Courtesy of CNN
By Franchetta Groves
The rift between Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio and Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo is a well known feud. The current state of the coronavirus situation has proven to be no exception to such feuding and a further conflict developed between the two politicians on Saturday April 11 when de Blasio announced that schools in the five New York City boroughs would remain closed for the remainder of the current academic year.
Governor Cuomo responded to this declaration, stating only hours later that the Mayor of New York does not have the authority to close the schools for the remainder of the year. Cuomo argued that the decision is up to the discretion of the Governor, and that Mayor de Blasio cannot speak for the five boroughs of New York City.
“It is not surprising that there are differences of perspectives,” said Mayor de Blasio in a press conference on Monday, “because what I need to do is protect kids and parents and educators of New York City and it may be a different reality than what the governor is thinking about.”
The feud between de Blasio and Cuomo goes back many years, from trivial fights stemming over naps to workouts. In 2017 when the New York Daily reported that de Blasio takes naps throughout the day, Cuomo responded to the story in what some perceived as a subtle jab at the mayor.
“I’m not a napper really,” Cuomo said. “I never have been.”
The feud was deepened when the two offices openly feuded in 2018 over the funding for the New York City Housing Authority.
“I think a crisis like this gives NYC politicians a greater calling to overcome their differences for the sake of the public. It’s good to disagree and challenge each other to an extent, so that they can better consider all the options, as long as it does not prevent an effective and prompt outcome,” said junior Emily Macaluso, a Long Island resident. “I did not think it was a good call for de Blasio to make affirmative statements without confirming them first, since the governor does ultimately get the final say. Both politicians need to carefully discern whether what they’re saying is opinion or law, since it’ll affect everyone and could issue a state of panic. Other than the disagreements, I do think the politicians are doing a good job authorizing social distancing and mandating people to wear masks wherever they go.”
Mayor de Blasio initiated a five point plan to address the problem of educating students during the pandemic. The first initiative is to ensure that all students have access to the internet by the end of April, as well as expanding tech support services. In addition to this, launching new activities and online programs is a key step to the optimization of this approach, as well as ensuring that high school seniors graduate on time. The last step is to work towards reopening schools in September, and combat any learning loss which will occur.
New York state has become the hot spot of the coronavirus over the last month with the state making up 40% of all deaths from the virus in the United States. The state has had 10,000 deaths in the past month. Many dealing with this pandemic wish to see a unified leadership in this challenging time.
“I don’t have the time,” tweeted Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president. “I don’t have patience for petty back-and-forths in the middle of a deadly pandemic.”