de Blasio Press Q&A: The 3rd Sandyversary Edition

Mayor Bill de Blasio marked the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy today with a visit to Staten Island’s south shore.  Appearing in front of a home rebuilt by the Build It Back program, de Blasio lauded the progress in Build It Back during his administration.  He announced that the program is to be completed by the end of 2016 and detailed the evolution in the program from the time he took office.  Among the statistics he cited were “2,015 construction starts (including 1,217 construction completions), as well as 5,319 reimbursement checks totaling nearly $104 million”, while noting that each of these categories was at zero when he took office.

Press Q&A:

There was both on topic and off topic Q&A.

Here’s the full Q&A:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Banjo* Edition

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Breezy Point today, joined by Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro.  Their appearance two days ahead of the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s landfall was intended to laud the progress in the City’s Build It Back program, and included a separate visit with a Breezy Point family just returned to their rebuilt home.  de Blasio and Castro were joined by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assembly Member Phil Goldfeder (who represents Rockaway), Council Member, HPD Commissioner Vicki Been, Housing Recovery Office Director Amy Peterson, Resiliency Director Dan Zarilli, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Marion McFadden and HUD Regional Administrator Holly Leicht.

Press Q&A:

Mayor de Blasio’s staff had announced the press conference as fielding “on topic” questions only.  de Blasio implemented that restriction even more restrictively, declining to answer “on topic” questions addressing the planning and future operation of the ongoing recovery efforts.  Question topics included the estimated time for completion of all of the Sandy recovery home rebuilding, the implementation of new flood maps, whether de Blasio’s reported future endorsement of Hillary Clinton is tied to a longterm need for federal government assistance, whether in Secretary Castro’s view the City could do better on any element of Sandy recovery efforts, communicating an increased sense of urgency to City agencies, significant variations in the reported number of Build It Back applicants, how the City will continue its increased rate of repairs, details on the construction firms used in the program and praise for developer Gerry Romski.

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Cuomo Press Q&A: The Chelsea Piers Edition

Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke with the press this afternoon at Chelsea Piers, the Manhattan athletic complex built on Hudson River piers.  Cuomo announced that Novo Foundation, in partnership with the Goren Group, will develop the former Bayview Correctional Facility into “a new global hub for the girls’ and women’s rights movement.”

Question topics during a post-announcement Q&A included the surprise resignation of Joe Percoco, the extensive list released today of New York endorsers of Hillary Clinton and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s absence from that list, whether he supports de Blasio’s call for changes to bail in light of the killing of Police Officer Randolph Holder, “felony drug dealers” being offered treatment instead of jail time, dealing with homeless people in the subway and rail systems, details of his executive order extending anti-discrimination laws to transgender people, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch’s departure and rules and laws around criminal defendant drug diversion programs.

Here’s Cuomo’s full Q&A:

Cuomo On Tisch Departure

Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to the news that Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch will step down at the end of her current term with polite praise, but no substantive comment on her tenure.  Tisch, appointed by the Board of Regents with little gubernatorial input, has had friction with Cuomo and his administration.  Speaking after an unrelated event in Manhattan this afternoon Cuomo called her an “extraordinary citizen”, adding “I thank her very much for her service”.

Pataki Campaign Money: Chapter 3


George Pataki’s presidential campaign’s newly filed financial report shows that it’s insolvent as of September 30th, with cash on hand of $13,570 and an outstanding loan from Pataki of $20,000.  It’s a shockingly low balance, requiring a strong imagination to believe that Pataki’s campaign can continue.

Pataki has struggled for money throughout his longshot campaign, raising a total of $389,000 (plus his $20,000 loan).  His most recent quarterly results are anemic, with $133,000 raised from July 1st through September 30th.  (Our look at his first filing is here, and our look at his super PAC’s initial filing is here.)  A campaign, even a barebones campaign, can’t survive with so little money.  Pataki’s campaign spent only $100,000 in September, but even that modest amount is unsustainable absent a substantial increase in cash.  As noted above, Pataki put in $20,000 of his own money in the last quarter and additional self-funding appears to be the only viable route for Pataki.

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Photo Gallery: Columbus Day Parade


As has become standard, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared separately at this morning’s Columbus Day Parade.  Governor/mayor tensions seem somewhat lower, at least momentarily, as both seem satisfied with their recent agreement on funding the MTA capital plan.  Continuing tensions on a variety of other issues is a virtual certainty, however, and neither appeared eager to discuss the other in their respective press Q&As.  As Governor Cuomo was ending his Q&A a reporter asked whether he had given “any thoughts about marching with the Mayor?”  “I normally march alone” Cuomo replied.

We caught up with both, however, and have photos from each appearance.

Our full photo gallery from this morning’s Columbus Day Parade is here.

Cuomo Press Q&A: The Columbus Day Parade Edition

Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke with the press this morning just before the start of the Columbus Day Parade.  Appearing a few minutes and a few blocks ahead of Mayor de Blasio, Cuomo began with a long statement on the parade, Columbus Day, Italian-Americans and his own family.  He then answered questions on the recently announced agreement with the City on funding the MTA’s capital plan, including how an apparent logjam was broken, what it will mean for subway and bus riders and how he and Mayor de Blasio personally interacted in reaching this agreement.  When asked whether he had considered marching with Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo replied “you know, I normally march alone.”

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Columbus Day Parade Edition

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with the press just before this morning’s Columbus Day Parade.  He began with a statement about his first town hall meeting, scheduled for Wednesday evening and intended to focus on tenant rent protections and the recent rent freeze.  Saying that “I know you guys are anxious to see the wonderful dialogue” the Mayor suggested that he will have additional town halls, adding that “you’re gonna see a lot of dialogue now and going forward.”

Question topics included the recent agreement with Governor Cuomo on funding the MTA’s capital plan and what New Yorkers should expect from the deal, whether he’s frustrated that many New Yorkers blame the City and the Mayor for MTA problems despite the fact that it’s a state agency controlled by the governor, what he would like the MTA to spend its capital funds on, a recent NYCHA report suggesting that drawing higher income residents close to NYCHA facilities harms NYCHA tenants, his relationship with recently indicted Nassau County businessman and de Blasio donor Harendra Singh, a REBNY lawsuit over a recently passed law restricting conversions of hotels to condo’s/co-ops, the Chase Utley slide which broke Ruben Tejada’s leg and his current relationship with Governor Cuomo.

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