NEW CENSUS FOR NEW YORK

February 14, 2019 at 4:30 am

Julie Menin, the former head of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is the city’s new census director. Making reforms to a census that she believes is hostile to immigrants and minorities, is first on her agenda. She joins us to discuss.

Aired February 13, 2019.

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>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS."
JULIE IS TACKLING TWO NEW JOBS
AT ONCE.
BOTH ARE VITAL TO THE CITY'S
WELL BEING AND FUTURE.
HERE WITH SOME DETAILS ON JUST
WHAT SHE'S UP TO AND ITS DIRE
IMPORTANCE TO CITY.
NICE TO HAVE YOU WITH US.
WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT PEOPLE
WEARING DIFFERENT HATS.
YOU MUST HAVE A SHELF FULL.
THE TWO NEW TITLES, NEW YORK
CITY CENSUS DIRECTOR AND THE
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT CORPORATION
COUNSEL FOR STRATEGIC ADVOCACY.
LET'S BREAK THEM DOWN AND LET'S
TALK FIRST ABOUT CENSUS.
THERE HAS BEEN AN ESTIMATE THAT
THE CITY HAS PUT OUT THAT MAYBE
A QUARTER OF A MILLION PEOPLE
DIDN'T GET COUNTED.
>> RIGHT.
>> LAST TIME IN THE CENSUS.
MY FIRST QUESTION FOR YOU IS WHY
IS THAT IMPORTANT?
WHY IS THE NUMBER IMPORTANT?
WHAT'S THE SIGNIFICANCE
>> IT'S SO IMPORTANT.
WE GOT TO REMEMBER THERE'S ABOUT
$700 BILLION OF FEDERAL FUNDS AT
STAKE FOR CITIES AND STATES.
WE GET ABOUT $53 BILLION EACH
YEAR GOES TO THE STATE FOR
FEDERALLY FUNDED PROGRAM THAT
RELATE TO CENSUS AND THE CITY
TAKES THE LION'S SHARE OF THAT.
EVERYTHING FROM PUBLIC
EDUCATION, TITLE I FUNDS, PUBLIC
HOUSING, SENIOR CENTERS,
MEDICAID, HIV FUNDING.
THIS IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT.
NO MATTER WHAT SOCIAL SERVICE
PROGRAM YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT
THERE GENERALLY IS A CORRELATION
WITH CENSUS.
THAT'S WHY IT'S IMPORTANT.
PUTTING THE IMPORTANT FUNDING
ISSUES ASIDE IT'S ABOUT
CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATION.
IT'S ESTIMATED IN NEW YORK STATE
IF WE HAVE A REAL UNDERCOUNT WE
MAY LOSE TWO CONGRESSIONAL
SEATS.
WE'RE NOT ONLY TALKING ABOUT THE
FUNDAMENTAL REPRESENTATION WE'RE
ENTITLED TO BUT ABOUT THE
ELECTORAL COLLEGE AND WHAT'S AT
STAKE THERE.
>> DO WE KNOW WHY, WE SUSPECT
WHAT THE NUMBER IS OR A GOOD
ESTIMATE APPARENTLY ABOUT THE
NUMBER, ABOUT 250,000 PEOPLE.
DO WE KNOW WHY THAT UNDERCUT
HAPPENED
>> YES, WE DO KNOW WHY IT
HAPPENED IN 2010.
IN 2010 THE FEDERAL CENSUS
BUREAU SENDS OUT DOOR KNOCKERS
IF YOU DON'T RESPOND TO CENSUS
AND THEY ESTIMATED THESE CERTAIN
RESIDENCES WERE VACANT WHEN THE
CITY KNEW THEY WEREN'T VACANT.
THE CITY CONTESTED THAT BUT THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DID NOT AGREE
WITH THE CITY'S ESTIMATION ON
THAT.
BUT WE'RE BASICALLY, THIS TIME,
GOING TO DO THINGS A LITTLE BIT
DIFFERENTLY.
THE MAYOR HAS ANNOUNCED BY
APPOINTMENT.
HE'S ALSO ANNOUNCED WE'RE
CREATING A COMMUNITY OUTREACH
THAT THE CITY HAS NEVER SEEN
BEFORE.
WE'RE GOING TO BE DOING OUTREACH
INTO FAITH-BASED COMMUNITIES,
INTO CIVIC ORGANIZES, IMMIGRANT
GROUPS BECAUSE WE GOT TO BE
WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE IS
UNPRECEDENTED.
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 70 YEARS A
CENSUS IS ASKING THE QUESTION
ARE YOU A U.S. CITIZEN?
>> I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT.
THAT'S BEING CONTESTED.
>> IT IS.
THE CITY IS ONE OF THE
PLAINTIFFS.
>> WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO
SOMEBODY WHO SAYS YOU UNDERSTAND
MY CONCERN I'M GLAD YOU'RE GOING
TO TAKE THIS OVER AND GET THE
APPROPRIATE NUMBERS SO WE GET
THE FUNDING WE NEED, THE
REPRESENTATION WE NEED.
BUT WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL WITH
HAVING SOMEBODY CHECK A BOX ON A
CENSUS SAYING HERE'S MY NAME,
AGE AND YES, I'MCITIZENSHIP
QUESTION --
>> THE FEAR IS WHAT, THEY WILL
SAY --
>> I DON'T WANT TO ANSWER THE
QUESTION.
>> I'M NOT GOING TO BE A NUMBER
ANY MORE.
>> I'M NOT GOING TO ANSWER THE
QUESTION.
NOW THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS
THAT WHEN PEOPLE ANSWER CENSUS,
THEIR INFORMATION IS 100%
PROTECTED.
TITLE 13 OF THE U.S. CODE
PROTECTS THE CONFIDENTIALITY.
TITLE 13 ALSO IMPOSES ON THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ACTUALLY
SEVERE PENALTIES, $250,000
PENALTIES, IMPRISONMENT UP TO
FIVE YEARS FOR SHARING
INFORMATION WITH ANOTHER FEDERAL
AGENCY OR WITH ANYONE ELSE.
WE WANT TO ASSURE NEW YORKERS
THEIR INFORMATION IS 100%
PROTECTED.
>> DOES THIS COME BACK TO -- I
DIDN'T KNOW ALL OF THAT DETAIL.
>> IT DOES COME BACK TO THE
OUTREACH EFFORTS.
I'LL SAY ON THE LITIGATION AND
WE GOT A FAVORITE RULING AT THE
DISTRICT COURT LEVEL, THIS CASE
IS GOING UP TO THE SUPREME
COURT.
THE CITY IS A PLAINTIFF IN THIS
LITIGATION AS WELL AS MANY OTHER
STATES AND CITIES.
WE'LL FIGHT THIS TO THE MAX.
WE BELIEVE THE QUESTION IS
ENTIRELY UNLAWFUL AND IT WILL
ATTEMPT TO SILENCE IMMIGRANT
COMMUNITIES.
>> LET ME TALK ABOUT THE OTHER
FUNCTION YOU'RE INVOLVED.
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT, CORPORATION
COUNSEL FOR STRATEGIC ADVOCACY.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
>> IT'S BASICALLY LOOKING AT
WAYS THAT WE CAN EITHER SUE BAD
CORPORATE ACTORS WHO ARE PREYING
ON NEW YORKERS.
THAT'S THE WORK I DID BEFORE AS
COMMISSIONER ARE OF CONSUMER
AFFAIRS.
IT'S LOOKING AT WAYS WE CAN SUE
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION THAT
ARE TAKING ACTIONS DETRIMENTAL
TO NEW YORKERS.
SO I'VE BEEN TEACHING A CLASS ON
THIS VERY SUBJECT CALLED WHEN
CITIES TAKE THE LEAD.
WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS
DEREGULATING WHETHER INSUME
PROTECTION, ENVIRONMENTAL
PROTECTION OR A WHOLE HOST OF
AREAS AND WHERE THE MAIN LEGAL
AVENUES ARE FOR THE CITY TO BE
ABLE TO LITIGATE.
SO I'M REAL EXCITED ABOUT THESE
TWO NEW ROLES THAT BRING ME BACK
TO THE CORE WORK I'VE DONE AS A
LAWYER.
>> IN THAT POSITION, SUE THE
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ICE NOT AS
IF OTHER ADMINISTRATIONS HAVE
NOT BEEN SUED.
THIS IS NOT AN OFFICE SET UP
JUST TO GO AFTER THE TRUMP
ADMINISTRATION.
THE FUNCTION IS AND YOU TALK
ABOUT ANY ADMINISTRATION.
>> WHENEVER ANY ADMINISTRATION.
DEREGULATION IS SOMETHING THAT'S
HAPPENED IN NUMEROUS
ADMINISTRATIONS AND THE EFFECTS
IT CAN HAVE ON CITIES IN
PARTICULAR IS SIGNIFICANT.
IT'S LOOKING AT THE WAY THAT THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS TAKING
ACTIONS, OR FAILING TO TAKE
ACTIONS AND HOW THAT'S AFFECTING
NEW YORKERS.
ALSO LOOKING AT BAD CORPORATE
ACT WRORS WHO ARE PREYING ON NEW
YORKERS.
>> TALK ABOUT THAT A LITTLE BIT
MORE.
WHO WOULD YOU BE LOOKING AT AND
WHAT KIND OF SCENARIOS.
>> WHEN I WAS COMMISSIONER OF
CONSUMER AFFAIRS, DEBT
COLLECTORS.
WE BROUGHT A NUMBER OF LAWSUITS
AGAINST FOR PROFIT COLLEGES THAT
WERE REALLY SCAMMING NEW YORKERS
WITH ALL SORTS OF TERRIBLE
PRACTICES.
SO IT'S LOOKING AT THESE VARIOUS
AVENUES WHERE WE REALLY FEEL NEW
YORKERS ARE BEING HURT AND ARE
BEING PREYED UPON.
SO WE'RE VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS
WORK AND I THINK IT CAN BE
INCREDIBLY IMPACTFUL.
WE'RE ALSO GOING TO BE LOOKING
AT ISSUES AROUND GERRRYMANDERIN
AND VOTING REITS.
THAT'S ANOTHER AREA FOF CUSS.
>> SOME CASES ARE WORKING THEIR
WAY UP TO THE SUPREME COURT.
I THINK THE ANSWER IS THE
CITIZENS OF NEW YORK CITY ARE
HAPPY THAT YOU GOT TWO MORE HATS
TO PUT ON.
>> THANK YOU.
>> BECAUSE THOSE ARE AREAS THAT
ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO CITIZENS
AND CERTAINLY WHAT YOU'RE DOING
IN TERMS OF OUTREACH AND GETTING
PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S
GOING ON IS ESSENTIAL FOR ALL OF
US.
SO PLEASURE TO TALK WITH YOU.
AS THIS CONTINUES TO ROLL ON
MAYBE WE'LL GET YOU BACK.
>> WOULD LOVE TO BACK.
ABSOLUTELY.
>> YOU TAKE CARE.

Mutual of America PSEG

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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