Metrofocus: April 4, 2022

FRONTPAGE FORECAST

In tonight’s Frontpage Forecast- dysfunction in Albany as lawmakers blow past the budget deadline over bail reform. Then, the big victory for union organizers over Amazon, that’s making history. Plus, Mayor Adams keeps up the mask mandate for preschoolers amid an uptick of the latest covid strain. Political commentator JC Polanco, Rutgers University political science professor Saladin Ambar, and executive editor of the investigative news outlet ‘City Limits’ Jeanmarie Evelly give us the inside scoop on these headlines and others making news across the tristate this week.

 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, ON FRONT PAGE FORECAST, DYSFUNCTION IN ALBANY.

LAWMAKERS BLOW PAST THE BUDGET DEADLINE OVER BAIL REFORM.

MAKING HISTORY.

A BIG VICTORY FOR YUBON ORGANIZERS OVER AMAZON.

AND MASKING UP.

MAYOR ADAMS KEEPS THE MANDATE FOR PRESCHOOLERS.

MFT.

STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪♪

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

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

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

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

IN THIS WEEK'S LOOK AHEAD AT THE MAJOR HEADLINES, STATE LAWMAKERS MISS THE APRIL 1st BUDGET DEADLINE.

ONE OF THE MAIN STICKS POINTS?

PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE BAIL REFORM LAW.

WILL THE GOVERNOR PAY A POLITICAL PRICE FOR FAILING TO DELIVER AN ON-TIME BUDGET?

ALSO, A CLOSER LOOK AS AMAZON WORKERS IN STATEN ISLAND VOTE IN FAVOR OF FORMING THE COMPANY'S FIRST EVER U.S. UNION.

AND WE'RE TRACKING THE LATEST ON COVID IN OUR AREA, AS MAYOR ADAMS ANNOUNCES PRESCHOOLERS MUST CONTINUE TO MASK UP, CITING AN UPTICK IN INFECTIONS.

AND JOINING US NOW ARE J.C.

POLANCO, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE NYC BOARD OF ELECTIONS WHO NOW TEACHES AT CUENY BMCC.

SALADIN AMBAR, SENIOR SCHOLAR AT THE EAGLETON CENTER ON THE AMERICAN GOVERNOR.

AND JEANMARIE EVELLY FROM 'CITY LIMITS.'

GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK.

THANK YOU.

SO, JEANMARIE, ACCORDING TO THE NEW YORK STATE CONSTITUTION, THE BUDGET IS SUPPOSED TO BE APPROVED BY APRIL 1st.

BUT AS WE TAPE THIS ON MONDAY MORNING, APRIL 4th, THE BUDGET IS STILL NOT FINALIZED.

IS THE APRIL 1st DEADLINE JUST A SUGGESTION IN THE CONSTITUTION OR IS IT SOMETHING THAT ALBANY LAWMAKERS AND THE GOVERNOR KNOW THAT THERE'S NO DONS CONSEQUENCES IF YOU VIOLATE IT?

WELL, AS FAR AS I'M AWARE, THEY HAVE UNTIL 4:00 P.M. TODAY TO PASS A BUDGET IN A WAY THAT WOULD THEN PREVENT ANY DELAYS IN PAYING STATE EMPLOYEES.

SO, THAT IS TO MY DODGE KIND OF THE BIG CATCH AND CONSEQUENCE THAT COULD COME FROM THE DELAYED BUDGET.

THE LAST THE GOVERNOR HAD SAID ON FRIDAY IS THAT THEY WERE MAKING PROGRESS AND THEY WERE GETTING CLOSE.

SHE'S BEEN DOING A LOT OF THIS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS SO IT'S KIND OF HARD TO SAY WHERE THEY ARE AT THIS POINT, BUT YES, THE WAY THAT I BELIEVE THE COMPTROLLER EXPLAINED IT IS TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE WHO CAN GET PAID, THEY HAVE TO PASS SOMETHING BY 4:00 P.M.

DIDN'T KNOW IF THE LEGAL EXPERTS HAVE ANY OTHER KIND OF CONSEQUENCES THEY CAN WEIGH IN ON, BUT THAT IS WHERE IT STANDS, AS FAR AS THE LAST I HEARD.

SO, PROFESSOR, HOW BADLY DOES IT REFLECT ON GOVERNOR HOCHUL, IF AT ALL, WITH DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF BOTH HOUSES OF THE LEGISLATURE, BIG MAJORITIES, THAT SHE COULDN'T GET HER FIST BUDGET IN ON TIME?

WELL, I THINK, YOU KNOW, VOTERS, IN THE END, WON'T PAY MUCH ATTENTION TO THIS.

IT CERTAINLY SUGGESTS THAT SHE COULD BE DOING MORE AND IT COULD HAVE GOTTEN DONE SOONER BECAUSE OF THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITIES.

THAT SAID, PEOPLE WHO PAY ATTENTION TO NEW YORK POLITICS OVER THE DECADES KNOW THAT BUDGETS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN RIFE WITH PROBLEMS.

I MEAN, GOING BACK TO MARIO CUOMO, SOME SAY IT COST HIM THE ABILITY TO RUN FOR THE PRESIDENCY IN '92, BECAUSE THE BUDGET WAS A PROBLEM AND IT WASN'T GOING TO BE SOLVED ON TIME.

SO, THIS IS A LONG-STANDING PROBLEM.

NEW YORK'S A BIG STATE, AN IMPORTANT STATE WITH LOTS OF CONSTITUENTS AND ISSUES AND IT'S ALWAYS BEEN TROUBLESOME.

SO, I DON'T THINK VOTERS WILL, YOU KNOW, PAY A -- SHE'LL PAY A HEAVY PRICE WITH VOTERS ON THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE DESPICE APPEARANCES.

YOU AGREE, J.C.?

I THINK -- THAT'S AN INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE, PROFESSOR.

I THINK WHEN YOU PROPOSE A BUDGET FOR $216 BILLION, THE LEGISLATURE COMES BACK WITH $226.4 BILLION, YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THESE ARE -- THESE ARE PEOPLE PAYING THAT BILL AND IT'S YOU, ME, ALL OF US HERE, IT'S WORKING FAMILIES ACROSS NEW YORK THAT EVERY DAY GO TO WORK HARD AND PAY TAXES AND, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE GOING TO WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S IN THAT BUDGET.

WE LOST WELL OVER 1 MILLION NEW YORKERS TO MOSTLY RED STATES, AND THEY'RE LEAVING FOR BETTER JOBS, BETTER BUSINESS CLIMATES, LOWER COST OF LIVING.

THERE ARE REASONS WHY THEY LEAVE AND I THINK THAT TRYING TO FIND OUT WHY IS IT THAT SEEING SO MANY NEW YORKERS LEAVE, SEEING THAT QUESTION ARE HOME TO THE LARGEST TAXED COUNTIES IN THE COUNTRY, ARE WE OKAY WITH PROPOSING A BUDGET OF $226.4 BILLION.

AND YOU START REALIZING THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN COMPLETE WASTE IN ONE PART AND THEN IN OTHER PART THAT'S POLITICALLY CONCERNING, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE A DEMOCRAT IN A SWING DISTRICT, OR IF YOU START RECOGNIZING THAT THE LAST POLL SCHOLES YOU LOSING TO A REPUBLICAN, OF WINNING BY ONLY FOUR POINTS.

THESE ARE THINGS THAT ARE CONCERNING WHEN YOU START TELLING THEM THAT YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEALTH CARE, YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD GAS, YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO AFORD THESE THINGS, BUT WE'RE GOING TO SPEND MONEY ON HEALTH CARE FOR UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS, WE'RE GOING TO GIVE THEM MONEY IN FINANCIAL RELIEF AND THAT MAY BODE WELL HERE IN THE BRONX WHERE I'M FROM, BUT WHEN YOU GET OUT OF NEW YORK CITY, THAT DOESN'T SOUND TOO GOOD.

AND I THINK DEMOCRATS HAVE TO BE CONCERNED WITH THE KIND OF PORK BARREL SPENDING THAT WE'RE SEEING IN THIS BUDGET.

AND THAT'S JUST A FACT.

REAL QUICKLY, J.C., BEFORE I GO BACK TO JEANMARIE WITH THE DETAILS, WHO ROLE ARE REPUBLICANS PLAYING IN THIS BUDGET PROCESS?

I READ, AND THEY'RE COMPLETELY OUT OF IT, WHAT POWER DO THEY HAVE TO EFFECT THIS?

YOU KNOW, THE REPUBLICANS AND INDEPENDENTS, THE FEW THAT ARE OUT THERE, AND MODERATES AND CENTRISTS, THEY CAN BRING ATTENTION TO WHAT'S IN THIS BUDGET AND TRY TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF TAXES GOING INTO IT.

I'M TALKING ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS.

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE ISSUES THAT WE'LL TALK ABOUT LATER ON, CLOSE PRIMARIES, THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN NOVEMBER.

IT'S VERY DIFFICULT FOR THE MINORITY PARTY TO WIN IN A SUPER MAJORITY STATE AND THE REDISTRICTING PROCESS IS RIDICULOUS.

AND WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THERE'S CONTENTIOUS ISSUES IN THIS BUDGET, INCLUDING BAIL REFORM, THAT MANY NEW YORKERS FEEL NEEDS TWEAKING, BUT THE HANDFUL OF GUYS AND LADIES THAT CONTROL THE SUPER MAJORITY AREN'T LISTENING TO THOSE --

WE'LL GET INTO THAT IN A SECOND.

BUT THAT'S IN THE BUDGET.

THAT'S THE REASON I MENTIONED IT.

YES, YES.

JEA JEANMARIE, TELL US WHAT HAVE BEEN THE ISSUES OF THE STICKING POINT IN THE BUDGET PROCESS THAT HAVE NOT ALLOWED IT TO BE IN ON TIME?

WELL, THERE'S BEEN A NUMBER OF THINGS.

I THINK EVERY BUDGET CYCLE, THERE IS AS THIS DEBATE OVER HOW MUCH POLICY STUFF TO JAM INTO THE BUDGET AND IF THAT SHOULD BE SOMETHING THAT LEGISLATURE HASHES OUT WHILE THEY'RE STILL IN SESSION OR IF THEY SHOULD TRY TO INCLUDE IT IN THE BUDGET ITSELF.

AS MENTIONED, BAIL REFORM IS REAL TOP OF THE LIST AND THAT SEEMS TO BE THE POINT THAT IS OBVIOUSLY CAUSING THE MOST DEBATE AND DEADLOCK BETWEEN LAWMAKERS, EVEN, YOU KNOW, WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY THERE'S HUGE ARGUMENTS OVER WHAT THAT SHOULD LOOK LIKE AND WHETHER IT SHOULD BE CHANGED.

AND THERE'S A WHOLE HOST OF ERE OTHER ISSUES, THINGS LIKE RAISING THE PAY RATE FOR HOME CARE WORKERS IS A BIG ONE THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE PUSHING FOR, THINGS LIKE THE -- LIKE YOU MENTIONED, THE MEDICARE FOR ALL PLAN, THIS LOW INCOME HEALTH CARE PLAN THAT WOULD INCLUDE UNDOCUMENTED NEW YORKERS, SO, THERE'S A WHOLE NUMBER OF THINGS THAT I WOULD SAY, PROBABLY BAIL REFORM SEEMS LIKE THE ONE THAT IS CAUSING THE MOST DEBATE AND SEEMS TO BE THE ONE WE CAN ASSUME LAWMAKERS ARE HASHING OUT.

SO, PROFESSOR, BAIL REFORM, OBVIOUSLY, IT'S HARD TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT HAS TO DO WITH BUDGETS AND SO DOES, YOU KNOW, INCREASING THE -- OR GIVING THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY PERMANENT OR LONGTIME CONTROL OF THE SCHOOLS OR ETHIC REFORMS, THESE THINGS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH BUDGET, IT APPEARS.

WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN A BUDGET DISCUSSION?

WHY ARE THEY PART OF THE BUDGET?

WELL, IT'S LONG BEEN SAID THAT BUDGETS ARE MORAL DOCUMENTS, BUT THEY'RE ALSO VERY POLITICAL.

CLEARLY, THERE ARE A LOT OF VALUES AND VIRTUE SIGNALING THAT APPEARS IN THE BUDGET, BUT ALSO THERE ARE WAYS FOR THE EXECUTIVE.

ULTIMATELY, THE GOVERNOR, WHAT SHE, IN THIS INSTANCE, WANTS, ALLOWING WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

NOW, NOT EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN, I HAVE TO SAY TO J.C., NOT EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN CAN BE TRACED THAT'S GONE WRONG IN NEW YORK CAN BE TRACED TO THIS BUDGETARY PROCESS.

THERE ARE A LOT OF REASONS WHY PEOPLE HAVE LEFT NEW YORK OVER THE DECADES.

BUT CERTAINLY THE POLITICS OF THIS ARE A LITTLE BIT EASIER IN THE SENSE THAT YOU CAN SLIP SOME THINGS INTO THE BUDGET THAT YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO GET THROUGH ORDINARY -- THROUGH THE ORDINARY LEGISLATIVE PROCESS, AND THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS AND IT WORKS THAT WAY IN WASHINGTON, TOO, SOMETIMES, SO, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, IT'S AN AVENUE FOR EXECUTIVES TO SORT OF MANAGE THINGS THAT THEY COULDN'T MANAGE OTHERWISE.

SO, J.C., LET'S GO BACK TO THE BAIL REFORM, AS JEANMARIE SAYS, AS EVERYBODY AGREES, IT'S THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE IN GETTING THIS BUDGET THING TIME FINALIZED.

GOVERNOR HOCHUL, WHO RECENTLY CHANGED HER MIND ON THIS ISSUE, NOW SUPPORTS MORE CRIMES TO BE INCLUDED IN THE LIST OF CRIMES FOR X BAIL CAN BE SOUGHT, AND IS ALSO PUSHING FOR JUDGES TO HAVE THE DISCRETION TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO ASK FOR BAIL BASED ON THE DANGEROUSNESS OF THE PERSON CHARGED.

NEW YORK, BY THE WAY, IS THE ONLY STATE IN THE COUNTRY THAT DOESN'T ALLOW JUDGES TO HAVE THAT KIND OF DISCRETION.

SO, FIRST OF ALL, WHY DID THE GOVERNOR CHANGE HER MIND, FIRST, AND SECONDLY, WHO IS AGAINST THESE REVISIONS AND WHY?

I THINK, IF WE'RE BEING HONEST, WE HAVE TO JUST ADMIT THAT OUR SYSTEM -- OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM, OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, HAS DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BLACKS, HISPANICS, AND POOR PEOPLE.

THAT'S A FACT.

IT'S ONE OF THE SPEED BUMPS WE HAVE TO GET OVER.

WE JUST HAVE TO ADMIT THAT'S A FACT.

WE HAD PEOPLE THAT GOT ELECTED TO ALBANY TO FIX THAT AND RIGHTFULLY SO, TO LOOK FOR A SOLUTION TO FIX THAT, THAT DISASTER OF A HISTORY OF OURS.

IN DOING SO, THEY MADE A MISTAKE.

INSTEAD OF FIXING IT CORRECT LITTLE WITH THE PRECISION OF A SURGEON, AS I MENTIONED BEFORE, WHAT THEY DECIDED TO DO WAS JUST INCLUDE ALL SORTS OF CRIMES INTO THIS SO-CALLED BAIL REFORM.

INCLUDE ALL SORTS OF NEW LAWS SUCH AS LETTING YOUR DEFENSE ATTORNEY KNOW PERSONAL DETAILS ABOUT THE WITNESSES TO CRIMES.

SUCH AS RAISE THE AGE, SO THAT GANG BANGERS THAT ARE FROM 16 TO 18 THAT WREAK HAVOC IN OUR COMMUNITY DON'T HAVE TO SEE TIME IN PRISON.

THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT WERE IRRESPONSIBLE.

THE POLLS SHOW IT.

I THINK RATIONAL PEOPLE, WHEN THEY'RE HONEST ABOUT IT, CAN ADMIT THAT A GANG BANGER WITH A GUN IN FRONT OF A SCHOOL SHOULD NOT BE PUT OUT IN THE COMMUNITY AGAIN.

AND THAT'S WHAT THE GOVERNOR REALIZES, IT'S CLEAR.

UNLIKE THE GOVERNOR, YOU HAVE MEMBERS IN THE LEGISLATURE THAT REPRESENT SMALL DISTRICTS WHERE THE PRIMARIES ARE CLOSED AND ONLY THE VERY, VERY ACTIVE VOTER COMES OUT, AND THE LAST THING THOSE GUYS WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IS YOU DOING AWAY WITH BAIL REFORM, BECAUSE THEY WILL VOTE YOU OUT OF THE PRIMARY.

SO, THE INTERESTS CONFLICT.

ONE WAS TO WIN STATEWIDE, THE OTHER GROUPS ARE FIGHTING FOR AND WHAT WE'RE SEEING AT THE END OF THE DAY IS THAT REALITY IS THE PRIMARY VOTERAL ALIENATION.

SHOULD THERE BE REVISIONS, PROFESSOR?

ABSOLUTELY.

WE NEED BAIL REFORM, BUT WE NEED IT TO BE MORE PRECISELY DONE.

AND AS SAID BEFORE, YOU KNOW, WITH A BUDGET AND, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE JUST CONTENDING AND COMPETING INTERESTS.

WE WANT A FAIR AND IMPARTIAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, ONE THAT DOESN'T TAKE RACE AND ONE'S ECONOMIC STATUS INTO ACCOUNT, BUT WE WANT ONE THAT HAS SOME TEETH AND IS GOING TO PUT THE RIGHT PEOPLE AND KEEP THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN PRISON.

AND THAT'S EASIER SAID THAN DONE WHAT WE'RE SEEING NOW IS THE PROCESS, UGLY AS IT IS, THE SAUSAGE-MAKING, IF YOU WILL, OF HOW THAT GETS DONE IN A LARGE, COMPLEX AND DIVERSE STATE LIKE NEW YORK.

IT'S EASIER SAID THAN DONE.

ONE THING THAT NOBODY'S MENTIONED YET, JEANMARIE, THE BUDGET PROPOSAL CONTAINS AN PRO RATION OF SOME $850 MILLION IN PUBLIC FUNDING FOR A NEW BUFFALO BILLS STADIUM.

THE GOVERNOR WAS PUSHING FOR THIS.

IS THAT -- HAS THAT BEEN A BONE OF CONTENTION OR DOES IT HAVE WIDESPREAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT?

DEFINITELY BEEN A POINT OF CONTENTION THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF CRITICISM, OBVIOUSLY, THE GOVERNOR, THAT IS HER BASE, SHE'S FROM BUFFALO.

I THINK THAT THAT, YOU KNOW, PERHAPS IN HER HOME AREA, MIGHT WIN HER SOME FAVORS AND FOR THE BILLS FANS, I'M SURE THEY'D BE HAPPY ABOUT IT.

I'M NOT A SPORTS FAN MYSELF, SO I HAVE NO REAL OPINIONS ON TEAMS, BUT YEAH, THERE'S BEEN A HUGE, YOU KNOW, YOU'VE SEEN THE WORD BOONDOGGLE THROW AROUND, LIKE WHY ARE TAXPAYERS ON THE HOOK FOR A SPORTS STADIUM, SO, YEAH, IT'S BEEN A POINT OF CONTENTION AND --

IS IT GOING TO PASS, DO YOU THINK?

OH, GOSH.

I DON'T -- I REALLY -- I FEEL LIKE SO MUCH OF THESE DISCUSSIONS LIKE WE'VE SAID HAVE BEEN HAPPENING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, IT'S KIND OF HARD TO GET A SENSE OF WHERE THE WIND IS BLOWING ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.

I WON'T ASK YOU TO GUESS.

BUT PROBABLY?

YOU CAN'T GUESS WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT.

SO, LET'S GO TO ANOTHER TOPIC.

AND JEANMARIE, LET'S TURN TO THE AMAZON UNION ORGANIZING CAMPAIGN VICTORY THAT APPARENTLY NO ONE SAW COMING AND ALL MY FRIENDS IN THE LABOR MOVEMENT ARE SAYING IS AN EARTHQUAKE.

HOW DID A LOCAL UNION NOT AFFILIATED WITH AN ESTABLISHED NATIONAL UNION OR THE AFL/CIO AND LED BY A FORMER AMAZON WORKER WHO WAS FIRED BY AMAZON BECAUSE HE COMPLAINED ABOUT SAFETY CONCERNS DURING THE PANDEMIC, MANAGE TO BEAT, YOU KNOW, ARGUABLY, THE RICHEST AND MOST POWERFUL COMPANY IN THE WORLD TODAY?

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

IT IS REALLY AN INCREDIBLE STORY.

IT'S A VERY DAVID/GOLIATH KIND OF TALE, TOO.

THIS WAS A FIGHT THAT STARTED EARLY ON IN THE PANDEMIC OVER CONDITIONS AT THIS STATEN ISLAND WAREHOUSE.

I THINK ITEM PLOYEMPLOYS 8,000 WORKERS, THE LARGEST IN NEW YORK, AS I KNOW.

AS YOU MENTIONED, THIS WASN'T A UNION TOP DOWN PROCESS.

THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE BACKING OF THE MAJOR LABOR ORGANIZATIONS.

THIS WAS WORKERS TESTS WHO REALLY TOOK THE INITIATIVE AND HAVE BEEN CAMPAIGNING FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS AND SETTING UP SHOP OUTSIDE THE WAREHOUSE AND TRYING TO CHANGE PEOPLE'S MINDS AND SO IT WAS REALLY LIKE A WORKER-LED FIGHT AND IT'S PRETTY INCREDIBLE, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE NUMBERS IN TERMS OF WHAT AMAZON SPENDS, I THINK IT WAS LIKE $4 MILLION, AGAINST THESE REAL KIND OF GRASS ROOTS WORKERS WHO, I THINK, RAISED ALL OF THEIR STUFF OVER GO FUND ME AND HAVE REALLY KIND OF, LIKE, HAD A DIY APPROACH.

SO, IT'S FASCINATING.

IT'S BEEN FASCINATING TO WATCH IT UNFOLD AND I THINK IT IS DEFINITELY GOING TO BE PROBABLY PRECEDENT-SETTING FOR WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE GOING FORWARD, OBVIOUSLY, AMAZON ORGANIZING HAS BEEN HAPPENING IN A LOT OF OTHER CITIES, BUT THIS WAS THE FIRST KIND OF MAJOR VICTORY LIKE THIS.

PROFESSOR, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS VICTORY?

WELL, I JUST HAPPEN TO THINK THERE ARE CYCLES IN AMERICAN HISTORY, WHETHER IT'S THE TRIANGLE FIRE IN THE EARLY, YOU KNOW, 20th CENTURY, AND, YOU KNOW, AWARENESS OF, YOU KNOW, THE ILLS OF LABOR AT THAT POINT.

THE PANDEMIC HAS CERTAINLY, I THINK, CHANGED NOTIONS OF WHAT A WORKDAY IS LIKE AND WHAT THE RIGHTS OF WORKERS ARE AND THE PENDULUM HAS SWUNG, FRANKLY, TOWARDS WORKERS MORE BROADLY.

AND THAT'S, YOU KNOW, NOT IN LOCK-STEP WITH THE BREATH OF AMERICAN HISTORY, BUT IT HAPPENS, AND THERE ARE MOMENTS.

SO, I THINK IT'S JUST SORT OF THE NATURAL PROCESS OF CYCLES IN AMERICAN HISTORY AND I DO THINK THE PANDEMIC HAS, YOU MENTIONED, YOU USED THE WORD EARTHQUAKE, HAS CREATED AN EARTHQUAKE IN TERMS OF HOW WE THINK ABOUT ALL MANNER OF INSTITUTIONS AND GOINGS ON IN SOCIETY AND THE WAY WE CONSIDER LABOR AND THE WORK FORCE TODAY AND THE POWER OF LABOR NOW IS UNLIKE IT'S BEEN, YOU KNOW, PROBABLY 40 YEARS, AT LEAST, AND SO, THAT'S JUST SOMETHING TO CONSIDER, AS WELL.

NOW, J.C., ONE OF THE INTELLECTUAL LEADERS OF THE GROWING NATIONAL, POPULIST WING OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, RECENTLY TWEETED THAT IF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS SERIOUS ABOUT BECOMING THE NEW AMERICAN WORKERS PARTY, AS MANY OF THE REPUBLICAN LEADERS ARE SAYING THEY ARE, THEN THEY NEED TO STRONGLY SUPPORT, FOR EXAMPLE, THE WORKERS AT AMAZON, AND ORGANIZING EFFORTS THROUGHOUT THE PRIVATE INDUSTRY.

IS THAT LIKELY TO HAPPEN?

DO YOU AGREE?

AND IS THAT LIKELY TO HAPPEN?

THIS SHIFT IN THE REPUBLICAN PARADIGM?

WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S GOING TO BE REGIONAL.

FIRST, YOU KNOW, PROFESSOR IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

WE HAVE SEEN SUCH A DECLINE IN UNION PARTICIPATION AND TO SEE ORGANIZATIONS LIKE AMAZON AND STARBUCKS NOT HAVE A RECKONING WITH LABOR UNIONS BEING FORMED IS VERY INTERESTING.

THE POLITICAL ARGUMENT HAS BEEN AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY SHOULD EMBRACE UNIONS.

THE CONCERN BY MANY IS THIS -- THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS HAD TWO DIFFERENT FACTIONS.

A POPULIST FACTION AND A CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FACTION.

THEY ARE ALWAYS CONCERNED ABOUT, WHAT DO UNIONS MEAN TO THE BOTTOM LINE?

ARE UNION MEMBERS GOING TO BE BETTER OFF OR WORSE OFF IF THEY WERE TO JOIN THE UNION AND GO AHEAD AND ORGANIZE?

SO, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A WHOLESALE WELCOMING BY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO ALL UNIONS, HOWEVER, IT WILL BE VERY REGIONAL.

YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE VERY BLUE COLLAR AREAS THAT ARE UNION-BASED THAT VOTE REPUBLICANS THAT ARE GOING TO SEE REPUBLICANS EMBRACE THAT.

AND THEN ANOTHER THING THAT WE HAVE TO REALIZE IS, WHAT KIND OF UNION?

REPUBLICANS HAVE ALWAYS HAD A VERY STRONG TIE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT UNIONS, FIREFIGHTERS AND THE LIKE.

SO, WE'RE GOING TO SEE MORE AND MORE OF THAT GOING DOWN IN THE FUTURE, BUT WHAT KIND OF UNION AND WHAT REGION OF THE COUNTRY WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WILL DETERMINE IF THERE'S A FULL EMBRACE.

SO, PROFESSOR, GOING BACK TO, I GUESS YOU TOUCHED ON BEFORE, WHAT JEANMARIE TOUCHED ON BEFORE, WHY ARE THE LIKELY REPERCUSSIONS OF THIS UNION VICTORY FOR AMAZON, FOR AMAZON WORKERS, AND PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS IN GENERAL IN THIS COUNTRY?

AND FOR AMAZON CUSTOMERS, WHICH PRETTY MUCH MEANS JUST ABOUT EVERY AMERICAN?

THAT'S RIGHT.

WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S HARD TO SAY IN THE MOMENT, BUT I WILL SAY THAT POWER IS, YOU KNOW, CONTAGIOUS.

AND THE SENSE THAT WORKERS HAVE SOME POWER IS LIKELY TO REVERBERATE NOT ONLY WITH AMAZON WORKERS, BUT OTHER WORKERS, AS J.C. MENTIONED, STARBUCKS AND OTHER WORKERS AT LARGE KRORP RATIONS ARE GOING TO HAVE THEIR MOMENT AND TEST THE WATERS TO SEE WHAT'S POSSIBLE IN THIS MOMENT.

LOOK, I DON'T KNOW HOW THIS WILL EFFECT COSTS OR THE BOTTOM LINE OR STOCKS, BUT I THINK IT'S TOO EARLY TO SAY.

IN ANOTHER DAY OR TWO, I PROBABLY STILL COULDN'T, IT'S NOT MY FIELD.

BUT FROM THE STANDPOINT FROM LABOR HISTORY, WHEN LABOR LOSES GROUND, IT HAS A DEFLATING EFFECT, AND WHEN LABOR GAINS SOME GROUND, THERE'S MOMENTUM IN A POSITIVE WAY FOR LABOR'S EMPOWERMENT AND I THINK THAT MAY WELL BE THE CASE ACROSS THE BOARD HERE.

WELL, I TELL YOU, I SPENT TEN YEARS IN A LABOR MOVEMENT AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT -- THAT THE WAY -- AS GENE MARIE EXPLAINED IT, THE WAY THEY ORGANIZED THIS, WITH NO THIRD PARTY INVOLVED, WHICH IS USUALLY THE ARGUMENT USED BY COMPANIES, THERE ARE PEOPLE COMING FROM OUTSIDE, AND, YOU KNOW, WE'RE A FAMILY, THERE'S PEOPLE COMING FROM OUTSIDE -- WELL, THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE ARGUMENT FOR THAT AND MAYBE ORGANIZING FROM WITHIN NOW IS THE KEY TO REVIVING THE LABOR MOVEMENT, BUT THAT'S MY EDITORIAL COMMENT, IN ANY EVENT.

SO, LET'S SWITCH TO COVID.

THAT VIRUS WITH THE NASTY SENSE OF HUMOR THAT LULLS US INTO BELIEVING THAT ALL IS WELL BEFORE SMACKING US WITH A NEW VARIANT, THIS TIME, THE OMICRON SUBVARIANT CALLED BA.2.

ONCE AGAIN RESULTING IN INCREASING CASES HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

LET ME GO TO YOU, J.C.

MAYOR ADAMS HAS RESPONDED TO THIS INCREASE IN CASES BY REVERSING HIS DECISION TO END THE MASK MANDATES FOR KIDS UNDER 5 YEARS OLD IN PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN.

RIGHT CALL?

I'M NOT SURE YET.

I KNOW THAT THE NUMBERS SHOW THAT THE CHILDREN ARE THE LEAST LIKELY TO BE IMPACTED BY COVID.

THAT'S WHY YOU SEE SO MANY PARENTS UPSET.

THAT'S WHY POLITICIANS ARE ASKING TO PLEASE STOP IT.

THESE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN IN MASKS FOR YEARS.

THERE'S ALWAYS GOING TO BE A NEW VARIANT.

THE MAYOR HAS TO TRY TO MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY, AS THEY GO BACK INTO THE -- BACK INTO THE OFFICE AND SEE THEIR KIDS INTO DAY CARE AND IN KINDERGARTEN, BUT IT'S SUCH A TOUGH CALL, BECAUSE THEY DON'T QUALIFY FOR THE VACCINE AND THAT'S THE ISSUE THAT THE MAYOR IS HAVING.

THEY DON'T QUALIFY FROM THE VACCINE, THAT'S THE ONLY LINE OF PROTECTION THAT HE SEES FIT.

THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE STATS DON'T SUPPORT THAT POSITION.

ALTHOUGH, IT'S ONE OF THOSE WEIRD MOMENTS IN TIME WHERE THE FACTS AND THE NUMBERS DON'T, BUT COMMON SENSE DOES.

IT'S -- AND IT'S A TOUGH BALANCING ACT.

SO, JEANMARIE, THE MAYOR IS ALREADY GETTING A LOT OF BLOW-BACK BECAUSE OF THIS DECISION, AS J.C. ALLUDED TO.

DO YOU THINK THAT HIS AUTHORITY OVER COVID MATTERS, WAS ERODED BY HIS EARLIER DECISION TO ALLOW ATHLETES AND ENTERTAINERS WHO HAVEN'T BEEN VACCINATED TO PLAY OR PERFORM WHILE THE WORKERS IN THOSE VENUES WHERE THEY WERE PLAYING OR PERFORMING HAD TO GET A SHOT OR BE FIRED?

NOT TO MENTION FIREFIGHTERS, COPS, HEALTH WORKERS, TEACHERS, ET CETERA.

HAS THAT ERODED, YOU KNOW, NEW YORKERS' BELIEF IN HIM ON THIS ISSUE?

I THINK FOR MANY, I'M SURE THAT IT HAS.

I THINK LIKE YOU POINTED TO, THIS IDEA OF HAVING ONE SET OF RULES FOR CERTAIN NEW YORKERS AND ANOTHER SET OF RULES, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE COMING TO VISIT US.

ESPECIALLY HOW CONTROVERSIAL THE MANDATES WERE FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE, PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR JOBS, I MAKE NO DETERMINATION ON WHETHER, YOU KNOW, ON THE MANDATE THEMSELVES, BUT HE HAS SAID THAT HE IS, YOU KNOW, GOING TO MAKE THE DECISIONS AS HE BEST SEES FIT ON THIS MOST RECENT ONE WITH THE YOUNGSTERS, I THINK TODAY IT WAS THE DAY IT WAS SUPPOSED TO GO AWAY, SO THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF THAT KIND OF BACK AND FORTH, BUT HE HAS STRESSED REPEATEDLY, HE'S LOOKING AT THE DATA AND, YOU KNOW, HE HAS THE RIGHT TO CHANGE HIS MIND IF THE DATA IS POINTING ONE DIRECTION OR THE OTHER.

BUT I THINK WITH ANYTHING RELATED TO THE PANDEMIC, A LOT OF IT IS SORT OF FIGURING IT OUT AS WE GO, THAT'S BEEN A LOT OF THE PAST TWO YEARS.

SO, YEAH, BUT I DO THINK THE DECISIONS AROUND ATHLETES IN PARTICULAR DEFINITELY RUBBED PEOPLE THE WRONG WAY.

SO, PROFESSOR, YOUR VIEW ON THIS?

I MEAN, THE DATA -- THE SCIENTISTIC DATA, AS J.C. SAID, KIDS UNDER 5 ARE THE LEAST LIKELY TO GET IT OR PASS IT ON.

AND STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THE PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE TO KIDS CONTINUING TO WEAR MASKS.

WHAT'S YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS?

ALLOW ME TO BE CYNICAL FOR A MOMENT HERE.

IT OFTEN COMES DOWN TO WHICH POLITICAL AD DO YOU FEAR THE MOST, RIGHT?

A PARENT SAYING, MY SON OR DAUGHTER, YOU KNOW, SUFFERED WITH COVID AND THE BA.2 VARIANT AND LED TO THEIR, YOU KNOW, DEEP SICKNESS OR GOD FORBID, DEATH, VERSUS, MY SON AND DAUGHTER HAVE BEEN MASKED UP INDEFINITELY AND IT'S COST THEM X, Y, AND Z IN TERMS OF THEIR EDUCATION CHLGT . AND I THINK THAT'S THE KIND OF CALCULUS GOING ON HERE, I DON'T ENVY THE MAYOR OR ANY STATEWIDE POLITICIAN, FRANKLY, FOR HAVING TO CONSIDER THESE OR MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS MAKING THESE KINDS OF DECISIONS.

I THINK THAT'S WHAT'S GOING ON AND I THINK THE MAYOR IS HEDGING HIS BELTS THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY, MORE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF ENDING THE MANDATE THAN CONTINUING IT FOR THOSE 5 AND UNDER.

SO, J.C., LET ME CONCLUDE ON THIS.

LET ME TOUCH ON THE STORY OF THE ELECTORAL MAPS.

THAT STARTED, BECAME BIG, WELL, ANYWAY, LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THAT, BECAUSE OF YOUR EXPERIENCE.

YOU KNOW, LAST THURSDAY, STEUBEN COUNTY STATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE PATRICK McALLISTER THREW OUT THE ELECTORAL MAPS PASSED BY THE DEMOCRATS LAST FEBRUARY AND SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR.

ARGUING THAT THEY VIOLATED THE STATE CONSTITUTION BY CLEARLY FAVORS ONE PARTY OVER ANOTHER, IN OTHER WORDS, GERRYMANDERING.

THE DEMOCRATS APPEALED THIS DECISION AND JUSTICE McALYCER'S RULING HAS BEEN STAYED BY A COURT.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE ELECTIONS COMING UP THIS YEAR AND FOR FUTURE ELECTIONS IN THE STATE?

WELL, FIRST, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT GERRYMANDERING IS A REALITY HERE IN NEW YORK, IT'S A REALITY AROUND THE COUNTRY.

I KNOW THAT IN NEW YORK WHEN WE SEE IT FROM RED STATES WE GET A STOMACH ACHE, WE CAN'T BELIEVE SOMEONE WOULD DRAW A MAP THAT IS SO UNFAIR AND UNDEMOCRATIC AND THEN WE LOOK AT THE NEW YORK MAP AND WE SEE THIS AND SOMEHOW SO MANY PARTS OF OUR STATE ARE QUIET ABOUT IT.

TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS, THAT UGLINESS IS HAPPENING HERE.

THIS JUDGE RULED THAT IT WAS COMPLETE GERRYMANDERING.

30 SECONDS.

SO, WHAT THAT MEANS, THE ELECTION MAP STAYS THE WAY THEY ARE UNTIL THEY'RE REDRAWN OR, WHO KNOWS IF THERE'S GOING TO BE A DECISION TO REDRAW THEM, THEY'LL STAY AS-IS, WHICH WOULD BE A BIG PROBLEM FOR NEW YORK.

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO END IT THERE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE BUDGET, MAYBE BY THE TIME THIS AIRS IT WILL ALREADY WELL HAVE HAPPENED.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, GUYS.

IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

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