April 18, 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well it is so wonderful to be here at Steiner Studios. I want to thank – we have really a wonderful host in Doug Steiner, someone I’ve had the joy of working with for many years. I have to say, he has done amazing things for this city. And as a Brooklynite, I want to say particularly amazing things for Brooklyn. And thank you for that. And thank you to your dad David Steiner, who I think is with us as well. There he is. Always shy and retiring.
The Steiner family has done something really, really amazing in terms of taking this space, turning it into a truly world-class facility and being in the forefront of the resurgence of the film and TV industry in this city. So not only are you hosting us today, much more importantly you’ve really been part of the renaissance of this industry and this city. Let’s give them a round of applause and thank them.
I want to thank – do we have Marcos Siega in the room? There you are. Thank you Marcos. I want to talk about you in a second. Marcos was kind enough to give Chirlane and I a tour of the set of the show “The Following”, of which Marcos is the executive producer. It’s a show produced by Warner Brothers now on the Fox network. We got to go in Kevin Bacon’s apartment. It’s very – you know six degrees of separation Kevin Bacon, I was in Kevin Bacon’s apartment. I feel now I’ve become part of the chain. Kevin Bacon plays former – I’m trying to get the whole story line – former FBI agent Ryan Hardy. You have to figure out why it’s former now and it’s –
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer: Kevin Bacon lives on the West Side.
Mayor: Gale Brewer bringing it home, very good.
Mayor: But thank you Marcos for the tour and for showing us that extraordinary set. And I want to refer to our dialogue later. I want to thank, of course – I’m trying to get – there we are, right next to David Steiner – the love of my life and someone who believes fundamentally in the power of all of the industries represented here today as part of the resurgence of this industry, the strengthening of the city, but also the artistic and cultural energy and bloodline of this city. Someone who, in large measure, in my life has shown me so many of the things that this city has to offer culturally. And that is the first lady of our city, Chirlane McCray.
And I want to thank the elected officials who are with us. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito you will hear from in a moment. I want to thank Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who is the chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee of the council, Council Member Jimmy Vacca, Assembly Member Joe Lentol, who quickly told me that we are in his district, so thank you for hosting us. I want to thank the members of our administration who played a vital role in the process leading up to today’s announcement, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who could not be with us today but was deeply involved in leading this process along with my chief of staff, Laura Santucci. I want to thank all of the folks who work at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. They’ve done an amazing job. I want to thank the executive director of production and operations at the office, Dean McCann for being here with us.
And the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment has taken the lead with the Production Assistant Training Program. And many talented young production assistants just graduated just yesterday, is that right?
Stand up graduates, stand up. Stand up.
So you see the future of this industry in New York City right here. We commend you. We congratulate you. And it makes this announcement even more special that you’re here. A special thanks to Brooklyn Workforce Innovations for their valuable partnership in this program. All of the industries that the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment interact with are crucial to the future of this city. They also interact with the fact that this city has become more and more appealing a place for people to visit. And it’s all interconnected. Our extraordinary cultural live in this city. The way this industry is going. The way our tourism in this city is growing. And the man who is leading the efforts now to make that go even further, Fred Dixon, the president and CEO of the NYC & Company. Thank you Fred.
I want to thank your landlord, David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of Brooklyn Navy Yard. Couldn’t be with us, but plays such a crucial role in leading the efforts to make the Navy Yard even better. It’s an extraordinary success story and we’re going to build upon it with David Ehrenberg’s leadership.
A lot of great leaders of the industry here today. I want to thank them all. Hal Rosenbluth, president of Kaufman Astoria Studios, Stewart Suna, president of Silvercup Studios, Gina Argento of Broadway Stages, John Hadity of Hadity and Associates. I want to thank all of the leaders of the industry who have gathered to celebrate this extraordinary moment. And we want to thank our friends who represent musicians, stagehands, actors, writers and directors. We – I think the gang’s all here. We have a cast of thousands for this event, Cynthia.
Now, let me take you back to Kevin Bacon’s apartment. I can’t quite get over this. We’re going on this tour. And by the way, it’s just extraordinary the talent in this city. Because you walk on the sets and you feel that you’re in a New York City apartment and you feel that – you look out the window and see a New York City streetscape and the artistry and the craftsmanship, the professionalism of the talent in this city is extraordinary, both in front of the camera and behind the camera. But Marcos was telling me about his experience leading major productions in different parts of the country. And he said, as a native New Yorker, born in – which neighborhood? Queens. Jamaica, Queens. He said having worked around the country and done great things with great people, he knew that from this point on he wanted to do all of his productions in New York City. And we all should applaud for that.
And Marcos said that because the talent is here. The energy is here. Every possible setting for filming. There’s so much here. And because this city has been so deeply committed to the industry. And we are going to continue that commitment and we’re going to deepen that commitment. And it is really such a good news story to hear. Something like this, I can’t tell you, it’s music to my ears. Because New York City has had it all for a long time. But in some ways we had to discover it anew. We had to show it to the world. We had to deepen it and help people realize from all over the country, all over the world, what we had to offer. And now it is happening on an extraordinary level. And we are going to build on that and we’re going to have a lot more people like Marcos saying that this is the only place they want to do their work because it’s the best place to do the work. The entertainment and media industries employ tens of thousands of New Yorkers. A crucial economic sector, and becoming bigger and more important all the time. The city is obviously one of the great hubs on this earth for the film and television and theater industries. Also equally important – digital media, commercial advertising. We have an incredible surrounding dynamic with our universities that have extraordinary media programs. We really have this ability to range across all elements of the industry and to support it with an ever-expanding supply of talent.
The combined economic impact is enormous. But it’s a lot more in terms of the future of the city. It means a lot more than just the dollars and cents, just the pure numbers. Because this industry is in the DNA of this city. It’s part of who we are. It’s part of what makes us great. It’s part of what makes us a place of fundamental creativity and entrepreneurship. It’s part of the open, inclusive city that we love and that we have to protect and sustain. This industry in so many ways epitomizes that spirit. And it’s something that we will work every day to foster. And it comes back to the fact that we as New Yorkers, we have a particular character. We’re a city of born entertainers and storytellers. And we have put out more than our share of writers and movie makers and documentarians. It’s in the bloodstream here and you see it every day. We have supplied the world with graphic designers and tech entrepreneurs in greater numbers. It happens here naturally.
And we know that the media and all the elements of these industries not only entertain people, they also inform and they educate and they change the world in that process. A lot of enlightenment occurs because of the efforts in this industry.
Now the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is a really extraordinary office with an incredible track record of achievement. And we’re now going to talk about the future. But let’s take a moment to just take stock at this very moment. Since January 1 of this year, 2014, 18 television pilots filming in New York City and 55 films in production in New York City right now. And we owe a debt of thanks to everyone who works at the office for that extraordinary track record. Let’s thank them.
The office has a wide portfolio taking in television, film and theater industries, as well as the city’s own TV, radio and digital operations. Now we knew as we searched for the right leader for this office that we needed a commissioner who understood the nuts and bolts of the entertainment and media industries. It was obviously essential to find a leader who understood the everyday life of the industry right here in this city. But just as important. We needed someone with a deep appreciation of what these industries at their best mean for the city and can mean in the future. And that is why, after a long search, an exhaustive search, we have chosen Cynthia López as the new leader of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
We’re going to do our Spanish right now for a moment.
Pára mí es un placér anunciár hóy el nom-bra-mién-to de la persóna perfécta pára dirigír la oficína del alcálde para los médios y el en-tre-teni-mién-to, ésa persóna es Cynthia López.
I think it’s great you get applause in both English and Spanish. That’s very good.
Cynthia is a remarkable media professional.
She has served since 2006 as Executive Vice President and Co-Executive Producer of the award-winning POV, as in Point of View, documentary series.
Now, I will note at the outset. This series under Cynthia’s leadership has won eight news and documentary Emmys. That’s an extraordinary record of achievement. If you are an admirer of POV, as I am, you know that it has engaged in addressing some of the most important issues of our time – climate change and protecting the integrity of our food supply, all the way over to issues of economic and social justice, including the challenges faced by young men of color in our society. This series has really grappled with core issues that need to be talked about more. And Cynthia has been a leader in making sure that not only has the shows produced been extraordinary in their quality, but they’ve been done with great intelligence with the highest standards of professionalism.
Cynthia knows how the media and entertainment industries work. At POV she created innovative partnerships with a wide range of media partners, including ABC News’ “Nightline” and Netflix.
And at the same time, as much as she has been a consummate professional and someone with over 20 years of experience in this industry. In the nuts and bolts, she’s also someone who you can tell immediately has the heart and soul of an advocate for progressive change. In addition to her great documentary work, Cynthia has consistently been a force for greater inclusion in this industry. And I think this would be an appropriate point to note that by naming Cynthia the head of this office, this will be the first time in the history of New York City that this office is lead by a person of color. And I want to congratulate you for that.
Through programs like the Diverse Voices Project, Cynthia has mentored first-time filmmakers and filmmakers from a wide variety of backgrounds. She’ll be an amazing bridge between the City of New York, the government of the City of New York, the media and entertainment industries. All the key players, including the New York Production Alliance.
And she will also be a change agent, pushing ahead some of the initiatives that have worked so well like the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program. “Made in NY”, as I mentioned a partnership between the Mayor’s Office and the Brooklyn Workforce Innovations. And I am wearing – thanks to David – I’m wearing the appropriate pin. That’s right, Doug – thank you Doug – the appropriate pin here today. “Made in NY” trains unemployed low-income New Yorkers and connects them with jobs on New York-based TV and movie productions.
And we need to do a lot more of this. And we have an opportunity to do a lot more of this. And the way we will do a lot more of this is by growing this industry overall. And I think a lot of people here in attendance have done extraordinary work building this industry and this city. We need to be their partners every step of the way. And I think a lot of people here would agree with me. There’s a lot more ahead. There’s a lot more potential in this town to build this industry further. So we’re going to make that the centerpiece. And in that process, we’re going to maximize inclusion and opportunity. And I have no doubt that Cynthia is the right leader to make that happen.
Please join me in welcoming the new commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Cynthia López.
Let me move this down for you. I’m going to be Cynthia’s roadie here.
Incoming Commissioner Cynthia López , Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment: Thank you Mr. Mayor for this extraordinary opportunity. I want to thank New York’s first lady, a continued source of creative inspiration for all of us. Growing up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, I had – I could never have imagined that I would be standing here today as your new commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard, back then, was a place to be avoided. Today, I have to say, I was impressed by what Doug has created here. You and your team, it’s been impressive how you’ve revitalized the area and brought a vibrant industry to this place. This is just one example of the extraordinary facilities and talent that New York has to offer. Throughout my career, I have seen firsthand the production process in many other countries. And each time when I come home and I land in JFK, one thing is perfectly clear – there is no other place in the world that has what New York has to offer.
We have not only the most cultural diverse, hard working and experienced labor force in the country, but we also have the world’s best facilities. New York City has 95 film, sound, and production facilities such as Broadway Stages in Brooklyn, and Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. By working collaboratively with the Governor’s Office, we will continue to maintain existing projects, and attract production from national and foreign investors. In addition, we continue to benefit from our terrific collaborations with groups like NYPA, which I am very, very happy that they are here in full force today. And our partners with the unions, such as Local 1, Local 802, SAG-AFTRA, the Central Labor Council, the DGA, the WGA, and many others.
I look forward to helping the Mayor carry out his vision by building on my predecessor, Katherine Oliver’s, legacy, in order to work with Hollywood industry studio and television execs to fulfill all of their production needs and priorities. I also want to continue to develop a financially responsible department that is a major revenue source for the City of New York. And, maintain film production protocols that respect, embrace, and build opportunities for all New Yorkers. Creating innovative opportunities in the digital environment as well as building on the success of the Production Assistant Program are just a few ideas I have.
But lastly, I’d like to express that New York is open for business, whether you’re a $10,000 production or a $100 million production. We will work extremely hard to make sure that you have excellent experience implementing your creative vision here.
I look forward to forging strategic partners, and to bring both industries and independent creators of content to work collectively. I plan to facilitate conversations with educators, organizations dedicated to economic development, and major corporate and philanthropic funders to develop ways to lower the barrier of entry for people who want to work in these creative fields. I am ready to listen, watch, evaluate, and then develop new approaches to ensure that New York City continues to flourish as the creative capital that we all know it is.
When New Yorkers have a problem, we want to solve it. Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff - Hatkoff, revitalize not only Tribeca, but the entire city, developing the Tribeca Film Festival shortly after 9/11. Their vision not only gave us hope, but it also created jobs, supported the industry, and offered opportunities to newcomers. I could only hope to follow in their esteemed footsteps.
My 20-year career and track record shows that I know how to get things done. I have to say, seeing you all here today, during this appointment, I would be remiss if I did not take a few moments to acknowledge my creative process and those that support it. My brother Alex, his partner Gary, and my niece Ariel are very important to how I develop my work. Simon Kilmurry, who is my esteemed colleague at POV – I could not be here without you. I also want to acknowledge the generous support of PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the MacArthur Foundation, each of which have heavily invested in independent production and the documentary field. Thank you, Mayor de Blasio, for including me in your vision of how media and entertainment are vital components of New York City’s infrastructure. I am truly humbled by this appointment, and thrilled about the opportunities that lie ahead. Thank you.
Mayor de Blasio: But wait, there’s more!
Incoming Commissioner López : For the Spanish-speaking media that is present here today, many of the outlets that have been present have been very good to me. And for that I will have a shorter Spanish statement. So don’t worry, it’s not four pages.
[Delivers remarks in Spanish]
Mayor: Well done.
Mayor: I’ll translate for Speaker Mark-Viverito now.
Our partner in this work we do and someone who believes deeply in the things we can do to build this economy up, grow opportunity in this city, and also make sure that it’s inclusive of all peoples in this city. The speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito: I’ve got to say, this is an extremely exciting moment to have such an incredible candidate now officially in this position, who has the vision and the experience. And thank you, Mr. Mayor, for investing in this incredible opportunity. Cynthia, thank you for taking on this responsibility and this very important role in city government. She was reminding me that we met many years ago when she worked at [inaudible], which – we all go through many transitions in our life. That was a non-profit sector transition. But it’s great, all your accomplishments. And I know that you’re experience is going to be an incredible asset for New York City.
When many people think of the film and TV industry, they think of glitz and glamour. They think of the bright lights or fancy award shows. But here in New York, the film and TV industry means thousands of good-paying jobs. These are set jobs, hair and makeup jobs, or post-production jobs. These are in addition to the actors and writers who call New York City home and love to film and work here. The film and TV industry means billions in important annual revenue, revenue which a short time ago New York City didn’t have.
And lastly, the film and TV industry supports countless small businesses, from the caterers who bring food to sets, the cleaners who make sure costumes are ready, or the copiers who make sure scripts are printed. Thousands of New Yorkers benefit when our film and TV industry is doing well. Indeed, this has been a golden age for film and TV production in New York City. Despite a nationwide decrease in entertainment jobs, New York City has seen a 30,000 job increase since 2004. In total, the film and production – and TV production employs 130,000 New Yorkers. These are real accomplishments, because New York has invested in making sure we’re a good home for film and TV.
What we need to remember is that this is a mobile industry. Our competitors, whether they are Los Angeles, Atlanta, Toronto, Vancouver or elsewhere, are always looking for advantages and always trying to find ways to steal production from us. But we’re not going to let them steal our shows, or our jobs. We are here to say, very simply, that there is no better place to film than New York City. We want to be a home to production and if you are thinking about filming come to New York, that we are always open for business.
[Delivers remarks in Spanish]
I look forward to working with you. On behalf of myself and the council, very excited.
Mayor: I want to thank Melissa Mark-Viverito for throwing down the gauntlet with Vancouver and Toronto and all those places.
It got my blood flowing there. Yes, we are the best and we know it, right? All right. So with that we welcome questions first on this topic. Yes?
Question: Mayor Bloomberg got a lot of credit for building up this industry and for some of the billions involved behind it, but he also got criticism for handing out too many tax credit. To what degree do you agree with the philosophy that these film productions and TV shows should get very generous tax breaks to come?
Mayor: I think the current tax structure is correct. I think it’s worked. You know, I think – remember the notion I put forward I talked about some related issues, subsidy issues etcetera, is that in other areas we see an unfortunate history of the subsidies not yielding the result. This is the polar opposite. This is an incredible good news story. And I am someone who believes the government has to play a positive and creative role in terms of economic development. Here is an example of where it worked.
So this is an area I certainly agree with my predecessor that these investments, the ones we have now are working. The fact is we have seen this extraordinary renaissance and it has come with a huge amount of job creation. Exactly the kind of outcomes that we want to see, and obviously a lot of tax revenue generated, new tax revenue generated because of the existence of these productions. So I think this has been a good news story.
Now our mission, with the current structure, is to find out what we can do with other efforts to keep building this industry. There is more we can do at the neighborhood level to make production easier for these companies while still respecting neighborhood concerns. I am convinced we can do more and better on that front. I think in part by just showing neighborhood residents why this is so important for the future of the city and how it benefits all of us. We can do a better job of that. We can streamline that process. We can make it easier for folks going through the productions. We obviously, also, are very committed to making sure as we build more and more jobs, that more New Yorkers of all backgrounds get an opportunity to take advantage of them.
But I really believe in my heart that we have been on the right path as a city and that we now need to maximize our advantages. We have to take this platform that has been built and go deeper and bring a lot more business in and then get the opportunities to a lot more people.
Question: Mayor could you help us point out to New Yorkers the advantages of supporting this industry dollar-wise and in other ways that it]s good to have this business.
Mayor: Look, I think – I tried to allude to this a bit in the remarks. First of all, it is who we are you know. In a complicated, fast-moving, globalized world, there are still some things that epitomize who you are as a people, who you are as a place. And this extraordinary cultural center that we are. And the strong presence of TV and film and all the other related, and theater. All of this is part of who we are in the sense that we are a creative place. We are a place of exploration, intellectual exploration, creative exploration. We are an open place.
And I think it really underlies the nature of this city and the experience of this city over generations and in a way that has always been a compelling part of who we are as New Yorkers. It has always been something that has attracted people to us. I would say in the current moment in history, it is more important than ever. As all over the world there is a search for where you could find the most creativity, the most innovation, the most talent, the greatest combination of different pieces that support the creative process. In a sense our competitive advantage has grown in that process in that, as the world has changed. And we have to take full advantage of that.
So I would say first of all, it is who we are. Second, as an employment question, these are not just jobs, these are very good jobs. And if=f there is one thing we can say, there are some industries where we grabble with the question of job expansion, having to find ways to try and increase the wages and benefits associated within those jobs. This industry is one where a lot of the jobs are inherently good paying jobs. A lot of them have good benefits attached. So the kind of jobs that help us protect the middle class. So there is a quantitative and qualitative reality that attracts me deeply to these industries. They are creating a lot of jobs recently. They can create a lot more, and they are high quality jobs.
Question: Can you speak more specifically, you know Los Angeles right now is undergoing a big effort to try to steal back what they call runaway production. Can you talk more specifically about what you will do to attract those productions? And then for the commissioner, can you speak a little bit about this issue that exists between neighbors and the industry and how you can strike that balance between making sure the communities don’t feel oversaturated by production, while also making sure that the city is open and it feels open to production?
Mayor: First, let me say with apologies to my good friend Eric Garcetti , Mayor of L.A., sorry that we are ever more attractive for the industry. We are just going to keep doing that more and more and more, and this is the way the world is going. So I think the fact is there is – again, there’s some natural evolution that has occurred here. Our strengths, to some extent, were always there, but maybe not as evident as they need to be or developed the way they needed to be, or made available the way they needed to be. But on top of that, I just think history is supporting us. Things are changing in a way that supports that. And we are all very conscious in city government, in state government, we know this is one of the big pieces of our future. And we want to keep building on it. And just – it starts with the physical. I mean, look around you. When was this not here, how far back?
Doug Steiner, Chairman, Steiner Studios: We opened at the end of 2004.
Mayor de Blasio: Okay. A decade ago if you were standing here, you would not have seen any of this, right? And go to our friends, the other companies, my good friends from Broadway Stages. I have seen their amazing development they’re going through. I mean, this industry is growing physically and so the capacity is here to make all sorts of productions possible that would not have been true even a decade ago.
The understanding of this city – and it’s something Cynthia talked to me about in the interviews that was really compelling – so many producers, directors are looking for authentic settings. They are looking for something special and meaningful. And we have that in all five boroughs. You don’t need to create it, it’s there. You just have to tap into it. So I think the future is with us.
Now, that being said, even though we have these great natural advantages, you’ve got to earn it every day. You’ve got to earn it every day. And I’ve said to Cynthia, I am going to be deeply involved in that process. My much better half is going to be deeply involved in that process. Cynthia is well known to be able to convince people to invest and make moves. She has done that throughout her career. She’s going to be at the front line convincing people to come here. So we feel really good about the future of this industry here.
On the second question of neighborhoods – so I have the advantage of having been a city councilmember. Cynthia has the advantage of having grown up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. We both see this whole dynamic from a neighborhood perspective. Neighborhood residents deserve information. I know my colleagues in government all understand this and feel this. They need information about why productions are happening, when they are happening, what it is going to mean for them. They deserve opportunities to benefit in any way they can that is appropriate. But there is also a better job we can do of explaining why this industry is a lifeblood for this city and what it means for the future, what it means for everything we do in this city. And that’s up to all of us to better communicate.
Yeah, from time to time, I had filming on my block a couple of months ago. And yeah, there is some inconvenience, but look at the amazing things that it does for this city and the jobs that are created. And by the way, the more that we make sure those jobs go more to the people from the five boroughs and go to people of every background, the more buy-in there will be, the more understanding organically there will about how important this industry is for the future of this city. So I’m convinced we can get there. Why don’t you add on to that one?
Incoming Commissioner López : I just think that – and I agree. You know, POV’s offices are located in DUMBO and that leads to couple of times a week we’re seeing a production in front of us. And I think that in terms of transparency, this office has done a great job at trying to look at the issues that exist between communities and productions and we hope to – I know the Mayor’s Office of Media Entertainment is working very hard to think about creative ways in which we can be very transparent so people know exactly when production is coming in. A lot of time when we look at Brooklyn per se, there are so many independent filmmakers that would want an opportunity to work on some these productions. So there is some orchestrating that, you know, I have to say I look forward to working on in terms of government transparency. But I don’t think it is a bad thing. I think it is an opportunity to think about how we can do things differently.
Mayor: I want to say, I think there really are some ways we can better inform communities in advance, and I think that’s going to lead to a lot more comfort and a lot more understanding.
Question: For Commissioner López , what from the Bloomberg era are you going to change and why?
Mayor: And I will start by saying, again, this is an area where I had a lot of agreement with the previous administration. I think they made a lot of the right moves. We want to build upon it and we also want to make this a more inclusive industry.
Incoming Commissioner López : Is there anything I don’t agree with? I never made – I have to say, as we move forward together, right? The media and the independent filmmakers here and the studio execs, I would be very cautious not to make a comment of what I like or what I don’t like because I need to really, as I mentioned before, look, evaluate, research, and then formulate plans based on pure empirical information. So while I value Katherine Oliver’s legacy, I would like to sort of understand her legacy better and then figure out how best we can build on that legacy.
So right now it is not about what I am going to cut out or expand. You know, I have to say, when I look at her legacy sitting right here, this I want to see more of. I want to see more people of color, Latinos, Asians, people from all sorts of life – disabled, gay, lesbian, etcetera – that are part of the production process and that they would have the opportunities to not only be productions assistants, but to every level of the production process.
Mayor: On topic, on topic, going once, going twice on topic. Yes?
Question: Can I ask the commissioner? How important is getting the Late Show to stay here? There’s now New Orleans is making a pitch for it. Los Angeles, I mean, how important is it, do you think, to get David Letterman, or, who –
Assembly Member Joe Lentol: Stephen Colbert.
Question: Stephen Colbert to stay here.
Mayor: Stephen Colbert wants to stay here. Thank you Joe Lentol, you took the words right out of my mouth. I have every reason to believe we’re going to fight hard to make sure that is the case. But do you have anything you want to add there?
Mayor: Ok. Come on up, come on up. That’s good. Ok. Brooklyn counts too.
Incoming Commissioner López : Exactly. No I would just say that any production at that level that has the audience and influence and potential to inform and entertain the American public is a production that we would want to have here. So we would do everything in our power to make that they stay.
Mayor: And, and I think, you know, the history with the show up until now has been such a positive one. And the connection to New York City has been so positive. And you know I reached out to Mr. Moonves and made that point. And I think he fully appreciated that reality. So we’ll what they finally do but I think the selection of Stephen Colbert is a good thing for us. All right, other topics?
Question: Yeah Mr. Mayor, the MTA agreement that was reached yesterday, the tentative deal, it included retroactive pay. And I’m just curious at all if that deal makes it any more difficult for the city to not offer retroactive pay to the unions. Which is something the PBA said the city has done already in –
Mayor: The reality is the same as it was, you know, two days ago. The MTA is a state agency. Obviously, in terms of the labor process, it goes through the state. We have a very different reality here. We have our fiscal circumstances. We have a separate history in terms of labor relations than that which state and MTA has. So we’re going to do things our own way with our partners in municipal labor. And we have to deal with a real fiscal challenge and we cost savings. That’s just our reality. Yes, in the back?
Question: On carriage horses – there’s a state assemblyman from Mount Vernon who is introducing legislation to protect the horse carriage industry at the state level -
Mayor: The horse carriage industry in Mount Vernon?
Question: In Central Park and in the city and state-wide. But, would you have any interest at all in any sort of compromise that would keep the horses in just Central Park?
Mayor: I think you know me by now. I think your colleagues know me by now. I put forward my position and I work to achieve that. And so far I think we’ve had a good batting average. So, I’ve said I don’t think it’s a humane practice. I don’t think it’s smart for the future of the city. I don’t think it’s safe. And I think we have a great alternative and an alternative that will allow employment opportunities for the folks who are in the industry now. It’s a lot of details to work out. But I’m convinced we’ll find a good way to do it. Yes?
Question: Also on the horse and carriages – yesterday Steve Nislick at the Auto Show threatened to hit a reporter in the face. I wanted to see what – you know, what you thought of those comments.
Mayor: It wasn’t appropriate. I know him. He’s a good man and I don’t know why he did that. It certainly wasn’t appropriate. Yes –
Question: Mr. Mayor, are you – after your announcement on Sandy recovery yesterday, have you been –you still need a million – a billion dollars of federal money. Are you – have you been working with the Republicans in Congress to figure out the best way to get that money?
Mayor: Well, I don’t – we were asked this question yesterday. We don’t project the specific dollar figure that we need remaining until we get a little farther down the road here. We know there’s additional need that’s not yet by the federal commitments and we know we will need more federal support and that is exactly why the legislation was passed after Sandy to provide support to the affected areas, both in terms of rebuilding and resiliencies. So we know we will need more, but it’s going to take a little time to get to the final set of needs as we go through the process.
We’re going to work with everyone. I’ve talked to Secretary Donovan a number of times, who obviously is a New Yorker and has been supportive of our efforts. Senator Schumer has been in the lead in this effort. I’ve worked with Governor Cuomo on this. We’re going to work with everyone here and, of course, we’ll do whatever it takes in terms of Washington to make sure we have what we need. But our focus today, just from yesterday, is we’ve got a lot we have to implement right now. You know, people are in need right now and we have to reach them right now. So we’re going to focus on that and then build out from there. Yes?
Question: [inaudible] If I can come back to the horses, which I imagine you’re going to be asked about a lot over the coming months –
Question: Two questions, which is have you had a look at all at the car or the specifications of the car that would replace it? And, if so, are you still supportive of whatever bill would emerge? And number two – you had talked earlier about the good middle-class jobs that this industry provides – and many of your friends in labor are saying that’s just the same with the horse carriage industry. And they’re a bit confused that you can reach the conclusion that it’s inhumane –
Mayor: I – Look, we can relitigate this a hundred times if everyone wants to, but I think I’ve said it many times over last year, so let me try one more time. I believe it’s inhumane - horses working on the streets of New York City, the biggest city in the country. Something is wrong with that picture. There have been a number of accidents. It’s not right. We should change it.
Major cities around the world have made this action – taken this action – over the last few years. This is not something happening in isolation. A lot of other cities have come to the conclusion this doesn’t make sense in this day and age. There are some jobs involved. We want to protect the employment of those individuals. We have an alternative that we think will do that. It’s not about one car another. The concept of a replica electric car I believe in – I haven’t seen this particular design, but I’m certain there’s one or more good options that we can use. But our job is to create a humane, safe, clean outcome that also creates job opportunities. And the first of those opportunities will go to the people doing the work now.
Mayor: What’s that? I’ve said the exact same [inaudible]. Thanks everyone.