It hasn’t been a good year for New York City’s ride-hail companies, albeit with rare exceptions. But after all of the regulatory backlash targeting Uber and Lyft this year – from a minimum wage for drivers to a cap on new for-hire vehicle licenses – Uber’s Josh Gold and Lyft’s Jen Hensley are feeling more festive this holiday season thanks to a state judge’s rejection of a city rule that would have limited how long drivers could cruise through busy streets without passengers.
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
New York politics can make for strange bedfellows. Take Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Lee Zeldin and Elise Stefanik, who came together in opposing a bill to eliminate the federal cap on state and local tax deductions. (Their positions united several editorial boards, which blasted their votes.) Political squabbles can also spur surprising divisions – like Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s veto of legislation sponsored by fellow Democrats that would have let federal judges officiate weddings. But did any of them make this week’s Winners & Losers list?
Transit advocates got an early Christmas present last Friday, as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced that the final rollout of Fair Fares will begin Jan. 27. The city launched the program at the beginning of this year, offering discounted MetroCards to only a handful of low-income New Yorkers as the program was phased in. But 2020 will now officially open up the benefit to anyone living at or below the poverty line. After a long fight for discounted fares, it looks like it will be a happy New Year for the Community Service Society’s David Jones and Riders Alliance’s John Raskin, who spearheaded the Fair Fares push.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed these Brooklyn lawmakers’ Safe Way Home Act, which provides free trips for survivors of sexual assault to go home, to a shelter or other safe location after receiving medical care. State Sen. Julia Salazar and Assemblyman Joe Lentol sponsored the measure, which Salazar called “an important victory for survivors of sexual violence.” Meanwhile, Salazar picked up early 2020 endorsements from the Working Families Party and Communications Workers of America District 1 – reflecting both far left and more mainstream labor support.
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini won his post just three weeks after his predecessor, Thomas Spota, was indicted on charges of corruption. He pledged to clean up the scandal-ridden office and return integrity to Suffolk’s criminal justice system. So it’s fitting that just days after a jury found Spota guilty, Sini announced indictments against a whopping 96 MS-13 gang members, the culmination of a two-year investigation. It’s hard to think of a better way to fix up your office’s reputation than with the largest MS-13 crackdown ever in New York.
The former NYC mayor’s presidential campaign acknowledged that it used prison laborers to make campaign phone calls, while adding that it was unaware of the arrangement and had cut ties with the vendor. For the billionaire trying to buy his way into the Oval Office – spending untold millions on campaign ads – exploiting incarcerated women being paid minimum wage (or possibly less) might remind voters of the former mayor’s poor record on the #MeToo movement, stop-and-frisk policing and income inequality.
A judge struck down the current NYC mayor’s controversial rezoning of Inwood. New York City Council members ripped a long-awaited four-page (double-spaced!) report on secular education at yeshivas as inadequate and overdue. And another judge said the city’s rule limiting the time Ubers and Lyfts could cruise without passengers was “arbitrary and capricious.” Ouch. Plus, Hizzoner spent much of this holiday week in California – not at all fueling the critics who say he’s detached from his seven-hour-a-month job.
There’s nothing quite like a gentile claiming to be more Jewish than a Jew during Hanukkah. Although media interviews often seem to backfire for this ex-NYC mayor, he still agreed to another – over Bloody Marys no less. Before the drinking even started, Giuliani said he was more of a Jew than Democratic mega-donor George Soros. According to him, Soros doesn’t even go to “church” – no, doesn’t go to “religion” – wait, that’s not right either. He doesn’t go to synagogue, Giuliani said after finally finding the right word, and doesn’t support Israel. Oy vey.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has wielded his veto pen yet again, this time blocking a measure sponsored by state Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic that would have legalized e-bikes and e-scooters. Was it because “significant safety provisions were left out” of the legislation? Was it because of a supposed spat between the governor and Ramos? Or was it because Cuomo’s inner circle thinks the state senator is an “idiot”? We’ll just have to wait until next year to see.