FRONT PAGE FORECAST: February 22, 2021

A look at the news that will be making local and national headlines this week and the impact on the tri-state area. Joining us tonight are Emmy-award winning journalist, Anchor and Executive Producer of the weekly public radio show “Latino USA” Maria Hinojosa, CUNY Professor and former President of the New York City Board of Elections, J.C. Polanco and New York Daily News editorial board member Laura Nahmias.

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO THE 'METROFOCUS' FORECAST, I'M JENNA FLANAGAN, IT'S OUR WEEKLY LOOK AHEAD AT THE NEWS THAT WILL BE MAKING LOCAL AND NATIONAL HEADLINES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE TRI-STATE.

SO TONIGHT WE'LL TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IN THE NURSING HOME SCANDAL AS NEW YORK LAWMAKERS TAKE THE MAT NEAR THEIR OWN HANDS AND GOVERNOR CUOMO STAIRS DOWN A POSSIBLE THIRD TERM.

> AND WE WILL DISCUSS THE DISTURBING SURGE OF HATE CRIMES AGAINST ASIAN-AMERICANS AND WHAT'S BEING DONE TO STOP IT AND WE'LL CHECK IN ON WASHINGTON WHERE DEMOCRATS ARE REPORTEDLY ON THE VERGE OF PASSING A MASSIVE COVID RELIEF RESCUE PLAN, AS THE COUNTRY SURPASSES 500,000 VIRUS DEATHS.

AND NEWARK OPENS TWO OF ITS LARGEST VACCINATION SITES SO LET'S GET STARTED WITH OUR 'METROFOCUS' ROUND TABLE, AND OUR GUESTS WILL ALSO BE ADDING IN ON WHAT THEY THINK MIGHT BE THE MAJOR HEADLINES DRIVING THE NEWS CYCLE THIS WEEK.

FIRST, WE HAVE MARIA HINOJOSA AN EMMY AWARD WINNING JOURNALIST AND THE ANCHOR AND THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF THE PUBLIC RADIO SHOW LATINO U.S.

MARIA, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

GREAT TO BE BACK.

WE ALSO HAVE JC POLANCO, A POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND ATTORNEY, FACULTY MEMBER, AND THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

JC, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

SO HAPPY TO BE HERE AND I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M HERE WITH MARIA, MY DAD WOULD BE VERY HAPPY.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST I COULDN'T LEAVE OUT WE ARE JOINED AGAIN BY OUR FRIEND LAURA, A MEMBER OF THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL BOARD, LAURA WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

SO LET'S GET STARTED.

AND START WITH OF COURSE THE CONTINUED FALLOUT WITH THE NURSING HOME SCANDAL.

WE NOW UNDERSTAND THAT AS I SAID AT THE BEGINNING, THAT NEW YORK LAWMAKERS ARE REALLY JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THEY'RE GOING TO HANDLE THE SITUATION, SINCE IT SEEMS AS IF NOBODY IN ALBANY FEELS AS THOUGH GOVERNOR CUOMO HAS, IN A PROPER MANNER, AND JC I WILL START WITH YOU AND YOUR TAKE ON WHAT YOU SEE HAPPENING AT LEAST WHAT THE STATES LEGISLATURE IS CONSIDERING GOING FORWARD.

I THINK WHAT YOU'RE SEEING IS THE EXCITEMENT THAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE POLITICS, IN THIS COUNTRY, WHERE PEOPLE WITHIN THE SAME PARTY INVESTIGATE EACH OTHER, MAKE SURE EACH OTHER IS DOING THE RIGHT JOB WITHOUT FEAR OF CENSURE OR FEAR OF RETRIBUTION AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL LEADING THE CHARGE WITH THIS SCATHING REPORT, INVESTIGATING THE NUMBER OF DEATHS THAT HAVE HAPPENED IN OUR NURSING HOMES.

YOU HAVE ELECTED OFFICIALS FROM BOTH PARTY, MANY DEMOCRATS AS WELL, DEMANDING THAT THERE BE A FURTHER INVESTIGATION SO WE CAN SEE WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

I THINK THAT'S ALL GOOD AND GOOD FOR DEMOCRACY.

I DO THINK, HOWEVER, THAT WE HAVE TO STOP FOR A SECOND AND WAIT FOR THIS INVESTIGATION TO HAPPEN, I THINK THAT, ANY IDEA THAT GOVERNOR CUOMO'S DONE IS A LITTLE PREMATURE, AND I THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO LOOK INTO THESE NUMBERS AND SEE EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED, AND WHERE THESE NUMBERS ARE REPORTED FOR NEFARIOUS REASONS, WE K--

I THINK THERE IS A LOT TO BE SAID ABOUT WHERE THE INVESTIGATION LEADS.

ONE THING FOR SURE, THE GOVERNOR HAS TAKEN A COUPLE OF MAJOR HITS FROM THIS.

HOW HE RESPONSES MATTERS.

NEW YORK DOESN'T TO SEE TRUMP 2.0 IN NEW YORK.

THEY WANT TO SEE A MORE UNDERSTANDING, SYMPATHETIC RESPONSE AS FAR AS THE GOVERNOR IS CONCERN THE.

BUT I THINK IT IS REALLY EARLY IN THIS INVESTIGATION.

MARIA, THERE'S BEEN SO MANY DISPARITIES IN TERMS OF WHO'S BEEN HIT HARDEST BY THIS VIRUS, AND OF COURSE, THIS NURSING HOME SCANDAL SEEMS TO SORT OF PLAY INTO THAT.

DO YOU SEE THIS AS EITHER AN OPPORTUNITY FOR, ESPECIALLY THE STATE GOVERNMENT TO STEP UP AND PERHAPS HOLD AN EXECUTIVE'S FEET TO THE FIRE, OR DO YOU SEE THIS AS SOMETHING WHERE IT'S MORE OF A PR, I GUESS, ISSUE FOR GOVERNOR CUOMO?

LOOK, FIRST OF ALL, FOR ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR ELDERLY FAMILY, YOU KNOW, WE FEEL FOR YOU, RIGHT?

I MEAN I JUST LOST A COUSIN, A MONTH AGO.

SO EVERYBODY IS JUST, YOU KNOW, THERE'S JUST SO MUCH DEATH.

I THINK FOR ME, I REMEMBER, I HAD COVID, ACTUALLY IN MARCH, IS WHEN I GOT SICK, SO THROUGHOUT ALL OF MARCH AND APRIL, I WAS PRETTY SICK, AND I JUST REMEMBER WATCHING THE CUOMO BRIEFINGS.

LOOK, I'M A JOURNALIST.

POLITICIANS TO ME, IT'S GOING TO TAKE A LOT FOR ME TO FEEL MUCH ABOUT ANY POLITICIAN, BECAUSE I'M A JOURNALIST, AND I'M HARD-NOSED, BUT I WILL TELL YOU THOSE DAILY BRIEFINGS, WHEN I WAS SO SICK, WERE SO ESSENTIAL TO MY SENSE OF BEING.

SO I KIND OF FEEL LIKE WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH CUOMO, PROBABLY A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL THE SAME WAY, IT'S JUST LIKE WELL, HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN AT THE SAME TIME?

I REMEMBER AS A JOURNALIST, I MEAN I MAY HAVE BEEN SICK WITH COVID BUT I ALSO HAD QUESTIONS, I WAS LIKE WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THE FACT THAT WE DON'T HAVE ANY RACIAL BREAKDOWN NUMBERS AT THE VERY BEGINNING?

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

THAT WE'RE ONLY TALKING ABOUT CASES, BUT THERE WAS NO BREAKDOWN?

I REMEMBER THE REPORTERS WERE ALWAYS ASKING.

SO YOU KNOW, WAS THAT OBFUSCATION?

WAS THAT NEFARIOUS?

WAS IT MISMANAGEMENT?

WAS IT OVERWHELMING.

I MEAN AT THAT POINT NEW YORK WAS THE EPICENTER.

I THINK YOU'RE RIGHT, JENNA, LET'S TAKE THIS AS A MOMENT TO TALK ABOUT THESE GREATER INEQUALITIES, WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING, WHY IS IT THAT THIS HAPPENED -- BECAUSE THERE ARE PROBLEMS, RIGHT?

WHO'S ACCOUNTABLE FOR OUR ELDERL ELDERLY?

AND WHO'S CARES FOR THEM?

AND BY THE WAY TO END ON THIS THOUGHT, WE WILL TALK ABOUT IMMIGRATION AT SOME POINT IN THE SHOW, BUT MANY OF THE PEOPLE WE ARE CARING FOR ARE BLACK AND LATINO, WORKER, PUTTING THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE AS WELL.

AND THERE IS A LARGER, AS YOU SAID, A MUCH LARGER STORY ABOUT INEQUALITY HERE.

LAURA, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN.

SIMPLY BECAUSE THIS HAS BEEN OBVIOUSLY AN ONGOING ISSUE THAT'S BEEN AT LEAST AWARE TO THE NEW YORK PRESS CORPS FOR MONTHS AT THIS POINT.

BUT NOW THAT THE STORY HAS BROKEN AS SOMETHING OF A SCANDAL, IT SEEMS AS IF PERHAPS THE ADMINISTRATION, THE FORMER ADMINISTRATION TREATED IT AS AN UNFORTUNATE EVENT BUT SOMETHING THAT MIGHT GO AWAY, AND THIS ISN'T GOING AWAY.

THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT HAS NOW MADE IT ON TO AN 'SNL' SKETCH, SO IT SEEMS TO BE A BIG PROBLEM.

YES, I THINK THIS IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST PUBLIC RELATIONS PROBLEMS THE GOVERNOR HAS EVER HAD.

WHAT IS REALLY IRONIC IS THE SCANDAL, I THINK, IS NOT SO MUCH THAT SO MANY PEOPLE DIED IN NURSING HOMES, WHICH IS AN ASTONISHING NUMBER, 15,000 PEOPLE, BUT THE PROPORTION OF NEW YORK'S DEATHS THAT WERE AMONG NURSING HOME RESIDENTS, IS ABOUT 35%, 33%, IT'S ROUGHLY THE SAME IN MOST STATES, IN THE COUNTRY.

IF THE VIRUS GOT INTO A NURSING HOME, PEOPLE, PEOPLE DIED, IT WAS A DEADLY, DEADLY VIRUS.

WHAT IS REALLY TRIPPING UP CUOMO AND HAS BEEN, AND HAS BEEN FOR HIS ENTIRE CAREER, AS GOVERNOR, IS THE FACT THAT HE IS OVERLY SECRETIVE, THAT HE IS SOMETIMES ALMOST ALLERGIC TO TRANSPARENCY, THAT THEY WITHHELD THESE NUMBERS FOR REASONS THAT WEREN'T CLEAR, THAT GENERATED ALL OF THIS SUSPICION ABOUT THEIR MOTIVES, AND WE'VE SEEN THE GOVERNOR BE SECRETIVE AND WITHHOLDING ON ANY NUMBER OF THINGS OVER THE PAST FEW DECADES, BUT NOTHING HAS BROKEN THROUGH TO THE WIDER PUBLIC LIKE THIS, IN PART BECAUSE THE GOVERNOR HAD SUCH A LARGE NATIONAL PLATFORM TO TALK ABOUT CORONAVIRUS, AND WAS, FOR SO MANY MONTHS IN THE SPRING, A REAL LIKE VOICE OF REASON AND FACT-BASED LEADER, AND SCIENCE AND DATA-BASED LEADER, IN OPPOSITION TO TRUMP.

AND SO IT'S A REAL FALL FROM GRACE, IN THAT RESPECT.

AND WHAT'S REALLY UNFORTUNATE ABOUT IT IS HOW AVOIDABLE IT SEEMS, AS A MISTAKE.

DID THEY HAVE TO BE THAT WITHHOLDING OF THE DATA?

IT SEEMS LIKE, LIKE POTENTIALLY NOT PLAUSIBLE, THEIR REASONING FOR WHY THEY WITHHELD IT, AND IT DOESN'T MERIT IT.

BUT IT'S A TACTIC THAT WE'VE SEEN OVER AND OVER FROM THIS GOVERNOR AND HIS ADMINISTRATION, AND IT JUST HAS NEVER BROKEN THROUGH TO THE WIDER PUBLIC IN THIS WAY BEFORE, IN MY OPINION.

SO BEFORE WE LEAVE THIS SUBJECT, VERY QUICKLY, I JUST WANT TO GO AROUND THE ROUND TABLE AND JUST ASK, BECAUSE THE NEWS CYCLE DOES MOVE SO QUICKLY AND PERHAPS BECAUSE OF THAT, OR A REFLECTION OF THAT, THE PUBLIC AND VOTERS CAN SOMETIMES HAVE A SHORT MEMORY.

DO YOU SEE, AND I'LL START WITH YOU, LAURA, THIS AS BEING AN ISSUE THAT FOLLOWS THE GOVERNOR INTO HIS RUN AGAIN FOR GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK?

I'M NOT SURE.

HE'S A REALLY STRONG EXECUTIVE, AND I DON'T THINK THAT AMONG THE DEMOCRATS IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE, THERE IS THAT MUCH MAINSTREAM THIRST FOR REMOVING HIM, OR IMPEACHING HIM, THEY'RE LOOKING TO CLAW BACK SOME OF THE POWER THEY GAVE HIM, BUT I DON'T THINK THEY WANT NECESSARILY TO GET RID OF HIM.

THE QUESTION IS, WHETHER OR NOT ANOTHER DEMOCRAT IN THE STATE WANTS TO CHALLENGE HIM, IF HE RUNS FOR A FOURTH TERM, AND THAT PERSON WOULD HAVE TO AMASS TREMENDOUS RESOURCES, AND BE WILLING TO REALLY ROLL THE DICE, AND RISK ALIENATION FROM THE GOVERNOR, AND THE POWERFUL STATE PARTY THAT HE EFFECTIVELY CONTROLS, IF THEY LOST, SO IT'S, HIS FUTURE DEPENDS ON WHETHER OR NOT SOMEONE STRONG ENOUGH AND CHARISMATIC AND WELL-FUNDED ENOUGH WILLING TO STEP IN AND RUN AGAINST HIM.

MARIA, SAME QUESTION, DO YOU THINK THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WILL HINDER PERHAPS THE GOVERNOR'S POLITICAL AMBITIONS?

THAT'S INTERESTING, I REMEMBER, BECAUSE I'M ALSO A PROFESSOR AT BARNARD COLLEGE, AND WHEN I WOULD BRING UP THE GOVERNOR AT THAT TIME, DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE PANDEMIC, AS SOMEBODY WHO WAS PLAYING A REALLY IMPORTANT ROLE, THERE WAS A GENERATIONAL THING GOING ON.

MY STUDENTS HAD NO PATIENCE FOR GOVERNOR CUOMO.

THEY WERE HIGHLY CRITICAL OF WHAT HE'S DONE.

JUST KIND OF STRUCTURALLY, AS AN OLD SCHOOL DEMOCRAT.

AND I FOUND THAT JUST LIKE WHOA.

SO I THINK THERE IS SOMETHING THAT COULD HAPPEN HERE IN THE SAME, IN THE SENSE THAT GENERATIONALLY, OLDER NEW YORKERS MAY FEEL COMFORTED BY SOMEBODY LIKE GOVERNOR CUOMO, WHO THEY'VE KNOWN, THEY'VE KNOWN HIS FATHER, THERE IS THIS KIND, YOU KNOW, BUT A YOUNGER GENERATION OF VOTERS MAY BE EXPECTING SOMETHING MUCH MORE RADICAL SO I THINK YOU'RE RIGHT, LAURA, IT REALLY DEPENDS IN TERMS OF WHERE THERE WILL BE A CANDIDATE THAT CAN COME AND JUST TWIST THIS MOMENT AROUND?

HAVING SAID THAT, GOVERNOR CUOMO HAS A LOT OF SUPPORT, BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT PEOPLE SEE HIM AS BEING REALLY IMPORTANT IN THIS MOMENT.

SO IT'S A MIXED BAG.

JC, SAME QUESTION, I MEAN AS MARIA JUST POINTED OUT, THE GOVERNOR RELEASED THAT WHOLE BOOK, AND HE WAS VERY MUCH THE PRESENCE AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS PANDEMIC.

COULD HE PLAY A POLITICAL PRICE FOR THIS NURSING HOME SCANDAL?

I THINK THERE WILL BE A POLITICAL PRICE, IT'S JUST HOW BIG A PRICE.

I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE DIFFICULT TO TELL.

YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE THE BIRTH OF SOME REALLY SUPERSTARS DURING THIS PERIOD.

AND OUR ATTORNEY GENERAL, TO COME UP WITH SUCH A REPORT, OF SOMEONE IN HER OWN PARTY, THE LEADER OF HER OWN PARTY, SHE PUT HERSELF ON THE MAP WITH A LOT OF MODERATE CENTRIST VOTERS, THE FIRST BLACK ATTORNEY GENERAL THAT WE'VE HAD IN THE UNITED STATES, WHICH CARRIES A LOT WITH US, WITH PEOPLE OF COLOR IN NEW YORK CITY.

I DON'T KNOW WHETHER OR NOT SHE WILL GO AHEAD AND PRIMARY THE GOVERNOR BUT SHE PUT HERSELF IN THE POSITION WHERE SHE CAN 0 ONLY GO UP FROM HERE AND AN INTERESTING ARTICLE IN THE DAILY NEWS THIS WEEKEND, DISCUSSING JUST THIS, HOW CAN YOU BEAT SOMEONE WITH NO ONE, RIGHT?

LIKE LAURA MENTIONS, IN OTHER WORDS TO COME AFTER GOVERNOR CUOMO ON THIS, YOU NEED SOMEONE WHO WILL BE WELL-FUNDED AND NEED SOMEONE TO CONNECT WITH A LOT OF VOTERS.

NOW THE NEW YORK REPUBLICAN PARTY IS A SMALLER PARTY THAN IT WAS IN 1994 WHEN GOVERNOR PATAKI W WON AND WE KNOW IT HAS TAKEN MAJOR HITS.

ONE THING FOR SURE, THE ONLY WAY A REPUBLICAN CAN GO TOE TO TOE WITH CUOMO, IS SOMEONE FISCALLY LIBERAL AND SOCIALLY CONSERVATIVE AND THE QUESTION IS CAN SOMEONE WIN THAT REPUBLICAN PRIMARY IN 2022?

YOONGS.

I T I DON'T THINK SO.

I THINK IT WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT FOR THAT PATAKI WING OF THE POWER AND IT WILL BE INTERESTINGLY DIFFICULT FOR CUOMO TO WIN A THIRD TEMP AND I AGREE 100%.

WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GET TO 2022.

> MOVING ON, I WANT TO TURN TO THE OTHER BIG ISSUE THAT I MENTIONED IN THE INTRO AND THAT WAS THE DISTURBING SURGE IN THE ATTACKS AGAINST ASIAN-AMERICANS AND SOMETHING WE'RE SEEING ACROSS THE COUNTRY BUT THERE HAVE DEFINITELY BEEN SEVERAL INSTANCES HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, AND MARIA, WHAT I WANT TO ASK YOU IS THERE'S SOMETHING OF, I DON'T WANT SAY A FISSION OF COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AND SOME CAN SEPARATE THEMSELVES OUT THIS IS A BLACK ISSUE, THIS IS A LATINO ISSUE, THIS IS AN ASIAN ISSUE, DO YOU SEE THIS SURGE IN ATTACKS AS BEING PART OF A LARGER PROBLEM OF PEOPLE LASHING OUT AGAINST PEOPLE OF COLOR, OR PERHAPS IS THIS SOMETHING THAT IS AS WE'RE SEEING AT LEAST FROM THE NUMBERS, MORE DIRECTLY TARGETED AGAINST SPECIFICALLY ASIAN-AMERICANS AND DOESN'T REALLY FIT INTO A LARGER AMERICAN NARRATIVE?

OH, MY GOSH, LOOK, WHEN I WROTE MY BOOK 'ONCE I WAS YOU' I THINK ONE OF THINGS, IT WAS A MEMOIR BUT HISTORIC MEMOIR THAT LOOKED AT IMMIGRATION POLICY AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT STRUCK ME IN MY RESEARCH IS THAT THE FIRST PEOPLE EXCLUDED BY LAW, EXCLUDED, NOT ALLOWED TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES, WERE ASIAN CHINESE WOMEN.

WOMEN.

THEY WERE ACTUALLY TRYING TO GET HERE TO BE WITH THEIR HUSBANDS AND, WHO WERE WORKING ON THE RAILROAD.

BUT WE WERE TOLD IN THE HISTORY BOOKS, THAT THEY WERESEX WORKERD THEREFORE THAT'S WHY THEY COULDN'T BE ALLOWED IN.

AND THEN THERE WAS THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT THAT EXCLUDED ALL CHINESE IN 1882.

SO THE HATRED AGAINST OUR OWN, BECAUSE CHINESE AMERICANS HAVE BEEN HERE, SINCE THE 1800s, RIGHT, SO THIS IS VERY REAL.

AND THEN BRING IT FORWARD TO THE 1940s.

WE HAVE SOMETHING IN OUR COUNTRY CALLED THE JAPANESE INTERNMENT, WHAT IS THAT?

IT WAS NOT AN INTERNMENT, IT IS AN IMPRISONMENT, AND JAPANESE, NO THEY WERE AMERICAN CITIZENS.

CORRECTLY, IT SHOULD BE THE IMPRISONMENT OF AMERICAN CITIZENS OF JAPANESE DESCENT CAUSED BY RACISM IN WASHINGTON.

SO THIS COUNTRY HAS A LONG HISTORY OF PARTICULAR HATRED AGAINST ASIAN-AMERICANS, AND WE NEED TO ALSO TALK ABOUT DISAGGREGATING THAT TERM.

WE TALK ABOUT ASIAN-AMERICAN, OH, MY GOD, I MEAN IT'S KOREAN-AMERICAN, CHINESE-AMERICAN, JAPANESE-AMERICAN, SO THERE'S JUST LIKE A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION THAT WE AS A COUNTRY NEED TO WORK ON IN TERMS OF OUR ASIAN POPULATION.

I THINK THIS IS A MOMENT WHERE AGAIN, PRESIDENT BIDEN SHOULD DO SOMETHING BIG, SOMETHING LARGE, A NATIONAL APOLOGY, A CONVERSATION, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING LARGE, BECAUSE THERE IS A TARGETED NUMBER AGAINST ASIAN-AMERICANS, BUT YOU'RE RIGHT, JENNA, SADLY, WHAT WE'VE JUST LIVED THROUGH IN THESE LAST SEVERAL YEARS IS RACISM AGAINST PEOPLE OF COLOR IN GENERAL.

LAURA, I'M WONDERING FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, THE FACT THAT THERE HAS BEEN A SURGE IN NEW YORK CITY, IS THAT SURPRISING?

OR AGAIN, DOES THIS KIND OF FALL BACK INTO A PROBLEMATIC CYCLE THAT NEW YORK HAS HAD SINCE, AS MARIA VERY WELL POINTED OUT, IT SINCE THE CITY'S INCEPTION?

WELL, I THINK THE SPECIFIC DETAILS OF EACH OF THE INCIDENTS OF THESE ASSAULTS, AND ATTACKS ON PEOPLE, ASIAN-AMERICAN PEOPLE, IN NEW YORK CITY, ARE STILL BEING INVESTIGATED, BUT IT'S HARD TO IGNORE THE FACT THAT THERE'S BEEN THIS INCREDIBLY VITRIOLIC RHETORIC OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS, ABOUT CHINA AND ITS ROLE, VIS-A-VIS THE UNITED STATES, AND THEN THE PRESIDENT, THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES' CONSTANT HARPING ON CHINA'S ROLE IN THE CORONAVIRUS, AND WHAT KIND OF SENTIMENT AND FEAR THAT ENGENDERED AMONG PEOPLE, AND I MEAN IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE THE FACT THAT THAT MIGHT BE PART OF THE MEASMER SITUATION THAT CREATED IN ENVIRONMENT BUT IT SEEMS THAT IN AN ENVIRONMENT AND IN A TIME OF SO MUCH ECONOMIC UNREST IN NEW YORK CITY, SO MUCH UNEMPLOYMENT, SO MUCH DEVASTATION, THAT THERE'S JUST A LOT OF PSYCHIC ANGST AND ENERGY AND JUST VIOLENT FEELINGS COMING FROM PEOPLE, EXTREME EMOTION, AND THAT PEOPLE ARE LIKELY TO TAKE OUT THEIR EMOTIONS ON THEIR NEIGHBORS, AND WHERE COMMUNITIES ARE DIVERSE, AND THEY RUB UP AGAINST EACH OTHER, THAT CAN LEAD TO VIOLENCE AGAINST A SPECIFIC TYPE OF PERSON, SO I THINK THE ECONOMIC CRISIS MIGHT BE A REALLY IMPORTANT PART OF IT, TOO, HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

YOU KNOW, JESSY, LAURA BRINGS UP AN EXCELLENT POINT ABOUT THESE STRESSORS OF PARTICULARLY GROUPS THAT ARE ALREADY STRESSED OUT, AND VIOLENCE AGAINST YOUR NEIGHBORS.

MY QUESTION IS THIS.

DOES THE NOTION OF THESE HATE CRIMES CHANGE WHEN, USUALLY WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HATE CRIMES, WE TEND TO THINK OF, AT LEAST AS A COUNTRY, OF CRIMES COMMITTED BY WHITE PEOPLE AGAINST PEOPLE OF COLOR.

DOES IT CHANGE AT ALL IF THOSE CRIMES AGAINST OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE BEING COMMITTED BY PEOPLE OF COLOR?

WELL, I DON'T THINK YOU SHOULD.

IF I, BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE, I THINK THAT IS A HATE CRIME AND I THINK WE SHOULD REALLY LOOK AT IT THAT WAY AND GIVE NO ROOM FOR, FOR THOSE PEOPLE THAT ARE BIGOT, AND ARE CARRYING OUT THEIR STRESSES AGAINST OTHERS VIOLENTLY, BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS WHAT WE'VE SEEN SINCE COVID IS AN UPTICK AGAINST OUR ASIAN COMMENT.

WE HAVE SEEN IT.

WE HAVE HEARD THE CRIES FROM THESE COMMUNITIES, AS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE PRACTICE OUT THEIR STUPID IGNORANCE AGAINST THEM, AND THEIR COMMUNITIES, AND I THINK IT'S SAD, I THINK THAT WE SAW A LOT OF THAT COMING OUT OF WASHINGTON, WHEN WE DECIDED TO CALL IT THE KUNG FLU VIRUS AND OTHER TERRIBLE TERMS WE GAVE THIS DISEASE AND THERE WAS AN UPTICK AND THERE ARE STUDIES THAT SHOWED SINCE COVID-19, SINCE MARCH OF LAST YEAR, THERE HAS BEEN AN UPTICK AGAINST THE CHINESE COMMUNITY AS FAR AS HATE CRIMES ARE CONCERNED AND WE ALSO CONSIDER THE FACT THAT POLITICALLY, WE HAVE OTHER SITUATIONS IN NEW YORK CITY, WHERE THE ASIAN COMMUNITY FEELS POLITICALLY ATTACKED ESPECIALLY AS WE'VE SEEN IN THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS, WITH CHANGES IN THE HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAM, THE SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAMS HERE IN NEW YORK, A LOT OF ASIAN COMMUNITY LEADERS FEEL THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT ARE ANGRY AGAINST THEIR COMMUNITY.

YOU KNOW, CALLING FOR EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY IN THE SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOL IS SOMETHING THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT.

UNFORTUNATELY, THE POLITICS OF THE DAY CARRIES, IT CARRIES A MESSAGE THAT MAY NOT BE WELCOME, IT MAY MAKE US ANGRY AND I THINK WE HAVE TO EXAMINE HOW WE COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER BECAUSE IT IS REALLY HURTING A LARGE GROUP OF OUR COMMUNITY.

OF COURSE THIS IS A CONVERSATION THAT IS WORTHY OF A MUCH LONGER AND DEEPER DIVE, BUT WE JUST DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THAT, SO I DO WANT TO TURN TO WASHINGTON, AND A MUCH NEEDED CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL.

IT LOOKS LIKE IT MIGHT HAPPEN.

THERE ARE SOME LAWMAKERS WHO SEEM TO BE ON THE FENCE ABOUT WHO'S GOING TO GET WHAT CHECK WHEN, HOW MUCH, ET CETERA.

MARIA, I'LL START WITH YOU.

THIS SEEMS LIKE IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN AND IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN WEEKS AGO.

DO YOU SEE RELIEF COMING OUT OF OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SOON?

WELL, I WISH I HAD A CRYSTAL BALL.

BUT I DON'T.

I MEAN I'M HOPEFUL.

YOU KNOW, WHAT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND IS IMAGINE WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF A YEAR AGO, WE HAD HAD THE VISION TO SAY, OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO SHUT DOWN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO PAY YOU TO STAY HOME, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT FOR THE MOST ESSENTIAL WORKERS, WE WILL PROTECT YOU, AND IMAGINE WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED, IF WE HAD DONE THAT, A YEAR AGO.

INSTEAD, THERE'S, THERE WAS THE TOTAL LACK OF ANY KIND OF VISION IN TERMS OF HANDLING THE PANDEMIC, FROM THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION.

SO I THINK THERE'S SUCH HUNGER, RIGHT NOW, I ALSO WANT TO, I KEEP THINKING ABOUT TEXAS, RIGHT?

THE PEOPLE OF TEXAS, WHAT THEY'VE JUST GONE THROUGH, WITH THIS HORROR, ABSOLUTELY THEY NEED SUPPORT, IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY, AND WHAT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT THIS IS ULTIMATELY GOING TO HELP EVERYBODY, RIGHT?

FOR THE COUNTRY TO BE REINVIGORATED AT EVERY POINT.

EVERY TIME WE DO TAKEOUT, I'M LIKE, I FEEL LIKE A TERRIBLE MOTHER BUT I'M LIKE, BUT I'M SUPPORTING, I'M SUPPORTING THE LOCAL BUSINESS.

OR WHEN I HAVE TO BUY A NEW SHIRT, YOU KNOW, AND I'M LIKE, I SHOULDN'T BE SPENDING MONEY, BUT ACTUALLY, THAT IS PART OF HELPING OUR ECONOMY GROW.

SO I'M HOPEFUL, BUT AS I SAID IN THE BEGINNING, POLITICIANS DON'T HAVE A LOT OF NECESSARILY TRUST, SO WE SHALL SEE.

JC, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO DO?

I THINK IT SHOULD BE TAILOR-MADE.

LOOK WE'RE GOING TO SEE MODERATE AND CEN TRYST DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WHO WILL PLAY A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE IN DECIDING WHAT HAPPENS WITH THIS BILL.

THEY MAY HAVE THE VOTES BUT WHAT'S IN THE DETAIL?

HOW MUCH MONEY ARE WE ACTUALLY TALKING?

WHAT OTHER PROJECTS ARE BEING PAID FOR?

WHAT OTHER ITEMS ARE BEING INCLUDED IN THIS?

AND THE MOST IMPORTANT ON THIS, WHY ISN'T THIS RELIEF TAILOR-MADE.

WHY IS IT JUST A BROAD BRUSH?

WHY ISN'T THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT PEOPLE WHO REALLY NEED THE MONEY AND NOT TO NOSE WHO DON'T NEED IT, AND FOCUS ON THOSE WHO NEED IT AND IF WE DID THAT WE WOULD BE ABLE TO GET A LOT MORE MONEY TO THOSE IN NEED AND IF WE DID THAT AND CHALLENGE THE HOUSE MEMBERS AND OPEN YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE AND SEE WHAT IS IN THOSE DETAILS AND ATTACK WHOEVER IS VOTING ON, THIS BASED ON SOME OF THE THINGS THAT MAY BE WASTE.

LAURA, DO YOU THINK THERE'S A CHANCE THAT PERHAPS TOO MUCH MONEY COULD BE A MISSTEP FROM WASHINGTON, OR IS THERE NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH MONEY IN A CRISIS?

WELL, I THINK THE OPERATIVE CONCERN HERE IS WHETHER OR NOT TOO MUCH MONEY IS FLOATING AROUND IN THE UNITED STATES, AND MINTING MORE OF IT IS SOMETHING THAT TRIGGERS INFLATION, AND THERE'S A LOT OF RETHINKING OF THAT, THAT'S BEEN THE BIG STATED CONCERN FOR DECADES, AT THIS POINT, WHETHER OR NOT WE NEEDED TO DEFICIT SPEND AND WHETHER OR NOT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA.

I THINK THIS IS A VERY GOOD MOMENT TO DO A BIG STIMULUS PACKAGE, WITH A LOT OF MONEY IN IT, FOR A COUPLE OF REASONS.

ONE OF WHICH IS THAT FOR THE MANY YEARS THAT REPUBLICANS WERE IN POWER, THEY SHOWED NO QUALMS ABOUT DOING DEFICIT SPENDING, WHEN THE TARGETS OF IT, THE TARGETS OF GOVERNMENT LARGESSE WERE BIG AND CULTURAL FARM, INDUSTRIAL FARM, AND DOING CORPORATE WELFARE, AND IT LOOKS REALLY HYPOCRITICAL TO BEE GRUDGE PEOPLE A FEW HUNDRED DOLLARS WHEN WE HAD A MASSVE, MASSIVE EXPERIMENT IN THE SPRING AND SAW PEOPLE GET THESE CHECKS AND IT KEPT THE ECONOMY AFLOAT AND THERE WERE RARE INSTANCES OF FRAUD OR ABUSE IN SOME OF THESE PROGRAMS BUT ON THE WHOLE, IT HASN'T TRIGGERED SOME KIND OF MASS INFLATIONARY EVENT AND IT KEPT THE ECONOMY GOING SO DOING MORE OF IT SEEMS THERE MAY NOT BE AS MUCH DOWN SIDE AS PEOPLE ONCE FEARED.

AND TALKING ABOUT THE DEFICIT IS, YOU KNOW, IT'S BEEN PROVEN THAT THE OTHER SIDE DOESN'T REALLY HAVE AS MUCH OF A PROBLEM WITH IT, AS THEY ONCE DID.

SO I THINK THE POLITICAL MOMENT IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT FOR THIS, TO GET DONE, AND I THINK THERE WILL DEFINITELY BE SOME INSTANCES OF FRAUD AND WASTE AND ABUSE, BUT THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ERR ON THE SIDE OF GIVING MORE TO PEOPLE INSTEAD OF LESS, AND I THINK THE HARM THAT COULD BE CAUSED BY GIVING LESS IS A LOT GREATER AT THIS POINT THAN THE HARM THAT COULD BE CAUSED BY GIVING TO MUCH.

WE'VE HAD AN INCREDIBLY IN DEPTH IMPORTANT CONVERSATION, SO WE HAVE SECTIONS LEFT, SO A LIGHTNING ROUND, I'LL START WITH YOU, LAURA, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS COMING WEEK?

I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO, I DON'T KNOW IF LOOKING FORWARD TO IS THE RIGHT WORD, BUT WE'RE FOUR MONTHS OUT FROM THE NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL PRIMARY, SO THAT IS DEFINITELY WHAT I'M GOING TO BE PAYING ATTENTION, TO AMONG OTHER THINGS THIS WEEK.

THERE'S MORE CANDIDATES THAN YOU COULD SHAKE A STICK AT.

AND WE STILL DON'T KNOW WHO THE FRONT-RUNNERS ARE IN GENERAL.

AND THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT POLICY POSITIONS BEING STAKED OUT BY ALL OF THE DIFFERENT CANDIDATES NOW, AND IT'S STARTING TO COME INTO FOCUS.

NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON.

JC, WHAT'S ON YOUR HORIZON?

I'M LOOKING AT SENATOR MANCHIN, AND SENATOR SYNEMA WHO ARE PROBABLY THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TODAY, CENTRIST DEMOCRATS LARGE CONSTITUENTS, AND PRESIDENT BIDEN HAS A LOT THAT HE NEEDS THROUGH AND MANCHIN HAS PULLED ON A COUPLE OF THOSE AND I THINK THE CENTRISTS IN WASHINGTON WILL FINALLY HAVE THEIR DAY AND I WILL KEEP MY EYE ON THEM ALL WEEK.

THE LAST WRD.

I'M WATCHING IMMIGRATIONS AND THERE ARE A LOT OF LOOKING AT THE PARTICULAR THIS WAS PARTICULAR BILL AND I'M THINKING ABOUT THE EMOTIONAL STATE SO MANY IMMIGRANTS WHO ARE CONTRIBUTING, THEY'RE YOUR NEIGHBORS, AND YOUR FRIENDS, AND YOUR CO-WORKERS AND YOUR KIDS ARE SHARING SCHOOL WITH UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE, AND REALLY FOR YEARS, THEY'VE BEEN PUT THROUGH THE RINGER.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, 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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