Jun 8, 2020
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo June 8 Press Conference Transcript
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo held a press briefing on June 8. He said New York has got their “mojo back” but for New Yorkers to stay smart during Phase 1 reopening. He also encouraged protestors to get tested for coronavirus. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo: (00:01)
… And it’s a day that I am so glad to see finally come. Day 100. Day 100 since we had the first case in New York, first coronavirus case. That’s when we started counting. Day 100. When we first started, all the experts, I talked to all the global experts, people who had studied this all across the world, and I said, “What’s going to happen, and where are we going to go?” Nobody knew. Nobody knew if you could control the spread of the virus. Nobody knew how fast you could control the spread of the virus. And they all said the same thing, “Well, it’s going to depend on what people do. It’s going to depend on what people do. It’s going to depend on whether or not people take it seriously, people accept the warnings, people understand the virus. They understand how serious it is.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (00:56)
And I am just so proud of how New Yorkers have responded. Look, I can say this. I’m a born and bred New Yorker, all my life. We can be a tough crew. And New Yorkers heard the message. New Yorkers did what they had to do. They did it with discipline. And if you had told me 100 days ago that we would be reopening when we didn’t even know how bad it was going to get… I mean, we had some dire predictions. Remember what those early projection models said, that it would overwhelm our hospital system by doubling the capacity in the hospital system. We have 50,000 hospital beds in the state of New York. They were projecting we would need over 100,000 hospital beds. It was frightening, but New Yorkers did it. New Yorkers did it. It’s that simple. We said thank you yesterday. We lit up all the city and state landmarks with colors of the state to say thank you, because we’re not out of the woods, but we are on the other side, certainly.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (02:17)
And that’s why we’re starting the reopening in New York City. As you know, we’ve started it all across the other regions of the state. But I want to thank the people for what they did. New Yorkers always rise to the occasion. Always. They rose to the occasion after 9/11. In many ways, New Yorkers, I think, represent courage and unity. And when things are tough, New Yorkers are tougher. And that’s what they did here. And I’m so proud to be governor of New York. And I’m so proud to be a New Yorker. And I want to say thank you to the people of the state. I also want to thank all the essential workers, the police officers, the firefighters, the healthcare workers, the nurses, the doctors, everyone who stepped up. If those essential workers hadn’t showed up, you would have had total anarchy in society.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (03:13)
If those essential workers said, “Well, if it’s so dangerous, I’m going to stay home too. I’m not going to open the grocery store. I’m not going to open the pharmacy. I’m not going to drive the truck to bring the groceries to the grocery store. I’m not going to drive the train. I’m going to stay home like everyone else.” If they had done that, and there was no food, and there was no transportation, you would have seen bedlam. So God bless the essential workers. I’d also like to thank my team. 100 days, they haven’t had a day off. We’ve done these briefings every day for 100 days, sometimes twice a day. And it’s been hard. It’s been emotionally hard. It’s been exhausting, dealing with the unknown. We’ve never gone through a period like this. We’ve gone through a lot. I’ve gone through a lot, but never anything like this. And they did an extraordinary job, and I want to thank them.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (04:13)
And I want to thank you guys for talking to me every day for 100 days. The joy of our interaction and our dialogue, the joy that you had dealing with me, the joy that I have dealing with you. I think you have more joy, but we can discuss that over a beer some time. But congratulations, we are back. We are back. And not only are we back, but we went from the worst situation in the nation, frankly, one of the worst situations on the globe to not only flattening the curve, but bending the curve. Remember we talked about we had to flatten the curve? That means we have to stop the increase. We didn’t just stop the increase. We bent the curve and we brought the spread down dramatically.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (05:12)
And you look at where we are today, 100 days later. We are continuing our decline. The rest of the country is still spiking. How remarkable is that? How remarkable is that? So congratulations to New Yorkers. It’s also day 15 of the civil unrest after the murder of Mr. Floyd, and now we’re dealing with the two situations simultaneously. And in many ways, they both then compound each other. It’s not just a protest, it’s protests happening during the COVID situation. So we have to deal with both. The protests continued yesterday, all across the state. They were by and large peaceful, but the protesters are basically right. It’s not just a New York State phenomenon or American phenomenon. It’s happening all across the globe. It is amazing. I was watching this morning, protests in Rome, protests in Spain, it’s all across the globe. And people are saying enough is enough.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (06:18)
And it is enough. It is enough. This has been the same point over and over and over again. Bring reforms to the criminal justice system. Bring reforms to policing. We’ve seen the same situation happen 20, 30, 40 times. How many times do you have to see the same situation before you act? And we’re going to act in the state of New York. Transparency of disciplinary records for police officers with a repeal of 50-a. Which by the way, what 50-a says is, the records of police officers will no longer be exempt from disclosure. So the records of police officers will be like every other public employee. They’ll be like teachers, they’ll be like CSEA employees, or DC37 employees in New York City. Their records will be available. And if people made complaints about them, they will be in the record, and they will be released. Ban choke holds. We went through it with Eric Garner.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:26)
How many times? But pass a law that says that, the Attorney General as special prosecutor. Five years ago, I did an executive order that said the attorney general should investigate cases where police killing an unarmed person. Why? Because a local district attorney, and I have tremendous respect for the district attorneys, I was an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, but a district attorney works with that police force day in and day out. How do you expect the public to think that the local district attorney as an arbiter is going to be unbiased? Attorney General, statewide elected official who can do the investigation of police misconduct and give the people of the state confidence that it’s a fair investigation, and a banning of false race-based 911 reports.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:22)
We worked with the legislature over the weekend. I think we have an agreement on the bills that are going to be introduced. If they pass the bills that we’ve discussed, I will sign the bills, and I will sign them as soon as they are passed. I want to thank both of them for their leadership. This is a difficult time. People are angry. People are angry on multiple issues and feelings are intense on multiple issues. So in the midst of it, you have to find out what’s right, rather than just what’s politically expedient. And I want to praise the senate leader and the assembly leader, the speaker, for their leadership. And I hope we have a good productive week this week. But this is not about what an individual state can do. It’s actually broader than that. New York State will take this legislative action, and I hope it then becomes a model for other states to follow. We’ve done that in New York a number of times. We did it with marriage equality. We did it with free college tuition. We did it with raising the minimum wage.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:33)
New York acts, and then it provides a spur for progressive action by the rest of the country. But this is also bigger than what states can do. What this protest really is about is systemic racism and systemic injustice and systemic inequality. Yes, when it comes to policing. But frankly, it’s worse than just policing. It’s the fundamental institutions in our society that’s systematized discrimination. It’s the fact that we have two education systems, one for the rich and one for the poor. And poor children receive a different education than rich children, because there’s a gross funding disparity. It’s the lack of an affordable housing agenda, where the federal government just doesn’t provide affordable housing anymore. They used to provide section eight vouchers. They used to provide what’s called project based section eight voucher so you could build. They used to build public housing. That’s all stopped. That’s all stopped.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:42)
It’s the healthcare system, what we saw with COVID, that you have inequality in the healthcare system. And the neighborhoods where the COVID ravaged are the neighborhoods that had less healthcare to begin with. That’s not a coincidence. That’s the fundamental cause of the injustice. And that’s what we should be addressing along with policing issues. And there is a moment to do this. There’s a global moment, or certainly a national moment for that change. Carpe diem. Carpe momentum. Seize the moment. There’s a moment. Change comes in a moment. When did we pass gun safety? Right after Sandy Hook. Why? Because people said enough is enough. People are saying enough is enough again. Seize the moment and end the systemic injustice, inequality. Education, healthcare, housing, policing, criminal justice. Reopening of New York City. We did it all based on data and facts. There was no political ideology at work here. We’re talking about a virus. The virus doesn’t do democ-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:03)
… here. We’re talking about a virus. The virus doesn’t do Democrat/Republican. Doesn’t do liberal/conservative. It’s based on facts and we have followed the facts. You look at where we are now with our testing results. On Sunday, we did 58,000 tests across the state. We’re at 1.2% positive, the lowest level in the state since March 16th. That’s a fact. Over the past few days, 58,000 tests we did on Sunday. 1.2% statewide. Saturday, 60,000 tests, 1.3. Friday, 77,000 tests, 1.4. Thursday, 66,000 tests. Why are we reopening? Because these numbers say we can. It’s no guess. There’s no ideology. Based on the numbers we can reopen. We are doing more tests than any state in the United States. We’re doing more tests than any country on the globe per capita. That’s why I have confidence, saying to 19 million people We can do this based on yesterday, 58,000 tests, that is a lot of tests. That is a large sample. I feel confident in making a decision on these numbers.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:22)
Now we can change the numbers, just like we changed the numbers the first time and reduce them. New Yorkers get sloppy. You can see those numbers go back up because they’re purely a function of behavior. You tell me what New Yorkers do today, I’ll tell you that number tomorrow. We literally study it on a day to day basis. If you look at yesterday’s numbers, just yesterday, across the state, New York City, nine weeks ago, 59% were testing positive. Four weeks ago, 10% were testing positive. Two weeks ago, 4% were testing positive. Yesterday, 2%. Just yesterday. And you see the other numbers for the other regions. Mid-Hudson, 1%. Long Island, 1%. Western New York, 2%. Capital region, 1%. That’s how we’re making decisions.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (14:21)
Westchester/Rockland/Hudson Valley will enter Phase II to tomorrow. Long Island is on track to enter Phase Two on Wednesday. What does Phase One reopening mean? It means companies, businesses can reopen pursuant to specific guidelines. This is not reckless reopening. We know what happens when that is done. This is by the guidelines. Construction and manufacturing, wear masks. No congregate meetings. In terms of businesses, curbside pickup, how curbside pickups happen. In-store pickup only if curbside is not practical. That has to be with prearranged orders. You’re just going into the store to pick up an order. That’s because you can’t do curbside. That’s all that is. Curbside obviously in New York city is a different phenomenon than curbside in other markets with less traffic. But that’s what store shopping is. These guidelines work. They have been enacted in every other region in the state. Those other regions have entered Phase One, followed these guidelines, and there has been no spike.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (15:48)
We know that it works if it’s followed. The same guidelines apply to New York City, and if we follow those guidelines in New York City, there should not be a spike. Just like there hasn’t been a spike across the rest of the state. We’re also going to keep a special eye on New York City to see what happens. We’ll do 35,000 tests per day in New York City. Take a snapshot every day. If you see any increase in the infection rate, then react immediately. And 35, 000 tests per day is a healthy snapshot, a healthy sample. Then watch it literally every day and calibrate what you’re doing. Again, I’m asking all the protesters to please get tests. That is a new question that has been dropped into the mix. We had all these at-home measures and then we had thousands of people show up for protests.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (16:59)
Did that affect the spread of the virus? We don’t know. We don’t know. I’m asking the protesters, please go get a test. It’s free. It’s available. But there is a chance that you were in proximity to people. Again, we’ve gone through this. What they call a super spreader. One person in a crowd of 100 people can infect dozens. We’ve seen it. Please, we have 15 testing sites in the New York city Area that are prioritized just for protestors. We’re also focusing on the hotspot neighborhoods in New York. These are zip codes where we know there was a much higher infection rate than other parts of the city and it’s dramatically high. Overall the infection rate in New York City’s about 19%. some of these communities are over 50%, so we’re targeting these hotspots. More testing, more treatment in these hotspots and more awareness.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:10)
We’re also setting up additional testing. Thank you very much Northwell health and SOMOS Community Care. More testing sites in those zip code areas for people in those zip codes to get tested. 240 testing sites alone in New York City so you can get a test. It doesn’t cost anything, and there are 240 sites available so there’s no reason not to do it. There’s a website where you can go to the website, punch in your address, find the availability, call, and set it up. I’m asking the protesters to get tested and take as a precaution, act as if you have been exposed and you may want to tell people that who you’re interacting with. Stay away from people who are in a vulnerable population until you take a test and you know that you’re not infected. People in those zip codes where you have that high infection rate, get tested. Get tested. That’s all on that website.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:18)
Also, as we’re working through this, we’re going to extend the deadline for filing property taxes, tax abatements by 90 days to give small businesses some assistance. We’re going to restart elective surgery and ambulatory care in New York City. The MTA is reopening. Roma Torre asked me on an interview, “How do you know the subway is going to be safe on reopening day?” I said, “Because if it wasn’t safe, I wouldn’t ask anyone to go on the subway.” I make these decisions. For me, it’s very simple. I just assume I’m making the decision for myself and for my children. I said to Roma, “If the subway isn’t safe for me then I wouldn’t ask anyone else to go on the subway.” Today I took a ride on the 7 train. The MTA has done phenomenal work.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:16)
I’m old enough to remember the bad old days in New York City. When we would talk about how dirty the cars were and the garbage that was in the subway cars and the stench, frankly, that was in the subway cars. The subway cars are cleaner than they have ever been in my lifetime. They had to disinfect the subway cars. Just think about it. It’s almost a bizarre task, right? We’re going to disinfect a subway car. So many years they couldn’t figure out how to get the newspapers and the coffee cups out of a subway car. Now they’re disinfecting, and they are disinfecting the cars and the stations. They’ve done 30,000 station cleaning disinfections, 500,000 subway car cleaning disinfections. They’ve applied anti-microbial treatment to the surfaces in the subway cars and the stations. They’re using UV light technology to clean facilities. They are doing everything they can.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (21:27)
We’re giving them an additional million masks and 25,000 gallons of hand sanitizer that we make in the state. 500,000 two-ounce bottles. I think after the ride on the subway, I have about 10 two-ounce bottles that I collected. Masks are mandatory when you are riding public transportation, subway, bus, you’re in a station. Stay six feet away when possible. Use the hand sanitizer. Use the hand sanitizer and observe the guidance that is on the trains, et cetera. The MTA is also launching the “It’s up to us, New York” campaign. You’ll see this if you’re riding the subways or the buses. It’s up to us. How do you stop the spread? It’s what we do. Are the subways safe? It’s how we act? Are the sidewalks safe? It’s how we act, right? If you’re wearing the mask, if you’re keeping distance, yes, it’s safe. But it is a function of us. Each one of us and us as a collective.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:34)
While the ridership has been reduced, there was also an opportunity in the reduced ridership, right? One of the ongoing challenges the MTA has on construction is to do construction you have to reduce the train usage. You reduce the train usage, you inconvenience commuters. When the ridership was reduced, the MTA smartly increased their construction. Because the ridership was reduced so fewer riders were inconvenienced by the construction. They accelerated $2 billion in capital projects, rehabilitating the F train, using the lessons they learned in the L train, where I want to applaud Janno Lieber and his team for literally setting a record in smart government construction. Smart government construction does not have to be an oxymoron. You can have smart government construction and Janno Lieber showed that. They’re accelerating 11 ADA stations, 24 new elevators, rehabbing the 138th Street Grand Concourse Station, accelerating steel and concrete defects and leaks on the 2/3, 4/5 Eastern Parkway Line in Brooklyn.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:01)
Eastern Parkway line in Brooklyn. New Yorkers did what many experts told me was impossible. 100 days. I don’t think I’ve had a good night’s sleep in 100 days, knowing some of the things they’ve told me. New Yorkers bent the curve by being smart. We’re celebrating. We’re back. We’re reopening. We’re excited. Our mojo’s back. Our energy’s back. Great. Stay smart. Stay smart. Look at facts around us. Other states, the spike is going up. California, the numbers are going up. Florida, the numbers are going up. Texas. The numbers are going up. Look at the reopening date and look at what happened after they reopened.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:58)
That is the cautionary tale my friends. Gentlemen, on the subway car just said to me, he has family in Arizona. They re-opened and they’re seeing a spike. He’s right. Look at the spike in Arizona. You have to stay smart after the reopening, because if you don’t, you can see a spike. That is the last thing that we want to see, but I don’t believe we will because we are New York tough, smart, right there. Second word, Andrew. Smart, right after tough. Smart, United disciplined. Last word is for me, loving. Questions.
Governor, the other states that saw a spike, they don’t even have mass transit. They don’t have people on the subways. So by definition, given the congregate setting of the subway, as clean as it is, don’t you expect New York to see a spiking in the next two weeks?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (25:59)
Are you a cynic, my friend? Are you a pessimist, my friend?
I am not.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:03)
The subway has been open all during this time. For 100 days, the subway has been open. We had the highest infection rate in the country. We had the highest number of cases in the country. We had the highest hospitalization rate in the country. Subways were opened. We went from that point, 100 days ago, to now, one of the lowest infection rates and one of the best downward spirals, with the subway. If we stay as smart, as disciplined, as we’ve been for the past 100 days, we will be fine. If we change our behavior, if we revert, if we get sloppy, if we get cocky, if we get a little arrogant, then we’d have a problem, but we’re not going to do that because we’re smart.
But even good behavior, people in masks on a train, get the ridership kicks up just a little bit, they’re not six feet apart. People are in the same car and they’re unable to maintain-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (27:05)
If they’re using the sanitizer, they’re using the masks, it will be okay.
The state is taking the lead now in terms of passing police reforms-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (27:17)
Excuse me, one second. If we’re going to have a problem, the variable here is, did the protests have an effect? I don’t know. And I don’t want to speculate. That’s why I’m asking them to actually get tests, but we’ll have the masks. Masks for all essential workers, and if we keep the discipline and the intelligence, we’ll be fine. I’m sorry, Zack.
The state finally taking the lead passing these bills as you know, some of which have been bottled up for many years, but they’ve been available. They’re now actually going to pass them probably by Wednesday I’m told. Do you think the department itself has to do its own internal reforms? Would you like to see changes within the NYPD itself to go a step further? And do you think the current leadership team there is up to doing that?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (28:09)
Look, mayor’s run their local police departments. I think this is a wake up call or not a wake up call. This is a transition transformation moment across the country. People are saying it has to stop. We have to change, right? When they’re saying defund the police, what are they saying? They’re saying we want fundamental, basic change when it comes to policing. And they’re right, they are right. They’re saying Mr. Floyd, Mr. Garner, Mr. Louima, Mr. Diallo, enough is enough. So they’re right. Our state legislative packages will do that. But I also believe you’ll see that in every police department that is now operating. They understand they’re operating in a different reality, with different perceptions and different mandates. I think you will see a shift all across police departments. I think police departments that don’t hear it and don’t get it are going to have a real problem.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (29:18)
And the political leadership of that police department will have a problem, right? And those local mayors, look at what’s happening in Minneapolis now. I think the mayor, as the elected official, they will get the message and then it’s going to be up to them whether or not their police department has done it. Now, I would like to see us actually go further than that, Zack, because yes, there’s discrimination institutionalized in society and it’s manifested in the policing criminal justice system. But it’s worse than that. It’s actually worse than that. Education is where it starts. Housing is where it starts. Healthcare is where it starts. You want to make a difference in America? You want to live up to the American promise, the American dream, let America be America again. Every child has a quality education. Not two educations separate but equal, separate but unequal. Equal education for every child, not the poor children. Even in this state, poor school’s $13,000 per student. Rich school’s $36,000 per student.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:40)
How? How? Equal opportunity. We have equal opportunity. Oh, really? My child starts out $13,000 for education. Your child starts out $36,000 for education. My child comes from a poor zip code, less social services, more problems in the community, often more problems in the household, and that child gets less education and less services. Equal opportunity. No. And look, we have been talking about this for decades and that’s where it starts. And the fundamental insanity, you’re spending $50,000 a year on a prison cell. It’s more than the tuition in Harvard University. I mean, how long have we been talking about this? It’s a reverse set of priorities.
Speaker 2: (31:40)
Governor, I want to ask you about police reform and mainly how the police unions factor into that. Do you view the police unions as being more of making it more difficult, hindering police reform?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (31:54)
Look, every union argues the interest of their employees, their workforce, right? When you go to make education reform, you hear from the teacher’s union. When you go to reform the mental health system, you hear from CSCA, right? When you go to reform government, you hear from PEF. You go to reform construction labor, you’ll hear from the construction and labor unions. They’re arguing from their employee’s point of view. I understand that. 50A police unions are saying, “If you release personnel records, you may jeopardize their privacy.” That’s a point. And the bill has privacy protection in it. But my point on 50A, which I know the police unions are not happy about. Look, all it’s doing is reversing exemption on police records so now a police employee police officer is like a school teacher, is like a DC37 worker, is like a CSCA worker.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:09)
It’s just parity and equality with every other public employee. It’s nothing punitive to police. They’re saying, “Well, in that file, it will release just complaints.” If I just sent the complaint letter about a police office, it’ll be released. Yes. But if I sent a complaint letter about a toll taker, if I sent the complaint letter about a school teacher, it’s going to be released. It’s just fairness and equity across the board.
Speaker 2: (33:42)
What would you say about other unions across the country, not just in New York, not just tethered to 50A? Do you think that that sort of reverberates through other unions? Do you think other unions pose any sort of difficulty or is there a role for them in police reform?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:58)
Well, of course there’s a role in police reform for the unions. And I think the unions will bring the perspective of the police officer to the table, as they should because when you make any decision, when you’re going through reform, you want to make sure you understand all the issues and all the perspectives and then pick the right path. But everybody has a perspective here, right? Everybody has an interest. Listen to all voices and pick the right, just path. Now, this is a hyper, hyper emotional issue. I get that, and people have very strong opinions, but that’s the art form of government, right? We passed a gun safety reform. We had thousands of protestors. I had hundreds of death threats on gun safety. Everybody has a point. Everybody has an argument. You can’t make everybody happy, but it’s not about making everybody happy, but it is about hearing all sides. That’s what it is about. Yes.
Speaker 3: (35:14)
Thank you, Governor. My question is about the protests. We hear you adamantly asked the protestors to get tested. You even put special sites for the protesters. Is your message as adamant to police officers, because we’ve seen, every day, that there’s a lot of police officers who are not wearing masks.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (35:33)
The police officers should be wearing masks. The police officers are getting tested. I encourage them to get tested. We have testing available for essential workers where they’re prioritized. So yes, the same message to the protesters is the message to the police. I’ve had these conversations with the police, however, several times, because the police were out there as essential workers early on all through this…
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:03)
… out there as essential workers early on all through this. So, we started a tremendous amount of testing with the police force weeks ago when this first started.
Speaker 4: (36:11)
Governor, I want to ask you about reopening. When do you expect phase two in the city? And you say New York is back. There are boarded up stores across this city. How will they affect New York actually coming back to what it was?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:28)
Look, we had a terrible night, the night of looting in this city. It was terrible. It was destructive. It was frightening. It was bad for the city in a number of ways. I think it scared city residents. And it scared city residents at a bad time, because we’re already going through COVID and people were nervous about the city, about the density, about the numbers. And then, you see this night of looting, which just looked like the city was out of control. And it was bad for the communities we’re trying to help. People see the pictures of looters running up and down Madison Avenue in Manhattan. There weren’t as many pictures, but there was just as much activity in the Bronx, and in Brooklyn, and in Queens destroying mom and pop businesses that are struggling on a good day, destroying businesses that are providing needed services to poor communities. So, the looting was very bad.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:42)
It wasn’t the fault of the protesters. Some people try to put the protestors as looters. Yeah. That would be a way to dismiss the protesters, but it’s not true. It’s not the fault of the police officers. Right? The police officers, it’s not their issue. Police officers in this city are the best police organization in the country, I believe, 36,000 strong. They’ve handled many difficult nights in this city. I said it was the management of the police. It was the management and the deployment. You have to have enough police deployed. I don’t send state police somewhere unless I have enough state police to do the job. Otherwise, it’s dangerous for everyone. So, I said it was about the management and deployment. It wasn’t the protesters. It wasn’t the police officers themselves.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:51)
But it’s over. It was a bad night. I took action. The mayor took action. It’s over. And it hasn’t happened again. And the protests have been largely peaceful. There’s been some issues, but there’s been no looting. Right? There are protesters and the issues around protests and then there’s looting. There has been no looting. So, the boarded up stores from the looting, that was one night. It was arrested. It stopped. It’s over.
Speaker 5: (39:26)
Speaker 4: (39:26)
That fear, that lingering fear impacts a comeback, a full comeback.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:35)
I think the looting was one night. It was a bad night, but it was one night. Right? And I think New Yorkers know how to calibrate this. And look, also honesty works. Right? You can’t get away with inauthenticity in this city. It was a bad night, bad two nights. There was some looting actually two nights. Yeah. It was bad. But I said it was bad. And I said, it had to stop. And it had to stop now. And it was a management deployment issue of the police. And the management acted differently and the deployment was different. And it stopped. So, it wasn’t good, but I think it was addressed honestly. It was addressed effectively. And, over the past several nights, we haven’t seen any looting. So, I think New Yorkers are past that.
Speaker 6: (40:44)
Governor, can you tell us about your evolution of thinking on 50-a? You have, in the past, somewhat resisted calls to reform, or repeal, or amend it. I asked you a question about this about a week ago and you were, obviously, nowhere near as definitive as you are today and in the last couple of days. So, tell me what it’s taken to get you-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:04)
What did I say to you when you asked me the first time? I said, there’s no need to change 50-a because 50-a does not do what the local governments say that it does. That’s true. Remember, New York City used to release the disciplinary records. They released them. Then they stopped. When they stopped, they said, oh, it’s illegal because of 50-a. No, because 50-a was in existence when you released them. How did you release them if 50-a stopped you?
Speaker 4: (41:44)
Right, but you’re thinking. So, that’s a very good paraphrase of what you said earlier.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:48)
Speaker 4: (41:48)
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:49)
And then, I sent the counsel’s letter saying 50-a doesn’t stop you. But it was clear that they’re not going to do it. Do I believe 50-a is a straw man for local governments? Yes. But, even as a straw man, okay. We’ll knock it down as a straw man.
Speaker 7: (42:08)
Governor, too on the MTA. One-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:11)
Ask Janno a tough question.
Speaker 7: (42:13)
Yeah. Well, this one is for you.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:14)
That never works.
Speaker 7: (42:17)
When are you going to send the [inaudible 00:42:19] board appointees or nominees to the Senate?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:22)
As soon as the Senate starts taking up confirmations, I’ll send them.
Speaker 4: (42:24)
Okay. So, you’re planning to do that in the coming month? Week? What’s the timeline?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:28)
Yeah, as soon as they take up confirmations. Confirmations are a different function for the state Senate. But, as soon as they start confirming, I’ll send them. I have a batch of confirmations that are backed up.
Speaker 4: (42:40)
And then, de Blasio today announced 20 miles of bus lanes. MTA has called for 60 miles. When it comes to reopening and seizing the moment on the city streets, like other cities across the world have done, do you think that the mayor is doing enough? Do you think city officials are doing enough to not just get buses moving, but open up spaces for restaurants and really reform the way that the free space looks in the city?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:01)
Well, look you’re factually right? The MTA estimated and requested 60 miles of bus lanes. I haven’t heard the mayor’s announcement. But, obviously, there’s a disparity between what the MTA asked for and what the mayor is doing. You want to comment on that?
Janno Lieber: (43:18)
No. I think, from the MTA’s standpoint, 20 miles of bus lanes is a step in the right direction. But we asked for 60 for a reason, which is that we really want to speed service so everybody can get more frequent service and we can accommodate the growth as the governor sets the economy back in motion and to maintain social distance to the extent possible.
Speaker 7: (43:39)
And then, if I may, you announced that Janno’s team is accelerating a lot of projects at the MTA. But the whole capital plan that we’re entering hinges on congestion pricing. Is there any update on that and whether or not we’re going to move that across the finish line this year?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:53)
Who is we?
Speaker 7: (43:54)
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:54)
Paraphrase, the federal government has to approve the congestion pricing plan. I have spoken to the federal government about it. MTA has spoken to the federal government about it. The MTA has not approved the congestion pricing plan. Why not? You’d have to ask the federal government. I don’t believe they have a bonafide reason. But why haven’t they approved congestion pricing? I have no idea. Why haven’t they approved the cross Hudson tunnels? Why haven’t they approved the AirTrain from LaGuardia? Why haven’t they approved the extension of the Second Avenue Subway to 125th street? Why did they pass SALT, which penalized New Yorkers and increased the taxes of New Yorkers who were already contributing more to the federal government than anyone else? I don’t know. Okay, guys, thank you. We’re going to work.