Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appoints Kathryn Garcia as Department of Sanitation Commissioner

March 15, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio: I think our backdrop speaks volumes here. We know which agency we’re talking about, right? Alright, well I would like to begin, as we do with all announcements of new personnel, by thanking everyone who was a part of the hiring process led by our First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris and my Chief of Staff, Laura Santucci. And I can tell you that they found many, many great people to serve in our administration. Today is a particularly fine example of their efforts. I also want to say we are joined by the Council Member for this district, Helen Rosenthal, right over there. Thank you Council Member for being with us.

I have a particular appreciation for the men and women who make up New York’s Strongest. I’m always honored to be in their presence. We—those of us at City Hall, and all of the men and women of the Sanitation Department—we’ve spent a lot of time together this winter, more than I think any of us expected to. And it’s been quite a winter. Literally, January and February, one of the snowiest January’s, one of the snowiest February’s on record in the history of this city—the record keeping going back to the time of the Civil War. The men and women of Sanitation have handled this challenge with extraordinary professionalism. It’s just been one thing after another this winter, and they keep coming back for more, and they keep handling it. I think I see a gentleman over there I met one of the last times I was here. I think when I asked you—Sir, what’s your name again? Remind me.

Pavon: [Inaudible].

Mayor: Louder.

Pavon: [Inaudible] Pavon.

Mayor: Pagon?

Pavon: Pavon.

Mayor: Pavon. My apologies. What’s your rank, Sir?

Pavon: [Inaudible].

Mayor: Supervisor Pavon. When we spoke before it was during one of the worst moments and one of the worst storms. I said to people on twelve-hour shifts, “How’s it going?” And you looked at me with steely eyes, and you said, “This is when we shine.”

Pavon: That is correct.

Mayor: And that has been the attitude. Vito, you can’t even make that up. It really happened. This has been the attitude of the men and women of the Sanitation Department throughout this winter. It’s been game on, it’s been a winning attitude, and you’ve seen the extraordinary work they’ve done. So I am honored, always, to be in their presence. Even though in those two months we had seven major snowfalls, four feet of snow, total. They handled it brilliantly. And the twelve-hour shifts, one after another after another, did not hold them back from their extraordinary performance. So I just want to say on behalf of all New Yorkers: A profound thanks to the men and women in the Sanitation Department for what they’ve done this winter.

I also want to say [Coughs]—excuse me—that a lot of people in this city feel the deepest appreciation for the way the men and women of this department handled the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. There was such emotion—as I went around the city in the weeks after Sandy—such feeling from the Sanitation Department, because in the aftermath with the destruction, the dislocation that people had experienced, one of the first signs of normalcy of life getting back together was when Sanitation showed up, got the debris out of the way, helped people get back on their feet. There were so many stories of the kindness and the sensitivity of the Sanitation workers trying to help people who had just been through hell. And so there’s a lot of appreciation out in this town for the work they do.

Now it’s so important, as we think about continuing this great work, deepening it, making it better all of the time, we think about the kind of leadership that we want for this government, for this agency, and the kind of leadership we want throughout our city government. And we’ve said all along we have goals that involve the most basic things: Running the government, making things work, making things work every single day, plowing the streets, keeping them clear, for example, picking up the trash—all of the things that we care about, all different agencies that make the things of this city run. We’ve wanted to make the government stronger, and better and more efficient all of the time. And we’ve wanted to change the direction of the government simultaneously, meaning: A new set of values, a new set of goals to achieve. So as Mayor it’s my job to make sure that things work every single day in this town, to keep making the city government better and more responsive to the people, and to change the direction toward the goals and ideals we delineated last year to the people of this city. And it’s safe to say we are achieving all three of those goals with today’s appointment.

I have to tell you how proud I am too announce the appointment of Kathryn Garcia as our next Sanitation Commissioner. Kathryn has what it takes to lead New York’s Strongest. First of all, one of the greatest qualifications you can see in anybody: She is a Brooklynite.

[Laughter]

She is a Brooklynite through and through. Born and raised in my neighborhood, Park Slope, and she still lives two houses down from her mother. I talk about family values. Kathryn sees this city through the eyes of so many of us who live in the outer boroughs. She sees this city though the eyes of our neighborhoods. And she knows at the same time, even though she thinks from the grassroots, she knows how to run a big complicated agency. She knows how all of the pieces fit together. And she understands the men and women who do the work.

Kathryn started out, as you’re going to hear, as an intern in the Sanitation Department. Excuse me, in the, yes, in the Sanitation Department. Then moved over to Department of Environmental Protection. At DEP she worked her way up to Chief Operating Officer for DEP, running all of its operations. She’s been responsible for the operations of the Bureaus of Water Supply, Water and Sewer Operations, and Waste Water. And this is what that meant: It meant that Kathryn was in charge of a staff of 4,000 employees, a $540 million expense budget, and almost an $2 billion four-year capital budget. Her job was to make all that work, and as I indicated, my job to make it work better. It was Kathryn’s idea to make it work better. So at DEP she focused on better performance and savings, and she ended up saving the taxpayers almost $30 million through better efficiency, better approaches. She understands that that complex machinery has to work, that agency with all of the pieces that she’s been a part of has to work, so everyday New Yorkers can go about their lives. She also knows a lot about how to get to the facts, and make sure things are being done well. She developed and managed DEP’s performance program called H2OStat—yet another Stat—Compstat started it all. Now we have H2OStat. What is it—what is the sincerest form of flattery?

Unknown: Imitation.

Mayor: Imitation. Thank you. Imitation is the most—the sincerest form of flattery, so H2OStat has significantly decreased DEP’s response time to 311 complaints and street repair complaints. The repair backlog before H2OStat was about 3,000 work orders. After H2OStat was put in place she got the backlog down to just 300 work orders. Extraordinary improvement. Kathryn is also battle-tested. She was responsible for emergency planning at DEP, and she served as the agency’s Incident Commander after Superstorm Sandy. And what that meant—these are extraordinary numbers—when Sandy hit, it knocked out 42 DEP pumping stations and the entire Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant. So I just want you to understand what it meant to be Incident Commander in that situation. Kathryn went from a few hours earlier having 42 pumps up and running—pumping stations up and running—and a wastewater treatment plant up and running, and then within hours all of that was offline. And it was her job to bring it all back immediately. Within three days she had the system back up to 99% capacity. And she got the Rockaway facility back online faster than many facilities in the metropolitan area. So she has been through the toughest circumstances, and shown what kind of leader she is. As she moves to Sanitation she will be focused on delivering the services that every New York deserves: Every tenant, every homeowner, every businessperson has a right to deserve.

And she’ll have the benefit of some of the improvements we’ve already began to make in terms of the work of Sanitation. When we look at what we went through these last few months with this record snowfall, we were looking all the time at how to make the efforts better. And I have to say, immediately we found some ways that agencies could work together. I want to thank all of the agencies that came to the table to help the men and women of the Sanitation Department to do their job even better including the NYPD and other agencies that made their Sanita—excuse me—made their surveillance cameras available to Sanitation. Other agencies stepped up and said, “We can help Sanitation by allowing them to say what we’re seeing on our surveillance tech cameras, so we can pinpoint Sanitation’s efforts even better.” That proved immediate benefits, immediate advancements in our efforts to plow the snow.

So, of course it is about getting the job done. It’s about getting the job done efficiently and effectively. But also, when it comes to sanitation, it’s about our larger efforts toward sustainability. A lot of progress was made. And you know I’ve had my agreements and disagreements with the Bloomberg Administration, but in the area of sustainability I think they did some very important work, and a lot that I want to continue. And a lot of that is going to be now Kathryn’s area to lead in, to continue our efforts [inaudible] sanitation for the sustainability of this city. We’re going to find innovative ways to reduce waste, to increase recycling, to save money of the taxpayer, and at the same time become a greener city in the process.

Kathryn is ready for that task. As I mentioned, even though most of her work recently has been at DEP, she is no stranger to the Department of Sanitation. She began as a bright-eyed 22-year-old, serving as an intern in the Commissioner’s office. Well, Kathryn, you started out as an intern in the Commissioner’s office; now you are the Commissioner of Sanitation. Congratulations.

[Applause]

Unknown: [Inaudible].

Mayor: [Inaudible]. This is candid again.

[Laughter]

It never happened before. Congratulations.

Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia: Thank you.

Mayor: Do you prefer the step or not? Let’s see. That’s the step.

Garcia: Do I need the step?

Mayor: What do you think? Let’s try it without first, and see—tell us if it looks good without the step and if not [inaudible]—

Garcia: Tell me whether or not if I’m too short.

Mayor: I’ll get this out of your way.

Garcia: Too short?

Mayor: We can bring this down. Hold on. Look at—look at all this technology here. There you go.

Garcia: Thank you. I’m going to take the step.

Mayor: We’ll take the step.

Garcia: [Inaudible].

Mayor: Okay, I’ll show you the step technique here.

[Laughter]

Mayor: Very complicated methodology. It’s the latest—the latest in technology. I’ll be your roadie for a moment here. There. Put that over there. There you go.

Garcia: Thank you Mr. Mayor. As the Mayor’s said, I’m a lifelong Brooklynite. In fact, before he was my Mayor and my Public Advocate, he was more Council Member. This is an agency that I have always looked up to, and as the Mayor mentioned, interned at the very beginning of my career. The men and women who do this work are some of the most dedicated in this city; hard-working people. They’ve shown it time and again, and particularly this winter. To them, I say it is an honor to be entrusted with the post. And I’ll work everyday to earn your respect, the way you’ve earned the respect of New Yorkers.

I’m coming from a job at DEP where I’ve learned a lot of lessens about this kind of work. Put bluntly: Do it well, and the city runs smoothly; do it poorly, and the city comes to a screeching halt. The job we do at Sanitation is vital to the safety, the commerce, and the health of the City of New York. Sanitation prides itself on delivering great service to all New Yorkers, and we will not let you down. I’ve spent many years at DEP focused on delivering service, both efficiently and sustainably. As the Mayor mentioned performance is extremely important. Being able to meet the needs of the residents of New York is why we’re all here. As he also mentioned, during his comments during Hurricane Sandy, I not only saw DEP employees stepping up, but many of them also lived in one of the zones of flooding. So they went home, did work on their own homes, and then had the Sanitation Department come by and help them make it through the storm. We also had one story in the middle of that night when everything was flooding and there were fires were burning out in Breezy Point. One of our emergency managers in a Prius—and to this day I do not know how he got to—

Mayor: A Prius?

Garcia: —In a Prius, got out to the fire, but was able to make it out to the fire, and show the firemen where the biggest main was so that they would have appropriate water pressure. There were stories across my organization, and I know across the Department of Sanitation, of real bravery among the men and women who serve the residents of this city.

DEP also has been very focused on sustainability. We’re actually one of the largest power consumers in the City of New York, and we’ve begun to think about waste as an opportunity for a resource. So we’ve been partnering with the Department of Sanitation to take some of the food waste and convert into natural gas, and then sell it back into the grid—a win-win, I think, for all involved. In addition, we’ve been focused on reducing our process use, so working on how the biology works at the treatment plants to use less power. All of these have been great successes. And Sanitation, I know, is making the same sort of leaps around sustainability, particularly in regard to composting food waste, which I am extremely excited about, using biodiesel in their equipment, and taking on rigid plastics, which certainly helps me, since I was constantly looking at the bottom trying to figure out what it was, that I was supposed to put in—

Mayor: [LAUGHTER] Weren’t we all! [LAUGHTER]

Garcia: So I will admit that I struggled a bit with what went in what box. We will continue to deliver the great service that the Department of Sanitation always has delivered, and we will do it efficiently, and sustainably, both for this agency, as well as for the City of New York. I am thrilled to be joining your team. Thank you very much.

Mayor: Thank you. Welcome.

[APPLAUSE]

Garcia: Now the step has to go back in.

Mayor: Now the step goes back in. Hold on, before we get to questions. I did not get to my Spanish. Hold on. Here we go. Reset. Reset. There we go. Just a few words in Spanish, if I may.

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

So I want to say I am so honored to be naming Kathryn to this agency. I know she’s got what it takes to make it work, and we’re really thrilled to have her on board for the big challenges ahead, for the Department of Sanitation. She will be joining us on April 1. I promise not to call with an April Fool’s Day prank.

[LAUGHTER]

Garcia: [Knowing him he would?] send me a weather forecaster.

Mayor: Right, I would say it’s massive—Kathryn—massive snowstorm expected. Let me knock on some wood right there. Okay, with that we welcome your questions.

Josh.

Reporter: [Inaudible]—

Mayor: Let me—I’m sorry, just on-topic first, just to clarify. On-topic, and then we’ll go to off-topic. Go ahead.

Reporter: [Inaudible] sustainability [inaudible] projects [inaudible] Mayor [inaudible] Five Borough Plan [inaudible] take steps [inaudible] waste transfer station on the Upper East Side [inaudible] but that plan is still going forward [inaudible] timeline we see on that, and perhaps, again, to reiterate, why is it important [inaudible]?

Mayor: I’ll start, and then the new Commissioner can join in. Look, we believe in a five-borough government, something I said all of last year—pivotal reform we want to make in the way New York City government works, so really focus on the needs of all five boroughs equally. The Solid Waste Management Plan was based on that principle. It’s one of the areas I agree with the Bloomberg Administration. The notion that each borough has to handle its own waste is, I think, crucial when you think about the history we used to have, which has very sad history of some neighborhoods, some types of folks, in some boroughs taking everyone else’s waste, and that’s something we have to leave in the past, and we need to move forward. So, this is a plan that I think is the right approach, and the plan fits together very particularly, meaning all of the pieces connect in a particular way, and each piece has to work that way it’s planned, for the whole plan to come to fruition. That being said, you know—and I have one of these stations not too far from my house: the Hamilton Station in Brooklyn—and I think there’s concerns around each of the stations, probably the strongest being the ones around the 91st Street MTS in Manhattan. It’s our job to hear the concerns of the neighbors, and do everything we can to mitigate, and to make the experience they have better. Believe in the plan; we’re sticking with the plan, but I think there’s a lot we can do to make sure that things move smoothly, that there’s safety, that, you know, the air quality is good. We’re going to have a lot more to say on that in the coming days. So we’re committed to the plan, but we’re also committed to constantly working with neighborhood residents to make sure things go smoothly.

Let me have the new Commissioner speak as well, and we will bring forward the step. There you go.

Garcia: I have very little to add to what the Mayor said, but I think one of the things that’s at the heart of the plan is also its reliance on recycling. That is really key to where we want to get to as a city, and I know that we have very, very big goals in order to do that. So that’s a really big piece of it. The other piece is the desire to reduce truck traffic and driving many of our sanitation trucks very many miles into New Jersey every single day. Bringing that back to New York City, when putting things on back on the water will make the environment cleaner.

Mayor: And I will note—and it’s an important point too—you know, one of the things we have to find ways to do is reduce truck traffic in our streets in general. It’s one of the other important parts of this plan, getting trucks to go a lot lesser distances for the good of everyone.

On this topic, yes.

Reporter: Mr. Mayor, looking back at the winter season in the rearview mirror, do you have any—

Mayor: Can you say that again? Because that’s a really good phrase: “The winter season in the rearview mirror.” I’m knocking on wood again. Okay.

Reporter: —[inaudible] lessons learned as a new city executive, you know [inaudible] approach to government?

Mayor: Well, I—first of all, this is a moment where it’s appropriate for me to thank John Doherty for all he did. I asked him as I was coming into office to stay on for the winter season, basically to the end of the March. He very graciously agreed. I—this guy is a New York hero, because he spent 51 years serving the Sanitation Department, in good times and bad, and when I said to him, you know, “John, I know you have every right to say you’re done, but I’m asking you to give me one more winter,” and he did. He didn’t know when I asked him December that it was going to be one of the snowiest winters ever, so I really want to thank him for his strength and his commitment. And what I think we learned from the experience, all of us together—and John was incredibly helpful, you know, teaching me some of the ropes here—was this is something we have to work on every single day to get better. We learned quickly that those surveillance cameras, for example, had not been available to the Sanitation Department. I didn’t know that coming into office. And once we found out, our team did a great job. Our First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris and others sprang into action, got the agencies to talk to each other, and we opened up a lot more capacity for the Sanitation Department. We figured out, I think, some better ways to project what the storm would mean in terms of some of the actions that we have to take early. So I think we learned a lot, and I think we also learned that you have to keep learning. You have to keep improving your craft. What I also learned, that the professionals here are just extraordinary. You know, I had worked with Sanitation workers for a long time, got a very different perspective when I went into the command center, saw just how much was being handled, sixty-three hundred miles of roads, and how amazingly capable they are. So it was a great learning experience. I would’ve liked to have learned on a simulator, rather than in the real thing, but that being said, I learned a lot, and I think we’re in a great position going forward.

Reporter: [Inaudible] Sanitation Department [inaudible] and also you mentioned…

Mayor: I can do this.

Reporter: …[inaudible]?

Garcia: Sure, so that one of the projects that I worked on when I was at DEP was having Sanitation deliver food waste to a digester at Newtown Creek, and that digester converts the food waste into natural gas. And then, we are building something to be able to sell it back to the national grid. So that is thinking about waste as a fuel for the future.

I’m sorry, what was the second part of your question.

Reporter: About saving money on [inaudible]?

Garcia: Well, one of the things we looked at in terms of saving money at DEP was going in and looking at all of our contracts, particularly our commodities contracts around chemicals, around how much we were paying for disposal services, and we ended up saving millions of dollars by changing how we were contracting for goods and services.

Mayor: Okay, on topic. Yes.

Reporter: [Inaudible] [differ from the Bloomberg] [inaudible]?

Mayor: Well, let me see if you want to [say] something [in the front], feel free. I want to talk about it in terms of where we want to go, so I think it would be great for you to say a few words about where we want to go on composting, for example, as one of the things that we’re really devoted to.

Garcia: [Inaudible] I think that we’ve spoken about this, but taking this agency to the forefront of the nation in terms of composting, food waste is the largest percentage of the waste stream in New York City. We have to deal that if we’re going to be sustainable in the future, and I really look to the children of New York City as being my front warriors in turning that culture—

Mayor: Frontline warriors.

Garcia: —frontline warriors in changing the culture around disposal, and really making sure that we’re doing the separation that we need to do to have a sustainable planet.

Reporter: [Inaudible] New York [inaudible] compost?

Garcia: That is the plan—well they’re going to be required to provide their organic waste separately.

Mayor: Over five years.

Garcia: Over five years.

Mayor: [Inaudible] let me jump in. The—I want to—I think it’s an important moment to get clear what this means. My step is not agreeing with me today. The—I, you know, again—and I’ll get to the core of your question about where there’s continuity with the previous administration; there might be some differences as well. On the composting issue I thought the Mayor—Mayor Bloomberg was right. We think there’s a tremendous opportunity here. And let me speak from a perspective I think all New Yorkers can relate to, the perspective of the taxpayer. If we get composting right over the next five years we’re going to save a lot of money. We’re going to not send as much off to landfills. We’re going to be much more environmentally appropriate, so there’s something in it for everyone here. It’s better for the environment to compost. It’s better for the taxpayer to compost. There are real challenges, and we’re ready to work to get those challenges addressed, but something that was—an area where I thought Mayor Bloomberg was on the right track—and I was happy to say this was my vision as well, to get this done over the next five years. By the way, cities around the country—I think San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, among them—are already well down the road in this process, so we have great examples we can learn from. Again, we talked about the Five-Borough Plan in terms of the Solid Waste Management Plan. I agree with that. We’re going to continue that. I agree with Vision Zero, writ large. There are Sanitation elements of that, other agencies as well—Vision Zero, I’m sorry, I meant to say PlanNYC—PlanNYC as well. A lot of that of course refers to the Sanitation Department. So there’s a lot continuity there. An area that I was working on years ago that I was pleased to see the Bloomberg Administration turn to was Styrofoam. This is something we’re going to work on as well to try and get Styrofoam out of use from the city government, and then try and get it out of our society, writ large. So there’re a lot of areas of continuity.

Where is there a difference? I think there’re two areas that jump off the page to me. The first is what we talked about a few minutes ago. I think we think there’s much more opportunity for the agencies to work together. I think that example of the police cameras being opened up so Sanitation can use them—that’s something that was not happening in the previous administration, was really important to do; it’s having a great effect. And we’re going to look for more and more areas for departments to collaborate. The second is in relationship to the workforce. We have tremendous respect for the men and women of the Sanitation Department. We want to work more closely with the workforce to improve the work. This agency is legendary for having made some of the greatest reforms in terms of public sector management that any city has seen in recent decades. There’s more to be done, but it can only be done in a cooperative way with the workforce. We have to get back to that spirit of cooperation, and I think when we do that we will be able to do a lot more for the people of this city.

On topic. Yes

Reporter: [Inaudible]—

Mayor: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Reporter: —[inaudible] no evidence [inaudible] so I was just wondering if you [inaudible] what happened with the [inaudible] when it comes to the [inaudible] if you will, that a lot of people [inaudible] one snowflake remains on the street longer than [inaudible]?

Mayor: Let me start and pass this to the Commissioner. I think I can—I think I am an expert on this topic now Commissioner. A snowstorm disrupts everyone’s life, and you have to appreciate why people are frustrated. You know, I don’t blame anyone who feels frustrated when they’re trying to get somewhere and it’s hard to get there, or there’s unpredictable weather dynamics. Our job is to do the best we can in that to inform people the best we can, to be proactive as possible. I think a lot of the time this department did a brilliant job in these least months with the personnel they had, they equipment they had. They did everything conceivable, and did a great job getting the streets clear. I think there’re a few areas where I said very publicly, I thought we all could do better, including myself. We’re going to keep working on those improvements. But I—the way I look at it, maybe this is a little Zen—the way I look at it is I get why people are upset. You really can’t take it too personally. Our job is to show them that every effort is being expended, and that we are ahead of the action as much as humanly possible. For example, when we make a decision that we’re not going to pick up trash and recycling, or we’re going to cancel alternate side parking so that we can get ready for just a pure focus on snow removal. It’s important for the public to see that we’re calling the play early enough to have the right impact, and communicate that to people, so those are the areas where I think we can constantly do better, but the frustration to some extent is natural.

And, no. I’m frustrated with the step.

Garcia: I’m going to stand up on my tiptoes

Mayor: [Inaudible]. You can’t look different front one picture to another. They’ll think you’re—

Garcia: They’ll think I shrank. My legs got cut off—

Mayor: No, they’ll think it was like a doctored photo.

Garcia: So I’m actually coming from an agency where if we do our job absolutely perfectly you never know we exist, so I’m pretty comfortable in that role. Sanitation, I’ve always found, is going to hear from the public as soon as a single snowflake is not picked up within, you know, twenty-two seconds of having fallen on the ground. I, myself, have occasionally been a little bit impatient when I’m trying to move around the city, or stayed very carefully on primary roads. They do a phenomenal job, and I think that they recognize how much in the public there is a reservoir of real respect for the job that they do everyday. So, I would never worry about my position on this, or if I was the one to be attacked around snow. I always want to make sure that I am presenting the agency and helping them have their best foot forward, because I know they’re working that hard, particularly during snow.

Mayor: As you can see the new Commissioner is a cool, a cool customer—no pun intended—a cool customer.

On topic.

Phil: One more on topic.

Mayor: On topic. Anything? We’re moving to last call on topic. Moving to off topic.

Reporter: Mr. Mayor, I was wondering if you had any reaction to the Wall Street Journal report, where Governor Cuomo was said to be pressuring Senator Jeff Klein to be reducing the amount of Pre-K [money] for the five boroughs?

Mayor: Look, I said this yesterday. This is about the children of this city. This is about families in this city. The—what I’ve heard from people, just since yesterday—and I had the joy of being out in Sunnyside, Queens at a Pre-K center yesterday—and hearing parents talk about the fact that the State Senate had voted in favor of this. That—what parents need is for their children to get the strongest start possible. What kids need is to have the kind of education that will actually get them on grade-level, keep them on grade-level. Parents want after-school so their kids are safe. Kids need after-school so they can be on grade-level, so they can constantly be learning. And to hear the State Senate of New York, which is in a philosophically very different place than the State Assembly of New York, on the exact same page, that this program needed to be fully funded. That bipartisanship is striking, and is historic. And I think if you ask people how often you’ve seen that kind of consensus between the two bodies, we can safely say it’s pretty rare. So this was a historic moment, and I think Senator Klein stood up strong for the children of New York City, and the families of New York City. And he’s been very consistent on this point. So I am convinced that this is the foundation for a real breakthrough that’s going to serve us well. We need, as I’ve said, a plan fully funded for five years to get this done, and I think we’re well on our way.

Reporter: [Inaudible] how many families [inaudible] put into temporary housing, and how many [inaudible] there are still, you know [inaudible] friends [inaudible] roof over their head for the months [inaudible]?

Mayor: Yes.

Reporter: [Inaudible].

Mayor: I’m going to pick up from where I was yesterday, because I—and I’ll turn to Phil to make sure we fill in the blanks on a couple of the numbers—but I’ll give you the schema as it is today. First of all, yesterday we still thought there were several dozen families that had not registered for help, and we need them to. So, that center that’s open today at La Marqueta, I think Is Park Avenue and East 115th, if I remember correctly—let’s get the exact address out. Any family that was affected by this disaster that has not yet registered for the support they need needs to do that today at La Marqueta. It’s very important. So that’s one challenge we face, is we can’t help folks until we know exactly who they are. As for the dozens and dozens and dozens of families we do know who have registered, what we announced yesterday is that, starting today, we will have temporary housing for each of them in apartment units, because between the Department of Homeless Services that has private buildings available where they’ve rent—got units for rent—the YMCA, both have come together to make available immediate units so we can get families into an apartment setting where they’re safe and secure. And then we have a number of options, starting with DHS and YMCA. We have the—now I think it’s thirty-four units that the Real Estate Board of New York has found, and made available, and that’s for up to three months for each family. So we’ve got the immediate term covered; we’ve got the sort of—I mean the sort of short-term, next few days covered; we’ve got a medium-term up to three months thanks to REBNY. And then NYSAFAH, the New York State Affordable Housing Group, managed to put together—I think right now we have at least twenty permanent units available for families that have lost housing permanently. I think the count of the units in the two buildings that were subject to the explosion was about fifteen units. So for those two buildings we have already identified permanent units available to those families. We hope in the surrounding buildings that it’s just a question of time getting people back in, you know, in days or weeks, and that in fact, all of those units in the other surrounding buildings can be brought up to code, and people can get back in. But in the event anyone else is displaced longer-term, we have options on the table right now. Phil will make sure we fill in the blanks to you about how many families have taken advantage of each of these options already. But again, I want to say that NYSAFAH and REBNY were extraordinary in the way they came forward so quickly to offer these options.

Reporter: [Inaudible]?

Mayor: Well, we still consider this a rescue dynamic, although as best I understand, everyone identified as missing has been either located or tragically found to have passed away. We don’t know for sure everyone who might have been in that building who may not have been a resident. So we’re still treating it as a rescue situation, so for today the entire effort is still rescue-focused on the site. Until the first-responders determine that it is no longer a rescue situation, that will be the first priority. Commissioner Cassano reminded me the other day: There have been instances in New York City and around the world where people have survived many, many days, even buried in rubble, so we have to treat it as a rescue situation until we’re 100% sure. In the next day or two days we hope to have the situation that we can get into that basement, and get a much clearer sense of what’s going on. But I remind you, all information is preliminary until a full investigation is done. I know your job is to try and tell people everything you can, but my caution is, until we believe we have all of the facts we’re not going to overstate exactly what we think happened. There’s a lot of people investigating this between FDNY, NYPD, and NTSB, so we’re going to do that very methodically.

Reporter: [Inaudible] recent stories about the [inaudible] NYPD issuing tickets for jaywalking [inaudible] panhandling and things of that nature [inaudible] stop-and-frisk [inaudible] outer-borough businesses [inaudible] over-fined by [inaudible]. I’m wondering if you have a take on [inaudible]?

Mayor: I think the thread running through those points, the overuse of stop-and-frisk, the arbitrary use of stop-and-frisk, the arbitrary fines on small businesses, obviously in pursuit of revenue, that’s what I want to end. And we’ve made tremendous progress in terms of reforming stop-and-frisk already, but when you talk about the quality of life crimes, the kind—what I believe in thoroughly related to the Broken Windows Theory. Broken Windows Theory says if you have, for example, a fare-evader, which is a crime, oftentimes you’re going to find that individual might have done other things. If you let small crimes happen that can lead to larger crimes. The other day in Brooklyn, when Officer Lee was shot—he was shot stopping a fare-evader on a bus, trying to go through the backdoor of a bus. Turned out that fare-evader had quite a rap sheet, had a weapon on him, shot a police officer, and now is incarcerated. So we believe—I believe thoroughly in the Broken Windows Theory. It is predicated on the notion of going after valid specific offenses. That’s what the NYPD is doing right now. When you saw some of those reports, it’s about fare-evaders; it’s about people menacing individuals in the subway, and that we will not tolerate. On the question of jaywalking, I want to be very clear: It is not—I’ve said it many times—we are not addressing jaywalking, per se, in Vision Zero. There will be a lot of efforts to educate pedestrians because a lot of pedestrians have to be carefuller—more careful, I should say—when they walk on our city crosswalks. What we’ve said is each precinct commander of the NYPD has to address their local dynamics, and if in certain areas they think warnings about jaywalking are called for, or some enforcement is called for, that is their right to use that option. It is not an across the board policy. A couple areas like the Upper West Side have been plagued by particular problems. The precinct commander has to have the latitude to decide if that tool will be helpful.

Phil: Last question.

Mayor: Nikita.

Reporter: [Inaudible] funeral arrangements for the families [inaudible]?

Mayor: In terms of the, from the East Harlem tragedy, I don’t know about—I personally don’t know about funeral arrangements yet. We have to get that information. We have to figure out what’s the best way to handle that. Obviously, you know, I’ve been up there a number of times. I’ve met with a lot of the survivors. My heart goes out to all of the families involved. What I’m focused on is making sure that we are providing them every support right now, so we’ll determine as we go forward how to handle the funeral arrangements, and obviously, how to help the families if they need help with their funeral arrangements. Thank you everyone.

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