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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Names Counsel to the Mayor, Appoints Head of the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department for the Aging

February 18, 2014

CONTACT:, (212) 788-2958

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Let me begin, as I like to do, with all of our announcements of new members of our administration, by thanking everyone who has helped to put together this administration, starting with our First Lady – who I don't see in the room, but I thought was going to be in the room.

Phil Walzak: She's coming from upstairs.

Mayor: She's coming from upstairs! There we go. The co-chairs of our transition call, Carl Weisbrod and Jennifer Jones Austin, our Deputy Mayor Lillian Barrios-Paoli and my Chief of Staff Laura Santucci. Want to thank them all for the work they did leading to today's announcements. We've said it before, we'll say it again: the vision in staffing up this administration has been to find extremely effective experienced folks who share the progressive values of this administration and represent the totality of this city. And I've said from the beginning, I was convinced there was extraordinary talent out there that wanted to be a part of public service. Every time we get to make these announcements I think it confirms that view. With the appointment today of Maya Wiley as Counsel to the Mayor, Emily Lloyd as Commissioner of DEP, and Donna Corrado as Commissioner of DFTA, we're taking a major step forward in creating the administration that we envisioned. Maya, Donna, and Emily are each highly respected leaders in their fields, and each possess the first-hand knowledge and experience that will make them effective leaders in this administration.

Let's first talk about Maya Wiley. Maya is known locally and nationally as one of the fiercest advocates for equality and social justice. And she fits the vision I have for the role of Counsel to the Mayor, because what I'm looking for in this role is someone who will constantly reinforce our focus on fighting inequality. And make sure that not only are the actions of this administration legally sound, but that they are morally sound as well, and that we stay focused on our goal. Now, Maya has extraordinary experience and she also has a very particular attribute that makes her knowing and strong, and that is she is a Brooklynite. In fact, today we have an all-Brooklyn lineup. Maya and Emily currently in Brooklyn, Donna born and bred Brooklyn – even though your strayed away in recent years, we still consider you a full Brooklynite. I've been told to say Brooklyn's in the house, is that what I'm supposed to say? So Brooklyn's in the house today. Maya will serve as my chief legal advisor on all matters involving the Mayor's Office and the staff of the Mayor's Office. I'll expect her to provide counsel on all the day-to-day workings of the Mayor's Office, as would be true of any counsel. And she'll do some of the roles that one might assume as typical of counsel to the mayor, for example, coordinating our efforts in terms of judicial nominations. But her role is going to involve a lot more. It's going to involve taking on some of the issues that are core to our agenda and need to be led from City Hall to be effectively achieved, and one example is when it comes to broadband access. I've spoken about this a lot over the last year. This is an area that Maya has put some serious time and energy into. To have a truly just society means economic opportunity for all. And in this day and age, that means having access to the totality of the digital world. In this city today, it's shocking how uneven broadband access is and that has tremendous ramifications for the people of this city, in terms of their ability to prosper, their ability to learn.

It certainly has huge ramifications for the potential growth of our technology sector, which – as everyone knows – is one of the really exciting and important new elements of our economy, and one that offers tremendous hope for a more economically fair and just city. But that can only happen if the sector has the capacity to go, and that will only happen if we have truly universal access to high-speed internet. To achieve that change – and you'll be hearing a lot more from us in the coming weeks on this – is going to take intensive coordination with a number of city agencies, including DoITT and the Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning. It's going to take some forceful work with elements of the current industries that regulate or – that determine what kind of access we have, I should say. And wherein, there is a problem. We've been open and honest about it before. Particularly when it comes to Verizon, we have not gotten some of the movement we expect in terms of broadband access. We want to see more competition than has been existent in the past. These kinds of efforts are going to involve a lot of different city agencies but they have to be led forcefully from City Hall. And that's why it's something I want under the purview of the Counsel to the Mayor.

Now as a civil rights attorney with extensive experience advocating on behalf of the poor, and the marginalized, and the underserved of New York City and beyond, Maya's commitment to tackling structural, racial biases and poverty is a thread running through her entire professional career. In 2002, she founded the Center for Social Inclusion and she is now the president of the center, she has supported ideas and strategies that promote racial equity, that create prosperity and opportunity for all. Previously, she served in the Office of General Counsel at the Open Society Institute. She served as a consultant to the Director of U.S. Programs before becoming an international advisor on a criminal justice initiative, which had her based in Cape Town, South Africa. And previously, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the southern district of New York, where she spent three years in the civil division. So her career is illustrious in legal terms, but equally important to me is illustrious in terms of taking social values and putting them into action. This has been what her life has been about, and it animates her work, and that's exactly what we need as we face the inequality crisis gripping this city. We need that kind of spirit here in City Hall. We need that kind of focus on the changes we have to make. And for that reason, I'm honored to name Maya Wiley as Counsel to the Mayor.


Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor: Thank you Mr. Mayor. It's with great humility and with great excitement that I accept this position. And I wanted to start actually by thanking the snow for stopping. And for my children's [inaudible], because I told them they are absolutely not allowed to lobby me on snow days related to school.

Mayor: That's a legal restriction.

Wiley: That is a legal restriction. We have set up the firewall in the house, I will assure all New Yorkers. But really I'm extremely excited because this administration and this Mayor have been so courageous in standing up for every New Yorker in saying that this is going to be a city that rises together. It's something that I've always cared about, and to be given this fork in the road – I think is the way you termed it in your State of the Union speech, Mr. Mayor – this fork in the road where the Mayor actually asked me to make a choice. And the choice was: will you take this fork with me, in order to ensure that no New Yorker goes without a meal. That no New Yorker goes without a roof over his or her head. That no child is in school without the ability to learn. And that everyone has the ability to see a ladder before them. We're going to add some rungs to that ladder. We're going to make sure that everyone climbs it.

Broadband is going to be pillar of that, because we can't be a twenty-first century city if our nation's – if our city's children actually have to go to McDonald's to get online. That can't happen in this city anymore. And I'm really looking forward to working with this mayor and this administration to change that. And I want to thank New York because I've always loved this city. My brother's sitting here with me, and our earliest days – I just have to say this – our most exciting days would be when my mother would put us on the train in DC, because my father was up here working. And it was the best thing because we'd get to come up here and we'd get pretzels off the street. Like you couldn't do that in DC, get pretzels off the street. And I had to have it with the mustard on it. But I will also say that we fell in love with the city as young children. We're both here now in Brooklyn, and we remain committed to this city. And I remain committed to my father's legacy, because when he was here, he was actually trying to make sure that no one went without a meal. So I look forward to serving that legacy and serving you, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor: Thank you. Thank you very much.


Mayor: It's good to know that our street pretzels have led to such social commitment.


Mayor: Now, our next appointment is someone who is no stranger to the job that she will take on, and she's certainly no stranger to Chirlane and I. Emily Lloyd is someone we have known for over twenty years and have just the greatest faith in and the greatest respect for. And when the question of who would be our next environmental protection commissioner came up, I knew from my point of view there was no one better in New York City – no one better in this country – to take on the role. The only question is whether we could tempt Emily back into the service of the people of New York City. And I'm thrilled that she said yes. Emily served as DEP Commissioner from 2005 to 2009. And she understands, by definition, this agency as well as anyone understands the enormous role it plays in our city's life, even if it doesn't get the attention it deserves. And that the challenges have grown with each passing year. Let's note what DEP is expected to provide and to achieve each and every day. First of all, assuring the quality of drinking water for 8.4 million people. Ensuring that their air is safe, overseeing – in the case of the commissioner – a staff of 6,000 to maintain the city's critical water and sewer infrastructure. And on top of that, driving key parts of our administration's sustainability and resilience initiatives across all five boroughs. New York City, we know the challenges we face.

We also know, in everything we do, we have the potential to be the progressive leader. In everything we do we have the potential to change the way things are done for the better. And when it comes to sustainability, we have the potential to be the most sustainable big city in the world. And DEP is crucial to that work, crucial to creating a greener and more resilient city. Under Emily's leadership there will be a focus on investing on infrastructure upgrades to improve our resiliency and to improve our preparedness in the face of natural disasters. It will be her role to convene public and private sector leaders to build upon the successes of PlaNYC. And I often say, there are areas where I disagree with the Bloomberg administration, there's areas where I've found a lot of agreement and the desire for a lot of continuity. And PlaNYC is something I believe in. I'm glad we'll be using it as a blueprint to start from, as will be the case with the resiliency plan that was produced after Sandy. And Emily will be charged with continuing our environmental education efforts to continue to help our residents to understand how they can build a greener city, and particularly to get our students and young people involved in sustainability initiatives citywide.

So, I'm announcing today a leader who knows firsthand what it takes to put this city in the lead nationally in terms of sustainability. She brings her extraordinary expertise and history with DEP, and her personal passion for protecting our environment and our resources. As commissioner from 2005 to 2009, she oversaw major progress toward the completion of the third water tunnel. And she helped to save the city billions of dollars by earning the city the status as one of only five major cities in the country with high enough quality drinking water that it does not require filtration. In the last few years, she has served as the administrator for Prospect Park and the president of the Prospect Park Alliance. A lot of us here, it's an organization near and dear to our hearts. It's a – I can safely say that Dante and Chiara learned everything that they needed to learn in Prospect Park – in the playground. Emily's worked with city officials, business leaders, advocacy groups to continue the extraordinary work that's been done in that 150-year-old park to make it better all the time for its nearly 9 million annual visitors. She also served – and this was when Chirlane and I had the honor of working with Emily as a commissioner for the New York City Department of Sanitation from 1992 to 1994. So this is someone who knows New York City, knows our infrastructure, knows what it takes to protect it. And no one could be better to help forge the future of the New York City environment and our resiliency in the face of an ever-changing world. And someone who's done it all, Emily Lloyd.


Commissioner Emily Lloyd, Department of Environmental Protection: I like the stool, that's great.

Mayor: You've grown in my estimation.

Commissioner Lloyd: Thank you so much, that was fabulous. I'd like to say how happy I am to be standing here today. As the mayor said, I've known him and the first lady for a very long time. During the first Dinkins administration, and then he became my own representative in the City Council. I lived in his district. He looked after Prospect Park, which is also in his district. And then I had a real opportunity to work with him when he was in the City Council and I was at DEP, which was probably the most substantive work we did together. And I thought that he brought such great intellect and energy and commitment and willingness to work together every time we sat down, that I have tremendous respect for him. He's someone who can really grasp the issues, look for the opportunities and solutions without either demonizing city agencies or diminishing his advocacy for the way to do things. And I think that's a very special kind of ability.
I know we share a belief that we must do everything we can to give all of the city's residents the very best city services we can. And we must do it – excuse me – in a way that reduces our negative impact on the environment and reduces climate change's negative impact on us. And that we must never lose sight of the importance of the individuals affected, and our obligation not only to give them good service, but to help them solve their problems. You will not be surprised to hear that this mayor has an aggressive agenda. And it includes many things I'm eager to work with, and I'd like just to mention a couple of them. First, we will strengthen the water supply infrastructure by continuing work on Water Tunnel 3 and the repairs to the Delaware Aqueduct. Second, we will work to reduce the impacts of storm water on our residents, businesses and waterways. Third, we will expand the use of renewable energy, both to our own use at DEP's facilities, and by tapping the byproducts of our operations for wider use. And we will maintain an unwavering focus on helping those still living with the aftermath of Sandy. This is a time of tremendous challenge and opportunity for New York. With strong leadership, that is when we are always at our best, and I'm looking forward to getting started right away. Thank you.


Mayor: [inaudible] right away. Finally, I had a big choice to make when it came to determining who would replace the woman who now serves as our deputy mayor for health and human services, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. So, this is not a physically true statement, but it is a morally and intellectually true statement, that she has big shoes to fill. Lilliam is a legend in our city government, and what she did at DFTA was extraordinary. And so as we've considered who could lead the Department for the Aging, we thought about a couple of things. We thought about the fact that this city has a growing senior population, with a host of needs and challenges and a host of possibilities. And we needed someone who really understood the reality the seniors face today and all of the tools that we could bring to the table to improve their lives. The fact that this is going to be a very different city in 10 or 20 years, and that we have to build in advance of that by taking our seniors fully into account. We needed to find someone who understood the challenges that seniors face day-to-day, whether it's affordable housing or access to high-quality healthcare. We needed someone who understood that, for so many of our seniors, there's a profound economic they face in an ever more expensive city.

Almost a quarter of our seniors live at or below the poverty line, even when you include Social Security benefits. And seniors living on fixed incomes face costs of living that are amongst the highest in the nation here in New York City. And the previous administration's decision to cut rental subsidy programs left many seniors without critical housing support. So as the senior population continues to grow as the cost of living continues to rise, our administration is committed to taking aggressive steps to make sure our seniors are protected. We're going to support affordable housing for our seniors as part of our plan to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing. And we're going to protect low-income senior centers – senior citizens, excuse me – against rental rate increases. We're going to do all we can to give seniors as many options as possible, including senior centers and recreation centers that improve their health and wellbeing. And we're going to support nursing home transition and assuring that our seniors have access to vital services.

So to do all that – I hope you feel tired already, Donna – to do all that, we needed someone who really, really understood the senior citizens of this city and how to serve them. And that person is Dr. Donna Corrado. Donna has dedicated her entire career to expanding and improving social services for New York City's most vulnerable residents. She started her career as a program director for older adult services at Catholic Charities, an organization that serves more than 400,000 meals to older adults at senior centers and delivers 570,000 meals to homebound elderly clients. She has spent more than 22 years working at Catholic Charities, helping to expand the services that the organization provides to New York's neediest and most sensitive communities. Under Donna's guidance, Catholic Charities partnered with DFTA to open an innovative senior center in Brownsville, that features a farmers' market, and community supported agriculture programs for the centers' seniors. This is exactly the kind of effort we want to see a lot more of in our communities. So Donna has firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing non-profits that provide the services seniors depend on in this city. She'll be someone that each and every service provider can relate to and respect, and she understands how city agencies can best work with grassroots organization and neighborhood organizations to successfully deliver services for our seniors, and she's someone we'll all depend on to help us figure out the policies we need to prepare New York City for the future, and for the future of our senior citizens. Welcome Donna Corrado, as our new DFTA Commissioner.

Commissioner Donna Corrado, Department for the Aging: How audacious to step into the role of Commissioner of the Department for the Aging after Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. That was very intimidating to me in one sense, and in another sense it was refreshing, and it was an incentive, because she is leaving the department in good shape, having already started many of the initiatives that we had all been praying for years, and I just hope to build on that, and expand on all the wonderful work that you've done, and your cohorts at DFTA, and your deputy commissioners – one of whom is here, Caryn Resnick.

My passion for working with seniors goes back, as the mayor said, over 22 years ago, when I was hired at Catholic Charities to run a case management program – one case management program, then five programs, then 10 programs, and then over the years, overseeing all of the agency's vast portfolio of senior services. So, in that sense, I'm well equipped to step into this role, from the perspective of the provider community, and as you know, over the years, funding for aging services has diminished on the city level. But, under this administration, it is a priority, especially given the fact that seniors, one in every five seniors, lives at or below the level of poverty. My vision for the Department for the Aging, and I am so audacious to be able to do this, sit here and set policy on minus day one, because I haven't actually started –

Mayor: Just go for it.

Commissioner Corrado: – in this role yet. But there you go. My vision includes enhancing the capacity to provide quality case management by reducing caseloads to more manageable levels, and building case management capacity, given the enormous waitlist that we have. Really, using the information Lilliam had the foresight and the brilliance to study case management, and the results of those studies, I'm told, will be out shortly, or tomorrow. So we can do that really based on scientific data and knowledge, and find – what are the best ways that we can provide case management, what's the best array of services, expand that array of services, and be more flexible in doing so.

I'm thrilled that I have the opportunity to work across city agencies and, having the broad knowledge of other human service fields, that we can actually do better work. Because seniors are homeless. We can do a better job of supporting seniors by having access to benefits. And every city agency plays a part, because we're all getting older, so there's older homeless people, there are older everything. Everybody is older. So it's across all the networks. We'd like to start a citywide campaign to gain access to seniors for benefits, and for food stamps. Given that 40 percent, only 40 percent of seniors that are eligible for food stamps actually participate in that program, so there's more we can do.

We'd like to open new avenues of funding, and better align the DFTA network, the service network, with the changes that are going on currently in health care. That's a way to expand programs, that's a way to bring new sources of revenue into the DFTA service market, and we're looking forward to doing that.

Expanding on the theme of "Every day should be chicken day at the senior centers," my friend here –

Mayor: Can you explain that theme? That is definitely an inside joke.


Commissioner Corrado: That is an inside joke, and the reasoning goes that, when you serve chicken – they follow chicken, so the more chicken you serve, the better the utilization in the senior centers.

Mayor: All right. We'll put that motto on the wall.

Commissioner Corrado: So, in that theme, we would like to have, not only a chicken in every senior center, and a chicken in every pot, but a Masters-level social worker in every senior center across the city. We'd like to expand the capacity for seniors' transportation options by bringing to scale the taxi card program currently being piloted in two boroughs. It's a tremendous need for seniors, especially in the outer boroughs, for transportation to medical appointments. It's very difficult for them to access Access-a-Ride, which, working with other city agencies, it's a need for improvement. But through the taxi voucher program, scaling it up, more seniors will have access to transportation, and we'll bring in new revenue to the city. So I look forward to working on that initiative as well.

The DFTA network knows how to keep seniors in the community for as long as possible. And as we ride this wave of the aging tsunami, the department's role will take on an even greater importance. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve New York City, and to serve this mayor, and this administration. And I'm ready to start as soon as Catholic Charities lets me go, which should be any day now, and I look forward to working with Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, the staff of DFTA, my advocate friends and colleagues, to really make senior services stronger, to support the growing number of seniors, and we're all going to age, and age in place hopefully, and really to build on the prior administration's effort to building an age-friendly New York City. And we hope that seniors continue to choose to live in New York City and make New York City a place where we can attract and support all seniors – all 1.4 million seniors, and that number is growing every day. And I thank you for that opportunity.

Mayor: Well, I've learned a lot already at this press conference, including, well the "chicken day," definitely that a revelation, but I was also going to say, the physical intimidation level of Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. I didn't realize that she struck fear in the hearts of people this way. I just thought it was your sparkling personality, I didn't realize intimidation was so much a part of it too.

A moment in Spanish.

Tengo el gran honor de anunciar a tres líderes progresistas y efectivos para que dirijan nuestros esfuerzos para mejorar la vida de las personas mayores, proteger el ambiente y reducir la desigualdad social.

Mayor: And with that, we're going to take questions about these three appointments, so, on topic only. These three appointments. Yes.

Question: About broadband, [Dewitt?] already says that there's nearly 100 percent availability residential, for the city, and the real issue is adoption, which is a complicated task. What are some of the ways this can be tasked?

Mayor: Well, I'll start, and feel free to jump in. Look, I think the practical reality, and we've heard this incessantly from people in neighborhoods all over the city, they don't have the access that's claimed, and we certainly hear this from the tech center as they're trying to expand. And we've had, as I said, some real issues with Verizon in terms of keeping their commitments about what they were supposed to provide. So I would say, based on the information we have, we have a lot more to do, and we believe that the tools of this city could be used very effectively to truly gain that kind of access for people.

Wiley: Yeah, thank you for that question. 100 percent penetration depends on what you're talking about. So, some people will have very inadequate access to high-speed Internet services despite the fact that technically, you could look on a map and see that there are providers. So, I actually don't think there's 100 percent penetration in a way that's meaningful for people. One of the important things to focus on – in addition to the infrastructure, and whether the infrastructure itself provides sufficient bandwidth, sufficient data, sufficient access – is affordability. Because so many people in this city, even if they're lucky enough, and many aren't, but even if they are lucky enough to have access in their neighborhoods, they can't actually afford to pay for it. Because if you can't afford to feed your family by the end of the month, you can't afford $75 dollars a month for the broadband service. And that's what we have to fix.

Question: Yeah, I was just a little confused about the connection between, kind of the legal side of Ms. Wiley's new position, and broadband, how that kind of –

Mayor: I'm glad you asked that question. Because, look, there's different facts, if you look at the histories of Counsel to the Mayor, a lot of different people played the role in very different ways. It is, of the many positions in city government, it is one of, that's most sort of in the eye of beholder. It depends on what the individual mayor is looking for, it depends on how the individual in the role plays the role. I've seen the Counsel of Mayor, historically, as one that carries the mantle of the Mayor's Office, and helps to make things happen, and this is an example. This is the kind of area that we're only going to get progress on, if it's directed from here. And it needs a convener here, and someone who will drive the agenda. Now, that being said, Maya's role will obviously also involve some of the traditional legal counsel type roles, by definition, on a whole host of issues. When we're having discussions on policy initiatives, it will be her role to pass judgment on if they're legally sound, or if there's questions that have to be resolved. It will be her role to work with different agencies to create some of that quality control, if you will. But I want to emphasize, this is not a narrowly constructed role. This is very much a policy role, very much a role driving some of the core pieces of our agenda. Yes.

Question: You spoke about having a Bloomberg-era continuity with Emily Lloyd, Department of Environmental Protection. In terms of Parks Department, I know you're a fan of Bloomberg's environment policies, are you looking at something similar there as well, in terms of leadership.

Mayor: Well, as I've said many times, we don't make announcements for any role until we get to the point of being ready to announce them. I think in the area of parks, I do have some differences, and I've talked about some of the things we have to do to create greater fairness in terms of support for parks across the five boroughs. And I was critical of the previous administration in terms of some their approach to parkland, and the disposal of parkland, for example, in the most recent situation with the soccer stadium. I've been critical of some of the ways that we fund parks, and we want to look for greater equity in that. So those will be important principles when we get to the point of making that decision, but when we have an announcement you'll be the first to know.

Question: What's the city's legal authority to help make broadband more affordable?

Mayor: I'll start, and then let the lawyer take it up. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm going to answer the question more from a programmatic level. I think we have tremendous ability to determine the outcome here. You know, this is a situation where our city's economy is being held back, social and economic justice are being held back, because we haven't reached this level. Now, if you look – again, I'm being very open about the fact, I've talked about this before – if you look at the franchise agreement that Verizon is working under, you know, there's very clear terms there that have not been met. If you look at the state of competition in this area, it's greatly lacking, and I think there's a history in this city, and in this state, of some very interesting absences of competition in certain areas. We think we have a lot we can do on that front, with our regulatory power, with our purchasing power, with our franchise power. So I think we can have a big impact, but I'll allow Maya to do what she'll be doing from now on, and telling me what the law says.

Wiley: And the first thing I will say is, the lawyer will never what the law says, without first doing a full vetting of the law. So I think your question is really appropriate.


Your question's a really appropriate one. There are lots of legal issues involved, and we will be looking at all of them. I think the mayor's absolutely accurate when he says, there are lots of levers that the city can pull to ensure access, and we will be pulling all of them.

Question: Ms. Lloyd mentioned that part of her focus would be dealing with those living in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Could you go into a little bit more detail on that?

Mayor: I'll start, as she comes forward to the step here. We believe there's a lot that needs to be done. I've said this in my State of the City speech, that for a lot of people, the effects of Sandy are very immediate and very continuous. The storm is very much still with them. And that takes on many forms, most especially people trying to get back into their homes, and needing more support. But we also have an immense amount to do to protect against the next storm. And we all know that that is not scheduled. It's not something we get a lot of warning of. It's something that we have to be working on right now to prepare for, and we have to use the federal resources that are coming in effectively, and we have to get more federal resources, because as we talked about in the budget address, we've not gotten the kind of commitment federally, that we need to really make ourselves as resilient as we need to be. So all of that is going to frame our decision making. And then now, over to you, Emily.

Incoming Commissioner Lloyd: Well, I'm not going to add a lot, because until I get to the department and start looking at it more closely, I don't know exactly what remains to be done. But I think that there is, as the mayor said, a lot of finishing out of things that have been begun, and we want to make sure that everyone who was affected has been helped to the full capability of the city, drawing on federal and other resources. And then, the other thing is, of course, resiliency. We face, with climate change, very intense weather events that bring with them storm water, storm surges from the seas, and very high winds. And we really have to think about those things, and how we can protect neighborhoods as well as possible, how we can advise, through zoning and other methods – which would obviously be not my action, but in collaboration with other departments – how we can help people to not only protect themselves, but to remove themselves from risk in some cases.

Question: Back to the broadband for a second, is the objective here to try to get free broadband across the city, to try to drive down the price of broadband, what's the idea?

Mayor: I'll start, and again, I'll pass to Maya. I think, first of all, we want universal access to high-speed Internet. We want it to be as cost-efficient as possible. The fact is now, we're so far off the mark in a number of neighborhoods, that you can't – not only is it not fair to people in terms of their everyday lives, and what they need to access, educationally, occupationally, etc. – but you can't really talk about a five-borough economic plan living out its full potential if this isn't a part of the firmament. And one of the things we've talked a lot about with the tech sector, and there's been tremendous receptivity, is building out the tech sector to be a fully five-borough enterprise. This is now our second-biggest employment sector. It's really grown in an amazing fashion, and we need it to keep growing, but we need it to be something that is a part of every borough's economy, and we can't do that unless there's very consistent, very universal broadband access at the best available prices.

Incoming Counsel Wiley: So I think the most important answer to your question is, we're going to have multiple solutions. There's not going to be a one-size-fits-all. There's not going to be one unilateral model. What we're going to do is be very creative. We're going to look at every single way we can make sure we do exactly what the mayor said, and that means we are not going in with preconceived notions about what it looks like and how it gets done. We're going to go in and look for the ways that it will be effective for each community, for each sector, from small businesses, homeowners, even Hurricane Sandy rebuilding requires this access. So we're not going to go in with preconceived notions. We're going to work collectively with a lot of different stakeholders. We're going to figure out what works, and we're probably not going to have a one-size-fits-all. We're probably going to have multiple models.

Phil: Last question, guys.

Mayor: Last question. Always an interesting question. I have faith in you. Go ahead.

Question: [inaudible] –

Mayor: Wait, wait, wait. We're staying on topic. Judges?

Phil: That's off topic.

Mayor: Well, we can get that one into the next one. We can get that one into the next one. I do want to honor the notion that we're staying on topic here. It's a lovely editorial, but I do want to honor that notion. OK, on topic. Yes.

Question: You talked about your stance on park partnerships, could you –

Mayor: I don't know. You're a little off topic also. I answered that previous one because I was in the spirit of answering, but, this is on topic, so parks is not on topic. This is Department of Environmental Protection, Aging, and Counsel to the Mayor. Last call. One. Two. Yes.

Question: Ms. Lloyd also talked about renewable energy, can you give me any examples of types of energy you might be looking into?

Mayor: Well, let me start and then pass it to Emily. You know, we have tremendous opportunities here, and first, in the area – by the way – of conservation. One of the things I'm very excited about, when we announced our housing team, we announced Shola Olatoye as the new chair of NYCHA, and one of her first priorities is going to look at how we do a really massive program of energy retrofit in NYCHA, which will not only save a lot of money, more importantly will be tremendously good for our New York City environment, and one of our ways of addressing climate change, and I think a great job producer for folks in NYCHA and beyond. When it comes to alternative energy, I think we have an opportunity through the funding we're receiving to address Sandy, and our resiliency efforts, to look for ways to create more alternative energy options. And by the way, we remember, in the aftermath of Sandy, one of the most devastating realities was that power was cut off, and there weren't locally available sources to compensate. And so as we're going through our efforts to rebuild, we want to find ways to create greater energy independence here, and that could obviously involve things like solar and wind. So, this is actually an opportunity moment for us.

Incoming Commissioner Lloyd: Well, I think solar and wind are very important opportunities. One of the wastewater treatment plants is already in the process of putting in place a solar panel. So one thing I think we want to do is to be very alert, throughout our system, as to opportunities to install solar and wind. But the other thing, of course, is that wastewater treatment plants generate a lot of digester gas, and that is a fuel, if it's captured and used properly. And I think the goal is to both look at reusing that to power the wastewater treatment plants, which take quite a bit of energy, and also to see if it can be captured and made available for other uses.

Mayor: All right. Thank you, everyone.

en español
Mayor de Blasio Names Counsel To The Mayor, Appoints Heads Of The Department Of Environmental Protection And The Department For The Aging