ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio ran into a brick wall Wednesday in Albany, where his plea to maintain mayoral control of the schools could fall victim to the New York City corruption scandal.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the mayor explained to a state Senate committee why he thinks he deserves to be given control of city schools for seven more years. But near the end of the hearing, he came up against Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Shrub Oak), the man who blew the whistle and demanded a federal investigation of de Blasio’s fundraising.
“Convince me. Convince why I should vote for mayoral control with all the allegations that are going on in your office,” Murphy said.
“We’re going to hear all sorts of allegations over the years, all of us, and in a democracy, we don’t judge by allegations,” de Blasio said. “We judge by facts and through due process.”
“There’s one thing you forget, and that’s the trust factor,” Murphy said.
“The public trusts actual results,” de Blasio replied.
It was not exactly a schoolyard fight, but it was probably the first time that the mayor met face-to-face with the Republican lawmaker whom he was trying everything in his power to prevent from taking office during the 2014 Senate elections, Kramer reported.
And Murphy has not forgotten all the money team de Blasio raised to defeat him – donations now being probed by state and federal prosecutors.
The fight continued after the hearing ended.
“This is a trust factor for myself — prove to me of what you’re going to tell me of why you want my vote,” Murphy said, “and he couldn’t do it.”
Murphy said he is going to try to convince others in the Senate Republican Conference to question whether Mayor de Blasio should be given mayoral control – at least for such a long period of time.
“These allegations are extremely serious; that are actually just more and more coming to the front. The onion keeps getting peeled back and back,” Murphy said. “Just today, we had another developer come out and say, ‘Listen.’ The mayor actually called him and asked for a $20,000 donation. That’s today. And now he’s asking for mayoral control.”
Murphy was referring to real estate developer Don Peebles. He said de Blasio called him and asked for $20,000 for pre-kindergarten while he had business with the city.
Peebles has expressed an interest in running for mayor himself.
The mayor, who was over an hour and 20 minutes late to a news conference following the hearing, said he thought it had gone well.
Kramer: “Senator Murphy raised the issue of trust, saying with all these investigations swirling around your office. He wonders if he can trust you with mayoral control. Your response to that?”
De Blasio: “The people of New York City who elected me wanted to do things for their children, like pre-K for all; like afterschool for all our middle school kids; higher test scores; higher graduation rate. That’s what we’re doing. And that’s how you judge someone.”
Sources told Kramer that Mayor de Blasio is unlikely to get mayoral control for seven years. Last year, the mayor asked for the same thing and was only given an extension of one year.