MAYOR ADAMS APPEARS ON PIX 11’S “PIX ON POLITICS to talk about what is going on in the city.

 

The Mayor of New York, Eric Adams was on PIX on Politics to talk about all things facing the city including NYPD’s handling of the college protests over the situation in Gaza. Here is in extenso the interview.

Dan Mannarino: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to PIX on Politics. I hope everybody is enjoying the Memorial Day weekend. As we welcome in the unofficial start of summer, I’m going one-on-one with Mayor Eric Adams for an exclusive half-hour sit down about all things facing the city. Today, he is going on the record.

Mr. Mayor, thank you for being here on PIX on Politics again. Good to see you.

Mayor Eric Adams: Hey, always, always good to communicate with you, Dan. A lot to talk about today.

Mannarino: Yes. I said, Mr. Mayor, this is the unofficial start to summer, so I want to get right to an important issue, and that is, of course, lifeguards. People love the beaches. The city needs as many as they can to keep the beaches and pools open and safe. 

What is the city doing, Mr. Mayor, to ensure it gets the number of lifeguards that it needs to keep everything fully functional?

Mayor Adams: You’re right, our beaches, when you think about it, they are our French Rivieras, that they are our Bahamas, our paradises for those who either don’t want to leave the city or cannot afford to leave the city. What we knew we had to do to maintain the level of staffing is to look at some of the antiquated, outdated rules that were in place. 

We were able to make some major changes that we’re going to announce a little later on, but it’s exciting to think about. 

We’re no longer going to have the time factor on swimming 300 yards, pools are not 300 yards. Vision, you don’t have to look in a pool to see if there is a life raft or something of that nature. There’s some significant changes of salaries, as well as our ability to advertise now.

Mannarino: Changing the time factor and changing the vision requirement. It sounds like the test is getting easier. The question here is, does that compromise safety?

Mayor Adams: Not at all. It is being more, just common sense. When you think about it, we do too many things in the city that just doesn’t make sense. Why must a lifeguard be able to swim 300 yards within a time for a small pool? That’s just not logical. Or why must you be able to see a life raft a long distance away at a pool? 

We’re going to have the strong swimmers at the beaches, but those who still are strong swimmers but don’t have that same level of visual or the timeframe that was attached. Now we can do the proper deployment. You don’t need to be the great Olympic swimmer to save someone at a pool.

Mannarino: If you failed that one component this year, making those phone calls up to those folks saying, “Hey, actually, you are eligible to work.”

Mayor Adams: We are going to look at all of those previous lists that were done, that people failed, and we are going to see how do we bring qualified people on board so that we can have our beaches opens, our pools open, and allow people to enjoy the beauty of summer.

Mannarino: Yes, and it’s great news here, Mr. Mayor, but the city is still short 400 lifeguards when it comes down to it.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Mannarino: How will this make up the difference?

Mayor Adams: Those were all the barriers. Like I said, Dan, you would not imagine how many rules we have in place in the city that are just antiquated. It’s almost like our City of Yes. Last zoning was almost during the ’60s. 

We have just continuously carry out procedures that make no sense now, and that’s with the lifeguards. We’re going to continue to recruit. The recruitment period is over for now, but when we look long-term, it’s going to have a great impact.

Mannarino: Real talk here, and then I’m going to move on. Even with the changes to the test, some section of beaches could still be closed because of a shortage this year. That is the reality.

Mayor Adams: Yes, it is. That is the reality and that’s why partnering with the governor, we are having a real pipeline of building young people in the inner city to take swim lessons and be a part of the beauty of swimmers to be lifeguards. That’s what we need to be focusing on.

Mannarino: Hopefully, this makes a big difference come next summer, Mr. Mayor. Let’s talk about this as well in terms of what else we see during the unofficial kickoff to summer. That is, of course, safety. 

Typically, we’ve seen an uptick of crime because of the warmer temperatures, right? Are you expecting that uptick in crime this specific summer and what is being done about it?

Mayor Adams: No, excuse me. We have been extremely focused. Our success last year, we’re going to duplicate it this year. As you know, we have removed over 2,200 guns off our streets. We’ve seen a double-digit decrease in shootings, in homicides. Five of our major seven crime categories are safety on our subway system. Overall, crime is down, but we also want the feeling of safety. 

I said this from day one. Numbers mean nothing if people don’t feel safe and nothing does it better than the omnipresence of that uniform officer and finding alternatives for our young people. 100,000 summer youth jobs, 110,000 Summer Rising all year-round school program. Keeping our midnight basketball and other initiatives and programs. 

We want to put young people in safe places, which you see a disproportionate amount of crime as victims or participants in crime are coming from a younger population.

Mannarino: I want to move on now to the big talk of the budget, some cuts like libraries. This has been a huge sticking point, as you know, Mr. Mayor, that communities do not want to lose their libraries. 

Can you say right now on this very show that libraries will not be closed one or two days a week or even have limited hours when the budget is all said and done?

Mayor Adams: Let’s be clear. The City Hall never made the determination to close libraries or to shorten hours of any of those things. Every agency and entity were told to look for efficiencies. The libraries made the determination of where those efficiencies would come from. We’re still in the budget negotiation period. The speaker and I, we have been able to land two budgets. We’re going to do this one as well. 

This is part of the budget dance as they will call it. Let’s let the process carry out, and so on the day the budget is being signed, we stand on the steps of City Hall in the rotunda and shake hands, and come to an agreement.

Mannarino: Right, but the libraries are saying that because of the efficiencies. I know you don’t want to lose service. You said it once before on the PIX11 Morning News that you don’t want to lose service. You also said on that show, and I wanted to follow up with you, that the library is a part of a negotiating tactic. 

What exactly does that mean? Is that the dance you’re talking about, using the libraries to get something else in return?

Mayor Adams: No, we are not using any entity. We have a budgetary crisis right now. Over $4 billion spent on our migrants and asylum seekers, billions in the outer years. There’s not one entity in this city, Dan, that will raise their hand and say, “Hey, please cut from me.” 

We have to find ways. Not only dealing with the dollars attached to the migrants and the asylum seekers, we had fiscal cliffs because of the COVID funding. We had to save pre-K and 3-K and make sure the seats were available. We had to deal with those other dollars that were running out and settle our union contracts that were outdated. This is not using any entity.

It’s about being smart and that’s why the independent financial observers are saying the Adams administration, they’re making tough choices, they’re doing the right things for the fiscal stability of the city and we’re going to do that. That’s part of the conversation with the speaker.

Mannarino: You brought up pre-K and 3-K, so let’s go there for a second because you told me a few weeks ago that every kid is guaranteed a seat, but some parents and the Department of Education now are saying that some parents didn’t get a seat and that they got waitlisted. 

What do you say to that? Is that happening and what are you doing for those families who are saying they are not getting the seats that they were promised?

Mayor Adams: I cannot say this clearer, and I’ve said it over and over again, every child that desires a seat would have access to a seat.

Mannarino: In the district that they live, right? Because I see some parents are saying that they’re going to travel quite some time now to get to that seat.

Mayor Adams: No, but nobody’s going to be traveling quite some time, Dan. We have 9,000 vacant seats. We had a previous policy in place under the previous administration where we had vacant seats that tax dollars were going to. 

Dan, does that make sense? Paying for vacant seats. We have to realign and readjust the program because we don’t have those dollars to waste.

Mannarino: People did get waitlisted, right? Some people did not get the seat they wanted.

Mayor Adams: No. Every child that wants a seat would have access to a seat. Did you –

Mannarino: Okay, so let me just be very clear. Let me be very clear because parents who were telling us at PIX11, “I got a letter, I didn’t get the seat in my district.” You’re saying they should do what then to get that seat?

Mayor Adams: The New York City public schools sent out a letter that it was poorly written in the right manner and they corrected that. They sent out the letter to the proper way it should have been worded and parents received those letters. When you make an error in wording something, fix it, and correct it, and go back.

Because I’ve been very clear. I have not wavered from the fact that every child that desires a seat will have access to a seat, but we will be efficient. Dan, you can’t pay for 9,000 seats out of taxpayers dollars, and then state that “How are we going to fund those programs that I needed?”

Mannarino: I want to talk about your relationship with the council right now. They introduced a bill to expand oversight of the people that you hire to include 21 new positions. Basically, they want to approve, hire as much like, say, Congress would to approve a presidential appointment in some cases. 

Let me let me ask you this first, Mr. Mayor, do you believe that that bill is something that should move forward?

Mayor Adams: No, I don’t. If my team were to come to me and say, “Eric, you should approve the committee chairs of the City Council.” I’d say, “No, I would not do that.” The speaker needs her chairs to carry out the overall agenda. 

My chairs are my commissioners. I would not go into the City Council to determine who’s the public safety chair, who’s the housing chair, who’s the land use chair, because that is just wrong for me to determine the direction that the speaker in the City Council would like to go.

Our commissioners are coordinating with all the electeds but to determine that the City Council should get right and consent on who I choose as a commissioner. I wouldn’t do it to them, I’m asking them not to do it to me but I respect the process. They have the right to put in place whatever law they would like to pass, I respect that. We can move forward, we’re still going to govern this city and I push back on those who state that this is a fight against Adams against Adams, it’s not true.

Those three four things that we disagree on has nothing to do with how we have successfully navigated the city out of COVID and how we navigated the city out of the other crises.

Mannarino: Respectfully they’re saying it because they knew you introduced the Charter Revision Commission, and the same week the announcement was made about the council which could potentially make it much harder to put that bill into effect if the rules were changed in the charter. 

Justin Brannan, one of the City Council members, the finance chair, he told us in PIX11 that the timing seemed interesting and coincidental because of it. Was there a timing issue with rolling that out day after they made their announcement?

Mayor Adams: Well be clear what I stated. I pushed back on that, those who said there’s a battle of Adams against Adams. If we are going to define that the speaker and I have not been successful in navigating the system based on four or five issues, when we have thousands of issues we navigate in bills, we pass and have joint bill signings, I pushed back on that. For those who said the timing of our charter revision, we clearly laid out.

A group of city residents came to us weeks ago and stated that they’re concerned about public safety issues. They asked us to do a charter revision. The chair of the Public Safety Committee was invited to that meeting. We had a meeting at City Hall. This was the result of that. I committed to them at that meeting, and so we learned later about this issue that the speaker was putting forward. We were already in process and it’s documented. The meeting is documented, the letter is documented to communication.

Mannarino: All right, I’ll talk more about Adrienne Adams in just a second but I got to squeeze in a quick commercial break. Lots more with Mr. Mayor Adams including the NYPD and looking ahead to the election season both this year and next. PIX on Politics back in two minutes, everybody. Stay with us.

[Commercial break.]

All right, everybody, welcome back to PIX on Politics. I’m joined once again by Mayor Eric Adams. Mr. Mayor, I want to talk right now about the NYPD’s handling of the college protests over the situation in Gaza. We’ve talked a lot about this. 

The NYPD put out their own video of the protest while some members of the press said that they were actually kept back. Should the press have been kept away in some of these protest situations?

Mayor Adams: Yes, yes. The goal is access for the press. We have had a number of encounters, Dan, where we found the press was actually interceding in the actions of the police officers. It’s about allowing them access, allowing them to have freedom of the press. 

When you’re dealing with the complicated scenarios of, number one, trying to regain access, of control of a building that was violently taken over and you’re dealing with people hurling objects as police officers doing things that are dangerous. We need to protect the press, the police, and the protestors, and I think the officers did a great job. 

Look across the country and look at the actions that happened across the country and compare it to what the NYPD did. They did a great job. I am really pleased that they had two actions going on. Many people don’t know that, they had Columbia, they had City College where people were throwing crates and other objects at them. Great level of discipline. Job well done.

Mannarino: That brings me to the social media aspect of this all within the NYPD, some of the leaders facing criticism for using social media, Mr. Mayor, to take swipes at the media, swipes at council members, other elected officials using words like garbage to describe, name calling at other times for council members. Is that the kind of thing you think is appropriate? Or did they cross a line in some of these posts?

Mayor Adams: Yes. I think some of the council members did cross the line. I think some people in the media do cross the line. Yes. I think there’s a – 

Mannarino: I’m referencing the NYPD, did they cross the line?

Mayor Adams: Oh. Are we only examining NYPD?

Mannarino: No. I’ll get to others. I’ll get to the council.

Mayor Adams: Okay. I want to be clear. We should be looking at the behavior of everyone. No one should be immune of name callings or being discourteous. We need to show a level of professionalism in every entity. To call police fascist, to state after they put their lives on the line that it was disgraceful in how they respond. 

I think what you are seeing in the Police Department, finally, you are seeing the ranking leadership is standing up for their police officers and I commend that. There’s a review taking place. Let the review make the determination if any lines were crossed.

Mannarino: The reason I’m asking about the NYPD and if they crossed the line is because you did go after a council member for his rhetoric towards one of your staff members, Councilman Lincoln Restler. I did ask Speaker Adams. This goes back to what you were talking about, Adams versus Adams. I asked Speaker Adams about this. I want you to take a listen to what she had to say: 

The mayor was taken aback by it. He was very outspoken. One of the journalists said he was just Lincoln Restler being Lincoln Restler and the Mayor said, if you didn’t see a problem with it, then he saw a problem with the journalist. What did you make of the Mayor coming out strong against that, but not the NYPD?

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams: It was very interesting to me. To me it was a little bit duplicitous in thinking that the actions of some were okay and the actions of others when put to a similar spotlight, were not.

Mannarino: Okay. 

What do you make of that, Mr. Mayor? Was it duplicitous to go after one and not the other?

Mayor Adams: No. I’ve been consistent. Again, you guys, when I look at the front pages and I hear the comments, there’s just this real desire to give the appearance that this speaker and this mayor who happened to be the first of color to hold position together are unable to navigate the challenge of the city. 

Why are we talking about tweets when we have been able to save our streets? I’m going to keep the main thing, the main thing. If we want to highlight these issues to make it seem we have not been successful, you all go right ahead. Adrienne Adams, the speaker, Eric Adams mayor should be commended how we have navigated COVID, how we navigated asylum seekers, how we balanced our budgets and have we brought down crime? 

That’s what I’m going to focus on. New Yorkers are not concerned about these Twitter handles that are taking place.

Mannarino: Understood. I understand what you’re saying. This is a wide ranging interview and that’s why, Mr. Mayor, I’m bringing up all of the things, right? Because we’re talking about the successes, we’re talking about the drama that goes on with all of it. 

Then, let me just talk about this as well, because just last week the former president held a rally in the Bronx, he talked about New York City being dirty, subways being dangerous. He felt a little mayoral at times in his tone. What did you make of the rally taking place in the Bronx, and then what he had to say about the state of New York City?

Mayor Adams: Listen, look, you can’t deny the facts. Crime is down, jobs are up, more jobs in the history of the city, Black unemployment cut in half from four times the rate of whites down to two times less than 8 percent since 2019. The number of ribbon cuttings of new headquarters, millions of people back on our subway system. 

This is the political season right now, people are going to be hurling all sorts of things, but the number speaks for themselves. Bond raters have shown how well we’re doing. This city is not coming back down, this city is back.

Mannarino: All right.

Mayor Adams: Those who want to act like it’s not, that’s all right with them. I tell people over and over again, two types of Americans, those who live in New York, and those who wish they could. We’re the lucky ones, we live in New York.

Mannarino: I hear you. All right, we’ve got three more questions with you. We’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, we’re talking about the 2025 elections. We’re there already. A few democrats throwing their name into the race for mayor. We’re going to talk about it right after the break.

[Commercial break.]

All right everybody, just a few minutes left with Mr. Mayor Eric Adams on this Memorial Day weekend. Mr. Mayor, I do want to talk about the state of 2025. You are already facing some challengers. State Senator Zellnor Myrie plans to primary you. You may even face Governor Andrew Cuomo. What do you think of potential opponents going into 2025, and those two specific names?

Mayor Adams: Think about it for a moment, Dan. I think I had nine people I ran against when I ran for mayor. Nine. Great finances, great advocates, long-term government people. I had a simple message. I’m a blue collar mayor. I spoke to the blue collar workers of this city, and talked about public safety. What I was successful in doing, revitalizing our economy. I was successful in doing, addressing the housing crises, all those things I’m going to run on.

Right now, I’m focused on running the city. When you try to go beyond that scope, you get tied up, and it becomes about you, and not the people of this city. Listen, everyone was there last time. We’re going to do the same thing, hit the ground. No one is going to outwork Eric Adams as representing the people of this city.

Mannarino: You want that second term?

Mayor Adams: Listen, if it’s for me, the people of the city desire that they want to continue the trajectory that I brought this city thus far, we’re going to be able to get our message out. Then, the people will go to the polls, and they make a determination who’s the next mayor.

Mannarino: Lastly, it is the unofficial kickoff to summer. I’ve said that many times. What is summer in the city like for Eric Adams?

Mayor Adams: Oh, today is a symbol of it, just getting outdoors and walking around the community. I was in Brownsville yesterday, speaking with people, just absorbing the beauty of summer in this great city. I’m looking forward to it. 

Outdoor events, concerts, festivities. One of my best pastimes is going to street fairs, and just walking up and down and doing some of that shopping. This is an exciting place to be in the summertime.

Mannarino: Those street fairs, they got great arepas. All right?

Mayor Adams: Yes. All right. 

Mannarino: Mr. Mayor, thank you for being here on PIX on Politics.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.

Mannarino: I always appreciate the time.

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Take care.

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