MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: September 14, 2020

A look at the news making local and national headlines. This week our panel features political commentator and CUNY Professor J.C. Polanco, noted author, associate professor of political science at Rutgers University and a senior scholar at that school’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, Dr. Saladin Ambar and NY Daily News editorial board member, Laura Nahmias.

AIRED: September 14, 2020 | 0:28:16
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH

RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND

JENNA FLANAGAN.

>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE

BY

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER,

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD,

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN

FAMILY,

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ,

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON,

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN

FOUNDATION.

>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO

METRO FOCUS.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN, AND IT'S

TIME FOR OUR WEEKLY FRONT PAGE

FORECAST.

EVERY MONDAY NIGHT WE'RE

BRINGING YOU A LOOK AHEAD AT THE

NEWS MAKING NATIONAL AND LOCAL

HEADLINES AND HOW IT IMPACTS THE

TRI-STATE.

TONIGHT, WE'LL EXAMINE THE

LATEST CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING

NEW YORK CITY'S PLAN TO REOPEN

PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

WE'LL ALSO LOOK AT THE FALLOUT

FROM BOB WOODWARD'S EXPLOSIVE

INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP

ON WHAT THE PRESIDENT KNEW ABOUT

THE CORONAVIRUS AND WHEN,

SPECIFICALLY, HE KNEW IT.

WE'LL ALSO DISCUSS NEW YORK

CITY'S CONTENTIOUS DECISION TO

MOVE HOMELESS RESIDENTS OFF OF

THE UPPER WEST SIDE.

LET'S GET INTO IT.

BACK WITH ME TONIGHT ARE LAURA.

>> HELLO.

>> HI, LAURA.

SHE'S A MEMBER OF THE NEW YORK

DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL BOARD.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED AGAIN BY JC.

>> GREAT TO BE WITH YOU.

>> HE'S A POLITICAL COMMENTATOR,

ATTORNEY, AND ON FACULTY OF

UNIVERSITY.

HE WAS ALSO PRESIDENT OF THE NEW

YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS.

AND WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY SALA

DID INE.

>> HI, JENNA ZBLAES A NOTED

AUTHOR AND ADVISER AT RUTGERS

UNIVERSITY AND A SENIOR SCHOLAR

OF THE EAGLE INSURANCE STUFT

POLITICS.

I'D LIKE TO WELCOME MY ENTIRE

ROUNDTABLE.

LET'S GET STARTED WITH THE

BIGGEST NEWS THAT HAPPENED OR

WILL CONTINUE TO FALL OUT, AND

THAT, OF COURSE, WAS PRESIDENT

TRUMP'S INTERVIEW WITH BOB

WOODWARD.

OKAY.

SO, BOB WOODWARD RELEASED THESE

TAPES INDICATING THAT THE

PRESIDENT WAS FULLY AWARE OF THE

DANGEROUS, THE CONTAGIOUSNESS,

AND WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE THE

FALLOUT OF THE CORONAVIRUS.

AND ON THE TAPES WE HEARD HIM

SAY THAT HE PREFERS TO PLAY IT

DOWN, HE'S A CHEERLEADER FOR THE

NATION.

SO, ACTUALLY, PROFESSOR, I WANT

TO START WITH YOU JUST FROM YOUR

POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE.

DO YOU SEE THE RELEASE OF THIS

INFORMATION BEING DAMAGING TO

THE PRESIDENT OR ARE WE SO FAR

DOWN A ROAD WHERE EVERYONE IS IN

THEIR POLITICAL CAMP, EVEN THIS

DOESN'T MATTER?

>> WELL, JENNA, LET ME DATE

MYSELF AND TELL YOU I WAS

GROWING UP IN THE REAGAN YEARS

WHEN PRESIDENT REAGAN WAS KNOWN

AS THE TEFLON PRESIDENT.

I HAVE TO SAY DONALD TRUMP IS

THE TEFLON PRESIDENT IF HE CAN

GET AWAY WITH ESSENTIALLY SAYING

THAT I -- NOT VIRTUALLY, HE SAID

IT IN SO MANY WORDS, I LIKE

PLAYING THIS DOWN, I CONTINUE TO

PLAY THIS DOWN.

HE WAS VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD

ABOUT ACKNOWLEDGING TO WOORD

WOODWARD THAT THE AMERICAN

PEOPLE DIDN'T NEED TO KNOW THIS.

AND WE'RE SUFFERING THE

CONSEQUENCES TODAY.

SO, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WE ARE

FRANKLY IN A BIT OF A CULT

PERSONALITY RATHER THAN A

POLITICAL MOMENT WITH PRESIDENT

TRUMP.

AND I DON'T HAVE MUCH HOPE THAT

THIS WILL DO ANY KIND OF DAMAGE

OR SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO HIS

POLITICAL STANDING.

SEEMS HIS FOLLOWERS, HIS

BELIEVERS, AND I HATE TO USE

THAT WORD, I'M NOT TRYING TO --

>> WHICH WORD, FOLLOWER OR

BELIEVER?

>> BELIEVERS.

BUT I'M NOT TRYING TO BE CHEEKY,

BUT WHAT I AM SAYING IS THAT

THIS IS NOT THE BEHAVIOR OF

PEOPLE WHO ARE MEMBERS OF A

POLITICAL PARTY.

THIS IS SOMETHING MORE THAN

THAT.

WHEN HE SAID HE COULD SHOOT

SOMEONE ON FIFTH AVENUE AND GET

AWAY WITH IT, PERHAPS HE KNEW

MORE THAN WHAT HE EVEN KNEW OR

THOUGHT AT THE TIME.

AND SO, NO, I DON'T SEE IT

REALLY DOING SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE

TO HIM.

>> JC, HOW DO YOU -- I'M SORRY,

WHAT WERE YOU GOING TO SAY?

>> I WAS JUST GOING TO SAY THAT

IN ORDER FOR THIS TO NOT DO

DAMAGE TO HIM, THE AMERICAN

PEOPLE HAVE TO NOT AGREE ON A

COMMON SET OF FACTS.

THEY HAVE TO NOT BELIEVE OR EVEN

BE AWARE THAT THEY WERE BEING

LIED TO.

WE HAVE TO HAVE A COMMON

UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS A LIE

AND WHAT IS THE TRUTH.

AND ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE

STRATEGIES OF AUTHORITARIAN

GOVERNMENTS THROUGHOUT HISTORY

HAS BEEN DISCREDITING THE MEDIA

AND INDEPENDENT PRESS AND TAKING

OVER OR CREATING CONFUSION ABOUT

WHAT IS ACCURATE INFORMATION AND

WHAT ISN'T.

AND I THINK THIS PRESIDENT HAS

NEWLY EXPLOITED THAT POSSIBILITY

AND THAT POTENTIAL IN AMERICA

AND VERY MUCH TO -- TO HIS OWN

BENEFIT, PARTICULARLY IN THIS

KIND OF SITUATION.

>> WELL, JC, AGAIN, JUST GET

YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW THIS COULD

AFFECT OUR CURRENT POLITICAL

GROUNDWORK RIGHT NOW OR EVEN

DOES IT AFFECT IT?

DID IT DOES SEEM FOR A CERTAIN

PORTION OF THE POPULATION THIS

IS JUST SOMETHING ELSE TO SHRUG

OFF AS FAKE NEWS OR NOT THE

TRUTH OR SOMETHING ALONG THOSE

LINES.

>> WELL, IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW

HOW IMPORTANT BOB WOODWARD IS TO

THE UNITED STATES AND OUR

HISTORY WHETHER IT'S HIS WORK

WITH DEEP THROAT, THE BUSH'S

WAR, BALM'S WAR, FEAR, THIS

BOOK.

AND IT SEEMS THAT THE AUTHOR HAS

CONTRIBUTED MORE TO THE INNER

WORKINGS TO THE MINDSET OF SOME

OF THESE PRESIDENTS IN

CONTEMPORARY HISTORY AT LEAST

THAN BOB WOODWARD.

SO ANYONE WHO SITS WITH BOB

WOOR

WOODWARD THIS IS GOING TO BE THE

REAL DEAL HOLY FIELD.

IT'S NOT GOING TO BE LET'S HOLD

HANDS AND SING KUMBAYA.

THIS IS NOT A SOFT PIECE.

HE KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT HE'S

DOING.

I DON'T KNOW WHO CONVINCED HIM

TO SIT DOWN WITH BOB WOODWARD

BUT HE'S THE BEST IN THE PIECE.

WHEN HE'S GONE, HIS WORK WILL

CONTINUE TO LIVE ON.

AS FAR AS HOW THIEM S IMPACTS T

PRESIDENT, THE BASE HAS A BASE I

CAN EXPLAIN.

NOTHING AFFECTS THE BASE.

THIS WILL PLAY A ROLE IN 2020

WHERE ARE AND THAT'S THE

INDEPENDENT VOTER.

THE REAL INDEPENDENT VOTER.

THE VOTER WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA OR

WHO VOTED FOR TRUMP, WHO WOULD

VOTE FOR BIDEN, THESE ARE VOTERS

THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, WOULD VOTE

FOR CANDIDATE AND MAY HAVE SAT

ON THE FENCE LAST TIME BUT WE

HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THIS

ELECTION WAS DECIDED BY WHAT

AMOUNTS TO A LESS THAN A SOUTH

KOREA STADIUM FILLED TO CAPACITY

IN THREE STATES AND A HAND FULL

OF COUNTIES.

TO YOUR LARGER QUESTION, DOES

THIS AFFECT THE BASE?

ABSOLUTELY NOT.

THERE'S NOTHING, NOTHING AT ALL

THAT AFFECTS THE BASE.

BUT I'VE GOT TO ADD SOMETHING.

A LITTLE PUSHBACK TO THE MEDIA,

JUST A LITTLE BIT.

IT'S TRUE, LAURA, YOU'RE

ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

ONE OF THE SIGNS OF AN

AUTHORITARIANIST CREATING A

SITUATION WHERE THE PEOPLE NO

LONGER BELIEVE IN THE MEDIA, I

HAVE TO ADMIT THERE HAS BEEN

MANY THINGS THE MEDIA HAS DONE

THE LAST FEW YEARS THAT

CONTRIBUTES TO HIS STRATEGY,

WHETHER IT'S GOING OVERBOARD ON

UNNAMED SORT OF SOURCES OR

ANONYMOUS SOURCES, AND CREATING

AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE IT KEEPS

HIM -- WHETHER IT BE THE RUSSIAN

INVESTIGATION AND THE FACT THAT

IT LED TO NOWHERE IN THE MINDSET

OF THE PUBLIC AT LARGE.

WHETHER WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

IMPEACHMENT, WHERE HE DIDN'T

HAVE ENOUGH VOTES TO GET HIM OUT

OF OFFICE AND YOU KNEW THAT WAS

GOING TO BE A RISK.

AND THERE'S HAVE BELITTLE TBEEN

VERY LITTLE TALK ON THE DNC

ABOUT IMPEACHMENT.

THE MEDIA HAS ACTUALLY HELPED

HIM.

LET'S NOT MENTION THE COUNTLESS

HOURS OF COVERAGE GETS ON

EVERYTHING HE DOES, EVEN ON

DISINTEREST OR LEFT OF CENTER

MEDIA.

THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS THAT THE

MEDIA THINK IS HELPING A PERSON

LIKE PRESIDENT TRUMP --

>> LAURA, SINCE THAT WAS

DIRECTED AT YOU, I'D LOVE TO GET

YOUR THOUGHTS.

>> I THINK JC'S ABSOLUTELY

RIGHT.

I THINK THAT THIS PRESIDENT

KNOWS MORE THAN ANY POLITICIAN

I'VE SEEN HOW TO EXPLOIT WHAT

ARE THE WEAKNESSES IN -- IN

AMERICAN MEDIA, WHICH IS A

FOR-PROFIT.

MOST OUTLETS ARE FOR PROFIT.

THEY HAVE PROFIT MOTIVE, THEY

NEED TO DRAW EYES, SUBSCRIBERS,

VIEWERS, AND THAT IS SOMETIMES

AT ODDS WITH WHAT THEIR STATED

MISSION IS.

WHICH IS TO GIVE THE PUBLIC THE

BEST AND MOST IMPORTANT

INFORMATION.

I MEAN, THAT'S BEEN TRUE FOR

OUTLETS IN AMERICA, NEWS

ORGANIZATIONS THROUGHOUT

HISTORY.

WE HAVEN'T ALWAYS BEEN SUCH

HIGH-MINDED, IDEALISTIC ACTORS.

AND I THINK THAT TRUMP, YOU'RE

ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, HAS

EFFECTIVELY EXPLOITED ALL OF

THOSE FLAWS AND WEAKNESSES IN

THE WAY THAT MEDIA FUNCTIONS IN

AMERICA.

AND I THINK THE NEWS

ORGANIZATIONS ARE TRYING VERY

HARD TO HAVE AN ACCOUNTING OF

THAT AND WHAT MISTAKES THEY MADE

AND HOPEFULLY -- HOPEFULLY THEIR

SELF-EXAMINATION RESULTS IN

BETTER RESULTS AND ON MORE

INFORMED LECT

INFOR

INFORMED ELECTORATES IN THE

FUTURE.

>> I'D LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR

WHAT SOUNDS LIKE A VOTE FOR LOW

KEY MEDIA.

I WANT TO STICK WITH THIS

BECAUSE THERE WAS ALSO A LOT OF

OUTRAGE AND INDIGNATION OVER THE

FACT THAT BOB WOODWARD SAT ON

THIS INFORMATION FOR MONTHS.

WE HAVE CLOSE TO 200,000

AMERICAN LIVES THAT HAVE BEEN

LOST, AND HAD, PERHAPS, PEOPLE

KNOWN WHAT THE PRESIDENT KNEW

EARLIER ON, THAT MAYBE SOME OF

THOSE LIVES COULD HAVE BEEN

SAVED.

SO I JUST WANT TO GET,

ESPECIALLY YOUR OPINION AS AN

EDITOR, FROM A JOURNALISTIC

PERSPECTIVE, IS THAT ETHICAL DO

THAT?

>> I -- WELL, I'M NOT BOB

WOODWARD, I DON'T KNOW -- MAYBE

I WISH I WERE.

I -- ALL REPORTERS HAVE BEEN IN

A PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE A STORY

THAT YOU ARE WORKING ON OR A

PRODUCT OR A BOOK OR SOMETHING

AND YOU HOLD ON TO INFORMATION

THAT YOU GATHER OVER THE COURSE

OF REPORTING AND HOLD IT FOR THE

FINISHED PRODUCT.

I DID SEE BOB WOODWARD SAY THAT

HE WAS TRYING TO -- HE DIDN'T

KNOW AT THE TIME HOW BAD WHAT

TRUMP SAID WAS.

PARTICULARLY ABOUT WHETHER OR

NOT THE FACT THAT TRUMP SAID HE

KNEW THE VIRUS WAS AIRBORNE,

IT'S TAKEN MANY MONTHS FOR

SCIENTISTS TO REACH THE

CONCLUSION SINCE FEBRUARY/MARCH

THAT ACTUALLY THE VIRUS IS

LIKELY AIRBORNE.

BUT, HIS DOWN-PLAYING OF THE

VIRUS, I MEAN, IS IT BOB

WOODWARD'S ROLE TO INFORM THE

PUBLIC OR IS IT TO WRITE A BOOK

THAT IS GOING TO SELL?

IS IT BOTH?

DO THOSE THINGS CLASH WITH EACH

OTHER?

IT'S POSSIBLE.

IN HINDSIGHT IT IS ALWAYS 20/20.

SOMETIMES YOU LOOK AT YOUR

INTERVIEW NOETSDSTES AND LOOK O

THEM AND IT DOESN'T DAWN ON YOU

WHAT'S BEING SAID HOW MOMENTOUS

SOMETHING IS THAT BEEN SAID TO

YOU.

THAT HAPPENS AS WELL.

BUT THAT WAS DEFINITELY

BOMBSHELL INFORMATION TO SIT ON

FOR SUCH A LONG TIME WHEN SO

MANY -- HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF

AMERICANS HAVE DIED.

>> SO CERTAINLY TOUGH CALL.

BUT, WITH ALL OF THAT IN MIND,

THEN, SO WE NOW HAVE THIS

PANDEMIC THAT HAS STRETCHED ON.

WE'VE LOST, LIKE I SAID, 200,000

OR CLOSE TO 200,000 AMERICAN

LIVES.

AND WE HAVE A NEW SCHOOL YEAR

UNDER WAY.

SO I WANT TO START WITH YOU,

PROFESSOR, AND JUST GET YOUR

THOUGHTS ON THE FACT THAT THIS

STILL DOES NOT SEEM CLEAR.

WE NOW HAVE TEACHERS, AT LEAST

IN NEW YORK CITY, WHO ARE

RESISTING OR NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE

IDEA OF HAVING TO GO INTO THE

CLASSROOM, EVEN THOUGH THEY'VE

SORT OF STARTED VIRTUALLY.

WE'RE HEARING STORIES, OF

COURSE, FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY

WHERE KIDS ARE GETTING SICK,

SOME TEACHERS HAVE GOTTEN SICK.

SOME TEACHERS HAVE DIED.

WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US?

BECAUSE THIS DOESN'T SEEM LIKE

THIS IS A SHORT-TERM FIX THAT WE

NEED.

WE NEED SOMETHING A LONG-TERM

PLAN THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO EXIST.

>> WELL, I THINK THE COUNTRIES

THAT HAVE GOTTEN THIS RIGHT, AND

THERE ARE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE

GOTTEN THIS RIGHT, ARE THOSE

WITH, YOU KNOW, NO QUALMS ABOUT,

YOU KNOW, UTILIZING A STRONG

SAFETY NET TO HELP WITH CHILD

CARE, TO HELP WITH SUPPLEMENTAL

INCOME.

I THINK WE'VE TOLD PEOPLE YOU

HAVE $1,200, GOOD LUCK.

WE HAVE NOT ATTACKED THE PROBLEM

NATIONALLY AND COMPREHENSIVELY.

IT'S BEEN AD-HOC AND

PATCHWORKED.

THIS PANDEMIC IS REVEALING ALL

OF THE FLAWS WITH OUR GENERAL

WELFARE SYSTEM WHICH IS PART OF

OUR CONSTITUTION.

WE HAVE RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES,

AND PART OF THOSE RIGHTS AND

LIBERTIES AS FDR TRIED TO TEACH

US SOME 80 YEARS AGO IS THE

RIGHT TO, YOU KNOW, A DECENT

LIVING, TO A DECENT WAGE.

YOU KNOW, THE RIGHT TO RAISE

YOUR KIDS AND BE A PRODUCTIVE,

WORKING PERSON.

AND IT'S HARD TO BE UPSET WITH

FAMILIES WHO ARE UPSET WITH THE

SYSTEM RIGHT NOW WHICH IS

TELLING THEM -- SOME OF THEM

ANYWAY, GO BACK TO WORK WHILE

THEIR CHILDREN ARE IN SCHOOLS

POSSIBLY GETTING SICK.

AND IF THEY WERE TO STAY HOME,

THEN WHO WOULD MIND THOSE

CHILDREN IF THEY HAVE TO BE AT

WORK?

IT'S A VICIOUS CYCLE THAT FEEDS

UPON ITSELF THAT IS REALLY, YOU

KNOW, A RESULT OF OUR INABILITY

TO PRIORITIZE, YOU KNOW, A KIND

OF BOTTOM LINE UNDERSTANDING OF

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A

CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY AND WHAT

ARE WE ENTITLED TO?

WHAT ARE WE OBLIGATED TO?

WHAT ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES?

BUT WHAT ARE OUR EXPECTATION AS

CITIZENS?

WE HAVE A NATIONAL PANDEMIC OF

AN EPIC SCALE.

WE ARE APPROACHING CIVIL WAR

DEATH PROPORTION, AND FRANKLY

IT'S JUST, YOU KNOW, AN EXAMPLE

OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM IN

THE WORST.

GIVEN THE FACT THAT CANADA IS

NOT EXPERIENCING THIS PROBLEM IN

THIS WAY WITH THIS LEVEL OF

SUFFERING, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA,

THERE ARE A HOST OF COUNTRIES,

GERMANY THAT ARE MANAGING THIS.

IF EVERYONE WAS, YOU KNOW,

MISMANAGING IT, THE CRISIS AS WE

ARE, THEN I THINK WE COULD TALK

ABOUT THIS BEING JUST SOMETHING

THAT'S -- CANNOT BE HELPED, AS

TRUMP TOLD WOODWARD IN THE IS

SOMETHING THAT COULD NOT BE

DEALT WITH.

THAT'S NOT TRUE.

OTHER COUNTRIES ARE DEALING WITH

IT AND DOING A FAR BETTER JOB.

WE HAVE TO COME TO GRIPS WITH

THAT AS A COUNTRY IF WE WANT TO

REMAIN NOT JUST A POWERFUL

COUNTRY BUT A COMPASSIONATE

COUNTRY GOING INTO THE LATTER

PART OF THE 21st 20.

>> I WELL, AGAIN HERE IN NEW

YORK WE'RE HEARING STORIES THAT,

LIKE I SAID, TEACHERS ARE SAYING

THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GO

INTO THE CLASSROOM TO TEACH WHEN

CLASSES FORMALLY START.

WE ALSO HAVE SOME PRINCIPALS

SAYING THAT THEY DON'T HAVE

ENOUGH STAFF TO RUN THE SCHOOL.

FOR LACK OF A BETTER

DESCRIPTION, WHAT IS GOING ON?

>> FIRST, LET ME PUSH BACK A

LITTLE BIT.

I THINK THAT -- I THINK THERE IS

INCREDIBLE AMERICAN

EXCEPTIONALISM THAT WE CAN LOOK

BACK, LOOK AT OUR FIRST

RESPONDERS, LOOK AT OUR DOCTORS,

LOOK AT OUR NURSES, LOOK AT HOW

THE MEDIA, YOURSELF, JENNA, LOOK

HOW WE AS A SOCIETY HAVE PULLED

TOGETHER TO DEAL WITH THIS

CRISIS AND PANDEMIC.

I THINK WE'VE DONE AN INCREDIBLE

JOB.

WE'RE AN INCREDIBLE COUNTRY IN

THAT WE TAKE CARE OF OUR

POOREST.

IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD HEALTH

INSURANCE, WE PROVIDE MEDICAID.

THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN

INCREDIBLE PROVIDING FOOD, AND

MONEY TO COUNTRIES WHO NEED IT.

WE'RE NOT PERFECT, FAR FROM IT.

BUT AS THE SON OF IMMIGRANTS

THERE'S NO PLACE BETTER THAN US.

WE HAVE A SHORT COMING RIGHT NOW

THAT I THINK WE'RE ALL

EXPERIENCING TOGETHER.

WE SEE AN ADMINISTRATION THAT'S

BEEN SLOW TO REACT IN SOME

PARTS.

WE'VE SEEN A CONGRESS THAT'S

GONE BACK HOME AND NOT TAKEN

CARE OF FUNDING THE EXTRA MONEY

THAT IS NEEDED SO THAT FAMILIES

CAN STAY HOME WITH THEIR KIDS,

AS THE PROFESSOR JUST MENTIONED,

WHICH I THINK IS AN IMPORTANT

POINT.

I THINK THERE'S A LOT FOR US DO.

AS FAR AS OUR CHILDREN FOR NEW

YORK CITY, I DO THINK IT'S A

SHAME THAT IT'S NOW GOING TO THE

SECOND WEEK OF SEPTEMBER AND OUR

PARENTS ARE STILL IN LIMBO.

I THINK THAT THE SOLUTION FROM

THE VERY BEGINNING, LIKE I

MENTIONED TO YOU BEFORE, JENNA,

WHEN ALL OF THIS START AND WE

CAME BACK, WAS WE NEEDED TO DO

WHAT THE CITY OF UNIVERSITY OF

NEW YORK WHERE I'M AT WHEN WHICH

IS MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE'S

FULLY TRAINED ON TEACHING

STUDENTS ONLINE SO THAT THEY GET

A QUALITY EDUCATION ONLINE AND A

QUALITY SYNCHRONOUS EDUCATION

USING VARIOUS SOFTWARE, USING

BLACKBOARD, PROVIDING STUDENTS

WITH LAPTOPS AND WIFI IF THEY

NEED IT.

MAKING SURE THAT PARENTS KNOW

WHAT'S GOING ON BY CONTINUOUSLY

EMAILING THEM THE INFORMATION

THAT THEY NEED.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE A COMPUTE, HE

NEW YORK CITY PROVIDES THAT FOR

YOU.

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK

PROVIDES IT FOR ITS STUDENTS.

THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS WE CAN

DO LIKE THE PROFESSOR JUST

MENTIONED, WE CAN PROVIDE THE

FUNDING FOR COMPUTERS AND

TRAINING AND MAKE SURE THAT

PARENTS HAVE THE TOOLS SO THAT

THE STUDENTS CAN DO WELL.

BUT I REALLY THINK THAT THE CITY

REALLY DROPPED THE BALL.

WE KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO BE A

PROBLEM HEADING INTO THE FALL.

THERE MAY BE A SECOND WAVE.

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO SNTHEN?

I KNOW TEACHERS ARE GETTING BEAT

UP REGULARLY.

YOU CAN'T FORCE PEOPLE TO WORK.

THESE ARE LICENSED

PROFESSIONALS.

PEOPLE LOVE WHAT THEY DO.

THEY'RE NOT GETTING PAID A LOT

OF MONEY.

YOU TELL THEM TO GO OUT THERE

AND PUT THEMSELVES AT RISK, GIVE

THEM THE TOOLS NECESSARY SO THEY

KNOW HOW TO TEACH OUR STUDENTS

IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE USING

ONLINE SYSTEMS.

THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT YOU

CAN'T FORCE THE TEACHERS TO DO

SOMETHING THAT'S NOT ONLY

AGAINST THEIR WILL, BUT IT'S

DANGEROUS TO THEM.

WE HAVE TO BE THOUGHTFUL ABOUT

THIS.

SORRY IF I SPOKE TOO LONG.

>> THAT'S FINE.

THAT WAS AN EXCELLENT POINT YOU

MADE.

AGAIN, SO MUCH NUANCE AND

SUBTLETY THAT GOES INTO THIS

THAT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO

BE ABLE TO SUS THAT OUT.

WE TALKED ABOUT FAMILIES DEALING

WITH GOING BACK TO SCHOOL AND

HOW CHALLENGING THAT IS.

BUT THINK WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

MIDDLE CLASS OR WORKING CLASS

FAMILIES.

WE'VE -- UNFORTUNATELY, NEW YORK

CITY HAD A HOMELESS CRISIS

BEFORE THE PANDEMIC HIT.

AND NOW WE'RE, OF COURSE, WITH

THIS ADDITIONAL CRISIS OF THE

CORONAVIRUS WE'RE SEEING THAT

ALSO GET AEXACERBATED.

ONE OF THE AREAS WHERE THAT HAS

BEEN A FLASH POINT HAS BEEN THE

UPPER WEST SIDE.

AND WE UNDERSTAND NOW THAT THE

MAYOR HAS A PLAN TO MOVE SOME OF

THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PUT INTO

HOTELS JUST TO GIVE THEM A PLACE

TO STAY AND TO GET THEM OFF THE

STREET ELSEWHERE AND THAT THIS

IS UNSEEMLY, I GUESS, IN THE

EYES SOME OF PEOPLE WHO ARE

ADVOCATES, AT LEAST, FOR THE

HOMELESS, ET CETERA.

SO, LAURA, JUST TO SORT OF GET

THE STORY AT LEAST FROM YOU, CAN

YOU GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS ON

WHAT IT IS THAT WE'RE SEEING

HAPPEN?

WHAT'S PLAYING OUT RIGHT NOW ON

THE UPPER WEST SIDE?

>> WHAT'S HAPPENING IS A PERFECT

EXAMPLE OF THE WORST POLITICAL

INSTINCTS OF MAYOR de BLASIO,

UNFORTUNATELY.

FOR MONTHS, THE CITY HAD BEEN --

BECAUSE OF THE ONGOING HEALTH

EMERGENCY -- TAKING SINGLE ADULT

HOMELESS RESIDENTS OUT OF

SHELTERS WHERE THEY WERE

CONGREGATE AND THEY COULD NOT

SOCIAL DISTANCE SAFELY AND

PLACING THEM INTO HOTELS WHERE

THEY COULD FIND THEM.

SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT GET SICK

AND DIE FROM CORONAVIRUS.

AND AS OF ABOUT A MONTH AGO, THE

CITY HAD SUCCESSFULLY MOVED MORE

THAN 9,000 OF THESE SINGLE

ADULTS INTO SHELTERS AND THEY

HAVE LOWERED THE NUMBER OF

ACTIVE CORONAVIRUS CASES AMONG

THE ENTIRE HOMELESS POPULATION.

MORE THAN 65,000 PEOPLE TO

SINGLE DIGITS OF ACTIVE

CORONAVIRUS CASES, WHICH IS SUCH

AN INCREDIBLE EFFORT ON THE PART

OF THE CITY TO PRESERVE PEOPLE'S

LIVES.

AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT THE

MAYOR SHOULD HAVE COME OUT AND

TALKED ABOUT AND HE ALSO SHOULD

HAVE BEEN MORE TRANSPARENT AND

ACKNOWLEDGED WHERE THERE WERE

MISTAKES MADE IN DECIDING AND

SELECTION OF WHERE TO PUT

PEOPLE.

ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES WAS

JUST THE VERY RECENT SELECTION

OF THIS HOTEL ON THE UPPER WEST

SIDE TO PUT PEOPLE -- THE

RESIDENTS HAD NO FOREWARNING OF

IT, IT WAS MUCH LATER THAN A LOT

OF THE OTHER HOTELS WERE OPENED

UP FOR RELOCATING SOME OF THESE

HOMELESS ADULTS.

AND THERE WERE COMMUNICATION

PROBLEMS AND THERE WERE

ENFORCEMENT PROBLEMS AND OPEN

AIR DRUG USE AND OTHER QUALITY

OF LIFE PROBLEMS.

THOSE THINGS COULD HAVE

CONCEIVABLY BEEN BETTER

ADDRESSED.

THEY SHOULD STILL BE ADDRESSED.

BUT THE MAYOR VISITED THIS ONE

SITE ONLY, ONE HOTEL OUT OF 63

COMMERCIAL HOTELS THAT THE CITY

WAS USING TO HOW'S SINGLE

ADULTS, SAW SOMETHING

UNACCEPTABLE, WHICH HE WOULDN'T

ELABORATE ON, AND DECIDED TO

MOVE PEOPLE OUT OF THAT HOTEL

ONLY.

AND THE HEALTH EMERGENCY IS NOT

OVER AND IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH

THIS, HE HAD TO MOVE HOMELESS

FAMILIES OUT OF A SHELTER IN

ORDER TO HOUSE THE MEN WHO WERE

BEING MOVED FROM THE UPPER WEST

SIDE.

I DON'T THINK ANYONE CAN REALLY

DISPUTE THAT THIS IS A TERRIBLE

WAY TO MAKE POLICY, TO PURSUE

IT -- A POLICY FOR THREE MONTHS

AND THEN TO UNILATERALLY DECIDE

ON THE BASIS OF A SINGLE

INCIDENT AT A HOTEL TO UNDO IT

BUT NOT ACROSS THE BOARD.

IT'S -- IT'S -- I MEAN, IT'S

ASTONISHING.

>> PROFESSOR, I SEE YOU SHAKING

YOUR HEAD.

I'D LOVE TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS.

>> YOU KNOW, JENNA, MY FIRST

POLITICAL ACT WAS AS A

15-YEAR-OLD YOUNG MAN WHO WORKED

WITH AN ORGANIZATION IN NEW

YORK.

WE TOOK PRIMARILY BLACK BUT ALSO

LATINO CHILDREN FROM NEW YORK

CITY'S WELFARE HOTELS AND WE

BROUGHT THEN TO ENFIELD, NORTH

CAROLINA, AND WE SPENT THE

SUMMER TEACHING THEM AND GETTING

THEM OUT OF THE CITY IN THE RAT

INFESTED ENVIRONMENTS THAT THEY

WERE AFFLICTED WITH AT THE TIME.

THIS WAS IN 1985.

I WAS A 15-YEAR-OLD DEALING WITH

CHILDREN LIVING IN HOMELESS

SHELTERED HOTELS.

AND I'M SHAKING MY HEAD BECAUSE

WHILE I APPRECIATE JC'S A LITTLE

MORE SANGUINE ABOUT THIS THAN I

AM.

WE ARE DEALING WITH AN ISSUE

THAT SAYS A GREAT DEAL ABOUT OUR

COMPASSION OR PRIORITIES AS A

NATION, THE HOMELESS CRISIS IS

WITH US AND THEY'RE

INTERRELATED.

THE STUDENT CRISIS AND THE

HOMELESS CRISIS ARE INTERRELATED

BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF

HOMELESSNESS AMONG NEW YORK

CITY'S STUDENT POPULATION.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO PUT A

LAPTOP IF YOU DON'T HAVE A HOME?

WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO CONNECT

IF YOU DON'T HAVE WIFI?

WHAT ABOUT THE VIOLENCE IN THE

HOME AND ALL OF THE RESOURCES

THAT ARE LACKING?

YOU KNOW, WE JUST, YOU KNOW,

THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT

MICROSOFT CAN FIX.

THIS IS A SYSTEMIC DEEP PROBLEM

THAT GOES BACK MANY DECADES AND

WE JUST HAVEN'T PRIORITIZED IT

BECAUSE THE HOMELESS HAVE NO --

ARE NOT A POLITICAL

CONSTITUENCY.

THEY'RE NOT A VOTING BLOCK THAT

ANYONE CARES ABOUT.

AND I HAVE TREMENDOUS RESPECT

FOR THOSE ADVOCATES THAT YOU

MENTIONED EARLIER IN YOUR

COMMENTS WHO DO THE DIRTY

WORKDAY IN AND DAY OUT TO LOOK

AFTER PEOPLE WHO POLITICIANS PAY

VERY LITTLE ATTENTION TO.

SO I'M SHAKING MY HEAD BECAUSE

I'VE BEEN AT THIS AS JUST A

PERSON OF COLOR, WHO GREW UP ON

WELFARE FOR A TIME, KNOWING THE

HOMELESSNESS, KNOWING PEOPLE

WHO, HOMELESS IN MY FAMILY FOR A

TIME, I WISH I COULD BE AS

SANGUINE AS JC ABOUT OUR CONCERN

AND CARE AND INTEREST IN THE

POOR BECAUSE I JUST DON'T SEE

IT.

IT'S A DEEP PROBLEM AND IT

DISTURBS ME.

>> JC, I HAVE TO GIVE YOU THE

LAST WORD.

>> WELL, I GREW UP POOR IN THE

BRONX AND I AM WHERE I AM

BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS

COUNTRY.

PEOPLE LIKE PROFESSOR AND LAURA

AND YOURSELF AND WHOR HAS

CONTRIBUTED TO MAKING THIS A

GREAT PLACE WHERE A KID WHO IS

THE SON OF IMMIGRANTS CAN MAKE

IT.

I KNOW WE'RE NOT PERFECT AND I

DIDN'T MEAN -- I WAS SURE TO SAY

THAT WE'RE NOT, BUT WE ARE

EXCEPTIONAL.

AS FAR AS THIS PROBLEM WITH THE

HOMELESS CRISIS, WHAT I HEAR

ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT

THE MAYOR SAW WITH HIS EYES,

THESE ARE ISSUES THAT I'M SURE

THE PROFESSOR AND LAURA, I SAW

GROWING UP IN THE CITY EVERY

DAY.

WE HAVE THESE HOTELS ALL OVER MY

BLOCK GROWING UP IN THE MUST

HAVE BEEN A CULTURE SHOCK FOR

THE FOLKS ON THE UPPER WEST

SIDE.

IT MAY HAVE MADE THE MAYOR

CLUTCH HIS PEARLS A LITTLE BIT.

BUT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE'VE

SEEN.

IT'S SOMETHING WE'VE DEALT WITH

AND IN OUR COMMUNITIES FOR A

LONG TIME.

AND FINALLY SOME PEOPLE THAT

NEVER EXPERIENCED IT GOT A

LITTLE FLAVOR OF IT AND DON'T

KNOW HOW TO HANDLE IT AND IT'S

TIME THEY GET SOME SENSITIVITY

TRAINING AND BE TAUGHT ON HOW TO

BEST DEAL WITH THESE ISSUES

OTHER THAN JUST MOVING PEOPLE

OUT AND CREATING THAT KIND OF

SHOCK FOR THE FAMILIES THAT HAVE

BEEN TAKEN OUT OF THERE.

NOT TO MENTION, A LOT OF THE

RESPONSES BY A LOT OF THE

NEIGHBORS THAT LIVE IN THE AREA,

I'M SURE THIS WASN'T SOMETHING

THAT THE MAYOR DID UNILATERALLY.

HE MUST HAVE GOTTEN A LOT OF

SUPPORT FROM THE PEOPLE IN THE

AREA TO GO AHEAD AND DO THIS.

SO I THINK THERE ARE A LOT THE

CITY NEEDS TO EXPERIENCE SOME OF

THIS DIVERSITY IN INCOME,

EVENI

ETHNICITY AND RELIGION AND SO

THEY CAN SEE WHAT SO MANY OTHER

PEOPLE IN THE CITY DEAL WITH ON

A REGULAR BASIS.

>> I WANT TO THANK MY ENTIRE

ROUNDTABLE FOR JOINING ME TODAY.

WE WILL CONTINUE TO SEE NOT ONLY

HOW THEE STORIESE STORIES PLAY

AS THIS NEWS CYCLE BRINGS US

STARTLING AND SOMETIMES SHOCKING

NEW INFORMATION.

I'D LIKE TO THANK AGAIN LAURA

FROM THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.

JC, FACULTY MEMBER AT QMBCC, AND

OF COURSE THANK YOU TO SALADINE

WITH THE RECORDS UNIVERSITY

POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT AND

OF COURSE THE EAGLETON INSTITUTE

OF POLITICS.

THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING ME AND

WE LOOK FORWARD TO ANOTHER

CONVERSATION.

>> THANK YOU.

>> HAVE A GOOD DAY.

THANK YOU.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE

BY

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER,

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD,

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN

FAMILY,

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ,

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON,

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN

FOUNDATION.