de Blasio Press Q&A: The Sandy Anniversary Edition



Mayor Bill de Blasio marked the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a press conference on the beach in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island.  Earlier, he had participated in a home rebuilding in Coney Island.

de Blasio was joined at the press conference by members of his administration, including Amy Peterson, Dan Zarelli, Mitch Silver and Bill Goldstein, and elected officials including state senators Diane Savino and Andrew Lanza, council members Steve Matteo and Alan Maisal, Borough President Jimmy Oddo and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

We’ve divided the video of his Q&A as de Blasio did during the press conference; Sandy-related, Ebola-related and off-topic.

Sandy:

Ebola:

Off-topic:

de Blasio and a Rockaway Plan



Mayor Bill de Blasio has recently spoken about a broad plan for economic development and transportation improvements in Rockaway.  He’s spoken only in very general terms, however, without offering any details or more than a vague timeline.

He first discussed it at a press conference in Far Rockaway on October 15th, offering that he anticipates putting forth a “holistic development plan” that will outline a “long term vision for the economic growth of the Rockaways and the transportation to go with it.”  When I asked about the timing, he responded that “you’re going to hear some more announcements in the coming months related to the Rockaways that are specific and then thereafter you’re going to see a much bigger plan … I think that’s something you’re going to see next year.”  Today the Mayor responded that a plan, or at least elements of a plan, would be released “in the coming weeks and months.”

It’s unclear precisely what the Mayor intends, but his words clearly, indeed expressly, create big expectations.

One note – the Mayor’s schedule for Thursday includes “a meeting at City Hall with administration and elected officials to discuss Rockaway redevelopment.”  That’s consistent with recent reports that Rockaway elected officials seeking to stave off the looming end of Rockaway ferry service would meet with de Blasio.  His schedule gives a broader cast to that meeting, “Rockaway redevelopment,” rather than just ferry service.

Here’s video of his recent comments:

Ebola Quarantine Rollback



In an unusual Sunday night press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio presented a softened version of the Cuomo/Christie Ebola quarantine plan.  At a solo press conference Sunday afternoon de Blasio had essentially accepted the Cuomo/Christie, although he urged a softer approach.  Joined by New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, Cuomo and de Blasio presented a plan that now requires persons exposed to Ebola victims in three West African nations to “set-quarantine” at home or in quarters provided by the state under looser rules and restrictions.

Q&A:

Here is the extended Q&A:

Let’s Move On



“Let’s move on” was the essence of Mayor de Blasio’s message in discussing the joint New York/New Jersey Ebola-related quarantine policy announced late Friday by Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie without advising Mayor de Blasio.  This evening, at a Bellevue Hospital press conference, de Blasio made clear both that he was not part of creating or implementing that policy, but also that he accepted it and the state government’s authority to institute it.

Here’s what he said when asked directly about it:

He did, however, harshly criticize the treatment of a nurse forcibly quarantined by the New Jersey:

Ebola Press Conference



Thursday night Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference at Bellevue Hospital to announce that a New York City resident has tested positive for the Ebola virus.  City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, and president of the Health & Hospitals Corporation Dr. Ram Raju joined de Blasio and Cuomo.  Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control, participated by phone. Continue reading

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Broad Channel Edition



Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference today in Broad Channel, the small island enclave in Jamaica Bay, celebrating the markedly improved performance of the City’s Build It Back program and announcing expanded goals for the program. The mayor briefly viewed a home being reconstructed by Build It Back and then moved around the corner for his press conference. Continue reading

de Blasio Returns to Far Rockaway



Mayor Bill de Blasio returned to Far Rockaway Wednesday, unveiling two jobs initiatives while visiting a Sandy recovery/jobs fair.  He announced a “Build it Back Local Hiring Initiative,” requiring Build it Back contractors to post job opportunities and give residents of Sandy-impacted neighborhoods first priority to register for job opportunities, and a “Rockaways (sic) Economic Advancement Initiative” providing expanded services to job seekers.  The jobs fair was the product of a July promise by Amy Peterson, Director of the Office of Housing Recovery.

de Blasio has spoken in very broad terms of the opportunity that the Sandy recovery effort provides “to not just right the wrongs of Sandy, but start righting some greater wrongs“, and he continued that theme Wednesday.  Pledging to put forth a “holistic development plan” and to “undo a lot of what done wrong in the past” on Rockaway’s economic development, de Blasio said that he will make “some more announcements in the coming months … that are specific and then thereafter you’re going to see a much bigger plan.”

Topics during the Q&A portion of his press conference included the looming discontinuance of the Rockaway ferry, a broad consideration of his earlier statement about “righting greater wrongs,” what happened to government funding for a ferry obtained by Anthony Weiner and Joe Addabbo, whether there is any City effort to “track down scammers” in the Build it Back program, how satisfied de Blasio is with the pace of Build it Back, whether an updated evacuation plan is contemplated in conjunction with increasing the housing supply in Rockaway and a government memo reported by The Wave which stated that more money was available from FEMA than publicly acknowledged and that such additional funding could be a political liability.  Here is the full Q&A:

Columbus Day Parade



Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were among the many elected officials and candidates marching in today’s Columbus Day Parade.  Marching separately, they each held a press gaggle, Cuomo just before marching and de Blasio as he concluded.

Cuomo:

Accompanied by his daughter Michaela, Cuomo made an opening statement lauding Columbus Day, the parade and Italian-American contributions to New York.  Question topics included his contemplated trip to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, his favorite italian food, his position on the three propositions appearing on the November ballot, whether he’s optimistic about his reelection, Italian-American contributions to New York and Mitt Romney’s recent fundraising email in support of Rob Astorino.

de Blasio:

Joined by OEM Commissioner Joe Esposito de Blasio answered questions on the City’s readiness to deal with ebola, whether his reaction to Rachel Noerdlinger’s issues represents a “double standard” and changes in the levying of fines by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Three Cities, Three Gaggles, Three Speeches (Updated)



Governor Andrew Cuomo revved up his reelection campaign Saturday with a three city bus tour.  Visits to Albany, Syracuse and Rochester included a rally and speech in each, followed by a gaggle, the somewhat informal press Q&As in which the press and the subject stand in a tight circle for their back and forth.

Today’s bus tour was billed as a “Women’s Equality Party” tour, with Governor Cuomo focused on his “Women’s Equality Act.”  His reelection campaign has mostly been conducted through the Women’s Equality Party ballot line he’s created for November, with his focus on codifying, and thereby protecting, the right to an abortion.

To start our report, here is video of each of his three gaggles and speeches.  Questions were primarily about the Women’s Equality Party and Women’s Equality Agenda and Cuomo’s comments on addressing sexual harassment throughout society.  Among the other topics were Rob Astorino’s characterization of recent Cuomo comments as “race baiting”, the Vito Lopez matter and it’s handling by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an Onondaga Lake construction project and the reports of travelers at Newark Airport who may have the Ebola virus (all in the Syracuse gaggle).

Albany:

Syracuse:

Rochester:

Quinn Presses Pay Equity (Updated)



Christine Quinn pressed the issue of pay equity today in her new role as the face of the “Women’s Equality Party”.  Speaking at a press conference at Teamsters Local 237, she continued her recent public efforts at promoting the “Women’s Equality Agenda,” with a particular focus today on the pay equity component of that agenda and proposed law.

Update – Buffalo Jills:

Here is the full question and answer on the Buffalo Jills lawsuit:

Chris, Rob & The Early Arrival



Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino arrived at a campaign event 30 minutes ahead of it’s scheduled start Tuesday, to Christine Quinn’s consternation.

Quinn, former speaker of the New York City Council, is the chief public face of the “Women’s Equality Party”, a ballot line recently created by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and she hoped to confront Astorino with a pledge that Team Cuomo is pushing.  The pledge essentially provides that signatories will support legislation next year on a “Women’s Equality Plan”, covering a variety of issues ranging from pay equity to human trafficking laws to “allow[ing] for the recovery of attorneys’ fees in employment and credit and lending cases.”  Most contentious, however, is a proposed codification of abortion rights.  Should Roe v. Wade ever be overturned, and states permitted to determine state by state whether abortion is legal, that would become a significant legal matter.

Astorino says he supports nine of the ten points in the “Women’s Equality Plan”, objecting to the codification of abortion rights.  Team Cuomo has been pushing the Women’s Equality Party and Women’s Equality Plan in an effort to highlight Astorino’s opposition to allowing abortions, and Quinn sought a face to face moment Tuesday.  Here’s what happened.

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



Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with the press this morning, following his speech at the United Nations Climate Change Summit.

State Senate:

In May Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to support Democratic control of the state senate.  Cuomo made that pledge as part of his receiving the Working Families Party ballot line, with Mayor de Blasio’s support vital to his success.

Cuomo has generally done minimal campaigning for others, and is following that pattern in 2014.  Combined with a belief by many that he actually prefers Republican control, or the current Republican/IDC control, of the state senate, many Democrats and WFP members are skeptical that Governor Cuomo will meaningfully satisfy his pledge.  I asked Mayor de Blasio whether he believes that Governor Cuomo has done enough so far to fulfill his pledge and what Mayor de Blasio expects the governor to do from now until election day regarding his pledge.

Update – Full Q&A:

On topic question topics included whether other municipal leaders around the world are following New York City’s efforts on climate change, whether/how the City may mandate private sector actions, the grassroots nature of the movement urging action on climate change and the protests that closed Broadway and other streets in lower Manhattan yesterday.  Off topic questions included his speech tomorrow to Britain’s Labour Party, Chirlane McCray’s attendance at  an NYPD CompStat meeting, whether ISIS and the recent U.S. military strikes will cause a ramped-up security/counter-terrorism effort by the City, Governor Cuomo’s efforts at supporting a Democratic state senate, Congressional approval of military strikes ordered by President Obama, the City school system’s policy on student cell phones and continuing problems at Rikers Island.

Update #2 – Protests:

Mayor de Blasio accepted the notion of protestors blocking City streets.  He was asked about a protest on September 22nd in which approximately 100 protestors sat in the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway for several hours and left only when they were arrested and removed by the NYPD.