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Transcript: Mayor Adams Announces Nearly 1,000 new Electric Vehicles to Replace Fossil Fuel-Powered City Fleet Vehicles, Deployment of new EV Charging Infrastructure

January 4, 2023

Commissioner Dawn Pinnock, Department of Citywide Administrative Services: Good morning. I'm Dawn Pinnock and I proudly serve as the commissioner…

Mayor Eric Adams: Can we get some of my DSNY guys in? Can y'all come and join us, especially the baldheaded one, so we can feel, we can feel connected. (Laughter.) We're going to balance it out over here.

Commissioner Pinnock: Good morning. Good morning.

Mayor Adams: Okay. Sorry about that.

Commissioner Pinnock: No worries. Good morning. I'm Dawn Pinnock and I proudly serve as the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services commissioner, and I'm so delighted to join you all this morning for a very special announcement.

We're extremely proud of the work we are doing to make our fleet safer, more efficient, and environmentally sound. And today, we're proudly sharing that through the U.S. Department of Transportation's Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, also known as CMAQ, the City of New York has received $10.1 million in grant funding to replace over 900 fossil fuel powered vehicles with electric vehicles. This funding brings us one step closer to reaching our goal of achieving an all-electric fleet. It's a significant environmental win for our city. But before I continue, I would like to start by thanking Mayor Eric Adams for his unwavering leadership and support. Our sister agencies, the New York City Department of Transportation, led by my partner Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez — we appreciate your advocacy and partnership to secure this funding; the New York City Department of Sanitation for hosting us today. Julie Tighe, executive director, New York League of Conservation Voters. And last but certainly not least, I want to thank my entire DCAS fleet management team that's led by Deputy Commissioner Keith Kerman, who has really served as a visionary in the area of fleet management and innovation.

Our city's fleet is critical to the work we do in service of all New Yorkers. It's how we move people, supplies, and resources. It's how we keep our city safe and thriving. But we also know that chief among our responsibilities to the people of New York is our role in ensuring the city's government and all of its functions operate effectively, efficiently, and in a sustainable manner. Thanks to the USDOT and our very own Department of Transportation, we're moving closer to reimagining a city that runs on electric powered vehicles that will protect the quality of life of millions of New Yorkers.

Today with this $10 million investment, we are reaffirming our commitment to electrify our city's fleet ahead of schedule because we understand that our climate, our city, and our people do not have a second to waste in our fight against emissions and its harmful effects on climate change. In September, we proudly announced that we had more than 4,000 electric vehicles as part of our fleet, a feat we achieved three years ahead of schedule and now we are transitioning even more. But it's more than just adding electric vehicles. We also are building out our charging infrastructure to support the increase in electric vehicles.

Using these funds, we are expanding our charging network to include more than 315 new electric chargers. Currently, we operate the largest electric charging network in New York State, with more than 1,360 charging ports and boasting 120 fast chargers. We also have 106 free-standing solar carports, the largest operating network in the nation. In fact, our newest solar carports are right here behind us. It's just one of the many ways we are implementing new features and capabilities to reimagine the city's fleet and protect all New Yorkers, a future where fleet operators fortify their position as standard barriers and set the tone for safe driving for this great city.

With our defensive driving courses, telematics, surround and dash cameras, vehicle safety systems, and the successful pilot implementation of intelligent speed assistance, we're making strides in building a safer future. New York City continues to be a pioneer in municipal fleet management and we're only poised to get stronger, greener, and greater. And with that, please join me in offering a warm welcome to someone who is setting the tone for innovation in city government, our fearless leader, Mayor Eric Adams.

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Thank you so much commissioner. And as we sit here today, I'm sure that we are all just nodding at how different the weather is, and it's a moment of enjoyment. But at the same time it's a moment of concern. Winters are supposed to be winters, summers are supposed to be summers, falls are supposed to be falls, but it's clear that our environment is changing and our contribution to the destruction of our environment is real. I always say we have two mothers: one that gave birth to us, the other sustains us. And we have been abusive to Mother Earth for far too long. And we have to do our part and our share, and it's about a real partnership.

Some of the agencies that the commissioner mentioned, I want to also include the amazing team at DSNY. The commissioner there, Commissioner Tisch, is really taking the approach to cleaning our environment, recycling — our Queens recycling program is just really exceeding our expectations — but also by using green vehicles as we clean the streets. And we have to get it right. It's going to be a balance. It's not going to be perfect all the time, but it's about leaning into the challenges and moving forward with that.

Again, electric vehicles, they are clearly the future. In New York, you see cars, trucks, and vans when they see them. And if it has our logo on it, trust me, it is contributing to the services of our city, but it's also contributing to cleaning our environment. And they could rest assure those vehicles are contributing to a greener city. Last fall, as it was mentioned, we announced that New York City met our 2025 goal in New York City Clean Fleet Plan three years early. We are moving at the right pace. New York is now served by a fleet of 4,000 electric vehicles, something that Commissioner Pinnock has mentioned, and she has been on the forefront of making sure that those old vehicles are being brought in. I really want to commend her for the consistency of carrying out that role.

We are experiencing the benefits, cleaner air, fewer greenhouse emissions, and cost savings in fuels, so there's a real win-win here. Not only are we ensuring that we are cleaning our economy and having a greener future, but we're saving the green dollars that New Yorkers deserve us to do and do it in an efficient way. And we're bringing in the green. Commissioner, great job. $10.1 million grant from United States Department of Transportation. And it's really the cross collaboration from all of our agencies that we are laser focused on the initiatives that we have in front of us. The investment will allow us to get a thousand fossil fuel vehicles off our roads. That's a real win and a real W for us.

It's the first ever purchase of all electric pickup trucks and vans. The number and type of vehicles the commissioner mentioned, but it is really reinforcing our vehicle fleet to make sure that we are successful. And so before you even ask the question, is this added on to our fleet? No, it is not. It is not. We are not adding new vehicles on our fleet. I was committed to decreasing our fleet size and we are going to continue to move in a pathway to do so.

We are also working to electrify DSNY's fleet with 25 plug-in hybrid street sweepers. And we are not stopping there. We're also installing 315 new electric chargers to power our growing fleet because we have to build out the infrastructure as we build out the vehicles. And so there's a combination and there's a sweet spot of making sure that we can have enough charging stations to fit this requirement. This is part of our ambitious plan to tackle the threat on climate — our climate problem head on, and meet our goal of decarbonizing buildings and transportation sectors to reach our goal of carbon neutral by 2050.

All of these initiatives include building the city's resiliency to protect our coastal and inland neighborhoods. Storm after storm, we're constantly reminded that we must be vigilant of addressing these coastal challenges we have. We are a coastal city, we are surrounded by water. We need to be clear on that, and our pursuit of protecting our coastal areas is important. But we also know it's not only the coastal areas. We saw what happened last year, even inland. We saw areas that were flooded that I'd never witnessed before. I'm still amazed that we had to close the Brooklyn Bridge because of flooding, something that my entire lifetime I have not experienced.

Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will expand, and renewable energy assets and will push us in the right direction. We're really excited about what's happening at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. It's going to turn into one of the largest offshore wind port facilities in the nation. Not only are we going to get the power, but it's also going to include green jobs. We're going to be hiring people to build out the entire wind farm in that area. We're building more bike lanes and public transportation infrastructure to reduce our emission, something that I'm really proud of what Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez is doing in DOT. It's about investing not only in vehicles that we use for government to travel, but also electrifying our school buses. These are vehicles we use all the time. We are being creative to make sure we electrify them to carry out the goal that's in front of us.

And so all of our partners, USDOT, New York City DOT, DCAS, DSNY, and particularly Julie, the president of New York League of Conservation Voters — they have been real partners on this initiative. And we're going to continue to move forward as we put New Yorkers in the driver's seat of dealing with the environmental challenges that are in front of us. So congratulations. We want to thank the federal government and federal agencies for this $10.1 million in allocation. We're hoping that this money matches the dollars that they bring in to deal with these asylum seekers also. So we are asking for everything here in our city. Thank you. Thank you.

Commissioner Pinnock: Thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. At this time I'd like to welcome Julie Tighe, executive director of the New York League of Conservation Voters.

Julie Tighe, President, New York League of Conservation Voters: Thank you, commissioner. Thank you, mayor. It's so nice to be here on this unusually warm day, and you're right, we are seeing climate change front and center right here before us. I'm Julie Tighe, I'm president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. We're a statewide environmental advocacy organization that fights for clean water, clean air, clean transportation, and open space through political action. And we're so excited to be here with you, mayor, today, for the announcement of $10 million in federal funds to help New York City go electric.

It was just over two months ago I joined you when we were announcing that 51 new electric school buses are coming to New York City with the help of funding from EPA, and we're sure to see a lot more money as we get more money for infrastructure and for electrification of our fleets from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and from the IRA. The transportation sector is a leading contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, controlling nearly 30 percent of our emissions. And fossil fuel burning vehicles cause air pollution, which harms public health. It contributes to harmful respiratory conditions like asthma, rates of which have tripled in recent decades. In underserved communities, asthma rates are as much as 25 percent higher. So it is also a matter of environmental justice and keeping our commitment to prioritizing communities that have been for too long, disproportionately impacted by pollution and the impacts of climate change. We have to accelerate our transition away from fossil fuels towards zero emission vehicles and this announcement replacing all these vehicles will help us to do that. When we're getting rid of our gas guzzlers, including our street sweepers and all these medium vehicles with clean energy vehicles, we're making a huge step forward. And congratulations to DCAS for all the work that you're doing to get to those goals in advance of your schedule. We encourage you to keep doing that. Keep the pedal to the metal, so to speak, although we have to stop talking about accelerators. No more gas pedals, right?

But we can't only transition our fleets, we have to make it easier for New Yorkers to electrify their rides. With the 350 new EV chargers coming, the message to residents is clear. Replace your fossil fuel powered vehicle with one that's battery powered and the city's going to make sure you have the resources to power up. Mayor Adams, we thank you for your commitment to the environment for putting the pedals to the metal on the climate crisis. Because we know whether it's the vehicle fleet, the clean buses, expanding the e-scooter pilot, more Citi Bike locations, more robust EV charging network, safer intersections, which we're really grateful for, you've been working to really get stuff done to clean up our transportation sector. I want to thank DCAS Commissioner Dawn Pinnock and Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez for making sure that you're prioritizing the environment and advocating to get those funds here. New Yorkers are going to breathe a little bit easier because of all the work that you're doing, so thank you.

Commissioner Pinnock: Thank you so much, Julie. Next, I'd like to invite Ydanis Rodriguez, commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.

Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, Department of Transportation: Thank you. Thank you, commissioner and Mr. Mayor Adams. As my daughter turned 16 yesterday, my little one being nine, whatever we’re doing today is not for us. It's for that generation. Can we save the planet? That's a question. Can we handle another Sandy, Maria, Katrina, snow storm, flooding going everywhere. The storm that can hit California can also hit New York City in the near future. I feel that we have lived all those natural disaster, and the question is, what is our responsibility? No doubt that Mayor Adams, a leader known in our city by showing all the municipalities across the nation how we can make our city more sustainable.

Of course, in the name of more than 5,000 men and women at DOT, we also want to say thank you because you put in the resources to our agency to make the city more sustainable, to make the city more pedestrian and cycling friendly. Today's announcement is a major step in the city's effort to urgently address the climate crisis. Each year, motor vehicles account for almost 30 percent of the city's carbon emissions. That's why the DOT is working so hard every day to support sustainable modes, cycling, mass transit and public adoption of electric or electrical vehicles. But we must also do our part as an agency and as a city to reduce emissions from our fleet of city vehicles.

That's what Mayor Adams and commissioner DCAS is doing today together with us, DOT, Sanitation and other agencies. We're thrilled to work with our sister agency, DSNY and DCAS, to allocate $10 million in federal funding to help replace nearly 925 fossil fuel burning vehicles with electric alternatives. These funds come from the DOT's allocation Congestion, Mitigation, and Air Quality funds from the federal government and will help the city reduce the environmental impact of our vehicles. Being able to shift this allocation to our sister agency highlights how we are working as one city under Mayor Adams to get stuff done. We are working to improve New Yorkers' access to electric vehicle charging as well. As part of our curbside level two charging pilot, DOT has installed 130 level two charging ports across the city with a focus on installation in the out of borough areas.

Our goal is to install 1,000 curbside chargers by 2025 and 10,000 charging stations by 2030. Under this administration, led by Mayor Adams, we will be working hard to reach that goal. Together these efforts to help us build a greener future for New York City, for the future generation, and for more than 48 (million) visitors that have come here to New York City. I'd like to thank Mayor Adams, the U.S. Department of Transportation, DCAS Commissioner Dawn Pinnock and DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch for the collaboration. I also like to thank the talented DOT staff who have played an important role in this effort, including Susan McSherry, Mark Simon and Renee Peter-Smith. Thank you. (Speaks in Spanish.) Thank you.

Commissioner Pinnock: Thank you so much. That concludes our formal remarks and thank you so much for joining us today.

Mayor Adams: Any questions? Opening questions? Any questions? Do you have questions — you have?

Question: I have two on-topics (inaudible.) That effort that you mentioned to reduce the city's vehicle size by... I think it was 855 vehicles. Did that ever happen by the end of last year?

Commissioner Pinnock: Absolutely. We set a very aggressive target and we are exactly where we want to be. We've identified all the vehicles and we're currently auctioning off the remaining vehicles that we've identified.

Question: The second one is for the mayor. One of the most popular EVs in the country right now are e-bikes. One of the big problems is in the city that cheaper batteries catch fire. Are you looking for any federal funding or any other kind of funding to make it more accessible for people to have safe e-bike batteries?

Mayor Adams: We want to really look into the cheaper brand. I have been communicating with some of my lawmakers. We have to stop the source. They should not be sold in our city. Our focus is to really look at it. There have been a number of cases of fires where people have been seriously injured or in some cases they lost their lives, and so we are focusing on that. We haven't figured it all out yet. This is really new when you start to think about it, but it is definitely on our radar.

Question: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Happy New Year.

Mayor Adams: Same to you.

Question: I wanted to see if you had some more details on those nearly 1,000 electric vehicles. Which agencies will get them? How many are allotted for a certain agency, and so on and so forth? Just off the top of my head, are there any EVs for NYPD?

Mayor Adams: Dawn, do you know where they're going?

Commissioner Pinnock: I'll turn it over to my colleague, Keith Kerman, for the exact allocation. However, to your question regarding the NYPD, yes. They were actually one of the first agencies to partner with us to have some of their vehicles switched out for Mach-Es. Yes, electric vehicles are in use at the NYPD today.

Question: That's patrol cars, like regular NYPD patrol cars?

Commissioner Pinnock: Yes. Patrol cars.

Keith Kerman, Deputy Commissioner and Chief Fleet Officer, Department of Citywide Administrative Services: Thank you, commissioner. Keith Kerman, chief fleet officer. Just on the numbers, 360 of the e-transit vans — and those are right behind us — 150 of the e-lightning pickup trucks. That's our first big order of medium duty trucks. To give a reference, 25 percent of the city on-road fleet, 6,000 vehicles are pickups and vans. This is a really big move for us. 382 GM Bolts, and we operate over 800 of the Bolts as our core get-around passenger car. Then, seven sanitation trucks and 25 of the electric sweepers. That's the break out of what we're getting. We just reached 4,000 electric vehicles late last year and this will get us to 5,000 as these all start coming in this year.

Mayor Adams: We'll give you a breakdown of what agency is going to get what, okay?

Question: For the mayor, when do you intend to start using electric vehicles for your official use?

Mayor Adams: Whenever the NYPD... They determine what type of security that I have, what type of vehicles. I'm open. I'm so low-maintenance, man. Whatever they determine is fine with me. I get up. I was on a train today. I had an electric vehicle today. The train car. I was on the train today, riding the trains. I think we have the best public transportation system on the globe. Some people think otherwise, but I was on the electric car today, the 4 train. Ready to rock and roll?


Question: Mr. Mayor, first of all, Happy New Year.

Mayor Adams: Happy New Year's to you.

Question: Today a video has surfaced of an NYPD police officer using hammer punches to attack some teenagers in Staten Island. I have two questions. Number one, what's your reaction when you see a police officer being so brutal with somebody that they're trying to arrest? Secondly, does that kind of video make it more difficult for you to convince New Yorkers to trust the NYPD?

Mayor Adams: First of all, I was not happy — what I saw in the video. I spoke with the commissioner last night, communicated with the chancellor. This was an incident that happened off school grounds. A young girl was being jumped by two other children and the police intervened. It was NYPD, not school safety agents, and so we are going to look at the body cam of the police officers. That's why body cams are good. We're going to use the video that was posted on Instagram. That's when it first came to my attention, and of my understanding, the police commissioner swiftly suspended the officer that was involved. Now the Internal Affairs Bureau is doing a thorough investigation to determine exactly what happened.

I was not pleased with what I saw on the video. And to answer your question about having New Yorkers trust the Police Department, they do. I hear all the time. When I was on the subway system today, people were saying they just feel good that they're seeing more and more police officers, that uniform presence. I don't care who you are. You could be the staunchest critic of a police officer, but you know three numbers in this city, 911, and you're happy when they pull up. You are happy to see them late at night. You are happy if your child is out somewhere knowing that they're on the street. The people of this city trust their police. They're happy to see their police. They felt comfortable at January 1st at the ball drop, even when someone attacked three police officers, the thousand that were there, protected New Yorkers. And so these incidents are not going to erode the relationship that the people of the city have with the men and women in the New York City Police Department.

Question: You think that when New Yorkers see something like that, it gives them pause and it makes them wonder about the training and why a police officer would think it's okay to hammer punch a young kid?

Mayor Adams: No, I think to the contrary, I think that when a teacher watches one of their colleagues being arrested for abusing a child, they know that's not them. They know that the overwhelming number of teachers are doing their job. When a Sanitation employee watches a member of their agency do something wrong, they know it's not the agency.

I hope that we get away from the place that the numerical minority that does something incorrect is a reflection of the professionals in the city.

And people know the countless number of police officers run towards danger, not away from danger. And we should be proud of having a Police Department with the level of restraint that they show.

The incident on New Year's Day, we really need to understand what happened there. Thousands of New Yorkers were on the street. A person took a machete, attacked three officers. Those officers discharged one round. Concerned about the safety of everyone that was there, they immediately terminated the threat. One round. And then went back to protecting the people of the city. That's the training I'm talking about.

That rookie, I was just at his graduation. And all the training he had, he didn't know what was going to happen. In a split second, right there on patrol, he responded. That's the type of training that I know, and I know that training is some of the best training because I have that training.

Question: Hi mayor. You said yesterday that regarding the migrant crisis there was no more room in the inn. What did you mean by that? And do you understand why some people, it struck them as callous?

Mayor Adams: What is callous?

Question: Not compassionate towards the migrants who could still be arriving?

Mayor Adams: Okay. Well, 8.9 million New Yorkers, 36 million opinions. I have to navigate the challenges of telling everyday New Yorkers that we're watching a national crisis that's playing out on the stage of our city. At one time we had to deal with Republican governors sending migrants to New York. Now we're dealing with Democratic governors sending migrants to New York. This is just unfair. It's unfair to El Paso, it's unfair to Chicago, Houston, Washington, New York City. This is unacceptable, what's happening.

And we opened close to 60-something emergency shelters, 60-something emergency shelters. And we're not only having to make sure that they have a place to sleep, which we are doing. But we also are having to overcrowd our schools, feed, clothe, healthcare. And we're not receiving any money from anyone.

And so no one is sleeping on our streets because they can't find a place to sleep, like others are doing. We are showing the compassion. And if anyone is stating because I'm saying to the federal government and everyone else that New York has done its share, that's not callous. What's callous is how we have been ignored as a city.

And now I have to make tough decisions on the resources of New Yorkers that cycled out of Covid. New Yorkers are cycling out of Covid, and they're dealing with this crisis, and we have over 30,000 people showed up at our doorstep, and we open our doors to them. It is time for the federal government to step up. And that is my message of no room at the inn to the federal government.

We will continue to do what we have been doing. And even when they closed the borders, we were still getting in hundreds of people that were coming every day. We don't have any more room. And even without that room, we are going to find a way to fulfill our obligations.

Question: Hi Mr. Mayor. Happy New Year.

Mayor Adams: How are you? Happy New Year's to you.

Question: I wanted to build off of your answer to the migrant situation. Chicago Mayor Lightfoot recently criticized the Colorado governor…

Mayor Adams: I'm sorry?

Question: Chicago Mayor Lightfoot recently criticized Colorado's governor for busing migrants to both New York and Chicago and called the practice inhumane. Do you agree with those remarks? And I was wondering what your message to President Biden is right now.

Mayor Adams: Okay, so first let me peel back. Number one, her remarks, do I agree with them? You're damn right. You're damn right I do. For the governor of Colorado to say that I'm going to push the problem to the city and didn't even notify us. Everyone knows what we're going through. And for that governor to do that, I spoke with the mayor last week. This is just unacceptable.

And I think I have been extremely reserved on what has been happening. I don't know if we really understand the magnitude of dropping 30,000 people in this city that's already gone through a crisis. And it's as though people just, "Okay, well, New York handled it." And we have handled it.

And then to match what the federal government is doing, we have all of these people who are talking about what we are not doing, but they're not even writing one letter to tell the federal government to give us the resources we need.

But they waking up every day saying, "Well, why aren't you doing this? Why aren't you doing that?" No, why don't you tell the federal government to fix this mess that they created? This is unacceptable. And I'm not going to sit back and allow New Yorkers to carry the burden of a manmade crisis. This must be fixed. This has to be fixed.

And I don't know what's going to happen when Title 42 is lifted. So I think the Chicago mayor is right. When I spoke to her yesterday, she says, "Eric, we have been a little too patient. We can't do anything to embarrass our families. But it's about time we start to do that."

This is inhumane of what's happening, and I'm just blown away that many people are critiquing us. No, critique the people who made this mess that are placing people in this environment.

Question: Hi Mr. Mayor. To follow up on those two questions, the city put out an RFP for a HERRC. I'm wondering why put out an RFP and not just take the other route that the city has made to just turn a hotel into a humanitarian emergency relief center.

Mayor Adams: I'm not understanding, you lost me. Break that down for me again.

Question: The city yesterday put out a request for proposal for a new humanitarian emergency relief center. I want to know why the city's taking the route of putting out a request for proposal this time around, instead of just turning in a hotel, as the city has done previously. Turning that into a humanitarian relief center.

Mayor Adams: A couple of things. We opened, I think we had the total of 63 HERRCs, emergency hotels. 63. These are real dollar amounts that's attached to this. This is an expensive endeavor that we are in. And we have to find ways of carrying out this task without bankrupting this city.

And so my team at the Budget Office, my team, Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom, they are meeting continuously to pivot, shift, and figure out how to solve this crisis that was dropped on us.

And maybe, I think a lot of people think that, "Well there's no real urgency here," because we are doing the job. So we're almost a victim of our success of doing the job.

But go look at what's happening in El Paso. People are sleeping on the streets. Go look at what's happening in other places. So we are doing our job. And I think because of that, people are thinking that there's no crisis. No, there is a crisis.

And we have to figure out, every day we start our day moving around the chess pieces to solve this crisis that we did not create. That's real.

Question: Mr. Mayor?

Mayor Adams: Yes sir.

Question: When you say we should be looking at the federal government's role in this situation, are you talking about — is President Biden to blame for the other states like Colorado continuing to send migrants here and overwhelm our resources?

Mayor Adams: You must not read your paper. Because they answered that for me when I did my favorite talk show the other day with Sid. Listen, we have to solve the migrant immigrant issue. So it's easy to point to whomever is in the White House at the time. Those are Band-Aids. We have a problem at our borders. And El Paso shouldn't be going through this, and no other city should be going through this.

And so when I say the federal government, I'm talking about Congress and the Executive Branch resolving this issue of our migrants. That's what I'm talking about.

And we're not going to try to simplify this to say, "Well, should it be just Washington?" No, we have an immigrant crisis that we can't continue to ignore.

Question: Hello. Happy New Year.

Mayor Adams: How are you doing, Kemberly? Good to see you.

Question: Let's talk rats.

Mayor Adams: Yes. Hate them.

Question: Talk about the new summons, the most recent summons. And Curtis Sliwa is going to offer his services to you today, I guess several cats. Can you talk about where you stand? And you said you smell a rat.

Mayor Adams: Well first of all, I hope he leaves some of the cats on the block, because whatever it takes, I would rather see a cat than a rat any day.

Second, this is not a new summons. When I went to speak to get the old summons dismissed, that summons was issued the day after I went to testify.

So I'm going to do like every New Yorker, I'm going to go back to court, show all my evidence. I spent $7,000 to do rat mitigation. You have to be really scared of rats to spend $7,000. $7,000. And still spending money to do so. We have a rat problem in the city. Who are we kidding?

And we're going to continue, we have a couple of great programs we're doing that we will be rolling out. We're testing them now. My mission, as Jessica Tisch states, "Rats don't run the city."

And so I'm going to go fight the summons, bring my evidence, as any New Yorkers. I encourage any New Yorker who believes they were unjustly issued a summons to do so.

I have a camera at the house, and I looked back on that date. My yard is clean. My garbage is in containers. I go there, I sweep up. My place is clean. I know I contribute to making sure we deal with the rat issue.
And I encourage any New Yorker, you get a summons, you feel it was done unjustly, go and fight it. And that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to follow the process.

Question: Will some of that video be part of your evidence you're going to take? What is your evidence?

Mayor Adams: Yeah, I have a couple of exhibits. I'm looking forward to be the chocolate Perry Mason when I go into court to plead my case. I think I have some good evidence that I'm going to put in front of the court, and show that I do a good job.

I know my place has to be clean, because people are always out there snooping. My yard is clean, the garbage is where it's supposed to be. I have containers. So, I'll go present the case and let the judge decide.

Question: Continuing on rats.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: Curtis was saying earlier that he can be your rat czar for free, so I'm wondering if you're going to take them up on that offer? And then secondly, if you can just elaborate a little bit on what you just said to the previous question about the summons. Your yard is clean, the trash is in bins, the inspector said that's not accurate. So do you think someone at the Department of Health is messing with you, issuing summons that have already been cleared? What do you think is going on?

Mayor Adams: Well, first Curtis, yes, I will take him up on his offer. If he says he would be my rat czar for free, I'm going to call him, and I would like for him to come on board to do it. Don't put it out there if you're not willing to live up to. If you're going to write a check, make sure you can cash it. So, yes, tell Curtis, come to be my rat czar. Okay? And he's going to realize this is not a Tom and Jerry playful commercial here, this is real stuff. And so, yes, I look forward to him. I will make sure… Dawn, can we bring him on board? He can be part of our internship program, because I know he's probably been looking for a job since he lost the job that he was trying to get. So, yes, thank you very much for giving me that information.

And no, I don't think someone from DOHMH is targeting me. I don't think that at all. Anytime a New Yorker believes they are issued a summons that they feel was incorrectly issued, they have a right to do so. My yard is clean. And the beauty is, as I've alluded to, I'm fortunate enough to have a camera that I can show the picture of that date of what was in my yard, and my recyclables, they were in a bag like they're supposed to be, not at the curb, but in a bag, in a plastic see-through bag, and my trash was in a bin. My house is well kept. I'm a neat freak. I'm a Virgo. We like neat things. Okay, thank you.

Question: Can I just ask one question regarding the Staten Island Ferry. What is the status of negotiations with the union? And NYC Waterways had to operate two trips on New Year's Eve, so how often does the city expect to be doing that? And when can Staten Island expect a resolution to this problem?

Mayor Adams: I know the Department of Labor is still in conversations and we want to come to a resolution with those men and women who are doing a great job. And whatever we need to do to accomplish the task. If we need to use Waterway, we're going to use it. We are going to get people to and from Staten Island. They are not the forgotten borough in this administration. I've been on Staten Island probably more than any other modern day mayor in a short period of time, so I'm looking forward.

But no, hold on for a minute. There is one more thing I did want to do. I want to go off record for a moment. Sometimes you get your best stories when I go off message. I will say. Listen, I am so tired of the previous administration and their antics. Marcia, we've been in office for one year, and I am hearing the previous administration attack us on Rikers.

They wanted to see Rikers close down — that they failed at. They attack us on the Department of Health on what we did around Covid. They were constantly… We were months into office, two months into office, and they were criticizing everything we did. We kept the schools closed. We shouldn't have closed them. They wanted a mask mandate. We said, no, we want to get our economy open. Everything we do, the previous administration… I don't remember an administration in history that says we won a full frontal assault in the first year of an administration like the previous administration. I called Bill the other day. I said, "Bill, what's going on? What's going on?" And then Bill's comms guy, who's probably the worst comms guy in the history of communication — he's an expert on everything now. Get this, Chris, I want to make sure you get this. The guy's an expert on everything. No matter what we do, all of a sudden, y'all say, "Okay, let me find someone to critique Eric Adams."

You talk to everybody and everybody says, "No, we think Eric did the right thing." Oh, let's just find someone from the previous administration. And this guy, I'm going to attack Eric for everything. And you guys act like this guy is credible. Who cares what he thinks? I mean, Marcia, let us do our job. They had eight years to do their job, eight years to fix Rikers, eight years to deal with crime, eight years to deal with education, eight years to deal with early childhood education for children with disabilities, eight years to fix NYCHA. They had all the time to do their job.

Question: And did they?

Mayor Adams: No. No. But they are now… Once they're gone, they're experts on everything. And when you look through the last 12 months and you see how many times they have interfered, it's just not acceptable. But when I go to and look at the history, maybe you could tell. You tell me when there has been a time that a previous administration has attacked another administration in the first year. Bloomberg has been nothing but helpful. "How could we help Eric?" Everyone… Those from Koch’s administration calls us, "How could we help?" Bloomberg's administration calls us, "How can we help?" Dinkins' administration calls us, "How can we help?" Giuliani's administration calls us, "How can we help?" Every other administration calls us, "How can we help?" But we have the previous administration that just left the house… They just left. They left the house in total disarray, and then they come and say, "Look at the mess that you created, Eric."

No, it's a mess we inherited. So, all I'm saying, let us do our job the way you had an eight year opportunity to do your job, and that's all of them. So, don't start your blogs talking about critiquing NYCHA. Every time we do something, run to the press so you can all of a sudden act like you're the greatest comm director there ever was. We don't want to hear your advice on Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. I have a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene commissioner that got us out of Covid correctly and monkeypox and polio and many other issues. It's enough. How about saying, "Our city is in a crisis, and we want to come and help," the way Bloomberg has been doing, the way other administration personnel has been doing.

They all come together. All these other administrations have come together and say, "We want to help the city we love." And that was my message to the former mayor. I deserve better from a former administration. I deserve better, and my commissioners deserve better. Because if you were the mayor and the commissioner of this city, you know how challenging it is to run this city. Every day, every hour there's another crisis.

So, respect the people who are doing the job that you just left. You are not going to hear from me. When I'm done, I'm sitting under the sun. You are not going to hear from me complaining about those who are on the front line of running a city as complex as this city. Now, to Mayor de Blasio's credit, he has been extremely helpful. He has called. He said, "How can I help? Here's what I went through. Here's what I think as advice." When I reached out to him, he has been there. This is directed to those who are intended on one thing is to see us fail. And I'm going to say this again. I'm the pilot. I'm the pilot. Everyone else is a passenger. So, those people who are praying for the plane to crash, you on the plane. You on the plane. You should be all… We should all be praying, "Eric, land this thing. Let's land this thing." Tell them that. We’re going to land this thing.


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