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Nixon blasts Cuomo over 'broken and crumbling' NYCHA units, calls for $1B in state funding

The Democratic candidate for governor visited the Albany Houses in Crown Heights.

Cynthia Nixon, the "Sex and the City" actress and education activist who's challenging two-term Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said Wednesday that the state isn't putting in enough money to fix New York City's public housing. Paula Frazier also interviewed. (Credit: Newsday / Matthew Chayes)

Cynthia Nixon, the “Sex and the City” actress and education activist who’s challenging two-term Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, said Wednesday that the state was providing insufficient money to fix New York City’s long-crumbling public housing.

Speaking after her first-ever visit to the projects, Nixon called Cuomo’s funding levels “completely unacceptable” and urged the state to allocate $1 billion to repair conditions such as leaky roofs, moldy walls and broken boilers.

“You can feel the unhealthy air,” said Nixon, a Democrat who is running to Cuomo’s political left in September’s primary. “It’s not just a matter of how broken and crumbling everything is. It’s how it’s literally killing the residents here, and it shouldn’t be this way in 2018 in New York City.”

Cuomo has promised $250 million if the fixes are done by an outside entity, not the New York City Housing Authority.

His spokeswoman Abbey Fashouer wrote in an email: “The state has committed nearly three times more capital funding to NYCHA during Gov. Cuomo’s 7 years in office than in the prior 21 years combined.”

Nixon, who declared her candidacy earlier this month, has criticized his stewardship of the failing subways, ties to corruption, influence by big-dollar donors and what she considers the clandestine support of Albany Republicans. She is a longtime ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio, with whom Cuomo has feuded.

Nixon was shown the around the project by the Brooklyn Borough president, Eric Adams, a fellow Democrat.

Cuomo has visited three housing developments in March, blaming de Blasio for what he called mismanagement. He has promised to hold up the state budget absent a plan to address woes of city public housing, home to 400,000 people.

She said she opposed Cuomo’s push to retain an outside entity for repairs and worries he’d hire people who were close to him politically such as donors.

“This is a state of emergency. This is not a time to placate people who have donated to your campaign coffers. This is a time to make a wholesale investment,” she said.

The state is under no legal obligation to fund public housing. But Cuomo has, and the city faults him for failing to deliver the hundreds of millions he promised. His office counters that the city hasn’t properly requested the money, which the city contests.

Nixon assailed Cuomo for steering dollars to cosmetic projects such as playground remodeling — themselves far from done — over substantive fixes like roof repair. She also criticized NYCHA chairwoman Shola Olatoye, who had falsely certified that lead-paint inspections mandated by law had been conducted.

“I am very troubled that the chair knew about the lead paint and did not inform families. I can’t understand why she did that. That’s going to be a very hard thing to overcome, but even if you replace her, without substantial funding, the next person in the position is going to have the same problem,” Nixon said.

Nixon praised de Blasio for allocating $82 million to fix boilers, though she hopes the city does “whatever it can” to repair conditions. According to a City Council hearing earlier this year, about 80 percent of NYCHA residents lost heat or hot water this winter.

Localities have long struggled to make up shortfalls left by declines in federal subsidies that once funded much of public housing.

During Nixon’s tour of the Albany Houses in Crown Heights, she visited the unit belonging to out-of-work administrative assistant Paula Frazier’s on the 13th floor.

Frazier, a tenant since 1991, told Nixon that she had repeatedly called the city in vain since May 2017 to patch a hole above her stove, left after a pipe burst. Frazier has covered the hole with cardboard, brown paper and a supermarket circular.

Frazier — who urged a visitor to “give her a chance” — lamented that Nixon faces an uphill battle against a male candidate.

“They don’t like women like us taking control,” she said.


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