TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Historic Hurricane Michael heads north just after a grim warning was issued by the United Nations on climate change. One local group offers advice to New York’s elected officials on what changes are needed to combat the climate crisis. A budget brawl in the Garden State adds tension to a widening rift in New Jersey’s State House, putting Gov. Phil Murphy at odds with his own party. Steve Adubato has the details. From religious melting pot to the “City of Gods,” Queens is known as the birthplace of religious freedom in America. Do you know why? The answer may surprise you. Our “Frontline to Home Front” series hits home with roughly 500,000 veterans and their families living in the city. We meet The NYC Veterans Alliance, a group that is trying to serve them all.

Aired on October 10, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

HISTORIC HURRICANE MICHAEL HEADS NORTH, ONE LOCAL GROUP OFFERS ADVICE TO NEW YORK'S ELECTED OFFICIALS ON THE CHANGES NEEDED TO COMBAT THE COMING CLIMATE CRISIS STATEWIDE.

A BUDGET BRAWL IN THE GARDEN STATE, A DEEPENING DIVIDE IN THE NEW JERSEY STATE HOUSE, A GOVERNOR AT ODDS WITH HIS OWN PARTY.

STEVE ADUBATO HAS THE DETAILS.

> FROM RELIGIOUS MELTING POT TO THE 'CITY OF GODS,' QUEENS IS KNOWN AS THE BIRTH PLACE OF AMERICAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.

FIND OUT WHICH NEIGHBORHOOD IN THAT BOROUGH IS THE MOST ETHNICALLY DIVERSE.

> OUR 'FRONTLINE' SERIES CONTINUES.

WITH ROUGHLY 500,000 VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY, WE MEET A GROUP THAT IS TRYING TO SERVE ALL OF THEM.

OUR LOOK AT THE NEW YORK CITY VETERANS ALLIANCE IS JUST AHEAD.

> THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAPHAEL P. RAMON, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRILL TISH.

SUE AND EDGAR WALK ENHEIM III.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARZ.

ROSELYN P. WALTER.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

AND 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.

GEEK, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAPHAEL P. RAMON.

IT WILL BE A STORMY NIGHT FOR THOUSANDS AS HURRICANE MICHAEL MOVES NORTH.

IT'S BEEN OVER 100 YEARS SINCE A HURRICANE OF MICHAEL'S STRENGTH HAS MADE LANDFALL ON THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE AND ONLY THE THIRD HURRICANE TO HIT THE PANHANDLE SINCE THE 1950s.

THE DAMAGE OF WHAT IS EXPECTED TO BE A STORM SURGE IN MICHAEL'S WAKE WILL BE DETERMINED IN THE COMING HOURS.

HURRICANE MICHAEL HITS JUST DAYS AFTER THE OTHER UNITED NATIONS RELEASED AID DIRE PREDICTION.

ON MONDAY THE WORLD'S BODY INTER GOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE SHARED ITS RECENT FINDINGS THAT WARNED THAT UNLESS IMMEDIATE CHANGES GO INTO EFFECT ACROSS THE GLOBE, THE WORLD WILL SEE FOOD SHORTAGES, COASTAL FLOODING, WORSENING WILDFIRES AND A MASS DIE OFF OF OUR CORAL REEFS BY 2040.

ITS A AUTHORIZES WARNED ALL OF US MAY, QUOTE, MAY REACH RAPID IN FAR REACHES IN ORDER TO SAVE THE PLANET.

THE NEW YORK LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS CONSIDERS THE ENVIRONMENT A PARAMOUNT ISSUE WHEN ENTERING THE VOTING BOOTH.

PERIL AND PROMISE, THE CHALLENGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE, JACK FORD RECENTLY SPOKE WITH THE LEAGUE'S PRESIDENT MARCY A BISTRAND.

HE BEGAN BY ASKING ABOUT HER ORGANIZATION.

IT'S AN ORGANIZATION THAT'S BEEN AROUND ABOUT 25 YEARS.

AND IT'S A STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION, SO WE'RE INVOLVED ACROSS THE STATE.

AND WE WORK TO ELECT STRONG CANDIDATES ON THE ENVIRONMENT.

WE HAVE AN ADVOCACY AGENDA.

WE WORK TO SUPPORT PEOPLE WHO MOVE THAT AGENDA FORWARD.

AS I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION, NONPARTISAN?

NONPARTISAN.

SO, HOW, THEN, DO YOU -- AND I'M GOING TO GET TO SOME ISSUES IN A SECOND.

BUT TAKE ME THROUGH THE PROCESS, THEN, OF IDENTIFYING CANDIDATES, OF QUESTIONING CANDIDATES, AND THEN ULTIMATELY AN ORGANIZATION SAYING THIS IS SOMEBODY THAT WE CAN GET BEHIND?

WE HAVE A VERY TRANSPARENT PROCESS.

I THINK THAT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT ON ISSUES LIKE THIS.

EVERY YEAR -- LET'S JUST TAKE THE STATE LEGISLATURE.

EVERY YEAR WE LAYOUT WHAT OUR AGENDA IS FOR THE LEGISLATURE.

WE ADVOCATE FOR IT.

WE TRACK PERFORMANCE OF THE LEGISLATORS ON THAT AGENDA.

WE ISSUE A SCORE CARD AT THE END OF THE SESSION THAT RANKS THE LEGISLATORS ON THE BASIS OF WHETHER THEY ADVANCE THAT AGENDA OR NOT.

THEY SUBMIT A QUESTIONNAIRE IF THEY WANT OUR ENDORSEMENT.

WE LOOK AT THE QUESTIONNAIRE.

WE MEET WITH THEM.

WE INTERVIEW THEM.

AND ON THE BASIS OF ALL OF THAT, OUR BOARD DECIDES WHETHER THEY'RE GOING TO ENDORSE THEM OR NOT.

AND WE ENDORSE CANDIDATES.

AND THEN THERE IS ANOTHER LEVEL OF THE UNIVERSE OF CANDIDATES WE ENDORSE, A SUBSET WE INVEST IN.

IN OTHER WORDS, WE HAVE A PAC AS WELL.

OKAY.

LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME ISSUES THAT ARE OUT THERE.

SURE.

THAT IMPACT FOLKS WHO LIVE IN THIS AREA.

WE'VE SEEN THE NOTION OF BANNING PLASTIC BAGS, SORT OF BATTED ABOUT IN THE POLITICAL ARENA.

WHAT'S YOUR THOUGHT ON THAT AND HOW IT SHOULD BE HANDLED?

WELL, I DON'T THINK SAM AND THE LEAGUE ADVOCATED FOR THIS, OF PUTTING A FEE ON BAGS.

NOT BANNING THEM, BUT PUTTING A FEE ON BOTH PLASTIC AND PAPER BAGS.

THIS IS SOMETHING THEY DO IN LONDON, THEY DO IN PARIS, THEY DO IT IN MONTREAL AND SUFFOLK COUNTY.

WHAT IT IS, IT MAKES CONSUMERS THINK BEFORE THEY ASK FOR A BAG.

IT IS A WAY OF MINIMIZING THE WASTE, NOT ONLY WE HAVE TO DISPOSE OF, BUT THE COST, FOR EXAMPLE, TO THE CITY OF MANAGING THAT WASTE.

AND THE FEE WOULD GO WHERE?

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE TRICKY THINGS ABOUT NEW YORK STATE.

IF WE CAN GET THE STATE TO PASS THIS, THEN THE MONEY COULD BE USED FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION FUND.

IF THE CITY DOES IT ALONE AND THE PAC WILL PASS LEGISLATION ALONG THESE LINES, THE MONEY WILL HAVE TO GO TO THE RETAILER BECAUSE NEW YORK STATE WOULD CONSIDER THAT TAXING WITHOUT GOING THROUGH --

IT WOULD STILL HAVE THE IMPACT THAT YOU WANT, WHICH IS TO MAKE PEOPLE THINK.

EXACTLY.

ONCE AGAIN, MOST OF THE WORLD THAT WE TRAVEL IN DOES THIS ALREADY.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PROSPECT IS FOR THAT BEING --

IT'S GOING TO DEPEND ON WHAT THE GOVERNOR DECIDES, QUITE FRANKLY.

YOU KNOW, NEXT YEAR IS AN INTERESTING YEAR IN ALBANY, RIGHT?

THE ODDS ARE THAT THE GOVERNOR WILL BE GOVERNOR AGAIN -- I'M NOT PREDICTING, BUT THOSE ARE THE ODDS.

BUT WHO IS GOING TO CONTROL THE LEGISLATURE?

WHO IS GOING TO CONTROL THE SENATE?

SO I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO NEED STRONG LEADERSHIP.

AND I KNOW THE LEAGUE IS GOING TO BE PUSHING THIS ALONG WITH A HOST OF OTHER THINGS.

WE TALKED ABOUT ANOTHER ISSUE THAT GETS A LOT OF ATTENTION BECAUSE IT POPS UP PERIODICALLY AND THAT'S THE IDEA OF CONGESTION PRICING IN THIS CITY.

WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THAT?

WELL, YOU KNOW, TRANSPORTATION IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE.

IT'S AN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE BECAUSE OF EMISSIONS THAT COME OFF OF CARS.

AND AS WE ALL KNOW, THE MTA IS POORLY FUNDED AND CONGESTION PRICING IS A WAY IN WHICH WE CAN RAISE MONEY FOR THE MTA AND AT THE SAME TIME MINIMIZE TRAFFIC CONGESTION.

WE SUPPORT IT.

YOU DO?

WHAT DO YOU THINK PROSPECTS ARE?

I THINK THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS TO DO SOMETHING WITH THE MTA.

I THINK HE'S UNDER SO MUCH ATTACK ON THIS RIGHT NOW.

YOU KNOW, PART OF HIS IMAGE IS THE CAN-DO INFRASTRUCTURE GUY, RIGHT?

THE TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE, LAGUARDIA AIRPORT.

THE FACT HE APPEARS TO BE FAILING ON MASS TRANSIT IS SOMETHING I DON'T THINK HE'S GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET AWAY WITH ANY LONGER.

SO I THINK THERE WILL BE A STEP.

WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO OUR VIEWERS WHO ARE WATCHING, LISTENING TO THIS CONVERSATION, WELL, THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO DO ALL THIS STUFF?

WHAT KIND OF ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO PRIVATE CITIZENS, THINGS WE CAN DO?

I'M NOT GOING TO SAY WHAT YOU EXPECT MOW TO SAY.

ALL GOOD THINGS, TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS, THAT KIND OF THING.

IT'S POLITICS.

YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU CARE FOR.

YOU HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT'S GOING ON WITH GOVERNMENT, WITH YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND GET INVOLVED.

THAT'S WHAT THEY SHOULD DO.

CHECK OUR WEBSITE, WWW.NYL.TV.

IT IS A PLEASURE TALKING TO YOU, GETTING A SENSE OF WHAT YOU'RE DOING.

WE'LL CONTINUE TO TALK WITH YOU DOWN THE ROAD AS ALL OF THESE ISSUES CONTINUE TO PERCOLATE.

ABSOLUTELY.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

SURE T' BEEN FUN.

THANKS.

A BUDGET BRAWL OVER THE SUMMER IN NEW JERSEY HAS LED TO A DEEPENING DIVIDE IN THE STATE HOUSE BETWEEN THE ROOKIE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY AND THE VETERAN DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT OF THE STATE SENATE, STEVE SWEENEY.

ALTHOUGH A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN WAS BARELY AVOIDED THANKS TO A LAST-MINUTE DEAL, THE BATTLE FURTHER FRACTURED THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MURPHY AND MEMBERS OF HIS OWN PARTY.

LESS THAN A YEAR AFTER THE FORMER WALL STREET MILLIONAIRE WAS SWORN INTO OFFICE.

TOUGH STUFF, BUT CERTAINLY NOT THE FIRST TIME SERIOUS TENSIONS HAVE EMERGED BETWEEN A NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR AND LEADERS OF HIS OWN PARTY IN THE LEGISLATURE.

AND JOINING US NOW TO PUT IT ALL IN PERSPECTIVE IS THE ANCHOR OF THE STATE OF AFFAIRS AND 'METROFOCUS' CONTRIBUTOR, STEVE ADUBATO.

WELCOME BACK.

MY PLEASURE, RALPH.

STEVE, HOW DO THE HOSTILITIES BETWEEN SWEENEY AND MURPHY EVOLVE?

THEY DON'T LIKE TO SAY THIS PUBLICLY, BUT MY POINT OF VIEW, SOME OF 24S PERSONAL.

STEVE SWEENEY IS A VERY POWERFUL PRESIDENT OF THE STATE SENATE, ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL IN THE HISTORY OF THE STATE SINCE THE 1947 CONSTITUTION.

HE WANTED TO BE GOVERNOR.

HE WAS PREPARED TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR.

HAD IT LINED UP IN SOME PEOPLE'S MINDS.

PHIL MURPHY COMES N NOT ORIGINALLY FROM NEW JERSEY.

PUTS UP A LOT OF MONEY AND SAYS, I WILL FUND MY OWN CAMPAIGN.

MANY DEMOCRATIC PARTY OFFICIALS SAID, SWEENEY, WE KNOW YOU'VE BEEN OUT THERE A LONG TIME IN THE LEGISLATE UFR, A JERSEY GUY, IF YOU WILL.

MURPHY IS GOING TO FUND THE CAMPAIGN.

WE DON'T HAVE TO RAISE MONEY FOR HIM.

I THINK IT REALLY BOTHERED STEVE SWEENEY PERSONALLY AND HE'S TRYING TO SHOW HIS STRENGTH RIGHT NOW.

THIS HOSTILITY AS I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION BETWEEN THE GOVERNOR AND LEADERS OF HIS OWN PARTY IN THE LEGISLATURE, NOTHING NEW.

IT'S A HISTORY EVENT.

WHAT'S IRONIC ABOUT THIS IS THAT JOHN CORZINE, THE LAST DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR WHO HAPPENED TO BE FROM GOLD UP --

FAMILIAR FROM WALL STREET, YEAH.

DIDN'T UNDERSTAND JERSEY VERY WELL IN MY OPINION.

YOU AND I INTERVIEWED HIM MANY TIMES ON OUR PREVIOUS SHOW.

NICE GUY, BUT DIDN'T UNDERSTAND RETAIL POLITICS IN NERZ I.

DIDN'T RELAEL TO MEMBERS OF THE POLITICS IN JERSEY.

I SEE SOME OF THE PATTERNS.

I THINK MURPHY IS ENGAGING AND PERSONABLE.

HE HAD A HARD TIME WITH THE DEMOCRATS IN THE LEGISLATURE.

THEY DIDN'T CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER.

IT'S RETAIL POLITICS.

IF YOU DON'T CONNECT WITH MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE IN YOUR OWN PARTY ON A AMERICANAL LEVEL, BARACK OBAMA START TODAY LEARN THAT ABOUT DEMOCRATS AS WELL.

THE FACT IS THE DEMOCRATS WHO ARE NOT FROM JERSEY WHO DON'T COME FROM THE LEGISLATURE, WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND JERSEY VERY WELL, DON'T DO THAT WELL WITH THEIR OWN PARTY.

HE'S FROM BOSTON, RIGHT?

HE'S A BOSTON MILLIONAIRE.

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT MURPHY.

YEAH.

HE'S A BOSTON MILLIONAIRE, RIGHT?

NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

BUT WE'RE HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

WE HAD A BOSTON MILLIONAIRE WHO BECAME A VERY SUCCESSFUL MAYOR.

BLOOMBERG, RIGHT?

WHAT DID HE DO THAT MURPHY HAS NOT DONE?

I DEFER TO YOU WHEN IT COMES TO NEW YORK POLITICS.

HE WASN'T A RETAIL GUY EITHER.

I TELL YOU THIS, BEING GOVERNOR IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY.

I DON'T KNOW HOW POWERFUL THE CITY COUNCIL IS, BUT IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE, IT'S SO INTERESTING.

ONE OF THE GOVERNORS YOU AND I ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT IF WE HAVE A MINUTE IS TOM KAINE.

TOM KAINE'S PIECE OF ADVICE TO CHRIS CHRISTIE, A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR IN THE '80s.

HE WAS ALSO THE FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE WHEN THE REPUBLICANS DIDN'T CONTROL THE MAJORITY, THE DEMOCRATS DID.

THINK ABOUT THAT.

HE TOLD CHRIS CHRISTIE WHEN CHRISTY BECAME GOVERNOR, HE ASKED HIM, CHRIS, WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND?

CHRIS CHRISTIE SAID, MY WIFE MARY PAT.

HE GOES, NOT FOR THE NEXT FOUR OR EIGHT YEARS.

YOUR BEST FRIEND IS STEVE SWEENEY, THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.

BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE BEST RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM, EVEN THOUGH HE'S A DEMOCRAT, CHRISTY WAS REPUBLICAN, YOU WON'T GET ANYTHING DONE.

HE DID AT LEAST FOR THE FIRST TERM, UNTIL BRIDGE GATE ANYWAY.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MURPHY AND SWEENEY LIKELY TO GET BETTER, GOOD NEWS?

YOU AND I TALK ABOUT POLITICS.

WE AND THE FOLKS AT 'METROFOCUS' WHO WATCH IT, ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN THE POLICY.

IF THE DEMOCRATS, THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY CRAIG COUGH LYNN -- NEW GUY THERE --

WHAT'S HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH MURPHY?

IT'S OKAY.

IT'S NOT THE SAME AS SWEENEY'S.

HERE'S MY POINT.

IF THE TWO MEMBERS OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY DOESN'T GET ALONG WITH THE GOVERNOR, GOVERNOR DOESN'T GET ALONG WITH THEM, THAT'S NOT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY INSIDE BASEBALL.

THAT STOPS GOVERNMENT.

THAT STOPS POLICY FROM MOVING FORWARD.

THE PEOPLE OF NEW JERSEY NEED THE LEADERS OF THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOEFRP TO GET ALONG FOR THE STATE TO WORK WELL.

YOU HAVE TRANSIT ISSUES.

YOU HAVE INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES.

YOU HAVE ENVIRONMENTAL EISSUES, ENERGY ISSUES.

IT'S NOT WHAT THEY WANT TO RAISE TAXES.

THEY HAVE TO GET IT TOGETHER.

IN MY OPINION PHIL MURPHY HAS TO SIT DOWN AND ASK HIMSELF HOW MUCH DO I WANT TO UNDERSTAND THESE GUYS AND INTERACT WITH THEM ON A PERSONAL LEVEL?

THEY HAVE TO UNDERSTAND MUR 23I COMES FROM A DIFFERENT BACKGROUND.

IF THEY DON'T DO THAT, THERE IS GOING TO BE A STALEMATE FOR A LONG TIME.

THAT'S NOT GOOD NEWS FOR NEW JERSEY.

WHAT'S YOUR BEST GUESS?

I'M HOPEFUL.

I LIKE TO BE AN OPTIMIST.

I'M CATHOLIC AND I'LL SAY A PRAYER.

STEVE, THANKS SO MUCH.

THANK YOU, RALPH.

♪ ♪

KNOWN LOCALLY AS THE BIRTH PLACE OF AMERICAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF FLUSHING QUEENS IS NOW SO DIVERSE THAT IT HAS BECOME A MICROCOSM OF WORLD RELIGIONS.

ACCORDING TO CENSUS STATISTICS, QUEENS ITSELF IS NOW THE MOST ETHNICALLY DIVERSE COUNTY IN THE NATION.

AND AS FAR AS RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IS CONCERNED IN FLUSHING ALONE WHICH STRETCHES NO MORE THAN 2.5 SQUARE MILES, THEY ARE CURRENTLY NEARLY 200 DIFFERENT PLACES OF WORSHIP.

IN HIS NEW BOOK 'CITY OF GODS,' AUTHOR R. SCOTT HANSON DOCUMENTS THE CHURCHES, SYNAGOGUES AND MOSQUES OF THE FLUSHING SKYLINE AND RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES THAT CALL THIS NEW YORK ENCLAVE HOME.

PRO VESER HANSON JOINS US NOW.

PROFESSOR, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

I WONDER IF YOU CAN ELABORATE HOW RELIGIOUSLY DIVERSE IS FLUSHING/QUEENS.

THERE ARE OVER 200 RELIGIONS DENSELY CONCENTRATE ED IN THIS DIVERSE RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT.

THERE ARE SIX HINDU TEMPLES, SEVERAL MOSQUES, SYNAGOGUES, BUDDHIST TEMPLES, OVER 100 KOREAN CHURCHES ALONE, AND SOME OF THE OLDEST OTHER CHURCHES AND SYNAGOGUES IN THE CITY.

IMMIGRATION IS WHAT'S DRIVING, IMMIGRATION AND THE IMMIGRANTS THAT FOUND RESIDENCE IN FLUSHING IS WHAT DRIVES THIS RELIGIOUS PURELYISM.

LET ME ASK YOU, THE RELIGIOUS PLURALISM THAT YOU FIND IN FLUSHING IS IT A QUILT LIKE EACH RELIGION IS A DISTINCT CITY NEXT TO A DISTINCT PIECE OR A MELTING POT WHERE IT KEEPS ITS FLAVOR AND UNITES TO FORM A MORE TASTY STEW?

SO MANY -- THE MELTING POTS COME -- I LIKE TO THINK OF IT MORE AS A MOSAIC OR PATCH WORK OR SYMPHONY EVEN.

BUT IN FLUSHING, YOU DO SEE VARIOUS ETHNIC ENCLAVES OR PARTS THAT ARE MORE KOREAN OR CHINESE OR INDIAN.

BUT BECAUSE IT'S NEW YORK AND THERE IS' NOT MUCH SPACE, PEOPLE MIX QUITE A BIT.

INCREASINGLY SO?

INCREASINGLY SO?

THEY DO.

SECOND GENERATION AND THIRD GENERATION PROBABLY EVEN MORE.

RIGHT, THEY BUMP INTO EACH OTHER ON THE SUBWAY, THE ELEVATOR AND SO ON.

SURE.

AND THEY MAY NOT INTERACT A GREAT DEAL ALWAYS, BUT AT LEAST THEY TOLERATE AND ARE AWARE OF EACH OTHER.

YOU KNOW, AS YOU WRITE THE FAMOUS THEOLOGIAN, JESUITS THEOLOGIAN ONCE ASKED, HOW MUCH PLURALISM, AND WHAT KIND OF PLURALISM CAN A PLURALIST SOCIETY STAND?

HOW DOES THE FLUSHING EXPERIENCE HELP ANSWER THAT QUESTION?

RIGHT.

MURRY WROTE AT A VERY DIFFERENT TIME IN 1960 WHEN -- AT A TIME THE COUNTRY WAS LARGELY PROTESTANT CATHOLIC JEWISH, WHITE AND BLACK.

HE WAS TAPPED TO WORKTIME, DIFFT CIRCUMSTANCES.

BUT I THINK IT'S MORE RELEVANT TODAY IN A PLACE LIKE FLUSHING AND ALSO INCREASING RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN AMERICA, TOO.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED IN STUDYING FLUSHING FOR MANY YEARS IS THAT ANY COMMUNITY LIKE FLUSHING AND ELSEWHERE AROUND THE COUNTRY CAN ACCOMMODATE AND ABSORB A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY AND STILL TURN OUT OKAY.

THERE ARE GROWING PAINS.

PARKING IS AN ISSUE.

ON THE WEEKENDS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE WHEN PEOPLE COME TO WORSHIP AND SHOP AND SO ON, IT'S PROBABLY ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES.

THERE ARE SOCIAL LIMITS, I SAID.

NEW YORKERS LIKE THEIR PRIVACY.

THEY MAY BE AWARE OF OTHERS, BUT THEY STILL WANT THEIR PRIVACY AND THEY MAY NOT ALWAYS INTERACT IN MEANINGFUL WAYS.

NOT -- YOU KNOW, THERE ARE CERTAINLY EXCEPTIONS.

MANY PEOPLE ENJOY MEETING PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT RELIGIONS AND CULTURES AND SO FORTH, RIGHT?

THERE ARE ALSO LIMITS OF RACE AND ETHNICITY.

THERE ARE PARTS OF FLUSHING THAT ARE SEGREGATED.

THERE ARE ETHNIC ENCLAVES THAT WE JUST SPOKE ABOUT.

THERE ARE THEOLOGICAL LIMITS AS WELL.

SOME PEOPLE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN SPEAKING TO A MUSLIM IF THEY ARE AN EVANGELICAL FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN.

THEY WOULD RATHER CONVERT THEM, RIGHT?

SO THOSE ARE SOME OF THE LIMITS.

BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT PEOPLE CAN LIVE TOGETHER IN CIVIL COEXISTENCE.

AS WORLD HISTORY HAS TAUGHT US UNFORTUNATELY, DIVERSE PLACES, EVEN AS DIVERSE -- MAYBE NOT AS DIVERSE AS FLUSHING/QUEENS, BUT A GREAT DEAL OF RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY CAN TURN INTO A -- HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN AND HOW DO WE AVOID?

HOW HOW DO WE AVOID --

WHEN RELIGIOUS COMITY BREAKS DOWN.

GOT YOU.

I THINK PLACES ARE BEGINNING TO EXPERIENCE RAPID DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE ARE THE ONES THAT ARE MOST AFRAID OF THE OTHER AND OF RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCE AND ETHNIC DIFFERENCE.

YOU SAW PARTS OF THE COUNTRY THAT VOTED OVERWHELMINGLY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP THAT WERE CHARACTERIZED TO SOME EXTENT BY THAT NATURE, THIS KIND OF LOSS OR NOSTALGIA FOR KIND OF A CIRCA 1940s, EARLY '50s WHITE PROTESTANT AMERICA THAT IS CHANGING.

IN FACT, PRESIDENT TRUMP HIMSELF IS FROM QUEENS IRONICALLY.

AND WOULDN'T RECOGNIZE IT IN SOME WAYS TODAY.

MIGHT BE AFRAID OF THAT DIVERSITY IN SOME WAYS.

BUT THAT'S ACTUALLY WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, DIVERSITY AND IMMIGRATION.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, PROFESSOR, YOUR BOOK IS 'CITY OF GODS,' RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, IMMIGRATION AND PLURALISM.

FLUSHING/QUEENS, A GREAT READ FOR THIS DAY AND AGE.

THANK YOU, PRO PERCENT.

♪ ♪

DID YOU KNOW HALF A MILLION VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS LIVE IN THE FIVE BOROUGHS IN THIS PART OF OUR SIERZ, 'FRONTLINE TO HOME FRONT,' WE'RE INVESTIGATING THE ISSUES THAT MATTER MOST TO OUR VETERANS WHO OFTEN FACE A DAUNTING CHALLENGE TRANSITIONING TO CIVILIAN LIFE.

FROM VA HEALTH CARE CUTBACKS AND REPORTS OF SUBSTANDARD CARE TO EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL PROGRAMS, MONTHLY MEETINGS, THE NYC VETERANS ALLIANCE STAFFED AND LED BY VETERANS HAS BEEN WORKING TO SUPPORT THEIR OWN FELLOWS.

JOINING US TONIGHT WITH THEIR STORY, THE STORIES OF OTHERS WHO HAVE GIVEN SO MUCH FOR THE COUNTRY, NYC VETERANS ALLIANCE FOUNDER KRISTIN ROUSE AND ADRIAN BRAMER, BOTH OF WHOM HAVE SERVED THEIR COUNTRIES.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

CHRIS, I'LL START WITH YOU, AS SOMEONE INVOLVED IN THE CREATION, HOW DID THIS ORGANIZATION GET STARTED AND WHY DID IT GET STARTED?

SO, YOU KNOW, FIRST THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING US ON HERE AND FOR BRINGING US ON TO TELL OUR STORY.

> WHEN I CAME HOME FROM MY THIRD TOUR OF DUTY IN AFGHANISTAN, I CAME HOME IN EARLY 2013 AND I KNOW THAT I NEEDED HELP CONNECTING WITH OTHER VETERANS AND REALLY LIKE FINDING THE COMMUNITY AND THE SUPPORT THAT I NEEDED TO FEEL LIKE I WAS BACK HOME IN NEW YORK CITY.

AND IT WAS A STRUGGLE TO FIND INFORMATION.

AND ALSO AS SOMEBODY WHO IS PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT'S HAPPENING AT CITY -- IN CITY GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS STATE GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS WHAT'S HAPPENING NATIONALLY, I NOTICED THAT VETERANS AND FAMILY MEMBERS WERE BARELY A POLITICAL AFTERTHOUGHT IN OUR CITY GOVERNMENT AT THAT TIME.

THERE WAS A VERY, A VERY TINY MAYORAL OFFICE THAT WAS DEDICATED TO VETERANS AT THAT TIME.

AND I LOOKED AROUND AND TALKED WITH OTHER MEMBERS OF OUR VETERANS COMMUNITY AND OTHER ADVOCATES, OLDER VETERANS WHO HAD BEEN PAYING ATTENTION FOR SOMETIME.

AND EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE QUITE A NUMBER OF VETERANS IN THE NEW YORK METRO AREA, WE'RE NOT REALLY CONCENTRATED LIKE IN OTHER STATES, LIKE TEXAS, YOU KNOW, OR OTHER LOCATIONS THAT ARE MUCH MORE FOCUSED ON TALKING ABOUT VETERANS AND TALKING ABOUT MILITARY SERVICE.

AND SO WE'RE MORE SPREAD OUT HERE IN NEW YORK.

AND NEW YORK IS ALSO HOME OF EVERYTHING.

SO IT'S -- IT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT AT THAT TIME TO START SHIFTING THE FOCUS TO VETERANS, TO THE MILITARY, TO MILITARY SERVICE, TO THOSE OF US WHO HAVE BEEN DEPLOYED.

SOME OF US MANY TIMES IN OUR POST-9/11 WARS.

AS WELL AS BRING MORE RECOGNITION TO THE VETERANS WHO SERVED IN EARLIER ERAS TO INCLUDE THE COLD WAR, TO INCLUDE THE FIRST DESERT STORM, SOMALIA, OTHER COMPLEX LIKE THE EFFORTS IN KOSOVO.

THERE ARE A LOT OF VETERANS WHO FEEL UNRECOGNIZED FOR THEIR SERVICE.

YOU WOULD THINK IN THIS ERA, WHERE YOU GET ACCESS TO ANYTHING YOU WANT -- AND SOME THINGS THAT YOU DON'T WANT, YOU JUST DON'T GET ACCESS TO.

BUT YOU WOULDN'T IMMEDIATELY THINK THAT A LACK OF INFORMATION WOULD BE A REAL ISSUE.

WHY DO YOU THINK IT HAS BEEN A PROBLEM, HOWEVER?

I THINK IT'S THAT IT CAN BE HARD TO FIND THE INFORMATION BECAUSE IT'S IN SO MANY PLACES.

SO WHAT MY PART OF THE VETERANS ALLIANCE IS IS PUTTING INFORMATION ON OUR VETERANS.NYC WHICH IS AN INFORMATION HUB, EVENTS AND RESOURCES FOR VETERANS --

I WENT ON IT, BY THE WAY, TO LOOK AT IT.

IT'S FASCINATING HOW MUCH YOU HAVE ON THERE.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

WE GET A LOT OF INFORMATION PASSED TO US FROM THE V.A., FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN SERVICES FOR NEW YORK CITY.

A LOT OF DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS, AND IT ALL GOES TO ONE SPOT SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO SPEND AN HOUR LOOKING FOR SOMETHING SPECIFIC.

YOU CAN GO RIGHT THERE AND FIND IT.

WE GET ABOUT -- LAST MONTH WE HAD 6000 INDIVIDUAL PAGE VIEWS FOR AUGUST FOR PEOPLE LOOKING FOR INFORMATION AND RESOURCES.

SHE'S POSTED MORE THAN 2,500 EVENTS ON OUR CALENDAR SINCE WE STARTED IN 2015.

THAT'S IMPRESSIVE.

THAT'S A LOT.

IT'S A LOT --

THAT'S A LOT.

TO PROVIDE RESOURCES SO VETERANS KNOW WHERE TO CONNECT AND TO FIND A RESOURCE THAT FITS THEM AND MEETS THEIR NEED.

BUT THE EVENTS THAT WE PUT ON AS AN ORGANIZATION HAVE SOME KIND OF CONNECTION TO CIVIC LEADERSHIP.

WE WANT VETERANS TO BE ENGAGED IN WHAT'S HAPPENING IN OUR CITY GOVERNMENT AND OUR STATE GOVERNMENT.

WE WANT OUR MEMBERSHIP TO VOTE.

WE WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS.

IN NEW YORK CITY WE HISTORICALLY HAD A VERY LOW VOTER TURNOUT, BUT OUR MEMBERSHIP IS VERY ENGAGED.

THEY TELL US IN THE SURVEY THAT WE'VE DONE NEARLY ALL OF THEM CONSISTENTLY VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS AS WELL AS IN PRIMARIES.

AND THAT'S, THAT'S SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL, AND IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE IS ENERGIZED TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.

VETERANS, BY AND LARGE, WE SIGN UP FOR SERVICE BECAUSE WE WANT TO SERVE OUR COMMUNITY.

WE WANT TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY.

WE WANT TO BE PROUD OF DOING THINGS FOR OTHERS, OF SERVING A HIGHER PURPOSE.

AND THAT COMMITMENT TO SERVICE, SOMETIMES PUTTING OUR LIVES ON THE LINE WHEREVER IT IS THAT WE SERVED, WE ARE WILLING TO DO THAT.

WE ARE TRAINED AS LEADERS, WE ARE TRAINED TO SOLVE PROBLEMS AND WE WANT TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.

I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I'VE CERTAINLY BEEN STRUCK BY, AND WE HAVE AS PART OF THE SERIES WE'VE BEEN DOING IS HOW OFTEN WE'RE SEEING VETERANS LIKE YOURSELVES WHO VOLUNTEERED TO SERVE TO START WITH AND ARE CONTINUING TO SERVE AFTER THEY CAME BACK.

I THINK THE TWO OF YOU ARE JUST MARVELOUS ILLUSTRATIONS OF THAT.

THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE OUT THERE BENEFITING.

I WANT TO THANK YOU FIRST FOR YOUR SERVICE, AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SERVICE.

AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR GROUP BEING SUCCESSFUL AND WE'LL CHECK IN WITH YOU AS WE MOVE DOWN THE ROAD AND SEE HOW YOU'RE DOING.

BUT THANK YOU BOTH FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH ALL THE WORK YOU'RE DOING.

AND ALREADY A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO THANK YOU FOR DOING SO.

> FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HASLET RANZ NYC ALLIANCE AND SERIES DETAILING VETERANS POST 9/11, VISIT US AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRILL TISH.

SUE AND EDGAR WALK ENHEIM III.

ROSELYN P. WALTER.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

AND BY --

Funders

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

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