City of New York, NY

05/14/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/14/2024 14:26

Transcript: Mayor Adams Holds In-Person Media Availability

May 14, 2024

Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy, Communications: Good morning, everybody. My name is Fabien Levy and I serve as deputy mayor for Communications for the City of New York. Thank you all for joining us for our weekly in-person media availability. Whether it's keeping people safe, rebuilding our economy, or creating a more livable city, our administration is laser-focused on getting stuff done for our fellow New Yorkers. As always, we look forward to updating you all on our efforts this morning.

Joining us today, we have Mayor Eric Adams, First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Chief Advisor to the Mayor Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer, Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, Chief Counsel Lisa Zornberg, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Tiffany Raspberry, and New York City Sheriff Anthony Miranda. Without further delay, I'm pleased to turn it over to Mayor Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thanks so much, Fabien, and really want to thank, again, the Vatican for their hospitality and the people of Rome. It was an amazing, not only professional, but personal trip to visit one of the largest mosques in Europe and to be in the Vatican, but also to visit the Jewish Ghetto. I didn't even know that for over 300 years, Jews were forced to live within the walls of the Ghetto and must be back in that area before sundown. It was really just an experience to see the intersectionality of all three of those Abrahamic religions and the different circumstances that were involved. I really want to commend the Pope for doing the World Meeting on Human Fraternity and how we have to all come together to deal with the issues that we're facing globally and New York is going to play a major role in that.

In the area of public safety, we say it over and over again, the public safety is protect… The city is to protect our public safety, rebuild our economy, and make our city more livable for working class and everyday New Yorkers. We have with us Sheriff Miranda, who has hit the ground on padlocking the illegal cannabis shops that are open. To date, in the week since the implementation, they have sealed 75 illegal smoke shops across all five boroughs, resulting in 3,800 citations and violations and nearly $6 million in penalties. They're just getting started, well-coordinated effort. I really want to take my hat off to the sheriff for his actions in Albany, giving us some of the tools we needed to go after these illegal shops. They have become a magnet for violence and a magnet for targeting our children with bad practices.

When it comes down to economy, hats off to the team. DM Maria Torres-Springer, DM Meera Joshi, and the help from the governor. $65 million investment to the Brooklyn Marine Terminal. In addition to the $15 million from the state, we witnessed a little over $95 million that's going into a project that was long overdue. 20 years people have tried to do this. We just have a list of projects that we've been able to land that so many administrations have failed to do so. It just shows how the history books are going to be kind to how this administration has been able to move things forward and we're excited about that. When you add it with the decrease in unemployment of Blacks, it just shows that we are taking a holistic approach to this issue.

Finally, as we constantly say over and over again, since crime is down and jobs are up, we are an exciting place to do business. 2024 graduates looking for government jobs over tech careers, New York City. I can't even say we have a second. We don't even have a second. New York City is second to none. When you look at the number of jobs, not only do we have, we recovered all of our jobs we lost pre-pandemic, but the most jobs in the city's history and all across the board. In the tech industry, everyone is coming here. These young graduates are going to come here, work, raise families and contribute to our city. The city is not coming back. The city is back. People want to write our destiny. We're going to map out our own destiny. These charts don't lie. They tell the truth on the success we've had in this administration and we want to continue to do so. Why don't we open to the floor for questions as we move forward?

Question: Mr. Mayor, the FBI and the Homeland Security, Department of Homeland Security have issued a warning about foreign terrorist attacks that could be happening around Pride Month. Not only the parade, but also other facilities that could be associated with people who provide services to the LGBTQ community. I wonder what the city is doing to deal with this terrorist alert and not only for the parade, but also to protect other facilities that might be involved in how we're doing.

Mayor Adams: It's very important that we never take it for granted when we deal with any of these large festivities, particularly around Pride Month. During Pride Month, there are so many different events from parades to large events throughout the entire city. The Police Department is going to focus on those particular areas, particularly around the parade and they have a game plan for it. Not only using our uniformed personnel properly, but also using our plainclothes and our intel. We have been monitoring social media sites. Our Intelligence Division is staying on top of this. We're going to respond accordingly.

I cannot say it enough, the manpower that we are using right now, every night, there are various protesters that are moving about every night. Police Department must respond. We saw what happened over the weekend on one of the bridges. We're using a lot of manpower right now. These officers, particularly the chief of Manhattan South, where a lot of the protesters are being centralized. They're just taking a lot of coordination and a great deal of manpower. Hats off to Commissioner Caban. We are on top of it and we're going to monitor it.

Question: How worried are you about this threat and how seriously are you taking it? The threat of a terror attack during Pride Month?

Mayor Adams: Very serious. We take it very serious. You do not take this for granted. In law enforcement, you don't want to look in your rearview mirror and say I wish I would have been prepared. You'd rather be over-prepared. People critiqued the amount of manpower we used when we went to some of the college campuses. You don't know what's behind closed doors. It's better to be well-prepared so that you can execute a plan and not wish that you had the manpower to execute a plan. We're not taking this for granted.

Question: My second question has to do with the fact that yesterday the Legal Aid Society raised questions about your plan to put weapons detection systems in the subways, saying that it violates the POST Act. I wonder if that's going to stop you or deter you from trying to put weapons detection systems in the subway system.

Mayor Adams: From my understanding, Lisa, you could join in, but my understanding, the POST Act requires us to do an announcement over a certain period of time. That's why we have not implemented it right away. I'm not quite understanding, why are people against us detecting guns before they get on the subway system? That's just not making any sense for me. We had a shooting on the subway system. One person with a gun traumatized passengers. There are guns carried on our subway system. If people are just against us detecting them before they come on, I just cannot find any logic to that. I don't believe passengers on our subway system subscribe to that belief. Lisa, do you know…

Lisa Zornberg, Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall: Yes. The simple answer is that the NYPD complied with the POST Act in good faith and that was part of the planning for the announcement that was made before implementing the program.

Question: …be able to override their objections?

Mayor Adams: They should override which objection?

Question: The objections of the Legal Aid Society to putting weapons detection systems in the subway.

Mayor Adams: Any organization's or group's belief on how you should keep the city safe, we don't have to override that. They gave us their opinion. Our opinion is falling in line with everyday passengers. Passengers want to be safe. We're using technology to determine if someone is carrying a gun on the subway system.

Marcia, I don't know the answer to that. We're stopping people from carrying guns on the system and someone is saying don't use technology to stop people from carrying illegal guns on the system. I can't respond to that.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Marcia, I would point out on March 28th when we showed all the press the technology and the people of New York the technology, we made it very clear that we were going to post the information publicly for 90 days before utilizing the technology in the subways. So the technology has not been rolled out in the subways. It was literally just a test to show you. As you saw at that time, we didn't have any straphangers, any even media go through the machine. It was just people that were part of the NYPD and the company that were testing it out.

Question: Hi, Mayor Adams.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: I'm good, thanks. I wanted to ask you about Winnie Greco. I'm curious, on what basis was she put on leave after the FBI raided her homes? Also, what basis did the administration use to decide that she would return? What changed in the five weeks since she was on leave? Have her responsibilities changed?

Mayor Adams: Every case is a case-by-case basis and we make that determination. The final decision is up to me and that's the final decision we made. Everything is evaluated in a case-by-case basis.

Question: If she is accused of any criminality, would the administration cover her legal? I know you don't like hypotheticals, but I'm just curious. Was that part of the reason and have her responsibilities changed?

Mayor Adams: I love the fact that you have been following me long enough to know that I don't deal with hypotheticals. Every incident is a case-by-case basis.

[Crosstalk.]

Mayor Adams: Still interact with the multi-Asian communities we have in the city.

Question: Hi, good morning, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: I am well. Good morning to the team. Racial disparities in Black maternal health. I know there are some services that you just spoke about or introduced. What are those services for Black and brown New Yorkers? My second question is your trip to Rome. How was the conversation with the Pope? How has it helped you to reset for New York City?

Mayor Adams: DM Williams-Isom can go into the maternal health. It's something that has been very important to all of us my days as borough president, it's something that was important to me. We are really leading in this area and she could go into that. The brief moment I had to communicate with him, I was very clear that we're dealing with a war-torn globe. I asked for his prayers dealing with the Sudan. Many people don't realize the war that's taking place there. Dealing with Yemen. Many people have ignored the killing of innocent children there. Haiti. You don't hear anyone talking about as though Haiti doesn't exist. That's right in our hemisphere. To look at what's happening in the Middle East. It's about really having his prayers to end the wars that we are seeing that I have been consistently talking about for some time. And he says, I'm asking for your prayers as well. Because prayer works. DM Williams-Isom?

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, Health and Human Services: Sure. One of the goals that's been very important to this administration has been maternal health. Especially looking at Black maternal mortality. Our goal, one of the goals of HealthyNYC is to reduce that by 10 percent by 2030.

In March of 2022, we announced a citywide expansion of the doula program. We started a midwifery initiative. Also expanded maternal programs. The announcement that we made the other day, J.R., had some great statistics. Since 2022, over 12,000 families have been served with home visiting by the new family home visiting initiative. We know how important that is to new moms and to new babies and to bondings and breastfeeding and all of those great things. As of December 2023, approximately 9,500 families were served by the newborn home visiting program, 1,200 by the nurse family partnership and 1,900 by the Citywide Doula Initiative. As of February, 115 community members have been trained as doulas. Then lastly, the $34 million initiative offers support services and referrals to new and expectant parents. Having trained by health workers such as nurses, doulas, lactation consultants, and all of those things.

I know we take these things for granted. It's so important to have access. It's so important for moms and parents not to be stigmatized when you have a new child and think that you should just understand it. We know what works. Being able to really expand these programs in communities and the communities that need it the most is something that we're very excited about as an administration.

Mayor Adams: DM Williams-Isom really educated many of us. How when you look at the maternal morbidity, you think it's a one-size-fits-all. It's not. Some of the reason we're seeing these numbers and being able to identify each one of the areas and coming up with a plan to address each one is what I was really impressed when she shared with me some of the numbers and some of the reasons. It's just not a one-size-fits-all. Sometimes we hear maternal morbidity and we think it's just okay, it's just one. Postpartum is real. Some of those issues surrounding that is very real and that is what we're digging into.

Question: Mr. Mayor, back on Katie's question about Winnie. She was given an $85,000 wage increase last summer. This came at a time that you and your administration was pushing to trim costs across city government. I'm just wondering what that raise was about and how you justify it given what was going on at the time.

On another staffing question, José Bayona, your ethnic media executive director, he's been working with you for a very long time. Been Team Adams since way back during the campaign. He left very abruptly, seemingly, last week. Was something amiss there? What was his departure about?

Mayor Adams: First as it deals with Winnie, many people started with the administration and they took a lesser salary. Even now, we are really now, Ingrid and her team is going over many people who were paid less. They've been paid less and they were not in parity with their salaries based on their job description, their job title. To their credit, they didn't complain every day. They continued to do the job. We are still right-sizing and giving the proper pay parity with the number. I just made some changes the other day. Ingrid has been continuously going through, comparing the salaries and that is why. People need to be paid based on their job description and what their titles were.

Many people are coming and going. We're two and a half years in. I don't know if you guys know what it's like doing this for two years of nonstop, constant, 24/7, a mayor that just doesn't stop. Eric Adams' mayoralty is a mayoralty on steroids. As the governor said today down at the Marine Terminal, she says, the two of us have this personality that's unbelievable. And so people are going to come in and out. Some people are going to go and probably be part of my campaign. Later, they're going to switch to new roles. That's just the nature of the business. No one does this forever. I'm looking around this room and there's a few reporters that are gone. Every reporter who started out with me, many of them said, I can't keep it with this guy anymore so not everybody's here. That's just the nature of the beast, that people move on.

We wish them happiness. As Ingrid has always said, once Team Adams, you're always Team Adams. I'm so happy that you mentioned that term, Team Adams, because you remember from the campaign, they're always going to be Team Adams.

Question: Speaking of keeping up, you still owe me a bike ride.

Mayor Adams: Yes, let's do it. Fabien, why are you not setting this up?

Deputy Mayor Levy: We have about six years left in this term, so we'll make sure to…

Question: Speaking of six years,State Senator Zellnor Myrie announced that he's launching an exploratory committee to run for mayor next year against you. He used words like showmanship to describe your administration and your style and said people are tired of that. I guess, what's your response to his opening salvo and just candidacy in general? He now represents the same seat that you used to in the State Senate. Also, with him and Stringer, are you growing concerned at all about the number of challengers this early on?

Mayor Adams: Listen, we're a year and some change away. I think as imperative as I did during my campaign, I focused on what I was going to bring to office. It was very clear, bring down crime, revitalize our economy, invest in our young people. I laid out a plan. If you go look at what Eric ran on and he looked at what we have accomplished, it is very impressive. Decreasing crime, more jobs in the city's history, what we've done around housing, how we took some of these projects that have become part of a graveyard and we bred life into them again.

People are going to run. That field was so crowded last year. Remember what we used to say on the campaign trail, Chris? Stay focused, no distractions, and grind. That has not changed. That's where I am right now. No distractions. Stay focused and grind.

Question: Hi, mayor. Welcome back. Two short questions. First, can you explain why Winnie Greco is back but Rana Abbasova is not and about city employees who might be worried about working with Winnie, knowing she may be under federal investigation? Then second of all, I think Zellnor Myrie's announcement also, he used the word incompetence. He said you weren't delivering results. He said the budget cuts were confusing and destabilizing. Can you speak more to this criticism of him calling you incompetent specifically?

Mayor Adams: Firstly, Winnie, I announced that already and I talked about it already. There's no more I have to add to that. I think people use terminologies that they want. You do the analysis. Decrease in crime. Last year, we put more affordable housing, transitional housing, history of the city, more jobs in the history of the city, 62 million tourists, fourth-largest in the history of the city. Bond raters, bond rating, not Eric raters, bond raters looked at our city, right, Katie, and talked about how they increased our bond rating in the city.

I mean just do the analysis, get past the personality and just say I'm going to put a blindfold on and I'm going to just look at the numbers of what this man has done. 2,400 units of affordable housing in Willets Point, more than 40 years. The Marine project that we announced today, what we're doing with Governors Island. It's going to be very challenging to say you could say what you want, but competency is not what you can critique this administration on. I'm really proud of what this administration has to do. People just need to run their race. Don't worry about me.

Question: How are you?

Mayor Adams: Good. How are you doing?

Question: Thanks. Okay. My question is, as about four weeks ago in Ozone Park, NYPD was called and there is a 19-year-old Bangladeshi origin who was killed by NYPD in front of his mother. Last week there was a press conference together in front of the City Hall. His mother cried and told the crowd that my son has been killed brutally by NYPD. He was mentally, there is mental issues. He was not threatening to the police. He doesn't have any issue. I was shield him, not to shoot, but police scream on me and told them get away and then they shoot and kill my son.

Then, two things. One, what is the action NYPD is taking against the two police officers? This is the question. Then, number two, the mental issue. There is a lot of mental issues since after the COVID. They demand that the mental issue should not be handled by the NYPD if even someone called for help. What is your response?

Mayor Adams: First, my heart goes out to the family. I reached out to the mom and dad and the family and they did not want to communicate at the time. I respect that. It's a very painful encounter. I've experienced visiting many parents after they lost a loved one to some form of violence. I know how hard it is. It is extremely hard when you're the deliverer of that information or you have to come after the information is delivered and try to give them a sense of peace during that time. It's painful. I understand the loss that mother is experiencing. Again, my heart goes out to her.

There's been many conversations across the country on should police respond or shouldn't they respond during a time of a person that's dealing with a mental health crisis. It's not a perfect science. When the police respond in this particular case, it was not one of those cases that normally will have the mental health professional respond to. But you have to get it right and try to get it right all the time. It's just not that easy to do. It's an investigation. The attorney general will make her determination then any other part of the processes will move forward.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. How are you?

Mayor Adams: I'm well myself.

Question: Good. Welcome back. I want to ask you about parking once congestion pricing goes into effect at the end of next month. How is parking expected to change? To what extent is the city going to change policies relating to parking? Do you expect a glut to be north of 50th Street?

For Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom, can you provide us with an update on the migrant situation? Has the flow increased, decreased, stayed the same? How are shelters? The rate of people who are filing for asylum or other relief from the government?

Mayor Adams: DM Joshi, can you talk about that?

Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Operations: Pursuant to the legislation, New York City DOT has to do a specific parking study within I think the period is about a year. We can get back to you on the exact date. Especially focused on those border areas, as you mentioned. Based on that study, we will either make changes or not, depending on what the study shows on parking rules around the border areas and also around other areas in our city. There is much competition for street space and it's not just for cars anymore. We've got open restaurants. We've got containers coming. We've got bike lanes. Obviously, even without congestion pricing, the issue of what and how we allocate our roadway space is front and center.

Question: Do you have any immediate plans? It's going to take the year study?

Deputy Mayor Joshi: It would be premature to make plans without actually knowing how congestion pricing is going to specifically change traffic patterns.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Thank you for the question. Looks like our numbers, as you know, it's been over 197,100 migrants who have made their way to New York City which is kind of crazy. I think I was looking at the numbers from Denver. Their total numbers were 40,000. We have in total right now 65,500. The numbers were going down a little bit then it has started to stay steady which is not really great. We have to keep on making sure that we're doing all the things that we can to move people out and to make sure that they land safely.

Last week we got 1,100 new migrants into our shelter. Which is, the thing that we don't talk about it that much anymore. Which is why it's so important for us to use our 30-day and our 60-day tools. I actually don't have that many tools that I can use. Those are allowing us to really prioritize those people that are just coming to the city and need some time to land safely and then to be able to move on to where their next stop is going to be. Just on the legal clinic, I don't have the exact number. I know that a week ago we hit our over 50,000 applications that we've been able to do for asylum, TPS, and work authorization.

Question: Is that just for one migrant on one application? Could there be a family on one of the 50,000?

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: There could be a family on it, but let me get you the exact numbers.

Deputy Mayor Levy: …applications, so there's more people than...

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Okay, so it's 50,000 applications.

Question: Mr. Mayor, how are you?

Mayor Adams: Good. How are you doing?

Question: Doing good. I hope you're feeling better.

Mayor Adams: Thank you very much. I prayed for you when I was in…

Question: Oh, you did? With the Pope?

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: I'd like to ask you about, so there was two random attacks in Times Square with somebody who was homeless. It seemed like there might be a history of mental health. Steve Buscemi getting punched in the face seemed like it was another random act. I was wondering, what is the update on the status of these outreach teams that you launched? I think it was about two years ago now. How many social workers or clinicians are working with the NYPD or other agencies? How many teams are going out there? What's the success rate of getting people either to treatment? Obviously, this guy in Times Square was in a shelter, but I think it's more about treatment at this point.

Then I'll make this more for the sheriff. I just saw the release came out, and you talked about the fines and stuff that was handed out. We only have 75 illegal pot shops that have been padlocked. Is there something else we're missing here, like back-end stuff that has to be done by the administration, either going to court or what have you? What are the delays in padlocking more illegal smoke shops right now?

Mayor Adams: Remember when we first started out in this administration, we went after those with severe mental health illness. And you know, Marcia, we got so much criticism. We were talking about people with severe mental health illness could not remain on the streets. We used this God-forbidden term, involuntary removal. You would have thought that we were the worst thing ever but we knew that people who were in danger to themselves and others were part of a revolving door system until they committed a severe, serious crime, then we took them to Rikers. 70 percent of those on Rikers Island have mental health issues. 18, I think it's 18 or 19 have severe.

From closing psychiatric wards because the advocates called for it to turning Rikers into a psychiatric ward. Then we said, let's close down Rikers. The same people who advocated for the closing down Rikers are now saying, what are you going to do with the people who are there and dealing with psychiatric issues? This is adult governance where you've got to make hard choices. You have to be honest with people. We have a large population of people who we continuously have on our streets and if they're not given the care, even if it's an involuntary action, they're going to be harmful to themselves and to others. Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom, you can go over the mission, what we have been doing around this.

Zornberg: Just to jump in with the most up to date stats, there are approximately 54 percent of the individuals at Rikers have been diagnosed with some sort of mental illness. One in five, around 20 percent, have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: It's such a tricky topic because we tend to conflate these things. When we came into office, I think the number is about 60 percent increase in our outreach staff. That's just people, as you said, post-COVID that were on the streets. Not all those people have severe mental illness. The mayor will always say it's a small amount of people who have severe mental illness. Commissioner Vassan very early on had a whole perspective of how we're dealing with that small population, which includes Clubhouses, right? Many people who have severe mental illness, if they're on their medication, if they're getting treatment, they're going to be fine. The question becomes and sort of the mandate that the mayor gave to us at the very beginning is what happens to those people who won't come in? That's where we hired Brian Stettin and we developed the Supportive Intervention Act that we have still out there. We haven't been able to get a lot of support for so that more people can really do the analysis and the assessment about who can come in, not just police officers, so expanding that to other mental health professionals.

When a person comes into the hospital, you can't really look at their history. You can only see what's in front of them. You don't know that Mr. Ryan came in here three times already in that month. Sometimes the hospitals let people go. A lot of people have co-occurring condition so it's a mental health and a substance abuse. They come down from being high. They look like they're okay then they let them go. This revolving door to me is not what humanity looks like. I think we have to be strong and we have to be able to lean in and to say we need more programs in the community for people who have substance abuse problems and co-occurring mental health issues.

We do not need to stigmatize people with mental health issues because we are talking about a small group of people who have been so disconnected from services, Craig, that they don't even sometimes realize that they have a problem. We've been working so closely with our outreach teams. We were on 110th Street the other day and people who are encampments who don't even, keep on going back. We bring them into a stabilization bed or a safe haven bed and we try to keep them. Then they want to go back to that place because they've been there for so long. So in addition to doing the individual case management with people who we know are we can tell, they're the same people. We also have to have a large systemic issue, which is going to involve legislative change. It's going to require hospitals to do things differently.

I feel like this is one of the first administrations in a very long time to take on an issue that nobody wants to touch because it's so intractable. I feel like we have to at least raise these issues and continue to lean into it. If we get criticized, people like, well, there's still people on the street. There's still people. Yes, but we are making a difference in the lives of the people that we're touching.

Mayor Adams: What's our numbers of the subway?

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: The SCOUT program?

Mayor Adams: Yes. How many we moved off to subway.

Deputy Mayor Levy: It was over 7,000.

Mayor Adams: Yes, I thought it was…

Deputy Mayor Levy: …A couple weeks ago.

Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: Even this new project that we have where the co-response in the subway with SCOUT teams. We're really seeing that we have been able to in this short period of time do more 9.58s. Again, I don't want… 9.58s is not the answer to everything, but it is important to get nurses on those team that feel comfortable saying that I think this person needs to go. Then we have to follow up with especially our city hospitals where Dr. Katz has been working very closely with us, knowing that they're coming. But these changes that we could make in the legislation would allow us to look at more of the person's history and to be able to have more people to have the authority to do a 9.41 and a 9.58.

Mayor Adams: Craig, on your, your paper, the Post pointed out you had a guy with a sword who was part of revolving door over and over again. That's just a failed system that are we going to wait until he murders someone before we do something? Everyone is saying, they push back on us as Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom said that… I mean you should hear people tell us they have a right to be out there. They have a right to live on the street. If you don't know you need care, how's that humane to allow you to stay out among the elements? That's what we're pushing back on.

We need help from our lawmakers in Albany. Then we have to have a real conversation around what do you do with family members who call and say, my loved one is no longer in a position that he or she could take care of themselves and they slipped through the cracks. And we tackled his head on, Dr. Vasan and DM Williams-Isom and their team, it's not a popular… We take a lot of criticism for it, but we know this is the right thing to do. When you see the three things that I talk about all the time: recidivism, random acts of violence, severe mental health. You remove that, you no longer have front page stories, but it's still just something that people don't want to address. And we're willing to address it.

Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to the Mayor: We went from one extreme to another. People have the vision of Willowbrook and those types of institutions to now allowing people who need medical care and they need services to being on the streets. There has to be a middle ground. We believe strongly that Albany, if they work in partnership with our team, that we will come up with something succinct and that's sustainable and that would help New Yorkers because people deserve dignity.

That's been our argument. The mayor was very clear. People deserve dignity. Living on the street is undignified and there's no reason for it. It doesn't have to be one or the other. It can be the right thing. We have good partners in Albany and we believe that they hear us. We think that maybe this year there'll be an appetite for us to sit down and really pull something together that makes sense.

Sheriff Anthony Miranda: The operations have been very successful for the four days that we've been in operation. We visited 150 locations. 50 percent of those locations were sealed and issued cease and desist orders. The resources are there. It is the partnership of all the agencies working together. That's the Sheriff's Office, the NYPD and the Department of Consumer Worker Protection. Those teams have been very effective in their responses to each of these locations and we're operating in all five boroughs at this time.

Question: I have another Zellnor question for you. Part of his strategy seems to be peeling off some of your voter base in Brooklyn. As was mentioned, he represents the same seat you used to represent. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about why you think your brand of governance and politics appeals to these voters and how that compares with folks maybe farther to the left, like Zellnor, who might try to be reaching the same people.

And then just a quick follow up. I was wondering if you had any reaction to the DOI investigation that's been opened into the use of social media by NYPD officials.

Mayor Adams: Again, I cannot be clearer. The election is a year, months away. I'm just focused on governing. The beauty of those who run for office don't have to focus on governing the entire city. I'm focused. No distractions and grind. All right, Chris? Chris, we've been running together for a little bit. You know this so easy, you know that? You know that the first time I saw you at the… I said I'm gonna like this guy.

[Crosstalk.]

Yes, I do. From the days of Chris and I running throughout the city, you've heard me say stay focused, no distractions and grind. And during the campaign trail, we're going to ride our bike throughout the city together. I'm just focused on governing. I'm not I'm not like those who could just run around and critique those who are getting stuff done. We are getting stuff done.

The second question was…

Question: The DOI investigation…

Mayor Adams: Let the process play out. I believe process should play out. As I stated, I'm hoping part of their analysis is just to look at some of the unprofessionalism of a few Council people who have been just really, I think, unprofessional, some of the things they say in calling us fascists when the police do their job, just really attacking them I think in an unprofessional way. I'm just hoping that's part of the analysis.

I think good code of conduct is important and you just can't be that you're just going to be brutal to city employees. The way some of them have treated those city employees who have stayed up nights dealing with the migrants and asylum seeker crisis, they have just been brutal to them, how they've been to our police officers, how they've been to our EMTs who respond to jobs. They have just been constantly brutal to them. I'm hoping everyone gets scrutinized and see how do we just have a code of conduct on how we interact with each other?

I think far too long they've been able to be brutal and no one has challenged them. Then all of a sudden you get someone saying as Chief Chell and Commissioner Daughtry was saying, listen, y'all need to stop attacking these officers that are placing their lives on the line and these guys are saying that it's not acceptable anymore. I think everyone can take a course on how to be more just kinder in how you interact with each other. Go look at some of those tweets from some, a small number of those City Council people. You're calling us fascists? Come on.

[Crosstalk.]

Mayor Adams: You just remind me of an old school solid journalist you know.

Question: I have a question about the pot shops if you could bring the sheriff in. How do you estimate how many illegal pot shops there are in the city? How many do you think there are?

Sheriff Miranda: It's been fairly reported, there are a little less than 2,900 locations that have been identified for investigation. We get that information from community complaints. We also get that information from the Police Department, elected officials and anyone else who makes the observation. School principals, PTA parents who see their kids go into the locations. They're reported for investigation. We have that many locations that require an investigation. Just because somebody says it so doesn't mean it's so. We do the appropriate investigations and inspections to verify.

Question: I know you had a busy schedule in Italy, but was there anything that you missed? If you were to go back, what would you want to do in Italy?

Mayor Adams: Again, and I encourage everyone to go to the Jewish Ghetto there. To put out an edict that a wall was built around a community and they had to live only in that community and they had to be back there by sundown. I didn't know that. Part of our history books is history and it leaves out a lot. Walking through that community and interacting with the people and learning the history of that was important. At the same time, as I said, I would love to spend more time going through the mosque that I visited. As I said, it is the largest mosque in Europe. What they're doing with the young people there is really profound. It's a beautiful place.

When you combine… I thought that the other parts of the world where you see the intersectionality of religion. When you combine the three there and you are able to spend more time there, I would love to have spent more time and just really digging in the history of those three areas. Rome means a lot because the Vatican is there. As you walk through the Sistine Chapels and you walk through there, it means a lot. Some years ago, when Tracey and I visited the Middle East and we spent the night in the desert there and realized how significant that place was and what it meant. It's just that I would like to spend more time there. This was my second visit to Rome, but I would like to spend more time and really explore it more.

Question: Two questions, one regarding the killing of Win Rozario by the NYPD. Will there be any consequences for the officer involved in killing Mr. Rozario? Will there be a review and revision of de-escalation tactics employed by the NYPD? Second question regarding the budget cuts to Community Food Connection. In your spending plan, this is the same program you doubled in funding previously. It helps feed struggling families and children. Where are the cuts being made and do you plan to meet the City Council's call to fund at minimum $60 million annually for the program?

Mayor Adams: No, which cuts were these? I didn't get the cuts. Which cuts?

Question: To the Community Food Connection. Your spending plan…

Mayor Adams: DM Williams-Isom can go over that. The unfortunate shooting is going to take its process. We have to constantly find ways of how we deal with those who are in danger to themselves and others and they're dealing with severe mental health issues or they're in a moment of a crisis. This has been a challenge for as long, I remember 1984, sent inside my Police Academy class and Eleanor Bumpurs was shot in that class by Officer Sullivan when they were trying to do an eviction, she came after them with a butcher knife and a shield was put in place.

I remember how angry I was as a rookie sitting inside that Police Academy class. Hearing about when that announcement came in. I got into a real problem because I got into a debate with my instructor about it. These are painful incidents. This stuff moves and we have to continue to look across the globe on how do we minimize the loss of life of the person involved, the family members that are involved, and the city employees who respond. We have not figured it out completely yet. We have to. I'm committed, from back in 1984, sitting in that academy class. I know what I felt when Eleanor Bumpurs was shot. I can only imagine what people feel now. We didn't get it right back then completely. I don't think we have it 100 percent right now. We need to continue to evolve to get it right the best way we can. We do the best we can not to have innocent people killed. We need to continue to evolve until we can be 100 percent.

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: The food program, we're going to be working very closely with the council looking at that program. It's an important program. It's part of the budget process. We're going to be working very closely with them.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Good, how are you?

Mayor Adams: Good to see you. Good to see you. Anybody that views these off topics at home, they say you are the fan favorite.

Question: Quick, mayor, we're almost at Memorial Day. I was wondering if we could check in on how the lifeguard shortage is going. As soon as the ocean beaches open Memorial Day, and then the public swimming pools open later, are they going to be able to bring in youth swimming programs for the young students, or is the shortage situation still not fully staffed up yet?

Mayor Adams: DM Joshi, she can go into that. Let me just take your imagination for a moment. If we had a migrant and asylum seeker plan that states those jobs that we are in high demand, we could expedite. How do we have a large body of people that are in our city and country that are excellent swimmers, and at the same time we need lifeguards? The only obstacle is that we won't give them the right to work to become a lifeguard. That just doesn't make sense. If we had a plan that said you have a shortage of food service workers and those who fit the criteria, we're going to expedite you. If you have the experience that you are a nurse, which you have a nursing shortage, and we will expedite you. It's the same with lifeguards. We have all these eligible people waiting to work with the skills we need to fill the jobs, but we're unable to allow them to work because bureaucracy is in the way. That just does not make sense. DM Joshi, can you tell us about the lifeguards?

Deputy Mayor Joshi: I'm happy to report that although the qualifying test period has finished, so we can't bring in new qualified lifeguards, we have 560 people that qualified. That means they pass the test. It's an extremely rigorous test. It's one of the most rigorous lifeguard tests in the region. Last year, comparatively, we had 364. So, we're starting with a much larger new lifeguard qualifying group. They still have to go through training. Those are first timers. We'll have those that are returning, and they'll recertify. We don't have those numbers yet, but we are really proud of the new lifeguard recruitment, and I want to hats off to the Parks Department.

They did an excellent ad campaign early in the season to make sure that people knew about this opportunity, and it shows in the numbers. As far as Learn to Swim, we'll continue those programs. It's dependent on the levels of lifeguards that we get. The more lifeguards we get, the more we can do Learn to Swim program, and that also translates into the ability to open the entire pools like High Bridge where it's a very big pool and sometimes we have to close off portions of it, as well as our beaches.

Question: What's the starting salary now for a lifeguard? I know it went up.

Deputy Mayor Joshi: Yes, there's still some negotiation going on, but we were able to continue the higher starting salary that was in place last year. I can get you the exact number, but it is in the 20s per hour, and it's on par with what is being paid around the region.