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

Red Sox fan Bill de Blasio today threw out the first pitch at the New York Mets opening day.  de Blasio, still recovering from the 1986 Red Sox World Series loss to the Mets, sought to deflect attention from that loss with a press conference discussing the New York State budget and the many budget items affecting New York City.

Red Sox Fan Reflects on Bill Buckner:

After a lengthy discussion of budget and other governmental issues, de Blasio was asked about Game 6 of the 1986 series.  Displaying his true political skill, he minimized his lingering pain, defended Bill Buckner and sought to return the focus to city government and pre-K funding.

Update – Full Press Q&A:

Red Sox fan de Blasio was also asked non-baseball questions.  Among the  question topics were his reaction to the pre-K funding contained in the state budget agreement and the absence of his proposed income tax surcharge, what funding has been provided in the state budget for the middle school after school portion of his initiative, the outlook for his as yet unfulfilled request for state approval of additional red light cameras in the City and the lingering pain of Bill Buckner’s bobble in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.  Here is his full press Q&A.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Greek Independence Day Edition (Updated)

After marching in Manhattan’s Greek Independence Day Parade, Mayor Bill de Blasio briefly answered questions from the press.  Question topics, which were limited by the mayor’s press staff to “budget only”, included an MTA budget cut contained in the state budget, the charter school co-location/rent provisions in the state budget and mayoral control of the school system.

Update – Mayor de Blasiopolos:

During a mid-parade interview Fox reporter/meteorologist Nick Gregory renamed the Italian/German mayor.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Brooklyn Library Edition

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a Department of Education Universal pre-K enrollment workshop being held at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.  Following his visit, Mayor de Blasio held a press conference in front of the Library, promoting his pre-K/middle school program initiative.

Full Press Q&A:

Following an opening statement, the mayor answered questions from the press.  Topics included his reaction to Governor Cuomo’s statement that he is not planning to approve a specific amount of pre-K funding set forth in the state senate proposed budget, how confident he is of pre-K funding, the status of his administration’s review of the city’s Sandy relief programs, his reaction to Governor Cuomo’s statements on mayoral control of the city school system and charter schools, the current status of site clearing and the investigation into the cause of the East Harlem building explosion, whether New Yorkers should be concerned about gas leaks, his reaction to a tweet yesterday by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito critical of Governor Cuomo’s reaction to the East Harlem building explosion, how the church services he attended this morning for victims affected him personally and the relief efforts being led by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and the Mayor’s Fund for NYC.  Here is his full press Q&A:

Sandy Review:

I asked the mayor about his previously discussed review of the City’s Sandy recovery programs.  Here’s how he responded:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Salvation Army Center Edition (Updated)

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a Salvation Army center on Harlem’s 125th Street, meeting with people displaced by the East Harlem building explosion.  Following his visit he held a lengthy press conference on the street in front of the Salvation Army center.

We’ll start with a quick look at his departure, and the fan who gave him a departing boost.

Update – Full Q&A:

Among the questions asked by the press: whether the city is working with Mexican government officials to encourage any eligible Mexican nationals to register with the city for assistance, whether all victims have been located and identified, what is the biggest remaining challenge at the site, whether there are continuing concerns of gas leaking at the site, whether there is any evidence of illegal gas connections in the basements of the destroyed buildings, what damage or evidence the FDNY will look for, the number of people needing housing assistance, whether any victims asked about the investigation when meeting with the mayor, the number and location of apartments being made available by REBNY to temporarily house victims, what the mayor would say to any employer not granting time off to a victim and whether the mayor is concerned about the pace of gas main replacements.

Here is the full Q&A:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Bill & Tim Edition

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, for an event focused on the mayor’s pre-K initiative.  They met at the Catherine Corry Academy at Saint Francis of Assisi School in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, visiting a classroom and then holding a joint press conference.  The Archdiocese, which runs its own extensive school system, has proposed providing 1,700 seats for the City’s expanded pre-K program.

To the audible consternation of the press, the mayor took on-topic questions only.  (Although WCBS-TV’s Marcia Kramer did manage to shoehorn in a charter school question.)  At the conclusion, the mayor’s about-to-be-smooth exit stage left was stymied as Cardinal Dolan moved stage right to say hello to Council Members Andy King and Andrew Cohen.  de Blasio ignored continued questions and joined Dolan, smiling, leaving a moment later without taking any on-topic questions.

Questions asked included whether Cardinal Dolan supports the income tax surcharge that is part of the mayor’s plan, what the 1,700 seats offered by the Archdiocese are currently used for, pending education tax credit bills, how the mayor expects to get his pre-K plan approved despite continuing disagreement with Governor Cuomo, guidelines governing church/state separation, how enough sufficiently-credentialed teachers can be in place for September and whether the pressure over his charter school actions is causing Mayor de Blasio to change his views.  Here is the full Q&A:

N.B.  An in-depth look at their relationship is here.

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

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with the press following a lengthy meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo this afternoon.  They met in Governor Cuomo’s Albany office.

Update – Pre-K Rally:

Prior to visiting the Capitol, Mayor de Blasio hosted a rally at a nearby armory.  Here are select excerpts from the rally:

We Will Rock You

As the rally concluded, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver joined in singing/chanting to Queen’s We Will Rock You (He’s on the right):

Silver Speech

Here is Silver’s full speech:

de Blasio Speech

Here is de Blasio’s full speech:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Middle School Edition

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio held a bifurcated press conference.

In the first portion the mayor lauded, and gave commendations to, two police officers for their actions in saving the life of a 15 month old child.  When police officers Michael Konatsotis and David Roussine responded to a call while on patrol Saturday on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, they encountered parents with an unresponsive toddler.  Konatsotis, a former EMT, resuscitated the child as Roussine rushed them and the child’s parents to a nearby hospital.

In the second portion of the press conference de Blasio discussed the middle school after school program portion of his pre-K/middle school after school program initiative.  The pre-K portion has received the overwhelming share of public and media attention.

Questions during the Q&A portion of the press conference included his plans during his scheduled visit to Albany on March 4th, why he expects to convince legislators who he has not convinced, whether he’s concerned that the middle school program will be pushed aside if there is a pre-K funding mechanism other than his proposed tax, where the money to fund the middle school program will come from, how he counters the argument that his tax proposal is unfair to cities that do not have a high earner tax base, how he will measure the success of the program absent additional standardized testing, whether he expects to meet with Governor Cuomo or Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos during his March 4th trip, what he would say to a parent whose child planned on attending one of the charter schools that his administration refused to allow, whether he doubts Governor Cuomo’s commitment or ability to deliver on the funding the governor has promised, what are the major hurdles in trying to convince the state senate to approve his tax proposal, whether there’s an absolute deadline for getting his tax proposal approved, whether he can promise parents pre-K spots should Governor Cuomo’s proposal gointo effect, and why he has not met with Congressman Michael Grimm since taking office.

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

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio marched in the St. Pats For All parade in Woodside/Sunnyside. Organized as an alternative St. Patrick’s Day Parade which welcomes LGBT groups, the parade has gained significant political attention.  It’s a free spirited, whimsical cousin to the massive Manhattan parade.  A featured guest at the 2014 parade was Panti Bliss, an Irish gay activist and drag Queen who has received significant attention for a recent speech on LGBT equality.

After marching, the mayor spoke with the press.  Here is his full press conference, including an opening statement and questions from the press.  (Questions start at about 3:15.)

Among the questions was one posed by Capital New York’s Sally Goldenberg (at about 3:40): Why didn’t he march in Rockaway’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday.  His answer?  “My approach has been to embrace parades that are inclusive, and that’s the standard we’re going to hold to.”  (Here’s some background on de Blasio and the Rockaway parade.)

Update – Skipping Rockaway Parade:

One of the press questions, asked by Sally Goldenberg of Capital New York, was why the mayor skipped the St. Patrick’s Day parade yesterday in Rockaway.  His answer was surprising.

Update #2 – A Minister, A Consul General & Panti Bliss:

The pre-parade remarks included three speakers from Ireland: Minister of State for Training & Skills Ciaran Cannon, performer and LGBT activist Panti Bliss and Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny.  Many New York elected officials spoke, but the Irish speakers, particularly the two government officials, are notable for illustrating the notion that excluding LGBT groups from the Manhattan parade is not reflective of the sentiment in Ireland.  We’ve included their respective full remarks, plus a bonus Mayor de Blasio appearance, in this excerpt.