December 6: Tonight on MetroFocus

From swastikas on sidewalks to threats directed at a policewoman and transit employee wearing hijabs; hate crimes are on the rise in Manhattan since the election!  Tonight a MetroFocus EXCLUSIVE with the NYC Human Rights Commissioner on what is being done to protect New Yorkers.

Then, could the hostile partisanship of the 2016 election actually help Washington bridge the bipartisan divide? Democratic Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes has the details.

Finally, what was once 4 miles of decaying piers and dangerous paths is now the beautiful Hudson River Park! Join us for an exclusive tour.

 

TRANSCRIPT

SWASTIKAS ARE SPRAY PAINTED ON LONG ISLAND SIDEWALKS AND NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY CARS, AND A POLICE OFFICER AND A TRANSIT WORKER ARE CALLED TERRORIST AND THREATENED FOR SIMPLY WEARING HIJABS.

IN THE WEEKS SINCE DONALD TRUMP WON THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION HATE CRIMES HAVE SOARED.

IN A MOMENT AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH A NEW YORK CITY HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER ON JUST WHAT IS BEING DONE TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITIES.

HOW DO WE OVERCOME THE PARTISANSHIP THAT HAS DIVIDED THE COUNTRY FOR YEARS AND THAT BECAME PAINFULLY EVIDENT DURING THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?

DEMOCRATIC CONNECTICUT CONGRESSMAN JIM HINES IS HERE TO TALK ABOUT WHAT SOME AMERICAN LEADERS ARE DOING TO FIX WASHINGTON AND ACTUALLY GET THINGS DONE.

> AND WE'RE TAKING YOU TO A PLACE THAT WAS ONCE FOUR MILES THAT BECAME PIERCE AND DANGEROUS PATHS BUT IS NOW A MANHATTAN GEM, THE HUDSON RIVER PARK.

ALL THAT AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS.'

WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER HATE CRIME.

THAT'S THE DISTURBING TREND EMERGING HERE IN THE TRI-STATE AREA SINCE THE NOVEMBER ELECTION.

IN MANHATTAN ALONE THE NYPD SAYS THAT HATE CRIMES ARE REPORTEDLY UP 115% SINCE DONALD TRUMP WON THE PRESIDENCY.

AND MAYOR BILL de BLASIO SAYS THE PRESIDENT ELECT DESERVES SOME OF THE BLAME.

YOU CAN'T HAVE A CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT SINGLE OUT GROUPS OF AMERICANS NEGATIVELY AND NOT HAVE SOME RAMIFICATION FOR THAT AND NOT HAVE SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS AS A RESULT OF THAT.

IT'S DANGEROUS.

THANK GOD IN MOST OF THESE CASES IT'S REDUCED TO JUST SPEECH OR THREATS, BUT SOMETIMES THERE'S GOING TO BE PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW THROUGH ON THOSE THREATS, WE COULD DOZEN LIVES BECAUSE OF THIS.

JUST YESTERDAY POLICE SAY AN OFF DUTY MTA EMPLOYEE ON HER WAY TO WORK AND WEARING A HIJAB WAS APPROACHED BY A MAN ON THE SUBWAY AND CALLED A TERRORIST.

HE FOLLOWED HER OFF THE 7 TRAIN AT GRAND CENTRAL AND PUSHED HER DOWN A SET OF STAIRS LEAVING HER WITH ANKLE AND KNEE INJURIES BEFORE RUNNING OFF.

THAT ATTACK HAPPENING JUST DAYS AFTER AN OFF DUTY MUSLIM POLICE OFFICER AND HER SON WERE ALLEGEDLY TARGETED BY ANOTHER MAN IN BROOKLYN.

ACCORDING TO REPORTS NYPD OFFICER AML EL SOKARY BAU CHRISTOPHER NELSON PUSHING AND YELLING AT HER SON ON SATURDAY NIGHT.

POLICE SAY NELSON ACCUSED THE OFFICER OF BEING PART OF THE ISLAMIC STATE AND THREATENED HER WITH HIS PIT BULL.

NELSON IS FACING SEVERAL CHARGES INCLUDING MENACING AS A HATE CRIME.

OFFICER EL SOKARY SPOKE OUT AFTER THE ATTACK.

I BECAME A POLICE OFFICER TO SHOW THE POSITIVE SIDE OF NEW YORK, A MUSLIM WOMAN THAT CAN DO THE JOB, THAT IS NONBIAS, THAT I HELP EVERYBODY NO MATTER WHAT'S YOUR RELIGION, WHAT'S YOUR FAITH, WHAT YOU DO IN NEW YORK.

I'M BORN AND RAISED HERE AND I'M HERE TO PROTECT YOU AND I KNOW THAT MY DEPARTMENT AND MY CITY IS HERE TO PROTECT ME.

OFFICER EL SOKARY WAS NOT THE ONLY PERSON TARGETED OVER THE WEEKEND, POLICE SAY THAT AN 18-YEAR-OLD WOMAN FROM LONG ISLAND WAS ALSO ATTACKED, THIS TIME BY THREE WHITE MEN AT A 23rd STREET SUBWAY STATION IN MANHATTAN.

THE ATTACKERS REPORTEDLY YELLED DONALD TRUMP AS THEY TRIED TO REMOVE HER HIJAB.

MEAN WHILE OUT ON LONG ISLAND POLICE IN NASSAU COUNTY ARE INVESTIGATING ANOTHER HATE CRIME AFTER RACIST GRAFFITI AND THE MESSAGE MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN ECHOING DONALD TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN SLOGAN WERE FOUND ON A MINUTE OL I CAN'T SIDEWALK LAST WEEK.

RESIDENTS HAVE ALSO RAISED CONCERNS AFTER KKK BUSINESS CARDS AND FLYERS WERE HANDED OUT AT LOCAL LONG ISLAND RAILROAD STATIONS.

AUTHORITIES ACROSS THE REGION ARE TAKING STEPS TO CRACK DOWN ON HATE.

GOVERNOR CUOMO RECENTLY SPOKE OUT AGAINST THESE ATTACKS AND ANNOUNCED THAT HE IS STARTING A NEW TASK FORCE TO INVESTIGATE THE GROWING NUMBER OF INCIDENTS ACROSS THE STATE.

NEW YORK STILL KNOWS WHAT AMERICA IS SUPPOSED TO BE AND WE MUST STAND UP AND WE MUST SHOUT IT FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOPS.

WE MUST PROVIDE GUIDANCE TO THIS NATION.

WE MUST STAND UP AND SAY, YOU SPREAD FEAR AND WE WILL SPREAD LOVE.

AND HERE IN MANHATTAN THE CITY'S COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IS STEPPING UP ITS OWN MONITORING OF HARASSMENT AND ALLEGATIONS OF DISCRIMINATION ACROSS THE FIVE BOROUGHS.

JACK FORD RECENTLY SAT DOWN WITH CARMELYN MALALIS, COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK CITY COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND ASKED HER WHY THIS DISTURBING DEE NO, MA'AM NONIS OCCURRING.

LET ME SAY THIS FIRST BECAUSE I THINK EVERYONE HAS BEEN FOCUSING ON THE LAST FEW WEEKS BUT THE REALITY IS IT'S BEEN A LONG ELECTION SEASON, RIGHT?

AND CERTAINLY THE XENOPHOBIC RHETORIC, THE ANTI-IMMIGRANT RHETORIC THAT'S BEEN OUT THERE, THAT'S BEEN OUT THERE FOR WAY LONGER THAN THE PAST THREE WEEKS.

WE'VE UNFORTUNATELY, I THINK, HAD TO ENDURE THIS FOR SEVERAL MONTHS BECAUSE OF THIS -- THIS PARTICULAR ELECTION CYCLE AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, WE AT NEW YORK CITY, I THINK WE'VE BEEN PARTICULARLY, YOU KNOW, BEEN PREPARED FOR THIS.

WE'VE HAD THINGS COMING OUT FOR THE LAST FEW MONTHS, GOING ON ON THE YEAR, ALREADY KIND OF BRACING FOR WHAT COULD HAPPEN IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS.

ARE WE SEEING ANY -- ANY FOCUS ON PARTICULAR GEOGRAPHIC POCKETS OF PROBLEMS OR ON PARTICULAR GROUPS?

I THINK IT'S MORE ISSUE-BASED, MEANING THAT, YOU KNOW, OF COURSE A LOT OF THE -- IF YOU LOOK BACK INTO WHICH PARTICULAR GROUPS OR WHICH PARTICULAR PEOPLE'S HAVE BEEN SINGLED OUT WE'RE TALKING REALLY ABOUT IMMIGRANT GROUPS, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS, PARTICULAR RELIGIOUS GROUPS AND I THINK TO YOUR INTRO THAT'S PART OF WHAT WE'RE SEEING LOCALLY AND THAT'S PART OF WHAT WE'RE SEEING NATIONALLY.

I THINK WE'RE ALSO TALKING ABOUT OTHER GROUPS THAT ARE GENERALLY CONSIDERED, YOU KNOW, ON THE MORE VULNERABLE SIDE OF THE SPECTRUM, TRANSGENDER NEW YORKERS, FOR INSTANCE, TRANSGENDER WOMEN OF COLOR IN NEW YORK CITY.

BUT, YOU KNOW, LIKE I SAID, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT NEW YORK CITY, I THINK, HAS BEEN PREPARING FOR FOR A WHILE AND THAT'S WHY, YOU KNOW, GOING BACK EVEN A YEAR I THINK HOPEFULLY FOLKS SAW THAT WE STEPPED OUT, VERY OUT AND PROUD, IN SUPPORT OF TRANSGENDER NEW YORKERS WITH A CAMPAIGN MAKING IT VERY CLEAR THAT NEW YORK CITY IS STANDING UP FOR TRANSGENDER NEW YORKERS.

WE HAD CITY WIDE CAMPAIGN MAKING IT VERY CLEAR THAT TRANSGENDER PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY HAVE RIGHTS, THAT THEY HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO SINGLE SEX FACILITIES INCLUDING BATHROOMS AND THAT IT WAS THE LAW.

THEN COMING UP WITH -- ON TO THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE WE HAD RELEASED ANOTHER CAMPAIGN, THE IMUS LIMB NYC CAMPAIGN.

THERE HAD BEEN A SPATE OF ANTI-ISLAM ISLAMAPHOBIA VIOLENCE NOT JUST LOCALLY BUT ALSO WHAT WE WERE LOOKING AT NATIONALLY AND AGAIN THE CITY SAID THIS IS GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT, THIS IS GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP AT THE GOVERNMENT LEVEL.

WE'RE GOING TO STAND UP FOR ALL OF OUR CITIZENS AND PARTICULARLY THE CITIZENS WHO ARE UNDER ATTACK.

THAT'S A GOOD JUMPING OFF POINT FOR ME TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO.

IF SOMEBODY IS WATCHING THIS AND THEY'RE WATCHING OUR CONVERSATION AND THEY SAY I THINK I'VE BEEN THE VICTIM OF SOME FORM OF HARASSMENT HERE THAT SHOULDN'T BE HAPPENING, WHAT DO THEY DO?

WELL, THERE IS A FEW THINGS I WOULD SUGGEST.

YOU KNOW, ONE IS FOLKS SHOULD ALWAYS CONSIDER THE NEW YORK CITY COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS A RESOURCE, WE ARE OF COURSE A CITY AGENCY THAT ENFORCES THE CITY'S VERY BROAD ANTI-DISCRIMINATION AND ANTI-HARASSMENT PROTECTIONS.

WE HAVE OFFICES IN ALL FIVE BOROUGHS AND WE HAVE MADE IT VERY CLEAR, YOU KNOW, EVEN PRIOR TO THIS ELECTION THAT WE ARE OUT THERE TO ENFORCE THE LAW BROADLY AND WE ARE OUT TO DO SO VERY AGGRESSIVELY.

FOLKS NOW THINK THAT THEY HAVE BEEN THE VICTIM OR THE TARGET OF ANY SORT OF DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT IN EMPLOYMENT, IN HOUSING, IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS, BECAUSE OF PROFILING BY LAW ENFORCEMENT, BECAUSE THEY ARE THE OBJECT OF DISCRIMINATORY HARASSMENT, FOLKS SHOULD ABSOLUTELY CONTACT THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS.

FOLKS CAN CALL 311, ASK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, THEY WILL BE CONNECTED WITH OUR OFFICE.

THEY COULD ALSO CALL 718-722-3131, THEY WILL BE CONNECTED IMMEDIATELY TO HUMAN RIGHTS, AND THERE ARE MANY GOOD REASONS WHY FOLKS MIGHT WANT TO CALL HUMAN RIGHTS EVEN IF THEY DON'T WANT TO FILE A COMPLAINT BECAUSE, I MEAN, LET'S FACE IT, THE REALITY IS THE FOLKS WHO ARE OFTEN VICTIMIZED ALSO HAVE OTHER THINGS GOING ON IN THEIR LIVES AND FOLKS MIGHT NOT NECESSARILY WANT TO PUT THEIR NAME OUT THERE IN A COMPLAINT --

WHY WOULD THAT BE VALUABLE TO THEM?

IF IT'S SOMEBODY SAYING, LOOK, THIS IS HAPPENING TO ME, IT'S AWFUL BUT I DON'T HAVE THE TIME OR RESOURCE, WHATEVER IT IS TO GO AHEAD WITH THIS, WHY WOULD THERE BE ANY VALUE FOR THEM TO CALL YOU FOLKS UP TO SAY LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS.

SURE.

BECAUSE IT IS STILL CRUCIAL THAT WE -- GOVERNMENT FINDS OUT THAT INFORMATION BECAUSE ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT POWER THAT WE HAVE AT THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IS TO INVESTIGATE ON BEHALF OF THE CITY.

SO IT IS NOT -- YOU KNOW, IT IS NOT INFREQUENT WHERE FOLKS CALL US UP AND THEY SAY, DO YOU KNOW WHAT, I DON'T WANT TO PUT MY NAME OUT THERE, MAYBE I'M AN UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT, MAYBE I'M SOMEBODY WHO HAS HAD, YOU KNOW, PRIOR EXPERIENCE WITH SOME FORM OF LAW ENFORCEMENT, I'M NOT COMFORTABLE WITH MY NAME OUT THERE WITH THE GOVERNMENT, I DON'T WANT TO IDENTIFY MYSELF.

IF THEY GIVE US ENOUGH INFORMATION TO PROCEED, WE CAN INVESTIGATE THAT SITUATION BECAUSE IT'S IN THE CITY'S INTEREST.

SO IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE JACK FORD'S CLAIM AGAINST SOMETHING TO BE HANDLED, IT CAN BE JUST THE CITY OF NEW YORK SAYING WE'RE GOING TO STEP IN AND TAKE A LOOK AT THIS?

ABSOLUTELY.

BECAUSE NEW YORK CITY AS I THINK THE MAYOR MADE VERY CLEAR, YOU KNOW, DAYS AFTER THE ELECTION, WE WILL DO EVERYTHING WITHIN OUR POWER, WE WILL USE ALL OF OUR RESOURCES TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CONTINUE THE ATMOSPHERE OF DIVERSITY, INCLUSION IN OUR CITY.

THAT'S WHAT OUR CITY IS BASED ON.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU BECAUSE MY SUSPICION IS YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO HAVE EITHER COME TO YOU OR HAVE NOT COME TO YOU BECAUSE IN THE BACK OF THEIR MINDS THEY'RE SAYING WHAT DIFFERENCE IS IT GOING TO MAKE.

WHAT POWER -- WHAT CAN THE CITY DO TO HELP ME HERE.

SO WHAT'S THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION?

WHAT CAN THE CITY DO TO HELP?

WELL, AGAIN, SO THERE ARE -- I THINK MORE THAN ANYTHING, ESPECIALLY IN THIS PERIOD OF TIME, FOLKS HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS BECAUSE, AGAIN, MORE THAN -- MORE THAN ANYTHING WHAT WE -- WHAT WE KNOW IS THAT WE DON'T KNOW THINGS.

THERE IS A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY, PEOPLE ARE WAITING TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS.

SO I THINK WHAT THE CITY CAN PROVIDE THEM ARE RELIABLE RESOURCES.

IT IS SADLY ALSO THE CASE THAT, YOU KNOW, THESE ARE THE TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY WHERE LESS UNSCRUPULOUS PEOPLE COME FORWARD AND SAY THEY CAN OFFER SERVICES ESPECIALLY TO IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES, WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE RELIABLE OR TRUSTWORTHY AND HERE YOU HAVE THE CITY GOVERNMENT SAYING HERE IS INFORMATION YOU CAN RELY ON, HERE IS INFORMATION THAT IS SOLID THAT YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS IN A FEW MONTHS THIS IS INFORMATION OR THESE ARE RESOURCES YOU CAN GO BACK TO THAT WILL ANSWER THE QUESTIONS YOU HAVE.

COMMISSIONER MALALIS, ALWAYS GOOD TO TALK TO YOU, ALWAYS INFORMATIVE.

WE WILL LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING WITH YOU AGAIN AS THIS CONTINUES OVER THE NEXT PERIOD OF TIME.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME IN.

YOU BE WELL.

A REMINDER FOR THOSE OF YOU WATCHING AT HOME YOU CAN FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF RESOURCES ON OUR WEBSITE METROFOCUS.ORG.

> LAST NIGHT WE TOLD YOU ABOUT AN ORGANIZATION TRYING TO MAKE BIPARTISANSHIP A REGULAR THING IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

HUNDREDS OF DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS FROM THE GROUP NO LABELS WERE IN THE CAPITAL IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUND.

HERE IS WHAT CHRISTINE WHITMAN TOLD US ABOUT THAT MEETING.

WE'RE SAYING DARN IT ALL, GET TOGETHER, SOLVE SOME OF THESE PROBLEMS, STOP THIS HYPER PARTISANSHIP AND GRAD LOCK IN WASHINGTON.

WE HAVE REAL ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND WE CAN MEET THEM.

THIS IS A GREAT COUNTRY, WE KNOW HOW TO DO THAT, BUT IT DOES INVOLVE GETTING PEOPLE WORKING TOGETHER AND IF THERE WAS EVER AN EXAMPLE OF WHY IT'S A MISTAKE TO PUSH SOMETHING'S THROUGH WITH ONLY ONE PARTY BEHIND T THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE.

THAT PASSED WITH NO REPUBLICAN VOTES AND NOW YOU HAVE A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT AND A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS AND GUESS WHAT, THEY'RE GOING TO DISMANTLE IT.

IF WHAT YOU CARED ABOUT WAS EVERYTHING IN THAT YOU LOSE, SO IT MAKES SENSE FROM THE GET-GO TO BRING BOTH SIDES TOGETHER SO YOU CAN GET THE SOLUTIONS THAT WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME.

NOW FOR REACTION TO THE NO LABELS CONFERENCE AND AGENDA FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE IS CONNECTICUT CONGRESSMAN JIM HIMES, A DEMOCRAT WHO WAS ALSO AT THE NO LABELS MEETING WHO JANS US FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

HAPPY TO BE HERE.

CONGRESSMAN, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE NO LABELS CONFERENCE AND MORE IMPORTANTLY WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO BE PART OF THE NO LABELS ALLIANCE?

WELL, LIKE A LOT OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS I GO HOME AND FACE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF BEE WILLED ERMT FROM MY CONSTITUENTS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE FOR WHY WE CAN'T BE MORE FUNCTIONAL.

THE CONGRESS HAS BECOME VERY POLARIZED, COMPROMISE HAS BECOME A DIRTY WORD, IT'S UNLIKE WHAT THE OLD TIMERS TELL ME IT WAS LIKE 40 YEARS AGO WHEN EVERYBODY GOT TO GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER AT KIDS SOCCER GAMES AND BUMPING INTO EACH OTHER ON A SOCIAL CIRCUIT.

IT'S A DIFFERENT WORLD RIGHT NOW AND THE NO LABELS PROBLEM-SOLVING VERSE CAUCUS IS A GROUP WHO WANTS TO GET BACK TO THAT ERA.

WE'RE PROUD DEMOCRATS AND PROUD REPUBLICANS, WE AREN'T SAYING WE ARE NOT SOMETHING BUT WHAT WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN IN TERMS OF THE VALUES YOU HAVE OUR PARTY BUT WE RECOGNIZE AN AWFUL LOT CAN GET DONE IF YOU HAVE THOSE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AND UNDERSTAND COMPROMISE MAY NOT BE SOMETHING YOU GET CELEBRATED FOR BUT COMPROMISE IS THE ONLY WAY THINGS EVER GET DONE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

NO LABELS HAS PROVIDED THE VENUE, IF YOU WILL, TO GET TO KNOW TO SET UP A LOT OF CROSS PARTISAN ACROSS THE AISLE FRIENDSHIPS, IT'S ALLOWED US TO LOOK AT THINGS WHERE WE SHARE COMMON GROUND AND TO ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER TO MAYBE TAKE SOME RISKS SO THAT WE CAN MOVE FORWARD.

WELL, THAT ALL MAKES SENSE, CONGRESSMAN, BUT I WONDER IF ON THE SIDE OF THE DEMOCRATS THERE'S A SENSE OF TRYING TO MAKE VIRTUE OUT OF A NECESSITY.

YOU'VE LOST THE WHITE HOUSE, YOU ARE IN THE MINORITY IN THE HOUSE AND IN THE SENATE.

CONGRESSMEN LIKE YOURSELF WHO WANT TO GET ANYTHING DONE WILL HAVE TO WORK WITH THE REPUBLICANS, RIGHT?

WELL, LOOK, THE REALITY IS THAT MOMENTS IN TIME WHEN ONE PARTY CONTROLS ALL OF THE LEVERS OF GOVERNMENT ARE PRETTY RARE AND IN FACT EVEN THOUGH WE'RE GOING INTO A REPUBLICAN WHITE HOUSE, REPUBLICAN HOUSE AND SENATE THERE AREN'T 60 VOTES IN THE SENATE.

I REMEMBER EIGHT YEARS AGO WHEN THE DEMOCRATS HAD ALL OF THAT AND 60 VOTES IN THE SENATE, IT LASTED VERY, VERY BRIEFLY UNTIL TEDDY KENNEDY PASSED AWAY, SO THE REALITY IS -- AND IT'S INTERESTING, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SEEM TO LIKE THIS CONCEPT OF DIVIDED GOVERNMENT BECAUSE IT'S RARE THAT IT ISN'T.

SO, YEAH, MY PARTY HAPPENS TO BE IN THE MINORITY RIGHT NOW.

ON THE SENATE SIDE UNLESS YOU DRAW A COUPLE DEMOCRATS INTO COMPROMISE, UNLESS THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY IS WILLING TO THROW THE DEMOCRATS ENOUGH OF A BEAN SO ENOUGH DEMOCRATS GET TO THE 60 VOTE THRESHOLD THINGS WON'T GET DONE.

EVEN WHILE ONE PARTY CONTROLS ALL OF THE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT AND THE WAY IT WAS BACK IN '08 WHEN THE DEMOCRATS CONTROLLED ALL THE BRARCHLTS OF GOVERNMENT YOU STILL NEED TO BE LOOKING FOR THAT BIPARTISANSHIP, YOU STILL NEED TO BE ASKING PEOPLE TO COME ACROSS THE AISLE TO HELP YOU OUT.

CONGRESSMAN, THERE DOES SEEM TO BE QUITE A NUMBER OF DEMOCRATS WHO ARE ALREADY SIGNALING THAT THEY'RE GOING TO FIGHT DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENCY ON EVERYTHING FROM THE GET-GO.

ARE THE CENTRIST DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS GOING TO BE ABLE TO OVERCOME THAT AND ACTUALLY WORK TOGETHER WITH THE PRESIDENT TO FULFILL PARTS OF YOUR JOINT AGENDA?

WELL, I SURE HOPE SO AND I DO KNOW THERE ARE DEMOCRATS WHO HAVE SAID THIS IS A GUY WE CAN'T WORK WITH AND WE WILL FIGHT HIM EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

MY JOB AND ALL OF OUR JOBS IS TO DO THE BEST AS CAN BE DONE FOR OUR CONSTITUENTS.

I SPENT EIGHT YEARS POINTING OUT MITCH McCONNELL'S STATEMENT THREE OR FOUR DAYS INTO THE BARACK OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WHERE HIS PRIMARY GOAL WAS TO MAKE BARACK OBAMA A ONE-TERM PRESIDENCY.

I'VE BEEN RID COULD YOU GO THAT AND SAYING THAT IS NOT HOW WE GET THINGS DOWN.

THE LAST THING I CAN DO A TURN AROUND AND SAY DONALD TRUMP IS A GUY I CANNOT WORK WITH.

THE GUY HAS SAID THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN A PROFOUND CERTAIN NOT JUST TO DEMOCRATS BUT TO EVERYBODY, IF HE PURSUES THOSE MORE AGGRESSIVE EXCLUSIVE DARE I SAY BIGOTED THINGS THAT HE HAS SAID IN THE PAST IT'S GOING TO MAKE IT HARDER.

IN HIS VICTORY SPEECH HE SPOKE WITH INFRASTRUCTURE WHICH IS TERRIBLY IMPORTANT IN MY DISTRICT, HE SPOKE WITH ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, SO MY OWN POINT OF VIEW AND I UNDERSTAND THERE ARE DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW IS LET'S GIVE THIS GUY A CHANCE.

LET'S HOPE THAT SOME OF THE WORST EXCESSES OF THE CAMPAIGN RESEED INTO THE BACKGROUND SO WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH THIS GUY WHO ANY REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT WOULD TELL YOU IS A PRETTY UNCONVENTIONAL PRESIDENT, OUR JOBS ARE TO GET THINGS DONE.

IF YOU SAY I CAN'T WORK WITH THIS GUY EVEN BEFORE HE HAS BEEN INAUGURATED YOU ARE NOT MOVING IN THE DIRECTION OF GETTING THINGS DONE.

THE BITTER STRUGGLES AND DIVIDES BETWEEN REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ASIDE THERE SEEM TO BE A LOT OF DIVIDES WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS AND THE HOUSE ITSELF.

IN FACT, TIM RYAN THE MAN WHO CHALLENGED NANCY PELOSI FOR THE LEADERSHIP OF THE DEMOCRATS IN THE HOUSE BASICALLY ARGUED THAT YOU THE DEMOCRATS HAD ABANDONED THE WORKING CLASS AND THE RUST BELT AND FLYOVER STATES AND SAYS THAT THE DEMOCRATS ARE NO LONGER A NATIONAL PARTY BUT A BI-COASTAL PARTY.

DO YOU AGREE WITH HIM AND IF SO HOW DOES THE NO LAIBLS AGENDA HELP CHANGE THAT?

WELL, YOU KNOW, THERE'S BEEN A LOT AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE SOLE SEARCHING WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY JUST AS THERE WAS IN '08 IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

SO THIS IS A NATURAL THING THAT IS HAPPENING AND SHOULD HAPPEN.

CLEARLY THERE'S AREAS WHERE THE DEMOCRATS DID NOT SPEAK TO VERY LARGE GROUPS OF PEOPLE AND THE STRATEGY, YOU KNOW, HAD ITS PROBLEMS FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE THE STRATEGY OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND AN AWFUL LOT OF SENATORIAL AND HOUSE CANDIDATES WAS LOOK AT DONALD TRUMP AND MY OPPONENT LOOKS LIKE DONALD TRUMP.

THAT DIDN'T WORK.

WE SHOULD LEARN FROM THAT.

PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR MORE THAN THAT.

THEY'RE LOOKING FOR AN AFFIRMATIVE AGENDA.

AT THE END OF THE DAY IT'S A COMPLICATED OUTCOME.

THOSE DEMOCRATS WHO SAY IT WAS AN ABSOLUTE CATASTROPHE, AN AWFUL MORE AMERICANS VOTED FOR THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT THAN THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT, TWO AND A HALF MILLION MORE.

THAT'S NOT THE WAY WE ELECT A PRESIDENT.

WE USE THE ELECTORAL PRESIDENT.

IF WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT IS WHAT AMERICANS SUPPORTED IT'S MORE AMBIGUOUS.

BOTH PARTIES HAVE THEIR FACTIONS THAT'S PART OF THE PROBLEM THAT CREATES THE POLARIZATION, OFTENTIMES THE MORE PRAGMATIC WILLING TO REACH ACROSS THE AISLE MEMBERS OF BOTH PARTIES ARE THE ONES WHO GET TARGETED BY THE MORE ACTIVIST MEMBERS OF THE PARTY AND THAT'S WHAT DRIVES A LOT OF THE POLARIZATION UP HERE, THE INABILITY TO COMPROMISE.

I WORRY THAT IF I TAKE A POSITION THAT'S A LITTLE RISKY FOR A DEMOCRAT THAT I MIGHT GET PRIMARY YEED.

SO PART OF WHAT NO LABELS IS ABOUT IS GIVING US COLLECTIVELY THE COURAGE TO SAY, HEY, WE OUGHT TO -- YOU KNOW, WE OUGHT TO BE WILLING TO TAKE SOME RISKS AND IF YOU DO THAT YOU CAN GET SOME THINGS DONE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

> HUDSON RIVER PARK, WATERFRONT OASIS ON THE WEST SIDE OF MANHATTAN OFFERS FOOT AND BIKE PATHS, OUTDOOR ATTRACTIONS AND SUNSET VIEWS.

IT'S A FAR CRY FROM THE DILAPIDATED STRETCH OF LAND IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO THANKS TO THE 1998 HUDSON RIVER PARK ACT AND THE FUNDRAISING EFFORTS OF THE NONPROFIT FRIENDS OF HUDSON RIVER PARK.

'METROFOCUS' REPORTER ANDREA VASQUEZ HAS A CHANCE TO ATTEND THE ORGANIZATION'S GALA WHERE NEW YORKERS AND STARS LIKE MATTHEW BRODERICK CELEB OPERATED THE PARK'S PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.

DECADES AGO THE HUDSON RIVER WATERFRONT WAS LITTLE MORE THAN AN EYE SORRY FOR LOCALS.

I GREW UP IN THE VILLAGE AND, YOU KNOW, WHEN IT WAS -- THERE WAS NOTHING, JUST OLD PIERCE NOT GOING USED MUCH.

DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN IT WAS DERELICT PIERCE AND BROKEN CONCRETE AND YOU SAW THE RIVER AND WERE ATTRACTED TO THE RIVER BUT YOU DIDN'T WANT TO SPEND TIME ON THE WEST SIDE.

WE NEEDED OPEN SPACE ON THE WEST SIDE AND WE NEEDED TO TURN THIS UGLY TERRIBLE DILAPIDATED STRETCH OF MANHATTAN INTO SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL.

THE 1998 HUDSON RIVER PARK ACT AIMED TO DO JUST THAT, DEVELOPING AND PROTECTING THE AREA TO BENEFIT NEARBY RESIDENTS AND MARINE LIFE AND BOOSTING THE LOCAL ECONOMY.

ASSEMBLYMAN RICHARD GOTTFRIED REPRESENTS THE NEIGHBORHOODS NORTH OF PIER 40 AND AUTHORED THE LEGISLATION.

COMING INITIALLY OUT OF THE EFFORT TO BUILD A HIGHWAY UP ALONG THE WATERFRONT AND PEOPLE'S CONCERN ABOUT THAT CUTTING THE COMMUNITY OFF FROM THE RIVER EVENTUALLY CAME THE IDEA TO MAKE THIS A PARK.

IT NEEDED TO BE A PARTNERSHIP OF THE STATE AND CITY TO PUT ALL THE LAND FOR FOUR MILES INTO THE PARK AND THEN WE NEEDED A LOT OF CAPITAL FROM THE CITY AND STATE, THEY PUT IN ABOUT $360 MILLION AND WE HAVE ABOUT ANOTHER $100 MILLION FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND WE STILL HAVE 25% OF THE PARK TO BUILD BECAUSE IT'S SO BUILD.

UNLIKE CENTRAL PARK AND OTHER NEW YORK CITY PARKS THE HUDSON RIVER PARK RECEIVES NO GOVERNMENT FUNDING, SO FOR PROJECTS AND RENOVATIONS THE ORGANIZATION RELIES ON FUNDRAISING, INCLUDING EVENTS LIKE TONIGHT'S GALA.

WE GENERATE OUR OWN REVENUE THROUGH COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES AND THEN THROUGH DONATIONS AND GENEROSITY OF ITS USERS.

I THINK THE BENEFIT OF NOT GETTING GOVERNMENT FUNDING IS THAT IT IS PRIVATELY RUN SO DECISIONS ARE MADE, YOU KNOW, BASED ON REALLY WHAT THE PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHO ARE USING THE PARK WANT.

IT MAKES IT A LITTLE BIT MORE FLUID.

SINCE THE BILL WAS PASSED 16 PIERCE HAVE BEEN BUILT AND THE PARK HAS BEEN OUTFITTED WITH EVERYTHING FROM SKATE PARKS TO KAYAKS TO DRAW LOCALS AND TOURISTS TO THE AREA.

WE'RE HERE ALL THE TIME, MY FRIENDS AND I, MY DOG AND I ARE HERE ALL THE TIME, WHETHER IT'S TO DO SPORTS OR JUST TO BE PART OF THE WATER, JUST RELAX AND IT'S JUST GREAT TO SEE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY ENJOYING AND IT REALLY MAKES LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY ESPECIALLY ON THE WEST SIDE A GREAT PLACE TO BE.

I USE THE PARK A GREAT DEAL, I LIVE RIGHT NEAR IT AND I USE IT FIVE TIMES A WEEK.

I DO EVERYTHING IN THIS PARK.

NOW 17 MILLION PEOPLE A YEAR COME HERE AND IT REALLY IS FOR INDIVIDUALS OR KIDS, FOR FAMILIES, IT'S THEIR BACK YARD.

IT'S THE PLACE WHERE THEY GO TO PLAY, TO WORK OUT, TO LEARN, TO HANG OUT.

IN A REPORT TITLED 'REALIZING THE BENEFITS OF THE HUDSON RIVER PARK' FRIENDS OF HUDSON RIVER PARK HIGHLIGHTED THE PARK'S INFLUENCE ON LOCAL AND REGIONAL ECONOMIES, EMPLOYMENT, TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT, PROPERTY TAXES, PROPERTY VALUE AND DEMOGRAPHICS.

AND MAKES THE CASE FOR CONTINUED INVESTMENT IN EXPANDING THE PARK.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD AROUND THE PARK HAS HAD ABOUT 41 MILLION SQUARE FEET OF GROWTH, MORE THAN A QUARTER OF ALL NEW DEVELOPMENT IN MANHATTAN SINCE 2000.

FASTEST GROWING NEIGHBORHOOD FOR FOUR MILES ANYWHERE IN THE CITY AND WHAT'S REALLY REMARKABLE IS THAT THE KID POPULATION IN MANHATTAN HAS DECREASED 8% AND WE'VE INCREASED 66% RIGHT ADJACENT TO THE PARK.

SO IT'S REALLY AN ASTOUNDING FEAT.

THE PROPERTY VALUES IF YOU ARE A HOMEOWNER OR DEVELOPER HAVE GONE UP BY OVER $2 BILLION SINCE THE PARK HAS BEEN BUILT OUT.

TOURISM HAS INCREASED BY THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO COME, YOU KNOW, FROM OUT OF TOWN OR JUST FROM OTHER PARTS OF THE CITY TO US AUTO THE PARK.

THE FOUR MILE PARK STILL ABOUT 75% COMPLETE.

WITH MORE FUNDRAISING LIKE TONIGHT'S EVENT WILLS EXPECTS HUDSON RIVER PARK TO BE COMPLETE IN ANOTHER TEN YEARS OR SO.

IT REALLY TAKES A VILLAGE.

THIS IS NO SMALL FEAT BECAUSE WE'RE BUILDING IN THE WATER AND IT'S AN INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE AND DIFFICULT TO BUILD IN THE WATER, BUT SO FAR WE'VE BUILT 16 PIERS AND WE'RE CONTINUING UNTIL WE FINISH.

THE PARK IS SO MUCH MORE WONDERFUL THAN I THINK ALMOST ANYONE EXPECTED.

I MEAN, IT ISN'T OFTEN IN GOVERNMENT THAT WE SET OUT TO CREATE SOMETHING AND WHAT WE GET IS EVEN BETTER THAN WE WERE HOPING FOR.

IT'S A BLESSING, YOU KNOW, TO BE ABLE TO GET OUT OF THE CITY AND BE BY THE BEAUTIFUL HUDSON RIVER IS A GREAT THING AND THEY KEEP MAKING THE PARK BIGGER AND PRETTIER AND THERE'S ALWAYS A NEW PATH EVERY TIME YOU COME.

I THINK IT'S A GREAT PLACE.

HUDSON RIVER PARK GETS MORE THAN 17 MILLION VISITORS EACH YEAR, A NUMBER THAT'S SURE TO GROW ALONG WITH THE PARK.

IN MANHATTAN I'M ANDREA VASQUEZ FOR 'METROFOCUS.'

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