We spoke with Amy Peterson, the Director of New York City’s Housing Recovery Office, about the Build It Back program. Peterson, appointed by Mayor de Blasio in late March, oversees the widely criticized program and is charged with restarting what has been a moribund effort.
We spoke after a Sandy-recovery town hall hosted by Comptroller Scott Stringer in the Arverne section of Rockaway.
Many elected officials participated in todays Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, among them Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Update – Electeds on Parade:
We look at the Mayor’s, and other elected officials, reception:
de Blasio & Cuomo Remarks:
In what could be titled “a tale of two proclamations”, the Mayor and Governor each made brief remarks at the start of the parade and each presented their own proclamation to the parade organizers. Neither took questions. de Blasio invoked his father’s World War II service and injury, and subsequent struggles, in urging the audience to “never let their memories go” of service members injured or killed. Cuomo described himself as a “Queens boy” for whom it is a “pleasure to be back on [his] home turf.” H e declared it “a day to remember that freedom is not free”, noting that “we still have boys in harm’s way.” Their full remarks are here:
Steve & Teddy:
Congressman Steve Israel, chair of the DCCC, met a historic figure. Every parade needs a little goofiness after all.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer continued his series of town hall meetings focused on Hurricane Sandy recovery, visiting the Arverne Section of Rockaway Wednesday evening. (Our report on his initial town hall, in Rockaway’s Breezy Point, is here.)
Here’s our report.
Here’s a little iphone video from Kathy Hochul’s 2011 special congressional election victory party. Now named as the 2014 Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Hochul defeated Jane Corwin in a fierce race to fill the vacancy in the 26th Congressional District following Chris Lee’s abrupt selfie-inflicted resignation. (Corwin was asked by Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino to run as the 2014 Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate.) The election night party attendees included then-Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
Today at the Brooklyn Army Terminal Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the 30 members of a task force “that will develop real-time strategies to strengthen the city’s workforce and help workers develop” more advanced job skills. The task force includes city government officials, a major union leader, senior staff from large New York City businesses, investors and principals of smaller businesses. The task force is produce a report “[t]his fall … with concrete recommendations.”
Question topics included financial incentives given by the City to Altronix (which hosted the Mayor for a visit just before the press conference), whether the mayor has concerns about offering such incentives, whether his jobs task force will work with local communities, whether his affordable housing plan conflicts with his plan to enable more manufacturing in the city, what a base livable minimum wage is, whether the mayor is concerned about the possibility that Republicans may control the U.S. Senate next year, whether NY State has done enough to assist NYC in obtaining hazard mitigation money from the federal government, the Mayor’s views on items sold at the September 11th Museum gift shop and what the first “tangible” product of the task force will be.
Here is the full Q&A:
Congressman Charles B. Rangel today held a press conference on 116th & Lexington Avenue to tout some of his Mexican-American and Puerto Rican supporters. Rangel’s electoral hopes require a strong showing in El Barrio, a predominantly Puerto Rican portion of East Harlem.
Rangel pitch to voters involves portraying himself as the candidate most able to assist President Obama in the last two years of his presidency. He ignores the distance that the president has kept from Rangel since his tax woes, focusing on his more than four decades in Congress and his resulting knowledge and experience. Today he pushed that argument, and also portrayed himself as a deeply embedded part of El Barrio, with his supporter Adam Clayton Powell IV attacking competing candidate, Domincan-born and Washington Heights resident, Adriano Espaillat as an “interloper”.
Here are selected excerpts from the press conference:
Debate “Phone Call”:
Rep. Rangel’s “phone call” at last week’s candidate debate has garnered lots of attention. Here’s what Rangel had to say today about it:
Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton escorted Police Officer Rosa Rodriguez out of the hospital today, 43 days after she was critically injured in a Coney Island fire that killed her partner, Police Officer Dennis Guerra.
Here’s a brief clip of her departure:
Neither de Blasio or Bratton spoke with the press.
Mayor de Blasio today celebrated his Italian heritage and two bicycling events. He spoke at the NYC Bike Expo, highlighting both the Expo and the Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York. The Gran Fondo is a bicycle race from the George Washington Bridge to Bear Mountain, scheduled for Sunday May 18th.
The Mayor has two other Italian-involved events today; he’s scheduled to meet with Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and to host a roundtable with members of the Italian media.
Here are excerpts from his remarks at the Bike Expo:
The three Democratic candidates in the 13th Congressional slugged it out tonight in a debate sponsored by the Urban Justice Center Safety Net Project and hosted by St. Luke A.M.E. Church.
Here is Congressman Rangel’s unusual opening.
Update – Post-Debate Media Avails:
Following the debate, all three candidates spoke separately with the press.
Senator Espaillat began with criticism of Congressman Rangel’s opening statement and concluded with a comment about their personal interactions. With a small twist at the end.
Congressman Rangel addressed whether he’s been “far more aggressive in this debate than [he] was before.”
Rev. Walrond began with the observation that the other candidates take him much more seriously than they did early in the race.
(The full debate video follows after the jump.) Continue reading
Mayor Bill de Blasio today touted the reopening of the Hamilton Avenue asphalt plant and the City’s ongoing work in repairing and resurfacing city roadways. He spoke at the Hamilton Avenue asphalt plant in Brooklyn, described by several city officials as in a “no-man’s land” between Red Hook, Gowanus and Sunset Park.
On topic questions covered changes in the manufactured asphalt and the respective role that pothole filling, road resurfacing and road rebuilding play in the maintenance of city roads.
Off topic questions included an unsuccessful attempt by a Queens resident to submit a paper list of needed road repairs to 311, Mayor de Blasio’s 20th wedding anniversary, LICH, the possibility that the Working Families Party will not select Governor Cuomo as its nominee, Alec Baldwin’s recent arrest by the NYPD, interest in New York seeking to host the 2024 Olympics, a plan by a French-American group to airdrop rose petals on the Statue of Liberty, Comptroller Stringer’s demand that the administration change how it accounts for $725 million of costs under the proposed UFT contract and the apartment towers contemplated for Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Here is the full press Q&A:
Mayor Bill de Blasio visited PS 69 Q in Jackson Heights this afternoon, promoting the changes to city schools incorporated in his proposed budget and proposed UFT contract.
Citywide Debriefing Team:
During the Q&A portion of the press conference, Jill Colvin of The New York Observer asked the mayor for his reaction, and whether he approved, to a NY Times report that the NYPD has a “Citywide Debriefing Team [that] has combed the city’s jails for immigrants — predominantly Muslims — who might be persuaded to become police informants.” Here’s how the mayor responded:
Full Press Q&A:
On topic question topics included the mayor’s proposed $20 million allocation for arts programs and whether this is all new spending, whether it’s typical for elementary schools to have arts teachers, the mayor’s proposed $4.4 billion capital spending to address classroom overcrowding, how many new classroom seats that spending would produce and where they would be located, whether all trailers used by schools would be eliminated, the definition of “problematic behavior” used in dealing with the Absent Teacher Reserve, what the state funding to be used for middle school after school programs would have otherwise been used for and DoE support for schools that will participate in the program providing increased school autonomy. Mayor de Blasio interrupted the on topic portion of the press conference to introduce “parent activist” Laverne Maison (sp?). We have omitted that portion of the Q&A, presenting only the portion with actual questions and answers.
Off topic question topics included Vision Zero, the NYPD’s plan to stop seizing condoms from sex workers, the NYPD’s “Citywide Debriefing Team”, the Working Families Party and whether it will nominate Andrew Cuomo as its candidate for governor, the 9/11 Museum and the total spending through 2020 for the proposed UFT contract.
Speaking at the Fire Department’s training academy on Randall’s Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his appointment of Daniel Nigro as Fire Commissioner. Nigro is a retired FDNY chief of department, and his long career at the FDNY included assuming operational command at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, after his predecessor as chief of Department, Peter Ganci, died in the building collapse.
On topic questions included changes in technology since Nigro retired from the FDNY, Nigro’s thoughts and feelings upon accepting the job, his disability pension, whether he has a set of goals or planned steps concerning diversity in the Department, what Nigro see’s as the Department’s biggest challenge, when he will start as commissioner, what it was like to tell his father, a retired FDNY captain, that he will be commissioner, how the Department is different from when he retired, why the mayor did not retain current Commissioner Sal Cassano, the 911 call system, what Nigro sees as an appropriate level of diversity, whether the mayor considered any women or candidates of color for commissioner and whether Nigro has a predominant image or memory from September 11th.
Off topic questions included Falun Gong’s efforts to obtain a parade permit, the 10 race horses that have died at Aqueduct this winter, Michael Mulgrew’s “war with reformers” comment, whether the House Select Committee on Benghazi is unfair to Hillary Clinton, treatment of teachers in ATR under the newly negotiated contract with the UFT and the moving of identified remains of September 11th victims to the World Trade Center site.
Among the most somber responsibilities of any mayor is recognizing and honoring uniformed service members who die in the line of duty. This morning Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the annual Memorial Day Ceremony held by the New York City Police Department.
Here are his full remarks: