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Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 1:35am
Pursuant to the powers vested in the Mayor by law, the terminal leave accrued pursuant to the 1957 Board of Estimate Resolution granting "terminal leave to members of the uniform force" for Uniformed Managers at NYPD and FDNY shall be modified to be a separate lump sum cash payment.
Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 5:29am
Changes modify the restricted access nearest One Police Plaza on Park Row, a vital connector from Chinatown to City Hall and Lower Manhattan that has been largely closed since 2001 NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that Park Row in Lower Manhattan had officially opened this week to pedestrian and bicycle access in newly dedicated and designed space. Vehicular traffic on Park Row has been limited since 2001; the redesign includes a new two way bike lane, new pedestrian space and Wayfinding signage to direct tourists to the many attractions of Chinatown and Lower Manhattan. NYC DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez, NYPD Counter Terrorism Executive Officer Inspector Jeffery Schiff, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, and Council Member Margaret Chin joined in today’s ribbon cutting. “Park Row long served as the best and fastest route between lower Manhattan and Chinatown, and for the first time since 2001, we are fully re-opening the street for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We thank the elected officials of lower Manhattan and Chinatown for focusing our attention on how we could make these changes effectively – and to the partnership of DOT and the NYPD to redesign a street that could be both functional and secure.” “For years, Chinatown residents, advocates and elected officials have asked that we find the way to ease access to Park Row, maintaining safety while also dramatically increasing mobility and accessibility for thousands of cyclists, pedestrians and bus riders,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We worked cooperatively with the NYPD, and added to the high-impact changes we made last year on Park Row, added critical new protected bike lanes and safer pedestrian crossings near City Hall.” This New York City Department of Transportation project, implemented in coordination with the NYPD, will help reconnect the Chinatown and Civic Center areas that have been somewhat physically separated since 9/11. DOT began preliminary work on Park Row from Worth Street to Frankfort Street last Fall after consulting with local Community Boards and stakeholders and substantially completion the project earlier this months. This portion of Park Row, nearly a half-mile in length, now includes 10,000 square feet of new pedestrian space and a two-way protected bike path. This project successfully addresses the Chinatown community’s long-term efforts to get the City to consider opening up further access along Park Row to connect the neighborhood with the rest of Lower Manhattan. Park Row has been closed to vehicular traffic other than emergency vehicles and MTA buses since 9/11. As part of the project, DOT resurfaced a section of the roadway in preparation for the project and NYPD relocated protective barriers along the corridor to allow for the access while maintaining the necessary security for One Police Plaza. DOT also installed new Wayfinding signage on both ends of the Park Row project to further integrate the new bike and pedestrian space into the area and guide visitors. DOT’s Streetlighting Division transformed lighting in the area to brighter and more energy-efficient LED bulbs. The NYPD supported the efforts by relocating or removing cement barriers, unused guard booths, shipping containers and some planters. Service on the M9 and M103 MTA buses was not affected during or after construction. DOT has developed preliminary plans to connect the eventual Park Row bike path with the existing bike network via Frankfort Street, including the newly completed protected lane adjacent to City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge. On the north end of the project, DOT is studying connections to Chatham Square and the existing bike path along East Broadway in Chinatown. “We have been anticipating this day for a long time,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez. “Plagued with traffic congestion and burdensome restrictions since the aftermath of 9/11, Park Row will now be expanded to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists alike. The improvements unveiled today are a culmination of the tireless work of Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg and the New York Police Department. Importantly, I want to thank all the community groups that have consistently advocated for improved transportation at Park Row—today’s milestone achievement could not have been possible without their sustained efforts.” “Lower Manhattan is known for its unique neighborhoods — but it’s important that while they each have a distinct feel, they stay interconnected. We must balance our city’s need for serious security infrastructure with preserving walkable, livable neighborhoods,” State Senator Brian Kavanagh said. “In the aftermath of 9/11, our communities faced real security concerns. Today, we still do, but I’m glad the City has re-examined this critical artery between Chinatown, the Lower East Side, and Lower Manhattan with fresh eyes and found ways to open up Park Row while protecting our neighborhoods. This street redesign shows that when city agencies, elected officials, and our communities work together, we can find a solution that works for everyone. I’d like to especially acknowledge Representative Nydia Velazquez, Council Member Margaret Chin, and the Chinatown community who made redesigning Park Row a true priority, and I’d like to thank the dedicated staff at the DOT and NYPD who made this possible, along with the community boards and neighborhood residents who advocated for these changes.” “Manhattan’s Chinatown is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in all of New York City. As such, it is critical for Chinatown to be connected to the rest of the community. Opening Park Row to cyclists and pedestrians will help to make sure that all New Yorkers and visitors have the opportunity to explore Chinatown and all it has to offer,” said Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou. We also can’t forget that Chinatown is also residential. Moving forward, we must work with nearby residents to ensure that traffic is well managed and their concerns are heard. Thank you to the Department of Transportation for your work on this issue, and I look forward to discussing the future of Park Row with my colleagues in the weeks and months ahead.” "Park Row should be a welcoming, safe, walkable and bike-able gateway from Chinatown and Two Bridges to the Civic Center, the Seaport area, and the rest of lower Manhattan," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I thank the Department of Transportation for taking on this project." "Today marks the culmination of a longstanding community-wide effort to bring back Park Row, a critical transportation artery connecting Chinatown to the rest of Lower Manhattan, for public use," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "By opening up a two-way protected bike lane and 10,000 square feet of brand new pedestrian space, the City is delivering on its commitment to enhance transportation access, encourage more New Yorkers to use greener ways to get around, and connect neighborhoods – all while meeting critical safety and security needs. I thank Mayor De Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg, NYPD and all the community stakeholders who have helped make our shared dream for expanded access to this thoroughfare a reality." “Park Row remains an important artery for our community much like prior to 9/11 times, today's new initiative is a right step toward that direction and we look forward to working for further improvements to enhance our accessibility and connectivity,” said Chinatown Partnership Executive Director Wellington Z. Chen. "I want to thank everyone involved for getting this portion of the work done as we look forward to more pedestrians and riders having easier access and better connection." "We've long-supported the efforts to reconnect Lower Manhattan and Chinatown through this major thoroughfare. This new access for bicyclists and pedestrian access will do wonders for both neighborhoods," said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. “On behalf of faculty, staff and 8,700 students who call Pace University's NYC campus home, this is exciting and welcome news," said Vanessa J. Herman, Assistant Vice President for Government & Community Relations at Pace University. “We thank Mayor De Blasio, Congresswoman Velazquez, Council Member Chin, and DOT for their efforts.”
Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 5:29am
Rosanna Scotto: Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio paid a visit to the border entry in El Paso, Texas. He and other mayors – about 20 other mayors from across our nation demanded to be let into let into a shelter thought to be housing children separated from their parents. Sukanya Krishnan: While the Mayor was not allowed to enter the facility, he did raise awareness about what’s going on there. And he joins us now. Welcome back Mayor to Good Day. Thank you for joining us. Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you. Krishnan: So first question is really what did you see? And what do you want raise awareness about? Mayor: The bottom line is we’ve got kids here in our country separated from their parents and there is no plan to get them back together. And we had a group of mayors from around the country, bipartisan, Republicans and Democrats saying this has to end. We have to have a plan to get these families reunited. Krishnan: Right. Mayor: We have to end the policies that are creating this crisis to begin with. And here is the really good and positive thing. Here is a group of Republicans and Democrats saying in unity lets actually fix this immigration system once and for all. Because we all know what it means on the ground in our cities. We know the confusion it’s creating for everyone. That we just don’t have the right kind of laws and it actually gave me a little bit of hope that despite some of the madness in Washington and I think some real big mistakes the President has made lately with his policy. There is a growing consensus in the country looking to actually resolve the underlying problem. That gives me some hope. These kids have really drawn out something powerful in people. And you’ve seen leaders across the spectrum, faith leaders all saying you know as Americans we just don’t believe that families should be torn apart. We don’t care where you come from. Scotto: So were you frustrated that you went all this way down to the U.S.-Mexico border and you couldn’t get into this facility? Mayor: I am frustrated because the federal government should not be keeping the media or public officials from seeing what’s happening to kids with taxpayer dollars, in our name, right? I mean these – you go down there and it’s basically a tent city, it’s not quiet desert but it feels kind of like a desert out in the middle of nowhere, a tent city. And what do they have to hide that they won’t let in mayors or senators or congress members or the media – Scotto: Well, I think some people were concerned that it was maybe a photo-op. It was a publicity stunt, and not, you know, a real genuine move. Mayor: Look, the problem is, in a democratic society it’s not up to the federal government to decide whether the people can know what’s happening in a federal facility. It belongs to all of us, right. And this is being done in our name again with our taxpayer dollars. So there is no – there is nothing American about saying we’re going to keep the people out, we’re going to keep the media out. That’s wrong to begin with. On top of that what was important was to see a group of bipartisan leaders saying we together this doesn’t represent American values, and we’re trying to work for the bigger changes. That’s actually healthy for the country. People have really decried the fact that things don’t get done because there is polarization. I am actually really happy to see a group of mayors – big cities, small cities, Republican, Democrat – come together and – Scotto: Going down there. Mayor: Say we actually can stand shoulder to shoulder right here at border and say this needs to change. Krishnan: Mayor, what do you say to all the critics? Because there are a lot of critics that are saying on the day that you went down there, there were 239 kids that were brought up here, and one them that you mentioned taking a bus ride, 21-plus hours – and that you weren’t here to deal with the situation came right to our door stop. Mayor: Well, that’s where I was the day before, Sukanya. And in fact this is what’s so shocking about this whole situation. The young man you referred to his name is Eddie. Krishan: Yep, Eddie. Mayor: He’s from Honduras, he’s nine years old. He and his mom came here. They were fleeing a very violent situation. And I always say, like so many of our ancestors fleeing violence and oppression and you know poverty. They get to the border; he’s taken from his mom at Eagle Pass, Texas put on a bus with a federal escort 2,000 miles to New York City. He’s here now, no idea when he is going to get back together with his parents. Here is what I want to say to you. Scotto: Yeah. Mayor: I went to that very center where Eddie has been, and 239 kids – Scotto: What is it the Cayuga Center? Mayor: That’s right, in East Harlem. Until I got there that day, the federal government had not told us anything about the presence of these kids in our city. So we started to learn, immediately trying to find out information, we tried to find out information. We got a lead about the center, and went there. The folks who work there were New Yorkers who are trying to help these kids. Scotto: Right. Mayor: I’d say to them, give us a sense of magnitude. Literally sitting there in the middle of that center they said we have 239 kids here right now. We got to work immediately supporting that center. Our Health Department, Police Department making sure that – Krishan: That they’re safe. Mayor: – The kids are protected and the folks who work there are protected. Because they have nothing – they didn’t do this. They didn’t create this policy. So all of New York City government has been helping to address that situation, but we’ve got to get – Sukanya, we’ve got to get to the underlying problem which is the policy’s broken, and we’ve got to find for a change. Krishnan: Mayor, with all due respect I mean we understand that you went down there to raise awareness, national awareness. But a lot of people are saying that you’re kind of saying you know what I am going to raise my own national awareness when it comes to this. This is my second term, and a lot people are saying that you are pushing forth your own private progressive agenda. Mayor: Well, it’s not a private agenda at all. It’s something I’ve actually felt by the – I think a clear majority of New Yorkers that what President Trump here did was a huge mistake and unfair to these families, these kids, against our values as New Yorkers, and Americans. And it’s not that I went alone either – 20 mayors, bipartisan group from around the country, the U.S Conference of Mayors is saying we’ve got to change this policy. I actually think, Sukanya, this is really important point. If things are hurting New York City, you can’t always fix them here in New York City. We sometimes have to go to Washington, have to go to Albany, or sometimes have to go elsewhere with others who want to make those changes because you saw the groundswell worked here. This is really important. The President put forward a policy I think was misguided. The groundswell from around this country, Republican and Democrat, faith leaders, all sorts of people actually got part of that policy changed. Now, we’ve got more to do. But I think people need to be aware when something is wrong, you have to fight to change it. Krishnan: So how are we doing reunification for the 235 kids that are here and how are we going to help them get reunited with their parents now that they are here? Have you started that process? Mayor: Yes, indeed. So, we’re making sure they have lawyers because the only way to get this done is to get the kids legal help and the parents. So, we’re actually working with colleagues around the country to get the parents legal support so that reunification can happen. But I think the groundswell is important. What we don’t want is because the President signed the executive order, everyone forgets about it because the executive order doesn’t actually reunite these families. It stops some of the bleeding, if you will, but it doesn’t actually fix the problem. So, we’re going to keep the pressure on and we’re going to provide that support to get each and every family reunified. Think what it must feel like, for anyone of us – imagine, your child is taken away and you don’t know where and you don’t know for how long and imagine what that child is going through. My wife, Chirlane, has been working on this mental health issue here. These kids are going through a traumatic experience. Scotto: I absolutely – let me asking you something. You were down at the border. Was there nobody at the border saying, don’t cross the border, they’re going to separate you from your kids, don’t do it. Mayor: I don’t have the sense of that’s what happened. I have the sense that a policy was put in place, “zero-tolerance” which goes against what this country has done for decades and decades which is to try and be respectful of people who are fleeing some kind of violence or oppression. Scotto: But these people are not being warned that they are going to be separated that they are going to be separated from their children? Krishnan: The Attorney General was very clear about it. He did say that they would take away children that it is a federal offense and under the penalties of the United States law they will be separated as a result of it. Mayor: But let’s be clear, that was not true under Republicans and Democrats for decades and decades so you can say the Attorney General said it – Krishnan: Yes but when zero-tolerance went into effect, I mean they were eventually going to deal with the eventuality of what’s happening right now. Mayor: But let’s be clear, weeks ago it went into effect. For decades it was something different and people are you know, not everyone is sitting by the television or internet all day long, getting the up-to-date news. I think what is so important to recognize is there was a bipartisan consensus in this country for decades to respect asylum seekers. That doesn’t mean everyone gets asylum but they are given a right to make their case because America – I think America has been a beacon to the world on this. People think this is a country of freedom and human rights. And to see it now turn this way, I think hurts us in the world. Scotto: Let me ask you something. You know obviously we solicited questions on Twitter and stuff and you know how that can go Mayor so – Mayor: Hey, it’s democracy, democracy in action, Rosanna. Scotto: So one of the, I have to say one of the main themes that keep coming up is why did you go? We have a lot of problems here in New York City. Do you care about the children who were effected by lead poisoning in NYCHA buildings? Mayor: Of course. We just – first of all I care about children across the board. The number one – I say, when I became a parent when my daughter Chiara was born, it changed my entire view of the world. It’s one of the reasons we focused first and foremost on the issues of children in this administration. The pre-K initiative, everyone knows that was my number one concern to achieve that for kids and I care a lot about the kids who live in public housing. We just made a huge new investment to address some of the real problems that have been brewing for decades in public housing. We just announced working we’re with the federal government, that we are going to put literally billions into trying to get to all of these underlying health issues – Krishnan: Well that was a broken system wasn’t that? I mean NYCHA has been broken, the federal government is saying that it has been broken and that people need help and this is a long term sort of fix that needs to be put in place. Mayor: Look, we’ve made a commitment to – Krishnan: And a lot of fraud by the way. Mayor: There is clearly some people who did the wrong thing. But the more important point here is where you started. For decades, the federal government unfortunately pulled away support from public housing. It was all built with the federal government. They were supposed to support it long term, they stopped doing it. There just was not enough money. One good thing that happened even in the midst of all these problems is we have made a long term funding commitment that the City has never made previously and I think it was the right thing to do, to get at these underlying problems. Now I would like to see the federal government join us. They have not put a dime on the table yet. I would like to see them join us so we can do it for the long term in the right way. Scotto: So what are you going to do today to help these kids who are in our city? Mayor: The kids, the ones who came up? Scotto: Yes. Mayor: 239 at this one center alone. Again the legal support to help them get reunified with their parents, we are making sure that they get the mental health care and the physical health care they need – working with the social service providers but again we also need the policy change. Right now at this moment neither the President not anyone else has a plan on the table to reunify these families and that’s another part of why we have to keep pressure on. Like everything else in the world, you would say to me, give me a plan, give me a deadline – we are saying to the President, when are these families going to be brought back together? Give us a plan to do that. Krishnan: Right, there’s an immigration bill that’s on, is going to be debated on next week, so for the second time, so that’s already in the works. But your optics, you saw it first hand and now you are lending a hand to all of those kids that desperately need our help. Mayor: Yes they do and they are our kids too. We should feel that way and that’s what America has been all about – is caring about kids regardless of where you come from. I think the heart of America has really shown positively here that people are feeling this very personally and let’s demand that every one of these kids get back to their families. Scotto: Mayor, we appreciate you coming on and telling us about your experience down by the border. How long did it take you to get there and did you have to drive like a few hours? Mayor: It’s what we call, in New York City, a schlep, okay. [Laughter] Scotto: What was that like? Mayor: There’s not a direct flight to El Paso. Scotto: What was like that by the way? Mayor: You know the drive down to the border, it’s about 45 minutes out of El Paso and it’s really – it’s a little desert-like and it’s very, you know out in the middle of nowhere it feels like and suddenly there’s this tent city. It was the strangest thing. It felt eerie. It felt like something you see in science fiction. But it also made the point that something is broken if you are putting a bunch of kids in a tent city in the middle of the desert. Scotto: I know you got a lot on your plate today so we don’t want to hold you up too much. Mayor: I’m ready. Krishnan: So nice to see you. Mayor: Thank you, good to see you.
Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 5:29am
Brian Lehrer: It's the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Good morning, everyone. We will have Mayor de Blasio on with us in just a minute for our usual Friday Ask the Mayor segment, 10:00 am every Friday – my questions and yours for Mayor de Blasio at 2-1-2-4-3-3-WNYC, 4-3-3-9-6-9-2. If you want to get in or tweet a question just use the #AskTheMayor. The Mayor, as many of you know, has been at and near the Mexican border this week with the family separation issue front and center and with the revelations that hundreds of these separated kids have been brought all the way here to New York without him being informed. You probably heard that Melania Trump went to the border yesterday to visit one of the shelters or detention centers, choose your term. FOX News host Laura Ingraham calls them summer camps. And there has been such a strong and puzzled reaction to the First Lady wearing a jacket to travel there and back to show how much she cares she took that trip. But the jacket had lettering on the back that said, "I really don't care. Do you?" What did it refer to? It's been a matter of speculation who, if anyone, that was a message to? Here's what the First Lady said she did care about when she got there. First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump: I'm here to learn about your facility which I know you housed children on a long term basis. And I also would like to ask you how I can help these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible? Lehrer: How I can help to reunite these children with their families as quickly as possible. That's what Melania Trump said she was there to learn. I'm not sure if she did learn anything along those lines. She could ask her husband. But that's one of things we will talk about with the Mayor now regarding separated kids who've been brought by the federal government here to New York. Mr. Mayor, welcome back to WNYC. Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you, Brian. Lehrer: What did you go to the border to see as Mayor of New York? Mayor: Well I went to see what's happening to the kids who are being taken from their parents and that's being done in our name as Americans, that's being done with our tax payer dollars and it doesn't represent the values of New York City. It doesn't represent the values of this country and what was important here – two things really jumped for me, one that the federal government is denying access to these facilities to the media, to senators and congress members, to mayors, you know folks who are there to demand accountability on the behalf of the American people – uniformly being denied access. That's something everyone should be very concerned about in terms of democracy, in terms of transparency. But second, on, I hope, a more positive side, I gathered with a group of Republican and Democratic mayors who are absolutely united in revulsion at the policy of family separation, who are all demanding that the families be reunited. And who represent what I think is a growing desire in the grassroots of this country to see comprehensive immigration reform because the absence of a decent and coherent policy is causing this kind of inhumanity and maybe this crisis is actually drawing out something, you know, morally and humanly that could lead to some bigger answers here. Lehrer: You mentioned the transparency – I saw the NBC News reporter who's been their lead person at the border, Jacob Soboroff on Morning Joe just before you were on Morning Joe today, say they still won't let reporters in and he won't even broadcast anymore, the visual handouts that the government is giving because this is a public function, reporters should be allowed in to monitor as the press is supposed to do, what the federal government is doing in our name and they are not allowing that. They are giving photos, they are giving government produced videos and at least for him, he's not going to take it anymore. I heard you say on Morning Joe that you see a silver lining in a bipartisan response to the separation policy. Is there really a bipartisan response? You know, the polls I've seen say a majority of Republicans, that is Republicans around the country, not elected officials – regular Republican Americans support the policy. Mayor: Well I do think there is some real bipartisanship. I mean to the first point, Jacob has done an outstanding job, as had so many members of the media here, demanding access. And I do think he's making a powerful point. When the government refuses access and tries to provide, effectively, propaganda that should remind us of governments we don't want here in this country and history we don't want here. So I think the outrage about the lack of information, lack of access needs to deepen because the executive order didn't change any of that and that's a threat to our democratic norms. On the question of bipartisanship, yes I think it's profound. I'll tell you why. One, there's clearly a majority in this country that wants comprehensive immigration reform, there's clearly a majority that wants to see the DREAMers be allowed to stay, there's clearly a majority that wants to see these families reunited in this current crisis. That's what matters here and the fact is, I do want to say that there have been a number of prominent Republican voices that have spoken out in this crisis. There has been a number of faith leaders across the spectrum including faith leaders who happen to be more conservative politically who have spoken out. So, something is going on here that is different than the normal drawing of lines that we have seen too often on the immigration issue. I think that is what needs to be pressed right now is that there is a critical mass growing that says we have now entered an unacceptable place. The broken, larger policies have led us as a nation, as a government to do things that just aren't moral and don't reflect the values of this country. And I'll tell you on the final question alone, this is a nation literally founded by people fleeing religious persecution. And how many of our ancestors, especially as New Yorkers we know this, were fleeing oppression or poverty or persecution? And now to see our government trying to turn away people who are fleeing violence, it just doesn't fit with our American values. And I think it's drawing out some real profound anger in people that is the kind of thing that actually leads to change. Lehrer: I also want to say something about the racism that I see here. And for you and I having a conversation as two white men right now, I wonder what your take on this is? It seems to me, this is not something I could prove with statistics or anything, but history suggests that if this was white children being separated from their families, the country would be way more up and arms than it is right now. When it's brown kids, it's easier to look at this for many people, for too many people, as kind of an abstraction and there isn't the same response. Mayor: I have two feelings when I hear that. The first is, there is no question that you are right, the entire Trump project literally began with the attempt to paint Mexicans and Latinos as the other, as something negative and lesser which is horrifying on its face and it's particularly horrifying given that in a few decades this will be a country that the largest ethnic group with be Latinos and we should be proud of ourselves as Americans, as Americans proud of all of our people, and it's self-hating ultimately to be so negative towards our Latino brothers and sisters. So there is no question what the President has tried to evoke here is a sort of creation of the great other. And unfortunately you know, that's something that has not been fully addressed in American society and culture. And you're right that people in the majority still don't feel enough connection to people who are not like them. But that said on the other side of the spectrum I think this is powerful. Again when you see this kind of moment, something definitional is happening here. This kind out outcry – and it was a sufficient outcry that backed the President down immediately in terms of him feeling that he had to do the executive order even though I don't believe the executive order ends the issue by any stretch. But the outcry was profound – the outcry was clearly across all demographics. It may not be universal but something happened here that drew out a different kind of emotion from people across the spectrum and I think that is something to be celebrated. I think for a lot of people they say this as a human imperative that these kids must be brought back to their parents. A lot of Americans did not react based on race or nationality. They say it as a human reality. And that shows something good about this country. Lehrer: What do you make of Melania Trump's trip and her question in the clip we played just before you came on about how to reunite the kids with their families. Is there a federal mechanism that you know of and is there a New York City one that you can control or influence? Mayor: Well you know, obviously it's surreal that the First Lady of the United States is asking the question rather than demanding that her husband give us all the answer. By the way, very striking that previous First Ladies gathered together and played such an important role in this, in addressing this crisis. But here, I think is the core of this, the executive order by the President did not answer the fundamental question – how and when will these families be reunited? We don't even know the actual number. We're assuming now it's 2,000-plus kids who have been taken away. But given that so much of this is happening in the dark, it could be a much greater number. The mechanism, I think, is pretty straightforward. The federal government took these kids. They can reverse the process and bring the kids back to their parents but we have no guarantee they're going to do that. Repeated efforts by the City of New York to get clarity about where the children are, who they are, what they need, how they will be reunited with the parents – we're getting no real answer. So, what we're trying to do is create the legal support both for the kids and the parents and that's literally thousands of miles apart. So, we're working with folks down at the border to get legal help for the parents while we're making sure the kids have lawyers here to hasten that process of individual reunification in the absence of any real policy. But I'm very interested in this point, Brian, that no one took the bait the other day. The President signed the executive order and I can tell you the Republican mayors I was with at the border yesterday, none of them saw that as sufficient nor did the Democrats. No one, it seems to me, fell for sort of a non-answer to the question. Everyone is demanding an actual plan with actual deadlines for reuniting. And if the federal government won't do it, we're going to try and do it case by case to help these kids get back to their parents. Lehrer: Do you have any more of the demographic breakdown of the children brought here, first of all, the total number of kids in New York in this situation, and how many from which countries, how many boys or girls, what ages, anything like that? Mayor: Yeah, I have some of that. So, I was at the center in East Harlem and I, again, want to commend those folks there at the Cayuga Center and the other nonprofits that are just trying to help these kids. They are – and I think people should really understand that. This is a broken federal policy, blame the federal government. Don't blame the social service providers who are trying to help the kids under adverse circumstances. So the folks at the Cayuga Center were very forthcoming, very open and transparent, took me to a classroom. There, for example, about 30 or 40 kids, almost all of them from Guatemala. I would say they're mainly in the age range of like six to ten years old. But what we heard overall – so, this is absolutely Central American kids, almost no Mexican kids despite again so many strange stereotypings going on out there. It's Central American families that fled what is obviously a very violent environment, tragically. It is all kids in the case we're talking about now who were taken from their parents. So, some people have said, oh is this unaccompanied minors? No. At the center in East Harlem, the 239 kid were there that day, almost all Central American, all of whom were taken from their parents, most – not teenagers, younger than that. That's what I think we're seeing all over and the numbers at this moment in the city, we know in addition to that center there are two others so we don't have an exact number but I would assume we're talking 300-plus kids in the city at this moment. Some came in after the executive order was signed and we're literally trying to get the federal government to just give us those basic answers so we can provide the right support and make sure these kids are being cared for properly. Lehrer: Rough ratio of boys to girls, any idea? Mayor: Well, the classroom I saw was pretty mixed. I didn't see a lean one way or another but we don't have the overall numbers. Lehrer: Why from New York – or, rather, why to New York from so far away as a decision on where hundreds of these kids should be relocated when their parents are probably somewhere near the Mexican border? Any idea? Mayor: Yeah, I do have an idea and it points out how arbitrary and ad hoc this whole policy was. Now again, this is kind of classic Trump and classic Jeff Sessions. And Jeff Sessions has an almost feral hatred of immigrants and it kind of begs this fundamental question like who are these people that hate immigrants and hate our immigrant traditions so much that they forget that their own ancestors came here often under very humble circumstances. So, this was thrown together, this family separation policy with no preparation for trying to figure out where kids would go that made any sense. And so what happened according to the folks in the Cayuga Center, it made sense, was that there were not a lot of places near the border that had this ability as organizations to provide the social services and provide a setting for these kids or had enough foster care placements. That's something that's more typical in bigger cities. And I mentioned the case of this young man, Eddie from Honduras, nine years old. Here's a classic example. His mom and he were in Eagle Pass, Texas – that's 2,000 miles from here. He was taken from her, put on a bus with a federal escort to go 2,000 miles into a country he knows nothing about, and put into a foster family here, and no idea when he's going to see his mother again. That is because they didn't have – the federal government did not have other alternatives ready. They didn't have a plan. They didn't apply this policy once they had a plan. They just applied the policy arbitrarily and it's going to keep being like this until they reverse the policy fully and say family reunification has to be done on an urgent basis. Otherwise they have no choice but to send kids thousands of miles away. Lehrer: I gather the Trump administration also did not tell the embassies or the New York consular offices of Guatemala or the other countries where the children originally came from that they were coming to here. Is the City working with those consular offices that exist in the city in any way to identify and reunite the kids? Mayor: We work with them on many fronts and we certainly will on this as well but they're as much in the dark as we are but more importantly they don't have any agency here, unfortunately, to have an impact. The real – the impact we can make is through our own legal system which is still functioning despite the many efforts of Trump to undermine our democratic process. The courts have been often the corrective. So, it's getting both parents and children lawyers and using the legal process to force the question of reunification in the absence of a coherent federal plan. Lehrer: Listeners, I apologize that I'm taking so much time with the Mayor, myself, today before we get to you calls but this is a unique situation. We're in this child care crisis where thousands of kids, what many of you probably agree is a moral crisis, a moment of moral crisis in our country and New York has become one of the central locations where this is taking place and obviously the Mayor is involved. And I'm going to ask you one more question before we go to some calls and that is – we have many listeners no doubt who would like to help these children in one way or another while they're here. I see you're suggesting donations to something called the Mayor's Fund. So, what's that and what else can people do as individuals? Mayor: Yeah, the Mayor's Fund is our umbrella city charity that helps, among other things, in times of crisis. For example, it played a very big role in helping folks in Puerto Rico after the hurricane. So, anyone who wants to donate to help these kids who are here now, can call 3-1-1 or go online nyc.gov/fund. Right now, what's needed most is financial support for these legal services to help reunite these kids and for the organizations that are providing the kids with direct help right now. There appear to be enough foster parents available now but again we don't know where the situation is going. At some point there may be a need for more foster parents as well. So, New Yorkers have been very generous as usual in response to this crisis and that's a way that people can help right now. Lehrer: And one last thing, our reporter Beth Fertig has been talking on the air about how the presence of protesters, even though they're at some of these facilities to support the children, may be doing more psychological harm than good, that various politicians and groups are still planning protests outside facilities that take the children but lawyers say the protests and the presence of police that the protesters attract is extremely frightening to the children – Mayor: Yes. Lehrer: Do you think people should continue protesting at these sites or back off and pick other locations? Mayor: I would urge everyone, pick another location. I mean the good news here is that voices of protest are being raised all over the country. So, there's no absence of activism on this issue. I think what people are doing is nobly intended but let's get away from those centers. There have been threats to those centers which I understand what people are feeling but it's absolutely backwards to go after the people who are trying to help the kids and yeah, we have had to put up police presence to protect people who work at the centers and the kids themselves. So, yeah, let's separate protests. Focus it on the government agencies that are doing this. They're really easy to find. Go focus the energy there. Let's give these kids some peace. Lehrer: James in Manhattan, you're on WNYC with the Mayor. Thank you for your patience. Question: Hello? Lehrer: Hi, James. You're on the air. Question: Hi. Thank you for taking my call. Mr. Mayor, I'm calling because I am a disabled New Yorker and I have been trying to get help for a very long time and not been successful. And I [inaudible] nobody has returned my message and that was many months ago. And I'm calling because I'm in a very bad situation in terms of accessing services. And I'm wondering if you can put me in touch with somebody specifically who can help me? Mayor: Yes, James, I'm very sorry for what you are going through and I'm upset to hear that the Office for People with Disabilities did not respond, that's unusual and I don't know why that happened and we'll make sure that's fixed immediately. Please give your information to WNYC and I will have someone get with you today, right away, to see how we can help. Lehrer: Khadija on Roosevelt Island, you are on WNYC with the Mayor. Hello Kadija. Question: Hi, Brian. Hi, Mr. Mayor. Thank you for having me. My question is that I really appreciate your outrage about the 239 kids that were in the East Harlem facility and it also happens to be about the amount of kids who continue to be remanded into New York City foster care. And my question is what protections are being put into place for the families that find themselves labeled at-risk by the metric base management that David Hansel is implementing since he became Commissioner? And in particular share the concerns that Gladys Carrion expressed at the May 2016 White House Hackathon that predicted analytics and the child welfare system that exclusively serves black and brown children in families, will be widening the net under the guise that we're trying to help them, and she was concerned about how it would stigmatize them. So I was wondering if you could just speak a little about how your outrage about the ICE deterrent removal policy translates to our City's foster care system. Mayor: Khadija I appreciate the question and you're raising a very important point of how do we make the right choices about foster care and what to do with a child, in many cases, unfortunately, that might be in some distress or danger in our own city. It is always – it's literally an individual decision each and every time how to handle those cases. I'm not familiar with the predictive analytics question to be straightforward but I do want to emphasize to everyone that there are real checks and balances in any decision about whether a child needs to go into foster care starting with our Administration for Children's Services but also the court system's involvement so there's an independent element of the court system playing a role in these decisions. I would like to note, foster care has been greatly reduced in recent years and that is something that's actually a good thing happening in our society, there's been a real effort of course to keep families together whenever that can be done. But, at the same time some families go through real trauma and breakdown, some kids are in real dangers, you know, foster care is something we need to have when we need to have it. But I think the bigger trend, the bigger reality is, it's something that is being used less than it was just a few years ago and we want to, particularly with preventative services and other approaches, to help families in place. We want to find ways to support a family when they are in crisis but we have to retain the option that if the crisis is too great, and the child might be in danger, foster care always has to be a fallback. Lehrer: Pat on Staten Island, you're on WNYC with the Mayor. Hi Pat. Question: Hey, good morning. Good Mr. Mayor. Good Morning Brian. Lehrer: Hi Pat. Question: [Inaudible] caller. I met the Mayor at the Staten Island Open Borough Hall. I discussed Vision Zero and how come there hasn't been a single social media post about people driving with cell phones mounted on their windshield and handicap tags hanging from their mirror? It literally costs zero dollars to make people aware that driving with things on their windshield is illegal and dangerous. How come so much talk about speed cameras and we can't do a simple thing like that? And also every school in New York City should have a raised crosswalk. Europe does it, Morocco does, they do it all over the world, raise the crosswalks. Not speedbumps, just enough to get the pedestrians six inches higher, it doesn't make sense. Spend the money on things that can be done in the immediate, short-term future. Lehrer: Mr. Mayor? Mayor: Well I remember – I remember Pat from the open house at Borough Hall in Staten Island and I think he is making a really good point. The raised crosswalk point is a very interest one, I'm not an expert on transportation design, but that's one that I'm going take back and see if that is another piece of what we need to do. It – you know, I want to be clear since we're in the middle of this crisis in Albany on the speed cameras, we've got to get a resolution on this. Speed cameras around schools have been really outstanding in terms of protecting kids' lives and protecting them against injury. There's been real facts here, 60 percent reduction in speeding around schools because of the presence of speed cameras. Right now it all comes down to the State Senate. The State Senate has to come back and follow through on this issue. The Assembly has already passed the legislation related to speed cameras. If the Senate doesn't act, a lot of kids are going to be in real danger, so the Senate has to come back and deal with it. To Pat's point, I'm going to pursue the raised crosswalk idea too. I think it's a very interesting one. On the question of the cellphones – we really are trying to crack down on folks texting while driving, that's becoming more of an imperative for NYPD in terms of enforcement. It – some things, I followed up at the time, I know there are some ways you can mount cells in a car appropriately. There are others are not, including for for-hire vehicles. I'll follow up on that Brian and have a more detailed answer for next time. Lehrer: Pat thank you for your call. And of course it's not an either or, it's not all the things that he raised or speed cameras, what would you say about the failure of the State Legislature before they adjourned for the year this week, to not only expand the number of speed cameras around schools, but even renew the existing program? Are you going to have to take them down at the end of July? Mayor: Well, let's be really clear the State Legislature has two houses and the Assembly did everything that was necessary to protect the people of New York City and they dually passed legislation to continue the speed cameras we have and add new ones and protect a lot more kids. It is the State Senate that has failed to act and the Senate has to come back and pass that legislation. It's as simple as that. It would take them a matter of hours to get it done. I think this is becoming a really big issue. Particularly the parents of the family members who've lost loved ones to traffic crashes have really made their presence felt on this issue. But it's another example of one where public consciousness has grown intensely the last few years. People want to see their kids safe, their grandchildren safe, they want to see these school zones protected and I think it would be appalling if the Senate doesn't act and we have, you know, another month or so for this to get resolved, but it shouldn't take that long. It should just come back and pass the obvious legislation to protect our kids. Lehrer: Let me follow up something from last week's show before we run out of time. We had a caller representing Success Academy charter school students trying to get middle school seats at the P.S. 25 building in Bed-Stuy, and you said you'd see to it that they get a meeting with a high level Education Department official right away. This morning I got an email from an advocate for that group saying nobody from the DOE has reached out and beyond that it describes about how a bunch of parents from the school went to a meeting on Wednesday night of the school system's Panel of Education Policy, controlled by you, and the email says the board went into executive session to discuss the closure of P.S. 25, they came out and made no announcement. After the meeting two Success people tried to approach a PEP member and Chancellor Carranza and were prevented by security from introducing themselves. This says this how PEP meetings usually work, non-transparent, closed behind – behind closed doors, what can you tell those parents? Mayor: I'm not familiar with the details, but I can say the history has been very clear. PEP meetings often go very long. There is a lot of public dialogue. This Chancellor has gone out of his way to meet with parents, including from a number of charter schools, he said very clearly is ready to meet with folks from Success Academy and tour their facilities. So I don't know what specifically happened but I do know what normally happens. And look, of course we want these parents – these parents, they, you know, they are part of our school system too. Their kids are part of our city, part of our schools. We want to address their concerns. I don't know why the follow up meeting didn't happen, I'll tell people again today it needs to happen. But as I said last week, put aside my philosophical difference with Success Academy, a lot of times the message you get from the communications apparatus of Success Academy doesn't, in our view, speak to the facts. We've consistently provided space to charter schools except where there was a specific policy, reason, or logistic, or legal reason where we thought it wasn't appropriate, and we're going to stick to that, making decisions, calling them as we see them. I don't know the nuances here, but I will again make sure that that meeting is set and if the folks who are reaching out to you, Brian, will – if you will help facilitate, I'll have my team follow up with you today and make sure that meeting happens immediately. Lehrer: Thank you so much, and Mr. Mayor thank you as always. Talk to you next week. Mayor: Take care now.
Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 5:29am
Kristen Shaughnessy: Mayor de Blasio and other mayors are visiting a tent city in Tornillo, Texas. Tornillo is a small town near the Mexican border south of El Paso. That camp is where immigrant children are being held after being separated from their families. The Mayor is joining us now to talk more about his visit. Mr. Mayor, we appreciate you spending some time with us this afternoon. Mayor Bill de Blasio: Absolutely, Kristen. Shaughnessy: We have a bit of a delay and we’ll work through that but first of all you had tried to go with other mayors to the tent city. Were you allowed in? Mayor: No, Kristen. We had a group of about 20 mayors, Republicans and Democrats, some of the biggest cities in the country attempting to go in and understand what’s happening here with these kids. We represent millions and millions of Americans. We were turned away just like senators and Congress members have been turned away. I mean, this is America officially but when you think about what’s happening here, it feels really un-American that the federal government is not allowing elected officials nor the media to actually see what’s being done in our name and with our taxpayer dollars. What’s powerful here is they have a group of – a bipartisan group of mayors say we are not going to stand for this policy. The executive order is not enough. We need these families reunified. We need fundamental immigration policy change and you see a lot of energy on the ground. And the fact that it’s bipartisan makes me hopeful that something powerful could happen here. Shaughnessy: First Lady Melania Trump is also nearby. She went to a detention facility to speak with officials. Your thoughts on that and your message to her. Mayor: Look, the past first ladies played a profoundly important role here also on a bipartisan basis. They acted as consciouses for this nation. I think that’s one of the important reasons that the President started to back down, was the voices of those leaders. We don’t know enough about what our current first lady is doing but we, certainly, I’m hopeful that she’s been a positive voice. It seems to be the case. I’m glad she’s visiting the center because it hopefully suggests that there’s some real attempt to understand what’s happening to these human beings, to these families, to these children. And I think, Kristen, part of what’s so important in this moment – it feels like a defining moment that a lot of Americans are looking at this across party, across faith, and they’re feeling something very human here that these children matter to all of us. And it’s making people ask the question, why are we continuing a broken set of policies. So, yeah, I’m happy the First Lady is doing that because I think it’s helping to – all the first ladies are helping to get this back to a question of morality and humanity rather than politics. Shaughnessy: I want to turn now to what’s happening here in the city. Can you definitively say how many children are here that were taken from their families at the border, brought to New York City? And also do you believe there may still be others here who are just not accounted for yet? Mayor: Absolutely. First, the most fundamental problem – the question is a great question and I wish I could give you a perfect answer but we have asked the federal government, we have asked HHS, homeland security to give us answers to these very questions we’ve asked. We’re not getting answers. We’re going to keep demanding them. I think the pressure is mounting for the federal government to come clean. How many kids are they? Where are they? How are they being cared for? When will they be reunified? Here’s what we do know, Kristen. Yesterday we discovered 329 kids were being supported by a single social service center in East Harlem. They, at night, sleep with foster families, foster homes. 329 during the day at one center along getting service, support, education. All of them – literally all of them came to New York City because they were separated from their parents under the family separation policy that just started in May. Now, that’s one center. We know there’s at least two others in New York City and we’re going to visiting them – our Health Department, our Administration for Children’s Services – to get the numbers there. We know in that first center in East Harlem that 350 kids have been there over the whole course of the last two months under family separation. So, 329 – I’m sorry 239. I did that backwards. 239 now, 350 total since the policy began. And we know that some came in last night. So, we’re piecing it all together but certainly hundreds and hundreds of kids in the last weeks and we have no reason yet to believe that that’s going to change. Shaughnessy: So, you’re saying the access – or the cooperation, I guess, that you’re still not seeing from the federal government is an issue. Where are you getting your information from and has the federal government kind of eased up and is sort of working with you a little bit better over the last 24 hours? Mayor: I have not gotten an updated report for today. I hope that is the case. Even with differences with the administration politically, we still work with the federal government every single day on a whole host of issues on a very professional basis. Something like this, I can certainly from dealing with previous federal administrations, Republican and Democrat, it would have been impossible for them to withhold this kind of information. No one would have accepted it. They would not have thought it was appropriate to withhold this kind of information. This is something we should all be worried about when the media can’t get information, local officials, members of Congress, everyone’s being stonewalled. Officials are not allowed into these centers. We’ve never seen anything quite like this. But we’re going to really push again to get that information. Where we are getting cooperating and help, Kristen, is from the non-profit providers like the Cayuga Center in East Harlem. They worked with the City in a whole host of other issues as well. They are our partners. They were absolutely forthcoming yesterday with me and my colleagues about how many kids are there and what’s happening. And they took me to see the kids. They were absolutely willing. It’s the exact opposite of what we’re experiencing here at the border. At the center in East Harlem, they said come over, come to the classroom, see these kids. I saw 30 or 40 kids from Guatemala and the teachers who are there trying to do their best to help them. And it was heartbreaking to see these kids thousands of miles from their parents putting on a brave face and trying to do the best they could. Shaughnessy: Let’s talk about your travels now. You went to Texas but we’ve got hundreds of kids here in the city. It’s important for you to be here. So, when are you coming back and why the decision to go to Texas instead of staying here in New York? Mayor: Well, both were important, Kristen. I went to the center in East Harlem yesterday and addressed the people of this city and the media about what was happening that was literally breaking news for all of us to find out the sheer magnitude. And think about this, the policy has been in place for weeks and weeks and no information from the federal government. We had to find out almost by accident the sheer extent of what was going on in New York City. Now the New York City government is working that center and the other centers to makes sure those kids get physical health support, mental health support, legal support, whatever it’s going to take. And we’re going to try and do everything we can to help them get back to their parents. But there was something important to do here. The fact that mayors from all over the country, a bipartisan cross-section of mayors from this country, leaders from all over the country were gathering here to demand an end to all these policies. More than just the executive order – an end to zero-tolerance, restoring the asylum process that’s been a part of our country for generations of getting the reunification of all these thousands of kids to happen quickly. President Trump – his administration made no commitment as to how and when those kids will be reunified. We’re putting pressure on it in a bipartisan basis to get that done. So, this is the focal point right here in Tornillo, Texas. This is where the eyes of the world are right now. It was important for mayors around the country to show our unity to get this change to happen. Shaughnessy: Alright, let’s talk about when you’re headed back here and what you’ll be doing as you get back here and also how New Yorkers can help. Mayor: Well, Kristen, I’m coming back in a few hours. I’ll be there this evening. I’m in constant touch with my team and job-one is to support the kids that are in New York City, the hundreds of kids that are there now, to work with these social service providers, again, make sure they have the physical health support, mental help, legal support. And then we’ve got to get the bigger answers and try and force the bigger changes including a real plan to reunify these kids. So, my team’s on that right now. Hopefully, by tomorrow, we’ll have more answers and a clearer game plan. Now, New Yorkers do want to help and it’s something beautiful about New Yorkers that they’re kind and compassionate. We all as New Yorkers – the greatest city of immigrants – we all can understand what it means that people who are trying to flee violence and oppression, our ancestors did that. So many of our ancestors, as well, went on that same path so New Yorkers are immediately saying, “How can we help.” We’re going to set up through 3-1-1 a system where if people want to offer any kind of support that would help these kids that they’ll have a way to do that. Since this is a situation we’re literally just getting the information on in the last 24 hours, it’s going to take a little time but hopefully by tomorrow we’ll have that up and running where anyone who wants to help can do that through 3-1-1. Shaughnessy: Okay and just what would you say to New Yorkers. As you said this information has been coming in fast and furious. The decision to go to Texas – you have your critics who say you should be here in the city because we have hundreds of kids who are separated from their families, and they need someone to be watching out for them. Mayor: Yeah, that’s – people need to understand that if we want solve the problem we have to put pressure on this administration for change and this was a way to do it. Gathering with a bipartisan group of leaders from around the country to demand this change and to bring attention to what’s happening and to not let the executive order be an excuse, it may be a small step in the right direction, it doesn’t solve the problem. So Kristen, I understand those criticisms, I would ask people to remember that we’re trying to solve the actual problem, we’re trying to go to the root cause not just put a Band-Aid on it. I got a team, a great team of professionals, health professionals, Children’s Services professionals. The NYPD is also helping to make sure all those centers are protected because unfortunately some misguided folks were angry at the social service providers. They’re not the ones who created this policy. They are actually trying to help these kids. There were some threats towards those centers. I’ve been coordinating with Commissioner O’Neill and Chief Monahan to make sure they get the protection they need. So the whole City team is on the case doing everything we can to help these kids, but we need to change the policy. We need to get our federal government to change and that is done by bringing together voices of people from around the country, particularly in way we don’t see enough of on a bipartisan basis. That was what was happening here. I’m absolutely convinced this was the right place to be to actually get the change we need. Shaughnessy: Mr. Mayor, we appreciate your time, we will see you back later tonight in the city. Mayor: Thank you, Kristen.
Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 5:29am
ika Brzezinski: With us now, just back from his trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Mayor of New York City, Democrat Bill de Blasio. What did you see and what are your reflections on where we are at right now? Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, you said it before, I saw something un-American. I saw our government taking kids from their parents and then not letting any of us know what’s going on. And what’s so interesting, when you go down there it is literally a remote location, a government facility, where no one is allowed access which should be eerie to Democrats, Republicans, independents alike that the media can’t see, that elected officials are not allowed in. But I will tell you on the silver-lining side of this, Mika, the outcry here which has been profoundly bipartisan – I was down there with a group of 20 mayors, Republicans and Democrats alike saying this is broken and we need a whole different approach obviously to immigration in this country. I see some silver-lining here in that people are coming forward in moral outrage and wanting to see American values in how we approach immigration, and wanting to see American values in terms of how we approach these kids. And also no one took the bait. It’s very interesting. The President did the executive order with the big signature and I think he thought that would be the smokescreen and everyone would go away. No one took the bait. Everyone said rightfully this isn’t over until all these kids are back with their parents. Brzezinski: Even his wife didn’t take the bait. Melania Trump flew to the border and she asked some questions. She wanted to know how children were doing, how they’re going to be reunited with their families. Melania Trump wants to know how her husband is going to reunite these children with their families, and I hear that for some children it may not ever be possible that this could be extremely complicated. But since the First Lady herself is asking, are we getting any answers? Mayor: No, of course. There’s no plan. Look if the President wanted to acknowledge the error of his ways he should have put forward a plan at the very same time and say, in the next 30 days, next 60 days – whatever it is – we will reunite all these families, here’s how. What is actually happening, Mika, and we’re seeing it in New York City with the hundreds of kids who come here is we are working with the social service providers who are taking care of these kids to get these kids lawyers, to get the parents thousands of miles away lawyers so they can actually navigate the process of reuniting as a family. The federal government is not doing it. We all, in cities around the country down at the border, are trying to get these families back together. But they don’t have any guarantees. They don’t have any legal representation. Brzezinski: And it’s incredible, Jonathan Lemire, that the First Lady is asking questions that there are no answers to. The First Lady of the United States is asking the President, where are the children, how are they, how are they going to be reunited? She goes in public and this is embarrassing for him because he has no answers. We’re not getting any. She’s not getting any. Jonathan Lemire: It’s emblematic of the federal government’s just utter lack of control of the situation. So, Mr. Mayor, you alluded to it. New York City, thousands of miles from the border is now playing a role here. How many – couple quick questions – how many children do you believe are here? When did they arrive? Was the City government given any kind of notice that that was happening and what happens to them now? Mayor: Jonathan, you’re going to be shocked as I was to hear the answer is there was no notification, no facts have been given, no plan has been given. Let me give you one example that’s so powerful. At this center in East Harlem, there’s a young boy named Eddie. He’s nine years old. He’s from Honduras. His mom and him fled a very violent situation, seeking asylum. He’s taken from his mom in Eagle Pass, Texas 2,000 miles away, put on a bus with a federal escort, sent to New York City. No sense at all, for him, when he’s ever going to see his mom again. I mean this is happening in this country. You talked about un-American. How on Earth are tax-payer dollars going to separating mothers from children and then there’s not even a semblance of accountability as to when it ever ends? So, no, we were never told there were kids in our city. We found out – I found out by going to the center directly, sitting down with these social service professionals who are trying to help these kids. It absolutely blew me away. I said how many are here now because of the policy that started in May, the family separation policy? With absolute straightforward – they looked me in the eye and they said, 239 kids at that moment were in that center. And that’s one of three centers in New York City. And now what we’re seeing around the country is, and I talked to my fellow mayors Republican and Democrat, they’re now finding – what they thought was they had no kids, it turns out they have dozens, they have hundreds. None of us have been given the facts. So, we’re demanding of the federal government, lay out exactly where they kids are, who’s taking care of them. What kind of help are they getting? When will they be reunited with their families? And not a single clear answer yet. Brzezinski: Wow, we don’t even know if they’re okay. Unknown: They put them on a bus [inaudible] imagine that. Mayor: And we don’t know if they’re okay. In fact we do – and the health providers and social service providers are telling us this, that these kids [inaudible] of us. If you’re a young child separated from your parent, the kind of trauma you go through alone is horrifying. Also, they physically, they unfortunately because they were in government facilities with lots of other people, some came with bed bugs or lice or chickenpox. It’s incoherent. It’s inhumane. Now, again, what I appreciate [inaudible] of this crisis is what we’re seeing all over the country is people are feeling something very human, very direct, and intense about American values right now and are speaking up across the spectrum. This has in some ways brought out a feeling that maybe other outrages and crises didn’t. There’s a demand now for change that’s powerful and what I also appreciate is the bipartisan nature of it. I am seeing a lot of powerful Republican voices including my fellow mayors who were at the border with me yesterday, who are saying this transcends party. Brzezinski: It does. Mayor: In crisis, we may see something very healthy that people – arm-in-arm, literally, we were literally Democrats and Republicans standing next to each other in literal common cause. Brzezinski: The President has manufactured a crisis that is a nightmare for little children. Mayor Bill de Blasio, thank you very much. Mayor: Thank you.
Friday, June 22, 2018 - 6:26am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: You’re seeing something right here at the border that you haven’t seen enough of, a gathering of leaders who look like America, Republican and Democrat alike in common cause. Even in this moment of crisis, there’s some seeds of hope here because all of us believe that change is needed and all of us want to be part of that solution, and we can talk to each other and we can hear each other. Mayor Margo is right. I thank him and everyone for being here because the change has to happen on the ground in this country. It has to happen in the hearts of Americans and it has to happen because leaders decide we won’t tolerate an inhumane situation anymore. So, you’re looking at some bipartisanship right now. You’re looking at some purpose. We came here to tell the American people there is that hope. Let’s be honest that the pain that brought us here, the pain of knowing that children were taken from their mothers, the pain of knowing that they don’t know – those kids don’t know when they will see their parents again – the pain of knowing our government will not tell us the truth. We’re going to go over there, all together, representing cities from all over this country and we fully expect, tragically – we fully expect to not be told the truth, we fully expect to be turned away the way senators and congressmen have been turned away just trying to get the honest truth about what’s happening to these children just as all of you have been doing. It’s painful for all of us who believe in America and believe in democracy. It’s painful that I had to find out in my own city yesterday – I walked into a center, a social service center in East Harlem, to find that 239 children, who were taken from their parents under the family separation policy, had been sent 2,000 miles away and they don’t know when they’re going to see their parents again. I walked into a classroom – almost 40 young children from Guatemala trying somehow to find some normalcy, their teachers trying to help them. These kids have been traumatized. These kids are suffering physically and mentally. A young boy named Eddie, nine years old from Honduras, taken from his mom at Eagle Pass, Texas, put on a bus to travel 2,000 miles to New York City. Think of how broken that is and our government didn't even tell us it was happening. But I’ll finish on a point of hope because there are those moments when you can feel the dams breaking and the change is coming. And what you see around you is an indication of that. The President retreated today, has not solved the problem. We’re all saying that. Zero tolerance still exists. That’s breaking an American tradition of respecting people fleeing oppression. The families are not reunified. We don’t know when they’ll be. We’re going to fight for that but the hope is that people are demanding a change and it cannot be ignored. And if it won’t happen in Washington, we will make it happen.
Friday, June 22, 2018 - 6:26am
Cal Perry: I’m joined by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Sir, thank you very much for the time, I know you have come a long way. I want to start first with that video that we saw from New York about 24 hours ago, young girls being walked through East Harlem – what is your reaction to that and how does that happen without your knowledge? Mayor Bill de Blasio: Cal, it’s shocking. I mean we are talking about hundreds of kids who have been brought to New York City 2,000 miles from here with no sense of when they are ever going to see their parents again. There’s no plan, there’s no transparency. We, you know, we stumbled upon the information – it’s the honest truth, because the folks who were trying to help these kids, the social service providers, were willing to tell us the truth but the [inaudible] is not telling us the truth. And I went into this center in East Harlem and I saw a classroom of 30 or 40 kids from Guatemala and they are right now – they are putting on a brave face but they have been put through a traumatic experience. These kids have been torn from their mothers, torn from their families, they are 2,000 miles away. Some of them are put there as a kid – nine-year-old boy from Honduras named Eddie who was put in a bus to go 2,000 miles to New York City with a federal escort and he has no idea when he’s going to see his mom again. This is un-American if anything was. Perry: The kids here are in a similar situation, they are trapped between the old new executive order and what happened yesterday and we don’t know what’s going to happen to them. I saw when you arrived you sort of walked the perimeter – Mayor: Yes. Perry: You took a look, what are your thoughts and what are you trying to accomplish today? Mayor: We are going to demand access and in America public officials should be allowed to see something payed for with tax payer dollars. This is being done in our name, we deserve to see it, you deserve it to see it, the media, to tell the American people what’s going on. The notion that this administration has turned away U.S. senators and Congress members who are just trying to do their legitimate constitutional oversight role, there’s something really big here and a bigger problem of why will the government not tell us how many children are there? Where are they? When are they going to be back with their families? And if you care about democracy you should care about what’s happening right here. But also from the New York City point of view, hundreds of kids have been sent already, we need to make sure that they are taken care of and we need to make sure there is a plan to get them back together with their parents. Perry: Hallie I know you wanted to jump in and ask the Mayor some questions before I let him run. Hallie Jackson: Yes Mayor, thanks for coming on. It’s Hallie Jackson up here in Washington, so let me ask you a couple of things. We learned in the last couple of minutes here that in McAllen, Texas, not too far from where you are, some families that had crossed the border illegally are now being held together. They are not being separated from their kids. Is that to you – I want your reaction, is that a sign of progress, do you believe, is that a signal that this executive order is doing what it was intended to do, reversing the President’s policies and letting families stay together? Mayor: Hallie, if they are letting families stay together, that’s a step forward. Here’s the problem, thousands of kids who are separated right now, no plan to get them back together and zero tolerance is still the policy. So folks seeking asylum – and this is an American tradition to let people fleeing oppression, a lot of whom where our grandparents, great grandparents – give them a chance to prove that they belong here. This zero tolerance policy does not allow for that so yes, maybe it’s some small progress but we need much bigger answers here. Jackson: Very quickly Mayor, of the children that you just talked about, the ones who are now in New York City that were brought to New York City in that shelter in East Harlem – how many were children that came across were unaccompanied minors when they came across, in other words they crossed the border alone versus kids that were actually separated after they crossed the border from their parents? Do you have that break down? Mayor: I do Hallie and it shocked me. 239 kids separated under the new policy , this family separation policy just from the last couple of months, 239 who were with their parents last few weeks, were taken from their parents, sent to New York City. None of them were folks, you know kids who came up here on their own. They were all taken from their parents just because of this new policy and again they don’t know when they are going to see their parents again. Jackson: And Mayor, before I let you go, you talked about the importance you believe of public officials being able to come in a see these facilities for themselves. The Department of Homeland Security, others – there will be the criticism from those who say this is just a political stunt essentially. How do you respond to that criticism? Mayor: Hallie, this is about basic democracy. The fact is – this is something that the American people care about, how are these children being treated? How is our money being spent? Is it being spent in a way that we would feel comfortable with or not? That’s what public officials are supposed to ascertain. There’s something earie about a government agency saying we are not going to let the media in and we are not going to let public officials in. That would [inaudible] it, I’ll tell you that much. New Yorkers would never stand for that, I don’t think Americans anywhere would stand for that. So there’s a bigger problem here. That’s why we have a bipartisan group of mayors who have gathered here to say this needs to solved, we need comprehensive immigration reform, that’s the big solution. But on a bipartisan basis we are saying we cannot have our government withholding this information from the American people. Jackson: What makes you think your message is actually going to be effective to the President of the United States? The New York of Mayor, you know your perception there in the White House, why do you think your voice is the one that is going to get through to the President? Mayor: It’s all of our voices Hallie. First of all, obviously the voices of people all over this country, including a lot of faith leaders and that’s been a powerful piece of this – faith leaders, liberal and conservative alike speaking out clearly got through to the President but the fact that it’s a bipartisan group here today, about 20 mayors, Republican and Democrat, all parts of the country saying this is an American consensus. By the way most Americans want these families reunified, most Americans want the DREAMers to stay, most Americans want comprehensive immigration reform. This is about actually bringing the voices of people forward. We are just the vessels but the fact that this is bipartisan should give the President some real pause. Jackson: So to those who say hey, what’s the Mayor of New York City doing on the border? You say? Mayor: I say that we have to solve the problem. It’s come home to New York City, as you just heard, hundreds of kids being sent to us. We don’t know how many more to come. But because of what it means for the country as a whole – what the Trump administration is trying to do is obviously denigrate immigrants and denigrate people who have been historically part of this country are now being treated like the other, like something separate, something worse. From a New York point of view, we are the greatest city of immigrants. And we are proud of that and we think it’s part of what has made New York strong and America strong. I’m here to stand up for those values and my fellow mayors are too. And Hallie, the big news to me is it’s increasingly bipartisan, it’s increasingly with those faith leaders, I think a bigger change is coming. Jackson: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City thank you very much for joining us live on this show.
Friday, June 22, 2018 - 6:26am
“The failure to preserve and expand life-saving speed cameras near New York City schools represents a massive failure of leadership. Kids will be in danger. Kids will lose their lives. The State Assembly majority has shown the way with their expansion bill. Senate Republicans haven't done their job until they pass the bill, which has majority support. Our families now need the Governor to do all he can to aid its passage and sign it into law. The Senate must return next week to keep our children safe.”
Friday, June 22, 2018 - 6:26am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: … everyone who works here knows that a group of mayors from all over the country came here on behalf of our millions and millions of constituents to know what’s going on, and the fact is this is our federal government denying access, not allowing information – and it’s not American, it’s crazy. They’ve turned away senators, they’ve turned away members of Congress, I’ve never seen anything like this. These are public facilities payed for with taxpayer dollars. How on Earth are we not allowed to see what is happening to these children? So it’s astounding and it feels really un-American. It feels like something from a different place and a different time but it’s happening right here. Question: Did it surprise you? Did it actually surprise you to see that gate sliding closed as you approached? Mayor: Yeah I think – you know, there’s no surprise that the whole country is paying attention here. Everyone here knows this. The people in charge here know this. There’s no surprise that a group of 20 mayors from all over the country came here to try and get answers on the behalf of our constituents and it’s affecting our cities too now. So the notion that they don’t even want to talk to us, they’re not even going to give us any information, they’re not to tell us what’s happening to these kids is unbelievable. Question: Well did it have the look of a planned response? Mayor: There’s no question it’s planned to shut down information, to stonewall, to keep people out who are trying to get the truth. I mean – you know, I said yesterday in my city we found out we had 239 kids that the federal government had not told us about. Obviously they are denying access here, it makes no sense, it’s not fair to the taxpayers. Unknown: We’re going to open it but we – we just ask you all to – to [inaudible] and also don’t cross the boundary because this is federal property because – [inaudible] – you are already on federal property [inaudible] but we’ll allow you guys to stand right here. I don’t – we’ll open the gate, we just don’t want to be overran by media, so if you guys could do us a favor and just stay on that side, we’re going to open the gate. We have to let outbound traffic out. Mayor: Okay, is there someone, sir, that is you or someone else to talk to about an opportunity – Unknown: Wait – wait a minute sir. Mayor: To see what’s going on, is there someone here to talk to about – Unknown: Sir, to my knowledge everybody is unavailable. Yes, sir. Again, we provide security here at the port, but that’s all we are doing here. Mayor: I appreciate what you’re doing, I know you’re doing your job but I think it’s amazing to me that we got 20 mayors from around the country trying to get answers, just would be good if someone would come forward to talk to us. Unknown: Yes, sir. Mayor: Thank you. Unknown: Thank you, sir. [Inaudible] Question: Mayor de Blasio, what do you hope to accomplish here that you couldn’t accomplish in New York? Mayor: The same thing my fellow mayors hope to accomplish, to jolt the situation. We have got an unacceptable situation here and we’re talking on the behalf of millions and millions of people and saying the status quo can’t hold. And look, what’s happening in Washington isn’t changing fast enough. We’re trying to show the American people this is a situation that does not represent our values and our constituents don’t accept it, and we need change. So the notion is, bring it right here to where the problem is and show people that this is unacceptable. Look at the notion – my constituents are outraged that we’re not being given honest facts. Question: Right, and I’m one of your constituents, I’m a reporter from a paper back in the city, so my question is have you learned more about the 240 kids that they found in East Harlem? Mayor: Just what I told you yesterday and we’re waiting now for answers on how those 239 kids are going to be reunified with their parents and we’re going to try to support them and their families in every way. Question: [Inaudible] do you know who they are? Mayor: That’s what we’re literally in the process of doing right now. What we can do for them is make sure that they have legal support, if there’s any way we can provide legal support for their families, we’re going to do that to help them get reunified. We want to make sure the mental health services and the physical health services are there for them. The social service providers are trying real hard but they’ve never seen numbers like this before, so our Health Department is in there, particularly on the mental health angle. These kids have been traumatized, imagine any child torn away from their mother and father. So we’re going to do everything we can to help them and to push for their reunification with their parents immediately. Question: Are City health workers being let in to the [inaudible] facility – Mayor: The facility has been very receptive. The Cayuga facility, a non-profit that the City of New York works with, they want to work with us, they want the help. They’ve been receptive, they’ve been telling us the truth, they’ve been offering answers. The federal government is not doing that. Question: [Inaudible] not being let into see, what does this say about the administration and their handling? Mayor: It’s not American. It’s – I – you know, it’s crazy that, you know, again this is a taxpayer-financed facility under federal control, it’s not normal in America to turn away public officials. It’s not normal to turn away the media when you’re trying to simply get the facts of what is going on. And when you talk about the fact that it’s children alone and there’s real health and safety issues, it becomes even more of a problem. I’ve never seen anything like this, I’ve never seen the government say to elected officials, you can’t even look at what’s going on. This is something people should really worried about. Question: What does President Trump needs to be doing now – what does President Trump need to be doing now? Mayor: President Trump needs to reunify these families and he needs to get rid of the zero-tolerance policy. Those are the two fundamental immediate things and then congress needs to pass comprehensive immigration reform. People are demanding it, there’s obviously a bipartisan consensus in this country [inaudible]. Question: And it’s a huge problem that these kids are now separated how could that possibly – how can they be reunited now? Mayor: They can be reunited if there’s the same – the same energy that was put into separating the families can be used to reunite the families. It can be done. [Inaudible] Question: [Inaudible] Facebook Live feed [inaudible] Mayor de Blasio [inaudible]? Mayor: It’s just appalling – appalling that anyone who is here on behalf of millions of people wouldn’t be invited to see what’s going on. What are they hiding, why are they hiding, why are they breaking the norms of any kind of democratic [inaudible]. Question: Have you gotten any assurances from the feds [inaudible] 239 – Mayor: No, we’re waiting for information and assurances, that’s the whole point – Question: There was sources telling the Post that there might be more kids on the way, has anyone notified City Hall about that? Mayor: That’s what we’re demanding, answers, and what’s happening to these kids and if there’s going to be any more? Question: Yeah, and just one more off-topic? Albany took away – Mayor: No, we’re not going to do off-topic right now.
Friday, June 22, 2018 - 6:26am
Stephanie Ruhle: Welcome back, and please turn up the volume for this. As parents wait to hear if they will be reunited with their children, there's also a question of where are the children located? According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the children are being housed in approximately 100 shelters across 14 states, and they are flown across the country from Texas to California to Connecticut and right here in New York, where just last night migrant children arrived at LaGuardia Airport. Some of them have arrived with me on my flight. Joining me now, First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray. Ms. McCrain – McCray, excuse me, walk us through where they go? I was on the plane with some of these kids. And when were we arrived someone came to the gate and said, "the UMs," "the UMs," "the unaccompanied minors," and they collected them. Where do they go? First Lady Chirlane McCray: Well, we know that some of them are staying with foster families, they're licensed foster families, and attending school during the day and they go through Cayuga Center in East Harlem. But there is so much that we don't know. We don't know exactly where they're staying, we don't know how they're being cared for in terms of any medical conditions or mental health conditions that they may have as a result of this horrific separation. Ruhle: Why don't we know? I know the Mayor tried to go to the facility in Harlem last night. First Lady McCray: That's right. Ruhle: Did he get in? I was just in Texas and we couldn't get access to anything and that's what has me concerned. First Lady McCray: Not one of us is satisfied with the information that we've received, which is really no information about where these children really belong, where their parents are. We just don't know. Government leaders should not be in the business of separating children from their parents this way. We know every parent, every expert, every health care professional knows that this could have irreparable harm to this these children. Ruhle: Now that we know they are separated though and they're in let's say these facilities in New York City, are we able to get inside? Are we able to know which kids are there? First Lady McCray: No. Ruhle: Why? First Lady McCray: Why? I think there is a total disconnect. Obviously leadership thinks that these children are not human, that they are other, that they are different from us, they do not feel the pain of these children. And that allows them to treat them in this heartbreaking way. It's just – you know it's just hard to understand. Ruhle: Even if you didn't care about who they were emotionally, from a logistics and a financial standpoint, logistically, how do we track them? Does New York City – is New York City notified when we get a group of these kids? Do we know that they are now here and if zero-tolerance is being reversed is there a process in place to get them back reunited with their parents? First Lady McCray: Well, first of all, we didn't know. We had no idea that those children were there. So obviously we were not notified. And the zero-tolerance policy is not being reversed. They're just nibbling around the edges. Cleary they cannot keep children locked up with their parents indefinitely. So we really don't know what's going on. Ruhle: So is there nothing that New York City can do? They're in our town now. First Lady McCray: Yes. Ruhle: But it's the federal government that brought them here. Because it's a federal issue, is there nothing we can do to help them? First Lady McCray: We are doing everything that we can. Again as we receive information, as we tend to those children who are under our care, if they come through our Health + Hospitals we will find out more. Of course we will do everything that we can. But there is a lot of mystery surrounding these children. Ruhle: And that's what we're trying to solve for. It's not about a political agenda, it's about the welfare of children. And I think we can all agree that the welfare of kids, it's a priority for everyone. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining me. First Lady McCray: Thank you.
Friday, June 22, 2018 - 6:26am
Poppy Harlow: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says at least 239 children are being taken care of at one of those facilities in Harlem. More could be throughout the city. He toured that Harlem center yesterday, was appalled at what he found out and what he saw, and he joins me now from the U.S.-Mexico border. Mr. Mayor, thank you for being here. Mayor Bill de Blasio: You’re very welcome, Poppy. Harlow: We’ll get, in a moment, to why you’re at the border and what you’re going to do there today but just tell me what you saw in this Harlem facility. Mayor: Poppy, it was shocking. Here’s a social service facility in the middle of New York City. We had gotten no notification from the U.S. government that children were being sent there from 2,000 miles away, separated from their parents, sent to some place they didn’t know, no connection to. I went in there yesterday to inspect the situation. The folks who work there, the social service workers, are trying to help these kids. They told me there were 239 kids, right that moment, in that center in New York City. No one had any inkling of the scale of this. And I went to visit a classroom – about 30 or 40 young children from Guatemala separated from their mothers or parents, trying their best to make sense of the situation. It’s appalling and we have no idea how many kids we’re talking about when they’re going to see their parents again. Harlow: What is the condition? I mean just to be clear, are all 239 of those children, children separated at the border because of this policy? Mayor: Yes, this was all – Harlow: Okay. Mayor: All of these kids were taken from their parents because of this new family separation policy of the Trump administration. And they’re all from the southern border. So, they were all sent 2,000 miles. There’s a young boy, nine-year-old boy from Honduras named Eddie. He was at – taken from his mom at Eagle Pass, Texas, put on a bus with a federal escort to go 2,000 miles to New York City, has no idea when he’s going to see his mom again. I mean think about the trauma – Harlow: And the conditions? Mayor: – of what’s happening to these kids. Harlow: The conditions. I mean, what did you see in terms of their physical well-being, their mental state? Mayor: The folks who work there were trying their best to help these kids and I admire – kids are so strong and resilient but here’s the problem, they’re experiencing mental health challenges and trauma because of the separation. There’s also physical health challenges. The health workers there were telling us these kids, because they were held in group facilities when they came across the border, some have lice, some have bed bugs, chickenpox, all sorts of contagious situations. And you know, just think of the chaos of all this, both what the kids are going through emotionally and mentally but also you know kids who unfortunately contracted some kind of disease and they’re being sent to where a whole bunch of other kids are. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Harlow: So, tell me why – I mean you travelled from New York down to Texas, down to the border today for a specific reason. Why and what are you trying to see? Mayor: Poppy, this has to stop and a group of mayors have gathered here from all over the country – and I want to emphasize, a bipartisan group, Republicans and Democrats, small cities, big cities – who all are saying in unison this policy has to stop, the executive order is not enough. We have to end the separation of families and we have to reunify all these families who have been torn apart. And we have to go back to actually respecting people seeking asylum. It is an American tradition for literally 200-plus years of people who come here fleeing oppression. We have to restore some real decency in the asylum process and of course we need an actual comprehensive immigration reform. This is becoming a bipartisan consensus on the ground all over this country. We are going to as Mayors fight together to actually be acted on in Washington. People have gathered here at the point of contact to say this is no longer acceptable to the American people, what’s happening here. Harlow: So, as you know, the administration would push back on that – and DHS – and say, look, the asylum seekers who do it the right, legal way don’t get separated, right, and they go through that process. These are people that tried to legally – to cross over. Are you trying to get into some of these centers down there, Mr. Mayor, that are holding these children and if so, have you been permitted access because Democratic Senator Bill Nelson just told me that he tried to get in the Florida center and they said no. Mayor: You know, up at the center in New York, the folks who work there, it’s a non-profit organization, they were welcoming, they were transparent, they were open. We’re going to see in a few moments when all the mayors gather here whether we’re given that same respect and that same transparency. Look, when our government is holding people particularly children and won’t allow public officials to see, something is wrong right there. There is no accountability here. It’s a dangerous situation. So, we’re going to go in – a group of us mayors – and demand access. I agree with you. Senators and Congress-people have been turned away and that should bother all Americans. Harlow: It sounds like, according to Senator Nelson, they were told you need to give us two weeks’ notice before we’ll let you in. So, it’s not that they’re not being let in, it’s two weeks’ notice. You’re shaking your head. I understand you want to see it right away, understandably there’s also privacy issues. But do let us know if you get in. Let me just talk about compromise. That is the operative word but it’s the word that is missing on Capitol Hill because even if this compromise – Republican bill makes it through the House, no one way it’s going to make it through the Senate and it doesn’t look like it has any Democratic votes. What do you think – and you don’t have a vote in this, you’re not in Congress – but what do you think your fellow Democrats in Congress, Mr. Mayor, should give on? Should they fund the wall, for example, to protect DREAMers and to end the family separation? Mayor: Look, I think the big answer is to go for comprehensive immigration reform and we all understand there’s going to be compromises in that process. But here’s what’s interesting Poppy, and this is why mayors are gathering because the grassroots have to really be felt here, the current reality in Congress is they prefer not to act for a variety of reasons. The American people, it’s pretty clear, they want comprehensive immigration reform, they want the DREAMers to be able to stay, they want these families reunified. That’s the framework right there [inaudible] – Harlow: But should Democrats fund the wall to get that? Mayor: Of course, there’s going to be compromise. I understand that – Harlow: Should it include money for the wall? Mayor: It needs to be a comprehensive immigration reform. Here’s the bottom line, it needs to be a comprehensive immigration reform. The notion of trading one small piece for another and not solving the problem, misunderstands what’s going on with this crisis. We’re having a moral crisis right and actually most people in this country [inaudible] fundamental moral crisis addressed in a comprehensive manner. They can deal with compromise. We can all deal with compromise but we don’t want to nickel and dime it. Let’s actually solve this challenge and come up with a comprehensive immigration reform. Harlow: I think everyone who makes these decisions should think, “If those were my kids, what would I be doing?” Mayor Bill de Blasio, thank you. Please let you know, will you, if you get into the center.
Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 5:20am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Alright. Okay. We’re here for what is unquestionably a celebration and something that makes us – all of us here feel very good and very proud about New York City, that we’re going to announce something that will allow parents to be together with their babies at the beginning of their children’s lives. That is a beautiful thing. But before we talk about that, it’s impossible not to talk about what’s happening at the border of this country right now and all of us are feeling. I want to thank all my colleagues because everyone agreed that this topic has to be addressed upfront. Right now, children are being ripped away from their parents in this country by our government and what’s happening is so painful and it’s starting to get eerie and to suggest very, very dangerous things. We’re now hearing about these ‘tender age shelters’ – they’re calling them ‘tender age shelters’ – coming up with such a polite name for something so disgusting and troubling as pulling away babies from their mothers. We have to make sure that we understand that each one of these children is a human being with a name and a family and a story, and we cannot let the efforts to dehumanize, which are clearly being done by the administration in Washington – we can’t let that infect the rest of us. We have to tell the stories of these children and really respect their humanity. I want to tell you about one of these children. His name is Eddie. He is nine years old. His mom is detained in Texas right now. I spoke to his aunt yesterday, his Aunt Crystal. And she is worried sick about Eddie. His grandmother is worried sick about Eddie. His mother, in detention is worried sick about Eddie. And they can’t see him and they don’t know what’s going on with him and they don’t know what his future is. Weeks ago Eddie and his mother left Honduras from a situation they felt literally was endangering their lives to seek asylum here in this country. The journey was dangerous but they were fleeing an even greater danger. And the one thing Eddie knew was, he had his mom by his side and that continued until the moment our government took him away from his mother. So, that was at the border almost 2,000 miles from here. He was put on a bus and sent almost 2,000 miles to New York City with no family member. When I spoke to his aunt yesterday, she talked about heartbreaking that was, how terrifying that was for a nine-year-old child. The sad fact is Eddie is literally of countless children because we’re not getting any honest reporting about how many children are being treated this way and where they are and what’s happening to them. We don’t even know how many are in New York City. We know some are for sure but we don’t even know how many. We have reached out to the Trump administration asking for these answers and have not received them, and it’s our job, all of us, to say this is not America. This is not what we believe in as Americans. We’re not going to stand for this. We’re not going to stand for our government literally withholding the truth about children who are in danger. All of us have to ask ourselves when we see children kept in cages and divided because of their race and their background, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to stand idly by? Are we going to fight? Are we going to protest? Are we going to use everything in our power to change it? I will promise, and I know so many of my colleagues here feel the same thing – I will promise to do all in my power to address this situation including what’s happening here in this city and as some of you know, last night, a group of children was being shuttled in the dead of night into an intake facility in East Harlem. We still don’t know the facts about those children and who they are what’s happening to them. We do know that Eddie’s family says he was held in that same facility in East Harlem and immediately after this gathering, I am going to go that facility in East Harlem to get answers for the people of this city. Just want to say something very brief in Spanish to all of those who are watching this in shock and dismay and are feeling solidarity with these families and especially to the families themselves – [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] In English – my heart is with you, our city is with you, and all New Yorkers are with you. So, thank you everyone for giving us all a moment to think about this issue and now I will take us back to what we originally came here to do. And we’re going to talk about a very important step forward for our families here and there is no one better to start this gathering than Jennifer DiBerardino, who is a kindergarten teacher at P.S. 204. Welcome, Jennifer. [Applause] [...] Well done, Jennifer. Jennifer’s son is going to have a wonderful blessing of you being there in the very beginning of his life. He’s also is going to have an educator at home and he’s off to a great start. And I want to say, our teachers – everyone knows there’s no one who does more to shape the future of our city than our teachers. And we honor for them that and in fact we have spent the last four years focusing on showing the respect of this city and the appreciation in this city for all of our educators, something that didn’t happen enough in the past. But we also know that the most important job – and I say this as a proud parent – the most important job for all of us who become parents is that of mom or dad, it is our number one responsibility, it’s the number one focus of our lives. And that’s why Paid Parental Leave makes so much sense. It’s always made sense but it makes even more sense in the 21st Century where people are working so hard and such long hours and struggling to make ends meet. It’s a fundamental matter of fairness to make sure that people have this opportunity. In 2015, we extended Paid Parental Leave for 20,000 City workers and started the process which has led us to today and will lead us beyond today as more and more of our employees will have the opportunity. We are proud to announce, all of us together today, that starting in September on the first day of school, 120,000 members of the UFT employed by this city will be able to take up to six weeks of Paid Parental Leave. Congratulations to all. [Applause] And this covers birth, it covers adoption, or foster placement of kids under six years old. I just want to say a real thanks to everyone who was involved in this process. There was some real work that had to go into it and a lot of negotiation and detail but people came together and did a great job getting us there. I want to thank from the City, First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan and our First Deputy Budget Director Ken Godiner. And I want to thank the CEO for Labor Policy at the DOE Larry Becker – all of you, for your hard work. I want to thank, before I turn in a moment to some of the key players in all this – I also want to thank the City Council members who are with us here today who have been very supportive of this policy and always supportive of our educators. And I saw the Chair of the Education Committee, Mark Treyger, thank you, Mark. And also believe we have Council member Adrienne Adams, Council member Peter Koo. There he is, there they are. I’m looking left, you’re to the right. Yes, and Council member Justin Brannan. Thank you so much. And Council member Steve Levin. Results are coming in. Did I get everyone? [Laughter] Alright. The other thing I want to say is – and we had a gathering last night at Gracie Mansion with parent leaders – I said to them what I feel fundamentally, parents are the first and last teachers of our children. And when it comes to our educators, their first responsibility is to be the greatest teachers in the world for their own kids. And this is going to give us a chance to really help them do that, and I have no doubt it will also help us to continue to improve our school system and to benefit 1.1 million New York City school children. Just a few words in Spanish – [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that, and I want to also give tremendous thanks – Michael Mulgrew, his whole team. Again this was a process that took some real work but everyone kept working at it. Michael, thank you for your strength and your perseverance, and thank you for standing up for your members so that we could get to today with a great result for everyone. Michael Mulgrew – [Applause] [...] The team at the Office of Labor Relations has been – seems to be working nonstop for four-and-a-half years on so many things. This was a high priority, took a lot of work, but another great victory, I would say, Bob Linn, and for you and your whole team. You brought forward another example of great progress in this city. Commissioner Bob Linn, Office of Labor Relations: Thank you, Mayor. I am extraordinarily proud to have reached this historic agreement with DOE and the UFT for Paid Parental Leave for UFT represented employees. I want to thank especially Michael Mulgrew. We’ve worked together long and hard to achieve this. We have yelled at each other a little bit – [Laughter] Didn’t yell at each other a little bit too. I want to thank Larry Becker for all his work on behalf of the DOE. He’s the Chief Executive of Labor Policy at DOE. We collaborated and worked closely to reach this important agreement. As I said, a number of months ago, in New York City where collective bargaining is so strong, the place to resolve an important issue like this is at the negotiating table between labor and management. Through collective bargaining with the UFT, we were able to reach an agreement that will provide this incredibly important parental leave benefit. We did it in a way that was fair to the works, fair to the city, and fair to the taxpayers. We worked hard. We worked together. And I think, in New York, we showed that public sector collective bargaining can indeed work. I thank everyone that was involved. I think we’ll talk about the specifics later on but it’s been an extraordinarily tough effort and I really appreciate reaching yes. [Applause] Mayor: Amen. Well, one of the things I always say about our Chancellor is that he has an important distinguishing feature. He is an educator and I believe our Chancellor should always be an educator. And as an educator he understands how important it is for the people to do this hard work to have this benefit. So this is a great day for the Department of Education. Chancellor Richard Carranza – [Applause] Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza: Thank you Mr. Mayor. I am incredibly happy to be here today. Quite frankly, Mr. Mayor, I thought at the end of President Mulgrew’s comments, he was going to say now go forth and multiply. We’ll take the enrollment. [Laughter] Mayor: Always thinking ahead. Chancellor Carranza: It’s all about strategic planning. All kidding aside, this is a monumental day for us here in New York City and when we think about Equity and Excellence and what that means to us, we are now creating, if you think about this, truly, the pathway to the fairest big city in America. And I want to echo all the congratulations to Mr. Mayor, you, for your leadership. I want to thank also Mr. Becker on the Department of Education’s team. I want to thank Mr. Linn. But I also want to thank el presidente, Mr. Mulgrew, and it’s important because these were tough conversations, they were tough issues, but we stayed at the table, we were able to see a path forward. And what I am so proud about in the City of New York is that now we will have children literally from birth having their best first teachers, their parents, being able to be with them and at the tender age of three we are going to hand them off into our 3-K program, and then they are going to move to our pre-K program, and then as you’ve seen a great example of one of our kindergarten teachers, we’re going to take those babies and we’re going to love them, and they are going to be the smartest, highest performing kids in America. Right here in New York City, right here in New York City. [Applause] You know as a teacher, almost 26 years ago, I did not have paid parental leave. So I had to make the very difficult choice, and luckily my spouse was able to stay home and take that time, but we had to make the choice, what are we going to do? So to be in the educational space at this point in my career to see that my colleagues in the classroom will no longer have to make that difficult choice, but will be able to do what we’ve asked them to do is be with their children, be their first teachers, get them started right until they hand us to the 3-K classroom, is very gratifying, I’m very excited, and I’m very, very supportive of this initiative. As a parent this is personal. As a Chancellor, as your Chancellor, this is very personal. And as a New Yorker I’m incredibly proud because it is personal. [Chancellor Carranza speaks in Spanish] [...] Mayor: I’ll just conclude with a thanks to all of the UFT members. Also I see we’re joined by Council member Helen Rosenthal, Laurie Cumbo. Welcome both of you, thank you so much. But to the UFT members, the point Michael made in the beginning, like so many things that change in the world and improve in the world, it comes from the grassroots up. So, the members fought long and hard and I want to thank you on behalf of the city. It was a good fight and a fight well fought and a fight that you won for the right cause. Thank you, congratulations. [Applause]
Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 5:20am
NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, Office of Labor Relations Commissioner Robert Linn and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza today announced an agreement to provide six weeks of paid parental leave at 100 percent of salary for 120,000 UFT-represented employees – including all New York City public school teachers. Paid parental leave will be available for the birth of a child for both birth parents and non-birth parents and adoption or foster of a child under the age of 6. Birth parents will be able to combine their current paid sick leave provisions with parental leave for up to 12 to 14 weeks total. It is estimated that more than 4,000 new parents will use this benefit annually. The benefit will begin on September 4, 2018. “No teacher should have to come to school sick because they’re saving their sick days to have a baby,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “That’s not fair to our teachers and that’s not fair to our students. Today, we right that wrong and make the city a little fairer. We were at the forefront of paid parental leave policies when we announced the benefit for managers in 2015 and now we build on that legacy, extending it to 120,000 more New Yorkers who can plan for their families knowing they’ll have the support of their employer.” “As we have said for months, in New York City where collective bargaining is so strong, the place to resolve parental leave is with the unions, at the negotiation table. Through collective bargaining with the UFT, we were able to reach an agreement to provide this parental leave benefit – and we did it in a way that is fair to workers, the City and taxpayers,” said Robert W. Linn, Commissioner of the Office of Labor Relations. “We worked hard, we worked together and we showed that public sector bargaining can indeed work. It’s a crucial way to deliver a resource that allows new parents to balance the great work they do while caring for a new life.” “As a parent, I can’t overstate how important it is for new parents to have the opportunity to care for and bond with their newborn. As Chancellor, I’m proud of this major step forward that gives teachers the security they deserve to take care of their own families without having to worry about losing a paycheck,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “Today we’ve shown that New York City is dedicated to ensuring our tireless and committed teachers have a strong support system.” “Our educators give so much to the children in their classrooms. Now, New York City has a way for educators to spend more time with their own children. I give credit to Mayor de Blasio. He knew this was important for our city. No mayor before him was willing to do it, but he got it done,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “Teachers are parents too, and they should be entitled to the same paid leave as any other working New Yorker. Giving teachers paid parental leave will not only be fair for them and their families but also fairer for their students and colleagues. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Carranza for coming to an agreement with Michael Mulgrew and the United Federation of Teachers so our teachers can finally get the break they deserve. Today is an historic day for our educators and I congratulate them on this victory,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson. Comptroller Scott Stringer said, “All New Yorkers deserve paid parental leave and this deal for our incredible public school teachers is a huge step toward that goal. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew for reaching a solution that will lift up more than 120,000 families in New York City. No parent should have to choose between spending their first precious moments with a newborn child and risking their job. No parent should have to run out of vacation and sick days to care for a newborn whose life depends on them. Finally, our public school teachers will no longer have to make those sacrifices. I commend this solution on paid parental leave and look forward to continuing this momentum until all New Yorkers have access to this fundamental benefit.” The contract covers all of the approximately 79,000 New York City public school teachers, plus UFT-represented school nurses, therapists, guidance counselors, secretaries and others. Eligible full-time and part-time employees may initially claim the benefit after being on payroll for a total of one calendar year. While on leave, they will be paid their full salary. The new benefit will come at no new cost to New York City taxpayers. The City will contribute approximately $51 million to the UFT Welfare Fund annually. This will be offset by extending the 2009-2018 UFT collective bargaining agreement by approximately two and one-half months, and fringe benefit and other savings. “It’s incredibly heartening to see New York City take the lead on paid family leave, and this important agreement will expand that benefit to our city’s public school teachers,” said Congressman Joe Crowley, Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. “Our city’s school teachers are often over-worked and underpaid, and paid parental leave will support them in educating the next generation of New York leaders. New Yorkers should also be reassured by the fact that this new benefit will come at no cost to our taxpayers. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and the United Federation of Teachers for striking this important deal!” “Paid parental leave allows families to grow and bond together in those essential first months of a child’s life or adoption without parents putting their jobs on the line,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “As a mother, former teacher, and author of legislation on the federal level to expand family leave policies, I know how important that time is for a child’s development and for a parent’s peace of mind. I am proud that the Department of Education and United Federation of Teachers are leading the way and putting some New York’s hardest workers, our public school teachers, first.” “I commend Mayor de Blasio on today’s announcement implementing paid family leave for New York City residents,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “It’s critical to implement laws that ensure individuals do not have to choose between their jobs and the health and well-being of their families. Today’s announcement will help employers establish important guidelines that will guarantee individuals have adequate time to care for themselves and their families without penalty.” “Parents need and deserve to be able to take time off to give birth and welcome a new child into their lives without having to make a financial sacrifice. They shouldn’t have to decide between taking care of a newborn or recently adopted child and job or income security. This policy will allow NYC public school teachers who become new parents to take up to 12 weeks fully paid to spend time with a new child post-partum or post-adoption. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and the United Federation of Teachers for negotiating this agreement and fighting on behalf of hard working teachers and their families,” said Congressman Jose E. Serrano. “As a longtime supporter of paid leave – and a former classroom teacher who has great affinity and respect for our educators – I am pleased to see this agreement. We should be supporting parents and helping people stay in the workforce. This is a win-win for families and our economy,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. "I sponsored the original paid family leave bill in the legislature for almost fifteen years and one of the leading groups in support was the labor movement, particularly teachers," said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education. "It is a very sweet moment to finally see an appropriate policy that will benefit teachers and their families. A good family leave policy teaches all our children that they are valued because we are supporting a healthy family work-life balance. Congratulations to Mayor de Blasio, UFT President Mulgrew and Chancellor Carranza on this important step forward." “Parental leave is a critical support for both parent and child, but far too often parents have to choose between their child and their paycheck. This is a particularly egregious situation to put teachers in because they give so much to our children, and yet we deprive them of the ability to take care of their own,” said Council Majority Leader, Laurie A. Cumbo. “Policies like parental leave are a part of advancing gender equity in the home and in the workplace, which is especially relevant for the UFT whose membership is 77 percent women. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, UFT President Michael Mulgrew, Office of Labor Relations Commissioner Robert Linn and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza for their announcement today of paid parental leave for NYC Public School Teachers and UFT-represented school nurses, therapists, guidance counselors, and secretaries. I look forward to continued partnership in finding ways to better support women and families.” "Our city’s public school educators dutifully care for our children each and every day, and I am incredibly proud that our city is finally going to ensure that they and their children are being taken care of as well," said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education. "As a former educator, I am excited that after months of advocacy, hearings, and press conferences, our teachers are going to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. This makes our city fairer and helps attract quality educators to an honorable profession in which we've seen a decline in teacher retention rates. I am grateful to UFT President Michael Mulgrew, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, and all of the educators, elected officials, and advocates that have helped make this critical agreement possible, and I commend Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to support the men and women who do so much for our city's students and families." "What a great victory for NYC public school teachers who will now have access to paid parental leave," said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Finance. "All parents should be able to care for their young children without sacrificing pay. This new agreement modernizes the existing paid leave policy, bringing equity and justice for same-sex couples, foster parents, those who choose to adopt children and many others. As a former NYC public school teacher and proud UFT member, I celebrate this progressive change." “Today’s announcement is great news for working families across our city,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Parents should never have to choose between work and bonding with their newborn. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, UFT President Michael Mulgrew, and Chancellor Richard Carranza on reaching this historic agreement. Parents should never have to choose between nursing a newborn and work.” “In New York City, we count on teachers to care for our children, and to help give them the tools they need to take on the world. Teachers deserve the right to care for their own children as well. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, UFT President Michael Mulgrew and the 120,000 New York City public school teachers who have been vocal about making paid parental leave a reality. This is a big deal and today is a big day,” said Council Member Justin Brannan. “Pregnancy is not an illness and should not be considered sick leave. Our dedicated teachers deserve to have the time to experience the joys and firsts with a new child without the anxiety of leaving their child too soon,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “Paid parental leave is a big win for the teachers of New York City. Thank you Mayor de Blasio and United Federation of Teachers for your diligent efforts to finally make paid parental leave a reality for all New York City Teachers.” “Paid parental leave for UFT employees is long overdue,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “As a former teacher and parent myself, I experienced and witnessed first-hand the difficult choice of going to work to feed your family and not spending more time with my daughter. Let us continue supporting our teachers and school staff so they can take care of our families while not neglecting theirs.” “This is a big win for New York City public school teachers today,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. “Parents shouldn’t have to choose between their families and their job. The United Federation of Teachers fought long and hard to ensure that not only teachers but also nurses, therapists, guidance counselors and secretaries can have the financial support they need as they begin an exciting new chapter with their families.” Council Member Debi Rose said, “Employees should not be forced to choose between paying their bills and recovering from childbirth. I applaud this agreement as a significant step forward for our city and a true reflection of our values. Offering paid parental leave to our UFT employees is win-win-win for all New Yorkers, giving teachers and other school personnel time to bond with their children, improving the health of young people and boosting morale in workplaces.” “Today, I am proud to celebrate paid parental leave for all New York City public school teachers, and I thank all who have fought to make this a reality,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “As a new father myself, I am aware of how critical it is for parents to bond with their children during such a formative time. I was fortunate enough to have been able to spend this quality time with my child, and am glad to see that this will now be extended to all New York City public school teachers. I look forward to continuing to work for paid parental leave for all City employees, and this is a huge step in the right direction.” “For too long, being a present parent has been treated as a nuisance by employers, either implicitly or explicitly. I’m heartened to see New York City allowing public school teachers and those represented by the UFT the time to bond and care for their children during those precious first days and weeks. One-hundred percent paid parental leave is something all workers should be afforded. Especially in the tragic light of what the federal government is doing to families at the southern border and across the country, it’s critical for this city to lead by example and demonstrate that families belong together,” said Council Member Francisco Moya. “I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio, United Federation of Teachers, and Chancellor Carranza for their efforts in securing 6 weeks of paid parental leave for New York City public school teachers, which can lead to up to 12 weeks of leave in total. Studies have shown that paid parental leave can lead to several benefits, such as reduced infant mortality rates, increased durations of breast-feeding, and improved mental health for mothers. As a mother who had to return to work when both of my sons were just three weeks old because of my workplace’s lack of a comprehensive leave policy, I am pleased to learn that teachers, guidance counselors, and school nurses – all of whom play a vital role in our children’s lives – will come to benefit from this much-needed agreement,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “All parents deserve the opportunity to spend quality time with their family,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Whatever your particular profession may be, parents should not be forced to take sick or vacation time, or worse, have no choice but to go back to work prematurely. That is not the New York City any of us wants. This announcement sends a strong message to our educators and support staff who work hard every day to provide for our children — we value and respect you and your family.” “I’m thrilled that New York City’s public school teachers will now be guaranteed paid parental leave,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “Our public school teachers work hard every day to take care of our kids, and they deserve the necessary time to take care of their own. I thank Mayor de Blasio, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, Office of Labor Relations Commissioner Robert Linn and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza for coming to this critical and needed agreement,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “We entrust our teachers with a tough job, taking care of and teaching our kids. We need to make sure they’re taken care of when they decide to have children of their own,” said Council Member Vallone. “I applaud this agreement which will provide paid parental leave for thousands more of our teachers!” “This agreement is another good step in our work to create and preserve equality in the workplace. Paid parental leave allows new parents the opportunity to bond with their child without risking their jobs or their livelihood and it is a critical part of our country's long term efforts to bring women into the workforce,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “I commend Mayor de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, and UFT President Michael Mulgrew for reaching this important agreement and I remain proud to be a part of an Administration that values working families.” "New York City public school teachers have long deserved paid family leave, and today's announcement is a major victory for working families. Every parent should have the opportunity to spend time with a new child. I commend the Mayor, the Council, and UFT for making paid family leave a reality for our city's public school teachers,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman. “I am thrilled about the announcement of this contract agreement for both its substance and its process. For years there has been a desperate need for reform and expansion of paid parental leave for New York City teachers, and I am delighted that through the process of collective bargaining a contract that will be a win-win for over 120,000 teachers as well as the City has been created,” said Council Member Andy Cohen.
Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 5:20am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: I'm joined here today – hold on for the train – I'm joined here today by our Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, our Commissioner for Administration for Children's Services, David Hansell, and our Commissioner for Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Bitta Mostofi. All of us are shocked by the images we're seeing from the southern border of children being separated from their parents, children being kept in cages, parents having no idea where their children are, or what will happen to them. We're all shocked at what we think is something happening far away, well I have to tell you I am further shocked to find out today how much this policy has now come home right here to New York City, and right here to this location. What we're seeing is something that is now affecting all of us and it means that children, not numbers, not nameless faces, people, actual children with names, with families, are having their lives disrupted right now. One of the children, I talked about him either, a young man named Eddie, nine years old from Honduras, he was sent here 2,000 miles on a bus to this location and does not know when he's going to see his mother again. This is one example, but here's what I am shocked to have learned here today, there are now 239 children right here as a result of the Trump administration's family separation policy. We now know and we're all understanding this as it's sort of coming in, wave after wave, that in the last two months this family separation policy has affected thousands of children. 239 of them are right here, right now, and this is just one of the centers in New York City. The folks here told us since the program began, over 350 children have been here, all because of the family separation policy of the Trump administration. These children are across a whole range of ages, the youngest to come here they told us was nine months old. So we're talking about children in some cases who literally can't even communicate, have no idea what's happening to them, no ability to be in touch with their families. These children are coming here and the professionals we met with made clear, that this has been a traumatic process for a lot of these kids. The mental health issues alone, they made clear to us, are very real, very painful. Imagine for any of us if we were ripped away from our parents and sent thousands of miles away, with no one we knew. These kids are suffering from that and they need mental health support. It's one of the things we talked to the providers here today about how the City, the Health Department, and others can provide that extra mental health support for these kids. The officials here also told us that these kids come with physical challenges, because they were held in detention, they come with the evidence of that. They've said that a number of kids have come with lice, have come with bedbugs, have come with chickenpox, physical diseases, and contagious situations that just make it worse for everyone else. Here's what I think people are feeling all over New York City right now, our message to the federal government is simple, stop this right now, stop this broken inhumane policy right now, and come clean with the truth. Who are these children? How many are they? Where are they? What is happening here? How is it possible that none of us knew that there 239 kids right here in our city? How is the federal government holding back that information from the people of this city and holding back the help that these kids could need? I want to say, in appreciation to the folks who work here in this organization, the Cayuga Center, that they were very forthcoming. They immediately granted the request for this delegation from the City to meet with them, they were forthcoming, they were transparent, they answered all our questions. We offered to help on physical health, mental health, additional legal aid, anything that they needed and these children needed, they were very receptive to those offers, and they want to work with us and we'll be doing the same with the other centers in this city. But I also want to say I've hear something very troubling on top of everything else that we're talking about here, that there have been threats directed against the people who work here. That's absolutely wrong and inappropriate. I want to make that very clear. I want to make clear that the NYPD will be involved immediately to protect these social service workers who are trying to help these kids. They didn't create the policy. They are trying as professionals to help these kids in distress. So it's misguided. If someone disagrees with the Trump administration, direct your energy there, do not direct it against people who are trying to help the children and we're going to make sure they are protected. Our job now, all of us, is to change this situation, to pound down every door, to protest, to do everything in our legal power, everything we can to break this policy, stop it, end it, and I think it is a moment of conscious that has very few parallels. This is literally one of those situations where our children, our grandchildren, are going to ask us what we did when the Trump administration took children, took babies from their parents, put children in cages. This is one of those moments where we're going to have to decide who we are as Americans and it's absolutely unacceptable and it must end. Because it's now come home to New York City, it's our responsibility to help these children, while we're working to fight to change the policy, it is our responsibility to help these children in every way we can and we intend to do that. Just very quickly in Spanish. [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that I will take your questions. Dave? Question: [Inaudible] the first thing that just brings out here, this figure of 2,300 [inaudible] that have come across the border, that has got to be extremely off and way low, if you got 239 just at this one facility. My second question is will these kids ever be reunited with their parents? Mayor: Well we have to make sure they're reunited. I mean, this policy is so fundamentally broken to begin with, that kids are being sent thousands of miles away from their parents – we have to change the policy, we have to fight to change the policy. We also have to make sure that all of these kids are reunited with their families. And to your previous point, I'm asking myself the same question. If 239 children are right here, right now, is it in fact that there's many more children that have been taken from their families than we even know? Henry – Henry, Henry? Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: So, without getting into intricacies of the federal government, the State government, the City government, everyone has different responsibilities. We were welcomed to be involved. So certainly, the Health Commissioner, the ACS Commissioner, are going to be staying constantly in touch and their teams with this organization and others, to make sure the children are safe and make sure that they have what they need. Yeah, go ahead? Question: [Inaudible] and second, what do you make of the President's executive order to end the separating of families [inaudible]? Mayor: I – look, this President has changed his mind on so many things, so many times, I will believe it when we see the results, when all these families are reunited. That's the simple measure, when every single family is reunited, then I will believe in the executive order. In terms of the children, I was invited to go to one of the classrooms. I'd say it was about 40 kids, overwhelmingly kids from Guatemala, and there was a group of three teachers working with them, and I want to give the teachers credit, I thought they were very compassionate and very warm, trying to work with the kids as best they could under very adverse circumstances. It looked like the kids were being treated very well but again these are social service providers. The images we've seen from the border are border patrol, ICE folks unfortunately involved in detention. These are social service providers. They, in fact, work with the City of New York on behalf of kids here too as well and I think they are doing their job but I have to tell you, I literally – after meeting with all the officials of the organization we went around a corner and were suddenly looking at the face of this crisis. Dozens of children sitting in a classroom. And what shocked me was the idea that this has all been happening without the people of New York City being told it by our federal government. Yeah? Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: We're trying to ascertain that because, like all of you, we're learning for the first time the extent of this in the city. This is an organization we know and we have worked with. The City of New York works with them all the time. And we have a good working relationship and we've seen them do good work but we want to monitor the situation closely here and at the other centers. That's what we can do as New York City. The bigger thing we have to do is end this policy and get these kids reunited with their families. Question: [Inaudible] make sure they're being reunited – Mayor: All of us have to create the pressure on this administration to not just sign a piece of paper but actually reunite the families. Question: Mr. Mayor, can you tell us if the children that are in there right now, where are they spending the night? What's happening [inaudible] class [inaudible] – Mayor: So, this is a day facility where they come for classes and services. The children are in foster homes, individual homes not in a dormitory. This is exactly the question I wanted to understand too. It's the exact reverse of what we're seeing at the border. And again Commissioner Hansell was telling me before we went in, ACS works with this agency on foster care for New York City as well. Question: Do you have an update on the children [inaudible] – Mayor: We're obviously not asking about individual cases but what we believe is that this is a group – this is part of the 239 children that are brought in constantly. Question: [Inaudible] Can the City do anything to prevent the federal government from sending more [inaudible]? Mayor: The challenge here – and this is what seeing this really brings up – we've gotta change the policy and not inadvertently victimize the children in the meantime. And this is something we're all trying to make sense of, seeing it now for the first time. There's no question these kids are getting support here. The bottom line is they should never have been taken from their parents. If they're still taken from their parents but not given the education and the support and the social services and the health care, that's even worse. So, we have to make sense of it. That's a very good question but I don't think we have a clear enough answer yet. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: They're better off in a place where they're going to get physical health care, mental health care, and support. But where they need to be is with their parents. So, it's a fair question but I think it gets back to the core of things. The worst of all situations is to take them from their parents. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Hang on a second, hang on. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Hang on, hang on, hang on. Okay. Question: [Inaudible] – Mayor: The federal government has not given us any information. We have asked for it. We have not been given the information by the federal government. This organization was open and transparent and told us about the 239 kids who are here now and that there's been about 350 total from the beginning. This is probably the largest one but we're now – our officials are going to visit the other organizations too. But what the federal government needs to do is come clean to the whole situation. They should tell the American people how many kids are involved, where they all are, how they're being cared for, and they should reverse the policy immediately. Last question. Question: How is it that the City of New York wouldn't know that hundreds of kids are coming in [inaudible] – Mayor: Because – Question: Does it not get checked [inaudible] – Mayor: No, it does not. This is regulated partly by the State and this is a federal contract. The bottom line is if the federal government wanted to work with this City and this State and the people of this city, they would have been transparent about this from the beginning. Clearly, this information was not provided on purpose and we had to go search for it. Again, I want to thank the folks who work here for being open and transparent. But now all of you should demand that the federal government should give the full facts not just for New York City but for the whole country. How many kids are there? Where are they? How are they being taken care of? And when are they going to be back with their parents? Thank you, everyone.
Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 5:20am
The public can nominate women, groups of women, or moments in women’s history starting today at NEW YORK—Today, First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and the Department of Cultural Affairs announced She Built NYC, a new effort to commission a public monument or artwork on City property that honors women’s history in New York City. The effort kicks off with an open call for nominations from the public which will run through August 1, 2018. During this time, New Yorkers can submit their ideas for how to honor the inspiring, diverse people and events that comprise the history of New York women. Visitors to can submit nominations of women, groups of women, and events involving women that significantly impacted the history of New York City. Nominated events must have happened at least 20 years ago; nominated individuals must no longer be living and known for an event, movement, or action that took place at least 20 years ago. “There are big gaps in our City’s public art, with few statues of women, trans and gender nonconforming people,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “The message that lack of representation sends is that these people have no value and did not make contributions to our city. This first step we are taking will help us more accurately show the diversity in the people who helped make New York City so great.” “She Built NYC puts women in their rightful place – on pedestals,” said Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing & Economic Development. “The people we celebrate in our public realm can either inspire young girls to dream big, or it can perpetuate the message that women have not contributed to society – something we know is untrue.” She Built NYC builds on the recommendations of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers to expand the stories, histories, and narratives represented on public property in New York. These representations have historically failed to reflect the trailblazing women that have contributed to the City. The Department of Cultural Affairs has committed up to $10 million over the next four years to commissioning new permanent public monuments and commemorations. “New York was made into the extraordinary city it is by people from all backgrounds who have come here to live, work, advocate, play, raise families, make art, and everything in between,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. "But this rich history is not reflected in our public spaces, where a story focused on a small group - overwhelmingly men - dominates. Starting today, I’m humbled and honored to be a part of the She Built NYC effort to tell a fuller story in the art and monuments on City property. This is just one more step toward creating a more inclusive public realm, and we invite all New Yorkers to share their ideas." In the fall, using submissions from the open call, an advisory panel with individuals representing a broad range of expertise and backgrounds will create a list of nominees for commemoration. The woman, group, or event that is honored with a monument, and which artist will create the monument, will be determined by DCLA and the City’s Percent for Art commissioning process. The subject and site of the monument will be announced in January 2019. Chair Pauline Toole, Commissioner, NYC Department of Records and Information Services Members 1. Amy Freitag, Executive Director, JM Kaplan Fund 2. Catie Marron, CEO, Good Companies 3. Harriet F. Senie, Director of the M.A. program in Art History and Art Museum Studies, City College of New York 4. Mabel O. Wilson, Professor of Architecture at Columbia University GSAPP 5. Susana Torruella Leval, Director Emerita, El Museo del Barrio 6. Kemi Ilesanmi, Executive Director, The Laundromat Project 7. Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education, The Metropolitan Museum of Art 8. Simi Linton, Co-Director of Disability/Arts/NYC Task Force (DANT), author, and filmmaker 9. Prerana Reddy, Program Director, Blade of Grass 10. Robina Afzal, Student, Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice 11. Janice Monger, CEO & President, Staten Island Museum 12. Elia Alba, Visual artist; exhibits internationally and has work in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio, Lowe Art Museum, etc. 13. Ahsia Badi, Vice-Chair Manhattan's Community Board Six; Senior Policy Associate The New York Academy of Medicine 14. Alessandra Belloni, Singer, Percussionist, Dancer, Author 15. Rick Chavolla, Chair, American Indian Community House 16. Ramona Hernandez, Director, CUNY Dominican Studies Institute & Professor of Sociology, The Colin L. Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership/Division of Social Science 17. Valerie Paley, Vice President, Chief Historian and Director, Center for Women's History, NY Historical Society 18. Cecilia Gentili , Director of Policy at GMHC "As we campaigned for the Women's Suffrage Movement Monument now planned in Central Park, the fact that shocked people again and again as we repeated it was that no real woman, present or past, had a statue or monument anywhere in the park's 843 acres," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Thank you to my partners at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund and to every single person who has raised their voice for women's representation in our public spaces. The growing movement for representation has led to exciting new projects like this one that acknowledge the gap and will further contribute to closing it." "New York State has a rich history of female leadership and women empowerment that dates back to The Woman Suffrage Movement of the 1800s. It is a shame that as a state we have failed for centuries to memorialize all that women have done for New York and for our country. But as the saying goes, better late than never,” said Senator Marisol Alcantara. “I applaud the city's effort to establish a Women's Monument Commission that will look into erecting monuments that present female leadership. While to some a monument may just be carved out stone, the symbolism behind this form our art can be extremely powerful to young girls. It is an opportunity for them to see who they can become in the future. I look forward to a working with this commission in ensuring that women of diverse backgrounds are considered for memorialization." "The story of New York City's success through the centuries has been the story of women's contributions. But too often that story has remained untold, particularly for women of color whose achievements were literally written out of the historical record. The time has come to redress that indignity and restore their vital contributions to a place of honor in our city." said Senator Roxanne Persaud. “This project will serve as a daily reminder of the resilience and success the women have strived for over numerous years . I am proud of the recognition and the impact these monuments’ presence will have on young women everywhere. Women are strong, women are powerful, and women must be recognized,” said Assemblymember Maritza Davila. “This is going to be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements, to uncover the amazing accomplishments of hidden figures and to inspire young girls and young women with the enduring strength and creativity of New York women throughout our history,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas. “The lack of women monuments in New York City has been a reflection of a time when women's accomplishments were undervalued and overlooked in favor of men's. The fight for equal rights and recognition for women continues today, and it is critical that the monuments in our city reflect our ongoing struggle for equality and female empowerment,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “I look forward to working with stakeholders and the city to celebrate and honor key historical women-led movements in New York City." “The City’s decision to commission statues and monuments commemorating important women and events in New York City’s history is long overdue,” said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte. “I am also pleased by the diversity and talent on the commission dedicated to this project which will ensure that whoever the commission honors will be worthy.” “For hundreds of years, women have helped to shape and lead NYC; now their work will finally get the public recognition it deserves,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “By honoring historically significant women, She Built NYC will present a more honest and inclusiveness picture of the history of our city and inspire future generations of women and girls to lead.” “The stories and accomplishments of women have been too often overlooked throughout history, especially in our great public monuments,” said Council Member Debi Rose. “Their stories should be told an their accomplishments celebrated, not only to give them the honor they deserve, but also to inspire future generations of young women. I encourage residents throughout the city to take a close look at the women who have inspired them in their own journeys and nominate them so that they might inspire others.” “On behalf of the Stanton and Anthony Statue Fund and our Monumental Women Campaign to break the bronze ceiling in Central Park to honor all the women who fought for the right to vote, I am pleased to congratulate the She Built NYC campaign on its new effort to honor valiant New York women in monument form,” said Pam Elam, President, Stanton and Anthony Statue Fund. and its Monumental Women Campaign. “As an all-volunteer group trying to raise private funds to create the first statue of REAL women in Central Park's 164 -year history, we know how hard it is to move history forward. We hope that NYC can lead the way in re-thinking the use of its public spaces to honor all those who have helped make our City great, especially women and people of color.”
Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 1:18am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you so much, Monique. I want to thank you, I’ve seen your work first hand and what you do to support young people in the community and to protect them and to create a positive atmosphere for them. And this is, I just want to say to everyone, this is very hard work and it takes a lot of patience and a lot of dialogue but you do it really, really well. I want to thank you for that and I appreciate what you’re saying that this announcement today is going to strengthen what you’re doing to help the community and protect the community and protect young people and answer some of those questions they have been asking. So, everyone, let’s thank Monique for the great work that she does. Thank you so much. [Applause] There’s a lot to talk about today but I just want to start at the beginning by thanking the two co-chairs of the working group that was put together to look at this very important issue. I want to thank Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison and NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing Susan Herman. And as we get into the discussion, we’ll turn to them on the specifics of the new policy. I want to thank also, from City Hall, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Liz Glazer, who’s played a really crucial role here as well. And I want to thank – I know we have some very important advocates and activists with us. I want to thank all of them for the good work they do. I know this is an important day for all of them who have been working hard for these changes. I particularly want to thank those involved in the Cure Violence Movement, Crisis Management System which is having a really big impact in communities around the city. Thank you so much for all you do. [Applause] This really gets to the fundamentals. Four years ago we all made a promise to the people of New York City that we would heal the wounds of the past, that we would bring our communities together and get safer at the same time. It was very important to recognize that a lot of what we have been told proved to be wrong, that there was a different way to do things, and that we had to heal. We had to look for a better path. And in fact a lot of what had been done in the past was making it harder for us to get safer because communities and police did not have the relationship they needed. And our young people did not have the kind of dialogue with police that we needed them to have. This is an important step because this comes out of four years of having a different conversation between our police and our communities and of looking for different solutions and trying new things and finding that the new ways worked better than the old ways. You know, it’s kind of amazing to think about four years ago, five years ago what was assumed in this town. Everyone knows there was a very strong set of voices saying if we took away the broken policy of stop-and-frisk that crime would inevitably go up. In fact, the opposite occurred. And one of the things that happened so powerfully first under Commissioner Bratton and now under Commissioner O’Neill and his team is that it became clearer and clearer that fewer arrests could equal fewer crimes. It goes against, again, so much of the stereotypes, so many of the messages we all received for years, even decades. But today’s NYPD has proven time and time again that you can arrest fewer people while making everyone safer. This is profoundly important. It still hasn’t really been fully recognized but I’m going to keep saying it – 100,000 fewer arrests in 2017 than in 2013 and yet we were much safer in 2017 than we were in 2013. Well, it follows through to what we’re talking about today. And I want to be straightforward. We had to find our way on the issue of marijuana. It started a few years ago with deciding that we would not arrest for low-level possession. And the number of arrests for low-level possession went down greatly. And again, we got safer at the same time. The fact is there is another piece of the equation and Monique referred to it – the lives that were being affected by arrest. And how we now understand that negative reality of anyone particularly a young person being held back by an arrest record for something minor and how it connects to the very troubled history we have in this city, this state, this country of mass incarceration. And we have to undo all of that. We have to turn in a different direction. We know that we can make these changes the right way. We had to be smart about it, there had to be a lot of deliberation but we know we can do them the right away. And that’s why the NYPD, over this last month, studied this carefully and worked with a lot of other folks too – advocates and experts and unions that represent our officers of all ranks, the DAs, community leaders, academics – everyone was brought into the discussion. And the notion was clear – to create a fair and consistent policy that would keep us safe but make us fairer at the same time. And that is what we are announcing today, the policy that will take effect on September 1st this year and you feel the effects of this policy in this city this year, 2018. Under the new policy, New Yorkers with no prior record will receive a summons instead of an arrest for smoking marijuana publicly. And we believe that this will result in thousands of fewer arrests. In fact, next year we think at least ten thousand fewer New Yorkers will be arrested under this new policy, ten thousands lives that will be affected. Now, we are convinced after four years of sustained progress that we can do this in a way that will continue to enhance public safety. We know there is a bigger discussion happening in this state, in this nation on the question of marijuana policy. And we have to be prepared for that. But we’re doing what we can do right now. We’re doing what we can do in this city to be fairer, to listen to the voices of people, to make sure that we’re finding new and better ways of doing things. This plays out in so many ways and I want to remind you of one piece of this equation that we’re seeing already. I mentioned the 100,000 fewer arrests in 2017 than 2013. That is one of a number of factors that have led to a great decline of mass incarceration in this city. In fact in that same time period, our jail population is down over 20 percent and it continues to decline, it continues to decline and that is crucial to the future of this city and families in this city. So, today is a day where we take a step into the future, we take a step towards fairness, we take a step towards greater safety. And I want to thank everyone who’s been a part of this process. I think it’s been a smart and thoughtful process that’s taking us in a very positive new direction. Let me say a few words in Spanish – [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that, I want to turn to our Commissioner. I want to thank him and his team for very carefully and smartly looking at these issues and coming up with a new approach for this city. Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill – Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. [Applause] Not too bad, only a couple blocks from my old precinct. Mayor: There you go. Commissioner O’Neill: I think it’s good morning still, it’s just about noon. As the Mayor said, we convened a working group a little more than 30 days ago and I’d like to thank all of them for all the great work that they did. It’s not just Rodney and Susan, it was a number of people that were involved in this. We had a lot of outside experts, reps from community groups, scholars, young people, our district attorneys – I know Eric was involved. So, at a time when overall calls for service from the public about marijuana use are up across the city, one of the things we needed the working group to take a hard look at was why disparities exist in marijuana-related arrest rates. I can tell you that the NYPD does not target anyone based on race or any other demographic. Police officers make observations, residents and other call 9-1-1 and 3-1-1. People walk into precincts to make complaints. They attend community council meetings. They tell our NCOs, our Neighborhood Coordination Officers, our steady sector cops about conditions that they want and need addressed. There really are a variety of ways and reasons that police officers and people who smoke marijuana end up interacting. It’s those types of interactions we’ve been looking at. The NYPD is not in the business of making criminals out of people with no prior arrest history. We know that it’s not productive and it doesn’t further the NYPD’s goal of getting the people responsible for violence and disorder off our streets, and I talk about that all the time. Over the last four years, our cops have demonstrated that it’s possible for the safest large city in our nation to get even safer. We’ve done it be precisely focusing on the real drivers of violence. When it comes to marijuana we always need to ensure that our enforcement is consistent with the values of fairness that are at the root of our neighborhood policing philosophy. The bottom line is – and I’ve said this publicly many times before – the NYPD has no interest in arresting people for marijuana offenses and those arrests have no direct impact on public safety. And as a matter of policy, we must always make sure our cops can do their jobs effectively and safely in a way that promotes public safety and the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Our continued progress on this front is possible when we all have a stake in it and we all share in the responsible. It’s how we’re making our way forward together as a police department and as a city. I’m very optimistic about what’s ahead. I’m going to ask one of our co-chairs in the working group, Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison, to go into the specifics of what we’ll be doing as we move ahead. Rodney – [Applause] Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison, NYPD: Thank you, Commissioner. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I had a great opportunity to work with Deputy Commissioner Susan Herman of Collaborative Herman and was a co-chair for a working group with senior leadership within the police department. We were asked to evaluate how we’re going to enforce public smoking. The working group consisted of several meetings. We conferred with district attorneys, public defenders, elected officials, community leaders, minority [inaudible], union representatives, neighborhood coordination officers as well as commanding officers. And we came up to a conclusion – smoking in public is still a public nuisance and it must be addressed. It is a quality of life issue that many New Yorkers are still concerned about. But the one thing that I love about this organization is we always evaluate what we’re going [inaudible] continuous evaluation of ourselves to see how we could develop public trust. So both discretion and summons in lieu of arrests for low-level crimes is something that we believe can help strengthen our public trust. But there will be some carve outs. If you have no ID or if you refuse to produce ID, you are subject to arrest. Parole or probation, existing arrests, past of violent crimes, or if there is behavior threat is an immediate threat to public safety such as operating a motor vehicle, you are subject to an arrest. Smoking marijuana in public is a quality of life concern that we will continue to enforce and this new policy will reduce marijuana arrests by the thousands as well as not criminalize individuals for low-level offenses. Promoting public safety remains our top priority. Thank you, Commissioner. […] Mayor: Okay, we’re going to turn to our colleagues in the media and discuss this proposal – or, this new announcement, I should say – today. Go ahead – Question: Mr. Mayor, now that we partially know some of the results from that study issues commissioned by the State, do you support legalizing recreational marijuana? Mayor: I’ll speak for myself. I’m not there yet, and I’ll tell you why. I think we need a regulatory framework before that step is taken. Now, I think the reality is, in this state, the likelihood is next spring – is when action would be taken. That gives us time to address some real big issues. I have warned and my wife has warned as well of creating a situation in which, unfortunately, some of the same mistakes we saw with the tobacco industry or the big pharmaceutical industry are repeated with legal marijuana, where there’s a conscious effort to get more and more people to use their product for profit. There are real regulatory things that can be done inhibit that, to make sure that everyone is educated, particularly young people about the health issues and challenges that come with marijuana use. We need to put that in place at the beginning. We need to put in place at the beginning measures for fairness economically. I would hate to see legalization mean that a small few elite benefit economically, and a lot of people who should have opportunity in a new industry don’t get it. We’re on the dawn of something brand new, and we can either grapple with it and make sense of it upfront, or do what has happened too often in the past – you know, policies try and catch up decades later when a lot of damage has been done. So, I’m in the school of thought that says, first come up with a regulatory framework, and then it would be appropriate to move to legalization. Way back – let’s go all the way back. Question: So, one of the big questions here was, you know, research has shown, or at least surveys have shown that whites and blacks smoke pot more or less at similar rates but the arrests for smoking in public have been disproportionately black and Hispanic. One of the findings it seems from [inaudible] explanation that’s given here is that, well, there hasn’t been any research into how many white smoke in public, versus how many blacks and Hispanics smoke in public. Is that essentially how we’re supposed to understand this? That the cops are going where the public smoking is, and the public smoking happens to be more black and Hispanic? Mayor: I’m going to start and turn to the experts, but I’d say – look, the underlying motivation here – we’ve talked about it before – is to reduce unnecessary arrest, which is something that we’ve been doing across the board with very positive impact, and reduce disparity. I think the two go hand in hand. Every time there’s one fewer arrest, inherently it means someone’s life is not affected as negatively. And we know overwhelmingly those arrests are people of color, particularly young men of color. So, every time there’s one less arrest, it’s one life affected in a different way. I try and look at this from a very grassroots level. I know this is going to have an effect on thousands and thousands of people. As to where policing is happening, and where complaints are happening – I’ll let the experts speak to that. Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing Susan Herman, NYPD: David, I’m going to address your question about, is that how we’re supposed to understand what’s going on. And I think the reason why we put in the report that there is no way of computing how much our arrest activity, our enforcement activity alone influences [inaudible] impact, is because we have no way of knowing what that base number is – how many people, and which races, and which ethnic groups smoke outside. So, the comparison to use is not really relevant to the conversation. We don’t really know who smokes outside and who doesn’t. We know who we see, we know about the complaints that we receive, and they come in in lots of ways – 3-1-1, 9-1-1, community meetings, NCO calls – and that’s what we know. The pure analysis of comparing use to disparate impact and arrest doesn’t make much sense. Question: The reason I asked that question is that in the press release it points out that the overarching – the overarching objective in the working group were to identify why differences in arrest rates exist. And this why question doesn’t seem to get answered in the report – Deputy Commissioner of Equity and Inclusion Tracie Keesee, NYPD: Thank you, Deputy Commissioner Tracie Keesee with Equity and Inclusion and your correct the why did not get answered because that’s part of the issue. When we talk about the broader historical context around disparities, that’s one of the spaces we have carved out that we have to continue to look at. So part of the policy thinking around the summons piece will reduce the overall arrest numbers, but this issue of disparities is a larger complex one that we have to grapple with still. Question: So the Police Department can shrug their shoulder on why? Deputy Commissioner Keesee: No we did not shrug our shoulders on why. It’s more work that we have to do. So we recognize it, but it’s not shrugging our shoulders on why, definitely not. Mayor: Yeah? Question: Mr. Mayor – Mayor: Like your shirt by the way. [Laughter] Question: Council Member Richards was pretty clear about why he thought there was a disparity, he attributed it to racial bias, and I’m wondering what you have to say about that? Mayor: I think to the point that Deputy Commissioner just made is something we need to study more, but I would say that the immediate question here is how do we reduce disparity, reduce unnecessary arrest? We’re convinced that this will achieve that goal. I get the – I’m not belittling the theoretical question or the background question. I’m talking about actual people’s lives. This is going to affect actual people’s lives. Now if you talk about the question of, overall how do you create fairness in policing? Well you do it in a variety of ways. Training, which this department has done an outstanding job of retraining all officers, things like de-escalation, now implicit bias training, these are the ways I think you create a whole new approach that really fosters fairness and also a different dialogue with community which is what neighborhood policing has been doing. So if we talk about, you know a society in a country that for 400 years had been undermined by bias and division and how we fix that, I think the things we’ve seen in just the last few years the NYPD really point in the right direction. There is a very different reality on the ground than there was just four or five years ago. But that worked as an end, we don’t say, oh we’ve suddenly achieved perfect fairness, no one is suggesting that, it’s a series of steps. I know for thousands of people, particularly for thousands of young men of color, this announcement today will lead to more fairness in their lives. Commissioner O’Neill: Could I just – Mr. Mayor could I just jump in here. So while I have a very good relationship with the Chair of Public Safety, I would have to disagree with him and I’ve been a cop for 35 and a half years now, I don’t agree with that broad statement. Anything that we do in the NYPD, particularly over the last four years, is to build trust and keep people safe. And we went from 2,200 homicides in 1990 to 290, we went from 5,000 shootings down to 790 shootings, is it – has our methodology been perfect, absolutely not, and I talk about that all the time. So what we are doing here is to make sure that people who don’t have a tendency towards violence, homicide, shootings, robberies, are not affected by marijuana enforcement. You’re going to get a summons, but we’re not – we’re not going to arrest you. Since I’ve taken over, and I know Commissioner Bratton before, the way we run CompStat, we look every Thursday we look at summary arrest activity, and is it helping to drive down crime and violence. That’s our focus. Mayor: Amen, Grace? Question: I have two questions, the first is – is your expectation when this policy is put in place, that we will see a change in the racial disparity of the people who are still arrested for marijuana, is that a goal here, or is it just to get down the number of arrests? Will you be satisfied if we’re still seeing, you know, black and Hispanic men arrested eight times more than the number of white men, even when this policy is enacted? Mayor: I don’t think any of us will be satisfied until we further the progress. So right away, the question is, how do we reduce unnecessary arrests? This is already proven to be a very positive thing for this city. When you reduce unnecessary arrest, you free up the time of our officers to do other important public safety work, when you reduce unnecessary arrest, you change the relationship between police and community for the better and clearly you change the lives of individuals for the better. That’s the thing I’m quite certain you’re going to see progress on quickly, in the process you’re inherently addressing disparity. Again, in human terms, you guys are perfectly, fairly, are looking at percentages, and I don’t blame anyone for that. I’m looking at from the human level, if there is a lot fewer arrests overall, that’s really what affected people’s lives, but the work for fairness and equality in all we do never ends. So that’s going to be ongoing work and to the Deputy Commissioner’s point, that stuff we still have to look at. I think the big strands here, neighborhood policing, retraining the force, implicit bias training, are all going to help us deepen that. Marcia? Question: [Inaudible] of this process to expunge the record of people who have been arrested in the past, if that’s the case, is that a number that you would get behind by either by calling on the District Attorney’s or [inaudible] and the City Council [inaudible] can do that? Mayor: It’s a very important question and in the coming weeks we’re going to have a lot more to say on that. Look there is a burden of the past here, a lot of people were treated unfairly, and they’re living with the consequences and we want to find ways to address that. So we’re going to be working closely, NYPD, DAs, to come up with a new approach on that. Question: Is that something that you would support? Mayor: Again, I don’t want to speak until we have a vision of how to do it. Is it something that needs to be addressed, absolutely, do I expect we’ll have something important to say on it in the coming weeks? Yes. Question: If the State moves to legalize marijuana as you said in the spring, how would that affect this program? Mayor: Let me speak to that, but DA did you want to add? District Attorney Eric Gonzalez: So we’ve been working in my office about dealing with these past marijuana convictions, we’ve been looking at the number of people in Brooklyn who have been convicted, and there are tens of thousands of people who actually have criminal records for marijuana. We’re in the process of creating a program using some of the current laws that are on the books, there is a sealing provision that we can use, and there are some other avenues that we’ve been exploring to go back and take a look at many of those cases and figure out how we either seal or vacate these prior marijuana convictions. So it’s ongoing, we’ll be working with the Mayor’s Office and some of my other colleagues, but in Brooklyn we expect to have an announcement in the next few weeks about how we get that done. Question: Would you have to apply for it? Or would you do it automatically? District Attorney Gonzalez: Well, we’ll get into the details, there’s – it depends on the sealing provision, there’s one way of doing it, and then to vacate convictions, people would actually have to apply. Mayor: Okay, yes? Question: [Inaudible] State legalization, what about this whole idea [inaudible] be given a summons, and if it’s legal, did you have to give that to them? Mayor: Let me start, and then turn to the panel of experts here. First of all, one of the things we’re also doing immediately is convening a working group of a number of agencies, police department, health department, a number of agencies, to look at what legalization could mean for New York City, and to get ahead of it. There’s a lot of ramifications we have to think through, and we don’t want to just wait for something to happen, we want to decide in advance what we would have to do. As I said, I think as folks consider this in Albany, and we all believe that’s not going to happen before the spring at this point, I’m going to be a very strong voice saying, you know, look before you leap, really think about the regulations we need, the preparation we need before we do this and try to get it right, but the City has to prepare on a host of levels. I would remind you, I’m not an expert, there’s one thing I have found from talking to all the experts, even in the states that legalized or decriminalized, people can use the proper terms, it was still not legal to smoke in public. There was still a sanction for smoking in public. So I think there’s been some understandable stereotyping here, people look at Washington State or Colorado they think anything goes, that’s not actually how it’s been. And as New York State looks at it, they are going to clearly reference those other models and I assume try and find some alignment with those other models. So I just want to put that in. Who wants to speak to the details? Commissioner O’Neill: I’ll start and I think Susan wants to jump in. So there’s a lot of issues here with legalization and first is driving. You know, we have to – because right now it’s very difficult for a patrol officer to ascertain whether someone is driving under the influence alcohol, or marijuana, or any narcotics, so that’s first and foremost. Then there is the age provision too. In many states the age is 21, so it doesn’t – we still have issues here – we still have many issues we need to deal with, so as we move forward here, we have to carefully consider what this means for the safety of all New Yorkers, and that’s what we’re doing, and we’re in contact with many states, Susan, I don’t know if you want to add anything to that? Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing Susan Herman, NYPD: Just to say that there isn’t a jurisdiction in the country where smoking marijuana in public is legal. Even in states where small amounts of marijuana possession or recreational use is legal, in all jurisdictions it’s not legal to smoke marijuana in public. In some instances it will result in a summons and in some jurisdictions, an arrest. Mayor: Okay, Juliet. Question: Yes, this is for Brooklyn DA – summons, my understanding is requires a court appearance, is that correct in his case? District Attorney Gonzalez: Yes. Question: So in your past experience in declining to prosecute, do you know what percentage of people are showing up at court for summons? District Attorney Gonzalez: Well on, in general in marijuana cases I don’t have the number of marijuana cases, but in general the compliance rate with summons was about 50 percent for Brooklyn cases. So you know I would encourage anyone who receives a summons to take care of the summons so it doesn’t escalate into anything further. But it is a factor that has to be considered as we use it. Listen this going to be a tremendous step forward it allows officers to exercise discretion and to stay on the streets, keeping our community safe, dealing with quality of life issues and protecting us. So we will need to do more. I know that in [inaudible] we’ve dealt with the noncompliance issues by doing other things including having extended hours, having pop up court rooms. So I think there are ways to deal with the compliance issue in our communities and I would obviously be in support of extending hours for people to come at night and weekends to deal with summons. Question: So then if they are not in court is it a warrant? Is a warrant issued after that? Somebody has to go find that person? District Attorney Gonzalez: It’s discretionary – obviously the judge could issue the warrant or not issue the warrant. You know I think we need to use common sense in how we issue warrants. In the past I think they were done too quickly, just someone being late for court issued a warrant. I think there needs to be more common sense in how we deal with this. But people need to take care of their summons. Mayor: And Juliet I want to just – I’m the non-lawyer here but I want to really make this commonsense point. It’s still not legal to smoke marijuana publically. If you do so under this policy you will get a sanction. You know will get a summons, you have to address your summons. You don’t address your summons, it can lead to a warrant, a warrant can lead to an arrest so it’s really an effort to give people a better way to address the challenge. But if people don’t take it seriously, leads right back to the same thing that a lot of people have been concerned about which is arrest. The individual has some real responsibility here. Wait, let go who hasn’t had a shot. I’m coming to you two, I see you, go ahead. Question: Chief Harrison, Chief can you explain the carve out for violent offenders? What are the parameters for that or is it left to case by case basis? Chief Harrison: Good afternoon Rocco. So it’s pretty much black and white. If you are unable to produce some type of identification – these are the things where we cannot use discretion. Somebody has to be placed under arrest so we can identify who the individual is. If you are parole, or probation, those are things Rocco, that we are going to have enforce it and make an arrest because that means that you have been released with certain conditions that you have failed to follow by. Also if you have a warrant we are going to be bring you – enforce the arrest – Commissioner O’Neill: Misdemeanor or felony. Chief Harrison: Misdemeanor or felony. The one thing that we may use discretion is the law exception and it all depends on you know, what the individual is doing. If they are smoking in a park around kids, that’s something where the discretion of the officer. If the person is operating a heavy machinery that’s at the discretion of the officer – so there are certain caveats that give it to the discretion of the officer concerned. Question: Is there a carve out for violent offenders – Chief Harrison: There is. Yes so if you do have a violent crime in the past, you will be a – within three years, you will placed under arrest. Mayor: Yes. Question: Hi, thanks. I wanted to probe a little bit more on the discretion the police will have. Especially how you determine a public danger and what happens in public housing complexes? How is the arrest versus summons work there because smoking is against the law in public housing. And one last thing – Mayor: Just in the interest in clarity – we will come back to each. Okay first one again was? Question: The discretion you have when there is a public danger. For example how will police look at that? Is that strict enough because there are a lot concerns that police may use discretion in ways that punish some more than others – Mayor: Alright, let’s do that one and then we will do public housing after. Let’s do the first one. Chief Harrison: So once again is with neighborhood policing one of the things we’ve taken a close look at is giving officers the discretion. Having the same officers in the same areas develops a relationship and intimacy in the area as well as get to know the people who are there to serve. So of course, giving officers that discretion – if they identify an individual that seems to be problematic and falls under those carve outs then the officers can use their discretion to place that person underneath arrest. Mayor: Okay, public housing. Chief Harrison: Regards to public housing – once again it’s the same thing. We will give the officers discretion, each PSA has neighborhood coordination officers and their job is to go out there and get to know all of the residents as well as some of the individuals that don’t necessarily follow the laws and we want to make sure that their discretion is utilized in housing as well. Mayor: But, yes. Question: [Inaudible] that then lead to more people being arrested in public housing? Mayor: Let me assist your question for a second because you made the point about the rules within public housing. So I’m wondering if we have clarification on that too, that if you are in a place that has its own set of rules. Obviously we have talked before about the MTA having their own set of rules, I don’t know what the specifics are on public housing on this but is it a different set of rules that effects equation? Chief Harrison: If once again I’ll have to get back to you regarding the housing rules but I will say this – if there are certain things, if you are smoking in the train, smoking on a bus, something where it’s a public annoyance, yes you are subject to an arrest and once again that comes under the discretion of the officer that’s involved. Mayor: Okay media questions, who’s out there? Yes? Question: So Mayor, what’s your message to New Yorkers who are concerned about public smoking that already exists in their communities and they are concerned that this might increase it or are afraid of being arrested? Mayor: I appreciate the question very much. Look from the beginning of this administration we’ve said we are focused on quality of life policing. We remain focused on quality of life policing. This is about striking a balance. We need to make sure that people feel in their own communities that there is fairness and that the quality of life is good. So for an example if someone calls in a complaint, we are going to follow up on that complaint, just like NYPD always has. You hear now that there are different tools available under this policy but enforcement is going to be there and we take the complaints seriously. And we are going to continue to remind people, still not legal to smoke in public. That said, I believe there will be important benefit here which is in the end fewer arrests and we have seen this over all – as we have seen the number of arrests go down, it frees up a lot of officer time, that officer time can be used to address a whole host of quality of life issues and other issues. So moving away from arrests I think will mean more officers visible and available to address neighborhood concerns in a host of ways. Commissioner O’Neill: Another point – being a precinct commander for so long, if you don’t address quality of life issues, you are not going to last that long in that job. You have to listen to what people need. It’s you know, if I’m living in a housing building and somebody is smoking weed every afternoon in the stairway then we need to address that. We need to address that behavior. We need to make life better for the people that live in that housing development. Mayor: Okay, other media questions – yes, sir. Question: Councilman, just a question – do you think it would be more responsible if we focused on not smoking publically, obey the law and not face a ticket by not smoking in public at all? Mayor: Yes. I mean – [Laughter] We are talking about a reality in our society. We are all mature adults here. No one should be smoking marijuana in public, it is illegal period. Is it happening every day? Yes. So we are trying to deal with it in the most productive, fair way. But yes, if you don’t want to go down that slippery slope we talked about which is a summons that then can lead to a warrant that can lead to an arrest, don’t do it to begin with. What’s really clear, there’s still a serious sanction here. Gloria and Gloria I want to officially just offer solidarity with Columbia, your shocking defeat by Japan today. You really should take the whole day off after this. [Laughter] Question: I’ll take it but it sounds like you are a little bit mad that your team was not in the walk up? [Laughter] Mayor: Wow, that boomeranged back in a really bad way. I will say if you mean my team Italy? Question: And your team the U.S. Mayor: Yes well, the U.S. is still working on soccer, give us time. My team Italy, it is just ridiculous that they are not in the World Cup so I tip my cap. [Laughter] I tip my cap. Go ahead. Question: Now I forgot what I was going to say. [Laughter] I remembered. Two questions – is there now a concern that as you move to summons, the way that people of color are now overburdened by arrests that at some point they will also be overburdened by summons and that they will have to keep coming to court or paying these tickets. Is there anything that the department is doing to address that? And I have a second question. Chief Harrison: So there is a silent majority out there that wants us to address public smoking and there has got to be some type of enforcement that’s got to be done. People do not want to walk into their buildings, go to the park, go to the store and smell marijuana smell. And we have to address it and the way we are going to do it right now is to issue a criminal court summons. If it comes to the point where these summons are something where it’s maybe getting a little bit out of hand, that’s one thing about the NYPD we are constantly, constantly evaluating ourselves to see what we could do better. Councilmember Richards: This is one reason that we passed the bill that we did in the Council because we were concerned that even as you know the possibility of moving to summons was becoming a reality that there could still be a reality in the city that where bias is still happening so I think you know this the job of legislators, this is why the City Council is supposed to be a check and balance to make sure we are monitoring so I think a lot of reporting, although everybody gets tired of these reporting bills every week, you know it’s critical in ensuring that there is transparency which is important and then we would count on you to do your job to point it out as you rightfully have done, so many of you here who certainly are owed a debt of gratitude for certainly following up and doing your jobs. But I think transparency is key here in making sure that we drive down the numbers. Question: This is another question to – I know the Brooklyn DA is here today but is there agreement between all the City’s DA to take this policy on and I know this is an NYPD policy but are you confident that this will be enforced equally throughout the boroughs? Mayor: Who wants to speak to the DA’s? Liz? Director Elizabeth Glazer, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice: So, I think this brings some consistency – Mayor: Liz Glazer, we announced her earlier, maybe you were here – [Laughter] Question: See, I couldn’t identify her [inaudible] Mayor: C’mon, have fun with it. Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice – go ahead. Director Glazer: So, the first step, I think, is to bring some kind of consistency of enforcement across the City. I think in broad terms, the DA’s believe that these are issues that need to be addressed, that proportionality is important. There will, of course, be differences among the boroughs and among different elected officials, and we’ll be working with all of them to ensure that we have a fair implementation of the policy. Mayor: Okay, who has not gone yet? Erin? Question: I wanted to follow up on the discretion question, because you mentioned a couple of examples – people in a park around kids, people on a train, and those are examples that aren’t explicitly in this list of carve outs. So, is there any limit on what the officer can, you know, choose to use as a reason to make an arrest? Are there any specific parameters to that? Are there any other examples other than the ones you’ve mentioned or the ones that are on the list that would in fact lead to an arrest? Chief Harrison: Once again, there’s a host of different reasons that can cause an officer to use discretion to arrest. When we’ll use – 3-1-1, 9-1-1 calls being at a certain location over a certain period of time, that means the individuals that are indulging in smoking marijuana in public are not getting the idea. And once again, each arrest has to be approve from a supervisor at the precinct level. So, we’ll make sure that as much as the officer has discretion, supervisors will have a very much large play regarding this individual being arrested or serving a criminal court summons. Deputy Commissioner Herman: One of the things that we mention in the report is that we’ll be monitoring particularly high levels of enforcement activity. As we mentioned earlier, this is something that’s done regularly in CompStat – people talk about why they are making the arrests that they’re making, and we’ll be looking at high levels of arrest activity to make sure that it’s appropriate. Chief Harrison: The one thing I will say is this has turned into a property within the New York City Police Department. We want to make sure we hold our commanding officers accountable, our police officers accountable to make sure they’re not just making arrests wrongfully. Question: There are some who are still critical of this new approach, they say it’s still discriminatory. You know, if a person is on parole or probation for a prior marijuana conviction that is now – after September 1st, 2018, they would only get a summons about it. I mean, what’s the City’s overall plan for – I know in Brooklyn they’re planning to expunge some records and create a ceiling, but is there another plan to address what some view as discrimination towards people who have prior arrests? Mayor: Well, that’s what I addressed in Marcia’s question. We’re going to be looking at that in the coming weeks and speaking to it. There is something we have to address. There’s a history here that has left a lot of people in a tough situation. We don’t want to see that. How we do it, we have to work through, but you can expect an update on that soon. Commissioner O’Neill: If you’re on parole for marijuana, it’s not because you had a joint. [Laughter] Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner O’Neill: Maybe, yeah. Probation, I’d have to dig into that a little bit further for you. Question: Mayor, factual question for you – Mayor: A what? Question: A factual question – you had mentioned, Commissioner, that if you have a prior violent crime within the prior three years, you will be subject to arrest. Is that a conviction? Is it an arrest? Commissioner O’Neill: It’s an arrest. Question: Okay, and why should there be that [inaudible] why should the law be enforced differently depending on your [inaudible] Commissioner O’Neill: Because you have a propensity to commit crimes, and our job is to keep people safe, and if you’re going to commit quality of life violations I think the consequences have to be higher. Mayor: Okay, Grace? Question: This summons, is there a set amount that people get for these tickets? Can you explain what it is? Deputy Commissioner Herman: It’s a range – this is a criminal summons, it’s up to the court. Question: So can you give us a sense of what people can expect or what the range will be? Deputy Commissioner Herman: It’s actually a statutory limit. So, for a first offense, it’s up to $100. More often than not, the amounts are much, much lower than that. Question: I wanted to ask about immigration quick – Mayor: Wait, I’m sorry, we’re going to go through this whole announcement. We’ll come around to other issues after. Let me see if there’s anyone else on this – we’re doing media questions, just want to make sure we’ve got media. Go ahead – Question: Clarifying question, as far as somebody presenting their ID, I know in the past for some low-level crimes – am I right – that you’ve allowed them to go to a precinct [inaudible] Deputy Commissioner Herman: Same here, if somebody doesn’t have an ID, they’ll be given an opportunity to get that ID. Commissioner O’Neill: The phone call doesn’t necessarily have to be made in the Command. Everybody’s got a cell phone now. Question: And Commissioner, I wanted to ask you too, because it seems like throughout last year, you know, the start of this year – well, really since you took the position – I’ve heard that argument of, you know, police are responding to 3-1-1, 9-1-1, community concerns out of precinct, and that seemed to justify how the police were enforcing marijuana offenses. So, what changed? Why now? Commissioner O’Neill: I think it’s important to pay attention to the national temperature. What we do in the NYPD, I talk about this all the time – we don’t do it alone – we have to listen to communities. We have to listen to all 8.6 million New Yorkers. I think that’s how we’ve made significant progress over the last two years. We can’t operate in a vacuum. Question: But many New Yorkers have [inaudible] advocated for this change for a whole now. Commissioner O’Neill: I’m particularly concerned about the people that have no prior record, that’s my concern, and to make sure that we don’t saddle those people that used to be arrested for [inaudible]. That’s my concern, to make sure – as Donovan said, we disagree on some things, but we agree on a lot of things. I want to make sure as they go through their lives this doesn’t become a burden to them, and that’s my focus. And that’s balanced with keeping the people of this City safe, and we have to figure out some way to strike that balance, and, right now, this is our position. Question: So was there a drastic increase in the people who had never been arrested previously and who were arrested for marijuana – Commissioner O’Neill: I can’t give you the numbers off the top of my head, but this is something that we look at, like I said, every Thursday. You know, if you’re locking somebody up for criminal possession of marijuana, why are you doing that? What’s the issue here? How does that make the community safer? And precinct commanders have to explain. Mayor: I think it’s also very important to put this into the perspective of the last four years. We have been moving a number of reforms simultaneously. We had to make sure they were working. So, we had to make sure neighborhood policing was working, we had to make sure that all the policies to drive down crime were working, we attempted, as you know, a big change, and made a big change, with ending arrests for low-level possession. We had to see what that would do in terms of the impact on the community, whether there would be any other impact in terms of public safety. I think it’s really important to understand the steady evolution of these policies and how they’re all working together. And the results have been very consistent, I think when the story gets told this time, what will be striking is a whole series of reforms were layered on top of each other. They all resulted in the same thing, less crime and fewer interactions between police and community – certainly, fewer negative interactions in particular. So, as that keeps working, we keep going farther. I think people wanted to see, rightfully, all over the City that reform could equal more safety, and that we would maintain that focus on quality of life while also driving down more serious crime. You know, I think we’re all very satisfied, the formula’s working and we want to deepen the formula. Let’s see if there’s anything else on this announcement. I see a hand way back – can’t see a face, I see a hand – there you go. Question: What will the administration do if it finds that certain boroughs over others are issuing summonses to people smoking pot in public? I know Staten Island’s District Attorney is against the shift in policy. What do you plan to do [inaudible] Commissioner O’Neill: Police Department or the City administration? Mayor: You’re saying, how would we deal with differences among boroughs and differences among DA’s? Commissioner O’Neill: Well, as we move forward, that’s going to have to evolve. We have our set of standards here. [Inaudible] consider a public safety threat, so we’ll have to work with Eric, we’ll have to work out with Mike out on Staten Island, the judge out in Queens, Cy, and Darcel as we move forward. Mayor: On this? Go ahead – Question: What are the immigration consequences now that you’re shifting to summonses instead of arrests, and is there a different policy for those [inaudible] age of 21? Mayor: First one first, who’s got the immigration question? Director Glazer: So, a summons is not a fingerprint-able offense, so that’s a very important thing. So, finger prints don’t go to the feds or anyplace else. And so, we think that the impacts will be mitigated. Question: And those underneath the age of 21? What happens to them when they’re given a summons? [Inaudible] for juvenile? Deputy Commissioner Herman: So, I’m not sure if I understand your question. Until [inaudible] people who are under 16 are treated as juveniles, people who are 16 and over are treated as adults for all purposes in the criminal justice system. On October 1, that’s going to change and the age of criminal responsibility will rise to 17, and then the following year to 18. Chief Harrison: I could just piggy-back real quickly. This new procedure that we are putting in place is going to decrease arrests by 10,000 for this year. And out of that, 9,000 are people of color – that’s a humongous number, that’s a big change we’re doing. Mayor: Okay, let us shift to off-topic. Everybody ready? Okay, you had one before – go ahead, in the back. Question: So, the Mayor of El Paso says he expects Mayors to head to he border Wednesday to take a stance against immigration in a show of solidarity. Are you going? And what are your plans, if so? Mayor: So, I spoke to the President to the US Conference of Mayors this morning – Steven Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina – a group of mayors are organizing to go down to the border. I’m certainly considering joining them depending on things that are happening here. There’s a tremendous sense of urgency being felt right now. We see something that is very painful – parents being taken from their children, and, you know, a sense that something’s really taken a horrible turn for our country, and it goes against everything we believe in as mayors, and I think that’s a bipartisan statement. So, a lot of us are trying to figure out a way we can have an impact on this issue and that’s what’s motivating people to go down there. Question: So, yesterday, your op-ed that was published on CNN, you said that there – you spoke about a young boy who’s been separated from his mother and placed here in New York City. HHS has said that there is no place for New York City and that isn’t happening here. Can you clarify if there are any locations or centers here in New York City where there are children being separated? Not unaccompanied minors, but children being separated from their families? Mayor: We will get you the details we received. We’ve certainly seen people detained here previously from different parts of the country and we’ve had the challenges with unaccompanied minors here before. There’s nothing, unfortunately, shocking about folks being sent to New York City as part of this process. But that case was information we received, we’ll get you the details on that. Question: Mr. Mayor, may I just follow up to that? We had the same question about people who had concerns about what’s happening to these kids that are being torn that have ties here to New York – if you could just expand on that. And for those, again, who didn’t read your eloquently written piece – Mayor: Thank you. Question: – About your own shock – seen in the video, as most of the country has. Mayor: I look at this as a parent. I can only imagine, if I were trying to protect my family, and went someplace I thought would give me fairness and justice, and then to have my kids taken away, I would feel that something immoral and horrible had happened. And honestly, it says something very sad about what America is meant to mean. We’re supposed to be the beacon, we’re supposed to be the beacon of freedom and hope for people, not someplace that could possibly take away a child from their parents. So, this is – there’s a reason this is getting so much attention and it’s making people feel something so deeply, because it grates against our values as Americans, and it just doesn’t make sense. So, I look at that and the notion that a child might be taken far from their parents from a prolonged period of time, that’s traumatic. That’s going to affect that child’s entire future, and it’s inhumane, and there’s just no reason for it. So, this is – you know, even in a hyper-partisan atmosphere, this is one that’s sort of gotten people on a very moral level. A lot of people of faith, of different congregations, regardless of their politics are coming together here to say, wait a minute, this is not acceptable to us, this has to stop right now. So, I just think all of us have to think as parents first. What would we feel like if that was our child taken away? Question: [Inaudible] the issue of the children in the HHS, any other comment you can say about if the kids are being held here, or – Mayor: Again, we have information about that one case, and we’ve seen it in the past where folks who came in in one part of the country who were undocumented were sent here, where unaccompanied minors were sent here. So, you know, it’s horrible to begin with if a child is taken from their parent, even in the same town in Texas and held apart for days, but it’s much, much worse if they’re separated by 1,000 miles, and you have no idea when that family is going to get reunified, and that’s what we fear we’re seeing here, and we just have to do everything we can to stop it, and that’s why, again, mayors are stepping up. We’re going to do everything on our power to stop this and provide support to these families. Yes, Yoav? Question: Mr. Mayor, when we talk about the numbers of kids at NYCHA with elevated blood-lead levels, today we’re still using figures through 2016 because even though we’re halfway through this year your administration has not provided figures for 2017. I’m wondering if you know why, but also have you requested or received those figures? And given the serious implications here, why don’t we have [inaudible]? Mayor: I don’t know the specifics on the figures. Obviously I want them, and I want them to be public once they appropriately put together, but much more important is fixing the problem. And again what we’ve done in the last year is every apartment where there is any indication of lead being present, and where there was a child six or under, has been inspected under the requirements of Local Law 1. We said at the press conference the other day, 90 percent have been remediated, the others we’re going to go into – the folks at NYCHA are going to go into and address, even if they are not getting a response from the residents because we have to go and fix this problem. That’s the thing we have to do, the action piece, the actually protecting people piece. The data is very, very important, and we want to make sure the data keeps flowing, but the most important thing is the action piece, and that’s what the folks at NYCHA are doing now. Question: And if the importance of the action, how was it that when inspections were resumed in 2016 it was allowed to be conducted by people who weren’t certified – Mayor: We’ve covered this before. I’m really not going to keep going over the same material over and over. The bottom-line is the original sin here, we all know, is that these inspections never should have ended. They should have been continuous in the previous administration, they should have been handled the right way. I wish the team that took over at NYCHA understood that that had been disconnected and stopped, once they did we did the work of recreating what the kind of inspections we needed, what kind of personnel, what kind of training, that is now being done consistently, it will done every single year, and the remediation will be done every single year. That’s what matters. Question: Can we talk about your relationship with your counterparts in Nassau and Suffolk, if there is one? Mayor: We had some different discussions over time. In fact we tried, I think it was about two years or two and a half years ago, to do a meeting of the different county leaderships to work on some common concerns, which I think was a good start. Obviously the cast of characters has changed, but I think there is a lot of common ground between the City and the counties around us. I think there is a lot we need to do together. I think there’s some important issues to work through too, there are water issues for example affecting Queens and Nassau that I would love to find some common ground on, so we’re certainly going to be looking to do that going forward more. Question: Have you spoke to the two current [inaudible]? Mayor: I’ve spoken to her, but not in detail on these issues, it’s certainly something I want to do. Erin? Question: Mayor you talked about needing to create a fund in order to be able to pay your legal bills, can you describe what you have done in the last six months to move towards the creation of a legal defense fund and what you plan to do going forward? Mayor: As you know it has to be done legislatively. Clearly that was the ultimate effect of the Conflict Interest Board ruling, that the only way to practically achieve the outcome is with legislation by the City Council. As Speaker Johnson has said, he and I have spoken about, but it’s clearly up to the council to determine how and when to act. I simply affirm that we know there is an area with – there is no definition, then we need definition. So the Council is going to decide how and when to do that? Marcia? Question: Mr. Mayor, I was wondering how you feel about reports about Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams no longer agrees with you that [inaudible] Mayor: Well I want to talk to him about it. I’ve only seen press reports and I haven’t heard what his view is. I’ve worked with him a long time, I have a lot of respect for him, so, you know, I would prefer to understand his perspective. One thing we can say for sure, the announcement that we made a few weeks ago has generated an extraordinary public debate, and I want to thank all of the outlets represented here. I think it’s been a really healthy debate for this city and it’s going to help us to figure out a better policy going forward. Everyone is going to have strong views and people are going to listen to a lot of different voices as they go along but the positive here is this issue is way out in the open and it’s being honestly debated and I’m happy about that. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Say again. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Well, one, again until I hear from him directly, I don’t want to characterize his stance. I’m certainly going to argue to him that I think what we have here is the best way to address the problem, and I’m going to argue that the existing tests just doesn’t have a place in our future. But again, I want to hear his point of view, his concerns, and we know this is going to play out over months. Juliet? Question: Yes, Mr. Mayor, a sixth yellow cab driver committed suicide – Mayor: Yeah. Question: Are you addressing this disparity with the yellow cabs and the proliferation of the Ubers – Mayor: This is a horrible, horrible situation and it’s very painful that folks who are feeling economic distress would take their own lives. It cries out for action but I’ve also said it – every single time I’m going to say it again - it also means that there is something very personal happening in each of those situations that needs to be addressed. We have to understand, when someone because of economic distress or any other stress in their life thinks about suicide, there’s also a mental health issue that has to be confronted. I want to say a lot of the driver organizations are working intensely to make sure that people who need help get it, and certainly with the Thrive Initiative we’re trying to do that in every way, so I would ask anyone addressing this issue to remind anyone in the Taxi industry that they can call 8-8-8-N-Y-C-W-E-L-L, if they are having any of those feelings they should make that call. Question: [Inaudible] to regulate [inaudible] – Mayor: Well, we need – we need something new and I feel urgency about that. The – I know the Council is looking at it too. I would like to see action soon. It’s clear that this current reality with Uber and the for-hire-vehicles has come with a huge number of unintended consequences. And now it’s become a reality where there’s just lots of vehicles driving around with no one in them which is unfair to everyone. It is hurting those drivers, those workers, who work for Uber and other services, they’re not making a lot of money. It’s exacerbating congestion, it’s hurting the yellow cab drivers, we’re in a really bad place. So there is a series of things I think we could do, I believe the Council is going to focus on this quickly, and I certainly want them to. David? Question: I want to get your reaction. Two days after you signed the consent decree over the lead paint and other at NYCHA, there was documents, computers, and other stuff seized from NYCHA facility by federal and City DOI, what was your reaction to that? Are you concerned that there is criminal charges coming? Mayor: I was not surprised in the least. There has been a two year investigation, the U.S. Attorney signaled very clearly and we fully understood. He was reserving his rights in terms of the opportunity to charge individuals if he thought it was necessary and they are continuing to follow through on that. It did not surprise me in the least. When that process plays out, obviously there’s parallel process that we will undertake with absolute deference to law enforcement first, but you know, we’re also concerned to make sure that anyone who is working in public employment, if they’ve done anything inappropriate, they must be held accountable as well. Question: So do you anticipate some kind of criminal charge? Mayor: I don’t anticipate, no, I want to be very clear it does not surprise me that there was further investigation but I do not assume that means X or Y, let’s let the U.S. Attorney to determine what is appropriate and then we’ll play it from there. Yes? Question: Another immigration question, one of our reporters just learned that the County Executive of [inaudible] in New Jersey was said that he was approached about housing is separated from the parents, he told the government no I won’t do it. They are asking various counties in New Jersey, but in New York City there are different agencies that contract with the government to take these children, [inaudible] village, there is a whole bunch of them. Is there anything you can do as Mayor about declining to have these children brought to New York City if those are agencies that our government [inaudible]? Mayor: Look, that’s an excellent question and we want to do everything we can to stop the federal government from separating children from their parents, period, period. And if that’s legal action, if that’s using the power of our localities to say we are not going to participate, whatever those tools are. We are in unchartered territory here and we have got to figure out the best way to stop this unhuman policy. You know sometimes the federal government can enforce its will on localities, sometimes it can’t. But one thing and again this is why it is so important that mayors are gathering around the country to address this issue and it is a bi-partisan movement, is I can guarantee you that mayors do not think it is appropriate, what’s happening here and we are going to have to find a way to stop it. I believe it ultimately will be stopped because I think people are repulsed by it. But we have got to figure out what tools we can use to achieve that. Way back. Question: This is for Commissioner O’Neill. Can you tell us about the brawl on Coney Island and what you have been doing [inaudible] beefed up presence there? Commissioner O’Neill: Chief Shea will talk about that. Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea, NYPD: Good afternoon. Yesterday evening in the 60th Precinct in Coney Island, on the boardwalk we had a disturbance involving a number of individuals. It appears at this time that we had at least one large group encountering possibly another group or possibility some individuals. The culmination of that was we had two people who suffered injuries. One suffered a slash wound, one suffered a stab wound. The ages of those that were cut are 17 and 21, neither of them resides in Coney Island. One lives in Manhattan and one was there visiting from the Bronx. Past that it is still fairly fresh, so it’s going to proceed from there. Question: Chief, can I just ask about the five [inaudible] stabbed on the Bronx Borough Parkway last night? Chief Shea: Yes, so yesterday evening, roughly about seven o’clock, 5:30 to 7 pm we had an incident where it appears at this time that a group of youths met in a park within the confines on the boarder of the 52nd and the 49th Precinct. French Charlie’s Park if you are familiar with area on Webster Avenue, when the group got to that location, it appears at this time that there was an intention of the two groups to meet and fight. The culmination of that was one individual was chased by another group, he was stabbed a number of times, 14 times, preliminary. He’s currently in critical condition but stable at Jacobi Hospital. There is indication that there was a shooting later last night that’s being explored whether or not that’s related. And that’s in a separate part of the Bronx. Question: [Inaudible] what they were fighting about? Chief Dermot: There’s a lot of information that’s coming now. Apparently there has been a dispute that’s been brewing for some weeks. There was a female involved in this dispute but I don’t believe it’s the traditional two men fighting over a woman. There’s a lot of different details coming out. There is some gang involvement to this. A number of gangs, localized crews in the Bronx that have affiliations and have been mentioned but again it’s less than 24 hours. The child that was stabbed, 14 years of age – lucky to be alive. I want to thank an off duty EMT that rendered age of the Bronx River Parkway that potentially could have saved the 14 year old’s life. SO a great job there. We are confident that we will get an arrest in the case but right now we are still sorting out the details. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: [Inaudible] my friend, not too many in a row. Go ahead last one, go ahead. Last one. Question: Is there any possible hate crime competent to this? Chief Shea: I do not have any information that would back that up at this point. Mayor: Grace? Question: Homicide in the 83rd – a 33-year-old man who was shot in the chest, William Fernandez and died on Father’s Day. I didn’t know if there was any more information? My desk asked me to ask about that. Chief Shea: No information specific to that case. But let me just say that in the last six days now, starting on Sunday to last night we have had by my count five separate shootings involving individuals on parole on both sides of the gun. SO that’s concerning. When you look at that particular case, we had a couple of cases in Brooklyn in the last couple of days. We have had a triple shooting the Sixth precinct, a triple shooting in the 114th precinct. We came in last week with a fewer number of shootings but Rodney will back me up – any time we are talking about violence of this nature, one is too many. So it’s important to give the historical context, that we were down but we are exploring all of those shootings and again I’m confident that the detectives involved in Brooklyn North will make an arrest in that case. Question: Just a quick question about Pride Parade preparations, security, any concerns, standard. Can you give us an update on – Commissioner O’Neill: Yes, I think we are probably going to do something with Chief Monahan towards the end of the week. But it’s a yearly event. I know the route has changed this year and we have been working very closely with the organizers so it will be the traditional Manhattan South Coverage with a counter terrorism overlay but we will go into more detail later on in the week. Question: Chief Shea – update on the Village shooting Sunday morning at the [inaudible] lounge? Chief Shea: Yes over the past weekend, late at night around closing time for the location there was a disturbance inside the bar. There is very good video inside the bar as well as on the block. What we have is some sort of disturbance, possibly started over a push, shoving match which escalated into a fight. One individual produces a fire arm and three people are shot. Past that I’m not going to comment further but we have, I will say that we’ve received a lot of corporation from people that were in the location as well as in the surrounding area and we have very strong leads in that case. Mayor: Okay, going to get Erin, Gloria go ahead. Question: Mayor you said you were considering traveling to the border over this issue of child separation. You also mentioned at least one that seems like probably multiple children being held within the city. Do you have any plans to visit the facilities where there are actually children within the city? Mayor: Yes, look I want to do whatever I can to stop this broken and inhuman policy. So the immediate issue is what’s happening at the border at the point of contact. And again mayors around the country are coming together in common cause there. I also want to see anything we can do to stop New York City from being used as a place to send children separated from their parents. So right now we are trying to figure out the best way to have an impact and if going and doing that kind of visit will help, I’ll certainly do it. Go ahead. Question: Mr. Mayor, there’s a group of coop monitors at City Lights in Queens, their 20 year tax break is coming up, it is expiring. And they are looking to the City to provide any kind of relief – Mayor: Not familiar with the specifics of this one. So we will get back to you on that. Thanks, everyone.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 6:06am
Errol Louis: We’re back Inside City Hall. It’s Monday, that means Mayor de Blasio is here for our weekly discussion. Welcome Mr. Mayor, always good to see you. Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you, Errol. Louis: We have reached a deadline, I understand for the NYPD’s marijuana working group that was supposed to look at changes in policing and or policy based on discrepancies between where complaints for marijuana use were coming in and a higher arrest rate that was not to the liking of the department or City Hall. Is there anything to report about that? Mayor: Yeah, so tomorrow we’ll lay out the whole proposal that came out of the task force Commissioner O’Neill created with the NYPD and working with other agencies. Look, let me say two things. One, the goals, the goals are to reduce unnecessary arrests which is something we’ve been doing overall. A hundred thousand fewer arrests overall in 2017, then 2013 crime going down consistently in that time frame. We want to build on that. So there is more unnecessary arrests to do away with. Certainly when it comes to marijuana enforcement, second the disparity. It’s going to take time for sure, but we must reduce it and ultimately get to the day where there is no disparity in how we address different parts of our city. One thing I will tell you, I won’t go into all the details of tomorrow. I am going to do that with Commissioner O’Neill but I want to say this, we’re going to start very quickly. The things we announce tomorrow will be implemented this summer. So the change in the everyday lives of New Yorkers will be felt as early as this summer, will build out over the course of the year. Meaning, I believe we will start to drive down some of the unnecessary arrests, and some of those disparities literally in the course of 2018. Louis: Okay, we’ll look forward to that tomorrow. Mayor: And I just want other thing to note. We have another mission ahead, it’s something we’re just starting on, but we want to talk a lot more about in the next few weeks which is – there is a generation that was affected by the policies of the past. A lot of whom ended up with a record for very minor offenses. It’s time for us to turn our attention to that question too. Folks, including a lot of folks are still quite young and have their whole lives ahead and their careers ahead who are being affected by a record. We need to figure there’s some ways that we can address that, that’s going to be another thing we act on in the coming weeks. Louis: Okay, I mean that involves what? Ceiling or expungement? Mayor: There are different options, but the one thing I would say broadly is I think now having looked at new ways to address the here and now, it does not negate that the policies of even the recent past have had a real impact on a lot of New Yorkers. We’ve got to look at whatever option can best address that. Louis: Okay, that is an encouraging piece of news for those of us who have been talking about rap sheet mistakes in places, where somebody’s rap sheet follows them forever and ever, and once a mistake is in there you can’t even get it out whether intentional or not. You wrote an op-ed that went up on today and it was about this crisis on the border where families are being separated. I did not realize that this was even possible, but a nine-year-old boy, a Honduran boy you wrote about was separated at the southern border and was shipped to a contracted facility here in New York City. How does that happen? How often does that happen? How do you get word of it? What is going on? Mayor: I am shocked too. It’s an inhumane system, and these kids and these families are not treated like human beings. And it’s not surprising that this has really caused a revulsion all over the country. By the way, faith leaders of not only different background faith wise. But of different ideologies, including a lot of conservative faith leaders have really expressed their dismay at the notion that the fundamental unit of our society, the family being disrupted this way. It’s even worse if you take the mother and the child, or the parent and the child and you separate them by hundreds of thousands of miles. It makes no sense. I was shocked – New York City is going to do all we can do with legal support and every other kind of support to work for unification of these families or at least to make sure the kids get to another family member in the meantime but not be held in isolation, I think it’s traumatic for these kids. I think it goes against all our values. And there is a dehumanization that’s happening here by these policies. And we know that the Trump administration could reverse them instantly if they wanted to. And I think what you’re going to see very quickly in this country is a clear, clear majority of Americans say “wait a minute we didn’t sign up for this” you may agree or disagree with any particular immigration policy. But breaking families apart in this fashion is unacceptable. Louis: Yeah, the morality of it aside. If one thing that strikes me as atrocious policy making is that the notion is to serve as a deterrent to take this really strong and arguably immoral action to try and get the word to people – don’t show up and request asylum at the border. How is that supposed to find its way into some little village in Honduras or a crime torn neighborhood in Guatemala? Mayor: It’s not, and the notion of deterrents when people are seeking refuge from the kind of things that we have given asylum for in the past – I mean it really gets to the core concepts in who we are as a people, who we are as a country. Even the founding fathers thought about these issues. This was a nation built of people who escaped persecution. It’s been an American value from the very beginning, that there are people who deserve asylum. If you’re a family in a neighborhood or a city in Central America where you think your child is going to die because of the violence all around you, anyone of us would try and get out of there. If you’re a political prisoner or someone who has been put through political subjugation, anyone would try and escape. People have come to the United States for generations escaping that kind of subjugation. There’s a process to determine if someone’s claim is appropriate or not, but the notion that all of that is suddenly being thrown out in a very misguided quest to blame immigrants for whatever challenges we face. I mean the simple Trumpian equation is blame immigrants for you own economic vows thinking about people who have struggled all over this country to make ends meet who have been left out too often in our economy. Those folks need to understand the forces of the status quo, the forces that have created the economy as we know it have nothing to do with a struggling immigrant escaping violence. Louis: So this nine-year-old boy ends up here separated from his mother in New Yok City. What department will New York City assign to help him and what kind of help could you give him? Mayor: Well, look we have a strong Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and we have a strong legal assistance program runs with the Human Resources Administration. We are going to do everything we can; if someone’s here in our city we want them to get that legal assistance. To make sure they get a fair outcome. If we can help with a reunification with another family member here, we’ll obviously want to do that, and any assistance to help that child and that family. But in the end I think we’ve got to get to the root cause of this. It’s what you said. Folks fleeing oppression are not going to hear the message don’t try, because the alternative is to stay back in a place where literally they think their lives may be in danger. Louis: Sure, sure. Mayor: Why not deal with this humanely, and with a simple principal. If you’re processing a case, do not take a child away from their parents. Simple principal we should all be able to agree on across the spectrum. Louis: Logistically and in terms of the health problems and liabilities they’re about to incur, I’m sure they’re going to rethink this or at least I hope they will. Let me ask you, today a front page story in the Daily News about the law firm that represented you in to which you owe money, and that’s personally is involved in the zoning dispute on the East Side. The implication of the story is that they’re getting favorable rulings because directly or indirectly the assumption somewhere in your government is that hey this is the same firm that represents the Mayor; let’s take it easy on them. Mayor: That’s just wrong, that’s wrong in every way. The decisions are made on the merits, period. And you know, the only reason I owe debt to that firm, is there is still not a mechanism for which I can raise the money to pay it. When there is, I’ll start doing that. So, I think this is absolutely a bad piece of analysis. I think it’s inaccurate and I for one had no idea that that firm was involved until I saw the story today. Louis: The mechanism available that other officials before you have used is they you know they mortgaged their house or something. Mayor: Look, I disagree with that respectfully. I think what people have done historically, literally for decades is had a legal defense fund. And that’s what I assumed too. Look you have the right to defense in this country, but unfortunately its costs a lot money. Folks in public life don’t typically have a lot money. And the way you address that is to raise money under a clear set of rules. It turned out the city didn’t have those rules, hopefully we will have them soon, and then we’ll raise the money. I think that’s the appropriate way to handle it. Louis: Okay, let’s take a break. We’ve got more to talk about with Mayor de Blasio; we’ll be back in a minute with that. Stay with us. [...] Louis: Welcome back to Inside City Hall. I’m once again joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio. And Mr. Mayor, another yellow cab driver committed suicide making it the sixth such incident since November. The Taxi Workers Alliance blamed it on the intense pressures in part spurred by this gigantic growth of the app-hailing services. Is it time to revisit the idea of a hard legislative cap or some other sort of directed immediate solution? Mayor: Yes, it’s absolutely time. Look, this has been a really painful, tragic time. My heart goes out to these families and it’s painful for all of us to watch. I say – and I’m going to say it every single time – if anybody in the taxi industry or any other industry feels because of economic pressure, they’re considering taking their life, people have to help them, get them help. There’s obviously a mental health pressure there that has to be addressed and 1-888-NYC-WELL is the go-to number for an kind of mental health assistance. And we’re reaching out to folks in the industry and I ask anyone who knows of anyone in distress like that, we got to help them not take their life. We got to help them toward a solution in terms of both mental health and economically. But i absolutely think it’s time for bigger action. We tried it a few years ago. You know the pushback from Uber was furious and there was concern in the Council but I think a lot has changed since then. I think people in the Council are ready for action – Louis: You know, speaking of Uber, I talked to their CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, the other day and he said he was open to the idea of starting or contributing to a fund to provide relief in certain instances – not for somebody who owns 20 medallions, a company, but for individuals like this poor man who recently took his life who was not a medallion owner but who was leasing a car for $300 a shift and making $200 on that shift and losing money every day falling further and further behind. Is that something the City would consider starting or contributing to? Mayor: I think we can look at a range of options. That’s certainly something we should look at but the bottom line I think is structurally fixing the situation as best we can. Clearly there are so many for-hire vehicles out there now to the point that a lot of times they’re driving empty which is not really good for anyone. It’s not good for the drivers who aren’t making enough money. It’s not good for the environment. It’s not good for congestion. I think a few years ago there were a lot of questions, I think there are fewer questions, now. I think there’s more consensus that we need some bold changes to address this problem and I think it’s very important that the folks out there doing this hard work, all these drivers see that change is coming. So, I think the Council – I can’t speak for them – but I think they’re very receptive. I’m certainly ready to go and I think now that the City budget is passed, this would be something we all focus on quickly. Louis: Okay, another demonstration at City Hall today involved the case of Saheed Vassell, who was shot and killed by police officers a couple of months ago. Even at this date, two months later, people have been asking just to know the names of the officers who killed him, who shot him, and unedited footage of the incident. As of now that still hasn’t been provided. Mayor: Well, I believe last I checked, it was, I will say admittedly weeks ago, that all the pertinent footage had been provided. Everyone can have their own definition but certainly the footage I saw which I know was released publicly gave a broad cross-section of what happened. There’s a process going on now obviously with the State Attorney General and then thereafter with the NYPD disciplinary process. I think that’s the right way to go. I spoke to Mr. Vassell in the days after this horrible tragedy and he said something very simple. He wanted to make sure that justice was served in the final analysis. I do too. But I think the way things are progressing in terms of investigation including an independent investigation by the Attorney General is the right way. I think at the appropriate time, identities, depending on how the process plays out, come out but this is not that time in my view. Louis: Isn’t it just a basic threshold question? Like how could a community have faith in a process if they don’t even know who’s involved because the City won’t tell us? Mayor: Because you have to have faith that when – and I do have this faith – when there’s a combination of an independent entity looking at it and a disciplinary process inside the NYPD that has proven consistently certainly in our four years-plus to be objective and to lead to real outcomes depending on the situation, that that’s appropriate. But you know what just like the voices of the 9-1-1 callers were not put out for their protection, I think not putting out the names of the officers in the aftermath is perfectly appropriate. In the end there is due process and in the end everything is revealed that needs to be revealed. It’s a tough balance to strike. But what we are absolutely committed to is justice for everyone involved and getting to the truth of what happened. Louis: Okay, let me switch to a different topic. Stephanie Miner, the former mayor of Syracuse, New York, has jumped in to the race for Mayor. She said she’s going to run as an independent, not as a Republican, not as a Democrat. Have you talked with her about this? Mayor: I haven’t. I’ve known her a long time. I have tremendous respect for her. I think she did a great job a mayor in Syracuse but I have not talked to her and certainly I don’t think I’ve talked to her even in 2018 [inaudible] that I can remember. Louis: Sorry, I may have said something different. She’s running for Governor. Mayor: Yes. Yes. But again it’s news to me. Louis: Is it a good idea for something like this to happen – not that I’m projecting that this could even happen, I have no idea what her chances are or what polling might reveal – but when you have in effect two Democrats running in the same race, which is essentially what this would be, and then you add the possibility of a Cynthia Nixon running as a Working Families Party line, in effect you’ve got three Democrats running against a Republican candidate in November. Mayor: Look, the simplest way for me to say it is, when the smoke clears there should be a Democrat as Governor of New York State, period. And it’s just a real bottom line. Today’s news is a surprise, I think to all of us. And we’ll have to process it and see where goes. Obviously, you know, she has to get on the ballot which has its own process. But I’m someone who’s said I’m very comfortable with a strong debate in our own party. I’m someone who believes the Democratic Party has to get back to its roots, get back to its identity as a progressive party. I think that’s important morally, substantively, and for political win-ability in the future. But when the smoke clears, we need to have a Democratic governor in New York State. Louis: Cynthia Nixon who is running for the Democratic nomination, unveiled an education plan that looked oddly familiar after talking with you every week. She’s calling for increased funding for schools based on taxation of better off New Yorkers. Sounds like a millionaire’s tax. But when she showed her chart, it showed it would dip down to households making something like $300,000 and you and I may disagree on this but I think if somebody making $300,000 a year and somebody making a million dollars is in fundamentally different categories. Isn’t that always the wrap millionaire’s tax, like you start up here but next thing you know it becomes like the alternative minimum tax – starts creeping down, starts creeping down? Next thing you know it’s a tax on the middle class. Mayor: Well, look, I understand that concern but I think I’m a little more literal. For example, the tax that we’ve been talking about now for the MTA and its future is literally a millionaire’s tax. I think every leader has an opportunity to declare what they think is a fair balance point. Something like education reaches very, very deeply into our society. So, it’s perfectly legitimate to offer whatever number she makes sense. I have not seen the plan until it came out publicly obviously. But I think the bottom line is what I think is healthy is saying where are we going on education? You know the big thing that would change the future of this city and a lot of the rest of the state would be for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case decided a decade ago by our highest court in the state to be honored by the State of New York. It really never has been on a consistent basis. That would provide funding that would be transcendent for New York City, for upstate cities, for rural areas as well. It would really try and address where the gaps are in education in the State of New York. I’m glad that discussion is being had because let’s face it, as a city, as a state, we’re still way far from where we need to go educationally in a world where education determines economic destiny. Louis: Okay. Mayor: It’s a good debate to have. Louis: Alright. We’re just about out of time. The heat today has been oppressive. Are the cooling centers on tap? Are those going to be opening up any time soon? Mayor: We’ve used them any time the heat gets difficult for people and they’ve been very effective. So, anyone who needs relief can call 3-1-1. But hopefully, this is not going to go on too long this week. Louis: Yeah, I’m doing the informal thing. Kind of looking at movies that I may want to go see or something like that. Mayor: Get to a movie theater, Errol. It’ll be good for you. Louis: Thanks a lot, Mr. Mayor. Very good to see you. We’ll see you next week.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 6:06am
By September 1st, the majority of New Yorkers found smoking in public to receive criminal summonses which will help reduce marijuana arrests by about 10,000 per year Read the report NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill today announced a new policy to reduce unnecessary marijuana arrests. By September 1st, 2018, the majority of New Yorkers found smoking marijuana in public will face criminal summonses instead of arrest– continuing a significant shift in overall marijuana enforcement to better balance fairness with public safety and quality of life concerns. The change is the result of the final report and recommendations produced by the 30-Day Working Group on Marijuana Enforcement that convened in May, and according to NYPD projections, will likely reduce overall marijuana arrests in New York City by about 10,000 per year based on 2017 arrest records and patterns. New Yorkers will still be subject to arrest if they are on probation or parole, if they have existing criminal warrants, don't have identification, have a recent documented history of violence, or their smoking poses an immediate public safety risk—such as while driving a car. The new policy builds on previous efforts by Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD to strike a balance on marijuana enforcement between fairness and safety. In 2017, the NYPD made 64 percent fewer arrests for possession from 2010, going from 53,000 to 19,000 arrests. Of these arrests, 50,000 were for smoking in public in 2010 compared to less than 17,000 in 2017. "Nobody's destiny should hinge on a minor non-violent offense," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Neighborhood policing has helped to bring officers and community together, but we still have more work to do to right the wrongs in the criminal justice system. This new policy will help reduce unnecessary arrests, while making our City fairer and safer." "We know that it is not productive to arrest people who have no prior criminal history," said Police Commissioner James O'Neill. "In fact, it hampers our efforts to build trust and strengthen relationships with the people we serve, and it does nothing to further the NYPD's mission of ridding our streets of those responsible for violence and disorder. Issuing summonses for marijuana offenses that do not directly affect public safety will allow our officers to do their jobs effectively and safely, and in a way that always promotes public safety and quality of life for all New Yorkers." Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, said. "Today is a significant step forward in our work to make New York the fairest city in the country. We have record low crime rates at the same time we have the lowest incarceration rate of any large city in the country. And while it is extremely rare for people to go to jail for possessing marijuana, any touch from the criminal justice system should be proportionate to the activity involved and the shared goal of public safety. This new policy will lighten the touch and continue our work with New Yorkers to keep this the safest and fairest city." The policy change was the product of the 30-Day Marijuana Working Group, initiated by Mayor de Blasio and conducted by the NYPD. The overarching objectives of the Working Group were to identify why differences in arrest rates exist; ensure that NYPD enforcement practices are consistent with the values of trust and community engagement at the foundation of Neighborhood Policing; determine ways to reduce arrests for marijuana offenses if and when those arrests do not impact public safety or reduce quality of life; and review overall marijuana enforcement to ensure it is implemented fairly while also promoting public safety and quality of life for all New Yorkers. The Working Group gathered insight, analysis and input from the five district attorneys, public defenders, the speaker of the City Council, community groups, scholars, drug policy advocates, tenant organizations, faith leaders, Business Improvement Districts, national organizations, community councils, police unions, and young adults impacted by these policies. The Working Group found that most New Yorkers believe public smoking of marijuana was a public nuisance that should be curtailed; however, the consensus favored summonses in lieu of arrest if public safety and quality of life were unaffected. Currently, about 40 percent of people arrested for smoking marijuana had no prior arrest history. The change in policy has the potential to help thousands of younger New Yorkers with no record avoid the burden of an arrest. In 2017, New York City received nearly 52,000 complaints from the public about the public smoking of marijuana, and addressing these complaints is important in order to protect the livability of City neighborhoods. Even in those states and jurisdictions where recreational use is now legal it remains illegal to smoke marijuana in public. While New York State law makes possession and smoking of small amounts of marijuana a misdemeanor, New York City police officers have discretion on how to exercise their enforcement powers. Patrol Officers will receive guidance on how to implement this new policy thorough the summer. In the future, if unusually high arrest rates occur, the Police Department should conduct additional analysis to ensure that the enforcement levels are appropriate. Tracking arrest trends is an important aspect of these recommendations. The City will also issue quarterly reports on arrests and criminal summonses for marijuana possession by race and borough. Beyond the enforcement policy announced today, New York City is also convening a separate Mayoral Task Force to determine the appropriate regulatory framework and identify the public safety, health and financial consequences should the State move forward with legalization. A report is expected by 2019. The work will be coordinated by the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice and composition will include the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the NYPD, the Law Department, Department of Education and others. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, "I applaud the Mayor and the Police Commissioner for adopting a policy to stop making arrests in the vast majority of marijuana cases, which is the approach I have been calling for and a step in the right direction. As we take this important step, we cannot forget those who have convictions on their record based on this conduct that we no longer prosecute, and so my Office will be vacating and sealing past marijuana convictions for thousands of people in Brooklyn. We must bring a sense of fairness to the past at the same time that we implement these new enforcement policies in the present. " Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said, "I believe having NYPD officers issue criminal summonses during stops for public use and possession of marijuana will serve the purpose of addressing public safety and community concerns while sparing most Bronxites from undergoing arrest for these offenses. Since people of color in the Bronx are arrested for marijuana use and processed in the system in disproportionate numbers, they more greatly suffer the consequences of having a criminal record affecting employment, school and housing. I cannot turn a blind eye to this unfairness. As long as marijuana is prohibited by law, I will enforce the law because that is my duty as a District Attorney. But I am pleased to work with the Mayor and the police to make sure laws are enforced fairly and continue to refine our approach to marijuana offenses." "The war on drugs has over-criminalized communities of color for generations. While I continue to advocate for the legalization of marijuana, I commend the Mayor for this important step in implementing fairer enforcement practices. We must take every step possible to change the broken status quo of outdated and shortsighted marijuana laws," said Public Advocate Letitia James. "I commend the de Blasio Administration for this new city policy that helps to decriminalize marijuana possession and usage. Criminal justice reform actions like this - which pose no threat to public safety - have a direct impact on and are tremendously important to the greater effort to reduce our city and state jail populations and to help end mass incarceration in our country," said State Senator Brian A. Benjamin. "Today marks the first step in rectifying decades of targeted enforcement of low-level marijuana offenses in communities of color," said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. "I applaud the NYPD and de Blasio Administration for recognizing we must correct this injustice immediately and look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and stakeholders, to ensure real reforms are implemented to create a fairer and more just city." "People of color across this city and country have had their lives irreversibly altered by our criminal justice system as a result of low level drug offenses for far too long. I am optimistic the more objective standards being announced today will help to address the disproportionate number of black and brown New Yorkers being arrested for smoking marijuana," said Council Member Robert Cornegy, Jr. "I also hope it will help us begin to turn the page on the long, dark history of warehousing people of color in jails and prisons." "New York City is proving that we do not have to choose between public safety and advancing fairness in our justice system," said Council Member Stephen Levin. "It is important that law enforcement officials can respond to valid quality-of-life concerns without driving a wedge between police and residents. Let's allow the facts inform our criminal justice policy moving forward. It is clear that drug policy should be approached not as the sole responsibility of law enforcement, but primarily through the lens of public health. As the sponsor of the resolution calling on our state to fully legalize and tax cannabis, I'm proud this Administration is demonstrating a commitment to a more fair and just New York City." "The city's new marijuana policy will prevent low-level crimes from resulting in increased jail populations as we reform the criminal justice system. I commend the Mayor and NYPD for taking action to reform policies and the treatment of New Yorkers," said Council Member Keith Powers, Chair of Criminal Justice Committee, Vice Chair, Progressive Caucus. "Studies have shown, time and time again, that Black and Brown men are disproportionally targeted for marijuana arrests, which burdens them with records that follow them for the rest of their lives. As a result of low level marijuana possession, they are deprived of education, housing, and employment opportunities, which affect not only their wellbeing and livelihood, but their families and communities, too," said Council Member Diana Ayala, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. "Decriminalizing marijuana will not only lead to less arrests citywide, but it will also lead to more access for residents that live in the communities my colleagues and I represent. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner O'Neill, and the rest of the Administration for appropriately responding to this matter." "With the marijuana policy changes announced today, we become a fairer city in the way we enforce the law," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "The lives of so many men of color have been impacted and thrown off course because of marijuana arrests keeping them from their families and being productive members of society. These policies are a good first step and we will continue to work together to improve police-community relations." "The Fortune Society applauds the Mayor for taking this critical step that will help reduce the harm of the unnecessary incarceration of thousands of people predominately from communities of color. With this policy change, New York City moves closer to ending unnecessary and expensive detention and sentencing practices and fully understanding the complexities of substance use. The Fortune Society will continue to work with the Mayor and city officials to find other ways the city can further reduce our incarceration footprint and bring us closer to closing Rikers Island," said Khalil A. Cumberbatch, Associate Vice President of Policy at the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy, The Fortune Society, Inc. "Arrests for low-level offenses drive incarceration and entangle far too many New Yorkers in our broken criminal justice system. We're pleased to see the mayor's commitment to studying and addressing racial disparities when it comes to marijuana arrests," said Priya Raghavan, Counsel of the Brennan Center's Justice Program. "At the Brennan Center, we have advanced a number of proposals to keep people out of jail and not waste time and money on offenses that pose virtually no public safety risk. We hope the mayor will move forward to ensure the city's justice system is just for all New Yorkers."
Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 5:58am
Steve Inskeep: This next story underlines the challenge of diversity and the complexity of getting it right. Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City, wants to change the way that students are admitted the city’s most elite public high schools. De Blasio wants to admit more people of color but not all people of color agree with his plans for some of the most famous public schools in the country. Mayor Bill de Blasio: They are really the jewels in the crown of public education in New York City. They include Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science. Inskeep: Students are admitted to these schools if they score highly on a single test and that’s what the Mayor wants to change. He wants to broaden the criteria to include another test as well as kids’ performance in middle school. The proposal has met with a passionate response. De Blasio has been accused of watering down the standards, though the Mayor argues he’s getting the standards right for schools where the stakes are high. Mayor: They literally are the breeding ground for the future leaders of this city and even in some cases of the nation. Eric Holder and David Axelrod came out of Stuyvesant High School, for example. Inskeep: Former Attorney General and former advisor to President Obama. Mayor: Exactly right. But what’s happened over the years is they’ve become more and more exclusionary. Stuyvesant High School in its last admissions process only admitted ten African American students for an incoming class of almost 1,000. I mean that’s really the most painful example of what’s gone wrong with these amazing institutions and it speaks to a larger reality of the need to create diversity and opportunity in all public schools and particularly in our strongest public schools. Inskeep: Although, there’s a dilemma here because it’s not the people of color in the broadest sense that are excluded. It’s something like half of the kids admitted to these schools are Asian-American. What’s going on? Mayor: Well, look, let’s start with the reality of New York City today. We are a city that’s almost two-thirds people of color and you’re right that some of the specialized high schools have a very substantial Asian population and also a very strong white population in the schools. But the problem and the challenge is New York City is majority African-American and Latino. And these schools don’t even come close to representing the communities that make up our majority. Inskeep: Well, why aren’t they doing better on the test? Because as some people know, there’s been a single test that students are administered and everybody takes the same test. Mayor: But the problem, in fact, is the test on many levels. The simplest way of saying it Steve – you know the finest universities in this country, graduate schools, no one makes their admissions choices based on a single test. It’s an outmoded concept. What we propose is to look at the grades that students have had over the course of their whole middle school career, to look at their scores that they’ve had on a variety of State tests on education. But to get away from this notion of a single determinative test – you know high-stakes testing has been very controversial, rightfully, all over the country. And you know there’s a lot of great, talented kids that just don’t happen to test well and there’s some families who have a lot of resources and focus on test preparation. It’s a very skewed dynamic. Inskeep: So, is this fundamentally an economic issue? You have more affluent kids who might be white or might be Asian and the families have time and they have money for test prep, and black and Latino kids, statistically speaking, would have less of that? Mayor: I think some of it is an economic reality. I think some of it is the problem of a single test unto itself. Inskeep: Why don’t you just invest in more test preparation for people who need help? Mayor: Because we don’t believe in a single test as a way of making decisions. So, I think the point in this – we can’t allow this level of exclusion. It’s just not acceptable. It creates kind of a continuity with a broken past that we don’t want to allow around here. The plan that we’ve put forward, some it is rooted in a great model in the State of Texas, you know the University of Texas system made a decision a few years back to admit the top ten percent of high school classes in the State of Texas – Inskeep: Sure, wherever you are in Texas, upper class school, lower class area, whatever – if you’re in the top ten percent you get into the University of Texas. Mayor: And it was meant to really provide opportunity to a broader cross-section of Texans. And in many ways I think it’s been a great success. That was one of the inspirations for us to say we want to admit the top kids in each middle school in this city. Right now we have 600 middle schools. Half of them don’t send any kids to these specialized high schools. We want every middle school to be represented. We want to make sure that there’s another measure in play which is those State test exams. Everybody takes those. It’s a real universal measure but the skew had gotten so great that we couldn’t live with it anymore. Inskeep: Well, there has been so much debate and I want to mention a couple of the things that have been said about this. Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal writes in that newspaper that this is what happens when you try to reconcile what is irreconcilable – group preferences on the one hand and equal treatment of individuals on the other. Are you going for group preferences here? Mayor: No, we’re talking about the single test problem while we’re simultaneously talking about a problem of lack of representation. The fact is that one facilitated the other. Inskeep: Peter Koo, a City Councilman, made remark that perhaps is familiar to you, that is quite personal. “The Mayor’s son just graduated from Brooklyn Tech and got into Yale. Now he wants to stop this and build a barrier to Asian Americans, especially our children.” Mayor: Well, obviously, that’s not true. The whole concept here is universality and inclusion. Many, many kids are still going to have an opportunity, from all backgrounds, to go the specialized high schools but lots of other fine high schools. But I go back to two un-moveable pieces of this equation. We cannot make decisions based on a single test. And two – we cannot have the majority of our people who are black and Latino left out of the equation and that’s what’s been happening for years and years. It’s not an acceptable situation morally and it does not say to all those kids that they have an equal future. Inskeep: One other thing – an Asian-American scholar writes in the New York Times that the real problem is there’s only a small percentage of schools that are really good. Why isn’t everybody having opportunity for an elite school? Mayor: And I think that is a very fair critique. The larger solution is that parents can look across a whole range of high schools and say, “I’m really satisfied my child will do well there and have a great future.” But I don’t think it’s right to say, well, until we get to that day, let’s keep an exclusionary process in place. Unfortunately, in this case we have to walk and chew gum. We have to create more fairness with the best high schools we have today and build a whole set of higher quality high schools going forward. Inskeep: Mayor Bill de Blasio, thanks very much. Mayor: Thanks so much, Steve. Inskeep: New York City’s Mayor says he can order some changes in the testing process himself but for larger changes he will need the approval of the New York State legislature. Big battle may be ahead.