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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appreas on WCBS Newsradio 880

October 6, 2015

WCBS Newsradio 880: We're happy to have with us now live on the news line the 109th mayor of the city of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mr. Mayor, thanks for joining us.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: My great pleasure.

880: So what do you think – why are these changes needed in defining use of force for the NYPD?

Mayor: Well, look, I want to commend Commissioner Bratton. I think this is a very important step forward for the NYPD. And, you know, what he and I have talked about now for the last two years is continuing to make New York City even safer – keeping us the safest big city in America and making us safer – while at the same time making it a fairer city. Safe and fair together is the core concept. So this reform is about reducing the use of force, making sure our officers only use the amount of force necessary in each encounter with a civilian. And I think what it's going to mean is that, because of all the training that Commissioner Bratton has initiated – the retraining of the entire police force – plus newer, clearer policies, we're going to see situations where law enforcement is effective, but we don't have the overuse of force that has unfortunately in some times led to an alienation between police and community. Our job is to bring police and community closer together, and keeping the use of force in the right parameters is one of the ways to do that.

880: Last week, you heard the NYPD Inspector General say that the department was in the dark ages when it comes to tracking the use of force. Commissioner Bratton didn't like that one bit. Do you agree with that assessment? And do these changes address that?

Mayor: I think Commissioner Bratton is an incredible innovator, and he has been for decades. And he's doing this exactly to update the NYPD's procedures and make them modern and make them effective. Look, the IG has a job to do and I respect that. The IG is supposed to push hard for reform, but Commissioner Bratton and I literally have been talking about this for a couple of years now – how to get this in the right calibration. And remember, the retraining of the force that was announced last year is the crucial joining piece of this – the entire force being trained in the right use – the entire patrol force and all of our officers being trained in what's the appropriate use of force in each situation – how to avoid excessive force; how to deescalate in each situation. That training is crucial, and now there'll be the reporting to go with it, which I think is going to clarify for everyone how to comport themselves. Look, our officers deserve our respect and our support. They need clear rules, clear training, and I think this is finally going to give them that so they can figure out what's the right amount of force to use in any given situation.

880: We're talking with Mayor Bill de Blasio. And Mr. Mayor, five years ago tomorrow, Governor Chris Christie canceled the rail tunnel under the Hudson River. You've got a lot of money required for that. You've got Governor Cuomo today saying that he doesn't think you want to pay for the MTA's capital plan. So many demands on limited dollars – what's your thinking about that?

Mayor: Well, the rail tunnel, which is clearly an issue between the city – excuse me, the state of New York, the state of New Jersey, and the federal government – those two states plus the federal government really should make this focused investment, because it's going to have a huge impact on the future of both states, and it's been talked about for a long time. And I think Governor Christie made a big mistake when he pulled back from it. Now there's a chance to get it back together and move forward. Great for New Jersey, but also great for the future of New York state because of the growth of our metropolitan area economy. On the MTA, you know, I've been very clear – I'm open to a number of ways that we can work together with the state, but the state of New York controls the MTA. The governor appoints the head of the MTA and has a majority of the board. The state has to do the right thing first. The state has to make clear the investment it'll make. It has to be transparent. There has to be real accountability in what the state is doing. And, look, we've seen in the past the state take money out of the MTA and put it into the general state budget. That's not an acceptable situation. That's not fair to ask New York City fare-payers and taxpayers to put a lot of money into the MTA and then see it siphoned off to the state budget. So there's some changes and reforms we need. I remind you – about 73 percent of all the money that goes into the MTA budget comes out of the city of New York – our fares, our taxes from our businesses, our tolls, and what the city government contributes to the MTA right now. We are already paying the lion's share and then some. Before we consider any other investments, we need to know that the ground rules are fair to the people of New York City.

880: Mayor de Blasio, you recently met with Bernie Sanders. Just a couple of progressives getting together to chat or should we read more into this? Is the senator someone you might support for president?

Mayor: Again, I've said that I'm very, very impressed by the Democratic field this year – a group of progressive candidates talking about income inequality, talking about progressive taxation – the kind of things we need to do to restore the middle class. So something very good is happening with these Democratic candidates. I have a lot of respect for all of them. I got a request from Senator Sanders to meet with him. Of course I'm going to respect that request – and I think he's a very impressive person. But I've made no decision on endorsement. I obviously have a very good relationship with Hillary Clinton and a ton of respect for her. I think she's running a very strong campaign and putting forward a very strong vision. And you know, there's a few areas I've asked for some clarification from her and her camp, but I have to say, I think she, with every passing week, has offered a more compelling vision.

880: Then there's Vice President Joe Biden. Would it be good for the party if he were to enter the race?

Mayor: Well, I – I actually think very, very highly of Joe Biden, and I think he's done a lot for this country. But, you know, as I said, I think the candidates we have now are very strong. They're speaking to the right issues. And I must say I'm a little amazed how, on the other side of the aisle, the Republican candidates are by and large not talking about the economic reality for the middle class and not talking about ways to increase wages and benefits. The Democrats across the board are doing it. So I think the candidates we have now are sufficient.

880: We're talking with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on WCBS News Radio 880. This afternoon, Crain's put out a story. The headline – Uber doubles number of drivers just as de Blasio feared. More than 20,000 Uber drivers roaming the streets of New York City. Were you right, mayor? Are there too many?

Mayor: Well, what I said is we need a plan for Uber and for all of the for-hire vehicles, because what's happened is it's a new element of the transportation industry that really didn't have the kind of regulation we generally have had with the rest of the industry, and so we saw a lot of unregulated growth. And the questions we've been asking are, you know, is that having an impact on congestion? We certainly know that parts of Manhattan, in particular, are more congested than ever – is that a part of it? What's the impact in terms of what it means for consumers and for the drivers? Is it fair? How do we make sure there's the right revenue for the public? For example, you know, we know that our yellow cabs have a fee charge for the MTA – you know, there's an additional charge that goes to benefit the MTA. That doesn't happen with Uber. So there's a series of issues that were unresolved, and what I was looking for was a way to get us to a clear game plan on how we're going to work with these new parts of the transportation industry. We're having a productive conversation. We have a study going on that's going to give us a lot more information. We're going to come up, hopefully, with some real collaboration on new rules, but what I think the public needs to see is some working ground rules – and I know – you know, some people, some companies have been resistant to that. We do that with all companies. With all companies, we make sure there's safety, there's fairness, and that the public's needs are accounted for – and that should be true of this new part of the industry as well.

880: Well, Mayor de Blasio, we've asked you about everybody else. How about you? When your term is up, do you think you're going to run again or do you have grander plans?

Mayor: I have said I have one plan and one plan only – to run for reelection as Mayor of New York City in 2017. It is a – this job, you know, is legendary as one of the most interesting and positive and productive jobs you can have anywhere in public life in this whole country, and I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to serve, and I look forward to continuing.

880: Before we let you go, we've got two teams in the baseball playoffs – wildcard tonight for the Yankees, and of course the Mets in the playoffs. Getting ready for a Subway Series?

Mayor: I think there could be one. I really do. And I think it would be incredibly exciting for New York City. And I'm a true, true baseball fan – it's in my blood – and I am thrilled at that notion. But I have to take a moment to say, I just want to, you know, add my voice to those who are speaking up for CC Sabathia today. I think that took a lot of bravery for him to acknowledge his challenge. I think he did the right thing by his family and by his team. And I really admire how the Yankees closed ranks behind him and supported him. I think this is a day that a lot of people will learn from and take inspiration from.

880: Amen, Mr. Mayor – brave man and a very forward-thinking team at the New York Yankees. Mayor Bill de Blasio, great to have you on, thank you.

Mayor: Thank you.

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