METROFOCUS: March 12, 2021

METROFOCUS SPOTLIGHT ON THE RACE FOR MAYOR 2021

ANDREW YANG TAKES THE LEAD

Our Spotlight On The Race For Mayor 2021 features former presidential candidate and current candidate for mayor Andrew Yang. Tonight, the front runner who’s currently leading all other democratic candidates in the polls joins us to lay out his plans for the election. And he’ll discuss how despite having no experience in New York City politics, he plans to use his outsider perspective to get the city to accomplish bold proposals, like creating a basic income, helping small businesses recover from the damages brought about by the pandemic, and reforming the NYPD.

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.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

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

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

SINCE HIS PRESIDENTIAL RUN JUST A YEAR AGO, ANDREW YANG HAS BEEN BUSY.

HE SPENT TIME CAMPAIGNING FOR DEMOCRATS IN GEORGIA, CREATED A NONPROFIT, WORKED AS A COMMENTATOR FOR CNN AND IS NOW RUNNING TO BE THE NEXT MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY.

THOUGH HE HAS BEEN MANY YEARS LIVING IN THE CITY, YANG IS A NEW COMER TO THE WORLD OF NEW YORK POLITICS.

AND AS IN HIS PRESIDENTIAL RUN, HE IS EMBRACING THE ROLE OF POLITICAL OUTSIDER, THE KIND OF PERSON HE BELIEVE JUST WHAT NEW YORK CITY NEEDS TO JOLT IT INTO TAKING ACTION ON THE MAJOR ISSUES OF OUR TIME.

DESPITE ENTERING THE RACE LATE, RECENT POLLING HAS YANG LEADING ALL OTHER CANDIDATES IN A CROWDED DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FIELD BY A SIGNIFICANT MARGIN.

TONIGHT AS PART OF OUR 'METROFOCUS' SPOTLIGHT SERIES ON WHO'S RUNNING FOR MAYOR, WE'RE JOINED BY FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, ENTREPRENEUR AND CURRENT DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY ANDREW YANG.

MR. YANG, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME, RAFAEL.

IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

SO BEFORE WE GET INTO YOUR CAMPAIGN, YOUR CANDIDACY, MR.

YANG, LET ME ASK YOU.

WHAT'S YOUR POSITION ON WHAT GOVERNOR CUOMO SHOULD DO REGARDING THE SCANDALS SWIRLING AROUND HIM -- SEXUAL HARASSMENT, THE NURSING HOME SCANDALS?

SHOULD HE RESIGN?

ARE YOU CALLING FOR THAT?

I SENT A LETTER TO GOVERNOR CUOMO THAT I PUBLICLY RELEASED SAYING HE SHOULD STEP ASIDE IMMEDIATELY AND LET HIS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR TAKE OVER.

AND TO ME THAT'S THE RIGHT MOVE.

THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK DESERVE ANSWERS, AND THEY ALSO NEED A LEADER THAT, FRANKLY, IS ABLE TO DO THE JOB AND FOCUS ON THAT WITHOUT ALL OF THESE DISTRACTIONS, MAKING IT NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO GET THE WORK DONE.

ALL RIGHT.

SO LET'S MOVE TO YOUR CANDIDACY.

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY?

AND WHY SHOULD NEW YORK CITY VOTERS CHOOSE YOU OVER YOUR OPPONENTS?

I'M RUNNING FOR MAYOR OF THE GREATEST ANY THE WORLD BECAUSE WE ARE IN A DEEP, DARK HOLE, RAFAEL.

SO IF YOU LOOK AT THE ISSUES WE'RE FACING THAT HAVE BEEN WROUGHT BY THE CORONAVIRUS, WE'VE LOST 600,000 JOBS, 60 MILLION TOURISTS, 82% OF COMMUTERS.

AND IF YOU LOOK AT THOSE PROBLEMS, THOSE AREN'T REALLY POLITICAL PROBLEMS SO MUCH AS THEY ARE JUST MASSIVE ECONOMIC AND OPERATIONAL DEFICITS.

SO I THINK I CAN ACCELERATE OUR RECOVERY BY GETTING OUR BUREAUCRACIES WORKING AGAIN.

I'M NOT SURE WHEN THEY LAST WORKED, SO GETTING OUR BUREAUCRACIES BETTER, BUT ALSO ACTIVATING THE NONPROFIT SECTOR, THE SMALL BUSINESS SECTOR.

WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK.

AND I THINK I CAN DO A BETTER JOB OF IT THAN THE OTHER CANDIDATES.

ALL RIGHT.

WE'RE GOING TO GET TO ALL THAT IN WE'LL GET TO ALL THAT BEFORE THE MINUTES IS OVER.

WE LEARNED YOU SPENT MUCH OF THIS PANDEMIC IN YOUR HOME IN NEW PALTZ RATHER THAN IN YOUR APARTMENT IN HELL'S KITCHEN.

AND WHEN ASKED ABOUT THAT BY 'THE NEW YORK TIMES,' YOU SAID, QUOTE, WE LIVE IN A TWO-BEDROOM APARTMENT IN MANHATTAN.

SO CAN YOU IMAGINE TRYING TO HAVE TWO KIDS ON VIRTUAL SCHOOL IN A TWO-BEDROOM APARTMENT AND TRYING TO WORK YOURSELF?

OF COURSE A LOT OF NEW YORKERS CAN CERTAINLY IMAGINE THAT BECAUSE A LOT OF NEW YORKERS HAVE BEEN DOING JUST THAT SO A NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THE NEW YORK PRESS HAVE TAKEN THOSE THINGS AND SMALLER THINGS LIKE ALLEGED YOU YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT A BODEGA IS, YOU DON'T KNOW THE TRAIN THAT GOES TO THE BRONX THAT KIND OF PAINT YOU AS AN INAUTHENTIC NEW YORKER.

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT?

I MOVED HERE WHEN I WAS 21 YEARS OLD, 25 YEARS AGO.

I'M A PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENT.

MY WIFE GREW UP IN QUEENS.

SO I DON'T KNOW HOW LONG YOU HAVE TO LIVE HERE IN ORDER TO BE CONSIDERED AN AUTHENTIC NEW YORKER, BUT I OWE NEW YORK CITY SO MUCH.

I'VE HAD A CAREER I COULD ONLY HAVE DREAMT OF WHEN I ARRIVED HERE AS A 21-YEAR-OLD STUDENT.

AND I THINK I CAN HELP MAKE NEW YORK CITY A PLACE THAT STILL PROVIDES THAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITY FOR THE NEXT GENERATION, INCLUDING MY KIDS WHO ARE GROWING UP HERE AND GOING TO SCHOOL HERE.

WE NEED TO DO BETTER BY ALL THE FAMILIES HERE IN NEW YORK.

ALL RIGHT.

MR. YANG, HOPEFULLY THE COVID PANDEMIC WILL LARGELY BE OVER AS A HEALTH THREAT BY THE TIME YOU TAKE OVER AS MAYOR JANUARY 1, 2022 IF YOU ARE ELECTED.

BUT THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF COVID WILL CERTAINLY STILL BE WITH US AT THAT TIME.

WHY ARE THE FIRST STEPS THAT YOU WILL BE TAKING IN ORDER TO REVIVE THE ECONOMY AND GET NEW YORKERS BACK TO WORK?

I TALKED TO THE FOLKS IN MIDTOWN.

IT'S A GHOST TOWN.

AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE WORKERS COMING IN TO THE OFFICE, IT'S NOT JUST THOSE WORKERS.

IT'S THE SECURITY GUARDS, THE CLEANING STAFF, THE FOOD TRUCK OPERATORS, THE RETAILERS THAT SERVE THOSE COMMUTERS.

SO EVEN AS THE VACCINE GETS DISTRIBUTED MORE BROADLY, WE NEED ORGANIZATIONS TO BE ABLE TO SAY TO WORKER, HEY, COME BACK INTO THE OFFICE.

AND THE WAY WE MAKE THAT HAPPEN IS BY HAVING PEOPLE ABLE TO VERIFY THAT THEY HAVE BEEN VACCINATED, PERHAPS ON THEIR SMARTPHONE, AN APP THAT WE JUST SHOW YES, I'VE BEEN VACCINATED SO YOU GET IN THE ELEVATOR AND YOU KNOW EVERYONE HAS BEEN VACCINATED.

BUT THE OTHER THING IS SOMETHING ISRAEL HAS ALREADY ADOPTED WHERE THEY'VE GIVEN BRACELETS TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN VACCINATED.

SO YOU WALK AROUND AND SHOW THE BRACELET.

ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, WE HAVE TO GET PEOPLE BACK INTO THE OFFICE IN ORDER FOR NEW YORK CITY TO RECOVER.

AND TO GET PEOPLE IN THE OFFICE, PEOPLE NEED TO BE CONFIDENT THAT NOT ONLY HAVE THEY BEEN VACCINATED, BUT THAT OTHER PEOPLE IN THE OFFICE BUILDING OR RESTAURANT OR BAR OR THEATER HAVE ALSO BEEN VACCINATED.

OKAY.

COULD YOU EXPLAIN YOUR UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME PROPOSAL, AND TELL US HOW THAT IS GOING TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

AT THIS POINT NOW, WHEN I RAN FOR PRESIDENT, UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE HAD NEVER HEARD OF, BUT NOW A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE FOR IT.

WE'VE ALREADY GOTTEN THREE CHECKS FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING A $1400 CHECK THAT I'M VERY PROUD TO HAVE PLAYED A ROLE IN.

AS YOU SAID, I WAS IN GEORGIA HELPING TO WIN THOSE SENATE SEATS WHICH THEN ENABLED CHUCK SCHUMER AND EVERYONE ELSE TO PASS THE STIMULUS BILL, AND NOW WE'VE GOT BILLIONS OF DOLLARS COMING TO NEW YORK CITY.

SO PEOPLE NOW RECOGNIZE THAT PUTTING CASH INTO PEOPLE'S HANDS IS POSITIVE.

IT'S A GREAT WAY TO PROVIDE FOR PEOPLE AND ALSO GIVE THEM A PATH FORWARD IN A PANDEMIC.

AND WE'RE GOING TO STILL NEED TOES KINDS OF MEASURES FOR A LONG TIME, AT LEAST A NUMBER OF MONTHS AND YEARS HERE IN NEW YORK CITY AS WE TRY AND DIG OUT FROM THE WRECKAGE.

SO I'M PROPOSING A NUMBER OF AMBITIOUS ANTI-POVERTY MEASURES, INCLUDING CASH RELIEF TO ALLEVIATE EXTREME POVERTY HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

AND IF WE KEEP PEOPLE IN MORE STABLE SITUATIONS, IT'S GOOD FOR THEM.

IT'S GOOD FOR THEIR FAMILIES.

IT'S GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY.

BUT IT'S ALSO GOING TO SAVE THE CITY MONEY BECAUSE THE FACT IS IF SOMEONE WINDS UP ON OUR STREETS IN A VERY NEGATIVE SITUATION, IT'S INCREDIBLY COSTLY NOT JUST IN HUMAN, BUT IN ECONOMIC TERMS.

SO WHEN YOU RAN FOR PRESIDENT, YOUR UBI PROPOSAL WAS A THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH FOR EVERYONE.

YOUR PROPOSAL NOW, IT'S NOT UNIVERSAL ANYMORE.

IT'S A BASIC INCOME PROPOSAL, AND IT'S $2,000 A YEAR, A LOT LESS GENEROUS.

THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY FOR SOMEBODY WHO DOESN'T HAVE MUCH, BUT IS IT REALLY AS BY SICK INCOME, FIRST OF ALL?

AND IS IT ENOUGH TO SPUR THE ECONOMY AND GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK?

I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH THAT IT'S NOT A UNIVERSAL BASIC BY DEFINITION, BUT WHAT IT IS IT'S TARGETED CASH RELIEF FOR THE FOLKS WHO NEED IT MOST.

AND THE GOAL IS TO HAVE THOSE RESOURCES END UP CIRCULATING BACK THROUGH OUR LOCALLY OWNED SMALL BUSINESSES, HELP SHORE UP NEIGHBORHOODS, BUT ALSO, AGAIN, KEEP THOSE FAMILIES IN STABLE SITUATIONS, AWAY FROM DESPERATE CIRCUMSTANCES.

AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PEOPLE KNOW, RAFAEL, THAT IT ACTUALLY A LITTLE BIT RESOURCE INTENSIVE TO FIND A JOB, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY AND TIME AND FLEXIBILITY.

MAYBE YOU NEED TO BUY A NEW OUTFIT, MAYBE YOU NEED TO PREPARE SOME PAPERWORK.

THERE WAS ONE STORY, AND THIS IS FROM ANOTHER ENVIRONMENT WHERE PEOPLE WERE GETTING CASH RELIEF, WHERE SOMEONE HAD A PART-TIME JOB.

AND BECAUSE THEY GOT CASH RELIEF, THEY WERE ABLE TO APPLY FOR A BETTER JOB, AND THEY WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO SO OTHERWISE.

SO BESIDES THE POTENTIAL VACCINATION APP, IN WHAT OTHER WAYS DO YOU THINK TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS CAN GET US BACK ECONOMICALLY, PEOPLE BACK IN THE WORKPLACE?

WELL, WE NEED TO BE INVESTING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN UPGRADING OUR INFRASTRUCTURE TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE.

THERE IS CERTAINLY GOING TO BE A HEAVY TECHNOLOGICAL ELEMENT IN THAT.

BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE PATH TO RECOVERY, RAFAEL, IT REVOLVES AROUND GETTING SOME PROPORTION OF THE 60 MILLION MISSING TOURISTS BACK, BECAUSE THOSE TOURISTS SUPPORTED 300,000 JOBS IN NEW YORK CITY IN RESTAURANTS, BARS, HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES.

AND IT'S PROBABLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO GO FROM NEAR ZERO TO 65 MILLION AGAIN, BUT WE HAVE TO MAKE PROGRESS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

AND I THINK THERE IS ACTUALLY A TECHNOLOGICAL ELEMENT TO THAT BECAUSE RIGHT NOW THE IMAGES THAT AMERICANS HAVE OF NEW YORK CITY ARE OF PEOPLE LEANING OUT A BALCONY BANGING POTS AND PANS FOR THANKING ESSENTIAL WORKERS.

WE NEED TO REPLACE THAT WITH IMAGES OF NEW YORKERS HAVING FUN IN THE PARK, RESTAURANTS, BARS, COMING TOGETHER, CELEBRATING.

AND I THINK THAT TECHNOLOGY IS GOING TO ESPECIALLY US GET THAT SET OF MESSAGES OUT.

ALL RIGHT.

WE'LL RETURN TO TOURISM IN A SECOND.

BUT AS YOU MENTIONED, NEW YORK CITY IS -- NEW YORK STATE IS ABOUT TO RECEIVE AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF $100 BILLION FROM THE NEW COVID RELIEF BILL.

THANK YOU, CHUCK!

WE KNOW HOW MUCH OF THAT IS GOING TO COME TO NEW YORK.

AND IF YOU'RE MAYOR, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO USE THE BIG CHUNK, THE BILLIONS THAT ARE COMING TO NEW YORK, NOT ONLY TO SPUR THE ECONOMY, BUT TO DEAL WITH OUR INCREASING PROBLEM WITH BUDGET DEFICIT?

SO OF THE MONEYS THAT HAVE BEEN ALLOCATE, $6.1 BILLION HAS BEEN ALLOCATED DIRECTLY TO NEW YORK CITY'S BUDGET.

THERE IS ANOTHER 8.3 MILLION FOR THE NEW YORK METRO AREA.

$10 MILLION HAS GONE TO THE MTA.

WE HAVE THE SAVE OUR STAGES ACT.

THAT'S GOING HELP BROADWAY REOPEN FASTER.

SO IT REALLY IS INCREDIBLY BENEFICIAL TO HAVE A SENATE MAJORITY LEADER REPRESENTING.

AS YOU CAN TELL, THERE IS SOME MONEY COMING IN.

AND IT'S COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE, RAFAEL, BECAUSE NEW YORK CITY IS ALMOST 10% OF THE ENTIRE NATIONAL ECONOMY.

THAT IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A NATIONAL RECOVERY, IT NEEDS TO START RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK.

AT THE SAME TIME, YOU HAVE VERY, VERY NEGATIVE ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES AND A BUDGETARY SHORTFALL IN THE ABSENCE OF THIS AIDE.

SO WE HAVE ABOUT TWO YEARS TO TRY AND RESTART THE ENGINE OF NEW YORK CITY'S ECONOMY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

AND ALSO, HELP FRANKLY LIKE TRY AND SAVE SOME MONEY BY REMOVING SOME OF THE INEFFICIENCIES IN OUR GOVERNMENT, AROUND PROCUREMENT, AND SOME OF THE OTHER THINGS WE'VE BEEN SPENDING MONEY ON.

YOU KNOW, THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF CALLS RECENTLY HERE IN THE CITY AND IN THE STATE TO INCREASE THE TAXES OF THE WEALTHIEST NEW YORKERS.

ARE YOU FOR ANY OF THOSE THINGS, ANY OF THOSE PROPOSALS?

OR IN GENERAL YOU FOR THAT?

WELL, I THINK NEW YORKERS HAVE BEEN VERY, VERY SUCCESSFUL OVER THESE LAST NUMBER OF MONTHS AND YEARS.

AND ASKING THEM TO PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE IS ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE.

BUT I WILL SAY THAT WE'RE GOING TO NEED FOLKS TO CONTINUE TO INVEST IN NEW YORK CITY.

WE'RE GOING NEED SOME OF FRANKLY THE 300,000 NEW YORKERS WHO LEFT NEW YORK, SOME OF WHOM ARE VERY HIGH TAXPAYERS TO COME ON BACK TO SOME MEASURE.

SO THIS SHOULD BE A UNIFYING --

HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

A LOT OF IT, RAFAEL, REVOLVES AROUND WHY THEY WANTED TO BE IN NEW YORK IN THE FIRST PLACE, WHICH YOU HAVE TO GET THE SCHOOLS OPEN, THE RESTAURANTS OPEN, THE CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS AND BROADWAY SHOWS OPEN.

IF YOU DO THAT, THEN THEY'LL FRANKLY GET A LITTLE BORED IN FLORIDA OR WHEREVER THEY ARE.

THEY'LL SEE THEIR FRIENDS HAVING A GOOD TIME IN NEW YORK AND OH, LET'S COME ON BACK.

SO WE NEED TO HAVE A UNIFYING MESSAGE WHERE CERTAINLY PEOPLE WHO CAN AFFORD TO PAY A BIT MORE, AND I TALKED TO SOME OF THEM, I WOULD BE HAPPY TO PAY A BIT MORE AS LONG AS I KNOW WHAT I'M BEING ASKED, AND THEY GET A SENSE THAT THEY'RE ACTUALLY BEING INVITED AND NOT BEING USED AS A PUNCHING BAG.

SO YOU TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE, THE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF TOURISM FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

AND YOU SAID YOU WANT TO SWITCH THE IMAGE OF THE PEOPLE HAVE OF PEOPLE HITTING POTS AND PANS.

I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE IMAGE MOST PEOPLE HAVE OF NEW YORK RIGHT NOW.

THE IMAGE UNFORTUNATELY THAT PEOPLE HAVE OF NEW YORK IS IT'S NO LONGER THE SAFEST, BIGGEST CITY IN NEW YORK, BECAUSE SHOOTINGS ARE UP, MURDERS ARE UP.

PEOPLE MAYBE HAVE THE IMAGE OF PEOPLE GETTING SLASHED IN THE SUBWAY AND BEING PUSHED ON THE TRACKS.

THAT'S THE IMAGE THAT WE'RE GETTING AGAIN.

WHAT WILL YOU DO AS MAYOR TO MAKE THIS CITY, TO MAKE THIS REPRESENTATION REAL OF BEING THE SAFEST BIGGEST CITY IN THE COUNTRY AGAIN?

RAFAEL, I THINK YOU AND I BOTH KNOW THAT THIS ISN'T JUST AN APPEARANCE ISSUE.

THAT PEOPLE FEEL IT EVERY DAY.

AND THAT VIOLENT CRIMES ARE UP 94% YEAR-OVER-YEAR.

ANTI-ASIAN VIOLENCE IS UP 900% TO THE EXTENT THAT WE CAN MEASURE THAT.

AND SO WE HAVE TO TRY AND ADDRESS THESE PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUES AS QUICKLY AND POWERFULLY AS POSSIBLE.

I'M GOING SUGGEST THAT EMPTY STREETS FEEL MORE UNSAFE THAN STREETS THAT HAVE TOURISTS AND PEDESTRIANS, STREETS THAT HAVE OPEN STOREFRONTS FEEL MUCH BETTER AND MORE VIBRANT, AND SUBWAY RIDERSHIP IS DOWN 70% RIGHT NOW.

SO IF YOU HAVE AN EMPTY SUBWAY CAR, YOU DON'T HAVE THE KIND OF INSULATION THAT FRANKLY HAVING A CROWD AROUND PROVIDES.

SO THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THINGS THAT WE HAVE TO DO.

ONE THING THAT WE NEEDED TO DO IS PUSH THE POLICE TO BE MORE ACCOUNTABLE FOR FRANKLY CLEARING THESE CRIMES AT HISTORICAL LEVELS.

RIGHT NOW WE'RE SOLVING CRIMES AT LOWER LEVELS THAN NORMAL.

AND THAT'S A TERRIBLE COMBINATION WHEN YOU HAVE INCIDENTS ON THE RISE.

WHERE HATE CRIMES ARE CONCERNED, I WOULD FULLY FUND THE ASIAN HATE CRIMES TASK FORCE AND ANY TASK FORCES THAT ARE DEALING WITH ANTI-SEMITIC VIOLENCE, ANTI-MUSLIM VIOLENCE, BECAUSE WE HAVE TO TRY AND INVEST RESOURCES AND LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT WE'RE TAKING THESE KINDS OF INCIDENTS SERIOUSLY.

BUT THIS IS GOING TO BE A PROBLEM THAT WE'RE WRESTLING WITH FOR A WHILE.

ONE THING I'VE PLEDGED TO DO, WHICH IS CONTRIBUTING TO THE SENSE, RAFAEL, IS I PLEDGED TO REDUCE STREET HOMELESSNESS IN NEW YORK CITY BY MORE THAN 50% IN MY FIRST TERM.

AND HOMELESSNESS OFTEN LIKE DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE BECAUSE MOST HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE NONTHREATENING.

BUT IT IS CONTRIBUTING TO THE SENSE THAT PEOPLE HAVE.

AND IT IS ALSO A POLICY IN LEADERSHIP FAILURE.

WELL CAN REDUCE STREET HOMELESSNESS BY MORE THAN 50% JUST BY HAVING A DIFFERENT STANDARD OF INTERVENTION AND INVESTING IN THE PROPER RESOURCES.

NOW DO YOU SUPPORT -- HAVING SAID ALL THAT, DO YOU SUPPORT THE CONCEPT OF DEFUNDING THE POLICE, EVEN UNDER OUR CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES?

I THINK THAT MOST PEOPLE AGREE THAT WE'VE BEEN UNDERINVESTING IN VARIOUS COMMUNITIES, PARTICULARLY IN MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES AND PEOPLE THAT CAN SHOW UP TO A CRISIS THAT CAN HELP FRANKLY GET PEOPLE INTO A HEALTHIER OR MORE SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT.

SO THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD BE INVESTING MORE IN.

AND THERE ARE THINGS THAT WE'RE SPENDING WHERE THE POLICE ARE CONCERNED THAT ARE NOT CONTRIBUTING TO OUR PUBLIC SAFETY.

AS ONE EXAMPLE, WE'RE SPENDING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SETTLING LAWSUITS AGAINST POLICE OFFICERS IN ANY GIVEN YEAR.

AND THAT IN MY VIEW IS NOT ACTUALLY WHERE WE SHOULD BE SPENDING MONEY.

BUT TO ME, THE ISSUE ISN'T SO MUCH -- AND AMERICANS HAVE BEEN TRAINED.

WE'VE ALL BEEN TRAINED TO THINK IT'S OH, YOU MOVE THE RESOURCES HERE, YOU MOVE THEM THERE.

THE FACT IS WE'RE SPENDING PLENTY ON VARIOUS THINGS.

WE'RE JUST NOT GETTING THE RESULTS.

AND SO IF YOU LOOK AT IT, WE HAVE TO DRIVE IN THIS EXAMPLE POLICE, CAPTAINS, AND LIEUTENANTS TO MONITOR THE RATES OF INCIDENTS IN THEIR PRECINCT.

AND IF THOSE INCIDENTS ARE GOING UP AND THEY'RE NOT ABLE TO SOLVE THOSE CRIMES, THEN THAT TO ME MEANS THAT WE NEED TO BE SCRUTINIZING HOW THEY'RE DOING THEIR JOB.

DO YOU THINK IT'S IMPORTANT, CRITICALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE NYPD OFFICERS TO FEEL THAT THE MAYOR HAS THEIR BACK?

I DO.

I THINK THAT UNFORTUNATELY, WE CAN SENSE THAT THE NYPD IS DEMORALIZED RIGHT NOW BECAUSE OF A DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CURRENT MAYOR.

AND NEW YORKERS ARE UNIFIED.

WHEN YOU TALK TO THEM, PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUES ARE ONE, TWO, OR THREE ON THE LIST OF THINGS THAT PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT.

SO WE NEED AN NYPD AND CITY HALL WORKING HAND IN HAND TO SAY, LOOK, NO ONE IN NEW YORK CITY WANTS THESE CRIME RATES TO GO UP AND THE RATE THAT WE'RE SOLVING THE CRIMES TO BE GOING DOWN.

AND TO YOUR EARLIER POINT, RAFAEL, YOU'RE 100% RIGHT THAT THIS IS IMPEDING THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE BUSINESSES LOOKING TO INVEST, WHAT DO THEY NEED?

THEY NEED FAMILIES WHO ARE EXCITED TO LIVE HERE.

AND FAMILIES ARE LESS EXCITED TO LIVE HERE IF THEY FEEL LIKE THEY CAN'T WALK DOWN THE STREET WITH THEIR FAMILY SAFELY.

AND THIS IS A QUESTION THAT APPARENTLY HAS STUMPED RECENT ADMINISTRATIONS HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

BUT HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THAT THE RANK AND FILE OFFICERS FEEL THAT YOU DO HAVE THEIR BACK, THAT YOU SUPPORT THEM, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME MAKING SURE THAT THOSE NEW YORKERS, THOSE MANY NEW YORKERS WHO HAVE FELT THAT, YOU KNOW -- FELT ABUSED BY AN OVERZEAL LOUIS POLICE DEPARTMENT AND EVEN BY AN UNJUST CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, THAT THEIR CONCERNS ARE ADDRESSED?

WE NEED TO DO A COUPLE OF THINGS AT ONCE.

I DO BELIEVE THE CULTURE OF THE NYPD NEEDS TO EVOLVE.

BUT I ALSO AGREE THAT RANK AND FILE OFFICERS NEED TO FEEL SUPPORT AND THAT THEY CAN DO THEIR JOBS EFFECTIVELY WITHOUT CONCERN OR FEAR THAT THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE THEIR CAREERS THROWN UNDER THE BUS IF AN INTERACTION IS RECORDED FOR SOCIAL MEDIA AND PRESENTED IN A NEGATIVE LIGHT.

ONE OF THE THINGS TRY TO DO, RAFAEL, EVERYWHERE I GO, WHEN I SEE AN OFFICER, IS GO TO THEM AND SAY THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO EVERY DAY.

THEY APPRECIATE IT.

AND I THINK IF THEY FELT THAT MORE OFTEN FROM NEW YORKERS, THAT WOULD BE A VERY POSITIVE STEP.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE DO NEED THE NYPD'S CULTURE TO EVOLVE, ESPECIALLY WHERE THEY TREAT BLACK PEOPLE AND PEOPLE OF COLOR IN THIS CITY, BECAUSE THOSE PROBLEMS ARE VERY REAL.

QUICKLY, YOU TALK ABOUT THE 900% INCREASE IN HATE CRIMES AGAINST ASIANS IN NEW YORK CITY.

MY WIFE IS CHINESE.

WE'VE BEEN FEELING IT FOR A YEAR.

WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?

AND YOU TOUCHED ON IT, BUT WHAT SPECIFICALLY ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

I VISITED WITH A CHINESE WORKER WHO WAS ATTACKED ON THE STREET FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON.

JUST SOMEONE CAME UP TO HIM AND PUNCHED HIM IN THE FACE APPARENTLY BECAUSE HE WAS ASIAN.

HE WAS TRAUMATIZED.

HE COULDN'T GO TO WORK FOR SEVERAL DAYS, EVEN AFTER HE STARTED RETURNING TO WORK HE'S AFRAID TO BE IN SOME PLACE THAT'S EMPTY.

AND SO THE CLIMATE OF FEAR AMONG ASIAN AMERICANS IS DEVASTATING.

IT'S HEARTBREAKING.

THERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT I WOULD DO IMMEDIATELY.

AND AS I SAID EARLIER, WE SHOULD BE FUNDING THE ASIAN HATE CRIMES TASK FORCE.

IT SHOULD NOT BE A VOLUNTEER EFFORT.

WE SHOULD BE TREATING THESE INCIDENTS AS HATE CRIMES, AND A NUMBER OF THEM WERE NOT TREATED AS SUCH A NUMBER OF WEEKS AGO.

AND THE NUMBER THREE, AND THAT IS SOMETHING MAYBE YOUR WIFE CAN RELATE TO, RAFAEL, WE NEED TO DO A BETTER JOB OF BUILDING BRIDGES AND CONNECTIONS TO THE ASIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY, BECAUSE A LOT OF THESE INCIDENTS NEVER GET REPORTED.

ASIAN AMERICANS OFTEN DO NOT HAVE THE KIND OF RELATIONSHIP WITH CITY OFFICIALS WHERE THEY'RE GOING TO FEEL COMFORTABLE IN REACHING OUT TO THE NYPD OR ANOTHER AGENCY.

AND WE HAVE TO TRY AND BUILD THOSE CONNECTIONS.

OFTENTIMES THERE IS A LANGUAGE BARRIER.

THAT'S ONE ISSUE.

BUT THOSE BONDS ARE NOT THERE RIGHT NOW.

ALL RIGHT.

LET'S QUICKLY TURN TO EDUCATION.

CAN YOU GIVE US THE FIRST STEP OR THE FIRST COUPLE OF STEPS THAT YOU INTEND TO TAKE IN ORDER TO IMPROVE PUBLIC EDUCATION IN NEW YORK CITY.

WELL, THE FIRST THING IS TO REOPEN SCHOOLS.

AS A NEW YORK CITY PARENT, I'M FRUSTRATED THAT'S NOT DONE FOR MANY PARENTS.

I THINK WE COULD HAVE DONE SO MORE AGGRESSIVELY BASED ON THE DATA.

THE BIG THING WE NEED TO DO FOR OUR KIDS IS TO LET ADMINISTRATORS AND TEACHERS HAVE MORE AGENCY AND AUTONOMY ABOUT PROVIDING THE SORTS OF PROGRAMS AND RESOURCES THAT OUR KIDS NEED.

I THINK IT'S AWFUL THAT WE HAVE THESE PROGRAMS WHERE YOU FEEL LIKE OH, MY KID HAS TO GO TO THAT SCHOOL OVER THERE IN ORDER TO ACCESS CERTAIN PROGRAMS.

OUR TEACHERS KNOW OUR KIDS BETTER THAN ANYONE EXCEPT FOR US.

AND IF A TEACHER IDENTIFIES THAT A CHILD WOULD BENEFIT FROM AN ENRICHMENT PROGRAM, THEY SHOULD BE REFERRED TO IT, ENRICHMENT PROGRAM IN THAT SCHOOL.

I THINK THAT THIS WOULD MAKE FAMILIES HAPPIER.

THIS WOULD MAKE TEACHERS HAPPIER.

WE JUST NEED TO INVEST MORE AUTHORITY WITH THE ADMINISTRATORS AND TEACHERS THAT ARE CLOSEST TO OUR KIDS TO DO WHAT THEY NEED.

THE DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION WASN'T VERY FRIENDLY WITH OR SUPPORTIVE OF CHARTER SCHOOLS.

WILL A YANG ADMINISTRATION BE FRIENDLIER AND MORE SUPPORTIVE?

I'M FOR ANY SCHOOL THAT'S DELIVERING RESULT, RAFAEL.

I'M FOR GOOD SCHOOLS.

SO IF A PUBLIC SCHOOL IS DELIVERING GREAT RESULTS, WE SHOULD BE APPLAUDING EVERYONE INVOLVED.

AND IF A CHARTER SCHOOL HAS BEEN DELIVERING RESULTS, I FEEL THE SAME WAY.

DO YOU SUPPORT THE ELIMINATION OF THE SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOL ADMISSIONS TEST, THE S.H.S.A.T. USED TO ADMISSION TO THE CITY'S SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOL?

I THINK WE ARE OVERRELYING UPON THAT TEST SHOW.

WE BE SUPPLEMENTING IT WITH VERY COMMON SENSE THINGS.

WHEN I SAY THIS, YOU SAY OH, IT'S OBVIOUS.

GRADES, INTERVIEW, ESSAYS, TEACHER RECOMMENDATIONS.

AS A PARENT, OUR KIDS AREN'T A TEST SCORE, YOU KNOW.

BUT I WOULDN'T GET RID OF THE TEST SCORE ENTIRELY, BECAUSE I THINK IT CAN AT LEAST BE PART OF THE CONSIDERATION SET.

THE BIGGER PICTURE, THOUGH, RAFAEL IS WE HAVE, AGAIN, THESE PARENTS AND FAMILIES WHO FEEL LIKE THERE IS THIS NARROW BAND OF SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOLS THAT THEY NEED TO TRY AND SEND THEIR KIDS TO.

THERE IS NO REASON TO HAVE THIS KIND OF LIMITATION GIVEN THAT WE HAVE A SCHOOL SYSTEM OF A MILLION KIDS AND A LOT OF FAMILIES THAT WANT TO HAVE MORE CAPACITY.

WE SHOULD BE OPENING TWO NEW SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOLS IN EVERY BOROUGH, IN PART BECAUSE THEN YOU'D HAVE AN OPTION YOU'RE EXCITED ABOUT CLOSER TO HOME.

WE HAVE KIDS COMMUTING AN HOUR PLUS EACH WAY EVERY DAY, AND THAT'S NOT GOOD FOR ANYBODY.

SO THE SUBWAY SYSTEM.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

WHAT STAKES WOULD YOU IMMEDIATELY TAKE IN ORDER TO MAKE THE SYSTEM SAFER, CLEANER, MORE AFFORDABLE, AND SOLVENT?

I HAVE ASKED FOR A CITY CONTROL OF THE MTA.

RIGHT NOW NEW YORK CITY CAN RECOMMEND F4 OUT OF 21 BOARD MEMBERS.

SO WHEN WE GET FRUSTRATED WITH SOMETHING HAPPENING ON THE SUBWAY, WE'RE NOT SURE WHERE TO TURN.

I'M -- I BELIEVE THE ONLY CANDIDATE WHO CALLED FOR AN INCREASE IN POLICE OFFICERS ASSIGNED TO SUBWAY STATIONS IN RESPONSE TO SOME OF THE INCIDENTS THAT WE'VE SEEN, AND THE NYPD ACTUALLY FOLLOWED THAT RECOMMENDATION SHORTLY THEREAFTER.

I ALSO CALLED FOR A SUBWAY FARE HOLIDAY, WHICH THE MTA IS APPARENTLY CONSIDERING NOW FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK OF MEMORIAL DAY, BECAUSE IF SUBWAY RIDERSHIP IS DOWN 70% WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO KICK START IT.

REMIND PEOPLE OF HOW INCREDIBLE THE SUBWAY IS.

IF YOU CAN IMAGINE A WEEK, RAFAEL WHERE YOU CAN JUST RIDE IT FOR FREE, I HAVE A FEELING THAT NEW YORKERS WOULD VISIT NEIGHBORHOODS A LOT MORE THAT WEEK, AND THAT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO THE RESTAURANTS AND SMALL BUSINESSES THAT RIGHT NOW ARE JUST TRYING TO OPEN THEIR DOORS.

BUT A LOT OF IT HINGES UPON WHAT KIND OF AUTHORITY THE CITY CAN HAVE OVER THE MTA.

IF YOU CAN'T CONTROL THE WAY MOST PEOPLE GET AROUND, IT'S VERY, VERY HARD TO SPEED UP THE RECOVERY.

SO YOU'RE CALLING FOR THE CITY TO TAKE FULL CONTROL OF THE SUBWAY SYSTEM OF THE MTA?

WELL, THE MOST STRAIGHT FORWARD WAY TO DO IT, RAFAEL, WOULD SIMPLY HAVE THE CITY RECOMMEND OR APPOINT 11 BOARD MEMBERS INSIDE STEAD OF 4.

SO A FINAL QUESTION.

YOU RAN FOR PRESIDENT.

BEING MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY IS NOT HISTORICALLY A GREAT STEPPING STONE FOR HIGHER OFFICE.

AND CERTAINLY NOT FOR PRESIDENT.

A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE TRIED.

A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE FAILED IN MODERN TIMES.

IF YOU'RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY, WOULD YOU AFTER YOUR TENURE, WOULD YOU CONSIDER RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT AGAIN?

GIVEN THE ENORMITY OF THIS JOB, I THINK IT WOULD FRANKLY BE REALLY NOT VERY SMART TO THINK ABOUT ANY OTHER JOB BUT THIS ONE.

I'M LASER FOCUSED ON HELPING IMPROVE THE WAY OF LIFE FOR THE 8.3 MILLION PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD.

AND IF THIS IS MY LAST JOB EVER, RAFAEL, BUT I DO A JOB THAT PEOPLE CAN LOOK AT AND SAY ANDREW YANG HELPED NEW YORK CITY RECOVER, I WOULD BE THRILLED.

I DO NOT HAVE OTHER THINGS IN MIND EXCEPT FOR HELPING OUR CITY RIGHT NOW.

ALL RIGHT, MR. YANG.

WE'LL END IT THERE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY.

IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE TO TALK TO YOU, SIR.

YOU TOO, RAFAEL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

HAVE A GREAT DAY.

BYE-BYE.

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

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARN HOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP LITTLE MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE ROBERT C.

AND TINA SHON 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, 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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