July 19, 2019
Mayor Bill de Blasio: I want to give all the New Yorkers an update on the heat situation, and I want to start by saying – since we last gathered all here in this room, the situation actually has gotten worse in terms of this coming Sunday. Originally, we believed that today, Friday, would be tough, Saturday would really, really be awful, and then, Sunday, a little bit better. Now, Sunday and Saturday – almost exactly the same – almost equally bad – so, I want to emphasize to everyone, this is a very, very difficult situation. Everyone's got to take it seriously. This is a potentially dangerous weather situation for a number of New Yorkers. I'm going to go over, again, all of the tips we're giving, all the recommendations we're giving, all the precautions we’re taking. But the message I want to keep getting across to all New Yorkers is, take this weather seriously. We have not seen temperatures like this in at least seven years. We haven't seen this many concentrated hot days in a long, long time. Take this very seriously.
So, at this point, based on the report – the latest report from National Weather Service, we'll be in this extreme heat all the way to the end of Sunday, but it does look like it'll end late Sunday night. That's the latest we have. In order to address this situation, I signed an executive order last night, declaring a heat emergency in this city, and I'll talk about some of the specific requirements of that executive order. But we are mandating certain actions to take place to keep everybody safe.
So, first, let me go over the forecast, and then some of the steps we're taking and the things that every-day New Yorkers need to know. And as I do, just want to say, we have leaders of a wide variety of City agencies here. I want to thank them. Everyone's been working very hard with their teams to prepare. I want to thank them for that. And a lot of them made sure that there were plenty of personnel available to handle these next days – and thank them for all the work they're doing.
So, today – the latest as of a short while ago from the National Weather Service – today, we’ll get to a high of 90 degrees, a heat index of up to 101 degrees, and that will be primarily up till 5:00 pm, when it will be at its hottest. We could see thunderstorms tonight – that might help for a period of time, but we're not sure about the details of that yet. Tomorrow – a temperature high predicted of 97 degrees, heat index of 111 degrees – again, with the worst period of being up through 5:00 PM tomorrow; Sunday – also high of 97 degrees, heat index of 110 degrees up to 5:00 pm. Some of you are probably learning about heat index – that’s the way it actually feels. It's not just the temperature outside, but when you add in the humidity, the full effect – it’s what you feel, it’s what your body is feeling. It's the equivalent – with cold weather – of wind-chill factor. So, what it's going to feel like tomorrow and Sunday is going to be upwards of 110 degrees – obviously, very extreme for the body. So, everyone has to be really careful and understand that this is a very unusual situation.
So, since that kind of heat can be dangerous, let's go into some of the things that we're advising people to do and some of the steps we're taking. First – number one, if at all possible, stay indoors Saturday and Sunday to the maximum extent possible and, specifically, stay out of the sun. If you do have to go outdoors, keep it to a minimum. But, if you go out, it's a big difference whether you're in the sun or not. You’re going to feel a lot better if you're not in the sun.
Now, we know for our parents – and I can say this as a parent myself – it’s hard to keep kids indoors that long, so there will be good places to go with your kids. All of the City parks, playgrounds will have – that have sprinklers, will have them on until dark. For the City pools – our Olympic-size pools and our intermediate pools will be open until 8:00 pm – that’s extended hours – tonight, Saturday night, Sunday, until 8:00 pm. We were able to extend our beach hours one hour to 7:00 pm. That was the maximum we could do while still ensuring that we had the lifeguards we needed and the safety conditions we needed. But we have added an extra hour today, tomorrow, Sunday at our beaches.
Two update on specific major events. We have instructed that the Triathlon and the OZY Fest be canceled given the heat conditions. In terms of other steps, using air conditioning – everyone, using air conditioning, obviously, that’s where you want to be – where there's air conditioning – but we keep emphasizing, set it at 78 degrees, unless you have a specific condition where you need it to be a cooler – 78 degrees will keep you safe, will keep you cool enough, will keep you healthy. And, again, we want to always be careful not to use more electricity than we need to. I've checked in with Con Ed, they still expect to have plenty of available electricity for the demand level, but we want to be a safe rather than sorry. Limit electric use wherever you can. Limit appliance use any way you can between now and Sunday night.
The executive order mandates large office buildings to keep their thermostats at 78 degrees through Sunday. That instruction has been given, all City government buildings have been instructed to do the same. There are exceptions in the executive order for any place that is primarily used for medical purposes or to serve people with disabilities. And anytime, of course, there’s an issue of safety, there's an exception. The order on the specific private building mandate is for commercial office buildings, not residential buildings, not other types of buildings, like museums, restaurants, theaters, retail. Those are all places that people may get go to, to get cool. We don't want to undermine that. But in the office buildings, which is obviously a big piece of the City, we want to make sure that that temperature is honored. And, obviously – a message to everyone in the private sector and everyone in the public sector – turn off lights you're not using. Turn off appliances you're not using. Turn off machinery you're not using. Everyone’s just got to use their common sense here.
We will have cooling centers available. Obviously, today, they're up and running, and through Sunday. The base hours – the basic hours will be 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. In some cases, there'll be extended hours. And again, you can find those locations, you can call 3-1-1, or you go to nyc.gov/beattheheat. Again, call 3-1-1 or go to nyc.gov/beattheheat to get specific centers that are available and their hours. Typically, we're talking about Parks and Recreation facilities, community centers, senior centers, libraries. There will be some variation over the weekend, including for religious reasons in the case of some of the institutions.
Very important to check in with your neighbors – check on your family members, make sure everyone is safe. If they need something, they need to be in a cooler place to be, to get them someplace cool or to get them to a cooling center. Always make sure everyone's hydrated. It's one most basic things that everyone can do. And we will be doing – you’ll hear about it in a moment – of course, outreach, particularly to make sure that homeless folks are in a place that's safe and cool. Now, again, Dr. Barbot will come up, but I'm going to say it first, just to start the point that – take the potential for heatstroke very seriously. Dr. Barbot will go into all of the symptoms, but if it feels like something unusual is happening – trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat, you feel dizzy, you feel nauseated – call 9-1-1 right away. Don't risk it. It could be heatstroke – it can be fatal.
I'm going to say a few quick words in Spanish and then we'll hear from Commissioner Criswell and Commissioner Barbot.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, let me turn to our Emergency Management Commissioner, Deanne Criswell.
Commissioner Deanne Criswell, Office of Emergency Management: Thank you, Mayor. Again, today is the start of this dangerous heat wave. As the Mayor mentioned, these temperatures are going to continue to rise Saturday, and even greater than we had originally anticipated on Sunday. These heat index values do peak between 2 and 5:00 pm every day. So, those are our days of peak concern for those that are out there. There also has been an air quality health advisory that has been put in effect from 11:00 am today to 11:00 pm today, and people with respiratory problems should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Again, the best way to beat the heat is to stay indoors. We do have several cooling centers open across the five boroughs. But again, there's other ways that you can find cool places – going to movie theaters, or restaurants, or other public spaces like malls, or libraries. So, please find those places that are cool so you can beat the heat.
We're also in constant communication with Con Ed and PSEG to monitor the electrical system during this, making sure we are taking proactive measures if we need to. And, with that, our Emergency Operations Center did open today at 11:00 am. It will be open through the weekend with representatives from different city agencies – to include NYPD, FDNY, NYCHA, DEP, Con Ed, MTA will be there, Department of Health, and the National Weather Service. This puts us in a position where we can be proactive if something does happen and we can respond quickly to make sure we're taking care of New Yorkers.
We've also put a couple of other things in place. We've rented equipment to include several portable air conditioning units to help support cooling, as needed. They are ready to deploy to any areas that we find that need additional cooling assistance. And we've also activated our emergency generator contracts so we can have additional generator capacity if we find the need to use it. We did issue an advanced warning system message, sent to over 1,900 partners to amplify information about heat dangers and cooling centers to vulnerable populations. And our team has been in communication, again, with elected officials, the private sector partners, our faith-based organizations, and nonprofits to provide continued updates. We will continue to communicate with them to help get the message out about the heat.
And we want to remind you to stay informed and follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter, or download the app on your smartphone, and you can receive the latest updates as we received them.
Mayor: Thank you. Dr. Barbot? Decaffeinated –
Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: As the City's doctor, I want to remind New Yorkers that this heat wave can be deadly to health. On an annual basis, we have roughly 13 people who die because of heatstroke. We have an additional 115 or so that die because of exacerbations of underlying chronic illnesses because of the heat. And so, my best advice to New Yorkers during this time is, stay indoors, especially if you are elderly, if you have a chronic underlying illness such as asthma, diabetes, kidney disease – all of those put you at additional risk for adverse consequences from the heat. Additionally, I want to remind New Yorkers that the best way to stay safe in this period is to stay hydrated. The best way to hydrate is with water. If you choose to hydrate with other beverages, let's make sure that they are decaffeinated, and also stay away from alcoholic beverages. I'm not saying don't drink them, but just don't use them to hydrate.
Mayor: That was good.
Commissioner Barbot: That was good, right? I cleaned that one up.
The other thing I want to remind New Yorkers is to check on their elderly neighbors during this heat emergency. The most important way to prevent the consequences of heatstroke and heat illness is to stay in an air conditioned place. So, check on your neighbors, make sure their air conditioning is functioning. If it's not, you can call 3-1-1 for the closest cooling center that we can direct you to.
The last thing I want to end with is to remind New Yorkers about the symptoms – signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. They can range anywhere from hot skin – hot, dry skin, to cold, clammy skin, palpitations, extreme fatigue, loss of consciousness, disorientation. The important thing is not to wait until you experience those symptoms. If you're feeling tired more so than you would ordinarily, take a break, get in the shade, drink water, get into an air conditioned space.
That's all I have.
Mayor: Thank you, Doctor.
Commissioner Barbot: Oh, en Español –
[Commissioner Barbot speaks in Spanish]
Mayor: Thank you very much Doctor. Okay we are going to take questions about the heat situation and then we will take other question after. First, about the heat situation.
Question: Mr. Mayor, on WNYC this morning you said you’d be in touch with Con Ed regularly throughout the weekend. What does that monitoring look like? Are you getting access to the systems? Are they giving you regular readouts? What’s that like?
Mayor: I will tell you about the conversation I had with the President of Con Ed, Tim Cawley, just an hour or less ago. Commissioner Criswell can talk about how her team relates to Con Ed constantly. What it looks like is confirming what their operations are experiencing, what kind of demand they are seeing, their ability to meet the demand, the conversation about an hour ago, confirmed that demand now, and projected through the weekend, was well within the boundaries of what they can handle, was substantially less than they would normally have to deal with on a typical weekday that wasn’t summer, you know, sort of the main part of the year on a weekday would be substantially more energy being used then what we will experience in these next few days for example.
So Con Ed, at this moment, is telling us they are not having a supply problem, they are not having too much demand, all their systems are working, those are good things. And we’ll keep asking those questions, we’ll keep looking for any vulnerabilities or challenges that they’re citing or anything they need. Further they have their own version of an emergency operations center and they brought in a substantial amount of their personnel on emergency basis to be ready to handle anything that comes up. I will repeat what I had to say a few days ago, I am still not getting an answer and I’ve asked it now, I think six or seven times for further clarification of what happened Saturday and what steps are being taken to ensure it won’t happen again.
The narrow answer, that the specific apparatus that failed Saturday has been isolated – of course that is true and I appreciate that answer but not the bigger answer of how would they avoid a similar scenario again. I am still not satisfied that anyone of us have gotten that answer. But in terms of day to day, hour to hour coordination, that is continuing and at least to date we are hearing answers that give us confidence things are working. Do you want to add Commissioner?
Commissioner Criswell: Yes, so even leading up to today, we were in continuous communication with Con Ed, we had daily phone calls with them in the morning and in the evening. Now that we have activated our emergency operations center, Con Ed has a representative here with us, coordinating and communicating but Con Ed has also activated their emergency response center and we have sent somebody over there so they can be able to see the systems and see if there is any issues that come up right away so that way we can coordinate back and forth and be prepared to respond if needed.
Question: It’s Ray with NBC, we have been asking you about the air conditioning units in the cooling centers, the NYCHA cooling centers, wanted to see if you had a reason why they weren’t there before?
Mayor: So we’ve spoken to the previous situation. Deputy Mayor Been is here. Right now our focus has been making sure that the centers were up and running for this crisis. And the latest count, we’ve been monitoring them all day, I think, Deputy Mayor, two have experienced a problem and are being addressed right now? Come on over, why don’t you give the update and I’ll speak behind it.
Deputy Mayor Vicki Been, Housing and Economic Development: So we have eight cooling centers and 141 other Youth Department and senior centers on NYCHA campuses. All of them are up and running, they are cooling, right. Some of them, the main HVAC system is not working but we are using portable units, et cetera to bring them up to cooling. So as of like 20 minutes ago two were down, they are back online with portable units. So right now all are working, all are cooling to 78 or below and we are working to get the regular HVAC systems so that it is up and running so that it’s even cooler.
Question: Is there a reason why they weren’t checked on before the situation, before we started asking questions?
Deputy Mayor Been: Look, it was unacceptable that we were not opening some of those cooling units until July, until there was an emergency. It’s unacceptable. I apologize to the residents of NYCHA. We are getting to the bottom of it, we are reorganizing and really looking at our management structure, our procurement systems, et cetera, and trying to be more proactive and not waiting obviously for a problem to occur.
Mayor: Thank you. And look, we also – we finally will have the long term leadership we have been waiting for at NYCHA starting next month and a series of reforms and changes are happening and this one of the things we are going to make sure doesn’t happen again. But most importantly, for folks who need cooling, they can go to those 149 centers and get cooling.
Question: I think the question on a lot of New Yorkers minds right now is can we trust Con Ed? Not only because of the blackout but because of the response to the blackout. When they say they have enough capacity for this, do you trust them at their word that they can handle this?
Mayor: This is a situation where you know, pure trust is hard to come by right? I can’t say – I don’t run Con Ed and I am not getting the answers I want from Con Ed, and I have said very openly to the President of Con Ed, I am responsible to give people as specific answers as possible all the time. If something happens in our schools, with our police, public housing, you name it, I am supposed to give you guys very tangible, specific answers and I don’t have them, we are supposed to get them quickly. Con Ed plays by a different set of rules. That is not comforting to me. So I can’t say trust. I can say that they are giving us consistent information on the capacity question which is the one that I think that is the front of our minds right now. There is nothing that they have said in the last week that makes me dubious about their capacity level, their personnel levels, their physical capacity in terms of handling the load that will be needed for this weekend. But I think they need to do a lot better at explaining why something of that magnitude happened. Yes, first in 13 years, yes it was repaired within five hours, those are notable facts. But they got to explain exactly how it happened and how they have taken measures to stop it from ever happening again. We would hold ourselves to that standard. They are not yet achieving that.
Question: Mr. Mayor, can you tell us a little about the executive order, what it covers? And also in terms of cancelling the triathlon and OZY Fest, were those powers you used under the executive order or maybe you can explain to us a little bit about the process of cancelling those two events?
Mayor: I will start and the Deputy Mayor is here, the Parks Commissioner is here, anyone who wants to add specifics, more than I have should. The executive order was focused on the fact that we have a large number of office buildings that we had the legal power to mandate, go to 78 degrees. This is something that has not been done before in city history as far as I can tell. Law Department checked carefully, it was fully within our rights because of the heat emergency declaration. It was a logical, necessary step. And we are doing again, the same for public sector buildings. In terms of the other events, Mitch can start because he has been deeply involved with these, sometimes it’s a contractual issue, sometimes it’s an issue of public safety, sometimes it’s both but Mitch come on up and start and then Vicki or anyone else who wants to add.
Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, Department of Parks and Recreation: The Mayor is correct. We worked with the event organizers for the triathlon and they looked at first modifying the schedule and for the safety of the athletes. Although they will be swimming and then biking, it was excessive heat and they concurred that the best interest of the athletes was to cancel the triathlon. In the case of OZY Fest, we do have in our contract for either rain events or extreme heat events, we do have the option of exercising cancellation if the heat index exceeds 105. We determined for both days as we got updated information that that was going to be the case. So for the safety of both the public, for the performers, and for our responders who will be on the scene, we felt it was the best thing to do was to cancel the event [inaudible] as well as all outdoor major events that are occurring in our parks over the weekend.
Mayor: Thank you. This side, anyone who has not gone, okay. Coming over to this side, yes.
Question: Mr. Mayor, when the air quality is poor because of the ozone, some European cities will limit traffic, car traffic into the city. Do you have any suggestions for New Yorkers?
Mayor: I am going to turn to my colleagues because I have to tell you, it’s a serious issue but in all of our preparations in the last few days, that has not been one of the topics that we have been focused on. Obviously there are a number of other areas we have been concerned about right now. So I don’t have an easy answer on the ozone, air quality issue, I don’t know if Dr. Barbot, anyone doesn’t have it – we will come back on that but I don’t have that for you right now. Go ahead.
Question: Mayor, can you talk about the plan for the homeless?
Mayor: Yes, let’s have Commissioner Banks come on over and talk about that.
Commissioner Steven Banks, Department of Social Services: So under the current conditions we have 24 hour outreach as we always do but we redouble our efforts. We have enough capacity to bring people in and we have outreach workers out there on a heightened schedule to convince people to come in. If you see somebody that is homeless, call 3-1-1 and the City will respond. Either the NYPD Homeless Outreach Unit, or one of our outreach teams will be there and we’re very focused on clients that we know are on the street. We have a by-name list. And we’ve been bringing people in through the efforts, all year long, and particularly at this time of the year we’re very much focused on bringing in people, and we could use the help of any New Yorker that wants to call 3-1-1 and we will deploy someone to come and help us in that effort.
Question: Just going back to the car question real quick. It seems to be, you know, general held knowledge that driving a car, bigger, more congestion does make the air hotter around you. Is there, at all, a suggestion that you can make to tell people if you don’t need to make a car trip, don’t do it—
Mayor: Oh, 100 percent. So, again, I’ve got no problem telling people when it’s time to get off the road because in our snow emergencies we’ve been very clear and aggressive, sometimes including enforcement actions when we need people off the road. I like to be honest about, in our preparations for this, the air quality question has not been the central concern, there’s a host of other things that have been – but it’s a great issue and we should pursue it, in terms of how we want to do things going forward on a more structural basis. In the immediate, I have already said back on Tuesday, I’ll say it again today, that people should not go outside if they don’t have to. So don’t travel if you don’t have to. Don’t walk if you don’t have to. Don’t take the bus, don’t take the subway. The subway platforms are going to be incredibly hot. The bottom line is, stay indoors to the maximum extent possible, stay put, stay cool. Avoid exertion, avoid being out in the sun. But yeah, if you don’t need to drive, don’t drive. Yeah, I agree with that entirely because, even though it’s a weekend, and it’s summer, there’s probably less congestion than a lot of other times, we want everyone to, as much as possible, just stay put.
Okay. Other questions, yes?
Question: For you and I think for the Health Commissioner, just to convey how severe this emergency is, can you talk about what your worst case scenario – like what’s your greatest fear?
Mayor: Yeah, our fear is people dying. I mean it’s very clear – heat stroke can be fatal. Our fear is, with this kind of temperature, people aren’t used to it. It’s a very rare occurrence to get to this kind of level. A heat index to over 110, again, that’s going to feel like over 110 degrees. It’s pretty shocking to the body. Our fear is that people will be put in a really compromised situation, and we could lose some people. We don’t that to happen. These kinds of precautions could save lives. Just staying hydrated, staying in a cool place, if you’re feeling the symptoms – calling 9-1-1 and getting help immediately. So, that’s my central fear. You know, when we have a snowstorm, it’s a lot about keeping the streets clear or trying to avoid accidents. This is really about individual health. Making sure that people understand the precautions they have to take, and if there’s any problem, God forbid, you know get help immediately, or if they’re feeling overheated, get to a cool place immediately, don’t risk it. That’s the message I want to send.
Question: Yeah, WNYC and Gothamist has found data that over 300,000 seniors live more than a half-mile away from a cooling center. Is it reasonable – that can be quite a distance for some of them, is it a reasonable distance for them to travel?
Mayor: Look, we are – we have the cooling centers that we have in terms of public spaces that we can make available, but as you heard a moment ago, a lot of other places function practically as cooling centers. Stores, restaurants, diners, movie theaters – there’s a whole host of places that will be air-conditioned, that are places people can go to stay cool. So we have the ones we have, we only have so many public facilities that we can put into play. We don’t have one on every block, obviously, but we have – everything that we have we’ll throw into play. But clearly this is where people need to exercise some real concern for their neighbor, for their loved ones. For example, if you have a senior in your family and you’re worried that they are not near enough to a cooling center, try and help them to get to some place cooler. For anyone who has air-conditioning, they just need to use it, obviously, and set it at 78 degrees. But the most important thing is, since we don’t have perfect resources to really look out for each other, really get the information out of the danger so no one takes it too lightly. Okay, last call on the heat situation?
Question: I just wanted clarity from Commissioner Silver, did OZY Fest want to cancel the event, or was it a City mandate that they cancel the event?
Commissioner Silver: I don’t know the particulars, we’ve been in conversation with them in the field all day. We do know that based upon the heat, we raised some grave concerns and felt it was the best interest to cancel.
Mayor: So let me say it a little bit more simply because I was in the room when we were discussing it up here and I know Mitch could be a lawyer in another life. I don’t know what OZY Fest feels personally, I do not know their view. We spoke, before this press conference, about our contractual ability to cancel. The facts are the facts, you know, consistent reports from the National Weather Service, putting us at a 110 and greater on that heat index. 105 is the trigger. We’re saying we’re done here, this thing needs to be cancelled. So they may feel the same way, but we came to the decision that is was not appropriate for this go on. Absolutely.
Anyone else on heat? Heat going once, twice. Okay, other topics. Any other topics. Yes?
Question: Sorry, let me just pull [inaudible].
Mayor: We want you to be organized.
Question: Yesterday, Speaker Corey Johnson said that there are too many parking spaces in this city and we ought to reclaim some of this space and use it for the public. Do you agree with that?
Mayor: I think it’s more specific and complex than that. I think it really depends on where you’re talking about. There are places where we need more parking for very specific reasons, there are places where we need less parking. It really depends on the specific case. We do have to come to grips with the growth in this city. It’s something we work on all the time, and we do need to get people to use cars less, but I think it’s a little more nuanced.
Question: There was the video yesterday that surfaced on Twitter, and I’m sure you haven’t seen it, but of an employee for the Department of Environmental Protection who called Vision Zero a joke, and that pedestrians deserve to get run over if they’re looking at their phones.
Mayor: Well, I have not seen it. I’ve heard about it. It’s absolutely inappropriate. We’re going to look into who that employee is, and whatever appropriate disciplinary measures can be taken. But that’s someone who does not understand their responsibilities as a public servant.
Question: How much did what happened last weekend contribute to your decision to stay in the city this weekend?
Mayor: Nothing. It’s – this is exactly the same scenario. Some of you have been here with me before for these, some of you have not. This is like the lead-up to the snowstorms and we’ve been through a lot of snowstorms. We have not been through, this is the worst heat situation that I’ve experienced since I became Mayor but we’ve been through many snowstorms. We saw them coming days in advance, through the National Weather Service. We did exactly the kinds of briefings. Of course I need to be here and making sure things are being done right. So when we have a preannounced crisis, if you accept that wording for a moment, I know exactly what to do, I’ve been doing it for five and a half years. We have something that no one saw coming and it happens out of nowhere, then we’re put in a reaction mode, it’s a different reality.
Question: I was with you last night at Gracie Mansion for the Harlem Week Kickoff. Can you share again your conversation with Eric Garner’s mother and the position and the things that you shared with Gwen Carr in private.
Mayor: It was very, very painful. I just want to start with that. Gwen Carr is a very strong woman who’s been through a whole lot, and you know, and she told me that she tried to keep remembering the good times, but it was very hard to stay in that place because she kept feeling such a deep sense of injustice and so much pain and it just – listening to her, it was – Chirlane and I were there and we just listened for a long-time, and it’s very, very – you know, to think she’s been through five years of this, with no sense of closure, and she has felt let down time and time again, it’s very painful. You know, so we just wanted to try to say “look, you know, we’re here to communicate, we’re here to show respect, we’re here to try and make as clear as possible what’s going to happen next, and to guarantee you it will happen quickly, and that your concerns are being heard, there’s going to be fair process, there’s going to be an impartial process, and there will be closure.” And I don’t want to speak for her but she certainly expressed gratitude, at least having the opportunity to really ask her questions and express how difficult this has been for her.
Question: Mayor, you set up a Fairness PAC on the State level, which was used for a number of expenses related to your eventual presidential campaign. Can you speak about why you didn’t just set up a presidential exploratory committee? And also, why you haven't reported the donors to this committee to [inaudible]?
Mayor: Talk to the campaign about any of those specifics or technical things, cause they can answer it better. Fairness PAC worked on behalf of a number of candidates. We held events for candidates. We supported candidates all over the country up to the 2018 election, and everything we've done is according to the law. But they can get you the details.
Last call – yes – wait, you've gone – let me get someone that's not gone. Go ahead.
Question: You were doing the fundraising for the – for your campaign. So, the exploratory period started March 7th – at that point when you were raising funds and calling people presumably you were talking about –
Mayor: Again, if you want, I just can't give you legalistic answers and technical answers. It’s not what I do. Talk to the campaign.
Mayor: Again, everything was done with the advice, every step of the way, of lawyers who are experts in the area and everything was done according to that.
Question: [Inaudible] Carr seems to disagree with your assessment of your meeting, at least, according to her statement. She was concerned by your efforts to talk about stop and frisk and community policing as answers to what happened to his son. Could you respond to those concerns that she's expressed?
Mayor: Oh, I don't disagree with that and I don't think it's a contradiction with what I've said. She is she is in tremendous pain and she wants closure. You know, I felt it was important to say that I think a lot has changed in the City and we are trying to change a lot more, but that doesn't solve her concerns. I don't think there's any contradiction there. I don't expect her to feel anything different because of that, but I wanted her to know that we were devoted to continuing to make change.
Question: In terms of the future of Officer Pantaleo, obviously they made the case that you are Commissioner O'Neill's boss. In any scenario, your boss tells you to do something, you should do it. Do you agree with that assessment in the –
Mayor: I've spoken to this a lot of times in the course of the week. Really no disrespect to you, but I don't want to keep repeating it. I made it clear, there is a State law-mandated process. That process is being followed very, very carefully and appropriately.
Question: Mr. Mayor, there's calls for the Governor of Puerto Rico to step down. Wondering if you have a specific position on that, if you believe you should step down?
Mayor: I don't want to speak on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico. They have to address the issue. But I do want to say, what he said was horribly inappropriate. I mean, one of the things he said was about our former Speaker. Melissa Mark-Viverito is a fantastic public servant. It was deeply disrespectful and inappropriate and sexist, and I haven't even seen, you know, a transcript of all the other things. But apparently it's quite extensive and it's really inappropriate, but it's not my place to judge beyond that.
Question: [Inaudible] protesting on city streets in a way that has never been seen before – they want him to step down. Are you willing to make – take a position on that?
Mayor: Again, I think given the realities of Puerto Rico, I want to respect that the Puerto Rican people get to make that decision.
Who has not gone? Yes?
Question: Going back to the fundraising for a minute, without getting into too many technicalities, would you agree that your campaign announcement video would be a campaign expense?
Mayor: Again, I’m going to be very – I’m not a lawyer. I'm not an election lawyer. Any issue like that, bring to the campaign, they'll give you an answer.
Question: Between the three entities, a State Fairness PAC, a federal one, and a campaign – there's an obvious intermingling both of funds and of staff, to the point that $68,000 that went to the exploratory period wasn't properly reported to the FEC.
Mayor: Again, I'm not going to accept – I’m just not going to accept what was properly or not properly –
Mayor: Again, I don't accept –
Mayor: My dear friend, I don't expect your characterization – I don't believe your characterization is accurate and I'm not going to speak to the technical issues. Any issue you bring to the campaign, they’ll get you an accurate, legal answer.
Last call on anything else? Yes?
Question: Mr. Mayor, you’re going to be on the debate stage alongside Joe Biden and others. You've been criticizing him for the last couple of weeks. Do you have any particular strategy going in? Are you – I mean, what's your reaction of being on the debate stage with them? You run the last time.
Mayor: I’m only going to say, first of all, I found the debate drawing show very entertaining. I was very impressed. They got that much material out of a debate draw. But the central issue for me in the debate is to talk about my message, which is working people first. And I think last time I was able to get that message across in a very strong, coherent way. I want to build upon that, but that's regardless of who else is on stage.
Question: Can you discuss your obligations under the police union contract related to discipline and due process?
Mayor: The lawyers would happily talk to you about that. Again, the issue here is State law determines the personnel process, the discipline process. We follow that law. That has been done in all previous cases and we'll do it in this case.
Question: What’s happened with past mayors who have mouthed off about what should happen to police officers?
Mayor: Again, what we know from the past is, in some of the cases that people have been saying the last few days were decided without that whole process, that's just not factually accurate. Every time there is – every time I've certainly heard of and every time in the examples that people have even brought up in the last few days – the Baez case, for example, the case of the firefighters in the Rockaways – no, in fact, there was a full departmental trial, a decision by the Commissioner. That's been the consistency over years and years and years and that's going to be the case here.
Last call – going once, twice – stay cool please, everyone. Drink lots of fluids – decaffeinated. Thank you.