New York Mayor Bill De Blasio ordered the police to clear out two subway stations of homeless people before he went ahead with his four-stop press event on Sunday, in order to get the perfect photo op.
Sources in the law enforcement community told the New York Post that the police was given until 11 AM on Sunday to empty the stations of homeless people, “hanging out” at the Fourth Avenue/Ninth Street and Jay Street/MetroTech F subway stations.
According to another source in the police department, the mayor’s office told the police about his schedule “with the expectation that the subway stations would be free and clear of homeless people.”
De Blasio’s press event started from Park Slope gym to Brooklyn, where his new campaign office is located. The trip was dubbed as a publicity stunt to press New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) to fund the metropolis’ transportation network.
Once aboard, Hizzoner — who was joined by a pack of journalists — launched into a diatribe against Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, who last week blamed de Blasio for refusing to spend the city’s $4 billion-plus budget surplus to fix the subways.
“Here’s the truth: They’re not even spending their capital budget,” the mayor said. “There’s a huge amount of money sitting there, including the money the city gave. We gave them $2.5 billion a couple of years ago. Almost 90 percent of that money is just sitting there.”
De Blasio vowed not to allocate any more funds, saying the state “has used the MTA as a piggy bank” by taking “almost half a billion dollars in money out of the MTA to use for the state budget.
“The governor and Chairman Lhota simply need to get in front of everyone [and] say, ‘We’re fully responsible, we have to fix the problem.’ They have the resources.”
Nicole Malliotakis (R.), Staten Island Assemblywoman, a potential opponent to de Blasio in his re-election bid this year, slammed the current mayor for being a hypocrite, considering his progressive views on several fundamental issues including income inequality.
“For someone who claims to care about the most poor New Yorkers, to have someone clear his path when he’s about to board the subway … tells you all you need to know about Mayor de Blasio,” she said.
A spokesman for the City Hall denied the allegations against the mayor, instead accusing the Post’s sources of making false claims.