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New York. Mayor Eric Adams Appears on News 12 and Takes Questions

Mayor Eric Adams appeared on News 12 to address questions from New Yorkers, discussing topics such as the Trump rally in the Bronx, housing affordability, NYCHA issues, public safety, job creation, and pedestrian safety. He emphasized the importance of building more affordable housing, ensuring public safety, and addressing urgent community concerns while promising direct follow-ups on specific issues raised by callers.

Kurt Semder: Hello, everyone, and thank you for being with us here on News 12, where local matters. I’m Kurt Semder. It is a pleasure to be back here with you for the next half hour, as we are giving you a unique opportunity to ask Mayor Eric Adams your questions right here on the air. With that, we are very happy to welcome to our studios here the mayor of New York City, Mayor Eric Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Great to be back. I feel like Kotter, welcome back, during my borough president days, once a month we used to be up here and it’s just good being in the Bronx and back on News 12.

Semder: We remember it fondly. Happy to have you back here with us. I’m sure a lot of our viewers are very happy to have you back here because we have been asking them what they wanted to ask you here tonight. We have been flooded on social media with question after question. We’re going to get to a lot of these tonight. 

We also spoke with several New Yorkers this week. They have questions of their own, but we want to get right to it. A reminder to get here on the lines right now and speak with us, get a chance to speak with Mayor Eric Adams. 

I do want to start tonight, though, with what’s going on in the Bronx tonight. That is Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holding a rally at Crotona Park. This is a state that hasn’t gone red in four decades. What do you think of him having a rally here in the five boroughs at this time?

Mayor Adams: It’s consistent with my message that what makes our country great is the opportunity for everyone to use our venues in a peaceful way. We’re saying, as we stated during the trial, be peaceful. Allow the voices across the various sectors, but do it in a peaceful way. The Police Department is going to do its job and be peaceful.

Semder: As long as everybody stays civil, we’ll be fine with this. 

Mayor Adams: Exactly. 

Semder: Okay. All right. Let’s talk about what’s happening. We’re just getting started here on that campaign trail. We’ve got plenty to talk about. We want to get to our phones because we’ve got callers already lined up to want to talk to you. 

Mayor Adams: Good thing. 

Semder: We’re going to go right to the phones right now and get things started. We’re going to begin in the Bronx. We’ve got Michelle, I believe, joining us on the line. Michelle, thank you for calling in tonight. Here’s your chance to ask the mayor. What’s your question for Mayor Adams?

Question: Yes. Hi. I’m Michelle. I live in the Bronx. I live in NYCHA. I have an emergency transfer and they never offered me an apartment. It’s been three years. I would like to get straight to the point. Who can I contact regarding moving me and my family with this emergency transfer because NYCHA isn’t responding to me and then my management office is not helping me. I don’t know who else to turn to.

Mayor Adams: Let’s get on top of it for you. My team is listening to the show now, Michelle. If you will leave your number with the team there, I’ll have someone get back to you tonight. They will call you tonight and let’s track down what’s taking place. 

Many people don’t realize I don’t have full control of NYCHA. I believe that I should have full control. New Yorkers should be able to point their finger at who is responsible, it should not fall in this pseudo-measure. I’m hoping that eventually we’ll realize the best way to see what we’ve done with Land Trust, the best way to see what we have done with high speed broadband to every NYCHA resident for free. 

Some of the things that we have been doing of really bringing NYCHA back from a multi-billion dollar capital deficit, we need to allow full control. The bugles we hear is not the cavalry, it’s Taps. We need to make sure NYCHA gives the dignity and respect they deserve.

Semder: This goes into housing, which obviously has continued to be an issue, something your administration has talked a lot about, the governor has spoken a lot about that. I want to go to one of our Facebook questions right now because we got one from Calvin who asked something very specific about this, let’s bring that up so people can see that right now. He said, before you were elected, you said you were going to make affordable housing affordable for the working middle class. He wants to know what happened.

Mayor Adams: Let’s be clear, and this is very interesting when you talk about affordable housing, because if you [inaudible] employees in a fast food restaurant, some of them [inaudible] qualify because they make too much money. 

What we must do is have extreme low income and middle income. Because we need that accountant, that teacher, we need that fast food worker to be able to live in the city. In one year, we financed more affordable housing in the history of the city. We transitioned more people out of homeless shelters into housing in the history of the city in one year and more people received FHEPS vouchers into housing in the history of the city in one year. We got partnership with the governor, the speaker of the Assembly, and the majority leader in the Senate, and we were able to get some real housing plans put in place. 

We have to build more, and that’s what our City of Yes is about. We have an inventory problem, 1.5 percent vacancy rate and even lower for affordable units. We have to build more all over the city. 59 community boards in the city, 9 community boards have built more housing affordable than the 50 combined.

Semder: I think that what it boils down to is the affordability, because that’s what we keep coming back to. There is the housing that’s being built, but can the people actually afford it, and what is the true meaning of affordability? I think that’s what people are running into the problem with.

Mayor Adams: You hear that statement, people love it almost has become a bumper sticker. Affordable for whom? Affordable for all of us. Because if you only build one type of housing, then you’re leaving out another type of housing. As I stated, I need my messenger, my person who’s making minimum wage to live in the city, but I also need that teacher and that accountant, that principal. I need my nurses to live in the city as well. You need various income bands, not just one income band. You’ve got to build more. 

Semder: We do. We’ve got to build more, that is the key. If we don’t build more, then we’re going to need more inventory, that’s for sure. 

Mayor Adams: Supply and demand. 

Semder: And there is a lot of demand right now, that’s for sure. Let’s head over to the phones again, we’ve got another caller for you right now, Mayor Adams, and that is Karen, joining us from the Bronx right now. Karen, thanks for calling in, this is your chance to ask the mayor, what is your question?

Question: Hello, Mr. Mayor. I’m calling to, I would like to ask the question of the pond area in the park of Crotona Park. The water is black, it’s filled with algae, and the soundstage area over there, the seating is just overgrown with grass, and the park is, it’s not well kept over there. Is there any plans in revitalizing that part of Crotona Park?

Mayor Adams: Yes, so I adore my Parks Commissioner, Sue Donoghue, she was the Prospect Park Head of the Prospect Park Alliance, she did an amazing job, now she’s in charge of the entire city. 
Why don’t we do this. I want to be familiar with that park, can you leave your name and contact information, and why don’t I meet you over there, let’s walk through it together, and let’s get the commissioner over there as well, and the Bronx commissioner over there, and let’s see and put it on a real pathway to get that park the way it should be.

Semder: All right, well we’ve got your information there for sure, Karen, we’ll make sure we pass that along right now. We’re going to stay on the phones right now, because again, we have more calls coming in right now, we’ve got Dolores talking, calling in from Starrett City. Dolores, thanks for calling in so much, now is your chance to ask the mayor, go right ahead.

Question: Yes, thank you so much Mayor Adams for taking my call. I have two concerns, I’m only going to say one, I think the person that interviewed me said that she would put in the notes the other question, but my question is, I live in senior citizen Vandalia Avenue building in Brooklyn, and I want to know what can be done about the rent increases every single year.

Semder: Dolores, thank you so much, I want to give the mayor a chance to answer.

Mayor Adams: Dolores, you have an amazing Congressman that covers that area, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, and the Assemblywoman has been extremely, extremely supportive in the areas as well, we’re going to get over to Starrett and hold a meeting and find out how this is done, it doesn’t fall under our normal Rent Guidelines Board rulings of my understanding. But let us get over there, let’s hold a meeting like we did when we were running around some other issues we were able to rectify, let’s do the same on this, and we’ll see what is within our powers to do.

Semder: A lot of housing questions so far here tonight, and that’s not surprising for you, I’m sure.

Mayor Adams: No, it’s not. Housing is crucial, and again, inventory is everything. Inventory drives the market, and if we build more with our City of Yes program, an initiative that’s in front of the City Council, we can build a little bit more housing all throughout the city.

Semder: All right, we are just getting started right here on News 12, so great to have you back here with us, this is fantastic. More Ask the Mayor coming up, more of your questions right here on News 12, where local matters don’t go anywhere. We’ll be right back.

[Commercial break.]

Semder: Welcome back to Ask the Mayor, right here on News 12, where local matters, Mayor Eric Adams here with us, taking your questions tonight. We’ve gotten already to a lot, but we’ve got more to get to with you right here. In fact, we’ve got more calls that we’re going to get to in just a minute. We also want to hit the streets of the city to try to ask some people some questions, see what they wanted to find out from you. We got one of those right now. I want to go to Romelle. She was in Canarsie. She had this question for you. Take a listen.

Question: More jobs. We need more jobs. Housing and increased food stamps, because the food stamps are going low and everything is taking a slow time because of the coronavirus. Hopefully he can fix it. 

Semder: Jobs. We’ve heard that before.

Mayor Adams: Let’s go to that for a moment. We have more jobs in New York City in the history of the city. We’ve recovered our economy. We said it was going to take five years. We’ve recovered our economy within two years. Not only that, when we inherited the city, we had Black unemployment was four times the rate of white unemployment. We cut it in half. For the first time, it’s under 8 percent, our Black unemployment. 

What we did was partner with DC 37 and Henry Garrido, who’s in charge there, we went out doing hiring halls all over the city. We did several here in the Bronx. We didn’t wait for people to find a job. We went out to them, showed them the pathway to employment. I’m with them. More jobs. We did it. We recovered all of the jobs we lost during the pandemic and more. Now we must make sure we continue to drive down unemployment, particularly in those communities of color. 

Semder: The work’s not done. 

Mayor Adams: No, it’s not. We are a long way from where we were. I need to connect him to the jobs that are available, because I need thousands of workers in city government. Many people don’t know how to connect to those jobs. I need nurses. I need school safety agents. I need food service workers. I need lifeguards. We have so many jobs available. We need to connect gentlemen like him to those jobs.

Semder: All right. I’d love to talk more with you about that, but I want to give the callers a chance to ask you some more questions. I want to go right back to the phones, because they’re waiting for you right now. We got Jose, who’s calling in tonight from Co-op City. He’s got a good question for you. Jose, thanks for calling in. Your turn to ask the mayor. Go ahead.

Question: Sure. It’s about gun violence. What are you doing to eliminate guns in our streets?

Semder: All right, Jose. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Thank you for that, Jose. I love when you have everyday New Yorkers talk about these public safety issues, because people tend to believe that when I say the prerequisite to prosperity is public safety… This is how New Yorkers feel. 

Decrease in homicides in the city, decrease in shootings, closed more homicide cases in the last almost 30 years, five of the seven major crime categories are down, decrease in crime on our subway system, using new technology to go after it. Removed over 2,500 illegal guns off our streets. Focus on it. We have an amazing unit that zeroes in on these gun problems. 

I am with him. After we buried Detective Diller, I had to come to the Bronx because a two-year-old child was shot that same day that we buried Detective Diller. I know the impact of gun violence. That’s why we’re focusing on it. I’m with them. Let’s get these guns off our streets, and let’s stop allowing the repeated offenders. 

The person who shot Officer Diller, he was arrested 20 times, 20 times, and the person that was in the car with him was out on a gun charge, and a gun was found in the car. These repeated offenders are carrying out repeated offenses, and we have to take them serious.

Semder: Are you confident, though, as we head into the summer, where we traditionally see the numbers start to go up a little bit, are you confident those trends are going to continue?

Mayor Adams: Yes, we are. When we look at the deployment of our police personnel, Commissioner Caban has done an amazing job with his team, Chief Chell, chief of Patrol, Chief Maddrey, chief of the Department, Deputy Commissioner Daughtry. We’re using all forms of communication, community policing, finding safe places for our children. 

Over 100,000 summer youth jobs we’re giving our children, 110,000 in all school rounds, Summer Rising program, midnight basketball, alternative methods, placing our children in safe places so that they don’t have to become the victims of violence.

Semder: All right, well, Mayor Adams, we have another caller on the line who wants to talk to you tonight. We got Maria joining us from Tremont. It’s her turn to ask the mayor. Maria, what’s your question? There you go.

Question: Yes. Hello, Mayor Adams.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: How are you? 

Mayor Adams: Good. 

Question: I’m calling because I ditched 411 and I’m not getting nowhere. I live in the Belmont, on Tremont Avenue, right off of Belmont. I live on Belmont, Tremont is the cross street. I’m calling because it’s a serious thing up here, where the cars don’t have any regards whatsoever for the senior citizens, women with strollers, pedestrians, period, crossing in the crosswalk. You’re in the crosswalk, you have the right of way. You can’t even get from one curb to the other one without cars going around you. They see that you there, but they pay you no mind. It’s like you’re just totally invisible. 

I’m afraid somebody’s going to get killed up here because they’re racing through here. The bikes, the delivery guys, they don’t have no regards to you crossing the street. The traffic stops, you get almost across to the other curb and they come zooming in between the cars and you don’t even see them coming. I’m a senior citizen and I travel on a scooter and I’m very nervous now. 

Mayor Adams: I understand, a good friend of mine, I spoke with him on my way, in my rounds today. He was struck by a scooter, broke his leg. We have been really zeroing in on the use of our streets. We have removed over 50,000 ghost cars, scooters, three wheelers, illegal dirt bikes. We know we have to make our city safe. 

There was a major shift after COVID, many home deliveries, a lot of these illegal scooters out there and some of them committing crimes, we’re zeroing in on them. We’re going to go up to that location that you talked about and have the police do an initiative up there because we have to have safe streets in our city.

Semder: Absolutely, pedestrian safety is key. We unfortunately hear about these incidents all too often, but something will be done. Good to hear we’re going to follow up on that. We’ve got a little bit more time here with the mayor. Stick with us. We’ll be right back with more here on News 12. Don’t go anywhere.

[Commercial break.]

Semder: All right, we’re back here on Ask the Mayor on News 12, Mayor Eric Adams here with us and it’s amazing, we’re already at Memorial Day weekend, start of the summer already getting forward, but a lot of people wondering what’s going to be happening with the lifeguard situation. Are the city beaches going to be open? What can you tell us about that situation as we get ready for these summer months?

Mayor Adams: A real issue. We have a real shortage of lifeguards and that’s what I was saying, that we could have solved some of our problems with our migrants and asylum seekers by allowing them to fill those jobs. We have a shortage and one of those shortages that we have is the issue around lifeguards and we don’t want our beaches closed, so you’re going to see some beaches are not going to be a full complement, some hours are going to be reduced, we brought on 500 lifeguards, but we need to be looking long term. 

Our beaches, that’s our French Riviera, that is where we go to socialize with our families, but Sue Donoghue from Parks and Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, they have done an amazing job with the union negotiating to make sure we get as many lifeguards as possible.

Semder: All right, and budget negotiations underway, everything going alright, how are things going?

Mayor Adams: We’re going to land the plane, we did it twice, hats off to deputy mayor, hats off to Speaker Adrienne Adams. People often focus on those three, four things we disagree on, they don’t look at the thousands of things we agree on and we come together during this time and negotiate the right budget and we’re looking forward to it. 

We did it twice already, we’re going to do it again, she has been an amazing partner in government and we’re going to continue to navigate the city out of some of the crises that many people didn’t think we were able to do, but that partnership allowed us to do so.

Semder: All right, well again, we can talk about that pretty much for a whole half hour if we wanted to. 

But I wanted to ask you one last question here, do you remember the last time you were in the studio? 

Mayor Adams: I think it was right before I got elected. Look at that picture right there. 

Semder: We’re going to throw this up there for the people at home so they can see it and you can see it, look at this is Ask the Borough President with Brooklyn BP Eric Adams, March of 2020. 

Mayor Adams: Wow.

Semder: That’s the last time, you were physically in the studio, right here, and there you were with Kristie Reeter.

Mayor Adams: Kristie, she has two children now, right, I got to reach out to her and her husband, it goes a long way.

Semder: Listen, we shouldn’t have to go this long without having you here in the studio, we hope to have you again here real soon and do this again very soon.

Mayor Adams: Yes, look forward to it, thank you.

Semder: Thank you so much for being here with us and thank you so much to everybody for calling in tonight with some great questions, posting those questions on social media and speaking with us, leading up to this show. 

Once again we’ll have much more here with Mayor Adams and thanks again for being here with us on News 12, where local matters. 

May 23, 2024 Manhattan New York

Sources: Midtown Tribune news – NYC.gov

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