Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio's public pissing match is heading into its second year. The acrimony dates at least as far back as Cuomo's unilateral decision to shut down the subway system during a January blizzard, and grew as Cuomo toyed with de Blasio in negotiations on rent regulation and mayoral control of the city's schools. It burst out in the open back in late June, when de Blasio gave an interview condemning Cuomo for his "lack of leadership" and accusing him of pursuing vendettas against those who openly disagree with him.
Since then, Cuomo has done his best to prove de Blasio right, and the feud has made dysfunctional spectacles out of pressing matters requiring city-state coordination such as the recent Legionnaire's disease outbreak and finalizing the MTA's five-year capital plan.
Now, Cuomo says it is one of his main priorities to "save New York City." The Daily News reports that the governor made the comment at a private fund-raising event. Citing his (creatively financed, lie-lubricated) replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge, and his (creatively financed, logistically not-that-helpful) overhaul of LaGuardia Airport, Cuomo reportedly told his fundraising committee that coming to the city's rescue is his number-two goal.
Governor's Office spokesman Richard Azzopardi told the News Cuomo did discuss problems affecting the five boroughs at the meeting, but denied that he said he wants to "save New York City."
"The governor speaking in New York City about New York City issues, such as homelessness and infrastructure, is hardly a groundbreaking development," he said.
True, Cuomo often discusses the city, and as a Politico New York report outlines, this summer and early fall his depiction of it has been as a place sliding towards a wretched hive of scum villainy on par with Mos Eisley (our paraphrase). New York is admittedly foul and creep-filled, but Cuomo also often veers into liar-land when trying to undermine de Blasio with his talk of the bad old days returning.
Some examples, as highlighted by Politico:
"New York City is experiencing a significant homeless problem, there's no doubt about it. We had a terrible homeless problem. We resolved it. Now we're going back and we have a homeless problem spreading again."
Resolved how, exactly? Like, Bloomberg denying homeless families federal housing vouchers, then Bloomberg & Cuomo ending the main city rental subsidy program resolved? Or Giuliani arresting homeless people and denying them public assistance and medical treatment resolved? The homeless shelter population, and housing costs, have been rising since 1986, when homeless people won the right to a bed in a city shelter, and nearly doubled under Bloomberg, so whatever Cuomo's definition of "resolution" is must be as bendy and dishonest as his definition of a state agency, which he says the MTA is "not actually":
— TransportationNation (@TransportNation) July 29, 2015
Or as floppy and deceitful as his insistence that he didn't call for Democrats in Washington to threaten a government shutdown to pass gun control, after he did just that.
— Nathan (@nathantempey) October 6, 2015
Another way Cuomo might want to save New York City:
"I'm old enough to remember a time when police officers' death was rare if ever, anyone ever touched a police officer. And now four, in the past 10 months—I believe, and we'll check the statistics, that might be the highest rate in the nation."
It's true that four officer killings in two calendar years is remarkable, but in the 1970s, when Cuomo was a teen in Hollis, Queens, 46 officers were killed on duty, and so far in 2015, the state of Louisiana, just more than half the population of New York City, has experienced five police killings to the city's two (last year it was one, to the city's two).
For what it's worth, Cuomo's spokesman denies that these and other instances of New York City doomsaying are directed at the mayor. Deductive reasoning suggests that it isn't worth much.
Mayoral spokeswoman Karen Hinton declined to directly further the beef when contacted by Politico, but said in a statement that the city is far from a crime-ridden Tatooine spaceport:
"Quality of life has rarely been better in NYC. Crime is near historic lows. Jobs are up. The tourist economy is booming. We are building more and more affordable housing. Over 65,000 children are enrolled in pre-K. All on Mayor de Blasio's watch."
The moral? If you're the mayor of New York and want to stay in Gov. Cuomo's good graces, uh, pray he gets indicted?