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Transcript: Mayor Adams Holds In-Person Media Availability

December 19, 2023

Mayor Eric Adams: You should include that "two types of New Yorkers" all the time. I like that.

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. We appreciate everyone joining us this morning for our weekly In Person Media Availability, providing you with yet another opportunity to ask questions and engage with both the mayor and senior leadership.

By bringing top administration officials together in a regular format, we've been able to provide New Yorkers with a clearer, more complete picture of the work their city government is doing for them. So, we look forward continue that process this morning.

Joining us today joining us today we have Mayor Eric Adams, First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Chief Advisor to the Mayor Ingrid Lewis‑Martin, Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack, Deputy Mayor for Operations Mayor 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, New York City Emergency Management First Deputy Commissioner Christina Farrell, and Pastor Gilford Monrose, executive director of the Office of Faith‑Based Initiatives.

So, I'll kick it over to Mayor Adams.

Mayor Adams: Thanks. Thanks, so much, Fabien. Before we get into your questions, I want to give a quick thanks to our agencies across the board on how they monitored the storm that hit our city over the weekend, particularly going to Sunday and into Monday. That is one of the most challenging, because you're dealing with the Monday morning commute, and everyone knows that blue Mondays, who wants to get up and deal with the rain.

And the teams were ready. NYCEM being led by both Commissioner Iscol and Deputy Commission Farrell was really coordinating the entire response. DOT's traffic management center was laser focused on roadway flooding. Our teams at DEP, DOT and DSNY got our catch basins clear. And New Yorkers are responding. We put out a lot of communication to New Yorkers to play your role and clear the catch basins. That makes a major impact in getting water drained off our streets.

The Parks team responded to downed tree calls, DOB made sure that construction sites were locked down. FDNY, NYPD had their emergency response vehicles and teams staged and ready to go. The entire team was just really coordinated in the way which we want to really dismantle walls that prevent our agencies from responding with the resources they need. And we had an amazing quarterback with Commissioner Iscol and First Deputy Commissioner Farrell, and I want to just really thank them for their efforts.

Earlier in last month some time, we did a series of table tops dealing with real, live issues around weather, and Chief of Staff Camille was quarterbacking that, and so it was really timely, we were right on time. We didn't expect this storm, we had two storms back to back weekends, and the team just responded as needed.

Even with the rain, we were really happy to roll out Open Streets on Fifth Avenue. There was a great showing. People came out in spite of the rain and enjoyed themselves, and we want to continue to allow the city to move forward. The city's extremely resilient and we deal with whatever issues come in front of us and we continue to move forward.

But we want to encourage everyone to sign up for NotifyNYC. It is one of the best ways to receive notifications, particularly around weather emergencies, and let's continue to do so. So, why don't we open it up to some questions.

Question: Mr. Mayor… 

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: ...I was just wondering about the E-SNAP benefits. Legal Aid is challenging the administration in court over people not getting their food right away. I was hoping you could respond to these delays that we're seeing.

Mayor Adams: Yes. And we understand, you know, Legal Aid has an important role of making sure that we help those New Yorkers who are in need, and the large amount of those backups came during Covid, and there's an unprecedented number of New Yorkers who are still in need and need the emergency cash assistance with E-SNAP.

We're going to have Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom go over exactly what we have done and how we want to move forward.

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams‑Isom, Health and Human Services: So, Morgan, as the mayor said, there's been so much need and it was such of a high… And when we came into the administration the backlog was very high. The team has been working really focused for the past since December of last year when we were able to hire over 700 folks to focus on cash and SNAP benefits.

We actually get together weekly with the whole team to look at the numbers. We've looked at legal strategies, we've looked at personnel strategies. We've changed things operationally. There are things that we did during the pandemic, like people could apply online or different technology that we use that we're keeping also now.

And so we're actually making progress which was a little surprising why the key stakeholders who had been working with us and who have been aware of where we are would say that they want to put us in contempt right now. I'm not sure what more we could be doing at this time. We've made a lot of progress.

We are due back in court for the regular lawsuit that we were under at the end of February and we think that the numbers are going to look very much better by the end of the first quarter of 2024.

Question: [Inaudible].

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: So, we haven't had to, we've been able to hire and with this group of people has not been subject to the hiring freeze.

Mayor Adams: And you know, and keep in mind, you know, and I keep saying this over and over again and I should figure out a way to attach the byproduct of the migrant and asylum seekers to the hard decisions we have to make.

The hiring freeze that we have in place is not because we don't want to hire. As you know, we did many hiring halls with our council people, our state lawmakers. The hiring freeze is because we have a financial problem that is coming from the cost of the asylum seekers and the migrants. And so when we talk about we're going to start seeing the impact of this, we need to clearly point out each time this is the impact.

The hiring freeze is attached to the migrants and asylum crisis. You know, Fabien, we need to constantly show New Yorkers in a real way this is what we're talking about, how this impacts us on the ground in a real way in the delivery of services.

Question: Couple things, Mr. Mayor. We had a story last night about a campaign fundraising practice where people who have business before the city and lobbyists host private fundraisers and sometimes raise tens of thousands of dollars but because they're not official campaign fundraisers they don't have to report that to the Campaign Finance Board. So, this is legal, but I'm wondering if you have any ethical concerns about that, whether you think maybe those fundraisers… Whether that should be reported to the city.

And then just one other thing quickly on the Local Law 97. You guys issued regulations this week. Can you just talk about the decision to give this sort of two‑year grace period to building owners? Some advocates think there shouldn't be a grace period at all. That's a loophole for real estate interests, and then on the other side you have building owners who think there should be… That this is still too burdensome for them.

Mayor Adams: Yes. Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi will go into Local Law 97. The story that you are talking last night that you guys did, let's be clear: all electeds are able to do this. So, it's not Eric Adams, you know, because sometimes the way it comes across is that this is something that just Eric Adams could do. And in your story — which I was happy to see — those who are in charge of the process said there's nothing illegal about it.

I am the only elected official in the state that has called for removing all money out of politics. No other elected official has called for this. I don't want to call 30,000 people. I don't want to hold fundraisers. I don't want to fill out all of these forms and documents.

What I believe the city and state should do is to say, you're running for mayor, we're going to give you $2 million. That's all you can spend on the election, and you need to use it for any way.

We shouldn't continue to have this whole conversation about calling people up, raising money and all the hours that it takes. I mean, it is burdensome. No one likes doing this. I don't like doing this. I called for it when I was running for office, I called for it when I was borough president.

We should move to a 100 percent public campaign finance system. And until then, I had to raise millions of dollars, and I followed the rules in doing it. The law is clear on what you could do and what you can't do, and that is what you pointed out in your story. And when you interviewed the person from CFB, I believe it was, they stated there's nothing illegal or improper about it. That's, we're given the rules on how to raise money, and you follow those rules, and that's what I do.

Mayor Adams: I'm sorry, DM, …Meera Joshi.

Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Operations: ...and you know, I want to commend the hard work of the climate offices in DOB — and I know you've probably seen the report — getting 97 done with an in depth financial analysis, the first of its kind, on what it really means to comply with Local Law 97.

And one of the big takeaways is it costs money and we have a very diverse group of building owners within New York City. In order to ensure that we get compliance, because compliance is ultimately the goal. We all lose if all we're doing is issuing violations, because the point is to clean our air. And it's not just compliance in 2024, it's really compliance in 2030 when the deepest cuts in emissions happen and the most benefits for New Yorkers will appear.

So, the idea of allowing people some ability in their making good faith efforts to get to their goals, some grace period is absolutely in line with compliance. Those that take the good faith efforts route, if it's approved by DOB, are not allowed to use RECs, and if they are unable to comply with the plan that they submit, they're subject to all of those penalties and retroactive.

And I want to just point out there is, you know, this is about cleaner air but it's also about job creation. Through the implementation of Local Law 97, we anticipate almost 140,000 new green jobs will be created, and that's a really important aspect to the rule and to compliance.

I want to really thank the support, the continued support of Councilmember [inaudible] and the entire City Council in getting one of the most complex and actually the most significant buildings emission reduction plan in the nation on the ground so we start seeing the results in the air.

Question: Mayor Adams, as of January [inaudible] positions in the Fire Department's Fire Plan Review Unit were unfilled. So, what's the city's situation there now, and what effect do you expect millions in budget cuts will have on getting required inspections performed on a timely basis.

Mayor Adams: This is which unit?

Question: The Fire Plan Review Unit, I believe one of these units that will go through buildings, see if they're up to code and can open.

Mayor Adams: Okay, so let me find out from Commissioner Farrell on exactly… Kavanagh, on exactly what's going on with the unit and is that one of, because there's certain units that we stated you could hire. 

It doesn't fall within our hiring freeze. I'll find out and we'll get back to you. But there's clearly an issue around, you know, filling some of these positions. Those critical positions we did give waivers to and so we'll see if that falls under that, all right, Fabien?

Deputy Mayor Levy: Yes. And remember, the January plan, FDNY is exempt from that one as well.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: How are you?

Mayor Adams: Good, and yourself?

Question: Good, thank you. Yesterday there was an interfaith group that said that they are willing to provide shelter for 5,000 single men with all the services at $80 per day and not $360 or something like that. Is this something that you are contemplating right now and thinking about to get into?

Mayor Adams: Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes. And Pastor Monrose, this was his brainchild months ago when Pastor Monrose came to me and we talked about the faith groups coming together.

What is so important around these issues, conceptual ideas are different from operational. And you know, there's a lot of ideas and good ideas. but when you start to operationalize them you realize, wait a minute, it's not that simple, because we never could put people in an area where they're going to be unsafe.

So, we have to abide by FDNY, DOB rules. And so they would come up with a church and say, listen… Like there was one church that they offered that they had a basement space. We couldn't use it. FDNY and DOB is not going to allow me to do something that is unsafe and I'm not going to allow this team to do something that's unsafe.

And so there may be a large number of churches that are available but we have to make sure each one of them are individually inspected, do they pass the test of FDNY and DOB; and in some cases, DOHMH.

And so what Pastor Montrose has been doing is going to all of the churches and saying we would like for you to be a part of this initiative. But they have said yes. They all want to do it for the most part, but it has to pass the hurdle of DOB and FDNY. Pastor, do you want to add on to that at all?

Pastor Gilford Monrose, Faith Advisor, Office of the Mayor: Yes, and I think that we have had great response from our interfaith partners across the city. We have had over 200 faith‑based organizations who have showed their interest. And we have to also remember is that we're asking the house of worship to become something that they weren't poised to do, which is to become an overnight shelter in short order.

So, dealing also to the existing finance with DOB, so it's a work in progress. We made the announcement months ago. This administration have always continued to be in relationship with the faith community, and we will continue to do so.

Mayor Adams: And so with that group that was together I think yesterday, if they could… And I know Camille, who's meeting with them? We've been engaged in the conversation.


Mayor Adams: If those groups can continue, we encourage what they're doing. If they could vet some of the churches and come to us and say here is a church that's already ready, you know, this church is ready, they're already vetted. We've got an outside entity that did a walk through and said that they're prepared.

Then it would make it easier for us. We want to do this. Pastor Monrose rolled this out, I think we even did an announcement with it with faith leaders. We did an announcement months ago. So, we want to do this but we have to pass the safety hurdle.

And so if they will come and pre-vet locations that we can just move in folks, it would be a ground ball. OMB is on board, everybody's on board. We think this is a brilliant idea, but now you've got to operationalize that idea.

Deputy Mayor Ana Almanzar, Strategic Initiatives: Mr. Mayor, I just want to… 

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Deputy Mayor Almanzar: Just to add. The [inaudible] church philanthropies and HPD have been the partnership to be able to provide funding for those organizations that are making the infrastructure improvement to the churches to be able to house our asylum seekers in the event that they will pass, as the mayor indicated, all the requirements through all the agencies they have to go through.

Question: Mr. Mayor, how are you?

Mayor Adams: What's happening?

Question: So, yesterday at your town hall you were asked… A resident raised concern over the budget cuts. You deflected, telling them that… Asking them if they had protested in Washington D.C. Are you calling on New Yorkers to go to D.C. to protest, and do you believe it's fair for them as you're the elected mayor here to be putting that on to them to then go protest in D.C.

And I just have one other question, too. In Texas yesterday, the governor there signed a bill making it illegal… Where police can arrest migrants for crossing the border illegally. Is this one of your upstream solutions? Do you support it? Any other response on that.

Mayor Adams: Okay, so let me do it in layers.

I traveled to D.C. numerous times, the Million Man March, to fight against abusive practices, for school support. That's what we do. The heart and soul of who we are as Americans is to go to our center of government and raise our voices when we believe government is not responding accordingly.

So, I'm not pushing this off on New Yorkers, I'm saying to New Yorkers you're angry and I'm angry, and the source of our discontent lies in Washington D.C. And we need to mobilize and rally and go to D.C. and say to the national government, this is not fair, what's happening to New York City.

And so what I want to successfully do, I want to tell to New Yorkers that that class that you're saying should not be cut, this is not our desire. Our desire is we put money in those classes. We put money in senior services. We put money in cleaning our streets.

So, I need to connect New Yorkers to the source of the problem, because many New Yorkers, when I meet them on the subways or on the streets, they say to me, well, I never knew you couldn't stop people from coming in that are migrant and asylum seekers. I never knew that you don't have the authority to do deportation, you don't have the authority to say that you're not going to house people.

Many New Yorkers don't know this. They're not aware of it. And so it is my role to educate them, this is who is responsible for what we're seeing in the City of New York. So, I don't think it's pushing it off, I think it's what I was always told as a child, as a young adult. If you want to advocate for something, don't depend on just one person, get engaged. Being a detached spectator in this full contact sport called life is not what I subscribe to. Being engaged.

What Governor Abbott is doing is wrong and I don't even think it's legal. From what my understanding is that he's talking about arresting people who come across to seek asylum. That is when people come across, they seek asylum. It is, I think is, you know, part of Donald Trump type policies, and I don't subscribe to that.

I think we need real immigration reform, we need a decompression strategy. We need to make sure those cities who are feeling the brunt of this receive the financial resources that they deserve. That is what I believe we need to do. If we're going to allow this to take place, we need to not put the burdens on everyday cities.

And our coalition is growing. I keep saying it over and over again, our coalition is growing. Others have joined me and realize this is wrong, what's happening to these cities.

Question: Thank you. You caught me off guard there. I was going to just follow up on the question about the houses of worship. So, Mr. Mayor, first, do you think you overestimated how easy it would be, because in your initial announcement in June, you expected to open, you know, 10 of these places in July, another 10 in August, maybe 20 in October.

They need to have working sprinkler systems in order to be licensed to operate like a shelter, which would be 19 people. I know now you're doing like 15 instead to try to kind of lower the bar so you can open them more quickly. But did you overestimate how easy it would be to do that?

And also, how much money have you spent so far or have houses of worship spent? Because I understand that some of them have spent money doing capital improvements hoping that they can get people in and get paid by the city and now they're kind of strapped for money.

Mayor Adams: I don't the correct terminology is "over-estimated."  When… I don't know if, I don't know and probably in the third chapter of my book when I'm finished it would explain all of this. I don't know if we know the fullness of what happened in this city, and we're almost a victim of our success, because you're not seeing what's happening in other cities.

In other cities, people are sleeping in precincts, sleeping in hospitals, sleeping on the streets, children and families. And because we were able to hold that back for so long, people thought, well, okay, this was just a walk in the park.

We had 150,000, 1.5 the size of Albany. A new city moved into our city. Not one child or family sleeping on the street. We absorbed children into our educational system, mental health support. Made sure that they had housing, clean and clothing, feeding people, giving them a place to sleep.

I mean, you know, we've got to really think about this. And 50 percent of those who came we were able to stabilize...

Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to the Mayor: 56.

Mayor Adams: 56 percent.

Lewis-Martin: 57.

Mayor Adams: 57 percent we were able to stabilize. You know, 80 percent of those we gave the 30‑day rule went on to stabilize their lives.

So, when you are on the field and you're moving the ball down the field and you're getting sacked continuously but yet you're able to get up and go back to the huddle and call another play to move that ball down the field, it is easy. That's what that term "Monday morning quarterback" is about, it's easy to be detached and say, well, why don't you do X and X? I'm on the field, I'm getting sacked.

This team is the offense and defensive line. We've moved the ball down the field better than any municipality in this country, in this country. And so it wasn't an underestimation, this team constantly came together and say, come on, folks. Come up with ideas.

I was hitting them hard, give me some ideas. We've gotta fix this problem. I can't have children and families sleeping on the streets. And so it was a… FDNY, DOB, who was part of our conversations, they were very clear. Mayor, we're not going to downgrade the public safety issue.

So, now you get into a church, you think you could just move them in. But once DOB and FDNY comes in and tell us this is what we have to do, then you say, okay, we can't do that church. So, we may start out with a list with 100 churches and then once they tell us, okay, you can't get this, they may dwindle down to only 20. And now we found money for showers to help build our showers inside the churches. We're going to continue to evolve and try to get them on. Anne, you want to add anything to that?

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: The only thing I want to add is that there has been money that was put out for capital improvements and then there was… They were, because they're new to this process a lot of them were not invoicing correctly. So, it's my understanding as of today those invoices are in and they should get their payment in about two weeks or so.

Question: Just a quick follow up just for Anne. Can you just tell us, have any changes been made in terms of when the deadline for the 60‑day notices for migrant families will come due? I know it's supposed to be Christmas week. Have you said now officially what day they will… 

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom:  I think we pushed, I thought we said it last week but maybe not. That's okay. So, we've pushed it back to early January.

Question: Mr. Mayor, [inaudible] with the human rights, okay? According to the media reports yesterday, more than 9,000 innocents kids killed in Gaza. My question is, how long it's going to [inaudible] more with any elected officials including you to ask about the ceasefire.

Mayor Adams: Listen, no innocent person should lose his or her life in any war in general but specifically what's playing out in the Middle East. I think every hostage should be returned. I think Hamas needs to be destroyed. I think they're a terrorist organization that carried out horrific acts.

I don't want to see an innocent person lose his or her life in Israel or in Palestine. I've made that clear over and over again. I have a large Palestinian and Jewish community and Muslim and Arab community in the city. We have a very diverse city.

I don't want to see innocent people killed. And those who are responsible for the negotiation and the decisions on how they're going to move forward in this action is beyond my scope. As the mayor of the City of New York I would like to see the loss of lives of innocent people to come to a conclusion. And the negotiators will determine exactly how to move forward with that. And I don't want to interfere and damage that process.

Question: Mr. Mayor, on PIX on Politics to my colleague Dan you said, quote, every day you wake up you could experience something from a plane crashing into our Trade Center to a person who is celebrating a new business that is opening. This is a very complicated city, that is why it's the greatest city on the globe.

Dan had asked one word to sum up the year. I don't think anyone's questioning your enthusiasm and love for the city, but do you regret evoking 9/11 in describing the complicated crazy nature of this place?

Mayor Adams: No. No, no. And you know, the sentence police that sit in front of the TV and say, let's wait to see Eric make one sentence that we can turn into a front page. Listen, you're going to find many of them, because I'm authentic and I'm going to talk the way New Yorkers talk.

And I think it's an insult as someone who served during 9/11, served during 9/11. I didn't read about it, I didn't hear about it, I lost very dear friends and colleagues. I've said it over and over again, the resiliency, the complexities of our city, 9/11 was a devastating time.

I still remember getting calls of my loved ones and friends and colleagues that I lost, but I also know something else. 9/12, we got up. Storekeepers opened their stores, teachers taught, police policed. We said to the terrorism we're not going to be in fear.

And using the analogy of the complexity of what could happen in this city from planes landing on our Hudson River to all the other things, that was my comment. Those who take my comments in good faith are not going to try to turn them around and all of a sudden say you are trying to desecrate 9/11.

Listen, those who have those evil feelings in their heart is going take it that way. People knew what I was saying. The city is complex, and much of the complexity, believe it or not, you guys don't even know about. You don't deal with what I deal with every day in this city all day.

You cannot… 

Question: [Inaudible].

Mayor Adams: Hold on, we don't, we don't cut each other off. You cannot imagine how complex this city is every day that this team has to respond to. And so that is what I was saying, and those who understand, you know, the way I communicate, they know it wasn't being offensive. Those who don't, they're going to find a reason always. 8.3 million people, 36 million opinions.

Question: So, you used an example from today of that complex… I mean, I'm trying to expand on your… Like, give us something you heard today, complexity we don't hear about. Give us an example.

Mayor Adams: Well, you heard about today. We had two children who we lost that we're still trying to figure out, you know, exactly what happened. You know, it when I wake up in the morning or when I am called in the middle of the night of things that are happening that I have to respond to, or my detail knocks on my door and say, you know, mayor, we need you to get up and go to respond, an 11‑month‑old child was just shot in the head.

Or that listen, we have a storm that's about to hit our city, or we just had a person that has been missing that jumped into the river and committed suicide, or, you know, we just had a teacher standing over… Or, a school employee standing over a child with their pants down.

Listen, all day every day. All day every day. And you have to be able to make the right calls to use this team of people that's up here to respond to them. Or, I can get a call, listen, we have a credible… We have a credible terrorist threat. We have a person who has made some serious threats.

I can't talk about that. I have to pull the team together and say, listen, we have a potential threat coming to our city, you know, we need to start executing the plan. This is the daily life. And you know, my years of experience has prepared me for taking all of this incoming and executing the plan and still moving the city forward.

Listen, folks. Look at the indicators: AA bond rating, more jobs, private sector jobs in the history of this city, 26 decrease in shootings, 12 percent decrease in homicides, five of the seven major crime categories are down. Major companies are coming here, delivering money for teachers, 90 percent of our unions contracts settled, 100 percent of the uniformed union contracts are settled. I mean, we're moving the ball in spite of all of this. What's up, Mike?

Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor, how are you doing. I'm going to read my question so I don't mess it up. Anthony Baez’s mother Iris told this back in 2021 you promised you'd support legislation requiring reporting on various stop encounters with police, consent searches. She's now kind of in fear that you risk breaking that promise. Are you still planning to veto that bill? And also on the same question on the solitary confinement ban. And you know, what message would you have for Baez’s today?

The second topic, I'll be quick, is on transparency, you know, this issue with the Shack and the potential of reporters to be put out. You know the I guess controversy over just doing one of these a week, that you know, you're aware of. You know, not voluntarily disclosing meetings with the lobbyists, like… 

Mayor Adams: Not voluntarily disclosing… 

Question: Meetings with, admin meetings, administration officials meeting with the lobbyists.

Mayor Adams: Is that against the law? By the way, is that against the law?

Question: Is what?

Mayor Adams: Is it against the law or any rule?

Question: No, no, no. I mean, there was just a transparency measure that was implemented under de Blasio. So, you know, I noticed in remarks before you've kind of touted the admins, the administration's transparency measures, like how do you reconcile those things? I mean, other people aren't seeing it that way. Could you just kind of give us a sense of why you think those things make this a transparent administration?

Mayor Adams: This is how I engage and govern. What is John telling me in the barber shop? Or, Mary's telling me in the hair salon? Not one person I met on a subway says, why don't you move the reporters into the Shack… I mean, from the Shack into a trailer. Not one.

Not one person. Those list of items you just mentioned to me, not one New Yorker came up to me on the streets and raised them. Now, they do raise, hey, Eric, I have a problem with trash on my street. I'm a blue collar mayor, I worry about blue collar issues. So, I'm going to peel back each one of those items that you mentioned.

When Commissioner Sewell and Caban came into One Police Plaza, they knew that a small number of people were using the Shack. Ethnic media did not exist. Local community media did not exist. The people who were assigned to DCPI was not a reflection of the diversity of this city. They couldn't… Local and ethnic media, Pakistani and African, Caribbean, they could not get information. There was a select group of people.

And so what did we say? We don't have enough space at One Police Plaza. We don't have enough space at One Police Plaza. Let's move to a bigger space to give you a bigger space and a broader group of people to come in and allow more of the ethnic media to come in. That's what we did. It wasn't a lack of transparency, it was just the opposite: we want more people to come in and cover, more people want to cover the Police Department, and that is what we accomplished.

Now, how it was determined it has been lack of being transparent, I disagree with you, I disagree with you wholeheartedly. It is an expansion. If anything, Michael, it's an expansion to let other groups in. There are many who are in this room right now that have never been in here, never been able to cover what we are doing and what previous administrations have done.

And so the bill, the two bills. And you know why Iris can say about the relationship of, you know, what she would like from me? You know why she could do that? Because I know her. She's not a stranger to me. I know Iris. I know Diallo's mother. I know's [Zongo's] family. I know Abner Louima personally, who endorsed me. I know [Doris Munn]  All these people know me personally. I sat with them, I marched with them, I talk with them.

The bill that's been produced, and everybody needs to understand this bill. There's a federal definition of Level 1 stops. That is, and Lisa, can you… I want Lisa to explain this to you. We are about to pass a bill that is going to damage our ability to keep the city safe because of the police resources that are going to be used. Lisa, can you go into that bill?

Lisa Zornberg, Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall: Yes, I'd be happy to. So, what I'll refer to as the Level 1 stop bill is highly problematic for New Yorkers and for effective policing. What is a Level 1? It's defined by New York State law in a Court of Appeals decision, and a Level 1 as defined currently really describes any interaction between a police officer and a citizen which is investigative in nature for either a public service function or a law enforcement function.

So, a Level 1 stop, let me give you specific examples of the reporting requirements that would be heaped on police officers on patrol. Let's take tourism. If an officer on patrol approaches a tourist because they believe they're lost, that's a Level 1 encounter under New York State law because the police officer's approaching that tourist in a professional capacity to give a public service.

That is a very routine encounter that occurs tens of thousands of times each year and under the pending legislation, that bill, it would all have to be documented with paperwork including with police officers making determinations as to the race and ethnicity of who the tourist or the person is.

Missing persons. If a police respond to a missing person report, that's a Level 1 encounter because the police are conducting an investigation both for the purpose of providing a public service and possibly for a law enforcement function. They would have to be subject to all of the onerous reporting requirements for that.

Let's take a bodega owner. If a patrol officer walks into a bodega and asks the clerk, do you have any concerns about crime in the area, that's a Level 1 stop subject to onerous reporting requirements.

So, this law, this bill as currently written, would incentivize police officers to do the exact opposite of what we want from an effective police force engaging in community policing. It would discourage police officers from talking to community members simply to avoid becoming a paperwork bureaucracy.

And guess what? It would also impair the ability of our district attorneys and local prosecutors to meet discovery obligations and prosecute all of the cases that New Yorkers want prosecuted to keep our streets safe, because everyday police officers would be too busy doing paperwork and turning it over and slow down the whole system.

So, I can tell you that the NYPD is in active discussion with the City Council about reporting requirements that are sensible, but this Level 1 stop bill is problematic for a host of reasons, and I don't think that's what New Yorkers want.

Mayor Adams: And so play that out for a moment, right, Mike? Let's play it out. We're not talking about one incident. You're at Times Square, you're in the 75 precinct, you're in the 68 precinct. You're an active cop. Missing person. You're stopping asking six, seven people, did you see this child, did you see this child?

Each encounter is going to take, let's say five minutes. After you put the information on your phone, then you got to go back, you got to download the document. If you spoke with six people on that missing person, that's 30 minutes. If you responded to a cat in a tree and you asked the person, hey, is that your cat, that's another time.

This stuff adds up. So, now my police officers, because remember, our tours are closely connected. When you do the day tour, the four to 12 is coming to relieve the day tour, like the midnight comes to relieve the four to 12. If I'm telling those offices you need to come in an hour earlier to fill out your paperwork, there's a gap. That cop is not on patrol. That cop is not responding to your calls of service. And so some people say, well, just give them overtime. Is this the same City Council that's talking about why are we spending so much money on overtime?

So, operationalizing ideas is different from just conceptualizing. And idealism collides with realism all the time. This bill is going to tie up police officers, take them off patrol and create this paper bureaucracy. Level 2's, we got it. If there's a criminal interaction, you know, I fought to make sure Stop and Frisk is used correctly, we got that.

But you just heard what the counsel read about Level 1's, it's every encounter of police service. I mean, does that make any sense? 

And so the same with solitary confinement. I don't support solitary confinement. Remember people who are in jail. People who are in jail committed a crime, and in particular in this circumstances it had to be a violent crime, because to sit in jail for the most part.

They are told you no longer can live in society until your case is resolved, for the most part. They go into jail. They commit a violent act while they're in jail. 80 percent of the times it's committed on another inmate. And this bill is saying before you put them in punitive segregation, before you take them out of population, we must have a due process.

So, the same violent person that committed a violent act is going to stay in the same population that he committed the violent act until there's a due process. That's the same as someone comes and commits a felonious assault on you, and before the police officer can put them in jail you need to give them a due process before you could put them in jail. C'mon.

Question: How much additional time do you think it would amount to for a police officer to tap in like whatever new bits of information, demographic information, because my understanding is that that's basically, you know, filling in a couple more blanks or boxes in a form that already exists.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Just to give you a little data, Mike. There 7.5… An estimate of 7.5 million NYPD and 911 calls a year, and from all the calls that go to 311, about 1 million of them at least are transferred over to 911. So, that's at least 8.5 million additional pieces of paperwork we're going to have to fill out.

Mayor Adams: Right.

Question: Was it an additional piece of paperwork or…  A piece of paperwork that already exists for stops that just new bits of information need to be filled in. And I'm trying to just understand how that works.

Mayor Adams: Yes. From my understanding they have some type of app that they have to put the additional information.

Lewis-Martin: It's not created yet, mayor.

Mayor Adams: They haven't created the app. Okay.

Lewis-Martin: The app is not created yet.

Mayor Adams: So, and so now keep in mind, because that's why I'm saying we need to operationalize this. When I'm filling out a form as a police officer, I'm now out of action, because you're not going to be on patrol, you're not going to be on the corner somewhere with your head down filling out a form.

So, I'm telling that police officer, you're out of action. Either you're going to go in your car and sit down and fill out that paperwork, that inquiry you're making. You're now out of action. That's what the danger is. And if it was just one time a day you're doing that, no. Every encounter you have.

So, if you were at Times Square and you have 50 interactions. Let's say three minutes apiece, it's anywhere from three to five minutes. That's 150 minutes that you are going to be doing some type of documentation. C'mon.


No, go ahead…

Question: So are you going to veto that bill if it comes to you and are you going to veto the solitary confinement...

Mayor Adams: I don't like the bills, and we want to continue to talk with the council members because the overwhelming number of council members want their community safe, they want to make sure that we treat those who are incarcerated in a humane way.

But what I have found is the idealism collides with realism and the talking points of a bill is different from the operationalizing of a bill. Like, there are people who are supporting this bill that are dealing with public safety issues in their borough.

You know, like those who… You were at the town hall yesterday. How many of those residents there were talking about public safety? That was in opposition what you hear from those who are elected in that area. 

People don't want people doing things that make their community safe. I thought it was amazing that gentleman who spoke Spanish. He laid out that, listen, I want my community to be safe. I want my family to be safe.

And I guarantee you they don't support something like this. They don't want to handcuff police. They want to handcuff violent people.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. Good morning.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: I'm well, sir. So, Mr. Mayor, just piggybacking on Mike's first question regarding the NYPD and the Shack. So, ethnic and community media, as you mentioned, NYPD wants more media outlets to be able to cover it, to cover police activity. But Mr. Mayor, what about here in this building in Room 9?

Mayor Adams: Right.

Question: How many ethnic and community media outlets are here in Room 9 covering your administration, and would this administration open it up and allow more space so more ethnic and community media can continue to cover your administration?

Mayor Adams: I'm so glad you said that, because it comes across that I'm the bad guy because I want to expand, you know, and I'm not sure who controls Room 9. Can we find out… 

Deputy Mayor Levy: No, we do.

Mayor Adams: Hold on, hold on. You said who does?


Deputy Mayor Levy: Guys, guys. We'll answer, we do. And there are multiple outlets in that room that have multiple seats. So we can talk about, I'm happy to have a conversation about making sure ethnic and community media do that and to have one seat per outlet. We're happy to do that.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Mike, Jeff, how do you feel about that?


Deputy Mayor Levy: Got it. We will happily have that conversation, Mona, but I think the mayor made the point very clearly that this is the first administration to specifically invite ethnic and community media into these off topics because we want to make sure that you're advocating and speaking to your communities. But I'm happy to have that conversation.

Mayor Adams: So, what we're going to do, here's my commitment… And I'm so glad you raised that, because I wasn't aware of who controlled the space, because I know the City Council and we both have sort of dual tenancy. We're going to do an analysis of how we're using space in the building for the press.

We're going to make a determination if those who have multiple seats if they're going to have to decide which one of them are going to have to give up one. We're going to have to open this place up to the ethnic and community media. Give us some time after the New Years, and Fabien is going to come back and give me an analysis of how we could do it to expand it.

Question: Just one follow up question, I'm sorry. Also Mayor Adams, the bill that's being introduced by Assemblyman Al Taylor and Senator Parker to create the governor's office of ethnic and community media because a report came out with less than five percent over 10 years given to ethnic and community media.

And the bill seeks to replicate what you have here in New York City, this model. Is that something that you would consider supporting the exact model but on a statewide level to support ethnic and community media.

Mayor Adams: Without a doubt. I've made it clear that we do not speak to all New Yorkers and I believe we need to do a better job in doing that. I saw that during Covid, we failed to. We know that people thought that folks only looked at certain outlets and certain papers.

We have been unfair to ethnic and community media in this city, and we've treated them as second class citizens. I don't believe and it's not going to continue in this administration. As I stated, I'm going to support that bill and I'm going to speak with both the assemblyman and the senator, and we're going to do our analysis here. I'm glad you raised it. We're going to do our analysis here and we're going to level the playing field.

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: And a shoutout to José.

Mayor Adams: Yes, Jose has done… And José has done an amazing job on ethnic and community media looking at how we are advertising, how we do as, you know, we do ethnic media coverage each week when we speak one on one to reporters, we do roundtables with them. I have been clear from the beginning, I ran on making sure we diversify the press corps and we expand it.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. As you may or may not know there's a not so small rally planned for outside your window this afternoon, a bunch of elected leaders basically demanding the city end the 60‑day right to shelter rule. What's your response to that? And are you willing to reconsider it with the winter months coming? And if not, you talk about this a lot but where are these people supposed to go.

Mayor Adams: Yes, and listen, I respect… Listen, I've been on protests. And I protested in my days, I have been on the receiving end of protests. That's what's beautiful about this city. Like I keep saying, 8.3 million, 35 million opinions. So, they have the right to protest.

When they finish protesting, they should start volunteering. We have a lot of needs of what needs to be done. And I hear many people tell us what we shouldn't do, that shows we have shown a great level of success, but no one has an alternative.

These are challenging times. And so if they're saying that, Eric, don't do the 30‑day rules which allowed us to get 80 percent of the people who had the 30‑day rules did not come back in the system, if they're saying that they need you to give me an alternative.

If they say don't do the 60‑day rule, give me an alternative, because we've been open to ideas. That's one thing we have not said, we're not going to take a good idea. We've had roundtables with advocates, et cetera. And so they have the right to protest, and you know, if they've got some good ideas we're going to entertain it.

Question: ...worried about the fact that it's… Winter is approaching and that, you know, you have seen families out on the street waiting for shelter. I mean, this is, I know that you care about these people...

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: ... I mean, what's your…


Mayor Adams: Hold up. And we are worried. We are worried, and I want Anne, I want you to get in in a minute. But what I would like for you to do, the same thing I did yesterday at that town hall, each one of them out there, I want you to ask them, have you been to Washington? Have you communicated to the federal lawmakers that this should not be happening to the city?

See, they are responding to the water overflowing, they're not responding to turning off the faucet. Every one of them out there, the question that you should be asking, hey, by the way, have you gone to Washington? And I guarantee you 95 percent are going to tell you no.

Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: The only thing I have to add is that when you look at places like Massachusetts that got up to 7,500 families and then said we don't have an appropriation of funds so we're not going to be able to let any more people in, when you look at Chicago and you see families sleeping on police precincts, I'm actually not concerned about the people out there.

And if you ask me if I'm worried, I am worried. That is why we have been talking about this and saying with 67,000 people who are in our care right now, with over 50,000 people who have come since over the past 18 months. Someone said it the other day. The system that we have right now took 40 years to build, we doubled it in 18 months.

And so I just, I get it, and I understand everybody should protest. But I think that we should focus on why is it that we are still in this situation and why are we putting families and children in jeopardy.

Camille Joseph Varlack, Chief of Staff to the Mayor: Importantly noting that families with children have not been on the street.

Mayor Adams: Right.

Deputy Mayor Levy: And I would just add to that again to the point that we made before, look at how successful we've been that 157,000‑plus people have come. We've helped more than, what is that, 90,000 or so, go on to take the next step in their journey, 57 percent of people have moved on to the next location.

We've managed this crisis so well, even the comptroller is agreeing with us now on the budget deficit that we did. I don't know if you saw last Friday, he's even agreeing with us. So, you know, people who are disagreeing with us before are agreeing with us now and how we're doing.

Lewis-Martin: Let me say this. It's amazing to me that everyone is questioning this administration about what we are doing, and almost no one is saying anything to Washington, D.C. Again, we are a municipality doing the federal government's job. They need to do their jobs. If the Congress and the senate would partner and come up with a decompression strategy and come up with true immigration reform, we would not be in this situation.

And this is the same thing repeatedly. Every week we've been singing the same exact song, and it hasn't changed. So, again, a few weeks ago we told you we needed your help as press. You grill us, and that's fine. We're here to be grilled. But you need to go and grill Washington D.C. and find out why Washington D.C. isn't doing its job to help New York City.

We need help from Washington D.C. And as our mayor said, those elected officials who are outside, they need to do their job as well and partner with us instead of pointing fingers at us. Stand with us, and let D.C. know you are derelict in your responsibility.

And the governor, thank the governor for what she's done thus far, but it's a short, short fall for her. She needs to open up upstate. We keep telling you the same exact thing. So, I hope the people in New York City are finally understanding. We need help from our government: upstate, the governor, and the federal government. That's what we need.

Mayor Adams: And I'm glad you said that. And there needs to be a roll call, of every elected that is critiquing what we're doing, the question needs to be asked, have you been to D.C. It took the comptroller this year, this is the number one issue that is addressing many issues, that's feeding many issues.

And so everyone is saying that we should do this with food, we should do this with not Floyd Bennett Field, we should do this, we should do this. Got it. We heard what we should do. But now the question is asked, this is impacting your constituency, have you been to D.C. to share that this should not be happening to us? That's the question.

Question: Do you really think, is Lincoln Restler that powerful that you think Biden's going to listen to him…

Mayor Adams: I think that, Jeff, when they combine. If we have a complete City Council delegation joined with a complete senate and assembly delegation it gives it the symbolism and it gives the urgency that we're facing, because this impacts all of their districts.

And so the energy that some of them are showing of critiquing our success that… Municipalities is looking to say, how the heck you guys did this, you know. They should critique us where we should be critiqued, but to say you are not critiquing the national government at all? That's… Let's critique the faucet, because we are overflowing.

We had 3,900, I mean, what was it last week?

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: 3,800.

Mayor Adams: 3,800 last week. This is per week, not per month. We had 3,800 last week. Massachusetts has, what, 7,000?

First Deputy Mayor Wright: 7,500.

Mayor Adams: So, in one week we had 50 percent of what they had and they cut it off.

Question: So, on this note about immigration.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: Trump saying that immigrants are poisoning the blood of America. Does that make you think twice about your own rhetoric about this? Just, I know that you're really frustrated and have been frustrated and been sharing that, but does that frustration, you know, as the election gets closer, does that stand a chance of helping Trump frame immigration as a problem for cities?

Mayor Adams: Well, first of all, you know, that's a very...

Lewis-Martin: Volatile.

Mayor Adams: ...volatile terminology, "rhetoric." I'm not spewing rhetoric, I'm advocating for the city that I love. And I'm watching firsthand of what is happening to the city that I loved and I protected as a police officer and that my kid brother protected as a police officer sergeant, and that my cousins protected as police officers...

Lewis-Martin: And my husband.

Mayor Adams: And… Yes, your husband, my police academy buddy, protected.

And so when you are watching what's happening to your city, that's not rhetoric, that is being honest with New Yorkers. And I do not advocate to Trump's policies. We are a city of immigrants.

Everyone in this room at one time or another have come from some immigrant background. And we have always been receptive to immigrants. And the difference between now and then is that our immigrants have been allowed to participate in society. It is wrong to tell people to come to our country and you can't work, you can't provide for yourself, you can't provide for your family.

That is so dehumanizing that you're an adult and you have to go to your babies and say I can't provide for you, I have to depend on every service I get for my family has to come from government. That is just wrong, and it's anti-American.

And so I'm going to continue to advocate on behalf of New Yorkers, the migrant and asylum seekers, and all the immigrants in this city because the immigrants of this city mix with those of us who came from the south and other places made this city what it is. And that is what makes us great, because of that.

Lewis-Martin: And I want to circle back. Somebody asked about New Yorkers going to Washington D.C. If a bunch of New Yorkers went to Washington. D.C. and spoke to the elected officials in Washington D.C., maybe then those elected officials will realize that New Yorkers understand what is going on in our city and that New Yorkers understand that the federal government is derelict in its responsibilities, and that the New Yorkers that the federal government is elected to represent expects for the federal government to step up and do its job.

And your coalition, mayor, that you started, all of the different states need to get their constituents and their base to all trek down to Washington, D.C. like the One Million Man March, like during the Civil Rights Movement, because this is outrageous. This is outrageous. And the news, you need to cover that. You need to make it clear that Washington is not doing its job. That's what you need to do.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Got it, Jeff?

Question: Congestion pricing… 

Mayor Adams: Hold on. I'm going to make sure I get to you, though, okay? But let...

Question: BAI? Can we get a [inaudible]...

Mayor Adams: Yes, you know I love BAI.

Question: Oh, really?

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: Hello, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: Yes. How are you?

Question: To continue that topic, because there is a stall right now in Washington over the package aid for Ukraine, for Israel, and the reason is basically to push for the immigration reform from the republicans. So, what would be your takeaway from that?

Mayor Adams: If any package that's passed, my communications with the senator and the congressman, Congressman Jeffries, Senator Schumer, they stated they were going to advocate to make sure they're going to fight, I should say, to ensure that of some type of relief comes through, finance relief comes to New York and those other municipalities that are being impacted.

And so I'm hoping that that conversation continues, that we have to deal with this issue and it's going to cost dollars and cents to do so. $1.3 billion is not the answer, we need far more than that for the entire, all the cities and states that are being impacted. And I hope they keep advocating for that.

That is why I've been to Washington 10 times, and that's why we're going to continue to go. I don't want to allow this conversation to fall in the shadows, I have to stay front and center.

Question: [Inaudible].

Mayor Adams: Oh, no, no, no, no. You'll get [inaudible] we were long winded and I want...

Question: Congestion pricing question. I know it's a state matter, but you said this is the beginning of the process. One thing that occurs to me is 500,000 people a year, and a lot of the first responders don't live in here. Are we going to, is there any exemption for police and fire who have to come to protect us people in the city, are they going to be charged the same price or will they carve out an exemption...

Mayor Adams: You're talking about the drive down said that...

Question: ...the drive down...

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: A lot of them live in places that don't have mass transit, they're coming in, you know, one in the morning, you know, midnight shifts. Mass transit is terrible at that hour of the day. They use a car, are we gotta tax them and use a car.

Mayor Adams: Listen, the concept of congestion pricing, you know, I say it over and over again, it's a good concept. And we have to operationalize any concept that we introduce. And you cannot allow idealism to get in the way of realism.

I've made it clear, we cannot move the environmental issues to the outer boroughs like the Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, et cetera. We have to make sure that there are those who should be exempt.

My focus are individuals who drive their cars out of luxury. That is who should be paying for congestion pricing. If you're doing it out of luxury, you should be taxed for doing so.

I don't think that those who are dealing with necessity, I don't think we should hurt those taxi cab drivers, my school buses and others. And so this is part of the conversation that's going on.

I wish we would have had complete control of rolling out congestion pricing, but we didn't. It was the state gave the authority to the MTA. I thought these were our streets. I believe we should have had, we should have put together the panel, we should have had the hearings, we should have came out with the final product. But I don't have that. I had one rep on the board, the panel, and I advocated, I told him what my desires were. I'm going to get to you. I'm not going to forget you.

Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Operations: The law [inaudible] exempts emergency vehicles and the board has recommended an exemption for specialized government vehicles. So, we'll be engaging with the MTA, board members and staff on that definition.

Question: [Inaudible] ambulance in and out, but what if they're coming to work… 

Deputy Mayor Joshi: Right, so that definition of specialized government vehicles was left pretty much undefined, and that's work ahead.

Mayor Adams: Go ahead, BAI.

Question: Okay, thank you. Mr. Mayor, before the First World War, a republican governor faced with a $5 million deficit for those days back in Albany, imposed a thing called the stock transfer tax. It was a nickel per $100. It's been on the books in places like London since the 1690s.

And so in the 1980s [inaudible] Democrats decided to rebate it back to Wall Street. Phil Steck, the assemblyman from Schenectady says some 300… Over $300 billion has been handed back. Is it possible in this era of emergency where everything is about money we could implore good citizens like Kathryn Wylde and other business groups to just suspend that rebate for this period of time? Because, sir, as you know, Washington can't agree who won the last presidential election.

Mayor Adams: That's a state issue. They're going to have to debate that and come up with a conclusion.  I don't think I could make it any clearer that everything should be on the table because by law we have to balance our budget.

And this is not all about money, I want to be clear on that. This is not about money, because if we subscribe to the theory that we need to just continue to pay for anyone coming anywhere on the globe to New York City and stay as long as they want on our dime, that's a losing scenario.

We have to fix the problem, because if we don't fix the problem, this could become a bottomless pit that we will constantly find ways of how do you pay for something over and over again. That is not a solution. We have to fix the problem. Okay.

Hold on, hold on. Let me do a few and then we're going to bounce.

Question: Good morning. You had a plan for New York City when you were running for mayor...

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: And you were probably expecting challenges, but maybe not the migrant crisis.

Mayor Adams: Um‑hmm.

Question: Do you see an end to it? People are resistant about touching the Right to Shelter law. Will the solution be a bottomless budget or anything else?

Mayor Adams: Both my conversation with former mayors and mayors across the country, they've made it clear that running a city of this size, they say this is the second most difficult job in politics. We've heard it over and over again. Running a city of this size, they say, Eric, there's going to be some unforeseen challenges that you cannot imagine.

Like Bill de Blasio didn't expect Covid. I mean, we closed down our city for the first time, you know? And he had to navigate it. It was a real challenge.

And so when you look at what we are experiencing here with the migrant and asylum seekers crisis, Covid, we saw an end. The migrant and asylum crisis, I don't see an end to this flow if we don't have real changes in Washington D.C. And as I was just saying, we can't just say, well, let's just figure out how do we find more money, because we're limited in the money that we can spend.

And so it's a real concern for me. It keeps me up at night, and I'm sure it keeps this team up at night. How do you handle, you know, close to 4,000 people a week — a week — it's a challenge. You know, and we have… To the surprise of many, we have done an unbelievable job of building this system.

Is it perfect? No. But it's a system that prevented children and families from sleeping on the street and it's a system that prevented from inhumane ways of taking care of people. It came with a high cost, and we've got to continue to navigate our way through this.

And I just thank God that I'm the mayor right now during these times because of the life that I've lived and my understanding of managing complex problems, that I'm glad that I'm here, because there's some other folks, if they were running the city right now, we'd be in a whole lot of trouble.

Question: Thank you. Mr. Mayor, Jenn Peltz AP. The governor has today signed a bill that creates a commission to study the reparations. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Mayor Adams: It should be studied. It should be studied. I think that was...whose bill was that. Do we know whose bill was that?


Mayor Adams: Sanders. Sanders.

And I take my hat off to Sanders. Sanders and I, we went to Africa together as senators. It was his first trip, and it was very emotional for him. We went to the Ivory Coast. You know, we never really dealt with or reckoned with slavery, and there are some institutions that wealth is directly connected to slavery.

It's not like it's a mystery. There are institutions that are in place right now that their foundation came from free slave labor. And so we have to reckon with that, and I take my hat off to Senator Sanders for saying that because, you know, substantial amount of time that passed, we cannot ignore the wrongs.

And after the study is done, we should come up with an analysis of what are the next steps. And we've heard this often from people of African American ancestry who are saying that listen, let's not act like it didn't happen. It happened. It impacted, and it's still impacting.

There's some, still, emotional trauma. You can't go across this country and see the same ethnic group in the same state of despair across the country. It's not like the problems we're having here in New York is any different from what's happening in Chicago and Los Angeles, et cetera. And so we need to see how do we reckon with the very dark past that this country has experienced.

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