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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appears Live on the Brian Lehrer Show

December 15, 2017

Brian Lehrer: It’s Friday at 10 o’clock, and that means it’s time for Ask The Mayor – our weekly visit from Mayor Bill de Blasio. Morning, Mr. Mayor. Welcome back to WNYC.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thanks, Brian Good morning.

Lehrer: And listeners, the lines are open for any questions for the Mayor on any city businesses. 212-433-WNYC, 433-9692, or tweet using the hashtag #AskTheMayor.

And as calls are coming in, let me ask you first about City Council’s package of bills called the Right to Know Act – not finalized, I guess – which would require police officers to identify themselves with business cards to some but not all people they stop. Among other things, I gather you have a compromise version with the NYPD, but it’s getting criticized by both the police officers’ union and some progressive members of City Council. Can you explain your version?

Mayor: Absolutely. Well, the most important here, Brian is that over the last year – almost year and a half – the NYPD took action internally, administratively on these very same issues – on improving the way that officers identify themselves to the public in terms of different types of encounters, on improving the process for clarifying the consent needed for certain types of searches in terms of constitutional rights. This is something that was done by the NYPD through a training process with officers, through internal policies and guidelines, and I firmly believed – and I know both Commissioner Bratton and then of course his successor Commissioner O’Neill felt strongly – that, that was the way to make the reform effective – to do it internally. And it has been implemented on the ground.

And I’ve talked to people all over the city, I’ve not heard complaints or specific instances where that new guidance wasn’t followed. I think it’s been a helpful part of improving the relationship between police and community along with the neighborhood policing philosophy. But obviously there were folks in the City Council who wanted to codify these ideas for the long term and make them part of law. It was important to me that that be done through a negotiated process with the NYPD, with City Hall to strike the balance that those important goals were met, but in a way that still allowed us to be effective at promoting public safety and realistic about what it actually takes to police this city every day. And the final bills that were written, I think, are very balanced – are fair, are practical, build upon what’s been done internally already for the last year, year and a half, and I’m comfortable with them. But it took, you know, a long patient negotiation to make sure that they were both fair and practical. I think that’s what we got to.

Lehrer: I read that progressive councilmembers Brad Lander and Jumaane Williams object because the rules would only apply to stops of pedestrians based on a suspicion of criminal activity also traffic stops wouldn’t be included. Do I have that right?

Mayor: Well, I don’t have the bill in front of me, so I want to be careful about any chapter and verse, but the broad way to say it is a number of types of activities were included and then others were exempted for very specific reasons because what I think we want to get at is the kinds of encounters where there is the time and there is the appropriate situation for example providing the identification. It does not make sense in urgent situations. It does not make sense in cursory situations where there really isn’t much of an encounter. A situation like the kind of stop that is much greatly reduced nowadays obviously under stop and frisk, that’s a situation where it’s important for an officer to clarify to someone what’s happening and who they are. Other situations, I don’t think it is so vital or not practical. So it’s, again, it’s trying to strike a balance, and as has been true throughout in a huge array of situations any New Yorker can ask for identification and is supposed to be provided it. But this is where – the idea of this law is when does an officer offer it proactively, and that’s a specific set of encounters.

Lehrer: Right, but stay specific if we can. I read that if – well, the argument is if the point is to deter cops from making racially biased stops and to improve police-community relations, why shouldn’t this apply maybe especially to people being stopped without being suspected of a crime, including in cars where being stopped for “driving while black” quote unquote with no ticket eventually given is such a common complaint?

Mayor: Again, I think the notion here is one – that we’ve changed fundamentally the approach to policing in this city, and there’s ample evidence of that. Complaints against officers are way down in the last few years. All – the entire police force has been retrained. Obviously stops are way down. Neighborhood policing has been implemented. There’s a whole different approach anyway, and I think the notion here is there are certain encounters that are more substantial where we think it’s important for that I.D. to be offered proactively. There are others that are either not particularly substantial, or again in an emergency situations or urgent situations where it doesn’t make sense. There’s always the option for someone to ask for I.D., and it has to be provided. But I think this is about recognizing the bigger changes. I don’t think we think there’s every single situation an I.D. has to be proactively offered. I don’t think that’s practical. I don’t think that’s necessarily going to help us improve police-community relations in a situation where we already are improving them. I think we’re striking a balance, and we’re doing it in a way that any community member can see there’s respect being provided for them, but we’re also respecting officers. This is about striking a balance. Our officers have taken to this new philosophy and are implementing it really effectively, and I think that has to be respected, too.

Lehrer: So you’re saying the general performance and tone of the police department is improved, and so not as many of these specifics might be necessary, but I’m going to ask you about another specific because there’s criticism that the requirement is being dropped from the original version that would have police officers explain to people who they stop in non-emergency situation why they were stopped. Did you negotiate that out?

Mayor: Again, I wasn’t personally involved in the negotiation of every piece of the bill. It was between City Hall, NYPD, City Council all working together, and it was a very collegially negotiation. What we wanted to ensure was that we were recognizing one – a respect for everyone involved, and this is really important. If – we’ve trained the entire police force in a different way of interacting with the community. We’ve retrained the entire police force in de-escalating conflict. This, and obviously the neighborhood policing program in general, encourages developing relationships, developing dialogue. The difference between what you legislate and what you do through internal training and rules is a really important point her. I do think there’s a limit to how much should be legislated. I think there is – it’s important to say the legislation sets the broad parameters of what we’re trying to achieve, but we don’t use the legislative process to literally administer, and if you will, micromanage the police department every day. It’s another important factor in this, and I would say that about any agency, Brian. I think we wanted the legislation to achieve some very fundamental direction but not to get into managing each and every interaction of a police officer. I think that would’ve been inappropriate and overly invasive.

Lehrer: It’s Ask The Mayor here on WNYC, and Mark in Manhattan, you’re on with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Hello, Mark.

Question: Good morning, Brian, and good morning, Mr. Mayor. First, I want to say you deserve tremendous credit for all the things you’re doing to address homelessness and the housing crisis. I mean I could reel up the list but it’s just been very impressive – the right to council, the 15,000 units for the mentally ill, two years of rent freezes, the link vouchers, 300,000 new and preserved units. I mean its – I am a tremendous fan as you can tell. But I wanted to ask you –

Mayor: I like you Mark, I appreciate it.

Lehrer: Mark, do you work in the Mayor’s Press Office?

Mayor: Yeah, Mark is really good.

Question: I don’t but I work closely with a lot of people who are very supportive and I’ve met the Mayor, worked with the Mayor for years, and been a big fan. I think you’re doing a tremendous job. Given the fact that you’re – I mean it is almost an impossible job, but you’re making a mighty effort and I think your new initiative to create 90 new facilities for homeless folks in neighborhoods is a terrific idea. And I am sad to say that we’ve gotten a lot of crazies, there are a small minority of folks.

Lehrer: Mark forgive me, I know you’re a big fan of the Mayor I am hearing it. But do you have a question for him. Some of your points of support have been made very clear. Do you also have a question for the Mayor just for time?

Question: Yes, so I work with a broad network of faith groups that would like to be supportive of your plan and would like to serve as hospitality congregations in the neighborhoods where these facilities are being planned. I’d like to ask if you could work with you to identify where those sites are and then find those congregations that want to be part of the solution rather than have a small number of people who are opposing is the only voices that are heard –

Lehrer: Mark, thank you very much. You wish every call was like that, right?

Mayor: Yeah once in a while, right Brian? It’s refreshing. But it is a really powerful underlying point here which is that I love that notion of hospitality congregations because – actually for a long time houses of worship in the city we’re in the front line of helping the homeless. There were times in the previous administration where that was shunned by the city. We really embraced that notion on a variety of levels.

What Mark is pointing out is something I haven’t really thought of before which is linking houses of worship with specific shelters or new shelters to you know ease the relationship between the community and the shelter and to help the folks in the shelter. Look, this is really important because it’s about re-orienting the entire shelter system. The city has made more than a share of the mistakes, some of them on my watch, in terms of how we approached homelessness. What we finally figured out was the shelter system must be community oriented. Meaning that people should be sheltered in their own borough and ideally as close to their own neighborhood as possible.

Connecting communities of faith to those shelters actually amplifies the fact that we want to help people who are from anywhere, but especially from our own community who’ve fallen on hard times and help them back on their feet. This is something I found really has changed the tonality and the response in a lot of communities if they know the shelters are serving their neighbors, it changes their approach, and houses of worship in specific have been leaders in creating what’s called safe havens. These are smaller facilities, like 10 or 15 beds which are the way we first get people out of street homelessness and into a positive transition away from the street.

So yeah to Mark’s point – lots of more we do with houses of worship and particularly helping to bring down the temperature to the local level to help people understand – I say it all the time. There but for the grace of God go I, that anyone who’s homeless today which is overwhelmingly for economic reasons. It could be any of us. Someone who falls on that hard time lets help them back on their feet in their own neighborhood.

Lehrer: And new this week I see you have a plan for the city to buy a few dozen apartment buildings that homeless people are currently housed in temporarily, is that right?

Mayor: Well, yes, the deal is these are the cluster buildings. They have for a long time been very controversial. It’s bluntly started years ago when there was not enough housing available for folks who are homeless. And the city didn’t have enough shelters, so I started renting apartments in unfortunately, buildings that were not in a good shape. And it cost a lot of money and the housing wasn’t great. We’ve said we were going to get out of all of those clusters.

But what we added this week was that there are a few dozen building with a very substantial number of apartments in them that we were going to offer to buy the building outright from the owners. And we’re going to negotiate a fair price. If the owners will not sell us those buildings, these are all buildings where 50 percent or more of the apartments have homeless folks in them supported by the city that if the owners will not sell those buildings for a fair price we will use the eminent domain process to take those buildings. Of course we’ll provide full compensation as determined by a court. And then that will become permanent affordable housing. And those folks will right away, they will not be homeless because they will have, they’ll be in rent stabilized units. It will be long term affordable housing. And I think this for what’s probably going to be you know 2,000 or 3,000 people is going to make a huge difference.

Lehrer: Eminent domain is traditionally used to require the sale of private land to the government for a general public infrastructure like rail road beds, and things like that. Does this rise to that level?

Mayor: Sure it does. eminent domain – look, what do we think of when we with of it historically it is you know to create schools, you know, to create – and obviously in the past things like public housing. To create things that are of broad public need. Well, what’s the biggest challenge in New York City? We’re in an affordability crisis and within it a homelessness crisis, which again Brian is now a days overwhelmingly economic.

When I announced this eminent domain approach, the woman who opened up the press conference her name is Tahica, she is someone who has worked her entire life, multiple jobs, works in the healthcare field. Her husband works and she talked about despite all that not being able to afford an ever increasing rent and ending up homeless with her children. And she was a pillar of society. Everything you would want and for a few years she was homeless. Now thank God she’s back on her feet and in permanent affordable housing. 

The reason I say that is, this crisis now fundamentally is affecting this city and we have to address it. These are buildings that are already a part of the effort to fight homelessness. And if we take them take them over they will be upgraded, and they’ll become permanent affordable housing. So to me this absolutely – and our lawyers in the Law department feel strongly. It is absolutely appropriate and consistent use of eminent domain. Of course we are offering these landlords a fair price upfront. They can just voluntarily make a deal with us and we’ll buy their buildings upfront. But if not this is absolutely a fundamental public need that has to be addressed.

Lehrer: And just one other thing on this. How big could this program go? Right now if you’re talking about a couple of dozen buildings, 25-30 I read, and you’re saying maybe a few thousand people, that’s good. It is a small dent in the total homeless population. How much more of this? Is there a plan for you know – is this the beginning of a larger wave?

Mayor: Well, first of all. 2,000 or 3,000 people is a pretty dent in a homeless population, a shelter population that we have today.

Lehrer: 60,000.

Mayor: Second, look this one is calibrated to a very specific idea. Cluster buildings which again have this trouble with history and buildings that are 50 percent or more occupied by homeless. So it’s a specific and a narrow approach. I don’t want to speculate beyond that and this is something we realized with a particular and appropriate use of eminent domain. You know, I don’t have another example for you.

Lehrer: Okay.

Mayor: We would judge accordingly.

Lehrer: Bill, in South Midwood you’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hi Bill.

Question: Hi Brian, hi Mr. Mayor. My question is about a plan to put seating in a pedestrian mall in an area that’s surrounded by Brooklyn College, Midwood High School, two public schools, and two private schools. And DOT comes in, has not chosen to meet with the community board, and we sort of feel it’s being rammed down our throats.

Now, this is an area that if they put in seating and benches, which is all well and good, in a space that wasn’t as crowded as the Brooklyn Junction is where the 2 and 5 trains come in, buses out to the Rockaways, a lot of car traffic – if there were emergency vehicles that had to get through during this time, it would be a very risky situation for the community.

Now, instead of coming before the community board and presenting their proposals, DOT is sort of presenting this as a [inaudible] that you know, you’re getting this. And it just seems quite unfair. DOT acts like an agency that’s independent of any other city agency –

Lehrer: And that’s Department of Transportation, for people who don’t know what DOT stands for. Mr. Mayor, are you familiar with this particular plan for a pedestrian mall in South Midwood?

Mayor: No, but Bill, I’m glad you’re raising it because there are definitely times where well-intentioned government officials put forward a plan to achieve some, you know,  bigger and important goal but that’s always mean it makes sense in the local context. I’ve said this a lot of times, a lot of the things DOT does are really important for improving the long term reality of the city. For example, you know, putting in bike lanes or putting in traffic calming measures – things that – or Citi Bike or you name it – things that unquestionably fit bigger goals in terms of a better environment and more people being able to get around without cars.

But that doesn’t mean the original plan is always perfect. And sometimes even the plan gets tried and it doesn’t work or it isn’t what we need and we need to change it. So, on this one, I can immediately picture what you’re saying. I know that area pretty well as a Brooklynite. It’s also pretty near to Di Fara Pizzeria which is, for me, one of the most important sites in New York City.

But that is a really busy area and you’re right, a whole lot of students. I’m going to go back to DOT and challenge the point you’re raising that – is that going to end up with some unintended consequences. And I am going to instruct DOT to have a deeper conversation with community leaders to make sure that the good goals can be achieved without the unintended consequences.

So, Bill, I want to thank you for raising it. And if you would please give your direct contact information to WNYC so I can have folks from my team at City Hall follow up with you as well, I’d appreciate it.

Lehrer: Bill, we’ll take that off the air. Right now – so Mr. Mayor, I’ll make you a deal. If you promise to follow up with us on what you discover about that, then I won’t ask you how you eat your pizza at that pizzeria.

Mayor: You know, Brian, I have nothing to hide on the question of pizza. I will – you can bring a camera crew and I’ll show you the different pizza scenarios of when a hand makes sense and when a fork and knife makes sense. I am proud of my pizza habits. But we’ll follow up no matter what.

Lehrer: That sounds like transparency to me.


Nick in Sunset Park, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hi, Nick.

Question: Good morning, how are you, Mr. Mayor?

Mayor: Good morning.

Question: Your initiative on the homeless issue is outstanding. I think the use of eminent domain to help solve what [inaudible] to be a public health problem is a tremendous step in the right direction. I’ve worked in a shelter [inaudible] for many years and we thank you very much for that.

Lehrer: Wait, are you the brother of Mark in Manhattan who called earlier?


Question: I’m calling about a different issue. My family campaigned for you when you ran for mayor the first time and we supported you and continue to do so. But you have made commitments to Brooklyn hospitals. As a Brooklyn resident [inaudible] City Councilman and Public Advocate [inaudible] community hospital here which has an issue with the Department of Environmental Protection concerning water charges. The community hospital has a water bill which is based upon a meter which was registered incorrectly but one that your Department of Environmental Protection thought was wrong [inaudible] discretion could be used to give them a lower bill. The Department of Environmental Protection issued them a much higher bill which put a multi-million dollar burden on this particular hospital.

Mayor: Hey, Nick, which hospital are we talking about?

Question: It’s Maimonides.

Mayor: Maimonides, okay. I know it well. Let me find out what’s going on. I also want you to give your information to WNYC. I will have our DEP Commissioner – because they handle the water bill – DEP Commissioner Vinny Sapienza look into it directly and follow up with you. I know Maimonides really well. It’s an incredible institution and has done so much for the community. We certainly don’t want to sock them with a bill they don’t deserve but we need to figure out what happened here. So, let me have my commissioner look into that.

Lehrer: Great. Nick, hang on. We’re going to put you on hold. You can give your information to my producer. Mr. Mayor, an MTA question. I see four reps – your four reps on the MTA board, voted against the latest budget proposal. The nine others who you don’t get to appoint voted yes. What’s your issue?

Mayor: Well, it’s a couple things, Brian. First of all, there’s a charade going on here when it comes to the MTA. I will say the good news is the people of this city and this state now overwhelmingly understand that the MTA is controlled by the State and controlled by the Governor and that fiction of the past trying to obscure responsibility I think has largely been dispelled.

That’s a very good thing because that’s the pathway to making change and getting things done. But at the same time the fundamental issue that I’ve raised – and it’s never been refuted – that the State of New York siphoned off $456 million from the MTA, that was tax dollars from taxes that are earmarked for MTA services, diverted to State budget to other needs – that money needs to come back. There’s never been any semblance of action from the Governor and the State on returning that money and we’re not going to let that one go. The MTA needs the money, they should get the money that was long overdue to them.

The second point is there’s things in the budget proposal – this continued madness around putting lights on bridges and other things that are extraneous to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars that don’t get to the fundamental issue of fixing the MTA, fixing the signals, fixing the electric systems, getting the trains running on time.

So, we’re simply saying we’re not playing this game. It’s time for the MTA to one – get the money it deserves back from the State. Two – come up with specific spending plans that actually align to what affects straphangers the most and not to other priorities and bells and whistles and press releases and other things that seem to be so attractive to some people in Albany.

Let’s just get the money where it’s needed the most. And my representatives on the board are going to keep pushing for those changes. So, this is our way of saying we understand what’s happening here and it needs to change.

Lehrer: And to riders who feel like you and the Governor keep going back and forth over who’s to pay – who’s supposed to pay what to get the repairs done, in the meantime it makes it slower?

Mayor: No, the repairs are moving. And look, from the beginning I said I have a lot of respect for Chairman Lhota. The plan he put forward for the first round of repairs I think had a lot of good in it. The State has put money into that as they should. They should put the rest of the $456 million they owe the MTA into it and that would more than pay for what has to be done in the short term.

But the short term – even as that work is happening the big answer here is a long term sustainable funding source for the MTA. That should be the millionaire’s tax. The only – literally the only proposal to fund the MTA at a higher level going forward is my proposal for the millionaire’s tax which a number of key leaders in Albany are supporting.

That should be the way forward.

By the way, tragically what’s happening in Washington with the tax bill – it’s not over yet we are going to keep fighting – but if that bill passes and there’s massive tax giveaways to the wealthy and corporations, then the idea of a state millionaires tax to fund the MTA becomes even more relevant. Because those same millionaires and billionaires will be doing even better than ever before if they get massive tax relief from Washington so they should pay higher state taxes to take care of the MTA.

So that’s where the action is Brian, this other issue about the immediate repairs – those are actually moving. The side show that has been created here is to take the eyes of people off of the big picture. The big picture is we need a millionaires’ tax so we can fix the MTA long term.

Lehrer: Here is our first ever Ask the Mayor caller from London. Tara in London, you are on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio, hi Tara.

Question: Hi, thank you both for taking my call. And Mayor de Blasio I’m a fellow [inaudible] so it’s great to talk to you directly as well. I am a New York resident – I’m just doing work in London at the moment.

I’m calling because there are a lot of protections in place for individual tenants in New York City against big landlords and big developers which is great and very necessary. But then there are smaller individual, smaller landlords such as myself who have fallen through the cracks. And the protections aren’t in place. Things like taxes, evicting tenants, Airbnb trying to report tenants for kicking out their own subletters for Airbnbing. And the courts and the policies are not in place for individuals such as myself.

Is this on your radar? Or is there anything that you are doing to try and help small people such as myself?

Mayor: Tara, thank you very much for that call and first of all we are all impressed at a call from London, that’s certainly an Ask the Mayor first. But the issue is a real one. And it is on my radar and I want to be straight forward with you. I think some of the pieces you raised where we have some emerging solutions and others where we have more work to do.

On the Airbnb piece, you know, illegal, illegal use of Airbnb – we are taking on very aggressively and what’s called the Office of Special Enforcement that we have beefed up a lot in the last few years. And if you have a concern about someone illegally renting out an apartment via Airbnb you can report that through 3-1-1 and there will be follow up and there are very real penalties that can be applied to the people doing it. So that piece I think we have a lot we can do to help smaller landlords.

On the piece on about tenants who are abusive – look, we are New Yorkers, we are going to be blunt, we are going to be honest here. There are bad landlords out there which are often the larger landlords but some bad landlords that we have had to take on provide tenants with legal support to make sure that are not illegally evicted or harassed.

But that doesn’t mean every tenant is pristine and we know there are some tenants who unfortunately have done the wrong thing. We know there are some tenants who have scammed and done things that were inappropriate. We need to figure out how to be –

Question: But compared to the –

Mayor: Just to finish the point, we need to figure out how to be supportive to the smaller landlords who are trying to do the right thing and have a situation like that. Now I do believe having much more presence of lawyers in housing court actually helps everyone involved.

Remember, overwhelming in the past tenants went into housing court with no representation, now because we are providing free representation, it actually creates more rationality in the process because lawyers will try to come up with a solution even in cases where a tenant may not have been doing that right thing –  they have to defend the tenant but they also do help move the process towards resolution.

But I think you are pointing out something that we bluntly have to come up with, some new policy to address because there is a problem that, that’s there that we don’t have an easy answer for yet.

Lehrer: Tara go ahead.

Question: I’m, just compared, I mean Mayor de Blasio you bring up very good points and that yes it is a matter of beefing up the whole system so that these things can actually be assessed and processed faster. But just relative to other states and other cities, it’s just such an archaic system that seems to be in place.

Mayor: Just to affirm that I think that brings up a separate and related very quick point which is housing court in general is not structured in the way any of us would want it to be – in terms of being effective and efficient. It’s another one of these court systems that is often overwhelmed.

I think what you are inspiring me to think about here Tara, is that we need to think about some things that we can do and obviously when we talk about the court system, we talk about the state of New York as well. To rationalize the process – because again we are seeking justice, I’m certain there’s times when there are small landlords in particular who have done the right thing and are also struggling to get justice.

Let me see what we can do to think about how we bring those strands together and it probably would correlate to some larger reform program for the housing court.

Lehrer: Alright, and we will definitely follow up on that. Tara, thank you very much. We are just about out of time. But I see you are going to Iowa next week for a political event. Iowa – are you exploring a 2020 presidential run?

Mayor: Well Brian, thank you for the question but it’s the same answer that I have given dozens and dozens of times. You know, I was running for one thing and I was so proud and honored that the people of this city, with really wonderful support, asked me to be their Mayor again. And that’s what I’m going to do for the next four years and we have got a lot to do and a very aggressive agenda for New York City for the next four years.

But I’ve also said as the leader of the largest city in the country and as a proud democrat and progressive, I want to use my voice to support change in our party and in our country and particularly to support people and organizations that are making that change.

The group involved, Progress Iowa, has 70,000 members in Iowa. They are leading force in that state in progressive change. They are one of the reasons I think you are going to see democrats and progressives start to gain more ground back in Iowa. And Iowa is a very, very important state in this country.

And look, just what we have gone through on the tax bill in these last weeks, we are talking about a small number of seats that need to shift, certainly in the senate but also in the house that could change everything for New York City if we had a congress that was not trying to undermine New York City and so many other parts of the country.

So the way you make that bigger change is on the ground in the places that are the swing states and the swing districts. Progress Iowa – I’ve actually appeared before them in the past – they are a wonderful organization doing grassroots organizing. They asked me to come and keynote an event they are doing.

That’s the kind of thing I’m going to keep doing because I think it’s in the long term interest in New York City and certainly it conforms with what I believe in the need to make progressive change in this country and to rejuvenate the democratic party and make it a more progressive force.

Lehrer: Defiantly good for New York to have representation in the swing state conversations but to be clear about you – are you ruling out a 2020 presidential run?

Mayor: I just have – as I said very, very simply, you know, one goal which is four years as mayor of this city. It’s just as simple as that.

Lehrer: Alright, I’ll be off next Friday so this is our last Ask the Mayor segment together before Christmas so I want to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas Mr. Mayor. Are there de Blasio family traditions for Christmas or do you also celebrate Kwanza? What do you so for the holidays?

Mayor: We have some times celebrated Kwanza over the years, particularly when we are with Chirlane’s extended family which has had a nice Kwanza tradition. And we celebrate Christmas, Christmas morning and have stockings that are very big, you know stuffing the stocking very big part of our family ritual. I still have the stocking from when I was a kid so that’s nice little continuity.

But yes, it’s going to be a great time for everyone to be together as family and Brian a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and to all your listeners – Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, a very Happy New Year to all.

Lehrer: Thanks, enjoy whatever you do, thank you very much for coming on. As usual talk to you soon.

Mayor: Take care Brian.

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