This week's #AskTheMayor with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed questions about Vision Zero, specifically.
But before getting to calls on the bike lobby, jaywalking, and more, the mayor addressed some of the latest city news, including the impending closure of Mount Sinai Beth Israel – "I’m not passing judgment" until we have the totality of the plan, he said – and Public Advocate Letitia James' latest crackdown on bad landlords.
Brian also pressed the mayor on his so-called "agents of the city" advisers and his refusal to disclose emails between an adviser and him under FOIL.
"People will ask, 'What are you hiding?'" said Brian.
The Mayor maintained that his administration has acted "appropriately" and conversations with close advisers should be "treated with some confidentiality."
"Where does the line get drawn?" Mayor de Blasio asked.
RUSH TRANSCRIPT: MAYOR DE BLASIO APPEARS LIVE ON WNYC’S BRIAN LEHRER SHOW
From the Office of the Mayor
Brian Lehrer: It’s the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Good morning everyone. We begin as is now customary on Fridays with our Ask the Mayor segment with Mayor Bill de Blasio. Hi Mr. Mayor, welcome back to WNYC.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, Brian.
Lehrer: And for the call-in portion of Ask the Mayor today we are going to try something different. We want to experiment with sometimes taking calls on a specific topic for the Mayor, and today as we head into the Memorial Day Weekend, we are going to make it the City’s Vision Zero initiative. So listeners you can ask specific vehicle and pedestrian safety questions that you have from your block, or your neighborhood, or broader Vision Zero policy questions are okay too – 2-1-2-4-3-3-WNYC, 4-3-3-9-6-9-2. And while people’s calls are coming in, I will ask you about a few different items Mr. Mayor. Let’s start with Vision Zero because I know you are doing outreach for Memorial Day, which we think is a good hook for our callers today too. And it is probably the most immediate life and death topic that we’ll discuss today, so what’s the City doing?
Mayor: Well Brian, we take Vision Zero very seriously we’ve already seen amazing success in driving down deaths of drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and injuries of course. And, it’s because its a much more rigorous enforcement approach. So in addition to the increased activity of giving out summonses on speeding and failure to yield to pedestrians, you are going to see lots of checkpoints this weekend – random checkpoints. We obviously don’t announce them in advance. NYPD will be out there checking to see particularly on evenings, because people are obviously having a good time – checking to see if people are driving under the influence. There will be breathalyzer tests given when necessary and you will see a real presence, and this is something that around holidays and times when we see spikes in crashes that we are going to be doing a lot more proactive activity like this to try and inhibit people from driving under the influence.
Lehrer: Did you see the stats that car crashes nationally are going up in the last year after declining for decades, and the rise is being attributed to more texting and cell phone use and more marijuana impairment?
Mayor: It does not surprise me, it is very sad but it does not surprise me one bit. You know I have noticed this for years and years and people have used their electric devices more and more. A really bad culture has set in and there has got to be much more enforcement, another area where we can enforce the law because we have clear laws on this in New York City – stopping people who do it even if it doesn’t result in a crash. Just the fact that someone is more focused on their screen than on the road is inherently dangerous. Literally, it could lead to someone losing their life, so it has to be much more education on this front and much more enforcement. Look, I am a believer in public education, Brian. I believe in all of the PSAs and all of the other things that we can do to get the word out. But I have also said many times – being pulled over by an NYPD officer and given a ticket is one of the best forms of education or what we do with the speed cameras. These are things that tell people there are real consequences, so we are going to make sure that happens as much as necessary including when it is people being impaired because they are using an electric device.
Lehrer: I see you also have new Taxi driver fatigue rules – also in the interest of safety on the roads, right?
Mayor: Absolutely, look this is something that has gone on for a long time but there has been some tragic—tragic incidents related to this. Right now – drivers—until these new rules that we put in place could have been driving for 16 hours a day, 18 hours a day straight. And obviously we know the longer you drive the more impaired you become and some of the statistics are amazing because it literally is the equivalent of driving under the influence of alcohol as you go farther and farther past 12 hours a day. So the Taxi and Limousine Commission has now introduced new rules that would limit drivers to 12 hours a day and 72 hours a week and this is about safety. And, there are very valid concerns about the income that drivers need and we are going to be working on that issue as well but the bottom line is safety always comes first. In everything we do. And if you’re driving more than 12 hours, even if you’re a great driver, unfortunately you could be a danger to others.
Lehrer: Next topic: you and Public Advocate Letitia James announced you’re cracking down on some of the City’s worst landlords. Want to tell us what that is and maybe give an example?
Mayor: Yes. And I want to say I really appreciate what Tish James is doing on this. We started something when I was Public Advocate called the Worst Landlords Watch List. And it was an effort to point out persistent violators of the law – landlords who didn’t provide heat and hot water repairs, etc. Tish James has continued that and deepened it. What we announced yesterday is we are using a law that was actually passed in 1962. The last time it was used in earnest was during Ed Koch’s administration. And it simply says when tenants are receiving public assistance and their building has a massive number of violations, the City has the ability to say we are not going to give the portion of the public assistance that’s rent to the landlord. Literally, we’re going to withhold the rent from the landlord directly. In effect, you know, what a tenant sometimes does during a rent strike, we’re going to do it directly because if the landlord is violating the law persistently and putting people in danger, we’re not going to give them public money. And we further will, if they don’t make repairs, we’ll go and make repairs ourselves – the City will do it – and then charge the landlord.
So there’s a real set of economic incentives and disincentives here, you know, real hitting them in the wallet. And it could lead, Brian, to going as far as putting the building in receivership or in fact bringing either civil or criminal charges against the landlord. So this is a law – I’m not 100 percent sure why it wasn’t used after the Koch administration because it’s a very valuable tool but we believe that more that bad landlords – and they are the minority of the landlords, but they’re a very pernicious minority – the more that bad landlords understand there are real economic consequences, the more we will change behavior.
Lehrer: Is there a pattern to whom or where the worst landlords are in the city? Does it have anything to do with getting rent stabilized tenants out or any other pattern?
Mayor: Yes, I think there are two patterns that I’ve seen. I’m thinking back also to my time as Public Advocate. There’s a pattern of the worst landlords afflict the poorest and most vulnerable New Yorkers. You see it a lot in neighborhoods with a lot of immigrants, a lot of folks who don’t speak English, a lot of folks who aren’t in a position to defend themselves. And yes, you see it also in gentrifying neighborhoods where tragically, you know, unscrupulous landlords think they have an opportunity to cash in by getting their perfectly law-abiding tenants out and then raising the rent. I want to remind all your listeners right now – if anyone, if you or anyone you know, is being illegally harassed or overcharged or evicted by a landlord in New York City, we know have a very aggressive initiative. All you got to do is pick up the phone and call 3-1-1, and if you are being treated illegally by your landlord the City will provide you a lawyer for free to defend your interest in housing court.
Lehrer: Next topic – Mt. Sinai’s plan to close Beth Israel Hospital. As we know it, on the Lower East Side, sell the big facility there for a profit and rebuild smaller with like 700 fewer hospital beds. Now you were out spoken about LICH closing in Brooklyn but I read today that you’re praising this plan, are you?
Mayor: No, I wouldn’t say praising. I would say there are elements that I appreciate, but the jury is decidedly out – that is the exact phrase I used yesterday. We’ve had some initial conversations with Mt. Sinai. We’ve seen some initial vision from them. What I said is I do appreciate that it does provide continuous emergency room care for the community, which is the number one issue always. It does provide additional – or ongoing I should say – mental health and substance abuse services. And union workers will not be laid off – those are good things. But the jury is still out because we don’t know the totality of the plan, and the City has a real role here. There’s a major land-use consideration, so we’re going to look at this very, very closely. I’m not passing judgement. I’m going to hold them to a very high standard.
What I want to make sure is that there is ample healthcare for that community, and that the public’s needs are recognized. And this time, what I can say Brian is that unlike in the past – I mean when I was involved in some of these issues in the past, there was no plan, no rhyme or reason, the City had a hands-off approach – we’re going to have a very hands-on approach to making sure that whatever happens here includes the kind of healthcare the community needs. We have to guarantee that the community around Beth Israel has what it needs.
Lehrer: Next topic – you know I don’t ask you much about polls. Your polls – like for every elected official have gone up and down with the latest news – and I rarely bring it up, but I wonder how much one number from the new Quinnipiac poll troubles you. On the question of whether you are honest and trustworthy, 60 percent said yes in the January Quinnipiac poll – you usually do well on that – just 43 percent said yes this week. How concerned are you about that?
Mayor: Well, I never get overly concerned about polls, Brian, in general. I don’t because they come and go all the time, and you know, you can debate the accuracy of any given poll. The real issue is – what are we doing for people’s lives? And I keep saying, you know, we’ve provided pre-K and afterschool, we have a huge affordable housing program, crime is down, stop-and-frisk is down, I’m very, very proud that we’ve done tangible things to improve the lives of New Yorkers across the board, and there’s a lot more to come.
But on that narrow question – look, I think it is telling that those numbers were very, very strong for two full years, and then there’s relentless negative headlines – of course, people are going to be influenced by them in the short term. I’ve told you – I’m very comfortable with this statement – when everything comes to light, we have done everything appropriately, legally. I’m very, very comfortable that the more the facts come out, the more we will be vindicated. And then I think the public will look at that and in fact say – okay, there were a lot of allegations thrown at this guy, but in the end there was nothing there. I’m very, very comfortable that then the public will be fair in their judgement.
Lehrer: What’s been in the news, as the poll is being taken last Wednesday through Monday is a lot of skeptical coverage about your five advisors who don’t work for the city, but you say their e-mails and other communications with you can be shielded from public scrutiny because they’re “agents of the city” even though they also represent other clients who want things from the city. And apparently, based on this poll, the public doesn’t understand how that can be or suspects that “agents of the city” is a dodge to hide something. Want to take another crack at explaining why this arrangement is in the public interest?
Mayor: Absolutely because look, I’ve said very clearly – these are folks who are advisors, and in some cases advisors for decades. I rely on them to think about the work I have to do to serve the people of New York City. And it’s perfectly appropriate that those conversations be done in a way that’s conducive. I think it’s appropriate I call them advisors – I think that’s the right phrase. Now, if any of them were ever to attempt to talk about a business matter related to a client – first of all, I wouldn’t allow it. Second of all, that would be something – of course that is discloseable – but what I’ve said from the beginning is they don’t talk to me about their clients and business matters with clients, they just don’t. I’ve been clear about it. They’ve been clear about it.
Lehrer: But people will ask what are you hiding? And they’ll jump to the conclusion that it’s something corrupt. And I’m not suggesting it’s anything corrupt, there’s been no evidence of that that’s been revealed – and the media should include that in our stories – but to that end will you say specific some of the legitimate things or specific kinds of things that are so important to keeps secret between you and your political advisors who also represent businesses that want from things from the taxpayers that you’re willing to bring all this suspicion on yourself?
Mayor: I don’t – I really appreciate the question, meaning I appreciate the integrity of the question, I just don’t agree with the premise at all. Here we have – for almost two-and-a-half years – consistently served the people of the city. The achievements are clear, and the integrity of this administration is clear because despite lots of allegations – and as I’ve said to you, lots of double standards – we have consistently abided by the law, disclosed what the law asks us to disclose, and gone farther, as you know, in the case of some of the organizations that I’ve worked with. And from my point of view, we’re doing things appropriately. Everything is based on legal guidance. I don’t make this stuff up. I turn to lawyers to guide me and tell me what’s appropriate. And I think if you’ve got advisors who are offering advice on a regular basis on the issues of the day that is an appropriate area to treat with some confidentiality –
Lehrer: But that’s still a general statement. I want to know – as specifically as you can say – what it is that you’re so concerned will get out, if it’s not corruption.
Mayor: I think it’s a general principle – I really do, Brian. I just think if you you’ve got a standard that’s set, again, with legal guidance – we stick to that standard. And I’m very comfortable that we followed that standard loyally and appropriately. But as I said, when things are matters of, if anyone ever were to raise an issue related to one of their clients, that’s a different matter. That would be subject to disclosure. But I’ll tell you – I’m very clear. I won’t have that conversation with them, and we’ve been very consistent about that.
Lehrer: But last thing – how would the public know that you haven’t had that conversation?
Mayor: Well, Brian –
Lehrer: Should this just be a matter of trust, rather than reporters in the public interest being able to serve Freedom of Information Act requests on this like your other communications?
Mayor: Brian, I think the – again, there’s a premise problem here. You could say, you know, let’s look at every conversation someone has in the course of the day in person or by phone. You know, were does the line get drawn here? In the end, we are relied upon to set a standard of integrity. Now, plenty of allegations, no proof of anything done wrong – and I keep telling you and I believe it – let’s – we welcome working with any and all investigations. We’ve been very straightforward in saying we’ll cooperate fully. I said we’re going to be disclosing a great deal of our own information at the appropriate time in the appropriate way. We did that – there were some issues around Dance Theatre of Harlem a couple weeks ago. I came forward with a lot of documentation I wanted the public to see. So I’m convinced that we are on the right path in terms of disclosing the things that are appropriate. But there still is a place in this world for people to have conversations and seek advice. I just think it’s a fair standard.
Lehrer: It’s our weekly Ask The Mayor segment here on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Mayor de Blasio with us and we’re experimenting today with the first of what will be an occasional go back and forth between taking calls on specific topics for the Mayor, important policy areas, and taking whatever comes in on a given week.
And today, as we head into the Memorial Day weekend with risk out there at an extra high level on the roads, as there always is at this time of the year – we’re making it the City’s Vision Zero initiative and traffic safety in general for the call-in portion to the Mayor.
Also on Twitter – remember you can always use the hashtag #AskTheMayor, and you can use it at any time during the week. And we watch that hashtag, and we’ll bring some of those questions onto the air. So tweet a question about Vision Zero or traffic safety in New York City right now, especially summer or holiday traffic safety. Treat it to #AskTheMayor, @BrianLehrer, or call. Our lines are full right now but as people finish up – 2-1-2-4-3-3-WNYC, 4-3-3-9-6-9-2.
And Desiree in Brooklyn, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hi, Desiree.
Question: Hi, good morning. My question is regarding enforcement under Vision Zero. I find that it seems like all of the enforcement and all of the penalties come down on drivers just like it did with the last administration. It’s always focused on driver behavior when there are really three facets in, you know, traffic: there’s the pedestrians, there’s the bikers, and then there’s the drivers. The drivers are the only ones that are getting fined. They’re the only ones that are focused on when it’s looking at making traffic safer. And in the meantime, bikers are running red lights. They’re, you know, zooming between cars. Pedestrians jaywalk. You know, they cross in the middle of the road, you know, and things like that. But there’s no enforcement, and it – on their part. And it seems like with the City, they’re afraid of angering the biker’s lobby or the pedestrians but have no problem ticketing and taking money from the drivers left and right. And it just seems completely unfair. I think if we’re going to have a traffic initiative, it should focus on all parts of that, and all parts should be responsible for doing their part.
Question: The only thing that is put on the bikers and the pedestrians is saying, ‘Hey, you should obey the traffic laws.’
Mayor: I got you. I got you, let me speak to it. And Desiree, I think it’s a very fair question. I appreciate it. But I want to be very straightforward to you about my views on this. First of all, the overwhelming amount – you know percentages of the danger, the greatest amount of the danger, the greatest degree of danger, comes from motor vehicles. That’s 100 percent clear. That’s historically where the vast majority of deaths and injuries come from – is someone using their motor vehicle in an inappropriate fashion. Now we don’t give a speeding ticket if someone doesn’t speed. We don’t give a failure to yield ticket when someone yields. Let’s be blunt – I mean, if people are breaking the law and putting others in danger, I’m not going to back down on that. We’re going go, in fact, do more enforcement of that. We’ve instructed NYPD to deepen its enforcement actions and to take the proactive actions like the checkpoints when we have times of day in places where we have a lot of drunk driving and driving under the influence. We’re going to be very proactive and very aggressive.
Now, to your point, though, I think has a very fair underpinning – that everyone is responsible here. So, bicycle – bicyclists who endanger others, of course we’re going to enforce. The amount of damage they can do is not the same as what a car can do or a truck can do. But of course we’re going to enforce that. And in fact there have been many instances where we have very aggressively. There was a whole problem in Central Park a while back, you remember. We put a lot of police resources into enforcing, and a lot of bicyclists got summonses. And if someone does something bad enough, of course they’d be subject to arrest. So, the bottom line is – motor vehicles overwhelmingly are the core of the problem. We still are not at maximum enforcement there. We have more to do. But any time we see a bicyclist endangering someone’s life or safety, we will take action.
And, as for pedestrians, look, we have a culture in this city going back generations – jaywalking, etcetera – that’s not easy to change. We do try to do a lot of public education. But there have been instances – and every precinct has the right to make its decisions appropriately on this – if we see an area where we think pedestrians are not doing the right thing and they’re endangering themselves and others, it’s always an option for NYPD to enforce. And I have no problem with that at all. But again, I think it’s like let’s begin at the beginning – the core of the problem is motor vehicles.
Lehrer: Judy in Chelsea, you’re on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hi, Judy.
Question: Hello, thanks for taking my call and thank you Mayor de Blasio for initiating Vision Zero. I’m having a little trouble hearing you. Can you hear me?
Lehrer: I can hear you.
Mayor: Yes, we can hear you.
Question: Good, okay. Thank you. I would like to speak to half of what Desiree addressed, and it has to do with the situation I described to your screener –
Lehrer: Which is that you were hit by a car, not a bicycle, a car, four or five years ago. Right?
Question: That’s right. And I went 12-feet in the air, and came down on the hood of the car I think, and eventually landed on the street, and miraculously I was neither killed, evidently, nor crippled. But the situation was –
Lehrer: It’s the ghost of Judy in Chelsea.
Question: Number one, I crossed with the light. I waited – the light turned in my favor.
Lehrer: So Judy, what’s your question?
Question: Well my question is that my particular accident had to do with a car taking a left-hand turn onto a very wide, widely opening intersection that felt probably to the driver almost like a highway. That’s Sixth Avenue and Canal Street. And intersections like those, I think, make pedestrians particularly vulnerable because they’re crossing in the same direction as the turning car, and the turning car is thinking wide intersection – this is kind of like a highway.
Lehrer: Right, and Judy, I’m going to leave it there and get a response.
Mayor: Yes, I get the idea. Judy, thank you for the question. And I’m really happy – really happy you’re with us. And it does sound pretty miraculous, but the bottom line is Vision Zero is a combination of factors – police enforcement and enforcement by the Taxi and Limousine Commission is one piece of it – the failure to yield, speeding – all those things that we enforce against. Another piece of it is the speed cameras. Another piece of it is lowering the speed limit. But on top of that, there’s redesigns of intersections. That’s a high, high priority for us. And of course, we’ve been doing that famously in the instance of Queens Boulevard recently, and that’s what used to be called the Boulevard of Death. And thank God we’ve been able to change that situation – no fatalities on Queens Boulevard last year for the first time in many years. So the changing the design of intersections, changing the sequencing of the lights, giving more time for pedestrians to cross before any traffic is allowed – these are the things we’re increasingly implementing. And we do it according to either intersections that are very complex, or like you describe, intersections where there may be a particular danger to a pedestrian, and where we have unfortunately some history of problems. So increasingly, we’re taking those actions and things like adding islands in big streets so there’s more time for – or a place for a pedestrian to get to if they get caught between the lights. A lot of different things we’re putting into place over the next few years. But the physical changes and the traffic light changes really are big pieces, and they have had some of the best impact in terms of protecting pedestrians. So you’re going to be seeing a lot more of that.
Lehrer: I’ve read – and correct me if I’m wrong or amplify on this if it’s real – that the City is taking a new look at the so-called Barnes Dance model of intersections, where cars get a red light in all directions and pedestrians can cross for a minute in all directions. And I’ve heard it said in the past that that’s not really good for a dense place like New York City and the kinds of intersections we have – but that maybe the City’s now taking another look at that. Do you know?
Mayor: Well, I’m going to speak a little generally because I don’t to pretend to be an expert on all the technical matters of Vision Zero. But the basic concept – yes, if you say, are we going to look at any and all ways of sequencing lights to protect pedestrians, the answer is yes. Now, you make a very good point – exceedingly dense city. We have to keep things moving. That’s true except when we come to the conclusion that practically speaking, we can achieve greater safety without paralyzing the place. I want to remind you – I’ve said this before – what we have to do more and more of in our society is get out of our cars. The more people can turn to mass transit and their going to have a lot more options going forward – we’re starting Citywide Ferry Service next year. We’re going to have the Brooklyn-Queens Connector in a few years. Obviously, Citi Bike is expanding. The goal should be to get out of your car whenever possible – not use your car. Choose another option. That’s something we have to keep pushing no matter what else we do. And if we do that properly over time, I hope it will reduce congestion in general and facilitate all the work we have to do on safety. But yes, we will look at pedestrian sequencing that will preserve safety, so long as we also feel it can keep the basic flow of traffic going.
Lehrer: Ross in Harlem – you’re on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hi, Ross.
Question: Hi, thank you so much for taking my call – big fan of the show and mayoral supporter.
I’m calling about – can you hear me?
Question: Okay, I’m calling about the illegal dirt bikes in Harlem. I probably call the police twice a day when the bikes go by because they don’t stop at the lights – sometime it’s one bike, sometime it’s 15 bikes. They don’t stop, they run red lights, and they bring traffic to a standstill, and it’s – you know I have a ten-month old. It’s terrifying because if you’re caught in the middle of the street, they don’t stop. In talking to the local precinct, they say well there’s nothing we can do, the City’s policy is not to pursue them because that could be dangerous. And I guess there was a lawsuit where the City was sued for like $15 million after a biker was injured.
Lehrer: Is that off-road dirt bikes, which actually the Police Commissioner announced the crackdown on, which we talked about with the Mayor last week. Or are you talking about electric bicycles?
Mayor: No, he’s talking about dirt bikes I think, is that right Ross? Is that right, Ross?
Question: Yes, exactly Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Let me pick this up here, Brian. Thank you, Ross for the question. And it’s a very helpful question because there is an area that the public needs to know more about here. Commissioner Bratton and I made very clear – dirt bikes are illegal in New York City. ATVs are illegal. All we have to do it is see it and be able to get to it. And not only is someone potentially subject to arrest, but that vehicle will be impounded immediately. In fact, if all of our fellow New Yorkers can help us identify where they’re being stored or where they’re parked, or where they’re circling, and we can get there in time – we got them. All we have to do is see them to be able to seize them. So I want to urge everyone to call 3-1-1 and report any dirt bike and ATV activity and in real time. Don’t wait – the second you see it, call it in because we want to act on that right away.
Now the point that Ross made about the precinct’s message to them. I want to make sure it’s very clear here. It’s not that we aren’t going to take every action possible to get these dirt bikes and ATVs. It’s that we will not allow – and this is Police Department rules – prolonged chase because that creates in some ways even greater safety dangers. You know chasing a dirt bike, which is obviously a very agile vehicle – through City streets and backstreets is not productive and can lead to even more harm than good. But if we see them stored, if we see them parked, or if we see them in a contained area like sometimes they’ve gone on to highways and we can get at them very effectively. We got’em. And so the answer, Ross, I think – just to clarify – is we want to get them, we need your reports, and what we’ll do Brian, I know we – I believe we’ve set up a protocol, where we can follow-up with the callers very specifically, working with your team. We want to have the precinct specifically work with Ross on what he’s seeing and see if we can pinpoint the source.
Lehrer: All right. Ross we’re going to take your contact off the air, and we’ll make sure you get a follow-up from the Mayor’s Office.
We’ve got about three minutes left. Let me get a comment quickly from you on one or two things on the national political races. Want to comment on Donald Trump clinching the Republican nomination yesterday? And how it now looks like the Democrats are going to have a more contentious convention than the Republicans, which is almost unthinkable even a month ago?
Mayor: Oh, I don’t agree with that assessment. Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee and Donald Trump has provided all the evidence to the American people that he is divisive, that he regularly uses racist and sexist terminology, and that he is not a responsible leader. And I think in the end, that’s going to ultimately sink him because I think voters are very smart, and they’ll discern that, and that’s not who they’re going to hire to be President of the United States.
Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee. I don’t think it’s a contentious convention – I think there’s real issues being debated. And my strong, strong belief is that Hillary will clinch the nomination shortly – that folks who care about the issues Bernie Sanders are raising will want to see a clear vision. I think Hillary has provided a very strong vision. They’ll want to see that continue to be talked about at the convention. And the vast, vast majority of Bernie Sanders supporters will end up supporting Hillary Clinton – a lot of them enthusiastically.
You know some of the media commentary the last few days is – oh, there’s some Bernie supporters who support Trump. You know what – a Republican or an Independent who in an open primary state crossed over to vote for Bernie and then crosses back over to vote for Trump because they were a Republican or a rightward leading Independent to begin with – that’s not a news flash. That person was going to vote for the Republican ultimately.
The question is – are all the folks who are energetic Democrats, and progressives, independents who lean to a progressive-direction and supported Bernie – are they going to show up for Hillary Clinton? Vast majority will, in my view for a lot of reasons – she’s got the most progressive platform of anyone who could be President of United States going back a generation or two. And I think the anger at Trump has only begun. I think as it gets closer, you’re going to see more and more rejection of Trump, and that’s going to energize support for Hillary.
Lehrer: Any comment on the State Department Inspector General’s report on the Clinton email server? It looks like the worst of it is that she’s being saying some things that aren’t true about the email like that the Department had allowed it when she never really asked for or got approval, according to the report. Or that she’s been fully cooperating when she declined to be interviewed by the Inspector General?
Mayor: I quote Bernie Sanders, “Enough with the damn emails.” No negative outcome has occurred from these emails. And we’ve been – this has been talked about for a year or two. No harm to our nation occurred. No one doubts that Hillary Clinton was a great Secretary of State and a devoted public servant. This is a side show. And really – I don’t blame anyone asking the question, but you know what, think about the amount of column inches and air time that’s been taken up on this. How are we – we’re not talking about global warming, we’re not talking about restoring the middle class, we’re not talking about how to fix the education system in this country – literally Brian, this disgusts me at this point because the overwhelming attention is on an issue, a process issue, that has no consequence whatsoever. No negative result came from the way she approached her communication. Why don’t we get to the discussion of what’s the future of this country and what she and Trump envision for the country? And what’s actually going to affect every day people’s lives.
Lehrer: So last question – are you going to play any role at the convention that you know of specifically?
Mayor: You know I leave that entirely up to the national party and the Clinton campaign. I’m happy to do anything that’s helpful to them.
Lehrer: It’s our Ask the Mayor series – every Friday to start off the show with Mayor Bill de Blasio, and your calls, and your tweets. Thanks everybody for your calls, and keep tweeting your Ask the Mayor questions on street safety, Vision Zero – we’ll forward them on to City Hall. And Mr. Mayor, have yourself a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and I’ll talk to you next week.
Mayor: Thanks, Brian. Take care.