|Releases: Transcripts of de Blasio on WNYC radio and later press briefing on heat wave on Friday, July 19 2019.|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 19, 2019|
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, (212) 788-2958
TRANSCRIPT: MAYOR DE BLASIO APPEARS LIVE ON THE BRIAN LEHRER SHOW
Brian Lehrer: Itís the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Good morning everyone and we begin as we usually do on Fridays with our weekly Ask the Mayor segment, my questions and yours for Mayor Bill de Blasio. Our phones are open at 2-1-2-4-3-3-WNYC, 2-1-2-4-3-3-9-6-9-2, or you can tweet a question, just use the hashtag #AskTheMayor. Good morning Mr. Mayor welcome back to WNYC.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, Brian.
Lehrer: And we donít usually chat about the weather on Ask the Mayor but today for the sake of public safety we should right?
Mayor: Absolutely and let me just start with that. Thank you for raising it because I want all of your listeners to know, I mean we have got a really challenging next few days coming and this kind of heat can be dangerous. This is me speaking to every New Yorker to understand just how bad this can be. We are talking about the hottest temperatures in the last seven years here in New York City and in terms of the heat index, we are talking later today, Saturday, Sunday, well over 100 in each case, meaning it is going to feel well over 100 degrees, could be over 110 degrees, how it feels on Saturday and Sunday. So listen everyone should take all the basic precautions, donít go outside if you donít need to, donít go into the sun if you donít need to. Stay where itís as cool as it can be. If you have air conditioning, use it but set it to 78 degrees which will keep you safe and cool but will also allow us to make sure that we are being careful about our energy supply and we are saying that to the private sector. We put our an executive order requiring larger private buildings to bring their thermostat down to 78 degrees, or bring them up I should say to 78 degrees, public buildings as well. Also just on a very personal level, if you feel faint, if you feel nauseous, if you have an intense heartbeat, that could be heatstroke, call 9-1-1, get help immediately. All the basics, stay hydrated Ė these are really dangerous conditions, particularly for young children, for seniors, for folks with chronic diseases, this is a very perilous time.
And then for folks who need some place where they can be cool, you can call 3-1-1 or you can go on online, nyc.gov/beattheheat. There are 500 cooling centers sponsored by the City Ėlibraries, community centers, senior centers, where people can go, be safe, be cool. Our beaches will be extended today through Sunday to 7 pm, our pools to 8 pm. So really take it seriously and check on your neighbors, check on your family and your loved ones. Just make sure people are okay and really make sure everyone stays hydrated. Thatís one of the most basic things that everyone needs to know.
Lehrer: Whatís that web address again for finding the coolest, the cooling center nearest to you?
Lehrer: You know after last Saturdayís power outage, although that does not seem to have been heat and peak demand related, people will be a little more on edge about power. And you have been talking about keeping the thermostats at 78 degrees, but there have been blackouts and heatwaves before, so what is Con Ed telling you about the risk level that they are seeing and what are you telling them?
Mayor: Yes, so first of all this is an abundance of caution and better safe than sorry for everyone to set your air conditioning, set you thermostat to 78. Itís just a smart caution that we realize as it gets very hot, people tend to use more and more air conditioning, tend to be more inside, using electricity so we want to be careful and thatís why we are saying set it to 78 now. Con Ed consistently is saying not only was the last instance Saturday not because of overload but they are not predicting an overload situation here because it happens to be a summer weekend and so many people go out of the city at that point and that actually reduces demand compares to say a winter weekend.
So that is a good thing but we donít take anything for granted. I still have not gotten good enough answers from Con Ed about what happened last time. I will say Brian, you know, the history is important here. It was the first significant blackout in 13 years in this city and it was resolved in five hours. Thatís you know, those are important facts but they donít reassure me enough because I havenít heard a clear enough explanation Ė Iíve talked to the President of Con Ed repeatedly and we have part of the answer of what happened but not enough of the answer of how they are going to make sure that specific thing doesnít happen again. It make have been just an extraordinary fluke. Thatís what it sounds like, a particular piece of machinery that malfunctioned in a very unusual way, but thatís not reassuring enough for me or for New Yorkers who want to make sure it doesnít happen again. So thatís why we are saying letís do all the smart things as New Yorkers you know for ourselves, for our families. Letís be careful not overtax the energy system. And just everyone stay safe. In the meantime we will be talking to Con Ed, pushing them, monitoring them, literally hourly to make sure we get through this.
Lehrer: I would add to people, keep you cell phones fully charged, you know, itís easy to let them run down and not charge it every night, whatever, but because itís possible that there could be a blackout, itís good to have your cellphone fully charged, especially if you turn out to need it in case of an emergency. And I would say Mr. Mayor, that it would, it certainly will help avoid a blackout that the worst heat is coming on the weekend when people are away as you say and they arenít in those power sucking office buildings so much. But of course the 1977 blackout came on a hot Saturday. So, just a cautionary note Ė
Mayor: Well, and the world was Ė I mean it is a very good point, Brian, but the world was entirely different in 1977 in terms of the technology and the protections put in place. In fact that blackout was one of the things that you know taught everyone how much there had to be a change. But so I think the good news is a lot has changed. There is a lot more redundancy in our electrical system. There is a lot better technology but we are still going to be watching very carefully and making sure that Con Ed is doing its job. I think the point about cellphones reminds me that people should also consistently get updates because things can change. You know we get these weather reports, we do our best to work from, they are not guarantees, sometimes it gets better, sometimes it gets worse, sometimes the days change Ė right now we expect you know today to get quite hot as it goes along but again Saturday, Sunday, now almost equally bad, those are the two days to really, really be cautious about.
Lehrer: Before we go to the phones, the Eric Garner/Daniel Pantaleo case. As most people know the U.S. Justice Department announced it is not filing civil rights charges against Officer Pantaleo. Now, weíre awaiting the results of the internal disciplinary trial that was held this spring and there is pressure on you to fire Pantaleo given everything thatís known. If the Police Commissioner does not do that on his own. Would you clarify something for us about that? Is it your understanding that you have the authority under the law to order the Police Commissioner who works for you to fire Pantaleo if the Commissioner doesnít come to that conclusion on his own?
Mayor: Brian, I want to be very clear to all the people of this city, and I spoke about this at great length. I was on Hot 97 the other day and then had a press conference after, in both cases spoke at length about it, so I want to do it again to make sure everyone is clear. And I sat down yesterday with Eric Garnerís mom, Gwen Carr and for a period of time with his daughter as well, Emerald, and his wife Esaw was on phone for part of the meeting. And I just want to start by saying theyíre just in tremendous pain, theyíre in total pain, and they look at what has happened with all the previous process, and theyíre just absolutely in a point where they donít trust and they donít feel thereís been fairness to them. They donít feel like theyíve been heard. And I wanted them to know that this is process is going to be fair, and itís going to be impartial. That it will conclude in August and they will be treated with respect throughout this process. So the law is very clear. Itís a state law, and of course on top of that there are laws governing unions and this involves a unionized employee, and then there are union contracts, so all of those pieces come into play. There is due process for any officer. That trial has happened. The Commissioner Ė Assistant Commissioner at the NYPD who is in charge of the trials will issue an opinion, a verdict, an opinion, a recommendation to the Commissioner, and then Commissioner OíNeill by law makes the final decision. So weíre going to respect that process. I am not going to get into hypothetical. I donít think people should pre-judge. Weíve said very, very clearly thereís been a trial, and there will be a final decision in August and I want everyone to understand how specific that is Ė there will be a decision. I understand the protests will continue and Gwen Carr made that clear, and I understand and respect that. You know, weíre a city that always will protect anyoneís right to express themselves. But this process will end, there will be closure in August.
Lehrer: Are you saying then, that youíll respect Commissioner OíNeillís decision, whatever it is, and promise not to overrule him?
Mayor: Again, the important thing here Ė and I explained this, and you know, your question is of course valid, Brian. But I wanted to talk to the person who I think has the most on the line here, who is the mother of Eric Garner, and I explained that this process has to be followed very scrupulously, because whatever the end result is it has to, by all legal measures, be consistent. So Iím not going to talk about hypotheticals, itís not helpful to a process that needs to be consistent and straightforward, and in the end there will be a decision.
Lehrer: But I donít think people understand the process, I donít think people Ė
Mayor: Thatís why Iím trying to explain it Ė
Lehrer: But Iím asking a particular question about the process. At the end of the process thatís going on right now, and the Police Commissionerís decision on discipline, do you have the authority to order him to do something if he doesnít do what you want him to do?
Mayor: Again, this is a legal matter, so Iím just going to answer as I think is the appropriate answer, and is the legally important answer. There is a process. The Commissioner, by law, will make that decision after the due process is completed, and thatís where Iím going to leave it.
Lehrer: So he has the final say?
Mayor: Again, Iíve just said Ė Iíve told you what Iím telling you and weíll Ė look, I think the important thing here is to recognize weíre in a very quick time sequence here, and everyone will judge by the outcome.
Lehrer: If youíre taking such a hands-off attitude, does it mean that you are personally ambivalent about whether Pantaleo should be fired?
Mayor: Well, Brian youíre an intelligent person and your listeners are intelligent and New Yorkers are intelligent. Iím making very clear, and again, Iíve spoken about this at great length a few days ago Ė this is a process that must be consistent, and Iím the steward of this city and Iím going to follow the law very carefully and make sure that this process is seen by all as fair and impartial, and Iím not doing hypotheticals, and Iím not doing personal opinions. I feel very, very deeply for this family and I spoke to it yesterday. Theyíre going through extraordinary pain, they feel absolutely and totally let down. I understand exactly Ė none of us have gone through what theyíve gone through, but I understand why they are absolutely cynical that there could be any fairness after what theyíve been through.
Lehrer: But youíre not even saying what your authority is?
Mayor: Iíve said something very clear about how the law works and that thereís going to be an outcome, and again, I understand your job is to ask questions. My job is to be steward of this city and to protect this process so that when the outcome occurs, itís clear that it was consistent. And you can ask 1,000 different ways but Iím very purposefully answering.
Lehrer: Iím going to ask you one more way. Errol Louis has a Daily News column today about a case from the 90ís, in which Rudy Giuliani, as mayor, fired a police officer and two firefighters, I think it was, for taking part in a racist parade float Ė
Mayor: Yeah, thatís just not accurate. Iíve heard that, and Iíve talked to the Law Department. Itís just not accurate. There was a full process in each case. And I respect all the voices out there, and a lot of the voices out there want to minimize the situation, but the facts are the facts. There is no such thing as firing, outright, someone when there are due process rights under state law and under union contracts. Everyone Ė those firefighters went through due process, that police officer went through due process; the ultimate decisions were made by the relevant commissioners. That was true then, itís true now.
Lehrer: A federal appeals court upheld the decisions to, I guess, fire them on the grounds that, ďbringing discredit upon the police and the fire departments within minority communitiesĒ, was a legal reason for termination. Could that be a legal reason here?
Mayor: Again, letís look at what you just said. They went court after the personnel process that the City had, but the reason the city was upheld - and Brian again, youíre a very intelligent man, I want you to listen carefully please Ė the reason the city was upheld was the process was conducted properly. So, again, there was a full trial, there were decisions made by the commissioners in each case, then there was an attempt to overturn those decisions and the cityís process had been done correctly so those decisions could not be overturned. It was not done by the Mayor. It was done through an appropriate disciplinary process, trial, due process, and a decision by the Commissioner. That is the way that things are done, and when they are done that way, then the decisions hold even if there is further legal challenge.
Lehrer: And Iím asking if, within that process, a cause for firing could be, not just whether Officer Pantaleo violated police procedures like with a chokehold, but if he brought discredit upon the police and fire departments within minority communities Ė
Mayor: Yeah, itís not my place. Iím not lawyer and itís not my place to analyze or offer different options about how that process may play out. Again, this is serious stuff, itís very easy for folks who are not responsible Ė not saying this negative to you Ė but to many critics, and they have every right to be critics, but itís very easy for people to say just cut these corners, snap your fingers, Iím trying to make clear to people. And everyone would want due process, I really want to emphasize this, this is an important American value, everybody gets due process, whether you like the person or not, they get due process because everyone of us might be on the other side of that at one point. But in the end, there will be a decision and that decision has to be done in the right way, thatís the bottom line.
Lehrer: Leda, in Manhattan, youíre on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hello, Leda.
Question: Good morning. Good morning, Mr. Mayor, and good morning, Brian. And thank you for taking my call.
Question: Iím calling about real estate taxes. I live in a small co-op building, 24 apartments, and this year our taxes went up by 16 percent. That is on top of five, six, seven years of eight percent, nine percent, 11 percent, 14 percent Ė we cannot sustain that. Now, we know that there was a commission that was created to look at the fairness in the real estate system, the current real estate system. Because we know that private housing co-ops, condos Ė everybody is treated differently with what some have called a very arcane system of figuring out how the taxes go up. I also know, because we testified in front of the Commission that there was a commission that was supposed to report I believe in this past May about, you know, how changes could be made to tax system. I havenít hear anything about that report. Mr. Mayor, could you enlighten me as to whatís happening with that?
Mayor: Yes, Leda, absolutely. And itís an important question Ė you know, Iíve held town hall meetings all over the city for years, and this is one of the questions that comes up all the time, because the property tax system historically has been very inconsistent across neighborhoods and across different types of residential housing, and the goal of the commission, it was named by me and the City Council was to create consistency, transparency, and make a system that people felt was more fair. Now, Leda on Ė let me do two things, first on the procedural. This commission is coming back this year with recommendations. Two things then happen. Some will be part of City law, which means they can be voted on by the City Council, and then I decide of course whether to sign or not and the other has to be done by State law. The State Legislative session begins in January. So this is the Ė weíre coming up to the point where these things are going to be put on the table and resolved.
The challenge here Ė I am absolutely certain we can do a lot better on consistency and transparency. And that will make some peopleís lives, definitely better. But what I want to be honest about and Iíve said this in front of huge crowds of New Yorkers, you know, trying to be really honest with everyone that we cannot end up with a system that reduces our revenue substantially, unless people want to see a change in the services provided by city. So, wherever I go, you know the very same town hall meeting and I say this respectfully because itís an honest challenge, itís an honest debate. Wherever I go, people want to see their property taxes go down, but they also want, you know, more cops on the street or they want more teachers or special ed teachers in the schools and better sanitation services, and you name it. So, right now I believe the city is at point of some equilibrium. Crime has continued to go down, the economy is strong, more jobs, the cityís services are stronger in many ways than theyíve been. But we still a lot of giant problems to address, and we canít - in my view - reduce revenue without really negatively affecting the quality of life, and negatively affecting our economy and our safety.
So, weíre going to have to figure out how to make the system better but not lose substantial revenue in the process. So itís not going to be a panacea to say the least. The challenge here also Ė and Iím sure you understand it, Leda, Iím sure Brian, and all your listeners do - is that property values have gone up not in every neighborhood uniformly by any stretch but pretty consistently across all of New York City, property values have been going up now pretty consistently over 20 years. For the property owners, that is obviously a good thing, for the neighborhoods in many ways that a good thing, but it does put a burden on when it comes to property taxes. And thatís a balance point weíre trying to sort out. But in the end Iíve got to go with what is the quality of life of New Yorkers, what - how safe are we, how strong is our economy, how good are our services, what is the quality of life, and what do we need to sustain it. Thatís the central question I ask when I look at this equation.
Lehrer: Andrew in Crown Heights, youíre on WNC with the Mayor. Hi, Andrew.
Question: Mr. Mayor, how are you?
Mayor: Hey, Andrew.
Question: Glad to talk to you. We have a big problem at 1-2-3-4 Pacific Street in Crown Heights and we need your help. The elevator has been out for two months now, and apropos of the heat that is going to taking place this weekend, we have a lot of elderly people who live in our building and they to trudge up four, five, six flights of stairs. So the landlord has been Ė the work was supposed to take a month, itís now two and a half months in, the landlord was Ė keeps telling us that itís going to be done any day now. Apparently we are still waiting on the City Inspector to come to sign off on the work Ė
Mayor: Okay, Andrew Ė
Question: Whether or not this really going to take place is anyoneís guess Ė
Mayor: Yeah, Andrew Ė
Lehrer: Letís listen to an answer. Mr. Mayor, go ahead.
Mayor: Yeah, Andrew, first of all, please give your information right away to WNYC so we can have folks follow up. If Ė weíll get all the facts, but if it is Ė I take it is a private building and the inspector youíre waiting on is from the Buildings Department, if thatís what it is, you give the facts to WNYC, my folks will follow up immediately with you. If that is the case, I will speak to the Buildings Commissioner today and weíll get someone over immediately. We obviously want those elevators working right away. If itís simply a matter of inspection and everything is fixed and ready to go, thatís something we can do right away. If itís worse than that, weíll see what we can do to get the landlord to fix it faster. But weíll make sure someone is on this immediately today.
Question: Okay, Mr. Mayor, your poll numbers just skyrocketed in our building. Thank you so much.
Mayor: Okay, thank you, Andrew.
Lehrer: Thank you very much. Annette in Laurelton, youíre on WNYC, hello Annette.
Question: Good morning, and good morning, Brian and Mayor de Blasio. I live in Laurelton on Francis Lewis Boulevard and we recently had the road repaved from Merrick Boulevard extended to 121st Avenue, did a beautiful job. Why is it that they donít include the curb? Because weíre responsible for repaving as homeowners, the sidewalk. But why they donít do the curbs? [Inaudible] in front some of them in front of some of the houses, the curbs are, you know, crumbling and I think it should be done at the same time and can you help me to get it done?
Mayor: Annette, please also give your information to WNYC. Itís a very good question, and you know, Iím a home owner in Brooklyn and I donít actually know the answer to the question. I know Iíve been with the paving crews when they do the roads, and I want to shout out to the Department of Transportation and all the crews that do the street repair and the filling of potholes and especially the repavingís, that has been Ė weíve actually done the greatest amount of repaving in decades in this city and people really appreciate it and those crews do an incredible job.
But youíre an important point, my Ė when I watch those crews at work, they stop at the curb, and I think if there was something being done for the curbs as well for the actually citing of the curb, it would be a different operation. I think the central need of course is to Ė when you got streets that broken up is to fix the street, thatís more important than a curb per se, but itís a very good question, you know, how we deal with the curbs and whose responsibility and what kind of priority it gets. So let me find out the bigger answers, but Annette Ė in your specific case, let me see if we can have one of our agencies help you on whatís going on immediately on your block.
Lehrer: Reda in the Bronx, youíre on WNYC with the Mayor, hello Reda.
Question: Hello, good morning. Your policy, Mr. Mayor, that pedestrian safety comes first when sharing roads with bikes is being violated in an outrageous way in the Bronx on the Putnam Nature Trail in Van Cortlandt Park, that is a nature trail that has Ė itís a unique wetland nature trail in a working class community and itís long been shared at reasonable speeds with bikes Ė and parks is about to turn into a paved bike speedway. This is an environmental injustice and itís veryÖ.
for runners and all pedestrian and wildlife, and itís not even budgeted to have maintenance so paving wonít last and bicyclists and runners will be injured, and I think the officials at every level who let this go through should be civilly liable if that happens. So the question is, how can you let this go forward?
Mayor: Well, I appreciate you calling it in, and also want you to give your information to WNYC. I always like to be straightforward when I havenít heard of a particular concern or complaint, this is the first time Iím hearing this one, and I take it seriously. So Iím going to speak to the Deputy Mayor in charge of the Parks Department to have this reviewed to understand whatís going on. Clearly, if itís supposed to be a fair trial, it has to be done in a way thatís safe and Ė you said it right, in the beginning, thereís a hierarchy of need when it comes to safety. This is absolutely consistent with the Vision Zero point. Number-one is Ė protect pedestrians who are the most vulnerable part of the whole equation of our streets and our sidewalks. Everything in the first job is to protect our pedestrians, and then we are doing a lot to protect our bicyclists, and weíre going to have a lot more to say on that in the coming days, and then of course we want to protect motorists too, but so often motorists are the underlying, you know, trucks and cars are the underlying reason why others get injured. So, weíre trying with Vision Zero to protect everyone, we have to recognize it begins with the vulnerability of pedestrians and thankfully, because of Vision Zero, the number of pedestrians Ė the number of fatalities has gone down steadily. But this kind of situation is serious. Thereís been real concerns about those shared spaces for a long time. Obviously when we went to car-free situations like Prospect Park, Central Park, it was in part to try and stop the dynamic where the pedestrians were trying to deal with cars and bikes and everything around them. So if this is a space where there is a challenge we need to figure out how to keep it safe. I donít know the specifics, but Iíll talk to the Deputy Mayor and Iíll make sure someone follows up with you today.
Lehrer: We had City Council Speaker on the show this week, and with respect to cyclist safety, he said he would support spending a lot more money in next yearís budget Ė I realize youíve just finished this fiscal yearís budget Ė but he said next year to create many more protected bike lanes. Is that something, in principal, you would also support?
Mayor: Again, Iím going to not, you know, talk about next yearís budget process until we get to it, but I do want to say, you know, we are coming forward very soon, in a matter of days, with the next stage of our plan to address this recent, just horrible crisis with bicyclist fatalities. And the NYPD has immediately been doing ongoing enforcement to open up bike lanes and get people to stop parking and that enforcement will continue. Thereís lots of other enforcement measures that are already underway. Weíre going to have a lot more to say next week about additional steps. But Iím certainly Ė I work very well with Speaker Johnson, if itís a priority for him thatís going to matter a lot. And weíve been constantly expanding bike lanes all over the city including a lot more protected bike lanes, but next week weíll be able to say a lot more.
Lehrer: Amir in Brooklyn, youíre on WNYC. Hello, Amir.
Question: Hi, good morning. Mr. Mayor, I just want to ask. I just recently leased a space Ė a commercial space to do a restaurant two months ago and contacted National Grid in order to open a new account for gas. They tell me that thereís absolutely no accounts for now Ė itís been two months from that Ė because they have some problems with the states. They have absolutely no idea when this is going to be resolved so what to do we do?
Mayor: I want to say, respectfully, to National Grid. I donít think theyíre telling you the whole story. They are hinging that, that approach on the idea that because the Williams pipeline was rejected by the State Ė this is a pipeline that was going to bring additional natural gas to the City, that somehow they canít offer service to more customers. I think the Williams pipeline is a mistake. I think we have to be moving away steadily from fossil fuel infrastructure and focus on conservation and focus on renewable resources. Itís the only way weíre going to address global warming. But hereís the irony Ė or, hereís the thing that I think makes their argument questionable Ė that pipeline was going to be at least three years away from completion, physically. It was not built. They were waiting to approve it, then it had to be built and made operational. That was going to take at least three years. So it seems very strange to me that theyíre telling customers they canít get service now when the new supply was three years away. Something seems like a bit of a game there. So, we need to have a clear understanding in the city and this whole country, thereís a lot more we can be doing right now to conserve. The City of New York is doing that with our buildings. We just passed a very stringent law to get private sector buildings to retrofit and use less energy. Thereís a lot we can be doing immediately to get more renewable energy going, the City is doing that. All of our city government is going to run on renewable electricity in the next five years and we have a huge operation. This is the direction we have to go in, not just continuing to build up more and more fossil fuel infrastructure thatís just holding us back.
Lehrer: Emir, thank you for your call. And weíre just about out of time. Mr. Mayor, I want to come back to the Pantaleo case for one more opportunity for you to clarify one fact. Is your reluctance to state whether you would even have the authority to overrule a decision after it comes from the Police Commissioner because you fear that even saying that, in advance of a decision, would put any decision at legal risk?
Mayor: Yeah, Iím going to keep this very broad, and Brian you have a job to do, but I have a job to do on behalf of 8.6 million people. Iím accountable to all of them, I am there steward and the idea is to keep this city safe and heal the wounds of the past and move forward. So, there is a process here. Iíve spoken to it very clearly. Weíre going to let that process play out. It will be resolved in August. Thatís all I have to tell you.
Lehrer: Thanks, as always Mr. Mayor, talk to you next week.
Mayor: Thank you, Brian.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 19, 2019
CONTACT: email@example.com, (212) 788-2958
TRANSCRIPT: MAYOR DE BLASIO HOSTS PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE HEAT EMERGENCY
Mayor Bill de Blasio: I want to give all the New Yorkers an update on the heat situation, and I want to start by saying Ė since we last gathered all here in this room, the situation actually has gotten worse in terms of this coming Sunday. Originally, we believed that today, Friday, would be tough, Saturday would really, really be awful, and then, Sunday, a little bit better. Now, Sunday and Saturday Ė almost exactly the same Ė almost equally bad Ė so, I want to emphasize to everyone, this is a very, very difficult situation. Everyone's got to take it seriously. This is a potentially dangerous weather situation for a number of New Yorkers. I'm going to go over, again, all of the tips we're giving, all the recommendations we're giving, all the precautions weíre taking. But the message I want to keep getting across to all New Yorkers is, take this weather seriously. We have not seen temperatures like this in at least seven years. We haven't seen this many concentrated hot days in a long, long time. Take this very seriously.
So, at this point, based on the report Ė the latest report from National Weather Service, we'll be in this extreme heat all the way to the end of Sunday, but it does look like it'll end late Sunday night. That's the latest we have. In order to address this situation, I signed an executive order last night, declaring a heat emergency in this city, and I'll talk about some of the specific requirements of that executive order. But we are mandating certain actions to take place to keep everybody safe.
So, first, let me go over the forecast, and then some of the steps we're taking and the things that every-day New Yorkers need to know. And as I do, just want to say, we have leaders of a wide variety of City agencies here. I want to thank them. Everyone's been working very hard with their teams to prepare. I want to thank them for that. And a lot of them made sure that there were plenty of personnel available to handle these next days Ė and thank them for all the work they're doing.
So, today Ė the latest as of a short while ago from the National Weather Service Ė today, weíll get to a high of 90 degrees, a heat index of up to 101 degrees, and that will be primarily up till 5:00 pm, when it will be at its hottest. We could see thunderstorms tonight Ė that might help for a period of time, but we're not sure about the details of that yet. Tomorrow Ė a temperature high predicted of 97 degrees, heat index of 111 degrees Ė again, with the worst period of being up through 5:00 PM tomorrow; Sunday Ė also high of 97 degrees, heat index of 110 degrees up to 5:00 pm. Some of you are probably learning about heat index Ė thatís the way it actually feels. It's not just the temperature outside, but when you add in the humidity, the full effect Ė itís what you feel, itís what your body is feeling. It's the equivalent Ė with cold weather Ė of wind-chill factor. So, what it's going to feel like tomorrow and Sunday is going to be upwards of 110 degrees Ė obviously, very extreme for the body. So, everyone has to be really careful and understand that this is a very unusual situation.
So, since that kind of heat can be dangerous, let's go into some of the things that we're advising people to do and some of the steps we're taking. First Ė number one, if at all possible, stay indoors Saturday and Sunday to the maximum extent possible and, specifically, stay out of the sun. If you do have to go outdoors, keep it to a minimum. But, if you go out, it's a big difference whether you're in the sun or not. Youíre going to feel a lot better if you're not in the sun.
Now, we know for our parents Ė and I can say this as a parent myself Ė itís hard to keep kids indoors that long, so there will be good places to go with your kids. All of the City parks, playgrounds will have Ė that have sprinklers, will have them on until dark. For the City pools Ė our Olympic-size pools and our intermediate pools will be open until 8:00 pm Ė thatís extended hours Ė tonight, Saturday night, Sunday, until 8:00 pm. We were able to extend our beach hours one hour to 7:00 pm. That was the maximum we could do while still ensuring that we had the lifeguards we needed and the safety conditions we needed. But we have added an extra hour today, tomorrow, Sunday at our beaches.
Two update on specific major events. We have instructed that the Triathlon and the OZY Fest be canceled given the heat conditions. In terms of other steps, using air conditioning Ė everyone, using air conditioning, obviously, thatís where you want to be Ė where there's air conditioning Ė but we keep emphasizing, set it at 78 degrees, unless you have a specific condition where you need it to be a cooler Ė 78 degrees will keep you safe, will keep you cool enough, will keep you healthy. And, again, we want to always be careful not to use more electricity than we need to. I've checked in with Con Ed, they still expect to have plenty of available electricity for the demand level, but we want to be a safe rather than sorry. Limit electric use wherever you can. Limit appliance use any way you can between now and Sunday night.
The executive order mandates large office buildings to keep their thermostats at 78 degrees through Sunday. That instruction has been given, all City government buildings have been instructed to do the same. There are exceptions in the executive order for any place that is primarily used for medical purposes or to serve people with disabilities. And anytime, of course, thereís an issue of safety, there's an exception. The order on the specific private building mandate is for commercial office buildings, not residential buildings, not other types of buildings, like museums, restaurants, theaters, retail. Those are all places that people may get go to, to get cool. We don't want to undermine that. But in the office buildings, which is obviously a big piece of the City, we want to make sure that that temperature is honored. And, obviously Ė a message to everyone in the private sector and everyone in the public sector Ė turn off lights you're not using. Turn off appliances you're not using. Turn off machinery you're not using. Everyoneís just got to use their common sense here.
We will have cooling centers available. Obviously, today, they're up and running, and through Sunday. The base hours Ė the basic hours will be 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. In some cases, there'll be extended hours. And again, you can find those locations, you can call 3-1-1, or you go to nyc.gov/beattheheat. Again, call 3-1-1 or go to nyc.gov/beattheheat to get specific centers that are available and their hours. Typically, we're talking about Parks and Recreation facilities, community centers, senior centers, libraries. There will be some variation over the weekend, including for religious reasons in the case of some of the institutions.
Very important to check in with your neighbors Ė check on your family members, make sure everyone is safe. If they need something, they need to be in a cooler place to be, to get them someplace cool or to get them to a cooling center. Always make sure everyone's hydrated. It's one most basic things that everyone can do. And we will be doing Ė youíll hear about it in a moment Ė of course, outreach, particularly to make sure that homeless folks are in a place that's safe and cool. Now, again, Dr. Barbot will come up, but I'm going to say it first, just to start the point that Ė take the potential for heatstroke very seriously. Dr. Barbot will go into all of the symptoms, but if it feels like something unusual is happening Ė trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat, you feel dizzy, you feel nauseated Ė call 9-1-1 right away. Don't risk it. It could be heatstroke Ė it can be fatal.
I'm going to say a few quick words in Spanish and then we'll hear from Commissioner Criswell and Commissioner Barbot.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, let me turn to our Emergency Management Commissioner, Deanne Criswell.
Commissioner Deanne Criswell, Office of Emergency Management: Thank you, Mayor. Again, today is the start of this dangerous heat wave. As the Mayor mentioned, these temperatures are going to continue to rise Saturday, and even greater than we had originally anticipated on Sunday. These heat index values do peak between 2 and 5:00 pm every day. So, those are our days of peak concern for those that are out there. There also has been an air quality health advisory that has been put in effect from 11:00 am today to 11:00 pm today, and people with respiratory problems should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Again, the best way to beat the heat is to stay indoors. We do have several cooling centers open across the five boroughs. But again, there's other ways that you can find cool places Ė going to movie theaters, or restaurants, or other public spaces like malls, or libraries. So, please find those places that are cool so you can beat the heat.
We're also in constant communication with Con Ed and PSEG to monitor the electrical system during this, making sure we are taking proactive measures if we need to. And, with that, our Emergency Operations Center did open today at 11:00 am. It will be open through the weekend with representatives from different city agencies Ė to include NYPD, FDNY, NYCHA, DEP, Con Ed, MTA will be there, Department of Health, and the National Weather Service. This puts us in a position where we can be proactive if something does happen and we can respond quickly to make sure we're taking care of New Yorkers.
We've also put a couple of other things in place. We've rented equipment to include several portable air conditioning units to help support cooling, as needed. They are ready to deploy to any areas that we find that need additional cooling assistance. And we've also activated our emergency generator contracts so we can have additional generator capacity if we find the need to use it. We did issue an advanced warning system message, sent to over 1,900 partners to amplify information about heat dangers and cooling centers to vulnerable populations. And our team has been in communication, again, with elected officials, the private sector partners, our faith-based organizations, and nonprofits to provide continued updates. We will continue to communicate with them to help get the message out about the heat.
And we want to remind you to stay informed and follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter, or download the app on your smartphone, and you can receive the latest updates as we received them.
Mayor: Thank you. Dr. Barbot? Decaffeinated Ė
Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: As the City's doctor, I want to remind New Yorkers that this heat wave can be deadly to health. On an annual basis, we have roughly 13 people who die because of heatstroke. We have an additional 115 or so that die because of exacerbations of underlying chronic illnesses because of the heat. And so, my best advice to New Yorkers during this time is, stay indoors, especially if you are elderly, if you have a chronic underlying illness such as asthma, diabetes, kidney disease Ė all of those put you at additional risk for adverse consequences from the heat. Additionally, I want to remind New Yorkers that the best way to stay safe in this period is to stay hydrated. The best way to hydrate is with water. If you choose to hydrate with other beverages, let's make sure that they are decaffeinated, and also stay away from alcoholic beverages. I'm not saying don't drink them, but just don't use them to hydrate.
Mayor: That was good.
Commissioner Barbot: That was good, right? I cleaned that one up.
The other thing I want to remind New Yorkers is to check on their elderly neighbors during this heat emergency. The most important way to prevent the consequences of heatstroke and heat illness is to stay in an air conditioned place. So, check on your neighbors, make sure their air conditioning is functioning. If it's not, you can call 3-1-1 for the closest cooling center that we can direct you to.
The last thing I want to end with is to remind New Yorkers about the symptoms Ė signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. They can range anywhere from hot skin Ė hot, dry skin, to cold, clammy skin, palpitations, extreme fatigue, loss of consciousness, disorientation. The important thing is not to wait until you experience those symptoms. If you're feeling tired more so than you would ordinarily, take a break, get in the shade, drink water, get into an air conditioned space.
That's all I have.
Mayor: Thank you, Doctor.
Commissioner Barbot: Oh, en EspaŮol Ė
[Commissioner Barbot speaks in Spanish]
Mayor: Thank you very much Doctor. Okay we are going to take questions about the heat situation and then we will take other question after. First, about the heat situation.
Question: Mr. Mayor, on WNYC this morning you said youíd be in touch with Con Ed regularly throughout the weekend. What does that monitoring look like? Are you getting access to the systems? Are they giving you regular readouts? Whatís that like?
Mayor: I will tell you about the conversation I had with the President of Con Ed, Tim Cawley, just an hour or less ago. Commissioner Criswell can talk about how her team relates to Con Ed constantly. What it looks like is confirming what their operations are experiencing, what kind of demand they are seeing, their ability to meet the demand, the conversation about an hour ago, confirmed that demand now, and projected through the weekend, was well within the boundaries of what they can handle, was substantially less than they would normally have to deal with on a typical weekday that wasnít summer, you know, sort of the main part of the year on a weekday would be substantially more energy being used then what we will experience in these next few days for example.
So Con Ed, at this moment, is telling us they are not having a supply problem, they are not having too much demand, all their systems are working, those are good things. And weíll keep asking those questions, weíll keep looking for any vulnerabilities or challenges that theyíre citing or anything they need. Further they have their own version of an emergency operations center and they brought in a substantial amount of their personnel on emergency basis to be ready to handle anything that comes up. I will repeat what I had to say a few days ago, I am still not getting an answer and Iíve asked it now, I think six or seven times for further clarification of what happened Saturday and what steps are being taken to ensure it wonít happen again.
The narrow answer, that the specific apparatus that failed Saturday has been isolated Ė of course that is true and I appreciate that answer but not the bigger answer of how would they avoid a similar scenario again. I am still not satisfied that anyone of us have gotten that answer. But in terms of day to day, hour to hour coordination, that is continuing and at least to date we are hearing answers that give us confidence things are working. Do you want to add Commissioner?
Commissioner Criswell: Yes, so even leading up to today, we were in continuous communication with Con Ed, we had daily phone calls with them in the morning and in the evening. Now that we have activated our emergency operations center, Con Ed has a representative here with us, coordinating and communicating but Con Ed has also activated their emergency response center and we have sent somebody over there so they can be able to see the systems and see if there is any issues that come up right away so that way we can coordinate back and forth and be prepared to respond if needed.
Question: Itís Ray with NBC, we have been asking you about the air conditioning units in the cooling centers, the NYCHA cooling centers, wanted to see if you had a reason why they werenít there before?
Mayor: So weíve spoken to the previous situation. Deputy Mayor Been is here. Right now our focus has been making sure that the centers were up and running for this crisis. And the latest count, weíve been monitoring them all day, I think, Deputy Mayor, two have experienced a problem and are being addressed right now? Come on over, why donít you give the update and Iíll speak behind it.
Deputy Mayor Vicki Been, Housing and Economic Development: So we have eight cooling centers and 141 other Youth Department and senior centers on NYCHA campuses. All of them are up and running, they are cooling, right. Some of them, the main HVAC system is not working but we are using portable units, et cetera to bring them up to cooling. So as of like 20 minutes ago two were down, they are back online with portable units. So right now all are working, all are cooling to 78 or below and we are working to get the regular HVAC systems so that it is up and running so that itís even cooler.
Question: Is there a reason why they werenít checked on before the situation, before we started asking questions?
Deputy Mayor Been: Look, it was unacceptable that we were not opening some of those cooling units until July, until there was an emergency. Itís unacceptable. I apologize to the residents of NYCHA. We are getting to the bottom of it, we are reorganizing and really looking at our management structure, our procurement systems, et cetera, and trying to be more proactive and not waiting obviously for a problem to occur.
Mayor: Thank you. And look, we also Ė we finally will have the long term leadership we have been waiting for at NYCHA starting next month and a series of reforms and changes are happening and this one of the things we are going to make sure doesnít happen again. But most importantly, for folks who need cooling, they can go to those 149 centers and get cooling.
Question: I think the question on a lot of New Yorkers minds right now is can we trust Con Ed? Not only because of the blackout but because of the response to the blackout. When they say they have enough capacity for this, do you trust them at their word that they can handle this?
Mayor: This is a situation where you know, pure trust is hard to come by right? I canít say Ė I donít run Con Ed and I am not getting the answers I want from Con Ed, and I have said very openly to the President of Con Ed, I am responsible to give people as specific answers as possible all the time. If something happens in our schools, with our police, public housing, you name it, I am supposed to give you guys very tangible, specific answers and I donít have them, we are supposed to get them quickly. Con Ed plays by a different set of rules. That is not comforting to me. So I canít say trust. I can say that they are giving us consistent information on the capacity question which is the one that I think that is the front of our minds right now. There is nothing that they have said in the last week that makes me dubious about their capacity level, their personnel levels, their physical capacity in terms of handling the load that will be needed for this weekend. But I think they need to do a lot better at explaining why something of that magnitude happened. Yes, first in 13 years, yes it was repaired within five hours, those are notable facts. But they got to explain exactly how it happened and how they have taken measures to stop it from ever happening again. We would hold ourselves to that standard. They are not yet achieving that.
Question: Mr. Mayor, can you tell us a little about the executive order, what it covers? And also in terms of cancelling the triathlon and OZY Fest, were those powers you used under the executive order or maybe you can explain to us a little bit about the process of cancelling those two events?
Mayor: I will start and the Deputy Mayor is here, the Parks Commissioner is here, anyone who wants to add specifics, more than I have should. The executive order was focused on the fact that we have a large number of office buildings that we had the legal power to mandate, go to 78 degrees. This is something that has not been done before in city history as far as I can tell. Law Department checked carefully, it was fully within our rights because of the heat emergency declaration. It was a logical, necessary step. And we are doing again, the same for public sector buildings. In terms of the other events, Mitch can start because he has been deeply involved with these, sometimes itís a contractual issue, sometimes itís an issue of public safety, sometimes itís both but Mitch come on up and start and then Vicki or anyone else who wants to add.
Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, Department of Parks and Recreation: The Mayor is correct. We worked with the event organizers for the triathlon and they looked at first modifying the schedule and for the safety of the athletes. Although they will be swimming and then biking, it was excessive heat and they concurred that the best interest of the athletes was to cancel the triathlon. In the case of OZY Fest, we do have in our contract for either rain events or extreme heat events, we do have the option of exercising cancellation if the heat index exceeds 105. We determined for both days as we got updated information that that was going to be the case. So for the safety of both the public, for the performers, and for our responders who will be on the scene, we felt it was the best thing to do was to cancel the event [inaudible] as well as all outdoor major events that are occurring in our parks over the weekend.
Mayor: Thank you. This side, anyone who has not gone, okay. Coming over to this side, yes.
Question: Mr. Mayor, when the air quality is poor because of the ozone, some European cities will limit traffic, car traffic into the city. Do you have any suggestions for New Yorkers?
Mayor: I am going to turn to my colleagues because I have to tell you, itís a serious issue but in all of our preparations in the last few days, that has not been one of the topics that we have been focused on. Obviously there are a number of other areas we have been concerned about right now. So I donít have an easy answer on the ozone, air quality issue, I donít know if Dr. Barbot, anyone doesnít have it Ė we will come back on that but I donít have that for you right now. Go ahead.
Question: Mayor, can you talk about the plan for the homeless?
Mayor: Yes, letís have Commissioner Banks come on over and talk about that.
Commissioner Steven Banks, Department of Social Services: So under the current conditions we have 24 hour outreach as we always do but we redouble our efforts. We have enough capacity to bring people in and we have outreach workers out there on a heightened schedule to convince people to come in. If you see somebody that is homeless, call 3-1-1 and the City will respond. Either the NYPD Homeless Outreach Unit, or one of our outreach teams will be there and weíre very focused on clients that we know are on the street. We have a by-name list. And weíve been bringing people in through the efforts, all year long, and particularly at this time of the year weíre very much focused on bringing in people, and we could use the help of any New Yorker that wants to call 3-1-1 and we will deploy someone to come and help us in that effort.
Question: Just going back to the car question real quick. It seems to be, you know, general held knowledge that driving a car, bigger, more congestion does make the air hotter around you. Is there, at all, a suggestion that you can make to tell people if you donít need to make a car trip, donít do itó
Mayor: Oh, 100 percent. So, again, Iíve got no problem telling people when itís time to get off the road because in our snow emergencies weíve been very clear and aggressive, sometimes including enforcement actions when we need people off the road. I like to be honest about, in our preparations for this, the air quality question has not been the central concern, thereís a host of other things that have been Ė but itís a great issue and we should pursue it, in terms of how we want to do things going forward on a more structural basis. In the immediate, I have already said back on Tuesday, Iíll say it again today, that people should not go outside if they donít have to. So donít travel if you donít have to. Donít walk if you donít have to. Donít take the bus, donít take the subway. The subway platforms are going to be incredibly hot. The bottom line is, stay indoors to the maximum extent possible, stay put, stay cool. Avoid exertion, avoid being out in the sun. But yeah, if you donít need to drive, donít drive. Yeah, I agree with that entirely because, even though itís a weekend, and itís summer, thereís probably less congestion than a lot of other times, we want everyone to, as much as possible, just stay put.
Okay. Other questions, yes?
Question: For you and I think for the Health Commissioner, just to convey how severe this emergency is, can you talk about what your worst case scenario Ė like whatís your greatest fear?
Mayor: Yeah, our fear is people dying. I mean itís very clear Ė heat stroke can be fatal. Our fear is, with this kind of temperature, people arenít used to it. Itís a very rare occurrence to get to this kind of level. A heat index to over 110, again, thatís going to feel like over 110 degrees. Itís pretty shocking to the body. Our fear is that people will be put in a really compromised situation, and we could lose some people. We donít that to happen. These kinds of precautions could save lives. Just staying hydrated, staying in a cool place, if youíre feeling the symptoms Ė calling 9-1-1 and getting help immediately. So, thatís my central fear. You know, when we have a snowstorm, itís a lot about keeping the streets clear or trying to avoid accidents. This is really about individual health. Making sure that people understand the precautions they have to take, and if thereís any problem, God forbid, you know get help immediately, or if theyíre feeling overheated, get to a cool place immediately, donít risk it. Thatís the message I want to send.
Question: Yeah, WNYC and Gothamist has found data that over 300,000 seniors live more than a half-mile away from a cooling center. Is it reasonable Ė that can be quite a distance for some of them, is it a reasonable distance for them to travel?
Mayor: Look, we are Ė we have the cooling centers that we have in terms of public spaces that we can make available, but as you heard a moment ago, a lot of other places function practically as cooling centers. Stores, restaurants, diners, movie theaters Ė thereís a whole host of places that will be air-conditioned, that are places people can go to stay cool. So we have the ones we have, we only have so many public facilities that we can put into play. We donít have one on every block, obviously, but we have Ė everything that we have weíll throw into play. But clearly this is where people need to exercise some real concern for their neighbor, for their loved ones. For example, if you have a senior in your family and youíre worried that they are not near enough to a cooling center, try and help them to get to some place cooler. For anyone who has air-conditioning, they just need to use it, obviously, and set it at 78 degrees. But the most important thing is, since we donít have perfect resources to really look out for each other, really get the information out of the danger so no one takes it too lightly. Okay, last call on the heat situation?
Question: I just wanted clarity from Commissioner Silver, did OZY Fest want to cancel the event, or was it a City mandate that they cancel the event?
Commissioner Silver: I donít know the particulars, weíve been in conversation with them in the field all day. We do know that based upon the heat, we raised some grave concerns and felt it was the best interest to cancel.
Mayor: So let me say it a little bit more simply because I was in the room when we were discussing it up here and I know Mitch could be a lawyer in another life. I donít know what OZY Fest feels personally, I do not know their view. We spoke, before this press conference, about our contractual ability to cancel. The facts are the facts, you know, consistent reports from the National Weather Service, putting us at a 110 and greater on that heat index. 105 is the trigger. Weíre saying weíre done here, this thing needs to be cancelled. So they may feel the same way, but we came to the decision that is was not appropriate for this go on. Absolutely.
Anyone else on heat? Heat going once, twice. Okay, other topics. Any other topics. Yes?
Question: Sorry, let me just pull [inaudible].
Mayor: We want you to be organized.
Question: Yesterday, Speaker Corey Johnson said that there are too many parking spaces in this city and we ought to reclaim some of this space and use it for the public. Do you agree with that?
Mayor: I think itís more specific and complex than that. I think it really depends on where youíre talking about. There are places where we need more parking for very specific reasons, there are places where we need less parking. It really depends on the specific case. We do have to come to grips with the growth in this city. Itís something we work on all the time, and we do need to get people to use cars less, but I think itís a little more nuanced.
Question: There was the video yesterday that surfaced on Twitter, and Iím sure you havenít seen it, but of an employee for the Department of Environmental Protection who called Vision Zero a joke, and that pedestrians deserve to get run over if theyíre looking at their phones.
Mayor: Well, I have not seen it. Iíve heard about it. Itís absolutely inappropriate. Weíre going to look into who that employee is, and whatever appropriate disciplinary measures can be taken. But thatís someone who does not understand their responsibilities as a public servant.
Question: How much did what happened last weekend contribute to your decision to stay in the city this weekend?
Mayor: Nothing. Itís Ė this is exactly the same scenario. Some of you have been here with me before for these, some of you have not. This is like the lead-up to the snowstorms and weíve been through a lot of snowstorms. We have not been through, this is the worst heat situation that Iíve experienced since I became Mayor but weíve been through many snowstorms. We saw them coming days in advance, through the National Weather Service. We did exactly the kinds of briefings. Of course I need to be here and making sure things are being done right. So when we have a preannounced crisis, if you accept that wording for a moment, I know exactly what to do, Iíve been doing it for five and a half years. We have something that no one saw coming and it happens out of nowhere, then weíre put in a reaction mode, itís a different reality.
Question: I was with you last night at Gracie Mansion for the Harlem Week Kickoff. Can you share again your conversation with Eric Garnerís mother and the position and the things that you shared with Gwen Carr in private.
Mayor: It was very, very painful. I just want to start with that. Gwen Carr is a very strong woman whoís been through a whole lot, and you know, and she told me that she tried to keep remembering the good times, but it was very hard to stay in that place because she kept feeling such a deep sense of injustice and so much pain and it just Ė listening to her, it was Ė Chirlane and I were there and we just listened for a long-time, and itís very, very Ė you know, to think sheís been through five years of this, with no sense of closure, and she has felt let down time and time again, itís very painful. You know, so we just wanted to try to say ďlook, you know, weíre here to communicate, weíre here to show respect, weíre here to try and make as clear as possible whatís going to happen next, and to guarantee you it will happen quickly, and that your concerns are being heard, thereís going to be fair process, thereís going to be an impartial process, and there will be closure.Ē And I donít want to speak for her but she certainly expressed gratitude, at least having the opportunity to really ask her questions and express how difficult this has been for her.
Question: Mayor, you set up a Fairness PAC on the State level, which was used for a number of expenses related to your eventual presidential campaign. Can you speak about why you didnít just set up a presidential exploratory committee? And also, why you haven't reported the donors to this committee to [inaudible]?
Mayor: Talk to the campaign about any of those specifics or technical things, cause they can answer it better. Fairness PAC worked on behalf of a number of candidates. We held events for candidates. We supported candidates all over the country up to the 2018 election, and everything we've done is according to the law. But they can get you the details.
Last call Ė yes Ė wait, you've gone Ė let me get someone that's not gone. Go ahead.
Question: You were doing the fundraising for the Ė for your campaign. So, the exploratory period started March 7th Ė at that point when you were raising funds and calling people presumably you were talking about Ė
Mayor: Again, if you want, I just can't give you legalistic answers and technical answers. Itís not what I do. Talk to the campaign.
Mayor: Again, everything was done with the advice, every step of the way, of lawyers who are experts in the area and everything was done according to that.
Question: [Inaudible] Carr seems to disagree with your assessment of your meeting, at least, according to her statement. She was concerned by your efforts to talk about stop and frisk and community policing as answers to what happened to his son. Could you respond to those concerns that she's expressed?
Mayor: Oh, I don't disagree with that and I don't think it's a contradiction with what I've said. She is she is in tremendous pain and she wants closure. You know, I felt it was important to say that I think a lot has changed in the City and we are trying to change a lot more, but that doesn't solve her concerns. I don't think there's any contradiction there. I don't expect her to feel anything different because of that, but I wanted her to know that we were devoted to continuing to make change.
Question: In terms of the future of Officer Pantaleo, obviously they made the case that you are Commissioner O'Neill's boss. In any scenario, your boss tells you to do something, you should do it. Do you agree with that assessment in the Ė
Mayor: I've spoken to this a lot of times in the course of the week. Really no disrespect to you, but I don't want to keep repeating it. I made it clear, there is a State law-mandated process. That process is being followed very, very carefully and appropriately.
Question: Mr. Mayor, there's calls for the Governor of Puerto Rico to step down. Wondering if you have a specific position on that, if you believe you should step down?
Mayor: I don't want to speak on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico. They have to address the issue. But I do want to say, what he said was horribly inappropriate. I mean, one of the things he said was about our former Speaker. Melissa Mark-Viverito is a fantastic public servant. It was deeply disrespectful and inappropriate and sexist, and I haven't even seen, you know, a transcript of all the other things. But apparently it's quite extensive and it's really inappropriate, but it's not my place to judge beyond that.
Question: [Inaudible] protesting on city streets in a way that has never been seen before Ė they want him to step down. Are you willing to make Ė take a position on that?
Mayor: Again, I think given the realities of Puerto Rico, I want to respect that the Puerto Rican people get to make that decision.
Who has not gone? Yes?
Question: Going back to the fundraising for a minute, without getting into too many technicalities, would you agree that your campaign announcement video would be a campaign expense?
Mayor: Again, Iím going to be very Ė Iím not a lawyer. I'm not an election lawyer. Any issue like that, bring to the campaign, they'll give you an answer.
Question: Between the three entities, a State Fairness PAC, a federal one, and a campaign Ė there's an obvious intermingling both of funds and of staff, to the point that $68,000 that went to the exploratory period wasn't properly reported to the FEC.
Mayor: Again, I'm not going to accept Ė Iím just not going to accept what was properly or not properly Ė
Mayor: Again, I don't accept Ė
Mayor: My dear friend, I don't expect your characterization Ė I don't believe your characterization is accurate and I'm not going to speak to the technical issues. Any issue you bring to the campaign, theyíll get you an accurate, legal answer.
Last call on anything else? Yes?
Question: Mr. Mayor, youíre going to be on the debate stage alongside Joe Biden and others. You've been criticizing him for the last couple of weeks. Do you have any particular strategy going in? Are you Ė I mean, what's your reaction of being on the debate stage with them? You run the last time.
Mayor: Iím only going to say, first of all, I found the debate drawing show very entertaining. I was very impressed. They got that much material out of a debate draw. But the central issue for me in the debate is to talk about my message, which is working people first. And I think last time I was able to get that message across in a very strong, coherent way. I want to build upon that, but that's regardless of who else is on stage.
Question: Can you discuss your obligations under the police union contract related to discipline and due process?
Mayor: The lawyers would happily talk to you about that. Again, the issue here is State law determines the personnel process, the discipline process. We follow that law. That has been done in all previous cases and we'll do it in this case.
Question: Whatís happened with past mayors who have mouthed off about what should happen to police officers?
Mayor: Again, what we know from the past is, in some of the cases that people have been saying the last few days were decided without that whole process, that's just not factually accurate. Every time there is Ė every time I've certainly heard of and every time in the examples that people have even brought up in the last few days Ė the Baez case, for example, the case of the firefighters in the Rockaways Ė no, in fact, there was a full departmental trial, a decision by the Commissioner. That's been the consistency over years and years and years and that's going to be the case here.
Last call Ė going once, twice Ė stay cool please, everyone. Drink lots of fluids Ė decaffeinated. Thank you.