MetroFocus: October 18, 2021

FRONTPAGE FORECAST 

Tonight City Limits senior politics reporter Ese Olumhense joins progressive political strategist and president of Trip Yang Strategies Trip Yang for a look at the news that will be in the headlines this week.

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 THE 'METROFOCUS' FRONT PAGE FORECAST.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

AT THIS WEEK'S LOOK AHEAD AT THE MAJOR HEADLINES, WE'LL REFLECT ON THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL, WHO GREW UP HERE IN NEW YORK CITY AND PASSED AWAY MONDAY FROM COVID-19 COMPLICATIONS, DESPITE BEING FULLY VACCINATED.

THE FIRST BLACK CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, POWELL SERVED BOTH DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS, AND HIS DEATH COMES AMID ONGOING FEARS OVER VACCINE MANDATES AND COVID SPREADING IN OUR SCHOOLS AND THE CITY.

OF COURSE, NEW YORK'S BEST MAYOR WILL INHERIT THESE ISSUES AND TONIGHT WE'RE JUST ABOUT 48 HOURS AWAY FROM ERIC ADAMS AND CURTIS SLIWA HOLDING THE FIRST OF TWO DEBATES.

HEADING INTO THEIR SHOWDOWN, IT'S HIGHLY UNLIKELY SLIWA WILL WIN THE ELECTION BECAUSE DEMOCRATS HAVE A HUGE REGISTRATION ADVANTAGE.

STILL, SUPPORTERS OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL FOUNDER SAY IT'S A MISTAKE TO COUNT HIM OUT AGAINST THE BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT.

WITH EARLY VOTING SET TO START SATURDAY, MAIL-IN BALLOTS ALREADY GOING ON, WE'LL PREVIEW HOW THE RACE CAN PLAY OUT DOWN TO THE HOMESTRETCH.

WE'LL ALSO TAKE YOU INSIDE THE MAJOR CONTROVERSY, INCLUDING A NEW REPORT THAT FOUND ADAMS ONCE ORCHESTRATED A SEXIST SMEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST A TRANSIT COP BACK IN THE EARLY 1990s.

> SO LET'S GET THE CONVERSATION STARTED BY WELCOMING IN TWO EXPERTS ON NEW YORK POLITICS.

UP FIRST WE HAVE THE SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER AT CITY LIMITS, THE INVESTIGATIVE NEWS WEBSITE COVERING NEW YORK.

ASSAY, IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON THE SHOW.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY TRIP YANG.

TRIP IS THE PROGRESSIVE POLITICAL STRATEGIST WHO HAS WORKED WITH SOME OF THE BIGGEST NA NAMES IN POLITICS INCLUDING PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND REPUBLICAN ADVOCATE GENTLEMAN MONET WILLIAMS.

HE'S ALSO PRESIDENT OF TRIP YANG STRATEGIES.

THANK YOU FOR COMING BACK.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME BACK.

I WANT TO START WITH YOU.

BEFORE WE GET INTO THE DEBATE COMING UP, WHAT TRACKING NOW AS WE HEAD INTO THE FINAL OF THE MAYORS RACE?

GREAT QUESTION.

I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS I'M HEARING FROM ACROSS THE BOROUGH AND ACROSS THE BOROUGHS THERE ARE A CITY OF, I CALL THEM ARCH ISSUES FROM COVID, RECOVERY, AND THEY MAKE THE ACRONYM A.R.C.H., AND THEY DRIVE PEOPLE TO THE POLLS AND FORM THE SELECTION OF OUR NEXT MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS AND IN SOME CASES SPECIAL SENATE SEATS.

TRIP, AS A POLITICAL STRATEGIST, WHAT WOULD YOU BE ADVISING EITHER CANDIDATE THAT THEY NEED TO DO IN THIS DEBATE IF THEY WANT TO COME OUT AT LEAST APPEARING AS A WINNER IN THE PUBLIC'S EYE?

I WOULD SAY SO ERIC ADAMS, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR MAYOR, NOT TO PUNCH DOWN.

HE FRANKLY HAS THE ELECTION MORE OR LESS IN THE BAG.

HE HAS GREATLY OUTRAISED CURTIS SLIWA, WHO HAS NOT RAISED MUCH MONEY.

UNLIKE 2013 AND 2017, THE REPUBLICAN PARTIES HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, WHICH IS ALREADY GREATLY OUTNUMBERED IN TERMS OF REGISTERED AND VOTERS IN TERMS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN NEW YORK, REPUBLICAN MEMBERS HAVE NOT COALESCED AROUND CURTIS SLIWA.

YOU DO NOT SEE REPUBLICAN MEMBERS STUMPING FOR HIM.

IT SEEMS LIKE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS BEEN WAVING -- HAS WAVED THE WHITE FLAG ON THIS MAYORAL ELECTION.

IF I'M ERIC ADAMS, BE CORDIAL, DON'T PUNCH DOWN, FOCUS ON YOUR MAIN THEME.

ERIC ADAMS IS A VERY STRONG GENERAL ELECTION CANDIDATE FOR DEMOCRAT BECAUSE HE CAN TALK OF CREDIBILITY ON ISSUES OF CREDIBILITY AND CRIME REDUCTION, ISSUES REPUBLICANS TYPICALLY USE TO ATTACK DEMOCRATS, SLIWA HAS NOT HAD THE OPENING TOWARDS ERIC ADAMS.

IF I'M CURTIS SLIWA, HE HAS A VERY, VERY LONG SHOT BUT WHAT YOU NEED TO DO BECAUSE THE CITY HAS 7/1 VOTER REGISTRATION FOR DEMOCRATS, NEEDS TO CONVINCE AS MANY INDEPENDENT VOTERS TO COME TO HIS SIDE AND VOCALLY ANNOUNCE THEIR SUPPORT FOR HIM.

EASIER SAID THAN DONE BUT I'M I'M CURTIS SLIWA, WHAT HE WROTE OUT THIS MONTH AT THE DEMOCRATS FOR SLIWA ANNOUNCEMENT, HE HAS TO DO A LOT MORE OF THAT IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME.

ASSAY, I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE BECAUSE THE CITY DID DO A LOT OF IN DEPTH REPORTING ABOUT CURTIS SLIWA.

ARE REPORTS CORRECT IN SAYING PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BE SO QUICK TO COUNT HIM OUT EVEN THOUGH DEMOCRATS HAVE A REGISTRATION ADVANTAGE?

IT IS HARD FOR HIM FOR ALL OF THE REASONS TRIP MENTIONED.

I'M SURE HE KNOWS THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE AN EASY RACE FOR HIM.

I THINK HE'S SOMEONE WHO IS MORE COMFORTABLE IN A WAY -- IN THE SAME WAY, OR SIMILAR WAY, THAT ERIC ADAMS IS WITH TALKING ABOUT CRIME AS A FORMER GUARDIAN ANGEL.

I THINK THAT'S HIS STRONGEST SUIT.

WE SEE LESS OF THAT ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM PERHAPS WITH SUBJECTS LIKE EDUCATION OR COVID RECOVERY.

I ALSO THINK WHAT PLAYS REALLY WELL FOR CURTIS RIGHT NOW IS THE FACT ERIC ADAMS IS DAMAGING SO MANY CONTROVERSIES.

MINE, THAT MAY NOT BE ENOUGH, OF COURSE, TO DENT THE LIKELIHOOD THAT HE WOULD WIN, BUT I THINK IT'S INTERESTING NOW THAT AS WE REALLY ENTER THE HOMESTRETCH, THAT A LOT IS COMING OUT THAT'S REALLY UNFAVORABLE TO ERIC ADAMS.

I WILL ADD TO THAT A LITTLE BIT.

I WOULD SAY IF I'M ONE OF THE REPUBLICAN LEADERS, ONE OF THE REPUBLICAN COUNTY CHAIRS HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, WHAT I WOULD LOOK FOR IS THE 32nd COUNCIL RACE, A HOTLY CONTESTED ELECTION, VERY RARE IN NEW YORK BUT WE HAVE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO FLIP THE LAST CITY COUNCIL REPUBLICAN SEAT BLUE.

THAT SEAT HAS ABOUT A 3/1 VOTER REGISTRATION ADVANTAGE FOR DEMOCRATS, EVEN THOUGH IT'S BEEN REPRESENTING THE LAST FEW YEARS IN THE COUNCIL BY REPUBLICAN ERIC ALDRICH.

IF I'M REPUBLICAN, I DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO HOLD ON TO THAT SEE AND PRESERVE SOME SEATS IN THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL NEXT WEEK SO THERE'S SOME REPUBLICAN BULWARK AGAINST A LIKELY REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE.

I DID WANT TO GO BACK TO IN THE INTRO TO THE CONTROVERSIES SURROUNDING ERIC ADAMS.

I WAS WONDERING IF YOU CAN TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT MORE ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN -- ALLEGED SEXIST CAMPAIGN THAT TOOK PLACE IN THE 1990s.

YES, 'THE CITY' OUT TODAY HAS A STORY OUT ABOUT ERIC ADAMS AND THE WAY THAT HE HANDLED A WHISTLE-BLOWER WHO CAME FORWARD AND ANNOUNCED SEXUAL IMPROPRIETY WHEN HE WAS WORKING AS AN NYPD LIEUTENANT.

THIS ISSUE IS VERY -- THE WOMAN WHO WAS QUOTED IN THE STORY, WHO CAME FORWARD, SAID IT'S VERY PAINFUL AND TRAUMATIC FOR HER TO KIND OF RELIVE AND RECOUNT PART OF THE ALLEGED HARASSMENT CAMPAIGN SHE SAID WAS INCLUDED.

AND THEY CALLED HER A JILTED LOVER REPEATEDLY SENDING OUT PHOTOS OF HER IN A BATHING SUIT, ACCORDING TO HER AND THE LEGAL DOCUMENTS, WAYS TO KIND OF DISCREDIT THE CLAIMS SHE WAS MAKING.

SO THEN I GUESS, TRIP, THE QUESTION IS STORIES LIKE THIS, WE'VE HEARD -- IT'S BEEN TAKELE OF STORIES LIKE THIS, NOT NECESSARILY ON THE SAME SUBJECT, BUT QUESTIONING PERHAPS ADAMS' CHARACTER.

WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE IS THE BEST STRATEGY TO ADDRESS THIS?

AND CAN I ADD, YOU MENTIONED THE TRIPLE STORIES TO TOUCH ON THIS THING, WHERE DOES ERIC ADAMS LIVE, WHICH SEEMS TO BE LIKE A PERENNIAL THEME WE'RE SEEING IN THIS CAMPAIGN.

IS HE IN NEW JERSEY?

IS HE IN BROOKLYN?

WE'RE STILL NOT SURE.

I THINK ALSO SOMETHING ELSE THAT'S WORTH MENTIONING IS THE PARKING TICKETS OR DRIVING TICKETS SITUATION, WHERE ERIC ADAMS' OFFICIAL CITY CAR AS BROOKLYN BOROUGH MEMBER RECEIVED A LOT OF RECKLESS DRIVING TICKETS.

MAY NOT AGAIN BE BIG ISSUES BUT I JUST WANT TO RAISE THOSE.

ABSOLUTELY.

AGAIN, AS YOU LAID OUT SEVERAL OF THEM, TRIP, THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL OF THESE STORIES THAT JUST KEEP COMING OUT THAT WOULD PERHAPS CAUSE VOTERS TO QUESTION.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE?

I WOULD SAY THAT ERIC ADAMS, DESPITE BEING A VERY STRONG CANDIDATE IN MANY REGARDS, HE'S ALWAYS HAD SOME TYPE OF CONTROVERSY.

ASSAY TALKS ABOUT THE STORIES THAT ORIGINATED IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY EARLIER IN THE YEAR ABOUT QUESTIONS WHERE ERIC ADAMS LIVED IN NEW YORK CITY, IN BED STY OR NEW JERSEY?

THERE'S A TRICKLE OF MORE AND MORE STORIES.

THIS LATEST STORY, ERIC ADAMS DID COME OUT WITH A PUBLIC STATEMENT ON IT.

HE SEEMS LIKE HE'S TAKING IT SERIOUSLY.

HE DID NOT SPECIFICALLY CONFIRM OR DENY BUT DID SAY HE WAS INVOLVED IN LEGAL AT THE TIME.

SO IT SEEMS LIKE HIS CAMP KNOWS THERE'S SOME VALIDITY AND CREDIBILITY TO THE STORY.

I WILL SAY ON ONE HAND I DO THINK IT'S IMPORTANT WHILE ERIC ADAMS HAS ALMOST THE ENTIRE DEMOCRATIC PARTY APPARATUS, DEMOCRATIC ELECTED OFFICIALS, LABOR UNIONS COMING OUT IN FULL SUPPORT FOR HIM THIS GENERAL ELECTION, IT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO HAVE TESTIMONY FROM SOME OF THE OFFICERS THAT HE HAS WORKED WITH WHEN HE WAS A POLICE OFFICER 20, 30 YEARS AGO TO PUBLICLY VOUCH FOR HIS CHARACTER AND INTEGRITY.

QUITE FRANKLY, ERIC ADAMS IS GOING TO BE FINE COME NOVEMBER 2nd IN TERMS OF WINNING THIS ELECTION.

IF HE DOES NOT WANT SOME OF THESE QUESTIONS AND CHARACTER TO KEEP DOGGING HIM, BECAUSE AS WE KNOW, MOST FOLKS WHO ARE NEW YORK CITY MAYOR HAVE AMBITIONS BEYOND NEW YORK CITY MAYOR AT SOME POINT IN THEIR CAREER.

OF COURSE.

ASSAY, ONE OF THE SUBJECTS THAT DOES COME UP, PERHAPS HASN'T GOTTEN AS MUCH ATTENTION BECAUSE SO MUCH ELSE IS GOING ON IS, OF COURSE, MONEY AND POLITICS.

YOU'VE BEEN FOLLOWING IT.

I KNOW YOU'VE BEEN FOLLOWING THE MONEY IN THIS PARTICULAR ELECTION.

SO I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SHARE WITH US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU FOUND.

YOU DID MENTION SLIWA HASN'T RAISED AS MUCH MONEY BUT WHAT ARE WE FINDING ABOUT DONATIONS COMING FROM, WHERE THEY'RE COMING FROM, HOW MUCH THAT WE ARE SEEING FLOW INTO THIS ELECTION, WHAT DO YOU KNOW?

I MEAN, THIS RACE IS ONE, AS TRIP MENTIONED, YOU KNOW, LOTS OF FOLKS WHO RUN FOR NEW YORK CITY MAYOR, THAT ISN'T KIND OF THEIR TERMINAL DESTINATION.

WE ARE SEEING IN THE LAST DISCLOSURE CYCLE LOTS OF MONEY FLOWING IN FROM OUTSIDE NEW YORK CITY.

AND OUTSIDE NEW YORK STATE EVEN.

THE ONE TIME I THINK THE DAUGHTER OF THE ONE-TIME RICHEST WOMAN IN AMERICA, SHE LIVES IN DALLAS, DONATED TO ERIC ADAMS' CAMPAIGN.

WE'VE SEEN AMAZON EXECUTIVES, NEWSCORP EXECUTIVES REALLY CHECK IN AT HIGH DOLLAR AMOUNTS.

OF COURSE, THAT MAY NOT BE SUBJECTIVE OF ANYTHING.

THESE MAY BE PEOPLE WHO HAVE KNOWN ERIC OR CURTIS OVER THE YEARS AND KIND OF WANT TO SHOW THEIR FRIENDSHIP IN THE BEST WAY THAT THEY CAN RIGHT NOW.

THEY MAY BE INTERESTED IN NEW YORK CITY POLITICS AS WELL.

BUT I THINK IT ALSO SUGGESTS A LITTLE BIT -- I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN TRIP'S INPUT, ABOUT THE INFLUENCE OF THIS GAME, HOW CANDIDATES CAN KIND OF BE USING THIS MOMENT TO BUILD A NATIONAL PROFILE.

YES, THAT'S A REALLY GOOD QUESTION.

I WOULD SAY THAT ERIC ADAMS IS A VERY INTRIGUING CANDIDATE BECAUSE WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, ESPECIALLY WITHIN THE WESTERN WING OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, THERE'S A MAJOR MOMENTUM TOWARDS NOT TAKING REAL STRAIGHT CONTRIBUTIONS BECAUSE A LOT OF PROGRESSIVES BELIEVE BIG REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS -- NOT YOUR SMALL, COMMUNITY NONPROFIT DEVELOPERS, FOR EXAMPLE, BUT MAJOR REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS, ARE A MAJOR CORRUPTING INFLUENCE IN CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND ARE HARMING THE BUILDING OF DEEPLY AFFORDABLE HOUSING, WHICH WE KNOW IS CONSTANTLY ONE OF THE TOP ISSUES ON THE MINDS OF VOTERS AND CONSTITUENTS.

NOW ERIC ADAMS HAS BEEN GOING AGAINST THIS TREND AND HE HAS, FRANKLY, TAKEN A LOT OF REAL ESTATE MONEY AND HE -- THE WAY HE BACKS IT UP IS THAT HE IS A CANDIDATE FOR THE WORKING CLASS, FOR BLUE COLLAR WORKERS.

HE'S NOT THE CANDIDATE FOR THE TOP 1%. ON ONE HANDED IF I'M LOOKING AT THIS, ERIC ADAMS'S VOTE SHARE IN THE PRIMARY PRIMARILY CAME FROM PEOPLE OF COLOR, WORKING CLASS TYPE OF NEIGHBORHOODS.

NOT ALL OF IT, BUT THAT WAS HIS BASE.

THAT IS WHAT DROVE HIM TO THE MAYOR'S WIN.

IN TERMS OF HOW HE GOVERNS, I DON'T KNOW.

IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN IF HE'S GOING TO PUT THE INTEREST OF HIS CONSTITUENTS FIRST AND BASE FIRST, OR IS HE GOING TO PUT THE INTEREST OF THE MAJOR DONORS FIRST?

WELL, THAT DOES REMAIN TO BE SEEN.

FINAL QUESTION ON THE MAYOR'S RACE BEFORE WE MOVE ON, AND THAT IS WHAT DO EACH OF YOU SEE AS THE FIRST MAJOR ISSUE, I GUESS, THAT THE MAYOR'S GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH?

IS IT GOING TO BE COVID?

IS IT GOING TO BE THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY OR DO EITHER ONE OF YOU THINK ANY OF THESE CONTROVERSIES, CHARACTER, INTEGRITY QUESTIONS WILL FOLLOW HIM INTO HIS INAUGURATION?

ASSAY, LET'S START WITH YOU.

YES, I THINK THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

I MEAN, FOR ME AT LEAST IT'S HARD TO SAY WHAT THOSE KEY ISSUES MIGHT BE RIGHT NOW.

I'M HAPPY I DON'T HAVE TO BE MAYOR BECAUSE THE MARGIN, COVID RECOVERY AND CRIME SIMULTANEOUSLY, HOUSING AND AFFORDABILITY, WILL ALWAYS BE THINGS THAT COME AT THIS PERSON AT ONCE.

WE'RE ALSO ENTERING A FALL/WINTER CYCLE WHERE COVID GETS WORSE, SO WE MAY SEE AN INCREASE IN CASES.

SO I KNOW THAT WOULD PROBABLY BE SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE FRONT OF MIND FOR THE INCOMING MARE.

I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH PLAYING NICE WITH THE NEW GOVERNOR IS ALSO GOING TO BE PART OF THIS WORK BUT I'M INTERESTED IN SEEING HOW THAT GOES.

OTHER INTERESTS WHICH MAY NOT BE DAY ONE THINGS BUT VERY INTERESTED IN ERIC ADAMS' RELATIONSHIP AND AFFILIATION WITH TECH IN THE TECH INDUSTRY NOW.

HE'S DONE STUFF WITH TECH NYC AND THIS GROUP OF GOOGLE TECH ENTREPRENEURS IN RECENT WEEKS, AND IT'S REALLY BEEN INTERESTING TO SEE AND HEAR HIS THOUGHTS ON ALL OF THAT, HIS THOUGHTS ON BITCOIN AND MAKING NEW YORK CITY KIND OF AN INDUSTRIAL HUB AND HUB FOR TECHNOLOGY.

I THINK THAT PERHAPS IS MORE LONG TERM BUT, OF COURSE, WILL BE INTERESTING IN THE WEEKS THAT FOLLOW.

AND GOT TO BE PUBLIC SAFETY.

ERIC ADAMS IS THE RARE DEMOCRAT WHO LED HIS CAMPAIGN FROM THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES THROUGH THE GENERAL ELECTION ON A MESSAGE OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIME REDUCTION.

AND HE DID IT SUCCESSFULLY SO FAR.

SO WHEN WE JUDGE HOW HIS MAYORALSY WILL GO THE FIRST TERM, IT WILL BE ON HIS CENTRAL CAMPAIGN PROMISE, CAN IS NEW YORK CITY REDUCE CRIME, PARTICULARLY VIOLENT CRIME AND GUN VIOLENCE, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME FORMING AN EQUITABLE SYSTEM AND REFORM SOME OF THE BAD PRACTICES OF THE NYPD?

ERIC ADAMS HAS OFTEN SAID WITH THE PROSPERITY OF PUBLIC SAFETY, VOTERSER GOING TO REALLY BE JUDGING HIM ON THAT.

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE, BECAUSE, OF COURSE, WE WILL BE FOLLOWING THIS WITH THE DEBATE COMING UP SHORTLY.

> BUT I WANT TO PIVOT NOW TO WHAT IS DEFINITELY THE BIG NATIONAL STORY, AND THAT IS THE PASSING OF FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL.

SO I WANT TO ASK BOTH OF YOU, GIVEN THE FACT THAT HE IS YET ANOTHER INTERNATIONAL STAGE PLAYER WHO WAS A PRODUCT OF NEW YORK CITY, ASSAY, HOW DO YOU SEE HIS LEGACY TAKING SHAPE AND DOES THAT REFLECT AT ALL ON HIS CHILDHOOD IN THE BRONX?

AS A PERSON WHO'S FROM THE BRONX, I THINK THAT, OF COURSE, IS A FANTASTIC QUESTION.

WE CERTAINLY LOST SOMEONE WHO WAS KIND OF A GIANT, AS YOU SAID, ON THIS LOCAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL STAGE.

THE FIRST TEXT MESSAGE I WOKE UP TO THIS MORNING WAS MY FATHER SAYING, HE'S NOT SOMEONE WHO IS PARTICULARLY ATTACHED TO EVERY POLITICAL THING BUT THIS IS A LOSS PEOPLE ARE CERTAINLY FEELING.

I HAVE SEEN STATEMENTS SO FAR COME OUT TODAY FROM THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE DEMS AND OTHER OFFICIALS MOURNING HIS PASSING.

I ALSO THINK IT WAS INTERESTING HE'S FULLY VACCINATED AND DIED FROM COVID.

OF COURSE, WE KNOW THESE THINGS ARE NOT COMPLETE ANOMALIES, THEY DO HAPPEN, BUT THIS IS A MONUMENTAL LOSS FOR SO MANY PEOPLE.

TRIP?

IT'S A REALLY TRAGIC MOMENT FOR ANOTHER NATIONAL FIGURE, HISTORIC FIGURE LIKE COLIN POWELL, PASSING AWAY DUE TO COVID.

OF COURSE, HE WAS THE FIRST BLACK SECRETARY OF STATE.

HE SERVED DURING PRESIDENT BUSH'S TENURE.

AND WHILE MUCH OF HIS TENURE AS SECRETARY OF STATE IS DEFINED BY THE FALLOUT OF 9/11, DURING THAT TRAGIC EPISODE IN OUR COUNTRY'S HISTORY, I ALSO REMEMBER COLIN POWELL POLITICALLY, HE IS SOMEONE WHO PROBABLY WOULD NOT FIT INTO TODAY'S REPUBLICAN PARTY.

IN 2008 HE BROKE WITH HIS REPUBLICAN PARTY AND ENDORSED BARACK OBAMA WHEN BARACK OBAMA MADE HIS OWN HISTORY-SHATTERING MOMENT BEING ELECTED PRESIDENT.

IN 2020 HE SPOKE AT THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION.

HE LEAVES BEHIND A LEGACY OF THAT TYPE OF PRAGMATIC, MODERATE MINDED REPUBLICAN THAT YOU PROBABLY JUST DON'T SEE IN DONALD TRUMP'S REPUBLICAN PARTY TODAY.

WELL, OF COURSE, NOTHING -- NO STORY HAPPENS IN A VACUUM, AND THE FACT IS, AS YOU JUST MENTIONED, COLIN POWELL WAS FULLY VACCINATED AND YET STILL PASSED AWAY DUE TO COMPLICATIONS OF COVID-19.

I WONDER IF EITHER ONE OF YOU SEE THAT AS BEING USED AS A FLASHPOINT OR WEDGE ISSUE FOR VACCINE MANDATES AND ESPECIALLY PEOPLE WHO ARE STILL RESISTANT TO TAKING THE VACCINE?

YES, I IMAGINE THIS WILL BE SOMETHING THAT KIND OF CONTINUES ON, NOT NECESSARILY WITH COLIN POWELL, OF COURSE, BUT SOMETHING THAT WE SEE AND HEAR MORE OF.

I KNOW THAT A LOT IS UNCERTAIN RIGHT NOW.

IT'S HARD FOR PEOPLE TO SAY WHETHER OR NOT AN ISSUE TODAY WILL AFFECT THEM IN THE FUTURE.

I THINK THIS IS EVEN FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT COVID-19 IS SOMETHING THAT'S HERE WITH US.

ONE THING THAT I'M REALLY INTERESTED IN OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS IS EQUITY IN COVID VACCINE BOOSTER SHOTS, THE OVER 65 POPULATION.

WE SAW WHEN THE VACCINE WAS FIRST ROLLED OUT ACROSS THE COUNTRY, NOT NECESSARILY JUST IN NEW YORK AND IN THE TRISTATE AREA, A LOT OF INEQUITY WHERE A SITE WOULD OPEN UP FOR RESIDENTS OF A PLAYER NEIGHBORHOOD AND YET WE WERE SEEING FOLKS FROM OTHER PLACES, PERHAPS MORE AFFLUENT AND PERHAPS WHITE PLACES GET THESE VACCINES THAT WERE INTENDED FOR A DIFFERENT POPULATION.

I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN SEEING HOW SOME OF THAT PLAYS OUT AND IT'S THE NEW MARE OR NEW MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL OR CITY LEADERSHIP, IF THEY HAVE ANY AUTHORITY OVER HOW THESE VACCINES OR THESE BOOSTER SHOTS ARE DISTRIBUTED.

TRIP, SAME QUESTION TO YOU, HOW DO YOU SEE NOT NECESSARILY JUST HIS PASSING BUT THE MANNER OF IT AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF SO MUCH UNEASE AND ANXIETY AROUND THE VACCINE MANDATES TAKING SHAPE?

TO TIE IT TO THE MAYOR'S RACE, CURTIS SLIWA RECENTLY CAME OUT AND CRITICIZED ERIC ADAMS'S POSITION FOR MASK MANDATES FOR NYC CHILDREN.

SO TRAGICALLY MOMENTS LIKE THIS, FRANKLY, HURT THE CREDIBILITY OF THOSE ON THE FAR RIGHT WHO HAVE CONSISTENTLY OPPOSED VACCINE MANDATES.

THAT BEING SAID, IT'S MY REALISTIC OPINION THAT THOSE WHO OPPOSE VACCINE MANDATES, THEIR MINDS ARE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO CHANGE DESPITE THE PASSING OF MORE NATIONAL FIGURES WHO PASSED AWAY FROM COVID DESPITE BEING VACCINATED.

OF COURSE.

WELL, I ALSO DO WANT TO ASK BOTH OF YOU, BECAUSE WE TRY TO USE THIS TIME TO LOOK FORWARD TOWARDS THE REST OF THE WEEK AND SO ASSAY, CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT -- YOU TALKED ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES YOU WILL BE WATCHING BUT WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIG STORIES THAT YOU'RE REALLY LOOKING AT AND HOW THEY'RE GOING TO TAKE SHAPE AS THIS WEEK PROGRESSES.

I'M REALLY INTERESTED IN SEEING EARLY -- HOW EARLY VOTING WORKS OUT FOR FOLKS.

ALSO, I'M INTERESTED IN EARLY VOTING HAS KICKED OFF, THE ATTENTION WE'RE GOING TO PAY TO THE BALLOT PROPOSALS.

THERE ARE FIVE FOLKS WILL SEE IN NOVEMBER OR I GUESS STARTING THIS SATURDAY.

THESE INCLUDE THINGS THAT ARE INTENSE AS THE STATE'S REDISTRICTING PROCESS AFTER THE CENSUS, AND THINGS LIKE DO ALL NEW YORKERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO CLEAN AIR AND WATER?

I THINK THOSE ARE THINGS THAT HOPEFULLY WE HEAR MORE ABOUT IN THE COMING WEEKS.

I THINK THE DEBATE WILL BE, OF COURSE, THE BIG ISSUE AND EVENT THAT CAPTURES A LOT OF EYES AND ATTENTION.

IT'S SURE TO BE ENTERTAINING.

IT'S THE TWO PERSONALITIES WHO ARE MEETING IN THE RACE NOW ARE, YOU KNOW, ARE ABLE TO REALLY ENGAGE WITH EACH OTHER IS THE WORD THAT I WOULD USE.

I THINK IT WILL BE A NOTABLE AND QUOTABLE EVENT, MAYBE NOT LIKELY TO CHANGE, OF COURSE, THE OUTCOME, UNLESS LIKE AN ASTEROID HITS THE NBC DEBATE STAGE, BUT I THINK THERE WILL BE A LOT THERE THAT IS PROBABLY MORE MEMABLE THAN THINGS THAT FOLKS VOTE ON.

BUT THAT'S THE MOMENT WE LIVE IN NOW.

THAT IS TRUE, YES.

WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT, MEMES DO MAY A MUCH BIGGER ROLE IN OUR NATIONAL ATTENTION THAN WE WOULD LIKE TO ADMIT.

TRIP, SAME QUESTION TO YOU, THIS COMING WEEK, WHAT WILL YOU BE FOLLOWING TO SEE HOW IT TAKES SHAPE?

I WILL BE VERY INTERESTED IN SEEING IF ERIC ADAMS' COATTAILS, I THINK HE WILL WIN THE ELECTION NOVEMBER 2, BUT I'M INTERESTED IN SEEING IF HIS COATTAILS WILL GENERATE A POSITIVE OUTCOME FOR DEMOCRATS IN COMPETITIVE RACES.

IN MY OPINION, THERE ARE TWO COMPETITIVE RACES RIGHT NOW IN NEW YORK CITY, ONE OF THEM IS THE CITY COUNCIL RACE IN THE 32nd COUNCIL DISTRICT IN QUEENS.

DEMOCRATS ARE VERY HYPED UP ABOUT TRYING TO FLIP THAT LAST REPUBLICAN CITY COUNCIL SEAT BLUE.

AND THEN THERE'S ALSO A SLIGHTLY LESS COMPETITIVE RACE IN STATEN ISLAND WHERE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE IS MARK MURPHY AND THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE IS TRUMP-BACKED FORMER CONGRESSMAN.

THAT ONE DEMOCRATS CITY WIDE HAVE NOT BEEN AS EXCITED FOR BUT ON PAPER, IT'S A COMPETITIVE RACE.

SO CAN ERIC ADAMS COME IN AS MAYOR WITH ENOUGH OF A MANDATE THAT HE'S FLIPPING TRADITIONALLY RED REPUBLICAN AREAS SUCH AS HOWARD BEACH, QUEENS AND STATEN ISLAND BLUE?

THAT WILL BE A GOOD QUESTION.

AND IF HE DOES HAVE THE COATTAILS TO REALLY FLIP THESE SEATS, IT GIVES HIM EVEN MORE OF A MANDATE IN HIS FIRST TERM AS MAYOR.

AND JUST TO ADD TO TRIP, BECAUSE I THINK THE QUEENS COUNCIL RACE IS, AGAIN, THE LAST GOP SEAT IN QUEENS, CRITICAL FOR THE QUEENS GOP.

THE NUMBER OF QUEENS REPUBLICANS ACTUA ACTUALLY INCREASED BETWEEN TRUMP'S ELECTION AND THEN 2020, I THINK STATEN ISLAND SLIGHTLY OUTPACED THE GROWTH OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY RESPECTIVELY IN THAT BOROUGH BUT QUEENS DID NOT GROW AS MUCH.

LOOKING AT THE DATA BECAUSE I HAVE WRITTEN ON THE 32nd DISTRICT RACE, IT'S VERY INTERESTING TO SEE BECAUSE THE AVAILABLE DATA SUGGESTS THE RACE WILL BE VERY COMPETITIVE.

THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE, THE QUEENS REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRWOMAN, IS RUNNING AGAINST DONOVAN WILLIAMS, THE MEMBER OF THAT RACE AND ACCORDING TO THAT ASSEMBLY DISTRICT THAT MAKE UP DISTRICT 42, SHE EARNED 43% OF THE VOTE TO HIS 46% SURE.

SO IT WILL BE COMPETITIVE I THINK IN SOME PARTS OF THAT DISTRICT.

INTERESTING TO WATCH.

IT'S CURRENTLY REPRESENTED BY A REPUBLICAN.

BUT FELECIA SING IS ONE OF THESE NEWCOMERS WHO HAS ENJOYED A BROAD KIND OF SWATH OF SUPPORT FROM PROGRESSIVE GROUPS AND LEFT LEANING GROUPS.

AND I THINK SHE MIGHT ACTUALLY BE PART OF THIS MOVEMENT TO CHANGE THE CITY COUNCIL, OR PART OF THIS GROUP OF INCOMING ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO MAY BE PART OF THAT.

THERE'S A STRONG KIND OF ATTITUDE NOW TOWARDS MAKING THE COUNCIL LESS OF A MODERATE BODY AND KIND OF DRIVING A PROGRESSIVE MESSAGE HOME EVEN MORE.

TRIP, I'M SURE YOU ARE SEEING SIMILAR INSIGHTS ACROSS THE CITY COUNCIL, EVEN IN RACES THAT ARE NOT COMPETITIVE.

THERE MAY BE ONE CANDIDATE RUNNING SUPER PROGRESSIVE.

YES.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE.

I'M SO SORRY TO CUT YOU OFF.

NO WORRIES.

WE'VE RUN OUT OF TIME.

I WANT TO THANK BOTH OF MY GUESTS.

YOU GUYS WERE ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.

SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER AT 'CITY LIMITS,' THE INVESTIGATIVE NEWS SITE COVERING NEW YORK CITY AND TRIP YANG, A CONGRESSIONAL STRATEGIST WHO WORKED WITH SOME OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN POLITICS AND PRESIDENT OF TRIP YANG POLICIES.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO JOIN US ON THE 'METROFOCUS' ROUNDTABLE.

THANK YOU.

THANKS.

> '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,

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