You are here
Office of The Mayor of New York City
Content Written by Author
Friday, January 13, 2017 - 5:10pm
Also signs legislation relating to the date of submissions for the FY 2018 preliminary budget NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today held a public hearing for and signed two pieces of legislation – Intro. 1314, in relation to extending the boundaries of the Queens Plaza/Court Square Business Improvement District, and Intro. 1415, in relation to the date of submissions for the fiscal year 2018 preliminary budget. “Business Improvement Districts serve a special purpose in our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “They ensure that commercial districts are maintained, promoted and developed in a way that would allow businesses to flourish economically. Intro. 1314 would provide additional support to local business owners within the Queens Plaza and Court Square BID, increasing their ability to maintain, sustain and grow their businesses. I would like to thank Commissioner Gregg Bishop, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer for supporting this legislation, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her leadership, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and the rest of City Council for passing this bill.” “The New Year brings a new future for the Queens Plaza/Court Square business improvement district, and I thank Majority Leader Van Bramer for working on this important effort, and Mayor de Blasio for signing this legislation into law,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Business Improvement Districts are drivers of economic growth in neighborhoods across the five boroughs,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “The expansion of this BID ensures that more of the small businesses in Long Island City can enjoy the benefits of being part of a Business Improvement District.” “I’m thrilled we are signing the Long Island City BID expansion into law,” said City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Now, even more of our neighborhood will benefit from the community development, beautification, sanitation, and marketing initiatives that have helped make Queens Plaza and Court Square the vibrant destinations they are today. This expansion is widely supported by residents, business owners, civic associations, and Community Boards 1 and 2, and I have no doubt that our newly expanded BID will make our community an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.” The first bill, Intro. 1314, extends the boundaries of the Queens Plaza/Court Square Business Improvement District and increases the authorized amount to be expended annually while also modifying its method of assessment accordingly. BIDs provide support to local businesses to help them thrive. The health of the city’s small businesses is essential to the vitality of the local neighborhoods and the very foundation of the City’s economy. These additional funds will help the neighborhood – and the businesses within it – be the best they can be. We are honored to be here today with Mayor de Blasio and Majority Leader Van Bramer to celebrate this great milestone, which is the culmination of years of effort by the great LIC Community. The LIC Partnership looks forward to working closely with all the great businesses and stakeholders in the expansion area by enhancing services, increasing business opportunities and drawing more foot traffic from the surrounding transit hubs,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, President of the Long Island City Partnership, which oversees the management of the Long Island City Business Improvement District. “We give great thanks for the guidance and hard work of the BID Expansion Steering Committee and its co-chairs Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, Angelo Ippolito and Paula Kirby. We also give special thanks to Council Majority Leader Van Bramer, who has supported this effort from its inception and personally worked so hard to see it become a reality on behalf of this special area of LIC. We also thank SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop and his great team for shepherding us so ably through this complicated process.” The second bill, Intro. 1415, relates to the submission dates for the fiscal year 2018 preliminary budget. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bills’ sponsor, Council Member Julissa Ferreras, and the Council Member for the Queens Plaza/Court Square BID, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer.
Friday, January 13, 2017 - 5:10pm
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you, Monsignor Romano. Your Eminence, thank you so much for opening up this greatest of churches for this is the fitting place for the services for a man as great as Detective Steven McDonald. We thank you for your warmth and all you do for us. Today there is a unity in our city, a unity of sorrow at the passing of this great man, but also a unity of celebration of a man who was with us on this Earth who had lived a life so well. Here among us, a living example – everything that we aspire to be as a people and a city embodied in one man, Steven McDonald. We feel pain, and we feel joy that we knew him. We learn from him. We learn the right way to live from him. Directly, he touched thousands of lives – tens of thousands – but in a greater way millions were moved by his example because he became the greatest embodiment of what it means to be a member of the NYPD. He was synonymous with all that is great about our Police Department and our city. And he showed that the work of policing was profoundly based on love and compassion for your fellow man and woman, and he lived it every day. I offer not only my own condolences but the condolences of eight-and-a-half million New Yorkers to Steven’s extraordinary family. Patti, on behalf of all New Yorkers, I thank you for having stood by him every step of the way, for having been all that anyone could ask for in a partner in life, for allowing him to be the extraordinary voice and example he was for us all. Conor, I thank you for living out the legacy, for now continuing his great work, and for expressing his faith in everything you do. And to his father, David, thank you for having raised this great man, for all the lessons you taught him that then were taught to all of us. To all his family, to all his friends – our condolences and our solidarity. And to the family of the NYPD, I know everyone feels that they’ve lost a part of themselves today, but I know you also feel strengthened that Steven McDonald lived among us and taught us so well. Scripture says so much, but there are two clear commandments to us all that are so very, very hard to live out in this world we inhabit. One so simple – love the Lord. And the other we hear so often – love your neighbor as yourself. They sound simple, and we know they are profoundly complex, particularly given the challenges of the modern world. But we all watched, brothers and sisters, we all watched Steven McDonald live out these commandments. He lived them perfectly. He lived them completely. It was not easy. Imagine if all that your body had been able to do was taken from you. Imagine how easy it would be to fall into self-pity, to lose any sense of hope or energy, to simply recede from everyone around you. But Steven McDonald was a hero – a hero who overcame all the pain, all the discomfort, all the challenges every day, every hour because he had a sense of mission that he was supposed to live out those commandments, he was supposed to show us all it could be done. And then he went and did it every day against all the odds for 30 long years. A true hero in every sense and a hero even before because he chose to put on the uniform and put his life in harm’s way as his father had before him, as his grandfather had done before him, as his son does now. His speech – left halting. His message – clear as a bell. The clarion call – something calling us to a place higher than we imagine we could reach. That message from the gospel governed his life – a message centuries and centuries old that he made fresh and real for us all. We need to remember what can be done, and I cherish the last conversation I had with Steven McDonald last year because it was a reminder that we all could go farther – his encouragement, his love for the men and women of the NYPD, his belief that we could heal the wounds of the past, his own living example of forgiveness. When I heard his words, it filled me with hope. Last Saturday, at the hospital, I stood and held hands with Steven’s family – a family so filled with faith, with belief, with love. Their strength – so inspiring. We prayed together and I could feel what had sustained him, and this family deserves not only our support for all the years ahead, they deserve our thanks. Steven didn’t do this alone. The faith came from his family and the family sustained his extraordinary work and commitment. Finally, I want to speak to you, Conor. We’ve had several chances these last days to speak and I want to speak to you as a father because, first of all, you made your father so very proud by continuing this extraordinary family legacy. But by doing it the way he would have done it – with love, with compassion. It may feel very, very difficult to go on without him and it will feel, sometimes, very difficult to live up to his example, no doubt, but you’ve already been given that great gift of his example, his love. He’s watching over you. And I know that the NYPD will continue to feel the faith, the vision of your great father through your great work. Steven McDonald’s road on this Earth was not easy but he showed us what we needed to know. And now we have an obligation to tell his story over and over again here in this city and all across this nation especially at this time. We need more healing. We need more love. We need more understanding, and who better to keep teaching us than Detective Steven McDonald. May he rest in peace and God bless you all. […] Police Commissioner James O’Neill: Good morning, everyone. Cardinal Dolan, I just – before I start, I need to straighten one thing out. Monsignor O’Boyle, we don’t have accents. [Laughter] Thought I’d – figured I’d straighten that out. You know, there’s an old saying in the Police Department that good cops don’t get cold, wet, or hungry. So, even today, Steven McDonald took care of us. Here it is the middle of January, and I know he had something to do with this. I know he had a conversation with God. It’s the middle of January, it’s about 55 degrees. It’s not raining. As far as the hungry part – the men and women of the NYPD are going to have to take care of themselves but thank you Steven, once again. Your Eminence, Cardinal Dolan, members of the clergy, Mayor de Blasio, elected officials, Patti Ann, Conor, and to every family member – David, your dad; brothers, Thomas and Owen; Patricia, Maura, Dolores, Claire, Teresa. A big Irish family – go figure. I think I have one of those. And every friend of this incredible man gathered here this morning. On behalf of the men and women of the New York City, I extend my most profound condolences. The example Steven set for humanity – the ideals of perseverance, reconciliation, and purity of hope will long outlive him. I first met Steven when I was the C-O of the Central Park Precinct in 1999. He came to the precinct to address roll call and he told rookies and veterans alike to always think about police officer safety and to always treat everyone they encountered with the same level of respect and kindness they’d afford their own closest friends. That’s what had such an impact on me. Steven was saying that putting your life on the line for strangers is certainly not an easy vocation, but he knew the men and women of the NYPD could and do make a difference in people’s lives. In fact, Steven’s was a life that underscores why most people decide to become police officers. Cops want to make a difference. Cops want to do good. Cops want to lead lives of significance. And they do. And Steven did every single day of his life. Steven was one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever met and one of the most fearless cops to ever don a uniform. Steven continues to be an icon. He believed that tragedy that befell him was something that happened to him for a reason – to inspire him, to inspire others – so that he could become a messenger. He often told people that the only thing that could be worse than being shot would have been to nurture revenge in his heart. Had he allowed that to happen, he said, his injury would have extended to his soul and further hurt those he loved. Always in control of his destiny, Steven chose to prevent that spiritual injury. Although he was able to breathe only with the help of a ventilator, Steven’s voice was always strong like his message – his message for improving relations between cops and community and his message of peace and forgiveness. Arguably, his life was shaped as much by those three bullets by that 15-year-old boy as by three words he famously expressed afterwards, “I forgive him.” Many of us might have given up after sustaining such a terrible injury. He was only 29 years old when he was shot, forever changing his life and the lives of Patti Ann and their unborn baby boy, Conor. About seven months later, Conor was baptized in the chapel at Bellevue Hospital where Steven began his recovery. Now, Sergeant Conor McDonald, himself, is 29 years old. And Conor, I’m so proud of you. And every bit his father’s son, and every bit the New York Rangers fan. I have Ranger cuff links on. [Laughter] I love you guys, but sometimes being a Rangers fan is not an easy job. [Laughter] Very high expectations this year. Steven would be the first to tell you there are no fans like Rangers fans and there are certainly no cops like New York City cops. To the McDonalds, being lifelong members of the Blueshirts faithful extends far beyond the ice at Madison Square Garden and is synonymous with being members of an amazing society of police officers, a bond that only those of us fortunate to serve New York City and its people can truly understand. Conor is a fourth generation cop. His great grandfather was a dedicated detective once honored by Mayor La Guardia for foiling a Bronx robbery ring. And one time he was shot while breaking up another heist in 1936. Conor’s grandfather, David, became a cop in 1951 and took young Steven on rides in his patrol car. Not sure if you’re supposed to do that. [Laughter] David, we’ll let you slide on that one. [Laughter] David is here today, retired as a sergeant in 1976. And Steven’s younger brother, Thomas, is also here. He was an NYPD Emergency Service Unit cop up in Truck-2 and those men and women up there are near and dear to my heart. The family’s history likely planted the seeds for Steven’s future and after serving four years as a medical corpsman in the Navy, he joined the NYPD in 1984. Times were very different back then. Although a bullet paralyzed Steven, it could never stop his commitment to serve others. Almost immediately, he embarked on a 30-year legacy of steadfast bravery inspired by his humanity, his compassion, and his ongoing devoted service to the NYPD and the people of this great city. Steven kept a pace that would tire even the most able bodied, speaking several times a month at schools and police precincts and attending more promotion ceremonies and line-of-duty funerals than anyone else I know. In the three decades following the shooting, Steven became an international ambassador for the NYPD and for his faith and a larger than life symbol of forgiveness. His global mission of goodwill and rebirth took him to the Middle East, Bosnia, and Northern Ireland where he promoted reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics. He spoke with President Reagan, met with Pope John Paul II, and Nelson Mandela. And in 2015, saw Pope Francis in Central Park. He spoke and listened to countless police officers and helped this wounded city heal in the aftermath of 9/11. He helped redefine what a hero is in the NYPD and he did something good every day. Steven McDonald was the strongest person I know and what we can learn from Steven’s life is this – the cycle of violence that plagues so many lives today can become overcome only by breaking down the walls that separate people. The best tools for doing this, Steven taught us, are love, respect, and forgiveness. The shield Steven wore proudly on his chest symbolizes something sacred to every man and woman who has ever been a member of the New York City Police Department. And every day that Steven was on this Earth, he embodied its rich tradition of courage and compassion. If nothing else, Steven wanted people to know that police officers take their job seriously because policing is a profession, it’s also a vocation. And Steven wanted people to know that if duty calls for it, police officers will give you everything. As we honor this great man today, let’s also ask that Steven’s fellow cops continue to be blessed and protected for they are the ones who will forever carry on his most important work. Thank you very much.
Friday, January 13, 2017 - 5:10pm
City land in three boroughs to become 100 percent affordable housing M/WBE projects; developments include space for a local farm, leadership academy, LGBT community center, tech incubator NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been today announced the selection of eight Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise teams to lead the construction of six new 100 percent affordable housing developments on vacant City-owned land. The developments will include about 440 homes for seniors and other New Yorkers with a variety of income levels, including extremely-low income and formerly homeless households. The sites are located in the Bronx’s Melrose and Crotona Park East sections, Brooklyn’s East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods, and Central Harlem. “These Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise firms are offering first-rate projects that will serve a diverse set of New York communities and New Yorkers. I congratulate them, and expect to see important work from each of them as we continue to work together in the future to protect affordability and quality of life in all our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Just shortly after announcing a 25-year high of affordable housing stock in New York City, we're enlisting the talent of Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses to continue building the equitable, affordable city we envision – a city that works with everyone and for everyone," said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Citywide M/WBE Director. “These skilled entrepreneurs will create new homes for more than 400 families while putting us well on track to fulfill the Administration's bold commitment to increase contracting opportunities for M/WBES." Aimed at increasing contracting opportunities for M/WBE firms in City housing and economic development projects, HPD issued a Request for Qualifications to create a pre-qualified list of M/WBE developers. The development of these properties was specifically restricted to respondents from that list through a Request for Proposals . In addition to hundreds of homes, these developments will incorporate community space for a green market, a high school capacity building program for STEM students, a tech center and an LGBT community center. With the creation of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBE’s, the City made a commitment to award at least 30 percent of the value of City contracts to M/WBE’s by 2021 and to double the number of certified M/WBE firms by 2019. The new office is working toward these goals by helping City agencies build and improve their M/WBE programs, increasing access to capital for M/WBEs, capping interest rates at 3 percent on City-financed loans, providing resources for additional capacity-building and technical assistance programs, and streamlining the M/WBE certification process. A series of initiatives specifically to increase the role of M/WBEs in City housing and economic development projects includes the establishment of a $10 million predevelopment loan fund to help emerging firms secure financing to purchase land and get projects underway, and an additional $10 million fund to help those firms secure the bonds they need in order to qualify for City business. Winning proposals in Brooklyn: 1921 Atlantic Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant will be developed by a team of M/WBE firms, Dabar Development Partners, LLC and Thorobird . The 25,762 square-foot site will be transformed into a mixed-use project with 183 affordable homes for seniors, and low- and moderate-income households. The project will feature a community facility operated by Oko Farms and NHS . A new fresh food grocery store will be created. 1510-1524 Broadway in Bedford-Stuyvesant will be developed by MacQuesten Construction Management . Partnering with the not-for-profit East Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation, the M/WBE will create 59 affordable homes for extremely-low income individuals on the 20,059 square-foot parcel. 461 Alabama Avenue in East New York will be developed by CB Emmanuel Realty . In partnership with the non-for-profit Services for Underserved, the M/WBE firm will transform the 10,000 square-foot lot into a supportive housing development, with 55 homes for formerly homeless and low-income households. The nonprofit will provide onsite supportive services for the homeless. The building will feature a recreation room, a landscaped yard and roof for resident use. Winning proposals in the Bronx: 1490 Southern Boulevard Crotona Park East will be developed by Type A Real Estate Advisors, LLC , into a 95-unit senior housing development, affordable to senior households with incomes between $25,400 and $38,100. Working with the LGBT Network and the Jewish Association Serving the Aging , the project will offer support services for senior residents and a community space with programing for the LGBT community of all ages. 359 East 157 th Street in Melrose will be developed by Infinite Horizons, LLC. With MBD Community Housing Corp., the M/WBE firm will build 20 affordable homes on the 4,700 square-foot parcel. The homes will be affordable to individuals with incomes between $50,750 and $63,500, and families with incomes between $65,250 and $81,600. The development will feature a green roof and solar panels. Winning proposal in Manhattan: 263-267 West 126 th Street in Harlem will be developed by M/WBE firms Lemor Realty Corporation and Apex Building Group. The companies will build a passive-house development with 29 affordable homes on the 8,492 square-foot property. The project will house a restaurant and space for the tech incubator company Silicon Harlem, which offers the Apps Youth Leadership Academy, a seven-week course for high school students focused STEM education and enrichment. “This is the first group of developers to take advantage of the City’s expanded resources for M/WBEs through our new innovative initiative, and to come out of our training programs with actual contracts for affordable housing projects,” said Jonnel Doris, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to do business with these entrepreneurs. It’s a big day for the City, making clear that an investment in M/WBEs is a benefit to all New Yorkers.” “This administration is deeply committed to expanding the pool of developers helping us create and preserve affordable housing,” HPD Commissioner Vicki Been said. “The six M/WBE teams selected to develop these City-owned sites reflect the diversity of our great city and its neighborhoods. The winning developments will create 440 affordable apartments, including supportive housing, senior housing, and housing for the homeless in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. I want to congratulate CB Emmanuel Realty, Dabar Development Partners, MacQuesten Construction Management, Infinite Horizons, LLC, Type A Real Estate, and Lemor Realty and Apex Building Group on their designation and their partnership in developing quality affordable housing that will strengthen our neighborhoods.” Housing Development Corporation President Eric Enderlin said, “HDC applauds HPD’s selection of M/WBE firms to develop six vacant City-owned sites into dynamic mixed-use affordable housing complexes. HDC is proud to support initiatives that increase opportunities for M/WBEs in the City’s affordable housing efforts. These latest designations will further strengthen the capacity of M/WBEs and diversify the affordable housing industry – key goals of the Mayor’s Housing New York plan.” “Mayor de Blasio has made a historic commitment to Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises and our Department is proud to support this work. Under the Mayor’s leadership, our Department has helped the City reach a new all-time high of 4,500 M/WBE firms certified to contract with the City and our goal is to double this figure by 2019,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “City contractors should reflect the rich talents and diversity of our people and the firms hired today for these six affordable housing developments reflect the City’s ongoing commitment to this principle.” “This is excellent news for the community and I am so excited to have 183 affordable units coming to my district in Bedford Stuyvesant. Every day the affordability crisis is having a very real, negative impact on our families, especially our children. I am pleased that we have committed city-owned property to meeting the housing needs of our residents and engaged M/WBE developers to take part in the effort to preserve affordability in communities across the city, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery said. “Taking vacant city-owned land and turning it into affordable housing, constructed and supported by M/WBE firms is a winning move. As the father of MWBEs, having authored Local Law 1 and Local 129, during my time in the City Council, I support the City’s commitment to helping these businesses realize their full potential. Moving forward, I will continue to work with the Mayor and his administration to ensure that more affordable housing is generated with a fair share of contracts going to MWBEs,” State Senator James Sanders said. “I am excited to see the selection of Minority and Woman Owned Business Enterprise teams to lead the construction of six new 100 percent affordable housing developments on vacant City-owned land,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Oversight Subcommittee on Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. “I am especially glad to see 440 units of new affordable housing combined with the commitment made by the City to award at least 30 percent of the value of City contracts, along with innovative social initiatives such as on-site supportive services for the homeless, a new fresh food grocery store, a green roof and solar panels, a community space with programming for the LGBT community, and a STEM education program.” “One of the biggest challenges in New York City today is the crying need for affordable housing. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and his team for this important move, both for the new construction, as well as for increasing contract opportunities for pre-qualified M/WBE firms by issuing a targeted Request for Proposals. Let this be one of many more such projects, and by M/WBE firms,” Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda said. "Congratulations to the selected contractors. Affordable housing is a critical need for Bedford Stuyvesant. This initiative represents the Mayor's commitment, not only for more housing, more jobs, but also the inclusion of M/WBE participation. The merging of all three is a winning combination," said Council Member Robert Cornegy, Chair of the Committee on Small Business. “I’m pleased to see the city’s commitment in continuing to expand the number of projects developed by M/WBE firms,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca. “It’s my hope that the six developments announced today will be followed by many more that will be constructed throughout the city in the years to come.” “We applaud Mayor de Blasio for focusing significant resources to strengthen New York City neighborhoods. There are few better ways to do that than empowering minority businesses as leaders in the rebuilding of often disinvested in communities,” said Carlton A. Brown, Principal of Full Spectrum of NY and a member of the Mayor’s MWBE Advisory Council. “I am so glad the Mayor is making decisions to build more affordable housing in a way that fulfills his stated goal of increasing affordable housing as well as contracting opportunities for M/WBEs. M/WBEs hire people of color so we also create jobs for our communities. What a win - win situation - additional employment opportunities as well as more housing for everyone,” said Bonnie Wong, President of Asian Women In Business. “Community Board 3 lauds the de Blasio Administration for achieving the dual goal of building 100 percent affordable housing and using M/WBE firms as the lead developers. We are particularly pleased that the housing facilities will be affordable for the various segments of our community,” said Richard Flateau, Chair of Community Board 3 in Bedford Stuyvesant. “Bravo to Mayor Bill de Blasio for keeping his word! He is building 100 percent affordable housing in East New York and using M/WBE firms to do it! I look forward to more projects like this coming to East New York,” Nikki Lucas, Female District Leader in the 60th Assembly District in Brooklyn and longtime East New York resident. “The LGBT Network is excited to bring much needed programming and services to Bronx LGBT families that will help save lives and build a safer, stronger and healthier community. We are grateful for Mayor de Blasio’s continued vision and leadership in expanding opportunities for Minority- and Women-owned businesses and are proud that our expansion for the LGBT community is a part of this important initiative” said David Kilmnick, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of the LGBT Network. “We are pleased with the Mayor's decision to support local MWBE'S here in the Bronx as well as the creation of new affordable housing. We believe this will rejuvenate the economics and help the underserved here in our Borough,” Russell Cheek, Community Organizer with Banana Kelly.
Friday, January 13, 2017 - 11:30am
"I am proud to be in the great company of Mayor Miner, who today announced that Syracuse will remain committed to serving and protecting its immigrant communities, especially in a national environment where immigrant families may be fearful about the future. Mayors of cities large and small across New York and across the country are taking the same stance - one that New York City steadfastly supports. In times as uncertain as these, it is crucial that mayors band together as the first line of defense for our residents. Together, we can protect our people."
Friday, January 13, 2017 - 7:30am
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Danny, thank you very much. I want to thank you for all that you have done as a leader of this community and of the People’s Firehouse. And there’s an amazing history – Danny was modest about it. People’s Firehouse for a lot of us is one of the great examples for decades, going back years and years ago – 1980s, I think originally. The People’s Firehouse was a community standing up and saying we need to make sure we can take care of our own people. That’s the history. It’s extraordinary history here. People in this community believed that they had to watch out for themselves and their neighbors. And Danny talked about what’s happened in Williamsburg in recent years when Williamsburg was struggling. All of the community activists who joined together to create the People’s Firehouse believed they could save Williamsburg. And a lot of people in the room today may have been around for those times, and I know a number of you weren’t. It was a very, very tough time in this city. And neighborhoods were experiencing huge disinvestment and so many questions about their future. People were fleeing. And a group of people decided to stand and fight – make sure that they could protect their communities. And all of the people who created the People’s Firehouse were part of that tradition. Then you fast forward to what Danny referenced more recently – all those who were those working people who built the neighborhood, including these wonderful seniors here behind us. They found the world turned very suddenly. And gentrification occurred, and it became harder and harder to afford their own neighborhood. Think about that for a moment – both the intensity of that change, but also think about the irony. Not long ago, in Williamsburg and in neighborhoods all over the city, people were leaving in droves, and those who were staying were fighting against crime and disinvestment and dealing with vacant lots and boarded-up store fronts. Only to find that after all their hard work to bring the community back, they started to get priced out of their own community. We do not accept that reality. We believe the City of New York can thank and reward those who stood and fought for their community – that it is their city. It is still their city. And our job is to make it affordable for every kind of New Yorker – for working people, for middle class people, for lower-income people – every kind of New Yorker because the magic of New York City is every kind of people in one place. That’s the secret formula. So here, the People’s Firehouse has partnered with us, and we have a chance to do the very thing that will keep New York New York, which is to create affordable housing, particularly for our seniors who carry with them all of the great history and traditions of this city. We know that housing is the number one expense in people’s lives. If you can lighten the burden with housing, then everything else is possible. If people can afford housing, they can afford to live here. If they can’t afford housing, the ballgame is over. So what’s happening here at Jarka Hall is so important because for these seniors – for these seniors, the question will now be answered. They will know they have a place they can afford to live for the long term. And they can enjoy this neighborhood that they did so much to protect. I want to thank all of them and say to these good seniors – thank you for standing by Williamsburg and standing by your city in good times and in bad. Let’s give them a round of applause. [Applause] And we’re here today to talk not only about the affordable apartments for seniors at Jarka Hall, but to tell you about the achievement this city has made when it comes to affordable housing. We’re now at the very beginning of a new year. And we can report to you that as of the end of 2016, we have built and protected the most affordable apartments in a quarter-century in this city – the most affordable apartments built or protected in any one year in a quarter-century. And that is 21,900 affordable apartments for New Yorkers who need them. We are very proud that that number means 62,000 families will have a place to live – a lot of them in the apartments that have been preserved. 62,000 families for whom the question of affordability is now answered – for whom they know this is their city, and it will still be their city for a long time to come. That’s what it means in human terms. In terms of what this government is doing, it also means something very important – to the people of New York City and to the taxpayers of New York City. It means that our vision for 200,000 affordable apartments is both on budget and ahead of schedule, and I want to thank all of my colleagues who are with me here today and all the people who work for them who have achieved this extraordinary goal. Let me acknowledge the people who are around me here. Some you’re going to here from in a few moments, so I will acknowledge them when they speak, but I want to thank the architect of so much of this success – our Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen – thank you. I want to thank the President of the Housing Development Corporation, Eric Enderlin – thank you so much. And two people are here from the City Planning Department – they’ve done extraordinary work facilitating so much of our affordable housing initiatives – of course the Chair Carl Weisbrod and Executive Director Purnima Kapur. We thank you both for your great work. And I want to just take a brief moment to thank Carl. Carl, for three years you have helped to drive so much of what this administration believes in, and so much that is changing the lives of New Yorkers. If you had just shown up for these three years and never done anything before for New York City, it would have been enough. But as a lot of people in this room know, Carl caught the bug for public service back during the Lindsay administration – never got over it – and has managed to be a key player in this city – an incredible, positive force in this city from the 1960s all the way to today. And I don’t think anyone has ever done more in terms of public service across administrations, and facing challenge after challenge, and has left such a big mark on the physical reality of this city – no one has done more than Carl Weisbrod. Let’s thank him. [Applause] My goal today was to make Carl Weisbrod blush. I hope I got there. I hope I got there. [Laughter] So, just a couple more points. We understand – Danny made the point that change is obviously inevitable. Gentrification is a double-edged sword – I’ve said that many times. It comes with very positive and very challenging elements. But the question I always get from people – how are we going to keep this place affordable? How – people literally say to me all the time – how am I going to stay here? How am I going to stay in neighborhood? How am I going to stay in my city? There is an urgent, urgent tone in people’s voice when they raise it to me. And what they need to know is that yes, of course there will be changes. Of course there will be development. They need to know that it will be fair. They need to know it will be equitable. They need to know that it will be of, and by, and for the people of the community. And so much of what we’ve done – partnering with great neighborhood organizations – is to make development work for the people. And that’s why Mandatory Inclusionary Housing was so important – to say the rules will now be changed in favor of the people. The message behind us today – this is still your city – reflects the answer that people keep seeking. They need to know that it’s not just powerful forces beyond them shaping things and leaving them out. They need to know that they are stakeholders. And everything we are doing with our affordable housing plan, our approach to development is to return power to the people and return the priority to the needs of the people at the neighborhood level. So my message to all New Yorkers today is this still is your city. And you’re going to see this affordable housing plan ensure for half a million New Yorkers that it will be their city for decades and decades to come. Overall, 62,506 apartments have been preserved or built since the affordable housing plan was begun in 2014. Again, that number is 62,506 apartments. A big focus in this initiative has been on seniors with fixed incomes, as are going to be all the apartments at Jarka Hall. Another focus has been on folks at the lowest income levels. I can report to you now that 28 percent of these apartments to date are for very low and extremely low-income New Yorkers – 28 percent of all of the apartments that have been preserved or built for folks at the lowest income levels. That’s well over 17,000 apartments already, and many more to come. But another part of the plan is for hard-working folks who are struggling to make ends to meet even though one or both members of the family have full-time jobs. And that includes so many of the people we depend on every day – nurses and first responders and people who make this city work in so many ways – they need affordable housing too. And that’s a crucial part of this plan. At Jarka Hall, $19 million was spent to preserve 63 apartments. They are all affordable for seniors – all 63 – they will be affordable for the next quarter-century. And the average rent here will be no more – I should not say the average – the rent will be no more than $1,000 a month – no more than $1,000 a month at Jarka Hall. For some seniors – even less – compared to the average rent in Williamsburg which nowadays is about $3,000 a month. At Jarka Hall, the rents will not go up, but the quality of apartments will because a lot of renovation has been done to make sure our seniors have the things they need to live a good life. So, yes, our city will keep growing. Yes, development will keep happening. But we are determined to make sure it is development that benefits those who have built our city and kept it great. A few words in Spanish – [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish.] With that, I want to welcome someone who deserves tremendous credit. She has guided this affordable housing plan from day one and has been an extraordinary and noble taskmaster to making sure that her agency and all her colleague agencies actually achieve these goals. And anyone in government who can say that they brought in their initiative ahead of schedule and under budget deserves the greatest praise of the people – our Housing Commissioner Vicki Been. [Applause] Commissioner Vicki Been, Housing Preservation and Development: Thank you Mr. Mayor, and thank you for your commitment to these issues, which is what makes us all able to do this. You know, as I was thinking about [inaudible] I remembered back almost three decades ago when I came out to this neighborhood on a number of occasions to work with the local residents to use evolving environmental justice and fair share principals to try to deal with the load of pollution and waste facilities, and the other things that marked the neighborhood at that time. And as I would sit in those meetings and I would listen to the Polish and the Spanish and the sprinkling of all different languages – and I would watch the people who had worked all day and then come to those meetings at night with their determination and their absolute commitment to making the neighborhood better; to giving their kids a better shot at life in their neighborhood, and to making better lives for themselves – it was in a word, awesome. I mean, it was just really amazing to see the activism in the neighborhood and the people who were determined to make this neighborhood better. And as we’ve watched the neighborhood evolve, in the ways that Danny so eloquently described, I have often wondered, ‘well what happened to those people?’ Were they able to remain in the neighborhood that they were working so hard to change? And the tenants that are with us here today and the tenants who Danny mentioned are really a testament to the power of affordable housing to stabilize neighborhoods and to allow the people who want to remain in the place that they’ve worked so hard to make the kind of home that they want to stay even as the neighborhood changes. We know that where you live matters; tour opportunities, your sense of self, and your outlook on the world all are critically wrapped up in the – in where you live and the kinds of opportunities that that place provides; and sometimes making the kind of life that you want to live means leaving your neighborhood and going someplace else. For somebody like me, grew up in a small town in Colorado where opportunities were few and constraints were many; coming to a place like New York changing it up completely changed my life and allowed me to do so much of what I’ve done. But sometimes making the life that you want means staying put; it means remaining near friends, it means keeping your kids in the school that they have gone to, staying near your job, staying near your doctors and your social network. And that is why it is so critical to us to both build new and to preserve homes in every neighborhood in the City. All New Yorkers should be able to live – to move to the neighborhoods that they believe will be a better place for them and they should also be able to stay put in a neighborhood they love when they believe that that is the best course for them. And both choices should come with the understanding that the City is going to work hard to make every neighborhood in this city – all neighborhoods in the City diverse places of incredible opportunity, and where people can thrive. Also, affordable housing doesn’t just make a difference in the lives of the tenants like we have here with us today. It defines who we are as a city. And affordable housing allows us to retain and attract the rich mosaic of people whose wide-ranging backgrounds, and cultures, and religions, and points and view, and experiences provide the incredible richness of ideas and culture and innovations that give this city what makes it so special. It gives it its spunk, its spirit, its vitality, its energy. And that is really why we started three years ago with this outsized ambition to produce and preserve enough affordable housing in combination with tenant protections and so much of the other things that this city is doing to set the City firmly on the side of being a city for all; and not let it become a gated community for the rich. And that is what we’ve done. And that meant that we had to reach New Yorkers at a far broader range of incomes than ever before, and to make sure that all of our neighborhoods rise together and are inclusive places of possibility and opportunity. And I’m so happy to be here to say that that is exactly what we have been doing. We’ve been delivering at a record scale – the 62,506 affordable homes that we’ve created or preserved are going to be homes and are homes for so many New Yorkers who will breathe a little easier because we’ve addressed the biggest challenge that they face, which is finding housing to stay in and in the neighborhoods that they want to be in or they want to stay in. And even more critically we’ve really, I think changed the parade gm over the last three years. When growth occurs there will be affordable housing, period – end of story – thanks to Carl and his team and so many of our partners. Where we grow, there will be affordable housing. And where we can improve our zoning codes to make buildings and neighborhoods not only better, but more affordable to meet the needs – the varied needs of our seniors, of our changing retail, of our neighborhoods it will be done; ZQA, thanks again to Carl and his team, done. So, it hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been smooth. There’s been lots of controversy and debate along the way, but that is because we proposed really fundamental changes and communities have sometimes understandably reacted with fear and distrust and we’ve had to work through that and we have. We forged a path forward. It’s a massive enterprise, involving not just an unparalleled investment of resources that this mayor put in, but the creative thinking and commitment of our partners at all levels of government and across the affordable housing community. And it has really taken an uncountable number of late nights and hard work and back and forth and God knows how many tress killed for the documents necessary to do all of this, but it has really taken a village. And I want to thank my HPD team and our sister agency HDC. Our Deputy Commissioner of Development Molly Park, who had to fill very big shoes when Eric Enderlin went to HDC; joined in October, hit the ground running and literally has not missed a beat. And she has worked alongside Kim Darga, Jessica Katz, John Garrity, Louise Carroll, Miriam Colon, and Lisa Talma; our neighborhood strategies and planning team led by Dan Hernandez – Daniel Hernandez, our brilliant legal team led by Matt Shafit and Ken Kurland, and all of the rest of the brain trust who never stops – everyday are thinking about how can we do this better, how can we do this cheaper, how can we do this faster because we’ve got to get this housing into the hands of the people who need it. And it is an all-star team. They work so hard. They think so hard. They are true public servants who care about the people and their lives who we are providing housing for. So, I am enormously proud of what we have accomplished. I am enormously thankful to the team, to all of our partners and as we see new challenges on the horizon, which there certainly are, that just steals our reserve to do even more to make sure our city remains a city for all. For the New Yorkers who are struggling so hard to get by with unimaginable tenacity and resolve, to the once solid middle class that also serves as the base of our city. We have to be a city for all. And I think that this is a great step to get there. Mayor: Amen. Thank you very much, Vicki, well said. Well, we have – let’s give her a round of applause. [Applause] Mayor: We have a very special guest with us and he was special before his new appointment, but now he is very special – [Laughter] Mayor: – because if you know what matters to New York City, obviously housing one of the number one issues, and a lot of important deskins are made in Albany and so the Chair of the Housing Committee in the Assembly is a crucial, crucial figure in terms of the work we’re doing. And as a Brooklynite I am very proud of the fact that the new chair is going to be a great chair and someone who is going to stand up affordable housing in New York City. It’s my pleasure to welcome Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz. [Applause] […] Mayor: Amen, music to my ears – thank you. [Laughter] [Applause] Mayor: They chose the right man for the job. [Laughter] Mayor: Excellent. Now – a man who has also stood up for this city and for affordable housing, and represents this district – and also the dean of the New York City delegation in the State Assembly – Assemblyman Joe Lentol. [Applause] […] Mayor: Thank you very much – very much appreciated. Thank you, Joe and thank you for your support and I give both you and Stephen Levin that persistence prize. [Laughter] Mayor: Now, I want to turn to the Chairman of subcommittee on zoning and franchising in the Council. He has been one of the leaders in the City Council in the effort to create affordable housing all over the City and his district is also an epitome of a place that needs it. And he has fought for the people of his district in the process as well, Councilman Donovan Richards. […] Mayor: Thank you very much, Donovan. Very much appreciated. [Applause] Mayor: Finally, I want to call up the homeboy here. [Laughter] Mayor: The Councilman who represents this district and has again has been a partner throughout in all of the efforts to create affordable housing, Councilman Steve Levin. [Applause] […] Mayor: I want to pledge before everyone, Steve, we will be outrageously aggressive. [Laughter] Mayor: So, I want to just give – before we turn to questions we’re going to take questions on this plan and everything affordable housing. I want to turn back to Danny because he wants acknowledge some of his team who worked so hard; so, Danny over to you. […] Mayor: Thank you very much. Alright, questions – Courtney. Question: Mr. Mayor, [inaudible] what is the discrepancy there and does it have anything to do potentially with [inaudible] 421-a? Mayor: Let me start and then Alicia or Vicki may want to jump in. I’m a glass half full kind of guy. What I like beyond the fact that it’s ahead of schedule and under budget – 67 percent being preservation means that affordable housing is getting into people’s hands most quickly. The preservation piece of this equation was always the dominant piece. It is also the faster piece. A lot of times we are literally preserving people in place in their apartment or rehabbing them and having them come right back in. So, I think it is very healthy that piece is moving so aggressively because every single human being we get their apartment preserved for them that is a right now thing. That’s one more family that’s not experiencing the affordable housing crisis anymore. I do think the absence of 421-a has been unhelpful to say the least. I don’t think it has been critical in the sense of a lot of great work continues to be done, and a lot was already in the pipeline, but we need it and I am increasingly optimistic that it will be done soon. There are still challenges, but I am increasingly optimistic it will be done soon. So, I think that was a factor, but I don’t believe it was a particularly overwhelming factor in the equation, but let me let the experts speak to it. Deputy Mayor Glen: Let me also just say, Courtney, it is a ten-year plan and there will be ups and downs. And new construction does take longer than preservation. And it depends upon so many of the things that we’ve put in place. So, we now have MIH and just since MIH was approved last spring we’ve got 1,500 permanently affordable new construction units coming online. We’ve got another 2,500 affordable units coming online just through MIH – just since the spring. The truth is that these three years we’ve produced more new construction than in any other period that there are records for the affordable housing program. So, we’ve shown that we can do it. We know we can do it and we got a lot coming online that you’re going to see in the years to come. Mayor: Questions. Okay, in the back. Question: Commissioner Alicia Glen, in 2015 you gave an interview talking about how [inaudible] change isn’t bad per say. I want to know if in the last two years working in City government if your perspective has changed on that at all having come from the private sector? Deputy Mayor Glen: Well, first of all, I’d say that I have worked in the public sector before I was in the private sector – Mayor: She was a – she started out as a legal aid attorney. Deputy Mayor Glen: But also as you may know from my bio I have worked for Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins where the Mayor and I, literally, crossed paths on our way through to work one day. So, I have actually worked in the public sector before. I think what I said in fact very consistent with what Commissioner Been said, which is that there is an obviously natural tendency for people to want to stay and live in the neighborhoods and the towns that many people grew up in. And I think that is a true statement and we should do everything we can to provide the opportunity for people, but I think it is also true that not everybody has a right to live exactly on the block that they lived on. And those two things are not inconsistent with each other. You want to think about these holistically as neighborhoods. I live in the same zip code I was born in and I have seen the evolution of my own neighborhood over the past, dear I say now, 50 years. But I think that our primary goal is to make sure that particularly with neighborhoods that are rapidly changing, where prices are really skyrocketing, that the folks who did stay in those neighborhood, who were part of the years where there was significant disinvestment and many of us stayed and we sent our children to those public schools etcetera, that those folks are our primary concern; that if you were part of the solution you get to be part of the benefits of that solution. And I think my comments are not inconsistent. And I don’t think anybody thinks there is a right to live on the block you were born in, but I do think collectively we have an obligation to make sure that people who have been part of these neighborhoods for decades have the opportunity to stay there and particularly the folks who were there for the tough years. And that’s why the senior housing emphasis is so incredibly important. Mayor: Okay, questions. Yes. Question: Mr. Mayor, and other officials, is it safe to say that at this point that rezoning other than East New York are moving significantly slower pace than you thought they would? And are you concerned at all about spacing those neighborhood and community rezonings as you now enter year four and there’s only been one so far. Mayor: The bible teaches us to everything there is a season. [Laughter] Mayor: So – I just came from the clergy breakfast, so forgive me. [Laughter] Mayor: The – look, first of all, the ones coming up next, East Harlem and North Shore, Staten Island both look very promising. So – and there is a lot more behind them. I think it is fair to say these things take serious time – serious time commitments. And one of the things that Carl and [inaudible] have done a great job of is getting it right and working very closely with councilmembers on what will work. But the rezonings are part of the puzzle and so if you say – look, is every rezoning moving on the optimal pace? No. Some go faster, some go slower, but that’s also not unexpected on one level because you have to get it right and you have to listen to the stakeholders and we really believe that a great rezoning is when in the end people feel really satisfied with the outcome. And we do not, I’m going to be very blunt about this – especially siting here with my esteemed colleagues Lentol and Levin – we are not interested in some of the bait-and-switch approaches to rezonings of the past such as the infamous Greenpoint/Williamsburg rezoning of 2005 where things like the affordable housing commitments somehow accidently were not kept. We believe that if we make a commitment it has got to be ironclad. So everything we did East New York is going to happen as stipulated. Everything we’re going to do in East Harlem and North Shore, Staten Island is going to go as stipulated. Sometimes that does take more time; there is no question about it. The other piece to the equation that I’d say is we look across the whole playing field. Rezonings are important, but they are not numerically the most important part of the equation. The preservation – in terms of the affordable housing plan – preservation is the motherlode and then we’re creating affordable housing in a lot of ways that don’t have to do with rezonings, but we definitely need rezonings to be a part of the bigger package. But remember, that’s the affordable housing plan. That’s the 500,000 people who are reached through that. But you’ve got to also add into the equation the two million rent stabilized folks who have gotten rent freeze; you have to add into the equation the thousands of people who have not been evicted because of legal services. You have to add into the equation the 400,000 people in public housing who we are protecting and improving the physical plant of. All of that is part of the macro affordable housing vision. So, we’re going to try our [inaudible] to get each rezoning to move as aggressively as possible, but we’re not going to rush a rezoning if we think it is not going to be as good as it could be. Want to add? New York State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol: I can add. Mayor: Please, you’re in the middle of all this. Assemblyman Lentol: Far Rockaways in the mix too. And I’ll say, I think one thing that I have noticed through all of these processes is definitely the community engagement piece, which is definitely critical through all of this. In one sense we want to get rezonings done really fast, but you don’t want communities to feel like you’re just shoving it down their throat, right. So, listening to stakeholders is definitely critical. And I have to say that we have been going through a community engagement process for over a year in Far Rockaway and we’re finally ready to move into the [inaudible] soon. And it’s been a really – real big help in terms of addressing a lot of the needs that the community has spoken about; whether its density parking, transportation, all of these different factors. So, we would always take that over speed because you want to get it right and make sure that councilmembers, most importantly, are comfortable as we move through these [inaudible]. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Again, I’ll speak as the lament and Alicia may want to chime in. No, I think Flushing is in the mix. I think there were some concerns that came up that had to be addressed. I think to some extent some of that was maybe a little exaggerated, but there is still real work that can be done there. Deputy Mayor Glen: I would just say that – right now it’s not the priority and it is not actively, but we are going to reconsider based on some of the comments that we received from the community and the councilman. Mayor: Over here – please. Assemblyman Lentol: I think you’re asking a very good question, and I wanted to amplify what the Mayor said about it because it is crucial for neighborhoods to understand that the prior administration made a lot of promises in this neighborhood that weren’t kept at the 2005 rezoning. And the Mayor knows it – and one of the linchpins of that agreement, actually the linchpin was a park. And that administration left office and left this community without a park after rezoning was finished. And we had to fight for another ten years and it took his Mayor – another mayor – who didn’t have to fulfill the commitment made by a prior administration in all likelihood, but he did. And so, I am sure that since he lived up to that commitment we can rely on this mayor to live up to the commitment of rezoning in other neighborhoods. [Applause] Mayor: Thank you very much, Joe. Yes. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: That’s a great question and I appreciate it very, very much because this is a conversation we need to have in this city. And it’s a big challenging conversation. Everything related to development and gentrification and rising cost and how we should handle ourselves – and just a growing city; a city well on its way to nine million people. This is what we should be talking about every day. So, look, there is a fork in the road. I spoke about this at a town hall meeting out in East New York after the rezoning. There is a fork in the road. We have a chosen another path decisively. We believe the facts support this choice, but we also welcome a discussion and we welcome people to present any counter facts because we all should work on this together. Here’s how I would describe the fork in the road; there is a strategy you could choose, which is essentially a status quo strategy, where you say we’re not going to do rezonings because we fear any intensification of development and we’d rather leave the status quo in place even though we won’t get new affordable housing built, we still think it nets out better. You can make that argument, right? Because the cost won’t go up in the neighborhood or there won’t be this place and etcetera. Honestly, if I believed that is what really happened I might find that an appealing option, but I – everything I do I do because of the conversations I have had with every day New Yorkers, because of what I have seen in neighborhoods. And as a Brooklynite I tell the story of what I saw happen in neighborhoods where there were no rezonings – the story of Bushwick, the story of Bed-Stuy, the story of Prospect Heights I can go through many, many examples. And what – even to the point when I was a councilman in my neighborhood in Brooklyn and we had to make a decision about Atlantic Yards my – and everyone knows that project has not completed anywhere near the timeline we wanted it to, but the original logic still holds. I saw my own neighborhood go from, in the same timeframe we’re talking about with [inaudible]. I was in Park Slope in 1980s as a college intern and people were leaving and there were vacate lots and there were boarded up storefronts, the whole nine yards. And then by the time Chirlane and I moved there in 1992, the neighborhood has stabilized and by the time we bought our first house in 1998 it was getting pricey. And by the time we bought our current house in 2000 it was becoming absolutely unaffordable. We feel if we hadn’t bought our house we would not have been able to stay in the neighborhood. So, the reason I tell you that story is I saw with my own eyes how rapidly – with no rezoning whatsoever – a neighborhood could change and there could be intense displacement and that proceeded to happen all over Brooklyn; and again, the two particularly powerful examples, Bushwick and Bed-Stuy to me. So, I came to a conclusion that – and I am critical of the impact of market forces, I have been open about it. I have real questions about the problems of the free enterprise system. Market forces left without regulation in this city as the popularity of this city has grown, as the economy has strengthen, as it has become safer those market forces will continuously displace people. [Inaudible] buy out lots of people legally and then as you have seen, there will be some people who very inappropriately try to use illegal means. And in the past those illegal means were not inhibited properly. But any way you slice it there will be a huge amount of displacement and pricing out if there is no government intervention. We made the decision that government intervention maximizes our chance of controlling the situation more favorably. One, we’re talking about 25 percent or 30 percent under MIH, affordable housing. On top of that, a lot of other things we’re doing to create and preserve affordable housing. So, we take a very interventionist view. We’re going to go in and take every power we have to maximize the creation and preservation of affordable housing in place and to ensure that development must include affordable housing, but also that those neighborhoods, many long suffering neighborhoods – East New York is a great example – will get things that neighborhood residents have needed for a long time; schools, parks, more jobs etcetera. The problem with the counter theory is – and if you don’t have rezonings you also miss all of those benefits that neighborhoods needed. Now, I’m sorry to be wordy, but I think it is such an important topic. There are some who almost come to the point of saying leave the neighborhood the way it is even if the neighborhood still has not been treated fairly. And this is a philosophical problem for me. East New York was not treated fairly historically. It didn’t have it share of any of the things we valued; jobs, the best educational opportunities, it wasn’t safe enough, and it didn’t have enough amenities. I’m not comfortable leaving it the way it is. So – and I think the Rockaways, I don’t even need Donavan to be here to say that one of the number one examples in the history of New York City of inequity. So, the Rockaways pre-Sandy was in an unacceptable situation, Sandy made it worse. So, you could say, ‘well, let’s not develop in the Rockaways so that people can afford to be there, but the problem is; one, I don’t think it is going to be as simple as that. And two, a lot of people won’t get permanent quality affordable housing; and then three, all of those wrongs that need to be righted in the Rockaways; all of the community benefits they should have gotten decades ago won’t come because we know rezonings are one of the fastest most effective ways to bring things into a community. Look at Bushwick Inlet Park as an example. But for a rezoning there would not be a 28-acre park. So, that’s – again, forgive the wordiness, but you’re asking such an essential question. I fall down on the side of we must – the government must regulate the situation aggressively [inaudible]. We must be aggressive. If I had more powers I would regulate it even more aggressively. If I had the power, some of these shiny glass and steel buildings would not be going up all over New York City, but the fact is the alternative of standing back to me ultimately fails. I want to perfect the intervention. I want to perfect what we can do to steer neighborhoods towards affordability and to ensure the maximum number of community residents can stay there. Please. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: It’s a great question again. I appreciate it. I’ll again, I’m probably frustrating my more [inaudible] colleagues here because – [Laughter] Mayor: – I do not have their experience or their degrees, but that won’t stop me. [Laughter] Mayor: Look, it’s a great question. Let me say two things, one, I was with people who fought for inclusionary – mandatory inclusionary. I had – in the previous administration I one day innocently called up the deputy mayor who used to have Alicia’s role and said in 2004 to the Park Slope rezoning in the early 2000s; I said wouldn’t it be great if we started dong mandatory inclusionary zoning. I got a less than friendly reception to that idea. [Laughter] And everyone remembered the previous administration wouldn’t go near it. We see these things in stages. Now having instituted in the biggest city in the country a mandatory requirement for affordability is a huge step. It is not static, if we find ways to deepen it and improve upon it you know we’re going to grab those. We will be very aggressive. But I think what Alicia would say, if she were here – [Laughter] Mayor: – is that – oh, Alicia, she would say it so well. [Laughter] Mayor: She would say this to you; that we have to figure out the sweet spot that would actually lead to the buildings being built. This is a very interesting equation. Again, I am critical of the free enterprise system, but I do understand there are certain operating realities and if the financing doesn’t work in the eyes of the people who have to build the building, they won’t build the building. If they don’t build the building, we don’t get the affordable housing. So, if we thought we could have gone a lot farther on those requirements and actually gotten buildings built, we undoubtedly would have done it. I assure you a lot of people thought 25 percent and 30 percent was very, very high and stretching. I think the point to remember also is that each development is an opportunity to deepen the plan, deepen the deal. Again, nothing is static. Whatever we entrepreneurially see an opportunity to go farther, we’re going to do it. So, I am not trying to suggest to you that everything I have said is a perfect theory of the case. I am saying this is this working model we believe is the best chance – gives us the best chance at success. Mayor: I am saying this is the working model we believe is the best chance – gives us the best chance at success. But we would welcome along the way people showing us if there’s a way to go even farther. At least now, not only is our foot in the door, we have changed the fundamental rules of the game. Now that Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning is here, you got a whole different paradigm you’re working with. Let’s see if we can take that paradigm even farther under the right conditions. Do either one of you want to add? Unknown: [Inaudible] Mayor: Thank you. Unknown: You said it all. Mayor: They’re supposed to say – one of them is supposed to say, I don’t understand a word he just said. Question: Affordable housing is something you talked about yesterday with President-elect Trump, and if not, what did you two discuss, please? [Laughter] Mayor: That was a very good, very good pull-in, but I am going to dignify it because I think – two things. One, because this is going to be a big topic of discussion – it was not yesterday. But it is, and I think it’s fair for me to say that upfront. Conversation yesterday was exactly what Eric put out. It was a brief conversation, but explicitly to say – I think his message to his message to New York City was – we hear you on the impact of the security costs, and let’s work together on this issue. No guarantee of an outcome because that has to be done by the Congress. But I appreciate it, of course. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I appreciated him reaching out and saying that. But it was a brief conversation. But I will say to you that one of the biggest conversations we’re going to have with this administration is going to be about housing. I reached out to Secretary – [inaudible] Secretary-designate Carson. I’ve asked him to come here and visit and let him see some of what we’re doing on affordable housing. But one of the things I’m going to talk a lot about to members of the Trump administration is that if they want a vibrant economy and they want cities to work – it runs through affordable housing. And there’s so much of what could happen in the cross fire that could really hurt us. Things like the Section 8 program, and the support for public housing are in great danger if a Republican Congress follows through on its historic desire to cut those things back. And if there are tax cuts that reduce revenue, where is that revenue loss going to be made up? I fear it is going to be made up on affordable housing programs. So I assure you in subsequent conversations with him and with many other members of his team, this will be a central issue. Sally? Question: If I could get an on-topic, but I just wanted to follow-up. Did Ben Carson get back to you? Mayor: Yes, we spoke. I’ve said that publicly. We spoke. We had a very good conversation. Brief again, but good. And I welcomed him. He was very receptive. He made clear he was going to be visiting cities around the country. And I told him that affordable housing in this city was essential to everything we’re doing and that the federal support through HUD was something that you know many, many hundreds of thousands of people depend on, especially our public housing residents. And I wanted him to see firsthand, and he was very receptive. Question: Today’s announcement – as you know, there are people – you know, New Yorkers, not just politicians and activists – but residents who feel that no matter how much affordable housing you build, it’s not affordable enough for them. You know they can’t – they just can’t afford those AMIs. And I know your argument has been it’s better to have these sort of mixed-income neighborhoods. But since there are all these federal and state conditions that are going to affect your plan going forward, do you ever consider just taking the money you have control over and building more units, maybe not in middle-income neighborhoods, but just giving more housing to very poor people, even in Brownsville? Mayor: Look, I want to – I want to argue the bigger case. Maybe at this point, Alicia and Vicki will get a chance to jump in. The – again, so let me offer you a vision of three million people. This is – this is something I keep trying to tease out. There’s 8.5 million of us. I want to talk about 3 million basically within that 8.5 million. Two million-plus in rent stabilized housing; 400,000 in public housing; 500,000 who will be reached by this plan by 2025; and thousands, and that number I think is going to end up being in the tens of thousands who will not be evicted because of the anti-eviction legal services. But rounding off liberally here – 3 million people. When I talk about is a New York City for all, a New York City where everyone has a chance to have a shot and to be here, that 3 million is the essence of things. Do we want to go farther than that? Of course. But, in that 3 million people are a lot of very low-income people. Mayor: And I think the fact of the matter is that we use so many tools to reach very low-income people and it’s a passion for all of us, but we also know that a city is made up of every kind of people. And if it was just that the folks at the lowest income levels were struggling, but everyone else who was working class and middle class was doing just fine – that would be a different discussion. That would really be a different discussion. Because then we’d say – okay, we have only one real problem to address, let’s put everything into that one real problem. Boy are we in the opposite place, especially since the Recession, and with the incredible increase in the price of housing at the same time as the Recession, which is another thing I think should be talked about a lot more. How do you have a national Recession – a huge number of people end up economically insecure or even in poverty – don’t come back from it, don’t really economically recover – and then the price of housing skyrockets throughout the whole thing, literally. That’s a – that’s a perfect storm. So given that reality, we have to make sure working class people, and middle class people can live in this city and stay in this city. And they need help to do it. It’s not going to happen without us for a lot of people. And I think that’s a just thing. I think they’re all stakeholders, they’re all citizens, they’re all part of the equation. So that’s how we’re proceeding to do it. That being said, as I said today, 28 percent of what has been done so far – 28 percent of the 62,000 apartments are for very low and extremely low-income New Yorkers. And I think that shows a lot of commitment. What have I missed? Deputy Mayor Glen: I would just say that I want to respectful of the Mayor’s time, and we’re going to have time afterwards with some reporters to delve more deeply into this. So if there’s anything else for the Mayor, I think we should do that. Unknown: Anything else for the Mayor before we – Mayor: Please, Erin. Question: Question – you know there is an official definition of affordable housing – 30 percent of your income – but I think when most people hear the term, they probably think of it more colloquially. And you know there have been a number of cases – you know in East Harlem for instance – affordable housing apartments that cost over $3,000, which is well more than the median rent in the neighborhood; and the Atlantic Yards project, studios that are affordable that actually rent for a few dollars more than the market-rate ones in that same project. So I guess I would ask – what to you is the benefit of having those types of apartments be in the program at all? And how do you – apart from the official, numerical definition – do you think – how do you define what you can really consider affordable? Mayor: Well I would say this – and again, I’ll start, and Alicia and Vicki can chime in. The – first of all I think the big difference between a market and something done by the government is the government has an obligation to provide a guarantee to people. And the market has no such obligation. So I think what you’re saying, first of all, is pretty exceptional in the scheme of things, and it doesn’t refer to the vast majority of the affordable housing plan. You’re talking about a relatively few units within the plan. But more to the point – whatever is done there is going to be locked in and guaranteed for the long term for those families. The market does not offer any such guarantee. So what you’re describing today in five years might be a very different situation where the affordable housing unit is in a very different and lower price range compared to what the market around it is doing. But the bottom-line is we’re trying for people who are poor, for people who are working class, for people who are middle class – they all need to be able to live here. And I think we can all agree that after the 60s, 70s, 80s in this city where middle-class people left in droves, that that’s when the city is in danger, when the middle class can’t be here stably. We’ve got to make sure this is a city still for the middle class. Vicki made the point – it’s one of the number one animating values of this administration – if the only people who can live here increasingly are well-off people, that’s not going to work. There has to be range of people in this city. There has to be every kind of person, every kind of income represented. And we believe for a lot of middle class people if we’re not in this equation, they’re not going to be here. I mean I’ve talked to so many – the classic couple – you know a teacher and firefighter, whatever who – you know, I remember the day – it was actually a nurse and firefighter. They were parents whose sons played on the same travel baseball team as Dante – nurse and a firefighter, and the nurse told me in frustration one day in the bleachers – she said we’ve looked all over Brooklyn, and we can’t find a home we can afford in Brooklyn. This was maybe seven years ago, let’s say. And she said it with shock. She was from Brooklyn. And she said it with shock – that like they were a two-income family, and they were good incomes, but they could not find a home they could afford in Brooklyn. Well I think those folks deserve a chance to be here too. So that’s the theory of the case. But I also would say, and now they’re going to give you a fact – the core of the affordable housing plan reaches working people and let’s give a sense of the income band because there’s a lot of mystery around this stuff – where so much of the middle of our plan reaches. And don’t say AMI, say human being numbers about income. Unknown: Human capital numbers. Commissioner Been: I have been chastised enough times in public on that issue, so I will – in a loving way, yes. So, I mean what we have done is for example more than half of our production so far has been for families of three – for families of three making from $40,000 to $65,000. Eleven percent of what we’ve produced so far – I’m sorry, six percent of what we’ve produced so far has been for families – families of three again, making again between $65,000 and $97,000. Mayor: So stay on the first one. Give that first one again. I want to – Commissioner Been: $40,000 – let’s call it $41,000 to $65,000. Mayor: Okay, $41,000 to $65,000, family of three – and that is how much? That’s over half. Commissioner Been: That is 52 percent of what we’ve done so far. Mayor: That core of this. And you can look at the original plan laid out in May of 2014. Those are hard-working people, struggling to make ends meet. That is a classic working person’s income in New York City today, including obviously even two-family incomes. And those are the folks that we very, very much believe need to have a place in this city. So the question of what is affordable – this is like, I get the question all the time – it’s a very fair question. Affordable is – it’s a question for every family, what their situation is, what they can afford. We’re trying to match it with a whole range of families. You’re right at that 30 percent rule. And you should talk about this because people don’t understand this. Thirty percent is sort of the gold standard of affordability. We talk about how we do that with preservation for example. But if the thing – if I was able to say to you – affordable means every apartment in New York City is $1,000 a month and all, that would be a beautiful world. It would be an impossible world, but it would be a beautiful world. The real world is affordable is trying to find that sweet spot for a family that they can still afford to be here, and that’s very different depending on what family you’re dealing with. But talk about how the 30 percent rule works. Commissioner Been: So, the 30 percent rule is – you would pay 30 percent of your income and many – remember, that many people are also using vouchers or other kinds of rental assistance. So, 30 percent of their income will actually be less than the income restrictions that we talk about. But the other point that I think is really critical to make here is that in many cases the apartments that are at the highest end of the spectrum – and we’ve tried very hard in our buildings to have a spectrum because all of the research shows that mixed-income buildings are stronger buildings over the long term. But at the high-end, they’re also helping to cross-subsidize those at the very low-end, and that’s what makes it possible in many cases for us to do that. Mayor: Explain that for us laymen. Commissioner Been: Pardon? Mayor: Cross – explain how cross subsidies work. Commissioner Been: So the people who – the rents that the people are paying at the very top of that distribution are helping to pay their – pay – allow us to target at incomes where the rents that people pay do not pay enough to keep the building afloat, right? So it’s that mix of incomes that makes the buildings work. Mayor: Okay, last call, yes? Question: [Inaudible] make the buildings stronger? Commissioner Been: Why are they stronger? Because they are more resilient when – I mean, the research shows they are more resilient when something happens in terms of a downturn in the market. They’re more resilient because that provide that diversity, and those different kinds of experiences, and different kinds of life choices, and different kinds of educational backgrounds, etcetera, that just tend to make for a more vibrant, healthier, and more energetic system. Mayor: On the point about the financial stability. I think what it is – this is again, I have spent years trying to understand this stuff, and I’m still working on it. So a building is its own ecosystem with its own financial reality, and we have to remember the finances have to add up each year. And when you have this cross-subsidy point, it’s so important. If you said – again, I would fully understand if someone said – why can’t you put up a lot of buildings, again with $1,000 a month rent, and no matter how low-income someone is, everyone could live there, and we’d all be great? You have to pay for that. So, if we had limitless public resources, that would be called public housing, right? We would be building all sorts of public housing, as was done from Fiorello on. But that ended a long time ago because of the financial reality. It became overwhelming. So, we try to, as intelligently as possible, use the private market dynamics to our favor – channel them with regulation to get the most we can out of the private market, and create a financially viable building that’s going to be there long term. If we say to these seniors – we’re giving you a quarter-century guarantee, we damn well better be able to back it up – that the finances are going to work, year-in and year-out. So, in the case of a typical building with a mix of incomes, the think the way I’d say it – if you have a mix of some higher income and lower income wealth, for the higher income, you’re subsidizing for the low-income, your [inaudible] rising more. Regardless of what’s going on in your economic reality outside, that gives you the most chance that that individual building is going to work for the long haul. Imagine when it doesn’t – and we’ve had to go in and save some deals from the past – you’ve heard about the Mitchell Llama buildings and everything else. When the financing falls apart, the government either has to come in and pay a lot more to fix it or the building goes private. So, again, this is – I’m the ultimate layman here and the experts will tell me when I say something stupid – but my layman’s explanation is, we’re a little bit trying to make up for some of the sins of the past by being more honest about what it’s going to take to sustain these deals for the long term and to make sure they don’t end up just doubling right back on the taxpayer and needing a lot more subsidy. Last call – wait, a little but more. I know I’m supposed to be doing other things, but it’s such a good conversation, Eric. [Laugher] Question: I’d like to begin by thanking you for saving my life – and when I say that I mean that quite literally. I’m in a 421-a building – Mayor: I’m sorry, I’m going to ask you one thing – Question: Yes? Mayor: Are you a member of the media? Question: No. Mayor: Okay, I will talk to you after because the press conference is for media, but I would happily see you in a moment. Okay, thank you. I’m happy that worked. Okay – last call – media questions. I see two – and then we’ll close it down. Go ahead, guys. Unknown: Left – right there. Question: Mr. Mayor – Mayor: My left, right there. [Laughter] Question: Mr. Mayor, your press office tells me – Mayor: Louder. Question: The press office tells me that 800 of this year’s 22,000 [inaudible] were 421-a backed. That doesn’t sound like that many to me, so I’m wondering if it’s really worth [inaudible]? Mayor: I will preface by saying, remember, the 421-a that we believe in no longer subsidizes luxury condos, provides a lot higher percentage of affordability, is a much better deal for the taxpayer. That’s the 421-a I think, in essence, we’re going to get, and I think that will help the equation, but it’s a very fair question. If it’s been so little so far, how much does 421-a matter at this point? Commissioner Been: So, what you’re seeing in any buildings that are getting 421-a are the old 421-a. Those are buildings that are, you know, came online a while ago but are now, you know, coming into our pipeline – the affordability is. So, you know, the thing that we want to emphasize is what the Mayor said – that the 421-a reforms that we worked so hard to get passed in Albany took out luxury condos, required larger percentages of affordability, required deeper affordability and a range of affordability, and, you know, really got a much better deal for the taxpayer’s money, right? And that’s what we’re hoping will come back in this legislative session. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Yeah, but you’re saying – are you saying, is it – that an indicator that we could always do that? Is that your question? Question: I’m just wondering – I was very surprised that there’s only 800 of the 22,000 units, so it makes wonder how that [inaudible] is needed. Commissioner Been: But again – for example, last year, we had several thousands, I think – more than 3,000 actually that were coming [inaudible]. So, you know, we have managed because I have an incredible team and we’ve worked very hard to bring those in. But over a 10-year period, do we need a good, efficient 421-a? Yes – it will bring units in and it will bring them in, in some of the most expensive neighborhoods where it would be impossible for us to buy land at the prices that they are. So, yes, we need it, but we need it to be efficient, we need to get enough affordability, and we need to get deep enough and a broad enough range of affordability to make it worth our tax dollars to do that. Mayor: Last call – there you go. Question Did Sunnyside Yards projects go live? Or have you moved that to the back burner because it’s too costly? Mayor: I wouldn’t say we moved it to the back burner because it’s too costly, I’d say, right now, there would have to be more work done to get it where we want it to be. There obviously were real differences with the State of New York. We think our original proposal made a lot of sense and could be very good for everyone – we think it could be good for the State; we think it could be good for Amtrak; we think it could be good for the City. We also know we could create a huge amount of affordable housing. Look, and real neighborhood – fair neighborhood concerns have been raised about potential congestion and about amenities and transportation – things the community would need. But I think it could all be put together and be an incredible thing for the people of Queens, but we’re going to have to have, you know, more work done with the community and more work done with the State to get it to be a more immediate opportunity. Thank you, everyone.
Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 5:10pm
Three years into Mayor’s housing plan: 41,600 families see rent-protected and needed repairs, 20,800 new affordable homes coming online for New Yorkers to rent Affordable housing in 2016 hits 25-year high NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that his Administration financed more affordable housing in 2016 than in any time in the past 25 years. Three years in, his team has extended affordability for decades to come at 41,600 homes and spurred construction of 20,800 new affordable apartments. There are apartments to serve everyone from seniors on fixed incomes, to formerly homeless families, to the nurses, teachers and first responders that make New York City run, and rents are generally set at about one-third of the income of incoming tenants. Apply for affordable housing at nyc.gov/housingconnect or by calling 311. The housing plan’s impact will be felt in more and more communities this year as the newly-built affordable homes that got underway just after Mayor de Blasio took office finish construction and begin renting to New Yorkers, and as the City’s targeted preservation programs lock-in affordable homes in neighborhoods facing gentrification. “If you are worried about paying your rent, we are fighting for you every day. No matter how much it changes, this is still your city. It must be a place for everyone, or it won’t work for anyone. That’s why we are building and protecting the most affordable housing in a generation,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is about saving a mixed-income New York, and so we've held nothing back. We doubled the housing capital budget. We rewrote every term sheet to get more for the public in every housing project. We passed the biggest overhaul of City zoning in fifty years. And it is making a difference. Not since Ed Koch has this city built and protected as much affordable housing as we did in 2016. As we protect more buildings and our newly built apartments rent up, New Yorkers are going to see and feel a difference in their neighborhoods," said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. The mayor stood with residents of at Monsignor Alexius Jarka Hall on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, where a $19-million preservation project will keep all 63 senior apartments affordable for another 35 years, as well as repair the building’s roof, exterior, plumbing and electrical system, and renovate each apartment’s kitchen. This work is typical in preservation agreements the City secures with building owners who agree to keep their property affordable. While rents for a one-bedroom apartment Williamsburg average $3,000 per month, no unit at Jarka Hall charges more than $1,000. “It is good to know that in this crisis of affordability, there are political leaders who are willing to step forward to protect low-income housing in our communities, particularly that of some of our most vulnerable residents. The People’s Firehouse, Inc., and our sister organizations in the Mobilization Against Displacement, are working to retain the diversity and vitality of our North Brooklyn neighborhoods, while supporting housing policies which address changing demographics and expanding the range of those we serve,” Daniel Rivera, Executive Director, The People’s Firehouse, Inc., which owns the residence said. With a combined total of 62,506 homes financed since 2014, Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan will reach the goal of building and preserving 200,000 units on time. “Affordable housing is the bedrock of New York City’s diversity. Three years in, we are delivering results on record scale to ensure New Yorkers at every income can find or stay in housing they can afford, in the neighborhoods they love. Each of the 62,000 affordable homes we’ve financed represents an opportunity: for working families, the homeless, and the lowest income New Yorkers – all of whom have been hit by rising rents,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “This is a massive enterprise, involving not just an unparalleled investment of resources, but the creative thinking and commitment of the entire HPD team and our partners at all levels of government and across the affordable housing community, working together to shape a stronger, more inclusive City for generations to come.” City Planning Commission Chair Carl Weisbrod said, "We at City Planning are proud to work collaboratively with our colleagues at HPD to devise and implement new zoning tools to make affordable housing easier to build, address the needs of a growing city, and make our neighborhoods better for those living in them today and for future generations." New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Eric Enderlin said, “HDC applauds our many partners across government, private, and non-profit sectors who are dedicated to bringing the Mayor’s vision for a more equitable New York to reality. Creating and preserving more than 60,000 affordable homes since the inception of Housing New York is a great accomplishment, and certainly no easy task. This took a truly collaborative effort that has leveraged financing programs as diverse as the neighborhoods we serve to affect positive transformation and increased economic growth for our communities. I thank Mayor de Blasio for his leadership and dedication to improving the lives of all New Yorkers and look forward to even greater success in the coming years as we continue to work together to fulfill the goals of the Housing New York plan.” “I appreciate Mayor de Blasio’s unrelenting commitment to create and preserve affordable housing units in Brooklyn and across New York City. New Yorkers at nearly every economic level are battling an affordability crisis, and they need champions in the public and private sector who are focused on every block of the five boroughs. We will continue to advance Brooklyn forward as a safe place where everyone can afford to raise healthy children and families,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Mayor de Blasio set his sights on an ambitious affordable housing plan that in just three years has already made an impact. Key to the success of that plan is to approach affordable housing community by community. Unlike his predecessors, Mayor de Blasio has not made volume the focus of his plan, he has made people its focus and put a face to every affordable home created. When people are the focus, you begin to retain and improve communities; and you do so for all those living in it regardless of income, and with respect to their profession, age, disability or military service,” said State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan. “Affordable housing changes residents' lives and provides them with the foundation to build a future for themselves and their families," said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Committee on Housing. "I commend this Administration for recognizing that affordable housing is a moral mandate as well as a practical one and for showing so many hardworking New Yorkers that we're committed to addressing their needs." “The cost of living in New York City is quickly rising and the cost of housing in Brooklyn is skyrocketing. Here in Williamsburg, affordable housing is few and far between. However, the Mayor’s commitment to creating and preserving 200,000 affordable units is a giant leap in the right direction. The numbers speak for themselves, we are almost there. The Mayor’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality & Affordability programs are valuable tools in building affordable housing for all New Yorkers. From families of three to families of six the Mayor’s programs will surely keep New Yorkers in New York. I congratulate Commissioner Vicki Been and Mayor Bill de Blasio on their success,” said Assembly Member Joseph Lentol. “It is not uncommon for government to fall short of goals it set for itself. The Administration should be commended for achieving its goal in ensuring quality, affordable housing is within reach for thousands of New Yorkers. While this is good forward movement, we know affordable housing remains a major issue. I look forward to working together in pushing to continue to adequately address it,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings. “Solving our affordable housing crisis is the hardest and most important task we have in the City today, so today’s announcement is refreshing and reassuring that we are well on our way towards achieving the goal of building and preserving more affordable units than the city has done in decades,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability will help create affordable units on new projects seeking rezonings, many other programs such as SARA, ELLA and these preservation efforts all help us put this puzzle together. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, City Planning Director Carl Weisbrod and HPD Commissioner Vicki Been for working to preserve these units and for the historic amount of units created in the last three years.” “If we are to continue being a city of inclusion, a city that welcomes everyone, we must continue the fight for affordable housing,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “More important than talking about the issue is making progress by actually preserving and expanding affordable housing units across the city. To that end, I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his steadfast commitment to provide all New Yorkers an affordable place to call home, and I look forward to continued progress in the years to come.” “After decades of losing more and more affordable housing, our city is making progress to turn the tide for the tens of thousands of New Yorkers struggling to pay the rent,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “Whether you are a senior looking to stay in the neighborhood you helped build, or a family looking to make ends meet, your city is fighting for a more affordable future for you and your family. I thank Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to the creation and preservation of affordable housing units.” New units financed under the Housing New York Plan are already starting to be available to come on line and families are starting to move into those homes. Nearly 10,000 newly constructed affordable homes have been made available to families in New York City since 2014 and the City estimates that another 3,500 new City-financed homes will be ready for families to move into in 2017. In 2016, the City financed 21,963 homes: 6,844 newly constructed apartments and 15,119 preserved homes, representing a direct investment of $990 million by the City of New York, which leveraged more than $1.4 billion in bonds issued by the Housing Development Corporation, including $1.2 billion in Sustainable Neighborhood Bonds – the first social impact investment bond of its kind in the United States. To meet the goals of Housing New York, the Mayor doubled the capital funding for HPD, and, most recently, in the ten-year capital plan included nearly $7.5 billion for affordable housing, and more than $1 billion in funding for the parks, libraries, road construction and other infrastructure necessary to support neighborhood growth and new housing opportunities. “We applaud Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to ensuring more hard-working families, seniors and those struggling to get back on their feet have access to affordable homes. We will continue to work with the mayor on his affordable housing plans so that working people can stay in their neighborhoods and we maintain the vibrant diversity that makes our city great,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa. Henry Garrido, Executive Director of District Council 37/AFSCME, said, “DC 37 members are hardworking public employees who strive every day to improve the quality of life in New York City. They are also acutely aware of how hard it is to pay the rent here. That’s why we have supported Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to create more affordable housing units. There is more work to be done, but we applaud the focus that the mayor has brought to this daunting problem – and the results.” Progress in 2016: More senior housing: New programs, including the Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) program have resulted in the new construction and preservation of 1,166 affordable apartments for a growing senior population, who too are often living on fixed incomes. This brings the total number of senior affordable apartments financed to date to more than 4,000. Significantly, the passage of Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) will allow for more and a broader range of senior affordable housing. More apartments for the very lowest-income families: The federal government has historically provided housing support to the poorest households, while the City supported low-income working households. With Washington cutting back, the de Blasio Administration has stepped in with a new Extremely Low and Low Income Affordability (ELLA) program. In 2016, 19 percent of the homes financed were for New Yorkers making less than $19,050, or $24,500 for a family of three. Approximately 4,200 homes for extremely-low income families were financed last year, bringing the three-year total to 8,877. New Rules for growth: Implemented the strongest Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program in the nation that requires developers to create permanently affordable housing as a condition of development in areas rezoned for growth. MIH is responsible for over 4,500 affordable housing units, 1,500 of which will be permanently affordable. Stable housing for the formerly homeless: Through a coordinated, multi-agency strategy to help stem the homelessness crisis and return families to stable housing, the City financed 2,546 apartments for the formerly homeless in 2016, bringing the HNY total to 5,160. Easier Access: Introduced new affordable housing lottery rules to make it simpler and fairer to apply. The changes prohibit owners from rejecting an applicant solely on the basis of credit history or housing court history; promote a streamlined interview process to reduce applicant no-shows; offer greater language access and accessibility for people with disabilities at all stages of the application process; consistency in how developers and marketing agents communicate with applicants; increased privacy protections; and increased transparency of the appeal process. Construction Type CY 2016 Starts HNY Starts to Date New Construction 6,844 20,854 Preservation 15,119 41,652 Total Plan To Date 21,963 62,506 Click here for full housing production fact sheet .
Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 5:10pm
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the creation of the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships to transform the way in which faith organizations and other community organizations access City services. The Center for Faith and Community Partnerships will serve as a direct line to City Hall, connecting local and citywide coalitions of leaders to services that increase equity and inspire civic engagement throughout our neighborhoods. “Many New Yorkers flock to their faith and community leaders in search of guidance and comfort in times of need, not knowing where to access City programs and services that can help them,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The new Center for Faith and Community Partnerships will bridge this gap and support the valuable work our leaders already do.” The Center for Faith and Community Partnerships will be housed within the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and led by Jonathan Soto. The office will hire new staff members, including borough coordinators. “In the past three years, the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit has worked to connect everyday New Yorkers to City initiatives aimed to address affordable housing, public safety and other quality of life issues,” said Marco Carrión, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. “A one-stop-shop for resources, information and other supports is needed and I am happy to welcome the Center for Faith and Community partnerships to our office’s strategic outreach and engagement efforts.” "Since its inception, the Mayor's Clergy Advisory Council has catalyzed key partnerships between citywide and neighborhood-based community leaders, leading to initiatives that have improved the lives of many New Yorkers," said Jonathan Soto, Executive Director of the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships. "The Center for Faith and Community Partnerships will broaden the impact of City Hall's existing initiatives, and we look forward to bringing all New Yorkers into this important work." “It is with great enthusiasm that I applaud Mayor de Blasio's latest initiative to connect New Yorkers to resources that exist within City government. The Center for Faith and Community Partnerships will creatively engage and partner with the City's faith and community leaders to deliver these much needed resources,” said Reverend Michael A. Walrond Jr., Senior Pastor at First Corinthian Baptist and Chair of the Mayor's Clergy Advisory Council. "As we address the city's critical need for affordable housing, it is imperative that we seize every opportunity to press land into service for affordable homes," said Vicki Been, Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. "That is why HPD has been working closely with the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit to let faith-based institutions and other mission-driven organizations know about opportunities for the preservation and development of affordable housing, and work with them to provide their communities with tenant protection resources. We look forward to working with the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships to support the many faith and community based organizations with underused land that could help meet the need for quality, safe, affordable housing." “Community and faith-organizations already help us to reach and serve New Yorkers from all walks of life,” said Michael Owh, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services. “The new center will increase our capacity to find new partners and develop relevant programs to meet the needs of our diverse residents.” "Supporting our faith and community leaders by better connecting them to City services is critical to ensuring neighborhoods across the city are plugged into those resources," said NYC Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin. "NYC Service is excited to support this effort to help catalyze civic engagement and we thank the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit for their leadership." “Mission driven and faith based organizations that have played key roles in lifting New York City communities up during difficult times are natural allies in our work to address today’s challenges, including our city’s deep affordable housing crisis,” said Sam Marks, Executive Director at Local Initiatives Support Corporation. “We congratulate Mayor de Blasio on recognizing the key role of partnerships with mission driven and faith based organizations in meeting the needs of all New Yorkers. That’s why we are looking forward to working with the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships on programs such as the New York Land Opportunity Program – a partnership with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit – to help these mission driven organizations develop affordable housing.” “Houses of worship, as well as faith and community leaders, are often the first line of support sought by individuals and families, especially those who may have fallen on hard times and are in need of services,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director at FPWA. “The Center for Faith and Community Partnerships will foster a greater exchange of information to communities and faith leaders, ensuring that New Yorkers can expeditiously access services needed to improve their quality of life.” “In immigrant communities, community and faith organizations are often the primary hub for newcomers to obtain information, build community, and access help in navigating their new homeland,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director at the Asian American Federation. “In fact, places of worship were the first community centers in our country’s and city's history. The Asian American Federation commends Mayor de Blasio for recognizing the importance of our leaders in building community through the new Center for Faith and Community Partnerships. For the pan-Asian community, our churches, temples, mosques, gurdwaras, and all other places of worship play a vital role in supporting immigrants.” "I commend the Mayor and Commissioner Carrion for their foresight and commitment to create greater access to City services for all New Yorkers. This is a testament and recognition that community based organizations and faith based institutions are the first line of defense for many of our communities and they too deserve as much support as necessary to fully serve the diverse needs of New Yorkers,” said Grace Bonilla, President and CEO of Committee for Hispanic Children & Families, Inc. "To build a truly inclusive and more just city, we need mutual respect and constructive dialogue between government and New York's diverse cultural and faith communities," said Reverend Chloe Breyer, Executive Director of Interfaith Center of New York. "For these reasons, ICNY welcomes this innovative new office in City government designed to engage directly with community based and faith based organizations. We look forward to working with the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships." “CityServe is thrilled to support this important initiative because it not only means that New York City government is willing to deepen its partnership with community and faith organizations, but it also means that they recognize the vital and integral role they play in the life of the city,” said Guy Wasko, Executive Director of NY CityServe. “Together we can do so much more. Building bridges is the way forward to seeing the flourishing of all New Yorkers continue.” “The creation of the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships is an important next step in cementing the relationship between the Mayor and his administration and those leaders that have given their lives to the communities they serve,” said Robert G. Kaplan, Director of The Center for Community Leaderships at JCRC-NY. “It provides an instrument for increased partnership as together we meet the opportunities and challenges of providing a better quality of life for all.” "We are thankful to Mayor Bill de Blasio for launching this important initiative that will continue to build trust and partnerships with diverse New Yorkers including faith partners. Mayor de Blasio has demonstrated unparalleled leadership in creating a platform that provides fairer access to government. The Islamic Leadership Council of New York, the Majlis Ash Shura fully supports the establishment of the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships as a way to help us deepen civic engagement and improve access to City programs and services for New Yorkers, including our constituency," said Cheikh Ahmed Mbareck, Executive Director of ILCNY. "The Center for Faith and Community Partnerships will be an important resource for New York City's communities and religious leaders. We at the Buddhist Council of NY look forward to working in partnership with the Mayor to assist all New Yorkers including Buddhists in learning more about City resources available to them," said Reverend Doctor T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, President of the Buddhist Council of New York. "We at Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus welcome this important new initiative because houses of worship and faith leaders are often the first to hear of a community's need or crisis. We especially appreciate that the initiative includes diverse community organizations and faith communities; being inclusive is critical at this moment of fear and uncertainty in minority communities," said Sunita Viswanath, co-Founder of Sadhana. “We applaud this initiative. It allows those fighting poverty to reach an influential segment of the community trusted by those in need of assistance,” said Reynold Levy, President of the Robin Hood Foundation. “The New York City faith community has always been a beacon of light, caring for the poor, the prisoner, the widow and the fatherless. Nearly two decades ago BronxConnect began when South Bronx churches sought to address the epidemic of incarceration among our youth. With Mayor de Blasio’s creation of the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships, we see an opportunity to further steer New York City to become more just in its care for the ‘least of these.’ Together we must build communities that benefit all New Yorkers, rich and poor alike,” said Reverend Wendy Calderón-Payne, BronxConnect Executive Director. "This a great center for the Mayor to create! The Center of Faith and Community Partnership will be a major asset to New York City's diverse communities. As an active member of my community and house of worship, I understand the need for such a center and I am thankful to the Mayor for creating it," said Nikki Lucas, Female District Leader of the 60th Assembly District in Brooklyn. The announcement was made at the Community Affairs Unit’s Annual Interfaith Breakfast, held at Gotham Hall and attended by more than 400 clergy and community leaders, including members of the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council and beyond. The breakfast was made possible with generous support from Affinity Health Plan and additional support from Bnai Zion Foundation, Christian Cultural Center, Council of Churches of the City of New York, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, New York Board of Rabbis, Plaza Jewish Community Chapels, Sephardic Community Federation and UJA-Federation of New York.
Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 11:30am
The initiative will bring schools, City agencies, community-based mentoring organizations and the business community together to establish mentoring programs in 400 high schools by 2022 NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin today marked National Mentoring Month by launching the NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative to increase mentoring opportunities for high school youth across the five boroughs. The initiative aims to establish mentoring programs in 400 New York City high schools by 2022, annually engaging 14,000 New Yorkers as volunteer mentors to 40,000 high school students. The initiative will support the City’s Equity and Excellence plan to achieve 80 percent high school graduation and two-thirds college-readiness rates by 2026. The initiative launch includes an audio and video PSA , as well as a bus shelter campaign encouraging more New Yorkers to serve as volunteer mentors to high school youth. “New Yorkers know our greatest strength is our people, so we must work together to invest in our future,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative is about reaching more high school youth across the city with positive mentoring relationships that can shape the path to their future and ours. I want to thank the many committed partners involved in this multi-sector collaboration, as well as the thousands of New Yorkers who already mentor young people in our City. I ask that you inspire someone else in your life to visit nyc.gov/service and become a personal champion to a young person in their community.” “The NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative is a powerful, one of a kind program with the potential to touch thousands of lives across the five boroughs,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The New York City Council is proud to work with the Administration on this new initiative to help our city’s youth grow and learn every day by fostering impactful mentorships.” "Children need to believe that any future is possible for them. Research shows that quality youth mentoring programs can help children believe in themselves and invest in their futures," said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery. “I’m so glad that this Administration takes the promise of mentoring seriously and is engaging community-based mentoring organizations to reach 40,000 kids with NYC Youth Mentoring.” “We know that quality mentoring relationships create pathways to positive youth development and open doors of opportunity,” said NYC Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin. “This initiative is bringing our City together to take bold steps towards ensuring more New Yorkers see the value in mentoring High school youth, more students have a mentorship experience, and we encourage a cycle of mentoring in our communities. NYC Service is honored to be part of this important effort and we thank our schools, City agencies, community-based mentoring organizations, and businesses for joining forces to make the future of our City a priority.” The NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative is a collaborative effort by NYC Service, the Department of Education, Department of Youth & Community Development, Center for Youth Employment, the Young Men’s Initiative and community-based mentoring organizations across New York City. As a proven youth development strategy which contributes to positive decision making, education achievements and successful career and college choices, mentoring will be encouraged among more New York City high school youth while also encouraging more New Yorkers to step up as mentors to these students. From the current baseline of approximately 20,000 High School mentees and 9,000 volunteer mentors, the Youth Mentoring Initiative will double the number of mentees and increase the number of volunteer mentors by 55 percent over the next five years. The initiative will also offer prospective volunteer mentors a wide range of mentoring opportunities and models with flexibility and broad applicability to support their community and engage with youth. The initiative will both expand existing mentoring programs and focus on launching new programs in Young Men’s Initiative priority communities, including East Harlem, South Bronx, South Jamaica, Brownsville, East New York and Staten Island’s North Shore. The growth from 20,000 to 40,000 High School mentees will be driven by the following: 1. Established mentoring programs in at least 400 high schools through the expansion of current community-based organization (CBO) mentoring programs, launch of new high school mentoring programs by CBOs, and expansion of College/Career Awareness mentoring as well as “one day programs” for a total of 33,000 high school mentees. 1. Expansion of embedded mentoring programs in DYCD workforce development programs for a total of 3,000 high school mentees. 1. Expansion of CBO programs at CBO centers to 6,000 high school mentees. The growth from 9,000 volunteer mentors to 14,000 will be driven by campaigns to reach and engage the following: 1. Individual New Yorkers through groups, associations, colleges/universities and faith-based organizations with a neighborhood focus. 1. Corporations and small businesses. 1. City employees. Youth who were at-risk of falling off track but had a mentor are: * 37 percent less likely to skip a class. * 81 percent more likely to participate regularly in sports or extracurricular activities than those who do not. * 55 percent more likely to enroll in college. * 90 percent are interested in becoming a mentor. * 130 percent more likely to hold leadership positions. More information on the benefits of mentoring can be found here . “Bringing mentoring opportunities to student’s educational experience enriches their learning and provides a unique opportunity to develop transferable skills, cultivate meaningful relationships with caring adults, and develop valuable interpersonal skills,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “As part of our ongoing partnership with NYC Service, this program will now reach even more students across the City and we look forward to building on this critical work.” “Mentors play a vital role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible decisions, stay focused and unlock their full potential. Whether helping mentees study for a test, learn a new skill, or lift them up after a setback, mentors provide our youth with the strength and resilience to move forward and set their sights even higher,” said Department of Youth & Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “We are truly grateful to Mayor de Blasio and our partners across the City for recognizing the importance of this national movement, and for inspiring role models to become mentors and help extend ladders of opportunity to our next generation of New Yorkers.” “A caring and supportive mentoring relationship serves as a force multiplier for young adults’ positive developmental experiences,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. “The Center is excited to be a part of the NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative as an important element of our mission to expand, align and improve programs helping young New Yorkers gain work experiences, build skills, and explore potential career paths.” “Mentorship and guidance have been shown to provide a significant benefit to a young person’s development,” said W.Cyrus Garrett, Executive Director of the New York City Young Men’s Initiative. “As the Director of the Young Men’s Initiative, I am all too aware that many young men and women of color do not have the same opportunities for mentorship simply because of where they live. I am proud to be a part of the NYC Youth Mentoring Implementation Committee that aims to ensure all of New York City’s young people have equitable access to additional guidance and support as they search for the avenues to opportunity from within their own communities.” “A good mentor can provide an opportunity for our youth to learn necessary life skills needed to succeed,” said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. “Positive and healthy relationships are essential in an adolescent's development. The guidance mentors provide can be the difference in a young person's life.” “I want to congratulate Mayor de Blasio and his team on the launch of the NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte. “Mentoring is one of those proven tools at our disposal used to guide young people and it is high impact, but low cost. Sometimes all it takes for many of our young people is to have hope, and to know that someone cares about them and is invested and interested in their future. It is great to see the partnership between the government, public and private sectors come together for a mutual benefit. The NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative is further evidence of the Mayor’s commitment to help develop and contribute to the success of each child.” “As New Yorkers, one of the most important roles we play is when we empower our youth to fulfill their God given potential,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. They are our future leaders, and we must do everything in our power to provide them with proper guidance as mentors. Far too often, high school students are deprived of the positive influences that are imperative for long term success. It is our civic duty to improve this circumstance, and this initiative will be a tremendous benefit to the community.” “This new mentoring initiative means a brighter future for New York City high school youth,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education. “By connecting students with accomplished professionals, these programs will have a tremendous positive impact on these students' grades and careers. I commend the Mayor for putting our children on the pathway to success and will continue to work alongside the administration to support this important effort.” “As an organization that trains New Yorkers how our city really works so they can make it better, we are pleased to partner with NYC Service and engage our community of 2,500 alumni across business, government, schools and nonprofits in this effort,” said Scott Millstein, Executive Director of the CoroNew York Leadership Center. “Our alumni are committed to building a better New York and mentoring the next generation is an important part of that work.” “The Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) believes that when individuals are empowered to succeed, the community as a whole prospers,” said Chanda Gibson, Executive Director of the Council of Urban Professionals. “It is in that spirit that CUP is thrilled to take part in the NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative – inciting the diverse and dynamic professionals we serve to invest in the future of our city’s youth.” “By calling attention to the power of mentoring and the need for more volunteers, NYC Service is helping us match more high school students with the mentors who will help them become the first in their families to attend and graduate college,” said Max Polaner, Executive Director of iMentor NYC . “Every student deserves a champion, and NYC Service is helping us find them!” “Minds Matter NYC is thrilled to be partnering with the Mayor's Office on this important initiative,” said Erika Halstead, Executive Director for Minds Matter NYC. “Mentoring is the heart of our work and over the last 25 years, we’ve witnessed how it not only dramatically improves the lives of our students, but deepens and enriches the lives of our volunteer mentors as well.” As a first step in tackling the initiative’s goals, NYC Service launched the “Good for Me. Good for My City.” campaign in partnership with 20 New York City businesses committed to champion mentorship for high school students, as well as overall employee volunteer engagement. Each partner has pledged to engage employees as mentors to high school students in 2017 and increase their overall number of New York City-based employees who volunteer. Collectively, campaign partners will engage 5,000 employees as mentors to High School students within our City in 2017 and over 30,000 New York City-based employees in volunteerism overall. “Good for Me. Good for My City.” Campaign Partners American Airlines American Express AOL Brookfield Citi Con Edison Deloitte Deutsche Bank DigitasLBi EY Goldman Sachs HBO JetBlue Morgan Stanley Moody’s MUFG New York City Football Club RSM SL Green Realty SoulCycle “American Airlines is proud to be a charter member of the Good for Me. Good for My City. campaign,” said Darryl Towns, regional director of Government Affairs at American Airlines. “We are committed to corporate social responsibility in New York City and to supporting the goals of our City through employee volunteer engagement.” “Since our founding in 1850, we at American Express have devoted ourselves to serving the communities in which we live and work,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “We are proud to partner on the Good for Me. Good for My City. campaign and look forward to further serving the youth of New York City through the power of mentorship.” “As a media and technology company, we’re passionate about fostering innovation and growth in both arts and technology by providing opportunities for future leaders of all backgrounds,” said Sara Link, VP, Citizen AOL. “When diverse perspectives come together, companies produce better products that more people love. However, minorities only make up less than 5 percent of STEM-based workforces.” “Brookfield is proud to be a part of New York City’s Good for Me. Good for My City. campaign,” said Brookfield Properties Chief Administrative Officer Lauren Young. “Brookfield benefits greatly from – and relentlessly aims to contribute to – New York City’s success, and our employees are always looking for new ways to help the City thrive. Congratulations to NYC Service and the de Blasio Administration for providing this dynamic new platform to promote corporate mentorship and volunteerism.” “A strong mentoring relationship is a win-win for everyone involved. It’s a powerful tool for supporting young people on their journey to success, and also provides an important benefit and sense of community to the caring adults who commit their time and talents,” said Brandee McHale, Director of Corporate Citizenship at Citi. “We are proud to join Mayor de Blasio’s call for more mentors as part of the Good for Me. Good for My City. campaign, and are committed to engaging more of our employees as volunteers throughout the year.” “Con Edison employees will be excited about this opportunity to help to bring out the best in young students throughout our city,” said Con Edison Senior Vice President Frances A. Resheske. “Our employees enjoy mentoring young men and women, offering knowledge and experience that can prove invaluable as they consider possible career paths.” “We are proud to partner with NYC Service and other businesses to promote and support employee engagement through volunteerism,” said Alessandra DiGiusto, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Americas at Deutsche Bank. “Deutsche Bank’s corporate social responsibility commitment includes a focus on youth. This partnership provides an excellent opportunity for employees to mentor New York City high school students to help them realize their full potential.” “Community service and volunteerism are an integral part of our culture at DigitasLBi,” said Laurent Ezekiel, Managing Director, New York region, DigitasLBi. “We're proud to partner with the Mayor’s Office to mentor NYC high school students and promote positive youth development. We encourage other NY-based agencies to join us in supporting the Good for Me. Good for My City. campaign.” “EY is excited to be a part of the Good For Me. Good for My City. campaign which will support our continued efforts to mentor and educate our city’s youth,” said Mark Besca, New York City Office Managing Partner of Ernst & Young LLP. “Engaging more organizations to participate and volunteer will strengthen our communities and the future of the next generations.” “Goldman Sachs is pleased to work in partnership with the City, local leaders and private sector to highlight the critical role of mentors and make sure more young people across the city receive the guidance needed to help them realize their potential,” said Lisa Dolberry Hancock, Vice President of Office of Corporate Engagement at Goldman Sachs. “HBO Corporate Social Responsibility is excited to further our partnership with NYC Service as part of the city’s Good for Me. Good for My City. campaign,” said Dennis Williams, vice president, corporate social responsibility, HBO. “Through this initiative, HBO continues to strengthen its relationships with NYC communities as well as allow HBO employees to make an impact through their commitment to volunteering and mentoring opportunities.” “Youth and education are two core pillars for JetBlue For Good, our platform for social impact and corporate responsibility. These areas are important to our nearly 20,000 crewmembers, our communities and our industry,” said Icema Gibbs, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at JetBlue. “Beyond the National Day of Service, it is vital for the public and private sectors to work together to help students achieve and impact systemic change.” “As a proud participant in New York City Service’s Good for Me. Good for My City. campaign, Moody’s is pleased to support the launch of the Mayor’s initiative to expand youth mentoring opportunities,” said Raymond McDaniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Moody’s. “Through our work with organizations such as Girls Who Code and Big Brothers Big Sisters – our partner in supporting the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative – Moody’s has seen firsthand how mentoring helps participants access higher education and reach their potential in college and beyond. And, our employees benefit from using their skills and experience as they mentor future leaders, innovators and achievers.” “Giving back to the community is a Morgan Stanley core value, and our employees are our greatest asset in this endeavor,” said Joan Steinberg, president of the Morgan Stanley Foundation. “We are thrilled to take part in the Good for Me. Good for My City. campaign as we continue our commitment to volunteerism in New York City, and promote mentoring of the next generation.” “MUFG is honored to be part of the New York City mentoring program,” said Yuka Nakamura, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Americas. “This important program demonstrates the bank’s dedication to providing the vast talent and expertise that our employees have to enrich New York City’s high school curriculum.” “We are honored to serve as a charter member of NYC Service’s Good For Me. Good For My City. campaign to increase mentoring opportunities for underserved youth across the five boroughs,” said Jon Patricof, President of New York City Football Club. “Supporting the next generation of New Yorkers continues to be a top priority for our Club.” “RSM is proud to be one of the founding partners of the Good for Me. Good for My City. campaign, through which employees may establish meaningful and enduring relationships with the youth of New York City,” said Don Lipari, RSM’s New York Metro Market Managing Partner. “We recognize the transformational power of a strong mentor, and it is our pleasure to support our city’s high school youth as they forge their paths to success – from their academics today, to preparing for professional opportunities tomorrow.” “SL Green is a proud partner in the Good For Me. Good For My City. campaign to promote high school mentorship and volunteering engagement,” said Marc Holliday, Chief Executive Officer of SL Green. “As New York City’s largest commercial landlord, we are excited to share our knowledge and management expertise to inspire the City’s future workforce.” "SoulCycle has always been committed to employee volunteerism and mentorship, and looks forward to continuing these efforts in 2017,”said Julie Koster, Senior Director of Culture & Service at SoulCycle. “We are proud to serve New York City's youth and be part of the Good for Me. Good for My City. campaign.” "As a mentor and parent, I truly believe the NYC Youth Mentorship Initiative is a step in the right direction to positively affect today's youth," said A.T. Mitchell, Founder and President of Man Up! INC. "Being the mother of a soon to be high school student, I appreciate that Mayor de Blasio is putting the NYC Youth Mentorship Initiative in place. The Mayor has truly grasped the concept of "It Takes A Village To Raise A Child,” said Nikki Lucas, Female District Leader in the 60th Assembly District. "Hetrick-Martin Institute applauds the Mayor’s efforts to expand mentoring opportunities so that they will now reach 40,000 youth throughout the city. We recognize the dramatic need for young people – most especially LGBTQ youth who often have fewer opportunities for mentoring than many of their peers – to have access to positive adult role models. Mentorship brings huge benefits as it reduces young people’s isolation and increases their access to the tools needed for the realization of their life’s potential,” said Thomas Krever, Chief Executive Officer at Hetrick-Martin Institute. About NYC Service NYC Service, a division of the Office of the Mayor, promotes volunteerism, engages New Yorkers in service and mobilizes the power of volunteers and national service members to impact New York City's greatest needs. To learn more about NYC Service and connect to volunteer opportunities across New York City, visit nyc.gov/service .
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 11:30am
Bucking strong national trends, 2016’s 229 traffic fatalities were fewest ever in New York City, marking three years of decline and a 23 percent reduction since 2013 NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that under the Vision Zero plan, New York City had its safest-ever year in 2016 with the fewest traffic fatalities ever recorded: 229, improving on the record of 234 set in 2015. Traffic fatalities have declined for three consecutive years, and are down 23 percentage overall since before Vision Zero began. With national trends showing traffic fatalities increasing over the last two years, the Mayor noted several other positive trends in 2016, including the success of street redesigns and a record-low number of fatalities among school-age children. “No loss of life on our streets is acceptable. Under Vision Zero, we have now seen traffic fatalities in our City decline for three straight years, strongly countering national trends,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I have said where Vision Zero is concerned, we are just getting started and can always do better, but I nevertheless want to thank the NYPD, DOT and supporting agencies on all their hard work to deliver another year of strong results.” “The first three years of Vision Zero in New York have been the safest three-year period in history on our City’s roadways,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Under the Mayor’s leadership, we achieved the safest-ever year with the redesign of more streets than ever before and with close collaborative work with our colleagues at sister agencies. We are especially proud of this year’s innovative Vision Zero efforts -- like the Cross This Way curriculum, our pilot to make left turns safer and the Dusk & Darkness initiative – that we believe all combined to make a real difference.” “2016 was the safest year on record in New York City. We are immensely proud of that accomplishment, but are committed to further reducing crime and making our streets even safer in this new year,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “Every life saved on our roads matters, because every life is a mother or father, sister or brother, friend or coworker,” said Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. “New York City’s commitment to Vision Zero shows that a comprehensive approach to road safety has measurable impacts, and the city serves as a model for the rest of the country as we commit ourselves to reaching zero traffic fatalities.” Among notable Vision Zero achievements in 2016: * Bucking National Trends: New York City’s overall 23 percent decline in traffic fatalities since 2013 runs strongly counter to national trends. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities nationwide last year saw their biggest increase in 50 years, a 7.1 percentage increase – with increases for 2016 forecasted to be even higher. * Record Number of Street Redesigns: In 2016, DOT completed more than 100 safety projects, 165 miles of corridor safety retiming, 18.5 miles of protected bike lanes, 405 speed bumps and more than 750 pedestrian head-starts – all new records. * Fewer Fatalities at Vision Zero Priority Locations: Since 2014, DOT has targeted over 175 high-crash intersections and corridors for redesign and other safety improvements; declines in traffic fatalities at these locations are outpacing the citywide decline in traffic deaths. For the five years prior to Vision Zero there were 141 deaths annually at Vision Zero priority locations; this year, there were 100 fatalities, a 29 percent decline. For pedestrians, there was a similar decline: 99 annual fatalities from 2009-13 at such locations to 72 in 2016, or 27 percent lower. * Fewest Ever Fatalities in Brooklyn: Brooklyn led all boroughs with a record decline in traffic fatalities: 51 in 2016 compared to 67 in 2015, a 24 percent decrease. The previous one-year record low for traffic fatalities in Brooklyn had been 66 in 2009. * Substantial Decreases on Staten Island: Staten Island also saw a marked decline in traffic fatalities: 17 fatalities in 2016 compared to 25 in 2015. Along Hylan Boulevard, fatalities were lowered from 8 last year to 4 this year. Hylan Boulevard had received special attention as a Vision Zero priority corridor: DOT added pedestrian head-starts and other pedestrian safety treatments, while the local NYPD precincts (including the 122, 123 and Highway 5) dramatically stepped up speeding enforcement. * Queens Boulevard: This year, DOT completed a second phase of street redesign, transforming a 1.2-mile stretch from 74th Street to Eliot Avenue to include numerous safety improvements as well as a new protected bike lane. Once known as “the Boulevard of Death,” Queens Boulevard in 2016 had a second consecutive year without a single traffic fatality. In 1997, its worst year, Queens Boulevard had 18 pedestrian fatalities. * Lowest-Ever Fatalities Among School-Aged Children (aged 5-17): No family should ever have to feel the tragic loss of a child from a traffic crash. This year, the City redesigned corridors and intersections and strengthened automated enforcement around schools. In addition, DOT and DOE collaborated to bring the Cross This Way curriculum to 4th through 6th grades citywide. Three children lost their lives on New York City streets, still an unacceptable number, but it was the fewest-ever annual traffic fatalities of children under 17. The previous five years have seen an average of 8 schoolchildren killed per year. As recently as 2004, 17 children were killed in a single year. * Dusk and Darkness Initiative: An enforcement and education campaign dedicated to the fall and winter evening hours most dangerous to pedestrians, the Dusk and Darkness initiative yielded dramatic results after its announcement on October 27th: the fourth quarter of 2016 saw a 25 percent decline from the pre-Vision-Zero average of traffic fatalities (75 to 54). When the initiative began, the number of people who had been killed in New York City traffic crashes was above 2015 levels, but instead the year ended with a record-low number of fatalities. * Left-Turn Treatments: After releasing a report in August, “Don’t Cut Corners,” that revealed how left turns lead to 3 times as many serious crashes as right turns, DOT began a pilot project to find ways to slow left turns at intersections around the five boroughs. DOT has completed the installation of those treatments at 107 intersections (86 in priority locations) – and will be evaluating and announcing results in 2017. “The Cross This Way curriculum helps educate our youngest New Yorkers on how to safely navigate the City’s traffic as they travel to and from school each day,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “We are grateful to the Department of Transportation for their partnership and look forward to continuing to share these essential lessons with children across the City.” “It is encouraging to see yet another record low number of traffic fatalities throughout the city,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “With our sister agencies, we are as determined as ever to reach the City’s goal of zero traffic fatalities. I thank Mayor de Blasio for implementing unprecedented, innovative efforts that recognize this as a public health issue.” “NYC government operates the largest fleet in the five boroughs and City employees are doing their part to achieve Vision Zero, by reducing fatalities and injuries” said Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Lisette Camilo. “We have trained over 30,000 staff in safe driving and went a step further in 2016 and barred the use of phones, hands-free or hand-held, by all City fleet drivers.” "Over the past three years, the TLC has worked closely with the taxi and for-hire sectors to weave Vision Zero into the everyday fabric of our licensees’ lives,” said TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi. “From our Safety Honor Roll, where this year alone we put almost 400 of the safest TLC-licensed drivers in NYC in the spotlight, to the 35,000 drivers who received TLC Driver Education with its strong Vision Zero component in 2016, our licensees have become active partners in our drive to reach Vision Zero. TLC also doubled the number of officers trained in the use of LIDAR anti-speeding technology, so that cutting edge enforcement continues to bolster our education and outreach efforts.” "I commend Mayor de Blasio for his and his administration's efforts to combat traffic fatalities at a level that has become a national model," said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "While these numbers continue to drop, we cannot for one minute ease our efforts as pedestrians and cyclists remain at risk at a number of locations across the city. I know this administration is dedicated to redesigning these dangerous corridors and continuing to drive down traffic related deaths across the board. I'm eager to explore the successes and needs of Vision Zero in our upcoming committee hearing on January 26th." “The decline in traffic fatalities – especially among schoolkids – under Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative is certainly welcome news and we look forward to continuing this trajectory,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “I commend Mayor de Blasio and all the agencies involved for their dedication to enhancing safety on city streets through important roadway enhancements and a laser-focus on priority locations.” “New York City, due to the innovative Vision Zero program, has been a national leader in reducing traffic deaths and making our streets safer for everyone,” said Council Member James Vacca. “I’m glad that the city has made the effort to implement common-sense policies and initiatives in a comprehensive manner, touching on speeding, street design and overall transportation rules. Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg have done a wonderful job in bringing the promise of Vision Zero to reality. I look forward to continued improvements on our streets and roadways.” “With national trends showing more traffic fatalities every year, it is heartening to see that the innovative policies we enacted three years ago are not only changing behaviors, but they are truly saving lives here in New York City,” said Council Member Debi Rose. “I know Vision Zero was not always popular on Staten Island, but our efforts have brought a downward trend in fatalities citywide and on Staten Island, where they dropped by nearly a third in the last year alone. I want these numbers reduced to zero, because every traffic death is a preventable tragedy. I will continue to work with the administration and my constituents to ensure that all New Yorkers are safe on our roads and sidewalks.” "I was proud to sponsor key elements of Vision Zero in the City Council, and am even prouder of the results that it has produced in New York,” said Council Member David Greenfield. “I want to congratulate the Mayor for his leadership and vision in implementing this bold initiative. It's not every day we get to make policies that literally save lives, but that's what Vision Zero is all about." “Celebrating Vision Zero success should encourage all of us to work harder for more progress,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “The good news from 2016 proves we can substantially reduce danger and loss of life with advocacy, education, and thoughtful street designs that accommodate all users. When City agencies and New Yorkers work together we save lives. In 2017, we must use every tool at our disposal to achieve our Vision Zero goals. ” “A record year of safety on our streets is no coincidence,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “The City’s steadfast commitment to Vision Zero has resulted in tangible improvements to the safety of New Yorkers everywhere. Let’s continue doing the work that takes us closer to our ambitious goal – investing in proven, effective transit improvements and enforcing traffic laws that value life over expediency. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and will continue to do my part to support this vision.” "The efforts of the Vision Zero campaigns continue to save lives as our streets are safer to cross than any other year on record," said Council Member Donovan Richards. "Slowing drivers down, improving street designs and building bike lanes has delivered results across the City. I'd like to thank Mayor de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Trottenberg and NYPD Commissioner O'Neill for all their hard work and dedication to taking every measure to make New York City safer for pedestrians." For more information on 2016 Vision Zero safety data, please see here . For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see . NYC TRAFFIC FATALITIES (2013-16) Peds Cyclists Motorcyclists Motor Vehicle Occupants Total 2016 144 18 19 48 229 2015 139 14 22 59 234 2014 140 20 37 61 258 2013 184 12 42 61 299
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 11:30am
Errol Louis: As we reported earlier, Mayor de Blasio attended Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address this morning at One World Trade Center – and he joins me now to share his thoughts about that and more in tonight’s Mondays with the Mayor segment. Welcome, Mr. Mayor, good to see you. Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you. Louis: What was the mood in the room? What were your – what was the general idea? Was it an exciting time for people? He sort of kept a lot of the proposals close the vest. And I imagine you were hearing a lot of them around the same time as the rest of us. Mayor: Yes, and, I mean, some of them have been put out publicly – others were newer. But, look, it was honestly a briefer speech than some traditionally in that model. There were some good points I thought and some things I certainly agree with. But there is a lot of detail that wasn’t there. And obviously the budget wasn’t attached so there is a lot to be answered, particularly in terms of what it will mean for New York City. But, I thought there were some positive proposals. I don’t know if I could describe a particular mood. I think everyone is feeling a little sober because we understand the great unknown that is facing us in Washington DC and maybe it was the unspoken part that was the most powerful – that we are all about to face a Trump administration that could be very extremist, or it could be more moderate. We don’t know. We certainly know it could have a very negative impact on New York City or New York State depending on how they approach the budget and their attempt to appeal Obamacare and other issues. So, it might be fair to say that it was a speech given against a backdrop of the great unknown that kind of made it a little more sober. Louis: I want to get to the federal stuff in just a minute. When he’s giving the speech, I imagine that there are people – he gave a different speech or a version of the same speech in Buffalo where I know they were waiting to hear about Uber for upstate and other kinds of things that were going to be regionally important. When I heard him talk about money for the Kingsbridge armory, I am thinking to myself, oh, at last maybe something else will happen there. You must have had some of those moments as well. Mayor: Look, anytime the State of New York steps up and provides us with the funding we deserve, it’s a big deal. But, we haven’t seen the numbers yet so I’ve got to be a little careful in saying – my job is defending the interest of the people of New York City. That comes down to real practical dollars-and-cents stuff. We don’t know what all this means yet. Now, he made the point about increased education aid. I’ve been fighting for years for the State to fulfill its commitment under the campaign for fiscal equities – a decision by the highest court in the state that said New York City and a lot of other cities around New York State deserve more education funding. That’s never been fulfilled. If what he talked about today means we are going to start to fulfill that commitment that’s great. But I want to see the facts. So, there’s moments like that – you know, certainly it’s good to hear. I’m glad to hear him talking about the housing plan. I think it should have been resolved in the June budget. I’m sorry that we’re still waiting for answers. We need that supportive housing for homeless folks with special needs. The City of New York is in the middle of a 200,000 apartment housing plan. We would love for the State of New York to become a part of that but, we’ve got to see details to know that it’s real. Louis: When he talked about closing Indian Point Nuclear reactor years ahead of schedule, one thing I am thinking is it takes up or it accounts for a pretty substantial amount of electricity that New York City uses. What happens to electricity rates? Mayor: Look, I would say before even the question of rates, I think it’s fantastic, but there’s a vision of closing down nuclear Indian Point that I think is necessary. I was involved in the anti-nuclear power movement when I was in high school and college, and I believe it’s always been right, but I believe what became challenging was – where do you get the electricity and the energy to replace it? And how do you do it in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the climate change problem? When I was first an activist on anti-nuclear power, we didn’t think in terms of climate change. Now, there’s that sobering reality that you go from nuclear to coal, you know – Louis: Out of the frying pan, into the fire – Mayor: Right. So I am hopeful and I am glad the Governor’s making it a priority. But now what the people of New York City need to know is where the energy is going to come from. Is it going to come from Quebec? Where is it going to come from? We have to see it and we have to know it’s real in time for this deadline. Two, you’re right we have to make sure it doesn’t put an undue burden on rate pairs particularly lower income and middle income rate pairs of struggling working class families who are having struggles making ends meet right now. So there is a lot of unanswered questions, but the goal is absolutely the right goal. Louis: Well, I am thinking, if it were like electricity is for the creative businesses and for New York City like soil is for farmers, right? I mean, if that basic price goes up, everything else here goes up right? Mayor: Right. But I’d say first, we need to know the supply is there. The worst of all – for some reason we didn’t have electricity available to us. Then we have to keep the rates fair, you’re Right, because it undergirds our whole economy. So, these are tough competing interests, but if we can find enough renewable resources we’ll certainly work with the state on this. Best of all worlds in terms of the well-being of people in New York City to get Indian Point closed down. Louis: On to the Trump administration, you mentioned earlier today that you’ve been in discussion with Jared Kushner, the young real-estate business man who happens to be the son of the President-elect and has been, it was announced today is expected to become a top advisor to him in the White House. Not your problem necessarily, but doesn’t that create some sort of conflict of interest for you? Mayor: Well, that’s an open question. When I was asked about it earlier, I said, look, I think the entire Trump administration has to deal with the conflict issue because they haven’t so far, right? The President-elect has business interests of a type we’ve never seen before and a president that has obviously not disclosed his taxes. There are so many open questions about how he will comport himself on foreign policy, if he has business interests in the countries we’re dealing with; the same for his children; the same for everyone around him. They are going to have to meet a standard of transparency quickly if they don’t want to lose the faith of the American people. And so far they have been pretty resistant it seems. As to Jared Kushner – the person who I knew well before there was even talk of Donald Trump running for president – I have always found him being a very intelligent guy, a reasonable guy; someone who cares a lot about New York City; someone who I could work with even when I disagreed with him. And, I think it’s good he’s going to be down there from a New York City perspective. I think it’s good he’s going to be there. I’ve spoken to him about reimbursements of the NYPD reserves – deserves, I should say, for the coverage of Trump Tower. I spoke to him about other issues and I think he’s someone we can work with so I am glad he is going to be there, but that whole administration has to answer these conflict issues. By the way, I will give them free advice. They should answer them quickly because it will dog them if they don’t. Louis: Well, yes, I also though imagine a situation where you know the Kushner organization real-estate interest all over the City. The City needs something for public housing or something else and you two have what would end up being, I would think, a very uncomfortable situation. Mayor: Absolutely. I am from the school of thought that I, like elected officials of the group I’m in, who have no real assets and no business investments and no other – Louis: You have a couple of nice houses in Park Slope. Mayor: I know – I’m thrilled and I’m blessed, but I have absolutely no stocks. I have no investment in any business. You know, you see businessmen, politicians from time to time – I think this is a question of all of them of where do the potential conflicts lie. In New York City, we have very stringent disclosure rules. We have a Conflict of Interest Board. The federal system I am not as clear about. I don’t understand, for example, how a candidate for president is not required to – required by law to disclose their tax returns. And that makes no sense to me to begin with. So, I am worried about what exactly what you say that there could be all sorts of hearing conflicts we don’t even know about to begin with. And you’re right if I am dealing with someone and they have business before the City of New York and I am trying to get fairness for the City of New York from Washington that creates a strange situation. In the case of Jared Kushner, I believe I can deal squarely with him because that has been my experience. But I think he and everyone else should take these issues off the table for maximum disclosure and maximum disconnect from their business interest at least on a temporary basis. Louis: And we will see. Here’s a question from a viewer – how is the City being proactive on our public schools to address legitimate fears of students in the wake of President Trump? And by that I think they mean immigrant students who are maybe in a tricky situation as far as their status. Mayor: I think it is immigrant students, I think it is Muslim students who worry deeply about discrimination or the possibility of a “Muslim registry.” I think it is a lot of kids. I mean, as we have seen, bias crimes have gone up since the national election – three categories in particular, anti-Muslim incidents, anti-Semitic incidents, and anti-LGBT incidents. So, there are a lot of different people who are worried. I tried with my own message, repeatedly, to tell people, including young people, that they will be protected and they will be respected; and that this City is not going to allow some of the [inaudible] which we heard in the national election to infect us. And clearly, we’re going to be very aggressive about any hate crime. Our school system is also taking those messages – all throughout the schools, all throughout the grades. Carmen Farina has spoken very deeply about this and encouraged principals and teachers to talk to their kids. So, I am hoping the message is permeating – and certainly for immigrant communities to know we’re not going to allow our police officers to be turned into immigration enforcement agents, and we’re going to continue to do things like IDNYC that respect all immigrants regardless of documentation status. Louis: Let me ask about IDNYC. I understand that some cultural institutions are ending their affiliation with it. I think from the beginning it was understood that a year, two years, three years – it would give free access and some other type of goodies. But are you recruiting new groups to fill that void? Is it still necessary to do that? Mayor: Look, it’s a totally open situation where groups – cultural institutions are always welcome in and more are coming in. Some made a decision because of their specific circumstances that they didn’t want to continue – that is fine – but they have honored all their previous commitments. So, right now the numbers are stable, it’s about 40 cultural institutions. That’s how we started, that’s where we are now. That’s been stable. But look, we’re coming up on a million cardholders, and what I’ve heard – I‘ve talked to folks from some of the Brooklyn cultural institutions the other day who told me it’s been a boom because they have had – you know, many cases cardholders come in who never would have otherwise, love what they experience for that year, and then made their own investment thereafter – continuous permanent members. A lot of the cultural institutions are looking for new audiences, younger audiences, audiences of all different backgrounds and trying to become, bluntly, less elite, less exclusive. IDNYC has helped them and they’ve helped the City by participating in IDNYC. Louis: Well, what about on a related issue involving this court battle about whether or not you’re going to destroy the applications that came in to protect the identity and immigration status of some of the applicants. If that happens, just as a practical matter, I was wondering if somebody loses their card or if you somehow have to work backwards and figure out whether or not somebody was a legitimate holder of that card – what happens if the records are gone? Mayor: Well, we have duplicates of the cards. The cards have a photo on them that was created with the NYPD; a specific approach to the photo that is used for security purposes. That is kept on file. All the basic information from the application is kept on file. So, a card could easily be reproduced, that’s not a problem. It’s the backup material beyond that that will not be retained. We’ve now continued the IDNYC process by saying we’re not going to keep that backup paperwork and people have continued to come in wanting new cards. So, I think that message has been received that they are safe and secure. But they’ve been – look, this has been an unmitigated success; almost a million people. NYPD is thrilled because more and more people have IDs in this city, which is very important in any encounter with a police officer. The discounts work great, the cultural institutions feel great about the experience. And the folks who have it, and I constantly hear from cardholders that they feel like they belong in New York City including a lot of people who felt less secure about whether they were part of the City. They now feel they belong; they can get a bank account, they can get leases, all sorts of things that have worked. We’re in court, I feel confident that the City law was very, very clear about not keeping that backup material, and I think we will prevail in court. Louis: On the subject of cultural institutions; you were up at the Brooklyn museum when the derailment happened at the LIRR Atlantic Terminal – it was really just a few blocks away. I was wondering, even if out of curiosity, why didn’t you just go by and see how things were. Mayor: Look, I just felt that it was a very contained situation. Obviously, the train was at the end of the line. It was, thank God, not a more devastating situation. And I asked my folks at the beginning of the incident, including the Police Commissioner what was going on, and the answer was the worst injury we had was a broken leg. To me that just wasn’t the kind of situation where you alter everything to go to the scene of an incident. That’s always a decision you make depending on the severity and the specifics of the incident. It is as I said at the press conference; it’s obviously the jurisdiction of the State, the MTA. The Governor had been there, I thought it covered it fine. Louis: Okay and in retrospect you would have done the same thing? Mayor: I’m fine with it. Louis: You had a fundraiser down in Washington DC with the American Federation of Teachers, the parent of the United Federation of Teachers. How did it go? How much money did you raise? Mayor: Well, I don’t get into the specifics of each event. We’re going to have a campaign filing coming up soon, but it was a very successful event by every measure. Some of the great leaders of the American labor movement were there; a lot of leading figures in the Democratic Party were there. It was a really wonderful gathering. And a lot of people who care about the progress we made here in New York City and want to see it continue. Louis: Okay, I understand there is a fundraiser tonight in Park Slope. We’re not going to hold you too long because I know you got to go out there. Mayor: We have three fundraisers tonight in Brooklyn. Louis: Okay, very good. Mayor: It never ends. [Laughter] Louis: Is that – the one in Park Slope in particular, I’m wondering if that is just sort of friends and neighbors or does it happen to be there and it’s kind of a bigger – Mayor: It’s a lot of folks from the Slope, and many of whom have been long time supporters. [Inaudible] get together as we come up on this deadline. Louis: Okay. And I guess finally there is this talk about somebody jumping into the race, your old boss Hillary Clinton – any truth to that? Have you been in touch with her? Mayor: I have not been in touch with her, but I think what Neera Tanden said on CNN on Sunday is the final word. I mean, Neera is one of Hillary’s top lieutenants. She said what I think everyone understands that last race was Hillary Clinton’s last. And that – you know she ran a great race for president. I feel very pain like so many others do that she won almost three million more votes and didn’t get to take office, but as Neera said I think people expected that was going to be last run. So, I consider that pretty straightforward. Louis: You sleep a little bit better at night knowing that? Mayor: Again, I think it was clear from the beginning. Louis: Okay, good enough. Great to see you, thanks for coming by. Mayor: Good to see you, thank you.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 5:10pm
"New York City is heartbroken by the loss of NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, who for 30 years has been this city's greatest example of heroism and grace. I will forever cherish my last conversation with Detective McDonald, late last year. His words encouraged all of us to continue to bring police and communities closer together. On Saturday, I joined the McDonald family at his bedside and shared their grief and the comfort of their boundless faith. This extraordinary family lives Detective McDonald's message of forgiveness and service every day. We are blessed that NYPD Detective Sergeant Conor McDonald continues in his father's footsteps and will ensure his legacy lives on in the greatest police department in the world. The story of Detective Steven McDonald needs to be understood across the United States, especially as we work to heal the wounds of the past. There is no greater example of honor and service to others. Let it be our mission to continue his work."
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 5:10pm
Video available at: http://youtu.be/9zBg9h8DtOE Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to Engine 9-Ladder 6. We are so proud to be here with our firefighters – our fire officers who have a lot to be proud of every year, but turns out that 2016 was a banner year; an historic year for our fire department, and a year of exceptional achievement. And we wanted to celebrate hear in this house what the Fire Department has achieved this year, and this is literally – we’re going to give you a 100 years of perspective on this; it is absolutely amazing. 2016 saw the fewest fire deaths in New York City in any year since statistics were first kept going all the way back to 1916. So, literally, a full century – this was the fewest fire deaths of any year in the last hundred years in New York City; and all the credit goes to the men and women of the FDNY. There is a lot to be proud of, give yourselves a round of applause everybody. [Applause] This is amazing by any measure. And I want to say at the outset, we strive to stop every fatality. The men and women of this department have put their lives on the line regularly and they never give up. We strive to save every life. When you look at this year – 2016 – just in comparison to previous, it is amazing unto itself the progress that has been made in the last year. We saw 19 percent fewer deaths than just the year before. And there are many reasons for that. First and foremost, the bravery and the ability of our firefighters and fire officers, but also we continue to improve response time. Every – every improvement matters when it comes to response time. We have a five second improvement across the board in New York City, in 2016 compared to 2015. Now, we celebrate this extraordinary good news. We celebrate the lives that were saved, but it is impossible at the same time to not stop for a moment and think about the life we lost – who was one of the most distinguished members of this department; who was destined for greatness – had already done so much for this city and this department. In 2016, we only lost one man in the course of duty, but we lost a great man, Chief Michael Fahy. And we will keep his memory alive and he will inspire all those who serve in this department going forward. I want to thank Commissioner Nigro – you’ll hear from him in a moment. Of course, I want to also thank all the leadership of the FDNY present including First Deputy Commissioner Bob Turner and Chief of Department Jim Leonard – thank you for your excellent leadership. And I want to thank a man who represents our fire officers and the leadership they provide every single day in fire houses all over the City – Jake Lemonda, the president of the UFOA, thank you for being here and joining us in this celebration. ‘ Now, in addition to the remarkable efforts of the FDNY once the alarm goes off, the bell rings and the trucks roll; there is something else that happened in the last year that has been one of the reasons for this extraordinary decline in fatalities. And that is an intense focus on educating the public; reaching out, making sure the public understood better how to protect themselves, how to protect their families – particularly how to make sure they had smoke alarms present. What happened in the last year is extraordinary, 700,000-plus New Yorkers were reached by the FDNY public education efforts; an amazing commitment by this agency. 700,000 people – that is almost one in ten New Yorkers – were reached directly and given the information they needed, and a reminder of the things they needed to do to keep their families safe. And the Get Alarmed initiative led to smoke alarms being given to 113,000 New Yorkers, more than was the original goal. I want to thank the City Council, you’ll hear from our Council colleagues in a moment. I want to thank the Council, the Red Cross, and all our other partners who played such a crucial role in this effort. And it really made a difference. I also at to say – finally – that we made another important investment in terms of saving lives, and that was the investment in additional ambulance tours. $40 million over the last two years, again, thanks to the City Council for their strong belief in making this investment and agreeing to it in the budget. We added 134 ambulance tours from January 15 to now. That’s also had a very positive impact on response times. Response times for medical emergencies down 21 seconds; meaning our ambulances are getting to the scene 21 seconds faster and that can make a huge, huge difference. So, that investment in more ambulance tours is already helping to make New Yorkers safe. At the same time, this department answered a record number of calls for medical assistance. So, that is a crucial combination; answering more calls, but making the response time faster at the same time. I want to offer my congratulations on behalf of all eight-and-a-half million New Yorkers, Commissioner to you, to all the leaders, to all the men and women of this department this is a record to be very, very proud of and it means that people are alive today because you continue to do your work better and better each year. I want to offer my congratulations to you, well done. Now, just a couple words in Spanish, before I turn to Commissioner Nigro. [Mayor speaks in Spanish] With that – again, with the greatest congratulations – our Commissioner Dan Nigro. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro: Thank you Mayor. And, I’d like to join the Mayor in remembering Chief Michael Fahy as we celebrate today a great year for the Fire Department. A very sad day in a great year was the day we lost Chief Fahy, so we remember him and his family today. Our job, our department has a great history – 151 year history and it’s nice that we are here on Canal Street. This is the first firehouse I ever set foot in as a young boy. My father was assigned here right here on Canal Street and Ladder 6 – 70 years ago. Not the same firehouse, but exactly the same location, so it’s nice to be here. And we are talking about a history of 100 years of statistics and 48 fire deaths being the all-time low. Behind me there is a chart. It’s very personal to me, not intentionally, but it starts in 1970. I was a young firefighter in 1970. In 1970, we lost 310 people to fire. We were losing almost a person every day. And through the progression as you can see in that chart as the bars go down from left to right, we’ve been doing better and better. And this year – an all-time low of 48. So while we were losing almost one person everyday here in New York, now we are losing fewer than one person every week. And that’s a tremendous accomplishment. And 30 of these deaths –we talk about smoke alarms. We’re doing the best we can. In 30 of these deaths, there were still no working smoke alarms and a working smoke alarm is critically important because it increases your chance to escape and survive a fire and our department cannot over emphasize this fact. So last year through our GetAlarmedNYC program, we were supported by the Mayor, the City Council, the FDNY Foundation, the Red Cross and Kidde – 113,000 smoke alarms were given out. Now, how did this program come about? I can tell you exactly – it was because of a horrific tragedy in Midwood, Brooklyn in March 2015. Seven children in the same family were killed in a fire with no working smoke alarms. And the Mayor and I stood in the kitchen of that home and said to each other, “What do we have to do? What can we do?” And that program was born that morning. So, it not only put those smoke alarms in homes. It raised awareness in every community about the critical need for smoke alarms. And it’s not over. This year we expect to install another 20,000 smoke alarms where needed in our city. As the Mayor mentioned, we’ve educated over 700,000 in fire safety education this year. It’s so important, critically important – the results show 48 fire deaths this year that continue to go down. People in New York City are better educated than ever about fire safety. It is working. A quarter of these fatal fires took the lives of New Yorkers over age 70, so it’s important for us as we look at our statistics to reach out to the senior population and that’s what we intend to do this year to continue to reach out to our seniors. They are a vulnerable part of our population. Fires overall have decreased including a 9 percent decrease in serious fires. And that’s great news. It means that education, fire prevention inspections are keeping our city safer. And we are getting to calls faster as the Mayor said. It’s an improvement in response time. Overall for fires five seconds, 21 seconds for EMS, thanks to the investment the City has made in our department. We’re getting to fires faster, critical patients faster providing the treatment they need. All of these improvements are helping to save lives and our success – it’s a joint effort. It’s an effort of brave firefighters, skilled medical professionals, diligent inspectors and professional fire safety educators. So I thank every member of this department. I am very proud to lead this department. They have showed themselves to be better than ever this year and we celebrate. And next year we will do an even better job to reach out to New Yorkers about fire safety, to install smoke alarms and keep our city growing safe and secure. So thank you. Mayor: Thank you very, very much Commissioner. And I also want to turn to our colleagues in the City Council. City Council has been very, very invested in making these public education efforts work. We could not do it without our colleagues in the council and two of the members who have made it a personal priority and a priority for the districts and beyond are here with us. First, I’d like to call upon Councilmember Andy Cohen of the Bronx. […] Mayor: Thank you, Councilman. Now, I want to turn to Councilman Chaim Deutsch who has been a key ally and also understood and felt deeply the tragedy in Midwood and understood the impact it had on the community; and was one of the leaders in going out to educate people so we would never have a tragedy like that again – Councilman Deutsch. […] Mayor: Thank you very much. We’re going to take questions about the achievements of the Fire Department in 2016, about EMS, Fire, anything related to that, and then we’ll go on to other topics. I just want to see if we have anything on this first. Go ahead, Anna. Question: What was the response – the average response time – to Staten Island last year? Commissioner Nigro: Staten Island – to fires or EMS? Or both? Question: Both. Commissioner Nigro: To both. Mayor: While you’re looking that up, let me jump ahead to the next one to give you a moment. Go ahead. Question: The NYPD often talks about CompStat for example, how they analyze numbers. Just wondering what specific system the FDNY uses to look at these numbers and analyze them throughout the year. Mayor: So either Commissioner or Chief, you want to speak to the question of how you look at your numbers and what kind of adjustments you make based on it? Use the microphone there. Chief: Sure. We have a unit called the Management – our MAPS unit – Management Analysis Planning System. And we analyze all these numbers and determine do we need more resources, less resources, what can we do, where are our fires occurring, what community boards? We try to match up the fire safety education and inspectional activity to drive down both. Our fire marshals also do cause and origin, so we have a total approach to what caused the fire, how do we react to the fire, was our response time good, do we need to change procedures, what inspectional activity is needed, and also what education should we do for the public. Mayor: Want to go back to the first one about Staten Island? Commissioner Nigro: Yes. 2016, Staten Island response time to serious calls on Staten Island was 7:39 and to structural fires was 5:10. Question: [Inaudible] two years ago you announced some additional money to decrease response times in certain areas of the city including Staten Island, and I was told that that budget  that the average response time on Staten Island was 6:51 – why is it different? Mayor: Well, we got two different figures here. So why don’t we – let’s make sure, fair enough – let’s go back and compare these against the information at the time of that budget address and show you how they – Commissioner Nigro: And was that response time for fire calls or for medical calls? Question: I believe it was medical. Commissioner Nigro Medical calls. Mayor: We’ll come back to it. Commissioner Nigro: We can come back to that. Right now we’re measuring our calls with the call end-to-end and this is something new. This is from the time the call is accepted to the time we get there. Three years ago we were only measuring the time from the time the Fire Department received the call to the time we got there, so it’s a little difficult to compare the response times from that. So I’d have to go back to another chart that showed the method of the measurement three years ago to today’s method. Question: We’ll get back to that? Commissioner Nigro: Sure. Mayor: I’ll make sure these guys will follow up with you. Go ahead, Laura. Question: Fires and fighting fires, responding to them is increasingly not the bulk of the work that the Fire Department does. It’s mostly responding to medical and non-medical emergencies at this point, right? Commissioner Nigro: Not exactly. Well, firefighters respond to approximately 800 medical calls a day. They might respond to more medical calls than structural fires, but they also respond to many other types of emergencies, so amongst the thousands of calls that the fire apparatus responds to on any given day it’s a mix of structural fires, emergencies such as gas leaks, auto accidents, you name it – subway issues, and medical calls. So they – it is a combination. Medical calls have become a significant part of the role of our firefighters, but they still do not occupy the bulk of their responses. Question: The Citizen’s Budget Commission in December 2015 said that 75 percent of the departments  was going to medical emergencies. Mayor: 75 percent – go louder? Question: 75 percent Mayor: Of? Question: Of the workload of the department was responding to medical emergencies and incidents and just five percent was devoted to fire. Commissioner Nigro: Well, they’re taking into account all the ambulance runs also, so if you factor in – we have 1.4 million medical calls a year. Many of those are not responded to by fire apparatus. They’re responded to only by ambulances, so you have to look at what exactly they were speaking to. Question: The question is – the Citizen’s Budget Commission and other budget watchdogs have said more firefighters should be certified as EMTs, so that they can respond to emergencies that don’t necessarily require someone to be taken to a hospital. Do you think that that would be more fiscally prudent? What do you think of that? Commissioner Nigro: Well, I think we’d have to have a change in the state regulations in order for anyone – ambulances or firefighters – to respond to calls and not transport people that call. That’s a little bit of a difficult procedure. I think what they’re saying is much of the workload of the Fire Department is switching to medical – much of the workload, not all of the workload. Nor should the Fire Department ignore the principle mission of a fire department which is to protect the public from fire. But the Fire Department is looking at ways to enhance our training and include more of our resources to medical calls absolutely, but we cannot overlook the tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of other calls that are not medically related that need a different skill set that are acquired by firefighters. Mayor: David? Question: Just to follow up on that currently this very good number of people have died in fires actually supports kind of the argument that some would want to make that, you know, the Department should sort of start to transition into a different kind of department and maybe close down some of the fire houses. Commissioner Nigro: Well, I think the Department already has and has for 20 years transitioned into a different department following the merger of EMS and the New York City Fire Department. So we have taken that into account, but I think I said before there are many types of calls that cannot be replaced simply by sending medical resources and the Department carefully measures that and send sufficient medical resources and fire fighting forces to the calls as they’re required, and we continue to adjust each year to how things are changing in our growing city. Mayor: Two things, David. First, Dan Nigro was actually one of the leaders of the transformation of the FDNY. Important reform was needed to bring the firefighting approach and EMS approach together and I think it’s been a tremendous success. And he, you know, over the last 15, 20 years was in the center of that. But second, I – this is something, I know, personally a lot about because I was deeply involved in the effort to save firehouses going back to the first time that Mayor Bloomberg proposed cuts in firehouses. I think if we’re celebrating today – improvements in response time – if we’re celebrating fewer deaths, it’s exactly the wrong time to talk about cutting firehouses. Part of why we’ve succeeded is because we have personnel close to where people are. And our job, in fact, is going to be to continue to reduce response time. We’re very, very proud of this progress but I want to go farther. Having an incredibly densely populated city and a growing city, as you know, where we have real traffic issues all the time, having the firehouses near to the people is absolutely crucial. So, I understand what the budget watchdogs are always looking for but I would say when you’re celebrating good news that we’ve saved a lot more lives that’s not a time to say well let’s start cutting the budgets and moving away from a strategy that worked. I would say that’s a time to stick with a strategy that’s working and see if we can take it even farther. Mayor: Jen. Question: I see the number one cause is electrical fire. Is that something that – people could be doing something differently in their homes or is it more just wiring and you’re kind of out of luck? Commissioner Nigro: No, it absolutely is. I think only three of those fires occurred in the hardwiring systems inside the homes. The majority are a misuse of extension cords and power strips, and many of the power strips that folks use out there are not UL approved and are very dangerous devices. So, we urge folks in our fire safety education to only use UL approved power strips and to be very careful with the use of extension cords. So, that’s the principal cause of electrical fires – it’s not home wiring but it’s the cords that we use. Question: [Inaudible] on the package UL approved? Commissioner Nigro: It should say it right on the back of the device or on the package and it’s – Question: [Inaudible] connect two together. I can put this is the paper but I feel – Commissioner Nigro: What do you think? [Laughter] Question: I mean – Mayor: We’re quizzing you, Jen. What do you think? Commissioner Nigro: If it sounds like a bad idea it most likely is. They’re not made to be piggybacked, no. Mayor: And Jen, it would be very helpful to put it in the paper – Commissioner Nigro: Yes, it would. Mayor: Because not only do we want to tell people about the dangers of using the wrong equipment, but this is also, as we’ve talked about other times, when it’s cold out too many people are tempted to open up their stove and use that to heat the apartment or do all sorts of other things that could be dangerous. In fact, let’s just take one moment before the next question. Will you delineate the different dangers because it would be great if people could include this to the maximum extent in your coverage – the different dangers when people try to heat their home that could cause a fire. Commissioner Nigro: The most common things people do when it it’s very cold and they don’t think their home or apartment is warm enough is to use the stove which creates carbon monoxide in the apartment. It’s not properly vented. They’re made for cooking not for heating. And the use of electric heaters which are not banned but they should be turned off before you go to sleep. They need to be kept at least two feet from anything combustible. They end up – the fires we’ve had, they’re right next to the bed. They’re right next to blankets. Eventually they heat up and they cause fires. So, I know the tendency, we want to all stay warm but we also more importantly need to stay alive – Mayor: Stay alive. Question: [Inaudible] homes as opposed to businesses or [inaudible]. Commissioner Nigro: Thank you for asking that. Our inspections – we do hundreds of thousands of inspections most of which are in commercial buildings. We had no fire deaths this year outside of residential buildings. We had a few in cars. We had one on a boat. But those that took place in buildings were in private homes and multiple dwellings. As always – and that’s nothing new – that the majority of fires take place inside residences. But this year, all of them – all of the fire deaths took place there. Question: [Inaudible] what’s driving this. I saw that serious [inaudible] the numbers went down. But does that mean that smaller fires are being cut off before they escalate [inaudible] prevention factor that’s keeping the number of small fires [inaudible]? Commissioner Nigro: Well, one thing, additional smoke alarms means that we get the call earlier and the faster we can arrive, the smaller the fire tends to be. We try very, very hard to keep fires as small as possible. So, I would say much of it is due to the diligence of our work force and the skills that they apply in fighting fires. So, I think people are doing a better job in keeping safe and our firefighters are doing a better job in keeping them safe. Question: [Inaudible] all fires are being prevented or big fires are being prevented – Commissioner Nigro: Well, all fires are down and big, large fires are down even more – the higher percentage. Mayor: Okay, Michael. Question: Mr. Mayor, you said there was a 21 second drop in response times for medical emergencies on average. What’s the drop – and I’m assuming there was a drop because of the average you guys mentioned before – for fires? What’s the average drop – Mayor: Again, what I’m giving you are broad statistics and the Commissioner can interpret and also get you more backup. But it’s five seconds reduction for fires – five second improvement in response time – 21 second improvement in response time for medical emergencies. Any other questions on this? Going once, going twice – I’m going to just take a moment, as people transition, I want us to pull this chart over. Give you guys another visual here. […] Mayor: Okay, everybody ready? Okay – hold on, hold on let’s let them clear out. And hold on, Dave. Okay, Dave. Question: Mayor, The Governor’s speech this morning – the State of the State Address Mayor: Yeah. Question: State of the State address – two things, one on the 100,000 affordable housing units [inaudible]. Is that [inaudible], or is it another example of [inaudible]? The other thing is – Mayor: I’ll do one at a time. Let me just speak to that. Dave, I think it is a set of things in the speech I would say are promising in terms of helping New York City, but we still don’t have the details. I think the big takeaway, I’d say, from the speech; I liked some things I heard for sure, but I got to see the details. We don’t have the State budget yet, as you know. We haven’t seen how these things are going to play out. So, of course, we would love more support for affordable housing in New York City. As you know, my plan for 200,000 apartments, that is going on no matter what. If the State is going to add additional support, that is fantastic. We especially need those supportive apartments to help reduce homelessness. The City is already committed to 15,000 – and you heard the announcement recently, we’re continuing to put those on line. I have to tell you, I would have like to had seen this stuff all resolved in the June State budget, that is when it was supposed to be resolved. I would have liked to seen some of this money flowing already. But, you know, we certainly would love to see more resources coming from the State. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Look, every leader has to make their own decision how to address the Trump situation; and the State of the State address is a particular venue. I will say, I think it is important that we – whenever we see President-elect Trump do anything that is hurting the people of New York City, we have to call it out, we have to act on it. But I think it is fair to say in a State of the State address that’s a sort of a bigger evaluation of what is going on in the State that might be the right occasion for that. Laura? Question: Mr. Mayor, this morning, there were nine subway lines experiencing delays, which is almost half the City’s subway structure. You do not control the subways, obviously. Mayor: Could you say that again, Laura? I couldn’t hear you. [Laughter] Mayor: What was that last part? Question: You don’t control the subways. Mayor: Thank you. Question: However, it’s a [inaudible]. Mayor: Of course. Question: First of all, what should be done? There were tens of thousands of constituents who could not get to work. The Governor has proposed spending billions for JFK and LaGuardia – a lot of people think is important too. But I’m even wondering if there are concerns about fire marshals because people couldn’t even move one way or the other. And then, the second part of that question is when was the last time you rode the subway to work? Mayor: I – so, let’s be clear – someone at the Second Avenue Subway opening was asking me if I would take that subway line to work and I did not have an opportunity to tell that individual to think about the route to Brooklyn then to City Hall. So, I’m going to continue doing exactly what I’m doing; going to my home neighborhood in the morning and then going to City Hall from there. But I take the subway regularly; there are just opportunities that come up where it makes a lot more sense to take the subway. I like taking the subway. I have throughout my life, so I keep doing that. On the first point, I think this is a very serious situation. I think you’re raising a very important question. My constituents increasingly talk to me about congestion on the subway. I hear it all over New York City. I think it begs a very important question, where are we going to get the investment we need for better subway rides, less congestion – you know, what is it going to take. Now, the City, as you know, recently invested $2.5 billion in the MTA. That was not something that had been typical in recent years. That was a decision we made to try and help the MTA. But I think it is a very good question to say of all the different priorities to address – real transportation issues – what’s most important? I for one care a lot more about the subways then I do about some of the other things that are being invested in. I would like to see more investment go into subways, compared to almost anything else. But that is a decision, obviously, the State Legislature is going to have to make and the MTA is going to have to make. Question: Just to be clear, the first part of the question – do you remember the last time that you took the subway to work? Mayor: When I – from Brooklyn to City Hall, I’m sure I can find out for you. I think it was maybe three weeks ago something like that. Go ahead. Question: Over the weekend there were a lot of complaints from Staten Islanders about the plowing. It was done during, before, and after the storm and some people were a little confused why that happened given that changes were made to plow system and how you disburse trucks. And one of the changes that were made this year was no more private contractors were dispatched by the City for tertiary streets. So, I was wondering is that something that you were concerned about given the changes that were made. Mayor: No, I think we had very a strong performance by the Sanitation Department and by our sanitation workers over the weekend. There were some areas we want to see improvement in for sure. We were constantly – City Hall was constantly in touch with local elected official including Staten Island elected officials, looking for trouble spots and getting them addressed quickly. So, there are always improvements and adjustments to make, but I feel very good about where the Sanitation Department is now. I certainly feel fine about the decision to have that tertiary streets covered by our own workers. Question: What would you say to people who are frustrated that they have had to wait like a day-and-a-half for a plow? Mayor: We always have to do better. We have – look, the Sanitation Department has proven itself over and over again including in the biggest snowstorm in the history of New York City last year. But we continue to improve, as you know, we are getting more equipment in that will allow us to get at smaller streets better. Not all of that was here; it was approved in the budget in June, so that new equipment is going to help. I think our own Sanitation workers will do a better job than the private contractors on the smaller streets, but it is a big city and we’re going to constantly do better at reaching people as quickly as possible. I think overall performance was strong over the weekend. Question: Two questions on this State of the State; but we heard the Governor talking about – suggesting that there are going to be reforms at Randall’s Island [inaudible]. Secondly, last year I think there was a media concern at the State of the State speech about the City being asked to shoulder the larger financial burden as we have had historically. Any budget bombshells in this speech that you’re worried about or you have your staff trying to get to the bottom of at this point? Mayor: Because – it’s a very good question – and because this speech for the first time was not accompanied by the budget, we don’t know yet the ramifications of everything that was being talked about in the speech, which is why I’ll express my praise for some of the things I heard, but until we see the details and particularly the budgetary details we can’t pass a final judgement. It was different, I agree with you, then what we heard at the State of the State last year. But – you know – we just have to be very sober about the fact that budget documents are really where the rubber hits the road and we’ve got to see that. My understanding is that has to be out in the next week or ten days and that will be our chance to see. And that’s when I will be able to comment in detail. In terms of – [Announcement made over loud speaker] That’s the news as it happens. [Laughter] The Governor made a glancing reference to Rikers Island. I wasn’t sure what to make of that. We feel very good about the reforms that are in place. We have been working very closely with a federal monitor, as you know. And I think the pace of reform at Rikers is strong. My reminders to everyone, beyond Rikers are the other jails in our correction system. All of them are going through a process of culture change; different ways of recruiting officers, training them, a lot more checks and balances, a lot more of the reforms that Commissioner Ponte has put in place to reduce violence; reduce the flow of weapons and contraband. All of this is happening, and I think it is happening very well. So, again – no, I didn’t hear anything specific in this speech. We’re going to continue working on the plan that we have right now. Jen? Question: There was some chatter about Hillary Clinton running for Mayor against you in a primary. I was just wondering what you thought of that, and also – you know – one of your comments was [inaudible] you were comfortable running your record against anyone. Would you be comfortable running your record against – Mayor: Look, let me start by saying, one of her top lieutenants – who I know very well – Neera Tanden made very clear on Sunday that Secretary Clinton does not intend to run for anything else again. So, to me that puts the whole thing to bed. So, I don’t deal in any speculation. I think that is a pretty clear statement. My general statement about what we have achieved in the last three years; I’m very comfortable going out to the people of New York City and talking to them about it, especially what we talked about just last week with the reduction in crime at the same time as we reduced stop-and-frisk. That is the kind of thing I’m going to go all over the City talking about. I’m very comfortable with it. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Sure. Question: This was all late last week – I mean, did you have a couple of stressful days thinking Hillary Clinton might run? Did you reach out to her? Mayor: I did not reach out to her. What Neera said is exactly what I assumed. You know, it just made total sense that that was her last campaign – and by the way, she won three million more votes than Donald trump. And you know, by any normal scenario should have prevailed, but I’m sure she is going to find a lot of other important things to do. In the back. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Louder, I’m sorry. Question: On Friday, [inaudible] was gunned down while was she was going to get dinner for her [inaudible] sons. I spoke with the father of the children; he said the reason why it happened [inaudible]. Mayor: First of all, my heart goes out to that family. My understanding is that woman was caught in the crossfire, had nothing to do with her. It’s unacceptable to begin with, but even worse as she was just going out getting food for her family; and her life was tragically lost. Look, this is part of our mission everywhere. If there is any place that needs more police presence, we’re going to get it there. That is what precision policing is all about. That’s why it achieved – you know, the Police Department achieved what they achieved in 2016 through precision policing; having more resources since now we have 2,000 more cops on the street then two years ago. But also, there are places where we need more lighting. I don’t know that specific site, and we’ll get you an answer about if there are other changes we have to make there. For example, in public housing we found some places that really needed more lighting. We put in light towers – temporary and then eventually permanent. So, I’ll get back to you on what we think we need in that location. But the number one point is if we think there is something that is not being addressed sufficiently we will add additional police presence. Michael. Question: [Inaudible] not working. Streets that were marked down as having [inaudible] weren’t. Councilman Lancman described this as a systemic problem [inaudible]. Could you tell us what is going on with this? And you mentioned before places you wanted to improve during plowing, can you give us some more specifics? Mayor: Yes. I would say a couple of different things. First of all – every single thing – I’ve been in government a long time and I can tell you there is no area that has been perfected. I don’t mean that as a platitude. I mean that as a very practical observation. Look at what the NYPD is doing. They started CompStat almost 25 years ago. They are still improving upon it all the time. There are still things we’re figuring out that we didn’t figure out previously. Look what the Fire Department did that was just announced today. But we have to do better. The same is true of Sanitation. Compared to just a few years ago Sanitation has clearly improved and the response to the blizzard is the best evidence in the world and that was extraordinary what they were able to do in less than 48 hours to get the city back on its feet. But, at the same time during the blizzard we found specific pockets that were not handled properly. We came up with an analysis of why. And part of it was not having the right size equipment, which we put in the budget. Some of it were some weaknesses in some particular garages that we had to address. This war never ends. My sense on the GPS situation, first of all GPS is imperfect by its nature so there’s always going to be a little variation. We’ve got to figure out – I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s systemic. I think the examples where it was awful were fairly rare. And I think the overall response to the storm this weekend was very strong. But, something is still not perfect. We got to figure out what that is and the Commissioner is very clear and she is going to look at any place where the information is off and make the adjustments. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: So a couple of things; our response so far has been to add inspectors, increase penalties and require more supervision on sites. I mean adding building inspectors, but also requiring supervision by the private sector companies themselves. We think all of those measures are going to have a positive impact. I certainly – everyone knows I prefer union labor and I am a big fan of apprenticeship programs. I don’t think requirement works practically speaking. I think the more we can do the better. I encourage it. I want to support the maximum use of it, but it’s not going to solve the problem anytime soon because there are always going to be some non-union sites. And that’s where our stricter regulation I think is going to make a real impact. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I think it’s a volume question. At this point, we have a very big non-union construction sector. I prefer union construction workers to be doing all the work, but the reality is we have a big non-union construction sector. Apprenticeship programs help to make steady progress towards more and more people being unionized, but we have a right now problem that we have to address and that’s where I think more inspections, more requirements for site supervision and higher penalties are the ways to address that problem. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I would say – I would go a step before that to begin. We have so many people concentrated in subways, in big buildings, in transportation hubs. I think we have a more essential concern even in that. That we have to prevent crime and prevent terror in all those places simultaneously, which we do first and foremost through intelligence gathering, particularly working with our federal partners and by a strong show of police presence and preventative measures. Of course if we had a problem in the subway that only adds to it, but I don’t think it changes the fundamental philosophy that governs what we do. I think it kind of stands to reason that having 36,000 police officers having strong dedicated anti-terror apparatus, having strong intelligence gathering apparatus, that’s going to be true in any scenario. It’s always sobering to see what happens when there is a disruption of subways. The same thing if a highway is shut down. We obviously are so densely packed. All of that is sobering, but it doesn’t change our strategic assumptions. On the question of how do we address this long-term – look, the subway system is going to need not only billions, tens of billions of dollars in investment overtime. I had hoped that we were going to have a different federal administration and a different U.S. Senate that would be ready to make major investments in mass transit. Now, what is President Trump going to do? We don’t know. We haven’t heard of defying infrastructure plan. Maybe there will be an opportunity for those investments now as was true up through the 60s and 70s. Maybe there won’t, but I think in this city we have to come to some kind of larger vision of what kind of investment it’s going to take to really make the MTA work for the long-term and where we are going to get those resources. The City is going to be stressed financially going forward – and particularly because of some of the dangers in the Trump administration and what it could mean for our budget, but the State, the MTA, and ultimately the federal government – working with them we have to come up with a long-term plan. It was fine; I mean it was kind of cool to see a party in the subway. So I thought it was a special night for New York City and a night you know, something everyone could agree on. It was good to have a Second Avenue subway after a hundred years. And it was fun to have a party so that was cool. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: On the first one, no and I don’t know what it looks like because we haven’t been given anything. So again, as I said to you last time it doesn’t shock me. You know at the last moment we will be told what the budget looks like and then we will be able to analyze what it means and I will be very straight forward with the people in New York City what it means for all of us. But we haven’t been given any inkling yet. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Well that’s just not true. Look, I will always beware of people with political agendas. We’ve tried to get this done for years. Remember it was initiated in the Bloomberg administration, but they didn’t get it done, we’ve been trying to get it done. We would be happy to get it done, but the partners we’ve been working with have not been able to put it all together. We will do everything we can to get that project done. And the state wants to put more money into it, we welcome it. That’s great. Question: [Inaudible] understand the political agenda comment. Mayor: Again, I think it’s quite clear – I won’t go into detail but the fact is the Borough President has his own views. He knows we’ve been trying to get this done and I’ll stay at that. Question: The DOB penalties and rules that you mentioned obviously [inaudible] doesn’t include health and safety issues. Boston just passed a law that their DOB is going to require permit applicants to submit their OSHA violations and their outstanding OSHA problems in order to kind of integrate some of the jurisdictional gap. And I’m wondering if that’s something that you would consider – Mayor: Yeah, I would definitely consider that. I have a lot of respect for Mayor Walsh in Boston. He’s one of the colleagues I’m closest to and I think we all are working together. When we’re seeing this level of construction which as you know is the most we’ve seen in a long time, we need to always look for additional solutions. So, that’s something I think could be productive. We’ll look at the for sure. Question: Is it at all [inaudible] before being progressive was cool – Mayor: Was en vogue, yes. Question: Today, we heard the Governor in his speech, was talking about the way forward with the progressive agenda. Is it ever frustrating to you to hear him kind of take credit for ideas he wasn’t always in favor of and now he’s in favor of them [inaudible]? Does that ever get to you a little bit? Mayor: Well, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Look, I’m happy when anyone sees the light. So, these ideas I started talking about in 2012, 2011 and the fact that we had to address income inequality, that people were hurting, that they felt that the economy had been unfair, they felt the political class had not addressed their needs. And I’m sitting here because I raised those concerns and talked about the things we need to do to address them. And we’ve proceeded to do those things and we’re going to do a lot more. The more people who come to that realization [inaudible] act on it the better. That’s part of my sense of mission is I would I like to see my whole party start thinking that way. It’s not a state secret that for decades the Democratic Party ran away from that kind of way of thinking. I think it’s a time of renaissance for the Democratic Party notwithstanding the challenges we face. I think the part is becoming more progressive. It’s moving leftward. It’s more and more people who recognize we have to start with a strong populist economic agenda –and the more the merrier from my point of view. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I’ll get to you. I see you there on the wing. Question: [Inaudible] bill that Cuomo vetoed that would have picked up the tab on the – Mayor: Right. Question: Did you or do you support that and are you working [inaudible] on what the new proposal might be? Mayor: Look, I think that was mistake that the Governor vetoed that. This is an area – he made a very good point today and I think a lot of his criminal justice reform proposals were good today. They made the point about one of the foundational concepts of our judicial system and our democracy – is people should be given a defense whether they can afford it or not. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I’m not going to put a word to it. I wish he had supported the legislation because it would have made a clear standard all over the state and it would have helped us in the city to – and other places – to pay for these huge burdens. But it’s not a surprise and we obviously will remain committed to doing all we can do. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Way back there. Question: The President-elect has named his son-in-law his senior advisor. Do you have any reaction [inaudible] New York City? [Inaudible] any conflict of interest there? Mayor: I’m going to separate the pieces. The conflict of interest I can’t speak to because I don’t know all the details – I don’t think any of us know all the details. But I would say that the Trump administration should be very, very careful about conflicts of interest, and they have not obviously satisfied the American people or all of you in the media about the way they’re addressing that. So, I think they’re going to have to win people’s trust on that matter by showing very clear safeguards. I mean, look at what we do in New York City – look at how much we disclose – any of us in public life – how much disclosure there is – and Conflict of Interest Board, and all the other things we have. They’re going to have to show people that they’re abiding by the highest standards. About the person of Jared Kushner, I respect him a lot. I’ve known him for years and find him to be a very reasonable person. He’s certainly someone I’ll – I’ve been talking to him over these last weeks. He’s someone I intend to stay in touch with on behalf of the people of New York City. And I think he’s someone who, you know, really cares about New York City and is someone who could be very helpful to us. So, I’m certainly pleased he’ll be in that role and, if I could say, clearly, compared to many other people that have been named to other positions, I find him to be a lot more reasonable and a lot more moderate. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Yeah. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I said that, I think, before. It’s not a news flash, don’t worry. No, as I’ve said at different points, including about the reimbursement issue, among other things, I’ve spoken to Jared Kushner on that and other issues several times. I’ve talked to Steve Mnuchin several times. I mean, both of those are examples of New Yorkers who I think care deeply for the City, and I’m going to keep an open line of communication with them. And I’ll call it like I see it – there’s going to be times when obviously we will intensely disagree. But my job is to advocate for the people of New York City and look for the members of the Trump administration who get it and understand how important New York City is to this nation, understand why we should get reimbursed for the police coverage we’re providing, etcetera – and those are two individuals I certainly intend to stay in touch with. Thanks, everyone.
Saturday, January 7, 2017 - 7:30am
Errol Louis: It’s a new year, and this program has a new name for all of 2017 as we turned our focus on the race for mayor and other campaigns throughout the five boroughs. Joining us now from the Blue Room at City Hall is our incumbent mayor who’s already busy working on his reelection campaign. Mayor de Blasio, thank you for joining us on The Road to City Hall – and Happy New Year. Mayor Bill de Blasio: Happy New Year, Errol. I like the name change. I like that we’re back in the election year. Louis: Well, all roads lead to that office. Some people want to take that office from you, but we’ll get to that later. How was New Year’s, sir? I understood you had the ball drop – of course, that you all saw – but you also made it over to the opening of the Second Avenue Subway. Mayor: Oh, that was great. What a great moment for New York City – a hundred years in the making and it’s finally here. And since I now live on the Upper East Side I can tell you a lot my neighbors are very, very happy about it. And the ball drop went beautifully of course and credit to the NYPD on an extraordinary effort on New Year’s Eve keeping us safe. You know a lot of noise out there – threats around the world – but, once again, the NYPD did an exemplary job keeping New Year’s Eve safe for all the millions who participate. Louis: I’m curious, when you were with the Governor at the opening of the subway, did you get a chance to talk about anything whether its next year’s budget? Or the opening of the train itself? Political priorities? Mayor: No, it – look, it was a very festive atmosphere, and I certainly congratulated him. As you know, the Governor controls the MTA and this was a good day for the MTA, so I congratulated him, and you know people were just having a great time and enjoying the beautiful new stations. They really are great, and you know this is something good for the City of New York. Louis: Okay, today we had an announcement that may or may not be good for the City of New York. I’d like to get your take on this announcement – that there’s going to be a push for a bill that would grant free tuition as far as I can tell to about 90 percent of New York households throughout the State. Bernie Sanders was there. The Governor announcing that he’s going to push forward a bill that would cover tuition for community college, for CUNY campuses, for SUNY campuses. What’s your take on that? Mayor: Well, Errol, based on what I know so far, it looks like a real step forward. Now, I want to see the details obviously. I want to see how it’s going to be paid for and who’s going to be paying for it, but I commend the Governor because this is the kind of thing we need to do. And obviously the State has control over both the CUNY and SUNY system, and it’d needed to be more affordable, so this is the kind of thing that could be really helpful to students here in New York City. We want to make sure, you know, we had a big controversy last year in the state budget where the state tried to move some important costs over to the City. We want to make sure that’s not happening here, but as an idea I think it’s a very commendable idea. Louis: And, depending on the numbers then you’ll be fighting for it up in Albany during that session? Mayor: Yeah, I mean, pending the details the concept is one I absolutely agree with and, again, I think the Governor is taking a good step there. Louis: Let me ask you about the concept as a matter of fact. There was a lot of talk about the presidential campaign last year. We all understand education is the path to the middle class, a proven path to better earnings, better jobs and so forth. In this case though, it sounds like it’s with no strings attached – no requirement for public service, no requirement that the recipient even remain in New York. Mayor: Well, Errol, I haven’t seen those details so I don’t want to comment on that yet. That’s the kind of thing I want to know more about. How is it structured? Who qualifies? Obviously, again, who’s paying for it, most importantly? Because we’re going into a time as you know there’s going to be real stress on our City budget, our State budget because of what’s happening to the economic reality of our revenues, but also because of all the unknown emanating out of Washington under a president Trump. So understanding who pays for it is going to be crucial, but it’s the kind of thing we need to do more of as a City, as a State, as a nation. I was very proud to bring full day pre-K to every kid at four years old in this city. We want to do a lot more to make free opportunity available like after school we’ve made free for all our middle school kids here in the city. Well another very logical step is to make two year and four year college more affordable. Again, pending the details this may be one of the ways that gets it done. And certainly in the national election it was one of the things that people responded to all over the country. Louis: The meeting and the convening of the 115th Congress took place today, and I’m curious – at what point do you and the administration try and figure out what your national priories are going to be? Do you meet with the delegation? Do you sort of have a plan of attack about how – I’m not talking about the sort of the big ticket, high profile items like Obamacare – but just kind of the day to day routine stuff that New York City needs from Washington. Mayor: Well, I think we need to do two things at once here. You’re right. I’ll be meeting with the congressional delegation. We have to defend funding that comes to NYC. We have to work on important issues that affect NYC. That’s the first part, but the second part that I think is going to be a sort of unprecedented environment with a president trump is defending the policies that particularly have a positive impact on New York and cities around the country. So we have to defend the affordable care act. Obamacare has been incredibly important to making sure people have health insurance in NYC. In fact, we need more and more people to sign up for health insurance. That’s why we’re doing our GetCoveredNYC campaign. That’s important for healthcare in the city. It’s also important to protecting our public hospital system and making sure people who go to it have insurance. That’s the kind of big area we’re going to be fighting on. I’m certainly going to get involved in the effort to make sure that the stuff trump’s talking about in terms of taxes is not just endless giveaways to the wealthy and to corporations because you know what not only is that unfair it also means money will be taken away from programs like affordable housing and education that help people here in NYC. So we’re going to have to fight on the day to day things – the appropriations the kinds of things that affect NYC – but also on the big policy issues that really could be decisive in determining what the future is going to be like in this city. Louis: There’s only one member of the New York City congressional delegation who’s in the Republican majority – of course, that’s Dan Donovan from Staten Island, with a little piece of Brooklyn. What’s your relationship like with him? Is he going to be kind of one of your – one of your go between with the White House? Mayor: He has certainly been very, very helpful to New York City. I commend Congressman Donovan, particularly on the issue of security funding. When the Obama administration put forward a proposal that would’ve cut some of our anti-terror funding, Congressman Donovan stood up and was a very effective advocate. We’ve worked very closely together on that. I know we will work closely together on reimbursement for the City for the security costs at Trump Tower. He’s already been very supportive. So I think he’ll play an important role. I’ve been working also with Congressman Collins from upstate New York, who was an early Trump supporter – has been very, very helpful on the effort to get reimbursement. So, yeah, there’ll be a number of people that we’ll be working with in a different fashion. But, look, I’m’ ready to work with anyone who will help NYC whether, again, it’s on those day to day issue – the smaller things – or whether it’s on the big picture issues like saving Obamacare and making sure that the tax code is fair to new Yorkers. Louis: Similar question with regard to your colleagues in the other big cities, the urban leaders have convened and there’s an association and you all talk about a lot of different things. Is there a plan of attack for the big cities together? Mayor: We’re building that right now, and you know one of – some of the things that cities care about and often in a very bipartisan fashion are things like protecting Obamacare. We all know what a huge impact it has on our cities. We want to make sure there’s fairness for so many of our residents who happen to be immigrants, and that’s another area where there’s been tremendous synergy and alliance between mayors. You know, what mayors are saying all over the country – and police chiefs are saying all over the country – we’re not going to turn our police force into immigration enforcement. We’ve got to keep a strong and positive relationship between our police and our communities, so we have a lot of common interest. You know we’re going to fight for fairness for cities, and I think the most important thing, Errol, is not just that the mayors of this country represent millions and millions of people. I represent 8.5 million people. My colleagues between them represent tens of millions of people. It’s that so many of these cities are in red states and purple states and have U.S. senators and congressmen who are Republicans and they have a big impact on the thinking of those leaders because those cities represent a big part of their constituency. So, that’s why we want to organize together. We want those Republican senators and congressman to understand that if they take an action – for example, if they repeal Obamacare and take away health insurance from a lot of their own constituents – they’re constituents are not going to be happy about that. If they cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, and then their constituents don’t get support for things like affordable housing or mass transit or education, they’re not going to be happy about that. We have a real opportunity to organize mayors around the country, often on a bipartisan basis to reach those republican members of the House and Senate and have an impact on their thinking. Louis: In just a little more than two weeks, there’s going to be the inauguration. Lots of people are going to be heading down. We learned today the Clintons will be attending the inauguration. Are you planning to be there? Mayor: No. I am not planning to be there, and I respect the Clinton’s choice. I particularly respect Hillary Clinton’s fortitude which we have seen for years and years. I think that’s going to be a tough day for her obviously doesn’t make a lot of sense given that she won almost 3 million more votes than Donald trump, but I admire her strength. Louis: I mean I’m thinking of the inauguration – this might just be me thinking this – as the point at the very point literally at which we go from politics to governing and I wonder if there’s maybe we could do for NYC if you were there. Mayor: I don’t see it that way. Obviously, it’s an important moment, but it’s a symbolic moment. I think the more important work will be done starting really the days right after when we have to get to work on the issues. And when it comes to that I’ll be looking forward to working with members of the trump administration and of course the congress. You know, I’ve reached out to not only the President-elect, but our new HUD secretary, Ben Carlson – Dr. Carlson – Carson, I should say, in addition to key members of Trump’s inner circle. With the same message, we want to work together where we can and where we disagree of course I’m going to stand up for the people of NYC. But they’ll be ample opportunity to try and work through some of those issues. Louis: Okay, we’re going to take a short break. Please stand by Mr. Mayor. We’ll be back with more from mayor de Blasio in just a minute, and then later on we’ll bring you all of political news. Stay with us. […] Louis: Welcome back to the Road to City Hall. I’m joined once again by Mayor de Blasio, coming to us from the Blue Room at City Hall. Mr. Mayor, I don’t want to belabor that video that you made that sort of summarizes last year’s achievements. I thought the singing was better than decent. I though the humor was kind of obvious. And I think you’ve describe it accurately as the equivalent of a glossy brochure describing what your administration did last year, but if we’re going to do that there’s at least one part of it – and sort of analyzing the lyrics if you will – when the mention the rent freeze. That’s actually the work of the Rent Guidelines Board, right? That’s not really you and the administration that can take credit for that? Mayor: Well, I name the members of the Rent Guidelines Board, Errol, obviously. And, look, we picked them with a very different philosophy. I wanted to make sure that the Rent Guidelines Board was fair to tenants, and I think it’s quite clear in its almost 50 years of existence that a lot of the time it leaned toward the interest of landlord not tenants. So I came in with a mandate that we were going to be fair. When our Rent Guidelines Board looked at the facts – looked at the actual economics – they came to a clear conclusion, particularly because of the decreased cost of fuel that tenants deserved a rent freeze, and we did that for two years. Now, each year will be different depending on the facts of that year, but that was a policy approach. That was a different of both policy and approach and it really had a huge benefit for two million New Yorkers. Louis: Okay, we got a question here from a viewer Mr. Mayor. It’s a question about Vision Zero. As we reported – as we learned today, total fatalities are down 3.8 percent for the year from 234 to 225 killed last year but motor vehicle deaths were up 23 percent last year; pedestrian fatalities were flat; and of course people are concerned that at least six people were killed by motorists – pedestrian that is including a child – in the last week. Are we going to stay the course with the basic strategy of Vision Zero? Or are you going to accelerate the funding of Safe Street designs which is what some of the advocates have been calling for? Mayor: Errol, we are very committed. I believe in Vision Zero 110 percent, and now we have three years running where it’s produced better results each year. You know, we had after what the first year we had the lowest number of pedestrian fatalities in over a century. We’ve continued to bring down those overall fatalities these last two years. So, Vision Zero is working. It’s also only just begun. There are going to be more and more of those traffic redesigns. We’ve put a huge amount of capital dollars into that. You’re going to see more and more each year. On top of that, you’re going to see a lot more enforcement by the NYPD particularly on speeding and failure to yield to pedestrians at intersections, so this is just the beginning of Vision Zero. It’s going to grow in a lot of ways. I hope Errol we’ll get more support from Albany. We’re going to go up there again with the families who have lost their loved ones that have been such heroes in this effort. We’re going to try to get the right to have more ability to use speed cameras around schools in particular. I hope we can with that because that’s going to help us save even more lives. Louis: Okay, another question from a viewer – how can the City be doing all it can to prevent construction deaths when it doesn’t count them all? This is a reference to the fact that some of the fatalities which are sort of a leading cause of death in that sector are the responsibility of the federal occupational and health and safety administration, OSHA, but that the city doesn’t really keep or count the numbers. And I guess this ties back to that management principal that you can’t manage something that you aren’t measuring. What’s your response to that? Mayor: Errol, obviously we pay attention to federal figures, and State figures, and City figures all the time in any number of areas. We know as there’s been more and more construction. I mean, let’s look at the core of this problem is we have the highest amount of construction we’ve had basically in a decade, since before the great recession. We want more safety on construction sites. We’re pushing very hard for that. We’ve added a lot more stringent rules and laws to ensure that there’s better oversite at construction sites and beefed up more to the buildings department so the building department can play a more muscular role. And we’ve put some real teeth behind that in terms of penalties. There’s more to do for sure. And the companies that do the construction have more to do to keep their workers safe. This is something that’s going to be an ongoing effort, but no, we don’t minimize it at all. We look at all the figures. Louis: Well, should there maybe be something like fall-stat or you know fatality-stat – something related that we can publicly, collectively point to a number so just like with Vision Zero we can sort of all publicly know and track where the problems are and then sort of start working together on solutions. Mayor: I think it’s a different reality because these are obviously overwhelmingly private buildings sites, unlike a Vision Zero or a CompStat where you’re talking about the whole city in the public spaces and all. But I very much believe in that kind of transparency, so we’ll look at ways that we can get that information out to the public, but the bottom line is we’re doing a lot more to protect workers on the sites, and we want to do more on top of that. We want to see a lot more rigorous enforcement, and we’re trying to put those measures in place. Look, I’m not satisfied with the status quo. I want to see safer construction sites going forward. Louis: There’s a report today Mr. Mayor that there are plans to build a new 1,000-seat school in East New York. There are at least some advocates who have been – who point out that there’s something like 7,000 empty seats- class room seats – that are in east New York right now. What’s going on there? Mayor: Well, as you know, there was a rezoning process in east New York that involved the community very, very deeply for a substantial period of time. We worked very closely with community leaders and particularly with councilmember Rafael Espinal who represents a lot of that area, and that new school was a crucial community demand so that was an important part of that rezoning. Look – we’re always working when space is available in schools to find good uses for them, but that particular need was something the community identified as a high priority. Louis: Okay, so it sounds like we may end up with a glut out there. Before I let you go, you’re a big Red Sox fan due to your accidental circumstances of birth. We won’t hold that against you. Are you going to be rooting for the Giants next Sunday? You’re making a bet with the Mayor of Green Bay? What’s the plan? Mayor: Yeah, I got to talk to the mayor of Green Bay because I’m happy to make that bet, and you know I think the Giants have got good momentum now. Green Bay’s been impressive, but, you know, I think the Giants have a lot going for them, so I have to reach out to Mayor Schmidt and make that bet. Louis: Okay, one of your top aides, Phil Walzak, of course – a Packers fan. You may have to set him straight a little bit. Mayor: Look – not only him, Eric Phillips, my press secretary, as well. The Packers have a faction but they are well outnumbered, Errol. [Laughter] Louis: Very good to hear that. We will see you next week Mr. Mayor, thank you for spending some time with us. Mayor: Take care.
Thursday, January 5, 2017 - 5:10pm
New savings initiative will give participating families the opportunity to create a long-term savings plan and make higher education more achievable for NYC public school students NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner of Media and Entertainment Julie Menin, Chair of the newly formed charitable nonprofit organization NYC Kids RISE, the Gray Foundation’s Mindy and Jon Gray, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced that School District 30 in Queens – encompassing Astoria, Ditmars, East Elmhurst, Hunter’s Point, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside – will launch NYC’s Child Savings Account initiative in the fall, helping thousands of New York City public school children save for college. “All of NYC’s kids deserve the chance to attend college and pursue their dreams, regardless of their family’s economic status. Today we’re announcing a savings account for thousands of children in Queens, which we know will dramatically increase their likelihood of getting a college degree. As a public school parent, I extend my deepest thanks to the Gray Foundation, Commissioner Menin and others who have worked so hard to make child savings accounts a reality for these families. We hope to see this program continue to grow so families across the five boroughs can start saving early for their children’s future,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. As part of the program, approximately 3,500 kindergarteners in School District 30 will each have $100 allocated to them in scholarship accounts in fall 2017, plus up to an additional $200 in matching funds during the program’s first three years. A total of approximately 10,000 children will be part of the initiative during the three-year period. There will be no cost to participate in the program, and every kindergarten student enrolled in public schools in that district will be automatically enrolled in the program starting in the fall. Pending a successful pilot program, the CSA initiative’s goal will be to expand and provide a universal scholarship account to every child in the New York City public school system. NYC Kids RISE, the nonprofit overseeing the scholarship accounts and programs within the guidelines of NY’s 529 College Savings Program, plans to launch efforts to raise additional private funds to support the ongoing costs of the initiative and to explore opportunities to scale. “By investing in the future of our children, we will dramatically increase the chance that they will not only enroll in college, but graduate,” said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin, who also serves as Chair of the nonprofit organization NYC Kids RISE. “Starting the NYC CSA in District 30, which represents New York’s great diversity, should ensure the success and longevity of the program and lay the foundation to expand citywide. Through this program, the students of District 30 will see first-hand the benefits of long term savings, and, in turn, we hope to help families take control of their own financial futures.” “One of the most important things we can do to help more young people get on the path to college graduation – and after that, into successful careers – is helping them and their families understand that college is possible and build a financial plan to get there. Research has shown that even a modest college savings account can have a massive impact on college matriculation and persistence,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “As the first to benefit from the CSA program, District 30 families will play a critical role in developing this program for families across the city.” “This pilot is a critical step forward as we strengthen students’ paths to college and careers, and I look forward to working with NYC Kids RISE and District 30 leaders to make a difference for this community’s students and families,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “I thank the Gray Foundation and Commissioner Menin for their partnership and commitment in making this pilot a reality, and supporting equity and excellence for our students.” "New York's 529 College Savings Program builds the foundation needed to help fund the cost of higher education," said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. "As the cost of obtaining a college education continues to rise, saving now is important to offset future expenses. I can think of no better investment than an education." Jon Gray, co-Founder of the Gray Foundation said, “Mindy and I believe that all children should have the opportunity to reach their highest potential. We are excited to partner with the City of New York to pilot this impactful program in District 30 in Queens. NYC Kids RISE will help public school students plan and save for higher education at an early age, improve financial literacy, and expand the benefits from long-term investing to all families." With up to $10 million in seed funding contributed by the Gray Foundation and working in collaboration with New York’s 529 College Savings Program, the CSA initiative will provide participating children access to financial resources to be used to obtain a post-secondary education. The initiative will encourage positive financial behaviors and life-long savings, through improved financial education and capability, and will democratize the benefits of long-term investing. School District 30 was selected to launch the three-year pilot program following a quantitative and qualitative analysis of all 32 geographic school districts in New York City in order to identify a district that was both representative of the public school population with respect to poverty levels, ethnicity, English language learners, and students with disabilities, and also had the infrastructure in place to support the pilot program. The Gray Foundation's gift will also provide start-up funding for the CSA program’s infrastructure and personnel. Beginning this month, Debra-Ellen Glickstein will serve as the Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE. Glickstein has worked with communities to expand economic opportunities for nearly 20 years and recently served as the Executive Director of New York City’s Office of Financial Empowerment, the first municipal office in the country focused on creating innovative financial products, programs and services to enable asset building and wealth creation for low income New Yorkers and neighborhoods. Glickstein will work with NYC Kids RISE’s board of directors, which includes Commissioner Julie Menin as Chair, NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, and Executive Director of the Gray Foundation Dana Zucker. Commissioner Menin will continue in her role as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. The Department of Consumer Affairs and its Office of Financial Empowerment will also be involved with the initiative, utilizing its Financial Empowerment Centers to help families create their financial savings plans. A top priority for the de Blasio Administration is to create equity and excellence in education for all of New York City’s children. This Administration is creating a path to college and careers starting with Pre-K for All – which is in its third year of providing every 4-year-old in the city with a free, full-day, high-quality pre-K seat – and continuing through elementary, middle, and high school. The City’s high school graduation rate is over 70 percent for the first time, the dropout rate is the lowest ever recorded, and college readiness and enrollment rates are also at record highs. As the City builds on this progress through the Mayor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda – including the College Access for All initiative, which will provide every student with the awareness, resources, and support to graduate high school with an individual college and career plan – the Child Savings Account program will better prepare children to save for higher education options including college, vocational programs and other postsecondary educational options. “Every child, regardless of their economic background, deserves the opportunity to start their financial future on the right foot,” said Representative Joe Crowley, Chairman of the Democratic Caucus and the author of federal legislation to create a national child savings program. “New York City’s Child Savings Account initiative is an undoubtedly sound investment that will put higher education within reach for countless families. I’m thrilled it will be kicking off its pilot program in Queens where so many of my constituents can benefit from the opportunity to give their kids the head start they need and deserve.” “This groundbreaking public private partnership between the City of New York and the Gray Foundation will help to get our city’s kids on the right path by giving New York families a head start on saving for higher education. The de Blasio Administration wants every child to have the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their economic situation or their zip code. With the generosity of our partners in the private sector, I know we can give students the support they need to reach higher and stretch farther,” said Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships Gabrielle Fialkoff. United Federation of Teacher President Michael Mulgrew said, “Thousands of New York City public school kids will now get a firm footing for their academic future thanks to the Child Savings Account Program. I would like to thank again Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Menin for their efforts to ensure that our students – especially those from needy families – have increased opportunity to go to college.” "We must do everything in our means to ensure equitable opportunities for all NYC's children and the City's Child Savings Account initiative does just that," said Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest. ''Our agency is honored to be a partner in this very important endeavor and we are proud to be providing the technology behind this initiative to further Mayor de Blasio's vision for a just and equitable city." “Child savings accounts create the foundation for our public school students to plan for and complete post-secondary education, which increases the equality of opportunity,” said Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “By fostering savings starting in kindergarten, not only will our kids be exposed to and develop savings habits, but they will be better prepared to plan for their college education.” “These accounts will serve as a tool to encourage both savings and the belief that post-secondary education is attainable across income levels. CEO will continue to be a partner in this exciting initiative that seeks to reduce poverty by broadening college access and success,” said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Center for Economic Opportunity and Senior Advisor for Service Innovation in the Mayor’s Office of Operations. “Citi congratulates New York as the latest city to develop a child savings account program. The program will empower children and their families to save and turn their dreams of a college education into a reality,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance. “Through Citi’s partnership with the City of San Francisco on the development of Kindergarten to College, the nation’s first universal child college savings account program, we have seen firsthand how cities can transform the college aspirations for children from all backgrounds.” NY’s 529 College Savings Program offers an investment vehicle designed to help save for higher education. The City worked to create an innovative account structure to enable all students, regardless of circumstance, entering participating schools to be in a position to benefit from the program’s philanthropic dollars. Under this structure, the funds invested in the scholarship component will be held in an omnibus account, and each participating student will be automatically assigned a portion of the total regardless of the family’s income or immigration status for use in pursuing qualifying post-secondary education, subject to program guidelines. The City worked with leading social policy research firm MDRC to conduct six focus groups of 60 low- to moderate-income parents in New York City. MDRC found that while families care deeply about their children having the opportunity to go to college and were excited to learn about 529 accounts, almost no participants were previously aware of the tool. Further, the City conducted data analysis to determine that in NYC, a child growing up in a neighborhood in the top 20 percent of income is 20 times more likely to have a 529 College Savings Direct account than a child growing up in a neighborhood in the bottom 20 percent of income. The project, led by Commissioner Julie Menin, is supported by several City agencies including the Department of Education; Department of Information, Technology, and Telecommunications; Department of Consumer Affairs; Center for Economic Opportunity; and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. NYC Kids RISE plans to launch efforts to raise additional funds to support the ongoing costs of the initiative and to explore opportunities to scale. Through a unique hybrid structure, students will be able to participate in both a scholarship component and a family savings component of the program. Both the scholarship and family savings components will be invested in NY’s 529 Direct Plan, so all funds will have the potential to benefit from compounding earnings. The family savings option will allow family members, relatives, and others to contribute to students’ education funds and have those funds be invested in a 529 plan. Investments in the 529 investment program entail risk of loss. Any investment by family members or friends will be optional, in the sole discretion of the family members and friends. “Too many of our city’s most promising students face tremendous financial barriers to attend college. I am thrilled that NYC School District 30 has been chosen for the pilot program of NYC's Child Savings Accounts initiative so that more families can save for their child’s education. This is a great step to ensure that no student’s education should be cut short because of their financial situation,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney. “Congratulations to District 30 for being chosen as the pilot program for the NYC Child Savings Account Initiative” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “I would like to commend Mayor de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Buery, Commissioner Menin and Chancellor Fariña for developing this much needed program to help students save for their college education. A big thanks to our Long Island City Community including Bishop Mitchell Taylor and Claudia Coger for helping to improve our community". “For high-school graduates considering a higher education, the cost of earning a degree is an overwhelming factor. They see friends and family still struggling to pay off student debt years after graduating from their university. NYC’s Child Savings Account eases that first leap onto the path of higher learning. I’m proud that students in my district, where so many immigrant families struggling with low wages live, will be among the first to make use of this important new tool as the pilot program launches in District 30. I thank NYC Kids RISE and the Gray Foundation for making this public-private partnership possible and giving low-income and working families the tools they need to secure a brighter future for tomorrow’s students,” said Assembly Member Francisco P. Moya. "Providing students with financial tools and the benefits of long-term savings plans helps make college more attainable for our youth,” said City Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. “All students should have the opportunity to attend college regardless of their economic status and this initiative is an investment in our children's future. I am thrilled that the pilot will be launching in School District 30 where many families struggle with the financial burden of college tuition. This initiative will help students achieve their full potential. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Menin and the Gray Foundation for their efforts to prepare our students financially for college." Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “All New Yorkers deserve access to college degrees and a world-class education. That’s why I am proud to have the pilot program of our City’s Child Savings Accounts initiative in our school district. With this pilot and public-private partnership, parents will have more resources to save for college educations for their children. I thank Commissioner Menin, the Board of Directors of NYC Kids RISE, and Chancellor Fariña for their leadership on this issue.” "Students with college savings are far more likely to attend and graduate from college," said City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. "This program will help give New York's children a greater opportunity to advance themselves and their families through higher education. I'm especially pleased that the pilot program will begin in School District 30, where I went to school, so that the families of Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside, and Woodside will have this extra assistance in sending their children to college." “The Financial Clinic applauds the City for its adoption of one of the most innovative savings vehicles in the city’s history. Our financial coaches at Financial Empowerment Centers focus on long-term savings – like 529 accounts and Child Savings Accounts – as a critical part of building financial security. The City's accomplishment is an important step to help the city’s youngest and most financially vulnerable children find and fund a path to college," said Mae Watson Grote, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Financial Clinic. “CCC has been a strong, longtime champion for children’s savings accounts. We know in New York City that the majority of public high school graduates report plans to attend college or a post-secondary program; yet, only about a half of our City’s young adults between 25 to 34 years of age go on to hold an Associate’s degree or higher. We also know from years of research, that even a small amount of savings can foster a child’s college-oriented identity and dramatically improve their likelihood of applying for and completing college. We applaud Mayor de Blasio’s administration and the Gray Foundation for taking an important step that addresses income inequality and improves outcomes for New York City’s children and families,” said Jennifer March, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Citizens’ Committee for Children of NY. About Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE Debra-Ellen Glickstein has spent nearly 20 years working with communities to expand economic opportunities. Previously, Glickstein served as the Executive Director of New York City's Office of Financial Empowerment, the first municipal office in the country focused on creating innovative financial products, programs and services to enable asset building and wealth creation for low income New Yorkers and neighborhoods. She has served as the Vice President of Strategy & Program Development at the New York City Housing Authority, where she led efforts to create and implement NYCHA's neighborhood and partnership-based resident services strategy. She is a co-founder and served as the founding Executive Director of Urban Upbound, a non-profit organization that supports public housing residents to achieve economic success through college counseling, financial planning, career training and job placement assistance. She is also a co-founder and member of the Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union - a community-owned financial institution created to provide public housing residents in Western Queens with access to affordable and relevant financial services. She earned a B.A. with honors from Wesleyan University, an M.B.A. from the NYU Stern School of Business and M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Named a "40 Under 40 Rising Star" in New York City government and politics by City and State, Glickstein is a proud City Year alumnus and recipient of the Comcast Alumni Leadership Award, City's Year highest alumni honor. Glickstein is a 2016 BALLE Local Economy Fellow and the recipient of other honors, including the New York Mets & Fidelity Investments' Inspire the Future Award, Outstanding Community Contribution Award from the Long Island City YMCA, Outstanding Contribution to Woodside Houses, Outstanding Community Service Award to Queensbridge Houses, and selection as a Resident at the Harvard Innovation Lab, New York City Government Scholar and an Investors' Circle Venture Fellow.
Thursday, January 5, 2017 - 7:30am
Commissioner James O’Neill, NYPD: Good morning, everyone. Thanks for being here in Brooklyn. Thank you especially to the staff here at Brooklyn Museum for opening their doors to us, specifically Anne Pasternak, Museum Director David Berliner, President of the Museum Jim Kelly, Vice Director of Operations and Tricia Ross, Director of Events; thank you very much for inviting us here this morning. And thank you to all the community partners who took the time to join us and support us this morning too. I know some of you came from very far distances – from the Bronx I think, right? That is a long way from Brooklyn. [Applause] I see some people from Queens over there too. [Applause] You are the definition of what we’re talking about when we say that fighting crime is a shared responsibility. You should take as much pride in our announcement today as we do. You help us every day in so many ways; from showing and introducing our newest cops around the neighborhoods they will be patrolling to gathering up other civic minded residents and workers in the community, so that they, like you, can work hand and hand with us in our mission to further reduce crime and to keep people safe. And that is why we are here today, of course, to talk about the year we just completed. I’m going to speak for a couple of minutes and then Mayor de Blasio will make some remarks, and then we’ll get Chief Dermot Shea – I like saying that – Chief Dermot Shea up here to talk about the actual numbers. Dermot is our chief of Crime Control Strategies and runs our weekly CompStat meeting with Chief Carlos Gomez, the Chief of Department [inaudible]. I know everyone here had a chance to walk around and view the photo exhibit and hopefully talk to each other about the incredible changes our great city has experienced in the past 20 and 25 years. The thing to take away from all of this – the crime stats you’ll hear about in a little bit – before and after pictures we’re just looking at is that none of this happened by accident. Reduced number of murders yet again and the absolute lowest number of shootings in New York City since modern record keeping began. We truly focus on people committing the crime that is how we are keeping people safe year after year. And again, none of it happened by accident. As you look around at the faces this morning – I know many of you were around in the City during the early 80s and 90s when crime was at its peak; when murders topped 2,200 a year. And you couldn’t tell what color the subway covers because they were all covered with graffiti. I remember that vividly. And I can tell you firsthand it was a very different city back then. And I know you can tell us firsthand as well. So resident action is how it is that crime plummeted in New York City over the past two decades and continues to do so. It’s because of the hard work of the men and women of the NYPD, patroller of our neighborhoods day in and day out, and the community members who support us. [Inaudible] police executives that work tirelessly to help keep the City safe. Over the last year-and-a-half we have expanded our neighborhood policing plan, which is a crime fighting model first and foremost, as I have said before. Everything we do now is geared towards reducing crime and keeping people safe – everything. For our neighborhood coordination officers and the team of cops that work the same shift – working the same sections everyday – it is now much more than just a traditional answering the 9-1-1 call. It is about deeper problem solving. Every one of us shares this responsibility. That is why we have redefined what it means to be a police officer in this great city. And that is why we have completely shifted the way we patrol New York. We’ve also restructured how the NYPD is organized. We have almost all of our investigators now reporting to Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce, who we will also hear from in a little bit. With Bob’s guidance and a lot of great work by those under him, last year we conducted about 100 targeted takedowns; medium and long-term investigations into gang and crew violence, narcotics flowing, and other criminal activities. And we have locked up somewhere north of 1,000 people in these takedowns. That kind of precision policing is what is going to keep New York City on the right track. We’ve zeroed in on a relatively small population of people who commit most of the violent crimes in the City. We’re picking them off one by one, in many cases, dozens by dozens. And we’re working with our five district attorneys and the U.S. Attorney, both in the East and Southern District, to make sure that this work pays off. Let me tell you, our DAs are truly our partners in this fight. We pre-indict many of these suspects prior to knocking on their doors very early in the morning. And through enhanced prosecutions, many of these repeat offenders are getting longer and more meaningful sentences. And we’ve added another facet through our neighborhood policing model. After each of these takedowns, we go back into the effected communities, neighborhoods, and housing developments that were terrorized by drug dealers and people shooting guns. We’ve held community meetings there with the people who live and work there, so they can ask questions about what our teams were doing there that morning; about exactly who we arrested and why. We’re overwhelmingly being told, ‘you got the right people.’ We’re also being told thank you. That is what this is all about. That’s why we took these jobs. It’s our job to fight crime and to keep people safe and we won’t let up in our efforts. There is still much work to be done. As we begin 2017, I just wish a Happy New Year to everyone. Mr. Mayor? [Applause] Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, a very Happy New Year to everyone, and I want to just offer my congratulations to the Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill, to all of the men and women of the NYPD and to all of the community partners. This is an amazing moment for New York City. Let me just give you a sense of the records that have been broken that have been shattered here once again in this City because it’s extraordinary. The year 2016 – the fewest ever overall major crimes in New York City. [Applause] The fewest ever shootings in New York City – the first time we have been below a thousand shootings in the modern era for a single year in this city, absolutely amazing. [Applause] And to give you a perspective just 25 years ago there were over 5,000 shootings in a single year in the City. Look how far we have all come together. Another record – the fewest ever robberies in New York City – you can clap for that one too. [Applause] And finally, the fewest ever burglaries in New York City – [Applause] This is extraordinary in comparison to that past and this exhibit is so powerful. I urge everyone to really look at it because it reminds us of all of the work that went in to changing things. It certainly goes back to Bill Bratton and Jack Maple and the origin of CompStat. At the time we not only had the 5,000 shootings, we had over 2,000 murders a year. Real work went in over the last almost quarter a century. Real work by our police officers, real work by our community partners to get us to this point and now the NYPD is perfecting a strategy of precision policing and in combination with neighborhood policing – crimes are being stopped before they happen because the focus is on the right people in the right places. And the information is there coming from so many neighborhood residents who are working in deeper partnership with the NYPD. And that combination of the right strategy, of the right targeting, and the right information has proven to be essential. You’re seeing these gang takedowns and you are also seeing more and more guns being taken off the streets because our police are getting the information and support they need and they are working so closely with community residents to know where they need to focus. I want to give Commissioner O’Neill a real congratulations not just for the statistics, because the statistics are one part of the equation. The human reality is what we really care about. Every one of those numbers represents a human being. But also his vision for neighborhood policing, which is coming into its own now. It’s only begun but we are already seeing such promising results that this is the future of policing in this city, a deep partnership between police and community. Now, as I mentioned we have so many crucial partners at the community level and this is a day to celebrate as we start this New Year. I want to again thank all the men and women of the NYPD, but I want to thank their partners as well. I want to thank the men and women who are part of the New York City Crisis Management System. [Applause] And to give credit where credit is due I want to thank our friends at the City Council, Chair Vanessa Gibson of Public Safety and Councilman Jumaane Williams, who has been one of the leading advocates for the Crisis Management System. City Council worked with the Mayor’s Office and NYPD to increase the number of officers that allowed for neighborhood policing to happen. That’s allowed for expanded anti-terror capacity and now that we are in January of 2017 we have that full complement of new officers out there – over 2,000 more officers on patrol than just two years ago, the biggest increase in 15 years. So thanks for that and thanks for your great support for the Crisis Management System. And I have to say to everyone involved in crisis management, thank you for what you do on the ground playing a key role in 17 precincts that have had the biggest problems with gun violence, helping to mediate and helping to prevent violence before it happens, working with community members – really putting into place the grassroots strategy that change communities for the long-term. Thank you for all you do. [Applause] You’re going to hear from our great ally Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and I want to thank him for all he’s done to help keep Brooklyn safe – and before that, all of New York City. [Applause] And look, the bottom line in this is that we’ve had a theory from the beginning. I shared this world view with Commissioner Bratton. I share it with Commissioner O’Neill and all of the top leadership of the NYPD. We believed that if we got officers and community members to communicate more. If we got a sense of common purpose and common mission that it would make a huge difference. We also knew that some of the policies of the past were not working. So we obviously believe we have to change the approach to Stop-and-Frisk and I am going to tell you that the numbers from this year’s Stop-and-Frisk is down 93 percent since I took office. [Applause] And there has also been a fundamental focus on training our officers and supporting our officers and looking at all the tools and using all their discretion. Obviously there are times when an arrest is the right thing to do and there’s times when other tools work better. So, over these last three years arrests are down 20 percent and crime continues to go down at the same time. [Applause] And we are also seeing tremendous progress in additional gun seizures. We are also seeing gang takedowns. You heard about – how all of these pieces fit together. More and more respect and communication between officers and community while we are going at the small number of individuals who do the real violence and we are getting community members to help officers know what the weapons are so they can get them off the streets. That is how all these pieces are coming together. The investments we make – training, technology, better vests and better gear for our officers to keep them safe. All of these investments support this work and we will continue to make them. Finally, I just want to continue to understand that this is a beginning. This is a beginning. What Commissioner O’Neill has set in place with neighborhood policing is still in its infancy. We expect great things and as it spreads more and more throughout the city we expect that relationship between police and the community to deepen further. We expect our officers to get more and more information. We expect crime to go down further. We have right now the gateway to an even safer New York City. I am going to say a quick few words in Spanish as well. [Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] With that I want to welcome someone who has been a key part of this progress and I want to thank him for his leadership – Chief Dermot Shea. [Applause] Deputy Commissioner of Operation Dermot Shea, NYPD: Good morning, everyone. Before I begin I would just like to acknowledge to men and women of the New York City Police Department – the men and woman on the front lines, sacrificing every day, working hard. We have some very good stories to tell this morning, but it’s not lost on me that it’s their hard work. They really accomplished this – what we’re about to get into. I would also – as I look across – I see some representatives from the Brooklyn D.A.’s office in the front row. We do not do this alone. We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we are well aware that we are just a piece in this. So to the five district attorneys, to the special narcotics prosecutors, to our two U.S. attorneys, state, local, federal partners, and our community partners – some good news today, but we are just one piece of this and to that I say thank you to everyone. As we begin talking about the crime statistics here, and some of them have been spoken about already, but I’ll put my own perspective and spin on it. We had a very low year at overall index crime. We were down in murders in New York City. As the Mayor and Police Commissioner mentioned, we were under a thousand shootings. It’s not often that all three of those things happen in the same year. It’s been seven years since we were down in all three of those categories in New York City, and then to be down in them – and to the levels that we are down – is really what’s truly amazing. First on the crime – overall index crime in New York City for 2016, we recorded approximately 101,600 crimes. That’s down four percent. It shattered the record sent it 2010 of 105-thousand-and-change index crimes. Continued crime – one of the things that we’re most proud of in the NYPD is not reducing crime, but keeping it down and pushing it further – reducing those blips where crime goes up in one year. It’s down over nine percent now over the last three years – index crime in New York City. Broad categories of crime are down this year – murders, rape, robbery, grand larceny, auto grand larceny, burglaries. The only index crime that was up was felony assault, and it was up two percent. It wasn’t confined to one part of the city. This crime reduction this year, every borough in NYC is down I crime, which we’re especially proud of. The records that we’ve set – shooting incident, under a 1,000; the lowest number of shooting incidents recorded on housing properties – Jimmy Secreto, thank you very much for housing’s work. Never before have we had less shootings on New York City Housing Authority property than this year. [Applause] The lowest number of burglaries, the lowest number of robberies, the lowest number of stolen vehicles – you simply cannot compare when you look back to 1993 over 110,000 stolen vehicles. This year there were approximately 6,000, and a good percentage of those are individuals who leave their keys in the car. It is getting harder and harder to have your car stolen, and that’s a great thing in New York City – records being set. When you talk about the homicides this year, we recorded 335 homicides in New York City this year. Three of the last four years it’s essentially been at that very low level. We were within two this year of setting the all-time mark set in Mayor de Blasio’s first year, 2014, at 333. Interesting with the numbers this year – and these are people – we had 21 reclassified murders out of those 335 this year. So when you look at the incidents it’s actually significantly smaller that occurred this year. It doesn’t take too long to go back into the past. 2012, only four years ago, 20 percent higher in murders, so we have come a long way, and as the Mayor said we’re looking to push that even further down. Per capita, per hundred thousand residents when you stop and look at New York City versus the rest of the country, I think we fare very well. We’re at about four percent, one of the lowest rates that you’ll see in the country. Third and final category I’d like to speak about in terms of overall crime in New York City is the shooting incidents. We recorded 998 shooting incidents – incredible pressure by Police Commissioner O’Neill for me to keep that under 1,000. We just made it. We didn’t break the record – we really shattered the record. The prior record was 1,103 incidents in 2013. New York City had never before been below 1,100. We were under 1,000. We had 140 fewer incidents this year than last year. [Applause] We had 162 fewer people shot than last year. When you talk about the precision policing – and we’re going to speak briefly about that, and Bob Boyce’s gang detectives and precinct detectives and the work they’re doing. At the same time that arrests were down and crime is down, and the shooting is at a record low, three straight years of increased gun arrests in New York City. We had a ten percent gun arrest this year over last year across New York City. [Applause] Gun arrests are not the whole story. When you look at the gun indictments, when you look at the people being taken off the street for carrying an illegal firearm – all the indicators, and again Brooklyn D.A.’s office I couldn’t thank you enough on working with us to build stronger cases, weekly calls following up on arrests. It’s not the arrests that we’re concerned about. It’s solving the problem, and we’re going miles ahead of where we were in terms of gun violence across New York City. So Mark, thank you. [Applause] So there are the statistics. The statistics really confirm what we’ve been talking about at some of these press conferences for some time now. There is a momentum as we call it. There’s a momentum building in New York City of the various crime strategies that we put together over the last couple of years. Of technology that’s coming online, of training that’s taking hold, things are going well with the crime picture in New York City. Essentially this is what 21st century policing looks like. It’s data driven. It’s smarter. It’s more effective. It’s results-oriented, and here’s the important part – it works. But at the same time that we’re talking about new strategies and policing differently, we have not lost sight about the most important part – the people. And I’m referring to our officers, and I’m referring to the community. And now when we hear – and I’m sure at some point we’ll hear from Terry Monahan – when we hear about the NCO program and the neighborhood policing. That’s why that is so key. If we are going to push crime further down in New York City, it’s – we believe it’s going to be holding hands right alongside the people we serve with them. Thank you very much, and to all involved – and officers, thank you for all your hard work this year. [Applause] [...] Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, NYPD: Good morning, everyone. I’m Bob Boyce. I’m the Chief of Detectives. The New York City Police Department detectives have a saying – the greatest detectives in the world – I always think of Bob Parcells and his line – it’s not bragging if you can do it. And they’ve done it day in and day out. So, how do we do this? How did we get all of these reductions? First of all, the NCO program has been a key component for us. We use those officers out in the street to get us information. They bring us back motives, bring us back evidence so we can act as a force multiplier to our detectives. So, precision policing – we took a look at it and we decided to, under the Unified Detective model – we can bring detectives from all different stripes, different skill sets and bring them into one area to tackle the gang problem. At the end of 2015, the number one motive for shootings in this city was gang. But how did we get this done? So, we brought two units together – the Violence Reduction Task Force under Chief Jim Essig and the Metro Safe Streets which is a joint effort with the FBI under [inaudible]. We brought them in to tackle the tough gangs in this city – the ones that are driving the crime in this city. And that’s what we did. So, the precision policing strategy, some data driven policing – identify the worst individuals across the city. Like any crime, we have the same people committing that crime – career burglars, career robbers, and we have gang members who are career shooters. We found out that the same people who were carrying guns, the same who were witnessing crimes, and the same people who were committing crimes. So, we identified them then we started going after them. To-date, right now, 21 – we’re down 21 gang-related homicides this year, down 134 gang-related shootings this year. That’s a 44 percent reduction from last year. We also took a look at the drugs [inaudible] there is no longer an OCCB. They are all under one roof in our house. And we started tackling some issues as well. We’re down 11 drug-related murders this year and down 21 drug-related shootings this year. So, the proof is the pudding. It’s worked very well for us. How’d we do it? 41 total gang takedowns this year. That’s across each borough – enjoyed that reduction. Bronx, Brooklyn – right across the board. So, 107 total takedowns, 41 against gangs. Right now we have an epidemic of narcotic – heroin overdoses and fentanyl overdoses. We’ve also tackled that as well in every borough. We’ve challenged our narcotic squad commanders to come up with programs in order to address that both on trafficking and both on street level. So, we’re very proud of that. This year, [inaudible] investigative model is going forward. It keeps getting better every day and – every day, I don’t think I’ve spent a day in the city without some detective just making me smile over some new innovative way he solved it. In this borough, where we sit right now, we are down 58 shootings this year and 15 homicides – [Applause] It’s a great Brooklyn story but I worked many years in Brooklyn. I also worked many years in the Bronx, as you know. [Applause] Down there as well, so, we’re going to keep going forward. We’re going to keep rolling this thing right into 2017 and keep making this city the safest city in the country. Thank you. [Applause] [...] Unknown: At this time, again, I’ll remind everyone we’re going to open up the floor to question-and-answer only to the media. Those that are seated in the audience in front, realize there are still live cameras and not interrupt. Thank you. Mr. Mayor. Mayor: Thank you. Thank you, Lieutenant. Questions on this topic and then we’ll do other topics after. Go ahead. Question: Mayor, can I ask the Police Commissioner – Mayor: Of course. Question: You talked specifically precision policing. How unique is that compared to other cities? And can you say what Chicago is doing wrong that the NYPD is doing right? Commissioner O’Neill: I’m going – I’ll talk about what New York City is doing right because that’s what I know. Chicago did – they brought a delegation in here. Their superintendent and a few other people came a couple of weeks ago. We told them what we were doing. We brought them to a CompStat. And working with the community, working from neighborhood policing, working through Bob Boyce’s detectives and our federal partners and the DA’s office – we’re identifying the people in the communities and it’s a very small percentage of the people involved in the violence. And we’re using all of our resources toward that end. That’s what we’re doing right. That’s why stops are down. That’s why summonses are down. That’s why arrests are down. And it’s working because we’re targeting the right people. Anyone else? Rocco – Question: Commissioner, you focused on building up the [inaudible] suspects. Is that pool of people diminished any [inaudible] – Commissioner O’Neill: I don’t know if I can give you an – well, what Rocco’s asking is as we work through the people involved in the violence, does that pool diminish? Yes it does and hopefully it diminishes because they go to prison. This is what the overall strategy is. And working with Special Narcotics prosecutor, working with the five DA’s offices, and working with the Eastern and Southern Districts we’re making sure we do that. We’re bringing the right cases to the right prosecutors to make sure that we get – we’re going to put so much effort into this we just have to have the payoff there and they have to go to prison. Rick – Question: I know there was some concern about celebrating too long or too loudly about this because there’s a possibility that crime could spike back up again. I’m just wondering if you’ve talked about where you are on that. Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, this is – this is not mission accomplished as every one that spoke up here said. This is – we have a moral obligation to do our best to keep pushing crime down. As we look throughout the city to where those pockets of crime are, that’s where we’re going to go and that’s where we’re going to deploy our resources. This isn’t over. This is just starting. David – Question: One of the things that jump out in the exhibit that we just looked at before coming here is that many of the pictures of [inaudible] neighborhoods that were [inaudible] in the past are now places that many of the people in this room couldn’t afford to live in. I wonder, for the Mayor more than for the Commissioner, what do you think is the relationship between crime and gentrification [inaudible] – Mayor: I think the central story here is not about gentrification. I think it is about CompStat. It’s about, now, neighborhood policing, determining how to have a different relationship between police and community. I think these are all much more important to the changes that have been made. Gentrification is a factor but if you look at that exhibit carefully, one of the things that I think is important to recognize is over many administrations, not only were these policing strategies changing but a lot of investment was put into communities – turning vacant lots into affordable housing, into public schools, into even in one case a new police precinct. So, that was about public investment. That was not about gentrification. Question: [Inaudible] see it from the opposite way. Do you think that the success of policing is driving up gentrification, not the other way around? Mayor: I think that clearly a safe city is attractive to everyone, to the people who live here. And we know that through the 60s and 70s, even into the 80s, a lot of people who grew up here were leaving because they didn’t think it was safe. They didn’t think it was safe for their families. So, now more and more people are staying and they want to be here. Obviously, we’ve had a huge influx of people from other parts of the country even other parts of the world. We’re at the highest all time population we’ve had – 8.55 million. Yeah, that’s of course – public safety is one of the number one drivers of why people have decided to stay and why our population has gone up. That being said, I want to refer to the point that Eric Adams made – a lot of people, including a lot of people present here today from the Crisis Management System, stood and fought and protected our communities even during the worst moments. And that’s another part of the story. We got to today because a number of people decided – and I thought that the example that Eric gave that community patrol is a beautiful one – a lot of people decided it was their neighborhood and they were going to fight for it no matter how tough it was and that gave us a chance to rebound and recover. Question: [Inaudible] talk about how effective targeting [inaudible] reducing crime. And then, you know, you’re taking down the [inaudible] seeing more pop up – where are we in terms of gang [inaudible]? Commissioner O’Neill: [Inaudible] I mean if you just take a look at the shootings and how we broke them down – the number of gang and crew shootings has gone way down. Maybe Bobby can give you the exact number on that. And as they pop up, we redeploy. And that’s why we do CompStat every Thursday. That’s why we look at – I don’t think there’s anybody sitting up here that probably sleeps through the night because we’re constantly looking at our Blackberry or iPhone or whatever you have to see what’s going on. You know the first couple of days, it’s been a challenge this year but that’s the way it’s going to be. There’s going to be ebbs and flows and wherever there are challenges and are issues, that’s where we’re going to deploy our resources to make sure we keep pushing crime down. Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, the NCOs – the Neighborhood Coordination Officers that’s part of neighborhood policing plan is definitely having an impact on identifying gangs and crews, and making sure that we’re working towards pushing crime down. Dean – Question: You’re proud that crime is down, murders are down, shootings are down but when you interview several people, a lot of people think crime is still up in this city. Why do you think that is? And we’ve spoken about that before – the perception. But a lot of people think crime is up in New York. Commissioner O’Neill: We do have to fight both the perception and the reality. And a lot of what happens it impacts people individually. We’re not saying that there’s no crime in New York City. So, it’s up to us make sure that in every part of the city that people feel safe. And I think with the NCOs and the steady sector cops, people are going to have the opportunity to meet New York City police officers and maybe that’ll give them a better feeling of safety. Azi – Question: What can you tell us about the, sort of, guns of that are used in these shootings? New York City has, obviously, tough gun control laws but where are they coming in from, how are they getting here [inaudible]? Secondly, a lot of the photographs in the exhibit looked at New York 10, 15, 20 years ago. Now, a lot of people are engaging with social media, the internet [inaudible] how are crimes related to [inaudible] being incorporated into – Commissioner O’Neill: Alright, Bob, you want to talk about the gangs and crews? Chief Boyce: There’s just one thing we saw – we’re seeing, and we’ve been saying this for a couple of months now – more and more gangs are using credit cards and check fraud to get money to create a more sophisticated level for us to go after. And that’s fine because they’re also very active in social media. So, that’s some of the ways we take them down through those things right now. Less street dealing of drugs than we had before. I spoke about these – over 100 takedowns this year. We had two this morning. So, just going forward – we’re not stopping. We did a takedown on Vermillion Street up in the 3-4 Precinct. 29 search warrants this morning, 21 subjects of – if you drive down Vermillion Street in Washington Heights, it looks like something out of the 1980s. They showed me video of the block, we got very angry. We locked up these individuals for a drug market on that street. In the 4-7 Precinct in the Bronx, Operation Blood Hound Brims which you go into the Southern District of New York – 14 subjects in that. So, we’re not going to stop what we do. We’re going to keep continuing to take down these locations and keep reducing part of that crime. Dean, to your question – I sat down, almost jumped out of my seat when I heard it. I have some responsibility for the perception of crime in this city because each night I put out video on the media of crimes. That’s how we catch people – engage the public into identifying these folks. And time and time again, we get phone calls. So, that may skewer perception of how the city works but it’s such an important tool for us in the Detective Bureau. We’ll keep doing it but analysis doesn’t lie. That is anecdotal stuff. Analysis doesn’t lie. Crime is down and violence is down as well. Commissioner O’Neill: Azi, just to continue on that. With the FIO program, we continue to take more guns off the street. And with Richard Aborn from the Citizens Crime Commission – helped us put together the Gun Violence Suppression Division. And then working with the DA’s offices, with the gun courts, that’s really helping us keep the gun crime down. Question: Question for the Mayor, if I could. I was hoping you could also weigh in on the disconnect some New Yorkers seem to have between the crime statistics and the perception of safety in this city. And when we heard the Borough President speak he talked about wanting [inaudible] into the crevices of the communities, I think was his phrase. Do you plan to hold events like this around the city? Some of your allies say that they have been frustrated that you haven’t done more to promote these crime statistics. Mayor: Look, we’re going to, in the course of this year, continue to have town hall meetings in neighborhoods all over the city. We’re certainly going to be all over this city talking to people formally, informally. And, you know, multiple times a month we talk to you about the work that’s being done to fight crime. I think we have to be honest together about this. I think it is noble, Chief Boyce, to say, you know, while we’re projecting information about individual criminals that may skew the situation. I think that’s a fair analysis. I think we’re all in this together, though. You guys, today, have an opportunity to tell the people of this city that crime is down. We’re going to keep saying it. We’re going to keep putting out proof and statistics and examples. I ask you to do your share of giving people the whole story. I am recalling, as I heard the dialogue – I’m recalling the presidential debate at Hofstra University which I watched, you know, with some confusion as two presidential candidates were debating whether crime was up or crime was down in New York City when there’s only one factual reality. And if you’re not sure about the factual reality just ask this guy right here. So, crime has gone down three years running and we intend to drive it down again. It’s as simple as that and all I ask is you include that concept in all your coverage. Crime has gone down three years running and we intend to drive it down more. Question: You’ve spoken about the statistics out in Brooklyn in the last year but there are about a half-dozen precincts in the Bronx where crime is up. Some of them have the lowest detective staffing [inaudible] in the city and, you know, just part of some wide disparities in investigative resources across the city. I wonder whether you have specific plans to address that disparity in resources as crime [inaudible] – Commissioner O’Neill: You know, we’re constantly taking a look at manpower in the Detective Bureau and in specific squads. What we’re trying to do is make sure that, first and foremost, that we staff neighborhood policing and as we move through that and get that done, we’ll be putting more people in the Detective Bureau. And Bob Boyce along with Jay Wilcox who is the Investigative Chief up in the Bronx, this is something that they do constantly, looking to move people around, looking to – and it’s not just the precinct detectives, we have a homicide squad, we have a gang, we have narcotics. There’s a whole slew of detectives that work within a precinct that might not just necessarily be assigned to that detective squad. Mayor: Yeah, over here. Question: Question for the Mayor [inaudible] Mayor: A little louder. Question: You just mentioned the debate and the President-elect has also had comments about the use of Stop-and-Frisk [inaudible] – Mayor: Yeah. President-elect Trump is wrong about Stop-and-Frisk. I told him that to his face – [Applause] And look, I want to agree with the Commissioner. I’m not going to analyze the situation in Chicago that I don’t know well. I can certainly say the way forward for all American police forces is to deepen the relationship with the community. Create partnership at the community level. That’s what’s working here. [Applause] And this is what I think is missing in this national debate. What’s a better example than New York City? Right? For decades and decades when people thought, sadly, of crime in cities, they thought of New York City. For a quarter-century, there’s been a systematic effort to turn it around. And that story has been told beautifully here today starting with CompStat and all the changes in policing right on up through neighborhood policing strategies, the great work of our community partners. That is a model. It’s not a model from some pristine suburb. You know, a big, tough city proved – we proved that you could turn crime around and that one of the crucial elements of turning crime around was getting away from divisive use of Stop-and-Frisk and other things that drove a wedge between police and community. So, I would say to Chicago and every other city – we have something here. It didn’t come easy. It took a quarter-century to perfect but it’s working. We’re ready to work with all of our fellow cities on that. But what would be a step in the wrong direction is to cut off communication between police and community. That’s only going to increase violence. It’s not going to decrease it. [Applause] Question: [Inaudible] broader question. I know there’s been an emphasis on quality of life [inaudible]. As you focus resources on repeat offenders [inaudible] will there be less of emphasis on some of those quality of life offenses. I know that you’ve said previously, you know [inaudible] – Commissioner O’Neill: I’ll tell you this. I was a precinct commander for about six and a half years. I had the park. I had the 2-5, and I had the 4-4. And if I didn’t concentrate my efforts, some of my efforts, on quality of life conditions I wouldn’t have been a precinct commander very long. So we’re going to continue our efforts. I think with the NCOs and the steady sector cops, we’ll be able to identify the issues within the community in conjunction with the community and come up with a problem with the community. So definitely our efforts as far as quality of life are going to continue. Mayor: Let me jump in because – quality of life policing, first of all communities demand it. In fact, when you go back and look at those photos. There used to be a time in this city when community members wanted quality of life policing and couldn’t get response when they needed it because police were dealing with so many more violent crimes. So when you talk to people – I was a city councilman, I know what people felt in my district, and I’ve talked to people all over the city. They want quality of life issues addressed, but they also want a few very important points to be taken into account. They want absolute consistency and fairness in how it’s addressed. Every kind of community – so it should not ever be addressed in, you know – there should not be a reality where quality of life policing is done in a way that is not the same from one community to another. There cannot be discrimination in that effort. Second, quality of life policing evolves with the times. This is something that Commissioner Bratton always said, Commissioner O’Neill has always said. I believe it fundamentally. For example, we made a decision all together to get away from arrests for low-level possession of marijuana. That was a fundamental change in the approach to quality of life policing with the City Council, and we thank the City Council leadership. They went forward with the summons reform legislation, so that officers would have more options. And something Commissioner O’Neill always talks about is maximizing officer discretion, and in many cases you don’t need to do an arrest. It can be a summons or a warning. All of these are changes in the approach to quality of life policing, so the idea is necessary because neighborhood residents want their quality of life protected, but it has to grow with the times, and it has to be applied consistently and fairly. Question: Chief Boyce, can you talk about the gang takedown and targeted enforcement, and how you arrested [inaudible]? And I’m wondering what kind of results are you seeing on the prosecution side [inaudible] going to jail or are they going back out on the street? Commissioner O’Neill: Bob or Dermot? Chief Boyce: Because we spread around the prosecutions, all the D.A.’s are involved. I know we have quite a few here today. They have been great partners for us as well as the southern district, so everybody is involved in this. Just this morning, I spoke of two – district attorney of New York has one of the cases in the 3-4. The other case in the Bronx is the Southern District of New York. So we have spread it around. We encourage everybody to work with us, especially in the prosecution side of things to get this done. So, right now most of them remain in custody that we’ve had. I think we’ve – [inaudible] G Stone Crips out in Brooklyn South on the 6-7 Precinct, near and dear to my heart, and most of them are in jail right now. I think we took down 20. Nineteen are in jail, and this is from the beginning of 2016. So we’ve done very well. My detectives amass a lot of evidence against these individuals, and you can’t go to court when you’re on video doing something. It’s very tough. That’s where we are with that. We’ve had extreme good fortune to work with the best prosecutors in the country. Question: [inaudible] Chief Boyce: In which case are they speaking of? Question: I mean you did 41 gang takedowns. Chief Boyce: Right. We can get you exactly who’s in custody. I don’t have that right now at my fingertips – to tell you exactly who remains in custody. But we’ve done very well with keeping them incarcerated. Question: [Inaudible] deported [inaudible] talk about using criminal records [inaudible]. Mayor: We have a law in this city that’s very clear, passed by the City Council a few years ago – I signed it – that delineates how we deal with different offenses that individuals who are undocumented have committed. I urge everyone, look at that law. It’s very clear. I think it’s 60-or-so – dozens and dozens of categories of specific offenses where if someone has committed that offense we work with ICE in cooperation. But we’ve also said clearly if someone has done something very minor, non-violent that’s where we draw the line. And that’s consistent with policy in this city going back decades, actually consistent with the approach that the NYPD took even under mayor Giuliani – that we did not create a situation where community residents saw their police officers as de facto immigration agents because that would really poison relationships between police and community. So that continues. The policy – the law of this city – stands. The approach stands. Nothing has changed. Commissioner O’Neill: Ashley, just to add a little more. When we do the gang and crew takedowns, we don’t work the case and then bring it to the D.A.’s office to present it to them. We work it jointly form the beginning, so we’ll get some statistics to you to let you know how we’re doing on each and every person that we lock up. Question: First, can you update us on the Long Island Railroad derailment [inaudible]. Second issue, how many arrests total were there in the city last year and what percentage of those were for violent crimes? Commissioner O’Neill: I’m going to have to get those stats to you. I don’t have them off the top of my head. I can get them to you. Alright? Question: Commissioner I’m wondering specifically in some of the precincts that have community policing, do you have to make any tradeoffs in terms of your response to some of the other things turn to the NYPD for and to Mayor de Blasio, we had a caller to the Brian Lehrer show who called with an auto accident in Far Rockaway who said there was no response for several hours, so I’m wondering is that because potentially the police were otherwise deployed. Does that fit into a strategy to address violent crime? Mayor: No, that – from what we know of that case, and I’m very glad that that caller called in – that was not handled properly, and we are trying to get down to the bottom of why it wasn’t handled properly. There’s no way so much time should’ve passed before there was a response. That was not a systemic failure. That was a very specific failure that we have to identity. Commissioner O’Neill: In our neighborhood policing commands [inaudible] roll out is over a period of time cause its personnel intensive and we have to make sure we have the right number of police officers in there, so they’re not handling 20 to 25 radio runs per shifts. So we’ve made that change in over half the precincts and the PSAs. So on the average their handling between eight and nine jobs instead of 20 to 25. So there is additional time to address the needs of the community whatever they might be. Question: [Inaudible] for you and Deputy Commissioner Shea. [Inaudible] said there is incredible pressure from Commissioner O’Neill to keep that number under 1,000. Now that may have been a joke, but it’s a very disconcerting joke because questions have been raised in the past about the reliability about CompStat’s data, and there’s always leeway when one is working with data how certain incidents are defined. So how can people be sure when we’re looking at data like this, and you guys are talking about records that they can rely on the perception that you’re creating. Mayor: Let me start. I appreciate your cynical question, but let me try and get to – here’s the bottom line. The reason everyone puts pressure on themselves is they want to keep doing better. This is a group that is competitive by nature in the best sense of the word. They want to set records. They know that setting that record means something for the lives of the people in NYC. It’s not just – you know a trophy on the wall. It’s that we want to prove that we can get safer than ever before. We want to go next year and set another record and the year after that and the year after that. That is the impulse because what they’re doing – like anybody else – and I want to really commend these professionals. They are out in a whole new frontier here that no one imagined. Ask Dermot Shea who knows this history so well. Twenty five years ago these numbers would’ve been inconceivable. Five years ago, even as you indicated with the murder number, no one would’ve believed we could keep going this far. This team is dedicated to going places this city has never seen before. That’s what’s driving it. It’s not about some cynical manipulation of numbers. There is tremendous focus on getting the numbers right. And by the way you heard about those reclassifications – 21, 21 reclassifications. None of us likes to see a murder from five years ago or 10 year go or 20 years ago go onto this year’s number, but religiously the NYPD keeps that standard. My final point before turning to the Commissioner, and I’ll say this gently. There was – I think it was around this time last year – and individual who questioned our numbers of our police statistics publicly. That individual was proven wrong in a very high profile manner. These numbers are honest, and whether they cut our way or don’t cut our way, we’re going to be honest about them. Commissioner O’Neill: So the origin of Dermot’s comment is that I spoke at the Crain’s business breakfast, I guess about four or five weeks ago, and as we were approaching the end of the year I was looking at the numbers, doing some math in my head. And it wasn’t an out-and-out prediction. I said I would – I think if you go back I would say I would like us to be under 1,000. So there is every hour, every minute we’re looking to see where the violence is in New York City and how we can send resources there to push that down and make life better for the people of the city, so these number are real, and each and every one of them represents a human being, and none of us up here ever forget that. Rick? Question: [Inaudible] talk about Chicago specifically, but I know that they came to visit the city. [Inaudible] in general, can what you’re doing – what’s working here – be applied to other cities? In general do you think it can help other cities? Commissioner O’Neill: I think it can, and this is – the way we do business here has evolved over the years, and by focusing our resources on the people that not only do we identify, but the community identifies as being involved in the violence, I think that’s how we can continue to push crime down, and that’s how other cities can do it, too. Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner O’Neill: I’d have to think about that, Rick. I don’t think so. I think there’s a lot of our principles can be universally applied. Question: Can you account for the [inaudible] increase in murders on Staten Island? Commissioner O’Neill: I think at the beginning of the year there were domestic – a number of domestic violence incidents in Staten Island that caused that number to go up. David? Question: Follow up on Willie’s question. There have been instances over the years and scandals around downgrading. One most recently I think was in 2014 up in the Bronx where Commissioner Bratton had to fire and discipline many officers Commissioner O’Neill: In the 4-0. In the 4-0. Question: My colleagues have written about trust issues in the 4-0 and how a lot of the trust revolves around whether on the low level crime people feel like they’re being listened to by their officers, by people in the precinct, you know. How are you making sure that some of – at least some of the numbers being reflected are not downgraded at some level? How are you internally making sure those numbers are accurate? Commissioner O’Neill: There is a – there is a rigorous process that we do through our risk managements and quality assurance division. We go out. We interview complainants. We look at 61s, not just computer generated, wherever the hand written copies are. So this is something that we take very seriously, and we’re always looking to make sure that we build trust with the community, and this is one way we do it to make sure the numbers are real. Unknown: We’re going to close on police items right now, okay? Because we have to move on to other topics – off crime stuff. So we’ll take a few questions on other police topics and then we need to move on to the Mayor’s. Commissioner O’Neill: Rocco? Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner O’Neill: Can you speak up? Question: The review of the two police involved shootings – Commissioner O’Neill: You know what, I’m going to get Chief Monahan. He responded to both scenes – Terry? I don’t think there’s much to update on. He gave a press briefing in the 6-9 and the 7-7, so if he’s got anything new. Chief of Patrol Terry Monahan, NYPD: Again, really, the investigations are still ongoing. It’s really not much has changed since I briefed you just two hours ago. So it’s really – same both incidences the cop who confronted with deadly weapons, and they took action. Question: Any change in [inaudible]? Chief Monahan: It looks like from what we’re looking at, the Taser didn’t make contact with the skin, and that’s why it wasn’t effective. Question: I know you’re still investigating, but we did speak to the family today for NY-1, and they’re saying they’re under the impression that their loved one was shot first and tasered second. Not the way we described it. Have you heard anything about that or are you looking into that? Chief Monahan: We’re investigating. We’re interviewing. Bob’s detectives are interviewing all of them, and we have not heard that. Question: The LIRR question – can you update us on how folks are doing? Injuries, etc? Commissioner O’Neill: I’m going to let Chief Fox come up and give you an update. Chief of Transit Joseph Fox, NYPD: We have – still counting the injured. As many as 80 reported but that number is changing. The most serious injury so far is a broken leg, thankfully. The – it didn’t affect – it’s a Long Island Rail Road train. It didn’t affect the service in the city. There were some delays in the 4 and 5-Train in Brooklyn today. Those were signal problems separate from this. There are two tracks that are out. There’s six tracks on the LIRR, so one through four still working, and as it appears preliminarily the train hit the terminal barrier and then derailed, so hopefully these injuries will not mount. Question: Question about the police involved shooting and Taser. I’m wondering what the 9-1-1 call [inaudible]. Commissioner O’Neill: This is – our force investigation division in conjunction with the Brooklyn D.A.’s office – this is all under investigation now, so I don’t have – I can’t go into too many details. Okay, thank you. […] Mayor: We’re back. Maura? Question: Mr. Mayor, in terms of the derailment that happened this morning – Mayor: Yup. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Right. Question: Why not go? [Inaudible] Mayor: Right. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Right, I think there are a couple of things. As you said – thank you for quoting accurately – general is a key point here. I think we look at each situation specifically. And this is a different kind of situation than that horrible tragedy we were talking about years ago. As you said, Long Island Rail Road, obviously, is the purview of the Governor. But more importantly, thank God these were minor – very minor injuries. And as you’ve heard from Chief Fox that is connected to some of the delays we’ve had on the subway. It looks like this situation will be fixable pretty soon. So, I think it’s a magnitude question here. Yes? Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I said publicly at town hall meetings and many other settings that there is going to be a time when I put together a taskforce or whatever it is to address this issue, but it is going to be a long and difficult effort because these are extremely complicated issues; immense questions of fairness that have to be resolved. We’re going to have to turn the whole thing upside down and shake it and make sense of it. That is not going to happen quickly. So, it is something I do intend to do, but I have to figure out the right time and the right people to do that work. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Again, I have to come to the point where I feel we have the right approach. And I know it is going to be, most likely, a multi-year approach. So, first we have to deal with more immediate matters. Yes? Question: Are you and the Police Commissioner planning to go to D.C. to lobby for reimbursement? Mayor: Well, I have already been talking to members of the Congress. I mentioned on NY-1, I have been talking to Congressman Collins and Congressman Donovan about the reimbursement. I have spoken to key members of the Trump team. We will continue that. And as we get closer to the next decision in a few months, if it makes sense to go down and lobby in person I am certainly ready to do that as well. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Well, I think that you’re not necessarily characterizing exactly what I said. I said that they agreed with that particular vision on that issue, and they did. As I said, there are also people who didn’t contribute because they disagree. So, I don’t think it is so surprising if someone may have thought I was right to try to get pre-K for all our kids or to get more affordable housing or even in some cases to get a Democratic State Senate. All those things had support from people who might have other views on other matters. But clearly, as I said to you, there were some people, for example, I turned to on Democratic State Senate who actually wanted a Republican State Senate and chose not to give. Marcia? Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Yes. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Yes, I was briefed about it right after it happened. And from the very beginning – thank God this was not a worst incident. Obviously, it happened right at the end of the train line and there were very minor injuries. That report came in at the beginning and has not changed since. So, this is, thankfully, a very contained incident. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: We thought – first of all, this was very important moment. This was something we’re going to speak to the whole city about an issue that people care about deeply. But again, given that – as you heard from Chief Fox – the most serious injury that we know of to date, thank God, was a broken leg. That it just did not – again – seem like the kind of incident we talked about, for example, years ago when there was a horrible tragedy. Question: Mr. Mayor, a lot of people have written things recently suggesting resolutions you should make for the New Year. I’m wondering if you could tell us have you made any in terms of policy and personal. Mayor: Personally I’m in the majority of Americans who wants to lose weight. So, that is what I am focused on. In terms of policy, I want to protect this city and the people in this city from extremism in Washington D.C. I see that as the central mission this year and that is what I am going to be focused on. David? Question: A lot of your campaign [inaudible] talked about being opposed by powerful interest. Do you think that hurts your ability to raise money from the City’s business interest? Mayor: I’m telling it like it is. I mean, I think the current total has had about $13 million of advertising thrown against me since I got here; by the landlord lobby, by a major multi-national corporation, by hedge fund managers. I think it is pretty clear, we don’t see that ending anytime soon. I want to be blunt about it. And if that alienates some people with means, so be it. Yeah – blue shirt, go ahead. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Louder. Question: One of the most under-resourced neighborhoods for violent crime are in [inaudible] outside of Manhattan and I wonder how your vision [inaudible] – Mayor: Just – I would say, and I’m going to refer that to Commissioner and Chief Boyce. I don’t think we share that interpretation of the statistics. That those resources are constantly being moved around as needed. I think this about getting the job done and the overall crime statistics show that the job is getting done. But I’m going to let them refer to the specifics. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: I believe they were very clear today. I’ve talked to about them – to them directly about this that they are constantly making adjustments for where the need is. And we’re going to put resources wherever crime is and wherever the need is greatest. That’s an ongoing reality. Question: There’s been some concern about how much the City had to pay for CUNY and SUNY with this – Governor Cuomo’s new free college plan. Is there any way, you think, that this won’t raise the – Mayor: I don’t want speculate. You know, the Governor will be coming out with a budget, as I understand, it has to be by January 17. That’s when we’ll get a first look at the numerical reality. Again, the idea is a great one and I praise the Governor for it but we want to see the details and we want to understand if it does create any exposure and then that’s its own discussion. So, it’s a step in the right direction but we’ve got to see the details. Question: [Inaudible] – Mayor: Sure. Question: Last year it seemed like you got up there to Albany for his address and he surprised you with cost shifts. Are you doing anything this year, proactively, to communicate better with him and his team to make sure that nothing like that is – Mayor: I appreciate the courtesy of your question. That was not lack of communication with him and his team that was a conscious decision not to give us the information until the last moment. So, we are communicating all the time – the two teams. We’ll see if there’s any surprises this year and second question – Question: This one might be in the cynical category – Mayor: Much better. I didn’t like naive you. I want cynical you to come back. Question: I’ll try to balance. The pattern of closing down the Campaign for One New York, reducing your meetings with lobbyists, removing Jonathan Rosen from government meetings – you’ve taken all those steps in the last year, let’s say. Why – why shouldn’t people look at that cynically and say, well, if you were recognizing that these things were not really the proper way to do things, why not be more proactive – Mayor: Sure. It’s a great question. You’ve raised similar questions before. We may have a philosophical difference. Let me share that with you. I have said thousands of times that disclosure is the main street of this whole issue – in all this, everything we’re talking about. We proactively disclosed situations where City-registered lobbyists lobbied me on a City matter. No previous mayor ever did that. We did it proactively. Not because you guys were clamoring for it. We did it because we thought it was the right thing to do. I had done that previously as public advocate. We proactively – not because the law required it – disclosed donations, for example, Campaign for One New York. I believe that if the disclosure is there it is a further guarantee of the public’s ability and the media’s ability to look into the situation. I never felt in any of those meetings that I had that anything was inappropriate because I listened and I’m going to make my own choice. It has nothing to do with whether I know someone a long time or any other fact. I’m going to make the choice I think is right for the people. But it’s all out in broad daylight. So, I don’t think anything we did was inappropriate. I do think they’ve become distractions and I’ve been honest about it. And again I think – I understand why someone might say, well, wait a minute, if you stopped doing something therefore you must of thought it was wrong. No. That’s just not intellectually consistent. Sometimes that’s true in life. Other times you can say practically it just became such a distraction that we’re not going to do even though we don’t think – very, very clearly, we don’t think we did anything wrong at all. We thought we did everything appropriately. But why go through the hassle. Let’s just get back to business. So, that’s what was governing our thinking. Question: [Inaudible] reported last night [inaudible] – Mayor: No, I don’t have the complete picture yet. But from what little I know, I’ve gotten no indication of ACS involvement. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Louder. Question: Two questions – the first is about last week [inaudible] program which brings [inaudible] – Mayor: Wait, wait. I lost you in the second part. I got the R.A.D part and then you said this past June – Question: NYCHA submitted applications to HUD for another 5,200 units – Mayor: Right. Question: – as part of the [inaudible] Mayor: R.A.D – R-A-D. R.A.D. Question: [Inaudible] Mayor: Sure. And I’ll come to the second questions after. Let me do that one first. Mayor: … We continue to own the land. We continue to have veto power over anything that’s done, but a private corporation comes in to upgrade the buildings and provide management. This is a creative approach that HUD has put together and funds that allows us to fix buildings that for decades haven’t gotten the kind of investment they deserve because you have to go all the way back to Ronald Reagan to see when the federal government started cutting investment in public housing. So this is a smart way to get investment but still avoid anything like privatization and maintain public control of the properties. What was the second one? Question: This press conference to address the crime stats, why hold it here if you’re [inaudible] in Brooklyn. Why not go to the Bronx or a precinct where murders are up by 50 percent to show your commitment to what you said was turning crime around? Why do it here where [inaudible] patting yourself on the back instead of there – Mayor: Well, I think you’re – you’re connecting dots that I wouldn’t connect the same way. This – I love this location. I have a deep personal connection to it. I didn’t choose the location. The location was chosen because we were – had this wonderful exhibit that talked about the history, and we wanted to put this in historical perspective. Now I would remind you my home borough is the biggest borough and tremendous progress was made this year in Brooklyn, and it was one of the leading edges of how we got so far this year. So it’s perfectly appropriate when you’re talking about a year with a lot of success to come to one of the places where the success occurred. We’re definitely going to also go places where there are challenges we have to overcome, but I think it’s pretty normal when we’re trying to summarize a whole year, and the year was record setting, to be in one of the places where the record was set. Question: Two more questions – follow up on the questions about the [inaudible]. You had said on NY1 that we saw donations from people who had historically given to Democratic Party causes and progressive causes, but you know some of them like Stanley [inaudible] Donald Trump. Mayor: Azi, you are so [dead to right] on this. Donald Trump used to donate to Hillary Clinton. Come on. People who gave to Democratic causes does not disqualify them – even though I wouldn’t do it – doesn’t disqualify them from giving to Republicans, too. Come on. This is the real world. There are plenty of people in business who give to both side. I wouldn’t do it. I don’t recommend it, but my point is when you look at a donor who you’re going to approach, if they have given to Democrats, if they have given to progressive causes that would be a natural reason to go to them. It doesn’t mean they signed an exclusivity clause. Last call? Question: Can you talk a little – you’ve spoken a lot in the past about Democratic party unity, the importance of that, even bipartisanship when things can be found on [inaudible]. Mayor: Right. Question: Why is it that there is no seeming improvement in your relationship with the Governor? What can you do to fix that? Is it especially this time when you’re both talking about having to protect New York from a potential Trump administration. Isn’t this the time to really come together and [inaudible]. Mayor: I’m certain we will work together on a number of issues. When, you know, New York City and New York State are endangered, and we can work together, we will. It’s the same standard I held from the beginning. When he’s doing something that’s going to help New York City I’m very happy to work with him. I was happy to go to the Second Avenue Subway opening. I give the MTA a lot of credit for getting that done. I give the Governor credit for getting that done. I always want to say to all of you just tell the people of New York City the Governor runs the MTA, so when they like something or don’t like something they know who to talk to. I think the bottom line is we’re going to look at each situation as it comes. We’re going to call it as we see it. There’s absolutely an opportunity to work together, and if we get fairness from Albany – you know we’re going to see what comes up in the State of the State, in the budget we get fairness from Albany there’s going to be even more opportunity to work together. But last time as was indicated in the discussion of that budget that wasn’t fairness, so it’s my job to stand up. Question: He’s in Midtown right now giving a speech [inaudible]. Do you know what he’s announcing today? He’s making an infrastructure announcement. Mayor: No, I’m not surprised because it is the time of year coming up the State of the State when we expect a bunch of announcements. That’s normal. Will – you know again, I would think it’s been very clear there’s a lot of times we’re not giving all the details in advance. That’s fine. We want to see where the details are before we pass judgements. But if it’s more infrastructure investment, generally that’s something I agree with. I want to make sure it’s fair to New York City. Thank you, everyone. Happy New Year.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - 5:10pm
Carl Weisbrod to become Chair of Trust for Governors Island NEW YORK—-Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced Marisa Lago will serve as the next Director of the Department of City Planning and Chair of the City Planning Commission. Carl Weisbrod will step down from these roles next month and assume new responsibilities as Chair of the Trust for Governors Island. Lago brings nearly 30 years of public service to City Planning, where she began her career in City government in 1983 as an aide to Chairman Herb Sturz. She has served as President and CEO of the New York Empire State Development Corporation, Commissioner of the NYS Department of Economic Development, and the Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which is the city’s chief planning and economic development agency. Lago also served as the General Counsel to then NYC Economic Development Corporation President Carl Weisbord. She is currently the US Department of the Treasury’s Assistance Secretary for International Markets and Developments. Lago will be charged with expanding the City’s efforts to secure more affordable housing in changing neighborhoods, to plan for growth responsibly and equitably, and to use the land use process to strengthen industries, businesses and communities. She will further a legacy built by Chair Weisbrod over decades. Weisbrod’s achievements include the revitalization of Times Square, the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan after 9/11 and the negotiation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, widely regarded as the best sports complex deal ever secured by a municipal government. Weisbrod co-chaired Mayor-Elect de Blasio’s 2013 Transition, and departs City Planning following one of the most remarkable years in its history. His recent record includes the passage of the nation’s strongest Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program and the most sweeping overhaul of the zoning text since 1961, which lowered the cost of building affordable housing and will foster a new generation of homes for seniors. The rezoning of East New York, approved in April 2016, represents a new template for comprehensive neighborhood planning. Just yesterday, the City Planning Commission certified the rezoning of East Midtown as part of a transformative plan to keep New York City competitive and invest in the area’s public transit and open spaces. As the new chair of the Trust for Governors Island, Weisbrod will be a steward of the island’s open spaces and historic assets, and foster its development into a dynamic 24-7-365 community that includes education and innovation hubs. “This is a bittersweet moment. Carl helped to build our administration and has been part of its bedrock. His contributions have earned him a place as one of our city’s great civic leaders, and we are honored that he has agreed to take on the task of continuing Governors Island’s incredible transformation,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Marisa comes to our administration with unmatched experience building neighborhoods and planning for the future. She worked side-by-side with Carl helping spur the city’s revitalization twenty-five years ago, and has a record of bringing communities together. We look forward to her taking up the reins as we build more affordable homes and foster the good jobs New Yorkers need.” “It’s a great honor to come home to the city I love and be given the chance to make it ever stronger and more equitable,” said Marisa Lago. “Change is the one constant in New York, and it is never easy. I’ve had the privilege of learning how to make change work for people and businesses by watching leaders like Carl Weisbrod, and I have spent my entire career finding smart solutions to the tough problems that come with a growing, changing world. We can and we will keep our neighborhoods affordable, our economy competitive, our businesses thriving and our communities strong.” “I am so proud of what we’ve achieve these past three years. From East New York to East Midtown, we are laying a foundation for truly affordable neighborhoods, world-class business districts and smart transit-oriented growth. It has been an incredible run, and I couldn’t be more thankful to the mayor and to my talented colleagues at City Planning,” said DCP Director and CPC Chair Carl Weisbrod. “I’ve spent my career fighting for New York City, and it’s fitting that my next chapter will take me to the new frontier on Governor’s Island. I am excited to shape into an iconic space of which all New Yorkers can be proud.” About Marisa Lago Marisa Lago currently serves as Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development at the U.S. Department of Treasury, where she is responsible for the department’s portfolio on international financial services regulation, development assistance, climate finance, trade and technical assistance. She began her career in City government working for then-City Planning Commission Chair Herb Sturz in 1983. She later served as General Counsel at the City’s Economic Development Corporation under Mayor Dinkins. Lago has extensive experience in economic development – leading the Empire State Development Corporation and serving the city of Boston as both Chief Economic Development Officer and Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which is the city’s chief planning and economic development agency. She has also worked in the private sector with Citigroup and as an attorney. Lago holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Cooper Union and a law degree from Harvard Law School. She is fluent in Spanish. Lago was born in Brooklyn, and is 61.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - 5:10pm
NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the appointments of 15 judges to Family, Criminal and Civil Court. The Mayor also reappointed 5 judges to Criminal and Civil Court. Collectively, these judges have years of experience serving New Yorkers in the public, private and non-profit sectors. “New Yorkers deserve judges who are impartial and who are committed to fighting for justice and fairness,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I look forward to working with these 15 new judges, and I welcome back the five judges I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I’m confident that they will fight for New Yorkers’ best interests across the five boroughs.” The Mayor appointed the following judges: FAMILY COURT Judge Mildred Negron was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in March 2016 and has been serving in Family Court. She formerly served with The Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Division for over 10 years as Assistant and Deputy Attorney-in-Charge of the Manhattan and Queens offices respectively. Judge Negron was also a Court Attorney-Referee for over 13 years in Kings County and Queens County Family Court. Judge Negron graduated from CUNY City College and received her law degree from CUNY School of Law. Judge Judith Waksberg was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in July 2015 and has been serving in Family Court. She had been with the Legal Aid Society her entire career for 32 years primarily in the Juvenile Rights Appeals Unit where she last served as the Director for 17 years. Judge Waksberg graduated from Brandeis University and received her law degree from New York University School of Law. CRIMINAL COURT Judge Phyllis Chu served most of her career with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for 23 years holding various positions including Senior Assistant District Attorney in the Homicide Bureau. Judge Chu received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law. Judge Toni Cimino was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in June 2016 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Prior to her appointment, she was a criminal defense attorney in private practice, then served with the New York State Unified Court System for nearly 17 years including as a Court Attorney in Supreme Court, Criminal and Civil Term. She graduated from St. John’s University and St. John’s University School of Law. Judge Charlotte Davidson was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in June 2016 and has been serving in Criminal Court. Prior to her appointment, Judge Davidson served with the New York State Unified Court System for 13 years holding various positions including as Counsel to the former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals Jonathan Lippman. She is a graduate of Harvard University and received her law degree from Columbia Law School. Judge Eugene Guarino was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in June 2016 and has been serving in Criminal Court. He formerly served with the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, was in private practice and a Principal Court Attorney in Queens County Criminal and Supreme Courts. Judge Guarino received his undergraduate degree from Fordham University and his law degree from St. John’s University School of Law. Judge David Kirschner was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in June 2016 and has been serving in Criminal Court. He served with the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office for over 17 years, was in private practice and served as a Principal Court Attorney in the Bronx County Supreme Court. Judge Kirschner is a graduate of Florida State University and received his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law. Judge Michael Kitsis had been a career prosecutor with the New York County District Attorney’s Office for 33 years in various positions including Bureau Chief of the Frauds Bureau and Senior Investigative Counsel of Major Economic Crimes. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and from the University of Virginia, School of Law. Judge Margaret Martin spent most of her career with the Legal Aid Society for over 21 years including as Senior Staff Attorney in the Capital Division. She was also an Assistant Deputy Counsel in the Office of Court Administration’s Office of Policy and Planning. She graduated from Boston University and the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. Judge Herbert Moses had been a solo practitioner for 20 years specializing in criminal defense. Prior to that, he was a prosecutor for five years in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Judge Moses received his undergraduate degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and his law degree from CUNY School of Law. Judge Kim Petersen was most recently the Bureau Chief of Criminal Court of the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office. Prior to that, she served with the Queens County District Attorney’s Office and was a Principal Court Attorney in the Appellate Division, First Department, Departmental Grievance Committee as well as in Supreme Court, Criminal Term in Queens County. Judge Petersen graduated from Queens College and Brooklyn Law School. Judge Bahaati Pitt was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in June 2016 and has been serving in Criminal Court. She formerly served with The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Division for seven years, was a Court Attorney in Bronx County Family and Civil Courts, and a Principal Law Clerk in Bronx County Supreme Court, Civil and Criminal Divisions. She graduated from Morgan State University and received her J.D. from State University of New York at Buffalo. CIVIL COURT Judge Beth Beller spent most of her career as a prosecutor in the New York County District Attorney’s Office for 17 years including the Sex Crimes Unit and Child Abuse Bureau. She then became a Principal Court Attorney in Supreme Court, Criminal Division in Bronx County. Judge Beller graduated from New York University and St. John’s University School of Law. Judge Beller has been appointed to Civil Court and has been assigned to Criminal Court. Judge David Frey served for 19 years with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office where he last served as Bureau Chief of Investigations and was previously Unit Chief of Computer Crimes and Identity Theft Investigations. He received his B.S. and M.B.A. degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his law degree from Brooklyn Law School. Judge Frey is appointed to Civil Court and has been assigned to Criminal Court. Judge Frances Wang spent eight years as a prosecutor in the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office in the Criminal Court and Appeals Bureau. She subsequently served as a Principal Court Attorney in Supreme Court, Criminal Term in Bronx County. She received her undergraduate degree from St. John’s University and her law degree from Hofstra University School of Law. Judge Wang has been appointed to Civil Court and has been assigned to Criminal Court. The Mayor reappointed the following judges: CRIMINAL COURT Judge Tamiko Amaker was appointed as a Criminal Court Judge in January 2010. She is currently an Acting Supreme Court Justice and has been serving as the Supervising Judge of New York County Criminal Court since 2013. Judge Amaker spent her entire legal career in the Bronx District Attorney's Office where she last served as Deputy Chief of the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Bureau. She received her undergraduate degree from Vassar College and her law degree from Fordham Law School. Judge Alexander Calabrese was first appointed to the Criminal Court in April 1997. He currently serves as an Acting Supreme Court Justice and has presided in the Red Hook Community Justice Center since April 2000. He began his legal career with the Legal Aid Society and subsequently served as a court attorney to the Honorable Leslie Crocker Snyder. Judge Calabrese received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and received his law degree from Fordham Law School. Judge Barry Kron, an Acting Supreme Court Justice, was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in August 1988 and subsequently appointed to the Criminal Court in December 1991. Most of his legal career was spent serving with the Supreme Court, Appellate Division’s Second Department as a law secretary. He received his undergraduate degree from Lehman College and graduated from Columbia Law School. Judge Martin Murphy spent 18 years with the Legal Aid Society where he last served as an Attorney-in-Charge. Prior to that, he served with the New York City Criminal Justice Coordinator's Office. Judge Murphy, currently serving as an Acting Supreme Court Justice, was first appointed to the Family Court in April 1997 but has presided in Criminal Court and the Criminal Term of the Supreme Court. He formerly served as the Supervising Judge of New York County Criminal Court from 2000 to 2005. He graduated from Seton Hall University and received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School. CIVIL COURT Judge Ben Darvil, Jr. was first appointed as an Interim Civil Court Judge in March 2016 and has been serving in Family Court. Prior to his appointment, Judge Darvil served with Family Court Legal Services of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, and as a Court Attorney and Law Clerk with Supreme Court, Appellate Division’s Second Department. He received his undergraduate degree from Long Island University and his J.D. from St. John’s University, School of Law. About Family Court The Family Court is part of the New York State Unified Court System and was established to take action in the lives of children, parents and spouses. Family Court judges hear cases related to adoption, foster care, guardianship, custody and visitation, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency and abused or neglected children. About Criminal Court Criminal Court handles misdemeanors, lesser offenses and conducts arraignments and preliminary hearings for felonies. The Criminal Courts of the City of New York are located in all five boroughs. The Mayor appoints judges to 10-year terms in the New York City Criminal Court, which is part of the New York State Unified Court System. About Civil Court Civil Court of the City of New York has jurisdiction over civil cases involving amounts up to $25,000 and other civil matters referred to it by the Supreme Court. It includes a small claims part for informal dispositions of matters not exceeding $5,000 and a landlord and tenant/housing part for landlord-tenant matters of unlimited amounts and housing code violations.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - 5:10pm
Peter Rosenberg: Mr. Mayor? Mayor Bill de Blasio: Hey. Rosenberg: How you doing? Laura Stylez: Good morning, Mayor. Mayor: [Inaudible] Rosenberg: Ebro temporarily disappeared. I don’t know where he went, so we’re starting without him. Mayor: You know, is Ebro in witness protection now? Rosenberg: Yeah, you heard about this? [Laughter] Rosenberg: Alright well, Mayor good news, Ebro has returned from witness protection. He is here. Ebro Darden: I’m here. I’m here. I’m back. Mayor: Ebro, Happy New Year. Darden: Mr. Bill, Mayor de Blasio, Happy New Year to you too sir. Rosenberg: So, Mayor it is time for you to release the year end 2016 crime statistics. How did we do? Mayor: It’s amazing. Ebro, it’s actually amazing. Crime has gone down in so many ways in New York City. We have the lowest shootings we have had – the lowest number of shootings we have had in decades. And at the same time as we’ve had extraordinary reductions in crime, here is what also happened, stop-and-frisk continues to go down. It has gone down 93 percent since I took office. It was over 200,000 people stopped the year before I came in, we’re only at 13,000 people stopped in 2016. So you have stops going way down; you have arrests going way down. There have been 20 percent fewer arrests over the last three years. But at the same time, crime goes down, gang violence is going down, shootings are going down, gun seizures are going up. So we’re doing it because police and community are communicating, respecting each other – a lot less negative interaction, a lot more partnership. Darden: Couldn’t the characterization of stop-and-frisk change the number. Meaning how is a stop-and-frisk determined – like you understand what I’m saying? Couldn’t theoretically the City say, okay, that is not a stop-and-frisks, this is, and by category that gets changed. Because I do here some people say, yo, I still get stopped all the time. Mayor: Well Ebro, I have to tell you that is a good question, but I want to tell you I hear stories all the time of people saying how different the environment is from three or four years ago; and how they are not stopped all the time. Darden: Right. Mayor: So, I think it all depends on the individual, obviously. But look, the bottom line is there is a specific protocol. All our officers are trained. And by the way, remember since we came into office all our officers have been retrained in how to approach any interaction with the community differently; how to deescalate and how to have a better dialogue with communities. That is all part of our neighborhood policing vision. But for example, with a stop there is a specific protocol of when it is an appropriate opportunity for a stop and then you have to record it. What we are finding – remember it is not just the stops [inaudible]. As I said, 20 percent fewer arrests then three years ago. Darden: Right. Mayor: That’s because what we’re finding is in the past a lot of people were stopped who shouldn’t have been stopped; a lot of people were arrested who didn’t need to be arrested. There were other alternatives like a summons or a warning. Stylez: Yeah. Mayor: And what Commissioner O’Neill is doing now with neighborhood policing is emphasizing use the tool that makes sense in the given situation. We want the least interaction necessary because we want to focus on serious crime. That’s what we want officer’s energy to go. And since they have been putting more and more energy on serious crime, on gang violence etcetera, you see the violence numbers start to go down more and more. Rosenberg: But Mr. Mayor – so President-elect Trump, you know, he, of course, used the stop-and-frisk example in New York to be like ‘oh, stop-and-frisk was great. That’s why I’m going to bring more of it back.’ What are you and your administration do to make sure that doesn’t happen here and what have you told – have you gotten to tell President-elect Trump any of your thoughts on stop-and-frisk and how it worked or didn’t work in New York? Mayor: Well, I have told the President-elect when I met with him point blank – and I said look we’re having the exact opposite experience over the last three years as we’ve intensely reduced the use of stop-and-frisk. Crime continues to go down. And here is why, the gun seizure point is so important; you know, a lot of what you heard in the previous administration was ‘well, this is how you get guns off the street.’ What we found is we’ve been able to get more and more guns by going at gangs and by getting information from community residents that help us find illegal guns. That is what has been productive. So, when you had a rift between police and community in a lot of neighborhoods because of stop-and-frisk, it actually made it harder to get information; harder to get to court or what the police were doing in getting the gun. Now, the information is flowing. The partnership is there. So, I told the President-elect very straightforward, I said you got to understand that the reduction of stop-and-frisk has allowed us to reduce crime. If you try to push the increase in it in other cities, it is literally going to create a barrier between police and community. I think it is very powerful that these specifics have come out now, proving 2016 a record year for lowering crime; record year for reduction of stop-and-frisk, just as a new president is taking office. I hope this is the ultimate example of why stop-and-frisk is the wrong way to go in this country. Darden: Did you also tell him that if he wasn’t President-elect you would tell him to his face that you don’t like him and likely pull his crazy hair off the top of his head? [Laughter] Mayor: Ebro, this is why you’re probably not going into the diplomatic world. [Laughter] Darden: I’m not, I’m not, I’m not, I’m not – no plans, no plans. Stylez: Mayor de Blasio, can you explain precision policing is or neighborhood policing? Mayor: Yeah, they are two related things, Laura. Precision policing means you focus on where the major problems are and you put extra police resources where – for example, if you had a particular problem with shootings; if you have a particular problem with gang activity, you concentrate resources at that location as both a preventative measure and a way to really reduce any potential for violence. But – and what in the past we learned was a lot of times police were spread out all over the place, not necessarily aware of where the biggest problems were. So, precision policing allows us to go where the problem is. Neighborhood policing is a concept that Commissioner O’Neill really developed – he’s the architect of it. And it [inaudible] says we’re going to take officers, have them cover a very small area of a neighborhood. They are not going to be in the squad car running all over the place. They are going to have a particular area – a walkable part of the neighborhood – that they are responsible for – even two officers. It could be a housing project; it could be a certain set of blocks in their community. Their job is to get to know the neighborhood residents; get to know clergy, get to know storekeepers, and really understand what is happening. And here is what they are doing – it’s amazing – these neighborhood coordinating officers, who are part of this program, they are literally developing [inaudible] giving community residents their cell phones, giving community residents their emails, telling them, if you see anything, any hour of the day that you need to tell me, just reach out to me personally. And what that is doing is it is helping us stop a lot of crime before it happens because now the neighborhood residents feel comfort communicating constantly with the officer they know represents and serves their immediate neighborhood. Darden: Alright. Well, listen I’m sure we’re going to be hearing from you a lot – Happy New Year to you. And let’s continue to have this open dialogue. And I really appreciate the last time we talked after Trump won the election; how you were clear about saying the decisions that Trump may make at a federal level, you’ll be able to protect us here on a local level in New York City. Mayor: That’s what I – thank God we, in this city, we have our own values; we have our own police force, we have our own schools. We’re going to do things our way and the way that New Yorkers believe in. And I keep saying it; our values don’t change because of a single presidential election. We’re going to stand up for the people of this city. Darden: There you go. Rosenberg: Facts. Darden: Mayor de Blasio, ladies and gentlemen. Stylez: Thank you, Mayor. Mayor: Thank you. Happy New Year, guys.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - 5:10pm
Bavishi to lead City’s recovery and resiliency efforts as part of an integrated climate team NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the appointment of Jainey Bavishi as the Director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Bavishi is an expert in climate adaptation and resiliency whose work is nationally recognized. She will lead the City’s OneNYC resiliency program, preparing the city for the impacts of climate change and other 21st century threats. This includes significant initiatives within the City’s multilayered resiliency program working to strengthen neighborhoods, adapt buildings, improve infrastructure and upgrade the coastline. She also will serve as the Deputy Chief Resilience Officer as part of New York City’s participation in the 100 Resilient Cities program, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. Bavishi will start Thursday, January 5, 2017. “For a coastal city like ours, rising sea levels mean rising risk for our neighborhoods, infrastructure and economy. That is why we’re making an unprecedented investment in the City’s resiliency,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Our goals to ensure our city is prepared for the impacts of climate change are ambitious. To help keep us on the path of protecting our residents and demonstrating leadership and collaboration in adapting to these threats, I am so pleased to have Jainey Bavishi join our team of extremely talented climate experts. Her years of nationally-recognized experience are exceptional, and I am confident we’ll be able to deliver on our goals with her leadership. I look forward to working with her.” “Climate change continues to be one of the greatest challenges of our time, demanding creativity and leadership to ensure we are better prepared and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change and related threats. New York City and the de Blasio administration continue to lead the globe through our ground-breaking OneNYC program of inclusive climate actions,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the Office of the Mayor. “With the addition of Jainey Bavishi to our team, the City will expand its global leadership on climate adaptation and resiliency. I’m thrilled to have Jainey join the team as we raise the bar and achieve our ambitious climate commitments.” “This is an incredibly important moment for city governments to play a pivotal leadership role in responding to and preparing for the impacts of changing climate. The de Blasio Administration continues to set the standard for inclusive and equitable climate action and I am excited to lead the Office of Recovery and Resiliency forward on behalf of this great city,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “Reaching the Mayor’s OneNYC resiliency goals and responding to our global climate challenges will continue to require hard work, innovation and empathy for those most impacted and I’m excited to join this effort.” Bavishi will report to Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the Office of the Mayor, who will continue in his role leading the City’s integrated climate team, including overseeing the work of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency, the Office of Sustainability, the Office of Environmental Coordination and the coordination of the OneNYC program. "The resilient New York City of tomorrow that we need and envision begins with a strong collaborative effort today,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency. “Jainey Bavishi brings a wealth of experience to the position, and I look forward to working with her toward a city better prepared to meet the challenges of climate change." “Jainey Bavishi is a world-class talent, and her experience will benefit not only millions of New Yorkers, but the global resilience building movement,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “At a time when cities are serving as leaders across a wide range of issues, having people like Jainey focus their attention at the local level is absolutely critical. In the face of the growing challenges of the 21st century, Jainey’s appointment will provide the city with even more firepower as a leader in resilience building worldwide.” "Jainey is an extraordinary leader with a deep commitment to equity and inclusion,” said Xavier de Souza Briggs, Vice President, Economic Opportunity and Markets at Ford Foundation. “She brings such a global and national vision along with a track record of concrete achievements in local communities." “Jainey is a leader in the field of climate resilience and adaptation. Her appointment as Director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency is further proof of the City’s strong commitment to meeting the challenges of tomorrow,” said Adam Parris, Executive Director of Jamaica Bay Science and Resilience Institute. “We look forward to working with her at the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay and welcome her to New York City.” “Jainey has a track record of fighting for resiliency measures that include every member of our communities, particularly low-income families and seniors, and Enterprise looks forward to working alongside her once again to continue this crucial work,” said Laurel Blatchford, SVP and Chief Program Officer at Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “Vulnerable communities have little protection and much to lose in the face of climate change and other disasters. With Jainey at the helm, OneNYC will continue to live up to its name and build solutions that work for every New Yorker.” About Jainey Bavishi Jainey K. Bavishi most recently served as the Associate Director for Climate Preparedness at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In this role, she led the implementation of the climate preparedness pillar of the President's Climate Action Plan. In the final year of the Obama Administration, Bavishi was responsible for embedding and institutionalizing climate resilience considerations across Federal programs and policies; advancing climate equity to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change on low-income and other vulnerable communities; and developing innovative approaches to climate adaptation finance. Prior to this, Bavishi served as the Executive Director of R3ADY Asia-Pacific based in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was responsible for initiating, expanding and managing the start-up public-private partnership, which focused on enhancing disaster risk reduction and resilience in the Asia-Pacific region. Previously, Bavishi served as the Director of External Affairs and Senior Policy Advisor to the Administrator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, DC. She was also the Founding Director of the Equity and Inclusion Campaign, a coalition of community-based leaders in the Gulf Coast region that focused on recovery from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. Bavishi has a Masters degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Bachelors degree in public policy and cultural anthropology from Duke University. About OneNYC In April 2015, Mayor de Blasio released his OneNYC plan . This plan, representing the City’s roadmap for inclusive growth and climate action, made significant commitments to make our growing city more equitable, more sustainable and more resilient. Since that time, the City has made significant progress toward those goals: * Reduced citywide greenhouse gas emissions 14 percent in 2015. * Expanded the City’s electric vehicle fleet to over 500 vehicles. * Expanded organics recycling to over 700,000 New Yorkers. * Secured commitments to develop new flood maps that promote affordability and climate-smart planning. * Achieved key project milestones across the City’s over $20 billion resiliency program. * Fought to achieve minimum wage gains that will lift hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers out of poverty or near poverty. * Financed over 52,000 affordable housing units. * Reached a record 4.3 million jobs. To continue to achieve the inclusive climate action commitments from OneNYC, Mayor de Blasio has built an integrated climate team under Zarrilli’s leadership, consisting of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency, the Office of Sustainability, and the Office of Environmental Coordination, to deliver on its vital commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 and to adapt the city to the impacts of climate change. This integrated climate team collaborates with City agencies and many other public and private stakeholders to meet its commitments.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - 11:30am
IDNYC enrollment centers will re-open across city, processing full applications NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito today announced IDNYC will remain free in 2017, and is now processing full enrollments under a new policy that does not involve the retention of cardholders’ personal background documents. This year, IDNYC welcomes 11 new cultural partners offering free memberships. Cardholders will have access to free memberships at 38 of the City’s premiere cultural organizations. Every IDNYC cardholder can redeem a free membership at all 38 cultural benefit partners for 2017, regardless of the year their card was issued. IDNYC is a municipal ID card for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. To apply for an IDNYC, call 311 and say “IDNYC” or visit . Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “The IDNYC program started with the simple idea of bridging divides between the people and government, so that all New Yorkers have access to the resources they need to live full, productive lives here in NYC. We’re keeping IDNYC free in 2017, so that all city residents can feel confident interacting with the NYPD, entering their child’s school, obtaining City services, and so much more. I am excited that so many of our benefits partners are returning for 2017, and that we’ll be welcoming some great new institutions to the IDNYC family. With their partnership, we’re giving more New Yorkers access to culture, arts, fitness and a long list of enriching opportunities.” “As we enter the third year of the largest, most successful municipal identification card program in the country, I’m thrilled that IDNYC will remain free and available to all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “IDNYC is a safe, secure form of identification that makes it easy for residents to access City services, visit NYC’s premiere cultural institutions, obtain discounts on prescription medication and much, much more. I encourage all residents to join the nearly 1 million New Yorkers who are already cardholders to enroll in IDNYC and take advantage of all the benefits our program has to offer.” “IDNYC cardholders can rest assured knowing that they will continue to receive the many benefits that IDNYC has to offer, at no additional cost. IDNYC was established to fight inequality by giving New Yorkers of all backgrounds access to the resources and services that make New York City the best in the world. We’ve never been more committed to upholding that mission and we’re so thrilled to welcome new partners that will help us carry it out in 2017,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “I am thrilled that IDNYC will remain free in our third year so that the card can remain truly accessible to all New Yorkers. The fact that 1 in 9 New Yorkers now has an IDNYC is a testament to the tremendous need for the program and to the pride that New Yorkers have for their city. If you haven’t gotten your card already, now is the time,” said Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal. “IDNYC has become the most successful municipal ID program in the nation for one simple reason: it ensures that all those who call New York home, regardless of where they came from, have the same access to services and benefits this great city has to offer,” said Department of Social Service Commissioner Steven Banks. Joining a diverse group of benefits partners, IDNYC welcomes 11 new 2017 cultural institution partners including the Museum of Arts and Design, China Institute, The Drawing Center, Park Avenue Armory, Symphony Space, Museum at Eldridge Street, Film Forum, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, St. George Theatre, Center for Performance Research, Jacques Marchais Center for Tibetan Art. Returning cultural benefits include free one-year memberships at 38 of the City’s premiere cultural organizations, including the Public Theater, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Queens Museum, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, Wave Hill, and more. Every IDNYC cardholder can redeem free membership at all 38 cultural benefit partners for 2017, regardless of the year their card was issued. To be eligible, cardholders cannot have been a member at any particular institution in the last four years (since January 1, 2013). Cardholders would still be eligible for free IDNYC membership benefits at any other participating organization where they have not been a member within the last four years. For more information on benefit terms visit . “Access to art and culture is a right that every New Yorker deserves, and thanks to our incredible partners, IDNYC will continue to open doors at museums, theaters, zoos, and gardens in all five boroughs,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “IDNYC brings so many New Yorkers into the fold, providing both a powerful symbol of belonging and a practical tool for improving lives. We are truly grateful to the cultural groups who are stepping up and demonstrating how important culture is to the civic fabric of New York City.” "Building an equitable and inclusive city for all New Yorkers is now more important than ever," said Mindy Tarlow, Director of the Mayor's Office of Operations. "The IDNYC program continues to increase access to cultural institutions and programs that build healthy communities, while also providing more residents with access to necessary services." IDNYC also welcomes back YMCA, CitiBike, Food Bazaar, discounts on sporting events such as the Nets, Islanders and New York City Football Club games, and others. Joining these benefit partners for 2017 are CourseHorse and The Baruch Center for the Performing Arts. "I am thrilled that IDNYC benefits will be expanded to include even more free memberships and reduced-price tickets to the world-class institutions that make our city one of the greatest places on earth," said Council Member Daniel Dromm, prime sponsor of the legislation that created the identification card. "IDNYC is available to all New Yorkers regardless of gender identity, immigration status or homelessness. It connects cardholders with a multitude of services and is a great way to show NYC pride. I thank the leaders of these organizations for partnering with the city to bolster IDNYC. It is my hope that even more families will sign up and take advantage of the many opportunities available to cardholders." “I welcome the 11 new cultural partners joining IDNYC with open arms and strongly encourage others to jump on board now. This free ID for all New Yorkers is already connecting over 900,000 residents with excellent benefits. IDNYC shows we can promote better communities with innovations that promote civic participation,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration. “Every New Yorker, in every neighborhood, should have access to the arts,” said City Council Majority Leader and Cultural Affairs Committee Chair Jimmy Van Bramer. “That’s why, when the IDNYC program was first getting started, I fought so hard to include the cultural benefits program, to bring more New Yorkers into our city’s cultural gems. The program has been an enormous success, and I’m thrilled that 11 new cultural partners will be joining the fold in 2017.” “We are proud to be part of the IDNYC program that provides important educational and cultural opportunities to New Yorkers,” said John Calvelli, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo. “Conservation succeeds when people care, and we welcome all New Yorkers to be part of our mission to save wildlife and wild places.” “The Museum of Chinese in America appreciates the distinct privilege of serving as a cultural institution in the great City of New York – the first stop for so many immigrants in our country’s history. MOCA is a proud member of the IDNYC program because it brings art, culture, and the true richness of this country to all; our doors are open, come in,” said President of MOCA Nancy Yao Maasbach. "The path to discovering your passions can be difficult, but we want to help people discover, pursue, and attain them. That’s why we founded CourseHorse – to help New Yorkers discover the best classes to suit every passion, from art to cooking and public speaking to coding. We’re incredibly excited to partner with IDNYC to help make these classes even more affordable and accessible," said Katie Kapler, co-Founder of CourseHorse. "The successful IDNYC program has opened doors of opportunity for millions of New Yorkers, and The New York Public Library – an organization dedicated to providing all people with access to knowledge and information – has been a proud partner from the start," said New York Public Library President Tony Marx. "The long list of benefits that come with having a New York City ID continue to grow, and we welcome the public into our branches to sign up." "We are proud to be part of a major initiative that helps immigrant New Yorkers become settled in their new home and, since the IDs can be used as library cards, to provide people with the resources and information needed to thrive," said Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “IDNYC has been so popular at Central Library in Jamaica, Flushing Community Library and our community libraries used as pop-up sites that we are working with the Human Resources Administration to open a third permanent location at the Long Island City Community Library." “The IDNYC card is a passport to the cultural and civic life of the world’s greatest city,” said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. “Brooklyn Public Library is thrilled to help the residents of our diverse borough access the many benefits of participating in the IDNYC program, including a wide range of library resources and materials.” All city residents age 14 and above are eligible to get a municipal ID card, and enrollment is free for anyone who applies in 2017. All IDNYC applicants must have documentation that proves identity and residency in New York City. The City will protect the confidentiality of all IDNYC card applications and will not ask applicants about their immigration status. For more information on eligibility criteria, benefits, enrollment centers across the five boroughs and more, applicants can visit or call 311. The full list of 2017 IDNYC cultural benefit partners includes: * American Museum of Natural History * BRIC * Bronx County Historical Society * Bronx Museum of the Arts * Brooklyn Academy of Music * Brooklyn Children’s Museum * Carnegie Hall * Center for Performance Research * China Institute * The Drawing Center * Film Forum * Flushing Town Hall * Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning * Jacques Marchais Center for Tibetan Art * Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts * Metropolitan Museum of Art * Metropolitan Opera * Museum at Eldridge Street * Museum of Art and Design * Museum of Chinese in America * Museum of Jewish Heritage * Museum of Modern Art * Museum of the City of New York * New York Botanical Garden * New York City Ballet * New York City Center * MoMA PS1 * Park Avenue Armory * Pregones Theater / Puerto Rican Traveling Theater * The Public Theater * Queens Museum * Queens Theatre * St. George Theatre * Studio Museum in Harlem * Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling * Symphony Space * Wave Hill * Wildlife Conservation Society o Bronx Zoo o Central Park Zoo (enrollment at the Bronx Zoo) o Prospect Park Zoo (enrollment at the Bronx Zoo) o New York Aquarium (enrollment at the Bronx Zoo) Additional benefit partners include: * Baruch Performing Arts Center * Chelsea Film Festival * CourseHorse * Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment * New York City Football Club * Alliance of Resident Theatres / New York * New York Theatre Ballet and Ballet School * NY BigAppleRX * Entertainment Benefits Group * Food Bazaar * NYC Parks Department * YMCA * Citi Bike * Animal Care Centers of New York * Modell’s Sporting Goods * New York Road Runners * NYC Health + Hospitals * New York Public Library * Queens Public Library * Brooklyn Public Library