Internal Democratic tensions have spilled over into public view this week, as two of the biggest New York executives feuded publicly.
The beef between New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo could have an impact on politics beyond the Empire State, as the disagreement appears to a key issue within the Democratic party: Income inequality, this time in the form of affordable housing and public education.
De Blasio described his disappointment in the governor and the general assembly for not granting him a lengthy extension for mayoral control over New York City public schools, he said in an NY1 interview.
“It’s not believable that, after Michael Bloomberg got seven years for mayoral control of education in the first case and then a six-year extension – why on earth would the city of New York, now led by a Democratic and progressive mayor, suddenly only get a one-year extension,” the mayor said.
De Blasio, who is also upset with the governor’s lack of support for the mayor’s approach to increasing affordable housing in the city, told NY1 earlier that the governor’s actions weren’t motivated by concerns for the people of New York City, but politics.
“But what I found was, he engaged in his own sense of strategies, his own political machinations. And what we’ve often seen is, if someone disagrees with him openly, some kind of revenge or vendetta follows,” de Blasio said in the interview.
Before he left for a weeklong vacation, de Blasio told a group of journalists in his office just how frustrated he was with the governor’s attempts to thwart the mayor’s policy agenda. The conflict between the two has impacted taxes, public transportation and real estate development.
De Blasio previously worked for the governor in the 1990s at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Since then, Cuomo’s approach to politics seems based on primarily working with people only when he receives something in return.
“I think he believes deeply in the transactional model, and I think he needs to transcend that model if he wants to be a more effective leader,” the mayor said. “I think anybody who’s only focused on transactions – and not leadership, and taking the voices of the people and amplifying them, and working for a bigger vision – transactionality is a trap.”
The New York Times reported that Cuomo’s camp dismissed de Blasio’s assessment of the governor’s approach to policy making.
“For those new to the process, it takes coalition-building and compromise to get things done in government,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Melissa DeRosa, wrote in an email. “We wish the mayor well on his vacation.”