Cities Invincible? A New Administration and an Urban Agenda | CUNY Forum

good evening my name is bob live and this is the cuny forum a monthly town meeting that brings prominent new yorkers together with faculty and students of the edward t rogowsky internship program in government and public affairs it looks like we have a new presidential administration coming in assuming donald trump and his increasingly strange fellow travelers are unsuccessful in uncovering an anti-trump conspiracy so diabolical that there is no evidence so new york is turning its eyes to what we can expect from the administration of president-elect joe biden and vice president-elect kamala harris as we face the triple whammy of the pandemic the economic collapse it engendered and the uh attempted reckoning with racial and economic inequality and policing jobs housing immigration what have you in new york hard hit by all three challenges city hall albany and surrounding suburban counties are looking to a federal bailout to shore up a crumbling economic prospect especially with especially with the mda seeking a 12 billion dollar infusion to rescue the region’s life-sustaining capillaries biden’s first appointments indicate he values experience and knowledge which should work to our benefit but if the trump years taught us anything is that the old rules don’t necessarily apply much depends on georgia where the two runoff elections in january could give democrats control of the u.s senate with harris as the tie-breaking vote but whatever happens there we’re going into a new year still bedeviled by the pandemic fueled crises even as the nation tries to reassert leadership on the world stage where we value allies and stop cow towering to authoritarians locally regionally nationally and globally it’s a time of hope what can we expect how should we temper our hopes as we prepare to bid a not so fun farewell to 2020 and to donald trump we’re joined by four new yorkers who study and take part in public affairs as we enter the age of biden julie new is a state assembly member from lower manhattan 62nd district representing chinatown the financial district battery park city and beyond lawrence levy is a former newsday colleague of mine and is the executive dean of the national center for suburban studies at hofstra university patria delanza julius is the associate dean and professor at the mark school of public and international affairs at baruch college for the benefit of the right-wing twitterverse let me stress that as marx with an e at the end and michael benjamin is a member of the new york post editorial board and the one-time democratic assemblyman from the bronx who will tell us what it all means you lean let me begin with you um you guys up in albany where new york city and then and everybody depends very much on what you do have been playing a very bad hand uh there’s no money unlike the 1970s the state can’t bail out the city um what do you expect what do you hope for and what do you expect from a change in administration um obviously uh there’s been a lot of hope for revenue um there’s a lot of hope for a bailout um of some sort from the federal government uh i think that there i mean there is actually something that the state can do which is to raise revenue in certain places and i’m hoping that we can do that regardless of the timing because we do know that we do need federal funds but we also know that we can’t wait um on the ground what i’m seeing right now is just like sheer utter devastation my district is obviously uh one that experienced the economic devastation a lot earlier than a lot of other places because of just sheer xenophobia racism and so we started to see that in chinatown in lower manhattan and chinatown in all the other enclaves within uh the city and um it started to be really hard to see a lot of our small businesses uh start the shutter folks who just couldn’t make the rent the commercial rent issue is really huge i have a bill on that i think that it’s really very hard to kind of watch this economic downturn and its dominoes right without our small businesses we are also losing jobs without you know folks being employed you know you have a huge need for social services and then you see cuts across the board for social services for the things that we need and it’s just devastating thing after devastating thing and so um right now we just have an urgency and so we desperately need the financial uh help um we need the economic help that our state and our city and our federal government all need to help us with so oh larry this is not a city only problem um

you know we just went through the elections and kind of by and large republicans and democrats held serve on long island uh you know even as the even as democrats now have a veto-proof majority in albany in the senate which may not be what andrew cuomo really wants um the kind of impacts that we’ve seen in the city you’ve seen on the uh you’ve seen on long island especially with the mta which is the lifeblood lifeblood of the entire region how’s this being how is this playing out other than all the new yorkers who have moved out to the east end of long island i mean how you know how is this playing out on the island and the suburbs more generally well the pandemic has been devastating um uh all the more so in communities of color uh the coveted rates uh in the beginning of the pandemic on long island or almost as high as they were in new york city and that’s a reality of life in the suburbs that i use this expression that’s become a cliche already but it’s not my mother and father’s suburbs and i mean it’s changing so quickly out in not just long island but suburbs across the country that it’s not even my kids suburbs and they’re in their 30s uh the pace of demographic change has uh caused all kinds of uh changes in uh community makeup uh uh its economics uh racial and ethnic mix um and the fact that uh the suburbs that my parents moved to which were absolutely brand new i mean down to the sewage systems underneath the streets are aging and because of the fragmentation in suburban communities you can’t deal with it in the same collective way say a city could so you it’s gets harder and harder to uh remediate um major infrastructure issues at the same time just one other thing about what life in the suburbs this myth of the uh of wealth and wellness in suburban communities there are more poor people out in the suburbs now than in central cities more new immigrants than in central cities and just as many and in some cases more problems with the environment and other issues that we used to call that people used to flee the cities to come to the island so the county executives the superintendents of our 10 million school districts are all desperately looking south to washington um uh the the great hope uh among suburbanites uh who often feel short change whether it’s true or not some things it is sometimes it’s not uh by by state and federal government is that joe biden is a true prince of the suburbs he uh uh uh was born in an exurb uh grew up in an exer but he lived for 30 some odd years as a commuter on the uh delaware version of the long island railroad i am jack yes live with these folks uh it’s in his i don’t want to you know another cliche in his dna but one of the reasons i believe barack obama picked him as a vice president was not just as foreign policy chops actually i did account for the times on this in 2008 but because he needed somebody with suburban sensibilities and why is that important because whoever carries the suburbs for over a generation now gets the keys to the white house in control of the gavels in congress and if you want to come up with legislation that sort of passes the compromised test of a middle ground look for how it plays in the suburbs because that’s where a preponderance of moderate voters are patriarch um i think larry makes an important point about you know trump’s image of the suburbs was a white house wife waiting for her husband to get her to get his job back which is i mean ozzie and harriet may still live there but they’re now great grandparents um but there’s an overlay when you look at what’s happened with with covet there’s an overlay with race with ethnicity with who are the who are the uh who are the essential workers there’s high correlations between all those factors in the suburbs in the city and that’s not going to that’s not going to change with a new administration well if you’re asking me i i i wrote a column for our friend rich gallon over at cnn another former newsday guy who now runs their opinion section back in the summer where i said like a lot of other people frank this wasn’t an original thought that trump was acting out of a 50s and 60s playbook and appealing to suburbanites who didn’t exist but as the summer turned into fall and the convention turned

into what was not not a pivot to to the center which is candidates on both sides tend to do i realized that he he knew exactly what he was doing he had a feeling to suburban moderates he was appealing to every single person whether they lived in the city the suburbs or in rural areas who thinks like he did he was going to win only with his base wherever they live so his message certainly resonated with some of my neighbors who because he got 50 of the vote in suffolk and 42 maybe in in nassau and what did he get 22 in new york city which is actually cool but let me go to let me go to apache for a second on on that overlay you know that lack of that you know that 1950s vision is quite dated but how does that inform how we should be looking at what we you know what we want going forward assuming we have a vaccine and assuming that we get the opportunity to start to rebuild well whether we get about we are going to have a vaccine i mean that’s just no question about it but one one of the problems that particular new york city is going to confront is that you have a population especially just uh those uh migrant populations that are key to they were the ones that we were clapping remember at 7 pm every night in new york city and they are key to the food chain of new york city and yet that particular population is housing insecure is healthcare insecure is everything insecure and some of them yes are also are undocumented but they are working and they will be going to work even though they don’t have health care but they have to go because otherwise they will lose their job and if they lose their job they lose housing and guess what many of them also have children at home who are american citizens who are also housing and food insecure and i think that whoever i am very hopeful that biden is going to be working towards something about immigration that uh that’s going to reverse the structural racism that has been built into our system for that for the past four years and from before of course such as the past four years but new york city is going to have to work really hard because housing is a problem and no matter what administration is in in in washington new york state is going to have to do something about food insecurity housing and security and health care because part of the problem is that we have all these policies uh in in new york and yet what we are going to what we having is uh this um social what we call the social determinants of health that are really negatively affecting these populations that are integral to our transit to our food supply to everything except of course the high luxury condominiums they are they don’t live there so we really need to uh to do something and it’s true so trump was appealing to everybody and some people said hispanics uh well or latinos some people call them voted for him what no no no no let’s let’s just be honest first of all hispanics are not a block you know we don’t vote as a block and if anything republicans lost their chance because if you look at just because of religious beliefs and the abortions of hispanics should be conservative right they’re not you know they’re not so it’s we are a very diverse group however in general very discriminated and we’re gonna have to do something about that regardless of the administration in washington new york city has to take this seriously because we are in a big crisis michael are i mean our expectations are very high are they about the change in administration are they unrealistic i mean you know at some point the laws of you know the laws of economics apply well two things i think we need to look at first joe biden will be the first president in i guess since um gerald ford come directly out of congress at least be a few years out of congress so he has the connection to the members of congress of the senate especially he also faces the possibility of a debt republican-controlled senate unless the democrats win both seats in a georgia runoff he’s going to have a hard time getting many of the conservative republicans to agree to a very large you know multiple trillion dollar bailout for the nation so he’s gonna have to use every one of his political skills he’s gonna have to come lbj uh for the civil rights era for this area for the post covert era to get the money that the cities that the cities need but the question let me stick with you michael at the

same time i mean biden you know this is kind of crass politics lbj’s are wonderful you know you know is uh you know it’s probably a wonderful analogy because you’re already seeing um biden saying i know mitch mcconnell i’ve dealt with him for all you know i’ve dealt with him for all these years you know maybe i could do business with him where you know once the specter of trump the heavy hand of this you know in a kind of strange authority you know look fortunately incompetent authoritarian is removed from the stage and you don’t have you know he was very non-cooperative with obama but but you know but you’re right biden biden is a creature of washington does that help us i believe it does uh because we need much more than what biden’s housing plan other plans he put out during the campaign uh can actually afford i mean as you mentioned earlier the mta wants 12 billion dollars that’s like a tenth of uh of biden’s housing plan um new york city uh public housing in new york needs 24 billion to bring it up to 21st century code and protecting the lives of the residents who live there so it’s a lot of money and he’s going to need to use every ounce of his political skill and that of his vice president uh miss harris mile harris to to get congress to move in the right direction and in a timely fashion i want to also add i was in the assembly during the 2008 financial crisis the nation faced you know near bankruptcy and a near depression and uh we needed to find all of our resources with the help from dc and then and in new york make sure we stayed on our feet but may i just say bob i said well it’s just i’m just gonna say you know i i would hope that actually joe biden can influence congress but congress is not congress as is supposed to be you know there’s no collaboration the congress where there was collaboration is gone i think that uh if if the democrats don’t get georgia biden is just gonna have to to rule through uh executive order i mean and we do know that that just goes so far but i am sorry but i’m very skeptical about the goodwill of the people of congress in the republican party because they haven’t shown any any desire to actually help the american citizens so why we expect that they’re going to change now but you can’t use executive orders to move the budget you can’t move trillions of dollars in the american budget by executive order you have to really get the buying of every member of the congress because you want it’s a national crisis everybody’s been affected by the pandemic so they need to be leaders and need to come together for the sake of the nation whether it’s a a 50 trillion dollar package or it’s a 35 trillion dollar package we need to get something done and we need to use politics and whatever comedy that the the president-elect has with his former colleagues in congress you’ll need every ounce of it and he needs the support of the american people to put pressure on the member of congress and on their on their their senators of course even if the democrats take the senate you know albany’s probably the perfect example where you have everybody in the same party that doesn’t mean that they get along in fact and you have ideological battles within party court because you lean you’ve been a veteran now of the wars so um you know and you know and and the governor you know actually is in a much stronger position institutionally than a president is relative to the congress you know executives in this in the city and state have more power than a president does in terms of you know you know i mean even setting the revenue estimate which you know defines how much money you can you can budget is there you know is there a lesson of how you guys have had to work this out compared to what we can expect down there i mean i think that you know in our state uh for the students who are here you know look up what silver be pataki is right i think that a lot of folks can understand like the reason why we have what’s called a strong governor state um and you know that there’s um there’s a very uh real power there when it comes to our budget and our uh revenue um our possibility for raising any revenue et cetera i think that all of those things um are uh determined a lot uh due to silver vibhataki by our governor you know like you just said he determines what we what parameters we work within um he also determines uh you know how much um you know he he has a very arbitrary two percent cap for example on our budget and then now he’s also the one to kind of tell us you know what we can and cannot do um and and he’s also withholding money so one of the things that

is very interesting um that you know folks probably don’t realize is that there is currently an issue with a lot of the social services like a lot of our nonprofits are actually not getting paid out the money that they already are supposed to be getting through rfp through the budget that we passed and he could just withhold it with you know dob or with um whatever agency that he feels like and then later on you’re gonna see this gap within the budget right you’re gonna see like wow this money wasn’t actually sent out and then what does he do with it then he says like oh well this wasn’t needed because it wasn’t spent and then what happens to those dollars and then what happens to um reallocating those dollars right so then it becomes a um it’s for better or worse like if it tells a different story than what is actually happening and so um it it actually hurts our non-profit organizations it hurts you know what’s happening on the ground um right now you know our nordics are for folks who don’t know the acronym it’s naturally occurring retirement communities our nonprofit organizations um on the ground the settlement houses all of these different organizations who are literally the ones who are out there delivering food out there making sure that folks have you know that um that extra help they need they are the social safety net they are the ones who know how to reach people right now and specifically the most vulnerable yet they’re the ones who are getting cuts or having their funding withheld or not being able to pay their staff um who are the ones who are actually able to service the folks that need it the most and so we’re seeing that um happening on the ground right now as we speak and we are also seeing this strange allocation of funds in the strangest ways right and we’re seeing it on the state level watching on the city level or obviously seeing it on the federal level i can’t even talk about all the things that happened with the pau and the ppp and all those things but on the state level we are seeing that you know the allocation of funds have um been redistributed in a strange way but then on the city level for example they’ve been completely re uh you know re drawing the wheel r recreating the wheel on certain things such as food right everything has to go through dista now everything is like you know the free meals etc people are waiting for hours to get these free meals and those meals are full of milk and applesauce and crackers and um you know just things that if you are a person with diabetes you could never eat if you’re a person who has renal failure or something like that you could never eat and yet our settlement houses and our nonprofit organizations all of these folks who have been doing these things with senior centers etc knew exactly what to do and yet their funding was cut so they can’t provide those things we didn’t expand it and we instead are recreating these programs that are literally getting these huge contracts from these corporations that are making it so that they’re making more money when people are you know not actually it’s a it’s a vicious cycle that’s just happening right and what we could have done was we could have had an expanded snap program we could have had different kinds of programs that made it so that people had cash like um you know services and or are able to use cash to be able to go and support our small businesses make it so that you know our grocery stores et cetera and the neighborhoods were actually being used our delis were being used you know and like people knew where to get food from they have their own dietary preferences they could have been culturally appropriate and yet none of the things that um were given were culturally appropriate and nutritious um you know it’s just a cycle that keeps on going and i can’t really reiterate how badly um things were managed through this entire crisis uh except that you know what i’m seeing is that you know we’re starting these mutual aid organizations we’re starting all of these different you know small operations of our you know restaurants making sure that they can provide nutritionally um you know sufficient foods having these come from private donations having it come from like you know our friends and neighbors you know where the government has not stepped up on the federal side on the state side on the city side our neighbors have and so that’s where you know things have been it have been really painful because um i think it’s history of austerity budgeting throughout right it’s become the norm and so you’re seeing that on the state level you’re seeing it through this strong governor state you’re seeing it um kind of be uh the only way that we can budget uh because of the way that we are structured and um and i guess until until we have the numbers to actually change that we’re not able to change the way that we budget and so um i think that it’s been really uh encouraging to see a lot of the electoral shift we’ve seen the electoral shift um in the senate right for example and we are going to have a super majority for the very first time um in i don’t know since michael benjamin might know but not since those i don’t remember ever having ever having one yeah they haven’t had neither party right and that’s where i think it’s really exciting if you think the super majority is going

to make a a smidgen of difference you’re dreaming yeah omo is more skillful than any 10 people up there put together whether you like them or not you don’t have to like somebody to acknowledge their skills and uh bob i think uh uh alluded to this earlier um holding together uh a whole conference that includes members from suburban syracuse and not to mention long island and west chester who are are you know have enormous number of moderate and independent voters uh he will be able to maneuver uh and and uh basically have his way in whatever way he wants i i don’t see anything changing um the um uh if you pull the lens back a little bit um you know get back to maybe a you know 10 or 20 000 foot view um there are about 40 at most 50 competitive congressional seats in the country both parties would agree and virtually every one of them is holy or substantially suburban and when the major parties when when a a left or right winger from a major party somehow happens to win a primary there they generally there are exceptions but they generally lose so these guys are much less concerned about the left or right wings than the moderate voters in their midst and these are the people republican and democrat and this may be a total fantasy even more than dominating cuomo with a super majority but that they are the people around whom if at all compromises can be found to at least move along you won’t get medicare for all you won’t get some other uh uh projects at least the you know the green deal the way it was i want to go but but you you can get relatively i stress the word relatively progressive legislation that moves the dial a little bit until you know the left can make a better case to moderate voters for some very important things that need to be done but i got you know slowed down i think by the intemperate some intemperate language like defund police my mother was a socialist she was a card-carrying socialist the international ladies garment workers union i don’t think she would use that word today if she wanted to you know try to get ahead even in a union so i you know i when i grew up in the 1960s people warned of creeping socialists they said i was more the creeping than the socialists i do want to go to a question from the student but i want to just touch on one point a lot of the things that you lean was talking about a lot of the things that pachi was talking about um and talking about how you get thing how you actually get things done is it requires money and then and that is why we are so dependent on what happens and what happens in washington you already start to see the independent budget office came out with revenue enhancers in this city including a pieta terror tax i think i think patrick you talked about the you know high-end you know you know the high-end housing that you know you know larry you say that you know long island is behind the eight ball wasn’t that long ago that long island drove the bus um and and you know in albany to where a lot of people feel is the detriment of the city sure when you had a republican senate they were the obstructionists no no question about it and they were even out of step with their own constituents and just stayed one step ahead of annihilation by gerrymandering and they won’t be able to do it again right right so uh uh let me uh let me go to kafoori kuaku if you have a question from uh if you have a question from a student come on in hello hello hello i’m trying to get my video to come back this is for you well while we’re waiting um bob i just wanted to okay you know that the uh the the revenue raisers that have been uh proposed we could technically you know if we’re doing a multi-millionaire’s tax a billionaire’s tax um the stock buyback transfer tax the stock transfer tax if we’re doing all of these different things there’s a there is a way to raise certain revenues right so just i just wanted to put that out there there there are some packages in that um in that the state can do certain things to raise revenue i would be remiss not to let michael respond to that well my old martial albany yes from my perspective having been there in 2008 with financial collapse one of the things shelley told the

conference as we’ve discussed in the dire situation of the state budget is that we cannot afford to kill the golden goose and that golden goose is and remains wall street the uh the financiers the banks those are the guys who are most mobile and can really relocate themselves their business and their homes out of new york state and still make money um so and even from the first perspective i’m sorry i i i i understand all that but but but but there there are ways of raising revenue that not require as shelly would say would have said killing killing the golden goose um about it the post has written a number a number of editorials about that wanting to find some way of preserving the tax base and focusing on growing the economy and growing it not through except the taxation but through economic growth and this and that’s something that the federal government could be helpful with in helping to in my view as a democrat priming the pump and getting things get getting things moving you know one out of three uh swampers in new york are facing the prospect of never reopening and that’s not good for the workers who they provided incomes to yeah but that’s not well susie i’m sorry i have to i have to disagree because that is not you don’t help the small business by helping wall street i’m sorry because we have been helping wall street for way too many years and look where we are look where we are with a huge huge housing and food insecurity not only that see when we close the school let’s just put it out there the richest cities in the world when we close the school children don’t have food to eat because where do they get their meals at school how is that possible and then we say that we have a golden goose i’m sorry but that golden goose hasn’t been laying eggs for us something is wrong and something has to be revisited he has been laying eggs for somebody but we have a huge food insecurity and we and and housing and security we really have to address that it’s been laying eggs for themselves and on top of that i just want to say that i now represent the district that shelley represented and includes wall street so i i i wrote editorials in newsday for a long time and we were always advocating uh uh income redistribution for for a very long time it to up suburban readership which didn’t think that was such a wonderful thing but i have to tell you that there that there is a little bit of truth in the idea of of killing the golden goose um when you have 50 of all the income taxes paid in the state by a handful of people it doesn’t take a lot of them leaving by the same token most studies have shown to the extent and they’re flawed but have shown that very few super wealthy leave because the impact on them is is not all that much and frankly they’re not interested in how it affects themselves so much as how it affects their employees and not many of their employees are um are are super wealthy i i have a friend i i’ll admit to he raised a lot of money for donald trump he had him at his house raised over a million dollars and uh he calls me up last year and he says i’m done i’m done i’m done with trump i’m done with the republicans i said why he says salt state and local deductibility i said and i won’t say his name i said well that probably saves you a million bucks a year he says no it costs me several million i said why because because it’s killing my employees and if i want to keep them and i’m in a very competitive business i got to pay more so he was he resigned his his position in the republican party because this was killing it because he was killing his employees i mean so it’s very complicated and i i don’t disparage the golden goose but i also realize that we can redistribute income a lot better than we have and i know that we have to get to questions but larry i i just wanted to say that and plug in that i have some of the wealthiest people living right here and they have called me literally saying the exact same thing that it’s costing them more and that they’re and it’s actually um they’re telling me to tax them this question is from a mark crea a 2020 graduate of borough college marx school of public and international affairs and also a retired member of the fdny with cities around worldwide and especially here in new york under extreme financial pressure due to the current pandemic what do you see as the most critical focus of municipal spending and could you identify a revenue source to pay for it it’s kind of what what we you know what we’ve been talking about it you know it you know identifying the problems are easy finding the answers is our heart that’s you know that’s what always and you know we’re talking to a audience of cuny

students who potentially face increased tuition fewer you know fewer professors fewer uh part-time professors you know if you were teaching um um adjunct and so you know i mean this is you know the rubber is beating the road right now how do you you know what do you cut what do you raise no i mean anybody want to jump in it’s a you know you know it’s a very very tough question bob it’s the mta the mta is the most important agency in new york city new york state right now that’s going to get our workers back to work it’s going to move commuters from from the suburbs into the city it’s going to move city folks to their jobs in manhattan and brooklyn and the bronx and queens the proper funding of the nta is what’s important whether it’s 12 billion or 24 billion that’s being asked but it’s the mta in my view ought to be the priority well i think that’s one of the priorities because but you need to have people who can actually go and use the mta and people who can actually who are healthy enough and who can go and drive the bosses if they’re not they are hungry they’re not healthy they can’t go so the other thing you need to spend money for example on getting those uh the schools with the appropriate ppe so that the kids can go back to school that the teachers can feel safe you need to start open the economy in a very healthy in a in a in a using investment the way for example that south korea invested money but you can’t just tell people oh yeah go to the go go back to school or go take the train when they are not protected so we need to spend money on making sure that people can be safe as they are using the mta as they are going to school as they are going to work and we need to do this in a very systematic way only if we do that we start opening the economy safely can we start really raising revenues but we need to take care of those pesky issues of housing food insecurity and health care and if you have the job you can have a job if you if you’re not healthy you can’t go to work there’s a fundamental question that has to be asked before you can talk about specific programs and strategies do you believe that what we’re going through is short term or does it represent some sort of paradigm shift that will require a completely different way of of living i think that it’s that if because if it is the latter you’ve got to start doing some very different things than if it’s the former if it’s the former and you think it’s short-term then you then i would say you borrow that as much money as you possibly can to get through it and you pay it out of future revenue it’s already not short term yeah basically that you know precisely that point you know under the rubric i’ve never let a good crisis go to waste yeah how do you is it a time because of the depth of this crisis uh which is you know deeper than anything we’ve gone through in our lifetimes you know we’re i’m the child of you know uh parents who went through the depression but this is in our lifetime this is the deepest the shortest you know i mean it’s a it’s a short jolt but we can rethink how we come out of it and you know you look at biden talking about investment in infrastructure but also investing in climate change technology creating new jobs new types of jobs shifting away from from you know shifting away from the oil from you know fossil from fossil fuels there are creative opportunities so i just yes great i just wanted to kind of connect the thoughts a little bit so um i and and shout out to the baruch bearcat um i just i also wanted to say that you know i want to also shout out my economics professor from brooke who is amazing mr sanders just want to put out there um he is awesome and he’s going to be very proud of me for saying this because it’s basic economics and i’m really glad about what larry said earlier and i also wanted to say that you know yes it is a question of whether or not it’s short-term and long-term but it’s already been long-term and i want to say that we already um i and i and i and i and i said this in my speech on the floor in march and i said this um over and over and over again as we continued on racking up the uh exponential growth of of need that we’re experiencing as um as time has gone on right because i will say that if we were to have invested in our infrastructure starting in march if we were to actually have you know invested in our health care in our education system in our transportation and all of the things that would have built a safety net for us to be able to have us have a swift recovery we would be in a very different place right now if we had not had austerity budget

like after austerity budget for the last however long right we would have been in a very different position right now i’m talking about like countries like taiwan for example right taiwan has literally had seven deaths total i’m not i’m not kidding their echo their economy has already had never stopped to beat like their economy hasn’t stopped to beat they are able to recover perfectly fine right so so our our our recovery has exponentially grown the cost of our recovery has exponentially grown by the end of june it has doubled by the end of september it doubled again now it’s going to double again you know and that’s going to be a cost that we’re not going to be able to afford soon and so if we’re not going to raise the revenue if we’re not going to make those those investments in our community right now then we’re going to have a devastating economy that is going to we’re going to see the repercussions of it for a decade or so this is going to be a lost generation for education there’s going to be a lost generation for for work people’s com it’s already happening right small businesses have shut down forever right there are businesses in my district that survived hurricane sandy have survived 911 that that survived so many huge crises but they couldn’t survive this there are so many businesses that have been able to to help our economy regrow again here down in lower manhattan and yet they’re gone and there are people who have lost their jobs and who can’t find jobs and are going to have a segment of their life where they have no employment right we we’ve seen that with our my generation right where people were um you know coming out with their knees and not being able to find a job you know this is when actually michael probably talked about a little bit because he was actually in office at the time and so like these are these are times when we were having a hard time adjusting now we’re going to see that um play out in a way that is snowball it’s snowball affecting right but challenging times require us to get tougher i mean at primitive new york city a primitive world survived the spanish influenza which which killed millions of people we’re not even close to that yet we we have more scientific knowledge i’ve been going to work on the subway since this thing started we don’t have to be afraid we can make things work we can make things safe we need to just let our economy grow let us grow out of both the pandemic and grow out of the economic crisis we can’t hide enough bunkers in our homes and and on our cell phone cameras talking to each other we have to be out in the world building things again and doing the things that humans do humans require we be out in the world and disease will always be with us diseases will kill us disease is important it keeps the equilibrium the natural equilibrium that that’s out there stop being afraid rebuild our economy support the biden administration support what’s going to go on in congress in 2021 to get us back on our feet whether you want to redistribute income or whatever you want to do we need to get people back to work and grow the economy and that’s how we properly redistribute income and that’s how we make sure children don’t go up don’t go unfed don’t go uneducated schools are open during the spanish influenza kids went to school they used ppe that was existing at the time we can live through this we can’t just be captured by our fear stop being afraid go back to work we just uh oh we lost him all right lost michael um yeah but i mean just to answer yeah just to answer that back a little bit i’ll go ahead just by the way i’ve wanted to mute michael listed one of the first times that i’ve no i mean just to answer and go back to that question the main question of like what is it that um you know we should be investing in um and and my my my uh answer would be very very uh maybe a little bit opposite to michael’s in the sense that i think that we need to be investing in housing right now like we need to make sure that people can pay their rent and um i do think that it’s really important that we are if we are asking people to stay home for healthcare reasons and by the way right now we are learning so much that we are interconnected in a way that humans are interconnected in a way we’ve always been interconnected in so many different ways that um this is a time when it’s the light has been shown even brighter that my healthcare is dependent on your healthcare your healthcare depends on my healthcare you know my wealth is depend on your wealth like my healthiness is dependent on yours and so like this is where you know everything is so interconnected now that yes like if we are asking people to stay home then we should be helping to make sure that they have homes to stay in and we should be making sure that they are actually able to afford it and that and then we need to make sure that you know they can get the get the they need to be able to stay home so that the rest of us can get back to work and you know make sure that we can get that going like i think that there’s just so many answers there um and i think that the student asked a really good question let me jump over to another question

the next question is from abigail rojas from the borough of manhattan community college and the question is when thinking of the city as a place that could run on clean and renewable energy legislators ensure that everyone embarks on the journey regardless of their economic status and will currently on the resource community also receive the help that’s necessary to run on clean energy that’s the creative opportunity that’s you know that’s going on go ahead go ahead pacio you look like you wanted to jump in no um what he was talking about particularly those uh communities who are the low income communities i was trying to figure out well who is going to bring in who’s going to help them because what we have found is that particularly in places where we have high pollution you have a high percentage of people who live under low incomes so they are being uh structurally already they are being discriminated so who is who has a responsibility to come in well the city needs to make sure that there is a a plan and a plan that is implemented but that it is carried by all so know that so not just the community in long island get you know get the means to be able to run on clean energy but also the communities that are uh less affluent and this is the problem that’s not what we do we usually go to the most affluent and they already have their work without and we do not put the resources where the less affluent people are one question larry is that endless proposals for wind farms and long island sound i mean when we’re you know we’re talking about moving you know in a creative way to you know change the way we power our homes power our economy does that thing still exist oh yeah the state uh let two billion dollars worth of uh contracts uh to two international companies uh they’re here now they’re starting their pre-construction work um one of the good things at least for my perspective is that they are immediately devoting some effort to understanding the income inequality out here and the trying to create some opportunities in advance for communities of color working with some of the community colleges uh some of the traditionally poor um uh african-american and latino communities to make sure that there are opportunities i was actually you know glad that they sense that they’re actually working with a with hofstra on some of that uh in the nassau county portion of it but yeah green energy is is our future there’s no question about it the real the real question is you know kind of the flip side of environmental racism i mean poor communities got the again another cliche the short end of the stick um when it came to the location of these fixed based power plants we have to make sure that a we’re not just loading up even the green versions of them in communities that already are beset with other uh uh stresses on their quality of life and and and and land values personal wealth um but we also need to make sure that um the the there are career pathways and that this education is a curriculum is revamped to to reflect the new jobs of the future and if you don’t start that in k-12 um these kids are gonna lose out in the competition for jobs because you know because the reason they always do by larry network lack of training could i just follow with larry because i just want to make sure that you see not everything that is going to be needed for example is going to be taught in college we really need to make sure that people start going to just a vocational schools that can give those kind of skills for jobs directly for those kind of jobs that you’re talking about because i think that we and oh my gosh and this is terrible to say because obviously i’m an associate dean and i want more students but let’s be honest there are jobs where you don’t need a college degree and it could be much more lucrative for some people and people need to be doing what they can do best and so we really need to be encouraging a wide variety of uh access to education and supporting that from training to education i think that we really need to do that as a fellow academic i have a guilt-free compromise idea for you for a while i ran the 5 000 student continuing ed world at hofstra university and more and more of our students were not college students they were high school students who were work getting uh training

for skills or maybe a path to a degree on saturdays we were getting non-traditional students coming in i think that community colleges and four-year colleges should like newspapers have to do you know you’re you’re now a news organization you’re not a paper you don’t just print and paper you do it online as well well colleges have to recognize that we have infrastructure we have an ability to teach people they don’t have to only be 18 to 22 year olds what exactly is the renewable energy job require we talk about installing solar panels we’re actually building them where they’re built in japan turbines it’s everything it’s everything from traditional construction where the skills you teach them for green energy can help them put at a a an addition on a house um they’re not really new skills we’re talking about this the same old skills just being transferred to it to a new kind of economy i don’t understand why the governor closed indian point he wants to bring hydro power which is going to take forever to come down to hudson uh the governor has no real plan we criticize it constantly in the post when it comes to his energy plan we need to look at as president obama had done looking at what’s going to be the bridge to the future and that’s going to be natural gas that’s going to be nuclear power and that’s going to be some some form of hydroelectric uh and being renewed and doing renewables and also we don’t even have a an infrastructure to make renewables possible make it even possible for owners of electric vehicles to charge their cars overnight if they’re renters living in an apartment building person the person who lives at home doesn’t have it easy um so we have to put those sort of things in place and maybe that’s what we should be asking the administration to put into place as we look at revitalizing and re-energizing the national economy but again you know those skills that are being taught for these new technologies which is the bridge which which is the bridge of the future it’s a time you know as we’re i don’t know because of the pandemic we should it it’s kind of like the mayor said okay i’m going to close the schools he didn’t figure out that he actually had to reopen the schools at some point he didn’t get to get to that plan you know this is a this is a time for planning and this is frankly when i think you know i i think you’re both right patrick and me and larry that that that training in college and in high school should be aimed at these new technologies not just the installation jobs we should be producing you know you know we should be manufacturing those elements and shane shameless plug i just want to say that you know stony brook has been one of the the leading uh thought leaders on a lot of the green uh job production you know and some of them are saying but that’s okay some of those things you know we’re talking about mechanics but we’re also talking you know now and now we’re using microchips so you can’t just go and get a hammer you know it’s not just a hammer you need to have there are some specialized skills that need to be taught and they may maybe at college but community college are a perfect place and vocational schools to teach these things and so it is not the same all skills we really need to revamp and rethink how we see and what kind of things and where we’re going to build it who is going to build it why are we importing it when we have so many people without jobs that can start building things now in this country and there are industry record recognized certifications that people just have to get whether it’s you know different levels of osha certification uh when it comes to uh tech jobs uh you know they all have all alphabet soup of of descriptions but you know it’s not just as you say driving a nail with a hammer um you need to understand a lot of technology about the hammer and the nail also a lot of technology microchips are actually built by other computers they’re built and designed by the computers and i feel like i’ve been living in a time with the last 40 years 40 years ago we had a discussion around the skills mismatch it’s the same discussion when are we going to move forward and actually make things happen rather than until he’s spinning spinning spinning our wheels wondering when things are going to improve you don’t think things have changed in the last 40 years well not what i’m hearing happened a skills match i i think that well if if you thought you heard that for me uh then i didn’t do a very good job uh things are continuing to evolve and now we’re we’re at a certain point in the in the evolution where where we need to keep we need to maybe change the trajectory a little bit but

we’re continuing to evolve we’ve been evolving for a long time um you know maybe it’s time to actually digest we’ve moved so quickly maybe it’s time to digest or figure out how all these changes can get us out of this mess in the next couple of years so that we can really take off things get better i don’t know you know we’re also going on now that we’re done with the strangeness of the presidential election we’re entering a mayoral election year and there’s only about an oklahoma land rush of candidates running all over the spectrum um um in terms of how much is that going to because we only have a couple of minutes left how distracting is that going to be this is more of a city question how distracting is that going to be by trying to apply the kinds of changes that we need to pull us out of the out of the hole we’re in it won’t be distracting it’s going to be helpful to a real policy debate where do we want the city to go what do we want our schools to look like what do we want our economy to look like and who do we trust most to build it will it be something like a ray mcguire will be and eric adams uh diana morales uh laurie sutton scott stringer all those guys what are they bringing to the table to lead new york city into the future of better schools more effective schools a better economy a wider economy that lifts more boats and to the professor’s concern feeding our children those who are hungry those are homeless so but michael you were saying that uh we need action so i just hope that is gonna go beyond the debate you know that we really because we can’t wait for the elections we gotta we need action now we really need action now so i hope that yes we need to have those debates but i hope that action and debates are going on at the same time and then we can be running we can’t wait for a new mayor we just can’t um take me what would you like to see happening in the short term and we literally only have about 30 about 30 seconds left as we enter into our political year coming out of the national political year i mean i think that we still need to go back into session that’s one of the biggest things on the state level that we need to do we need to go back into session we need to decide on revenue that’s for me numero uno and revenue meaning we need to start we need gen we need to generate revenue care tax stock transfer tax the kinds of taxes that michael was talking about before all the things that we put on the table are just ideas right what we need to do is we need to figure out which ideas will work for folks and we need to just do them now like we’re going to be missing a whole year of revenue if we’re not if we’re not actually taking that action this legislative session and i apologize that of course the other side of the revenue is the car is the spending side and of course because we’re all new york cause we didn’t talk about the spending we didn’t talk about where we might have to make cuts in the you know in the kind of spending in order because you still have to balance the books if we’re 100 million dollars in the hole the state comes in and takes over the city so and the state cannot bail us out so i think we’re just about out of time i want to thank you all this is very very spirited this works great i didn’t really want to mute michael because it’s a fool’s errands michael i understand i don’t work here i don’t want you i want to thank you all very much and we’ll see you all next time on cuny forum you