Category Archives: Azi Paybarah

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Vortex Edition



Today, as his city remained in the grip of a polar vortex, Mayor de Blasio was snared in a vortex of press skepticism, some deserved, some not.

On the deserved skepticism, reporters questioned de Blasio’s undisclosed appearance and speech at AIPAC last night.  (His attendance at this political event was only revealed through the intrepid reporting of Capital New York’s Azi Paybarah and Sally Goldenberg.)  de Blasio has promised to be “transparent” and, in stark contrast to Mayor Bloomberg, to reveal his “off duty” whereabouts even when not holding any public events.  He has held regular press briefings in the 23 days since inauguration, today’s being the 12th that I’ve attended and at least his 14th or 15th in total, easing reporters concerns arising from his much less frequent transition briefings.  Despite that positive trend, the mayor appearing unannounced at a closed press political event is a legitimate press and public concern, as de Blasio appeared to recognize at today’s briefing.  He pledged to disclose such appearances in advance, although expressly not promising press access when event organizers do not want to allow it.  For now, the public and press await proof that Mayor de Blasio will meet a higher standard than many elected officials, most notably Governor Andrew Cuomo, who go to great lengths to limit knowledge of their whereabouts and squelch press coverage of much of their public activity.

On the undeserved skepticism, the NY Post-driven hysteria over actual snow (snowsteria?) in my neighborhood continued.  “Plow my street immediately and continuously” appears to be the expectation of some of my fellow Upper Eastsiders, notwithstanding the combination of 11″ of snow, rush hour traffic which clogged streets and slowed plowing and the polar-vortexed low temperatures which precluded melting and markedly reduced the efficacy of road salt.  The reality that sometimes it snows and that clearing of said snowfall may not happen before we awake seems difficult for some to accept.  Could the City’s snow clearing be better than this round?  Sure.  Should my neighbors and I fear snow class warfare?  I think not.  How much better a job New Yorkers should expect is a fair question, and de Blasio both broadly promised to “do better” and to report in detail on the shortcomings of the city’s storm response.

The clearest message of all from today’s press conference is that, even as he continues to assemble his administration, de Blasio’s honeymoon is over.  He’s grappling with Governor Cuomo over his signature campaign issue as the legislative clock ticks, the press and public have focused on his current actions rather than dreaming of the future and, barely three weeks in, he “owns” the City’s successes and failures.

Video:

The primary purpose of today’s press conference was to announce the appointment of Stacey Cumberbatch as Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and of Jon Paul Lupo as Director of the Office of City Legislative Affairs.  Here is de Blasio’s full press Q&A.

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.

Mayoral Forum: The Queens Co-ops, Condos & Counselors Edition (Updated x 2)



Tonight, the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council of Queens and the Queens County Bar Association co-sponsored a mayoral candidate forum.  Eight candidates attended, appearing before a crowd of 400-500 and answering questions posed by moderator Azi Paybarah.  Attendees included, in order of appearance: Sal Albanese, Joe Lhota, George McDonald, Anthony Weiner, Erick Salgado, Adolfo Carrion, Christine Quinn and John Catsimatidis.

Update #3 – Salgado re: Anthony Weiner & His Ideas:

Erick Salgado discusses Anthony Weiner’s adoption of Salgado’s idea, at least according to Salgado.

Update #2 – Weiner Addresses Audience “Audible Groans”:

As Anthony Weiner went to the podium at last night’s forum, a small wave of groans and discontent rumbled through the audience.  Here is Weiner’s reaction when asked about the audience response.

Update – Something Positive About My Rivals?  Ummm …:

Moderator Azi Paybarah asked all eight candidates a simple, but revealing question:  Can you say something positive, or something interesting that you’ve learned, about any one of your rivals?  The answers range from very warm and friendly to “all about me.”  Watch.

Weiner v. McDonald:
To start our coverage, we have a brief clip of Anthony Weiner and George McDonald crossing paths.  You may recall that Weiner and McDonald had a confrontation at an earlier forum.  McDonald has been highly, and vocally, critical of Weiner and his sexting.

The Cat Man (Updated x 2)



As he was about to begin a press conference this morning (focused on expanding vocational education programs), John Catsimatidis previewed a possible new campaign slogan.  Perhaps he was responding to a critical review of other mayoral candidates campaign logo’s.  Or, perhaps he just likes campaigning.

As we noted last week here at NYTrue.com, he has already adapted well to the new 140 character universe.

Update #2:  I received an email this evening from the Catsimatidis campaign advising that the twitter handle I referenced in item 1) below “is not affiliated” with the Catsimatidis campaign.  I’ve therefor deleted item 1).  I understand that @Jcats2013 remains as the campaign’s twitter handle.  My apologies for any confusion.

Updates:

1)  [deleted]

2)  It is interesting that the candidate formerly known as John Catsimatidis chose to reveal his new persona to leading political reporter Azi Paybarah.  Both of them have recently undergone life changing Twitter-shortenings Twitter-trimmings.  They also crossed paths in a previous NYTrue.com special feature.