For much of Mayor de Blasio’s second term, he has had to deal with incursions on his territory by Governor Cuomo in areas including dealing with transit-system problems, homelessness and conditions at the Housing Authority. Perhaps no place has the Governor’s footprint been more prominent than in the increasing deployment of State Troopers in New York City.
Their taking a role in safeguarding Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in three parts of Brooklyn prompted NY1’s “Inside City Hall” host Errol Louis to ask the Mayor Jan. 6 during his weekly appearance whether he had any problem with those intrusions on NYPD territory, saying, “What do you think is going to be the path forward?”
After briefly digressing to praise the march of 20,000 people in solidarity with those Jewish communities a day earlier, Mr. de Blasio said, “One of the other things that we talked about today, [Police Commissioner Dermot] Shea and I, is, you know, having a dedicated force of NYPD officers—150-plus—who are going to stay focused on the neighborhoods where there have been the most-prevalent problems with hate crimes and stay very, very present and visible, active in those neighborhoods until this trend we’ve seen, this crisis, is over. So we’re going to take every tangible measure to end it.”
The Mayor continued, “But I think when we’re talking about the way we’re going to change this overall, no, I don’t believe we go to the use of outside security forces. The NYPD is the best there is. The State Police wanted to come in, and they agreed to do it with the coordination and leadership of the NYPD, the right way, and that’s great. We welcome their involvement. But certainly, that’s the best way to approach it—is under the leadership of the NYPD.”
Earlier that day, of course, Mr. Cuomo personally intervened in a public-safety issue on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, leaving his vehicle to help extricate a man whose vehicle had overturned, notwithstanding the presence of members of his security detail who might normally be expected to provide the help while the Governor took a less hand-on role.
The Mayor was not the only public official who indicated doubts about the degree to which Mr. Cuomo seemed determined to dominate the political landscape. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, in a statement issued following the Governor’s State of the State address Jan. 8, seemed to obliquely criticize Mr. Cuomo on a subject—criminal-justice reforms—that he hadn’t mentioned in a speech that was just a bit shorter than “The Irishman.”
Amid the new proposals detailed in the Governor’s remarks, Mr. Williams said, “we must push ahead on the path for equity, not lessen the impact of the transformational changes of the last year.
“Advocates from across the state, and the Public Advocate’s office itself, will be watching and working to ensure that Governor Cuomo does not attempt a retreat from the progress we have already fought for and won. This is even more critical as budgetary constraints loom. It’s easy to be progressive when there’s an abundance of funding, but essential to define and champion progressive priorities in any environment. Fiscal responsibility is very important, and so too is human responsibility.”
The Alliance for Quality Education, which is partly funded by the United Federation of Teachers but is less reticent than the union about criticizing the Governor, also did its best to keep Mr. Cuomo grounded, chiding him as “the biggest obstacle” to providing appropriate funding to public schools in less-affluent areas of the state. It noted, “Governor Cuomo rightly pointed out the drastic inequity in New York’s public schools…under Governor Cuomo’s tenure, 48 states have more-equitable funding than New York State… [which] owes public schools $3.8 billion in Foundation Aid, 70 percent of which is due to ‘those on the bottom,’ as he stated.”
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