ALBANY—Governor Andrew Cuomo held a meeting with African-American elected officials from Brooklyn on Friday afternoon, to help mend a strained relationship during his first term.
The meeting, held in Cuomo's Manhattan office, was attended by congressional representatives, members of the state Assembly and City Council, and state senators including John Sampson and Velmanette Montgomery.
The last time Cuomo held such a meeting was four years ago, when he was campaigning for governor in the fall of 2010.
“I’ll absolutely say that I think the meeting was generally a good, good step toward resetting the relationship between Brooklyn black electeds and the governor,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams, who was one of about a dozen elected officials present at the two-and-a-half hour meeting on Friday afternoon.
Black officials have been frustrated with Cuomo, who had delayed a larger meeting, Williams said.
“I mean, we have been trying to get this meeting for some time to talk about issues germane to us, and other people that we represent and there’s been difficulty in doing that,” he said.
The meeting came a few days after Cuomo's primary challenger, upstart candidate Zephyr Teachout, exceeded expectations, winning 34 percent of the vote, despite having little funding and almost no institutional support.
Cuomo’s largest margins of victory in the primary came in predominantly African-American and Hispanic districts in the outer boroughs of New York City, such as the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. But turnout was especially low, suggesting an overall lack of enthusiasm among Cuomo's Democratic base.
The "reset" meeting took place before the Times Union story that Cuomo had targeted black and Hispanic troopers for removal at rates well above those for white troopers.
Something tells me he's going to need another "reset" meeting to reset what has happened since last Friday's "reset" meeting.