de Blasio Press Q&A: The Pussy Riot Edition (Updated x 3)

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of Carl Weisbrod as chair of the City Planning Commission.

Among the topics discussed during the Q&A portion of the announcement press conference was a vital question – can the mayor pronounce the name of guests scheduled to visit him this afternoon.

Continue reading de Blasio Press Q&A: The Pussy Riot Edition (Updated x 3)

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

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio named his wife, Chirlane McCray, as chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.  McCray and de Blasio visited the Osbourne Association, a non-profit dedicated to assisting incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people improve and transform themselves, in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.  During their visit, de Blasio announced the appointment and answered questions from the press.  McCray gave a short speech following de Blasio’s announcement.

To start, here’s a brief clip from the beginning of McCray’s remarks.

Update – McCray:

Here are McCray’s full remarks.

Update #2 – Q&A:

Here is de Blasio’s full press Q&A.

On-topic questions include: whether de Blasio and McCray’s partnership is modeled on the Clintons, how the Mayor’s Fund will be financed including whether they plan to ask Michael Bloomberg to contribute money, the anticipated size of McCray’s staff and office location, whether McCray will regularly issue a public schedule, how de Blasio decided to appoint McCray, whether she will continue to be active in other efforts related to the administration such as the pre-K initiative, whether McCray is ready for increased public and press scrutiny and how others who disagree with any actions or decisions by McCray at the Mayor’s Fund can address those with the mayor.

Between the on-topic and off-topic questions, de Blasio made a statement criticizing the NY Times for a specific story on Sanitation Commissioner John  Doherty.  (de Blasio’s statement and an in-depth look at the topic is also separately available here.)

Questions on other topics include: the NYS Attorney General’s investigation of the Puerto Rican Day Parade committee, whether de Blasio’s pre-K initiative will include private and parochial schools, the “absent teacher reserve”, a protest by Girls Prep supporters against de Blasio’s expected  charter school policies, performance of Administration for Children’s Services and whether de Blasio plans to contact the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee to urge them to lift their exclusion of LGBT groups and organizations.

Our look at Mayor de Blasio’s complaint about the New York Times’ reporting on Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty is here.

de Blasio, Doherty & Snow Politics

This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio harshly criticized the New York Times for a specific story published last night/today.  A Rough Final Winter For New York’s Sanitation Chief described the recent tribulations of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty arising from a blizzard of media and public complaints that the Sanitation Department failed to adequately perform it’s snow removal duties during the January 21-22 storm.  Taking a rich look at Commissioner Doherty’s Sanitation Department career, which began in 1960, the article also portrayed Doherty as essentially on the outs with the mayor and likely to be pushed out of the Department by winter’s end.

Here is de Blasio’s statement:

Here are a few observations on the Times article, de Blasio, Doherty and current snow politics. Continue reading de Blasio, Doherty & Snow Politics

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

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference addressing the city’s response to the storm that arrived overnight.  The fourth storm of de Blasio’s five weeks as mayor, it brought the new wrinkle of including ice as part of the precipitation.

Rock Salt & Governor Cuomo:

Wednesday morning, Governor Cuomo told reporters that in order to alleviate a shortage of rock salt, he was ordering deliveries of New York State’s rock salt supplies to New York City and other municipalities.  When asked by the NY Times Kate Taylor, Mayor de Blasio described a far less dire supply situation, while seeking to avoid any sort of dispute with the governor.  The question also featured a rare on-camera moment for First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris.  Although he’s frequently at the mayor’s press conferences, Shorris clearly prefers an off-camera role.

Update – Full Press Q&A:

Mayor de Blasio answered storm related “on-topic” questions only.  Among the questions: whether he’ll speed up his move to Gracie Mansion in order to avoid snow shoveling, a reported road salt shortage, the current blood supply shortage and whether he’ll donate blood, whether he would consider allowing boroughs or school districts to make their own decisions on closing for inclement weather, the 911 response times and city overtime costs, what Sanitation Commissioner Doherty learned from the second storm of this administration, the cause of a signal failure this morning on the 1/2/3 subway line and his take on the many snow storms in his brief tenure.  Here is his full press Q&A.

Mark-Viverito Press Q&A: The Horse & Parade Edition (Updated)

Following the city council’s stated meeting today, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito answered questions from the press.  Among the topics: the council’s override of six Bloomberg vetoes, a timeline for a carriage horse bill, the Puerto Rican Day Parade and an investigation by NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the expected paid sick leave expansion and the mayor’s and her own decision to not attend the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade:

Speaker Mark-Viverito discussed the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the mayor’s announcement that he would not march in it because of the parade’s ban on LGBT-focused groups and organizations.  Mark-Viverito strongly supported the mayor’s decision and stated that she too would skip the parade.  She also discussed the effort by some to prohibit uniformed city workers, the NYPD, FDNY and Sanitation, from marching in uniform and under identifying banners.

Full Press Q&A:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Snow Charm Edition (Updated x 2)

Hoping that the third time’s the charm, Mayor de Blasio held a press conference today to discuss the City’s storm preparation and snow removal efforts during the third snow storm of his administration.

de Blasio answered on-topic questions only.  Among them were changes in plowing routes and Sanitation Department operations, conditions on Staten Island, whether passenger cars complicated the snow removal in the prior storm, the utilization of traffic agents, whether he preemptively planned any neighborhood tours “to express regret”, whether the Sanitation Department is utilizing Police Department street cameras to assist in snow removal and whether New Yorkers have unrealistic expectations concerning snow removal.  Here is his full press Q&A.

Update – Action:

During the press conference, reporter Marcia Kramer of WCBS-TV relayed complaints from Staten Islanders concerning a particular road.  Here’s what happened.

Update #2 – Unrealistic Expectations?:

Do New Yorkers have unrealistic expectations concerning snow removal?  That’s what Josh Robin of NY1 asked Mayor de Blasio this afternoon.  Here’s how the mayor responded.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Staten Island Chuck Recovery Edition (Updated)

Following his early morning visit with Staten Island Chuck, New York’s predictive groundhog, Mayor de Blasio had breakfast with Staten Island elected officials and local leaders.

Following breakfast, Mayor de Blasio answered questions from the press.  Topics included a powder-filled threatening letter recently received by his office, his encounter with Staten Island Chuck, whether Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm was invited to today’s breakfast, his Super Bowl watching plans, whether he’s considering seeking any broad changes at the Port Authority, the city’s snow removal planning and his recent shifting of $210 million away from construction in support of charter schools.

Update – Port Authority:

The Port Authority of NY and NJ is an enormous agency controlling large parts of New York City’s transportation infrastructure, including three of the four two of the three ways to drive on or off Staten Island.  As a bi-state agency controlled by the governors of New York and New Jersey, it’s wholly outside mayoral control or influence.  I asked the mayor whether he has yet formulated any plans or strategy aimed at gaining such control or influence.

Sympathy, Schumer Style

Today, Senator Chuck Schumer shared his thoughts on football, the Giants, the Jets, the Patriots and New Jersey.  He spoke while visiting Super Bowl Boulevard, the stretch of Broadway converted into an open-air NFL festival, and in the company of Giants co-owner Jonathan Tisch and Jets owner Woody Johnson.

Our look at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s visit to Super Bowl Boulevard is here.

Super Bill’s Boulevard (Updated x 2)

Mayor Bill de Blasio killed it today on Super Bowl Boulevard.  A portion of Broadway, as its known most of the time, has been converted into “Super Bowl Boulevard” with a toboggan slide, a goal post set up for kicking field goals, a Lombardi trophy exhibition tent and more.  Mayor de Blasio visited for several fun-filled hours today, beginning at the toboggan slide and ending at an onstage ceremony 3 1/2 hours later.

To start off, here’s a clip of Mayor de Blasio meeting a well-known Times Square denizen, the Naked Cowboy.

Update – Victory!:

The mayor’s visit to Super Bowl Boulevard began at the toboggan slide.  By his third run, only his wife and son remained with him as Senator Schumer, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and others had dropped out.  This final slide was a dogged father/son race featuring a well-timed shove at the start and a come-from-behind victory.  Perhaps the wind drag on one competitor’s hair was a factor.

Update #2 – Kicking Away:

The mayor and his family tried kicking some field goals.  In the middle of Broadway.