Gov. Andrew Cuomo lectured the Big Apple’s mayoral hopefuls Friday over the slew of crises confronting City Hall amid the coronavirus pandemic, all as Mayor Bill de Blasio again demanded an investigation into the nursing home crisis that’s left the governor besieged.
“I want to know what plans, people have in addressing the problems of New York City,” Cuomo told reporters during an extraordinary 90-minute appearance before the press on Friday.
“And then my second question is, what would lead people to believe you have the credentials to do it? Because we’ve made this mistake before,” he added, in a clear shot at de Blasio. “What have you managed before you? Now want to manage one of the largest corporations in the world? What have you managed before? What have you accomplished before?”
Cuomo’s rhetorical questions came after he ticked through a list of de Blasio’s biggest municipal headaches — all under the guise of making sure Hizzoner’s likely successors are familiar with the city they would like to run.
His PowerPoint listed the doubling in shootings last year and the 47 percent increase in murders — which was mirrored in upticks in other major cities during the pandemic.
Cuomo pointed out the city’s affordable housing crisis (without mentioning the state sets New York’s rent laws, which were strengthened in 2019 over his initial opposition) and the scandalous conditions at New York City Housing Authority-run developments (without mentioning he delayed disbursing $450 million in promised aid for years).
And he highlighted the city’s ongoing struggles with homelessness and treating the mentally ill — specifically mentioning Kendra’s Law, the state statute that allows Gotham’s social services officials to compel individuals back into treatment if they pose an imminent danger to themselves and others.
Left unmentioned, Cuomo’s 2011 decision to slash funding for the Advantage housing subsidy program, which a City Council report determined put 8,500 families back in city shelters.
“Right now, we have a hemorrhaging situation,” he added later, using a 10-minute answer to a question about releasing additional documents on nursing homes to further paint a picture of urban decay in his state’s largest city. “We have New York City hemorrhaging people and revenue.”
Also left unsaid, the state’s budget problems are bigger than city’s — and government watchdogs say both Cuomo and de Blasio are banking on federal aid to avoid making difficult cuts.
In response, a City Hall spokeswoman labeled the presentation “deranged.”
The governor’s remarks came shortly after Hizzoner again demanded a probe into the state’s stonewalling on releasing complete figures on the number of coronavirus deaths tied to nursing homes — and backed one of loudest critics of Cuomo’s handling of the crisis, Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens).
“I believe Ron Kim when he talks about what he experienced,” said de Blasio, during his weekly appearance on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show.
The salvo came just a day after he described the governor as a vindictive bully during a cable TV appearance, comments he reiterated hours later during his daily briefing with City Hall reporters.
“I believe that has to be a really full investigation here because something happened that potentially means folks who lost their lives, family members were lost who could have been saved, and there has not been a reckoning,” de Blasio added. “The State of New York hasn’t even acknowledged what they need to do differently and we’re still in this crisis.”