Well, it looks like the coronavirus crisis hasn’t been all that bad after all – for President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, that is. Due to medical concerns, Michael Cohen was released from prison on Thursday, in the middle of a three-year sentence for campaign finance fraud and other crimes. However, Cohen’s release is only temporary until the state’s COVID-19 outbreak is contained, so the former fixer shouldn’t get too comfortable in his Manhattan abode.
This week's biggest Winners & Losers
This week's biggest Winners & Losers
Beaches are opening … with limited capacity. The Staten Island Ferry is ramping up service … but only during rush hour. Some businesses are opening up again … but only in portions of upstate. Things are easing up a bit, but New York is still very much in the midst of a pandemic. In the spirit of civic virtue, we are still PAUSE-ing our Winners & Losers at three each.
In a sign that hard-hit Nassau County is beginning to turn a corner in the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said county hospitals could resume elective surgeries and non-coronavirus medical procedures. The announcement came just a day after County Executive Laura Curran appealed to the governor to do that. Curran also stood her ground in a beach battle, restricting access to Nassau’s one county-run beach to Nassau residents until New York City opens its own beaches.
Score one for the devout: Religious gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed to resume in New York beginning Thursday. Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms – a group that lobbies on behalf of the “Lord Jesus Christ” – was a primary figure advocating for religious gatherings to be allowed to resume amid lockdown orders. Though he praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that small religious gatherings will now be allowed, McGuire took issue with the “small” part. McGuire noted that more than 10 people were at Cuomo’s briefing when he announced the new rule.
More than a few corporate leaders have capitalized on some friendly moves by government regulators during the pandemic. The CEO of the Oklahoma-based Williams Companies is not so lucky, now that the Cuomo administration has once again blocked a proposed pipeline across New York harbor. This appears to be the end for the so-called Northeast Service Enhancement project. While that means the profit margins might get slimmer for the the natural gas industry, at least they’re not doing as bad as the coal guys!
These two Assembly members were hanging on to their Democratic ballot lines for dear life – till New York’s highest court came and shook them off. Arroyo, a 26-year South Bronx incumbent, was kicked off the ballot for apparent petition forgery, meaning young progressive challenger Amanda Septimo is all but guaranteed to win the seat. And Seawright lost the Democratic nomination because she didn’t turn in some paperwork … and now might pave the way for Manhattan’s first Republican assemblyman in 20 years.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too. In this case, the cake is running an election. Eating it too is running in that election. Nick LaLota was the GOP pick to run against state Sen. John Brooks in a Long Island swing seat, but he’s also a Suffolk election commissioner who would tally the results of his own election. Talk about conflict of interest. Although LaLota said he would take a leave of absence from the Suffolk Board of Elections, a state court ruled that wasn’t good enough and booted him off the ballot. Then, the state’s highest court wouldn’t even hear the case when LaLota tried to appeal.