MetroFocus: October 25, 2021

FRONTPAGE FORECAST ROUNDTABLE

Tonight we welcome back Frontpage Forecast veterans Rutgers University professor Saladin Ambar, GOP strategist Joseph Pinion and New York politics reporter Laura Nahmias for a look at the news that will be making 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.

THE SHOWDOWN OVER VACCINE MANDATES WHICH ERUPTED INTO CHAOS IN NEW YORK CITY OVER THE WEEKEND.

DEMONSTRATORS SUPPORTING KYRIE IRVING, WHO IS NOT WITH THE TEAM BECAUSE OF HIS REFUSAL TO GET THE SHOT, PROTESTED NEW YORK'S VACCINE MANDATE OUTSIDE OF BARCLAYS CENTER ON SUNDAY.

NOW, AT ONE POINT A SMALL GROUP REPORTEDLY BROKE THROUGH BARRIERS AND GOT ALL THE WAY TO THE FRONT ENTRANCE.

ANOTHER PROTEST BY CITY WORKERS WAS PLANNED FOR TODAY FOLLOWING MAYOR de BLASIO'S REQUIREMENT THAT NEARLY ALL MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES GET VACCINATED BY WEEK'S END, A DECISION THAT RAMPS UP THE PRESSURE ON ROUGHLY 45,000 CITY WORKERS.

DESPITE EVIDENCE SHOWING VACCINES ARE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE, PROTESTERS SAY IT SHOULD BE THEIR DECISION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THEY GET THE SHOT.

THE ISSUE REMAINS FRONT AND CENTER IN THE MAYORAL RACE WITH EARLY VOTING NOW UNDERWAY, AND THE TWO MAJOR CANDIDATES, ERIC ADAMS AND CURTIS LEWA GETTING READY TO DEBATE TOMORROW NIGHT WITH JUST A WEEK TO GO IN THE RACE.

SO LET'S GET THE CONVERSATION STARTED BY WELCOMING BACK THREE FRONT PAGE FORECAST VETERANS AND EXPERTS ON ALL THINGS TRI-STATE AREA.

UP FIRST WE'RE WELCOMING BACK PROF PROFESSOR, A SENIOR SCHOLAR AT THE SCHOOL'S SCHOOL OF POLITICS.

ALWAYS GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON THE SHOW.

ALWAYS GREAT TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

WE ARE ALSO WELCOMING BACK JOSEPH, A GOP STRATEGIST, CHAIR OF THE CONSERVATIVE COLOR COALITION AND HOST OF THE CABLE NEWS SHOW SATURDAY AGENDA.

JOSEPH, GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

AND IT'S BEEN A WHILE, BUT SHE'S JOINING US AGAIN, A NEW YORK POLITICAL REPORTER AND A FORMER DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER.

LAURA, IT IS GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK.

IT IS GREAT TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

LET'S START WITH THE MANDATE.

I MENTIONED EED KYRIE IRVING IN MED LINE, BUT HE SEEMS TO BE BECOMING A POLITICAL FIGURE THAT PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THEY CAN RALLY BEHIND BECAUSE HE IS TAKING A MAJOR FINANCIAL HIT BY NOT BEING ABLE TO PLAY WITH THE NETS BECAUSE OF HIS REFUSAL TO GET THE KCOVID-19 VACCINE.

WE HAVE SEEN SOME PEOPLE FROM THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, TEACHERS, TEACHERS ASSISTANTS, ET CETERA, LEAVE.

WE HAVE ALSO HEARD FROM POLICE OFFICERS WHO ARE REFUSING TO GET THE SHOTS.

FIRE DEPARTMENT MEMBERS, ET CETERA.

SO WITH ALL OF THAT IN MIND, LAURA, I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SORT OF LAY THE GROUND WORK ON WHERE THE VACCINE MANDATE STANDS AND WHY THERE SEEMS TO BE SUCH A STIFF REFUSAL FROM A PORTION OF THE MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES.

SO I THINK WHAT WE HAVE SEEN -- THERE HAVE BEEN VACCINE MANDATES PUT IN PLACE FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS AND FOR OTHER SEGMENTS OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AND THEY HAVE PROVEN TO BE EXTRAORDINARILY SUCCESSFUL, ACTUALLY, AT GETTING PEOPLE TO GET THE SHOT.

WHEN THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD AND IT'S YOUR PAYCHECK OR A VAGUE FEAR OF A VACCINE THAT IS PROVEN SAFE AND EFFECTIVE AND WOULD PROTECT YOU FROM DEATH, A LOT OF PEOPLE, MOST PEOPLE, ARE CHOOSING TO GO AHEAD AND GET THE VACCINE INSTEAD OF LOSING OUT ON INCOME.

I THINK IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHETHER OR NOT THAT PATTERN HOLDS WITH THE HOLDOUTS THAT THERE IS AN ESTIMATED 45 OR 46,000 MUNICIPAL WORKERS WHO STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN THEIR SHOTS.

AND WE'RE SEEING RATES OF VACCINATION AMONG FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE OFFICERS THAT ARE REALLY LOW COMPARED TO SOME OTHER CITY AGENCIES IN THE 60% TO 70% RANGE, WHETHER OR NOT THE MANDATE WORKS TO GET PEOPLE TO GO AHEAD AND GET THOSE SHOTS.

BUT I THINK THE BIG ISSUE HERE AND WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THE PUSHBACK TO ALL OF THE MANDATES SINCE THEY STARTED BEING ROLLED OUT IS THAT THIS IS A -- IT'S A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING LABOR RI.

SOME PEOPLE MIGHT BE SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS AT THE IDEA OF EMS WORKERS WHO ARE ON THE FRONT LINES OF COVID AND WHO WERE DYING FROM THE DISEASE WOULD BE RESISTANT TO GOING OUT AND GETTING THE SHOTS AND THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNION THAT REPRESENTS THEM WOULD BE RESISTANT, TOO.

BUT IT REALLY COMES DOWN TO THESE ARE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING UNITS.

THERE IS UNION RIGHTS AT STAKE.

AND THESE UNIONS ARE USED TO HAVING A STAY IN NEGOTIATING WHAT HAPPENS TO THEIR WORKERS, AND THEY DON'T LIKE BEING TOLD TO DO ANYTHING, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT IT'S PROPOSED AS BEING FOR THEIR OWN GOOD.

A MANDATE THAT THEY DON'T HAVE A HAND IN CRAFTING AND THAT IS BEING FORCED ON THEM IS TO THE VERY IDEA OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR UNION.

AND SO I THINK THAT'S A LOT OF WHAT THE RHETORIC IS HERE, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO THE POLICE OFFICERS AND FIREFIGHTERS AND EMS WHO ARE STILL NOT VACCINATED, WE WILL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE WHETHER OR NOT THE MANDATE IS ACTUALLY GOING TO CONVINCE THEM TO GET THE SHOT.

JOSEPH, I'M WONDERING: DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

IS THIS MORE ABOUT A POWER PLAY IN TERMS OF HOW THINGS TRADITIONALLY ARE DONE AS OPPOSED TO WHAT HEALTH EXPERTS ARE SAYING NEEDS TO BE DONE IN A MOMENT OF CRISIS?

NO.

I THINK THE ONE WORD THAT WE DIDN'T HEAR, THERE WAS FREEDOM.

I THINK ANOTHER THING THAT WE HAVEN'T TALKED ABOUT ENOUGH IS WHAT IS EMBEDDED INTO THE DNA OF AMERICA AT LARGE, WHICH IS THIS NOTION OF PERSONAL CHOICE.

SO I THINK ON SOME BASIC LEVEL, YOU HAVE TO ASK YOURSELF THE QUESTION.

WHEN WE GET PASSED THE RHETORIC, WHEN YOU ACTUALLY HAVE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE ON THE VERGE OF POTENTIALLY LOSING INCOME, NOT BEING ABLE TO KEEP A ROOF OVER THEIR FAMILY'S HEAD AND THEY'RE STILL WILLING TO SIT THERE AND HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT SAY I'M WILLING TO LOSE THAT SECURITY IN ORDER NOT TO TAKE THAT VACCINE, WHY IS IT WE'RE NOT HAVING A FRANK CONVERSATION ABOUT WHAT ARE THOSE CONCERNS?

WHY IS IT THAT IN THE FACE OF A DELTA VARIANT, IN THE FACE OF A COVID-19 VIRUS THAT HAS KILLED MILLIONS AROUND THE GLOBE ARE THERE STILL PEOPLE WITH APPREHENSIONS AND WHY ARE NOT MEETING THOSE APPREHENSIONS WITH LOVE AND GRACE AND INSTEAD THREATENING TO PUT PEOPLE ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE AND THRUST THEM INTO POVERTY?

AT SOME BASIC LEVEL, IF YOU WANT PEOPLE TO TRUST THE SCIENCE, THEN WE HAVE TO HAVE DECENCY AND GRACE TOWARDS THOSE CONCERNS.

AT LARGE, THOSE THINGS GET LOST IN THE CONVERSATION.

PROFESSOR, I GOT TO ASK BECAUSE THAT -- I BELIEVE THAT WAS TOUCHED ON BY PRESIDENT BIDEN WHO INDICATED THAT HE WAS KIND OF DONE BEING PATIENT AND CODDLING AND CAJOLING.

AS HIS WORDS, THOUGH.

SURE.

AND I UNDERSTAND HIS FRUSTRATION.

AND I ALSO UNDERSTAND THE FRUSTRATION OF THOSE WHO RECOGNIZE, PERHAPS MAYBE FOR THE FIRST TIME, THAT THE POWER OF GOVERNMENT IS COERCIVE.

NONE OF US LIKE IT, BUT WE DO PUT ON OUR SEAT BELTS.

WE HAVE BEEN SENDING OUR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL VACCINATED AND IMMUNIZED FOR DECADES NOW.

AND WE DO APPRECIATE, AND I THINK RESPECT, THE RIGHT OF FREEDOM AND LIBERTY FOR INDIVIDUALS.

BUT WE ALSO LIVE IN SOCIETY AS MEMBERS OF A COMMUNITY.

YOU KNOW, THAT GREAT CONSERVATIVE SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THAT RONALD REAGAN THAT I MAY SAY, OF ALL PEOPLE, A CITY ON A HILL.

AMERICANS NEED TO GO BACK AND REACH THAT SPEECH.

IT WAS ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY AND OBLIGATIONS WE HAVE TO EACH OTHER.

SO WE HAVE FREEDOMS AND WE CLEARLY ELEVATE THEM AND EMBRACE THEM.

BUT THOSE FREEDOMS DO NOT OCCUR OUTSIDE OF THE CONTEXT OF COMMUNITY OBLIGATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES.

AND MY FREEDOM ENDS WHEN I PUT YOU AT RISK.

SO I DON'T THINK THIS IS AKIN TO MUHAMMAD ALI PROTESTING THE VIETNAM WAR OR SANDY KOUFAX NOT PITCHING ON YOM KIPPOR IN THE WORLD SERIES.

THIS IS A SITUATION WITH ELDERLY AND THOSE WHO HAVE PRECONDITIONS ARE PARTICULARLY AT RISK.

SO I WOULD JUST CAUTION PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE THAT, YOU KNOW, THE FREEDOMS THAT WE CHERISH WERE NEVER MEANT TO BE CHERISHED IN ISOLATION.

WE ARE MEMBERS OF A COMMUNITY AND THAT'S A QUOTE DR. KING, A BELOVED COMMUNITY REQUIRES RESPONSIBILITY THAT RECOGNIZE THAT.

QUICKLY, I THINK MOST PEOPLE AGREE WITH ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

I THINK THE CONVERSATION WE'RE AT RIGHT NOW IS A FEW THINGS.

IF THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE APPREHENSIONS ABOUT TAKING THE VACCINE BECAUSE THEY -- WHETHER IT IS A RATIONAL FEAR OR NOT THAT SOMETHING MAY GO WRONG WITH THE VACCINE AND THERE WILL BE NO SUPPORT FOR THEM, WHY HAVE WE GOT PRIORITIZED MAKING SURE THAT THERE IS A TRUST FUND SET ASIDE IN THE EVENT THAT A VACCINE THAT STATISTICS SAY IS QUITE SAFE DOES HAVE A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THINGS GO WRONG?

I THINK IF WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SPENDING $5 TRILLION, $6 TRILLION IN RELIEF, THEN CERTAINLY WE SHOULD BE PUTTING THOSE PEOPLE'S FEARS AT BAY, PARTICULARLY WHEN WE HAVE INDEMNIFIED THE DRUG COMPANIES OF ANY WRONGDOING IF SOMETHING LIKE THAT DOES OCCUR.

YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, YES, WE ARE THIS SHARED COMMUNITY, WE HAVE GONE FROM A SITUATION WHERE WE KNOW THE VACCINE MOST LIKELY IS SAFE, THAT IT SAVES LIVES.

I AM DOUBLE VAXED MYSELF.

I WOULD ENCOURAGE OTHER PEOPLE TO DO SO.

BUT IF WE UNDERSTAND WE HAVE A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF BREAKTHROUGH CASES, WE DO UNDERSTAND THAT WEARING MASKS CAN REDUCE THE SPREAD, THEN WHY DOES THE ONUS HAVE TO BECOME ON OTHER INDIVIDUALS SAYING THEY HAVE TO BE DRUMMED OUT OF OTHER SOCIETY IF THEY HAVE TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS IF MORE OR LESS TO THE TUNE OF NORTH OF 99% CAN REDUCE THEIR SPREAD?

SO I THINK THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD WHEN THE QUESTION BECOMES, IF YOU ARE SO IMMUNOCOMPROMISED THAT EVEN IN SPITE OF THE VACCINATION YOU HAVE, YOU NO LONGER FEEL SAFE IN SOCIETY OR SOMEBODY SO RISK AVERSE THAT HAVING BEEN VACCINATED, HAVING STILL WORN THE MASK, YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE IN THE PUBLIC SETTING, IS IT FAIR TO PUT THE ONUS ON THOSE OTHER INDIVIDUALS TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE SOMETHING.

I DON'T THINK I HAVE THE PERFECT ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION, BUT I THINK THAT IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO HAVE THAT CONVERSATION, AND I THINK THAT THIS NOTION OF PUTTING OUR THUMB ON THE SCALE AND SAYING IT IS ONE WAY OR THE HIGHWAY IN ONE WAY ENCOURAGES AND LEADS THE CONVERSATION THAT WE HAVE TO HELP CURB IF OUR EFFORT IS TO BEAT THIS VIRUS AT ALL.

I'M WONDERING HOW DO YOU SEE THIS PLAYING OUT IN CITY POLITICS.

AT LEAST THE NEXT MAYOR IS GOING TO HAVE TO PICK THIS UP.

YOU KNOW, I THINK THE NEXT MAYOR IS GOING TO HAVE TO -- IS GOING TO HAVE TO ENFORCE A VACCINE MANDATE, IS GOING TO HAVE TO CONTINUEs FAIRLY SUCCESSFUL, ACTUALLY IMMUNIZATION CAMPAIGN FOR THE POPULUS AT LARGE.

WE HAVE SEEN DEMOGRAPHICS IN NEW YORK CITY.

I THINK QUEENS IS THE MOST VACCINATED BUREAU IN NEW YORK CITY, WHICH IS FANTASTIC NEWS.

THEY WERE HIT HARDEST, AMONG THE HARDEST BIT BUREAUS BY THE VIRUS ITSELF.

AND I THINK IT REALLY IS A MATTER OF GETTING US BACK TO SOME SEMBLANCE OF BEING ABLE TO OPERATE THE CITY THAT WE USED TO BE.

MAYBE WE WILL NEVER GET BACK TO THAT, BUT THINGS NEED TO BE OPEN AND PEOPLE NEED TO BE FREE FROM FEAR OF DISEASE IN ORDER FOR THE CITY TO FUNCTION.

SO YOU HAVE HEARD THAT KIND OF RHETORIC FROM BOTH OF THE CANDIDATES IN THE AGGENERAL ELECTION, BUT IT IS INCUMBENT ON WHO DOES WIN ON NOVEMBER 2nd TO GET US THROUGH THIS SO THAT WE CAN ERADICATE THE VIRUS' PRESENCE IN OUR LIVES THAT HAS BEEN SUCH A LOOMING THREAT AND THE SOONER WE CAN GET TO SOMETHING THAT IS CLOSER TO NORMAL, THE SOONER THE CITY CAN FUNCTION AND COMMERCE CAN GO AHEAD AND SCHOOL CAN RESUME AND LIFE CAN BEGIN TO RETURN TO SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT CLOSER TO NORMAL.

AND I DON'T WANT TO LINGER ON THIS FOR TOO LONG BECAUSE BY NO MEANS DO I EXPECT THE FOUR OF US TO RESOLVE THIS ISSUE.

BUT, PROFESSOR, I DO THINK THAT JOSEPH DOES MAKE A GOOD POINT WHEN IT COMES TO PEOPLE'S HESITATION.

THAT IS THAT SHOULD SOMETHING -- WE'RE TALKING ABOUT VERY RARE CASES AND SIGNS MADE IT CLEAR THEY ARE VERY EXTREMELY RARE.

BUT THAT THEY HAVE HAPPENED WHERE SOMEONE HAS HAD AN ADVERSE EFFECT, SIDE EFFECT OR THAT, PERHAPS, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS A BREAKTHROUGH CASE ANYWAY.

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE A POSITION AND SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT, IF -- IF THE RARE CHANCE OF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO YOU, WE'RE GOING TO SUPPORT.

WE'RE AT LEAST GOING TO HAVE YOUR MEDICAL BILLS AND HELP YOU GET THROUGH THAT.

IS THAT SOMETHING THAT FITS INTO OUR POLITICAL DIALOGUE RIGHT NOW?

I THINK THAT'S NOT AN UNREASONABLE COMPROMISE TO MAKE ON THIS ISSUE.

BUT AS WE SEE BEFORE US AND THERE IS NO POINT IN GETTING INTO NATIONAL POLITICS NOW, IT IS DIFFICULT TO PASS MUCH OF ANYTHING OF CONSEQUENCE IN WASHINGTON NOW.

BUT WE HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH ALL KINDS OF MANDATES FOR AUTOMOBILES AND VACCINATIONS AND IMMUNIZATIONS FOR DECADES.

WHAT'S NEW IS THAT WE ARE AT AN ALL-TIME FEVERED PITCH OF DOUBT AND DISTRUST IN OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

I'M NOT SAYING IT'S NOT WITHOUT REASON.

SINCE 9/11, SINCE THE GREAT RECESSION, SINCE THE FAILURE TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF KATRINA OR COVID WHY THERE IS GREAT OR UNPRECEDENTED MISTRUST OF OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, ALIENATION, IF YOU WILL.

HAVING SAID THAT, WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO BE DISCERNING AND REALIZE THIS IS AN INSTANCE IN WHICH THE HEALTHY, YOU KNOW, AROUND THE WORLD HAVE TAKEN THEIR STANCE AND HAVE DECIDED TO GET VACCINATED.

THIS IS -- THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THIS IS ABOUT HEALTH, AND WE HAVE TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE WHO ARE MARGINALIZED AND MOST LIKELY TO SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT BEING VACCINATED, YOU KNOW, DO SO.

AND GETTING THE VACCINE INTO THOSE FOLKS AND HAVING THEM BE IMMUNIZED IS SO IMPORTANT, DESPITE THE REASONED APPREHENSIONS ABOUT WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT HAS DONE IN THE PAST AND, YOU KNOW, THAT SENSE OF ALIENATION WE HAVE RIGHTFULLY EARNED.

THAT DOESN'T MEAN EVERY -- I THINK MARK TWAIN ONCE SAID IF A CAT PUTS A PAW ON A HOT STOVE, UNFORTUNATELY, THE LESSON IT LEARNS IS NOT TO PUT ITS PAW ON A COLD STOVE.

EVERY STOVE ISN'T HOT SO WE CAN'T TAKE THE LESSONS OF THE PAST AND ALWAYS APPLY THEM TO EVERY SITUATION.

IT IS FOOL HEARTY TO DO THAT AND WE HAVE TO BE SOMEWHAT DISCERNING ABOUT THIS.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE THIS ISSUE THERE.

BUT MOVING ON TO, AS I MENTIONED, THERE IS GOING TO BE ANOTHER MAYORAL DEBATE COMING UP.

LAURA, I'D LIKE TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS ON, FIRST OF ALL, WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME AND WHAT WE SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR OR EXPECTING FROM AT LEAST THE TWO LEAD CANDIDATES IN THE NEXT DEBATE.

I MEAN, I THINK THAT THE LAST TIME VIEWERS HOPEFULLY GOT A LITTLE BIT OF THE SENSE OF WHO THE TWO CANDIDATES ARE AS PEOPLE, THEY'RE BOTH EXTREMELY COLORFUL CHARACTERS.

THEY'RE BOTH NATIVE NEW YORKERS AND -- AND, YOU KNOW, THAT'S PRODUCED SOME VERY INTERESTING RESULTS.

AND I THINK THEY HOPEFULLY GOT A SENSE OF HOW EACH WOULD GOVERN.

BUT I THINK GOING FORWARD WE'D LOVE TO HEAR MORE SPECIFIC POLICY PROPOSALS FROM EACH OF THEM, MORE -- I'M HOPING TO SEE ERIC ADAMS WIN DOWN FURTHER.

HE HAS A TENDENCY TO SPEAK IN GENERALTIES SOMETIMES OR TO USE PHRASES THAT HE'S USED BEFORE.

I THINK WE CAN ALL SAY A SMALL DEGREE OF LIKELIHOOD THAT HE'S PROBABLY GOING TO END UP WINNING IN AN OVERWHELMINGLY DEMOCRATIC CITY.

SO THE PRESSURE SHOULD BE ON ERIC ADAMS TO LAY OUT SPECIFICALLY WHAT HE'S GOING TO DO ON ISSUES LIKE CLIMATE CHANGE AND PUBLIC HOUSING AND EDUCATION, ADDRESSING SOME OF THE PROPOSALS, LATE PROPOSALS MADE BY THE de BLASIO ADMINISTRATION, WHAT HE'S GOING TO DO IN GREAT DETAIL ABOUT THE CITY'S MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS AND HOW THAT DOVE TAILS WITH HIS PLANS FOR REFORMING THE CITY'S POLICE DEPARTMENT.

AND I JUST THINK THE MORE SPECIFICS FOR HIM AS THE LIKELY WINNER OF THIS ELECTION THAT WE CAN GET, THE BETTER OFF WE'LL BE.

AND PINNING HIM DOWN ON SOME OF THOSE POSITIONS.

YOU KNOW, SO MUCH THAT WE'VE HEARD FROM THIS ABOUT THIS CAMPAIGN OR FROM THE TWO CANDIDATES I SHOULD SAY HAS BEEN LARGELY THESE BROAD BRUSH STROKES AS LAURA WAS JUST MENTIONED, AND I'M WONDERING IF THERE IS A RELIANCE ON THE FACT WE'RE IN AN OFF SEASON CAMPAIGN SEASON THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE IS KIND OF AN UNDERSTOOD CONCLUSION OF WHO'S PROBABLY GOING TO WIN.

SO IS THERE PERHAPS LESS OF A SENSE OF A NEED FOR CLARIFICATION FROM BOTH CANDIDATES, ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING HOW DISSATISFIED SO MANY NEW YORKERS ARE WITH THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION?

I THINK AN INEVITABLE BY PRODUCT OF THE ENTRENCHED DIVISION THAT WE HAVE IN AMERICA IS THAT POLITICIANS HAVE PERFECTED THE ART OF SAYING NOTHING.

OUR POLITICS HAVE BECOME A BLACK HOLE OF NOTHINGNESS.

HOW DO YOU GET AROUND ACTUALLY COB CONFRONTING THE HARD ISSUES?

AS ABSOLUTISM RISES IN THAT VA VACUUM, WE'RE NO LONGER TALKING ABOUT CREDIBLE SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND WHETHER IT EXISTS OR DOESN'T EXIST.

WE'RE NOT ACTUALLY GOING TO HAVE THE CONVERSATION ABOUT WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN'T WORK.

EVEN IF WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE VACCINES THAT WE JUST DISCUSSED, IT IS TO GET THE JAB OR NOT GET THE JAB.

AND NOT TALKING ABOUT A REALISTIC ROBUST APPROACH TO HOW DO WE CURB THE HESITANCY WE'RE SEEING IN THOSE MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES IF WE GO BACK TO THE PANDEMIC AND DOING THE MAJORITY.

IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED IN THE LAST DEBATE, IT SEEMS LIKE A MICROCOSM OF WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THIS DISCOURSE, WHICH IS THAT WE DON'T ACTUALLY GET AROUND TO TALKING ABOUT THE CORE ISSUES, TALKING ABOUT THE ROBUST COMMON GROUND THAT EXISTS ACROSS THE ENTIRE SWARTH OF ISSUES FACING THIS COUNTRY TODAY.

I THINK THAT'S MY CONCERN.

PROFESSOR, YOU KNOW, THE SAME QUESTION TO YOU AND ALSO COME BOUNDED WITH THE FACT THAT IN THE GARDEN STATE, WE HAVE A GOVERNOR RACE WHERE, AGAIN, THERE IS SORT OF A FOREGONE CONCLUSION OF WHO IS GOING TO WIN.

BUT HAS THAT PREVENTED A GENUINE DISCUSSION LAYING OUT THE ISSUES WE FACE?

AS AN OBSERVER HERE IN NEW JERSEY, I WOULD LOVE TO SEE MORE SPECIFICITY ON POLICY FROM NEW JERSEY'S CANDIDATES.

CHALLENGING GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY RIGHT NOW ON THE GOVERNOR SIDE.

I CERTAINLY WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE OF THAT.

BUT UNFORTUNATELY WHAT'S HAPPENED IS THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE WHO'S CHALLENGING THE INCOMING GOVERNOR HERE IS SORT OF A PROXY FOR DONALD TRUMP AND THE WOES OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BECOME SORT OF, YOU KNOW, EM BLAZENED UPON THE INCUMBENT GOVERNOR MURPHY HERE.

SO WE DISDCUSSIONS OF TRUMP, NO TRUMP, CARICATURES OF BOTH PARTIES AND A LOT OF CULTURAL MESS THROWN TO SEE IF IT WILL STICK AGAINST THE WALL RATHER THAN THE SPECIFICITY THAT JOSEPH MENTIONS IS REALLY NECESSARY.

IN A VERY COMPLEX WORLD THAT WE'RE LIVING IN WHERE THE SOLUTIONS ARE NOT SO BLACK AND WHITE, UNFORTUNATELY, NEW JERSEY'S FIRST -- AND TO A LESSOR EXTENT, SECOND GOVERNOR DEBATE WHERE ALONG THOSE LINES, NOT AS MUCH SPECIFICITY AND POLICY ANALYSIS THAT VOTERS CERTAINLY DESERVE.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL THEN WITH THAT IN MIND WE ARE OF COURSE HERE TO LOOK FORWARD AT THE WEEK TO COME.

SO I WANT TO GET FROM ALL OF YOU WHAT ARE THE STORIES THAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE WATCHING AS THEY DEVELOP AND, SO, PROFESSOR I'LL GO RIGHT BACK TO YOU.

WELL, ARE WE GOING TO EVER MOVE BEYOND THIS LANGUAGE OF INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK THAT THE ADMINISTRATION IS BIDEN AND THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS NIMBLE AND MARGINED -- AT THE MARGINS IT IS IN TERMS OF VOTES.

IS IT GOING TO BE ABLE TO PASS SOMETHING OF CONSEQUENCE.

THAT'S WHAT I WILL BE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE COMING DAYS AND WEEKS.

OTHERWISE, I THINK BIDEN IS REALLY LOOKING AT SOME DIFFICULT DAYS AHEAD.

BUT HE MAY BE ABLE TO SALVAGE SOMETHING OF HIS FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE IF HE'S ABLE TO PASS SOMETHING AT THE VERY LEAST RELATED TO INFRASTRUCTURE.

HE IS DUE TO LEAVE TO GO TO GLASGOW TO DISCUSS CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK.

WITH NOTHING FROM CONGRESS, THAT WOULD MAKE ASKING OTHER COUNTRIES A LITTLE AWKWARD.

LAURA, YOUR TAKE ON WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING INTO THIS WEEK?

I AM ACTUALLY LOOKING AT AND WORKING ON A STORY ABOUT THE GOVERNOR RACE.

NEW YORK HAS ITS FIRST WOMAN AS GOVERNOR AND OCCUPANT OF THAT OFFICE.

KATHY HOCHUL MAY BE FACING A PRIMARY CHALLENGE IN SEVEN MONTHS FROM ANOTHER WOMAN CONSIDERING A GUN FOR GOVERNOR.

STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES.

REALLY AN EXTRAORDINARY TURN OF EVENTS FROM THE TYPE OF POLITICS WE'VE HAD IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS, AND IT COULD GET VERY, VERY INTERESTING.

I DON'T DOUBT THAT FOR A SECOND.

JOSEPH, I'LL GIVE YOU THE LAST WORD.

WHAT ARE THE STORIES THAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE WATCHING FOR THIS WEEK?

YEAH.

CERTAINLY I THINK IN NEW YORK YOU ARE GOING TO START TO SEE THE ELECTION FOR GOVERNOR TO START TO HEAT UP, PARTICULARLY ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE OF THE AISLE.

WE SHOULD BE TAKING A LOOK AT THAT.

I ALSO THINK THAT LITTLE BY LITTLE AS YOU START TO LOOK AT THOSE CRITICAL TYPE OF LEASE PERIODS, WE START SEEING PEOPLE LOOK FOR NEW HOMES.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WITH SO MANY AFRICAN-AMERICANS PARTICULARLY IN THAT 18 TO 34-YEAR-OLD BRACKET REMAINING UNVACCINATED IF THAT STARTS TO IMPACT THE QUALITY OF LIFE WE SEE IN THE CITY BUT ALSO I THINK THE NATURE OF OUR CONVERSATION ABOUT POLITICS.

HOW DO PEOPLE REALLY TRULY FEEL ABOUT PEOPLE BEING FORCED TO HAVE NO HOME TO LIVE IN BECAUSE OF VACCINE MANDATES OR FORCED OFF THE JOB.

IT'S ANOTHER THING TO ACTUALLY WITNESS IT AND HOW DOES THAT ACTUALLY IMPACT PEOPLE'S PERCEPTION ON THAT ISSUE.

ALL RIGHT.

WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE.

BUT I DO WANT TO THANK ALL OF MY ROUND TABLE GUESTS.

CHAIR OF THE CONSERVATIVE COLOR COALITION AND HOST OF 'SATURDAY AGENDA' ON CABLE NEWS AND OF COURSE A NEW YORK REPORTER, FORMER DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL MEMBER.

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

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

> '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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