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Transcript: Mayor Bill de Blasio Hosts Press Conference About Security Measures in Midtown Manhattan and Holds Media Availability

November 18, 2016

Police Commissioner James O’Neill: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for being here. We’ve had many productive ongoing discussions with the Secret Service regarding how we’ll be assisting them in protecting the President-elect and his family when they are here in New York City. We’ve been planning this with an eye towards how we keep New Yorkers safe and to minimize disruptions to all other New Yorkers – tourist, public transportation, and those who need to make commercial deliveries in the area surrounding Fifth Avenue.

We’re striving for the proper balance here, and it will be a fluid plan that changes as circumstances dictate. Understand we’re not going to detail the Secret Service’s plan to protect the President-elect.

Today, we are here to talk about how the NYPD plans to maintain traffic flow in a way that will be safe and efficient for everyone. I know that many people who live and work in the area around 56th and 57th Street have a lot of questions about all this. For the first time in decades, our country will have a New York City resident as President of the United States. The transition will be ongoing through January, of course. And much of this transition work will occur in the President-elect’s offices in Midtown Manhattan. The plan we’re discussing today covers that transition period – that is about the next 65 days.

Firstly, we’re not closing Fifth Avenue on any kind of permanent basis. It was closed for brief periods of time since Election Day to improve security with concrete barriers and due to large demonstrations. But again, no wholesale closures of Fifth Avenue are planned. Trump Tower, as you know, is located at East 56th Street and Fifth Avenue, just one block south of one of the busiest intersections in New York City and possibly in the nation. What you’re seeing in that area now in terms of our new security management is what we expect will remain in place through the inauguration. In many respects, this is no different than the many major events the NYPD secures each and every day.

In terms of the security, there will be many things the public will see and many things the public will not see. We’ll have our explosive detection K9s, our specialized units like the Critical Response Command and the Strategic Response Group as well as plainclothes officers and counter surveillance teams working hand-and-hand with our Intelligence Bureau and our partners in the federal government, specifically the Secret Service. Again, none of this is new for us. And again, as we always do, we’ll constantly reassess this plan and make any adjustments we deem necessary to ensure that we maintain the proper balance of security and everyday life in our great city. Now, I’d like to introduce Mayor Bill de Blasio to make some remarks. Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you very much, Commissioner. First of all, everyone, I want to tell you – I want to thank Commissioner O’Neill, all the men and women of the NYPD who are doing an extraordinary job. They turned on a dime on election night having done a lot of preparation with our partners in the Secret Service and they put together an extraordinary security plan that has been operating very, very well. I want to thank you Commissioner and all of those good people who have been doing this work. And when President-elect Trump and I met one of the things that he said was he expressed his admiration and appreciation for the men and women of the NYPD who are doing this work, and I shared with him my same feelings on the matter.

The details you’ll hear from – in a moment you will hear from U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in charge for the New York Office, David Beach and you’ll hear from our Chief of Department Carlos Gomez on specifics, but I want to give you a couple of broad points. I also want to thank our First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker; our Deputy Commissioner for Counter Intelligence and anti-terrorism efforts John Miller; and our Commissioner of Transportation Polly Trottenberg who has been deeply involved in the efforts to make sure things keep moving in Midtown Manhattan. I also want to thank Councilmember Dan Garodnick who represents that area in the City Council.

Look, we are devoted to making sure this city will keep moving. This is a big challenge and an unprecedented challenge, we know that. But we are committed to making it work. We need this city to keep moving at all times. We’re entering the holiday season, which adds a layer of complication, but the NYPD working with all other partner agencies in the city government and with our federal partners will continue to refine the approach to make sure it maximally allows for people to move freely through the area.

We understand the number one imperative here is safety and security. We owe that to the President-elect, his family, and his team. And that is important for all New Yorkers. So, that will be the most important consideration, but we believe we can balance that with a number of measures to keep traffic – both pedestrian and vehicular traffic – moving as well as possible.

Now, New York City has a long history of dealing with extraordinary events – none more so than just over a year ago when we had Pope Francis and over 150 world leaders and the President of the United States all in town in the same days. The NYPD did an extraordinary job working with our federal partners in that time keeping everything moving and keeping everyone safe. So, this extraordinary department is no stranger to these challenges and it is a known fact that presidents of the United States including, of course, President Obama have come into New York City on a regular basis throughout their presidencies and there are very refined approaches to handling those visits. So, the NYPD is particularly well-suited to take on this challenge, but it is an unprecedented challenge. In the modern world, with the security dynamics we face today, we have never had a situation where a President of the United States would be here on such a regular basis. Although, again, the details of his future plans are unknown, but we certainly know over these next 65 days he will be here very regularly. We never had that situation before and certainly not with the focal point location being in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. But the NYPD is up to the challenge and the City of New York is up to the challenge. I have no doubt about that. We have an excellent working relationship with the Secret Service. There have been clear set of shared goals and clear coordination throughout this time. And we believe that is going to be one of the number one reasons why we can keep people safe and secure.

At the same time, we will listen carefully to the needs of New Yorkers and the concerns of New Yorkers throughout this process. Obviously for people, who work in the area, for businesses in the area, for people who drive through, for people who go there for a variety of reasons there are real concerns right now. We’re going to do our best regularly to address those concerns and to make the adjustments that we can, always in the context of protecting safety and security first.

Now, I want to emphasis, when we get toward the holidays there is a constant message given, and Commissioner Trottenberg reminded me of this earlier. We constantly remind our fellow New Yorkers during the holidays to not bring cars into Midtown Manhattan unless you absolutely have to, to please rely on the maximum extent possible on mass transit options. I want to reiterate that. That would be true during any holiday season. It’s even more true now, of course. One of the things that people need to recognize for their own and or everyone else’s good is to the extent you can avoid the immediate area around Trump Tower that will make your own life easier and everyone else’s life easier. In that area - in that specific area - and I want to delineate from 53rd to 57th and from Madison Avenue to 6th Avenue, in the scheme of our city - even in the scheme of the borough of Manhattan - that’s a pretty small area, if people were to avoid that area to the maximum extent possible that’s going to help us to manage the situation as well as we can. As I said we’ll continue to refine the approach to traffic management and to addressing the needs who work an live in the area. We will add personnel as needed. Right now, since Election Day, NYPD has already put on each shift during daytime hours almost 50 officers, between traffic agents and police officers, to manage the flow of traffic in that immediate area. In those blocks I delineated and surrounding blocks – an additional 50 personnel put in place on the daytime shifts. We will add personnel if needed to address the situation further.

I also want to note that enforcement will be more aggressive on Fifth Avenue, particularly enforcement of truck traffic. You’ll see a very, very clear uptick on enforcement of truck traffic on Fifth Avenue because there’s already very clear rules and restrictions related to truck traffic, commercial traffic on Fifth Avenue. That will be enforced more vigorously than ever.

Finally want to note – before offering a couple words in Spanish – I want to note that this is very substantial undertaking. It will take substantial resources. And we will begin the conversation with the federal government shortly on reimbursement for the NYPD, for some of the costs that we are incurring. We are particularly concerned about overtime costs. And we think it’s a very valid situation in terms of the federal government – for the maximum possible reimbursement for those costs. Again, a situation that this city has never been faced with before. We believe the federal government will understand that situation and be willing to help. But those conversations will begin in earnest soon.

Just a few words in Spanish.

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish.]

With that, I want to bring forward a man who’s been already a great partner in this work. I want to thank him and all his colleagues for that – Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office for the Secret Service David Beach.


Commissioner O’Neill: Okay, Dave. Thank you very much. We look forward to the continued partnership. I’d like to introduce from DOT, Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. Polly?

All right, I got the order out of place.


Now, I’d like to introduce Chief of Department Carlos Gomez.

Chief of Department Carlos Gomez, NYPD: Good afternoon, everyone. The NYPD has worked very closely with the U.S. Secret Service in developing this plan. And I’d like to personally thank Dave and his agency for their collaboration with us. We look to strive a – we look to strike a proper balance between presidential security – providing as much security as possible around the President-elect, his family, other residents of Trump Tower, and businesses in the area – while at the same time not having an adverse impact on traffic, transportation, deliveries, and the lives of other New Yorkers that walk by the area and certainly live nearby.
This is the plan that is presently implemented since last week, whether the President-elect is in his residence or not. The plan going forward for when the President-elect is out of residence is being discussed and evaluated as to the appropriate level of resources and staffing levels. We have committed a substantial number of resources to Trump Tower, real substantial number – 24 hours a day, around the clock.

Uniform officers will be assigned to security posts around the perimeter of the property. Officers will be assigned to assist Secret Service personnel at screening at checkpoint locations along Fifth Avenue in front of the entrance to Trump Tower. Officers will be assigned to intersection control, will be assigned as blocker vehicles. They will also man the Delta barriers that have been placed on 56th Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison to control vehicular access. We will also have officers assigned on observation posts at elevated positions and on rooftops. And certainly we will have a good number of personnel available to address any demonstrations that pop up. Over the last nine or 10 days now, we’ve had six such demonstrations occur right in front of Trump Tower.

In addition to those resources, we will have resources from our Counterterrorism Bureau in the form of heavy weapons teams from the Critical Response Group. We will have dogs there, explosive detecting K9s, as well as other officers from the Counterterrorism Bureau, equipped with radiation pagers, as well as other devices. We’ll be enforcing the truck restrictions that are already in place. We’re really going to – we took a strong look at that, and we really mean it. We’re going to start enforcing this right away.

And I’d like to announce the following restrictions – those truck restrictions are southbound on Fifth Avenue, between 60th Street to 55th Street; and eastbound on 56th Avenue from Sixth Avenue to Fifth Avenue. Truck traffic will be diverted away from these streets. And certainly, one of the toughest jobs in this Department is the job of a traffic enforcement officer – traffic agent – and we have a substantial number of those resources also assigned to this area to assist with congestion, as well as enforcing the truck restrictions. 56th Street will be closed for all vehicular traffic between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue. This is where we placed those Delta barriers to control access to vehicles. However, pedestrians that reside in the area, that work on the street, want to shop on the street, or simply want to cross 56th Street down to Madison or up to Fifth, they will be allowed to do on the south side of 56th Street, but after being screened by us and the Secret Service.

Buses, passenger vehicles will continue to utilize Fifth Avenue, but understand that presently two out of the five traffic lanes are being restricted due to barriers that we have in place.

We also have dedicated plans to implement when we have demonstrations at Trump Plaza. We’ve identified locations that are within sight and sound of the entrance to Trump Tower, and we established protest areas at these locations. Small groups of protesters will be allowed to obviously be on the sidewalk, so that traffic will not be impeded on Fifth Avenue. However, when there’s larger numbers of protesters, we may have to shut down traffic on Fifth Avenue. And we saw that occur last Saturday when we had over 20,000 protesters in front of Trump Tower. We’ve – so far, we’ve closed Fifth Avenue on three occasions in the last ten days due to demonstrations. And certainly when this occurs we bring in more police sources from other parts of the city to assist us. And we closed Fifth Avenue for safety concerns – for the safety of the demonstrators, as well as the safety of motorists, and the field commander at the scene makes that call. I made the call last week, and we will always choose safety over convenience.

Once again, this is the security plan that we presently have in place. We are doing this for over a week now. And operationally every day, it is getting more – more fluid. We’re working more efficiently. We will work closely with the Secret Service. And certainly we can modify this plan as situations change.

Thank you very much.

Commissioner O’Neill: All right, thanks Carlos. And now for the second time, I’d like to introduce the Commissioner of Transportation Polly Trottenberg. Polly.

Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Department of Transportation: Thank you. Thank you Commissioner O’Neill. Look, as you’ve heard today, obviously security will be the priority for this area. But at New York City DOT, we will be working hand in hand with NYPD to do everything we can to help ease travel conditions. It’s an extraordinary pedestrian area. Pedestrian volumes on Fifth Avenue are some of the highest in the – probably in the Western World. And we’re going to see everything we can do to help ease their movement along the sidewalks. It’s an extraordinary bus corridor. There are 140 buses in the morning peak that run along Fifth Avenue. We’ll be working obviously closely with PD to keep them moving, as well as to keep other vehicles moving. And I’ll just reiterate, I think what the Mayor said, which is we would say this anyways during holiday times, but to the extent that you can come to this area by mass transit or by foot, obviously that will help us. Thank you.

Unknown: Open it up to some on-topic about the security measures. Thank you.

Question: Commissioner, given the fact that you’ve been doing this for a week [inaudible.] Will you have a different command that is unified for that purpose?

Commissioner O’Neill: Yes, having a separate command – that’s not off the table. That’s a long range plan. Right now, we’re talking about the transitions period for the next 65 days. So we’re still working on a long range plan for once President-elect Trump is inaugurated.  So we’re working with the Secret Service on that plan. 

In the back?

Question: As we know, Mr. Trump is very busy these days, but I wonder if by any chance he expressed interest in attending the Macy’s Parade, and regardless of that [inaudible] possible scenarios? What other security plans?

Commissioner O’Neill: For the Thanksgiving Day parade? Why don’t we cover that after we talk about Trump. And he hasn’t expressed his desire to come to the Thanksgiving Day parade to me personally yet. 


Question: I’m wondering first of all what your message is supposed to be to the businesses who have been inconvenienced? A lot of them have expressed concerns about what’s going to happen if ConEd needs a permit or utilities need a permit in order to do something or if somebody wants to build something? Or like if for example a restauranteur said he needs to have his ducts cleaned and they have to go on the roof, but they’re not allowed to do it because there’s a concern about snipers and things like that. So how will all these issues be solved and will people go to DOT to [inaudible] to the Secret Service – how will that be dealt with?

Commissioner O’Neill: That’s all [inaudible.] Polly’s going to talk about the permits for construction, but as far as the businesses and residents in and around Trump Tower – rest assured that the NYPD is doing the best it can to facilitate movement in that zone. Chief Bill Morris – the chief of Manhattan South – has been working on this plan, and it’s getting better each and every day, and we’re working in conjunction with the retailers and the restaurants to make sure they get the customers in as easy as possible. 

Mayor: Just before Polly – before Polly comes up – just to say Marcia that the, look, we want any business that needs to do work with for example with our Department of Buildings or Department of Transportation or utilities to continue doing the normal procedure they would do, but the NYPD and Secret Service will obviously be providing oversight on all of it, so important point is the safety and security situations will be baked in here. We will make sure that anything that is done is done in a way that ensures safety, but they should rest assured that if something – for example, as you say, whether you need access to the roof top, and that’s a normal thing that would happen, we’ll arrange that at the right time in the right manner with the oversight of our security leadership.

Question: [Inaudible] tell businesses that they’re concerned about them, and you want to make sure –

Mayor: Yes, Marcia. We are very concerned to make sure that businesses continue to thrive, continue to be able to serve their customers and stay in business and do well. We all understand disruption in the short term, but one thing I can say for sure is the scenario you gave – what if someone needs access to a part of the building and there’s a security consideration – we will make sure that security consideration is handled so that business can go on as usual and our other sister city agencies can do their job. Polly, do you want to speak about the construction permits?

Commissioner Trottenberg: I think Mr. Mayor you put it well. And we have – again in New York City we have protocol for how we do permitting in high security areas like World Trade Center and New York Stock Exchange. We do coordinate closely with PD and in some cases Secret Service, and just to send the message – we understand we’re going to need to work closely with businesses in this area as we do in Lower Manhattan to help them through permitting issues and trying to make the situation, you know, minimize the inconvenience if we can on the permitting front.

Question: [Inaudible] construction permits in that area because of safety reasons?

Commissioner Trottenberg: We’re going to take a look at how we handle construction permits and actually today we started what we call our holiday embargo which limits construction permits in the Midtown area between now and January 2nd, and I think we’re going to take some of that time to figure out what the future protocols will be, but we are going to be sensitive to try and work with these businesses, ConEd and all the utilities etc.

Question: Is Trump Tower now seen as a possible terrorist target given the fact that the President-elect [inaudible] there?

Commissioner O’Neill: Rich, this is why we’re doing all of this – to make sure we have all the necessary protection for not only Trump Tower and Mr. Trump, but for all New Yorker who are in and around that area, so of course it is.

Question: What’s involved in the screening of pedestrians on 56th street?

Commissioner O’Neill: It’s going to be a bag check. It’s – make sure that the people as they move through 56th street and down 5th Avenue on the east side of the street that we offer the maximum amount of protection to the people that reside there, so we’re going to be doing a bag check there. 

Question: Follow up on [inaudible]. Any building that bears the Trump name, doesn’t that then become a target for if not terrorism at least vandalism or crime? Is that on your guys or is that incumbent upon the Trump organization and if I may - 

Unknown: Stay on that [inaudible] for a second.

Question: Okay.

Commissioner O’Neill: Sure, and that’s working in partnership with private security as we always do. That’s why we built up our counter-terrorism assets for the last 32, 33 months now. Now we have the Critical Response Command and the Strategic Response Group, and we move them around as necessary.

Question: Without giving away any planning, has the President-elect indicated whether New York City would be his sort of home away from the White House or whether it would be Florida or New Jersey?

Mayor: I can certainly say – I can say in my conversation no, and I think that that’s something that remains to be seen. I don’t think we should pre-judge that. I think the President-elect has to get into office and have the experience of being in White House and make the decision that’s right for him and his family. I think right now the commissioner said clearly – there’s a 65 days period that we know with some assurance will be a time when the President-elect is focused primarily on New York City we will provide the protection during that time frame. When he goes into office it will be a chance to reset and see where his decisions are about where he’ll put his time. 

And again, I think it – one thing I really believe strongly – he is going to be leading this nation. He needs to succeed for all of us, and he has to determine what works for him.

Question: Mayor, just to be clear, is anything going to change after the 20th of January?

Mayor: Again, I think it is self-evident question, my friend. A lot could change after the 20th of January when someone actually takes on – when the president-elect takes on the role of President of the United States and has that responsibility, the need to be in Washington and deal with situations that could only be handled from the White House I think will become quite frequent. But, it is not right to prejudge. I would urge everyone to think about the next 65 days that we know something about and not try to guess about what comes thereafter.

Commissioner O’Neill: Down, all the way to the right.

Question: [Inaudible]

Agent Beach: I’m not going to comment on the first part of that. What I will tell you is we learn each and every time we implement a security plan and we take those best practices and apply them to future plans. As we noted earlier, both the Commissioner and I have noted that we have a long standing partnership and a very successful record here in New York City ion protecting venues and people. So, we’re very comfortable with our plan.

Commissioner O’Neill: Just move down the line here.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O’Neill: I’d leave that up to Dave to answer that question – talking about President-elect Trump’s family.

Agent Beach: Again, we’re not going to comment on the specifics of what we’re doing, but as family members of the president-elect they are entitled to some security.

Commissioner O’Neill: I’m going to down the line here – David – not you. No, no right here.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O’Neill: I’m sorry I don’t know your name.

Question: I’m Laura.

Commissioner O’Neill: Hey, Laura.

Question: Can you tell us how much you estimate of what those NYPD overtime costs are going to be and have you gotten any assurance from the federal government that they will reimburse you [inaudible] Obama administration or Trump administration –

Commissioner O’Neill: You know, that is a great question. I’m not going to go into the actual cost, but we are in conversation about reimbursement and that’s an important point for us because we are going to be using substantial resources here to keep the president-elect safe and the area safe. So, we’re in conversation with the federal government on that.

Mayor: On the second part of the question, the answer is both. We are beginning the conversation now in the Obama administration and it will continue throughout the Trump administration. This is something we have dealt with in the past. It’s not a new topic when the NYPD provides protection for world leaders, protection for President of the United States – there are situations that have been reimbursable in the past – we pursued that reimbursement. The difference now, Laura, is this is a situation we’ve never seen before so we’re going to have to establish a new set of ground rules. But that conversation is starting now and will continue, obviously, going forward.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I won’t speak for the Secret Service, I’ll state the obvious. I don’t think that is the way these things work and I don’t think it’s the way they should work. He is the President-elect of the United States of America. He has to make a decision of what will work for him. And it is our job to work with that. He is from here. This is where he knows how to do his work .We have to respect that fact.

Question: Just to kind of follow up on that, Mayor. Can you give us a sense of some of the previous times where there was reimbursement or a sense of how much the City was reimbursed? And did this issue come up in your conversations with the president-elect this week about his security or securing him when he is in New York City?

Commissioner O’Neill: There have been times in the past that we have been reimbursed. I’m not going to go into at what time that was, but there has been reimbursement and it is something that – it is important for us this time that we go to the federal government considering, again, this substantial number of resources that we’re using. And we have had an increase in the force over the last couple of years, which is important – which helps us with this challenge. But we want to continue to make sure that we build all of the programs in the NYPD. So, it is important that we continue to work on getting that reimbursement.

Mayor: Let me just add, I think we have a very, very strong case for reimbursement – very substantial reimbursement. Again, because I am not an expert on the chapter and verse, but we know for a fact whether it was protecting foreign leaders or protecting the President of the United States there has been a history of reimbursement under certain situations. This makes all of them look quite small, obviously. So, I think there will be openness and willingness and we’ll have to create a new paradigm for what that looks like. I will certainly be talking to senior members of the Obama administration about that. That will continue, as I said, into the Trump administration. I did not raise this specific issue to the president-elect, but I am sure in a subsequent conversation there will be an opportunity to do that and I will certainly be talking to members of his team about it in the meantime.

Commissioner O’Neill: David.

Question: Are you concerned, Mr. Mayor [inaudible] not fully reimbursing contractors –


Mayor: This is – David – this is public service, this is a whole new reality. This is the federal government of the United States. And again, there is a history of providing reimbursement to New York City. But now, New York City is being asked to do something on a scale that has never been done before. Certainly, there is no precedent for this in the context of New York City history. I don’t know if I can think of any other situation with any other president in any other city that something of this complexity and intensity happened before. So, I think this rises above partisanship. I think this is a situation where it will be recognized in the federal government that the NYPD is carrying a burden for the entire nation and I am hopeful there will be receptivity to proper reimbursement particularly for the overtime cost we need.

Question: [Inaudible]

Agent Beach: The security plan for Trump Tower is what it is right now. We will continue to evaluate it and modify it as necessary and as appropriate. Any changes to the building would really – we would need to confer with the building management, obviously, the City, and others, but at this time we’re comfortable with our plan.

Question: Are you prepared to have basically two White Houses, one in Washington and one in New York City?

Agent Beach: Every president – every sitting president and every former president is allowed to declare one residence outside of the White House, so we do this with every sitting president.

Question: [Inaudible] what are your plans for future demonstrations [inaudible]? What will be your response?

Commissioner O’Neill: That’s more of a question for the NYPD. We will have the appropriate amount of resources available to deploy as the demonstrations pop up. 

Question: [Inaudible]. 

Commissioner O’Neill: There are – we are working with the businesses and with Trump Tower to make sure that people who need access or want access to that area are able to go through that, again, with – there’s going to be a check before you get to be able to access to those areas. 

Hold on one second.

Question: Will major events coming up like the Thanksgiving Parade impact the number of [inaudible] personnel stationed at the Tower?

Commissioner O’Neill: The Thanksgiving Day Parade – we have a great plan in place, and we’re probably going to talk about that off-topic. Assistant Chief Rodney Harrison is going to speak about that. Will this impact that? Again, both plans will be in place.

Question: Just to go off of that other question – technically Trump Tower is a public plaza. People have always been able to access it. It was part of the deal when it was constructed back in the day. So, are you saying that if you just want to go into Trump Tower sit down and have a cup of coffee, you can’t do that anymore?

Commissioner O’Neill: I didn’t say that. I said that people will be allowed access into that building, but there will be a screening area to get in there. 

Hold on, Dean. I have to go to the left side here.

Question: You said for folks to understand New Yorkers at some point are not going to understand when they are trapped traffic every day. What is your, you know, sincere message to New Yorkers who may be stuck every morning trying to get to work or to home and you know after three weeks, 65 days is just too much for them to bear and they’re really upset?

Commissioner O’Neill: Listen, Dean, you’ve been in the city for a long time almost, as I have, New Yorkers are the most resilient people on the planet, and if for 5-7 and 5 doesn’t work, there’s other avenues that I’m sure they’ll find without a doubt. I have no doubt about that. It’s going to cause some inconvenience at first, but as New Yorkers we learn. We learn to work around things. There are large scale events in this city every day that we work around.

Question: Commissioner, Mr. Mayor – have you been inundated by complaints or have New Yorkers just taken it in stride – all this traffic and this mess? Are you hearing from them or [inaudible]?

Commissioner O’Neill: Well, it’ll be a two-part answer here. 

I’m not sure if I’m going to call them complaints – not yet because it’s only been ten days but concerns, absolutely concerns. And we’re working to address those concerns. That’s our job as a police department, to be responsive to the people who have complaints or concerns.

Mayor: Just to finish. I’ve heard plenty of concerns, but at the same time I’ve heard that resiliency. I want to thank Special Agent Beach for the tribute he paid to New York City by saying we are uniquely able to deal with something like this. I’m proud of New Yorkers and how they deal with all of the challenges we face because we are the greatest city in the world. We are used to handling situations that other places couldn’t even imagine – papal visit and the U.N. General Assembly, all the things that we have handled is a point of pride for New Yorkers.

So I think New Yorkers, after we get through legitimately grumbling, we will then go on with our lives. By the way, again, I have felt that the holidays every year I have heard a lot of concern about how tough it is in Midtown. People adjust, and they do the best they can. And I want to emphasize, finally, we’re going to keep working on the congestion issues. It’s not a fixed situation. We’re going to keep working with all of our partners to try to improve that situation on a regular basis. It would help, of course, if anyone who doesn’t need to drive in that area avoids that immediate area around Trump Tower. And then after the 65 days is over, we’ll see a different reality. By definition the president will be in Washington a lot of the time. That will ease up the situation a bit in some ways. 

Unknown: [Inaudible]

Question: [Inaudible] increasing security at the nearby subway stations? Have you conferred with the MTA or state officials about the possibility of additional security [inaudible]?

Commissioner O’Neill: This is something that Joe Fox does every day. He reevaluates the need to deploy his personnel. As traffic increases, as pedestrian traffic increases at certain stations – he deploys people there.

Unknown: Thank you folks, we’re going to allow our guests to leave and then we’ll move over to other policing topics.


Okay, folks, we’re going to regroup here. We’re going to start off now with any other police related topics, and when that’s done we can move on. Okay?

Commissioner O’Neill: We’re going to start off with a quick review of what we’re doing for Thanksgiving, and we’ll get into more detail next week.

Assistant Chief Rodney Harrison.

Assistant Chief Rodney Harrison, NYPD: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. For the 90th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade it’s pretty much going to be the same situation – a couple adjustments that we’re looking to put in place. There’s going to be no vehicular traffic on 42nd and 57th Street this year. We’re going to have more sand trucks as well as blocker cars assisting and helping the route. We’re going to have extra officers also involved on the rooftops, on the route, as well as officers utilizing or having their long-guns. We’re also going to put a – more officers on the outskirts just to make sure if any emergency jobs come over they’re able to handle the jobs. That’s what we have currently at this time. Pretty much we’re looking to have a very, very good event.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Harrison: Just to make sure that everything is running smoothly. You know, unfortunately in this day-and-age you never know what may come up, so we just want to make sure that everyone is able to enjoy the event like usual.

Question: [Inaudible] response to some of the ISIS [inaudible].

Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism John Miller, NYPD: Some of this is. Some of this isn’t. From year to year with this parade we have employed blocker cars increasingly as the terrorist threat has morphed globally because of that specific threat this year what you’re going to see is an awful lot more sand trucks in place of blocker cars. That gives us an advantage in a couple of ways which is a sand truck is longer than a blocker car, so we can use fewer of them and cover more ground. And secondly you’re not going to move it if you hit it with something. We’ve increased along those lines, but you’re also going to see some of the things you’ve seen in the past in terms of mobile radiation detection trucks are part of the regular package. Radiation field teams, the PRD pagers that the officers wear particularly from counter-terrorism, the heavy weapons teams which again we’ve had in the past. You’ll see those on the line. Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI team will be working with us during the parade with response teams. We’re going to have hostile surveillance meaning police officers in plain clothes working in the crowd looking for suspicious activity as well as the Vapor Wave dogs who are able to detect explosives even if they are moving through the crowds in a package.

So, counter-terrorism officers from all over the city that are assigned to precincts will be brought in to augment those teams. So, we’re going to do what we do every year. I think the threat you’re talking about showed a picture and said “excellent target.” Actually, it’s not an excellent target. It’s a very well protected event. We encourage everybody to come and have a good time. I always come. I bring my family, and I hope everyone comes and brings theirs, too.

Mayor: Let me add onto that. I want to remind everyone that last year at this time there were some information out there that caused us to be additionally vigilant, and we made a number of adjustments, and there was real concern expressed publicly about the Thanksgiving parade, the Macy’s parade. It ended being the largest attendance of any Macy’s parade in history, and I think this is another statement on New Yorkers. People heard what they heard in the public discourse and then turned around and attended the parade in record numbers in a show of support for our tradition. NYPD did a brilliant job last year, and the entire parade came off with an incident. So all of the measures you saw last year will be in place, and as you heard from the deputy commissioner additional measures on top of that.

I’m sorry, one more thing – we will be providing a fuller briefing just so everyone knows on Wednesday, the day before the parade. We’re going to provide an upgraded security briefing to all of you.

Question: You had two arrests in connection with the death of Joseph [inaudible]

Commissioner O’Neill: Chief Boyce will address that. Thanks, Tony.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, NYPD: Good afternoon, everybody. Tony, we charged murder two in that case. We felt we had probable cause as well as other charges as well. District attorney charged hindering prosecution first degree. The case is not over with. We will continue on as we investigate. We believe we came up with quite a bit of evidence – substantial blood evidence and other statements as well as the crime scene, so that’s what we charged. Mr. Vance’s office will continue with their end, and we’ll go forward that way. Right now they’re being held on $300,000 cash bail – each substantial amount of money. We will probably finish our crime scene up on 59th street in the next couple of hours, so after that we will go on with the case. We still have a lot of statements to take from different people who were involved either tertially or directly with that night. I would ask you to ask any other questions to Mr. Vance’s office about where the case goes from here. We’ve delivered a very strong investigation to them.

Question: Any word on motive?

Chief Boyce: We believe it was the fight between the individuals up there. That’s what our sense is with some of the people we have talked to already. You have to understand these individuals were up all night. They came home from a club down in the meat packing district, and it was going on for quite some time. That’s our indication for right now, an argument between these [inaudible].

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Boyce: Not going to say. Don’t know. Not exactly sure, so I don’t want to say it. Both individuals were uncooperative, so it’s hard to get to the true story of that.

Question: [Inaudible] predecessor Commissioner Bratton was very outspoken [inaudible] Trump sort of talked about stop and frisk [inaudible] now that it is happening and Trump will be taking office on January 21st, what will the Department’s stance be or how would you react to the federal government all of a sudden telling you ‘you need to amp up stop-and-frisk’ and ICE is going to tell you [inaudible]?

Commissioner O’Neill: As far as stop-and-frisk, and I’ve spoken about this quite a number of times, that’s a constitutionally tested tool used by police departments across the United States. The level that we’re using it at now is much lower than it has been in previous years, and it still proves effective for us. It’s a necessary tool for police officers to use to keep the people of this great city safe. We’re still using it now just not at the same levels as we have in the past. And as far as ICE, we do not look for people based on their immigration status. We are a law enforcement agency, and we’re looking at criminal law in New York State.

Question: [Inaudible] are you concerned with some of the choices Donald Trump is making about [inaudible]?

Commissioner O’Neill: [Inaudible] community relations is an ongoing process for us, and we’re going to continue to improve those relations that we’ve established in the past, and we’re going to make sure that everybody in New York understands that New York City Police Department is here for everybody in New York City not just certain select groups.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O’Neill: I’m not going to speculate about that, but I will tell you that every day if it’s not myself it’s Carlos Gomez, it’s Chief Monahan and all the precinct commanders and all the people who are involved in neighborhood policing – the NCOs, the sector cops. This is what we do every day, so we need to make sure we continue to do that and improve on that and improve community relations.

Mayor: On this point, the – I’ve heard a lot of gratitude from members of the Muslim community in this city for the support they get from the NYPD. As I’ve mentioned there are 900 members of the NYPD who are Muslim-American who serve us all, but there’s a tremendous understanding in the community that the NYPD is there to protect them and that more and more effort has been made to communicate and work with the community and listen to the community. That will continue unabated. I think it’s absolutely important that the new administration in Washington not follow through with any policy that would suggest discrimination against Muslims. I think it will be not only against our Constitution and our values, but it will be counterproductive, and it will create a rift after so much work has been done to try and create closeness and unity. But I do want to emphasize that there’s real sense of appreciation in the community for the way the NYPD is providing support and protection and particularly in response to anything that might be a hate incident.

Question: For John, do you want to step forward and say anything to the President-elect? He invoked the NYPD past practices of reportedly putting undercover officers in mosques and said it was a good idea. He criticized the decision earlier to pull that type of operation back. Do you want to say anything to them?

Deputy Commissioner John Miller: The only thing I would say about that is most of his characterizations as well as most of the characterizations about what that activity was and what that activity wasn’t was actually inaccurate. So to respond to things that were kind of summed up in bumper sticker terms wouldn’t be productive. We operate under the Hanshoo guidelines. We operate under legal guidance from Deputy Commissioner Burns’s team. We lay every case out on paper, and we follow those practices assiduously in tremendous detail with great fealty, so I don’t think we’re going to be changing much of what we do because we work very hard at doing right.

Mayor: And just to emphasize, we get to make that decision. It’s again the nature of the American constitution. There’s not a federal police force. There’s a police force in New York City known as the NYPD. We will make the decisions on how is best to protect our own people, and we are not going back to that surveillance program. It did not go back, and it alienated members of the Muslim community from the NYPD and from the government of New York City.

Question: There is a JCTF and then also partnerships between federal law enforcement and the NYPD don’t happen in a vacuum. When federal law enforcement starts going under mandate by Trump presidency of profiling or deporting, what are you prepared to say to your partners either when they have to enforce what the White House is saying?

Mayor: I think there is an overestimation so far about how a federal government can compel local authorities. I don’t – I think there’s plenty of examples under our constitutional law of limitations on that. I think in terms of the JCTF I think that’s a fantastically strong relationship right now. I don’t see anything changing that. I think the partnerships that’s been built between the NYPD and our federal partners is rock solid. It’s not going to change because of a change in administration.

Question: Commissioner, now that it’s been ten days or so since the election have you had a chance to establish if there even is one – any sort of trend in terms as far as bias attacks as far as any sort of [inaudible] that you’ve seen or people’s physical actions [inaudible]?

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, I’ve spoken about this over the last couple of days here. There has been a spike year to date in bias attacks, and Chief Boyce will talk a little about some of the incidences since the election, but we have the best hate crime investigators in the United States. And New York is a great place, and NYPD and the people of the city will not tolerate that. So if you’re going to engage in that activity, you’re going to be arrested by the NYPD, and we’re going to work with the District Attorney’s office to make sure you’re full prosecuted under the hate crime statutes.

Chief Boyce: As the Commissioner said, there has been an uptick in hate crime incidences around the city, not just in one specific area in particular since the Election Day. We’ve got 13 incidents citywide of swastikas.

Chief Boyce: … 13 incidents citywide of swastikas – excuse me – again, across the city, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. There’s an [inaudible] flow to hate crime that we’ve seen time to time – national events, sometimes international events, have an uptick in it. So, right now, we’re experiencing that – nothing we can’t handle. The Hate Crime Task Force, as the Commissioner said, is the largest in the country. We do very well in figuring these things out and bring these people to justice. So, we are looking at it. It is a spike. We’re concerned about it but, again, my investigators make arrests in these things all the time.

Question: Just to follow up on that – would you say the spike in national [inaudible] are you specifically talking about Donald Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign or just more reporting on these incidents?

Chief Boyce: Absolutely not. I’m talking about after an election some things trigger this. I don’t think he has anything to do with these swastikas to be perfectly honest with you. So, that’s what we’re seeing. Sometimes events happen around the world. So, it’s hard to put your finger on it right now. The best thing we can do is go out and make arrests and end this things which we will.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Boyce: There is an increase in attacks – not violence but attacks against Muslims – verbiage, so to speak. Again, we make a lot of arrests on those and we do have a spike this year from last year. It’s been up.

Question: Chief Boyce, what should New Yorkers do if they see something? How should they report it?

Chief Boyce: Well, you call 9-1-1 immediately if you see a crime in progress. It’s really quite simple. If you know some information, you call the Tips line. So, either one of those will get to us immediately, [inaudible] by Hate Crimes Task Force.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Hold on, one – just want to add into this. Look, I just want to be crystal clear because we take this uptick in hate crimes very, very seriously. The NYPD is putting substantial resources into finding any individual who commits a hate crime and there will be prosecution.

So, for anyone who thinks of acting in a hateful manner, I want them to know there will be very severe consequences. The NYPD is fully committed to that mission.

Question: [Inaudible] update us on that – the child that was found at the Port Authority – if there was an arrest in that case?

Commissioner O’Neill: Chief Boyce has that.

Chief Boyce: That individual who dropped off that child is Elmer Gomez Ruono. He was placed under arrest at 1:00 pm this afternoon by the joint Regional Task Force at 164 Clay Street in the 8-4. Not going to tell you how we got him but we got him. Alright. So, he’s in custody right now. We will put him in for other authorities and either the Stamford Police or the Port Authority will prosecute from there.

Question: Any updates on the 49th Precinct situation?

Chief Boyce: Which precinct?

Commissioner O’Neill: You’re talking about Deputy Inspector Walton. He’s been modified. We have an internal investigation and we’re working with the Bronx DA’s Office on that.

Question: From my understanding, he may be turning himself in so there could be an arrest in the case –

Commissioner O’Neill: I don’t want to go into the investigation. As it unfolds we’ll make sure everybody knows.

Unknown: [Inaudible]

Question: I have this question for Boyce. Why do you think –

Commissioner O’Neill: That’s Chief Boyce.


Question: Chief Boyce.

Chief Boyce: One day, mister. Go ahead.

Question: I’m wondering – you said that you don’t think Donald Trump has anything to do with the swastikas but there’s been an uptick since the election. Can you just explain why you –

Chief Boyce: I can’t explain it. That’s just the point. We have one incident where his name was used on a swastika out of 13. Now, last year, at this time, this same week period, about ten days after the election – we have 13, last year we had two.

It’s difficult to explain. We had them in a school in Manhattan. We had them in a housing development in Brooklyn. So, they occur from time to time. So, I don’t want – mean to make any kind of connection between the two other than the fact after the election we’re trying to figure out. But the best thing we can do is make some arrests on it, which we will.

Mayor: Again, I want to state the obvious. Chief is very rightfully saying he doesn’t speculate. He waits until his investigation tells him what the motivation is. But I will say beyond the narrow question of how you look at each case and find the facts, a lot of us are very concerned that a lot of divisive speech was used during the campaign by the president-elect, and we do not yet know what the impact of that will be on our country.

So, I want to separate very clearly the larger question. We saw that speech, we know how hurtful it was to so many people around the country and particularly to so many New Yorkers. We know, sadly, that some people get inspired by hateful speech to take action. But that’s a different matter than what happened in each and every one of these individual cases that deserves to be investigated and it deserves a factual response.

Question: [Inaudible] –

Mayor: We’re going to do off-topic, yes. Round 3, okay. Other topics.

Unknown: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Either way. Whatever y’all like. Other topics. Yes?

Question: Yesterday, you released a budget modification and highlighted in that was the failure of [inaudible]. 1.5 percent over the past fiscal year seems pretty low to me. Is this the fault of the City Comptroller?

Mayor: I’m not going to provide an analysis of the why at this point. I think more needs to be looked at there. I will tell you that, from the estimate I have, it’s going to be almost three-quarters of a billion dollars – $722 million over the next few years combined. So it’s going to be a real negative impact on our budget. But we need to do – look at that a little more carefully to understand the reasons.


Question: Just over the past few years, it was what? Three percent or something it made, and then 1.5 percent. It does correlate with his tenure as the Comptroller.

Mayor: Again, it’s not a good situation. It’s going to cost the City a lot of money. But I’m not going to speculate on the reasons. We’ll let the Office of Management and Budget give you a fuller analysis.

Question: I don’t know if you’ve looked at the map, but there were some [inaudible] sides of the city that voted for Donald Trump with very high concentrations. Have you looked at that and noticed any patterns? And are you reaching out to those communities because you’ve been very clear in your support for his opponent and there have been several communities that voted in big numbers for him?

Mayor: Well, I’d say a couple of things. First of all, about 80 percent of the voters in this city supported Hillary Clinton. So, I always like to remember to put the horse before the cart. Four out of every five New Yorkers voted for Hillary Clinton. But, in terms of communities that support Donald Trump, they’re part of who I represent too. Of course I’m working will all those communities every single day. We do that on a non-partisan basis. I think the points I’ve put out about the concerns that so many New Yorkers feel based on Mr. Trump’s statements and proposed policies really touch a clear majority of New Yorkers. There are women, who are the majority of this city, who are concerned about any effort to take away a woman’s right to choose. There are Muslims concerned about a Muslim ban. There are Latinos who are concerned about discriminatory policies because he used terminologies that suggested a sense of negativity about them, and so on, and so on, and so on. So, I will go into each and every neighborhood of this city as part of my job. But I stand by the notion that a lot of New Yorkers are very, very concerned right now.

Question: Just a follow-up on that – are there any results of New York City, how New York City voted, that you’re looking at for your re-election campaign [inaudible]?

Mayor: I think the simple answer is that presidential campaigns and local campaigns are very different things. I am proud of having supported Hillary Clinton and that New Yorkers voted actually in higher numbers. 60,000 more New Yorkers voted in this presidential election than four years ago. And I’m very proud of the fact that this city gave her 80 percent of the votes.

Question: [Inaudible] issues because an earlier press conference you touched on it.

Mayor: Yeah.

Question: So what are you thinking about that?

Mayor: I spoke about it today. I was at the Citizens Union Conference, and I said this is further evidence what happened in New York City during this election, but also all over the country, of why we need to continue electoral reforms. This state is absolutely backwards. We have to have early voting; we have to have same-day registration, electronic voter books – all of the things that have been proven to work around the country. We’re one of the only states in the country that doesn’t have any of those reforms. And we need pass legislation to empower the Executive Director of the Board of Elections so that the Executive Director can actually run it as a modern agency. And finally, I’ve offered $20 million to the Board of Elections in exchange for a set of reforms and accountability. They still haven’t responded. This is going to be a major, major focal point for me because people in this city stood in lines as much as two hours, two-and-a-half hours, and they never had to if we just got it right at the Board of Elections. So we’re going to fix that plight if Albany will help us.

Question: [Inaudible] Law Department [inaudible] $25 million to defend [inaudible] investigations into fundraising [inaudible]. Now, but why is it so much money? And do you think that it’s appropriate [inaudible]? It says that [inaudible]. Is it appropriate for any of that money –

Mayor: I will get the lawyers to lay out to you because I’m not a lawyer, but I get them to lay out to you how we delineate the different costs because things that involve campaign, of course are not covered by the lawyers who work for the government. Their job is to represent people in terms of the work they did as government employees. So that will continue. It’s – as you know, there’s many elements of investigation. We’ve been asked to provide information. We’ve been very, very cooperative. And as many times as the investigators want to talk to different members of the administration, of course they will have that opportunity, but each time requires preparation and representation. That’s why.

Question: There have been allegations that Sessions [inaudible] has been racially insensitive [inaudible]. Do you have any concerns at his [inaudible]?

Mayor: Of course I have concerns, but more so because of some of the policies he has supported. But I – what I hope for is because he has been a number of the United States Senate, I hope he has a healthy sense of balance and compromise. We don’t know this yet. We haven’t seen him in a role like this. My hope – and I think this will come out in the confirmation hearings – he’s going to be tough questions about how he’s going to work with cities and states around the country that don’t happen to agree with Mr. Trump’s vision. That will tell us a lot about who he is. So I think it’s too soon to tell what he would do in that kind of role, but yes, of course there’s real concerns – first and foremost about his policy positions.


Question: Mayor, you’ve talked a lot about your sanctuary city policy [inaudible] New York has. What would you say to people in America who are undocumented who don’t live in a sanctuary city? [Inaudible]

Mayor: No, I think there has been a real misunderstanding of the whole concept of sanctuary city. And I am certainly going to try and offer people a clearer definition from a New York City point a view. We don’t necessarily do things the same way other cities do. I want people to understand what New York City does. We have half-a-million people here who are undocumented. We respect them as our neighbors and fellow residents. We work with people to try to make sure their kids get an education and that they are productive parts of our community. We want them to cooperate with law enforcement. That is a very, very important part of the approach we take. If they see a crime we want them to report it. If they are victims of a crime we want them to come forward. That being said, the law of this City and the more recent law, which I signed delineates dozens and dozens of categories of crime that if committed by an undocumented individual will lead us to cooperate with ICE and assist in ICE’s processes for removing those individuals because there is a series of crimes – this was determined between me and the City Council – that if someone commits those crimes we think it is absolutely appropriate for the actions by ICE to take place. So, I think this phrase has been stereotyped in many ways. And I think it is important that each locality define it for itself.

Question: Otherwise law-abiding undocumented people in Hempstead of upstate who feel that they are scared of being deported would you encourage them to come to New York City?

Mayor: It is not a matter of encouraging. No, people come from their communities I would – what I think we have to do is get the federal policies that have been proposed addressed properly. They are not workable nor are they appropriate policies. They will undermine the work of law enforcement. I guarantee you that. One of the things I said to President-elect Trump is that – I urged him to consult with Commissioner O’Neill and police leaders all around the country, and I believed he would hear I very consistently that if undocumented people feel that local police forces are in effect deportation forces that it will actually hurt the work of law enforcement and make it harder to keep our cities safe. So, I think people in their own communities will set their own standards, but we have to fix the national policy.

Question: I’m just curious, are you committing to not raising the property tax rate if you are reelected? And in addition to that, when will you be proposing some sort of – or starting to work on property tax reform, which is something you have expressed interest in.

Mayor: I – a couple of things, on the first point let’s talk about the upcoming budget. We will have an announcement on the upcoming budget in the beginning of the year. At this point, there are no plans to increase the property tax rate. I don’t see that coming over the horizon, but I can’t predict, obviously, everything that is happening in the world around us, but we have no plans at this point. In terms of the future, you know, let’s get into next year and I’ll talk about the future. But as you’ve seen for three years running we have made a very high priority of not increasing the property tax rate on homeowners. That is something I believe in. I’m a homeowner myself in Brooklyn. I understand the challenges that homeowners face. So, none of that is on the horizon – no plan to do so. In terms of the larger reform effort, I’ve said this at a number of town hall meetings around the city. It’s going to be a very, very big undertaking. I have to figure out how and when we begin that process. I suspect it will be a multi-year process because it is so big and so complex and will involve so many stakeholders. But I’ll have more to say to that in the context of the discussion next year.

Question: Not raising property tax rate – that was part of your campaign in 2013. So, you’re not committing to –

Mayor: Anna, be careful if you will. It is 2016. In 2017 we will be talking about the future of New York City. I’ll be happy to address that then. I have no plans – let’s be crystal clear –no plans to increase the property tax rate. The proof is in the pudding. I have had three years of running the City, I have not increased the property tax rate, I have no plans. But I want to address the future when we get into the campaign year.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I would advise – I understand a lot of people are fearful, and as I have said a lot of their family members are fearful who happen to be documented. This is part of the complexity that needs to be addressed. If this country – for example, most estimates are 11 or 12 million undocumented people, but many of them have documented family members here. So, the number of people affected – family members affected probably goes into the 20 million, 25 million, even more. And that is a lot of people in a nation of 330 million people. I think that people need to understand that we will do everything in our power to protect them and everything in our power to turn back divisive policies and counterproductive policies and discriminatory policies. And New York City will have their back. That’s my message.

Two more questions, yes.

Question: What concerns do you have about the former Mayor Giuliani [inaudible]?

Mayor: Well, first let me say, I can’t tell what is going on in terms of him because the situation has changed over the last few days. So, I am not clear what position he is vying for or what his prospects are, but I would say this – when he was mayor there were times when he was a very divisive figure in this town. If he is going to go into a role of federal leadership I hope he will leave that in his past.

Question: Mr. Mayor, I put on the radio this morning, you said – you were asked about the [inaudible] ICE funding or sanctuary cities funding – you said [inaudible] authority to take away all of our money –

Mayor: I believe strongly they do not have that authority because of a Supreme Court decision.

Question: At one point Lehrer asked you about what if they took away some money, and you said it would be a hard choice. So, if you were given choice –

Mayor: We don’t deal with theoretical. Look, I appreciate the question, but, you know, what I am trying to say is we are not going to do things that violate the values of this city and that harm our people. I don’t think this is going to play out in a linear fashion. I think that a lot of the proposals the President-elect has put forward are going to cause a lot of distress around this country and a lot of pushback and a lot of debate. So, I think we should be very careful – I understand, if you will, the rush to judgement. I understand the feeling that, well here is a proposal, therefore, it will play our in a very linear fashion, exactly as it was stated and become a part of our reality. I don’t think that is how democracy works. Some of these proposals are quite extreme. It’s going to be a lot harder to do them, both because of political resistance and because of practical considerations. My point this morning was to say is that we’re not going to be compelled to do things that go against the values of New York City.

A few more then I got to go.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: That is a guarantee.


Do not stake me out there or you will have nothing to do.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Not there. We are not a big like things kind of family. We don’t do a whole lot of buying items around the holidays. I would argue the holidays are about other ideas – family and other things. And when we do – you know – for example, Dante loves books. So, I will go to Barnes and Noble for Dante for example. But, you know, we’re not going to Gucci. We’re not going to Tiffany.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Yup.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Yes, David I have to tell you I cannot even begin to count the number of people who have come up to me all over this city and express their fear, their concern, their desire for some answers, for some understanding of what a way is forward for this city. And I think it is very important for me to lay out a bigger picture of; one, how we’re going to protect our values and our people; two, how we have to play a role as a city that works because we are unified, and we are diverse, and we respect all people; and show that good example to our country. And also, I think it is important for people to hear what they can do to address some of their concerns, what they can do for each other for their neighbors in this moment of concern.

So, I will be laying out a vison of how to do that.

Let me take a few more – go ahead.

Question: [Inaudible] have you been interviewed by federal authorities at this point?

Mayor: Excuse me?

Question: Have you been interviewed?

Mayor: In what sense?

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you meant for the Trump administration. I was going to say that is a nonstarter. No.

Question: You said the other day about this that you sleep well at night. [Inaudible] do you feel it is important for the authorities to say well ahead of your reelection that you have been cleared?

Mayor: I am not going to tell them how to do their work. I think it’s well known concept that as you get closer to an election year it is important to give people as many answers as possible. So, our job is to be as helpful as possible, as cooperative as possible, provide as much information as possible.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Again, I’m not going to speculate.


Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Let me just do this one.

Question: So, you mentioned going to Barnes and Noble. Is that a vote brick-and-mortar stores and –

Mayor: Absolutely.

I am old school, Rich. I am proudly old school. I love book stores and I love – you know – any place where you can go – I love record stores. Now, this is important. I used to go to – when I was in NYU – I went to Saint Marks Sounds, which is a great [inaudible] record store on Saint Marks Place. And then everything, of course, moved away from LPs. And what happened in the last few years that Dante de Blasio would be seen coming into Gracie mansion with more and more records and at this point he – I don’t know if he listens to anything but traditional records. They are all over his room and all. I love this circle of life. So, yes, I like going into a store. I like seeing what is going on and talking to people and looking at different things. So, I will go looking for books for Dante and Barnes and Noble.

Question: [Inaudible] order from Amazon?

Mayor: Huh?

I’m not an Amazon kind of guy.

Question: What do you want for Christmas?

Mayor: Peace on earth, Marcia.


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