Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to downplay comments made by Mayor Bill de Blasio on NY1 about his leadership, but there's now speculation on whether the city will be a victim of political payback. Zack Fink filed the following report.
The long-standing relationship between the governor and the mayor hit a new low this week, and that has stirred concern that New York City's agenda may hit roadblocks in Albany going forward.
Some, though, say that impasse already happened, and they point to the legislative session that ended last week, in which the mayor got little of what he wanted.
"We have so many issues that Albany has to deal with," said City Comptroller Scott Stringer. "The city did not do well. I'm very concerned that we really don't have mayoral control in the city anymore. One year is not mayoral control."
This week, in an extraordinarily candid interview on Inside City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio accused the governor of working against the city's interests in Albany. Cuomo declined to respond directly to the personal criticism, opting instead to emphasize the need for compromise in Albany.
"Bill's reaction now isn't just because he's mad. It's tactical," said Bill Samuels of Effective NY. "The only way to get change with Cuomo is to attack him."
Others see the conflict between New York's two top Democrats as inevitable. Mark Green is the only former candidate to have run against both men. He challenged Cuomo for attorney general and de Blasio for public advocate.
"They can't change their natures," Green said. "And whatever Governor Cuomo says, he doesn't always fulfill his promises. Look what he did with the Working Families Party and the state Senate in the last election. And Bill de Blasio is just genetically prone to overstating and using grandstanding rhetoric."
Some believe the two got off on the wrong foot when de Blasio first became mayor and began asking for a tax to fund universal pre-K in a year that Cuomo, who shuns taxes, was up for re-election.
"De Blasio is emerging as a progressive alternative political center. The governor [is] not liking it," said former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky. "The governor smacks down any alternative power centers. That's what's brought functionality back to Albany."
Cuomo's response to de Blasio's Wednesday night was rather low-key and rather muted. He didn't fight back. However, people who know the governor say that doesn't necessarily mean this is over. Cuomo could get back at the mayor in some other way somewhere down the road.