MetroFocus: October 4, 2021

FRONTPAGE FORECAST

This week we’re tracking three major stories all with significant implications for the tri-state. From the race for governor heating up in New York and New Jersey to the crisis in our public school classrooms as the vaccine mandate moves forward and many teachers step aside to the massive Covid lockdown on Rikers Island as officials push to release detainees to reduce the lockup’s population. With us tonight are political commentator J.C. Polanco, Rutgers University professor Saladin Ambar and City Limits executive editor Jeanmarie Evelly.

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, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE JPB FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS' FRONT PAGE'S FORECAST.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

IN THIS WEEK'S LOOK AHEAD AT THE HEADLINES WE ARE TRACKING THREE MAJOR STORIES ALL WITH SIGNIFICANT IMPLICATION FORCE THE TRI-STATE AREA.

RIGHT NOW THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR IS HEATING UP IN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY.

NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC ADVOCATE JU MANNY WILLIAMS AND ATTORNEY GENERAL LETICIA JAMES ARE BOTH EYEING A POSSIBLE TWOON RUN FOR GOVERNOR AGAINST THE CURRENT AND RECENT GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL.

IN THE GARDEN STATE THE ELECTION BETWEEN PHIL MURPHY AND JACK CIATTARELLI IS JUST WEEKS AWAY.

THE QUESTION IS COULD THE GRIDLOCK GOING ON IN WASHINGTON AFFECT THE RACE BACK HOME?

WE WILL DISCUSS.

AND MEANWHILE, NEW YORK CITY'S SCHOOL VACCINE MANDATE FOR SCHOOL WORKERS TOOK EFFECT TODAY.

THOUSANDS GOT LAST-MINUTE SHOTS JUST BEFORE THE DEADLINE, AND THE SUPREME COURT REJECTED AN EFFORT TO BLOCK THE MANDATE FROM TAKING EFFECT.

NOW SOME NEW YORK CITY PRINCIPALS ARE WORRIED ABOUT FINDING REPLACEMENTS TO PROPERLY STAFF THEIR SCHOOLS.

> ALSO, RIKERS ISLAND IS BACK THIS THE NEWS AS OFFICIALS LOOK TO PUSH DETAINEES TO REDUCE THE PRISON'S LOCKUP POPULATION.

ONE OF THE LARGEST JAILS AT THE FACILITY WAS REPORTEDLY PLACED ON LOCKDOWN AS A RESULT OF WIDESPREAD EXPOSURE TO COVID.

SO FOR MUCH MORE ON THESE STORIES AND THE NEWS YOU WILL NEED TO START YOUR WEEK WE WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME BACK THREE EXPERTS WHEN IT COMES TO GOVERNMENT, POLITICS, AND ALL THINGS NEW YORK AND SOME THINGS NEW JERSEY.

UP FIRST WE ARE RETURNING TO OUR ROUND TABLE STACEY POLANCO A POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND FORMER PRESIDENT THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

STACEY, WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

EXCITED TO BE HERE.

WE ARE ALSO JOINED AGAIN BY PROFESSOR SALAH DINA AN BARR, A PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY AND SENIOR SCHOLAR AT THE SCHOOL'S CENTER OF AMERICAN GOVERNOR.

HE IS ALSO THE COAUTHOR OF THE FORTHCOMING GOVERNORS AND THE KROISESE THAT DEFINE THEM, A BOOK WE WILL BE LOOKING FORWARD TO.

WELCOME, PROFESSOR.

THANK YOU JENNA, GREAT TO BE HERE.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST WE ARE ALSO JOINED BY JEAN MARIE EVERILY WHOSE REPORTING YOU CAN FINDS AT CITY LIMITS.ORG.

JEAN MARIE WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU, JENNA.

THERE IS CLEARLY A LOT TO COVER.

FIRST, LET'S START WITH WHAT'S GOING ON AT THE STATE LEVEL EXECUTIVE BRANCH RACES I GUESS.

SO SINCE THE ONE THAT'S COMING UP FIRST IS GOING TO BE NEW JERSEY, PROFESSOR, I WILL START WITH YOU AND JUST GET YOUR TAKE ON WHAT ROLE THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION COULD BE PLAYING IN THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR IN NEW JERSEY.

WELL, IT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

I THINK THE FIRST THING IS THAT OBVIOUSLY THE BIDE IS POSITING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT, YOU KNOW, GOVERNMENT HAS A ROLE TO PLAY, A STRONG ROLE, A VERY STRONG ROLE TO PLAY IN THE ECONOMY AND IN HELPING PEOPLE WHO ARE SEVERELY IN NEED.

I THINK NEW JERSEYIANS RESONATE WITH THAT.

WHAT THE CHALLENGE IS, IF THERE IS ONE FOR GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY IS HOW TO SHOW AND DEMONSTRATE THAT GOVERNMENT CAN AND SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN PEOPLE'S LIVES, PARTICULARLY THEIR ECONOMIC LIVES WHILE NOT RAISING TAXES.

THAT'S WHAT JACK CIATTARELLI IS HAMMERING ON, THE LIKELIHOOD THAT IN HIS ESTIMATION THAT GOVERNOR MURPHY AND WHAT BIDEN WANTS CANNOT BE PAID FOR.

I AM SURE MANY OF YOUR VIEWERS KNOW TAX POLICY AND NEW JERSEY ELECTIONS GO HAND IN HAND.

WE WILL SEE HOW THAT PLAYS OUT, ALTHOUGH CURRENTLY PHIL MURPHY HAS A FAIRLY COMFORTABLE LEAD IN THE POLLS.

ALL RIGHT.

BUT, OF COURSE, WE FOUND SOMETIMES THE POLLING CAN BE MISLEADING.

SO THIS WILL BE A RACE TO WATCH.

TURNING BACK TO NEW YORK STATE, WE ALREADY KNOW THAT GOVERNOR HOCHUL HAS ALREADY INDICATED THAT SHE PLANS ON RUNNING.

BUT WE ARE ALSO HEARING RUMBLINGS OF THE POSSIBILITY OF, AS I MENTIONED, LETICIA JAMES, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, LOOKING TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR, AND ALSO THE PUBLIC SCHOOL ADVOCATE FROM NEW YORK CITY, JU MANNY WILLIAMS.

JEAN MARIE, I WILL START WITH YOU AND JUST GET YOUR TAKE ON WHAT'S WITH -- I MEAN, THIS -- IT SEEMS VERY EARLY IN GOVERNOR HOCHUL'S TERM AS GOVERNOR TO ALREADY BE POTENTIALLY FIGHTING FOR HER LITTLE LIFE?

IT DOES FEEL EARLY ALTHOUGH A YEAR WILL GO FAST AS IT DID WITH THE 2020 CITY MAYORAL ELECTIONS.

HOCHUL, PRETTY MUCH FROM THE G G GET-GO WHEN SHE WAS NOMINATED SAID SHE INTENDED TO RUN A FULL TERM.

AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMSZ, WHO WAS AT THE FRONT AND CENTER OF THE CUOMO INVESTIGATION, SHE LED THE REPORT INTO -- HER OFFICE DID, THE REPORT INTO THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIM.

SHE HAS YET TO DECLARE.

SHE HAS BEEN SIDE STEPPING AND SORT OF STRATEGICALLY AVOIDING ANSWERING THE QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT SHE PLANS TO RUN.

BUT PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT SHE APPEARS TO BE SORT OF MAKING THE MOVES TO RUN.

SHE GAVE A SPEECH AT AN EVENT IN NEW YORK CITY, A BUSINESS LEADER EVENT THAT IS KIND OF KNOWN FOR THOSE TYPES OF CAMPAIGN STEPPING OFF POINTS THAT MANY CALL SIMILAR TO A STUMP SPEECH AND HOCHUL HAS BEEN FUND-RAISING AND MEETING WITH DONORS AS WELL.

AS YOU MENTIONED THE OTHER NAME THAT THREW THEIR HAT IN THE RING RECENTLY WAS PUBLIC ADVOCATE JUMANI WILLIAMS.

HASN'T FORMALLY LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN BUT FORMED AN EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE.

IT IS A WAYS AWAY, BUT IT'S GETTING VERY CROWDED.

POTENTIALLY.

IT IS.

SPECIFYING CROWDED, OF COURSE, THIS IS WHILE NEW YORK HAS HAD DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS FOR A LONG TIME.

WE ALSO HAVE HAD SOME REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS.

JC, I WANT TO ASK YOU, DO WE KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HOW THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY MIGHT BE TAKING SHAPE FOR THE GOVERNOR'S RACE?

IT IS AN EXCITING PRIMARY.

WE HAVE CONGRESSMAN ZELDIN OUT OF LONG ISLAND WHO HAS SUPPORT.

WE HAVE DOWN EXECUTIVE ACELINO WHO DID WELL IN HIS LAST RACE.

AND WE HAVE ROD -- WHO HAS SUPPORT.

WE HAVE THREE CANDIDATES MAKING THE ROUNDS TRYING TO WIN SUPPORT FOR THE NOMINATION FOR THE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION.

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER RIGHT NOW THE DEMOCRATS HAVE A TOUGH ISSUE.

TWO OTHER DEMOCRATS THAT WE KNOW ARE TESTING THE WATERS.

WE KNOW THEY HAVE MUCH MORE POLITICAL MIGHT AND POWER THAN THE CURRENT GOVERNOR, WHEN YOU COMPARE HOCHUL WITH TWMS AND JAMES, IT IS NOT EACH CLOSE.

SHE UNT DOESN'T HAVE THE POLITICAL MUSCLE THESE TWO INDIVIDUALS HAVE.

SHE HAS THE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT, BUT DOESN'T REALLY HAVE THE CONNECTION TO THE PRIMARY VOTERS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

REPUBLICANS ARE LOOKING AT NEXT YEAR'S ELECTION AS A POTENTIAL WINNER AND TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DISARRAY IN IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

PERHAPS THERE MAY BE A WAY FOR A REPUBLICAN TO COME IN CONSIDERING THE POLL NUMBERS FOR PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AND CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT YOU WILL HAVE A HARD-FOUGHT PRIMARY ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE MOVING INTO NEXT YEAR'S ELECTION.

WHO KNOWS WHAT CAN HAPPEN?

OF COURSE.

DEFINITELY.

IF YOU HAVE LEARNED ANYTHING OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, IS THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

BUT I DO WANT TO GO A LITTLE BIT FURTHER INTO ITHAT AND ASK, THEE HAVE BEEN CONCERNS AMONG THE ENTIRETY OF NEW YORK STATE THAT NEW YORK CITY IS HAVING TOO MUCH SWAY, TOO MUCH OF WHAT GOES NONE NEW YORK STATE IS DETERMINED BY THE CITY.

SO IS IT POSSIBLE THAT WE COULD HAVE A GOVERNOR'S RACE THAT IS HEAVILY DETERMINED NOT JUST BY NEW YORK CITY BUT IN SOME CASES MAYBE JUST BROOKLYN?

WELL THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS ELECTIONS ARE ABOUT NUMBERS, ABOUT VOTES F. THE VOTES ARE ALL HERE IN NEW YORK CITY IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A VERY DIFFICULT TIME TELLING THE STATE, LISTEN I KNOW THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE HERE IN NEW YORK CITY BUT WE ARE GOING TO LET SOMEBODY FROM UPSTATE NEW YORK -- THE NUMBERS ARE GOING TO RULE.

YOU HAVE TWO POWERFUL DEMOCRATS WITH A VERY STRONG CONNECTION TO THE BASE.

AND THEN YOU ARE LOOKING AT THE REPUBLICAN SIDE.

ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE YOU HAVE SOME HEAVY HITTERS.

YOU HAVE AN GIULIANI, A NAME THAT IS ROYALTY IN THE REPUBLICAN BASE, AS YOU WELL KNOW.

THEN YOU HAVE THE FORMER COUNTY EXECUTIVE FOR WESTCHESTER COUNTY A BLUE COUNTY WHERE HE WON TWICE.

AND LASTLY, A CONGRESSMAN WHO TOOK OUT A DEMOCRAT IN THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OUT IN LONG ISLAND.

IT IS GOING AN EXCITING GOVERNORIAL RACE NEXT YEAR.

ALL OF COURSE DOWN STATERS LOOKING TO RUN NEW YORK STATE.

IT IS A NUMBERS GAME.

THAT IS TRUE.

IT IS A NUMBERS GAME.

> MOVING ON, I NOW WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE SCHOOL'S MANDATE FOR VACCINATIONS FOR ALL SCHOOL WORKERS.

NOW, WE DID SEE AN ATTEMPT THAT MADE IT TO THE SUPREME COURT TO TRY TO BLOCK THIS MANDATE.

BUT, OF COURSE, IT WENT FOR THE RECORD.

SO PROFESSOR, I WANT TO START WITH YOU AND JUST GET YOUR TAKE ON THE FACT THAT THIS SEEMS TO BE WHAT THE FINAL PUSH IS GOING TO BE FOR THIS VACCINE IS THAT GOVERNMENTS, PRIVATE COMPANIES, THEY ARE SAYING EITHER YOU GET VACCINATED OR YOU DON'T WORK HERE ANYMORE.

WELL, TO A DEGREE IT'S ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY, RIGHT, YOU KNOW, IN TERMS OF PEOPLE IN THE MILITARY, ANYONE WHO SERVED IN THE ARMED FORCES KNOW THERE ARE VACCINES YOU HAVE TO RECEIVE, YOU HAVE TO BE IMMUNIZED, TRAVELING ALL THE PLACES YOU GO, YOU CAN'T PUT YOUR FELLOW SOLDIERS AT RISK.

WE HAVE BEEN VACCINATING PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHO ENTER SCHOOL AT EARLY AGES.

UP TO RECENT MONTHS, YEARS NOW, WE HAVEN'T HAD MUCH OF A HUMAN OUTCRY ABOUT THAT.

THE FACT IS THAT THE POLITICAL CLIMATE HAS CHANGED IN THE TRUMP/POST TRUMP ERA ABOUT THESE TYPES OF MANDATES.

WE LIVE IN A COMMUNITY.

WE DON'T LIVE IN ISOLATION.

WE ARE NOTE EDATOMIZED HUMAN BEINGS.

WHAT I DO CARRIES SOME RISK TO WHO YOU ARE AND YOUR WELL-BEING.

I THINK THE BOTTOM LINE IS THE BOTTOM LINE IN NEW YORK AND PROBABLY ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

AND THAT IS THAT BUSINESSES, CORPORATE AMERICA, CERTAINLY PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND INSTITUTIONS BUT CERTAINLY THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS AWARE THAT FOR THE ECONOMY TO BE WHAT IT IS, IT IS GOING TO REQUIRE PEOPLE TO BE VACCINATED.

AS SO OFTEN IS THE CASE, FOR BETTER OR WORSE IN AMERICA, DOLLARS AND CENTS OFTEN DICTATE THE DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRY.

SO WITH THAT, JEAN MARIE, I WANTED TO GET YOUR TAKE.

BECAUSE WE ARE GETTING THE SENSE THAT SOME OF THE SCHOOL PRINCIPALS ARE CONCERNED THAT, LIKE, ARE WE GOING TO BE ABLE TO FIND PEOPLE TO FILL IN FOR THE JOBS WHERE INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN STEADFAST IN THEIR UNWILLINGNESS TO GET VACCINATED AND THEREFORE WON'T BE IN THE SCHOOL BUILDING?

IS THERE A CONCERN ABOUT GETTING ENOUGH SUBSTITUTES?

I THINK THERE IS ALWAYS A CONCERN WITH SCHOOLS ABOUT STAFFING RENT.

WE WILL PROBABLY KNOW MORE AFTER TODAY, TODAY BEING THE FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF THE MANDATE.

THE LAST NUMBERS THAT I HAVE SEEN, THOUGH, SHOW THAT THE VACCINATION RATES WERE VERY HIGH.

IN SORT OF LIKE THE MID TO HIGH 90s.

MY IMPRESSION WOULD BE THAT MOST SCHOOLS WILL PROBABLY BE FINE IN TERMS OF STAFFING SHORTAGES BECAUSE THERE IS A MAD RUSH TO GET VACCINATED BEFORE THE DEADLINE KICKED IN.

THEY SAID THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE SIGNED UP IN THE LAST FEW DAYS AND GOT THEIR FIRST SHOT OF THE VACCINATIONS TO COMPLY WITH THE MANDATE.

I THINK WE SHOULD SEE THAT.

deBLASIO, THE MAYOR, SAID HE HAS A STEADY STREAM AND AMPEL SUPPLY OF SUBSTITUTIONS WHO COULD STEP IN THE NEEDED.

BUT OF COURSE NO SCHOOL WANTS TO DEAL WITH EVEN ONE CLASSROOM THAT'S UNDERSTAFFED FOR A DAY ESPECIALLY AFTER THE YEAR THAT WE HAVE AND THE DISRUPTIONS TO LEARNING THAT STUDENTS HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH DURING THE PANDEMIC.

I THINK WE WILL SEE.

BUT THOSE VACCINATION RATES HAVE BEEN PRETTY HIGH SO FAR.

I THINK WE WILL FIND OUT WHETHER OR NOT THERE ARE ANY SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH THAT MANDATE.

JC, AS THE RESIDENT PARENT WITH KIDS IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM IN NEW YORK I AM WONDERING IS THERE ANY CONCERN IN GENERAL WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF A LOT OF SUBSTITUTES BASICALLY TAKING OVER AS TEACHERS?

THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT SUBSTITUTES AREN'T NECESSARILY QUALIFIED TO DO THAT.

BUT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN, YOU KNOW, SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN TEACHING AND DOING LESSON PLANS, ET CETERA, FOR A WHILE AND HAS THAT HISTORY AND EXPERIENCE TO DRAW ON VERSUS SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN ASKED TO STEP IN AND FILL IN.

IS THERE ANY CONCERN FOR PARENTS THAT THIS MIGHT CAUSE A DIFFERENT KIND OF DISRUPTION?

OF COURSE THERE IS.

THIS IS CONCERN.

WE ARE LOOKING AT ALMOST TWO YEARS OF ONLINE INSTRUCTION FOR ADOLESCENT KIDS.

IT WAS REALLY A DISASTER.

I SAW MY CHILD REGRESS.

A LOT OF CHILDREN REGRESSED.

A LOT OF PARENTS WERE UPSET AT THE CHANGE IN CURRICULUM AND HOW PEOPLE WERE BEING TAUGHT.

FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT ALTHOUGH A LOT OF SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS ARE WELL INTENTIONED, THEY LACK THE CONNECTION WITH THE STUDENTS, LACK THE CONNECTION WITH THE PARENTS.

THEY LACK THE EXPERIENCE OF EVERYDAY DEALING WITH THE MULTITUDE OF QUESTIONS AND SUBJECT MATTERS AND THE PARENTS AND THEY HAVE ISSUES.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT IS THE CHILDREN WHO LOSE.

THE CHILDREN ARE LOSING AGAIN BECAUSE ADULTS CANNOT GET UNDER ACT STRAIGHT.

WE ARE LOOKING AT MANDATES THAT ARE HAPHAZARDLY DONE.

WE DON'T HAVE A BACKUP PLAN.

THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A BACKUP PLAN OTHER THAN YOU ARE GOING TO BE DISMISSED.

WE SHOULD HAVE HAD SUBSTITUTES AVAILABLE TODAY.

THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS STUDENTS ALL OVER THE CITY ARE BEING HURT BECAUSE ADULTS CAN'T GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER.

OKAY, WELL SPECIFYING ADULTS GETTING THEIR ACT TOGETHER AND DEALING WITH AT LEAST OTHER ADULTS, THAT DOES BRING US BACK TO THE ONGOING ISSUE OF RIKERS ISLAND AND CLOSING IT.

JEAN MARIE I AM WONDERING IF YOU CAN SORT OF GIVE US A QUICK RECAP OF WHAT'S BEEN GOING ON, PARTICULARLY WITH THE FACT THAT ONE OF THE BIGGEST JAILS ACTUALLY HAD TO GO INTO LOCKDOWN BECAUSE OF A COVID EXPOSURE.

EVENTS HAVE BEEN GOING ON WEEKS IF NOT MONTHS AT THIS POINT.

THERE HAVE BEEN INCREASING POPULATION NUMBERS ON RIKERS ISLAND EVEN THOUGH THE MAYOR INTENDS FOR IT TO BE CLOSED.

THE LONG TERM PLAN IS TO CLOSE THE FACILITIES AND REPLACE THEM.

BUT AFTER THE COURSE OF THE LAST YEAR WITH THE QUID PANDEMIC, THE POPULATION NUMBERS HAVE BEEN CLIMBING BACK UP AGAIN.

THAT IN COMBINATION WITH A STAFFING CRIES WYSS THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS WHERE WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF CORRECTION OFFICERS NOT SHOWING UP TO WORK EACH DAY IS CAUSING SERIOUS ISSUES.

AS WE MENTIONED, IT WAS A REPORT LAST WEEK THAT SAID ONE OF THE JAIL'S FACILITIES, LIKE AN ENTIRE UNIT WAS BASICALLY PUT ON QUARANTINE, SOMETHING THAT THE OFFICIALS ATTRIBUTED TO THE ONGOING ISSUES BETWEEN INCREASING POPULATION AND STAFFING MEMBERS AND STAFFING ISSUES, THAT THEY WEREN'T ABLE TO KINDS OF FOLLOW THE NORMAL COVID-19, YOU KNOW, REGULATORY -- THEIR NORMAL ROW CESS, RIGHT?

IT KIND OF INTERRUPTED THAT.

AND I THINK THE STORY SAID THEY HAD SOMETHING LIKE 900 PEOPLE BEING INCARCERATED AT THIS FACILITY WERE ALL UNDER QUARANTINE.

OBVIOUSLY THAT CREATES EVEN MORE ISSUES.

THERE ARE ALREADY ISSUES WITH FOLKS BEING HELD THERE NOT BEING ABLE TO GO TO THEIR COURT HEARINGS OR TO MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS BECAUSE THERE JUST ISN'T THE STAFF.

ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS PILE ON TOP OF EACH OTHER.

OBVIOUSLY, IF YOU HAVE 900 PEOPLE UNDER QUARANTINE, THEY CAN'T GO ANYWHERE UNTIL THAT PERIOD IS OVER, TOO.

WHICH IS GOING TO MUDDLE THE PROCESS AND CLOSE THINGS DOWN AND DISRUPT EVERYTHING I THINK EVEN MORE.

PROFESSOR ANBAR, WHAT'S YOUR TAKE WHY UNTANGLING THE MESS THAT RIKERS ISLAND HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO BECOME HAS BECOME YET ANOTHER PROBLEM OF RIKERS ISLAND?

IT IS THE QUESTION OF POWER AND POWERLESSNESS, PEOPLE WITH A VOICE IN OUR SOCIETY, AND THOSE WHO HAVE NO ADVOCATES, WHO HAVE SUFFERED A KIND OF INVISIBILITY, IF I COULD EMPLOY THAT WORD OF -- FOR AS LONG AS WE HAVE BEEN A COUNTRY.

WHEN ALEXIS DETOKEVILLE CAME TO THE UNITED STATES ALMOST A CENTURY AGO AND BEGAN HIS STUDY OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY IN NEW YORK STUDYING THE PENAL SYSTEM, STUDYING PRISONS THEN HE SAID I HAVE GOT TO THINK ABOUT DEMOCRACY MORE BROADLY.

THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT THE WAY SOCIETY TREATS THIS INCARCERATED POPULATION THAT BEGS THE CREDIT WHAT WIND OF SOCIETY DO WE HAVE WHEN PEOPLE LANGUISH AND SUFFER FROM ALL KINDS OF MENTAL, PHYSICAL AILMENTS, AND OFTENTIMES THEY ARE IN THERE -- WE HAVE TO BE REMINDED NOT EVERYONE IN RIKERS ISLAND IS NECESSARILY -- THEY MAY HAVE BEEN CONVICTED BUT SOME PEOPLE ARE STANDING SILENT AND OTHERS ARE JUST WRONGFULLY CONVICTED AS WE SEE EVERY DAY PEOPLE COME OUT.

WE HAVE A HOST OF PROBLEMS.

BUT IT'S ABOUT PRIORITIZING THE INVISIBLE, THOSE WHOLING WISH AND SUFFER IN QUIET.

IT IS ONLY WHEN BY SADLY, BY THE AX UPHEAVALS OCCUR THAT WE CAST AN EYE.

OUR DEFAULT HAS BEEN TO IGNORE AND IMAGINE THE PROBLEM AWAY.

JC, WHY HAS THE PROBLEM OF RIKERS BECOME ITS OWN PROBLEM?

SAME QUESTION TO YOU?

I AM FASCINATED BY THE DISCUSSIONS THERE SEEMS TO BE THIS PONTIUS PILOT ATTEMPT TO WASH THE HANDS AND THE EVILS OF EVERYONE THAT HAS BEEN INDIVIDUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT'S GOING ON IN RIKERS.

WE OFTEN DO THAT I THINK BECAUSE IT MAKES PEOPLE FEEL BETTER.

POLITICIANS DO IT BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO OFFEND ANYONE BECAUSE THEY NEED VOTES.

SO THEY WILL SAY THINGS LIKE GUN VIOLENCE AND NOT SAY CRIMINAL VIOLENCE OR CRIMINALS WITH GUNS VIOLENCE.

THOSE WILL SAY REICHERS IS A PROBLEM.

NO.

RIKERS IS JUST A JAIL.

THE ELECTED OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING SURE THAT RIKERS IS TAKEN CARE OF, THAT THE PEOPLE ARE TREATED HUMANELY, THAT POLICIES ARE TAKING PLACE, THAT PEOPLE ARE TRAINED, WE HAVE ENOUGH C.O.s -- THAT'S A LEADERSHIP PROBLEM.

WE CAN GO AHEAD AHEAD AND IGNORE THE FACT THAT THIS MAYOR REFUSED TO GO TO RIKERS UNTIL JUST WEEK.

HE KNEW THIS WAS GOING ON.

HE KNEW THAT THE C.O.'S WERE IN DANGER.

HE KNOWS GANGS ARE RUNNING THE BUILDINGS HE KNOWS ABOUT THE CORRUPTION.

HE FINALLY VISITED LAST WEEK.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO VOTE STRAIGHT DEMOCRAT OR STRAIGHT REPUBLICAN.

ASK THE QUESTION, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

WHY HASN'T THE MAYOR BEEN HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE LAST EIGHT YEARS ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON IN RIKERS?

BECAUSE IT IS ALL ONE PARTY RULE.

WE NEED TO CLOSE REICH CENTERS WE NEED TO FIX RIKERS, WE NEED TO HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE TRAVESTY THAT HAPPENED AT RIKERS WITH INMATES AND WITH CORRECTION OFFICERS.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WITH RUN PARTY RULE.

ONE PARTY DOES NOT CHECK AND BALANCE.

WHO IS GOING TO HOLD MAYOR deBLASIO ACCOUNTABLE, ESPECIALLY NOW WITH JUST A COUPLE MONTHS LEFT.

THAT IS A FAIR QUESTION.

I WANT TO GO BACK TO PROFESSOR ANBAR.

I KNOW YOU ARE WORKING ON A BOOK ABOUT THE CRISES THAT DEFINE GOVERNORS.

UNFORTUNATELY, I DON'T THINK THIS WILL BE THE CRISIS OF CRISES THAT DEFINES MAYOR deBLASIO.

BUT WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

IS IT JUST MAYOR deBLASIO?

WHOSE FEET SHOULD BE HELD TO THE FIRE IN PROPERLY ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE?

AS IS OFTEN THE CASE, JC'S PASSION IS WELL PLACED HERE.

THE MAYOR IS RESPONSIBLE.

FULL STOP.

HE'S NOT THE ONLY PERSON RESPONSIBLE.

WE CAN PULL DOWN A LIST OF UNDERSETHS OR DEPUTIES OF VARIOUS AGENCY.

BUT WHEN YOU RUN FOR MAYOR, MUCH LIKE WHEN YOU RUN FOR GOVERNOR OR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU.

SO THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE MAYOR HAS TO -- AND HIS ADMINISTRATION HAS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT IS TAKING PLACE AT RIKERS ISLAND.

BUT MY POINT IS THAT BOTH -- HERE'S WHERE I WOULD PART COMPANY A LITTLE BIT WITH JC, IS THAT BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE BEEN IN A KIND OF HARMONIOUS UNISON ON THE QUESTION OF DEALING WITH PRISON REPORM IN A LONG TERM WAY AND DEALING WITH LOTS OF QUESTIONS RELATED TO THESE KINDS OF JUST AWFUL CIRCUMSTANCES THAT ARE COMPOUNDSED ONLY BY THE FACT THAT, YOU KNOW, THESE PEOPLE, AGAIN R POWERLESS IN OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM.

I THINK THERE HAS BEEN A KIND OF COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE PARTIES, FRANKLY.

ONE PARTY RULE MAY BE BAD FOR DEMOCRACY IN GENERAL, BUT IT HASN'T BEEN THE SOURCE OF THIS PROBLEM, IN MY ESTIMATION.

THAT BEING SAID, YEAH, THE MAYOR IS RESPONSIBLE.

THAT'S WHY WE ELECT SOMEONE TO LEAD A CITY OR A STATE OR A NATION.

AND THEY'VE GOT TO, AS JC SAID, BE A PRESENCE, A OF THE THE MINIMUM, BE A PRESENCE AND DRAW ATTENTION TO THE PROBLEM EVEN IF THE PROBLEM IS GOING TO BE MULTIFACETTED AND MULTIGENERATIONAL TO FIX.

THEY HAVE GOT TO AT LEAST DRAW ATTENTION TO IT.

THAT'S BARE MINIMUM WE SHOULD EXPECT FROM OUR LEADERSHIP.

WE WILL BE FOLLOWING THE NARRATIVE OF WHAT DOES OR WHAT DOES NOT HAPPEN AT RIKERS.

> JEAN MARIE, I WANT TO TURN TO YOU AND ASK YOU AS THE EDITOR OF CITY LIMITS, WHAT ARE THE STORIES THAT YOU ARE NOT ONLY WORKING ON FOR THIS UPCOMING WEEK THAT YOU ARE GENUINELY CURIOUS TO SEE HOW THEY START WORKING, HOW THE WHEELS START TURNING?

THIS WEEK WE ARE DOING A NUMBER OF THINGS.

I MEAN, I THINK THAT YOU MENTIONED THE IDEA OF ZBLAZIO'S LEGACY.

THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE ARE PLANNING TO REALLY BE LOOKING AT VERY CLOSELY IN THE COMING MONTH.

NOT THIS WEEK IN PARTICULAR.

HE WILL BE DEPARTING OFFICE IN JANUARY.

THINKING BACK AND LOOKING BACK ON HIS HITS AND MISSES AND SORT WHAT HAVE WILL HIS LEGACY BE?

I THINK THERE ARE SOME MAJOR THINGS THAT HE WORKED ON THAT HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AS THAT.

BUT I THINK ALSO TO LOOK AT WHERE HE MISSED THE MARK WILL BE INTERESTING.

SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WE ARE LOOKING INTO -- I WON'T SAY THAT YET.

WE WILL HAVE THE STORIES AS THEY COME OUT.

BUT THIS WEEK IN PARTICULAR, WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE SCHOOLS AFTER TODAY.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING FOLLOWING UP ON THAT.

AND THE ONDOING -- OBVIOUSLY, THE REICHER SITUATION IS NOT GOING TO BE RESOLVED ANY TIME SOON.

AND I THINK FIGURING OUT BOTH, YOU KNOW ONE OF THE THINGS WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING TO IS THE COURT'S ROLE.

deBLASIO HAS POINTED OUT THAT THE COURTS ARE MOVING TOO SLOWLY AND SO I THINK IF ANY CHANGES THERE WILL HELP SPEED UP THE PROCESS THERE.

THAT'S SOMETHING TO KEEP AN EYE ON?

JC, SINCE YOU BROUGHT UP THE ISSUE OF ONE MACHINE PARTY RULE, AT LEAST LOOKING AT ONE PARTY IN WASHINGTON, IT SEEMS AS IF THE DEMSS ARE -- I WON'T SAY BREAK UP, BUT AT WAR WITH EACH OTHER.

FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WHAT ARE I GUESS THE TOP ISSUES THAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE FOLLOWING THIS WEEK?

I THINK THIS IS A BIG WEEK FOR THE CENTRIST DEMOCRATS IN WASHINGTON TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THEY ACTUALLY HAVE SOME POWER.

I KNOW THE LOUD PEOPLE, THE LOUD VOICES, THE PEOPLE WITH THE MOST FOLLOWERS, THOSE THAT GO TO THE MET GALA IN NICE DRESSES HAVE MOST OF THE ATTENTION.

BUT IT IS CLEAR THAT SENATOR MANCHIN AND SENATOR SINEMA HAVE THE POWER RIGHT NOW TO BRING THE DEMOCRATS BACK TO THE TABLE.

THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT THE CENTRIST DEMOCRATS ARE DOING THE DEMOCRATS A HUGE FAVOR BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY POSSIBLE THAT ANY OTHER DEMOCRAT BUT MANCHIN, BUT SINEMA COULD WIN THOSE SEATS IN ARIZONA AND WEST VIRGINIA.

THE MORE THE PROSECUTINGIVES BEAT UP ON THE CENTRISTS THE MORE LIKELY THEY ARE TO LOSE THE ELECTIONS NEXT YEAR.

THEY HAVE TO BE CAREFUL HOW MUCH THEY LAUNCH AGAINST SENATOR MANCHIN.

PROFESSOR, YOUR THOUGHTS?

WE HAVE ABOUT 30 SECONDS LEFT.

ARIZONA IS MORE PURPLE THAN WEST VIRGINIA, I THINK SINEMA COULD FACE A CHALLENGE THERE THAT WOULD BE MORE SOUGHT LIKING OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OUT IN ARIZONA BUT HIS POINTS ARE SPOT ON.

I DON'T HAVE MUCH MORE TO ADD.

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK MY ROUND TABLE GUEST.

THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING US ON THE 'METROFOCUS' MONDAY ROUND TABLE.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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, JANET -- THE AMBROSE MOANEL 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, THE JPB FOUNDATION.

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