Mayor de Blasio on Stop-and-Frisk, Pre-K, and More

Monday, February 03, 2014

Bill De Blasio sworn in as New York City Mayor on January 1, 2014. (Spencer Platt/Getty)

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, gives his first interview with WNYC since taking office.

De Blasio's first month in office has seen the city drop its appeal against the controversial policing practice of stop-and-frisk, major new benefits added to the city's living wage policy and ambitious plans to create and fund universal pre-kindergarten.

Asked to asses how he's doing, de Blasio seemed pleased with his administration's progress, and said the unifying theme of all initiatives is aimed at addressing the city's gap between rich and poor.

"We've got a lot of momentum for our agenda," he said, "And we have very consistently gone after issues that defined inequality crisis in the city."

The mayor also recapped his encounter with a groundhog Sunday during a Groundhog Day ceremony, during which de Blasio dropped a scrambling Staten Island Chuck. 

"That is a feisty groundhog there," he said.


Bill de Blasio

Comments [79]

Robert Martin from Brooklyn

Why in the world is he trying to stop Charter Schools? They afford better schooling for our city's children than the Public Schools that have failed the children for decades. He is selling out the children to gain Union support.

Feb. 04 2014 11:49 PM
G. Fischman from Brooklyn

Thank you for discussing the library issue. It goes to the heart of NYC's future: are public assets going to continue to be sold off to private developers for luxury condominiums - for ever larger buildings and smaller or no library space? This is what we are facing in two Brooklyn locations with great local citizen opposition to the loss of books, computer access, literacy programs, and community events. These are our libraries and we all should defend them.

Feb. 04 2014 10:25 PM

this muslim loving traitor deserves to hang for his crimes against non terrorists!

Feb. 04 2014 10:17 PM
John from Brooklyn

Usually I find Brian's reporting excellent and his interviews very good, but I heard a lot of pro-de Blasio bias in this segment. He put words in the Mayor's mouth repeatedly, set him up for some easy soft ball questions, and then defended de Blasio against the caller who said the Mayor a) did not blame the rich for income inequality; and b) would not be able to "squeeze blood from a stone" with regards to taxing the rich. Brian jumped at the chance to defend de Blasio and deny both claims. Usually Brian will acknowledge a caller's point but not argue with them, especially when it would entail taking sides with an elected official.

I felt that Brian did an excellent job during the campaign of remaining unbiased and really grilling each candidate, including de Blasio, but now I feel he has softened up a lot and I fear it is because he knows de Blasio no longer needs to be on the show to promote himself so he had better be on good terms with the Mayor or he won't call in again. Either way I felt this was a very poor job on Brian's part and I hope he will come around for the next interview.

He did not mention de Blasio's controversial pick for the head of Department of Investigations or ask him why it is taking so long to pick commissioners. I love Brian's show, but I was very disappointed with this fluffy. interview.

Feb. 04 2014 10:13 PM
Zo Halton from Co-op City

Universal pre-K is so important. It should be available to every child, every family.

Reinstituting the commuter tax could be a huge help in paying for it. Whatever the reason for the tax's earlier demise - it's time for all those who work in our fair city to pay their fair share.

Feb. 04 2014 09:48 PM
Marilyn Horan from Brooklyn

Brian Lehrer's questions are always of the "When did you stop beating your wife category?" Yesterday when the Arab-American woman asked him about DeBlasio's pro-Israel policy, Lehrer asked her if she heard De Blasio's "BALANCED" response. Hahaha. Lehrer did not respond. What a nut! So liberal that I feel like I'm listening to Liberal Fox News. He and DeBlasio failed that woman. The assumption that all listeners are pro_Israeli occupation is a mistake.

Feb. 04 2014 09:11 PM
Johnny Barber from Brooklyn

Inequality in Israel.... inequality may move the mayor in NY, but apparently it's ok in Israel.

Feb. 04 2014 08:03 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretenious Hudson Heights

Gail from Manhattan,

Where is "Muslim Voice for Peace", "Muslims Say No"? An anti-jihad, anti-islamist, anti-terrorist, anti-al qada, anti-honor killing, anti-executions of gay teens in iran Muslim activist group?

Where are the demonstrations of anti-war groups across from the Syrian mission denouncing the death and destruction and the use of poison gas, a WMD, by the Assad regime?

Why are so called "anti-war" groups silent over the slaughter in Syria?

Feb. 04 2014 05:50 AM
Gail from Manhattan

Brian, how about having a representative of a Jewish group on your show that is anti occupation and supports BDS, like Jewish Voice for Peace or Jews Say No. Comments here suggest that a good fraction of your audience does not agree that the mayor's job description includes support and defense of AIPAC and Israeli policy. It's time to open up the discussion.

Feb. 04 2014 12:14 AM

Abortion from Larchmont ~

Please shut up! No one is listening/reading your crap. You stultified us all to death long, long ago!!

Feb. 03 2014 10:04 PM
Marilyn Berkon from Brooklyn

Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for protecting our libraries against the destruction or shrinkage favored by private real-estate developers who want to increase their billions by replacing our libraries with high-rise luxury condos. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for opposing the destruction of the research stacks at our cherished 42nd Street Library. Our hope is that he will withdraw the 150 million taxpayer dollars allocated by the previous mayor for that shameful Central Library Plan. Libraries are essential to our education. Through education we achieve equality. Mayor de Blasio recognizes that a sad tale of two cities will not allow the growth, the viability, he hopes to accomplish.

Feb. 03 2014 07:26 PM
Carol Krinsky from Manhattan

We hope that the Mayor pays most attention to local matters, such as the well-being of libraries. Israel is not his business. We hope that he halts the potentially destructive plans for the 42nd Street Library from which over three million books have been removed without any public notice. We hope that he strengthens branch libraries from which books have also been removed on purpose, not just by thieves. We hope that he strengthens pre-K instruction and provides housing for the poor. The extremely rich can certainly afford to help out and many would not mind doing so.

Feb. 03 2014 04:43 PM

Who cares what the mayor of NYC thinks about Israel? Middle East policy is not a responsibility of the mayor. Obviously if DeBlasio is being so careful to suck up to AIPAC he must be thinking long term presidential chances. What's next he's going to start talking points about Chinese monetary policy and Russian human rights? Stick to working on problems in the city, bro.

Feb. 03 2014 03:04 PM

I doubt anyone from the Mayor's office is reading these comments, but perhaps a bit of crowd sourcing will help me get an answer. I was one of thousands of people who waited on line in the freezing rain to tour some of Gracie Mansion January 5th. At the end of the tour, the Mayor posed for photos with each attendee & we were told the photos would be emailed to us. It's been four weeks, and no photo yet! Has anyone else received their photo? At the time I thought this would be a good test of the efficiency of the Mayor's staff. I hope I am wrong.

Feb. 03 2014 02:42 PM
JR from NYC

He talks a good talk, our socialist mayor.
And yes, please Brian take it easy on your favoritism. I could almost hear your drooling over the Tardy Mayor.
And by the way, it's time for him to stop campaigning and beating up on Bloomberg. While he wasn't perfect, he did do great things for NYC and used his own fortune for good causes.

Feb. 03 2014 01:26 PM
Johnny Barber from Brooklyn

From the Financial Times:
No ignorance, no turning a blind eye in "Support of Israel", like de Balsio.

"It is disingenuous to romanticise settlement enterprises. The occupation imprisons thousands of the Palestinians’ young men, gives their land and water to settlers, demolishes their houses and partitions the remaining territory with scores of checkpoints and segregated roads. There are almost no basic foundations for an economy. The way to create Palestinian jobs is to end the occupation and let Palestinians build those foundations – not to build “bridges to peace” on other people’s land without their permission."

Feb. 03 2014 01:13 PM
Dave Stump from Jersey City

At 11:40 this morning a listener named Henry raised the concern that talking about “Income Inequality” implies that those with high incomes did something wrong. You said not necessarily. I disagree with you. Between 1945 and 1975 productivity of American workers doubled and pay scales doubled across the board, workers, managers, executives, and stock holders. CEO compensation was usually about 50 times that of a line worker. Between 1980 and 2008 productivity doubled again but this time almost all of the increased income went to the top. Executive pay went by as much as 200% to as much as 500 times that of a line worker; at the same time middle class pay went up about 25%. While the rich became the Super-Rich the middle class shrank and workers lost real income to inflation. Thank goodness people like Mayor BeBlasio, President Obama and Pope Francis are finally speaking about this.

Income inequality in this country came about by a number of immoral ways. Walmart did it by hiring two part time workers with few benefits instead of creating one good paying, full time job and by forcing their suppliers to move factories to China. CEO’s did it by playing the game of “You sit on my board and approve my raise and I will sit on your board and approve yours." The position of Chairman and CEO is an inherent conflict of interest since one of the board’s main jobs is to determine what is fair pay for top executives. Some companies did it by exporting good paying American jobs to countries where they could pay dirt poor wages. How would the executives who did that feel if the stock holders decided to pay them on the same scale as managers in those countries? And many did it by destroying the unions so that workers had no option but to accept whatever poor wages and conditions management offered. Is this “Class Warfare?” Yes. It has been going on for 35 years and the 99% have been losing for all that time.

Henry’s seems to be concerned that higher taxes for the wealthy would be unfair. I wish he was as concerned about the unfair way workers have been treated over the past 35 years.

Feb. 03 2014 12:54 PM

Disappointed that Brian Lehrer did not follow up in any way re Aipac/Israel, where de Blasio’s response was patently disingenuous, deeply biased, and painfully unacceptable.

Wasn’t it worth asking how de Blasio can try to justify a policy of “unequivocal” support for Israel given that such policy is obviously a betrayal of the rights, needs, and morality of the large majority of New Yorkers?

Wasn’t it worth asking how he could possibly justify his vow to Aipac to bind NYC ever more tightly to Israel given that the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001 were retaliation against us for our support for Israeli terrorism? Does he want to expose all New Yorkers to more retaliatory terrorism?

Wasn’t it worth asking how this mayor could ethically promise “unequivocal” support to any foreign power, much less to an apartheid, land-grabbing, war-mongering nation? And if he expressed any qualms about those characterizations to remind him that Israel was the greatest ally and supplier of nuclear weapons technology to South Africa when it was run by an apartheid, land-grabbing, war-mongering regime?

Feb. 03 2014 12:29 PM
Barbara from Brooklyn

Mr. Lehrer, Your program is usually a valuable source of information. But in your response to Trudy this morning, you said that Long Island College Hospital is losing lots of money. If you repeat that claim, don't you also have the obligation to explain it? -- that SUNY-Downstate, under a court order to keep the hospital open, has for months refused to admit patients, so there is little income. In other words, SUNY is CHOOSING to incur these losses -- and then claiming to the press that LICH is not viable in order to justify selling off the hospital for hundreds of millions. SUNY-Downstate acquired LICH for no cash just two and a half years ago in a transaction approved by the NYS AG and NYS Supreme Court only on the premise (see court documents) of SUNY-Downstate's maintaining a full-service hospital. Our waterfront communities need this hospital (which is also critical for disaster response), and LICH has a $140 million permanent endowment bequeathed by a local couple. SUNY-Downstate has made no public accounting of LICH finances -- a situation crying out for media investigation.

Feb. 03 2014 12:23 PM
Steve from Gowanus Brooklyn

Andrew Carnegae's legacy of evil toward his workers included hiring mercenaries to shoot some of them. Eventually he atoned by giving back his unearned millions by building libraries and such. I hope the mayor continues to honor and respect the community that needs the Pacific Branch Brooklyn Public Library, now that he is mayor. Not only does the community heavily rely on it, but also many faced much abuse to give Carnegae the money to build it. Do not dishonor the workers by selling out to the developers, please! Restore the library money bloomberg cut to force an artificial crisis that makes selling our library look necessary. Enough of the cooked books fraud to help politically connected real estate barons.

Feb. 03 2014 12:08 PM

Mayor de Blasio expressed a more nuanced position on Israel than most politicians. As a Jewish New Yorker, I understand that the Israeli/Palestinian situation is VERY complex, obviously too long to describe here, and it is way too simplistic to blindly, 100% support either side while denigrating the other as hopelessly evil. If you listen carefully to what he said, he explained his unequivocal support for Israel's existence, while stating that he does not agree with all of its policies. This position is entirely consistent with also supporting the rights of Palestinians and others.

Feb. 03 2014 12:02 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Charlie Steiner

Jews are going to live on Jewish land west of the Jordan river no matter who rules over it, be it Romans, Arabs or Turks. Maybe Jews won't be living in New York in a century from now, but Jews will be living, or dying, in their homeland no matter how much "the world" or the UN, or the EU, or the US, or liberal Jews or anyone else objects to it. Even when there is not a single Jews left in New York as there no longer are in Warsaw, Medina, Cairo or Baghdad, Jews will be living in Judah and Samaria if there are any Jews still left alive on this planet.

Feb. 03 2014 12:02 PM
Ed from Larchmont

If Mayor DeBlasio admires the pope, why is the mayor so pro-abortion?

Feb. 03 2014 11:49 AM
JR from NYC

Re: earlier comment, make that "Brooklyn".

Feb. 03 2014 11:49 AM
charlie steiner from Jersey City

About his remarks on Israel, I wish he had been pressed about the occupation and about new settlements. He said he agreed with Obama regarding Iranian sanctions, but nothing about the Administration's efforts regarding settlements. He also implied that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, which is just wrong. I attend a synagogue on the Upper West Side and it is obvious to anyone in NYC that many many New York Jews oppose Israel on settlements and the occupation (outside of Orthodox neighborhoods, a large majority). So de Blasio and the Arab-American woman who called are both wrong to imply that there are only two sides, Jew vs. Arab, regarding Israel. For one, there are thousands of Israelis living in NY (and around the world - lately many in Germany) because they cannot live in Israel with the current political climate there.

Feb. 03 2014 11:49 AM

The last caller & his "substantial citizens" who were concerned raise an interesting question.

Are they ready to take responsibility for their actions & their negative effects on the City, State & National economy?

This can take the simple form of paying higher taxes for some, but some may have to go to jail as a practical matter for the good of our country & economy.

Our ongoing financial situation was created in steps starting with Nixon. To correct the various legal changes, regulatory oversight budget-stripping,etc. will take a long concentrated effort.

Feb. 03 2014 11:48 AM
Loren from NYC

Word up to the lady who called in regarding de Blasio's stance on Israel. The Israel / Palenstine conflict is way more complicated that "unequivocally" supporting one side. I also agree that it's possible to support Israel, and also support a Palestinian state, and that as mayor of the most diverse city in the world, that Mayor de Blasio also has an obligation to our Arab-American New Yorkers.

Feb. 03 2014 11:48 AM
JR from NYC

On DeBlasio's performance so far:
He needs to do three things at a minimum:
1. Save the city's residents, small older shops, and history from rampant overdevelopment. Step in and halt demolition and make every development project well publicized and wide open for public review.
2. Save the books in the New York Public Library and the Brookln Public Library system from the prodevelopment agenda of big business and the corrupt boards of directors; Loss of the public's libraries is all about real estate grabs.
3. Investigate the practices of Verizon; All over the city people are being manipulated and done out of the service they are paying for as this vile company tries to strongarm everybody into "upgrading" to the less regulated and more expensive and far less dependable FIOS fiber optic system. Put a spotlight on this and interview customers to find out what their experiences have been.

Feb. 03 2014 11:46 AM

Of course there are government and corporate policies that favor the rich and thus get them more of finite resources at the expense of others. Among many, if CEOs would take even a few less million of the many millions of dollars of corporate profits, and use the money to hire more people, pay higher wages, invest in the community, etc., more people would be more able to support themselves. I'd hope that those CEOs would acknowledge that everyone that works at their company contribues to its success. So all should share more equally in the profits. Do CEOs really contribute that many gazillions of times more to the company's success? Doubtful.

Feb. 03 2014 11:46 AM
Sue from NY

Oh, come on. The very rich are frightened of paying a small amount of their obscene riches in slightly higher taxes? Barf. Try the fright of a single mom working two jobs who doesn't have enough money to feed her hungry children, while also worrying because her crap jobs don't pay enough for her to have a single moment that's not clouded by money worries.

Feb. 03 2014 11:44 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

Thank you Brian for asking Mayor de Blasio the update question about libraries.

It is good to hear the mayor restate that he didn't like the Bloomberg plans to sell off NYC's libraries.

The BPL is now in the middle of trying to carry out one of those Bloomberg plans right now with an RPF issued by Bloomberg for the sell-off of the Brooklyn Heights Library. In fact, since candidate de Blasio stood with us in July that plan has been revealed to be significantly worse than previously disclosed since it is now known how development rights the city was supposedly selling were actually transferred to Forest City Ratner in 1986 and that FCR would likley stand to be one of the most prime beneficiaries of that plan.

Re Mr. de Blasio as a champion of of income equality: Libraries are Democracy and the elimination of libraries is an attack of that equality.

Feb. 03 2014 11:42 AM

I'm so relieved that one of the Mayor's first actions was to address the carriage horse issue. This everyday, casual cruelty - which results in miserable lives and horrific deaths for sentient beings - makes me ashamed to be a New Yorker, and Chris Quinn's support of retaining carriage horses is why she lost my vote. We must get these animals off the city streets.

New Yorkers are a diverse lot - to say the least! - and all of us think our own issues are the most urgent, and I think the Mayor will do a good job of trying to balance everything. At least, he seems to want to, and that's more than can be said for many.

Feb. 03 2014 11:40 AM

Robert from NYC~

THANK YOU!! Excellent question!

Feb. 03 2014 11:39 AM
Bobby G from East Village

I'm not a huge deBlasio fan, and I think that he should acknowledge that the campaign is over and stop beating up on Bloomberg who did great things for this City. However, unlike Rush Limbaugh when President Obama came into office, I hope Mayor de Blasio succeeds.

Feb. 03 2014 11:37 AM
Ann from Green Gables

I support the mayor's goal of reducing inequality, but given that he is not suggesting that we revamp the entire economic system, I think he has made a strategic mistake by failing to enlist the support of(and instead alienating) those like Bloomberg could have helped support his mission.

Feb. 03 2014 11:36 AM

A moment of clarity and sanity from Sue from NY.

Feb. 03 2014 11:36 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I congratulate DeBlasio in his support of the Jewish state, and his support for the Irish state, and the Arabs have 21 states of their own east of the Jordan river that we should support too, as soon as they accept and respect the Jewish state.

Feb. 03 2014 11:36 AM
Jack from Manhatan

I've been an observer of political personalities long enough to know that despite the voter's best hopes and wishes, only time will tell. Especially in this town. That said, could Lehrer's head be any further up the Mayor's bum? I mean really Brian, could you at least feign a modicum of impartiality? It's like watching a Fox News fan fest for the latest Tea Party member de jour.

Feb. 03 2014 11:36 AM

re: arab americans are also new yorkers and there are 2 sides…."

lots of arab americans also support israel and have a big problem with the country from which they emigrated. usually the "2 sides" is "the israel question" (formerly known as something else) -- whether there should be an israel or not.

Feb. 03 2014 11:35 AM
RonnI WITKIN from manhattan

I could not be more hopeful about, and pleased with, his answers on the show today. It's a great time to be a New Yorker!

Feb. 03 2014 11:35 AM
Burroughs Lamar from Harlem

I like to know who Mr. DiBlasio will appoint to the rent guidelines board and will this appointee reject any rent increases, substantial or otherwise.

Feb. 03 2014 11:35 AM
dboy from nyc

Who cares what the Mayor of NYC thinks about is israel??

…TOTALLY irrelevant.

Feb. 03 2014 11:35 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The screener told me when I called at the beginning of Mayor de Blasio's segment that the phones would be open later. She didn't say the mayor wouldn't still be there to respond to the calls. If I'd known that, I would have made my comment on environmental issues on this page in time for him to have had the chance to address them.

Feb. 03 2014 11:34 AM

On Friday's Bill Maher, Maher slammed Bill deB for withdrawing the post of the his campaign press manager for her relationship with Spitzer. Was this, in fact, why she was not made the mayor's press secretary? What justification - other than puritanism - was used for this decision?

Feb. 03 2014 11:33 AM
Deen from NYC

@Johnny Barber

Cool it on the anti-ISR want to look at aggression look no further than Syria or Egypt. How dare you hold Israel to same Standards as Syria and Egypt where Arab life is cheap and lost by the dozen! Or is killing Arab/Muslim life permissible as long as the guy doing the killing is Arab/Muslim himself?

Israel is a Democratic state, where Israeli Arabs are free to vote and go to university - the West Bank is the problem. But to say that Palestinian life is cheap in the West Bank?
What hole are you talking out of?

Feb. 03 2014 11:30 AM
Sue from NY

If heroin was legalized, such as through prescriptions, so purity and dosage was controlled, Philip Seymour Hoffman would be alive today.

Feb. 03 2014 11:27 AM
Robert from NYC

How do you like having a mayor who is in touch with the people and the city!? Nice eh?

Feb. 03 2014 11:27 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Mayor de Blasio had a detailed page on environmental issues on his campaign's website. How is he going to put those positions into effect? What does he plan to do about the Spectra gas pipeline that's already bringing natural gas into NYC (near a school & a playground)?

Feb. 03 2014 11:26 AM
Sue from NY

Mayor de Blasio was on time here today.

Feb. 03 2014 11:26 AM
Jack from Manhatan

Yeah Bernie from bklyn,

I thought I was the only person to catch that snarky, arrogant comment "regime." Someone should tell Bill that he should just look across the river at what unbridled arrogance gets you.

Feb. 03 2014 11:26 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Stay tuned, Bilbo.

Feb. 03 2014 11:25 AM

Please follow up re AIPAC/Israel, Brian, at least ask: What Israeli policies does he disagree with, and what is he going to do about them?

Feb. 03 2014 11:24 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Pope Francis comes at it from a different angle. The pope might come here in the next year. (The pope isn't a socialist.)

Feb. 03 2014 11:24 AM
Johnny Barber from Brooklyn, NY

i want to know why the mayor doesn't consider the lives of Palestinians as equal to the lives of Israeli children. Yes, we live in a hostile world. Palestinians is Gaza are under siege. The children there have no bomb shelters and no protection from Israeli aggression.

Feb. 03 2014 11:23 AM
Robert from NYC

-Why is Israel always an issue on this show?

Feb. 03 2014 11:23 AM
Sue from NY

Yeah, the GOP in DC cut food stamp assistance to hungry Americans while maintaining corporate welfare for the richest corporations (fossil fuels) in the world. Oh, yeah, and non-profit status for the billions-rich NFL! Just makes ya sick, no?

If I believed in hell, I'd enjoy thinking of these GOP politicians burning there after they leave the planet.

Feb. 03 2014 11:23 AM
Seth Peckstiff

Come on, Martin, is that all you got -- that the mayor is tardy??? He must be doing a pretty good job then. But please, keep trying. ha.

Feb. 03 2014 11:21 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Thanks for supporting Israel, Warren.

LOL, I'm glad that you received my check.

Feb. 03 2014 11:18 AM
Tamara from NYC

Mayor De Blasio--

I voted for you and was proud to do so, but every time I hear you speak you sound like you are campaigning. You can stop fixating on how bad the Bloomberg Adminstration was; it feels petty and beneath you. Show us by your deeds-- not your words.

Feb. 03 2014 11:18 AM
bernie from bklyn

characterize the previous administration as a "regime" ? c'mon wilhelm. prediction- you'll be battling it out w/ dinkins as one of the worst mayors in our city's history. let it begin.

Feb. 03 2014 11:15 AM
Robert from NNYC

You're doin ok Mayor but c'mon, $8/hr is not a livable wage, shame on y'all! AND $9 not for another 2 years!!! Tsk tsk get to $10 now. (And that is not even livable!)

Feb. 03 2014 11:14 AM
C. M. P. from Manhattan

Thank you, Mayor DeBlasio, for standing with the citizens of our city last spring on the steps of the Main Branch of the New York Public Library! This Research Library previously ranked among the great libraries of the world (with the Library of Congress, the British Library, the Bibliothèque Nationale). The past 20 years have seen it tragically diminished as a source of democracy open to all citizens of New York and of the World. This is due to withdrawal of funding by the previous administration. The board of the NYPL has somehow become a social venue for developers, financiers, and even editors of otherwise respected magazines -- who would normally side with a Library's mission to disseminate knowledge and promote research, but who are silent on the issue of selling City properties (Library buildings) to commercial developers (sometimes at a loss) and of selling off New York's cultural heritage (Asher Brown Durand's "Kindred Spirits").
A library is the laboratory of the humane sciences. Its equipment is physical Books, which cannot be completely duplicated by the wonders of digitization. Our world-famous research branch had a large staff of highly qualified curators of those books. Many of this exceptional staff are no longer there.
More generally, not only the Books, but the physical Libraries of New York have been allowed to deteriorate, to the point where their lack of maintenance is now being used by the board as an argument for selling them off! This Orwellian situation must not be allowed to continue.
We wish you luck in your complex new position, and trust that your support of New York City's Library System will return that System to its formerly great status and its myriad roles in the life of our City and the World.

Feb. 03 2014 11:09 AM
Tin Tin from Riga

MC-twit from Ailesville in da houzzzzz!

Feb. 03 2014 11:07 AM
Monica Strauss from Manhattan

Scholars, writers, journalists and students, both living in New York and
elsewhere, will suffer when the great research collection at the 42nd Street
Library is dispersed to off-side locations as the Library trustees have
planned. Mayor de Blasio, please let the public know what a tragedy
the dismemberment of one of New York's greatest cultural institutions would be.

Feb. 03 2014 11:04 AM

I also would like to have our mayor asked to explain his closed door speech to AIPAC, the audio of which was really appalling.

His speech largely discredited the basis of everything he promised during his long campaign for mayor, namely that he saw the job of mayor of New York to mean devoting his working time and efforts to the needs of New Yorkers, all New Yorkers.

Why then, behind barred and guarded doors, speaking to agents of a foreign government, did mayor de Blasio pledge himself to their special interests, telling them emphatically that ‘his job as mayor of New York City, as he will be happy to do it, is to answer the call of AIPAC and to come stand by it wherever and whenever it needs him’.

It was very troubling to hear our mayor not only give fulsome praise to the racist, state-terrorist nation of Israel, but even worse to promise its powerful agents in America that he intends to use his mayoralty to chain New York City ever more tightly to Israel, as if America’s moral degradation in supporting Israel and our suffering on Sept 11, 2001--which was terrorist retaliation against us for our support for Israel and its terrorism--had not yet been horrible enough.

No wonder our 'transparency' mayor kept this event off his public schedule and barred reporters. Please ask him about it now.

Feb. 03 2014 11:01 AM
Sarah Wellington from Brooklyn, NY

Bill de Blasio... Who knew defending Israel was in your job description?

Bill de Blasio... Your promise to defend Israel, made to AIPAC behind closed doors, is inflammatory and an affront to all people who defend human rights for the Palestinian people.

Bill de Blasio... Will you meet openly with New Yorkers who are in solidarity with Palestine?

Bill de Blasio... Is City Hall always open to us or only to AIPAC?

"You have a friend and an ally at City Hall. That City Hall will always be open to AIPAC. When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I will answer it happily, because that's my job." New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, meeting with AIPAC, January 23, 2014


Feb. 03 2014 11:00 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

LOL, Brian has him on in the 2nd hour because he didn't trust Warren Wilhelm to call in on time for an earlier segment.


Feb. 03 2014 10:50 AM
wingeddancer from Astoria

Please ask about the 210 million dollars he plans to cut from Charter Schools. Which schools will this impact (new, established, non-profit, independent, etc?)? Will it cut into the money allotted per student?

Feb. 03 2014 10:46 AM
Karen from NYC

Mayor DeBlasio:

I am an over 55 year-old attorney, very experienced, highly credentialed, who is being forced out of her job due to a "restructuring." I have a great resume and -- truth -- have been hired for every legal position for which I've ever interviewed. Yet, now, at my age, no potential employer will even take my calls.

Many other older New Yorkers are in my shoes. What do you suggest that we do? Everyone makes speeches about our awful situation; but words are cheap!

Feb. 03 2014 10:36 AM
LGNY from Brooklyn, NY

Our world class public research stacks at the NYPL ought not be torn down with $150M of city taxpayer money. Candidate de Blasio pledged to stop what Bloomberg started, selling our libraries for short-sighted real estate profits.

And I want to hear about AIPAC and that closed door meeting!
NYC Jewish voters open letter to de Blasio: AIPAC does not speak for us:

Please talk about more than snow!

Feb. 03 2014 10:31 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Haha, no critique by the usual suspects of the mayor's secret meeting with the city's pro-Israel lobby, not even on his official schedule, where he pledged his love, undying support and Dante's first born to America's 51st state. Some Sandinista he is. I'm sure he showed up for that meeting on time.

Feb. 03 2014 10:30 AM
Mike L from Brooklyn

I'd like to know whether the stop-and-frisk settlement includes an agreement with the plaintiffs that the city will implement ALL of Judge Scheindlin's remedies, or just a specific subset of them?

And what will happen with the pilot program of wearable cameras for officers in the top stop-and-frisk areas? Cities around the country are seeing the benefits of such programs for ensuring that officers uphold citizens' rights while citizens are also held accountable for any acts against police officers. It would be a shame if we didn't keep up by at least beginning a pilot program.

Feb. 03 2014 10:28 AM
Ned from Brooklyn

He's not on top of snow plowing (11238 / 11225). On a scale of 1-10 I'd say 4. His predecessor 8.

Feb. 03 2014 09:59 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Is Mayor DeBlasio going to act on his (insane) policy of trying to close all pregnancy care centers, and to use tax payer money to build more planned p. abortion clinics? I hope not. He should see the movie 'Gimme Shelter'.

Feb. 03 2014 09:41 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

Citizens Defending Libraries wants to thank Mayor de Blasio for standing with us in July to halt the Bloomberg administration in its agenda to sell-off New York City's public libraries. (And shrink and underfund them!)

Thank you for standing with us on the steps of the threatened 42nd Street Central Reference Library (behind the lions Patience and Fortitude- named by another mayor, La Guardia) with the Committee to Save the New York Public Library, joining with the voices of our friends from the Park Slope Civic Council and Library Lovers League and many others to say that sale of libraries like Brooklyn's, including the Brooklyn Heights and Pacific Branch, and those included in the Central Library Plan sell-oof and shrinkages, Mid-Manhattan and SIBL is wrong!

Not so "FUN FACT" for the day after Super Bowl Sunday: Spokesmen for the NYPL said at the end of last week that the Super Bowl had interfered with delivery of books to researchers at the 42nd Street library because of the move of books to New Jersey!!

Here's more (plus a link to our petition):

Feb. 03 2014 09:38 AM

Bill de Blasio did those of us concerned about the fate of our NYC public libraries proud when he stood with advocacy groups last July and called for an end to real estate speculation with public library properties and wrote a strongly worded letter to Mike Bloomberg to that effect (archived here:

Now that he's our mayor, we're very eager to hear whether or not he's going to let the NYPL Board of Trustees go ahead with their announced plans to sell the Mid-Manhattan Library and the Science, Industry and Business Library to developers and to gut the research stacks area of the 42nd Street Library to the tune of $350 million (including at least $150 of public monies).

Our public libraries are a crucial part of the social fabric of our city. And they desperately need a designated line in the city budget for operating expenses. Mayor de Blasio, will you save our libraries for us?

Feb. 03 2014 09:37 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

BRIAN - Please address DeBlasio’s WORK ETHIC in his first month in office.
Has the "Amiable Dufus" been showing up on time at ANY his obligations? Can WNYC start tracking this as a regular NEWS item?
Can he take this job seriously? Should we make this 52 year old slacker start punching a clock like real workers?

(and see 2 earlier posts below ... it hasn’t improved.)

As Michael Goodwin (NY POST) and Mark Simone (NEW YORK 1 TV and WOR radio) have pointed out ... the guy admitted that he usually awoke in the past at 11:00AM and was notorious as Public Advocate at either totally missing media interviews or being late for them (before the Dem Party assigned him handlers when he became the front running candidate). He has been late at every mayoral announcement so far. No wonder the rube has been so slow in filling important city positions.

You got what you voted for.

Feb. 03 2014 07:48 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


“Mayor de Blasio late to budget hearing with state lawmakers, adding to reputation for tardiness”

“De Blasio Late (Again), This Time to State Budget Hearing”



Feb. 03 2014 07:38 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


“Bill de Blasio Off to Rocky Start With Reporters”

“Notable among the complaints: The vast amounts of time spent waiting for him to turn up at his own press events. An hour-long delay has become standard for the mayor, who was recently dubbed “Mayor Tardy” by the New York Post. “


Feb. 03 2014 07:35 AM

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