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Transcript: Mayor Adams Holds In-Person Media Availability

May 21, 2024

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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 all for joining us for our weekly in-person media availability. 

Whether it's keeping people safe, rebuilding our economy, or making our city more livable, our administration is working across agencies and offices to deliver for working class New Yorkers. We've broken down silos and deployed a whole of government approach to crucial issues. That includes our public safety efforts, where we're bringing police officers, youth counselors, and violence interrupters together to prevent crime. It includes our efforts to create good paying jobs, whether we've brought together leaders across education, equity, and workforce development to build an economy that works for everyone. 

Includes our communications work, where we've gathered senior leadership once again from across city government to talk about our efforts and updates on the work we're doing for them. As always, we look forward to continuing that effort this morning. Joining us today, we have Mayor Eric Adams, 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 Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer, Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana Almanzar, Chief Counsel Lisa Zornberg, and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Tiffany Raspberry. Without further delay, I'll turn it to Mayor Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thanks so much, Fabien and the entire team for being here. It's good to see all of you. Just want to go over, we like to always put out the high points to what we stand for. Protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make our city more livable. An area of public safety, really proud last week, something that Deputy Mayor Phil Banks talked about using technology around retail theft, coordinating with the New York City Police Department. We rolled out our community-based security camera integration platform by a public safety technology company called Fusus by Axon, a real, real boost. 

What we find, we could proactively identify those who are known for shoplifting. We say it over and over again, when you look at the number of shoplifters, such a small number of 542 have committed over 76… have committed over 7,600 shoplifting, 7,600 crimes in our city. We're looking forward to continue to fight against retail theft, a national problem. This was one of the ideas came out of our retail theft report. 

Economy, we leaned into it, and we have been strong on this issue about internships. Sitting next to the chancellor yesterday on our announcement on a pipeline to employment. We launched our spring job sprint last week. Yesterday we announced a $12 million expansion of CUNY's Inclusive Economy. It's going to impact 3,000 students with 2,000 industries. Our partnerships continue to grow in this area. It's a real win. A lot of talent in CUNY that has been overlooked for so long. Mike, it was good seeing you there yesterday. You always brighten up my day, and we're excited about this issue. 

Lastly, livability. Think about how long the NYCHA list has been open. For the first time in 15 years, NYCHA is opening their Section 8 waiting list. We're going to hit the streets. One of my team members called me from CAU and stated we need to really get this information out. People have been waiting for a long time to get into NYCHA, and this is an opportunity to do so. There's a window of filing, and so we hope people will file. We need good tenants in NYCHA, and we're looking, it's exciting to do so. Lastly, we all mourn, the Knicks didn't make it, but the Rangers are still there. Let's go Rangers, and let's bring home a victory. I want a ring, so let's get this victory done. Turn it over to Fabien, Deputy Mayor Levy.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you, mayor. All right, we'll take some questions.

Question: I have two questions. The first one has to do with reports that former aide Rana Abbasova has been cooperating with the federal government. I wonder if you're at all worried that any information she would provide to the feds could be hurtful to either you or any member of your campaign staff. 

My second question has to do with the protest in, the police response to the protest in Bay Ridge. There are members of the Legal Aid Society and the NYCLU who feel that what happened was sort of a violation, at least of the spirit of the new law, the agreement that the NYPD reached with those groups in terms of the response, like the strategic response group shouldn't respond, things like that. I'd like to ask you whether you think that response was over the edge.

Mayor Adams: First, speaking about the review that you were talking about with Rana, I'm clear. I follow the law. I sleep well at night. I'm going to continue my long law enforcement career. There's something that I'm just going to stay committed to, and that is you follow the law. I've been clear on that, and I'm going to continue to say that. People who know me say the same thing. This is what this guy always says.

Question: The other question was, do you think that any information she would provide could be helpful to members of your campaign staff?

Lisa Zornberg, Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall: Let me just step in there, if I could, first, Marcia. This is not new or noteworthy. It's been almost seven months, so just to be clear, it's my understanding that it's been almost seven months since Ms. Abbasova began speaking with the authorities after we proactively reported certain conduct. There has not been one charge brought since.

Mayor Adams: Dealing with the protests in Bay Ridge, listen, we are a firm believer in the right to protest, even if I don't like it. I don't like calling for death to America. I don't like the destruction of it. I don't like Hamas flag, which is a murderous, despicable terrorist group. I don't like seeing that flag flying. But you know what? This is the country. You have a right to do that. 

You don't have the right to spit in the face of police officers. You don't have the right to ride on top of a bus. You don't have the right to stop the flow of traffic when emergency calls of service from those who live in that community. You don't have a right to disobey the rules. You were told to do it on the sidewalk. You were told to do it in a peaceful way. I saw those videos. Now, if officers use more force than necessary, we're going to do an investigation. But the countless number of police officers who were there acted accordingly. Those organizations who are writing letter of how bad they performed, I would just love one day to write a letter about the agency that brought down crime and removed 15,000 guns off our street, and double digit decrease in homicides and shootings and ride our subway system. How about a letter for that? One, just one letter, one letter of saying, thank you, detective who, put your lives in a seal, a crime, a closed crime. 

How about just saying we're proud of the men and women? I saw those videos and those videos, watching people spit in the face of police. I don't think anything was more harmful than someone spitting in your face. That's disgusting. Investigate it. We're going to investigate it. We need to see what happened before what happened after. That's what the investigation is about. 

When you look at the behavior of three, four officers, we had close to 40 arrests. As I've said over and over again, many of them did not live in Bay Ridge. Many didn't even live in the city. Many of them were repeated, arrested for these events. I've said this over and over again. I remember when I first said it, people said, oh, what is this outside agitator? You have no proof. We gave the proof. Oh, well, you should not use the term outside agitators. Come on, let's stop playing this game. There are people in this city that don't like our city, don't like our country, and they're radicalizing our children. I'm not moving away from that. 

Question: They know that there's a protest. I'm coming here because they want to disrupt the city or because they just believe in the cause.

Mayor Adams: I'm sorry to say that one more time.

Question: The thing is that there are people who go to the protest who you say are outside agitators and just want to disrupt. There are people who actually believe in the because who also go to the protest.

Mayor Adams: Without a doubt. What I learned when I was borough president, and it came to my attention that there were anarchists, outside agitators, [that] wanted to burn police cars or wanted to break windows, wanted to disrupt. 

When I learned about that from the intel from the Police Department, I sat down with leaders of the Brooklyn Black Lives Matter. I said, you have people who are among your rank and file that are not really standing up for your justful right to deal with police reform. I marched during the black lives matter late at night as a borough president, I called for reform and they went in and police themselves. They started looking at people who have frozen water bottles to throw at police officers who had bricks, who had pipes, who had incendiary devices. They said, you are not marching with us. This is not what we stand for. 

I'm saying to those who want to peacefully protest now, police yourself, tell people, this is not what we stand for. Calling for death to America, spinning the face of police officers, throwing devices at police officers. That is not what you stand for. Police yourself. The police won't have to police you. That's the way you do it. What’s up JR, how is your daughter?

Question: She's pretty good. Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Mayor. Good morning to the team. Mr. Mayor, according to reports, you're considering taking back the key from Sean Diddy Combs, the key to the city after this videotape surfaced with him battering his then girlfriend, Cassie. Could you elaborate a little bit on that? 

The second question is about sports in New York City. Cricket is the second most viewed sport in the world. It's coming to New York city, East middle, a great stadiums being built, hosting 34,000 seats. The world cup is in June next month. Two questions there. Are our own credentials going to be good enough? And what are your thoughts about this event coming to the New York City area?

Mayor Adams: The, well, we're excited about, we landed the finals of the world cup. We're excited about that in 26. We are excited about the cricket. A lot of people don't realize how popular cricket is, around, the diverse communities in the city. I find it amazing that cricket and soccer were international sports and just never took root here, but with a large number of people coming from East India, a lot of the Caribbean, you're seeing the popularity grow. We're excited about that. Whatever I could do to make sure you have your credentials, I would tell people to be fair and make sure we diversify, those who should have their credentials to cover the sport in a very fair way.

Yes. First question was on...?  Yes. They, well, first I want to be very clear because it's been reported over and over and over again. I was extremely measured and clear on my comments. oftentimes people take Liberty on what I said. I said, we are looking into next steps. All of these reports about, Eric said this, Eric said, that was very clear. Let's look at what I said. There's a process. There's a panel. They're going to look over it. They're going to make a recommendation to me and we're going to take the next steps. My heart goes out to the young lady who was assaulted. All of us are disgusted at the video, of seeing something of that magnitude. We want to take the process. We've never removed the key from anyone before. We want to make sure we do it right. Because we're now we're going to set precedent and we want to make sure we're going to do it right. That was very clear. We're going to see what the next steps are and we're not going to get ahead of ourselves.

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, Health and Human Services: Mayor. Can I just add, because in this moment, if there, if you are someone that is experiencing gender-based violence, we want you to know that we see you, we believe you, and there is help available. You can call 311 to be connected or visit a New York City family justice center in your borough where you live and where you feel the safest. You can visit to search online directory for services, 24 hours, seven days a week, call New York city hope hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE. If you are in immediate danger or wish to report a crime, please call 911.

Mayor Adams: Thanks. Thank you for that.

Question: Last week there was reporting that City Council is considering introducing legislation that would have to make your top level appointments go through them essentially, given about what's going on with Mastro and the opposition that's been there, what do you think of that measure that potentially that could be all of your top appointments?

Mayor Adams: I don't agree with the, with the, proposal. Again, I say over and over again, that, our system of governance is important. It brings balance. It brings conversation. I have not had a conversation with the speaker about it yet to see what's the whole depth of the bill. I know this was something she was passionate about, when she was a council person. I don't think this is about Eric Adams or just, philosophies. 

People have different philosophies. We have a strong executive system in New York, unlike others. I like that executive system because people should know who they blame. If the, streets are not clean, if the commissioners are not delivering, I think it's an important system. They're going to present their philosophy. We're going to look at it, and make a determination and move forward.

Question: Yes. Hi, Mr. Mayor. I'm well, following off the press where you were just at and, this commitment of union pension funds into preserving rent stabilized housing. the progressive caucus on the Council has asked for 2.5 billion commitment, to help boost, Neighborhood Pillars and Open Door. 

I know HPD is committed to restarting Neighborhood Pillars, but where are you on that? 2.5 billion asked separately also on housing. There's a rule for many supportive housing units in our city that you have to be chronically homeless. If you're coming off of Rikers, you don't necessarily meet that qualification. would the city consider eliminating that homelessness chronicity rule to help meet the deadlines to close Rikers?

Mayor Adams: First of all, you got good energy. What's that second part of the…

Question: This chronicity. A lot of 1515 supportive housing units, if you're not chronically homeless, you don't qualify. If you've been on Rikers for three months, you're not chronically homeless. That is like a hard way for people to get into supportive housing off of Rikers. 

Mayor Adams: I think that, Rikers is not a home. I think that the definition of homeless should include, incarceration. One of the problems that we have is that, those who are re-entering society, oftentimes we don't have a landing for them. 

We need to really look at that because that creates a level of desperation. Our team is going to look at that and see what modifications we can make. I don't, I don't consider incarceration as being a home and being housed. Around the budget, anytime we looked at what we're going to spend money, it needs to come with what we're going to take, where we taking it from. Right now the budget conversation is taking place right now. It's going to, it's going to follow itself out. Our team, as we're sitting down, Jacques has done an amazing job. The, we've landed two budgets with the City Council already. We're going to land. We're going to land the third budget.

Question: I'm going to read these just so I don't lose my track here. We reported a couple of months back on Rana Abbasova, driving record showing she was driving a for-hire vehicle. She's also retained a pretty prominent attorney to represent her. Given those things, I'm just curious if anyone on the dais has any idea who's paying for her legal fees because her lawyer would not, comment to us on that. 

Regarding the Washington Post story that came out last week, I have a question about one specific detail in it. The story described an April 26th Zoom call in which reportedly you and several business executives discussed pressuring Columbia into allowing NYPD onto the campus as well as political contributions. They also reported talk of private investigators. The question I have is did the NYPD or the city in any way coordinate with outside investigators in relation to that? Were, based on your knowledge of that call, were political donations discussed on the call? If so, who brought them up and do you think that was an inappropriate venue to have that discussion if in fact, it occurred? 

Mayor Adams: Let's peel back your questions. number one, I don't know what employment Rana has, and that's up to you. As you said, you should reach out to her attorney. In the area of, the call, I cannot tell you how many zooms, how many roundtables from every community. If there's anything that I have a reputation about is my willingness and ability to sit down with various groups of all different natures. 

Anyone who stated that that call dealt with, trying to influence the administration to deal with, the college campuses. It's just not making sense. We were very consistent. Prior to that call, eight days before that call, I believe it was, we already took action on the campus and we've been very clear. These are, these are lists of, thank you for that. Thank you. These are lists or all of my comments on NYPD, public comments, of entering Columbia, Columbia university. Over and over again, we got to get permission from the schools. I must've said that a countless number of times. I thought we should have went in sooner, but I was very clear. We're not going in without permission from the school. Doesn't matter who calls me. Doesn't matter who lobby me, doesn't matter who come to visit me. You have to get permission from the school. We follow that. Now, people want to voice their opinion. That's fine. I'm supposed to listen to people, but we're going to follow the rules. That is exactly what we did. 


Not at all. Not one time on that call with me was any comment made about donations. We talked about the topic of what was happening on our college campuses, which I was concerned about. I want to be very clear. I was considered concerned about the radicalization of our children. I was concerned about the paraphernalia that we found on the college campuses. I was concerned, but it took discipline that we were going to follow the rules and people voice their fear of what they saw. Listen, if as an African American, if I saw people on campuses saying kill Blacks, if I saw people on campuses saying kill AAPIs, kill LGBTQ, I would be concerned. For prominent leaders of a community to say, we're concerned about what we're seeing and what we're hearing. They have a right to do that because I would have done that.


Mayor Adams: Yes. Yes. Yes. Because if you don't, if you don't answer him, he's going to keep writing about it. Listen, all the time people go out and try to find information to assist in investigations. We do not hire private investigators. We have the best investigators, but if people have a private person determines they want to find their lost child, if they want to determine to find out who committed a crime on their block, they have a right to do that. If any information is something that we could use, we will, but we're not soliciting it. 

Question: Two questions. One is about the investigation. Is it your sense from where you sit that this investigation is moving forward or does it appear to you as if it might be stalled and do you think it's taking too long as the mayor's race starts to shape up? 

Then, related to the mayor's race, what role do you believe former Governor Andrew Cuomo is playing if at all behind the scenes or in his Sunday church appearances trying to undermine your reelection efforts. Do you think he should just come out and say it if he has some plan or intention in that area?

Mayor Adams: I've been very clear on the review that's taken place by federal authorities and it's going to run its course. The, if you… you've been around a long time, there have been unfounded allegations hurled at me and they've always come to the same conclusion. The guy follows the law, and I'm going to continue to do that.

Zornberg: I said several months ago that I had received no indication that the mayor is a target and that has not changed.

Mayor Adams: The, in regards to everyone that, wants to run, it is easy to look and analyze this complex city, but I'm in the midst of it. I'm in the midst of the complexities of COVID, of migrant asylum seekers, of crime, of housing. I'm in the midst of it. 

One can say what they want. I know the city I inherited. I know where the city is now. I know we have more jobs in the history of the city. I know crime is down. I know jobs are up. I know that bond raters have increased our bond capacity. I know our children are outpacing the state in reading and math. I know how much housing we've built. I know that people are back on our subway system and the crime in the subway is down. 

I know how well we have done. That is what I have to say to New Yorkers and New Yorkers do the final analysis. I remember running for office with all those people that were in the race, Eric could never become the mayor of the city. We used to talk about it all the time, but no matter what happens, next to the name Adams is mayor. I don't even, I don't…. stay focused, no distractions and grind. If I were to respond to all that out there, I would not have the great success that this administration has. My trademark is this. Where's Chris? He normally says it with me. Stay focused. Katie, say stay focused, no distractions and grind. Now we call on Katie.

Question: Your administration came up with a new announcement about a measure to move out new single immigrant, out of the shelter. At the moment, we're like most of the West African community, the immigrants and they are, in a way, the top of the town. Is there something that your administration can consider? As we know, there's some exception to it, but 30 days at the moment where we know we come into the summer and it's becoming a humanitarian issue right now. I think, if we, we've been coming here for many months now, I don't know if the federal government is responding to the issue, but this is becoming a humanitarian issue. The question is, is your administration willing to reconsider the 30 days for the single adults?

Mayor Adams: Oh, two things. Number one, it has always been a humanitarian issue. It's not becoming the problem. DM Williams-Isom and Camille, chief of staff, they're victims of their success. Because our city does not look like other cities, people believe as though, hey, you guys have handled it, we don't see it. But it's always been a humanitarian issue. Just take a trip up to, Randall's Island, or to Floyd Bennett and see thousands of people trying to take the next step on their journey, and we were unable to do so. It has always been a humanitarian issue. 

Second, when we were first talking about the people said it's inhumane to put people out during the winter time. Now they say it's inhumane to do it in the summertime. It's inhumane to do in the springtime. It's inhumane to do in the fall time. It's always inhumane to have to not be able to house 198,000 people. 

There's no good time. there's no good time. Yes, but this is New York. Everybody complains, 3.8 million people, 8.3 million people, 35 million opinions. Right. Right. What we must do, we have a very clear, we can not, if we would not have done anything, we would have had 198,000 people still in our care instead of 65,000. 

That number is unbelievable when you think about it. And what  DM Williams-Isom or Camille, you can talk about the program, but what we've done, [is] intense care, information and allow people to take their next step and doing what other people are not doing. We're saying that, listen, if you came here and see, this is not the right thing, we do reticketing. We do reticketing where people can go to other locales and some folks have come to us and say, listen, I want to go back to my country of origin. We're assisting people. We're not being inhumane. We're being humane. Federal government should allow people to work. We should, they should pick up the tab of this. Camilla or DM Williams-Isom?

Camille Joseph Varlack, Chief of Staff to the Mayor: I think you nailed it, sir. When it comes down to it, this entire circumstance is a humanitarian crisis. It has been, we've been saying that from the very beginning, our goal is not just to put people on the street from the moment that they enter our shelter system, we are giving them information. We are connecting them to resources and we are talking to them about what those next steps are going to be. As I'm sure you're aware, we have very limited tools for how we continue to manage. Every single week we still get hundreds, if not thousands of people coming into the system. We need to make sure that we have the space to take care of the new guests that are coming into the city as well.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: 1,300 new arrivals last week.

Mayor Adams: 1,300 last week with a thousand a week before,

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Last week was 1,100.

Mayor Adams: Think about that. Over a thousand a week, 4,000 a month. Think about it. See, people don't realize these numbers. They might think it has gone away because of what the team is doing. It has not gone away. We're still dealing with this every day. Then we get, we're inundated with calls. Don't open a HERRC. Same people were saying we need to give people access, don't put them out. Hey, don't open a HERRC here. Don't open a shelter on my block in my community. I'm inundated with elected officials sending me texts and messages, Mike, don't open it here. 

I said, but did I just see you on the steps of city hall said we should not have the 30 day limitation. Yes, but don't open it here. That's the hypocrisy. It's like, I said, I just saw you with an announcement saying, don't do the 30 day program. One elected official really kills me. She was rah, rah rah. Now she's trying to get me in her community. Can you get rid of the HERRC? I said, I just saw you saying don't end the 30 day program. Yeah, but, another community. All of them gonna be in my book. 

Question: I wanted to check in with you about the Bay Ridge protests, but keeping in mind this agreement that you announced with fanfare in September and yes. At the heart of that agreement is the tiered approach. Can you walk us through Saturday and how the tiered approach was applied to that?

Mayor Adams: The fastest way to expedite a tier, the two, to go past a tier approach is when your actions are disrupted. When you spit in the face of a police officer, there is no tier. When you decide you're going to endanger the lives of people by riding on the top of a bus, there is no tier to tell you to get down. So, there was action that not everyone who was protesting was doing, they were doing. 

Many people were following the rules. They didn't stop everyone for protesting. They stopped those who went over the line. That is the difference. When that, well, did off, did the officers stop the entire protest? No. Once you went over the line and you did actions, when you started throwing objects at police officers, there's no tier to tell you to stop that. You're not, we're not going to wait until you harm someone. No. Protests, rally, chant, follow the rules. When you cross over that line, there's no tier to that. I'm not going to tell police officers, you need to wait until six people spit in your face before you take action.

Zornberg: Mayor, may I just add just in response to your question. In terms of implementation of the settlement, the phase that it's in is creating training and policies right now. The events that happened over the weekend have nothing to do with the city's compliance with the settlement. NYPD is complying with the settlement.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Yes. It's in phase one right now. 

Mayor Adams: You can't write… You had people that was lighting flares in the middle of the crowd, lighting flares, smoke bombs. You can't do that. It's just not fair to, there's 60 calls for service in that community. Some of them could be health emergencies. It's not fair to the resident that you're trying to get an ambulance down the bus, down the block to respond to calls of services. You made the decision you're going to block the ambulance. I'm going to go. That could be your loved one. That could be your family member. We can protest and respect our neighbors at the same time. 

Question: Just wanted to get an update on Randy Mastro. If possible, have you spoken to Council about his possible appointment and on a lighter note, what do you think about New Haven trying to be the pizza capitol? 

Mayor Adams: That's a real cheesy opportunity to take away the real claim. Everyone knows who's the king of pizza, New York. We know that, and it's all right for them to be number two and they can vie over number three, but number one is ruled by this great, amazing city. My favorite term,  my security team say it all the time, it's all part of the process with Randy. It's all part of the process. We're going to put our best foot forward on whomever we determine to fit the position and it will be part of the process.

Question: Hello, Mr. Mayor. I have a question about the office, the office of ethnic and community media, the office that you created, Jose Bayona resigned. Can you give us any insight into why and who's going to replace him? How do the future of that office?

Mayor Adams: An important office. Jose's vision when I was running for mayor, he talked about it all the time. We went to campaign trail. we wanted to expand the approach of ethnic media. We're going to continue to do that. We're going to find someone to fill his shoes. We have not seen the last of Jose. There's a lot of things that we have to continue to do in the upcoming years and we look forward for input from everyone that has been part of this administration. One, I don't know who said it, was it Chris? When team Adams, you always team Adams.

How are you?

Question: Good. I reported on this story about a fundraiser you attended on December 5th and Alisa Roever was there according to one of the attendees. I'm wondering what is her role, both in your defense fund and your campaign? I was told she had sent out, I was shown an email in which she offered to collect contributions from the people at that fundraiser. Is she paid? Is she a volunteer? How did you meet her?

Mayor Adams: She's a volunteer. I have a lot of volunteers. When people stop me all the time, Eric, we would like to help you as you continue to make the city, the great city that it is, she does. She's not a salary employee, never received a salary, never asked for salary. She loves the city and she volunteers like many of my volunteers. I think we have almost 1,100 volunteers. She's one of many, and there are several people who, who volunteer. 


I'm sorry? No, she's not. She helps out. She's a volunteer that helps out. Wherever I could get a volunteer, I have to move them around. There's so many pieces to the role of the mayor and in my, my private life, as well. We separate the two, and follow the rules in doing so, but she's a volunteer. I thank her for her volunteerism.

Zornberg: I would just add, if you have questions, I think they, you can direct them. Correct. Okay.

Question: About the Washington Post story, could you tell us specifically what you felt was antisemitic about the reporting on business leaders who reached out to you? It sounds like your response to Gartland that you do indeed remember having that meeting with them. It just, the details of what was discussed may have been inaccurate of the reporting.

Mayor Adams: Yes, no, I said the meeting took place. I never in any way alluded that the meeting didn't take place. One of many meetings that took place. To, there's always been this plot that Jewish leaders come together to try to circumvent, government. I thought, I thought that's a, that was a very, it had an antisemitic hint to it. Why can't leaders of any community reach out to the chief executive and talk about a real fear that they had? 

People were saying during the protest, kill Jews. Why is that all right? I'm just, I'm blown away that… have we normalized antisemitic to the point that is all right? Do you know what would have happened in this city if a college campus had a protest saying kill Blacks? That would not be tolerated in the city. We've normalized antisemitism in this city, and others may be comfortable with that, I'm not. Because when you normalize antisemitism, it's only a matter of time. You're going to normalize anti-LGBTQ, AAPI, African-American. No, I have a zero tolerance. We are not going to sit back and say it's all right for there to be a protest in this city, calling for the destruction of a group.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. How are you? I want to go back to the migrant crisis. I did a story this week on the Clinton Hill shelters. I believe you were referring to the councilmember in that district, Crystal Hudson, her and some community leaders want you to hold a town hall. I'm wondering, are you going to say yes to that invitation? They just want to talk to you about it. They're not against the migrants being there, but they feel that the shelters are overcrowded. 

I also want to talk about the resettlement from the state. Why is that program continuing to struggle? 283 families have only been resettled. Why is it going so slow? I also wanted to get your response to this Randall's Island Park Alliance threatening legal action. If the HERRC on Randall's Island isn't removed by August 8th, if it was supposed to deter the HERRCs, the whole system behind it is that they're supposed to be temporary. When is the city going to move to a more permanent solution to those types of shelters?

Mayor Adams: First, wasn't Crystal Hudson that I was talking about. Let's start there. I want to say it clear, because from time to time I would say something and then something else is reported. It was not Crystal Hudson who I was talking about. Not more. She's not the only one that is asking me to come into that district to address the shelter issue in it, in their district. At least five electives have reached out to me thus far. 

I have a town hall system. We do, I think once every two weeks we do senior town halls. We do youth town halls. We do town halls based on ethnic groups. There's a whole list of them that we have lined out because there's a lot of preparation. I look forward to when the time comes to do it in every councilperson district and we'd like to do it in partnership with them. Again, there are many elected officials who you have seen on the steps of city hall saying don't do the 30 day rule, who you have seen say please allow migrants to come. They call me, they text me, they do all sorts of things. Not in my district. That is that is the most enjoyable part of my book. You're going to see when you start, when some of the hypocrisy of people who are saying, bring us your tired, your weak, your huddle masses yearning to be free, but not on my block.

Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Operations: Can I just add to Randall's Island? Obviously all of our park space is coveted, especially after COVID. We understand the real need to have open space and green space. We want to thank Randall's Island. They've been amazing partners during this very difficult time. It is a temporary shelter that we do in conjunction with the state. So it is a city-state operation. It really highlights as Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom and our chief of staff and our mayor will continuously say, we don't have alternatives. This is a way that we're able to stretch our resources and house people and really continue to keep a pace with the flow of migrants that are coming to New York City without having them sleep on the street.

Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to the Mayor: About the shelter situation. There are a number of elected officials who are complaining bitterly about shelters in their district. They have a couple of their colleagues who had a small number of shelters within their district. The ones who have the smallest amount of shelters in their districts are the ones who are always yelling and screaming about, we should put more shelters, we need to house people. Then we try to go into their district. They're the ones who are crying all of the time. 

We've asked City Council, talk to some of your colleagues, tell some of your colleagues to understand the load that you have to understand the situation. That's on the other side of the hall. We're trying to be fair. We don't want to dump shelters, as they put it. We don't consider ourselves dumping shelters, but we don't want to put shelters in other districts unless we absolutely have to. We need help. This is a partnership. They come to us and they say, please don't put them in our district. So then we say to them, well, then where can we put them? They have to go somewhere. If we don't put people in shelters, they will be literally on the streets.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Kelly, I wanted to add to the last two questions. The state and the resettlement program, I think they're trying as hard as they can. I'm sure that they're struggling with vacancy rates and prices for where they're going to put people in the same way that we know that there's problems here in the city. 

We're continuing to work with them very closely to see if there's other incentives that we can put into that program. Your last question is sort of when is the crisis going to be over? I don't know when the crisis is going to be over and we're trying our best to really figure out how do we anticipate the amount of people that are coming in. 

You heard the mayor say that it's 1,300. It is also seasonal. We are also trying to exit people out of the system so that we can have some stability and then set up something that is more permanent. But I don't think that I would have thought here we are almost 24 months, and that we're still in the middle of this and that we are still struggling with what's the number 216 sites that we have. Again, I actually don't fault City Council people. We're all struggling as New Yorkers to figure out how we're going to maintain this with no resources and with no places to put people. So I think we're all in this together and we have to continue to look at the federal government to provide some long term solutions around funds, resettlement and allowing people to work.

Deputy Mayor Levy: I would also add, Kelly, the federal government has chosen the Congress specifically not to act. They tried to pass comprehensive immigration reform earlier this year. Donald Trump specifically said not to do so because we're in an election year, the crisis is not ending because of that. The crisis also not ending because Greg Abbott, just like he said yesterday, he's going to continue to bus migrants to New York. So why don't you ask Greg Abbott, why is he using migrants as political pawns?

Question: When is the HERRCs, particularly that system going to move to a more permanent?

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Yes, but that is a question about when the crisis is going to end, because the hurts are humanitarian relief centers that we've set up to try to make sure that we can deal with people and give them the best that we can. You heard the brother five minutes ago say how people are still struggling. Right. Money can't fall down where you think I'm going to put people. 

A permanent system means being able to have screening for people at the beginning. People stay for a short period of time and then somewhere for people to go connected to resettlement or work authorization. We are working towards that. Until we get some stability, we are actually setting up a full new system for sixty five thousand people, which is even higher than the amount of unhoused New Yorkers that we have in our care right now, Kelly.

Mayor Adams: We're still dealing with one point four percent vacancy rate in the city and even lower when it comes on affordable housing. As DM Maria Torres-Springer has told us over and over again. Not only we have to deal with unhoused New Yorkers, but we're dealing with a continuous flow that's coming in. I know that people would like to not see the byproduct of a failed national product, but we are stuck with fixing the product. It doesn't end until we can stop this flow.

Deputy Mayor Levy: And the asylum application help center that you guys set up, over fifty one thousand people have been supported between TPS work authorization and asylum applications. That's another way we can help alleviate this crisis. That's how you got sixty five percent of people out of this.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: This has been managed very well, we're continuing to manage it the best that we can. But we don't have the tools to stop the flow.

Mayor Adams: National leaders haven't seen that. I haven't seen that story. National leaders are stating that no one has done what New York City has done. National leaders.

Question: I wanted to ask you two questions. The family of Win Rozario has complained that they were treated poorly by police after it was killed, they were detained, questioned for hours by police barred from entering their home for two days, couldn't get medication or feed their cat. I'm curious if there's protocol in place for situations like this, and if so, was it followed? For the record DCPI hasn’t answered or won't answer. 

Secondly, you told me two years ago, it seems like yesterday, but it was two years ago that we're looking at potentially having lifeguards cross train with fire and police who also respond to water rescues and then also just leave improving training for lifeguards. I'm curious if that's happened and if not, why

Mayor Adams: The first is with the real protocols. I think you should speak with the police commissioner on the exact protocols, because that's a crime scene when you have an incident inside an apartment and their protocols they have to follow to preserve evidence because you don't want to do anything that's going to disrupt the evidence. It could impact the case. It is almost in the spirit that maybe the police officers are doing something to harm the evidence. So you have to get it right. It's very sensitive. 

We're trying to find we communicated this morning with [the] commissioner [of] Parks. We are trying to find all sorts of way to deal with our lifeguard shortage. Cross training is one of the methods we're using. We're trying to figure out how to properly do that, to do it within the union's issues. We've got to respect the unions. The mere fact that we call for using different methods does not mean I don't understand that the process has closed. This crisis is not going away and we need to deal with this. Some beaches that will have shortened hours or may not even be able to have a full complement because we have a life, a national lifeguard problem that we're trying to resolve here in the city.

Question: Have you spoken to the lifeguard unions? I know there’s been an issue and they still haven't resolved their contract dispute. I've been told that they refuse to work with fire and police, even though these are three departments and agencies that there's a rescue in the ocean, they all respond.

Mayor Adams: There you go. There you are right there. Those complexities of union negotiations across collaboration. All of this comes into play. Her name is Campion, but I like to give her an H because she's a champion. She's been able to solve… what we at, 94 percent. We said ninety five percent of our union contracts, 100 percent of our uniform officers. These negotiations are tough, but we have been extremely fair and it's reflected in our ratification of race. We have to be sensitive of what are the union rules to make it happen?

Question: Another lifeguard question. Do we know how serious lifeguard shortage is going to be? Do we know how many we actually have ready to roll starting Memorial Day and down to the ocean beaches? 

Will they be able to bring back the learn to swim programs on all the city pools this summer or are we still in a shortage situation? That's one. Then the other is library hours and budgeting and finance committees meeting right now. City Council, where does that all stand?

Mayor Adams: Yes, the DM Meera could go into, Meera Joshi. We spoke with Sue this morning because we want to we want to get as many beaches open as possible. DM Joshi, do you have an update on that?

Deputy Mayor Joshi: Sure, I think, as I've said before, we've had 560 new recruits that joined the training program. They still have to go through the training program. That's much more than we had last year. We are confident that we will end up with a total number that is larger this year than we had last year. We will be opening up our beaches on Memorial Day. There will be still some segments of the beach that are closed for two reasons. One lifeguard shortage, because ideally we want over a thousand lifeguards and we don't anticipate getting to quite those optimal levels. The second is there will be some Army Corps work that happens for a short period of time this summer that will result in some beach closures. What is very hopeful is we have three classes that are still ongoing. They will result in more lifeguards. We don't have the final number on returning lifeguards. That's another area which will increase our total capacity.

Question: [Inaudible] maximum full lifeguard?

Deputy Mayor Joshi: Oh, ideally, we'd love to have 1,500, but I doubt that we will get close to that. That is not just a New York City issue. Every region is suffering from not being able to get to the optimal number of lifeguards for their… whether it's a pool or a beach or a government entity or a private entity. There is an overall shortage of lifeguards. We are confident that we will be higher than we were last year. And we will be continuing our learn to swim programs.

Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce: This administration has been 100 percent committed to libraries. They have been protected from many rounds of cuts. We added fifteen million dollars for teen centers. Of course, we're going to continue to work with the City Council through the adopted budget to make sure we build on those successes and get to the right place to continue to support libraries. It's an ongoing conversation. We want to make sure we we're doing the right thing, both in terms of fiscal stewardship and supporting our amazing libraries.

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