7/17: NY’s Public Library, Gridlock Sam, Public Pensions, Summer Meals

On this edition of MetroFocus, New York Public Library CEO and President, Anthony Marx, outlines the plans for the NYPL now that plans to transform part of the Fifth Avenue flagship building into a circulating library were withdrawn. As Marx tells guest host Jack Ford, the NYPL plans to renovate the Mid-Manhattan Library, the institution’s largest circulating branch, and expand storage space into a vast space underneath Bryant Park. The New York Public Library serves over 18 million people every year in over 80 neighborhood branches around the city.

The Long Island Rail Road is one of the busiest commuter railroads in North America with over 700 daily trains traveling from Montauk to New York City’s Penn Station. Strike or no strike, the LIRR’s union workers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have issues and commuters have complaints about service. Transportation expert Sam Schwartz, also known as “Gridlock Sam,” talks to MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman about what the region’s transit system can handle and what it can’t, past strikes and the future of the metropolitan region as its transit system tries to keep up with demand.

Steve Malanga, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, and Teresa Ghilarducci, director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School, join Pi Roman for a closer look at public pension funds in the tri-state region. At the end of Fiscal Year 2013, New York State paid $9.5 billion into its pension funds, a little over 7% of the total state budget. New York City paid $8.06 billion into its pension funds, more than 11% of the city’s total budget and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided not to make the required payment to his state’s pension fund.

School meals are a vital need for millions of students and a key part in academic success. But what happens when school is out? In New Jersey, the federally-funded Summer Food Service program provides up to two meals a day for 76,000 children. NJTV News reporter Lauren Wanko takes us to Seaside Heights, New Jersey where elementary school children enjoy sandwiches and snacks all summer long.

TRANSCRIPT

> FROM THE WORLD'S LEADING CENTER FOR FINANCE, THE ARTS, PUBLISHING, SCIENCE, RESEARCH, MEDIA, INNOVATION, AND MUCH MORE, THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

TONIGHT WITH JACK FORD.

TONIGHT, THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY MAKES ROOM FOR MORE READERS AND FOR RENOVATIONS.

A THIRD OF NEW YORKERS DEPEND ON THE PUBLIC LIBRARIES FOR COMPUTERS BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE COMPUTERS AT HOME.

THE STATE OF PUBLIC PENSION FUNDS.

THE CRISES MAY BE MORE OF BUDGET AS OPPOSED TO A CRISES OF DO WE HAVE THE NEXT DOLLAR TO PAY RIGHT NOW.

THE VALUE OF A SCHOOL LUNCH WHEN SCHOOL IS OUT.

I LIKE MY SANDWICH.

IT WAS SO YUMMY.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE FORD FOUNDATION, WORKING WITH VISIONARIES ON THE FRONT LINES OF SOCIAL CHANGE WORLDWIDE.

CORPORATE FUNDING IS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOU'RE RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY THE FOLLOWING.

HELLO, I'M JACK FORD.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.' ONE OF THE GREAT JOYS OF BEING IN NEW YORK CITY AS A RESIDENT OR AS A TOURIST IS VISITING THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY.

FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY THE LANDMARK BUILDING HAS BEEN A BREATHTAKING HOME TO SO MANY THINGS FOR SO MANY PEOPLE.

AS WITH MOST PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS TODAY IT'S NOT BEEN WITHOUT CHALLENGES FOR CONTROVERSY.

JOINING US IS ANTHONY MARX WHICH IS THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE LIBRARY TO TALK ABOUT ITS PAST AND FUTURE.

NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

ANYBODY WHO HAS WALKED PAST THAT GORGEOUS LANDMARK BUILDING, JUST LOOKS AT IT AND YOU HAVE TO BE ASTONISHED BY IT.

I LEARNED SOME THINGS IN, ONE IS THAT THE BUILDING WAS BUILT ON A RESERVOIR.

THE ORIGINAL CROTON RESERVOIR.

BRYANT PARK AS WELL.

IT WAS SORT OF AN INCARNATION.

THERE WERE A COUPLE OF OTHER BUILDINGS BEFOREHAND IF YOU WILL, BEFORE THAT BECAME THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU WANTED TO DO IN YOUR LEADERSHIP HERE IS TO EXPAND ITS ROLE OF THE LIBRARY.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT BEFORE YOU GET INTO SOME OF THE OTHER CHALLENGES AND CONTROVERSIES.

WHAT'S YOUR MISSION?

WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO HAVE THE LIBRARY BECOME?

THE LIBRARY IS LOVED BY ALL NEW YORKERS AND EVERYONE WHO COMES TO VISIT.

40 MILLION PHYSICAL VISITS TO THE PHYSICAL LIBRARIES OF NEW YORK CITY A YEAR, MORE THAN ALL THE CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS AND PROFESSIONAL SPORTING TEAMS COMBINED.

IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD WITHIN A WALK TO EVERYWHERE YOU LIVE AND THEY REALLY ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO THE CITY.

I KNOW THIS FROM GROWING UP IN THE CITY.

PEOPLE ARE COMING BECAUSE WE'RE STILL HUMAN BEINGS.

WE WANT TO BE IN THE COMPANY OF OTHER PEOPLE IN INSPIING POOR PEOPLE ARE COMING BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE A QUIET SPACE OR SPACES.

SPACE AT ALL OR HEATING OR AIR CONDITIONING.

A THIRD OF NEW YORKERS DEPEND ON THE PUBLIC LIBRARIES TO READ BECAUSE THEY CAN'T AFFORD BOOKS, AND A THIRD DEPEND ON US FOR COMPUTERS BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE COMPUTERS AT HOME.

WE'RE THE PLACE YOU CAN DO THAT FOR FREE.

PEOPLE ARE LINING UP FOR THOSE SERVICES.

YOU CAN'T EVEN APPLY FOR A JOB THESE DAYS WITHOUT A COMPUTER.

WHAT WE ARE AIMING AT IS TO CONTINUE THAT AND TO NOT JUST BE WHAT I WOULD DESCRIBE AS THE TRADITIONAL SORT OF PASSIVE REPOSITORY MODEL BUT TO BE THE PROACTIVE FREE EDUCATION PROVIDERS IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD.

I THINK IF YOU GRABBED SOMEBODY OFF THE STREET, THEY WOULD KNOW ABOUT THE GORGEOUS STRUCTURE, THE EXTERNAL THEY WOULD KNOW ABOUT THE READING ROOM, THE BREATHTAKING STRUCTURE.

BEAUTY OF THE READING ROOM.

I SAW SOME PICTURES ABOUT WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE WHEN THEY WERE FIRST BUILDING IT.

OF COURSE WE NOW KNOW WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE BUT I DON'T THINK THEY WOULD KNOW ABOUT ALL OF THESE OTHER OPPORTUNITIES.

REMEMBER, THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY IS THAT MAIN BUILDING WHICH IS THE HEADQUARTERS OF OUR RESEARCH LIBRARY.

WE ALSO HAVE THE LIBRARY FOR PERFORMING ARTS RIGHT NEAR THE STUDIO AS WELL AS THE SCIENCE CITY AND BUSINESS LIBRARY, BUT WE ALSO HAVE THE LARGEST CLERKS OF CIRCULATING BRANCH LIBRARIES AS ANY SYSTEM IN AMERICA, 88 PLUS THE QUEENS AND BROOKLYN THERE ARE 204 BRANCH LIBRARIES IN THE NEW YORK.

LIBRARY.

THERE ARE MANY MORE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE USING THOSE EVEN THAN COME INTO THE MAIN BUILDING, THOUGH THE MAIN BUILDING GETS ABOUT 2 MILLION VISITS A YEAR.

WE WOULD ACTUALLY LIKE THE MAIN BUILDING TO RETURN TO ITS PREVIOUS LEVELS OF CLOSER TO 4 MILLION VISITS WHICH IT HAD UP UNTIL THE 1960s.

A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO BEFORE WE HIT THE FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES, THERE WAS A PLAN FOR EXPANSION.

UM-HMM.

AND OBVIOUSLY ALL OF A SUDDEN THE RECESSION COMES ALONG AND THERE'S A HOLD ON THAT AND SOME PEOPLE RAISED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PRO PRYTY AND THE PLAN ITSELF.

WHAT WAS THE PLAN?

I KNOW YOU SAID BASICALLY WE'RE GOING TO GO IN A DIFFERENT WHAT CAUSED YOU TO GO IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION?

DIRECTION.

FIRST, LET ME PUT IT IN CONTEXT.

RIGHT NOW TODAY WE HAVE ACLOSE TO $200 MILLION OF RENOVATION WORK GOING ON IN THE BRANCHES THROUGHOUT THE SYSTEM.

WE ACTUALLY NEED TO DO MORE OF THAT BECAUSE THERE ARE STILL BRANCH LIBRARIES THAT ARE NOT IN THE PHYSICAL SHAPE THAT THEY SHOULD BE IN.

WE NEED MORE STAFF.

WE HAVE HAD 17% CUT OF CITY FUNDING.

THE MAIN BUILDING IS PROBABLY THE MOST FAMOUS LIBRARY BUILDING IN THE WORLD.

THOSE LIONS WE ALL LOVE, PATIENCE AND FORTITUDE, IS ONLY ABOUT 22% OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

MOST OF THE BUILDING IS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, INCLUDING ROOMS THAT WERE BEAUTIFUL MAJESTIC, HISTORIC ROOMS THAT GOT CLOSED UP, USED FOR BACK OFFICE.

THAT'S A PITY.

IT'S SUCH AN AMAZING BUILDING.

ACROSS THE STREET IN MANHATTAN, OUR LARGEST BRANCH LIBRARY, 1.5 MILLION VISITS A YEAR, IS PHYSICALLY FAILING.

THE ORIGINAL PLAN THAT GOES BACK TO ABOUT 2007 WAS TO TAKE THE BOOKS OUT OF STACKS WHICH IS HUGE SPACE OVERLOOKING BRYANT PARK, BUILD IN THERE A NEW MID MANHATTAN LIBRARY, ONLY CLOSE THE OLD ONE WHEN THE NEW ONE IS THERE, OPENING MUCH MORE SPACE IN THE BUILDING, AND BE DONE WITH IT.

IT'S ACTUALLY AN INGENIOUS PLAN AND AS YOU SAY A CONTROVERSIAL PLAN FOR MANY REASONS.

SO WHAT WE REALIZED IS INSTEAD OF SENDING THE BOOKS TO NEW JERSEY WHICH WAS PROBLEMATIC IN MANY WAYS, WE HAVE SPACE UNDER BRYANT PARK, BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

I DIDN'T KNOW WE HAD THIS.

TWO SQUARE CITY BLOCKS, TWO FOOTBALL FIELDS WORTH IN THE MOST EXPENSIVE REAL ESTATE IN THE WORLD, 42nd STREET AND FIFTH

I WAS FASCINATED TO LEARN THAT.

IT'S BEEN EMPTY FOR 25 YEARS.

WE CAN PUT 3 MILLION BOOKS DOWN THERE.

THEY'LL BE SAFE.

YOU CAN GET THEM WITHIN HALF-AN-HOUR.

WE'LL HAVE AS MANY BOOKS AS WE'VE EVER HAD IN THE LIBRARY.

THAT IS THE PLAN NOW.

WE'RE GOING TO DO THAT AND TAKE ALL THE ROOMS IN THE MAIN BUILDING THAT HAVE BEEN CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC AND OPEN THEM BACK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE 50% MORE SPACE IN THE BUILDING, DOUBLE UP.

THE EXHIBITION SPACE IF WE DO THIS RIGHT.

WE'RE GOING TO FOR THE FIRST TIME CREATE A STUDENT, TEEN AND TEACHER SPACE SO THAT PEOPLE AT ALL LEVELS CAN USE THE RESEARCH WE'RE GOING TO BRING THE BUSINESS LIBRARY BACK INTO THE LIBRARY.

MAIN BUILDING AND EXPAND ITS SERVICES.

ALL KINDS OF THINGS.

AND THE MID MANHATTAN ACROSS THE STREET, WE'RE GOING TO RENOVATE IT INTO THE MOST FANTASTIC CENTRAL BRANCH LIBRARY YOU'VE

WERE YOU SURPRISED AT ALL BY HOW MANY PEOPLE OBJECTED TO IT, EVER SEEN.

BY THE STATURE OF SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO OBJECTED TO IT, AND THE FACT THAT SOME OF IT BECAME FAIRLY VITRIOLIC?

DID THAT SURPRISE YOU?

I GUESS SOME OF IT SURPRISED ME, CERTAINLY THE VITRIOL.

THERE WERE ARGUMENTS THAT SURPRISED ME.

THERE WERE SOME CRITICS WHO SAID WE DON'T WANT THE PUBLIC IN THE MAIN BUILDING, WE LIKE HAVING IT JUST THE PRESERVE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE PROFESSIONAL RESEARCHERS.

I THOUGHT THAT WAS A CRAZY I DISAGREE ON PRETTY MUCH EVERY SO, YES, THERE WERE PARTS OF THE ARGUMENT THAT I DISAGREED WITH, GROUND.

AND MANY OF THE CRITICS DISAGREED WITH THAT ARGUMENT AS I THINK PEOPLE LOVE THE LIBRARY, AND PEOPLE ARE WORRIED ABOUT WELL OF COURSE.

CHANGE, AND THEY WANT US TO GET IT RIGHT.

SO I RESPECTED ALL THAT.

AND THAT WAS TRUE -- THE LIBRARY IS THE ONE PLACE IN NEW YORK WHERE YOU HAVE THE STUDENT AND THE IMMIGRANT AND THE HOMELESS AND THE NOBEL LAUREATE AND THE PULITZER PRIZE WINNER.

EVERYBODY IS USING THE LIBRARY.

PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS.

IT'S NEW YORK SO PEOPLE DON'T HOLD BACK IN SHARING THOSE VIEWS, AND THAT'S OKAY.

THEY DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE AN UNARTICULATED THOUGHT.

YOU THINK IT, YOU SAY IT, ONE OF THE HALLMARKS OF NEW YORK.

CHANGE IS SCARY, RIGHT.

AN INSTITUTION THAT YOU LOVE AND THAT YOU DEPEND ON, IT'S NATURAL TO SAY I DON'T WANT IT TO CHANGE AT ALL.

IN THIS INSTANCE, WE KNEW WE NEEDED TO CHANGE TO SOME EXTENT BECAUSE WE HAD TO SAVE THE MID MANHATTAN, WE HAD TO OPEN THE MAIN BUILDING AND WE HAD TO MAKE SURE THAT THE BOOK COLLECTION WAS PRESERVED.

SO NOT DOING ANYTHING WAS SIMPLY IMPOSSIBLE.

WE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY, AND AGAIN, I THINK THAT'S THE WAY YOU WANT IT.

THAT'S HOW NEW YORK SHOULD WORK.

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, FASCINATING PAST, PRESENT, FASCINATING FUTURE.

TONY MARX, THANKS FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

GREAT TO SEE YOU.

THE LONG ISLAND RAILROAD CARRIES 300,000 PASSENGERS EVERY SO STRIKE OR NO STRIKE, THIS IS A VITAL LINK FOR NEW YORK.

DAY.

JOINING ME NOW TO TELL US EVERYTHING ABOUT THE REGION'S TRANSIT SYSTEM, SAM SWARTZ, KNOWN TO MANY OF US AS GOOD LUCK SAM.

WELCOME.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

SAM, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE LONG ISLAND RAILROAD ISN'T ARE THERE LESSONS IN HISTORY THAT WILL TELL US WHAT TO RUNNING?

EXPECT?

YEAH.

THERE ARE LESSONS.

THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME THAT THE LONG ISLAND RAILROAD HAS PLANNED A STRIKE OR IN FACT HAS STRUCK.

THEY STRUCK BACK IN THE '80s WHEN I WAS TRAFFIC COMMISSIONER.

THEY STRUCK DURING THE TRANSIT STRIKE WHICH WAS MUCH WORSE AND THEY STRUCK LAST IN 1994.

WHAT WEAPON FIND IS THAT THE IMPACT IS LOCALIZED.

IT REALLY DOES OBVIOUSLY AFFECT THE PEOPLE OF LONG ISLAND IT AFFECTS CERTAIN ROADS TREMENDOUSLY.

TREMENDOUSLY.

IT HAS LITTLE BEARING ON WHAT HAPPENS FROM THE NEW JERSEY SIDE AND A LOT OF WHAT HAPPENS IN MANHATTAN, YOU JUST DON'T SEE THE DIFFERENCE.

SO THE LONG ISLAND EXPRESSWAY GETS HIT HARD, AS DOES THE BOULEVARD, ANY OF THE EAST/WEST ROUTES.

WHEN YOU'RE HEADING TO THE AIRPORT, THAT ALSO GETS AFFECTED, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE GOING TO KENNEDY AIRPORT.

YOU'RE GOING TO NEWARK, NO MARKET.

LAGUARDIA, YOU'LL SIT ON A LITTLE EXTRA TRAFFIC.

IF YOU'RE GOING TO KENNEDY AIRPORT, ALLOW AT LEAST AN EXTRA 45 MINUTES.

WE'RE COMING ON THE BIGGEST TRAVEL SEASON SO WE'RE APPROACHING THIS, SO WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE -- THE AIRPORT TRAVEL IS WHAT I WORRY ABOUT AND I WORRY ABOUT THE PEOPLE IN LONG ISLAND WHO WON'T BE ABLE TO GET TO WORK AND ALL THOSE BUSINESSES THAT THRIVE AROUND ALL THE STATION.

MOST OF US REMEMBER THE STRIKE OF 2005, THE SUBWAY STRIKE IN COLD NEAR CHRISTMAS AND OF COURSE MANY OF US REMEMBER THE 1980 STRIKE, THE ICONIC SCENES OF NEW YORKERS WALKING ACROSS BROOKLYN BRIDGE WHEN KOCH WAS MAYOR.

ARE YOU SAYING THAT THE LONG ISLAND RAILROAD STRIKE WON'T BE LIKE THOSE EVENTS?

NO.

IT'S NOT GOING TO BE ANYWHERE NEAR THE NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT STRIKE OR WHAT WE EXPERIENCED POST SANDY WHEN WE HAD THE TRAINS OUT FOR A NUMBER OF DAYS.

IT'S NOT GOING TO BE THAT DRAMATIC TO THE 20 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE METROPOLITAN REGION.

HOWEVER, IF YOU'RE A LONG ISLANDER, THIS IS GOING TO BE THERE'S 300,000 RIDERS A DAY, 150,000 EACH WAY.

DRAMATIC, SIGNIFICANT.

THOSE PEOPLE WILL BE AFFECTED SIGNIFICANTLY.

LET'S LOOK AT A BROADER PICTURE.

HOW IS THE REGION'S TRANSIT SYSTEM DOING?

YOU HEAR COMMUTER ANECDOTELY COMPLAINING ABOUT DELAYS, BREAKDOWNS, CONTESTED CARS.

IS THAT REALLY HAPPENING MORE AND MORE?

SOME OF IT IS HAPPENING MORE AND MORE.

IT'S ALSO A SIGN OF THE ECONOMIC VIBRANCY, THE HEALTH.

WHEN YOU TAKE A LOOK AT WHERE PEOPLE ARE MOVING TO, THEY'RE NOT MOVING AWAY FROM NEW YORK CITY.

THEY'RE MOVING TOWARDS NEW YORK CITY.

OUR POPULATION IS GROWING.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE AREAS ALONG THE WATERFRONTS IN NEW YORK CITY ALONG THE EAST RIVER AND QUEENS FROM LONG ISLAND CITY, ATORE YA TO WILLIAMSBURG, GREEN POINT, RED HOOK, THEY'RE THRIVING.

NEW YORK'S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IS BEING STRAINED.

THE L TRAIN WHICH WAS A SLEEPY TRAIN IS SO PACKED AND THE MTS IS ABOUT TO DO WHAT'S CALLED COMMUNICATIONS BASED TRANSIT CONTROL, CBTC, WHICH WILL ALLOW FOR EVEN MORE TRAINS TO COME SO WE'RE REALLY VERY TIGHT.

WE HAVE ALMOST 4 MILLION PEOPLE COMING INTO A TINY AREA CALLED MANHATTAN CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT, MANHATTAN SOUTH OF 16th STREET.

BUT WE NEED OUR TRANSIT SYSTEM.

WE NEED OUR LONG ISLAND RAILROAD.

WE NEED OUR METRO-NORTH.

WE NEED OUR SUBWAY SYSTEM AND WE NEED BIKES AND WALKERS AND OTHERS AND, YEAH, WE DO SURVIVE WITH PEOPLE IN CARS.

I'M NOT ANTI-CAR.

HOW ARE WE GOING TO DEAL WITH OUR TRANSPORTATION DEMANDS AS WE MOVE FORWARD INTO THE FUTURE?

WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I PROPOSE IS THAT WE USE WHAT A LOT OF OTHER CITIES ARE BEGINNING TO LOOK AT AND ACTUALLY TRY, WHAT LONDON DOES.

THEY DO CONGESTION PRICING, STOCKHOLM, SINGAPORE, A HALF DOZEN CITIES AROUND THE WORLD DO IT.

WE NEED TO HAVE MOBILITY.

OUR TRAFFIC SYSTEM IS SOMEWHAT PARALYZED IN LOTS OF AREAS OF WE CAN'T HAVE PARALYSIS.

MANHATTAN.

THAT'S A VIBRANT AREA.

IT'S NOT THAT PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BE IN CARS, BUT THEY SHOULD BE PAYING FOR TRAVELING IN CARS BECAUSE THEY HAVE A MUCH BIGGER IMPACT THAN THAT COMMUTER ON THE ISLAND RAILROAD THAT COMES OUT OF A HOLE IN THE GROUND.

MADISON SQUARE GARDEN OR PENN STATION AND COMES RIGHT NOW.

WE NEED TO START CHARGING THOSE PEOPLE.

I HAVE A PLAN WHICH IS GAINING STRENGTH AS YOU WELL KNOW, WE TALKED ABOUT IT PREVIOUSLY, LOWERING ALL THE TOLLS IN THE OUTER AREAS WHERE PEOPLE DON'T HAVE GOOD TRANSIT AND APPLYING THE TOLLS IN THE AREAS WE HAVE GOOD TRANSIT.

I'M HOPING THE MAYOR AND GOVERNOR ARE LISTENING.

WE'LL SEE IF THAT HAPPENS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

> NOW A CLOSER LOOK AT PUBLIC PENSIONS.

EVERY STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS OBLIGATED TO PAY INTO PENSION FUNDS AND IN MANY PLACES, THOSE PAYMENTS MAKE UP BIG SLICES OF THE BUDGETS.

AT THE END OF THE LAST FISCAL YEAR, 2013 THIS IS HOW IT LOOKED IN OUR REGION.

NEW YORK STATE PAID $9.5 BILLION INTO PENSION FUNDS, JUST OVER IN NEW YORK CITY THE PAYMENT TO THE PENSION FUNDS WAS MORE THAN 7%. $8 BILLION, AND THAT'S MORE THAN 11.5% OF THE CITY'S TOTAL BUDGET.

IN NEW JERSEY THE BATTLE OVER HOW MUCH THE STATE COULD AFFORD TO CONTRIBUTE TO ITS PUBLIC PENSION FUND WOUND UP IN COURT.

THE SCHEDULED PAYMENT OF $1.5 BILLION WOULD HAVE AMOUNTED TO FIVE PERCENT OF THE STATE'S BUDGET.

JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT PUBLIC PENSIONS IS THERESA GILARD UCCI AND STEVE MOLANGA.

IS THERE A PENSION CRISES IN THIS COUNTRY?

NO.

THERE NEVER HAS BEEN.

THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THE BILL FOR THE PUBLIC PENSIONS FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES IS HIGH.

THAT'S WHEN ACTUALLY WE'RE IN A RECESSION.

WE SAW THAT HAPPEN IN 2008 AND 2009 AND 2010.

BUT A CRISES IS WHEN YOU CAN'T PAY A PENSION, AND A CRISES IS WHAT WE'RE FACING IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR WITH PEOPLE GOING INTO THEIR OLD AGE WITHOUT ANYTHING BUT SOCIAL SECURITY.

NOW THAT'S THE CRISES.

THERE'S NO PUBLIC EMPLOYEE THAT I CAN SEE IN MY DATA THAT IS GOING TO FACE THE RISK OF POVERTY.

THERE IS NO CRISES.

THERE ARE AMONG SOME GOVERNMENTS NERVOUSNESS ABOUT HAVING TO PAY THE BILL, BUT THAT --

DO YOU AGREE WITH THERESA?

THE BILLS RIGHT NOW THERE IS NO CRISES.

BUT BECAUSE THERE'S MONEY IN PENSION FUNDS, CHICAGO, ONLY 30% FUNDED, ILLINOIS, CALIFORNIA, BECAUSE THERE'S MONEY IN THE PENSIONS RIGHT NOW, THAT'S THE REASON WHY GOVERNMENTS ARE PUTTING OFF DEALING WITH THE PROBLEM.

EXCEPT THAT NOW THERE'S TREMENDOUS PRESSURE.

SO AROUND THE COUNTRY THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT IS BEING ASKED BY PENSION FUNDS THEMSELVES IS SOARING.

SO THE CRISES MAY ACTUALLY BE A CRISES OF BUDGETS AS OPPOSED TO A CRISES OF DO WE HAVE THE NEXT DOLLAR TO PAY RIGHT NOW.

HOW IS NEW YORK CITY'S PENSION FUND DOING?

NEW YORK IS GREAT.

NEW JERSEY BAD.

NEW YORK HAS BEEN GOOD BECAUSE --

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT NEW YORK CITY OR NEW YORK STATE?

NEW YORK STATE, NEW YORK CITY AND NEW YORK TEACHERS, THE BIG THEY'RE DIFFERENT BUT BY AND LARGE THE EMPLOYER PAYS THE PLANS.

BILL.

THEY'RE DOING GREAT?

THEY'RE DOING --

FOR REASONS WHICH I DON'T UNDERSTAND HAS STARTED ALLOWING MINUTE IS PALTIES NOT TO PAY THEIR PENSION BILL.

THEY'VE NOW DEFERRED IN THE LAST THREE YEARS $3.3 BILLION.

SOME OF THESE ARE UPSTATE MUNICIPALITIES.

IT'S NOT LIKE THEY'RE IN A REBOUND OR AN ECONOMIC -- LIKE IF THIS WAS 2009 YOU WOULD SAY BY 2011 IT WILL BE OKAY.

THESE ARE PLACES WITH LONG TERM PROBLEMS.

THEY'RE BORROWING MONEY.

THERE ARE TWO LEVELS TO ALL OF THIS.

NEW YORK STATE HAS A LONG TIME BEFORE IT GETS IN TROUBLE.

ONCE UPON A TIME NEW JERSEY HAD A LONG TIME.

IN 1990 THEY WERE IN GREAT SHAPE.

THIS KIND OF ACCOUNTING THAT GETS YOU INTO THIS AND BEING WILLING TO SAY WE HAVE ENOUGH MONEY RIGHT NOW, THAT'S THE THING THAT BECOMES ADDICTIVE.

ONCE YOU DO IT, THE SENSE IS AM I GOING TO PAY NEXT YEAR?

THERESA, SO THE DEGREE THAT YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THERE'S A PROBLEM, WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?

WE SHOULD LOOK AT BEST PRACTICES OF THE FUNDS THAT ARE IT DOES GO UP AND DOWN BUT ARE REALLY ON A SUSTAINABLE PATH HEALTHY.

BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE FLEXIBILITY TO TWEAK IT.

WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT EMPLOYERS ALWAYS PAY INTO THE IF WE LOOK AT THE HISTORY OF 50 YEARS, SOMETIMES 70 YEARS, FUND.

PREDATES SOCIAL SECURITY, THE EMPLOYERS THAT KEPT FUNDING IT AND SOLIDARITY FOREVER, LET'S GET THE UNIONS TO ENFORCE THAT.

THEY'RE FINE.

THEY DO GO UP AND DOWN.

THEY HAVE TO SQUEEZE OUT OTHER PARTS OF THE BUDGET BUT THAT'S BUDGETING.

GEORGIA OF ALL PLACES ACTUALLY DEMANDS THAT THEIR FUNDS KEEP FUNDING.

NEW YORK HAS ALWAYS DONE IT.

EMPLOYEES HAVE ALWAYS KEPT THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS UP AND MAKE SURE THAT TOP MANAGEMENT DOESN'T GET TO ADD THEIR VACATION PAY OR THEIR OTHER KINDS OF SPIKING.

THERE ARE REALLY A HEALTHY KIND OF PRESCRIPTION FROM EXPERTS ABOUT HOW THE OUTLIERS CAN BECOME MORE LIKE THE AVERAGE.

THERE ARE DEFINITELY BEST PRACTICES.

I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING THERESA JUST SAID.

BECAUSE THERE'S NO UNIVERSAL CODE OF ACCOUNTING FOR PUBLIC -- FOR GOVERNMENT, STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, BECAUSE THERE'S NO UNIVERSAL CODE, ESSENTIAL LIE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, THE LEGISLATORS VOTED TO CHANGE THE INVESTMENT RETURNS TO INCREASE THEM SO THEY CAN REDUCE THEIR PAYMENTS INTO THE SYSTEM.

I'VE MET A LOT OF LEGISLATORS IN MY LIFE.

THAT'S THE LAST THING I WOULD ASK THEM ABOUT.

WE HAVE A PRIVATE SECTOR LAW, ARISA.

THAT'S A VERY INTERESTING SUBJECT.

IF NOTHING GETS DONE, WHAT HAPPENS?

WE ARE ON UNPRECEDENTED TURF.

RIGHT NOW THERE'S OUTSIDE PRESSURE BECAUSE ALL THESE STATES AND CITIES BORROW AND SOME PLACES LIKE ILLINOIS HAVE BEEN TOLD WE'RE NOT GOING TO LET YOU BORROW IF YOU KEEP BORROWING FOR YOUR PENSION SYSTEM.

I DON'T KNOW HOW IMPRESSIVE OR FORCEFUL THE OUTSIDE PRESSURE IS GOING TO BE BUT SOME PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT -- THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS THE NEXT THING.

YOU HAVE PROMINENT PEOPLE LIKE CHUCK REED IN SAN JOSE AND

EXACTLY.

DICK RAFICH ALL SAYING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD ENFORCE STANDARDS.

YOU AGREE?

I DO AGREE.

LET'S HAVE ARISSA.

I ACTUALLY LIKE THAT.

THAT'S FOR ANOTHER SHOW.

THANK YOU, BOTH OF YOU.

A LIVELY DISCUSSION.

> SCHOOL MEALS ARE VITAL FOR MILLIONS OF STUDENTS.

THAT NUTRITION IS KEY TO ACADEMIC SUCCESS.

BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SCHOOL IS OUT?

IN NEW JERSEY MEALS ARE SERVED TO 76,000 KIDS.

WE'RE SHOWN WHY SUMMER MEALS MATTER FROM SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NEW JERSEY.

STUDENTS AT THIS SCHOOL ARE CHOWING DOWN.

I LIKE THE SANDWICH.

THE SUMMER FOOD SERVICE PROGRAM PROVIDES UP TO TWO MEALS A DAY TO KIDS WHO LIVE IN AREAS WHERE AT LEAST 50 PERCENT OF THE CHILDREN ARE ENROLLED IN PARTICIPATING PROGRAMS.

AT THIS SCHOOL THAT'S ABOUT 90% OF THE STUDENTS.

SOCIAL WORKER KAOLIN CAR DON'T SAYS DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR THE STUDENTS SUFFER WHEN THEIR BELLIES ARE EMPTY.

YOU DIDN'T EAT ANYTHING, THEY'RE NOT ENERGETIC, THEY'RE SLUGGISH, THEY FALL ASLEEP.

A LOT OF TIMES THEY COME IN HUNGRY LOOKING FOR FOOD OR TRYING TO SEE WHAT OTHER KIDS HAVE.

CHILDREN ESPECIALLY NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAVE THE RIGHT NUTRITIONAL INTAKE.

IT HAS A DIRECT IMPACT ON THE ABILITY TO DEVELOP AND TO LEARN.

THE FOOD BANK, CARLOS RODRIGUEZ SAYS DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS MORE FAMILIES STRUGGLE TO ENSURE THEIR KIDS EAT ENOUGH

THE FOOD BANK IS SERVING ONE IN TEN RESIDENTS THROUGHOUT THE EVERY DAY.

51,000 OF THOSE ARE CHILDREN AND THIS IS JUST ON A YEARLY BASIS.

COUNTY.

THE FOOD BANK PROVIDES ABOUT 1200 PREPARED MEALS DAILY TO 14 THAT INCLUDES DAYCARE CENTERS AND SUMMER CAMPS.

SITES.

THE FOOD BANK OVER SEES ALL OF THOSE MEALS.

BUT THE ISSUE ISN'T LIMITED TO THE JERSEY SHORE.

STATE-WIDE THERE ARE ABOUT 1,000 SITES THAT PARTICIPATE IN THE SUMMER FOOD SERVICE PROGRAM WHICH INCLUDES 76,000 CHILDREN.

THE NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ADMINISTERS THE

ALL THE STATISTICS INDICATE THERE ARE A NUMBER OF CHILDREN PROGRAM.

ACROSS THE STATE THAT ARE NOT GETTING THEIR NUTRITIONAL NEEDS AND THAT HELPS SATISFY THAT.

THE NEEDS DON'T END AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.

IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT BECAUSE OTHERWISE A LOT OF CHILDREN WILL GO HUNGRY.

AT THE FOOD BANK THE NUTRITIONIST OVERSEES THE MENU.

ON THIS DAY STUDENTS DIG INTO A TUNA SANDWICH ON WHEAT BREAD R CARROTS, DICED PEACHES AND CHOCOLATE MILK.

THIS 6-YEAR-OLD'S FAVORITE PART OF THE MEAL?

MILK.

I LIKE MY SANDWICH.

IT WAS SO YUMMY.

IF ONLY EVERY KID COULD BE THIS EXCITED ABOUT EATING HEALTHY FOOD.

IN SEASIDE HEIGHTS, I'M LAUREN WONKO.

THERE'S MORE INFORMATION ABOUT FINDING AND APPLYING FOR SUMMER MEALS PROGRAMS ACROSS THE TRI-STATE REGION ON OUR WEBSITE, 'METROFOCUS'.ORG.

THAT'S IT FOR THIS EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS.'

JOINING US NEXT WEEK FOR NEWS, CONVERSATIONS AND IN DEPTH REPORTING FOR PUBLIC TELEVISION.

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

FUNDING WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE FORD FOUNDATION, WORKING WITH VISIONARIES ON THE FRONT LINE.

CORPORATE FUNDING FOR METRO EFFECT IS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF COMPANY, AND BY THE FOLLOWING.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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