MetroFocus: October 12, 2021

FRONTPAGE FORECAST

Our Frontpage Forecast panelists Conservative Color Coalition chair and host of the cable news show “Saturday Agenda” Joseph Pinion, Democratic political strategist Na’ilah Amaru and Deputy Editor at The City, Alyssa Katz discuss late breaking headlines from across the tristate and the nation.

TRANSCRIPT

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

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, 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 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

OUR LOOK AHEAD AT THE MAJOR HEADLINES BEGINS TONIGHT WITH THE DECISION SHAKING UP THE WORLD OF EDUCATION AND NEW YORK POLITICS.

MAYOR de BLASIO'S PHASE OUT OF THE CITY'S GIFT AND TALENT PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS WHO CRITICS CONTRIBUTE TO RACIAL SEGREGATION IN NEW YORK'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

PARENTS ARGUE IT HAS GIVEN OPPORTUNITIES TO GET INTO BETTER SCHOOLS, THUS LIFTING THEM OUT OF POVERTY.

IF THE PROGRAM IS SCRAPPED, THE CONTROVERSY AND MUCH.

WORK, WILL FALL ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE CITY'S NEXT MAYOR, EITHER DEMOCRAT ERIC ADAM OR REPUBLICAN E ERIC SEWELL.

SO EACH ARE MAKING THEIR FINAL PITCH FOR VOTES THAT START LATER THIS MONTH.

MEANWHILE, MAYOR de BLASIO IS EMBROILED OVER ANOTHER CONTROVERSY OVER HIS REFUSAL TO PAY THE CITY BACK OVER $300,000 HE SPENT ON NYPD SECURITY DURING HIS FAILED 2019 PRESIDENTIAL RUN.

THE MAYOR SAID AS WE FOLLOWING ADVICE FROM THE NYPD AND SHOULDN'T HAVE TO FOOT THE BILL.

SO LET'S GET STARTED AND WELCOME BACK THREE NEW YORK VOICES WHO ARE EXPORTS AS HOW THINGS WORK HERE AND IN THE TRISTATE.

UP FIRST WE HAVE JOSEPH PINION.

JOSEPH IS A GOP STRATEGIST, SHARE OF THE CONSERVATIVE COLOR COALITION AND HOST OF THE CABLE NEWS PROGRAM 'SATURDAY AGENDA.'

JOSEPH, WELCOME BACK TO 'METROFOCUS.'

GOOD TO BE HERE WITH YOU.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY NAY ALLAH AMARU, A DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL STRATUS, ADVANCING PROGRESSIVE POLICY.

SHE'S ALSO THE FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL'S BLACK, LATINO AND ASIAN CAUCUS.

WELCOME BACK TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

AND TO ROUND OUT OUR ROUNDTABLE WE'RE JOINED BY ALYSSA CATS, DEPUTY EDITOR OF THE INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIVE NEWS SITE 'THE CITY.'

ALYSSA, WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME BACK.

ALYSSA, I WANT TO START WITH YOU BECAUSE IT SEEMS LIKE MAYOR de BLASIO ALWAYS SEEMS TO FIND HIMSELF IN SOME KIND OF CONTROVERSY, AND OF COURSE WE'LL GET TO THE NYPD STATEMENT SOON BUT I WANT TO START WITH THE PHASING OUT OF THE GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAM.

WHAT HAS HE SAID IS HIS REASONING BEHIND THAT, AND WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE TIMING?

YES, THE -- I'LL START WITH THE TIMING, WHICH IS VERY INTERESTING GIVEN THAT de BLASIO HIMSELF HAD CONVENED A TASK FORCE, AT THIS POINT IT WAS AT LEAST TWO YEARS AGO, IF NOT LONGER, TO REALLY TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THESE PROGRAMS WHICH HAVE CHILDREN TAKING EXAMINES AT THE AGE 4 THAT COULD DETERMINE THE REST OF THEIR CAREER.

SO de BLASIO DID THIS AS PART OF KIND OF A CONSENSUS THAT THIS WAS NOT A GREAT WAY TO ENSURE A GOOD EDUCATIONAL OUTCOME FOR ANYONE.

IT'S NOT JUST A VIABLE SYSTEM.

BUT de BLASIO DID THIS IN THE FINAL WEEKS OF HIS LIMITED SECOND TERM AND I THINK IT WAS INFURIATING CERTAINLY TO THE PEOPLE WHO WORKED VERY HARD ON HIS TASK FORCE AND TO THE MANY FAMILIES WHO WERE REAL CHILLY CONCERNED IN SANS THE SYSTEM HAD REALLY BAKED IN SEGREGATION, THAT THESE PROGRAMS WERE OVERWHELMINGLY IN SCHOOLS THAT ARE MORE WHITE AND ASIAN THAN THE SYSTEM AS A WHOLE, AND YOU ALSO HAD ENTIRE GIFTED AND TALENTED SCHOOLS THAT WERE EVEN MORE KIND OF HYPER EXCLUSIVE.

AND THERE HAD BEEN A POINT WHERE THERE HAD BEEN A CHOICE, RIGHT?

AND FOR MANY YEARS, YOU HAD SOME ADVOCATES SAYING DO AWAY WITH THE SYSTEM AND OTHERS SAYING, YOU KNOW, MAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY AVAILABLE MORE WIDELY.

BRING IT TO DISTRICTS -- TO EVERY DISTRICT IN THE CITY BECAUSE THERE ARE MANY DISTRICTS WHO HAVE FEW OR EVEN NO GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAMS.

AND INSTEAD de BLASIO LONG AFTER HIS TASK FORCE RECOMMENDED IT SAID LET'S DO AWAY WITH THIS ENTIRELY AND THAT LEAVES IT UP TO THE NEXT MAYOR TO ACTUALLY ACT OR NOT.

OKAY, SO THEN WITH ALL OF THAT IN MIND, NAILAH, I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON DOING AWAY WITH THIS PROGRAM AND ARE THE CRITICS RIGHT THAT IT WAS CONTRIBUTING TO BE COMPLETELY DONE AWAY WITH SEGREGATION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT KNOWLEDGE, I THINK HOW HIGHLY SELECTEDIVE THE GIFT AND TALENTED PROGRAM IS, 2,500 STUDENTS EVERY YEAR ARE ADMITTED, AND THAT'S WITH A PUBLIC SCHOOL ENROLLMENT OF OVER 60,000 STUDENTS.

WITH THAT SAID THE ARGUMENT HAS BEEN THIS LEADS TO DE FACTO RACIAL SEGREGATION IN OUR SCHOOLS, SO THE PUSH TO MOVE TOWARDS THE NEW PROGRAM de BLASIO IS ADVOCATING FOR FOR NYC IS THAT NEW PROGRAM WILL CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL OF THE STUDENTS WHO SPECIALIZE IN ACCELERATED LEARNING COMPONENTS.

AND THEY'RE ALL IN THE SAME CLASSROOM.

I THINK THE FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE HERE IS WE HAVE NOT YET THROUGH THE TASK FORCE, THROUGH PUBLIC DISCOURSE IN LIGHT OF THIS DECISION REALLY COME TO A CONSENSUS IN TERMS OF IS THIS ABOUT DECREASING THE STANDARDS, RIGHT, WHICH IS ONE SIDE OF THE ARGUMENT OR SHOULD IT BE ABOUT INCREASING OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS, WHICH IS THE NARRATIVE THAT IS MAYOR IS PUSHING TOWARDS?

I DO THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE HAS NOT BEEN A PUBLIC DISCOURSE, YOU KNOW, ON THIS ISSUE IN LIGHT OF, YOU KNOW, WHAT THE MAYOR HAS IN TERMS OF TWO MONTHS LEFT IN HIS ADMINISTRATION, WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY CREATING ANOTHER POTENTIAL MESS FOR THE INCOMING MAYOR IN JANUARY OF NEXT YEAR TO TRY AND NAVIGATE AND PUSH THROUGH IN TERMS OF WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR STUDENTS AND CAN IT BE IMFLORIDA FAYED INTO AN EITHER/OR CONVERSATION OR AS SIMPLE AS CREATING A NEW PROGRAM IN TERMS OF IS THIS GOING TO BE BETTER OR THIS JUST ANOTHER PROGRAM THAT STILL CONTINUES INEQUITIES WE'RE FACING WITH THE GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAM AS IS.

JOSEPH, WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE MAYOR'S PLAN TO ELIMINATE THIS PROGRAM?

OH, LOOK, I THINK IN MANY WAYS IT SEEMS TO DOUBLE DOWN ON THESE FAILED NARRATIVES.

NUMBER ONE, THIS NOTION THAT WE HAVE TO TEAR DOWN SOME SECTORS OF SOCIETY IN ORDER TO UPLIFT OTHER SOCIETY, THAT TO ME BECOMES A VERY REAL PROBLEM.

YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO PROVIDE EQUITABLE OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL THE CHILDREN OF THIS CITY, INCLUDING THOSE WHO ARE ON A FASTER TRACK AND THOSE WHO ARE LAGGING BEHIND.

SO I THINK WHEN WE START TALKING ABOUT WHAT OUR OBJECTIVES SHOULD BE, OUR OBJECTIVES SHOULD BE TO DEAL WITH THE HARSH REALITY, YES, WE HAVE PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN NEW YORK CITY THAT ARE MORE SEGREGATED THAN AT THE HEIGHT OF JIM CROW BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE FACT THAT STUDENTS ACROSS THE BOARD BY AND LARGE ARE NOT READING AT GRADE LEVEL AND NOT DOING MATH AT GRADE LEVEL AND THIS NOTION THAT WE'RE GOING TO DECONSTRUCT THE SECTOR OF THE EDUCATION THAT IS ACTUALLY WORKING IN THE NOTION WE'RE GOING TO ACCELERATE THE EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES FOR ALL PEOPLE IN MANY WAYS STRAINS IT BECAUSE THE DATA IN MANY WAYS DOES NOT SUPPORT THAT LEVEL OF OUTCOME AND THE HARDER TRUTH IS THAT IT REALLY SEEMS TO BE MORE VIRTUAL SIGNALING THAN ANYTHING BECAUSE TO MY COLLEAGUE'S POINT, THE MAYOR HAS WEEKS, NOT YEARS LEFT, ON HIS CURRENT TERM.

SO THEN TAKING THE NOTION OF PERHAPS VIRTUE SIGNALING, ALYSSA, I WANTED TO GET YOUR TAKE ON WHERE DO WE KNOW OF WHERE THE TWO MAYORAL CANDIDATES STAND IN TERMS OF PERHAPS INHERITING ALL OF THIS EXTRA WORK TO DO AND ELIMINATING THIS PROGRAM AND PERHAPS RECONFIGURING THE WAY THAT THE SCHOOLS ARE DECIDING WHICH KIDS GO TO WHICH HIGH SCHOOL EVENTUALLY?

SO, REALLY, YES, I THINK WE'RE LOOKING AT BOTH GIFTED AND TALENTED AND ENTIRE ADMISSIONS PROCESS, AS YOU SAY.

I THINK WE KNOW ERIC ADAM HAS BEEN VERY CLEAR THAT HE DOESN'T -- IS NOT SO READY TO THROW OUT THE EXISTING SYSTEM.

HE HASN'T SAID ABSOLUTELY I WILL NOT GET RID OF IT NOR OHAS HE SAID HE IS PREPARED TO GET RID OF IT.

AND WHAT NAILAH SAID BEFORE THAT de BLASIO'S PROPOSING OF A CLASSROOM, I SHOULD SAY I'M NOT A PROPONENT OF THAT, BUT I AM AN ALUM OF THE GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAM THAT HELPED CREATE THE MODERN SYSTEM AND I WOULD SAY IT WOULD BE REALLY HARD TO REPLICATE THE KIND OF EDUCATION I GOT IN THAT PROGRAM WITHIN A CLASSROOM WITH A HUGE SPECTRUM OF LEARNING NEEDS AND NEEDS -- JUST REALLY TEACHERS ALREADY WORK SO MUCH TO DIFFERENTIATE.

I DON'T THINK IT'S REALISTIC TO IMPLEMENT.

I COULD BE WRONG.

I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING MORE OF WHAT de BLASIO'S PROPOSING BUT I THINK THAT WOULD BE A BIG BURDEN FOR ANY ADMINISTRATION.

I'M NOT SURE WHERE CURTIS STANDS BUT I'M PRETTY SURE HE'S NOT SET IN ANY WHIEZ PREPARED TO GET RID OF THE GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAM.

I GUESS MY FINAL QUESTION ON THIS TOPIC, NAILAH, DO YOU THINK AS PERHAPS JOSEPH POINTED OUT VIRTUE SIGNALING, THIS COULD BE AN ATTEMPT FOR THE MAYOR TO SIGNAL TO OTHER VOTERS WHERE HE STANDS ON CERTAIN ISSUES SHOULD HE CHOOSE TO RUN FOR ANOTHER OFFICE?

WE'RE NOT SAYING ANYTHING OFFICIALLY BUT YOU SHOULD THE POSSIBILITY HAPPEN?

ABSOLUTELY.

I THINK THAT TO SOME DEGREE THESE TYPE OF ISSUES ARE ALSO CIRCLING PARTICULARLY ON A POTENTIAL CAMPAIGN.

I THINK WHAT IT SHOWS IS, AGAIN, BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN THAT HISTORIC DIVISION IN TERMS OF WHERE FOLKS, PARTICULARLY VOTERS OF COLOR, NEIGHBORHOODS OF COLOR WHO BENEFIT FROM THESE GIFTED PROGRAMS AND WHO DOES NOT DOES FALL ALONG VERY SPECIFIC RACIAL LINES, AND IT COULD BE VIRTUAL SIGNALING IN THAT HE'S PREPARING HIMSELF THAT NEEDS SUPPORT, PARTICULARLY FOR THE BLACK ELECTORATE IN NEW YORK CITY, WHICH HISTORICALLY GAVE HIM HIS WIN BACK IN 2014 AND STRONGLY SUPPORTED HIM FOR HIS RE-ELECTION AND STILL AN INCREDIBLY STRONG ENDORSEMENT FOR NEW YORK CITY POLITICS AS FOR THE STATE , AND COULD VERY AGAIN BE THE VIRTUE PUBLIC SIGNALING THIS ULTIMATELY COMING OUT AS AN EFFECTIVE FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE IN HOW WE EDUCATE OUR STUDENTS HERE IN THE CITY IS NOTHING MORE THAN POTENTIAL PLUG FOR A CAMPAIGN HE HAS YET TO PUBLICLY ANNOUNCE.

JOSEPH, FULLY ACCEPTING AND ACKNOWLEDGING THAT NONE OF US ON THIS PARTICULAR ROUNDTABLE ARE PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS, BUT DO YOU THINK THAT THAT IS GOING TO BE A TOP ISSUE FOR WHOEVER BECOMES THE NEXT MAYOR, IS HAVING TO PERHAPS REIMAGINE HOW THE CITY'S PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM WORKS?

CONSIDERING THAT SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE POINTED OUT ALL OF THE PITFALLS WHERE IT'S NOT WORKING?

ABSOLUTELY.

I MEAN FIRST AND FOREMOST, I THINK SOCIETY AT LARGE NEEDS A REIMAGINING.

TOO OFTEN SWWE SEEM TO BE WILLI TO RETROFIT 19th CENTURY AND 20th CENTURY SOLUTION YOUS FOR A 21st CENTURY WORLD, WHETHER WE'RE TALKING ABOUT OUR INFRASTRUCTURE OR EVEN CONCLUSION OF THE SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY LINE, WHICH IS AGAIN JUST DRAGGING THE 20th CENTURY INTO THE 21st CENTURY AND NOW LOOKING AT THE STATUS OF OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM AND OUTCOME IT'S DELIVERING FOR OUR CHILDREN, IT'S QUITE CLEAR THAT THE STATUS QUO IS NOT WORKING.

ULTIMATELY I THINK IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY, AND CERTAINLY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE NEXT MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY, TO FIGURE OUT WHAT ARE THE BEST PRACTICES THAT WORK TO MAKE SURE THAT CHILDREN CAN READ AT GRADE LEVEL, CAN DO MATH AT GRADE LEVEL, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, ARE BEING EQUIPPED WITH THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF THEMSELVES?

AND I THINK THAT IS WHILE SALE CHANGE THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN.

HOPEFULLY THE LEADERSHIP GET MOVING FORWARD WILL UNDERSTAND THE WORLD IS CHANGING, THE SOLUTIONS THAT WE PROVIDE FOR THE WORLD NEED TO EVOLVE ALONG WITH IT.

ALL RIGHT.

WE ARE GOING TO LEAVE THE EDUCATION DEBATE THERE BUT IT WILL BE A SUBJECT WE WILL DEFINITELY BE REVISITING IN THE FUTURE.

ALYSSA, I WANT TO GO BACK TO YOU AND BRING UP -- BECAUSE I DID MENTION THE MAYOR SEEMS TO CONSTANTLY FIND HIMSELF EMBROILED IN CONTROVERSIES AND THIS LATEST ONE SEEMS TO BE A BIT MESSY, AM I CORRECT IN SAYING THAT IT'S MESSIER, OR AM I NOT?

GIVE US YOUR TAKE ON MAYOR de BLASIO AND HIS SECURITY BILL.

YEAH, RIGHT, A REPORT CAME OUT LAST WEEK FROM THE CITY DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATION, AND THIS CONCERNS SOMETHING MANY OF US MAY HAVE PUT OUT OF OUR MINDS, BUT THIS WAS THAT MAYOR de BLASIO BRIEFLY RAN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020, RIGHT?

WE MAY REMEMBER HE WENT TO IOWA.

HE I THINK WENT TO A COUPLE OF OTHER PLACES ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.

AND WHEN HE DID THAT, AND MY NEWS ORGANIZATION 'THE CITY' WROTE ABOUT THIS AT THE TIME, HE BROUGHT WITH HIM AN NYPD POLICE DETAIL AND PRESUMABLY THAT DETAIL NEEDED TO BE PUT UP IN THOLES AND TRAVEL AROUND AND AIRFARE AND SO ON.

SO REPORTERS I WORK WITH LOOKED AT THAT, CAME UP WITH AN ESTIMATE.

WE FOUND OUT THIS ESTIMATE WAS PRETTY CLOSE, IN FACT THE BILL WAS HIGHER THAN WE EVEN REALIZED.

IT WAS OVER $300,000.

BUT I THINK THE IMPORTANT POINT HERE, AND TO YOUR POINT ABOUT de BLASIO CONSTANTLY STIRRING UP CONTROVERSY, de BLASIO AND HIS FAMILY AND SOME STAFFERS REALLY BRAZENLY USE THE NYPD IN KIND OF TWO WAYS, AND IT'S PARTLY ABOUT THE MONEY, BUT THEY END UP USING -- THE REPORT FOUND de BLASIO'S FAMILY HAD REALLY USED THE NYPD AT TIMES ALMOST LIKE A CHAUFFEUR AND MOVING SERVICE WITHOUT REALLY ANY KIND OF CLEAR LINES DESPITE THAT WE HAVE GOVERNMENT ETHICS LAWS SAYING YOU CAN'T JUST USE GOVERNMENT RESOURCES FOR YOUR OWN PRIVATE PURPOSE.

AND HIS OWN SUBORDINATES WOULD GET IN TROUBLE IF THEY DID SUCH THINGS.

BUT HE AND HIS FAMILY DID THAT.

WHEN IT CAME TO POLICE DETAIL, APPARENTLY, MY ORGANIZATION HAD REPORTED LAST WEEK, de BLASIO HAD SOUGHT ADVICE FROM THE CITY'S OWN ETHICS BOARD, WELL, CAN I PRETTY PLEASE BRING THESE OFFICERS?

AND THEY SAID FORGET ABOUT IT, AND HE DID IT ANYWAY AND GOT CAUGHT.

SO THERE'S A LOT MORE TO IT BUT WHEN YOU'RE ASKING WHY IS de BLASIO CONSTANTLY CAUSING CONTROVERSY, IN THIS CASE I THINK IT'S CLEAR, HE'S ACTING AS IF THE RULES DO NOT APPLY TO HIM.

THAT WHATEVER HE'S DOING, WHETHER IT'S RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OR LIVING UNDER GRACIE MANSION IS JUST TOO IMPORTANT FOR THESE SORT OF INCONVENIENT DETAILS TO APPLY.

AND IT'S UNDERSTANDABLY UPSETTING TO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC.

JOSEPH, I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON THE SECURITY DETAIL ISSUE.

I MEAN, WE'VE SEEN AT LEAST IN THE PAST FEW YEARS SEVERAL OTHER POLITICIANS AT DIFFERENT LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT PERHAPS FLOUT RULES AND SAY, WELL, I DON'T HAVE TO DO X, Y AND Z.

I JUST WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON THIS.

I MEAN, LOOK, RULES ARE RULES.

EITHER WE BELIEVE IN THEM OR WE DON'T.

EITHER WE'RE A NATION OF LAWS OR WE'RE NOT.

THE LEVEL OF HUBRIS ON DISPLAY FROM BILL de BLASIO IS AS SHOCKING AS IT IS PREDICTABLE BECAUSE AS MY COLLEAGUE HAS NOTED, THESE TYPE OF ISSUES SEEM TO FOLLOW HIM AROUND FROM PILLAR TO POST.

SO TO BE CLEAR, THE ONLY PERSON THAT WANTED TO SEE BILL de BLASIO BE PRESIDENT OF THESE UNITED STATES WAS BILL de BLASIO.

IT SEEMS HE COULD NOT FIND A VOTER ANYWHERE, AND I THINK IF HE WAS GOING TO BE DOING WHAT SEEMS LIKE THE RIGHT THING TO DO, IT WOULD BE TO USE SOME OF HIS OWN CAMPAIGN CASH OR GET SOME OF HIS OWN CAMPAIGN DONORS TO NOT HAVE THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK CITY BEARING THE BURDEN FOR HIS OWN MISADVENTURES IN IOWA IN THE MIDST OF US TRYING TO DEAL WITH A COVID-19 CRISIS.

SO I THINK THAT TO ME IS THE REAL ISSUE.

I THINK IT SPEAKS TO A LOT OF THE ISSUES THAT PEOPLE ACROSS THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM HAVE HAD WITH MAYOR de BLASIO, AND I THINK AFTER YS HE GEARS UP FOR APPEARS TO BE A LONG-SHOT RUN AT GOVERNOR, IT'S THE TYPE OF THING HIS OPPONENT IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY WILL ATTEMPT TO USE TO SEAL THAT.

I THINK THE REPORT ACKNOWLEDGED HE USED PUBLIC RESOURCES FOR POLITICAL AND PERSONAL PURPOSES.

IT'S UNFORTUNATE THE MAYOR HAS STRONGLY DENIED THE REPORT'S FINDINGS AND HAS SAID, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE INACCURACIES WITHOUT SPECIFICALLY OUTLINING WHAT THE INACCURACIES IN THE REPORT ARE.

I THINK IT SHOWS AGAIN THE DANGERS OF WHEN THERE'S A PATTERN OF CONDUCT OR CULTURE THAT USE PUBLIC RESOURCES FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES AND PERSONAL BENEFIT.

THE ISSUES THAT LEAD TO DESTABILIZING GOOD GOVERNMENT AND TRUST THAT GOVERNMENT WOULD, ON BEHALF OF NEW YORKERS, AGAIN, ALWAYS DISAPPOINTING BUT NEVER SURPRISING WHEN THESE SITUATIONS COME OUT TO LIGHT.

AND, YOU KNOW, HOPEFULLY AS WE MOVE FORWARD AND MEDIA, YOU KNOW, KEEP SHINING THE LIGHT ON THESE TYPES OF ISSUES IN OUR GOVERNMENT AND HOW OUR RESOURCES ARE USED BY ELECTED OFFICIALS, THAT WE CONTINUE TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE AS BEST THAT'S WE CAN SO THESE TYPES OF PRACTICES DO NOT CONTINUE IN THE FUTURE.

WELL, DEPENDING ON WHOEVER BECOMES THE NEXT MAYOR WILL AT LEAST GET A GOOD LOOK AT BOTH OF THEM BECAUSE THEY DO HAVE THEIR FIRST DEBATE COMING UP NEXT WEEK.

ALYSSA, I WANTED TO START WITH YOU BECAUSE SO MUCH OF THE POLITICAL CONVERSATION IN NEW YORK TENDS TO CENTER AROUND AN ASSUMPTION, MORE OR LESS, EITHER SPOKEN OR UNSPOKEN, THAT ERIC ADAMS WILL WIN THIS CONTEST.

BUT YOUR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING DID AN ENTIRE DEEP DIVE ON WHO IS CURTIS LEEWAD THE PERSON AND THE FACT HE DOES HAVE A SUPPORTING BASE THAT COULD MAKE THIS CONTEST A LOT MORE INTERESTING.

I WANTED TO GET YOUR TAKE ON CURTIS THE CANDIDATE AND WHAT YOU EXPECT TO SEE FROM BOTH MEN IN THE FIRST SPACE?

YES, HE'S A REALLY INTERESTING CHARACTER AND AS YOUR VIEWERS MAY KNOW IF THEY ALSO WORK 'NEW YORK ONE,' THAT'S A GOOD EXAMPLE, OR LISTEN TO TALK RADIO, HE'S REALLY AS WE TALK ABOUT IN THE PIECE HAS BEEN A MEDIA PRESENCE AND KIND OF TALK SHOW FIGURE FOR YEARS.

AND AS FOLKS POINTED OUT AND SPOKE WITH OUR REPORTER AT THE CITY, IT'S KIND OF ACTUALLY WHAT IS CONDUCTING HIS CAMPAIGN.

HE'S CONSTANTLY KIND OF DRUMMING UP ATTENTION TO HIMSELF IN ISSUES WHERE HE'S SAYING THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT, INCLUDING ERIC ADAMS, HAVE REALLY NOT BEEN RESPONSIVE.

SO ONE GREAT EXAMPLE OF THAT IS THAT HE -- NOT ONE, BUT TWO PRESS CONFERENCES, ON THE PUBLIC STREETS OF NEW YORK CITY, HE AND SOMEONE EMOTIONALLY KIND OF DISTURBED SHOWS UP ON THE SCENE, DOESN'T SEEM TO BE PREARRANGED AND ACTUALLY ENGAGES WITH THAT PERSON AND TRIES TO KIND OF WORK WITH HIM IN SOME RESPECTFUL WAY TO KIND OF HIGHLIGHT THAT EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED PEOPLE ARE NOT GETTING THE HELP THAT THEY NEED, FOR EXAMPLE.

AND I DO THINK THERE'S -- WE DON'T KNOW HOW BIG THAT CONSTITUENCY IS OF VOTERS, AND WE KNOW, OF COURSE, DEMOCRATS OUTNUMBER REPUBLICANS AT ROUGHLY 6-1 IN VOTER REGISTRATION.

THERE'S DEFINITELY SOME DISAFFECTED DEMOCRATS AND GROWING INDEPENDENTS WILL OPT FOR HIM.

I KNOW HE'S A BIT OF AN ICONOCLAST AND BIT OF A CHARACTER WITHOUT -- HE HAS -- DOESN'T HAVE A HISTORY OF RUNNING ANYTHING AND MOST WILL RECOGNIZE THAT WITH THEIR VOTES BUT AS FOLKS SAID IN THEIR STORY, YOU CAN'T ACTUALLY COUNT HIM OUT ENTIRELY.

JOSEPH, WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING TO SEE FROM BOTH GENTLEMEN IN THIS FIRST DEBATE NEXT WEEK?

LOOK, I THINK THAT PREDICTABLY CURTIS SIWA IS GOING TO LEAD ON THE FACT WE'VE SEEN CRIME AND POVERTY SPIKING IN NEW YORK CITY, PARTICULARLY IN COVID.

THE 95% SPIKE IN SHOOTINGS FROM 2019 TO 2020, 33-PLUS% SPIKE IN HOMICIDES WE SAW IN NEW YORK.

I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE A LITTLE TOUGHER BECAUSE THE PERSON STANDING ON THAT STAGE WILL NOT BE A KATHERINE GARCIA OR BILL de BLASIO, IT'S GOING TO BE A MAN WHO LITERALLY PUT HIS LIFE ON THE LINE FOR NEW YORK CITY AS A MEMBER OF THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT.

IT'S GOING TO BE AN INTERESTING DEBATE, I'M SURE.

I'M SURE IT WILL BE KILLED WITH CHARACTER MOMENTS.

BUT ULTIMATELY THIS ELECTION IS REALLY GOING TO BE DETERMINED BY WHO IS GOING TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO CONNECT WITH THOSE PORTIONS OF THE NEW YORK CITY ELECTORATE THAT TYPICALLY DO NOT ENGAGE IN THESE MIDTERM ELECTIONS, IF CURTIS SIWA IS ABLE TO ACTIVATE MF THOSE VOTERS, IT COULD BE INTERESTING.

AND I THINK IT'S UP TO ERIC ADAMS TO AVOID MAKING MISTAKES OR PITFALLS OF THINKING THE ELECTION IS ALREADY OVER.

NAILAH, YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS UPCOMING DEBATE?

SO DEBATES CAN BE ANALYZED THROUGH TWO LENSES.

THERE'S THE PERFORMATIVE, THE TV CAMERAS AND CONNECTING WITH THE AUDIENCE AT HOME AND CONTENT, SUBSTANTIVE COMPONENT OF WHAT THE DIALOGUE LOOKS LIKE.

I THINK BOTH CANDIDATES ARE GOING TO HAVE TO REALLY, YOU KNOW, DRAW THE LINE IN THE STAND IN TERMS OF HOW THEY'RE VERY DIFFERENT.

I THINK ADAMS GOES INTO THIS PARTICULARLY PART OF THE CONVERSATION IN TERMS OF DEBATE WITH THE ADVANTAGE AS A RETIRED COP, AND KNOWING ONE OF HIS KEY ISSUES IS FIGHTING CRIME, WHICH IS TRADITIONALLY PART OF THE REPUBLICAN PLATFORM.

IT'S NOT AN ISSUE THAT SIWA HAS A STRONG UNDERSTANDING IN TERMS OF SPEAKING ABOUT, PARTICULARLY SINCE THERE'S BEEN A SLIGHT DROP IN CRIMES AND HOW ADAMS IS REALLY FOCUSED ON, AGAIN, ENGAGING AND MAKING SURE THAT THE CRIME CONTINUES TO BE ADDRESSED AND CONTINUES TO DECREASE.

AGAIN, I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, BOTH MEN AGAIN NEED TO PERFORM FOR THE CAMERAS, BUT ALSO NEED TO, AGAIN, MAKE THE CLEAR CASE IN TERMS OF POLICY.

AND I'M EXCITED TO SEE THIS WILL BE THE FIRST DEBATE WITH TWO PEOPLE WITH OUR TWO TOP CANDIDATES, WHERE WE CAN REALLY BEGIN TO SEE THE DIFFERENCES IN THEIR POLICY VISIONS, WHICH IS NOT NECESSARILY THE CASE DURING THE PRIMARY WITH SO MANY PEOPLE ON THE STAGE.

REALLY LOOKING FORWARD AGAIN TO EACH CANDIDATE MAKING THE CASE AND MAKING -- MAKING THEIR ARGUMENTS IN TERMS OF WHY THEIR POLICY PLATFORMS ARE THE BEST FOR MOVING OUR CITY FORWARD.

ALL RIGHT, WE'RE ALMOST OUT OF TIME BUT I DO WANT TO ASK EVERYONE IN OUR ROUNDTABLE WHAT ARE THE STORIES YOU'RE GOING TO BE FOLLOWING AS THIS WEEK DEVELOPS?

ALYSSA, AS AN EDITOR, I'LL START WITH YOU.

YEAH, I'M GOING TO BE MADDENINGLY NONSPECIFIC HERE.

ALL RIGHT.

WE'RE CERTAINLY GOING TO BE FOLLOWING THE MARE'S RACE, THA MAYOR'S RACE, THAT'S A BIG FOCUS.

BUT ALSO CONTINUING TO DO WATCH DOG JOURNALISM ABOUT THE de BLASIO ADMINISTRATION, JUST IN THE WAY WE DISCUSSED IT IN SOME WAYS PRECIPITATED THIS DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATION REPORT ABOUT THE NYPD DETAIL.

WE EXPERIENCED SO LONG, EIGHT YEARS OF A MAYOR WHO SOMETIMES FOR GOOD AND SOMETIMES FOR BAD AS IN THE NYPD CASE WHERE de BLASIO HAS SAID THE RULES DON'T APPLY TO HIM OR HE DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE COMMAND TO THE EXCEPT HE NEEDS TO FOR SUCH A COMPLEX GOVERNMENT FULL OF SO MANY BUREAUCRACIES AND WE JUST CONTINUE TO WATCH THAT AND YOU WILL SEE MORE OF THAT.

JOSEPH, AS THIS WEEK DEVELOPS?

YES, OBVIOUSLY WE HAVE OUR LOCAL ISSUES BUT WE FIND SOMETIMES THE NATIONAL ISSUES COME CRASHING THROUGH YOUR LOCAL FRONT DOOR.

WE SEE HERE WITH THIS SPIKE IN OIL PRICES SEEING RECORD HIGHS, HOW THAT'S GOING TO IMPACT HEATING COSTS AND JUST GENERAL COSTS AS WE HEAD INTO THE WINTER, PARTICULARLY FOR THOSE FAMILIES ALREADY DRIVEN TO THE BRINK BY COVID-19.

THAT'S GOING TO BE AN INTERESTING STORY.

AND THESE AIRLINE PILOTS, THESE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE CHOOSING NOT TO GO TO WORK OR THE MASS SICKOUT AS THOUSANDS OF FLIGHTS APPEAR TO BE CANCELED, THAT CERTAINLY HAS AN IMPACT ON YOUR AVERAGE NEW YORKER.

LOOKING TO SEE HOW ALL OF THOSE ISSUES PLAY OUT IN OUR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES AND HOW THE VOTERS AND CONSTITUENTS RESPOND TO IT.

NAY ELLA, ALMOST OUT OF TIME, BUT YOUR THOUGHTS THIS WEEK.

YES, SPECIFICALLY I AM LOOKING TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE MAYOR'S RACE, ANY POTENTIAL GUBERNATORIAL DEVELOPMENTS THAT ALWAYS HAPPEN, KIND OF RESIDUAL IMPACT ON ALL THINGS HERE IN NEW YORK.

THOSE ARE TWO THINGS I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO KEEPING AN EYE ON IN THE FUTURE AHEAD.

I WANT TO THANK ALL THREE OF MY ROUNDTABLE PARTICIPANTS, JOSEPH PINION, THAT RAYA AMARU AND ALYSSA CATS, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON THE 'METROFOCUS' ROUNDTABLE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU.

THANKS.

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