Andrew Cuomo unveiled his Urban Agenda this morning, surrounded by minority elected officials (and Bill de Blasio) on the steps of City Hall.
“One of the…victims of the state government’s dysfunction is we just went out of the urban development business,” Cuomo said, calling it a “fundamental role” of government.
Cuomo has been trying to shore up his Democratic base in recent weeks, and the Urban Agenda book comes twelve days before the election, and five months after his first book, New New York Agenda.
Asked about the Urban Agenda‘s late release date, Cuomo said: “I’ve worked on the urban agenda all my life,” recounting his work with HUD in the Clinton administration and declaring himself “probably the most active attorney general in modern political history in the area of civil rights, anti-discrimination, et cetera.”
“As I’ve been saying all through this campaign, I want to have a very clear understanding with the people of the state,” Cuomo said. “What would it mean if Andrew Cuomo was elected governor? This is it in black and white. Here is a plan. Hold me to them. I want to be held to them.”
Cuomo was less forthcoming in his plans for the MTA.
“I understand the concept,” he said of congestion pricing, but skirted the chance to offer his own opinion, saying it had been defeated by the Legislature and was unlikely to pass in the future.
“I believe the governor should be accountable for the MTA. These authorities that are often nameless and faceless–I understand the theory behind an authority. I also understand the theory behind accountability,” Cuomo said. “In a situation like the MTA, I think that people have the right to know who’s in charge, who’s responsible and I think it should be the governor of the state.”
It’s unclear how much more voters will hear from Cuomo before the election. Nursing a large lead in the polls, the attorney general said he was “not inclined” to do any more debates.
“I think it was informative for the most part,” Cuomo said of his debate last week. “I get that the rent is too darn high. There are other things I want to accomplish before election day is upon us.” He repeatedly retreated to Carl Paladino’s original claim–before he started calling for a one-on-one face-off–that women and minority candidates should be not excluded from a debate.
After the question-and-answer session, Assemblyman Nick Perry approached Cuomo to sign his copy of the Urban Agenda. “One hundred years from now,” said Perry, proudly holding the book up to show off the signature.
“You got an autograph! Where’s mine?” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, as several electeds then asked Cuomo to sign their book.
Perry showed The Observer the inscription: “To My Friend Nick, Andrew Cuomo.”
“That’s…personal,” Perry said.