Amid a whirlwind surrounding the reporting of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, Governor Andrew Cuomo used part of his Friday press conference to add his “two cents” in regarding the 2021 New York City mayoral election.
Cuomo highlighted some of the issues that he wants the cacophony of candidates seeking to succeed Bill de Blasio as mayor to address — though, in many respects, it sounded more like a recitation of problems beleaguering the current mayor.
The episode came a day after de Blasio — who’s had his share of public imbroglios with Cuomo before — went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and condemned Cuomo’s public criticism of Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, who had blasted the governor over his handling of nursing home deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mayor called the incident “classic Andrew Cuomo” and implied that other lawmakers in New York had been subjected to bullying by the state’s chief executive.
During his slideshow presentation Friday, Cuomo didn’t bring up de Blasio’s comments about him. Rather, he mentioned that the mayor needed to work with the City Council to pass a public safety reform bill for the NYPD before April 1, the state budget deadline.
Last spring, amid the George Floyd protests, Cuomo issued an executive order mandating that New York City and all other localities pass a police reform bill by that date, lest they risk losing state funding.
“In New York City, the mayor is going to have to act, and they’re going to have to have a passed package, a public safety reform plan,” Cuomo said on Feb. 19. “It is up to them what they do. … But it’s 41 days away. Forty-one days move very quickly.”
The governor then turned to the ongoing mayoral election, and he urged the candidates to “discuss the issues” affecting the city. He then went over some of the problems currently facing the city, including higher murder and shooting rates.
“Murders are up 47% from 2019 to 2020. Ninety-two percent of the shooting victims are Black or Hispanic. Seventy percent [of the shootings] are unsolved,” Cuomo said.
The governor mentioned the surge in homelessness across the city — something that de Blasio has struggled with from the start of his term.
“You have a homeless problem in New York City where people are dangerous and they’re a danger to themselves or others,” Cuomo said. “I had a person from my own office who was attacked by a homeless person who hit her on the head with a brick. … You do no one a favor leaving them on the street if they are a danger to themselves or others. That’s not compassion.”
Turning to public housing, Cuomo said that the New York City Housing Authority — which wound up under a federal monitor during the de Blasio administration following years of neglect preceding the current mayor — as an “ongoing tragedy, it has been for years and years.”
“NYCHA has to make a significant change. It’s not going to work like this. You can’t throw enough money to fix NYCHA the way it is,” he said. Cuomo also referenced reports of people leaving New York City in great numbers during the pandemic.
Cuomo declined to say if he plans on making an endorsement in the race, but said he wants to know what the candidates plan to do to address New York City’s issues, and their credentials to get things done.
“What would lead people to believe that you have the credentials to do it? Because we’ve made this mistake before. What have you managed before? What have you accomplished before?” Cuomo said.. “This is not about rhetoric, this is not about slogans. You need a real manager with a real vision who can really get things done, and that’s what the mayoral race should be about, and that should be the conversation.”
amNewYork Metro reached out to the Mayor’s office for comment and is awaiting a response.