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 NYC Mayor Eric Adams Appears Live on 1010 WINS’ “Morning Drive”

Mayor Eric Adams: Good morning. How are you this morning?

Richard: Very good. So first of all, what’s your message to New Yorkers as these air issues persist?

Mayor Adams: Listen to their bodies. I think that’s so important, and particularly, if you are aware that you have preexisting breathing and health conditions. As you indicated, any time the air quality goes up above 150, all New Yorkers should be concerned. If you can stay indoors, please do so.

Richard: So AccuWeather is saying that it should start to clear Sunday night into Monday, but the question is, what if it doesn’t? I mean, what’s the threshold where decisions might need to be made about 4th of July activities, including the Macy’s Fireworks, for example?

Mayor Adams: And we are really hoping that we can get below 150, and if we don’t, we will do an analysis with OEM and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Vasan to send out appropriate warnings as soon as we get them. Normally there’s a 24-hour window where we can predict what is taking place. It’s challenging because we’re dealing with smoke and the wind and the weather and how it moves. We’re looking to have rain, I believe, on Sunday, but we’re going to keep New Yorkers updated and we want New Yorkers to really sign up for Notify NYC at AirNow.gov. This would give up to date information on what is taking place with this condition.

Richard: Yeah, okay. Your voice actually sounds a little bit hoarse. Are you okay?

Mayor Adams: Yeah. No. Yes, I am.

Richard: All right. Let’s talk about the budget. A $107-billion deal with the city council… Now, among the major issues has been the city’s affordable housing crisis, right? So what does this new budget do to address that?

Mayor Adams: Well, we are really creatures of the state, we would like to say in government. And I am extremely disappointed, out of all of the great things we’ve done in the state to bring home victories from Albany, we did not have any movement on an aggressive plan that the governor and I attempted to move forward everything from extending tax incentives to build, which is called 421a, to increasing our FAR so we can build taller in those areas where you don’t have housing. And although we continue to make substantial investments here, some of the largest investments in housing in decades, everything from NYCHA to affordable units… We’ve had some great victories with many projects out in Queens, Innovation Queens, Willis Point in the Bronx, and Bruckner. But we do need Albany to look at a real aggressive housing plan so we could get to the 500,000 units of housing we want, and in this budget we continue to invest in affordable housing for the future.

Richard: Well, there’s also been controversy here locally in the city about how to go forward. You’ve been at odds with the City Council about vouchers, right? So is there any movement on that?

Mayor Adams: Yes. Again, we signed the removal of what’s called the 90-day rule. There was a rule that was in place that for 90 days you had to be in a shelter prior to receiving vouchers. We removed that rule, and we think it was so important to do. It was something that advocates called for for years, and the City Council also. And we’re looking forward to continue to negotiate with the council so that we can get people into housing. That’s one of the number one concerns in the city is affordable housing. And there’s a combination of things we can do here in the city, such as what we’ve done with the 90-day rule removal, and of the help we can get from the state so we can build more housing.

Richard: So let’s talk a little bit about the migrant crisis, how it might affect the budget. If the feds don’t come through with either money or allowing migrants to work, will this spending plan need to be amended, and how is that going to affect housing possibly?

Mayor Adams: It is really alarming, and it should be concerning to all New Yorkers. We spent thus far $1.2 billion from July ’22 to May ’23. This could potentially be over $4.3, if not higher, billions of dollars that we are going to spend dealing with the migrant asylum seeker crisis. We’re not receiving the financial support, I believe, on the federal level, and really it comes down to one thing, the right to work. When I speak to migrants and asylum-seekers, they say the same thing. They don’t want anything free from our city, housing, clothing or food. They want to work, and we should allow them to do so. I think nothing is more anti-American Dream than not having the right to be employed. And this is just wrong for New Yorkers, and if we don’t get the federal help that we deserve and need, it’s going to impact every area and delivery of services in our city.

Richard: One more question on the housing issue, to give you a chance to address something that’s been in the news in the last day. Things got pretty heated during a town hall in Washington Heights, where housing came up and you had likened a woman who was criticizing you to acting like a plantation owner. Now, some say you went too far, so what do you say?

Mayor Adams: Well, some could say that, and her behavior was acting in a disrespectful way. And I’m just seeing this disrespect that we are displaying not only locally, but nationally, disrespected police officers, disrespected religious groups when they are in our city, disrespect to everyday people who deliver services. And it needs to stop. I came from a family that my mom made it clear, never allow someone to be disrespectful to you. That woman disrupted a meeting where all the participants were acting respectfully and cordially to get their issues heard. She disrupted that, and then she was degrading on how she communicated with me. I’m not going to allow civil service to be disrespected, and I’m not going to be disrespected as the mayor of this city. I’m a representative of this city, and we need to start having a better dialogue on how we communicate with each other, both locally and nationally on how we communicate.

Richard: All right. Shifting gears, today is Commissioner Keechant Sewell’s final day as police commissioner of the City of New York. So who is the commissioner as of tomorrow? Have you made a decision on a replacement, and would you like to break that news right now on 1010 WINS?

Mayor Adams: Well, I still have a commissioner. She’s in place. She’s doing a promotional ceremony today, and I commend her for her service. She inherited a city that violence was trending in the wrong direction, gun violence. We saw homicides, major crime categories, all moving in the wrong direction, and she turned that around. Double-digit decrease in homicide. Double-digit decrease in shootings. Our major crime categories are moving in the right direction. Transit ridership is increased due to her subway safety plan. And I want to thank her for sending a message. One, that she was a real crime fighter. Two, to women across the entire country they know now they can run major law enforcement agencies. We will make an announcement. There’s a natural process in place that the first deputy commissioner falls in line until we make a permanent announcement on who the commissioner is going to be, and we’re going to find a suitable replacement to the continued success that Commissioner Sewell put in place.

Richard: All right, Mayor Adams. Thank you so much. Have a great holiday weekend.

Mayor Adams: You do the same. Be safe. Take care.

June 30, 2023

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