NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In the latest dig at Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency in the city’s public housing, giving control of repairs to an outside monitor.
Does this mean the governor has lost confidence in the mayor he endorsed?
They say in real estate, “location, location, location.” So as CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, it’s probably no coincidence that Cuomo was at the Johnson Houses in Harlem to sign the emergency declaration that usurps the New York City Housing Authority’s power to make certain repairs.
“The best way NYCHA can use money to generate heat for apartments is to put the cash in a bucket and light the bucket on fire,” Cuomo said Monday.
The mayor stood at the very same location in May 2015 to announce his “next generation” plan to fix NYCHA. That plan didn’t work very well, as NYCHA has been excoriated for not being able to fix mold, lead paint and a host of other ills, Kramer reported.
Under the governor’s plan, an independent monitor will be appointed to hire an outside contractor to fix things. He’s also giving $550 million in state funds toward repairs.
De Blasio tried an end run, demanding the money now and given directly to NYCHA.
“Public housing tenants deserve that funding to be quickly applied to NYCHA’s most pressing needs. This funding cannot be held hostage to the same delays and dynamics as in previous years,” Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen told CBS2.
In addition to usurping NYCHA responsibilities, Cuomo’s new budget also adds layers of state oversight to the city’s homeless programs, school funding and even Penn Station development. This led Kramer to ask, “Does this mean that you’ve lost faith in Mayor de Blasio to run the city?”
“There are 1,600 schools in New York City. We give them about $12 billion. The people have the right to know how much is going to each school,” the governor said. “Penn Station has always been a state project.”
“On NYCHA, you are right,” he continued. “This is a failure, this has been a failure for years… And rather than being someone who walks around saying, ‘it’s a problem, it’s a problem,’ I’m in the business of finding a solution.”
NYCHA tenants say they’re happy there’s finally a time table.
The independent monitor will be selected within 60 days, the outside contractor will be chosen 30 days after that, and the contractor will then have authority over the money from the state plus city funds.