Two weeks before the general election, New York City residents should be captivated by the mayoral race. Instead, New Yorkers are focused on more exciting bouts, like the Yankees’ playoff run and, per usual, the never-ending feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Here are this week’s biggest headlines.
Orange you glad Amazon is looking to expand? New York City lit up some of its iconic buildings in Amazon’s signature orange color to help court the tech giant to the Big Apple. Other local governments across the state made their own pitches last week, joining the nationwide contest to land the company’s second headquarters and its expected 50,000 well-paying jobs. While none of the state’s four bid groups went as far as trying to mail a cactus, like Tucson, Arizona, they all put a spin on their pitches, with Western New York hoping Amazon could be the saving grace for an ailing economy. One constant: tax breaks, with the New York state government offering an unspecified deal to lure the company.
Self-driving cars will be hitting the streets of Manhattan next year, and nobody’s more surprised than New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. On Tuesday, General Motors became the first company approved to test autonomous vehicles in the country’s busiest city, agreeing to New York’s arduous regulations – including police oversight and preplanned routes. But feud overshadowed fun as de Blasio said he wasn’t consulted before the state’s announcement.
The Great Dull-bates
The few New Yorkers who tuned into the debates last week were reminded that the New York City mayoral election isn’t the only boring race with outmatched challengers. Public Advocate Letitia James and J.C. Polanco had a cordial, informative debate on Monday, despite James’ 130-to-1 cash advantage. And Wednesday’s city comptroller debate between Scott Stringer and Michel Faulkner focused on being a check on the mayor’s office – but was much less fiery than Faulkner’s heated debate on CNN with filmmaker Spike Lee.
NYC Health + Obstacles
New York City’s public hospitals have faced a funding crisis for years, but the expiration of disproportionate share hospital payments on Oct. 1 kicked off a new emergency, with the system announcing a near-hiring freeze to cope. After threatening a lawsuit against the state, which initially refused to disburse the federal funds because of the cuts, another state vs. city faceoff was resolved, lowering NYC Health + Hospitals’ funding crisis level from “catastrophic” to “extreme.”