January 27, 2017
Brian Lehrer: It’s The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Good morning, everyone. And we begin with our weekly Ask the Mayor segment with Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mr. Mayor, welcome back to WNYC.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you, Brian.
Lehrer: And as we continue our rotation of topics and boroughs for our call-ins, today it is Staten Island’s turn; calls for the Mayor today from anyone who lives on Staten Island – 212-433-WNYC, 433-9692. The topic can be anything, but you need to live on Staten Island, so [inaudible] questions over here by cellphone or landline as the caller pool narrows for today. To anyone who lives on Staten Island – 212-433-WNYC, 433-9692.
And Mr. Mayor, as people’s calls are coming in from Staten Island, now it is getting serious on the topic of New York as a sanctuary city. President Trump issued an executive order saying any city that willfully refuses to comply with the federal immigration law known as 8 USC 1373 is not eligible to receive any federal grants except as necessary for law enforcement. So, the City could lose education funding, transportation funding, and other things. And I want to get a little technical here, when the President’s language says willfully refuses to comply with that federal law, is the City willfully refusing to do that?
Mayor: No, that is absolutely wrong to begin with. A quick couple of points, Brian – first of all, sanctuary cities is a phrase that I think has been fundamentally misunderstood. Let’s put things in perspective. It is first and foremost about public safety. This is a reality in New York City – I cannot speak for anywhere else – in New York City, decades ago, under Ed Koch, and then through Dinkins, Giuliani, Bloomberg, up to me, the policy has been the NYPD and all City agencies will work with our residents regardless of documentation status, because we need our residents to feel they can talk to us and work with us without fear of being deported and having their information shared with the immigration authorities. NYPD is adamant – when I stood the other day to respond to the executive order, I stood right next to our Police Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill who made very clear this has been a pillar of public safety in New York City over the last 30 or more years. And part of why we became the safest big city in America was because we did not create an environment where our immigrant population feared communication with the police. And I think that is being lost in this whole discussion. That is it is a very practical sensibility. Sure there are moral implications to, but it is very practical. It is also about not tearing a family apart, taking away a parent, and leaving the children behind here in New York City – taking away a breadwinner and leaving a family behind with no support. This is both morally important, but also practically important for the people of New York City.
Lehrer: I understand your argument for being a sanctuary city, which we have talked about many times on this show – but is the city therefore willfully refusing to comply with that federal law?
Mayor: No and I will tell you why. First of all – and I want to, Brian – as you know there are a lot of elements to this – first of all, we think the executive order is unclear, vague, contradictory in many ways. Second, we – by City law passed in the last few years – have been cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security regarding individuals who have committed any of 170 different offenses. We put that list online – it’s a public record matter, it’s part of the law. If there are serious crimes, violent crimes – anyone who commits one of those crimes and is undocumented, we are fully cooperating and have been for years with Homeland Security. And the fact here – the difference is if you are an undocumented individual who had a small amount of marijuana on you, who had a parking ticket, who went through a stop sign those individuals we do not want to see torn apart from their family; we do not want to see their family left without a breadwinner. But for people who have done serious crimes, we are already cooperating. So, I think there has been a lot of misinformation. And many cities are doing exactly the same as we are. And I think that is the intent of this – if it really is about public safety then that should be sufficient. And the notion of cutting our funding – Brian, as you know, the Supreme Court decision in 2012 written by none other than Justice Roberts makes very clear the federal government cannot threaten funding across the board, only within specific funding streams. In that executive order it mentions only two agencies – Homeland Security and Justice Department. What do they fund in New York City – overwhelmingly one agency, the NYPD and overwhelmingly for anti-terrorism efforts. So, is Donald Trump really going to take anti-terrorism money away from the NYPD and at the same time force us into a policy that makes us less safe on the ground and in our neighborhoods? We’re not going to stand for that. We would challenge that in court.
Lehrer: The executive order itself said law enforcement funds would be exempted, so I don’t know exactly what that means.
Mayor: It could be – it’s a little unclear, but there is an out in there to potentially exempt law enforcement funds, which would mean there is nothing for them to take money away from, according to the 2012 Supreme Court decision.
Lehrer: So, the President’s order also says the federal government will publish its own list of criminal actions committed by aliens in any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such immigrants. That is a quote. A detainer, as I understand it, is a request by the immigration service to hold someone who is arrested for a local crime while the immigration service checks on that person’s immigration status to see if they should be deported. How many New Yorkers would be on that list if one were published this week?
Mayor: I can’t give you that exact number. I can tell you we have been very clear about the individuals who already are in the process with Department of Homeland Security, with immigration of us cooperating with that agency because they have committed one of the crimes of the 170 crimes on our list. I do not know how many people were arrested – for example, for a small amount of marijuana possession or any other kind of minor nonviolent crime. But the bottom-line is we believe – not only is it our current policy a matter of City law, it has never been challenged legally. It is City law. We also believe the executive order itself is susceptible – very susceptible to legal challenge and we believe the 2012 Supreme Court decision makes abundantly clear that it could only be applied very narrowly. So, we think what we are doing right now is actually keeps everyone safe and is the right policy. We also believe we’re on very strong and sound legal ground.
Lehrer: You mentioned marijuana and some other small crimes; I see that City Councilmember Rory Lancman is asking you to exclude – to change turnstile jumping specifically from a criminal offense to a civil offense because otherwise under the President’s order people who are convicted of turnstile jumping could be deported. Have you seen that? And would you consider doing that?
Mayor: I think there’s a logic problem with that proposal. First of all, turnstile jumping, as we found many times, it is a problem unto itself. Many times, unfortunately, we have found when the police have stopped someone for that they have found other problems – a weapon on someone or an outstanding warrant etcetera. So, it’s not a simple matter of saying ‘let’s just take that off the list.’ Also, that does not respond to the many, many other types of low level offenses that would still be susceptible. I think it is much smarter to say let’s go at this right at the point of contact. We have 170 offenses. That covers the violent and serious crimes, period. Anything else we’re not going to be party to tearing families apart and making this city less safe. And if the federal government wants to have that fight, we’ll go to court and we believe we will win.
Lehrer: So, to be clear you would not consider signing legislation if the Council were to come up with it making turnstile jumping a civil offense rather than a criminal offense?
Mayor: Let me be clear Brian, I’m not going to piecemeal this, I’m going to be blunt with you – I’m not going to peace because anyone could now say any other; they can say what about open container or public urination. I’m not doing that. We can have a conversation at any point about how our policing strategy should evolve, which is exactly why we ended arrest for low-level marijuana possession in the City. That’s the kind of example of how quality-of-life policing can evolve with time. We’re ready to have that conversation anytime. We have been very much in favor of some of the changes the Council believed in in terms of getting officers options for civil offenses versus criminal in some cases. But that is its own discussion that should be about what keeps us safe in New York City, not because we fear an executive order that on its face we believe is legally contradictory. Let’s separate those two concepts.
Lehrer: Alright, it’s our Ask the Mayor segment, which we do generally every Friday in the 10 o’clock half hour with Mayor Bill de Blasio – callers today from Staten Island. Our lines are full, so Staten Island listeners ask some of your neighbors – if you consider everyone in the borough your neighbor – to finish up. You can call in at 212-433-WNYC, 433-9692. And Patrick in New Dorp, you’re on WNYC. Patrick, thanks so much for calling.
Question: Great, thank you. Good morning, Brian. Good morning, Mr. Mayor – I love the sow.
Mayor: Good morning.
Question: It’s been great listening. The main thing I have to talk about is Vision Zero; it’s two things. Vision Zero – all this talk about Vision Zero, but not once has anyone mentioned the fact that cellphones and iPad mounted on the windshield of taxis and all kinds of regular commuter vehicles on the roads of New York City. How can we save pedestrians lives if people have cellphones on their windshield right in front of their face? Not once has anyone mentioned this at all in the last two years. And another thing, we live on Staten Island – we’re on an island surrounded by water – [inaudible] from Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey. No one does a thing about the traffic. It takes everybody an hour-and-a-half to two hours to get home from Greenpoint, Brooklyn to Staten Island.
Lehrer: Patrick, what would you want done about the traffic? What’s an example, in your opinion, of something that could be done?
Question: Let’s start – you come over the Kosciusko Bridge on the BQE headed towards Staten Island; [inaudible] they added a traffic light by a gas station over there . Now, because they put a traffic light by the gas station the traffic backs up all the way onto the BQE, closing down a lane. So, it starts there then it starts at the Manhattan Bridge, Tillary Avenue exit. There is no line. People don’t understand when you merge it has to be like [inaudible], one car goes then the next car goes. There is no education, okay.
Lehrer: Patrick, I’m going to hold you there and get some responses. He’s being very specific about traffic problems that make it worst on Staten Island, Mr. Mayor – and the cellphone issue.
Mayor: Yeah, I think it is a very – these are both very good points. First of all, on the cellphone issue, look, let me separate people who drive and are holding their cellphones in their hand or texting while driving -- that's a huge, huge problem. Too many pedestrians by the way and bicyclists are also being distracted by their electronics. This is something we’re going to go at very hard. And anybody who is improperly using any kind of device while driving this is going to be part of the NYPD crackdown. I have made very clear; NYPD is going to be out in force going after people who speed, going after people who fail to yield to pedestrians. We’re going to have more checkpoints to fight driving under the influence. But I think the first problem – the most prevalent problem of people using their cellphones and other devices inappropriately while driving, we’re going to crackdown on that too. So, it is a very clear message to all New Yorkers; if you drive and use your device while driving and holding it your hand – your texting some you’re putting your own life in danger and everyone else’s, there is a very good chance you’re going to get pulled over by the NYPD. On the specific question of the for-hire vehicles and having them mounted in front of the windshields; I think that is a really good point.
Now I have to be honest. I have not heard of a lot of fatal crashes that involved for-hire vehicles and that having been the theoretical cause, but I think it’s a fair point that any kind of distraction could be a problem, and I’m certainly going to follow up with the Taxi and Limousine Commission to see – who are very involved in Vision Zero – to see if there are some changes or prohibitions we’d have to make on that front. I’d need more information on that. On the traffic issue, I know very well that there’s a huge congestion problem on Staten Island, and certainly as the borough has grown it’s gotten worse, and we see a huge congestion problem in other parts of the city – most notoriously Midtown Manhattan. In the coming weeks, we’re going to come out with a bigger plan to address congestion, and Staten Island will certainly be part of that plan, so I’m just going to put a bookmark on that one.
Lehrer: Patrick, thank you very much. We’re going to go next to Zoban in the Stapleton section of Staten Island. Hi, you’re on with the Mayor.
Question: Good morning. Good morning, Brian. Good morning, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Good morning.
Question: [Inaudible] one of your supporters, but I want to know on the issue of public safety and policing where are we on the issue of Eric Garner and this police officer on the case?
Mayor: Well at this point, to the best of my understanding, the justice department – the federal Justice Department – called together a grand jury or whatever the appropriate body is to look at that situation. We expect to hear something back from that although I would caution that could still be a matter of several months easily. That will determine the next step. If the Justice Department decides to bring charges in the case, then a trial will proceed. If they do not bring charges then the NYPD will look at the situation and determine if there’s going to be any internal proceedings according to NYPD rules and regulations.
Lehrer: They look at that case for so long at the Justice Department, and they couldn’t get it done by the end of the Obama administration. Does that frustrate you?
Mayor: Look, I think everyone’s frustrated. We’re supposed to have speedy justice in this country, and I don’t think it’s fair to anyone involved that this is played out so long. But I don’t have access to all the details of what happened. You know the public reports – are there real disagreements between different personnel within the Justice Department.? I would’ve hoped things could’ve moved more quickly, but look we stand ready to cooperate fully with the Justice Department in whatever they do. And again, if they decide there’s no further action on their part then the NYPD will look at what it’s going to do.
Lehrer: Ben in Eltingville, you’re on WNYC. Hi, Ben.
Question: How you doing? Hi, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Good morning.
Question: I was just wondering – I’m a sanitation worker – I was just wondering if you ever considered processing our garbage to make methanol instead of using gasoline to process the garbage to make methanol for the city vehicles. Plus I know that nuclear plant is going to be closing down upstate, and I was wondering if you ever thought about processing the garbage to make electricity for city.
Mayor: That’s a great question. Brian, I can tell you right now your listeners are bringing up not only great questions, but things that I don’t necessarily have the full answer for today. Let me just first say – let me shout out all of our sanitation workers who have done an extraordinary job, and I want to put an emphasis on that over the last few years. Including taking on the biggest snow storm in New York City history last year and getting this city back on its feet in record time. So I just want to salute you and your colleagues for the extraordinary work you do. On this point, it’s an interesting proposal. I have not looked at it. I don’t know what it would take, but I think – not only are you right about Indian Point, the nuclear power plant, closing – but in general we’re looking for every conceivable way to get away from fossil fuels, and this is an interesting option. So Brian, I guarantee you I will look into this with my team and have answers one of the next times I’m on.
Lehrer: Ben, thanks for bringing it up. We’re taking phone calls from Staten Island on our weekly Ask The Mayor segment today. 212-433-WNYC. As Ben’s line opens up, and James on Staten Island, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hi, there.
Question: Hi, thanks so much for taking my call. Big fan of you and Mayor de Blasio. So my question is as a Staten Islander, and [inaudible] a lot of us have really hard commutes, really long commutes [inaudible] for the Staten Island ferry, so I was enthused to hear about the new citywide ferry service starting this year, and it this point you can see that there’s a lack of connection from, let’s say, Staten Island to Brooklyn Atlantic terminal [inaudible] that would make it way easier to travel from outer borough to outer borough. So I was wondering if any plans, you know, to increase connectivity and public transit to other boroughs.
Mayor: James I appreciate the question a lot. First of all, job one – let me give you, and Brian I just need a minute to lay this out – job one in terms of mass transportation for Staten Island was to get the Staten Island ferry to be as strong as it could be. So we’ve made a major new investment in this budget in keeping the ferry operations constant and strong. A lot of work, a lot of capital money had to be put in to make sure the ferry could keep functioning well for years and years and to make sure it was as safe as possible including the time it docks each time. So we put a very big investment in the budget I just announced for improving the Staten Island ferry docking facilities, and to make sure there’s never an interruption in the service. You also know – and that was $122 million we added – you also know that we went to 24-hour consistent ferry service for the first time. I’m very proud that that happened during my administration. Now, that’s part one.
Part two is to recognize that what we’re doing with citywide ferry service and things like the Brooklyn-Queens Connector from Astoria down to Sunset Park – this is part of building out a transportation system in the city that responds to today’s reality and gives people a lot more options. The current plan we have for ferry service is trying to reach some of the places that were most left out before – Rockaways, one of the classic examples that really has never had enough options; Soundview up in the Bronx. So we’re trying to get places that need help and need to be connected more. That is phase – you know this is the first phase of building out citywide ferry service. I’m going to be looking at other options, and I heard obviously the proposals, for example, to connect the South Shore of Staten Island to Manhattan; to connect the North Shore to Brooklyn. We’re looking at those hard. I’m not ready to make any announcements yet, but I think the simple way to say it, James, is we want to get this first wave really moving with the first elements of citywide ferry. So job one – improve the Staten Island ferry. Job two – get the citywide ferry service up and running for all the other boroughs. And then other things start to be added in – Brooklyn-Queens Connector and potentially other elements of ferry service as we go along. So a work in progress, but one I want to move very aggressively because I understand people are frustrated. They need more transportation options, and you know the MTA does very important work, but they’re never going to do these kinds of things. They’re not going to do Brooklyn-Queens Connector. We have to do it. They’re not going to do citywide ferry service. We have to do it as a city. And so we’re looking to build that out over time, and particularly as it succeeds that’s the foothold to go and do more and reach farther.
Lehrer: Let me bring up a couple of other things in the news. You unveiled a preliminary budget this week for the next fiscal year, and this is obviously an election year budget. You were elected as the mayor with big plans to fight inequality in the city, and you did universal pre-K and some other things to start. Are there big items here aimed at inequality busting for fiscal 2018, or do you feel you’ve done the high profile things you can do?
Mayor: I say it’s somewhere different from both of those options. We have certainly not done everything we intend to do. This is only the beginning. In the first three years, you’re right. It was pre-K for all, afterschool for all middle school kids, paid sick leave, affordable housing plan, $15 minimum wage – a host of things that were meant to immediately affect people’s bottom line, and obviously the rent freeze for over 2 million rent stabilized tenants. These are the kinds of things we wanted to do immediately to start to address income inequality and start to give working people a leg up. There’s going to be a lot more where that comes from, and that will be explained further as I lay out the vision for the future in both the State of the City address and obviously in the Executive Budget. So I would say this – the preliminary budget had some important elements in it that will definitely improve the quality of life for New Yorkers, but we also were cautious in this first round because we have to see what’s going to happen in Washington. We’re quite clear about the fact there are major potential budget cuts coming out of Washington, so we were careful. That being said – a couple examples, Brian. You know we made a huge investment – a billion dollar – in fixing roofs at our public housing buildings. Let’s face it, we have had for decades neglect particularly by the federal government of public housing. We’ve got over 700 buildings that have leaky roofs that are causing health problems for their residents. All of those will be fixed with this billion dollars. We put a major new commitment into raising wages for over 80,000 folks who work for nonprofits in social services areas – you know get very low wages, needed a wage increase. We put the money in for that. There’s a lot of other examples in this budget – a lot of focus on Vision Zero and improving safety. For the first time ever we’re going to have absolute full coverage for our school crossing guards. All over the city we’ve added a lot more crossing guards to make sure our kids are safe at every school in the city. There are a lot of elements, but in terms of your big question, you are going to see a lot of more of that play out over the next few major milestones.
Lehrer: But if federal government uncertainties were to play out with no big unexpected bumps, is there another signature de Blasio proposal for 2017 that has to do with inequality or is it more [inaudible] that they are insignificant but the things you were just mentioning?
Mayor: Brian, first of all I am not going to give away early what we intend to say in the upcoming State of the City in a few weeks and obviously in the executive budget, which we need a lot more information for. I would say do not underestimate that the affordable housing plan which will reach half a million people has to be constantly billed out. Our Equity and Excellence plan which is about transforming the school system has to be billed out. So I would argue we put the big, big strokes out there and now a huge amount of energy has to be put into making them come alive. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some other major initiatives to be announced and I will leave you guessing for a little bit.
Lehrer: When you mention the rent freeze on stabilized tenants, I thought the Rent Guidelines Board is supposed to be independent?
Mayor: We’ve had this conversation I think on this show and many other places. I name the members in the Rent Guidelines Board and my mandate to them was to look at the facts and to not take a position that was instantly biased towards landlords. And bluntly, I think the Rent Guidelines Board over decades had a bias for landlords. And you can prove it by looking at the leveled increases versus the actual expenses incurred. The benefit of the doubt went to the landlords consistently. I said look at all the facts; make a decision based on the facts; be scrupulously careful about the facts.
This is what we found. The last few years, especially fuel costs, went way down. We all know that for a long time the price of fuel was plummeting. The landlords benefitted from that reduction in the cost. That benefit needed to be passed on to tenants and we did the math. And the rent freeze was justified. Each year will be different, but it was because we named people and had a scrupulous policy of looking at it from the perspective of tenants as well – leveling the playing field that we got to the rent freeze.
Lehrer: And one other budget question: our newsroom noticed the $11 million lawyer budget more they point out than for the NYPD’s bullet-resistance window inserts, $10 million and approaching what you want to spend on making sure kids are at reading level by third grade, $14 million. Since most of the lawyers’ fees are connected to investigations into your political arm, why are the taxpayers footing the bill? Why shouldn’t your campaign pay the lawyers bill?
Mayor: That’s entirely inaccurate – again, I don’t know respectfully where you’re getting the assumption that “most of the activity is related to the political arm.” That’s just crazy. The bottom line is that anything related to City employees, and I am not talking about myself, I am talking about all the other City employees who have been a part of this process. They need representation. It is an American right. They need representation and obviously they shouldn’t have to pay for it out of their own pocket in regards to their City responsibilities. I think Brian, very clearly, that a lot of money is going to end up being spent here and I wish it wasn’t because I’ve said 100 percent consistently – no one did anything wrong. We were very careful to follow all appropriate rules and I think at the end of the day a huge amount of time and energy will be put into this and nothing will come of it. But, so long as there are investigations asking City employees to come in and be interviewed and go before different panels, they need legal representation. That’s about their city work. Anything that is about campaigns or any other activity is covered entirely separately and in that case it has to be paid for privately.
Lehrer: And so, if I characterized, as most inaccurately that figure I apologize. How much of that $11 million would go if you have a number to those related investigations.
Mayor: Again, I don’t know the exact breakdown. I can tell you definitively, it only goes in the case of the recent investigations, it only cover City employees who will be asked about things they did as part of their city work. It also covers the money in the budget for legal fees, covers all sorts of other topics that have nothing to do with these investigations. We can get you the breakdown. The other thing I want to note and I have the deepest respect for you, but I am going to call out every time I hear an untruth. Our plan to get kids reading by third grade on grade level is a huge plan. That item you mentioned is one small piece of it, which is just summer school for thousands of kids who need some extra work before they go in the third grade. So again, there is no comparison between the legal fees we are discussing here and a huge plan to get our kids reading on grade level by third grade.
Lehrer: So is there a number? If it’s not $14 million is there a new number?
Mayor: I don’t know the breakdown. We’ll do our best through our OMB to get you that breakdown. I just don’t know it.
Lehrer: Tyla on Staten Island, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hi Tyla–
Question: Good morning Brian, good morning Mr. Mayor. I have a question and actually a compliant about the way the TLC taxi system runs the Staten Island Ferry to serve the north shore and the rest of Staten Island. I’m not sure if you are aware I have complained to 311 several times. You get off the taxi, or off the ferry, get in line for the taxi and you are put in the taxi – a TLC taxi now with several other people all going in different directions. And you pay a full fare with all these strangers in the cab with you. I don’t know why it happens, I think it’s incredibly unsafe. I commute into Manhattan from Stapleton – from the north shore. I’m getting off the boat at six and seven o’clock at night. It’s dark. I’m a small woman. I’m by myself. And, I’m getting into a cab with two or three other people and I just don’t know how this is legal and safe. I have friends that visit me from Brooklyn and from Manhattan and I tell them in advance this is what’s going to happen and they’re flabbergasted that it’s totally legal.
Mayor: Well, look I understand your concern safety comes first for sure. And I am going to look into what options we may have there. I have to be honest with you because I have been around the country where this kind of system is used. I think I remember getting off the train in Albany, New York and people share taxis. It’s just the way it’s structured. It’s not unheard of. But, I understand your concern and I don’t know enough about what the options might be, but I will look into it. It’s the kind of thing I would be happy to get an answer for. If you give your information to the WNYC we’ll have folks follow up and we’ll see if we can get you clarity about what our options might be going forward.
Lehrer: Tyla hang on and we’ll get your contact information off the air and we’ll follow up on that. Peter in Westerly, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hi Peter.
Question: Hi Brian. Thanks for taking my call. Good Morning Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Good morning.
Question: My question is regarding reduced fair MetroCards for low income people and I know that’s a proposal that has been put out by numerous groups and I know that you declined to fund that in your budget proposal. And I’m just disappointed, I have to say because I know that you’re a champion for income inequality and for low income people and helping them get ahead and especially Staten Islanders. We have really long commutes into the city. So given the fact that it doesn’t look like the State or the MTA have any real plans to fund that. And also given the fact that the City always steps in and fills the void where the federal government doesn’t act or tries to fill the void where other levels of government won’t act. Why won’t you fund this proposal? Why won’t you help lower income people get that reduced fare MetroCard ? I think it’s an important part of being able to live and move in this city.
Mayor: Peter that’s a very fair question. I am glad you asked it because I want to explain to people. First of all, as many New Yorkers don’t know and more need to know – the MTA is controlled by the State of New York and Governor Cuomo. So all decisions about the MTA – everything good, everything bad – is decided by the state of New York. I believe, first of all, with the City of New York facing a huge amount of challenges that we have to pay for ourselves all the time, with the federal government and the state government constantly forcing obligations onto the city that really should be federal and state obligations. It’s very [inaudible] to me to say we are going to pick up something that really should be a state responsibility. They control the MTA, they have resources, I think you’re right there’s a lot to be said for providing hard-working people who need a break on a MetroCard giving them that break. I believe that should be a state responsibility. I believe every time the City picks up a new expense that should be covered by the state that worries me for the future. So it’s not in the cards now because of that and even more importantly because we just don’t have enough sense of what’s going to happen with the federal budget going forward –perfectly plausible either that we could lose not because of the executive order we talked about earlier, but because of Republicans in Congress who would want to cut taxes for the wealthy incorporations, reduce federal revenue, make governments smaller. They could easily cut a lot of the programs in education, health, public housing etcetera that would really hurt New York City. So I am being cautious in the first round in the budget process. Later on in a few months, we are going to come up with an updated budget. By then we are going to have a better sense of what’s going on and if the federal pictures look better it may give us a little more room to do some things. But I’m still concerned on this issue that the State of New York hasn’t done anything on it and it should be their primary responsibility.
Lehrer: We’re just about out of time, but are you happy with the way MTA fair increase seems to be coming out, which is to keep the base fare the same and increase only on the weekly and monthly MetroCards?
Mayor: Look it’s better than what a lot of us feared. I think even better would have been to put some money in to defray the cost for hard-working people at the lower income levels, but I think it turned out better than what was initially thought about so, you know – a step in the right direction – more to do.
Lehrer: Mr. Mayor, thank you very much. Talk to you next week.
Mayor: Thank you, Brian.