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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Holds Media Availability

July 2, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. Well, what we've seen during this crisis is people innovating, people coming up with ingenious ideas to address the challenges we face. New Yorkers doing what New Yorkers do best, being creative, being resourceful. And so, we've seen some great ideas, and sometimes one great idea meets another great idea and they come together and create something even better, something really, really special. And that's what we're going to talk about to begin today, the idea of Open Streets meeting the idea of Open Restaurants, coming together to create something very special for this summer in New York City. So, we have two initiatives that have been tremendously successful. Open Restaurants, fantastic – the impact it’s had helping restaurants come back, bringing back their employees, giving people a livelihood, allowing New Yorkers to enjoy our amazing restaurants again. Open Streets, free space for kids to play, families to come out. Both have come together wonderfully.

Now, let's remember we made a decision that we could not go ahead with indoor dining, given everything that we're seeing around the country, all the problems, really troubling realities in other parts of the country, and a lot of it connected to bars and restaurants. So, we have to double down on Open Streets and Open Restaurants and bring them together to address the situation and give maximum options to our restaurants, to their employees. And also, we know the people want it. We've seen an incredible, incredible response from the people in New York City. So, starting this weekend, 22 Open Streets will also have Open Restaurants on them. And some of them will be existing Open Streets, some will be new, but it's going to be amazing because it’s going to key into some of the places in our city where we have extraordinary restaurants, concentrated in one place. People love to go there in any time, but now imagine being able to enjoy it all alfresco. Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Little Italy Mulberry Street here in Manhattan.

Think about what is possible, if we could make them centerpieces of outdoor dining – taking a tough situation, turning into something good. We're going to do it all over the five boroughs. We're going to work with Business Improvement Districts and local alliances and associations that have been key partners in the Open Streets. And this will be for Friday nights and weekends, the times when people most want to come out to the restaurants and we think it's going to be something very special. So, 2.6 miles of Open Streets will be part of this dining initiative. And this is some initial ones I mentioned, more are coming in places like Dyckman Street in northern Manhattan, others to come as we go along. So, we're very excited. It is going to open up a world of possibilities and get a lot of people back to their jobs. We want to help working people.
This is going to help a lot.

Now, we are talking here about what we're going to do this summer, but our eyes are on the fall all the time. We know the fall is when people are really going to come back, when things are going to really restart, and we have to maintain our progress. I'm knocking on wood, but we know that if all goes the way we're doing it now we're making steady progress on the health care front. We're making steady progress on the restart. We can bring it together and have a really strong fall, but a lot of it hinges on our schools, reopening our schools safely, successfully. We've said, I believe it, it's going to have to be the greatest school year in the history of New York City public schools. And everyone shares that goal. And you could see the emotion earlier this week when we had the citywide graduation ceremony, how much people are feeling this moment in history, how much we have to support our kids.

We are doing the work right now to make September successful, to make the new school year successful. I want to thank the unions who represent the people who do the work that includes, of course, UFT, CSA, DC 37, all the unions that represent the people working in our school system. They have been at the table every day, literally, in the planning of the new school year. And it's been a very cooperative approach. On top of that, we've asked for the voices of parents to guide us. So, this is astounding. The DOE did a survey of parents and they got 400,000 responses – that is not a small sample size – 400,000 people answered the survey. And here's the most important fact, 75 percent of our New York City public school parents want to send their kids back to school in September. They feel ready now. They know that's what they want to do.

So, we're full steam ahead for September – the goal, of course, to have the maximum number of kids in our schools as we begin schools. And we know that there's going to be a lot of challenges. We know there's just sheer logistical challenges with schools that were overcrowded before the coronavirus and now have to practice social distancing. But we're going to make it work to the maximum in each school and we're going to work with the scheduling realities to find a way. And we're going to hope and pray in the meantime that the scientific community makes progress on this disease because that's what will really opened up the ability to get back 100 percent.  But in the meantime, a lot of work going on. Chancellor Carranza, meeting later today with principals to hone their plans specifically on how much each school will be able to bring back its kids. What's the number each school can hit in terms of bringing back kids safely with distancing. And, of course, the goal and the focus will always be health and safety first for our kids, for our families, for all the people that work in our schools.

Now we are going to, of course – as part of the school reopening, what will you see? You'll see daily cleanings – deep cleanings after each day to make sure the schools, top to bottom, are safe. You're going to see constant use of face coverings. They'll be provided for free for anyone who needs them – kids, adults alike. Everyone will be expected to wear face coverings. You'll see social distancing. That six-foot rule will be in effect. You'll see a lot of features to make it easy for kids and adults in the school building to stay safe, hand washing stations, hand sanitizer all over the building. These are the kinds of things that we need to do to give people confidence, make sure they're safe, and we'll be doing that and preparing for that in the months ahead and continuing to stay close to the folks who do the work and parents as we prepare these plants.

Okay. Now I'm going to switch gears quickly and go to another topic that brings out a lot of passion in New Yorkers. Anybody who experiences this has a strong opinion about it. Yes, I'm talking about Alternate Side Parking. So, this week was the first week of a brand new approach in which we are only going to require folks, when alternate side parking is in effect, we're only going to require you to move your car once a week. No more twice a week, which has been the case in some neighborhoods. I think that's just unfair to everyone. It's going to be once a week from now on. Biggest change to Alternate Side Parking in the last two decades. This week has been a cleanup week. We've overall seen the city has stayed pretty clean. A couple of times we've had to do a cleanup. We're doing it this week. And then we will suspend the Alternate Side again the following week. So, from Sunday, July 5th through Sunday, July 12th, Alternate Side Parking will be suspended. And then we'll decide in the meantime if we need to pick it up again and when we need to pick it up again.

Another important question for so many people when you think about how you get around the city, of course, is the Staten Island Ferry. A lifeline for Staten Islanders, and more and more Staten Islanders are coming back to work so we're seeing ridership up to almost 17,000 people daily this week. That's a major step up. We got to keep the ferry safe. We’ve got to allow for social distancing. So, we're bringing back more rush hour service. Starting on Monday, we'll go back to the pre-COVID rush hour service, every 15 minutes at peak times during the morning and evening rush hour. So, that starts on Monday, July 6th and passengers will have the space they need to stay safe.

Now, I want to talk about one of the really painful stories within the very overall painful story of the coronavirus crisis in the city. When the coronavirus started to be on the minds of New Yorkers, one community already started to feel the pain of this crisis before it manifested for so many of the others, so many of the rest of us. We saw discrimination and bias against the Asian American community very, very early on. It was unfair. It was horrible. It was destructive. It was painful for members of the Asian American community. And we had to fight it then and we have to fight it now. We also know that a lot of the stores, the restaurants, the parts of the community that people depend on, they started to suffer. People weren't going to those stores and restaurants. They were suffering from discrimination early on in an economic way as well. This was especially true in Chinatown here in Manhattan, the virus, the onset of the virus, the discrimination, everything came together, and people were losing business and losing their livelihoods. Right down right in the middle of all that, the community lost its beating heart, an institution, a place that was a centerpiece for the community, 70 Mulberry Street. A building that means so much to the Chinatown community that housed some of the great institutions of the community, that had been around for so long and was a beacon to the community. A horrible fire crushed the feelings of people in that community. They saw something they love literally burning to the ground.

Well, it is important, it is vital that 70 Mulberry continue to be a part of the life of Chinatown. It is Chinatown's history. It's all our history as New Yorkers. So, we have to find the right way to bring it back. And we have to listen to the people of the community as we do that. So, I'm announcing today a plan to do exactly that. We have put $80 million in the budget for the restoration of this building. We are going to have a three-month community process to listen to the community about the different ways that this might be done and to figure out what makes sense. We need to preserve every piece of history in that building we can and what it means to the community. The elected officials, the community leaders, the nonprofit leaders have been united in wanting to find the smart way to bring this building back. And we will be with them every step of the way. And joining us now is a leader who has fought passionately to protect and preserve this building, and it's personal for her, not only as a leader of the Chinatown community, but because she literally went to elementary school in this very building when it was at that time, P. S. 23, my pleasure to introduce Council Member Margaret Chin.

Council Member Margaret Chin: Thank you, Mayor. Yes, I went to school there in 1963 when I landed in New York City. And I thank you, Mayor. I still remember right after the fire, you came down to Chinatown with all the commissioner from DCAS and Department of Buildings, and you promised that you will help the community rebuild this treasure and the five nonprofits that's been providing services that let us know about our history, taking care of our senior, training, jobs to people to help give them a better future. We're just so grateful that you kept that promise by providing funding and support for a robust community engagement and we look forward to a brighter future because what's going to happen, it's not just rebuilding or the five nonprofits that are there, but an opportunity to create more space for other nonprofits and cultural organizations. And it's going to continue to be a beacon in our community. And I thank you for keeping your promise.

Mayor: Thank you so much, Council Member. Thank you for all the hard work you've put in. I want to tell you a P. S. 23 did a good job with you and thank you for all you do for the community and we will get to a great plan to move forward together.

Now, everyone let's do what we do every day and go over our health care indicators. Indicator one, daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, threshold is 200. Today, it is 60 patients that are being reported. Indicator two, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICUs, that threshold is 375 – today, 293 patients. And indicator number three, people who've tested positive citywide for COVID-19, threshold 15 percent – today, once again, two percent. That appears to be our number. Let's keep it that way. That's a really good number. And again, that's because of your hard work. A few words in Spanish –

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

With that, we turn to questions from the media and please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.

Moderator: We will now begin our Q-and-A. As a reminder, we're also joined today by Chancellor Carranza, Commissioner Trottenberg, Commissioner Doris, and Senior Advisor Jay Varma. First question today goes to Melissa Russo from NBC.

Question: Hi, good morning, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor: Good morning, Melissa. How you doing?

Question: I'm doing well, thank you. Mr. Mayor, what do you say to those who feel that to put – to dedicate scarce city resources on a symbolic display, this is regarding the Black Lives Matter mural outside Trump Tower, might not be the best use of precious city resources at this time? And separately there's been a lot of confusion about when this mural was actually going to get started, first we were told it was last night, and this morning we were told it was this morning. Now we're told it's being put off until next week, can you explain the delay?

Mayor: Okay, so that's two different questions there. So let me cover each. The delay is simply logistics. It's going to happen soon. A couple of things we have to work through and we will work through, and then we'll give you an announcement and I think it's going to be a very important moment for people in this city, because it is about affirming what black people have achieved and accomplished and contribute to New York City and America and that is something we can not talk enough about. And that is a history that has not been told and people's value has not been recognized. I was not shocked, but troubled when President Trump tweeted that putting Black Lives Matter on Fifth Avenue would somehow denigrate the luxury, “luxury” of Fifth Avenue and my response was that black people built Fifth Avenue, built New York City, built America, they gave people the right to have that luxury. A lot of them did not get to participate in it or experienced the fruits of their labors. So this is a small, small measure to show respect. There's much more we have to do, which is why we're going with our Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation, we're going to look at the big things we have to do, the structural and institutional racism we have to address, and the major investments we have to make and the changes we have to make as a result. But this is a small but important thing to do. And as to the cost, again, small costs, big impact, let's send a message to New York City and America that Black lives truly matter, period.

Moderator: The next is Joe Anuta from Politico.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor: How are you doing Joe?

Question: Not too bad. I was curious if you could comment on the Police Commissioner said during an interview yesterday that the City Council had given into mob rule with their budget, you know, it was also your budget. and I think a lot of the NYPD cuts was – while they were conceived of by the Council – OMB actually drew up all the plans. So I'm curious if you agree with him and if you could comment on what he said?

Mayor: Look, you're absolutely right. It was a budget achieved with both the Mayoralty and the City Council. You're right, OMB drew up the plans working closely with the police department. I understand that the Commissioner is grappling with a whole lot right now. We're asking a lot of the NYPD to keep the city safe as always, which the NYPD does very well, the ability to innovate and change strategies, deal with whatever's thrown at them. The Commissioner does it well, the NYPD does it well. We're asking a lot of them right now. We're asking them to do more with less. That is a true statement. And I understand that that is a challenge, but no, this was a process that was a thoughtful process, listening to the voices of the people, but also striking a balance, Joe, and I was clear about that. The vast majority of New Yorkers want safety. They want the NYPD to function well, they want the NYPD to be there when they call, they also want it to be a fair, just organization. They want respect from NYPD the officers. They don't want to see any bias and we're going to strike that balance, and I think this budget helps us do it.

Question: And another budget follow, you know, we've talked a lot about borrowing authority, federal aid, and then this sort of ultimatum of $1 billion in labor savings or sort of the last resort layoffs. I'm just curious, you know, I don't have a super scientific analysis of this. I don't have the numbers, but a billion dollars in labor savings, from what I understand is maybe a couple percentage points off of what you spend every year, you know, total on these contracts. I'm curious if you could explain why you see labor savings as something to be avoided when I think a lot of people maybe would say, well, you know, we should be trying to find a couple percentage points of efficiency in the fringe benefits?

Mayor: So Joe, I'll put it this way. I am a follower - later on in history, I'm a follower of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Fiorello La Guardia. I am a Keynesian. I believe that you invest to bring your economy back as was true in the New Deal. To sustain progress, as we've done these last six years, you have to invest. I do not believe in the austerity worldview. I think it's destructive. I think it divides people. So I believe in investment, but you have to be able to balance the budget. Unquestionably. Some progressives historically have not understood that well enough. I do. So what we're doing here is saying we are going to get a billion dollars. We're going to get it one way or another. We'd like to figure it out with labor constructively. I'm hopeful we will. We obviously should get that stimulus. We deserve it. Every city and state in America deserves it to get back on our feet or help from Albany. There's a lot of ways to solve it, but I do not believe that shrinking the workforce, putting people out of work, destroying the livelihoods of families and reducing city services is the way to bring the city back.

Moderator: The next is Emily from NY1.

Question: Hey Mayor, how are you?

Mayor: Hey Emily, how are you doing?

Question: I’m well, thank you very much. We're seeking more information about the transition of homeless outreach away from the NYPD, do you have some information about when that might start or when if ever the NYPD would get involved in homeless outreach?

Mayor: Yeah, no something that we've been – I've been very, very deeply involved in for years now, Emily, is trying to figure out the right way to help get homeless folks the help they need, the safe havens, the efforts to provide the kind of support the substance misuse support - you know, treatment. The mental health support to get people off the streets who are permanently on the streets. You know, the Journey Home Plan is all about this that we put out in December. So the NYPD played, I think, a constructive role, but as we've talked about how to figure out what needs to be shifted to civilian agencies, what can be effectively shifted? It's become clear that our department of social services and homeless services can handle this work and that transition will happen in the course of this Fiscal Year. But I think in the end, the civilian piece, those outreach workers I've talked about so much, they are the key, they've been extraordinarily effective and that's where we'll put our emphasis.

Question: And may I may ask you also about Governor Cuomo’s comments yesterday on longer lasting police reform, he was a little bit critical of the billion dollar cut, but I also want to ask your thoughts on his executive order last month, calling for, you know, the NYPD to enact a plan or risk losing state funding, where the city is on that?

Mayor: We've been enacting the plan for seven years. We're happy to summarize it for the state and show them all the new things we're doing. Remember not only did we end the broken unconstitutional policy of stop and frisk, we did training of the entire police force every single year, never been done before, de-escalation training, implicit bias training, body cameras, reduction of arrests. I'm going to keep saying it. I don't see it talked about. 180,000 fewer arrests in 2019 than in the last year of the Bloomberg administration. Lowest incarceration rate of any American city. Fewer people in our jail system then the time – since the time of World War II, these are all profound reforms. There's many, many more, and now we're going to be doing even more through the things we've announced this week. So there is a permanent ongoing reform plan for the NYPD and I believe the facts will be very, very clear to everyone that this is a plan that's working.

Moderator: Next is Gersh from Streetsblog.

Question: Hello, everybody on the call, how are you doing?

Mayor: Hey Gersh, how are you doing good?

Question: I’m good. I have two questions unrelated to each other. So the first is a little more information about the open restaurants. Is there any help the city will give to some of these struggling restauranteurs? You know, because most of them, many restaurants, we're 100 percent indoor businesses and suddenly they have to round up outdoor furniture and umbrellas, et cetera, I know that the city has an online marketplace, but it's almost entirely PPE stuff, not for restaurant service itself. And also the date, will it go beyond labor day into the fall?

Mayor: So Gersh on the date, we are going to look at that. I want to see how it goes through July into August, with things are working, of course, I'm going to be open to going farther. On the equipment and all, no, I've – that's not what we've been hearing from the restaurant community. We have been hearing in fact that people have the tables and indoors that can often move him outdoors, that their central problem or challenge was getting the authorization to be outdoors and making it simple, making it easy, that's what we did. So we're actually hearing from the restaurant community, they can handle that part of the equation. What they needed was the support to get it done cleanly and quickly.

Moderator: Gersh, do have a follow up?

Question: Well, not follow up for that. My second question is, and you'll be happy to know it's not transportation related, Mr. Mayor. On May 31st, you told reporters this, “we need to make sure that anybody who should not be a police officer is not a police officer. We need that system to work and work better and work faster.” So my question is how many police officers have lost their jobs since that comment?

Mayor: Gersh, the point of that comment is what I fundamentally believe. This is an area where we have to do better, the NYPD has to do better. I think the vast majority of officers are in it for the right reason and do very difficult work the right way. I think there's a small number who should not be police officers and that's true for every profession, doctors, lawyers, teachers, everybody, and we got to do a better job identifying them, acting on. The disciplinary process within the NYPD will be resuming soon, like everything else in the world that was on hold because of coronavirus, it's going to be resuming and then you will see for yourself the results.

Moderator: Next is Julia from the post.

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

Mayor: Good, how are you?

Question: I'd like to take a moment before my questions to thank your departing Press Secretary, Freddi Goldstein, for her hard work, her honesty, and her professionalism and wish her the best and her future endeavors. And then related to that, you've announced that Bill Neidhart will be replacing her, especially given the racial justice movements sweeping this nation and your administration's commitment to it, why not appoint a person of color to be your Press Secretary? It's one of the most high profile high profile jobs at city hall, perhaps even promoting someone who already works for you who fits the bill.

Mayor: Thank you, Julia. It's I believe, and I'll let Bill say it for himself as he introduces to you, but I think he says it Neidhart. The issue here is of course to make sure that we keep going with this work we are doing right now and make sure we have someone who, because of their particular combination of experiences in a crisis wrapped in many of the crises that we're experiencing now is best suited to express everything that we're trying to do here and deal with all of the factors, and Bill's particular combination of experiences really allows us to do that. So this is a very, very – I'm very proud of this fact – this is the most diverse administration in the history of New York City, by far. We have more than 50 percent of the senior roles in this administration held by women. That's been true the whole time. We have very, very strong representation from communities of color throughout the administration, and that continues to grow. But for this role, which I would say, and I'm going to praise Freddi later on, that this is one of the toughest jobs in public service. There's a particular thing you look for, could come in any package, but this particular case, I think he's the right person for the job.

Question: Okay. Thank you. Then a separate question. Governor Cuomo blamed you yesterday for having to pause indoor dining in this city for not ensuring compliance with social distancing and mask-wearing rules. I'm looking for a response to that, and wondering if you think you missed an opportunity to move forward on the city's restart.

Mayor: No, the reason that indoor dining didn't make sense was the data we received from states all over the country, and that really picked up in the last week or so and it became deafening how bad the situation was in many, many states and how much it was late related back to bars and restaurants. That was the reason. The enforcement has been strong, but it's also been smart. We did not believe, and we tried and realized it was a mistake, we do not believe that police officers should be doing social distancing enforcement. We believe it should be civilians. We do not believe in handing out fines and people are already financially troubled, which is pretty much everyone in this city, if we can solve the problem in other ways. Enforcement's been strong. I've looked at the data. I'm convinced the vast, vast majority of New Yorkers are following the rules. You're always going to be able to find a photo of someone who doesn't, but we're going to go address that, and I think restaurant and bar owners want to address it too. So no, I just disagree with that characterization.

Moderator: The next is Reema from Chalkbeat.

Question: Hi everyone. Thanks for taking my questions. My first question is about school reopening plans. It's more just logistical. I know that the plans have to be submitted to the state, and then there's a whole planning process there. Can you just go over sort of where you guys are in terms of timeline and this is, you know, obviously for the chancellor as well, and when you're going to be submitting those plans to the state and then when we'd expect to hear something more concrete.

Mayor: Yeah, again, Reema, I think the level of concreteness is there in many ways, and what we're trying to tell people is some very, very specific things. I don't know, it's always being heard. That means we have to say it more and more clearly. I'll turn to the Chancellor to talk about the state process and when there'll be whatever submissions and responses. But look again, I'm going to try to say this as plainly as possible. I am someone who is a public school parent for the entire education of both of my kids, pre-K to 12th grade. So I understand parents want answers. Here's some answers schools will be opening in September. Each school will have a number of as the maximum number of kids that can be in that school with social distancing, using every conceivable space in that school, we're going to convert everything that can be converted to a classroom, to a classroom, to accommodate social distancing.

Some schools will be able to have all of their kids when you factor in the total use of space, and that probably every kid will not be there to say at least – 75 percent will I believe, 25 percent may not, if you believe this very, very large and comprehensive survey. So schools will be open on the first day of school, maximum number of kids in each building possible, they'll have to be for schools that cannot accommodate all their kids in the building. At one time by definition, some kind of staggered schedule, that piece will be determined with the schools. That's an ongoing conversation with the unions to see what that final configuration will be, but it will be announced well in advance of school beginning so parents can plan, something I think we'll have decisions on in the next few weeks. There will be a deep cleaning every day. There will be handwashing stations throughout the school, hand sanitizer throughout the schools, social distancing, free face coverings. Everyone will be required to wear a face covering. So those are a lot of specifics and we're moving forward, aggressively. Chancellor take it from there.

Chancellor Carranza: Hey Reema. So we working very closely with the State Education Department, as well as the Regents. They have not yet required the submission of reopening plans, but every school district in New York State is in the thick of developing the reopening plans. We anticipate sometime this summer, they're going to ask for the plan – we're going to be ready to go.

Mayor: Good deal. Thank you.

Moderator: Reema, do you have a follow up?

Question: Yeah, I do. So my second question is about the Summer Youth Employment program. I know that this year with the passage of the budget, that it's going to be a different program, a public private partnership. My question though is about why the city is including – there's this like $23 million in state TANF funds that are needed to roll out the plan that you all announced yesterday. But we don't know yet if that money is coming through. So I'm, I'm wondering why the city included that money in the final budget, if it's not clear whether that money's going to come through for sure or not.

Mayor: Reema, we'll have our OMB folks follow up with you. I think we do believe that money is coming through. So I've not heard anyone in the meetings I've been in that discussed this suggest. It's not. So we'll get an answer to you, but at this moment, I do believe it's coming.

Moderator: We have time for two more today. The next is Yoav from The City.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor, I just want to follow up on something you said today. It sounded like you said the NYPD internal disciplinary process is on hold at the moment because of the coronavirus. I know CCRB process was delayed until they figured out how to do something online. What, what's the status of the NYPD process? Have they not found a way to do that yet? What's the cause and the delay and when do you expect that to resume?

Mayor: Yeah, I don't have all the details of that, Yoav, we'll get you that answer from the NYPD look, I want to see everything up and running quickly. The state court system, the disciplinary process NYPD – everything. I do understand there have been real challenges because of the coronavirus and these processes have to be done the right way to be effective and for the results to work and stick and be usable, but we'll get you the exact update. I hope that as the other elements of reopening or moving forward, we're not talking about a very long time here before all this gets up and running, and then I expect to see a speedy disciplinary process. One of the things that I've said is we have to speed up everything about NYPD discipline. I give Commissioner Shea credit – in recent weeks, you saw much quicker action on modifications and suspensions where they were needed and on the process of bringing charges. Now we need the rest of the process to move more quickly as well.

Question: Thank you on another issue on the budget. I know that for now that the city managed to avoid any layoffs to municipal workers, but do you have a sense for how many human service workers the folks at nonprofits who are contracted essentially to do city work, but don't work for this city, do you know how many of them could potentially be laid off by this budget? I'm hearing figures that it could be in the thousands.

Mayor: Yeah, that's a very good question. You'll have, I don't have an exact figure. We'll get that from OMB today, or at least a projection. I'm worried about that. I mean, as we have had to make really tough budget decisions, of course it's hurting our city workforce. It's hurting our nonprofit workforce. We're in a pandemic, a massive economic crisis, a massive fiscal crisis. It's not business as usual. So we'll get you an estimate, but I'm very worried about that, and that's another reason why we need stimulus and/or borrowing help so we can keep addressing this and stop it from getting worse. But I want to remind you that city head count now is down about 6,000 people already compared to the budget we passed last June. The changes you've seen in the NYPD but other agencies as well. So head – city head count is going down. If we don't get the federal support or the state help, if we can't find those labor savings, another 22,000 city workers could end up losing their job, which I want to do everything I can to avert, but I'm also worried about a growing impact on the nonprofit sector and hope and pray we can get the support to avert that.

Moderator: Last question for today, it goes to Jillian from WBAI.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor: Good Jillian. How are you?

Question: Well, thank you. I'd like to echo the sentiment about Freddi by the way. So the question I'm about to ask was not originally my first question for today, but something came up in this briefing so here goes, it's good news about 80 Mulberry street, but if the city doesn't do anything to protect the area from gentrification like zoning restrictions, won't saving one building, being an empty gesture if there's widespread residential and commercial displacements?

Mayor: I think there's a little bit of apples and oranges there. I do understand the question. I appreciate the question. I mean, look, this, this building is supremely important to people in the community and we have to find a way to preserve it, and I think there's a very, very deep-seated community. There are people who are, have been there a long time and are going to be there a long time. I do think gentrification's a profoundly important issue in New York City. I think we found some of the ways to address it, but not enough, and we have to keep working at it. Some ways in some places rezoning are an answer. Other places, bluntly. I don't know if they are. I also think that with the impact of the pandemic and the economic crisis, I'm not sure you're not going to see some changes in gentrification in the coming years and some reductions of the impact. But look, I will always look at a rezoning proposal. I care about that community. I want to protect that community. If there's a proposal that can achieve actual balance, that's something I'd always be interested in.

Question: Okay. So now I'm going to change my other questions to a follow up on this. So you're talking about rezonings, but all of your rezonings have been upzonings and we're talking about a downzoning, essentially. That's what the Chinatown working group was trying to put forth over the last several years, and I don't know if you have any intentions of joining anything like that.

Mayor: What I have felt up to now and Jillian again, whole different moment in history. I mean, we're going through a massive transformation as we speak, and I don't think we've all begun to even think about what it means. Again, this is like going through the Great Depression or the pandemic of the Spanish flu after World War One, but we're doing them simultaneously with a 1970s fiscal crisis thrown in. I mean, we're in the middle of a massive painful, but transformative moment. I don't know what the future's going to look like. We're going to work to try and figure that out best. I don't think the gentrification patterns are going to be the same, but what we have focused on is building affordable housing. We've done rezonings with the goal of maximizing affordable housing, because I believe ideologically, that that is the way to protect the balance of this city to make sure that working people can live here to make sure it's a city for everyone.

The free market, I always say the free market had free reign in Bushwick, in Bed-Stuy, in a lot of other places and really massive displacement occurred. Where we've been doing rezonings we're able to strike a balance and ensure that affordable housing be part of the future for the community as well, and some places we have put some restrictions in place, for sure. So it's not like it's only been one way in some places we have said, this is a limit to growth that has to happen for sure. So I will look at the situation in Chinatown anew under the dynamics we're dealing with, but I still think we don't have enough of a sense of where we're going next. What I do know is whatever the future of New York City, we're going to have to protect affordable housing. We're going to have to build more affordable housing to keep this a city for everyone.

With that, everyone. Let me just conclude and say, I do want to take a brief moment to pay tribute to two great public servants who will be leaving the administration after long and distinguished stints. Freddi Goldstein, my press secretary after four years on our team and four great years and Wiley Norvell after nine years. So that takes him back to the time I was public advocate. He has been a mainstay of this team and both of them have contributed really, really greatly, not just to this team and the work we do here every day when we're talking to the press and talking to the people, but to helping run New York City in one of its toughest moments in our entire history. So to Freddi and Wiley, thank you on behalf of all of the people of New York City, and it is a reminder and I hope all of you just take a moment to appreciate our public servants because the folks here at City Hall from March 1st to today, the vast majority of them have not even thought about taking a day off. It has been nonstop and very, very long days, people around here 15-hour day is not new to them, and throughout the coronavirus crisis, it's been typical. Our public servants, our healthcare heroes, our first responders and so many more have kept the city running no matter what's been thrown at them. So a lot of times in the public discourse, you know, it's a cheap shot to put down people who work for the government and public servants. But I think our public servants have really, really stepped up in this crisis and they deserve our thanks more than ever. So please take a moment today to be thankful for all who do so much for us. Thank you, everyone.

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