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NYC Mayor deBlasio live on TV (transcript)

Mayor Bill deBlasio in front of the embattled Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue(18nov16 NYC) On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio discussed the concerns he raised with President-elect and took questions from callers on the Brian Lehrer Show. The Mayor's office provided the complete transcript:

Brian Lehrer: It’s the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Good morning, everyone. We begin with this week’s Ask The Mayor with Mayor Bill de Blasio – his first appearance here since the election. And our phones are open for anything you want to ask the Mayor about preparing for New York City in the age of President Donald Trump or anything else. 2-1-2-4-3-3-W-N-Y-C, 2-1-2-4-3-3-9-6-9-2. Mr. Mayor, welcome back to WNYC. I remember you from the old days, before the world changed.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: It was a kinder, gentler time, Brian.

Lehrer: Indeed. You met with the President-elect at Trump Tower for more than hour on Wednesday, I see. And you said afterwards that you raised concerns about fears he has instilled in New York immigrants, tax cuts for the wealthy that he has endorsed, rolling back Wall Street regulation, and his call to go to a Bloomberg-style – I’m calling that, you didn’t call it that – stop-and-frisk. But you wouldn’t characterize publicly what he said to you. You can’t give your city any specifics with so much at stake?

Mayor: Well, Brian. This is what it comes down to. One – I don’t think it’s ever right to put words in someone else’s mouth. But two – the proof will be in the pudding. You know, let’s be blunt. We have seen Donald Trump change positions constantly in the course of the last two years. That is not a reassuring reality. It is a troubling reality on its face. But we won’t know what his policies are until they start to happen. So my job was to go in and tell him what the people experiencing, what the people were feeling, and the real problems that a lot of the policies he enunciated would cause.

But I had to go there with some spirit of trying to have a dialogue because we don’t know what we’re getting yet. And if there’s some ability to find common ground, particularly on the economic issues, we’ll do that. But if there isn’t, you know, if he moves to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, which I think will disappoint many, many of his supporters and set us back – I don’t know how he’s going to do an infrastructure plan if he cuts taxes on the wealthy and corporations – if he moves to repeal Dodd-Frank, I think you’ll see a huge negative response from people who voted for Trump and people who voted for Hillary alike.

Lehrer: Can you say if you came away from that meeting with a sense that he’s going to govern as more of a grown-up, if you will, than he campaigned as?

Mayor: Again, I think it is dangerous to assume. What we heard with the campaign was so divisive and so extreme that it would be foolish to go to sleep on that and not take it deadly seriously. On the other hand, until we see him in action, we just don’t know because we’ve seen him all over the map over the last two years. And his previous experience in his work doesn’t suggest a lot of the positions he took. So we just don’t know.

I think the important point is vigilance. We, in New York City and all over the country – people have to be vigilant and ready to fight these individual fights. But it is to me, you know – I will say there was give and take, Brian. I mean 62 minutes means there was an actual discussion going on, and it was substantive. And I will give him credit that I think he was listening at many points in the conversation. Whether he agreed, whether he’s going to act on it, that’s an entirely different matter. But I was able to get across, at least, all the points you raised. I was able to tell him why stop-and-frisk, the way it was practiced under Mayor Bloomberg, had backfired and created a wedge between police and community.

I was able to explain to him that not only are all people human beings, including folks who are here in an undocumented way, but that from the point of view, our Police Commissioner, our police force, and police commissioners around the country – if the police locally are seen by people at the community level as deportation agents, it will destroy a lot of the goodwill and communication that has been established. In particular, the most obvious example – if someone is a witness to a crime, we want them to go tell the police. If they think by telling the police they are going to be deported, they’re not going to come forward. And that kind of very practical reality, on top of the moral questions, had to be considered.

I think points like that, at least in my opinion, made a little impact. Certainly, he – informing him that we have 900 Muslim-Americans in the NYPD, the most prestigious police force in the country, the gold standard in policing includes 900 Muslim-Americans who do an exemplary job. I think that was an important fact for him to hear.

Lehrer: Do you have any reactions to the nominations or appointments that are being reported in the last day? Or don’t you want to get into that – Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, reportedly, and General Michael Flynn for National Security Advisor.

Mayor: Look, I think in terms of General Flynn, there’s obviously deep concerns about potential conflict of interest with his connections to Russia and deep concerns about his willingness to say incendiary things publicly. I think that one’s going to meet with a lot of concern on both sides aisle. That would be my predictions.

But in terms of the Senator Sessions, I don’t know him. I met him briefly while meeting with the President-elect. You know, I think because he’s been a member of the U.S. Senate, I would like to believe there would be some possibility of give and take. If you look at some of his positions, obviously, I don’t agree with them and they go against the interests of a lot of what we value here in New York City. But we just don’t know yet. I think the confirmation hearing will be crucial to finding out how extreme or – how extreme his views are or how open he is to compromise. Because, again, on something like a mass deportation effort, that will tear the fabric of this nation apart, certainly tear families apart. It will be very interesting to hear him speak to matters like that.

Lehrer: On doing business with a Trump administration where you can find common ground, like you said infrastructure or some other things – I’m sure you know progressives are debating whether Democrats in Congress should even agree to vote for bills from Trump that they can find common ground on. There’s a no-business-as-usual argument, which says making deals normalizes Trump and pretends, some say, that you can compartmentalize his bigotry over there, while looking at policy over here. Do you reject that argument?

Mayor: I do, but I think it is a fair and important argument. I think it holds us all to a high standard. I’m in the same place Bernie Sanders is that if there is room to work together, for example, to end trade policies that have favored multi-national corporations and exported American jobs and undercut American workers, if we can work together on that, we should. If we can work together on a huge infrastructure plan that will put people back to work, including in New York City and help us fix our roads, our bridges, and our mass transit, of course we have to do that.

If he’s serious about closing the carried interest loophole and making hedge fund managers pay their fair share in taxes and that money can be used for things like infrastructure, of course, we have an obligation to our people to do that.

But what Bernie said, I thought was right. We draw a line in the sand. Anything we see as divisive, anything we see as bigotry, undermining core, American, Constitutional values, we have to fight intensely.

So I don’t see there’s any normalization. You know if – if the President-elect actually tries to follow-through on a number of his extreme pronouncements and policies, there will be no normalization.

Lehrer: Our first Ask The Mayor question for today will come from Twitter from a listener named Jason who asks, “There has been discussion of reducing federal funding to New York City because it is a “sanctuary city.” If so, what would be affected?” And could you answer his specific question – what would be affected? What kinds of funding? Trump makes it sound blanket, like all money that goes to New York City would be cut off.

Mayor: I think the first thing is to recognize that from what I know so far, because of a decision by the Supreme Court, no president is in position to cut off funding across the board. It has to be very specific to the matter at hand. If we disagree in one particular policy area, you know there may be opportunities for the federal government to say well we’re not going to fund you in that policy area, but not across the board. And I think it’s easier said than done.

Look, Brian, my view – and I say this to everyone out there who is deeply concerned – is we have to be extremely vigilant and ready to fight issue by issue, and organize all over this country with people who are like-minded, who by the way, in many ways are the majority of the popular vote chose. And we have to keep that front and center.

People in this city, so many – this city went 80 percent almost for Hillary Clinton. So many people are hurt. So many people are fearful. But we have to remember, even with that pain, the popular vote went the other way. It did not go for President-elect Trump, which means there is a split in the country and the ability to fight issue by issue.

So remain extremely vigilant. But I think if we get a situation where the Trump administration threatens to cut funding for example because we refuse to turn our police officers into immigration enforcers, and remember what happened in Arizona when the law was passed in Arizona to make police officers have to ask people for their documentation and how that backfired and was ultimately repealed, even in a state like Arizona.

So I think it is easier said than done. We will fight that fight at the point of contact and if there are some times that we said, based on the needs of the people of New York City, we will not accept federal aid if it comes with strings attached to undermine our values and hurt our people, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. That may be a choice we have to make. But I think there’s a lot that happens between now and then that actually constrains the President-elect because I think there are so many people in this country who would reject those kinds of extreme approaches.

Lehrer: Diana on the Upper East Side, you’re on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hi, Diana.

Question: Hi, it’s Diana [inaudible]. I’m transgender, and I’m calling to ask two questions. Do you know whatever Trump’s views on the LGBTQ community might be? And two, if Trump gets laws against the LGBTQ community passed, can New York City protect its LGBTQ citizens?

Mayor: Yes, the answer to the second, Diana – a resounding yes. We can protect all New Yorkers, all LGBT New Yorkers. We can protect all people in this city because we, at the local level, control so much of what affects people’s lives. We control our police force, not the federal government. We control our schools, not federal government. And so on, and so on. We are committed to protecting all New Yorkers and respecting the rights and identities of all New Yorkers.

Now, as to your first question, the one thing we heard the other day was he said he was comfortable or okay with “the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.”

Lehrer: He seemed to support it in the 60 Minutes interview.

Mayor: Correct.

Lehrer: He said that’s settled law now.

Mayor: Correct. But I caution – we are in uncharted waters, and this is an individual who has changed positions frequently. So on that one, I actually think it is consistent for him to not attempt to upend the Supreme Court decision because I think it’s something where there is a vast consensus in this country, and he would be running into a huge crisis of confidence if he attempted to do that. I can’t speak to his heart on these issues, but I can say on a pragmatic level, I don’t see him attempting to do that. If he does, there will be a national pushback that will be exceedingly intense because this is something where there is now an American consensus.

Lehrer: Of course, he has said he would appoint a Supreme Court justice who would overturn Roe, so that’s an interesting needle to thread – somebody who would vote to overturn Roe, but not vote to overturn to gay marriage as settled precedent.

Mayor: Brian, my strong view – and again, I think a lot of people are hurting now, and it’s easy when you’re hurting to think that the political process has ground to a halt, and sort of democratic debate has ground to a halt. It’s just not true. I went through a course as a young man in the transition to Ronald Reagan, which I think did immense damage to this country. I think a lot of people were caught looking when Reagan was elected and did not know how to organize to fight back, particularly for majority values like marriage equality and the right to choose. This is time will be entirely different. This time people are much better organized, much more vigilant, much more aware. I don’t think either one of those – if he appoints a Supreme Court justice and gets a Supreme Court justice confirmed who actually means to upend marriage equality or the right to choose, Donald Trump’s political support will immediately start to recede, it will cause a crisis in this country. And any hope he has of being a consensus builder will be lost.

Lehrer: Meanwhile, you have a city to run.

Mayor: Yes, sir.

Lehrer: And a WNYC investigation broadcast this week found dozens of officials in the NYPD without outside jobs and little oversight of how much they make or who do they do business with. One assistant chief bought property owned by a missing loan shark, while police were still investigating the disappearance. How comfortable are you with the level of outside money flowing through the upper ranks of the NYPD?

Mayor: Well, I’m glad WNYC did this report because it’s raising important issues. Right now, by law, there’s a certain number of top officials in the NYPD who have to disclose outside income. And that is monitored by our Conflicts of Interest Board. But I think the question becomes: should other levels of NYPD officials also be included in that? So it’s a matter of law right now. I think it’s a law we need to look at again. And I think this reporting raises important questions, and I’ll certainly have this conversation with Commissioner O’Neill.

Lehrer: And one other thing from the report was that there are only five people on the staff that processes 9,000 Police Department requests a year to approve outside work. Are you satisfied there’s enough oversight?

Mayor: That too, we will look at. Look, this city is blessed to have very intensive standards when it comes to conflict of interest, and we’ve constantly encouraged people to go forward proactively to the Conflicts of Interest Board and ask for guidance on whether to do something or not. But if we need more personnel to guard the public interest, that’s certainly something I’m ready to do.

Lehrer: Raph in the Bronx, you’re on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hello, Raph.

Question: Good morning. I have a question. I’ve noticed a lot of the municipal unions supporting you for your re-election. I’m interested to know what you’re going to do for the union building trades to get their support. I’ve noticed a lot of public works that are now being done by the private sector that used to be union. And I know there’s a lot of people that are upset about that. What are you going to do to support us?

Lehrer: I’m fundamentally pro-union across the board. And I believe that protecting the right to organize and helping unions organize more workers is part of what public servants should do, and that’s how I’ve comported myself. I think it’s fair to say in terms of how we’ve handled municipal labor, we took a situation where there was a very contentious relationship between the City government and our labor force, and we have gone across the board settling contracts – over 90 percent – creating a lot of partnership. I want to continue doing that. Now in terms of building-trades unions, I want to find a way to do more work together, there are some policy differences on affordable housing. But I think they can be resolved so long as it’s understood that we have to be able to create affordable housing for people who need it. And we have to keep those costs in an acceptable range. But I believe that the more work that can be done by union labor – across the board, we should be doing that. We’ve certainly moved to end a lot of the privatization you saw in the Bloomberg years and do more work through public employees. So that’s the way we’ll approach it.

Lehrer: As a follow-up, I wanted to ask you anyway about this reported – this report that a deal may be close on renewing and revising the very important housing law – the State’s 421-a tax abatement law for certain developers that I think you and the Governor have both said is very important for affordable housing to actually get built under your re-zoning laws. They may be resolving in Albany to require union labor for those projects which I think you opposed as a requirement because it makes affordable housing more expensive to build. Correct me if I’m wrong. And can you tell us if there’s a deal?

Mayor: There’s more work to be done. There was an announcement made by the Real Estate Board, and the building trades, and the Governor. We’re still assessing that plan because it changes some of the elements of the plan that we originally put forward. The bottom line from my point of view – couple of simple, straight forward things. We can never allow the old 421-a to come back. It was a giveaway to real estate developers. It funded luxury condos with taxpayer money and didn’t do enough to create affordable housing. So that can never be allowed back. The new proposal, which we’re still evaluating – we have to make sure it maximizes affordable housing, and it is fair to taxpayers, and does not involve undue giveaways to the real estate industry. In terms of your point of union labor, I would like to see all affordable housing done by union labor. But it has to be done at an acceptable wage scale, and there has to be a sense of compromise. Anyone who knows the building trades can tell you, there have been any number of situations where the trades have agreed to different wage scales for different types of projects. We’re saying if we’re going to create affordable housing for working people who are desperate in this city for affordable housing, we need the trades to work with us and find that balance. But I’d always prefer it to be union labor, so that work is continuing.

Lehrer: But are you saying – are you saying union labor should or should not be required under the 421-a law?

Mayor: The original law did not have a provision about it. I think there’s several different ways to solve this. But again, only if we can get to an acceptable wage level or if the State of New York, as it has been talked about in the past, wants to subsidize that wage level, I’m always obviously open to that. We have to strike a balance, and those conversations are still ongoing.

Lehrer: Andrew in the Bronx, you’re on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hello.

Mayor: Hi, Mayor de Blasio. This is Andrew [inaudible] calling. I’ve spoken with you now – this is the fifth time on the air in reference to Goldfarb Properties consistently harassing our disabled, low-income, and senior citizen tenants. I don’t see why your administration decides to try to stack on landlords that [inaudible] decide to bring tenants into court just to harass them [inaudible] getting them out of their stabilized units. I’d like to know if Mr. Trump really, truly is actually our President, what can your administration promise me in the future? That you can get my vote for next [inaudible], that you will maintain the affordable housing inventory, you will maintain housing subsidies – which I receive, which I’m very thankful for because otherwise I would be like the many people in the uptick in the homelessness. What is it that you people will actually do for me and my tenants in Pelham Parkway up in the Bronx and helping Senator Jeffrey Klein rid this borough of these awful landlords, known as Goldfarb Properties?

Lehrer: Thank you. By the way, just for the record – I don’t where you’ve spoken to the Mayor five times on the air, as you said. But we have never taken a call – there is no caller who has gotten on Ask The Mayor five times, just letting all New Yorkers know that we spread the access around extremely broadly. But he does ask a good question about if the Trump administration passes legislation to deny federal subsidies for affordable housing. Mr. Mayor?

Mayor: Look, we’re going to fight that and I think that’s one of the areas where we will find a lot of support around the country. If the Trump administration decides to undermine affordable housing for cities around the country – that’s going to be red states and blue states. That’s going to be something that will really create an uproar across the board. And so those are the kinds of examples where I think we have a chance to fight back. You don’t want to see a situation where people are already being priced out of neighborhoods all over the country, not just New York City and federal policy makes it even worse. I think there will be a real backlash to that. In terms of what we’re doing, we’re going to – Andrew laid out some of the things that I certainly believe in. We’re going to keep doing everything we can to provide rental subsidies, which we do on a very extensive level. We’re going to keep doing everything we can to stop people from being evicted. We’ve put legal services in place for free for people who face eviction. Anyone in that situation should call 3-1-1, and if there’s a legal case we can make to protect you, we will give you a lawyer for free. We’ve done that and evictions have gone 24 percent in the last year because of that. So we’re going to keep aggressively building affordable housing, subsidizing affordable housing, stopping evictions. This is what I came here to do. On the particular firm that Andrew raises, I will get an answer for next week’s show. I – I believe we were working on this case, and I want to find out exactly where it stands because I don’t want to see any bad landlord undermining their tenants. We don’t accept that. And we have a lot of tools we can use to fight back in those situations.

Lehrer: Thank you for following up on that. Do you have any sense of Trump housing policy? You know we tried to get him on the show before the New York primary, specifically to ask about New York issues, and he didn’t come on. But that was my number one or two question. He’s a builder. He’s a New York builder. But I don’t know that he’s ever said or ever been asked what he thinks the federal role is in affordable housing which has been very different between Democratic and Republican administrations.

Mayor: Well, that’s exactly right. I don’t either know to be very straight forward with you. There’s some nexus with the infrastructure issue and if he believes – and again I say the word if because the proof will be in the pudding – but if he believes the federal government should play a muscular role in building infrastructure and federal investment in infrastructure, I think we can make an equally strong argument around affordable housing. And he certainly would have had experience with the notion of building where there’s a mix of market and affordable housing in a building, and understanding why that is so important. But I don’t think we have a clear picture of how he’s going to approach this, and it’s again an area where I think where we can build a stronger consensus to protect similar interests.

Remember the Senate – again, another point, Brian, is getting a little bit lost in the very challenging feelings that people have right now – Democrats picked up two seats in the US Senate. Anything that has to go through the Senate will be razor thin. On something like taking away affordable housing programs, there are Republican Senators who represent big cities in their states who may not be comfortable with that. Famously, for a long time, Al D’Amato – even though I didn’t agree with Al D’Amato, he was a tremendous protector of affordable housing programs.

So, I think you’ll see some Republicans who will say, “Not so fast, this is really going to hurt my state if that funding is taken away.” And that could be a saving grace here.

Lehrer: Nicole in Brooklyn, you’re on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hi, Nicole.

Question: Hi, thank you for taking my call [inaudible] I assume that you’ve heard all the time, but I’m afraid to stop you –

Mayor: Nicole, never be afraid. Just walk right up. It’s a democracy.

Question: Okay. So, I have five things but I’m going to stick with two as I promised. One – this is the first major city I’ve ever lived in where detour signs are not placed all over when construction is happening. Here, of all places, we need to keep traffic moving so emergency responders can get through, and we have five different routes to get anywhere. So, there’s no reason for people to get clogged in one main artery on a particular bridge or in the Battery Tunnel or anything like that. So, that’s number one.

Number two – I think we’ve done a really bad job of policing our taxi service this year. And they’re starting to really – you know, they’re starting to get really gutsy. And because we let them get away with so much they are now – I know you have your Vision Zero – but they are plowing through crosswalks, daring pedestrians to cross, the same way that they dare cars to get in front of them and switch lanes.

Lehrer: Okay.

Question: I’ve been in crosswalks twice in the last week where I was walking with elderly people, crossing right by me, and, you know, the cab acted like he would gladly run any of us over. So, those are my two concerns.

Mayor: That’s very helpful. Nicole, the first point – I think there are a number of situations where signage is put up or electronic signage on highways etcetera telling people what to avoid and what to get around. But I think you’re right, that’s something we can do better, and I’ll certainly talk to my Transportation Commissioner about ways that we can do that in a way that registers more with people.

On the Vision Zero question – look, Vision Zero, I remind people is just two years old now. It is something we are going to very aggressively expand. And one of the areas we’re going to expand intensely is enforcement. We have 2,000 more officers coming on the job at the NYPD by January. That full complement will be out on the streets of the city. One of the mandates is to do more enforcement on speeding and on failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. So, we’re going to be all over that. I would say, Nicole, any New Yorker who see an instance of a taxi violating pedestrian’s rights or driving recklessly whether you’re the rider in the taxi or any other for-hire vehicle for that matter or whether you witness it as a pedestrian, we want that information because we want to follow up. We want all for-hire drivers to understand that Vision Zero is very muscular and that people will be fined and there will be consequences.

Lehrer: Another traffic question – what about traffic on Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower? Are you seriously considering, since this is Donald Trump’s home and he’s apparently going to go back and forth between their and the White House – are you considering closing off a few blocks there to traffic on Fifth Avenue?

Mayor: Brian, we don’t yet know how the president-elect is going to comport himself once he actually gets into the job. He may find that it’s a lot harder to leave Washington than he originally might have thought. But the NYPD met with the Secret Service yesterday. I’ll meeting with Commissioner O’Neill shortly. We’re going to have a press conference in a few hours to give an update to the public about how we’re going to handle that. Look, we have two competing interests we have to address here. We have to keep the president-elect and everyone in Trump Tower safe. The NYPD is exceptionally good at that. We’ve protected the Pope when he’s come here. We’ve protected a hundred-plus world leaders when they come here for the General Assembly at the United Nations. We protect Presidents of the United States when they come here throughout the year, which is quite frequently, as you know. So, we know how to do this. This will be a different challenge but I’m absolutely confident about the NYPD’s ability to do the job.

As for the traffic question, which is very real and we’re feeling it even more because this time of year, as the holidays come on traffic is legendarily difficult in Midtown. We’re going to have to make some tough decisions about how to address the traffic situation and help traffic flow as best possible in Midtown. It’s going to certainly involve a lot of personnel to help move things along. But again, we’ll have a lot more to say on that in a few hours when Commissioner O’Neill and I address the public.

Lehrer: Mohammed in Queens, you’re on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hi, Mohammed.

Question: Hi, good morning, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor: Good morning.

Question: I have a question. If President-elect Donald Trump [inaudible] to round up all undocumented citizens of New York City. As the guardian of New York City, are you capable to save all these undocumented citizens of New York City?

Mayor: Mohammed, we will protect our people and there’s many, many ways to do that. The fact is, again, there is not a federal or national police force. You know, policing is done at the local level, and there are 36,000 members of the NYPD who are not going to be in the business of deportation. That is a decision that we control and we will never allow that to happen.

So, it remains to be seen how the president-elect will go about his policy. I think he will find, very quickly, it is both easier said than done, and that it will create a tremendous backlash because so many people in this country now have neighbors, colleagues, friends who happen to be undocumented and so many of the folks who are undocumented have documented family members with them here in New York City and around the country.

And the notion of a policy that will tear families apart and create strife at the local level – I think it will quickly be found by many Americans to be unacceptable. But I can tell you right now, Mohammed, that the City government continues to have very clear standards. If someone has committed a violent crime and there’s a number of categories in our City law where we say we do cooperate with the immigration authorities – that’s where there’s very serious and violent crimes and other serious crimes. It’s a part of law. It’s been done out in the open but we’re not going to participate in anything like a mass deportation.

Lehrer: Mohammed, let me ask you a question about another Trump proposal, and I wonder if you’ve heard of it and if your family members have heard of it. Apparently, he’s seriously considering establishing a registry for all immigrants from certain Muslim majority countries plus North Korea – but where you would have to register based on if the family came from certain Muslim-majority countries. Have you heard of that and do you have a reaction to it?

Question: Yes, actually, we are very scared especially my wife everyday [inaudible] saying those things on religious matters. I just told her the Constitution of the United States is very fair and there’s nothing to worry about. And that’s the only thing I told her. I have a three-year citizen daughter. So, hopefully, no one is going to harm their future and ability to grow in success in their life on this land.

Lehrer: Mohammed, thank you so much. Good luck to your family. Good luck to your daughter.

Question: Thank you.

Lehrer: And how about that faith in the US Constitution, Mr. Mayor, even under these circumstances?

Mayor: Brian, I appreciate deeply what Mohammed said and the fact is the US Constitution is a strong document and has a lot of elements of fairness and human decency in it. And I think Mohammed hit the nail on the head. I appreciate – and it proves why some people come to this country and help us understand ourselves. We should have faith in our Constitution.

Lehrer: Let me throw in one more, quick city issue. I know we’re at our time but just in the last minute – the debate over the MTA fare hike proposal and the idea from anti-inequality advocates for offering MetroCard discounts based on people’s income. Have you taken a position?

Mayor: I have not yet. We’re going to look at that for sure. I think the central question – I’m very concerned about any fare hike because I think people are hurting economically right now and I think we have to be very, very careful about putting an additional burden on people’s lives. You know in this city, we’ve had a rent freeze for the last two years and we have a rent freeze because looked at the actual numbers and we came to the conclusion it was fair but we also knew that people were hurting and needed a break after all the years of the impact of the Great Recession.

So, I think the MTA Board should be very careful on the fare hike issue, and in terms of the other proposal, we’re going to look at that.

Lehrer: No – you’re not leaning one way or the other on –

Mayor: Again, it’s really come up quite recently. We’re going to look at that.

Lehrer: Alright, well, thank you, Mr. Mayor, as always. You know, even the tabloids are so focused on Trump they have almost no local news today. You probably thinks that’s a good thing.

Mayor: I don’t think that’s a good thing. I would like to see a lot more coverage of local news and serious, focused coverage on the big issues facing New Yorkers.

Lehrer: And you know I was just kidding.

Mayor Bill de Blasio joins us, usually, Fridays at 10:00 am. Talk to you next week.

Mayor: Thanks, Brian. Take care.

 
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