July 28, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. We all know that beyond the huge health care crisis we've been dealing with, with the coronavirus, we know there's been a massive toll in terms of what's happened in our neighborhoods, our small businesses, our communities. Think particularly about small businesses that are part of the life of our neighborhoods that we depend on so much, how many of them are threatened right now. And that's particularly true in communities of color. We need to do everything we can to help save small businesses, neighborhood businesses, all over the city and help bring them back as we fight back against the coronavirus. So, I want to talk about that and I'm joined by some very special guests today, and we'll talk about that as well. But first I got to talk about the news out of Washington.
The Republicans in the U. S. Senate presented their version of a stimulus plan. But I have to say to Majority Leader McConnell, not much of a stimulus there. In fact, I would call it a nonstarter. This plan literally provides zero support for state and local governments that are fighting through this crisis, that are struggling just to keep basic services going, to provide the health support people need, to make sure that our first responders and our health care heroes will still have their jobs to keep serving us. It slashes – literally this stimulus plan from the Republicans, slashes unemployment benefits at a point where people need them more than ever. It ignores entirely the extent of the hunger crisis. And we know right now in the city, almost two million New Yorkers need food at some point or another in the week. And we're providing food for free to all New Yorkers who need it – 100 million meals served so far for free. The Republican Senate plan just doesn't work. And it certainly fails places that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus like New York City.
So, again, this plan will not work. It is a nonstarter. It literally misses the opportunity to help us fight back, fight this disease, restart our economy. This plan will not help us do that. And we need to see something much better. Once again, the President of the United States remains silent on the topic. We need to fight for a much better, much clearer stimulus. And in the end, think about it now, think about the first responders, the health care heroes, think about the teachers, think about the sanitation workers, all the people we depend on who, right now, don't know if they're going to have their jobs in the future. The very people who fought through this crisis and saved us, don't know what the future looks like not only here, but all over the country. And there is no new revenue coming. So, unless this stimulus happens in Washington on the level we needed to, we won't be able to save the jobs that deserve to be saved. We won't be able to restart our economy. The analogy that I would say is, this is like the Republicans in the Senate saying they have a firetruck and they go to a burning building and they parked the firetruck in front of the burning building, but they refuse to hook up the hose and put out the fire. That's what this plan says to us. It says they aren't interested in actually solving the problem.
So, with that, I want to go back to where I started. The fact is – and everyone, when you think about your own neighborhood, when you think about what's happened to the small businesses in your community, when you think about how many jobs are at stake, the life of the neighborhood, the character of the neighborhood, so much that we depend on and particularly think about the burdens that communities of color are experiencing. They have borne the brunt of the coronavirus crisis. The disparities are raw and clear, and that comes home as well with small business. Look, there has been some federal support. You know, I'll tell you when I think the federal government's done something right. The PPP Program did some good, but, disproportionately, people of color businesses were not able to access that support and those loans. We found at the same time who did get that support – big business did great. They are doing fine. Wealthy people did great accessing government support as per usual, the stock market's booming, but regular, everyday people, particularly people of color could not get that help.
So, we have been looking at that reality and saying, we can't depend on the federal government. We've seen that they're not trying to do enough for businesses in communities of color. So, we need to do more locally with every tool we have and our Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity has been leading the way. And this is again leaders within the City government agencies, people of color in senior roles and key government agencies who have gathered together to put together, not just recommendations, but action items – right now action items to make an impact and help people in the most distressed communities all over this city. Today, I'll be signing an executive order that will expand our current efforts to help minority and women-owned businesses with a particular focus on the 27 neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus. And you're going to hear more in a moment about the details, but one thing that we're going to say very, very clearly is that for all the contracts where the City has more discretionary power, that being contracts under half-a-million dollars, there must be an aggressive effort with each and every one of those contracts to identify minority and women-owned businesses who deserve that opportunity and make sure as many of them as possible get that opportunity because it is crucial to get money to the grassroots, in the hands of businesses that will turn around and employ people at the local level, and to save those businesses, a lot of whom might not make it if they don't get more support.
So, the effort that led to this executive order has been led by a number of great leaders in this administration, but the person who I have charged with focusing on the constant development and expansion of our efforts to support minority- and women-owned businesses, the director of our office, she's doing an outstanding job coming up with new and creative approaches. And I want to welcome Maggie Austin to tell you more about our plan. Maggie. Maggie's remote, okay.
Director Magalie Austin, Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises: Thank you. Thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. I am thrilled to be part of this announcement and I want to talk a little bit about M/WBEs and the issues that they're facing, and then I'll go into the executive order. So, since the start of this crisis M/WBEs – and I want to focus particularly on businesses owned by people of color – have faced an existential threat. And I don't think I'm exaggerating when we say that when research has shown that about 40 percent of black-owned businesses may not survive this pandemic. So, you know, I don't know who needs to hear this, but I'm going to say it anyway – M/WBEs are critical to the very fabric of New York City. They contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of each and every single neighborhood in this city. And they represent the future of business and the future of this city. That's what makes New York so unique. And I believe wholeheartedly that the financial uncertainty that plagues M/WBEs, especially the businesses owned by people of color, plagues our collective future. New York City is now on the road to recovery and we're all thrilled, but we're going to be hard pressed to recover economically if minority-owned businesses don't recover and are not part of that recovery because the collateral impact of their failure will be really hard to overcome.
What do I mean? So, minority-owned businesses or businesses owned by people of color are typically located in communities of color. They hire people from those communities. Those very people in turn spend their money in the community, which by the way, as the Mayor said are some of the hardest hit communities in this pandemic. So, for me, nurturing and prioritizing the M/WBE ecosystem is not only a moral imperative, it makes complete economic sense for the City of New York. And luckily the Mayor understands the importance of leading on this issue and he wants to make sure that M/WBEs are an integral part of this recovery, the city's recovery process. And the Mayor also recognizes that our role, when making M/WBE policy, is to ensure that the City's commitment to diversity is reflected in its spending. We can't go around saying M/WBEs are valued by the city if they're not participating in our procurement process. We need to put our money where our mouth is. So, that's why today, the Mayor is making the bold choice to push agencies to prioritize our M/WBEs in very specific and concrete ways that's going to give them access to contracting opportunities.
So, let me talk about some of the initiatives in the executive order. The Mayor mentioned that we're directing agencies to use M/WBEs to procure goods and services valued up to $500,000. So, this is a tool that we've had since January 1st and $500,000 is, for most M/WBEs, a big deal. And it's something – this tool is really mutually beneficial because it's discretionary. So, it allows the agencies to buy whatever they want to buy very, very quickly. And it helps M/WBEs. We think this is really a no-brainer.
The second point is, the Mayor's directing agencies, all agencies to designate a chief diversity officer who reports directly to the agency head at each agency and they will – they will be in charge of leading the M/WBE [inaudible]. Now, this is something that I believe wholeheartedly was necessary because you need somebody at each agency who was really a senior staff person who can work on M/WBE procurement every single day. This is not something that happens organically and it is an effort that has to be led by somebody who's a senior person.
The third and fourth point really address including M/WBE’s in emergency contracts. Now, this is something that we haven't done before, and I'm really happy that we're doing this, and it really – and it makes sure that M/WBE’s are going to be part of the City's recovery process.
And the sixth point is, we are asking agencies to reevaluate M/WBE subcontracting goals and existing contracts. So, this is something that we think is also very important, because if there's a contract that was issued five years ago, to automatically renew it without reevaluating the M/WBE goals is really not fair and not right in this environment, because when the Mayor's Office of M/WBE was created in 2016, we had 4,500 certified M/WBE’s. At this point, we're approaching 10,000 certified M/WBE’s. The capacity and the availability has increased, so we really need to re-evaluate those goals in light of that increase.
And the next point is, we're also going to ask agencies who procure contracts for over $25 million to send the procurement to MOCS and the Mayor's Office of M/WBE’s, so that we can review it to make sure that we can break it up into smaller contracts. When a procurement is over $25 million, there are very few firms, whether they're minority or not, who can perform on that contract. That's a really big contract. It behooves the City to reevaluate to see if it can be broken up, because that would increase competition, which is better for the city.
And finally, for the first time ever, my office is going to be working with the Department of Education, NYCHA, and H + H to support the M/WBE program, because, you know, their budgets, I'm sure everybody's aware they have really large budgets and I think there's a lot of room for a vital and vibrant M/WBE program at those entities.
Now, I want to say to the M/WBE community – these directives really take us closer to where we ought to be, but I want to assure you that this is only the first step. We know that for many of you out there, there's a real fear that that may be no tomorrow. This administration, led by the Mayor, is fully committed to making sure that you have full access to contracting opportunities now, not in the future. Thank you.
Mayor: Thank you very much, Maggie. And I think everyone can hear from Maggie's presentation, there's a lot to do and a lot to do urgently. And Maggie is going to lead the way as the director of our office for M/WBE’s in making sure that agencies live up to these commitments and do it quickly. So, in everything in life, it's not just having a vision and a plan and a roadmap, which this executive order provides, but also having someone who is authorized and empowered to do the enforcement. And I'm depending on Maggie and her team to do that and we'll be with them every step of the way. So, thank you so much, Maggie.
And now, let me sign this executive order.
[Mayor de Blasio signs Executive Order]
And again, want to emphasize that this work was a team effort that came out of really powerful discussions from our task force on racial inclusion and equity. And we are seeing more action more quickly from this task force and what I've seen in government in long time, extraordinary group of leaders who are feeling urgency and have great ideas and are putting them to action. To tell you more about what the task force is doing on this effort and what it will be doing beyond, the executive director of the task force, Sideya Sherman.
Executive Director Sideya Sherman, Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity: Thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. And I want to say thank you to our task force members and our co-chairs First Lady McCray, Deputy Mayor Thompson, Deputy Mayor Perea-Henze, as well as Commissioner Doris and Director Austin for leading this important work. Over the past few months, the task force on racial inclusion and equity has been working diligently to ensure that the communities hardest-hit by COVID recover in a way that's fair and that's equitable. Economic opportunity and prosperity are critical to – critical components of racial equity. And that's why I'm excited to be here today to announce three new initiatives that are really aimed at supporting businesses in Black and Brown communities to access new opportunities. Despite tremendous efforts and progress, Black and Brown entrepreneurs, especially women, still experience challenges when accessing government contracts. Through a new talent-matching service, the City will identify viable contracting opportunities and work with businesses to navigate the contracting process as well as better market their businesses and services, all with the goal of helping them successfully compete for government opportunities. This program will also outreach to private institutions and anchor institutions in our communities to make sure that they are including M/WBE’s within their procurement strategies and ensuring that they're tapping into our talent pool.
While we're leveraging procurement as a growth strategy we also want to make sure that businesses have access to the connections that they need to grow and to enjoy long-term success. Networks are crucial for entrepreneurs, and we know that many entrepreneurs of color lack access to the networks and the business leaders that they need to get insider advice to get ahead. The new SBS pro bono consulting corp. and mentoring network will work to fill that gap. These programs will provide minority businesses with access to business leaders who have expertise and can provide the business and the operational and the financial and technical assistance that they need to grow and sustain their business, and also adapt to the challenging environment that we have post-COVID. Through our mentoring network, businesses will also have access to mentors who can provide practical hands-on experience and advice, help those who are seeking to grow and launch a business access the resources that they need, and really have the support and encouragement that they need to navigate what is often a complex process? You've heard it said a few times this morning, but I'll repeat – M/WBE’s are a real viable and critical part of our local economy. They contribute greatly to Black and Brown communities. They generate jobs, they generate wealth, and they're critical component of racial equity. Our city's contracting should reflect the diversity of our city, and with this new executive order, and these initiatives, we are working to make sure that happens. So, thank you, again, Mr. Mayor, and thank you for your support of the task force.
Mayor: Thank you, Sideya. And thank you for your leadership. Now, I want you hear from one more person who can tell you what it means when the City government is on the side of minority and women-owned businesses. And she's someone that I've worked with over many years, a family story that's powerful – a small business started in 1970s by her dad that's turned into really a wonderful, strong business – employs a lot of people. And she's also one of the leading voices for the empowerment of businesses owned by women and people of color in this city. So, it is my honor to introduce Elizabeth Velez.
Thank you. Thank you very much, Elizabeth. And thank you, I know you have been working for years to make sure the government keeps progressing, keeps doing more. And we've always heard your voice and appreciate your extraordinary efforts.
Well, everyone, look, I want to just wrap this together by saying the City government is going to do all we can, as creatively as we can to move resources into the communities that need them the most, to move resources to the businesses that need them the most. We need to see our federal government do a hell of a lot more. And, by the way, our larger private sector can do a hell of a lot more. There's a lot of people right now talking about fairness and equity and social justice. I say, put your money where your mouth is. If you're someone who works in a larger corporation, how about devoting more of your procurement to smaller businesses in this city, to people of color-owned businesses, women-owned businesses. If you really want to change the world, then take some of that money and put it where it's needed most and where it can have a transformative effect. So, the City government will show you how it's done. But I say to anyone – and there are a lot of good people, a lot of people of goodwill in the private sector who want to do something – follow our lead and invest in people of color-businesses, in women-owned businesses at the grassroots and help New York City rebound. Anyone who wants to join us in that we'll be more than welcome and will help show you how.
Now, a couple more points before we go to our indicators. Very quickly reminding everyone heat advisory continues through today. So, said it a few times and I'll say it again. Be careful. Don't stay out in the heat too much today. Look out for your neighbors. Look out for senior citizens in particular or anyone with a health condition that's challenged by this heat. Anyone who needs help, you can go to nyc.gov/chillout and find out where those cooling centers are. We have public pools now opening up, sprinklers in parks, lots of things to help people cool off. And, of course, you can always call 3-1-1.
Now, let me do one more topic before the indicators and it's something real troubling. We have seen too many times in the last few days painful realities, people injured, and even worse, lives lost, by folks who were just trying to have an enjoyable experience and rented a Revel scooter. Our hearts go out to the family of a young man who died in Queens last night. We've had two fatalities in less than a week. This is an unacceptable state of affairs. So, the City has the power to regulate, to restrict, and even prohibit Revel scooters. We spoke to the company this morning, to the CEO of revel made very clear that it's an satisfactory and unacceptable situation. Revel has made the decision to shut down their service for the time being. And that is the right thing to do, because no one should be running a business that is not safe. And, unfortunately, this has been proven to be not safe. We will work with Revel. We will not allow them to reopen unless we are convinced it can be done safely. I just want people to know that that service will now be shut down as of today.
Finally, turning to our indicators. Number one, daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, that threshold is 200 – today's report 63 patients. Number two, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICU’s, threshold 375 today – 295. And finally, percentage of people tested citywide positive for COVID-19, threshold 15 percent – today, the number we've been at for most of the last month or two, two percent in New York City. So, again, well done New Yorkers, but stick to it, please. Let's stick to a disciplined approach and keep that number low. A few words in Spanish –
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, let's turn to our colleagues in the media and please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.
Moderator: Hi, all we have with us here today, Sideya Sherman, Executive Director of the Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity, Elizabeth Velez, President of Velez Organization, Small Business Commissioner Doris, Maggie Austin, Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor's Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, and Senior Advisor, Dr. Varma. With that, we'll start with Henry from PIX11.
Question: Good morning, Mayor. Thank you.
Mayor: How are you doing Henry?
Question: I wanted to get into the stimulus a little bit, or the lack of state and local funding stimulus. You haven't been quite specific about what job cuts, what service cuts you've said they're broad based across the board, something this big has to effect across the board. When do you need to get specific? It seems like rubber's meeting the road in Washington.
Mayor: It is Henry. Look, let's go back a step to see what the House of Representatives did. I want to commend Speaker Pelosi and our house delegation. The House did it right. And by the way, many weeks ago passed a stimulus that provided really ample support for cities and states around the country and would allow New York City to get fully back on our feet and do the things we need to do to protect people and keep our workforce strong. The Senate has countered with nothing, nada. They have countered with a plan that does not even give any help to state and city governments, even though it's abundantly clear all over the country, blue states, red states, there's been a massive revenue loss and these local governments are just going to have to lay off a huge percentage of people if they can't get any money. What we've said in New York City, October 1st is the day that we will have to implement – and I hate it and I hope we don't ever have to do it – but implement layoffs of 22,000 city employees affecting every single agency. So we need this stimulus very quickly, next few weeks to avert that. But if we don't get help, we are literally out of options and we would have to move forward with those layoffs as bad as that would be from New York City. Go ahead, Henry.
Question: Are we still around the $9 billion number? And when will you have to lay out a plan to meet that October 1st deadline? When do you and Speaker Johnson need to get in a room and figure that out?
Mayor: Well, it’s a different reality, Henry. Yes, the $9 billion in revenue loss over the last Fiscal Year in this, that is still the number and I've said very honestly, I pray it doesn't get even worse, but I fear it might because we're seeing very uneven realities with any economic reality, especially given how bad things are and the rest of the country. We're just not seeing the kind of economic rebound that will give us hope of improving our revenue. In fact, it might get worse. But no, the plan was voted in the budget. There's no need to come back with the Council. That's something that was already determined in the budget, but with the understanding we're going to move heaven and earth to avert it both by trying to win that stimulus, and also by working with our unions to see if we can find alternative savings.
Moderator: Next, we have Marcia from CBS.
Question: Mr. Mayor, I'd like to talk to you about gun violence. We have a one-year-old who was shot and killed, 16 and 18-year-olds who were killed playing basketball, shootings in a Staten Island deli. I wonder, what's your rock bottom?
Mayor: Marcia, look, we're going to fight back against this horrible situation. I've said to you and everyone, it's a perfect storm where we've seen so much dislocation in this city, so much pain, so much frustration, and in the middle of all that we don't even have the normal things that we depend on to make sure we can stop violence like a functioning court system. So we're all going to have to work hard in every way. We've asked communities to come out and with everything they've got and people are responding, clergy, elected officials, Cure Violence Movement are responding, NYPD is using new strategies, moving officers where the need is greatest. We're calling on the State to reopen the court system fully. We're going to fight this back. That is the bottom line. The city has been through a lot worse, tragically, and you know it, I've seen it, you've seen it in terms of violence, but we're going to fight this back. That's the bottom line.
Question: Mr. Mayor, my second question has to do with Revel. Why did it take so long for the city to step in, to try to regulate this company?
Mayor: Marcia, this is a company that has had a very recent presence in our streets and, you know, when you see an incident, you see a few incidents, it causes concern, and our people have been talking to Revel and they've been making changes, but not enough changes is the bottom line. This has just gotten to be too much. It just doesn't work the way it's structured and therefore, what I've been very clear with Revel is that they cannot be open in this city unless they find a way to actually make the service safe, and if they don't come back with their way to make the service safe, we will not allow them to reopen at all.
Moderator: Next, we have Katie from the Wall Street Journal.
Question: Hey, good morning, Mr. Mayor. I have two questions, the first has to do with small businesses. So, you know, I've spoken to the small business owners or across the city and the common denominator, regardless of which neighborhood or their race is they're having issues paying rent and with insurance. You know, if you run a restaurant that now the capacity that you have with an open restaurant seating is, you know, a 10th of what you could have inside. You're clearly not going to meet the margins you had. So is there anything the city can do and will do beyond, you know, the programs you announced it today. I'm sure your mentorship is fine, but you know, I think it just comes down to dollars and cents for a lot of these businesses. So, what can the city do to help with those financial issues?
Mayor: So, Katie, it's an important question, but I want to first say, I don't agree with you on the restaurants that are using the outdoor space. A lot of them are reporting they actually have more seating outdoor than they had indoor before and there's certainly a lot of them are seeing tremendous customer response and are getting a lot of revenue, thank God, I'm hearing this directly from restaurant owners. I just want to correct that. But I'm sure in some cases, as you say, it's the other way around, I respect that too. In terms of helping them, look, we put forward initially loan and grant programs. Those were immediately snapped up and the federal government came in with a very, very extensive program. As I said, it has helped some of our businesses, not enough of our businesses of color, not enough of our smallest businesses.
We're trying with all the specific policies we talked about today to add more and more to what we can do and this is going to add up to real money because for a lot of businesses, I'm not talking about restaurants now, I'm talking about the whole range of businesses. Again, a single contract for $500,000 can make a huge difference in the middle of this dynamic. So these new pieces directed at people of color businesses, women owned businesses are going to make a big difference. But we also are trying to do a lot locally with all the other tools we already had, Commissioner Doris will speak to that, but remember nothing at this point can replace federal funding and guys, you can ask it a thousand ways, but I'm going to keep coming back to it. We are in a profound fiscal crisis. We're running out of money all the time. The federal government needs to step in with a truly aggressive, truly accessible plan to help small businesses for a lot of these businesses to survive. Meantime, we'll do everything we know how. Commissioner Doris, you want to add?
Commissioner Jonnel Doris, Small Business Services: Sure, Mr. Mayor, thank you so much. I really appreciate the question. You know, as the Mayor said, we have over 9,000 restaurants in our outdoor seating program. But also, I think the value point that we have to really add here is the insurance industry did not cover the cover pandemic as a covered event, and that is a challenge. It’s a major challenge for a lot of our small businesses who are not able to use their business interruption insurance to get the resources that they need from their insurance company. So, I hear you on insurance, that is a challenge. I know the State is looking into it, the Federal Government as well, but that's a huge challenge right now for our small businesses. On top of that we have been you know, our hotline, 25,000 plus calls to that hotline, webinars, trainings, everything we can, we've connected small businesses to over $75 million in grant and loan programs and we will continue to do that. So, certainly, want small businesses to connect with us at the at SBS if they have challenges, but understand the need. But when you see these structural challenges within the insurance market and then the necessity for federal aid and assistance is really a tantamount to them coming back. Even though we are seeing the rise in businesses coming back, if you move through the phases, the challenges is still there. So absolutely agree with you, Mr. Mayor, we're doing everything we can, but this requires a massive federal response and we'll look forward to seeing that come out of the federal government in order for us to do we need to do here.
Mayor: Jonnel, remind everyone of the phone number that small businesses can call.
Commissioner Doris: Sure. It is 8-8-8-S-B-S-4NYC.
Mayor: Thank you very much. And that – look, I want to emphasize any small business with any kind of challenge or problem, including an insurance problem, a legal problem, a problem in the lease can call that number and we're going to try and intervene to help them. That's why Small Business Services exists. And so any small business owners out there struggling, wondering if they're going to make it, call that number and let's see if we can find a way to help you through. Go ahead Katie.
Question: Oh and my second question is, I guess, just asking for some more details coming off of Marcia’s question, you know, you say you're going to fight back, I guess how? I don't want to oversimplify fighting persistent violence and gun violence in the city, but you know, on Sunday you had three teenagers shot in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, and yesterday's announcement was about a recreation center about four miles away that'll take likely a significant amount of time to get built. So, I guess in the meantime, there are these holistic approaches to addressing violence in communities, but what can be done now because shooting are up significantly in the city?
Mayor: Obviously, this is the whole point Commissioner Shea and I have made repeatedly. We're moving officers to where the need is greatest. It's not happening in every single neighborhood. It's happening in some particularly concentrated ways. So, more and more officers are being sent to those particular places, more and more coordination with community leaders and organizations for them to be part of addressing the problem, more work with the care violence movement. All of these are the ways that you immediately fight back. But as we said, you – also we need to see follow through on the prosecutions because a lot of these are individuals who, if we had the normal full function – this is everyone and NYPD, prosecutors, judges, court system – if everything was functioning normally some of the people committing the violence would not be out on the street and we need the court system up and running 100 percent as quickly as possible, and again, the City of New York will do anything and everything to help the office of court administration do that. If they need buildings, if they need personnel, whatever they need we'll help them do it, but this is the missing link to really getting some of these folks who are doing the most violence off the streets.
Moderator: Next we have Michael from the Daily News.
Question: Morning, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Hey, Michael, how are you doing? I'm good. I've got a question on the M/WBE executive order you signed today. Are there an accompanying group of benchmarks, goals you guys have to hit as part of this plan, numbers you want to reach as far as number of businesses that will be aided by this and how I was wondering if you could kind of get into some of the details on that aspect of it If there are any?
Mayor: Michael I'll start and I'll turn to Maggie and then Jonnel might want to jump in as well, who was her predecessor in that role. But look, the overall rubric we've been working on over the last few years is 30 percent of all city procurement. We needed to get law changes in Albany, which we got, we needed to change a lot of things to be able to take really major steps forward and certify a lot more MWB businesses which we've been able to do. So that's the big goal we're always working on, but in this crisis, I do want – to pick up on your point – I do want to see more specific goals related to the 27 neighborhoods that the task force has focused on and figure out how we can maximally support businesses in those communities. So that's in progress now, figuring out what are the appropriate targets based on this executive order, Maggie or Jonnel. you want to add? If someone's talking, they’re on mute. Maggie?
Director Austin: Hello?
Mayor: Yeah, there you go.
Director Austin: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Yeah, so as the Mayor said, our goal has always been 30 percent citywide, but I want everybody to understand that this is just a floor, right? It's 30 percent and hopefully we exceed that 30 percent. We also want to make sure, so this past quarter we actually reached that 30 percent, but when you look at those numbers, not every MWBE is doing well. Businesses owned by people of color are not fairing as well, and personally, for me, that's going to be a focus to make sure that businesses that are owned by black and Latinx are getting their fair share of the procurement. That's definitely something that we will be doing.
Mayor: Jonnel, you want to add?
Commissioner Doris: Nope, just that, you know, when we talk about contracts under 500,000, you're talking about to that 32,000 contracts that the city put out every year. That's just the city. We're not talking about private sector partners. So, when you think about opportunity, which I think is outlined in the executive order, we see that this is a really a place where a lot of our black and Latinx firms can participate, and so that's why this is so critical. So the opportunity is great and those targets are there to 30 percent, also the $25 billion that the Mayor had set out by 2025, and certainly more than halfway there with $16 billion already out the door. But, again, like Maggie said, you want to zero in on the Latinx and Black businesses in order to help those communities come back. So again, great opportunity. We're talking 32,000 contracts the city does every year under half a million dollars and so when think about that great opportunity for our businesses, I think that's the place we want to focus on. Thank you, sir.
Mayor: Go ahead, Michael.
Question: Thanks guys. Appreciate it. The next question I have goes back to Henry's question at the beginning. Mr. Mayor, you mentioned, I think 22,000 layoffs looming. Could you break down that number? I mean, where are those layoffs going to be seen agency by agency?
Mayor: No, Mike, I can't break that down today. Look, our goal, again, is to avert them all with a proper stimulus and what I'm hoping and praying here is there's going to be enough public outrage over the Senate proposal, that it will push things back in the direction of the House bill, which will give us the kind of resources we need to avert those layoffs. We're also going to work with labor to try and find alternatives, to try and find savings, and that's going to be a union by union effort. So, you're going to see different outcomes depending on the union and the agency. But no, it's not time to outline the specifics. I can only say the number is 22,000 and it will affect every agency.
Moderator: Next, we have Sydney, the Staten Island Advance.
Question: Hey Mr. Mayor, the State Legislature passed a bill last week that would require the city to hold public hearings in communities that wants to build homeless shelters before they open. The bill previously would have required shelters to be subject to ULURP, which you had opposed, but it was significantly amended to the new version that passed last week. I understand you're still opposed to this version of the bill. Can you elaborate on why? And is your administration raising these concerns you have with the bill to Cuomo to try to stop it from getting signed?
Mayor: Sydney, I need to get briefed on the specifics of the final bill language, and then I can give you a better answer, but what I can say broadly is it's very clear that this city for decades has had a challenge with homelessness and we've got to, by law, and it's also the moral thing to do, we've got to provide people a roof over their head in their time of crisis. Remember Sydney, most people in shelter today are working people who even before the pandemic were just being crushed by low wages and high rents, and so I always say there but for the grace of God go we that, you know, a lot of good people ended up with no choice and had to end up in the shelter system. We've got to help people and then help them back on their feet, help them out of shelter. It's understandable. There's no community - I've never found a community that says, oh, we really would love to have another homeless shelter, but in the end it’s something we have to do for everyone. We've tried to reorient the system to reflect the communities where homeless folks are coming from all over the city, each taking their share of the need and having the shelter capacity for people from their home community. But I still think the best way to do this is to make sure that when we need shelter, we can act on it quickly, and we will always work with community people. But I think creating long difficult processes that stop us from being able to put shelter up is only meaning we can't serve people in need. Go ahead, Sydney.
Question: Yeah, and I have a second question. In 2017, you announced $5.7 million in funding to renovate a community center at the Mariners Harbor Houses on Staten Island by this year. But three years later, those renovations haven't been completed or have started despite the money available in the capital budget. Yesterday you announced a new recreation center in Flatbush and renovations to NYCHA community centers around the city last week. So I'm wondering why these renovations to the community center at Mariners Harbor Houses have stalled for three years and whether they will be completed before the end of this year?
Mayor: It's a very good and important question, Sydney. I thank you because I remember vividly when we made the announcement at Mariners Harbor, and I know there was some specific challenges with the building, but I agree with you, that's a long time and we've got to fix it. So, I will get you an answer on that because I want to see that fixed as quickly as possible, and I want to see that center up and running.
Moderator: Next, we have Erin from Politico.
Question: Hi there, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Hey Erin, how are you?
Question: I'm okay. How are you? Good. Thank you. I wanted to ask about, you had announced that by July the city would be publishing a database of police officers with pending cases. I know there's been a court order recently that has ordered the city not to release certain records, I believe the unsubstantiated ones. What's the status of that? Are you still going to release certain things or are you calling it off altogether because of the court case? Or where does that stand?
Mayor: I got to find out from the lawyers, Erin, where we stand exactly. The plan is to publish an extensive database. We're going to do that. If the court case is causing a delay or changes we have to make in the short term we'll speak to that, but let me just check with the lawyers on the latest, but unquestionably once we – certainly once we navigate the court case, we're going to continue with that.
Question: Thank you, and my second question is, is about the announcement that you made on the Revel scooters. I mean, certainly there are serious safety concerns here, but you know, a lot of people are kind of desperate for different ways to get around the city. Not sure if the subway is safe, you've said in the past, people need to improvise. You know, these scooters were one of the ways that people try to do that. I'm just wondering if there's anything you can offer as far as what the city can do, you know, for people who need a way to, to get around?
Mayor: Erin, what the city has been doing is first of all, helping the MTA to make sure that subways and buses would be a better alternative to people. We've obviously participated deeply in the cleaning plans and the different efforts to change the cleanliness levels in the buses and subways, that's been a real success. You know, that subway and bus ridership continue to go up, giving out the free masks cause a host of things we'd doing there. We have the other alternatives available with people, whether it's Staten Island Ferry, NYC Ferry, Citi Bike – there's a lot that is working that people are taking full advantage of. But the Revel scooters have proven to be really problematic, and I think what we see is people, you know, are not well versed in how to deal with them. You know, they just can get on one and get out into traffic, and it's been really, really dangerous. So, you know, we got to protect lives first. We're making sure that this is shut down in less than until we can be convinced that it can be done safely.
Moderator: Next we have Reuvain from Hamodia.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor. The Daily News reported several weeks ago that people receive parking summonses for expired inspection stickers, even though the expiration dates since March were extended by the Governor's executive orders. But the Police Department issued instructions to traffic enforcement agents to stop issuing the summons, but, in the meantime, the City's response was that anyone who receives such a summon should plead not guilty. So, I want to know why the City wouldn't simply administratively dismiss every summons instead of asking them to take the affirmative step of pleading not guilty, since it's inevitable that some will be unaware of this directive and will just mistakenly pay the summons.
Mayor: That's a great question. I'm going to give you a compliment today. I think you're right. I mean, I want to hear the nuances from lawyers and others, but I think that makes more sense if we can do that, because, clearly, we don't want people – I mean, no one has any money, we don't want people to have to pay a fine if they don't have to. And we're dealing with an extraordinary exceptional situation. So, let me see if we can move to that approach.
Question: And I want to ask you about a report in Gotham Gazette yesterday, I'm not sure if you saw it, which purports to cast out on your claim that the surge in shootings attributable to the court shutdown. It says that arraignments have continued by video conference and [inaudible] defense attorneys saying that to the extent that grand juries aren't convening, the result is that more people are being held in jail than previously would have been. So, I’m wondering if you saw the article, and what your response is, and if it makes you rethink the causes of the recent crime surge. Thank you.
Mayor: I have not seen the article. I'll make sure that my team looks at it carefully. And if there's anything – if we see something accurate, we'll say; if we see something inaccurate, we'll say it. But I can tell you just the obvious truth, if you don't have trials and you don't have resolution of a case, and you certainly have a large number of people who are out and not being held, it stands to reason that some people who unfortunately have been involved in violence are not suffering the consequences of that, and that's unacceptable. And that affects everybody around if people sense there are no consequences. We've got to understand what a horrible dislocation has happened here. We've got to glue things back together. We've got to get the full court system up and running again. The City of New York will do anything and everything to support the Office of Court Administration, but it stands to reason, if everything was so great, without having a functioning court system, then we know why didn't we do that a long time ago, right? Obviously, we need a functioning court system to create outcomes and to ensure that people who do mean violence to their neighbors are not on the streets.
Moderator: Last one for today. We have Mark Morales from CNN.
Question: Hey Mr. Mayor, how are you doing today?
Mayor: Good Mark. How you been?
Question: Good. Good. I had a couple of questions. The first was about the strategy that the NYPD is going to be using to move officers to neighborhoods that need them. What's the data or what's the thinking behind this that would actually make this work because they did this during the July 4th weekend, where they moved officers to a lot of these hotspot areas and we still had an increase in the number of shootings. So why would this work now?
Mayor: Mark, I know, I know your question is heartfelt, but let me, let me push back this way. This has been a reality, I've seen it with my own eyes, for seven years, and it's really based on what has been learned from the CompStat system over a quarter century. Unfortunately, you're going to have problems. Sometimes it's more in the subway. Sometimes it's more in this neighborhood. Sometimes it's more than that neighborhood. Sometimes it's a certain gang you're going to have problems. It is about perfecting a strategy to address the problems and going at it with enough officers, and the thing we've tried to do more and more with neighborhood policing with community involvement, which is crucial, whether it's in terms of getting information and intelligence or community efforts to show that violence will not be acceptable in the community. So this has worked time and time again. The difference is the pandemic. This has made it much more complex. People aren't going to work, people aren't going to school. There's tremendous frustration. There's tremendous trauma. There's lots of layers here that are making it harder and no functioning court system, but I'm still convinced the essence of the approach works. We've seen it work. If there's a right police presence and the right coordination with community that is still the best way to stop shootings. Go ahead.
Question: The other question I had was about the Revels. Is there any indication that the fatalities that we've seen that it's because those riders were not wearing helmets and if so, how much does that impact why rebels shouldn't be on the road? Isn't that more something that's more towards the users not using the device properly?
Mayor: It's a good question, Mark, and I don't have the data in front of me of how much the helmets were a factor or not. I do think it stands to reason that if folks are using something that in many ways is like a motorcycle without having to have a license like you need to, with a motorcycle and therefore, you know, a certain amount of training and all, it stands to reason that it's going to put people in harm's way, but whatever the analysis, we just have the facts. This is pretty new in our city, in the scheme of things, and the results have been very painful. So as we assess, look, my view again is Revel scooters proved to be too dangerous. They are shut down, they will remain shut down, and only when we're convinced, if we ever become convinced that that can be done safely would we allow them up again. Maybe helmets would be a part of that. But I think the bottom line here is we saw a real consistent safety problem and we can't allow them to operate again until that is resolved.
All right. Well everybody, look – as we conclude, I just want to say that we got to remember in this crisis, the ability of this city to bounce back, to fight back, to come back, this is a trait of all New Yorkers. We have done it so many times before. Just the things we've talked about today, We talked about lot of challenges, but we're talking about those challenges in the context of the city that is being looked at across the nation as a heroic city for fighting back against the coronavirus, the way we have for our healthcare heroes, our first responders, everyone who got us through those horrible, horrible months of March and April, our hospital system that held, and then the comeback we've made to the point today, where thank God you see health data that gets better and better all the time because of your hard work. We need to do that on every front. We need to do that to help bring back our economy. We need to do that to address disparities. We need to do that to help our small businesses and what we've talked about today, reorienting more and more of the city's resources to small businesses, particularly in communities of color, making sure that we take our resources and we redistribute them to where they're needed most. That's a New York way of doing things and that's part of how we fight back and part of how we come back. So, so long as there's New Yorkers, anywhere around, you're going to see that spirit of never giving in and finding a way to help our fellow neighbors come back strong, and that's what we're going to do for businesses of color all over the city, through these new initiatives.
Thank you, everybody.