This Week’s Ask The Mayor With Brian Lehrer: From Mandates To Election Results

This Week’s Ask The Mayor With Brian Lehrer: From Mandates To Election Results

Brian Lehrer: It is the Brian Lehrer present on WNYC. Good morning, once more, everybody. Now, it is time for our Friday Ask the Mayor call-in, my questions and yours for Mayor Invoice de Blasio at 212-4-3-3-WNYC. Or, you’ll be able to tweet a query, simply use the hashtag #AsktheMayor. You will by no means get a busy sign on Twitter – hashtag #AsktheMayor. He joins us at this time from Puerto Rico the place he is attending the annual SOMOS convention, held to attract consideration to points on the island and for Puerto Rican’s dwelling in New York. Good morning, Mr. Mayor. Welcome again to WNYC. 

Mayor Invoice de Blasio: Good morning, Brian. And, Brian, I’ve some good breaking information for you now. Simply spoke earlier with our Hearth Commissioner Dan Nigro, and I need to let that the Hearth Division, as of at this time, all hearth models, totally operational, there are none out of service. And the extent of vaccination within the hearth division has gone up. It’s now 80 p.c among the many firefighters, 90 p.c among the many EMS staff. We have additionally seen the numbers within the Sanitation Division and NYPD go up once more within the final 24 hours. So, actually good progress on the vaccine mandate and on ensuring that New Yorkers are being served and guarded. Additionally, essential, 15 unions – 15 new faculty unions signed an settlement yesterday on tips on how to implement the vaccine mandate. So, we’re seeing a excessive degree of working collectively and shifting issues ahead from the overwhelming majority of our unions, and that is actually excellent news.  

Lehrer: And that every one appears like excellent news. And I believe we are able to say that the mandate is little question a hit when it comes to driving the general vaccination fee to over 90 p.c of Metropolis staff. Are you able to say although, whenever you say no Hearth Division models are out of service as of at this time. I believe there had been some confusion earlier within the week when there was reporting that some hearth firms have been out of service. Some individuals understood that to imply the firehouses have been closed, bodily firehouses in some neighborhoods, however that was by no means the case. It was some hearth firms, that are teams of firefighters inside these homes. Are you saying now, whenever you say no models out of service, that there are not any hearth firms that aren’t collectively? 

Mayor: Appropriate. As simply you stated, precisely proper, Brian. All through, the firehouses have been open. And also you’re proper, inside firehouses there are a number of completely different sorts of models. Now, what I am saying, along with all of the firehouses being open, all models are operational. That is really a stronger place than we’re in regular instances when, usually, some models are out of service for both coaching or upkeep. All of our 350 Hearth Division models are operational, working. We have had nice response instances in addressing completely different challenges. It is actually putting. And I need to inform you, in order for you proof that mandates work – for the reason that mandate was introduced – it was simply on October 20 – since then, effectively over 26,000 Metropolis staff have been vaccinated. And apparently, since Monday, which is when it had already gone into impact, 4,000 extra have come ahead who initially did not meet the deadline, however then determined to, after the very fact. So, 4,000 extra. We count on much more of that. So, that is actually, actually a excellent news story for the entire metropolis, as a result of New Yorkers – proper now, New Yorkers have voted with their toes if ever there was a case for that. 86 p.c of New York Metropolis adults have now had at the least one dose of the vaccine. And that is – that is a type of majority and settlement that we nearly by no means see within the metropolis on something. It is an unbelievable ratification that individuals do consider within the vaccine, they consider within the science, and so they consider within the mandates as a method to verify all of us get there collectively. 

Learn Extra: Emergency Response Occasions Unchanged—However Fewer NYC Firefighters Deployed Due To Vaccine Protest

Lehrer: On EMS, you stated the response instances are regular. However our information division is reporting, I consider, that they’ve acknowledged that they’ve needed to ship fewer crews out to every emergency that will ordinarily require a number of crews. Is that your understanding? And has that put individuals at risk this week? 

Mayor: No, persons are secure, as a result of the response time has been very, excellent and the outcomes have been excellent, which means, as we have checked out each hearth and EMS, the influence of the response has been very, very efficient. We had, on the fireplace facet, we had a five-alarm hearth, I believe it was yesterday, was dealt with precisely proper. Look, there’s an enormous quantity of redundancy, let’s be clear. And it’s a reasonably recognized reality, in our Hearth Division, there’s lots of redundancy. And so, on this occasion, what Commissioner Nigro and his crew has executed is that they very neatly moved individuals round as wanted and used the assets they should get the influence and shield individuals. And we did see a really, very inappropriate motion by a variety of people to name in sick after they weren’t actually sick from the firefighters. Now, let’s be clear, most firefighters, most EMS people completely did the proper factor. It’s a few who known as in sick wrongly, falsely and endangered everybody else within the course of. However what the Hearth Division has executed is de facto made nice changes to maintain the service ranges excessive. And now, we’re seeing the sick time happening the final couple of days and folks coming again. And I, truthfully – 

Learn Extra: New York Elected Officers Flock To Annual Convention In Puerto Rico—Here is Why You Ought to Care

Lehrer: I believe we simply misplaced the Mayor’s line. He’s with us from Puerto Rico, from the SOMOS convention, the annual convention down there relating to problems with pertinence to individuals dwelling each in Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in New York. We’ll see if we are able to get that line connected throughout these miles rapidly. I used to be going to ask him subsequent a few explicit SOMOS difficulty earlier than we get to your requires Mayor de Blasio. I am going to provide you with all a background briefing on it right here, , simply very briefly. Our Brigid Bergin experiences, that one difficulty getting lots of consideration each from lawmakers and nonprofit leaders at SOMOS is the struggle to fight so-called vulture hedge funds, which make large income by shopping for up debt on a budget from governments going through default, like Puerto Rico. And I believe we’ve got the Mayar again now. So, Mr. Mayor, let me ask you a query in regards to the SOMOS convention, the place you might be, earlier than we go to the telephones for you. And I used to be simply beginning to inform our listeners about this difficulty whereas we have been getting the cellphone hooked again up, and that’s the so-called vulture hedge funds, which make large income by shopping for up debt on a budget from governments going through default, like Puerto Rico, after which utilizing a loophole in New York State regulation to sue those self same governments for full compensation. Brooklyn Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez has a proposal to cancel that debt. There are different issues. Do you will have a place on that or is it a difficulty you targeted on the implications of down there? 

Mayor: Sure, completely. This has not solely been a difficulty of this yr at this SOMOS convention, however in previous years as effectively. And I agree with Congressmember Velazquez, the vulture hedge funds. That is not only a phrase, it is an actual factor. There’s been a fully cynical effort by people who already are fairly rich to make more cash off the backs of the Puerto Rican individuals. And bear in mind, the rationale the Puerto Rican economic system went right into a tailspin was choices by the US authorities in Washington that modified the very nature of the Puerto Rican economic system, that truly undermine the industries that have been right here. And time and time once more, Puerto Rico didn’t get the help it wanted because it went right into a well being care disaster. It didn’t get the help it wanted, after all, not surprisingly from the Trump administration, nor after the hurricanes, the earthquakes. It is cynical. It is cynical. It is neocolonialist what we’re seeing right here and it needs to be stopped. So, I agree with Congressmember Velazquez, the Puerto Rican individuals can’t be held accountable for the very cynical actions of some very [inaudible] hedge fund people. 

Lehrer: Let’s take a cellphone name Samir, round Union Sq.. You are on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Whats up, Samir.  

Query: Hello. How’s it going? Thanks for taking my name. I wished to ask in regards to the Fifth Avenue Busway that was lately placed on maintain. So, you got here into workplace vowing to tackle the story of two cities, you launched Imaginative and prescient Zero, and, nevertheless, this previous few weeks you selected to kill the busway and guarded bike lanes on Fifth Avenue. We face a local weather disaster. We confronted the deadliest yr on our streets because you took workplace, greater than 220 people killed in crashes. Why are you siding with rich actual property builders and turning your again on every-day bus and bike riders who want their quick commutes and security on our streets? Will you full this venture earlier than you allow workplace so we are able to save lives and save our local weather? Thanks. 

Mayor: Properly, Samir, respectfully, I am positive your intentions are good, however your – I believe your info are basically flawed. The reality is, not solely did I Institute Imaginative and prescient Zero and we propelled it ahead for eight straight years, together with through the pandemic, however I am the individual to place busways in place, beginning with 14th Road, after which we have expanded them across the boroughs. So, I do not perceive the reminiscence downside some individuals have. If somebody is available in – there was no Imaginative and prescient Zero earlier than me, respectfully. There was not busways earlier than I did this. I am very pleased with it. It is making a huge effect. The choice on Fifth Avenue is a really short-term one. The level was, through the holidays, there’s an enormous quantity of individuals round Fifth Avenue. We additionally must convey again our economic system and jobs. It is a spot the place vacationers go and vacationers are coming again. It is a pivotal place through the vacation season. It was merely a choice to get by means of the vacations for a number of weeks after which implement the busway. The busway is one hundred pc occurring. So, I – and that has been very clear publicly. So, I might ask individuals, you’ll be able to ask no matter you need, you’ll be able to say no matter you need, however I actually want for folk who consider in these kind of approaches, fairly than begin with bluntly, a conspiracy idea, begin with the truth that we’ve got moved this agenda profoundly, and it may continue to grow. There’s much more protected bikeways coming, much more busways and choose bus service coming. That is the place the town goes.

Lehrer: Mr. Mayor right here, I believe is a really completely different type of bus query from Andy in Astoria. Andy, you might be WNYC with the Mayor. Whats up.

Query: Whats up. I am on the air?

Lehrer: Sure, sir.

Query: Okay. Mr. Mayor, so I’ve labored in tourism for 23 years and means I am barely working now, however this isn’t about me. The double decker trade has been allowed to reopen with out its tour guides. They fired all their tour guides. So, this isn’t bringing these jobs again. In place they’re working tapes and also you have been simply speaking about Imaginative and prescient Zero, however the drivers should run these machines whereas driving. And in the meantime, the vacationers are up on the highest ranges with nobody supervising them. And that is all the time one thing – and , we by no means get credit score for the accidents we have prevented. However we have been stopping doubtlessly harmful accidents for years on prime of those buses. And we need to know what the Metropolis’s going to do about it? We have been making an attempt to get a invoice, Intro 289A out of a committee. And somebody’s blocking it. I do not know who, however , this may really assure that for the protection of the passengers, that the licensed tour guides and we’re licensed by the Metropolis and the Metropolis is doing nothing to guard these licenses. You already know, what are we going to do about these – getting these tour guides again on the buses? What are we going to do about Intro 289A?

Lehrer: Andy, thanks very a lot. Conversant in this difficulty, Mr. Mayor?

Mayor: I really, am pleased Andy is familiarizing me with it, Brian. And I believe Andy has bought a superb level. I didn’t know that the tour buses had so systematically taken the human aspect out. And I believe that is an issue for not solely the rationale that Andy’s elevating when it comes to security influence, but additionally its jobs. And the tour guides, , I’ve heard them do their factor going by, convey lots of New York colour and taste and vitality. And , it is not the identical factor to have it on a tape. So, I am very sympathetic to Andy’s level. Andy, I will have our Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman converse to you. And I am going to have our crew look into what is going on on with that Metropolis Council laws since you’ve gotten my consideration. I believe that is – you make a extremely good level.

Lehrer: We’ll comply with up too. I hadn’t heard about it both. Andy, grasp on. We’ll take your contact –

Mayor: Andy, give us your, give us your contact, proper. You bought it, Brian.

Lehrer: And Mr. Mayor, I need to ask you in regards to the deal introduced yesterday for yellow cab house owners debt aid that many drivers and their union are hailing as a lifesaver. On extra favorable phrases for them out of your authentic plan, it’s going to cap debt for any small proprietor at $200,000, cap month-to-month funds round $1,100 a month, fairly than $2,000. And arrange the Metropolis because the guarantor of the loans, if I’ve bought these particulars, proper. My query is, we have talked about this earlier than, whenever you got here out with the unique plan, why did it take a starvation strike the final two weeks to get the Metropolis to his newest model?

Mayor: Properly, what actually occurred was a number of issues. One, Senator Schumer bought concerned and helped either side to grasp there was a distinct method. As a result of as you see Brian, the method that was achieved, takes what we began and which lots of drivers have been benefiting from, and provides on it. So, it turned out that our primary method to offering the assistance for the drivers, the $65 million program we handed with the Metropolis Council in June was an efficient method. But it surely’s additionally honest to say the drivers wanted extra assist. The authentic plan we heard from the drivers, I believe was very, very well-intentioned, however there have been issues that we thought each legally and supreme potential price issues. We would have liked a distinct method. And Senator Schumer helped us discover in impact a 3rd method. I need to give lots of credit score to the Transit Staff Alliance. They fought very onerous for the members after which they have been prepared to return to –

Lehrer: Taxi Staff Alliance.

Mayor: I am sorry. You are proper. My apology, you caught me. That is a – I am considering of a distinct group, Taxi Staff Alliance. Properly executed, Brian. Taxi Staff Alliance – I need to give lots of credit score to the Taxi Staff Alliance. They fought effectively and with vitality for his or her members. When everybody bought again within the room after desirous about completely different options and seeing what our preliminary plan had executed and the way it could possibly be improved. We really inside a matter of days, discovered one other method and agreed to it and introduced it yesterday. So, we’re including $50 million extra to this system and it may actually, as you stated, it may scale back what the drivers should pay. They nonetheless do have debt, however it may make it a lot, way more manageable for them. And it simply, and that is certainly one of these conditions. I’ve talked to lots of people concerned the place sadly, we could not discover frequent floor earlier, however over time, individuals began discovering a method to one another and discovering shared values and approaches. And it really labored on the finish.

Learn Extra: Amidst Starvation Strike, NYC Taxi Drivers Get Higher Debt Aid Deal

Lehrer: Is there a lesson in a few tales that we have talked about already, for a way rapidly you or another mayor includes unions in sure sorts of conversations? So for instance, you have gotten criticized on the vaccine mandate for issuing the mandate earlier than you have began speaking to the unions. I believe even Eric Adams has set a model of that. And, and on this case there, , Bhairavi Desai and the Taxi Staff Alliance was so opposed, she got here on the present, and she or he was actually upset for her staff with a proposed resolution that you just had initially come to. Now, you had to return and are available to sure on a second cross. Is there a lesson in that?

Mayor: I believe they’re very completely different conditions. I believe the Taxi Staff Alliance had a plan from the start that we checked out totally. There’ve been a number of dialogue with them over time. We checked out it, we thought, once more, there have been authorized issues. There was publicity for the Metropolis that wasn’t going to work ultimately. Our plan did cross the Metropolis Council, was serving to tons of of drivers. And a thousand extra have been signed as much as be helped. However what we would have liked was mainly a hybrid of the 2. And we bought there. And there was all the time a willingness to discover a path, however truthfully, for a very long time, individuals could not consider one other various. And that is why I give Senator Schumer lots of credit score. He known as me up and stated, why do not you strive doing it this fashion? Why do not you modify this? Why do not you do that? Why do not you place this in place? And he was proper. There was a completely completely different mind-set about it. And he is clearly a masterful legislative strategist. And he actually helped us suppose by means of tips on how to do it. With the vaccine mandate, very completely different state of affairs as a result of we have been speaking all through with labor. We have been speaking earlier than the mandate, for the reason that mandate. And the very fact as you heard, we had unions signal on in giant numbers. 15 main unions, signed an settlement yesterday with us after lots of dialogue. And all of the earlier unions within the earlier parts of the mandate, did as effectively. So, I do not suppose there is a lack of dialogue in any respect. And I believe most unions we have come to settlement with. I believe we’re having one union specifically, the UFA, the firefighters, completely different from the opposite unions in their very own division. I do not know for those who noticed it, Brian, however Vincent Variale, of one of many EMS unions, put out a strong attraction to his members to get vaccinated. They stated we do not essentially should agree on a mandate, however it is time to get vaccinated. We have seen different union leaders really step up and say to individuals, that is now the regulation. It was challenged in court docket. The Metropolis gained persistently. The Metropolis is the employer. The Metropolis has this proper to guard individuals, get vaccinated. One union proper now’s standing aside. There is not any lack of dialogue. They simply do not need to comply with the regulation. And we’re telling them they should. And actually, they’re members now, 80 p.c of the Hearth Division, on the firefighting facet, is now vaccinated. I believe that speaks for itself.

Lehrer: Here is a name from a vaccinated Metropolis employee, Terrell in Manhattan, you might be on WNYC with the Mayor. Whats up.

Query: Hello, good morning, Brian. Good morning to the Mayor. I’m a Metropolis worker. I bought vaccinated July thirtieth. Throughout that point, you got out the motivation for the $100. So, I made a decision to get my shot at Metropolitan Hospital, which is a Metropolis, , hospital is run by the Metropolis. So, after I did get my first shot, I had requested in regards to the $100. They advised me that they weren’t included within the incentives. So, I made a few cellphone calls, ultimately discovered that hospitals have been by no means included within the vaccine websites, which does not actually make any sense since it is a Metropolis-operated web site run by the Metropolis. So, my query is, how can I nonetheless get my $100 although I did get my shot when , that incentives first rolled out?

Lehrer: The place is my $100 Mr. Mayor? And, , we have had some academics name and ask, the place’s my $500 as a result of they bought $100, however now you provided $500 within the final couple of weeks to the brand new Metropolis workers coated by the mandate. So, what do you, what do you say to Terrell and by extension others as effectively?

Mayor: I believe there’s two – I believe Terrell’s query is one and I am going to reply the opposite piece. Terrell, first for you, your story makes whole sense to me, and I do not perceive why you would not have gotten it as a result of it is metropolis runs websites we have been offering. So, I will have a member of my crew name you and repair that. Please give your data to WNYC. From all the things you simply advised me, you deserve that $100, we should always give it to you, and thanks for going and getting again vaccinated method again in July. 

To the larger query, Brian, look, the individuals of this metropolis make use of me to maintain them wholesome and hold them secure, and we’ve got now lowered COVID ranges within the metropolis to the purpose the place one of many most secure locations in America, and we’ve got one of many highest charges of vaccination anyplace on this nation and we’re getting higher on a regular basis. Initially the place there was no incentive, an enormous variety of individuals bought vaccinated as a result of they simply wished to get vaccinated and be secure. At a sure level, we noticed it was lagging, we put an incentive in place, the $100, it had a huge effect. President Biden really picked up on it and advised individuals across the nation do the identical. This final piece we thought we would have liked a supercharge, we would have liked to get this final piece executed, we determined to do a short while $500 incentive. It helped as a result of now you see these numbers in these businesses, and , you do issues like this for those who suppose there is a technique to get one thing executed for individuals and end the mission when it comes to preventing COVID. That incentive lapsed now, however it labored, it helped us get to 92 p.c of our workforce vaccinated, and that is what the individuals in the end care about, how we’ll be secure.  

Lehrer: So, let’s speak about COVID vaccines for varsity children now that they’d begun for ages 5 by means of 11. I see they will be at colleges, at the least on at some point per faculty and possibly extra. My query for you is, is there any plan to supply the second doses at colleges after they’re ripe in a number of weeks when the kids are prepared for them based on the timeline? I do know there’s concern about drop-off from finishing the set with out that. 

Mayor: It is a wonderful query, Brian, and here is what we have discovered. You already know we did faculty vaccination for the 12 to 17-year-olds and we had a superb expertise with that, however we did not have an enormous response from mother and father, primarily we noticed individuals going and, , pediatricians to native facilities. We noticed usually mother and father selecting to go to different locations they get well being care fairly than do it within the faculty. So, we’re now doing at some point per faculty for the 5 to 11-year-olds. If we get a extremely large pickup on that, we actually can do extra and we actually can come again on the second dose. But when it tracks the place we have been beforehand, I believe then we’re prone to, , simply direct mother and father to all the opposite locations for that second dose, and so they actually have been choosing it up. I bought to inform you now with the, with the 12 to 17-year-olds, we’re at 78 p.c vaccinated, which is an incredible determine contemplating each single certainly one of them wants a parental consent. So, they don’t seem to be essentially attending to make their very own choice. The proven fact that we’ve got gotten mother and father now to conform to that degree, 78 p.c for the 12 to 17-year-olds is nice. I believe we actually have a greater quantity, in the end with 5 to 11, but when we have to do extra in colleges, if it is working, after all we are going to. 

Lehrer: Here is a associated query from a listener by way of Twitter. The query is when are masks coming off children at school. The author says it’s affecting their training, communication, socialization, and general psychological well being, mother and father need to know. So, I assume that the query on this context is, is there a vital mass share of vaccinated children at which level you say the masks can come off? 

Mayor: It is a fantastic query. In reality, Dr. Chokshi and Dr. Varma have been requested this yesterday at my press convention and talked about it. The – there may be not a tough and quick at this level, now as a result of, to begin with, we’re going into the colder months and we all know that is a vital issue vis-a-vis COVID. And second of all we simply have discovered loads from COVID that, , till we’re actually positive, we’ve got to count on the surprising. What is nice now, which supplies me hope about getting masks off, is simply the general degree of vaccination on this metropolis, it is big, it is unbelievable, and it is rising. That provides me lots of hope. I need these masks off at some point, however we can’t inform you but here is the precise day or here is the precise commonplace we’re holding as a result of we nonetheless want extra data. I additionally need to say children have executed an incredible job retaining the masks on in addition to the adults at school. None of us likes it, however it has made the colleges actually the most secure place to be in New York Metropolis, and we need to hold it that method till we’re actually all clear with COVID. 

Lehrer: I do know you have to go in a few minutes. Inform us what you considered the election outcomes, each right here in New York Metropolis, and in addition the power of Republican candidates across the metropolis on Lengthy Island and in New Jersey. 

Mayor: I believe there’s lots of various things occurring. The, , the phrase, all politics is native. I believe we’re seeing actually attention-grabbing, however various things in every place. I believe, , Virginia is completely different than New Jersey is completely different than Lengthy Island is completely different than New York Metropolis. Clearly New York Metropolis Eric Adams gained an enormous victory. We noticed a few council races go to Republicans. I believe the final one is excellent in Bay Ridge, it’s going to nonetheless go to the Democrat. I believe on Lengthy Island, clearly the felony justice points have been very large. It is completely different in every place is what we’re seeing. I believe the underside line is Democrats nonetheless – as a broad actuality of the Democratic Social gathering nationally, must give attention to sharp, clear messages, and kitchen desk points, well being care, , getting working individuals what they deserve. This has been an uneven actuality for Democrats. You already know, a pair years again, I believe it was 2018, there was a extremely constant give attention to well being care in these congressional elections, and it labored across the nation for Democrats as a result of Democrats have been talking with one voice. I believe we bought to return to that progressive, working individuals targeted message. And after we’re not doing that, then Democrats do not prove to vote, and I believe that is the actual story right here. Locations the place Republicans gained, I believe the most important downside was Democratic turnout did not occur, and that is what we set to work on. 

Lehrer: Properly, Mr. Mayor, as we head towards our ultimate few Fridays of Ask the Mayor, earlier than you allow workplace, now that the election has been held, I would like to offer you a while to speak to our listeners off the information of the week greater than we normally are on a few of the coming Fridays to mirror in your eight years of doing probably the most sophisticated jobs on the planet. So, give some thought to what you may depart individuals with about issues that you just anticipated or did not count on, recommendation for Eric Adams or future mayors, a way of perspective for various sorts of New Yorkers, issues like that. And we’ll work out some particular themes within the coming weeks for those who’re . So give that some thought, all proper. 

Mayor: Completely, Brian, I might be very pleased to, , this has been the last word studying curve. I’ve loads I would wish to share with individuals and something that I can share I hope can be useful to Mayor-elect Adams and this metropolis going ahead. However I need to thanks additionally, Brian. Now, I am going to actually thanks when are our time collectively ends. This has been a really, very shifting and rewarding expertise to have a technique to converse to on a regular basis New Yorkers, , all out within the open in a method the place individuals actually are listening to one another, considering collectively, and having a dialogue. You do one thing with this present that does not occur sufficient in our society. I need to thanks for that, and yeah, I would wish to do some reflective dialogue earlier than that is over. That might be excellent. 

Lehrer: Properly, it is very good what you stated, and thanks as all the time Mr. Mayor, discuss to you subsequent week.  

Mayor: Take care now.  

Lehrer: Mayor de Blasio from the SOMOS convention in Puerto Rico at this time. 

To be a part of within the subsequent dialog, you’ll be able to name in to 646-435-7280 on Friday mornings, or tweet your query utilizing the #AskTheMayor hashtag.

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