Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis has a generally positive view of Governor Andrew Cuomo, although she’s dismissive of his recent attempt to distance himself from the MTA. Speaking Saturday during a visit to a reelection fundraiser held by Council Member Eric Ulrich, Malliotakis included several criticisms of Mayor Bill de Blasio in her comments on Cuomo and the MTA.
Responding to my question of her overall view of Cuomo’s gubernatorial tenure Malliotakis began by saying she has “mixed feelings”, but offered only positive illustrations. She described Cuomo as “a reasonable person to work with” and lauded him for a serious effort at keeping to a 2% annual limit in state spending increases and for his efforts at assisting her district’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy. She added that the governor should work to cut state spending, but promptly turned to criticizing the mayor for a poor relationship with Cuomo.
Malliotakis was dismissive of Cuomo’s recent comments that “I have representation on the board,” aimed at disputing the accurate notion that Cuomo controls the agency, but quickly turned to the substantive concern of the MTA’s enormous debt. Malliotakis cast herself as one of the few New York City legislators to have voted against allowing a recent increase in that debt and suggested that the governor should “take some control over the MTA or dismantle it. She was again critical of Mayor de Blasio, saying that the four mayoral appointees to the board (although one of those seats has long been vacant) should “push back” against mismanagement and the “status quo.”
Malliotakis has been quite vocal recently on the rash of MTA subway service disruptions, but she has not contacted Governor Cuomo about her concerns.
When I asked about a topic often bandied about by mayoral candidates in the 2013 election, whether control of the New York City elements of the MTA should return to the City, Malliotakis was somewhat supportive, saying that the mayor should have “a little more control” than the current structure provides.