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Cuomo To De Blasio: The Graffiti Has Got To Go, 'Cleaning Up The City Is Important'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The graffiti in New York City has got to go. Get rid of it if you want New York City to come back, and you want people to move back.

That's the warning from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Thursday, Cuomo has a message for his "frenemy" de Blasio, and he didn't spray paint it on Gracie Mansion or any other of the buildings around New York City where graffiti is springing up all too frequently.

"Get the graffiti off the building. Detergent. Power washer. Brush. Get the graffiti off the building," Cuomo said. "I'm telling the mayor cleaning up the city is important. You have a lot of negativity in the air now. Positive. Progress. Move forward."

WATCH: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gives Briefing

The governor said that the combination of increased gun violence, more homeless on the streets, and the surge in graffiti are factors people consider in deciding whether to move back to New York City from the places where they've taken refuge from COVID-19.

"People need to see that progress. They certainly don't need to see deterioration, and graffiti is something we can handle. We're not talking about curing COVID," Cuomo said.

As CBS2 showed you, graffiti is everywhere, and it comes as the city has zeroed out the budget for graffiti removal and stopped taking 311 graffiti complaints. It's so bad that New York City Councilman Ben Kallos started cleaning the graffiti himself because he couldn't get the city to spend the money to clean it up in his district.

"There's money to do what you need to do. And graffiti sounds like a little thing -- it's another sign of decay. And what we're trying to do is say to people, New York is on the way back," Cuomo said.

A spokesman for de Blasio told Kramer, "The city is cleaning up graffiti even as we speak," but he was speaking only about public buildings, not private buildings.

The graffiti popping up all over the city, well, there's still no money for that.

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