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Council boss Melissa Mark-Viverito blasts Mayor de Blasio in Uber flap

Speaker Mark-Viverito's spokesman denies tweet about sexism directed at mayor.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is accusing Mayor de Blasio of trying to savWilliam Alatriste/NYC Council

The Uber deal was hers, not Mayor Bill de Blasio's, and his taking credit for it is wrong and an attempt to "save face," City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has charged.

She also tweeted: "Clearly sexism alive & well in politics as well as press coverage. Always disappointing, never surprising."

A spokesman insisted Friday the sexism tweet and the suggestion Thursday at a news conference that racism was also at play was directed at media coverage, not the mayor.

“I find it offensive as a woman, and as a Latina, who is leading this legislative body, that somehow I was forced to my position. That I couldn’t possibly have arrived at this position on my own. That it was others, and predominantly men in this case, that got me to this point,” she said. “And that is completely erroneous.”


A good portion of her press conference, however, was spent disagreeing with how the mayor portrayed the deal -- and his ability to decide what the council does.

“Let’s be clear — this had nothing to do with the mayor,"she told Spanish media, in Spanish.

When the mayor's office announced that a City Council vote to cap the growth of ride-hailing service Uber was postponed, it clearly got the speaker's blood-boiling.

Mark-Viverito said the mayor was wrong to say restrictions on Uber are still on the table.

“I’m not going to allow anyone to attempt to save face at the expense of this Council,” Mark-Viverito told reporters at City Hall.

“This Council decides what we discuss, what debates we will have, what will be taken off the table, what will be on the table. No one else leads that discussion. No one else influences that discussion.”


Earlier Thusday, de Blasio deniedhe had caved in an interview with CBS.

"We haven’t," he said. "If we decide we need a cap we’ll go in that direction. If we need a different approach that’s fine."

"In him saying that the cap bill is off the table, it's really not for him to decide," Mark-Viverito said.


Her blast at the mayor is the greatest evidence yet that the two Democrats are at odds.

De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have also clashed over Uber in recent days.

De Blasio has been critical of the number of cars Uber has deployed on city streets, citing environmental concerns. Critics say he is simply protecting his friends in the yellow cab industry who don't want competition.

Cuomo called in to NY1 cable news Thursday night and seemed to stick it to the mayor when he vowed to work with Uber to expand it statewide, and suggested that regulation of the service may one day land in Albany.

"We have been talking to Uber today. Uber is looking to expand throughout the state," he said, and wants "to become a statewide transportation system."

John A. Oswald is editor-at-large at Metro and can be found on Twitter@nyc_oz.
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