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Transcript: Mayor Adams Holds In-Person Media Availability

May 28, 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. We hope everyone had a restful and meaningful Memorial Day weekend. I want to start by thanking all our service members and all our veterans for all they have done for our nation and thank you to all for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we have today.

That includes the freedom of the press, so we appreciate you all joining us today for our weekly in-person media availability. From keeping our streets safe and storefronts safe to creating good-paying jobs for New Yorkers, our administration is working every day to get stuff done for New York City. We've brought murders, shootings, and burglaries down by double digits, set records for the highest number of total jobs in our city's history, cracked down on illegal smoke shops, shattered affordable housing records, and broken down silos across city government to help agencies and offices work together. 

These efforts take all of us, which is why the mayor has once again convened senior leadership to update New Yorkers on our progress. 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 Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer, 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 over to Mayor Adams. 

Mayor Eric Adams: I was just in here smiling. This was like a reality TV program. You're like, Ingrid, you'd be like the fan favorite. Thanks, DM Levy, and thank all of you for being here today. I join you in acknowledging the work of and the sacrifice from our men and women in armed services attending several of the events this weekend. It's a constant reminder of how they sacrifice their lives so that we can sit under the tree of freedom. 

Really excited about the lifeguards. I think it was the Daily News that did an op-ed. Many people have tried to change the direction of the lifeguard situation in the city. We got it done. We're the finishers. We say it over and over again: common sense is not common. The mere fact that you had to be an Olympic swimmer to be a lifeguard at a small kiddie pool, just makes no sense. We did not sacrifice on safety. You could get to safety without the time that needed to swim those number of yards. An outdated, 40-year-old testing requirement. Hats off to Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, to Deputy Mayor Joshi, and hats off to Commissioner Sue Donoghue of Parks, and labor. We were able to change just an outdated way to deal with lifeguards, and it impacted on our families for years. Really hats off to do so. Then we introduced drones. 

Commissioner Daughtry and his introduction of drones, where you're going to be able to drop a life raft if someone is drowning or struggling. You're able to use it to monitor beaches if there's a lost child. Just a real introduction, a combination of safety. Really proud of how we're just incorporating every tool we have to improve on the quality of life for New Yorkers. When we look at the economy, our hiring halls, as DM Levy stated, we not only recovered all of our jobs, we have more jobs in the city, in the city's history. In the city's history. We say over and over, crime is down, and Katie knows the rest of that. Jobs are up. [Laughter.] We're going to continue to do that. Our five boroughs pushed for jobs. 

We're going to do our spring push. More than 2,500 New Yorkers attended our job fairs. 200 jobs were offered to date. Decreased Black unemployment for the first time under 8 percent. When you look at the fact that we have an 80 percent satisfaction rate of New Yorkers that go to our hiring halls, they really feel empowered. Employers say they're likely to hire people from our hiring hall. Been a real win. We're going to continue to push it out. That entire team over there really want to take our hats off to the DM Ana and Deputy Mayor [Meera] Joshi for really being on the ground. Hats off to DC 37. Henry Garrido has been a real partner on this. 

The Teenspace, which is huge for us, is part of our overall conversion using our office spaces, everything from retail spaces to office building. We know that 64 office building owners stated that they're interested in converting their properties into housing. 138 million square feet of available office space cannot continue to sit idle. We did it back during 9/11. We changed downtown into a 24-hour community. We want to do the same in the parts of the city. Of the potential of converting, up to 21 new apartments to convert 20,000 empty offices into apartments in the next decade. Real win for us. 

Even as we build safe spaces, we are very concerned about the mental health crisis we're seeing in the city. We're seeing over and over the byproduct of that encounter a young man had with police officers. We know that we have to be more proactive. That's what Teenspace is about. Dr. Vasan and the entire crew have really leaned into that. Six months ago, we announced New York City Teenspace, and we've already had more than 6,900 teenagers from 13 to 17 years old. They sign up with this service. They're using the devices that they are familiar with. My son is on his device all the time, and he talks about how using devices for mental health support is crucial. 80 percent of those teens are teens of color. 65 percent of the youths reported improvement in their mental health. We wanted to target those communities that were hit the hardest, and we were able to do so. 

Finally, many of you reported on the massive operation over the weekend, ever since we've gotten the authority, we've really honed out the issues around cannabis. This was really outstanding work by the sheriff and the Police Department. Thus far, we sealed over 200 smoke shops, and now we've tackled a major source for these shops. We've always stated this over and over again. Someone is supplying these shops. They open too quickly, and they're just too structured. You're seeing similar products, and we need to not only go after those shops that are open, but our goal is to go after, where's the faucet? If we don't turn off the faucet, we're going to constantly be chasing every glass that's being filled, and those glasses are being symbolized by these shops. 

You can't open these operations so rapidly, so well-stocked, so well-run, unless there's someone behind it, and we're going to find the source of that. Great job this weekend that we were able to identify one of the locations. We want to find more. DM, turn it over to DM Levy to answer questions.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Actually, we have a video. I just want to show some of the footage from this weekend.

[Video plays.]

Mayor Adams: Great job. Think about it. There may be places like this throughout our city. As I was just saying to Ingrid, we need to start doing spot checks because that one location can feed a number of stores. 

It has almost become a chain store sort of action, where you have one feeder location feeding a large number of stores, targeting our children, illegal products, same products. You're seeing the same products in too many of the stores, and we need to really, we have to crack down on the source. DM?

Deputy Mayor Levy: I would just point out, at that one location, we recovered, NYPD and Sheriff's Office recovered, 121 50-gallon containers filled with different products. 121 50-gallon containers filled with edible THC products, THC vapes, pre-rolls, cannabis flower, THC concentrate, and THC-infused drinks. Many of them had pictures and colors that were targeted towards young children. All right, we'll open up to some questions.

Mayor Adams: JR? Good morning, good morning. What are you going to say? Rocking the seersucker shorts, got that whole Bermuda look going on. 

Question: Thanks for the compliment coming from you. You're a man of fashion. Over the Memorial Day weekend, it really put us on par, on point for summer. We have a lot of youth that's out there. I know you touched on it in your opening, but what programs or jobs are available? 

Because what happens, once the summer starts, a lot of spike in crime, a lot of things happening. Are there programs in place or jobs available for our youth? Secondly, the landslide that occurred in Papua New Guinea, where 2,000 people were buried alive. Of course, New York City is home to a lot of folks from New Guinea. What disaster assistance is in place? Those are my two questions.

Mayor Adams: Yes, no, thank you. Mom says an idle mind is a devil's workshop. We saw that last year. That is why the team put in place, from the first year we came into office, summer youth jobs. Summer youth jobs is a real win, over 100,000. We want to make sure we get the young people to be employed. 

We're doing it more than just employing them. We're giving them life skills. With DM Wright, when she first started it was about how we give them skills, financial literacy, interactions, really understanding the city. We're going to do it again this year. Also, we were able to do something that was really challenging. 

Summer Rising. Summer Rising was part of the COVID dollars. It was sunsetted. It was a permanent program with temporary dollars. We had to find the dollars to continue Summer Rising. We're doing that all year round. Class for our school, for our young people. I'm a big believer in all year round education. Having our young people in safe places is really important. It's something that we focus on. Bringing down the cost of child care. Many people knew when we came into office, $55,000 a year, you were paying $55 a week for child care. We brought it under $5, because it allowed parents to go out, have a place for their children, make it easier to sign up through our MyCity portal. 

Then our internship programs. Not only what we're doing here, but how we partnered with Kathy Wilde from the partnership to get the proper internships so our young people can be in safe places. When you do an analysis of who's the victims of crimes and who participate in crime, it's a younger population. We must have alternatives for them. We're asking others to do it. Not only to partner with our crisis management teams, but we're asking other entities and other businesses to do the same and bring our young people into a safer place so they won't be victims of crime. We were successful last year. I have a lot of confidence in Commissioner Caban and his team to do the same this year. 

With the earthquake, we're going to, with the slide, we're going to reach out. Normally, folks ask of us to assist in the search and rescue. We're going to do whatever is possible. We are always known for reaching out whenever someone has experienced a terrible tragedy. Like many people did for us during a tragedy, 9/11, we're going to do the same.

Deputy Mayor Ana Almanzar, Strategic Initiatives: If I can just add to the Summer Youth Employment Program, JR, and thank you for your question. Last year, as the mayor mentioned, we serve 100,000 students, and we expect to serve the same amount this year. We opened the process a lot earlier, in 2024, in January, which allows for not only the agency at the OICD, but also the students and the participants and the companies who are participating to bid a match and allowing parents to know exactly how to program for the summer for their child. 

The same number that we serve for Summer Rising, 110,000, is the number we're expecting to serve in 2024. As the mayor mentioned as well, working with different institutions to bring the participants to serve in their companies. We had, in early spring, a conversation with every single commissioner at city level to bring students and participants to their agencies, including our CTO, the Police Department, the commissioner, Buildings, and everyone in the administration to be an active participant in this program and bring our youth to, as the mayor mentioned, not only understand the skills needed to do a job, but also the soft skills that you must understand to be able to perform well once you finish school.

Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce: If I could just add a couple more things, because this is a really important question, and this administration has been committed to making sure that opportunities for our young people are not just summer opportunities, as the Mayor mentioned. I would direct all New Yorkers, our young people, their parents, their loved ones, to look at our website, There's an entire page on that site for opportunities for young people, whether it is employment during the summer, job training throughout the year, service opportunities, college prep. 

It's a real panoply of opportunities. All of that is embodied in the action plan that we put out just a few months ago, career pathways for our young people. It represented a $600 million commitment to this mission. Thanks for that question. We really hope to connect as many young people to opportunities throughout the five boroughs.

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

Mayor Adams: Quite well. How are you?

Question: Good. I have a couple questions for you. My first question is, the governor earlier today mentioned some changing maybe to the National Guard in the subways. She says she has an upcoming event about it. I was wondering if anything about it. Or, is the governor planning to pull the National Guard out of the subway system? Have they been helpful in deterring crime? 

I also wanted to ask you about a story we did last week about mental health, and how police respond to those in a crisis. Last week we reported the NYPD often uses violence against people in mental health crisis. Last week showing an increase, excuse me, in 37 percent of violent incidents since 2017. At the same time, you're stopping the expansion of B-HEARD. How should the city respond to people in a mental health crisis? Why stop the expansion of B-HEARD? 

My final question, today the Biden campaign had an event here today in front of the courthouse. I was wondering if they reached out to you, if they asked you to participate at all. Thoughts on that?

Mayor Adams: So,  let's [inaudible] each level. No, we have not heard from the Biden's campaign. My day is full running the city and we have not communicated with [them] over that event. I know they do a number of events here. This is where people want to be. This is an exciting city. Dealing with the police and interactive mental health, what we did by combining of mental health professionals in the Police Department and going into the subway system, it's really remarkable. 

What we're doing with SCOUT, Deputy Mayor Williams-Ison can go into some of the stuff we're doing with SCOUT and what she did in the beginning of the year, 7,000 people being moved as care. Some didn't stay, but being removed off our systems and off our streets. You know, many people would like to believe dealing with those with severe mental health issues is just this cookie cutter, walk up to someone, hey, come get care. They're going to say, okay, hey, we're going to come and join you and just skip along with you. 

Folks, that's not a reality. When you're dealing with someone with a severe mental health illness, not on their medications, don't want to take their medication, part of revolving door system, the amount of touches you have to have just to get them to say hello to you is months, is months. To say to the Police Department, like we saw over the weekend with the incident with the young man that had the two knives, to say to the Police Department, well, why didn't you call the service to come? That's just not how it is, folks. 

This is real time situations where you have to use the level of escalation. That's what those officers did, using a taser, trying to use speaking with them. This is a very difficult and challenging road. That's why we ask the state to give us more power so that we can do involuntary removals with many people pushed back on, but we knew it was the right thing to do. This administration has been steadfast on that. I commend the Police Department. I commend our partners. It's going to take all of us to deal with the mental health crisis that we are facing. What was your last question?

Question: The National Guard, the governor today said that there's going to be a change in that policy. I'm wondering, do you know if they're planning to take out the National Guard? Did they help in deterring? It's been about two months.

Mayor Adams: Got it. Hats off to her. I cannot thank her enough. January, we had a spike in transit. Reached out to her, asked her for assistance. She said she wants to help. We saw a complete turnaround after we infused 1,000 new officers into the system. She was helpful. It was her belief, let's get that visual uniform presence with the National Guard. I commend her for just saying, I want to help any way I can, Eric. 

We saw a double-digit decrease in February, double-digit decrease in March. We saw a similar decrease in April. We're turning in the right direction. Listen, our subway issue is perception. It's perception. Part of that perception is that people see too many people who are undomiciled on our system. It's a perception issue. 

The math is simple. 4.1 million riders, six felonies a day, 4.1 million riders. We know that if every leading headline shows what happens to someone on the subway system, we know people are going to feel as though they're unsafe. But we have one of the safest systems in the country, if not the globe. We're going to continue to get rid of those six felonies. We're doing it. We're going to continue to move forward. 

We're going to continue to get those with severe mental health issues off our system. We want a clean system, a reliable system. I ride it. I enjoy riding it. I see a visual improvement from the day when a person was sleeping under our steps. No more encampments on our subway system, folks. I committed to it in the beginning of the administration. We did it. We're going to continue to move forward in our system.

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, Health and Human Services: Can I just add really quickly, Kelly, the numbers for the SCOUT program? It looks like we've had 118 placements since we started in October. The breakdowns are 81 to safe havens, 19 voluntarily to the hospital for medical needs, one voluntary to the hospital for a psych evaluation, and 17 involuntary to hospital for a psych evaluation. 

The other thing is for our end of the line program, we've now, are changing that a little bit to see whether or not we can really put them in the stations that we see have a lot of homeless people who have been there for a long time. Our Jamaica station, we've been really focused on that. I think it's something I'll get the exact numbers for you. Almost every night, we've been able to see clients who are so entrenched there, been able to be brought in to connect them to a safe haven. 

I have been really happy with the team because we've been focused on it. It's H + H, the Department of Health, Department of Homeless Services, MTA, all of us together from day one. We meet weekly. We go over our statistics. There was a woman in an encampment on 110th Street that we've been able to get connected. We can show you all of the places in terms of the over 10,000 encampments that I think that we cleaned up. More importantly, getting over 300 I think we're at, people who were in encampments connected to services. We're pretty proud of that.

Mayor Adams: It's remarkable when you look at really DM Williams-Isom, DM Joshi, who's not here today, Department of Sanitation, New York City Police Department. I think, and I told them they need to do a documentary on this. 

I'll never forget the father in Greenpoint who used to play soccer with his son under the expressway. There was a huge encampment. They couldn't go out there. He saw me at an event and he says, just thank you for giving us back our neighborhoods. 
When you look at those before and after photos of those encampments, encampments took over our city and it took over neighborhoods. When we started cleaning them up, the advocates were saying it was inhumane to take those encampments down. We said it was inhumane to have people live on the streets. 

Because of that, our city does not look like other cities. One day, DM Williams-Isom, you need to really show these before and after photos. We documented what they did. What is our numbers of encampments that we took down?

Deputy Mayor William-Isom: I think it's over 10,000. Last week we hit our 300 percent that we were able to bring in from the encampments.

Mayor Adams: 10,000 encampments we've had in this city that we pushed back. All of you go look at the reports. When I first started this initiative, everybody said, oh, Eric is just, so inhumane. go visit those people in those encampments. Food waste, human waste, stale food, drug paraphernalia, schizophrenic, bipolar. 

Right in our city, we were ignoring them. I said, we're not going to ignore them. We did, the DMs did an amazing job with their coordination of doing so. People should be proud that our cities don't look like other cities with these encampments everywhere.

Question: Sorry, just to clarify, I'm talking about how should the NYPD respond to people in crisis, not just on subways, but in their homes in regards to a Win Rozario case, things like that. Should there be more than just the NYPD responding?

Mayor Adams: And they do. There are more, but depending on the cases. The radio run comes over, depending on what the radio run is. There are certain cases where you have mental health professionals to respond. There are some where you don't. What I'm not going to do in this city, I'm not going to send civilians into places where there's an immediate threat. I've responded to calls of someone that's dealing with a severe crisis. 

I've had them inside precincts as a platoon commander and as a sergeant. I am not going to put civilians into a situation that's an immediate threat to that civilian. A well-trained officer with a civilian can better handle the situation. What I need people to understand, that the NYPD responds to a thousand of calls that they are able to de-escalate. A thousand. We should have the deputy mayor and the police commissioner give a total number of how many calls we respond to and able to de-escalate. 

I can remember many that I responded to and walked through the door and out of nowhere that person exhibited a level of danger that if the civilian was doing it, that civilian could have been hurt. I have an obligation to protect officers and civilians. That's what we're going to do and our policies are going to reflect that.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Mayor, if I can add also, just obviously the Win Rozario death was tragic, but that was not called in as a mental health call. That was called in as a drug use call. There are different responses for that.

Mayor Adams: Well said. You know what, Ingrid, just remind me of something that was probably the most chilling video that I've ever witnessed. One of our first few days in office, Officer Mora and Rivera, a normal domestic complaint, normal domestic complaint, and watching those officers walk down that hallway and having that person come out of nowhere and assassinate them, and then walk down the hallway and assassinate the other one. 

Normal complaint, just domestic dispute. They walked in. When that video and what happened to those two officers and realize when people start saying, well, why don't we just send two civilians to walk inside there? You're not in touch with reality. People who are hurting and willing to hurt other people, you better get it right. If you don't get it right, you're going to lose innocent people in the process. That is what happened in that encounter. Many of you never saw that. You have never saw the video of how fast this happens. We lost those two officers from a simple call of domestic violence. There are no simple, ordinary calls. 

Question: Mayor, how you doing?

Mayor Adams: Quite well. How are you?

Question: Not too bad. I had three questions for you about the Charter Revision Commission that you're forming. I was wondering if the commission is going to consider this Advise and Consent process that the Council is sort of undertaking on their end. They're having a hearing about it tomorrow. If that's one of the reasons that it was formed. 

I'm wondering if you can give us some more clarity on when you decided to create it. I know City Hall gave us and some other reporters some notes about when some other folks who talked to you, they wanted the commission formed. When did it come to your mind that, okay, we're going to do this and I want to go forward with it? 

Then lastly, you mentioned that you want the commission to consider some of the financial impacts of council legislations. Do this as like a congressional budget office thing where they score legislation based on the amount of money it's going to cost?

Mayor Adams: No. April, we sat down here at, in the COW, in the COW, Councilman Yusef Salaam was invited to that meeting. A group of community members sat down and they raised their concerns and they asked if we could do a commission.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Mayor, I would just flag that the letter came in April. We didn't, because of scheduling, we couldn't have the meeting until May 2nd. The request came in April. Thank you.

Question: Do you envision that being a part of the commission?

Mayor Adams: I think the commission is going to go over the topics that they feel are appropriate and then make a determination what's going to be on there.

Lisa Zornberg, Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall: Yes, the mayor has directed that the Charter Revision Commission review the entire charter and they'll hear out New Yorkers and they'll look at it and they'll make their recommendations.

Mayor Adams: What's going on?

Question: How was your weekend?

Mayor Adams: You know, it's part of the process.

Question: It's been six weeks, about, since Randy Maestro was floated as your pick for the next Corporation Counsel. Just wondering, what has been the delay here? Do you have fears that you're not going to be able to get into the confirmation process and has there been any talks going on of maybe changing of councilmembers' minds? 

Also just on the charter commission, so I'll just follow up on that. Some councilmembers believe the commission is expected to try to wrestle power from the Council, maybe making the mayor's office a little bit stronger or maybe council a little weaker. how would you respond to that and what specific reforms do you hope to gain from this? Specifically, I know what you're saying, we're looking at everything, but there has to be something in mind that you're specifically looking at, even one or two things.

Mayor Adams: I keep saying this over and over again. First on the Randy issue, once we make the determination on who we're going to put in front of them, we're going to announce it publicly. It's all part of the process and it's going to be fine. In response to wrestling power away from anyone, other mayors have put in place commission. I respect the role of the Council and I respect the role of the City Hall. 

It's a great institution, balance of power, and I look forward to continuing that. They have a role and I have a role. Because of that role, Adrienne and I have been able to land two budgets under difficult circumstances. We have been able to bring down crime. We've been able to recover our economy. We've been able to do housing. We've been able to deal with the fiscal cliffs. We've been able to settle union contracts. 

It's a good partnership and there are going to be areas that we disagree on. That's okay. I don't agree with myself all the time. That's just life. For the most part, I'm really proud of what Adrian and I have done during difficult times. The first woman of color to be speaker, the second mayor of color to be the mayor and we showed that we can lead during very difficult times. I don't know administrations that have had times as difficult as we have. In my conversations with her, there's stuff we disagree on. 98 percent of the stuff we agree on and we're able to get it done. We're going to do that.

Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to the Mayor: I'm going to add, it's not a fear in terms of nominating Randy Mastro. It's out of respect for the council. We work in partnership as the mayor explained. Jeremy and I had a very extensive conversation and he explained that the Council needed time before we can bring him forward because they needed to deal with the budget and things of that nature. So out of respect for them, we're holding up to give them time to go through all of the things that they need to go through. So they can do a true assessment with who our potential candidate may be.

Question: Specifics, [inaudible.]

Mayor Adams: I want them to look at everything. There's always things that we can do to run our city agencies better, our city better. I want them to look at everything. This is exciting when you do a Charter Commission. I'm excited about the potential of how do we run our city better and leave our signature on what we could do to manage that. 

Public safety is key. This is what they raise. Those communities, often people talk over communities around public safety. When we sat down with the cross section of people, public safety was very important to them and they are really concerned about fiscal stability. I want them to look and come up with suggestions around fiscal stability and how decisions we make, how it impacts the city financially. There's a host of other things, but those were two of the topics that they raised.

Question: Thanks. Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: Good, how are you?

Question: Two questions. First, Jessica Ramos, as I'm sure you saw, put a halt, effectively put a halt to the casino bid for Queens near Citi Field. I'm curious, do you think that's a good move from an economic development standpoint? 

Then secondly, prior Charter Commissions have had staffs of up to 52 people and big budgets because it's a huge thing to go through the city charter. What sort of size staff are you envisioning? What budget will they have? Will they be independently staffed or will City Hall staff them? How will that work?

Mayor Adams: First, I think a casino is important in our city. We want a casino here. It's bringing union jobs. It's great economic development. A home run to DM Maria Torres-Springer and landing a plane of 2,500, 100 percent affordable jobs, a new soccer stadium, new park, new school. 

No one thought we could do it, but she did it. Again, we're the finishers. The plan was there for a long time. We landed the plane. Whatever else we can put in that area to continue the economic growth, I think projects can come in and change an entire community. I drove past Willets Point the other day, and I'm watching that project unfold right before our eyes. 

Jessica has to represent her senatorial district and the electors in that area. We're not putting our finger on the scale in one place or another. I just want casinos here. So whatever the process is, I think she should listen to the needs of her constituencies. If her constituencies are saying they want a casino there because they want jobs and other things, I think she should listen to that. As elected officials, we should not get ahead of our constituents. So she has to make that final determination. 

In the area of the second thing you were asking? Yes, but in addition to that, as you go into it, Lisa, other administrations have used a lot of dollars to do a lot of things. I don't. I believe in being lean and quick and getting stuff done. We spend too much money with a lot of window dressing. We can do a better job. I can't. I have said efficiency, efficiency over and over again. Taxpayers deserve more than what they have been getting on taxpayer's dime. Go ahead, Lisa.

Zornberg: Dana, the commission right now is being internally staffed. If there needs to be any change to that, of course, the commission will advise on what additional resources they need. We're blessed to have people who work in the administration who have served city government and city government for a long time and who have experience with prior charter revision commissions. We're tapping into existing experience for the running of it internally.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: I'm well. How are you, sir? 

Mayor Adams: Quite well. 

Question: Listen, may I have two questions? Yes. My first question is about the upcoming small business expo, which is on the 29th. With that, are there any numbers of how many small businesses yet have registered for the expo? Then in addition to that, separate to the expo, what other outreach is small business doing to engage small and micro businesses in their respective boroughs? An expo is great, but what about on a smaller level, directly borough-wide for workshops and programs? That's my first question. 

My second question, Mr. Mayor, is over the weekend, I attended the Youth Step USA championships, and we had teams from Brooklyn and the Bronx, our young people, attending this program. It was in Newark. My question, Mr. Mayor, is I know the city sponsors a lot of events, but does the city sponsor youth-related events? Because we had middle schoolers and high schoolers from Brooklyn and the Bronx competing in this national event. I spoke with the founder, Mr. Harris, and it would be wonderful if the city would also, if you're not already, sponsoring national youth events, not just, other expos and other adult-related sporting events, but something like this. Would this fall under DYCD? Would this fall under something like culture, because it's Youth Step? Those are my two questions.

Mayor Adams: Yes, a couple of things. I'm going to turn it over to the amazing Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer.

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: A lot of pressure, mayor. Thank you, Mona, for asking about what will be the city's first ever Small Business Expo tomorrow at Pier 36. Really, I want to tip my hat to Commissioner Kevin Kim, who as many know is outgoing in just a few weeks, but he's really done a tremendous job as SBS Commissioner. 

We have already thousands of registrants for tomorrow's expo. I was just speaking with him and, he's very ambitious. This is the first year we're going to hopefully double that the following year. It's an important event. I just want to give people just some contours of what they can expect there. Everyone should take a look at forward slash small biz month. You will get access to 150 plus free city programs and other resources. Learn about faster city permits and licenses, financing and legal assistance in hiring opportunities for contracting access to reps from more than four dozen city, state and federal agencies, free consultations, workshops, networking and more. 

You're absolutely right that the venue and vehicle for delivering the service cannot just be one expo. That is why I think we've been so proud to have the commissioner at the helm of that agency, because during his watch, he really revamped the way we think about outreach, consolidated a number of teams meeting small businesses where they are. 

For example, he established a program called NYC BEST, which brings to small businesses where they are located and where they are working, free consultations about compliance, about services. He also established with many partners, the city's largest ever fund, the Small Business Opportunity Fund, record breaking certifications for MWBEs and many other services, including revamping the way we think about regulation, which we did very early on. 

They don't just do this in the comfort of the offices of SBS. It's been really important to work with business improvement districts. We've made record investments in bids across the city. Do this with chambers of commerce, with local elected officials. There's probably no day in a week where the SBS team is not out in communities working with ethnic media, for instance, again, to make sure that the information is spread far and wide. I know because of what he has built there as a foundation, we're going to take that work even further to ensure that small businesses in the city continue to propel our economy. By the way, more than 50,000 small businesses have started since the beginning of this administration, which is pretty much a record over the course of the last few decades.

Mayor Adams: And so about 8,600 have signed up thus far to participate. I join you, DM on Kevin Kim. If there was ever someone that loved their job every day, he just loved giving everything to small businesses. He left a legacy. There's just… they just an amazing team up there. They're full of life. They find creative ways to, just move forward small businesses. 

Then when you add that with what you did at the beginning of the administration, of demanding that every agency looks at how punitive we were to small businesses and get rid of those outdated summonses and fines and rules and regulations, pre-inspections, small businesses are doing better. We have e more ways to go, but we are really centered on it. I think that is how we were able to recover more jobs than in the history of the city. We have more jobs than the history of New York City, because of the stuff that DM Maria Torres Springer and her team and Kevin and others have done.

Deputy Mayor Almanzar: About her first question. Yes. Hi, Mona. Thank you for that question. The and you're correct that will fall under the Department of Youth and Community Development, the DYCD. We do have a dance competition throughout the entire borough, the five boroughs that culminates at the end of June, early July. Last year, it took place at the Apollo Theater. My first week at the job. I had to go and do that in front of a very interesting crowd in Harlem. Very welcoming, I should say. 

The idea is to for those students that participate in after school programs to bring them up and to do things not only put out a performance, a dance performance, but as well to combine that with a community issue. Last year, the team from Staten Island, if I'm correct, won and they did a dance that reflected their relationship as a young community with the NYPD and an encounter between a group of students with a NYPD officer. 

That goes out throughout the year, ends in June. This year, for the first time ever, the city is sending 20 students from Bay Ridge School, 20 high school students. We just sent them off last week on a great parade at the school, stand up clapping ceremony, where they are going to go for the first time to Michigan to compete at a national level at the Olympiad. That's all on the STEM, of math and sciences. One of the students were telling me that they had competed in eight different competitions to make it thus far. We're very proud to have those students who come from different backgrounds and different understanding of science and what they want to do in the future. 

Most of them are going to do great things in their career, going to different specialized high school throughout the city. We are waiting for them to come back and celebrate with them as they represent the city very well in Michigan. Thanks, Mona.

Question Just to clarify, my question is we have like these big sporting events, World Cup coming, Cricket Cup, all of these things, adult sporting cultural events. What about, youth national sporting events? Is that, has the city ever supported national youth sporting events? If not, what is the process? Because an event like that, we want to support such a national event here in New York City as well.

Mayor Adams: That's what Sports and Wellness is about. That's what the director there, Jasmine Ray, who has built up from Wall Ball and other sporting initiatives, our goal is to expand, on getting our youth involved and to attract national sporting events. That is our goal. That is what she's in charge of doing. Really going after some of our teams that are here in the city, the Yankees, the Mets, the Knicks, the WNBA, to expand on that. Having our youth involved in sports is a way of building character and developing their full personhood. That's what we want to do.

Lewis-Martin: Not only sports, also the arts in general, music, theater, all of that, all of that.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor Adams: What's happening? How are you doing? What are you working on?

Question: I want to ask you about this issue of how police respond to an emotionally disturbed person. a few weeks ago, you brought up Eleanor Bumpurs, the 1984 case. You spoke about how that upset you, hearing how the NYPD handled it, and you were critical of it. I'm wondering, in the wake of Win Rozario and now this Brooklyn man, how far do you think the PD has come in handling such cases? That's my first question. 

My second question is, there's a federal program where about nearly a million New Yorkers are getting free internet. Low-income New Yorkers are getting free internet. It's set to expire because money for that federal program has basically run out. I'm wondering if the city is going to do anything to step up, to fill that void. These are people outside of NYCHA. I know the city has a program for NYCHA. Those two questions, internet and mentally disturbed.

Mayor Adams: The challenge of responding to those who are dealing with severe mental health illness, Eleanor Bumpurs' situation was dealing with an eviction that really escalated to the point where I think it was Officer Sullivan that discharged her around, that took her life. She was shot, I believe, in the chest at the time. The Police Department has continuously evolved to use other methods, bringing in those who are mental health professionals and continue to expand on what's doing. We always want more to do. We want to see what other municipalities are doing. But I cannot highlight enough the uncertainty of what you're walking into when you get that call. 

The volume of calls that police officers get is just mind-boggling. When you get there, training is crucial. You want your training to kick in. You don't have the luxury of saying, let's hit rewind. That's just not the reality. We have to continuously move to be better. But when you look at how far we have come to where we are now and where we need to continue to go to, I think it's important. Like some of this stuff, this is over the weekend. That Brooklyn one? This is the gun or the knife? 

Deputy Mayor Levy: The knife. 

Mayor Adams: The knife, right.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Yes, there was another one with a gun. This is the knife. The knives were what they had on possession.

Mayor Adams: Yes. For my preliminary debriefing, when this happened, knocked on the police officer's window, had two knives in their hand. The police tried to take necessary action to de-escalate, starting with a taser. 

These are real weapons, folks. I don't know how to get this clear. These are real weapons. You have to make a decision on every tool that's available to you. How do you try to disarm this person? You don't know if this person is a martial arts expert. You don't know if this person is good at being able to throw that weapon. You don't know what's in front of you. You don't have all that information to analyze that, okay, how would I have made this if someone would have given me the scenario and they would have given me three days to come up with that?

Question: Didn't the police say the same thing in 1984 with regards to Eleanor Bumpers? 

Mayor Adams: Yes. And the situation, making that split-second decision didn't change. We've gotten better because we hear about the Eleanor Bumpurs type cases, but we don't often highlight the number of interactions because of the training we've done that brought down those shooters. 

We say, yes, wait, they're shooting here, but let's do an analysis of the thousands of calls where someone is armed and because you deployed the taser or because you used other methods, you were able to prevent that life from being lost. 
I think it's because after Eleanor Bumpurs, we learned a lot and we implemented a lot and we changed a lot. It's unfortunate. Our heart goes out when a young person, even if they're armed and we lose them, no one wants that. There's no enjoyment of that, but these are real scenarios that we are dealing with. Your first question was?

Question: The internet access, the federal program.

Mayor Adams: Yes, we, and DM, you could also connect it. You said it quickly, but don't discount what we've done. Every NYCHA resident, when I knocked on doors, giving out flyers, giving out face masks, as well, president, everyone was saying to me, why are you wasting those face masks on those people? There were stories written that why is there ever getting a NYCHA giving out face masks to those people? I learned that their children did not have access to high-speed broadband. 

They didn't have access to telemedicine. Matt Fraser, our chief technology officer, came up with a plan. We're giving free high-speed broadband to every NYCHA resident for free. We're looking to expand it even further. Let's not, don't forget that. No one else was able to do it. We're doing it with Big Apple Connect. We want to do more. DM, you wanted to touch on this?

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: We absolutely are looking into that. Matt has a digital equity plan that it has additional stages to address those issues, but it's been a huge priority for us and very successful so far.

Deputy Mayor Levy: 330,000 New Yorkers in over 220 NYCHA facilities.

Mayor Adams: 330,000, not paying for high-speed broadband. What does that mean? They can use those dollars to provide the services for food, for child care, for other things inside the community. When you add the fact we brought down the free high-speed broadband, we brought down the cost of child care to less than $5 a week for those under 55,000. We got to the Earned Income Tax Credit. We have the reduced fare on MetroCard. We've opened up the wait list for NYCHA apartments. When you start to start comparing the dots, you see that this is a working-class mayor that's helping working-class people.

Question: Hi, Mayor.

Mayor Adams: What's happening? How are you?

Question: Pretty good. There's a video that's been going around of a NYPD traffic agent being sprayed with fire extinguisher.

Mayor Adams: Sprayed with fire extinguisher?

Question: With a fire extinguisher. What's your reaction to that, hearing that?

Mayor Adams: I'll never forget Bernard and I were sitting down watching TV when people poured water over the heads of police officers. We said to each other, we've lost the city. Traffic agents, police officers, correction officers, those who wear uniforms, they're not the individuals. They are symbols of our stability. 

When you have clowns like that think they can spray a person who's doing their job with a fire extinguisher, we're going to do everything that's possible to catch them. It's not only disrespectful to a civil servant, but it is an attack on the foundation of our city. It's not a joke. It's not funny. I was angry when I saw police officers, people pouring water over the heads of police officers. I'll never forget one scenario. I called Mayor de Blasio about it, where officers walking down the block, everyone was laughing at them while they were constantly pouring. The officer did nothing. He allowed that to happen because he was afraid to respond. We are not allowing that to happen in this city under this administration. We will find those who are responsible, and they will be held responsible for their actions.

Question: Just one other question I had for you. The Gothamist reported recently that the city is considering buying out homes in Flushing and flood-prone areas. I was wondering if that's something that you consider the best option for that area. I know it's been a problem for a really long time. Is that just one of several things that might be way down the road?

Mayor Adams: DM Maria Torres-Springer, are you familiar with that?

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: I understand this to be a DE, it's a Department of Environmental Protection program. DM Joshi's not here, but we can certainly follow up. It would not surprise me, however. I think there are many different ways that we, as a city, have to prepare for the effects of climate change. Given resiliency needs across the city, the tools that we have to bring to bear to address that, including protecting homes or where needed purchasing homes, have been on the table. We can follow up on the specifics of that after the off-topics.

Question: Thank you. Mr. Mayor, Chief of Patrol John Chell flew to Texas recently, as you might know, to appear on the Dr. Phil show. The focus of that show was what was billed as the migrant crime wave in New York City. 

You yourself pointed out that crimes committed by newly arrived migrants is not a huge issue from a percentage point of view as it relates to public safety concerns in the city. That being the case, do you think it was irresponsible for the chief to appear at a program and highlight the so-called migrant crime wave? 

On that same note, who paid for that trip? Did you sign off on the appearance for it? Then on two different other issues, these are quick. Last week, this question was asked but never answered. Is your legal defense fund paying the legal bills for Rana Abbasova? If it's not, do who is paying for it? 

Lastly, either for you or the chief advisor, chief advisor, you just mentioned that the Randy Mastro appointment nomination is being held back out of respect for the council with budgetary issues and so forth. Are you going to wait to make the nomination until the budget is passed? Is that what's happening?

Lewis-Martin: Jeremy and I had a conversation and he asked us clearly if we could just hold up so that the council can finish doing a number of things that they needed to do relative to the budget. We are in conversation. We have a partnership. I know that the papers print that we're at war with the Council about everything. We are not at war with the Council about this. We have a partnership. We're working in partnership. They need time. They have advice and consent for this issue. Out of respect for the fact that they need time, we're giving them time. We'll move forward, when it's appropriate.

Question: At least until the budget passes?

Lewis-Martin: I didn't say that. That's what you're saying. I said we're in conversation about it. He asked us to give him some time because they are working on the budget and other issues. He may say to me tomorrow, okay, Ingrid, what? We found ourselves clear. Let's try to move things forward. We're trying to work in partnership.

Mayor Adams: First of all, I'm a fan of Chief Chell. I just like his style. He's very honest and candid. I know people not used to be people being honest and candid. I think he's a hard worker. 
I'm sorry? [Crosstalk.]

Well I know you may find this extremely difficult to understand. You've been wrong sometimes. We've all been wrong sometimes. That's what it costs being a human being. Right. We've all been wrong. We've all been wrong. We've all been wrong.

And so what I know about Chief Chell and Kaz Daughtry and Caban and that team over there, two, three, four A.M. in the morning, they lead from the front. They are on the street. They want to protect the people of the city. They love them. If you don't see some of their social media posts when you wake up in the morning, because I know you sleep when they're actually doing it. But if you don't see how these guys are out there dealing with everything from drag races to getting guns off the streets, these men and women, First Deputy Commissioner Kinsella, they love the city. 

They love fighting on behalf of the city. And so, his report on what we witnessed over the summer where a small number of migrants and asylum seekers were participating in very organized methods of carrying guns, doing shootings, doing robberies, using cell phones to take people, cash apps, hurting everyday New Yorkers, that was his testimony. He's not in control. He's not the producer of Dr. Phil's show. 

He's going to share his insight. I encourage the New York City Police Department to share our success across the globe. I encourage that. We have been successful [in] driving down crime, removing over 15,000 guns off the streets, fighting back on ghost guns, moving over 50,000 illegal transportation items off our streets that were illegal, from ghost cars to mopeds, motorcycles, three-wheelers, dealing with the cannabis issue. I tell them—we had a meeting this morning with the consul generals from across the country. I tell them, we're here to help you deal with your problems, because no one does it better than the New York City Police Department. We're the safest big city in America.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Mayor, I would also just point out, Chief Chell went down over two months ago to film this program. It was sponsored, so it wasn't taxpayer dollars to his trip. I would also point out that the chief made it very clear on that program that it is a very small number of migrants that are causing any crimes. He made it very clear, just because if your paper writes something wrong, doesn't mean every single person in it is responsible for it. He would—

Question: Was the trip sponsored, then?

Deputy Mayor Levy: The show.

Question: Okay, the show paid for everything. Accommodation.

Deputy Mayor Levy: They paid for his—again, the show paid for his travel down there.

Question: Then on the [inaudible] office—

Mayor Adams: They—and, they love Chief Chell. Chief Chell, people believe his honest, authentic New York attitude. you could replace Chief Chell with any other opinionated New Yorkers. 8.3 [million] people, 35 million different opinions. This is who we are. you guys are so used to electeds being so—almost, people across the country who are in elected office just not being honest. We got some honest people that are going to fight on behalf of New Yorkers. That's why millions of people listen to what they're saying. Now, with the—no, I'm not paying for it. I have no idea who is. That is not any of my business. I'm dealing with running this wonderful city we call New York.

Question: Hi. Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you doing, Melissa?

Question: I'm Okay, thank you. Good. Okay, I have two questions. First is the easier one, I think. Andrew Cuomo reporting over the weekend that he's been hitting up labor leaders. If these labor leaders are correct, they're interpreting his intentions to mean that—or at least that he wants them to believe that he would win hands down if he were to get into the mayor's race, but that he would most likely run if you weren't running. What do you want to say to New Yorkers about whether there is any likelihood of you not running for re-election and of his chances of beating all your other rivalries?

Mayor Adams: All part of the process. I have to focus on running the city, and that's what I'm doing. It's all part of the process. your mom said, don't climb to the top of the mountain and complain about the view. This—I love being the mayor of the City of New York. I love impacting lives. I love our success. I would have never thought that this team that's here with me, we would have gotten the success we have been able to get in only two years. Only two years. People said it was going to take how many years? Four or five years, Maria, to turn around the economy.

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: You regained all the jobs a year ahead of schedule, mayor.

Mayor Adams: Right. Ahead of schedule. Housing ahead of schedule. Bringing down crime ahead of schedule. Tourism back ahead of schedule. Outpacing the state in reading and math. Dyslexia screening. 

When you go into office to serve, and at the end of the run, the people of the city will look back over, okay, Eric, what did you do? There's only one secret weapon I have that I knew when I was running and Chris was following me around when I ran for office.

No one can outwork me. No one. I'm not going to beat you in any other way in how hard I work for the people of this city, because I love this city. Okay. 

Question: Thank you, mayor. Can I just ask one more question? 

Mayor Adams: Yes, you can.

Question: It's also related to Kelly's question about being heard and also Liz's question about police department handling of mental health. I've asked you about this a bunch of times. The man who lived in Ebbets Field who was racially tormenting his neighbors. I don't know if you're aware, but he was released from jail last week after about eight months. Police had come and gone many times from his building. He'd been waving knives and threatened to kill and burn his neighbors. It was a very bad situation. Taken to a hospital a couple of times by police, but released. We know that you don't make the decisions about releasing. You've said that many times. 

He was never charged with the fatal arson that happened in his building, but he was charged with hate crimes after our reporting last year, and in part because you put some pressure on the DA's office. He was facing up to 15 years in jail, but last week he took that plea deal. It was one year, time served, and he's out now. So, I'm just curious. Were you aware that he was being released? Did you agree with the decision to have released him? Because the tenants were not aware. They were not happy about it. 
Also, after eight months in jail on Rikers, no mental health evaluation was still ever done. His lawyer couldn't even get one done. I guess what lesson is learned by the Police Department in a case like this? It's not our numbers, right? He's not coming at them with a gun. The police know that they're dealing with someone who has issues, and they're coming and going and coming and going. What is the new middle ground for the NYPD? What lesson is learned that would address the situation?

Mayor Adams: First of all, hats off to you for covering that story and staying on top of that story. Hats off to you. It wasn't a sexy story, but it was impacting the community there. That is one of the reasons I went out there to visit Ebbets Field. 
I think the story you just laid out highlights the complexity of this. We found a lot of people who are in the mental health field were extremely reluctant to having people stay in care. They were turning them out immediately. I think DM Williams-Isom and her team saw that. We had to almost do a whole retraining on what we wanted to do with Dr. Vasan and others. 

Police are restricted on how much they can do. We don't make determination what charges are going to be charged. We don't make the determination on how long someone is going to be incarcerated. The judge and the prosecutors do that. We only can respond to those calls of services and use those limited powers that we have that we don't overstep our boundary. I think that's what the police officers did here. Yes.

Question: Isn't this the case that B-HEARD would be proper for? The precinct knows who this person is. They've been called numerous times. It's not like they're walking into an unknown situation. They know what's happening. Is there no middle ground where a social worker or a company?

Mayor Adams: Yes, I think it's an excellent case. I think it's an excellent example of how we could use B-Heard in a situation like that and do follow-up to try to talk to this person and find out what the issues were. I am concerned. I want to look into what type of mental health evaluation that we do inside the DOC. We want to look at that. This is how we continue to evolve. As the question was asked earlier, how do we continue to try to get it right? Last question. Where is Katie?

Question: Coming back to the migrants, that you made a big rally about let them work. You said it best. Now the city is bigger than ever. Tourists are coming. Jobs are needed. Being a member of the ethnic media, the question is, they're still not getting work. Then is there anything that you guys were hoping for? Let them work from the federal government? Is it like any update for the migrants?

Mayor Adams: Work for the migrants and asylum seekers?

Question: Yes. Yes.

Mayor Adams: Needs to be a full push and national leaders. I say this over and over again. When Ana Almanzar brought in national leaders, they have joined us. They have wrote a letter to the national leaders, to the national officials. They have written op-eds. They have witnessed what we have done. We know that the key to turning this crisis into an opportunity is employment. 

Unemployment includes everything, including if they could be trained to be lifeguards. It includes everything. We have a lot of jobs available in this city and in this country. We need everyone to join us and call for what just seems logical to me and allow people to work. we're not seeing the movement. There are a few changes that are being done. We believe employment is the key to this. Katie, we're going to end with you, Katie. You're quite welcome. It's because I just adore your mom.

Questions: Contracts and invoices for the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Fresh Meadows, where Winnie Greco lived for eight months, shows she stayed in a two-room suite. Ultimately, it cost city taxpayers $50,000 over the eight months she stayed there. Will you ask Greco or the hotel owner, Weihong Hu, to reimburse taxpayers for that expense? Additionally, your son, Jordan, stayed at the hotel at least once when it was in use as a shelter. First off, how were they able to stay there if it was in use as a shelter?

Would you ask him or Hu to reimburse that?

Mayor Adams: The DOI is doing a review of all of those things that you're talking about. I'm going to let them do their job, follow the process. Every time I stop Jordan and ask him about his music, hey, Jordan, who you're dating, mind your business, Dad. My son tells me, mind your business, Dad. He is a grown man. He was so happy when he got out of under my control. He says, you are just too hard. He says, mind your business, Dad. When he comes to me and asks me questions, I say, mind your business, son. We have this great relationship of minding each other's own business.

Question: I understand it's people's business. This is a taxpayer's business. How did he even know he could stay in that hotel? You visited when you were at the hotel. Did you find the arrangement on knowing that this is a hotel that taxpayers are paying to house formerly incarcerated individuals?

Mayor Adams: The review will follow its course. The review will follow its course.

Question: How did she stay there? 

Zornberg: The mayor has already answered this. I'm just going to jump in. That there are protocols that we must follow when DOI is reviewing something. We're following them. They're doing their review. Thank you.

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Yes, you're welcome.

Question: The NYPD is required by law to publish its clearance rates on index prime. Yes. It stopped doing that about five quarters ago under your administration. The last numbers that have been published are from the Pelosi administration. Can you tell me anything about why the numbers have stopped being published?

Mayor Adams: I was briefed on that this morning. I'm not sure. If you give me to this afternoon, I will find out. If we're required to do it, we have to do it. Let me find out if someone's going to call you this afternoon.


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