Black And Latino Lawmakers At Odds With Cuomo
Assemblyman Karim Camara, the newly-minted chair of the Black, Puerto Rican Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, called an “emergency” meeting this morning to discuss the rent laws/property tax cap portion of the “big ugly” deal, about which many downstate Democrats of color are particularly upset.
With tenant advocates like Michael McKee accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo of selling out on this agreement (oddly, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is so far not bearing the brunt of the blame), these lawmakers are huddling to determine whether or not they’ll be able to hold their collective nose and vote for the bill – whenever it gets printed and shows up on the floor of the respective legislative houses.
It could be a problem if the Democrats decide to vote against the bill – particularly in the Senate. (We’ve already seen the minority kill a rent extension once). But with the IDC members’ support, it’s likely the GOP won’t have any trouble this time because majority members are very bullish on the tax cap.
The problem here, however, appears to go much further than the rent laws. One caucus member told me the governor’s entire relationship with the black and brown communities is now “in question.”
“You know, this session in the view of many has been a disaster for the black community,” this lawmaker said. “No millionaire’s tax. Dramatic cuts in education and a weak renewal of the rent laws.”
“Our communities expected more under a Democratic governor and we failed to get it. The future of the relationship is uncertain…The question that a lot of people are asking is: What have our communities gotten under this governor. The answer to that question will shape the future of the relationship.”
The governor’s relationship with the black and Latino communities is something of a sore spot dating back to his ill-fated 2002 gubernatorial primary challenge of then-state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, New York’s first major party black candidate for governor. (Cuomo dropped out one week prior to the primary election, and McCall ended up losing to the Republican incumbent, Gov. George Pataki).
McCall ended up being one of Cuomo’s biggest supporters/surrogates during the 2010 campaign and even defended him when some questioned whether he would be able to challenge then-Gov. David Paterson, the state’s first black governor. (Paterson ended up dropping out of the race, so Cuomo was spared having to go through with that).
McCall also stepped up to defend Cuomo when he came under fire for the all-white statewide ticket in 2010. As you’ll recall, this issue came to a head at the Democratic convention in Rye when the news broke that Cuomo had picked then-Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy to be his LG running mate. The Rev. Al Sharpton complained vociferously, and Cuomo responded with a pledge to make his administration the most diverse in New York history.
Several months into the governor’s tenure, he found himself fending off questions from Latino lawmakers about the lack of high-level appointees from their community in his administration. Cuomo tapped Cesar Peralas to serve as state Secretary of State, timing the announcement of that selection to correspond with the annual Somos conference in Albany.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on June 22, 2011 at 10:55 am, and is filed under Albany, Andrew Cuomo, Assembly, Democrats, Downstate NY, State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|