This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
"The 31st in a series of monthly programs designed to help you better understand the problems of the city of New York and how the city government is meeting these problems." The Mayor answers "spontaneous" questions from local news reporters on city affairs. Reporters and their questions previewed before the question-and-answer period.
Whether or not the mayor will seek re-election (he is unwilling to say at the time; it appears that he was in fact planning on running for re-election -- and that he won).
His opinion on the rumor of reinstating 25 Supreme Court judgeships and adding a Supreme Court Justice through redistricting to create a separate Judicial District for Queens (it might be too expensive).
Supreme Court was on vacation all summer; was this successful? (he suggests it is not his decision, rather the judges must decide)
Will the auto use tax be repealed? (he hasn't heard anything about it)
Will the city's real estate tax be increased? (the mayor says no)
His snubbing of the King, which the reporter suggests might hurt his chances of being a US Senator (a public servant shouldn't be thinking always of the future)
Public opinion that the city is spending too much money on receptions for public dignitaries. References to an upcoming visit by a French dignitary. (an iffy question: if Washington has a new policy, they'll follow it)
Reaction to Dick Patterson's (Commissioner of Public Events) announcement that alternate street parking would be suspended for Lincoln's birthday, which was immediately refuted by Wiley (Commissioner of Traffic)? (he hadn't heard anything about it; supports Patterson's work)
If he does run for re-election, would he have the same running partners? (yes)
His impressions of his job, specifically living in his mansion and the differences between his structured government and Mayor La Guardia's; is it a "man-killing" job? (sometimes..)
Criticism of the sanitation department for permitting labor organizers to be on the city payroll and not do any work. (he stops the question and says they it had been going on for 40 years, and they stopped it)
Tax commissioner accused of sitting on a case involving his own finances (he was given a "clean bill of health")
Parking commission handing out too many tickets to pad the city revenues (it wouldn't amount to a great deal of money; the police commissioner says ticketing cuts down on accidents and injuries)
Approval of an agreement with a private tax-exempt corporation to erect a tax-free housing project in Long Island City; boro president is opposed to additional tax-free housing (the only way to get rents down for middle income class is to give some form of tax exemption)
A law department official accused of soliciting employees to buy tickets to a fundraiser (they're still checking on the matter; money was refunded to these employees when it was brought to their attention; he is opposed to soliciting city employees for contributions)
What will he do in response to all of these embarrassing stories concerning his commissioners? (prepared to meet false accusations)
A fusion movement this election year? (only the future can tell)
On behalf of WPIX and Channel 11.
Arnold Cohen - Producer
Herb Holtz - Director
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 69172
Municipal archives id: LT385
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Mayors Conference the thirty first in a series of monthly programs designed to help you better understand the problems of the city of New York and how the city government is meeting these problems today a mayor Robert F. Wagner meets the Metropolitan use men to answer their spontaneous questions on city affairs questions from Tom Finnegan of The Long Island star Journal was the mayor in view of the recent criticisms of some of your true listeners and their policies plus the city council disclosures do you believe that the taxpayers of this city is getting a fair shake from your Democratic administration. From Thomas Fiore of the New York World Telegram and sun an estimate you plan to seek reelection this year. From Dominic Peluso of the New York news Mr Maritz talk about creating twenty five new Supreme Court judge ships again how do you feel about it. From radio and television newsman Walter angles Mr Mayor I have some specific questions about what it's like being mayor the city of New York. Now. Gentlemen. As usual we have some good questions here and because of the fact that they. Are ones that we may have a little controversy here and I'm sure you have a good many others I'll forgo my usual practice of making a short day informal statement and get right into the questions so I am ready with wants to stop Whelan's to make the most timely question of the day with sign of a whether you intend to seek reelection this year. Tom I've given that a good deal of thought and I have said before that I will announce it certainly before I watch first that they said because of the inner circle shall. We wouldn't cause too much confusion on that date and you wouldn't have to have two scripts and very shortly I be in a position to make that announcement almost a male as you know each year at the end the cycle I play the role of Robert Wagner Now I've already memorized my lines that this is you know now I want you to give me a little Q. and A time with a lot to do another memory job well we'll give you the cue ahead of time and that's saying how so Natalie I think common All this week I don't know about this week but settling in good time to learn both sets. On this topic again creating twenty five new judgeship Supreme Court catches in Albany and as I recall you proposed such a mohican about it now well one of the basic reasons we opposed that last year was that it would be a predator right now on the taxpayers here and we were not receiving any compensation we had many other areas to meet an increase in our police force fire department taking care of crime and ploy even trying to get better services to our people and I didn't think they looked at time that we could spare that money from any of the other services I understand there's some talk again I don't know what the. Any idea of giving the city money so that these judges can be paid and their staffs paid it will run into quite a lot of money and also is price I'm concerned if my opinion is that. I will have to go into the. Study of the whether they are really needed to relieve the congestion know whether other methods can be used in order to meet that congestion to which would be less expensive than if I understand you right you wouldn't be against it if the state picked up the tab and I wouldn't be against it. In two ways I would have to be convinced number one about the economy and why you want to say in picking up the tab and secondly whether there is this real need or regard to the. Request for additional Supreme Court judges there's a bill now pending in Albany about creating a new judicial district in Queens making that a separate district and bring in more judges which is part of this fifty six additional judges that are sought would you favor having a separate to the issue of this perfectly well time. I would say this that again what I have no objection to what the exact except that we would have to find out how much it would cost. And whether the state would take help us to make that expense and after a study to know whether it's funny name there has been a good deal of talk about things separate district in Queens I'm sure aspires to legal and of I'm concerned we have to be guided by those who have made the full study but again we have the question of expenses. One time Mr Mayor at your urging last summer the Supreme Court. Which was right on your hears we think patient all summer do you think the program was successful which origin at their wedding and well time I appreciate your kindness and saying at my aging that that I was wrong those who said maybe we could cry it out I have no control over the judges to tell them. Whether they should sit on. I I haven't had an opportunity to discuss it fully with the any of the heads of the judicial council such as Judge Conway to see whether Russia successful but we helped them out of that wanted to cause by giving them a condition when Jack Conway did express the opinion that it it worked fairly well and I think we went well and I would think it should be continued Well the judges said that they were in court every day of the summer but they blame the lawyers that are claiming that they weren't ready with the cases and they were unable to obtain witnesses and that there was a charge made that there was a deliberate conspiracy to to delay any easing of the congestion doing or someone wants because they're opposed to it especially on the part of the lions and the judges and the Titans I don't know why and the judges are honorable man and being a lawyer myself I said they failed writers are honorable man we have another lawyer to hand on to let's have a we have to kind of perfection but I would think that. To be a little better system working out the the Kinks might say that the lawyers were there again that's a matter for the judges and the courts to work out and certainly not for the mayor to him would have to but in a. Well it appears the big legislature's going to deny the city's request for its share of the motor vehicle license base and what would that mean a day when the city would not repeal the auto use tax and I'm you'll have better information on that than I have when I just read I'm sorry small body that I wanted which indicated that I'm going to do that well you oftentimes in the in the course of the legislative session you have all sorts of stories coming out of Albany one day they'll say they're going to give us something the next or not I haven't heard anything directly from the the governor of the legislative leaders that they are opposed to what have the opportunity very sharply to meet with them and find out the full position then and we can meet the the question that you just asked well if they don't give it to you Would you repeal Well we'd have to see what our financial position would be when we have the final reports from the comptroller everybody and we ministration. Everybody in New York City would like to see taxes repealed and we do everything we can to reduce taxes and still of course give the services I'm still confident that the legislature will give us our share of the motor vehicle fees and I think it's only just as we pointed out on many occasions before the five counties comprising New York City receive nothing in the way of share of that tax and every other county in this state receives that amount I think it's been an arbitrary law arbitrary against the city of New York and I'm sure the legislature will go along with the recommendations of the governor in our request to see that this inequity is straighten out once and for all the New York City will get its rightful share and that of course will enable us to repeal this tax immediately upon the signing of the bill we've already passed a bill here in the council and the Board of Estimate will come for my signature within the next few days. And that will provide the repeal of the auto use tax on the moment the the governor signs the bill giving us our rightful share of the auto the license fee tax a little later in the your emergency must a message to the city council which you pointed out that the law should carry a provision that the auto tax would not be repealed unless the state gave money not with that in any indication of any assurance if you may have absolute governor that he is going to give you the money well I think if it was up to the governor right now we would every save our rightful share because he recommended last year and has again recommended this year I think it's now up to the legislature and. As I say they play a very important role in the passage of legislation and we all know speaking of taxes Mr Mayor the city's basic real estate tax rate on a rise July first well we sincerely hope it advice will not rise that depends we can give you a better information on that time a little later when we have some of the final figures from the controller on our receipts here in the city and so on and our expenses I sincerely hope that we can hold that down to its present right. I think I want to you have a question and I'll defer mine a little that time the well I want to know whether you believe the or even South statement hurt you or helped you politically Well no I don't know. Because I wasn't interested in any of the political phases out but I merely stated my position as I state on a lot of the issues and let the chips fall where they may but I know you want it in the politics but I'm sure you had some impressions on how it affected you and deadly You must receive mail and well I think you can ask Bill pier. Press secretary who was with you boys all day he knows more about the reaction in the mail and I do I happen to check on it because. I felt that I was merely stating my opposition let it go at that well most of the male of the mayor applauded you for your stand but. Around a political circles they feel that. Your snub of the king has taken you out of any possibility of being in the United States Senate which I know is one of your fondest wish Well I would say that when he find his way. Through the very fine position someday maybe I'd like to go there and I. Took a crack at it last fall. That I don't think anybody who wants to be a real public servant should be thinking of the future always as far as his judgment is concerned I think you have to do what you feel is right at the present time and let the future take care of itself oh still on that even sound situation out of the federal government is going to personally receive foreign dignitaries because of that situation do you plan to cut the department of public events budget Well a lot of their pledge of this predicated upon reception of these well points I have only heard them and they say that you made from the press I haven't heard anything from officially in any way matter of fact we've received a few dignitaries not as prominent as some of the other self with even in the past week and until that point arrives where we hear anything official from from Washington we're always delighted to receive those people the people of New York would want to hold the only ones who who recently see receptions are the most prominent as a low echelon dignitaries don't get in my lane other sections but they come to City Hall and we have the money spent on heat for level dignitary So that's those one again I think that's a very iffy question we find out through Washington has some sort of a policy that will be glad they haven't told yourself now speaking of the tradition of Paterson public events. I was thinking of my own. What is what is your reaction to Mr Patterson. Moving taken the initiative whereby he announced that often the street parking would be listed for Lincoln's birthday and then immediately it was countermanded by traffic commissioner Wiley. Saying that and. That I don't believe until I say that he and that I don't want to comment on it I think that Paterson doesn't time the job and knows and states within his own area of jurisdiction Well the purpose of his announcing it was that he wanted to encourage more people to come into the city on the holiday but unfortunately some of the people in the city so notice of this announcement and they paused. In the prohibited areas and the cops who were unaware of mystified us to go out again to check it whether you want them passed and pay for. Me to do something with motorist by the penny should be better liaison I'm ready to marry you don't you don't really feel it even if the federal government steps in to take over the official official reception of these people of course as I understand it our reception is always take place after the heads of foreign states have been to the White House and then come back here is that correct and then they request us to give them the official recess I don't believe that the city of New York want to be put into a position where it does not have the right to honor let's say the prime minister of angles of the merit Dubliner somebody I don't I don't think that that move would mean that we would give up our right to be host as you know we're always delighted to to receive those people and I believe one of the highest officials in the French government will be here around March the first and the city will give him and this is due on a I don't think in many instances and here the fact that they are they are guests of the national government that the national government should pay at least some part of the budget of the Department of Commerce and public even. And the expense the only clients like me whether things outside of repressed receiving the few top dignitaries but there have been many people who feel that the State Department should share in the expense How do you feel about it as may well cost it was help financially but after all we are a big city and the biggest attraction I would say in the in the entire United States for any of our foreign visitors and we're willing to do our share provided it doesn't get out of line. Is the Maya getting back to the question of whether you seek reelection and if you do decide to run we'd be satisfied to run again with the comptroller generals from the city council president well again that's presuming that I would run I would say that I would be delighted to run with I was gentleman I think they've done a good job and we had a good team we won a victory through. Hard primary and I lection and we've worked together since then and I'm sure we can work together in the future. Mr Mayor this week with the television industry as you know announced that. It would continue again for the duration this telecast that occurred to me that I don't think anybody has ever asked you since we started them three years ago we're going into the fourth year what it's really like being there the city of New York and I have a few specific questions that I think those who watch the American press might be interested in