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Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 5:10pm
Programs aim to further decrease the number of 16- and 17-year-olds in City custody, which is down nearly 48 percent since December 2013 NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio announced a $3 million annual investment to provide an array of services to young people that will help safely drive down the number of teenagers in city custody and advance the City’s commitment to provide young people in trouble with high quality programming that addresses underlying issues in their lives. “Diverting teens from the justice system means making sure they’re getting the services they need to turn their lives around and taking a holistic approach that addresses the underlying issues in their lives. There are roughly half as many 16- and 17-year-olds in City custody than in 2013, and we’re investing in programs that have the potential to put even more young people on better paths toward brighter futures,” said Mayor de Blasio. The City’s new recurring annual investment of $3 million will support a variety of strategies, including: * Two new programs that will prevent young people from entering jail. Instead of detaining young people, judges will have new options to release young people to community-based programs including: o + Family therapy: The program will use a unique, evidence-driven model that provides support and therapy not just for the young person, but also for his or her entire family. In this way, the program will ensure that the young person has a network of support to build a productive future; + Intensive mentoring: New to New York City, this program will offer young people multiple years of intensive mentorship and social work support, along with opportunities for job readiness training, paid internships, and career development. Intended to serve young people at the highest risk of justice involvement, this program will also allow referrals from police, prosecutors, and others. * Expansion of a program that reduces how long young people stay in city custody: o In-court case expediting: The City is investing in in-court staff to ensure young people’s cases move fairly and efficiently through the court system. o Advocacy for earlier release to community programming: The City will expand a program that pairs detained young people with social workers who can facilitate bail payment or advocate releasing detained young people to intensive community-based programming. Together, these strategies could reduce the number of 16- and 17-year-olds in city custody by an additional 20 percent over the next five years. The adolescent population has already been in swift decline. The number of 16 and 17-year-olds in Department of Correction custody has hovered around 125 for most of 2018, which is down by 17 percent compared to this time last year. The programs join a host of other reforms the Administration is pursuing to ensure that young people in the criminal justice system are treated in a developmentally appropriate way, maximizing their opportunity to build a productive future. The City was an early and vocal advocate for Raising the Age of criminal responsibility in New York State and, since the passage of this law last year, the City remains committed to transition 16- and 17- year-olds off of Rikers Island later this year. The programs announced today build on the success of the City’s juvenile justice system for youth under the age of 16. Fewer young people are being arrested and entering the juvenile justice system than ever before. In the last three years, there has been a 32 percent decrease in admissions to juvenile detention. The Administration for Children’s Services, which manages the City’s juvenile justice system, has made significant strides in improving the lives of children and families involved in the justice system, with a particular focus on keeping young people strongly connected to their communities. In preparation to absorb 16- and 17-year-olds into this youth justice system, the City is currently working to design and develop age-appropriate facilities that prioritize education, vocational programming, therapeutic services, and have space for outdoor recreation. Additionally, the City has eliminated punitive segregation for all 16-21-year-olds and enhanced family-engagement for incarcerated youth as well as individualized support teams for young people with histories of violent behavior. The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and the Department of Correction are also partnering to provide expanded re-entry planning in custody along with educational, employment and health support once young people return to the community. The Department of Correction is also now actively recruiting officers capable of working with adolescents and addressing their unique needs. Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, said, “One critical pathway to getting young people off of Rikers Island is by reducing the number of teenagers in custody through effective, community-based services when appropriate. These programs can have a major impact on the lives of the people involved and help reduce the number of teenagers in the City’s custody.” Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann said, “The Department is fully committed to moving adolescents off Rikers Island and into facilities with continued access to meaningful, age-appropriate programming that we have worked hard within our agency and with provider partners to develop. We know from our successes at RNDC that these programs work, and we’re going to help make sure they continue to work as we move our adolescents into facilities that have been designed in a manner dedicated to meet their needs.” “As we focus on the closure of Rikers Island, services and resources that drive down the number of young people in the system are critically important. These programs will help address the problems at-risk teens face, and I commend the Mayor for this investment,” said Council Member Keith Powers, Chair, Criminal Justice Committee. Council Member Robert Holden said, “Any amount we contribute to keep New York City’s youth out of trouble is money well spent.”
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 5:10pm
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you. Well, I want to say two words that you have been waiting to hear for a long time and you have earned – congratulations, officers. [Applause] This is not an easy thing to accomplish. This took years and years of hard work, of focus, and commitment. You know that there are many, many people who would have loved to be sitting where you are right now. But you were the best of the best, you went the distance, and this is a day to celebrate all of you. [Applause] I want to thank and commend all who are represented here on the dias. I want to particularly thank the leadership of the NYPD, Commissioner O’Neill and First Deputy Commissioner Tucker, and Chief Monahan for having done so much to make this department even greater. I want to thank our partners in government who also have done very, very important works in terms of making this a safer city. I want to thank the District Attorney of the Bronx Darcel Clark and the Chair of the Public Safety Committee in the City Council Donovan Richards. I want to thank and acknowledge the President of the BPA Patrick Lynch as well. Everyone is here in common cause today because we recognize what this graduation means. It means the NYPD continues to get stronger. A new generation of talented, committed public servants joining the greatest police force in the world. And I want to emphasize this, you are not just joining a police force, you are joining the greatest police force in the world. [Applause] And you know that when you’re at the academy you were put through the toughest of tests. You were given the best training. You were held to the highest standards. So again it’s a credit to you that you’re sitting here today, but I also want to give some other credit where credit is due because none of us get to a point of success, like you’ve reached today, none of us get here alone. Our family members, starting with our parents, are there with us every step along the way, give us the tools, give us the love, give us the support, friends, every loved one in our life who is there to make this kind of day happen. So I want to take a moment to acknowledge all of you and congratulate all of you as well. [Applause] So what does this graduation mean? It means 448 new guardians for this city. 448 new protectors who will be, in each and every community, seen as people who make a difference. And that’s what neighborhood policing is all about, communities understanding the importance of our police and drawing ever closer to our police, and our police having a deeper connection with our communities. It makes a huge, huge difference and it’s helped to make us safer. And you will be part of this extraordinary new approach that is reinventing how we police and making us safer while at the same time creating more trust and more mutual respect between our officers and our communities. More ‘thank you’s all around, something our officers always deserve. You will be part of this generation who forwards this progress and you are particularly well suited to the task. No class has ever received better training in our history. And this is a class that truly looks like New York City. You hail from 41 different countries, you speak 45 different languages. You’re going to be able to connect with every kind of New Yorker in every kind of community. And I want to give you one example from this class that speaks volumes about today’s NYPD, and about the ability of the NYPD to make a fundamental difference in the social fabric of this entire city. Because remember, the NYPD is one of the glues in New York City, one of the reasons this city holds together and works is our men and women in uniform. Let me give you one example from this class. Officer Mikaeel Nasser. And I want to say something that’s a little painful to hear. He was five-years-old when the tragedy and the horror of 9/11 occurred, and in that time, as a young boy, a woman walked up to Officer Nasser one day and told him literally go back to your country. Well here’s the truth, Mikaeel Nasser’s country is the United States of America. [Applause] And he is joining over 1,000 proud Muslim-American officers in the NYPD who serve all of us. [Applause] He’s also an example of something I bet a lot of you are a part of as well, and it’s a tremendous tradition in the NYPD of generation after generation from the same family continuing to serve and wear this uniform. In the case of Officer Nasser three cousins already have served before him and his father Detective Ahmed Nasser. Congratulations to the whole Nasser family. [Applause] In every class there are also a special group that I want to take a moment to honor, and ask you all to join me, because they are not just joining this police force to serve and protect us for years and years ahead, they have already served our nation. The 29 members of this class who served previously in our armed services. Let’s thank all of them. [Applause] And I want to just say to all of you, you’ve answered a call to duty, you’ve made a noble choice. And it will play out every single day on the streets of this city. And you’re going to do what people who maybe aren’t as blessed with as much courage and resolve and strength as you would not know how to do. You will answer that call every time. When there is a problem, a crisis, a challenge, you’ll say I’ll be there. You won’t look away. When there is danger you’ll say I will go into the danger. You won’t go away from it because that’s what you are made of and we honor you for that. You are joining an extraordinary organization made up of people of similar caliber and that’s why I always say this is a winning team, you are joining a winning team, you’re joining a championship team. And the proof is visible to all of us because of the men and women of the NYPD we are without question the safest big city in America. That is something to celebrate. And that took a lot of hard work. 2017 was the safest year in the history of this city. I like to give it a really clear example and use the example of the last time we had as few homicides as we had in 2017 – the last time there was fewer homicide in New York City, the Dodgers were playing at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. That gives you a sense of just how much this department has achieved. You are joining that winning team. But here is the best part – there is no one up here who is resting on their laurels. I’ve spent over four years, side by side with so many of the people on this dais. They are not resting on their laurels. They do not know how to stop getting better. And I am happy to tell you that already in 2018, we are ahead of 2017’s pace, 2018 is on pace to be the safest year in the history of New York City. [Applause] The last thing I want to say to you is really especially for your families and your loved ones – that we understand, every single one of us up here understand that we have a sacred responsibility to all of these good men and women now wearing this uniform. We have a responsibility to help make sure that they are all safe. That’s why they got the very best training that has ever been provided to NYPD officers. That’s why they will have the greatest and most modern technology that any officers have ever had. They will have the most advance gear to protect them. And also I want to thank the City Council because over the last few years we have added an additional 2,000 officers on patrol – another way of keeping our officers safe. We owe it to you to keep you safe. And that’s a sacred responsibility for all of us. I want to tell you this is a really good day for this city. I want to thank you all individually for the choice you made and again a choice that will have such positive ramifications for all of the rest of us, 8.6 million people. And you will have a day and maybe many days when you change someone’s life for the better, where you change a family’s life, where you save a life, where you do something that will have lasting ramifications for years and years ahead. What an extraordinary opportunity to do good, and I thank you all for the choice you have made. Congratulations officers. God bless you all. [Applause] …. Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Morning everybody. Hey, didn’t you just finish six months of training? Right? How come nobody is smiling? [Laughter] Okay here we go. Alright, keep that smile on your face. Morning everyone, thanks for being here. Thanks Ben – one person said good morning to me. [Laughter] The First Deputy Commissioner. [Laughter] So on the behalf of the leadership team assembled up here and the entire New York City Police Department, welcome to our recruit graduation ceremony. And to our newest police officers, welcome to the NYPD. I’m actually jealous, it’s been, 35 years ago sitting in those seats and what you are about to embark upon is truly special. I know you have worked long and hard, not just in over the last six months, but to get on this job. I know some of you it was two, three, four years – it’s a long time to wait. I’m sure there were other opportunities, but you were patient and you knew what you wanted to do. I would like to thank you for that because this is – what you are about to embark on is the job of a lifetime. I’ve been a cop for almost 36 years now and I’ve never look back. What you get to do each and every day, the difference you get to make in one person’s life, in two person’s life, maybe two peoples’ life, a whole family – not too many people get to do that. This is a unique opportunity. You have to use it wisely. This is a noble profession and sometimes that word noble is over used but not in this case. It fits, it fits perfectly. Just think about what you are going to go out and do tomorrow. Think about what you are going to do for the next 22 years. And I bet a lot of you stay around after those 22 years. That’s how much you are going to love it. Some of you probably wanted to be cops for your whole lives. Some of you maybe just made that decision recently. Once you get to your commands and get to meet the police officers, get to go out on patrol and see what life is like in the city, around the clock, every day of the year, you really understand that this is a great choice that you made. A lot of young faces sitting in front of me right now. You don’t know what the city was like back in the 1990’s, the 1980’s when there were 2,200 homicides, 5,000 shootings in a year. In 2017 there were 790 shootings, there were 292 murders and now in April of 2018 we are down another 19 shootings, down another 13 murders from this day one year ago. You might be sitting here and you might be thinking those are just stats. They are not. They are not statistics, they are human lives. They are families kept intact. One less person shot, one less person killed, one less person robbed. And that’s the legacy of the NYPD, so when you put the uniform on and you go out on patrol, remember that. This hasn’t been an easy road for the NYPD. It’s been a long and difficult road, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of lives lost and a lot of people hurt, a lot of missed opportunities with families. This isn’t a regular job. You’re going to be working 24 hours a day and working on weekends. As a matter of fact, there’s a good chance you’re going to be working on Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve – [Laughter] And whatever other holiday might come about. But every single day you’re out there helping people making a difference in people’s lives. That’s what special about the jobs that we have. You get to see everything. You get to experience everything. And you’ll see what truly great people there are in the city. You get to see how much New Yorkers care about this city and how much New Yorkers really do care about this police department. Don’t be fooled. People like cops. They understand what our job is. They understand how vital we are to this city so no matter what you do, no matter what role you end up in make sure you understand what your number one priority is and that’s to fight crime and to keep the people of this great city safe. That’s it. Pure and simple. That’s the magic formula. You took this job for one reason and one reason only. You took it because you want to make a difference. You took it because you want to do good. I guess that’s two reason. [Laughter] And each day you go out on patrol, make sure you focus on that whether it’s one person you encounter someone down on their luck or whether it’s a family, even if it’s someone you might have to arrest – treat them with dignity, treat them with respect. It’ll come back to you a-hundred-fold. Your safety as police officers and the safety of the people you’re sworn to protect are deeply connected. So listen to people’s stories. Respect their cultures. Work to address their concerns and you’ll find that the trust you’ll earn will benefit everyone. Sometimes it’s as simple as you’re walking down the street or riding in the subway, to say hello and that hello will come back to you. Not all the time but that’s fine. Work on it. As a police officer you want to get to know the people you’re sworn to protect and serve. Help them understand what we do. It won’t always be easy but that oath you took before, keep that in mind when you go about each day’s work. Think about the words you recited, what they mean, and let that guide you. So we’re here today to congratulate you on completing your recruit training and to tell you what a great career you’re going to have, and it will be great. I can assure you of that. I also want to talk with your families and friends for a minute, to the moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, husbands, wives, and everyone else who came to support our graduates today. Thank you. We always say that cops – that we have the greatest jobs in the world but you, our officer’s loved ones, you have the hardest jobs, the most difficult jobs. And it doesn’t matter whether the person you’re here for today is the first member of your family to become of the cop or they’re the latest in a longstanding family tradition of public service. Either way, I know the mixture of feelings that you’re feeling right now. I know that you’re proud. I know that you’re excited. I know you’re also apprehensive, you’re afraid, and everything in between. And I want you to know this – your family just got a whole lot bigger. You may have walked into this theater with one son, daughter, niece, nephew, brother, or sister but you’re walking out with 36,000 more. Now, as with any family, we’re going to have some ups and downs, some good days, some bad days as I said before but I can tell you from my own experiences, when I got on in January of 1983, the really good days vastly outnumber the bad ones and through it all, we’re going to be here for each other. There are several groups here today who already know exactly what I’m talking about. Let me make mention of one of them – the Tarpey family. This is some story. They’ve been New York City cops for five generations. Police Officer Daniel Tarpey, who graduates today, has long heard the tales of comradery and sacrifice as described by his father, his grandfather who heard similar stories from Daniel’s great grandfather and his great, great grandfather before that. Today, a proud legacy is maintained and I know that you all have some very high hopes so, no pressure Daniel. Not a problem at all. It’s only five generations. [Laughter] Congratulations on your accomplishments today, Daniel, and let’s give him a round of applause, and the whole family. [Applause] I know how cops like to be singled out so I’m sure you really appreciated that, Daniel, and so did your company. They’ll never let you forget it. And I think there’s a reason why families like Daniel’s choose to continue the tradition of public service in the NYPD because when officers swear that oath we spoke about, the NYPD swears an oath to those officers too. This department and this city promise to honor them, to protect them, and to never forget their commitment to the people of New York. And always those promised extend to the loved ones as well. It’s my job as Police Commissioner and the job of all of us sitting up here on the stage right now to make sure every officer gets home safely after every tour. That’s our pledge to each of you and there’s nothing we take more seriously than that. So, thank you all again for supporting our graduates because when you support them, you’re supporting the work of the entire department. And now, to our newest NYPD cops – let this sink in for a minute. You’re NYPD cops. Let it sink in but never take it lightly. Never forget who you are and what you do, and what you mean to the people of this great city. New York is the safest big city in the United States because of the hard work of the men and women wearing NYPD uniforms out on the street today as well as the thousands of brave and talented cops who came before you. You’re here now because you want to be part of something larger than yourselves, because you believe in the possibility of an even safer city and even safer country. When you leave this theater today, the connections you’ll make in the neighborhoods you’ll patrol and the relationships you’ll develop will accomplish that goal. You’ll keep people safe, equally important, you’ll make people feel safe too. And there is a distinction. To achieve true public safety it takes everyone doing their part. This is actually one of the most exciting times in American law enforcement because New York policing is redefining what it means to protect the city and its inhabitants. Our neighborhood policing philosophy which is a crime fighting strategy first and foremost is revolutionizing how we interact with the people we serve. What counts more than anything, though is your character, your integrity, and your professionalism. Prior to today, all your experiences were different and the path that led you here is unique only to you. We can learn so much from each other and all of it makes us better cops. That’s why working in such a diverse police department is a huge advantage for us. We learn about our fellow cops like Police Officer Jessica Zhang who came to the United States from China just six years ago, became a citizen two years ago, and today is now the first member of her family to join the NYPD. She’s not the first cop, though, because like the Tarpeys, who I mentioned earlier, Jessica’s family has a long tradition of public service. Her father, grandmother, two uncles, a niece, and a cousin are all police officers in China. I know they are extremely proud of Jessica and all she’s accomplished here. Congratulations, Jessica. Welcome to the New York City Police Department. [Applause] And then there are cops like Police Officer Daniel Orleans. Growing up in Brazil, Daniel was the victim of a home invasion as a young boy. That would be traumatizing for anyone but for Daniel, it put him on a path to become a force for positive change. He knew what it was like to be a victim. And he knew the problems that violent crimes caused in his community. And he also knew that one day he wanted to be part of the solution. So after he came to the United States more than a decade ago, he began a career of public service that ultimately brought him to this theater today. And now he has the opportunity to help people and to make a real difference in our city. So, let’s give Daniel a round of applause too. [Applause] I want to thank the dedicated instructors and staff of the Police Academy, our Train Bureau, our Personnel Bureau, and our Candidate Assessment Division. And finally to our graduates, congratulations. You’ll remember today for the rest of your lives. And remember this too – cops are special people but what makes them special is that they’re ordinary people who often find themselves doing extraordinary things. It’s my great privilege to join with you as we make our way forward together, watch out for each other, always stay safe, and always love your families. Thank you very much. [Applause]
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 5:10pm
Mayor Bill de Blasio: This is a wonderful time for everyone here to be gathering because this is a powerful moment in our history and I have to tell you a constant, no matter whether times are good or bad, or the struggles are easier or harder, a constant has been the National Action Network. You should be very proud of that fact. [Applause] One of the things I deeply appreciate about Reverend Sharpton and Doctor Richardson and all of the leadership of this organization is the idea that people need to be organized, everywhere, all the time. That’s what NAN has done – everywhere, all the time. I remember when this was a brand new organization, Reverend, and it has grown I think beyond everyone’s wildest expectations. I want to thank Reverend Sharpton for continuing to be a voice a conscious, for continuing to remind us, this is also all about his roots in Dr. King’s movement, to remind us that if we reach people, if we organize people, if we show them what’s possible, the world can change. He has never lost that faith and Reverend thank you for that. [Applause] This is an extraordinary group of leaders here who are making a difference in this city, in this state, in our neighboring state, and all over the country, and I especially appreciate our former Attorney General because he is trying to bring fairness to our election process. [Applause] And I have to say one other acknowledgment, because, I’ll tell you, it is a challenge to be a mayor during the Trump administration, and I want to give some credit where credit is due to my brother from Newark, Ras Baraka, who is doing an outstanding job, outstanding. [Applause] So look, I’m going to be very quick, but I want to make a fundamental point here. It is a powerful moment in history not because of the negatives. We know all about the negatives, we know all about the reasons to be upset, to be discouraged, we are seeing things everyday on the news we never thought possible. Right? We have seen norms that we use to cherish, torn up, tweet after tweet. [Laughter] A notion of dignity is way back in the rear view mirror but that should not confuse us, the fact the occupant in the White House, or the result of a particular election because of the perverse nature of the Electoral College, those things should not confuse us or dissuade us from action. I’m going to argue very quickly that we actually should see this moment as a time for tremendous possibility. And we are the ones lucky enough to live in this time. [Applause] You know, the night before we mourned the loss of Dr. King and we celebrated his life 50 years after his assassination and we remembered what he meant to us, that night before, here in New York City, we wanted to do something powerful and meaningful to appreciate that moment. Reverend Sharpton joined us and we’re in Washington Square, in Greenwich Village, we have the beautiful arch there, we lit up the arch with an image of Dr. King, and we replayed the last speech of his life. That night before he was assassinated, remember as we know he was in Memphis to organize working people for change, to stand up for people who were being treated unfairly, and he was connecting all the dots in one of the most powerful and profound ways. He was fighting against income inequality and poverty while he was fighting against an unjust war, while he was fighting for civil rights. He understood that they all went together. And the night he gave the speech, and most of us have heard a few lines from that speech, where it was almost prophetic his understanding he would not be with us longer but his satisfaction at what he had helped to spark and all the people who had joined along with him in a movement for change. That whole speech bears listening and in the beginning of the speech, he sets the stage powerfully by talking about all of the renowned errors of history, and imagines what if he had a chance to live in any of those great times, with great leaders, and great changes, which would he have chosen. And he walks through history, but concludes he would have lived in that moment he was in 1968 because it was a time ripe for change. Brothers and sisters we are living, now, in that time ripe for change. [Applause] And I want us, even when we turn on the television news, do not be discouraged. Even when you go online, do not be afraid because something deeper and bigger is going on here. It has been brewing for the last few years but now it has all come out in the open. Remember how for years and years in this country, you could not get a conversation started about the horror of mass incarceration. But a movement over the last few years changed that. It is now on the front burner, it’s in all of our consciousness, and it’s starting to change, and I’m very proud to say, in this city, I’ve said it before, the era of mass incarceration did not begin in New York City, but it will end in New York City when we close Rikers Island for good. [Applause] You used to not be able to have a full and blunt and honest conversation about the relationship between our police and our community. But that is changing all over this country and NAN has been a crucial part of that. And I want to remind you in this city, in this city, when we got rid of a broken policy of stop-and-frisk, when we created neighborhood policing, when we brought police and community together, we got safer. We got safer by being fairer. [Applause] But you used to not have an honest discussion. That is happening now and people are organizing like never before. We could not believe for a long time there could actually be change when it came to fighting for gun safety. It looked like the NRA just had everything locked down until those brave students from Parkland, Florida told us, they showed us that change was possible, that people could be organized all over this country. [Applause] Students in all 50 states. Rev, you have to go back to the time when you were a young man and people were organizing in the Civil Rights Movement to see high school students doing something so powerful. Doesn’t that augur well for all of us and for this moment of change? [Applause] Women organizing like never before – the greatest protest in the history of the United States in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration, all 50 states. You see how these dots are starting to connect? How about when it comes to elections? How about the state of Alabama? [Applause] There was more voter suppression there than you could possibly imagine but people voted anyway and they changed the world. Connect all these dots and something amazing is happening. By the way, God bless the teachers all over this country who are saying enough is enough – [Applause] And standing up in red states and forcing a change. So, I conclude with this and I don’t mean this to be an overstatement because I feel it in my heart. We’re living through a time of miracles. [Applause] Things are happening that were not supposed to be possible. It wasn’t possible to win that Senate seat in Alabama. It wasn’t possible for those teachers to get fairness. It wasn’t possible for high school students to organize in all 50 states but it all just happened and it happened in a matter of months. Months not years not decades. So, my friends, let’s meet the moment and there is no organization in America better poised to meet the moment than the National Action Network. [Applause] Someday we will look back at this time and we will cherish the fact that we were part of these big changes and history will show that you were the authors of the progress and the change and the better country for all. Thank you. God bless you all. [Applause]
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 5:10pm
Women’s Fund: First-of-its-kind effort by a municipal agency to support women creators in the media and entertainment industry NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin today announced the Women’s Fund, a $5 million grant program to support film and theater projects by, for, or about women. The City is contributing the funding to encourage and support the creation of film, television, digital, theatrical, and other forms of media and entertainment in New York City that reflect the voices and perspectives of women. The New York Foundation for the Arts has been identified as an eligible awardee from the City’s Request for Proposals. NYFA was founded in 1971 with a mission to empower artists and arts across all disciplines at critical stages in their development. “New York City is the capital of film, media, and culture, and we are determined to ensure that women are able to tell and shape their own stories. This program, and the many others launched by my administration to give women a level playing field, will make a difference one movie and one theater production at a time,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We see discrimination women face in the media and entertainment industries every day, and we say enough is enough. As we fight discrimination, we must ensure women are in front of and behind the camera. More than that, we intend to harness the power and talent of New York women to start businesses, grow jobs and industries – including the media industry,” said Alicia Glen, New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. The Women’s Fund is part of a groundbreaking series of initiatives aimed at combating gender bias in the film and television industries. Grants from the Women’s Fund will provide funding in the late stages of film and theater projects to help applicants shepherd their projects to successful completion. Applicants will compete in several categories for awards, including short- and long-form fiction and nonfiction film and theatrical productions. Winning projects may also air on NYC Media, the official broadcast network and media production group of the City of New York. Other elements of MOME’s programs to elevate the role of women in the entertainment industry include the MOME Finance Lab , a conference connecting women filmmakers with potential funders for their projects; an inspiring new block of programming on Channel 25 focused entirely on women and their perspectives; and an upcoming report analyzing the gender imbalance of directors in the film industry. “We are thrilled to be launching this $5 million Women’s Fund at this seminal time for women in the entertainment and media industries,” said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “As the Me Too and Times Up movements have made clear, we need to do more to empower women to take leadership roles in film, television and theater and all media. This fund is a huge step in the right direction and reflects this administration’s commitment to fairness and inclusion. It’s time for women to get equal representation on screen and behind the scenes, and I am proud to do our part to make that goal attainable for New York-based creators.” The MOME Women’s Fund will award cash grants of up to $50,000, which will vary based on project category. To be eligible for a grant, media content must be “Made in NY” with at least 75% of production activity taking place in the five boroughs. The content must be suitable and appropriate to air on a NYC Media outlet. The project must be produced by, for, or about women, include a meaningful female production or writing credit, or include a female protagonist. Content should inform, educate, and entertain New Yorkers about the City’s diverse people and neighborhoods, government, services, attractions, and activities. Finally, the project must be a work in progress; finished or previously-produced projects will not be eligible. The Fund will support upwards of 100 total projects. Women face stark disparities in the realm of media and entertainment, as in other sectors. While women make up 52% of New York City’s population, their voices are too often missing in the stories that we hear and watch. Study after study has confirmed that women are consistently underrepresented both on camera and behind the scenes. According to a recent report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, in 2017 women comprised only 11% of directors, 11% of writers, and 19% of executive producers in the 250 top-grossing films of the year. Despite a great deal of discussion of the lack of representation of women and female perspectives, the media industry has made little progress in addressing this systemic inequality. In a first-of-its-kind effort by a municipal agency, MOME has launched this series of media and entertainment content grants to encourage and support the creation of film, digital, theatrical, and other forms of media and entertainment content in New York City that reflect the voices and perspectives of women. The grant fund is intended to support production and content by, for, or about women, and to stimulate innovation in the city’s economic sectors. The filmed entertainment industry contributes over $9 billion to the city’s economy on an annual basis, and creates over 130,000 good-paying, full-time jobs. To sign up for updates on the Fund visit MOME’s website .
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 5:10pm
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you Marisol. Well Marisol is saying what we have heard from not only NYCHA residents but we’ve heard from New Yorkers in some of the neighborhoods that are really hit hard by the problem of rats. Some of the NYCHA developments hit very hard, and as I said New Yorkers who don’t live in NYCHA also feel this very, very deeply. And I was talking to Councilmember Reynoso coming in about how much this is the kind of thing that his constituents care about. And I think Marisol said it really simply and powerfully, you know, if you can’t go out and have your kids on the playground because there are rats, something is fundamentally wrong. That’s no way for people to live. So today we’re talking about a whole different strategy that we think is going to make a huge difference in Marisol’s life and the life of her neighbors here at Bushwick Houses and in the entire community. Now we’re going to talk about how to eradicate rats. This is a tough fight. Unfortunately our city – we love our city but our city is associated for many generations with the problem of rats. So a lot of people have tried to win this war haven’t succeeded. But the good news is we have some new weapons. We have a new approach that we think is going to make a huge difference. And we have some good people who are fighting this battle and I think they are the unsung heroes of the war against rats. So I want to thank them. First and foremost, our Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin who has really made this a central mission for her team, to focus on how, once and for all, to defeat the rat problem in New York City. Second, I want to thank one of the great experts, and she’s been doing extraordinary work with her colleagues at the Department of Health. She’s the Director of Neighborhood Intervention for Pest Control Services, Caroline Bragdon. Thank you so much. And of course, the Sanitation Department plays a crucial role. I want to thank the Chief for Brooklyn North from Sanitation, Jarrit Scotti. Thank you to you and to all of your colleagues who are fighting this war. Now, what Marisol said, this is a daily challenge for so many people. And it’s something that people have gotten used to and we don’t want them to be used to it. We don’t want people to think this is something that’s acceptable, because it’s not acceptable. The reality for so many people in this city is you wake up in the morning, you go out on your way to work or school, and a rat crosses your path. That’s like your good morning New York, right? There’s a rat right in the middle of your life. You don’t want that. It’s not acceptable. We don’t want to live that way. We don’t want to have kids on the playground think it’s normal to see a rat on the playground. It’s not normal. It’s not acceptable. And our vision is how to get to the core of this problem. This is what we’re talking about today. Not just exterminating. Extermination is something you have to do but it doesn’t solve to the problem. We want to go a lot deeper. Now you guys were out there, a lot of you before, seeing the demonstration with the dry ice. This is a whole other approach, and one we’ve been waiting to use for a long time and we’re finally getting to put into this battle. And we think it’s going to be a game changer. Here’s the reality when you think about it. We’ve talked a lot about wanting to make sure this city is all it can be. We love our city very deeply. New Yorkers are so proud. We believe, and we believe for good reason, this is the greatest city in the world. Well we want to make sure that the greatest city in the world is the worst place on Earth for rats. That’s the bottom line. We want to make this place that was too easy for rats to live in the worst possible place for rats to live. And it comes back to this new plan we put in place. So we announced last year a $32 million attack on the rat problem. And it’s very clear, I want to make sure everyone understands this, you can’t just exterminate your way out of the problem. You have to go deeper, and that’s why we’re going at the root of the problem which is where the rats live and where their food comes from. You got to go at all three realities – the food, where they live, and you also have to exterminate on top of that. This is what you’re going to see us do more and more from this point on. Today we’re announcing a major step in this fight, and it begins with a massive extermination campaign underway right now in key NYCHA developments. We are focusing on the ten developments that have had the worst rat problems in the city, and there’s going to be wall to wall extermination going on, a very intensive effort. But that’s just the beginning. Much more important is going to the root of the problem, and that’s going at the burrows – and that’s spelled in this case B-U-R-R-O-W, not like the five boroughs, the burrows where the rats live. And the new tool, the new weapon we have is dry ice. You saw that demonstration. Dry ice is the rat’s worst enemy. And we have been seeking the opportunity to use it. We needed certain approvals to do it. We got them, and now we’re in action with the dry ice. It’s going to make a huge, huge difference. That is a crucial part of this strategy, but we’ve also got to take away the food that the rats eat, and that means we have to handle trash differently. So we’re going to distribute in these NYCHA buildings new trash bins that will help the residents – when they put the trash in the chute to make sure all the trash goes down the chute, nothing is left out on the floor, nothing spills over and becomes – thank you. Thank you Vito. This – we love a good visual. This is the new very sleek trash bin and when residents use this they can put the trash right into – whoa – they can put the trash right into the chute and it will not have any of the trash spill over and it will keep – General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo, NYCHA: Maybe we’ll present this to Marisol? Mayor: Marisol would you like your brand new trash bin? Marisol Robles: Yes. This is very nice. Mayor: You’re supposed to say it’s every girl’s dream. Robles: Oh, and it’s every girl’s dream. It’s my favorite color. Mayor: Excellent. Thank you – thank you Vito. So that’s another big part of the strategy. The last part of the strategy, and this one blew me away when I first heard it, I could not believe my ears. The last part of the strategy is to cover over and put cement where there used to be dirt floors in NYCHA buildings. So the basements of some NYCHA buildings – this is how long ago these buildings were built – the basements of some NYCHA buildings are dirt basements. There’s nothing between the rats and the rest of us but dirt. So these big dirt basements in a place where a lot of people live, where there’s a lot of trash, it’s like the penthouse apartment for rats. It’s like the perfect environment for rats. I don’t know how decades and decades passed and these basement floors were never covered over. I don’t understand how that is possible, but that is, in fact, the reality. So the plan we have: we’ll cover all of them, we’ll make sure that there’s cement under all of these buildings so there’s no long dirt floors anywhere. We’ll do half of them this year, the rest will be done next year. There will be no longer any dirt basements in these NYCHA buildings when we’re finished. And that’s going to close off one of the most important paths that rats use to get into the buildings and to do such horrible things in terms of peoples’ lives. So, look, I want to be very, very clear, long battle ahead against rats. They’ve been here a long time, they’ve been a bad part of New York City life, but we finally are figuring out some of the fundamental solutions. We finally have some of the tools we need and some of the weapons we need, and we’re going at it with all we’ve got because we want to end the rat problem. We don’t want Marisol and her family to see rats. We don’t want anyone in NYCHA or any New Yorkers to have to deal with rats. And if we can prove that this strategy works here in one of the developments that has had the biggest problems, we will then be able to apply the same strategy all over this city. So we’re very, very excited about what this means today. This is a beginning – major step towards a rat free life for New Yorkers. And Marisol you deserve it, and all of your fellow residents deserve it. Let me just say a few words in Spanish – [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] Free of rats – that is the city we want. And I want to now turn to a man who is battle tested in the fight against rats. In his previous work at the Housing Department Vito had to lead to the way many, many times to get landlords to fix their buildings and make them decent and habitable for people. And many a time that meant taking on the rats. He is a proven rat fighter. The new General Manager of the Housing Authority and someone who is up to the task at hand, General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo. General Manager Mustaciuolo: Thank you very much. Hopefully there’s no correlation between you announcing me as the General Manager and the topic? Mayor: Yes, we didn’t plan that. [Laughter] General Manager Mustaciuolo: Appreciate that. So good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us here today at Bushwick Houses home to over 2,800 NYCHA residents. Mr. Mayor, welcome back to Bushwick Houses, I understand that this is not your first time here. Mayor: Correct. General Manager Mustaciuolo: As a matter of fact in 2016 the Mayor was here for the completion of over 300 LED new light fixtures that were installed under MAP, which resulted in a 21 percent reduction in crime here at Bushwick. In addition to this particular center, you also announced that we had extended hours, so those were two major announcements, this being the third. So welcome back to Bushwick – Mayor: Thank you – General Manager Mustaciuolo: - Houses. Mayor: Yes, not the neighborhood, the houses. We are officially in Williamsburg – General Manager Mustaciuolo: Yes we are. Mayor: Someone has got to figure that one out, but that’s okay. General Manager Mustaciuolo: So I can’t begin to tell you how excited we, at NYCHA, are about today’s announcement. Mr. Mayor, your commitment to improving the lives of all New York City residents, especially residents of public housing, is unprecedented and it isn’t just about providing dollars, it’s actually about getting work done. And I believe last week we did another event where we highlighted the work of another capital – capital investment that you provided NYCHA for new roof replacements. So, and here today, as we witnessed, work is being done with the money that you are providing to NYCHA. That work translates into better living conditions and a better quality of life for all of our residents but to my colleagues at the New York City Department of Health and to the New York City Department of Sanitation, I cannot thank you enough for your continued support and to Councilmember Reynoso, as always you’ve been a real true partner and a supporter in all that I’ve been doing, thank you. So our announcement and our commitment today is to be a real partner in the Mayor’s Rat Reduction Program, addressing conditions in ten developments, identified by the program, our goal is to reduce the rat population by 70 percent. Wouldn’t it be great if we can e – rat – icate, rats entirely? Unknown: That was a dad joke. General Manager Mustaciuolo: You had to throw one in there, I’m sorry. Mayor: Don’t give up your day job, Vito. [Laughter] General Manager Mustaciuolo: So to be clear though, our staff, our exterminators, our caretakers, have been doing an incredible job, and if I can, there are a number of NYCHA staff here that I would really like to recognize them all for their incredible efforts. So if the NYCHA staff could please raise your hands or stand up – Mayor: Stand up, stand up NYCHA staff – General Manager Mustaciuolo: It’s important to recognize them. [Applause] General Manager Mustaciuolo: So the application that we – that you just saw today of the dry ice is a humane, EPA approved treatment that we will be using at each of the ten developments that the Mayor mentioned. But treatment alone is not enough. Rats labs, as the mayor mentioned, where dirt floors exist, new interior and exterior compactors, as well as new bulk crushers are all on the way thanks to the Mayor’s commitment and the money he has provided us. Resident participation in the form of the new trash receptacles will also assist us on the war on rats, that we will be providing trash containers to each of the households in the ten developments, and just in conclusion, sir, I wanted to just personally thank you not only for your support of the NYCHA residents, the NYCHA staff, but also to me personally. It’s been a real pleasure and honor to work under you and thank you for the new appointment. Mayor: Well, Vito, thank you, you are the right man for the job and as I’ve said I spent most of the last ten years I’ve worked with Vito very closely, in different capacities, and he’s a legend in City government for getting things done and for taking on previously bad landlords and making them actually have to take care of people’s apartments and buildings. You are exactly the right man for the job so I’m so happy that you will be the General Manager going forward. And I want to thank also all the NYCHA staff, I’ve said many times, your job is not easy, you’ve done extraordinary work, you had a really tough winter, you kept things going despite tough, tough odds and old equipment, you guys did a great, great job and I want to thank everyone. And you know, it may seem like thankless work, but let me be one of the people to say thank you to all of you for what you do. I want to turn now to Councilmember Antonio Reynoso. He has been a big ally in this effort, a big booster of what we’re doing here, he also has been the sponsor of a crucial piece of legislation that will help us fight the rat problem and he’s an expert because he spent four years as the chair of the Sanitation Committee, so he knows a lot about what it takes to keep this city clean. Tough job, but we are finding a way, Councilmember Antonio Reynoso. … Mayor: I like that. I like that vision brother. Thank you very, very much. Alright we’re going to take questions about today’s announcement and then we are going to go to other topics after, right back there. Question: Mr. Mayor, is there someone who can explain the – how the dry ice works? Mayor: Sure. Question: We did see the rat scurry out in the hall and I’m wondering if there are going to be dead rats around just lying on the street? Or how does it – what happens? Mayor: We have the ultimate expert, one of New York City’s great rat fighters. Director Caroline Bragdon, Neighborhood Interventions for Pest Control Services, DOHMH: So, my name is Caroline Bragdon. I’m the Director of Neighborhood Interventions for Pest Control Services at the Health Department. Question: Spell the last name please? Director Bragdon: My last name is Bragdon, B-R-A-G-D-O-N. So the way that dry ice applications work is that, first of all typically you’d do multiple applications over time, the dry ice is inserted into the rat burrow where rats are living, then you would cover the burrow and as the dry ice evaporates they are asphyxiated and they die. You may have to go back for a series of applications, as in that rat escaped, you know they will go back to their nest at a later time, you come back the next day and do another application. Question: So the idea is they die underground? Director Bragdon: Exactly. In their nest and decompose there. Mayor: And how quick – how to just clarify – how quick from – because I heard it outside but I’d like you to describe it. If they are in the burrow and the dry ice is put in and they get exposed to the fumes or whatever you would describe it, how quickly does it all happen? Director Bragdon: Maximum, a couple hours, but really not a long time at all. So, it’s a short amount of time that they will pass away and then whichever rats escaped or wherever the application isn’t working, you would come back the next day and do a second application. You would continue that series until no burrow open up again or until the burrows are eliminated. Question: About, because a year ago when you had the initial kick off in Chinatown one of the things that was rolled out than were the trashcans the State closed when they are in use, and almost immediately following that press conference I remember seeing pictures New Yorkers posted on Twitter in parks of those trashcans being full and then garbage being loaded up next to them. So, do you have any update on how successful that has been working, I know that’s been sort have been a broader part of the rat reduction program and how, you know, measures like these trash bins, etcetera, they only go so far when trash is piling up? Mayor: So I’ll start and I’ll turn to the Deputy Mayor. The – so first of all I wanted separate that, that’s a very good question but I want to separate the sort of strategic approach here is somewhat different because here we have the problem of the basement floors, we have the problem of the trash chutes that needed to be addressed, and obviously we are using the dry ice because we have very specific sites that we can use that in. So that’s the thrust here. On that previous part of the announcement, remember the notion of those bins is they compact, so they have a lot more capacity than a typical bin, but we also – it’s on us to make sure that if for any reason that they need more frequent pick-ups, or we need more trash bins, that we keep up with that. So, Deputy Mayor. Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin: That’s it exactly. We saw the same thing, especially in certain parks with high population and visitors, so we work with the Parks Department to do more pick-ups, they had more staff that they hired, and we will do the same thing this summer. We also do it on intersections where we know are very busy with tourists or workers, so we are monitoring that and we deploy as needed. Mayor: Okay, yes, Erin? Question: This is part of the $32 million, do you have how much specifically is being spent on the ten NYCHA developments? Mayor: Laurie, you want to speak to that? Deputy Mayor Anglin: I don’t have the exact number on the ten NYCHA developments but we can get that back. Mayor: So within the 32? Deputy Mayor Anglin: Within the 32 – oh, I’m sorry. So with NYCHA, $16.3 million is being invested in rat pads, and then $8.8 million for the interior compactors, exterior compactors, and bulk crushers – so roughly $16.3 million plus $8.8 million. General Manager Mustaciuolo: So if they can add to that, what that equates to, that’s 42 rat pads in the developments that the Mayor mentioned that currently have dirt floors. That’s 228 interior trash compactors, 43 exterior trash compactors, and 5 exterior bulk crushers, and they are all on the way. Mayor: Amen, amen. Yes? Question: Okay, we’re live on Facebook again, big complain among our viewers, and they are all listening and watching. Now we were at the [inaudible] Houses yesterday, you know, rats are taking over their development, 30 buildings strong, from those here at [inaudible], what is taking so long? I know $32 million, ten developments, but so many people right now need this. What’s the strategy after the ten developments? Mayor: Well, we want to make sure this strategy works and if it works, we are going to go further. It’s – costs real money, we have to make sure we have the money to support it, but our goal is take this approach and spread it as widely as possible. Question: Is it a health hazard in these communities? Mayor: The rats or the dry ice? Question: Rats. Mayor: It’s very clear, I think you heard my opening, we don’t think rats are acceptable. We have to make sure this strategy works and if it works we are going to take it a lot farther. Question: Mayor de Blasio, good afternoon. Mayor: Good afternoon. Question: Two quick questions, first of all how did you identify these ten developments, what type of “rats census” is there? Or how did you assess the number of rats at each of these developments. And secondly, you alluded to the approval process that which you all are able to institute the dry ice, [inaudible]. Mayor: Yeah, I’ll turn to the Deputy Mayor on how the assessment was done and where the biggest challenges were, and obviously the General Manager as well. I just wanted to finish the approval, I mentioned, you know, I think this was true when we made the original announcement that Grace eluded, we have been wanting to use the dry ice, we needed – I think it was EPA approval, is that right? Deputy Mayor Anglin: It was, we had to get EPA approval. Mayor: Right, and that’s been a game changer, now we have the formal ability to use this on a wide scale. Deputy Mayor Anglin: So if you – just on following up on that Mayor, if you recall a couple years ago we started use dry ice along with Boston and a couple other cities, hugely successful until the EPA found out about and said that is not a registered pesticide, you cannot do that anymore. So when the Mayor asked us to look at how we could create a program, we said it’s been a couple of years, let us go try ask the EPA if they would work with us on this, so we worked with the State Department of Environmental Conservation, and I’ve never seen something get approved so fast and allowed to be registered as ‘rat ice’, which is what it is registered at, and the manufacturer said we weren’t prepared to produce it. So it took us a little – we got a little bit delayed, but it was very superfast to get that done. Question: Is it done now? Deputy Mayor Anglin: Oh it’s done now. Question: [Inaudible]. Deputy Mayor Anglin: Oh I think it was about eight months maybe? It wasn’t that long, but we were so excited we got it done immediately so I think that was just one thing they wanted add on top of that. So the next – back up question was? Question: Rat census. Deputy Mayor Anglin: So, you know, we look at burrow counts is a big thing also surveying, you know, residents. And I’ll turn it over to Caroline, but when we talk about these ten developments there is over 60 that are within this program, but we chose these ten highlight an alternative – over to Caroline – to discuss how that process occurred. Director Bragdon: Yeah, so back in June and July when we were preparing to launch the Neighborhood Reduction Plan, Health Department deployed inspectors to survey 62 NYCHA developments and we used those surveys to determine those that had the highest burrow counts but also other signs of rat activity. Question: How many rats do you think are in a development like this one? Director Bragdon: You can’t really do a rat census, there is no way to count rats, what we do is count burrows and burrow systems. So in any burrow system there could be anywhere from zero to 12 rats living there, so you can estimate the number of rats in the location. Question: How many burrows then? Director Bragdon: Right now they’re actually have made huge strides at this development already. They started off with a burrow count of 129 and they are way, way down, I think we were at 19 in our April survey. So - Question: So 129 is pretty much the average for the ten? Director Bragdon: 129 burrow systems were counted, we usually get – kind of guestimate there could be about ten rats per burrow – Mayor: No, the question was when you think about the ten developments – Director Bragdon: Oh I see. Mayor: It’s 129, would you say that’s typical, if you had to do your best to estimate, or high, low – Director Bragdon: You know I would say NYCHA developments range massively in size, so as the Councilmember noted, Highland is one building, Marcy is – Marcy Houses – which is another one of our priority sites is many, many more buildings than that. So it really depends on the size of the development. Mayor: This one started again at 100 … Director Bragdon: 129 burrow in June – Mayor: June, in June last year, and what now do you think? Director Bragdon: 19. Mayor: 19 left, so – Director Bragdon: Due to this – Question: Dry ice has been used [inaudible] – Director Bragdon: It’s not just dry ice, it’s all the efforts that NYCHA staff have made in terms of cleaning, garbage management, traditional burrow baiting, rodenticide treatments, and overall infrastructure and maintenance. Question: [Inaudible] I’m sorry, just feel comfortable giving a range of these, like of burrows so they know they vary in size, so we can kind of aggregate that for our [inaudible] you know, what’s the range of burrow count – Mayor: Let me say this one, this – I ask the same kind of questions when I’m in budget meetings and things. What’s the least you’ve seen at one of the NYCHA developments that we are focused on, what’s the most you’ve seen? Director Bragdon: The least is zero to five burrows. Most is 800 plus. Mayor: 800 in a really big development. Director Bragdon: Yes. Mayor: But the amazing thing, this example here, to go from 129 to 19 in less than a year, I want to emphasize, is also taking away the food. This is really important to the equation, because they won’t stay if there is no food. I mean you can use the dry ice, it’s extraordinary, but also if there is no food, that’s another sure way to get rid of them. I just want to say that’s an extraordinary success rate. Deputy Mayor Anglin: It is, and if I could just add to that, sir, is our goal when we created this program last year it was by the end of 2018 we wanted to see a 70 percent reduction across the three rat mitigation zones and we’ve already achieved that here. So we are ahead of the game and like Caroline said, it’s due to the new technologies that we have as well. Question: I’m wondering if I might be able to talk to Marisol again quickly – Mayor: She’s sitting right here. Marisol Robles: Hi. Question: Sorry to put you on the spot, thank you so much but – Robles: You’re welcome. Question: Can you describe again what it’s like for you to raise your child in an environment where this is a concern? And do the rats ever come inside the building, inside your apartment? What is your daily life like? Robles: Okay so they have never been in the building or in my apartment but when I go outside I joke a lot about how much I have to stay on Instagram because just in case one of these huge rats kidnap me they know where I am. You know, they know what happened. But they are like ferocious. It’s like a rabbit had a baby with a wolf. [Laughter] And it’s scary because it’s like you stare them down, you’re stomping and they are like, what? And it’s scary and something, anything needs to be done, you know? Question: Do you notice fewer rats around in the last – Robles: I have but it’s like they are not in front of my building directly, like they move to a better location where the park is. You know swings, slides, more food, and family orientated. So it’s like I said, it’s better in front of the building but you know then where are the kids going to play? You know – Question: [inaudible] Robles: Robles. Question: Is it with an I or a Y? Marisol? Robles: An I. Almost forgot. Mayor: Spell it out. Spell it out Robles: M-A-R-I-S-O-L and my last name is R-O-B-L-E-S. Mayor: Hold on, let’s get people who haven’t had a chance. Go ahead. Question: Mayor, what do we [inaudible] about outside when the rat appeared to get away, considering – [Inaudible] When the worker [inaudible] tried to step on it. I think another one tried to kill it – Mayor: I like their – I give them an A for effort. I [inaudible] those are gamers, they want to get that rat. [Inaudible] I liked what they were doing. I was like you know, look if you are putting poison into the burrow it makes sense that the rat might try to escape and I like the fact that they used whatever they had to try and get that rat but you know – the bigger fact is I heard all of these specifics for the first time of you know, once you put that dry ice in there, rats are not going to live through it. You know if they get exposed to it, they ain’t coming back. And that was very reassuring to hear. Rich. Question: So, not to get too far into the weeds on the chemistry but what is dry ice made of? And what gas is admitted when it evaporates? And is this the same kind of dry ice that you’d see in the food store? Are you going to have – Deputy Mayor Anglin: Exactly the same. Question: How much is it? Is it expensive? Director Bragdon: I mean dry ice is carbon dioxide and it’s not expensive. There was a process where EPA registered the label – the label that we are using is rat ice. So we are buying it not as you know, going into a bodega, buying dry ice. We are buying an EPA labeled, registered product called rat ice. The primary ingredient is carbon dioxide. Mayor: Just explain again what it does to rats, help explain it. Director Bragdon: As the dry ice evaporates the carbon dioxide is asphyxiating the rats in their burrow. That’s why it has to be covered but that’s also why there are label restrictions for use so that you use them in in closed, earthen burrows, away from buildings, away from subway grates and things like – Mayor: But Caroline just so we can – so it evaporated means it spreads out through the burrow— Director Bragdon: It’s dissipating through the burrow – Mayor: Right, so basically, and they just can’t breathe. Director Bragdon: Right. Mayor: They breathe it in, they go to sleep, they can’t breathe anymore. Director Bragdon: Exactly. Mayor: So it’s quick. Question: Why the masks? Deputy Mayor Anglin: Safety precautions. [Inaudible] Director Bragdon: An abundance of caution. Mayor: Right because remember they are handling it all day long. Question: You are often critical of the Trump Administration and it sounds – Mayor: Okay where is this going? [Laughter] That is true but I’m like show me the bridge to this question. Question: Okay well it sounds like the EPA— Mayor: Ah, okay. Question: This president has swiftly approved the use of dry ice and I’m wondering if you have any praise for the EPA – Mayor: Yes. Question: For their decision – Mayor: I do. Question: And if there is some area of common ground – Mayor: Thank you for asking. [Laughter] You know, even a broken clock is right twice a day right? The – no, look, I disagree with a lot of things the Trump Administration is doing. That was to the Trump Administration, not to you. [Laughter] I disagree with a lot of things the Trump Administration is doing. I disagree with a lot of things the EPA is doing in terms of, you know, reducing regulation that protects the environment. I think that’s a huge mistake. But I think in this case to approve something that is safe and is effective for killing rats, rats create a real health problem for people in New York City. We have to do something about it, this is this is the best way to do something about it. I’m very happy they approved it so fast and I commend them. This is a good thing they did because it is now allowing us to make people’s lives better. So yes, I’ve always said – same thing I say about Albany, I’ll praise them when they do something good. So, they did something good here. Question: Does it kill other things besides rats? I mean like roaches or – Mayor: Good question. Question: Or other things you would want to get rid of? Mayor: It goes in the burrow so that’s the only – Question: [Inaudible] could you use it against roaches or other pests? Director Bragdon: No, I mean and actually the reason why we are so excited about dry ice is because there’s much less of a risk of secondary poisoning for other kinds of wildlife than with traditionally burrow baiting so we are actually thrilled that there isn’t a risk of harming other wildlife. Question: It wouldn’t work on let’s say on a rabbit or squirrel or anything like that? A pigeon? Director Bragdon: No. Deputy Mayor Anglin: If they were underground and buried in a burrow and we – Director Bragdon: If they were in that burrow system then yes, maybe. Mayor: Yes. Question: It was at the Patterson Houses in the Bronx, dirt floors as well where – Mayor: A little louder. Question: At the Patterson Houses in the Bronx there were dirt floors and they found dozens on rat burrows. I don’t think that one is on the list. I’m just wondering, is anything being done there or has it been handled separately? Mayor: Let’s clarify. What’s the total that’s going to get the – dirt floors covered over? Deputy Mayor Anglin: 11 developments and then there’s various buildings within those developments. Mayor: Right, a lot of buildings. Deputy Mayor Anglin: A lot of buildings within those developments. Mayor: So these are the ones with the biggest rat problems. Deputy Mayor Anglin: Within the rat mitigation zones for the plan that we kicked out last year. Mayor: Right. And then we would go farther. Deputy Mayor Anglin: Correct. Mayor: So again, I want to emphasize this is a very important priority but also costs a lot of money but our goal is to keep going farther. We believe this strategy is going to prove itself to work and then we will keep investing in it and go farther and farther throughout not only the NYCHA buildings with things like putting the cement floors but all the other strategies we want to apply to more neighborhoods as well. But this is something ultimately – I just want to give people context, if you keep applying this all over the city, you’re talking ultimately hundreds of millions of dollars. This is a very big challenge. Go ahead. Question: So then that’s what Janet Jackson – not the singer – is asking on Facebook. Lower Eastside, she’s hurting and she also wants to know who’s the project manager? Who’s going to be the go to person? Is it Vito that’s going to oversee this? Mayor: In terms of public housing, in terms of public housing all operational activities are supervised by Vito. In terms of the Health Department? Caroline. But Lower East Side is one of the areas that is – Deputy Mayor Anglin: Within the zones. Mayor: A priority for New York City writ large. It’s one of the three most important areas where folks are in terms of need. Question: Mayor de Blasio, when this was implemented in Chicago there was a little push back – Mayor: Which piece, when you say this? Question: I’m sorry, the dry ice component. Mayor: Okay. Question: PETA has been known to protest this as an inhuman way to approach the rat infestation. What would be your response to any type of PETA protest? Mayor: I have a very respectful relationship with PETA. I think they have raised really important issues. That doesn’t mean I agree with them on everything, but, you know, this is one where I’d say to them, you know there is a real health cost here to these rats. It’s obviously a horrible reality for quality of life, but also for health, and this is of the choices, I think the most human and effective approach. Caroline can speak to it more specifically but I think it is the best choice we have. Deputy Mayor Anglin: If I could just add too, prior to this we were using poison and bait and baiting in the burrows. And I think a larger concern that PETA and other organizations had was when the rats then ate the poison, they were running around because they didn’t die immediately – or then died. And hawks or other wildlife ate them – Mayor: They got poison Deputy Mayor Anglin: Those hawks would then you know die as well. So, I’ll let Caroline add but this is a much more humane way for the rats I would say but also safer for other wildlife within our developments and our parks. Director Bragdon: Yes, 100 percent agree. Mayor: Okay, other questions – going once. Rich? Question: Are the rats vectors for any particular diseases? We know in the Middle Ages they were doing a job on the population of Europe – Mayor: Yes. Question: But are they currently a vector for any particular disease? Director Bragdon: Yes, the Health Department does surveillance on a number of communicable diseases and there are some rat-borne illnesses that we conduct surveillance for and monitor throughout New York City. Reports of diseases related to like rat-borne illnesses are extremely low in New York. Rats are mainly a quality of life concern. But we do collect data and monitor for rat-borne illness. Question: [inaudible] leptospirosis you talk about – Mayor: That what? Question: Remember the leptospirosis outbreak in the Bronx? This would address that? The leptospirosis – Mayor: Right, right. Deputy Mayor Anglin: Yes Mayor: I am impressed that you can say that word because I can’t say it. Okay. Question: I know you are announcing this initiative today but when do you actually begin it? Mayor: Well, the three priorities zones obviously that began last year and this specific development as you heard the number of burrows has been greatly reduced already. So the work is already happening here. But in terms of clarifying that we will take this approach, apply it to the most needy developments and on top of that do the floors and the whole piece – talk about the timeline, Laura. Deputy Mayor Anglin: I think the floors have been all designed, which we need to do because not everyone will be the same. We’re looking to have half of the floors, I believe, in by this year and then the other half by next year. It’s a very difficult process to retrofit all of these – Mayor: But in terms of – or, Vito, in terms of the dry ice in these key developments, what’s the timeline for the others? Deputy Mayor Anglin: I think it’s already being used. General Manager Mustaciuolo: That’s being applied now. Mayor: Right now – underway. Question: Today wasn’t the first day that you started – Deputy Mayor Anglin: No, no, no – it started a few months ago. Question: In all 10 buildings [inaudible]? General Manager Mustaciuolo: We’re rolling it out to all 10 developments. So, not all 10 have had applications of dry ice to-date, but that’s what’s planned for this summer. Mayor: None of the basements have been done yet, so half this year, half next. So, that is a new element. The dry ice has been started in some, but now will be applied in all of them. And the trash cans will be distributed – what’s the timeline on that? General Manager Mustaciuolo: Hopefully, within the next month. Mayor: Okay. Question: On the trash cans, they’re very small. Do you – I assume if people don’t actually use them, then they won’t have the effect you want. So, have you considered, I don’t know, making the garbage chute bigger? Or have you – Mayor: Well, wait, I want to challenge your assumption. They are small, but, remember, people are very used to using the garbage chutes. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a building with a garbage chute, but if you’ve lived in one of them or been to one of them you know that’s how you get your garbage out of there. So, you actually do have an interest in getting it all in the chute and not letting it spill around. We’re giving people an easy way to do it – soon as it fills up, just go out and drop it in the chute that’s on your floor. So, I actually think – I mean, you can speak for your experience – I think people, if they’ve got something that’s easy to use, are going to take advantage of it. What do you think? Robles: I agree totally. Mayor: I have an expert. On NYCHA, and on this – go ahead. Question: A hunk of dry ice is what temperature? Do you know? Mayor: Oh, science guy – Question: Just curious, because it might be dangerous to handle it, obviously. Mayor: That’s why – I mean, there are careful rules about how the workers handle it. Deputy Mayor Anglin: They have to be trained and certified. Director Bragdon: The staff that you’ve seen applying dry ice are all certified in pesticide applicators. You have to go through a 30-hour course, and they wear PPE to make sure they’re safe. Mayor: They wear what? Director Bragdon: Personal Protective Equipment. Mayor: Thank you for speaking English. Director Bragdon: And they wear gloves to make sure that they are protected. Question: And just to clarify, if somebody sees this and thinks, oh, I can use that in my home or I can use that in my backyard – not a good idea? Director Bragdon: No, not a good idea. Mayor: Don’t try this at home. Director Bragdon: Yeah, exactly. Mayor: Go ahead, Vito – General Manager Mustaciuolo: Oh, I don’t – Mayor: Vito used Google to get his answer, I just want you to know. General Manager Mustaciuolo: So, dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. It has a surface temperature minus-109.3 degrees, or minus 78.5 degrees Celsius. Mayor: That’s pretty damn cold. [Laughter] Question: Mr. Mayor, a lot of this was announced last year. You said that you were going to put in the rat floors, or whatever we’re calling them – rat pads, and they would be – insulation would begin in 2018, the dry ice stuff was announced last year. I’m trying to figure out what’s new in this announcement besides the 10 developments and are you making this announcement, or highlighting the NYCHA portion of it because you’ve been under pressure from the Governor? Mayor: No, as was just indicated. Long before the Governor took any interest in NYCHA – and, remember, it was about five years between the last time he went to a NYCHA building and his recent interest. I, and members of my administration have been out of NYCHA buildings for four straight years, and we’ve bene making major investments for four straight years, starting with our first preliminary budget, which was about six weeks into the administration when we ended the practice of NYCHA having to pay for police services. So, you’re a smart person, I think you already know the answer to your question. No, it’s not in response to the Governor. We’ve been doing this for a long, long time. I would argue there are some very specific new elements of this announcement, because we’re saying where we’re going to do it, we’re putting timelines to it, we’re adding the trash cans – we’re fleshing out things that we previously committed to broadly, and giving them very specific timelines and goals, and we’re going to keep doing that. Question: Are you concerned that by going after the rats here the Governor will come and try and maybe go after raccoons or something harder? [Laughter] Mayor: We welcome – we welcome his interest in addressing any of the problems. I mean, look, any time the State or the federal government want to offer us more support, we would welcome it, but not – you know, what I don’t want to see is short-term interest for political purposes and then we never see people again. I want to see sustained support from the federal government and from the State government for solving the underlying problems at the Housing Authority, which, as I said, there’s a new estimate coming out. We’re going to know for certain what the figure is, but it’s going to be well over $20 billion worth of need, which cannot be met by the City alone, has to have federal and State investment if we’re ever going to give the residents everything they deserve. So, my only hope is that the interest is sustained and not once every five years. Is there anything else? Go ahead, Gloria? Question: On NYCHA, Mr. Mayor, the judge today has ordered the City to conduct lead inspections. I just wanted to get your reaction to that. That’s one lawsuit, there’s also another lawsuit from Legal Aide that’s suing for rent abatement. So, if we could just get your reaction to all of that. Mayor: Look, I’ll just turn to Vito because he’s more knowledgeable about the specifics, and I will caution that I never go into too much detail when talking about a lawsuit against the City or any agency. But, fundamentally, we have committed a huge amount of resources to solving these problems. Obviously, we’ve inspected every pertinent apartment that we knew of, twice over now, and we’ve done – we’re not in a second round of mitigation, and that will be annual from this point on. So, I don’t know what the judge specifically is looking at. I only know that without anyone instructing us to do it, we’re just doing that. We believe it’s the right thing to do. We believe it should have happened and should not have been discontinued in the previous administration. So, it’s very clear, as long as I’m here, you’ll have annual inspections, annual mitigation. We’ll pay whatever it takes to do that. We also are trying to solve the heat problem at its core, but I think the fundamental reality is, every resource we have needs to go into fixing the problems. I think that’s the best way to use the resources. You want to add anything? General Manager Mustaciuolo: So, I’m not aware of a specific court proceeding with respect to lead, unless you’re talking about the [inaudible] – Question: [Inaudible] General Manager Mustaciuolo: Okay, so there was a motion today and we were expecting to hear back from the courts, but I understand it’s being delayed until next week. Right? Question: My understanding is that the judge has ordered lead inspections. Mayor: Okay, I think we shouldn’t comment until we see the judges – Question: The State Supreme Court Judge said, get it done. She used the three words, get it done. And she ruled that the proceeding would go on. And I just want to know, just from your perspective, when she used the words, get it done – Mayor: Again, we’re not conjecturing on something we haven’t – Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I’m sorry, respectfully. You’re not my information source. We’ll see what the judge has put forward formally and we’ll respond to it. Let me see if there’s anything else – Question: The State Supreme Court said so far you have not reached out to the City Council or the Governor to get the State monitor to – Mayor: Again, we’ve said very clearly – Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Allow me to answer, respectfully. Question: Yes. Mayor: We’ve said very clearly that we have a couple of different piece now. We have the federal government, that we’re working with on a broader settlement that we are hopeful will be resolved soon. That does connect to the question of the State action, we have to see how those pieces connect. We are working – we’ll certainly meet specifically with the Council and the resident leadership on who would be the right person to be the manager, but we also have some concern that we’re still working through on the executive order. So, all of those things are moving simultaneously and they all inter-relate. Let’s see if there’s anything else on this topic before we go to other topics. On this topic, last call. Other topics – Question: Mr. Mayor, today, the statue of Marion Sims was removed from [inaudible] Central Park, and I have two questions. The first is, what [inaudible] historically correct plaques – what do you want to see on those plaques that people should know about him? Mayor: Both sides of the story – I mean, you’ve got a – I’m not an expert on this guy, but I have a basic understanding of someone who experimented on women without their approval because they were slave women. People – they need to understand that, they need to understand that somehow once in our country that was something that happened and, you know, the people justified it and rationalized it no matter how inhumane is was. At the same time, he’s someone who in the totality of his work made major advances for women’s health, and that has to be recognized as well. It’s very complex, it’s not pretty, it’s in some ways very painful, but it’s not just one or the other side. So, I hope – and I hope that’s true for everything – that we just show the whole picture. Question: The second question I have is – since the statue is being put near his grave in Greenwood, how do you think his descendants will feel reading these signs if they go to visit his grave [inaudible]? Mayor: You know, I don’t know, but I can just tell you Greenwood Cemetery is obviously a working cemetery, but it’s also a major historical site and a lot of people come there because of all the history that happened there – there was a Revolutionary War battle there, and obviously because of all of the well-known people who are buried there. So, I don’t think it’s sort of the same as if you were talking about a private, secluded cemetery. This is a place that has a lot of visitors because it is a major historical site. I think this is a fair way to address a very thorny situation. Other questions? You wanted to finish? Question: Yeah, I just wanted to ask you – so, do you think that the historical benefit to telling the whole story are weighing in [inaudible]? Mayor: Yeah, I think this is something that needs to be done, going forward, when we have one of these situations and try and show the whole history. But also, remember, what the Commission came forward with, which I think was an important contribution, was the notion o adding more positive to the equation too. For example, if you look around this city, and you look around at all of the monuments and statues, what do you see? You see a piece of our history, primarily the history of white men. You don’t see women’s contributions that often. You don’t see the contributions of people of color that often. You don’t see the contributions of working people that often, as opposed to, you know, famous leaders and generals, or whoever it may be. So, I think the Commission did something very important to say, let’s start showing our whole history, and that’s a good thing, and that will help future generations to see our society in more balance. Go ahead, Erin. Question: Public Advocate Tish James today [inaudible] called for the legalization of marijuana. She said that she doesn’t think you can be a true progressive and opposed that at this point. I’m guessing you might disagree with that, but – Mayor: I disagree with that. Question: Okay, why? Mayor: I think it’s a complex matter. I take some of my thinking from Chirlane, who – some of what she said the other day was covered and other pieces were left out. I think what would happen in a legalization dynamic is it would become another corporate reality where a very lucrative trade became corporatized, and then, as we’ve seen with tobacco – generations before – there’d be a consistent effort to try and hook young people, and you know, potentially spread something much more widely even than it is now. That worries me. Obviously, the criminal realities worry me – what would it mean in terms of criminal activity. How – you know, if there’s going to be taxation, which there would be, how would people try to get around it? All sorts of things concern me, that’s why I’m just not there. And I think you can be a very good progressive and really have those concerns. But I’ve also said, look, we have some cities and some states in America that are doing this now. We really need to delve into what their experience has been. If it’s more positive, that might be a reason to move forward. But I don’t want to move until I’m thoroughly convinced – that’s my view. Question: So, the Working Families Party has endorsed Cynthia Nixon. I’m wondering what you think that means if you’re concerned at all that a Republican can win if she remains on the WFP line. And also, how this endorsement influences your thinking, moving forward? Mayor: My thinking, and I’ve said it many times, when I get to the point I want to speak about the 2018 elections in New York State, I will – not there yet. A lot of respect for the Working Families Party, and a long, positive experience with them. But, you know, I’ll make, of course, my own decisions. I think we shouldn’t conjecture about the fall election, it’s a long way away. First of all, we don’t know who the nominees will be in each party. What we think – I think we know it’s probably going to be a very strong Democratic year, but we have to get closer to fully assess that. So, I’m not – it’s not something I think about now, it’s something that can be looked at later on in my view. Question: And then also, you know, [inaudible] the Governor threatened some unions who support liberal community groups that have already backed Cynthia Nixon. Does that concern you at all? Mayor: Sure. Question: I mean, the Governor’s denying it, but – Mayor: Yeah, it’s not – first of all, that’s the way to do things. I wasn’t in the room, I don’t know what happened, but you shouldn’t threaten organizations that are doing good work at the community level because they have different political views. That’s the kind of things that happened in dictatorships, not in democracies. So, I think we’ve got to respect that if a grassroots, political organization is working in the community and has a different viewpoint, jut respect that. And I think it would be really sad if these groups were defunded because they stand up, in many cases, for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. But again, I don’t know who said what to whom, I’m just speaking about my broad views. Yes, David? Question: Just to follow up on the Cynthia Nixon-Cuomo race, I mean, is there a chance that you would just sit it out? Mayor: I’m not going to conjecture because I haven’t decided what to do. When I decide, you’ll be the first to know, David. Question: [Inaudible] [Laughter] Mayor: What’d you say? Question: I was going to be the first to know! Mayor: Marcia, you will be the first to know. [Laughter] Mayor: Rich, in fact, you will be the first to know. Unknown: We’ve got time for a few more. Mayor: Any more? Go ahead – Question: I have a serious question on that through. I mean, do you get the sense that you are being punished for things that she’s doing by the Governor? Mayor: No. I mean, I don’t think there’s anything particularly new in my relationship with the Governor, and I keep coming back to what I’d like to see if fairness for New York City and the people of New York City – just keep coming back to that – and it should not be about anything else. It shouldn’t be that what I think on any particular issue or any particular statement I make is the way these decisions are made. It should be about what’s right for the people of New York City, and I wish that was the coin in the realm in Albany, but that is not the case right now. Question: When you’re saying you haven’t decided what to do, that’s a little different than saying, you know, when I have something to say, I’ll say it. Can you tell us – Mayor: I don’t actually think it’s that different. Question: You haven’t made up your mind about who to support? Mayor: It’s literally the same statement – when I have something to say about it, I’ll say it. Question: Can you tell us at all about how, sort of, you intend to make that decision and if you’d draw on your – Mayor: I have a matrix, you’ll be the first to get it. [Laughter] Question: – your experience in endorsing in the Democratic primary in 2016 will have any bearing on how you view this race? Or you’re thinking about it? Mayor: Look, I think it’s fair to say that every election year I go through teaches me lessons. I think it’s not about my experience with the endorsement in 2016, it’s my experience with 2016 has really changed a lot of the way I think because I think the whole country changed. I think the whole approach to politics changed. And I didn’t see it coming – I’m very confessional on this point, that when Bernie Sanders starting running I did not think for a moment it would turn into what it turned into. But our politics has now changed and I think we have to understand that. And for a progressive like me, it’s a time for tremendous possibility. I mean, for all progressives, there’s an extraordinary moment right now and a lot of things are changing and the approach is changing to how we go about politics. That affects my thinking – that does not lead me to a specific conclusion. Again, I’m going to think about everything and I’ll decide at some point to speak to the elections in this state. But I think 2016 changed the entire ballgame from my point of view. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I have not. I’d be happy to talk to him because I really think he should rejoin the Democratic conference, and, you know, I’d be happy to make that case, but I have not had that conversation with him. Question: [Inaudible] 2016 question, Governor Cuomo’s campaign spokeswoman says his views are in lockstep with Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders [inaudible] then came out and [inaudible] that wasn’t true. What’s your opinion on that? Do you – Mayor: That’s for them to define. I don’t define that. I can’t speak for someone else. Question: Have you talked to, or have you had any conversations with Bernie Sanders about the upcoming Governor’s race? Or if he should support Cynthia Nixon? Mayor: No. Unknown: Thank you, guys. Mayor: Thank you.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 5:10pm
Errol Louis: Welcome back to Inside City Hall. It’s Monday, and that means my first guest tonight is Mayor Bill de Blasio. Good evening, Mr. Mayor, always good to see you. Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good to see you. Louis: I’d like to pick up right where we left off. Buzz Feed released 1,800 disciplinary records. Some of it lesser, some of it of greater importance or severity in concern. What is your take on this? Not so much the releasing of the information. I mean it’s public information, if it’s inaccurate; I guess I’d like to hear about that. But now that we know what it is – have you had a conversation with Chief O’Neill about what this all implies? Mayor: No, this is obviously just happened today. I have not seen the full report and have not spoken to the Commissioner. Look, I think the most important thing to realize here is this is exactly the type of information that should be legally available by changing that law in Albany known as 50-a. And that’s what I believe in, and that’s what Commissioner O’Neill believes in. We have to follow the State law, but we fundamentally believe we would all be better off if the law were reformed. But look, I believe it’s quite clear that disciplinary infractions are taken very, very seriously by this Commissioner. They were taken very, very seriously by Bill Bratton. There’s been real consequences, real follow through – a number of people have left the force in one form or another if they did the kinds of things that merited that. I have not seen the specifics and obviously I’ll let the Commissioner speak to that. But I believe we have a stronger disciplinary system than we’ve ever had at the NYPD. Louis: Okay, I guess we’ll pick it up another time after you’ve been thoroughly briefed by the Commissioner. In the meantime, let me ask you about this – you did sort of a press event the other day. Neighborhood policing in subway – Mayor: Yes – Louis: And I know one of the stations happens to be one that I go through every day. And I was just scratching my head. I mean I understand neighborhood policing. I gone out with some of the guys in the 7-5 Precinct, totally get it – have some guys in the same sector to the people from the community groups, and from the local businesses and so forth, but in the subway system, Jay Street, Downtown Brooklyn – thousands of people just kind of rushing through there. How does it work? Mayor: Well, okay. So you’re asking the right question. It’s the same question I ask any New Yorker who spent a lot of their life in the subway as you and I have would ask that question. When I saw the idea actually laid out, it blew me away. Here is the idea. We typically ride the same lines, right. For me for many years it was the F-Train, and the R-Train, that’s what I was on all the time. You see of course you know the station agent, the people who work in the stations. You often see a lot people from your neighborhood on the subway when you’re going in and out of work whatever it may be. Well, why could you – so if could you have that kind of direct connection and you have those relationships why couldn’t you also have an officer or a pair of officers who work that train on a regular basis, get to know members of the community just like they do above ground, get to know the people who work in each station, build those human relationships. So what we’re announcing – which is amazing as you know, you’re going to be at your station and you’re going to see a poster up with the pictures of your officers who are going to be working there each day, their contact information if something is wrong. Let’s say you see something that makes you feel unsafe. Let’s say you witness something or you see a recurrent problem. Right now, where would you turn? Honestly, where would you turn? But now, you’d actually have a name, a face, an email address, and ultimately someone who would build a relationship. And you know Chief Monahan, the Chief of Department who is one of the architects of neighborhood policing, he talked very passionately about this last week. He said when someone emails to the transit district, they’re going to get a follow up from the officer who works that specific train, the officer is going to then stay in touch with that person from that point on. Anything else that comes up, they’re going to know exactly who to turn to. Louis: So now, I mean are they linked to the line? Or are they linked to the station? Mayor: Yes, they’re linked. They have a very specific geographical area just like you would if you were a cop on the beat in a sector, so much so that again – for example in Brooklyn the F-Train – you’re going to see the names, the email address for your officers for your train. And if anything is going on in your train where you want to follow up with someone, you’re going to know exactly what to do, who to reach out to. And the amazing thing is I think what we found with neighborhood policing above ground, we’re going to find underground, it brings out a whole different type of information than we had before. It’s reassuring to straphangers, I’m sure just like it is to people walking the streets, to see an officer regularly, to know them but very practically what we found about neighborhood policing that’s so powerful is the flow of information stops crime, the flow of information help us to solve crimes. It’s a huge force multiplier. You now take a whole group of people from the neighborhood and they are force multipliers for the police and it’s also tremendous for creating a real bond between police and community. Louis: One of the other parts of neighborhood policing that I saw above ground was the idea of having cops who could sort of cross some of the other – some of the jurisdictional lines that will often will sort of split up a precinct right? So they will do a little detective work, they will respond to some 3-1-1 calls and so forth. In the subways in particular the occurrence of people who are emotionally disturbed – Mayor: Right. Louis: Or seriously mentally ill or both. If they are on the train in that station, is this going to be something we should tell the new neighborhood coordination officer about? Mayor: Absolutely and I think this is a great example. I want to give you a human vignette that I think makes the point and then make the point about homelessness. When we did the announcement the other day two officers were there, partners, they were in the Bronx the last snow storm we had, they were at a station in the Bronx – I think it was 180th Street – and there was a guy in a wheelchair who couldn’t get out of the station because everything was, you know, blocked by the snow or the ice – a guy in a wheelchair alone, he had a mile to go to get to his home. These two officers helped him out of the station and literally wheeled him the whole way home. Louis: Oh boy. Mayor: So very human, very personal, direct, helping someone in need. But I will tell you that is amazing unto itself but also spreads to everyone in the neighborhood to think about our officers in a different way – certainly in terms of the homeless as well. What we are finding is to get people out of the subways, off the streets for good, we need to build a human relationship and the trust and the connection. The officers are going to get to know if there is a homeless guy who goes to the same station for example, they are going to get to know that guy. They are going to be able to call in the homeless outreach workers, get really focused attention on that individual, try and win the trust that then gets them in. Remember we have 1,500 people we have gotten out of trains, off the streets, into shelter who have stayed in shelter. We need to do a lot more of that. But this is also going to help bond the work of the NYPD with homeless services to get help where it is needed very quickly. Louis: Okay, let us switch education – there is a new lawsuit that is accusing the City of not doing enough to lower class sizes. It’s partly a logistic question – it’s partly a financial question. Do you think that class size is something that requires a lot of immediate attention? I mean you will have to pay it some attention at least as far as the lawsuit is concerned but is it one of your education goals to lower class size? Mayor: It is something we’d like to – we have been making some progress on, we’d like to make a lot more progress on but as you said we are constantly grappling with really fundamental logistical issues and financial issues. We have devoted over $4 billion now to new school seats, to create a whole lot more capacity where we have overcrowded areas in the city. That’s going to help in terms of addressing class size challenges. We also have to just constantly look for opportunities to get the resources that we deserve from Albany. And I keep coming back to this, you know, we had a disappointing reality in the State budget with the education funding this year, but one day I fundamentally believe, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision by the highest court in this state will take effect. That will mean a lot more resources for New York City public schools, by the way for upstate cities and for rural areas as well – all the places that got underfunded. That’s also going to be a big step in allowing us to bring in more personnel to address class size so with current resources we are making progress, one day I would like us to see a lot more if we got the proper funding we deserve. Louis: Okay, I have got more education questions and some other stuff we need to talk about but right now we are going to take a quick break, I’ll be right back with more from Mayor de Blasio. […] Louis: Welcome back to Inside City Hall where we are speaking with Mayor Bill de Blasio, A question that I asked the new Chancellor, Mr. Carranza, I’ll put it to you as well. Something like 60 percent of the early childhood teachers or instructors are with community organizations as opposed to DOE. They have complained somewhat bitterly that they are on a sort of fundamentally lower and different pay scale. They feel like they are carrying the burden of a successful City program and not getting the benefits of it. I understand there are limits to what the City can or might do but is it a goal to try and get some parity between them and the DOE employees? Mayor: It’s a goal to do better consistently for them and we have taken major steps to give them more compensation. We want to continue to do that. They – obviously, look, it’s a different history, different unions, etcetera. But we do want to increasingly improve their situation. Louis: What are the tools that are available to you and might this come up in the executive budget? Mayor: Well, it’s look – it’s something also that has to come up in labor relations in general and we do have to be mindful of the ramifications of all we do. But we’ve already taken steps and we have invested in giving them more support and we intend to keep doing it. Don’t have all the details in front of me but we will – I am committed to seeing a better outcome for them. Louis: Okay, let’s talk politics. The Working Families Party – going through some real changes. They’ve endorsed Cynthia Nixon. They have lost, as a result of that, some of their major union support which I guess could financially threaten the very existence of the organization. What’s your take on this? And I don’t mean as a WFP candidate, but as just somebody who kind of knows and cares about – Mayor: Sure. Louis: The politics involved here. Mayor: Well, it’s been 20 years. I was not deeply, deeply involved but around in the beginning and certainly supportive of the creation of the WFP and I’ve been supportive ever since. I think WFP’s does a lot of good in this state and pushed a very effective, progressive agenda, certainly achieved some of their goal of helping the Democratic Party become more progressive. I think they’ve played a really important role and I hope they will continue to do so. That said, when they started out, they started out in very humble circumstances. I believe they’ll find a way. It may be a different kind of approach, more of a grassroots approach. But that’s certainly a viable option in today’s politics. But they stand for something and they played an important role and if you have meaning, if you have, I hate to use the word, brand, but if you have – if you stand for something that people can identify and they care about it, there will always be people who support that. Louis: Is this at least partly generational? I mean, I – we know a lot of the people involved. And the union folks frankly tend to be a little older. Many of the activists tend to skew a little younger. Is that where some of the cleavage comes from? Mayor: I don’t know. I think what is certainly true is all movements, parties, unions, everyone better refresh their leadership and their activists because the world is changing very rapidly and we saw with Bernie Sanders’ campaign and we’re seeing with all sorts of efforts around the country right now whether it’s the teachers, whether it’s what we’ve seen with the students all over the country who are fighting for gun safety. There’s a whole new generation of activists coming out of the scene, and they’ll be looking for a home. So, the one thing that’s obvious is, you know, the WFP should really be mindful of that and connect with that. But I don’t know all the nuances of what each union may feel. I would certainly say, you know, for any political party or movement, the most important thing is not which institutions are around you but how the grassroots feel about you. Louis: I understand you’re not on the ballot this year, you know – Mayor: Thank God. [Laughter] Louis: In some ways – Mayor: I’ve done that. Louis: In some ways, this is not necessarily your fight. You can’t – it doesn’t keep you up all night, maybe part of the night. But I think back to 1980, right. You have Jacob Javits who’s on the liberal party line. You have Elizabeth Holtzman on the Democratic line, and it kind of opens the door for a conservative Republican, Al D’Amato, who becomes the U.S. Senator. Do you have any sense of whether or not the left wing of the Democratic Party and the WFP are running that same kind of a risk this fall? Mayor: Well, the first thing I’d say is I think what’s happening all over this country is progressives are demanding a new Democratic Party and a different Democratic Party. We don’t want a corporate-dominated or corporate-funded party. We don’t want a moderate or triangulating party. We want a party that’s going to represent the core progressive values and have a clear platform related to economic change. I always say, it’s real simple. A progressive Democrat is someone who’s going to say out loud, we need to tax the wealthy more and make them pay their fair share in taxes. That is happening all over. I think that’s very healthy for the Democratic Party. I think what’s going to come out of that is a reinvigorated party, a more progressive party, a party much more deeply connected to the grassroots with a much bigger activist base. If only the Bernie Sanders supporters alone felt more comfortable with the Democratic Party, right there that would magnify the party’s strength all over the country. So that’s what I think is happening big picture. I think the other thing to talk about – I mean it’s way too soon to judge anything in the general election. We don’t know who the nominees of each party are going to be. But one thing we can say is – 1980 was a wave-year, very sadly from my point of view, a wave-year for Ronald Reagan and Republicans. Knock on wood, this year appears to be a wave-year if ever I’ve seen one for Democrats. I think Democrats in New York State are going to do very, very well across the board. It’s going to be a strong situation whoever our nominee is. But look, as to any other nuances, it’s just too early to even think about that. Louis: Okay, fair enough. I wanted to ask you about the Fair Fares proposal. The Speaker of the Council says that they are going to – as we get closer to the City budget being settled – they want discounted rides for low-income New Yorkers. From everything I know about you, your administration, your politics, your proposals this sounds like something that’s like a “de Blasio special.” But there seems to be hesitance coming from your side of the building. Mayor: It’s a great idea with a big price tag – $200 million. And we’re having some real fiscal challenges now because the State budget took away a lot from New York City. Look, here’s what I think is the right solution and it’s a solution that now has more currency than ever. I obviously believe in the millionaire’s tax. A lot of people like to say, oh the millionaire’s tax, can that actually happen? Well, what I announced with Senator Gianaris and Assembly member O’Donnell was a millionaire’s tax that included the support for the Fair Fare. So, we got long-term financial help for the MTA and the Fair Fare long term. Not one shot, ongoing. Here’s what you need to know. Quinnipiac Poll last month – 75 percent of New Yorkers supported the millionaire’s tax. The second thing you need to know – last week, the Democratic Party took a major step towards reunification. More to happen in that drama, as you know. But let’s imagine in a matter of months, a real Democratic majority, a functioning Democratic majority in the State Senate for the long haul. If you take that plus the popularity of the idea of the millionaire’s tax, that becomes very viable and I think that is the best way to get it done. The challenge at the city level is there’s a lot of things we’re not going to be able to do this year simply because of financial pressures, largely because of Albany – the hit we took from Albany. But the Council is calling for something very good, very well-intentioned – something I would love to see happen. I just don’t think we agree yet on how to make it happen. Louis: This is isn’t one of these budget dance things where somebody pretends to walk away and the other pretends to chase them and you kind of already decided at some point you’re going to figure this out. Mayor: No, I can say with assurance, again, I believe the Council is coming from a good and noble place with the proposal. My argument is we’re having a bigger fiscal challenge than I think has yet been recognized. We’ve identified immediately something very different because when I put out my preliminary budget we did not expect the hits from Albany to be as bad as they ended up being. Obviously, we’re paying towards the subway action plan. That was not a given back then. We have some other big issues up ahead. NYCHA’s an obvious one which is going to have a serious price tag attached. We have to account for all those things. Louis: Okay. We will see. Today in fact – this week being tax week, I took my hit today – Mayor: My condolences. Louis: I think you’re going to find that there’s at least a little bit more than you expected as far as my household is concerned. In our last minute, the Charter Revision Commission that Corey Johnson wants to establish is somewhat open-ended and I understand there’s a long history of mayors kind of putting forward theirs in part to sort of block the Council and sort of push theirs off to the side. Is that what’s going on here? Mayor: No, I’ve been very, very clear. I believe fundamentally in the changes that I called for in my State of the City address. We need public financing of elections. I think that is a game-changer. I mean even with a pretty good campaign finance system in this city, you still have a huge amount of time and energy that candidates spend raising money including particularly from people who have money – Louis: But you can do all of this through legislation and it would amend the City Charter the same as the Commission would – Mayor: You could. You could. I have real confidence that the public would support it and in fact that public mandate would make it very, very strong. I don’t know what the Council would do. I think some people would like it, some people might not in the Council. But I think the way to make sure it happens is to bring it to the people. That’s an example of something I wanted to see acted on that I thought had here-and-now ramifications. That’s why I called the commission. Look, Speaker Johnson suggested a commission that looks at the whole big picture of City government over a longer period of time. I respect that. I’d like to work with him on that. Let’s see where that goes. But this is about a here-and-now need to put some things on this November’s ballot. Louis: Okay, we’re going to leave it there for now. We will see you next week.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 5:10pm
NEW YORK— Today, Mayor de Blasio announced the 2018 “MTV VMAs” will return to NYC and air live on Monday, August 20 from Radio City Music Hall. Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin joined the iconic VMA Moon Person, Bruce Gillmer, Global Head of Music/Talent, Co-Brand Lead, MTV International and Darren Pfeffer, Executive Vice President of MSG live to announce the news with a street renaming and symbolic “moon landing” on Manhattan’s Avenue of the Americas, under the marquee of the famed venue. Radio City Music Hall was the home of the inaugural VMAs in 1984 and this will mark the 12th time the show has been held there – the most for any VMA location. 2018 will be the 17th time the “MTV VMAs” have been held in New York City. “New York City’s creative energy has always fueled those who live and work here,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This is where music, film, and art collide and where the Video Music Awards were born. There is no better place to host the MTV VMAs than in New York City at one of the most iconic venues in the world.” “We are so pleased that the MTV VMAs will be returning to their roots in New York City for this year’s celebration of music, and entertainment,” said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “Prestigious awards shows like the VMAs and the Grammys not only reconfirm New York City’s status as the music capital of the country, but they bring tremendous economic benefits to their host city, an estimated $50 million in the case of the VMAs. I thank MTV, which is being revitalized through the return of shows like TRL, and Viacom for their partnership, and we look forward to rolling out the red carpet for one of the music industry’s most entertaining nights.” New York City is a fitting choice to host the VMAs. It is the birthplace and incubator of so many of music's most popular genres – from salsa music in East Harlem to disco in midtown, from punk rock in the East Village to hip hop in the Bronx. The city continues to be at the forefront of music innovation with 72 digital music companies – more than San Francisco and Los Angeles combined. "I am thrilled that the MTV VMAs will once again be held in its hometown of New York City. New York has nurtured so many iconic artists - from Madonna to Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys to Cardi B - that it's safe to say the show belongs here. My dancing shoes are ready and waiting," said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “New York is a global hub for innovation in music, film, and dance – and that’s why the VMAs keep coming back to their first home in New York and Radio City Music Hall,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Whenever a creative industry holds its marquee event here in New York, it brings tangible economic benefits for New Yorkers and further cements our city’s place as a global cultural leader.” Assembly Member O'Donnell, Chair of the Committee on Arts and Tourism said, "I'm pleased to hear that MTV's VMAs will be in New York City in 2018, making it the 17th time our city gets to host this awards show, the most times of any city! While the event has obvious economic benefits that have already been mentioned, it also gives us great pride across New York to have had legendary artists like Jay-Z, Madonna, the Beastie Boys, and now Cardi B receive awards just a subway ride away from where they live." “We are excited to welcome back the MTV VMAs to the city that helped make it the cultural phenomenon it is today. New York City takes enormous pride in the institutions that support and encourage the music industry, and MTV has been an innovator on the award show circuit since the beginning,” said Council Member Peter Koo, Chair of the Technology Committee. “Thanks to MTV, Radio City Music Hall and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for making this partnership happen.” “On behalf of all New Yorkers, we welcome the VMAs back to New York City,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “From the birthplace of punk rock music at CBGB’s to the invention of hip hop in the Bronx, New York City has always been the mecca of music. Today, one thing is clear: New Yorkers want their MTV.” Jesse Ignjatovic returns as Executive Producer for the 2018 "MTV Video Music Awards." Bruce Gillmer and Garrett English are Executive Producers. Melanie Block serves as Executive in Charge of Production. Amani Duncan is Music Executive in Charge. Wendy Plaut is Celebrity Talent Executive in Charge. About MTV: MTV is a global youth culture brand driven by the creative spirit of music. For more information, check out . MTV is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA).Contacts: Jason Shumaker 212-846-7325 Jason.Shumaker@viacom.com , Katie Magnotta 212-846-5793 Katie.Magnotta@viacom.com About Radio City Music Hall: The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) is a world leader in live sports and entertainment experiences. The company presents or hosts a broad array of premier events in its diverse collection of iconic venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, CA; The Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston. Other MSG properties include legendary sports franchises: the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL) and the New York Liberty (WNBA); two development league teams – the Westchester Knicks (NBAGL) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL); and one of the leading North American esports organizations, Counter Logic Gaming. In addition, the Company features the popular original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces New England’s preeminent Boston Calling Music Festival. Also under the MSG umbrella is TAO Group, a world-class hospitality group with globally-recognized entertainment dining and nightlife brands: Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, The Stanton Social, Beauty & Essex and Vandal. More information is available at About the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment: The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment encompasses the key economic and creative sectors of film, TV, theater, music, advertising, publishing, and digital content. In total, these portfolios account for over 305,000 jobs in New York City, and an economic output of $104 billion. The agency also oversees NYC Media, the largest municipal broadcasting entity in the country, including five cable channels and an FM radio channel with a reach of 18 million viewers and 16 million listeners in the greater metropolitan area. The newly created Office of Nightlife is also housed at MOME.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 5:10pm
NYCHA’s ten most infested developments will receive dry-ice abatement treatments, full-time exterminators, new trash bins for residents as part of Mayor’s Neighborhood Rat Reduction Plan NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today launched an aggressive, new extermination plan at the ten most infested rat developments at NYCHA. These developments will receive dry-ice abatement treatments, full-time exterminators, trash bins for residents and new concrete floors. This effort is a part of the Mayor’s $32 million effort to reduce the rat population by as much as 70% in the City’s most infested neighborhoods: the Grand Concourse area, Chinatown/East Village/Lower East Side and Bushwick/Bedford-Stuyvesant. This targeted pest management approach will attack rats’ food sources and burrows. These methods have proven effective at reducing rat reproduction and populations. The City will employ environmentally friendly rodenticide to reduce burrow counts, provide residents with smaller garbage bins are compatible with the dimensions of NYCHA trash chutes to reduce trash from collecting elsewhere on NYCHA grounds and seal off dirt basements with concrete to keep rats out of buildings. “We want to make the greatest city on earth the worst place in the world to be a rat,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We are launching an all-out offensive to dramatically reduce the rat population at these developments and improve the quality of life for residents.” “Through partnership with our colleagues at DOHMH and DSNY and working with our residents, we hope to finally take control of the rat problem at NYCHA,” said NYCHA General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo. “For too long, residents have had to accept rats as a regular presence but through the Mayor’s Rat Reduction Program, we have the resources and support to reduce infestations.” The City aims to reduce the rat population at these ten developments where approximately 23,000 residents live: * Bushwick * Webster * Marcy * Butler * Morris I * Morris II * Riis I * Riis II * Morrissania * Hylan The City will implement the following measures to reduce available habitats and food sources for rats, which will help to diminish the rodent population: * Dry-Ice Abatement: The City will start using dry ice to plug rat burrows at these developments. This humane, EPA-certified treatment will begin this week and continue until the end of June. Dry ice can be effective after one application, or depending on the location and severity of the infestation, after several subsequent applications. * Full-Time Exterminators: NYCHA will designate a full-time exterminator at each of these ten developments to respond to maintenance request and support dry ice treatments. NYCHA exterminators are currently assigned to a borough and rotate between developments. * New Waste Containers: The City will provide residents at these targeted developments with new trash bins this summer. These smaller bins are more compatible with the size of NYCHA’s trash chutes, which will prevent chutes from clogging and reduce trash from being deposited elsewhere on NYCHA grounds. * Replace dirt floors with concrete at 42 NYCHA buildings. All ‘rat slabs’ have been designed. The first half will be completed in 2018, the other half will be completed in 2019. In July 2017, the Mayor launched the $32 million Neighborhood Rat Reduction plan to reduce the rat population in the three most infested neighborhoods in NYC. The de Blasio Administration has made an unprecedented commitment to preserve and strengthen public housing. Since 2014, the City has invested $1.3 billion to fix nearly 1,000 roofs and $555 million to repair deteriorating exterior brickwork at more 400 buildings. The Mayor also waived both NYCHA’s annual PILOT payment and NYPD payment, relieving NYCHA of nearly $300 million in operating expenses since 2014. “Rat mitigation is a serious issue that impacts neighborhoods across New York City, and particularly our public housing developments. It has been a mission of my administration to advance bold, aggressive action that combats these infestations, and dry ice treatments are absolutely one of the most meaningful ways we can achieve results. I thank the de Blasio Administration for heeding the calls of our tenants and proceeding with renewed reduction efforts at Bushwick Houses, Hylan Houses, and Marcy Houses,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Infestations of any kind means you have a quality of life issue on your hands, and it’s likely not the only one. We know this to be the case at Bushwick Houses. When rats take hold, and populations pervade, it is damaging in many ways. There are the obvious health risks to tenants and the Bushwick community, but it goes deeper than that. Infestations have serious psychological consequences such as depression and anxiety. The rat reduction program is well worth the investment, I thank Mayor de Blasio for taking it seriously,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan. “I am pleased that a targeted rat reduction plan will include NYCHA developments in my district. I have seen firsthand the rat burrows around the buildings at Morris and Butler Houses and how they affect tenant's daily lives,” said Senator Gustavo Rivera. “Most importantly, the health and safety of our NYCHA neighbors will be greatly improved as these vermin are driven out from their homes and neighborhoods. I look forward to working with the city to ensure this program is a success.” “These efforts to reduce rat infestations in our NYCHA buildings are long overdue and crucial for the health of our communities. Rats pose health and sanitation threats that cultivate illnesses and diseases. I encourage all NYCHA residents to actively engage in the proposed efforts to eradicate the problem as quickly and effectively as possible,” said Assembly Member Maritza Davila. "The prevailing issue of rats infestations has plagued New York City for decades," said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Council's Health Committee. "Rats are not only a detriment to quality of life, but also to public health and safety. The City's new initiative to attack this problem head on through expanded rat reduction programming at the most infested NYCHA developments is a step in the direction we need to take in every neighborhood facing this problem." “I am pleased to see that NYCHA campuses, many of which have long been plagued by rat infestations, are now being given the attention they deserve,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Dry ice treatments will help to quickly mitigate the rat population on NYCHA campuses. Furthermore, the partnership between NYCHA, DOHMH, and DSNY will create a long-term comprehensive strategy to limit future infestations and educate residents about the role they can play in the City’s Neighborhood Rat Reduction Program.” “This additional rat reduction support will come as a welcome relief to the thousands of residents in my district who live in Riis Houses. No one in this city should have to live with the health hazards that come with rodent infestations, especially those in the housing we as a city manage,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “I look forward to working with the Mayor’s office on this expanded support and on future efforts throughout my district. Whether it’s in a NYCHA property, a public park, or a city street, we all must do our part to keep our city clean and help eliminate this pervasive health issue.”’
Monday, April 16, 2018 - 5:10pm
NYC Commission on Human Rights worked with NYC Department of Correction on policy reforms to house inmates safely and according to their gender identity in compliance with federal, state, and local laws NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced that the NYC Department of Correction will house inmates consistent with their gender identity. In addition, DOC is working with the NYC Commission on Human Rights to maintain the Transgender Housing Unit as an additional safe housing option for transgender inmates. DOC will also continue to conduct individualized risk assessments of inmates when assigning safe and gender-affirming housing options to provide for the health and safety of inmates and DOC staff. Today’s announcement follows recent efforts by CCHR to ensure that DOC’s housing policies are consistent with Executive Order No. 16, issued by Mayor Bill de Blasio in March 2016, which requires that City agencies permit people to use single sex facilities consistent with their gender identity, as well as applicable state and federal law. CCHR is giving DOC six months to implement this policy in a recent modified exemption to DOC. New York City becomes one of the first major cities in the nation to commit to housing inmates according to their gender identity. “It’s the city’s responsibility to protect the rights and safety of all New Yorkers, and that means protecting transgender individuals in city jails as well. New York City is one of the first major cities to commit to taking this step, and it’s crucial to ensuring all our facilities are welcoming and safe for all New Yorkers, no matter their gender identity,” said Mayor de Blasio. “With today’s announcement, New York City takes another important step to protect the rights, dignity and safety of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and it is our hope that cities across the country will follow our lead,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Keeping transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers safe, wherever they are, is the City’s responsibility– whether they are in city custody or walking through their own neighborhoods.” “No one should feel unsafe for being who they are. Housing incarcerated individuals consistent with their gender identity is not only about dignity and respect but an important recognition of the unique challenges and vulnerabilities transgender and gender non-conforming individuals face in corrections facilities nationwide,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “We are proud that today’s announcement shows NYC’s strong commitment and leadership to protect the rights and safety of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and we look forward to continuing our work with the Department of Correction and advocacy organizations to implement these policies which are paramount to ensure inmates can engage in steps to rebuild their lives.” “The department is committed to safely housing inmates in a way that considers an individual’s transgender identity and maintaining a humane and safe jail system for all New Yorkers,” said DOC Commissioner Cynthia Brann. Susan Sommer, General Counsel for the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, said, "This announcement advances New York City's commitment to protecting transgender people in custody and making our correctional facilities safer for everyone. This is an honorable moment in our City." In recognizing the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming inmates to be housed safely and according to their gender identity, New York City continues its leadership in the fight for LGBTQ equality. In contrast, many U.S. cities and states force transgender and gender non-conforming inmates into solitary confinement or house inmates according to their gender assigned at birth, putting them at higher risk for physical and sexual violence. In March 2016, Mayor de Blasio issued Executive Order No. 16 which required City agencies to allow employees and members of the public to access City single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity without being required to show identification, medical documentation, or any other form of proof or verification of gender. While the DOC initially received a temporary and partial exemption from CCHR from the requirements of this EO as they relate to housing, CCHR modified its exemption this week after further analysis and with input from DOC. In its modified exemption, CCHR finds that DOC must provide housing to inmates consistent with their gender identity unless the outcome of an individualized safety assessment as required by The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) or the expressed preferences and safety concerns of the inmate require alternate housing. PREA is a federal law passed in 2003 to address sexual violence in prisons which requires correctional institutions to make individualized assessments of all inmates to determine the safest place to house them. Factors considered in an individualized assessment include whether inmates are perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or gender nonconforming; their previous experience of sexual assault; their own perception of vulnerability; their gender identity and whether they identify as male, female, or non-binary; and any prior acts of sexual abuse, prior convictions for violent offenses, and history of prior institutional violence or sexual abuse. CCHR’s modified exemption gives DOC six months to implement this policy. Over the next six months, DOC will provide bi-monthly progress reports to CCHR. Today’s announcement is a part of New York City’s broader effort to protect and advance the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. In addition to the Mayor’s Executive Order No. 16, CCHR: * issued legal enforcement guidance in 2015 to make clear what constitutes gender identity and gender expression discrimination under the NYC Human Rights Law, making it one of the strongest laws in the nation in protecting the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals; * launched “Look Past Pink and Blue: Be You NYC”, the first-ever municipal media campaign on equal bathroom access; * vigorously investigates claims of gender identity discrimination citywide. Gender-based discrimination made up the third largest area of complaint at the Commission in 2017; and * implements citywide training, created jointly with The LGBT Center in early 2016, on trans identity and best practices for working with transgender and gender non-conforming communities. CCHR has so far trained 24 City agencies, businesses, non-profit and law enforcement entities citywide. For more information on the Commission and to report gender identity discrimination, visit or call 718-722-3131. “Housing people in accordance with their gender identity will increase safety and dignity in the jails and will help bring DOC into compliance with the Board’s Minimum Standards on the prevention of sexual abuse. We applaud the City’s renewed commitment to these efforts. The Board’s recent report on the DOC Transgender Housing Unit shows the urgent need for additional safe housing options for transgender people in custody and makes recommendations for improved conditions and operations in the unit,” said Martha King, Executive Director of the NYC Board of Correction. “There’s no reason why transgender inmates shouldn’t be allowed the option to reside in housing based on their gender identity” said Assembly Member David I. Weprin, Assembly Correction Committee Chair. “Transgender rights are human rights and by denying these basic rights in any place, including our jails and prisons, we perpetuate a cycle of injustice that must come to an end.” Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell said, “Today’s announcement by the New York City Department of Correction and the Mayor is a major advancements toward affirming the rights of transgender New Yorkers and ensuring dignity in all circumstances. These measures are a testament to this city’s commitment to human rights. As the first city in the country to take this step, we once again serve as a beacon of progressive potential to the entire nation. I thank the Mayor, Commissioner Brann, and all others involved in committing to these gender-affirming policies.” “I applaud the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Correction for a decision that prioritizes safety and security in city jails. Incarcerated individuals housed based on identity can feel safe being themselves," said Council Member Powers, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. "Housing detainees consistent with their gender identity acknowledges their basic humanity and is the right thing to do," said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Finance Committee. "This development marks a big step forward for human rights in our city. It is my hope that this progressive reform will serve as a model for cities across the nation who seek to make similar policy advancements. While we still have much to do in order to make our jails places of rehabilitation, I am pleased we are moving in the right direction. I will continue to work with the administration to help transform NYC's correctional facilities for the better." “As a member-based organization rooted in the experiences and knowledge of our transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex clients, we know all too well the dangers and indignities our members experience in prisons and jails,” said Director of Prisoner Justice Project at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Mik Kinkead. “We applaud the Commission’s efforts working with the NYC Department of Correction to ensure they make these much-needed changes and treat transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex individuals with dignity and respect." “Housing people consistent with their gender identity is a significant step toward ensuring the safety and dignity of transgender prisoners in New York,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “Transgender and gender non-conforming people, particularly transgender women of color, experience harassment and violence in jails and prisons at much higher rates than others. With the first written policy of its kind, New York City can lead the way for better conditions for inmates of all gender identities nationwide.” “We applaud the Commission’s leadership in protecting the rights of the transgender community,” said Tina Luongo of The Legal Aid Society. “People of transgender and gender non-conforming experience are among the most vulnerable in our jails and prisons. It is imperative that cities across the U.S. follow the New York City’s lead, by housing people according to their gender identity, and by providing them with safe housing alternatives, such as the Transgender Housing Unit, so that they many live safely and with dignity.” “This policy is a big step forward for New York City,” said Lambda Legal CEO Rachel B. Tiven. “Going to jail is scary enough – and for transgender women incarcerated in men’s facilities around the country, it can be horrific. Lambda Legal applauds the NYC Commission on Human Rights for helping the Department of Correction make jails safer for transgender New Yorkers.” “Today’s announcement is a long overdue but significant step to ensure that the dignity and identity of transgender New Yorkers will be affirmed once in detention,” said Human Rights Commissioner and Healthcare and Management Consultant, Carrie Davis. “No New Yorker — regardless of their gender identity — should be punished further and placed at higher risk of harassment, abuse or assault just because they have been retained in custody.” The Center applauds Mayor de Blasio for addressing the crucial issue of safety that TGNC community members face when incarcerated and housed in facilities that aren't consistent with their gender identity," said Glennda Testone, Executive Director of NYC's LGBT Community Center. "This represents a significant step forward in creating systems that protect TGNC people, instead of putting their lives in constant danger.
Monday, April 16, 2018 - 11:35am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Father Purchal, thank you. And to everyone in the Saint Andrews community, thank you so much for welcoming us all and for comforting this good family. I want to tell that family that it was so beautiful to hear those memories and to hear those reflections. Because what I felt as I heard them is that George did what may be the most difficult and most essential thing in life which is to take that love for family and live it out everyday. And I can tell you from my own journey and from so many hundreds and thousands of people I have met over the years that there are so many good people that for one reason or another don’t find the way to take the love within and to give it to their family day in a day out, year after year. Someone who understands the best quarter of their life does that and gives of themselves so consistently has achieved in some ways as one of the greatest if not the greatest possible way of living on this earth. And that’s not the kind of thing that’s necessarily gets on the front pages of the papers but it is the most essential thing. So hearing the purity, the depth, that feeling that you all have expressed for how he loved you, makes me see a greatness in him and makes me admire him even more. I also did not know until your reflections how devoted a Mets fan George was. So we should celebrate right now – Mets are as of this morning have the best record in all of baseball. And I know George is up there helping to make sure that continues. [Laughter] So we’re here to honor him and – I want to say all of us who are here from the City of New York and the Department of Transportation, and all the other agencies – we are here today because we appreciate for what he did for all of us. We are here because we appreciate that he served us, served 8.5 million people, and gave his life in that service and that means so much. He literally was one of the people who made New York City work. And he had a particular skill, a particular ability which was rare and advanced, and sophisticated. And one of the special abilities he had and I guess it goes back to when he used to use his hammer and build things and get all the other kids involved. Well, in this time he had the ability to achieve things and teach others how to do them and that was so rare and so special – and particularly with these movable bridges that are a part of the landscape of the city and it’s something that makes our city very special and it’s something that [inaudible] back to another time. It’s that very reason there are very few people sophisticated enough to know how to actually make them work and to keep them working. And George is one of those people and anyone in New York City who is trying to figure how to deal with these bridges they probably have a cell phone, because he was one of the only few people who understood. He helped to keep the City moving literally. And it was well known that he loved his loved his work, he had a passion for it and he had a passion for teaching others and he was an example that others followed. It’s very, very hard to make sense – it’s almost impossible to make sense of a tragedy that occurs like this, that is so strange and out of nowhere, so random and so impossible to comprehend. How one minute a good man is alive and then next minute he is gone. It’s something that we as humans grapple with and we never could entirely make sense of it. But it comes back to what we heard earlier. The real question is how someone lived, and what they did with the time they had. Did they live a time to the fullest? Did they give it to others? By every measure George did that. Every measure he lived fully, he lived the kind of life we could all admire. He also exemplified a group of people who often don’t get to praise and the appreciation they deserve. There is almost 5,500 people who work for our City’s Department of Transportation. And they do so much, their work is essential but it’s unsung, it’s not the kind of work again that makes the front pages, but it’s the kind of work that is essential so everyone else’s life can come together so everyone can get where they’re trying to go so the busiest place on earth keeps moving. And I want to honor all of them, and thank everyone at the Department of Transportation for that work. But do so in the context of honoring George, because his devotion is an example to all of us. His understating of how important the work was. His sacrifice is something we all need to appreciate and remember and it should also be a reason to appreciate all who do this crucial work. I want to finish by just speaking to the family once again. And I want to name everyone as I do – Tara I just want to thank you, because anyone who goes through life and lives the right way could only do so because they had a great partner by their side. To George’s children, Corey, and George, Meagan, David, Elizabeth, Emily and Tara and of course we remember Thomas who was lost earlier. And to all of his grandchildren, and his sister Carolann, thank you for the beautiful remembrances. To all the family here, I can only say to you something personal from my own experience. I lost my father too early in life as well. And I can tell you that it obviously creates so much pain so many times when you wonder what might have been but I can also tell you from the heart that your father is always with you. It’s an amazing feeling, but you will feel it many times. You’ll feel him by your side, you’ll feel him watching over you, you’ll feel him like an angel looking out for you. And it’s hard to describe, but it’s something you’ll come to know because you’ve got all that love, you’ve got a great example it doesn’t go away, it’s in you. And you will continue to feel it, and at any moments, including moments of doubt – sometimes you’ll wonder and it’s almost like you’ll hear a voice reminding you of all that your father taught you. So he will be that angel on your shoulder. And I’m told that George’s co-workers heard him say more than once a phrase – it was someone is watching me from above. Well, I know someone was always watching George from above because his life came together in so many wonderful ways. But now we can all say that George is watching us from above as well. So to the family on behalf of 8.5 million New Yorkers, my deepest condolences and to George’s extended family at the DOT as well. To all who knew and loved him, I hope we all remember to keep his good memory alive and to live the way he lived. Thank you, and God bless you all. […] Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Department of Transportation: Thank you, thank you for being in this this beautiful house of worship. And thank you, Mr. Mayor, for those beautiful remarks. I know they meant a lot to Tara and George's family – means a lot to the DOT family as well. And Tara, I thank you and your dear children for allowing me to be here today to speak on behalf of George's DOT family, which is also grieving. He was loved by so many of us as well and I speak on behalf of me and so many of his colleagues who are here – Margaret Forgione, Joe Jarrin, Bob Collyer, many of his bridges colleagues and colleagues throughout DOT. I've heard from them how George was so beloved particularly within the Harlem River Bridges Group, especially from his dear friend and partner Jesse Weber. Jesse was with George at the end and I know he's now experiencing his own treasured memories and those treasured memories will keep us all going. George as you all know he was an extraordinary colleague, a man of incredible positivity, experience, and energy. As we've heard today he was a man with incredible technical gifts – electrical work on our bridges many of them are very old. combining thousands of volts of electricity, massive movements of steel; they can be perilous. Jesse has talked to me particularly about how George's meticulous thoughtful nature and deep planning helped keep those dangers at bay. As many of you know George would get up early. He'd be at work early and already be pouring over plans, looking over as the Mayor mentioned some of the complicated and exotic bridges that the city owns. He had incredible talents as an electrician and he was revered within the DOT as the man you could call to fix a bridge that nobody else knew how to fix. He was of course also as we've heard so much today -- so many beautiful reminiscences from his family. You know a man naturally who has such a large and loving family he had also a natural affinity for the next generation. He was an incredible teacher and mentor and encouraged the young people at DOT to better their skills in their professional growth. You know as you heard the Mayor said George and his colleagues in bridges are really among the city's unsung heroes. They're often out there day and night challenging sometimes dangerous conditions, making sure the city's infrastructure is working, making sure the city's running. And I want to thank him and his colleagues in the other parts of my agency: there'sBridges, Roadways, Sidewalks, Ferries, Signals, and Streetlights. As we honor George, we honor them too. As we have heard today George was a deeply spiritual person a devoted husband and family man. I've gotten to know some of his family a little bit and hear some of the stories from Tara them growing up together and as we've heard today of the love, the laughter, the Saturday-night dinners they shared, and of course the rock and roll. And that of course George was well known with his family and his colleagues. And I know he was a big fan of some of the big groups – David Bowie, Rolling Stones, and I know he and Tara made sure to take the kids sometimes to concerts, and I hope all of you will treasure those memories -- and I'm sure there are many other memories you have of your remarkable father. Again, I want to share my condolences. And I just want to close by expressing DOT’s gratitude to some of our fellow city workers, many whom know the grief we are all feeling today all too well and they've been such a help to us in this difficult time. From the NYPD Highway Patrol officers who arrived on the scene to the EMTs and workers at Jacobi Hospital and then to the remarkable FDNY team who've helped us and the family during these difficult days. DOT were so grateful to all of you who've aided us in our grief. They remind us all that all of us in city service, George included, are part of a larger family. Tara, DOT does not lose many of our workers in the line of duty, with George we know we have lost such a special man. He will be missed and remembered by all of us and his DOT colleagues, we will continue to support you and your family in every way we can in the weeks and months and years ahead. And today, we're just grateful to be here to mourn but also to celebrate the life of this remarkable man and remarkable colleague.
Friday, April 13, 2018 - 5:05pm
Brian Lehrer: It’s the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Good morning everyone. And we will begin as usual on Fridays with our weekly Ask the Mayor segment. My questions and yours for Mayor Bill de Blasio. Our lines are open at 2-1-2-4-3-3-WNYC, 4-3-3-9-6-9-2 or you can tweet a question, just use the hashtag #AskTheMayor. Mr. Mayor, welcome back to WNYC. Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thanks very much Brian. Lehrer: And I’ll begin with some things that are in the news this week. Beginning with your new Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza urging parents not to opt their kids out of statewide standardized tests. It’s one of the few policy positions he’s taken so far being new on the job. Is that consistent with your own views as a critic of high stakes standardized testing? Mayor: Yes, and I’ll tell you why. And I really do understand deeply why parents who during the previous approach in this city and in this state just a few years ago were profoundly frustrated with an overreliance on high stakes testing. Remember, five years ago this city was devoted, under the Bloomberg administration, to a high stakes testing based approach to education. The State was too much as well. A lot has changed, and this is what I really want to emphasize to my fellow parents. Since we came in we greatly reduced the focus on testing. Testing is not used in the grading of schools which I think was one of the most idiotic approaches in the previous administration towards education. We don’t grade schools anymore based on high stakes testing. We have changed the admissions structure. We have changed – and the State has changed the evaluation of teachers. Tests – students are given more time on tests. There’s a host of changes that have reduced the undue pressure. There’s been an absolute de-emphasis on test prep which used to be central to the approach in the previous administration. We do not believe in a focus on test prep. We believe in teaching and doing what we think is best for the educational development of students and then measuring with not just test but other measures as well to see how we’re doing with each student and then make adjustments. And the State has certainly stepped away – the State Department of Education and the Commissioner MaryEllen Elia have done a lot to step away from an overreliance on high stakes testing. And obviously, one other point, I – you know the worst remaining example is the single test to get into the specialized schools which I would like abolished. And I’m going to work to do that. So, I understand where parents’ feelings and honest concerns come from. But I want to emphasize that a lot has changed, and testing as one of multiple measures still helps us to figure out what we need to do to help each student. And I think people should participate for that reason. Lehrer: According to the numbers in the New York Times the epicenter of opting out is your home neighborhood of Park Slope where 35 percent of the kids at P.S. 321 sat them out last year compared to just 3 percent citywide. What’s going on in your neighborhood? Is it a class thing and what would you say to your neighbors? Mayor: Look I think it’s understandable. It probably is more of a specific political thing than anything. I think it’s understandable that people who opposed what was going on for many years in this city, and this state, and this country, and certainly people who I agreed with on so many levels including opposition to the approaches in No Child Left Behind under George Bush, that they would want to continue to act on those concerns. I’ve met with parent groups, I understand the underlying concern. My argument is a lot has changed, and I get why sometimes people are skeptical or you know are not seeing all the changes because they are focused on some of the problems they originally were confronting. But I would ask that people look carefully at what we’ve done here and how much we’ve de-emphasized high stakes testing. We will continue to do that. And especially how much we’ve gotten away from test prep. One of the worst parts of the Bloomberg-Klein years was the incessant focus on test prep which really undermined our kids’ ability to learn and our teachers’ ability to teach. We’ve moved away from that. We don’t believe in that. So, I would just ask that people look at the consistent changes that we made. Look at the values at Chancellor Carranza who absolutely does not want to see a focus on high stakes testing, only believes testing is one of many measures we use to evaluate and to act. And I think if people looked carefully they would take comfort that a lot has changed. Lehrer: Next issue. We had the City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on this week touting his plan for half fare MetroCards for about 800,000 low income New Yorkers and thousands of veterans in poverty or attending CUNY as a $212 million item in the Council’s proposed City budget. He said this would be for families of four with an income of only $24,000 as one benchmark. That item is not in your version of the next budget, but when I asked Speaker Johnson how – if you seemed open to it now, I want to play you what he said. Speaker Johnson: The Mayor has said in the past that he’s not opposed to the concept and the proposal of Fair Fares, but that he believes the way we should pay for this is through a millionaire’s tax authorized by the State legislature in Albany. I don’t see that happening. It didn’t happen during the State budget. I don’t see it happening this legislative session. And we believe we should take City dollars and resources to fund this. So did Speaker Johnson basically characterize your position right? And where are you today? Mayor: I think he got some of it right for sure. And Speaker Johnson and I have a very collegial, collaborative relationship and I have had with the previous City Council and this City Council, and remember I was a City Council member for eight years unlike the vast majority of mayors we’ve had. So, I think that’s one of the reasons that I understand the concerns of the Council. I believe the underlying notion of the Fair Fare is absolutely right. I support the Fair Fare concept but believe the best way to pay for it is the millionaire’s tax. Now what has changed in just the last week is the announcement that the Democrats in the Senate will reunify which has the potential to give them a working majority. I have said also on that topic I want to see it fully take effect and become permanent before we make assumptions. But I do think it’s important to say that there’s sort of been a persistent conventional wisdom argument that a millionaire’s tax wasn’t workable in Albany, well guess what, Albany just changed in the last week. And now we have to factor that into the equation. I believe a democratic controlled State Senate would be much more open to a millionaire’s tax. By the way, look at what the public thinks of a millionaire’s tax. They think taxing millionaires and billionaires to fix the subway and to provide the Fair Fare is a very good and sustainable and long term vision. Lehrer: So – Mayor: In the meantime – Lehrer: So what you want to do is have – Mayor: – budget discussion with the Council and – a very open one and respectful one. The challenge is I don’t know where we find $200 million after the many cuts we received and unfunded mandates we received from Albany in the last budget. Lehrer: Since you brought up the IDC, those independent breakaway Democrats in the State Senate, I saw that they held – even though they supposedly have disbanded as a separate conference to conference or caucus with the Republicans, they held a fundraiser in Washington Heights in the district of one of them, Marisol Alcantara, the other day and Governor Cuomo showed up at that fundraiser. Were you aware of that? Mayor: I just saw the coverage of that and I got to tell you I’m very surprised because this – you know the proof has to be in the pudding here. I am as I’ve said many times exceedingly troubled that a group of Democrats broke away and supported Republican leadership and then they continued to in the age of Donald Trump and I think that’s just unconscionable. If they’re really coming back and staying back that’s very good thing. But that has not been achieved yet fully. So, I don’t know why any Democrat would reward them before we’ve seen them actually act like democrats and come back into the fold. Lehrer: But you’re position on the half fare MetroCards for the moment is you would rather wait a year to see if the Democrats do take control – control of the State Senate in the November elections and then try again for the millionaire’s tax to fund it first? Mayor: So, a couple of things. I believe the millionaire’s tax – remember anything the City does, if we even were to act on an issue like this, we are only in a position to act year by year and again I don’t know where we find $200 million in this budget after the hit we took from the State. The difference with a millionaire’s tax is it can be made consistent and ongoing. It could be made a permanent tax. And look, the millionaires and billionaires of this country have continued to do better every single year. They’ve gotten huge advantages previously in taxation. The newest federal tax bill greatly advantaged millionaires and billionaires additionally. It seems to me the exact time you’d want to do a millionaire’s tax. And again, I think the political dynamic will allow for it. So my argument is that’s where we’re going to actually find the ability to have this funded long term. I will talk to the Council respectfully about anything they’re concerned about but I don’t think the City is in the position to afford an expense like this, certainly not for the long term. Lehrer: Let’s take a phone call. Salvatore in Greenwich Village, you’re on WNYC. Let me ask our engineer to put Salvatore up on the line. For some reason my clicker isn’t working in here. So Salvatore you’re on WNYC with the mayor. Hi there. Question: Hi. Hi Brian. Hi Mr. Mayor. Both doing a great job. I live in a rent stabilized apartment in Greenwich Village, and as soon as someone moves out or someone passes away the apartment gets renovated. Now I’m wondering is this legal because after a generation there will be no more rent stabilized apartments in New York City if this is the case. Because everybody does it, it seems. Mayor: Well Salvatore the – the reality is I mentioned what happened last week in Albany and it’s very pertinent to your question. If we have a democratic led State Senate, which I think that will be very good for the whole State of New York and certainly for this city, it also allows us to now go back and fix the rent laws. The rent laws do allow too many times for affordable housing to become unaffordable. There’s too much porousness in the current rent laws, and we lose apartments all the time we shouldn’t lose. We have an affordability crisis in New York City, we’ve never seen anything like it in our history. It’s time to not only keep our rent laws in tact but strengthen them and take away all these loopholes that allow landlords to get apartments out of regulation. And so this is a golden opportunity, it’s a moment where the combination of the affordability crisis and the focus that people feel on this issue, plus the potential for real political change in Albany, those two things come together. We’ve got seize that moment and it should be a big issue this year, you know, there is obviously elections – state elections this year – I think this should be on the agenda this year. Everyone on the state level, whether it’s an assembly member, a senator, or a state wide official, should be asked a simple question, are you committing to strengthening the rent laws? Because if you don’t, that means we’re going to lose affordable housing consistently in New York City. So this is our chance to finally act because of what we changing in Albany. Lehrer: Since he brought up converting apartments to market rate from rent stabilized, I would like to follow up on a question that WNYC news reporter Rebecca Ibarra asked you yesterday, about a landlord suspected of harassing rent stabilized tenants into leaving in an area of gentrification. The City cited a building at 85 Bowery in Manhattan in 2015 for having an unsafe staircase. Our new department reports it gave the landlord two months to correct it, which he has since drawn out to three years, in January the Buildings Department stepped in, evacuated the tenants and gave the landlord two weeks fix the staircase, which he has since drawn out to three months. So our reporting is that since the citation three years ago was for a Class-C violation, the City could have ordered an emergency repair for the staircase in which case it would make the fix and bill the owner. And I guess the broader underlying question is if that sounds like a lot of weeds to our listeners about one building. Broader underlying questions, how serious does this show your administration to be about protecting rent stabilized tenants against landlord harassment? Mayor: We are very serious on this matter, and look, let’s just put this in perspective. With the City Council we passed the right to council legislation, nothing like it in the entire country, now every New Yorker is guaranteed legal assistance in taking on landlords who are harassing them or not giving them heat and hot water. There is a whole package of anti-harassment legislation that was passed by Council, I find, I would argue in the last few years we have beefed up all the anti-harassment measures and put real teeth into them, including in some cases working with the attorney journal to bring criminal charges against landlords, which I’m very much in favor whenever evidence exists of criminal activity. So there is no question what the direction has been. In this case, this one has been a very thorny case and I don’t understand honestly why it took so long for this to be acted on. I want to get to the bottom of that. There is no question, right now, the City is working to make sure everything is fixed and making sure the landlord pays for all of it, and that’s been our typical approach, Brian, when we see a landlord not providing heat or hot water or something like that, we - if we can’t get them to fix it – we do the work and then bill them and make them pay. So that’s – directionally we’ve been in the right place. Why this one has played out this way, I need to know more about what happened here, if it teaches us anything. But we are standing by these tenants, we want them to get back into their building, and the landlord has to pay for everything that has been associated with this case. Lehrer: Let’s take another landlord housing question from Andres in the Bronx. Andres, you are WNYC, hi. Question: Hi, good morning Brian Lehrer and good morning Mayor de Blasio. Thank you for taking my call. This is a follow up from a call I made four years ago when my landlord [inaudible] Properties had brought me to court wrongly for squatting, and I walked in with a lease, I am a person with disabilities. My concern is that I’m in rent stabilized apartment, I’m in the Bronx, I live across the street from doctor, also my psychiatrist, and my local precinct knows that I have mental illness. So I know when I have meltdown, they know not to draw their guns, my concern is, my rent just went up $17 and HRA has asked me to leave my building. So they are going to put me in a $580 a night hotel room, for six months, at $108,000 instead of $17 a month. Mind you, my apartment is $340. That is what is wrong with our system. So that’s my four year update, Mr. Mayor, how are we going to solve this problem, I’m supposed to leave in 30 days, I had to give up my two companion animals, okay? Mayor: Okay, I got the point. I got the point. Question: You don’t have the point. It’s still going on - Mayor: I do have the point, my friend, I’m listening to you – Lehrer: Hang on, hang on, hang on - Mayor: I’m going to have people follow up with you. The bottom-line here is first of all, there is no hotel rooms that are $540, so I just want to always make sure when someone gives a fact that’s wrong that I correct it, so all New Yorkers can hear it. I don’t know the specifics of this case. There are many, many situations where our Human Resource Administration provides rental assistance, keep people in their apartments, and make sure if there is any change in their circumstance that we pay to cover the difference because we don’t want someone to loose affordable housing, I do not know the specifics of your case, and honestly Brian a lot of callers very understandably call about their individual case and suggest it is a policy matter for the whole City. Lehrer: Yes. Mayor: Each case is individual. New Yorkers are smart, smart people. I’m going to affirm this to everyone on the air, each case is individual, what people say on the air I’m sure reflects their view, but does not necessarily reflect a larger policy ramification. So in this case, if you’ll give your information to WNYC, we’re going to have senior people at HRA follow up with you directly and see what we can do to help. Question: Andres, hang on we’re going to get that contact information and make sure the Mayor’s Office, which he is promising to do, will follow up with you. And I’m going to stay on housing for another item in the City Council budget, which is a $400 property tax rebate for about half a million homeowners who have $150 million or less in income - $150,000 a year or less in income – and Speaker Johnson urged you to finally form a property tax reform commission since you acknowledged inequities among different categories of homes but haven’t yet formed the commission that you’ve been saying you would form, he says. What’s your response to either of those? Mayor: Okay, so two points, the property tax commission will be announced by the end of this month. As you know, yesterday we just announced the full membership of the Charter Revision Commission, and now that we have that resolved, the next item of business is to finalized the property commission and get that out so we can get to work, reminding everyone that property tax commission will have to do some very complex work which will then lead to some City Council legislation, which hopefully we can act on, you know, this year or early next. And then State legislation which would require going to Albany during the legislative session next year. So there is a lot of work to do with that commission, it will be named this month, April, and then we’ll get to work. On the question of the rebates, I go back to what I said earlier, we have now an increasingly tight budget situation because there is a number of areas where we took hits in Albany. In their budget, there were a lot of ramifications for New York City, a lot of areas where we got cut, a lot of areas where unfunded mandates were put on us, that’s going to have a huge ramification. So we are going to have a – as always – a respectful negotiation with the Council, but the challenge of any new major spending item is I don’t see at this moment the resource to pay for anything and I certainly don’t see the resources to pay for anything on an ongoing basis. So we have to be very, very careful about what we do at this moment. Lehrer: Let’s go next to Valarie in Brooklyn. Valarie you are on WNYC with the Mayor, hi. Question: Mr. Mayor, my name is Valarie, I’m actually a PhD candidate in Urban Planning at Columbia and I’m studying the Next Gen Plan and the future of NYCHA. I saw this week that Ms. Olatoye stepped down, I’m wondering what you think about her replacement? Who can replace her in an era where NYCHA has suffered disrepair for decades? I don’t envy Ms. Olatoye or anyone who is set to replace her and I would love to hear your thoughts Mr. Mayor. Mayor: Well it’s a very good question. It’s an extraordinarily tough job. You know, the Chair of Public Housing, of NYCHA, in New York City is almost the equivalent of being a mayor of a city of 400,000 people but the difference being a city that was disinvested for decades by the federal and state government, and in many ways the city government as well. So it is a very tough job. What I have found is there are some really good public servants who are willing to step up no matter how tough the job. And I wish, honestly, there was more understanding and more respect for how tough the work is and how many challenges involved because if you think about there is a whole lot of people out there who, in any of this jobs, who would simply say I don’t want the hassle, you know, and just not step forward because it comes with a huge amount of criticism and a huge number of challenges. But she did and I think she did a lot of very good work for the residents. Stan Brezenoff has now stepped up, who is a legendary public servant in the City, and is going to be the interim Chair for as long as it takes while we find a permanent Chair and he is another example of someone – like – he is, okay, easily be enjoying retirement but he believes in public service and he is willing stand in the fire and I admire that a lot. So I believe there will be quality people all over this country who are willing come in and take this job because they believe in something bigger and they’re willing to take all the criticism that goes with it regardless of what they do, just a baked in criticism. Lehrer: You had Mr. Brezenoff in a similar role for the public hospital system interim head, he goes back to the Koch administration where he was Deputy Mayor, the Daily News reminds us he was runner up to Joel Klein for Schools Chancellor under Mayor Bloomberg, the Times calls him a fixer, I think in a good way, not like Michael Cohen – [Laughter] Mayor: In a good way. [Laughter] Lehrer: Do you want to sing his praises? And what are his interim goals for NYCHA? Mayor: It’s – I do want to sing his praises. He’s amazing. He’s an amazing public servant. He is a true believer in public service. He’s someone who actually started out in the 1960s as an activist and this is something – to all the folks out there who have been in public service or want to be in public service this is, I think, a very inspiring story because, he and I talked about this the other day, he started as a grassroots activists. He started in a time of profound social change just like this one, believing he could make a difference. He didn’t make any money. He fought for good causes including the Civil Rights Movement, and started to have an opportunity to get involved in government, and more and more people saw that he had just an extraordinary gift for management, leadership, and also was just an honest broker. If you work with Stan Brezenoff, one of the things that comes through is he is who he is. He believes – he is straightforward. His reputation precedes him. So, I want to remind people – to come into a situation like this willingly and saying I think I can do something to help 400,000 people who are hurting, it’s just a positive thing. It’s something people should feel some pride over as New Yorkers. So, you know, the mission now is to work with the federal government. We’re in negotiations right now on some long-term issues and trying to resolve some long-term issues with them. Work with the State government, work with the Council, and the residents in determining who the monitor should be under the State executive order, and then continue at the same time to move the progress under the Next Generation NYCHA plan. And we did, you know, Brian, two things this last week. We, one, showed the progress that had been made in fixing roofs. Sixty-five roofs have been fixed in the last year, stopping leaking, stopping mold, brand new roofs for buildings that haven’t had them in decades. That work is continuing and will continue regardless of State and federal actions. But also what we showed this week in Far Rockaway that there’s a whole new way of financing repairs at developments. Fourteen-hundreds families in one development benefitted, have new kitchens, new appliance, new hallways, new elevators, all sorts of stuff that makes their standard of living much better. This is a part of the Next Generation NYCHA plan that Shola Olatoye created, and it’s working and we’re going to expand upon it. So, Stan’s going to take those things and deepen them while we do a nationwide search for a new Chair. Lehrer: I want to ask you about the story in the Times today about naloxone, the anti-overdose drug. They say a third of the locations that are supposed to have naloxone don’t have it and since this was a signature program of your administration, what – were you aware of this before the story and why would it be so sparse? Mayor: When I heard that I was very unhappy and we are going to act. Our Department of Health is going to act very aggressively to fix that. One of the ways we save lives is with naloxone. Now, I want to emphasize, all of our first responders – our police officers on patrol, our EMTs, our firefighters now have naloxone. There’s been unprecedented success in saving lives, stopping overdoses, since we distributed naloxone to all the first responders. It’s working very powerfully. But there’s also has to be a greater distribution with the non-profits and the hospitals, and shelters, all sorts of other places, and it has to be available to everyday people through pharmacies. We set out this policy to save lives. Any pharmacy that is not following up, we’re going to be very aggressive with. This is about their mandate. Pharmacies have an obligation to everyone to help protect people’s health and well-being. So, we’re going to fix that very aggressively, and I do not find that situation acceptable. Lehrer: What kind of auditing system did you have in place and how did this slip through the cracks? Mayor: I’m not familiar with the details of how each pharmacy was monitored but – and again this is a pretty new initiative in the scheme of things where we went to the pharmacies and provided the naloxone. But now that we found there’s a gap, one, we’re going to go back to all of them and make sure they have it. Two, we’re going to set up an ongoing monitoring system and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Lehrer: Allen in Brooklyn, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hello, Allen. Question: Thank you and good morning. I want to agree with the Mayor in his position on the way to finance poor-assistance for subway fares in regards to the New York Times editorial today. I’m all in favor of helping the poor afford transit rides but what they’re doing now in effect forgets the history of the Fair Housing Act. What they would be doing is localizing benefits to the poor within a certain area, akin to the experience of red-lining on mortgage interests and the disparate effects of highway subsidies to help people in suburbs versus cities during the 60s. And if we localize that benefit only for city riders, we’re in effect saying that the people who live in the MTA region outside the city are trying to keep people who want to work or live in those areas from getting that kind of access. It’s also not hitting the people who are getting the greatest windfall from subway service which is the real estate owners in central business districts rather than asking middle-class subway riders to put a greater subsidy within the city to help poor subway riders and not actually look at the larger picture of benefit groups. Mayor: Well, look, you’re making a couple of very important points. First essential point – progressive taxation versus regressive taxation. After everything that’s happened in this country, the tax bill that was passed which was the biggest giveaway to the wealth and corporations we’ve seen in decades, after the 2016 campaign which was all about income inequality particularly what Bernie Sanders said and did in 2016, I think this would be the moment in our history, for the first time I should say in decades, where the question of progressive taxation was front and center. And what is more fundamentally progressive than a tax on millionaires and billionaires to pay for mass transit for everyone else and particularly for half-priced MetroCards for lower income folks? I think we should stop this political prognostication which so many people love to do in the media and the political class, and stop saying, “Oh, is it viable, is it not viable?” And go fight for it especially again because we have a new reality in Albany. That’s point one. Point two you make is crucial. The MTA acts on the whole region. It would be very smart for the MTA using a millionaire’s tax model to extend this notion and help lower income folks through the region. What I’ve talked about is a tax only on New York City residents to help New York City subway riders because I thought that was the fair thing to ask for knowing there would be some members of the legislature who would not want to tax people in the suburbs. So that was my concession to what I thought was viable but still progressive taxation. But I think you’re raising a very good point. A very smart model overall would be to go farther – would be for this State government in general to move to progressive taxation, something this Governor and the Republican Senate have not been willing to do on an ongoing basis. We should be taxing millionaires and billionaires more. We should be using that money to help create fairness all over the state. Now that there’s the prospect of a Democratic State Senate, I think it opens the door to that kind of discussion finally. Lehrer: Comparison question – until we have such a funding stream, if we ever do from a millionaire’s tax, you’ve said $200 million is a lot to spend and where are we going to find the money on half-fare MetroCards for 800,000 New Yorkers. Compare that to the $325 million that you’re spending on the ferry system that while popular only serves a much smaller fraction of the city’s population. Mayor: That’s a great question and if we had the luxury of not expanding mass transit options, then I think that argument would be a more powerful. But here’s the challenge, Brian. One thing I have learned in these four years is we’re working not only for New Yorkers today but for the New York City of the future. And the problem right now in New York City – you know that we just this year have reached 8.6 million for the first time in our history. The projection now, is that we’ll at nine million people as early as 2030. And we are fundamentally under-endowed with mass transit. And the MTA is not going to profoundly change that situation. We saw how long it took to build just a piece of the Second Avenue Subway. I think all New Yorkers – again New Yorkers are smart. They know we’re not going to be seeing a lot of new subway development going forward. And if anything was proposed it would take a long, long time to be achieved. We have to create new options. So what we have focused on – it’s the ferries which has limitless potential because our waterways are so underutilized and we’re a coastal city and there’s so many places you can get to on the ferry. Light rail – which is something we’re going to be talking a lot more about with the BQX in Brooklyn and Queens. Greatly expanding Select Bus Service, which we do with the MTA but the City has to fund a piece of that and facilitate that. We’re going to be doing that a lot more. And of course, Citi Bike and other bike options which have played a big role. We have to keep investing and building out a mass transit infrastructure because there’s huge swaths of this city that are underserved and there’s just not enough capacity in the subways right now. They’re overcrowded, as everyone knows. So, I don’t think it’s apples to apples, Brian. I think we have to of course find ways to address the needs of lower income New Yorkers. That’s what we’ve devoted a lot of the work of this administration to. I simply believe in this case because it’s the MTA, the best way to do it is with a bigger effort and a more sustainable effort from the millionaire’s tax. But at the same time we have to keep building out mass transit options not just for today. The ferry service has started very, very strong but Brian, I’d come back in five years or ten years, I think you’re going to see ferry service being a much more central part of this city’s mass transit infrastructure. Lehrer: Last listener question, this one from Twitter, says, “Mayor told you he thinks transparency is crucial in NYPD killing of Saheed Vassell, so why won’t he release names of cops who killed Saheed or explain why SRG,” that unit rather than community police, “were deployed?” This says, “Basic transparency NYC used to do, other cities do routinely.” Mayor: Well, I think there are a couple of important points here. The unit – I don’t know the specific nuances of how the calls came in and how units were deployed. I can say if you look at the transcripts of the 9-1-1 calls and you look at the video that’s been released, it’s very clear that this was perceived by the people in the neighborhood to be an urgent emergency situation where lives were in danger, and was perceived the same way by the police. There’s going to be a full investigation by the NYPD. There’s going to be a full independent investigation by the Attorney General. The Attorney General will determine if any charges are brought in terms of the judicial system. Obviously, anytime that happens, the specific names of the officers are brought forward. But I believe the way we’re doing it this way is right because there’s both an internal investigation and independent investigation but we’re also mindful of protecting everyone involved and we don’t want a situation where the names of the officers are out there. I don’t think it’s productive. Later on when there is a follow through on the process, you know, that’s when names come out appropriately. But the bottom line here is the transcripts have been put out of the 9-1-1 calls. The video has been put out – all video that we have and that we continue to get will be put out once the Attorney General signs off on its release. That’s been the cases previously with body camera footage and situations like this as well. And there’s going to be a full process here to find out the truth. I spoke to Mr. Vassell, the father of Saheed, and he said to me the one thing he hopes will happen at the end of the process is that the truth comes out and justice is served whatever that is. And I said, I am absolutely committed to that and I know the Attorney General is as well. And that’s where this will ultimately go. There will be a full process and there will be, obviously, in the end an explanation of what that process yields. Lehrer: Alright, we’re out of time except for one quick political question – are you any closer to making an endorsement between Cynthia Nixon and Governor Cuomo. The Working Families Party has an important conference on that for their endorsement this weekend. Mayor: I got asked this question as recently as yesterday afternoon. No, when I feel it’s the right time to talk about the 2018 elections in the state, I will do so. But that’s not today. Lehrer: Mr. Mayor, thanks as always. Talk to you next week. Mayor: Thank you, Brian.
Friday, April 13, 2018 - 11:35am
141,000 fewer New Yorkers in poverty or near poverty in 2016 compared with 2013 NEW YORK—The Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity today released its annual New York City Government Poverty Measure report, which shows that both the poverty rate and the near-poverty rate (the percentage living below 150% of New York City’s poverty threshold) have decreased since last year’s report. Today’s report shows a drop in the near-poverty rate to 43.5% in 2016, which is a 1.6 percentage point decline from 2014’s rate of 45.1 percent. The report also demonstrated that New Yorkers in actual poverty has declined since 2014, from 20.6% to 19.5%. Poverty is at its lowest level since the Great Recession. In 2016, there were 141,000 fewer New Yorkers in poverty or near poverty than there were in 2013, surpassing prior projections and indicating that the City is on pace to reach its goal of moving 800,000 people out of poverty or near poverty by 2025. “We’re always working to make this city fairer for everyone, and it’s promising to see there are fewer New Yorkers living in or near poverty,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “From Pre-K for All to paid family and sick leave to the most ambitious affordable housing plan in the city’s history, we are working to provide opportunities that will make a lasting difference in the lives of New Yorkers. Today’s report shows real progress toward our goal of lifting 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty or near poverty by 2025.” Both the poverty rate and the near poverty rate have fallen significantly since Mayor de Blasio took office in 2014. The drop in poverty was broadly felt across many groups of New Yorkers, and included decreases in the poverty rate for black New Yorkers, adults working part time, and families with children under 18, among others. The City’s NYCgov poverty measure is updated annually. This year’s report uses the most recently available information from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and is augmented by the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. It offers a more precise measure for policy makers than the official U.S. poverty measure. Highlights from this year’s Poverty Report include: * The NYCgov Poverty Rate for 2016 was 19.5%, down from 19.9 % in 2015. * The NYCgov At or Near Poverty Rate for 2016 was 43.5%, down from 44.2% in 2015. * From 2014 to 2016, the following groups experienced significant declines in their poverty rates: o Working Age Adults (19.7 percent in 2014 to 18.3 percent in 2016) o Blacks (21.3 percent in 2014 to 19.2 percent in 2016) o Asians (26.6 percent in 2014 to 24.1 percent in 2016) o Families with one full time and one part time worker (14.8 percent in 2014 to 12.8 percent in 2016) o Unmarried childless adults (20.8 percent in 2014 to 17.1 percent in 2016) “At Operations, we track progress on the Administration’s public commitments, including its ambitious goal of moving 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty or near poverty by 2025. As we continue to increase equity across our city, the 1.2 percentage point reduction in the New York City poverty rate shows we’re making progress,” said Emily W. Newman, Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. “Poverty and near poverty are down, and that is good news for New York City,” said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “Reducing poverty is a critical part of the City’s goal to be the fairest big city in America. We have much more progress to make, but the findings in this report show that we are headed in the right direction.” “The NYCgov poverty measure continues to be a unique tool in New York City’s efforts to lower the poverty rate,” said Christine D’Onofrio, Director of Poverty Research for the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “Mayor de Blasio’s commitments to affordable housing, better wages, good jobs and fair access to public benefits address the main sources of poverty identified in this data.” The decrease in the poverty rate has been accompanied by other positive trends. The economy grew steadily in 2016, with more New Yorkers holding jobs. Median household income in New York City has increased 7.8% since 2014. Income in the bottom 20th percentile has increased 4.0% from 2014, adjusted for inflation. A significant factor in the decline in poverty has been increases in the minimum wage, which the City lobbied for at the state level. In addition, the City has many initiatives aimed at increasing equity and fairness. These programs include Pre-K for All, which gives every 4-year-old in the city access to early education and saves families money; paid family leave and paid sick leave; ACCESS NYC, a portal designed to help New Yorkers apply for benefits; and Housing New York, the largest and most ambitious plan to build and preserve affordable housing in the nation. The NYCgov poverty measure was developed to provide a more precise portrait of poverty in New York City than official U.S. poverty measure. It takes into account the cost of living in New York City, including the higher cost of housing, and counts as income those programs that supplement New Yorkers’ income, such as tax credits and SNAP benefits—elements that are not taken into account in the federal measure. Additionally, the U.S. Official poverty measure has remained largely unchanged for 50 years. New York City is the only U.S. city that calculates its own poverty rate using this more precise measure. “Our city must always be a place where people can find economic security for themselves and their families," said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chair of the General Welfare Committee. "I am heartened to see progress for our most vulnerable residents despite economic challenges in the wake of a recession. The City's continued investment in innovative and critical initiatives has been key, and I hope we will see continued reductions in poverty in the years to come." Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity The Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) uses evidence and innovation to reduce poverty and increase equity. It advances research, data and design in the City’s program and policy development, service delivery, and budget decisions. NYC Opportunity’s work includes analyzing existing anti-poverty approaches, developing new interventions, facilitating the sharing of data across City agencies, and rigorously assessing the impact of key initiatives. NYC Opportunity manages a discrete fund and works collaboratively with City agencies to design, test and oversee new programs and digital products. It also produces research and analysis of poverty and social conditions, including its influential annual Poverty Measure report, which provides a more accurate and comprehensive picture of poverty in New York City than the federal rate.
Friday, April 13, 2018 - 7:35am
Video available at: Mayor Bill de Blasio: Farah, thank you so much. I really appreciate everything you said. I also want to say to everyone, look at the sharp suits on these young men. I mean come on, give them a round of applause. [Applause] I don't think I had a suit that sharp until I was like 25 years old so, I want to commend Amden, Rilen, thank you for joining us and I love the story you told Farah of – very honestly starting out with your concerns and then going on what has been a journey for all of us these last years and a very positive one, to recognizing now what's possible in the relationship between our communities and our police. MTA Announcer: There is a Manhattan-bound, local 3-Train to Harlem 148th Street – two minutes away. Mayor: Thank you, computer voice. [Laughter] So what we are talking about today is all about families like this. It's all about hardworking New Yorkers who need to know they are safe in the subway and need to know that they can work with the police for the good on all and that's what neighborhood policing is all about but until now neighborhood policing was an idea that was over ground, now we are going to deepen the concept, that's today's pun, we are going to deepen the concept and bring it underground. Neighborhood policing works incredibly well in our streets, it's going to work really great on our subway cars as well and on our platforms. It's going to change the lives of people all over the city. I want to tell you a lot of people have been involved in this effort and I want to thank and acknowledge some of the folks who are here and some others you are going to be hearing from in a moment as well. Of course my Transportation Commissioner who is also a member of the MTA Board, Polly Trottenberg, thank you so much. I want to thank the Chief Stations Officer at NYC Transit Rachelle Glazier, thank you so much for your good work. I especially want to thank, you know the phrase that Farah used – the best and the brightest, here are the best and brightest behind you. These good men and women from the NYPD – [Applause] These are sergeants and officers, NCO officers from Transit Districts 12 and 30 and they are going to be the trailblazers. You know every great idea has to come to life, there have to be trail blazers, there have to be people who put it into action. These individuals are going to be creating a whole new reality in this city, policing in our subways in a way you have never seen before in your lives and here are the people who are going to make it come to life. I want to thank the elected officials who have been supportive of neighborhood policing – special thank you from my old neck of the woods, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, thank you so much for being here. [Applause] Even though he's dressed rather conservatively today, I want to welcome Councilmember Andy King from the Bronx. [Applause] Jo Anna represents in part Transit District 30, Andy in part Transit District 12 so they are both going to be experiencing this, the first wave of this in their communities and helping us to make it work. You know you are going to hear from Terry Monahan in a moment, I'd like to quote Terry Monahan. I don't know if there is something wrong with me but I do like to quote Terry Monahan. And he said that – the day you were sworn in, in your role as Chief of the Department – we are inventing an entirely new type of policing here in New York City. And this is a further example of that. When Terry and Ed Delatorre, and obviously Commissioner O'Neill came to me with this idea and told me how it would work, I was literally speechless. I spent a lot of my adult life on the F train and the notion of knowing the officers who patrol your train and having the ability to have a direct relationship with them – that is something I have never conceived of before. And it is a tribute to the creativity at the NYPD that this idea came to the floor. So I am going to just point this graphic over here because it is so amazing. This is what you are going to see in subway stations all over the city, it is way far away from me, I'm still going to point it. This is the part I want you to focus on especially, officers [inaudible] and their email's right here and of course the station manager as well. Think about this for a moment everyone – for all of you have spent a lot of your lives in the subway, the notion that you are going to know the names of the officers on your line that if you have concerns or something you're seeing you're worried about, or a question you want answered about safety, you can literally walk up to them because now you know their names or you can email them because their email is there, and they're going to respond to you personally. We've never had anything like that and even – I said at the meeting when we were discussing this, you know the lore we all heard about back in the day, the cop on the beat, and the way neighborhood policing is an updated version of that – well, there really wasn't a lore about the cop on the train. In fact, the officers that worked in transit I think often didn't get the respect that they were due for the extraordinary work they did. Here's the idea now of making it very real, very personal, very human. It's not just any officers, these are your officers, and you're going to know their names and you're going to be able to communicate with them and that's going to make everyone safe including our officers. So this is something we've never seen before in New York City and I think it's going to be a game changer for making the subways even safer and, as Farah said, for giving people a sense of peace of mind which is so important in this city. Six million people ride the subway every day. Six million rides a day. And it is the essence for so many New Yorkers. The essence of their lives is that trip they take on the subway every day. It's core to everything else. We want that ride to be safe and we want to keep making it safer. Now, I want to tell you, overall every year, the City of New York spends about half-a-billion dollars to protect straphangers. The commitment we make for safety in our subways through the NYPD is about a half-billion a year and it's absolutely worth every penny. This is going to allow us to even more with the money we invest and this begins immediately. Starting in, again, Transit District 12 in the Bronx and District 30 in Brooklyn, this will play out in the course of this year. We'll be expanding all over the city. By early next year, this approach – this neighborhood policing approach to our subways will be in every transit district. So basically, over the next 12 months, we will apply this approach in every part of the subway system. Now, look, if you ride the subway, you know you get to know a lot of your fellow riders, a lot of friendly faces. It is so important that those friendly faces now include our officers guaranteeing you that as that develops there's going to be a flow of information that's going to make a huge difference because I hear it from our NCOs all over the city. When they have information, they're able to stop crime. And what they're getting now in a way they didn't used to get before is everyday New Yorkers who will come up and share information with them because they feel that human bond. So I know it's going to make us safer. The last thing I want to say is, beyond the question of safety, and Farah really pointed to this, our police do a lot of things that are not just fighting crime. They do a lot of things to help people. They do a lot of things for people who have no one else to turn to. And I want to give you a little example from April 2nd of this year – just days ago. After the snowstorm that day there was a man in a wheelchair. He was at 180th Street stop in the subway in the Bronx and he was stranded by the snow. He was in his wheelchair. The snow was making it impossible for him to move and he was stuck there and it was night and he needed to get home. Two NYPD officers saw his plight, went over to help, and when they learned that he needed to get home and he couldn't make it on his own, they literally took him a mile – they pushed him in his wheelchair a mile – to get him home, to get him to a place where he was safe and sound. They've made it their responsibility, if someone's in need, to go literally the extra mile and get that man to safety. That is another example of what neighborhood policing means and it's something that not only helps people to be safe and live better but it's also really what Farah said. It builds a bond between our police and our communities that keeps deepening with every one of those moments, every one of those moments where an officer helps someone, deepens that connections. And we want to see a lot more of that. I'll just say before a few words in Spanish what I always say to people, we are the safest big city in America but we will get safer. We will get safer because we're applying new and better approaches and this here in the subway is going to be one of the great examples of that. In Spanish – [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that, he will now address you in English – I bring forward the Chief of Department, Terry Monahan. [Applause] Chief of Department Terrence Monahan, NYPD: Muchas Gracias. Just as the Mayor was acknowledging two police officers that were involved with the wheelchair, they're two of newly assigned NCOs here from District 12. Mayor: These are the actual officers? Chief Monahan: Yes. Mayor: Come on up. [Applause] Wait, wait. You got to get your moment here. Officer – Unknown: [Inaudible] [Inaudible] Mayor: [Inaudible] And – Unknown: [Inaudible] Mayor: That's two names. [Laughter] Thomas hyphen Martinez. Let's give them both a round of applause. [Applause] Chief Monahan: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Good afternoon, everyone. It's great to be here Brooklyn on behalf of Commissioner O'Neill. He is currently on business, traveling with Deputy Commissioner Miller in Afghanistan meeting with General Nicholson over there and senior NATO officials in advising the local Afghan police. Let me welcome you to the Barclays station. This is one of the 472 stations that make up a huge underground community with millions of straphangers passing through it every day. As the NYPD continues to roll out neighborhood policing in every precinct across the City, we are now setting our sights below ground. Over the last few years the NYPD has been honing its neighborhood policing philosophy. What began as a pilot program in four precincts back in May of 2015 has become our core crime fighting strategy. We have it up and running in 63 precincts and every one of our police service areas within our housing bureau. With the remaining 13 precincts on track to have it running by October of this year – neighborhood policing impacts every member of the NYPD. From our clerical assistance to our crossing guards, our cops working in their steady sectors, our neighborhood coordination officers, our detectives squads, and now our transit bureau. Just as we did with our precincts we are starting off slowly here in transit to make sure we get it right. We are rolling this out in two areas of the city, here in Brooklyn and in my own town up in the Bronx. Our transit cops have always done a great job making a transit system a very safe place to be. But we could always do more. Chief of Transit Eddie Delatorre is now going to share some details about how we will utilize our people and resources in order to bring neighborhood policing down here into the subways. He will also discuss our partnership with the men and women who've been a great help with the MTA. We're also down here every day making a difference as well as the campaign that we are launching to spread this word about this important announcement. All of this on behalf of our community of commuters where the familiar you see every day will now include our police officers. Eddie, all yours. [Applause] Chief of Transit Edward Delatorre, NYPD: First, I'd like to take this opportunity to get a commitment from you two gentlemen that you want to be transit officers, when you join the NYPD. We'll swear you in. Mayor: Yeah, [inaudible] sign up now. [Laughter] Chief Delatorre: Anyway, just to – I don't want to repeat anything that was already said. So I am just going into the knots and bolts of how we're assigning our officers. So just like topside – the precincts, we're going to have two NCO's assigned to each sector. Within district 12 and district 30 we're going to have three sectors. So they'll be two NCO's per sector within these districts. That gives you six NCO's for each district. So follow me through the math, because sometimes it gets a little complicated here. We have three squads assigned to every platoon for the 12 day tour and the late tour, the midnight shift. In each of these squads there will be one steady sector with two officers assigned to each of those three sectors within that district. So what we have is a commitment of 20 officers fixed to these sectors, not allowed to leave these sectors, accountable for everything that happens in these sectors to create relationships in these sectors with their MTA counterparts and to create relationships with the straphangers or the ridership that rides through the lines within these sectors. Is that clear? Got it? Good, so, yeah it's definitely not easy to get, but in the police world its simple for us because understand that there are three squads on every shift and in every squad there will be two officers assigned to each sector that exists within that transit district. So we'll always have four officers working normally within that sector that have ownership of that sector under normal circumstances. The NCO's however are going to have very flexible tours, they are going to be the sector leaders so to speak, they're going to be the ones who coordinate resources, the sectors will supply support to them and address needs as they come up. So they'll be a lot more familiarly between the already good relationship we have with the MTA and transit authority workers, but we're hoping to really strengthen that, strengthen communication. We're already getting a very good feel on it, and in addition to all of it, we've again following the model from top side, we've actually converted a lot of positions that previously existed in the transit districts to add officers to the patrol force and we've also increased the patrol force in these districts to make sure that our ridership sees a lot more officers on the trains when they're riding as well. Mayor: I think you covered it. Chief Delatorre: Got it? Good. Mayor: Alright, thank you. And I want to thank Chief Delatorre because he hit the ground running in his new role. As this is kind of creativity and innovation bringing neighborhood policing into the subways is exactly the kind of thing we need. So I want to thank you for helping to spark that in your new role. And of course Chief Monahan, one of the great architects of everything we've done with neighborhood policing. And he explains it very well, Chief Monahan, inside joke. So, with that I want to say as we thought about neighborhood policing and this has been a four year effort to create something new and something better. It's not just folks in the NYPD who've done the thinking; we've often had leaders in this city who had a vision of something new and helped us to perfect the direction we should go in. And many, many at time I have turned to the borough president of Brooklyn for insight and advice when it comes to how to create a better approach to policing. And why have I done that? Because he understands the communities of this borough, and he understands the changes people need, but also he is that rare individual in elective office who has patrolled these streets as a police officer, so it brings an extraordinary combination of experiences to the discussion and I – this is a day I know you've been looking forward to, Borough President Eric Adams. […] Mayor: Okay, we're going to take questions on this announcement, and then we'll take a few questions on other things as well. Question: Mr. Mayor, how will the neighborhood police strategy [inaudible] homeless situation on trains [inaudible]. What should they be doing [inaudible]? Mayor: I'll start and then either chief might want to jump in on that. I think it's going to help a lot because right now what we're doing more and more is using the HomeStat approach. That means it's heavy intervention with homeless folks to get them to come in off the street. We got about 1,500 people who have left the street, come in, accepted shelter, and stayed off the street over the last year or two. That approach requires building relationships. I think the officers are going to be able to help in that. They're obviously going to be able to alert the outreach workers anytime they see a homeless person on the subway. But the NYPD has also played a crucial role working with the homeless outreach effort to convince people to come in. And the fact that there's going to be the same officers seeing the situation day-in and day-out, they'll see if someone is regularly on the train. They'll be able to identify someone who needs help. They're also going to be able to help those outreach workers to know how to approach someone. Because remember the goal is to win the trust, get the person in off the street, keep them off the street. So I think this kind of approach, which really emphasizes the human connection, is going to help quite a bit. Chief Monahan: Again, all of our NCOs are going to be trained by the homeless outreach, by the BRC people, learning how to talk to these people, get them help, what services are available. And they're going to get to know them. You're in that same station every day. That same person is coming from up-ground, underground. He rides the same line. You're going to get that familiarity. You'll be able now to gain that trust, gain that confidence, and maybe be able to get them the help that they need. That's what neighborhood policing is about. It's working upstairs, it'll definitely work here. Mayor: Amen. Question: Are there different [inaudible] in the subway system [inaudible] ground when it comes to homelessness? [Inaudible] fundamental right to sleep on a bench in the subway system or stay on a train all night long or will officers [inaudible]? Chief Delatorre: Alright, so – no, there are no – let me put it this way. A homeless person has the same rights as everyone else on the train. They don't ever have to get off the train but they're not allowed to lay out on a bench just like any other rider. So, we – all our NCOs have been trained by homeless outreach, by the Bowery Resident's group, and by the homeless liaison unit for the transit authority as well. So they are prepared to start dealing with this. They're not going to personally always be reeling people, you know, to residences at distant locations but their job is to be coordinating the resources. So, they'll be coordinating with BRC, with homeless outreach units when they become aware of a condition where somebody's homeless. They've been already trained on how to speak to them and how to reach into them to try to convince them to accept help. And then at that point, they're going to try to connect them to resources. So, yes, I do think it's going to slowly help us improve the conditions. Question: [Inaudible] Chief Delatorre: No. It's the same as any other rider – Mayor: Let me – let me jump in with a distinction here. So, if you violate the law, you can be arrested obviously. If you violate the rules of the MTA, as the Chief said, you're laying out on a bench for example, that's not acceptable. But remember, and this is something I want to note that both Commissioner O'Neill and Commissioner Bratton have talked a lot about as we thought about how to be effective in addressing homelessness. You don't want to take someone who's homeless and just simply send them above ground and consider that a victory. That's not a victory. The victory is getting them off the streets all together. So, if someone is doing inappropriate, that has to be addressed and we're going to address it. We won't tolerate it. We got rid of homeless encampments. We do not tolerate illegality. We do not tolerate anything threatening. We don't tolerate breaking the rules of the MTA. But simply shifting a problem around is not a solution and that's where this important point is being made about if someone is not violating a law but they're still out on the street or they're still out in the subway system, we need to get them to believe there's something better and to buy into the notion of coming in and accepting shelter and no longer being on the streets unless they are not able to make that judgement properly and they are a threat to others or themselves, that's when we can do something involuntary. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Wait, a little louder. Question: [Inaudible] transit police are still here, I'm wondering [inaudible] more than an hour. Chief Delatorre: Okay, I can just give you the basic facts. It was at the High Street station this morning, I believe about 8:15 am. There was a rider on the train who was – got into an argument with another rider. The argument started to get out of hand. Other people in the car stepped in and the rider then pulled out mace and sprayed several people, and I believe punched one of them and ran. The Transit District 30 officers responded and our topside actually picked up the perpetrator and arrested him. As to holding the train, I don't know all the details as to why the train was held an hour or if it even was held an hour but anytime there's a crime we have to deal with the people who were injured and also deal with witnesses as well. Mayor: Back to the announcement. Anything on this announcement? Greg? Question: [Inaudible] – Mayor: Chief Delatorre. Question: [Inaudible] Chief Delatorre: I don't do weeds. [Laughter] I'm sorry. Question: What is the difference – because my understand of it now is that the [inaudible] – Chief Delatorre: Right – Question: [Inaudible] Chief Delatorre: Okay, so, here's what – so transit officers ride the line. They also ride in vehicles as well along the lines to respond to different jobs. The difference is there will be more officers riding the lines now and they will be restricted to a small portion of the district. So, now the district is broken up into three sectors. So those officers who may have rode the line earlier or been assigned to different stations throughout the entire district are going to be restricted to that sector alone. There's – there are few more pieces to this and one of them is that on a 24-hour basis, we're going to recap any information that comes into the MTA portal and to the NYPD regarding any conditions or crimes that occurred within that area responsibility. We're going to make sure that's emailed directly out to the NCO's, the NCO sergeant, and we're going to make sure there's follow up on that stuff and the steady sector officers are fully aware of what's going on in their area of responsibility. Question: [Inaudible] pilot program [inaudible] – Chief Delatorre: We'll give you the map afterwards. In District 12, where the officers pushed the person – the stranded rider home or to his sister's house actually – in that district, that was Sector-Adam and those were the Sector-Adam NCOs who did it. Mayor: Okay, Jillian? Question: There was some talk late last year about having more officers go out solo on – in the trains. Is this like a movement away from that [inaudible] different kind of strategy – Chief Monahan: No, we're not going out solo on the trains. We're just putting more officers in the trains and putting the same officers in the same area. Again, just going into that question before. You could have been in a different part of the district each day. Now, those cops are going to stay in that same portion of the district every single day. Got rid of specialization, more of a generalized cop having that geographic responsibility. Mayor: Yes I really want to emphasize that because, imagine you know the old way of policing was officers used to get any assignment any day and again no continuity, no getting to know people, no getting to know the turf and the specific realities. Now we are saying the thing that worked on the streets at that very local focus which we have seen has developed a lot relationships a lot of good information getting to officers – gives them a lot more ability to use their professional training creatively because they get to know the area and feel a sense of ownership. Now apply that very same idea to each subway line. And so the officers, I think are going to feel a much greater satisfaction, getting to know people, getting to know the realities and every day knowing exactly what they are going to be dealing with. Seeing anything on this side? Yes. Question: We don't want an exact subway map but general areas, where these two districts are? Mayor: Where District 12 and 30? Okay. Chief Monahan: These [inaudible] are going to give you a map of the exact breakup of each section as soon as we finish here. Mayor: Just give them broad – what part of Brooklyn? What part of the Bronx? Just give them the general area. Chief Delatorre: In the Bronx it's easy for me because that's where I was born and raised. So it's going to be the Lexington line, the 2, the 5, and the 6 I believe. That's going to be the District 12 area. In District 30 there are a lot of lines so we are going to have to give you that in writing. Okay, we are in District 30 now. You see all the lines that go through here. Question: When you say the Bronx – the entirety of the Bronx or? Chief Delatorre: No, no there are two districts in the Bronx, District 12 and District 11. So you know— Mayor: East? West? South? North? Give us something. Chief Delatorre: Yes, District 12 is more the east Bronx, District is more the west Bronx. District 11 is housed over on Yankee Stadium and covers that whole west side of the Bronx, going up the D line and the 4. Mayor: And District 30 is based? Chief Delatorre: District 30 is based right here. Mayor: Right, so downtown Brooklyn. Chief Delatorre: This general area. Downtown Brooklyn, so it has a variety of commercial areas as well as residential. Question: I don't mean to make light of this but how does one build relationships with people on the subway? It's not the most social environment in the world. You kind of have people packed in and they kind of just want to get from point A to point B. Chief Monahan: You get on the subway every day, you ride the subway? Get on the same station every day? Question: Never talk to anyone. Chief Monahan: You see that same cop every day, you see his face there? Now you get that thing, now you see a problem on that subway, you see something – you now have an email to reach out to that cop who you see as you come on. It just gets you that familiarity with a cop. It's not just us knowing the neighborhood, it's the commuter who gets on that same station every single day, rides the same train every day, gets off the same station every day, starting to see the same faces. And when there is an issue, there's someone you can reach out to. You have your cop to reach out to. Question: And also just in terms of fair evasion, I'm wondering what you are directing the NCOs in terms of that. Is it an effort to say hey, you know you're here every day you know these people, give these guys more discretion if you see somebody jump for the first time or is it a way to cramp down on it? Chief Monahan: Obviously, we will, listen people have to pay to get on the subways. We don't want people getting on for free, it's a quality of life issue but in everything we do, the main focus of neighborhood policing is giving these men and women back here discretion to handle their area. They are in charge of that area – they have the discretion to keep it safe, to keep the riders safe, to keep everyone safe. We want to make connectivity – we have to keep people safe as we do it. Neighborhood policing is allowing our officers to be innovated, use their initiative, and use their discretion to keep people safe. Mayor: I also, I do get your skepticism but I want to you know, from my many years of riding as well I want to argue – if you see these posters and so I think people are going to be intrigued by that. They are going to be intrigued that these are officers that they know the names of, the y know the email of, they've never seen anything like that before in their lives. Then they are actually going to see the people. Right? They are going to see the officers on their train, on their platform. There's going to be some natural curiosity, there's going to be a dialogue that gets started and if you see the same officer ten times and you have something you are concerned about, I think you know New Yorkers – they are not going to be shy about it. Right? If they have a concern or if they want to say thank you or whatever it is, they are going to start speaking up. So at first it sounds a little bit, you know so far out of the box you might wonder will it work? What I have seen happen is a whole neighborhood policing notion. When people get familiar with each other, the officer with the resident, the resident with the officer, the straphanger with the officer, just starts a natural dialogue. And I saw one officer a few weeks back on the number-two train, and she was – the train was really crowded – and she was talking to people about, you know, hey move in a little bit more, make a little room for people, there's plenty of room inside. And people were thanking her because she was helping them get on the train. People gravitate to an authority figure who's helping them, and that's why neighborhood policing has really made such an impact. Yes? Question: My question was, how the emails are going to work. Is each officer going to be personally answering emails? Are they going to be screened? Are you going to answer all emails? Is there a scale of importance? Chief Delatorre: So, what's going to happen is, we have one standard email for District 30 and one for District 12. It's going to come into the district and go straight to the NCO that's responsible for that area. If the NCO happens to be away, on vacation, or, for whatever reason, the NCO's are not available, then we'll connect them to the steady sector, but we'll make sure somebody gets back to that person on that email. In a perfect world, my vision, our vision is that you connect to the officer, you discuss the problem, if the officer can't resolve it through the email, the officer will reach out to the station manager and maybe set up a meeting. You're going to get on the train tomorrow morning at 7 am, we'll meet you there, and we'll see what we can do about this problem. And that goes along with the MTA workers as well – we're communicating the same way. Mayor: And I also want to note, that's another thing we found with neighborhood policing – so, you send it to the district, but then the officer who's got that line is going to get back to you. Now, you have each other's email. So, say it's a month later, something else comes up – you know which officer to turn to. Even if you don't see the officer in person, you can email them if there's something you want to tell them. Question: How many NCO's in total now? The entire neighborhood policing program? Chief Delatorre: We just rolled out a whole bunch more, so I think we're close to 700 right now. Question: And these officers, have they been moved to this new assignment from elsewhere? Chief Delatorre: No, reassignment [inaudible] got rid of specialization within transit, put people back on patrol. So, they all came from that district – from both District 12 and District 30. Mayor: Okay, let me see if there's any questions on this – did you have a question? Unknown: No – Mayor: Okay, anything more on this announcement? One more time, anything more on this announcement? This announcement? Yes, Grace? Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I know New Yorkers, they want to be safe – they really want to be safe, and the subways have gotten safer than ever would have been imaginable, as we said. But people want to know that there is help there, they want to know they're safe on their ride – that always comes first. Yeah, we all need to do a lot to continue to efforts to fix the subways, but safety comes first. I think the notion that you're going to have a police officer you get to know personally, that you have an email you can email them directly. If there's a concern, I think that's going to be very reassuring to people. Okay, let's go to other questions – yes? Unknown: [Inaudible] Mayor: Oh yeah, hold on – let's give these officers a round of applause again Thank you. [Applause] […] Okay, we're coming back everybody – coming back. Go ahead – Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: You're going to have to speak up though, we're getting people moving out. Go ahead – Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I heard arrests, I couldn't hear you after that. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I think very, very highly of the chief judge. I'll certainly reach out to her again. I mean, I've said very clearly, I think the same standard should be applied at the courthouse that we apply with public buildings in New York City, and there should be very clear limits on ICE's ability to come into those buildings, and there has to be very clear ground rules. So, I think we still need that for the courthouses, and yes I will reach out to the chief judge. Question: [Inaudible] they're saying allegations of misconduct against police officers are up. They [inaudible] higher rates of misconduct. What are your thoughts on that? And [inaudible] what the policy is [inaudible]? Mayor: Look, I think the overall trend with the CCRB complaints has been very, very positive over these last years. We've seen a steady reduction in complaints against officers. We did have a little uptick here, but not a very substantial one in the scheme of things. And second, this has been the same timeframe in which there was an expanded CCRB outreach program to communities. So, that may have well been part of why you saw more complaints. But I think the big picture is what I'm looking at here. The reduction in complaints has been so steady for so long, and clearly there's a changing relationship between police and community – that's what I'm focused on. We'll watch, going forward. But at this point, I don't see it as a major indicator. Question: Is there a policy for how NYPD handles allegations of misconduct [inaudible]? Mayor: Look, I am satisfied that we have a robust situation now where we have a CCRB that's functioning better than ever in the past, that NYPD takes these concerns very seriously, and we have a disciplinary system that's working. I'm comfortable that we've struck the right balance. Question: Mayor, there were some family members of Sayeed Vassell [inaudible] and they were asking why the City doesn't release the names of officers who are involved in [inaudible] Mayor: I understand their concern, but the protocol we have I think is the right one. It respects the safety and the confidentiality of the officers as well. But remember, there's going to be a full investigation here by the NYPD and a full investigation by the Attorney General. And then that will determine whether any further action is needed. And, of course, anything that the Attorney General determines would be a public proceeding. So, I think things are in the right balance now. Question: [Inaudible] why not in a situation like this? Mayor: Again, I think it's trying to respect the safety of everyone involved. There's a consciousness about this on many levels. You also know we did not release the audio of the 9-1-1 calls out of respect for the confidentiality and safety of those callers. We did transcripts instead, so I think there's a parallel there. Again, I think the situation is appropriate because this is before there will be the full investigation. There will be a full NYPD investigation and clearly a full and independent investigation by the Attorney General. That's the right venue to determine the whatever actions are needed next, and that's obviously a venue in which, in the Attorney General's case, the names of the officers will come forward if there was further action taken. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Look, I'm concerned about the issue, but I'm not familiar with the specifics. So, this is one where I have to in a very straightforward way say I need to get you an answer because I don't have the facts to be able to give you the full answer. Anything involving safety, I'm concerned about. We're certainly not afraid to take aggressive action if there is a safety problem, but I need to get briefed on this before I can give you a good answer. Question: Chief, do you mind giving an update on the human remains found in Canarsie? Where was [inaudible] seen last? What has her family told you? Deputy Chief Michael Baldassano, NYPD: Right now, it's still an ongoing, active investigation. The – Question: Your name? Deputy Chief Baldassano: Sorry, I'm Deputy Chief Mike Baldassano, I'm the EX-O of the Detective Bureau. Right now, it's an ongoing, active investigation. Our detectives are following up on numerous leads. The Crime Stoppers reward has been upped to $10,000, for your information. So, we ask that anyone who has information on this crime, please contact us. But that's basically it – it's an ongoing investigation right now, numerous leads. Question: Mr. Mayor, Chair Olatoye said she left on her own and that you didn't force her to leave. When I think back over your administration, I don't ever remember anyone specifically being fired. Have you ever fired anyone in your administration? And why has it not been described as people being fired? Mayor: Because, look, there are times when people are fired and there's times where people make a choice if they want to leave. There are all sorts of points along the spectrum. I think in this case it was a personal choice. You heard it from her, it was a personal choice and a professional choice by the Chair. I have said repeatedly, I don't think what's happened here has been fairly characterized. I think she did a lot of very important work. I wanted that work to continue, but I fully understand that she thought it was a point that, personally, it was the right time to go. Question: [Inaudible] fired in your administration? Because I don't recall anyone ever, you know, publicly being named – Mayor: Right, but, again – you know, it's interesting, it's almost as if you would like there to be firings – Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: No, but I'm saying – I'm reading between the lines. We deal with each situation as is appropriate. Sometimes a person makes their own choice, they're ready to leave, and that's very natural, especially for those who have been there for a long time. Sometimes there's an honest conversation – very different than this one – other situations where, you know, there's a discussion that something may not be working and people decide to separate. It's rare that you have to say to someone who says, I'm going to stay no matter what. No, now you're fired. It's usually more of a process than that. But each situation is nuanced. I don't like to parade out there. If I got to the point that someone was fired, I don't make it a point to embarrass them. I just want the outcome – if someone is not working out and I want them out, we find a way. But this was not one of those cases. Question: Mayor, I wonder if you've heard the latest on 85 Bowery, which is the tenement building in Chinatown where people – Mayor: This is the issue with the Department of Buildings and all? I have not heard the latest. Question: So you don't know whether the City's going to do more? People have – Mayor: If I don't know what? Question: You don't know if they City's going to do more? People haven't had a home since January. Mayor: I know we want to resolve the issue, but I just don't have anything updated. We'll get back to you on that. Yes? Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: My understanding – I think your facts are right about the origins of this. I don't remember the year – I want to say 1995, something like that – these units were exempted. I guess that was the Giuliani administration. I think we need to go back through all of them and look to see if that was done properly. I mean, we're talking about going back over something almost a quarter-century ago, but I think it's the right thing to do. So, we will go back and look at all of those apartments and determine if any of them need action. And let me be clear – the ones that have kids in them. I mean, as with everything with lead paint, the ones that have kids – six years old or younger. Unknown: We've got time for two more. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I don't know or did not work with her directly, but based on the arrest we suspended her. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: True statement – Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I've said a bunch of times, at some point I'll speak about the 2018 elections – not today. But the day will come when I'll speak about that, but I'm certainly not going to advise anyone outside of that. I'll come to my own judgements and then I'll offer my views. Thanks, everyone.
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 5:05pm
Establishing The Mayor's Office of Information Privacy and Citywide Privacy Protection Committee
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 5:05pm
Designation of The Law Department to Issue Guidelines or Rules Pursuant to Administrative Code Section 4-210
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 5:05pm
NYPD’s new “Warm Weather Weekends” enforcement focuses on the correlation between rising temperatures and a springtime weekend surge in traffic crashes – including an 88 percent increase in serious motorcyclist injuries and fatalities NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that as part of Vision Zero and with warm weather in the forecast, the NYPD and the DOT would begin a new safety campaign aimed at motorists and motorcyclists, whom crash data show drive more dangerously on warmer spring weekends. This Saturday’s weather forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. “The groundbreaking Dusk and Darkness campaign delivered promising results, leading our Vision Zero agencies to laser-focus on data-driven strategies to drive down fatalities,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Another unfortunate trend we have seen is the increase in dangerous driving during the spring, especially on weekends as weather begins to warm. So we are telling drivers and motorcyclists: we know that this winter has been too long and too cold, but nicer weather this weekend is no excuse for dangerous driving. The NYPD will be out in force to ensure you do not travel at speeds that endanger you and your fellow New Yorkers.” “NYPD officers will be out in force on weekends to combat the behaviors most associated with traffic tragedies,” said Chief Thomas Chan, the NYPD’s Chief of Transportation. “It is unfortunate we see upticks in dangerous driving behavior during these long-awaited warm weather weekends, especially in the form of reckless motorcycle driving. Our goal is to ensure everyone enjoys these weekends and returns home safely. That will be our measure of success.” “After this endless winter, spring cannot come soon enough. We know from past years’ experience that on warm weather weekends we see far too many tragedies on our roads, especially among motorists and motorcyclists,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “So our message to New Yorkers is simple: go out and play this spring -- but if you are driving, please do so safely. You could save a life, including your own.” Warm Weather Weekends: Officials were spurred to action by the events of April 29, 2017: In a year that was the overall safest-ever on New York City streets, that Saturday was the second deadliest day of the entire year. The first warm weekend day at the end of an unusually cool month, April 29th was sunny with a high temperature of 87 degrees. In a number of different serious crashes around New York City that day, many of which involved speeding, 4 New Yorkers lost their lives and 204 were injured. DOT then conducted a detailed analysis of traffic fatalities and severe injuries from 2007 to 2016, observing the rate of traffic deaths and serious injuries on warmer days in March through June. Comparing crash data to weather records, DOT studied days where temperatures were 60 degrees or higher, and uncovered the following clear correlative trends: * The average number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in traffic crashes on weekends starts to rise in March and peaks during June. In April, the weekend KSI rate is 28 percent higher than in January/February. * The danger in the spring is most pronounced for motor vehicle occupants and motorcyclists: on warm weather Saturdays and Sundays in April, the KSI rate for drivers and car occupants is 41 percent higher than the winter weekend rate. For motorcyclists, the KSI danger on weekends rises by 88 percent. * Data appear to show that higher KSI rates on warmer spring days are limited to Saturdays and Sundays. On weekdays, DOT data show that the average number of KSI annually during April warm weather weekdays is only 4% higher than the January/February winter weekday rate. * In response to this data, NYPD and DOT will this weekend initiate season-specific efforts to deter reckless behavior to keep all New Yorkers safe. Officials will remind drivers that they should continue to obey the speed limit, slow down, turn slowly and yield to pedestrians. Drivers should expect heightened enforcement, from NYPD Highway Patrol and local precincts, each of which now has its own speed detection equipment. "As the weather warms up, residents and visitors will want to enjoy everything lower Manhattan has to offer,” said Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “Lower Manhattan is a walking neighborhood, and there's a lot to experience here on foot. From local shops on the Lower East Side to restaurants in Chinatown, it's important that both pedestrians and motorists have a safe experience as the weather gets warmer. Thank you DOT and NYPD for raising awareness of this issue." "We are all very much looking forward to enjoying the warmer weather, and brighter and longer days, but the importance of traffic safety never changes,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Committee on Transportation. “We must continue the progress we have made in reducing traffic fatalities and enhance tools we have applied to further our efforts in specific types of traffic fatalities. I thank the work of the NYPD and the DOT to ensure this campaign is a success." "We're all excited to get outside this weekend and hit the road, whether on two wheels, four wheels, or two feet. Unfortunately, warm-weather weekends also inspire reckless behavior behind the wheel," said Alec Slatky, Manager of Government Affairs for AAA Northeast. "DOT and NYPD deserve credit for honing in on this specific problem and creating a plan to tackle the issue. This type of analysis and data-driven enforcement is essential to continuing the decline in traffic fatalities. Enjoy the beautiful Saturday, but do so responsibly – for your sake and for everyone else on the road." Last year was the fourth consecutive year of declining traffic deaths under Vision Zero, with the fewest-ever overall traffic fatalities citywide, driven by a 29 percent one-year decline in pedestrian fatalities. As part of the initiative, DOT implemented its most aggressive street redesign safety program, with increased investment in street redesign and traffic-calming measures citywide. Unfortunately, even with historic fatality declines, 2017 was marked by increases in both motorcyclist and motor vehicle fatalities – trends that Warm Weather Weekends is designed to address. For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see . 
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 5:05pm
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the appointment of the 13 remaining members to the City’s Charter Revision Commission – first announced as part of the Mayor’s DemocracyNYC agenda at his 2018 State of the City address in February. Last month, Mayor de Blasio appointed Cesar Perales as Chair with Rachel Godsil serving as his Vice-Chair. The newly formed commission will review the entire City Charter. The review will include an examination of New York City’s campaign finance system, enhancing voter participation, and improving the electoral process, among other issues identified by the public in a series of hearings. “In New York City, we’re committed to doing all we can to drive democracy and that starts with reviewing our charter,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’m proud to announce the full Commission and thank them for their hard work for the people of this city.” Announced today, the new members of the Charter Revision Commission are listed below: Carlo A. Scissura, a lifelong New Yorker and President and CEO of the New York Building Congress, will be the Secretary of the Commission. Before his time at the Building Congress, Scissura spent years as a dedicated public servant in Brooklyn – working as the President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and as Chief of Staff and General Counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Larian Angelo is a Senior Fellow at the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG). Prior to joining the ISLG, she served in city government for 27 years as first deputy director at the NYC Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Vice-President for Administration at Guttman Community College, deputy director for education and intergovernmental relations at OMB and Finance Director at the New York City Council. Angelo holds a Ph.D in economics. Deborah N. Archer is an Associate Professor of Clinical Law at NYU Law. She was previously an Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund where she litigated at the trial and appellate levels in cases involving affirmative action in higher education, employment discrimination, school desegregation, and voting rights. Archer additionally served as a Marvin H. Karpatkin Fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union where she was involved in federal and state litigation on issues of race and poverty. Archer previously served as a mayoral appointee to the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board. Kyle Bragg is 32BJ SEIU’s Secretary-Treasurer. A member of the 165,000 member 32BJ for more than 30 years, Kyle serves as trustee of several 32BJ funds and as chair of the union’s social and economic justice committee. He is a member of the executive board of the two million-member national Service Employee International Union, the National African-American Caucus of SEIU and serves on the international union’s first Racial Justice Task Force. Bragg also serves as a board member of Community Board 13 in Queens. Marco A. Carrión is the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, working to connect City Hall to communities across the city, especially in the outer boroughs. Before his role as Commissioner, Marco was the Political and Legislative Director for the New York City Central Labor Council, Chief of Staff to New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Director of New York City Intergovernmental Affairs to Governor David Paterson, and worked for the AFL CIO in Washington D.C. Una Clarke serves as President of Una Clarke Associates, a consulting firm specializing primarily in education management, political consulting, and small business services. Previously, Clarke served as a New York City Councilwoman, representing Brooklyn’s 40th Council District for 10 years starting in 1991. Clarke sponsored more than 300 pieces of legislation on issues including child welfare, education, health and mental health, economic development, public safety and transportation. Clarke is currently a CUNY trustee, appointed by Mayor de Blasio. Angela Fernandez is the Executive Director and Supervising Attorney of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, a leading community-based legal services and advocacy organization for low-income immigrants. She brings to the Board 20 years of experience in law, media, non-profit management, government, policy development, and advocacy. Her prior government experience includes working as District Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative José Serrano and as a staff aide to U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. Sharon Greenberger is the 10th President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York, a leading New York City non-profit organization serving over 500,000 children, adults and seniors annually through programs and services focused on empowering youth, improving health, and strengthening community. Prior to joining the YMCA in July 2015, Sharon served as the Senior Vice President, Facilities and Real Estate at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the Chief Operating Officer for the New York City Department of Education. Dale Ho is the Director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project where he supervises the ACLU’s voting rights litigation and advocacy work nationwide. Dale has active cases in over a dozen states throughout the country. He has litigated cases under the federal Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act. Dale is also an adjunct professor of law at NYU School of Law. Mendy Mirocznik is the president of C.O.J.O of Staten Island, a borough wide civic organization dedicated to providing services to those less fortunate, including housing and a food pantry which provides hundreds of hot meals to our fixed income seniors. Mirocznik is also a member of Community Board 2. Annetta Seecharran has a 25-year track record working to improve conditions for marginalized communities, with a focus on championing initiatives that benefit immigrants and young people and always drawing attention to emerging trends impacting vulnerable populations. She is currently the Executive Director of Chhaya Community Development Corporation, previously led South Asian Youth Action and has served as Director of Policy for United Neighborhood Houses. John Siegal is a partner at BakerHostetler where he handles litigations, arbitrations, and appeals for clients in the financial services, media, and real estate industries. John’s public service experience includes working as an Assistant to Mayor David N. Dinkins and as a Capitol Hill staff aide to Senator (then Congressman) Charles E. Schumer. Wendy Weiser directs the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law. Her program focuses on voting rights and elections, money in politics and ethics, redistricting and representation, government dysfunction, rule of law, and fair courts. She founded and directed the program’s Voting Rights and Elections Project, directing litigation, research, and advocacy efforts to enhance political participation and prevent voter disenfranchisement across the country. The Commission will begin its work immediately. It will hold its first organizational meeting next week, which the public is invited to attend, and its first public, borough meeting the following week. You can learn more about the Commission and find more information about public meetings here . “It is an honor to be named Secretary of the City’s Charter Commission, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for the opportunity to serve our residents by further establishing New York as the model for an inclusive, engaged democracy,” said Commission Secretary Carlo A. Scissura. “As a vital pillar of New York City, the construction industry continually strives to offer common-sense solutions to the challenges facing the five boroughs and aims to grow our economy and make our neighborhoods better places to live. I look forward to bringing our industry’s dedication and expertise to the table in the commission’s efforts to encourage civic engagement.” “As a lifelong New Yorker and public servant, I understand the central role the City Charter plays in providing an electoral and governance road map for city leaders,” said Commission Member Larian Angelo. “I am grateful to Mayor de Blasio for this opportunity to take a fresh look at the foundational processes that keep New York City strong” “I am proud to have this opportunity to work Chair Perales and the other members of the Commission to help make our democracy more inclusive and more equitable. Now, more than ever, it is critical that all New Yorkers have a voice in how their City is run,” said Commission Member Deborah M. Archer. “It’s an honor to be appointed to the City’s Charter Review Commission,” said Commission Member Kyle Bragg. “Now more than ever, it’s incumbent upon all of us to ensure that our democracy is as inclusive as can be. I look forward to serving with this esteemed group to ensure that New York City is doing everything it can to increase voter participation and put democracy in the hands of the working people of our city, not the moneyed few.” “I thank Mayor de Blasio for the opportunity to serve in the new City’s Charter Revision Commission and outline meaningful and long-lasting reforms to assure that our communities increase their participation in our democracy,” said Commission member Marco A. Carrión. “New York City is on its way to become the fairest big city in America by constantly pursuing justice and equity, and the creation of a City’s Charter Revision Commission is a step in the right direction to achieve that goal sooner.” “It is my honor and privilege to serve on the City’s Charter Review Commission,” said Commission Member Una Clarke. “I look forward to working with the rest of the members as we ensure that New Yorkers have a fair and democratic charter that empowers them.” "I look forward to serving on the Charter Revision Commission and working to bring about reforms that will enhance New Yorkers’ civic participation and electoral representation,” said Commissioner Member Angela Fernandez. Commission Member Sharon Greenberger said, “I am thrilled to join this effort to expand access to our democracy, enhance voter participation, and make New York City a healthier and stronger community.” "I am honored to join a distinguished group of Commissioners and look forward to reviewing proposals for improving the electoral process, to help build and sustain the vibrant and inclusive democracy that New Yorkers deserve," said Commission Member Dale Ho. “I am honored to serve and I look forward to this opportunity to work diligently for the people of New York City,” said Commission Member Mendy Mirocznik. Commission Member John Siegal said, “I appreciate the opportunity to join this Commission in the ongoing reform effort to make this a safer, more just and equitable, and more democratic and responsive City.” Commission Member Annetta Seecharran said, “Protecting and preserving our democracy feels more urgent than ever. I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners to ensure that New York City is truly fair, inclusive and representative of its people.” “Energizing our democracy starts at the local level,” said Commission Member Wendy Weiser. “At a time when our country’s democratic institutions face serious challenges, this is an opportune moment to reimagine how our city can be a model for participatory politics nationwide. I’m proud to be part of that effort.”
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 11:35am
Two years into city’s deer impact management plan, birth rates also fall by half and reductions expected to continue NEW YORK—Two years into the City’s deer impact management plan on Staten Island, a survey conducted by White Buffalo, Inc and verified by NYC Parks estimates the borough’s deer population has dropped by 8 percent, from 2,053 in 2017 to 1,884 in 2018. In addition, the survey results showed a greater-than 50 percent reduction in fawn births compared to the previous year: the ratio of adult female deer to fawn has fallen from 1:1 to 1:.47. Based on the adult deer mortality estimates and decline in fawn births, the City expects further reductions next year. Year Two of the City’s deer project concluded on March 17, 2018, with a total of 1,154 vasectomies completed, which represents approximately 94% of the male deer population. “There are fewer deer on Staten Island than last year,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We are already seeing tangible progress from this novel strategy, and earlier than expected. These numbers show that our smart, humane plan is the right one, both for Staten Islanders and their antlered neighbors.” “Because deer have no natural predators on Staten Island and abundant sources of food in the borough, we can reasonably attribute the significant drop in their population to our human population controls. In short, two years into our study, we can already demonstrate signs of success,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. At high population levels, white-tailed deer can pose significant challenges to human health and safety through deer-vehicle collisions and associations with tick-borne illnesses, and have a detrimental impact on both forest biodiversity and tree regeneration. Deer have no natural predators on Staten Island and they are assumed to have migrated in recent years from New Jersey. To determine herd size, White Buffalo Inc collected data from 30 infrared cameras placed in deer-treatment areas. White Buffalo then ran the data through three peer-reviewed methods of analysis – the Jacobson Buck to Doe Ratio (BDR) method, the Lincoln-Petersen estimator for population size, and the population reconstruction method. The mean of the three methods was used to determine the deer population on Staten Island. The City’s five-pronged deer impact management plan was launched in May 2016, and includes the following elements: * Sterilization Study: A three-year surgical sterilization study focused on male deer. Sterilization projects focusing on females have demonstrated a 10 to 30% decline in annual population, and male sterilizations are easier to perform and less invasive, promising greater efficacy than female sterilization efforts. A total of 1,011 bucks were tagged and sterilized prior to the Project Year 2 population estimate. Year two of the study concluded on March 17, 2018, with 1,154 vasectomies completed. * Traffic Safety Measures to reduce deer-vehicle collisions including signage, education, and deer resistant plantings on roadways. * Extensive public education focusing on living safely with deer in an urban environment, including driver education to reduce deer-vehicle collisions, public health education to reduce the incidence of tick bites and tick-borne illnesses, and environmental education to discourage feeding and encourage the planting of deer resistant plants. * Natural Resource Protections include new fences around planted forest, tree guards on new trees, deer-resistant plantings and further protective measures. * Monitoring the health of forests and greenspaces, the number and location of deer vehicle collisions and deer carcasses, and the presence of ticks and the incidence of tick-borne disease. All wildlife in New York State fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the State. Following fast-track contract approval by the Comptroller’s office, the City submitted a permit request to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation which was approved to will allow for the sterilization study to begin fall 2016. “I am cautiously optimistic now that the innovative approach designed for Staten Island’s unique circumstances is showing positive results in reducing the deer population in our borough, leading to an improved quality of life for our residents and wildlife alike,” said Assembly Member Matthew Titone. “Mayor de Blasio’s adoption of sterilization as a tool to manage white-tailed deer places New York City at the forefront of an emerging field that is striving to manage deer population numbers humanely,” said Brian Shapiro, New York State Director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We applaud him and the New York City Parks Department on successfully reducing Staten Island’s deer population through one of these innovative and humane methods.”
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 11:35am
Signage installed this month along the Jackie Robinson Parkway for the first time includes his image; Vision Zero marketing this season at Citi Field will include reminders from Mets players that “saving a life is easy” NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that New York City had installed signs along the Jackie Robinson Parkway that for the first time include an image of the Dodger legend himself. At the foot of the Parkway in Cypress Hills, where a major Vision Zero safety project is reducing crashes, City officials unveiled the new signage as Major League Baseball prepares to celebrate Jackie Robinson this Sunday, the anniversary of his first game in 1947. Officials also unveiled a new Vision Zero marketing campaign that Mets fans will see at Citi Field this season. “With baseball season now in full swing, no one should ever forget the history that Jackie Robinson made at Ebbets Field more than 70 years ago,” said Mayor de Blasio. “It is so appropriate that the parkway that bears his name – a road that Mets fans in Brooklyn now take directly to Citi Field – should finally honor the man with his likeness. We thank the Jackie Robinson Foundation, his family and all of the state and City agencies that made this possible. We are also grateful to the Mets for being such great partners in getting our critical Vision Zero education message out to their fans this season.” City officials announced the following: New Jackie Robinson Parkway Signage: The new Jackie Robinson Parkway signs were unveiled today, and approximately 25 new signs have been installed this month by NYC DOT, both along the Parkway and at entrance ramps. The signs represent a true American icon: Robinson (1919-1972) was the first African-American to play major-league baseball -- for the Brooklyn Dodgers, from 1947 until 1956. He was also the first to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Following his baseball career, he became a successful businessman and advocate for social justice. Among his many honors, Robinson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal. On April 15th each year, all Major League Baseball teams celebrate “Jackie Robinson Day” on the anniversary of his very first game at Ebbets Field. New Vision Zero Safety Changes at Jackie Robinson Parkway Entrance: Today’s event was held at the terminus of the Jackie Robinson Parkway in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. In April 2017, NYC DOT had unveiled major safety changes at the busy five-legged intersection. The intersection redesign added several crosswalks, pedestrian signals and brighter lighting, including on the north end of the intersection, where previously hundreds of pedestrians per day had crossed the parkway entrance itself -- despite no marked crosswalks there. Pedestrians who use the intersection are often making their way to and from many nearby local transit hubs, including five NYCT bus lines, the Long Island Rail Road East New York station as well as the Broadway Junction subway station, with access to the A, C, L, J and Z trains. Between 2010 and 2014, the intersection had been the site of 373 injuries, including 7 severe injuries. Early data suggest the changes have reduced crashes at the intersection. Vision Zero Marketing at Citi Field: The City will continue its high-impact Vision Zero public awareness campaign, “Signs,” with outdoor, television, and radio advertisements this spring. Vision Zero will partner with the Mets during the 2018 season in order to connect with fans attending games. Marketing at Citi Field will include 30-second pre-game ads on Citi Vision, on-field LED and concourse screen displays, and in-game PSAs featuring Mets players Jay Bruce, TJ Rivera, and Michael Conforto. Vision Zero messaging will be included on over 500,000 parking receipts issued at Mets games, concerts, and events. During select games fans may interact with the Vision Zero Street Team and take home co-branded promotional items. “After a long winter, what better way to celebrate spring and the start of baseball season than to honor the man who literally transformed the game 71 years ago this month,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “I thank the Robinson family for helping us honor Jackie Robinson in the way he so richly deserves. We are also in Brooklyn to showcase some of our best new Vision Zero engineering and education work -- from this safer intersection at the Brooklyn end of ‘the Jackie’ to the great marketing effort the Mets are showing at Citi Field – at the Queens end of this great winding parkway.” “These new safety measures honor Jackie Robinson’s legacy by ensuring his mission of making our world a better place for all lives on,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Amidst recent pedestrian deaths across the borough, these safety changes implemented at the Jackie Robinson Parkway entrance as well as the Vision Zero awareness campaign should be replicated across the borough to ensure that Brooklyn remains a safe place for pedestrians and cyclists alike.” “Wow, these days we all could use more of the dignity, courage, strength, self-restraint and class Jackie Robinson demonstrated throughout his life, on the baseball diamond and off of it,” said Staten Island Borough President James S. Oddo. “We acknowledge Jackie the outstanding baseball player, but we honor Jackie the amazing human being.” “Seventy-one years ago in the heart of Brooklyn, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and helped change America forever,” said Congress Member Hakeem Jeffries. “He emerged as a hall of fame athlete and tireless advocate for social justice. This new sign will make sure his memory lives on in our great City. I thank the Robinson family for continuing to lift up the legacy of No. 42 and the city Department of Transportation for their efforts to make our roads safer.” "I am pleased that the City has found a very meaningful way to honor one of the most beloved, inspirational and transcendent figures of all time--Jackie Robinson." said State Senator Leroy Comrie. "On the baseball field and at the very vanguard and grassroots of the Civil Rights Movement, Jackie Robinson was both a leader and team player of the highest quality. It's good to know that the Parkway named in his honor will be revitalized to serve the public more effectively by including additional Vision Zero components in concert with participation by our Amazin’ Mets in effort to keep everyone travelling to the ballpark safe, secure and well. “ “Jackie’s contributions were considerable. Who’s to say where pedestrian safety stacks up against breaking the racial barriers of sports, business and entertainment. Every time we drive the parkway we are reminded of Jackie’s deeds. I think he would be fine if we added helping to save lives to the list,” said State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan. “Queens resident and Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson is a baseball legend and civil rights icon” said Assembly Member David I. Weprin. “Not only did Mr. Robinson break the color line in baseball, but also broke racial barriers in entertainment, business, and commerce well after the end of his playing career. By paying tribute to his legacy on the Jackie Robinson Parkway with signage that bears his image, we ensure that his memory will always be cherished. I look forward to seeing the great Jackie Robinson each time I travel on the parkway; and thank the Robinson family and the City of New York for making this possible, along with New York Mets for their efforts to improve traffic safety.” "It is always a great day when we honor a legend as was Jackie Robinson whose legacy will stay with us for generations to come," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Committee on Transportation. "I commend the partnership with the Mets to help us further our Vision Zero goals and better ensure our message reaches New Yorkers." "The Jackie Robinson Parkway is one of the main arteries of our community and city, connecting Brooklyn and Queens,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “It is so fitting to honor the great Jackie Robinson with new images and signage, especially at the start of this year's baseball season. What was once one of the most dangerous intersections in Brooklyn, it has been my pleasure to see the Jackie become a priority under the de Blasio administration for redesign and safety improvements to fulfill the goals of Vision Zero." “Vision Zero safety updates at the Jackie Robinson Parkway and upcoming updates at Citi Field continue to keep our city safe,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “Additional crosswalks, traffic signals, and lighting, combined with public awareness campaigns, make traveling to and from baseball games safer. I’m proud that we are using this public safety initiative to honor the legendary baseball player that the parkway is named after - Jackie Robinson. Thank you to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and the Robinson family for helping to keep our city safe for all.” “On behalf of everyone at the Mets, we thank the DOT for their commitment to safety and all the New Vision Zero Safety changes,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “The Jackie Robinson Parkway will continue to be a great way to celebrate the legacy of an American icon that provided so much inspiration and courage during his lifetime and that Rachel, Sharon and the entire Robinson family continue to do so to this day.” “When Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, he brought New Yorkers, and our entire country, together,” said Della Britton Baeza, President and CEO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. “Since 1997, the people of New York have used the Jackie Robinson Parkway to connect its two largest boroughs – a fitting metaphor. Today, embellished with new signage and his image, this roadway links the borough where he played and the borough where the Jackie Robinson Rotunda stands at the Mets’ Citi Field. As representatives of his legacy, we could not be more proud.” Opened in 1935, the Jackie Robinson Parkway was originally known as the Interboro Parkway, and serves as a 4.95-mile winding road that connects Brooklyn and Queens. In 1997, on the 50th anniversary of Robinson breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier, New York State officially renamed the road. The first in a series of new clear and attractive signs being installed on City parkways and other roads, the Robinson sign was the result of collaboration among NYC DOT, NYS DOT, and NYC Parks. Graphic design proposals were received and adapted by the agencies in cooperation with the NYC Public Design Commission. For more information, please see nyc.gov/parkwaysigns . About the Jackie Robinson Foundation The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is a public, non-profit organization that perpetuates the memory of Jackie Robinson by giving a four-year scholarship in his name and providing leadership development for minority college students as well as through building the Jackie Robinson Museum. The museum will commemorate the life of Jackie Robinson as an athlete, activist and icon, illuminating his long-lasting impact across society through state-of-the-art exhibits, precious artifacts, film and other media. The National Jackie Robinson Museum Legacy Campaign has raised over $25 million, with the museum set to open in Lower Manhattan in 2019.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 5:05pm
Today, Mayor de Blasio announced the appointment of Marianne Spraggins to the New York City Campaign Finance Board, an independent and non-partisan agency that administers one of the strongest, most effective campaign finance systems in the country. “The Campaign Finance Board is critical to protecting the City’s electoral process,” said Mayor de Blasio. “With a proven commitment to public service and experience in the private sector, Marianne Spraggins will help to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the Board.” Marianne Spraggins is an investment banker, attorney, and marketing executive with extensive experience in municipal and mortgage finance, private equity, and asset management. She is currently an associate broker at Mont Sky Real Estate and a director of GrowNYC, which promotes sustainability in the city. As Board Member, Spraggins will be responsible for overseeing the work of the agency, make public funds and penalty determinations, issue advisory opinions and adopt rules. She was appointed to the board on February 26, 2018 and will serve a five-year term ending on November 30, 2022. Spraggins succeeded Art Chang. About Marianne Spraggins: Marianne Spraggins began her Wall Street career at Salomon Brothers where she was part of the team that created residential mortgage securities and marketed this new product to institutional and public pension fund investors. Later, while at Smith Barney, she became the first African American female Managing Director on Wall Street. She also served as Senior Counsel to the Congressional Oversight Panel, a body created by Congress to oversee the U.S. Treasury’s implementation of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Spraggins is a former director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation ( S.I.P.C.), where she was appointed by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the agency that protects investors in the event of broker/dealer failure. She has also served as a member of the board of directors for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York Law School, and the Apollo Theater Foundation. Spraggins received a B.A. in English literature from Boston University, a J.D. from New York Law School, and a LL.M. in international law from Harvard Law School. Spraggins is a member of the Bar of the State of New York. About the Campaign Finance Board: The Campaign Finance Board administers the City’s landmark Public Campaign Finance program, which matches small contributions raised by candidates with public funds. The CFB enforces the City’s campaign finance law and provides public disclosure of campaign finances from candidates and outside groups. The CFB also publishes a non-partisan Voter Guide for each regularly scheduled City election and administers the debate program for candidates for citywide office.