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Transcript: Mayor Adams Holds In-Person Media Availability

December 5, 2023

Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy, Communications: Good morning, everybody. My name is Fabien Levy, and I serve as deputy mayor for Communications for the City of New York. Earlier this year when Mayor Adams appointed me to this role, he made it clear that one of his top priorities was providing New Yorkers with a better line of sight into the work their city government is doing for them.

These weekly media availabilities are an essential part of that goal. They've allowed us to deliver information in an accurate and accessible way. They have brought together leaders with decades of experience to answer your questions, and they have given New Yorkers an opportunity to learn the ways their city government is getting stuff done. So, we look forward to continuing that process this morning.

Joining us today we have Mayor Eric Adams, First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Chief Advisor to the Mayor Ingrid Lewis‑Martin, Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres‑Springer, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams‑Isom, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana Almanzar, Chief Counsel Lisa Zornberg, and New York City Police Department Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri. So, without further delay, I'm pleased to turn it over to Mayor Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thanks so much, DM Levy. And it was good to see, I look forward to Tuesdays, you know, getting an opportunity to interact with you and speak with the public.

On Sunday evening, a fire broke out in NYCHA's Bronx River Housing. This is the 18th time this year we lost a New Yorker to a fire started by a lithium-ion battery. It's the 100th total fire death in 2023. Time after time we see e‑bikes with dangerous batteries being charged in people's homes.

I really want to commend Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh, she sounded the alarm during this last year, and this has become a national problem. She has been a real leader in trying to resolve it and just really thinking outside the box.

Unsafe batteries and unsafe charging are putting lives at risk. But for so many New Yorkers we have to be clear: this is… The use of lithium-ion batteries, for many New Yorkers, e‑bikes are not just a luxury, they are considered to be a livelihood.

In March, we announced our Charge Safe, Ride Safe plan with a range of strategies to keep New Yorkers safe from these fires. The plan includes smart regulation, expanded education and outreach and strong enforcement. And we have signed bills to replace dangerous batteries with safe UL‑certified batteries.

Today, we continue to deliver on that plan with a new pilot program for safe public e‑bike charging for delivery workers. Launching early next year, the pilot will test new technologies like battery swapping networks and secure bike parking docks that will allow a select group of delivery workers to charge bikes safely outside of their homes.

The goal is to really move this outdoors. Far too many people, they bring their bikes indoors, keep the bike by the door. When a fire happens or the explosion takes place, now you are blocking your egress, and that is creating much of the dangerous situations that we are seeing. So, I want to thank the DOT, EDC and Newlab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for their partnership.

And while we're talking about public safety, it's always good to have Chief LiPetri here. I'm proud to announce that the new crime numbers are out; and once again, overall crime was down for both the month and continues to trend downwards year to date. And sometimes it's hard to believe because of some of the high‑profile cases such as the horrific stabbing that took place in the Rockaways.

It's the tendency to believe we're not moving in the right directions, but the numbers are clear: we're moving in the right direction. Five out of the seven major crime categories are down, and when you look at the two that are still up, they're still going down and trending in the right direction. Chief LiPetri will go over that.

Crime was down 4.1 percent last month compared to last November; and once again, we saw continued progress in five of the seven crime categories. And shootings were down almost 19 percent last month and over 25 percent year to date.

So, I want to pass it over now to Chief LiPetri and talk about some of those numbers before we open the floor up to questions. Chief.

Chief Michael Lepetri, Crime Control Strategies, Police Department: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. You know, when you look back just from two years ago, the city right now from two years ago in shooting incidents for the year is down 540 incidents and 668 victims. From two years ago, New York City has seen 668 less shooting victims this year from 2021. I know New York City is on pace for the fourth lowest number of shooting incidents in the CompStat era. That's 30 years. So, the fourth lowest in the CompStat era.

You know, the mayor touched on some of the November crime statistics. Burglary for November was the lowest November in burglaries in 25 years in New York City. Car theft still is stubborn. We're still single spikes in the Hondas, the Kias and the Hyundais. We do attribute a lot of that to, you know, obviously the TikTok challenge, but we have seen more organized theft of motor vehicles throughout the city.

When you look at gun arrests, gun arrests continue to be at the highest levels. You know, you're talking over 4,100 gun arrests in New York City this year, and November trended at the same amount of gun arrests. Seven major index crimes, again, November, 25‑year high in seven major index crime arrests in New York City for the year, we're at a 24‑year high.

Shoplifting for November and for the year, we still continue to see reductions. Is it at levels that we don't like? Yes, it is. Are we going to continue to reduce shoplifting? Yes, we are. Because what are we doing? We're arresting the right individuals. We have more arrests, more shoplifting arrests. We're up about 10 percent in shoplifting arrests, actually even a little bit more. But we're down 10 percent in shoplifting crime.

And a lot of is that collaboration, it's that collaboration with our prosecutors, it's the collaboration, you know, the mayor has really taken the lead on the retail theft. I'm meeting with Rite Aid tomorrow, I've met with the highest levels of Target. You name it, we meet with them.

Our holidays zones are in effect, so what does that mean? Well, that means there's going to be hundreds of extra officers out there. It started the week of Thanksgiving. And we're targeting the areas where we see, you know, pockets of shoplifting increases during the holiday months.

We're in and around malls, something we really never did. We're actually putting officers on foot in and around New York City malls across all five boroughs, in the parking areas, in the concourses, whatever it is to make New Yorkers feel safe and to also suppress those shoplifting crimes.

We're looking at street robberies. We do see, unfortunately, an increase in street robberies with the holiday season. Pickpockets. You know, we put a pickpocket team out there for the tree lighting, and within the first couple of hours those officers made 12 arrests of known pickpockets. These are individuals known to us.

That is not an easy arrest to make, that's about prevention. We want to make the arrest before they actually go into somebody's pocket, and we made 12 of those arrests. So, we actually see right now since the first week… The week of Thanksgiving, shoplifting complaints have decreased in and around the Rockefeller Center tree and Midtown Manhattan.

So, again, it's to the men and women that go out there every day and do the tough job. You know, the mayor hit it, you know, we saw reductions in five out of seven; and again, we're looking to strive to those pre-pandemic lows that New York City was lucky to have. Thank you very much.

Mayor Adams: Chief, what are two areas that we, out of the… Five out of seven we decreased, what are the two? One is GLA, and what is the other?

Chief LiPetri: And felonious assaults. So, we've seen a slight increase, though in November, though in November, we were down in domestic-related felony assaults. But for the year, we've seen a slight increase. But assaults on members of the service, up in November again, and we've seen a staggering increase this year on assaults on members of the service.

And there there's a lot of reasons for it, but one of the biggest reasons are because the men and women are engaging with the right individuals when it comes to precision policing, the recidivists, stopping the recidivists for the shoplifting. The quality of life offenses both in Transit, Housing, and up on the streets in the Patrol Services Bureau. So, when there's more engagement, unfortunately, New York City officers are getting assaulted at the highest levels.

Mayor Adams: And when we look at particularly the grand larcenies, the pickpocketing crimes, repeated offenders. Repeated offenders known to the department, in and out revolving door criminal justice system. Much of the crime that we're seeing is coming from a small pocket of people, extreme recidivists.

You know, we've talked about this over and over again, they just don't take our criminal justice system seriously, and we're dealing with these repeat offenders that are in and out of the… Thefts in our retail shops, it's a small number of people. Some of them are arrested a substantial number of times for just continuously carrying out the action. And we're zeroing in on these repeat offenders, but it's a major problem, the police are doing their job.

And you know, we cannot, when we talk about police doing their job, anyone who saw the video of those two officers that were assaulted in Rockaway, just really touches the challenging role of being a police officer. Thank God this individual was not able to take the lives of those two officers, but to be stabbed in the neck, stabbed in your face with a knife like that, that is extremely dangerous.

And those officers were able to continue to do their job, get off a few rounds and take down the suspect. God only knows what he would have done if he was allowed to continue to walk our streets. So we really want to take our hats off to the men and women who serve us every day, place themselves on the front line. They run towards danger to make sure that we're safe.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you, Mayor. Charles, let’s take some questions.
Question: Mr. Mayor, I'd like to talk about congestion pricing. Last week when it was announced, you said that the $15 fee per car was just a starting point of the conversation. And you said that there should be some exceptions, you mentioned medical exceptions, people having appointments at the hospitals.

I wonder if you think there should be other exceptions. Right now, police who work in the district, firefighters, teachers, people who work at City Hall, people who work in the courts are all going to have to pay the congestion fee. Do you think that some of these people who are public servants, including City Council members, actually should get some kind of exemption because of the work that they do?

Mayor Adams: Well, I think you were doing very well until you said people who work at City Hall. You know, we have to pay, you know, that's the bottom line. But we're really focusing on our two yellows: school buses and taxis, yellow taxi cabs.

We want the process to take them into consideration. And Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi has been very much engaged, and we walked away with some W's. Deputy mayor, you want to go into where we are with this?

Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Operations: Sure. Thank you very much, mayor. First of all I think we should take a moment to recognize we are at a real pivotal benchmark with congestion pricing. We're going to lead the nation in doing what needs to be done across the country to face the climate crisis that we're in and to really support the public transit system that the mayor so often talks about as one of the jewels of our city.

So, I think it's worthwhile to take a moment to recognize how far New York City has come, and really thankful for the support with the MTA, New York State DOT, the governor and the mayor working together.

There's been some really good progress with the work that the board did in terms of understanding some of the priorities we had. Number one, mitigations for those communities outside of the central business district that suffer critically from poor air quality; specifically, the Bronx.

So, in the process we got $100 million worth of investment that will go for initiatives such as air filtration systems, adding more parklands, EV truck charging infrastructure, vouchers to help people buy EV trucks. These are the critical measures that we need to take to reduce congestion in the central business district and to make sure it doesn't have a negative effect as we do it outside.

Second, another really important recommendation that came out: a 75 percent discount for people who travel in at night. Originally, that was thought to be between 12 a.m. and 9 a.m., it's now been extended to 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., and that's critically important for our shift workers.

I want to thank our representative, John Samuelson, for fighting on behalf of shift workers, but on behalf of all New Yorkers, and also allowing other New Yorkers who can have flexibility about when they want to travel to use that discounted period. Because again, this is about reducing the bottlenecks, and this is one of the ways we do that.

And finally, we were very happy about the decision to give a 50 percent discount for low income New Yorkers that travel frequently into the congestion pricing zone. So, there's work to be done ahead. As the mayor mentioned, we're concerned about our yellow taxi fleet and about our school bus. Those are both fleets that are eminently trackable and accountable, so we feel really confident that working with the MTA board we will be able to get to a good solution so New Yorkers can still get around.

Question: Are you asking the yellow taxes and Uber and Lyft drivers don't pay the fees that have been set, it's $1.50 for yellow taxis per ride and $2.50 for people who take Uber per ride?

Deputy Mayor Joshi: Yes, so it's for the yellow taxis we're asking for a full exemption. This is a fleet that has had a history of serving New York, especially Manhattan, for decades and has gone through incredible financial distress. I think we've all sadly witnessed some of the tragic results of that and the suicides that resulted from that.

And we as an administration have taken bold steps to help this industry get back on its feet through our medallion loan program that is really bringing life back to independent owners that previously were struggling under oversized debt. So, it's really important to continue to support that industry and the working people in it to move New Yorkers around and allow them to build back.

Question: ...about police, the fire and the teachers who work in the congestion zone are going to have to pay more money to get to work. Should they be… Get an exemption or should the city reimburse them for those costs?

Deputy Mayor Joshi: Can I note, there is already in the law an exemption for emergency and also for specialized vehicles and the recommendations that come out of the TMBR that will cover many of our heavy duty trucks and heavy duty vehicles. So, there's certainly a balance to be struck there. We want to make sure that New Yorkers get the service they need and not an incredible cost.

But there's opportunity for us to again work with the MTA to fine tune where there should be exemptions within the heavy duty vehicles, what's a specialized vehicle. But as the mayor said, for those of us that work at City Hall and commute every day, that… We are in the group that should pay.

Mayor Adams: And Marcia, I'm hearing your question directly. Listen, we fought to get working class people the raises. That’s our civil servants, our teachers, our firefighters, our police officers and others, and this is part of that overall conversation of, we don't… Those who drive on necessity, I've made this clear, should be different from those who drive on luxury.

And this is part of this ongoing conversation. This is new, congestion pricing, what we're about to roll out, and we want to get it right. And there's going to be some shifting, there's going to be some negotiation, there's going to be some additional conversations that's going to come out of this.

Question: Are you going to give any orders to MTA board members what you want them to do tomorrow at the meeting?

Mayor Adams: I'm sorry?

Question: You have appointees to the MTA board, are you giving them orders about what you want them to do when they have to vote on this tomorrow at the meeting?

Mayor Adams: We would share conversation… I'm a big believer when I appoint someone to a board that I'm appointing them to give them an independence based on their knowledge and understanding of how we think of as an administration. But we will share, I Will continue to share our views on this conversation about not displacing the environmental issue to the outer boroughs, making sure that we're not over penalizing New Yorkers. So, we're going to continue to have those conversations.

Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, Housing, Economic Development and Workforce: Thank you, Charles. I just wanted to mention while we're on the topic of congestion pricing, which is obviously really critical given our climate goals, that we're reaching a really important milestone this week with the first of our three City of Yes city‑wide tax amendments.

So, tomorrow, hopefully the City Council, given the long engagement here across all of the community boards, all of the boroughs of the city will hopefully vote in a positive way for the City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality. And those are a historic set of policies, 17 different reforms that are really about changing the zoning in order to facilitate climate action, clean energy and resiliency.

These reforms will go into effect shortly after — hopefully the Council votes yes — and what that means for New Yorkers I think it's significant. It means it'll be much easier for New Yorkers to install solar panels, heat pumps, other clean energy tech. It means that EV chargers will be able to be installed in many more places across the city.

And over the longer term, builders, architects and developers will be able to see a wider range of improvements and an easier path to making the types of changes to the building systems, energy systems, transportation systems that are critical. So, I just didn't want us to lose sight of the fact that our work in congestion pricing is part of a larger effort being led by this administration to make sure that we are being as aggressive as we can given the urgency of the climate crisis.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. Just following up on congestion pricing to start, how come no one from your administration is at the rally today with the MTA and governor in support of congestion pricing?

Mayor Adams: Because we wanted to make sure we got prepared to talk to you today. We had enough rallies, I'm all over the place. I think there's one thing that no one can state is that I'm not all over this city. And we can't be at every event. People know where we stand. We support congestion pricing.

There are rallies, support groups all over the city every day, and there's certain things we can make and certain things that we can't. But we made it clear, we support congestion pricing.

Question: Mr. Mayor, to follow up on congestion pricing. Did the MTA ever approach you or anybody here regarding a traffic management plan that would not only reduce traffic but improve traffic flow? And number two, what are your plans to deal with cars that are going to inevitably park in Long Island City, hop a train or Upper Manhattan to avoid the zone, and where you're going to have, you know, parking problems in these neighborhoods?

Mayor Adams: And Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi can tell you about the traffic plan, but that is dealing with the parking that you're talking about and how this is going to impact the outer boroughs, that is part of our top concerns. We want to make sure we're not displacing this problem in any way to the outer boroughs.

That's part of the overall assessment. Again, this is new. There is going to be assessment once it's implemented, we are going to have to come back to the table to say what do we have to adjust. Any time you do something new, this is what happens.

And you know, New Yorkers are going into the land of unknown, and we're going to learn from it and we're not going to be so rigid that we're not going to make the necessary adjustment. Deputy mayor?

Deputy Mayor Joshi: Just a note. I mean, the traffic plan is essentially the financial fee that goes along with coming into New York, so that is to reduce the number of cars that come into the central business district. As part of the environmental review process that was done by the MTA with the federal government as well as with city DOT and state DOT, there were several studies that look at what the effects are to the other bridges, to the outer boroughs, and a series of mitigations that have to take place as a result of that, some of which I've outlined and some of which are still under consideration.

But as the mayor said, this is, like many cities, the first version of congestion pricing is not the final version. Much is learned in the rollout. This one really focuses on the fee, but like London, the first focused on the fee and then the second focused on emissions reductions, so, it was based on how much emissions and gave preference to EV vehicles.

So, I certainly think all of that is and should be on the horizon, but we really need to get started on the actual culture change around congestion pricing in order to start meeting the moment, which we are certainly always trying to keep pace with the rate of climate change.

Question: But London saw the surge in for hire vehicles back in the central business district and they said, you know, traffic's been clogged there all over. And I'm sure you've all experienced these cars sit there and idle all day long. They double park, they idle. So, how will that be handled?

Deputy Mayor Joshi: Under the recommendations, taxi and the for-hire vehicles are going to have a per trip, so it will be an increased cost for those who choose them. And in New York City, unlike in London, Uber and Lyft have a requirement to pay their drivers a certain amount.

If they're idling for several… For long periods of time, that increases the per minute and per mile that they must pay those drivers, so there's an incentive to ensure that those drivers are busy. So, we actually have a protection built in, which I think is really important that London does not.

Question: Mr. Mayor. So, again, going to get my question. So, to the 2025 election, there are several challengers who are, you know, they're not declared yet but their names are being floated around — Senator Zellnor Myrie, Jessica Ramos, even Scott Stringer is talking to consultants.

Are you concerned this far out about challengers, the ones that have been named, potentially others? And also, do you think the FBI investigation into your campaign, and also, your recent budget cuts leave you in a somewhat weaker position going into this election?

Mayor Adams: If you're saying send this far out, I go back to my senate days when I got sworn into senate. I said, January 1st, 2022, I'm going to be the mayor of the City of New York. When I became borough president, I stated that I'm going to do this for eight years and then I'm going to be the mayor.

So, if you are not planning your career, shame on you. But you know, running for mayor and managing a city of this level of complexity is different from having an idea, you have to actually be able to execute all the layers of doing so.

And those of who carried the race, do you remember that day when that guy had me by 13 points in the poll, Andrew Yang? He was so happy on skateboards and you know, cheery-faced, and all of a sudden people heard my message and those 13 points went to one point and then all of a sudden I was up.

This is the game of politics, and some people are going to politicize this moment. I have to govern this city. That's what we're doing, and all of the crises that are coming with it. And every mayor I spoke with tell us about these moments where a lot of things happen at one time and you have to be focused and disciplined enough to be able to still manage the city. And that's what we're doing, and that's my focus on continuing to manage this city. New York is a big place, and you have to have big ideas to move us forward.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. I wanted to get some more details about your trip to D.C. on Thursday. Who are you meeting with exactly? Is anybody else on the trip? And also, I wanted to get your thoughts, the comptroller yesterday saying that he revoked your emergency contracts for the migrants. What does that mean for you, overall? And sorry, last question. Have you spoken to President Biden at all personally about the migrant crisis?

Mayor Adams: So, let's peel it back in three levels. One, the trip to D.C. We always announce what the schedule is going to be the day before we're going to do it, this time I'm sure DM Levy is going to do that.

The second questions that you ask about the president. I have not communicated with the president since, I think, earlier this year was the last time I communicated with him, either earlier this year or late last year around the same time. And your second question, I'm sorry?

Question: About the comptroller and the fact that he revoked your emergency contract for the migrants.

Mayor Adams: Okay. You know, many of you heard me say over and over again for almost 20 months that I wanted him to join the other citywide leaders, Speaker Adrienne Adams and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams to go to D.C. He went to D.C. 20 months later and he came back with tying our hands. That just sort of defies logic to me that we have to make these quick decisions on dealing with these contracts and dealing with placing people in housing.

So, I'm a little disappointed that when he returned from D.C., he didn't come back with any real answers on… This is a national problem. I think we're over 150,000 now. And our national leaders and international leaders have admired what we were able to accomplish without the support.

And I just really think that's where the comptroller's attention should be on how do we get support from Washington, D.C. to pick up this cost. This should not be on the backs of New City taxpayers. And you know, we're going to continue to navigate this process. Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom, you probably can go into what his decision, how it's going to directly impact us?

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams‑Isom, Health and Human Services: Or, I was also just going to talk about the fact that we have a group of people here, 20 cities that are here now, Cities in Action, that have all come, their mayor's office of immigrant affairs. And everyone is struggling with the issues that we're talking about of having migrants come to their cities and basically having to deal with it on their own and come up with solutions.

Today I had a conversation with the folks in Massachusetts because you all know that they've used one of the tools that we have as cities which are time limits, and they've now put a cap on families with children. So, they have a wait list that they're using and have people using hospitals and other places of that sort.

Chicago, yesterday I was able to meet with a sister deputy mayor that's talking about folks in tents in front of the police station and they're trying desperately to get them out of those tents before the cold weather comes.

And so we are in this place that we've talked about since the spring of 2022 that without additional help. And I want to be clear, I am grateful for what the federal government has done thus far, but it's not, clearly, it's not enough. When we see more and more cities struggling with this, when we have Governor Abbott sending out a tweet saying that he's going to send thousands of migrants to cities, that can't be appropriate, that can't be okay.

And you all can ask us about places here and how we are doing our operations on our response. But I think as New Yorkers, all New Yorkers, all of us have to stand together and to ask the federal government to give us the support that we need because it's not fair to the migrants that we have and it's also not fair to us as New Yorkers.

Deputy Mayor Levy: And I think Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom just made a very good point that we all have to stand together. And so Governor Abbott and others are sending thousands of people more. Last week we had 3,600?

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Yes, last week we had 3,600 new migrants coming into New York City. And you all remember the numbers were in the low two thousands and it keeps on going up and down. We get ghost buses that just come in the middle of the night. We don't know if it's going to be families with children or single adults. It doesn't make any sense, and I think that there are solutions that we need.

So, we need the comptroller and everyone to stand with us together to say that we need the federal government to help us to coordinate what's happening and so that we will be better able to serve people, especially as the cold weather is coming now.

Deputy Mayor Levy: And this is an emergency that requires, sometimes, emergency spending. And we don't know how many migrants Texas is going to send us or whoever else is going to send us.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Yes. And it's an emergency, man made emergency, is what I would say. And I think that we have to work together to avert the crisis that we are undergoing. And so tying our hands and flexibility, as you can imagine, is very important to us as we do this.

When we say that no families and children have slept on the street, that's not just based on hope, right? That's based on us doing and making sure that we have what we need available. So, anybody who wants to think that what they need to do at this time is to try to limit us, I don't get how you get to that conclusion.

We are concerned about the budget, we are cutting the budget by 20 percent. We are going to do that. We're going to find efficiencies, but we need support. We don't need people pointing fingers at us.

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: And I just want to clarify that emergency procurement is about the timeframe it takes to get a contract registered. And we were happy to partner with the comptroller during the transition because we know how long it takes. If we had gone through the regular process, we would still probably be waiting for the first contract to be registered with 150,000 people in the City of New York.

So, it is about the process and the system and the timeframe. It still goes under review, there's a vetting that takes place. So, I think it's really important to understand. And so when you have 3,600 people coming in in a week and you need to house them, you need to be able to act quickly and you cannot wait 12 months for a contract to be registered.

Question: Mr. Mayor, in your recent article to the Ethnic and Community Media, you mentioned that affordable and safe housing is key to the prosperity. So, when the federal government abandoned $80 billion to this NYCHA project, how are you going to fix this critical issue? We are talking about a crisis.

And my second question to the, I think, Michael, that you are talking about the numbers of crimes or shooting in the city from 500 to 600, do you think so these numbers are good enough for a safer and secure city, please?

Mayor Adams: Let's do DM first. Okay?

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Thank you for the question, in particular, about NYCHA. And so it is critically important that we do everything that we can to protect and preserve that really important source of affordable housing for New Yorkers. One in 17 New Yorkers live in NYCHA housing.

As you mentioned, the capital needs to bring NYCHA to a state of good repair, that number is pretty staggering. It's about $80 billion, and that is due to decades of disinvestment and underinvestment from too many levels of government. That changed on day one of Mayor Eric Adams’ administration. What this has meant for us in terms of supporting NYCHA and really supporting the type of transformation that's needed. It's meant to a few things.

Number one, it has meant that we've, as part of our housing plan, NYCHA is chapter one, so it's really central to how we think about housing in this city. Two, we have in this administration together with a lot of support from NYCHA tenant leaders and with state colleagues had the first NYCHA Trust legislation get signed.

And I'm happy to report. I think everyone has seen that there are now two developments that are voting for their futures and choosing between either RAD, PACT RAD or the Trust or to stay in Section 9.

The first was Nostrand Houses, and their voting actually wraps up on December 7th. And we just announced yesterday that the Bronx River addition, two buildings, about 130 households, is the next site to vote on their future.

This year as well we've seen more than 20,000 units now in total since inception of the program convert into PACT. We've seen $1 billion in capital repairs. That's another record high in NYCHA.

And I'm laying this all out because I want to be very clear that I don't think any administration has really taken the issues at NYCHA as seriously as we have. And it also includes just a couple of weeks ago, getting more than $100,000 in rent arrears to NYCHA residents because they were left out of the original legislation.

I could go on and on. I know others have questions, but I think our record is clear. And over the course of the last two years, we have really turned over every stone because as the mayor has said time and time again, the cavalry is not coming in terms of doing the type of transformation that NYCHA residents deserve. Thank you.

Chief LiPetri: So, just to get back, so I think the NYPD understands better than anybody about, there's a victim behind each one of these numbers that I'm giving, so we don't lose sight of that at all.

Yes, there's persistent challenges that we are facing, and we're looking to get to the levels that we saw in 2018, 2019, and I'm confident that we can get there. And if we do, we're going to continue to even drive crime down even further. So, we're a relentless agency, just like all the city agencies, and we will never, ever sleep on anything until crime is at acceptable levels.

When it comes to perception, we understand perception, there's no doubt about it, and we always want the perception to be closest to the reality. And we look at all indicators when it comes to perception. We look at quality of life calls, we look at types of crimes, what types of assaults are happening in the transit system, what type of burglaries are happening in New York City?

Are car thefts down? We look at street crime, we look at inside crime. There's everything that we look at a lay approval. We are data‑driven organization and we're about precision and we're about keeping New Yorkers safe. Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Chief, could I add just one thing? If you're talking about perception of crime versus reality of crime, I would just remind people where we were when we came into office in January of 2022. I remember my first week on the job, every single night I was in the hospital with Mayor Adams and Police Commissioner Sewell because it was another officer shot, and in the middle of the week, an 11‑month‑old baby was shot in the head.

That week was ended with the double murder of Detectives Rivera and Mora. That was a horrible week. I'm sure everyone remembers that, a lot of you folks were in that hospital that night. We are in a very different place today, 25 percent down reduction in shootings. You don't understand what that means to people across the city.

Chief Lepetri: And if I could just add. When you look at the enforcement, and when I talk about enforcement, in all our CompStat meetings that I share every Thursday with the chief of Department and our bureau chiefs, we are looking at precision, right? So, what types of quality of life offenses are we issuing? Where are we making the arrests? Who are we arresting?

And every indicator for the men and women out there are increases in quality enforcement and decreases in five out of seven major crimes. You're talking about, right now, 668 less shooting victims than two years ago. That's a staggering number. And that's not by surprise, it's by hard work, it's by precision policing. But again, who's doing that work are the New York City police officers out there every day.

Question: Good morning, guys.

Mayor Adams: Good morning.

Question: I got a couple of questions on the Turkey investigation. Mr. Mayor, have you received a target letter from federal authorities? Have you received an official request to go before the grand jury in that matter? And just in general for everyone on the dais, if the answer to that question is yes applied to you could you just please raise your hand in the interest of saving time?
Deputy Mayor Levy: In the interest of time. Thanks, Mike.

Lisa Zornberg, Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall: I'm just going to jump in here and say the answer is no and we can move on to the next question.

Question: Just want to circle back on your next D.C. trip. So, circle back on your next Washington, D.C. trip. Have you reached out to the Biden administration to set up a meeting for Thursday? And this will be, I think, your 10th trip down there. What do you expect to come back to New York City with that?

And then if I could just have one other question for the deputy mayor, there was a sprint to or census to collect all the information on asylum seekers that have been in the city's care. It was a few months ago now. Is that done and how many are work eligible that still have not received permits? And what have you done now at this point, too, because that was obviously a sprint to get it all done, like have you changed your systems so we have kind of a rolling census of who's in your care.

Mayor Adams: And you're right, this is the 10th trip. And what I've learned in government that what you don't accomplish on one conversation, you have to keep repeating and continue to show the evidence of the things that you're asking for. And that's the goal here.

Our director of Intergovernmental Affairs is coordinating the trip, setting up the meetings, and as I indicated, Wednesday we will release exactly who we are going to meet with. But the goal is to constantly go there, be front and center and raise the concerns of how this is impacting our city. And that's the goal.

Question: And have you reached out to the White House?

Mayor Adams: The Intergovernmental Affairs is communicating with all the parties that are involved in Washington, D.C. that have a major impact on what's taking place here in New York City.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Yes, just really quickly. So, yes, the assessments are, I think about 93 percent done, but I'll get that example, get that for you, that number for you. Number of asylum applications filed are 7,294. Number of work authorization applications filed are 2,900, number of TPS applications filed 2,965.

The federal work authorization sprints, you know that, the ones that we were doing with the federal government, 3,100, over 3,100 clients were processed during the two sprints. And I think we announced last week or the week before last that we opened another satellite site to maybe another two sites to keep on doing applications. And then I'll give you the exact number of how many people have actually gotten their work authorization.

And so we use that data to help figure out where people are, how can we connect them to employment, who's in a training program, who's in an apprenticeship program so that we can make sure that people are getting connected to work, because obviously, that is the way that we're going to get people out of shelter and getting people settled.

Question: Out of the population, how many are work eligible?

Deputy Mayor Torres‑Springer: So, I'm going to get that number for you.

Deputy Mayor Levy: And I would also just point out, the 10th trip… It's the 10th trip to discuss the asylum seeker or where the mayor has discussed the asylum seeker crisis. We've been down to D.C. more than 10 times since last year. Just want to be clear about that.

Question: Good morning. My question is actually also for the mayor and for deputy mayor as well about the involuntary removals update that you all made last week. I didn't think you all were going to do that, so that's really cool. I appreciate it. I have some faith.

My question is, so New York City's homeless population, a lot are made up of Black and brown New Yorkers. Is that also true for the involuntary removals that you're seeing? Is there a racial breakdown you can track?

And secondly, if you're taken forcibly to the ER or something like that, let's say at Kings County, sometimes you could be sedated or handcuffed or restrained or given anti‑psychotics or something. So, are you keeping track of that as well or when that method is necessary to use and who makes that decision?

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Should I start?

Mayor Adams: Yes, DM.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: So, thank you for saying that you were glad that we did the update. It was something that the mayor said to us over a year ago that we just didn't want to walk by people who were clearly suffering. So, I know that that is a big concern about the Black and brown folks. I will look to see whether or not the data that we have is broken down in that way.

I think also we want to work on having a dashboard so that we can make sure that the data is transparent, right? We're not trying to hide, we're trying to learn from the data that we have. And I think we were up to about half of the people that were on our top 100 list were able to get connected to treatment, which was such a big deal because it becomes the proof of concept of what works and what needs to happen.

You point to the fact that we do have to work really closely with the hospitals to… We've been able to give people a heads up when we're coming. We've been able to kind of coordinate. It's why it's so important to have a mental health person that's on that team when we're doing 9.58s.

So, again, I'll make sure that I get you the exact number of whether or not what actually happens. I know I'm sure some of that is protected by confidentiality, but being able to look at the trends and the data so that we're making sure that we are getting people the help that they need.

And also, those 1,000 beds that we were able to bring back online are so important again because those lines were offline during Covid. So, I think all of those pieces together and the ongoing focus on this issue will really help us to make some progress and not violate people's rules in the end, and certainly, look at the issues of equity as we work on that.

Question: Mr. Mayor, I'm just wondering, with these contracts, with the comptroller doing what he is with the contracts, what are you guys going to do instead? How are you guys going to still make sure that these contracts are fulfilled and you guys can still build shelters?

And then also for the deputy mayor, I was just hoping you could help answer questions about the reticketing center. I know last week you guys implemented a new policy to make it easier. Just hoping you can go into details with that as well. Thank you, guys.

Zornberg: Can I just jump in, just, mayor, with just a clarifying point in case there's a misunderstanding. What the comptroller put out does not do away with emergency procurement in the City of New York. Agencies can still use the emergency procurement process, including for contracts relating to the asylum seeker process.

So, there shouldn't be that misconception. What it changed is that… And again, anything that slows us down is not a good thing. But what it changes is that it's a revocation for certain new contracts. There are exemptions for certain existing contracts, but certain things will require comptroller approval on a case by case.

Each one requires comptroller approval for the permission to use the emergency procurement system as opposed to what had earlier been issued, which gave a, quote‑unquote, pre‑approval on a blanket basis for certain contracts in a particular, of a particular type. So, no one should have that misconception and the city will still seek to use every contractual procurement tool that it has in order to meet the city's needs.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: So, on the reticketing site, you know what we've decided to do is that if there's a small percentage of people who are not able to leave in their 30‑day time limit. So, we have adults going to a reticketing center and that's where you see the lines are building.

We know that it's cold outside, so when it's cold outside, we are going to be finding places where people can wait if they're not while they're waiting. It could be for an ID card, it could be to get connected to somebody, a friend or a family member that's someplace else as they're continuing their journey. But go ahead.

Question: Sorry about that.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: That's okay.

Question: Just to follow up on the contracts real fast. So, does that mean you guys are going to be going primarily through Health + Hospitals then do these contracts?

Deputy Mayor Torres‑Springer: You want to start? Because it was a… 

No, I think what Lisa was saying was that we are going to go through our regular emergency contracting process and she didn't want to give the implication that the announcement meant that we could no longer do emergency contracts. Was that what you were saying?

Zornberg: That's correct. It's also, no one should have the misconception that emergency procurement has been the only tool used for contracting relating to the asylum seeker process. There's an array of contracting tools that have been used. There are some longstanding requirements contracts that the city has.

There have been all sorts of competitively bid contracts. There's just a whole range. And I think the point that we're making as a city is that we need every single tool at our resource and we need contracting systems that work and some that when things cannot abide by delay, we need ways to work efficiently, mindful of budgetary issues, vetting issues, all of the things that are in place.

Question: Thank you. Two questions, Mr. Mayor. First, there's a new report out today showing that most of the New Yorkers who've left New York City are lower and middle income New Yorkers, many of them people of color, and that we actually have more millionaires than we had before.

Have you considered asking Albany for some sort of revenue raiser rather than cutting services for those New Yorkers who are leaving or that class of New Yorkers who are leaving? And then secondly, can you tell us if you're… 

Mayor Adams: A request for what for those who leave?

Question: ...a revenue raiser from Albany, like raising taxes on millionaires or something? And then secondly, can you tell us if the lawyers representing you or the campaign have reported any other improper conduct to the government, aside from Rana Abbasova’s?

Mayor Adams: The counsel will talk about that. But we are hoping as the state starts this year, that they will look at ways of ensuring that we could retain long‑term New Yorkers, keep them here. And one of the ways we could do that is assist us more with the asylum seeker crisis that we are facing because when you do these efficiency cuts, it is going to hurt low‑income New Yorkers.

And listen, it's clear, one of the most important terms I heard is that the rent is too damn high. So, cost of living is impacting all of us. And we need to make sure how we navigate ourselves through this difficult time, this economic time, together, and we're hoping to have that real partnership with our lawmakers when they return to Albany this year and come up with real ways of how we can put money back in the pockets of New Yorkers. 

They helped us before with Earned Income Tax Credit. What we've been able to do with the City Council, with reduced fare MetroCards, we've found ways of putting money back in the pockets of New Yorkers. And we're hoping Albany will do that the same this year as well.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Mayor, just to add to that, I think another couple, few important things. The investments we've made in making child care more accessible is really, really important and making it affordable for working families. Maria Torres‑Springer’s team has been helping with our economic recovery. All of the nearly one million jobs lost during the pandemic have been recovered and we've been putting forward an historic effort to build affordable homes here in New York City.

Deputy Mayor Torres‑Springer: If I could just on that very last point. It's no surprise to New Yorkers, they feel it every day, right, the rising cost of housing. And we have been in this crisis for way too long.

It's also clear there's no ambiguity in the empirical literature. All of the research shows that more housing leads to more affordability. Less housing leads to people being squeezed out of the neighborhoods that they love and helped build.

So, we're doing everything that we need to do on the city level whether that's the record breaking number of homes financed by HPD this past fiscal year or the major City of Yes for Housing Opportunity to build more housing in every neighborhood.

But as the mayor mentioned, we can't do this alone. We need Albany's help. We asked for certain tools last year. That conversation, discussion, negotiation, advocacy has to continue this year, because there's just too much at stake and working class New Yorkers have for too long felt the squeeze.

So, we'll continue to be as aggressive as possible with the tools that we have, and we have done that, and we'll look to continue to look to partners at the state level and at the federal level to ensure that they are not walking away from their obligations to support the working people of the city.

Zornberg: As I've said previously, we're just not going to do anything that impedes the SDNY's investigation. They have a review to do. Let it run its course. The mayor and we remain in a cooperative posture, noting that the mayor's not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. I was getting worried I wasn't going to get to ask my question today.
I would like to pivot to school safety. So, first of all, thank you for reinstating the class of school safety agents. They're starting this week. And I also understand that next week all school safety agents will be receiving their bulletproof vests, so thank you.

But Mr. Mayor, today a 15‑year‑old was stabbed inside of Edward R. Murrow High School. It is a non scanning school. I understand NYPD is doing reverse scanning. But Mr. Mayor, parents have raised concerns at Edward R. Murrow High School, specifically the cofounder of the New York City School Safety Coalition [Hoyanne Simpkins] who has a child in that high school, for two years has been pushing for scanning.

So, Mr. Mayor, what do you say to a parent like [Ms. Simpkins] who is also a school safety agent, by the way, whose child attends Murrow, to the other parents out there who are concerned about school safety and who do want more scanning in our high schools.

Mayor Adams: And I'm glad that you did emphasize "who do want." I'm a believer in scanning to keep our schools safe, but as you know, there's a balance because there are a large number of parents that also push back on scanning. There are a large number of parents who push back on even school safety agents being in schools, and I continued to state that I was not going to accept the removal of school safety agents from school.

And so the Police Department and the Department of Education and school safety leaders, they're going to continue to do an analysis to determine which schools we should have those scanners, and we're continuously looking at ways of having non-intrusive scanners, because you know, we have a balance of protecting our children without damaging that they're feeling as though we're turning into some form of jail type atmosphere. Because young people have also raised their voice on their feeling as well. So, we're trying to find the right balance but at the same time keeping our children safe.
Question: How are you doing, Mr. Mayor? How are you? I just wanted to ask, how often are you meeting with your attorneys in talks about this federal investigation, and how are you balancing managing the city coupled with meeting with your attorneys and defending yourself against whatever this investigation might.

Mayor Adams: I'm not going to go into my meeting schedule and you know, what I do with my legal team on all the way around. Managing this city, if you go back from day one, there's always something going on in this city. And I shared with you over and over again, every mayor that I've communicated with stated, don't wake up every day hoping that there's not another crisis going on, wake up hoping for the strength to be able to do that.

And I do have the strength to do that. All the different crises from the Covid to the migrants to whatever comes up. I have a good team. They know their roles. They're carrying out their roles. I have a lot of confidence in my team here.

And that is why we do these briefings, so you can see that this is not the Eric Adams show, this is the Eric administration show. And so we're going to continue to do that, manage this city and navigate us out of this crisis.

Question: Have you had to rely more on them because of the investigation?

Mayor Adams: I'm sorry?

Question: Have you had to rely more on your team because of this investigation, like for instance, if you had to meet with your lawyers as opposed to doing something that somebody else had.

Mayor Adams: My team, they have always been in place, the same level of carrying out their roles is still the same. When I speak to a team member, we do our briefings in the morning, everyone knows what has to be done, and I know my role and we have continued to do that. And so there's not a greater need to lean on this team, it's the same level. I've always been a hands‑on person from the time of my first days in public service, and it's going to continue to be that way.

Question: Thank you. Can I just follow up on Morgan's question? I'm still trying to understand exactly what will change under this emergency contracting situation. Can you give us an example of what will change and what will change or slow you down. Like in real terms on the ground in terms of managing migrants. What will this impact or not impact?

Zornberg: You know, I would suggest that I would refer you to what Comptroller Lander put out, because I'm not going to go into it here but you'll see that there are a number of specifics in there, including an attempt by Comptroller Lander to say what it does not impact at all.

And I would say that, you know, we continue internally to speak internally about this, so I don't want to overstep. We're in discussion with the contracting division of the Law Department and corp counsel on this issue. But I think the main message is that we at the city will do what whatever we need to do to meet the moment.

Emergency procurement remains a tool. We fully expect that if we go, if and when we need to continue to go to Comptroller Lander on emergency procurement cases that he and his staff will be fully cooperative and attentive to the needs and the purpose of it.

Question: Just to follow up, is there a scenario where there are pieces of this that you're not on the same page about or the city would continue to move forward not in agreement with him because you have an urgent situation on the ground?

Zornberg: I'm optimistic that the comptroller and his staff will work with us and that when emergency procurement is necessary will be supportive and understand the need to get things done without delay.

Question: Yes. My name is [Kelodi], I'm from Pakistan News. I'm just asking you, you have any special instruction about the Muslim mosque, mostly all the mosques, many of them especially in Long Island last two weeks before [inaudible] mosque was vandalized and the prayer people, they just come in for a prayer, they got beaten. And in Flushing. Do you have any special instruction for the mosque?

Mayor Adams: And I received a report this morning that someone vandalized a vehicle with Islamaphobic statements and anti-Black statements as well. Listen, there's no place for hate in our city. We've made that clear. And we will give instructions like we give with all of our communities, see something, say something and also do something. Notify the NYPD.

We've made great investigations and great apprehensions of those who have participated in some of the violence that we're seeing. And so we are saying those who are members of all of our faith institutions to remain vigilant, during the time of prayer, remain vigilant during the time of service.

And we have our police officers that are doing what's called special assignments that are very conscious of the religious institutions in their precinct boundaries. It is unfortunate that some people are using this as an opportunity to display hate, and we're going to remain steadfast. If you do something that's a hate crime then we're going to hold you accountable no matter who you are.
Question: Thank you. On the shelter stay limits, I know that the city officially isn't keeping track of those who move out of the system, shelter system, and where they go next. Are any attempts made to sort of follow people where they go, or is there a general understanding of whether most people are moving out of the city, moving into even safe and secure environments next.

And what is being done to make sure that those who have started asylum applications, work applications are still able to receive their mail and any other, you know, essential notices as part of the process wherever they move next if their, you know, if first address was with the city shelter.

Mayor Adams: DM?

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Yep. On the first question, thank you for that because we've gotten a lot of partners who really want to do some research, a longer research project for us and really look at where… Sorry, Dana, I'm trying to get it fixed… 

To figure out where people are going and how they're doing, so I think that's going to be like a longer research project and maybe we'll work with the migration policy research folks or get some philanthropic money to do that. So, that's on that question.

We are doing a deep dive into the people who are not seeming to be able to find their way, what populations, why is it, what do they need. That's part of the intensive case management. And the other part of your question was...

Question: When someone starts an asylum case… 
Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: I don't know if you've come to the any of the asylum seeker legal clinics. If somebody is in one of the NYCEM sites, we have the mail going there. It's such an important part. I know a lot of people have their phones now so we're able to check on their phones. But we're being very careful with where the mail goes and how it goes because people need to get that.

Question: So able to follow… 

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Yes. Yes.

Question: Community Board 7 in Queens just approved the construction on Willets Point and it includes the stadium, a school and also 2,500 affordable housing. So, what the city is going to do to make sure that it's 100 percent affordable housing and the community has access to that?

Mayor Adams: DM?

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Yes. Thank you for mentioning that. There was a really important vote last night of Community Board 7 by a vote of 37 to 2, I believe, in support of the Willets Point Phase 2 project. And just as a reminder for everyone this really will bring to life what's been a decades-long set of plans and visions but under this administration we're making real progress.

So, it will include the city's first soccer specific stadium, 2,500 units of housing, a hotel, much-needed infrastructure and open space and more than 14,000 jobs and $6 billion economic impact. So, that's the project.

To your question about affordable, it was really critical to us that not only was the project fully affordable, so the 2,500 units, that's 100 percent affordable housing, but it was critical, and this was a commitment that we made last year and we're delivering on it, that the first phase, the first 800 units of this project that we broke ground a year ahead of schedule.

And so there's more to come on that, but we're making good on that promise that we made last year. It's the type of project, to remind everyone, we're building a whole new neighborhood at Willets Point. This is the first project, one of the first projects I ever worked on when I started in government about 20 years ago.

And so the ability to make sure that we are bringing a project like this to life for the benefit not just of the residents of Queens but really, given our affordable housing crisis, New Yorkers across the five boroughs is really gratifying.
Question: Mr. Mayor, how are you? My question is, you're going to Washington D.C. day after tomorrow. And can you tell us how much funds do the city needs [inaudible] to deal with migrant crisis out of $12 billion which will be needed for the next few years to come.

And if you come empty-handed from Washington D.C., what would that means to New Yorkers and the city cut already made to different services.

Mayor Adams: Well, we believe that this cost should be picked up by the federal government not only for this fiscal year but for the next two fiscal years. And [inaudible], the director… Jacques Jiha, the director of OMB has made it clear, this is a $12 billion price tag over the three years. And this is a national problem of we have been of paying the cost of that and we believe that the federal government should pick up the tab.

And if I come back empty handed, as you indicated, we're going to continue our advocacy and we're hoping that all of our local electeds on the state and city level join the coalition that we have been able to create. As the deputy mayor stated, we have a coalition of cities that are here and they're talking about the impact on this crisis on their cities.

And that coalition is getting louder, more organized, and they're clearly saying the same things, that this is a national problem that should not fall on the backs of local cities. And we've been clear on that. We can take a few more before we go.

Question: I wanted to ask about the ongoing reporting about the FDNY and this issue of expediting inspections. So, Gothamist and I believe maybe several other outlets have obtained what looks like an official FDNY document. And with respect to an office building at Hudson Yards, 50 Hudson Yards, it says as a source of expediting the inspections, it has Deputy Mayor Maria Torres‑Springer's name next to the list. I wanted you both to comment on that.

And then the second question is, you know, you've made the argument that there are times where you want to move someone up to the front of the list because you want to help them cut red tape. So, can you talk a little bit about the criteria, what kind of applicant or business merits being pushed up to the top of the list?

Mayor Adams: Yes, a couple of things. You know, we have been so transparent on our BLAST report. When I ran for office, my concerns that our city is just moving too slow on getting these projects done, from my focus groups to my meetings with homeowners, small homeowners, large homeowners, developers, government and the bureaucracy of government on so many levels.

And what Deputy Mayor Maria Torres‑Springer has done about looking at the fines that we've been paying, small businesses, how do we reverse some of these initiatives. We've been very transparent about this. And so it's not about donors, it's about we need jobs. We need to build housing. We need to encourage people to know that this city is open for business.

And I think that's what the deputy mayor and her team has been doing, and it's been extremely transparent. And the numbers has revealed our success. DM, you want to go into some of this?

Deputy Mayor Torres‑Springer: Absolutely. I'm glad you asked about this, because I'm very excited to be able to clear this up. So, first of all, the mayor's office has no list. We didn't create a list. We don't maintain a list. We haven't reordered anything on the list. There is no list.

But the second thing that's important, and you mentioned it, I want to tell you about what we actually do. What we do is that we cut red tape and we move projects forward. Why do we do this? Number one, because it's our job, and to not do that job is a real dereliction of duty that would result for New Yorkers.

The second reason why we do this is because, and this might come as a surprise to many in this room because of the number of articles you write about how perfectly government runs, but sometimes projects get stuck in the bureaucracy. There are many types of projects.

There are projects whether it's an affordable housing project that needs to open, a library that gets stuck somewhere in that morass, a small business incubator that's been waiting for months for approvals, an office project that could bring 10,000 jobs, workers back into the office, or a housing lottery applicant who's been waiting as well in that process, a domestic violence survivor waiting on a transfer, a not-for-profit contractor waiting on their contract.

So, each and every one of these — to the point about what's the criteria for helping — these are all of the types of projects that we have to advocate for, we have to fight for...
Mayor Adams: Hold on, let her finish. Let her finish.

Deputy Mayor Torres‑Springer: And so if I can just finish. And so we have to fight for these. And you know? Because every day that an affordable housing project does not open is another day that a person might have to sleep in a shelter. Every day that a small business does not open is another day that the chance of them folding before they even open increases. A day that an office building stays empty is another day that you don't get those workers into their offices, workers who commute into central business districts and spend money at the local bodega, at the local dry cleaner or any other small business.

But just in case anyone in this room things that we spend all day dealing with troubleshooting at incoming, we knew from the very start that these problems were systemic. And we've said repeatedly at these briefings that what we did was we undertook, and I'm gonna show the prop again and I'll tell you the pages that outline specifically what the problems were. They're on pages 24 and 25, really describing in gory detail the process that a building has to go through to get permitted including steps at DOB, FDNY, et cetera.

And what did we do? We identified the 111 reforms. We developed them. We are implementing them. And the results speak for themselves, because the backlogs that existed at the start of the administration have largely been cleared. FDNY's completing inspections 33 percent faster this year than they were last year and the Department of Buildings is completing each type of inspection within four days.

And the last thing that I'll note, because having one's name mentioned in the article is never fun, although this is the job that we signed up for, I have to make something really clear. I have served the people of this city for the greater part of two decades. I've served the last three mayors. I've run three agencies. And now I have the fortune of being one of the mayor's deputy mayors.

You don't get to do that role by cutting corners. You get to this point because you fight for New Yorkers, everyone who I just mentioned who comes to you with a problem. That is what we do. That is what I've always done. That is what the mayor expects us to do, and we'll continue to do that because the taxpayers of this city deserve as much.

Mayor Adams: And you asked the criteria, what's the criteria as though this is a perfect science and it's not, because when you looked at the list, what a lot of people have yet to fully report on, when you looked at the list that the Fire Department show, there were elected officials on that list. Many people are not reporting on that.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Gothamist did a report on that.

Mayor Adams: Yes. I said "many." 


Ingird Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to the Mayor: The Fire Department made a list from the former administration. It is not our list.

Mayor Adams: Right. Right.

Deputy Mayor Joshi: I'd like to also comment, too, you said, you know, what are the criteria, one of the...

Question: Well, also… 

Deputy Mayor Levy: Let her finish.


Mayor Adams: You are, Liz. We're going to let you have that. We're going to let you have that.


Mayor Adams: We're going to let you.


Mayor Adams: Liz, we're going to let you have your follow up, okay?

Deputy Mayor Joshi: I would like to mention, you know, schools were talked about, and early in the administration we were, you know, SCA falls under deputy mayor of Operations, and this was a critical issue.

When we took office in January, SCA was waiting six months to do the kinds of work that they need to do in schools in order to get kids back in schools. And they have a tight finite window to do construction. They can't do it when the kids are in school, so it's summer, it's nights, it's weekends.

And we worked specifically with FDNY to have a cooperation agreement between SCA and FDNY to drastically reduce those wait times and allow SCA to really get the work that they need to get done and make sure kids are at schools that are safer and in the right condition.

The result of that work is here now. When we started these projects were waiting, not just school projects, for upwards of six months sometimes. By August, that had come down to in general, not just schools, that had come down to about 15 to 16 weeks. And today we're about a few weeks. So, across the board we made progress, but it really has helped schools and it has helped us do the work that we need to get done in schools.

Mayor Adams: Go ahead, do your follow up, Liz.

Question: So, the argument that certain FDNY officials have made to reporters is that when certain applicants like Hudson Yards were put at the top of the list that the duration and the kind of investment of time that firefighters have to put into getting that specific building inspected and cleared, and ultimately, it didn't pass. They said that held up other projects that were also worthy of concern and worthy of being put up at the top of the list.

So, I guess that is the counter-argument as to why does one merit being pushed up more than the others, and is there a cost to that. And who makes that decision?

Mayor Adams: Yes, and… 

Question: [Inaudible] I understand.

Mayor Adams: No, and it is very complicated. And listen, it's not lost on us that there is a very, appears to be angry individual that was trying to send these e‑mails all over the city, doing everything that's possible to just be disruptive to the taking the city forward. We're aware of that. And we are aware that there are some disgruntled fire chiefs who see this as, I believe, more personal than actual.

Moving this city forward and being able to look at these projects, and as the deputy mayor pointed out, to have a holistic approach, you know, to sit down and say, okay, we have thousands of jobs that we are holding up if we don't move forward. We're not going to be able to open this school and get children in June is small window of time. It is a constant navigation of the landscape to move the pieces so that we could effectively have what is our holistic approach to recovering our economy.

We're dealing with a real crisis in office spaces. How do we get people back into our office spaces? There's a whole list of things that come into making a smart decision. But I also want to say that it has really been lost on this, as we've stated from the beginning. Every elected official in the city is calling to try to get the project moved forward in their council district, their senate district. They're trying to get a park project moved forward. They're trying to get a school gymnasium redone.

You saw on the list, thank God that you saw on the list, because the interpretation was that only Eric Adams tried to get stuff done. Everyone have gone with grown with those three letters. And we need to really discuss what was on that list that weren't they elected officials on that list that also were asking the Fire Department? Okay, I hear silent.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Mayor, if I can add just one thing also. So, one, I would just point out again what the mayor just said was really important, that your publication specifically left out the city councilmembers, assemblymembers, senators are calling the Fire Department and other agencies and asking for these things to move, because this is important, because we need to open buildings, we need open schools, hospitals, whatever it is, we need to be doing that. So, it's interesting that you left that out.

But I would also point out that in August of 2022, Meera has the numbers, the number of backlog, it was over 2,700 waiting for inspections, Meera?

Deputy Mayor Joshi: Yes.

Deputy Mayor Levy: It was 27… 

Deputy Mayor Joshi: 2,743.

Deputy Mayor Levy: And as of last month it was...

Deputy Mayor Joshi: 577.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Got it. So, our administration is actually getting through the backlog and making sure businesses, schools, hospitals, whatever it is are opening up… Hold on one second, are all opening up… Yes, you can respond in a second. I didn't realize this is a back and forth, but.

But it's important to remember that all that context here. And so our job, as the mayor said, as Deputy Mayor Torres‑Springer said, as Deputy Mayor Joshi has said, is to speed things up and help people along in the city. That is our goal as government. It's not to stand in the way.

Question: Right. Now, what I would say is what the firefighters would say is when a council member is on the phone there's quite a different feeling than when someone from the mayor's office is on the phone asking them to fast track something.

Mayor Adams: Well, then I think that's wrong. I think that's wrong. I think every city administrator should treat every member of the public and every elected official with the same dignity you would treat City Hall. Every New Yorker matters, and I've said that over and over again.

I receive meetings and calls from everyday New Yorkers, and so if a firefighter is saying I'm going to respond differently to a constituent because they're not a City Hall employee, then that firefighters and any other civil servant is wrong.

Every New Yorker matters to this administration. No one is too big. No one is too small. And I thought you were… 

Lewis-Martin: But I want to point out.

Mayor Adams: One moment, I'm going to let you… I thought you said that Gotham did cover… 

Deputy Mayor Levy: No, they left out that other individuals were doing it.

Mayor Adams: That's just… That's just… That's just wrong.

Question: [Inaudible.]

Lewis-Martin: But wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Let me just also point out, when they complained about the mayor, he was the borough president. When they complained about the mayor, he was the borough president. So, why would they feel pressure since it wasn't the office of the mayor that called him at the time? He was the borough president.

Mayor Adams: Right. Right.

Get to my choice… And we're not calling on you, because you keep yelling out and disrupting our press conference. You think that's the solution to getting your question answered, and it's not. As‑salamu alaykum, Sister. As‑salamu alaykum. How are you?

Question: [Inaudible] Arab American Media. First of all, thank you so much, our mayor. So, my question here about the old immigrants. There is a lot of cases for immigrant they have asylum cases and still now for years they are still pending. Do you do any like programs or solution for those? I know a lot of like, I have, I am also I am in a women association [inaudible] the founder, they have a lot of complaint about some ladies, they are asylum cases for years, for more than eight years, they've still been pending, their cases. First of all we need to have a solution for the old immigrants [inaudible] here.

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Deputy Mayor Anne or Lisa? Lisa?

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: I mean, I think you're talking about a federal issue, right? Asylum seeker applications that haven't been looked at. There's a backlog we know of judges, we need more judges. There's a full policy and advocacy agenda that people have been dealing with for years and years, sis, around asylum seekers and how quickly or how slow these applications go.

This is why we've been saying for a long time that this is not an issue that New York City can deal with, it is 100 percent a federal issue. And that there are many things, administrative changes that they— I'm starting to talk with my hands now, but there's like the Queens girl coming out — that they could be doing to expedite the process that we're dealing with right now.

Mayor Adams: Because if we do our job and get them in the system and the federal government is not doing its job to look at the cases and move them forward, then that's the backlog. We need help in actually getting people in the system, which we are doing with the resources we have and the volunteers, but once they get in the system, if they sit in the system it defeats the entire purpose.


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