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Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 5:10pm
Mayor Bill de Blasio: I want to thank Father Patrick Woods and everyone at St. Martin of Tours for so warmly celebrating this good life, and allowing us all to be here together in our grief, and thanks to the bishops and all the clergy gathered with us. Our hearts are broken today as we lay to rest a hero, William Tolley, affectionately known as Billy, 14-year veteran of the FDNY. We’re here to honor his life and to mourn its end. We’re here to grieve with his family, to be here for them – his wife, Marie; his daughter, Bella; his mother and stepfather, Marie and Frank; his father and stepmother, Bob and Marion; his brother, Bobby, and his family; all who loved Billy so much, and of course his extended family that feels such grief right now, members of Ladder 135, Engine 286. And all members of the FDNY all feel today they’ve lost a brother. And in their pain they still do the extraordinary every day. We saw on Sunday, even as firefighters feeling such a deep sense of loss, there they were yet again, there for all of us at the tragedy in Queens Village, fighting against the odds as they always do, working through their own grief but serving with their full hearts. That’s what people do when they join the FDNY. They make a decision – a noble decision to run towards the danger. And no one epitomized that belief and that nobility more than Billy. He laid down his life in the service of others. And his life was rich – so rich in fact, that it makes the loss even more raw and painful. But let’s take stock and remember a rich life, a full life, a life full of feeling and love and giving to others, a life lived the way we all should live. That was Billy’s life. And let’s recognize the joy that pervaded his life. He lived with passion. And three things were his particular passions – his family, his work, and of course his metal band. One friend said of him, “He was a hardcore rocker and also a firefighter with a baby seat in the back of his minivan.” Talk about range. Billy poured his soul into his passions. And the life of a first responder called out to him. He wanted to be a firefighter even when he was a kid. He was a volunteer firefighter on the day – that tragic day, 9/11. And he rushed to Ground Zero from Hicksville. He spent hours searching for survivors. He saw things that were not only painful, it could have discouraged someone from a life of service but instead for Billy his yearning to serve was only fortified. He answered the call. He joined the FDNY. He answered the call for 14 years until the final call came last Thursday. Because he lived life to the fullest and he felt so much for all he loved, that afternoon he stopped in at a bakery near his firehouse because he was looking for the perfect desserts for Bella’s first communion but then, as he had so many times before, he responded to a fire call. Tragedy struck in an instant. For all of us as New Yorkers, we knew we had lost a hero and an example. But for one beautiful little girl she had lost her daddy. No words can take away the pain of that loss. What Bella will know throughout her life is that her extended family of the FDNY will be there for her. Her mom told me last night at the wake how strong Bella had been, what a wise little girl she is. She knows this is one family that never goes away and is always there, and what an outstanding tradition that is. The outpouring of support has been extraordinary both here in Bethpage and in New York City. Thousands came to vigils and wakes. So many more offered to help the family in any way they can. And all are inspired by the very generosity and kindness that typified that Billy’s life. As I conclude, I want to say something to you, Bella. And I want to offer you a thought that comes from my own life. I lost my dad when I was young, a little bit older than you but still too young. My dad had worn a uniform too, that of the United States Army. And I knew he was a hero. I knew he had done great things in the service of others. And you’re going to see throughout your life what that will mean. You’ll remember him always for all the good times you had together. Sometimes, of course, you’ll wish you knew him better, you wish you had more time but you’ll never have to wonder about his character, what he believed in, how he used his life on this Earth. You will know he was a hero and it will sustain you. It’s a gift to you that will help you no matter what times you live through, good times and bad. It will be a constant in your life. And it will give you strength to know that that hero is watching over you. The whole family, we honor you. We thank you for having raised up such a good young man who did so much for others. We will all miss Billy but we will keep his memory alive in all we do. Thank you. God bless you all.
Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 5:10pm
Five winning #PoetweetNYC entries selected by a panel of judges led by First Lady Chirlane McCray were published in Metro New York NEW YORK—On Thursday, April 27, New York City hosts the annual “Poem in Your Pocket Day,” a citywide celebration that encourages all New Yorkers to appreciate poetry and highlight the importance of literacy during National Poetry Month. Throughout the month of April, organizations have hosted poetry events across the five boroughs, and on April 27, all New Yorkers are encouraged to carry a poem in their pocket to share with friends, family and colleagues. The City partnered with Metro New York to host the eighth annual “#PoetweetNYC” Twitter poetry contest from April 17 to April 21. @NYCulture and @NYCGov received hundreds of “#PoetweetNYC” submissions and winning entries were published in Metro New York on Poem in Your Pocket Day. The 2017 contest coincided with Immigrant Heritage Week , so participants were encouraged to submit poetweets that celebrate our city’s rich immigrant heritage. "I am delighted that we have so many talented and prolific storytellers in NYC to celebrate on Poem in Your Pocket Day,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 #PoetweetNYC Contest for capturing our city’s rich immigrant heritage and inspiring others through poetry – one word at a time.” This year, a panel of judges selected the winning poetweets, including: * Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City * Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs * Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs * Jennifer Benka, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets * Alice Quinn, Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America 2017 #PoetweetNYC Winners @herekittykittyx Each time I thought of leaving, some hand of love or almost-love pulled me in.#PoetweetNYC @daintyinferno NYC--the city where High speed silver caterpillars Take you from earth to air #PoetweetNYC @JonMayoWriter City that never sleeps dreams of countless futures spoken in thousand tongues, understood in a single breath. #PoetweetNYC @BlindMotherhood Patchwork of culture; A fabric of immigrants. The lining of our city; Textile perfection in an imperfect world. #poetweetnyc @jelefko Stand clear of the closing doors Good advice for a subway ride As for the city itself, know this: The doors remain open & wide #PoeTweetNYC 2017 Poem in Your Pocket Day Highlight Events In addition to carrying a poem today, New Yorkers are encouraged to visit the cultural groups, parks, libraries, and others that are hosting literary events throughout the city. Highlights include: Poem in Your Pocket Day Poetry Slam at the Bryant Park Reading Room Between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The Reading Room invites student poets and poetry lovers to New York City's 15th Annual Poem in Your Pocket Day. This daylong celebration of poetry kicks off the Reading Room's 2017 literary series and is free and open to the public. Students from NYC's elementary, intermediate, and high schools will have the opportunity to read their latest poems during the open mic forum. Poem in Your Pocket Day at Poets House 10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Discover poetry! Join young readers and writers along with special guests for an afternoon of readings and fun. Bring a poem of your choice to share or find one at Poets House. This community reading is a great way to tune your ears to new poets and old friends. Put A Poem In Your Pocket Day at Poe Park 2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx, 2:30 p.m.– 4 p.m. April is poetry month! On Poem in Your Pocket Day, bring a poem to share. If you do not have a poem, one will be provided. Poems may be original, classic or contemporary, funny, cute, or serious. Poem in Your Pocket Day at Queens Public Library: * Central Library, Poetry Workshop, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11432, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Whether you consider yourself a poet or a novice, join us every Thursday in April for National Poetry Writing Month. In the supportive space of the workshop, bring your lived experience to life on the page. * Hollis Library, Poem in Your Pocket Day with Ms. Seales, 202-05 Hillside Avenue, Hollis, NY 1142, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. To celebrate National Poetry Month the children will write a poem and place it in an attractive little pocket which they create! * Peninsula Library, Introduction to Poetry, 92-25 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m Celebrate National Poetry Month and join for an Introduction to Poetry. On April 27th the theme will be "21st Century Poets." A packet of the poems we discuss will be available ahead of time at the Reference Desk. Ask a librarian for details. 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. Poem in Your Pocket Day at Brooklyn Public Library * Homecrest Library, 2525 Coney Island Ave. at Ave V, Brooklyn, NY 11223 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day. Pick up a poem for your pocket at the information desks. We have poems for kids, young adults, and adults. You can even share your poem with your friends. * Bay Ridge Library, Writing Workshop, 7223 Ridge Blvd. at 73rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11209, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Please join for a writing workshop with Zetta Elliott. Participants will read Sharon Flake’s poem, “You Don’t Even Know Me,” and develop their own free verse poem. Poem in Your Pocket Day at New York Public Library * Allerton Library, Poetry Slam, 2740 Barnes Avenue, Bronx, NY, 10467, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Allerton's second annual Poetry Slam is your chance to shine! Learn about different kinds of poetry and how easy it is to let your creativity flow. Once we write poems we will share them with each other and display them for National Poetry month. Ages 7 and up. * Hunts Point Library, Kids Poetry Workshop and Share, 877 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY, 10459, 4 p.m. April is poetry month! Express yourself with poetry. Develop your creative writing potential in a supportive and fun environment. There will be a workshop about different poetry styles. Then there will be a writing and sharing session amongst family and friends. * Tompkins Square Park Library, The Minetta Review: A Reading of Poetry and Prose, 331 East 10th Street, New York, NY, 10009, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Join us for a night of poetry, prose, and artistic discussion at the Tompkins Square Public Library. Featuring Minetta Review contributors Saronik Bosu, Jared Gentile, Cheryl Gross, Lia Hagen, Kaylin Kaupish, Nina Kossman, Sharisse Zeroonian.
Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 5:10pm
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, good afternoon, everyone. We are here today to present the fiscal 2018 executive budget. Key points in this budget makes targeted new investments and strategic investments in the future of this city. We deepened previous investments that are making an impact positively on lives of all New Yorkers, and we continue the practice of sustaining historically high reserves to protect against future uncertainty. And look, this budget continues the work we started four years ago, recognizing that for so many people in the city, it is still a great challenge to make ends meet. And for so many people who work so hard and try and do everything the right way, life in the city is very, very challenging. We're trying in every way we can to relieve those burdens, make it easier on our people to live a good life in the city. We understand what recent years have done to people economically. And the numbers are very sobering. Between 2000, 2014, for example, real average rent in New York City increased by almost 20 percent, while median income – real median income in those years actually fell six percent. We're still recovering from that reality. Still too many people in the city, even if they're working hard, who don't have the kind of wages and benefits that they need, and we all know about the cost of housing – the highest it's ever been. This budget continues our effort to address those realities head-on. Now, the things we want to focus on. Not only making sure people can somehow scrape the money to live on, but that New Yorkers can live a decent life and enjoy all that this great city has to offer, and ensuring the city is not only stronger in the future, but fairer in the future as well. That is the fundamental goal of this budget proposal. We're proud of the progress we have made over the last three-plus years – 2000 more officers on patrol in the NYPD, a key example something we did through this budget process, working with our colleagues in the City Council that has had every desired impact that it was projected to have. Because we have 2000 more officers on patrol, we've been able to drive down crime consistently. We've been able to set up the strongest anti-terror capacity of any city not the country. We've been able to implement a neighborhood policing vision that is bringing more dialogue and unity of partnership between police and community. Those things are happening before our very eyes, because we made a strategic investment. And we saw it particularly in the first quarter this year – the safest three months ever in the history of New York City. We know that affordability is the number one issue on the minds of New Yorkers and thanks to the excellent efforts of our team, over 62,000 affordable apartments have been financed or created or preserved to date – on track for our goal of 200,000 affordable apartments to serve half-a-million New Yorkers. That investment is working. It is ahead of schedule in fact, and on budget. We know that the future of the city literally will be decided by our public schools, both in terms of how our children grow and develop, what they will contribute, how businesses will make decisions about their future New York. It all runs through our school system and we know the Equity and Excellence for All vision is working. We know we have succeeded with pre-K, 70,000 almost children in pre-K and the success that initiative has had. We know that new initiatives like AP for All in our high schools are already working and will have a profound impact on college readiness going forward. These are the things we had to invest in and that we will continue to invest in. And underneath all of those priorities is the understanding that this is also what makes not only for a healthy city, a more unified city, a fairer city, but also a city that's economically strong in the future. Everything I just indicated affects our economic climate and our business climate. We know that these policies are one of the contributing factors, but an important one in the extraordinary success over the last three years in job creation – over 342,000 new jobs created in the last three years. And we know that that has led to a record low unemployment level. Those are things that prove investments are worth it and necessary to build a future. When we budget, we're not just budgeting for this year or next year. We're budgeting with an eye on where the city will be in the next ten or twelve years. We know these investments are working and they have to be sustained. So we have to keep figuring out what is right. The particular focus on giving greater opportunity to every child, on addressing the affordable housing crisis, particularly for seniors, one of our biggest growing demographics in the city, continuing to not only be the safest big city in the country, but get safer still. And doing a host of things to improve the quality of life in the city is the greatest in the world, but is also more crowded than ever and has real quality of life concerns in every neighborhood. So I'm going to give you an overview of the budgets to talk about how we are addressing those immediate needs and what it means for our future and I'll go over some of the key investments we're making. I want to say at the outset thank you, first of all to our Budget Director, Dean Fuleihan and his whole team at OMB that’ve worked to put together what I think is a fine document. I want to thank our Deputy Mayors Tony Shorris, Alicia Glen, Herminia Palacio, and Richard Buery for their tremendous contributions to this budget effort and all they do. Our Director for Intergovernmental Affairs, Emma Wolfe, and her team; my Senior Advisor Andrea Hagelgans and her team; and Dom Williams, a special thanks – Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor Shorris for his good efforts on this budget. And we've already, of course, engaged in a close partnership with the City Council throughout the process so far. I’ve met with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito this morning and with members of the City Council late morning. Thanks to the Speaker and to Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland for continued partnership throughout this effort. Top line numbers, the Fiscal 2018 Executive Budget will be $84.86 billion. The Executive Ten-Year Capital plan will be $95.85 billion. And I'll say at the outset, you're going to hear about choices that were made, priorities that were set. We know that we cannot invest in everything, but we have to invest where our dollars will go the farthest, where we can have the biggest impact for the money that we spend. Now, I want to talk to you for a moment to set the stage here about the economic situation, and if you're talking about the economy as a whole, there certainly is a fair amount of good news and we're in some ways a better place today than some of the other times that we've had an opportunity to share our budget proposal in the past. Jobs in the city, as I said, have grown as a historic pace. More new jobs created in New York City in the last three years than there are people in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. So just to give you a little vivid example of how intense the job growth has been. But now, a fact that people don't know as much is where our unemployment rate is. This four percent unemployment – this is the lowest unemployment rate in New York City in the last 40 years. This measure of unemployment has existed for 40 years. This is literally the lowest unemployment rate since this effort to measure unemployment began four decades ago. Also, we're very proud to say unemployment is literally half of what it was at the time I took office, so we were right around eight percent when I came into office. We're at four percent now. That's a huge step forward for this city, and we want to maintain that great low unemployment. We also are beating the national unemployment rate, which for years and years in the city would have been an impossibility, but we're doing that now. The unemployment picture and the growth in jobs are something to be very proud of and it says a lot about New York City that our economic growth has now reached this historic level. Most jobs we've ever had, lowest unemployment we've had in 40 years. A simple measure we should be proud of. The most jobs we’ve ever had and the lowest unemployment in 40 years. So important to recognize this against the backdrop of what is being talked about around our country right now, and that is the issue of immigration because immigrants are the backbone of our economy. 52 percent of business owners in New York City are emigrants. 45 percent of our labor force, foreign born. 55 percent of the children of New York City are children of immigrants. And we are the most prosperous we have been in decades and the safest we have been ever. We need to put those pieces together and make a point to all those who are discussing the immigration issue around the country. If the biggest thing in the country is also one of the very most prosperous cities in the country and the safest big city in the country and the ultimate city of immigrants – put those pieces together, it says a lot about the shape of America today and the future of America. This model of a society for everyone works and we're proving it every day in New York City. And we're going to get even safer with the support of so many immigrants who make up the backbone of our population. Let me show you something that gives you historical perspective, and I am really interested in this slide, because until yesterday, I haven't fully realized. This is a pretty amazing statistic. We’re now 38 percent foreign-born population here in New York City. I thought there had been a little bit of consistency of that in the last years. It actually has not been. This number right now is the highest it's been since 1910. So you have to go back over a century to have a population of foreign born people in New York City as high as it is today. When this statistic was relevant – this is when my grandparents came from southern Italy. Right around here but look how we’ve come full circle and look how that’s correlated again to our prosperity and our safety – a very important point as we continue to discuss the future of our city and our country. Now, the economy of this city is benefitting greatly from diversification. I always give credit where credit is due. Some great work was done by my predecessor in encouraging a more diverse economy. We have doubled down on that. We believe a fundamentally diverse economy is crucial to economic stability and strength our going forward. Look at this. This is where the job growth has been in the last three years since we’ve been here. And obviously number one area has been education and health. This professional and business category, a lot of the tech jobs have been in this piece of the equation, but look at the fact that growth has occurred over a number of different pieces of our economy. This is what any city would envy to have so many pieces of the economy working and not end up being in a dangerous situation of being overly dependent on any one so we want to keep doing that and we're particularly aware of the fact that we are less reliant on Wall Street. This number is striking and I think it goes against a lot of stereotypes. Look at this. Non-securities wage earning, almost 82 percent of the wages earned in New York City don't come from Wall Street in the financial sector. They come from all these other strong elements of our economy. We appreciate the financial sector but we know for a number of years we were too dependent on it and it's obviously volatile by its nature. The fact that we have developed this level of economic diversity will sustain us going forward. That being said, while we are very happy with the state of our local economy, and we certainly appreciate some of the strength we see in the national economy, there are tremendous uncertainties and those uncertainties tend to emanate about 200 miles down I-95. This is a situation we have not faced in this degree in recent years. The uncertainty in Washington makes our previous situation with Washington look pretty tame. In the last three years I would talk to you about the paralysis in Washington and the unwillingness to invest in some of the things that were so important for this city and the whole country. Now we have something much deeper. We have a level of uncertainty and variability that really challenges us. I will say at the outset, you can look at some of the issues here, the continuing resolution that's being debated right now in the Congress. The Affordable Care Act, that situation seems to literally change daily all the funding for the NYPD for counter-terrorism and other operations. Trump Tower funding, obviously a part of that. So many things we depend on; affordable housing programs, programs that support seniors and working families. All of this is in the mix. There's really no one who knows where all this is going. The ground rules that we may have assumed to exist in the past is hard to see right now. That being said, I think a subjective statement that compared to a couple months ago when we presented a preliminary budget, we have been shown that some of the most pernicious proposals coming out of the White House will not be easily achieved. Obviously the fight that occurred over the original attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act speaks volumes and the fact that there was not even a consensus in the Republican party is a crucial fact. The fact there was so much concern in districts of all shapes and proclivities around the country, that we saw real concern in red states and purple states as well as blue states about that, suggests something about what this debate will be going forward and ways that some of the agenda that the presidents put forward will be constrained. I think that's an important sign. I think the fact that we've seen a pretty extraordinary level of unity among Democrats in the Congress is an important factor. Nothing is certain, to say the least, but I will say I am a little more hopeful today than I was a couple of months ago, while knowing that we all have to be vigilant on each and every one of these issues. Look, the first 100 days of Donald Trump's been a very intense and unpredictable time. I think it's fair to say the first 100 days of Donald Trump have inspired a lot of strong feelings but confidence is not one of them. There is a deep uncertainty and the sudden movements that seem to occur on a regular basis, where plans are put up and pulled down and timelines have changed constantly, doesn't resemble anything we've seen from any other White House previously, Democrat or Republican. But clearly that uncertainty is having an effect on the judgment of members of the Congress and their constituents. And I don't think there's a lot of comfort with this level of uncertainty and I think that will serve to constrain, again, some of the White House's prerogatives. Our job is to be vigilant. Our job is to work with members of Congress and with mayors and other leaders all over the country to protect the interests of cities and to defend so many of the elements of what the federal government does now that really matter to people's everyday lives and to show how important it is to preserve those federal efforts. Now, we know right now within a lot of what we've heard from the Trump administration on the Affordable Care Act, on the continuing resolution and much more importantly on the federal budget proposal for the fall, there are tremendous dangers to our security in the funding for our counter-terror operations and our day-to-day efforts to protect people. There's obviously an immediate danger to over two million New Yorkers who got their health insurance through Obamacare. Immediate a negative impact a repeal could have on their lives and also a very powerful negative impact on our health and hospital system, our public hospitals. We're tremendously worried about all of the elements of the affordable housing programs that we run, some of them federally supported, especially for the 400,000 people who live in public housing right now. They know that their quality life could be greatly diminished by some of the proposals out there. We literally won't know until we see more activity in the coming days and weeks what any of this will mean. We don't know what the continuing resolution alone will yield. That could be resolved in a few days. That could be punted down the road a little but there is no clear projection on what it will mean for York city or anywhere else at this point. We don't know what recent actions on the ACA will mean. We are going to have to fight each step along the way and be able to recognize that this is such a unpredictable situation that any definitive judgment would be a fool's errand. We're going to have to let pieces play out to be able to judge them and decide our course of action. I want to speak about the state budget for a moment here, just a very different situation. State process, although there were some unpredictable elements compared to Washington it was more mainstream to say the least. But here's a little synopsis of what happened with the state budget. It's a mix. It's not a clear positive or a negative. There was nowhere near the effort to cut New York City that we saw the previous year. Obviously, when the governor proposed the big cuts on Medicaid and CUNY nothing like that was even attempted this year. That's a good thing. There were a bunch of smaller cuts attempted, 53 million of those got restored for public health and senior centers in particular, that was an important fight. We waged particularly thankful to members of the assembly who stood by us and we got that done. On public housing good news, at $200 million more for public housing, but we have to see it actually arrive, which has been an issue in the past with some state funding. We're going to work hard for that. Important $200 million we got for water infrastructure. On the negatives, 68 million cut in areas like foster care and special education. Those were bad cuts, they shouldn't have happened. We fought them, didn't prevail. We're going to always go back and look for opportunities in the future to get those resources back and this ongoing issue of design build, this one is just a bad example of government being inconsistent and unfair to the taxpayers. Right now we know if we, the state of New York, had the design build authority that the state gives itself, our estimate is we could save $450 million right away in terms of making a lot of what we do on big infrastructure projects cheaper and it would allow us to take that $450 million and get a lot more done for people. The state has not been willing to apply the same standards to the city of New York as it does to itself even though we're 43 percent of the state's population. A very powerful example, the state is creating the new Kosciusko bridge, we're happy about that. They're applying the design build standard, they're making it cheaper, more efficient, that's wonderful. Just a short ways away is a major new project that the city has to do on the BQE. We are not being granted this ability and it's going to cost a lot more than it should. So I think you're going to see a growing concern in the business community, labor community and among taxpayers, that this issue needs to be addressed as a matter of fairness so we can get a lot more done on infrastructure with the money we have. Now, I will tell you about the overall picture now with revenue. I was talking about our own revenue and what we're seeing. So again, the broader economy, we see some very positive signs, arguably some better signs than we've seen in the past. But it's not showing up in terms of revenue. This is an important distinction. We have seen slowing of growth, the personal income tax receipts. Obviously some change in the real estate market that also have revenue ramifications. And we've seen a good thing in terms of the offsetting capacity on the property tax side but when you add it all up, we see only modest revenue growth in fiscal 18. So there's growth. That's good. It is not the revenue growth we've seen the last few years, but at least we can say there is growth. Again, we see some disconnect between the level of general economic activity and what it means in revenue terms, but at least they're secure and I think we've been very conservative in this assumption. I think Dean and Tony and everyone who believers in being very cautious in our estimates. We've been conservative in our assumptions around revenue. That's why we say modest growth is what we assume right now. Now, we understand that the vision we have only works if we are fiscally responsible. I want to emphasize this point. I'm a absolute believer in the positive role the government can play in people's lives. I'm a believer in a progressive and inclusive economy and lots of investments we can make that really pay off in the long run for a fairer society, a better society, investments that ultimately pay for themselves in many ways. But none of that works if you're not fiscally responsible. You have to, in my opinion, begin at the beginning and have balanced budgets and careful approaches to reserves etc. to be able to sustain a vision of the right kind of investments. It also means finding savings on a constant basis. I want to emphasize this. The effort to find savings never ends. We are not in the kind of situation that sometimes occurred, not because of anything done in the Bloomberg ministration because of the times that that administration lived through after 9/11, after the great recession where there were emergency efforts that had to be put together to find very urgent savings. We're not in that situation. But we are in a situation that I think requires sustained vigilance and savings has to be an every-year focus. So you'll remember at the time of the primary budget we talked about getting more savings out of agencies so we set a goal between the preliminary and today of finding $500 million in savings. We have found $587 million combined with other savings, a grand total of the executive budget we're adding 700 million in new savings. These are some of the areas we're reducing overtime in some agencies. Better use of space and reducing costs. They're a better procurement process and this is really interesting in-sourcing. We're finding situations, again, some of them conventional wisdom, where having our own employees do work is cheaper than outsourcing to the private sector. So these are all areas where we found real savings and the next slide will show you combining the savings we found for the November budget modification, the preliminary budget, executive budget Grand total over those three actions in the last six months, $2.8 billion in savings. Now this is a separate category. The slide doesn't make it clear enough. $2.8 billion in savings found in the last six months that are about to help us going forward. This piece, the $1.3 billion in healthcare savings fiscal 18, obviously was one we were already assuming from our ongoing healthcare savings effort. That is on schedule and that's going to continue thereafter. So this is a new thing and a good thing. This is an ongoing thing and a good thing and it continues to work. This is another new thing. We're going to be instituting a partial hiring freeze for city government. It will affect certain managerial and administrative staff. I want to be very clear what this is and what this isn't. This is not an across-the-board hiring freeze. It is not asking every agency to do exactly the same thing. It is not directed at the front-line workers who provide services to New Yorkers every day. This is really focusing on an area where, bluntly, government always needs to look at the managerial administrative level. Traditionally, there's been too much money invested at that level, not always enough at the grassroots, at the direct service level. We're very proud of the investments we made in the teachers, police officers, etc. but we think there's areas where we can save. This is largely achieved through attrition, not filling unfilled lines and finding serious savings there. We will, by the time of the adopted budget in the next five, six weeks, we will be able to tell you what that dollar figure will be and how that will be applied in the budget but we think it will be a very helpful amount. Now, okay this is straightforward, all of these reserves continue exactly as they were at the time of the preliminary budget, and again, these are the highest ever. You see the helpful highlighting there. These are the highest reserves ever achieved by a New York City government. They are staying in place. They are projected on ongoing basis because we believe this is unnecessary. Less so because of the overall economic situation, more so because of the uncertainty we are seeing from Washington DC. Now, we came to the decision because, again, this is an exercise in making choices and choosing priorities. We came to the decision that while there's a lot of uncertainty in Washington, it's not a time for paralysis here. We have to keep investing in the things we think will improve New York City and by the way, when you look at that job growth we talked about earlier, that job growth is part of what will sustain us going forward. That job growth not only means livelihoods for New Yorkers. It means obviously revenue that comes into the city and a growth facilitates more growth. A city that is on a growth pattern will be in a strong position on many, many levels going forward including on the revenue front. That's why sometimes, as they say in the private sector, you have to spend money to make money. We know we have to invest to keep this to be strong and competitive going forward. We're not going to let the uncertainty in Washington stop us from doing some smart and targeted investments so let me talk about some of things that we are focused on. Obviously, the Equity and Excellence for All program, this to me is probably the piece that will have the biggest long-term impact on New York City's future. If we can actually correct decades of mistakes in our school system and make it a school system that serves every, every child with a high-quality education and across the board in every neighborhood, the ramifications of that, for a better and fairer society but also for a great workforce in the future are extraordinary and the ultimate, I think, not only the quality of life in the city improving in so many ways, but the money we will ultimately save because we made these investments at the right time. I think it will prove to have been a very wise focus. 3-K for All, talked about this a lot the other day, I'm not going to go into detail again now. Happy to answer questions in a moment but 3-K For All, to me, this is doing the smart thing in terms of education investment. This is spending money where it can have the biggest impact. What we were doing in the past was basically we were upside down. We would put a lot of money into the education system, at a point where it would have less impact. We would not invest as a city in early childhood education even though there was so much evidence that that was where you got the highest impact and that irreplaceable opportunity to reach children during their point of fastest intellectual growth. We're flipping the script. We're saying we have to do early childhood to the best and fullest of our ability. Doing that investment the right way will facilitate everything else we're trying to do on education and will particularly animate our ongoing effort to get all our kids reading on grade level by the time they take reading tests in third grade. So this is a big focus again. I mean 36 million next school year, next fiscal year and it will ramp up to $177 million for the school year starting in 2020, that's fiscal 21. We are also in the process fixing something that's been broken for a while; The Early Learning Program, although well-intentioned, hasn't gotten the support it deserved. It's been an effort to give our young people, particularly from less advantaged families, our three-year-olds childcare, but without a lot of the professional development and curriculum support and educational quality that was really going to make it a game-changer for our kids. That reform is also a part of this announcement and putting all those services under the Department of Education. So we'll have the build-out as you know over the next few years and we'll be in the process of getting the additional support we need over these next few years. Now another important ... talk about everyday thing, that parents care about and kids care about and teachers care about, I can't tell you how many times going back to when I started being a member of the school board in District 15, Brooklyn in 1999. I cannot tell you how many times I've been at a PTA meeting or a town hall meeting where parents talked about the fact that there wasn't air conditioning in their child's classroom and how much that distracted everyone from learning. There are some months of the year in New York City during our school year when it is just too hot in too many of our schools. We're going to solve it once and for all. This investment will allow us to, and will start right away in the coming school year, will allow us to install air conditioning in all classrooms over the next five years. I think that's going to not only make it a more pleasant experience, it's going to really help us to educate our kids. Now the affordability crisis I talked to you about a lot, this is, I think, the issue that's most on the minds of New Yorkers. Folks are so desperately concerned about being priced out of their own city and their own neighborhood. There's a lot we have to do to address this and that is on one level a focus on deepening all of our affordable housing efforts, but it's also about giving people the resources they need to pay for housing; more jobs, better-paying jobs, more access to those jobs. That's another crucial piece of the equation. So first on the affordable housing side, we announced this earlier ... We're shifting some of the focus within our affordable housing plan. We're adding a major investment; 1.9 billion. That's going to allow us to reach 10,000 more households with lower income levels as part of our affordable housing plan and we devote 5000 more of our units to seniors, 500 more to veterans. This is a strategic shift we think is very much necessary based on what we're seeing on the ground and what the needs of communities are. The access to counsel, a big priority for the City Council that we worked on together. This is going to guarantee that folks make up the $50,000 and are threatened with eviction will have a lawyer provide the city to help them avoid that eviction. That's going to be great for those families and for preserving affordable housing overall and a new piece in this important ... this investment in NYCHA. I want to remind you we had a billion-dollar investment earlier in the preliminary budget for the roofs at NYCHA, a crying need and a situation that was causing, sadly, some real health concerns of mold and other problems that were affecting the health of residents. That investment was used to begin with ... we're adding a $355 million-dollar capital investment. To repair façades is a 150 billion. These are buildings where we think there's real safety issues with the façades. We want to make sure people are safe. We're going to put that money in and that will affect the quality of life overall in these developments. When you combine this 1.355 billion dollars, one and 1/3 billion dollars basically, well that's the biggest investment the city of New York has made in capital funding from NYCHA in any year in our history, to the best of our knowledge. And it reflects our commitment to the 400,000 people who live in public housing and it also sadly reflects the fact that the federal government has been disinvesting over many years in public housing. It's a sad reality. Now back in the time of my greatest predecessor, Fiorello LaGuardia, federal government helped us build this extraordinary affordable housing that we call public housing. The federal government was front and center as part of the solution over the last 30 years or more that we've seen declining federal commitment. We can't stand idly by. This is a case where we had to do something, bolder than ever before, and we think it's a smart long-term investment in affordable housing in this city. Now, another crucial piece that we need to address relates to our seniors. You know, the affordability crisis is affecting everyone, but for so many of our seniors it's affecting them very deeply because a lot of people who are in the workforce in particular, have some expectation of continued income, even growing income, for a lot of our seniors. Of course, they're not getting a new income. They're on a fixed income and that fixed income is having a hard time keeping up with growing expenses and a higher cost of living. We want to lighten the burden. I heard this a lot from council members over the last year and at town hall meetings. I think it's a real concern. It was something we could do about so we're working with the state legislature over these coming weeks, a piece of legislation that we've worked together with State Senator, Diane Savino, who as you know is a member of the IDC and assembly member, Brian Kavanagh. This will create an expansion of the senior citizen disabled homeowners exemption program. It will be a city budget impact of just over $61 million and what it means is that folks who are part of 32,000 households, this is a real far-ranging impact, 32,000 households, even more people obviously. They'll save on average $1750 on their property taxes each year and it's going to start quickly so people will start to feel it in the course of this next fiscal year when passed in Albany and we think there's a lot of interest in Albany in getting this done. Previously, seniors who, in so many cases ... The famous phrase "cash poor and house rich" or "house rich and cash poor" ... A lot of seniors in this city had a house paid off in many cases, but they didn't have any money. They didn't have any income and they had to pay for everything else. This will increase that income threshold. A lot like we did with the rental exemption programs, SCRIE and DRIE, above and 37,400 and 58,400. This will mean for, again, 32,000 households ... a huge amount of relief that will allow them to make ends meet a lot better and it's a recognition that seniors need a lot more support in terms of affordability. So this, combined with the ... Earlier after I mentioned to add more senior housing units to our affordable housing plan and obviously the ongoing effort to win the mansion tax in Albany, which would benefit 25,000 senior households. These are all part of a big focus on senior affordable housing. Now next, continuing on affordability, we have issued a very clear vision to add 100,000 more good-paying jobs in the coming years, and there are investments we're making to achieve it. A lot was already underway but we're adding to it, the green jobs. This is going to be crucial to our efforts to address climate change. This investment of 12.8 million is going to allow us to train 3000 New Yorkers. Once they're trained, this is not just short-term jobs. This is a career, this has long-term ramifications. It will give us the workforce we need to do constant retrofits and to improve the use of renewable energy in the city. For those 3000 families, they're on a long-term track to a stable economic life. The Made in New York campus at Bush terminal also has $136 million-dollar capital investment that's going to allow us to create 1500 new jobs. Again, these are all areas where you're talking about high-paying jobs, long-term job opportunities that will be up and running in just a few years. These are examples, many more to come, of the kind of investments that will get us to that hundred-thousand job goal. Just a reminder, that Made in New York campus, the average salary in those fields; in fashion about 57,000 a year, in film and TV about 53,000 year. So that, again, squarely in the vein ... We want to see more such jobs in the city. We want to see jobs that people can afford to live on. That's where we're putting a lot of our strategic investments. Now it's great to be able to say this sentence every single month and that the NYPD, to their great credit, working with neighborhood partners and working with folks on the ground who are doing amazing work like the Cure Violence movement, that we continue to see great success driving down crime. So first quarter of this year, again, safest we've ever seen ... neighborhood policing deepening all the time. You'll see on the next slide a couple of key investments we're making now. We know domestic violence is issue that we're seeing an increased focus on rightfully by the NYPD and many other parts of city government. We've been urging people to come forward more and more and not suffer in silence and thank God many more people are. It's making very clear to us we have to keep investing to stop domestic violence at its core, but also respond when God forbid it happens. There are a couple of crucial new investments in family justice centers and trauma care for affected children. This was part of a task force that was put together with experts from around the city and has come up with a vision of how we can deepen our efforts against domestic violence. Also, something that's worked really well, ShotSpotter has been a fantastic success. It has led us to be able to find a number perpetrators we never would've in the past, to seize a lot of weapons we never would've in the past. We're continuing to add and cover another substantial piece of the city with ShotSpotter that would be in place by the end of next year. The next area I want to talk about, this again couldn't be more timely. I talked to before about what it means to be in the safest city and the most prosperous city and also the most immigrant city and how we need to connect those dots. Well, sadly, while all those facts are true, while this city government in so many ways shows respect and inclusion for our immigrant fellow New Yorkers, the national situation has created tremendous fear and disruption. Obviously people who are hard-working people fear that their lives could be disrupted and they and/or their loved ones could be deported. City Council has made this a major priority and we agree with them. We'll be adding $16 million in the budget so that New Yorkers who are threatened with deportation who are working to feed their families, including asylum-seekers and a very, very sensitive group; the unaccompanied children, that we don't see a situation where families are torn apart, children are taken from their loved ones, parents are taken from their children. We need to be there for our fellow New Yorkers who are immigrants. We need them to have some confidence that there will be support for them, God forbid, they end up in this situation. So we've done a number of things to instill confidence and support over the years including IBNYC and the entire way our police force and other city agencies work with immigrants, but this piece, I wish we did not have to include this in our budget but we have to because of the policies emanating from Washington. A couple other very important areas, we talked a lot about the opioid crisis. $38 million-dollar investment being made. We talked about this a few weeks back. A major, major concern for this city. This investment's going to allow us to reduce deaths from this tragic situation by 35 perfect over the coming years. This is a work that will never end. Obviously, we cannot rest until we turn the tide entirely on this. I really want to give a lot of credit to the NYPD and other first responders who are using naloxone more than ever and are reversing overdoses at an extraordinary rate. We certainly heard about that during Staten Island weekly, amazing success NYPD members of Staten Island had. We got to get the root cause of this and a lot of what we're investing in will help us do that. But in the meantime, lives are being saved every single day because we're giving our first responders and families the tools they need and it's having a real impact. Then just a couple other key points I want to raise because we need to keep improving the quality of life, all those big items I talked about are crucial but we have to consistently improve the quality of life in this city. So [inaudible]. Sorry, I'll have to take you over to the right here. This vision for the Manhattan Greenway, this is over 1/4 century old. This vision has still has not been achieved. Some extraordinary parts have and obviously Hudson River Park's been a great example of success, but as many have said, this is the single most important island on the earth. And in so many ways, we're missing an opportunity to get people back to the waterfront and to give that experience. You know I've had a couple of experiences that really convinced me of this. I used to live up here at 104th and West End when I went to graduate school in Columbia, that was back in the 80s. I loved everything that was available in Riverside Park and I always wondered how it was that it wasn't something for the whole borough of Manhattan and for all the people in New York City. I also had the experience of being deeply involved in the creation of Brooklyn Bridge Park and I saw it go from empty piers to one of the premier parks in the city. 80 acres that's having an amazing impact on the quality life for people in many parts of Brooklyn and for folks from all over the city. This is though the wave of the future to keep getting back to the waterfront and it correlates with the focus on our ferry service, which we're so proud of, it's going to start on May 1st. I think that's going to be a game-changer for how people get around this city, but all that gets back to the same point. This is the ultimate maritime city. This is why we are here. This is why New York was started. This is why New York is great and yet, the city was built to turn it's back on the waterfront. And that got recognized decades ago and some real progress was made but we still haven't completed this fundamental vision of having a Greenway all around Manhattan Island. We're going to get that done and the first piece we're working on is here on the east side. That's been waiting for a long time ago and that's 100 million to continue the effort to create the full contiguous 32-mile promenade around Manhattan. This piece, 53rd street to 61st street – crucial piece of the equation. We're going to get to work on that right away; expected completion 2022. That's the first piece that's tangible. We'll have other announcements going forward on other specific pieces. Over here again, these circles, some big some small, indicate where there are gaps in this Greenway and obviously we're going at one of the biggest ones right here but there are a couple other very major ones, and the smaller ones have to be addressed over time. We will be funding in this budget a study and we expect results by the end of this year, that will give us the game plan on how long it will take to fill in all the gaps and how much it will cost. And then we'll proceed to prioritize them and get to work on acting on each one, and that will be reflected in next year's preliminary budget. So that piece, I think will improve quality of life in so many ways. Another piece that's important, everyone wants a cleaner city. It hasn't always been our number one strength in New York City, but we are making a lot of progress. And one thing is another pet peeve of mine I've experienced over many years is seeing how so many of our sidewalks are really dirty and they have been dirty for a long time and never properly cleaned. As I said to the City Council members, too many years of too much gum thrown on the sidewalk that never got cleaned up and so many other things. This investment in 14 sidewalk cleaning trucks are literally going to power-wash sidewalks and clean them up in a way we've never been able to do before. You'll start to see that this fall. Another great thing in terms of a cleaner and better city and a better environment, electronics recycling, something I've worked on for a long time back to my City Council days. Great work was done in Staten Island and we started a pilot there and it worked. Literally folks who'd call 311 asked sanitation to come over, pick up their old TVs and other electronics. It worked like a charm. We'll be expanding that now in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and that's going to make a big difference for the city as well. It's going to be easier for people to just make that phone call and get stuff picked up. So those are examples of some of the great investments that improve quality of life. I will conclude with just a few points. The goal of any budget course is to express priorities but also, by definition, to express values. Values are clear. We want an inclusive economy, we want a fairer city, we want a sustainable city. We need to know this will be a place for everyone. We know in recent years that has been threatened. We know the cost of living and the growing development challenges have threatened the very nature of this city. We have to respond constantly with strategic moves that help us keep this a city for everyone. That is the magic of New York City, that it's someplace that has always been representative of every kind of people and that anyone had a shot to make it. And as the great city of immigrants, again, it's worked as a city of strivers and people seeking to better themselves and their families. We got to keep it that way. So this budget is about making the investments that will allow us to do that. Just a few key points on a – sorry, one more point and then I'll say a few words in Spanish. One more point. Again, we will not be paralyzed because Washington DC is paralyzed. We're not going to ... Even if there's uncertainty in Washington, even if things go up and down in Washington, we're not going to let that change us. I said at Cooper Union some months ago, a national action doesn't change our values, but I would also say. a White House plan or strategy doesn't change our strategy and our approach. We're going to stay true to our strategic vision. We'll deal with whatever comes out of Washington but we're not going to wait. And I've talked to mayors all over the country who feel the same way. We got to keep changing and improving our cities while fighting for a different national reality at the same time. Just a few words in Spanish and then Dean Fuleihan will come up and fill in a few other pieces before we take your questions. [Mayor de Blasio speaks Spanish] With that now, going back to English, Dean Fuleihan will come forward and will offer some insights. Thank you. Director Dean Fuleihan, Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget: Thank you Mr. Mayor. I'm going to do a brief overview on the financial plan and then there will be a technical briefing after the questions and answers. Just quickly, on the quarterly update, what are the changes since the preliminary budget, so if we start at the very top obviously we were balanced in 2017 and 2018 when we presented the preliminary budget. Then in 19, 20 and 20, one of those were the gaps we confronted. We then have the revenue changes for the executive budget. Modest changes in the current fiscal year, but more significant changes of reduction in our forecast of 567 million for all taxes. So while that is a reduction and is a cautious estimate and more cautious, I believe, than what most of our monitors and other people who've come out, who've looked at the fiscal year 18, it's still assuming growth. So we are assuming tax revenue growth of 2% in the current year, 3.2, it's still modest growth compared to what we've seen in prior years, but it does assume growth and that reduction therefore follows out into 19, 20 and 21 because of the base reduction. On non-tax revenues, as we did in the preliminary budget ... I would love to stay with the first light ... In the non-tax revenues those are miscellaneous receipts so we're recognizing some additional miscellaneous receipts and in the current year some additional one-time revenues as we did in the preliminary budget as well. The next group ... back, stay here ... The next group on expenditures ... This lists for you the expense changes, 153 million. These are the agency expenditures that have increased in 733 million. As the mayor pointed out, basically these were offset, effectively completely offset, by the citywide savings program of 330 million in the current year, 370 million and those numbers grow in the out years, as well as the pension line, which shows actuarial changes. That is not in earnings. The reduction in pension has nothing to do with the pension earnings, that's simply actuarial changes that occur every year and you're familiar with every year. Normally that's actually been an increasing number from the actuary and this year it's a reduction. Those two make up for both the agency expenses and the enacted state budget changes that the mayor referred to. The foster care reimbursement and the special education reimbursement, which are 34 million and then in the out years, in the 18 and the out years is 68 million. In the current year that left us with an additional 672 million, which allowed us to add to the base we had of 3.1 billion, which now becomes 3.7 which is how we balance the 18-year in the next slide ... Now I'll let you move. So this next slide is city funds and once again the technical briefing will go in more detail. Are you on the wrong slide? I jumped there, thank you. On the city funds, the 18 number of 61.1 billion, and once again the technical we're happy to go over this. I would like to point out at the very bottom, the general reserve. We maintain in, as the mayor pointed out, in 18 the billion-dollar general reserve in every single year of the financial plan and the capital stabilization reserve of 250 million of every year. These are levels that have never been achieved before by the city. The traditional level is $300 million, which is actually what we have remaining in the current fiscal year. The next slide is the off/on slide and once again the 18 number, 84.8 that the mayor talked about, let's keep going, just shows where the dollars come from and where they go. We'll keep going on to the 10-year capital strategy. The mayor pointed out the 10-year capital strategy of the 95.8 billion. This breaks it down into the major categories with a significant amount of this expenditure being in state of good repair, plus the initiatives that the mayor highlighted. Then quickly to the next slide, this shows where the financing is coming from. So the very first line in general obligation and transitional finance authority, that's city debt. Then the Water Authority, which funds the DP expenditures and then the federal, state amounts. Then finally on the last slide, which is the one we care about in terms of for our capital budget, is to maintain a long-standing ... This is a long-standing benchmark of affordability and it is saying that our city debt service as a percent of city tax revenues will remain well below 15% through our entire 10-year plan and that's the key benchmark that the city has been using for decades. With that, I'll turn it back to the mayor. Mayor: Well done. Okay. We are now going to take a lot of questions. Hold on, I'm drinking first. This is not alcohol. Might be tempting, but it's not. Question: Mr. Mayor what percentage of the city’s municipal work force does the hiring freeze represent, both in terms of percentage and raw numbers and how much of the budgetary savings have the entire cost of the municipal workforce? Mayor: All that, we’re going to come back for the adoptive; again I said five, six weeks from now with a number and a specific vision. We think it’ll be a meaningful contribution to our budget, but we have to discern the way we want to do that. It will not effect, as I said, front line workers but if you just focus on administrative and managerial workers in the city workforce, that’s a lot of people. Question: Can you ballpark it – Mayor: I’m not going to ballpark it today. Question: Can you give us some examples of job titles that would – Mayor: Again, that’s all going to come out as we go on towards the adopted budget. Courtney? Question: How much is actually in the reserves plus the capital stabilization fund, and the healthcare fund. So what is the total you kind of have in the bank should something disastrous happen? Mayor: 5.25 billion between general reserves, health benefits fund and capital stabilization reserve but importantly that’s this coming fiscal year of eighteen. But then it recurs in terms of the general reserve and the capital stabilization reserve for multiple years and obviously the health benefits fund remains at its level. So that’s a stable number going forward, and again 5.25 billion, I mean when I was in the city council, I was in the city council up until the end of 2009, we could never have dreamed of a number like that, so it’s really a wonderful hedge against anything that could happen out there. Question: And given the amount of uncertainty, I mean there’s no question that this budget has grown and – Mayor: Yes. Question: – the capital plan in particular has grown by six billion dollars, you have fiscal watchdogs saying we may get cut by a lot from Washington, how can you justify that type of spending? Mayor: It’s a very crucial question but I want to make sure everyone understands the theory of the case here. I think everyone in this room would agree, there’s not a single human being on Earth who knows what’s going to happen in Washington D.C., I mean I think we’ve seen again a level of unpredictability that is without any historic precedent. So we could be facing very severe cuts, we could be facing very limited cuts, we could face an action that really changes the Affordable Care Act or we could see stability with the Affordable Care Act, we just don’t know. So point one is, we came to a strategic assumption and we think it’s the right one, that if you have no idea where something is going and no one else does, it’s dangerous to start making decisions based on that reality. And it’s counterproductive because it will stop us from making investments we might need to make that we believe in. So that’s part one of the equation. Second, we’re going to fight against changes that would hurt our people, and that fight against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, had a huge impact and that was all over the country. Look right here in New York City our one Republican Congressmen Dan Donovan came out against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act because a lot of people in the city and in his district made their voices known. And he made the right decision. That was crucial, that one vote made a difference let alone dozens and dozens of votes that are up for grabs in cities and metropolitan areas all over the country. So, by any definition that fight was won in the first round. If the Affordable Care Act repeal proceeds out the House, there’s going to be a huge fight in the Senate, and it’s a tough playing field for those who want to repeal it. And the same on the budget, I mean right now as I mentioned the continuing resolution, we don’t know – a lot of people believe that we’ll have relatively little change. The big venue is about five months down the line with the fall budget fight in Washington. A lot of what’s been proposed is going to be very unpopular and you’ll see a lot of Republican Senators and Congress people queasy about it. So you can’t plan on something that has no shape, and each of these items can be fought for, the ones we care about can be fought for and protected. And again, we’re just not going to be paralyzed by uncertainty, we have to keep investing. So we believe these are smart and measured investments that will make a big impact. We also have unprecedented reserves, so we have an immediate [inaudible] if there were any challenges. I think when you add this all up it’s the right way to go. I would remind you, a question came up a few days back about you know, the State is taking its own approach, we have a different approach to how we would deal with federal uncertainty. We have, you know, multiple opportunities in a year in January, April, June, November, that we can modify our budget and we have great capacity, and I know that Tony and Dean and our deputy mayors are all able to quickly make adjustments if we see a problem, we can slow down spending, speed up spending, whatever it happens to be. We have a lot of latitude. So, if we see a danger we can start acting on that danger very quickly. So that way I look at it, I’m sorry for the long answer, but I think it’s – you’ve asked the most essential question, you know the way I look at it is, we could sit around dead in the water just waiting for the unknown or we could keep moving and keep building our city. But God forbid something happens that’s really going to hurt our people, we have plenty of ways to respond in real time and protect our interests. So we’re quite confident about that. Yes? Question: [Inaudible] immigrant legal services. Is there going to be any sort of screening or [inaudible] for example there are [inaudible] for which the NYPD and the Department of Correction cooperate with ICE. There’s also another very long list of [inaudible] that it does not cooperate with ICE – forcible touching, child endangerment, criminal possession of a firearm. Is there a good chance [inaudible] the NYPD has turned over for a violent offense or has not turned over or not detained but has committed what some consider a serious crime like – Mayor: No. Question: Like misdirection of prescription drugs. Mayor: No. The rules we’ll create will not allow legal defense to be provided for anyone in the categories where we are working with ICE on. So, the 170 categories. Obviously, those are folks who have been convicted, let’s be clear. Those are folks who have been convicted under our law. It’s abundantly clear upon being convicted we are in a position to work with ICE. And we believe that’s good policy. So, we’re not – it would be counterproductive to provide legal defense. We’re not going to do that. That law, as I said, we’re looking at some potential additions to that law. Some of the categories that you mentioned are things we’re going to look at. We’ll have more to say on that soon. The bigger point is – and this is why this whole debate is so broken, there’s no words for it – I’d ask all of you, look, you guys are in a position to help this city and this country understand this issue. And I would urge you to take that responsibility very seriously. Ask Commissioner O’Neill, ask any law enforcement expert – the vast majority of folks who are immigrants, in general, do not commit crime. The vast majority of undocumented immigrants do not commit crime. Many law enforcement experts believe that immigrants commit crime at a lesser rate than the general population. The number of people who commit very serious and violent crimes like the ones in the 170 crime list is very, very small as opposed to the 500,000 undocumented immigrants who are here, 500,000 permanent residents who are here both in New York City, or take the 11 million undocumented folks in the country. This is all one big lie because what’s really happening here – this is about the demonization of immigrants and it’s about racism. If you really look at the numbers and you really look at the facts, crime is not being driven by a small number of undocumented folks who create violent and serious crime. We’re talking here about the other 499,000-plus who are in a position where they could be deported whether they commit a crime or not, or they could be deported for committing a very minor offense such as a quality-of-life offense. We don’t think that’s right. So, that’s how we cut the – Question: [Inaudible] City Council said they’re not interested in amending that list of crimes – Mayor: The City Council has not said any such thing. Question: The Speaker said it – Mayor:The City Council is – Question: The Speaker – Mayor: My friend, I’m responding to you. The City Council will make a judgement when we have a dialogue with them and we present a proposal. Do not assume. Question: Okay. And even so, then, there is a chance somebody say convicted of forcible touching or misdirection of prescription drugs could – Mayor: I don’t think there is any such chance, honestly. I just don’t. Question: Mr. Mayor, there’s $1.1 billion in the budget for construction of jail facilities [inaudible] Department of Corrections budget. What is that $1.1 billion going to fund and will it fund – will it go toward reconstructing Brooklyn House and Queens House? Mayor: So, the reality right now is since the decision made jointly with the Council to close Rikers Island on the planned timeline of ten years requires additional facilities even though I have some disagreements with the Council on some of the specifics of the commission report. The basic concept is sound that we need community-based facilities. That money in the budget is for the design of those community-based facilities. Question: Community-based facilities in Queens, Brooklyn? Mayor: So, this begs an important question and it’s a conversation we’re going to have with the City Council in the coming days and weeks to determine their readiness to act on specific sites. My view is if they are – and I think there’s goodwill here. I think Council members have been very open. But if there are specific sites that there’s an agreement between the mayoralty and the Council that could be activated then we need a very specific timeline for the ULURP process. Question: Has the City been in touch with the State government regarding the lease or purchase of Rikers Island for the expansion LaGuardia? Mayor: That’s way off in the future. Right now our focus is on determining the immediate pathway to whatever appropriate community-based sites. I’ll also that we have to – it’s a ten-year vision – we have to keep making sure that folks both who work there and are serving time on Rikers are treated decently. So, we still have work to do on the existing facilities to try and make them as decent as they can be in the meantime. But the immediate step to take with the Council is to determine specific sites and to determine a pathway to begin a ULURP process. To me, the initiation of ULURP process even the announcement of the initiating of the ULURP is when the rubber hits the road. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Again, that’s a conversation we have started. And the sooner we can announce, the better off we are in my view. David – Question: How much of the $2.8 billion in savings that you guys found in the last six months comes from the [inaudible] pension costs – Mayor: It’s not in there [inaudible] – Question: [Inaudible] Director Fuleihan: It’s not part of the $2.8 billion. I was simply – what I was highlighting was the Executive Budget and the offsetting pieces but those are not part of the $2.8 billion. Question: So, where does that – there’s like $700 million I guess is the estimate. How much is the estimated lower costs for the pensions in this budget? Director Fuleihan: The pension numbers were on that – the gap sheet and it was – I apologize. It was $20 million in the current year and then it was $200 – it was basically between $253 and $270 million every year thereafter. Question: [Inaudible] given that President Trump is planning to visit next week. The NYPD says it costs about $300,000 roughly a day to provide security for him. I don’t see anything in this budget, you know, sort of, looking forward to these kinds of visits by the President. Do you anticipate, if you haven’t been reimbursed so far for the costs during the transition – is there anywhere in this budget that you’re anticipating more money on that – Mayor: So, an occasional visit like the President is doing is consistent with what President Obama did or President Bush did. That’s already an assumption. It’s not like – to the best of my knowledge, we don’t have a line in the NYPD budget. It is an assumption like General of the UN every year and things like that. Occasional visits – not our challenge. We can ions where deal with that, and, obviously, there are situations where we get federal reimbursement historically for some of that. The question on Trump Tower – we’re right in the middle of the final days and hours of that immediate issue being addressed. We don’t know – there’s been a lot of communication back and forth with the Congress – with members of the Congress – and even some with the executive branch to determine what will be in the continuing resolution. A couple of jumps here – the continuing resolution will hopefully address, at minimum, the period between the election and the inaugural. We’d like to see as much definition going forward as possible. We’re not going to be surprised, of course, if a lot of that has to wait until the full budget in the fall. But we’ve said very clearly, we’re not budgeting for something that’s a federal responsibility. Again, I think that would be like saying, well, don’t even bother to pay us back, we’ll just budget. We don’t believe it’s appropriate. We believe this is an absolute federal responsibility, and, I have to say, I’m pleased, having talked to a number of Republicans in the Congress – I haven’t talked to every one of them, to say the least – but the ones I’ve talked to – no one disagrees in principle that this is the kind of thing the federal government should cover. So, we’re going to remain at least mostly hopeful. Question: Mayor de Blasio, you mentioned the naloxone and emergency responses to opioid abuse. You also said the City would invest in the root cause. What do you believe the root cause is? Mayor: I think – you know, we talked about this when we announced the policy. Some of the root causes of course were the proliferation of prescription drugs in quantities that never should have been allowed. We are working to educate healthcare providers that they need to limit their prescriptions to the maximum extent possible. You know, the classic – you come off an operation or something, you might be in pain for three days, and they give you a 60-day supply of oxycontin – that’s unacceptable, that’s dangerous. So, we’re trying to work with other partners to limit that problem. Obviously – more efforts to cut off supply of illegal drugs – more NYPD resources shifting that way; some serious educational and preventative efforts in terms of young people. Those are all elements going at root causes. I would argue everything in ThriveNYC is another element of going at root causes because, you know, the interplay of substance abuse and mental health challenges is quite deep, and we haven’t had a go-to place to turn if you have either challenge in this city on an ongoing basis. Part of what my wife emphasizes with 888-NYC-WELL is, now, if you have a problem, if you have the beginning of a problem, if a loved one has a problem, there’s a go-to place that can actually connect you to ongoing treatment before anything gets out of hand – I think that’s going at the root cause. So, all of those approaches. Who has not had a shot? Willie? Question: Two questions – the first is that $1 billion in spending for a new jail facilities appears to be spent entirely in the first year of the 10-year capital plan, 2018. Mayor: It’s design money. Question: So, that’s all going to be spent in one year? Mayor Well, you ideally want to spend it as quickly as possible. It’s design money to do – and, again, we are not putting a specific to this until we get some commitments from the Council, but to do multiple facilities, the design alone is a very major and costly endeavor. You want to do as much as you can, certainly, in the first year. We’re talking about – this whole thing has to be achieved in 10 years. We would want to start immediately. Question: [Inaudible] from what you just said is that your anticipation is that over the next year you will have with the City Council agreement on siting facilities in order to be able to design them – Mayor: Our preference – anticipation may be a little strong a word, but let me say preference – is to determine the specific sites and for there to be ownership by the Council with the initiation, or even the formal acknowledgment that the ULURP process needs to begin. That will allow us to start the design process, because, as you know, ULURP is interactive. To some extent, you have to do a certain amount of design to go through ULURP, and then other elements of design depend on ULURP. But, look, 10 years is by one measure a long time, by another measure not that long a time. We need to start right away if there’s agreement. If they really have skin in the game and they say, yup, here are the district’s, let’s start ULURP – we have every interest in moving as quickly as possible. Question: There’s discussions with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to acquire an entrance fee for a non-city resident. Are you in favor of that? And could that affect the City’s funding for the MET? Mayor: I believe if it’s properly implemented to specifically reach non-city residents, yes, I think that would be fair to ask non-city, obviously, many of whom are our 60 million tourists, to pay a little more. I’m a big fan of Russian oligarchs paying more to get into the MET. The – I don’t think we have an assumption about city funding. I think it’s about them being able to sustain their operations longterm, and it would actually mean they wouldn’t need a additional city funding, in theory. But the real issue is just to allow them to defray some of their costs that’s fair to city residents. Laura? Question: Do you – you tied the health of the city’s [inaudible] and success to the presence of the immigrant population here. I was wondering if you have seen, as some people have voiced concerns in recent months, actual, specific impacts either on the revenue side, on sales tax collection, anywhere in this budget where you can point to definitive impacts of the new vibe on immigration from Washington and how that’s hurting the city, or what impact it’s having. Is there anything – Mayor: No. Broadly, no, and I want to define that for a moment. First of all, it’s very early on. This administration’s only been in place for a few months. There’s a bunch of areas of concern. We’re deeply concerned that undocumented families or mixed-documentation families will stop seeking the things that they need as families, whether it’s health care, or public education, or childcare, whatever it may be. We’re concerned about our tourism levels. There’s a number of areas to be concerned, but, if you really break each one down and look specifically, we haven’ seen seismic changes yet. And, remember – again, this is part of what’s different from when we were here two months or so ago – someone bring out the batting average here – I’m trying to remember which of the executive orders that we thought would be disruptive to New York City managed to get through without a successful court challenge. Right now, it seems that there’s a fundamental problem with many of the policies the Trump administration has attempted that are the ones that worry us the most. The immigration executive order was obviously successfully challenged in court. We saw the decision yesterday. The travel ban – twice successfully challenged in court. The repeal of the ACA failed. I’m not saying we should rest on any laurels. I’m not saying there aren’t huge challenges ahead. I’m saying the things that materially would have affected us haven’t happened, and the cold, hard reality is that a lot of the immigration enforcement has been an attempt to create fear and to score political points. It hasn’t numerically differed that much from the previous administration. So, I think at this moment – and, Dean, if there’s any nuance to correct me on – I would say, by and large, we have not seen specific things, factual things that have changed the way we budget. Who’s next? Okay, Anna? Question: Two questions – the Citizen’s Budget Commission released a statement criticizing you guys for not cutting back on spending given the political and economic uncertainties – Mayor: I’m shocked. Question: Do you think that you’re spending too much – Mayor: Where did we go wrong? Question: – or is that something that you consider? Do you think that maybe offsetting increases in spending isn’t enough? Mayor: Look, I have a great deal of respect for the Citizen’s Budget Commission. They do very good work and they’re a great part of the civic construct that helps us think about a host of issues. We don’t always agree, but I think they do a great service. I think it’d be an interesting survey to see how many mayoral budgets over the last decades they approved of wholesale. I think it’s their nature to criticize mayoral budgets. It’s their nature to oppose any new spending. I think that’s just who they are. That’s fine. We believe – this is philosophical, and I think it’s healthy to have a very open philosophical discussion. I would say this is a city that gave birth to the New Deal and a progressive vision of the role of government, and I subscribe to that vision. We think investing in things like pre-K and 3-K builds a better future for everyone. We think investing in affordable housing keeps this city a place for everyone. You go down the list – wouldn’t take ay of those investments back, wouldn’t take back our investment in 2,000 more officers on patrol, and Neighborhood Policing, and the counter-terror forces. I’m comfortable that we’ve made a series of strategic assumptions. They seem to be working. If you look at safety, if you look at job creation, if you look at increases in graduation rates and test scores – these investments are working, of course we should keep making them. But, at the same time, we have the highest reserves we’ve ever had, and we’re ready on a dime to react to any changes in federal policy, if they’re at all consistent for more than a few days. So, I think they’re doing their job, but we’re doing our job. Question: [Inaudible] not the only ones that – Mayor: That’s the nature of democracy. There will be plenty of voices that – you know, look, there’s an ideological current that believes we should shrink the size of government. We disagree – simple as that. We think that government needs to address people’s needs and build the economic future. Look, I would argue more broadly – and this is a bigger point – a lot of the economics in the world – I don’t pretend to be an expert – there are people like Alicia, and Tony, and Dean that know a lot more than me – but I believe a lot of the economies in the world that are working the best are where their governments are investing in infrastructure, education, research – that that’s actually the model that works in the modern world and the absence of those investments hold you back economically ,as well as socially. I’ll challenge anyone on that point. And we have a government that’s the right size to address the needs of New Yorkers, and we have a balanced budget, and we have reserves – that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. Question: Second question – the opioid plan, the homelessness plan – there were also – you’ve also spoken plan a congestion plan. Why hasn’t that been released before the executive budget? Because I’m assuming that that plan would [inaudible] funding. Mayor: Our Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg is working on that plan and she’ll bring it forward when it’s ready. Again, we have many opportunities to adjust our budget along the way. It has to be ready. And I will say upfront, there’s some things we can do as a city. There’s some things we’ll need the State to do, because the State controls so many of our key highways. But she’s working on that plan and when it’s ready is when we’ll bring it forward. Question: So, a year ago at this press conference, we spent a lot of time talking about the Health and Hospitals Corporation and the dire financial situation that it was in at the time, with the City putting in ore money just to get through that fiscal year. We didn’t hear as much about that today, although I suspect the federal situation has probably not gotten better. Mayor: Well, it hasn’t gotten worse either, and that’s important. I think, bluntly, if there had been a repeal of the ACA, we’d be having a different discussion. Mayor: It didn’t happen. You know the scheduled repeal of President’s signature – President Obama’s signature achievement did not happen. You know, it’s still there and it’s got a pretty strong position right now having survived that first attempt. I’m not belittling this new attempt at all but I’m saying, you know, you only get one chance to make a first impression and the first time around the effort to repeal the ACA failed and that’s very, very important. This fiscal year, health and hospitals budget is in balance, very aggressive plans for the future to address its long term needs. We’ve had great cooperation with out labor partners all of whom understand the depth of the challenge and it’s the same dynamic if the ACA survives, where in that much better of a situation, if the ACA is stuck down or limited we’re in that much worse situation, we’ll have to adjust but we’re not presuming it because there’s no reason to based on what we’ve seen already. Question: Was it part of the issue with HHC Hospitals the ACA itself or that undocumented people couldn’t get that health insurance – Mayor: That hasn’t changed. That hasn’t changed. No, the big X factor was we have half – first of all, every one of the, you know, two million New Yorkers who have health insurance under the ACA, imagine them no longer having it, that’s disproportionally people who go to health and hospital facilities. So there’s a huge funding stream. Second, we wanted to try to get at the 500,000 who are eligible and don’t have it which is why we started the Get Covered NYC initiative which made great progress in January and we intend to do a lot more. Now we have a lot more running room to keep doing that and getting more and more people health insurance and then as they go to H&H facilities there’ll actually be reimbursement. So the undocumented situation has not changed, and it’s obviously a big problem, that won’t be solved until there’s comprehensive immigration reform, that’s a ways in the future to say the least. But we feel confident in health and hospitals situation this fiscal year, we think we have a good plan for next fiscal year, we’re going to keep executing that plan and we’ve been very clear, there will be a lot of [inaudible] through attrition and if something changes the ACA, then we’re going to have to come back to the drawing board. Question Just on that hiring freeze, it’s obviously something new for the city budget under your administration, can you explain to us what made you make the decision to do – what was different this year that prompted the need – Mayor: You know, two things, I mean we think there is room to do it, is the number one reason. We have a certain number of unfilled lines and as we’ve seen that phenomenon we believe some of those lines don’t need to be filled. And that’s based on OMB analysis that it’s an area where we can save money, so we want to save money, and I said we’re going to be doing savings on an ongoing basis as long as I’m – have the opportunity to be – to serve in this role. We’re going to continue to do savings. This was a new area where we could get more savings and we believed it could be done in a way that would not affect service to New Yorkers. So that’s an immediate opportunity and look, again we look at these uncertainties very soberly, we just refuse to attempt a definition that cannot be achieved. We see the uncertainties, we’re prepared, we’re vigilant, we should always be looking for savings for every reason, that’s a great reason to go look for even more. And so it was an area we thought we could get more done in. Question: Mr. Mayor, if I’m reading the budget correctly, it looks like there’s about 37 million dollars going to ACS and I’m wondering when David Hansell took over as Commissioner you said that you had assured him that there would be resources there to manage agency in the way you thought was necessary. Did he ask you for – is this money that he asked you for because of specific things he wanted to do differently or is there a chance that the number could grow as he continues to evaluate the needs there? Mayor: First of all Dr. Palacio asked me for a lot of that money so some of that is a request by Dr. Palacio before Commissioner Hansell came in, some of that is ideas worked through with Commissioner Hansell since he came in. I’ve made very clear to him that I’m going to support his efforts to improve the agencies, so I think for this stage he feels that the key things he needs are there. The door is open is he needs other things. But you have a very fine sense of that agency; we need to keep improving a set of things. We need to do more and better preventative services, we need to keep improving training and casework practice, we need to keep supporting the workforce that does incredibly difficult work and they deserve more support from a variety of professionals to do that work so this budget proposal reflects that. Question: So that’s what that 37 million is – Mayor: Yes. We’ll get to the whole breakout but it’s basically training, support for front line workers, preventative services ext. Question: Mr. Mayor, two questions. The first, it looks to my inexpert eye like we’re planning to spend less next year on DHS than we have spent – than we’re spending this year. And I’m wondering why that is? It looks like – Mayor: I’m not sure I see that, but Dean will speak to it. Director Fuleihan: So once again there are adjustments in both years for both the shelter population in the current year of 45 million, then an additional 75 million in 2018, and then there’s some model budgeting and other initiatives that go in DHS. You know, as we – we’ve been doing this, we monitor the census we look at how the plan is going and the various costs and we continue to make adjustments going forward. And that’s all that reflects. Question: Is this because of the new shelter plan, building new shelters with capital money as opposed to operating money going the other – Director Fuleihan: Well once again. There are many different moving parts to this. And we’ll go into more details afterwards if you like, but there are many different moving parts and that’s how – that’s why we’ve been making adjustments on a quarterly basis to make sure that we have the appropriate funding level at DHS. Question: And then for my second question is on the jail. So a billion dollars for design, there’s only two billion dollars it looks like in the ten year plan, so is it really – is that whole billion for this year for design and then also is some of that the money that had been allocated for the Bloomberg jail and has that been reallocated, is it fair to say that’s off the table? Director Fuleihan: I’ll let the Mayor answer that, but the money was reallocated to a lump so it is money that had been in the ten year capital plan, you’re correct. There’s about two billion dollars for all of corrections and this was, as the Mayor indicated for design, and obviously depending on the speed, a billion dollars cold certainly also provide construction as well. Mayor: Yes, look again the notion is to figure out with the Council a pathway, and we have the design money to immediately start working on that and you have to if you start to move a process quickly, you do need to do a certain amount of design up front to facilitate the process. That’s the focus of that money. There is separate money because in a plan that will require ten years, and we said the day we announced, the Speaker and I said and Judge Lippman has said there are scenarios where it could take a little longer so we have to be ready either way you slice it. But we still have to appropriately handle over the course of years, what will be tens of thousands of people going through Rikers and in a course of a decade and all the people that work there, we have to invest in some of the existing buildings as well. So that one billion is about design for the new community based facilities, there’s other money that goes to just continuing to make health and safety and basic improvements in the existing buildings. Question: So that 600 million dollar jail that the Bloomberg – Mayor: As I said earlier, everyone focus, I said it earlier. That’s just on hold. That plan is on hold and there’s a new plan we’re working on. Okay, what else. Who has not had a shot? Who hasn’t had a shot? Question: At the end, like talking about choices, not everything could be funded. Could you give us two, three examples of things that sort of were left on the cutting room floor, you just said we couldn’t – and how close were you, along those lines, how close were you into discussions with the City Council about doing a pilot of the fair fares or is that – Mayor: You jumped my answer right here. Look the fair fare proposal is a very good idea that we should not do as a city expenditure, its 200 million dollars. That’s a huge amount. It should be the responsibility of the MTA. It’s a good thing. But in a world of choices, one we have other things that I think are even more strategically importance, but that’s beside the point. Structurally, it should be the responsibility of the MTA. And I really strongly believe it, so that’s an example. And, look, there’s – every year you can see it in the budget. Every year Council has historically been interested in a number of areas that you know, with perfect resources we could endlessly invest in, we love our cultural institutions; we’ve made major investments over the past few years. At this point there’s are other things we have to focus on more, we love our libraries, at this point there are other things we have to focus on more, so it’s on ongoing process but there will still be an opportunity to take a few more actions by the time of adoption. Question: On fair fares, I guess, when you rolled out 3-K the other day you said we’re going to put some money into it, show that we can get it going, but then we need funding from elsewhere to make it a full reality. The City Council’s proposing this pilot program for a small portion of fair fares, wouldn’t that follow the same logic? We could show it works with a small group – Mayor: No, I’ll tell you why. It’s a very good question but I really want to argue a difference. Education has historically – the funding streams for education have historically been federal and state but the implementation has decidedly local. This is America. You know, school systems are run very, very locally. But the federal and state governments provide a lot of the funding. So, that effort to sustain 3-K is consistent with the formulaically. But the minute you take a responsibility of the MTA and you start it at the city level, don’t be surprised if people in Albany try and keep it at the city level. Then you’re between a rock and a hard place. We’ve started something, are we going to finish it? If we’re going to finish, we’re going to take away from other future priorities. And now, we’re taking the MTA off the hook once again. The MTA needs to look at its expenditures and decide its priorities and it needs to be really careful to make sure it is investing enough in New York City which has been a historic concern. But I’m not going to allow in that or many other areas the state to shift expenses onto New York City. Okay, who has not gone yet? Yoav? Question: Mr. Mayor, you sound very frustrated – Mayor: [Inaudible] go ahead, go ahead. Question: You sounded very frustrated at Albany on approving [inaudible] bills – Mayor: Yeah. Question: What’s it going to take to win over [inaudible] – Mayor: Pressure. Its – I don’t, look, I think if you walk up to any taxpayer, Democrat or Republican, and you say, how do you feel that you’re having to spend $450 million that you don’t have to spend, do you think that’s right? I think they’d be pretty clear about it. I think we need to get that consciousness out there and direct it at legislators and the Governor to say this is just a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money. We could be getting so much more done for the same expenditure. And I think there’s a lot of people in the business community who will fight for this change. I think there’s a lot of people in labor who will fight for this change. We’re going to have to build a coalition. We’ve tried reason. I hope you’re sitting down. Reason did not work in Albany. We tried it. We’ve tried – we’ve been nice. We’ve been polite. We’ve been reasonable and we’re still seeing a misuse of taxpayer dollars so we’re going to try a harder approach. Question: Have you talked to other cities like Syracuse and Buffalo, any other cities around the states as a coalition – Mayor: I think it would be a smart thing. I haven’t had that specific conversation. I know there’s lots of frustrated local leaders in this state. But it’s just, you know, the famous phrase, “What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.” It’s good enough for the State of New York, why not just apply it to localities so they can get more done and save taxpayer’s money. You know, sometimes our friends at the State level act they are a separate entity than all the people who live in New York State. We’re 43 percent of the state’s population. Our strength and our growth is good for the whole state. Why wouldn’t the State of New York want to support that? It just makes no sense. Question: Mr. Mayor, it appears that since the January plan the out-year gaps have grown collectively about $1.2 billion – Mayor: Over the three years. Question: Over the three years. Just [inaudible] accounts for that and also why you felt comfortable doing that in an environment where it does appear that the revenue growth has slowed down? Mayor: In the scheme of things, for three years it’s still a modest change. I feel happy that we’re still talking about revenue growth. So, it’s a slowing of growth but it’s still revenue growth. Again, in most jurisdictions in this country, if you said our problem is our revenue growth is slowing, they would be really happy there was such a thing as revenue growth. And we have great reserves and we would have time to make adjustments if needed. And we’re deepening our savings plans. So, for all those reasons – and I think Dean has more – Director Fuleihan: I would just add that the out-year gaps in 1920 and ‘21 are below any historic average. So, if you look at the out-year gaps as a percent of city revenues, they are below the average if you take a look at the past 15 years. In addition, again, we – as we keep pointing out, we are adding $1,250,000,000 in every one of those years when the city traditionally only had $300 million there. Question: Can you say anything about what accounts for the change – Dean Fuleihan: The account was just – the reduction in the ‘18 revenue just flowing through. I mean, it was just a – once again, I’m quite sure when you compare this to what other people put out, it was a very cautious forecast. Mayor: Who has not gone? Who has not gone? Anybody who has not had their first round? Brigid? Question: Mr. Mayor, you talked about how budgets are political documents and some of the folks who are challenging you – Mayor: [Inaudible] I did not say that. I said they are statements of values and priorities. They are philosophical documents. I don’t think they’re political documents. I think they’re philosophical documents. Question: Given that some people would view it through a political lens, some of your challengers will be uptown tonight. Republicans who are running for mayor [inaudible] many have already talked about the increase in spending. If you’re re-elected, do you anticipate the size of the City government to continue to grow at a pace similar to what it’s grown – Mayor: It’s a year-by-year decision. The decision, for example, to have 2,000 more officers on patrol was to achieve neighborhood policing and to build our Critical Response Command to fight terror. That was a decision based on the times we’re living in. We had to repair the relationship between police and community. We had to do more to fight terror. And we go to a specific dollar. You’ll notice since then we have not done an expansion of police because we think we are in a good place. Pre-K was a very specific, strategic expansion. Now, 3-K is as well. So, I think it’s about the needs of the moment and it’s about the available revenue and it’s about the general situation you’re facing. So, no I don’t think there should be an assumption. I don’t think there should be an assumption at all. But I’d sure like to hear any of my opponents tell the people of New York City they want to, you know, reduce the police force by 2,000 people or if they want to get rid of pre-K or have fewer traffic enforcement agents or fewer school crossing guards. I’d be happy to have that debate with each and every one. Question: In terms of the hiring freeze, are there any agencies that are exempt from it? Mayor: It’s more about the positions than the agencies. As a broad rule – this is something we are developing so I’m not going to state a final vision. We’ll be coming back as I said in a matter of weeks. It is on the assumption that there are administrative and managerial positions that we do not need to fill that are unfilled in a whole host of agencies. So, we’ll come back with something final but I think in most agencies, it’s fair to say, there’s areas to reduce their overhead. Gloria – Question: Mr. Mayor, I have two questions. The first one of the $1.1 billion for the jails. I understand part of that would also look into the possibility of building on the island – both on and off the island. Does that mean you’re still open to that idea – Mayor: No. The phrase – I appreciate the question but I don’t agree with your phrasing. It does not ‘look into the possibility.” We all agreed on a vision. But what I have respectfully challenged the Council on is let’s make it tangible now. If we’re going to do this, let’s go, and decide specific sites and specific districts and start a ULURP process. And you know that goes on for a while. So, no time like the present to start. So, the money is there for the design of multiple sites that will be based on specific commitments by the Council. That’s the game plan right now. Question: And my other question is about funding for seniors. You mentioned the tax credit for homeowners but that’s contingent on Albany passing that legislation. There’s nothing else in the budget for senior services.They still have a really long waiting list. Do you – are you expecting that the Council is going to meet that burden or – Mayor: It’s something we’ll talk through with the Council. As you know, between the Executive Budget and adoption, we, first of all, look at how our revenue is doing. It’s an ongoing process. We’re always looking for more savings. So, the numbers, literally keep evolving even over those weeks. We’ll make decisions with the Council about some of their priorities. We’ll come to a final decision. I’m certainly sympathetic that there’s a lot we need to do for seniors. I know the Council is very focused on it. Look, our central focus is on affordable housing for seniors. And I think this tax credit will be passed by Albany. I’m going to keep fighting, as I said, for the mansion tax and I think one day that’s going to be passed too. The changes we made in the affordable housing plan, we have obviously total control over that and that is now a matter of policy and it’s budgeted for. But on the senior services which we’ve supported at a higher level in recent years, that’s something we’ll work through with the Council. Who hasn’t gone for the first time? You haven’t gone. Question: Mr. Mayor, will you be adding more funding for the summer south employment program? Mayor: As you know, in the preliminary, we went up to $65,000 and we base-lined it. So, that’s a – you know, we’ve had a doubling of summer youth employment in the three years that we’ve gotten here. Just in three years it’s doubled and it’s all base-lined. You know the Council wants to go farther. We put out a report today on some of the qualitative issues that need to be addressed. I’m very focused on making sure whatever we do in the future reaches the young people who need the help the most. We’re working that through in the Council. So, we’ll have more to say at the time of adoption but we are very proud of the fact that we’re at full bore for this summer – that 65,000 is what we believe the capacity is there for for this summer. Question: And do you have plans to [inaudible] – Mayor: We don’t have a specific number. We have a process we are going through with the Council. We think there’s definite room for expansion but we have to agree on what those criteria will be and timelines and other things to figure out what that will be. Question: Mr. Mayor, a question just related to that – so it sounds like – I just want to confirm – you don’t there’s room for expansion this upcoming summer, but in the future. That’s what the [inaudible]? Mayor: Yeah, we think 65,000 is essentially all the capacity that’s out there. I mean, we’ll keep looking, but we believe at this point 65,000 is the literal capacity available in New York City for this summer, but the discussion will be where we go in future years. Question: The other thing is – how much of what’s going into the reserves is from agency savings, versus, you know, pre-paid expenses, [inaudible] revenues, debt refinancing, that kind of stuff. Mayor: Dean will – obviously, you’ll get the technical briefing after, but, Dean, can you give any rule of thumb? Director Fuleihan: The amount, once again, in the executive budget where we showed you was basically offsetting spending and we showed you where the savings were in the pension reductions. We’ve maintained those reserves at current levels. The pre-payment has increased to $3.7 billion, but why don’t we go over that at the technical briefing. Mayor: Okay, first on folks who have not had a first round – everyone’s had a first round. We’ll go around again. Question: I think I asked you about this when the preliminary budget came out – but the President released sort of a summary of his tax vision today that does include the piece about eliminating deductibility of State and local taxes, and I know that you’ve expressed concern about that. But also, I think that you said last time when you were talking about it in January that you were hopeful that the President [inaudible]. Can you react to that? What’s your plan for preventing that from going forward in Congress given what it would do to New Yorker’s tax [inaudible]? Mayor: First, this is a plan that came out just in the last hours – but plan is a really generous word. Here is the extraordinary one-page reform of American taxation. This is a pipe dream. It is clearly a tax plan written by billionaires for billionaires. You know, look at the highlights – cutting corporate tax rates and getting rid of the “death tax.” That’s the estate tax – that’s a tax that overwhelmingly is on the wealthiest Americans. It’s very clever, but this is a shell game. It’s an effort to reduce taxes on the wealthy and corporations and make it sound like a broader tax reform. We aren’t fools. We can see it very clearly and I think it’s going to be met with a massive backlash. I think the immediate problem for the Trump administration is a Republican Congress that is deeply concerned about deficit spending, and this will require an immense amount of deficit spending by almost any definition. Or, it would lead to the decimation of domestic programs that are necessary and very popular with the constituents of all Senators and Congress members. So, if they really want to cut education to the bone, and healthcare to the bone, and affordable housing, and transportation, and infrastructure, then I guess it would the kind of plan that they could go forward with, but that is going to be met with a huge backlash. The other thing that’s sort of the ticking time bomb for the Trump administration is, when you end the deduction for state and local tax deductibility – let’s be clear, that included property tax. For over 100 years, Americans have been able to deduct property tax from their federal taxes – I think it goes back to 1913. I think Americans feel pretty strongly about their property, and they’re smart enough to realize if you can no longer deduct those taxes you’ll never get that deduction back. But that does not stop the federal government from raising your taxes at any given point along the way. So, it is a trap. And no longer having deductibility on state and local taxes will push up the tax rates for a lot of New Yorkers and a lot of people around the country – that’s the overall impact, it will increase taxes unfairly. And, you know, it just creates a very negative domino effect where I think it’s disruptive of the ability of government at all levels to serve people. I also think it’s going to be disruptive to the private sector. I think the private sector right now is based – you know, it’s work is based on a set of assumptions around taxation. If you, for example, no longer allow the deduction of property taxes, that’s going to change the real estate market foundationally. And I think a lot of Republicans and a lot of people in the business community are going to say, wait a minute, there’s a lot of unintended consequences here that are worse than the status quo. So, I think a lot of people are going to fight it and I think it’s going to be a very tough road, and my understanding is that they don’t actually think they’re going to have a bigger proposal until the summer or fall. So, we’ll see how it all adds up. Anna? Question: Why [inaudible] support expanding veterans property taxes [inaudible] for the school tax credits? Mayor: It’s another very good idea, but, at this point, of the choices we had to make, we couldn’t reach it in terms of the resources we had. But it’s certainly something we’ll look at going forward. Question: Mr. Mayor, I’m just wondering what you thought of Governor Cuomo’s response to your ambitious pre-K plan. Did you see? Mayor: I did not see his response. Question: A spokesperson sent us a statement saying, basically, the Governor has made his this a priority for years and he’s already invested $1.5 billion in pre-K and 3-K. “We’ve been running 3-K programs for years [inaudible] the Mayor’s efforts.” [Inaudible] what do you make of it? Mayor: I don’t get lost in any of that. I mean, that’s just gamesmanship. We should be focused on our kids, not political one-upmanship. I think it’s great when the State of New York invests in pre-K and 3-K. The more the merrier. But in this city, we’ve made pre-K a universal right. And we intend to make 3-K a universal right. It’s good for the people of this city, it’s good for the State of New York, it’s good for the country. So, we’re just going to keep doing that. I’m happy to share credit with anyone, but the point is this is something that is moving because the people of New York City are demanding it. Look, I put it forward as the number-one item on my agenda when I ran for mayor. People voted for it very energetically, and then we said we need your help going to Albany to get this done. The voice of the people was really loud, it got done. It’s going to get done again, but, hey, everyone can claim credit, that’s fine with me. Question: Is it true that what the State is doing is actually 3-K? Or is it just, you know – Mayor: I’m not here to judge the State of New York’s programs. I welcome any investment the State makes in early childhood education not just for the kids in New York City, but for the kids in New York State. It’s good for all of us. Question: [Inaudible] design money that covers your environmental impact statements, your [inaudible] schematics. What is everything that falls under that? And does that include your construction and labor costs? Your materials and all the other things that go – Mayor: No, design is just design – that much I can tell you as a layman. Design is literally to figure out the plan for the work, not the actual cost of doing the work. Question: [Inaudible] price tag, you know, the [inaudible] announced the plan to close Rikers was $10.65 billion, but in fact – Mayor: No, that was – guys, you’re smart people, do your research – that was Judge Lippman’s vision, and I’ve said 100 times I don’t agree with everything in his report. I appreciate his report, there’s some good things in his report – I don’t accept his price tag and he doesn’t create the budget for New York City. We’re only talking about the initial design money. Question: The other thing is, does front loading that enable the possibility of actually accelerating the timeline, because [inaudible] 10 years is too long, we can actually do that in less time. Does that enable the city to perhaps – Mayor: No, because it’s – as far as I can tell, no is the honest answer. And, by the way, if you would say simplistically that Judge Lippman and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wanted to push the spectrum as hard as possible, and I’m saying it simplistically because, you know, I think they took into account every real, tangible, practical issue. I think they were very, very responsible. But if you just said they are just – all they want to do is get to the fastest plan they possibly could – they said in the cool light of day, 10 years is the earliest you could do it. We think it’s viable, but we also think it could take longer. That’s because you have to get the population down and getting the population down requires constant reduction in crime and the bail reform and so many other elements. And building things in New York City does take time. So, part of why I’m anxious to start immediately is to build out all that capacity – that’s many years. So, no, I don’t think we can go faster. If we found a way, we would love to, but I think it would be unfair to the people of New York City to project that we can go faster than the plan we’ve put forward. Question: The second question – just going back to budget [inaudible] if the federal government [inaudible] refuse to re-fund New York City for the cost of protecting Trump Tower, what philosophical argument do you [inaudible] the City of New York that we should continue to pay for that extra security around the building? Mayor: Look, two wrongs don’t make a right is my first philosophical argument. We protect people, that’s what we do. That’s what the NYPD does. But it’s not fair to asks us to pay for what is a federal expense and that’s been broadly recognized with a lot of finance provided for counterterrorism, reimbursements for UN related security, ext. So if there were ever an effort to not fund us it would be inconstant with all previous history in both Democratic and Republican administrations. And we keep fighting to get the money we deserve, but we still have an obligation to protect people and I don’t have a better answer than that. Did you have something? Okay you can formulate. Question: If I’m not mistaken the one sort of state budget related rally that you attended was for the mansion tax and millionaires tax – Mayor: The expansion of the million’s tax. Question: – the expansion of the millionaire’s tax. You seem today, very upset that design bill didn’t come through. What did you do to try to get it done and why didn’t we see any sort of public display of – Mayor: Because we thought – look we thought, you know in any strategic situation you try to decide what works best. And we thought behind the scenes approach would work because we thought we saw some opening and some progress. And I think compared to last year for example, there was more movement, but it wasn’t enough and so I think we have to be, you know, louder and get a bigger coalition together. We also had other important things we were working on, so it’s coming up on the priority scale because the previous efforts aren’t’ getting done what we need and because it’s a lot of money. Question: You seem to be working closer to the IDCM, a couple of efforts and you mentioned Senator Savino and you pointed out that she was a member of the IDC today – Mayor: Yes. Question: – can you explain sir, your relationship with the IDC and if that, you know, if you’re sort of just leaving politics totally to the side and trying to work with them on what they want to work with you on? Mayor: Look I think that you know, maturity is the ability to keep two contradictory thought in mind at one time. From a governance perspective, they play a crucial role in Albany and I’m going to work with them to get things done for the people of New York City and I want to think the IDC when they support our agenda. They were great on pre-K, initial response on 3-K has been great; really appreciate Senator Savino leading the way on this tax credit for seniors. But I’ve said to everyone involved I think there should be a Democratic majority, a Democratic leadership of the State Senate and I would love to see everyone come back together. I said, maturity is two contradictory ideas, I actually don’t even think they’re contradictory, I think in fact we are where we are, I wish it never go this way. But we are where we are, but I think there is a real pathway to get everyone back into a majority and I think the age of Donald Trump is probably encouraging that reality. Question: How do you define an out-of-towner for the purposes of the MET? [Inaudible] Mayor: I don’t know. That’s a bigger discussion. I just want to make sure that five borough residents don’t have that obligation. Question: [inaudible] public funding for the MET if they do start charging? Mayor: I answered that before. That’s not the intention. Yes? Question: Speaking of Gov. Cuomo, if Gov. Cuomo offered some sort of help to the city for the process of closing Rikers Island [inaudible] purchase of a long term lease of Rikers for a LaGuardia runway or a crew [inaudible] planned in the city or outside of the city would you be open to, you know – Mayor: First of all, all the dealings with the State of New York, trust but verify. So I would listen to any idea always, but I would want to make sure it was real and tangible and verifiable. But our central focus right now is on the process of getting off Rikers which is a decade so the what you do with the land next, that’s important, we’ll attend to it but that’s not our first focus right now. We’ve got to figure out everything it’ll take to keep this target on track. To get this done in ten years. The disposition of the land is literally a secondary issue. Question: Referring to was for example, if the State signed a long term lease for Rikers to build a runway you ‘d get money. You could use that money, you could sink that money into building borough jails. The other way that the State could help before that would be through land swaps. So the State owns some land within the city, right, [inaudible] – was, for example, if the State signed a long-term lease for Rikers to build a runway, you’d get money. You could use that money. You could sink that money into build borough jails. The other way that the State could help before that would be the land swaps. So, the state owns some land within the city, right? [Inaudible] – Mayor: Yeah, that’s – I think you’re – I appreciate the question but I’m just going to cut you off on purpose here. The notion – and again I understand where the Lippman Commission was coming from in terms of community-based facilities. The Arthur Kill certainly doesn’t resemble that definition because of location among other things. Right now, I appreciate the questions but I just want to say it’s not strategically in the foreground. We have a vision that we need to get on track quickly. We will certainly be very interested in the long-term disposition. And if there’s a real conversation to have with the State on something that help us in that process, we’re going to have it. There’s no question about that. A lot of times with the State, ideas come and go, and we don’t get too enamored of anything unless we see that it’s real and consistent. But we don’t need that State involvement to get started. So, our central focus is on getting started. Land swaps don’t necessarily affect this I think in terms of some of the places the Council is looking at in terms of jail capacity. It’s City owned land not State owned land. Question: Mr. Mayor, the ten-year capital plan grew by about six million dollars since January. Just wondering – I know, you know, the deeper affordability is a big chunk of that – Mayor: Yes. Question: Just wondering what some of the other big ticket items are but also how did so much new need come up in just the last four months? Mayor: Now, that’s – first of all, you’re exactly right, the deeper affordability is the biggest. It was at $1.9 billion, so that’s about a third right there. We are looking at an infrastructure crisis. It’s quite clear. I’m sure you’d agree with me, we have no clue what’s going to happen with President Trump’s vision on infrastructure. In the meantime we have crying needs right now and a lot of them are the invisible needs. Our water supply, maintaining bridges, the kinds of things people don’t talk about everyday but are very, very important. So, a host of things we decided were crucial and needed to be included. We believe this is a smart plan and an affordable plan in every sense. But it is – I think the essence of the answer, and I’ve said this to the Council members earlier, I think the world has shifted towards capital funding. I told the Council members, when I was in the Council – 2002, 2009 – I think we focused a lot more on expense funding and I think it was some of the issues at the time that were most prevalent and some of the needs that had not been met, and I’m proud to say we’ve done a lot to address. But now, I think the infrastructure problem is literally magnifying by the year for obvious reasons. You know, look at that NYCHA investment. Had there been anything like the previous federal investment, we wouldn’t have to do that. But that spigot has been turned off so consistently that now we see, you know, immediate health and safety issues that have to be addressed. That’s a big piece of it, you know, right there that we’ve had to more in that direction. So I think the simplest answer is – growing infrastructure needs that are going unmet that can’t be ignored. Let’s see if there’s a few more then we should shut down. Yes? Question: To follow up in Laura’s question, with regard to the piece of the Trump executive order that has been in place since January 25th that vastly expanded deportation priorities [inaudible] serious criminals to basically anyone undocumented [inaudible] and legal residents who had a criminal record. Have you seen an impact from that on the city? Mayor: As I said, tremendous fear has been created and that is affecting people’s quality of life in many ways and starting to affect I think some decision making about how to go about living life and whether to engage local government and services. But, no, I think big picture much more fear has been created than actual negative impact. And I say, thank God for that. I am sad the fear has been created but that God the actual impact has not been as bad as potentially assumed. So, it’s early. I think we have to be quite clear. I know we live in an instant gratification culture but it is only 100 days. But no, I think I’ve been very clear – there were deportations under the previous administration at a much higher rate than in previous history. This is not a totally new thing. I think the number product has been fear, sadly. Okay, everyone good? Thanks, everyone.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 5:12pm
In the face of continued uncertainty, it is more important than ever that cities make smart, targeted investments aimed at improving people’s lives. We cannot respond to threats of funding cuts by pulling back on our own investments or values. Instead, we must continue to make this city a place where everyone can have a chance to succeed. It is our duty to continue building a New York City that is stronger and fairer than it’s ever been before. – Mayor Bill de Blasio Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio presented New York City’s Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18). The FY18 Executive Budget is balanced, totaling $84.86 billion. This budget: * Makes targeted new investments in education, public safety and affordability, while deepening previous investments that make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers. * Maintains reserves at unprecedented highs and continues to build on the Citywide Savings Program with another $700 million in savings, bringing the total to $2.8 billion in savings since the FY17 November Plan. Click here to view the FY18 Executive Budget. RESPONDING TO THE REALITIES OF FISCAL UNCERTAINTY The fiscal climate is plagued with uncertainty. Washington threatens funding cuts, and we’re seeing slower growth in FY17 tax revenues. But because lower revenues are offset by strong property tax receipts, we’re predicting modest growth in FY18. The City’s future depends on investing in the right priorities today, which is exactly what this budget does. New York City is making targeted, smart investments that improve people’s lives. RESPONSIBLE BUDGETING The City does recognize the need to be cautious in the face of uncertainty. As a result, this administration has the largest reserves in the City’s history. Specifically: * $1 billion each year in the General Reserve compared to $300 million annually under prior administrations. * $4.0 billion in the Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund with $3.3 billion funded by this Administration. * $250 million every year of the four-year plan in the Capital Stabilization Reserve that was established by this administration. As a result, independent monitors and rating agencies continue to affirm the City’s strong budgetary management. The Administration is also managing out-year gaps and continuing to find savings across City government. As of the Executive Budget, agency and debt savings total $2.8 billion in FY17 and FY18, including $700 million in this Executive Budget alone. PUTTING OUR MONEY WHERE IT MATTERS MOST This budget continues to build on the investments we’ve made to make New York City a better city for all while remaining fiscally responsible. Mayor de Blasio’s prior budgets have invested in priorities that can be felt across the five boroughs, such as 200,000 affordable housing units; free high-quality, full-day Pre-K for All; and moving nearly 2,000 additional NYPD officers onto the street on patrol and engaged in community policing. The FY 2018 Executive Budget deepens investments that make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers across the city by: * Instituting free, full-day, high-quality 3-K for All for every three-year-old in New York City through a $36 million investment in FY18 and ramping up to $177 million in FY21. * Ensuring all students can learn in a safe and comfortable environment by installing air conditioning in every classroom at a cost of $28.75 million over five years. * Providing anti-eviction legal services to low-income families and legal advice to all NYC residents in housing court for $93M annually at full implementation. * Contributing $38 million in FY18 to invest in our effort to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 35% over the next five years * Training 3,000 people over three years to work in green jobs using an investment of $12.8 million in FY18 – FY20. * Expanding the E-Waste Curbside Collection Program in Staten Island and northern Brooklyn for $1.1 million in FY18, and increasing to more than $4 million annually in FY20 and FY21. * Bringing lower-level boarding to the St. George Ferry Terminal during the morning rush at a cost of $775,000 in FY18, and more annually through the four year plan. * Help keep all our students safe by reimbursing private schools’ security costs, totaling $19.8 million in FY18. * Expanding our investment in the ShotSpotter Gunshot Detection system– a proven tool in driving down crime – in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island by investing $720,000 in FY18, and $675,000 annually in FY19 and out. * Supporting legislation that will allow more senior and disabled New Yorkers to qualify for property tax relief (SCHE/DHE), budgeting $61.6 million in FY18. * Making housing more affordable by investing $1.9 billion to increase or preserve the number of affordable apartments by 10,000 for households earning up to $40,000 annually, including 5,000 units for seniors and 500 for veterans. * Expanding services offered by the Department of Veterans’ Services to better reach our veterans at an annual cost of $859,000. * Renovating 30 existing homeless shelters with $300 million in capital funding as part of the Mayor’s commitment to address homelessness. * Transforming the “Made in NY” campus at Bush Terminal in Brooklyn into a hub for garment manufacturing and film and television production that will support more than 1,500 permanent jobs at a cost of $136 million capital dollars over FY18-FY27. * Repairing facades at NYCHA residences, which will cost $120 million in city capital dollars and $235.4 million in federal CDBG dollars over ten years, in addition to the unprecedented $1 billion in City capital funding this administration already committed to NYCHA in FY17. * Launching a STEAM career hub to connect 400 high school students with technical training with an additional $7.5 million in capital funds invested in FY18. * Rehabilitating a building at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to become a start-up incubator, ultimately creating 500 jobs with $4 million in capital funding. * Purchasing sidewalk cleaning trucks that can typically clean a heavily trafficked sidewalk area in a single pass for $1.8 million in capital funds to further the Mayor’s CleaNYC efforts. * Including $16.4 million in FY18 to fund legal representation for immigrant New Yorkers facing deportation and other immigration challenges. Investing $100 million towards completion of a contiguous 32-mile pedestrian promenade and bike path around the whole of Manhattan.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 5:12pm
Report provides recommendations to enhance City’s youth workforce programming NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito today released the Youth Employment Task Force Report, which provides recommendations to enhance youth workforce programming and services to the City’s most vulnerable youth. The task force was convened in September 2016, after the City’s FY2017 $85 million in funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program and Work, Learn, Grow allowed a record breaking 60,000 young people to participate in SYEP during Summer 2016. The report can be read here. “When we invest in our City’s kids, we invest in our future. For more than 50 years, the Summer Youth Employment Program has offered the kind of real world training and support necessary to prepare our most vulnerable kids for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This report will help strengthen our programming, so we can continue to connect the next generation to job opportunities for years to come.” “For decades SYEP has allowed thousands of young New Yorkers – predominantly from communities of color – to both access employment opportunities and continuously improve their workforce experiences,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark -Viverito. “This report provides great insight into how we can continue to take smart and creative steps to ensure our youth reach their fullest potential.” Chaired by Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery and City Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the task force was charged with developing recommendations to enhance the City’s youth workforce programs and services provided to the most vulnerable youth. The task force’s recommendations were organized in two categories: program focus and program quality, and operations and system-building. Recommendations include: * Investing in enhanced support services for the Vulnerable Youth track -Expanding services to include pre-program orientation and counseling to help meet the unique needs for vulnerable populations. * Strengthening connections between SYEP providers and schools to improve in-school career development for young people -Creating more deliberate partnerships between our schools and SYEP would allow students to receive dedicated City support around career exploration during the academic year. * Facilitating seamless entry between NYC youth employment initiatives -Bolstering interagency connections is particularly essential to improve SYEP for disconnected youth, who require stronger, more deliberate connections to WLG and other programming. * Creating a specific Younger Youth track focused on career exploration -Younger program participants would benefit from a more tailored SYEP experience focused on career exploration and project-based learning. * Revamping SYEP timeline to support better job development and matching process -By starting the entire process earlier, providers would have more time to plan, develop quality placements and otherwise raise the quality of experience for participants. * Boosting system-building efforts through new training programs, data systems updates, leveraging of available resources and new connections -Enhancing the key areas of the SYEP and WLG programs, including provider capacity, interagency connections, employer engagement, and evaluation, will improve overall quality and operational efficiency. These recommendations will be incorporated into a concept paper that the Department of Youth and Community Development will release this summer. This will give the provider community an opportunity to submit feedback on enhancements to the City’s programming. The recommendations and the concept paper will also help inform DYCD’s Request for Proposal which will be released in Fall 2017. In addition to co-Chairs Deputy Mayor Buery and Council Finance Chair Ferreras-Copeland, members of the Youth Employment Task Force include: * Bill Chong, Commissioner, Department of Youth and Community Development * Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships * Mathieu Eugene, Council Member * Steven Matteo, Council Member * David Nocenti, Executive Director, Union Settlement * Jennifer March, Executive Director, Citizen’s Committee for Children * Lucy Friedman, President, ExpandED Schools * Kathy Wylde, President, CEO, Partnership for NYC * Sharon Sewell-Fairman, Executive Director, Workforce Professionals Institute * Susan Stamler, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Houses * David Jones, President, Chief Executive Officer, Community Service Society * Lou Miceli, Executive Director, JobsFirstNYC * Emary Aronson, Managing Director, Education and Relief Fund, Robin Hood Foundation * Amy Ellen Schwartz, Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in Public Affairs and Professor of Economics, Public Administration, and International Affairs, Syracuse University, the Maxwell School * David Barth, Director of Youth, Opportunity and Learning, Ford Foundation * Cidra Sebastien, Associate Executive Director, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol * William Wingate, Respite Care Worker, Center for Human Development & Family Services * Laurie Dien, Vice President of Programs, The Pinkerton Foundation The three City Council Members on the Task Force worked with a team of their colleagues, Council Members Chin, Gibson, Rodriguez, Torres and Williams to support the work. ‎“We know that access to work experiences helps young people develop academic and social skills that are critical to success in school and in life. This is especially true for children living in challenging circumstances – children who might not have the networks and resources to find internship opportunities on their own, and for whom exposure to the world of work can be particularly impactful,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery. “The task force's recommendations will help strengthen the quality of the program and ensure its reaching the youth who need it the most.” ‎ “Summer Youth Employment and the year-round Work, Learn, Grow program are proven initiatives that enhance the employability of young people as adults, contribute to the financial stability of families, and improve the academic performance of participants. The Youth Employment Taskforce was commissioned to refine the programs' operations and objectives for even better results,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. “I am proud of the work of the task force's members and look forward to implementing their recommendations. Providing such meaningful opportunities for New York City's young people is a priority for this Council, and we are committed to continue improving where we can and advocating for their long-term funding.” “Under the leadership of Mayor de Blasio and City Council, the City’s share of funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program was baselined for the first time in the program’s 54-year history—a commitment that provided a unique opportunity for the creation of the Youth Employment Task Force. The recommendations will form the foundation for this summer’s Concept Paper seeking feedback from our funded providers, as well as a Request for Proposals for program enhancements in early fall. It has been a privilege to work alongside my Task Force colleagues, and I look forward to our continuing efforts to make the City’s youth workforce programs even stronger,” said Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “The establishment of the Youth Employment Task Force is a continuation of the Mayor's long-standing efforts to bring together the private and public sectors to address the critical issue of youth employment. Together we are creating a system, and establishing a shared mission, to address the dual issues of providing young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build careers; and helping our employers build their future workforce. This work is vital to our city," said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships. Council Member Mathieu Eugene said, “I want to commend the task force for their recommendations on how to improve employment resources for our youth. As Chairman of the Youth Services Committee, I am committed to finding new avenues to give our students every advantage possible when entering the work force. We have the resources available to help these young men and women become leaders within the community, and now we must fine tune our approach to putting them on a path to success.” Minority Leader Steven Matteo said, “Given the ambitious goals and short time frame we had to meet them, this final report of the Youth Employment Task Force does a great job of framing the various objectives and contending priorities for the youth employment programs, and balancing its recommendations to meet these challenges. Most importantly, we all agreed that these programs must be transformed so as to provide young people with an introduction to potential careers and mentors and real professional and interpersonal skills, rather than just a few extra dollars during the summer. I am particularly proud of the new focus they will have on leveraging our local businesses, including Business Improvement Districts, to help young people find valuable work experience within their own communities.” “As a proud former participant in SYEP, I know the power of this program to transform a young person’s life and put them on the right track for a rewarding career,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “This report is an excellent tool to make SYEP even better as we work together to expand access to the valuable experience and real world training this program provides.” “For decades, the Summer Youth Employment Program has been New York's main job preparedness program for our young people. However, as the Youth Empowerment Task Force's report demonstrates, there are many pathways to providing our stars and scholars with a firsthand look at jobs and careers. SYEP will always be the cornerstone of our youth services but, by bringing career development into our schools and enhancing support to vulnerable youth, we will be taking significant steps to set all of our students up for success,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. “I commend Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, Youth Empowerment Task Force Co-Chairs Deputy Mayor Richard Burey and Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, and all of the Task Force Members, Council Members, and staff who contributed to this report for their leadership and dedication to the success of our young people.” “Investing in job opportunities for our youth can pay major dividends down the line as they are more prepared to enter the workforce,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “This task force and their report show clearly the value of these investments and why it's so important to keep funding the SYEP initiative. I am proud to lend my support to these efforts and applaud our Mayor and Speaker for all their excellent work in making this a priority for our city.” “The expansion of SYEP and WLG has greatly benefitted thousands of young people throughout the city in the form of leadership development, workforce training, career advancement and other arenas and invaluable programs. These recommendations provide a foundation for how to further strengthen these programs and ensure that participants get the best experience and training. We must continue to not only expand SYEP and WLG, but also assess their outcomes and strengths,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres. Council Member Jumaane Williams said, “All of the research shows that employing young people means stronger families, crime reductions, and literally, young people remaining alive. I commend the Administration for taking the Council’s priorities seriously when it comes to the Summer Youth Employment Program and partnering in this joint taskforce. I look forward to using the information gathered to assist our goal of expanding available slots and availability.” Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizen’s Committee for Children, said: “We appreciate the City's commitment to engaging stakeholders such as Citizens' Committee for Children in their plans to strengthen and expand the Summer Youth Employment Program. Efforts to make the summer work experience even more impactful as a means to prepare youth for the workforce, and to expand the program to serve more homeless youth, foster youth, and court-involved youth, will make SYEP an even more valuable program for thousands of youth.” Lucy Friedman, President of ExpandED Schools said, “We commend the City for inviting a diverse group of experts in practice and research to work with City leaders to take stock of our work-based learning for young people. We can each look back at our own lives to know how valuable early career opportunities are for young people-and they are absolutely critical to building the future of New York.” Sharon Sewell-Fairman, Executive Director of Workforce Professionals Institute, said: “We are pleased to see that the Task Force stressed the importance of maximizing the effectiveness of programs to provide appropriate and impactful services to young adults.” Susan Stamler, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses, said, “United Neighborhood Houses has advocated to fund the Summer Youth Employment Program for nearly two decades, and we applaud the City’s continued investment in and innovative job skill development for this program. We hope that this task force process will lead toward an SYEP system where providers have the resources and support they need to develop high quality employment experiences for New York’s youth.” David Jones, President, Chief Executive Officer of Community Service Society, said,“ CSS is pleased to have participated in the Youth Employment Task Force, whose final report recommendations on modernizing SYEP reflect many of our own: deeper connections to schools, more intentional sequencing of programming, and clearer articulation of how summer jobs provide real job skills to build on. If enacted rigorously, these reforms will significantly enhance the experience of SYEP participants, and turn the program into a growth engine for our city’s economy.” Amy Ellen Schwartz, Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in Public Affairs and Professor of Economics, Public Administration, and International Affairs, Syracuse University, the Maxwell School, said: “Hard evidence shows that SYEP yields real benefits for NYC youth. For high school students, SYEP improves academic outcomes particularly among those who are able to work more than one summer. Expanding those opportunities, then, promises to deliver significant benefits for the NYC youth who work and also for the organizations and clients they work with. SYEP can be a "win-win" for NYC.” "This task force was a valuable step in bringing together key partners committed to providing better programs and results for young New Yorkers. We know that early and continued exposure to work has a significant positive impact on employment and an individual's earning, and we enthusiastically endorse the recommendations of this task force to better utilize SYEP as a powerful work readiness tool for tens of thousands of New Yorkers each year," said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New a York City. "Since Mayor de Blasio launched the Center for Youth Employment two years ago, our focus has been on connecting our City's programs to help young New Yorkers prepare for jobs and careers into a true system. We believe the work of the Task Force, and this final report, represents a major step forward in that effort," said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. Started in 1963, SYEP provides New York City young people between the ages of 14 and 24 with up to six weeks of entry-level experience at worksites in all five boroughs. SYEP offers workshops on job readiness, career exploration and financial literacy, and opportunities to continue education and social growth. Specialized programming for disabled, foster care, runaway/homeless and court-involved young people is also available. Participants are selected by lottery for the program. Ladders for Leaders, a component of SYEP, is a professional employer-paid internship program for high school and college students. SYEP is part of a larger citywide strategy to expand employment services for young New Yorkers. In May 2015, Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City launched the NYC Center for Youth Employment, a public-private initiative with the specific goal of supporting 100,000 unique work-related experiences each year, including high-quality summer jobs, career exposure, skills-building, and supportive mentorships, by 2020. DYCD also funds employment programs through In-School Youth (ISY); Out-of-School Youth (OSY); Opportunity Youth: Supported Work Experience; and the Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP). More information can be found on the DYCD website. Work, Learn & Grow, a Council-funded initiative, provides participants in SYEP and ISY who are between the ages of 14 and 24 and currently in school with career-readiness training and paid employment opportunities for up to 25 weeks from October through April. ###
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 11:40am
"Once again a federal court has told the Trump administration: 'No you can't.' The president is going beyond his authority when he tries to cut vital funding to cities that don't share his illogical and unconstitutional desire to scapegoat immigrants. New York is the safest big city in America because we work with all our residents, not against some of them. We said from the beginning that a stroke of a pen in Washington would not change our values or how we protect our people." 
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 8:48am
Signs legislation to better protect consumers from immigration services fraud, and holds a hearing to prohibit employers from asking for candidates’ salary history NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for and signed seven pieces of legislation into law – Intro. 564-A in relation to reviewing the feasibility of establishing online applications for all permits, licenses, and registrations issued by city agencies; Intro. 1112-A in relation to requiring the Parks Department to post on its website information relating to various tree maintenance activities; Intro. 1454, in relation to establishing the New Dorp Business Improvement District in Staten Island; Intro. 886-A in relation to identifying and addressing environmental justice issues; Intro. 359-A in relation to an environmental justice and online portal; Intro. 746-A in relation to imposing stricter guidelines for providers and further protect customers against immigration services fraud and unauthorized practice of the law; Intro. 708-A in relation to establishing a disconnected youth task force; and held a hearing for Intro. 1253-A in relation to prohibiting employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s salary history. “These bills recognize the historic injustices that have disproportionately fallen on low-income residents and communities of color – the burden of pollution and the effects of climate change -- and offer a different path forward. While our sustainability and resiliency programs have been driven by the need to create environmental justice, the City, with these bills, will now have new and stronger tools to empower communities as we build a more equitable city to meet the challenges of climate change,” said Mayor de Blasio. "I would like to thank Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the sponsors of these bills for continuing the fight for environmental justice for all New Yorkers." “Bringing New Yorkers justice in all its forms is a priority for city leadership, and that commitment is especially apparent in the legislation being signed into law today,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The existence of salary history inquiries directly relates to gender-based income inequality. Unscrupulous actors posing as qualified legal professionals directly impacts the ability of our immigrant residents to achieve legal status. Intervention and outreach efforts directly affect whether or not a disconnected youth will find their way back into society, and environmental justice considerations directly influence just how sustainable that society itself will be. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for supporting the Council in its efforts to address these challenges, and I thank him for signing our initiatives into law today.” The first bill, Intro. 564-A, will review the feasibility of establishing online applications for all permits, licenses, and registrations issued by city agencies. It will also examine the feasibility and timeline for establishing a single web portal for these applications. “DoITT is dedicated to making sure that NYC runs on user-friendly technology, and working towards a comprehensive online permit portal will help do just that,” said Anne Roest, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. “I thank Council Member Vacca for his diligence on this issue, and I look forward to the results of this review.” “Anyone who has tried to open a restaurant, health club, or other small business knows the difficulty of navigating the City’s permitting process,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Technology. “Currently there are dozens, if not hundreds, of permit applications strewn across the websites of different agencies, making it difficult to find the permit you need. This bill will examine the possibility of creating a central permitting portal, where all the applications can be housed in one virtual location. A permitting portal cuts through the morass of city bureaucracy and makes government more efficient. I thank Mayor de Blasio for signing this bill into law.” The second bill, Intro. 1112-A will require the Parks Department to post information relating to the times, dates, locations and work statuses of various tree maintenance activities online. “NYC Parks shares the Council’s vision of greater transparency in Parks operations and planning, and we were pleased to work with the City Council on this legislation. Similar to Parks-led efforts such as expanded community scoping sessions, the Capital Projects Tracker, and the new Street Tree Map, we believe that enhanced, regularly updated public information about street tree maintenance will invite New Yorkers to learn more about how we plan and care for our parks and urban forest,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Now that New York City has 650,000 street trees, it is more important than ever to invest in their care and maintenance. This is not merely a matter of aesthetics, it also about enhancing safety. This new law will give the public the tools to track this important work for the first time, and I applaud Minority Leader Matteo for his leadership in pushing this critical issue forward,” said Parks Committee Chair Mark Levine. The third bill, Intro. 1454, establishes the New Dorp Business Improvement District (“BID”) in Staten Island. “Business Improvement Districts strengthen neighborhoods and help small businesses succeed. I applaud the mayor and the New Dorp community for the creation of this new BID,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “With a network of 74 BIDs across the city, New York has the most robust network of BIDs anywhere in the country. Our department was pleased to offer guidance and technical assistance to community leaders during the BID formation process.” “These two bills the Mayor signed today, Intros 1112-A and 1454, will help make government more transparent and responsive to the public and to local businesses. Intro 1112-A will bring much-needed oversight to the city's tree and sidewalk repair program, providing key information online - including where and when repairs will be taking place and which trees or sidewalks are being prioritized for this work. The second bill, Intro 1454, will formally create the New Dorp Business Improvement District (BID), which will provide support to a great commercial district in the heart of Staten Island. This will be the second BID we have created since I took office three years ago, and is part of my ongoing efforts to change the dynamic between small business and government to one of more trust and collaboration. I want to thank my colleague, City Council Parks Committee Chair Mark Levine, for his partnership on the tree maintenance legislation; Maria Esposito, the chair of the New Dorp Merchants Group, for her yeoman work on bringing this BID together; and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her support,” said City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo. The fourth bill, Intro. 886-A, sets up an Interagency Working Group to create a citywide Environmental Justice Plan that provides guidance on incorporating environmental justice concerns into City decision-making, identifies possible Citywide initiatives for promoting environmental justice and provides specific recommendations for City agencies to bring their operations, programs and projects in line with environmental justice concerns. The bill also establishes an Advisory Board consisting of residents and experts to assist the Working Group. The fifth bill, Intro. 359-A, requires the new Interagency Working Group to conduct a study to identify and address environmental justice concerns, and to make recommendations for measures to advance environmental justice goals. The environmental justice information will be made available to the public through a web portal that will provide easy access to relevant maps, data and Agency programs. “Today, the Mayor signed legislation establishing New York City as a leader in promoting environmental justice,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the NYC Mayor’s Office. “Facing a lack of federal leadership, and with the impacts of climate change growing, this legislation ensures that New York City is stepping up to ensure that environmental justice is at the heart of our work. We look forward to working with city agencies and communities to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and that communities are empowered as we continue to work to protect the safety and health of all New Yorkers.” These two pieces of legislation further embed the principles of justice into the foundations of our great American city by ensuring that no NYC community bears a disproportionate environmental burden or is denied fair environmental benefits,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “As the recent executive order on climate shows, the Trump administration will choose fossil fuels over our public health and safety. In honor of Earth Day and the People's Climate March on Washington, our cities must make combating climate change and reducing pollution a top priority. INT. 359 and INT. 886 make up the most comprehensive environmental justice legislative package of any city in the nation and will be a role model for other cities to follow. For far too long, environmental justice communities have had more sources of pollution and fewer environmental amenities in their neighborhoods, leading to adverse health effects. This legislative package will more equally distribute environmental benefits throughout all communities in our city. Thank you to my colleague Council Member Barron for her partnership and to Mayor de Blasio for his support of these bills,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Environmental Protection Committee. “Environmental justice means the fair treatment and involvement of all persons, with respect to the development, implementations and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, policies and activities and with respect to the equitable distribution of environmental burdens and benefits. I am pleased to have introduced 886-A, which was first introduced fourteen years ago, by my predecessor, my husband, now Assembly Member Charles Barron. This law will promote public engagement, transparency and participation regarding environmental justice concerns and will maintain disaggregated data for the area surrounding facilities or sites expected to have a substantial environmental, human, health or economic effect on the surrounding population. I thank the African American Environmentalist Association which proposed the legislation and the Mayor for signing this bill into law and believe that this legislation is a model that will be replicated around the nation,” said Council Member Inez Barron. The sixth bill, Intro. 746-A, will impose stricter guidelines for providers and further protect customers against immigration services fraud and unauthorized practice of law. “Our City agencies are committed to protecting all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, through increasing education and providing access to free, trustworthy services,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “By signing Intro. 746-A, the Administration has taken an important step toward ensuring that our immigrant communities are not being defrauded, cheated, or otherwise taken advantage of by providers claiming to offer services that should only be provided by an attorney.” The seventh bill, Intro. 708-A, will establish a disconnected youth task force. “As Chairman of the Youth Services Committee, I want to commend the Mayor for supporting Intro 708-A. The city of New York has so many resources available to help our disconnected youth, and this task force will be an important part of putting those resources to work. I would also wish to thank the many city agencies who have worked hard to make this task force a reality; I am confident that we are taking the right steps to insure a better future for our children,” said Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, Chair of the Youth Services Committee. The eighth bill, Intro. 1253-A, will prohibit employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s salary history. He will be signing this bill at a later date.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 8:48am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Carla, thank you so much for telling your story. Congratulations that Bella is doing so well and that she has such wonderful dreams for her future. And I know you're going to help her achieve those dreams. This is a story I hear all over the city from parents – what pre-K has meant for them, what it's meant to have their children getting that strong start. It's something that's truly universal in this city. When you talk to parents of every neighborhood, every background, every income level you hear a very, very similar story about what they're experiencing with their children, how their children are growing and strengthening before their eyes, and what it means for their family and what it means for their ability to make ends-meet because as you heard pre-K, now that it's free, has lifted a burden off of so many families that struggle. Well, as the video indicated, we're only just getting started, and it's time to do more. It's time to go farther. The first part of the mission has succeeded but there's more to do if we're going to reach all our children the way we need to. And I want to speak to you as a parent because as a parent I understand why this has to be a matter of urgency. Every child needs to be reached. Every child needs the strongest possible start. We have proven – there's strong start right there. [Laughter] Strong voice. We have proven through the growth of pre-K that it can be done and it can be done quickly. We have proven that it can reach every child and the evidence is already overwhelming of the impact it's making on children and their families and their schools and the future of this city but it's time to go farther. It's time to reach children earlier because we know if we reach them even earlier, we will have a much greater impact. We know there's a precious opportunity to reach children at the moment when they can learn and grow the best. And so we feel urgency. We feel passion in this administration that there is another step we have to take and step we can take, and it's going to be a big step for New York City but it's going to do so much good for so many children. So, the fact that this is the day we embark on this next mission makes this a very good day for New York City, a joyous day for New York City because so many children and families will benefit over these next years. I want to thank all those who are gathered here, and a number of them will be in the forefront of creating this new initiative. I want to thank Deputy Mayor Richard Buery – and you're going to hear from some other colleagues in a moment but I want to thank Deputy Richard Buery, our Budget Director Dean Fuleihan, the Commissioner for the Administration for Children's Services David Hansell, our Deputy Chancellor of DOE Josh Wallack, Superintendent of District 7 Alisa Alvarez, and Superintendent of District 23 Mia Theresa Pate, and also the principal who is hosting us today at PS 1 Jorge Perdomo, and all of the good folks who are here in the audience – advocates, educators, labor leaders, clergy, community leaders, so many people who have been urging us all along to go as far as possible with early childhood education, so many of whom were in the forefront of creating the vision of Pre-K For All and believed in it and helped us prove what it could do for people, and now are going to join us on this next step on this road. So, let's talk about our children and how they learn and how they grow. The fact is the most important development of a human minds occurs before the age of five. Parents see it and scientific research confirms it, there is one opportunity to get it right. This is the opportunity we've missed through our society for generations. There's one opportunity to get right when the brain is developing and we can get a child to learn so deeply and to be on a path of lifelong learning. And we know in that precious window which is only really a few years, we know that if we plant the seeds, if we set the wheels in motion, the impact on that child, on that family, and on the whole society is vast. And we know if we lose that opportunity it never comes back. It literally never comes back. And after those first few years, children continue to learn but not the way they can in the very beginning. I always use that truism. A lot of people have seen children who come from one culture but grow up, say, in another country when they're in their youngest years, how they can learn two languages simultaneously, almost effortlessly which is not true later in life. It's an example of the way that the human mind has this extraordinary sponge-like capacity in those first years. And we've got to grab that moment. We've got to make the most of that moment. If we don't, we continue to see lost opportunities. We continue to see children who don't go as far as they could. We continue the inequities in our society. It's not because we don't have the research to prove what we need to do, we have to have the will to do it. We have to put the resources front and center if we're going to get it right during that one precious opportunity. For a long time the question may have been could something like this be done. The question is asked and answered by our experience with pre-K – both the size of the pre-k initiative and the quality of it, the way the whole community of New York City has embraced it, the way that teachers and all educators came forward to make it work. Parents participated deeply. People demanded it and got it and showed that it worked and it mattered to them. So, now we know we know at the age of four, we're getting it right. We're reaching everyone. The door is wide open. Any child has a place in the pre-K system. Any child, every child will be served. And we know we are reaching those children and having that extraordinary multiplier effect. We can see it in the biggest school system in the country, in a place where every kind of human being is present, people of every background from all of the Earth in the biggest, most complicated city in the country, we have proven we can reach every child at the age of four. And now it is time to reach every child at the age of three. We are ready to go farther, and today I am announcing 3-K For All in New York City. [Applause] We like the phrase '3-K' because it evokes the first part of our mission that succeeded so well. 3-K For All will take place over the next few years but will begin serving families next school year – September of 2017. And this will grow from there. Starting this September of 2017, we will build from [inaudible] an unparalleled initiative reaching the most three-year-olds ever, putting every single child on a path to a better life. We take this momentous step in full accordance with our Equity and Excellence vision because we believe that this school system, for too long, didn't reach enough children, didn't reach them the right way, and we're going to fix that. Equity and Excellence is a blueprint for all of our grades but now it's time to add another grade. It's time to take this school system which currently teaches children over 14 years and make it 15 years so we can really prepare our children for today's world. Our vision is that four years from now every three-year-old in New York City will have high-quality, full-day, 3-K education – every single three-year-old starting in September of 2021 will have access to full-day education for free. And this is going to be a game changer but it's also going to be hard to do. Pre-K was no walk in the park to put together as my colleagues all know. This is going to be even harder and it will take a little more time but this investment will be one of the smartest we've ever made in the history of this city. And I want to dwell on that for a moment. We are in the midst of the budget process and working closely with our colleagues from the City Council – you will from them in a moment. In that budget process we always have to make decisions about priorities. We've come to the firm conclusion that this is one of the smartest investments we can make in the future of New York City. There are so many needs here. There are so many things that we have to choose among but we believe this will have one of the biggest impacts in every sense on children, who of course will be the future of this city, on their families, the ability of their families to make ends meet now but also on the success of those families going forward, on the future of our school system, the future of our workforce. We believe across the board this is one of the best and smartest and most important investments we can make. So, it will not be easy. This will unquestionably be harder to do that pre-K. There's less space available. We're going to have to find space where it isn't obviously available right now in some district and or we're going to have build new space out. We're going to have to find more teachers. We had a blitz to put together the teaching core pre-K and it succeeded greatly. We found great teachers from here in New York City and even from around the country. We're going to have to do that to get to 3-K. And we all know we're facing a complicated fiscal environment going forward but we still made the decision that we had to invest in the future of this city, that we had to think strategically, and think years and years ahead. And this was the right time. And we also know that if you liked pre-K, if you liked the impact it had, you will like 3-K even more because starting earlier magnifies that impact. Look, it's really important to understand what this does. I want to give you a few examples. There's a Nobel Laureate in Economics, James Heckman, and he looked into public investments in early childhood education. He said they deliver a 13 percent return on investment in terms of human capital – an extraordinary rate of return. Meaning the contributions that people make to society over the course of their lifetime, that this investment in early childhood investment, the earlier you go the better and the more impact it makes. And he found that as you apply those resources later, of course, any investment in education is good but the later you start the less return you get, the less impact you make. And bluntly, we've been doing it backwards as a society for many years. We didn't focus on the youngest years even though that's where we would have had the biggest impact. We didn't set the wheels in motion. But now that we're doing we're seeing that it works and that we have to take it farther. The clock is ticking when it comes to the development of each young mind, and if we don't grab that precious moment, we're actually making a mistake not just in human terms but in terms of how we spend the taxpayer's dollars because this is where we're going to get the most done. And other research shows this as well. There's a tremendous program in New Jersey – the Abbott Program – one of the best early childhood programs in the country and it found that kids who did three- and four-year-old early childhood education did better for years to come. They did better in math. They did better in science. They did better in language arts. Even testing as far as fourth grade and fifth grade later in their lives, they were still doing better. If they had two years – three-year-old and four-year-old years – they did better than kids who had just one. And those results were sustained. MIT did a study and found for every dollar invested in quality, early education saves taxpayers as much as $13 over the long haul in terms of the cost of public education, in terms of public assistance, in terms of the criminal justice system. This is the practical argument but the human argument is even more powerful. That translates to mean that if you invest in children early they will end up with better lives, more opportunity, they will not fall into some of the traps that too often take our children on the wrong path. Literally, early childhood education helps children go on the right path, helps them succeed. So, that's where our money should be. And I'll tell you if we don't do it, we don't allow children to reach their potential. We don't allow families to see the success they deserve for their children. And I mentioned the economic reality too. A typical family paying for child care for a three-year-old pays at least $10,000 a year in this city. Many pay a lot more just for one three-year-old. It also takes away from the opportunity for so many people to work. If you have to either pay for childcare or provide it yourself or don't have good option, that typically takes away from hours that could be put into work. So, there's so many benefits here, humanly, for each child, for each family, for our larger society. And so, we're going to make a major investment. We will propose in the upcoming budget a $36 million investment for next fiscal year and that will ramp up to a $177 million investment by Fiscal Year '21. Now, this will involve a number of pieces and I'll delineate them very quickly. First, we're going to take our existing program, Early Learn the existing program that reaches three-year-olds, we're going to upgrade it substantially and invest in it. Now, this is currently a means-tested program. I want everyone to be clear. This current program is based on income and goes to folks with lower-incomes, and that will continue over these next few years as we transition to a universal program. But for three-year-olds going into Early Learn now, they're going to see a program that gets substantially improved, a lot of investment. That's about 11,000 kids right now who benefit. They will see more teacher training for their teachers, more curriculum development, more support for families. It's going to be a ramp up to make that a higher quality program as we transition into 3-K. Second, we will begin universal 3-K in two school districts as a beginning and that will be, in those two districts, the same kind of approach we took with pre-K – truly universal. Anyone can apply regardless of income or any other factor. We'll begin in this district, District 7, here, in the Bronx and District 23 in Brooklyn. And that includes in Brooklyn neighborhoods like East New York, Brownsville, Ocean Hill. By the fall of 2018 – not this next school year but the one after it as it begins – there will be universal 3-K in those two districts. That will be upwards of 2,000 kids. We will then continue to build out the pre-K structure with two more districts each year. So, there will be two more for September of '18, two more after that for September '19, two more after that for September of '20, and then we will take the big jump to a fully universal system by September of 2021 – four years from this September. Now, let me say at the outset, anyone who wants to apply to the existing Early Learn program or wants to apply for the new seats that will be available in District 7 here in the Bronx and District 23 in Brooklyn. That will be the same kind of application process we went through for pre-K. Anyone can call 3-1-1 or go to , and you will talk to an actual human being. You will talk to an enrollment specialist who will help you determine how to go about applying and what works for you. And again, there will be two tracks initially that continuing Early Learn program that is means-tested, and then the universal programs beginning in Districts 7 and 23. It'll take us two years to build out 7 and 23 but there will be available seats for this September, even more the following. But anyone who wants to get information just has to go online and or call 3-1-1. We'll continue that growth but to get to the ultimate goal we will need help. And that was true with pre-K as well. Pre-K worked because the City of New York created a vision, created tremendous public support for that vision, took that public support to Albany, got funding. We're going to repeat that vision and we will take it to Albany and we'll take it to Washington. And as difficult and complicated as both places are, the world still works when it comes to something that the public demands, and we think the demand for 3-K is going to be intense. We think parents are going to make very clear that they need this. We think the momentum will grow. And we believe that based on the success in Albany last time, we will be able to put together a coalition over the next few years to win funding. And the federal situation – always interesting – well, I remind you we're talking about September of 2021, that's a long way from now, and a lot can happen along the way. But I will also say that one of the areas that has seen more and more bipartisan interest has been early childhood education. I always talk about pre-K. We're proud of what we've done here, and we're proud of what's been done in New Jersey and in Washington D.C. but we're also proud of what Georgia is doing. We're also proud of what Oklahoma is doing. The whole movement of folks who believe in early childhood education – we've been struck by the fact that it is happening just as energetically in blue states as in red states. And there's a growing consciousness including in the Congress of why this is a smart and necessary investment. So, we will build out over years, and we will build a coalition to put together whatever State and federal resources we need to bring this to full fruition. I assure you it will take very hard work on all these fronts I mentioned. This, again, will be harder than pre-K but we also have the example of pre-K to fuel this effort, to prove what can be done on a big scale and to prove what an impact it makes. And we'll say from the beginning and we'll show, the City of New York will be putting a lot of skin in the game. We already have about $200 million in the Early Learn program. As I said, we will be ramping up to another $177 million in City investment by Fiscal '21. The remaining State and federal aid we will need – we'll be able to show that we have already built something powerful and invested deeply when we go looking for that additional support. So, I'll conclude by saying this – anytime we look at a situation including a time like now in history where there's certainly a lot of uncertainty, it's easy to say in a time of uncertainty, stand back, be cautious, be timid. That's not our way. It's not our way as New Yorkers and it's not the way of this administration or I might add this City Council. We believe the time is now. We believe we have a chance to reach children right now and start changing their lives and we believe we can create the kind of momentum that will never be turned back. Once the parents of this city experience pre-K they will demand more and more and more until the day that it becomes truly universal. And it will mean so much for our future. It's a bold move but a necessary one because it will literally frame the future of this great city. A few words in Spanish – [Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that, it's my honor to bring forward someone who understands this, I would say, as well as anyone on this Earth. And she is now – Carmen, what year is it now? 51 years? 51 years in education? Chancellor Carmen Farina, Department of Education: [Inaudible] Mayor: Getting better all the time. Our Schools Chancellor, Carmen Farina. [Applause] Chancellor Farina: Thank you. This is truly a marvel. Let me be – putting it in very practical terms. First of all, it's starting in two districts that have made tremendous strides but for whom this is going to be a game changer. It's also part of the Mayor's initiative that commissioners and chancellors talk to each other. And I can't say that I have a better partner than the commissioner of ACS. He's been wonderful. Our conversations have been rich. And he specifically wanted to make sure that we were the right people to entrust his three-year-olds to. And I want to say that in very practical terms, this is what I see happening. A three-year-old is as sponge. They pick up everything. So, why not have them in the best place where the stuff that they're picking up is the right stuff. Socially, they will learn how to play with others. They will learn how to talk to each other. They will learn to do what the famous poems says, "Everything I learned, I learned in kindergarten." Why wait until kindergarten? Let's do it in pre-pre-K. And the ability to share, cooperate, collaborate, critical think, analyze are all the skills that you need for the future jobs. Very few jobs 10, 15 years from now are going to be how well do you memorize, how well do you recite information. It's how do you learn to think. So, why not have kids learning to think as young as three and even younger. Although, I think we have enough on our plate right now. [Laughter] But the reality is that the whole idea of socialization which is really something that needs to be done in pre-k, this is part of the program. The other thing I think is very important is emotional. This is an absolutely wonderful way for us also to figure out who are the kids that already may have disabilities or problems or speech problems. Speech problems in particular – the sooner you get at them, the sooner you deal with them, the more likely that they're going to be dealt with appropriately. And now as a grandmother of a child who has some issues, we learned at three years old and immediately got on it. But that allows us now as educators to be able to do something much quicker and much more appropriately. And I think in particular will also help us in terms of going towards the future, in terms of special needs kids. Are they really special needs or is it that some of these students did not get diagnosed early enough with the interventions they needed. So, that's another very practical thing. I think the other thing is also that it allows us to start giving parents support much sooner. And I don't care where you live in the City of New York, if you have one child, if you have three children or ten children, you need support. You need people to talk to. The DOE just started a moms program for people in the building, and I was their first guest speaker. And one of the things I keep saying to them – you can't do it by yourself, you need to vent to other people, you need to talk about what are the things that are normal for certain ages. And three-year-olds are known for not being so normal across the board. So, how do you have parenting courses early on for three-year-olds in our schools that will allow people to have these conversations, have them deeply, and be supported? The other thing I think is also about – imagine, because some of these programs will be in the school where these children have their older brothers and sisters. Imagine a parent who doesn't have to make a decision in the morning whether I go here, here, or here. And you have the ability to leave all your children off in the same school, and have a commitment to that school from the very beginning. So, this is also about parents who can see the school as part of their community, go out and work as actually the parent said today, and then be able to do something deeper knowing that all their children are in the same place at the same time. I cannot say enough about what I think this is going to do ultimately. It also – and this is part of the discussion we had with the commissioner – allows us the opportunity to teach teachers in a consistent way. If you go to pre-Ks in the city of New York, you will see something there that you might not have seen years ago. There's interactive learning. Josh, knows. I come running back when I see something that's a little off-kilter. I hear talking. I hear noise. I hear investigations. Now, it gives us an opportunity to have training for the three-year-old teachers right alongside the four-year-old teachers. So we'll see a continuum that is more seamless and that will mean that the more you're consistent in what you're doing, the more likely it sticks with the kids. And I think that is a really, really important part of what we're doing. And since we've really ramped up our professional development particularly for early childhood, I think that is really an important part of what we expect to do here. I think, finally, the most important thing out of all this, is it allows us to really make clear what I've always felt in all my time in education that the people who are most vulnerable are anywhere from age of six – I mean the age of zero to the age of reason which is seven. And if we don't invest, we're not investing in ourselves as either a city or a community or just civilization. And to talk about high school graduations which is important but not to talk about early childhood, the social, emotional, and academic learnings of those children, is to miss the boat all together. We don't play catch up in high school. We need a consistency across the zero to 16 and beyond to ensure that our kids are the citizens of tomorrow that we want. Thank you very much. […] Mayor: Well done. Two important points, did he say stabilized? Unknown: Yes. Mayor: He said stabilized. That reminds me of my favorite – Carmen was my witness – the time we were visiting the pre-k classroom and the kid said metamorphosis; one of the great moments in pre-k history – just spontaneously said metamorphosis. It was a great day. Also for the record, Julissa's husband – that was not a figure of speech – her husband is a rocket scientist. That is an actual profession and this is his profession. [Laughter] Alright, we are going to now take questions about this proposal and then we'll talk about other topics as well. Question: Mr. Mayor is the City going to hire new teachers – what are the centers or schools are going to be given 3-K and also, [Speaks in Spanish]. Mayor: Yes, that's part of it. [Laughter] So the Chancellor will speak to that. To the second question, and it was also – I shall explain where our Single Shepherd program is already active in these two districts, but she'll speak to that. On the first question of how many teachers; so, this group here is going to be responsible for the buildout. This is the same dream team that put together pre-k. Again, now we're sending them on a bigger and harder mission, but I have no doubt they will succeed. I think we talked about it earlier, 4,500 teachers. So we predict the need will be for about 4,500 new teachers. And again, with pre-k we made it a passionate thing. We made it a call to arms to teachers all over New York City and all over the country to come be a part of creating the right approach to early childhood education in the biggest city in the country. And in the vein of 'if you build it they will come', we got an extraordinary response from teachers and that is part of why pre-k is working so well. Very, very dynamic teachers wanted to be a part of it and we think that is going to happen again with 3-K. To the choice of districts – Carmen you want to speak to that in Espanol? You can do both English and Espanol. Chancellor Farina: Okay, I'll start with English. We carefully selected these two districts because they already have some supports within the districts. They are Single Shepherd although we are not shifting them off the six to twelve models, but because they already have training – social worker training. Training that we feel will be very compatible with the three-year-old training. We thought that was really a good way to go. We also know that in those two districts there is high need in terms of a lot of those parents – there are no centers in many of these neighborhoods. There are no infrastructures, so having the school as the infrastructure makes sense. One of the things that we're considering as well in pre-k where there is space we would consider a multi-age three to four-year-olds. It is one of the ages that actually make sense doing together. I know I put my children, way back when, in three, four-year-old classes. The four-year-olds are already a little ahead verbally and they can share what they know with the three-year-olds. So we selected those two districts because of need, because they have outstanding superintendents. They also have space, which we think is really a good way to start with what we're doing. So we know that there is also a commitment to early childhood and parents in those two particular districts have asked over and over again for more support in this area. [Chancellor Farina speaks in Spanish] So we think for all those reasons – I do my Spanglish kind of combination. [Laughter] That is a really good start. We also want to make sure and we have done this – we did this with pre-k as well, that we create model sites, supervised carefully, and intervened immediately so as we expand these programs we know what is working and what is not working. So I think starting small and growing out just makes a lot of sense. Question: Mayor, you said this year it's going to be $36 million from the budget. [Inaudible] How much of this is going to have to be money coming from Albany? Also in line of budget scenarios you see coming from D.C. [inaudible]. Mayor: Let me explain the thinking. We are closely monitoring the situation in Washington D.C. And I will say upfront about that, no one knows where that is going. You know, I think you could certainly surmise from the first 100 days that a lot of the changes – the radical changes that might have been projected so far are not happening. But lord knows we're not going to prejudge this situation. I have said very consistently, we're going to have to fight to make sure the federal budget is fair. We do not belittle the challenges here, but to the point of why we are sequencing this way. So again, we're spending now about $200 million on the existing early learning problem. We will spend by Fiscal '21 an additional $177 million to build out to eight full districts. The notion here is simple, we know we can achieve that goal with our own resources. So, of course, if we can achieve something we should start doing it. We believe it will be the evidence just like pre-k was. We believe as it builds it will provide real living evidence that this is the right approach. It will take away a lot of the doubts or opposition because people will be able to see with their own eyes it is working. Obviously it will show we have skin in the game and that is important in Albany and in Washington – to see that localities are investing in themselves. We're doing that upfront. We know unlike pre-k this would take several years to achieve anyway because of the space issues and other issues. So, we think this is a good way to create momentum and reach a lot of kids in the near term and create momentum. Now, the Washington picture – I don't belittle, Dave, how complicated it is. I also would remind you again, September 2021, there will be a midterm congressional election between now and then. There will be a full presidential election and another congressional election. Between now and then there will be a full presidential election and another Congressional election between now and then. We don't know what we're going to be dealing with – could be similar, could be very different. We're going to hold out hope that under any scenario – let's say at least we think maybe there is nowhere to go but up, but also again there have been a few areas where we have seen some bipartisan consensus and early childhood education is increasingly one of them. So, all those reasons we're not counting out the federal piece of the equation. The State piece of the equation – we have a body of evidence that there really was possible to put together a coalition around pre-k. The Assembly had pushed for early childhood education for decades. The IDC, very enthusiastically, got involved fighting for pre-k. The Senate Republicans ultimately were willing to come on board and the Governor as well. So we have seen with our own eyes that that coalition we put together we have time to create it and prove that it could work. So that is why we think it is a real ramp up. That last piece, to be clear, to go from eight full districts in the existing early learn program we have to ramp it up to 32 districts full strength universal, that will take approximately another $700 million. So that's what we're going to need to find between state and federal resources by the fall of 2021, by four years from now. Let's go way back, way back. Question: [Inaudible] teachers and [inaudible] community-based organizations involved and also will the administration – the people who administer early learning at ACS capable of the administration of this? And will there still be [inaudible]? Mayor: Rich? Josh? Who wants to take this one? Deputy Mayor Buery: Good morning. One of the questions was about CBOs, and similar to pre-K, we expect that the system will include both public schools and community-based organizations. We expect about half and half, but it'll depend as we grow. I think you also asked about the administration from ACS to the Department of Education. So, part of what we're doing here is, the incredible team that Chancellor Farina and Deputy Chancellor Wallack built at the Department of Education, is relying on some of that capacity, both in terms of outreach and program supports and using that to drive further quality in the pre-K space. In terms of the vouchers, part of our overall plan is to continue to engage in conversation between the Department of Education, ACS, and the other agencies that are involved to think about the role that vouchers play. And certainly, we're going to be addressing that as part of our ramp-up over the next several years. Mayor: That means child care vouchers to be clear. Not the notorious school vouchers. And let me say further, just to clarify, we will be continuing what we did with pre-K, community-based organizations, charter schools, religious schools. All are welcome, but with a single set of ground rules, with a contract everyone has to sign, with one curriculum, with one approach to training, but we will welcome any and all community partners. Way back. Question: A couple of funding questions. One, in agreement – with the City Council agreeing to this added funding, were there any tradeoffs in terms of finding savings elsewhere? Mayor: Okay. I'll start with that, and then you can do the second. When we have these conversations, we work – you know – this is talking about a three-dimensional chess. There's a lot of things going on in the budget process for a budget of this magnitude. The specific answer was no. It was not based on specific trade-offs. The Council has been very clear over these last years, they want to see us protect reserves, and they want to see us look for any savings we can achieve. We'll be talking about that a lot later in the week; about how we have worked together on that mandate, and we have some substantial pieces there. But, no, this was supported unto itself. What's the second? Question: State funding – you said on pre-k in the past that the Campaign for One New York and the momentum around that and all the work there was basically essential to getting the funding for pre-K from the State. So without that mechanism, how would you put a coalition together to get funding this time? Mayor: Look, it's pertinent to the moment we're in nationally right now in that we felt in the beginning – I mean, obviously I'm referring to the "first 100 days," we felt in the beginning, having put forward this pretty difficult vision, meaning a hard-to-achieve vision, of full-day pre-K for every child on a two-year timeline, that we needed to do everything and anything to get the support to make it happen so we could create the kind of momentum for early childhood education and for the vision that later became Equity and Excellence. We did that. We succeeded. Again, I've said many times, I believe it was the right thing to do. There'll be no such mechanism in the future, and I don't think bluntly it will be needed in the future. Because the last time around it was theory, and we all knew it was theory. In the church, there is the phrase "this far by faith." We, many times in those long discussions of how to achieve pre-k, it was a matter of faith because no one had ever done it on the scale we did it here in New York City, particularly on that kind of timeframe. But this time we are working from a model that worked. Even a rocket scientist would say we have evidence and a model that has worked on the ground and can be replicated very, very consistently. So, I don't think we're going to need the same kind of mechanism as from the past. Marcia? Question: Could you talk to us about the numbers? How many slots will the $177 million that the City's putting in cover [inaudible]? And when you get to the $700 million, how many slots globally do you hope to offer to three-year-olds? And in order to get that $700 million, would you support a tax in Albany or do you think that the State might just, seeing your success in the past, give you the money? Mayor: I'll have Deputy Chancellor Wallack speak to the fine-tuning of each stage in the numbers. I can say broadly, when it gets to full strength, we expect it to be not quite as big as pre-k, because we think there will be some parents who are not yet ready to have their kids go to school at three years old, but we think it'll be close to the numbers of pre-k. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Say it again. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: He'll speak to the numbers. I'm just giving you the broad rule of thumb. We think it will mirror pre-k, somewhat smaller. We also think, as we have seen with pre-k, the more people experience it. the more people start to say, 'wait a minute, that does make sense for my child." And bluntly in a society where people are working longer and longer hours and are stressed in so many ways, it's going to be something a lot of parents think is practically really important for their lives. So, before Josh comes over, look, all options are on the table. When we talk about the federal picture first, I remind you, two full elections between now and full implementation, so a lot of interesting things could happen there. On the state front, we think the energy is obvious to our leaders in Albany. They've seen what happened with pre-k. I've talked to plenty of legislators who talk about the conversations they have with parents in their district. They know how important it is, how popular it is. Be a very different and, I think, easier conversation this time. It's still real money. We have to find it. We're open to any option. If folks in Albany say, "We're ready to fund this," that's a great option. If they want to talk about a taxation scheme like we proposed last time, we're open to that. But we're going to leave that discussion in Albany finding out what the legislators think makes sense as a way to get it done. Question: How much do you need from the State and how much are you [inaudible]? Mayor: As I said, the 700, so I'll do it again. Two hundred million we're already spending on Early Learn, $177 million more we would commit by the ramp-up for the school year beginning. So that would be by the school beginning September '20 and, therefore, fiscal '21, we will be at that $177 million more above current spending. So pushing on towards combined about $400 million. We will go to State and federal government for 700 million more on top of that. Josh, on the different numbers and how it builds out by students? Wallack: Thanks. It's terrific to be with you all this morning as we come together to announce this big initiative and also create a real seamless system for all children birth to five in New York City. The way it would work is in the first two districts – and I just want to caveat say, the goal here is to provide a seat for the family of every three-year-old that wants one, so this number may turn out to be lower or higher – but we estimate for the first two districts, at full strength we'll be serving between 1,800 and 2,000 students. When we get to the eight districts, the eight that the City will support on its own, we estimate, depending on which districts we choose to go into and the demand we see – we'll learn a lot as we go – we'll be serving about 20,000 three-year-olds. At full strength, we're estimating that the full program will be about 62,000 three-year-olds. That's based on our calculation based on the demand for pre-K. Thanks. Mayor: Way back. No, wait. You had one. Folks who haven't had first, and we'll come back around. Go ahead. Question: Mayor, some people are critical of universal pre-k that it's just babysitting. Do you have any – can you lay down some – Mayor: Bring it to me. Question: – some of the evidence. Mayor: Bring them to me. [Laughter] Question: Can you provide a little bit of what the value add here is beyond having [inaudible]? Mayor: Who wants it? Chancellor Farina: I ask anyone who says that, "Have you been in a pre-K lately?" I will tell you that I go – every single school I go to, I always ask to go to the pre-k. You will see pre-k students beginning writing. You will also see that teachers are beginning to look at their writing and say, "Oh. I was just in a pre-k last Thursday," and I said to the principal, "Do you notice that the writing of these two children may require you having someone look at them, because I think they may be having difficulties?" So we're doing early intervention. We also have pre-k where we're monitoring attendance, and you're seeing attendance like 95%, which means those parents know they've put those kids in a safe place, and they can go out and get a job or do whatever it is they need to do. I also go to pre-ks and see kids doing an experiment. Right now, one of the science experiments are, "Do things float or sink?" and you'll have two four-year-olds discussing, What are the objects that will float, and which are the ones that will sink. That's science. You have students reading – I was in a pre- a few weeks ago, and they were reading Eric Carle, and one of the students said, "He must really like science, because a lot of his books are about science." So you're having them comparing and contrasting, which is a common core skill that is being introduced in second and third grade. So, anyone who has any criticism about this pre-k babysitting, part of it is because what teachers are doing is nurturing those kids so they'll love learning, so they'll love coming to school, and they'll love the fact the teachers are working with them to make them smarter. But this, to me, is a no-brainer, and it means someone hasn't been in a classroom to see what's actually happening. Mayor: Do you want to add? Unknown: No. Mayor: Please. Go ahead. Okay. Question: Mayor, just a follow up on that funding. Mayor: Yeah. Question: We've talked a lot about the federal budget, and you haven't factored in any potential cuts, but you're sort of still counting on getting money. I mean, do you think that those are contradictory things? Like, we're not factoring in for – Mayor: As Melissa said, and I'll let her speak to it, too, if you're living in today only, this day in 2017, you might feel that. If you say, "Our job is to create a vision, give it strength and momentum and build a coalition to achieve it," and there's two ways to win. You can get it all done in Albany. You can get it done in Washington. You can combine them. There's different ways to do it. No, I'm not going to be held back because of a current reality. I'm not sure how much that current reality is going to mean ultimately. Do you want to speak to it? Speaker Mark-Viverito: No, just to reiterate what was said. I mean, the City is making a commitment to eight districts. To get universal, we need the support of the State and the feds, and we're going to have to work and build coalitions to make sure that that message is sent. But the City is making a commitment to those eight districts, that's an investment in the future of the City as well. So, I appreciate and I'm grateful that that is being proposed, and we will definitely stand behind it. Question: I was wondering if you could just talk a little bit more about what's happening in the very first year of the programs. You have an existing early life program. Are you expanding classrooms at all there? And when you talk about upgrades, I know you mentioned teacher training. What's the extra $36 million paying for? Wallack: There's two parts to what we're doing in year one. The first is we're partnering with the Administration for Children's Services, and we're essentially putting in place the kinds of support that we do for Pre-K For All into three-year-old classrooms that are run by Early Learn. So what does that mean? It means that we have a set of incredibly talented experienced teachers who are instructional coaches who go into classrooms to help them improve practice; a set of social workers that help teachers work with children and create safe and welcoming environments, and help them engage with families; and we have a set of program assessment specialists that help programs understand where they are in accomplishing the goals of pre-k and getting better at what they do. So those same supports will be in place for three's classrooms in Early Learn, and we'll work together. Chancellor Farina: [Inaudible] Wallack: Yes. And, as the Chancellor reminded me, in both the districts where we start, we'll also have an additional support in the Superintendent's Office, an early childhood director who will help to oversee the districts' 3-K and Pre-K efforts. In year one, we'll also add – years one and two – we'll add additional classrooms both in district schools and in what we call New York City Early Education Centers, which are our community-based partners that often have years of experience in providing high-quality early childhood education and care. So we'll be partnering with them to bring on additional seats in those two districts, and we'll be adding those supports that I described to all the three's classrooms citywide. That's what the first – that's what the first tranche of funding does. Question: In the first year, will there be more classes added? Wallack: There will be more classes. We are going to get started today in trying to identify new classrooms, new teachers, and beginning to prepare great content for the first day of school this fall. Mayor: We're going to ask all our friends and partners to get started today with us. Get ready. Fasten your seatbelts. David? Question: I have three questions. The first one, the eight districts – how are you choosing where the six that haven't already been chosen are? The second one is a practical one. I have a two-and-a-half-year-old that's going to a program called [inaudible]. You have to be potty-trained by then. Is that part of this program? And, thirdly, the announcement had your wife [inaudible] here as well, and [inaudible] earlier, and she's not here. I was wondering why that is? Mayor: It's a schedule change. She's got her own portfolio of things, and she decided that she needed to focus on some of the other pieces. On the first point. Let's see – I'm not the expert on the potty-training protocol. We'll have them speak to that. [Laughter] The first one was on the eight districts. The eight districts, the honest answer is we're going to make a decision in the coming months about the next two very much based on logistical reality. To get the first two up and running, as we said, will take two jumps. The space considerations, in particular, are going to loom very large here. So we're going to look at all the districts in the City; look at – obviously where there's need but also where we think we can put it together logistically on this kind of timeline. We'll look at a lot of things, but where can we be convinced that we could get it done on this timeline? There's some districts that you could tell immediately it would be very tough because we're going to need early childhood education centers built. Those, obviously, will wait a little longer so we can get the physical infrastructure in place. Who wants to talk about this controversial and important topic? Wallack: The answer to the question is it really depends on where the child is developmentally, but there are lots of districts that, as the Chancellor alluded to, teach three-year-olds and four-year-olds together. Three-year-olds need a little bit more time typically for self-care routines, as they're called, including going to the bathroom and eating, and also processing information and working with one another. So teachers will have to make that adjustment, but they'll be trained to do so, and we'll have the facilities to handle children at various stages on the skill that you mentioned. Yes? Question: Do they have to be out of diapers to participate in this? Wallack: No, they do not. We can handle either way. Thanks. Mayor: Lindsey? Oh, I'm sorry. I thought it was Lindsey. It's Kate. I thought I saw Lindsey. I saw Lindsey somewhere in here. Kate? Question: The evidence about the impact of early childhood programs is really for low-income children. I'm wondering – a couple of questions. First, what's your justification for expanding this program to all three-year-olds rather than specifically targeting it by income and maybe expanding it to younger ages and really focusing on the quality and intents of the program for low-income children, who are the ones who have been jumped back a bit? Secondly, the quality and the time of pre-k for four-year-olds, is uneven? Do you think that you're going to be able to continue putting the necessary effort into that and making the quality more uniform at a higher level while we're also working so hard to get this new program in? Mayor: I'm going to contest the premise of the question, and my panel of experts will speak to it. I would not say uneven is at all an accurate description of what's happening with our current pre-k. It is a young program and a program that will continue to improve because we're putting a huge amount of energy into it. That will never change. But I don't agree it's uneven, and I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time, continue to make pre-k as good as it can be while building out this new piece. And I'll let my colleagues speak to that. On the first question, I believe fundamentally in the universal model. I believe it's good for everyone. I believe it creates a fairness and equality in our society. I believe it creates something that helps every kind of family educationally and economically. I think it creates a communal reality that's fantastic for this city where everyone has something they can believe in and depend on. I think it obviously creates maximum energy to get something like this done and supported here in the City, in the State, and the federal level if it's something that everyone benefits from. I also am a believer, from my own experiences as a public school student myself and from seeing my kids, I believe that the mix of different people lifts all boats. I believe that we want to see our children learn around every kind of child. That's good for them socially. It's good for them in terms of building a more unified society. Kids who come in with some disadvantages benefit from having kids around them who are more advantaged and have had more opportunity. It's good for everyone. Who wants to speak to the current status of – Chancellor Farina: I want to be clear. Public education means just that. It doesn't mean that economically you're entitled to this or overly economically you're entitled to – it means everyone's entitled to the same thing. To me, to have parents use public education, particularly grades three and four, when they don't have to, the commitment they will make – Mayor: Ages three and four. Chancellor: – ages three and four, thank you. They will be committed to that school in other ways that their financial ability helps in different ways. I was principal of a school where parents chose to use my school who could have gone elsewhere. But what they added to the school once they were there helped all students in that building. And this should not be the city, "Well, if you're on the low poverty level, you get this, but if you have this, you don't get this." Equity and Excellence means just that. Equity and Excellence for everyone. And that also means they're all exposed to the same learning and the same strategies. That means that by the time they get to first and second grade, there will be an expectation in all the schools that all the students will have learned X, Y and Z. The curriculum that we developed for pre-k is a universal curriculum, whether it's in a religious school or private. Anyone who has a pre-k center follows the curriculum that we set up, has the PD that we set up, and I expect that to be a really strong factor in the three-year-olds. And, again, I do take exception to the fact that pre-k has not been successful. I think it has been extremely successful, and I will take press with me to visit a pre-k of your choice any time you want. Thank you. [Applause] Deputy Mayor Buery: I can't improve anything the Chancellor said, but I just want to make a couple of quick points. One is just again to contest the premise. The research on pre-k show that the benefits of pre-k is to all children. Certainly there is evidence that shows that low-income children benefit more, that is not the same thing, that wealthier children or middle class children don't benefit. We can share some of that research with you. The second point just around quality is one of the big investments we've made in the Pre-K For All program, and it will continue to 3-K, is a large investment in quality improvement and evaluation. The preliminary evaluations we've seen around quality have shown that we are administering a very strong – a very high-quality program. And our quality scores, as measured by some of the tools we use, are similar to the quality scores at other high-quality programs like in Boston experienced at a similar stage in their development. So actually, although, of course, we need to continue to improve as we get older, we should be incredibly proud about the quality happening in New York City pre-k – is truly xtraordinary, particularly given the scope and quality of what we've built. The third point I just want to – I just want to reiterate what the Chancellor said in another way, we should also remember that the benefits to pre-K are not only the cognitive and social developmental benefits to the four-year-olds and now the three-year-olds, but also the economic benefits to their families. And certainly, in New York, we know that for middle class families, for working class families, the money you save by having a quality, safe place for your child to be is an extraordinary benefit, and that's true at just about every income. So I just would challenge the premise, and you absolutely should go visit a program with Chancellor Farina, in part because it's great to see the Chancellor with the three- or four-year-olds, but you would see some amazing things happening in our school system. Chancellor Farina: And I just want to say one thing. Mayor: Wait. Come to the microphone. Chancellor Farina: Now, having raised two children and helping raise three grandchildren, parenting skills are necessary for all parents. I don't care where you live in the city. There is a pressure put on parents today about being a perfect parent, doing everything perfectly, and it's a false premise. So having parenting classes where parents can come and whine and complain and ask advice from each other, to me, is crucial, whether you're a parent on the Upper East Side, Park Slope, or in the Bronx. I think that a lot of the benefits of early childhood are across the board and have absolutely nothing to do with financial resources. Wallack: I just want to make one more point on the quality piece, and the kinds of systems that we've built as a team to make sure that any door a family walks into for pre-K and now for 3-K is an excellent program. As I mentioned before, we have an extraordinary team of educators and social workers and others that go into programs week after week and month after month to help them improve. And we actually are able to measure, as Deputy Mayor Buery put it, our progress against other districts, and we've found that we are on par with some of the finest pre-K programs, the ones that have achieved the highest outcomes across the country, even at a very early stage of implementation. But we've gone farther than that, and we use that information in order to target our support. Our coaches and our social workers visit programs to help them with their particular areas of growth and help them get stronger and stronger. And then every year we publish that information in a really easily digestible format for families so they can see the particular strengths of their program and where they're trying to grow. That is creating incredible momentum and incredible quality in our program throughout. Thanks. Question: If the success of this program is going to rely so heavily on community-based organizations, do you feel that you have sufficient space at the CBOs that this is going to partners with now for UPK to add new spots for the three-year-olds or do we have to partner with new CBOs? Mayor: I think it's a mixed bag. I think that there are places – so, let me just quickly paint a picture of New York City. There are districts where we have substantial space in public school buildings. There are districts also where we have CBOs, as you indicate, that are doing this work and have access to additional space and are doing the work well. That, again, can include also religious schools and charter schools. There are other places where there's a space shortage right now where we struggle to get pre-K to its maximum. In some places we're still trying to finish out that effort in terms of having the space exactly where we want it. In those places, we'll double down on looking for any opportunity to create new space. By the way, that could come through existing development that's being planned. You have seen more and more schools being included in residential development. You can also include just a pre-K center or an early childhood education center in residential development. So that's going to be an option some places. But in other places we're going to have to keep building stand-alone early childhood education centers that could be three-year-olds, four-year-olds, both. That's part of why we're being a little more careful about the timeline here, because we grabbed so much of the space the first go-round in some districts. So it will be very different. Thirty-two school districts. Every single one of them different. Some, and those will be, to David's point earlier, those will be the go-tos where there's really readily available space options and good quality opportunities. Those will be the ones that we'll first build out. Some others, we are going to need all the way to September '20, '21 to get the space in place, and that's going to be a race to get it done. But we're confident we can make the pieces come together over the time we have. Who has not gone? Question: I think there's a lot of anecdotal information or stories about why pre-K is considered to be a success thus far. Can you point to anything else that you think really points to the – Mayor: I feel like everything you just said was about actual studies, but let's have them reiterate. Question: Also, just to push-back on the unevenness. We do know, based on the class [inaudible] that there are sites that struggle. And I know the DOE provides specific supports to those sites, but do you not acknowledge that there are – Mayor: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I want to challenge – I'm challenging your challenge. And then Josh will – Josh, come up. You can be on deck here. Josh and the Chancellor, Deputy Mayor, all were referring to the overall situation of a program that is serving almost 70,000 kids in hundreds and hundreds of locations around the city. We think that the facts are abundantly clear about the overall performance of the program. So, uneven – if you want to say, if you had a handful of places that weren't working well and the vast majority were working well, you want to call that uneven, I think that's a misuse of the phrase uneven. I think we have a clear majority dynamic here of what's going on in our program. In any program of this size, there's going to be some places that have to do better. Just like our school system. There's going to be some schools that have to do better. I think this initiative for pre-K is a success, period. And then there are certainly programs we have more work to do on. I think that's the best way to explain it. But go ahead on the facts more than anecdotes. Wallack: Yes. Again, I think, you mentioned a couple of national ways of looking at some parts of program quality, and that's what I really want to emphasize here. Because I think what the Mayor and Chancellor and Deputy Mayor asked us to do was figure out a way to look at programs quality along many different dimensions. I think, to look too narrowly at one set of scores that we're proud of those national scores you mentioned, because they are on par with where the finest pre-K programs in the country were at this stage, we can take a broader view. We look at – consistent with the framework for great schools. The vision that the Chancellor has laid out for school quality. We look not only at the instruction in the classroom and whether they're meaningful interactions between the parent and teacher. We look at whether the teachers are working together to improve their practice. We're looking at whether they're creating a supportive and warm environment. We're looking at the ways that the leader interacts with the teachers and the staff of a program. And we're looking at the ways they interact with families and do family engagement and community building. So those things are all measured. We measure all of them through the class and ACARAs, which are nationally normed assessments that allow you to look at interactions within classrooms, but also by serving parents and teachers in valid ways that allow us to get a sense. Now, I would say, certainly there are programs that we want to support more, and we offer that support. Really, what happens most, as the Chancellor sort of referred to me on the way over, is that programs have different strengths and different things that they're working on. We try to support them on the ones they need help on and encourage them on the ones they're strong on and encourage them to collaborate with one another on those strengths. But overall, we are, again, just to say, the national scores for quality, we are on par with the finest pre-K programs where they were at this stage of implementation. On these other measures, we're doing very well, and we have the supports in place to help get better and better every year. That's the most important thing, in pre-K, in 3-K and in K-12. Mayor: Mara? Question: Mr. Mayor, have you spoken to anyone in Albany about whether they're open to funding this, helping the City out based on what you said, it's [inaudible] or to the Assembly? Have you reached out to the Trump administration? Mayor: I have not reached out to the Trump administration. That day will come on this topic. We've done a round of outreach and are setting up meetings to go into detail with each of the key players in Albany, and that will, obviously, be timely because we're going to be talking to people about the legislative session as well. This is not, again, something we expect action on during the legislative session but begin the conversation for next year. The one person that I reached and had a substantial conversation with was the IDC leader, Jeff Klein. I won't speak for him, but he was a central figure in achieving pre-K and I think is well-disposed to this idea, but I'll let him speak for himself. Question: [Inaudible] directly? Mayor: Again, I will be speaking to the governor and his team as this plays out. Question: Mr. Mayor, just wanted to get clarity on the question of a potential tax to fund this in Albany. Is that something that you're going to be specifically advocating, and if so, do you have a type of tax in mind? Mayor: Not specifically advocating. I said it before, but I'll say it again, and I'll be interested in how it's covered. All options are on the table, meaning we're going to go to the leaders in Albany, starting with where it all begins, which is the legislature. We're going to say, "Here's the vision we have. We believe we have an extraordinary body of evidence that proves that this would have a seismic impact on this city" – city, I remind you, is 43 percent of the state's population – "We believe this is one of the best investments we can make in the future of our schools and our city, and we have skin in the game. We're asking for support to get this done." That, again, would be referencing the next year's budget, which will be discussed starting in January. We're going to present that equation and talk to the various leaders about what makes sense. All options should be on the table. If the legislative leaders say, "We think the right way to do that is to fund it outright," as is what happened with pre-K, that's great. If they prefer another model, we'll be open to anything. We had – I'm very proud of it – We had a good model to fund pre-K that I presented to Albany. They didn't want to do it. They did something else that worked for us. That's fine. We'll let them see what we're trying to achieve, and we'll let the legislative leaders tell us what is the most sensible way to proceed, and we'll go from there. Question: [Inaudible] that it would be likely that an Albany legislator would propose this tax if you did not? Mayor: I don't know if you heard everything I just said. I said we're going to let them decide what they think is sensible as a way to fund this. I'm not coming in promoting a specific methodology. I'm saying, "Here's roughly the dollar figure we need. Here's why it's going to work. We have a body of evidence from pre-K. We already have skin in the game, and we're asking for help from Albany." Then let them determine what shape that help would take. Now, I think I've got a lot of witnesses. I just said that we're putting everything on the table. We do not have a definitive plan. I'll be very interested to see what you write. I suspect it may not reflect the whole reality. Who else? Sorry. I've been through the dance too many times. Who else? Yes? Question: Just on the funding, just to clarify, you said, take the $200 million already currently being used, add $177 million from the City, and then $700 million more from State and federal. So that's about a little over a billion. Mayor: Correct. Question: Okay [inaudible] Mayor: And that's an early estimate. Obviously, that number could vary a little either way as we get closer, but that's a ballpark of taking the almost $400 million that's already in play up to $700 million. May even be less, but up to $700 million to finish it out. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Hold on, one second [inaudible] – Question: Class sizes. Going back to sort of David's question about the needs of three-year-olds even more so than four-year-olds plus the fact that [inaudible]. Chancellor Farina: Three-year-old class size would be 15 compared to 18 for pre-K with two adults in the room. Question: [Inaudible] three-year-old whether it's three, four, would it be the same thing? Chancellor Farina: We'll balance it out. Mayor: Way back. Question: I have two questions. One is just, how did the $177 million figure come about [inaudible? And then the other is, [inaudible]Campaign for One New York [inaudible] pre-K. Mayor: Right. Question: Do you feel like you need [inaudible]? Mayor: I just answered that question. Were you here, respectfully? I just said we have no plan to do anything like that because this time it is an established vision, which has tremendous support, and we think we'll have a whole lot of support again. Apples and oranges situations. On the previous question of the budget determination. Do you want to do that or does someone else want to do it? I'll start while they figure out – the basics is we took what it would take to enhance the existing EarlyLearn, because we believe fundamentally it needed to be improved. Great program. A lot of people doing great work. But they deserve more support. And then, adding universality in the first two districts, then ramping up to eight districts. That's how we got to the first number. The rest is a projection off of that of, "What if you then went to 24 more districts universal on top of it?" Who wants it? Wallack: Yes, I'll take it. We can provide more detail, but basically the way we built our estimates is, based on our experience in Pre-K For All, we took the approximate per seat cost that we've come up with for Pre-K For All, both in district schools and in community-based organizations, which we call New York City Early Education Centers, and then we adjusted it for the lower class size from 18 to 15. And then we also made an adjustment to say we probably won't reach 100 percent of the pre-K – we won't reach 100 percent of the pre-K enrollment level. We'll come in a little bit below, which I described, about 90 percent of where we came in for pre-K. So that's basically how we got to the numbers. It will vary a lot depending on which districts we go into, because some are much bigger than others. But we made a model that just gives us a sense of where we're headed. Mayor: Yes? Question: Mayor, the City Council's committee that oversees the ACS budget recently put out a committee report saying that EarlyLearn, the ACS program, has seen decreasing enrollment, in part because of the challenge of finding qualified teachers for ACS EarlyLearn centers. I'm wondering how you think you can overcome – if there's already a scarcity of teachers, how do we overcome that in ramping up? Mayor: I want to separate that. First, I'm looking at Commissioner Hansell and I'm looking at my colleagues here, and I don't know if I accept the premise, with all due respect to the City Council, I accept that premise declining enrollment because of lack of quality teachers. Anyone can speak to that, because I don't like to leave a premise unchallenged. And then, on the second part of the equation, look. I guess, back to what I said earlier, we are going to invest a lot in getting the best teachers to do this work. We're going to make it a very appealing situation and provide a lot of support. I think it's fair to say that, for a long time, there wasn't enough, before we came along certainly, enough support for EarlyLearn, and I think teachers were put in a very tough situation. But as we have changed the City's priorities and focused on early childhood, I think we're creating an environment where it's, for anyone who does early childhood teaching, it is a growing field with a lot more support, a lot more compensation. There's a lot going on here that makes it more appealing. So I don't suspect we're going to have any trouble getting the staff we need. It'll take the time, obviously, to ramp up, but I don't suspect we'll have any trouble in terms of people wanting to do the work. Just on the first point, so we don't leave it unspoken, which one of you wants to speak? On the EarlyLearn piece? Let's both do it. I like to see collaboration. Chancellor Farina: [inaudible] Mayor: Which one of you is going to start? Wallack: I'll start. I would just say that Pre-K For All, many of the early education centers that we work with also serve threes. It's a lot of the same organizations. In fact, we looked at it, and it's the large, large majority. So we know, because our instructional coaches and social workers are visiting there every month, that there's an incredibly talented teaching core there. And we are thrilled to partner with the Administration for Children's Services to increase supports of those teachers and help them get even better at what they're doing. I would say that – I'm going to let the Commissioner push back on the premise of declining enrollment. I will say that one exciting thing we're going to do, beginning right now, is put our Pre-K For All outreach team, which is our team that tripled the number of kids in free full-day high-quality pre-K in just under two years, to work in filling any empty EarlyLearn seat there is. To the extent there are any, we're going to begin calls today to the families across the city to help get them to those seats, because we believe in them and we know they're high-quality. Commissioner Hansell: Thank you. One of the things that we're very excited about partnering with the Department of Education on over the next year or so is on enhancing recruitment, using their avenues as well as our avenues to make sure that we fill every seat that currently exists, and then obviously as they move forward, to expand the program. With regard to teachers, we actually reached a historic agreement last year to enhance compensation for those teachers. A number of things that we're doing including actual pay as well as benefits and other things. So we're already well underway in improving conditions for teachers and making sure the teachers are fully compensated and equitably compensated for the work that they do. And that will roll into the program as it moves to the Department of Education. Chancellor Farina: An initiative this large starts much earlier than just the announcement today. One of the things that we have been working on for the last year is making sure that CUNY and SUNY and even the private universities do a better job of increasing their teacher training programs, including early childhood teachers. I have met with almost every dean of education. We have an entire committee. TWEED has been doing this. We now started calling Educators Rising programs at all our high schools, so we will have more people who want to become teachers. So this is a wonderful initiative, but what happens behind the scenes is really monumental to ensure that this goes off without a hitch. Mayor: Last call on this topic of 3-K. Let's see if we've got anything left. Going once. Going twice. Okay. Let's go to other topics. Question: Mr. Mayor, what do you think about the acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez' new guidelines in terms of people who have been documented and convicted of [inaudible] crimes. [Inaudible] his office is going to be mindful [inaudible] educate everybody in the office about this. What do you think about that? Are you having a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the next few days? Mayor: I have no plans to meet with the Attorney General. If he wanted to meet, of course, I would, but I do not have a plan to right now. I will reiterate what came out of the Justice Department the other day was an insult to the NYPD and an insult to the people of New York City. And you've seen the efforts to partially walk it back at DOJ, but not coherently walking it back. The strategies that made this the safest big city in the country were the strategies of this administration and this police commissioner. On – building on the incredible progress of our predecessors. So you can't separate the leadership and the policies and the rank-and-file. We're all doing this together and it is working. And I think it has been a pretty pitiful effort on the part of the Justice Department trying to somehow parse when they said something outrageous and inappropriate and absurd to begin with. I think they still owe it to the people of New York City and particularly to the men and women of the NYPD an apology and a clarification. But on the topic of the District Attorney, I have not seen his initiative. I will remind you, our current policy makes very clear – again, our public safety policy and I am going to keep bringing it back to that. Everything we are doing is first and foremost about the public safety of everyone including a million people who happen to be undocumented or a permanent resident that officers have been trained more and more to use all the options they have and use their discretion and their professional abilities to determine whether an arrest is necessary in a certain situation versus a summons versus a warning. And more and more we have seen arrest have not been necessary in a host of situations and other options have been made available including through actions of the City Council. That is the path we're on. So, I don't know the specifics of the District Attorney's approach, but I know what the NYPD is doing. And I know very clearly that in terms of anything involving ICE we're governed by a very clear City law. Yes? Question: This is a question related to your announcement, development in my [inaudible] Bedford Park Norwood sections – Mayor: I'm sorry – where are you – Question: The Bedford Park and Norwood section of the Bronx is booming right now just as the local school district is experiencing a school seat shortage right now. Mayor: Yes. Question: You mentioned space issues already with this 3-K for All plan. Where does the City draw the line on its development push if there are not enough city services or seats as the [inaudible] demands? Mayor: So I would say a couple of things – very good question – but a couple of points to it; that the – first of all, remember how much of this city – because of zoning – people have an opportunity to develop as is as a right. A lot of development happening is not because of rezonings or proposed rezonings; it is working under the existing rules. We tried to constantly adjust the supply of school seats accordingly. And I think the School Construction Authority has done an amazing job. They used to be an agency that bluntly was kind of slow. They are now becoming an agency that is pretty damn fast in the scheme of things and have produced new affordable housing at a rapid clip. And I think our existing plan is 40,000-plus seats in the capital plan, more coming. And they are moving fast. So, the big answer is we – although we don't control exactly what type of development happens everywhere against a sort of popular understanding. I think a lot of New Yorkers think we literally get to choose where every building goes – no. It's a free enterprise system. There is a lot of opportunity for people to make those decisions within the zoning. But we watch the trends and we adjust to where we were putting more school space. We're going to keep doing that with great intensity. We're making a huge investment. With that being said, we came to a very strong strategic decision, particularly after having had an experience of pre-k that the highest impact investment we can make in our schools was at the youngest level. And that must be a priority. Think about it in terms of anything; any endeavor, any business. You invest your money where its going to have the biggest impact. So, when we looked at it we knew we had a model that worked with pre-k. We knew we had a lot of areas where there was some available space we could work from or those community-based organizations that are already doing a three-year-old [inaudible] religious schools and the charters. So we were confident we could get a good strong start, but we knew it would take some new building as well. We came to the conclusion that that was a fundamental strategic priority. So, we're going to do that while making big commitment to addressing broader overcrowding issues. I think it is fair to say this is something we will be at for decades, honestly, because this is a city that is growing to nine million people over the next few decades. So honestly the City of New York will be building new school capacity every year, I guarantee you, for the next quarter-century to catch up with the demand that will keep growing in this city. Yes? Question: So as we come up on President Trump/'s first 100 days. I know the City has spent a lot of time kind of fighting back against a lot of his initiatives, but one policy [inaudible]. Do you feel like in this 100 day period the City has spent time and resources to – has it had to neglect any other aspect or have you had to divert resources that maybe you wouldn't have had to have you not been [inaudible]? Mayor: The overwhelming answer is no so far. I think you could point to a few exceptions. We're going to talk about what we have to do to help folks who are facing deportation and that is an area of new greater concern. We have put a lot of energy into working with members of Congress and Mayors around the country to fight things like the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. That is true – had Hillary Clinton been elected president that is time and energy we would not have to spend, but it was a good use of time and energy and we're are obviously very pleased with the fact that Obama Care is alive and well. And we are right back to our efforts to maximize the number of New Yorkers who are getting health insurance. Our goal for this calendar year is to add 50,000 New Yorkers to the rolls of Obama Care than would have signed up anyway. So no, I think the verdict on the first 100 days is that not a lot happened. And that is a good thing for New Yorkers. And if that continues to be the case it will allow us to stay laser focused on our priorities and continue to do what we are here to do. I can't project what is going to happen with the continuing resolution. We all know that is the next big item. I'm not going to be surprised by anything, but there is a lot of opposition right now in Washington and out in the districts around the country to anything radical happening in the continuing resolution. So, you know, I'm not going to be surprised if we don't see major changes out of that and the next real venue shifts to the fall and the fight over the full federal budget. And even there I have said we see a lot of places where Trump is proposing cuts that we think are going engender massive opposition around the country including from a lot of Republicans. David? Question: Another [inaudible] promise you made for the second term about is 300,000 new jobs over ten years. Looking back over your first three years there aren't a lot of plans – one of the plans that you did put out was [inaudible] created about 400 jobs. I'm wondering how would you see your record so far creating jobs and how do you imagine that that record prepares you to do more in the future? Mayor: The first thing I will say is any new administration – so when we first came in, obviously, we were starting to create our vision and our approach. It takes time to take effect and to reach its fruition. It will be wrong if you came in the door and the first month or the first six months you said all of this job growth is happening is because of me. It's part of why we didn't really talk about it a lot in the first year or two. We wanted to have definitive evidence that our policies were having an impact. Obviously the vast majority of jobs are created because of choices made in the private sector. Some are created because of direct choices in the public sector like when we expanded some public employment or investments we made to foster growth of certain sectors. But I think the greatest truth is that the public sector sparks job growth when we get the basics right. When we're safe and getting safer; when we have relative unity in our city and our social fabric is strong, when we continue to show progress on education – and the trash gets picked up. All of the basics are – and I have heard this from many, many business leaders – that is what they are looking for first. Then they look at other things as well, of course. So, I feel good that we set the framework for what you know is well over 300,000 new jobs since we got here. Anywhere in the country – any leader would be proud to say that. I think there is only one city in the country that has a higher rate of growth or amount of growth I should say. The specific initiatives; the investments in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the investments in fostering the tech community, the investments in fostering the life sciences community and film and TV. We can get you the blow by blow, but I am very satisfied they are all working and I am very satisfied we are on that path to 100,000 new jobs. Marcia. Question: I have several questions; the first one is this – the Senate Republicans are suggesting that in order for you to get a continuation or an extension of Mayoral Control they would like you to agree to an increase in charter schools. I wonder what your thoughts are on that. Mayor: I think Mayoral Control as an issue should stand alone. This is about what is best for our children and our families and what system of governance works. And I will say to anybody, respectfully, show me a better system. Do you want to go back to the chaos and corruption of the 32 school boards? Is there some magical third way no one has ever heard of? This is the only system that works. It should be continued. I know there will be once again a strong outpouring of support from the business community, from Democrats and Republicans alike calling for the continuation of Mayoral Control. And that should be decided onto itself. Any other issues should be treated on their own merits. Question: Advent de Blasio watchers are suggesting – Mayor: I didn't know were such a thing. [Laughter] Question: They are suggesting that hair is darker, are they wrong? Mayor: I think they are distinctly wrong. Question: So, your hair is not darker? Mayor: My hair is – I wish my hair was darker. No, nothing – the hair is totally natural, Marcia. And you're maybe the only person to think it is darker. And I am happy for this one moment. If you see it, I am happy. [Laughter] Question: [Inaudible] with the budget and holding millions of dollars in funding on the [inaudible] Trump is holding [inaudible]. What's your reaction to it? Mayor: My reaction is it's a dangerous strategy on the part of President Trump. Here is the great irony. The wall is not that popular. It's just not. I mean, look, again I always say there are people who voted for Trump because they were very angry at the status quo in this country. And we have to recognize that was, first and foremost, about their economic reality. There are others who voted for Trump out of ideological reasons. Sadly, some people voted for Trump because they had racist motivations. But a lot of people voted for Trump including these legendary Obama, Obama, Trump voters who were voting out of their anger at the status quo in this country. And they want to see their economic reality improve and building walls is not going to do anything for them. And a lot of them are smart enough to realize that fact that if building a wall thousand s of miles away is not going to help them and their family to have a better quality of life. So, it is a horrible misuse of government money. We have a country that needs our infrastructure to be addressed. We need to build better schools and bridges and roads and hospitals and all sorts of other things. Why would we be building a wall when we also all know that immigration has actually declined – illegal immigration has actually declined? So, it just doesn't make any sense. And to suggest that they might shutdown the government over it that is even the bigger problem. I think it is quite clear that if there is a government shutdown that will be the thing that is remembered most about the first 100 days of Donald Trump. And I can't believe they want to take that chance. Question: Mr. Mayor, this weekend we saw the second tragedy in a matter of a week of a young infant in The Bronx in a family that had a history with ACS. Have you personally been briefed on these two cases? And based on what you know are you able to say whether you are comfortable with the decision making in leaving these children – both infants and toddlers [inaudible]. Mayor: I've been briefed but I am not going to go into detail now. These are sensitive situations that are still being looked at. There are obviously real confidentiality issues. So, there will be a point when we can say a little more. I think at this moment every case is being looked at very, very carefully. I give Commissioner Hansel credit and Deputy Mayor Palacio – that they pour over every case. As you know, the ChildStat system is being built up to make sure that the practice in each situation is being done properly. What I can broadly – and I've said this to you before – without getting into the specifics of this case, we're going to be looking at how ACS handled each step along the way. We're also going to be looking at the dynamics around the court system and the decisions that they court system is making because often – not always, but often, ACS is actually the more aggressive party, looking for a removal in courts – often had been unwilling to go along, and that's something we have to weigh in every case. We'll have more to say in the next few days, as we're able to. Yeah? Question: Mayor, I was wondering if you could address Dan Donovan, the Congressman – he talked about the fact [inaudible] back and forth that you had with the DOJ. Obviously, he was very supportive of the Police Department, but he also said that the Mayor and the City can't pick and choose which laws it's going to enforce. So, it's a criticism of your policies [inaudible]? Mayor: I have a lot of respect for Congressman Donovan. I had a nice dinner with him during Staten Island week, and I want to, once again, say I think he did something important, standing up for his district on the Affordable Care Act issue, but I disagree with his interpretation here. We believe we're complying with the law very clearly. We have local law, duly passed, and signed, and not legally challenged that makes very clear how we are to comport ourselves. And localities in this country have rights – that's what the Constitution says. Localities make core decisions about how to go about governing their own people – it's one of the most fundamental American ideas in governance. Now, you will remember the great irony here – that Republicans used to invoke state's rights when they weren't in power in Washington. Now, they are in power – they seem to be less interested in local decisions and the rights of people locally to make their own decisions about their own lives. So, we believe we are respecting the federal law. We also believe we're respecting the Supreme Court decision in 2012 that made clear the limits on the federal ability to withhold funding. We're very comfortable with the position we're taking. Question: [Inaudible[ yesterday's fire [inaudible] – Mayor: No, it was horrendous. I was out there and I can say broadly, having spent time with Commissioner Nigro and Chief of Department Jim Leonard – that, for them, they said this was a really rare situation to have in the middle of the day, on a nice day, a house go up in flames that quickly. It was striking to them. There is not theory at this moment that I know of. There's only the beginning of an investigation, so it would be wrong to surmise, but it was extraordinary in the worst sense of the word – an extraordinarily horrible fire, both in terms of its intensity and the five lives that were lost. We'll have more to say on that as the investigation continues. Question: Mayor, there's [inaudible] Tax Equity Now in New York that's going to file a class action lawsuit against the Department of Finance regarding what they're saying is an inequitable property tax system. You, yourself, have just recently actually also describe inequities within the property tax system. Their [inaudible] says [inaudible] disproportionately taxes people in low-income and moderate-income neighborhoods, many of them people of color. So, I'm curious, since you seem to agree that there's a problem with the system, is there any thought towards settling the suit when it's filed, if you agree with the premise of – Mayor: I have not seen any details of this theoretical lawsuit. That's not the way to solve the problem – through a lawsuit. The courts aren't the place to settle this. Some of this has to be handled at the City level, as a matter of City policy. Some of this has to be handled at the State level. A lot of taxation, as you know, is determined by the State. What I have pledged to do, and it will be a very major undertaking is pull together all the stakeholders and set us on a path to reform, its going to be a very tough and complicated process, and we can't fundamentally change the revenue that we're receiving from our property taxes, so it's going to be – here's the pie, how do you rework the pie while still achieving the same outcome? How do you make it more consistent, more transparent? We're willing to work with anyone to get that done, just as long as everyone understands it will be a long, and sober, and difficult process. But putting it into the court system – that's not the way to make decisions, first of all. And also guarantee you that will be years and years of litigation that won't result in anything any time soon. So, we're committed to doing it, but let's do it the right way through the legislative process. Question: But, you know, people have been talking about this for years, it hasn't happened. You talked about it in 2014 when you came into office. It hasn't happened yet. Do you think that – that's taken years and years – do you think people deserve to know – you've now said you'll look at it after re-election – why you didn't you do it during the first term? And do you think people deserve to know before they go to the polls what your plan might be and whether it might cost them more or less in property taxes? Mayor: I think people should understand the core ground rules of what I'm trying to do and I think that's important that we're going to end up with essentially the same total revenue, that we're going to create more consistency and transparency. There's no way I can give them the outline of the plan today, because I think it's going to take a year or two to develop. We didn't do it because we had to work on a lot of other priorities that were crucial and necessary and available to be acted on, versus this, which I knew would be a very involved, difficult process that would take the energies of our budget director, our first deputy mayor, our finance commissioner, and a whole lot of other people. This would be a huge, huge effort. So, anyone who promises a quick fix is not telling the truth. This one's exceedingly thorny and it has to be navigated – you know, the pieces that can be decided administratively and legislatively at the city level, plus the pieces that have to be decided in Albany – that's a very careful balance that has o be struck. So, I'm telling people I'm going to do it. And if you look at my batting average of what I say I'm going to do, I do what I say I'm going to do, and they can rest assured I'm not happy with the situation. I think it's something that has to be addressed, but it's not realistic to address it this term. Right now, there's an election coming up. I don't take that for granted. I've got to do all I can to get our current initiatives to deepen. You know, my guarantee, my term of employment is until December 31st. So, while I have that, I'm going to make sure everything possible can get done gets done. I also have to go out to the people and talk about a vision for the future – that takes a lot of time and energy too, that's not surprising. But this will get done. It'll be very difficult, but it will get done. Question: Some people will have to pay more? Some people will pay less? Mayor: As a theoretical point, if you're going to rework the entire system, yeah, there would be changes. But anyone who starts to assume is on a fool's errand. So, again, this is the caution – you guys like to take, respectfully, a quote and project upon it – it would be a mistake to do that. This is going to be a long, careful examination to figure out what's fair. Unknown: Last two. Question: Mr. Mayor, you made the announcement today [inaudible] every question that we wanted to ask on that topic. Don't virtually all policy announcements deserve the opportunity for that back and forth? For those questions? I'm thinking just Saturday – that green jobs announcement on Staten Island, the [inaudible] announcement – no questions allowed. Don't policy announcements necessitate that opportunity? Mayor: Look, we're doing things the way we think makes sense and, I think, in the end, we're just going to have to agree to disagree. In a given week, you know, we do these kind of press conferences, I do different TV and radio shows, I did one of the national shows this last week – two, actually – I did Jorge Ramos as well as CNN. I'm going to be talking to people in all sorts of venues, but we have to organize things the way we think makes sense. Any questions you have, you're going to get answers from the Press Office and from other leaders in the administration, or you can ask me when you're around me. But this is the way we're organizing things and we think it makes sense. Yoav, then Rich – Question: So, Mr. Mayor – Mayor: Yoav, then Rich. Is your name Yoav, now? [Laughter] Question: It's my middle name. [Laughter] Mayor: The truth comes out. Question: You spoke to a caller on the radio show Friday about concerns about the homeless shelter that's coming into Crown Heights. You insisted that the folks who were going to be sheltered there would be from the community, but the group of advocates that are suing over that site is pointing to court records that were [inaudible] by the administration that say that only one-third of the residents are going to be from Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights together. So, I'm wondering – that came from your administration. Mayor: The whole system – look, we also – you are a smart person, we are in a transitional moment. Every shelter is being reoriented to being community-based. The community board it's in – and we've said, initiatively we're going to do surrounding areas too, because it takes a while to rebalance the whole system. So, I've said it a whole lot of times – we start with borough, and we're working our way from borough to more and more local – ideally, literally, to people being in the community board they come from – that won't happen overnight. But that is the vision for that shelter and every other shelter. It's as simple as that. Question: You told that caller she had her facts wrong. She was claiming people weren't going to be from that community and, in fact, it looked like two-thirds of them – Mayor: I'll let the deputy mayor and the Commissioner speak to it. Respectfully, I'm not going to take your interpretation of the court records. I'll let them speak to what the nix is in the community. But my point to the caller was, she was, respectfully, ignoring this plan and this vision, and her argument not only ignored the vision, but ignored the need to serve people in need in a way that's being done very carefully. These are 62-year-old – and over – people. It's just – I'm not going to buy people coming up with all sorts of wonderful reasons why they should not serve people in need in their community. Everyone should – everyone will. Go ahead, Rich. Question: Mr. Mayor, so although you say you don't take the election for granted, a lot of people think it's a [inaudible] given the competition and the kind of – everything [inaudible] at the point. And you did mention the presidential election of 2020. I'm wondering if there's any glimmer of hope in your mind that you might be one of the candidates running? Mayor: I think your question is, respectfully – it doesn't make a lot of sense if I just told you I'm trying to win this election and I don't take it for granted. This is – my feet are fully on the ground. This is what we're focused on. And, you know what? You can prognosticate all you want – not you, personally, but one can – anyone who takes an election for granted gets paid back for it, in my opinion. So, this is what we're doing. Thank you, everyone.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 5:10pm
City dedicating $28.75 Million to Install Air Conditioning in All classrooms NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Fariña and the City Council today announced funding to provide every classroom in New York City with air conditioning. The City dedicated $28.75 million over the next five years to purchase and install air conditioning units in all classrooms by 2022, providing thousands of students with a more comfortable learning environment. “Making sure that all classrooms are air conditioned is one more commitment we’re making to ensure that nothing stands in the way of our students and a quality education,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I’ve spoken with countless parents at town halls across the city and this issue has come up repeatedly. We’re investing in classrooms to create a safe, comfortable atmosphere to build on the progress our schools have made over the last few years.” “This funding will ensure that every classroom across the City has air conditioning and that all students are provided with a safe, comfortable learning environment,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Schools in older buildings have long struggled to keep instructional spaces cool during the summer months and now they will be able to install air conditioners in every classroom.” “Over the past years, the Council has consistently called for installing air conditioners in every classroom across New York City. We applaud the administration for taking this important step to ensure our students have a comfortable and safe environment in which to learn and thrive in,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Approximately 11,500 classrooms – 26 percent of all classrooms – across the City do not have functioning air conditioners and this funding will provide air conditioning to over 2,000 additional classrooms in the first year or the program. Installation in the first cohort of schools will begin this summer. The DOE is working closely with the SCA to prioritize summer school sites and assess school need based on building utilization and ability to accommodate the upgrades. Total funding for Fiscal Year 2018 is $5 million, $5.5 million for Fiscal Year 2019, $6 million for Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 and $6.25M for Fiscal Year 2022. In addition to funding for the air conditioner units and labor for instillation, the School Construction Authority’s five-year Capital Plan includes approximately $50 million for electrical upgrades to support the installation of air conditioning units. The city will reevaluate capital costs as installation progresses and adjust as necessary. "Providing air conditioning in all classrooms is an important investment in the health, academic success and quality of life of our youngest New Yorkers,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Chair of the Finance Committee. “For as long as I was a student and after school administrator, our classrooms and the children in them suffered during the hot summer months. I applaud the Mayor for addressing this long-standing issue and making this capital investment to bring New York City schools up to par with the rest of the city's buildings. And I look forward to supporting this phase in during the Council's budget process. Our children should be able to focus and learn in an environment that is safe, comfortable and independent of any extreme weather." "I am pleased that Mayor de Blasio has demonstrated his commitment to funding the installation of air conditioners in all public school classrooms," said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Education Committee. "As a former NYC public school teacher who taught summer school for more than 20 years, I saw firsthand how sweltering classrooms distract students from actual learning. These dollars will help ensure that our classrooms are comfortable and safe for teachers and students year-round." "New York City's public school kids think this is the coolest thing Mayor de Blasio has ever done! But it is also a totally serious one. Through the #TooHotToLearn campaign, we heard so many stories of classrooms so hot that kids and teachers could not concentrate, those with asthma or special needs were unable to attend, even of kids fainting. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for setting NYC schools on a path to classrooms where all our kids can learn," said Council Member Brad Lander. "As a former educator, I have seen firsthand how poor ventilation and uncomfortable temperatures can negatively impact the learning process. It makes paying attention in class and staying alert difficult for students while creating undue stress for teachers and school staff. That's why I have been advocating for air conditioners in all of our schools for some time now, and why I commend Mayor de Blasio and his administration for bringing more equity to our schools. Addressing the antiquated wiring in some of our school buildings to allow for cooling solutions also opens the door to increasing capacity for greater use of technology in our classrooms. This is a welcome victory for students, families, and school teachers and staff across the city. Every school should have proper cooling and ventilation because every student deserves to learn in a safe, comfortable, and healthy environment," said Council Member Mark Treyger. “I was pleased to help fight to bring air-conditioning to all Bronx classrooms – our kids deserve it,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr . “After hearing from teachers, parents and teachers who understand what it’s like when classrooms are too hot to learn, this investment is very welcome news.”
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 5:10pm
$100 million capital in Mayor’s Executive Budget will help close ‘gap’ near UN with new esplanade, bring Greenway south from East 61st to 53rd Street – a longstanding goal of community and local elected officials NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a major investment in closing the largest gap in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, and an administration-wide push underway to complete the vision of a contiguous 32-mile waterfront pedestrian promenade and bicycling path around the whole of Manhattan. The Mayor’s announcement came as a response to a longstanding effort by local elected officials and community advocates to fund and build a continuous esplanade to close the gap. In his budget to be announced Wednesday, the Mayor will dedicate $100 million in City capital to significantly narrow the Greenway’s largest gap. The New York City Economic Development Corporation will construct a new esplanade in the East River between East 61st Street and East 53rd Street. Design will begin this year and construction will commence in 2019, with completion expected in 2022. The project has received initial approval from the US Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and State Department of Environmental Conservation. The structure will be based on plans previously developed in consultation with a board composed of Mayoral representatives and local officials. “We’re jumpstarting the completion of a Greenway linking the entire Manhattan waterfront. The Hudson River Greenway has vastly improved quality of life on the West Side, and we want families in every corner in the borough to have that same access to bike, walk and play along the water. This is the first of many big investments we’ll make as we bring the full Greenway to reality,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. For more renderings of the project, click here : Local elected officials and civic organizations, including Borough President Gale Brewer, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Members Dan Quart and Brian Kavanagh, Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, have pushed for a complete East River Greenway for decades, resulting in continuous progress at critical links along the route. “Because of the City's growing network of Greenways, cyclists and pedestrians have together come to appreciate New York City's breathtaking waterfront,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We thank the Mayor for this incredible $100 million investment that will grow this network even further. Coupled with 1,100-mile bicycle network and DOT’s record creation of new bike lanes, a longer Greenway will also help us meet the surging demand in daily cycling, grown 80% in New York City over just the last five years. We look forward to working with EDC to give East Siders access to their waterfront, and to a jump-started process that will allow us to close other remaining gaps in the Greenway loop.” “Improving access to our city’s waterfront is a critical part of our work to strengthen neighborhoods and improve New Yorkers’ quality of life,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett. “By creating great public spaces for people to walk, jog or ride, we're helping make this a more accessible and equitable city. We’re grateful to Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to expanding our Greenways, and we look forward to working with DOT to deliver this exciting project.” “As an avid New York City runner, I see the benefit that initiatives like the Mayor’s commitment to closing the loop has on communities – connecting them to some of the most scenic greenway in the world,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Parks is doing its part as we look forward to commencing a conceptual design this summer that will link the East Side Greenway between 125th and 132nd streets, furthering our partnership with EDC and DOT to provide New Yorkers a seamless Greenway experience.” “The waterfront Greenway along the East River is a gem, and is one of the most breathtaking spots in our city. I am thrilled that the Mayor has committed to narrowing the largest gap in the green necklace along the waterfront by creating a new stretch of open and usable space. All New Yorkers will greatly benefit from the expanded esplanade, and I know it will be enjoyed by generations to come,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney . “Manhattan’s waterfront is an incredible asset that makes our city a better place to live and work,” said Assembly Member Dan Quart. “Improving our already impressive cyclist and pedestrian networks is a smart investment that will help us tap into the potential of a united Greenway. I thank the Mayor for his commitment to our waterfront and look forward to working with city officials to give East Siders a safe, accessible place to get outdoors and active.” “The dream of an East River Greenway is getting closer with a vital connection to fill the gap between 53rd and 61st streets. I will finally be able to run the full length of my district from Midtown East to East Harlem,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce. “Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for his partnership and investment in the East River Esplanade.” “Those of us who have been working to see this project built for many years are particularly gratified that Mayor de Blasio is providing the leadership and identifying the funding to close the longstanding gap in our community’s access to the East River waterfront,” said Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, who sponsored legislation to facilitate construction of the Greenway and serves on a board led by City Hall that has been working on plans to complete the project. “Once complete, the Greenway will represent a wonderful recreational facility, and a safer, greener way for bicyclists and pedestrians to get around, allowing them to avoid dangerous, traffic-clogged segments of 1st and 2nd Avenues. I look forward to working with the Mayor and my colleagues in federal, state, and city government to ensure that it is fully funded and completed as soon as possible.” “This allocation provides a much needed boost to our carefully planned and negotiated vision of a complete greenway around Manhattan,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “While we still have some considerable gaps, our plans just got a whole lot closer to reality. Thanks to the Mayor and his team for recognizing the importance of open public space, particularly on the waterfront, and for providing this necessary funding.” “Developing more bike infrastructure is always a positive step toward a healthier city,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, the Transportation Committee Chair. “I’m glad to see the city making important investments to ease commutes for New Yorkers living on the East Side. I’m also glad to see my community in the plans for new bike lanes on Dyckman Street, a key east-west corridor connecting the Greenways Uptown. With more infrastructure for cyclists, we can ease the strains on our roads as more commuters leave their cars at home.” The Mayor’s Executive Budget also dedicated $5 million for a multi-agency study to be completed this year of the remaining gaps in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The study will identify solutions necessary to upgrade existing pinch points and complete gaps, as the basis for additional funding in the next update of the City’s capital plan. Since its inception in 1993 under Mayor David Dinkins, each administration has contributed to Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The last major section of the Greenway to open was a 10-block pile-supported Riverwalk built in Riverside Park on the West Side between West 81st and West 91st streets, completing a contiguous 11-mile Hudson River Greenway from the Battery to the George Washington Bridge. With more than 7,000 daily cyclists, it is the busiest bike path in the United States. Once complete, the addition announced today will remove one of the last remaining interruptions to the 32-mile Greenway around Manhattan Island. Further projects in development: * Inwood: This summer, DOT plans to begin the process of creating new bike lanes along Dyckman Street, the northern connection for cyclists traveling between the Harlem and Hudson River Greenways. * Inwood: In addition to converting Dyckman Street between Nagle Avenue and 10th Avenue to protected lanes, NYC DOT is already working with Manhattan Community Board 12 to develop a plan for new bike lanes on Dyckman, between Broadway and Nagle Avenue. * East Harlem: The Parks Department is kicking off a conceptual design for the East Harlem greenway gap from East 125th to 132nd Streets as part of East Harlem Neighborhood Plan. * Lower Manhattan: NYCEDC is advancing demolition of dilapidated structures, removal of toxic soil and the design and construction of new waterfront open space at Pier 42 on Manhattan's Lower East Side with funds secured from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 5:10pm
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “All children deserve the opportunity to succeed and Mayor de Blasio’s universal, high-quality early childhood education program will help our littlest New Yorkers get a strong start on the path to success. The ’3-K for All’ program is innovative, groundbreaking and a smart investment that will maintain America’s promise of a brighter future for our students. I applaud Mayor de Blasio's efforts to enhance our education system by making it more accessible and affordable to all New York families.” “The Independent Democratic Conference was the driving force behind funding Universal Pre-K for every four-year-old in New York City, and we’ve seen the tremendous success of this program. In New York State we have already begun the efforts to expand UPK to 3-year-olds and I look forward to being a partner with New York City to achieve 3-K for All, so that learning can begin at an even a younger age ensuring greater success during a child’s academic career,” said Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein. “Mayor de Blasio's plan for 3-K For All is an important investment of our city's resources and in the future of New York City's families. Early childhood education plays a vital role in our communities for working parents who save on childcare, can work more hours and have the peace of mind that their child is in a safe environment; for the academic performance of our young children which improves with early education; and for educators whose teaching is supplemented by these programs. In addition, every dollar we invest in early education, we save two-and three-fold in social services down the road. I applaud Mayor de Blasio's plan for 3-K For All and look forward to supporting the Administration to meet the challenges and bring this plan into fruition,” said Chair of the City Council Finance Committee Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. “New York City is leading the way with its commitment to free, full-day, high-quality early education, and the combination of 3-K for All and Pre-K for All is a potent model for school districts, cities, and states across the country," said Hiro Yoshikawa, co-author of Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality. "By starting earlier, New York City is reaching children when they have the most capacity to learn, and leveling the playing field for high-needs families. Early education is an investment in the future, and New York City is setting itself up for tremendous benefits down the line.” "Today's announcement proves that Working moms in New York have found a champion in Mayor de Blasio. Most importantly, this expansion gives all children a chance to succeed. I'm proud to support him in these efforts,” said Alyssa Milano, Actress, from Brooklyn and product of Staten Island public schools. Political commentator Van Jones said, “Mayor de Blasio's decision to expand early childhood education for young New Yorkers is a game changer in the fight to close the achievement gap. I applaud him for his commitment to this issue. This initiative will help build a better future for our children -- I hope other communities will take note.” “This shouldn’t be a Democrat or Republican issue. Hopefully, we can duplicate this around the country. This is essentially for our children,” said Bakari Sellers, attorney and CNN political commentator. “3-K for All is an incredible program that will benefit New York City youth, families, and the future of our long-term viability and success,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “Ensuring educational opportunity and access to quality early childhood education for hundreds of NYC children regardless of their family income is a priceless investment. I am proud to stand with Mayor de Blasio in this effort to combat educational disparity and put NYC youth on a path toward opportunity and achievement.” “Universal Pre-K was a huge step forward for New York City children and their families. Now, the addition of 3-K For All will build on that tremendous success and further cement New York City’s place as a national leader in early childhood education. As a former classroom teacher, I commend Mayor de Blasio for his outstanding commitment to our youngest students and their teachers, and I look forward to the expansion of 3-K For All across all five boroughs,” said U.S. Representative Eliot Engel. “Few things are as important as access to quality Pre-K education, which lays the foundation for children’s heathy development and future success. Thanks to this effort, thousands of additional New York City children will be able to access the basic education they need to thrive in life. This program is not only investment in our families and our future generations, it will also pay dividends by helping NYC save money in the long-term,” said U.S. Representative Jose Serrano. “Comprehensive early childhood education allows students to enter the classroom ready to learn and to develop their skills for the next level of education. This expansion of the already-successful universal pre-Kindergarten program will provide students – particularly underserved students – enormous benefits that will continue through their lives. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to building on this important program,” said U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke. “Expanding pre-K to include three-year-olds is a smart step that will benefit parents and children alike,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I look forward to this expansion eventually taking effect in Manhattan, and will continue working with the administration to create enough pre-K seats to meet demand in every one of Manhattan's neighborhoods.” “3-K for All has game-changing potential for the future of our city, a city of safe communities where we raise healthy children and families. To end the tale of two cities, we need to start at the very beginning. The critical first moments of life are where the lasting rifts between the haves and the have nots already begin. A report that I released earlier this year with State Senator Squadron affirmed the need for expanded investment in early childhood education, laying out the statistical and anecdotal evidence for seizing on this critical period for brain development. For our Early Childhood Development Task Force, this is a moment for celebration. I am excited to work alongside Mayor de Blasio to make 3-K for All a success as it rolls out in Brownsville, East New York, and Ocean Hill,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “I commend Mayor de Blasio for funding NYCs 3-K for All initiative. This investment in our children will greatly benefit families in my senate district. It shows a continued commitment to providing and improving access to education for all,” said State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. State Senator Jose Peralta said, “A good and solid education is key to a more productive and better prepared society. Investing in early childhood education will go a long way to better educate our future leaders. Free, full-day 3K education will provide our children with a vital base to succeed in life. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and his Administration's efforts for this educational initiative that ultimately benefits all of us.” "Investment in early childhood education has a track record of proven results in increasing student achievement and reducing inequality of opportunity. I supported Mayor de Blasio very early in his first campaign because I felt strongly that Universal Pre-K was necessary to provide a quality education to all New York City children and to relieve the burden of childcare for working parents. I am overjoyed that Mayor de Blasio is building on the success of the UPK program in this trailblazing effort to invest in our children early, when it makes the most difference. 3-K for All represents the most ambitious effort of its kind in US history, and I am proud that New York City and the de Blasio administration are leading the way,” said State Senator Marisol Alcantara. State Senator Brad Hoylman said, "‘3-K for All’ is an important next step in the Mayor's historic commitment to educational equity. Every dollar spent on early childhood education earns back $2-4 over time because of the enormous impact it has on learning potential. I applaud Mayor de Blasio's investment in our children and in the long-term success and prosperity of our city." “A good quality education is the passport to success,” said Assembly Member Clyde Vanel. “The earlier that we train our children, the better equipped they are for these dynamic times. I applaud the Mayor for such an ambitious and forward thinking program.” "I look forward to seeing this ambitious project implemented by Mayor de Blasio," said Assembly Member Brian Barnwell." Education is the key to the future and this plan will help countless kids achieve a better one." “As an elected official who has recently had to fight to keep Pre-K seats open in my community, I am extremely pleased that the Mayor has taken this initiative to increase and expand Pre-K after the success of the Pre-K for All Program. The importance and value of early childhood education for all children, regardless of income, cannot be overstated. Emphasizing learning when children are still young yields significant benefits as they grow older and continue their education,” said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz. Assembly Member Michael Blake said, “The proposal for 3-K in District 7 in the South Bronx has game changing potential to help empower lives of children from the very start for generational progress. It will ensure that our children in The Bronx get the opportunities for educational equity and future economic development in our communities. We congratulate Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña on ensuring the development of a cradle to the career vision that will ensure that we are in our district and throughout our borough are #BuildingABetterBronx.” "3K The additional year of pre-school experience has outstanding benefits for a child. It also provides valuable educational information for the parents. I know this as a policy maker and also as a Dad, who witnessed the tremendous academic and social growth my two daughters experienced in their pre3K program," said Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Chair of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force. "Expanding pre-kindergarten is one of our city's great successes in the last few years, promising to improve social skills and educational achievement for our kids and offer greater economic opportunity for working parents," said Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh. "I applaud Mayor de Blasio and the many people at City Hall and the Department of Education who have worked to implement and expand the program for 4-year-olds and to plan this next big step to include 3-year-olds. I look forward to working with the Mayor and my colleagues in Albany to support this exciting new initiative." Assembly Member Joe Lentol said, “The success of future generations is dependent upon quality education. All children deserve the chance to have access to quality early education that puts them on the path to success. I applaud the Mayor for expanding access to early childhood education because when it comes to our children, we must invest all the necessary resources to ensure they are successful in life” “By expanding Pre-K to all 3 year olds we are helping to ensure that our children are ready for kindergarten and won’t fall behind. We will be giving youngsters in New York City a head start on their education and put them on the right track to academic success,” said Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez. “A good quality education is the passport to success,” said Assembly Member Clyde Vanel. “The earlier that we train our children, the better equipped they are for these dynamic times. I applaud the Mayor for such an ambitious and forward thinking program.” “We are excited about the expansion of universal pre-K extending to 3 year olds in District 23 which is in located in Brownsville. This will give our kids an opportunity to get a jumpstart in early childhood education. My office looks forward to partnering with the administration and District 23 to make sure this opportunity will succeed,” said Assembly Member Latrice Walker. “An investment in early education is an investment in the future of our country. I commend the Mayor and the agencies who put forth a plan to provide pre-kindergarten seats to three-year olds and I look forward to the program’s expansion to Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, and beyond,” said Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright. "I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio's 3-K for All plan,” said Assembly Member Pamela Harris. “It is vital that our youth, regardless of family income, have access to a high-quality early childhood education starting at age three. The Pre-K for All program emphasizes academic and social development, while at the same time, providing much needed childcare to our working families.” “Early childhood education a priority for me and I am so happy to see Mayor de Blasio taking the lead. We know that the educational development of children is critical at age 3,” said Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa. "As a mother of an almost 3 year old daughter, this is the type of opportunity we need for all our children across the state and beyond. It is imperative for children to absorb education when the stages for cognitive skills begin to sprout.” The formative years of child's life is essential to his or her development" said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. "As an early childhood education fellow and advocate, I look forward to working closely with the Mayor to implementing this and other education initiatives for the children of my district." "The earlier we go, the better it is for our youngest students, increasing their chances to succeed,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Since my time chairing the Council Committee on Higher Education, I have been a big proponent of early childhood education as a way to build a pipeline to college and beyond. The results are transformative and will help to improve schools across the city in the years to come. I am proud to support Mayor de Blasio's initiative to bring pre-k to all 3 year-olds in New York City and hope we can continue to go further in the future." “The earlier children have education the better. I have seen the difference early childhood education can make firsthand. I think this is a really great idea,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz. "I welcome the ‘3-K For All’ pilot program and support its expansion citywide. Pre-K For All delivers improved education and health outcomes for every enrolled child. Pre-K’s economic benefits in low-income and immigrant communities are especially important. This new pilot program for 3-year olds shows we can fulfill our promise to nurture New York City’s children,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. "Families are being forced out of New York City due to high childcare costs. New York City must provide Universal Childcare, starting with an expansion of Universal Pre-Kindergarten to cover all four and three year-olds," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for recognizing how important early education and universal pre-kindergarten are to New York City's parents and children." “There is no more proven path out of poverty than education and I applauded the Mayor for this unprecedented commitment to early childhood education. I believe this will be one of the best investments in the fight against poverty that the City has ever made and will ultimately lead to improved student performance and higher graduation rates,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen. “We know that education impacts economic, familial, and social stability and that for too long a quality education was mostly reserved for the few in privileged zip codes,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “Universal Pre-K has been proven to be essential to the development of our children and a success here in NY; I applaud Mayor de Blasio for continuing to make educating our youngest New Yorkers a top priority of his administration. It is time that District 23, which serves Ocean Hill, Brownsville and East New York finally get the focus and resources it deserves so that our students-- who are among the most economically disadvantaged-- have every opportunity for success.” “A Pre-K education lays the foundation for a life time of success. Students who attend Pre-K are more likely to enter kindergarten ready to learn and more likely to graduate from high school. Three years ago, New York City invested in our children’s future through the Pre-K For All program, and I am so proud that today we are expanding on that investment by extending Pre-K for All to children as young as three. All young people deserve an equal opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed; through 3-K and Pre-K, we will be giving our future stars and scholars all of the resources they need to soar. I commend Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña for this tremendous investment in early education and for recognizing that the City of New York is a leader in public education for our youngest scholars,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. “Early childhood education is one of the most powerful tools against income inequality. Building on the success of universal pre-kindergarten, this initiative is an investment in the future of our city that will help open up educational opportunities for all young New Yorkers and prepare them for success in tomorrow’s world. I thank Mayor de Blasio for his ongoing dedication to early childhood education, which will reap immeasurable benefits for our city’s youth,” said Council Member Debi Rose. “I am thrilled to learn that our city’s three year olds will soon have the opportunity to attend free, full day educational programs”, commented Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “There is no question that the merits of this endeavor will far outweigh any financial burden the city may experience. I am eagerly anticipating the expansion of the program to Southeast Queens, and am ready to fiercely advocate for the necessary funding to make this a reality citywide.” “For far too long, children in single parent or low and middle income households have been left behind due to the unaffordability of early childhood education. In the City of New York, we are closing the achievement gap by expanding access through 3-K for All, which builds on our city's commitment to providing our youngest and brightest minds with an equitable opportunity to excel as scholars. I thank Mayor de Blasio for prioritizing education as a cornerstone for success,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo. “The sooner the better,” said Council Member Bill Perkins. “Universal childhood education for all 3 year olds will ensure all our youth are entering school with the strong fundamentals they need to be successful in school and life.” “I commend the Administration on their commitment to making sure all children have access to education as early as possible,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader. “All of the research shows that the early years of a child’s life are the most formative when it comes to education. This program will make it simpler especially for low-income parents to get a head start in introducing education to their children, and preparing them for their academic career. This type of universal approach is essential to all of our programs for those who need it the most, particularly in the era of Trump.” “For families without a permanent caretaker, pre-k becomes an irreplaceable lifeline that allows parents to return to work while affording children a safe and high-quality environment to learn. Extending free, UP-K to three-year-olds will spell relief for thousands of New Yorkers and prepare our newest New Yorkers for educational success. Many thanks to Mayor de Blasio for expanding on this much needed program,” said Council Member Peter Koo. Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “The 3-K for All goal would set up our city’s children for success throughout their educational and professional lives. Providing full-day early childhood education for three-year-olds brings lifelong benefits on academic and social outcomes. The additional year of preschool would also bring benefits to our community as a whole. I thank Mayor de Blasio for his bold vision on educating our city’s children.” “Today’s announcement of extending universal Pre-K to three year olds is yet another significant step taken by Mayor de Blasio to ensure that future generations are getting every opportunity they deserve to succeed. This action represents the boldest strides taken by any municipality in the country to advance early childhood education,” said Council Member Steve Levin. “Research evidence suggests that early childhood education programs can significantly impact a child’s overall development and play a significant role in shaping the adult they will become. 3K for All which builds on the success of Pre K for All is an exciting and important next step in our efforts to provide quality educational opportunities for all children,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “We’ve all seen the tremendous impact that Pre-K for All has had on the lives of thousands of children and families. Now, with the launch of 3-K for All, even more children will receive the benefits of high-quality, early education at an earlier age. I thank Mayor de Blasio and his Administration for building on this extraordinary effort to positively change the lives of New Yorkers for generations to come,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "Education is truly the great equalizer, giving children of every background and income the chance to reach the highest levels of achievement and success. I'm proud that New York City will lead the way with a plan to provide free, high-quality early childhood education to every three-year-old in our city which will break down the barriers that too often hold our children back from reaching their full potential," said New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “The UPK program has been a runaway success, making our education system stronger, and childcare easier for countless families,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “Expanding UPK to include 3 year olds means more kids be on a path to success at a younger age, while saving their families up to $10,000 annually in childcare costs. I am proud to join Mayor de Blasio in supporting this measure, and look forward to working with the administration to bring ‘3-K for All’ in to the Upper Manhattan Community.” “I heartily congratulate the de Blasio administration on its launch of free, full-day early childhood education for every three-year-old child, as part of its incredible effort to create a continuum of high-quality early care and education programs for New York City children from birth to age five. The number of four-year-olds enrolled in free Pre-K across the city has already more than tripled. I can’t think of a better investment for our city’s future than this one – fostering the mental, social and physical well-being of our youngest New Yorkers,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. "Just a few years ago, they said universal Pre-K was unrealistic and impossible," said Council Member Corey Johnson. "Now Mayor de Blasio is going even further. 3-K for all will benefit countless working families and will result in improved education outcomes in the years to come. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Fariña and Education Committee Chair Dromm on this groundbreaking achievement." “Early educational instruction is fundamental to ensuring future educational readiness and I applaud efforts to expand Universal Pre-K to three year olds in New York City," said Council Member Andy King. "I look forward to working to expand this program city wide beyond the two pilot districts as soon as possible to ensure equity for all our young people who deserve this opportunity and parents struggling to afford quality early care." “I am pleased to know that New York City will offer early education to 3 year olds. I look forward to the City doing an extensive outreach to ensure that as they implement a culturally relevant education, that they will do an extensive outreach to employ those who reflect and respect the culture of the predominantly Black, Latino and Asian population of New York City,” Council Member Inez Barron. “Getting our children into a classroom environment at the earliest age possible will help ensure that they are well-prepared to step into the role of a full-time student,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “This will also help ease the pressure on parents, who can struggle to find babysitters or day care, while they are at work. This push for 3-K for All will continue to improve the lives of parents and children and I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio for focusing on the education of the youngest New Yorkers. We look forward to seeing every three-year-old in New York City benefit from this ambitious plan.” Council Member Annabel Palma said, “I'm ecstatic that South Bronx students will be enrolled in the pilot program for The 3K for All program. Given the unmitigated success of the universal pre-k implementation, I am especially encouraged that this new venture will reap similar benefits. It is vital that our children are exposed to a quality education--in an atmosphere conducive to that end--early on in their development. I look forward to monitoring the progress of these young minds, and to the eventual citywide scaling of the program. I thank the de Blasio administration for having the courage and vision for pushing forward on this front." "It is undeniable that early childhood education has tremendous positive effects that benefit the future upbringing and learning opportunities for students. This expansion will surely impact thousands of children who need the foundation and stepping time to ensure successful life outcomes," said Council Member Ritchie Torres. “It’s a well-known fact that a child’s potential is dramatically increased the earlier that their formal learning begins,” said Council Member Vincent Gentile. “Expanding universal early childhood education to 3-year-olds in the ‘3K for All’ pilot represents a solid investment by the Administration into our future leaders. I was proud to support the original Universal Pre-K program, and I’m equally as proud to support 3K for All.” "3-K for All is an exciting development that will benefit thousands of NYC families," said Council Member Daniel Dromm. "As a former daycare center teacher and director, I know that a quality early childhood education provides students with the foundation they need to succeed for the rest of their lives. I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio to enhance this vitally important program and urge parents in participating districts to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity." "We welcome Mayor de Blasio's commitment to early childhood education for all New York families," said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa. "For our members and so many other working people in this city access to high-quality early education will help them ensure a bright future for their kids. We've seen the great success that Universal Pre-K has had and we're glad to see the mayor expanding this program." “The research shows how valuable early education can be for developing language and positive learning behaviors and habits," said Steve Barnett, Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. High quality pre-K builds a stronger foundation for school success that is especially important for children from low-income backgrounds. New York City's Pre-K for All expansion focused on quality from the very beginning, and this same focus on on quality through high-quality 3-K for All will be transformative. I hope other Cities will watch this expansion closely." "Ensuring that every child in New York City has the opportunity to develop a strong learning foundation beginning at age three, when, as research shows, is a critical time for healthy brain development and social and emotional skills building, represents a major next step forward in Mayor de Blasio's pursuit of a more equitable city for all New Yorkers," said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies . "FPWA commends the Mayor, Chancellor Fariña, and the administration for deepening their commitment to improving early education, and in turn, educational outcomes, experiences, and lifetime opportunities for all children." “Mayor de Blasio’s vision for high-quality early childhood education acknowledges the importance of supporting solid early learning experiences across the birth through age 8 continuum,” said Jacqueline Jones, President and CEO of the Foundation for Child Development. “While one year of high quality preschool for 4-year-olds can make a difference in young children’s learning trajectories, providing an additional year of preschool and building high-quality early elementary programming can maximize New York City’s investment in ensuring sustained positive outcomes for young children that can lead to success in school and beyond.” “3-K for All presents a tremendous opportunity for New York City’s children and families, and once again, New York City is at the forefront of investments in early education nationwide,” said Pamela Morris, Professor of Applied Psychology and the Vice Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. “In its Pre-K for All expansion, New York City has been notably committed to program quality, through strategic teacher training and support, and we look forward to seeing this commitment – and its benefits –extend to even younger learners.” “With 3-K for All, New York City is deepening its commitment to free, full-day, high-quality early education, and, in so doing, strengthening the birth to five continuum,” said C. Cybele Raver, Vice Provost of Academic, Faculty and Research Affairs at NYU. “This initiative is supported by a strong body of research that demonstrates the importance of investing in children's learning and development as early as possible. New York City’s students will be better prepared for elementary school, and high-quality early childhood education will ultimately reap dividends for the City and the nation.” “Mayor de Blasio’s bold 3-K for All initiative and increased support for programs serving children starting at birth strengthens New York City’s position as a national leader in early childhood education,” said Elliot Regenstein, Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Policy at Chicago’s Ounce of Prevention Fund. “We know that the most critical years of learning are birth through five, and that high-quality early education starting as early as possible is key to lifting our children to brighter futures. 3-K for All and strengthened infant-toddler programs – on top of the City’s commitment to high-quality pre-K for every 4-year-old – sends a powerful message that New York City understands that, and is making the investments that matter.” “High-quality early education is the most powerful tool we have to level the playing field and guarantee our city's children equal educational opportunity,” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, President of the Bank Street College of Education. “Today’s expansion is a powerful step forward. Bank Street has been a proud partner in the City’s historic expansion of free high-quality pre-K, and we look forward to supporting the growth and quality of 3-K for All. Research shows that reaching students at age three while their brains are developing rapidly has profound impacts on their success in school and in life. This program is a smart common sense move for the Department of Education. I know Cities across the country will watch this transformative work closely.” “When a city invests in its youngest children everyone benefits,” said Sherry M. Cleary, Executive Director of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute at CUNY. “As New York City continues to focus on children from conception through their early years families grow stronger and children thrive. We, at the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute at CUNY, look forward to providing support to this ambitious endeavor.” "CHCF commends the City's expansion of free, high-quality early education and care that will continue to make a difference for children and families, and communities," said Diana Noriega, Chief Program Officer at The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families. "Together, Pre-K for All and 3-K for All will have a lasting impact on our children's and our City's futures. CHCF will continue to partner with Mayor de Blasio and the City to strengthen the path from birth to college and careers for all children." "With the implementation of Pre-K for All for 4 year-olds, New York City proved that investment in early childhood education works." said Susan Stamler, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses. "We look forward to working with the de Blasio administration to build on the success of Pre-K for All to implement a comprehensive system of high quality early childhood education. We believe that all children deserve programs with well-trained, fairly compensated staff to learn the skills necessary to succeed in their education. Quality early childhood education makes a difference in the lives of children and supports New York's working families." "Research tells us that providing high quality early education shapes a child’s social, emotional and academic trajectory in profoundly positive ways,” said Jennifer March, Phd. Executive Director Citizens' Committee for Children. “The city’s proposal to expand access to full day prekindergarten to 3 year olds is a welcome step towards serving more families with young children. We applaud the plan for leveling the playing field for the city’s poorest children as it first prioritizes serving the communities where children face the greatest risks and obstacles. We look forward to working with the de Blasio administration to ensure this initiative succeeds in making prekindergarten universally available for every 3 and 4 year old. Continuing our many years of advocacy for NYC’s children, we also stand ready to work with the administration to expand the capacity of high quality infant and toddler services for our youngest children.” “We applaud the Mayor for building on the very effective and successful Pre-K for All Program,” said Nancy Kolben, Executive Director of Center for Children's Initiatives. “Expanding the program to serve threes is a vital next step in ensuring that all of New York City’s children have access to a high quality early learning that prepares them for success in kindergarten and beyond. High quality full day programs are vital for children, their families, the City and the nation at large. The research is clear these programs changes lives and are a core part of this city’s commitment to equality and access for all.” “Universal ‘3K’ is a great idea. The members of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY applaud Mayor de Blasio for introducing an initiative that has the potential to shatter entrenched patterns of inequality. As faculty and staff at CUNY, the country’s most diverse university system, we constantly see evidence of the hidden injuries of class. Creating universal pre-K for three-year-olds will be a huge step toward healing some of the deepest of those injuries. We commend the Mayor for going beyond his already innovative program of pre-K by expanding the reach and the vision of universal education. We can’t wait to teach the graduates of ‘3K’ when they grow up and enroll in CUNY,” said Barbara Bowen, President of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY. "Expanding prekindergarten to three-year-old children will have a significant impact in providing them with the foundational skills needed for school success. We commend Mayor de Blasio for taking another important step toward narrowing the achievement gap," said Kim Sweet, Executive Director, Advocates for Children of New York. "For too long, a student’s zip code has determined their access to quality education," stated Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation. "Through 3-K for All, access to free, full-day, quality early childhood education will directly address the achievement gap faced by Latino and other underrepresented communities, serving students at an especially critical point in their development. Hispanic Federation applauds Mayor de Blasio’s initiative, and calls on the state and federal governments to ensure the vitality and expansion of 3-K for All through supplemental funding in the years to come." "From his days as a community school board member to his tenure as Mayor, Bill de Blasio has been pushing the envelope to improve educational opportunities for children of all ages. It is accepted beyond dispute that the earlier we start educating our children the better their opportunities will be later in life. Expanding Pre-K to 3 year-olds is not only beneficial for our children, but also for working families who will have the peace of mind of knowing their children are well cared for and learning valuable skills while they are at work. The UAW is proud to support the Mayor in this initiative, and calls on Albany and Washington to make it a reality for all 3 year-olds." said Julie Kushner, UAW Region 9A Director. "New York's musicians are not only world-class artists, they are parents and teachers who work every day to make a living and who know the value of high quality, universal pre-K education," said Tino Gagliardi, President, Local 802 American Federation of Musicians. "By expanding pre-K to all three year-olds, New York City will be supporting parents, musicians and New Yorkers who are working to ensure their children have every opportunity to thrive and grow." Deborah Axt, Co-Executive Director, Make the Road New York said, "Every child in this City should have access to the early childhood learning she needs to thrive, regardless of their family's income. The new 3-K initiative is poised to achieve just that, and it marks major progress to expand educational opportunities for all. When it is fully implemented, 3-K will make a big difference to the working-class immigrant families that we serve." "We applaud the Mayor and his administration for continuing their ground-breaking efforts to expand access to universal pre-K to three-year-olds. Studies have clearly shown that access to early education is vital towards learning the skills necessary to succeed in the future. Mayor de Blasio’s plan to begin these programs in low-income communities, such as the South Bronx and Brownsville, Brooklyn, is another example of the Administration’s efforts to end inequality and provide access to those who need it first," said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW. Reverend Michael Walrond, Senior Pastor at First Corinthian Baptist Church said, "I commend the Mayor for his bold vision to expand Pre-K to 3 year olds. Investing in NYC's children is one of the smartest investments the administration can make." Reverend Que English, Senior Pastor at Bronx Christian Fellowship said, "Expanding Pre-K to 3 year olds is a wise investment, and I commend the Mayor and his administration in taking this necessary step to ensuring that NYC's future remains bright." "Mayor de Blasio's commitment to broadening and deepening educational opportunity and excellence for all of our children is once again born out in the latest expansion of universal pre-k to 3 year olds. The data has told us the earlier children have formalized learning the better the outcomes are all areas of life. We support Mayor de Blasio's vision of free access to high quality education, not just for a select, lucky few but indeed for all NYC's children,” said Minister Kirsten John Foy, Northeast Regional Director, National Action Network. "The early childhood education experience makes a tremendous difference in how a child performs in higher grades. I applaud Mayor de Blasio's 3-K Initiative. Education is more than the communication of information. It is the impartation of life,” said Reverend AR Bernard, Senior Pastro and CEO, Christian Cultural Center. "The Mayor's expansion of universal pre-k to 3 year olds is one of the best benefits of the year. For the low income families of Brownsville, this news is like Christmas has come early. We support this move and encourage the residents make full use of the visionary initiative,” said Pastor Nigel Lewis of New Life SDA Church in Brownsville. "The Working Families Party applauds Mayor de Blasio's plan to expand universal Pre-K in NYC to 3-year-old children," said Bill Lipton, NY State Director of the Working Families Party. "This plan builds on NYC's success and leadership in early childhood education and would have a transformational impact on our school system and our entire city. With this proposal, Mayor de Blasio is showing leadership where it matters most for working families." “Every child deserves the chance to succeed and every parent the opportunity to start their child on the road to educational success. We applaud Mayor de Blasio for recognizing that investing in our children means a brighter future for all,” said Joan Malin, CEO of Planned Parenthood of NYC. “Our investment in 3 years through kindergarten is an investment in the future of NYC's children. I commend Mayor DeBlasio and Chancellor Fariña for leadership on leveling the playing field for all children,” said Dr. Debbie Almontaser, Muslim Community Network & Bridging Cultures. 
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 11:40am
City launches plan to bring free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education to every three-year-old, building on success of Pre-K for All NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced 3-K for All, the most ambitious effort in U.S. history to provide universal, free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education for every three-year-old child regardless of family income. 3-K for All will build on the success of Pre-K for All – through which the City has more than tripled the number of four-year-olds enrolled in free, full-day, high-quality Pre-K – and is part of a broader effort to create a continuum of high-quality early care and education programs for New York City children from birth to five years old. Research has found every dollar invested in high-quality early education saves taxpayers as much as $13 long-term. New York City is starting the path to 3-K for All for fall of 2017, aiming to serve over 11,000 three-year-olds in new and enhanced free, full-day, high-quality seats. This includes the first year of a two-year expansion to create hundreds of new, free, full-day, high-quality seats in District 7 in the South Bronx and District 23 in Brownsville. By fall of 2018, we will have a seat for every three-year-old living in those districts that wants one, and project we will serve 1,800 children in those two districts – triple the number enrolled today. At the same time, we will help families enroll in existing seats for 3-year-olds in New York City and provide additional support and enhance quality for over 11,000 three-year-olds currently enrolled in those will also strengthen existing programs serving children from six-weeks-old through three-years-old. 3-K for All is part of the Mayor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda, which aims to ensure that by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds of graduates are college ready. At the completion of the financial plan FY 2021, this effort will cost a total of $177 million. “The research is clear – investment in early childhood education reaps benefits for students, families and communities for years to come. Using the successful model we developed for Pre-K for All, we are doubling down with free, full-day, high-quality 3-K for All for our three-year-olds. This extra year of education will provide our children with a level of academic and social development that they cannot get later on, while at the same time, alleviating some of the strain New York City’s working families face today,” said Mayor de Blasio. "Anyone who has spent time with young children can see how ready and hungry they are for new words, new experiences, and new challenges," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "That is why we worked so hard to provide every four-year-old with access to free, high-quality early education, and that is why we are now taking this first step toward 3-K For All. Every child deserves access to the tools and support they need to learn and grow, and it is the best investment we can make to encourage their intellectual and emotional development." "Expanding the City's focus on early education to high quality programs for three year olds, which follows the success of Pre-K for All, is a welcome enhancement to the New York City school system, and an addition that will serve to open classrooms to more local students than ever before. The City Council has been pleased to partner in support of universal pre-kindergarten placements for resident children, and as a representative of School District 7, I could not be more pleased to see this next phase begin right here in the South Bronx," said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “As a lifelong educator, I understand just how much and how fast our youngest children can learn – a level of learning that you can’t make up later on. In free, full-day, high-quality 3-K, our students will build their vocabulary, a love of learning, and start to develop the social and behavioral habits they need to succeed in pre-K and kindergarten. It’s an essential step in building Equity and Excellence for All across the five boroughs, and we are hitting the ground running with the lessons that we’ve learned from the Pre-K for All expansion,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Over three years ago, New York City implemented a historic effort to make high quality, early childhood education available to every four-year-old in New York City. Today, Pre-K for All is one of the most successful expansions of any municipal pre-kindergarten program in the country and we are already witnessing it's tremendous impacts. Today, we announce the next great investment in the future of our City. The City is deepening its commitment to the development of children's minds and bodies from birth to age five, including our plan to bring high quality, free, full day 3-K to all of NYC's three year olds. With a growing body of research touting the lifelong developmental, social, and academic benefits of birth through five programming, I couldn’t be prouder to reach more children at an even earlier age with our next great program, 3-K for All,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “The benefits of early care and education programs have a clear and measurable impact on the health and wellness of children and communities as a whole,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. “By introducing 3K for All and strengthening programs in the birth to five continuum, New York City is ensuring that all children, including those who are most vulnerable, get a critical boost that will positively impact their lives for years to come.” “Since 2012, ACS’ EarlyLearn NYC has provided high quality full-day early care and education to over 30,000 children annually. Today, we join the next step in that vision through Equity and Excellence for all, fulfilling the City’s commitment to provide high-quality Pre-K to four-year-olds citywide. 3-K for All will ultimately strengthen a continuum of early care and education programs for the city’s children that begins at birth,” said ACS Commissioner David Hansell. By fall of 2020, the City will expand free, full-day, high-quality 3-K to at least six additional school districts, for a total of eight districts. Each pair of districts will have a two-year expansion, with the last pair starting in fall of 2020 and having universal access in the fall of 2021. In order to achieve the vision of 3-K for All citywide, the City will need additional support from partners in the State and federal government. The 3-K for All expansion coming to Districts 7 and 23 will cost $16 million in its first year, and builds on substantial Equity and Excellence for All educational investments in these two communities. The continuum includes the Single Shepherd program, which pairs every middle and high schooler in Districts 7 and 23 with a dedicated guidance counselor or social worker to support them on the path to high school graduation and college enrollment, as well as the Universal Literacy program, which will bring dedicated reading coaches to every elementary school in these districts this fall. Like Pre-K for All, 3-K for All will be a unified system of DOE district schools and NYC Early Education Centers – community-based organizations experienced in providing high-quality early childhood education and care. Like Pre-K for All, the DOE will use data to provide differentiated support to all 3-K for All programs with instructional coaches and social workers to support high quality instruction. The City’s Pre-K for All outreach team, which helped triple the number of four-year-olds enrolled in free, full-day, high-quality pre-K, will also reach out to families in their own communities and in the language they speak to help them enroll in 3-K for All. There is extensive research supporting the transformative value of free, full-day, high-quality 3-K, including the following: * Several studies have found that students who attend two years of preschool compared to one are better prepared for kindergarten, and that they perform significantly higher on academic and social outcome measures. * A study of the two-year Abbott Preschool Program in New Jersey found persistent gains in language arts and literacy, mathematics, and science through 4th and 5th grade, with larger test score gains for children who participated in two years of preschool. In addition, Abbott Preschool Program participation was linked to lower grade retention rates and fewer children needing special education. * A study of Head Start found that families of children who attended for two years were more likely to engage in recreational activities together that supported child development, and were likely to spend more hours reading together at home. * A Chicago study found that children who attended two years of public preschool were significantly less likely to receive special education services, to be abused or neglected, or to commit crimes in adulthood. According to the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity, delivering 3-K for All to every three-year-old child in NYC will provide every eligible family an extra year of high-quality education, saving them an annual cost of over $10,000. Approximately one in four families who will take advantage of 3-K for All are likely to benefit from being able to work an average of four more hours per week, resulting in an estimated $2,400 in additional income per family. As part of its commitment to free, full-day, high-quality 3-K for All, the City will also provide additional support to the public early childhood center programs currently serving over 11,000 three-year-olds across the City, by bringing those classrooms into the same set of supports for teacher training, family engagement, and social work support as Pre-K for All. The Pre-K for All outreach team will also assist programs in enrolling children. These programs are currently part of EarlyLearn – the contracted-care and education system managed by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) that includes Head Start centers, center-based childcare, and family childcare networks – and are available to families earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. With support from ACS, Human Resources Administration (HRA), and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and a planning process involving providers and early childhood care and education experts, these programs will shift to management by DOE as part of 3-K for All, enabling consistent high-quality standards under a single agency by the fall of 2018. This will also provide greater curricular alignment through second grade, a single contracting relationship for early childhood education providers, integrated data collection, and seamless connections between early childhood development and 3K-12 education. EarlyLearn programs serving children from six-weeks-old through three-years-old will also shift to management by DOE.
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 11:40am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: This is a very, very sad day for people here in Queens Village. I’ve talked to some of the folks on the block just now – incredibly difficult moment for people on this block to see a family literally destroyed before their very eyes. This is a very, very painful day. And I’ll give you a couple of points about it and then Commissioner Nigro will speak as well. I’ll say upfront this is something that just happened in the last few hours, obviously. We don’t have all the answers that we want to have about what happened here. We do know five lives have been lost including some young children. And our hearts go out to this family, and I’m asking all New Yorkers to keep this family in your prayers. This is a devastation of a family we rarely see but it has happened in Queens Village today. Before going on I want to thank those who represent this community for being here and [inaudible] solidarity with people of the neighborhood who are going through so much. I thank State Senator Leroy Comrie, Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, Assemblyman David Weprin, Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, and of course our Public Advocate, Tish James – I thank them all for being here to support the people of this community. So, what we do know is – five lives lost, three of them children. An extraordinarily large toll for any fire. A three-alarm fire that was brought under control just basically in the last hour. It was a fire that moved very, very quickly, and the loss was horrendous but thank God there were no serious injuries to the members of the FDNY. And it bears saying, at this moment the FDNY is going through a lot this week having lost their brother, Firefighter William Tolley, just days ago. But still the good men and women of the FDNY are doing what they do best – saving lives, protecting people, protecting neighborhoods. They came out in full force even in their moment of pain. This is the biggest loss of life in a fire in approximately two years – since the loss of the Sassoon family in Midwood, Brooklyn. That was seven children lost in that horrific fire. And there will be a full investigation by our fire marshals. There’s a lot we need to know about what happened here especially the fact that this happened in the middle of a afternoon on a day when the weather was good. How could something like this have happened? There are many questions and our fire marshals will get to work on that right away. Now, I want our Commissioner, Dan Nigro, to give you more information. As I mentioned – he and I mentioned that Midwood [inaudible] Commissioner Nigr, Chief of Department Jim Leonard, and I stood in that house in Midwood and reflected on the horrible loss of life of that family. And obviously, we’re feeling a sense of, we’re back again in one of those situations and how painful it is. But our job now is to get down to the bottom of it, and learn what we can learn, and do everything we can to make sure that no family ever suffers like this again. Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro: Thank you, Mayor. We know that when we lose one of our own the community mourns with us, and today the Fire Department mourns with this community at the loss of five people in this home. At approximately 2:36 pm we received a call from a passing motorist who saw a fire on the first and second floor of this home, and saw someone come to the window at the second floor and tumble out from that window out onto that setback and onto the lawn. Our members arrived in just over four minutes and were met by a house completely consumed with fire. They valiantly pushed in behind the hose lines. Unfortunately, they recovered all the people from there. None of the five people in the home survived. It’s a terrible, tragic loss. Now, we are just beginning our investigation. Our fire marshals will determine where the fire started. They will determine how it started. They’ll work with police detectives and will come to a conclusion. But we’re far from that right now. What we do know is that this is a terrible, sad time for this block, for this community, for our entire city when we see people lost in such a fashion. Mayor: Take some questions? Commissioner Nigro: Sure. Mayor: Go ahead. If you have any questions, we’ll do our best to – Commissioner Nigro: Questions. Question: Do you know if this is all one family [inaudible] – Commissioner Nigro: We don’t know. We believe the youngest was two the other ages are – we’re starting to make positive IDs. We think up to 21 and one unknown. But these are young people. Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner Nigro: No. The adjacent home to – just to the south of it was heavily damaged and no one was home at the time. Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner Nigro: Well, there was the adult that came out the second floor window was home. I think he was 46-year-old. Question: [Inaudible] He’s a survivor. Question: He was the only survivor? Commissioner Nigro: That’s correct. Question: [Inaudible] tumbled out the window, you said? Commissioner Nigro: He tumbled out of the front window. And there’s a setback there – the porch roof. And he came out that way. Question: What’s his condition [inaudible]? Commissioner Nigro: He’s in satisfactory condition right now. Question: [Inaudible] whole thing started? Commissioner Nigro: Not at this time. We believe – on the first floor is where the witness saw fire that called it in, saw fire on the first floor travelling up to the second floor. Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner Nigro: Not that we’re aware of. Question: Any indication of how it started? Cooking? Commissioner Nigro: None at all yet. Question: [Inaudible] making rescues in the attic, I understand – Commissioner Nigro: That’s correct. We had people in the attic which for our firefighters is a, I’d say, superhuman task in this conditions, to reach that attic and bring people out. They did bring a two-year-old and I believe someone else from that level where they were trapped. Question: Can you talk about, sorry, [inaudible] – Commissioner Nigro: So, far no serious injuries to the firefighters that I’m aware of. I shouldn’t say no serious injuries but no critical injuries, no. Question: [Inaudible] wooden house [inaudible] – Commissioner Nigro: These homes were built 97 years ago. They’re wooden-frame homes and they are – they burn rapidly. Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner Nigro: We’ve heard that but we believe there’s a car that’s completely consumed in the driveway. Perhaps people heard tires pop but we have no knowledge that there was an explosion, no. Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner Nigro: It’s a one-family home. Question: [Inaudible] flee the fire and get up to the attic? Commissioner Nigro: That we don’t know and we may never know. Question: [Inaudible] oxygen tanks inside [inaudible] – Commissioner Nigro: Not that we’re aware of. Question: [Inaudible] incredible task for your firefighters [inaudible] – Commissioner Nigro: Well, most of our firefighter have families of their own so it’s always very difficult for them. It was difficult to do, and certainly will be difficult for them moving forward. It always is. Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner Nigro: Well, the firefighters called in an additional alarm before they even got here because the fire was visible from a distance to them. And when they pulled up in front they transmitted immediately a second alarm. It had already spread to the house next door. Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner Nigro: As far as we know, no neighbors got in. I don’t think they would have. If they would have tried they’d be additional victims. Question: [Inaudible] – Commissioner Nigro: Not that – Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner Nigro: We don’t know. I’m not sure about that but we didn’t get reports of that. Thank you. ###
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 11:40am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you so much. Thank you, Pastor. Thank you, everyone, for this chance to be with you. [Applause] First, I want to give honor to God, without him this day would not be possible. [Applause] Pastor and I were doing the calculation. We first met in 1989. I had the honor of serving on David Dinkins’ first campaign for mayor. And one thing you knew, even back then, if you wanted to make something happen in Queens or in the city of New York, you had to go to Pastor Flake. [Applause] And what he has done as a trailblazer in education, in affordable housing, in making this one of the great churches of this city, it’s inestimable. I don’t know where he found the energy to achieve so much but it is amazing, the body of work this man is creating. Let’s thank Pastor for all he has done. [Applause] And in our household at Gracie Mansion, we remember that no one does this alone. Beside every great man stands a great woman, and Reverend Elaine Flake is that great woman. [Applause] Pastor is also a master of subtlety. He made clear to me to stay brief but he did in a very respectful manner. So, I will honor that but I have a solemn obligation first because there’s one thing – it’s a sad thing – I have to share. I think a lot of you saw a few days ago, we lost one of our brave firefighters – Firefighter William Tolley. He will be laid to rest this coming week. I’d just like to ask you to bow your heads with me for a moment of silence for his family and his memory. Thank you so much. Thank you. I will be brief but I want to get right to the point of something so important. And I think it’s a perfect topic to discuss in a church where people, everyday, live out their faith. Putting faith into action is what it’s all about, right? And Scripture is so powerfully about the concept of redemption. It pervades the beliefs of people in this great church feel and live on every day. If we believe in redemption then we have to look at where our nation, our state, our city went astray over the last few decades and how the era of mass incarceration was created because it had nothing to do with redemption. In fact, it was, tragically, a renunciation of the notion that people could overcome their mistakes and live a better life. It was taking human lives, devaluing them, throwing them away with no sense that they could ever come back. That’s what mass incarceration has been for decades. And finally – finally, our consciousness in this nation is changing. But we, in New York City, know that we have to lead. So, I announced a few weeks ago that once and for all we will be closing Rikers Island. We will be closing that facility. [Applause] And we’re doing that for a very simple reason. The era of mass incarceration did not begin in New York City but it must end in New York City, once and for all. [Applause] Here’s the point – to do that we all have to work together. For anything to get better in our society, we all have to work together. That means we continue to do the things that reach the root causes of why anyone would end up in trouble with the law to begin with. We devote ourselves to changing our schools so we actually teach our children properly. [Applause] Creating jobs so there’s something to aspire to, that are for everyone in the city. Every borough. Every neighborhood. Addressing the real challenges that hold people back – the challenge of poverty, the lack of affordable housing. If we’re going to solve the big picture crisis of mass incarceration, let’s be honest about what are the root causes, and that’s what we’re devoted to addressing. But the other piece of the equation is so important. If you drive down crime – just drive down crime regularly, then people don’t get arrested and they don’t go to jail. Simple enough. And I want to remind everyone in this room – even though the doubting Thomases said that policies like stop-and-frisk were the only thing that kept us safe, we have reduced stop-and-frisk 93 percent and crime has gone down for three years in a row in this city. [Applause] So, we are now convinced that our historic reductions in crime will continue. So, think about that. We’re going at the root causes of the problem. We’re reducing crime. What else? Well, keep people out of incarceration who don’t need to be there because there’s a better alternative. Help people who can’t pay bail, and that’s why they end up in jail. There’s a better way to do that – to keep them out of jail to begin with. [Applause] And finally – finally, if you address recidivism, if you make sure that the first time someone sees a jail cell is the last time then that era of mass incarceration can end. So, here’s what we’re doing. This is the last announcement I want to give you. We talked about this a few weeks ago. It’s so important. We’re saying the first day anyone – God forbid anyone ends up involved with the criminal justice but if they do, the very first day they end up in one of our jails a counselor is going to sit down with them and say, “We’re going to start planning right now for your re-entry to society.” Audience: Amen. Mayor: “And we’re going to make sure this is the last time you ever have a problem.” [Applause] We’re going to do something radical. We’re going to assume that some people ended up in jail because they weren’t given the tools to live a productive life to begin with. We’re going to give them that time. You know, just four years ago in this city, anyone in Rikers or the other jails got less than an hour a day of education or training even though they’re in a place where we have every opportunity to reach them and right the wrongs of the past. So, I have a new rule for this city. Anyone in our jails, every week day – five weekdays, every day – will get five hours of education and training every single day to prepare them for their future. [Applause] And the last piece of this plan, and it’s a very powerful one, if anyone is sentenced and serves time on Rikers – that means they did a minor crime in the scheme of things, that means they’re serving less than a year or up to a year – if they’re sentenced and they serve time on Rikers, we will guarantee at the end of their sentence that they will get a transitional job as soon as they walk out the doors of that jail. [Applause] Some have suggested – some critics have said that is “giving jobs to criminals.” I say, no. That is redeeming people who went astray and helping them to never be criminals again. [Applause] So, I’ll conclude by saying these are the changes we can and must make. Think about this for a moment. We are blessed in this time. A lot of what held us back in the past – the falsehoods, the divisions, the stereotypes – have been unmasked. A lot of truth has come out in the last few years. As our youth might say, a lot of people are now woke. [Laughter] And as we have seen what was wrong in the past, we are recognizing that we don’t have to live with mass incarceration. We don’t have to live with jails that dehumanize people. We actually can build a society where we get it right at the front of someone’s life, at the beginning when they have hope and possibility. Let’s fuel that hope and possibility, and make each young person great. It’s as simple as that. [Applause] And I thank you. This will be something we all do together ever. This will be something we all do together, everyone in this church, particularly for the young people in your life. It’s a chance to give them the value and respect that our society so often did not give them. It’s a chance to get it right and let this city be the beacon for this nation and for this world of how we uplift our young people, and create the society we should have created long, long ago. Thank you and God bless you all. [Applause] ###
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 11:40am
TRANSCRIPT: MAYOR DE BLASIO, BUILDING CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL LAUNCH FIRST NYC GREEN JOBS CORPS TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you. Thank you, everyone. Gary, thank you. I appreciate deeply the passion you spoke with because it’s Earth Day. Happy Earth Day, everyone. Earth Day is not something we’re just supposed to talk about, it’s something we’re supposed to take action about, it’s about something we’re supposed to be serious about. Earth Day is a day to remind all of us to our obligation to Mother Nature – that Mother Earth doesn’t take care of herself, we have to take care of her. And Gary just pointed out how this should be the thing that every working person thinks about – how do we protect this Earth for our children and grandchildren, and what role can we all play? The fact is that the very same requirement we have to protect our Earth also gives us a chance to create tremendous opportunity to create a huge number of good jobs, longterm jobs for people who need them. This a case where we have a challenge, but the challenge has a solution, and it’s a solution that also gives people a chance to make a good living. So, I want to say upfront, we have this visual that points out something crucial – 3,000 green jobs. This is just a beginning of addressing in this city the challenge of climate change. Well, even this first step we’re taking is going to produce 3,000 jobs and careers, as Gary said – an opportunity for people to learn skills and then apply them throughout their entire career. One thing we know for sure, and it’s a sad reality – climate change – this challenge is going to be with us for decades ahead. Addressing it is going to be an every-day thing, it’s going to be a part of everyone’s life, but that also means that the people who gain these skills are always going to be in demand, they’re always going to be needed. They’re going to have a chance to do good for the world around them, while also doing something great for their own family by earning a great living. So, this is a beginning that we celebrate today. And I also want to thank with us from our City government – two folks who have done tremendous work on addressing climate change, because climate change is a right-now issue, and we saw it, for example, when Superstorm Sandy hit this city. That was the result of climate change, let’s be clear. It’s not abstract to New Yorkers – we lived it, we felt it, the results were horrifying for so many families – lives lost, families uprooted, property destroyed. Luckily, our team in City Hall has been working ever since to address that horrible tragedy. I want to thank Amy Peterson, the Director of Housing and Recovery, who’s doing an outstanding job with union labor, getting people back on their feet. [Applause] And because we did not take Sandy lightly – we learned the lessons – we worked literally every day to be able to protect against the next challenge, and that’s where the good work of Dan Zarrilli, our Chief Resilience Officer, comes in. Thank you for all you do to protect New York City. [Applause] Finally, I want to say that a man who represents this district – Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer – also the majority leader in the City Council – I want to thank you personally. I know how much of an environmentalist you are. The City Council’s been there every step of the way when we’ve talked about things like retrofitting all of our city buildings. My friends, that’s not a minor matter. This is a huge city, a huge number of public buildings. We made a commitment that every single one of them would be retrofitted and soon. The City Council has been there every step of the way, making sure that’s going to happen. Let’s thank Jimmy Van Bramer. [Applause] So, I want to put this in perspective. The one thing I want to say upfront, you’re going to hear from Chris Erikson, our host, in just a moment. Thank you for hosting us in this extraordinary facility. This – by the way, if you want to see the future, this is where you can see it in New York City. This is what the future of our workforce looks like, what the future of training and educating people to be able to do this great work – it’s right here in this amazing facility. And I want to thank you, because I know this was a labor of love for you to create it. But while we’re celebrating the good here, your union is fighting a battle. And I just want to say publicly, as you deal with the problems at Charter Spectrum, I want to express my solidarity with the workers at IBEW and make very clear that City Hall has a strong interest in fairness and justice for working people, and we stand by you as you take on this fight. [Applause] Let me just say one more thing about Earth Day and what it means. You know, for a long time, there were a lot of people who thought, if you’re going to protect Mother Earth, you’re going to protect the environment, somehow that was not consistent with creating economic opportunity. That was considered the reality for a long time and a lot of people would say any effort to help the environment, a regulation is standing in the way of business, is standing in the way of creating jobs. Well, that was never the reality. That was a false choice, because the fact is we have no choice as human beings, as Americans, as New Yorkers, we have no choice but the protect the Earth and make sure it’s sustainable for the long run – that’s in everyone’s interest. And we have no choice but to make sure people have good jobs – that’s in everyone’s interest. We have to figure out how to make those pieces align, and here’s this example of 3,000 green jobs that says it all, because the way of the future is creating an economy that’s not only inclusive and gives everyone opportunity, but also makes sure that we have a healthy environment, and they can be done at the same time – fact. All of the things that create a better, more sustainable [inaudible] – retrofitting our buildings restoring wetlands and other parts of nature that were destroyed, recycling – all these things come with huge numbers of jobs. So, we have to flip the script and realize, in fact, a healthy environment can be the best way to create a strong economy with lots of opportunity. The building trades – I want to say to Gary, to Chris – you guys have been in the forefront. You’ve understood that that was a false choice in the past and we can do something that works for all pieces of the equation. You’ve taken the concept of Earth Day, you’ve put it into action every day, and I admire that, and I appreciate that. And look, this is a city with 1 million buildings. I mean, this is astounding. You know, every day, I’m always amazed about what we do in this city, what we have in this city. One million buildings – and unlike a lot of other places in the country, by far, the number-one source of pollution is those buildings. The emissions that come from those buildings are our biggest challenge. So, Gary’s right, we’re going to lead by example, we’re going to fix this with our public buildings, and we’re going to be very, very clear to those in the private sector that they have to get the job done too. They can’t stay on the side – that they have to get the job done too. [Applause] When you think about the fact that we’re not only leading by example, but we’re putting our money where our mouth is with this training. Because I don’t want hear anyone in the private sector saying we would love to be able to do that, if only there were trained workers. We’re going to make sure the trained workers are there. We’re going to make sure there are plenty of people to do the work. This first group, as Gary said, starting in July, the first group of 200 New Yorkers will get the training and they’ll be ready to go on this lifelong path having a great job and helping the Earth at the same time. We need them, because the goal we’ve set – and I had the honor a few years ago of addressing the United Nations, and when you stand at that podium in that great Assembly Hall, it’s very humbling. This is where the whole world comes together, and the world has come together to recognize the challenge of climate. And I said very clearly, the global standard is to reduce emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, and New York City will get there, plain as that. We are devoted to that goal and we will make sure we achieve that goal, because we have to, we have to for our children and grandchildren. Now, look, when I was there a few years ago I could not have foreseen certain political changes happening in this country. And I’ll just say this simply – and this is a day, as you know, there’s an amazing march happening today, standing up for the importance of real, accurate science in our society and for the facts that tell us about the danger of climate change. Last I checked, it’s as many as 30,000 people marching through the streets of Manhattan right now to make that point. Well, I’ll tell you something, the Trump administration may not believe in science, but, in New York City, we do believe in science. We know it matters. [Applause] And as with so many things, we’re not waiting on Washington DC. We’re taking charge of our own destiny here in New York City. We have to protect our people. We have to protect our environment. We’re going to do it ourselves, and we’re going to push with everything we’ve got to get Washington to catch up, because it has to be done. So, this is a day to celebrate progress. It’s only a beginning, my friends. There’s one thing we know about this fight – this is a fight for the future of our planet, for our families. We always have to go farther. We always have to go farther. But now, we’re going to have 3,000 frontline soldiers in that fight, making our communities cleaner, and healthier, and better. So, it’s a day to celebreate. And, with that, I want to thank the man who’s making sure this training will be the top-of-the-line – the business manager at Local 3 IBEW, Chris Erikson. ###
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 11:40am
Effort supports City’s OneNYC plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 & create 3,000 good-paying jobs NEW YORK—In celebration of Earth Day and to further bolster an emerging green economy, Mayor de Blasio and the Building Construction Trades Council (BCTC) announced an agreement to launch the first class of pre-apprenticeships available through the NYC Green Jobs Corps. The NYC Green Jobs Corps was first announced by the Mayor during his 2017 State of the City address. This new partnership with the BCTC and its members under the NYC Green Jobs Corps is necessary to deliver on the Mayor’s commitment to train 3,000 workers with new skills needed for the emerging green economy over the next three years. “This Earth Day, we’re making a statement: fighting climate change and creating good-paying jobs go hand-in-hand,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The NYC Green Jobs Corps will support the training of 3,000 workers who will be instrumental in making this a cleaner and better city. New Yorkers are working together to help realize our shared vision for a more sustainable, resilient and just city.” “This collaboration with the Mayor’s office will help provide New Yorkers with good paying jobs and middle-class opportunities in the construction trades industry," said Gary LaBarbera, President of the 100,000 member Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. "The NYC Green Jobs Corps builds on the Building Trades job training successes, such as the Construction Skills Program, and we look forward to working with the administration in offering greater opportunity to build a better and more sustainable city." New Yorkers can sign up through SBS Workforce1 to be screened for construction trade opportunities starting today. This initial phase of the program will identify the first two hundred candidates eligible for pre-apprentice classes taught this summer, following assessment and referral by SBS Workforce1. The City has committed to financially support these trainings through SBS. The New York City Green Jobs Corps is modeled after the successful Build It Back and Sandy Recovery Workforce1 efforts to engage New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Sandy in rebuilding their neighborhoods. In total, 1,400 Sandy-impacted New Yorkers received jobs through Build It Back and Sandy Recovery Workforce1. Build It Back has hired 950 Sandy impacted residents across the program at an average wage of $30 per hour. 22 percent of all tradespeople hired by the program are Sandy-impacted residents. Sandy Recovery Workforce1 has placed 450 people with employment, and among these individuals 135 people were placed with unions through a pre-apprenticeship program. Today’s announcement is an important first step in opening doors for New Yorkers to enter the building construction trades and access pathways to a good career. The NYC Green Jobs Corps will develop the workforce needed to meet the Mayor’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 (80 x 50). Among the biggest green job skill needs to meet this goal, is retrofitting the city’s one million buildings for greater energy efficiency. The City’s buildings, including municipal buildings, contribute approximately two-thirds of the city’s emissions. The City has previously announced up to $2.6 billion in work on municipal buildings retrofits. Earlier this week, as part of the lead up to Earth Day, Mayor de Blasio announced significant new progress on solar energy investments, new support for electric vehicles, cleanup of brownfields, and progress on the City’s OneNYC program, all of which demonstrate an expanded commitment to reaching 80 x 50, while creating a growing need for green job skills and to meet that demand, and will require continued partnership with BCTC. Recognizing that climate change is an existential threat for the city, and that we must meet goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, the NYC Green Jobs Corps is meant to provide the necessary apparatus to train New Yorkers who want to be part of a growing field, while helping deliver on the City’s ambitious OneNYC goals of creating a more just, more resilient, and more sustainable city. “Winning the fight against climate change will require an equally important effort to bring more New Yorkers into the green economy, creating pathways to good-paying construction jobs,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director of Climate Policy & Programs and Chief Resilience Officer in the NYC Mayor’s Office. “Today, we’re thrilled to take the next step in that effort by launching the first phase of our NYC Green Jobs Corps. In partnership with the Building Construction Trades Council, we will train New Yorkers starting this summer to participate in the transformation of our buildings to a low-carbon future. These opportunities can change lives – part of Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC program to build a stronger and more just city." “By employing jobseekers citywide, we can achieve Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious goal to reduce the city’s emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. “We’re opening doors for New Yorkers to learn new skills and join a growing economy here in New York City.” “Rising sea levels and a changing climate will threaten New York City’s future if we don’t act now to build more resilient communities and reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “We are thrilled to partner with BCTC to create this direct pathway for New Yorkers to gain training and opportunities to participate in the next generation of green jobs, and help us deliver on our ambitious OneNYC goals.” "The NYC Green Job Corps is a critical step that will help industry build capacity and pivot towards the shared vision of a sustainable, thriving and just city," said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. "As we work to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect New York City from a changing climate, we must also build a bold, new workforce to meet this great challenge.” “The job training Sandy-impacted residents received through Build It Back and Sandy Recovery Workforce1 transforms lives. Hundreds of New Yorkers now enjoy higher wages and medical benefits they didn’t have before. With the launch of the Green Jobs Corps, thousands more will gain access to good jobs while helping to reduce our carbon footprint and make our air cleaner,” said Amy Peterson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations. “The Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development is excited to collaborate in launching the Green Jobs Corps. As part of WKDEV’s mission to connect Economic Development to local jobseekers, Green Jobs Corps offers an opportunity for New Yorkers to be trained for good paying jobs in the green economy while creating pathways into the trades,” said Barbara Chang, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development. “What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to take real steps forward that create good-paying jobs and help combat the real threat of climate change to our city,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “For the sake of our children and future generations, we have an important responsibility to make our city’s buildings and infrastructure more energy efficient and to do all we can to lower toxic emissions that drive global warming. Today in Long Island City with the announcement of the first phrase of the Green Jobs Corps, we begin to build a trained workforce that will help us realize a more sustainable city.” “This new initiative is a first of its kind and national model that will put NYC in the forefront of meeting the highest of environmental standards, creating new good jobs for New Yorkers and save taxpayers money by reducing construction costs all at the same time,” said Louis Coletti, Building Trades Employers' Association of New York City. “Construction Skills is proud of its proven record of successfully preparing New York City public high school seniors for direct entry into unionized apprenticeship programs. Now, with the City’s investment in the Green Jobs Corps, our program will expand to provide our apprenticeship readiness training and direct entry access to adult residents. We are honored to be a part of this initiative and look forward to working with the City to provide meaningful, high-wage career opportunities in the unionized construction industry to these residents,” said Nicole Bertran, Executive Vice President of The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills. Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) is thrilled to support the Green Job Corps Initiative, which promises an opportunity not just to make New York City more sustainable, but also to bolster the economic prospects of women across our City. NEW will provide training for these well-paying green careers, transforming women’s lives and the lives of their families through meaningful work that provides equitable wages in the industries that build, move, power, and of course, green, New York,” said Kathleen Culhane, President, Nontraditional Employment for Women. ###
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 11:40am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: We’ve come here to address the absolutely outrageous statement today by the United States Department of Justice. And I want to say at the outset, this is statement by the Department of Justice – therefore, it’s a statement by the Trump administration. And President Trump and Attorney General Sessions have to make a decision immediately about this statement, because it has denigrated not only the people of New York City, but the men and women of the NYPD. It’s unacceptable, it’s outrageous, and it’s absurd. The notion of calling this city and our Police Department “soft on crime” is unacceptable on its face and flies in the face of everything we have seen over the last quarter-century in this city. Unknown: [Inaudible] Mayor: That would help. So, you want me to start all over? Unknown: Yeah. Mayor: Okay, I can do that. Everyone good now? I’ll do it again. Again, let me say – does this guy need a minute? Hold on. Peter, tell me when. Good? Okay. Again, the reason we’re here is to respond to the statement that was released a short while ago by the United States Department of Justice. And I want to say at the outset, that makes it a statement on behalf of Attorney General Sessions and a statement on behalf of President Trump, and they need to decided immediately whether they are accepting and agreeing with that statement. And I’m telling you right now, it is an unacceptable statement that denigrates the people of New York City and the men and women of the NYPD. It is an outrageous statement, and it’s absurd on its face, and ignores a quarter-century of progress in this city in bringing down crime. We did not become the safest big city in America by being “soft on crime.” I’ve never met a member of the NYPD who is soft on crime. This good police commissioner is not soft on crime. This is an insult, this statement, and it suggests that everything that’s been achieved didn’t happen. We just had the safest three months in the history of New York City – that did not happen by being soft on crime, it happened by implementing precision policing, neighborhood policing, new strategies for working with communities and training our officers better, giving them better technology. It had nothing to do with this allegation. And it just shows how out of touch this administration is with what’s happening on the ground in this city. Look, the results speak for themselves. We’ve shown you month after month how crime is going down – that’s seems to have reached everywhere but Washington DC. But now, it’s a moment for Attorney General Sessions and President Trump to decide if this is a statement they’re really saying to the NYPD and to the people of New York City. Is this is a statement they’re saying to all of our law enforcement partners who have been part of the process of diving down crime? Attorney General Sessions is supposed to be the leading law enforcement official in America. Why would he insult the men and women who do this work every day, who put their lives on the line, and who have achieved so much? I would say to President Trump and to Attorney General Sessions, if you believe this statement is accurate, come here to New York City, look police officers in the eye and tell them that you believe they are soft on crime. See how that feels and see what the people of New York City will feel about that. This absurd statement needs to be renounced immediately. There’s no resembles to what’s happening in this city, and I want to express my thanks to the men and women of the NYPD for what they have achieved in making this the safest big city in America. A few sentences in Spanish – [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that, I want to turn to our Police Commissioner, Jimmy O’Neill. Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Good evening, everyone. So, I like to think of myself as a pretty calm and measured person, and I think most of the time I present myself that way, but when I read that statement by DOJ this afternoon, my blood began to boil. I’ve been lucky enough to be a cop in this city for 35 – almost 35 years. I’ve seen the hard work that’s done every day by the 36,000 men and women that go out there, and patrol the streets, and keep it safe. Just take a look at the numbers – since 1993, murders down 82 percent; shootings down 81 percent; overall crime is down 76 percent. In 2017, murders were down – 11 murders, again; shootings are down – 41; and overall crime was down 5.4 percent. To say we’re soft on crime is absolutely ludicrous. Maybe we should ask the – in 2016, we locked up over 1,000 people in 100 gang takedowns. Most of them are still awaiting sentences who are still in jail – maybe we should ask them if we’re soft on crime. That’s really – this is really insulting. Look at the hard work of not only NYPD – and I talk about – it’s not just the NYPD that keeps this city safe. What about the federal agencies? What about the FBI? The ATF? The DEA? The US Marshal Service – the hard work that they do every day. The southern district, the eastern district – all five local district attorneys, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the community that works so hard to keep this city safe, the violence interruptors. Now, this is not just about the NYPD, this is about the city. And to [inaudible] state that we’re soft on crime, it’s incredibly insulting. I talk about this all the time too – every cop knows why him or her took this job. And we took this job to do good, to make a difference, and to keep this city safe – and look at the city in 2017. It didn’t happen by accident, it was a tremendous amount of sacrifice. Cops are hurt every day. Cops are killed in the line of duty. This is insulting to the memory of Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo, Randolph Holder, Brian Moore, Joe Liu, Rafael Ramos. I find this statement to be absolutely outrageous. Thank you. Mayor: Thank you, everyone. ###
Friday, April 21, 2017 - 5:10pm
Brian Lehrer: We begin with our Friday Ask the Mayor segment. And we begin that today with public health and public safety with the Mayor’s proposal to make New York City the most expensive place in the U.S. to buy cigarettes. We’ll talk about safety at Penn Station after last week’s false alarm security scare there, and new questions about the exclusion rule in public housing. People who have committed many kinds of crimes can’t live or even visit there anymore. Should that now be softened? Mr. Mayor, welcome back to WNYC. Mayor Bill de Blasio: Why thank you, Brian. Lehrer: And listeners, that will be our broad topic for today – anything you want to ask the Mayor about public health or public safety in New York City, 2-1-2-4-3-3-WNYC, 4-3-3-9-6-9-2. Anyone in public housing have an opinion about whether people who have committed certain crimes should be permitted – should be permanently banned from the premises, and want to tell the Mayor your opinion about that? 2-1-2-4-3-3-WNYC. Anyone want to see something – say something, ask something about security at Penn Station, who likes or doesn’t like the idea of a $13 pack of cigarettes, or with a question about that. 2-1-2-4-3-3-9-6-9-2. Public health and public safety questions for the Mayor today. 2-1-2-4-3-3-9-6-9-2. So, Mr. Mayor, as you know, the mass panic at Penn Station last Friday night after false reports of gunfire highlighted Amtrak’s role in running security there. And as WNYC’s Stephen Nessen reports on Morning Edition today, Amtrak Police say they’re understaffed, under equipped, and undertrained to handle such incidents. The head of their union says only five Amtrak police officers are on patrol at any time for all of Penn Station. My understanding from the report is that if there is a major event like a terrorist attack, Amtrak Police would be responsible for coordinating the activities of MTA Police, NYPD, the Fire Department, State Police, the National Guard, maybe more – all under Amtrak Police’s wing. And according to the report, Amtrak hasn’t bought radios that can access emergency responder radio frequencies – a frightening echo of one of the problems on 9/11. And it has an outdated video surveillance system that can’t feed live shots during an emergency. And my question is – and forgive me it’s three parts – have you been thoroughly briefed on this issue, is all of what I quoted consistent with your understanding, and do you have confidence that Amtrak Police are capable of managing security at Penn Station? Mayor: So, first of all, I appreciate the reporting that WNYC has done on this because I think it’s focusing on an important issue which is there are areas that are not solely under the jurisdiction of the NYPD. Train stations, in this case Amtrak, has part of it. MTA has jurisdiction, obviously, in other parts. The airports. There are areas where NYPD is not the only security force. Where NYPD is the only security force, I have absolutely confidence. We now have added 2,000 officers. We have 36,000 total officers. We have 500-plus additional counter-terror officers in the Critical Response Command. Those situations where we run all aspects of security, I have total confidence in. But it’s an important question – where there’s a partnership, how does that work? And we’re going to look carefully at that. I have gotten some time-to-time briefings on the situation at Penn Station but not a holistic briefing on our relationship with the Amtrak police and this will certainly cause me to ask more questions. And I’m concerned about staffing levels, radio frequencies, all of those issues. I’ll talk to Commissioner O’Neill about that today. NYPD always stands ready to come in and reinforce in any situation or play whatever role is needed. But I think the larger point here is that all elements of the security partnership whether it’s federal, State, Port Authority, Amtrak, you name it – have to step up the way we’ve been stepping up. We’ve obviously put a lot more resources into this because of the world we’re living in today. And we all have to work better at partnership after the very unfortunate incident at JFK a few months back. There was a good effort for more drilling, more coordination between NYPD and Port Authority Police out there. We’re going to have to do a lot more of that to make sure we’re ready for anything. Lehrer: Is Amtrak’s Police Department the right agency to be in charge of security at Penn Station. Maybe the NYPD should take it over? Mayor: Look, again, we believe we have the highest standards of – and with absolute and total respect for all the other police forces – the gold standard is the NYPD. We believe we have the highest standards of security, the highest standards in terms of fighting terror. We’ll work with anyone on joint plans, on making sure the staffing is correct, etcetera. So, that’s a conversation we would certainly have with Amtrak of how can assist because we need to make sure things work well – Lehrer: But that’s still assistance – Mayor: And MTA police have a role there, too, as I said. Lehrer: That’s still assisting. Should the NYPD – should you consider proposing the NYPD actually being the lead agency considering their extreme incompetence probably relative to these others? Mayor: I don’t think that’s the right way to work in a partnership. I think the right way is to say here’s what’s needed, how do we figure out together, and then we can decide was division of labor makes sense. Lehrer: Last thing on this – the Governor’s Office says Amtrak Police, MTA Police, State Police, and the National Guard met this week to discuss how to improve security at Penn Station going forward. Have you been briefed on that meeting and any details for improvement that may have emerged? Mayor: No, I have a weekly meeting with Commissioner O’Neill where I’m sure this type of thing will be covered and obviously based on your reporting I’m going to ask some additional questions, which I appreciate. But we stand ready always and any place where there are multiple police agencies, we’re always ready to play the role that would be most helpful. And we are – there has been a lot more coordination. This is a very, very important point. Compared to four, five years ago – and this was a point of contention unfortunately in the previous administration – there weren’t great relationships with our federal partners particularly FBI. There weren’t always great relationships with State Police forces in New York and New Jersey. I think, first Commissioner Bratton and then Commissioner O’Neill, did a lot to change that, and to get people much more on the same page and into an atmosphere of mutual respect. We value that a lot. But we are always ready to be part of any joint planning and always ready to do what it takes to make sure things are safe. Lehrer: Cigarettes, Mr. Mayor. You want to raise the floor price of a pack from $10.50 to $13, if I’m reading this right, to make cigarettes more expensive here than anywhere. Is that accurate? Is that through a tax hike? Mayor: It is accurate. That’s the price. It would go up to $13. It’s not a tax hike. Obviously, we’ve talked many times about the fact that I wish the City of New York controlled its own taxation policy. We would handle things very differently if we did. Taxes have to be approved with a very few exceptions in Albany. Now, this is a price setting that we have the authority to do. And what’s been proven over years is as you increase the price, people smoke less. It’s as simple as that. It’s a pretty blunt instrument to get the job done but when you’re talking about something that will save lives it’s worthwhile. So, we know this is a tool that works and that’s a very intense increase. And from everything our Health Department knows – our Health Department has been really the gold standard on this one, and great work during the Bloomberg administration and great work since to reduce smoking. We’re at the all-time low of smoking in this city but we have to go even lower. We know price – price affects everything in human behavior and we think it particularly affects people’s choice of whether to smoke or not. Lehrer: I read that the city is down to just 14 percent of the people who smoke which is quite impressive and how different from a few decades ago but do you have an inequality problem here? Is the road to public health to make a product more inaccessible to poor people? Mayor: I’ll say a couple things. Yes, we are down to about 14 percent of our population smoking but we want to get down to 12 percent over just the next few years. Our goal is to reduce the number of people smoking by 160,000 by 2020. It’s an aggressive goal but it’s one that we believe that a package of measures will help us achieve. We’re working very closely with the City Council. It’s not just this increase in the price of a pack, it’s also the fact that we’re going to regulate e-cigarettes, it’s we’re going to ban cigarette sales in pharmacies. There’s a whole host of things in this package. So, yeah, this is what we need to do. We’re convinced. And our Health Department really led the way in terms of a lot of the great policies around the country that have reduced smoking. You’ll remember when Michael Bloomberg first proposed the ban on smoking in restaurants and bars, you remember the extraordinary uproar, and people said it would destroy their businesses, or one thing or the other. I’m proud to say I was one of the folks who first signed onto that legislation when I was Council member. And of course, what we’ve seen is not only did it not hurt business, it probably helped business and it made people a lot healthier. So, you’ve got to do, in many cases, very bold things to change public health realities. And yeah, it’s going to cost people money if they want to keep smoking. And we know that as one of the things that really discourages people. But remember we also provide free support to anyone who wants to stop smoking. You’ve seen all the advertisements. A lot of resources are going into the public service ads and everything we do online to tell people that they can quit and we’ll help them quit, and we’ll provide the support and the resources to help them quit. Anyone who wants to quit just needs to call 3-1-1 and we’ll get them the help they need. So, I don’t think we need to see this through any lens but how do we save lives and how do we save families from going through the agony of the diseases that come from smoking. Lehrer: One more question on this before we move on – is there a risk of just increasing the black market and the risks of the black market? Eric Garner – I don’t have to tell you – died after repeated police contact following his repeated selling of loosies. Mayor: I understand the question but I think the question ignores the larger realities we’ve seen for years and years. The other policies, whether it’s raising the price or banning sales or banning where you can smoke – all of that is changing behavior. Of course there’s a black market out there. We’re doing a lot to enforce against that black market. Much more important than the sale loosies is going to the source of the folks who are importing in cigarettes illegally from other states without taxation, and obviously selling them at a lower rate. That’s where the enforcement is. The enforcement is at stores that traffic in illegal cigarettes. That’s where the problem is. That’s where the enforcement is and we’re going to be increasing that enforcement. But no the bottom line is this is a behavior question. Some people buying loosies is not good but it’s not the core of the problem. If we change behavior – look, federal government’s decided that smoking will be banned in public housing. You know we have legislation in this package that will require all private housing to post their rules for smoking. We know that’s going to encourage a number of residential buildings to go no-smoking, to make that their policy. That’s not smoking in public areas, no smoking in apartments, and people then have a choice. Do you want to live in a no-smoking building just the way you can go – if you go to a hotel there are no-smoking hotels. This is a long term effort to fundamentally change behavior and improve public health. Again, the human cost is – we know what smoking has done to people over decades and decades. We know how horrible the human cost is. The cost to the taxpayers is also intense as well. When people get sick, so much of that burden ends up falling on the public sector. We have a moral and practical reason why this is the right way to go. And one other thing, the tobacco industry, of course, has been extremely deceptive in everything they do over years and years. Now, they’re trying to get people back onto traditional smoking via e-cigarettes. So, we showed some ads at the press conference the other day. They look exactly like the ads from the 1960s trying to push every button that e-cigarettes are cool. E-cigarettes are increasingly – those companies are increasingly being bought and owned by the major tobacco companies, and they’re using e-cigarettes as a gateway to smoking traditional cigarettes and hooking a whole new generation. And this is another reason why we have to very aggressively fight this trend. Lehrer: Now to your calls – anything having to do with public health or public safety in New York City for the Mayor today. [Inaudible] you’re on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hello, [inaudible]. Question: Hi, good morning, Mr. Mayor and Brian. My question – I live in Crown Heights and I am basically feet away from the shelter that Mr. Mayor and DHS want to open up. My question is why do we have 1,700 beds, and Park Slope – his community – only has 330? I myself have sons and I want the same opportunities that his son Dante has. And I’m sure that the Mayor wouldn’t raise his son around [inaudible] shelters. The homeless people definitely have a crisis by why do we continue to perpetuate the tale of two cities by having homeless shelters in black, minority, low-income communities? We need – Mayor: Okay. Question: We need permanent housing. We don’t need shelters. Lehrer: Is it a – I just want to ask who you are. Are you asking because you believe – and within the context of what we’re talking about today – because you believe this is a public safety risk for your kids? Question: Well, it’s not only a public safety risk, it’s a matter of we are lacking resources here whereas Park Slope has more resources. We have one hospital which is – every few months it’s standing on it’s last legs and it’s in a crisis and it’s almost closing. Our pantries are oversaturated. We have pantry workers which we have spoken to and unfortunately they have to give smaller portions to people because they’re running out of food. There is a crisis here and Crown Heights is shouldering most of burden. And it’s unfair to continue to come back to Crown Heights and have us, you know, shoulder the burden of an entire city – Lehrer: Thank you, and let me get your response now. Mr. Mayor, go ahead. Mayor: [Inaudible] I understand what you’re saying but I’m going to disagree with you on some of the key facts. We’ve done so many things to address the tale of two cities, and I won’t go into a whole litany but look across what we’ve done to make educational opportunities available, affordable housing opportunities available, jobs available, that’s how you go at the tale of cities. That’s what we’ve been doing in Crown Heights and communities all over the city. In my community, there is, I guess it’s about four blocks from my house, a homeless shelter on 8th Avenue. A longer walk from my house, down the slope, there is a waste-transfer facility which I voted for when I was in the City Council. It’s been written about recently – the Hamilton Avenue facility. Every community has to be part of the solution. In fact, the community board I come from – Community Board 6 in Brooklyn – under our plan will see an increase in homeless shelter capacity to align to the number of people who come from the community board who are in our shelter system. Our plan here is quite straightforward. We want to end decades of a broken policy of folks who were homeless being sent all over the city, being cut off from their roots, from their child’s school, from their house of worship, from their family, from their friends. We want to help people get out of homelessness. So, our plan is simple – Lehrer: Let me jump in and ask a follow up question. Is there a dilemma here between wanting to put the shelters proportionally in the neighborhoods where the homeless people come from which sounds like a good idea and on the other hand that that overburdens communities that are poor with unwanted public facilities which is a bad idea? Mayor: “Unwanted public facilities” is the problem in that sentence, Brian. It’s a perfectly good question but if it’s your neighbors, if it’s people from your community who overwhelmingly nowadays are dealing with an economic crisis – you know homelessness used to be primarily about mental challenges, substance abuse challenges, now it’s an economic crisis – working people who can’t afford the rent even if they have a job. This is a different reality and it’s time to end what I think was a very broken policy anyway – a crisis oriented policy in the past of sending people all over the city, constantly changing where they were, making more and more rootless with every move. No, I’ll challenge [inaudible] assumptions head on. These are her neighbors we’re talking about who are going to live in that facility. These are people who fell on hard times. We’re trying to help pick them up and get them out of the facility and into permanent housing. But being in your own community is the best way to do it. If they’re unwanted then that’s a moral question – how can people feel that their very own neighbors and people who grew up or have lived next to me for a long time are “unwanted.” I reject that – Lehrer: In this case I want to go back – Mayor: [Inaudible] Lehrer: I’m sorry. I was just going to say – in this case let me go back to the caller and ask [inaudible] for her reaction to that idea. If the Mayor is right, [inaudible], and the residents of the proposed shelters for Crown Heights are basically Crown Heights residents because Crown Heights disproportionately has people who are subject to homelessness – does that make it a good thing and you shouldn’t be wanting to send your own homeless residents off? Question: Where is the data that these people are actually coming from Community Board 8 or Crown Heights? We haven’t been presented with any type of data suggesting that the people that we are currently housing or will house in the future come from our community. And as far as I’m concerned – and Crown Heights is having such a dilemma in homelessness – so is it fair for us to continue. Park Slope is just two-and-a-half miles away. I walk to Park Slope. So, is this a matter of – why can’t Park Slope house more? Bensonhurst has zero beds. It’s becoming very challenging for Crown Heights and its lack of resources to continue to be overburdened – Lehrer: [Inaudible] I’m going to leave it there, Mr. Mayor is there data? Mayor: [Inaudible] again, I’m happy to debate with [inaudible]. She doesn’t know her facts. [Inaudible] We’ve been very clear with people about the fact that people in the new shelter plan come from the community board and the surrounding area. It’s very easily proven. We’re happy to prove it. And bluntly, opponents love all over the city to through down this card – oh, they’re really not from the community. Yes they are from the community. We know exactly how many people are from each community, and it’s just a smoke screen. You know, people should step up and recognize that we have to serve people in need and why would we take people who fall on hard times away from their own community. Why would we take their children away from the school they go to? Think about this for a moment. There’s been rightful outrage when we have families shunted all over the city, and children have to go a whole borough away, two boroughs away to school. We finally addressed that by putting in school bus service for those kids in shelter. But why should it even be that way? The whole concept was wrong for years. We should be moving families to a place where they can continue their lives on the way back to getting out of shelter. The other thing is our plan reduces a number of shelter facilities in the very same communities by closing the various facilities that are called clusters that are often not the best quality housing. So we’re going to be closing those; closing the use of hotels that we pay by the day. So the plan overall reduces facilities in a lot communities that have been overburdened. But we put together newer, better facilities so people can be treated decently in their home community, on the way to getting out of shelter. And the goal of course ultimately is to compress the shelter system and reduce it year by year as we address the challenge of homelessness. Lehrer: Theodore, thank you very much for calling in. Here’s a follow up on the cigarette proposal from Trey in the Bronx. Trey, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor, hello. Question: Good morning. Good morning, Mr. Mayor, good morning Brian. I am really distressed at hearing what you’re saying Mr. Mayor. Unless you guys are going to make cigarettes illegal, which you know, you lawmakers have the right to push through any laws you want, but at this time cigarettes are legal. Just like alcohol is legal, just like eating a donut is legal. And donuts and cheeseburgers have done just as much health harm to individuals as smoking a cigarette. So I don’t see you out there with a big sign saying Dunkin Donuts must close, McDonalds must close, Burger King must close. I’m grown. I pay my taxes. If I choose to smoke a cigarette, I should not have to break my bank account because I’m on a tight budget because I want to smoke a cigarette as a grown adult. And for you to turn into Mayor Bloomberg, which is what you’re doing right now, and say you know what, you people don’t need all this sugar, I’m going to cut out sodas. You know, doing that, why don’t you do that as well? So [inaudible] being miserable and go kill ourselves, because if the only joy in a person’s life is smoking a cigarette when they get off of work after a hard day, who are you to take that away? Lehrer: Mr. Mayor? Mayor: Trey, no one’s going to accuse me of turning into Michael Bloomberg on a whole host of levels. But I’ll be very clear, I’ve said more times than I can count that I agreed with his approach to public health in general. I agreed to his approach to addressing smoking, that’s why I was one of the original sponsors of the smoking ban in bars and restaurants. I agreed with the notion of limiting the available – availability of soda in a lot of different types of fast food restaurants and getting rid of those huge drinks that were poisoning and are poisoning our kids. I agree with putting sodium counts up so people can see what fast food is doing to them, and I’m very comfortable with this policy. Look, personally as I said at the press conference the other day, I had a very personal experience seeing my father smoke two packs a day and end up paying for it in every conceivable way in terms of emphysema and lung disease, and I saw his decline over years and years. And I’ve seen it in so many other families. And it’s a very painful, horrible thing. So you can say, oh you know, it’s okay, we’re in America, we have a right to do something horrible to ourselves, that’s not my interpretation. My interpretation is public – the public requires us to do everything we can do protect public health in general. To protect the citizens of this society in general. To protect the tax payers who are going to end up having to deal with these crises as people’s health falls apart and families fall apart. Of course we don’t have the right to ban the use of certain things in the society – we do ban some things. We ban illegal drugs. We don’t ban smoking, you’re right. We don’t ban cheeseburgers, you’re right. But since a ban is not in the [inaudible] we use every other tool we have to make it harder and harder for people to smoke. And bluntly, the policies so far have helped to bring smoking down to the lowest level ever. And that’s good for public health. So I’m not – I don’t buy this as an individual rights question, I think this is a public health question. Lehrer: Here’s a follow up question on Penn Station that came in via Twitter, and listeners you can always submit your questions for Ask the Mayor via Twitter as well at Brian Lehrer, use the hashtag #AsktheMayor. And this listener writes: Amtrak police look like Marines. Is it necessary to militarize transit security? Mayor: My broad view is when it’s necessary, it’s necessary. Meaning – and you see this with our critical response command and our strategic response group, emergency services unit, all the specialized units we have in the NYPD, you know, when they need to have heavier weapons and heavier gear, they have it. And when there’s a particular alert on for certain targets, or when it’s in areas we know are consistently major targets for terrorism, sure we’re going to have that very visible and intensive presence, that’s part of warding off an attack. It’s a proven approach to stop attacks from happening. It’s not something you’ll see everywhere, but it’s something you’ll see where – certainly the case in NYPD, where we deem it to be strategically necessary. And I’ll tell you, I’ve talked to lots of New Yorkers who certainly, you know, when they see it one part of them might feel uncomfortable because it’s a signal of the times we’re living in, and some of the challenges we face. But the vast majority of New Yorkers I’ve talked to are reassured to see a strong presence and know it’s not there accidentally; it’s there in a targeted manner. So you know, where Amtrak deems it necessary obviously, Penn Station – biggest train station in the country, I’m with them that that’s the right way to do it. Lehrer: I want to raise one other issue that’s in the news, and it’s that – I’m told there will be a public hearing on Monday about NYCHA’s resident exclusion policy and visitor exclusion policy. People convicted of certain crimes are not allowed to live in public housing, as you know, according to federal regulations. But WNYC’s Sarah Gonzales reported today on how NYCHA has been experimenting with allowing more of those people to stay at the same time the Department of Investigation issued a report criticizing NYCHA for failing to evict residents they considered to be serious criminals or those who allow criminals to visit. And I’m told that today NYCHA is releasing a new application for those 5,000 people who are currently barred from visiting their families so they can apply as individuals to get off the list. What’s your position on how tight or how loose that exclusionary rule should be? Mayor: I think, Brian, it has to be strategic. And we’re continuing to deepen the strategy. And I’ll explain what I mean by that. The fact is for years and years it was way too loose, and it wasn’t defined, and there wasn’t proper coordination between NYCHA and the NYPD. And we’ve seen the horrible consequences of that reality. What we’ve said is we’ve got to have a clear ability to exclude someone if they present an ongoing threat. There’s two – there’s two different categories here, there are people who committed a crime, serve their time and are assessed to no longer be a threat to their community, and like everything else we’ve talked to – talked about in terms of criminal justice reform, we have to understand the value of someone having paid their debt to society and being able to go back to live a productive life. There are a lot of people in that category. There’s other people for example, if they maintain a connection to criminal organizations or gangs, if they continue to engage in criminal activity, who invalidate that assumption and can be safely assumed to be a threat to their neighbors. Those folks should not be in public housing. So we’re trying to perfect knowing the difference in each case, and acting in real time on that difference, but that takes a hard level of coordination of NYPD and NYCHA, that we’ve been perfecting. At it also takes due process, it’s not something you can always do at the snap of a finger, we have to do it properly and legally. But there – I think it’s – you can see that those are two different concepts: folks who present, not a danger from the past that has been addressed and resolved, but folks who present a current, present danger, we need to get them out of NYCHA. Lehrer: In private housing, even criminals unless they’re incarnated can visit their families, should government housing be different? Mayor: Again, if someone has paid their debt to society and is no longer a threat, that’s part of what I think we’re saying, is that we want on many, many levels, we want folks who come out of incarceration to be integrated back into society fully, to have their rights, to be productive, to have employment. We’ve done a lot in this city to reduce mass incarceration but also to help people coming out of incarceration whether it’s, you know, ending the practice of asking in employment with the city, their past status in terms of incarceration or obviously what we’re doing now in our jail system, providing folks with reentry support from the very beginning of their time in jail, providing folks who are sentenced and serve time on Rikers with a transitional job coming right out of jail. We want to get people back on the right track. That’s a lot of people, but there’s a different group of people, who have served time and then continue to engage in criminal activity that is documented. Those folks present a danger to their neighbors, so that’s where you draw that line. Lehrer: And with that, Mr. Mayor, we’re out of time. I appreciate it, as always, and we’ll talk to you next Friday. Mayor: Thanks a lot, Brian.
Friday, April 21, 2017 - 5:10pm
99% of OneNYC initiatives underway; City has made tremendous progress towards a more just, equitable, sustainable and resilient New York NEW YORK – In April 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio released One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City, a groundbreaking strategic plan for inclusive and sustainable growth. OneNYC took stock of New York’s most significant challenges—population growth, aging infrastructure, increasing inequality, and climate change—and released a ground-breaking blueprint for tackling these challenges head on. The OneNYC Progress Report can be found online here . “Numbers don’t lie. New York City is thriving – jobs are up, crime is down, and our air and waterways are cleaner than they’ve been in decades. But the work of building a more just, resilient and sustainable city is a constant work in progress. It takes leadership and requires the active participation of 8.5 million New Yorkers who make this city their home. The challenges we face, like extreme weather, climate change and income inequality, are inextricably linked. The solutions outlined by the OneNYC plan recognize the connection between economic and environmental sustainability, so we can realize our shared vision of a city that works for all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. OneNYC was developed in 2015 in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, and was the first global resilience strategy to be released by any city. New York City is thrilled to continue its partnership with 100RC and looks forward to hosting the global resilience summit here in New York City later this summer. OneNYC is premised on four visions for the city, each including bold goals, specific initiatives, and detailed metrics and indicators to address the significant social, economic and environmental challenges ahead: * Vision One: Our Growing, Thriving City - New York City will continue to be the world’s most dynamic urban economy where families, businesses and neighborhoods thrive. * Vision Two: Our Just and Equitable City - New York City will have an inclusive, equitable economy that offers well-paying jobs and opportunities for all New Yorkers to live with dignity and security. * Vision Three: Our Sustainable City – OneNYC will ensure that New York City is the most sustainable big city in the world and a global leader in the fight against climate change. * Vision Four: Our Resilient City – OneNYC will ensure that our neighborhoods, economy and public services are ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change and other 21st century threats. Since 2015, the City has made significant progress toward OneNYC’s goals. In fact, over 99 percent of OneNYC’s 202 initiatives are already underway. Below is a brief rundown of progress over the last year. Full details on all OneNYC goals, initiatives, and metrics can be found in the OneNYC Progress Report, available here . The OneNYC interactive website is available at nyc.gov/OneNYC. This progress report includes milestones for each of its active initiatives, as well as those carried over from prior sustainability and resiliency plans. The City will continue to update the public throughout the year on progress in delivering on OneNYC commitments. VISION 1: Our Growing, Thriving City * We have seen record job and wage growth, with gains in all five boroughs. * Affordable housing in 2016 hit a 25-year high, with over 62,500 homes financed since 2014 * The first new NYC Ferry route to Rockaway will launch on May 1st, a full month ahead of schedule. Routes to Astoria and South Brooklyn will launch this summer. * Added 3 new Select Bus Service routes, and 80 miles of bike lanes, including 18 miles of protected lanes VISION 2: Our Just and Equitable City * Universal Pre-K is now serving 69, 510 children in its third year. * In 2016 Vision Zero helped achieve the fewest traffic fatalities ever recorded, improving on the record set in 2015. * The rising minimum wage, passed after OneNYC was published and at $11 in 2017, is lifting an estimated 281,000 New Yorkers out of poverty or near poverty, toward the City’s 800,000 goal. * The City’s jail population has fallen to the lowest in decades alongside record low crime rates. VISION 3: Our Sustainable City * Annual greenhouse gas emissions are down 14%. * The city now has over 100 megawatts of renewable solar energy installed. * Approaching 1,000 electric vehicles in use by City agencies. * Over 1 million New Yorkers are served by organics collection. * Launched the first 100 Zero Waste Schools, reaching nearly 500,000 public school students. * Over 500 brownfields have been remediated so far, hitting the OneNYC goal a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule. * Re-Fashion and e-cycle programs each diverted 10 million pounds of material VISION 4: Our Resilient City * The city secured a ground-breaking commitment to redraw our flood maps to better account for current and future flood risk, saving New Yorkers millions of dollars and better preparing our coastal communities for the future. * And major project milestones continue to be met across the City’s over $20 billion resiliency program, including completion of the Sea Gate t-groins and groundbreakings for resiliency investments as part of $3 billion NYCHA program. "The Mayor has made a more just, sustainable, and resilient New York a central goal of our Administration and this shows how far we’ve come,” said First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris. “While there is still more work to do, our agencies have clearly made extraordinary progress, and we all look forward to continuing to build a better and stronger New York." "Our progress toward OneNYC goals makes clear that this Administration's comprehensive plan for equity and sustainability is changing outcomes on the ground in New York City for the better. We envision a thriving, equitable, sustainable and resilient City in which every New Yorker from every neighborhood and every background can prosper and reach their full potential. This two-year progress report signals that we are taking big leaps in the right direction," said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “Climate change presents major challenges for our city – but also new opportunities to protect the public’s health,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “This administration has prioritized improving health equity for all New Yorkers, and the OneNYC vision recognizes that improving our city must begin with improving the lives of those most in need.” "Two years ago, New York City laid out a bold strategy in OneNYC for building a stronger and more just city. Today, we celebrate our successes and recognize the progress we’ve made in advancing toward our goals," said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the NYC Mayor's Office. "Our air and water are cleaner. Our streets are safer. Our economy is stronger and working for more New Yorkers. And our city continues to lead in the fight against climate change. These achievements don’t happen by accident. They are the result of effective community engagement and active leadership. There is of course more to do and we reaffirm our commitment to achieving our goals and we continue to build a strong and just city.” "The OneNYC plan demonstrates how government can create a clear vision for an equitable, resilient and sustainable future that is supported by careful monitoring and transparent reporting of every individual initiative," said Mindy Tarlow, Director of the Mayor's Office of Operations. "OneNYC's significant progress is a testament to this balance of vision and execution." City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago said, “City Planning is proud to further OneNYC principles by planning for thriving, equitable, affordable and sustainable neighborhoods. This Earth Day is a good time to take stock. Our new interactive online map allows residents to locate facilities and services in their neighborhoods. And enhanced transparency and reporting now allow residents to follow the City's progress in delivering on commitments to East New York that accompanied our successful rezoning one year ago.” “When Mayor de Blasio released OneNYC two years ago, it laid out a challenging but critical path forward to prepare our city for the impacts of climate change,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “Today’s progress report shows that we have made great strides toward achieving those goals, including securing a groundbreaking commitment from FEMA to revise our flood maps—saving New Yorkers millions of dollars, and more accurately accounting for our current and future risk—and completing major milestones across our $20 billion resiliency program, ensuring that communities on the front lines of climate change across the city are better prepared to withstand and emerge stronger from these challenges both now and into the future.” “OneNYC reaffirms what is possible when a great American city lays out plans for a sustainable future that intentionally integrates equity with innovation in the service of progress,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “This comprehensive, forward leaning plan demonstrates that industry, community, and especially citizens, can advance shared goals of sustainability, economic growth, and inclusion. This exciting report marks a step forward for New Yorkers as we seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a more just city.” "From phasing out the use of dirty home heating oil to improve air quality to implementing the largest and most aggressive green infrastructure program in the nation, New York City is a leader in sustainability," said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. "Moving forward we will continue the important work of protecting our world class drinking water supply and improving the health of our local waterways." “Remediation of legacy pollution on land is one of the great environmental success stories of our generation. Under OneNYC, Mayor de Blasio is now greatly accelerating the pace of cleanup and land revitalization in New York City. While there is still much left to do, using the plan laid out in OneNYC, we will continue to work closely with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Environmental Protection Agency to get this important work done,” said Dr. Daniel Walsh, founding director of the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation. “We will also continue to find new and better ways to achieve more equitable quality of land in our communities, to make sure we are improving the environment for all New Yorkers. This will also help us achieve all the benefits that come from revitalizing formerly vacant land, including creation of new building space for businesses that create new jobs, and for affordable housing.” "The Buildings Department is proud to support the Mayor's bold vision for a more resilient and sustainable city. With solar panel applications up over 1000% since 2012, we’ve streamlined the review process to allow same day approvals for projects, we’ve also updated the city's energy code to cut carbon emissions, and, with significant investments from the Mayor, are transforming the agency to give all New Yorkers more efficient, faster service, with greater transparency when doing business with us," said Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, PE. "We are thrilled by the results to date from our OneNYC/zero waste commitments. There is much work that lies ahead, but already we are delivering expanded and improved services for all New Yorkers. We urge all residents and businesses to join us in this mission and become active partners as we move forward,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “DOT is proud of the role we are actively playing to deliver on Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC’s goals of environmental and economic sustainability,” said Polly Trottenberg, NYC Commissioner of Transportation. “Under Vision Zero, we have delivered the safest three years on our streets in our City’s history while at the same time, we make robust investments in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and a clean fleet that will together help dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are making enormous progress.” “This report documents progress on a number of important fronts, including economic growth for the City, a more equitable place to work and live, environmental friendliness, and preparedness for future challenges from a number of fronts. Just as importantly, it commits to greater progress despite sharply different priorities in Washington. It’s a powerful reminder that we still have the capacity to effect meaningful change on our own,” said Stanley Brezenoff, interim president and chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “OneNYC is the path forward to a resilient future for New York City. Its success is marked by the increasing number of elevated homes along our waterfront, and in the ranks of Sandy-impacted residents helping to rebuild their own communities and build the infrastructure that will protect our coastlines for generations to come,” said Amy Peterson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations. "The principle behind the OneNYC Initiative is to ensure that all New Yorkers have an equal opportunity to thrive and live to their full potential," said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. "As we continue to implement innovative ways to make services and benefits more accessible, we reiterate the commitment of this administration to assist those in need in our City." “The DDC Guiding Principles that direct us in the design of the City’s public buildings and infrastructure closely align with Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC goals, emphasizing sustainability, resiliency, equity, and healthy living,” said Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “We’re very pleased to work with our partner agencies and community groups to achieve OneNYC objectives such as infrastructure upgrades in Southeast Queens, East Side Coastal Resiliency, and energy efficiency projects that will help reduce the City’s emissions by 80% by 2050.” "Immigrants are integral to the fabric and health of this city, and the incredible progress the City has made toward sustainability, resiliency and equity have reverberated in immigrant communities throughout the five boroughs,” said Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal. “With innovative programs like IDNYC, we are improving accessibility and the quality of life for residents of all backgrounds, including the 40 percent of our city that is foreign born.” "Progress on the Mayor’s OneNYC plan means progress for real New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “In addition to investing in NYC Ferry service, infrastructure improvements, and resiliency measures across the city, the Mayor is building on the economic growth we're seeing with a commitment to create 100,000 good jobs over the next ten years. The de Blasio Administration is constantly working to make this a more equitable, sustainable, and inclusive city where New Yorkers can thrive.” "I am pleased to see the OneNYC initiative making tangible progress toward creating a New York that is better prepared to face the challenges and threats of the 21st Century. While there is still much that needs to be done to build the physical and human resiliency that New Yorkers need, the completion of t-groins in Sea Gate, shovels in the ground at our NYCHA developments, and working to preserve affordability in the flood plain are all positive steps toward that end. Likewise, expanding organics collection and converting more of our city's vehicles to electric signal a greener, environmentally-friendly New York City,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency. "This Earth Day, New Yorkers must demonstrate our leadership on environmental protection and sustainability so that other cities can follow our model. The OneNYC progress report shows that we have improved our economy, increased sustainability, and become more resilient. I am proud that our carbon emissions have decreased, while our use of renewable energy such as solar as increased. We've also encouraged use of sustainable commuting habits including the upcoming new ferry routes and increasing access to electric vehicle charging stations. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for his focus on the success of the OneNYC program," said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council's Environmental Protection Committee. “This progress report is an important milestone - it points to the City's success in driving equitable growth and job creation among those who need it most,” said Larisa Ortiz, OneNYC Advisory Board co-Chair, Member, City Planning Commission, and President & CEO, Larisa Ortiz Associates. “By lifting more than 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty and supporting their efforts to find and keep good jobs, we are building a strong foundation for the City's future economic growth.” “In the two years since releasing OneNYC, an international model of integrated planning, New York City has positioned itself as a global leader in urban resilience,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation. “The ambitious goals and benchmarks of OneNYC have been met with steady progress on social, economic, and climate projects and policies - creating real impact for communities across the city. New York City has also become an international hub for learning and best practices on implementing urban resilience, serving as a teaching ground for cities around the world, including many in the 100 Resilient Cities Global Network.” "Today, more than ever, we need cities to lead our efforts to fight climate change, build new infrastructure, protect vulnerable people, and promote social justice,” said Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University. “OneNYC is a bold initiative to do all of this, and the 2017 report offers hope that New York City can make progress no matter what obstacles we face." “OneNYC 2017 reflects continued progress toward meeting the city’s economic and social objectives and demonstrates the benefits of Mayor de Blasio’s holistic approach to achieving a better quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City. “The City showed tremendous leadership in securing the redrawn flood maps. Preparing for more frequent coastal floods is economically sound and promotes the well-being of New Yorkers,” said Adam Parris, Executive Director, Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. “It’s a major milestone for the City and for coastal cities.” “The economic and environmental vision in the Mayor’s OneNYC Plan has created tremendous opportunity in New York’s vital construction sector, which is a key driver of the City’s economic engine,” said Cheryl McKissack Daniel, President & CEO, McKissack & McKissack. “I applaud the Mayor and his team for reaching the plan’s milestones, which will ensure NYC’s continued growth for many years to come. “The biggest challenges facing New York City can’t be tackled individually, which is why The Rockefeller Foundation has been proud to support OneNYC’s plan for inclusive growth and climate action,” said Peter Madonia, Chief Operating Officer, The Rockefeller Foundation. “As the city’s resilience strategy, OneNYC’s makes the connections between challenges such as equity and climate change and has resulted in better flood protection, more economic opportunity, additional transportation options and more. For over 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation has been proud to call New York City home. In this post-Sandy era, the importance of building a more resilient New York City is clearer than ever. We look forward to continuing to support OneNYC’s work to build a more resilient, equitable, sustainable, and thriving city in the years ahead.” “For the past 10 years, New York has demonstrated to the world that global cities can grow and thrive while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting better transportation options and adapting communities to the consequences of climate change,” said Tom Wright, President, Regional Plan Association. “The latest OneNYC progress report demonstrates that the city continues to reach its goals and is ensuring that all New York City residents benefit from these successes.” “In 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a visionary blueprint for creating a more livable, equitable and sustainable city,” said Carlo A. Scissura, Esq., President and CEO, New York Building Congress. “As today’s progress report demonstrates, the Mayor’s OneNYC plan has successfully executed a series of ambitious initiatives to address the challenges of climate change, population growth, sustainability and mass transit. Already, the plan has enhanced the city’s transportation network, improved the quality of life for all residents, and created a more resilient city through strategic investments to protect our coastal communities. We look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio to achieve OneNYC’s next set of milestones.” “The progress this report shows in numbers is what our members and families across the city are experiencing in their day-to-day lives: higher wages, more jobs, access to pre-K and a safer, healthier city," said Hector Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU. "We will keep working with Mayor de Blasio to make a more equitable, just and sustainable city.” “Mayor de Blasio has taken significant steps in implementing an aggressive and progressive ground-breaking blueprint to address challenges facing New York City,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. “OneNYC is making good on the Mayor’s continued efforts to lift New Yorkers out of poverty, and to help individuals and families move up the economic ladder. From the expansion of Universal Pre-K to raising the minimum wage, New York City has demonstrated its commitment to equity. We at FPWA look forward to our continued work with the Mayor and his administration to ensure the goals of this impactful plan are realized.” "New York is forging a path to prosperity with renewable energy, healthier air and cleaner water," said Andy Darrell, New York Regional Director, Environmental Defense Fund. "Clean energy, electric vehicles and efficient buildings are essential to New York City’s future—they deliver results for people, businesses and the planet. New York City’s environmental innovations are great models for other cities and communities.” "WE ACT is pleased to see the city's investment in improving air quality through transforming the city's fleet to electric vehicles and reducing emissions from buildings,” said Peggy Shepard, Executive Director of WE ACT . “The city's investment in more energy efficient, energy secure communities through Solarize partnerships with WE ACT and others is creating a more resilient city. And I expect that the 3,000 new green jobs initiative that is planned will bring some equity to underemployed residents who need work to provide for their families."
Friday, April 21, 2017 - 5:10pm
NYC Web Development Fellowship is part of the Tech Talent Pipeline; TTP has connected over 370 New Yorkers to careers through training NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the NYC Web Development Fellowship program, part of the City’s Tech Talent Pipeline Initiative, is expanding to serve as many as three times the number of New Yorkers interested in careers in web development. The expansion comes as three new tech training providers partner with the fellowship program: the Fullstack Academy, General Assembly, and New York Code + Design Academy. TTP is aimed at New Yorkers seeking good-paying, career-track technology jobs. Overall, 372 New Yorkers served by TTP’s ten programs – which help businesses start and grow by equipping New Yorkers with in-demand tech skills – have secured jobs and paid internships with average salaries of nearly $53,000. The largest cohort of TTP graduates, those in web development, have secured average salaries of $67,000. “I am incredibly proud to announce that TTP has already connected more than 370 New Yorkers to good paying jobs and that we are expanding this incredible fellowship program, one that reaches New Yorkers from all boroughs and offers even more opportunities in the new economy,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. New Yorkers interested in applying to TTP’s programs can visit TTP.NYC , and sign up to be notified when programs are accepting applications. Through the NYC Web Development Fellowship, and in combination with SBS, graduates have been connected to positions at leading companies, including Spotify, Viacom, and Kickstarter. “The NYC Tech Talent Pipeline has created opportunities for more New Yorkers to achieve good, career-track jobs in the tech field, and I am pleased that we are expanding one of its most successful training programs,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “The tech industry is an important part of New York City’s economy and we will continue to work with our private sector partners to forge a future that is inclusive and taps the rich talents of all of our people.” The NYC Web Development Fellowship serves New Yorkers, including many without four-year degrees and those who cannot afford a private tech training boot camp. It’s the largest of TTP’s ten training and education programs, all of which are designed, developed, and delivered in partnership with industry and educational institutions to offer real-world skills needed in the innovation economy. They range in focus from software engineering and data analysis training to “Bridge-To-Tech,” which is delivered with The Knowledge House, an innovative Bronx-based and tech-focused program for individuals seeking additional skills before entering training or post-secondary education. Web Development Fellowship Graduate Spotlight: After her Web Development Fellowship training and an internship at Kickstarter, Geraldina Garcia Alvarez, 24, started a new job as a fulltime software engineer at VICE in November 2015. “I can’t believe how much my life has changed since I completed the NYC Web Development Fellowship. After juggling jobs to pay my rent, the Fellowship provided the opportunity of a lifetime. Today, I’m excited to be working as a software engineer where I am able to do what I love every day,” said Garcia Alvarez. More than training, TTP’s broader impact: Leveraging employer insight to design and develop trainings is just one of the ways that TTP works to equip New Yorkers with the skills needed to secure and succeed in in-demand tech roles. TTP works directly with industry and academic partners to improve alignment of tech education pathways with the needs of NYC’s growing tech ecosystem in order to better prepare New Yorkers for tech jobs. For example, in March, TTP held a Web Development Summit at Spotify headquarters that brought together 25 industry advisors and representatives of eight academic and training organizations to identify opportunities to better prepare New Yorkers for web development roles. A summary of industry feedback from the summit can be found here . By investing in the alignment of curriculum with industry needs, TTP is expanding its reach and laying a foundation for quality jobs and quality talent at scale. “Technology remains among the fastest growing employment sector in our society and there is a strong demand for tech jobs. I am pleased that New York City continues to remain a global epicenter for tech careers and training. Mayor de Blasio’s expansion of the Web Development Fellowship is a great opportunity to showcase the growing technology talent available in our city, while providing a pathway to employment opportunities with livable wages,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy, Chair of the Committee on Small Businesses. “The Tech Talent Pipeline initiative has been a success in generating connections between our tech community and New Yorkers who are looking to break into the industry,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the Committee on Technology. “Expanding the Web Development Fellowship and the Tech Talent Pipeline initiative as a whole will allow for even more people to take advantage of the many opportunities available in our city’s tech ecosystem. Fellowships, internships, and entry-level opportunities are critical first steps to a successful career that will be available through private sector partnerships. I commend Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bishop for their efforts.” “Fullstack Academy was ‘born and raised’ in New York City,” said David Yang and Nimit Maru, Co-Founders of Fullstack, a coding academy. “We are thrilled to work with the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline to give back to our community by offering the Web Development Fellowship for New Yorkers.” “At General Assembly, we are focused on eliminating the 21st century skills gap and committed to expanding access to opportunities in today’s most in-demand fields, which is why we are so excited to be able to offer the NYC Web Development Fellowship through our continued partnership with the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline,” said Jake Schwartz, Co-Founder and CEO at General Assembly, a technology and design training center. “We are looking forward to expanding the reach of this program to serve more New Yorkers, and continuing our partnership with TTP to expand the tech career pipeline with greater benefits to the city’s economy,” said New York Code + Design Academy CEO & Co-Founder Jeremy Snepar. About NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Industry Partnerships The NYC Tech Talent Pipeline is one of SBS’s five industry partnerships that work with employers, industry and trade organizations, organized labor, non-profits, training providers, educational institutions, private philanthropy, and workforce organizations. The partnerships are building a sustainable and robust pipeline of local talent to fill job openings, create formal career paths, reduce barriers to employment, and sustain or increase middle-class jobs. Other partnerships include the construction, healthcare, hospitality, and industrial sectors.