The Year That Was – Winners & Losers
Governor Andrew Cuomo – Nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by publishing his Year 1 list of accomplishments. Surprisingly, he didn’t take credit for the $785 million regional economic council gifts, er, grants. Nonetheless, our 55th Governor made good on his promise to restore state government as functional and honorable. Cuomo has taken the Clintonian triangulation strategy to a wholly higher level. He has a talent for making each change of mind seem like an MIB neuralyzer experience.
OWS Protestors – This amalgam of anarchists, unemployed college grads, and aging hippies managed in spite of themselves to make “income inequality” resonate with the 99% of Americans without a trust fund. They may have saved Obama’s presidency and doomed Bloomberg’s legacy (despite his tacit support). Union organizers, politicians and the media learned that getting a hold of OWS was like trying to grab Jell-O with your bare hands.
New Yorkers – Admittedly, the economy is still soft but New Yorkers are the real winners of 2011. From the return of functional state government to tax reform to a taxi plan providing better service to disabled and outer borough residents, we are better off today than we were one year ago. There are serious discussions underway about rebuilding our state’s aging infrastructure, mandate relief and safely extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.
Carl Kruger/Pedro Espada – Disgraced state Senator Carl Kruger resigned from office and tearfully pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges, while his “amigo” former state Senator Pedro Espada lost his bid to keep his Soundview Healthcare Network in the state’s Medicaid program. Spade’s own federal corruption trial is slated to begin early next year in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Preet Bharara – Larry (The Fox) Seabrook slipped from US Attorney Preet Bharara corruption henhouse trap thanks to timely recantations and dementia. Bharara pledged to rid our city and state of the politicians wanting to profit for their personal gain. He must do a better job of assuring justice and fair trials that are not upended by prosecutorial lapses. New Yorkers need Bharara to be on top of his game.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg – The curse of the third term is marring his record. Last month, a federal monitor began overseeing the FDNY after a federal judge found the department guilty of a forty year pattern and practice of discrimination against black applicants. The close of 2011 also saw OWS protestors turn the Financial District into a third world shantytown before the city evicted them from Zuccotti Park. The unabated flood of illegal guns into New York continues to take the lives of New Yorkers. Despite it all, the Mayor has ordered his agencies to prepare to tell his side of the story years before the final chapter is even written.
We can only hope that Governor Cuomo continues to fulfill the rest of his campaign pledges which will lift New York out of the fiscal morass and economic doldrums that have hindered our growth. And, in turn, New Yorkers will continue to demand the very service from those holding elected office.
That’s the promise that 2012 holds for me.
Name your 2011 winners and losers or leave your 2012 predictions below.