de Blasio Press Q&A: The Vision Zero Edition

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio met with families of several victims of fatal pedestrian traffic accidents and announced an interagency working group intended to implement his “Vision Zero” plan.  de Blasio first visited the intersection of 61st Street and Northern Boulevard, site of a December traffic accident which killed 8 year old Noshat Nahian as he walked to school.  de Blasio then held a press conference at Nahian’s school, P.S. 152, less than a block from the accident site.

Topics during the Q&A included details around the Vision Zero plan, funding for the September 11th memorial, the settlement of longstanding lawsuits arising out of the 2004 Republican National Convention, NYPD disclosures pursuant the Freedom of Information Law and Super Bowl security planning.  Here is de Blasio’s full press Q&A.

Crowley in Corona (Updated)

Today we spoke with Congressman Joe Crowley. Crowley, who is Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, addressed several issues.  We spoke at a Three King Day celebration in Corona hosted by Council Member Julissa Ferreras.

I asked Crowley about the unfolding Chris Christie/George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal.


Congressman Crowley discussed the council speaker’s race, in which his candidate lost to Bill de Blasio’s candidate, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and his relationship with the mayor.  (A little background is here.)  He also discussed the mayor’s pre-K/middle school program initiative and the related proposed income tax surcharge.  Here is his full Q&A.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Fork Edition

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio paid his first visit as mayor to Staten Island, having lunch at Goodfella’s Pizza.  Although the visit was dominated by the mayor’s forking a pizza, he addressed some serious issues as well.

Following his lunch, Mayor de Blasio made a brief statement and then answered questions from the press.  Here is his full statement and Q&A:

In depth coverage of Forkgate is here.

THE FORK (updated x 2)

Grilled by the Daily News’ Jennifer Fermino, Mayor de Blasio explains his “very complicated” pizza eating method.  The action took place at Goodfella’s Restaurant in the Dongan Hills section of Staten Island.


New York’s mayor forks his pizza.

Coverage of the mayor’s post-forking press conference is available here.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Afterschool Edition (Updated x 2)

Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference this afternoon at Middle School 331, on West Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, to promote the middle school portion of his pre-K/middle school after school program initiative.

Jill Colvin of Politicker asked de Blasio about the unfolding scandal enveloping New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  Here’s how he responded.

The Port Authority, ground zero of the scandal, is a bi-state agency controlled by the governors of New York and New Jersey.  Despite the Port Authority operating major elements of New York City’s transportation infrastructure, including the three Hudson River crossings into New York City and the City’s two major airports, the mayor has no control of the agency.  Accordingly, it’s an agency that mayors love to rail against, if not hate.

One possible consequence of the scandal may be an unexpected need for Mayor de Blasio to focus on the structure and operations of the Port Authority and determine whether  to seek any major changes in them.  With no role or control at the Port Authority, he has little leverage and is basically a Port Authority bystander, despite the PA’s importance to the city.  But standing by passively could result in a missed opportunity should Governor Cuomo decide to seek changes in the PA’s structure or operations.  Although mostly silent on the scandal, Cuomo did recently announce a plan, or at least a plan to make a plan, for New York State to take control of the construction operations at the two airports.  Whether he’ll move more aggressively is unclear, but it seems like a fair prospect.  One bright spot for de Blasio is his administration’s in-house expertise on the Port Authority; First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris is a former executive director of the Port Authority.  (updated)


Here is the mayor’s full 37 minute Q&A with the press.

From #NextSpeaker to #NewSpeaker (Updated)

Today Melissa Mark-Viverito was elected speaker of the New York City Council,  prevailing over Council Member Dan Garodnick in what was initially a seven person contest.

Immediately after the council meeting, Speaker Mark-Viverito held her first press conference as speaker.  Here is the full video of that press conference.


Six council members were defeated by Melissa Mark-Viverito in the quest to be speaker.  We look at what those six said at the council meeting.

Three of those six members made extended remarks.  Here are full statements by:

Dan Garodnick:

Mark Weprin:

Jumaane Williams:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Press on Press Edition (Updated x 3)

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio announced seven appointments to his press staff:  Phillip Walzak as Press Secretary, Rebecca Kirszner Katz as Special Advisor to the Mayor, Marti Adams as First Deputy Press Secretary, Angela Banks as Director of Operations for the Press Office, Maibe Ponet as Deputy Press Secretary, Wiley Norvell as Deputy Press Secretary and Mahen Gunaratna as Director of Research and Media Analysis.

Following statements by the mayor and his appointees, Mayor de Blasio answered questions from the press.  Topics included his press office operations and media strategy, whether he likes the media, media strategy lessons from his campaign, whether he ever considered a career in journalism, the council speaker candidacy of Melissa Mark-Viverito, funding for his pre-K/after school program initiative and possible elimination of member items in the city council.  Here is his full Q&A.

Update – de Blasio & the Press:

Many of the questions concerned Mayor de Blasio’s relationship with the press, both personally and professionally.  Here are excerpts featuring some of those questions.

Update #2 – de Blasio’s News Sources:

We look at Mayor de Blasio’s reply when Capital New York reporter Azi Paybarah asked the mayor how he gets his news.  (The July report referenced in this report can be seen here.)

Update #3 – Maibe Ponet:

Here is Mayor de Blasio’s introduction of Deputy Press Secretary Maibe Ponet.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Afternoon Edition (Updated)

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio held his second press conference of the day.  His first press conference featured labor leaders declaring their support for de Blasio’s pre-K/after school initiative.  His second press conference, held in City Hall, featured his announcement of six appointments: Bill Chong as Commissioner of Youth and Family Development, Marco A. Carrion to lead the Community Affairs Unit, Mindy Tarlow as Director of Operations, Peter Ragone as Senior Advisor for Strategic Planning, Max Sevillia to oversee federal legislative affairs and Sherif Soliman to oversee state legislative affairs.

Following his statement and statements from the appointees, de Blasio answered questions from the press.  Topics included Peter Ragone’s role in the administration, de Blasio’s engagement in the city council speaker race, plans concerning his wife’s possible staff and office, Health Commissioner Tom Farley, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina’s pension and salary and Governor Cuomo’s plans to allow medical marijuana in New York. Here is his full press Q&A:

Update – Peter Ragone:

Here is Mayor de Blasio’s introduction of Peter Ragone, Senior Advisor for Strategic Planning, and Ragone’s remarks:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Laboring Leaders Edition

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio assembled many of New York City’s labor leaders in support of his pre-K/after school program initiative.  The labor leaders, including George Gresham, Stuart Appelbaum, Michael Mulgrew, George Miranda, Peter Ward, Vinny Alavarez and Hector Figueroa, pledged to work in support of de Blasio’s initiative.

Here is de Blasio’s press Q&A.

Speaker Selection: Home Stretch (Updated x 2)

We spoke this afternoon with Council Member/speaker contender Melissa Mark-Viverito concerning media coverage of her candidacy.  A significant amount of media attention on Mark-Viverito has been less than flattering and some, such as yesterday’s New York Post story on a woman who claims that Mark-Viverito placed a hex on her, has been odd.   We spoke at the ceremonial swearing in of Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

Update – Public Forums:

We spoke with Council Member Carlos Menchaca about the role of the seven public speaker candidate forums.  Menchaca was one of the four newly-elected council members who conceived and organized the forums.

Update #2 – Predictions & Solidarity:

We spoke with Council Members Carlos Menchaca, Ydanis Rodriguez and Brad Lander, as well as Melissa Mark-Viverito, about the state of the council speaker race with three days to go.

Solidarity, In Song:

Finally, a brief excerpt from the performance of the New York City Labor Chorus at the inauguration ceremony of Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

Inauguration 2014 (Updated x 2)

Mayor Bill de Blasio took office on January 1st with an inauguration ceremony on the steps of City Hall.

For the Price of a Small Soy Latte:

In his inaugural address de Blasio highlighted his call for funding universal pre-K and middle school after school programs with an increased income tax on high earners.  We look at his clever framing of the anticipated additional tax burden for those high earners.

Update – Applause:

For the Kremlinologists (CityHallologists? deBlasiologists?), here’s a brief clip of the introductions of elected & former elected officials and their respective applause, both by and for.

Update #2 – Stringer Oath:

NYS Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten administered the oath of office to Comptroller Scott Stringer, continuing on despite a jailbreak by one young attendee.