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Transcript: Mayor Adams Holds In-Person Media Availability

March 19, 2024

Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy, Communications: Good morning, everybody. My name is Fabien Levy and I serve as deputy mayor for Communications for the City of New York. Thank you for joining us for our weekly in‑person media availability, where we provide New Yorkers with a clear line of sight into how their city government is working for them.

Today we have once again brought together leaders from across city government to answer your questions and speak directly to the needs of residents across the five boroughs. You'll see we have a couple of new additions today.

So, joining us today, we have Mayor Eric Adams, First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Chief Advisor to the Mayor Ingrid Lewis‑Martin, Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams‑Isom, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana Almanzar, Chief Counsel Lisa Zornberg, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Tiffany Raspberry and New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds‑Radix.

So, without further delay, I'm pleased to turn it over to Mayor Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thanks so much, Fabien. We say over and over again as we put up on the screen, two years ago when we came into office, we had a clear vision: protect public safety, rebuild our economy and make the city more livable for all New Yorkers in general, but specifically, working‑class New Yorkers. And we're delivering on all three every day and each week we roll out our focus on that.

We're keeping people safe by helping them stay in their homes, even with a 1.5 percent vacancy rate. We are focused on having our partners both in the City Council, in Albany, be part of the build more housing.

And we created what I think is so important, our Tenant Protection Cabinet, so we can get government out of its own way and remember why we're all here, to make life easier for working‑class New Yorkers and allow them to have quick access to housing.

And the cabinet would give people information and help them take action rather than pushing them off to another agency to bring them relief during this housing and affordability crisis. Far too often, we send them from one location to the next. Instead of solving the problem, we used to say in policing, refer the complaint and not the complainant.

And as we're helping people stay in their home, we must also provide them with good‑paying jobs so they can put food on the table for their families. We've done that with our city employees. 95 percent of our union contracts, 100 percent of our uniformed contracts have been settled. And many of the contractual settlements, we receive over 94, 95 percent ratification votes. We are showing real success that we're delivering to our city employees.

But last week, we took a major step forward with the team to put more money in the pockets of the roughly 80,000 human service workers, many of them women, many of them women of color, and we are investing $741 million in raises for these essential workers.

We saw what they did during Covid, but also we see what they do every day. It was a commitment and promise I made on the campaign trail and I could check off another box: promise made, promise kept.

And finally, since the start of this administration, our team has worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone has access to public spaces. Yesterday, we launched an effort to make our public spaces across the city clean and welcome to all New Yorkers by bringing together agencies from across the city government to do this important work.

We've been able to visit 10,376 locations. Of those visited, 10,187 ended in a clean site, that's a 98 percent success rate. Something I committed, removing encampments off our streets and off our subway systems: promise made, promise kept, and we continue to do that every day.

Sometimes it's just as simple as just cleaning up the area. Someone could have left a bag there, someone could have dumped an item there, and we just zeroed in. Our police precinct personnel is playing a real role in that. If you look at this, just over the weekend, last week, I think it was Friday, I went up to the Bronx. The councilman shared that this was a real problem and we're going to take further steps here.

A lot of drug use. Even when we were there, a person was injecting themselves with drugs while we were on the site. We did a cleanup there, but there are more things we could do to prevent this problem from reoccurring.

In two years, we have connected more than 3.5 times as many New Yorkers in need to shelter as the last administration did in their final two years. Hats off to Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom and her team, and between our work on encampments and the subways, we have connected more than 7,000 people with care and shelter.

This is a promise that we made that we were not going to abandon our neighbors and just walk past them and act like we didn't see them there, and that is why we are going to continue to lean into this issue and come up with good results.

And so before we go into the off topic, and this is the first topic I want to deal with. Everybody's familiar with the allegations that were made in November of last year, and I want to immediately respond to that as I did in November when they first came out on Thanksgiving Day.

This did not happen. It did not happen. I don't recall ever meeting this person. During my time in the Police Department back in '93, many of you know, those who have followed me, I was one of the most outspoken voices for fighting not only police abuse, but also for the rights of people. My life has been dedicated and committed to that.

I'm sorry that Tracey and Jordan, my family, is going through this right now, but I have been very clear on fighting on the rights of behalf of women, and I'm going to continue to do that.

My life has been a clear open book for almost 40 years now. I have been one of the most public faces in the city, and I have always carried myself with a level of dignity that New Yorkers expect from me.

And I want to say to New Yorkers, I'm going to continue to do my job of navigating the city out of the crisis that we have been in, just as we navigated out of Covid, the asylum seeker crisis, public safety, housing crisis. I'm focused on doing that. I've given three comments over and over again: stay focused, no distractions and grind, and the legal team will handle the other aspects of this.


Question: Mr. Mayor, I guess I wonder given the fact that we're in a sort of a me too environment, how you prevent this incident from becoming a career‑ending incident and how will you respond to it to show people that [inaudible].

Mayor Adams: New Yorkers will make the decisions on how they move forward when allegations are made and I'm focused on running the city. I think my legacy is going to be a clear one and it's going to be a good one.

I think one of the most important things that we did in the beginning of this administration is when First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, who was deputy mayor at the time, took us to the Museum of City of New York, and we walked through and we saw the previous administrations and what they went through and how they were able to overcome that. And we know that crises come and crises go.

This is what life is like when you're a public servant and you're a public figure as long as I have been. Marcia, you've probably known me for about 40 years now. I've been a public figure, a public face for over 40 years in this city. And throughout those years, people have disagreed on my politics and they disagreed on my advocacy, but I don't find too many people who disagree on my character and how I have fought on behalf of people.

Question: But the thing about it is this, that while you were fighting so hard with the Guardians, et cetera, there were other people who were trying to take you down at that time. I think both of us remember that.

And I wonder if this is sort of a flashback for you to 1993 when, you know, people didn't really love…  There were people who didn't love what you were doing, and is this a flashback for you when people who were trying to take you down?

Mayor Adams: I can't speculate, but one thing is clear, I'm the last person that could advocate on, or should be able to advocate changing policies within the Police Department because I was a strong, staunch advocate for dealing with fairness within the Police Department. And I will focus on doing that, and I do that now even as mayor of the City of New York. I'm going to continue, as I said, stay focused. We can't be distracted and we have to grind to get the city where it ought to be, and our record is showing that we're able to do that.

Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor, how are you doing?

Mayor Adams: Good, good. How are you?

Question: Good, good. So, I wanted you to just address this a little bit. When you start reading details in that lawsuit, it's very, very specific. I know you said you didn't talk to her, you never met her. How do you explain how specific those details are?

Sylvia Hinds‑Radix, Corporation Counsel, Law Department: He is not going to be answering specifics of a complaint. He's represented by counsel, who will… And we are, we the Corporation Counsel's office is representing him. We are currently reviewing the complaint and we would make the appropriate answer and everyone will get that information when we file it with the court.

Mayor Adams: Thank you, judge.


Question: ...any specificities from a bird's‑eye view?

Mayor Adams: I think the judge responded to that, and I've been very clear from the day this came out. It did not happen. I don't recall meeting the person, and that is not who I am as a person, that I am specific about.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Good. How are you?

Mayor Adams: Fine.

Question: Good. Question for you.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: Today, the state's highest court allowed a lawsuit to move forward against the city that charges the city's property tax system is racially discriminatory. Does the city's property tax system need to change? Why or why not?

I also wanted to ask you, yesterday, City Hall, in the wake of the new details in the sexual assault lawsuit, sent out some statements from female supporters defending your character. I was wondering what was the need to send out those statements and did those women reach out to City Hall to put out those statements or did you and City Hall reach out to them?

Hinds‑Radix: Can I answer the first one, Ms. Mayor, on the question with the taxes?

Mayor Adams: Yes, you can.

Hinds‑Radix: Because your question implies, for him, implies something different from what happened. The Court of Appeals, in the TENNY case, made a determination that there was standing. What that means is that the plaintiffs had the right to bring the lawsuit. That does not mean that the lawsuit is concluded. It goes back to the lower court and then the determinations are going to be made.

So, the response to your question has to necessarily be different than what was asked. And I didn't hear, I missed the second part of your question, if you don't mind… 

Question: About the property taxes or about the statements from the women supporting the mayor yesterday.

Hinds‑Radix: Oh, okay. That's for the mayor.

Question: Yes.

Mayor Adams: I think you answered the property tax question. Thanks a lot. I was inundated with calls, with outreach with people throughout the city. The same, you know, oftentimes people reach out to me all the time and people were saying, Eric, we've known you for so many years in the city and we just want to voice our support of you publicly.

And they were allowed to do so, to voice their support public. And I thank them for doing that. I thank people that know my character and who I am and what I stand for and how I live my life. And I appreciate their support.


Question: Mayor, given the recent straw donor cases that have come up, there was one that came up just recently, given the FBI investigation, now you have the details of this lawsuit coming out, is there a concern that you have that there are clouds growing over City Hall and that you might have difficulty doing your job vis‑à‑vis the public?

Mayor Adams:  Let's look at the results. Crime is down, jobs are up, we're the safest big city in America. We continue to do so. We have more private sector jobs in the history of the city. While these clouds, as one would say, we are showing that we continue to move forward.

And as I shared with all of you several times, when I sat down with mayors from Bill de Blasio to Michael Bloomberg to my days with David Dinkins to the countless number of books that I've read on mayors and leaders that held executive position, stuff happens, you know, and you better be ready to have a motto that you could live by. Like no distraction, stay focused and grind. There's a reason I say that over and over again.

And the team would tell you that I have a level of discipline that starts early and ends late and I'm focused on moving the agenda forward. And I think that that is going to be one of the greatest attributes that people are going to do when they analyze this administration, how this mayor, under so many circumstances, were able just to maintain doing the job.

Then I have good people around me. The judge is handling one aspect. I have my team that's handling any inquiry. I have my team that's handling housing, a team that's handling the migrant asylum seekers.

I have good people around me, and so, you know, I'm able to just stay focused on being a leader at the helm right now. But stuff happens in every administration, and you must be focused enough to continue to move forward, and that's what we're doing.

Question: And that's what you see this as sort of stuff?

Mayor Adams: I'm sorry?

Question: That's how you see this as sort of stuff?

Mayor Adams: Everything, everything. There's different terminologies you can use. You could use the term crises, you could use the term issues, you could use whatever terminology you want, but when you go to Gates Avenue in Brownsville, they just say stuff. So, I'm not trying to be any more complicated than that.


Question: Thanks. Two questions. Why does it make sense, are you going to hire a private attorney in this issue or you'll be continued to be represented by corporation counsel?

And then secondly, a survey came out this morning showing that less than a third of the city rates quality of life as excellence or good, which is a 20‑point drop from 2017. Is there anything that you think you could be doing differently to enhance people's perception of quality of life here?

Mayor Adams: 2017, '18, '19, '20, '21, '22. It's many years between. Okay? I've been here for two years and three months of that. Cycle through Covid, a whole lot of folks were angry through Covid. Cycle through 184,000 migrants in asylum seekers, a whole lot of folks were concerned about that.

But what I loved about the report is that it also pointed to how people say my priorities are in order, that public safety, space, getting rid of rats, all the things I talk about, New Yorkers are saying, hey, this guy understands what everyday working‑class people should be.

'Fortunately, the focus of Mayor Eric Adams' administration by and large aligns with New Yorkers' priorities including public safety, housing and clean streets, parks and public spaces.' That was also in the report, by the way.

'The 2023 resident survey confirms that the Adams' administration is on the right track with a focus on public safety, housing, rat mitigation, and mental health services.' That's what they say. We are on the right track.

This administration, and when you look at the W's, we have in those areas there that are important to people, like putting more people in housing, getting more people FHEPS vouchers in the history of the program, cleaning out streets of what we're doing under Commissioner Tisch, how our parks are getting cleaner, what we're doing around public spaces, all those things that New Yorkers believed that are important, the report says that we are on the right track. The goal is to continue on that right track.

And listen, when you do a national look, people are feeling a certain way after Covid. We got that and I understand that. And people have a right to be angry over what has happened with the migrants in the asylum seeker crisis and how it has impacted on the quality of life of migrant and asylum seekers and on everyday New Yorkers.

So, I know New Yorkers are feeling a certain way right now, but this is New York: 8.3 million people, 35 million different opinions. This is the city that we're in, but the city that we're in, who's extremely critical and they love giving their opinion, they say, we are on the right track. We are focused on the right issues.


Deputy Mayor Levy: I would just also point out in that story, one thing that it missed was a little bit of a context, though. LA is the second largest city in the country, had recent polls recently and showed that 75 percent of respondents found it unsatisfactory.

So, we're seeing this across the country after Covid. A lot of cities are having problems rebounding back and having people say that they're up to the same quality of life. But to the point that the mayor made: crime is down, jobs are at the highest level in the city's history, we're cleaning up our streets, we're creating housing, last year we created more affordable housing than ever before. You know, we're breaking records over and over again. And so I think that context makes a difference.

Mayor Adams: And we're going to do well. You know, what we're doing with containerizing of garbage, people said it was going to take four years. We are getting ready to do it in two and a half to three years. You don't see encampments in this city like you see in other cities.

I look all the time at other cities and speak to mayors across the city and I visit their locations and I speak with them. That's not here. That's not here. And I think that is, I say it over and over again, it's going to be a retrospective appreciation of how we've navigated the crises that other cities are just unable to do.

We saw a chart the other day of public safety for 2023, murders per 100,000. Do we have that chart?

Deputy Mayor Levy: We have it.

Mayor Adams: That chart there. You see that little gold all the way on the back? That's New York. New York City remains the nation's safest big city. All those other high bars there? Then look at that little gold at the end. You know, that's the gold at the end of the rainbow.


We are the safest big city. So I know what we're doing, other cities know what we are doing and other mayors call me all the time and say, Eric, you are holding it down in New York under some very difficult times. That goal, 100,000 people, murders per 100,000 New York. With all that we have going on here, we have the lowest out of every other big city. That's a fact. That wasn't in the CBC report.

Question: And on the attorney question?

Mayor Adams: Right now the corp counsel is handling the case and, you know, we're going to continue to allow them to do what they do well.

What's happening?

Question: How are you, Mr. Mayor? So, last week with the right to shelter agreement afterwards, both sides were kind of saying, oh, this is a good agreement for everyone. I guess, from your perspective, why do you see this as a good agreement? Do you think it gives you more power to turn people away from shelter after 30 days?

And also, Legal Aid indicated that the city really just wants to message to people, oh, you need to go and find your own housing and do that with more urgency. Is that what you would say or do you want more tools to turn people away?

Mayor Adams: Well, I'm going to allow counsel, and Anne, whomever wants to touch on this, but let me say this. Here was the thing we were saying from the beginning of almost 40 years ago when we did the right to shelter. We were talking about 2,500 and now we're talking about we had the potentiality of having 184,000 migrants and asylum seekers and another of 40, 50,000 that were already in our care.

And so what we were saying from day one to everyone, this is not a right to shelter conversation. This is a migrants asylum seeker crisis. And people were saying that they should stay under the two. And we were continuously saying it's never our desire to turn people away that need shelter, but we need to clearly identify what the two are.

And that is what we came out of the court with, that there's a difference between the right to shelter ruling and agreement and dealing with a migrant and asylum seeker crisis.

That was important for New Yorkers because if we say that someone can come from anywhere on the globe and stay in New York City for as long as they want, and we pay for their food, shelter, clothing, housing and everything else, that would bankrupt this city, and we were making sure we delineate the two.

Ingrid Lewis‑Martin, Chief Advisor to the Mayor: In addition, it was also important for New Yorkers who support the right to shelter for our own indigenous population to know that we want to help our own indigenous population in the proper way. So, it was twofold.

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams‑Isom, Health and Human Services: So, I just wanted to say that I really want to thank the court. It was after months and months of pretty intense negotiations and everybody worked really hard because our goal was to make sure that we were taking care of people.

And this is a pretty historic moment, and we're going to be able to do good for many, many people. So, I feel, I wouldn't say happy, but I'm pleased in the outcome. And so, as the mayor said, this was always about giving people more clarity and stability so that we can work with people and intensify our case management, make sure that people are getting the legal support that they need.

And the judge in the case was so impressed with the work that New York City has been doing and how we've been approaching it, and his perspective is that we will look back on this from years now and really see that this was an important moment for New York City in terms of how we're managing it.

I look at my brothers and sisters in Chicago who are just now putting their 60 days in place. I look at Massachusetts, a couple of months ago, that got to 7,500 families and decided they couldn't do anymore. I look at Denver who has 42 days, I believe, for families and 14 days for individuals. There are very few tools that localities can use.

And so this agreement helps to give us the flexibility that we need to make sure that everybody is really focused on what their goals are during these 30 days and really helps us to really focus on the most vulnerable.

Camille Joseph Varlack, Chief of Staff to the Mayor: I think I would add to that, that, you know, we're not asking individuals to figure it out on their own, that there is intensive case management that we've already done and that we will continue to do to help people figure out the next steps in their journey.

Mayor Adams: Well said. This is going to be one of my best chapters in my books, by the way. We have national leaders that have traveled to the city and walked through what we're doing, national immigration leaders, and they said no one is doing it like you are doing it.

You have shown the greatest level of humanitarian response, you have led the conversation about work authorization. What you have done for over 30,000 children, it is unprecedented. You have led the voice. This is what they're saying. This is what they're saying.

And then the judge in this case, the judge is saying, you know, look at what you guys have done, what New Yorkers have done. Everyone that walks and goes through what we're seeing from congressional leaders — I remember we had the congressional delegation here — people who were yelling and screaming at us until they came and visited, they sat down right in this room and said, it is commendable what you are doing here.

When people took the politics out of the conversation and looked at what we were doing, people walked away really commending this city, and that is something that's not being reported at all.

But we know with national leaders and people who do this work have looked at this administration and people of the city, because not only us, there's a whole slew of people who are volunteers, the organization, AIDS for Life, what they're doing is unbelievable. We have Catholic Charities, we have all of these New Yorkers who have decided to stand up.

Up in the Bronx, we have the imams in their mosques feeding people every day. All of these churches, the church‑based groups. New Yorkers have really stepped up and people have commended us all over the country on what we are doing and we're going to continue to do the work.

Question: Yes. Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you doing?

Question: Good. I'm not a one‑trick pony, but you said uniformed, 100 percent contracts. I would hear it from my EMS brothers and sisters, City Council across the way voted them to be uniform service and Mayor Bloomberg just decided, well, he didn't like that.

And so I just… On behalf of them, I stipulate that they consider themselves and the City Council did emergency services as uniform services. That's just, I want to make… 


Mayor Adams: There's a lot of complexities when you identify people as uniformed services that we're trying to navigate right now. I really take my hat off to EMS, EMTs, you know, even as the police officers, they will respond to places dealing with individuals who's going through mental health crises. They were on the scene first, shootings, they're there. I just think that it's really a commendable profession, and we want to look at those complexities around how do we identify people as uniformed or non uniformed.

Question: Quick follow up from me.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: In that vein of civil service, just hypothetical, I know you don't like hypotheticals. But if there was an active police officer who was subject to a civil complaint in the civil system related to sexual harassment, would the City of New York indemnify them and have corp counsel represent them?

Are you concerned that there's a double‑standard potential here by having corporate counsel, which represents and protects the City of New York and the position of mayor, which is not, I believe, and I would defer to the judge, not the same thing as Eric Adams, the individual.

Hinds‑Radix: The mayor is entitled to representation as a former employee of the Transit Authority, under the State Public Officers Law. And the Transit Authority Police Department, as you are aware, merged, there was a merger in 1995; and after that merger, there was an agreement that the city and the corporation counsel became obligated to represent former Transit Authority employees.

The mayor, therefore, is not getting any special treatment. He is being treated the way he's entitled to and that's why there is representation here.


Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Okay, thank you.

Mayor Adams: Good.

Question: Just a question about sort of how you view this lawsuit, given that the plaintiff in this case is someone who has a history of filing lawsuits, advising people how to file lawsuits, and given the fact that you say you've never met this person. 

In your view, do you want New Yorkers to take away that you think this is just a fabricated, frivolous, made‑up case? Or, have you wondered whether there could be something more coordinated like a political hit behind this?

Hinds‑Radix: I would rather him not give you what his view is. He will discuss his view with his attorney as we go about litigating this matter. So that issue is not something that he should be litigating in the public at this time.

Mayor Adams: And I agree with the judge, but I do want to say this, that I know how I live my life and I remember your days of NY1, you've covered me for a long time. And I have been an extremely respectable public person, and for those 40 years, I am really proud of that.

And so I don't want to speculate. And there is, as Tracey told me this morning, Eric, you must be disciplined around this. You know, don't allow your emotions to get in the way. Remain disciplined and trust your team. And I trust my team.

Lisa Zornberg, Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall: Mayor, if I could just add in response to that question. I'm the mother of both a son and a daughter, and I feel with the exact same passion that just as no woman and no girl should ever be the subject of sexual violence, no man and no boy should ever be the subject of false accusations.


Question: Just want to clarify on the legal representation question. I mean, I guess if the mayor was acting in his personal capacity at the time, is he still entitled to representation?

And then additionally, about pre‑K, Chancellor Banks yesterday said that he's fighting to reverse these cuts and that there's going to be news. I'm wondering, you know, are we going to get the pre‑K, 3‑K funding reversed? What's the news on that? And then will everybody who wants a free preschool seat, three or four‑year‑olds next school year, will they be getting one?

Mayor Adams: And the judge can talk about the… I think she really explained the whole representation issue again and she may want to repeat it again. But just on the 3‑K, listen, the chancellor is extremely passionate and authentic about educating children.

And I think you see the authenticity come out all of these areas. The authentic approach that DM Williams‑Isom has around children, ACS, homeless and et cetera, all of us bring that to the table.

And his desire, we know the importance of Pre‑K and 3‑K. You know the challenges that we are facing, but we're all part of one team. And that team clearly understands that there are areas that we are going to have to do some form of cuts. People think we're out of the woods because we did not do the third PEG.

They think everything is fine, but it's not. We're dealing with real challenges. And that's the reason that bond raters keep saying that this administration is willing to make the tough decisions. These are not popular decisions. And if I went only on popularity, I would be doing a disservice to the city.

And we are going to try to find ways like we did with the Summer Rising programs of how could we fund it. But those money, those dollars are not identified yet. And we need help to deal with the sunsetting dollars.

The previous administration put in place permanent programs with sunsetting dollars. We need to be clear on that. And that would have been one thing if we didn't spend $4 billion on migrants and asylum seekers, but we spent $4 billion, so the money has to come from somewhere.

And so I think what you see from the chancellor and from other commissioners, this is their life work and it is painful. All of us are traumatized by what we have to do to lean into our life work and find more inexpensive ways to do it.

And it's an emotional time for all of us. And I think the chancellor has the right to display that emotion, but at the end of the day, he's going to do what's best for the City of New York and I'm clear on that.

Lewis-Martin: And we're trying. You know, we need help from the federal government. We keep going back to that. The money that we expend on migrants, immigrants, we should not be expending. It should come from the federal government.

So, if the federal government would kick in and do their part, do its part, then we would be in a much better place. So we need help.

Question: So, did Banks go too far? Did he… 

Mayor Adams: Hmm?

Question: Did Banks go too far? Did the chancellor… 

Mayor Adams: No, he didn't go too far. He stated that he's going to do all he can. He's going to fight as much as possible to hold back these cuts. I want my team to be authentic in their emotions, but at the end of the day, if we're unable to identify the money, he's going to carry out the directions that's coming from the entire team.

Lewis-Martin: And he's not fighting alone. We at City Hall are fighting as a team. We're looking at all of these cuts. We don't want to implement any cuts, but again, we have no choice.

Mayor Adams: Right.


Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Good, thank you.

Mayor Adams: Good to see you.

Question: So, first, just for clarification, so who is paying the legal fees? Is it the city paying for the legal fees in this sexual assault allegations? And then on right to shelter, how are you going to make sure that migrants aren't sleeping in encampments? I know you guys were doing a homelessness census recently. Do you guys have results or will you have results soon on that?

Mayor Adams: The corp counsel can talk about… Corp counsel is handling that. She could talk about, though, she did a good job of explaining that. And that's something that Melissa said also, you said that I stated I've never met her. I said, I don't recall meeting her. I want to be clear on that. I don't want anybody to say that I did. I don't recall who she is.

The goal is not to have people sleep on the streets. I've always said this, particularly children and families. But we're going to give intense care to single adults. We're going to give them as much direction and instruction. The system was never built for people to come anywhere on the globe, stay here for as long as they want on taxpayers' dollars.

We want to incentivize people like we've done, over 60 percent, over 60 percent of those who have come through our care are now self‑sustaining themselves. And so we want to continue to seriously encourage people, you have to find your way in the city, like so many other immigrants have and are doing right now as we speak, and so many of our family members have.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Can I add really quickly? I think that the 30 days is really going to be important so that we can figure out what are the things that people need in order to be able to move on.

And it's actually higher for single adults. I think 80 percent of the single adults that are in our system move on, so we're really talking about that 20 percent. So by using our data, by using staff that can really look to see what extenuating circumstances there might be, we'll be able to protect the most vulnerable and be able to help others go on.

The mayor does not like encampments, so he would never do anything that would make more encampments or having people on the street, that has never been his direction to us.

Question: And then the legal fees.

Hinds‑Radix: I know your thought is like this is a law firm and a law firm sends out a bill. The corporation counsel's office employs some 750 attorneys to represent the city and city workers under this circumstance, so that's how that is done. It's not, we don't send the bill to a client; all the people that we represent, we represent police officers and everybody else.

Question: So the city [inaudible].

Hinds‑Radix: Yes.


Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. How are you?

Mayor Adams: Good. How's it goin'?

Question: It's goin' good.

So, your police administration has been openly critical of Governor Kathy Hochul sending the National Guard to do bag checks, kind of dismissing it as a plan to make New Yorkers feel safe. And with the latest act of violence that came in the shooting last week in the subway system, what's your administration's plan of making people feel safe on the subways with these random acts of violence?

And just following up on Chancellor Banks' statement yesterday, he also said that… And this is something your administration said, that you're going to need to triple the amount of hiring you're doing for teachers to meet the new state requirements for class sizes.

So, what's the plan here? Is it to try to meet that number in the next two years of tripling during a teacher shortage nationwide, or is the plan to lobby Albany to make some amendments to this law?

Mayor Adams: Firstly, we have not been critical of the governor. Our goal has always been, as many of us said, I want everyone to go back to probably January, February of 2022 when I used the term that the perception of feeling unsafe, we need to address that perception and we need to address the actual crime numbers.

I was brutalized when I used the term perception, now all of y'all are talking about perception. Just about all your articles now, it's like, people don't feel safe, they have to perceive just as what. This is what I was saying from the beginning! The perception of being safe must equal the numbers of the actual safety.

I've said that from the beginning, and we're still there. So, if I have the National Guard there or state trooper and that uniform makes people feel safe, bring it on. Whatever, because the numbers are revealing that we have a safe system. When you have 4.5, 4.1 million riders and five to six felonies a day on that system, your system is a safe system. Yes, we want to get rid of those five felonies and we don't want someone shooting on our subway system. We're clear on that.

But the actuality is those officers in that system, increase in arrests, increase in quality of life enforcement, those officers are doing an unbelievable job and the results are speaking for itself.

And so having additional personnel, I don't care if it's is a security guard, if it's state trooper, if it's the National Guard, whatever is going to make New Yorkers feel safe — feel safe to match the success that we've had — I'm all for it. I'm all for it.

And I thank the governor for doing it, but her and I have been talking repeatedly about other plans. We're going to roll out some additional stuff that we're going to be doing that I'm really excited about.

But let's be clear, these officers are doing an amazing job, and I think it's a disservice when we have these high‑profile cases to erase the success that we've had, like what we just saw on that graph.

These high‑profile cases play on our psyche. I hated seeing that shooting where people were afraid and had to duck. And I could only imagine the next day that people picking up the paper and reading that that happens. That damages everything that we have done.

But we have a set safe system. We have a safe city. We're the safest big city in America. And I'm not going to allow high‑profile incidents to hijack the success of the men and women who have put themselves on the line every day.


Question: And so there's no more additional deployments then?


Mayor Adams: I'm sorry. No, I'm sorry, go… 

Question: There's no more additional deployments, then, of police… 

Mayor Adams: No additional… 

Question: Deployments of police officers.

Mayor Adams: Yeah, you know, we put 1,000 new officers in the system. You saw an immediate response to that. And I've said this over and over again, and many of you heard me say it. It's about deploying your resources better.

In January, 2022, when I used to go to parades, when I would go to incidents, I would ask the commissioners and the chief of patrol all the time, why are there so many cops here? You go look at the parades now. We just had the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Go look at St. Patrick's Day Parade 2022 and look at what we had today.

I said, we have all these cops here at this parade. This is the safest parade in history, all these cops marching. You know? Why are we not deploying our resources?

And when I, at night, I'm listening to the police radio, I hear a shooting. An hour after the shooting, I'll respond there and I will see countless number of police cars there. We were not deploying our resources, and that is what we have to do.

So, before you ask for more, you have to ask the question. A good management tool is, what are we doing with what we have? And we have a different mindset now in this city that everyone needs to be utilizing the resources that we have. And that's why we put those 1,000 more officers down there.

But if I just add officers on top of officers and we're not properly deploying them, then I'm not utilizing the Police Department the way we ought to. We are deploying our resources better. We're using drones to look at children who are riding on top of subway surfing and we're catching them from doing so.

We have other stuff that we're going to roll out. We're not going to stop until we get rid of those five felonies, six felonies a day. That's our goal, and we're moving in a way, in the direction to do that.


Mayor Adams: Leave JR, because you know.

Question: On the teacher question, the rate of hiring for teachers with the class size.

Mayor Adams: What we have to do, because as you indicated, the class size is going to cause us to hire a substantial number of teachers. We want to partner with the UFT and be part of the recruitment of these teachers and selling, why, you know, since we've been in office, we've given such a great contract that this is an exciting profession.

But we need help from UFT, because we have a teacher shortage issue. And we want the UFT to help us, we want everyday leaders to help us. DMs Williams, [and] Almanzar and our entire workforce development team of how we're going to attract people in. We're moving out to various communities, because we have to attract more teachers into the system.

And so it's going to take a substantial amount. We're not looking to modify anything, we're looking to meet the challenge. The law is the law, and we want to make sure the lawmakers are aware of what we need to accomplish the law.


Hey, JR, how are you?

Question: I'm well. Good morning, Mr. Mayor and team. Who determines, let's go back to the subway incidents. Who determines where the National Guards are deployed? Because we don't see any in downtown Brooklyn, we don't see any in Harlem. Can you speak to that a little bit?

Mayor Adams: That's a great question. That shows you the complexity of New York City, because if you put a National Guard on Utica Avenue, boy, folks will have a fit. You know what I'm saying?

So, we need to utilize the tools where they're best welcomed and they're best utilized with the large volumes of crowds. So, if the National Guard and the state troopers determine the deployment with coordination of the MTA, like I think it's a perfect fit to be at Penn Station. I think it's a real perfect fit. You know, it sends the right message. It's not overwhelming.

I don't think that 7th Avenue on the D needs a National Guard person there. They need a police person that's walking up and down the trains and up and down the platform. That is what people are used to seeing, they're comfortable in seeing.

But when you look at Times Square, Penn Station, Grand Central Station, those are places where large crowds of people, having that presence is not intimidating to people and it fits into the environment that people are used to because we've been having that type of deployment for some times now, believe it or not, in Penn Station and other locations.


Question: Yes, thanks. Emma with City Limits. A quick return to the right to shelter settlement. I was talking to Legal Aid today. Their interpretation of it is that if someone is found not to have an extenuating circumstance, nothing in the agreement is going to bar that person from going back to reapply. So, I was curious what your message was to people in that situation. And also just a broader criticism from some advocates who see this as enforcing an unequal system depending on when you arrived in the city and where you arrived from.

Mayor Adams: I'm sorry, you said the advocates are saying what?

Question: That a criticism of this sort of enforcing this unequal system. So, if you are a single adult, you're going to get different treatment and rights depending on the date you arrived and whether you came from another country.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Can I start?

Mayor Adams: Yes, yes.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: I would say that in social service terms all the time we want to give people what they need. And I think this settlement has been a recognition that our unhoused New Yorkers who are in the DHS system have different needs than the immigration issue that we think is happening right now, the international humanitarian crisis.

I think — and I'll leave it to the judge — I don't think there's probably a technical reason that someone couldn't try to reapply, but based on the settlement, we no longer have to give people, we can only give them 30 days, and if there's an extenuating circumstances, then we can extend it. So, if there is no extenuating circumstances, we will not be giving them an extension.

Mayor Adams: What's the numbers again, DM, on how many single adults after the 30 days don't return?

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: 80 percent of single adults right now. And the other thing that people should remember is we're really talking about 22 percent of the entire population. We have about 14,000 single adults that are in the system right now.

Mayor Adams: So, think about this for a moment: 80 percent of those single adults go on. I mean, how do people say this is irresponsible? How do people say this is not successful? I'm just not, this is not really, I can't process how people can look at a program that allows 80 percent to go on with their next step of the journey that is inhumane, that it's not something that could be done.

So, what is the flip side? The flip side is have people permanently live on cots and in HERRCs. That's just not my goal, and that is not something that's financially capable of doing. It's just, you can't sustain that. And I think that what we have done, we have shown that 80 percent of people that we gave intensive care with, that we treated in a humane way, that we gave them like what the settlement houses used to do.

We allowed you to come in, the uncertainty of this city, and we are showing you how to navigate this city and you are able to be self‑sustaining. That's something that we should be really proud of. And you know, what? We can triple those numbers if we allow people to work.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: The only other thing I wanted to make sure, I don't think I thanked Legal Aid today. We've worked really hard together and to come to this and to make sure that we're keeping people safe, and we're going to continue to work very closely with them and look at data.

If there's better ideas, if there's new things, we are always open as an administration to looking to see if there's other things that we can do better to make people safe. Judge, did you want to add anything?

Hinds‑Radix: I just want to add that I wish you would take a really good look at the document. It really is an incredible piece of work and it really does set out specific grounds for the city and for the people who utilize the city. I'm really very proud of the work that we've done.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Amen.

Mayor Adams: And I'm proud of what you, DM Williams‑Isom, judge, your team. This was a tough, tough place to be. And hats off to Legal Aid. You know, they're going to always look over our shoulders and make sure we're doing things right.

But people came together and realized that New Yorkers were in a challenging time, how do we come with a real solution? And as Ingrid stated, it was not about dismantling those New Yorkers that started with 2,500, 40 years ago. That wasn't our goal. Our goal was to separate the humanitarian crisis for the right to shelter conversation.


Question: I guess this question is for the judge, and I know it re‑asks what's been asked, but I wanted to read a part of the Municipal Law 50-k 2, if we are interpreting this incorrectly, I'm sure you'll let us know.

It says that the corporation counsel can only represent employees who, quote, arising out of any alleged act or omission which the corporation counsel finds occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his public employment.

So, I guess what we're looking at is it seems like this wouldn't qualify what you're being accused of to be covered by the corporation counsel, why not have a private attorney? I think New Yorkers, I know it's not like a law firm, you're not doing billable hours, but I think New Yorkers are generally concerned about where their taxpayers dollars are spent.

You have a staff of 750 people. I think there's just a question of, does this, under this law, qualify for you to represent him and why not have a private attorney pay for it with private dollars the way other investigations or inquiries are being looked at?

Hinds‑Radix: And the corporation counsel gets the… Based on the law and the charter, the ability to evaluate and make the determinations, the same determination we make with other cases. We get that question if a police officer is accused of having done something. And we represent, from our office, making those determinations, and that's the determination that we've made here.

Question: So, it's not necessarily because of this law, it's sort of up to your discretion as to what, who would, what would [inaudible].

Hinds‑Radix: And because that provision exists.


Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Good. On subway safety, something that I've seen and I also hear a lot from New Yorkers when they talk about taking the trains. We're seeing the police officers on the platforms, but not so much riding the trains. What's the reason for that, and is there a way to incentivize them to ride?

Because I think that a lot of New Yorkers say that that might actually give them the biggest reassurance, because sometimes the things that make them nervous are things that are happening on the train while they're riding, while they're sort of stuck there.

My second question is something that you mentioned on mosques and how much they've done to help migrants. My colleague wrote this great story last week saying how mosques have been doing a lot. They don't have a lot of wealthy congregants, but they can't qualify for the city funding because the mosques, the buildings are out of date. They don't have the right sprinklers.

Is there something else that the city can do to help these imams do their work of helping out migrants? They're feeding them, they're sheltering them, they're giving them showers.

Mayor Adams: First, patrolling the complex underground of the subway system is a science. And your ability to respond when incidents happen, and when you want police officers on the train and off the train, when you want them at platforms, at a strategic location, there's a real science to it.

Because if you have a police officer on the train during a rush hour — a packed train during a rush hour — that becomes extremely challenging, to have that officer being able to walk up and down the train. During what's called AP hours, 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., less people on, you want those officers on the train moving through the train, giving that visible omnipresence.

So, what Chief Kemper does is with Chief LiPetri, they do an analysis, where are crimes taking place and what time are they taking place? And based on that, they could deploy officers at the right place, at the right time and the right type of assignment to do so.

That is why we have been so successful to drive down crime, to keep our subway system as safe as it is. So, when you look at incidents like that shooting, I am saying, don't let that be the image of the success that we've had on the subway system.

Our subway system is a safe system, a safe system. Over 4 million riders. Think about that number for a moment. Over 4 million riders a day. And out of those 4 million riders, we have about six felonies that happen. They're doing something right.

We want to get rid of those six felonies. I don't want a headline saying Eric said that six felonies don't matter. No, we want to get rid of them. We don't want any crimes on our subway system. But those officers, arrests up, quality of life incidents are up. We're dealing with mental health crises in our subway system with the different programs that we put in place.

We have to look at not that the glass is half full, the glass is continuing to get full because we are doing the right things down there with Chief Kemper, Chief LiPetri and the police commissioner.

Question: Can you speak to the imams and whether the city can assist them in some way?

Mayor Adams: Yes, and… 

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: I can jump in.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

First Deputy Mayor Wright: Yes, so one of the things, it is difficult for faith‑based institutions and small non‑profits to access city resources. So, we are partnering with the Robin Hood Foundation as well as New York Community Trust along with the state and the comptroller to raise some philanthropic dollars so that those institutions can get the resources that they need to support the asylum seekers in partnership with the city. So, that is coming along and we're excited about that partnership.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: And Liz, you know, I'm sorry, and you also know that safety is really the most important thing, right? So, we want to make sure that we're really working closely, and maybe some of those funds can be used to do the corrections if it's sprinklers, if it's fire guards, if it's those things that they need so that it's a safe place for people to be.

Question: How soon do you expect those funds to be available?

First Deputy Mayor Wright: They are catalyzing those funds now and they'll certainly be available probably by the end of this month.


Question: Thank you. One quick follow on the legal representation issue. So, if… And then two questions for you, Mr. Mayor.

But if the city is paying for the representation, does that mean that the city would also pay for an eventual settlement if it comes to that? And there are actually cases that I've seen where the Law Department has denied representation to NYPD officers accused of sexual assault on the job. I'm just wondering if you can explain that discrepancy and why it's applicable in the mayor's case and not this one.

And then I just want to get my two questions out for the mayor, too. Mr. Mayor, during the campaign… 


During the campaign when Andrew Cuomo was accused of sexual assault, you called on him to resign even though he denied it. What do you see as a difference with your case, and do you now regret calling on Andrew Cuomo to resign in that instance?

And then on a very last note, there's a Chinese businessman who pleaded guilty to making straw donations that reportedly were to your campaign, his name is Hui Qin. Have you ever met that man or do you know him?

Mayor Adams: First, I need to look and see exactly what I said during the campaign during that time, so I don't want to be misquoted, because from time to time, you don't do it intentionally, but from time to time you misquote me. So, I just want to make sure exactly what I said during the campaign time.

But listen I've been extremely clear: this did not happen, it's not who I am. Those of us, I know you started following me when I became a candidate, but there are people in this room that have been following me for years. I'm not talking about five years, I'm talking about 35, 40 years. They know my character, I know my character.

And I'm extremely disappointed that Tracey and Jordan are going through this, but I believe in my life work has shown how I have protected New Yorkers of all types. Of the issue around, there was something else you asked?

Question: Yes, the Chinese business… 

Mayor Adams: Yes, I know who he is. I've met him before. But I think we need to be very clear, as we saw over and over again in these straw donors cases, the one that happened in the Manhattan District Attorney and the one that's happened here. A lot of people read over the fact that the U.S. Attorney stated that this was not done with the campaign's knowledge.

Question: Where did you meet him?

Mayor Adams: Do you acknowledge that?

Question: Right, yeah, okay.

Mayor Adams: Okay. Okay. Okay. Just want to make sure that is acknowledged.

On the campaign trial, what I have done that was really unique when you look at how successful I was at running for office, I went to nontraditional communities that traditionally everyone just looked at the New York Times belt: Upper West Side, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill.

I went to nontraditional communities, Chinese, Russian‑speaking, people from Bangladeshi, from Nepali. I went to all of these communities that people often ignored and I built this unbelievable coalition of people who have been historically ignored.

He's one of those people who I've met while on the campaign trail: the thousands upon thousands of people that I interacted with from different walks of life in a very unique Eric Adams type of way, and he's one of them. And so it is very clear that these cases have shown that we had no involvement or coordination in this matter.

And I want to lean into what I've said over and over again: we need to take money out of politics. I've said this over and over again. We could tell citywide Council people that here's how much the city is allocating to you to run for office. We're giving you $3 million. Don't call anyone for money. Don't ask for matching funds. Don't ask for anything. Here's all you can spend, $3 million, and go run your campaign.

That's what we need to be thinking differently about money and politics on all of these different levels. And I said this on the campaign trail, I said it when I got elected, and I will continue to say it. We need to take money out of politics.

Question: Then just a question for the judge.


Hinds‑Radix: Since you asked so many questions after that. I heard. I know what you… 


Deputy Mayor Levy: That's the same question we've asked four times.


Hinds‑Radix: There's a process that we use with reference to how we make these evaluations. We made the same evaluation in this case, and we will stick to our position with reference to representation.



Mayor Adams: And listen, go back to the Cuomo question. AG James did a thorough investigation; after the conclusion of that investigation, my comments came. After the conclusion of the attorney general's thorough investigation.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Which I believe when I.... Because I worked in the AG's office at the time, was six months after those accusations were made. Just to be clear, Chris.


Question: Hello, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you doing?

Question: I have two questions.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: The first question, taking into consideration the timing of this lawsuit and the accusations, they did not come up during your campaign, they come up right now. Would you call it, or as I don't know, you're probably not going to share your opinions, but politically motivated? New York is leading the, as you said, discussion on immigration, so many issues on a national level. So, would you consider it a political witch hunt, as they call it?

And the second thing, all the National Guard on the streets is to make the people feel safe. But would you say that seeing army on the streets makes people afraid that something is going on that we need National Guard on the street?

Mayor Adams: It's a double‑edged sword. That's why I say you have to balance it. There's a level of comfortability. I know when I travel by train to Albany, seeing the National Guard there or state troopers, I didn't feel any kind of way. I felt as though it fits into the atmosphere, the fast pace of New York City in a very heavy dense place.

We saw it during terrorism activity, we did these exercises, so we're more comfortable. I don't think people want to see that in their local communities, like I was using the Seventh Avenue on the D Line as an example, or Prospect Place.

So, we need to be very careful how we deploy, and I think that's what we've been doing. And so I'm not going to speculate on the other question. I need to, the legal team, corp counsel is doing what they do. I need to focus on, as I'm doing, on serving the people of the City of New York.

We're doing a good job on doing so because we live by the motto: stay focused, no distractions and grind.


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