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:
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.
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.
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.
Today Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of Nisha Agarwal as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Lorraine Grillo as President of the School Construction Authority and Steve Banks as commissioner of the Human Resources Administration. de Blasio noted that he and Banks ran against each other for city council in 2001, when de Blasio was first elected.
de Blasio fielded several questions on the reversal yesterday of three Success Academy charter school co-locations. (He also answered questions on this topic at a press conference yesterday.)
Update – Full Q&A:
Here is the full press Q&A:
Among the many large tasks assumed by Mayor de Blasio is guiding the City’s ongoing post-Sandy recovery and rebuilding. It’s a multi-billion dollar, multi-year effort that is, for most New Yorkers, already out of focus. In this report we look at the mayor’s current actions, starting with a campaign pledge.
This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton visited the NYPD’s 25th Precinct, located on Harlem’s 119th Street. The mayor lauded the police generally, and specifically commended the two rookie officers involved in a shooting yesterday in Bed-Stuy. One of the officers was shot multiple times and his partner was key to apprehending the perpetrator. de Blasio also lauded a civilian who recently assisted the NYPD in apprehending a rapist in the 25th Precinct. de Blasio announced “seven steps to positive community interactions”, a protocol intended to improve interactions NYPD officers and civilians.
Update – Success Academy Co-location Reversals:
Mayor de Blasio responded to several questions concerning the administration’s decision, announced just before the press conference, to reverse nine school co-locations approved during the Bloomberg administration. Of the nine reversals, three apply to Success Academy schools. This excerpt includes the full Success Academy/co-location reversal discussion.
Question topics during the on-topic portion of a Q&A session included outstanding warrants on the shooting suspect, whether the mayor’s view of the police has changed since he took office and whether he still views himself as a police “watchdog”, how the seven steps will be communicated to police officers, a weekend attack on the 7 train, the background & origin of the seven steps, whether assignment rules will change to prevent the pairing of two rookie officers as occurred in the Bed-Stuy shooting, the current condition of the wounded officer, warrant enforcement procedures and current NYPD plans on instituting body-worn cameras. Topics during the off-topic portion of the Q&A session included whether Commissioner Bratton will march in the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade, when the mayor will move to Gracie Mansion, several questions concerning the de Blasio administration’s reversal today of three school co-locations for Success Academy previously approved by the Bloomberg administration and whether the City will consider joining a CFE successor lawsuit. Here is the full Q&A.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first mayoral parade season kicks off this week, with the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday. We look back at last year’s parade and ahead to the 2014 edition.
(Our coverage of the 2013 parade is here.)
Late Friday Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference to discuss progress in the effort to keep Long Island College Hospital, or LICH, open. de Blasio also made a closing statement concerning the imbroglio surrounding his NYPD security detail following a news report that the detail was speeding and rolling through two stop signs as it drove de Blasio away from a press conference Thursday in Maspeth.
The State University of New York (SUNY) controls LICH, and has been trying to sell or close the money-losing operation. On Friday, de Blasio announced that SUNY and Governor Cuomo have agreed to a new round of bidding from prospective buyers. This additional RFP will have a revised weighting in the scoring and selection of a winner from the submitted proposals. It’s another chance to find a bidder who will continue hospital operations at the site, but the new RFP is far from a solution despite the repeated references to such development as “historic”.
Here is de Blasio’s closing statement, addressing the imbroglio around his NYPD security detail and it’s driving.
Here is de Blasio’s full press Q&A:
Today Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference in Maspeth to highlight the City’s efforts at pothole repair. The city’s roads have been battered by a high number of winter storms and temperature fluctuations, producing a bumper pothole crop. The mayor’s press conference, held at 69th Lane and 60th Avenue in Maspeth, featured the mayor and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg joining a Department of Transportation road crew in filling a pothole.
On-topic questions for the mayor included the cost of the pothole repair program, the furlough of seasonal DoT workers, the average time between pothole complaints and repair, the outlook for the rest of the winter, the number of potholes repaired, how potholes are identified for repair, the DoT’s road resurfacing plans in the near-future, how many crews are working, why this particular pothole was chosen for the press conference location, whether the mayor is enjoying “this aspect” of his job and an assessment by the road crew of how the mayor performed. Off-topic questions included the mayor’s proposed budget and the potential cost of open labor contracts, a timeline for settling the open labor contracts, the Build it Back program, the administration’s “comprehensive review” of the city’s Sandy recovery efforts, release of Bishop Findlayter’s arrest report, the mayor’s September promise to visit a carriage horse stable before acting on his pledge to ban carriage horses and the administration’s community development block grant application. Here is the mayor’s full press Q&A:
The mayor was asked three separate questions concerning the city’s ongoing efforts at recovery from Hurricane Sandy. The first focused on the Build it Back program, which is widely criticized for a slow, even glacial, pace of funding repairs. The second (from yours truly) asked about the “comprehensive review” briefly mentioned by the mayor in his State of the City address on February 10th. The third asked about the city’s community development block grant application, due to be submitted to the federal government by March 18th. Here is how the mayor responded:
Update – Pothole Repair:
Mayor de Blasio and DoT Commissioner Trottenberg filled a real live pothole; here’s how it went.
Mayor Bill de Blasio briefly answered questions from the press this afternoon while in Albany for the annual legislative conference hosted by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc. The mayor was focused on his pre-K/middle school program initiative, particularly the income tax surcharge included in his initiative, and the majority of the questions were on that topic.
de Blasio declined to answer a question about the controversy around his Monday night call to the NYPD after learning of the arrest of Bishop Orlando Findlayter. Despite his clear desire to move on to other topics, it appears that press and public interest is far from sated. In part that continuing interest comes from the drip drip of reporting on what appear to be Findlayter’s financial and tax issues. It also comes, however, from disparate reactions to de Blasio receiving such a late night phone call and acting on it. To the former council member and public advocate it’s probably not unusual or surprising that he would receive such a call, and he appears to have reacted the way a council member or public advocate would. To many people, however, the fact that he would make such a call is surprising. Even for those not surprised, there is still a desire to see and hear de Blasio think through whether as mayor, and at the top of the chain of command, he should react differently than he would as a council member or public advocate. He hasn’t really conveyed that he’s fully thought that through or internalized the different perceptions his actions acquire as mayor. Closure for him on this topic seems unlikely until he does. (You can watch de Blasio answer multiple questions last Thursday on Findlayter and de Blasio’s call to the NYPD here.)
de Blasio was also asked about the recently granted federal medicaid waiver and it’s effect on two ailing Brooklyn hospitals, and about two of his recent housing appointees and their ties to the real estate estate industry.
Here is his full press Q&A:
Today Mayor Bill de Blasio faced extensive, skeptical questions from the press on two topics: His decision to keep city schools open today despite a major winter storm and his late night call Monday to the NYPD concerning the arrest of locally prominent bishop and friend of de Blasio.
Toward the end of a lengthy series of questions on his decision to open city schools today, de Blasio offered this broad reasoning:
Update – Al v. Bill:
Mayor de Blasio addressed critical twitter comments on his school opening decision from well-known weatherman Al Roker. The question was posed by Newsday’s Matthew Chayes.
Update #2 – Parking Meters:
Mayor de Blasio addressed a lingering New York City snow mystery – why do parking meters remain in effect during major storms, even as alternate side of the street parking regulations are suspended. The mayor made that announcement today, as he has at every snow press conference. The question came from Dana Arschin of News 12.
Update #3 – Full Snow Q&A:
The mayor faced a barrage of skeptical press questions on his decision to open city schools today. Here is the full portion of his press Q&A devoted to snow-related questions.
Update #4 – NYPD, Findlayter & de Blasio:
Finally, here is the “off-topic” portion of the press conference, which focused solely on de Blasio’s Monday night phone call to the NYPD after he learned that a local clergyman, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, had been arrested.
Today Mayor Bill de Blasio revved up his push for full day pre-K/middle school programs initiative, speaking at a clergy breakfast in Bedford-Stuyvesant and holding a press conference immediately afterward. The breakfast featured speeches by de Blasio, his wife Chirlane McCray and the Rev. Al Shapton to an audience estimated to include 100-200 clergy.
de Blasio appeared angered, in his even-keeled and sober way, at the comments yesterday by Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos that he does not intend to allow the state senate to vote on de Blasio’s proposal. It’s a major hurdle for de Blasio, and complicates the already difficult road he faces in trying to either convince or out maneuver Governor Cuomo. de Blasio has little influence or connection with the Senate Republicans. From the outside, it’s difficult to discern whether, or to what extent, Governor Cuomo is encouraging the Senate Republicans to block a vote, potentially sparing the governor a difficult choice. For de Blasio, who has already put substantial effort and energy into gaining Albany approval for his proposal, it’s a breakdown in the weakest link in the process.
Following their speeches, de Blasio and Sharpton held a joint press conference. Here is their full press conference, including their statements and the press Q&A. de Blasio and Sharpton answered on-topic questions only.