LOCAL & NATIONAL HEADLINES

March didn’t disappoint, dropping various sums of snow in our area. Loved by the far-left and reviled by the right, will freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s next title be Mayor of New York City? A program spearheaded by New York City’s first lady aimed to help to New York’s mentally ill. But, after spending a billion dollars has there been any benefit? A bill seeking to make revenge porn a crime is now poised to become a law in New York State. We have the details.

Send your weather photos to us at photos@metrofocus.org.

Aired on March 4, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

IT WAS A SLUSHY START TO THE WEEK WITH PLENTY OF SNOW AND SHOVELING IN PARTS OF THE TRI-STATE AS ANOTHER WINTER STORM BLANKETED THE REGION, KNOCKING OUT POWER FOR SOME AND CLOSING SCHOOL FOR PLENTY.

DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU LIVE, MOTHER NATURE DUMPED ANYWHERE FROM A COUPLE OF INCHES TO NEARLY A FOOT OF FRESH POWDER IN TIME FOR THE MORNING COMMUTE.

LEAVING MANY NEIGHBORHOODS LOOKING AND FEELING LIKE A WINTER WONDERLAND.

JUST A REMINDER, BE SURE TO SHARE YOUR PHOTOS AND VIDEOS, JUST LIKE THESE.

WITH PHOTOS AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

YOU MIGHT EVEN SEE THEM ON THE SHOW.

BACK HERE IN THE CITY THERE'S ANOTHER STORM BREWING, ONE THAT PROMISES TO RESHAPE CITY GOVERNMENT FOR YEARS TO COME.

THE 2021 RACE FOR MAYOR MIGHT SEEM FAR OFF, BUT THERE'S ALREADY SPECULATION OVER WHO WILL REPLACE BILL de BLASIO, ONE POSSIBILITY ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, THE FRESHMAN CONGRESSWOMAN WHO HAS BEEN PRAISED BY THE FAR LEFT FOR HER PROGRESSIVE POLICIES AND DERIDED BY THE GOP FOR HER SOCIALIST WAYS.

IT'S JUST MONTHS INTO HER FIRST TERM INTO CONGRESS REPRESENTING THE BRONX AND QUEENS, BUT COULD AOC SAY FAREWELL TO WASHINGTON FOR NOW AND BECOME THE FIRST WOMAN TO BE MAYOR OF NEW YORK?

IT'S A POSSIBILITY OUR FRIENDS OVER AT CITY AND STATE RECENTLY TOOK A LOOK AT AND FOR MORE LET'S BRING IN EDITOR IN CHIEF JOHN LANCE.

JOHN, WE WILL COME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

GLAD TO BE HERE.

LET'S FIRST START WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF MAYOR AOC.

WHERE DID THIS COME FROM?

WELL, SURE, IT'S A LONG TIME UNTIL 2021 TO BE CLEAR, BUT, YOU KNOW, IT'S IN THAT TIME A LOT OF THINGS COULD HAPPEN AND SHE HAS DEVELOPED A LOT OF SUPPORT, SHE'S REALLY POPULAR, SHE HAS A HUGE TWITTER FOLLOWING.

COULD THAT TRANSLATE INTO A MAYORAL RUN, WE DON'T KNOW, BUT IT'S A REAL POSSIBILITY.

I MEAN, THE FIELD -- THERE'S REALLY JUST FOUR FRONT RUNNERS AT THIS POINT, THE CITY COMPTROLLER, SCOTT STRINGER, BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT ERIC ADAMS, BRONX WORE ROW PRESIDENT AND COREY JOHNSON.

THOSE ARE FOUR MEN AND THERE IS A LOT OF ATTENTION AS TO HOW MANY WITH EM ARE SERVING IN ELECTED OFFICE.

COULD SHE MAKE A STRONG RUN?

I THINK SO.

WHAT ARE THE AL WILL HE THINKS THAT SHE WOULD FACE?

SHE SEEMS TO BE A POLARIZING FIGURE IN D.C., BUT HERE IN NEW YORK THAT WOULD BE A DIFFERENT CASE.

SURE.

WELL, NEW YORK IS VERY HEAVILY DEMOCRATIC SO THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE FOR DEMOCRATS, SHE COULD WELL FIND A LOT OF SUPPORT.

ONE BIG QUESTION, THOUGH, IS SHE'S NEVER RUN FOR A CITY WIDE OFFICE BEFORE, OBVIOUSLY, SHE'S ONLY A FEW MONTHS INTO HER FIRST TERM IN CONGRESS, BEFORE THAT HAD NEVER RUN FOR ANYTHING, WAS REALLY LITTLE KNOWN.

BUT, AGAIN, HER DISTRICT SPANS PART OF THE QUEENS, PART OF THE BRONX, TO GO FROM THAT TO ACTUALLY WINNING A CITY WIDE POST YOU HAVE TO PICK UP STATEN ISLAND OR AT LEAST DO REASONABLY WELL THERE, I THINK STRINGER IS THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS WON A CITY WIDE OFFICE BEFORE.

SO SHE WOULD HAVE A KIND OF A TOUGH HILL TO CLIMB.

ARE THERE ANY ARGUMENTS THAT PEOPLE ARE ALREADY PROPOSING THAT WOULD GO AGAINST THIS IDEA AND SAY IT'S ACTUALLY NOT A GOOD IDEA AND WHERE SHE IS SHE WOULD ACTUALLY HAVE MORE OF AN EFFECT?

SURE, I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE NOTICED SHE'S HAD A REAL IMPACT, AGAIN, AS A FIRST-TERM MEMBER OF CONGRESS USUALLY THAT'S SOMETHING WHERE YOU'RE KIND OF IN THE BACKGROUND, NO ONE HEARS FROM YOU THAT MUCH, YOU WAIT YOUR TURN, BUILD UP SENIORITY OVER THE YEARS, FINALLY MIGHT GET A CHAIRMANSHIP.

SHE'S BEEN ABLE TO JUMP OVER ALL OF THAT.

SHE HAS A HUGE VOICE, SHE HAS A TWITTER FOLLOWING, SHE'S CALLED FOR HIGHER TAX RATES AND THAT'S GOTTEN A LOT OF COVERAGE.

SHE CALLED FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL.

YOU HEAR EVERYONE TALKING ABOUT A GREEN NEW DEAL, BUT ALSO HOW MUCH DOES SOCIAL MEDIA TRANSLATE IN A MAYORAL RACE?

WE JUST SAW A CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC ADVOCATE.

HAD A HUGE TWITTER FOLLOWING, MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE, SEVERAL TIMES LARGER.

ONLY GOT LIKE 2.5 PERCENTAGE POINTS OF THE VOTE.

SO WILL THAT TRANSLATE?

IT'S HARD TO SAY.

I'M WONDERING NOW IF WE'RE ALREADY LOOKING AHEAD TO THIS 2021 RACE BECAUSE SO MUCH OF OUR CONVERSATION IS ABOUT 2020 ALREADY.

WELL, THAT'S ANOTHER GOOD POINT.

2020, WHO KNOWS WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE.

IF TRUMP IS OUT AND YOU HAVE A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT, WOULD THERE STILL BE THIS STRONG GRASSROOTS PROGRESSIVE SUPPORT THAT'S TURNING OUT TO THE POLLS, YOUNGER PEOPLE, THAT MIGHT DISSIPATE SOMEWHAT, CONCEIVABLY HURT HER IF SHE DID RUN.

SHE WILL THEORETICALLY BE ON THE TICKET AGAIN TO RUN TO CONTINUE REPRESENTING HER DISTRICT.

I DO WANT TO TURN NOW FROM NATIONAL/LOCAL POLITICS TO THRIVE NYC.

THIS WAS AN INITIATIVE THAT WAS, OF COURSE, STARTED BY THE MAYOR WIFE TO HELP PEOPLE STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS AND THERE HAS BEEN CRITICISM OF IT IN TERMS OF HOW MUCH IT'S ACTUALLY BEEN ABLE TO HELP.

SURE.

THERE IS A NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL HEARING JUST LAST WEEK, THERE WAS A LOT OF SCRUTINY ON HOW MUCH MONEY IS GOING INTO IT AND IT SEEMS THAT THERE'S NOT REALLY THE REPORTING THE TRANSPARENCY AROUND WHAT ARE THE RESULTS.

SOME OF IT'S HARD TO TELL, YOU KNOW, YOU TRY TO RAISE MORE AWARENESS AROUND MENTAL HEALTH, I THINK THAT'S AN INITIATIVE THAT MOST PEOPLE AGREE WITH, RIGHT?

YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE RESOURCES OUT THERE FOR YOU.

IT'S HARD TO ASSESS REALLY, YOU KNOW, WHAT KIND OF NUMBERS ARE THERE TO SHOW IMPROVEMENT.

BUT SOME OF IT IT'S WORKING WITH DIFFERENT AGENCIES, AT THIS CITY COUNCIL HEARING THEY WEREN'T ABLE TO PROVIDE ENOUGH EXPLANATION TO SATISFY COUNCIL MEMBERS.

IT'S A LOT OF MONEY, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

SCOTT STRINGER THE CITY COMPTROLLER SUBSEQUENTLY WENT AFTER IT AND SAID HE'S REALLY GOING TO ANALYZE THIS PROGRAM AND SEE IF --

IS IT A MATTER OF HAVING MORE OVERSIGHT OR DOES THERE NEED TO BE MUCH MORE TRANSPARENCY IN TERMS OF EXACTLY HOW THESE DOLLARS ARE BEING SPENT AND WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES OF THOSE DOLLARS?

I THINK IT'S MOSTLY TRANSPARENCY, SHOWING SOME ACCOUNTABILITY, HERE IS WHERE IT'S GOING TO, LET'S GET SOME EXPLANATIONS, LET'S MAKE SURE THE MONEY IS BEING SPENT IN THE RIGHT WAY, TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

OF COURSE.

AND NOW, OF COURSE, GOING FROM THRIVE NYC, ANOTHER VERY CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE IS THE ISSUE OF REVENGE PORN.

WE'VE SEEN LEGISLATION INTRODUCED AT SEVERAL DIFFERENT LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS THIS, BUT WHAT IS IT THAT WE'RE SEEING AT LEAST FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT RIGHT NOW?

SURE.

JUST THIS PAST WEEK BOTH HOUSES OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE DID VOTE, I BELIEVE, UNANIMOUSLY TO MAKE THIS A CRIME, IF YOU DO REVENGE PORN.

IF YOU'RE POSTING PHOTOS OF SOMEONE YOU KNEW.

IT USED TO BE THERE WASN'T REALLY ANY RECOURSE, YOU COULD SEE THIS GO ONLINE AND THERE WASN'T ANYTHING TO BE DONE ABOUT IT.

INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, NEW YORK IS KIND OF BEHIND THE GAME ON THIS.

I THINK IT'S THE 42nd STATE TO GET THIS DONE.

FIRST THIS WAS INTRODUCED, I THINK, FIVE YEARS AGO.

AT THAT POINT NEW YORK WAS ON THE FOREFRONT OF THIS, IDENTIFIED IT AS A PROBLEM, BUT THERE WAS SOME CONCERNS, WOULD INTERNET PROVIDERS, SOCIAL MEDIA PROVIDERS WOULD THEY BE LIABLE FOR THIS, WOULD THERE BE EXTRA COSTS FOR THEM.

I THINK A KEY DIFFERENCE NOW IS THERE'S NO LONGER A REPUBLICAN MAJORITY IN THE STATE SENATE.

THAT BODY WAS MORE ALIGNED WITH BUSINESS INTERESTS AND I THINK HELD THIS UP.

NOW YOU HAVE DEMOCRATS CONTROLLING BOTH HOUSES AND IT'S GOING FORWARD AND LOOKS LIKE THE GOVERNOR WILL SIGN IT.

ALL RIGHT.

AND THEN LASTLY I DO WANT TO CIRCLE BACK TO CONGRESSWOMAN OCASIO-CORTEZ BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN A LOT MADE ABOUT HER RESIDENCY.

WE KNOW THAT SHE IS NOW OPENING SOME DISTRICT OFFICES AND THAT IS GETTING SOME ATTENTION, BUT HOW MUCH OF -- WHERE LEGALLY DOES IT STAND FOR A REPRESENTATIVE TO LIVE AND THEN HOW MUCH DOES THAT PLAY POLITICALLY FOR SOMEBODY?

SURE.

WELL, IN THIS CASE IT'S ACTUALLY FASCINATING BECAUSE HER PREDECESSOR, THE CONGRESSMAN JOE CROWLEY DID HAVE A RESIDENCE NEAR D.C.

I THINK THAT HURT HIM POLITICALLY AND POSSIBLY PLAYED A FACTOR IN HER KNOCKING HIM OUT OF OFFICE, THOUGH TECHNICALLY YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO LIVE WITHIN YOUR DISTRICT AS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS.

ONE EXAMPLE IS CONGRESSWOMAN VELAZQUEZ, SHE'S STILL IN THE COMMUNITY.

TO BE CLEAR, ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ DOES LIVE IN HER DISTRICT.

THERE WAS SOME QUESTIONABLE REPORTING ABOUT THAT, BUT EVEN IF SHE DIDN'T, IT WOULDN'T REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

MY GO HE IS IS IF YOU'RE CLOSE ENOUGH, EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT, IT PROBABLY ISN'T A POLITICAL ISSUE.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, THEN, PERHAPS ONE OF THOSE ISSUES THAT AT LEAST DRIVES SOCIAL MEDIA BECAUSE WE SEE A LOT OF THAT HAPPENING.

LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US AGAIN.

WE OF COURSE LOOK FORWARD TO OUR CONVERSATION ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE STATE AND THE CITY LEVEL AND ESPECIALLY WITH 2020 AND 2021 COMING UP.

GLAD TO BE HERE.

ABSOLUTELY.

THANK YOU.

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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