This week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg rhymed when talking about “stop and frisk,” 2013 mayoral candidates dinged each other at the first mayoral roundtable, and campaign filings came in for June 26th Congressional primary elections. As we realized anew that cash rules everything around us, we whipped out our calculators to tabulate who, exactly, had won the week, and who had lost.
David Katleski – We can be sure New York Brewers’ Association president David Katleski is quaffing something in celebration after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement the state had decided to restore a special tax exemption for craft brewers in the state. Not only was the exemption restored, but additional measures to expand the craft brewing industry’s reach and potential retailing sites were like a delicious foam topper.
Jacques DeGraff – This week, the Rev. Jacques DeGraff, president of nonprofit organization 100 Black Men, among many other things, orchestrated what many considered a near-impossible feat – bringing all of the 2013 mayoral candidates together for a roundtable discussion. The talk was limited to minority and women-owned businesses, but it provided the candidates the chance to illustrate their stylistic differences a year-and-a-half before the election.
Sean Patrick Maloney – The former Spitzer and Paterson Administration aide running against Rep. Nan Hayworth netted an endorsement from former President Bill Clinton this week, which places him a couple of steps above President Barack Obama in terms of how actually helpful the former Commander-in-Chief is proving as a surrogate. Maloney also posted strong fundraising numbers, making the prospect of knocking the freshman Hayworth out of her seat after only one term seem less and less like a Congressional Democratic Conference pipe dream.
Richard Gottfried – Passing a bill to legalize medical marijuana has always been a priority for stalwart Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, but it’s never seemed less like a joke out of High Times than in recent weeks, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo paved the way for a realistic discussion of the herb with his plan to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in public. Between Assemblyman Joe Lentol’s toke talk and Assembly passage of the med-mar bill, even with the certain prospect of Republican Senate opposition, the bill is closer than it’s ever been before to becoming reality.
Peter Ward – Chalk up a couple more wins for the head of the Hotel Trades Council. First, Mayor Bloomberg praised Ward at a press conference for his leadership in putting together a deal on Willets Point, in which the two planned hotels will use union labor. And Ward is also getting support from Albany elected for his boycott of the Desmond Hotel over a new contract – even though his union only recently began representing those workers.
Ruben Wills – Trouble just seems to follow Queens Councilman Ruben Wills. Last year it was a saga over some relatively minor, ancient criminal misdemeanor charges that dragged on and on as Wills failed to deal with the situation. Now, Wills’s non-profit is being investigated over his failure to account for funds spent, and he’s seemingly failing to cooperate with the New York attorney general’s inquiries. All of that has led the City Council to take up an investigation, and his member item-doling privileges have been revoked. At least Wills retains his position as the treasurer for the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
Howard Milstein – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s wealthy campaign contributor is undoubtedly doing just fine with his own finances, but in his gig as chair of the state’s Thruway Authority, he is getting a firsthand look at what it’s like to try to scrape by without plenty of excess cash. S&P, the major ratings agency, downgraded the authority’s financial outlook this week, writing that “aggressive” toll increases may be needed to replace the aging and outdated Tappan Zee Bridge. The Thruway did maintain its A-plus rating, but if it can’t find the money somewhere else after the Obama administration rejected a $2 billion loan earlier this year, maybe Milstein can just bail out the Thruway himself.
Joe Martens – Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week framed hydrofracking as not all good and not all bad, saying the truth is “very often in the middle” – though that’s a tough place to be for Martens, the governor’s top environmental official. With the news that the administration is mulling a plan to let the controversial natural gas drilling procedure move forward in select areas, and only in municipalities that permit it, many environmentalists are already in an uproar. The industry, which has been grumbling about the delays in developing regulations, has called the proposal a positive step, but they’re undoubtedly going to continue to press Martens hard on the other side too.
Don Hassig - Gaffe! Green Party candidate Don Hassig missed a press conference in his fight for Congress against Rep. Bill Owens because his van failed a New York State vehicle emissions test. He had to phone in to the press conference, and guzzle the embarrassment, which to his credit, he handled with good humor. This is what we call a teachable moment.
Chris Collins – Former Erie County executive Chris Collins has enough years behind him in political office to warrant some certain backing from his supporters, but his campaign filing for his 27th district Congressional bid shows his race is almost wholly self-funded – $250,000 out of $255,000 in filings are a loan he made to himself, and the rest comes from just five individuals. Western New York political observers said Collins’ poor showing has everything to do with what some perceive as past blunders, including his handling of Assemblywoman Jane Corwin’s run for Kathy Hochul’s seat last year in the special election, and Collins’ recent race for county executive, which he lost despite more than $1 million in support from donors.
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