July 24, 2023
Commissioner Fred Kreizman, Community Affairs Unit: Okay, we're getting ready to get started. Good evening. My name is Fred Kreizman, I'm the commissioner of the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit. We're excited to be here in Sunset Park High School. I want to thank the principal, Victoria Antonini, for opening the doors for us this evening. Thank you. The Talk with Eric, Community Conversation Town Hall series strives to connect New Yorkers in their community, so we're proud to be here in Sunset Park. We want to hear from all of you.
The first hour was from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., we had round table conversations with members of the mayor's office taking diligent notes on your issues being discussed at every table. You have intake cards of every single table to ensure that if your question isn't asked tonight, we're going to have an agency tracked by the mayor's office getting back to each one of you that has a question that wasn't answered here tonight. The next, from seven o'clock from now until we go through each table, we are going to go around asking questions to the dais. But before we do that, we want to open up and give the congressman, Dan Goldman, an opportunity to speak.
US Representative Dan Goldman: Great. Thank you very much, Fred. It's great to see such a great turnout. I want to thank the mayor for putting this together, and we have an incredible turnout representatives from just about every city agency who can try to address all of your problems. But this is a real opportunity for all of us in government to listen to you, to make sure we understand what your needs are, what your concerns are, so that we can react. And if there's one thing you know from this administration, that I've had the pleasure of working with now for seven months, is that when we get intake and we want to get stuff done, that's what the mayor will do. Very pleased that everybody is here, and look forward to your questions.
Commissioner Kreizman: Thank you. I just want to take the opportunity to introduce who's here on the dais. Of course, the mayor of the city of New York. We have Deputy Mayor Ana Almanzar, who's here. Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi. We have Deputy Commissioner Mark Stewart from NYPD, and DOE Chancellor David Banks. DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue, DEP Commissioner Rit Aggarwala. DOB Commissioner Jimmy Oddo. We have SBS Commissioner Kevin Kim, DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. We have commissioner of Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Manuel Castro. We have Department for Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. Department of Probation Commissioner Juanita Holmes, DCP Chairman Dan Garodnick, EDC President CEO Andrew Kimball. We have the Deputy Chief Borough, Chief James Magliano. We have H + H CEO of Coney Island Hospital Svetlana Lipyanskaya. Mayor's Office of Community Mental Health Executive Director, Eva Wong, Department of Health Mental Hygiene Deputy Commissioner Dr. Leslie Hayes.
Mayor's Office of Climate Environmental Justice Acting Executive Director Vicki Cerullo, New York City Emergency Management Deputy Commissioner David Schmidt, CCHR Deputy Commissioner Kajori Chaudhuri, and Gender-Based Violence First Deputy Commissioner Saloni Sethi. Mayor's Office of People Disability Commissioner Christina Curry. We have Office of Sports and Wellness Director Jasmine Ray, DYCD Deputy Commissioner Mike Bobbitt. Mayors of Criminal Justice Executive Director Deanna Logan, ACS Deputy Commissioner Joseph Cardieri'. HPD First Deputy Commissioner Ahmed Tigani. NYCHA Senior Vice President Brian Honan, HRA Administrator Lisa Fitzpatrick. DHS Deputy Commissioner — sorry — Iris Rodriguez. Department of Finance Advocate Robin Lee. Fire Deputy Borough Chief Dean Koester. CEC Chair and Executive Director Sarah Sayeed. And of course we have also Patrol Borough Brooklyn South Charles McEvoy, Borough Chief and Captain Krystin Suarez, the commander of the 72 Precinct. And we're also joined by Jeremy Laufer in the back, district manager of CB7. And I'll hand it over to the mayor.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you, thank you, thank you. And we're looking forward to a healthy conversation. And as in any town halls, I just want to prepare all of you, there's going to be those that don't believe you have the right to speak in an orderly fashion. Let me let them know now, they should really just exercise their right right now so we can get on with our business. But if you disrupt, you're going to bounce. And you're going to have to leave here, because we're here to get business done. You protest outside. In here, we engage in conversation. And what has become clear to me, and it may not be clear to everyone, but it's clear to me, we have reached a point in this country where people feel, "I got to prove you wrong, so I'm right."
Instead of saying, "Let me seek to understand, so I could be understood." That is how we have to move. We wonder why we see so much gang violence in our streets, because our children are watching the adults, and how the adults are acting. We wonder why we can't sit on the same blocks and our neighbors increase in antisemitism, increase in LGBTQ+ hate, increase in Black violence. Increase, increase, increase. People watch how we respond. That is not going to happen at my town halls. Won't happen. You want to voice your concern, we're all is. We don't have to agree, but we don't become disagreeable. I believe we can work out all these complex problems we have. Trust me, people think that being the mayor of the city of New York is just you wake up and just print money, and all of a sudden everything is fine. No, these are some tough challenges folks.
And the only way we're going to get through 91,000 asylum seekers, cuts in federal dollars, money not here that we had before, educating our children, dealing with the over proliferation of guns, affordability of housing, all of these issues. We got to get through them together. Let's be clear on this. I'm a mayor that has gone through a lot, and I'm here to help people who are going through a lot. And I'm up every day in our subway systems, walking our streets. We had a group of asylum seekers on Saturday night, 12:00 AM at night, who was sleeping outside. You know what I did? I went out to visit them and spoke with them and communicated with them and said we need to help each other. How many hospitals have I been in with family members who lost a loved one to victims of violence? Standing in the emergency rooms, speaking to the family members, watching them cry?
How many times have we been there when people could not pay their rent? Came up with those dollars for them. We are doing a good job. Say what you want, but this is an amazing team that have been serving the people of the city of New York in a respectable way. And I know everybody, there's a lot of naysayers. My son said to me many years ago, "Your haters will be your waiters when you sit down at the table of success, just stay focused." Brought down gun violence, brought down homicides, brought down the seven major crimes. First administration to have a Dominican as a deputy mayor. First administration to have an Indian American as a deputy mayor. First administration to have an African American women to be a police commissioner. And the first Puerto Rican in the history of this city to be a police commissioner. First administration to have a Korean American lead small business services. First administration to have a Spanish-speaking citizen be in charge of the Department of Correction. First administration to have a woman in charge of Intel division.
First administration to make sure our children have dyslexia screening, so 30 percent of them don't end on Rikers Island. I have been on Rikers Island speaking with inmates and correction officers more than any mayor in the history of this city to resolve the issues on Rikers Island. 99 percent of the jobs we lost during the pandemic, we got back. We have money for NYCHA during the land trust. Never was done before, we got it back.
Brought down childcare payments in the city of New York from over $1,000, to just a few hundred for low income New Yorkers. Invested in Fair Fares, so low income New Yorkers can get a discount on the subway system. Invested in fair futures, those who are foster to care children now go to college. We pay for it and give them a stipend so they can move on with their careers. We have done so many firsts. So many firsts.
We know we are doing it right. We don't need people to tell us we're doing it right. This is a commit… To migrant asylum seekers. No money came in on a federal level to assist us, we had to use taxpayers dollars to do so. We are focused, we're disciplined. No distraction. And we're going to grind. If you want to talk and share your thoughts and ideas, this is the day to do it. You want to disrupt, then you got to do it outside. You can't do it in here. I'm not going to allow it to happen. Let's go to our first table.
Question: Okay. What is the city doing to invest in Sunset Park so that our CBOs and the community can support our migrant families in education, health, safety and housing?
Mayor Adams: She's not here tonight because she's not feeling well. My first deputy mayor did something amazing when we came in office. She used to be in charge of the United Way. We learned that many of our CBOs were taking too long to get paid. We had billions of dollars in backlog. Within the first few months in office we cleared up billions of dollars in backlog to go to our local CBOs. Then we inherited, as I just mentioned, our migrant asylum seeker crisis. 91,000 people we're getting on average anywhere from 2000 to 2,500 a week, 5,000 every two weeks, 10,000 a month that we have to find housing for, clothing, wash their clothing, feed them. All of their children were incorporated into our educational system. Chancellor
Banks did an amazing job to make sure no child was not educated. Then we partnered with our local community-based organizations that were providing those basic services at the same time.
We just had a round table last week with many of them. We were able to partner with law firms to start the process of getting them filed so they can have their status. Here's the problem that the congressman has been trying to help us do. What is more anti-American than coming to this country and being told you can't work? We are telling the people who arrived here they can't work, that is anti-American. No other ethnic group that has come to this country was told you cannot work. What we need is the federal government to give them the right to work, and that's what they said to me when I spent the night in the shelter with many of them.
They said, "We don't want your free food. We don't want your free clothing. We don't want you to do anything free for us. We want to work." So we need to be pushing the federal government to give them the authorization to work, and the federal government should be giving us the $4.3 billion that we are spending out of taxpayer's dollars. And the local community-based organizations have been in alignment with us in dealing with this crisis that we're facing every single day.
Question: Well, good evening. Housing was the major topic at our table. The question is, how can we modify the enforcements of Local Law 18 as it pertains to owner-occupied homes? And how are you supporting increased funding for community land trust?
Mayor Adams: Congresswoman Velázquez was the first one that really engaged in this conversation around community land trust, I think is an amazing concept. We need to see how to move it forward. We were successful, first administration that spent money and put NYCHA as part of… Those of you who are from NYCHA. Previously NYCHA was not part of the housing plan. We're the first administration that included NYCHA as part of the housing plan. We put over $23 billion into our housing plan, largest amount in history in doing so. But here's the problem. Many people when they look at housing, they look at the role of the mayor. We tried to get Albany to extend what's called 421a, some form of tax benefits to incentivize building. Nothing was done. We try to get them to lift the FAR to building communities where historically they didn't do affordable housing.
They have good transportation, good access to food, good hospitals, good schools. We said let's start building there in those areas that traditionally didn't do affordable housing. Nothing was done. All the things we ask from Albany and stated, "Can you help us build? Because we have a supply problem, we don't have enough units of housing." The session ended without anything done on housing. That should have never happened. We believe that we need Albany to look at what we have to do around housing, and allow us to build more housing. Dan, who is the chair of DCP, has been putting in place a progressive aggressive plan because we need more housing. Dan, why don't you touch on some of the things that you're doing.
Question: Local Law 18, please.
Mayor Adams: Okay.
Dan Garodnick, Chair, Citywide Planning Commission: Thank you, mayor. I think it is a really important point about the failures of Albany to act this year for us to have the opportunity to create more housing in New York. Because the lack of supply is directly impacting all of our lives. From the price of rent, to the radical imbalance in power between landlords and tenants in New York City. If you don't have an option to move and to explore another place to live, you're stuck. And you're stuck with what a landlord is handing you. It impacts the pressures of displacement and gentrification and homelessness, and the number of New Yorkers who are rent burden today. 50 percent of New Yorkers pay more than a third of their income on rent, and it is impacting everybody's lives.
Now, the mayor asked me the question about, what is our plan locally? Now, we in New York City are not powerless here. Albany can help a lot. But we, in this administration, are not going to sit by and wait. We are going to propose our own housing plan, which will be ambitious. It will allow for us to create a small amount of housing across a wide area in New York City. This is a citywide proposal which will add affordable units. It will add units of all types in all corners. And this is something that we hope to be able to introduce to the city council next year. We look forward to sharing all of those details with you.
Mayor Adams: Thank you.
Deanna Logan, Director, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice: Hi, good evening. Thank you, Mayor Adams. Deanna Logan, Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice. Thanks to Mayor Adams. Local Law 18, the Office of Special Enforcement has been working very diligently to set up registration. You can go to the website for the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, Office of Special Enforcement to register your legal unit for the ability to engage in... For those in the room everybody's like, what's Local Law 18? I realize I should take a step back, right? Local Law 18 deals with short-term rentals.
And what our administration recognized very quickly is that there are a number of individuals that use the income from short-term rentals and boarders to supplement and make their mortgage payments. And Mayor Adams has been working with us and our chief of staff to look at what we do as an administration with the Department of Buildings in order to ensure that people understand how they register their legal units and how they can go forward with that income. It also deals with those landlords that have been operating outside the law to ensure that the apartment stock and the housing stock that the mayor has absolutely dedicated city resources to making sure is available, is given back to New Yorkers for rental.
Commissioner Kreizman: Mr. Mayor, we always have HPD would like to add something.
Question: Good evening. [Inaudible.]
Mayor Adams: Go ahead.
Question: The question [inaudible] home affordability for home owners [inaudible] owner occupied as it pertains to Local Law 18. Right now the law is restricting us for only renting one room in our homes. The question is, how can we talk about modifying the law to allow us to rent our homes to make a living?
Mayor Adams: By going to your local City Council person and expressing them… Remember, I don't make the law. I sign or veto laws. Go to your local City Council person and express, get all those who support what you're saying and go to your local City Council person and tell them this is what we like in that modification so that those who are trying to keep a roof over their head, small property owners like I am. How do you keep the roof over your head and during those difficult times? That is something you need to express to your local city council person so they can introduce, modify, or look at that law to see how it's more user-friendly for those small property owners like yourself.
Question: Thank you, I appreciate that. And I spoke to them and they told us to come to you. So it would be great if we can talk to someone in your office offline so we can go over the details of that.
Mayor Adams: Who's the City Council person over here?
Mayor Adams: Who?
Question: Chi Ossé's office said that.
Mayor Adams: That's in Bed-Stuy.
Question: It is.
Mayor Adams: What we should do, let's get Chi Ossé and you, whoever table there that asked that question, I'll join you on a Zoom with Chi and have him tell you officially exactly what his position is.
Question: Okay, thank you.
Mayor Adams: My team will get… Can somebody…
Question: Who's the contact for your team, just so I can write it down? The contact from your team?
Commissioner Kreizman: On your table, you have Alina.
Mayor Adams: Somebody's going to come over to you and see you.
Question: Good evening, Mr. Mayor. What step is the city taken to expand access for people with disability, language access for immigrant community, improve quality of life such as no smoking in the park, as well as crackdown illegal street vendor in Sunset Park? Thank you.
Mayor Adams: Well, we have an amazing... I thought I saw here. Who do I have from Mayor's Office of Disability… Okay. You have down on the end. Okay, go ahead commissioner. And you smell cigarette smoke? I smell weed. That's all I smell all over the place. Go ahead, commissioner. Is it on?
Commissioner Christina Curry, Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities: Good evening. I apologize, I didn't understand the full question. When you talked about people with disabilities, you asked about language?
Question: All kind of surfaces.
Commissioner Curry: Well, as you can see, I have two interpreters in front of me. I don't hear, I'm deaf. I'm sorry. Yeah, that's loud. Okay. When you ask…
Okay, can't hear, but I could feel that. You asked about languages. Under law, if a person is deaf, we provide what's called effective communication. But if you're asking about other languages, they have to let us know first what the language is so that we can accommodate that person under effective communication. If you come to us and you don't say what the language is, that could be the issue. You talked about quality of life, you're looking for what? Specifically for housing? About working? Sir, thank you. We were already informed about your situation when it comes to housing, and that's also from CCHR. What we're here to do is to provide access for the city to make sure it is accessible. But you have to let us know first what you're looking for.
Language is broad, when you talk about language, or if you're talking about cultural access. And if you notice, I was signing just in case if there's someone here that's deaf and needs to see what I'm talking about. But again, you have to let us know what language you need. For housing, you contact us or CCHR, they're available also. So bottom line is you contact MOPD, and that's either by email or by phone, to let us know what the issue is so that we can work with you. We don't promise we're going to get everything done, it takes time, but we can work with you. Also, there's the referral of a nonprofit CBO, Independent Living Centers. There's one in each borough, and they're on the ground. Ground roots. The people that you talk to that are advocates that we work with also in case we cannot assist as a city agency, then we have the local grassroots agencies to assist as well. Did that answer your question?
Mayor Adams: Well, before you go into that, we going to go to your other parts also. But going into what we're doing around hiring and how we are focusing on hiring and employment, we are focusing on people living with disabilities on hiring. We have an ambitious goal. Far too often we have not been user-friendly on those who are living with disabilities, and not being hired in city jobs. We want to start with us first, and we are really focusing on and zeroing in on employment. Because the best way to deal with housing, the best way to deal with all the things that you should have as a person living with disability, is respect them enough and employ them enough. And we need to start with city government, and we're excited about doing that. Vendors, I'm so glad you said that, because you need to speak with your local Council person.
Because I don't believe in illegal vending. And we have been sitting down… Where's McEvoy? Are you here Chief McEvoy? We want to talk about some of the things. Sunset Park is inundated. Harlem is inundated. So many areas are inundated with illegal vending. And oftentimes when we go in to clean it up, we get the pushback from your local council people. Folks got to raise their voices and say what they want in their community. We're going to do our job. We're going to go in with Department of Sanitation, we're going to go in with all of the agencies and do what's right. We try to warn people firsthand. Well, you can't vend, how you're allowed to vend. How do we go about the process.
Before we go in, Councilwoman Ung out in Queens walked with me on Main Street. She said, "I need all this cleaned up, Eric." And we went in, we cleaned it up, and it did not come back. And so if there's an area that you believe the vending is out of control, we want to address that. Because it should not go after legal businesses, should not hurt businesses. And we don't want to be over punitive, but we have to make sure it's done appropriately. Chief, you want to talk about some of the stuff you're doing?
Chief Charles McEvoy, Commanding Officer, Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, Police Department: Yes, Mr. Mayor. And with regard to the question as far as the illegal vending, if I can get into that for… I'm sorry, the quality of life, the smoking in the park, that's a quality of life offense. We handle all that, we address it. The men and women of Brooklyn South address that. And we all want quality of life, like smoking in a park, public consumption of alcohol, public urination, any of that stuff we address. Insofar as the knowledge of Sunset Park, the illegal vending, I'm going to turn it over to Captain Suarez who has intimate knowledge, who's been doing an exceptional job at working with that.
Captain Krystin Suarez, Commanding Officer, 72 Precinct, Police Department: Good evening, everyone. I'm Krystin Suarez, the commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct. Just to touch base on what Chief was saying and the Mayor was saying in regards to our quality of life issues. I started back here on January 30th, quality of life issues was something that have been a huge topic of mine with all the officers. I think a lot of people know me here. Smoking, the drinking in the park, we've been trying from day one to make Sunset Park a safe place for the community. My officers have been out there, my supervisors have been out there. I go out there myself to ensure we do the best. In regards to vending, a lot of complaints come in. I work with the council members and people in the community in regards. And we've all worked together. We've done a few operations to address these issues because I know the businesses have to make money and we don't want anyone being hurt.
If there's any certain locations, certain areas that you could have been brought to my attention, my community affairs officers will definitely take that information down at the end and be willing to address it and work with the agencies accordingly to handle this. Thank you.
Mayor Adams: Yeah. You need to… We want feedback from you. Go to the precinct council meetings. When is your precinct council meetings?
Captain Suarez: We have it every second Tuesday of the month starting back up in September.
Mayor Adams: Yeah. Attend your precinct council meetings, speak with the commanding officers, share the things that you're seeing. Let's deal with the quality of life. I'm a big quality of life person. Parks to serve to children and families, not to people doing illegal things. And it has gotten out of control for far too long. This was an any and everything goes city. We don't operate that way. That's not how this administration is going to operate.
Commissioner Kreizaman: Thank you.
Question: Hi. Good evening, Mayor. My name is Carolyn Ferguson and I work at Red Hook Initiative. I am the environmental justice manager for Red Hook. Red Hook is burdened with the residents of NYCHA. They're burdened with mold spores, lead dust paint. They're under construction. They also have a cruise terminal that brings people in and out through there.
My question is what can your office do in the next 30 days to improve the indoor air quality for the residents of Red Hook and to help mitigate some of the air pollution that they're currently plagued with? Because during the Canadian wildfires, Red Hook's particulate matter was over 300. That's the particular matter, 2.5. It was over 300 and days that it's not over 300, it's in the 100s. What could your office do in the next 30 days to improve the indoor quality for the residents and the outdoor quality? Thank you.
Mayor Adams: Thank you. Rit, Rit, can you talk to that a moment? Did you hear the question? Get Rit a mic. What is the quality now, by the way?
Carolyn Ferguson: [Inaudible.]
Commissioner Rit Aggarwala, Department of Environmental Protection: Today's not so bad. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. And I'll also ask Vicki Cerullo to follow with some of the things that we're doing in Plan YC. First of all, I'll say we know very well that Red Hook, like a number of environmental justice neighborhoods around the city suffers disproportionately from bad air quality. The Canadian wildfires, of course, were an external phenomenon that affected the whole city. In fact, I'm surprised to hear that Red Hook was only at 300. Parts of the city were at 500 that day.
And there are two things I think to think about. One is what we need to do about indoor air quality over the long term. What we need to do about reacting when issues like those wildfires show up. And then there's really the third thing, which is continuing what we've been doing to reduce local sources of air pollution, which is another thing that we know that Red Hook, Hunts Point in the Bronx, a couple of other neighborhoods disproportionately touch on.
And actually, let me ask Vicki to speak to the long-term things, but I'll put this in context. Among the things we need to do to address climate change is start thinking in an integrated way about indoor conditions. We as an administration have made the commitment that just as we have minimum temperature requirements, so landlords have to maintain residential spaces at a minimum temperature. That means they have to provide heat during the winter.
We have said we are going to start working towards a maximum indoor temperature. Because at some point, given our rising temperatures, we are going to need to basically have universal air conditioning. That will be one of the things that over time gets us to improved indoor air quality. And we think we have to do that as part of an overall greening initiative. And some of you may know about Local Law 97, which will require a lot of buildings to do improvements that might include heat pumps that can provide that kind of air conditioning.
On the short term, the sad reality is there's not a lot that we can do over the next 30 days. We can provide masks and the mayor marshaled us all the day that that wildfire came. We were all at the emergency management center. And my agency and several others participated with the police department in getting masks more widely distributed.
We have a set of cooling centers where people can go when there are heat waves like we are expecting later today. And I know I was talking with the commissioner of emergency management earlier, but there's not a lot that we can do to change the local air profile over the next 30 days.
However, under deputy mayor Joshi's leadership, the Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice is certainly working on a couple of initiatives dealing particularly with the challenges that you've got of a concentration here in Sunset Park and in Red Hook of distribution centers and other things that are reducing your local air quality. And I don't know, where is Vicki? Oh, there you go. Can you talk to that?
Mayor Adams: Yeah, man. But I'm going to drill specifically with your question in the next 30 days. This the next 30 days. We can't change the air quality in the next 30 days, but we can give you some clear tips on what you should do to empower you because we are going to be dealing with this air quality stuff for a long time. And there's no specific things that NYCHA or we're going to be able to do to deal with the air quality. But there's some things... I'm sorry.
Mayor Adams: Use the mic.
Question: Because there's mold spores indoor. And then they have the lead dust paint indoors. And they may be told, "Well, open your windows to get ventilation," but they also have construction happening right outside the window.
Mayor Adams: Got it, got it.
Question: That's what I meant. If there's a way that we could at least get air purifiers for these residents because if they have to keep the windows closed, at least the indoor air can get some circulation.
Mayor Adams: Got it.
Question: There's children in these developments, there's seniors. And the other thing is that a lot of times black and brown children are diagnosed with bad and poor behavior. And a lot of times it's not that they have bad or poor behavior, it's something going on with the brain because of the lead dust paint.
And there's also studies that show that particular matter contributes to dementia, it contributes to diabetes, it contributes to depression. And the children don't have a playground because they're under construction. If they're forced to be indoors, then I mean, can we give them air purifiers to keep the circulation of the air going?
Mayor Adams: Let me find out. We have NYCHA here. Is there anything that is available? Because I want to manage people. Whatever I say we're going to do, we're going to do. What we can't do, I'm going to be honest about it. Is there anything in NYCHA that, based on what was just stated, particularly with the construction. You weren't even talking about just what happened with the smoke from Canada. She talking about we're doing construction. Is there something that we can do?
Brian Honan, Senior Vice President, NYCHA: A number of things. Number one, I will commit to setting up a meeting with Red Hook Initiative because you guys are always solution oriented with our head of Healthy homes and also a head of the Sandy recovery team to talk about specific areas that need to be targeted and we will work on that together. But I also want you to know some of the things that we're doing.
For the longest time, NYCHA used to deny that we had mold at all. We just said it was mildew. We would paint it over and it would come back in 30 days. We now have a team that is dedicated to mold with experts to make sure that we get to the root cause. Because if we don't get to what's behind the wall, it's just going to come back.
The folks who I'm going to have part of these conversations that will work with RHI, those will be the subject matter experts and also the folks who are head of that construction. If we need to do that in our RHI on 9th Street, we'll be happy to do that. But together, I know that we can work on this.
You show us apartments that need to be attacked, we will do our best. But a lot of this too, we have to talk about, and I've had conversations with the head of your organization. In ultimately a lot of this too is also a plumbing issue that we're going to have to work together to. And I see Ms. Blondel from Red Hook West who knows this as well. But this is something that, working together, I think we can make some progress on.
Question: [Inaudible] Night shift. We have the MSC that comes in every Sunday. [Inaudible.]
Mayor Adams: I'm sorry, what's that?
Mayor Adams: Okay.
Question: [Inaudible] every Sunday. The problem is it's idling while it's there. And we see a yellow plume coming up. We have that. We also have so much construction and resiliency. It's not just NYCHA. We have $100 million around the waterfront, another $100 million in the Parks Department.
I think one of the biggest issues is having contractors follow their specifications. If it says you have to wet down the area, the soil pile, wet it down. That's not happening on a regular basis. It happens more in Red Hook because we are organized, but that has to be across neighborhoods. And so, we want to be a model for the rest of the city on how we do take care of these options.
Mayor Adams: And I like that. What's interesting, when I was borough president, we put a lot of capital dollars into electrify that system. And you're saying that now the cruise…
Question: [Inaudible] shifting, moving up and down and around. Sometimes you have [inaudible]. So thank you, mayor. Yes. We have something called shore power. Shore power was built for the Queen Mary. It worked with them, but because the ship is in water and water moves, there are some details that EDC needs to address in regards to the plugin. It doesn't work. Then if a smaller ship comes in or a different size ship, then you're plugging shore power in, but the passengers can't get off of the offboarding.
Mayor Adams: Got it.
Question: It's those type of issues that we are stuck with such a good innovation but not able to use it. And finally, bring our trees back. They cut down and we lost over 1,000 trees in Red Hook, 500 right on the campus. We really need our trees. It is an urban heat island. I am so thankful to God that we didn't get the weather that was happening in the rest of the country because people will die in New York with those type of temperatures.
Mayor Adams: Got it. Andrew, because I put a lot of money in that project when I was borough president.
Andrew Kimball, President and CEO, Economic Development Corporation: You did. Andrew Kimble from EDC. Two answers to the questions from that table. One is you're absolutely correct. One of the things that changed candidly over the course of the period of Covid while the cruise business internationally was shut down was a new generation of massively larger ships that were built.
That MSC ship is one of them. We are now in design to upsize the shore power system that the mayor put in when he was borough president. We know that cannot happen fast enough, but we were on it. And we hope that that will make a substantial difference in terms of the emission there.
The other thing I just wanted to note, Red Hook is burdened with too many last mile distribution facilities. We are working very closely with our colleagues at DOT and other agencies to develop a citywide movement of goods by water on barge to get those trucks off the street.
Mayor Adams: Yeah, because it was Red Hook residents that came to me as borough president and we put in some serious capital dollars to electrify that whole process. I'm glad Andrew stayed there. Sue, trees.
Commissioner Sue Donoghue, Department of Parks and Recreation: We know that trees absolutely are so important. And the way that we plant, the way that the Parks Department prioritizes tree planting is by HVI, heat vulnerability index neighborhoods. That's where we go to plant. We know that Red Hook is really important for our greening initiatives and we are very focused on planting here, absolutely.
Commissioner Kreizman: We want to move to the next table and we want to ask everyone to be brief with their questions. We want to make sure to get every table.
Question: Good evening.
Mayor Adams: We're with you. We got you. That's what Sue was just saying. Let me get to this next table because y'all on a roll over here.
Question: Good evening.
Commissioner Kreizman: We want to give everyone a chance to ask a question.
Mayor Adams: Yes.
Question: My name is Tanya. And before I ask my specific question, I just want to state that I'm a homeowner. We have a lot of DOE representatives and there's another community member. I tried to formulate my question that's about the community and not just Local Law 18.
But so, how do you make sure that you're supporting the residents of the city based on our needs as we identify them? All right. For example, afterschool programming, or Local Law 18 for small homeowners, or community members who are having issues with abandoned parks and things like that. How do you support us as residents based on our needs as we identify them before focusing on other needs? Right.
Mayor Adams: I'm not getting your question.
Question: Okay, I didn't want to do too much micromanaging of the question.
Mayor Adams: Yeah, yeah, I got you.
Question: But so we're residents of the city and we feel as though we are not being supported as much as, let's say the migrants are being supported. Finding housing for the migrants, taking school space away for the migrants. Things like that.
Mayor Adams: Good. We hear that often. We hear that often. And I'll never forget, I don't know if Zach is here, Zach Iscol.
Commissioner Kreizman: We have a deputy commissioner.
Mayor Adams: Yeah. I'll never forget when the first rounds of migrants came to the city. People were saying that you built a tent for them on Randall's Island. And I went over to Randall's Island to visit some of the homeless shelters there. They said, "You build a tent for them. You're treating them better than you're treating the people who was in the homeless shelter for a long time." I said, "I tell you what. You guys can go live in a tent. You can leave where you are. You go live in a tent." They said, "Well, you know what, Eric, that's not really what we're saying."
Whoever is saying we are treating the migrants better than everyday New Yorkers, I need them to show me where and how. You should all go visit the HERRCs. Seeing people living on cots, getting the basics. The basics. There's nothing a migrant is receiving that an everyday long-term New Yorker can't get and more. Migrants can't get the housing, they don't get vouchers. They don't get all the other things that other everyday New Yorkers are getting.
And so, that rumor that started that, "Hey, y'all treating the migrants better." No, we are treating the migrants the way every ethnic group that came to this country should have been treated. Other cities aren't. Other cities, people are sleeping in the streets.
We are doing what was done for every group that came to America coming past that Statue of Liberty. There's not one thing that we're doing for migrants that we're not doing for long-term New Yorkers. Now, if you have something that we're doing that you know of, please give it a mic because I want to hear about it because I'm not aware of it. And it doesn't exist.
Question: Better. I didn't say better. I said addressing these concerns before.
Mayor Adams: I'm sorry?
Question: I didn't say they're being treated better. What I said was, what are you doing to support our concerns before focusing on them? And I don't want to turn this into just a local law.
Mayor Adams: No, it's not. We don't take it away.
Question: I don't want to turn this into a Local Law 18 thing because that was my issue. But my bigger issue is that as a community member, we've been here where we are the community members who built these communities. And if we feel that we are not being supported and we see resources are being diverted elsewhere. I didn't say better. Just saying before. How are we being supported?
If we say aside from Local Law 18, because you addressed that. But I've been hearing about afterschool programs since my children were in elementary and middle school and now they're in high school and college, are parks that aren't being developed in certain neighborhoods. Or homelessness because people are being shifted from one neighborhood to another. That's over... It's not better, it's before.
Mayor Adams: Okay. I'm glad we were able to resolve that one part of it. Now here's the other part of it. We are spending $4.3 billion of taxpayers dollars. And I want you to go to your local council person and said, "Have you told the federal government, 'Give us this money?'" Go to your local senator. Go to your local assembly person. Where are they? Why am I the only one that's saying taxpayers dollars should not be wasted and not be used?
If you take away the voice from your congressman who has been fighting hard as hell for us, where are the local electeds saying we should be getting federal help instead of New York City spending $4.3 billion? The mayor has been saying this for the longest. That $4.3 billion is going to come from somewhere. Yes, Chancellor Banks was successful in getting for the first time in history 100,000 children getting summer youth jobs. He was successful for the first time in history, getting 110,000 young people in our summarizing program.
We are successful in what we're doing in the parks. We have invested more in parks than any other administration. But that $4.3 billion is going to come from somewhere. We should be asking all the local electeds, how many of you went to Washington to advocate to get the national government to pay this $4.3 million? I can't be the only one talking about it. The congressman can't be the only one talking about it.
Every local elected in this city should be saying, "New York City residents should not be spending $4.3 billion of taxpayers dollars on something that's a national problem." And they're not doing that. They're not doing that. You know what they're doing? Know what they're doing, sister? They're saying to me, "How come you're not giving every migrant a cell phone?"
Mayor Adams: You should ask them all. You should do a roll call. Say, "Have you been to Washington? Have you called the national government?" You should do a roll call with all of your elected officials. Somebody's from Best Eye, you got Osay. You should ask them all, "Have you advocated for taxpayers dollars to be spent in the city on taxpayers and not allowing the federal government to ignore the dollars that we are spending?" This is insulting to our city, what they're doing to us by making us pick up the tab of a national problem. This is wrong. And we have to all raise our voice and be outraged by this. And our local electeds need to be outraged by it.
Question: Okay. Hello, Mr. Mayor. I have a question, very important to me. I'm a third generation of Sunset Park residents. Also, I'm disabled and I'm very worried because I've been on Housing Connect for 10 years to try to get affordable housing. Nothing. I've also been on 16 years waiting list for Section 8, nothing.
And I'm very scared that I'm going to wind up in the street and I have no other resource. I don't have no family. Unfortunately, my parents passed away. My brother passed away. And it's like I feel like I have no help out there. And this is how I'm feeling. And I feel like the governor and everybody promised affordable housing. When you go on the affordable housing website, you have to make $100,000 to $150,000.
I mean that's crazy. That's like I'm on disability. I'm on a fixed income. I pay my taxes, my parents paid their taxes. Unfortunately, they died before they even were able to get social security. What's going to happen? What can I do? What can you do to help me with all that? With Section 8 that I'm waiting 16 years for it. And I see people getting it 1, 2, 3. I don't understand how. I'm paying 70 percent of my income to my rent, I live on 50th Street in Sunset Park.
My Councilmember of Sunset Park does absolutely nothing to help me get into any program, any Section 8 that's around here, anything. 16 years. Then also 16 years I'm on it, somebody finally called me. But they said in the process of it, they're going to give me four months to find an apartment. How am I going to find an apartment in four months?
Can you do something about that? Can you extend it a little bit? Something got to be done to help me. Somebody like me that I've been here for 55 years. And I'm unfortunately on a fixed income. What can you do to help me and people like me?
Mayor Adams: Well, okay, first, we really need to understand this. A lot of people talk about the housing shortage. We don't have enough units for enough people that are requesting housing. The only way we can solve our housing problem is to build more housing of all different income levels, low income, middle income levels. Because everyday people, you have that teacher, an accountant with four children, they're struggling.
You have that McDonald's worker, he and his wife, they're struggling. Everyone is struggling. That's why we were successful in getting an increase in wage for our deliveristas. We fought for it. DCWP’s here, the commissioner, we fought for it. We got it. We know people need to be paid a wage that allows them to live in the city. In order for us to have the housing crisis fixed, we have to build more to do it.
Now, here are the impediments to it. Number one, every time we try to rezone an area to build higher, your local electeds say, "We don't want it here." And some of your community residents, some of the same community residents that say, "Hey, we need more affordable housing. We need more affordable housing. Yes, but just not on my block." Everybody talks the talk. Let's walk the walk.
Come on sister, I heard you. You got to give me my shot. When Dan wants to rezone, we're getting ready to do a major rezoning right now. You need to be present and see when your local elections are talking about they don't want to build and rezone so we can build. That is the only way we going to get out of this. And then you need to ask your local elected from Albany, what bill did you pass to encourage more building? If we don't build more, we're not going to have more housing.
Question: [Inaudible] about four months to get here.
Mayor Adams: Okay. Yeah. Let's talk about Section 8. Go ahead.
Commissioner Kreizman: We have someone specific from HPD. Ahmed Tigani is here.
First Deputy Commissioner Ahmed Tigani, Department of Housing Preservation and Development: Hi, good evening. My name is Ahmed Tigani. I'm the first deputy commissioner at HPD. The situation right now is with both US and NYCHA. Section 8 vouchers have stayed flat for many years. It was the four-month call, the call about the four-month department was actually a very rare opportunity during Covid, where the federal government issued 70,000 vouchers nationwide, 7,800 here in New York City. Under this administration put additional money, people, did everything they could to make sure that now we're on track to put those people in homes. But it revealed even more so that we are behind the ball on the number of vouchers we need.
That's why in the federal legislative push, we have made clear that we have the capacity to put more people in homes if given the capacity to issue more vouchers. It has been part of our federal push. We've been able to modernize our lending ability. That's actually one of the rare wins we had in Albany. It's the same win that's going to allow us to do more on CLTs and be able to extend the term of our housing so it's affordable for longer. We're going to be able to match that with vouchers if we can get the support from the federal government to issue more vouchers. We have spending cap. We just don't have voucher cap.
And then the other thing I just want to flag is after this meeting, if I could connect with you, beyond talking to your councilmember's office, we also have housing ambassadors, 60 across the city, that have separate tools. Maybe tools that the Councilmember doesn't have that we can try to explore if there are other options to get you into supportive housing or housing in Mitchell-Lama using Mitchell-Lama Connect. There are other avenues. I just want to make sure that you're connecting with all of them.
Mayor Adams: Here's my... You said a question, you said that you were waiting for 16 years for Section 8? Now why would that happen?
First Deputy Commissioner Tigani: The section eight list, and Brian can talk to it more, has actually been closed since 2009. It was only reopened momentarily because of the Covid additional vouchers. But the city has not seen an additional cap. We're right now working on a plan to issue more vouchers with the money that we have pursuant to the federal government giving us the permission.
Mr. Mayor, you've made this a priority in your federal agenda. We're talking to the congressional agenda. Actually, the congressman has been helpful in talking to us about this. we hope to be able to put more vouchers on the street with that permission.
First Deputy Commissioner Tigani: And on a specific…
Mayor Adams: Okay. Sir, we got to move on. Okay, we got to move on. He answered to the best of ability.
Question: First, my name is Melissa. Thank you very much for hosting Sunset Park in this town hall. I'll be remiss not to take this opportunity to encourage every single one of you to make your way up to our businesses and patronize them afterwards for dinner on 5th and 8th Avenue, along 4th too. And also to remind everybody to get your mammogram. I'm a breast cancer survivor, two years strong. Thank you. Thank you.
What my table of advocates, because you are asking us to streamline a question, it's hard to do it. What can the city do to provide our children, residents and seniors, but especially those with disabilities better access to city services? Specifically the ones we spoke about, which include bus shelters with seating, accessible parks and equipment at the playgrounds for our children, barrier-free schools for children and staff and accessible community residential parking and an increase in accessible units through Housing Connect.
Currently, Housing Connect only offers 5 percent of every building dedicated to accessible units. We want to see that increased for our residents.
Mayor Adams: You want to touch that, HPD?
First Deputy Commissioner Tigani: When it comes to Housing Connect there, the main goal is to get as many New Yorkers into homes that they can afford. There are different preferences that we have on file. There is an ongoing conversation about what preferences are allowed and not allowed.
Some of it has to do with an ongoing legal matter that we can't get too far into. But I will say that beyond just a preference, people with disabilities, people with special needs, we go beyond just the minimum. So both our housing ambassadors, our marketing agents who work in those buildings are all trained to recruit as diverse a population as possible. I'm happy to follow up to talk more about the specifics and what the targets are, but we're not just doing 5 percent. In fact, the design protocols for our building, meaning every time someone takes city money to build affordable housing, both in preservation projects and new construction, are required to meet universal accessibility standards, so that either on the initial rental or re-rental, it's accessible to a greater variety of New Yorkers.
So we're out there trying to recruit and have help apply people with various needs into our housing, and we're building more of our units to a higher standard, so whoever's in there can enjoy their home. And also, we have DOT here as well and Parks.
Mayor Adams: We had a question about bus shelters, seating areas, etc.
Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, Department of Transportation: Well, Deputy Mayor led a good negotiation. We, JCDecaux, so the way or how the city work is that we build the bus lane. We do a lot of work with the bus infrastructure, but when it comes to the bus shelters, there's a franchise called JCDecaux. So, JCDecaux is a big global entity. If you go across the nation, across the globe, you will see JCDecaux being most for the airport. So they are responsible for the maintenance for the bus shelters, but also they build the numbers of bus shelters that we need. Thanks to a good negotiation led by Deputy Mayor, we were able to add hundreds of more bus shelters that we see happening in the near future.
Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Operations: And I think it's important to note that we work with them on the design, so that they are accessible and I think somebody brought up benches, which are critical for people that are waiting for the bus. Hopefully, the time you wait for the bus is reduced as the MTA improves bus speeds. But also, Sue Donoghue, our commissioner from Parks, can talk about a lot of the work that they've done on making playgrounds accessible, which is also another point for quality of life for those people with disabilities.
Question: [Inaudible] the bus shelters, feeding in order for the people to... On Fifth Avenue, we got like posts so people could lean on them. People who can stand up for long periods of time. Oh, great for them, they can lean, but people who cannot stand, that's a problem. And, we need more seats and we need shelters to protect them. And the children that are playing in the parks, our children with disabilities, they need spaces for to play too.
Mayor Adams: Yeah. Okay. First of all, I like that question and we need to look, as we talk about the designs and we need to speak with the commissioner of people living with disabilities, as we talk about the designs, we need to design them that they do have some form of seating. It shouldn't be about leaning some of our seniors, some of people who can't stand. So, let's look at that. Let's look at that, because we should make them more inclusive for everyone that's using them and we need to look at this. So, let's look at that. But I think, because Sue was going to... The commissioner was going into what we're doing in the parks, around making the parks more inclusive. Because we've had a city, you're dead on, you've been advocating for this for a long time and you're dead on.
We've had a city that has ignored, for the most part, we could do a better job with people who are living with disabilities. We got that, we need to do a better job and having input will allow us to do so. So Sue, what are some of the things we're doing with the parks?
Commissioner Donoghue: Yes, thank you, Mr. Mayor. And, thank you for the question. Absolutely, it's something that we prioritize in our Parks Capital Construction Projects. Every single one of our Capital Construction Projects, the first thing that we do when we have capital dollars is we have a community input meeting. And that community input meeting is focused on hearing, listening to what are the needs of the community, what are people looking for? And we have made a very, very substantial effort to make sure that each of our playground designs, that we're being thoughtful about the play equipment itself and looking at the latest and greatest, in terms of access and ability for users of all types. So whether that is in our types of swings that we're using, our pathways, how people are accessing the playgrounds themselves, we have made it a significant investment in making sure that A, we're listening to the needs of the community and B, that we are incorporating all types of different types of play equipment that are accessible to all.
Mayor Adams: Because we cannot build new things without thinking about the entire community, we can't. So we are building new parks, we have to be thinking about people with living with disabilities. If we building bus shelters, we have to be thinking about that. So we have to incorporate, and that's the role of the commissioner. We have to incorporate all these new things we're doing. We must think about how does it impact when people living with disabilities. So keep advocating, you have done it for years. Keep advocating, we want your voice to be added to it. All right.
Mayor Adams: We got a nice young man who's here.
Commissioner Donoghue: And I just want to point out, we did get confirmation that the new bus shelters that'll be in CB7 will have benches, but we'll certainly follow up, so that you have more detail on where they'll be.
Mayor Adams: Okay. You heard that, right?
Question: Hello, my name is Nalay. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to do this. What can we be done to ensure that our community resources, such as the soccer field at Sunset Park, are being made available for the residents of Sunset Park, or permitted to groups that serve the community in some way and not to a for-profit program that is taking advantage of the city's permitting rules and regulations to take over the community's limited resources for no cost and give nothing back to the community in return?
Mayor Adams: Thank you. What's your name? What's your name?
Question: My name is Nalay Connelly.
Mayor Adams: I'm sorry.
Question: My name is Nalay.
Mayor Adams: Yeah. What grade are you in?
Question: I'm going into 7th grade.
Mayor Adams: 7th. Thanks for coming out tonight. Okay. Oh, is that a public park?
Commissioner Donoghue: Yeah.
Mayor Adams: The... Okay.
Commissioner Donoghue: Absolutely, Mr. Mayor and I can answer that question and thank you very much for it. We know that the Sunset Park field is so important and such a vital recreational asset for the community. It's also in high demand and very busy. Just in this last spring and summer, we had over 40 different requests for use of that field. And so, we work really hard at the Parks Department to make sure our fields are accessible to all users. And it is a very, youth access, youth permits are free, adult permits are only $25, but we do a lot too to make sure that there's both access, that it's equitable and that people know what resources are available. So we have made available on our website a map that shows when fields are available for community use, what's permitted. We have also worked really hard, we have a special group within the Parks Department that does inspections.
It specifically is out there to carry out inspections, so you talk about whose using the fields, making sure that the right people are using the fields. Just in this last spring and summer, we did over 2,400 inspections of our athletic fields going out and asking people, "Show me your permit to make sure that the right people are using the right fields." So we work really hard to make sure that they are available, they are very much in high demand. We want to make sure that people have access and that people who have the permits are using them.
Mayor Adams: So, you're talking about a specific field? You're talking about a soccer soccer field. You know what field he's talking about?
Commissioner Donoghue: Oh, let him ask. Let him ask again.
Mayor Adams: Yo, let's see if he can rock. You talking about a specific soccer field?
Mayor Adams: And, what...
Question: It's the soccer field up at Sunset Park.
Mayor Adams: I think it's a soccer field that I was on, but it's... So now, what is it? It's not available. I'm going to come through, you said something.
It's not available when you feel that the youth from the community needs to use it? Does anyone else knows? You know?
Commissioner Donoghue: His dad, his dad. His dad.
Mayor Adams: Okay, okay.
Question: Hi. We had a whole thing, but we wanted to keep it short. The gist is, over the last year and a half, we've seen a lot of outside of the community, people permitting for the fields. And these programs are for-profit and charge an exorbitant amount of money. And no one in these programs is from Sunset Park.
And they do nothing for Sunset Park, other than take out resources for their own. So, what we're asking is for the Permit Office to look into keeping the single Sunset Park field for operations that work within the community of Sunset Park, like Street Soccer USA or MS 136, who have their games there. And perhaps directing these for-profit organizations that permit the fields to some of the larger venues, such as Brooklyn Bridge Park for their permit uses.
That's one idea. Also, blocking out hours for just community pickup games, and whatnot. [Applause.] For every two hours of permitted time, give an hour back to the community where that field cannot be used by...
Mayor Adams: All right. Let us look at this. So let's talk about this, Sue, okay. Lets us look at that. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. We got it. We got it.
Question: All right, good evening.
Mayor Adams: Yeah, good evening. DJ.
Question: My name is Shanise Peters. I work for Center for Family Life in Sunset Park.
Mayor Adams: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Get his information, I want to follow up with that. Okay.
Question: I work for Center for Family Life in Sunset Park. We're in the heart of Sunset Park. I love this community. I went to this school and one of the issues we talked about at our table is that we have a lot of principals who are based in the schools in Sunset Park. And as someone who is also part of afterschool programs in Sunset Park, one of the concerns that we have is in regards to DYCD and providing more opportunities for afterschool in the community. So my question is, is DYCD going to assess and open more opportunities for free afterschool in these communities? And when can we expect an increase in seats in our community, especially with the Summer Rising program? As much as it's served hundreds of thousands of students, there are still families who were not able to get a slot, who are begging for a slot. So, how are we going to work towards that?
Mayor Adams: Okay. So I have...
Question: Thank you.
Mayor Adams: I am a big believer in school all year round, structured learning. I believe that having two months off on the summer without structured learning in many of our communities is the wrong thing to do.
That was a relic of the past when we were going to do farming and you needed two months off. Our children need structured learning all year round. Doesn't mean they have to sit in the classroom, but our communities need structured learning. Particularly we saw the big gap after Covid. The chancellor said over and over again, "We would love to have 500,000 seats." The money is just not there. The record number we are at now, but I think what we did 110,000, chancellor. 110,000, that's a record number. We are hoping that we can get the state and the federal government to allocate us more money. I wish we could have every child that wants that summer program, structured learning, full day, parents got childcare. That is such a win.
They did an amazing job. We're hoping next year we can get even more seats. It breaks our heart to turn people away. We just did not have the money to do so. Now, after school program, we put money in the budget that I don't believe a nonprofit should be paying to use school space. I believe a nonprofit should be able to let us pay for the construction, the cleaning, the insurance, the school safety officers. All we want from our nonprofit is to use human capital. So we're putting money in the budget to do what I did as borough president, the extended use of our school buildings to allow our community to use the school buildings more. It's unbelievable from 7:00 to 2:00 pm, we tell our children to come in and at 2:00 pm we say, "Get out and come back the next day." We should be using these buildings as much as possible. That's what we want to do. DYCD, you want to... Who's it? Is Howard in?
Commissioner Kreizman: Deputy Commissioner, Mike Bobbitt.
Deputy Commissioner Mike Bobbitt, Community Development, Department of Youth and Community Development: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. You spoke well incorrectly and this is the largest summarizing program ever in history, so thank you for the institutional commitment that you've made. We know the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park and there's several other providers, we continue to support as best as we can, your existing programs. And we will also continue to take the feedback that has been given under advisement about the price for participant. So I can't declare right now at what point the next concept paper will be issued, but it is something that we're looking at internally to try and support what the mayor said right now to have fair wages and fair program models for all of our work. So, I want to thank you for your continued support. And for others who may be less familiar, right now, DYCD is funding 15 COMPASS after school programs, two Beacon programs, we have 14 Summer Rising programs. We look forward to continuing to support that work in this community, it's very important to us.
Mayor Adams: What is your nonprofit?
Mayor Adams: Okay. Okay, good nonprofit, good... But, we want more seats. That's the bottom line. And if we could somehow next year, we reaching the fiscal cliff, all of that Covid money is going to dry up. If we can get more money coming on the federal level, state level, we would love to do a full year program. A big believer in full year education for our children.
Question: Hi. Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for organizing this town hall. I have one question. It was actually a question from the whole table, but oh, let me introduce myself. My name is Ruth Stanislaus. I'm founding principal of PS 971, straight down on Fourth Avenue between 62nd and 63rd, elementary school. Our question is, what steps is the mayor's office taking to lower the cost of living that has impacted decisions to leave the city, thus resulting in public school loss of funding, register loss, teacher accessing and oversized classrooms, because families cannot afford to live in the city?
Mayor Adams: Listen, the city has gotten extremely expensive. Last year, Jacques Jiha from Office of Management and Budget, we sat down and we stated, "What can we do?" There are things outside of our span of control, but we said, "What can we do?" So we started looking at how do we make the city more affordable, particularly for low-income New Yorkers. We put more money into the, a fair fairs, to get the metro cars down. Families were paying over a thousand dollars for childcare. We were able to partner with Albany and bring down the cost of childcare to just a few $100. We looked at earned income tax credit. We were able to partner with Albany and say, to give more money back over 20 years, there was not an increase. We put more money back in working class families pockets by the earned income tax credit.
All of our unions, we have 302,000 employees, 75 percent of our unions, we settled their contracts, the ratification of the contracts. We gave them the salaries that they deserve. DC 37, our largest union, got the salary they deserve. We settled the contract with, our police agencies got the salary they deserve. All of those unions, they're our large workers, we're putting money in their pockets. DCWP was able to go after our delivery workers and fight to say these big app companies: you have to pay them a living wage that they can provide for themselves. So when you do an analysis of what we did, we were zero focus on what's within our control, how do we put money back in the pockets of everyday New Yorkers? That's within our span of control and it's an impressive record of things that we did to put money back in the pockets of New Yorkers, because the city is getting to the point that it's unaffordable.
We know that. We don't have anything... We don't have any control on bringing down the price of bread. We don't have any control on bringing down the price of things, but we can put money back in the pockets of New Yorkers. And, that is what this administration has done at a record level of what we have done and what we've been able to accomplish. And we want to continue to do that, finding ways of putting money back into the pockets of New Yorkers. We have a few more plans that we're going to roll out. One of them is extremely substantial. We can't announce it yet, but you're going to see this administration do more and more to put money back in the pockets of everyday New Yorkers.
Now, you know she answered the question already. You know that. She already asked a question. No such thing as a small question to you, you know that. You know that. She answered the question, we going to the next table. You know how this goes.
Mayor Adams: How are you?
Question: I'm okay.
Mayor Adams: That's good.
Question: All right.
Mayor Adams: If you're okay, I'm okay.
Question: Yeah. So, my name is Aries. I am just a community member who exists in Sunset Park and has lived here all my life. And I noticed a common thread among all of the questions that have been asked over the past 10 tables, or at least over the answers that have been given, and a lot of them revolve around the fact that there is simply not enough funding for a lot of the programs that are being advocated for. So I'm wondering how are you grappling with this, while also knowing that the NYPD budget is at $11 billion, which is more expensive than most countries military budgets? So if we have enough money for such an expansive Police Department budget, why we are so many community programs and social services underfunded?
Mayor Adams: Okay. First, I want to be accurate in your assessment of what all the last tables were about. This table question had nothing to do that I stated we have a lack of funding, I stated just the opposite. We're putting money in the pockets of people. When we talked about the bus shelters, we didn't say lack of funding, we said, "We're going to look at how to deal with the bus shelters." When we talked about the other issues, there was only one place that I talked about the lack of funding and that was with dealing with our school program that we want to extend. So if you're going to do an analysis of what I say, be accurate in your analysis, because I know what I say and I know when we have a lack of funding and when we don't have a lack of funding. So let me be clear, I heard you, now hear me.
Let me be clear on this, this city must be safe. And we went to the New York City Police Department and every agency in this city, and we stated, "You have to do what's called a PEG," Program to Eliminate the Gap. You have to find more efficiencies, even in the Police Department. But there's no way I'm going to inherit a city in 2022, where no one wanted to get on the subway system because it was dangerous, where no one wanted to walk the streets, because we were carving highways of death with bullets killing people. I must have a Police Department that's functioning, they're going to be efficient and they're going to do their job. And a large amount of the Police Department budget that a lot of people don't want to talk about, it is the personnel pension that's already built in, that we have that fixed cost we have no control of.
But I made it clear when I ran for office, this city's going to be safe and I'm unapologetic about having a well-funded disciplined Police Department to make the city safe. Crime has decreased, we're safer. People are back on our subway system. You are seeing, when I inherited the city, you saw three-wheel motorcycles running up and down the block, you saw ghost cars, you saw robberies. We removed over 9,000 illegal guns off our streets. And you know what? I lost two officers during my first month. Officer Mora and Rivera, who gave their life to the city. The city will be safe and we are not going to allow them to overspend, they're going to stay in their budget, but we are going to give them the tools they need to keep this city safe like we're doing everywhere else.
Question: Hey, what's going on? Mr. Mayor, welcome back to Sunset Park. It’s nice to see you. Our table had a quick question similar to this table about some of the changes we've been noticing with the police here in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. We've had a lot of experience here with the police. I remember when I was growing up, unfortunately we had a situation where police were beating street vendors, pregnant street vendors in the street, Fifth Avenue, crazy situation. And so, you mentioned the police, my neighbors here have mentioned that how they have a lot of money and funding. And I have a question about a promise that you made Mr. Mayor, to change the culture of policing. I think, you say very often, "When you were running for mayor," and many times when people ask you about this, "That you know what it's like to be a cop." You also know what it's like to be attacked by the New York City Police Department when you're a young person, when you're just trying to get by and the kind of consequences it might bring on people. So, what we've noticed in our park, in Sunset Park–
Mayor Adams: Brother, let me answer your question. What is your question?
Question: Relevant to Sunset Park, is every—
Mayor Adams: If every table gives—
Question: Yeah, I'm letting you know.
Mayor Adams: ... a soliloquy, we won't get…
Question: Can I finish my question?
Mayor Adams: Answer your question.
Question: It's just about the park.
Mayor Adams: Answer the question.
Question: The question is about the police in the park.
Mayor Adams: Okay.
Question: And, this is what we noticed has been happening. Easter Sunday, we noticed 100 cops from different agencies, sanitation parks, NYPD, all attacking people, pregnant women, vendors, people that you said are just trying to work, some of them even new people. New people coming from to make it work like our parents did, independently. And when you first starting, you might know you don't always have all the paperwork. Sometimes the city doesn't even want to give you the paperwork, so you can't even... If you want to do it the right way, you're not allowed to. So what happening here in Sunset Park right now, is we getting attacked. Captain Suarez is sending 100 cops into the neighborhood every Sunday, they're parked, their trucks are parked, making the streets dangerous.
And they say, "They're keeping us safe," all they're doing is they're chasing out working people, people like my mom, my aunt, my dad. They chasing us out of the park. They saying, "They're protecting us." No, they chasing us out, all because they don't like that we selling tamales, we selling food, we selling arroz con leche, we selling churros. You see us on the subways, we're not causing no problems, but why are police causing problems with us? And you said, "You were going to change that."
Mayor Adams: Okay.
Question: Where's the change?
Mayor Adams: Okay.
Question: Where's the change?
Mayor Adams: Let me ask you a question.
Question: That's my question. Where's the change?
Mayor Adams: Let me ask you. Let me ask you a question, you just heard this woman here that was sitting at another table, one of your neighbors, she was talking about illegal vendors. Did you hear when she said that?
Mayor Adams: No, you heard her say that, right?
Question: I heard one neighbor.
Mayor Adams: So, we respond to what communities ask for. That's what we respond to.
Mayor Adams: We respond to what communities ask for. So just because you have a belief in something, doesn't mean everyone in the community believes that. And so, you're stating that police are beating people up, you're stating that they're doing that, that is not what I see. What I fought for, what I ran on, justice and safety. If an officer's breaking the law, he's going to be held accountable, and he's going to be brought up on charges and he's going to leave this department. I lived up to that. I lived up to my commitment of making this city safe. And so, you may feel that people should be able to do whatever they want and no one is abusing, that is not how I'm going to run the city.
Question: With all due respect, Mr. Mayor, I'm not saying let people do whatever they want, I'm saying in our park where we've had no issues for years with people selling ice cream, people selling tamales, we've had no issues in the park for years. And now all of a sudden, you're mayor and now you're sending 100 cops into our park on Sundays. No one's... Maybe one neighbor's asking for it, because she doesn't like that they play music. But the vast majority of the people that live around Sunset Park are immigrants, they like the vendors. And so, who are you listening to? Because our table over here, the vast majority of us who speak Spanish, we can't even get your Police Department on the phone, they won't even offer interpretation.
No translation, they’re disrespectful. I just heard from my neighbors over here how when they asked for translation, they're laughed at. They're saying, "Oh no, you got to speak English" or "You're lying to us."
So, that's how your Police Department's treating us. They coming into our park, our homes disrespecting us. So when I come up to you and I'm saying it this you this way, it's because that's how your Police Department treats me.
Mayor Adams: Okay. And—
Question: That's how it treats our vendors.
Mayor Adams: And that's why I appointed the first Puerto Rican Police Commissioner in the history of New York, the history of New York to deal with those issues. You should sit down with your table and other groups to talk about those issues that you talk about. That's his job. Now, heard you. Pass the mic.
Commissioner Kreizman: Okay. And, we also have the Captain Suarez and the Parks Commissioner here. And, these questions and requests came from community residents that were didn't want to... They wanted to have the community enjoying the park.
Mayor Adams: And listen, let's be clear. Let's be clear. When you live in a city with different beliefs, and thoughts and action, there must be a uniformity to coexist. So one person may feel, I like doing something and another person may feel, I don't like doing something, so what you're supposed to do is say, "Well, what does the law say this way?" I don't allow one resident to have power over another resident. So it's great to do things, because we like to do them, but we live in a city with different opinions, different beliefs, different thoughts, different concepts. And so, if everyone can do whatever they want to do when they want to do it, then we will never be able to live in a city.
That's why cities have laws. They have laws, but you have to follow them because we all have different opinions. I have a different opinion than many people. But when you have a law, you follow that law. This way, no one is able to allow their opinions to be on top of someone else. So yes, someone may like someone selling something in the park, but if there's a neighbor that says, "I don't like it," it is my responsibility to say, "Well, let's follow the law." And, that is what we're going to follow in the city. Next table.
Question: [Speaks in Spanish].
Commissioner Kreizman: We have translator at the table.
Question: Good evening, mayor. She stated, "My name is Gloria Espinal." I have 10 years living in Sunset Park and I am the founder of the United Volunteer Non-for-Profit Organization. In the last 10 years, I feel as if Sunset Park has been forgotten. We need to feel safe while taking the trains in schools and in all public areas. We have a lot of people living on the street and I'd like to know how can we work together to feel safe and have access to affordable housing?
Mayor Adams: Thank you. Thank you, muchas gracias.
Question: You're very welcome.
Mayor Adams: What's interesting is that we had town halls with young people. We did a series of town halls with young people of, I forgot how many we did, I think we did 12, 13. The number one issue in all of the town halls we held was we want more police. We want to feel safe by our police presence around our schools and our community when we are on the subway station, number one, number one item. Second was mental health, mental health. And so I agree with you 100 percent ma'am. What we are doing in this administration, I call it intervention and prevention because safety is not just a police officer, safety is building out pipelines that prevent crime in the first place. And no one has dedicated more to doing that than this administration.
We have to create a safe environment by being preventive as we intercede on those who are committing crimes right now. That's why we put in place a subway safety plan to have officers underground. That's why I stated that people who are dealing with severe mental health issues that can't take care of themselves, we need to give them the proper care that they deserve. Lot of pushback, but I'm not waiting for someone to commit a crime before we give them the services that they deserve. That's why we believe we need to hire more school safety ages because they do a good job with our young people because they committed and they overwhelmingly are black and brown and almost predominantly women. And so I'm with you. You deserve to be safe with dignity and respect that go together. And that's what I'm going to ensure that you receive as the mayor of this city and in charge of the Police Department in this city.
Question: Hi, I am Jessie. I'm Dominican American, born and raised in this neighborhood. And I wanted to ask, with the recent protests at the RGB meetings, has there been any thought on restructuring the board or possibly leaving votes within the people deciding who their board members are or what policies are brought up to the board?
Mayor Adams: You talking about the Rent Guidelines Board?
Mayor Adams: Yes, the board. We get several appointments on the board and I have a strong belief in all of my boards because I have a lot of boards, that you appoint people, you allow them to do the work that they do, you don't go in and try to influence them, you have them have these real conversations and come up with the right answers to do so. I would love for the people ask over and over again, "Can you have the Rent Guidelines Board don't do any rent increases at all?", but I also have meetings after meetings with small property owners, 13 family houses, 18 family houses, that came to this country with everything they had and bought a house. And now the cost of running that house is through the roof and many of them are on the verge of losing that house because during Covid there was a substantial number of people that couldn't pay their rent.
If we lose those family owners, if they lose their place, developers are going to come in and develop that property and then the price of real estate is going to go even further through the roof. So you have to find that right balance. If you're going to do a rent increase, you got to take in mind how much is going to impact those who are living in the apartment and also take in mind of those who have to run the apartment. Electricity has gone up, gas has gone up, construction materials has gone up. We lose those small property owners, we are going to really have a real problem in our city.
And many of our first and second immigrants in this city and in this country are small property owners that all of their assets, all of their capital is in their homes. And I hear them all the time saying, "Mayor, we cannot keep our homes. We're losing our homes." When people think of owners of property, they think those who own a hundred, 200 different apartments, no, if you put everything you had into that nine family house, that 18 family house, that's how you paid your rent, your children tuition, that's your wealth. And if they lose it, we're going to lose middle class in New York. So we got to find that sweet balance and that in-between point.
Like this young lady that was over here at one of these tables was talking about a renter, I don't know if she's still here, but she was talking about imagine being coming to this country, working jobs, able to buy a nine family house. All of a sudden Covid hits, half of your tenant can no longer pay the rent. You're not getting any support. You are on the verge of losing that home. Those are the people that come to see me in tears. Those are the people I need to focus on. And we have to find that sweet spot of not hurting tenants, but not hurting those small property owners at the same time. Now maybe there's a way that one could separate after a certain number of units, I'm happy to listen to that. But I cannot have those small property owners lose their homes. Owning your home is the American dream and it could turn into a nightmare very fast if it's not done correctly.
Mayor Adams: How are you?
Question: Good. Thank you, Mayor Adams.
Mayor Adams: You seem excited to talk to me.
Question: I am.
Mayor Adams: Okay.
Question: So the general theme for our group was about quality of life and about accountability. And then I wanted to share just a very specific situation that our family has gone through. And it's about the use of the D'Emic Park. So it's the park literally right behind where we're seated. So we have a two-year-old son, he's going to be two in November, and we really can't use that park. We have to go to 19th Street and 6th Avenue and we just live a few blocks away or we go to Bay Ridge. I mean, it's unfortunate. There's guys there that are drinking, doing drugs. It's unsanitary. And we've gone through the process. We've called 311, we've emailed the NYPD, we've emailed the Parks Department. We've gone through the City Council. And the City Council has at least been responsive. We disagree on many things, but at least they've been responsive. What are my options? I really don't know what else to do. I've gone through the process. I don't know what else to do.
Mayor Adams: First of all, I'm going to go over there with you.
Question: Let's do it.
Mayor Adams: You and I going to go together and that's not acceptable. You should not have to leave your community to enjoy your park. That's not acceptable. And we are going to come up with a real plan to make sure that you and your family could enjoy your park. I'm not going to accept the fact you have to take your baby somewhere else because you cannot live in your park safely. So the chief and I are going to sit down and we're going to take a trip over there and we're going to see exactly what the problem, we're going to come up with a plan.
Question: Let's do it. I mean, we got pictures. I mean it's there. We’ve got to walk by it every single day.
Mayor Adams: We're going to, where's DJ? DJ come and exchange information. But see, you are the New Yorker I'm talking about. While the loudest are saying if someone carries a gun and they get arrested and then they out the next day, what the loudest is saying that, "Oh, well, why are you trying to do this quality of life issue that so what if someone is drinking in the park, why are you doing this? So what if someone is injecting themself with drugs in front of a child?" That's what the loudest are saying. I'm ignoring the loudest you and your two-year-old matter to me. And people can boo me, they can yell at me, they can say whatever they want. You will raise your child in a safe, healthy, clean city.
Question: And I don't oppose people drinking or doing what they want, but not in a public park because now it's not accessible to anybody. We talk about accessibility. I can't even use the park.
Mayor Adams: Right.
Mayor Adams: That's not acceptable. That's not acceptable. And that happens too often because we have been ashamed to say, we deserve to live in a clean, safe city. When you say it, people want to all of a sudden say, "Oh, you anti this, you just want the police to be all over the place", no, I want people to follow the rules, respect me as a New Yorker and respect my children as children of this city. And I'm not going to surrender that for anybody. We going to fix that problem in your park.
Question: Thank you. Yes, I have it. Thank you. Hi Mayor Adams.
Mayor Adams: How are you?
Question: Fine, how are you? Thank you so much for having the town hall and thank you so much for your words about for home affordable ability and trying to look out for the middle class of New York because we're really struggling to stay in the city. It's way too expensive between ConEd increasing, MTA increasing, rents increasing, trying to afford our mortgages, increasing property taxes. I mean, we're all trying to just live the American dream and build wealth for our families. Not even build wealth, but just survive and stay in the city that we support and love. Also trying to incorporate what everyone else has been saying. Trying to include more resources, especially for this neighborhood, for summarizing more actual space so that they're not overcrowded and they can actually do their programming properly.
More resources for the elementary and middle schools for their crossing guards because 4th Avenue and Fifth Avenue can be really dangerous for the young children. And specifically going back to what you were saying about homeowners not losing their homes, this is about being able for us as a one-family, two-family homeowners that live in our homes, trying to use our whole space for our families, for our friends, for community members that come, adult children coming to take care of their aging parents and come and stay with us. Things like that. We use short term rentals for that to help us afford our homes, stay and pay our mortgages, pay our increasing property taxes. And so we really, really need your help because the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement, the rules are kind of excluding us and keeping us from doing it. And people are about to lose their homes because they don't have access to this thing that we've had historically for a century.
Mayor Adams: And first of all, thank you for that. I have a three-family house and my son, if I didn't have that house to pay for my son's college tuition, I don't know what I would've done. And it has to be really frightening for homeowners right now. You watching everyone, don't realize what it is to just pour everything you have in your house. That's all you have. That is my wealth. If I lose that, it's very significant, very significant. And we need to figure out the real battle with the whole short term rentals were really those large characters. That was the real battle. And we need to find a sweet spot. If grandma... You give her a mic, you give her a mic, you give her a mic. If grandma wants to rent out her spare room because her spouse passed away and she needs to make income to get through, we need to figure this out. I don't have the answer, but I know we have to figure this out.
Question: Can I say though, that we've been trying to work with the OSC so that they would understand that, like you were saying, "we live in our whole home", so we're in a two-family, we have other people I'm part of. One of the founding members of Aurora started Restore Homeowners Autonomy and rights. Because of this issue, we've realized they've been pulled away from us and we didn't even, a lot of us didn't even know until people showed up to us and started fining us. And people have almost lost their homes, they have almost gone into foreclosure over fines that don't even make sense. We use our whole homes.
And so if I need to hold my home so that my mother can come stay with me, my sister can come stay with me, and when they're not there, I can use that space to rent it out and make some money so I can pay my mortgage. I should be able to do that. I'm sure that's something that you probably need to do yourself with your multifamily. And we're like one and two family homes, which are usually private dwellings and somehow are being used and lumped in with this multiple dwelling thing. And we're not illegal hotels, we're not foreign investors trying to throw 30 people in a house. We're just people trying to get by. And so we're just need your help with that OSE to get that going.
Mayor Adams: And that's a powerful commentary. And so first of all, the organization Restore Homeowner Autonomy, so I think what you're doing now come together, organize as a whole. I believe we have about a couple of hundred thousand small property owners, come together and lobby on your behalf. I think a lot of stuff has been done with small property owners that all of a sudden you woke up and realize it was done. But you are a powerful force. You are powerful force. And the more you organize, you can sit down and look at some of the things that have been done in the past and say, "Hold a minute", because you don't hear people, we should always lean in helping our renters as much as possible. But there's some people that believe because you are a homeowner that you are luxury and everything is fine. No, no. It's a lot of drama on the home, a lot of drama.
Question: Every time it rains, it's a lot of drama. I can tell you in the basement. It's not, we're not...
Mayor Adams: No, no, it is. It is. I'm with you. But I would love to sit down with the organization and let's engage in the conversation.
Question: Thank you. Appreciate it.
Mayor Adams: Thank you. Thank you for that.
Question: Hi. Good evening Mayor Adams. Thank you for this opportunity. Julia Jean Francois from Center for Family Life, and thank you for your kind words about our organization and happy to see the folks from DCWP who support our free tax filing service, the VITA Tax program. That's been a tremendous boon to the community. And also to the commissioner of MOIA who's been so kind to us and helped us in so many ways in so many others. So many of our questions were already asked tonight. So we had one that the table came up with. What can we do to make Sunset Park streets safe all at the same time for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike?
Mayor Adams: Tell me about that, drill into that a little bit more for me. Like what?
Question: Folks were saying that sometimes cyclists are up on the sidewalk when you're trying to walk along the sidewalk at the same time. We've had a lot of several tragic deaths on Third avenue from cyclists who were hit by trucks and cars. My own daughter who lives here in Sunset Park, was hit by a car while she was riding her bike and thank God she's okay but that was scary. And then drivers who are afraid of the speeding under Third Avenue and other crosswalks that are scary to cross. So that's what it was.
Mayor Adams: Ydanis? Ydanis, first Dominican American to head DOT.
Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, Department of Transportation: By the way, to the youngest one, the one that has a family who sell tamale at 55 Water Street. At some point I used to work there doing sandwiches in the cafeteria. So if today Mayor Adams give me the opportunity for me to run the most accomplished transportation system in the globe. All of you guys, the youngest one, you can be next mayor, you can be commissioner, it's all about working hard and that payoff.
Mayor Adams: That's right.
Commissioner Rodriguez: With that question like yes, Mayor Adams and the Deputy Mayor Operations Joshi, they provide all the support to DOT. Improving safety is a top priority for Mayor Adams and for all of us. Unfortunately, there's a national trend of many individuals in the whole nation losing the life as a result of crashes. New York City is leading, the one that has improved the safety when it comes to pedestrians in our street. Most crashes happen when drivers make the left turn. So the first thing that we are doing is we investing millions of dollars every year, one, educating drivers to please slow down, drive at 25 miles per hour. That's one of the components of Vision zero. Second is redesigning the street, so Mayor Adams increased, 18 percent of the budget of DOT last year, $400 million this year in his status, the city, so that DOT will have the resources that we need, $1.3 million spent, $33 billion in a 10-year capital plan. So improving safety is a top priority.
So the first, educating through vision zero, second, redesigning. By the third one, working together, the one IPD enforcement. So we need to be sure that if a driver who is the majority, I mean who is the minority. Most driver, they respect the law. Most drivers, they drive at 25 mile per hour. Most drivers, they don't drink and drive. However, there's a small percentage who contribute to most of those crashes. So with the support the Mayor Adams, when of course with the residents such as you, we working very hard to be sure one that the message is clear. The street doesn't belong only to people who own cars. The street belong to those who drives, but the street also belong to 200 million ridership that we have in 2022 in the cyclic community, to 550,000 New Yorkers who use a bike every day. So this is about sharing our street, making our streets safer for everyone, for drivers, for cyclists and pedestrians, gracias.
Mayor Adams: Muchas gracias. So the Third Avenue, I was there when a young person was killed on Third Avenue when I was borough president. We saw what happened on Ninth Street. So we have witnessed these tragedies over and over again and that's what Ydanis is really trying to do, Commissioner Rodriguez is trying to do, we got to get it right. And it's about redesigning streets. It's about changing the car culture.
It's about making sure that cyclists, I'm glad you said that because some of our cyclists, I ride my bike a lot, for some of our cyclists have become as reckless as cars as well. And we got to look at this whole universal scooters of this, just a different street and environment that we have to look at that people are safe. Sometimes we forget about their pedestrians. People are actually walking the street making sure that they're safe. And we got to factor that into what we're doing. Thank you. Thank you for that.
Commissioner Kreizman: Here you go. Last table.
Question: Good evening, Mr. Mayor Adams and city officials. Our table had a unison topic and we were talking about crime and safety. What is the city doing to prevent crime and ensure the safety and quality of life of all members of the Sunset Park community for our elderly, our children, and our diverse and growing population? More specifically, we're talking about the graffiti around our school buildings, around our homes, talking about the grime and the drug activity and gang activity within our vicinity, within our schools and our homes.
Mayor Adams: This town hall, I wish, we have to televise this whole town hall because people act like we don't want to be safe. People act like this is a community that doesn't support its police, that you don't want quality of life, that you don't want people sitting around in parks doing whatever they want. That's what the image is that people want to believe "Well, Eric, that's just you saying that. Nobody else wants this." But over and over again, we are hearing table by table that people are saying, "Listen, we want quality of life", and so we have been zero in on that.
We have been removing those things called ghost cars, you know what those are? Those are people who are driving around with paper plates. And you know what we discovered? When we started going after them we discovered they had guns in them, they were doing a series of robberies. We were going after those with stolen scooters who were doing snatching, grabs and committing crime. We were going after people who would hop in the turnstile in the subway system, not because they didn't have any money, they were going on to commit a crime on the subway system. We just went through a period where we just said, "Any and everything goes in this city." And the everyday hardworking New Yorker was being ignored. They were being victimized, they were being mistreated. That's who I support. And I'm with you 100 percent.
And we have a great team. Commissioner Caban, Chief of Patrol Maddrey, Chief of Patrol Chell, Chief of Department, Maddrey, our first deputy commissioner. We have a good team and we're going after making sure we don't have to be abusive, but we're going to send the right message and we're going to get clarity.
This city is going to be safe. This is going to continue to be the safest big city in America. And we are not going to continue to see the violence that for far too many years we have witnessed in this city. You deserve better and I'm going to give you better. I ran on public safety, I got elected on public safety, and I'm going to provide that public safety to the city. Listen, thank you for coming out tonight for being here. We appreciate you Sunset Park. My entire team, this is an amazing team here, all of them working hard for you. Thank you.
Commissioner Kreizman: It was asked as Mayor Adams’ staff to collect all the cards and all the tables. We want to make sure to get to your questions. So staff at all the tables collect the cards.
Mayor Adams: One moment, just want to give it up for the principal. Come on, principal. The principal of the school hosting us here. I remember her when I was borough president. Thank you. Give it up all.