This week's biggest Winners & Losers

This week's biggest Winners & Losers

Who's up and who's down this week?
February 13, 2020

Last Valentine’s Day, Amazon walked out on the governor and the mayor. After Jeff Bezos’ company revealed a secret affair with New York’s top elected officials, a bunch of mean politicians quickly undermined the budding relationship by spreading nasty rumors about the company being a bad partner and an unrepetentant freeloader. Not even a love letter from local business and civic leaders could bring Amazon back … and yet, the company can’t quite quit New York. To find out who’s feeling the love this year – and who’s feeling scorned – here are the latest Winners & Losers. 

Winners: 
Michael Bloomberg

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to be winning everyone over this week – or is at least trying to. A new poll revealed that – despite his longstanding support for stop-and-frisk tactics that targeted minorities – Bloomberg is growing in popularity among black voters and he’s continuing to pick up endorsements from black politicians across the country, including Queens Rep. Gregory Meeks. He’s also embarked on an oddly successful meme campaign in the hopes of winning over younger voters who are unfamiliar with his track record as mayor.

John Flanagan

The state Senate minority leader caught a break this week when state Sen. Robert Ortt of Western New York decided to run for reelection. It turns out that the resignation of ex-Rep. Chris Collins, who will be replaced in an April 28 special election, allowed Ortt just enough time to reverse course after state Sen. Chris Jacobs got the GOP nod to replace Collins. Flanagan still needs to find replacements for nine other GOP senators, but getting Ortt to stay is a start. Maybe Flanagan might wanna put a little credit into Collins’ prison commissary account once the former congressman reports for that 26-month sentence in the federal pen.

Brad Lander

New York City Councilman Brad Lander is batting 1000 this week, ushering two of his bills through the council: legislation creating an online public capital projects tracker affording more transparency on city spending, and a bill requiring reckless drivers to take safety driving courses. Lander’s on a watchdog-minded tear – now he just has to keep up that batting average next week.

Nicole Malliotakis & Claudia Tenney

There are few things that wannabe GOP House members pine for more than a supportive presidential tweet. Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island and former Rep. Claudia Tenney of Central New York had such wishes come true this week when President Donald Trump endorsed their campaigns to win back two congressional seats the Democrats flipped in 2018. Once upon a time, Malliotakis and Tenney distanced themselves from the president, but they’re now loyal Trumpistas who believe the presidential bandwagon can carry them all the way to Capitol Hill. If that happens, let’s hope that Trump still has time for his current New York congressional crush.

James Whelan

Well, that didn’t take long. As soon as New York City renters learned they’d get relief from broker’s fees that can cost several thousand dollars, a judge put a stay on the new rule banning them. That’s a positive development for Real Estate Board of New York’s James Whelan, whose group sued to block the regulation. The judge issued a temporary restraining order in response to the lawsuit, which seeks to keep a New York Department of State guideline from taking effect that would prevent brokers from collecting a fee from renters. And while tenants may lament, the news is surely music to Whelan’s ears – for now, at least.

Losers: 
Laura Curran & Patrick Ryder

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and her police commissioner, Patrick Ryder, jumped the gun on their criticism of the state’s new discovery law. After the brutal murder of a witness in an MS-13 gang case, both officials were quick to suggest that his death was the result of a new law that requires prosecutors to hand over evidence to the defense – like witness information – more quickly. But that’s not what happened. Records show that the witness’ name was never revealed to the defendants, per a judge’s instructions, even after a protective order was removed. Ryder later acknowledged there was “no direct link” between the murder and the new law, even as he stood by his criticism of the legislation. 

Letitia James

Taking on telecommunications giants like T-Mobile and Sprint is a gargantuan task, and even with the help of 13 peers, state Attorney General Letitia James failed to block the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger. A judge ruled against the coalition of attorneys general co-led by James suing to block the merger, and while James left open the possibility of an appeal, it’s a harsh blow for those who think the merger will weaken competition and raise prices for customers. David may beat Goliath in the parable, but this Goliath is a telecom megamerger with the backing of the Federal Communications Commission. James and her David-like team of trustbusters apparently didn’t stand a chance.

Michael Petucci

This week on upstate judges getting wasted and crashing cars: Michael Petucci. The town justice from Herkimer just got sanctioned for his bender back in 2018, which ended up with him drunkenly slamming his car into an abandoned K-Mart while armed with a loaded pistol. Much like one of last week's losers, this judge couldn't help but throw some choice words at the officer who tried to get him to take a Breathalyzer test. At this rate, it might be worth it for the state Commission on Judicial Conduct to initiate training to stop judges from driving drunk and threatening law enforcement. 

Scott Stringer

The city comptroller's calls to close the gender pay gap don't seem to be hitting home. Though Scott Stringer has pushed for New York to do more to boost salaries for women, a Daily News analysis found women in his office make 88 cents on average for every dollar his male employees make. In fairness to Stringer, that's pretty similar to the average pay gap you see in New York City and throughout the state. So while this may not help his progressive persona, it's probably not too far off from what many of his political peers are doing too – a similar analysis of Bill de Blasio's office fared only slightly better. 

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang’s meteoric rise in prominence during the Democratic presidential primary came to an abrupt, anticlimactic end this week, as he ended his campaign on the night of the New Hampshire primary after seeing no path to victory. Though a loser in his long-shot bid for president, rumors quickly began flitting around about Yang using his wide base and popularity to fuel another run for office – including possibly for mayor of New York. The future is an open road for Yang, even if that road’s gutters are metaphorically littered with discarded dreams of $1,000 monthly checks and actually littered with discarded “Make America Think Harder” hats.

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