s been a week filled with miscommunication, scandals and broken promises for the de Blasio administration. The controversial sale of a former health clinic on the Lower East Side to a developer that will build condos continues to dog the mayor and his lobbying pals. Delays to the critical Water Tunnel No. 3 were mishandled, and funding for the project was reportedly completely drained. De Blasio is facing criticism that he is dragging his feet on investigating ultra-Orthadox yeshivas because he fears alienating the constituency. And he couldn’t even get a public appearance with Hillary Clinton, his former boss!
Simcha Felder – Most state lawmakers vote in favor of the budget, no matter how much they dislike parts of it. But Felder, a Democrat who has conferenced with the Republicans, was apparently so unhappy with it that he cast the lone “no” vote in the state Senate. Reports say he is stuck between a rock and a hard place –not ready to return to the Democratic conference, but angry with Republicans over the failure to pass the Education Investment Tax Credit.
Emily Lloyd – The Department of Environmental Protection commissioner can’t feel too good after her boss very publicly demonstrated he doesn’t have her back. Lloyd testified a month ago that she “guessed” the infrastructure connecting Brooklyn and Queens to a key backup water tunnel would likely be complete in the mid-2020s, rather than the 2021 completion date envisioned by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. De Blasio responded to a report about the delay by saying that sometimes his staff doesn’t do a good job of explaining things. The mayor insisted he was “absolutely devoted” to the timeline laid out by his predecessor, despite his decision to remove – and then nearly completely re-appropriate – the $336 million Bloomberg had budgeted for the tunnel.
Stephanie Miner – The Syracuse mayor took a bold stance in calling out a developer who she claims reneged on a promise to not apply for tax credits in exchange for the city selling them land on Lake Onondaga for a mixed-use development. But standing up to COR Development Co. seems to have blown up in her face. The city filed a lawsuit with little evidence, failed to submit appeal paperwork on time and now appears to be backing away on the only part suit that hasn’t already been tossed by the courts. While the intentions were admirable, the execution was poorly thought out, and has been carried out on the taxpayer dime.