de Blasio Press Q&A: The Brooklyn Library Edition

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a Department of Education Universal pre-K enrollment workshop being held at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.  Following his visit, Mayor de Blasio held a press conference in front of the Library, promoting his pre-K/middle school program initiative.

Full Press Q&A:

Following an opening statement, the mayor answered questions from the press.  Topics included his reaction to Governor Cuomo’s statement that he is not planning to approve a specific amount of pre-K funding set forth in the state senate proposed budget, how confident he is of pre-K funding, the status of his administration’s review of the city’s Sandy relief programs, his reaction to Governor Cuomo’s statements on mayoral control of the city school system and charter schools, the current status of site clearing and the investigation into the cause of the East Harlem building explosion, whether New Yorkers should be concerned about gas leaks, his reaction to a tweet yesterday by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito critical of Governor Cuomo’s reaction to the East Harlem building explosion, how the church services he attended this morning for victims affected him personally and the relief efforts being led by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and the Mayor’s Fund for NYC.  Here is his full press Q&A:

Sandy Review:

I asked the mayor about his previously discussed review of the City’s Sandy recovery programs.  Here’s how he responded:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Salvation Army Center Edition (Updated)

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a Salvation Army center on Harlem’s 125th Street, meeting with people displaced by the East Harlem building explosion.  Following his visit he held a lengthy press conference on the street in front of the Salvation Army center.

We’ll start with a quick look at his departure, and the fan who gave him a departing boost.

Update – Full Q&A:

Among the questions asked by the press: whether the city is working with Mexican government officials to encourage any eligible Mexican nationals to register with the city for assistance, whether all victims have been located and identified, what is the biggest remaining challenge at the site, whether there are continuing concerns of gas leaking at the site, whether there is any evidence of illegal gas connections in the basements of the destroyed buildings, what damage or evidence the FDNY will look for, the number of people needing housing assistance, whether any victims asked about the investigation when meeting with the mayor, the number and location of apartments being made available by REBNY to temporarily house victims, what the mayor would say to any employer not granting time off to a victim and whether the mayor is concerned about the pace of gas main replacements.

Here is the full Q&A:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Bill & Tim Edition

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:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Cuomo Capitol Edition (Updated)

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.

Update – Pre-K Rally:

Prior to visiting the Capitol, Mayor de Blasio hosted a rally at a nearby armory.  Here are select excerpts from the rally:

We Will Rock You

As the rally concluded, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver joined in singing/chanting to Queen’s We Will Rock You (He’s on the right):

Silver Speech

Here is Silver’s full speech:

de Blasio Speech

Here is de Blasio’s full speech:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Middle School Edition

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.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Panti Bliss Edition (Updated x 2)

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.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Team of Rivals Edition (Updated)

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.

Charter Co-locations:

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:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Two Five Edition (Updated)

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.

Full Q&A:
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.

Mark-Viverito Press Q&A: The PSL Passing Edition

This afternoon Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito spoke with the press ahead of a stated council meeting, with passage of the Earned Sick Time Act and a resolution supporting Mayor de Blasio’s pre-K program and tax expected to pass.

Questions included how many people will be covered by the expanded pay sick leave bill, whether the agreement with Mayor de Blasio on such bill was too fast and unfair to other council members, how the expanded law will be enforced, whether convincing senate republicans or Governor Cuomo is more important on the mayor’s universal pre-K program, what to expect legislatively from the council and mayor, which city agencies will enforce the Earned Sick Time Act and how covered business owners will be advised or educated on their responsibilities, whether the speaker thinks Success Academy charter school supporters are right to urge parents to bring their children for a lobbying day in Albany, the reaction to the speaker’s decision to not have any official council delegation in the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade and her reaction to the domestic violence charges filed against the council’s finance director.

Here is the full press Q&A:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Ready To Launch Edition (Updated x 2)

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.”

de Blasio Press Q&A: The HeyNow Edition

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio met with elected officials on Staten Island to discuss Sandy recovery efforts.  Led by Borough President Jimmy Oddo (or @HeyNowJO as he’s known on Twitter), eight elected officials met privately with de Blasio and then joined him for a press conference.

Off Topic – Speeding:

A modest portion of the press conference was devoted to off topic questions, all four of which involved the speeding and stop sign-running imbroglio of late last week. Those questions included whether the mayor thinks recent criticism directed at him, on the driving flap and other actions, is fair, whether he thinks the speeding flap will negatively impact his efforts at implementing the Vision Zero plan, whether the mayor has discretion to direct how the NYPD drives him and whether his NYPD detail thought they were being followed by WCBS-TV news.  Here is the full off topic portion of the Q&A:

Full Q&A:

The Q&A was primarily on topic, with questions on Sandy recovery and the mayor’s plans for changes to existing city efforts.  Among the questions: what is working, and not working, in the Build it Back program, the mayor’s reaction to a report that a family he visited in the Arverne section of Rockaway is “getting close” to losing faith in the mayor, the scope/number of people still directly affected by Sandy, whether his weekend trip to Pennsylvania involved a meeting with the consultants running the Build it Back program, whether he stands by statements he made during a September visit to Far Rockaway’s St. Mary Star of the Sea, whether the Bloomberg administration allocated enough money to housing from the first tranch of federal assistance, whether he agrees with Oddo’s idea of acquiring land for redevelopment, the role of Michael DeLoach in Build it Back, whether New Yorkers should be concerned that they may lose desirable options under Build it Back after de Blasio completes his review and issues on elevation of existing structures v. new construction.

Here is the full press Q&A: