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Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 5:05pm
City has developed nation's most ambitious green infrastructure program and wastewater upgrades; nearly 4,000 curbside rain gardens built across city; green infrastructure also managing stormwater at city parks, playgrounds, schools and housing developments Map of green infrastructure locations can be found here ; photos of green projects and New York Harbor are Available on DEP's Flickr Page NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced that with the continued expansion of the nation's most ambitious and aggressive green infrastructure program and ongoing upgrades to the City's wastewater system, testing confirms that New York Harbor is cleaner and healthier today than it has been in more than a century. The health of New York Harbor has been monitored continuously since 1909. Today, DEP scientists regularly collect water samples from 89 stations throughout the Harbor and its tributaries, and those samples are analyzed for 27 separate parameters. Key indicators of water quality, including concentrations of bacteria and nitrogen continue to drop, while dissolved oxygen is on the rise. By the end of the year there will be nearly 4,000 curbside rain gardens constructed across the city, in addition to green infrastructure managing the stormwater that falls on City parks, playgrounds, schools and housing developments. DEP is also investing billions of dollars to upgrade the wastewater collection system to ensure the maximum amount of wastewater receives treatment during rainfall, while moving forward with plans to construct overflow retention tanks for the Gowanus Canal, as well as proposing storage tunnels for Newtown Creek and Flushing Bay. The New York City Harbor Water Quality Report can be found here . "As a coastal city, a healthy New York requires a healthy harbor," said Mayor de Blasio. "We have made remarkable progress cleaning up our waterways, with New York Harbor cleaner than it has been in over a century, and an ambitious $1.5 billion green infrastructure program underway. We are also spending billions to upgrade our wastewater system to ensure future generations can enjoy our harbor in the decades to come." "Anecdotal evidence of whales, dolphins and seals returning to New York Harbor abound, and our testing confirms that the water in New York Harbor is cleaner today than it has been in more than a century," said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. "We look forward to continuing this important progress with community groups, elected officials, environmental organizations and our partners on the state and federal level." More than 70 percent of New York City is covered with an impervious surface – such as an asphalt roadway, concrete sidewalk or a building's rooftop – which creates a tremendous volume of stormwater draining into the City's sewer system when it rains. DEP and partner agencies are engaged in a citywide effort to "green" the urban landscape, which will allow stormwater to be naturally absorbed into the ground. By keeping stormwater out of the City's combined sewer system, green infrastructure helps to reduce sewer overflows and improve the health of local waterways. The ambitious $1.5 billion Green Infrastructure Plan includes nearly 4,000 curbside rain gardens constructed by the end of 2017, with thousands more to be built in the coming years. In addition, working with partner agencies, DEP has completed the construction of green infrastructure at 48 parks , playgrounds , schools and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) complexes. There are 24 parks, playgrounds, schools and NYCHA complexes under construction now, with green infrastructure installations being designed for nearly 200 additional facilities. In 2018, 300 additional sites will be added to the list for the construction of green infrastructure. DEP also administers a Green Infrastructure Grant Program to facilitate the construction of green infrastructure on private property. Thus far DEP has committed more than $15 million to 34 grantees who, in turn, have contributed $6.6 million in matching funds. In addition, over the next three years DEP will invest more than $200 million to continue to expand the Bluebelt system on Staten Island. DEP is also investing billions of dollars to upgrade sewers and the wastewater collection and treatment system. This includes $240 million to separate the sewer system near the Gowanus Canal , Flushing Bay and Fresh Creek , $55 million to maximize the flow of wastewater to the treatment plants benefitting Westchester Creek and Flushing Bay , $455 million for an overflow tank and wetland restoration at Paedergat Basin , $30 million to construct a new interceptor sewer and improve flow adjacent to Powell's Cove and Flushing Bay , $210 million to upgrade a pumping station benefitting Coney Island Creek and $95 million to reduce overflows into Pugsley Creek . In addition, DEP is in the early stages of a nearly $1 billion project to build two overflow retention tanks adjacent to the Gowanus Canal, and has proposed storage tunnels, estimated to cost approximately $3 billion, for Flushing Bay and Newtown Creek . In order to reduce nitrogen discharges to the Upper East River and Long Island Sound , DEP has also invested $1 billion to upgrade wastewater treatment plants, making New York City a regional leader in this effort. DEP has also invested nearly $500 million to reduce nitrogen discharges to Jamaica Bay. "Investing in green infrastructure means building a healthier and more resilient city for future generations of New Yorkers," said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. "We're proud to support DEP's efforts, which are improving the quality of our waterways and keeping New York City a leader in sustainability." "In partnership with NYC Parks' Community Parks Initiative, DEP has brought more than $50 million in green infrastructure projects to formerly underserved parks across the city," said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. "Now, scores of neighborhood parks are home to beautiful greenery that also manages stormwater runoff, reducing sewer overflows from rainwater, improving air quality, and lowering summertime temperatures. That's something we can all be grateful for." "New York Harbor is one of our greatest natural assets and its health is vital to our entire region," said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy and Programs and the Chief Resilience Officer for New York City. "Today's announcement that the harbor is at its healthiest point in over a century is the result of unprecedented investment and action using natural solutions to clean New York Harbor and also address the growing risks of climate change. These efforts – part of the City's OneNYC program – demonstrate the type of leadership that is necessary to fill the void of federal climate leadership. Congratulations to DEP for helping to build a more sustainable and more resilient city for all New Yorkers." "NYC has one of the most complex water systems in the country. Keeping our water clean and safe is not only important for the health of our city, but it's a reflection of the health of our planet," said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor's Office of Sustainability. "Today's DEP announcement illustrates how investment in green infrastructure can support and deliver a better quality of life for our residents." "It is encouraging to see the City's sustainability initiatives successfully cleaning our waterways and green spaces, and I look forward to continuing to work with DEP, DOT and our other partners in government to make further progress in improving the natural environment throughout the five boroughs," said DDC Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio. "Considering the lack of support the White House has shown when it comes to our infrastructure, we must do whatever we can, from our end," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "That is why investing time and resources into our infrastructure, through green programs that focus on using rain gardens to manage stormwater drainage, is so imperative. I want to thank DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza for developing programs such as this that help to make our water and our environment as a whole cleaner." "I want to congratulate Commissioner Sapienza and DEP on the green infrastructure program and wastewater system upgrades. As a part of my 12-point plan to beautify the 12th Council District, I'm elated this project created 122 new curbside rain gardens, containing trees and plants that flourish in areas of heavy water flow. This project brings natural beauty and improves the quality of life for the residents in my district and throughout the city," said Council Member Andy King. "I applaud New York City's ambitious citywide effort to improve water quality for all New Yorkers through its green infrastructure program. Using green infrastructure provides benefits that we find in nature, for example, in wetlands, which provide filtering and absorption," said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. "I am excited to see this practice is taking hold and becoming a mainstream approach across the country. The EPA actively encourages green infrastructure projects, including through the hundreds of millions of dollars we award each year to states to support both their clean water revolving loan funds and water quality planning programs, and through other targeted grants to communities." "The Nature Conservancy applauds The City of New York's progress in preventing storm water pollution and its leadership in using green infrastructure to help address this outsized problem," said Bill Ulfelder, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in New York. "Healthy, clean waterways benefit all New Yorkers. The Nature Conservancy, through its work in New York City restoring harbor health with the Billion Oyster Project, planting over 25,000 trees with partners at Jamaica Bay, and mapping the city's green roofs, is a champion of the role of nature in cities. We are eager to continue to work with New York City as it expands its efforts to make our city a global leader in green infrastructure innovation." "Hearing that New York's harbor is the cleanest it's been in more than a century is really great news for the environment, and it is a testament to the leadership of DEP," said Carter Strickland, the New York state director of The Trust for Public Land. "Today's announcement is the culmination of years of hard work by so many dedicated city employees and partner organizations, and a positive sign that these efforts are paying off. But as good as these results are, we need to keep working to make our harbor even cleaner. That's why the Trust for Public Land is honored to work closely with DEP to create green infrastructure playgrounds across the City. Our partnership has already built eleven green infrastructure playgrounds with four more in the works, and these green playgrounds will be capturing roughly 9 million gallons of storm water per year – using innovative practices that help to mitigate flooding and pollution." "The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers commend Commissioner Sapienza and DEP on the green infrastructure program and wastewater system upgrades, and on the impacts that these actions are having on the waters of Jamaica Bay," said Dan Mundy, Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. "Members of our organization fish, kayak and scuba dive the waters in and around Jamaica Bay and are reporting first-hand the significant and positive changes that these initiatives are having on the waters and habitat of Jamaica Bay. We look forward to working with the Commissioner and DEP on continuing to find ways to build on these successes." "The Bronx River Alliance is thrilled that New York Harbor is on the rebound," says Maggie Scott Greenfield, Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance and Bronx River Administrator for NYC Parks. "As a public-private organization, we see the many ways that government and citizens working together can effect real change in their communities, from improving water quality to creating greater access to the waterfront. Citizen Scientists up and down the Bronx River monitor water quality, green infrastructure, and floatable trash. They also inform DEP about issues of local concerns so that together we can continue to make progress for a healthy harbor." "Green Infrastructure is an essential piece of integrated climate adaptation and mitigation planning. With rising flood risks, increasing temperatures, and air pollution, the City must prioritize an aggressive expansion of Green Infrastructure in environmental justice communities facing disproportionate environmental burdens and climate vulnerabilities," said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. "We look forward to continuing collaborations with DEP and community leaders to build equitable Green Infrastructure that enhances community resiliency and provides economic opportunities." Thanks to our partnership and funding from DEP's Green Infrastructure Grant Program, the million plus visitors to The New York Botanical Garden learn about combined sewer overflows, permeable surfaces, and other sustainable practices that improve the health of waterways like our Bronx River," said Aaron Bouska, Vice President for Government and Community Relations at NYBG . "We applaud Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Sapienza and the entire DEP team for their vision and dedication to complete projects that have such significant impact on the ecological health of New York Harbor." "DEP's Green Infrastructure Grant Program takes a proactive approach to managing the city's combined sewage overflow, while empowering businesses like Brooklyn Grange to expand green spaces throughout New York City," said Anastasia Cole Plakias, Vice President at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm. "Together, we can realize our vision of a greener and healthier City." "Green infrastructure generates triple bottom line returns—managing stormwater in a cost-effective way, creating local employment opportunities, and mitigating the urban heat island effect—making New York City environmentally and economically sustainable," said Toby Sheppard Bloch, Chief Venture Officer at The HOPE Program & Sustainable South Bronx . "This is a very exciting and promising time for New York City's urban environment, and it was wonderful to see first-hand how the Department of Environmental Protection is at the forefront of green infrastructure projects," said Nelson Villarrubia, Executive Director Trees New York. "Our waterways are an integral part of New York City's ecosystem, and as a result of the newly installed rain gardens across the city, New York Harbor is the healthiest it's been in centuries."
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 5:05pm
International CIty and urban Regional CoLlaborativE (I-CIRCLE) calls on cities around the world to advance the mental health of their residents by adopting efforts similar to ThriveNYC NEW YORK—New York City’s unprecedented efforts to change the culture around mental health and improve New Yorkers’ access to services and support have been recognized as an innovative model for cities across the globe by the International CIty and urban Regional CoLlaborativE (I-CIRCLE). ThriveNYC was launched in November 2015 by New York City’s First Lady, Chirlane McCray to change the way City government and its many partners address community mental health needs, and help dismantle the stigma associated with seeking treatment. With 54 initiatives backed by an $850 million investment over the first four years, ThriveNYC is the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation. I-CIRCLE announced today that it has endorsed and will promote the six key guiding principles and framework of ThriveNYC. “With the launch of ThriveNYC two years ago, we set out to change the culture around mental health and deliver services where people live, learn, work and worship,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, who spearheads ThriveNYC. “Mental illness and substance misuse are common -- one in five people suffer from some kind of challenge, but do not get the help they need because of stigma or because they have difficulty finding appropriate services. Although we have received a great deal of positive feedback for ThriveNYC’s public health approach, our work has just begun. We are committed to building a culturally competent mental health system that meets the needs of all New Yorkers. We are honored to be recognized by I-CIRCLE as a model for other cities. And, we stand ready and willing to share all we have learned with our sister and brother cities around the world.” “Many of us recognize the need to use new approaches to build effective Mental Health systems in cities and urban regions. ThriveNYC is using the best population and public health concepts as key principles. We believe that linking I-CIRCLE with ThriveNYC will result in a global collaboration of cities to work and share these new ideas,” said Fran Silvestri, President and CEO of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership. "ThriveNYC launched as a local solution to a mental health crisis facing cities across the globe. Two years in, we are finally starting to see change take hold in New York City, with more New Yorkers getting help than ever before -- at senior centers, hospitals, community-based organizations and beyond. I am grateful that these 54 initiatives may bring hope to people suffering in other parts of the country and the world. We owe this success to the visionary leadership of Chirlane McCray, who has helped bring mental health out of the shadows and make care available to all,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. The stigma of mental health has afflicted our nation for far too long. Americans with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issues should freely ask for help and openly discuss their struggles. ThriveNYC is a groundbreaking roadmap to change the culture surrounding on mental illness. The New York City Council is proud to support ThriveNYC’s goals and needs through the Council’s Mental Health Initiatives, a $13 million investment in programming and services to New Yorkers experiencing mental health issues. Because of ThriveNYC’s success, I-CIRCLE had taken note and will urge other municipalities to follow suit. I thank First Lady Chirlane McCray for championing the mental health conversation and Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration for the devotion to this critical cause,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. I-CIRCLE made the announcement today during the second annual Cities Thrive Conference. First Lady McCray spearheads the Cities Thrive Coalition that brings together some of the nation’s best advocates to develop innovative programs, creates an ongoing conversation and pushes federal partners to make mental health and substance misuse a top priority. Since the coalition’s launch last November, nearly 200 cities from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have joined to share best practices and advocate for a better funded, more integrated behavioral health system – working through the key ThriveNYC principles. Several cities and urban regions have been inspired to adopt this broader view of mental health reform at the local level, including London, England’s recent launch of “Thrive London” in July 2017. “Under Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray, New York City has seen an unprecedented investment in mental health and substance use services,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “I encourage my fellow health commissioners in cities across the world to consider how they can reduce stigma, increase access to care, and support the mental health of their constituency.” “We think cities are uniquely positioned to drive the kinds of change needed to finally approach mental health fully given the public health challenge that it is,” said Gary Belkin, MD, PhD, MPH, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “The positive response across the U.S. and increasingly the globe to what we’ve started here in New York City makes it possible to have a shared language for a movement among cities to share what they learn and improve what they do.” “ThriveNYC sets out a clear message for all of us leading mental health forward - that mental health and well-being are critical assets for a 21st century city, which needs attention from the very top as well as across most sectors of society. Under ThriveNYC’s leading inspiration, the US and the international community of mental health leaders have come together to start driving their cities and urban regional systems to be smarter and more ethically sound. Building a solid and sustainable structure of governance that is firmly based on the six principles is a critical achievement. We, at IIMHL and in Sweden, look forward to working together with NYC and all other cities that want to share and learn about how we build human habitats for mental health and wellbeing, because our best work will be when we do it together,” said Dr. Fredrik Lindencrona, Ph.D., Chair of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership Sponsoring Countries Leadership Group and Project Lead for the IIMHL 2018. “More people live in urban settings than ever before in our history, which makes cities a vital focal point for efforts to promote mental health and well-being. Some cities have made strides with evidence-based models to build mental health, and many are starting this work and looking to collaborate. In Toronto, we are working to build a mentally health city initiative and our group finds I-CIRCLE a powerful forum for sharing evidence and experience,” said Robert Moore, Executive Director of the Provincial System Support Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. “Internationally there is a new and more inclusive understanding of mental health, one which recognizes the importance of our habitat in protecting mental health and promoting recovery and healing,” said Martin Rogan, Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Ireland. “It is no longer valid to simply locate the concern within the individual, but is more helpful to see the whole person in their life context, community and environment. In Ireland, we wish to replicate the success of our U.S. colleagues, and while our cities are smaller, the principle and models demonstrated are scalable and will resonate well in most urban settings. Working with the mandate and support of the Mayor's Office, ThriveNYC has shown how enlightened cities can embrace mental health principles to promote vitality, inclusion, economic benefits and hope. This is the future.” According to the World Health Organization, approximately one in four people in the world will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives with nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental health disorder never seeking help from a professional. These statistics bear out similarly in New York City, with at least one in five New Yorkers likely to experience a mental illness in any given year, and more than half of adults living with mental illness report not being able to access the treatment they need. ThriveNYC set forth a plan to make it easier for New Yorkers to get the treatment they need and improve overall mental well-being. ThriveNYC’s six guiding principles for achieving long-term change emerged through a citywide feedback group process, expert advisory input, and scientific literature and evidence review: * Change the culture by making mental health everybody’s business and having an open conversation about mental health. * Act early to prevent, intervene more quickly and give New Yorkers more tools to weather challenges. * Close treatment gaps by providing equal access to care for New Yorkers in every neighborhood. * Partner with communities to embrace their wisdom and strength and to collaborate for culturally competent solutions. * Use data better to address gaps and improve programs. * Strengthen government’s ability to lead by coordinating an unprecedented effort to support the mental health of all New Yorkers. “Mental Health America commends NYC and its Cities Thrive initiative for leading the way and acting Before Stage 4,” said Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of Mental Health America. “MHA is honored to work to translate these best practices and findings to children and families across America.” “NYC recognizes the importance of leadership and collaboration in advancing mental health equity. Cities Thrive is cultivating a model of coalition-building and knowledge exchange needed to transform our society to one where all people have the opportunity to flourish,” said Glenda Wrenn, MD, MSHP, Director of the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity at Morehouse School of Medicine. “ThriveNYC embodies the thoughtful policy approach to the mental health challenges that confront our family, friends, and neighbors. Informed by insights of clinicians and advocates, ThriveNYC renews our collective focus on mental health as an integral part of public health. ThriveNYC will assist many more communities ensuring that fewer people feel isolated, fewer families feel overwhelmed, and fewer neighborhoods face trauma unaided. Thanks to First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray, Mayor Bill De Blasio, and all the public and private sector leaders who join in contributing to ThriveNYC success; I-CIRCLE recognition is richly deserved. I join in celebrating this outstanding achievement,” said State Senator Jesse Hamilton. State Senator Liz Krueger said, "ThriveNYC has proven to be an important program to increase access to mental health services in our city. The First Lady’s leadership has been instrumental in changing the culture around mental health, and meeting people where they are to provide services in the places they live and work. Congratulations to all those involved in making ThriveNYC a success." “ThriveNYC’s comprehensive initiative is unparalleled,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen. “It targets the numerous obstacles to care that people may face and ensures that if you seek treatment you will find it, no matter who you are. Mental health affects us all, and I applaud ThriveNYC for addressing that. I’m pleased that the program is getting the recognition it deserves.” About the International CIty and urban Regional CoLlaborativE (I-CIRCLE) I-CIRCLE is an international collaborative within the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership that brings cities and urban regions together to problem-solve and spread innovations in support of mental health and well-being. IIMHL comprises eight countries including Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and the United States of America. IIMHL organizes systems for international networking, innovation sharing and problem solving across countries and agencies. Effective leadership will promote the best possible conditions for mental health in all sectors and deliver the best possible outcomes for people who use mental health and addiction services as well as their families.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 5:05pm
Errol Louis: Good evening, and welcome to the Road to City Hall for Monday, December 4th 2017. I am Errol Louis. Mayor de Blasio began the week with an announcement that we’ve heard repeatedly during his time in office, that crime is still going down. NYPD statistics show that the murder rate continues to drop down 17 percent from last year and heading for a new record low. The Mayor joins us now here in the studio to talk about that and much more as we officially resume our Monday’s with the Mayor segment on NY1 now that the re-election campaign is over and in his rearview mirror. Welcome back to the program, very good to see you. Mayor Bill de Blasio: It’s very good to be back. Louis: I should say congratulations; I haven’t seen you since then. Mayor: Well, thank you, but the fact I am back something good happened. So I am feeling good about this. Louis: Okay, we’ll see if we can feel good about these numbers. Mayor: Yes. Louis: Another drop in murders in particular the one that is the hardest to fudge or mistake. Shootings also down, a lot of different categories. What has happened, and why do you think? Mayor: We’re in a whole new era and I am very, very excited about the future of this city because neighborhood policing has addressed one of the great missing links, which was the relationship between police and community. We have the best police force in the country. We needed more officers on patrol. Working with the Council, we’ve added 2,000 more officers. We needed more training, we needed better equipment. There are a lot of things we did. But the most important thing was neighborhood policing. Because now information is flowing to our officers on a steady basis so they can do their jobs better. And there is a real partnership developing between police and community. So you see amazing reductions now in murders, in shootings, and across all crime categories. And I think over the next few years, we have a chance to be the model for this country. I really do, I think we have a chance to be the example of both how to fight crime and how to put aside the divisions of the past and get police and community working as one and it’s very, very exciting prospect. I mean Errol you know these numbers – you’ve seen them steadily move during the year. This suggests something bigger is going one. Louis: Is the NYPD, or the CompStat numbers or their analysis, their internal unit. Are they saying that it’s specifically the neighborhood officers, the folks who work across different lines like one day they’re helping detectives, another day they’re responding to 3-1-1 complaints or sometimes in the same shift, working in you know the same sector day after day after day – Mayor: Yep. Louis: – developing relationships. They’re tracing it directly to that? Mayor: It’s one of the pieces for sure. I mean the whole precession policing strategy which evolves from CompStat is clearly another crucial part of making sure we’re focusing our resources, our energy, our officers where the problems are the most profound, focusing on that very small number of people, [inaudible] thousand who do most of the violent crime in this city. I mean there is a lot of different pieces always. But what’s different about neighborhood policing is the flow of information. That’s a given, and I was just up in the 3-2 Precinct which has seen extraordinary reductions in shootings and murders. They’re one of the first Precincts to get the full neighborhood policing approach. Louis: I am sorry, which one? 3-2? Mayor: 3-2. Louis: Okay, my dad worked there for a long, long time. Mayor: Well, there you go. So you know it well. Louis: Yeah. Mayor: So, they’ve had one of the best results in the whole city. And they were one of the first to adopt the NCO program, the Neighborhood Coordinating Officers. And what we constantly hear is that that information that comes to officers stops crimes from happening. It leads to faster arrests, once there has been a crime. It shows patterns that wouldn’t have been visible to offices on their own necessarily, because they have community partners now. I think it is, it is, everything that we all learned from CompStat over these last couple of decades made even sharper now, because there is a virtues circle. The more you bring down crime, the more you can take your police resources and focus them on the last outcroppings, the places where you have the biggest problems. The more you do that, the more there are resources still available to work with community members, build those relationships, address quality of life issues. So something very big is happening now. It is happening fast. And the amazing thing is the confidence that the NYPD leadership has. There is more out there that we can get even better. Louis: Well, in fact let me ask you about some of those outcroppings. These are again your numbers. Rapes up 15.6 percent, that’s from 96 to 111 year over year, transit up 9.4 percent from 216 to 232. Understanding that you know from a low base, even a small increase will generate big scary looking percentages. These are the kind of crimes that people really do worry about. Mayor: Of course. Louis: This isn’t auto theft, this isn’t – Mayor: No, when I said, when I said the word outcropping, I meant the parts of the city where we still have more work to do. But on these key crime categories which are obviously very real, and very important. Thank God, year-to-date – you know, we we’re talking about this at the press conference earlier. Rape is down year-to-date. We had month of November where we did not get the statistics we wanted and obviously that means human lives. So we didn’t get the statistics we wanted, and obviously that means human lives, so we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but year-to-date we are going down. Also in that crime we know part of what is happening now is more reporting which is a good and necessary thing and that’s actually going to help us stop future sexual assaults because we are going to get more arrests. So no, I don’t take any – anything that is going in the wrong direction, we put more energy and resources on, and as I said, there are parts of the City where we still have more work to do for sure. There are some precincts that still need much more support. But you look at the overall trajectory, and how sustained it’s been, I feel great confidence that next year can be even better. Louis: Let me change topics to the issue of the tax bill that just passed the senate. It’s going to conference this week, it looks like objectively the politics seem to be flowing in favor of some kind of tax bill getting through congress, has City Hall, has your office calculated the potential impact on revenues, on property values, other impacts if the Tax Cut Bill actually passes. Mayor: Well a couple things, first we are focused on defeating it. And I agree with you that the conventional wisdom says it will go through but I would say not so fast for a couple of reasons. It has to go back to through the House and any – any iteration of the process has to go back to the House of Representatives. In the House, 13 hours Republicans voted against it, including Congressman Donavan here from the City. Why? Because we are going to raise taxes on middle-class and working-class people in their district right away, and so my emphasis to you is there are dozens more districts around the country represented by Republicans where taxes will go up in a big way quickly starting with the fact that state and local taxes will no longer be deducted. Those Republican congress members have to decide in the coming weeks, are they actually going to vote directly against their own constituents interests with immediate effect, and what does that going to mean for their ability hang on to their jobs? A lot of those are districts that Hillary Clinton won or Barack Obama won in 2012. I don’t think this ballgame is over. I think the bill could change. I certainly could see a scenario where the bill becomes unsupportable and can’t get through. But let’s take your question what do we do if it happens? So one, we have the highest reserves in the history of the City. So we are ready to address this situation. We need to. It would be very costly, I want to be clear, we don’t have the final analysis because the bill as you know back on Monday – Friday night was shifting. We do know the immediate impact, the immediate impact is 700,000 New Yorkers would see a tax increase for a lot of reasons starting with they couldn’t deduct a state or local taxes anymore. 700,000 people just in the City, the average tax increase they would see is $5,000. A horrible, negative impact on their lives, and then here is the secondary effect which is the big long term danger, if the federal government goes even more into debt and will have less and less revenue, the ultimate impact will be on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. About half of New Yorkers depend on Medicare and Medicaid. They inevitably would see benefits cut back and premiums go up. Social security will be in danger for the long term. So this – this is a bill of tremendously dangerous proportion and impact for the City, our reserves are our first line of defense, but I worry very much what it means in the years ahead. Louis: In the – in the intermediate term is there a concern or possibility that it might make real something that is often threatened in the abstract which is that it is now – it becomes financially advantageous to actually leave New York, either the City or the State. Mayor: Well, the problem with that argument is that is usually addressed to the wealthiest among us, right? That’s usually – I mean Michael Bloomberg used to rattle this sword and say, oh the wealthy will leave. These are the same people who are going to have the biggest tax cuts, you know, 60 percent of the benefit of this bill goes to the top 1 percent. So I find that a little hard to believe – Louis: No, I’m thinking of the middle-class though, right? I mean if you get to the point you are getting twice, all of the sudden a place like Florida which has no income tax starts to look a little bit more attractive. Mayor: I think for middle-class folks it does make it harder. On the other hand what middle- class folks always have to think about, about New York City, is the level of opportunity here right now. Obviously we have the strongest economy we have ever had, we have more jobs than we ever had, if you are a middle-class person here and you have a good job, and this is a place that you can continue to have better jobs over time, I’m not sure it’s as simple as simply saying my tax bill went up. I think it’s a real issue, I mean all of us are going to feel it, but on that point about wealthy, ironically and wrongly, you know, the wealthy are going to laugh all the way to the bank. So anyone who says, oh they might leave, they will probably say, oh wait this makes it easier to stay. Louis: Yeah, it could be. Louis: We are back on the Road to City Hall and I’m speaking with Mayor de Blasio. Are any further procedural or personnel changes needed at NYCHA in light of what continues to be reported and sort of discovered by the public about the problems related to discovering, reporting, and remediating lead problems in the apartments? Mayor: Look, as I’ve said, some things happened that shouldn’t have happened. I’m very dissatisfied with how some of this was handled. I also know a lot of that is because the original sin here, the original mistake was made in 2012 in the previous administration. And those inspections for lead were stopped for no reason I can understand and the team that came in at NYCHA didn’t realize that they weren’t happening in the way they should of. You know some key officials have already been removed or disciplined. Look, we’re going to continue to look at the situation but I would say the most important thing to know is the leader of NYCHA, the Chair Shola Olatoye, has done all – by all accounts, meaning from everything I look at, has done an outstanding job. This piece should have been handled better, and the communication around it should have been handled better. But the other things that we look at in terms of NYCHA: is it getting safer, are repairs being made faster and better, are all those ridiculous scaffoldings coming down, are the finances being better managed, and is NYCHA fiscally stable for the future, is more private investment being brought in. There is a host of other measures. Overwhelming NYCHA has been moving in the right direction on those under Shola’s leadership. And I think she has proven that she can make this – this organization that for years was deprived of billions of dollars in investment that it deserved. That she can actually make it better on a sustained basis. So she’s the right leader. We’ve got some more work to do to address this issue, but she’s the right leader. Louis: Are you comfortable or confident that she can, if the billions were to arrive from whatever source, from the State, from the Federal government, move it through the procurement process, get the money where it needs to be and turn things around? Mayor: Look, we’ve seen evidence of that. I want to differentiate the mistakes of the past from the last four years where NYCHA actually started to get some funding. Now it wasn’t the Federal government giving them anything more, the State situation was laughable. We were promised money by the Governor that never showed up. The part that is real is, by my decision, we gave back to NYCHA money that used to have to give to the NYPD. They used to have to pay the City in taxes. We put originally $300 million more in into fixing the physical plant and then we added another $1.3 billion in the last budget in June. As that money has gone in you see roofs getting fixed, you see lighting going up. I mean the lighting is a great example. You see both temporary lighting in a lot of places that didn’t have it and you see permanent lighting going in. You see community programs, you know the classic midnight basketball that didn’t used to exist in the past actually happening. You know, it’s now been three summers in the row that that worked and worked to great positive impact. So, I think now NYCHA today under Shola has actually gotten to the place where it takes resources and acts on them quickly and well. They’ve actually gotten over a lot of that history. I wish I could tell you there was a scenario where I saw the Federal government coming to our rescue. I don’t see it. I have not seen what I expected from the State. We’re going to have to do our damnedest, and that’s the next generation NYCHA plan, to figure out creative uses of both City resources and private resources and greater efficiency to keep improving the situation at NYCHA. But if you’re talking about literally who has put up the points, who has shown the product, I think Shola’s done that constantly. Louis: Okay. Let’s switch to the MTA. One thing we discovered in the course of talking with the candidates for City Council Speaker is that all of them suggest – support some form of congestion pricing. All of them support funding the MTA’s emergency plan. Is this going to be – and I know you’re in those discussions, somewhere in the discussion about who should be the next Speaker. Is that going to be a point of contention between you and the next Speaker? Mayor: I, you know, I don’t know how many have also endorsed the millionaire’s tax concept, my impression is a number of them have just from talking to them and working with them. I think there’s a lot of people that think congestion pricing as a philosophical idea is a good one. I’ve said very clearly, although I don’t rule anything out because I haven’t seen the plan, there’s no plan in Albany in right now, I said the problem with congestion pricing is it’s still a regressive tax and it particularly puts a burden on residents of Queens and Brooklyn. And it doesn’t provide waivers for folks [inaudible] legitimate reasons they have to come to Manhattan, hospital etcetera and don’t have resources. I think the millionaire’s tax is a better way to go because especially with what might happen in Washington, the millionaires and billionaires can sure afford it. In fact they’ll be awash in money and it’s the best, most renewable source of revenue to fix the MTA. But as for the Speaker candidates, look, I know all of them. I think in general there’s a lot of philosophical affinity, and I’m certain we could work together on the MTA. Because whatever plan you like, you got to like a plan to provide the long-term revenue, right. One thing I’ll say is I put a plan on the table. You can see it, you can touch it, you know the millionaire’s tax. Anyone else who wants to fix the MTA, put your plan on the table. One of them has to happen. Louis: Well let me just distinguish then between the millionaire’s tax, which is funding for the MTA or whatever else you choose to spend it on, and congestion pricing. Pricing is probably a word that throws off some of it conceptually. It’s intended to sort of provide incentives, in a non-punitive way, to get people a gentle incentive to maybe find a different way, or a different time to come into the central business district, right. I mean – Mayor: I wouldn’t call it gentle. I mean, I respect the question but I wouldn’t call it gentle. I would say, look, the goal that we want people to use their cars less which we are working on every single day – that’s why we created NYC Ferry which has been a great success, that’s why we’re doubling down on Select Bus Service, 21 new routes coming, light rail coming to Brooklyn and Queens, expansion of Citi Bike, and the anti-congestion plan to do things that are common sense like stop deliveries during rush hour and the way that people are coming into the city or going back home – Louis: Same idea. I mean, that’s a form of congestion pricing. Mayor: Well, no, that to me is strategic. That’s saying, why on Earth would we allow deliveries during the very hours when the roads are most busy, when they could be done other parts of the day? That, to me, is regulatory, whereas congestion pricing is much more of a financial tool. And it is regressive. Come on, if you’re a rich guy, you’re not going to think twice about paying your $10, your $15, whatever the heck it is – Louis: Well, of course, they do. Of course you do. I doesn’t matter – look, there’s a very – Mayor: I disagree with that – Louis: It’s a very New York thing where to avoid paying even 75 cents at the meter, there are people like me – there are a lot of people like me – who will drive around the block to try and park somewhere else – Mayor: Unless I missed something, I wouldn’t put you in the rich guy category. Louis: Well, I’m trying. [Laughter] But – Mayor: You’re not there yet, Errol. [Laughter] Louis: The point being – the point is, I’ve got 75 cents to pay for parking. If I’m going to go to the drying cleaners and I have a lot of stuff but I won’t do it because I’d rather park for free. And if you make it clear that it’s like, if you’re going to park on this busy street, you got to pay something. It doesn’t have to be a lot but it’s got to be something. All of the science behind this suggests that it affects people’s behavior. If they’re on the fence about whether to make the trip, they won’t make the trip or they’ll do it at a different time, and that’s the whole different. And apparently, even a small incentive like that – that’s why I said gentle – can leverage a lot of change and get a lot of cars the heck out of the central business – Mayor: I think for working people and middle class people it’s not the 75 cents to park because you’re talking about a lot of people for whom it might be a daily reality and it’s, you know, a doubling of the tolls or more. And that, look – I think by definition if you add a financial element to the equation and it’s going to unevenly affect people – easier for people with more resources to pay than it is for people with less. It’s like sales tax. No one doubts – you know, you can say, the sales tax is for everyone and it’s gentle. Well, if you don’t have a lot of money, the sales tax isn’t so gentle. If you have a lot of money, you don’t even notice it. If there’s going to be any further discussion of congestion pricing, these bigger issues have to be addressed in my opinion and I have never a plan that does. But I would say, I’m a little sick of this dismissal of a millionaire’s tax proposal because it’s the only actual proposal that’s written, that has real support in Albany, that makes, sadly, more sense than ever given what’s happening in Washington. I’d like people to say why isn’t that a good idea – well, I think it was a good idea before the Trump tax plan. I think it’s a better idea [inaudible] – Louis: Well, wait a minute. Where’s this real support? I mean I talk to people in Albany just like you do. I don’t know that you have even half the votes you would need for that. Mayor: I don’t know if I have all the votes I need either but I’m saying there are people – you may remember when we announced it, Senator Gianaris, Assembly member O’Donnell. There are actual human beings in the Legislature – Louis: In the minority. Mayor: Yeah, well, not in the minority in the Assembly. In the majority in the Assembly. There are people who support this idea. It is a proven idea, historically, in terms of taxation. It’s about to be potentially – and again, I’ll fight the Trump tax plan with all I got working with fellow mayors around the country. But if it comes to pass, nothing makes the idea of a millionaire’s tax for the MTA more relevant that if millionaire’s and billionaire’s get a huge tax break. But there’s no other plan on the table. You can’t fight something with nothing. Louis: Okay, we shall see. Nothing often does prevail in Albany as we both know – Mayor: Well, okay, but we agree something has to give on the MTA – a bigger, long-term funding source is necessary. I’m the only guy, with my colleagues in Albany, who actually has a proposal on the table. Louis: Okay, in our last minute, I got to ask you this. You and I have something in common. We both met our future wives at work. And as you may have seen, there’s been some sort of chit-chat about it because they say, you know, the story of Bill de Blasio meeting Chirlane McCray is that you pursued her relentlessly. You – Mayor: Humbly and relentlessly. Louis: Humbly, relentlessly. There’s some talk of – Mayor: I was an underdog, Errol – Louis: Stealing an unwanted – unwelcome kiss. Mayor: No. Louis: This is what it says here. This is what it says here. Mayor: Not true. That’s wrong. Louis: You were undaunted, you flirted with her mercilessly. Any concerns at all even on the outside that what was the beginning of a beginning of a wonderful love story back in the 1990s might be interpreted very differently now. Mayor: No, not in the least. I don’t know where that characterization comes from. That’s not right. I – Louis: No unwanted kisses. Mayor: Yeah, no. I was, you know – I always say it was a variation for me. Literally the first moment I met Chirlane, it was September 1991, and I sat at a desk that was about ten feet from where I sit now, a cubicle when I was working for Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch. And I saw her and it was the closest thing I know to love at first sight. And I always say she felt absolutely nothing. [Laughter] So, then it turned out she was working right around the corner at City Hall in the press office, so I just tried to show up there all the time and try to get her attention. It was like – it was like a high school cafeteria. It was kind of silly. I was trying to – anything to get her attention. And she didn’t pay a lot of attention and then eventually I worked up the nerve to call her up and ask her out to lunch and she hesitated and then said yes. And everything proceeded from there rather rapidly. But, no, you know, to me, it was a very humble experience because I didn’t know if she’d give me the time of day so I just tried to get her attention. Simple. Louis: Okay, we don’t want to see any #MeToos or anything like that. Mayor: No. It was really – it’s a very different thing. What’s happening today or what has come out from the past is thoroughly inappropriate and I don’t think it’s just 2017. I think in 1991 or even before people knew that kind of stuff was inappropriate and some people thought they could get away with it and it’s a shame. But guess what, the chickens are coming home to roost. Louis: Indeed and not a moment too soon. Thank you so much. Good to see you. We’ll see you next week.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 7:35am
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Alright. Good morning, everybody. First and foremost, I’d just like to thank Mike Baker – Inspector Baker – for hosting us this morning, and his NCOs. And then as everybody knows Chief Gomez made an announcement a couple weeks ago that he’s going to be leaving towards the end of December. I’ll have plenty of nice things to say about him over the coming weeks. But I just – first, Carlos, I’d like to thank you for everything you’ve done for the city. Chief of Department Carlos Gomez, NYPD: Thank you. Commissioner O’Neill: Personally – on a personal level, everything that you’ve helped me with over the last 14 months, I don’t think any of this could have been accomplished without you. Chief Gomez: Thank you. Commissioner O’Neill: But I’ll have plenty more nice things to say about you. [Laughter] Mayor Bill de Blasio: Just a warm up. Commissioner O’Neill: Good morning, everyone. Thanks for being here. In a moment you’ll hear from the Mayor, and then Dermot Shea will give you the rundown of November’s crime numbers. And then we’ll take a better look at how the city’s faring as we approach the end of the year. We really can’t overstate how remarkable it is, how we continue to push crime down. When I say we, it’s not just the NYPD. I talk about that all the time. It’s everyone that lives, works, and visits here and all our partners in law enforcement. I’ve been in this business a long time – 35 years next January. In a month. I can’t believe it’s going to be 35 years. I’ve been going to CompStat since 1996 and to have a year like we had last year in 2016 was pretty amazing. But the fact that what we’re doing this year continuing that trend and making those decreases go even deeper is really nothing short of amazing. We’ve seen the lowest number of index crimes here since the ‘50s and we’re – with informed, engaged, and empowered communities, we’re going to keep pushing those numbers down even further. I get asked all the time, especially by you guys, how far can we push crime down. And I think working with everybody in the city and working with all our partners, we can keep pushing those numbers down. We didn’t get here by accident. Nothing happens by accident. We owe a great deal to the effort of the men and women who put on a uniform every day, go out and work hard fighting crime, and keeping people safe – the cops out there today in this precinct, all around the five boroughs, and also the thousands of other cops we came before them over the past 20 or 30 years. More recently, though, we’ve seen people in neighborhoods all across the city really step up and take active roles in helping us. New Yorkers are understanding that public safety is a shared responsibility. We say it all the time and what it means is this – no one knows a neighborhood, a street, or a block better than those who live and work there every day. These are the good people who know exactly who the bad people are. And increasingly, it’s the good people who are strengthening their relationships with the NCOs – the neighborhood coordination officers – their steady sector cops and everyone else who works in a busy command like this. And it’s working. People are calling 9-1-1 or waving down police cars when they want to report something. They’re calling or texting their NCOs on their cell phones when something isn’t right. And we need that opportunity to investigate and they give us that. In my opinion, it’s not just that people should call when they know something’s not right, it’s that – and I strongly believe this – they have an obligation to call because we’re all in this together. We’ve been saying for nearly four years now, it’s a relatively small percentage of people in this city who are responsible for most of the violence. And as we continue to identify the small universe of criminals – and it is very small, we’re talking about only a few thousand people – we’re taking them off the streets with laser-like precision. We’re constantly working very closely with our District Attorneys, our US Attorneys, to pre-indict these individuals for a host of violent crimes and we’re taking them off the streets. We’re seeing more and more meaningful prison sentences at the end of it all. It’s that method of precision policing, that’s the vehicle within our neighborhood policing philosophy that’s leading to lower and lower crime rates even past already historic lows. As we sit here this morning, we are 51 homicides lower than we were at this point last year – 51. And the raw numbers through last night are 263 homicides versus 314 last year. Think of the families kept intact, the lives not disrupted or ended. And when it comes to shootings, which account for 52 percent of our homicides this year, we’re 207 lower than we were last year. That’s incredible. It really is. It speaks to that brand of precision policing and says that the hard working men and women of this police department are out there every day, every night, and are doing their job. So, thank you for being here this morning, and I’d like to turn it over to Mayor de Blasio. Mayor: Thank you very much, Commissioner. And congratulations, it’s a great thing to be able to, month after month, offer my congratulations for sustained progress to you and all the leadership of the NYPD, and especially to the men and women who have done this amazing work – truly some great progress we’re going to report on today. I also want to take a moment upfront to talk about Carlos Gomez, and I’ll have other opportunities too as well. But I want to start now because it’s been just a wonderful experience working together. You’ve been a great Chief of Department and it caps a great career. And, wow, to come in the role and contribute to this kind of progress – I hope you feel great satisfaction because you’ve done something amazing here. And you know I remember very vividly the day we named Carlos to this role. You know some people literally personify the American dream and you are one of those people, and the dream that people think of when they think of New York City. You know, classic immigrant story and a story of personal perseverance and success, rising up through the ranks, making a huge impact all over the city. Since Vanessa Gibson’s here, I will note a particularly big impact in the Bronx, and one of the people who really did the most to make the Bronx a safer place. So, I just want to thank you. When we all started out together four years ago, neighborhood policing was just the beginning of an idea. Now, it’s a living breathing thing that’s made a huge, huge impact and it’s going to get better all the time. And Carlos Gomez is one of the people who brought that great idea to life and made it work for all New Yorkers. So, Carlos, congratulations and thank you. Chief Gomez: Thank you. Mayor: Let me just thank as well – I mentioned Council Member Vanessa Gibson, the Chair of the Public Safety Committee, thank you so much for being with us in all the work we do together. Thank you, Senator Brian Benjamin, for being with us, and your partnership. I want to say this is a precinct that has been outstanding. Congratulations to Inspector Mike Baker and all the men and women under his command here in the 3-2. They’ve also done a great job of working with neighborhood partners including the Crisis Management System. There is a reason for what you’re going to hear in a moment – the outstanding progress made in this precinct. It was one of the earlier precincts to take on the NCO program and was one of the precincts that really was in the early waves of the neighborhood policing initiative. And this one has a lot to show for it. So, we wanted to be here to really give them so much great for what they’ve achieved. Look, many things had to happen to get us here – obviously having 2,000 more officers on patrol than we had two years ago. Again, thank you to Vanessa and the City Council for spearheading that. New training, new equipment – but really I believe most fundamentally the neighborhood policing strategy has been the leading edge of change. And this precinct got the NCOs in October, 2015. It’s been seeing consistent reductions in crime ever since. Comparing this point this year to the same point last year here in the 3-2 Precinct, overall crime is down over 11 percent, murder down 33 percent, rape down almost 50 percent just in the course of one year compared to the last, and that’s outstanding progress. It is because real trust and real communication’s been built with the community. And as the Commissioner said, and we hear it every single day from NCOs and from other officers, this dynamic is leading the public to get more involved and to offer more information. Our officers need information to be able to do their jobs as professionals the way they best want to do them and the way they aspire to do them. They need information. So, when a community resident points out a drug location or an illegal social club or someone who has an illegal weapon or they helped to identify a gang member and the activities that they’re undertaking, all of these actions help the police to do more and more. It is a force multiplier to have the people of this city constantly supporting the police with good information that leads to arrests and disrupts crime. And that’s what neighborhood policing is helping to achieve. So, you know, I have heard this time and time again. An NCO develops a particular relationship – it might be a store owner, it might be a building superintendent, it might be with a young person – and that leads to information that stops a crime or leads to an arrest. That’s what we want to see more and more of as neighborhood policing deepens. The 3-2 is just a fantastic example of how this works and we expect great things ahead for this precinct. But let’s talk about the city overall. So, this month of November just passed, was the safest November in recorded history in this city. Overall crime down over seven percent, almost eight percent compared to last year. The fewest shooting and the fewest murders of any November in our history. Shootings down 26 percent compared to the previous November, murders down 20 percent compared to the previous November. Here’s the bottom line, if these trends continue through this month, the people in this city will have had the safest year on record in over half a century. That’s the trajectory we’re on right now. And I could not be more proud and more appreciative to all the leaders gathered around me and especially to all the men and women of the NYPD who have achieved this. We of course – we’ve said it before – will never rest on our laurels. This department doesn’t know how to rest on its laurels. It only wants to keep making more progress. We’re safest big city in America. We’re going to go farther. Just a few words in Spanish – [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that, I turn to Chief Dermot Shea. Chief of Control Strategies Dermont Shea, NYPD: Good morning everyone, just a little more word about – Mayor: Have we stolen all your thunder? Chief Shea: No, well, I have to say a word about Chief Carlos Gomez, who I have for the last couple years shared the ComStat meetings weekly with. And it was a privilege and an honor, I will say that. Anyone who knows Carlos knows that he has many loves but included in those loves are baseball and sports analogies. Mayor: [Laughs] Chief Shea: I thought about the point he is leaving the NYPD and what we have accomplished recently so I googled what sports heroes went out on top. And Carlos, I had to get a – I tried for the Mets, I didn’t wind up with the Mets. [Laughter] Chief Shea: So I got Joe DiMaggio, 1951 after winning the ninth straight World Series, ninth World Series not straight – hung it up from baseball. So Joe DiMaggio never pushed, Carlos as you’ve never won a World Series, Joe DiMaggio never pushed robberies down 21 straight months and so tremendous – our loss, truly our loss. Here’s what Carlos’s team has accomplished recently in the NYPD when we look at our statistics. Nine straight months of reduced index crime, 15 of the last 16 months we have knocked down index crime in New York City. 21 straight months reduced robberies, shootings down 12 of the last 13 months. We’ve had 52 days this year without a shooting in New York City. And for those of us that have been around for a while that is unbelievable. In just two years we have doubled that number. 52 days this year no one went to a hospital in New York City after having been shot. Arrests down 22 straight months and when you start to talk about what you’ve heard the precision policing, the neighborhood policing and the strategies coming together, it’s not just about the crime victims. It’s about how we are getting where we are going – arrests down 22 straight months. There is still more work to do and we remain focused on what we have been preaching for the last four years – focus on small numbers of people whether we are talking about sex offensives, property crimes, violence or this month I will talk about elderly crime. Small numbers of people doing numbers that occasionally spike up. For the month of November murders, 20 recorder murders – that’s down from 25, it’s a 20 percent reduction. Of the 20 murders that we recorded in November, 13 of the 20 where by gunfire, two where by arson, one was by a vehicle and four where by cutting instruments. So we continue to see the majority of our murders committed by firearms. Rape. We have recorded 111 rapes – up from 96. That’s a 16 percent increase. On the rapes, particularly disturbing when I look at the rapes – we’ve had – when you finished August in New York City we were down seven percent rapes for the year. September we were up four rapes, but October and November – two months in a row, we have seen double digit increases percentage wise in rapes. That coincides with a lot of the news media coverage of late. Very difficult to say the role that plays in it but that is two months in a row of double digit increases. Robberies – November down nine percent. Felonious assaults down 13 percent. Burglaries down seven percent. Property crimes side – grand larcenies down five percent, stolen vehicles down 12 percent. When you add up the index crime for the month of November, down eight percent overall. It’s a reduction of over 600 index crimes. And that now brings us to the shooting incidents – down 26 percent in shootings for November, 48 versus 65, 17 fewer shooting incidents. On transit related crime – up nine percent, 232 versus 212. It’s an increase of 20 crimes. And it’s being driven by grand larcenies. We had an increase citywide in transit for November of 26 grand larcenies. And when you talk about the recidivism on certain crimes – this is one that we will be dealing with our partners in the very near future. And how do we tackle small numbers of individuals – whether it is cutting pockets of sleeping passengers or pick pockets on the F train that drive those numbers so we will be having those conversations shorty. Year to date, that brings us to now – murders, and these numbers that I’m quoting are slightly off the Commissioner’s because I stop the clock on November 30th. Through November 30th – 259 murders versus 312, down 17 percent, 53 fewer murdered through the 30th of November. And of the murders through November 30th, 126 by gun and that’s down 55. So we are 55 fewer people in New York City shot and killed this year. Rapes –through November 30th year to date down two percent. Robberies down ten percent. Felonious assaults down four percent. Burglary down eight and DC PI can follow up with all the specific numbers behind these percentages. Grand larceny is down three percent year to date. Grand larceny now is making up 45 percent of our overall crime in New York City. Stolen vehicles are down 11 percent. And that brings the total index crime through November 30th with one month to go down six percent this year. It’s a reduction of over 5,100 crimes. And as we have said before, we are well on our way to finishing below 100,000 crime for the first time. Shooting incidents, year to date through November 30th down 23 percent – 211 fewer incidents, 245 fewer victims more importantly. Transit crime up one percent year to date and it’s an increase of 13 crimes city wide in transit. In transit, what are we seeing? 67 percent of the crime in transit, different that the city – much more is grand larcenies. And again, when we talk transit we talk specifically three types of grand larcenies – snatches, pick pockets and we talk the lush workers, property taken when someone is asleep or they put down a bag unattended. What drives it, the pick pockets and the unattended property, not the snatches. When you look at transit related crime Brooklyn is up 58 grand larcenies and the Bronx is up 33 grand larcenies. So again when we have these follow up, take our temperatures, where are we, what we can do better as we look forward to next year – Brooklyn and the Bronx, grand larcenies driving the city wide increase in transit so we will be having out meetings with our partners on those topics. Housing, year to date down seven percent and just as a summary where we are with one month to go city wide, 5,100 plus crimes down. Every borough of New York City is down and index crime and it remains – every index crime in New York City is down. Thank you Mayor: Well done. Unknown: Okay we’ll start with any questions specific about crime and then we can move on to other topics. Crime questions? Question: What do you attribute the increase in rapes to? You mentioned the media’s coverage, can you talk about that a bit more? Chief Shea: Sure, we’ll so we’re down two percent in rapes year to date. What I don’t like is that at the end of August we were down seven percent. So when you zero in on these last three months, September, October, November, September was – off the top of my head I think we were four rapes up. We see fluctuations in many crime types but October and November we’ve seen double digit increases. Now that does coincide with, obviously what’s been going in news the last couple of months. We had 111 rapes for the month of November. When you look at those 111, and I have, there’s nothing directly that I can contribute and say, here we go this is exactly why it’s increasing. But we do see that coinciding at the same time we have a lot of media coverage. We continue to see a lot of rapes that are being reported outside this period, outside of 2017. So, when we see a rape that ‘I was raped in 2010 and now seven years later I’m reporting it’, we encourage that because we want to get as much statistical information as we can to try and combat this crime. But just a rough breakdown of what we saw this month, and I think it’ll give you an idea. 111 rapes. 21 were committed by the boyfriend. 21 were – was no force per se used but it’s a rape by law because of the age of the parties involved. So this is young girls having intercourse with an older male, consensual but they cannot consent because of the age. That’s 21 incidents of that. Nine were committed by family members. That’s the uncle, that’s the step-father excreta. Nine out of 111 were committed by strangers. And that’s consistent with what we see over the long year. Less than ten percent of rapes are committed by strangers. The largest category, and it’s a big bucket unfortunately, this is some of what we run into is known-to. The individual are known-to, but it could be too many to list at this press conference, the variety of whether it’s dates, whether it’s meeting at a bar, whether it’s social media or internet involved. We had some incidents that met on Tinder. But certainly not driving it. It’s a little of everything. Can I point to increased out of year reporting this month, no. But it would be difficult to ignore what’s been going on in media the last couple of months. But we are certainly – I can tell you that the same three months we have a very significant increase in our rape arrests. And I would like to see zero rape arrests because we have zero rapes. But that’s just a quick overview of what we’ve been seeing. Question: [Inaudible] people who reported the rapes this month, are they reporting rapes that happened – Chief Shea: Both. Question: – this year or was it past years. Chief Shea: We generally see, and Marica I can get back to you, off the top of my head I think it’s in the neighborhood of 15-20 percent of the rapes, but I can solidify that after, occur out of this year. And that’s something – we frequently see rapes reported late. For – for obvious reasons. Question: Along those lines, are – is the detective squad getting the sense that survivors have more confidence that they’ll be believed now in the context of the news reporting you’ve been talking about whether it’s the post- Weinstein effect, etcetera. Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah just, Andrew, it’s – so far this year, these are statistics, we’re up to about 30 cases where people have made complaints outside of this year. So that’s 285 verses 255. We’re seeing that happening now as we talk in real time. Whether they think they can finally get resolution, I hope that’s the case to be honest with you. This – we point to certain statistics and we wonder whether if that’s what it is, we can’t say it. But it certainly merits discussion, these numbers and people coming forward. And that’s what we want them to have. So, that’s what I have to say about it. It’s just that it looks that more – 30 more people have come forward in the last year. That’s good news. And we hope they find resolution. There’s nothing worse than this that could happen. These are rapes alone. Question: Is there any kind of tweaking of a strategy or a campaign either to get more people to come forward or to – more prevention or education? Commissioner O’Neill: I think working with neighborhood policing and our NCOs and more –Bob has put more people into Special Victims. I think that’s having people come forward which is what we want. You know, each rape that is reported is fully investigated by the seasoned professionals in Special Victims. Question: Can you just expand upon the number 30. You’re saying that these people, they would see the coverage, they would read about all the coverage that we’ve seen for the last couple of months and they would say, hey maybe that happened to me and – Commissioner O’Neill: We can’t speak to that. We hope that’s the case. But we did see a decided increase in people coming forward from past years. So what you’re saying, we can’t answer definitively. At least I can’t. But were seeing people coming forward and having faith in the NYPD. And that’s what we want to happen. Question: [Inaudible] number 30 [inaudible] clarify that’s – Commissioner O’Neill: 286 – I’m sorry 285 thus far this year outside the year complaints. Verses 255 last year. So it’s an increase of 30 aggregate. Question: So these are old cases. Commissioner O’Neill: These are old cases outside – that happened outside 2017. Question: [Inaudible] outside the year cases [inaudible] last year or – Commissioner O’Neill: I can’t go – I’m not going to go into dates if it was – Question: You don’t have previous [inaudible] Commissioner O’Neill: I can’t give you the year by year. I can’t give that to you. This is the number that I have right now. Question: [Inaudible] increase in the transit crimes along the same lines too, more reporting, combination of just more crimes, more reporting? Chief Shea: So when we see – when we look at the transit crime it’s up one percent for the year. I think I gave you the number already, in terms of overall crime it’s a fairly small number. Two thirds of the overall crime is grand larcenies on transit which is what we normally see. When you look at breakdowns on what’s driving it two things that keyed, at least in my mind, was there was a fairly significant increase of grand larcenies in two boroughs. And that being Brooklyn and the Bronx. You know, we – it’s not out of the ordinary to have fluctuations throughout the city in particular crime types. For example earlier this year we had a Transit District 11 in the Bronx, we had a transit spike that, you know, call the parties in, what are we doing, what do we have to do resource wise, and quickly got that under control. But, when you look at transit overall its grand larceny driven and what we see is pickpockets doing a lot of crimes. There’s probably a small number of crimes that are recorded top-side, if you will, that occurred on transit, we just can’t prove that because people discover property missing later. But, I could tell you that a tremendous amount of work gets done by the Transit Bureau. Their field intelligence officers, their anti-crime units in plain clothes, as well as the uniformed officers. They know firsthand who these pickpockets are. These are career criminals. They wake up every day, they go to work, unfortunately their job is to go onto the transit system and do pickpockets. So it is a cat and mouse game that has been going on for quite some time and you know, I get daily briefs on some of the work, and I see Chief Coogan over there, that the men and women that work for him do. A lot of outstanding work going on below ground in New York City. And again, when you look at the ridership, when you look at the historical trends in transit, New York City transit system is incredibly safe. When you look at the crimes that are occurring we want to see zero, and that’s what the Mayor expects of us, and that’s what we’re always shooting for. But we do see fluctuations from time to time. Commissioner O’Neill: You need to put that in perspective too. I think there’s five to six million people that ride the subway each day and there’s – [inaudible] what is it six – six index crimes a day in the subway. So it’s one in a million. Those numbers are really low. In the back row? Question: On the rape statistics, you said that there’s been an increase in arrests for rape-related crimes, and then also is there any indication – and this number may not be available – but on the rapes that were reported for past years, the 285 this year or the 255 last year, how does the percentage of the people who have been arrested for rapes that were reported after they occurred? Chief Shea: You’re a little too far in the weeds. I can certainly get back to you on that. This is what I’ll say – rapes are down, just to say it for the third time, year-to-date in New York City, two percent. We have seen an increase the last three months. Most particularly in the last two months, double-digit increases. Over that same time period the last three months, with that rise in rape complaints we have seen a significant rise in rape arrests the last three months, which you would expect. Overall, for the year-to-date, I believe the rape arrests are down. Remember that rapes are down year to date, and remember it takes times, so as time goes on Bob Boyce’s detectives will be making additional, I can guarantee it, rapes. It just takes time for these things to play out, and we are still about three weeks, three-and-a-half weeks left in this year. So last three months a little uptick and a rise in rape arrests for that same time period. Mayor: Let me just add here – first of all, we really want to encourage reporting. Crucial that anyone who’s been a victim feel they can and must come forward, and that they will be trusted, they will be supported. Remember, God forbid this happens to anyone, if the perpetrator is not reported, then they could strike again. So I understand this is often a really wrenching, difficult, horrible situation that people are put in – and particularly women are put in – but reporting gives the NYPD a chance to stop the problem and to bring justice, so I want to really encourage that. And I think it’s also a moment in history where obviously many, many people and particularly many women have decided to no longer remain silent, and that is helping to protect everyone else. So I really want to encourage people to come forward. I also want to note with tremendous appreciation a separate but related reality. The NYPD is doing something extraordinary – I’ve talked to a lot of precinct commanders about this – in the way it addresses domestic violence, which tragically does interplay with rape quite a bit. The NYPD is now very aggressive in terms of returning to a family that has a domestic violence condition and constantly checking in, showing visible NYPD presence literally at their door step to send a powerful message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated and that the NYPD is watching. This is also how you stop the next tragedy from happening, so I think NYPD has shown extraordinary sensitivity and extraordinary persistence in following up on any situation like this whether it’s rape or domestic violence or the horrible connection of the two. We really want to encourage people to come forward for your own good but also for the good of others. Commissioner O’Neill: Tony? Question: Commissioner Shea, Chief Shea rather, the shootings are – about half of the homicides are done by gunfire – Chief Shea: 52 percent, yes. Question: Historically how does that stack up and what are the other methods in terms of [inaudible]? Chief Shea: Historically, 55 percent if the number generally – give or take a percentage point or two – 55 percent of the murders in New York City are committed by gunfire. It’s a little less this year. We’ve had, you know, we’ve come up every month and told you exactly what we’re doing – focusing in on the worst of the worst, focusing in on individuals that repeatedly are showing up with guns, whether its search warrants by John Miller’s FIOs or Terry Monahan anti-crime units making a car stop and arresting gang members, or it’s gang takedowns with Bob Boyce. Everything is coming together, and you’re seeing – I believe the number I quoted was 55 fewer deaths by gunfire this year. In addition to the homicides by gunfire, homicides by cutting instruments down 14 with year, so that’s another bit of very positive news. Domestic homicides down this year. I was told to keep it short, but I can go on and on and recite statistics. There is a lot of good happening in New York City, and that’s the point I wanted to – Carlos Gomez, I’m envious because he is clearly going out on top. Question: Who can address what’s been going on in this precinct? Why the numbers are so impressive and what are you tackling specifically? Commissioner O’Neill: Terry Monahan can talk about that, Juliet. Chief of Patrol Terrence Monahan, NYPD: We have the C.O. here, Mike Baker. We can probably talk a little bit later afterwards. But the 3-2, again, it’s been up for just about two and a half years with neighborhood policing and if you talk – a lot of our NCOs, NCO sergeants are out there, and these are men that are dedicated to the neighborhood. They know the people. They know the residents. They know the 99 percent of the good people from the one percent of the bad. When incidents happen – I know our squads had some shootings where our NCOs have sat down with them, looked at video and said I know that kid, I saw him, and we’ve been able to solve a lot of cases along that way. It’s that cooperation between the ground level cop on the street with the detectives up in the squad working together with the community, everyone joining together and kind of resolving, getting that one percent off the street. There’s been some gang issues here. There was a very good takedown done by one of Bobby Boyce’s teams – Jimmy [inaudible] – they took out a good number of gang members, I believe the good fellow crew, so there’s still some ongoing investigations. There’s still some people out there that we need to remove. Question: Does that contribute more to the crime numbers? The gang activities? Chief Monahan: As everyone here has said, this is a combination. This isn’t one specific thing. It’s the precision policing, it’s the relationships, it’s everyone working as a team together to resolve the issues – the community, the cops on the street, the detective up in the squad – one solidified, unified force working together to make this a better community. Commissioner O’Neill: Hey Juliette, we’ve – this became a neighborhood policing command back in September of 2015, so that was phase two, we started out with the original four and we went to the bigger commands, and the men and women in the 3-2 have embraced this. If you talk to the NCOs, if you talk to the precinct commander, if you talk to the people in the community, it’s a new way of living. It hasn’t always been like that up in the 3-2, so I think that’s really helping them. Question: What do you think engendered the trust? What’s going on here about – Commissioner O’Neill: I think – I think its personal relationships. You know the way that we changed the model. It’s not only the NCO’s, it’s not just the Neighborhood Coordination Officers, the sector cops, they have a, you know, a third of their day when they are not answering 9-11 calls, they can actually build, you know, established relationships and build on that. As the years go on, it’s going to get better and better. Mayor: Hey Juliette, I want to add to that, you know, again I am the layman up here, and so I just talk to everyday people and ask them what they’ve experienced. And I also ask these guys to tell me from their perspective what they are trying to elicit in their relationship with a community. So, I’ll give you a great example – the – I’ll give you two. One, I heard this constantly with Public Housing Residents. They now, I go on town hall meetings and everything, they point out their NCO, they speak to them about – as their – they still talk about their NCO, right? There is a total sense of this is an officer who we know, who we like, who we feel connected to, is looking for us, we’re looking out for him or her. So it’s very personal, which is really a big difference of the model of the past, but I’ll give you the other example on a vertical patrol as a sort of something that used to in the past often be a very tense dynamic, so now something like that is with the NCO’s who know the people in the building leading the way. So they know, Mrs. Smith, and Mr. Jones, and whoever else, right? And they are saying hello in the hallway because they are already have a relationship and people know each other, so when you are doing a patrol when everyone understands, they feel respected, they know that you know they live there, but also be able to know who doesn’t live there more easily, it changes the whole dynamic. So I have been really impressed at how this very human dynamic, the numbers are powerful, the strategies are powerful, it comes down to humanity in the end. Someone knows there officer, it’s a whole new day, and the officer knows them, by first name. And that’s something as simple as the fact that more and more people are saying hell to their officers, thank you to their officers, makes a huge difference. Commissioner O’Neill: In the second row, hold on, right there. Question: Yeah, so the CompStat data is showing hate crime reports up by nine percent as of November 25 to December 2, what can you say about what is maybe driving the continued increase this year in hate crime reports, and is there anything you guys are doing differently in terms of how you investigate it [inaudible] Commissioner O’Neill: Hey Bob you want to talk about that? I think the numbers have actually leveled off since the beginning of the year. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, NYPD: The numbers have – yes, exactly right Commissioner, the numbers have leveled off significantly. About this time last year, we had a big increase, it’s – so we are going against those numbers right now, so we are down substantially, we still see anti-Semitic issues, but not what they were this time last year. So, and I hate to use this analogy, but there is a decrease in our increase. That’s the best way to say. Is that, we’ve seen it, really, the numbers dramatically. We still have incidents, I had incidents in the Bronx yesterday in a nursing home, it made no sense to anybody, but I think that was fueled by mental disease, personally. So we are on top of it, we see the statistic decrease, we are happy with that. We saw the bulge and now we are – it’s kind of like getting a benefit of that bulge we saw about this time last year. Question: A lot of kudos for Chief Gomez, but that opens up a position at the end of the month – Unknown : We are on crime right now and then we will move on, alright? Anyone who is crime? Commissioner O’Neill: Dean, just for the record I would have answered your question. [Laughter] Mayor: Wait, wait, wait, we saw hand go up, let’s – let’s finish the crime questions. Question: I just have a quick question about whether you have any idea or can talk about a bit about the motive behind the Golden Krust Founder suicide over the weekend and whether that firearm was licensed in New York City? Commissioner O’Neill: The firearm was licensed to him through our License Bureau, as you know he was a notable businessman within the city. This happened 5:00 pm Saturday night, it was a shock to everyone involved, clearly it is a suicide, we have a suicide note which I would never divulge to anybody, that’s personal. But it’s clearly shows that he was in crisis at some point. So, one shot, and heard by people who responded immediately, and that’s what we have right now. Question: Does the Mayor know about this question, and then I will go to the other one. I mean so many people knew Lowell Hawthorne, I mean I’ve interviewed him a number of times – Mayor: Yeah. Question: - big smile, likes to joke. I mean – your reaction? He is a leader up in their in the Bronx and of course the city. Mayor: And he achieved something great. I mean it is a beautiful immigrant story, create a great business, one that is pretty legendary in the neighborhoods of New York City. I’ve eaten many a patty myself. And you know created a lot of jobs for people, and a pillar of the Caribbean community, and involved in the community in so many ways, it’s a shock. It’s a total shock. But you don’t know what goes through people’s minds, you know, and that’s – what kind of personal tragedy, what kind of situation leads someone to think they have no other option, and as Chirlane would say, there is always a mental health component too, and a lot of times it does not show itself. You know, someone can be a pillar of community and wear a nice suit and one thing or the other, but still be grappling with a mental health issue because, generally you would say, even if you come upon hear times you wouldn’t take your own life. Something else has to be going on, but what a horrible, horrible loss for the community. Question: The city took – you announced earlier this year that the investigating drug overdoses as homicides. And the few homicide numbers that you gave today, or the few homicides that we say today, I’m wondering if those investigations account for any of those homicides? Can you talk a little bit about how that’s been now that we are in December? Chief Boyce: So I’ll address it really quickly. Our program was to disrupt distribution. Police play a role in this, but not the entire role obviously in reducing opioid overdoses, so our role was to investigate each one. Bring them to fruition, bring cases which we have done, and we will continue to do. Last night I got 45 keys of heroin in Jersey. This is something we do all the time. We have 84 kilograms recovered in November, alright we are off to a good start in November. Thus far this year, 508 kilograms of heroin, some 71 – over 71 kilograms of fentanyl, coming from different areas. Heroin coming from Mexico usually by truck. Fentanyl coming through the mail - both private and public mail systems in from China. We fight that battle every day. So we take down a lot of cases in this city on narcotic uses. We start from the beginning, we just lost a teacher in the Bronx this past weekend – I am sorry Thursday. Same exact thing came out of nowhere. Alright, so it’s a big problem for us. Something that the men and women in the narcotic squads, and our advanced narcotic squads do every day – disrupt local distributors and address trafficking through networks that we’ve forged with our federal partners. Question: Do you have a number on the investigations? Chief Boyce: I do but I have to pull it out of this thing, it’s all on this. I tell you what for the month we’ve taken 14 – November, 14 drug organizations down for the month of November. Seven gang, 14 drug. Commissioner O’Neill: Dean. Question: I’ve got kudos for Chief Gomez. [Laughter] Commissioner O’Neill: Do you want to ask that question again? Unknown: It’s Joe DiMaggio. Mayor: Chief DiMaggio. Question: Obviously with the Chief retiring, that opens up a big position in the Police Department and maybe a few others. Tish James as Public Advocate publically said last week she would like to see woman moved up to some of these key positions, number one, number two etc. And some Latino paternal organizations are saying they want to make sure that they’re represented at those top ranks, you know the top three or four. Your response to folks [inaudible] as well. People really speaking out publically about the kind of person they would like to see at the top. Commissioner O’Neill: We are constantly looking to build leadership. If you look at our commanding officer ranks you’ll see that and as we go up, go up the ladder you’ll see that also. We have a Police Department that reflects the diversity of the city. We want to make sure that we have that at the executive ranks also. There hasn’t been a final decision made. But I will guarantee you the person that gets the job will be the most qualified person. Okay, Ashely. Question: I have a crime question. Earlier this year you reorganized the Vice squad to focus on victims of sex trafficking and a couple of weeks ago there was a woman who jumped to her death during an operation. I am wondering what the outcome of – is – if it’s been finished. What the outcome of the IAB investigation is and some of the numbers and contacts somehow the re-organization has impacted the rest? Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, that was force investigation did that. That was a considered death in custody. Although we were not, I don’t think we were in the apartment. Bob you want to talk a little bit about what the Vice division has been doing since – Chief Boyce: Sure. We’ve re-engineered just to address human trafficking. They’ve gone up on a joint task force with the FBI. We’re identifying locations throughout the city that particularly one was talking about was a problematic spot for us in Queens North. We have others around the city. We see both organized ranks and we see both smaller groups doing human trafficking as well. Something that I sit down, I have a meeting each week with the Vice commander. We brought back Vice division to its – to the staffing that’s necessary to address. We’ve specifically detailed them with, this is the most important thing they do. So they’re not doing taxed cigarettes, they’re not doing smaller operations. They are addressing human trafficking. And there is a whole group of issues for them to look at. We have Asian human trafficking, we have Central American, we also have gang members who are doing it as well. He has a large task in there, but it’s getting done. And so we’ve seen a lot of, a lot of headway getting made there since we started the unified investigative model. Question: And was that a smaller operation? Was she – Chief Boyce: No – Question: [Inaudible] organized. Chief Boyce: I don’t like to speak ill of anybody who took their life. But that was clearly done, and clearly done within the protocols that we use to make those arrests. So we were trying to shut down the location. It wasn’t specifically targeted to this young lady. We wanted to shut down this shop, this thing that it was happening in this massage parlor. Question: And were the numbers with that Chief Shea? Chief Shea: Numbers as to? Question: [Inaudible] prostitution Vice arrests?[ Chief Shea: I’ll echo, I don’t have specific numbers but I’ll echo what Bob said. This is a – it’s a problem that we really made it a focus coming into this year to attack this problem. People are praying on – many times you’re talking girls as young as 13 years of age. I’ve seen it in every borough of New York City. And we’re not going to rest until you know we really make headway and eradicate this problem. I can tell you that there is a definite link between some, some of the rape numbers that we report to you, and there is human trafficking. There is a number of young girls that have been raped multiple times this year. And that’s a direct link to human trafficking. But I can tell you, and I apologize I don’t have specific numbers on this topic. But I have never seen more positive police work than I have seen in 2017 on this topic. It is almost on a weekly basis and it doesn’t always make the news. But on a weekly basis it seems that we are rescuing a girl out of either a motel, out of an apartment somewhere in New York City that’s being held under circumstances. Often times they’re lured, often times you have that toxic equation of sometimes group homes, sometimes missing girls and then that winds up after talking to people on the internet and getting over their head. They think they’re going to meet some friends and have a good time, and next thing they’re trapped in an apartment. So again, I got to give Inspector Klein a lot of props, because he has really moved the needle significantly in a short time in 2017. As well as the entire – you know many these investigations have begun right at – with a 9-1-1 call to patrol and patrol responds and recognizes, because of additional training that’s been given. recognizes a situation for what it is, and they hold it down and get the ball rolling. But there has been a lot of positive movement on this. But we’re far from the finish line. Commissioner O’Neill: Ashely, we’ll get you some hard numbers. Question: Thank you. Commissioner O’Neill: Yep, in the back row. Question: On the topic of all rapes being reported Paz de la Huerta’s lawyer has complained that the DA is not acting on those allegations against Harvey Weinstein. I was wondering if the NYPD – do you guys feel like you have case? Can you respond to that complaint? Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, Chief Boyce will talk – Chief Boyce: Sure. So, I’m in weekly contact with both Cy Vance and his personnel. I spoke to one this morning. That case, I’m promised so far, is still going forward – I’m not promised, we talked about it. It’s going forward. Right now as we speak, there’s been no determination of where it’s going to go or what timeline has been done as far as when it’s going to go to the grand jury. So, I can’t speak to Ms. Goldberg. I know she’s an ally. We want everybody cooperating with us as we go forward in this case. I’m told by DA Vance and his top echelon that this case is going forward right now. I have two detectives in LA right now. I’ve sent them to Paris. I’ve sent them, pretty much, around the world. So, this case is an active case. We’re going to keep going forward. Question: For Chief Boyce, can you tell us anything about this drug overdose of the teacher on Thursday. What kind of investigative procedures does that kick in when you find that? Chief Boyce: Sure. I don’t want to give what my techniques are, Lisa, but right now we have an unstamped back of heroin and a syringe. The syringes – he just bought that day at Rite Aid. We have a receipt in his pocket for that. We’ll go back through phone records to see where he bought these items from. It was a surprise to everybody at the school. And when we say we’re looking at it as a homicide scene, we do do that, we go through a complete rundown of his life. We’ll speak to his family, everybody who knew him, his closest friends to see where he could have purchased this – this heroin. And we’ll see also if it contains any fentanyl. Right now we don’t have that. It takes a couple days. So, the big problem in this city is the heroin and the fentanyl combined together that increases the potency of it, and that’s what’s killing people. We don’t know right now where he bought it. So we will – it’s a whole big investigation as far as where his phone was [inaudible] and we’ll follow that to see where he might have purchased that. So, that’s where we are with the case. We do this each time. We have heroin squads. Bronx is a big issue for us. It’s the number one place we’re having most of our overdoses. So, we have a lot of people working on this effort. Mayor: And just – hold on a second. Lisa, I just wanted to say, it’s a very painful situation obviously for that school community and it’s a reminder, you know, that when it comes to addiction it can strike in all sorts of places. You would not think a teacher who has a good job and, you know, a secure future is the kind of person who would end up with an overdose. This is, to my understanding, the first time we’ve ever had something like this with a teacher certainly in anyone’s memory. So, it’s very painful for that school and everyone in it but it also a sobering reminder that the opioid crisis knows no boundaries. There’s no class or economic distinctions. Addiction is addiction and it’s something we have to fight at the root. And it’s another reminder that if anyone is suffering from addiction or if someone in their life is suffering addiction, one thing they can do now is call that number – 8-8-8-NYC-WELL. They can get help. There’s treatment available right this minute. But people need to pick up that phone or call on behalf of a loved one. Maybe if someone had been able to do that for this teacher, we could have saved him. Question: On the topic of sexual misconduct – this whole thing with the Metropolitan Opera [inaudible] Levine coming out. Have any victims contacted the police or is there any [inaudible]? Chief Boyce: Right now, we’ll keep a close eye on that. No one has come forward on any of the recent high-profile cases other than Harvey Weinstein. That’s the only that persons have come forward as victims, is the Weinstein case. That’s all I have right now. None others. Commissioner O’Neill: Marcia. Question: Just wondering if you could speak a little bit more about your decision to increase the sex crimes unit, why you did it and if you’re satisfied with the size of the [inaudible] – Commissioner O’Neill: I mean this is what we do all the time. We take a look at how we deploy people – all 36,000 people and 16,000 civilians. It’s important that each rape, no matter what the classification is, is fully investigated. And it’s something that we have to constantly – when we put people into Special Victims, we have to make sure we select people that are right for that job. So, that’s an ongoing process. And as we see – we saw the numbers starting to climb a little bit, we thought it was important to make sure we put more seasoned investigators in there. Question: [Inaudible] things over the weekend, very quickly, horrible situation in the 1-0-6 I guess over a parking space dispute – people killed, run over. And also in the 6-6 Precinct, a grandma shot inside her own home – Chief Boyce: It’s not her own home. It was a catering hall in the 6-6. There was a one-year-old birthday party there. It’s on pretty good video. We have an image of that person, we believe it was accidental. He put his coat down, it fell, and a firearm went off, and struck this lady in the leg. We believe people know him. They were all known to each other at this catering hall. So, we’re going forward with the investigation right now. We still have a ways to go. At some point, I may put out the image of the individual because he actually walks over and helps the victim and then leaves. So, we’ll think we’ll find out who it is right now. Going into the 1-0-6 case, Sunday morning at 4:30 am on Liberty Avenue – 127 Liberty Avenue – we have a closing of a hookah bar – XS Hookah Bar – Hookah Lounge, excuse me. One male – two males are out front in a car, another two males pull up, back in and hit the car. A fight ensues after that – a fist fight whereas the driver of the white Hyundai whose name is Adrian Harry, 27-year-old male, stabs another male in the car and then tries to flee. The person with him was also in a fist fight as well. He ends up on the sidewalk. Mr. Harry then takes off, drives back around, and mounts the sidewalk, and then runs down six people one of which was DOA, who was – excuse me – pronounced on the scene. That person pronounced was the person in the car with him. There’s a little twist there we didn’t know there until this morning, some early morning hours. So, others went to the hospital. One is still in grave condition. We’re hoping he survives his wounds. He was hit – some severe head wounds. Mr. Harry later on showed up at Jamaica Hospital with kind of like a b-s story, if you will, that he was stabbed someplace else. Detectives were quick to put him on the scene, bring him back, and he admitted to the entire event. So, right now he’s charged with murder-two. There was another car who followed him. We have that male as well. Unknown if he’s going to be charged because there was a gray vehicle – a Rouge, I believe – that was following him at the time. It’s not the vehicle in the original accident out front. It’s the vehicle that came to their aid. So, that’s where we are with the case right now. Mr. Harry is in custody. He has no prior arrests, neither does the individual with him who was that person on the scene. They’re actually neighbors. They’re known to each other. His name is Ricardo Chattergoon. He is a 24-year-old male. He was pronounced at the scene. But they were together at one time. Question: Chief Boyce, in terms of – going back to the suicide of the businessman [inaudible] I know you can’t disclose, or you don’t want to disclose what’s in the suicide note, but there have been reports that he was bedeviled by certain financial problems [inaudible] can you say if that’s part of the investigation? Chief Boyce: It will be but if you read the note, and I’m not going to read it you’re right, it’s handwritten by him. People in his family identified that’s his handwriting. And it’s about a legal-side issue where he pretty much states what’s going on with his life at that time. So, other than that, I’m not going to say anything more than that. It’s a horrible tragedy for his family and the city, by the way. So, we’re not going to go any farther. And it’s not something that I do. That’s very personal. Unknown: Two more police questions then we’re going to move on, please. Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner O’Neill: Hold on, one at a time. Got two more – you got the second one. Question: You talked about Carlos going out on top, given the near-record or record pace for homicides right now, what is your thought process about your own future at the NYPD? Are you here for the long-term? Are you thinking about going out on top? Commissioner O’Neill: I – I know Dermot said we’re on top but – [Laughter] Listen, I love what I do. I love being a cop. As long as I get asked to stay at this job, I’ll stay. I just – the men and women of this police department are the best in the world and I think the way we’ve changed things over the last – since I became, since I started working with Commissioner Bratton, I think the city has a real bright future. So, I’ll stay as long as the guy sitting next to me wants me to stay. Question: Do you want him to stay, Mr. Mayor? Mayor: He’s doing a great job. I will, though, continue to say what I say to you guys all the time just for symmetry – assume continuity in this administration. When we have personnel announcements, you’ll hear it. But he is doing a great, great job. Question: Getting back to Harvey Weinstein, we were talking about the 30 more people who have come forward to report past rapes this year and how that shows faith in the NYPD. What’s your message you’re sending to the people if Harvey Weinstein is not prosecuted? Chief Boyce We’re not saying he’s not being prosecuted. I don’t know – I don’t understand that question. Question: [Inaudible] about that? Chief Boyce: Well I can only speak for the NYPD and I do talk to the District Attorney of New York and we’re in total agreement of where we’re going with the case at all times. There’s a lot here that we cannot speak about and we’re not going to speak about. So there’s a lot to this case. This is no small issue. But we’re going to keep going forward because we believe there’s other victims out there. Whether they’re in New York, LA, London, or anywhere else in the world, we’ll go forward with the case. And we’ll share, because we speak to Metropolitan Police Service of London quite often. And as I said I have two of my detectives in LA now. So it’s not over. This is no small undertaking. We’ll go forward. Question: Thank you Bob. Question: How many other cases are you investigating besides Ms. de la Huerta’s case? Chief Boyce: Not going to say that right now. Unknown: Thanks all, going to move on to other topics. Mayor: Other topics. Ashley? Question: Mayor, you announced that you imposed some limitations on the number of street fairs that could take place in the city under the – arguing that it effects police overtime. This precinct which I live in, there are lots of street festivals and parades and probably it’s not going to go over well here. Can you talk about the logic – or the reasoning behind this decision besides overtime? Mayor: I would just say I think some of this is being overstated. The concept here is that we’ve got to look regularly at what makes sense. So I think there was a period of time where the size and duration of a number of public events became a real challenge. And actually, you know, everyone here knows I didn’t always agree with Michael Bloomberg but on this one I think he did something smart by saying some events needed to be smaller or less duration. Some didn’t make as much sense as they might have in the past. So it’s just constantly looking at the situation because there are real costs in terms of traffic, in terms of police overtime, etcetera, excreta. But I think what’s being presented is more ridged than what we’re saying. We’ll keep looking year by year at any proposal. There certainly is going to be opportunity to evaluate if something else makes sense at any given point in time. Yes? Question: Mayor, when do you expect the monument and statue commission to come through with their recommendations? Mayor: By the end of the year. That’s the current thinking. By the end of the year. So, three weeks, four weeks. Marcia? Question: I actually have two questions, Mr. Mayor. The first one is if the [inaudible] of [inaudible] fire department [inaudible] some racially insensitive tweets: ‘I liked you about as much as Hitler does’ [inaudible] sick of picking up these Obama letters [inaudible] Mayor: Yes, I’m familiar with them. Question: How do you feel about [inaudible] Mayor: This situation has been looked at very carefully. I’ve spoken to Chief Nigro about it throughout. Chief – I’m sorry, Commissioner Nigro. The original comments are unacceptable. The only way someone can continue in our employment if they think that way is they’ve got to really reevaluate their thinking and what it means to be in public service in the most diverse city in country. There have been very systematic measures taken to ensure this induvial gets that new understanding and since that, my understanding is he has performed appropriately. I also am someone who believes in redemption. If someone does something wrong and then they fix it and they don’t recur they still should have a right to peruse their career. That being said, if there is any further incident it will be dealt with very harshly. Question: My second question has to do with the building [inaudible] I guess it’s Midtown on East 58th Street. The City Council decided to stop construction but construction was stopped after 95 percent of the foundation had been finished and they were 10 days away from finishing it. What do you think should happen at that location? I mean is this going to be like, you know, a construction site that’s never going to be – Mayor: No that’s not my assumption. Question: [Inaudible] be coming down? Mayor: I – I’m farthest thing from a technical expert on land use matters. But from my understanding the action the Council is taking, which I certainly understand what’s motivating it and we’ve been working with the council on this, was trying to recognize how out of context this building would be with everything around it. And I am sympathetic to the neighborhood concerns on that point. And we have tried to work constructively with the Council on this. But my understanding is you’re still talking about a very large building that can be built on that site. I think it’s something like 50 stories. So, I can’t speak for the owner but my understanding is they certainly have the opportunity to build a major building on that site. Question: You wouldn’t allow a smaller building to be built – Mayor: It’s not me. It the land use process. Question: But what would your feeling be about if he agreed to build something a lot smaller. Mayor: Again, I’m speaking very broadly because I’m not in the details of the process. I think the community concerns were valid. I think what the Council did was try to create some boundaries and it sounds like there’s still the opportunity for the developer to build a large building, just one that’s not as out of scale with the community as the original plan. Yes? Question: While we’re talking about land use, Council member Chen, the Council recently passed a bill of her’s that would allowed your office and Borough Presidents but really the idea is allow the Council also to move land use applications to the commission without the [inaudible] process. The idea being that they could sort of pre-empt the Sutton 58 tower that Marcia was talking about and also Two Bridges Towers, those [inaudible] super tall, you might say they’re out of context towers. Do you think that the Council should be able to do that? Mayor: I have not seen the legislation so this is one I want to be measured about because I just haven’t seen it. I think the current land use process, even though it’s elaborate, has often led to good outcomes and balanced outcomes so I’d be careful about disrupting that. But I’d have to see the legislation to give you a better answer. Go ahead. Question: Two part things on lead paint. First one, NYCHA learned about remediators not being certified in August and from what I understand your office learned about that a week ago. Can you explain why there was that lag as far as NYCHA informing you guys. And, I mean at what point does such things – something like that happening is Shola Olatoye be held accountable for something like that. That kind of oversight. Mayor: First of all I commend you for getting closer to the pronunciation Olatoye. It is the – it is the second syllable. No you were good, you were closer than many. Olatoye. Took me a while to get it too. So look, my goal for the admiration is, even though I have 400,000 employees and an $85 billion budget, my goal for the administration is that anything that I need to know personally gets to me on a timely basis. That did not happen here. I am certainly disappointed in that. On the other hand I can tell you that there are – it’s more than once given the complexity of government that something doesn’t travel to me as well as it should. I’m going to take measures certainly to make sure that that communication flow is better. And to the previous point that we’ve all talked about, when I recognize something is different than anything I’ve said publically or then what I understood, I’m going to try and do a better job of noting it publically. Because I think you guys deserve that and I think the public deserves that. So, take this as a teachable moment for me. But, I still come back to the substance of the matter. What I care about is, when something is discovered, and we’re talking about big, complicated organizations and things are discovered all the time, especially about the problems of past practice, I want it acted on. The most important thing to me is act on it, recognize it, act on it. And, the Chair did that and I think she did the right thing with that. So look, going forward I want us to be very clear and consistent with the residents, transparent about everything we’re doing. But I am satisfied that the inspections we need to be taking now are happening, that the training that was required for the workers is happening, and that we’re on the right track now. Please. Question: It took four months for her to act on it, didn’t it? I mean it’s happening now, not in August. Mayor: Again, my understanding is there was a close proximity between her understanding that there was a particular challenge and acting on it. I want to remind you, every one – and I’ve been through plenty of governmental agencies and transitions and one thing and another, you receive what was given to you from the previous administration. If something was fundamentally out of whack, and it was not identified by employees, by the transition process, by the way in a transition process the previous administration is supposed to admit if there’s a problem. That didn’t happen. The internal career leadership did not identify the problem. It had not been a public matter, hadn’t been a matter that came up in an oversight process. You would like people to be able to figure out things despite all that, but I want to be consistent that sometimes you don’t see a problem because there’s nothing to indicate it. When – the real test is once you know something is wrong, what do you do about it. And in this one, on the original problem, once it was identified, the inspection problem, it was acted on. When the training problem was identified it was acted on. I’m satisfied about the way that the chair saw problems and addressed them. I’m particularly satisfied at her overall performance, and this is central to my thinking. And again I’m happy to – whenever anyone wants to understand what I’m thinking, I’m sitting right here, I’ll tell you – I look at housing authority: decades of disinvestment by the federal government; I think a lack of interest at City Hall in the previous 20 years in the future of the housing authority, I think they tried to create a distance from the housing authority; bad management practices that were not addressed properly for a long time. Chair Olatoye came in. She worked with us to bring down crime. She worked with us to speed up repairs, to intensify investment, to bring in private financing to rework the fiscal status and put it on a firm footing. I mean I could go down a whole long list – bring down the unneeded scaffolding – I mean there’s a whole substantial body of work that moved consistently in the right direction. This is aberrant, but this needs to be fixed clearly. Mara? Question: Mr. Mayor, following up on that – who is going to do the lead testing of these children and when? Mayor: So I’ve asked Deputy Mayor Palacio to determine the best methodology. Obviously, Health and Hospital Corporation and Department of Health are available. We’re trying to figure out the best, easiest way for it to be done. My understanding is it does need to be done in some kind of healthcare facility, but we’ll have that shortly. Question: My understanding is – and if this is wrong, then [inaudible] – but my understanding is the Health Department doesn’t know if a children has tested positive for elevated lead levels unless it’s notified by a medical provider. Mayor: As opposed to what, Mara? I’m not clear how else are they supposed to know? Question: This is what I’m getting to. Several doctors that I’ve spoken to have said that a best practice would be if whoever is doing the abatement or the remediation, if you see lead dust or lead paint, if a worker sees that in a NYCHA apartment or any apartment that that person should contact the Health Department to let them know that that family needs to be tested. So the question is – is that part of the city’s protocol because it’s hard to know. When you call the Department of Health they say it’s a NYCHA issue. If you call NYCHA, that say it’s a Department of Health issue. Mayor: First of all, I’d say another thing we’ve learned here – and this is something we learned a lot in the beginning of the administration in other matters, totally different matters – we learned there were some areas where we’ve got to get different agencies to sit down and get onto one strategic plan. I remember when we went through the first snowstorms, one of the most glaring realities was the fact that Sanitation, PD, and Transportation were not really on the same page and we had to fix that. Here, I think there is something we have to do to improve the communication and coordination between NYCHA, Department of Health, Health and Hospitals, and probably Law Department as well on how we want to handle all of these things. As to what happens currently, I want to check that with Dr. Palacio, and we’ll get back to you later in the day. Clearly special attention is given to some kids, but I don’t know all of what triggers that special attention, so let’s come back to you on that. Yes, Rich? Question: Governor Cuomo, is he vulnerable from the political left do you think in the coming election? Mayor: I am not a pundit, but I will say this. You know, there was that great phrase from Howard Dean in 2004, 2003-2004, and I really – I try so intensely to try and understand all the changes happening in our society, and I think an underestimated watershed moment was when Howard Dean emerged on the national scene with the simple phrase, when he said ‘I’m from the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.’ And you will remember way back then that that elicited a lot of energy and interest, and I give him a lot of credit because I think he started something that then fueled a lot of what Barack Obama did, and then fueled a lot of what Bernie Sanders did. I think there’s a real interesting connection between all of these points. For quite a while, the progressive and reform wing of the Democratic Party has been ascending and wants democrats to be consistent Democrats – not Republicans lite. And so the simple point here is when it comes to this state, there’s something wrong in this state. There’s something wrong in the state, and people are sick of it. And that’s what we need to address. It’s not about personalities, it’s about the Democratic Party not functioning like the Democratic Party, and Albany being broken, and that has to be addressed. Question: Would you again try to help them get the line of the Working Families Party? Mayor: I’m not going to talk about the election next year yet. That’s not what’s in the front of my mind right now. So let’s see what emerges, and there’s time to work on that, but I’ll tell you on a substantive level what we need to have addressed – sadly a lot of thing you probably remember very well, the commitments that were made in 2014, I’m still waiting for those commitments to be fulfilled – campaign finance reform at the state level, public financing, Democratic State Senate. Call me when those things are achieved, will you, Rich? Yes, Willie? Question: Two questions. The first is – now that it seems clear or pretty clear the tax cut is going to pass Congress, what will the effect be on New Yorkers of the loss of the SALT exemption and what can you do in terms of policy to deal with the fiscal impact? Mayor: So, your assumption – by conventional wisdom your assumption is perfectly fair. I mean it’s, we’re all – I shouldn’t say we’re all. Many, many people in this city and this state and this country are deeply troubled by the vote that was taken in the dead of night without the final text having been written by the United States Senate. It doesn’t conform with anything we’ve seen historically on something of this magnitude, but I would challenge the assumption only this way. I think the next step in the process is more complicated than people might imagine. Give the last round to Mitch McConnell, but this ball game ain’t over. And the challenge for the Republicans is now they have to ask a group of their House members to vote against their constituents’ interest in the sharpest possible fashion – literally voting for that double taxation, that taking of the right to deduct your state and local taxes that people have enjoyed for over a century. You know, remember all those votes in the Congress for years and years against Obamacare when it really didn’t count? And then when it came time that the vote was forever, suddenly people had to think a little differently? Any House member who votes to raise immediately the taxes of their constituents in a very big way is taking their political future into their own hands, let alone the fact that they’re not serving their constituents very well. So this ball game ain’t over – that’s the first thing I would say. The second thing I would say on the pure numerical front, New York City – our estimate is 700,000 New York City residents would pay more taxes essentially immediately, and those are overwhelmingly working class and middle class people. So it would be horrible for this city, it would be horrible for a lot of other parts of the country. By the way, it’s not just New York, New Jersey, California. There are other parts – hundreds of millions of Americans who benefit from the ability to deduct state and local taxes. This is much more widespread reality than is being recognized, and there are – I know for a fact congress members in Colorado, in Texas, in you know all sorts of states that are not on either coast who have to make this decision about what they’re going to do to their constituents, and it’s going to be a tough one. So our job is to fight it. I’ve been working with fellow mayors around the county. There are a lot of Republican mayors – I really, this is a really important point – a lot of Republican mayors and Republican local officials who think this is horrible and are telling their Republican congress member not to do it very openly. So our job is to stop it. If we can’t stop it the impact is going to be very negative on the taxpayers of the city. Question: The second question I have is on May 11 of this year, regarding Joe Ponte you said he would pay for every mile and every gallon of gas, and you said that would be going back to when he started employment in 2014 “from the day he came on board, absolutely, tolls, mileage, gas the City should be made whole for all of it.” Mayor: Yep. Question: On May 11, on the same day, the people at City Hall were working out a very different arrangement with him. He paid only $1,790 for only gas and tolls in 2016, and paid nothing for mileage. In fact, you allowed him to take it as added compensation. Mayor: Well, Willie, I just – Willie, so far. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Hold on, hold on – listen, this is complimentary. So far I think a lot of your summary is right, just don’t put me there if I wasn’t there. Question: Your press office told me that. Mayor: Your press office didn’t – my press office didn’t tell me that I sat there working out the mileage formulas because that’s not what I do for a living. I said – your first quote I believe in and subscribe to this hour. Everything that needs to be paid back must be paid back. I’m a little confused at how the Department of Correction came up with their final figures myself, but the silver lining here is the Conflict of Interest Board can now make sense of the final outcome because they have not yet ruled on what final restitution should be. Question: I haven’t asked my question yet. Mayor: Please. Question: You said at the time you must pay mileage in everything going back to 2014. It wasn’t the Correction Department that did this. It was City Hall that did this, because he was a commissioner. Mayor: Again, I’m only saying what I know. Question: Ok, well what you knew at the time, they told me, that you approved of this arrangement. Why did you say publically he would pay for – Mayor: I said it. I just said it a moment ago. Question: Say it again because I did not – Mayor: I think I said it really clearly so I’m not going to repeat it. Andrew? Question: You’re back on the [inaudible]. Mayor: Nicely done. We are all learning together. Question: In some of the NYCHA complexes there are petitions going around to save her job, do you think those petitions are necessary given that you voiced total confidence in her? Mayor: Yeah, they are not necessary from my point of view. I have total confidence in her. I think this area is an area I want to see fixed, I want to see more work done to resolve this issue once and for all, and I want to make sure going forward that we are all better about notifying the public and notifying residents when there is an issue. But again, if you are talking about overall performance, and what she has done for 400,000 people for four years now, and how much better NYCHA is than it was four years ago, she is absolutely the right person to continue to lead. Question: On that subject, I have two quick lead questions. Did the NYCHA Chairwoman tell Alicia Glenn, whom she reports, that she was intending to certify to HUD that NYCHA was in compliance with the lead in October 2016? Mayor: Again, I want to be careful about you asking me about other people’s conversations. I am not familiar with the details of who talked to who when. I am familiar with the fact, and it’s been verified by the HUD regional director at the time, that upon recognizing the problem, she proactively reached out to the HUD regional director to report it, that was exactly the right thing to do. Question: I guess I’m just confused about what went in the process of signing a certification, you know, that she and HUD both new wasn’t accurate. Mayor: Yeah, look again, the certification had 21 or 22 different elements and my understanding is, you know, the process around the total product was accurate and appropriate. This one, I think it’s bluntly a debatable point, perfectly fair point to say, well, you know, shouldn’t this be sort of red-lined even more. Certainly an arguable point, but what I feel strongly is, that if she self-reported in advance of the certification, and it’s been confirmed by HUD, there was no mal-intent, was the exact process, bureaucratic process, as good as it could have been. Of course you could say, hey you should put, you know, a neon sign around that. I’m perfectly satisfied that the underlying intent was correct, and HUD was fully aware of what was happening. Question: Just to follow up on Maura’s question about the mechanics of lead testing of children in the City. Obviously NYCHA is not the only landlord that’s dealing with old buildings in New York, it’s an old city. A lot of apartments may have lead. Has there been any thought given to perhaps requiring lead tests for school age children, or, you know is there some potential way for the City to better determine, if NYCHA wasn’t following Local Law 1, it’s totally possible that smaller landlords may have not as well. Mayor: Well I think it’s a very fair question. I think in the scheme of health challenges – I don’t belittle – look I think the needs of children are the first thing that motivates me, and witness that Pre-K was my number one objective in the first term, and 3-K is my number one objective in the second term, so lord knows the health of children is right in the front of my mind. I think there is a lot of health issues and other challenges that kids face that are bigger and more consistent that we are trying to address. I think the fact is that we have seen a constant decline, thank God, in lead poisoning. So, it’s a fair question to say is there something we need to do more of in terms of either enforcement or testing, I will certainly bring that back with a whole of heart, and ask my team, but I think if you look at the last four years, the focus has tended to be where the problems are greatest, and in some areas what we don’t see problems moving, there are still – their big and not changing well enough. We want to focus there. This one – again I am happy to go back and ask if the health professionals who I will be led with – led by I should say starting with Doctor Palacio. If they think there is a need for more extensive testing or if the housing professionals think there is a need for more extensive enforcement. But I think the underlying issue for us is thank God we see a decline in this area of public health concern overall because the numbers keep going down. Okay last two, okay. Question: Quick question on lead paint again. When you learned about it that the labs and testing did a couple Monday’s ago that you know there was an announcement made that testing would happen. But there was no notification that there was the labs that [inaudible]. Do you at this point – and you know I mean as a dad putting yourself in the shoes of – do you regret not doing that, putting out notifications for tenants and saying you know look for the past for years it’s been happening? Mayor: Yeah, I am – I think I said that last time. I am happy to say it again. As a dad the most important thing was that upon or first let me start as a dad. As a dad I would be pissed off that back in 2012 someone stopped it. So we should take all the heat you guys are giving us because your questions are perfectly valid. But I do want you to ask the question of the people who were in charge in 2012 from City Hall down to the leadership of NYCHA on down. Why did they allow the testing to stop? If they had not allowed the testing to stop we would have received the handoff and kept it going. That being said, of course we should have figured it out. The important thing to me is once it was figured out the exact right thing was done. The residents were notified we were going do this – these inspections, we’re coming and we’re going to fix anything that we find. That’s the tangible thing that matters most. I’ve said previously in retrospect I wish what we had done was – I should have come back in front of you guys and said okay what I heard before was wrong; here is what I know now. We should have said to the residents in the addition to the fact the inspections are coming we want to inform you of the whole picture. I want my entire administration to do a better job at things like that, of giving people the whole picture including the parts that we’re not so happy about. But again I am a materialist not in the sense I want material possessions, in the sense that I care about the material reality. The material reality is the right order was given and the apartments were reached and the children were reached and thank God we have seen nothing in the way of the health crises that we worried about in terms of our children. Go ahead. Question: Thank you. The other week Mayor you called the proposal to extend term limits pandering colleagues about the Speaker candidates. On Friday at NY1 debate one of the candidates said that one justification that he believed that candidates should have a third term which that would let them vest in the city pension which takes 10 years, eight to twelve. I was wondering – Mayor: Got to give him points for honesty. Question: So if you could just react to that more [inaudible] about [inaudible]. Mayor: The people have spoken and then spoken. Marcia correct me, today it’s been three times, right? They’ve spoken, they’ve spoke, they’ve spoken again. Ball game over, three strikes you’re out. We’re not going back. So I believe in pensions, so if you want a pension and you do eight years as a City Council member, work for the city in some capacity for two more years. There is lots of great jobs with the City of New York. But you cannot violate the publics will. The public has spoken. Thank you everyone.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 7:35am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: My friends are you ready for a fight? Crowd: Yeah. Mayor: I want to thank Jennifer Jones Austin for her powerful voice. I want to thank Patrice Buffaloe for telling us what this means for working people everywhere. [Applause] Have you ever heard the phrase “laughing all the way to the bank”? The CEO’s in that building are going to be laughing all the way to the bank if this bill passes. The richest people in America are going to get richer if this bill passes. [Booing] It makes no sense that after the great recession, after the great crash that hurt millions and millions of Americans and no one was ever held responsible in that building there. [Booing] They’re about to fleece us again. They’re about to take away from the working people, and the middle class of America again. But we have a chance to stop it. And we are ready to stop it, right? Crowd: Yeah. Mayor: We’re New Yorkers, we are proud New Yorkers, we are streetwise New Yorkers. We remember things, like Three-card Monte. We know a scam when we see one. This is a tax scam. [Applause] And it’s the scam to end all scams. In broad daylight they’re taking money from working people and handing it over to the wealthy that’s what’s happening here, [Booing] For a decade in a our nation people of every background and every part of our country have recognized that growing inequality is destroying us. They understand that they see it. They understand that income inequality – rampant income inequality is un-American and doesn’t conform with our values. Well the Trump tax plan puts income inequality on steroids. [Booing] Literarily, literally one of the biggest giveaways of wealth to the corporations and to the one percent in the history of the United States of America that’s what they are proposing. [Booing] Sixty percent, 60 percent of the benefits in this bill go to the top one percent. [Booing] And who loses in the equation? Working people and the middle class people. [Booing] This plan will hurt students, this plan will hurt anyone that has college debt, this plan will hurt seniors, it will hurt homeowners, it will hurt people with medical challenges, it will hurt the vast majority of Americans. It will hurt hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers right away who will end up being double taxed. No matter how hard they work they will be double taxed. [Booing] And then they add insult to injury. You actually will see for a huge number working class, and middle class people you’ll see a tax increase right away and then those tax increases will get worse and worse for working people. But, but what a surprise, the tax breaks for corporations are permanent. [Booing] Now, now I want to be fair, I want to be fair, there is only one good thing about this plan. There is one good thing. It’s not law yet. [Applause] And there is an obstacle to this plan. You, you, the people of this city, the people of this state, the people of this country will not stand for it. [Applause] Remember, remember how many times we were told the Affordable Care Act was going to be gone, was going to be dead. Everyone was not going to have health insurance anymore. But you stood up, you said wait not so fast. And you saved the Affordable Care Act. You did that. Now its time to rise up again, its time to get organized, its time to reach out to people in every state of the country and say we’re not going to let this happen. [Applause] Who’s ready to get involved? [Applause] Who’s ready to get loud? [Applause] If you’re ready for action I want you to do something, I want you to go to , today. Every single person here and millions more can participate in stopping this evil tax plan. We can do it, but we’ve only got a couple of weeks my friends. We’ve only got a couple of weeks. And if we don’t stop it, you’re going to see the biggest man made disaster that hit the American economy. You’re going to see people who have struggling to meet ends meet lose ground once again. We have to be the authors of history this time. So my friend’s I’ve got a simple question. Are you going to stop this tax scam? Crowd: Yes. [Applause] Mayor: If you’re going to join and stop it. I want you to say some simple words really, really loud. Stop the tax scam – let me hear you. Stop the tax scam – Crowd: Stop the tax scam, stop the tax scam, stop the tax scam, stop the tax scam – Mayor: Louder. Crowd: Stop the tax scam, stop the tax scam, stop the tax scam, stop the tax scam – Mayor: I think they can hear you in that building. Crowd: Stop the tax scam, Stop the tax scam – Mayor: I think they can hear you at the Trump fundraiser with the millionaires and the billionaires. I think they can hear you in the halls of Congress. Don’t stop fighting until we win. God bless you brothers and sisters. [Applause] Now I am going to bring up one of great leaders of American labor, one of the great leaders of educators in this country, someone who never, ever backs down from a fight, the President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 7:35am
Brian Lehrer: It’s time for volume two, episode one of Ask the Mayor. As many of you know Mayor Bill de Blasio was coming on the program Friday mornings at 10:00 am until we suspended it for the campaign season to not give him an unfair airtime advantage over the other candidates. Now the election is over, the Mayor has accepted our invitation to resume the series and here we go. Mr. Mayor we’re so happy you want to continue giving our listeners access like this. Welcome back to WNYC. Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you Brian, it’s good to be back. And what a fabulous tableau you just gave on the Lindsey Graham before and after. I think – I think that’s called a contradiction right there. Lehrer: Oops. And so we are opening the phones today for episode 2.1. Here’s what we like to do, invite people to call and tell the Mayor one or two big things you’d like him to focus on in his second term. If the Mayor can move toward accomplishing one or two big things in his remaining four years what should they be? 2-1-2-4-3-3-WNYC, 4-3-3-9-6-9-2 or maybe you have a really good idea that you’d like to share with the Mayor. What’s your big idea for this city? Your moon shot, you know, when you say ‘they should really do this’, he’s they and he’s here. So 2-1-2-4-3-3-9-6-9-2. One or two big things you’d like the Mayor to focus on in his second term and one big idea, if you have one, 2-1-2-4-3-3-9-6-9-2 on the phones. Or tweet us using the hashtag ask the Mayor, #AsktheMayor. So what would you say are your top line priorities for your second term? Mayor: Well, Brian, it’s – I’m really excited first of all to have a second term. I want to thank the people of this city for entrusting me with it. And I made very clear big things we want to do. We want to do 3K For All, pre-K has been an extraordinary success but now we’ve got to go farther. Both to get kids early childhood education and a strong start that really equalizes the educational experience across the city, but also to relieve a huge financial burdened on parents of all backgrounds. So we want to get 3K done by the end of this term, have it universal in the city. It’s going to take a lot of work. The second I’d say is affordable housing. Obviously, this is the issue on the minds of most New Yorkers so our plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable apartments, we have upgraded it. It is now a plan for 300,000 affordable apartments. That’s enough for 750,000 people. Huge, huge endeavor. But we believe it can be done. The situation in Washington certainly could complicate it but we’re still adamant that this is a reachable goal. And then, you know, another thing I’m very, very focused on is deepening in the work we’ve done in terms of building a stronger relationship between police and community. Something very good is happening, crime is going down markedly and there’s a better relationship growing at the community level because of the neighborhood policing strategy, because we’re going to have body cameras on all our officers over the next two years. I think that’s a huge step forward for accountability and transparency. I want to see that get a lot deeper. I want New York City to be the great example to the county of both how to fight crime but also how to bring police and community together in a lasting partnership. So those are some of the biggest things on my plate right now. Lehrer: So what I really hear you saying there is you’re going to deepen things you’ve already started, pre-K, police-community reform, and – and affordable housing – Mayor: Affordable housing, yes. Lehrer: When you first came into office you had these specific, new at the time, inequality fighting measures that you ran on and you accomplished most of them, universal pre-K, minimum wage, paid sick leave, you launched the affordable housing program. And I think the average New Yorker who only paid an ordinary amount of attention to the news in 2013 might have known the list. You’re not really putting anything new on the table. Mayor: No, I disagree with that. I understand the question but I disagree with that. I think what we’re doing here is taking the very bold original concepts and making them much bolder. And I would be cautious, Brian, I think we should not fall in the trap of the shiny object. The question, in terms of fighting inequality and creating a fairer city, and I said this on election night, I want this to be – you know we’re the safest big city in America right now I want us to be fairest big city in America too. A truly fair city, a city that’s constantly working to improve equality and address income inequality has to dig into these issues even more deeply. To achieve pre-K, a lot of people thought pre-K alone was impossible on the universal scale particularly so quickly. 3K has never been done on this scale in any city in America. This is a whole new world in education and in terms of fighting inequality. What we’re talking about in terms of affordable housing, that’s a kind of number that’s never been imagined previously. These are big, bold approaches. I don't think people should get somehow blasé about the notion that big changes are happening and we’re going to go and re-up them and go farther and say ‘oh that’s not new’. I think that means something very new and different is happening and it needs to go even deeper. Another piece of the equation is, you know, on the affordability issue is not just housing but also is jobs. And a big thing we put out, and I don’t think got as much attention and analysis as it deserved was we said we’re going to create 100,000 new jobs that are good paying, which I define as $50,000 or more, that will go to New Yorkers, that will be targeted for people from the five boroughs, and will be in industries that provide a long term career with stable income. This is again trying to get under the skin of the income inequality crisis. If you create good, consistent employment that is one of the ways to address the stagnation that so many families have felt economically. This plan would be 100,000 jobs. It would be in areas like tech, life sciences, film and TV, all sorts of growth areas for this city. This is the kind of thing that has not been done before in a targeted manner. For those families, so 100,000 jobs means an impact on 250,000 – 300,000 people getting to economic and financial stability for the long term. That’s transcendent. So I think these are pretty big things. Lehrer: Alright. Let’s take a phone call. And since I see three of our ten lines are proposing a big idea along similar lines, let’s start with one of them. How about John in Manhattan, you’re on WNYC. Hello. Question: Hello. Lehrer: Hi John, you’re on with the Mayor. Question: Thank you. Can I call my wife and tell her to come in her one second? Thank you very much for taking my call. I’ve never called before. I live on the Upper East Side, not too far from the Mayor. I’m his neighbor and I too am a progressive like most of the people up here and have supported him. But I want to talk to him about something that disturbs me and that is his opposition to congestion pricing. I’ve been studying the issue, following it in the papers, and as you know we are terribly congested in traffic here on the Upper East Side. And soon, the Marine transfer station is going to open which will add even more congestion here. So, I think that’s an excellent reason for you to support this measure. It’s one – it is going to help everyone up here. It doesn’t hurt anybody. It’s a progressive solution for a problem that’s intractable and getting worse. Lehrer: Let me get your response. The big problem is traffic. You didn’t even raise the environment but even traffic alone, he says, should be enough for congestion pricing. Congestion. Mayor: Well, look, John I appreciate the question and the way you’re framing it because I think there are a lot of good, progressive people who do believe in that vision. And I understand why they do, but I have some problems with it and so far, as I‘ve said I have not seen a plan that I think actually is fair and would work. Now, let’s be clear about a couple of things. First of all, Upper East Side perspective – when that marine transfer station comes in, that’s, that’s down the block from my house too – I am adamant that we are going to make sure that the situation is safe and that it does not create undue congestion in that area. I’m very, very invested in making sure personally that the neighborhood is not put in a bad way. We have done a lot of work to make sure that’s the case. I just want to note that on a local level. The, on the bigger question – here’s the problem with congestion pricing today as a vision. There has only been two examples, Michael Bloomberg’s proposal from most of a decade ago, and then there was one that came out around the time of the 2013 election. Neither one in my opinion, addressed my central concerns. One, it is a regressive tax. If you are, if you’re wealthy, if you’re upper middle class, you’re not going to blink at paying whatever it is, $10, $15 to come into Manhattan. If you are a working class person, a middle class person that is a real burden on you. So I think it follows, unfortunately, the pattern of every regressive tax. There is no carve out, I’ve seen for hardship, for folks with medical issues or other issues that have to bring them to Manhattan a lot but may be of limited means. There’s real issues there that have to be addressed. And then I think there’s, what I consider the Brooklyn and Queens problem. You know, between Brooklyn and Queens there’s almost five million of the eight and a half million New Yorkers – they would pay, overwhelmingly they would pay this additional cost. I have not seen a plan that gives back to them benefit in an appropriate way. So those are all issues that I have and let’s also face it John, there is no congestion-pricing plan on the table right in Albany. The Governor has ventured the notion without putting a plan. The thing I think would make a lot more sense is a millionaires’ tax if we are talking about the question of fixing the MTA – a millionaires’ tax on New York City millionaires and billionaires that would give a long term stable income source for the MTA and would allow us to do the fair fare which is the half price metro card for low-income New Yorkers. That’s the better MTA solution, on congestion – we put out a congestion plan a few months ago which is going to do a lot of and different things – a very intense enforcement on block the box which has not been present enough in the past, getting, ending delivery trucks being in certain areas during rush hour which has been a huge cause of congestion. There are a lot of other things we can do on congestion but I’ve said if there is a new congestion pricing plan that starts to address some of these issues I would certainly look at it but I have not seen one that I think truly addresses the fairness issues. Lehrer: Alright. John, thank you very much for your call. Also talking about this transitional moment toward term two – two of you deputy mayors have announced that they will not stay for round two I see. The First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, and Richard Buery who oversaw pre-K implementation. And these are not known names to the public very much as public figures but I know that they were two really key people in your first term, so what or who are you looking for in their replacements? Mayor: Well thanks for that question Brian. You’re right, mostly the public doesn’t know the folks who run so much of the day-to-day work of the government. I wish they did because these are, I think incredible public servants. Tony Shorris has done an amazing job going back to the Koch administration. He’s been a great fixture in public life in the city and he is one of the people that I depend on the most. For everything I have just mentioned that we have achieved, he’s been front and center on, you know name it, pre-K, affordable housing, bringing down crime. And then Richard Buery particularly lead the way on pre-K, on afterschool for all, middle school kids, on the growth of community kids and played a key role in developing and implementing ThriveNYC with my wife, Chirlane, the mental health plan. So these are folks who did a great job for four years. They will definitely will be missed. The new team that we announced – the first deputy mayor will be Dean Fuleihan who has been our budget director . He has done an outstanding job creating progressive yet fiscally sane budgets. He will be replaced by Melanie Hartzag who was one of his deputy’s at OMB, a tremendously talented woman who is going to, I think change the additional, in additional ways the great work that has already started at OMB to make OMB one of the leading edges of reform and progress in the whole administration – an extraordinary talent, also happens to be the first African American ever to be budget director of New York City. And Laura Anglin is coming in as a new role – deputy mayor for operations. This is I think a good move to help us achieve more in the second term. She was a state budget director in the past. She has great experience in our administration and before. So really exciting new developments, a new chief of staff for me as well, Emma Wolfe who is pretty well known in political circles. She’s done great work as my intergovernmental affairs director and been in the lead of a lot of our biggest legislative achievements, in particular in the city and in Albany. So it is a very exciting team, we are going to miss the folks who are leaving – they did great. But the great news here Brian here from my point of view is we were able to bring up folks from within the team to fill all those key roles. And that’s exciting to me that the bench is that deep. Lehrer: And is that it? Have you asked the other major commissioners and deputy mayors to stay on and they have accepted? Can we expect at least police Commissioner O’Neill, Schools Chancellor Fariña, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, all three? Mayor: So let me, let me update you on a few different things. First the ground rule I have said to the media throughout – assume continuity unless you see otherwise or hear otherwise from me. And second, we will announce personal decisions when they are fully baked. But I think a good, fair thing to assume and what we saw yesterday is a lot of continuity in the team, a lot of folks staying or changing role within the team. But you know again, unless I’m telling people an update, it isn’t true is the first thing I want to say. Lehrer: So, so you are not committing to those big three? Mayor: I’m, no, Brian, I don’t want you to put words in my mouth. I want to say it the way I want to say it – assume continuity unless I make an announcement otherwise. And I think you are seeing a lot of continuity already. On the deputy mayor level – the announcements made yesterday included continuity on Deputy Mayor Glen and Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio both of them have been outstanding and Alicia Glen, I think has done has done legendary work in the last four years in terms of building affordable housing and helping us to build our economy. New York City has gained almost 400,000 jobs in the last four years. She’s played a crucial role in that. She’s doing outstanding work. We are going also be looking to add additional pieces to her work. And Herminia Palacio, our newest of the original of the deputy mayors, our newest one for Health and Human Services has done outstanding job. So they both will be continuing with the team, which is fantastic. We will be hiring a deputy mayor to succeed Richard Buery, that search is underway but that will play out in the coming weeks. But you know, I’m very, very proud, very comfortable with where we stand right now. Lehrer: So Alicia Glen. So you’re not even committing right now to Commissioner O’Neill? Mayor: Brian, again, that is a, in my view, that is a semantic situation. I’m going to make announcements when we make announcements – assume continuity. Lehrer: Will in Williamsburg, you are on WNYC with the Mayor, hi Will. Question: Hi. My big picture thing is equality in all schools. I have a daughter who goes to a fabulous school – one of the citywide gifted and talent, talented. I have a son who goes to a good school. I’m also on the CEC for my district and just in visiting the schools in the district I am astounded by the level of from top to bottom in terms of resources and opportunities for the kids. Specifically there is a school, PS 23 which I know the Mayor knows because he had a town hall there this spring, it has a large population of shelter kids, it has a large population of VLL kids. It’s a passionate school with passionate community help but they come to the meeting with a half dozen parents and their ask isn’t for a library or brighter gym or a new playground, it’s just AC in the classes. And it, the sort of irony is I believe in your town hall I’m told you mentioned the fact that they could have used turning on the AC because it got pretty hot in there. And that was in March so I know, it’s silly to be talking about this when it’s getting colder out but I’m sure it is going to be getting warm soon. And you know, for a school to be fighting for such a base level resource while others have the opportunity to be fighting for like better curriculum. Just we need to level it by raising the lower end. So I’m hoping you have funds that might help for those guys. Mayor: Well, I really appreciate that question. This is going to be a passionate part of the second term taking our Equity and Excellence vision and you know really hyper charging it and moving it forward. Because you just hit the nail on the head. There has been immense inequality between schools in the city. And if you said to me you know here is the status quo in education in New York City today. It’s going to be like this long term. Can you accept that? I would say absolutely not. I am very proud that we have steadily increased graduation rates. We’ve made a lot of progress on college readiness. But they need to be – that needs to be much stronger. We’ve improved test scores. But the school system as a whole is not where it needs to be. And one of the greatest problems is the inequality between schools. And so the Equity and Excellence vision is a simple concept. Equity meaning resources now have to distribute fairly. In fact we need to make up for some of the sins of the past and then Excellence – we’re not looking to get schools to an okay or you know barely adequate level. We’re looking to get schools to a really strong level. And that could be done on a very fast basis. From my experience I go way back to when I was a school board member in Brooklyn long ago. Schools can turn around quickly if they’re given the right support. So we are – we have been steadily over four years increasing the funding levels for schools that were historically underfunded and the big initiatives – pre-K, the after school programs, the AP for All – for all the high schools that do not have AP courses now will have them - a whole host of things to focus on getting kids reading by the end of second grade on grade level, which is a huge crucial element of strategically turning around our schools. I want to just dual on that one quick second Brian. That one is one of the things that just proves how wrong our whole dialogue about education is. What we should be talking about all day long is getting kids reading by the time they take their third grade test. Getting them on grade level reading. If they can do that, it opens up all the doors of the future. That’s a broadly – broad census among educators. If you’re [inaudible] on grade level by third grade all other things are possible. When I came into office in this city under 30 percent of our kids were reading on grade level by third grade. Last year it was 41 percent. We’re making progress. I want to get us well over 90 percent in the coming years. This is the kind of thing that will fundamentally change schools. It’s a huge investment we have to make. So I feel the same urgency you feel. And finally on the air conditioners, we have pledged, and we’ve put the money in the budget. Every classroom will have air conditioning in New York City over the next few years. That was crazy that wasn’t the case. It now will be the case. Lehrer: I want to go to another personnel change that you don’t have control over, and that is of course that is someone will succeed Melissa Mark Viverito as City Council Speaker because she is term limited out of office, and I see you criticized those speaker candidates who are proposing to extend the term limits law to three terms from the current two. Number one, are you endorsing anyone for speaker? There are eight candidates as I understand it. And if council were to pass a three term limit instead of two bills, are you committing to vetoing it? Mayor: Oh yeah. That’s the easiest question of the day. We’ve had this decision by the people. Look, I used to have mixed feelings on the question of term limits. When Mayor Bloomberg tried to overturn them – obviously for his own gain – in a way I thought was really undemocratic in 2008, I was one of the people who lead the opposition to that. And by the way, a lot of the people who were involved in that opposition later were affirmed by the people of this city as leaders of this city because people made really, really clear they do not want term limits messed with, and they don’t want the popular will ignored again even by a billionaire. The public has voted, I believe it’s three separate times for the two term limit in citywide elections. It should not go anywhere. Lehrer: So that’s clear. I’ve heard you like among the candidate, maybe Donovan Richards from Queens partly because he’s an ally on the housing plan and the zoning. Any truth? Mayor: It’s a real simple equation right now. There’s eight recognized candidates. I obviously know them all. I have not taken a position. I will not take a position in the short term. What I’ve said very clearly – it’s a well-known fact – that I was involved in the election of Melissa Mark Viverito who was a real ally and someone I shared values with. I’m proud to have helped her get elected, and I think she did a great job as speaker. I certainly intend to be involved in the final analysis here. I’m not supporting a specific candidate now, but I’m talking to everyone. Look, I want someone who’s going to be a good partner. I want someone who’s going to help us continue the fast pace of change that we achieved in the last four years. I need to know who will do that best and who will share values and vision the most. Those conversations are continuing. Lehrer: Here’s a question via Twitter. Listeners, you can use the hashtag #AskTheMayor. Please ask the mayor about his plans to tackle homelessness. How can we possibly call ourselves the greatest city in the world with things the way they are? Mayor: That’s a very fair statement. I’m fundamentally dissatisfied with where we stand right now. I’ve been very public about the fact that I think I missed some of the key realities early on and should have handled them differently. I’m particularly self-critical on the fact that one of the things we most needed to do with our shelter system was reorient it to make it more locally focused, and honestly, you know, I’ll say I sat in a room with a lot of smart people and none of us figured it us out until the end of the third year, and shame on me, shame on us. But we finally – the only good news here is we did figure it out. Look, I believe the plan in place now will achieve several things. It will reduce shelter population incrementally because I think anything, anybody who says there’s like some miracle way to quickly reduce shelter population is lying at this point. When I’ve looked at this really, really carefully, until we can create a huge amount more of affordable housing and really improve wages and benefits for working people we’re going to be dealing with this crisis. So that’s a structural thing. Bluntly, what’s happening in Washington right now is going to make it a lot harder. If this tax bill does pass for example, it makes it a lot harder for us to do the kinds of things we need to end the homelessness crisis. So at this moment, if you assume something like status quo in Washington, and we have sort of similar resources to what we have now, our plan will incrementally reduce shelter population but not radically and quickly. I wish we could, but it’s going to be incremental. It will reorient the whole shelter system to be more locally focused, so anyone who goes in the shelter – God forbid anyone who goes in the shelter – they go in their own borough and ultimately as close to their own original neighborhood as possible. That’s particularly important for families with kids, keeping them close to their school. And we’re doing a lot more of the preventative work. We have the right to counsel law which the council passed, which is fantastic. That anyone faced with an illegal eviction can get a free lawyer and free legal counsel from the city. That’s a game changer. We’ve never had it on that level before. And look, obviously the impact of the affordable housing plan, and the fact that we’ve upgraded it is going to have a huge impact, and finally we’re going to get out of these pay by the day hotels and cluster buildings that are not quality housing. We are adamant and convinced we get rework the whole system. And Brian, you know it’s been controversial. I’ve said there’s tons of opposition to being in these hotels. As regular hotels were – we paid for rooms. It’s not fair to taxpayers. It’s not fair to homeless folks, but the only way we get out of them once and for all is to have permanent shelter facilities that are new and run by the City, and then when no longer needed can be converted to permanent affordable housing. So that’s our vision. Lehrer: Here’s another kind of housing question, I think, from Brooke in Brooklyn. Brooke, you’re on WNYC. Question: Hello, hi, Mr. Mayor. First of all, I want to say thank you for doing the affordable housing lottery, and it’s been really great, but the process is super stressful. I was called in for an interview for an affordable housing lottery in Brooklyn, and from the time that I was called in until a couple of days ago it was a nine month process, and I was told my application was approved, I put my life on hold, I didn’t do a lot of things that I wanted to do because I wanted to be in town to go in for an interview, and then suddenly I was put on the waitlist. And I have no rhyme or reason like why that happened, and I’m afraid to stir the pot, and I’m afraid to like ask for a review of the process because I don’t want to be flagged as a trouble maker. I just wish that the process was more opaque – I mean less opaque where people could tell us what’s going on, and I don’t know. It was just a really stressful process to even win the lottery. Mayor: Well, Brooke, I appreciate that. I will start by saying I am quite critical of pretty much the entire history of bureaucracy, and I don’t – I’m not super intimate with the nuances of how people navigate the lottery process on affordable housing, but I think I can generalize here safely. When you look at a lot of things in government, certainly one of the things I know very well personally like the school admissions process for middle school and high school. I mean, some of these things have gotten markedly better, but there’s still a consistent air of grayness and a lack of user friendly dynamics. And you know I think in New York City more than most places there have been real advances. 3-1-1 for example was a real advance. There’s some other things we’re doing – really wonderful things with outreach efforts to help people navigate government like pre-K had a wonderful facilitated enrollment staff that actually helped literally work family by family to figure out the right location and lock it in for them. I think that’s the way of the future is a much more customer friendly approach to government, so I’m glad you’re raising this. I’d like you to give your information to WNYC so we can follow up on your particular case. What I have heard from people out a lot of townhall meetings I’ve done – I’ve done 45 townhall meeting now, including one last night in Queens – is that a lot of people had that experience. They thought they were about to get an apartment and then something happened to stop it. The first thing you should know is there is an appeal process, and we want people to take advantage of it, so I’m going to have people talk to you directly to navigate that with you, but it shouldn’t be so difficult. It shouldn’t be so stressful, and it shouldn’t be so slow. So I want to work in the second term to really tighten that up because – look, I meet people every day, and Brian this is important point. People come up to me every day who won those lotteries and got affordable housing, and they talk to me. I’ve been in some of the apartments. I’ve seen how it changes people’s lives. But we want to make that a simple process, not a stressful process. Lehrer: Alright, we’re almost out of time. We’re going to have as our next guest Ste Moore, the conservative economist, who’s one of the architects of the tax bill that’s going through Congress right now, so to conclude ask the mayor for this week let me ask you – Congress and the president are very close to this biggest tax system change in 30 years and all our local officials are saying it’s going to be really bad for New York and New Jersey. That includes our local republicans in Congress as you know who voted against it largely because it would end the state and local income tax deduction for federal income tax, and I know you’re against the bill, but my question is what are you projecting the impact to be on city government if it passes and how would you have to compensate and are you preparing? Mayor: I’ll be very quick, the first thing I want to say is we’re going to fight the bill. There still are members of Congress – republican members of the house in New Jersey and in New York State – who are not against this bill. We have to get them against this bill. There’s a lot in California as well. There’s still enough votes in the house – it has to go back to the house. I fear it will pass the senate this time, but it has to go back to the house, but there there is a real fight to be had because there a lot of elements in this bill that are causing controversy for house members right and left, if you will, within the republican party. But there’s a lot of people whose districts would be hurt who are still not against it. We have to organize with grassroots folks across the country – with mayors both democrat and republican around the country – to stop the bill. If the bill passes, the impact on New York is hugely negative – 700,000 people get a tax increase immediately, middle class, working class people. And then your point, what does it do to our budget? Over time, I have to imagine it’s a profound negative impact on our budget because I think the downward pressure it will put on the ability of the government to fund – you name it, mass transit, affordable housing, ultimately things like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. All of that will be pushed down to the local level. A huge amount of new expense will be forced to the local level, and there will be pressure to lower local taxes at the same time. It’s like double jeopardy. So we have the ultimate contingency plan, which is huge reserves. We’ve built up the biggest financial reserves in the history of New York City to protect against what we originally thought might be an economic downturn, now it’s literally going to be a manmade – and in this case they’re all men – a manmade crisis from Washington that’s going to in many ways undermine the prosperity of New York City and a bunch of other cities around the country that are actually leading the American economy right now. So it’s horrifying that a policy is going to be made in Washington potentially that will undercut what has been working in New York City and in all the creative capitals of the country. Our first line of defense is our reserves. We’re going to protect them constantly, but you know again – job one is to try and stop them. There’s still a real chance to stop them or deeply modify it. Lehrer: Mr. Mayor, thank you so much. Talk to you next week. Mayor: Thank you, Brian.
Saturday, December 2, 2017 - 11:35am
"Republicans, voting on a bill they didn't even have time to read, once again proved they care more about millionaires and campaign donors than working families. They voted for a tax increase for 87 million households. They voted for a $25 billion cut to Medicaid. They voted to kick 13 million people off their health insurance. They voted to give wealthy companies a tax break at the expense of cities' police officers, firefighters and teachers. "Thankfully, the fight isn't over. We can win this, but only if we all get involved. We must make the voices of hard working Americans from around the country heard in Washington, D.C. It's time to remind our legislators that they work for us, not their campaign donors."
Friday, December 1, 2017 - 11:35am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Okay everybody, welcome. I want to thank all my colleagues who are here. It’s an important day for this administration, for the city as we look ahead to the next term. Chirlane and I are always humbled by the work we do and obviously to have an opportunity to serve the people of this city and the mandate that I was honored to receive in the last election. It’s time now to start to put the pieces together for the team that will take us forward into the coming years. And I wanted to say something personal at the outset, that when we started on this road back in 2001 when I first ran for City Council in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, I remember Chirlane and I used to sit at the kitchen table, literally, and interview perspective team members. And we started with a very small humble team in that campaign and then in the City Council office. And then I got to build out the team a little bit more when I became Chairman of the General Welfare Committee in the City Council, and then later going on to be Public Advocate. So little by little over now, it’s been a long time, 16 years we have been building up a wonderful universe of really talented, really committed people. Some of whom worked with us in the past and we’re very appreciative to, some of us – some of whom who have worked with us more recently, some of whom who worked us in the past – I’m looking at one back there – worked with us in the past and then came back and worked with us again. But from our point of view it’s a very familial dynamic. It’s been 16 years and the way that this team works is exceedingly collegial and respectful. I have heard many, many a people in this team say that they have never been in a more collegial, collective relationship at work and an atmosphere where people really do work together, really support each other, believe in each other. So as we get ready for another transition, for me this is a really important reflection on what we’ve tried to build and what we want to keep building. And we, Chirlane and I, put a lot of time and energy into the process of choosing the right people and thinking about both what they will bring to their work and obviously what they will do for the people of this city, but also how they will all work together and create a real team atmosphere. And I look back on the last four years with just tremendous appreciate to all the members of this team. They surpassed my expectations for them, achieved in many ways more than I ever could have imagined, and did it with just a great sense of teamwork and mutual respect. And I’m so proud that that’s the team we’ve had and that’s certainly going to be the nature of the team that we will build going forward. Today will be the first step. There will obviously be other opportunities going forward to give you further updates. I’ll say at the outset, I’m sure there’ll be questions but I’ll say it at the outset, when it’s time to talk about something in terms of personnel we’ll announce it overtly. If there’s no announcement, assume continuity. I think that’s the simplest way to think about an administration that’s going from its first term to its second term. Very different reality then when we started out literally from scratch. Here we have team that is very well developed with a very deep bench. So assume continuity unless you hear otherwise. But today we’re going to talk about this transition. The team over the last four years that brought you Pre-K For All, that brought you the biggest affordable housing plan in the history of the city, that brought you a safer city, and better relationship between police and community and a whole lot of other things. You’re going to see in the updates we’re giving today a lot of continuity because it’s been a winning team. It’s been a team that’s really achieved a lot and when I thought about filling roles I immediately looked within because we had so much talent ready to go. So, again, profound gratitude to everyone. And let me go through a series of updates now. And I’m going to talk about each person a little bit as I do and then I’m going to turn to Chirlane. First, I want to say about Tony Shorris, everyone here obviously knows Tony has made the choice to return to civilian life and a well-earned choice. Four years as First Deputy Mayor of this city is arguably one of the single hardest public service roles in America. And I can say it with authority because I’ve watched every minute of those four years. You look across the achievements of this administration, Tony has been deeply involved in almost every one of them. And I want to thank him. I remember when we first met, we talk often about when we first met at Bar Toto in Brooklyn, and Tony brought in a one page sheet of what he thought would be the right way to approach the role of First Deputy Mayor and we were just starting to talk about it. We had known each other a long time, but actually never worked together directly. And I – you know in the vein of Jerry Maguire the phrase ‘you had me at hello’, well you had me at your one page sheet because it was so clear, so smart and that’s what’s played out ever since. Tony has been an extraordinary contributor to this team. And we joke here, we sometimes have meetings in this room and you see the painting of Hamilton back there, we joke about Tony’s longevity in government since he goes back to – well he only goes back to the Koch administration but we stretched it a little bit and suggested it was longer. But, both his intelligence and his substantive capacity and his managerial skill, all that matter but also a tremendous understanding of this city and how it works and how it should work. And Tony, I just want to say it’s been a joy to watch you take all that ability and all that history and actually put it into action over these last four years. So, I thank you on behalf of the people of this city, a job very well done. And I look forward to continuing many good and important projects together in the future as well. I want to announce that succeeding Tony in the role of First Deputy Mayor will be Dean Fuleihan. Known to all Dean has been in the center of everything this team has done. I have often had the experience when talking to people in government and in communities that whatever the topic was they had a particular interest in meeting the budget director. And – something about that role brings out the best in people. So, everything that we’ve attempted to do was audacious, was difficult, in many cases was never done before. It took a lot of thinking and creativity but it also took a lot of very, very smart careful planning of what the budgetary ramifications would be and how we would create a budget that stayed true to our values, true to our vision, would move the ball constantly but also be fiscally responsible. That was a huge undertaking over these last four years. Dean has lead that effort brilliantly. He also has created an extraordinary team at OMB. And I would argue has transformed the very meaning of OMB. OMB plays a different role in this administration I think than it has in any other. And I think that’s been very much to the good of all. So, Dean I watch with great admiration the changes you’ve brought there, the way you’ve lead the budget process, and obviously literally no one knows every agency of the City government better than the person who provides them their funding. So, I welcome you Dean into the role of First Deputy Mayor. I am thrilled to say that two tremendous stars will be continuing as Deputy Mayors in this team. I want to first talk about Alicia Glen. She has done absolutely stunning work. When I say, in some of the things that we’ve done in this administration were beyond my wildest dreams, I asked things of Alicia that were probably this close to impossible. Alicia has a habit of doing impossible things. I mentioned to some of you over the years. I spoke to a very senior expert in the housing field when we first structured the plan for 200,000 units of affordable housing. This kind and learned individual said ‘Bill, that is this close to insane’ – that was the quote. I want to give Alicia one of the greatest compliments I can give which is she never wavered, she never showed any fear or any hesitation to take on that kind of mission. She has succeeded at everything I have given her. And we’re going to be doing a lot more going forward. And we’re going to be doing a whole lot of new and big things going forward that you’ll be hearing about in the near future. And it’s a very, very exciting time. So Alicia, just tremendous appreciation for what you have achieved and great joy about what is coming next. And Herminia Palacio who came in to this role proud daughter of the Bronx and unlike the rest of us didn’t get to start at the beginning so she had to catch up quick and one of the things I noted about Herminia was a stunning breathtaking actually ability to take on a vast amounts of new subjects matter and make sense of them and act on them and kind of speed I’ve rarely seen in my career working with a lot of great people. Herminia has taken on some of the very thorniest issues in New York City. And she’s helped us to make a lot of progress on them and there is so much more ahead. And I want to thank her. She is also one of the coolest heads even in the midst of the toughest moments. And I want to thank you for your extraordinary leadership and look forward to many great things ahead as well. I want to announce that Deputy Mayor Richard Buery you’ve see obviously earlier today. I am always trying to see which side I am looking at. There are we are – Deputy Mayor Richard Buery also will be leaving for civilian life. I think this is something that probably is obvious to everyone. My heart was first and foremost with achieving Pre-K for All. I turned to Richard in the very beginning and I said to Richard this is the most uncharted territory you could possibly imagine. I said we know we have to do this but no one has the perfect road map. It’s going to be very, very difficult. And Richard did an amazing job martialing the forces. Bringing together an effort that has changed the lives already of tens of thousands of families and it’s just getting started. And then because he is Richard Buery he actually said he had some ideas of going even farther. And after a series of conversations that led to the creation of the 3-K initiative which is even more audacious. I have been very open about that fact pre-K was really, really tough, 3-K is going to be a lot harder, but is going to be even higher impact and Richard will be forever remembered as the person who started that initiative on its path and so many other things you’ve done on after school, on helping to build ThriveNYC with Chirlane and so many other efforts. It’s been outstanding. I want to thank you for just literally taking ideas that I thought were amongst the very most important that this administration needed to work on and bringing them to life and doing it somehow with good humor and good nature despite the many, many moments where we saw tremendous challenges. Extraordinary effort on your part and a great team you put together. I want to thank you for that Richard and wish you the very best. And again, look forward to working together on a lot of other things going forward. I want to announce as part of additional changes we’ll make. We are going to be creating a new deputy mayor role. So first I’ll say at the outset the role held by Richard – we are going to choose a successor to that role going forward. That person has not been named, has not been identified. Rich is going to be staying on for a while we go through that search process. But we will be creating a new deputy mayor role as well. A fifth deputy mayor role, new role of deputy mayor for operations and that role will be filled Laura Anglin. Laura has done outstanding work over the last year as a member of Tony’s team taking on some of the most complex challenges the administration faced. And her specific mission was to work across a number of agencies and create in many cases brand new policies and approaches that didn’t exist. And often having to do it in a very, very fast timeline. She did that exceptionally well. Has a rich history in government previously, including having served as the state budget director. And I am really pleased that Laura joined this team and I will say Laura I didn’t know the day you joined the team, I didn’t know you except for in the interview process but I am so proud of what you have achieved and so impressed. And I have never seen you anything but cool under fire and creative and resourceful. And you have a certain love for making operations work which will be well placed in this role. Also we’re checking all of our historical facts but I think it’s important to note that Laura would be certainly in anything like recent memory the first female deputy mayor for operations for the city. Next, someone who you’ve probably heard of before – Emma Wolfe. I am appointing Emma as my Chief of Staff. Emma has – its – I could not tell you everything I feel and believe in about Emma Wolfe unless I kept you here all day. So I’ll say it very simply. For Chirlane and I, Emma has been our partner since 2009 in everything. And we all complete each other sentences and think very deeply alike. I think Emma is widely regarded in the city and the state as one of the best strategic thinkers there is. And also has just the deepest, the most wonderful wealth of relationships and understanding of how government works and in the Chief of Staff position I’ll be relying on her more than ever to bring together all the pieces of this administration and help them work in harmony. I want to thank you Emma for taking on that role and I want to also acknowledge and thank Kevin O’Brien who has been my acting Chief of Staff for the last year. He has done an outstanding job particularly as we went through a very intense 2017. Kevin will be staying with us in a senior capacity. But wanted to thank him for everything he achieved and I want to welcome Emma to this role. And finally, very happy to announce the appointment of a new OMB Director. And I’ll tell you a little back story about Melanie Hartzog. We actually first met – where is Melanie? Oh there you are, I am forgetting my left and right. Melanie and I first met in less than ideal circumstances. I want the chair of the general wealth fare committee. She was testifying on behalf of the then administration. But what I noted, even when you’re questioning someone and trying to be tough on them you quickly take their measure. And I noted that Melonie was extraordinarily smart an earnest and was someone who was devoted to her work for the right reasons. And even when I disagreed on something I couldn’t help but feel that she was making very important points. And so we started to get to know each other and work together on several things back then. She came into OMB a couple of years ago as one of the deputy directors and has been involved in some of the most complicated and important subject matter that OMB has handled. She in everything that I’ve done together I’ve seen resourcefulness, creativity, extraordinary calm and focus but also a ton of heart. And I want to just make clear how important it is. You know the historical notion of OMB director is sort of green eye shade say no to everything. Humanity be damned if I could be so cold. No offense to your trade guys. But Dean obviously showed a very different approach and Melanie is also from that modern and progressive school of what an OMB director should be someone who is actually thinking from the grassroots up. Thinking about what we do and what it means for human beings. And I always saw that in Melanie’s work, keen analytical mind but a lot of heart too. So Melanie I want to welcome you, and congratulate you as you become the OMB director. I want to say as also an important acknowledgement of change and change we’ve needed for a long time. Its 2017, I’ll be very clear. There are a few positions more important than budget director because that’s the person who gives out the money and Melanie will be the first African American Budget Director in the history of this city. So I commend you for joining us in this new role. With that – I am sorry I’ve droned on for a little bit. But it is a very important moment and a very emotional moment for all of us and the team and one I am very, very proud of. Before you hear from a few of my colleagues I would now like to turn it over to Chirlane and say it’s kind of interesting when you start the morning talking about major personnel decisions, and end the day talking about major personnel decisions and talk about them all through the day. We compare notes constantly and we do interviews together and everything to try and make sense of what’s an incredibly complicated jigsaw puzzle. But it is really great to have a conscious in that process. And there is a thousand reasons I am appreciative for Chirlane, but one of them is the way we have built this wonderful team together. With that I turn to our First Lady. First Lady Chirlane McCray: Thank you, Bill. We’ve had quite a life together, and, yes, we have come a long way since those days where we sat around the kitchen table together. Good morning, everyone. I’m happy to be here today, first to honor the contributions of two dedicated public servants – Deputy Mayors Anthony Shorris and Richard Buery – and Bill and I are truly proud to consider Tony a longtime family friend. I had the opportunity to work with his wife back in the Dinkins administration and we attended each other’s weddings and our families will always be connected. And I thank you, we really owe you a lot of gratitude for all of the work that you’ve done, Tony. Tony is also one of the most gifted civic leaders New York City has ever known, bringing expert knowledge to so many of the issues that matter most to New Yorkers, from education, to transportation, to housing, and a steady hand to guide progressive change. Rich has been an especially close partner of mine throughout the first term, and I attribute much of the success of Pre-K for All, the Children’s Cabinet, and the implementation of our mental health plan, ThriveNYC, to his incredible leadership. Getting people to work together across silos requires persistence, as well as artistry. And Rich has demonstrated the astounding ability to take plans on paper and orchestrate collaboration in a way that will benefit City Hall and all of New York City’s communities for decades to come. This administration acted quickly and ambitiously to make historic achievements, and I cannot imagine us getting so much done in such a short time without Tony and Rich’s leadership. We will miss them dearly, but, whatever they do next, I know they will use their singular talents to improve the lives of New Yorkers across the five boroughs. That’s what every leader int he de Blasio administration does every single day, and our new senior leadership team will carry that commitment to serve us forward. Now, from the very beginning, Dean Fuleihan has been a trusted and integral member of the team, serving even beyond his responsibility as an exceptional advisor. The appointments of Emma Wolfe, Laura Anglin, and Melanie Hartzog reflect another commitment we’ve made from the very beginning – a commitment to gender equity, both throughout the City and within the administration. And I could not be prouder to help welcome three accomplished women – three accomplished women – to the highest levels of City government service. When Bill and I interviewed them, I noted that they each possessed qualities that I always look for in leaders – a commitment to public service informed by their life experience, the desire to give back, and dedicate to a mission bigger than themselves. It means a great deal to me to support them, to set an example for other governments and industries, and to have them as partners, going forward. The recent waves of allegations of sexual harassment across the country have unearthed just a small fraction of the pressures and inequities women face in the workplace, and it is more urgent than ever to bring women into leadership positions, and to pave a new way forward. So, we have a monumental and exciting task ahead and I look forward to working with this team to build a city where women and girls of all ethnicities have equal access to employment opportunities, and leadership in every industry includes people of color, where men and women work together to reduce intimate partner violence, sex trafficking, sexual assault, and harassment, and where we promote physical and mental wellness and treat everyone with disabilities with respect and dignity. That’s the kind of city New Yorkers want and these are the leaders who will help us build it. Thank you. Mayor: Thank you. With that, I want you to hear from a few of my colleagues. I want to start with Tony, again, with profound gratitude. I’m going to call you Tony instead of Anthony – I really feel – First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris: It’s long enough. It’s about time. [Laughter] Mayor: I want to thank you profoundly for what you’ve achieved for this city. Over to you – First Deputy Mayor Shorris: Thank you. Listen, first, I’m deeply grateful not to have the completely dispiriting podium step to deal with. [Laughter] Mayor: We employ people of all heights. First Deputy Mayor Shorris: It was bad enough, so thank you for the table. [Laughter] Look, I don’t have a lot to say that wasn’t in that letter that I sent around, which I’m sure some of you saw. It has been a great run for me. And since our first dinner back at Bar Toto – all three of us – reminiscing about weddings and everything else, and it’s been four years of hanging out with some of the smartest, hardest working, and most decent people I know, working with them on everything that matters to me about this city. I walked up those 10 City Hall steps quite a while ago – no, not with Mayor Van Wyck, or even with Mayor LaGuardia – [Laughter] But I did walk up with Ed Koch about 40 years ago, and I’ve been here on and off for every administration since, and I still actually stop every morning and look around on those steps and I’m kind of amazed I’m here. I’ve never worked though, in all of those years, in any place that was so aligned with the values that I have and that we shared from that first conversation. And, as Bill said, it’s been true – we pinch ourselves constantly about how much we have been able to accomplish over those four years because of some of the people sitting up here with us. But it’s time for me to move on and give other people a chance. It’s time for me to spend a little time chilling out, sleeping without two phones and a radio next to my bed – my wife is very excited about that – maybe even taking my wife and son on a vacation without 300 emails a day, many of them from him – [Laugher] I’ll miss a lot of this. I may even miss some of you. [Laughter] Mayor: That was beautiful. [Laughter] First Deputy Mayor Shorris: But look, one thing I have to say I will not miss is a kind of meanness that has come in the public discourse. Some of these folks I supervise – these 375,000 City workers – are not all saints and heroes, we know, although, actually, we have more than our share of them. But I think you can never actually change a place, change an organization without having an understanding, even an affection for the people, the mission, the values of a place. And I’ve always had that love for the City and for this government. And I only wish sometimes we could put aside the Tweets and the snarks, and celebrate even for a minute the organization that underpins this city and the people who make it run. So, I’ll be cheering from the sidelines for the cops and the teachers and for the managers and the clericals. I’ll be cheering for those agency heads who make these vast organizations run. I’ll be cheering for all of you to keep making this a stronger, safer, and fairer place. And I’ll be cheering for a government that everyday proves that the Trumps and the Bannons of the world are wrong, and that Ed Koch was right when he told us 40 years ago that public service done honestly and competently was the highest calling of all. It has been an honor. Many thanks. Mayor: Amen, brother. Amen, well said. Now, I want to turn to Richard Buery, again, with tremendous appreciation and thanks, and I’m glad on my fifth attempt to recruit you, you said yes. Deputy Mayor Richard Buery: Thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. Good morning, everyone. It’s definitely a bittersweet day. It has really been an honor to serve the greatest city in this world with the greatest public servants in this world. So, as the Mayor insinuated, I have told this story before, I did not say yes the first time to this opportunity, and there are a bunch of personal reasons why I said no, but I also will admit that I was daunted by the task that you put ahead of me. But I remember the Mayor saying to me that we had the chance to remake the City, to overcome the Tale of Two Cities, and for a young man from East New York, Brooklyn, who has gotten to spend a fair amount of time [inaudible] that very much resonated for me. He said that we could do it by building a city that worked for everyone, that made the American dream not just a dream, but a reality, that we could provide pre-kindergarten to every four-year-old in New York City – that we could ensure that every middle schooler had a safe, fun, enriching place to spend their time after school, that we could build 100 community schools – places where we provided the kind of support and social services that make sure that poverty and hunger and vision problems and medical problems don’t stand in the way of children being able to come to school ready to learn – and we had an unprecedented opportunity to make sure that kids from places that East New York would have the same opportunities as kids from places like the Upper East Side. He said he couldn’t promise me that we would succeed, but you did promise that I would regret it if we didn’t try. And I think you were right – I think we’ve done not half-bad. And we have pre-k for every four-year-old, but, as you said, now, we’re working on the three-year-old – and they’re adorable. [Laughter] We not only reached our target of 100 community schools, but we have doubled that, and more. We’ve provided 20,000 free eye glasses our first two years – another 20,000 probably this year; dozens of new school-based mental health clinics; immigration services; supports for families from these schools, the places they know and trust. Not only do we have 116,000 middle schoolers in after school right now, but we have had the largest summer youth program in our history. We added 11 new beacons – the first time we’ve added beacon programs in two decades. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of some of the amazing things I’ve been able to work on. So, I remember the first day of school on September 2014, I dropped my kids off at their new schools in Brooklyn, and then I met you at the pre-K center in Brooklyn. At that point, we had been working on pre-K for about six months – six of the most intense months I had ever had – never before have I had a job where I had 9 o’clock evening, daily phone calls with my team and some really challenging meetings with the Mayor as he pushed us forward. And I’ve got to tell you, to see those kids and those parents laughing, crying – mostly the parents crying – there’s nothing like it. It doesn’t get any better than that. So, these four years have reminded me of an important truth – government can do amazing things for people. We can do big things for people. But in order to do big, you have to aim big, and wherever I wind up serving next, I promise to take that lesson with me. I just want to thank some of the folks here, if you indulge me for a second. First of all, thank you, Mr. Mayor, for having faith in me on this important task. I hope we’ve done you proud. I want to thank you not only for giving me the opportunity to bring your third baby to life – ThriveNYC. For those of you who don’t know Chirlane McCray – I’ve learned so much about grace and dignity and leadership. It’s been a real pleasure to get to know you. To all of my colleagues up here – Tony, I know we’re going on vacation, I look forward to it. I learned to much from you, and Alicia, and Herminia – everybody on City government. It’s just really been an amazing group of people, but I particularly want to thank my team – Alexis Confer, my Chief of Staff; Dorothy, who is the nicest assistant in City government – Dorothy Cutler; the entire SBI team, some of whom are in the back over there; and all of our colleagues at City Hall, and all of the karaoke bars in New York City who have given us inspiration. And I also want to thank the public servants, particularly at the agencies who I have had the honor to lead – DYCD, Probation, DFTA, Veterans Services, the Office of MWBE, the Young Men’s initiative, the Children’s Cabinet, the Thrive team, the Pre-K team, MOIA, People with Disabilities, and, finally, my family. My parents – my parents came to America from Panama with nothing, and they made a wonderful life for my sisters and I, and they taught me the importance of taking chances for the people that you love; to my kids, for keeping me grounded as I was trying to write my remarks who just weren’t really interested in that because one of them had a French project tomorrow and wasn’t really interested in me at my laptop – I want to thank them. [Laughter] And, especially to my life Deborah, who, for some reason, never says no to me in whatever cockamamie adventure I want to go forward on. It’s been an honor and a pleasure. Thank you. Mayor: Thank you very much, Richard. I think your kids are doing exactly what kids that age are supposed to do. Now, a great pleasure to introduce our new leader, and I’m so excited with what he will bring to this team – our new First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan. Director Dean Fuleihan, Office of Management and Budget: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. So, four years ago, the Mayor offered me the opportunity of running his Office of Management and Budget. And making a difference through the budget process on our policy agenda – a unique way of approaching it, and one I will always treasure, and all of the issues that confront this city. I am very proud that we have produced four very successful budgets, achieving many of our goals, we’ve done it in a financially responsible manner, and – I have to say it – we have the heist reserves the City has ever had. [Laughter] In working on these budgets, I was very fortunate, and I will always be thankful that the Mayor gave me that unique role to be part of really – and Tony talked about this – to be part of an exceptional, hardworking, thoughtful, and creative staff at OMB, of which Mel is a key component part of, and I’m delighted that she’s going to be my successor and continue to be my partner and colleague in this. Now, the Mayor is offering me another remarkable opportunity, and a challenge to pursue this agenda, to continue to pursue this agenda as First Deputy Mayor. It’s a privilege and I’m deeply grateful. I am confident that working for you, with the exceptional team in this room, and following Tony’s guidance, I’m going to sort of insist on that on an ongoing basis so he can’t go too far. That we could continue to continue the success that the Mayor and Tony and the First Lady outline, that we can continue accessing and improve upon it. And finally I do want to take a moment to recognize that for me public service is a privilege of repaying the opportunities given to my father, my mother’s parents who immigrated from Lebanon, and to my wife’s family who are immigrants from South Korea, and then to obviously thank my wife and daughters for really their unwavering support and amazing amount of patience. With that, I look really forward to this and thank you very much. Mayor: You are very, very welcome. Now my pleasure introduce to all of you, our new Deputy Mayor for Operations, Laura Anglin. Chief Administrative Officer Laura Anglin: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, I would also like to thank you and the First Lady to appointing me to this new role. I am honored for this opportunity and I promise I will not let you down. As the Mayor said, I bring to this challenge over 20 years in public service and various, different governmental roles, and I’ve also worked in the not for profit sector and have understood some of the challenges in leading a not for profit organization. And I’ve interacted in that role with many different levels of government and understand some of the challenges that not for profit face. So I think these experiences, hopefully, and I believe, will serve the City well. So the Mayor said, although it was only, not even a year ago, I joined this administration, you asked me to join your team. It was clear to me in that short time that you and I and everyone here at this table share the same values and the same vision for the future of this great City. Sitting next to Rich talking about education, and Pre-K, and now 3k For All, who would have thought that we could have done that? So thank you for that Rich. Programs like Vision Zero, who I’ve worked with closely over the last year to make our streets safer. And Thrive NYC, a passionate plan of the First Lady to address mental health and wellness, we talked about this the other night, I look forward to working with more on that. So in this new role, I look forward to working with our agencies, we have many of them and they are amazing, and many of them have amazing leaders, and I want to work them to ensure that services will continue to be provided, seamlessly, efficiently, and also I want to make sure that we enhance the communications not only across agencies and with City Hall, but also with the public, because that’s who we serve. So I want to make sure and make that a cornerstone of what I hope to do. I am also excited to work closely again, with my good friend and colleague, Dean Fuleihan. Dean and I started working together over 25 years ago. So I think we will be a good team to make sure that the Mayor’s values and agency operations are aligned. And finally I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my other dear friend, Tony Shorris, who without getting emotional, I have enjoyed every day of the last year working with. Just listening to his remarks, I realize why I enjoy it, every day of the last year. You taught me so much about dedicated service and passion and dealing with crisis and I will carry all those memories and guidance you gave me in the years ahead, so thank you. Mayor: Thank you very much Laura. Now I want to authenticate the next speaker because even at the announcement of her new role, she brings a cup of coffee – Director Emma Wolfe, Intergovernmental Affairs: It’s water, it’s water. Mayor: Oh it’s water, it’s a coffee cup. Director Wolfe: But usually it’s coffee. Mayor: I would ask one of the media investigate how many times Emma Wolfe is without a coffee cup because it is very, very rare. She is personally keeping Starbucks afloat. I could not be happier to introduce her as my new Chief of Staff, Emma Wolfe. Director Wolfe: Thank you. Oh, thank you. I wanted to first, obviously, thank the Mayor and the First Lady. I was reflecting back last night and I remember meeting with you both, also at Bar Toto, but this was going on nine or ten years ago, and I remember telling you both that I really wanted to work for public service – servants that I deeply believe in. And that has been fulfilled a thousand times over. And it’s been a true honor. I’m so honored to be here with the team you’ve assembled. Both the veterans, and I will not talk much about Tony and Rich because I don’t want to get emotional that would not be a good way of starting off this day for me. But I will truly miss you, and it’s been such a tremendous honor, I can’t imagine serving for the last few years with a group of public servants who’ve shown more commitment to the Mayor’s shared mission, with more smarts, with more grace, integrity, tenacity, and humor certainly came in handy once in a while as well. And all these folks and all of my teammates and colleagues at City Hall and in public service in New York City that I get to work with every day, I hope it will suffice to say that I just owe them a debt of gratitude. I’m here, we’re all here, to continue the work on behalf of the people of New York City. For our children, and our seniors, and the most vulnerable, and the working families, and for tenants and home owners, and all the folks worried about their futures, and their children’s futures. And all those worried about keeping a roof over their heads or getting their kids to the best schools, and the best opportunities possible. Or dreading what may come next from the federal government that could upend their lives. And it’s our job to reach as many of them as possible. And to even the playing field for each every New Yorker. So I am thrilled to be here today to take on a new role as Chief of Staff to the Mayor. To help actualize the agenda on behalf of New Yorkers to drive relentlessly toward product for the people and to make the Mayor’s Office the most effective it can possibly be and working towards these goals. This is a great privilege. Thank you Mayor and First Lady. Mayor: Thank you very much. Finally I want you want to hear from someone who is about to become very, very popular. Melanie I can guarantee you, you’re about to get thousands of friends you didn’t even know you had as our new OMB Director. My pleasure to introduce Melanie Hartzog. Deputy Director Melanie Hartzog: Thank you, thank you Mayor and First Lady. It continues to be an honor and privilege our dear leadership to be in public service and to advance and agenda that ensures all New Yorkers especially those most disadvantaged have the opportunity to thrive. I feel especially thankful to play this role given my own background. My mother and her family came to this country from Giana seeking better opportunity. My father moved from South Carolina to Brooklyn with the hopes of a better future. Poverty was a constant struggle for my family. Homeless, unemployment and hunger are struggles that I am all too familiar with. I am proud to embody my parent’s hopes and dreams that their children would have a better future and commit to helping other achieve the same. Over the past four years this administration has produced four budgets and Dean reminds us that are a clear expression of the Mayor’s commitment of making the city more affordable, equitable, and safer. From Pre-K for All and after school for all middle schoolers to 2000 more police officers on the street and the largest affordable housing program in the city’s history. All of this has been done in record time and in a fiscally responsible manner. I believe that our budgets reflect the values of all New Yorkers. As we embark on this next term I am excited to continue our work making New York City the place that my parents, myself and millions or residents rely on us to be a place of equal opportunity and as budget director to continue to remind everyone that we must a have a balanced budget. Mayor: Well you’re no fun after all. [Laughter] Alright, first we’re going to take questions about today’s announcements and then we’ll do off topic. Dave? Question: Mayor, with the exception of Dean. Everybody you have been talking about today in your team it’s comprised with women. Was that just the best person for the job just happens to be a woman? Or did you specifically want a woman in the positions because of the time, because of their unique perspective [inaudible] by design or it just so happened? Mayor: Thank you for the question. The – clearly these were the best for the job, there is no question about that. And in every case people who I got to know through their work none of this is theoretical. I got to see them do extraordinary things and I knew each of them was right for the job. But as Chirlane said it is part of a bigger commitment we believe in from the beginning of the administration. More than 50 percent of the senior leadership roles have been held by women. That’s something we fundamentally believe in. that’s a goal we will continue to hold and we want to build on. And we believe in an administration that looks like New York City. So in the end every decision has to come down to is the person individually talent wise, experienced wise are they the right fit for the job. But we’re always looking to build upon the diversity we achieved in the first administration. I think we’ve done something important here today. First Lady McCray: I just want to add that so often a woman is the best person for the job but is not considered. And this administration is very committed to making sure that does not happen. That we’re looking at the widest possible pool of people whether its people of color, women, people who are disabled to make sure we are getting to get the best possible person but everyone is considered. Mayor: Grace? Question: Another trend among these appointments announced today is that there promotions within the administration. Can you talk about why you have taken that approach at the top level of your administration and if you also did any sort of outside searches to fill any of these positions? And if you think it is important in a second term to bring in people who have not been part of this administration to take on high profile jobs? Mayor: Great question but I would say this. Look, it is sort of a fundamental management question of how you approach these things. I am a huge believer in promoting from within. I love to promote people who have done the work and know the organization and know the players. You know, I think that’s what works. I also think it’s a really important message to everyone on the team. Keep working hard, keep doing great things, and you have an opportunity to rise up in this team. I think it is really important little analogy. When I came in one of the things that I saw in different parts of New York City government history was sort of the time I think it was particularly true in the previous administration sort of the idea of going outside was put on a pedestal on to itself. I think sometimes there is a great person outside and if they’re the best person you go get them. But I think the notation of saying look how [inaudible] it would be to go outside even on itself is really not that respectful to the extraordinary efforts to the people who are already inside. So we want a team culture that says to everyone not only your contributions matter but as you keep achieving more you can grow more and I, as I got to know each of these people, as I started to think about it – no, I didn’t really feel any need to look elsewhere. I reserve that right for certain roles but it’s not my impulse and certainly what I didn’t have to do here. Question: Do you expect to continue filling [inaudible] more vacancies come up, I mean, in the weeks and months, filling them internally? Mayor: So again, the first thing I’ll say – I just want to make sure ground rules are tight here, you know, assume continuity in all existing roles and when we have something to tell you we will tell you as soon as it is baked. But yes, I would say the first question in my mind is always going to be is there someone internal that fits the bill? And a lot of times I think there is. I don’t think every time there is but I think a lot of times there is. Yes. Question: Is your chief of staff, is Emma is going to continue to do intergovernmental roles, working with Cuomo? Or are you expecting to fill that with somebody new? Mayor: I think, I think she has a broader job description. Now look, the, yes there is going to be a new intergovernmental director for sure. I think working with the Governor has only been a small part of her existing work. But, no, I’m looking to Emma to strengthen the team, and to strengthen the coordination and the team both within City Hall and between City Hall and all the agencies. Again on a product level, I could not be more proud of this team. I think we have hit really amazing metric goals consistently. Of course our goal is to do better and go farther. And I have tremendous faith in Emma as someone who can help us keep growing but also I say this with no fear of contradiction you know – Emma can be very tough but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Emma, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t respect Emma. It’s the nicest thing I have ever said about you. [Laughter] Mayor: Okay, yes. Question: New first deputy mayor, creating a deputy mayor for operations, naming a chief of staff when you haven’t had a permanent chief of staff for a year – does this all come out of an assessment and recognition that you need to change the way you manage city government and that there were shortcomings in the way you were managing? Mayor: Well, your publication always has an interesting running line on that topic with all due respect and I have never quiet understood it. And I like to identify media bias when I see it. The way you judge managerial capacity is by product and metrics. So I want to compliment everyone around the table and I am honored to have led them, whether it is Pre K For All or improved test scores or higher graduation rate or lower crime, more jobs – go down the list, you know, the most affordable housing every created – you know, setting up whole new ideas that didn’t exist before, IDNYC, NYC Ferry. Go down the list of all sorts of new components that we have brought in. I couldn’t be prouder of this team and I couldn’t be prouder of the way that we’ve all work together. And I’ve had to call the toon. I’ve had to make sure things were working every single day. I’ve had the extraordinary good fortune of being able to lean on Tony every step of the way but in the end the buck stops here. And as Richard alluded to, a lot of times it was my job to call everyone into the room and say we have got to go faster, we got to, we need more, more lift, we need a better product, whatever it might be. So I’m very proud of what we have achieved. I would turn the question a different way and say simply we aim even higher in the second term. We have to produce proportionally more. You know, you will note right before we got to the election that we provided not just a small update on affordable housing, but we said – and I want to thank Alicia because this was wildly audacious on top of her existing audacity – that we were going to go from 200,000 units to 300,000 units. That’s an amazing advance. A lot of really smart people didn’t think 200,000 units was possible. Alicia is the kind of person that – she literally walked into my office one day after a series of discussions and said ‘I’ve looked at it, I now believe we can go to this number.’ And our job is to do better, faster, more. So I think this team will be well suited to do that. Question: Just a follow up – I like to identify media bias when I see it. What bias are you referring to? Mayor: That your esteemed publication seems to have a hang up on the question of management and an interpretation problem on the question of management. I’m very proud as a manager of what we’ve achieved. Judge us by our numbers, judge us by our results. I don’t know where you get your little dig you put in every time, but I guarantee you just look at the numbers, and you’ll see good managements. Go ahead? Question: So, slight follow up on that. I’m just wondering if you’ve talked a little bit about the decision to create this new fifth deputy mayor role and how – is it something that First Deputy Mayor Shorris gave some input to? How will it change the nature of the first deputy role vs this new deputy mayor for operations? Mayor: First I’ll say, we are all going to work together to refine each of the roles and the specific responsibilities and the alignment at agencies. There’s still a lot of details we’re going to work through. Chirlane and I have always gone by the idea that you choose the people first and then work out a lot of the specific pieces. We’ve all been talking for a long time. It’s a running conversation – Tony and I for four years have been talking about what we think is ideal, what we think is good but needs to be better, things we want to do differently, and it’s an evolving conversation with all my colleagues, you know, and I came to the conclusion there’s no magic number of deputy mayors. I just preface with this – it’s another conversation I remember Tony and I had in the beginning, and there’s this running set of theories about how many deputy mayors you should have. I think Koch was the high water mark with the seven in the beginning? Unknown: [Inaudible] Mayor: He did? The original seven did not work. I think we can all say history judged bad idea. But you know we grappled with over the years, did we have the magic number, or do we have to do something a little bit differently. I came to the conclusion this was a good alignment, particularly for the talent we had, and now we’re going to refine it further. As I said, there’ll be further announcements coming both about specific elements that each deputy mayor will take on including I think some new and exciting pieces, and there’s still one more member of the team we’re going to bring in in the coming weeks. So I think this is the right alignment for what we need to do now. Question: In terms of policy, obviously there are a lot of folks who are interested in the 3K program and its evolution. Will the transition with the departure of Deputy Mayor Buery impact the timing of any of that? Is there anything we should be watching there? Mayor: No, it’s – you know if Thrive is Chirlane’s third baby, pre-K and 3K are my third baby. We will not let anything slow down, and Richard’s put us in a really strong setting or standing I should say to continue, and there’s a whole great team that will continue on doing that work. Question: Follow up on [inaudible] do you expect to be doing more, adding more big initiatives for the need – for this fifth deputy mayor position or is there a sense that perhaps, you know, I think everybody knows that Tony Shorris’ position oversees a lot of the City government and the City agencies. Was there a sense that maybe it made more sense to spread that out? Can you just give us [inaudible] – Mayor: It’s – we choose the alignment according to both what we feel we’ve learned along the way and the talent and also the mission ahead. There’s no easy perfect answer. There’s like a lot of components that have been thought about for a long time. But I’ll tell you this much – yes, you should expect some very big bold new elements. You’re going to hear more in the coming weeks or next few months leading up to the inauguration and the State of the City of some big additional things we’re doing. And each of these folks are going to have different parts of that. So, everyone is going to have more to do because we’re going to bring the goals up even further in a number of areas. Question: Do you expect to make changes at the commissioner level? It’s obviously at the time where people frequently leave. Mayor: Yeah, I’m not going to do any hypotheticals on that. You know, people are all going to make their own personal decisions. We’ll certainly respond to that but this is the most important piece getting the senior leadership team aligned and ready, and then we’ll have time to give you updates about other pieces. Okay, on this. Gloria? Question: Just a question for Director Fuleihan and for Melanie. With the budget season coming up and the budget gap that we might have [inaudible] do you plan to – are you thinking about any kind of [inaudible] program or – I guess my question is, how much of Dean’s budget style do you hope to carry on – [Laughter] Mayor: That question switched in midstream. I’m going to – a yellow card on that question. That was – we’re going with the second part of that. I don’t even know if that even gets the two-part question. Those are two contradictory questions. Okay, two-part question. What was the first part? Question: [Inaudible] are you looking at any [inaudible] – Mayor: This is not the day for discussing the budget per say – Director Fuleihan: Correct. Mayor: But go ahead. Director Fuleihan: Right, we just put out the November – the November update. We do have a serious gap that we have to address. We obviously are concerned about the federal – everything that happens on a daily basis by the federal government. But you know we’ll be working through that in a normal process with Mel leading that on the preliminary and then the executive and adopted budgets. Second part of the question, I can’t answer. Incoming OMB Director Hartzog: Well, to address that question I think that I have the privilege of working for Dean. I absolutely think that under his leadership as I said before – four budgets balanced – that also reflect the values of the Mayor, and so I absolutely continue – believe that I will continue in in his style. Why not? It’s worked for us. Mayor: Amen. Question: Mr. Mayor, I just want to go back to this question about creating a new deputy mayor position. I’m still – maybe I missed something but I’m still a little unclear of what the assessment was that said this was needed. Around the time of, I believe, the Rivington hearing at the City Council, there was a lot of discussion that there’s too much on Deputy Mayor Shorris’s plate. Is this sort of a residual acknowledgement of that? Mayor: No, I think, with all due respect to City Council hearings, that’s not where we get our insights about how to manage. And I was a City Council member, there’s no diss on anyone, there. But we – this is a running conversation we all have all the time about how we want to set up to get the best work done. I go back to the numbers. Guys, I challenge all of you, go look at four years of just plain, old numbers. With Tony as our leader, we did more than we could possibly imagine and, I mean, I would look at just public safety alone which was one of the areas of greatest focus for Tony. I don’t think anyone – I don’t think even Bill Bratton or Jimmy O’Neill – expected us to get as far as we did. And that came from a lot of decisions here and obviously tremendous leadership at One Police Plaza and tremendous work by the men and women of the NYPD and community partners. But that’s an example of a structure that really worked on so many levels. The numbers speak for themselves. But again we want to go farther. We want to find ways to be even more audacious. So, it’s about this group of people now and how we want to work with this group of people. Question: Is there any sort of discussion or acknowledgement here about you being more politically active and – especially next year – and out-of-town more that means there’s more management structure that needs to be in place? Mayor: No. The fact is, again, I’ve tried to make it clear to you guys – I’m not sure it’s always been heard, but I try not to be a micromanager. I think that, per say, is a bad thing. I think it is very good to be able to reach into anything that needs more attention, more work, more discipline, higher goals – and I do that all the time with this team. And that’s the only way it works. I mean, these are great, great leaders but nothing replaces mayoral leadership. So, we’ve got a lot of big bold stuff we want to do. I’m going to be all over it. I think it’s a great team that I have a ton of trust in but, you know, I got to have my hands on a lot of the details to make things really work. Question: [Inaudible] First Lady. What was your, sort of – the qualities that you were looking for in these candidates and where there is a disagreement with the Mayor where you have to make your views known. And then I have a quick question for Deputy Glen. First Lady McCray: Well, the qualities that I look for are very similar to the qualities the Mayor looks for. I’m always looking at the background to see if it’s a narrative, a story that is consistent and informs the way they do the work. I’m looking for someone who puts the mission ahead of personal gain, dedication to a vision – all of these are characteristics I look for. You know, everyone is different so the questions are different and because the positions are different, I’m also looking at [inaudible] history and how that is consistent with what they are looking for in terms of their future. The Mayor and I don’t disagree a lot about people. We have the same values and so we tend to agree. But I do often see different things than he does. So, two brains are better than one. Mayor: Yeah. I would say it’s a – for us, we learned a long time ago about each other personally but it’s also true as we do this work professionally. We find consensus organically. I wish I had a better way to say it but we do. If I come out of an interview uneasy, I’m going to bounce it off of Chirlane. If she comes out uneasy, she’s going to bounce it off of me or sometimes she’ll just look at certain way at me and I’ll know what she’s communicating about wanting to probe something in a candidate or having a concern. It’s a pretty extraordinary level of consensus but it’s also because it’s a constant conversation. I wish I could – I really don’t want to invite you to our home at 6:00 am in the morning or 11:00 pm at night, sorry, but it literally is an all-day-long conversation about this stuff. And that’s part of what I think creates that unity. Question: I wanted to ask Deputy Mayor Glen, so in the City’s response to the NYCHA lead investigations, the Mayor talked to the press and said that the inspections were sort of all being done normally, this was in March of 2016 – Mayor: Can I interrupt you, I’m sorry. Can I put that into the off-topic where you’ll – Question: [Inaudible] off-topic? Mayor: Oh, yeah. We’re definitely – we’re not going anywhere. We got all day. But the – no, no, I want to just stay on this and we’ll honor that in off-topic. Let me see if there’s anything else about these announcements here before we move over to off-topic. Going once – yes? Question: I think this sort of ties into this on-topic because she is staying on – the comments by Ritchie Torres on availability of Alicia Glen. If she can comment on – I mean he said, he sort of made a vague reference to developers being able to reach her more than you know a City Council member to an audience of African-Americans, as though it’s different in some way [inaudible] – Mayor: I want to start and – if there’s anyone in New York City who can defend herself, it’s Alicia Glen. But I want to start. I think very highly of Councilman Torres but that’s a cheap shot. I have personally seen how much work Alicia does every day with elected officials and community leaders on how concerned and responsive she is. You know, I just want to remind people her first job was as a legal aid lawyer which – sorry legal service lawyer, my bad. Same idea. And I think both in terms of what motivates her philosophically but also in terms of her orientation to the grassroots, it’s a big part of who she is. So, she does talk to developers and I’ve actually walked by her office during some of those conversations particularly on speaker phone and she is as tough as it gets, and they rarely feel that they are getting it easy. She really, really drives an incredibly hard bargain for this city and she takes no prisoners. So, I don’t know where he’s getting that from but over to you. Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen: I’m not even familiar with the comments, so I’m not sure what the question is. I’m not sure what Councilman Torres has to say. But I think it’s certainly clear that I spend a huge amount of time meeting with all kinds of stakeholders involved in housing and development issues and have always had a policy, as my staff will tell you, that everybody gets at least one meeting and everybody gets called back. And that’s what we are paid to do and I meet with everybody whenever they want to. So I don’t know what particularly what the Councilman was refereeing to. Mayor: Alright, still on the announcement and then we’ll switch to off topic. Go ahead. Question: Do you have any concerns as you do a lot of internal promotion about you know, too much ideological alignment and not enough – Mayor: Hang on, I’m concerned about too much ideological alignment. Could you get right on that please and fix that? I’d like an ideological unaligned organization. No. I think – I again this is one of these urban legend things I don’t understand. If you don’t have an ideologically aligned group of people you can’t achieve the same results. I mean look at the numbers, look at the results, They’re stunning and it’s because it’s a team. It’s the – it’s like the Iceland soccer team, you know, it’s like the – why were they even competitive because they were a team. This is – this is greater than the sum of its parts. No question. Because people believe in the same things. Now that doesn’t mean people aren’t critical. I mean, we are always asking ourselves are there unintended consequences, is there something we’re not seeing. If we hear a critique that we think rings true we bring that into our discussions. And, we have to talk to everyone. One thing I’ve heard from a lot of people whether they’re a community activist or whether they’re folks in business or you name it is that unlike some other administrations there has been much more of an open door policy. And we take plenty of heat from people and listen to their perspectives and sometimes we come out of a meeting and say they’ve got a point, or we hadn’t thought about that. But, no. I don’t understand why on Earth I would want a group that is not aligned and harmonious. That’s what I seek. Anything else on these announcements? Yes? Question: As you shuffle things should we assume that it remains the practice that the First Deputy Mayor so going forward, Fuleihan, will be the one who gets to be the acting mayor when you are – Mayor: Yeah there’s a progression and it will be that Dean will be the first up to bat. And then we’ll go from there. But it depends on whose there on any given day. Okay last call on these announcements. Yes? Question: I just want to make sure, are there any changes to salaries for these positions? Mayor: We’ll get back to you on any of those details. Question: When do they take effect? Mayor: With the expectation of Richard, that we’re still fine tuning, and if I were betting today I think probably February. But we can – we’re still working that through. Everything else, we’re starting with the assumption January 1st. Again, we reserve the right to make some modifications depending on what’s going on and as everyone is going through the transition. But I think that’s the right working model to assume. Okay let’s go to off topic. Let’s give – Question: I wanted to ask about – take a little trip back in time to 2016 in March you made a statement saying tentative inspections were all up to snuff. The head of NYCHA Shola Olatoye finds out, she says that she finds out in April and immediately raised her hand to say that she has a problem. Now she reports directly to Deputy Mayor Glen. I’m wondering whether she did report that to you in April and when you told the Mayor. The Mayor says he didn’t find out until May. Why didn’t you tell him immediately and are you comfortable with the response that did not inform the NYCHA residents that there actually had been this problem but rather just said we need to get into your apartment. Mayor: Again, I’ll start and pass to the Deputy Mayor. I’ve said clearly – I can’t give you the chapter and verse, the day, the hour, the context in which I was updated. The original information I had everyone thought was right, proved to be wrong. I‘ve said in retrospect we should have made that clearer that we were amending what was said previously. But what I care about is it was discovered, it was acted on promptly, HUD was notified, and the actions people took in light of a mistake were the right actions. Question: [Inaudible] the residents weren’t informed about this? Mayor: The residents were told –you’re putting words in my mouth. The residents – no I did not say that – I said what I cared about in terms of the question was about me and my dealings with my colleagues, so please don’t put words in my mouth, was we got the update, there was a quick decision made on what to do about it, HUD was informed, action was taken. And the action was directed right to the residents which is what mattered most. I’m very satisfied that was the right thing to do, acknowledging the original mistake which I’m not happy about, no one’s happy about. I have also said I wish I had said publically, more clearly that what I had understood previously that I was wrong. But again, this is – this is – I want to be careful to not miss the forest for the trees. What mattered was telling people we were coming to inspect their apartment and inspecting their apartment and acting on it. That’s what mattered. Do you want to add? Deputy Mayor Glen: I mean I think you’ve addressed all of David’s questions. I’m not sure if there was a follow up? Question: [Inaudible] told the Mayor, if you have a better recollection or – I mean obviously there’s documentation about this. Deputy Mayor Glen: Sure. I mean I think your timeline is generally accurate. In April of 2016 the Chair informed me that they had discovered the problem and then we immediately began to put together a corrective action plan which first and foremost was putting together a schedule for making sure that all of the units that needed to be inspected were inspected and appropriately abided. And then sometime thereafter, I don’t have the exact dates, I raised it with the Mayor and I believe that was around the time that you then made those public comments. So I think that’s a correct timeline. Mayor: Yes? Question: Mayor, this Sunday is going to be the third anniversary of the Staten Island grand jury not bringing back any indictments in the Eric Garner case. Commissioner Bratton had said that he’d been asked by the Eastern District to hold off on doing anything as far as discipline goes but with all this passage of time and the change of administrations, does there come a point where you have a conversation with Commissioner O’Neill about, we’ve waited too long, it’s time to start the internal disciplinary process? Mayor: It’s a very fair question. I’ve been confused by why it has taken so long for the Justice Department honestly. And I think none of us expected a change of administration, but even with that I don’t quite understand what’s taking so long. The conundrum here is we have a pending request from the Justice Department, we want to obviously respect that, we’d love some clarity from them about a timeline but we still don’t have it. So I can’t say, you know, how we’re going to deal with what comes next. I think we need to hear something more from the Justice Department before we can determine what makes sense to do. Please. Question: Mr. Mayor, the Regional Plan Association came out with a number of proposals dealing with mass transit. Two in particular I’d like to get your reaction to. Number one – Mayor: I have not – just to say up front, Marcia, I haven’t seen the report so you’re the first time – you’ll be the first person telling me about it. Question: They’re pretty straightforward ideas. Number one, they suggest closing down the subways on weekday nights so that repairs can be done, so the system could be kept in a good state of maintenance. I wonder how you feel about that as a proposal. And the second proposal – Mayor: One the first one – Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Yeah, let me hit you with the first one. I’m a New Yorker. 24-hour subway service is part of our birthday. You know, you don’t – you can’t take that – this is not Washington DC, with all due respect to Washington DC. You cannot shut down the subway at night. It is a 24-hour city. You can, of course, shut down certain lines at certain times for repairs and put bus service in and things like that. But as blanket idea, no. I don’t believe in that. Question: Secondly, they’re suggesting a new agency, believe it or not to be set up – Mayor: I’m scared already. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Be afraid, be very afraid. Question: As are many. New state agency to be set up with the specific task of rebuilding the subways for the 21st century. So I wonder how you feel about the creation of a new state agency to rebuild the subways for the next generation. Mayor: Reserving the right to hear the argument which I have not heard, I would say what we’ve learned many times in government is, yes sometimes new agency helps but often it doesn’t. That would be my – my basic human assessment. I have seen some examples where it works, I’ve seen plenty where it doesn’t. I think the better question is, how do we fix what we’ve got with the tools we have right now? And, let’s just get real. We need a long term funding mechanism for the MTA. I’ve put the millionaire’s tax on the table. I’m so sick of this discussion of is it viable, is it not viable, someone show me something more viable, or more effective, or more fair, especially against the backdrop, tragically, at what could be huge tax cuts for the wealthy in Washington. So, put up or shut up. That’s my message to everyone. But in terms of continuing to make. you know. the big, big changes needed in the MTA, I again, refer to Rahm Emanuel. I disagree with him on pizza but I agree with him on mass transit. He had an op-ed in the Daily News some months ago and he said Chicago bit the bullet a long time ago and invested in those signals and electrical systems, and all the unsexy stuff. Once and for all, we’ve got to recognize no more lights on bridges, no more displays clocks telling you what time the trains coming; these are not the things we need. We need the signal systems fixed. That’s where the money should go. So what I’m saying to you is you could do that, in my opinion, with the existing agency you have. But I do want to see the RPA report, and I do want to hear their rational. Question: Do you think the MTA has focused on [inaudible], like the clocks and the lights, and things like that, that don’t actually matter to … Mayor: Yes. Question: … the speed of service, and what would say to them about that? Mayor: Stop doing that. Question: Mr. Mayor, we’ve been told that there are 42,000 apartments, back to NYCHA for a moment, where there are children from zero to six, and the apartments were built before the lead law in 1968. So that’s the universe. Was there any thought in – any discussion about informing those residents, specifically informing them that those lead inspections had not taken place as per law, and they should – and advising them that may want to get their young children tested for lead immediately. Mayor: I think it is a very fair question, and I’ll start and Deputy Mayor Palacio may want to join in on this. We start with the health reality and I fully appreciate all the concerns that have been raised and all the questions that are being asked, but I do want to say – I’m trying to give you a perspective, we start with the health reality, the health reality is thank God the challenge of lead poisoning has been steadily declining in this City, because a lot of hard work and a lot of work a lot of people did over years. And we know for a fact the vast, vast majority of kids are screened organically, so I think that knowledge inherently affected our view of things, the thing to do is to get in there and inspect and find out if there is a problem and remediate the problem. But as you’ve heard, what really it came down to, thank God, very, very, very few kids were affected in any way and all of those kids are okay. So I think it’s very different than if you had a situation where you had an ongoing, pervasive, continuous health problem. This has been the opposite. It has been minimized so deeply over time that we knew that a lot of other realities, a lot of other methodologies, were catching these kids if there was anything that needed to be addressed. So I just – I think that’s an important backdrop to keep into mind. Again I’m the first to say, in retrospect, I wish I had communicated more. I’ve learned a good lesson here, you know to think more deeply about have we said everything we need to say, but I’m very satisfied that the things had to be done were done. Do you want to add Herminia? Or not? Feel free either one. Deputy Mayor Glen: We were conferring – Mayor: - You compete – Deputy Mayor Glen: - Have Herminia discuss really what the way that the lead, the notification to parents who actually had children who tested lead positive, and again Herminia do you want to? Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio: Sure, I mean, I would confirm that, you know, lead has gone down significantly over the City, over the course of the years of the City, we, whenever there is a positive lead test, parents are informed – Mayor: Anywhere. Deputy Mayor Palacio: Right, anywhere. Question: Sorry, so just to follow up on that, my understanding, and if I’m wrong forgive me here, my understanding is that in order for NYCHA or the City to become aware of a child with elevated blood lead levels, that child has to be tested. So without testing all of those children, how can we be sure that there are no other children who are affected, and it is true that children have to be tested I think between zero and two, but after that, it’s not all children that are tested every year. It’s only if a medical provider deems it necessary. So why not just suggest that the children living in those – the state universe of 42,000 apartments be tested? Deputy Mayor Palacio: So, there are many homes, not just in NYCHA, that have lead. Which is why, and children under two are at the most at risk which is why that there is the emphasis, so this is the children most at risk, not just by behavior, but how they absorb lead. So that’s the emphasis of testing, requiring the testing of children under one and two years old. The apartments that were inspected and I’ll let Deputy Mayor Glen add anything, the apartments that were inspected and were found to have lead, those – that process of being those residents would be informed that there apartments were being remediated for lead apartments that were tested and didn’t, weren’t found to have lead, may not have been notified that they needed to test their children, there was no lead found in those apartments, lead hazards. Mayor: Do you want add or – Deputy Mayor Glen: Well I mean I can try to – I can – there is a lot different interplay here so I know it can sound quite confusing. When we inspected the 42,000 apartments that are subject to Local Law 1, any indication that there was any peeling paint, in any of those units, were immediately remediated, that is different than actually conducting a full test in the apartment for whether or not there is any lead. So I want to be very clear about that. The protocol, with the respect to what Local Law 1 requires when you see peeling paint in those units is to immediately remediate. All of those kids in all of those apartments that protocol was followed. We do not believe that any of those children also had been tested for lead, but everyone who lived in those apartments knew that we were going in there inspecting and remediating. Question: Then how, I guess, one of the children, one of the two children, did test positive for elevated lead levels, spoke to his attorney yesterday, that child was only tested for lead because he went in for a regular wellness visit. Not because the City informed those parents that they should get their child checked. So I mean, my question is why not simply inform those 42,000 residents that they may want to get their children tested for lead. Deputy Mayor Glen: I’m not familiar – I’m not familiar with the questions - Mayor: Let me start with this, I think, one we are going to be providing additional information as we go through this whole process, because we are still learning as we go along. Two, we are going to do more public information every step along the way. Three, we continually find, thank God, very little impact from any of this, and that is the most important thing. But look, we have gone through all the apartments, inspected, remediated, we are in the middle of doing it a second time. I think for all of us, we want to constantly figure out what else we need to do, I think it’s a perfectly fair question, and that’s one things we may change our protocol and to make it that much more explicit. We think it’s pretty clear, but you can definitely make the argument you are making, that we should go even farther and go the extra mile, but so far thank God we are not finding the negative outcomes, and we are constantly now in those apartments between inspections and remediations. We are not done here, there is more we’re going to do. Question: Maura asked a good chunk of my question but it is sort of along the same lines. What is your response Mr. Mayor to a Brooklyn mother, the mother of this four year children, that Maura I believe was mentioning, Kyan Dickerson, who is now the plaintiff in a class action federal lawsuit against you, your housing chair, and the City. She claims her son was severely lead poisoned in an uninspected NYCHA apartment in Red Hook Houses, calling into question your assertion that children were not seriously, medically harmed, she says her child – Mayor: I’m not going to speak to a lawsuit, obviously, I think we’ve established all of us that our first concern is for children. We understand here, the situation was not handled the way it should have been handled, I’ve said that many times. I also want to be abundantly clear, we received a handoff from the previous administration, and it was a bad handoff. Had things been working properly we would have continued them. Obviously some people also in our chain of command did the wrong thing, but I’m not going to speak to an allegation, a lawsuit, we are only going to deal with the facts as we know. Question: The question is how can you know when you make the assertion that thank God very few children were harmed – Mayor: I know it because of Department of Health information, which is our gold standard, but again, once you say the word lawsuit, I’m not going get into any of the specifics on purpose, Zack Carter would hear, he would remind me of that fact. I will say everything you are hearing that we assert is from the Department of Health and the Department of Health is the gold standard in public health in this country. Question: Mr. Mayor, on the ferries, what is your understanding of the cause of the holes discovered in the ferries on Sunday and Monday, there were two separate [inaudible] and do you still believe that the first three of those ferries that are now out of service or sidelined, we were told to relocate [inaudible] as your administration previously said, is still your [inaudible] Mayor: I’m not getting – I’ll turn to Alicia who is more conversant in some of the specifics of ferry maintenance and ferry design, I’ll say this, we have had now over the course of this year an obvious and vivid success with NYC Ferry, in terms of how quickly it was set up, how well it’s been run, the amount of ridership far beyond expectations. We got more work to make it better for sure. We know that there has been some problems with individual boats, we have some specific issues that we made very clear to Hornblower, the contractor, that we are unhappy about expect to see better. But writ large this system obviously has been working very well. As to the specifics, Alicia you know better than me. Deputy Mayor Glen: Yeah, and we can get you – again just to make sure everybody knows which boats we’re talking about. But there are six boats that have been identified that do have some issues on the keel, not serious ones. And they’re currently in Nyack. They’ve been pulled out of the water, and they’re being repaired and they’re all those boats under warranty and so the cost of those repairs will be borne by the manufacturer. And so again there is no life, safety, health issues here at all. We’ve been taking very strong proactive measures to go out and make sure that the Coast Guard is inspecting additional boats so that we can make sure and the public understands there is no issue with the boats right now. But there are six boats that are currently having some minor repairs at Nyack and they’re out of service right now. Question: [Inaudible] in most cases leaks? Deputy Mayor Glen: You know I am not an expert on this topic. I know that there are some smaller version and some – under the keel and some issues with some of the electric systems that are now being repaired. I don’t know if leaks and holes is the right word but they’re being addressed timely and those boats will be put back in service after the Coast Guard re-inspects and they’re giving a certificate to sail. Mayor: Yes? Question: Mr. Mayor this is a question actually for you and the First Lady. In light of what happened with Matt Lauer inquired. Then today Russell Simmons is now stepping away from his many companies. You have Pelosi and Ryan now calling for Congressman Conyers to immediately resign. I would like to get your reaction to all of these developments and also speak to the issue of what it is that you do in local government to prevent this type of activity from happening because at this point it appears to the public that we could have an epidemic here. Mayor: I will start and join in. The – first it’s a zero tolerance approach. Not just to the extraordinarily important issue of sexual harassment but to any discrimination, anything that is inappropriate in the workplace. Not only there is a lot of training, there is a real report in culture around here. You know it’s about values. We would be deeply troubled – I would be, Chirlane would be, everyone would be if anyone engaged in activity and we would be very swift in dealing with it. So I have to say it’s a moment in history where a lot of pain is coming out, a lot of truth is coming out. And this is probably something our nation needed. Because all of this harassment, all of this discrimination, all of this oppression of women was covered up for a long, long time and it’s unacceptable. And those who are proven to have engaged in this activity should pay huge penalties. You know I think it’s very important that people see seemingly illustrious individual like Charlie Rose. You know, just instantaneously taken out of commission. Because I think it sends a powerful message to men to don’t even think about it, unless you want to destroy your family, and your career, and your reputation. I wish, I wish you know people didn’t have made example of for others to get the point. But let’s be honest about humanity. So probably this is something that was decades overdue. First Lady McCray: That is certainly true. We do have to set a tone of zero tolerance for that type of behavior and I think it just, it also points the importance of having a work place where there are – you know women. A 50/50 world is what we aspired to when we’re in positions of leadership when you have everyone at the table working together. This type of behavior is not as common, it just isn’t. And that’s what we inspired to. Question: [Inaudible] real quickly. Do you think that Congressman Conyers should retire immediately? Mayor: I have a broad standard. I want to admit not having seen all the details of many of these cases. But I have a very broad standard. Once an allegation is confirmed of harassment, you know a specific allegation is admitted to, and confirmed with someone who is playing a public role and something they did while in public office to me it’s not even close. Again, can’t speak to each case. I don’t know all the details. But you know, I think if someone has done that, they need to admit it and they need to get out of office. Yes? Question: Mayor just on the lead issue again. You said that he Department of Health is the gold standard for this subject. But the Department of Health over seven years has found lead paint in 63 NYCHA apartments. NYCHA went and did its own lead lab tests, and claimed on 17 tested positive for lead and only those apartments were aviated. So the Department of Health is the gold standard. Why not use their lead tests – Mayor: I can’t speak to that individual situation. Deputy Mayor Palacio: So I can begin to speak to that. The Department of Health goes in with a certain technology. That technology basically is an XRF. It can read lead but there are some samples that if its – for example paint on a door knob might give a false positive reading. Any landlord in New York City not just NYCHA any landlord has the authority to request a third party lab test of a chip of paint where the paint actually gets set and is screened with a – is tested with a different methodology and that’s the authority that NCYHA has exercised in those cases. It’s not a question of not taking the Department of Health results. It’s really sending it to a third party for confirmatory testing that goes above and beyond that the testing that the Department of Health does with its technology in the apartments. Question: What if a child in one of those apartments has a positive DOH test later has a higher level of lead but didn’t tip of the NYCHA test? Deputy Mayor Palacio: So there – we want to make sure that we’re not conflating two things right. There is Local Law One which is about independent inspections of apartments. The Department of Health which is following those inspections – there are inspections triggered by an elevated blood lead level in a child. Those are the inspections that the Department of Health is doing. So the Department of Health already knows it, that a child has an elevated blood lead level and is doing all of the case management that’s appropriate for that child regardless of whether the source was lead paint or candy or pottery. The care of the child remains the same. Question: Thanks, Mayor. There’s a handful of City Council Speaker candidates who are talking about term limits and changing that – Mayor: They’re wrong. Question: Tell me more. Mayor: Thank you for drawing me out. The – the people have spoken twice. Is it more than twice, at least twice? The people have spoken. Three times, thank you Marcia. I’m updating my statement – the people have spoken three times. I mean it couldn’t be clearer. People believe in term limits. I believe in term limits. I’ve seen the positive effect of term limits. It has really led to a more responsive government and I think a higher caliber of people coming into government. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So, no, people have to be really clear their bosses have spoken. People of this city will not tolerate it. Look, the richest guy in the city used the most ridiculous power tools and wealth and influence to overturn the people’s will once and that got rejected immediately in the next referendum. And people like me who opposed Mayor Bloomberg apparently are in positions of authority now. I think it’s really clear how deeply the public feels this. So, I would just say to the speaker candidates – I understand it’s an appealing to say to your immediate electorate in the Speaker election but you’ve got a more important electorate to think about, and that’s the people. Question: Do you think that there’s a case for it to be made when it comes to legislatures for them to just serve longer terms – Mayor: I think every place is different. I, you know, have always felt people have said what about Congress, what about the State legislature. I can’t speak to those. I haven’t served in those. I’ve served. I have a particular perspective. Tony, having been here since the beginning of the Republic, can help me on this. [Laughter] How many mayors were previously City Council members? You can work on that. You’re going to say, “Well, let’s see, in 1853 –” So, yeah, I have the perspective of having served in both branches. For New York City today, this is the right idea. I’ve seen the positive effect. I personally believe anyone who wants to be mayor for more than two terms is not in their right mind. This is the most intense conceivable job in the world. If you do it for more than eight years, you’re not even going to be able to spell your name right at the end of it. So, just eight and out. It’s good enough for the President of the United States, it’s good enough for the Mayor of New York City. So, I think here it works. I don’t have philosophical view about the other levels. I only talk about where it works or how it works here. Question: [Inaudible] anyone who becomes Speaker [inaudible] – Mayor: No because I understand everyone is pandering so I presume they will all be equal opportunity panderers and it will nullify like when there’s a penalty on each team in a football game, the penalties are nullified. If they’re simultaneous, they’re nullified. It’s like that. I don’t think it has a larger bearing. I think if there were thinking beyond January 3rd, they would be better served to realize their constituents don’t want this. I’ll do a few more. Go ahead. Question: I just want to follow up on that. When you were in the City Council in 2005, you did support – Mayor: Wow, this is an original question. Question: Well, I’m just saying [inaudible] – Mayor: [Inaudible] four millions times. Go ahead. Question: So you’re saying you have a change of heart, back then [inaudible] – Mayor: I said very clearly then – and there’s tons of documentation – I was running for Speaker. I thought at the time what I was saying made sense. Obviously, I was responding to the flock I was trying to lead. But then when I saw the issue play out the way it did in ‘08, I thought it was obscene. And I obviously helped to lead the opposition to Mayor Bloomberg, and I’ve been very, very clear. I think that was the defining moment on this issue and I ain’t going back. Two terms for everyone, period, done, over the fence, gone. Question: I have a question for Emma. Emma, you became involved in the negotiations around Harendra Singh and Water’s Edge. I want to ask you, whose decision was it – Mayor: We covered all that, Willy. I’ll just interrupt. I’m sorry. Willy, you can ask it 100 times. We’re not going over ancient history. Question: [Inaudible] involved you because – Mayor: Okay, thank you for your question. Question: [Inaudible] appropriate for [inaudible] – Mayor: I’m going to give one more over in the back. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Thank you, Willy. We’re not – we’ve covered. We’ve covered it previously. Question: [Inaudible] never been answered. Mayor: Thank you. Question: How many companies responded to the request for proposal for ferries back in 2015 and why did the administration pick a company from, you know, not from New York City that had no previous ferry experience? Mayor: They had plenty of experience. That’s – respectfully, your facts are wrong. I was really impressed by the thoroughness of the process. At the end of the process, the professionals brought me their recommendation, and I confirmed it. Alicia certainly can add to this but I’ll start by saying, you know, if you will, the politic thing to do would not have been to choose the company from out of town. But when you looked at their proposal and you looked at their history, their experience, it was the best proposal. The other proposal was good. I’ve said very openly that was a good proposal, it was a credible proposal but the one that we got that won the day was a better proposal. And that’s more important than where they are based. And they have created a lot of jobs in the city and they homeported at the Brooklyn Navy Yard which was very important to us. So, I think [inaudible]. Last call. Question: What’s your position on this Democratic unity plan in the State Senate? And I know that there are a lot of progressive who are very skeptical of it and still planning – Mayor: I’m very skeptical of it. Question: Can you elaborate [inaudible] – Mayor: Thus proving I’m a progressive. [Laughter] Question: Why – why are [inaudible] – Mayor: Because this is getting to be a charade. The Governor and the IDC have enabled each other from the beginning and it’s been a de facto Republican governing arrangement. And it’s got to end. So, let’s just be real about this. A lot of us in 2014 had a commitment for the Governor to create a Democratic State Senate. We saw that commitment broken. It’s very convenient for him now as he apparently is running for president to be in good graces with the Democratic Party. So, now he’s going to move heaven and Earth to have a Democratic Senate and he wants to elect Democratic Congress members in these swing districts and not see them redistricted against the interest of Democratic candidates. Well, he’s been in office since 2011, he could have done that from the very beginning. So, I’ll believe it when I see it but my message to everyone is if you have a Democrat in your title, you better come home now because the people are really angry in their districts. They want Democrats to be Democrats. Of if they’re not going to be Democrats, call themselves Republicans. Question: [Inaudible] Question: Are you supporting challenges to IDC members? Mayor: [Inaudible] it’s very simple. There will be challenges. Forget me for a minute. There’s clearly going to be challenges to IDC members in their districts. That’s a given. Everyone knows that. They should come home immediately. That’s my simple message. Come home. Be Democrats. Join the Democrats. Question: [Inaudible] involvement, are you – Mayor: I’m a respectful observer. But the bottom line is the [inaudible] is already cast here. The election of Donald Trump achieved what should have been achieved by the Democratic Party of this state a long time ago. We should have had a Democratic Party in this state. We really don’t have a functioning Democratic Party in this state. We haven’t for a long time. Let’s be honest about that. And this should never have been allowed. The full power of the party and the Governor should have been used to stop the IDC from leaving to begin with. So, I am a person who believes in redemption. Everyone comes home quickly and forms a Democratic majority and acts as Democrats and never goes back, let’s move forward together and I can work with them and I can work with Jeff Klein. But there’s no more hesitating. We’re about to go – we’re officially in the election year, practically speaking. The people won’t take it. Democrats will not accept anything short of Democrats coming home immediately. Yes? Question: How do you feel about the fact that this whole plan is geared to take effect after the budget negotiations so that the Governor can negotiate with the same people [inaudible]? Mayor: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. We won’t be fooled again. That’s what I say to that. I mean, come on. We’re not all born yesterday. So, if you want to be a Democrat, be a Democrat right now. I think that’s my good, final word. Thank you, everyone.
Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 5:05pm
“As we work to make this city more equitable, we are building and preserving affordable housing at a record pace. Alongside the East New York and Downtown Far Rockaway plans, the East Harlem plan and Bedford Armory Recreation Project mean thousands of affordable homes for neighborhood families. They mean jobs for local residents, community spaces for learning, growing and gathering, and investments in parks, schools, and roads. As we plan for the future, we protect the core values of our city and our neighborhoods – and most importantly the very residents who built these communities. We are making progress, and today we applaud Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Bill Perkins and Laurie Cumbo and the dedication of the East Harlem and Crown Heights communities for working with us to guarantee a fairer future for New York,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is big. We are making investments in communities that need more affordable housing for working families and seniors, better recreation space for kids and a clearer path to good jobs. These are important links in our growing housing plan that will shape these neighborhoods for decades to come. The City agencies, Council Members and communities that brought these plans together should be proud of the outcomes,” Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said. In addition to significant City investments to build and preserve nearly 4,000 affordable homes for the community, the East Harlem plan brings $178.2 million in City investments: * Capital improvements in NYCHA developments within East Harlem: $50 million. * Expand the Harlem River Greenway Link to connect 125th and 132nd streets: $83 million. * Improvements to the East River Esplanade: $15 million. * Build a comfort station in Harlem River Park: $4.7 million. * Create a small business Workforce 1 satellite center to increase access to employment opportunities for local residents: $500,000. * Renovate La Marqueta: $25 million. Redevelopment of the 138,000-square-foot Bedford Union Armory will create: * 250 homes for families earning less than $50,000 year, including for formerly homeless New Yorkers. * State-of-the art recreation center affordable to community residents. * Low-cost space for local nonprofits and a new medical facility for uninsured New Yorkers. * More than 750 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs at the Armory. In partnership with Council Member Cumbo, the project was greatly improved: * The City will maintain ownership of the entirety of the Bedford Union Armory property. * The City will prohibit the sale of market-rate residential condominiums. * The City will study the feasibility of redeveloping 516 Bergen Street, a City-owned parking lot, into more than 30 affordable homes for seniors.
Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 5:05pm
Changes include adding an income threshold to ensure help reaches those who need it most NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Dan Garodnick today announced a new bill that would make changes to the Commercial Rent Tax (CRT) aimed at helping New York City’s small businesses succeed. Effective July 1, 2018, the threshold for Manhattan’s CRT for businesses with income up to $5 million will increase from $250,000 to $500,000 annual rent, with the benefit provided on a sliding scale for businesses with income between $5 million and $10 million or paying $500,000 to $550,000 in rent. In total, the move reduces taxes for 2,700 small businesses, including 1,800 that will no longer pay the tax at all. Under this move, the average business owner will receive between $11,300 and $13,000 in annual tax relief. This represents the first change to the CRT since 2001 and specifically targets Manhattan’s mom-and-pop shops and small businesses with 99 percent of the benefit going to businesses with only one or two taxable locations. The bill was voted on earlier in the day by the City Council and will be signed by the mayor in the coming weeks. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of this city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “That’s why we designed the bill to ensure that they’re the ones we’re helping. The Commercial Rent Tax in its previous form is outdated and we’re proud to make the first changes in over a decade to bring relief to thousands of small businesses.” “Manhattan’s small business owners have had to make too many sacrifices just to keep their livelihoods open. Intro 799-B would alleviate the financial burden of having to pay a rent tax on top of having to pay the rent itself for the borough’s businesses. Despite vast changes in the Manhattan real estate market and economic landscape over the last 15 years, the commercial rent tax has not been updated to reflect the realities on the ground. So this legislation reflects a long overdue step to provide relief to those businesses who have been struggling for far too long,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I thank my colleague, Economic Development Chair Daniel Garodnick, for his leadership on this issue and advocating for our small businesses.” “With storefront vacancies soaring and retail in crisis, the City Council is today taking a crucial step to support Manhattan’s small businesses,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “For the first time since 2001, we are reforming the unfair, commercial rent tax. By doing so, we are throwing a lifeline to businesses that make our neighborhoods special and provide jobs to New Yorkers from all five boroughs. This relief could not come soon enough and I join the 41 other co-sponsors of this legislation in thanking Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito for their support.” Currently, the CRT is paid by commercial tenants below 96th Street and above Murray Street in Manhattan who pay $250,000 or more in annual rent. The effective tax rate is 3.9 percent and has, for years, imposed an additional operating expense on small businesses, regardless of their income. For some small businesses, what they have owed in CRT has at times amounted to more than their net annual income, putting a serious strain on their finances. This change in tax policy is an effort to alleviate that strain and help New York City’s small businesses thrive. The total cost to the City is $36.8 million in Fiscal Year 2019. This effort has received strong community support from elected officials representing Manhattan at the federal, state and local level, as well as various commercial and real estate organizations including the Partnership for NYC, the Citizens Budget Commission, Chinatown Partnership, the local Business Improvement Districts and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “We have heard your complaints, and we are pleased that the City is providing commercial-rent-tax relief to Manhattan-based small businesses that are the anchor of our local economy,” said Commissioner of Finance Jacques Jiha. “Over 230,000 vibrant small businesses across the boroughs are the driving force behind our local economy,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “The tax reform for small businesses announced today will go a long way toward helping mom and pop shops to thrive and grow.” “Thanks to the work by the Mayor and the City Council, this reform to the Commercial Rent Tax will bring much needed relief to small businesses in Manhattan, and help our communities regrow the vibrant diversity of stores that has helped to define New York for generations,” said U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler. “Small businesses are vital to the health of our neighborhoods, enrich our communities and provide important services residents depend upon, but right now too many storefronts sit vacant because of the high cost of doing business. This reform will help individual store owners compete in one of the most intense real estate markets in the world.” “I am thrilled that the city is taking this much-needed action to help our small businesses,” said U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney. “Thanks to Council Member Garodnick, Speaker Mark-Viverito and Mayor de Blasio, small business owners straining under the burden of the commercial rent tax will receive thousands in annual tax relief. Empty storefronts below 96th Street show how costly this tax has become as it has not been indexed to reflect rising rents or inflation and is impacting businesses it was never intended to reach. Our mom-and-pop businesses are the backbone of our neighborhoods, and I am glad that the city is taking steps to help them thrive.” "Small businesses are a vital part of the fabric of our city and the communities we call home. Given the many challenges faced by small businesses, especially in the high-rent neighborhoods of Manhattan, these long-overdue reforms to the commercial rent tax will be a much-needed helping hand. I thank Council Member Garodnick for his leadership on this issue, and Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito for getting this bill across the finish line," said State Senator Liz Krueger. "Anyone who spends significant time in Manhattan knows that the mom-and-pop shops that used to characterize our neighborhoods are disappearing,” said State Senator Marisol Alcántara. “Whole city blocks are being swallowed up by national chains and luxury apartment buildings, endangering the historic character and communal spaces of our neighborhoods. This decision by the Mayor's office is a welcome change, especially since it targets small businesses for tax relief. I look forward to working with the Mayor's office to protect our small businesses." "Small businesses are the backbone of the city's economy and employ millions of New Yorkers," said Assembly Member Dan Quart. "Unfortunately, high rents and the growth of big-box stores are making it almost impossible to keep their doors open. We must do everything we can to support our small businesses, not overburden them with unfair taxes like the commercial rent tax. I applaud Council Member Garodnick, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and all other advocates for their dedication to reforming this outdated tax and helping our mom-and-pop stores thrive." Assembly Member Deborah Glick said, “I am so happy that the City has significantly adjusted the Commercial Rent Tax for small businesses in Manhattan. This is an essential step towards alleviating the strain on small businesses, and allowing them to remain in communities. While there is still much work to be done in order to create livable neighborhoods, altering the CRT will begin the process of creating a more vibrant and equitable City in the future. I want to especially thank Councilmember Garodnick for his leadership on this issue as well as Speaker Mark-Viverito and Mayor de Blasio.” “Every day I hear from constituents who are concerned about independent local businesses being pushed out of our community. The Commercial Rent Tax has been an added burden for small businesses struggling to survive in the heart of Manhattan, below 96th Street. These businesses have become an ATM for the rest of the city. But now, after a long, hard fight, businesses paying less than $500,000 in annual rent will finally be excluded from the CRT. I want to thank Council Member Dan Garodnick for his incredible leadership on this issue. It has been an honor to work alongside him as we fight for small businesses in Manhattan who are so critical to our local economy. And a special thank you to Council Member Johnson and the rest of the New York City Council, Mayor de Blasio, our borough president, and state elected officials for making today’s victory possible. This was a true collaborative effort involving several levels of government,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “Unlike Republican lawmakers in the federal government, here in New York City, we are willing to offer tax relief to those small business owners who really need it,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “I'm very proud of co-sponsoring Intro 799-B, a legislation that will create a new Commercial Rent Tax credit for small businesses. I believe in the importance of providing tax credits to help small businesses grow and prosper, which in return helps grow our local economy and creates job opportunities for New Yorkers. I would like to thank Council Member Daniel Garodnick and Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito for their leadership on this piece of legislation." "Small businesses drive the unique character and vitality of neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan and across the City, and today, we are taking decisive action to protect them," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "For far too long, mom and pop businesses have had to pay the costly Commercial Rent Tax while footing hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent -- becoming steps closer to closing their doors for good. Today's legislation would provide desperately-needed relief for small business owners and a real shot for their businesses not just to survive, but to succeed and thrive. I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Dan Garodnick and all the small businesses owners and advocates who have worked to bring reform to this antiquated tax." "As Chair of the Council's Committee on Small Business, I have had the opportunity over the past four years to hear from and work daily with amazing small business owners from all neighborhoods of this city. Without question, the number one concern facing New York's small business owners is the increasing cost of operating a business here in New York City, particularly the cost of renting commercial space. Today's passage of Int. 799 will provide countless Manhattan small business owners real relief from the burden of the Commercial Rent Tax, therein reducing their cost of doing business here in NYC. I commend Council Member Garodnick for his tireless effort in advocating for these small business owners and for shepherding this significant reform into law,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 11:35am
NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed a historic piece of legislation into law which will repeal the 91 year-old Cabaret Law. The Mayor previously held a public hearing for the bill on November 20th. Int. 1652-A, which passed the full council at the end of October, repeals all aspects of this law except for two safety requirements. Establishments previously required to obtain a cabaret license must continue to abide by these requirements. Establishments must install and maintain security cameras; and if they employ security guards, the law ensures such security guards are licensed pursuant to state law and to maintain a roster of such security guards “It’s 2017, and this law just didn’t make sense. Nightlife is part of the New York melting pot that brings people together,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We want to be a city where people can work hard, and enjoy their city’s nightlife without arcane bans on dancing. I thank Speaker Viverito, Council Member Espinal, and everyone who helped repeal this law, support businesses and keep our nightlife safe.” “Today New York City makes history as we repeal the antiquated Cabaret Law. Since its inception, this law has been highly problematic, facing numerous legal challenges and complaints about its uneven and discriminatory enforcement,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “While the repeal preserves important safety measures, it removes several redundant bureaucratic barriers, so that New Yorkers may dance freely and safely. I thank Council Member Espinal for championing the end of the Cabaret Law and Mayor de Blasio for his support and signing this repeal into law.” The Prohibition-era Cabaret Law was originally created to monitor illegal venues, and while many specific restrictions embedded in the law came and went, the ban on dancing has remained. Though the law is rarely enforced in recent years, the law has survived numerous repeal attempts. As of today, only 104 establishments have the license due to the expensive and time-consuming application process. “Artist, musicians, businesses owners, workers, and everyday New Yorkers looking to let loose will no longer have to fear the dance police will shut down their favorite venues,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “We are doubling down on our commitment to keep New York as a true sanctuary city and we will not allow a law that has historically been used to suppress and oppress various groups, continue to stay in our books. I am proud to champion this historic repeal, which will support our nightlife businesses and community, while maintaining the much-needed safety measures we already have in place.” “We look forward to supporting New York’s storied nightlife, to harnessing the creative entrepreneurial spirit that defines our city, and ensuring that establishments can operate in a way that keeps all New Yorkers safe and communities healthy,” said Julie Menin, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “Social dancing is a huge part of life for so many of my constituents, and it’s a pastime that across class, ethnic, and cultural lines. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for his support and my Bushwick neighbor Council Member Espinal for his leadership on this issue. Repealing this discriminatory law was long overdue. It’s time to let NYC dance!” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “The Cabaret Law is a backward rule of a backward era. It’s an overreaching and overbearing policy that has always been about targeting people, with moral, monetary or malicious intent. It’s nearly one century old, and has not once served a redeemable purpose other than being rolled-back bit by bit. We have laws on the books and enforcement in place to fulfill any safety and quality of life issues a venue may or may not present. Requiring a permit to dance, in this day and age, and in this city, is silly. I thank Mayor de Blasio and Councilmember Espinal for getting rid of it,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan. Assembly Chair of the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts, & Sports Development, Daniel O’Donnell said, “The cabaret law has been a shameful relic of racism in New York City for almost a century. The law has been a weight on small businesses, discouraged the economic growth that accompanies tourism, and most importantly has been used as a weapon against historically marginalized groups. Thanks to Councilman Espinal, the Mayor, and all others involved, I can finally tell my friends from all over the world and all walks of life “Let’s Dance!” “The repeal of the unreasonable and damaging Cabaret Law was long overdue, and the musicians of New York City applaud the Mayor and New York City Council for bringing it to an end,” said Tino Gagliardi, President, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM. “This law, steeped in racism and bigotry, has long run contrary to values New Yorkers hold dear—inclusion, diversity and creative freedom and has limited performers' freedom of expression. Its repeal is an important part of the ongoing work to support our creative and nightlife community, making this is a great day for musicians and music lovers across the cultural capital of the world.” "This long overdue repeal decriminalizes a fundamental cultural expression and puts an end to the absurdity of an effective NYC ban on social dancing. This historic repeal is a very positive step toward a vibrant, safer and more inclusive cultural nightlife. We want to thank Council Member Espinal and our fellow advocacy organizations for their tireless efforts in this battle. With the repeal of the Cabaret Law, we can finally right this historic wrong,” said Olympia Kazi, NYC Artist Coalition. “On behalf of the ten thousand dancers that celebrate 80+ styles of dance in the annual Dance Parade, we are grateful for City Council Member Rafael Espinal’s leadership to repeal the City's Cabaret Law, righting this longstanding wrong. We invite everyone to celebrate our 12th year under the theme "The Cabaret of Life" which acknowledges the importance of diversity and the arts in everyday life,” said Greg Miller, Executive Director, Dance Parade New York.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 5:10pm
“Access to a free and open internet is a fundamental right of every citizen. Repealing net neutrality would stifle opportunity for individuals, students and small businesses, while letting huge corporations profit at our expense. New York City stands with other cities against the repeal of Net Neutrality. We will do everything within our power to keep the internet open and accessible for all. New Yorkers, I call on you to not be silent. Contact your representatives and make your voice heard.”
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 5:10pm
Responding to industry concerns, the City streamlines licensing requirements to comply with new law New York––Mayor de Blasio announced changes to the City’s laundry licensing requirements today in response to industry concerns. DCA is changing its application requirements so businesses can apply for new laundry licenses without providing a physical copy of a Certificate of Occupancy. As required by the Administrative Code, businesses must certify compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and rules, including those from other City agencies, as part of the application process. DCA will also be issuing six-month temporary licenses to businesses with circumstances that prevent them from certifying compliance; if at the end of the six months these businesses are not able to certify compliance, DCA will revisit the situation and, if warranted, issue an extension. “Small businesses are the backbone of New York’s economy,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We want our laundries to know that we heard their concerns about this new law and are taking action. Now, by streamlining the license application requirements, it will be easier for laundries to comply with the new law so they can keep their doors open.” “Last week, we announced a short-term solution of issuing temporary operating letters to laundries as we explored a more permanent solution,” said Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “We hope that these changes will make it easier for these hardworking business owners to comply with all licensing laws so they can continue to serve their communities.” “While it’s ultimately the responsibility of the City of New York to be diligent in enforcing the rules and regulations governing our small businesses, it is even more important that the City be able to recognize when those rules cause more harm than good. This rule change is a great example of the city doing everything in its power to help neighborhood businesses stay on their feet, not penalizing them for getting caught up in red tape. Thanks to DCA and the Mayor’s office for working with our community in good faith toward a solution that works best for everyone,” said Council Member Peter Koo. "We must make sure that laws passed and rules implemented do not have unintended negative consequences," said Council Member Rafael Espinal. "Extending the deadline will give laundromat owners across the city ample time to do what is needed to be in compliance with the law. We must continue to support the small businesses that are the backbone of our society and I applaud DCA and Commissioner Salas on taking this step to do so." “The new laundry license law updates the previous law to ensure better standards for both businesses and customers. This fix will ensure that laundries are able to properly continuing serving their communities without disruption, and we’ll continue to explore ways to ensure a smooth transition for businesses applying for new licenses,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres. The City’s new Laundry Licensing Law, which went into effect on January 30, 2017, created three new license categories – Industrial Laundry, Industrial Laundry Delivery, and Retail Laundry. Industrial Laundry, Industrial Laundry Delivery, and new Retail Laundry businesses were required to be licensed by January 30, 2017. Retail laundries that currently hold a laundry license must apply for the new license before their current licenses expire on December 31, 2017. All businesses must be licensed—or have a temporary operating letter—by January 1, 2018. Businesses that exclusively perform dry cleaning services do not need a DCA license. Last summer, DCA mailed and phoned existing laundry/laundry jobber licensees with FAQs and information about a series of open houses and, in August, conducted a series of five open houses across the city to educate business owners about the law. DCA also has FAQs available and an inspection checklist so businesses know what they need to do to comply with the law. About the new license categories * An Industrial Laundry License is required if a business: o Provides laundry services to commercial clients, including but not limited to hotels, hospitals, restaurants, gyms, and retail laundries. o Maintains or operates a laundry services facility in connection with any commercial institution, including a hotel, restaurant, or gym. The following do not need an Industrial Laundry License: * Laundry facilities of any hospital * Laundry facilities of any residence for use exclusively by the owners, tenants, or occupants of the residence * An Industrial Laundry Delivery License is required if a business transports laundry from: o A commercial client within NYC to an industrial laundry within or outside NYC for laundry services. OR o A commercial client outside NYC to an industrial laundry within NYC for laundry services. OR o An industrial laundry within NYC to a commercial client within or outside NYC after laundry services have been performed. OR o An industrial laundry outside NYC to a commercial client within NYC after laundry services have been performed. * A Retail Laundry License is required if a business: o Provides laundry services to the general public. o Stores or collects laundry for laundry services for the general public. o Stores or collects laundry for delivery for the general public. o Offers self-service laundry machinery for direct use by the general public. You do not need a Retail Laundry License for: * Laundry facilities of any hospital * Laundry facilities of any residence for use exclusively by the owners, tenants, or occupants of the residence
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 7:35am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you everyone for being here. Andrea, thank you so much. Everybody I want you to think about what Andrea just said, a lifetime of working hard, paying in to Medicare, expecting it to be there for her. And now she sees in Washington that her rights are about to be taken away, that everything she put her life into is about to be undermined and why? To give a tax break to the wealthiest Americans. To give a tax break to corporations. Andrea and millions of other hardworking Americans are about to see their money taken away and given to the people who already have the most. Are we going to stand for that? Audience: No! Mayor: Are seniors all over this country going to fight back? Audience: Yes! Mayor: I think the people have spoken. I want to thank everyone who is here, because Andrea you are pointing out the human consequence, what it means to everyday people who have worked so hard. And they understand they’re about to be robbed in broad daylight. And no one is going to be hurt more than seniors on fixed incomes, they don’t have more to give. But this plan is going to cut them to the bone. Their lives, the lives of our seniors, involve so many times struggling to make ends meet. That’s what’s happening to seniors all over this country. This tax bill is only going to make it worst, and there is a fight that is raging all of the country to stop it. And it’s growing. You’re going to see it in every part of this country in the next few weeks. Seniors standing up, and so many others, to say we can’t let this happen. I want you to recognize the impact on Medicare alone, a loss of $25 billion. $25 billion that would be taken from Medicare and given to the wealthy. Is that fair? Audience: No! Mayor: The idea of ending deductions for medical expensive, how cruel can they get? Medical expenses. When people are forced to pay so much and they need those deductions. Taking that away and giving that money to the corporations. It’s happening before our very eyes. Well, we’re here in front of Trump Tower with a message for the President, you are in for a big fight Mr. President. [Applause] Seniors all over the country are not going to forgive you for this. Seniors know how to fight back. And by the way, seniors vote! [Applause] I want to thank – they vote and they win, amen. I want to thank everyone who is here. I want to particularly thank a great leader in this city supporting the needs of seniors, our Commissioner of The Department for the Aging Donna Corrado. Thank you for your great work Donna. [Applause] And then all the organizations who are represented here. I want to thank Local 802 the American Federation of Musicians, thank you. [Applause] I want to thank the New York State Nurses Association. [Applause] I want to thank DC37 AFSCME. [Applause] I want to thank the Professional Staff Congress of CUNY. [Applause] I want to thank Unite Here. [Applause] And especially a thank you to the Alliance for Retired Americans [Applause] We’re here with one voice, and we’re saying this is a scam. This is literally a tax plan written by and for millionaires. It’s a scam, and people are seeing through it more and more all over the country. Everyday people are realizing what this tax plan is. They understand it’s going to hurt working families, it’s going to hurt young people who are trying to pay their student debt, and of course, it’s going to hurt seniors. And it’s bad enough if they don’t include health care in the plan but now what they’re doing is they’re trying to take away one of the key pillars of the Affordable Care Act. They’ve put that into the tax plan now too, undermining health care for all. Well, let me tell you, there was a big fight a few weeks ago. The American people spoke out when they saw the Affordable Care Act threatened, when they saw health care for all about to be undermined there was a fight all over this country. And how many times did you hear the Affordable Care Act was on death’s door? Well, guess what, it survived. It’s still there because people fought and people won. [Applause] Speaking of winners – I see now the red hats of the Communications Workers of America. Thank you for being here with us. [Applause] And UFT is here – the United Federation of Teachers. Thank you. [Applause] So, look, let’s focus on that fight to save health care because people went to those town hall meetings, they went to their Congress members, their senators, they mobilized. You saw it all over the country. They were angry and they changed the course of history. And it’s now happening in districts all over the country. And anyone who wants to join this movement, it’s easy to do. And a simple way to do it is to go online at TrumpTaxScam.org. Really easy to remember. TrumpTaxScam.org. And everyone can get involved there. So, brothers and sisters, it’s time to fight. I love – I didn’t see, we’re also joined by the Granny Peace Brigade. When they’re here, big things are happening. [Applause] Thank you. It’s time to fight. It’s time to stand up for seniors. It’s time to say we are not going to let the millionaire’s take away the hard earned gains of our seniors. Are we going to fight? Audience: Yes! Mayor: Are we going to fight? Audience: Yes! Mayor: Say it loud enough that he can hear you. Audience: Yes! Mayor: Alright, a few words in Spanish before I introduce a few of my colleagues. [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that, I want to turn to a few of our elected officials who are standing up against this tax plan and standing up for seniors every day. First, it’s my honor to introduce Assembly member David Weprin of Queens. [Applause] [...] Thank you, brother. Thank you very much. And now, from Brooklyn, Assembly member Jo Anne Simon. [Applause] [...] Thank you, Jo Anne. And now the Chair of the Health Committee in the City Council, Council Member Cory Johnson of Manhattan. [Applause] [...] Audience: Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you! Mayor: Well said Council Member. Everyone we know what we got to do. We got to work all over the city, all over the state, all over this country to stop this tax plan. It is a tax scam – simply, a tax scam, and we’re not going to let it happen. And the people get it more and more. So, now we have to reach out to everybody we know. We have to make sure their senators, their Congress members hear what’s really going on. Once the people get it, we can stop this plan. Once the elected officials understand seniors won’t take it, seniors won’t accept it, seniors won’t stand for it, then they’ll stand back. [Applause] Are we going to fight this plan? Audience: Yes! Mayor: Are we going to win? Audience: Yes! Mayor: Thank you, everybody. Good job. [Applause]
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 7:35am
"The Bedford Union Armory won't sit vacant any longer. We're putting it back into service for Crown Heights as an affordable community rec center and affordable homes. The end result is one this neighborhood can be proud of. We worked with Council Member Cumbo to hone the project, adding nearly 100 affordable apartments and removing market-rate condos. We look forward to the day the armory reopens it doors as a resource to this community."
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 5:05pm
“Our affordable housing plan is on the move, with new programs and investments, a new goal of 300,000 affordable homes – and now an agreement on the East Harlem neighborhood plan that will bring nearly 4,000 more affordable homes to residents of this diverse and vibrant community. With Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Bill Perkins, and the entire City Council, we are pushing on every front to keep this city affordable.”
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 5:05pm
City spending entirely offset by savings New York–Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio released New York City’s November Financial Plan Update for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) and an updated four-year financial plan. City spending, which increased by $47 million in FY18 and $59 million in FY19, is entirely offset by $234 million in new savings this fiscal year and $238 million of new savings and $123 million in pension savings next. New savings include debt service savings, health care savings, and agency adjustments. The vast majority of growth in the budget, which is now $85.99 billion in FY18, is due to increases in federal funding for Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts and homeland security grants. Additional increases are due to State Asset Forfeiture funds. "When we came into office four years ago, we promised to bring opportunity to those who for so long had been left without,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Since then, we’ve created an entirely new grade for our youngest learners, brought police and community closer together while driving crime to historic lows, and are on track to invest more in affordable housing than any administration in decades. While we will continue to provide for New Yorkers however we can, we must also be cognizant of the fact that Washington continues to threaten billions of dollars of federal aid and investments must be thoughtful.” As part of the November Plan, the City is reducing City tax revenues by $207 million for the current fiscal year. This primarily reflects a decline in Business Taxes despite a partial offset by increases in Real Property Tax collections. Read the November Financial Plan update here . New City Spending The $85.99 billion balanced budget protects the City’s long-term fiscal health while continuing to create opportunity and fairness across the five boroughs. New spending highlights include: * $4.5 million to help fund the city’s new construction safety site program. * Funding to assist with NYC Emergency Management’s efforts to dispatch supplies and city workers to Puerto Rico to assist with recovery. The city will spend $4 million on these efforts. * Upgrading the 311 call-taking platform and other citywide IT projects supported by DOITT. Upgrades will cost $7 million in FY18. * Building out the new citywide procurement system, PASSport, which will cost an additional $10 million in FY18. ###
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 5:05pm
The new law makes it illegal for employers, landlords, and providers of public accommodations to discriminate against veterans and active military service members NEW YORK–– New York City has begun enforcement of a new law that protects current and prior military service members from discrimination, bias, and harassment. It is now illegal in New York City for employers, landlords, and providers of public accommodations to discriminate against veterans and active military service members due to their military status. The law, introduced in 2016 and signed by Mayor de Blasio in August 2017, establishes a protected class for veterans and active military service members under the NYC Human Rights Law to give them direct access to justice when their rights have been violated. “The brave men and women that put their lives on the line for our country deserve to be treated with nothing but dignity and respect,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This law will ensure all military and other uniformed service members, both returned and active, can live and work free from discrimination in New York City.” “Veterans and active duty military service members make invaluable contributions to our City,” said Department of Veterans’ Services Commissioner Loree Sutton, MD. “We owe it to them to ensure that their service to our country is cause for celebration, not discrimination. I applaud the creation of this new law for providing the protections to our veterans and service members that they so richly deserve.” “This new law will ensure that veterans and active military service members who risk their lives for this country are protected against discrimination and bias,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “We are proud to enforce this new law to get justice for victims and hold violators accountable so the brave individuals who serve this country get the dignity and respect they so richly deserve.” “Veterans have dedicated years of their lives to protect the ideals that we live by, and the Council remains committed to making their needs a top priority – especially when it comes to preventing employment discrimination,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We are proud to have ushered this important piece of legislation and will continue to work hard to ensure the wellbeing of our veterans in New York City.” New York State is home to nearly 900,000 veterans, 225,000 of whom call New York City home, and nearly 30,000 active duty military personnel and 30,000 National Guard and Reserve personnel statewide. Veterans and active military service members may experience discrimination and bias due to their military status in employment, housing, and public accommodations like stores, restaurants, and cabs. The most common forms of discrimination against veterans and active military service members include negative stereotypes about PTSD, unfounded fear of deployment, and the misconception that veterans and service member skill sets won’t transfer to civilian employment. The NYC Commission on Human Rights, which enforces the new law, has the authority to fine violators with civil penalties of up to $250,000 for willful and malicious violations of the Law and can award unlimited compensatory damages to victims, including emotional distress damages and other benefits. The law is the City’s latest effort to remove unnecessary obstacles to housing, employment, and public accommodations for veterans and active military service members and ensure that they have the resources and protections they need to thrive. In addition to creating the Department of Veterans’ Services in 2015, the Mayor and the City Council have quadrupled funding and staff in support of the Department over the last two years, which has also expanded employment opportunities for our veterans, launched an IDNYC veteran designator, and brought veterans' mental health services to the forefront. If you are a veteran or active military service members and believe you have been subject of discrimination because of your military service, or any other type of discrimination under the NYC Human Rights Law, call the Commission’s Infoline at 718-722-3131. Reports may also be filed anonymously and reported on the Commission’s website. For more information on the new protections, read a factsheet and FAQs on the Commission’s website at NYC.Gov/HumanRights . “Too often, we thank veterans with our words, but not our actions. We have left them vulnerable and undefended once they return home,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. “This law provides much-needed protections and support to those who have served in uniform, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of veteran or military status. I'm proud of my work to pass this bill, and that this law will help ensure that the promises we've made to our veterans are kept.” “As Americans, it is our obligation to ensure that our nation’s heroes aren’t just appreciated when they return home – but also protected from discrimination. New York City has made great strides in becoming one of the most veteran-friendly cities in the country, but there is still work to be done,” said Council Member Eric Ulrich. “As Chair of the Veterans Committee, I am proud to support this new legislation, which will protect the 225,000 brave men and women in uniform who call New York City home.” Assemblymember Michael DenDekker, Chair of Veterans’ Committee, said: “I would like to congratulate the Mayor and the New York City Council on passing a piece of legislation that will protect active military personnel from discrimination. We need to protect active and reserved military members from employers and landlords who put profits ahead of national security. We need these members and their families to know they will have their job and their residence when they return.” “As the new law adding current or prior service in the uniformed services to the City’s Human Rights Law takes effect, our City will be able to help protect veterans and active military members from discrimination in the essentials of life,” said Executive Director of Brooklyn Defenders Services Lisa Schreibersdorf. “I thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Councilmember Williams, and Public Advocate Letitia James for providing the NYC Commission on Human Rights with the power and resources to fight the compounding discrimination that our justice-involved veteran clients endure, such as barriers to employment, education, and housing. I look forward to working with the Commission to help our City’s veterans and military members get the redress they need and deserve.” “This law creates an important alternative to state and federal protections that can take so long that some veterans are discouraged from asserting their claims,” said Coco Culhane, Director of the Veteran Advocacy Project . “Providing local legal recourse for discrimination against men and women in uniform not only ensures veterans’ rights, it sends the message that New York City values those who have served and sacrificed.” “We are proud that this legislation emerged from the our membership meetings, and we thank Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Member Jumaane Williams for their leadership in introducing and championing the inclusion of past and present military service in our city's robust Human Rights Law,” said Kristen L. Rouse, U.S. Army Veteran and Founding Director of the NYC Veterans Alliance. “We are proud of the many veterans and family members who spoke up about their experiences of discrimination, urging NYC Council Members to pass this into law. This is a wonderful example of what community advocates and elected officials can accomplish together to protect and improve the lives of NYC veterans, servicemembers, and their families.” ###
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 7:35am
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Good afternoon, everybody. So as we do before all major events in New York City we just wanted to give you a rundown of some of the things that people can expect to see and experience as we head into Thanksgiving week. In a moment the Mayor will speak and then Susan Tercero the Vice President for Macy’s, she’ll have some remarks. Then Terry Monahan, Chief of Patrol, will give you the overview of what we’re doing on Wednesday night and Thursday. He’ll go through the specifics of Wednesday’s balloon inflation event which always draws more than 200,000 spectators and then he’ll talk about the millions of people who will attend the Thursday’s Thanksgivings Day Parade and what we’re doing. First and foremost, I’d like to thank the 36,000 uniformed members of the New York City Police Department for what they do every day, and especially the police officers assigned to the events this week. They’ll be away from their families making sure the rest of us are safe and secure. The NYPD is ready for this week. One thing I have learned since I have become the Police Commissioner is that New Yorkers – and I’ve known this for a long time but it’s reinforced, New Yorkers are strong and resilient and they don’t make decisions based on fear. We’ve had a couple of tough months as a nation, and you know among other incidents I’m specifically talking about the shooting in Las Vegas and the terror attack in Lower Manhattan on Halloween. As I’ve said before we won’t ever accept such acts of hate and cowardice as inevitable in our society, certainly not here in New York. And I want to ensure the people that we swore to protect that any time something happens anywhere in the world, the NYPD works with our law enforcement partners and studies it, and we learn from it, and it informs our decision making going forward. In terms of deployment and other security measures, what you’ll see this year at the Thanksgiving Day Parade will be in addition to what we did last year. You’ll see every intersection there’ll be more blocker cars and there will be sand-filled sanitation trucks. And this is the third year in a row we’ll be using our critical response command cops who are specially assigned to counterterrorism duties. We’ll be working alongside our strategic response group officers, our patrol cops, and our emergency service unit too. And there will be much the public won’t see as well. The bottom line is we want everyone to come out and enjoy what is really a great tradition in New York City every Thanksgiving. And know that the layers of security and protection every – and know that the layers of security and protection we will provide again this year have been in the planning stages since the end of last year’s parade. We’re all looking forward to another great holiday again this year, and we know all New Yorkers are as well. We’ll see you out there on Thursday and on Wednesday night too, thank you very much. Mr. Mayor? Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you Commissioner. Commissioner, thank you to you and your team for the exceptional work that has been done to prepare for the Thanksgiving Parade and for the night before. I have to say I’m particularly proud of the NYPD in the last few weeks given what this city experienced last month. To see the resolve of our officers to make sure that people are kept safe sends a very powerful message to people of this city that no matter what the event, what the occasion, the NYPD will be there in force and will get the job done. And this is one of the great occasions each year in this city, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. One of the events everyone looks forward to all year, one of the events most associated with the city, it’s been 91 years now. This is literally one of the symbols of why New York City is great and that’s why it is so important to protect this parade and make sure that everyone can enjoy it. We have the finest police force in the world. They have proven time and again that they can make this great event and other huge events work seamlessly. And we saw that also recently with the New York City Marathon. So, we are very, very clear about the pain that still hangs in the air because of the attack last month, the eight innocent people who lost their lives. And all eight and a half million New Yorkers mourn for their families. But, we said right away after that horrible tragedy New York’s response is to remain strong and resilient. We do not back down in the face of terror threats and we don’t back down in the face of terrorism itself. We saw that most powerfully on 9/11 and the months after. This city is filled with resolved. And one of the things we show the world is the fact that we will keep going and that our great annual events that symbolize everything about this city we’re proud of, that they will never be changed. So, that will be on display this week. And the numbers that will come out will be exceptional, hundreds of thousands on Wednesday and well over a million could be expected on Thursday. This means of course, there’ll be inconveniences as always, there will be street closures, there’ll be things that we have to grapple with but as New Yorkers we can deal with that because we’re also proud of the fact that we have these kinds of events that literally the eyes of the entire world are on. And people love coming out on Wednesday to see the balloons being put together and prepared. And they love coming out on Thursday. But I will remind people there are going to be a lot of street closures, definitely pay attention to the specifics about where you’re going and what the impact will be. Take mass transit if you can. And that’s the best way to enjoy this wonderful day ahead. Look what you can rely upon is that there will be a very strong presence of the NYPD. Stronger than ever in fact. I want to emphasize – this is the most important thing I’ll say, there are no credible and specific threats against New York City at this time. There are no credible and specific threats against these events. That being said, we will have a very forceful NYPD presences, we will be prepared for any eventuality. There’s a lot of presence you will see, and as we always there will be presence you don’t see that helps to protect all New Yorkers. And I think people understand when they see that visible presence they are reassured by it, they appreciate it. I hear that from my fellow New Yorkers all the time. Now I remind everyone, every New Yorker can help the NYPD. The phrase ‘if you see something, say something’ is more meaningful than ever. And it comes down to this, if you don’t like the look of a situation, if something seems out of place, you see a package unattended, please don’t take time to think about it just go to an NYPD officer and report it. That’s something everyone can do to help. So, look, as we prepare for these great events, we take stock and we particularly take stock at Thanksgiving of who we are. We’re very proud as New Yorkers. We’re proud of the fact that people of all backgrounds, all faiths live in harmony here. We’re proud of the fact we’re the safest big city in America. We are, in fact, the terrorists worst nightmare because we reflect a positive, successful, pluralistic society. Everything the terrorists are trying to stop we show every day works here in New York City. That means we are, in the bigger scheme of things, always going to be facing threats but we know how to handle it. And I am so proud of the fact that New Yorkers never even think about changing who we are or changing our values in the face of these threats. I just want to say a few words in Spanish about the parade. [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that I want to bring forward a representative of a company that makes this parade possible, and we’re so appreciative to Macy’s for all they do for New York City. It’s my pleasure to introduce Susan Tercero, Vice President of Macy’s. […] Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan, NYPD: Alright good afternoon everyone. First I’m going to go over the balloon inflation on Wednesday night and the public viewing. We reevaluated how we were looking at this and we came up with some changes to the security to make it an even safer venue. First and foremost, we’re changing the times of the viewing. It will be from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm for the public viewing of the balloon inflation. We are going to be shutting down Central Park West from 72nd Street up to 86th Street. There will be no traffic allowed there after 12:00 pm. We’re going to be dropping concrete barriers along Columbus Avenue going from 77th Street on East Side to 81st Street. When people arrive to come to do the viewing, you’re going to be entering from Columbus Avenue eastbound on 74th Street and you’re going to walk down to Central Park West. Once on Central Park West you’re going to go through a screening. We will not be allowing any large backpacks, umbrellas, coolers, or chairs in the area. Once you go through that screening process, you’ll walk up to 77th Street, you’ll go westbound on 77th Street to view the balloons there, go northbound on Columbus, south on 81st Street – east on 81st Street and then exit on 81st Street on Central Park West. Once this all over at 8:00 pm, you’re going to see rolling closures throughout the day, different traffic closures, shutting down traffic on the entire route. DCPI can give you the times of each and every one of those closings at the end of this press conference. By 7:00 am everything will be shut along the route of the parade, there will be no crosstown traffic going from 86th Street down to 34th Street. On the parade route itself we’re going to have seven locations with anemometers, this is to check the wind speed for the balloons. We will have a police officer assigned to each and every one of the balloons that goes along the route. And they will adjust the levels of the balloon based on the wind speed at those locations. We will have our typical counterterrorism overlay for both the balloon inflation and for the parade. You can expect to see numerous sand trucks, blocker vehicles protecting the entire venues. You will see heavy weapon teams deployed at both the balloons and during the parade. They will be all over the parade route. We will have observation teams located at various locations along the route also. You will see our Vaper Wake dogs and other canine dogs on both the balloons and during the route. We will have mounted officers assigned. We will have teams assigned with our radiation detective devices. We will have aviation assigned to both venues. A ship assigned to each one of the venues to make sure everything – check on rooftops. This has been a real combined effort, putting this together, security effort between Manhattan North operations, Manhattan South operations, and our counterterrorism forces. We are working closely with all our law enforcement partners that work in New York. Together, with a lot of various City agencies that have combined, we have sat down together with Macy’s – numerous meetings starting since last year to make sure that this is a safe, safe venue. Come out, enjoy the day, but once you’re out there if you see anything, anything suspicious there will be a cop on every block, go to that cop, say something. Don’t be afraid, say maybe it’s nothing. Let us investigate it. So, I can’t end it any better than saying if you see something, say something. Thank you. Commissioner O’Neill: Any questions about Thanksgiving? Juliet? Question: Yes. The people who come – will they still be able to get their spots on the street as early as, I see them sometimes, you know, at four or five in the morning. Can they still do that? Commissioner O’Neill: Yes, that’s not going to be an issue. I mean, we are there at 5 o’clock and there people lining up already. I don’t know how they do it but they do it but they do it so. Lisa? Question: Commissioner, will there be any type of bag checks or additional bag checks for people going into the parade route? Chief Monahan: Not on the parade route itself but if you are sitting in any of the seats along the parade route then, that, they will go through bag check. Question: [inaudible] during the blow up [inaudible] strollers. Commissioner O’Neill: Strollers, you mean strollers? Question: Strollers. Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, strollers can go into the balloon viewing area. Rich. Question: Can you give us some idea of what, how many officers are going to be involved? Either like a percentage of increase or you can give us raw numbers? Commissioner O’Neill: Many, many, many. [Laughter] Commissioner O’Neill: Come on, I haven’t answered that yet – it’s been 14 months. Yeah ok, you can keep asking. Mayor: Can we just do a clarification, Terry step up on the – the difference between Wednesday and Thursday in terms of bag checks. Chief Monahan: Wednesday, everyone that goes to view the balloons is going to go through a bag check. It’s going to go through the checkpoint. On Thursday, if you are sitting in the grand stands, along the route, then you are going to go through a bag check but if you are just sit, standing on the route itself, somewhere you don’t go through a bag check. Question: Commissioner, obviously the threat of a vehicle ramming attack is not new. You were prepared for it in years pass. We just recently had an incident though in the city— what if anything, has changed from this year’s parade to last as far as any, any preparations for that specifically? Commissioner O’Neill: Well obviously we consistently monitor the threat stream. We work with the Joint-Terrorist Task Force, we work with the FBI. But last year we had every intersection covered and no crosstown traffic so there will be no unauthorized vehicles on the route. Anything else about the parade? Yeah Question: You said that you were changing the time for the balloon viewing compared to last year. What went into that decision, how’s that different? Commissioner O’Neill: Terry, want to talk about that? Chief Monahan: Keeping it up to 10 o’clock is just is a little bit too late with the other closures and the idea that we are going to have Central Park West closed, the barriers along Columbus – so it just makes things a lot easier for the parade to be able to get going if we are finished with public viewing by 8 o’clock. We did the same amount of time so it’s still seven hours’ worth of viewing. Question: [inaudible] anything aerial, you know sharp shooters on roofs and along the route or where are they going to be or? Commissioner O’Neill: Aviation is going to be up there. Question: Aviation on the rooftops? Commissioner O’Neill: There is going to be rooftop coverage also. Question: [inaudible] stands [inaudible] blocking views standing there or? Commissioner O’Neill: No, they are not blocking views, its, you still have open views. It is just to prevent unauthorized vehicle from the route. So we do it at every parade now. Yes, any other questions about the parade? Unknown: Okay we can take a few questions, if you will on other current [inaudible] thank you very much. Commissioner O’Neill: Tim. Question: Sir there was a suspect that you have arrested that has been caught in an online ticket scam involving Broadway shows. One of the victims of that decided to step up a scam on his own, a set up of his own to get pictures of it and then he was arrested. What would you tell people who want to take, if you will, the law into your hands? Commissioner O’Neill: Bob, you want to talk about that? Chief Boyce: Just to your question immediately – people who do this, we have met numerous gang members in the past who have been arrested for this ticket scam, setting up these things using high-end, high resolution type of copiers to do this. I was just, nobody does what you just said. So right now we have a perp, [inaudible] who – male 34-years-old – who had sold victims two tickets to a Broadway show, Dear Evan Hansen. We, Midtown South made the arrest and immediately thereafter so I don’t have too much more to give you other than that. Question: [inaudible] lie. Chief Boyce: I, I think I just said that. It’s very dangerous – we personally arrested gang members from various parts of the city who pull off this scam all the time. No violence has come of it but we have had issues prior in the past, those persons who do it have a long arrest history. This is very similar to the ticket scam now in Lower Manhattan as well, getting on the ferries. Time and time again we see people with enormous criminal histories doing this and to a certain extent. So I would suggest no one do this at all. Let police to their job, next. Commissioner O’Neill: If you have any other crime, have any other crime related issues while Bob is up here. Miles. Question: [inaudible] two home invasions, one family has been hit like multiple times. Chief Boyce: Sure, actually there are three instances all together, all in Queens South and three different precincts. So on Sunday morning we have and incident at 105 Precinct – three males break into a house and then they actually strike a female who lives there in the head and they steal electronics and cash. Contemporaneous to that, they had abducted his, her husband on the street and were holding him alright so he was a – several lacerations, small wounds looked like they were trying to get something from him. He basically says, I don’t have a lot of money, I don’t know why they did this. Later on that day we have the incident that is well documented. People come up with a box, try to force their way in – a male shot in the leg. We have very good images of that Miles. We are putting that out right now, good facial shot of the perp. We have some, some video of them getting away in a car as well. We have a lot on this case. Now that case, where they walk up with a parcel and try to get their way into the house like that, happened night before in the 113 Precinct, so we think those two are linked – unclear if the 105 is linked to it at all, alright but again we have a lot of, a lot of leads in the case and will push forward in them. Home invasions down city wide are down, down very dramatically. It looks like this a pattern emerging out of Queens South this past weekend. Question: On the same topic. Do those appear to be random, do you think? Or are they targeted? Chief Boyce: There is something to it that I want to release right now. There is some connectivity to it right now with some of the accents on the perpetrators – that’s where we are going. I said there was some connectivity to the two – 113 and the 103, unknown the second one. I’m sorry the third one in the 105 so there is a lot here and it just happened and we’re – my detectives are working the case now. Question: [inaudible] earlier, with the, the – Chief Boyce: The 113? Question: Yes. No the 106 yesterday. The victims, the victim’s cousin was robbed, had the same kind of thing happen to him. Chief Boyce: Same last name. Very common name so it’s unclear right now if they are related. Question: Is the department planning to release any police body camera video that was taken in two recent police involved shootings? Commissioner O’Neill: Yes, we worked, yes, yes we should be releasing that soon. We worked with the Cy in Manhattan and Darcel up in the Bronx so we just had to confer with them but we are releasing that shortly. Question: This week, do you expect? Commissioner O’Neill: Not sure. We have to work on some technical issues. But they will both be released. Yes. Question: Commissioner, do you have a response for Brooklyn College not allowing officers to use the bathroom because students don’t want to see them on campus? Commissioner O’Neill: Sure, sure. Now is not the time for, now is the time for everyone to get together. I mean if you just take a look at what is going around the city – now’s the time for people to get to know their police officers, not to push them away. God forbid anything does happen, in Brooklyn College we want to make sure our cops, not only from the 70 but from whatever other divisions or bureaus might respond to that – we want them to know they lay out of Brooklyn College so now is the time to get to know police officers, not to push them away. Question: [inaudible] Commissioner Ward’s response to a situation? Commissioner O’Neill: Well he went to Brooklyn College so I’m sure he wouldn’t be real happy about it. Yes. Question: You’ve made changes with the security of the balloon blow up. Are you planning to make changes for all holiday venues this holiday season? Commissioner O’Neill: Yes and we will talk about that working up to each of those events – to the tree lighting and to New Year’s Eve. Of course we make changes and I talk about that all the time. We have to pay attention to what’s going around in the world. And that’s how we keep people safe. And as Terry said, you know, to everybody who comes to that parade or to the balloon inflation – pay attention to what is going on and if you see something that doesn’t look right – you have, I think you have an obligation to come forward and let us know about it so we can properly investigate it. Juliette. Question: There have been any other credible cases that have come, people coming forward related to the Harvey Weinstein investigation? Commissioner O’Neill: Bob. Chief Boyce: Right now we are still actively investigating the one complaint, the one complaint we do about the young lady, the actress. So far, we are going to keep everything else confidential at this point but it is an active investigation and we will go forward in that venue. And as I said right now there is still a lot of evidence to be collected before we make any announcements. Unknown: [inaudible] we could we get a [inaudible] Commissioner O’Neill: Hold on, you just ignored Rich. He had his hand up. [Laughter] Question: Are you going to be able to have Thanksgiving dinner, Commissioner? Or are you going to be out there on the route the whole time? [Laughter] Commissioner O’Neill: I’m going to have a turkey sandwich with some cranberry on it. No, of course I am. I’ m going to go to my mom’s house so I’ll be able to enjoy that. Thank you, Rich. [Inaudible] Mayor: You have got your priorities straight. Okay. So we are going to go to other topics now and I want to just get the run of show here right – I’ll take off topic in a moment but I want to address the situation at the Housing Authority first. And I want to share my questions on what’s happening on this issue, [inaudible]my views on what’s happening on this issue. We will take questions about the situation at the Housing Authority after my statement then we will move to other topics. So let’s talk about the most fundamental reality here. Any time you talk about children and you talk about lead in the same sentence there is cause for concern. And I feel that very deeply as a parent and as a public servant. When you hear that there may be a problem, there may be a challenge, it deserves our full attention. And my view, and the view of everyone in my administration is that one child exposed to lead is one child too many. That is the attitude we take, that is the approach we take. And I want everyone to know that in the city and I particularly want the 400,000 New Yorkers who live in public housing to know that. We now have more information about what happened over the last few years and what happened was unacceptable. We have been able to get a fuller picture and what happened should not have happened and will not happen again. I need everyone to understand that this occurred over two administrations and over multiple years. And that bears remembering in this situation. But the bottom line is the same – it never should have happened to begin with. It should have been caught sooner and now we have to make sure things are right going forward. Now I think a lot of people are frustrated right now. I think a lot of people are angry, I’m angry too. And I am frustrated too – never want to see anything like this happen during my administration. The team we have in place at NYCHA, over all, has made a series of very important changes to the Housing Authority. They came into a very, very tough situation. They came into a situation where the Housing Authority for decades had not been invested in properly. They came into a situation where a whole host of health and safety issues had not been addressed. My team came in with the goal of changing things fundamentally. And the vast majority of areas, that’s exactly what’s happened. And the change will be accelerated going forward. And I want to make that clear. The people I have entrusted to fundamentally change and reform NYCHA are the right people – I’m convinced of that. They have done important work over four years, there’s a lot more work to be done. That doesn’t mean what happened in this case is acceptable to me, it’s not. But I also have think about the overall needs of the 400,000 people who live in NYCHA and I am convinced that the leadership we have now is part of the solution to the problems that plague NYCHA. It’s important to recognize as troubling as this story is that when you dig in to the facts, thank God there is less here than appears. Thank God there has not been harm done to any child because of the mistakes that were made. I want to give you a context for that. NYCHA has about 175,000 apartments. Between 2014 and 2016 – so the beginning of our administration and then the time when it became clear that these inspections have not been handled properly. In that time frame four children in NYCHA tested positive for elevated lead levels and they were in NYCHA apartments where physical fixes had to be achieved. Department of Health followed up with these children and their families regularly. And no additional medical consequences have been observed in these children, thank God. Now, again the timeline is important. Now I believe you all have been given this timeline. I am going to refer to it in the course of this discussion. But I want to make sure that everyone has seen it. Because we – and if anyone hasn’t raise your hand and we’ll get it out to you right now. It was very important to me that everyone involved put the facts together in plain English and make them available publically to all of you. Because the people of this city deserve to understand exactly what happened. And here is what we know. The lapse in inspections took place it occurred in 2012 in the previous administration. Should not have occurred, it’s as simple as that. The City law, Local Law One made abundantly clear what inspections had to happen. They should never have changed under City law in 2012. The previous leadership of NYCHA in the previous administration stopped the inspections. There was a precipitating event in that HUD – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development changed some of their standards. But even though HUD changed their standards it did not change the obligation of NYCHA to follow Local Law One. That’s where the problem begins. This administration became fully aware of the problem in the spring of 2016 and understood fully that the inspections that we had previously believed were happening were not happening. And we quickly restarted them and we made senior HUD officials aware of what happened immediately. There was no attempt to deceive the administration, and the NYCHA leadership were upfront with HUD as soon as the situation become clear. I will also note that the U.S. Attorney for the southern district has been looking into the NYCHA situation now for two years. And we have fully cooperated with that investigation and we will continue to. The update for you now is that all at risk apartments, and it’s not all 175,000 apartments that are at risk. It’s a subset of them where there is even the possibility of lead being present. And then the law requires that inspections and remediation occur if it’s one of those subset apartments and if there is a child present under six years old. Once the situation was uncovered, the order was given to inspect all those apartments and to act to ameliorate them. That was done fully by June of this year. Meaning it took about a year to go through the apartments, I believe it was 4,200 – inspect them and make all ameliorations in those apartments. Immediately following that a new round of inspections occurred. And that second round of inspections will be complete by next month. That then will be follow up amelioration efforts on any apartments that have not already been ameliorated by the end of December. They will be during of the first quarter of 2018. But this point is really important. We just went through a full round of inspections and fixes, and then started another one immediately. We will be in compliance with Local Law One next month. And then we intend to stay in compliance with Local Law One every year thereafter. And that is important because what that means essentially is as soon as inspections and amelioration ends for one year, you start essentially immediately thereafter for the next year. So there will be a continuous inspection cycle from this point on. Any resources that NYCHA needs for that effort will be provided. I also want to note, you heard the announcement last week that a Chief Compliance Officer will be named for NYCHA starting next month. And I am pleased to announce that our Compliance Officer is someone who has served this city well in many posts already, and she in fact grew up in public housing and has a strong personal commitment to the residents of public housing. The current council to Commissioner O’Neill at the NYPD, Edna Wells Handy will begin next month as the Chief Compliance Officer at NYCHA to address the issues that have been uncovered to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. So, I’ll sum it up and then just a few words in Spanish before I take your questions on this topic. This was not done right, couldn’t be clear. Was not done right by the previous administration, was not done right by my administration. When it became clear that things have not been handled properly actions were taken immediately to fix the situation. Those actions were followed through on completely. All effected apartments were inspected and were ameliorated and we’re going to do it again, and again. People have been held accountable. You’ve seen the personal actions that were taken. Once situation was thoroughly evaluated, it became clear who we felt should no longer be in the roles they had, those actions were taken. And the bottom line is the health and safety of our public housing residents is absolutely paramount. This is why we have invested over four budgets increasingly in the housing authority. This was not the pattern in the past. We all understand the federal government walked away from the housing authority a long time ago in terms of the kinds of increased funding we needed, the state has played a very minor role. The City of New York has been increasingly putting greater and greater funding into NYCHA focused first and foremost on health and safety issues. $1.3 billion in capital funding in the June budget to address mold, to address leaks from faulty roofs, to address scaffolding issues, and issues of physical plan that might cause danger to the residents of NYCHA. And we intend to keep investing. So we have put our money where our mouth is. It’s going to take a lot of work. When I came into office NYCHA has $18 billion in physical needs that have gone unmet. So we’re all playing from behind here. But we will remain committed to making the changes we need to making the investments we need to keep the residents of NYCHA safe. Quick in Spanish. [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that I want to take questions on the NYCHA issue first. Question: Mr. Mayor it’s a two part question, thank you. According to the fact sheet released by your office this morning NYCHA contacted residents in May of 2016 about the lapses. How many residents were contacted? And how were they contacted? Can your office release whatever email or letter they were sent? Mayor: Yes, yeah I will get you, we will get you the exact number and the method about any materials that were sent out, I will get to you. I want to emphasize again, the universe is not 175,000 apartments. They’ll get the exact fact to you. It’s around 50,000 apartments if I remember that even have the possibility of having lead in them. And the trigger is when there is a child under six. So that’s a – that first universe of the apartments that might even have lead, that’s fixed. But every year we reassess where is there an apartment with a child under six. That’s what the law dictates. So it could literally be different apartments every single year within that universe. But what that exact number was we will get you and the method of the information. Question: Thank you. The second part of the question is for those four cases in which children were found to have elevated levels of lead – were those children living in apartments that fall under these lapses? Mayor: To the best of my knowledge, yes, but let me have Dr. Palacio speak to that. Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio, Health and Human Services: So as you said there were four children in apartments where there was a lead hazard identified. Two of those were paint that were – fall in to this other category. Two of those were sort of non-lead paint hazards that were identified. So, not in that unit of apartments, broader apartments that required re-inspection. Question: Were those two cases – Deputy Mayor Palacio: Two. Question: Those children had elevated blood levels because of lead paint. Were those children living in apartments that were not inspected because the City was out of compliance? Mayor: Clarify, because you added something there – because of lead paint. So let’s separate from what you know what was lead paint versus not lead paint. Deputy Mayor Palacio: Yes, two of the children were in apartments that had lead paint that should have been and weren’t in the inspection. Mayor: Okay. Question: Clarify Deputy Mayor – Mayor: Deputy Mayor Question: And the other two – you think they were poisoned some other way? Can you say that again? Deputy Mayor Palacio: Yes the other two had – were not lead paint related. So it wasn’t that lead paint hazard found in the apartments. They didn’t fall into that category. There were other lead hazards identified with their poisonings. Mayor: Okay, yeah. Question: Mr. Mayor, in the May of 2016 you said, you told New Yorkers that the Housing Authority has a very stringent inspection effort, that anytime you find a problem we abate it. So two parts, when you did learn that there was this compliance issue? Mayor: First of all I am not sure you have the month right. Also, I’m looking to Austin, I believe March, and you said May. March, yeah. In March a question came up because that, as the best of my memory, was when the U.S. Attorney’s work began and it came out publically in some fashion and I was asked. In preparation for whatever press conference I was at I’ve received a briefing and the briefing was that the inspections had been happening. I think consistent with the assumption of everyone in City Hall and NYCHA, that because the inspection regime had been consistent for years that it had continued. Later we had found out, that we have been misinformed. Question: So when was that later date? Mayor: I don’t remember the exact date, but somewhere along the time when the Chair notified the residents. Question: So the month, you don’t recall the month? Mayor: No, I do not. Question: Okay, so given that. If eventually you did learn about it. So how is it appropriate for your administration to continue file the same lead paint certifications even after you learned that you – Mayor: Because the Chair notified HUD immediately and that’s been confirmed by the Regional Director of HUD. And first, most importantly, found a problem notified the federal authorities of the problem, cooperated in every way with the US Attorney as well, notified the residents, and then proceeded to do the work which is most important for people’s lives – get the inspections done and get the fixes done. The certification process proceeded which governs over everything that we do with HUD with the assumption which I think is an understandable one that HUD had already been alerted to that specific problem but all the other elements of the certification were continuing to be appropriate and binding. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Let me, let me – last one for you, then I’ll go over there. Question: So, you’ve talked about the 4,200 units but the federal rules require that there’s an annual inspection of all 50,000 units – Mayor: Let’s separate that question. It’s a very good question. Local Law 1, federal rules there. Local Law 1 has been constant now for over a decade. Federal rules have changed over time. I think part of the confusion is the interplay. We are cooperating with the Southern District in terms of determining what would be appropriate compliance with the federal rules. So, it’s been a fully cooperative process. Obviously, we are looking forward to a resolution of the process in the next few months. That very well may include a federal monitor which is something we would be ready, of course, to accept. We have federal monitors with the NYPD and with the Department of Corrections. We would be ready to accept a federal monitor with NYCHA because there’s a real issue here. But in terms of determining how the federal rules should be applied in this context that would be a subject of that negotiation and will be resolved in whatever final settlement occurs. Question: You spoke about holding folks accountable. Last week, when there were calls for the Chair to step down not only from elected officials but also from tenant leaders [inaudible] you called it a cheap stunt. Do you find that these tenant leaders don’t have any merit in saying that she should step down? Mayor: Look, I think we have to look at everything that’s happened in public housing for four years. There’s 400,000 people who I think were given a raw deal for a long, long time. We came in, in the beginning and Chair Olatoye has been crucial to all the changes and improvements we’ve made. We recognized that NYCHA was on the verge of financial collapse and addressed that through a series of budget actions and investments, addressed that by ending the payments of NYCHA to the NYPD, ending the de facto tax payment that was made to the City, putting all that money back into repairs, putting a huge amount of capital into NYCHA including $1.3 billion in the last budget alone which is unprecedented, the Next Generation NYCHA plan which the Chair was the leader of, is the first blueprint ever to actually the underlying financial and physical problems of NYCHA. There’s a lot more to do but under her leadership a whole series of reforms and improvement occurred – the M. A. P. initiative, too. We looked at the 15 most dangerous developments working closely with the NYPD. We made huge investments in terms of personnel, in terms of physical improvements, lighting, in terms of youth programs that had a marked impact on reducing crime. All that happened under the Chair’s leadership. So, she is absolutely part of the solution at NYCHA. This – look, this was a mistake and I’m very frustrated with it. But I want to emphasize – thank God we live in a city with a tremendous focus on public health. Dr. Palacio can speak to that history if you want to hear it. This city has been focused on addressing lead for decades in different ways which is why as you see in the very beginning we’ve had steadily declining negative impact on kids because of kids, thank God. That’s about the whole of New York City. That’s about the Department of Health, and Health + Hospitals Corporation. That’s everyone. So, this issue makes me very frustrated but it also, thank God, happens against the backdrop where the problem has been diminishing constantly. As you heard, look, one child is one child too many. As you heard that final assessment from what we know at this moment, four kids is the universe, two of them specifically about paint and thank God no lasting health impact that we can find at this point. So, I have to put this in this context, as the leader of this government, that when I see what the chair is doing, it’s so important to the day-to-day life of people NYCHA and the safety of people in NYCHA. I want it to continue. Question: [Inaudible] series if public failings and [inaudible] what’s – Mayor: Oh, come on. Every situation is different. Gladys made her decisions for very personal reasons after a long and distinguished career. And we know in the particular moment when that happened that a number of people below her had made very serious mistakes that led to a child’s death. This is a whole different reality. Thank God we’re talking about a few children and they are healthy. Thank God. That’s what matters most here. But it’s not going to happen again because since this was uncovered every appropriate apartment was inspected and ameliorated and now it’s literally happening again as we speak. So, I have to look at the big picture. The big picture is that chair has done a very good job turning around a broken situation at NYCHA and we’re going to turn around this piece of it too. Question: Mayor, I just want to go back to the timeline that David was talking about from your office – your office says in April, 2016 the chair informed City Hall of the Local Law 1 lapse. Presumably that’s around when you would have found out. You had just, a month before, said very publicly that all these stringent inspections were happening. Why are we just hearing about this now a year-and-a-half later? Why not a month after you’d said something that later turned out to be incorrect? Why not correct the record in a more public matter? Mayor: I think that’s a fair point and in retrospect I wish we had. Having heard that the situation was being addressed and that tenants were being notified and that action was being taken, that’s what mattered to me. That’s what really mattered physically, materially for people’s lives. In retrospect it would have been better to say, hey, we also need to go back and correct that record. But actions speak louder than words. By the Chair informing the residents and starting the inspections and the ameliorations that obviously was the thing that mattered most. Question: I want to ask about the people at NYCHA – the two resignations, the demotion. You said the people at the NYCHA have been held accountable but those changes only happened last week, about a year-and-a-half after you were aware of these lapses. So, what took so long for people to be held to account at NYCHA because it looks like this was only done in the wake of this DOI report and the public attention to it? Mayor: Again, the US Attorney has been on this for two years. I can’t emphasize this enough. I understand why DOI’s action is sort of the shiny object that people are focused on. Let’s put the horse before the cart. The US Attorney has been working on this issue for two years. We’ve been cooperating with them for two years. They’re the ones that brought to light that there was a problem that had to be addressed. We acted on what they found and we then had to figure out exactly what happened, why it happened, who’s responsible. We had to get the whole picture before we decided what to do on the personnel level. And that did not happen overnight. There was a lot that had to be very carefully analyzed. We also had to make sure that all the work in the meantime continued. So, when we got to the point of having a definitive view of what to do, that’s when we acted. Question: You’re saying it has nothing to do with the DOI report or the public [inaudible] – Mayor: I’m saying when it was time to take those personnel actions, we took them. Question: When you learned about the non-compliance inspections, you launched new inspections, right? Did you tell the tenants in NYCHA that for four years there hadn’t been inspections and if not, why not? Mayor: No, it’s very clear. The – and this is why we wanted to put it in black and white for everyone to see – a mistake was made. When the mistake was caught the order was given, go out and inspect these apartments, fix these apartments. The people who needed to know that most were the tenants. They were told these inspections are coming. I don’t think going back and saying, hey you need to know that back in 2012 something was done wrong in the previous administration, and it’s only been caught now. I don’t think that necessarily helps anyone. I think what helped people was going out and doing the inspections and doing the amelioration. In the meantime, this is the important part and Dr. Palacio will add if I leave anything out here. The City of New York and the entire health care world of New York City is constantly screening any children under six for any indication of lead whether they’re in NYCHA or anywhere else. So, the efforts to protect children were going on during this. Do you want to add to that? Dr. Palacio: So, under State law, physicians are required to do a child’s blood lead levels for children at ages one and two years old and up to six years old if there are additional risks assessed by the clinician. Physicians send those results in, labs send those results into DOHMH, to the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, the Department of Mental Hygiene has actions that they take very swiftly when children with elevated lead levels actually all the way up to age 18 – if they get results that are the results of a clinician identifying something else, and those actions depending on the level of the – if the level is sufficiently high at 15 micrograms, actually, we’ll go in and do a very detailed investigation of the living situation be that NYCHA or another non-NYCHA building or another home. We’ll work with the landlords if there are any lead hazards identified. And we’ll issue commissioner’s orders to have any abatements that are required. So, the public health apparatus has been working uninterrupted throughout this time period. Question: I understand that there are fail safes with this public health apparatus but I mean, if you’re – you know, put yourself in the parent’s shoes. If you’re a parent and this [inaudible] going on for four years. Don’t you think they have a right to know that there’s this situation that maybe they want to put some extra attention to? Mayor: I understand the question but I want to combine what Dr. Palacio said with the action then taken by NYCHA. Because children are constantly screened, God forbid a child had exposure, there was going to be a way to catch that and act on it. But I want to remind you how infrequent it is nowadays that any child has exposure that has a lasting impact. And that most important thing was to do what we could do for the apartments that we knew right then had to be addressed and that happened swiftly. So, I’m absolutely comfortable saying in retrospect I wish I had publicly said what I said in March turned out to be wrong and here’s the plan and we’re doing it. I’m very happy that NYCHA went and did the most important thing which was to go out and do it. But in the end because there is such a strong public health apparatus focused on protecting kids, I believe that continued to make sure the kids were safe despite the missteps that had happened. Go ahead, Gloria. Question: Mr. Mayor, can you talk a little about what the compliance officer is going to be tasked with doing, and then I have another question. Mayor: Sure. Look, another structural reality – I want to remind people, I think again the lack of investment in NYCHA for a long, long time was a huge mistake. And I think some of the components that should have been in NYCHA a long time ago weren’t including having a Chief Compliance Officer. This mistake, this problem led us to say, what’s structurally wrong here? How could this have happened? I mean, this is like a city unto itself. It’s 400,000 people. A lot happens every day that does work in NYCHA. It’s a very complex organization to run. How did something like this get missed when all these other things do happen every day? And what was determined was there needed to be that central compliance officer to be a check and balance. So, that’s why we wanted a compliance officer in place. It would – literally be the role would be for Edna to review everything that is an obligation for NYCHA under federal, state, city law and to make sure that all laws are being complied with and all documentation is being presented to oversight entities so something like this couldn’t happen again. Question: Mr. Mayor, do you think Chair Olatoye lied – knowingly lied to the federal government? Mayor: Absolutely not. Again, she runs what is the equivalent of a major American city. She depends on folks who work for her to give her good information. Every one of us in executive office has had moments when we were not provided accurate information by someone down the food chain. It’s not a good situation and it should be addressed every time. But she acted in good faith. And in further evidence of that, the moment she was given the real facts, she called HUD voluntarily, proactively, and said, “I need to tell you something is wrong here.” She was the one who called to tell them. She didn’t wait for someone else to reach them. She called them and said something’s wrong here, we need to fix it, we want to report it to you. And the regional director has affirmed that publicly. So, there’s one or two more and then we will go to other topics. Question: Mr. Mayor, why is the Chair not here today and also she apparently – she did call HUD proactively but that decision which is addressed in the fact sheet, to then submit the larger, or sign off on the larger compliance – was there a lawyer, an attorney or someone of [inaudible] who advised her to do that? Mayor: Look, she has already spoken to these issues in numerous interviews, that’s why she’s not here. The – clearly there’s an internal process and the compliance refers to a whole host of issues that the federal government’s concerned about. Something went wrong in this one but in the other areas from everything I’m seeing there was consistency. Again, all I can say is it was caught, it’s being addressed, we’re going to have a compliance officer to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future. Question: What was the lead level of the children? Do we have – Mayor: Say it again. Question: The lead levels in those two children. Mayor: We’ll follow up on that. Go ahead. Question: Mr. Mayor, can you assess for us whether you think that DOI Commissioner Mark Peters [inaudible] call for an outside monitor citing [inaudible] issue – Mayor: Look, the pertinent authority here is the federal government. Let’s be very clear. The federal government has been on this for two years. I think it’s important that agencies respect their fellow agencies. So, this is the top level of government that is the funder of a lot of NYCHA’s operations and has legal oversight responsibility. And for two years, they’ve been involved in this issue. I think that should be respected. And again, we are in very collaborative communication with the US Attorney. There will be some kind of resolution over the next few months. As I said, it could include, certainly, a federal monitor. And that we would accept that and work with that monitor. That’s where the real work is happening. Question: Is there any truth to the report that you’re irritated, annoyed with Commissioner Peters, that you’d like to see him [inaudible]? Mayor: I’m not going to speak about any personnel matters. I said that when I met with all of you the day after the election. When it’s time to talk about personnel, we’ll talk about personnel but I have nothing to say about personnel today. Going to do you and Grace, and then we’re going to other topics. Question: Just to follow-up on two things that you mentioned. Are you currently – is the City involved in [inaudible]? Mayor: I’m going to speak more broadly. I’m not a lawyer first of all. I can say we’ve been in ongoing discussions with the Southern District. They have been collaborative. We have fully cooperated. There will be some kind of resolution. I’m not going to predict what it is. That’s a question for the Southern District. But there will be some kind of resolution and we will work for a positive and constructive resolution. I think that’s a few months away. Question: [Inaudible] apartments. Is it the view of the City that it wasn’t actually the obligation during those four years to have done inspections annually of those 50,000 apartments because that’s what it seems the federal rule says? Mayor: Well, again, let me separate Local Law 1 from the federal rule. I think it’s important – I’m not going to conjecture on the view of the City because we’re in discussions with the federal government right now. So, I want to be very clear – that is its own universe at this point. It has been happening for two years. We’re going to complete that process with the federal government. We will come to a common definition of what our obligations are and we will act on that definition. Local Law 1 is what we control obviously a compliance with and is the definition set forth by our law. That’s what we are complying with now. We did that starting with the initial notice that the Chair gave to residents that led to inspections that led to amelioration. That was complete in June. It’s started again immediately. The inspections will be finished next month. Amelioration will be done by the end of the first quarter ‘18. We will be in compliance with Local Law 1 again. Question: So, it’s unclear what the rules are. You’re negotiating what they were both for the past and present. It’s just not clear because the paperwork that gets filed every year – the issue here was that there was a rule that said there had to be annual inspections every 50,000 – Mayor: The federal – first of all, there were changes in the federal government’s own guidance over time. Second, there’s obviously an effort on both sides to come to a common interpretation which is not unheard of when you’re trying to take rules and laws and put them into action. So, that’s what the discussions are about. Question: Question about the two children with elevated lead levels from paint or in apartments where there was lead paint – are they still in those same apartments? Have their families been moved [inaudible] – Mayor: Let me note, obviously for confidentiality, we’re not going to go into too much detail. Most importantly, they’re not showing any health consequences. I don’t know – and we can find out if they’re still in that apartment or other apartments but again all apartments now have gone through that first cycle of inspection and amelioration. If they were still in a NYCHA apartment they would go through it again every year from this point on. Deputy Mayor Palacio: I can speak in sort of general terms without disclosing any confidentiality. When children are identified with elevated blood lead levels, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene continues to follow those children, works directly with their health care providers, continues to monitor their blood level to make sure that those lead blood levels are declining over time until they decline a certain threshold. And that’s the same case for any child regardless of where they are identified. I can say that those four apartments have been abated. Mayor: Okay, other topics. Question: Mr. Mayor, I have a two part question. The first is this – the day after your election you said that education would be the thing that you focused your passion on – Mayor: Yes. Question: And I wonder if that passion extends to secular education in Yeshivas and what you intend to do about the complaints that many Yeshivas are not in compliance? Mayor: There’s a full investigation going on and there’s a series of discussions going on with Yeshivas to address that problem. It will be resolved. I can tell you that. I do feel passionately the issue must be resolved but I also want it to happen in a productive way. I want the changes that are necessary to happen and to be bought into and to actually reach children. And we’re approaching it in a way that we think will achieve that goal. There’s still more facts to uncover too. It’s not going to be too much longer before we’ll be able to give a fuller picture. Question: The second part of my question is this – the complaint was filed against 39 Yeshivas two years and three months ago. In that time, DOE, despite saying it would take a month, has gone to only six Yeshivas. I wonder if you think that’s really sufficient. And if this was a public school that was out of compliance, would you have found that to be acceptable? Mayor: Well, they’re apples and oranges. We don’t run the Yeshivas. We don’t run private schools. We need – Question: [Inaudible] city money – Mayor: But let me make the point. We want to achieve lasting change. Every Yeshiva is different. Every private school is different. Every religious school is different. We need to come up with an approach that will change this once and for all. I look at it this way, Marcia, all these children are our children, right. It doesn’t matter if they go to public school, if they go to a religious school, if they go to a private school. They’re the future of New York City. They all need a strong secular education. And if it’s not happening in some places, we have to fix it but I don’t want a band-aid, I don’t want a superficial fix. I want a lasting fix. And that means we need to come up with a formula that will work, that will be bought into. And even if we’re not there on that day to monitor, it will actually happen consistently. That is real change not press release change but real change. That’s what we’re trying to put together right now. There’s still more facts to gather but we will have a plan to address this issue. Question: Why have they only gone to six schools when [inaudible] – Mayor: Again, I don’t know the facts of how they have proceeded on that. Question: [Inaudible] years and three months [inaudible] – Mayor: I believed the approach we’re taking will work. Question: Kirsten Gillibrand recently said the Bill Clinton should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, that if it had happened today there would have been a very different reaction. What are your thoughts on that? Do you agree with that assessment? Mayor: If it happened today there would have been a very different reaction. There’s no question. Question: Do you think he should have resigned? Mayor: I don’t think you can rework history. I think if it happened today – if any president did that today, they would have to resign. Question: I wanted to get your – the reason for which you asked or rejected I guess the nomination of the state court judge nominated by [inaudible] judicial commission. You rejected the nomination as sort of your purview to do that but I didn’t understand what the reason was for you to do that. Mayor: We look at a lot of factors. We want a whole range of different experiences. We want diversity in every sense. We put together a committee with a lot of different people and the pieces have to fit. I don’t get into the weeds of that but the group that has been overseeing the whole process of judicial nominations and selection looked at all the facts and decided he didn’t fit. It’s as simple as that. Question: It’s the first person, I understand, that you’ve rejected [inaudible]. Mayor: It happens. Question: You recently expanded your goals for affordable housing with the idea of 300,000 units by 2026. The House passed a bill that passed on Thursday [inaudible] bill going to affect your plans and if it passes will you reduce that 300,000 number. Mayor: I don’t do hypotheticals. Right now our job is to fight this tax plan, and as you know it’s very much up in the air what’s going to happen on this plan, and what’s going to be in it in the final analysis. So there’s two ways to address the issue. One, defeat the thing wholesale which would be my preference. Or two, take some of the worst elements out of it before it’s over. And remember, Chuck Schumer is going to have a bite at this apple, who fully understands how important that financing mechanism is to affordable housing in this city and all over the country. So, there’s a lot to play out here before this is resolved so I’m not going to change any plans until we see what happens. There’s no question if we lost that opportunity to finance it would hurt our plan, but I will tell you the plan has been at other points challenged like when the 421A law was not renewed. We found ways to compensate. So, it’s too early to say. I’m very concerned about it. We’re going to fight hard, but we would be ready to adjust if we had to. Yes? Question: I know you just published an essay talking about upcoming trip to Iowa, but I’m hoping you can talk a little bit more about why you’re going, the purpose of the trip, who’s paying for it, and if we can expect more travel like this – Mayor: Yes, I mean, I’m going to turn to my witness here, Austin Finan, the Medium post is up for all to see. Thank you, Austin. I really – I will do my damndest, there’s a few things you asked that maybe aren’t in the Medium post. But I really think once and for all I’m trying to say to you guys – and I’ve had this conversation with you for a year or two, this is who I am, this is what I’m going to do. And I’m telling you why as clearly as I possibly can. When there’s something I think that’s important I will do my best to do it, for example, the number one thing will be taking back the House and Senate in 2018. I don’t know what that looks like yet, I just don’t. I am certain people will ask for help in different ways. I’m going to do my best to help because I think its mission critical for New York City. As for this trip it’s being paid for by the organization – the sponsoring organizing. Yes, Melissa? Question: Mr. Mayor as you may know at 2:00 am of the morning of November 9th there was a very brutal slashing, domestic violence incident inside a non-profit shelter [inaudible]. Can you talk at all about what steps your Department [inaudible] is taking to improve security after a registered sex offender who committed this attack allegedly was sent to the shelter without any warning to staff. [Inaudible] told us – and stop me if you’re familiar, but she basically told us that had they known that this person was a registered sex offender that [inaudible] notify the shelter they might have been able to take steps to help better support this man? Mayor: I want to caution, I think there’s a lot of facts that are being uncovered in that situation. So I’m not going to speak to who was notified of what when. The big picture question is, how do we make all shelter facilities as secure as possible? The structural thing we did, and you have a good sense of the history here, the NYPD did not used to supervise shelter security, did not used to train shelter staff, that was a major reform we did in the last few years. And I want to thank Commissioner O’Neill and I want to say this is a moment of praise you deserve. He did not hesitate to say even though that’s more work for the NYPD, we’re going to step up and do it. That’s made a big difference, but we’re constantly trying to figure out how to do better. And we want, obviously, information to flow to shelters appropriately, but I can’t speak to the specifics of that until we have more information. Question: Follow up. Mayor: Sure. Question: Can you tell me what your general thoughts are about sending registered sex offenders to live in family shelters where there are shelters. Mayor: Again I’m going to defer with this. There are laws governing how we are supposed to handle things. And we have to abide by those laws. I wish there were no sex offenders anywhere in New York City, but once people have served their time they do have rights under the law and there are specific stipulations about how they can live and where they can live. It’s frustrating for me but that’s the reality. We’ll have more to say on it. I’ll have the Deputy Mayor follow up with you. Okay, Rich. Question: Mr. Mayor when we hear of politician going to Iowa we don’t [inaudible] usually – Mayor: We think of what? A Grant Wood painting? Question: [Inaudible] you know what I’m talking about. Mayor: You mean the farmer with the pitchfork? Yeah, okay. Question: Right, right. Just, we think that – Mayor: I didn’t know you were so culturally sophisticated Rich. Question: Anyway, I think that we begin to think of something beyond just the mayoral – not just the mayoral but something beyond the mayoral seat, maybe the president. Are you thinking of such things – Mayor: I’ll answer it again, I answered it as recently as yesterday with Gloria and we asked each other how many times more it will be asked. So I’ll answer again. I had one goal, which was get reelected the Mayor of New York City. I’m very honored to have been reelected. I think the results were quite strong and clear. I’m going to be on the job until December 31st of 2021. But I’m going to try and get a lot of other good things done in the meantime that I think have a big impact on New York City. Gloria I saw your hand up – you done? Okay, go ahead. Question: Mayor on the topic of police body cameras which you’ve in the pasted touted as a tool for police transparency and accountability, and also to build public trust. The current body camera policy makes it easier for police officers who have been involved in shootings to review footage than it does for civilians involved in those incidences [inaudible] for the CCRB to view that footage. The policy ultimately leaves the decision to release footage in the hands of the Police Department and ultimately the Police Commissioner. And as you heard today the police aren’t planning to release the footage from the last two – Mayor: Okay wait a minute, this is like a 12 part question. What is the core of what you’re asking? Question: I’m getting there. Mayor: Okay. Question: That you have a Police Commissioner saying that they’re planning to release the two – footage from the two shootings – Mayor: Right. Question: – that just, that recently happened. But do you think it’s toward your goals of accountability and transparency to leave that decision in the hands of the Police Department? Mayor: Yes. I do. I think it’s balanced approach. And I think new Yorkers are starting to see the positive effect of footage being put out in close proximity to when an incident occurs. And you’re going to see it a lot more. I think this is the right – you know a lot of work went into determining this policy and Commissioner, obviously if you want to join in to the answer, feel free. It was, I thought, a very thoughtful effort looking at what happened in departments all over country that have had body cameras, what seemed to work best, what seemed to strike the right balance. I’m very comfortable this is the right approach and I think the proof will be, as you regularly see the footage come out that this is going to be a level of accountability and transparency we’ve never seen before in this city. Let’s see, a couple more. Question: In a city like New York [inaudible] city with progressive leadership investigators and civilians, it’s pretty – it’s fairly easy to view footage. A civilian, once they file a complaint, does not have to go through a cumbersome FOIL process as a review watchdog doesn’t have to ask the Police Department for footage, they have that access to the footage. And New York doesn’t follow that protocol. Mayor: Again, we are a city of eight and a half million people so in addition to the moral and legal issues there’s massive logistical issues too. I think we struck the right balance. There is a mechanism for people to see the footage. But again, you’ve already seen the proactive open release of footage in a very major incident. You’re going to see more of that. I think that’s what the core of this issue is. Okay. Question: [Inaudible] after the Harvey Weinstein allegations came to light you urged anybody who had accepted money from him to promptly return that money. There are different but sexual misconduct allegations against the comedian Louis C.K. who headlined a fundraiser for your reelection campaign and I’m wondering how comfortable you feel about the money that was raised off of an event where – Mayor: Oh I don’t think you can say money raised off of an event is that same standard. I understand the question, but a donation from someone who did something wrong is one question. The fact that hundreds of people went to an event that someone appeared at before anyone knew he had done anything inappropriate, I think that’s just not the same standard. Question: Do you have any reaction to any of the stories that come out – I mean, you seemed friendly – Mayor: It’s very troubling. It’s very troubling. I’m glad he came forward an admitted it but I don’t understand what he was thinking. You know, that’s not acceptable behavior. It’s as simple as that. Okay. Melissa and then David and we’re out. Question: I know that the Police Commissioner addressed the controversy of Brooklyn College, about the – Mayor: Yes. Question: Sergeant Ed Mullins tweeted – it’s short, I’ll read it “another anti – Mayor: I always look forward to Mullins’ tweets. Question: I’m sure you do. “Anti-police campus with no common sense. Active shooters, acts of terrors on campuses and now remove the police. It’s time people get what they ask for”. Mayor: Well that’s inappropriate. I don’t – I long since gave up trying to understand him. That’s just an inappropriate statement particularly for someone who is supposed to be with protecting people. But here’s the bottom line, our understanding, and we’re checking this is that the action that we’re hearing about was not a formal action of Brooklyn College but of some association within Brooklyn College. Brooklyn College is part of CUNY, controlled by the State of New York, would never – should never ban police officers from any presence on the campus. That makes no sense whatsoever. And I don’t think they did. I think we’re getting a distilled version of the facts that’s not the whole story. But even if it’s a student group for example, I think it’s misguided. I agree with the Commissioner 100 percent, our officers being on campus helps protect people. They need familiarity with campus, and more importantly, and you started to allude to this Commissioner, they need relationships with people who are there – they’re there to serve including students. So, it makes no sense to me. Yes? Question: I want to know what your sort of reaction would be to this – what I assume will be a criticism that you’ll get for the Iowa trip which is you just came back from vacation, you’re making an announcement that you’re going to Iowa in December, in the midst of all this attention to shortcomings at NYCHA that you’ve acknowledged. Why is this the appropriate time to talk about leaving town for you know partisan political reasons when you have this issue at home? Mayor: I just don’t buy that way of thinking. I was officially on vacation on last week after a reelection campaign but I was working much of everyday. The trip in question is basically a 24 hour trip. I just don’t buy the notion in the 21st century that if you leave the boundaries of the five boroughs the government ceases to work. I would argue – I understand all of you have the mission of finding out the thing that’s wrong and reporting on it and demanding change. I would remind you of everything that’s right every single day in this city. This is a huge apparatus that functions in many ways very well, and has great leaders like those around me. I’m going to go to Washington, I’m going to go to Albany, and sometimes I’ll go other places. And I’ll be constantly in touch with people and we’re going to be addressing a whole range of issues as I do every day from when I get up to the end of the day. And every mayor before me has done the same thing. So, I mean you can ask it 100 times but it doesn’t change the core reality. If you find a problem, we’re going to address the problem. But there’s other things that have to be worked on at the same time. What I tried to say in the essay was if we don’t recognize the danger to New York City coming from Washington and do something about it then we’re leaving our own city at its peril. And the changes in Washington do not occur simply by showing up and lobbying a Senator in the hallway, they have to happen in the states where we can change the very makeup of the Congress. So, I just think that’s the essence of things, and Im’ going to keep working on it. Marcia, I’ll give you a final one. Question: This is an easy one – Mayor: Yes! Question: Do you have plans for your inauguration? Is there going to be a big celebration – Mayor: No. It’s going to be modest. We don’t have specific plans yet. I have a news flash, breaking news. It will be on January 1st. Yes. It will be at City Hall. Question: What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Mayor: Thank you for asking. I’m going to be with family. I’m going to my cousin’s house and we’re going to have turkey, stuffing, all those things. And our annual incredibility aggressive wiffle ball game. We’re going to show that wiffle ball is a contact sport. Thank you, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 20, 2017 - 5:05pm
NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the appointment of Edna Wells Handy to The New York City Housing Authority’s Executive Compliance Department as Acting Chief Compliance Officer. Handy will begin full-time in December. Handy currently serves as legal Counsel to the NYPD Commissioner, and previously served as Commissioner of the City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services. She grew up in New York City public housing. For the first time in its history, NYCHA is creating an Executive Compliance Department. As Acting Chief Compliance Officer, Handy will lead that department and be responsible for oversight of NYCHA’s regulatory compliance. The department will be responsible for the compliance training for NYCHA’s employees and the accuracy of external reporting by NYCHA. Additionally, this Executive will respond to employee and resident complaints regarding compliance issues. Handy will report directly to the NYCHA Chair. “We take our job to keep the residents of public housing safe extremely seriously. Edna will be a voice for residents and an aggressive agent for protecting them,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I grew up in New York City’s public housing and I am ready to serve as NYCHA’s first Chief Compliance Officer. This is about holding the agency accountable to laws at every level of government and, most importantly, to the 400,000 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home,” said incoming Acting Chief Compliance Officer Edna Wells Handy. “I am looking forward to working with Edna Wells Handy to address compliance at NYCHA. We owe it to the 1 in 14 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home to ensure their apartments are safe,” said NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye. Today’s appointment is part of NYCHA’s broader reforms to address immediate and long-term compliance with both lead regulations as well as other regulations to protect and improve residents’ safety. In addition to establishing a new compliance department, the agency is engaging a team of lead experts to advise on best practices. About Edna Wells Handy: Edna Wells Handy currently serves as the Counsel to the NYPD Commissioner. She began her legal career as a law clerk at the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York in 1976, and also served as an Assistant District Attorney and Bureau Chief at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office; Vice President for Legal Affairs at the NYC Health & Hospital Corporation and as Deputy Attorney General for Administration for then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. From 2004 through 2007, Wells Handy served as Deputy Executive Director of the NYC Department of Education, Human Resources. She also served as Co-Leader of the Change Management Team responsible for the redesign of the division’s Human Resources Diversity Initiatives. Wells Handy previously served as the Commissioner, Department Citywide Administrative Services, where she oversaw 2,100 employees supporting more than 150,000 City workers and 80 agencies in critical areas of Civil Service Administration, Human Capital/EEO and diversity. Counsel Wells Handy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law School. She is also a candidate for Master in Public Administration, Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs, 2019. ###