MetroFocus: September 14, 2020

A look at the news making local and national headlines this week and how it impacts the tri-state. This week our panel features political commentator and CUNY Professor J.C. Polanco, noted author, associate professor of political science at Rutgers University and a senior scholar at that school’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, Dr. Saladin Ambar and NY Daily News editorial board member, Laura Nahmias.

TRANSCRIPT

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

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO METRO FOCUS.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN, AND IT'S TIME FOR OUR WEEKLY FRONT PAGE FORECAST.

EVERY MONDAY NIGHT WE'RE BRINGING YOU A LOOK AHEAD AT THE NEWS MAKING NATIONAL AND LOCAL HEADLINES AND HOW IT IMPACTS THE TRI-STATE.

TONIGHT, WE'LL EXAMINE THE LATEST CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING NEW YORK CITY'S PLAN TO REOPEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

WE'LL ALSO LOOK AT THE FALLOUT FROM BOB WOODWARD'S EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP ON WHAT THE PRESIDENT KNEW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS AND WHEN, SPECIFICALLY, HE KNEW IT.

WE'LL ALSO DISCUSS NEW YORK CITY'S CONTENTIOUS DECISION TO MOVE HOMELESS RESIDENTS OFF OF THE UPPER WEST SIDE.

LET'S GET INTO IT.

BACK WITH ME TONIGHT ARE LAURA.

HELLO.

HI, LAURA.

SHE'S A MEMBER OF THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL BOARD.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED AGAIN BY JC.

GREAT TO BE WITH YOU.

HE'S A POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, ATTORNEY, AND ON FACULTY OF UNIVERSITY.

HE WAS ALSO PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

AND WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY SALA DID INE.

HI, JENNA ZBLAES A NOTED AUTHOR AND ADVISER AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY AND A SENIOR SCHOLAR OF THE EAGLE INSURANCE STUFT POLITICS.

I'D LIKE TO WELCOME MY ENTIRE ROUNDTABLE.

LET'S GET STARTED WITH THE BIGGEST NEWS THAT HAPPENED OR WILL CONTINUE TO FALL OUT, AND THAT, OF COURSE, WAS PRESIDENT TRUMP'S INTERVIEW WITH BOB WOODWARD.

OKAY.

SO, BOB WOODWARD RELEASED THESE TAPES INDICATING THAT THE PRESIDENT WAS FULLY AWARE OF THE DANGEROUS, THE CONTAGIOUSNESS, AND WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE THE FALLOUT OF THE CORONAVIRUS.

AND ON THE TAPES WE HEARD HIM SAY THAT HE PREFERS TO PLAY IT DOWN, HE'S A CHEERLEADER FOR THE NATION.

SO, ACTUALLY, PROFESSOR, I WANT TO START WITH YOU JUST FROM YOUR POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE.

DO YOU SEE THE RELEASE OF THIS INFORMATION BEING DAMAGING TO THE PRESIDENT OR ARE WE SO FAR DOWN A ROAD WHERE EVERYONE IS IN THEIR POLITICAL CAMP, EVEN THIS DOESN'T MATTER?

WELL, JENNA, LET ME DATE MYSELF AND TELL YOU I WAS GROWING UP IN THE REAGAN YEARS WHEN PRESIDENT REAGAN WAS KNOWN AS THE TEFLON PRESIDENT.

I HAVE TO SAY DONALD TRUMP IS THE TEFLON PRESIDENT IF HE CAN GET AWAY WITH ESSENTIALLY SAYING THAT I -- NOT VIRTUALLY, HE SAID IT IN SO MANY WORDS, I LIKE PLAYING THIS DOWN, I CONTINUE TO PLAY THIS DOWN.

HE WAS VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD ABOUT ACKNOWLEDGING TO WOORD WOODWARD THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DIDN'T NEED TO KNOW THIS.

AND WE'RE SUFFERING THE CONSEQUENCES TODAY.

SO, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WE ARE FRANKLY IN A BIT OF A CULT PERSONALITY RATHER THAN A POLITICAL MOMENT WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP.

AND I DON'T HAVE MUCH HOPE THAT THIS WILL DO ANY KIND OF DAMAGE OR SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO HIS POLITICAL STANDING.

SEEMS HIS FOLLOWERS, HIS BELIEVERS, AND I HATE TO USE THAT WORD, I'M NOT TRYING TO --

WHICH WORD, FOLLOWER OR BELIEVER?

BELIEVERS.

BUT I'M NOT TRYING TO BE CHEEKY, BUT WHAT I AM SAYING IS THAT THIS IS NOT THE BEHAVIOR OF PEOPLE WHO ARE MEMBERS OF A POLITICAL PARTY.

THIS IS SOMETHING MORE THAN THAT.

WHEN HE SAID HE COULD SHOOT SOMEONE ON FIFTH AVENUE AND GET AWAY WITH IT, PERHAPS HE KNEW MORE THAN WHAT HE EVEN KNEW OR THOUGHT AT THE TIME.

AND SO, NO, I DON'T SEE IT REALLY DOING SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO HIM.

JC, HOW DO YOU -- I'M SORRY, WHAT WERE YOU GOING TO SAY?

I WAS JUST GOING TO SAY THAT IN ORDER FOR THIS TO NOT DO DAMAGE TO HIM, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE TO NOT AGREE ON A COMMON SET OF FACTS.

THEY HAVE TO NOT BELIEVE OR EVEN BE AWARE THAT THEY WERE BEING LIED TO.

WE HAVE TO HAVE A COMMON UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS A LIE AND WHAT IS THE TRUTH.

AND ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES OF AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENTS THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAS BEEN DISCREDITING THE MEDIA AND INDEPENDENT PRESS AND TAKING OVER OR CREATING CONFUSION ABOUT WHAT IS ACCURATE INFORMATION AND WHAT ISN'T.

AND I THINK THIS PRESIDENT HAS NEWLY EXPLOITED THAT POSSIBILITY AND THAT POTENTIAL IN AMERICA AND VERY MUCH TO -- TO HIS OWN BENEFIT, PARTICULARLY IN THIS KIND OF SITUATION.

WELL, JC, AGAIN, JUST GET YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW THIS COULD AFFECT OUR CURRENT POLITICAL GROUNDWORK RIGHT NOW OR EVEN DOES IT AFFECT IT?

DID IT DOES SEEM FOR A CERTAIN PORTION OF THE POPULATION THIS IS JUST SOMETHING ELSE TO SHRUG OFF AS FAKE NEWS OR NOT THE TRUTH OR SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES.

WELL, IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW HOW IMPORTANT BOB WOODWARD IS TO THE UNITED STATES AND OUR HISTORY WHETHER IT'S HIS WORK WITH DEEP THROAT, THE BUSH'S WAR, BALM'S WAR, FEAR, THIS BOOK.

AND IT SEEMS THAT THE AUTHOR HAS CONTRIBUTED MORE TO THE INNER WORKINGS TO THE MINDSET OF SOME OF THESE PRESIDENTS IN CONTEMPORARY HISTORY AT LEAST THAN BOB WOODWARD.

SO ANYONE WHO SITS WITH BOB WOOR WOODWARD THIS IS GOING TO BE THE REAL DEAL HOLY FIELD.

IT'S NOT GOING TO BE LET'S HOLD HANDS AND SING KUMBAYA.

THIS IS NOT A SOFT PIECE.

HE KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT HE'S DOING.

I DON'T KNOW WHO CONVINCED HIM TO SIT DOWN WITH BOB WOODWARD BUT HE'S THE BEST IN THE PIECE.

WHEN HE'S GONE, HIS WORK WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE ON.

AS FAR AS HOW THIEM S IMPACTS T PRESIDENT, THE BASE HAS A BASE I CAN EXPLAIN.

NOTHING AFFECTS THE BASE.

THIS WILL PLAY A ROLE IN 2020 WHERE ARE AND THAT'S THE INDEPENDENT VOTER.

THE REAL INDEPENDENT VOTER.

THE VOTER WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA OR WHO VOTED FOR TRUMP, WHO WOULD VOTE FOR BIDEN, THESE ARE VOTERS THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, WOULD VOTE FOR CANDIDATE AND MAY HAVE SAT ON THE FENCE LAST TIME BUT WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THIS ELECTION WAS DECIDED BY WHAT AMOUNTS TO A LESS THAN A SOUTH KOREA STADIUM FILLED TO CAPACITY IN THREE STATES AND A HAND FULL OF COUNTIES.

TO YOUR LARGER QUESTION, DOES THIS AFFECT THE BASE?

ABSOLUTELY NOT.

THERE'S NOTHING, NOTHING AT ALL THAT AFFECTS THE BASE.

BUT I'VE GOT TO ADD SOMETHING.

A LITTLE PUSHBACK TO THE MEDIA, JUST A LITTLE BIT.

IT'S TRUE, LAURA, YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

ONE OF THE SIGNS OF AN AUTHORITARIANIST CREATING A SITUATION WHERE THE PEOPLE NO LONGER BELIEVE IN THE MEDIA, I HAVE TO ADMIT THERE HAS BEEN MANY THINGS THE MEDIA HAS DONE THE LAST FEW YEARS THAT CONTRIBUTES TO HIS STRATEGY, WHETHER IT'S GOING OVERBOARD ON UNNAMED SORT OF SOURCES OR ANONYMOUS SOURCES, AND CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE IT KEEPS HIM -- WHETHER IT BE THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION AND THE FACT THAT IT LED TO NOWHERE IN THE MINDSET OF THE PUBLIC AT LARGE.

WHETHER WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IMPEACHMENT, WHERE HE DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH VOTES TO GET HIM OUT OF OFFICE AND YOU KNEW THAT WAS GOING TO BE A RISK.

AND THERE'S HAVE BELITTLE TBEEN VERY LITTLE TALK ON THE DNC ABOUT IMPEACHMENT.

THE MEDIA HAS ACTUALLY HELPED HIM.

LET'S NOT MENTION THE COUNTLESS HOURS OF COVERAGE GETS ON EVERYTHING HE DOES, EVEN ON DISINTEREST OR LEFT OF CENTER MEDIA.

THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS THAT THE MEDIA THINK IS HELPING A PERSON LIKE PRESIDENT TRUMP --

LAURA, SINCE THAT WAS DIRECTED AT YOU, I'D LOVE TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS.

I THINK JC'S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

I THINK THAT THIS PRESIDENT KNOWS MORE THAN ANY POLITICIAN I'VE SEEN HOW TO EXPLOIT WHAT ARE THE WEAKNESSES IN -- IN AMERICAN MEDIA, WHICH IS A FOR-PROFIT.

MOST OUTLETS ARE FOR PROFIT.

THEY HAVE PROFIT MOTIVE, THEY NEED TO DRAW EYES, SUBSCRIBERS, VIEWERS, AND THAT IS SOMETIMES AT ODDS WITH WHAT THEIR STATED MISSION IS.

WHICH IS TO GIVE THE PUBLIC THE BEST AND MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

I MEAN, THAT'S BEEN TRUE FOR OUTLETS IN AMERICA, NEWS ORGANIZATIONS THROUGHOUT HISTORY.

WE HAVEN'T ALWAYS BEEN SUCH HIGH-MINDED, IDEALISTIC ACTORS.

AND I THINK THAT TRUMP, YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, HAS EFFECTIVELY EXPLOITED ALL OF THOSE FLAWS AND WEAKNESSES IN THE WAY THAT MEDIA FUNCTIONS IN AMERICA.

AND I THINK THE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS ARE TRYING VERY HARD TO HAVE AN ACCOUNTING OF THAT AND WHAT MISTAKES THEY MADE AND HOPEFULLY -- HOPEFULLY THEIR SELF-EXAMINATION RESULTS IN BETTER RESULTS AND ON MORE INFORMED LECT INFOR INFORMED ELECTORATES IN THE FUTURE.

I'D LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR WHAT SOUNDS LIKE A VOTE FOR LOW KEY MEDIA.

I WANT TO STICK WITH THIS BECAUSE THERE WAS ALSO A LOT OF OUTRAGE AND INDIGNATION OVER THE FACT THAT BOB WOODWARD SAT ON THIS INFORMATION FOR MONTHS.

WE HAVE CLOSE TO 200,000 AMERICAN LIVES THAT HAVE BEEN LOST, AND HAD, PERHAPS, PEOPLE KNOWN WHAT THE PRESIDENT KNEW EARLIER ON, THAT MAYBE SOME OF THOSE LIVES COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED.

SO I JUST WANT TO GET, ESPECIALLY YOUR OPINION AS AN EDITOR, FROM A JOURNALISTIC PERSPECTIVE, IS THAT ETHICAL DO THAT?

I -- WELL, I'M NOT BOB WOODWARD, I DON'T KNOW -- MAYBE I WISH I WERE.

I -- ALL REPORTERS HAVE BEEN IN A PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE A STORY THAT YOU ARE WORKING ON OR A PRODUCT OR A BOOK OR SOMETHING AND YOU HOLD ON TO INFORMATION THAT YOU GATHER OVER THE COURSE OF REPORTING AND HOLD IT FOR THE FINISHED PRODUCT.

I DID SEE BOB WOODWARD SAY THAT HE WAS TRYING TO -- HE DIDN'T KNOW AT THE TIME HOW BAD WHAT TRUMP SAID WAS.

PARTICULARLY ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THE FACT THAT TRUMP SAID HE KNEW THE VIRUS WAS AIRBORNE, IT'S TAKEN MANY MONTHS FOR SCIENTISTS TO REACH THE CONCLUSION SINCE FEBRUARY/MARCH THAT ACTUALLY THE VIRUS IS LIKELY AIRBORNE.

BUT, HIS DOWN-PLAYING OF THE VIRUS, I MEAN, IS IT BOB WOODWARD'S ROLE TO INFORM THE PUBLIC OR IS IT TO WRITE A BOOK THAT IS GOING TO SELL?

IS IT BOTH?

DO THOSE THINGS CLASH WITH EACH OTHER?

IT'S POSSIBLE.

IN HINDSIGHT IT IS ALWAYS 20/20.

SOMETIMES YOU LOOK AT YOUR INTERVIEW NOETSDSTES AND LOOK O THEM AND IT DOESN'T DAWN ON YOU WHAT'S BEING SAID HOW MOMENTOUS SOMETHING IS THAT BEEN SAID TO YOU.

THAT HAPPENS AS WELL.

BUT THAT WAS DEFINITELY BOMBSHELL INFORMATION TO SIT ON FOR SUCH A LONG TIME WHEN SO MANY -- HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS HAVE DIED.

SO CERTAINLY TOUGH CALL.

BUT, WITH ALL OF THAT IN MIND, THEN, SO WE NOW HAVE THIS PANDEMIC THAT HAS STRETCHED ON.

WE'VE LOST, LIKE I SAID, 200,000 OR CLOSE TO 200,000 AMERICAN LIVES.

AND WE HAVE A NEW SCHOOL YEAR UNDER WAY.

SO I WANT TO START WITH YOU, PROFESSOR, AND JUST GET YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FACT THAT THIS STILL DOES NOT SEEM CLEAR.

WE NOW HAVE TEACHERS, AT LEAST IN NEW YORK CITY, WHO ARE RESISTING OR NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE IDEA OF HAVING TO GO INTO THE CLASSROOM, EVEN THOUGH THEY'VE SORT OF STARTED VIRTUALLY.

WE'RE HEARING STORIES, OF COURSE, FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHERE KIDS ARE GETTING SICK, SOME TEACHERS HAVE GOTTEN SICK.

SOME TEACHERS HAVE DIED.

WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US?

BECAUSE THIS DOESN'T SEEM LIKE THIS IS A SHORT-TERM FIX THAT WE NEED.

WE NEED SOMETHING A LONG-TERM PLAN THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO EXIST.

WELL, I THINK THE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE GOTTEN THIS RIGHT, AND THERE ARE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE GOTTEN THIS RIGHT, ARE THOSE WITH, YOU KNOW, NO QUALMS ABOUT, YOU KNOW, UTILIZING A STRONG SAFETY NET TO HELP WITH CHILD CARE, TO HELP WITH SUPPLEMENTAL INCOME.

I THINK WE'VE TOLD PEOPLE YOU HAVE $1,200, GOOD LUCK.

WE HAVE NOT ATTACKED THE PROBLEM NATIONALLY AND COMPREHENSIVELY.

IT'S BEEN AD-HOC AND PATCHWORKED.

THIS PANDEMIC IS REVEALING ALL OF THE FLAWS WITH OUR GENERAL WELFARE SYSTEM WHICH IS PART OF OUR CONSTITUTION.

WE HAVE RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES, AND PART OF THOSE RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES AS FDR TRIED TO TEACH US SOME 80 YEARS AGO IS THE RIGHT TO, YOU KNOW, A DECENT LIVING, TO A DECENT WAGE.

YOU KNOW, THE RIGHT TO RAISE YOUR KIDS AND BE A PRODUCTIVE, WORKING PERSON.

AND IT'S HARD TO BE UPSET WITH FAMILIES WHO ARE UPSET WITH THE SYSTEM RIGHT NOW WHICH IS TELLING THEM -- SOME OF THEM ANYWAY, GO BACK TO WORK WHILE THEIR CHILDREN ARE IN SCHOOLS POSSIBLY GETTING SICK.

AND IF THEY WERE TO STAY HOME, THEN WHO WOULD MIND THOSE CHILDREN IF THEY HAVE TO BE AT WORK?

IT'S A VICIOUS CYCLE THAT FEEDS UPON ITSELF THAT IS REALLY, YOU KNOW, A RESULT OF OUR INABILITY TO PRIORITIZE, YOU KNOW, A KIND OF BOTTOM LINE UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY AND WHAT ARE WE ENTITLED TO?

WHAT ARE WE OBLIGATED TO?

WHAT ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES?

BUT WHAT ARE OUR EXPECTATION AS CITIZENS?

WE HAVE A NATIONAL PANDEMIC OF AN EPIC SCALE.

WE ARE APPROACHING CIVIL WAR DEATH PROPORTION, AND FRANKLY IT'S JUST, YOU KNOW, AN EXAMPLE OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM IN THE WORST.

GIVEN THE FACT THAT CANADA IS NOT EXPERIENCING THIS PROBLEM IN THIS WAY WITH THIS LEVEL OF SUFFERING, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA, THERE ARE A HOST OF COUNTRIES, GERMANY THAT ARE MANAGING THIS.

IF EVERYONE WAS, YOU KNOW, MISMANAGING IT, THE CRISIS AS WE ARE, THEN I THINK WE COULD TALK ABOUT THIS BEING JUST SOMETHING THAT'S -- CANNOT BE HELPED, AS TRUMP TOLD WOODWARD IN THE IS SOMETHING THAT COULD NOT BE DEALT WITH.

THAT'S NOT TRUE.

OTHER COUNTRIES ARE DEALING WITH IT AND DOING A FAR BETTER JOB.

WE HAVE TO COME TO GRIPS WITH THAT AS A COUNTRY IF WE WANT TO REMAIN NOT JUST A POWERFUL COUNTRY BUT A COMPASSIONATE COUNTRY GOING INTO THE LATTER PART OF THE 21st 20.

I WELL, AGAIN HERE IN NEW YORK WE'RE HEARING STORIES THAT, LIKE I SAID, TEACHERS ARE SAYING THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GO INTO THE CLASSROOM TO TEACH WHEN CLASSES FORMALLY START.

WE ALSO HAVE SOME PRINCIPALS SAYING THAT THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH STAFF TO RUN THE SCHOOL.

FOR LACK OF A BETTER DESCRIPTION, WHAT IS GOING ON?

FIRST, LET ME PUSH BACK A LITTLE BIT.

I THINK THAT -- I THINK THERE IS INCREDIBLE AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM THAT WE CAN LOOK BACK, LOOK AT OUR FIRST RESPONDERS, LOOK AT OUR DOCTORS, LOOK AT OUR NURSES, LOOK AT HOW THE MEDIA, YOURSELF, JENNA, LOOK HOW WE AS A SOCIETY HAVE PULLED TOGETHER TO DEAL WITH THIS CRISIS AND PANDEMIC.

I THINK WE'VE DONE AN INCREDIBLE JOB.

WE'RE AN INCREDIBLE COUNTRY IN THAT WE TAKE CARE OF OUR POOREST.

IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE, WE PROVIDE MEDICAID.

THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN INCREDIBLE PROVIDING FOOD, AND MONEY TO COUNTRIES WHO NEED IT.

WE'RE NOT PERFECT, FAR FROM IT.

BUT AS THE SON OF IMMIGRANTS THERE'S NO PLACE BETTER THAN US.

WE HAVE A SHORT COMING RIGHT NOW THAT I THINK WE'RE ALL EXPERIENCING TOGETHER.

WE SEE AN ADMINISTRATION THAT'S BEEN SLOW TO REACT IN SOME PARTS.

WE'VE SEEN A CONGRESS THAT'S GONE BACK HOME AND NOT TAKEN CARE OF FUNDING THE EXTRA MONEY THAT IS NEEDED SO THAT FAMILIES CAN STAY HOME WITH THEIR KIDS, AS THE PROFESSOR JUST MENTIONED, WHICH I THINK IS AN IMPORTANT POINT.

I THINK THERE'S A LOT FOR US DO.

AS FAR AS OUR CHILDREN FOR NEW YORK CITY, I DO THINK IT'S A SHAME THAT IT'S NOW GOING TO THE SECOND WEEK OF SEPTEMBER AND OUR PARENTS ARE STILL IN LIMBO.

I THINK THAT THE SOLUTION FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, LIKE I MENTIONED TO YOU BEFORE, JENNA, WHEN ALL OF THIS START AND WE CAME BACK, WAS WE NEEDED TO DO WHAT THE CITY OF UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK WHERE I'M AT WHEN WHICH IS MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE'S FULLY TRAINED ON TEACHING STUDENTS ONLINE SO THAT THEY GET A QUALITY EDUCATION ONLINE AND A QUALITY SYNCHRONOUS EDUCATION USING VARIOUS SOFTWARE, USING BLACKBOARD, PROVIDING STUDENTS WITH LAPTOPS AND WIFI IF THEY NEED IT.

MAKING SURE THAT PARENTS KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON BY CONTINUOUSLY EMAILING THEM THE INFORMATION THAT THEY NEED.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE A COMPUTE, HE NEW YORK CITY PROVIDES THAT FOR YOU.

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK PROVIDES IT FOR ITS STUDENTS.

THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS WE CAN DO LIKE THE PROFESSOR JUST MENTIONED, WE CAN PROVIDE THE FUNDING FOR COMPUTERS AND TRAINING AND MAKE SURE THAT PARENTS HAVE THE TOOLS SO THAT THE STUDENTS CAN DO WELL.

BUT I REALLY THINK THAT THE CITY REALLY DROPPED THE BALL.

WE KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO BE A PROBLEM HEADING INTO THE FALL.

THERE MAY BE A SECOND WAVE.

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO SNTHEN?

I KNOW TEACHERS ARE GETTING BEAT UP REGULARLY.

YOU CAN'T FORCE PEOPLE TO WORK.

THESE ARE LICENSED PROFESSIONALS.

PEOPLE LOVE WHAT THEY DO.

THEY'RE NOT GETTING PAID A LOT OF MONEY.

YOU TELL THEM TO GO OUT THERE AND PUT THEMSELVES AT RISK, GIVE THEM THE TOOLS NECESSARY SO THEY KNOW HOW TO TEACH OUR STUDENTS IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE USING ONLINE SYSTEMS.

THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT YOU CAN'T FORCE THE TEACHERS TO DO SOMETHING THAT'S NOT ONLY AGAINST THEIR WILL, BUT IT'S DANGEROUS TO THEM.

WE HAVE TO BE THOUGHTFUL ABOUT THIS.

SORRY IF I SPOKE TOO LONG.

THAT'S FINE.

THAT WAS AN EXCELLENT POINT YOU MADE.

AGAIN, SO MUCH NUANCE AND SUBTLETY THAT GOES INTO THIS THAT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE ABLE TO SUS THAT OUT.

WE TALKED ABOUT FAMILIES DEALING WITH GOING BACK TO SCHOOL AND HOW CHALLENGING THAT IS.

BUT THINK WE'RE TALKING ABOUT MIDDLE CLASS OR WORKING CLASS FAMILIES.

WE'VE -- UNFORTUNATELY, NEW YORK CITY HAD A HOMELESS CRISIS BEFORE THE PANDEMIC HIT.

AND NOW WE'RE, OF COURSE, WITH THIS ADDITIONAL CRISIS OF THE CORONAVIRUS WE'RE SEEING THAT ALSO GET AEXACERBATED.

ONE OF THE AREAS WHERE THAT HAS BEEN A FLASH POINT HAS BEEN THE UPPER WEST SIDE.

AND WE UNDERSTAND NOW THAT THE MAYOR HAS A PLAN TO MOVE SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PUT INTO HOTELS JUST TO GIVE THEM A PLACE TO STAY AND TO GET THEM OFF THE STREET ELSEWHERE AND THAT THIS IS UNSEEMLY, I GUESS, IN THE EYES SOME OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ADVOCATES, AT LEAST, FOR THE HOMELESS, ET CETERA.

SO, LAURA, JUST TO SORT OF GET THE STORY AT LEAST FROM YOU, CAN YOU GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT IT IS THAT WE'RE SEEING HAPPEN?

WHAT'S PLAYING OUT RIGHT NOW ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE?

WHAT'S HAPPENING IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE WORST POLITICAL INSTINCTS OF MAYOR de BLASIO, UNFORTUNATELY.

FOR MONTHS, THE CITY HAD BEEN -- BECAUSE OF THE ONGOING HEALTH EMERGENCY -- TAKING SINGLE ADULT HOMELESS RESIDENTS OUT OF SHELTERS WHERE THEY WERE CONGREGATE AND THEY COULD NOT SOCIAL DISTANCE SAFELY AND PLACING THEM INTO HOTELS WHERE THEY COULD FIND THEM.

SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT GET SICK AND DIE FROM CORONAVIRUS.

AND AS OF ABOUT A MONTH AGO, THE CITY HAD SUCCESSFULLY MOVED MORE THAN 9,000 OF THESE SINGLE ADULTS INTO SHELTERS AND THEY HAVE LOWERED THE NUMBER OF ACTIVE CORONAVIRUS CASES AMONG THE ENTIRE HOMELESS POPULATION.

MORE THAN 65,000 PEOPLE TO SINGLE DIGITS OF ACTIVE CORONAVIRUS CASES, WHICH IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE EFFORT ON THE PART OF THE CITY TO PRESERVE PEOPLE'S LIVES.

AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT THE MAYOR SHOULD HAVE COME OUT AND TALKED ABOUT AND HE ALSO SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE TRANSPARENT AND ACKNOWLEDGED WHERE THERE WERE MISTAKES MADE IN DECIDING AND SELECTION OF WHERE TO PUT PEOPLE.

ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES WAS JUST THE VERY RECENT SELECTION OF THIS HOTEL ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE TO PUT PEOPLE -- THE RESIDENTS HAD NO FOREWARNING OF IT, IT WAS MUCH LATER THAN A LOT OF THE OTHER HOTELS WERE OPENED UP FOR RELOCATING SOME OF THESE HOMELESS ADULTS.

AND THERE WERE COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS AND THERE WERE ENFORCEMENT PROBLEMS AND OPEN AIR DRUG USE AND OTHER QUALITY OF LIFE PROBLEMS.

THOSE THINGS COULD HAVE CONCEIVABLY BEEN BETTER ADDRESSED.

THEY SHOULD STILL BE ADDRESSED.

BUT THE MAYOR VISITED THIS ONE SITE ONLY, ONE HOTEL OUT OF 63 COMMERCIAL HOTELS THAT THE CITY WAS USING TO HOW'S SINGLE ADULTS, SAW SOMETHING UNACCEPTABLE, WHICH HE WOULDN'T ELABORATE ON, AND DECIDED TO MOVE PEOPLE OUT OF THAT HOTEL ONLY.

AND THE HEALTH EMERGENCY IS NOT OVER AND IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THIS, HE HAD TO MOVE HOMELESS FAMILIES OUT OF A SHELTER IN ORDER TO HOUSE THE MEN WHO WERE BEING MOVED FROM THE UPPER WEST SIDE.

I DON'T THINK ANYONE CAN REALLY DISPUTE THAT THIS IS A TERRIBLE WAY TO MAKE POLICY, TO PURSUE IT -- A POLICY FOR THREE MONTHS AND THEN TO UNILATERALLY DECIDE ON THE BASIS OF A SINGLE INCIDENT AT A HOTEL TO UNDO IT BUT NOT ACROSS THE BOARD.

IT'S -- IT'S -- I MEAN, IT'S ASTONISHING.

PROFESSOR, I SEE YOU SHAKING YOUR HEAD.

I'D LOVE TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS.

YOU KNOW, JENNA, MY FIRST POLITICAL ACT WAS AS A 15-YEAR-OLD YOUNG MAN WHO WORKED WITH AN ORGANIZATION IN NEW YORK.

WE TOOK PRIMARILY BLACK BUT ALSO LATINO CHILDREN FROM NEW YORK CITY'S WELFARE HOTELS AND WE BROUGHT THEN TO ENFIELD, NORTH CAROLINA, AND WE SPENT THE SUMMER TEACHING THEM AND GETTING THEM OUT OF THE CITY IN THE RAT INFESTED ENVIRONMENTS THAT THEY WERE AFFLICTED WITH AT THE TIME.

THIS WAS IN 1985.

I WAS A 15-YEAR-OLD DEALING WITH CHILDREN LIVING IN HOMELESS SHELTERED HOTELS.

AND I'M SHAKING MY HEAD BECAUSE WHILE I APPRECIATE JC'S A LITTLE MORE SANGUINE ABOUT THIS THAN I AM.

WE ARE DEALING WITH AN ISSUE THAT SAYS A GREAT DEAL ABOUT OUR COMPASSION OR PRIORITIES AS A NATION, THE HOMELESS CRISIS IS WITH US AND THEY'RE INTERRELATED.

THE STUDENT CRISIS AND THE HOMELESS CRISIS ARE INTERRELATED BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF HOMELESSNESS AMONG NEW YORK CITY'S STUDENT POPULATION.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO PUT A LAPTOP IF YOU DON'T HAVE A HOME?

WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO CONNECT IF YOU DON'T HAVE WIFI?

WHAT ABOUT THE VIOLENCE IN THE HOME AND ALL OF THE RESOURCES THAT ARE LACKING?

YOU KNOW, WE JUST, YOU KNOW, THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT MICROSOFT CAN FIX.

THIS IS A SYSTEMIC DEEP PROBLEM THAT GOES BACK MANY DECADES AND WE JUST HAVEN'T PRIORITIZED IT BECAUSE THE HOMELESS HAVE NO -- ARE NOT A POLITICAL CONSTITUENCY.

THEY'RE NOT A VOTING BLOCK THAT ANYONE CARES ABOUT.

AND I HAVE TREMENDOUS RESPECT FOR THOSE ADVOCATES THAT YOU MENTIONED EARLIER IN YOUR COMMENTS WHO DO THE DIRTY WORKDAY IN AND DAY OUT TO LOOK AFTER PEOPLE WHO POLITICIANS PAY VERY LITTLE ATTENTION TO.

SO I'M SHAKING MY HEAD BECAUSE I'VE BEEN AT THIS AS JUST A PERSON OF COLOR, WHO GREW UP ON WELFARE FOR A TIME, KNOWING THE HOMELESSNESS, KNOWING PEOPLE WHO, HOMELESS IN MY FAMILY FOR A TIME, I WISH I COULD BE AS SANGUINE AS JC ABOUT OUR CONCERN AND CARE AND INTEREST IN THE POOR BECAUSE I JUST DON'T SEE IT.

IT'S A DEEP PROBLEM AND IT DISTURBS ME.

JC, I HAVE TO GIVE YOU THE LAST WORD.

WELL, I GREW UP POOR IN THE BRONX AND I AM WHERE I AM BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY.

PEOPLE LIKE PROFESSOR AND LAURA AND YOURSELF AND WHOR HAS CONTRIBUTED TO MAKING THIS A GREAT PLACE WHERE A KID WHO IS THE SON OF IMMIGRANTS CAN MAKE IT.

I KNOW WE'RE NOT PERFECT AND I DIDN'T MEAN -- I WAS SURE TO SAY THAT WE'RE NOT, BUT WE ARE EXCEPTIONAL.

AS FAR AS THIS PROBLEM WITH THE HOMELESS CRISIS, WHAT I HEAR ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT THE MAYOR SAW WITH HIS EYES, THESE ARE ISSUES THAT I'M SURE THE PROFESSOR AND LAURA, I SAW GROWING UP IN THE CITY EVERY DAY.

WE HAVE THESE HOTELS ALL OVER MY BLOCK GROWING UP IN THE MUST HAVE BEEN A CULTURE SHOCK FOR THE FOLKS ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE.

IT MAY HAVE MADE THE MAYOR CLUTCH HIS PEARLS A LITTLE BIT.

BUT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE'VE SEEN.

IT'S SOMETHING WE'VE DEALT WITH AND IN OUR COMMUNITIES FOR A LONG TIME.

AND FINALLY SOME PEOPLE THAT NEVER EXPERIENCED IT GOT A LITTLE FLAVOR OF IT AND DON'T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE IT AND IT'S TIME THEY GET SOME SENSITIVITY TRAINING AND BE TAUGHT ON HOW TO BEST DEAL WITH THESE ISSUES OTHER THAN JUST MOVING PEOPLE OUT AND CREATING THAT KIND OF SHOCK FOR THE FAMILIES THAT HAVE BEEN TAKEN OUT OF THERE.

NOT TO MENTION, A LOT OF THE RESPONSES BY A LOT OF THE NEIGHBORS THAT LIVE IN THE AREA, I'M SURE THIS WASN'T SOMETHING THAT THE MAYOR DID UNILATERALLY.

HE MUST HAVE GOTTEN A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM THE PEOPLE IN THE AREA TO GO AHEAD AND DO THIS.

SO I THINK THERE ARE A LOT THE CITY NEEDS TO EXPERIENCE SOME OF THIS DIVERSITY IN INCOME, EVENI ETHNICITY AND RELIGION AND SO THEY CAN SEE WHAT SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE IN THE CITY DEAL WITH ON A REGULAR BASIS.

I WANT TO THANK MY ENTIRE ROUNDTABLE FOR JOINING ME TODAY.

WE WILL CONTINUE TO SEE NOT ONLY HOW THEE STORIESE STORIES PLAY AS THIS NEWS CYCLE BRINGS US STARTLING AND SOMETIMES SHOCKING NEW INFORMATION.

I'D LIKE TO THANK AGAIN LAURA FROM THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.

JC, FACULTY MEMBER AT QMBCC, AND OF COURSE THANK YOU TO SALADINE WITH THE RECORDS UNIVERSITY POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT AND OF COURSE THE EAGLETON INSTITUTE OF POLITICS.

THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING ME AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO ANOTHER CONVERSATION.

THANK YOU.

HAVE A GOOD DAY.

THANK YOU.

ABSOLUTELY.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

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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