MetroFocus: August 30, 2021

Tonight Frontpage Forecast newcomer and president of the New York State Young Democrats Jovan Richards joins Frontpage veteran, CUNY Professor and former President of the NYC Board of Elections JC Polanco along with The City Deputy Editor Alyssa Katz to discuss the latest headlines that matter to you- from across the tri-state to across the nation.

TRANSCRIPT

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> 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.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- 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 THE METROFOCUS FIRST PAGE FORECAST.

AS WE COME ON THE AIR TONIGHT, WE ARE FOLLOWING SEVERAL STORIES.

RIGHT NOW THE PRESSURE IS ON THE GOVERNOR TO KEEP PEOPLE IN THEIR HOMES.

NOW MEMBERS OF NEW YORK'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION ARE URGING THE STATE TO STEP UP AFTER THE SUPREME COURT REJECTED THE LATEST FEDERAL BAN ON EVICTIONS.

MEANWHILE, WE'RE ALSO TRACKING THE FALL-OUT FROM HURRICANE IDA, WHICH DEVASTATED THE STATE OF LOUISIANA.

SO THE QUESTION IS: IS THE TRI-STATE READY FOR A FUTURE STORM OF THIS MAGNITUDE, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT A POWER SURGE JUST RECENTLY DISRUPTED HALF OF NEW YORK CITY'S SUBWAY SYSTEM.

PLUS, WE'LL CHECK ON AFGHANISTAN AS WE MOURN THE VICTIMS OF LAST WEEK'S SUICIDE BOMBBOMBING.

AND HOW CONCERNED SHOULD WE BE ABOUT THE SAFETY HERE ABROAD AND AT HOME OF AMERICANS.

I'D LIKE TO WELCOME TONIGHT'S PANEL.

UP FIRST WE HAVE OUR RETURNING GUEST, WE'RE ALWAYS HAPPY TO HAVE HIM, JC POLANCO.

HE IS A FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

JC, WELCOME BACK TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

ALWAYS HAPPY TO BE HERE.

AND WE'RE JOINED BY JAVON RICHARD PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK STATE YOUNG DEMOCRATS, WHICH REPRESENTS DEMOCRATS 16 TO 36 YEARS OLD ACROSS THE STATE.

HAPPY TO BE HERE, JENNA.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME TODAY.

AND WE'RE JOINED BY ALYSSA KATZ.

ALYSSA, WELCOME BACK TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU.

GREAT TO BE HERE.

I WANT TO START OFF, ALYSSA, WITH YOU SAYING THE LATEST COMING OUT FROM ALBANY ON A POSSIBLE EXTENSION ON THE EVICTION MORATORIUM, AS WELL AS THE DISTRIBUTION OF HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF FEDERAL RELIEF THAT, AS I UNDERSTAND, HAVE BEEN SORT OF HELD UP.

YEAH.

SO MUCH IS AT STAKE RIGHT NOW.

NEW YORK STATE VERY EARLY IN THE PANDEMIC, MAY 2020, IMPOSED AN EMERGENCY EVICTION MORATORIUM.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT GOVERNOR CUOMO THEN HAD THE POWER TO DO UNDER THE EMERGENCY POWERS GRANTED TO HIM BY THE LEGISLATURE AND THAT, YOU KNOW, HE KEPT RENEWING AND EXTENDING THAT MORATORIUM THROUGHOUT THE PANDEMIC.

BUT WITH THE END OF HIS EMERGENCY POWERS, EVEN BEFORE HE RESIGNED FROM OFFICE EARLIER THIS MONTH, THE GOVERNOR SIMPLY COULDN'T CONTINUE TO EXTEND THESE MORATORIUMS, EVEN THOUGH FOR MANY NEW YORKERS, THE ECONOMIC CONDITIONS THAT HAD MADE THE MORATORIUM NECESSARY HAVE PERSISTED.

WE STILL HAVE VERY HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT.

YOU HAVE A LOT OF WORKERS WHO ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR ANY OF THE FEDERAL AID.

THAT'S WHY NEW YORK SET UP AN EXCLUDED WORKERS PROGRAM FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS AND OTHERS.

YOU HAVE A LOT OF WIDESPREAD ECONOMIC DISTRESS.

NOT TO MENTION THE NUMBER OF OR LOST ECONOMIC STABILITY, LOST THE ABILITY TO WORK BECAUSE OF EITHER THEIR OWN HEALTH PROBLEMS OR THE RISK OF EXPOSURE TO COVID.

BUT NOW WE'RE IN A SITUATION WHERE NEW GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL CANNOT EXTEND THE MORATORIUM ON HER OWN.

SHE HAS SAID I'M ASKING THE LEGISLATURE TO GO INTO SPECIAL SESSIONS TO DO SOMETHING.

THIS IS REALLY URGENT.

WE HAD THE SUPREME COURT KNOCKING OUT BOTH BIG ASPECTS OF NEW YORK'S OWN EVICTION MORATORIUM AND THE FEDERAL CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL.

IF THE LEGISLATURE DOESN'T ACT, EVERYTHING ENDS THIS WEEK AND THE LARD LORDS CAN GO AHEAD IN HOUSING COURT TO FILE FOR EVICTION.

WE EXPECT THEY WILL DEVELOP SOME KIND OF PACKAGE.

IT COULD SIMPLY BE A STRAIGHT EXTENSION OF THE MORATORIUM.

IT COULD BE OTHER MEASURES TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS AID PROGRAM FUNDED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHERE A RELATIVELY SMALL FRACTION OF AID HAS GONE OUT TO HELP PEOPLE, TO HELP TENANTS AND LANDLORDS STAY STABLE BECAUSE LANDLORDS, TOO, HAVE TO PAY THE BILLS.

SO ALL THIS IS COMING TO A HEAD RIGHT NOW.

AND I SHOULD SAY THAT IT IS NOT MY NO MEANS CERTAIN THAT THIS WILL ALL HAPPEN IN THE WAY THAT GOVERNOR HOCHUL CERTAINLY HOPES IT WILL AND MANY TENANTS HOPE IT WILL.

I WANT TO BRING YOU IN AND JUST ASK.

IT SEEMS AS IF THIS YEAR HAS BEEN CRISIS ON TOP OF CRISIS.

THE FACT THAT WE ARE HERE WITH THIS EVICTION MORATORIUM GOING OUT, WE'RE GOING INTO THE COLDER MONTHS AND THAT WE HAVE THIS PROSPECT OF MILLIONS OF NEW YORKERS WHO COULD LOSE THEIR HOMES.

WHY DID THIS SITUATION GET TO THIS POINT?

FIRST WE HAD TO ADMIT THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THE TAXPAYERS HAVE DONE SOMETHING ABOUT THAT.

THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE STATE HAS DONE VERY LITTLE TO DISTRIBUTE THOSE MONIES.

AND YOU KNOW WHO'S HURTING?

TENANTS ARE HURTING AND LANDLORDS ARE HURTING.

I THINK WHEN MOST NEW YORKERS HEAR 'LANDLORDS,' THEY THINK OF A MEAN SPIRITED PERSON THAT OWNS TONS OF BUILDINGS AND IS MAKING LIFE IMPOSSIBLE FOR NEW YORKERS BY ESCALATING THE RENT.

THAT'S NOT THE CASE.

MANY ARE SMALL MOM AND POPS THAT PROVIDE WELL OVER THREE-QUARTERS OF HOUSING FOR NEW YORK CITY.

THESE ARE THE INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE TO CONTINUE PAYING OIL, ELECTRICITY, HEAT, INSURANCE, MAINTENANCE, ET CETERA.

NONE OF THAT WHICH HAS BEEN POSTPONED.

THERE IS NO MORATORIUM ON THOSE EXPENSES.

NEW YORKERS DEMAND TO LIVE IN A PLACE WHERE WE HAVE A PLACE WE CAN LIVE IN AND THAT CAN BE SAFE AND IT IS WARM IN THE COLD AND IT IS OKAY IN THE SUMMER.

HOW ARE SMALL MOM AND POP LANDLORDS SUPPOSED TO DO THAT WHEN PEOPLE AREN'T PAYING THEIR RENTS?

NOW SURE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO CANNOT PAY THEIR RENTS.

BUT I HAVE REPRESENTED PEOPLE, AND I HAVE SEEN THIS FIRSTHAND.

THIS SYSTEM IS BEING ABUSED BY A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO CAN PAY THE REPRESENT, WHO HADN'T PAID THE RENT BEFORE MAY WHO HAVE RECEIVED FEDERAL AND STATE AID AND HAVE YET TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE RENT THEY OWE THE LANDLORDS.

THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF WASTE, FRAUD AND ABUSE IN THIS SYSTEM.

I'M CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS LONG TERM FOR NEW YORKERS WHEN THEY EXPECT TO HAVE A PLACE THEY CAN LIVE IN BUT CAN'T BE MAINTAINED BECAUSE THE SMALL LANDLORDS CAN'T PAY FOR THE NECESSITIES IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THOSE APARTMENT UNITS.

OUR LEGISLATURE IS CONTROLLED BY THE DEMOCRATS, AS WELL AS, YOU KNOW, THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE AS WELL.

THE URGENCY TO MOVE ON THIS AND TO NOT JUST FRAME IT AS A CRISIS FOR TENANTS, AS JC POINTED OUT, BUT ALSO FOR A LOT OF -- ESPECIALLY THE SMALLER MOM AND POP LANDLORDS.

ABSOLUTELY.

ALYSSA WAS RIGHT.

EVERY INSTINCT IS POINTING THAT THE SENATE AND THE ASSEMBLY WILL BE CONVENING THIS WEEK TO HAVE A SPECIAL SESSION IN REGARDS TO THE MORATORIUM.

I APPLAUD THE QUICK ACTION IN HAVING A SESSION TO DISCUSS THIS.

AND ALL SIGNS POINT TO AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN ALL THE CHAMBERS AND THE EXECUTIVE CHAMBER TO ENSURE THAT RENTERS AND TENANTS ARE PROTECTED WHILE ALSO GIVING, YOU KNOW, SOME SORT OF RELIEF TO OUR -- OUR -- OUR LANDLORDS AS WELL.

SO I -- I AGREE WITH JC THAT THE -- THAT THE LANDLORDS HAVE REALLY TAKEN A HIT.

BUT SO HAVE RENTERS.

AND THE WORST PART ABOUT THIS IS IT'S HAPPENING IN BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITIES WHERE RENTERS ARE BEING HIT THE HARDEST.

TENANTS ARE BEING HIT THE HARDEST IN BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITIES WITH EVICTIONS.

SO THIS IS REALLY PROTECTING SOME OF THE MOST VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES WE HAVE HERE IN NEW YORK.

SO, THEN, I WANT TO STAY WITH YOU AND ASK: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CONGRESS?

I MEAN, THAT'S A BIG PART OF THE REASON WHY THE SUPREME COURT STRUCK DOWN THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION'S BAN, BECAUSE THEIR THEORY WAS CONGRESS KNEW THIS WAS A PROBLEM.

YOU SHOULD HAVE ACTED.

YOU DIDN'T.

SO YOU NEED TO GO BACK AND TAKE THIS UP.

IS THIS SOMETHING YOU THINK OUR CONGRESS IS EVEN CAPABLE OF TAKING UP, EVEN THOUGH THIS IS A BIG CRISIS FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, NOT JUST THE TRI STATE?

ABSOLUTELY.

I THINK CONGRESS HAS IT IN THEIR HANDS TO DO THIS.

I SAY THAT AS A PERSON WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT THE DEMOCRATS DO HAVE CONTROL -- MORE CONTROL IN THE HOUSE THAN WE DO IN THE SENATE.

BUT I BELIEVE CONGRESS HAS THE POWER TO DO THIS.

I BELIEVE THE VOTES ARE THERE.

I BELIEVE THIS CAN PASS.

AND I BELIEVE AID IS ON THE WAY.

DEMOCRATS ARE REALLY GOOD AT COMING TOGETHER WHEN THERE IS A CRISIS AT HAND.

AND RIGHT NOW THERE IS A CRISIS AT HAND.

AND WE WILL COME TOGETHER.

WE WILL CONVENE.

WE WILL MEET.

WE WILL DEFINITELY PUSH OUR -- YOU KNOW, OUR MOST MODERATE MEMBERS TO OUR PROGRESSIVE MEMBERS AND WE WILL ABSOLUTELY COME UP WITH A PLAN AND I THINK CONGRESS HAS IT WITHIN THEIR CAPABILITIES TO DO SO.

YOU KNOW, JENNA, I'M SORRY TO INTERRUPT.

I KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO DO.

THE WAY YOU MADE LANDLORDS IN YOUR ASSESSMENT AN AFTER THOUGHT.

FOR EXAMPLE, ANDRES STUART COUSINS AND THE SPEAKER ARE GOING TO DO SOMETHING FOR THE TENANTS.

THESE ARE BLACK AND BROWN AND LATINO LANDLORDS, A LOT OF IMMIGRANTS WHO INVESTED EVERYTHING THEY HAD TO OPEN UP A TWO, THREE, FOUR UNIT BUILDING IN THE BRONX, UNABLE TO PAY FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THEIR PROPERTY.

MANY WHOM LIVE IN THE SAME PROPERTY AND DEPEND ON THOSE RENTS TO PAY THE MORTGAGE.

I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW YOU DEMAND THAT PEOPLE HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE THAT IS WARM, THAT IS SAFE, THAT IS OKAY AND NOT MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE TAKEN CARE OF IMMEDIATELY.

I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS SENTIMENT.

WELL, I THINK WHAT'S REALLY NEEDED HERE CLEARLY IS AN OFF RAMP, RIGHT?

WE HAVE THIS RENT RELIEF PROGRAM, WHICH IS NATIONAL, AND THERE WAS A REPORT FROM THE TREASURY LAST WEEK THAT SHOWED THAT MANY STATES ARE VERY FAR BEHIND AND NEW YORK IS ONE OF THE WORST IN GETTING THE MONEY OUT THE DOOR.

BUT THE WHOLE IDEA HERE, RIGHT, IS TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL RELIEF TO DEAL WITH RENT ARREARS, TO HELP TENANTS IN DISTRESS AND LANDLORDS IN DISTRESS SO PEOPLE CAN MOVE ON.

WE HAVE TO ASK YOURSELVES IN THIS MOMENT WHETHER WE HAVE A MORATORIUM EXTENDED FOR A MONTH, TWO MONTHS OR ENDING RIGHT NOW, WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES: WHAT IS THE PLAN TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE GET THE RELIEF AND WHAT IS STOPPING THEM FROM GETTING IT?

WE HAD HEARD THAT THE APPLICATION PROCESS AND COMPUTER SYSTEM WAS REALLY GLITCHY, THAT IT WAS REALLY DIFFICULT TO PROVE NEED AND THIS MAY RELATE TO THE ISSUES YOU ARE RAISING ABOUT PEOPLE GAMING THE SYSTEM.

NOT EVERYONE CAN PROVE ME, BUT SOME PEOPLE HAVE TROUBLE DOCUMENTING IT.

AND YOU NEED SOME LEVEL OF LANDLORD DOCUMENTATION BECAUSE AT LEAST IN NEW YORK'S PROGRAM, IN ORDER TO GET THE BENEFIT, YOUR LANDLORD HAS TO AGREE NOT TO EVICT.

YOU CAN'T BE EVICTED FOR A YEAR IF YOU ARE GETTING THIS.

SO YOU NEED LANDLORDS AND TENANTS TO WORK TOGETHER.

SO THERE ARE A LOT OF OBSTACLES.

THEY HAD A COUPLE HEARINGS ON THE PROGRAM ALREADY.

KATHY HOCHUL SAID SHE'S CONVENING A TASK FORCE TO LOOK AT THIS.

WE NEED TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY NOW ABOUT WHY IS THIS MONEY NOT OUT THE DOOR?

BECAUSE THAT IS -- I CAN'T SAY IT IS A PANACEA AND IT WILL END THE CRISIS ENTIRELY, BUT CERTAINLY GETTING WHATEVER IT IS, $2.9 BILLION IN NEW YORK INTO THE HANDS OF TENANTS AND LANDLORDS IS CRUCIAL.

AND HOPEFULLY WE WON'T HAVE TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION ABOUT HAVING A SEMIPERMANENT EVICTION MORATORIUM THAT HELPS NO ONE IF WE ARE NOT SOLVING THE UNDERLYING ISSUES HERE.

DO YOU WANT TO ADD IN ANYTHING BEFORE WE MOVE ON?

I WOULD.

YOU KNOW, ALYSSA TOUCHED ON TRANSPARENCY AND SINCE KATHY HOCHUL'S FIRST DAY IN OFFICE, SHE HAS BEEN AS TRANSPARENT AS POSSIBLE.

I BELIEVE SHE'S LOOKING INTO THIS.

THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT'S BEING IGNORED.

SHE IS NOT ANDREW CUOMO.

SO YOU ARE GOING TO GET A GOVERNOR WHO IS GOING TO LOOK AT BOTH SIDES.

NOT JUST THE TENANTS, BUT ALSO THE LANDLORDS.

AND I BELIEVE -- I BELIEVE IN HER ABILITY TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE BOTH SIDES, NOT HAPPY, BUT CONTENT.

AND I DO BELIEVE THAT SHE HAS IT IN HER POWER TO DO SO.

I WILL SAY THAT, JUST BEFORE WE GOT ON, JUST ANOTHER THING.

YOU KNOW, LANDLORDS ARE SAYING, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE THREATENING TO SUE IF THE MORATORIUM IS EXTENDED.

SO LET'S NOT -- YOU KNOW, THEY CAN, YOU KNOW, LET SOMETHING PASS AND THEN GO AHEAD AND DO THAT.

BUT THIS SORT OF -- THERE ISN'T NECESSARILY A KIND OF GLIDE PATH TO A SIMPLE EXTENSION OF THE MORATORIUM NOW.

IT WOULD HAVE TO BE A MORE COMPREHENSIVE PACKAGE OF SOME KIND.

I DO HAVE ONE MORE QUESTION THAT YOU COULD ADDRESS.

THAT IS FOR NEW YORKERS THAT MIGHT BE FACING POSSIBLE EVICTION.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT OPTIONS THERE MIGHT BE FOR THEM TO STAY IN THEIR HOMES?

YEAH.

THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

YOU KNOW, CERTAINLY APPLYING FOR THE RENT RELIEF PROGRAM KNOWN AS E.R.A.P.

ONCE YOU HAVE APPLIED, EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE, ULTIMATELY, YOU GET A PAUSE ON ANY EVICTION ACTIONS BY APPLYING.

THE NUMBER ONE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO IS APPLY WHICH IS REPORTEDLY ONEROUS TO DO, BUT PEOPLE SHOULD DO THAT.

IN MY WEBSITE, WE HAVE AN EXPLAINER ARTICLE THAT WE RECENTLY POSTED THAT GOES THROUGH THAT DETAIL AND A BUNCH OF OTHER INFORMATION FOR TENANTS, INCLUDING RESOURCES YOU COULD CALL FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

OKAY.

AND, JC, I DO WANT TO CIRCLE BACK BECAUSE YOU DO MAKE AN EXCELLENT POINT ABOUT THE PRESSURE THIS IS PUTTING ON AT LEAST SMALL MOM AND POP LANDLORDS.

SHOULD THERE NOT BE THE RELIEF THAT NEEDS TO BE RELEASED GET RELEASED, ARE WE LOOKING AT A CHANCE, NOT JUST PERHAPS OF EVICTIONS, BUT POSSIBLY FORE CLOSURES ON LANDLORDS, THEIR PROPERTIES AND SUBSEQUENTLY THEIR TENANTS?

I THINK ULTIMATELY YOU WILL HAVE A MOM AND POP LANDLORDS LOSE THEIR HOME, EVEN IF YOU MAY HAVE A MORTGAGE MORATORIUM TO A DEGREE.

MANY OF THEM HAVE BEEN IN FORE BEERNS AS THEY TRY TO GET BACK ON THEIR FEET, BUT IT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO PAY FOR THOSE FIXED COSTS.

UNLESS THE LEGISLATURE HAS SOME NORMALLY WHEN IT COMES TO HONEST DISCUSSIONS.

THE DEMOCRATS CONTROL BOTH HOUSES AND EXECUTIVE CHAMBER.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, ONE IDEOLOGY OF THAT PARTY CONTROLS BOTH HOUSES AND THE LEGISLATURE.

SO I HIGHLY DOUBT YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE FIXED COSTS THAT SMALL MOM AND POP LANDLORDS ARE FACING AND HOW THAT COULD LEAD TO A DISASTER IN NEW YORK CITY AND IT WILL ULTIMATELY COST THE HOUSING ON A LOT OF TENANTS DEPENDING ON HAVING THE ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD.

I HAVE HEARD MANY OF THE FOLKS ON THE FAR LEFT SPEAK ABOUT THESE ISSUES AND THEY DEMONIZE THESE LANDLORDS, WHICH IS A VERY BIG CONCERN FOR ME BECAUSE THERE IS SOME IDEA THAT THERE IS A CASH RESERVE THESE FOLKS HAVE THAT THEY COULD CONTINUOUSLY PAY FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND INSURANCE INDEFINITELY.

I THINK THIS WILL COME TO HEAD AND THERE NEEDS TO BE HONEST DISCUSSIONS ABOUT HOW WE COULD MAKE SMALL MOM AND POP LANDLORDS WHOLE AGAIN AFTER A YEAR AND A HALF OF NOT RECEIVING ANY RENT.

ONE OTHER THING LANDLORDS HAVE TO PAY IS TAXES.

THE CONTROLLER HAS BEEN TRACKING HOW MANY PROPERTY OWNERS ARE DELINQUENT ON THEIR TAXES, SPECIFICALLY FROM MULTIFAMILY BUILDINGS, AND HE'S FINDING AN INCREASE, SO I THINK THAT IS ONE EARLY WARNING SIGN WE SHOULD BE PAYING ATTENTION TO.

THIS IS DEFINITELY AN ISSUE WE WILL BE FOLLOWING VERY CLOSELY AND OF COURSE DEPENDING ON WHAT ALBANY DOES OR DOES NOT DO AND HOW FAST THEY DO IT, THEY WILL BE A TOP PRIORITY.

BUT I DO WANT TO TALK ABOUT, I GUESS, THE WEATHER FOR LACK OF A BETTER DESCRIPTION NOW.

WE HAVE SEEN THE DEVASTATION HURRICANE IDA LEFT IN THE GULF COAST, SPECIFICALLY LOUISIANA AND THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS.

HOWEVER, WE HERE IN THE TRI-STATE AREA HAVE BEEN DEVASTATED.

OF COURSE HURRICANE SANDY WAS THE BIGGEST ONE THAT MOST RECENTLY HAPPENED.

THERE WAS A LOT OF TALKS ABOUT HOW TO SHORE UP AND PROTECT THE CITY FROM WHAT IS MOST LIKELY THE NEXT INEVITABLE STORM.

THIS PAST WEEKEND, WE SAW A POWER OUTRAGE, A DISCORRUPTION IN POWER THAT BASICALLY SHUT DOWN HALF THE SUBWAY SYSTEM.

SO FOR ALL OF MY GUESTS, I WANT TO ASK YOU: IS NEW YORK ANY BETTER PREPARED THAN IT WAS BEFORE SANDY HIT?

BECAUSE IT'S REALLY JUST A MATTER OF TIME.

AND, JC, I'LL START WITH YOU.

I DON'T THINK WE ARE PREPARED.

WE HAVE SEEN AS A CITY WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WEATHER HITS US HARD, EVEN AFTER HURRICANE SANDY.

WE RECENTLY HAD FLOODINGS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE CITY.

WE SAW THOSE VIDEOS OF HOW THE SUBWAYS WERE JUST INUNDATED WITH WATER.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR US TO DEVELOP A NEW PLAN IN OUR CITY TO ALLOW FOR DRAINAGE TO TAKE PLACE FASTER AND TO PROTECT OUR COASTLINE.

WE HAVE MORE PORTS IN NEW YORK CITY THAN ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY.

YOU CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW DEVASTATING A HURRICANE LIKE THE ONE NEW ORLEANS SAW OVER THE WEEKEND CAN HIT NEW YORK CITY.

IT WOULD BE DEVASTATING FOR US.

SO WE HAVE TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX AND START PLANNING FOR THE WORST.

AND ONE THING IS FOR SURE, OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS HAVE TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM.

AS I MENTIONED LAST WEEK, WE HAVE TO REALLY STOP THE LITTERING, RIGHT?

WE HAVE TO STOP CLOGGING THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM.

WE SAW PEOPLE LITERALLY SWIMMING IN THAT WATER.

WE SAW POTATO CHIPS, BOTTLES AND EVERYTHING CLOGGING UP THE DRAINAGE.

WE HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF OUR CITY.

DRAINAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT UP A LOT.

EVERY TIME THERE IS A MAJOR STORM, A MAJOR TROPICAL DEPRESSION THAT HITS THE CITY AND WE SEE THE FLOODING, ET CETERA, THAT DOESN'T SEEM LIKE THE TYPE OF ISSUE THAT A LOT OF POLITICIANS WANT TO RUN ON.

LIKE I WANT TO FIX THE SEWAGE SYSTEM OR SOMETHING.

BUT DO YOU SEE THAT TAKING BIGGER PRECEDENCE AS THESE 100-YEAR STORMS COME EVERY FEW YEARS.

I THINK YOU ARE SEEING THAT.

I THINK YOU ARE SEEING IT IN THE FORM OF, YOU KNOW, ENVIRONMENTAL STABILITY.

MAKING SURE THAT THE DRAIN SYSTEMS ARE NOT CLOGGED.

SO WHEN WE DO HAVE HEAVY RAINS THAT EVERYTHING IS NOT COMING BACK UP AND YOU ARE NOT -- YOUR STREETS ARE LITTERED WITH BOTTLES AND WHATEVER ELSE PEOPLE ARE THROWING DOWN THE DRAINS RANDOMLY.

SO I THINK YOU ARE SEEING THAT.

BUT I THINK NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THAT SPECIFICALLY.

I THINK THEY'RE PUTTING IT IN A BAG FULL OF ENVIRONMENTAL STABILITY.

BUT THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE.

AND I BELIEVE NEW YORK IS GROWING CLOSER TO BEING MORE PREPARES THAN WE WERE EVER BEFORE.

WHEN WE WERE HIT BY HURRICANE SANDY, WE SAW A LOT OF INCONSISTENCIES IN OUR -- HOW WE GOVERN AND HOW WE PREPARE FOR THE STORM.

SINCE THEN, NEW YORK HAS BEEN AT LEAST TIRED -- NEW YORK HAS REALLY, REALLY, REALLY TRIED TO PUT THEIR BEST FOOT FORWARD IN PREPARATIONS FOR FUTURE STORMS.

NOW, WE SAW SOMEWHAT OF A REMNANT OF A SMALL STORM THIS PAST WEEK IN HENRE.

BUT THAT WAS ONLY A SMALL GLIMPSE OF WHAT COULD HAPPEN.

IT WAS VERY, VERY MUCH APPRECIATED BY THE GOVERNOR, WHO WAS IN HER FIRST WEEK, OF HOW TRANSPARENT SHE WAS, ABOUT PREPARATION.

SHE WAS IN CONVERSATIONS WITH THE WHITE HOUSE, WITH FEMA AND OTHER RESOURCES.

YOU CAN SEE THAT THE GOVERNOR IS ATTEMPTING HER HARDEST AND HER BEST -- PUTTING HER BEST FOOT FORWARD TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL NEW YORKERS ARE PROTECTED WHEN WE HAVE INCOMING WEATHER THAT COULD DAMAGE OUR STATE AND OUR WAY OF LIFE.

AFTER OUR HURRICANE SANDY, THERE WAS TALK ABOUT ALL OF THESE -- YOU KNOW, THESE IDEAS THAT COULD HELP PROTECT THE CITY.

THERE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE BIRMS GOING UP, SEA WALLS.

HAS ANY OF THAT MATERIALIZED IN A WAY THAT WILL OFFER GENUINE PROTECTION?

THE ANSWER TO THAT IS YES AND NO.

I WILL SAY YOU CAN READILY IDENTIFY TWO MAJOR PROJECTS THAT ARE GOING FORWARD, ALTHOUGH NOT WITHOUT CONTROVERSY.

ONE BEING IN MANHATTAN WITH THE PLANNED RAISING OF EAST RIVER PARK, WHICH HAS FACED ENORMOUS COMMUNITY PUSHBACK.

IT IS BASICALLY A PARK HEAVILY USED BY A COMMUNITY ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE AND IT WAS RECENTLY RE-DONE AND HAS TENNIS COURTS AND BALL FIELDS AND TREES AND EVERYTHING ELSE WOULD JUST BE KIND OF BUILT UPON WITH A BUNCH OF DIRT, YOU KNOW, MANY FEET HIGH TO HELP FORTIFY -- PART OF A PLAN TO FORTIFY MANHATTAN.

IT IS BASED ON A LONG COMMUNITY CONSULTATION PROCESS.

AND THE de BLASIO ADMINISTRATION TOOK ALL THE COMMUNITY PLANNING FOR HOW THAT WORK SHOULD BE DONE ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE, PUT IT ON A SHELF AND IS GOING AHEAD WITH THIS PLAN.

THAT IS HAPPENING.

THERE IS A DEADLINE TO SPEND WITH FEDERAL MONEY.

LIKE IT OR NOT, WE ARE LIKELY TO GET A RAISE -- RAISE PART OF THE LAND AND FORTIFICATIONS ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE.

THE OTHER THING IS IN STATEN ISLAND, THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS IS WORKING ON A SEA WALL OVER THERE CERTAINLY TO PROTECT CERTAIN NEIGHBORHOODS.

BUT THOSE ARE THE MAJOR EXCEPTIONS YOU CAN SITE.

WHAT ASIDE FROM THAT ARE VAST AREAS WITH NO PROTECTION AT ALL.

ONE THAT I'M FAMILIAR WITH AS A BROOKLYN RESIDENT IS SOUTHERN BROOKLYN.

SO BRIGHTEN BEACH OR CONEY ISLAND.

BUT A LOT OF OTHER ASH AREAS AS WELL.

I HAVE SEEN A VERY IMPORTANT ONE WHERE YOU CAN TALKING ABOUT BLACK HOMEOWNER SHIP.

IT IS A HUB OF BLACK HOMEOWNER SHIP WHERE PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY BEEN THROUGH SUB PRIME PRICES AND THERE WERE A LOT OF FORECLOSURES THERE.

SANDY HAD A LOT OF FLOODING IN THAT AREA.

VERY FEW PEOPLE HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE THERE.

AND YOU CAN'T, UNLIKE IN SOME OTHER AREAS WHERE THE BUILD IT BACK PROGRAM AND FEDERAL FUNDING RAISED HOW PEOPLE RAISE THEIR HOUSES SO THE NEXT TIME THERE IS A FLOOD HOPEFULLY IT WILL NOT TAKE THEIR HOUSES THEN.

YOU CANNOT RAISE THEM.

SO YOU HAVE ENTIRE AREAS OF BROOKLYN AND QUEENS ESPECIALLY AND IN OTHER BURROWS WHERE THEY'RE SITTING DUCKS.

THERE IS NO FORTIFICATION.

THEY'RE UNDERINSURED AND THE NEXT STORM WILL BE DEVASTATING.

IT'S VERY SAD.

WELL, UNFORTUNATELY, WE DO HAVE TO MOVE ON FROM THAT.

WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME TOGETHER.

JC, I WILL LEAVE THE LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

THAT IS AS WE'RE WATCHING THE WIND DOWN OF THE EVACUATIONS FROM AFGHANISTAN, WE ARE ALSO COMING UP ON THE ANNIVERSARY, AS WE ALL KNOW, THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11.

SO FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORKERS, SAFER?

ARE WE BETTER OFF?

OR DO WE FIND OURSELVES IN A SIMILAR SITUATION WHERE MAYBE WE'RE NOT PAYING AS CLOSE ATTENTION AS WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN?

AND WE HAVE ABOUT 30 SECONDS.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS TO ALL OF THOSE SERVICE PEOPLE THAT WE HAVE LOST IN AFGHANISTAN IN THAT BOMBING, AND I HOPE THAT THE ARMED SERVICES -- ARMED SERVICES AND OUR MARINES COME BACK SAFELY IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS BECAUSE THE DEADLINE IS FAST APPROACHING.

I HOPE WE -- I HOPE OUR LEADERS REALLY ACT MORE RESPONSIBLY GOING FORWARD TO KEEP OUR PEOPLE SAFE.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, WITH THAT I WANT TO THANK MY PANEL OF GUESTS.

OF COURSE, JC, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

JOVAN RICHARDS, PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK STATE YOUNG DEMOCRATS, WHICH REPRESENTS DEMOCRATS AGES 16 THROUGH 36 YEARS OLD.

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SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

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JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD.

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