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:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Historic Edition

Late Friday Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference to discuss progress in the effort to keep Long Island College Hospital, or LICH, open.  de Blasio also made a closing statement concerning the imbroglio surrounding his NYPD security detail following a news report that the detail was speeding and rolling through two stop signs as it drove de Blasio away from a press conference Thursday in Maspeth.

The State University of New York (SUNY) controls LICH, and has been trying to sell or close the money-losing operation.  On Friday, de Blasio announced that SUNY and Governor Cuomo have agreed to a new round of bidding from prospective buyers.  This additional RFP will have a revised weighting in the scoring and selection of a winner from the submitted proposals.  It’s another chance to find a bidder who will continue hospital operations at the site, but the new RFP is far from a solution despite the repeated references to such development as “historic”.

Closing Statement:

Here is de Blasio’s closing statement, addressing the imbroglio around his NYPD security detail and it’s driving.

Full Q&A:

Here is de Blasio’s full press Q&A:

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

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference in Maspeth to highlight the City’s efforts at pothole repair.  The city’s roads have been battered by a high number of winter storms and temperature fluctuations, producing a bumper pothole crop.  The mayor’s press conference, held at 69th Lane and 60th Avenue in Maspeth, featured the mayor and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg joining a Department of Transportation road crew in filling a pothole.

Full Q&A:

On-topic questions for the mayor included the cost of the pothole repair program, the furlough of seasonal DoT workers, the average time between pothole complaints and repair, the outlook for the rest of the winter, the number of potholes repaired, how potholes are identified for repair, the DoT’s road resurfacing plans in the near-future, how many crews are working, why this particular pothole was chosen for the press conference location, whether the mayor is enjoying “this aspect” of his job and an assessment by the road crew of how the mayor performed.  Off-topic questions included the mayor’s proposed budget and the potential cost of open labor contracts, a timeline for settling the open labor contracts, the Build it Back program, the administration’s “comprehensive review” of the city’s Sandy recovery efforts, release of Bishop Findlayter’s arrest report, the mayor’s September promise to visit a carriage horse stable before acting on his pledge to ban carriage horses and the administration’s community development block grant application.   Here is the mayor’s full press Q&A:

Sandy Recovery:

The mayor was asked three separate questions concerning the city’s ongoing efforts at recovery from Hurricane Sandy.  The first focused on the Build it Back program, which is widely criticized for a slow, even glacial, pace of funding repairs.  The second (from yours truly) asked about the “comprehensive review” briefly mentioned by the mayor in his State of the City address on February 10th.  The third asked about the city’s community development block grant application, due to be submitted to the federal government by March 18th.  Here is how the mayor responded:

Update – Pothole Repair:

Mayor de Blasio and DoT Commissioner Trottenberg filled a real live pothole; here’s how it went.

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

Mayor Bill de Blasio briefly answered questions from the press this afternoon while in Albany for the annual legislative conference hosted by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc.  The mayor was focused on his pre-K/middle school program initiative, particularly the income tax surcharge included in his initiative, and the majority of the questions were on that topic.

de Blasio declined to answer a question about the controversy around his Monday night call to the NYPD after learning of the arrest of Bishop Orlando Findlayter.  Despite his clear desire to move on to other topics, it appears that press and public interest is far from sated.  In part that continuing interest comes from the drip drip of reporting on what appear to be Findlayter’s financial and tax issues.  It also comes, however, from disparate reactions to de Blasio receiving such a late night phone call and acting on it.  To the former council member and public advocate it’s probably not unusual or surprising that he would receive such a call, and he appears to have reacted the way a council member or public advocate would.  To many people, however, the fact that he would make such a call is surprising.  Even for those not surprised, there is still a desire to see and hear de Blasio think through whether as mayor, and at the top of the chain of command, he should react differently than he would as a council member or public advocate.  He hasn’t really conveyed that he’s fully thought that through or internalized the different perceptions his actions acquire as mayor.  Closure for him on this topic seems unlikely until he does.  (You can watch de Blasio answer multiple questions last Thursday on Findlayter and de Blasio’s call to the NYPD here.)

de Blasio was also asked about the recently granted federal medicaid waiver and it’s effect on two ailing Brooklyn hospitals, and about two of his recent housing appointees and their ties to the real estate estate industry.

Here is his full press Q&A:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Snow School Edition (Updated x 4)

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio faced extensive, skeptical questions from the press on two topics: His decision to keep city schools open today despite a major winter storm and his late night call Monday to the NYPD concerning the arrest of locally prominent bishop and friend of de Blasio.

Toward the end of a lengthy series of questions on his decision to open city schools today, de Blasio offered this broad reasoning:

Update – Al v. Bill:

Mayor de Blasio addressed critical twitter comments on his school opening decision from well-known weatherman Al Roker. The question was posed by Newsday’s Matthew Chayes.

Update #2 – Parking Meters:

Mayor de Blasio addressed a lingering New York City snow mystery – why do parking meters remain in effect during major storms, even as alternate side of the street parking regulations are suspended.  The mayor made that announcement today, as he has at every snow press conference.  The question came from Dana Arschin of News 12.

Update #3 – Full Snow Q&A:

The mayor faced a barrage of skeptical press questions on his decision to open city schools today.  Here is the full portion of his press Q&A devoted to snow-related questions.

Update #4 – NYPD, Findlayter & de Blasio:

Finally, here is the “off-topic” portion of the press conference, which focused solely on de Blasio’s Monday night phone call to the NYPD after he learned that a local clergyman, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, had been arrested.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Revving Up Edition

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio revved up his push for full day pre-K/middle school programs initiative, speaking at a clergy breakfast in Bedford-Stuyvesant and holding a press conference immediately afterward.  The breakfast featured speeches by de Blasio, his wife Chirlane McCray and the Rev. Al Shapton to an audience estimated to include 100-200 clergy.

de Blasio appeared angered, in his even-keeled and sober way, at the comments yesterday by Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos that he does not intend to allow the state senate to vote on de Blasio’s proposal.  It’s a major hurdle for de Blasio, and complicates the already difficult road he faces in trying to either convince or out maneuver Governor Cuomo.   de Blasio has little influence or connection with the Senate Republicans.  From the outside, it’s difficult to discern whether, or to what extent, Governor Cuomo is encouraging the Senate Republicans to block a vote, potentially sparing the governor a difficult choice.  For de Blasio, who has already put substantial effort and energy into gaining Albany approval for his proposal, it’s a breakdown in the weakest link in the process.

Following their speeches, de Blasio and Sharpton held a joint press conference.  Here is their full press conference, including their statements and the press Q&A.  de Blasio and Sharpton answered on-topic questions only.

Mark-Viverito Press Q&A: The SOTC Edition

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito answered questions from the press this afternoon, immediately following the mayor’s State of the City address.  In the portion presented here, Mark-Viverito addressed the City’s open labor contracts and expected contract negotiations, the City’s fiscal situation and an expected expansion of the living wage law.  She was also asked whether she is concerned that the mayor is taking important actions on his own, such as the expansion of the living wage law, without going through the City Council.