#AskTheMayor: Your (New) Weekly Hotline to Mayor de Blasio

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says proposed cuts to homeland security programs would hurt the city's ability to keep residents safe.

This is the start of something new: Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear on our show every week, generally on Fridays at 10am.

You can use the hashtag #AskTheMayor anytime (even during the week) to submit a question you'd like him to answer.


From the Office of the Mayor

Brian Lehrer: Good morning everyone. Mayor Bill de Blasio is our first guest right now. And, beginning today, the Mayor will be a regularly scheduled weekly guest here on the program usually at this time – Friday mornings at 10 o’clock. And, of course, listeners – we’ll take phone calls. So, we are bringing you direct access to the Mayor on a weekly basis now, and we can do what we do on this program with public officials all the time – a combination of deeper conversations about the issues than you can get in most places in the media, and, of course, since we’re a news organization, holding the public officials accountable. 

So, Mr. Mayor, welcome back to WNYC. Thanks for your willingness to join us weekly. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio: It is my pleasure, Brian. I’m looking forward to it. 

Lehrer: And listeners, our Ask the Mayor lines are open at 2-1-2-4-3-3-W-N-Y-C – 2-1-2-4-3-3-9-6-9-2 – or Tweet us, using the hashtag Ask the Mayor. 

And Mr. Mayor, this comes at a tricky time for you. I guess, to be transparent to the listeners, we had offered this invitation at the beginning of your administration and your team didn’t want it then, though they said you’d come on frequently, and you certainly have been very accessible as a frequent guest, and we gratefully acknowledge that. And as we begin this weekly appearance, your Press Secretary, Karen Hinton, just announced her resignation yesterday. The New York Times, today, says, “The administration’s inability to define itself has been highlighted by the weeks of unforgiving headlines that have accompanied news in at least five investigations by the U.S. Attorney and the Manhattan DA.” So, accepting our invitation now is part of a larger, new communications strategy? 

Mayor: Well, I don’t agree with the thesis of that article. We said we were coming here to address income inequality, and to create a more fair city, and create more opportunity. We’ve been doing that in terms of decreasing crime, ending the unconstitutional approach to stop and frisk, building affordable housing, Pre-K For All. I think it’s quite clear to the people of this city that I had a vision for the city – people voted for it, we’ve been implementing it. So, insiders may want to characterize, you know, the communications strategies the way they want to, but I think the people are receiving the reality of our policies. They’re feeling the realities of our policies. Look, I think Karen Hinton did a great job and, you know, she has a family reason why it makes sense for her to take a change at this point and I respect that. But we’re very confident that the things we’ve done on the ground are being felt by everyday New Yorkers. I’m going to be doing more and more town hall meetings. I’m going to be doing lots of things to communicate directly to my fellow New Yorkers. And, Brian, you know, at the beginning of the administration we had a lot we had to get done quickly. A lot of that is now underway and working, and I think this is the kind of format that makes sense to have even more direct contact with everyday New Yorkers. 

Lehrer: Do you think your communications team could have done a better job – or you, yourself – containing the Daily News headlines, especially – which you know I’ve said to you on the air publicly I think are sometimes over the top and misleading. But that’s what tabloids do, and it’s part of your job not to give them too much bait. 

Mayor: That’s what tabloids do is a fair statement. I think there’s no one in the history of New York City politics that has convinced tabloids not to be tabloids. But the bottom line to me is, I’m fully responsible for everything done in my administration. I don’t have anything bad to say about my team. If there’s ever an instance where I haven’t communicated sufficiently, or I’ve made a mistake, I take full responsibility. The buck stops here. But, again, I think we need to reexamine the entire concept of what communications is. I think that the ultimate form of communication is action. My wife famously has told me many times over the years, both about public life and personal life, the phrase – don’t tell me, show me. And, you know, anybody who has a child in pre-K, or in our afterschool program; anyone who’s getting affordable housing; anyone who has a son or a grandson who [inaudible] been stopped arbitrarily by the police, even though they did nothing wrong; anyone who’s in a neighborhood that’s safer; anyone who sees the effects of Vision Zero in terms of protecting our children and our seniors – well, those folks are going to make their judgements based on actual things the government does for them, not what’s on the cover of a tabloid. And the people are very, very discerning, Brian – I learned this years ago. You know, when I first ran for Mayor, people said I had no chance. The public came to a different conclusion and they got information from a lot of different sources. But what’s incumbent upon us is to provide a vision, and implement that vision, and constantly show people that the government is working for them, and I think we’re doing that.

Lehrer: Now, one of my goals as an interviewer, as you know, is not to spend more time on the investigations than they’re worth, and not to let all the other issues that I think, and you think, it’s important for the residents of the City that we talk about and that most directly affect their lives to get swept away. But these are official investigations, so, I can’t ignore them either. So, let me ask you about some new developments in that, and then we’ll go on to other things. Your office announced yesterday that you hired the high-end attorney, Barry Berke, to represent you in these investigations. He’s been your campaign treasurer in the past. You appointed him to the Lincoln Center Board, I see. He represented Bernard Kerik, and AIG, and their troubles in the past. And he represents the developer and the nursing home that want to build that nursing home at 97th and Amsterdam that the neighbors there don’t want. What should the public make of you hiring Mr. Berke?

Mayor: I have no reason to believe he represents that –

Lehrer: His firm, forgive me – his firm, his firm.

Mayor: And it’s a very large firm. And when the actions were taken by our Law Department related to our issues we talked about in the last show – had no reference to Mr. Berke’s firm and no involvement with Mr. Berke’s firm. Our Law Department has made a decision based on what it would take to protect the City’s ability to get things done for the people. And I’ll say very quickly – we want to make sure – separate from the legal precedent issues – that’s what generated the interest of the Law Department – we want to fix that situation on the Upper West Side. I want to make sure that children and families are safe, but I also believe we need more nursing homes, we need more senior affordable housing in this city. So, we’re going to work with all the other stakeholders. The State ultimately has a lot of power in that equation. We’ll work with all the stakeholders to fix that situation. But look, Barry Berke’s someone I’ve known for a long time. I want to continue to cooperate with any of these investigations every way we can. I said to him I want you to represent me and make very clear to any and all entities that we’ll cooperate fully, we’re happy to expedite getting information to them. We want to see these issues examined, and we want answers, and we want to be done as quickly as possible. So, he’s the person I have faith that can help us do that. 

Lehrer: Because his firm has also been representing that nursing home and developer, and the City has taken their side in an environmental lawsuit about the site, is you hiring him again a conflict of interest?

Mayor: Absolutely not. And, Brian, there’s a bigger issue here – there are massive conflicts of interest going on every day in this country that go fully unexamined. What we are doing is doing the people’s business, and there’s a lot of examination of the work we’re doing. And I’ve said to you, I think there’s a double standard here. In the history of New York City government, law firms have been turned to constantly when the government needed to work with a firm – so, that’s one piece of the equation. But, in my case, choosing someone to represent me personally, who happens to be a member of a law – from a huge law firm that does other things – I mean, where do you draw the line here? The public has a right to know that the public’s interest comes first, that we make all decisions based on the public’s needs. The public has a right to have full disclosure. So, I’m being quite open – he’s my lawyer, this is the firm, and we can separate fully what they do on one issue from what they do on another. A crucial point here is – as more and more information [inaudible] what will become apparent to the people of New York City is – there’s many times where we’ve said no to powerful interests. There’s many times when people who are often said yes to in the past by previous administrations – have been said no to by us on many issues, including donors, including people from powerful law firms – and that’s the standard that should be held. The difference is, we’re happy to lay out where the relationships are because we know there has not been a conflict. 

Lehrer: Did you draw the line with Mr. Berke in any way on this particular issue? Like, I won’t even talk to you about this – don’t bring this up with me – don’t have anybody call me and say, hi, I’m Barry Berke’s partner – anything like that?

Mayor: Yes, because he’s never talked to me on behalf of his firm, and no one from his firm has talked to me on this issue, and I didn’t even know Law Department had taken the action initially until that decision was made because it was a procedural legal matter. 

Lehrer: Right, initially. 

Mayor: Now, again, separate – and I’ve said to you that, that was a case where I thought the tabloid headline was way over the top and inaccurate. But, substantively, we believe that situation must be fixed in a way that’s fair to the community, and to the children, and keeps their safety first, but that is not the same as saying we’re not going to have nursing homes. I believe we need nursing homes. 

Lehrer: And one other thing on the fundraising issue today, and then we’ll move on. I saw in the Daily News that a coalition of 32 activist groups, mostly from neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn, say they’re suspicious of your land-use decisions, and they released a 25-page list of developers that they say are seeking City Hall approval for their projects while writing checks far in excess of the $400 limit imposed on those who do business with the City. What do you say about that pattern of relationships with developers?

Mayor: I think that’s an absolutely inaccurate read of the situation. There are many developers, again, we have said no to. We have been very, very clear – and I’ve said it publicly at many press conferences – anyone who donates to me or any cause associated with me can have no expectations of any special favor in return. We don’t allow that. We don’t accept it. Everything we’ve done was done with both a firm commitment to disclosure, which is not the norm in the State, Brian. You know, plenty of big money has flowed to people in the State of New York with no disclosure whatsoever. You know, in the federal level, because of Citizens United, massive amounts of money flowing – no disclosure whatsoever. Everything we’ve done we’ve disclosed. Beyond that, every decision we make on the merits – and we went to the Conflicts of Interest Board, which is something this city has, which is not typical in most places, and is quite stringent. In advance of doing anything, we asked for guidance, received formal guidance, and followed that guidance, and lawyers checked each time to make sure that the guidance was being followed. If this is what happened in government all over the country, this would be a very different place – certainly, New York State would be a different place if those kind of standards were held consistently. So, no, I’m sorry, there are folks in different businesses who participate in public life in a different way, and that is their legal right. It does not dictate decisions, and beyond that look – you asked me before where should we go? If we really want to seriously have this conversation? Then let’s go to a day where there’s sole public financing of elections. Let’s go to a day where there’s no allowed corporate and big money contributions in the political process, which would require obviously the overturning of the Citizens United decision. I’m really concerned about a double standard here where we do everything to the letter of the law, disclose everything, are open about it, do not let it affect our decisions – meanwhile, a lot of people are doing a lot worse and not getting much examination.

Lehrer: Alright, let’s move on. Listeners if you’re just joining us Mayor de Blasio – whose voice you probably recognize – is our guest. This is the inaugural edition of what’s going to be a weekly Ask the Mayor segment now, Fridays at 10 o’clock to begin our show on Fridays. Although, Mr. Mayor, we’d like to reserve the right to request like – if I ever want to take a three-day weekend in the summer, which you know human beings do sometimes, maybe we can move it to Thursdays once in a while?

Mayor: Unacceptable, Brian.


The truth is of course we will work with – when you’re out of town, or when I’m out of town, we can make some accommodation for sure.

Lehrer: But generally, Fridays at 10 o’clock now for Ask the Mayor, and we will give our first Ask the Mayor call officially as the newly renamed segment. And listeners you can use that hashtag to ask questions of Mayor de Blasio for this week’s segment Ask the Mayor.

We’ll give our first question to Elias in Harlem. You’re on WNYC. Hello, Elias.

Question: Hi, Brian. Thank you for taking my call. Hi, Mr. Mayor. I just wanted to ask about the recent election problems in the Democratic primary. Can you update us on the investigation and on the fired member I think of the Brooklyn election board, and then can you also tell us what you can do to fix these problems that we saw in registration and you know changing parties and everything else? Can you also tell us on the election certification process and the software that’s being used in the machines? Thank you.

Mayor: I don’t know if you say it Elías or Elias, but I appreciate the questions. So first of all, this is a situation where there are some real consequences, and that’s making me happy. I do not run the Board of Elections. It’s determined by State law how that is run. I’ve called for changes in the State law. Board of Elections must be professionalized and modernized. We’ve had enough of a system that does not work, and I’m going to work hard for those changes. By the way, as you mentioned the electoral process more broadly – we need fundamental election law reform in New York State. We are a backwards state. I want to be very blunt about that. We do not allow same day registration. We do not allow people to vote by mail or vote early except a very cumbersome absentee ballot process. This state, unfortunately, has laws built on a notion of excluding people from voting rather than including people, and that has to change, and the Board of Elections has to change.

Lehrer: You didn’t mention open primaries – independents voting in either one, which I think is the main request of Sanders voters at this point.

Mayor: Well, I happen to disagree with them. I respect them obviously tremendously, both Bernie Sanders and the movement he’s created – which I think is going to have a very positive impact on the future of this country – but, no, I actually happen to believe that parties matter, and that people should vote in their own party. The fact is, though, on the Board of Elections, there have been real consequences. People have actually seen consequences who are employees of the Board for the mistakes they made. We said clearly as part of the reforms we want to see. We are offering the Board, only if they agree to a stringent set of reforms, we will offer them additional funding for their modernization process. But we are not going to keep giving them money beyond the bare minimum if they don’t come into the 21st Century. I think that ability to say if you want more resources you have to agree to stringent conditions, I think that’s going to have a real impact.

Lehrer: Alright, Elias, thank you very much. Let’s go to Allen in Brooklyn.

Question: Good morning, Mayor. I’m glad to speak to you. I had a question about transit finance. Recently we’ve had to reconstruct the R train, and now we get into a project to rebuild the L train tunnel after Hurricane Sandy. We have had major reconstruction of the extension on another 7 route. We still don’t have any modern approach to linking the value appreciation that transit service provides to urban center city land and the financing system we have to support transit. We’re relying too heavily on straphangers, and not really taxing those whose land is 10 times, at least, as valuable as it would be otherwise without the transit system. It’s as essential to downtown property as HVAC or elevators, and yet there’s no separate overlay tax on transit [inaudible] districts. Why can’t [inaudible] –

Lehrer: Sorry, he dropped there are the end.

Mayor: I got the point. Allen I appreciate the question, so look – I think it’s fair to say two things – one, the City of New York last year committed to an additional $2.5 billion in financing for the MTA to try and address some of the core problems, and at the same time we have taken additional steps in the vein you’re talking about. The Bloomberg administration did it with the extension of the number 7 train to the Far West Side in one way. We’ve done it in a different way now with the Brooklyn Queens Connector, the BQX, the trolley line that we’re going to create along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront. I think it’s a promising area. I don’t think it works everywhere. Obviously it has to do with where the property values can support it. It’s an area clearly we are looking at and want to see more ability to do, including with the MTA. I also want to mention something we’ve done independently from the MTA, which is the new ferry service that will start next year. Our vision is – first of all – take pressure off of some of these train lines that are now so crowded because people feel more comfortable being on the trains and there are more and more people and more and more jobs – those are good things. The citywide ferry service is going to take some of that pressure off. Obviously, the extension of biking and Citi bike is going to take some of that pressure off. Ultimately, the BQX will take some of it off as well. But I think you’re right – there’s more potential in that kind of financing mechanism and we’re certainly looking at it.

Lehrer: Do you have a position – on behalf of L train riders and as a Brooklynite yourself – whether the MTA should do that repair in one shot with the L train to Manhattan completely shut down for a year and a half or over 3 years with it going one way at a time depending on which rush hour?

Mayor: I am not an expert. I am more sympathetic to the latter, but before I give you a formal position I’d need to know more. I understand right now what a lifeline the L train is and how overcrowded it is right this minute, so I can only imagine the disruption. Clearly it needs work. We’re going to push the MTA hard to compensate in a lot of ways to make sure people can get around. We’re certainly going to look at those couple of options you laid out. I think ferry service is going to help, too. That won’t come online until well into the summer next year, but I think it will ultimately help the equation as well.

Lehrer: I want to ask about your testimony in Albany this week about extending mayoral control of the public schools. It looks like the Republicans in the Senate will agree to at least one more year, but the Senate Republican leader, John Flannigan, said you “too often in your testimony showed a disturbing lack of personal knowledge of the city schools.” Though I know your Chancellor Fariña was there too, testifying chapter and verse. Politico New York reports today that it’s very unlikely you won’t get to keep mayoral control, which goes back about 15 years now. But they may be holding out to bargain for other things. How do you see the state of the mayoral control debate?

Mayor: Well it should not be about bargaining and insider politics. It should be about the needs of our kids, and there’s no question the mayoral control system has worked. One of things I laid out in my testimony, when mayoral control was achieved by Mayor Bloomberg the graduation rate in New York City was about 50 percent – unacceptably low, obviously. By the time he left office it was 65 or 66 percent. We’ve added four percent more in two years, so now we’re over 70 percent graduation rate for the first time in our history. Test scores have been going up. They’re not the end-all be-all, test scores, but they’re one indicator. They’ve been going up. Obviously we’ve achieved things like Pre-K For All and afterschool for all for our middle school kids in record time. That only could’ve happened under mayoral control. I thought today’s Daily News editorial was right on the money. You don’t have to agree with everything any administration does. I certainly didn’t agree with everything Michael Bloomberg did about the schools, but I did believe he was right to have mayoral control and deserved it.  So this decision is made on the merit. It should not only be renewed, it should be renewed for a substantial period of time.

As to my knowledge of the school system – well, I’m very honored to say I was a public school parent from the time Chiara went into pre-K to when Dante left high school, Brooklyn Tech, last June. So I have a lot of the best kind of experience in education, which is being a New York City public school parent. I was a community school board member for three years. I was for eight years a member of the City Council education committee, and pre-K was my number one policy goal as mayor. We spent three-and-a-half, I think, or even more hours talking in detail about our schools up in Albany. And sitting next to me was the Schools Chancellor, the first educator to be Chancellor in a generation and someone who has literally 50 years of experience in our school system. So I have a lot of respect for Leader Flanagan, but I did not understand what generated that comment because I have spent a lot of my public service focused on education, and I am very involved in the details of running our schools and very proud of that fact.

Lehrer: Here’s a post-Sandy related question that a listener tweeted us using the new hashtag #AsktheMayor, which we’ll be using when you’re here on Fridays now. How will Build it Back complete by December if so many homes have not even begun repairs? Is December an official deadline for something?

Mayor: What I’ve said is December 31st of this year, I want all single-family homes that were part of the Build it Back program, meaning they were agreed to, and followed through on, and we’ve agreed that we’re going to do a rebuild or other work on that home – that that has to be done by December 31st. Now, a massive effort is underway. And I have to say – I want to give a lot of credit to the folks at Build it Back, in particular the Director Amy Peterson who has turned that program around. It was absolutely ineffective in its first year. When we came into office, there had been no homes fixed, no checks provided to people who deserve them. We’ve turned that situation around. So that’s the deadline I’m holding, and I’m pushing people literally every day. I was emailing with Amy Peterson this very morning, in fact, for an update. But it’s going to take lots of contractors, lots of cooperation from homeowners, and we’re putting all the resources necessary to get it done.

Lehrer: Mel in the Bronx, you’re on WNYC with Mayor de Blasio. Hi, Mel.

Question: Hi, thank you. Mayor, the bag tax you were talking about charging five cents for – those bags get recycled. We use them in our garbage. And if we don’t have those bags for the garbage, we’re going to buy bags, and that’s exactly what I do when I don’t have the ones that come with the groceries. I buy bags. So we’re not going to cut down on the plastic bags in the recycling plants. Thank you.

Mayor: Well Mel, I appreciate the question. Now, I would argue it a little differently. Right now, what’s happening – massive numbers of plastic bags that are given out at groceries end up in the trash. They end up in the waste stream. We’ve said we want a goal of zero waste to landfill by 2030 – and that’s necessary. That’s necessary for what we have to do to change our world, to address global warming, to address the environmental degradation that’s been going on for decades and decades. And the right thing to do is to stop using these plastic bags. And I – look, I’m sure some people as you’re saying, as you do, use them to put out their trash. Most people use those bigger bags. I think that’s a fair statement to say – that you would have buy separately anyway. But what’s happening too much of the time is plastic bags given out at the grocery store end up in the trash, ends up in a landfill somewhere, costs a lot of money to the taxpayer because it’s a huge part of the waste stream. We don’t want that anymore. We – under this bill, store owners will be providing reusable, permanent bags – cloth bags, and other types of bags that people can use over and over, just like people did in the old days before plastic bags. It worked back then. It will work again. And it will be a lot better for our environment. So I think this is very smart legislation.

Lehrer: We know that the bill passed by Council yesterday for this fee was a historically close vote in City Council. And our caller is from the Bronx. The biggest concern that has people like Borough President Ruben Diaz lining up against this bill is a class concern. It’s like a regressive tax on lower-income shoppers they say. How do you get past that to signature?

Mayor: Considering that I ran my entire campaign on addressing income inequality, I can safely say I’m sensitive to that question, but I do the math a different way. We have to change people’s behavior. This goes beyond any question of class for a moment. We are in a global warming crisis, an environmental crisis. We must change our behavior if this earth is to survive – on many, many levels. And that’s why we’ve committed to 80 percent reduction of emissions by 2050. That’s why we’re retrofitting all our public buildings. We’re starting to require the private sector to do the same. We’re going to an all-electric car fleet for the City. Everyone’s got to start conserving energy. I mean there’s a lot of things that we’re going to have to do something very, very differently. Here’s something that’s just an affront to the environment – putting plastic bags that do not biodegrade and take up a lot of landfill – constantly into the waste stream. This will change behavior quickly. I believe that fundamentally. People don’t want to pay that extra five cents, and more importantly, they’re going to be given bags that they can reuse over and over. What people are going to do, as is normal with human beings, is I don’t pay the five cents – I’m given this other bag for free, I’m going to use this other bag. I just have to bring it with me like all of our previous generations used to do. So no, it’s not going to be regressive because people are going to make that change. It will be better for the environment. And it will be perfectly comfortable. It’s just not hard to bring a bag with you when you go shopping.

Lehrer: One more call for today – Ben in the East Village, you’re on WNYC. Hi, Ben.

Question: Yes, hi. Hi, Mayor de Blasio. Some of my neighbors in NYCHA housing have been really upset about some high intensity flood lights have been set up for the past two months with generators –you know, Guantanamo-style search lights. And I understand this is part of the NYPD omnipresence program. I was just wondering how you would feel if somebody set up search lights outside of your house.

Mayor: Well, Ben, I do appreciate the question, and I want to put it into two different parts. First of all, number priority is safety. And I do want to note – Brian, this will not shock you – but we had amazing achievement by the NYPD in April. We announced the other day – didn’t happen to get on the front pages – but the safest April in the last 25 years. Shootings, burglary, grand larceny at record lows. We continue to have the fewest murders and shootings year-to-date of any year. Amazing things are happening right now at NYPD, and that stunning gun takedown a week or so ago – the largest in the history of the NYPD – a lot is happening. And I don’t know any New Yorker who doesn’t want to see that continue. But I do appreciate the question about what’s the appropriate way to handle the lights and all. What – I’ve worked very closely with the Housing Authority and people who live in public housing for a long time – and what I heard a lot when I came into office was there were too many dark areas in public housing developments that were unfortunately facilitating crime. I heard it from residents. I heard it from the NYPD. And that’s why in a lot of the developments that have had crime problems, we’ve added more lighting to make people safer. Now, if there’s a specific example where it’s too much lighting, or it’s being deployed the wrong way, or there’s a generator making noise – we’ll certainly work to fix that. But I want you to know that broadly, it’s residents who have said to us – they don’t like all the dark areas of their development at night that unfortunately have bred criminal activity, and they want the police to be able to see what’s going on, and those residents want to be able to see what’s going on.

Lehrer: This reminds me that the last time you were on, we had a caller asking if you know about the very bright LED street lights, ordinary street lights, that are now being made brighter. And you didn’t know about that yet, you were going to look into it. Have you had a chance to develop a position on that?

Mayor: The truth and nothing but the truth – I sent the question down the line to get clarification. I did not get the answer. I will get it for our next show. That’s a public pledge, Brian.

Lehrer: And final question – I see you’re calling on New Yorkers not to eat at the City’s newest fast food chain, Chick-fil-A, which has announced plans to open a fourth city location at the Queens Center Mall. And this is because of their Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy’s past anti-gay marriage statements and his multi-million dollar donations to anti-gay rights organizations. So that still applies?

Mayor: Yes, absolutely. Look if a company and its leadership have explicitly supported anti-LGBT positions and division, I wouldn’t go there, and I would urge everyone else not to go there. Why should we patronize a company that tries to divide people and whose leadership tries to divide people. It’s not – that’s not New York values. So, it’s a free country. We can’t tell them they can’t have a store here, but we sure as hell don’t have to go that store.

Lehrer: How much do you think we should go down that road in general – of finding out the political or human rights beliefs of various business owners and make buying decisions on that basis?

Mayor: Look, I understand it’s a complex matter, but I would say it this way. I think it correlates to how much of a focal point and how intense the activity has been by that business or that business owner. When you look at what political stances certain business owners have taken, very public and political stances that I very much disagree with, and they’ve put huge amounts of money into it. Whether it’s the Koch brothers, whether it’s the Walton family with Walmart, I as a consumer pay a lot of attention to that. Companies that are overtly anti-union and union busting – I don’t want to patronize them. So I think it is about how intense have the efforts been, how public, how much money, have much energy have put into it. I don’t feel if someone privately has beliefs that I don’t agree with, that I’m necessarily not go to their store. But when companies are part of the problem – I guess that’s the way I might define it informally, Brian. When a company has gotten in the fray and taken stances that are part of the problem, then why on earth would we patronize them? It just makes no sense to me.

Lehrer: Certainly, people have choices. We have a very big rooster of chicken places – oh I mean, roster of chicken places –

Mayor: Ha-ha.

Lehrer: – In New York City, so there you go. Mr. Mayor, thank you very much again for agreeing to come on weekly. And again, listeners, if you didn’t hear the announcement at the beginning of the segment, we’ll have an Ask the Mayor segment with lots of your calls and some of my questions for the Mayor each Friday at 10 o’clock. Use the hashtag #AsktheMayor even during the week if you want to register a question that we can consider. And Mr. Mayor, I’ll talk to you again next Friday.

Mayor: Looking forward it to, Brian. Thank you.