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Transcript: Mayor Adams Holds In-Person Media Availability

July 9, 2024

Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy, Communications: Good morning everybody. My name is Fabien Levy and I serve as deputy mayor for Communications for the City of New York. Before we get started can we give it up one more time for the Ensemble Connect? Backed by Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, the Weill Music Institute and the New York City Department of Education, the Ensemble Connect Fellowship Program brings together talented musicians to study, learn and work with our city's students. 

Through our administration's investments in Carnegie Hall, we're proud to be supporting programs like Ensemble Connect helping build the next generation of musical talent. Carnegie Hall is one of the thousand cultural institutions our city supports every year including all of the great organizations featured behind us today: the Classical Theater of Harlem, Louis Armstrong House Museum, BRIC, Thrive Collective and the Snug Harbor Cultural center and botanical garden. By investing a record $53 million in our city's cultural institutions as part of our adopted budget we are bolstering this crucial industry and safeguarding it for decades to come. New Yorkers can find free cultural programming near them online at

To tell you a little bit more about these efforts and the work we're doing every day to deliver a safer, stronger city, the mayor has once again convened senior leadership this morning for our weekly in-person media availability. So joining us today we have Mayor Eric Adams, First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom, Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana Almanzar, Chief Counsel Lisa Zornberg, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Tiffany Raspberry, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo and New York City Emergency Management First Deputy Commissioner Christina Farrell. Without further delay, I'll turn it over to Mayor Adams. 

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you. It's great to have Laurie here, Commissioner Cumbo here, who has been a real advocate for cultural affairs. She was pounding those phones the last few days of the budget and we were really pleased to have put that $53 million and this is an example of it and thanks so much to DM Levy and the entire team as we go into questions. 

Really pleased with Commissioner Caban and the entire police executive team. We announced last week how we're making the city safer for our city. We removed over 17,000 illegal guns off our street and we saw decreases in homicides, shootings, grand larceny, autos, burglaries, and transit crimes are down. I know it's sort of hard to believe because, some of the most challenging aspects of our subway system get profiled a lot, but the reality is, if you were to look at the last 14 years, [2020] was the only time that it was lower, and that's because no one was really on our subway system. It is clear that they did an immediate turnaround after the January slight bump. 

Then our economy. Our museums are more than just places where art hanging on the wall or statues. It is an economic engine for us. We were able to, as I announced, $53 million back to 1,000 creative organizations. The museum that helps out tourism, $60 million last year, fourth largest in history of the city, $74 billion in economic activity with our tourism. It's just a major driver of how well we're doing at the city, and any time you don't believe the city's back, just go hit Times Square and you see just the people walking, just enjoying being in our city. 

As was mentioned, like I saw in New York 1, they rolled out the trash bins. We are really excited about this. They told us it was going to take us five years to do. Two and a half years we're doing it to remove 14 billion pounds of trash bags off our streets. We're actually just catching up to the rest of the globe, but we were committed and dedicated, our hats off to Commissioner Tisch for just making this go from an ideal to something real. When you look at the fact that we're bringing down the cost of the bins, the cost of less than $50 per bin, and it's just a real win for us. Starting in November, buildings with one to nine residential units and special use buildings, including city agencies and professionals' offices, will be required to use these bins. We're going to get the trash bags off our streets and go after my number one nemesis enemy, rats. We're going to go after them. When that happens, 70 percent of our garbage will be in bins. 

Lastly, as we have the announcement for the CRC, the Charter Revision Commission. It's coming up, great hearing. I believe last night it was, Lisa? We had about 100 people participate. A good energy, like I said, [8.3] million New Yorkers, 35 million opinions, and New Yorkers love to let how they feel. They have mixed emotions on a lot of these issues, so it's really exciting what we're doing. I was having dinner last night, somebody walked down the block and said, boo, I hate you, mayor. Then he said, no way, but I love how you brought the city back. That's the mixed feelings of New York. We're going to open up for questions. 

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor Adams: How are you? 

Question: Good, how are you? 

Mayor Adams: Good. 

Question: You were at the funeral this morning for the young sisters who drowned on Coney Island. Two boys drowned nearby in Far Rockaway. I was wondering if you had plans to prevent these future drownings, perhaps drones flying, or extending the hours of lifeguards on the beaches.

Mayor Adams: And we talked about that. The team, I was up at the funeral this morning, just a real painful moment of having these two children die that way. One was going to start here in city service that we learned — I learned this morning when we were on the call. 

It's a combination of what we must do. It's a combination of… Commissioner Daughtry has been doing an excellent job utilizing the drones, not only for shock awareness, but also to do preventive measures. The team is going to sit down and engage in a conversation, what could we do about utilizing our lifeguards, encouraging more people to do so? Meera, we're be up to about 800 now?

Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Operations: Yes, we have 800 lifeguards and we have more coming on. I do, first of all, want to take a moment to recognize the pain. I'm the mother of a teenage daughter and what once was a teenage son, and so listening to the heartache of those parents, it hits home. This administration has done something that prior administrations haven't been able to achieve, and that's really to rework the lifeguard contract in really important ways, allowing Parks to have better management tools over the training and recruitment, which also encourages retention as well as increases in the salary. And so that has, although it came later than we would like, has helped boost lifeguard recruitment this year and we anticipate for next year it will have an even better effect because it'll be enforced from the beginning of the recruitment season. 

And we work together with our partner public safety agencies when it comes to monitoring the 14 miles of beaches that New York City is responsible for. After the lifeguards leave at 6 o'clock, the PEP officers are on duty. They are on the beaches. They are letting people know about the dangers of going into the water when there is no lifeguard. There's signage around, and FDNY and NYPD are also monitoring those beaches. 

We had a record number of beachgoers just over July 4th to 7th, some 800,000 people were going to our beaches. They're very popular, they're crowded. We want New Yorkers to go there. We have to remember, the ocean is very dangerous. We want New Yorkers to be there when the lifeguards are there and to swim in front of the lifeguards, go into the water in front of the lifeguards. What I ask is everybody who's a parent, let your children know, remind them of the dangers of the ocean. It's deceiving. It looks cooling and refreshing, but you go in and that undertow is pretty strong. 

We'll continue to work hard to make sure that people understand the importance of swimming when there's a lifeguard there and ensure that when there is no lifeguard there, we are doing the best we can to have eyes both in the ocean and on the beaches to let people know that they shouldn't go in and we'll continue that work. 

Mayor Adams: I want to be corrected. I misunderstood, this morning call. I thought it was starting with DYCD. It was actually the woman that was murdered who was going to start with our agency. Thanks, Fabien. 
Our hours are similar to other large cities across America. I think it's more about education. It's more about identifying what the flags mean when lifeguards are on duty because you can close at 8 o'clock. You close at nine o'clock. If people are not really educated and have a real holistic approach to some of the swimming training we want to do, what the governor's doing, that's really how forward-thinking the governor was when she really leaned into the whole swimming initiative that we want to do. We have to continue to make sure, as the DM stated, that we educate parents and loved ones on when is the time to be in the water. We don't want people in the water when lifeguards are not on duty.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Just to the point that you asked about drones, the NYPD and the FDNY both have drones up in the air throughout the day, NYPD I think until 7 p.m. and FDNY until 8 p.m. So after lifeguards are off duty even.

Question: Hi Mr. Mayor, how are you today? Thanks for the shout out. I wanted to ask you, today there's a Rikers receivership hearing. The parties will be in court to potentially set a hearing schedule to determine whether Rikers should be taken over. Are you worried that this is a real possibility that Rikers could go into federal receivership? I also wanted to ask you about advice and consent. You did not veto that bill, could you talk about the thinking behind that and does it have anything to do with the Charter Revision Commission? 

Mayor Adams: First Rikers, no, not concerned at all. The system is going to determine what to do. Many of you have acknowledged what's happening with the federal prison system. It's definitely not a model of what prisons should look like and I respect whatever decision the judge makes. Let me tell you something, this is a huge city and if someone believes they can do Rikers better, trust me, I have so many other items that I can do in this city. I know we're moving in the right direction. I am so excited about the commissioner who's there and what she's doing. The courts should make a decision. I respect the decision that the court makes. We believe we continue to move Rikers in the right direction. The right, it was the…

Right. My team, we talked about this a lot about the bill. This is what I have discovered. I have discovered that this administration's success has been overshadowed by all of these back and forth debates, back and forth, back and forth. I'm just not doing that anymore. I'm giving you guys eight days of coverage on a bill that the average New Yorker, when I walk down the block, they're not stopping me in the subway station and saying, hey, Eric, what are you doing with the advice and consent bill? No. They're concerned with crime, affordability, and education. 

The City Council has a role, I have a role. I wrote a letter, we voiced my feelings on it, but they have a right to do what they have to do and that's the balance of power. What I'm not going to do, and you're going to notice this as the days go on, I'm not going to get involved in these petty debates around these issues. I'm letting the public know what I feel about a particular issue and why I think it's important, and the City Council, they have their job to do. Tiffany did a good job and she shared what our position is, she read the letter, and we let the process play out. 

It's all part of the process. 

Question: Does it have anything to do with the charter revision… 

Mayor Adams: Nope, not at all. The charter revision, as we said before, we already had a charter revision in place when residents came to us. We learned about the bill after, So I hope that we lay out the timetable because I've noticed there's been a little mix up in the timetable. We were already doing a charter revision, so it has nothing to do with the charter revision. It has to do with I don't want to have New Yorkers believe I'm fighting with someone, I'm fighting for New Yorkers to make the city affordable, safe, and educate our children. That is my focus and that's what I want to spend my time in doing.

Question: Next Wednesday will mark ten years since the NYPD’s killing of Eric Garner. I just wanted to get a sense of what you think of law enforcement's progress over the past 10 years, and what more you would hope for your administration to do to ensure a tragedy like that never occurs again.

Mayor Adams: We've come a long way, and any time you have the millions of interactions that police officers have with the public, you get it right sometimes and then sometimes you make a tragic mistake that we saw on Staten Island. That's why you have to be in a continued state of training. You are your brother's keeper when you're on patrol. You have someone who must always have a level head. I remember many times responding to jobs and everyone is caught up in the adrenaline and no one is taking a step back and, being a real partner. 

That's what we really have been instructing police officers, you have a responsibility to get to the scene, to deescalate. We've come a long way, got so much more to do, you never have enough, there's so many dynamics into policing that it is just mind-boggling when you think about it. Any given day, you walk through the door, you don't know what you're facing. If you don't have that muscle memory of your training and continuous training, mistakes and tragedies like this could happen. And so I was very active during the Eric Garner protests. I thought that we should not have lost Eric and his mother is a friend and [I’ve] communicated with his children as well throughout the years and so we have to continue to learn from these situations and do everything possible not to allow them to happen.

Question: Hi mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Good. I wanted to ask about Flatbush Avenue, new bus lanes on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. Jumaane Williams is rallying with transit advocates today. They're concerned because other projects like Fordham Road in the Bronx did not move forward as some had hoped. I'm hearing from folks in the MTA that it's even more important than ever for the city to have to speed up buses because congestion pricing is no longer moving forward. Are you committed to Flatbush Avenue and to increasing bus speeds there?

Mayor Adams: I'm committed to what the residents want there. You have Councilwoman Lewis, Assemblywoman Bichotte, you have Assemblywoman Waterman, you have the Senate delegation, you have the community boards. I'm committed to what the community wants and we will weigh that out. I think part of the rally that anyone should do, they should sit down with their local electeds and get them engaged. We have been hearing and receiving a lot of incoming on that bus lane. 

We want to do everything possible to speed up our services because I think it's important to do so. I'm committed on how we design it and how we get it right. Community engagement is crucial for me. We get it wrong sometimes and then we have to go back and try to fix what we created. I will hear from Jumaane, the advocates, and the community to determine what's the best way to move forward. 

As we reshape our streets, we're reshaping our streets. I don't know if you've been at some of these hearings. They can be very contentious. There are residents who have lived in these communities for a long time. They have a belief. There are residents who are moving into these communities. They have a belief. These are some of the most contentious conversations I have is around these issues. You have to be able to weigh movement of people, safety, and as well as hearing from residents. I'm committed to hearing from everyone involved.

Questions: Do you agree with the premise, though, that without congestion pricing, the city has to sort of step up and address congestion itself?

Mayor Adams: No, I don't. We are doing an amazing job in addressing congestion, and we're going to continue to do so. I'm not new to this. I'm true to this. As I stated before, I was part of the original group as a state senator that decreased the speed limits in the city. This was my vision. I went after hit-and-run drivers. This was my vision. I advocated for bike lanes. 

A lot of people have just introduced themselves to this scene. I've been on this scene for a long time, and all you got to go do is Google Eric Adams around these issues, and you can see from my days of being the traffic stat captain in the 6th Precinct, this has been my life's work of getting it right, but one of the things that's been my life's work also is listening to people. We have to learn to listen to people. My idea is not the only idea, And I'm going to listen to everyone in this city and make the best decision based on that because of my love for the city.

Question: Hello. 

Mayor Adams: How are you? 

Question: Mr. Mayor, I wanted to ask you, your administration said you will review the legislation proposed by Councilman Holden about modifying sanctuary laws. Have you considered, have you looked at the legislation proposal? Also, can I ask how's been the migrant situation since implementing the changes at the southern border? Does the City of New York see that there is like less migrants coming right now?

Mayor Adams: I've been clear on this sanctuary city conversation. I think Mayor Koch had it right when he first did it. I think Mayor Bloomberg had it right. I think the previous administration made a big mistake. I think we need to correct that aspect of it. If you commit a serious violent act in a city after you serve your time, you should not be in the city. New Yorkers have a right to be safe in their city. The same way anyone breaks the law or does something violent to New Yorkers, I'm going to voice my concern about that. 

I think the overwhelming number of people who are in this city, they come here, they want to pursue the American Dream, and we don't want them to be fearful of utilizing services in the city in the process of doing so. I also think people have conflated the migrant and asylum seeker issue with sanctuary city. It's not. People are paroled into the city, into the country. They're not part of the sanctuary city. I think that people just find it sexy to say lump everyone into sanctuary cities, but it's not. You're paroled into the country, that is different from sanctuary city.

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, Health and Human Services: The only thing I want to say is I think it's so important, and if we go back and look at some of the tapes of the things that the mayor was advocating for months and months and months ago in terms of the federal government being able to really help us with this. This has never been a homelessness issue. This has always been an immigration issue. Cities and localities do not have the tools that we really need in order to do this. 

I think we have seen some improvement in the amount of people that have been coming in through our front door, based on what's happening down at the border, based on the executive action that the president has taken. We would encourage them to do more. We see that they've gotten more TPS and extended TPS for more populations, that's all very helpful. I think last week our number was, where's Camille, maybe 1,100 people coming through, which is a little, again, insane that we're saying 1,100 people coming into a system that still has 64,000 and has over 200,000 people that have come into it in a short period of time. We are seeing some improvements and we're working really hard to make sure that our exit strategies can be expedited and to help really people move on to their next point of their journey.

Camille Joseph Varlack, Chief of Staff to the Mayor: DM, actually the number's even better than expected. It was about 900.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Oh, under 1,000.

Deputy Mayor Levy: We haven't seen a week under 1,000 and I can't remember.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: The important thing is it's under 1,000 on the intake and now we've really got to expedite the amount of people that exit so that we can see the census going down because that really is what we need to do in order to really save funds and to move people along.

Mayor Adams: Think about that, 1,000 people, 900 people that you have to find food, shelter, clothing, educate children. It's also my obligation and responsibility. It's a lot. We had to build this system within months that took 40 years to build. It's very significant.

Question: Kind of going off of the exit strategy part, the right to shelter agreement, the settlement on that was a couple of months ago and went into effect last month. I guess, what's the progress on that so far? How many notices have been given out? How many people have applied for extensions and been granted them?

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: [Inaudible]…have the amount of notices. I don't know if I've had it there. I want to remind everybody, the right to shelter really focused on single adults, which is the smaller part of our population. The vast majority of our population are families with children. The right to shelter and the settlement there really dealt with those single adults. We have put the… It took a while to get the extenuating circumstances up and running because we wanted to be careful and to make sure that we were doing something that made sense and people had a process that they could anticipate. 

Camille, I don't know if you have the amount of notices. I can get that to you, I definitely have it, but it's been over tens, I think over 10,000 notices have probably gone out. What we're finding is that in this single population, many people were leaving before 30 days anyway, if you'll remember, almost over 70 percent of the people, because they come for a little bit of time, they get support. We're trying to expedite that as much as we can. I think that the extenuating circumstances has been going well. I'm still looking at it, Ethan, because I would like the census to go down quicker. Again, that's the way that I can make sure that I'm shrinking the system. I think we're up to still 216 different sites around the city. 

As the mayor said, housing people, providing school, doing all those different things are very costly. Finding a way to really shrink the system, expedite, extenuating circumstances, make sure that we're giving the 60-day notices to families with children, that's what we can do on that side, and making sure that we are moving the single adults as long as quickly as they could. And preserving the right to shelter and not having people out on the street because all of those things really contribute to the quality of life here. Managing all those different things I think is what we've been trying to do.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Do you want me to give you the notices numbers? 

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Yes, please. 

Deputy Mayor Levy: 17,800 new 30-day notices to single adults and adult families. 2,500 new 60-day notices to those young adults age 18 to 22 and 17,400 60-day notices have been served to families with children households. 

Question: Since last month when the right to shelter went into effect or since the 30 and 60-days went into effect last fall? 

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: That's probably since the beginning of the since we started giving out notices, don't you think? We'll get it for you.

Mayor Adams: We'll find out. Yes, we'll give you exact numbers.

Question: Your budget director said yesterday, Mr. Mayor, to the Council that the plan to close Rikers was not going to happen by 2027. I know you've said previously that your administration is going to follow the law, but now we're in this position of your budget director's meeting and they can't financially do it. What's the plan to move forward here with the closing of Rikers Island? 

Then on top of that, building off this, the migrant population. We've reported yesterday too, and this is something we've talked about before with Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom, is that we've seen this number between 1,000 and 1,300. This is the first week, I guess, in how long we've seen below 1,000, but this has been going on since March. How long is this sustainable? Is this the baseline we're looking at of the 64,000 to 65,000 in the population because it hasn't dipped below that since March.

Mayor Adams: Listen, we have been extremely clear as an administration, the timeline that was set out previously of having Rikers closed with a two-year gap of COVID. Nothing was being done. I don't know if people really understand that, for two years. We now have to figure out how to get it done, how to get a contractor, some contractors just don't want to do it. The increased cost in doing this, it has ballooned at a real way, and so we're hoping that the City Council, we had a great meeting with the speaker and her team, we showed her the numbers, we showed them the timetable, and now it's about just going and look and say, how do we accomplish the goal? 

We want to close Rikers, we all do, but how do we do it correctly and [it] won't impact on public safety? I don't think… If there's anything that I've been clear on as the mayor, this city must be safe. I'm not going to do anything that is going to harm the safety of the city. If we could only house a certain number, and we have 2,000 violent people that we can’t house, that does not sit right with me, and I'm not going to allow that to happen. It's going to be a partnership with the City Council and City Hall to figure out what our steps forward are.

Deputy Mayor Joshi: I can add a little bit more on the construction timetable. The city has been diligently moving forward on the procurement process, the demolition, the design of the new facilities, and the construction that will come in due time. The Brooklyn facility, that's underway already. The contract was registered, demolition happened and construction is underway. There are two other facilities, the Bronx and the Queens. The procurement from the city's perspective has been finished. Both of those contracts are with the Comptroller’s Office for registration. I'll note that the Brooklyn contract had an end date, an expected end date of 2029, I believe. was registered by the City Comptroller. That's an acknowledgement of the time that it will take to construct that Brooklyn facility. The Bronx and the Queens have an expected end date for construction of 2030 and 2031. 

These are the facts, right? I think this is all well-acknowledged and we've briefed our partners and City Council on these construction facts. Both of those contracts are with the Comptroller’s Office right now for registration so they're moving forward. Demolition has happened in Queens. The Queens Community Center and garage that was agreed to as part of the Queens construction has already been built and the procurement for Manhattan, the first bidder pulled out and so we had to start the procurement process all over again and that's been moving forward, so we expect that to continue throughout the year with an RFP to be issued.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Craig, the only thing I would say is the 64,000 cannot be our baseline. That's not where we want to be. I think, as I said to you before, with the largest population in our care being families with children, I think we really have to focus on resettlement in order to see that population going down. 

Camille and I went to a international conference in Paris a couple of weeks ago, and there were a lot of amazing things. One of the amazing things is that I think there were people from every single continent that were there that are dealing with this. This is a global crisis. There is no magic bullet here. In a lot of places where people had a large majority of families with children, the way that they were able to get them out of shelter wasn't necessarily through time limits, but it was through resettling people and working with other jurisdictions to make sure that people get settled. That's what we're going to have to focus on. 64,000 cannot be our baseline. That is not sustainable. We have to figure out what tools and continue to be innovative in order to move people out of shelter.

Joseph Varlack: I would add to that where we have seen resettlement of course be extremely successful is where folks have the work authorization so we will continue to advocate for that as well.

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: I just want to add one more thing in terms of Rikers. The cost has almost doubled and I think that's what Director Jiha was talking about, and certainly we did not have the bond capacity to even fund the construction until we just got the budget passed in the state and the bond capacity was increased, so that's also clearly something that we were working toward and we could not move forward without that.

Question: I wanted to ask about Roosevelt Avenue and President Biden, two distinctly separate things. On Roosevelt Avenue, at the urging of Councilman Moya yesterday, I walked down Roosevelt, lunch hour, broad daylight, constant solicitation, just absolutely constant. I know you did a sweep there earlier this year. He's got some ideas, but I'm wondering, that would take some time. What, if anything, are you doing now on Roosevelt? 

On President Biden, he basically dug in yesterday. He said, I'm not going anywhere. Handful of House Dems have come out and said, hey, we really need to replace you atop of the ticket. I want to come at this from the perspective of your meeting with African American leaders yesterday, real people, real voters. What, if any, concerns are you hearing? Is President Biden being tone deaf to any of those concerns?

Mayor Adams: I always say over and over again that you… I tell my leaders throughout the city, golf, there's a saying, you drive for show, you putt for dough. Local politics matter. I have to keep the lights on, trains running, streets safe, educate our children, and make sure Laurie’s happy with the $53 million we got for cultural affairs. This stuff is going to play itself out. 

The team will tell you, there's a quote I say all the time. It's all part of the process. We're going to look over this moment. I'm just happy to be part of American history as we're seeing a lot of this stuff unfold. These are exciting times. It is going to really see, are we who we say we are as Americans? It's easy to recite the Constitution. It's easy to talk about the principles of democracy. Now they're being challenged. Let's see what we're really made of. 

The president will make the determination on what he's doing. He's the president of the United States. I respect that. He'll make the determination on what he's going to do. I think that if we're going to be Democrats, then we should, we have a Democratic leader. I respect the process, let the process play out. I've got enough stuff going on right here in the Big Apple, the biggest city on the globe and the most important city, and that's my focus. My focus is right here. I want to putt for the dough.
Roosevelt, we've been in that area, hats off to Moya. He has been really clear there, and he has been able to push back on a lot of people who have stated that prostitution should be legal, it's okay. I saw this issue of sex trafficking, how we address the issue on Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York, what we're seeing in other areas in the Bronx. Moya has been a real champion. We went over in the area, did a sweep there. The team has been focusing on that area. We don't want to be heavy-handed, but it's clear we have a sex trafficking issue here, and prostitution is real. People want to dismiss it, but it's a health issue that we need to address as we try to grapple and get our hands around some of the STDs that we're facing. It's an abuse issue. There's nothing pleasing about seeing what's playing out on Roosevelt Island Avenue. 

We have to do the right balance. That's what we're going to continue to do. We did a great job, Meera and her team did a great job over at that plaza. That plaza was part of the problems we were having there. Moya came in, and we did a good job of wrestling with that. Commissioner Tisch is doing a cleanup issue there, the garbage. The place was really a state of just chaos. We want to continue to work with the Special Victims Team and others. If we could identify some of the pimps and really go after them and give those women who are there, give them the support they need to see that's not the way of life they should be living, that would be a real victory for us. It's not an easy task.

Question: Thanks. Based on what you've seen of President Biden, do you think, is your opinion that he's fit to have another term in the White House? That's the first question. 

Second question, just going back to migrants, it seemed clear to many, as the crisis began to unfold in the beginning of your first year, that Governor Abbott was using this as a political issue. I think many would agree that it was geared towards the presidential election, right? We all know how much attention you guys have put to it, how much energy it's cost, how much money it's cost. Looking back on it, given all that, the politics of it, is there anything you look back and say, I wish we did this differently or that differently based on the fact that it was used as this political thing? Polling would bear out that it's an issue on voters' minds?

Mayor Adams: I think Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom made it clear. I think we should… I never thought I would be quoting Warner Wolf, but let's go to the videotapes. Everything we said in my first meetings with the White House, talking about work authorization, talking about controlling the border, talking about the federal government funding this, talking about a decompression strategy. If we were… The only thing I think I have to say, I wish I would have done better, maybe I failing properly articulating how this was going to be a national impact. So it didn't surprise this team when it was a top issue in the caucuses where they didn't even have migrants. 

We saw this coming like we saw the crime issue. When you spend enough time on the streets, you can hear the voices of the people on the streets. We knew that this was an issue, and we knew that it could have been managed better If the resources were given to the cities — Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles — if we would have given support to the South American countries, Colombia. Colombia stated, we'll absorb some of this for you, but we need the financial support to do so. If we would have done partnership with Ecuador, people were fleeing Ecuador not because they wanted to leave their home, it's because the drug cartels was taking control, and as you saw what happened to the president, the former president.

Because we were on the ground, not only here in the city, but in the countries that were impacted, we were able to give people a real view of it and not this rosy picture of that everything is fine. It was not fine. It was not fine. I think we made some tough calls, some difficult ones. We took a lot of criticism and heat from those who politicized it, but national leaders stated no one is doing what New York City is doing. National leaders are stating that. I'm proud of what this team has done, and I'm proud of New Yorkers. New Yorkers stepped up. 

It's not only what we've done, there are a host of New Yorkers that have stepped up and have done different things, given out clothing, volunteered, go to schools. These principals are doing amazing stuff in schools. What touched my heart the most was a young, I think it was Senegalese, young Senegalese, came here, wasn't able to speak the language. Now you look at this young man and remember the young Latina couldn't speak, and now she's navigating the city for her parents, understanding the language because of what the DOE is doing. These are some great stories. Some of those young people are going to be sitting in these rooms, they're going to remember this administration on what we've done, and they're going to tell the story of how compassionate we were. There's a lot to learn. 

Now, your question on Biden. I've been very clear, there's a process, there's a precedent, we're going to follow the process, and this is all part of the process.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Mayor, just to clarify, it's not just national leaders who said it, it was the White House specifically that said we were a national leader on this, on what we were doing. 

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor Adams: How are you doing? 

Question: I'm well. I hope you’re well too.

Mayor Adams: Thank you. 

Question: President Joe Biden is convening the Democratic Mayors Association tonight, virtually. Will you be a part of that meeting? Do you want to be a part of it? And what will you do to help him get reelected to keep Donald Trump out of the White House?

Mayor Adams: Tiffany notified me this, she told me last night that there was a potential that this meeting was going to take place, and she just told me that it's going to take place. I'm going to be on the call. During campaigns of a person who has been in a few campaigns, you do not dictate to candidates and their teams. You say to them, I'm here to help. Give me my marching orders. I'm just a soldier. Whatever is asked of me, I'm going to do that.

Question: Two questions. One, immigration. Has there been any movement on expediting work for authorizations for asylum seekers and we're getting federal reimbursement for the consequences of that. The city verbally stopped the entire discussion through the Biden administration. 

Regarding the new police training facility in Queens, which the city is slated to spend at least $125 million, what has the NYPD done to drastically change and improve the way officers are trained just last year? Although the city has had to pay $115 million in NYPD misconduct settlements, how is this facility going to change and improve training?

Mayor Adams: Which outlet are you from?

Question: BK Reader.

Mayor Adams: Okay. Love the BK Reader. The training has to always evolve. It always. It must. Because we're always introduced into new dynamics like look at the over-proliferation of scooters. That wasn't even part of the that wasn't even part of a conversation post-2020. We weren't even talking about scooter proliferation. How do we go into different communities and engage in conversation? I was up in the Bronx and the large African diaspora that's up in the Bronx. I was talking to Borough President Gibson. You have to be culturally sensitive. How do you communicate? What is the expectation on these communities. And at the funeral, the dad said I want to really thank the New York City Police Department for how they've helped us over this. 

That's the type of policing I must take my police officers to understand. It's not only about crime fighting but it's about being the ambassadors for public safety and communications with our city. And that's the shift we're making with Commissioner Caban, police play a major role and we want them to show the level of compassion, caring, and get comments like that dad going through a tragic moment of having that police officer. That uniform means something. If we want to like it or not, that uniform means something and that uniform I think historically it has not been its best self but we are showing how it could be its best self: protect our officers, protect the public, and be the compassionate, caring police officers. That's what I was when I was a cop, and that's what Eddie Caban was, and we're hoping that goes down, trickle down to the rank and file.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: I didn't hear what your first question was.

Question: Work authorizations, expediting work authorizations, how's that? Any update? 

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Camille, I know that recently we got the notification about extended TPS for folks from Yemen and from Haiti and then there was also deferred exportation for people who were from Liberia also. There have been a couple of things that have come up over the past two weeks or so with different countries.

Mayor Adams: Let people work. Cannot say it enough. Teachers, doctors, newspaper reporters, workers, food service workers, lifeguards, people got to be right to work.

Lisa Zornberg, Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall: Just one thing in response to the reporter's last question. The training center, the public safety training center that's being constructed is not just for NYPD. I just want to remind you that the city laid out a vision to have one comprehensive state of the art center where Correction officers are trained, PD officers are trained. There are law enforcement officers with so many city agencies and so part of the vision is that it's critical to envision ourselves and our training as one larger force serving a mission of public safety in the city. And that's also something that's part of the DOC commissioner's plans and all of the training that's been rolled out and that's been rolled out for correctional officers. It's also part of the importance of attracting and retaining law enforcement officers throughout the City of New York for all of its agencies.

Mayor Adams: It's a brilliant idea. Our law enforcement community has been, really, there were walls and barriers and people believed the only law enforcement was the New York City Police Department and we treated the other agencies, second-tier, corrections, park police, and others, and it's just wrong. We have one law enforcement apparatus, hats off to DM Banks, who, understanding as the former chief of the Police Department, he knew that we were treating these agencies wrong. The color of your patch should not determine your dedication to keeping the city safe. Everyone must be engaged. mobilize law enforcement for any reason, everyone must be part of their mobilization, not just the NYPD.

Question: The NYPD took a man into custody yesterday in connection with a homicide in Kips Bay, and there's a video of it, a few videos going around, community members seem to be swarming around the suspect, and some of them are even moving to attack him, it appears. I guess the victim, according to her family, actually had just been hired by the city and was going to start a job with HPD. Just wondering what your reaction was to that video, if you saw it, and any updates you may have on that investigation.

Mayor Adams: No, it's going to take its course, and the criminal justice system should bring justice and closure to the family. That's one thing, when your family goes through something as horrific as this, it really impacts as DM Williams-Isom shared this morning. That was the first time I learned that she was going to be a public servant to the city. Just a horrific case, and just the behavior of a small number of people in this city that just do bad things to good people. It's a real loss, it's a tragic loss. I don't know, DM, if you want to? 

Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, Housing, Economic Development and Workforce: Yes, so we did learn that she was supposed to start this week at HPD. I think it shows a few things. One, it hits home, even if she hasn't started yet. She's a New Yorker. She is a neighbor. While she has not yet been a public servant, I think the entire city feels for her. The entire city feels for those who are clearly in pain in that video. Just to go back to what the mayor said at the top, we have the finest people at the NYPD who I'm sure will make sure that justice is brought to this case. And so our commitment to all public servants, future, present, remains resolute and we just continue to mourn with the family and send them our prayers.

Mayor Adams: Just hold on, and it's just it's just really bad. When I saw that video when it first happened I don't know if this is the actual killer. The investigation is going to determine that. But how inhumane you're dragging down the block somebody's daughter. He should be lucky that the police got him before that be lucky that the police got him before that community.

Question: The Doctors Council SEIU, have been without a contract going back to last year. Of course, we know that New York City's municipal hospital system, H + H, is a form of municipal universal care. It's like a miracle in the United States. They're warning that the lack of that contract has led to a crisis in terms of retention and recruitment at the same time that they have had a 20 percent increase in emergency room and admissions and as you've noted here, week after week, the crisis of the migrants for whom this hospital system is a major lifeline.

Mayor Adams: Yes, so true. We have to give them a contract. You guys know how I feel about settling contracts for city employees. We've done 100 percent of our union contracts. I think we're up to 90 what? 

First Deputy Mayor Wright: 96 percent. 

Mayor Adams: 96 percent of the others. No one has done it better, and getting these contracts settled and we're getting 96, 97 percent ratification rate. We have been able to settle the contract of our ferry boat operators after 13 years, our police officers. I think over eight years, DC 37 members what we have been able to do with them. So we get it and we need our doctors and particularly in our Health + Hospital system. Renee is a champion. She does it right, she protects our city's dollars, but she also knows that we want to be fair to our city employees, and we're going to do it. It's going to be done.

Question: I just want to follow up though, do you think that because it's a humanitarian crisis, the federal government should be stepping up and backstopping your effort here to help the people? 

Mayor Adams: Yes, that's interesting. I was just talking to someone the other day, and I think the federal government not only should be playing a role in our healthcare, but I'll tell you another place they should be playing a role. They should be playing a role in public safety. 

We should be incentivizing using federal dollars to retain and incentivize hiring of police officers and correction officers and district attorneys. We are…

Question: …EMTs? 

Mayor Adams: Yes, EMTs. It's not on the radar now for everyone, but we are at a very challenging moment across the country on public safety. DAs are leaving because the discovery law is inundating them. Correction officers are at a code red and our numbers are so low. A lot of police officers are leaving as well because overtime has been so high. Some of our young officers don't want all this overtime. They have a different mindset. The federal government must, I think they need to come in and do an analysis of public safety across the country and see how do they help incentivize and allocate monies to do so. We're at a serious place in public safety and the prerequisite to prosperity is public safety. 


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