This week, New York politics ran the gamut from international (StanChart) to gastrointestinal (yogurt summit). Somewhere in between were some polls, some puns and some pundits, ensuring healthy doses in equal measure of both winners, and their unhappy counterparts, the losers.
Darrel Aubertine – The Cuomo administration invited a dairy-themed joke-apalooza thanks to this week’s inaugural “Yogurt Summit,” but when else will the Albany press corps find itself talking about a little-mentioned lunchtime treat and the job growth-potential it packs? Not to mention its deliciousness. So here’s to you Darrel Aubertine. We will never joke about Cuomo’s weird snacking obsession again.
Benjamin Lawsky – For the better part of a week, it seemed there was no consensus on whether Department of Financial Services Superintendent Lawsky had gone over his skis in bringing an aggressive action against Standard Chartered Bank for its business dealings with Iran. But this week, as the office announced a $340 million settlement with funds heading straight for the state coffers, it seemed that Lawsky had achieved some kind of a particularly deft maneuver, simultaneously making federal regulators look weaker by comparison, and giving reflected light to his boss and mentor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Christine Quinn – A new Q poll this week shows the City Council Speaker in the same glorious position she’s held onto for months – 30 percent of probable voters would pick her over any other candidate in the 2013 mayoral Democratic primary. Without major surprises, if the flame-haired Speaker stays the course, it seems like the Democratic primary is hers to lose.
Andy King – In the New York City Council special election to replace Larry Seabrook, King may not have been the insiders’ initial favorite, but he became that this week. A former 1199 organizer, King rode labor-backed support to get the backing of Bronx Democratic chairman Carl Heastie, whose endorsement will be especially key in this instance, since Heastie’s own district overlaps with the Council seat. It’s going to be a crowded race, and anything could happen, but for now it’s good to be King.
Naomi Rivera – When are politicians going to learn that there is no such thing as a secret in the social networking world? The latest elected to expose too much of themselves online is Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera. Using the not-so-undetectable Facebook alias “Daniela Rivera”, the Assemblywoman posted a gallery of sultry photos of herself canoodling with her boyfriend Tommy Torres, a candidate for City Council in Brooklyn. While the photos were certainly embarrassing, the allegation that has arisen in the aftermath of their discovery that Rivera may have improperly hired Torres to work part-time on her staff while he was simultaneously being paid as a full-time employee by the Department of Education is far more serious.
Ed Towns – After abruptly announcing his retirement in April in the face of a juggernaut primary challenge from Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, Towns probably expected to wrap up his 30-year career in Congress in relative peace. But less than six months before he returns from Capitol Hill to Brooklyn for good, Towns has found himself at the center of an alleged unscrupulous loan scandal. According to documents released this week, it appears that Towns received a “VIP” loan from Countrywide, one of the companies linked most closely with the subprime mortgage crisis, and then slipped in a provision exempting himself from a subpoena issued by the committee he formerly chaired—the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee—to shield the loan he had received from being discovered. As the Post so aptly put it in an editorial blasting him this week, Towns’ credibility is looking… subprime.
Chung Seto – As if John Liu’s top political adviser needs more heat, Chung Seto got some this week with the revelation that she had been slapped with $26,000 more in back taxes. Seto is also a point of interest in the federal probe into Liu’s campaign finances, so the presence of other problems can’t help.
Ed Cox – The state Republican chair not only made an issue of Rep. Louise Slaughter’s age, he had the impeccable timing to question her fitness for office on the eve of the congresswoman’s 83rdbirthday. Cox, who’s had a sometimes rocky time running the New York GOP, is well into his 60s and is no spring chicken himself, but nonetheless suggested that Slaughter would have a hard time campaigning due to “age and infirmities.” Slaughter faces a challenge from Republican Maggie Brooks, a youngster who’s still in her 50s.
John Rhea- Rhea’s New York City Housing Association has been slammed ever since a Daily News series drew attention to its management and fiscal problems, and this week it was pressured into releasing a report that more clearly lays out the problems it faces. Rhea, who used to work for the consulting firm that did the report, had wanted to keep it secret, perhaps because it said that millions could be saved with better management. The question now is whether he should stick around long enough to try to achieve those savings.
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