MetroFocus: September 27, 2021

FRONTPAGE FORECAST: VACCINE MANDATES & CRISIS AT RIKERS

Tonight, we bring you the latest news you’ll need to start your week with three leading New York voices whose talk shows put you in the know every daypolitical strategist and host of the “Sunday Civics” podcast L. Joy Williams, GOP strategist, Conservative Color Coalition chair and host of the cable news show “Saturday Agenda” Joseph Pinion, and Gotham Gazette executive editor and host of the “Max Politics” podcast Ben Max.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

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AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER.

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> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO THE METRO FOCUS FRONT PAGE FORECAST.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

IN THIS WEEK'S LOOK AHEAD, WE'LL TALK ABOUT THE MAJOR HEADLINES AND WHAT'S TO COME FOR THE TRI-STATE.

WE ARE FOCUSED TONIGHT ON THE SHOWDOWNS OVER VACCINE MANDATES FOR TEACHERS AND HEALTH CARE WORKERS.

WE'LL ALSO DISCUSS THE ONGOING CRISIS AT RIKERS ISLAND AND WHAT'S BEING DONE TO STOP IT.

JUST THE OTHER DAY A FEDERAL APPEALS JUDGE TEMPORARILY BLOCKED NEW YORK CITY FROM ENFORCING A MANDATE FOR VACCINES FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS.

THIS AS MAYOR GLASS ISIO FACES MOUNTING PRESSURE OVER THE UNFOLDING SITUATION AT RIKERS.

TONIGHT WE BRING YOU THE LATEST ON THESE STORIES AND THE NEWS YOU NEED TO START YOUR WEEK WITH THREE LEADING NEW YORK VOICES WHO SHOWS PUT NEW THE KNOW EVERY WEEK.

UP FIRST WE ARE GOING TO START WITH POLITICAL STRATEGIST L. JOY WILLIAMS.

WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

THANKS FOR ALWAYS HAVING ME.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY GOP STRATEGIST SATURDAY AND HOST OF THE PROGRAM SATURDAY AGENDA, JOSEPH PINION.

WELCOME.

GOOD TO BE BACK.

WE ARE JOINED BY THE GOT AM GAZETTE EDIT AR AND HOST OF THE -- PODCAST, BEN POST.

BEN, SINCE I ENDED WITH YOUR INTRODUCTION, I AM GOING TO START WITH YOU AND ASK, WHAT'S THE LATEST OVER THE CITY'S SHOWDOWN OVER THE VACCINE MANDATE FOR TEACHERS.

HOW DO YOU SEE THIS PLAYING OUT?

THERE HAVE BEEN CONFLICTING COURT RULINGS, ANOTHER ONE IS COMING UP THIS WEEK.

THIS IS A VERY FLUID SITUATION.

RIGHT NOW ON THE DAY IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE GOING INTO EFFECT, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th, WE HAVE A PAUSE ON THE ORDER SO THAT THE MANDATE IS NOT IN EFFECT.

WHAT IS IN EFFECT IS THAT SCHOOL PROFESSIONALS HAVE TO EITHER BE VACCINATED OR GET A WEEKLY TEST.

THAT IS IN EFFECT.

THE QUESTION IS, CAN THEY REMOVE THE WEEKLY TEST AND REQUIRE VACCINATION FOR ALL SCHOOL PERSONNEL?

THAT HAS BEEN PUT ON HOLD.

THERE WILL BE ANOTHER COURT PROCEEDING THIS WEEK.

WE WILL SEE WRIT GOES.

MAYOR BILL deBLASIO SAYS EVEN IN THE FACE OF THIS LATEST COURT RULING HE FEELS IT WILL GO AHEAD BECAUSE THERE IS PRECEDENT ALLOWING THE CITY TO REQUIRE VACCINATION FOR A VARIETY OF THINGS.

SO HE EXPECTS THIS WILL GO THROUGH ONCE THERE IS ANOTHER COURT PROCEEDING LATER THIS WEEK.

IT SEEMS LIKE THERE ARE QUESTIONS AROUND EXACTLY HOW MANY TEACHERS AND OPINIONS PALS AND OTHER SCHOOL STAFF HAVE BEEN VACCINATED.

IT IS CREAMING UP TO WELL OVER 0% AND CLOSE TO 100.

THE THREAT SEEMS TO HAVE TICKED THE RATES UP.

IT APPEARS WE HAVE LOST JOSEPH.

WE WILL GIVE HIM TIME TO REJOIN THE CONVERSATION.

L. JOY I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE.

IT LOOKS LIKE THE MAJORITY OF THE SCHOOL WORKERS IN THE NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL SYSTEM ARE VACCINATED.

THERE WAS A PLAN THE BRING IN AN ARMY OF SUBSTITUTES TO FILL IN THE GAPS.

DO YOU SEE THIS AS WORKING?

LIKE ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A SMOOTH SCHOOL YEAR I THINK IS THE QUESTION EVERYBODY WANTS TO KNOW?

YOU KNOW, I THINK THERE IS LOT OF MISMANAGEMENT, OBVIOUSLY, IN HOW WE RETURN BACK TO SCHOOL.

NOT TO MENTION THE VACCINE BEING AVAILABLE AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS BEING ABLE TO TAKE IT TO PREPARE FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR.

BUT THAT THERE IS NO REMOTE OPTION FORCE FAMILIES WHO ARE CONSIDERING -- WHAT WANTED TO KEEP THEIR CHILDREN HOME BECAUSE WE ARE STILL COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC AND THEY WEREN'T COMPLETELY SURE THAT THEY WANTED TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN IN A PLACE WHERE YOU DON'T HAVE REGULAR INFORMATION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT PEOPLE IN THE BUILDING ARE VACCINATED AND ARE COVID-FREE.

RIGHT?

SO IF YOU DWOENT HAVE A MECHANISM IN PLACE TO BE ABLE TO ASSURE PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS THAT, YOU KNOW, THIS SPACE THATTER GOING TO ENTER, ONE, IS GOING TO BE CLEANED PROPERLY, IS GOING TO HAVE PROPER CIRCULATION, BUT THEN ALSO THE PEOPLE THAT ARE IN CHARGE OF CARING FOR YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE SAFE AS WELL, AND TO THE LARGER COMMUNITY, AND THEN ALSO PROVIDING AN OPTION FOR PARENTS WHO WANTED TO JUST WAIT A BIT BEFORE THEY SEND THEIR KIDS TO THE SCHOOL BUILDING.

YOU KNOW, IT SEEMS TO BE MISMANAGEMENT ALL AROUND N.

TERMS OF THE MANDATE AS YOU MENTIONED AND HAS BEEN MENTIONED, YOU KNOW, THE VACCINATION RATE FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, TEACHERS AND ANYONE IN THE SCHOOL BUILDING IS MUCH HIGHER THAN IT IS IN ACTUAL COMMUNITIES IN WHICH PEOPLE LIVE DAY TO DAY.

AGAIN, MORE INFORMATION HAS TO BE COMMUNICATED TO PEOPLE.

AS WE GET IN THE BATTLE OF THE COURTS, YOU KNOW, THAT'S FOR US TO TALK ABOUT.

RIGHT?

COURT CASES BOUNCING BACK AND FORTH.

WHAT PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS WANT IS, GIVE ME THE INFORMATION THAT THINGS ARE GOING TO BE SAFE.

GIVE ME THE TOOLS TO MAKE THE DECISION TO KEEP MY CHILDREN SAFE, AND PROVIDE ME OPTIONS IN ORDER TO MAKE MY DECISION ON WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH MY CHILD.

AND I THINK BECAUSE FOLKS GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE POLITICAL CONVERSATION OF, YOU KNOW, SHOULD WE DO THIS AND GO INTO COURT AND THINGS LIKE THAT THAT THEY FORGET, YOU KNOW, THE PARENT AND THE STUDENT.

THEY JUST WANT THE INFORMATION.

YEAH.

THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEIR CHILDREN AND THAT THEY THEMSELVES ARE SAFE.

BEING ABLE TO HAVE MECHANISMS IN PLACE FOR PARENTS AND STUDENTS TO BE ABLE TO NAVIGATE THIS WORLD IS WHAT'S IMPORTANT.

LESS IMPORTANT, YOU KNOW, IS THE POLITICAL BATTLES BACK AND FORTH.

JOSEPH, FIRST ALL, THANK YOU.

I KNOW THAT INTERNET PROBLEMS ARE THE BANE OF EVERYONE'S EXISTENCE RIGHT NOW.

BUT TO BRING YOU UP TO SPEED WE ARE SORT OF DISCUSSING THE VACCINE MANDATES THAT OF COURSE THE STATE HAS FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS AND THAT THE CITY IS TRYING TO IMPLEMENT FOR SCHOOL WOERKS.

IT DOES LOOK LIKE THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WHO WORK IN THE NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL SYSTEM ARE VACCINATED.

BUT, OF COURSE THE CITY IS TRYING TO ENFORCE THAT FOR EVERYBODY.

REALLY, WHERE WE ARE IS THIS GOING TO BE A SMOOTH SCHOOL YEAR?

I THINK WITH ALL THE UPHEAVAL THAT PARENTS AND FAMILIES HAVE HAD TO DEAL WITH, I THINK THAT'S WHAT RCH WANTS TO KNOW, IS THIS GOING TO BE A SMOOTH, SAFE SCHOOL YEAR?

CERTAINLY I DON'T THINK IT IS GOING TO BE A SMOOTH SCHOOL YEAR.

WE CAN HOPE IT IS GOING TO BE A SAFER SCHOOL YEAR THAN WE HAVE HAD IN THE PAST.

I WANT TO HARP ON WHAT L. JOY BROUGHT UP, WHICH IS GIVING FAMILIES THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE, BY CHOICE, ALSO GIVING THEM THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO FEEL COMFORT NUMBER THE DECISION THEY ARE MAKING.

ULTIMATELY, WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT'S TRANSPIRED HERE, MOST OF THE TEACHERS HAVE BEEN VACCINATED, MOST OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE GOING TO BE INTERACTING WITH THE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN VACCINATED.

I THINK OM ON SOME BASIC LEVEL WE NEVER HAD THE GOAL OF ERADICATING COVID ONCE AND FOR ALL.

REALLY WE NEED TO BE TALKING ABOUT WHAT ARE THE BEST PRACTICES THAT ALLOW FAMILIES TO BE COMFORTABLE, ALLOW CHILDREN TO BE SAFE?

I THINK IF THERE ARE FAMILIES THAT DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE SENDING THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL THEY SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE SURE THEY CAN CONTINUE TO DO THINGS VIRTUALLY.

BUT I THINK WE ALSO KNOW THAT MANY OF THOSE SCHOOLS, PARTICULARLY IN INNER CITIES, VIRTUAL LEARNING HAS NOT BEEN WORKING.

WE HAVE SEEN THOSE DISASTROUS RESULTS IN EDUCATION ANYWHERE FROM NEW YORK TO BALTIMORE AND EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN.

WE SHOULD BE TRYING TO MAKE IT AS EASY AS POSSIBLE AND AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE FOR IN-PERSON LEARNING TO CONTINUE AND RESUME.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I THINK THAT WE ARE IF WE ARE NOT FOCUSED ON THE REALITY THAT COVID IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE A PART OF OUR LIVES FOR A VERY LONG TIME AND THIS NOTION THAT EVERY TIME MB GETS COVID OR GOING TO BE EXPOSED TO COVID WE ARE GOING TO LOCK THINGS DOWN OR SHUT THINGS DOWN -- I DON'T THINK THAT'S A REALIST ACHE APPROACH TO TAKE.

WE NEED TO EMPOWER FAMILIES TO GET THE INFORMATION THEY NEED SO THEY CAN FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THOUGH CHOICES.

THAT'S AN INTERESTING POINT, IS THAT COVID IS GOING TO BE WITH US A LONG TIME.

DO YOU THINK THAT THE STEPS THAT AT LEAST THE CITY DISTRICT SCHOOL HAS TAKEN MIGHT TRICKLE OUT TO OTHER DISTRICTS AS WELL?

DO WE SEE OTHER DISTRICTS FOLLOWING THIS OR DID WE SEE THIS AS A PATCHWORK DISTRICT TO DISTRICT AS SO MANY OTHER THINGS ARE?

I ASK THIS BECAUSE THE KIDS INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER.

SO DO TEACHERS AND PARENTS.

THAT'S THE NATURE OF LIVING.

DO YOU SEE ANY OTHER DISTRICTS FOLLOWING IN NEW YORK?

L. JOY, I'LL START WITH YOU.

IN TERMS OF WHETHER WE WILL SEE DISTRICTS DOING DIFFERENT THINGS, THAT'S THE NAME OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN GENERAL.

? EXACTLY.

RIGHT.

EVERYBODY IS GOING TO HAVE THEIR OWN DIFFERENT RULES THAT'S BASED UPON, YOU KNOW, THE CULTURE OF THEIR AREA, THE POLITICS OF THEIR AREA.

THAT'S JUST THE CASE.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS INTERESTING TO ME ABOUT THE SCHOOL'S PIECE IS, NUMBER ONE, THOSE OF US WHO KNOW CHILDREN, HAVE CHILDREN KNOW THAT CHILDREN LIKE TRANSFER LIKE THING ALL THE TIME.

ANYBODY WHO SENDS THEIR KIDS TO SCHOOL IN THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR WHEN WE GET TO OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, EVERYBODY IS SICK WITH SOMETHING, AND IT HINTERFERES WITH GETTING THE KIDS TO SCHOOL.

IT IS AN INTERESTING DYNAMIC.

WE'LL HAVE ADMINISTRATORS AND THE ADULTS WHO ARE ELIGIBLE AND THE TEENAGERS WHO ARE ELIGIBLE WHO ARE VACCINATED HAVE HIGHER VACCINATION RATES THAN, AGAIN, THE COMMUNITY IN WHICH THEY COME FROM WITH CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT YET VACCINATED I THINK THE FDA JUST APPROVED VACCINES FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN.

AND YOU KNOW, IT HAS ONLY BEEN TWO WEEKS -- THIS IS THE THIRD WEEK BACK TO SCHOOL IN KERMS OF ARE WE SEEING NUMBERS OF INCREASED TRANSMISSION RATES OF COVID?

ARE WE SEEING SCHOOLS SHUT DOWN?

ARE WE SEEING THAT HAPPENING OVER THE NEXT MONTH?

IT WILL BE AN INTERESTING TEST CASE WITH NEARLY A MILLION STUDENTS -- OUR ENROLLMENT DROPPED DOWN IN NEW YORK CITY -- IN THESE SPACES, RIGHT, AND HOW, ET CETERA COVID IS TRANSFERRING BETWEEN THEM.

AND I THINK -- AND HOW IT IS COVID IS TRANSFERRING BETWEEN THEM.

I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT, THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE SOMETHING WE ERADICATE IN TWO YEARS.

WE HAVE TO LEARN COLLECTIVELY HOW TO PROTECT OURSELVES, HOW TO MAKE IT -- MAKING IT PART OF OUR REGULAR HEALTH CARE, RIGHT, IN TERMS OF PROTECTING OURSELVES, MAKING SURE PEOPLE AREN'T SEVERELY HOSPITALIZED OR UNFORTUNATELY END UP DECEASED BECAUSE OF THE VIRUS.

AND SO HOW DO WE CREATE ON GOING STRATEGIES THAT WILL PROTECT US NOT ONLY FROM COVID BUT ANYTHING THAT COMES UP DOWN THE ROAD, RIGHT, THAT WE HAVE AN EXAMPLE OF HOW TO FOLLOW.

AND SCHOOLS, GIVEN THAT IT'S NEARLY A MILLION KIDS, IN SCHOOL BUILDINGS WITH ADULTS ALSO THAT MIMIC THE COMMUNITIES WE LIVE IN, HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE STRATEGIES GOING FORWARD.

SPEAKING OF STRATEGIES GOING FORWARD, WHILE LOCAL RULE IS IMPORTANT IN NEW YORK STATE BUT OF COURSE A LOT OF DECISIONS WILL BE MADE AT THE GOVERNOR'S LEVEL.

BEN, I WANT TO TURN TO YOU AND FIRST JUST GET YOUR TAKE.

I AM STILL GETTING ADJUSTED TO SAYING GOVERNOR HOCHUL.

BUT WHAT IS THIS FIRST MONTH -- IT HAS BEEN A MONTH, OR HAVE I LOST TRACK OF TIME?

YEAH, GOVERNOR HOCHUL JUST HIT A MONTH.

I AGREE WITH YOU, IT IS SORT OF ASTONISHING THAT GOVERNOR CUOMO RESIGNED FROM OFFICE.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES IT WANT SO SHOCKING OR SURPRISING, BUT JUST THAT SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN SUCH A BIG FIGURE IN NEW YORK POLITICS AS LONG EVEN BEFORE HIS TENURE AS GOVERNOR IS ALL OF A SUDDEN GONE AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THERE IS A NEW GOVERNOR IN HIS PLACE WITHOUT AN ELECTION IS A BIG ADJUSTMENT.

GOVERNOR HOCHUL HAS A MANDATE COMING INTO EFFECT THIS WEEK WITH HEALTH CARE WORKERS.

SHE ANNOUNCED MEASURES TO THAT MAY RESULT FROM HEALTH CARE WORKERS NOT VACCINATED BEING PUT ON LEAVE AND FACING TERMINATION.

THAT'S HANGING OVER HER THIS WEEK.

ONE INTERESTING THING SHE HAS DONE IS LEFT A LOT OF LOCAL SAY AROUND SKBOOLS.

THAT'S SOMETHING GOVERNOR CUOMO WAS DOING AS WELL BECAUSE THEY ARE SUCH A LOCAL ISSUE, GET SO TRICKY AND HEATED SOMETIMES THOSE AT THE STATE LEVEL MIGHT NOT WANT TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS.

THAT'S ONE INTERESTING THING SHE HAS DONE IS SIGNALLED ON SCHOOLS AND MANY OTHER ISSUES SHE WANTS TO LEAVE TO LOCAL CONTROL.

GENERALLY IN HER FIRST MONTH FOR THE MOST PART I THINK PEOPLE FELT RELIEF THAT GOVERNOR CUOMO IS NO LONGER IN OFFICE BECAUSE OF THE WAY HE RULED THE STATE WITH AN IRON FIST AND CONTROVERSY AND POLITICAL FEUDING.

BUT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE STILL WANT TO WAIT AND SEE HOW SHE REALLY PERFORMS.

THERE WAS A LOT OF LOW HANGING FRUIT BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN SO DISTRACTED FOR A LONG TIME.

SHE WAS ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF SOME THINGS, SHOWED GOOD STEPS TO GET MORE RESIDENT RELIEF MONEY OUT THE DOOR AND SO ON.

SHE SEEMED TO HAVE FALTERED WHEN HURRICANE IDA WAS COMING TOWARDS THE CITY.

THAT'S LONGER DISCUSSION AND ROOM FOR EVALUATION THERE.

THEN THERE IS A LOT OF WAIT-AND-SEE.

WE WILL BE WATCHING CLOSELY AS SHE CONTINUES ON.

JOE, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN.

I THINK ANY ELECTED OFFICIAL LOOKING AT WHAT HAPPENS WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS IN OTHER STATES WOULD CERTAINLY WANT TO NOT ENCOURAGE THAT AT ALL TO HAPPEN IN NEW YORK STATE.

BUT I DO WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON THE VACCINE MANDATE FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS.

THERE IS AT LEAST ONE HOSPITAL THAT WE KNOW OF IN UPSTATE NEW YORK WHERE THEY HAD TO SUSPEND DELIVERIES IN THE MATERNITY WARD SIMPLY BECAUSE SO MANY NURSES EFFECTIVELY HAD TO RESIGN OVER THIS MANDATE.

LOOK, I THINK THAT WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL WHEN WE ARE DEALING WITH THE VULNERABLE.

WE HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE -- WE SAW THE TRAGEDY THAT UNFOLDED IN THE NURSING HOMES.

I THINK THAT WE CERTAINLY SHOULD HAVE TO PROBABLY MAKE SOME WISE DECISIONS ABOUT WHAT THE STATUS -- VACCINATION STATUS SHOULD BE OF INDIVIDUALS SHOULD BE OF THOSE DEALING WITH IMMUNOCOMPROMISED, WITH VULNERABLE POPULATIONS.

AS A GENERAL RULE IF OUR DECISION MAKING FOR PUBLIC HEALTH IS TO ENSURE THAT PEOPLE CAN GET THE BEST LEVEL OF CARE, THEN NURSING SHORTAGES IS NOT A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

SO I THINK, ULTIMATELY, WHAT WE NEED TO START DOING IS DIVORCING THIS ENTIRE PROCESS FROM POLITICS.

I AM AMAZED BY PEOPLE WHO ON ONE HAND TALK ABOUT HOW POLITICS ARE CARRYING THE DAY WHEN IT COMES TO COVID AND ON THE OTHER HAND SEEM TO BE INJECTING POLITICS INTO THE CONVERSATION.

SO THE REALITY IS, WE DO HAVE A GOVERNOR'S RACE COME UP IN 2022.

BUT I THINK WHETHER WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE SCHOOLS, WHETHER WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE HOSPITALS, WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THE GOAL AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS ENTIRE PROCESS TO GO BACK TO THAT BLUE PRINT WAS TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE DID NOT END UP IN HOSPITALS AND PEOPLE THAT ENDED UP IN HOSPITALS DID NOT DIE.

AS LONG AS THE HOSPITALIZATION RATES ARE NOT GOING UP DRAMATICALLY, AS LONG AS THE DEATHS ARE NOT INCREASING DRAMATICALLY, I THINK ON SOME BASIC LEVEL, WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT PEOPLE GETTING COVID IN AND OF ITSELF IS NOT A PROBLEM.

I THINK ON SOME BASIS WE MAY BE FOCUSED TOO MUCH ON THE NEW CASES AND NOT NECESSARILY FOCUSED ON THE HOSPITALIZATIONS AND ALSO THE DEATHS.

I THINK THOSE ARE THE TWO NUMBERS THAT WE -- SHOULD BE DRIVING OUR PUBLIC DECISION.

I THINK THAT'S WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE ARE GOING TO DEAL WITH HOSPITALS, HOW WE ARE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO NOT HAVE STAFFING SHORTAGES.

BECAUSE THAT'S HOW YOU TURN INCONVENIENT NIGHTS INTO ONGOING TRAGEDIES THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO HAPPEN.

WHILE THIS IS A STORY THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW WE DO WANT TO LEAVE THAT THERE.

BEN, I WANT TO TURN TO YOU AND TALK ABOUT RIKERS ISLAND.

VERY QUICKLY FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING ALL OF THE DEVELOPMENTS, RIKERS ISN'T ALWAYS ON EVERYONE'S RADAR, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM THAT'S GOING ON AT RIKERS?

AND WHY IS IT THAT MAYOR deBLASIO IS STEPPING IN?

WELL, HE'S STEPPING IN AFTER HE LET THINGS GET OUT OF CONTROL AND TO A TERRIBLE PLACE TO TAKE MORE ACTIONS.

I MEAN, THE SHORT OF IT IS BASICALLY RIKERS IS ALWAYS FULL OF PROBLEMS.

AND THAT'S PART OF THE REASONS IT HAS BEEN PUT ON A POCKET TO CLOSURE.

SOME PEOPLE MIGHT DISAGREE WITH THAT DECISION BUT THE REASON IT HAS BEEN PUT ON A PATH TO CLOSURE AND THEY ARE PLANNING TO BUILD FOUR NEW JAILS IN THE BORROWS OTHER THAN STATEN ISLAND IS BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND.

I THINK THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED HERE IS THE MAYOR HASN'T BEEN TO RIKERS ALTHOUGH HE SAYS HE IS GOING TO GO THIS WEEK.

HERE WHAT IS HAPPENING.

FEWER AND FEWER STAFFERS WERE SHOWING UP FOR WORK AND THE DETAINEE POPULATION WAS INCREASING SIGNIFICANTLY AS THERE WERE MORE ARRESTS MADE FOR A VARIETY OF KPRIMS AND THE COURT SYSTEM WASN'T MOVING AS QUICKLY AS IT SHOULD BE DUE TO COVID.

MORE PEOPLE DETAINED AND FEWER OFFICERS STAFFING THEIR SHIFTS AND WE SAW A REAL PROBLEM IN THE INTAKE N THE ABILITY TO CARE FOR THOSE BEING DETAINED, MOST OF THEM OF COURSE PRETRIAL.

THINGS HAVE GOTTEN OUT OF HAND THERE AND THERE IS A LOT OF ACCOUNTS OF PEOPLE WHO VISITED AND FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN THERE WORKING OR DETAINED, THAT THINGS HAVE BECOME WHAT MANY ARE CALLING A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS THERE.

THE MAYOR ANNOUNCED STEPS TO TRY TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS, SOME SEEM TO BE HAVING INITIAL IMPACT BRINGING DOWN THE TEE CONTAINEE POPULATION IN CONCERT WITH THE STATE EFFORT TO DO SO AND TRYING TO GET MORE CORRECTION OFFICERS BACK INTO WORK.

L. JOY, I WOULD LIKE TO GET YOUR OPINION ON THIS.

KEEPING IN MIND WE ARE TAPING ON MONDAY MORNING.

BUT YOUR TAKE ON THE MAYOR'S HANDLING OF RIKERS ISLAND AND KEEPING IN MIND THAT THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT'S BEEN IN THE WORKS FOR A LONG TIME.

YEAH.

AND LIKE EVERYTHING IN THE PAST TWO YEARS, THINGS GOT EXASPERATED BY COVID IN TERMS OF -- YOU KNOW, IT'S INTERESTING.

PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THE DELAY IN THE COURT SYSTEM BECAUSE OF COVID.

WITHOUT MENTIONING WHAT EVERYBODY KNOWS AS WELL, THAT THERE WAS A DELAY IN THE COURT SYSTEM BEFORE COVID IN TERMS OF THIS.

SO YOU HAVE THIS BUILD UP, RIGHT, OF SYSTEMS NOT WORKING.

AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE PROBLEMS IN ONE PARTICULAR SYSTEM, IT CAUSES A SNOWBALL EFFECT AND THINGS GET CONTINUALLY LARGER.

THAT'S NOT TO SAY -- TO LET THE MAYOR OFF THE HOOK IN TERMS OF HIS ROLE AND NOT TAKING AN ACTIVE ROLE IN ADDRESSING THE ISSUE THAT HAS BEEN BUILT FOR SOME TIME.

AND WHILE RIKERS HAS BEEN SLATED FOR CLOSURE, WE ALL KNOW THE REASON FOR IN A IS THERE HAVE BEEN PROBLEMS IN TERMS OF STAFFING ISSUES, IN TERMS OF TREATMENT, IN TERMS OF THE COURT SYSTEM FOR A LONG TIME THAT HAS BUILT UP.

AND NO ONE HAS BEEN REALLY WILLING TO TAKE IT ON AS AN ISSUE TO ADDRESS.

PARTLY BECAUSE AS MEN MENTIONED RIKERS IS OVER THERE.

UNLESS YOU HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS, NMS YOU ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED OR YOU YOURSELF ARE ON THE ROCKS, YOU DON'T HAVE ANY CONTEXT, RIGHT?

IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT MATTERS TO YOU IN TERMS OF HOW WE ARE ADDRESSING THE POPULATION, AND PARTICULARLY BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK OH, THE PEOPLE OVER THERE, THEY ARE GUILTY ANYWAY, NOT REALIZING THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVEN'T EVEN BEEN -- A DECISION HASN'T BEEN MADE YET.

SO I THINK IT'S A LACK OF -- ANOTHER MANAGEMENT ISSUE THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS LET FALTER AND HAS NOT TAKEN THE REINS ON.

AND WE HAVE NOW GOTTEN TO A PLACE WHERE IT IS SINCERE -- JUST VERY DIRE.

AND UNLESS WE TAKE STRONG ACTION ON THIS ISSUE, YOU KNOW, MANY MORE PEOPLE -- PEOPLE HAVE DIED AND MANY MORE PEOPLE WILL DIE, UNFORTUNATELY, UNTIL SOMEONE IS WILLING TO STANDS UP AND TAKE CONTROL OF THE ISSUE?

JOSEPH, GOING BACK TO THE ISSUE OF LOCAL RULE, THERE IS I DON'T WANT TO SAY RUMORS BUT A POSSIBILITY THAT THE FEDS MIGHT STEP IN AS THE PROCESS OF SHUTTING DOWN RIKERS MOVES FORWARD.

AND I AM WONDERING, IF YOUR PERSPECTIVE, DO YOU SEE THAT AS A POSITIVE STEP?

DO WE NEED FEDERAL INTERVENTION?

OR DOES THE CITY REALLY NEED TO STEP UP AND ACT MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVELY IN NOT ONLY MANAGING THIS FACILITY, BUT ALSO CLOSING IT?

LOOK, I THINK THE REALITY IS THAT NO ONE WANTS TO DEAL WITH THE UNDERLYING CONDITIONS THAT CAUSED ALL OF THIS PAIN THROUGHOUT OUR COMMUNITY IN THE FIRST PLACE.

YOU HAVE GOT PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT POLICE REFORM.

WE HAVE GOT PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT BAIL AND PRISON REFORM.

AND NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT ACTUALLY TRYING TO REFORM OUR COMMUNITIES TO HEAL THOSE UNDERLYING FRACTURES AND FAULT LINES THAT ARE LEADING TO THE ARRESTS, THAT ARE LEADING TO THE IMPRISONMENTS, THAT ARE LEADING TO RIKERS BEING OVERRUN, THAT ARE LEADING TO THE INCREASE IN VIOLENCE IN OUR STREETS.

WE KNOW FOR A FACT WE SAW HOMICIDES AND SHOOTINGS SPIKE IN 2020 IN THE MIDST OF COVID.

TO L. JOY'S POINT EXPASSER BAITED BY THE FACT THAT THE DESPAIR THAT DRIVES PEOPLE TO CRIME WAS IN MANY WAYS AMPLIFIED BY THE HARSH REALITIES WENT PRESENTED BY A GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

WE FIND OURSELVES IN A PLACE PARTICULARLY LIKE NEW YORK CITY OR BALTIMORE OR CHICAGO -- NOT SOUGHT SAME DEGREE AS HERE.

BUT WE HAVE TO FIND OUT WAYS TO IMPROVE THE AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAM FOR OUR YOUTH, HOW WE IMPROVE THE LITERACY RATES.

WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A DEMOGRAPHIC ALSO EXPERIENCING HIGHER RATES OF POVERTY.

IT IS PAIN, POVERTY, DESPAIR, ALL OF THESE THINGS THAT WE REFUSE TO ADDRESS BECAUSE, TO OUR EARLIER POINT, THE POLITICS GETS IN THE WAY BECAUSE EITHER YOU ARE FOR BACKING THE BLUE O YOU ARE FOR REFORMING THE BILL.

SOMEHOW WE CAN'T REFORM THE BILL, BACK THE BLUE AND IMPROVE OUR SOCIETY AT THE SAME TIME BECAUSE NO ONE HAS FIGURED OUT HOW TO CAMPAIGN ON ALL THOSE MESSAGES TOGETHER.

IT HAS MANIFESTED ON WHAT WE ARE SEEING ON RIKERS ISLAND, WHAT WE ARE SEEING IN THE COURTHOUSES EVERY DAY, LIVES TORN ASUNDER BECAUSE OF ISSUES WE REFUSE TO ADDRESS.

SPEAKING OF PEOPLE CAMPAIGNING ON MULTIPLE ISSUES AT THE SAME TIME WE HAVE A MAYORAL RACE THAT IS STILL HAPPENING.

I FEEL THE OCCASIONAL NEED THE REMIND PEOPLE OF THAT.

ERIC ADAM HAS WEIGHED IN ON THAT.

BEN, GIVE US YOUR TAKE ON THE DEMOCRATIC MAYOR OF NEW YORK NOMINEE ON RIKERS ISLAND.

I AM GLAD YOU ASKED THAT BECAUSE I THOUGHT BEN WAS SOUNDING LIKE ADAMS ON THOSE ISSUES.

IT SOUNDS A LOT LIKE WHAT ERIC ADAMS HAS BEEN SAYING.

I THINK THESE ARE ALSO THING THAT deBLASIO HAS SAID AND LEADERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HAVE BEEN SAYING ABOUT DOING ALL OF THE ABOVE.

THE QUESTION IS IN THE RIGHT IMPLEMENTATION.

WE HAVE SEEN SO MANY MANAGEMENT ISSUES UNDER deBLASIO WHO IS NEAR THE ENDS OF HIS EIGHT-YEAR TENURE.

ONE OF THE QUESTIONS IS KBEKTIVE IMPLEMENTATION AND MANAGEMENT BECAUSE THERE IS AGREEMENT EVEN ACROSS THE AISLE ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE TO INVEST IN YOUNG PEOPLE, IMPROVE SCHOOLS AND DO A VARIETY OF OTHER THINGS SO PEOPLE AREN'T WINDING UP IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

ERIC ADAMS HAS SAID THEY SHOULD LOOK AT FEDERAL INTERVENTION AT RIKERS.

HE WANTS THE STATE TO LOOK INTO INTERVENTION.

THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE CITY HAS SO MISHANDLED THIS, PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR OTHER LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT TO GET INVOLVED IN THE CITY JAIL SYSTEM.

IT SIGNIFIES A CASE.

BUT THAT IS ALREADY THE CASE BECAUSE THERE IS A FEDERAL MONITOR OF RIKERS ISLAND BECAUSE OF PRIOR ISSUES THERE.

HE FINALLY GOT INVOLVED.

I WAS WAITING FOR MORE THAN WEEKS FOR THE FEDERAL MONITOR TO STEP UP HERE AND FINALLY THEY DO TO SAY THAT A JUDGE SHOULD REQUIRE CERTAIN ACTIONS FROM THE CITY.

THAT CONVERSATION IS CONTINUING.

ERIC ADAMS SEEMED TO BE SOMEWHAT AVOIDING THE CONVERSATION HIMSELF BECAUSE THIS IS OBVIOUSLY, ONCE IT GOSS TO THE CRISIS POINT IT GOT TO, IT'S VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TO TURN IT AROUND IN A PLACE LIKE RIKERS ISLAND.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE.

WE ARE COMPLETELY OUT OF TIME.

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BEN MAX OF COURSE EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF THE GOTHAM GAZETTE.

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