METROFOCUS: March 15, 2021

METROFOCUS FRONT PAGE FORECAST:

 COVID 1 YEAR LATER, SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS AGAINST CUOMO, HISTORIC GEORGE FLOYD SETTLEMENT

From the tristate to across the nation, Metrofocus Front Page Forecast scours the city for the latest on the fight and fallout of COVID- one year later. Then we take a look at the latest sexual harassment claims against Governor Cuomo and the standoff with congressional Democrats as the Governor says he won’t quit. Plus, a look at Minneapolis where the city has paid the family of George Floyd the largest pre-trial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death case in US history and the complicated jury selection for the murder trial gets underway as dismissed potential jurors admit they can’t unsee the video. President of the Brooklyn NAACP, Political commentator and Senior Adviser to Ray McGuire’s NYC Mayoral campaign L. Joy Williams, CUNY Professor and former President of the New York City Board of Elections, J.C. Polanco and Gotham Gazette Executive Editor Ben Max join us.

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.

IS 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 JENNA FLANAGAN.

THIS WEEK, OUR WEEKLY LOOK AT THE NEWSMAKING LOCAL AND NATIONAL HEADLINES AND ITS POTENTIAL IMPACT ON THE TRI-STATE AREA.

TONIGHT WE'LL BE LOOKING AT WHERE THE CITY IS IN ITS FIGHT AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AS WE MARK THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST COVID-19 FATALITY IN NEW YORK CITY.

WE'LL ALSO COVER THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE CRISIS SURROUNDING NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO WHO REMAINS DEFIANT EVEN AS THE STATE'S TOP DEMOCRATS CALL ON HIM TO RESIGN.

AND THERE WERE PROTESTS AND RALLIES HERE AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY OVER THE WEEKEND TO HONOR BREONNA TAYLOR, WHO WAS SHOT AND KILLED ONE YEAR AGO BY LOUISVILLE POLICE.

THE RALLIES ARE COMING ON THE HEELS OF A $27 MILLION SETTLEMENT FRIDAY BETWEEN THE CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS AND THE FAMILY OF GEORGE FLOYD.

JOINING US NOW TO DISCUSS THESE AND OTHER MAJOR STORIES THAT WILL BE DRIVING THE NEWS ARE L.

JOY WILLIAMS, A POLITICAL STRATEGIST AND KRCREATOR AND HO OF THE SUNDAY CIVICS PODCAST.

WE WE ARE JOINED BY FORMER COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

WE HAVE BEN MAX, WHO IS THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF THE GOTHAM GAZ GAZETTE.

LET'S START WITH THE IMPACT OF THE CORONAVIRUS.

IT'S BEEN DEVASTATING, OF COURSE, AS WE ALL KNOW FOR NEW YORK CITY, THAT WAS HIT SO HARD AT THE BEGINNING.

BEN, I JUST WANT TO START WITH YOU AND GET YOUR TAKE ON THE FACT THAT WHILE THE CITY IS RAMPING UP VACCINATIONS AND MAKING THEM MORE AVAILABLE TO MORE PEOPLE, IT'S SIMULTANEOUSLY LOOSENING RESTRICTIONS.

SOME DOCTORS HAVE BEEN WARY ABOUT THAT.

BUT HOW NECESSARY IS THE LOOSENING OF RESTRICTIONS TO THE CITY'S ABILITY TO RECOVER?

I THINK IT CONTINUES TO BE NECESSARY THAT THE DECISIONS ARE DRIVEN LARGELY BY THE SCIENCE.

I THINK THERE'S SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT WHY CASES IN NEW YORK CITY HAVEN'T QUITE DROPPED AT THE RATE THEY'VE DROPPED ELSEWHERE.

THERE'S QUESTIONS ABOUT NEW VARIANTS.

A LOT OF THAT NEEDS TO BE DETERMINED BY HEALTH PROFESSIONALS.

THAT SHOULD REALLY GUIDE THINGS.

IF TRENDS DON'T GO IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, YOU CAN OPEN UP BUSINESSES FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, BUT THEN YOU MIGHT SEE A SIGNIFICANT BACKSLIDE AND HAVE TO TAKE DRASTIC MEASURES.

I THINK THERE'S A LOT HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION STARTING WITH THE MASS VACCINATION EFFORTS AND ALSO THE FACT THAT THE WEATHER IS WARMING.

WE SAW THIS LAST YEAR THAT THINGS IMPROVED SO DRASTICALLY IN THE LATE SPRING AND SUMMER BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO SPEND TIME OUTSIDE, KEEP WINDOWS OPEN.

SO WE'RE SEEING THE REAL POTENTIAL WITH GOVERNMENT DECISIONS WITH THIS MASSIVE FEDERAL AID PACKAGE THAT CAME IN, WITH THE VACCINATION EFFORT, WITH THE FACT THAT PEOPLE KNOW MORE AND MORE HOW TO KEEP THE VIRUS FROM SPREADING, EVEN SOME OF THE VARIANTS, THAT THE ECONOMIC UPSWING FOR THE CITY IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE PRETTY STRONG IN THE SPRING AND INTO THE SUMMER, BUT GOOD DECISIONS NEED TO BE MADE THROUGHOUT.

ONE OF THE BIG OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS CONTINUES TO BE WHAT KIND OF TOURISM RETURN WE COULD SEE ANY TIME SOON.

THAT'S ONE OF THE BIGGEST ELEMENTS OF THE CITY ECONOMY.

THAT OBVIOUSLY WENT ALMOST COMPLETELY DARK AND COULD STILL BE A LONG WAY OFF FROM RECOVERY.

KEEPING IN MIND THAT OF COURSE WE SAW THE IMPACT OF THE VIRUS DISPROPORTIONATELY HITTING DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES.

SO, AGAIN, WITH THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF VACCINATION SITES -- AND THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE BEING SPECIFICALLY TARGETED TO BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITIES IN THE CITY, BUT ALSO THE RELAXING OF RESTRICTIONS.

DO YOU SEE THIS AS A POSITIVE STEP FOR THE CITY TO BE TAKING?

ULTIMATELY, WHILE I THINK WE CERTAINLY AS A CITY AND COLLECTIVELY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE ECONOMIC CRISIS WE'RE IN, SURELY IF WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE DYING VIA A VIRUS, THAT CONTINUES TO AFFECT OUR OVERALL ABILITY TO HAVE A PRODUCTIVE ECONOMY IN THE CITY OVERALL.

SO WHILE THERE, YES, NEEDS TO BE AS WE PROGRESS AND AS THE SCIENCE AND OUR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS TELL US IT'S OKAY TO DO SO, TO RELAX RESTRICTIONS PARTICULARLY SO WE CAN GET OUR ECONOMY AND VARIOUS PARTS OF THE INDUSTRIES THAT FUNCTION UP AND RUNNING AGAIN, IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT TO REFOCUS THE CONVERSATION THAT WE'RE DEALING WITH PEOPLE'S LIVES.

AND SO IF WE DON'T HAVE A SMART STRATEGY IN TERMS OF VACCINATED FOLKS, JUST LAST WEEK THE GOVERNOR OR THE STATE GAVE PEOPLE 60 PLUS.

THAT'S DOWN FROM 65 PLUS.

WE STILL HAVE A WHOLE POPULATION THAT ARE STILL WAITING.

BROOKLYN NAACP IS WORKING WITH THE CITY IN TERMS OF IDENTIFYING PEOPLE PARTICULARLY WHO ARE HOME BOUND, SENIORS AND OTHERS, TO GET VACCINATED.

BUT THE MAJORITY OF THE QUESTION WE'RE GETTING IS FROM 50-YEAR-OLDS AND 40-YEAR-OLDS OF I'M READY JUST AS SOON AS IT'S READY AND IT'S REALLY A PRODUCTION ISSUE.

WHILE, YES, WE ABSOLUTELY NEED TO GET OUR ECONOMY GOING BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE HURTING FINANCIALLY, WE CAN'T DO THAT AT THE EXPENSE OF LIVES.

SO WE HAVE TO BE SMART.

WE HAVE TO BE A LITTLE BIT MORE PATIENT AS THINGS ARE PROGRESSING, BECAUSE ULTIMATELY IT'S ABOUT THE PRESERVATION OF LIFE AND NOT JUST ABOUT THE ECONOMY.

JC, IS THAT LIKE A CHOICE THAT THE CITY AND PERHAPS OTHER MUNICIPALITIES ARE TRYING TO BALANCE, THE PRESERVATION OF LIFE AND OF COURSE THE ECONOMY?

I'M NOT AN EPIDEMIOLOGIST.

I'M AN ATTORNEY.

I HOPE I PRONOUNCED THAT RIGHT.

ENGLISH IS MY SECOND LANGUAGE.

BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT US TO REALIZE WE'VE LOST THOUSANDS OF BUSINESSES, THOUSANDS.

JUST IN NEW YORK CITY ALONE, WE LOST OVER A THOUSAND RESTAURANTS.

WE HAVE OVER A MILLION KIDS IN OUR NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM WHO WILL NEVER GET THIS YEAR BACK AGAIN.

WE HAVE LOST SO MANY NEW YORKERS.

WE'VE LOST THEM ALL TOGETHER.

THIS IS DEVASTATING.

IT'S DECIMATED OUR COMMUNITIES.

WE KNOW A LOT MORE NOW THAN WE DID IN MARCH.

IT'S TIME TO HAVE AN HONEST CONVERSATION WITH THE TEACHERS' UNION AND PARENTS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS.

WE'VE GOT TO OPEN UP THE SCHOOLS.

THE SCIENCE IS THERE TO PROVE WE CAN GET KIDS TO SCHOOLS AND SALVAGE WHATEVER'S LEFT IN THE YEAR SO OUR KIDS DON'T LOSE AN ENTIRE AK DECADEMIC YEAR.

HAVING MISSED OUT ON A WHOLE YEAR OF REAL, TRUE INSTRUCTION.

I'M VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THOSE STUDENTS.

I'M EVEN MORE CONCERNED ABOUT ALL THE LIVELIHOODS THAT HAVE BEEN LOST ACROSS OUR CITY AND WILL NEVER COME BACK.

THE SCIENCE IS THERE.

WE CAN SEE THAT IT'S OKAY FOR US TO LOOK AT REOPENING AND REOPENING CAUTIOUSLY BUT STEADILY IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION WITH THIS OVERALL FEAR THAT ALL OF US HAVE TO BE VACCINATED BEFORE WE OPEN UP THE CITY.

IT WILL DESTROY NEW YORK CITY FOR A GENERATION IF THAT'S GOING TO BE THE METRIC.

I'M SURE MANY DOCTORS WOULD AGREE WITH ME ON THIS ONE.

IF I COULD JUST PUT IN CONTEXT WHAT JC IS MENTIONING.

YES, BY ALL MEANS BOTH OF US KNOW AS PARENTS GETTING KIDS IN SCHOOL AND MAKING SURE THEY DON'T MISS OUT ON INSTRUCTION IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT.

THIS IS JUST ANECDOTAL.

MY KIDS ARE BACK TO SCHOOL.

SCHOOL JUST SHUT DOWN FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK BECAUSE THERE WERE THREE NEW CASES IN THE SCHOOL.

IF WE DON'T FOLLOW THINGS AND HAVE A STRATEGY TO SMARTLY REOPEN TO ENSURE -- WE CAN THEN BE SHUTTING DOWN AGAIN IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS OR A COUPLE OF MONTHS.

IT'S HARD TO BALANCE OUR ECONOMY, TO BALANCE OUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION, TO BALANCE OUR MENTAL HEALTH.

I BELIEVE THAT ALL OF US WANT TO GET OUTSIDE AND RETURN TO SOME NORMALCY.

WHAT JC SAID IS HAPPENING.

THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR HAVE BEEN AND OTHER OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCING REOPENING MEASURES, THE RETURN TO IN-PERSON HIGH SCHOOL IN NEW YORK CITY IS STARTING TO HAPPEN.

THERE'S OBVIOUSLY A DEBATE THAT COULD BE HAD OVER THE PACE AND EXACT WHAT THE PRECAUTIONS ARE AND HOW MUCH IN-PERSON SCHOOL AND WHAT THE CAPACITY NUMBERS ARE FOR BUSINESSES AND RESTAURANTS.

THAT'S ALL BEEN HAPPENING, BUT WE ARE CLEARLY SEEING STEPS BEING TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT LEADERS TO REOPEN THINGS A LITTLE MORE QUICKLY AND WE ALL HAVE TO WATCH THE NUMBERS.

OF COURSE.

I'VE GOT TO MENTION SOMETHING.

SOME PEOPLE ARE GOING TO LOOK BACK AND SEE WHERE THE MISTAKES WERE MADE IN THIS ENTIRE PROCESS.

I THINK THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL MISTAKES THAT WE'VE MADE AND WE CAN ANALYZE WHERE WE'VE GONE WRONG.

ONE OF THE MAIN FOCUSES WE'RE GOING TO HAVE IS DID SHUTTING DOWN THE CITY TO THE DEGREE WE DID, WAS THAT THE RIGHT DECISION TO MAKE?

HINDSIGHT IS ALWAYS 2020.

BUT WAS THAT THE RIGHT DECISION?

WAS COSTING AN ENTIRE ACADEMIC YEAR FOR STUDENTS THE RIGHT DECISION?

WHETHER SHUTTING DOWN THE CITY TO THE PLACE WE DID WHERE AT THE END OF THE DAY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS LOST THEIR JOBS, THOUSANDS OF BUSINESSES GONE.

I HOPE WE LEARNED FROM WHAT WE'VE DONE SO THAT THE NEXT PANDEMIC THAT HITS US, WE WILL BE IN A MUCH BETTER POSITION.

AND HOPEFULLY THAT NEXT PANDEMIC DOES NOT COME IN ANY OF OUR LIFETIMES.

MOST NEW YORKERS WOULD AGREE WITH THAT.

UNFORTUNATELY WE HAVE TO PUT A PIN IN THAT DISCUSSION BECAUSE I WANT TO MOVE ONTO THE SITUATION, THE CRISIS THAT IS HAPPENING WITH GOPVERNOR CUOMO.

WE'VE SEEN NUMEROUS, NUMEROUS DIFFERENT DEMOCRATS WHO HAVE COME FORWARD AND SAID BECAUSE OF ALL OF THESE ALLEGATIONS OF EITHER SEXUAL HARASSMENT, PERHAPS IN SOME CASES ASSAULT, THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS TO STEP DOWN.

AND THE REASONING THAT EVERYBODY IS USING IS HE CAN NO LONGER BE AN EFFECTIVE LEADER.

BEN, I WANT TO START WITH YOU AND GET YOUR TAKE ON THE HEAT THAT SEEMS TO BE JUST GROWING AROUND THE GOVERNOR.

HE IS STANDING IN HIS -- HE'S SAYING HE'S NOT GOING TO RESIGN.

IS THAT REALLY A REALIS ISTIC STRATEGY?

WE HAVE SOME RECENT EXAMPLES AROUND THE COUNTRY WHERE WE'VE SEEN SOME OFFICIALS WITH MANY CALLS TO RESIGN HAVE STUCK IT OUT AND TRIED TO KEEP GOING, GOVERNOR NORTHAM IN VIRGINIA FOR EXAMPLE IS STILL IN OFFICE.

THERE'S DIFFERENCES IN ALL THESE CASES, BUT IF THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO HOLD ON AND WAIT FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL-LED INVESTIGATION TO BE COMPLETED, IF HE WANTS TO SORT OF DARE THE NEW YORK STATE ASEMSEMBLY TO MO AHEAD WITH IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS, HE CAN DO THAT.

HE OBVIOUSLY HAS HIS CHOICE THERE.

IT HAS BECOME MORE AND MORE UNTENABLE FOR HIM TO SAY WHEN ON FRIDAY WE SAW SHOE AFTER SHOE DROP WITH THE NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION, CHUCK SCHUMER AND KRISTIN GILLIBRAND CALLING FOR HIM TO GO.

WHERE IS THIS HEADING?

PRESIDENT BIDEN, ONE OF THE GOVERNOR'S CLOSEST ALLIES, SAID THERE'S AN INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY, LET'S SEE IT PLAY OUT.

THAT WAS A BIG LIFE RAFT FOR THE GOVERNOR POLITICALLY SPEAKING THAT HE CAN HANG ONTO FOR A LITTLE WHILE.

HE'S GOT A COUPLE OF OTHER FOLKS THAT HAVEN'T QUITE GONE TO CALLS FOR RESIGNATION.

DOES THE NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY REALLY MOVE FORWARD WITH THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY THEY'VE BEGUN?

THE SITUATION IS VERY CHANGING.

WE'RE JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS AWAY FROM A NEW YORK STATE BUDGET BEING DUE.

THAT GIVES LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THE GOVERNOR'S ABILITY TO GOVERN.

JC, AGAIN WITH THE FACT THAT WE OF COURSE HAVE THE BUDGET COMING UP AND NEW YORK ALWAYS HAD AN ON-TIME BUDGET, AT LEAST IT DOES WITH GOVERNOR CUOMO.

IT SEEMS TO CALL INTO QUESTION HIS ABILITY TO LEAD, HIS GOV GOVERNING STYLE HAS BEEN CRITICIZED THE ENTIRE TIME HE'S BEEN IN OFFICE.

NOW IT SEEMS LIKE IT MIGHT BE HARDER FOR HIM TO MAKE THE DEALS OR SOME OF THE NEGOTIATIONS HE'S BEEN FAMOUS FOR DOING WHEN IT COMES ESPECIALLY TO THE STATE BUDGET.

I THINK WHAT WE'RE SEEING RIGHT NOW, ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT THERE IS AN INVESTIGATION, IT'S INCREDIBLE TO SEE PEOPLE WITHIN HIS OWN PARTY DEMANDING INVESTIGATIONS, CALL FOR IMPEACHMENT WITH WRONGDOING.

I THINK THAT'S A WONDERFUL STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR PURPOSES OF POLITICS.

TO YOUR QUESTION AS TO WHAT HAPPENS NOW WITH THE BUDGET AND NEGOTIATIONS, FROM PRESIDENT CLINTON TO TRUMP WHO FIND THEMSELVES WITH THEIR LEADERSHIP BEING QUESTIONED FOR PURPOSES OF IMPEACHMENT, THEY HAVE A JOB TO DO.

THE GOVERNOR WILL HAVE TO CONTINUE DOING HIS JOB.

HE MAY GO ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT HE WOULD HAVE DONE SO THE REST OF NEW YORK UNDERSTANDS HE'S STILL THE GOVERNOR.

HE AT LEAST WANTS TO SHOW THE PUBLIC HE'S ENGAGED AND HE MEANS BUSINESS.

FOR PURPOSES FOR NEW YORK, I CAN SEE THE GOVERNOR COMPARTMENTALIZING THE INVESTIGATION AND POTENTIAL IMPEACHMENT FROM THE BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS.

THESE ELECTED OFFICIAL VERSUS THE ABILITY TO DO THAT AND I HOPE FOR OUR SAKE THIS THIS GOVERNOR IS ONE OF THOSE.

WHILE WE'VE SEEN SO MANY PROMINENT DEMOCRATS WHO HAVE CALLED ON THE GOVERNOR TO RESIGN, WHEN IT COMES TO HIS SUPPORT AMONGST VOTERS, HIS SUPPORT AMONGST NON-WHITE VOTERS STILL SEEMS TO BE VERY STRONG.

DO YOU READ ANYTHING INTO THAT?

WELL, THE GOVERNOR HAS ENJOYED SUPPORT FROM A BASE OF VOTERS IN THE STATE FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

YOU KNOW, A LOT OF THIS IS PLAYING OUT IN TERMS OF POLITICS WHERE PEOPLE HAVE A PERCEIVED VIEW THAT THIS IS PEOPLE ATTACKING THE GOVERNOR OR, YOU KNOW, THAT THESE ISSUES ARE UNFOUNDED, OR QUITE FRANKLY, FOR A LOT OF PARTICULARLY OLDER BLACK VOTERS, RIGHT, TO LET THE DUE PROCESS PLAY OUT.

THIS IS SOMETHING IN TERMS OF DUE PROCESS THAT BLACK VOTERS OVERALL WHEN WE'RE FIGHTING IN THE STREETS ON SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT DUE PROCESS THAT IS NOT ALWAYS AFFORDED TO BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITIES.

SO THIS COMMITMENT TO LET THE PROCESS PLAY OUT, WHETHER THAT PROCESS IS IMPEACHMENT PROCESS IN THE ASSEMBLY, WHETHER THAT PROCESS IS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION, ALL OF THOSE THINGS PLAY OUT.

BUT THEY'VE BEEN VOTING FOR GOVERNOR CUOMO OR ANDREW CUOMO FOR A VERY LONG TIME IN VERY DIFFERENT ASPECTS.

SO THE TRUST AND INVESTMENT HE'S BUILT INTO THOSE COMMUNITIES TO CERTAIN PARTS OF THOSE COMMUNITIES IS THERE.

YOU KNOW, FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, I THINK IT'S NO SECRET MY VIEW ON THE GOVERNOR.

I, FOR GOD'S SAKE, RAN A CANDIDATE AGAINST HIM IN A PRIMARY.

FOR ME, EVEN AS I'M TALKING TO VOTERS, YES, I BELIEVE THE DUE PROCESS SHOULD HAPPEN, BUT ALSO THAT ADDITIONAL QUESTION YOU ASK IS CAN HE EFFECTIVELY GOVERN, CAN I GET A BUDGET FOR NEW YORKERS THAT WOULD BENEFIT THEM, CAN I MAKE SURE THAT ADULT-USE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA IS DONE EQUITABLY AND FAIRLY THROUGHOUT THE STATE AS WE'RE NEGOTIATING OTHER ISSUES IN TERMS OF THE MONEY THAT'S COMING FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, MAKING SURE IT GOES TO THE COMMUNITIES AND THE ISSUES AND NEEDS IN THE STATE INSTEAD OF JUST PLUGGING HOLES IN BUDGETS HE'S ALREADY CUT.

THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT I THINK FOR ME AND OTHER PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT IS ON SHAKY GROUND, YOU KNOW, AND DOES HE HAVE THE ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE IN A ROOM WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALREADY CALLED FOR HIM TO RESIGN IN ORDER TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.

THAT IS WHAT IS OF CONCERN TO ME PRIMARILY, IS CAN THAT BE DONE, DO I HAVE SOMEONE WHO IS UNBURDENED AS GOVERNOR TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE DOING THE BEST JOB FOR ME, FOR THE SENIORS IN THIS STATE, FOR THE BUSINESSES THAT ARE HURTING, FOR THE PEOPLE THAT ARE HURTING?

IT'S NOT ONLY THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASES.

IT'S THE ISSUE OF NURSING HOMES.

TH WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, NURSING HOMES, YOU CAN ALSO APPLY TO PRISONS AND JAILS IN THIS STATE.

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THINGS THAT ALREADY CALL INTO QUESTION THAT BEFORE THE ADDITIONAL ISSUES CAME ON, HE WASN'T EFFECTIVELY DOING THE JOB TO BEGIN WITH.

DOES THIS FURTHER COMPLICATE THE ISSUE?

WHAT WERE YOU GOING TO SAY, BEN?

QUICKLY, WE SAW SOME STORIES OVER THE WEEKEND ABOUT THE GOVERNOR AND HIS TEAM POSSIBLY SORT OF TRYING TO LEVERAGE VACCINE SUPPLY TO GET POLITICAL SUPPORT FOR THE GOVERNOR.

THIS MAKES THE SORT OF NEXT FEW WEEKS TO INTERESTING, POTENTIALLY PERILOUS AND POTENTIALLY BENEFICIAL.

THIS IS A GOVERNOR WHO WE'VE SEEN WILL SORT OF PRIORITIZE POLITICAL STANDING OVERALL ELSE AND USE THE MACHINERY OF GOVERNMENT TO MAKE SURE HE'S SHORING UP HIS POLITICAL BASE AND STANDING.

NOW IN THE MOST PERILOUS POSITION OF HIS CAREER, HE IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE WILLING TO DO ALL SORTS OF THINGS TO STAY IN OFFICE, STAY IN POWER, DISTRACT PEOPLE FROM THE SCANDALS HE'S FACING.

IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO WATCH HOW HE WIELDS THIS GOVERNMENTAL POWER IN THIS PERILOUS POLITICAL POSITION.

BEN, I'M SO GLAD YOU BROUGHT THAT UP BECAUSE THAT WAS GOING TO BE MY FOLLOW-UP QUESTION.

TO BUILD ON THAT, IS THERE ANYTHING TO BE READ INTO THE FACT THAT WE REALLY SAW A GROUND SWELL OF DEMOCRATS COME TOGETHER AND CALL FOR HIS RESIGNATION PRETTY MUCH AT THE SAME TIME, ALMOST AS IF THERE'S SAFETY IN NUMBERS.

AGAIN, THIS IS AN ADMINISTRATION THAT IT'S NOT UNUSUAL FOR THEM TO EXACT SOME SORT OF REVENGE, IF YOU WILL.

THERE'S DEFINITELY A FEAR OF THAT IN ALBANY.

THE FACT THAT YOU EVEN KNOW THAT AND CAN SAY THAT LIKE IS PART OF THE PROBLEM, RIGHT?

THE FACT THAT IT IS VERY MUCH AN OPEN SECRET THAT IF YOU GO AGAINST THE ADMINISTRATION, YOU SPEAK DIFFERENTLY IN CERTAIN ASPECTS THAT THERE IS SOME REPERCUSSION FOR THAT.

SOMEONE MAY CALL YOU, YOU MAY GET CALLED FOR A MEETING OR THINGS LIKE THAT.

THAT IS A PROBLEM.

AND I DON'T KNOW IF THIS FEEDS INTO THE FACT OF, AS YOU MENTIONED, THE SAFETY IN NUMBERS OF EVERYBODY BEING ABLE TO COME OUT COLLECTIVELY OR INDIVIDUALLY IN THE SAME TIME FRAME, BUT IT SETS A BAD PROBLEM.

YOU KNOW, I THINK OVERALL, AGAIN, YOU ARE ELECTED, THIS ADMINISTRATION, EVEN THE INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE UNDERNEATH THE GOVERNOR THAT ARE HIRED BY THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, THEIR JOB IS FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

IT IS NOT TO PROTECT SOMEBODY'S POLITICAL CAREER.

IT IS NOT TO PROTECT INDIVIDUALS.

IT IS TO SERVE THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

AND IN THE EXECUTION OF THAT JOB, IF YOU FEEL OR IF PEOPLE FEEL THAT YOU ARE NOW COMPROMISED THAT YOU CAN'T DO THAT, THEN WITH DUE PROCESS HAPPENING AND NO ONE SHOULD TAKE THAT RIGHT AWAY, YOU KNOW, THERE IS THAT QUESTION OF CAN YOU EFFECTIVELY DO THIS IN THE MIDST OF THAT HEAT.

I WILL SAY, AS BOTH JC AND BEN KNOW, ANDREW CUOMO HAS COME OUT OF DIFFERENT PROBLEMS BEFORE, RIGHT?

SO I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED IF THAT HAPPENED AGAIN.

I, AGAIN, WANT TO FOCUS THE CONVERSATION ON THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE AND CAN THIS ADMINISTRATION EFFECTIVELY SERVE THEM IN THE MIDST OF THIS TURMOIL?

JC, YOUR THOUGHTS?

AS A POLITICAL STRATEGIST AND COMMENTATOR, I WAS LOOKING AT THE FUTURE.

I SEE THE REALITIES OF ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES BEING A LEADING CONTENDER FOR GOVERNOR.

THERE'S NO QUESTION GOVERNOR CUOMO IS NOT GOING TO RUN FOR REELECTION.

THERE'S NO QUESTION ANY OF THE MAYORAL CANDIDATES ARE NOT GOING TO WANT HIS SUPPORT.

THAT CAN BE TOXIC RIGHT NOW.

I THINK IF HE DOESN'T RESIGN, IT'S A WRAP.

IT'S OVER.

THERE'S NO COMING BACK FROM THE NURSING HOME CRISIS.

THERE'S NO COMING BACK FROM ADMITTING YOU MAY HAVE SAID THINGS THAT MADE WOMEN UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU MEANT.

THAT WON'T SELL IN 2022'S DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY.

I CAN SEE THERE BEING A GOVERNOR JAMES IN 2022.

BEN, I JUST SAW YOUR EYEBROWS RAISE FOR A MILLIMETER.

YOUR RESPONSE?

IS IT A WRAP ON THE CUOMO YEARS?

JC HAS A DIFFERENT ROLE THAN I DO SO HE CAN BE A LITTLE MORE DEFINITIVE IN HIS PREDICTIONS.

I THINK WE'VE SEEN ANDREW CUOMO COME OUT OF SOME MAJOR SCANDALS.

THIS IS, AS I SAID EARLIER, THE MOST PERILOUS POLITICAL POSITION HE'S BEEN IN.

THESE ARE THE MOST SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS HE'S FACED, SEXUAL ASSAULT, SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY A NUMBER OF WOMEN, THE NURSING HOME SCANDAL, THIS BULLYING CULTURE AND MORE.

THE IDEA THAT WE KNOW THAT ANDREW CUOMO WON'T RUN FOR REELECTION AT THIS POINT, I'M NOT READY TO SAY THAT.

I THOUGHT IT WAS A BOLD PREDICTION BY JC.

NOT THAT BOLD, NOT THAT BOLD.

I DO THINK THERE'S A CHANCE AND THIS IS SOMETHING CERTAINLY TO WATCH AND WE'VE SEEN THIS WITH OFFICIALS BEFORE, THAT THERE'S SORT OF A NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT THAT MIGHT NOT BE MADE PUBLIC, BUT IT MIGHT BECOME EVIDENT THAT THE GOVERNOR AGREES TO NOT RUN AGAIN AS LONG AS PEOPLE GIVE HIM A LITTLE MORE SPACE TO NOT RESIGN.

HE DOES NOT WANT TO RESIGN FROM OFFICE AND HAVE THAT BE THE LAST THING HE'S REMEMBERED FOR AS GOVERNOR.

HE WANTED TO AT LEAST FINISH OUT THIS TERM.

THAT'S SOMETHING TO WATCH FOR AS WELL AS IF THAT'S SOMETHING UNDERSTOOD OR AN ACTUALLY NEGOTIATED DEAL THAT HE DOESN'T RUN AGAIN, BUT HE ALSO DOESN'T RESIGN.

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE THAT INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT DISCUSSION THERE.

WE HAVE JUST OVER A MINUTE LEFT.

AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRO, WE SAW MARCHES IN HONOR OF BREONNA TAYLOR.

WE SAW THIS MASSIVE MULTIMILLION DOLLAR SETTLEMENT FROM THE CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS FOR GEORGE FLOYD'S FAMILY.

THERE WEREN'T CHARGES BROUGHT IN THE BREONNA TAYLOR CASE.

THEY'RE STILL SEATING THE JURY FOR THE GEORGE FLOYD CASE.

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE BLACK LIVES MATTER WITH THESE TWO CASES?

WE HAVE JUST UNDER A MINUTE.

I WOULD SAY MOVEMENTS ARE CON CONTINUOUS.

WHILE THESE NAMES ARE IN THE HEADLINES TODAY, WE KNOW THERE ARE A NUMBER OF CASES THAT DON'T MAKE THE HEADLINES, ACTUALLY A MAJORITY OF THE CASES OF LAW ENFORCEMENT ABUSE DON'T MAKE THE HEADLINES, WE DON'T KNOW THEIR NAMES, WE DON'T KNOW THE SETTLEMENT.

WE DO KNOW THAT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVEN IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK ARE NEGOTIATED WITH FAMILIES REGARDING POLICE MISCONDUCT.

AND THIS MOVEMENT WILL BE CONTINUOUS AND ONGOING UNTIL WE HAVE REAL SATISFACTION THAT WE CAN PREVENT THEM FROM HAPPENING AND NOT JUST SETTLE THEM WHEN SOMEONE HAS DIED.

LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK MY ENTIRE PANEL TODAY.

L. JOY WILLIAMS, JC PALANKO AND BEN MAX.

THANK YOU ALL.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

'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.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP LITTLE MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE 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, 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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