TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Whose up and whose down in the power 100 in New York State? We’ve got the full list! Residents near the besieged L-train worry about overcrowding and inaccessibility. Their concerns and more as we take you into what will be, by most accounts, New York’s latest transit nightmare. PBS’ “The Great American Read” kicks off tomorrow. Come join the network as we celebrate and fill you in on this event for the entire family.  The rise and fall of America’s controversial community organizing group that sought to empower marginalized communities. A dive into the firestorm that was ACORN.

Aired on May 21, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS' -- WHO'S UP AND WHO'S DOWN AMONG NEW YORK'S MOST POWERFUL 100?

WE'VE GOT THE LIST.

> RESIDENTS NEAR THE BESIEGED L-TRAIN WORRY ABOUT OVERCROWDING AND INACCESSIBILITY.

THEIR CONCERNS AND MORE AS WE TAKE YOU INTO WHAT WILL BE BY MOST ACCOUNTS NEW YORK'S LATEST TRANSIT NIGHTMARE.

PBS' GREAT AMERICA READ KICKS OFF TOMORROW.

JOIN THE NETWORK AS WE FILL YOU IN ON THIS EVENT FOR THE FAMILY.

> THE RISE AND PRECIPITOUS FALL OF WHAT WAS ONCE THE LARGEST AND MOST POWERFUL ORGANIZATION FIGHTING FOR AMERICA'S DISENFRANCHISED.

A LOOK AT A.C.O.R.N. AND THE FIRESTORM, JUST AHEAD.

THOSE STORIES 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 --

CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

ALBANY'S POWER LIST 100.

FROM OUR NATION'S PRESIDENT AND NEW YORK'S FIRST FAMILY TO THOSE LOOKING TO BREAK INTO THE POLITICAL SCENE, IT'S ALSO THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE IN NEW YORK STATE POLITICS.

CAREFULLY CRAFTED BY THE JOURNALISTS AT CITY AND STATE, THE ALBANY POWER LIST 100 IS DESIGNED TO DISCLOSE WHO WIELDS THE MOST INFLUENCE IN ALBANY'S POLITICAL ARENA.

JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT WHO'S IN AND WHO'S OUT, JEFF, GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE WITH US.

THANK YOU.

START OFF WITH THE PROCEDURE HERE.

WHAT SORT OF WAY DID YOU USE, AND WHAT METRICS, IF YOU WILL, DID YOU USE TO DETERMINE A TOP 100 HERE?

SURE.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, WE'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR QUITE A FEW YEARS.

LUCKILY WE HAVE LAST YEAR'S LIST TO START WITH.

WE'RE NOT JUST STARTING WITH THE ALBANY PHONE BOOK.

ONCE WE HAVE LAST YEAR'S LIST, WE LOOK AT WHO HAS POWER IN ALBANY.

BECAUSE IT'S STATE GOVERNMENT, WE LOOK AT WHO CAN PASS A LAW, WHO CAN KILL A LAW, WHO CONTROLS THE MOST MONEY, WHETHER THAT'S IN THE BUDGET OR PENSION FUND.

AND WHO IS RISING, WHO IS MAYBE OUT OF POWER.

AND THE BIG THING WE ALWAYS CONSIDER, WILL THE GOVERNOR PICK UP YOUR CALL?

I THOUGHT THAT WAS A GREAT QUALIFIER HERE.

YOU KNOW, DONALD TRUMP, NUMBER TWO, AS MUCH AS ANDREW CUOMO MIGHT NOT WANT TO PICK UP THE PRESIDENT'S CALL --

HE'S GOING TO PICK IT UP.

WHEN THE WHITE HOUSE CALLS, YOU PICK IT UP.

LET'S START FROM THE TOP.

NUMBER ONE ON THE LIST.

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO.

NO SURPRISE THERE.

IT'S THE POWER OF THE POSITION.

HE'S EXTREMELY POWERFUL, BUT IT'S ALSO THE LEGACY.

HE'S BEEN IN THIS OFFICE NOW SINCE 2011, SO SEVEN YEARS.

HE'S GOING FOR RE-ELECTION FOR ANOTHER FOUR YEARS.

BEFORE THAT, HE WAS ATTORNEY GENERAL.

BEFORE THAT, HE WAS THE SON OF A GOVERNOR.

YOU KNOW, HE HAS DEEPER TIES IN NEW YORK THAN ANYBODY.

HE HAS THE PORTFOLIO.

AND HE RUNS THE STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

I MEAN, HE IS NEW YORK POWER.

HOW ABOUT THE PRESIDENT?

WE HEAR VERY OFTEN THAT EVEN THOUGH HE'S A NEW YORK PERSON, HIS CRITICS SAY HE'S NOT INVESTED IN NEW YORK, IN HELPING NEW YORK AND NEW YORK POLITICS.

WHY DOES HE END UP SO HIGH?

WELL, HIS CRITICS WOULD SAY HE'S HURTING NEW YORK.

BUT WHEN YOU LISTEN TO, ESPECIALLY GOVERNOR CUOMO AND THE ASSEMBLY SPEAKER TALK ABOUT THE BUDGET, HALF OF IT IS A RESPONSE TO THE PRESIDENT.

IT'S ALL, YOU KNOW, DEFENDING NEW YORK AGAINST FEDERAL POLICIES.

ESPECIALLY THE TAX POLICY.

A BIG FOCUS OF THE BUDGET THIS YEAR WAS INSULATING NEW YORKERS FROM FEDERAL TAX POLICY.

SO EVEN THOUGH DONALD TRUMP MAY NOT THINK ABOUT ALBANY, MAYBE EVER, HE'S STILL VERY INFLUENTIAL OUT THERE.

WE TALK ABOUT POLITICS, OBVIOUSLY.

A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR IN ALL THIS.

THEN WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT GUBERNATORIAL POLITICS.

CYNTHIA NIXON GETS ON THE LIST, VERY HIGH UP.

AS A CANDIDATE, HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN IF

THIS IS HER FIRST TIME ON THE LIST BECAUSE OF THE CYNTHIA EFFECT, AS MANY PEOPLE ARE CALLING IT.

GOVERNOR CUOMO HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN MORE OF A CENTRIST DEMOCRAT.

HE'S DEFINITELY PASSED SOME MORE LIBERAL POLICIES.

THIS YEAR, PEOPLE ARE NOTICING THAT HE HAS VEERED LEFT, GONE TOWARDS THE MORE PROGRESSIVE SIDE OF THE PARTY.

AND MANY ARE SAYING THAT'S BECAUSE HE HAS A VERY FAR LEFT CHALLENGER IN CYNTHIA NIXON.

IT SEEMS EVERY TIME CYNTHIA NIXON MENTIONS SOMETHING, SUCH AS LEGALIZING MARIJUANA, THE GOVERNOR HAS TO RESPOND.

HE'S BEEN FOLLOWING HER ALONG.

EVEN IF HE IS A LONG SHOT CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR, HER INFLUENCE IS ALREADY BEING FELT.

LET'S TALK -- WE MENTIONED CYNTHIA NIXON.

LET'S TALK ABOUT WOMEN ON THE LIST.

YOU HAVE 29 WOMEN ON THE LIST OF 100.

HOW DOES THAT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS LISTS?

AND WHY DO WE HAVE 29 NOW DO YOU THINK IF

I HAVEN'T DONE THE MATH.

I CAN'T TELL YOU THAT MUCH.

BUT YOU KNOW, 29 WOMEN, WE HAD CRITICISM OF LISTS IN THE PAST FOR NOT HAVING ENOUGH WOMEN, BUT WE THINK IT'S A FAIR ASSESSMENT OF WHO HAS POWER IN ALBANY, AND FRANKLY, IT'S MOSTLY MEN.

ONE INTERESTING POINT, IF YOU LOOK AT THE GOVERNOR'S INNER CIRCLE, IT'S A GROWING NUMBER OF WOMEN.

HIS MOST TRUSTED AIDE, MELISSA DeROSA, SHE'S A WOMAN.

HIS NEW STATE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, CATHY CALHOUN, ANOTHER WOMAN.

THERE'S THE STATE MEDICAID DIRECTOR IS A WOMAN.

HIS COUNSEL AND CHIEF OF STAFF, LINDA LACEWELL.

I MEAN, IN THE SECOND FLOOR, AS WE CALL IT, OF THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, WOMEN TRULY HOLD POWER.

HOW MUCH SURPRISES?

WHAT WAS MOST SURPRISING IN TERMS OF PEOPLE COMING OFF OR DROPPING PRECIPITOUSLY OR PEOPLE COMING ON OR RISING SIGNIFICANTLY?

WELL, OUR BIGGEST RISER THIS YEAR WAS MARK MULANARO.

THIS YEAR, HE'S BLOWN UP, I THINK HE'S NUMBER 32, 66 POINTS UP, BECAUSE HE IS THE PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR.

RIGHT BACK TO THE GOVERNOR'S RACE.

THAT GETS YOU A SIGNIFICANT PLACEMENT.

EXACTLY.

YOU KNOW MARK, HE'S A LONG SHOT FOR GOVERNOR AGAINST CUOMO'S RE-ELECTION.

BUT WHEN YOU'RE THE STANDARD BEARER FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, THAT'S A LOT OF POWER.

WIN OR NOT, YOU HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO HIM.

HE'S A RISING STAR.

HOW ABOUT ONE THAT WAS SURPRISING TO YOU THAT DISAPPEARED FROM THE LIST OR DROPPED DRAMATICALLY.

GOSH.

I MEAN, MOST OF THE PEOPLE THAT DROPPED ON THE LIST ARE PEOPLE THAT RETIRED OR VOTED OUT OF OFFICE.

SPEAKING ABOUT REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES, ROB ASTORINA, HE LOST HIS SEAT THIS YEAR.

HE WAS A PRETTY INFLUENTIAL STANDARD BEARER STATEWIDE, HE WAS A WESTCHESTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE.

BUT VOTERS KICKED HIM OUT IN NOVEMBER, SO HE'S OFF THE LIST COMPLETELY.

IT'S SURPRISING TO SEE HIM GO FROM PLITOLITICAL RELEVANCE.

IT'S A FASCINATING LOOK INSIDE NEW YORK POLITICS.

I LOVE THE CRITERIA YOU USED TO COME UP WITH THIS LIST.

A PLEASURE TALKING WITH YOU.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING YOU BACK.

THANKS A LOT, JACK.

YOU BE WELL.

> CONCERNED NEW YORKERS HUNKERED DOWN AT A PACKED AUDITORIUM FOR A TOWN HALL MEETING ABOUT PLANS IN PLACE ONCE THE L-TRAIN SHUTS DOWN NEXT APRIL.

WE FEEL THAT THE PLANS WERE DEVELOPED JUST WITH THE COMMUTERS IN MIND, AND WE FEEL THIS SHOULD BE BETTER BALANCED WITH COMMUTERS, I'M A COMMUTER, I HAVE A BIKE.

BUT BETTER BALANCED WITH THE NEEDS OF THE RERESIDENTS, AS WE AS THE EXHUMERS.

WE WANT TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION, BUT NOT EXCLUDED.

COMMUTERIN ERS ARE GOING TO BE IMPACTED TWICE A DAY, WE'RE BE IMPACTED 24/7.

THE COMMUTERS WANT ACCESSIBILITY TO MANHATTAN, RESIDENTS FEAR OVERCROWDING ON THE STREETS.

14th STREET AREA RESIDENTS MADE SURE THEIR VOICES WERE HEARD AT THE TOWN HALL.

IF YOU'RE GOING TO PUT BIKEWAYS, WHY RESTRICT IT TO TWO STREETS?

GO FROM 23rd DOWN TO CANAL AND PUT A BIKEWAY ON THE STREET.

[ APPLAUSE ] DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME.

YOU HAVE NOT ANSWERED THE -- I'M SORRY, SHE'S NOT ANSWERED THE -- WHERE WILL YOU ENFORCE THE HOV-3 ON THE MANHATTAN SIDE AND WHERE WILL THOSE CARS GO?

AND COMMUTERS WEREN'T SHY EITHER.

ON A FRIDAY OR SATURDAY, IT IS AS CROWDED AS RUSH HOUR.

PLEASE LIMIT THE APPLAUSE, THANK YOU.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES FOR 24/7 SERVICE FROM MANHATTAN TO BROOKLYN?

WE HAVE PEOPLE WORKING OVERNIGHT SHIFTS, WE HAVE PEOPLE GOING TO CONCERTS.

THE L DOES NOT EXIST FROM COMMUTING HOURS ONLY.

WHAT ARE THE PLANS TO ADDRESS REAL 24/7 REPLACEMENT SERVICE?

CLEARLY, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND THE NTA WILL HAVE THEIR HANDS FULL FOR THIS TASK.

THE L-TRAIN, IF LOOKED AT BY ITSELF, WOULD BE THE TENTH LARGEST TRAIN SYSTEM IN NORTH AMERICA.

IT'S SLIGHTLY SMALLER THAN SAN FRANCISCO'S ENTIRE B.A.R.T.

SYSTEM.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, THIS IS A HUGE CHALLENGE.

WE'VE NEVER UNDERESTIMATED THAT CHALLENGE, AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT PEOPLE ARE UNDERSTANDABLY CONCERNED ABOUT IT.

SO WE'VE REALLY PUSHED THE CONSULTATION TO THE MAX.

WE'VE HELD OUT A LOT OF SHOW AND TELLS ALREADY.

WE'VE SPOKEN TO COMMUNITY BOARDS.

THIS IS THE LOGICAL PROGRESSION OF THAT.

WE STILL WANT TO HEAR WHAT PEOPLE'S CONCERNS ARE.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT PLANS AND THE WORK THAT'S BEGUN.

JUST BEHIND ME IS THE TUNNEL THAT CONNECTS BROOKLYN TO MANHATTAN AND VICE VERSA, AND WHAT THE L-TRAIN RUNS THROUGH.

SUPER STORM SANDY CAME IN AND FLOODED THE TUNNEL WITH SALTWATER THAT DAMAGED THE ENTIRE INFRASTRUCTURE.

SO CREWS HAD TO COME IN AND REPLACE THAT.

THAT'S EXPECTED TO TAKE 15 MONTHS, AND THEY'LL NEED TO SHUT DOWN THE TUNNELS.

BUT WORK HAS BEGUN AT THE STATION'S CLOSEST TO THE EAST RIVER.

THE FIRST AVENUE STOP AS WELL AS BEDFORD AVENUE.

YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO HEAR THAT WORK GOING ON JUST ABOVE ME HERE.

THAT INCLUDES ADDING STAIRCASES, AS WELL AS ELEVATORS.

THEY'LL BE ADDING STAIRCASES HERE AND ACROSS THE PLATFORM.

THE HARD PART IS GETTING THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF COMMUTERS WHO USE THE L-TRAIN FROM BROOKLYN TO MANHATTAN.

THEY ARE HOPING THAT THEY REOPENED THE MYRTLE VIADUCT WILL CARRY SOME OF THAT BURDEN.

THEY WILL HAVE ADDED TRAIN CARS ON THE C-LINE AS WELL AS G.

BUT THESE ARE ALL PRELIMINARY PLANS SO FAR.

THE BIG STICKING POINTS ARE THE HOV LANES OVER THE WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE AND HOW IT WILL BE ENFORCED.

THE AGENCIES ARE PLANNING FOR EITHER 13th STREET TWO-WAY BOOK LANE OR TWO ONE-WAY BIKE LANES ON 12th AND 13th STREETS.

RESIDENTS ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE INFLUX OF CYCLISTS.

WHY CAN'T THE BIKE LANES GO BACK TO I THINK IT WAS AN ORIGINAL IDEA OF PART OF 14th STREET, INSTEAD OF EXPANDING THE SIDEWALKS, WHICH ARE QUITE LARGE U ON 14th STREET, HAVING THAT BIKE TRAFFIC ON THAT MAIN DIRECTIONAL?

I'M CONCERNED ABOUT CHILDREN SPILLING INTO THE STREET.

HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS.

WE HAVE BUILT PROTECTED BIKE LANES ALL OVER THE CITY.

ON STREETS WHERE WE INSTALL BIKE LANES, WE SEE CRASHES AN CONFLICTS AND INJURIES GO DOWN, BECAUSE BIKE LANES ACTUALLY --

CALM THE APPLAUSE.

THE PROPOSED LANE IS STILL A QUESTION STILL THAT NEEDS TO BE ANSWERED.

IT'S A HUGE CHALLENGE IN NEW YORK CITY.

14th STREET, THE STREET ITSELF IS EXTRAORDINARILY BUSY.

WE'RE TRYING TO ADD TO THE MIX THE -- OVER 50,000 SUBWAY RIDERS THAT RIDE THE L-TAIN ON THE MANHATTAN SIDE, MAKING SURE WE CAN DO THAT IN A WAY THAT KEEPS PEDESTRIANS ON THE STREET SAFE AND ENSURES THAT TENS OF THOUSANDS OF RESIDENTS WHO LIVE IN THE BIG BUILDINGS, ALL THE BUSINESSES, THAT WE'RE DOING WHAT WE CAN TO MINIMIZE THE DISRUPTIONS.

EVERYONE HAS TO HAVE A SHARED SACRIFICE HERE.

IT'S GOING TO BE DISRUPTIVE.

OUR GOAL IS TO FIND THE BEST BALANCE WE CAN.

Reporter: THERE'S ALSO A CONCERN THAT BIKEWAYS WILL BE PART OF THE PLAN.

WHEN THE SHUTDOWN IS RAMPING UP, THEY WILL REVISIT THE BIKE LANE EFFECTIVENESS, TALK WITH THE COMMUNITY AND DECIDE WHETHER TO KEEP THEM.

WHAT ASSURANCES DO WE HAVE FROM YOU AND THE CITY THAT THESE WILL BE REMOVED AT THE END OH OF THE PERIOD?

BECAUSE THIS IS BILLED AS A MITIGATION, NOT AS A PERMANENT CHANGE OR SOCIAL ENGINEERING.

I THINK WE'RE HOPING THEY'RE GOING TO WORK WELL, BUT WE WILL --

SO IT MAY NOT BE TEMPORARY?

AGAIN, I THINK THAT -- I'M HOPING THAT WILL BE A DECISION WE'LL HAVE DISCUSSIONS S LIKE S ABOUT AND SEE HOW PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT IT.

> PBS IS IN SEARCH OF AMERICA'S BEST LOVED NOVELS AND NEEDS YOUR HELP.

GREAT AMERICAN READ, A NEW EIGHT-PART PBS TELEVISION SERIES, WILL TAKE VIEWERS ON A JOURNEY ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO UNCOVER THE NATION'S 100 FAVORITE NOVELS AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM.

IN THE PROCESS, THEY HOPE THAT YOU'LL JOIN IN BY VOTING ON YOUR NUMBER ONE ALL-TIME FAVORITE NOVEL.

HERE'S A LOOK.

EVERYONE HAS A FAVORITE.

'WAR AND PEACE.'

BUT WHAT IS AMERICA'S FAVORITE BOOK?

WE HAVE A LIST OF AMERICA'S 100 BEST LOVED NOVELS.

AND WE NEED YOU TO HELP US PICK NUMBER ONE.

'TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD.'

'THE MARTIAN.'

IS YOUR FAVORITE ON THE LIST?

JOIN HOST MEREDITH VIEIRA ON TUESDAY, MAY 22 AT 8:00 ONLY ON PBS.

JOINING US NOW TO GIVE US A PREVIEW OF THE GREAT AMERICAN READ IS THE CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JAY ROOT.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

HI THERE.

NOW, THIS IS AN AMBITIOUS PROJECT YOU CAME UP WITH.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH IT?

WELL, A LONG TIME AGO, AS YOU CAN TELL FROM MY ACCENT THAT I'M BRITISH.

OH, THAT'S WHERE THAT IS.

OH, YES.

OH, YES.

I WAS WORKING WITH THE BBC, AND WE DID A PROJECT CALLED THE BIG READ.

AND THAT WAS TRYING TO FIND WHICH WAS THE BRITISH PEOPLE'S FAVORITE BOOK.

AND THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO, AND I'VE SINCE MOVED HERE AND BECOME AN AMERICAN.

AND I THOUGHT IT WAS TIME TO FIND OUT AMERICA'S BEST LOVED NOVEL.

SO IT GREW.

THIS IS MUCH BIGGER THAN THE BBC'S PROJECTS.

IT IS BIG.

BESIDES FINDING OUT WHAT AMERICA'S FAVORITE NOVELS ARE, ARE THERE OTHER GOALS INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT?

WELL, THE REAL THING IS TO GET EVERYBODY TALKING AND READING.

WE WANT TO FIND OUT THE BEST LOVED BOOK, BUT WE WANT PEOPLE TO READ MORE BOOKS.

I'VE ALREADY STARTED READING MORE ON THE LIST THAT I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT.

AND TO TALK TO OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT THEM.

I'VE HAD DISCUSSIONS, EVEN ARGUMENTS.

BUT IT'S ABOUT KIND OF ASKING OTHER PEOPLE WHETHER YOU REALLY LOVE AND WOULD I LOVE IT TOO IF I READ IT?

NOW, THE NOVELS THAT MADE IT TO YOUR TOP 100 LIST, HOW WERE THEY SELECTED?

WE DID A HUGE POLL WITH ONE OF THOSE POLLING ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU SEE CONNECTED TO ELECTIONS.

AND ASKED THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHAT WAS THEIR BOOK AND WE GOT AN ENORMOUS RESPONSE REALLY WHEN WE ASKED PEOPLE JUST GIVE US JUST ONE.

AND THAT 100 LIST, FROM REALLY A WIDE SAMPLE, WE HAD TO KIND OF LIMIT IT IN SOME WAY.

SO THE SERIES HAD SOME OF AMERICA'S FAVORITE CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS, TALKING ABOUT THEIR FAVORITE BOOKS, AS WELL AS SOME CELEBRITIES TALKING ABOUT THEIR FAVORITE BOOKS.

CAN YOU GIVE US SOME OF THE NAMES OF THE PEOPLE WHO APPEAR AND HOW DIFFICULT IT WAS TO GET THEM TO APPEAR ON YOUR SERIES?

WELL, THE SHOW STARTS OFF WITH GEORGE MARTIN, WHO WROTE 'THE GAME OF THRONES,' TALKING ABOUT HOW HE WOULD HAVE NEVER WRITTEN IT IF NOT FOR 'THE LORD OF THE RINGS.'

SO HE'S ENTHUSIASTICALLY SAYING YOU'VE GOT TO READ 'LORD OF THE RINGS.

'HE HAS THIS HUGE PASSION.

AND THEN THERE'S A WHOLE RANGE OF OTHER PEOPLE ALSO MORGAN FREEMAN PICKS HIS, GABRIELLE UNION PICKS HERS.

THERE'S A BIG, BIG RANGE OF PEOPLE PICKING BOOKS THEY CARE ABOUT.

IT'S NOT JUST CELEBRITIES.

YOU HAVE A YOUNG WOMAN WHO READ THE HARRY POTTER SERIES, AND REALLY TRANSFORMED HER LIFE.

AND IN FACT, IT GOT HER TO MAKE A WEB SERIES ABOUT HARRY POTTER, A FICTIONAL WEB SERIES.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

SHE CALLS IT MY QUARTER LIFE CRISIS.

HER BIG THING IS WHAT WOULD -- IT'S ABOUT WOMEN OF THAT AGE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES.

IT'S A WONDERFUL SERIES.

AND SHE'S TAKEN THE KIND OF CORE OF THE HARRY POTTER SERIES AND TURNED IT INTO SOMETHING REALLY MAGICAL.

VERY SPECIAL TO HER.

AND WE JUST LOVE THAT KIND OF PASSION.

THAT'S WHAT THE WHOLE PROJECT IS ABOUT.

I THINK THAT THE KEY MESSAGE OF THIS SERIES IS THAT BOOKS DO TRANSFORM LIVES.

THEY'RE THAT IMPORTANT.

PEOPLE CHANGE BECAUSE OF BOOKS THEY READ, RIGHT?

ABSOLUTELY.

THERE'S ALL THESE DIFFERENT EXAMPLES IN THE SERIES OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE FUNDAMENTALLY, KIND OF RETHOUGHT WHO THEY ARE OR HOW THEY ACT OR WHAT THEY SAT THROUGH READING BOOKS.

IT'S THAT SENSE OF ALL THESE DIFFERENT LIVES AND PERSONAS THAT YOU CAN INHABIT JUST BY READING.

IT'S INTERESTING THAT 70 OF THE 100 FAVORED NOVELS WERE WRITTEN AFTER WORLD WAR II.

FIRST OF ALL, HOW DOES THAT COMPARE WHERE THE BRITISH FAVOR 100?

AND WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT SAYS ABOUT AMERICAN READERS?

AMERICANS ON THE WHOLE ARE MORE IN THE PRESENT, WHEREAS IN BRITAIN, WE ARE FOND OF THE PAST.

I THINK IT'S ALSO THE DIFFERENT SCHOOL SYSTEMS.

I WAS A SCHOOLGIRL IN BRITAIN, AND BOY, DID WE READ THOSE BOOKS, AND A LOT OF THEM, AND THEY KIND OF STAY WITH YOU.

BUT HERE, THERE'S A REAL SENSE OF, WHAT'S NEW?

IT'S ONE OF THE CORE KIND OF THINGS ABOUT AMERICA.

SO OUR MOST RECENT BOOK ON THE LIST, A GHOST, IT WAS ONLY WRITTEN A YEAR AGO.

WE HAVE 'GULL VIV'GULLIVER'S TR ON THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM.

LET ME ASK YOU, WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A GREAT NOVEL?

A GREAT NOVEL IS ALL ABOUT THE CARE AND THE SKILL OF THE WRITING AND THE ARTISTRY OF THE PERSON CREATING IT.

BEST LOVED, WHICH IS WHAT OUR PROJECT IS ABOUT.

IT'S ABOUT TOUCHING PEOPLE'S HEARTS, AND MAKING PEOPLE THINK.

AND SOME OF THE BOOKS ON THE 100 LIST, PEOPLE MIGHT SAY THAT THEY'RE NOT THE BEST WRITTEN BOOKS IN THE WORLD, BUT THEY TOUCH PEOPLE AND SURPRISE PEOPLE AND AMAZE PEOPLE.

IT'S THAT EMOTIONAL CONNECTION.

SO QUICKLY, WHEN IS THE ONE -- THE NUMBER ONE BOOK GOING TO BE ANNOUNCED?

IT'S GOING TO BE IN OCTOBER.

THE WHOLE IDEA IS 22nd OF MAY, WE'RE GOING RELEASE THE 100 BOOK LIST TO THE WORLD, AND ASK PEOPLE TO GET VOTING AND READING AND JOINING BOOK CLUBS AND DISCUSSING.

AND THEN IN OCTOBER, WE HAVE A SERIES THAT REVEALS EXACTLY HOW WE ALL VOTED AND WHAT WE ALL HAD TO SAY.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR VOTING, IF PEOPLE WANT TO VOTE ON THE BOOK, WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO?

THEY CAN VOTE BY FACEBOOK, BY TWITTER.

THEY CAN VOTE BY PHONE LINE.

THEY CAN VOTE IN ALL THESE DIFFERENT WAYS.

AND YOU CAN VOTE ONCE A DAY, ON EVERY PLATFORM.

IF YOU'RE REALLY COMMITTED, YOU CAN VOTE FIVE TIMES A DAY.

AND WE HOPE THE PEOPLE -- THIS IS REALLY A CASE OF VOTE EARLY, VOTE OFTEN.

THAT'S GREAT.

JANE, I EXPECT A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL PARTICIPATE IN THIS.

I ALREADY HAVE MY FAVORITE AND I'M GOING TO VOTE AS SOON AS I CAN.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ IS LAUNCH ON PBS STATIONS WITH A TWO-HOUR SPECIAL EVENT ON TUESDAY, MAY 22, 8:00 P.M.

CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS.

> FOR MORE INFORMATION, LOGON TO OUR WEBSITE AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

> IT WAS A POLITICAL SCANDAL ROOTED IN HALF TRUTHS, CORRUPTION, IGNORANCE, AND RIGHT WING MEDIA HYPE.

THE 2009 FALL OF A.C.O.R.N. WAS PERHAPS A HARBINGER OF OUR CURRENT POLITICAL REALITY, AND THE SUBJECT OF A NEW DOCUMENTARY AIRING THIS WEEK ON PBS.

A.C.O.R.N. AND THE FIRESTORM EXPLORES HOW A 40-YEAR-OLD COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATION BOASTING 400,000 MEMBERS, AND A TRACK RECORD OF FIGHTING FOR THE DISENFRANCHISED ON A RANGE OF ISSUES, WAS BROUGHT DOWN BY MISINFORMATION, INTERNAL PROBLEMS, AND A CONTROVERSIAL VI VIDEO.

HERE'S A PREVIEW.

IN 2008, A SCANDAL BROUGHT DOWN A GIANT AMONG COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS, WHEN A SACRED VIDEO RECORDING WENT VIRAL.

A PROSTITUTE WALKS INTO A.C.O.R.N. SEEKING HOUSING FOR HER BROTHEL.

THIS WAS A POTENTIAL FIRESTORM.

THE PREMISE OF THE VIDEOS WAS MISLEADING.

YOU DON'T SEE THE LIE.

WE DIDN'T WORK FOR 40 YEARS TO LET SOMEBODY RUN OVER US.

'A.C.O.R.N. AND THE FIRESTORM,' PART OF INDEPENDENT LENS ON PBS.

AND JOINING US NOW IS ONE OF THE CO-DIRECTORS AND CO-PRODUCERS, RUBEN.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE, I HAVE TO SAY ONCE UPON A TIME I WAS AN A.C.O.R.N.

ORGANIZER, UNPAID, IN JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA.

SO I KNOW A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION.

BUT FOR VIEWERS, GIVE US A SUMMARY OF THE ORGANIZATION.

THAT'S AWESOME YOU WERE AN ORGANIZER.

SO A.C.O.R.N. WAS A COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION, AND OLD SCHOOL COMMUNITY ORGANIZING TACTICS.

WE WENT DOOR TO DOOR IN PEOPLE'S COMMUNITIES.

BUT IT FOUGHT ALONG THE LINES OF ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR 40 YEARS.

AND IN 2008, IT CAME UNDER VICIOUS ATTACKS BY A POLITICAL OPPONENT.

AND WITHIN A YEAR AND A HALF, THE ORGANIZATION WAS GONE.

WHAT WERE THE PRINCIPLE ACCUSATIONS FROM CONSERVATIVES, CONSERVATIVE POLITICIANS AND CONSERVATIVE MEDIA AGAINST A.C.O.R.N. IN 2008SOME

ONE OF THE THINGS WE TRIED TO DO AND SHOW IN THE FILM IS THAT THEY HAD A MASSIVE VOTER REGISTRATION EFFORT.

THEY WERE BASICALLY THE MOST SUCCESSFUL AT GOING INTO LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES, ESPECIALLY PEOPLE OF COLOR, AND REGISTERING THEM.

SO MOBILIZING ON THE INTERNET WAS STARTING, AND DOING WELL.

BUT THEY WERE THE ONES ON THE GROUND, AND SO THEY WOULD HIRE PEOPLE WHO WOULD GO OUT AND THEY DIDN'T WANT TO SORT OF DO THE HARD WORK AND SOME OF THEM WOULD WRITE THINGS ON FORMS LIKE MICKEY MOUSE.

WHAT WAS THE SECOND LINE OF ATTACK?

SO BARACK OBAMA GOT ELECTED AND THE VOTER REGISTRATION, YOU KNOW, ACCUSATIONS SORT OF DIED DOWN A LITTLE BIT.

PROSTITUTES INTO THE COUNTRY, AND WHAT CHARACTERISTICS THEY SHOULD HAVE.

I MEAN, THAT WAS DEVASTATING.

SHOULD IT HAVE BEEN?

WELL, WHAT WE SHOW IN THE FILM IS THAT THERE'S A MUCH MORE COMPLICATED STORY THAT WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.

AND THAT THE RELEASE OF THE VIDEOS AND WHAT WENT DOWN IN EACH OFFICE WASN'T AS CUT AND TRY AS SEEMED.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, RUBEN.

THE DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES MONDAY, MAY 21st HERE ON PBS.

CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS FOR VIEWING OPPORTUNITIES.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

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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