Chief-Leader

October 30, 2017, 6:00 PM

Cuomo, Lhota, Lynch Mug Mayor on Train

Homeless Sleeper Brings Heat

JOSEPH J. LHOTA: Can’t make them feel at home.
GOVERNOR CUOMO: Throws Mayor under train.
MAYOR DE BLASIO: Wrong pre-election photo op.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch joined Governor Cuomo and the head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in assailing Mayor de Blasio over a photograph of a homeless man sleeping under a bench on the 3 train.

The photo, taken as the train arrived at the West 72nd St. station, appeared Oct. 21 in the New York Post and can be seen at goo.gl/

g54gjh. Homelessness is a sore point for Mr. de Blasio—the number of people in shelters or on the street has grown during his time in office and exceeds 60,000. So are the subways; he and Mr. Cuomo have been battling over who controls, and should fund, the troubled system.

‘Shocked and Appalled’

The Post described Mr. de Blasio as “shocked and appalled” when it sprung the photo on him at an unrelated press conference.

“It’s not acceptable for people to sleep on a subway train like that,” he said, adding that subway rules gave the NYPD power to arrest such sleepers. “It’s up to the officer to decide what to do, but it’s an unacceptable condition, so to begin with, they would cure the condition,” he said.

The Governor and Joseph J. Lhota, Chairman of the MTA, took the opportunity to attack Mr. de Blasio on Oct. 23. Mr. Cuomo has been feuding with the Mayor since shortly after the latter gentleman took office in 2014, and Mr. Lhota was appointed by the Governor and depends on his goodwill to keep his job. Mr. Lhota also opposed Mr. de Blasio in the 2013 mayoral race, attracting 24 percent of the vote to the Mayor’s 73 percent.

“The New York City Police Department polices the subway system,” Mr. Cuomo said. “It’s up to them. Period. Rudy Giuliani did that.” Mayor Giuliani merged the Transit Police into the NYPD in 1995.

‘Get Homeless Help’

“The response is not to defend or excuse the presence of the homeless, but to get them the help they desperately need,” Mr. Lhota said. “Every New York City Mayor since Koch has realized this except our current Mayor.”

Mr. Cuomo told NY1, “We need to get the homeless off the trains and out of the subway stations so people feel safe, and to get the homeless people the help they need. You do not help a homeless person by saying we’ll let you sleep on the train…Have clean, safe shelters, and have the NYPD do what they used to do, which is get help for the homeless person.”

The following day, Mr. Lynch issued a statement saying, “Too many of our city’s elected officials seem to be in denial about the impact of their public-safety policies. They decry the resurgence of quality-of-life problems, then they pursue policies that discourage proactive policing of those issues. Whether it’s ambiguity over the enforcement of subway rules or harmful legislation that attempts to micromanage searches and other police activities, New York City police officers are constantly saddled with the burden of fixing policy failures we had no hand in creating.”

‘Don’t Sleep in Subway’

He continued, “Governor Cuomo is absolutely right: nobody should be sleeping in the subway, and New York City police officers play a role in preventing that from happening. We wish the rest of our elected leaders would support us in that effort.”

Mr. de Blasio said later that day, “When I have a responsibility to address something, I’m going to address it. And that is the NYPD which patrols the subways and would never accept that kind of condition if they saw it. And obviously our Homeless Outreach Teams, which have increasingly found effective ways to get people off the streets.

“So, remember, even in times where I’ve had differences with the Governor on the MTA issue, I’ve said we want to do more in terms of NYPD presence in the subways wherever it’s needed, Fire Department efforts to help in emergencies, Homeless Outreach efforts. We’re ready to do more, and wherever we see a need we will put more resources on it.”