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.
Here is the extended Q&A:
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
On Tuesday Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an expansion of middle school summer enrichment programs, along with the selection of 271 providers for those services. He described the expanded after school programs as, together with universal pre-K and the community schools program, part of his efforts at broadly improving the school system. de Blasio was joined by Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Council Member Andrew Cohen.
On topic questions included: what defines a “community school”, whether community schools are only located in low-income neighborhoods, whether there is a plan to extend universal pre-K to three year olds, how much more expensive community schools are to operate than “regular” schools, why was the UFT not at this announcement, whether academic gains are expected from community schools and how will such gains be measured, what programs are added to “regular” schools as they are converted into “community” schools, potential changes to the admissions process for specialized high schools and whether the seats announced today are new programs or new spaces.
Off topic questions included: the ISIS in Iraq and potential threats to New York, his hair color in a World Cup themed picture, the City’s negotiations with CW Capital concerning Stuyvesant Town, whether he concerned that religion-affiliated CBO’s pre-K programs will involve some religious instruction or indoctrination, the Rent Guidelines Board and a possible rent increase, rating his administration on it’s FOIL responsiveness, whether subway dancers are a “sign of urban decay”, whether he is contemplating a special district for failing schools and whether there is symbolism is seeking to bring the Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn rather than Manhattan and whether he has coordinated that effort with Hillary Clinton.
Here is the full Q&A:
This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio expanded his “Ready to Launch” effort on universal full day pre-K, issuing an update on the substantial logistics required for a September 2014 implementation. Speaking at P.S. 130 in Little Italy, de Blasio was joined by Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, OMB Director Dean Fuleihan, ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion, Executive Director of the DOE Office of Early Childhood Education Sophia Pappas and DOE Chief Strategy Officer Josh Wallack.
de Blasio made a statement and issued a report describing his administration’s efforts at identifying potential sites for new or expanded pre-K classes throughout the city. He appeared to be energetically continuing his efforts at funding his pre-K program by obtaining state approval of an income tax surcharge on high earners, despite Governor Cuomo’s public rejection.
Q&A topics include: why the mayor and Governor Cuomo appear friendly and cooperative on pre-K when together but express different views when apart, will the city fund a single year of full day pre-K if the state does not, how many of the prospective new pre-K seats are in traditional public schools v. charter schools, what is the greatest challenge in converting existing 1/2 day pre-K sites into full day sites, how can the mayor assure that proceeds of his proposed income tax surcharge would remain dedicated solely to the pre-K/middle school program, regulatory issues around pre-K operators, how there can be space available in neighborhoods where schools are overcrowded, how many of the prospective new sites are in schools v. other locations, why the mayor is so opposed to co-locations of charter schools while seeking to co-locate new pre-K programs, the newly-announced ad campaign by charter school supporters, his views on academically screened high schools, his view on the school bus contracts, why he refused off-topic questions Friday evening despite saying on Friday morning that he would take such questions, the status of 28 charter schools expecting to open in fall 2014 in locations approved by the Bloomberg administration, his upcoming appearance on the TV series The Good Wife and his view on city employees marching in the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade in uniform/with banners.
Update – Standing Apart:
A brief clip of Mayor de Blasio and a reporter who chose to “stand apart from everyone.”
Update #2 – The Good Wife:
Mayor de Blasio discussed his upcoming appearance on the CBS TV series The Good Wife, saying that he and his wife “are deeply obsessed with The Good Wife.”
Today Mayor de Blasio announced his appointment of Dr. Mary Bassett as Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and of Rose Pierre-Louis as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.
In this clip the mayor and Dr. Bassett addressed the City’s regulation of metzitzah B’peh.
Update – Full Press Q&A:
Mayor de Blasio answered questions from the press on a wide range of topics, including HIV prevention, the role of the Health Department and the “Nanny State”, the large-size soda ban, Metzizah B’peh, fines and penalties levied by the Health Department, the ethics complaint filed against Patrick Gaspard, the city’s fiscal outlook, stop & frisk and more. Here is his full press Q&A.