MetroFocus: May 3, 2021

FRONTPAGE FORECAST 

Our Frontpage Forecast panelists Rutgers University Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Saladin Ambar, CUNY Professor and former President of the New York City Board of Elections, J.C. Polanco and Gotham Gazette Executive Editor Ben Max bring us the latest headlines from across the tristate to across the nation.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL P. 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, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO THE 'METROFOCUS' FRONT PAGE FORECAST.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

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

TONIGHT, WE'LL COVER A BIG SHAKEUP IN THE NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL RACE AS SCOTT STRINGER LOSES KEY ENDORSEMENTS OVER ACCUSATIONS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

WE'LL TALK ABOUT A MAJOR MILESTONE IN THE CITY'S REOPENING AND RECOVERY AND WHY MANY WORKERS SAY IT'S JUST TOO SOON.

AND WHY IS NEW YORK STATE LOSING A CONGRESSIONAL SEAT?

MANY ARE POINTING THE FINGER AT GOVERNOR CUOMO.

JOINING US ARE PROFESSOR EMBAR, AN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AT RUTGERS.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME, JENNA.

WE'RE JOINED BY JC PALONKO.

WELCOME.

GLAD TO BE WITH YOU.

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

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

GOOD TO BE BACK.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS SHAKEUP IN THE MAYORAL RACE.

I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THE CANDIDATES TO SORT OF FALL OFF FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER, BUT THIS ACCUSATION AGAINST SCOTT STRINGER, I THINK, CAUGHT A LOT OF PEOPLE BY SURPRISE.

VERY QUICKLY, CAN YOU JUST REMIND US WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED.

JEAN KIM, WHO WAS A VOLUNTEER ON SCOTT STRINGER'S 2001 CAMPAIGN FOR NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC ADVOCATE, SAYS THAT DURING THE EFFORTS AROUND THAT CAMPAIGN HE GROPED HER, HE KISSED HER IN AN UNWANTED FASHION, HE REPEATEDLY SAID SUGGESTIVE AND INAPPROPRIATE THINGS TO HER AND CONTINUED TO PRESS HER ON A SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP THAT SHE WAS TELLING HIM SHE DID NOT WANT TO HAVE.

STRINGER HAS DENIED THOSE ALLEGATIONS.

HE HAS SAID THEY HAD AN OFF AND ON CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIP AND HIS TEAM HAS CALLED THE LEGITIMACY OF HER CLAIMS INTO QUESTION.

SHE HAS STOOD BY THEM.

SHE SAID THEY DID NOT HAVE ANY CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIP AND WAS VICTIMIZED BY HIM.

IN THE AFTERMATH HE HAS LOST MANY ENDORSEMENTS.

HE HAD QUITE A LIST OF THEM AS HE ROLLED OUT HIS MAYORAL CAMPAIGN, WHICH HIS WHOLE ADULT LIFE HAS BEEN BUILDING TOWARDS AND HE HAS BEEN WORKING TOWARDS FOR DECADEDECADES.

MANY GROUPEDS HAVE BACKED AWAY.

THE FALLOUT HAS BEEN QUITE SWIFT.

FIRST OF ALL, ANY SITUATION LIKE THIS, IT IS CERTAINLY TRAGIC AND TRAUMATIC, BUT THIS IS A POLITICAL RACE.

SO NOTHING HAPPENS IN A VACUUM.

I'M WONDERING JUST FROM YOUR READ IF THERE'S ANYTHING TO BE MADE FROM THE TIMING OF THIS COMING OUT.

I THINK WE'RE GETTING CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THAT IMPORTANT JUNE DATE FOR THE PRIMARY.

IT'S INTERESTING, MY SYMPATHIES TO THE ACCUSER HERE, BECAUSE THIS IS TOUGH AND COMING OUT PUBLICLY, I KNOW, TOOK A LOT OF COURAGE.

THE ISSUE I THINK HERE FOR MANY OF US AS AMERICANS IS WE ARE FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS NOW WATCHING A WHOLE DIFFERENT WAY FOR US TO NOW ANALYZE WHETHER OR NOT SOMEONE IS TRULY GUILTY OF AN ALLEGATION.

THERE HASN'T BEEN AN INVESTIGATION.

THERE HASN'T BEEN EVIDENCE BROUGHT FORTH OTHER THAN THE ALLEGATION.

AND THE ALLEGATION IS INTERESTING, BECAUSE NOW WHAT WE'RE DOING IS, WE'RE CHANGING THE STANDARDS OF HOW WE PROVE SOMEONE IS GUILTY, EITHER IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION OR A COURT OF LAW.

NOW THE WAY WE'RE DOING THIS, SCOTT STRINGER IS ABSOLUTELY GUILTY OF THIS 2001 ALLEGATION, BUT WE HAVEN'T SEEN ANYTHING.

THIS MAN HAS BEEN FOR DECADES WORKING TOWARD HIS MOMENT IN HISTORY AND HAS LOST EVERYTHING.

IMIMP IMPORTANT ENDORSEMENTS ARE GONE.

NOW AN ALLEGATION IS A CONVICTION IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION.

IS THAT A FAIR POINT?

DOES THAT CONCERN YOU AS WE NAVIGATE THIS POST ME TOO WORLD THAT AN ALLEGATION CAN BE THAT DAMNING?

IT CERTAINLY SEEMS TO BE THE CASE IF YOU LOOK AT RECENT HISTORY AND WHAT HAPPENED WITH SENATOR AL FRANKEN AND OTHERS.

IT'S NOT 1992 ANYMORE WHEN BILL CLINTON COULD SIMPLY DISMISSAL GAS S ALLEGATIONS AND ALL THINGS BE MADE BETTER.

WE'RE IN A DIFFERENT ERA NOW.

I THINK JC IS RIGHT.

HE SAID TWO THINGS VOTERS WILL HAVE TO ASSESS.

THE FIRST IS LEGITIMATE AND POWERFUL RIGHTS OF ACCUSERS TO TELL THEIR STORY AND TO BE BELIEVED AND HEARD.

BY BELIEVED, THAT MEANS BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY AND NOT CAST ASIDE, AS SO MANY WOMEN THROUGHOUT AMERICAN HISTORY WERE.

HAVING SAID THAT, WE ALSO HAVE A DEMOCRACY WHERE DUE PROCESS MATTERS.

THE POLITICS OF THIS IS WHERE WE HAVE TO COME BACK TO.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN SAID PUBLIC OPINION IS EVERYTHING.

THE TRUE TEST IS WHAT DO NEW YORK VOTERS THINK.

ANDREW CUOMO IS BETTING THEY'LL VIEW HIS ALLEGATIONS AS SORT OF AN ASIDE, AN ATTACK ON HIS CHARACTER.

AND TRUMP MANAGED TO WIN.

WE'LL SEE IF STRINGER IS ABLE TO DO SOMETHING SIMILAR AND BRING IT TO THE VOTERS AND SUSTAIN HIS STATUS IN THE POLLS AND HOLD ON FOR DEAR LIFE.

BUT WE DO FACE A BIT OF A CRISIS HERE OF COMPETING IDEALS IN OUR DEMOCRACY.

A, THAT WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN SO OFTEN AND HISTORICALLY MARGINALIZED HAVE AN EXPECTATION THEY'LL BE TREATED SERIOUSLY WHILE ALL AMERICANS HAVE AN EXPECTATION THEY'LL BE TREATED FAIRLY IN TERMS OF DUE PROCESS AND BE CONSIDERED INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

THAT'S WHERE THE TENSION LIES.

OBVIOUSLY THIS IS NOT NECESSARILY THE BEST THREE-MAN PANEL TO SUSS ALL THIS OUT, BUT I APPRECIATE MY COLLEAGUES' POINTS HERE AND I THINK SEVERAL OF THEM ARE WELL-STATED.

I DO THINK THOUGH, IN CONTRAST, WE DID SEE AN ALLEGATION AGAINST JOE BIDEN IN THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN THAT WAS, YOU KNOW, INITIALLY TAKEN WITH A LOT OF GUSTO AND THEN VETTED SOMEWHAT AND WASN'T REALLY HELD AGAINST HIM, BECAUSE THERE WERE REAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ACCUSER TARA REED'S STORY AND MOTIVATIONS.

I DON'T THINK WE'VE SEEN A 100% BLANKET CHANGE IN THIS.

THERE IS A LOT OF ROOM TO QUESTION WHETHER SOME OF STRINGER'S SUPPORTERS SHOULD HAVE WAITED A WHILE LONGER TO HEAR HIM OUT AND POTENTIALLY SEE IF THERE WAS GOING TO BE A QUICK INVESTIGATION OF SOME KIND.

YOU KNOW, AGAIN, THIS IS POLITICS AND THIS IS PUBLIC OPINION AND THESE POLITICAL FIGURES, THESE ORGANIZATIONS HAVE SET A NEW BAR, ESPECIALLY ON THE LEFT HERE IN DEMOCRATIC POLITICS, AND THEY ARE LIVING BY IT.

OBVIOUSLY THERE'S ROOM TO QUESTION THAT, BUT THEY ARE AT LEAST TRYING TO STAY CONSISTENT NOW THAT THEY'VE APPROACHED ANDREW CUOMO IN A CERTAIN WAY AND ARE RESPONDING TO THIS ALLEGATION AGAINST STRINGER IN THE SAME WAY.

WELL, THANK YOU, BEN, FOR ACKNOWLEDGING THAT WE DO HAVE A THREE-MAN PANEL EVEN THOUGH I APPRECIATE ALL THREE OF YOU GENTLEMEN, BUT I DO WANT TO ADDRESS ONE OTHER ACCUSATION OF SEXISM, LET'S SAY, NOT NECESSARILY SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

THAT IS FROM CATHERINE GARCIA.

SHE HAS MADE IT VERY, VERY CLEAR THAT SHE DOES NOT APPRECIATE MAYORAL CANDIDATE ANDREW YANG INSINUATING OR FLAT-OUT SAYING THAT HE'D LOVE TO MAKE HER HIS SECOND IN COMMAND IF HE WINS THE MAYORAL ELECTION AND THAT SHE IS NOT IN THE RACE TO BE SECOND IN LINE.

SO I'M WONDERING IF, AT LEAST DO YOU THINK THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE FALLING ON VOTERS?

WOULD THAT BE HITTING IN A WAY SIMILAR TO AN ACCUSATION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT, THIS KIND OF, YEAH, YOU'D BE GREAT AS NUMBER TWO?

I THINK IT REALLY DEPENDS HOW THE CANDIDATES AND THE CAMPAIGNS AND THE SUPPORTERS OF THOSE CANDIDATES FRAME IT.

WHAT WE'LL SEE IN THE MANY TELEVISION CAMPAIGN ADS WE'RE ABOUT TO BE INUNDATED WITH IN THE NEW YORK CITY AREA INCLUDING SCOTT STRINGER.

BUT I THINK A LOT OF IT DEPENDS ON HOW CATHERINE GARCIA INTENDS TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON SOME OF THE COMMENTS MADE, ESPECIALLY IN THE 'NEW YORKER' WHERE SHE TALKED ABOUT HOW ANDREW YANG AND SOME OTHERS TALKED TO HER TOTALLY SEXIST.

ALSO, A LOT OF THIS WINDS UP BEING PROUBACKGROUND FOR VOTERS WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S YOUR QUALIFICATION TO BE MAYOR AND WHAT'S YOUR VISION FOR THE CITY.

CATHERINE GARCIA IS TRYING TO TIE TOGETHER THAT SHE'S VERY QUALIFIED, AND SHE HAS A STRONG VISION AND SHE'S BEING DIMINISHED BECAUSE MEN THINK ONLY MEN CAN BE MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY.

JC, AT THE BEGINNING WE SAW ANDREW YANG SORT OF BLAST OUT OF THE GATE AS THE FRONT RUNNER, BUT HE SEEMS TO HAVE LOST SOME OF THAT MOMENTUM A LITTLE BIT.

FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WHAT DO YOU SEE?

NEW YORK CITY DEMOCRATS HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE.

THE NUMBERS AREN'T IN THE FAVOR OF ANYONE ELSE OTHER THAN A DEMOCRAT WINNING THE MAYORAL RACE.

THE NUMBERS ARE CLEAR THAT THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE THAT THE WINNER IS GOING TO COME OUT OF THIS JUNE PRIMARY.

DEMOCRATS, IF THEY'RE GOING TO CLOSE THEIR PRIMARIES AND NOT ALLOW ANYONE ELSE TO VOTE, THEY HAVE TO COME OUT WITH MORE THAN 17% OF THEIR VOTE TO COME OUT AND PARTICIPATE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY.

AND WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS TO RUN?

CATHERINE GARCIA IS ONE OF THE MOST INCREDIBLY QUALIFIED CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR RIGHT NOW.

TO HAVE SOMEONE WHO HASN'T EVEN VOTED IN A MUNICIPALITY ELECTION SINCE 1994 WHEN HE MOVED HERE, TO SOMEHOW SAY THAT THE LADY IN CHARGE OF OUR CITY SANITATION, CAN YOU IMAGINE, YOU'D BE A GOOD NUMBER TWO?

IT'S NOT A PROBLEM WITH MEN.

IT'S A PROBLEM WITH YANG.

YANG HAS TO START GETTING REAL ABOUT SOME OF THE MISTAKES HE'S MAKING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL THAT WOULD HAVE DERAILED ANYONE ELSE.

FROM BEING IN A MIDTOWN DELI AND SAYING HE'S IN A BODEGA, THEY'RE NOT AFFECTING HIS POLL NUMBERS THAT MUCH.

WHAT IS UP WITH NEW YORK CITY DEMOCRATS ALLOWING THESE MISTAKES TO FLY BY?

WHAT IS UP WITH NEW YORK CITY DEMOCRATS?

SOME OF THE PHENOMENON OF RANK CHOICE VOTING AND NATIONAL NAME RECOGNITION COMING IN, YOU KNOW, NEW YORK STATE AND THE CITY HAS A TRADITION OF HAVING, QUOTE, UNQUOTE, INTERLOPERS COME INTO OUR MOTOPOLITICS AND DICTA TERMS, GOING BACK TO BOBBY KENNEDY, HILLARY CLINTON.

I THINK THE DIFFERENCE IS VOTERS STATEWIDE COULD SEE BOBBY KENNEDY AND HILLARY CLINTON PERHAPS NOT EVEN AS NEW YORKERS, BUT PEOPLE WHOSE POLITICS AND AUTHENTIC SELVES FIT HAVE BEEN THE NEW YORK POLITICAL CULTURE.

I'M NOT SO SURE PEOPLE FEEL THAT WAY EN MASS ABOUT ANDREW YANG.

TO YOUR POINT, THOUGH, THE CHALLENGE IS HE HAS THAT STRONG BASE.

THAT'S WHAT I THINK JC IS GETTING AT.

YET IT'S SOMEWHAT UNNERVING TO NEW YORKERS WHO HAVE LIVED IN THE CITY FOR A LONG TIME TO SEE SOMEONE WHO, YEAH, CAN'T QUITE PLACE AN ACTUAL AUTHENTIC BODEGA FROM A RECENT FACSIMILE.

IT'S A REAL CHALLENGE.

HE HAS SOME OF THE BEST POLITICAL CONSULTANTS IN THE CITY.

THAT'S ANOTHER BIG DEAL FOR HIM.

THAT'S WHY HE'S TEFLON DON THIS PRIMARY.

AND HE HAS SOME REALLY STRONG POLITICAL SKILLS.

THIS IS A TALENTED POLITICIAN.

I THINK WHAT WE'RE GETTING AT HERE IN THE YANG/GARCIA CONVERSATION WHICH APPLIES TO SEVERAL OTHER CANDIDATES IN THE RACE AND MANY OTHER RACES IS THERE'S A DIFFERENT SKILL SET FOR GOVERNING AND FOR POLITICS AND THERE'S DIFFERENT QUALITIES THAT MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL IN A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN THAN IN RUNNING SOMETHING, WHETHER IT'S CITY GOVERNMENT OR ONE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR VENTURES WHERE YANG HAS HAD VERY LIMITED SUCCESS UNTIL HIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, WHICH PROPELLED HIM QUITE FAR, AT LEAST IN THE PUBLIC REALM EVEN THOUGH IT DIDN'T TRANSLATE INTO VOTES.

I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS AT PLAY HERE WITH NEW YORK CITY DEMOCRATS AND YANG IS THAT HE'S CLEARLY BETTER KNOWN TO THOSE AT LEAST BEING POLLED THAN ANY OF HIS COMPETITORS.

HE HAS A VERY STRONG SENSE OF LIKABILITY, THAT HE'S A NICE GUY WITH BIG IDEAS WHO WANTS TO GIVE PEOPLE MONEY, AS HIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN WAS FOCUSED ON.

SO THE REAL QUESTION BECOMES, YOU KNOW, AS THE UNDECIDEDS START TO PAY ATTENTION, EVEN AS SOME OF THE FOLKS WHO HAVE SAID THEY SUPPORT YANG OR OTHER CANDIDATES START TO REEVALUATE THEIR OPTIONS, WHERE DO THINGS FALL IN THE FINAL WEEKS OF THE CAMPAIGN LEADING TO THE JUNE VOTE.

YOUNG'S PERCENTAGE IS BELOW THE PERCENTAGE OF UNDECIDED BUT HE HAS SOME ADVANTAGES INCLUDING THAT HE DOESN'T HAVE THAT MUCH OF A LOCAL RECORD TO PICK APART.

YOU MADE AN EXCELLENT POINT OF THE DIFFERENT SKILL SET IN RUNNING FOR OFFICE AND ACTUALLY GOVERNING, BECAUSE THAT BRINGS US TO THE INDIVIDUAL WHO A LOT OF NEW YORKERS FEEL DOES NOT HAVE THAT SAME EQUAL SKILL SET AND THAT IS MAYOR de BLASIO.

HE HAS SAID TODAY THAT ALL CITY WORKERS WERE GOING TO BE GOING BACK TO WORK.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT I THINK 80,000 PLUS PEOPLE INTO SOME VERY OLD CITY BUILDINGS, WHICH WEREN'T NECESSARILY BUILT FOR THIS POST PANDEMIC WORLD WE'RE SLOWLY MOVING INTO.

FIRST OFF, THE MAYOR'S ASSERTION THAT IF CITY WORKERS GO BACK TO WORK, THAT THAT WILL SHOW A SIGN TO THE REST OF NEW YORK CITY BUSINESSES THAT IT'S OKAY TO GO BACK TO WORK, BECAUSE THERE IS A CONCERN ABOUT OFFICE SPACE IN MANHATTAN.

BEN, I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE.

SHOULD THE MAYOR BE PUSHING FOR CITY WORKERS TO GO BACK WHEN YOU STILL SEE SO MANY CITY BUSINESSES REALLY NOT READY TO ADDRESS THAT UNTIL AFTER LABOR DAY.

I DON'T KNOW THAT I FEEL 100% CONFIDENT SAYING IT'S COMPLETELY RIGHT OR WRONG.

THERE ARE ARGUMENTS FOR DOING IT.

THERE ARE ARGUMENTS FOR WAITING A LITTLE BIT LONGER.

WE SEE THE COVID NUMBERS GOING WAY DOWN, WHICH IS VERY ENCOURAGING.

WE SEE THE VACCINE NUMBERS GO WAY UP, WHICH IS VERY ENCOURAGING.

THERE MIGHT BE ROOM FOR WAITING ANOTHER MONTH, LET'S SAY.

THE CITY HAS BEEN EVALUATING ALL THEIR BUILDINGS FOR SPACING AND VENTILATION AND THINGS LIKE THAT.

NOW IT'S UP TO THE MAYOR TO ENSURE THAT SAFETY.

BUT A LOT OF PLANNING HAS GONE INTO IT AND SOME ACCOMMODATIONS ARE BEING MADE FOR WORKERS WHO AREN'T COMFORTABLE GOING BACK IN.

THAT'S ONE OF THE BIG QUESTIONS OF THIS WHOLE PROCESS, IS IF ENOUGH ACCOMMODATIONS ARE BEING MADE FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT COMFORTABLE.

BUT IN TERMS OF THE QUESTION OF A SIGNAL TO THE REST OF THE CITY, IT'S ABSOLUTELY AN IMPORTANT ONE, WHETHER IT HAPPENS NOW OR IN ANOTHER MONTH.

IT'S ABSOLUTELY VITAL THAT THE CITY'S MANHATTAN LIFE ESPECIALLY GETS GOING AGAIN.

NOT ONLY IS IT A SIGNAL TO COMPANIES TO BRING THEIR WORKERS BACK, BUT IT'S ALSO A STIMULATION TO THE ECONOMY IN TERMS OF GETTING PEOPLE BACK ON TRANSIT, GETTING PEOPLE BUYING FROM THE LOCAL LUNCH SHOPS AND ALL THAT AGAIN.

SO IT'S VERY IMPORTANT FOR CITY GOVERNMENT TO DO THIS.

THE TIMING ABSOLUTELY COULD BE DEBATED.

OF COURSE.

PROFESSOR, I KNOW YOU'RE NOT WORKING IN NEW YORK CITY, BUT JUST FROM A POLITICAL STANDPOINT DOES THIS SEEM LIKE THE RIGHT KIND OF STEP FORWARD TO BE TAKING AS THE LEADER OF THE CITY?

TO BE BLUNT, GOD ONLY KNOWS.

THIS IS ANOTHER TENSION, JENNA.

WE ALLUDED TO ONE BEFORE, THE TENSION BETWEEN THE RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED AND ACCUSERS.

THIS IS A TENSION IN TERMS OF HEALTH, IN TERMS OF PHYSICAL HEALTH AND THE PERSONAL WELL-BEING OF PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING IN THE CITY, BUT ALSO THE ECONOMY AND THE WELL-BEING OF THE CITY OVERALL.

YOU KNOW, DON RUMSFELD USED TO SAY, NOT THAT I'M ONE TO QUOTE DON RUMSFELD, BUT HE USED TO SAY WE DON'T HAVE A METRIC FOR GAUGING WHETHER OR NOT WE ARE CREATING MORE TERRORISTS THAN WE ARE KILLING TERRORISTS.

AND I DON'T HAVE A METRIC AND I'M NOT SURE THE SCIENTISTS AND THOSE DOING THE STUDIES OF COVID AND WHERE WE ARE IN NEW YORK KNOW THE METRIC FOR WHETHER OR NOT WE ARE CREATING MORE HUMAN MISERY BY KEEPING PEOPLE HOME VERSUS RETURNING PEOPLE TO THE WORKPLACE.

IF WE HAD THAT METRIC, WE COULD JUDGE.

I DON'T THINK WE REALLY KNOW.

I'M NOT QUALIFIED TO JUDGE, BUT I DO KNOW THAT IS WHAT BILL de BLASIO AND MAYORS AROUND THE COUNTRY ARE HAVING TO GRAPPLE WITH.

CAN WE SEND WORKERS BACK SAFELY?

CAN WE KEEP THEM HOME IN A MANNER THAT'S GOING TO SOMEHOW ALLOW US TO RESURRECT OUR ECONOMY?

I THINK THIS IS REALLY WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

YES, THE BODEGAS, THE HOT DOG GUY, THE DELIS AND THE RESTAUR RESTAURANTS AND CAN WE DO IT IN A WAY WHERE THERE'S BALANCE AND HARMONY THERE SUCH THAT LIVES ARE PROTECTED, PEOPLE ARE HEALTHY, BUT ALSO THE ECONOMY IS MANAGED WELL.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT TIPPING POINT IS.

PERHAPS BEN IS RIGHT, MAYBE IT'S A MONTH FROM NOW.

I DO KNOW THAT MAYOR de BLASIO AND OTHERS, CERTAINLY THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY IS PRESSING HIM TO MAKE THE BET THAT PUTTING PEOPLE BACK IN THE WORKFORCE AND BACK IN THOSE OFFICES IS GOING TO BE FINE AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR THEIR BOTTOM LINE, BUT ALSO THE OVERALL ECONOMY OF THE CITY.

JC, YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS?

I HEAR MY COLLEAGUES AND I HEAR YOU JENNA.

I'M THINKING HOW IMPORTANT IS HIS JOB OF MAYOR OF 80,000 EMPLOYEES AND ALMOST $100 BILLION BUDGET, THE SAFETY OF ALMOST 10 MILLION PEOPLE WHO LIVE AND WORK HERE DAILY.

I JUST THINK THAT THERE'S A MOMENT IN TIME NOW FOR NEW YORKERS TO REALLY ASK WHAT ARE YOU QUALIFICATIONS TO BE MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY?

CAN YOU HANDLE THE QUESTIONS?

CAN YOU REALLY TAKE CARE OF 80,000 PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR YOU, CAN YOU MANAGE THE CITY.

I'M BEGINNING TO THINK IT'S TIME THAT NEW YORKERS START PAYING ATTENTION AND ASK THE QUESTION ARE YOU QUALIFIED TO BE MAYOR, BECAUSE THIS OPENING IS GOING TO BE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

SHOW ME YOUR RESUME, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY.

THOSE ARE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS.

RIGHT NOW NEW YORK NEEDS THIS, AS BEN HAS MENTIONED.

BUT I THINK THERE'S ANOTHER ISSUE WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT.

WE KNOW IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR THE MAYOR IS GOING TO BE FOCUSED ON THAT.

BUT THE PRIVATE SECTOR, A LOT OF BUSINESSES HAVE CLOSED UP, LEFT THEIR LEASES BEHIND AND SEEN THEIR WORKERS ARE MORE EFFICIENT WORKING FROM HOME.

THAT'S GOING TO BE A BIG IMPACT ON OUR NEW YORK CITY ECONOMY.

IT'S GOING TO BE HARD FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN VERY EFFICIENT WORKING FROM HOME TO HAVE TO COME BACK INTO THE CITY AND THOSE BUSINESSES ONCE AGAIN INVESTING IN THAT OFFICE SPACE.

I WONDER HOW LONG-TERM AN IMPACT THIS PANDEMIC HAS BEEN FOR THE NEW YORK CITY ECONOMY AND WHETHER IT'S TIME THAT WE MAY HAVE TO, ESPECIALLY THE LIBERALS IN NEW YORK CITY, TO THINK ABOUT SOME OF THOSE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES THAT WE HAVE LET GO, ESPECIALLY THOSE IN BROOKLYN,MAYBE QUEENS WITH AMAZON.

WE MAY HAVE TO LOOK OTHER PLACES TO GET SOME ECONOMIC STIMULUS IN NEW YORK CITY.

I THINK EVERYONE WOULD AGREE THIS IS SO FAR FROM COMPLETE.

THERE ARE JUST SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ON THE TABLE.

I AGREE WITH YOU, JC, THAT DEFINITELY WHOEVER THE NEXT MAYOR IS DOES NEED TO BE ABLE TO ADDRESS ALL OF THESE VERY COMPLICATED ISSUES.

WE'RE COMING UP ON THE END OF OUR TIME, BUT I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE WITHOUT BRINGING UP THE FACT THAT THE CENSUS SHOWED THAT NEW YORK LOST A CONGRESSIONAL SEAT.

WHILE SOME OTHER STATES LIKE FLORIDA, TEXAS, I UNDERSTAND GAINED A FEW, WE'RE DOWN A CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATE.

JC, YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FACT THAT THE DEMOGRAPHICS ARE SHIFTING VERY MUCH IN NEW YORK STATE?

AND DOES THE GOVERNOR BEAR ANY RESPONSIBILITY?

I THINK THE GOVERNOR, I THINK THE LEGISLATURE.

I THINK WE HAVE TO BE HONEST, IT'S VERY EXPENSIVE TO LIVE IN NEW YORK.

IF YOU'RE A RETIREE, IT'S VERY EXPENSIVE.

THINK ABOUT HOW HIGH TAXES ARE IN NEW YORK.

YOU CAN GO TO TENNESSEE OR FLORIDA WHERE THERE'S LESS TAXES LIKE SO MANY HAVE.

THEY LEAVE BECAUSE THEY CAN HAVE A BETTER WAY OF LIFE AND THE FACT THAT THEY DON'T HAVE TO PAY SUCH HIGH TAXES MAKES THEIR DOLLAR GO LONGER.

WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT HOW HIGH TAXES ARE IMPACTING US.

I THINK THOSE 89 PEOPLE WHO DID NOT RETURN THEIR CENSUS WHERE WE BEGGED THEM HERE ON THIS PROGRAM TO FILL OUT THE CENSUS.

89 OF YOU COST US A CONGRESS MEMBER.

SHAME ON YOU.

YOU KNOW, A COUPLE THINGS.

ONE, THE SHIFT IN CONGRESSIONAL SEATS AWAY FROM NEW YORK HAS BEEN A MANY DECADES LONG TREND.

SO THIS IS NOT A RECENT THING.

NEW YORK'S POPULATION IS ACTUALLY HAS STILL GROWN SINCE THE LAST CENSUS.

NOW, THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS HAVE BEEN TROUBLESOME ON THAT FRONT BUT THERE'S ALSO QUESTIONS ABOUT IMMIGRATION AND HOW THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPACTED IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES, WHICH WE KNOW OFTEN INCREASES NEW YORK STATE AND NEW YORK CITY'S POPULATION.

BUT TO THE SPECIFIC QUESTION OF THE GOVERNOR, YES, THERE'S QUESTIONS AROUND POLICY, TAXES, ET CETERA, AND COST OF LIVING, BUT ALSO IN TERMS OF THAT 89 NUMBER, THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN NEW YORK THAT COST THE STATE THIS ONE SEAT, THERE WERE THOUGHTS THAT NEW YORK WAS GOING TO LOSE TWO SEATS.

SO FOR SOME, TO ONLY LOSE ONE WAS SOMEWHAT OF A VICTORY.

BUT EVEN THEN LOSING THE ONE, GOVERNOR CUOMO CLEARLY DID NOT FOLLOW THROUGH ON SEVERAL PROMISES TO FUND CENSUS OUTREACH EFFORTS AND TO TURN STATE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES INTO CENSUS OUTREACH EFFORTS ON THEIR OWN.

NOW, THE PANDEMIC WAS OBVIOUSLY HAPPENING AT THE SAME TIME, BUT NEW YORK CITY DID IT AND NEW YORK STATE AND THE GOVERNOR DID NOT FOLLOW THROUGH ON THOSE PROMISES AND THAT QUITE CLEARLY COST NEW YORK THIS SEAT.

OF COURSE.

PROFESSOR AMBAR, WE HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT.

I DO WONDER WHAT JC MENTIONED AT THE BEGINNING ABOUT RETIREES IN OTHER STATES, DOES THAT MATTER AT ALL THAT NEW YORK IS SENDING SO MANY OF OUR RETIREES TO OTHER STATES' ECONOMIES?

THEY'RE NOT STAYING HERE.

LET ME BE A GLASS HALF FULL GUY FOR PROGRESSIVES.

YOU GOT TWO SENATORS, DEMOCRATS, OUT OF GEORGIA.

PART OF WHAT HAPPENED IS THAT'S PART OF THE SUNBELT RECONFIGURATION OF THE NATION'S DEMOGRAPHICS.

PEOPLE ARE MOVING HISTORICALLY, FOR DECADES NOW TO THE SOUTH AND TO THE WEST AND TO THAT SUNBELT.

THAT'S SORT OF, YOU KNOW, BEEN HARMFUL TO THE ECONOMY AND THE DEMOGRAPHICS AND POLITICAL POWER OF STATES LIKE NEW YORK AND MANY IN THE INDUSTRIAL BELT.

BUT IT ALSO HAS PERHAPS BEGUN TO MOVE AWAY FROM A SUNBELT THAT HAS BEEN DEFINED BY CONSERVATISM TO MAYBE ONE THAT'S GOING TO BECOME A LITTLE MORE PROGRESSIVE IN THE FUTURE.

THAT'S ALL I GOT FOR YOU.

I'M HAPPY TO END A ROUNDTABLE ON A GLASS HALF FULL.

THAT IS DEFINITELY GOOD FOR US.

I WANT TO THANK MY GUESTS TODAY, PROFESSOR AMBAR, JC POLLANCO AND BEN MAX, EXECUTIVE EDITOR OFGAZ.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME ON THE 'METROFOCUS' ROUND TABLE.

'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 MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE 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, 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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