Transcript: Mayor De Blasio Appears Live on WNYC

February 10, 2017

Brian Lehrer: It’s the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Good morning, everyone. And we began as usual on Friday’s with our weekly Ask the Mayor segment with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Hi, Mr. Mayor, welcome back to WNYC.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, Brian.

Lehrer: And listeners, your calls for the mayor on anything from any borough today, 212-433-WNYC, 433-9692 or use the hashtag #AsktheMayor. We’ll keep an eye on Twitter for god questions that come in that way – hashtag #AsktheMayor. And Mr. Mayor, I’ll start out with one from a tweet that came in before we went on from [inaudible]. And I have feeling [inaudible] lives in Queens because this says Queens’ streets are never cleaned well after a snowstorm. Why not keep alternate side in effect? What say you to [inaudible]?

Mayor: Well, I would say to [inaudible] that I think there was a real excellent effort by the Sanitation Department, our sanitation workers in this storm. If you’re talking about snow and that we did – we did clear it well. I think they did a great job on a lot of streets in Queens including smaller streets that have been a problem in the past because we had new equipment that we put into last budget that’s allowing us to do a much a better job on smaller streets. You’ll see a lot more of that going forward. So, I think suspending alternate side is one of the ways we help motorists to know they don’t need to move their cars, they don’t need to use them; they don’t need to  shovel them out and put the snow in the middle of the street, which you’re not supposed to do. It makes it a lot harder on Sanitation to clear the streets. I think this approach works especially now that have the right equipment.

Lehrer: I haven’t thought of this alternate side question until I saw the tweet, but I guess the argument here is if you have cars on both sides on the street then it’s harder to get the snow plows through to clean any of it really well. It’s going to be messy on both sides on blocks where there are a lot of cars. If you have one side all the way cleared then, you know, I don’t know if it helps or not but I guess that is his thought.

Mayor: I understand the logic, but I would argue a couple things. First of all, the more cars that are out moving around – if you move your car you have to put it somewhere right? So, where are you going to put it especially when there is a lot of snow around, taking up a lot of space? It’s not good to have the cars moving around because a lot of them just get in the way of Sanitation doing their work, get in the way of the plows and the salt spreaders; some, of course, get into accidents or get stuck and then that slows things up more. I think the goal of canceling alternate side, which we did today and tomorrow, Saturday, is to say, look, just leave your car. You wouldn’t want to be driving in yesterday’s conditions anyway. Use mass transit, use another option – leave your car, don’t shovel it out because that just puts snow typically in the middle of the street, let’s face it. The vast majority of people are going to put snow in some places where it shouldn’t go. And it makes it easier for Sanitation. If they got a clean shot down a block where they don’t have a lot of extra snow being piled in the middle of the block, especially in smaller streets, they can handle it especially now that they have new equipment. But if there are a lot of car moving around it really undermines the whole equation.

Lehrer: Alright. Here’s another Tweet, this one from Gabriel [inaudible] using our Ask the Mayor hashtag. And Gabriel [inaudible] ask how far would he go to keep New York City as an immigrant sanctuary stronghold under Donald Trump’s attacks against immigrant works around the U.S.A. So, the question is how far would you go?

Mayor: Well, let me start with a definition because I think the definition has really been made really gray in this national debate. What we do in New York City is about respecting the humanity of people who are here who happen to be undocumented – half-a-million people, our neighbors, our co-workers. But also we do it for public safety and this is a policy that goes all the way back to the Koch administration – that we recognize that our police, our teachers, our doctors and nurses in our public hospitals, if they started asking people their immigration status then, of course, a lot of people are not going to engage. They are not going to go to the police when there is a problem. They are going to keep their children away from school – all sorts of things that are not helpful to a good functioning city and not fair to human beings. So, this policy goes back decades as a matter of public safety. We’ve got to have communication between police and community. We have to have the assurance for people that our city workers are not going to be the ones who turn them in. So, that is the broad concept. The vast majority of people here undocumented are here because they are looking for a better life; they are looking to work and earn money for their family; the vast majority, of course, commits no crime. The argument – the whole debate, which Donald Trump and others put to the floor, I think very unfairly, is okay, some of these people commit serious crimes; [inaudible] a very, very small percentage. Well, New York City, years ago, accounted for that with a law that says there are 170 violent serious offenses that if you commit one of those, yes, the City then will, of course, cooperate with ICE. So, that is the underlying notion. On the core of Gabriel’s question, Brian, if the federal government says to us start participating – have your police become immigration enforcers overall including against people who have done nothing wrong or people who only have minor quality of life offenses, we’ll refuse to do that. So, then if the federal government attempts to withhold funding, as they talked about when the executive order came out, it would be against the NYPD and it would be against the Corrections Department. That is where they would be taking money from, especially anti-terror funding. We’ll fight that fight in the court of public opinion. We’ll go to federal court as well to fight the constitutionality of it. We think we’re on strong legal ground that executive order actually doesn’t pass mustard constitutionally.

Lehrer: So, let me follow up on where the line is to define a serious crime. I was going to do this anyway before that Tweet came in. Since the City does refer serious criminals for deportation if they are here illegally as you say, when you testified in Albany about sanctuary cities Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island challenged you on the basis of some serious crimes that she says should be on the list. Here’s 30 seconds of that:

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis: So for instance, if an individual here conducts sexual misconduct, forcible touching, sexual abuse in the second or third degree, grand larceny, welfare fraud, identity theft – this is just a small list of much larger list in which the City refuses to comply with the retainer request from the federal government. Why would you protect individuals who are here illegally committing these crimes instead of putting your citizenry first and foremost in ensuring that we receive the federal funding we need for our law enforcement to do their job?

Lehrer: Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island – and you answered her by expressing a willingness to consider adding appropriate offenses to the list. So, should any of those specific ones she mentioned be added, especially sexual abuse?

Mayor: Look, I thought she made a fair point that there maybe a few offenses – and I don’t think it’s a long list. I think it is a few that were not appropriately included the first time. Look, that bill that passed several years ago with strong input from the NYPD and with a lot of support from the Council in which I assigned – identified 170 offenses. Look at the list. We put it up online. It’s quite clear that it covers a very broad range of serious and violent crime. Look, 170 is a lot. There maybe a few more we have to add. I’m open to that, but –

Lehrer: Any of the ones – any of the ones that she mentioned?

Mayor: That – it is all being reviewed by our Law Department and we’ll come up with a formal answer on which ones we will consider adding and then we have to have public process including through the City Council. But let me be clear; what I will not accept is the quality of life offenses. And here is the problem with the whole discussion, Brian., The vast majority of undocumented people in the country – 11, 12 million; in the City half-a-million – haven’t committed any crime whatsoever and then to the extent there are any who committed crimes the vast majority, like all other human beings commit very, very low level crimes – small possession, small amount of marijuana possession, minor traffic offenses, these kinds of things – quality of life offenses, littering etcetera. People should not be deported for that. They should not be – they shouldn’t have their family broken apart. They shouldn’t have parents taken away from their children, children left behind. That makes no sense. So, what the Assembly woman did was cleverly took the issue to the extreme where bluntly there are very few cases. The vast majority of people do nothing wrong or only do the smallest things wrong. Those people should not be deported and we’re not going to participate in that.

Lehrer: I think it also came up that drunk driving is not on the list. When you’re trying to be the Vision Zero mayor and drunk driving is always a serious public safety risk, should that be on the list?

Mayor: Here’s what I said about it: if there is a consequence to it, absolutely because then it goes into the category of violent and serious crime. But if, as I think is true in the vast majority of situations with drunk driving, if someone does something they shouldn’t do, which is to get behind the wheel drunk, and they are pulled over by a police officer and no other negative impact has been felt – here is the conundrum. And people need to have a serious conversation about this – then do you send that person away from their family and send them back to their country whatever it is, however long they have been here. I think that is too low a standard. I think if there is a consequence, if people are hurt for example etcetera that is a different discussion. But again, the problem with the whole debate s it is basically, Brian, if all we’re talking about is the folks who commit the most serious offenses we’re not talking about the vast majority and this is where it’s a very clever Republican bait and switch to get everyone thinking – Donald Trump when he announced his candidacy literally said the Mexicans are rapist and criminals – a horrible stereotyping of Latinos, of Mexicans. And now too many people are taking the bait. No, the vast majority of people in this country, the vast majority of immigrants whether they are documented or undocumented are peaceful law-abiding people. And we should not be rushing to split up families and send people out of this country who are now a part of our community.

Lehrer: Here’s another question that came in via Twitter using the hashtag #AsktheMayor from listener Margie whoa sked can New York City be like Seattle and divest from Dakota Access Pipeline banks. I didn’t know that Seattle did that, maybe they did that. I guess there is a particular bank that’s in the crosshairs right now. Are you familiar with what Seattle did? And would you do it here?

Mayor: No, but I definitely have Seattle envy because they do such wonderful cutting edge stuff all the time and Mayor [inaudible] out there has done great work. There City Council does great work. So, when I hear something is done in Seattle I pay attention. Look, I think what is happening with the Dakota Access Pipeline is just plain wrong. And I think what the Trump administration did was wrong. I don’t know enough about which companies are involved, but I am certainly interested in anything we can do to avoid that pipeline destroying the earth and harming Native American people. And I think if there is a way we can use our pension fund power in that equation, I am very interested in it. So, I’ll have to look at that and come back with an answer to you.

Lehrer: Neil in Lower Manhattan, you’re on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hi, Neil.

Question: Good morning, Brian [inaudible] good morning, Mr. Mayor. Over the next eight years Port Authority is going to rip out [inaudible] on the George Washington Bridge as part of a $2 billion reconstruction [inaudible]. Now, this thing already sustains 3,700 cyclists a day and growing at 10 percent a year. It’s our third most heavily biked bridge after the Williamsburg and Manhattan. And it is the only bike able way out. Right now, you’ve got 150 organizations, businesses, and elected who are calling for wider paths including a dozen city council members, eight community boards, even upstate Rockland, Orange, and Duchess there is a lost in cycle tourism.

Lehrer: Neil, let me get – let me get you an answer. Are you familiar with widening the bike and pedestrian  path on the George Washington Bridge issue, which I guess is still being – that question is still open with the Port Authority. And will you take a position?

Mayor: I’m not familiar with it. I’m glad to be made familiar with it. Obviously, again, it is the Port Authority. So, the State of New York gets to make the final decision, not the City. But it’s a very valid issue and we understand a lot of folks, a lot of cyclists who use the bridge. So, I need to know more about it. And I am happy to come back with a clearer answer for you.

Lehrer: Alright, Neil, send the Mayor stuff on that. You can send it to us and we’ll pass it along if you want. And we go now to [inaudible] on the Lower East Side. You’re on WNYC. Hello, [inaudible].

Question: Thank you, Brian.  Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Good morning. My name is [inaudible]. I’m calling from the Lower East Side in Manhattan and I am a parent of a third grader in P.S. 110. Our PTA is very [inaudible] and very helpful organization within the school helping children who [inaudible]. We did not meet our budget target this year to pay for [inaudible] so our principal [inaudible] offered to pay for or to match every dollar that every parent is giving during the month of December. And she delivered on that [inaudible] out of her own pocket. It was really heartwarming [inaudible].

Lehrer: And what is your question for the Mayor?

Question: Mr. Mayor, my question is the following, first, we have over 50 percent in the school of children that are free lunch and we need this kind of programs for them. And second, I would love to see how we can organize our principal and commend her on her wonderful action. And thank you very much your leadership.

Mayor: Well, thank you [inaudible] and thank you for being such an involved parent, which I think is a big key to what makes a great public school. I think folks who get involved in the PTA and help put together resources for the school do a lot of good for their own kids and everyone else’s kids. I don’t know this situation with this principal. I – you know – appreciate that was an extraordinary act of generosity. I don’t know the details, but I’d like to get them before I comment. But I think the important thing is that members of the PTA and members of the school community do everything they can do to constantly improve their school and that keeps all the rest of us accountable to. I think an active PTA is a really a strong accountability mechanism and I appreciate that you’re part of it, but I don’t know the details.

Lehrer: I think the policy issue that underlines [inaudible] story is that it’s a source of inequality as I think you know that public schools with more well off populations can fund a whole bunch of things through parent donations to the PTA and that furthers the privilege of the kids who live in those neighborhoods compared to kids who live in poorer places where maybe the principal has to put in their own money to achieve the PTA budget. Is there something on a policy level that should be done? I know some people have proposed a PTA tax in certain wealthier neighborhoods that would get distributed elsewhere in the City.

Mayor: I’d say two things, Brian. First, I think any PTA that happens to have a lot of parents who are doing well – if they are able to pair up with a school nearby that isn’t quite as well off and share a little and find ways to work together. I think that is fantastic and I think that is something that they should do locally and of their own choice. But on the bigger issues, this comes right back to a raging issue right now in Albany which is where are we going on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. The court decision, by the highest court in New York State, our court of appeals, a decade ago that said the State of New York had to fairly fund school systems – that a lot of City schools systems around the State and a lot of rural school systems had been underfunded, according to their level of need and the income of their parents. And we’re still fighting for fairness. We’re still fighting for a court decision to be implemented; interesting day because we’re talking about the President trying to defy a court order. Well, let’s be clear, the State of New York, for a decade, has not fully fulfilled a court order from its highest court to fully fund our schools. Why is that pertinent? Because we have said clearly if the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case was followed we would be able to have every school in New York City get what is called a fair student funding formula. 100 percent – meaning every school would have a base level of funding that is equal across all neighborhoods. We have been pushing that funding up year after year and making it more equal. But we know if we go the kind of funding we deserve on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity in just the next few years we could literally create a baseline where every school in New York City was at the same base level. And that would revolutionize how we approach our schools. So, this is something I am fighting for. Unfortunately, in some of the budget documents we saw this year from the Governor’s Office there was an effort to no longer honor the wording that is related to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. That’s a big step in the wrong direction. That language must be kept in tacked in the State budget because it pushes the State to finally fulfill its obligation. Then – I care about the PTA fundraising, but I am telling you if the State did its job and gave us the money we deserve you would see an equalization of the school funding on a level we’ve never seen before.

Lehrer: Let me just follow up on one thing real quickly. You said, and maybe you didn’t mean to say it this way, that the President is defying a court order. He tweeted last night after the appeals court ruled, ‘See you in court.’ So, I guess they will appeal again. Did I miss something? Is he defying that court order?

Mayor: No, you’re right Brian. And thank you for correcting my wording. Obviously, look, at first as we know – as the situation was emerging in JFK and other airports around the country it did appear – as the stay was put in place by the federal judge in Brooklyn – it did appear the federal government was trying to ignore the stay; and then later, of course, the President Trump referring to the judge as a so-called judge. I mean – first it appeared to be open defiance, then it turned into verbally defiant attitude. But the point I am trying to make is I think there are people all over this city, all over this state, all over this country looking at the situation and saying ‘wait a minute, you don’t get to make up the rules.’ No president – no one gets to make up the rules. When the highest court rules, that’s it. And I’m saying something that I find astounding to you, Brian. A decade ago, the highest court in New York State ruled. And everyone saw it. In fact, to the credit of Governor Spitzer, he started to implement it, then the Great Recession hit. It’s been treated as a part of a lost civilization now instead of something that happened a decade ago. It’s black and white.

Lehrer: That’s the campaign for fiscal equity lawsuit for adequate funding for New York City public school students.

Mayor: And other parts of the state, too.

Lehrer: Here’s another Twitter question. This one comes from BrooklynMND using the #AskTheMayor. It says will you freeze rent again this year?

Mayor: Brian, and I’ll answer the D. The whole idea here is when we came into office we looked at almost a half century of the work of the rent guidelines board; came to the strong conclusion that it has not been a fair and balanced process; that the process bluntly favored landlords year after year; didn’t look at the full picture of the actual cost, the actual reality. And my mandate to the people I named to the Rent Guidelines Board who – and the chair who I named – was look at the whole picture, be fair, don’t have a bias for landlords, think about the needs of tenants too, and everything they’ve gone through since the Great Recession. When they looked at that – especially the last few years where there was a huge decrease in landlord costs because of the reduction in fuel costs. We all saw it. The price of gas went down. All fuel went down. That’s where it was clear that the facts told us a rent freeze was right. We’re going to make that judgement each year according to the facts. Sometimes the facts may say there is a need for a bigger increase to cover real expenses. Other years it may not, but it’s going to be a year by year decision based on the facts.

Lehrer: Jose in the Bronx with a related question I think – Jose, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor.

Question: Hello?

Lehrer: Hi, Jose.

Question: Yes.

Lehrer: Go ahead, Jose. Don’t listen to the radio, listen to your phone. The radio’s on a delay.

Question: Okay, go ahead.

Lehrer: Go ahead, just listen to me. You have the Mayor here. You can ask him your question. Go.

Question: Yes, hi Mayor my name is Jose. I’m a proud member of Pictures of Homeless, and I would like to know would you consider coming to meet with us to discuss the homeless crisis in New York City.

Mayor: Jose, I have a lot of respect for Pictures of Homeless. I think you guys have done a great job of helping people understand that human beings are going through a lot and need support. We’ll figure out how to work together. I’m always careful not to commit to specific meetings, but we’ll figure out how to work together. What I do want to tell you is – and I think your organization has really helped on this – since we’ve put the HOMESTAT initiative in place, which the notion of which was go out all over the city and go to where homeless folks are in the street and engage them humanly over and over again, find out what they need, and what we can do to help them come off the street. In the last year that that’s initiative has been in place, 700 people have come off the street who are now getting mental health services if they needed that, substance misuse services, you know, a clean, positive place to live – a lot of other help to break that cycle of having been street homeless. So I think understanding each person needs a particular solution and that we had to be hands on and individual by individual we’ve been able to really make an impact, and we’re going to keep doing that.

Lehrer: Jose, was there a specific thing you wanted to ask or suggest to the Mayor regarding homelessness?

Question: Yes, that, you know, at Picture of Homeless, we’ve been in existence 17 years, and you know as members, you know, formerly homeless and homeless I think that we have an insight on homelessness.

Lehrer: So give him one – our time is short, but give him one piece of that insight that could lead to better policy, because we have record homelessness in the city, right? And it’s one of the most daunting things in his reelection year – if I can put it in that context – that’s going to follow the mayor through 2017.

Question: Yes, well, at Pictures of Homeless we have a housing not warehousing [inaudible] and we also we’re trying to get a CLT program started, so we have and also gaming ground – we have a lot of good ideas, and we just want the opportunity to meet with the Mayor and to discuss these issues because 60,000 homeless people – that’s a community. And I’m afraid it’s not being heard and, you know, I just –

Lehrer: I got you, Jose. I got you. Thank you, Mr. Mayor –

Mayor: So let me just say to Jose, I appreciate it very much, and I’ll make sure members of my team meet with you and that everything you’re putting forward gets to me. But look I think what Jose’s indicating immediately is a need for a greater focus on affordable housing that can reach people, and one of the things that I’ll be talking about in my SOTC remarks on Monday is that we already have the biggest affordable housing plan in the history of this city, but we’re going to improve it further. There’s been a lot of folks who have said can we see more of the apartments in that plan reach folks at a lower income level, folks who are earning $20,000-plus or $30,000-plus and need more help – more seniors, more veterans. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re adding – within our plan, we’re retooling our plan – 10k apartments now will be moved into the category of folks who make those lower income levels, seniors in particular so many of whom are on fixed income, and veterans. And we know that veterans have been part of the community too often who end up homeless. We’ve ended chronic veteran homelessness. It’s something we’re very proud of, and we did with the Obama administration. The folks who were homeless for years and years – that problem was ended. We still have veterans who find themselves homeless for periods of time. I want to end that, but this change we’re making in our affordable housing place is going to help us to do that.

Lehrer: And I see you’re announcing today a new rental assistance program for low income families with much of it set aside for seniors, and you want to fund that with what you call a mansion tax that Albany doesn’t seem inclined to let you have. What would qualify as a mansion in a city of mostly apartment buildings, and how do you want to use that money?

Mayor: Brian, here’s why I think we have a shot of winning this. The mansion tax would be on any home that’s sold for $2 million or more anywhere in New York City, and it’s an additional tax on the sales transaction. That would net us $330 million a year. That would allow us to provide affordable housing for 25,000 senior citizens in addition to what we already are doing in our plan. We have a plan for 200,000 affordable apartments reaching half a million people. This is 25,000 more people who would benefit on top of that – seniors who are struggling, they would be able to get either a subsidy to stay in the apartment they’re in, or to go to a new location. Subsidize it means they would never pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent, whatever their income was. No matter how small that income is they would never pay more than 30 percent of it in rent. Now I think for a lot of folks in the legislature – I want to hear them say that they’re not willing to tax millionaires and billionaires so that seniors can have affordable housing. I think a lot of them are going to find it hard to say that they won’t tax the wealthy for our seniors. Especially when the wealthy are about to – we all believe sadly because of the policies of the Trump administration and the Congress – the wealthy are about to get a big tax break from Washington. It seems only fair we do something locally, and I think it’s going to be a hard situation for folks in the legislature and for the governor to say no to.

Lehrer: John in Manhattan you’re on WNYC. Hello, John.

John, you’re on with the Mayor. Are you there?

No John? Let’s try Ephrahim in Brooklyn. You’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hello.

Question: Good morning, Brian. Good morning, Mr. Mayor. I have one suggestion and one question. I think we can bring more money to the city if police would enforce the simple rule that when you make a turn you have to signal to show – turn signal. And people ignore it massively including police itself, and nobody enforces it. People are just not afraid to ignore or be ignoring this rule, and if you would start fining people, issuing tickets for violation of turn signal rules you could bring millions to the city.

Mayor: Ephrahim, I appreciate – I hope I’m saying it right, Ephrahim, I hope I’m saying the name right – but I want to say I think it’s an interesting idea. Now I want to emphasize the core of what we’re trying to do with enforcement in terms of Vision Zero and reducing fatalities and injuries is about the areas where we’ve seen the biggest problems – speeding and failure to yield to pedestrians at intersections. There’s going to be a lot more enforcement even when it comes to those offenses, and as we’ve done more enforcement we’ve seen it work. There’s going to be a lot more enforcement during the evening rush hour, during the times of year when it’s darker. There’s going to be a lot more enforcement against drunk driving and check points. I think those are the areas where we make the biggest impact. I think your point, though, is interesting because the failure to signal does create problems. So what I’ll do is I will talk to our police commissioner Jimmy O’Neill and talk to other members of our administration to see if we think there’s something more we can do on that front, but I would just urge you to recognize those other problems are greater. Obviously, people texting while driving is a greater problem, and we’re going to be very tough on that, but I appreciate the suggestion because it is an area where there might be different ways that we could do better.

Lehrer: Couple things before you go – could you clarify the status of the NYPD universal body camera program? I know that was in the new police contract that we talked about when you were on just after that was signed, but I see NY1 is reporting that the comptroller refused to sign off on the contract. A source says he declined after learning the Department of Investigation is investigating the agreement. You fired back after Stringer refused to sign off without disclosing that  NY1 says that the contract was under investigation. Why is it under investigation and why didn’t you acknowledge that?

Mayor: I’m going to use a legal term, Brian. That was a cheap stunt by the comptroller, and he had to retreat from it very quickly. The role of comptroller is if there’s a specific problem with a contract procedurally they can weigh in there. They cannot weigh in on the larger policy matters. That is a decision that the executive branch, the NYPD, City Hall have to make. Also as I’ve said this is about the competitor company that didn’t get the contract trying to create all sorts of ways to undermine the one that did win the contract. NYPD has had an extraordinary record of choosing good technology lately. The ShotSpotter, the iPhone, all the things they’re doing that are having a huge impact. Body cameras will be on all our patrol officers by the end of 2019. It’s going to go from 1,000 this year, 5,000 by the middle of next year, then the entire patrol force – I believe that’s about 13,000 officers – by the end of 2019. This contract is moving forward. We have the legal authority to move it forward. If any agency like DOI wants to look at the situation that’s fine. That’s their choice, but it does not stop us from moving forward a contract that everything we know about says it’s the right thing to do, and we have to keep body cameras on track because people in this city fundamentally want that accountability and transparency, and I think it’s going to improve relationships between police and community and accountability for all when we have body cameras on all our officers.

Lehrer: And last thing – real quick, I know you have to go – you have the State of the City speech coming up Monday night. I’ve written in pencil so far my analysis that says ‘well this was a reelection year State of the City speech’ so is that what New Yorkers should expect and can you give us any kind of scoop here about something that’s coming?

Mayor: Well, you know, Brian, I appreciate the native cynicism of a journalist, but I also think it’s important we recognize this is a year like every year. My job each year is to talk about what people care about the most and show them both what we’re doing now and where we are going. So for example the announcement we made today – we’ve heard so much concern at the community level about insuring that our affordable housing plan reached more seniors, reached more veterans – something people care very deeply about – and reached folks who are making again$20,000-plus, $30,000-plus. We need more apartments for folks in that category, so we have altered our affordable housing plan and 10,000 more apartments within our plan will go to folks in those categories and who really need the help. That’s the kind of thing people want to talk about in this city. I’m telling you, and I say it every time – talk to any elected official. The number one issue is affordability. People want to hear more answers and a clear direction about how we’re going to keep this a city for them. So I’ll certainly – that’s one of the topics I’ll focus on, but I’ll say to you if it were last year or if it were next year it would still be the topic I would focus on.

Lehrer: Mr. Mayor, thanks as always. Talk to you next week.

Mayor: Thank you, Brian.

 

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