Metrofocus: May 9, 2022

FRONTPAGE FORECAST

In tonight’s look at this week’s headlines, Governor Hochul tests positive for Covid just as New York City refuses to rule out a return of the mask mandate and the White House warns of 100 million more cases. Then, New York lawmakers also look to strengthen the state’s status as an abortion safe haven after the bombshell leaked Supreme Court decision. And is Mayor Adams honeymoon with New Yorkers officially over? Joining us tonight are Gotham Gazette Executive Editor Ben Max, political strategist Tom Doherty and criminal defense attorney and NYC Board of Elections commissioner Jodi Morales.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, ON THE FRONT PAGE FORECAST, GOVERNOR HOCHUL TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID AS NEW YORK PUSHES TO STRENGTHEN ITS STATUS AS AN ABORTION SAFE HAVEN.

> AND IS MAYOR ADAMS' HONEYMOON WITH NEW YORKERS OFFICIALLY OVER?

MET'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NO.

> 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 THE 'METROFOCUS' FRONT PAGE FORECAST.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

IN THIS WEEK'S LOOK AHEAD AT THE MAJOR HEADLINES, GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID AS NEW YORK CITY REFUSES TO RULE OUT A RETURN TO THE MASK MANDATE.

AND THE WHITE HOUSE WARNS OF 100 MILLION INFECTIONS LATER THIS YEAR.

ALSO, THE PUSHBACK AGAINST THE BOMBSHELL LEAKED DECISION OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE.

HOW LAWMAKERS WANT TO ESTABLISH THE STATE'S STATUS AS AN ABORTION SAFE HAVEN.

> AND AS NEW POLLING SUGGESTS, HIS HONEYMOON WITH NEW YORKERS MAY BE OVER SYSTEM ERIC ADAMS MOVING FAST ENOUGH TO MAKE THE CITY SAFER?

FOR MUCH MORE ON THESE STORIES AND WHAT ELSE COULD DRIVE THE NEWS, LET'S WELCOME OUR ROUND TABLE PANEL OF EXPERTS.

AT FIRST JOINED AGAIN BY BEN MAX, THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF GOTHAM GAZETTE AND THE POLITICS PODCAST.

BEN, WELCOME BACK TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS, JENNA.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED TODAY BY TOM DOERTY, A VETERAN POLITICAL STRATEGIST AND PARTNER AT MERCURY, THE PUBLIC STRATEGY FIRM WHO ALSO SERVED AS A SENIOR ADVISER TO FORMER GOVERNOR PATAKI.

THANKS, EVERYONE.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

ALSO JOINED BY JODI MORALES.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS SO MUCH.

LET'S JUST JUMP RIGHT INTO THE STATE OF THE DEMOCRATS IN NEW YORK STATE.

AND SO BEN, I WANT TO START WITH YOU.

WITH THE GOVERNOR TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID, AND OF COURSE WE HOPE SHE HAS A QUICK RECOVERY, MILD SYMPTOMS, ET CETERA, BUT WHERE DOES THIS STAND WITH HER ABILITY TO LEAD NEW YORK AT THIS INCREDIBLY CRITICAL MOMENT?

WELL, I THINK MOST LIKELY, AND AS YOU SAID, HOPEFULLY, IT WON'T BE A SEVERE CASE BY ANY MEANS.

SHE'S VACCINATED, BOOSTED AND THIS MORNING SHE TWEETED SHE'S FEELING WELL AND GETTING READY FOR VIRTUAL MEANINGS.

HOPEFULLY THIS WILL NOT HAVE IMPACT ON THE GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK.

THE GOVERNOR WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BE OUT AND ABOUT AROUND THE STATE FOR A FEW DAYS BUT THAT SHOULD HAVE MINIMAL IMPACT IF HE'S ABLE TO HOLD MEETINGS AND MAKE APPOINTMENTS VIRTUALLY.

THEN THIS GETS INTO THE LARGER CONTEXT OF THE POLITICAL TURMOIL, BUT I DON'T THINK HER COVID DIAGNOSIS WILL HAVE A MAJOR IMPACT UNLESS THERE'S SOME TURN FOR THE WORSE THAT WE HOPE THERE ISN'T.

THE BIGGER CHALLENGE FOR THE GOVERNOR, OF COURSE, IS SYSOME THE WAYS THINGS ARE TRENDING IN NEW YORK, THE CHALLENGES, FRUSTRATIONS NEW YORKERS ARE FEELING ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS AND THE SCANDAL SHE HAD WITH HER FIRST PICK FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR RESIGNING UNDER FEDERAL CORRUPTION CHARGES.

REDISTRICTING, THE FACT THAT THERE WILL BE TWO PRIMARY DATES, ONE IN JUNE, ONE IN AUGUST.

THERE'S A LOT THE GOVERNOR HAS TO DEAL WITH AND HOPEFULLY HER COVID DIAGNOSIS IS NOT A MAJOR PART OF THAT.

BEN, AS TOM JUST BROUGHT UP -- NOT THAT THERE'S EVER A GOOD TIME TO GET A COVID DIAGNOSIS, BUT IF YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE CAMPAIGNING AND YOU'VE GOT A NEW PERSON ON THE TICKET WITH YOU, THIS SEEMS LIKE AN INCREDIBLY AWKWARD TIME TO HAVE TO PULL BACK.

I THINK WE NEED TO PUT COVID ASIDE RIGHT NOW.

WE'RE DEALING WITH COVID RIGHT NOW -- FOR THE PEOPLE THAT ARE VACCINATED, BOOSTED, ET CETERA, THEY GOT A COLD, A FLU, SHE'S GOING TO BE OUT FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS.

WE HAVE ATHLETES WHO ARE OUT A COUPLE DAYS AND FEEL FINE.

THAT'S THE LEAST OF HER PROBLEMS.

THE PROBLEMS, AS BEN POINTED OUT, ALL THE POLITICAL PROBLEMS, STARTING WITH THE CRIME PROBLEM IN NEW YORK CITY, THE ABORTION LAWS NATIONALLY, THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR SITUATION, THE REDISTRICTING SITUATION.

THERE IS A LOT OF STUFF GOING ON FOR HER AHEAD OF A JUNE 28th PRIMARY, AND AS I SAID, THE LEASE OF WHICH IS HER COVID POSITIVE TEST.

WITH THOSE THINGS IN MIND, WITH ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT POLITICAL ISSUES IN MIND THAT SEEM TO BE AFFECTING NEW YORK DEMOCRATS, JODI, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN AND ASK YOUR TAKE ON WHAT AT LEAST SEEMS TO BE -- DOES THE PARTY HAVE A PRIORITY RIGHT NOW?

PERHAPS THE THAT'S THE WETTER WAY THE PUT THE QUESTION.

SURE, I THINK IF WE'RE TALKING --

WE SEEM TO HAVE TEMPORARILY LOST JODI'S SOUND, BUT WE ARE GOING TO COME BACK TO HER VERY QUICKLY.

I WANT TO POSE THAT EXACT SAME QUESTION TO BEN AND GET YOUR TAKE ON IF THERE IS A -- THERE'S A CLEAR PARTY PRIORITY.

BECAUSE I THINK WITH THIS ROE V.

WADE ISSUE, IT'S THROWN A MONKEY WRENCH INTO WHAT THEY PLANNED ON RUN ON.

THE POTENTIAL SUPREME COURT OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE IS A GIFT TO NEW YORK DEMOCRATS IN SOME WAYS.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE IN THE ELECTION COMING UP, DEMOCRATS CLEARLY HAVE BEEN IN TROUBLE AROUND THINGS LIKE CRIME, INFLATION, YOU KNOW, THE FACT THAT IN SOME WAYS THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HAS STAYED STUBBORNLY HIGH IN NEW YORK CITY IN SOME SECTORS AND SOME OTHER CHALLENGING ISSUES.

SO BEING ABLE TO RALLY AROUND NEW YORK AS A SAFE HAVEN OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND TAKING ON SOME NEW PRIORITIES ON THAT FRONT AND HAVING SORT OF A SHARED DEMOCRATIC ENEMY IN THIS POTENTIAL SUPREME COURT MAJORITY IS VERY HELPFUL TO GOVERNOR HOCHUL AND OTHER DEMOCRATS ESPECIALLY IN SOME SWING DISTRICTS FOR THE HOUSE, FOR THE STATE SENATE.

YOU KNOW, INDEPENDENT VOTERS, YOU KNOW, MAY TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THINGS WHO MIGHT HAVE BEEN LEANING TOWARDS REPUBLICANS NOW RELATED TO THIS ISSUE.

AT THE SAME TIME GOVERNOR HOCHUL SEEMS TO KNOW WELL -- IT'S NOT TOTALLY CLEAR HE'S DOING ENOUGH, BUT SHE SEEMS TO KNOW WELL SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT TOM MENTIONED, THAT I JUST MENTIONED, THAT NEW YORK AND NEW YORK CITY ARE REALLY DEALING WITH RELATED TO INCREASES IN CRIME, CHALLENGES WITH THE ECONOMY.

GOVERNOR HOCHUL HAS STRESSED BOTH HER EFFORTS AROUND HELPING REDUCE CRIME AND ALSO PUTTING MONEY BACK IN PEOPLE'S POCKETS.

THAT WAS STUFF FROM THE STATE BUDGET THAT SHE STRESSED.

SHE'S ARE SOME OF THE ISSUES CERTAINLY AT THE FOREFRONT, BUT AS YOU MENTIONED THINGS RELATED TO ABORTION RIGHTS NOW ARE SOMEWHERE UP THERE AS WELL.

TOM, ALSO I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE.

WITH THOSE THINGS THAT WOULD BE AFFECTING THE CAMPAIGNS RIGHT NOW, THERE IS WITHOUT -- YOU WOULD HAVE TO ALSO NOTICE THAT THE GOVERNOR, AS MENTIONED EARLIER, LOST HER RUNNING MATE TO POLITICAL SCANDAL, WHICH SEEMS TO HAPPEN IN ALBANY.

SO SHE'S CHOSE A NEW RUNNING MATE, AND THAT OF COURSE IS A CONGRESS MEMBER.

AND I'M WONDERING, WHERE DO YOU SEE THAT LEAVING THE CONGRESSIONAL BALANCE?

NEW YORK HAD TRADITIONALLY BEEN SUCH A RELIABLE BLUE STATE, BUT IN AT LEAST THE 19th DISTRICT, THE REPUBLICAN RUNNING IS QUITE POPULAR.

MARCUS MOLLINARO IS QUITE POPULAR UP THERE.

HE IS WHAT I'VE SAID FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

HE'S GEORGE PATAKI PART TWO.

HE'S A COMMON SENSE CONSERVATIVE, AND I FULLY ANTICIPATE HE'LL WIN THAT CONGRESSIONAL RACE NOW.

WHEN THEY THREW OUT THE CONGRESSIONAL MAPS IT CAREERLY OPENED UP THE DOORS IN A YEAR WHERE THE REPUBLICAN -- THE TIDE WAS HEADING IN THEIR FAVOR NATIONALLY.

I THOUGHT THAT WAS GOING TO CARRY OVER LOCALLY IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

AND I HAD SAID -- BEN HAD RAISED A POINT EARLIER THAT THE DOOR KEPT OPENING EVER SO SLIGHTLY FOR THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR.

WOULD I HAVE BET THAT THEY'D WIN THE GOVERNORSHIP?

NO.

IT'S NEW YORK.

NEW YORK IS CALIFORNIA, ET CETERA.

BUT YOU KNOW, ROE V. RWADE IS GOING PLAY INTO THAT.

IF THE NATION OVERTURNS ROE V.

WADE IT'S NOT GOING HELP REPUBLICANS IN NEW YORK.

BECAUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE MADE VERY PRO-LIFE STATEMENTS AND THAT OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT PARTICULARLY PLAY WELL IN NEW YORK.

I'LL GIVE YOU AN INTERESTING FACT 1994, '95, '96, WHEN WE DID POLLING FOR GEORGE PATAKI, IT WAS INTERESTING.

33% OF THE NEW YORKERS THOUGHT HE WAS PRO-LIFE.

33% THOUGHT HE WAS PRO CHOICE AND 33% HAD NO IDEA WHAT HIS OPINION WAS.

THAT'S A GREAT PLACE FOR GEORGE PATAKI TO BE.

IT IS NEW YORK.

THIS IS A YEAR WITH CRIME, INFLATION, ALL THE OTHER STUFF WE MENTIONED.

IT SHOULD BE A VERY GOOD OPPORTUNITY IN NEW YORK FOR REPUBLICANS.

I THINK IN THE MOMENT THOUGH IT'S GOING CARRY FOR CONGRESSIONAL RACES AND NOT PARTICULARLY FOR THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION.

OF COURSE WE'LL HAVE TO SEE HOW THAT WORKS.

JODI, I WANT TO CIRCLE BACK TO YOU.

YOU LOST YOUR SOUND EARLIER, YOU WERE MAKING A POINT ABOUT THE PARTY PLATFORM, WHERE YOU SEE THE AT DEMOCRATS TAKING, EVERYTHING THAT HAS TRANSPIRED JUST LAST WEEK.

I THINK WHAT I WAS TOUCHING ON IS THE AT DEMOCRATS' MAIN FOCUS ON MAKING OUR CITIES SAFER AT THIS POINT.

THEY HAVE TO BALANCE MAKING THE CITY SAFER WITH THIS PUSH TO BASICALLY GET BACK TO --

OH, NO.

I THINK WE MIGHT HAVE LOST JODI'S AUDIO ONCE AGAIN.

BUT WE WILL CIRCLE BACK TO HER TO MAKE SURE WE CAN GET THE REST OF HER ANSWER.

BUT SO MOVING ON TO THE OTHER BIG ISSUES, IN NEW YORK CITY, BEN, IT SEEMS AS IF YOU HAVE TO BE AN ECCENTRIC PERSONALITY TO BE THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK AND YET THAT VERY SAME PERSONALITY SEEMS TO RUB NEW YORKERS THE WRONG WAY EVERY SINGLE TIME, NOT ONLY WITH JUST YOUR PERSONALITY BUT ALSO WITH THE POLICIES THAT GET ENACTED.

SO IS IT CORRECT TO SAY THAT THE HONEYMOON MIGHT BE OVER FOR MAYOR ERIC ADAMS?

I THINK, YOU KNOW, ABOUT FOUR MONTHS INTO THE TERM, MOST LIKELY, A HONEYMOON IS GOING TO BE OVER FOR VIRTUALLY ANY MAYOR.

MOST LIKELY THE HONEYMOON LOOKS TO BE OVER FOR ERIC ADAMS, IN PART BECAUSE THE SERIOUS CHALLENGES THAT THE CITY FACES, AND WE'VE TOUCHED ON A COUPLE OF THEM RELATED TO CRIME, RELATED TO SOME PERSISTENTLY HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS.

THERE'S ALSO A HOMELESSNESS CRISIS.

THERE'S CHALLENGES WITH DISORDER AND SAFETY ON THE SUBWAYS.

YOU KNOW, THE MAYOR WON BECAUSE HE WAS PROMISING TO TACKLE THESE ISSUES IN PRETTY CLEAR WAYS, AND THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT SPOKE TO A LOT OF VOTERS.

BUT FOUR MONTHS IN, PEOPLE WANT TO START TO SEE RESULTS, AND HE'S HAD SOME CHALLENGES WITH THAT.

IS THAT A LITTLE SOON TO EXPECT A BIG CHANGE?

PROBABLY.

AND HE SAID HE NEEDS PEOPLE TO BE A LITTLE MORE PATIENT, BUT HE UNDERSTANDS THAT'S NOT NEW YORKERS' STRONG SUIT.

HE'S GOT SOME REAL CHALLENGES IN FRONT OF HIM.

I THINK THERE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS FOCUS.

HE MIGHT BE TRAVELING OUT OF THE CITY TOO MUCH.

THERE'S QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PRIORITIES HE'S PUT IN PLACE AND THE PLANS AND WHETHER HE'S PUT OTHER PLANS OUT THERE SOON ENOUGH.

AND SO FORTH.

THERE'S QUESTION ABOUT HIS LEADERSHIP, BUT HE ALSO DOES DESERVE A BIT MORE TIME TO TAKE ON THESE MAJOR CHALLENGES HE INH INHERITED.

LET'S BE CLEAR, YOU CAN POINT TO A NUMBER OF CAUSES FOR THESE CHALLENGES, BUT ALSO WE KNOW THAT THE DESTRUCTIONS OF THE PANDEMIC ARE FAR FROM OVER.

AND EVEN AS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN VACCINATED AND BOOSTED, THE DISRUPTIONS TO SOCIETY HAVE NOT BEEN FIXED TO PREPANDEMIC TIMES.

THERE ARE STILL SO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY YOUNG MEN, WHO ARE OUT OF SCHOOL, OUT OF WORKER OR BOTH, AND THAT IS AT THE ROOT OF THE CHALLENGES AROUND UNEMPLOYMENT AND CRIME.

THERE ARE OTHER THINGS THAT PLAY, TOO, BUT WE KNOW FOR A FACT THAT THINGS ARE STILL NOT WHERE THEY WERE PREPANDEMIC IN TERMS OF SCHOOL ENROLLMENT, EMPLOYMENT, AND SO FORTH.

OF COURSE.

TOM, SORT OF SAME QUESTION TO YOU.

PERHAPS IS BEN RIGHT -- DO WE ALL NEED TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND GIVE -- IT'S ONLY BEEN A FEW MONTHS.

SHOULD WE BE GIVING MAYOR ADAMS MORE TIME?

BEN'S RIGHT.

IT'S ONLY FOUR MONTHS.

THE ONLY THING I WILL SAY ABOUT THAT, BECAUSE I REALLY THINK HE UNDERSTANDS THAT CRIME IS A MAJOR PROBLEM IN NEW YORK.

IT'S A MAJOR PROBLEM FOR PEOPLE COMING TO NEW YORK FROM THE SUBURBS.

IT'S A LOT TO DO WITH THE OPTICS.

YOU KNOW, TRAVELING OUT OF STATE AT A TIME WHEN YOU HAVE A CRIME PROBLEM IN NEW YORK IS A BIGGER PROBLEM FOR YOU POLITICALLY.

PEOPLE HAVE REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS.

THEY KNOW HE'S NOT GOING TO WALK IN THE DOOR, THAT THE PROBLEMS WITH HOMELESSNESS, THE MENTALLY ILL ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK, ET CETERA, THE PROBLEMS THAT MAY HAVE BEEN CONFRONTED WITH BAIL REFORM, ET CETERA, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.

BUT IF YOU'RE NOT THERE IN THE CITY DEALING WITH IT EVERY SINGLE MOMENT 24 HOUR A DAY, YOU'RE GOING TO GET A SIDE WHACK FROM THE VOTERS, AND THAT IS WHAT I REALLY THINK, HE NEEDS TO STAY IN THE CITY, CUT DOWN ON OUT OF STATE TRAVEL, AND MAKE SURE THE RESIDENTS KNOW, I NEED TO FIX THIS PROBLEM, AND UNTIL I FIX THIS PROBLEM, I'M NOT LEAVING.

I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT.

WELL, PERHAPS THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE HOPING FOR, SOMETHING THAT IS GIVING A LITTLE BIT MORE OF A SENSE OF SECURITY, AND I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT A LOT OF NEW YORKERS ARE DEFINITELY URGING FOR OR CRAVING RIGHT NOW.

JODI, I KNOW WE HAVE HAD TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES BUT I WANT TO BRING YOU IN ON THIS VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION.

YOUR TAKE ON PEOPLE SEEMING TO LOSE PATIENCE -- AGAIN IT'S ONLY BEEN FOUR MONTHS FOR MAYOR ADAMS.

SURE.

I MEAN, I THINK PEOPLE ARE LOSING PATIENCE BECAUSE WE HAVE MOMENTS, FOR EXAMPLE, LIKE LAST WEEK WHEN THE MAYOR HAD A PRESS CONFERENCE, AND HE WAS ABLE TO PROVIDE A TIME LINE AROUND WHEN NEW YORKERS COULD EXPECT TO SEE RESULTS.

WHILE HE WAS GOOD ABOUT STATING THAT 2,500 ILLEGAL GUNS HAVE BEEN TAKEN OFF THE STREETS BY MEMBERS OF THE NYPD, HE WAS NOT SO GREAT IN GIVING OUR CONSTITUENTS A TIME LINE OR A TIME FRAME.

I THINK EVERYONE CAN UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ISN'T, YOU KNOW, A SPECIFIC DATE HE CAN GIVE, BUT I THINK THAT SINCE HIS POLICIES WERE SO WELL DETAILED AND OUTLINED BEFORE HE EVEN GOT INTO OFFICE, PEOPLE ARE EXPECTING A LOT MORE FROM HIM AT THIS CRITICAL STAGE.

WE'RE NOT SEEING OUR CRIME RATES GO DOWN AT ALL, AND I THINK -- HE NEEDS TO DO IS, LIKE MY FELLOW PANELISTS SAID, IS STAY IN NEW YORK AND ADDRESS THESE PROBLEMS.

I'M NOT SUGGESTING HE SHOULD ADDRESS THESE PROBLEMS BY ENFORCING OR ARRESTING MORE PEOPLE ON MINOR CRIMES, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT HE HAS TALKED ABOUT, BECAUSE HE THINKS THERE'S SOME CONNECTION BETWEEN THAT AND SORT OF MORE ARRESTS WITH SERIOUS FELONIES.

BUT I THINK THERE DOES HAVE TO BE A LITTLE BIT MORE BY WAY OF A SPECIFIC FRAME OF TIME SO THAT NEW YORKERS CAN FEEL A LITTLE BIT MORE SAFE IN THE STREETS.

WELL, SPEAKING OF NEW YORKERS FEELING SAFE IN THEIR STREETS, I THINK A LOT -- A LARGER GROWING NUMBER OF NEW YORKERS MIGHT NOT BE FEELING -- I WOULDN'T WANT THE SAY SAFE IN THEIR HOMES, BUT SAFE IN THEIR ABILITY TO STAY IN THEIR HOMES.

WE'VE SEEN SOME SIGNIFICANT RENT INCREASES HAPPENING AROUND THE CITY.

WE OF COURSE KNOW THAT THE MORATORIUM ON EVICTION HAS BEEN LIFTED NOW THAT EXPERTS ARE SAYING THE WORST OF THE PANDEMIC IS OVER.

JODI, I'M GOING TO GO BACK TO AND ASK, IS THERE ANYTHING THE CITY CAN DO?

AND IS THIS AS UNPRECEDENTED AS SO MANY TENANTS' ADVOCATES ARE SAYING?

I DON'T THINK IT'S UNPRECEDENTED.

I THINK WE COULD ALWAYS EXPECT AN INCREASE.

HOWEVER, GIVEN THE CLIMATE, GIVEN THE TIME THAT WE'RE DEALING WITH RIGHT NOW AND SO MANY PEOPLE SORT OF ON THE CONFERENCE ABOUT WHETHER THEY'RE EVEN GOING TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THEIR RENT PAYMENTS, I THINK IT'S NOT A RESPONSIBLE THING TO INCREASE IT AS MUCH AS SOME OF THE LANDLORD ADVOCATES HAVE ASKED FOR.

AND THE BEST THING I CAN SAY TO EVERYONE IS WE HAVE A FINAL VOTE IN JUNE.

IF THE NEW INCREASES GO INTO EFFECT, THE RULES COULD AFFECT LEASES IN PLACE FROM OCTOBER 1st THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30th OF 2023, SO THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

AND SO WHAT WE NEED IS WE NEED PEOPLE TO GO TO THE PUBLIC HEARINGS TO TELL, YOU KNOW, EVERYONE WHAT THEY'RE FEELING, WHAT THEY'RE EXPERIENCING SO WE CAN MAYBE PUT A CAP ON THIS INCREASE.

TOM, DO YOU SEE THAT AS BEING SOMETHING THAT'S CRITICALLY NECESSARY?

PERHAPS FOR MORE MIDDLE CLASS NEW YORKERS THAT MIGHT CHANGE WHERE THEY'RE LIVING?

BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF NEW YORKERS FOR WHOM A RENT INCREASE IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING HOUSED AND BEING UNHOUSED, AND THE HOMELESS POPULATION IS ALREADY AT A CRITICAL PLACE.

YOU KNOW, LOOK, THERE'S NO EASY ANSWER ON THIS.

I MEAN, THE STATE IS LOOKING AT A GOOD EVICTION LAW RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW.

YOU'VE GOT TO BALANCE THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO OWN A PIECE OF PROPERTY, NEED TO MAINTAIN A PIECE OF PROPERTY, AND MAINTAIN IT IN A WAY THAT PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY LIVE IN IT.

AND LET'S BE HONEST, THEY BOUGHT A PIECE OF PROPERTY TO MAKE MONEY OFF OF IT.

AS AN INVESTMENT, IF YOU WOULD.

AND SO HISTORICALLY IN NEW YORK, WE'VE HEARD THE STORIES -- MANY, MANY STORIES THAT PEOPLE OF VERY SIGNIFICANT INCOME HAVE A RENT CONTROLLED APARTMENT.

THAT IS UNFAIR, AND SO, LOOK, I THINK THEY REALLY NEED TO TEAR THIS DOWN AS OPPOSED TO EVERY SINGLE YEAR OR EVERY COUPLE YEARS WHEN WE REENFORCE OR REENACT THE RATES.

THERE ARE SOME APARTMENT BUILDINGS THAT CAN SURVIVE ON A 2% INCREASE.

YOU CAN MAINTAIN THE BUILDING UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS.

ON THE OTHER SIDE, PANDEMIC, PEOPLE OUT OF WORK, CAN'T AFFORD THEIR RENT.

BUT THERE NEEDS TO BE A BALANCE THERE.

AND THIS IS A FIGHT THAT I THINK IS REALLY -- HPITS TWO PARTS OF NEW YORKER AGAINST EACH OTHER THAT WE ALL NEED TO DO BET TO RESOLVE.

BEN, WE HAVE SEEN TRADITIONALLY THE RENT CONTROL BOARD MEETINGS GET QUITE SPICY, IF YOU WILLE , BUT AGAIN, THE SITUATION SEEMS TO BE MORE EXTREME.

BUT THEN AGAIN, JUST ABOUT ALL SITUATIONS IN NEW YORK RIGHT NOW SEEMS TO BE MORE EXTREME.

WHAT IS YOUR READ ON THE CHANGES I GUESS FOR HOUSING FOR PEOPLE.

SO, THERE'S A FEW THINGS TO SAY HERE.

ONE, YOU KNOW, IT'S IMPORTANT TO SORT OF SEPARATE OUT -- WE'RE TALKING THE 1 MILLION -- ROUGHLY 1 MILLION RENT CONTROLLED APARTMENTS THAT THEIR RENT INCREASES ARE DETERMINED BY THE RENT GUIDELINES BOARD, AND THEN THERE'S THE OTHER MILLION OR SO RENTAL APARTMENTS IN NEW YORK CITIER THIS THE FREE MARKET, AND WE'VE SEEN RENTS JUST SKYROCKETING RECENTLY AND REALLY GETTING AT THE ISSUE THAT NEW YORK CITY HAS NOT BEEN BUILDING ENOUGH HOUSING FOR MANY YEARS, AND THAT IS REALLY HURTING PEOPLE'S ABILITIES TO AFFORD THE RENT.

EVEN MIDDLE INCOME OR UPPER MIDDLE INCOME PEOPLE, MUCH LESS PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY STRUGGLING AND SEVERELY RENT BURDENED.

THAT'S A MAJOR PROBLEM.

ON THE RENT-REGULATED APARTMENTS AND THE GUIDELINES BOARD, IT'S AN UNFORTUNATE CONFLUENCE HERE THAT THIS IS HAPPENING AS WE'RE COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC AND AS THE EVICTION MORATORIUM WAS ENDED.

NOT SAYING THAT IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ENDED.

I THINK THERE'S DEBATE ON BOTH SIDES OF THAT, BUT UNDER MAYOR DE BLASIO, THE RENT GUIDELINES BOARD CAME IN AND REALLY HELD THE RENTS ON REGULATED APARTMENTS SOMEWHAT ARTIFICIALLY DOWN, AND THAT WAS IN PART A RESPONSE TO THE INCREASES OVER TIME UNDER THE PRIOR ADMINISTRATION.

BUT NOW YOU COME INTO A SITUATION, WHAT THE BOARD IS SUGGESTING IS NOT PARTICULARLY UNREASONABLE, BUT IT'S HAPPENING AT THIS HAVE CHALLENGING TIME WHEN A NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THE CITY ARE STRUGGLING WITH WAGES, LOST WORK, AND SO FORTH, AND IT'S CREATING A REAL TINDERBOX OF CONTROVERSY HERE.

I THINK MAYOR ADAMS HAS TAKEN A MEASURED APPROACH THAT IS FAIRLY RIGHT ON THAT THERE PROBABLY NEEDS TO BE SOME INCREASED, BUT THEY CAN'T BE TO A POINT WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO SEE SOME WERE LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THESE APARTMENTS UNABLE TO MEET THE RENT.

OF COURSE.

SO, WITH THAT, WE ACTUALLY HAVE TIME FOR WHAT WE DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TIME FOR, AND THAT'S PREDICTIONS ON THE STORIES THAT OUR ROUND TABLE GUESTS ARE GOING TO BE WATCHING TO DEVELOP THIS WEEK.

JODI, I WANT TO GO BACK TO YOU AND ASK, WHAT IF ANY IS THE TOPIC OR STORY THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BE FOLLOWING TO SEE HOW IT DEVELOPS?

I AM CERTAINLY GOING TO KEEP FOLLOWING THE CONVERSATION ON NEW YORK STATE'S ABORTION LAWS.

I THINK THAT REALLY INTERESTING RIGHT NOW.

IT'S A HOT TOPIC.

EVEN THOUGH WE'RE ALWAYS HAD STRONG PROTECTIONS ON THE BOOKS, PUTTING INTO OUR CONSTITUTION A GUARANTEE, I THINK, STRENGTHENS OUR STANCE AND ALSO MAKES IT SAFE FOR WOMEN FROM OTHER PLACES TO COME AND GET A SAFE ABORTION.

SO I'M GOING TO BE WATCHING THIS VERY CLOSELY.

ACTUALLY, I DO WANT TO BUILD ONE EXTRA QUESTION ON THAT.

BECAUSE WE'VE HEARD FROM A LOT OF POLITICIANS THIS PAST WEEK SAY THAT THEY WANT TO PUT CODIFYING ROE AS A TOP PRIORITY.

HOWEVER, SOME OF THOSE SAME POLITICIANS HAD SAID THAT PREVIOUSLY BEFORE, SO IS THERE -- DO YOU THINK THERE'S THE POLITICAL WILL TO DO THIS?

OR SOME PEOPLE ARE SAYING THIS FEELS LIKE MORE POLITICAL POSTURING WE'VE SEEN IN POLITICAL ELECTION YEARS BEFORE.

I DON'T THINK IT'S THE SAME.

I THINK WE ARE REALLY -- SOME OF US ARE VERY WORRIED ABOUT ROE V.

WADE BEING OVERTURNED, AND I THINK RIGHT NOW THIS IS THE PERFECT TIME FOR FOLKS TO REALLY PUSH FORWARD AND CODIFY THIS.

I DON'T THINK IT'S RHETORIC.

I THINK IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE FEEL, AS A STATE, HAS TO BE PUT INTO PLACE, PARTICULARLY NOW THAT OUR SITUATION IS VERY TENUOUS.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, THEN, LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS WEEK, TOM, WHAT IS GOING TO BE ON YOUR RADAR?

I'M JUST GOING KEEP LOOKING AT THE POLITICS TO SEE HOW MUCH TOM SWAZZY'S GOING SPEND IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY RUN FOR GOVERNOR, SEE WHAT THE REDISTRICTING LOOKS LIKE IN NEW YORK.

THAT IS REALLY WHERE A LOT OF THE STUFF GETS DONE AT THE END OF THE DAY.

I DON'T ANTICIPATE -- BEN, I THINK YOU AGREE WITH ME -- THEY DON'T OVERTURN THE ASSEMBLY LINES, BUT IF THEY DID, THAT WOULD THROW THE GOVERNOR'S RACE TO AUGUST.

I'LL BE PAYING ATTENTION TO ALL THE POLITICAL STUFF IN THE NEXT WEEK.

I THINK THE POLITICAL STUFF IS A LOT OF STUFF, AS OF RECENTLY.

BEN, SAME QUESTION TO YOU.

JODI AND TOM TOOK TWO BIG ONES, SO I HAVE A LOT MORE TO SAY ON THOSE.

BUT TO BRING ANOTHER TOPIC IN WE HAVE BEEN DISCUSSING IS WATCHING MAYOR ADAMS MORE THIS WEEK ABOUT HOW HE'S APPROACHING THINGS RELATED TO THE CRISES FACING THE CITY AND HOW HE'S APPROACHING THEM.

YOU KNOW, HE'S PROMISED AGAIN THIS MORNING THAT HE'S GOING TO BE DOING A LOT MORE TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE CITY, REALLY SORT OF BUCKING THE CRITICISM HE'S BEEN GETTING ABOUT DOING A LOT OF THAT EARLY ON.

IT'S SORT OF ASTONISHING TO ME THAT SOMEONE WOULD HAVE WATCHED BILL DE BLASIO IN SOME OF HIS TROUBLES AND THEN REPEAT SOME OF THE EAMISTAKES EARLY ON.

SO WATCHING THAT A LITTLE BIT.

AND HE PREVIEWED ON MONDAY MORNING, TOO, THAT HE'S GOING TO BE MAKING SOME SORT OF POLICING ANNOUNCEMENT WITH THE POLICE COMMISSIONER LATER THIS WEEK, SO IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE AS WE'VE SEEN A LITTLE BIT OF ENCOURAGING NEWS AROUND THE CRIME NUMBERS RELATED TO MURDER AND SHOOTINGS IN THE LATEST NUMBERS RELEASED BY THE NYPD EARLIER THIS MONTH.

BUT VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER MAJOR CRIME CATEGORY CONTINUES TO JUMP AT SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS, SO THE MAYOR KNOWS HE REALLY NEEDS TO DO MORE TO TACKLE THIS PROBLEM.

OF COURSE.

IS THERE ANY CONCERN?

BECAUSE USUALLY THE WAY THE CRIME -- AND I DON'T MEAN WAVES IN THE SIMPLE TERM, BUT THERE'S USUALLY A LULL DURING THE WINTER TIME AND THEN WE SEE THE NUMBERS START TO TICK UP AS THE WEATHER WARMS UP.

IS THERE ANY CONCERN WITH CRIME BEING AS HIGH AS IT WAS DURING THE WINTER THIS COULD BE AN INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING SUMMER?

ABSOLUTELY, AND I THINK THE MAYOR IS WELL AWARE OF.

AS A FORMER NYPD CAPTAIN, HE KNOWS ESPECIALLY GUN VIOLENCE J JUMPS UP IN THE SUMMER MONTHS.

I'M SURE THAT'S ON HIS RADAR AND HE'S WORKING TO ENHANCE THE STRATEGIES HE'S ALREADY ANNOUNCED AND MAYBE OFFER SOME NEW ONES AS THE WARMER WEATHER APPROACHES.

ALL RIGHT.

WE WELL, THAT'S ALL WE HAVE TIME FOR.

I WANT TO THANK MY ROUND TABLE OF EXPERTS, BEN MAX, TOM DOHERTY AND JODI MORALES.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME.

> '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 -- ♪

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