de Blasio on Garner Grand Jury

Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed frustration and sadness in lengthy remarks on the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner matter.  de Blasio spoke at the Mt. Sinai United Christian Church on Staten Island, close to the site of Garner’s death.  de Blasio was joined by elected officials including Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, State Senator Diane Savino and Council Members Brad Lander, Debi Rose, Vanessa Gibson and Robert Cornegy.

Here is de Blasio’s full statement:

Sharpton Speaks

The Rev. Al Sharpton hosted Eric Garner’s wife, mother and three of his children for a press conference at Sharpton’s House of Justice.  Addressing the grand jury decision to not indict the police officer who caused Garner’s death, Sharpton “connected the dots” of other cases of African Americans or Latinos killed by police, from Anthony Baez and Abner Louima to Michael Brown and Akai Gurley, urging action.  Among the actions he discussed is a march in Washington on December 13th.

Hell No

Esaw Garner, widow of Eric Garner, responded harshly when asked if she accepted the condolences offered by Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo.  Garner spoke during an appearance with the Rev. Al Sharpton at National Action Network’s House of Justice.

Horse Trading



A long contemplated New York City ban on carriage horses returned to center stage Tuesday, following news of a proposed city council bill.  A proposed bill is expected next week, with committee hearings and a vote expected over the next several months.  Mayor de Blasio has been a strong advocate of such a ban, calling for an immediate ban as a mayoral candidate, although he’s not acted to implement such a ban during his 11 months in office.

Mayor de Blasio Comments:

Mayor de Blasio was asked about the expected bill three times during an unrelated press conference on Tuesday.  Questions included what he plans to do to get the bill passed, a ban’s likely effect on tourism in the City and whether he intends to engage in any political “horse trading” to win passage of the bill.

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de Blasio Press Q&A: The Hunger Edition

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray joined in at a food pantry distribution hosted by Caldwell A.M.E. Zion Church Tuesday.  The pre-Thanksgiving distribution featured frozen chickens, along with a variety of vegetables, rice and other food.  de Blasio was accompanied by McCray at the food distribution, but she did not join him for a post-distribution press conference.  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and newly elected Assembly Member Michael Blake also participated.

Q&A:

Here is de Blasio’s full press Q&A:

de Blasio Discusses Ferguson (Updated)

Mayor Bill de Blasio today gave his first comments on the grand jury declining to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.  de Blasio spoke during a press conference at Caldwell A.M.E. Zion Church in the Bronx, after he and his wife helped distribute food at a church-run food pantry.

Update – Family:

Mayor de Blasio was also asked about the circumstances of how he learned of the grand jury decision, whether he was with his family and whether he’s had a family conversation about the decision and it’s aftermath.

Grimm Discusses Immigration

Rep. Michael Grimm today voiced a more optimistic view on immigration reform than many of his fellow House Republicans.  He described the existing immigration system as “completely broken” and “unsustainable” and said that on the question of “deal[ing] with those that are here” there’s “more common ground than you think” in the House of Representatives.  Grimm was dismissive of President Obama’s recently announced executive order, but expressed a belief that legislative action is possible.

We spoke with Grimm in Port Richmond, just after he handed out free turkeys to a group that likely included undocumented immigrants.  The distribution was in conjunction with the Rev. Erick Salgado and was held at the site of Rev. Salgado’s church on Staten Island, which was destroyed by fire several months ago.  I began by asking Grimm how a moment like this affects his thinking on immigration.  He did not respond directly on that point, but gave a detailed response on the broader issue of immigration.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Workforce Development Edition

Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted a press conference today promoting changes in and expansion of the City’s workforce development efforts.

On Topic Q&A:

Here is the on topic portion of the Q&A:

Off Topic Q&A:

Off topic questions were predominantly focused on the Thursday night NYPD shooting of an unarmed man in Brooklyn’s Pink Houses, the ongoing grand juries in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases and police/community relations.

Excerpts of the mayor’s full comments on the NYPD shooting are here.

de Blasio on NYPD Shooting

Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the overnight shooting of an unarmed man in Brooklyn’s Pink Houses, a New York City Housing Authority complex.  Speaking at a press conference announcing expanded job placement efforts by the City, de Blasio was asked several questions about the shooting and City efforts at improving NYCHA conditions and security and about police-community relations.

The full Q&A is here.

de Blasio Discusses Wife’s Role

Mayor de Blasio was asked today about his wife’s role in his administration and why it’s appropriate for her to have City staff.  Since his election, de Blasio has frequently discussed the important role Chirlane McCray plays in his own decision making and, among other actions, named her as chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.  McCray’s chief of staff, Rachel Noerdlinger, announced Monday that she is taking an indefinite leave of absence in the wake of a number of widely-reported personal difficulties.

de Blasio spoke at a press conference/media roundtable focused on City efforts to address problems in the Corrections Department and the jails it operates on Rikers Island.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The DOC Edition

Mayor Bill de Blasio held a “media roundtable” today to discuss ongoing problems in the City Department of Correction and the jails it operates on Rikers Island.  Joined by Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte and First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris, de Blasio spoke at length about those problems and City plans to address them.

Off-Topic Q&A:

Questions in the off-topic portion of the Q&A included the role of Mayor de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, and her having City staff, Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos’ criticism of de Blasio’s involvement in recent senate elections, whether de Blasio supports a tax on grocery bags, an update on the recent change in NYPD practice on marijuana possession, why the average person should care about conditions on Rikers Island (an on-topic question, but posed during this off-topic portion of the press conference), whether de Blasio is troubled by Al Sharpton’s tax troubles, what the expected executive action President Obama on immigration will mean for the City, an update on the City’s municipal ID program, preparations for a rally being organized by Al Sharpton upon the completion of the Ferguson grand jury, a possible mail-in response for marijuana summonses and whether mayor supports regulating costumed characters in Times Square.

de Blasio Responds on Sharpton Tax Issues

Mayor Bill de Blasio responded today to longtime ally Al Sharpton’s tax troubles, distinguishing between Sharpton’s professional/public work and personal tax issues.  While not excusing Sharpton’s tax troubles, de Blasio did minimize their consequence on Sharpton’s public role.  de Blasio was asked about Sharpton at a press conference/media roundtable focused on City efforts to address problems in the Corrections Department and the jails it operates on Rikers Island.

de Blasio’s full off-topic Q&A is here.