Weiner to Albany: Give Power Back to New York City

By Colby Hamilton on July 3, 2013 4:40pm 

 Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.
Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.
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DNAinfo/Colby Hamilton

NEW YORK — Anthony Weiner wants to see less of Albany in New York City.

On Wednesday, the former congressman and Democratic mayoral candidate rolled out a 10-point list of ways Albany's "heavy hand" controls the lives of city residents.

"So much of our lives in New York City are governed by legislators in Buffalo, legislators in Schenectady and legislators in Plattsburgh," Weiner said at a press conference in front of City Hall.

Weiner said the city, not the state, should get to decide who controls the Metrpolitan Transportation Authority, the city's schools, when to raise and lower local taxes and how to grant liquor licenses.

New York City lost much of its autonomy during the fiscal crisis of the 1960s and '70s. But Weiner said the days of the ungovernable New York City are gone, and it's time for scandal-tainted Albany to hand the wheel back over to city lawmakers.

"Blurred accountability makes for bad governance," Weiner said. Pointing to the list of Albany-controlled parts of the city, he continued, "I can't think a single one of these that made us better off over time."

Weiner's proposals also include taking control of the World Trade Center away from the state-run Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The call for the city to gain more control over its destiny is nothing new. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been a proponent of more local control, and he did manage to wrest the city's school system away from the state.

Weiner said he had not broached his plan with any state leaders, but he promised to fight that battle if he's elected.

"The next mayor, this has to be something they constantly lean into," he said.

One city-based state senator said that, while he generally agreed with putting control of the city back into local legislative hands, the premise that Albany had no moral authority to tell the city what to do was misplaced.

"Unfortunately, anyone who thinks that Albany has a monopoly on corruption should ask Councilman [Dan] Halloran and the other council members that are facing prison terms," the senator said.

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