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Jerry Kremer

Can't the governor and the mayor just get along?

Posted

After a careful review of the bestseller lists over the past 10 years, I’ve found over a thousand books advising people how to get along when they’re under stress. There have been 412 books on the art of negotiating (not counting Donald Trump’s) and they’re readily available to anyone in need of help or advice.

The continuing feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has a historic basis, which most people ignore. Over the past 65 years, there has been a lot of battling between mayors and governors. As a member of the State Assembly, I recall watching Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and Mayor John Lindsay going at it on a daily basis.

Elected as a Republican, Lindsay eventually became a Liberal Party candidate, and the intense dislike between the two men was obvious to all. On one occasion, Lindsay was in need of help in Albany, and he asked Rockefeller to set up a meeting with the Long Island Assembly delegation. At the agreed-upon time, the mayor walked in, shook hands with the governor and, before we could all sit down, Rockefeller disappeared.

Life wasn’t any better with Gov. Mario Cuomo and Mayor Ed Koch. Neither man hid his dislike for the other, and there were few examples of any real cooperation between the two. The city did get mass-transit money and other benefits, but they were similar to the ones previously granted by other governors.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg made out much better under the current Governor Cuomo, but he rarely got much of what he wanted. The big prize that Bloomberg won was mayoral control over the New York City public schools. Mayor Rudy Giuliani tried desperately to get that prize under a Republican Gov. George Pataki, but his efforts fell flat. There was no love fest between those two combatants, either.

Fast-forward to 2015, when the relationship between de Blasio and Cuomo can best be described as frosty. De Blasio came into his position with no experience running a big operation, and even though he and the governor had worked together in the past, they have never become a loving couple. If anything, the relationship between the two seems to be getting worse by the day.

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