METROFOCUS: SEPTEMBER 18, 2019

As more vaping victims emerge many states are still pushing for the decriminalization of pot, but one former New York Times reporter is going against the grain, with a look at the mental and medical dangers of the marijuana. The Brooklyn Historical Society examines the county’s medical contributions to our metropolis in a fascinating new exhibit. Billionaire businessman, former mayor, political powerhouse.  A look at the multifaceted Michael Bloomberg.

Aired on September 18, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

VAPING WORRIES AND MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION.

STATES ARE RUSHING TO LEGALIZE POT WITH PROMISES OF TAX WIND FALLS AND EVEN A POTENTIAL TOURISM.

WITHDRAWING HEALTH CONCERNS A DEEPER LOOK.

A CASE AGAINST LEGALIZATION, A SEGMENT EVERY PARENT NEEDS TO SEE.

> CENTURIES OF HEALTH CARE, THE BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY EXAMINES KING'S COUNTIES'S MEDICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR METROPOLIS IN A FASCINATING NEW EXHIBIT.

WE HAVE A PREVIEW.

> PLUS HE IS A BILLIONAIRE, AN ACTIVIST, A PHILANTHROPIST AND THE FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY.

IN A MOMENT A LOOK AT THE MANY LIVES OF MICHAEL BLOOMBERG.

THOSE STORIES AND MOTRE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'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, ROSLYN P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

A NUMBER OF STATES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HAVE LEGALIZED RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA, A NUMBER OF OTHERS STATES INCLUDING NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY ARE ON THE VERGE OF DOING THE SAME AND IF SOME OF OUR MOST PROMINENT LAWMAKERS IN WASHINGTON HAVE THEIR WAY FEDERAL LEGALIZATION OF POT WILL SOON FOLLOW.

SOME OF THE REASONINGS FOR THIS PUSH TOWARDS LEGALIZATION ARE WELL KNOWN, THAT FAR FROM BEING HARMFUL TO OUR HEALTH, MARIJUANA HAS ACTUALLY PROVEN TO BE MEDICALLY BENEFICIAL.

LEGALIZATION LEADS TO THE REDUCTION OF THE KIND OF VIOLENCE THAT ACCOMPANIES THE CRIMINAL MARIJUANA INDUSTRY.

THAT THE ENFORCEMENT OF MARIJUANA LAWS HAS PROPORTIONATELY FALLEN ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AND RATHER THAN SERVING AS A GATEWAY TO MORE DANGEROUS DRUGS MARIJUANA SERVES AS A GATEWAY AWAY FROM THE HARDER STUFF.

THAT IN ANY EVENT IS HOW THE NARRATIVE HAS GONE FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS OR SO, BUT IS THE NARRATIVE TRUE?

IN HIS NEW BOOK 'TELL YOUR CHILDREN THE TRUTH ABOUT MARIJUANA, MENTAL ILLNESS AND VIOLENCE' ALEX BARONSEN ARGUES VIGOROUSLY THAT IT IS NOT OR AT LEAST NOT WITHOUT SERIOUS QUALIFICATIONS.

ALEX, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

YOU HEARD ME GIVE THE LITANY OF THE REASONS WHY LEGALIZATION IS NECESSARY.

BREAK IT UNDO, TIME PER HITTING, ONE AT A TIME.

SURE.

IRS T. OF ALL THAT IS CORRECT MARIJUANA IS MORE LIKELY TO BE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH THAN BAD.

HASN'T CANNABIS ROCHB TO BE BENEFICIAL TO YOUR HEALTH AND THAT'S WHY IT'S BEEN LEGAL FOR MANY YEARS.

THAT'S CLEARLY UNTRUE.

SMOKED CANNABIS IS NOT BENEFICIAL TO -- FOR NEARLY ANY OF THE CONDITIONS THAT IT'S CLAIMED TO HELP, THAT'S THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE REVIEWED THE LITERATURE ON THIS IN-DEPTH AND IN 2017 THEY PUT OUT A REPORT AND SAID PEOPLE WHO SAY IT'S GOOD FOR CANCER OR IRRITABLE BOWL SYNDROME FOR DEMENTIA, THERE IS A LITANY OF CONDITIONS IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD FOR THERE IS ESSENTIALLY NO EVIDENCE IT'S GOOD FOR ANY OF THOSE MENTION.

IT HELPS TREAT PAIN, ALCOHOL IS ALSO A BIT OF A PAINKILLER BUT IN THE LONG RUN THERE IS A GOOD STUDY THAT I'M CAN A OUT SHOWING THAT PEOPLE WHO HAD CHRONIC PAIN AND USED CANNABIS REPORTED MORE PAIN AFTER A FOUR-YEAR PERIOD AND WERE MORE LIKELY TO USE OPIOIDS.

LIKE OTHER INTOXICANTS IT ISN'T ACTUALLY VERY GOOD FOR PAIN IN THE LONG RUN.

HERE IS SOMETHING FROM ONE OF YOUR CRITICS DIRECTLY RESPONDING TO YOU, HE WRITES THAT THC HAS BEEN AN FDA-APPROVED TREATMENT FOR NAUSEA AND VOPTING ASSOCIATED WITH CANCER, CHEMOTHERAPY AND CANNABIS HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE EFFECTIVE IN TREATING PARKINSON'S DISEASE, ALS, M, BLAH COMA, PTSD, DIABETES, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION AND A WIDE RANGE OF OTHER AILMENTS.

THE FIRST PART OF THAT STATEMENT IS TRUE, THC WHICH IS THE PSYCHO ACTIVE INGREDIENT IN CANNABIS, THE STUFF THAT GETS YOU HIGH HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE FDA TO TREAT THAT PARTICULAR CONDITION.

NOTHING ELSE.

BUT ALL THE OTHER STUFF HE SAYS THAT CAN IS B. IS IS GOOD FOR IT'S NOT TRUE.

THIS IS WHAT THE ADVOCATES DO, THEY TAKE THE VERY SMALL SLIVER OF MEDICINE THAT CANNABIS OR THC OR CBD WHICH IS ANOTHER CHEMICAL HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO BE GOOD FOR AND THEY JUMP TO A MASSIVE ARRAY OF CONDITIONS FOR WHICH THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OR IN MOST CASES NO EVIDENCE, IN A FEW CASES ALMOST NO EVIDENCE.

SO WHAT IS THE HARM.

WHAT HARM TO YOUR HEALTH?

OKAY, SO SMOKING, YOU KNOW, IN GENERAL IS NOT GREAT FOR YOU.

BUT MY BOOK FOCUSES SPECIFICALLY ON THE PSYCHO ACTIVE HARMS OF CANNABIS.

THAT CANNABIS IS HARMFUL TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND THAT SPECIFICALLY PROLONGED USE OF CANNABIS BY ADOLESCENTS HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE LINKED TO SCHIZOPHRENIA, WHICH IS REALLY THE MOST DEVASTATING MENTAL ILLNESS OF ALL, EACH TEMPORARY USE OF CANNABIS WITH CAUSE TEMPORARY PSYCHOSIS EVEN IN HEALTHY ADULTS.

I DON'T THINK EVEN ADVOCATES FOR THIS DRUG WOULD ARGUE WITH THE FACT THAT IT CAUSES PARANOIA IN A LOT OF PEOPLE AND PAIR JOY I CAN'T --

TEMPORARY PARANOIA.

OKAY, TEMPORARY PARANOIA, YES, BUT -- AND, YOU KNOW, THIS HAS BEEN A BIG ARGUMENT AROUND THE BOOK.

WHEN YOU'RE ARGUING ABOUT WHETHER CANNABIS CAN CAUSE SCHIZOPHRENIA AND CAUSE PERMANENT PSYCHOSIS, THE FACT THAT IT CAN CAUSE TEMPORARY PSYCHOSIS IN HEALTHY PEOPLE IS PART OF THE REASON WHY IT CAN CAUSE PERMANENT PSYCHOSIS IS A GOOD ONE.

YOU LAY OUT A BUNCH OF STUDIES IN THE BOOK ABOUT LINKING MARIJUANA TO PSYCHOSIS.

WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR A BUNCH OF THEM.

GIVE US ONE EXAMPLE THAT ONE UNBIASED OBSERVER WOULD SAY THAT PROVES IT.

THE BEST ONE WAS THE FIRST BIG ONE, CAME OUT IN 1987 IN THE LANCET, COVERED 50,000 SPEEDISH ARMY RECRUITS WHO WERE IN SWEDEN RECRUITED INTO THE MILITARY IN 1969-1970 AND THEY WERE FOLLOWED UP TO SEE WHO DEVELOPED PSYCHOSIS 15 YEARS LATER OR SO.

IF YOU USED CANNABIS MORE THAN TEN TIMES, EVEN ACCOUNTING FOR OTHER LIKE FAMILIAL RISK FACTORS AND OTHER RISK FACTORS YOU HAD A MORE THAN DOUBLING OF THE RISK, 2.3 TIMES THE RISK OF PSYCHOSIS.

OTHER STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT RATE RATIO OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

IF YOU USE IN ADOLESCENTS YOU ARE TWO TO THREE TIMES AS LIKELY TO DEVELOP SCHIZOPHRENIA.

IT IS A TERRIBLE DISEASE, IT IS TERRIBLE FOR THE SUFFERERS, DESTROYS FAMILIES.

IF WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT ONLY HAPPENS TO ONE IN 100 PEOPLE WHO USE CANNABIS REGULARLY IT IS SUCH A BAD DISEASE THAT WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT.

ALL RIGHT.

FOR TIME SAKE I WILL MOVE ON.

ELECTED OFFICIALS THAT WE HAVE HAD ON THIS PROGRAM USUALLY FOCUS ON SOMETHING THAT IS PROBABLY TRUE HERE IN NEW YORK CITY AT LEAST, THAT THE LAWS, MARIJUANA LAWS, DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECT COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, PARTICULARLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITIES.

IS THAT A SERIOUS CONCERN?

THAT IS TRUE, THERE'S ZERO QUESTION THAT MARIJUANA ARRESTS TEND TO FOCUS ON THE BLACK COMMUNITY.

THE IDEA THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE GO TO PRISON FOR CANNABIS POSSESSION OR USE IS NOT TRUE.

NOT JUST IN STATES --

BUT AS YOUR CRITICS HAVE SAID ALREADY OTHER NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF BEING ARRESTED FOR MARIJUANA.

I MEAN, IT'S BAD FOR YOUR JOB.

ABSOLUTELY.

AND I'M NOT IN FAVOR OF PROHIBITING MARIJUANA.

40 MILLION PEOPLE USED AM RJ IN 2017, WE ARE NOT GOING TO ARREST THEM OR SEND THEM ALL TO JAIL.

DEE CRIMINALIZATION, INDIVIDUAL POSSESSION, USE IS NOT GOING TO BE SUBJECT TO ARREST, YOU WON'T WIND UP IN JAIL, MAYBE YOU GET A VIOLATION, THE EQUIVALENT OF LITTERING OR PARKING TICKET AND SO WE'RE GOING TO SAY PERSONAL USE IS EFFECTIVELY NOT SOMETHING THAT THE POLICE ARE GOING TO WORRY ABOUT, BUT WE ARE NOT GOING TO ALLOW A LEGALIZED SYSTEM WHERE THERE ARE COMPANIES PROMOTING THIS, WHERE THERE ARE COMPANIES LOBBYING AGAINST THE SCIENCE ON THIS.

THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED WITH TOBACCO AND TOBACCO KILLED 10 MILLION PEOPLE.

A LOT OF STATES ARE FOR LEGAL LEGALIZATION.

IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STOP IT?

THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO TO STOP IT.

I WROTE THE BOOK.

SHOULD IT BE STOPPED?

WHY IN MY OPINION, YES, BUT 'TELL YOUR CHILDREN' IS ABOUT THE SCIENCE AND MEDICINE AROUND THIS.

IT'S MORE PARENTS TO WANT TO TALK TO THEIR KIDS WHO MIGHT BE USING, IT'S FOR A 25-YEAR-OLD WHO IS STARTING TO GET PARANOID.

THAT'S REALLY WHO BOOK IS FOR.

ONE OF THE LITANY ITEMS THAT I FORGOT TO MENTION IS THAT IT'S A GATEWAY -- IT'S FAR FROM BEING A GATEWAY TO HARDER DRUGS LIKE REEFER MADNESS, IT'S A GATEWAY AWAY FROMERED HAD AER DRUGS AND THEY SAY STATISTICS PROVE IT.

THAT'S A BIZARRE ASSERTION.

THERE IS NOBODY WHO WOULD DISPUTE THAT CANNABIS IS A GATEWAY TO HARDER DRUGS, THE QUESTION IS WHY.

SOME PEOPLE SAY IT'S A GATEWAY BECAUSE IT'S ILLEGAL YOU HAVE TO GET IT FROM A DRUG DEALER WHO MIGHT HAVE HEROIN OR COCAINE.

IN THAT SAYS WE SHOULD LEGALIZE IT, MOVE IT OUT OF THERE.

THAT'S A LEGITIMATE ARGUMENT FOR LEGALIZATION.

THE COUNTERARGUMENT IS THIS PHARMACOLOGICALLY PRIMES YOUR BRAIN TO WANT MORE EUPHORIC CHEMICALS AND IN THE LONG RUN THAT -- THAT'S GOING TO DRIVE YOU TO USE HARDER DRUGS.

I WOULD SAY THAT THAT IS AN OPEN QUESTION WHETHER IT'S -- WHETHER IT'S MORE A SOCIAL OR PHARMACOLOGICAL EFFECT, BUT THERE IS TONS OF EVIDENCE THAT SHOW THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE ON METHADONE, IF THEY START USING CANNABIS THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO START USING OPIOIDS AGAIN, INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE -- WHO ARE USING CANNABIS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BECOME OPIOID USERS YEARS LATER.

THERE'S VERY GOOD EVIDENCE.

THE STUDIES THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT ARE REALLY BAD EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES.

THEY DON'T --

THEY SAY, FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE STATES WHERE MARIJUANA HAVE BEEN LEGALIZED THE RATE OF OPIOID ADDICTION HAD DECREASED OR HAD NOT RISEN SHOO WHAT THEY SAID WAS IN STATES THAT LEGALIZED MEDICAL MARIJUANA OPIOID OVERDOSE DEATHS DECREASED.

THAT'S A 2014 PAPER BASED ON PRE 2010 DATA.

THE STATES THAT LEGALIZED WERE ALL IN THE WEST, THE STATES WHERE THE OPIOID OVERDOSE EPIDEMIC WAS THE WORST WERE ALL IN AN LACH CHA.

IF YOU LOOK AT MORE RECENT DATA NOW THAT LEGALIZATION HAS SPREAD AND THE EPIDEMIC HAS SPREAD THAT RELATIONSHIP HAS DISAPPEARED BUT YOU WILL NOT HEAR ADVOCATES SAY THAT.

THEY'RE STILL TALKING ABOUT A PAPER THAT IS FIVE YEARS OLD BASED ON TEN-YEAR-OLD DATA.

ALEX, WITH HE WILL HAVE TO SEND IT THERE.

THE BOOK IS 'TELL YOUR CHILDREN THE TRUTH ABOUT MARIJUANA, MENTAL ILLNESS AND VIOLENCE.'

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US INTO THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

> FOR AS LONG AS IT HAS EXISTED BROOKLYN HAS BEEN AT THE EPICENTER OF HEALTH CARE.

FROM THE DAWN OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS WITH THE NATION'S FIRST EVER BIRTH CONTROL CLINIC TO THE CURRENT MEASLES OUTBRA HE CAN IN WILLIAMSBURG IT HAS EXISTED AS A MICROCOSM OF THE LARGER HEALTH CARE DEBATE.

A NEW EXHIBITION AT THE BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY CALLED TAKING CARE OF BROOKLYN, STORIES OF SICKNESS AND HEALTH, IS EXAMINING HOW FOR CENTURIES BROOKLYNITES HAVE COME TO UNDERSTAND AND EXPERIENCE ILLNESS.

WITH MORE DETAILS ON THE EXHIBIT IS JULIA GULIA FROM THE BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

THANKS FOR HAVING SHE.

THANKS START OFF WITH THE SOCIETY ITSELF.

IT'S A FASCINATING PLACE.

IT HE WILL ME A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT ITS HISTORY.

BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY IS A 156-YEAR-OLD INSTITUTION IN THE HEART OF BROOKLYN HEIGHTS.

WE ARE A LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES, WE ARE AN ACTIVE MUSEUM, A HUB OF EDUCATION AND REALLY A COMMUNITY CENTER.

REALLY PIECING TOGETHER ALL THE STORIES OF BROOKLYN'S PAST AND TYING THEM TO OUR PRESENT DAY WORLD.

AND IT'S A BREATHTAKING FACILITY.

I HAVE NOT BEEN THERE, I HAVE TO SAY I'VE SEEN PICTURES OF IT, I PLAN ON GOING, BUT YOU HAD MENTIONED TO ME THAT ITS INTERIOR, ESPECIALLY THE LIBRARY, IS ACTUALLY A LANDMARKED INTERIOR.

THAT'S RIGHT.

THE OUTSIDE OF OUR BUILDING IS LAND MARKED AS MANY BUILDINGS IN NEW YORK RRK BUT A MUCH RARER DESIGNATION IS AN INTERIOR LANDMARK.

BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S LIBRARY IS ONE OF ONLY THREE LIBRARIES IN THE CITY THAT ACTUALLY HAVE THIS INTERIOR LANDMARK STATUS AND IT IS A REMARKABLE PLACE TO STUDY, TO LOOK AT PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENTS, TO EXPLORE THE STACKS SURROUNDED BY THE WOOD COLUMNS AND THE ORIGINAL LIGHTING AND ALL OF THE BOOKS THAT MAKE UP THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF BROOKLYN.

IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S TRULY A BREATHTAKING ENVIRONMENT FOR PEOPLE.

IT IS.

AT ALL THOSE LEVELS.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS EXHIBIT.

WHAT'S THE GENESIS OF THIS?

SO WE STARTED RESEARCH THIS EXHIBITION ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO AND THIS REALLY CAME OUT OF AN OBSERVATION THAT I MADE SPENDING TIME IN OUR LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES THAT SO MANY OF OUR COLLECTIONS WERE ACTUALLY ABOUT HEALTH IN SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS AND IN SOME WAYS THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF BROOKLYN COULD BE SEEN THROUGH THIS LENS OF SICKNESS AND HEALTH.

AS WE BEGAN TO DIG IN WE COULDN'T HELP BUT NOTICE THE CONTEMPORARY RESONANCES.

SO AT THE TIME IT WAS EBOLA AND AS OUR PROJECT MOVED ON IT BECAME ZIKA AND THEN TODAY NOW WITH OUR EXHIBITION OPENING IT'S THE MEASLES OUTBREAK IN BROOKLYN THAT IS REALLY ON ALL OF OUR MINDS AND IT REALLY SHOWS, I THINK, SO SALIENTLY THAT EVENTS AND DECISIONS OF THE PAST ABSOLUTELY SHAPE THE WORLD, THE BROOKLYN WE LIVE IN TODAY.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS ABOUT BROOKLYN, ABOUT ITS COMPOSITION, ITS INFRASTRUCTURE, ALL OF THESE THAT HAS PUT IT AT SOMETHING OF THE CENTER OF SO MANY DIFFERENT CHALLENGES AND ISSUES OVER THE YEARS, ESPECIALLY IN MEDICINE.

WELL, YOU KNOW, THE EXHIBITION IS ABOUT SICKNESS AND HEALTH AND PEOPLE OFTEN THINK GERMS, BIOLOGY AND THOSE THINGS OF COURSE ALL FACTOR INTO OUR HEALTH, BUT ACTUALLY WHAT IS REALLY AT THE HEART OF THE PEOPLE'S EXPERIENCES OF HEALTH ARE SOCIAL ISSUES.

AND THINGS LIKE URBAN CROWDING, DIVERSITY, IMMIGRATION, RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA, SEXISM, ALL OF THESE THINGS HAVE SUCH A KEY PART IN SHAPING THE WAY THAT WE EXPERIENCE HEALTH AND BROOKLYN IS GROUND ZERO FOR THOSE EXPERIENCES.

BROOKLYN IS CROWDED, IT IS DIVERSE, IT HAS GIVEN RISE TO REMARKABLE MOMENTS OF ACTIVISM AND CHANGE AND ALSO KEY MOMENTS OF OPPRESSION.

IT'S ALSO A PLACE OF INNOVATION WHERE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES GOT THEIR START AND WHERE JUST AVERAGE ORDINARY PEOPLE ON THE STREET LOOKED AROUND AND SAW INJUSTICE AND TOOK IT INTO THEIR OWN HANDS TO MAKE CHANGES.

SO IN SOME WAYS WHERE BROOKLYN BEGINS THE REST OF THE WORLD GOES.

LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME ASPECTS OF THIS.

THERE'S SO MUCH THERE, OBVIOUSLY WE CAN'T GET INTO ALL OF THEM AND WE WANT PEOPLE TO GO BECAUSE THEY SHOULD GO, IT'S FASCINATING.

LET ME GET BACK TO SOMETHING I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION AND THAT WAS THE FIRST BIRTH CONTROL CENTER.

WHO YOU DID THAT COME ABOUT?

SO MARGARET SANGER WAS BY THE TIME WE GET TO THE 1910s A VERY ACTIVE PROGRESSIVE ERA REFORMER, VERY INTERESTED IN THE EXPERIENCES OF POOR PEOPLE AND PARTICULARLY WOMEN, AND OBSERVED PARTICULARLY IN CROWDED PLACES LIKE THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF BROWNSVILLE AND BROOKLYN THE DELETERIOUS IMPACT THAT HAVING TOO MANY CHILDREN HAD ON PEOPLE AND PARTICULARLY ON POOR WOMEN.

THESE WERE ISSUES OF HEALTH, THE AFFECT OF THEIR LIFE OUTCOMES, IT AFFECTED INFANT MORTALITY RATES BUT SHE ALSO NOTICED -- AND THESE SOCIAL IMPACTS, IT AFFECTED POVERTY, PEOPLE WERE MORE LIKELY TO REMAIN IN POVERTY, NOT BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR CHILDREN AND AT THE SAME TIME THAT SHE'S MAKING THESE SORT OF OBSERVATIONS A DIFFERENT GROUP OF AMERICANS ARE SAYING THAT THINGS ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL ARE OBSCENE AND THEY SHOULDN'T BE DISTRIBUTED LIEU THE MAIL OR REALLY KNOWN ABOUT IN ANY WAY.

SO ACTUALLY IN MANY STATES, INCLUDING NEW YORK, IT WAS ILLEGAL TO DISTRIBUTE ANY INFORMATION ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL.

I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT.

THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT.

A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK THAT THESE ISSUES --

YOU THINK THEY WERE DEBATED OESHLLY BUT YOU DIDN'T REALIZE THAT THEY WERE CRIMINAL.

ABSOLUTELY.

MARGARET SANGER KNEW THIS.

BY OPENING UP THE FIRST BIRTH CONTROL CLINIC IN 1916 HERE IN BROOKLYN SHE WAS PUSHING THE LAW.

SHE KNEW SHE HAD THE POSSIBILITY OF GETTING ARRESTED AND, IN FACT, SHE KIND OF HOPED SHE WOULD BE.

BIRTH CONTROL CLINIC WAS WIDELY WELL RECEIVED, HUNDREDS OF WOMEN WERE ACTUALLY CARED FOR THERE AND GIVEN COUNSEL AND BIRTH CONTROL IN THE NINE DAYS THAT THE CLINIC WAS OPEN BEFORE IT WAS SHUT DOWN BY POLICE OFFICERS.

MARGARET SANGER AND THE WOMEN SHE OPENED IT WITH DID JAIL TIME, BUT ACTUALLY THEIR SORT OF COMMITMENT TO SHINING LIGHT ON THE INEQUITY OF THESE LAWS EVENTUALLY LED TO A CHANGE IN NEW YORK STATE LAW ABOUT THE DISSEMINATION OF BIRTH CONTROL AND INFORMATION ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

IS THERE PROGRAMS OR EVENTS THAT ARE ALL TAKING PLACE, BUT IF YOU CAN'T GET THERE YOU ALSO HAVE A PODCAST.

WE DO.

WE HAVE A POST CAST CALLED FLAT BUSH AND MAIN, IT'S BEEN RUNNING FOR ABOUT THREE YEARS, WE HAVE A WONDERFUL FAN BASE AND IT'S A GREAT WAY TO GET THE STORIES THAT WE TELL IN OUR BUILDINGS OUT TO THE WORLD.

SO WE'VE ALREADY DONE A NUMBER OF EPISODES ON HISTORY OF COLLAR RA IN BROOKLYN, WOMEN DOCTORS IN BROOKLYN, THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PUBLIC HEALTH AND CIVIL RIGHTS.

YOU CAN FIND THAT ON APPLE PODCAST, STITCHER OR IN I PODCAST PLATFORM YOU USE.

PODCASTS ARE GREAT BUT GET TO THE BUILDING.

PLEASE DO.

WE HAVE GREAT PROGRAMMING COMING UP.

IT'S A PRESSURE TALKING WITH YOU.

A MARVELOUS OPERATION DOING GOOD WORK.

WE WILL GET YOU BACK NEXT TIME FOR THE NEXT EXHIBIT.

PLEASE DO.

FOR YOU FOLKS OUT THERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE TWIBT CALLED TAKING CARE OF BROOKLYN, STORIES OF SICKNESS AND HEALTH AT THE BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY MAKE SURE YOU VISIT US AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

> BUSINESSMAN, POLITICIAN, PHILANTHROPIST, MICHAEL BLOOMBERG THE BILLIONAIRE INNOVATOR WHO RAN NEW YORK CITY FOR 12 YEARS IS A MAN WHO HAVE TAKEN MANY DISTINCT AND SEEMINGLY CONTRADICTORY ROLES OVER THE YEAR PRETTY MUCH SUCCEEDING AT ALL OF THEM.

WHILE BLOOMBERG IS ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PUBLIC FIGURES IN AMERICA HE IS ALSO ONE OF THE MOST PRIVATE.

NOW A NEW BIOGRAPHY SEEKS TO PULL BACK THE CURTAIN ON THE MAN WHO CONTINUED TO DIVIDE OPINION IN HIS ADOPT A CITY AND AROUND THE COUNTRY.

THE MANY LIVES OF MICHAEL BLOOMBERG TRACES HIS PATH FROM HIS MODEST JEWISH WORKING CLASS UPBRINGING IN MEDFORD, MASSACHUSETTS TO HIS SURPRISING ADMISSION INTO THE IVY LEAGUE TO HIS FORMATIVE YEARS IN WALL STREET WHERE HE DEVELOPED THE TECHNOLOGY THAT REVOLUTIONIZED THE WORLD OF TRADING, MAKING HIM ONE OF THE RICHEST MEN IN THE WORLD.

THE BOOK ALSO TAKES READERS INSIDE CITY HALL DURING THE BLOOMBERG YEARS, GIVING INSIGHT INTO THE POLICIES AND DECISIONS THAT SHAPED NEW YORK CITY TO THIS DAY AND WILL LIKELY CONTINUE TO SHAPE THE CITY FOR YEARS TO COME.

JOINING US NOW IS THE AUTHOR OF THE MANY LIVES OF MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, ELEANOR RANDOLPH.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

ELEANOR, AS THE BOOK'S TITLE INDICATES, YOU COVER A LOT OF THE DIFFERENT LIVES THAT MICHAEL BLOOMBERG LIVED SO LET'S START WITH THE FIRST ONE.

OKAY.

HIS CHILDHOOD IN THE MODEST TOWN OF BEDFORD, MASSACHUSETTS.

WAS THERE ANY HINT, ANY INDICATION IN THAT CHILDHOOD THAT HE WOULD BECOME THE AMAZINGLY SUCCESSFUL PERSON THAT HE DID?

YOU KNOW, IT'S EASY TO LOOK BACK AND SEE THOSE THINGS NOW.

ONE OF THE THINGS HIS MOTHER SAID, HIS MOTHER DIED WHEN SHE WAS 102, BUT BEFORE SHE DIED SHE SAID HE LIKED TO RUN EVERYTHING AND THAT SOUND FAMILIAR GOING THROUGH ALL 77 YEARS, YOU KNOW.

HE TOLD PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, I NEVER WANT TO BE ON A BOARD, I ALWAYS WANT TO BE THE HEAD OF THE BOARD.

TALK ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCE IN WALL STREET.

HOW MUCH THAT SHAPED HIM.

YOU KNOW, I THINK -- I THINK, YOU KNOW, WHEN WE GET TO TALKING ABOUT HIM AS MAYOR, I THINK ONE OF THE REASONS HE WAS SO STIFF, YOU KNOW, WHEN HE GAVE SPEECHES WAS THAT HE WAS TRYING NOT TO USE THE SORT OF ARGO OF WALL STREET BECAUSE IT WAS A ROUGH PLACE.

I MEAN, I DON'T -- I CAN'T SAY WHAT THEY ACTUALLY SAID WHEN THEY SAID HELLO AT SALMON BROTHERS BUT THE LAST WORD WAS YOU.

IT WAS JUST TOUGH, YOU KNOW, HEY, HARVARD, GET ME COFFEE.

IF YOU WANTED TO BE RICH, WHICH OF COURSE HE WANTED TO BE, YOU HAD TO PLAY IN THAT VERY ROUGH ARENA.

HE MADE THE WRONG ENEMIES AND THEY -- THEY BUMPED HIM UPSTAIRS, YOU KNOW, IT WAS A GREAT DEMOTION.

HE HAD BEEN A FANCY TRADER AND THEY BUMPED HIM UPSTAIRS TO DEAL WITH COMPUTERS AND THAT WAS WOMEN'S WORK, IT WAS LIKE BEING THE WATER BOY AT THE -- ON THE FOOTBALL TEAM, YOU KNOW, AND SO THAT WAS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS THAT EVER HAPPENED TO HIM.

HE WAS FIRED.

HE WAS FIRED.

AND HE VERY OFTEN TALKS ABOUT BEING FIRED AND IT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT THEME IN A LOT OF HOW HE DEALS WITH HIS EMPLOYEES.

HE HATES FIRING PEOPLE EVEN THOUGH HE DOES IT.

THERE IS A LONG LIST THERE, BUT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT ACTUALLY WAS THAT WHEN THEY DEMOTED HIM AND MADE HIM THIS SORT OF COMPUTER NERD, THEY GAVE HIM THE TICKET TO BECOME THE BILLIONAIRE THAT HE IS BECAUSE HE WAS -- HE AND HIS FRIENDS WERE SOME OF THE FIRST PEOPLE WHO REALIZED THAT COMPUTERS WERE TAKING OVER THE PAPER CULTURE OF WALL STREET.

SO AFTER HIS FIRST FEW BILLIONS HE GOT RESTLESS AND YOU SAY THAT'S THE WORD THAT'S OFTEN USED TO DESCRIBE HIM.

THAT'S RIGHT.

AND HE DECIDES TO RUN FOR MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY, LIKE MOST PEOPLE, MOST BILLIONAIRES SO NOWADAYS, I GUESS.

WHAT WAS THE REACTION IN THE BUSINESS WORLD, THE POLITICAL WORLD AND AMONG NEW YORKERS WHEN HE ANNOUNCED THAT HE WAS RUNNING?

PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS JUST GOOFY, YOU KNOW, AND THE POLITICAL CLASS, I HAVE TO SAY I WAS PROBABLY ONE OF THEM, PEOPLE JUST THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, THIS GUY IS GOING TO SPEND A TON OF MONEY, ALL OUR FRIENDS ARE GOING TO GET RICH AND THEN HE WILL DISAPPEAR.

YOU KNOW, THERE ARE A COUPLE REASONS WHY HE WON THAT RACE.

YOU KNOW, 9/11 WAS SO -- I MEAN, YOU KNOW --

IN FACT, I REMEMBERED THE PRIMARY FOR THAT -- FOR THAT ELECTION IT WAS ON SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001.

THAT'S RIGHT.

IT HAD TO BE DONE OVER AGAIN, BUT THAT WAS THE DAY.

THAT'S RIGHT.

AND, YOU KNOW, I MEAN, EVERY NEW YORKER KNOWS WHERE YOU WERE AT THAT MOMENT AND IT SEEMED TO ME THAT THE CITY WAS KIND OF SHAKEN AS MUCH AS THAT REALLY CAN HAPPEN TO THIS BIG CITY AND, YOU KNOW, BLOOMBERG LOOKED LIKE HE COULD RUN THE CITY AS WE WOULD BE SAFE WITH HIM.

SO HE WINS.

WHAT INNOVATIONS DID HE BRING TO HIS NEW JOB?

WELL, YOU KNOW, HE WALKED IN, THE FIRST THING HE DID WAS HE SAID I'M NOT GOING TO HIRE PEOPLE JUST BECAUSE THEY'RE DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS.

HE HAPPENED TO BE A REPUBLICAN AT THAT MOMENT, YOU KNOW, HE SORT OF CHANGED PARTY A LOT, BUT HE WAS A REPUBLICAN AT THAT TIME AND HE SAID I'M NOT -- YOU KNOW, I DON'T OWE ANYBODY ANYTHING.

SO I WANT TO HIRE THE BEST PEOPLE WHO WILL WORK FOR ME.

RUDY GIULIANI HAS NOT BEEN SHY ABOUT CRITICIZING OUR CURRENT MAYOR, BILL de BLASIO, AND HIS FAILURES IN POLICY, BUT MAYOR BLOOMBERG HAS NOT AND I FIND THAT INTERESTING BECAUSE de BLASIO HAD NO PROBLEM CRITICIZING MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND CLEARLY THEIR WORK ETHIC IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM A 50 TO 70 HOUR WEEK GUY TO A SEVEN HOUR A MONTH GUY.

WHY?

WHY HAS HE BEEN SO SILENT?

HE VOWED FROM THE DAY HE LEFT OFFICE THAT HE WOULD NOT CRITICIZE HIS SUCCESSOR, EVEN THOUGH HIS SUCCESSOR CAMPAIGNED AS THE ANTI-BLOOMBERG.

AND HE TOLD HIS STAFF, I DON'T WANT YOU LEAKING TO THE PRESS, I DON'T WANT YOU TO TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT de BLASIO EVEN THOUGH de BLASIO USED, YOU KNOW, USED HIM AS THE WHIPPING BOY ALL THE TIME.

BLOOMBERG CONSIDERED AFTER HE LEFT OFFICE HE CONSIDERED RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT I THINK FOUR TIMES YOU HAVE IN YOUR TIME BOO K.

WHILE HE WAS IN OFFICE, TOO INTO WHILE HE WAS IN OFFICE, TOO, BUT HE ULTIMATELY NEVER TOOK THE PLUNGE.

WHY?

HE SAYS THAT HE DIDN'T THINK HE COULD MAKE IT THROUGH THE PRIMARIES.

THAT'S THIS TIME, THIS IS THE 2020 RACE.

HE'S NOW A DEMOCRAT, AS YOU KNOW, AND -- BUT IN 2016 HE CAME VERY CLOSE TO RUNNING AND THEY, YOU KNOW, DID ALL THE POLLS AND ALL THAT SORT OF STUFF.

THEN HE DECIDED THAT IF HE RAN AS AN INDEPENDENT, WHICH IS WHAT HE WANTED TO DO, THAT HE WOULD PROBABLY PULL VOTES AWAY FROM HILLARY CLINTON AND GIVE THE ELECTION TO DONALD TRUMP AND HE DID NOT WANT THAT TO BE IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF HIS OBITUARY.

THIS IS WHAT HE SAID.

YEAH.

SO NOW HE'S 77 YEARS OLD.

ARE WE DONE WITH THE MANY LIVES OF MICHAEL BLOOMBERG?

IS HE NO LONGER REINN VVENTING HIMSELF?

I THINK WHAT HE WANTS TO DO RIGHT NOW, HE WANTS TO MAKE SURE THAT EITHER DONALD TRUMP IS NOT REELECTED OR TRUMPISM HAS -- YOU HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE TO IT.

HE IS ON CLIMATE CHANGE, GUNS, A LOT OF OTHER -- CERTAINLY THE ENVIRONMENT.

HE IS REALLY TRYING TO BE THE ANTI-TRUMP.

AND SO HE CAN DO THAT, SO WE CALL HIM THE ONNY WANT CAN A NOBODIY.

ELEANOR, THE BOOK IS THE MANY LIVES OF MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, IT'S A GREAT READ.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY TO TALK ABOUT IT.

THANK YOU.

I ENJOYED IT.

♪ '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, ROSLYN P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND 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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