Race and the State of the Union | The New York Times Close Up with Sam Roberts

♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪ >> I’M SAM ROBERTS OF “THE NEW YORK TIMES.” WELCOME TO “THE NEW YORK TIMES CLOSE UP.” PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP DELIVERED HIS MUCH-DELAYED STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS THIS PAST TUESDAY WE’LL HAVE A POSTMORTEM TO TRY TO MAKE SOME SENSE OF IT ALL LATER ON, I’LL HAVE SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON “CODA” BUT WE BEGIN WITH AN ISSUE THAT NEVER GOES AWAY — RACE RELATIONS IN AMERICA VIRGINIA’S GOVERNMENT IS IN TURMOIL OVER WHO WORE BLACKFACE WHEN, BUT THE ISSUE IS ABOUT A LOT MORE THAN APPEARANCES JOINING US TO DISCUSS ITS IMPLICATIONS, ELEANOR RANDOLPH, “NEW YORK TIMES” CONTRIBUTING WRITER, AND MARA GAY, A MEMBER OF “THE NEW YORK TIMES” EDITORIAL BOARD WE ARE TALKING BEFORE THE WEEKEND ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, OF COURSE, BUT IN VIRGINIA IT SEEMS THEY ARE DOWN TO A SCHOOL CUSTODIAN RUNNING THE GOVERNMENT BY THE TIME THEY ARE DONE ELIMINATING PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT DONE SOMETHING WRONG IT WAS A FASCINATING QUOTE FROM THE GOVERNOR “IN THE PLACE AND TIME WHERE I GREW UP, MANY ACTIONS THAT WE RIGHTFULLY RECOGNIZED AS ABHORRENT TODAY WERE COMMONPLACE.” DOES THAT MAKE THEM EXCUSABLE, OR UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES ARE THEY, OR WHEN DOES THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON THEM LAPSE? OR, HOW DO WE APPLY TODAY’S STANDARDS TO SOMETHING PEOPLE DID BACK IN 1984, OR WHEN THEY WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL, OR WHAT? >> I WOULD SAY NOTHING HAS EVER BEEN EXCUSABLE ABOUT BLACKFACE IT WAS USED FIRST STARTING IN THE LATE 1800s TO MOCK AND MIMIC AFRICAN-AMERICANS THEN IT WAS USED PERNICIOUSLY AT THE TIME AND EVER SINCE THAT SAID, THE LARGER QUESTION IS, EVERYONE IN AMERICA, THIS COUNTRY HAS A SHARED HISTORY OF RACIAL TRAUMA IT IS SOMETHING WE STILL ARE STRUGGLING TO OVERCOME PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES IT DOES NOT ENTITLE YOU TO A SECOND CHANCE, ESPECIALLY AS A PUBLIC OFFICIAL, BUT PEOPLE DO MAKE MISTAKES HOW DO YOU ASK FOR FORGIVENESS? HOW DO YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY? HOW DO YOU PROVIDE MORAL LEADERSHIP, IF YOU ARE STILL IN A POSITION TO DO SO? I THINK WE SAW TWO SEPARATE APPROACHES TO THAT, ONE FROM GOVERNOR NORTHAM AND ANOTHER FROM ATTORNEY GENERAL MARK HERRING, WHO ACTUALLY SAID IN A REMARKABLE STATEMENT YESTERDAY THAT HE ACTUALLY TOOK RESPONSIBILITY IN A WAY THAT WE HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE HE SAID IT WAS THE MOST PAINFUL, SHAMEFUL MOMENT OF HIS LIFE, WEARING BLACKFACE, AND THAT HE WILL TRY TO MAKE UP FOR THAT RACIAL INJUSTICE EVER SINCE HE ALSO SAID HE KNEW IT WAS WRONG AT THE TIME >> THE GOVERNOR — I HATE TO SAY IT WAS STUPID, BUT HOW CAN YOU SAY, THAT’S NOT ME IN THE PICTURE, OR MAYBE IT IS? TO TALK ABOUT, AS WESLEY MORRIS POINTED OUT, THE REAL SIN OF THIS WAS TRYING TO TAKE THE SHOE POLISH OFF, RATHER THAN GOING IN BLACKFACE >> AS A SOUTHERNER AND A PERSON WHO GREW UP IN THE SOUTH, I CAN TELL YOU THAT BY 1984, EVERYBODY KNEW THIS WAS WRONG EVERYBODY KNEW BETTER THE 1960s BROUGHT OUT — WE HAD MARTIN LUTHER KING GOING THROUGH THE 1960s AND ALL THAT TRAUMA OF COURSE, YOU KNOW, FRATERNITIES DID CRAZY THINGS WE SAW THAT WITH BRETT KAVANAUGH WHAT WAS INTERESTING TO ME, AS MARA SAID, IS AT LEAST THESE DEMOCRATS ARE COMING OUT AND SAYING, I DID IT AND I WAS WRONG, AND I APOLOGIZE YOU NEVER GOT THAT FROM BRETT KAVANAUGH, AND HE IS SITTING ON THE SUPREME COURT FOR LIFE AND YOU DON’T GET THAT FROM DONALD TRUMP THEY DO NOT HAVE TO SAY I’M SORRY, APPARENTLY, IF YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN >> AT WHAT POINT DO YOU SAY SORRY AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND AT WHAT POINT DO YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND QUIT? >> I THINK THAT IS A QUESTION THAT SHOULD BE UP TO THE VOTERS, IN A SENSE NOT THAT THERE SHOULD BE A REFERENDUM, BUT I THINK THE RESPONSE OF GOVERNOR NORTHAM HAS BEEN LESS THAN STELLAR, TO SAY THE LEAST I DO NOT THINK HE HAS TAKEN FULL

RESPONSIBILITY BUT WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE LIKE MARK HERRING TAKE ACTUAL RESPONSIBILITY, YOU CAN START TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT WHERE TO GO FROM HERE IT IS INTERESTING THAT HERRING CHOSE TO TELL THE LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS FIRST AND HAVE THAT PRIVATE CONVERSATION EVERYTHING HE HAS DONE IS A PR 101 CASE STUDY IN HOW YOU HANDLE IT >> HE ALSO CAME OUT AND SAID IT BEFORE HE WAS CAUGHT, WHEREAS THE GOVERNOR WAS OUTED, IF YOU WILL, BY A CONSERVATIVE WEBSITE YOU ALSO WONDER, WHERE WAS THE OPPOSITION RESEARCH WHEN HE WAS RUNNING? ON THE OTHER HAND, IT TOOK HOUSE REPUBLICANS 16 YEARS TO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT STEVE KING, WHO WAS MAKING RACIST STATEMENTS AS A CONGRESSMAN UNTIL HE SAID SOMETHING MORE OUTRAGEOUS IN INTERVIEW WITH “THE NEW YORK TIMES.” HOW DO WE EQUATE SOMEONE WHO APPEARED IN BLACKFACE IN 1984 AS AN ADOLESCENT, IF YOU WILL, VERSUS A SITTING CONGRESSMAN SAYING RACIST THINGS? ARE WE TALKING ABOUT APPEARANCES VERSUS SUBSTANCE? AT THE SAME TIME, WE ALLOW THINGS GOING ON LIKE VOTER SUPPRESSION AND SUBSTANTIVE THINGS IN THIS COUNTRY, MAYBE NOT ACCEPT OUTRIGHT DISCRIMINATION AND PREJUDICIAL STATEMENTS LIKE WE USED TO, RACIAL OBSCENITIES LIKE WE USED TO THINGS GO ON THAT REALLY SHOULD NOT BE ACCEPTABLE ANYMORE >> HOW ABOUT THE WHITE SUPREMACIST IN THE WHITE HOUSE? >> THE WHITE SUPREMACIST IN THE WHITE HOUSE — WE KNOW THIS IS A CHEAP SHOT, BUT I WILL SAY IT ANYWAY AT THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST THE OTHER DAY, HE TALKED ABOUT HOW SINCE THE FOUNDING OF OUR NATION, MANY OF OUR GREATEST STRIDES FROM GETTING INDEPENDENCE TO ABOLITION OF CIVIL RIGHTS IT WAS A SLIP OF THE TONGUE, BUT IT WAS A LITTLE TOO — OK, BUT HOW ABOUT THAT? HOW DID THE REPUBLICANS DENOUNCED THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA FOR THIS AND ALLOW STEVE KING? IT’S ALMOST A RHETORICAL QUESTION >> ABSOLUTELY I DO NOT THINK THE HISTORY OF RACISM IN THE COUNTRY IS A PARTISAN ISSUE IT IS AN AMERICAN ISSUE IT IS NOT A PROBLEM WITH THE LIBERALS, THE DEMOCRATS, THE CONSERVATIVES, THE REPUBLICANS EVERYBODY HAS SKELETONS IN THEIR CLOSET ABOUT THIS ISSUE IT IS SOMETHING WE NEED TO HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT AND CONFRONT WITH HONESTY, AND INTELLECTUAL HONESTY WE ARE NOT SEEING THAT FROM THE REPUBLICANS WE ARE SEEING SOME OF THAT FROM THE DEMOCRATS >> TO GO BACK, NIXON REALLY BROUGHT THE SOUTH INTO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HIS SOUTHERN STRATEGY WAS, FRANKLY, RACIST, AND IT WORKED THAT HAS BEEN PART OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY FOR QUITE SOME TIME IT’S NOT LIKE DONALD TRUMP IS THIS INCREDIBLE ABERRATION IT HAS BEEN THERE, SORT OF BOILING UNDER THE SURFACE, AND IT COMES OUT WITH CONGRESSMAN SMITH I THINK IF YOU LOOK AT THE SOUTHERN STRATEGY, YOU WILL SEE THAT KIND OF RACISM >> ON THE OTHER HAND, WE DID ELECT BARACK OBAMA AS THE PRESIDENT >> NOT FROM THE SOUTH >> THAT’S TRUE, BUT HE WAS ELECTED WHEN YOU LOOK AT STACEY ABRAMS, WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY >> THERE ARE PLENTY OF REASONS TO BE HOPEFUL I DO NOT THINK IT IS A HISTORY WE HAVE NOT OVERCOME, BUT IT IS SOMETHING WE STILL GRAPPLE WITH I THINK BECAUSE WE ARE SO RELUCTANT TO TALK ABOUT IT, WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO TALK ABOUT RACE, WE ONLY KNOW NOT TO, BECAUSE IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE, AND I THINK IT WOULD REQUIRE — >> IS THAT BECAUSE WHITES FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT AND BLACKS DON’T DON’T ALWAYS FEEL FEEL THAT COMFORTABLE TALKING ABOUT IT, DO THEY? >> WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE TRAUMA BLACK AMERICANS HAVE BEEN THROUGH AND OTHERS, BECAUSE OF THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY, JIM CROW AND RACISM, THERE IS A LOT OF PERSONAL TRAUMA AND A LOT OF DISHONESTY I DON’T THINK WE REALLY LEARN HOW THE GRAPHIC NATURE OF WHAT REALLY TOOK PLACE I THINK PUTTING THINGS IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT CAN HELP US HAVE THOSE CONVERSATIONS >> YOU DO HAVE THAT NEW MUSEUM IN ALABAMA

PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO ACTUALLY — >> THEY SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO VISIT IT, I THINK >> THAT AND THE HOLOCAUST MUSEUM, FOR EVERY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT YOU ARE STARTING TO LOOK AT THE HORRORS OF LYNCHING, LOOK AT IT STRAIGHT INSTEAD OF — I MEAN, THAT’S WHAT MAKES THIS BLACKFACE, AND THE KU KLUX KLAN GUY STANDING NEXT TO HIM, THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT SO HORRIBLE >> RIGHT, YOU ARE MAKING LIGHT OF TERRORISM, A PERIOD OF TERRORISM IN AMERICAN HISTORY THAT HAS NEVER BEEN FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR, TALKED ABOUT, OR CONFRONTED >> THAT WAS NOT THAT LONG AGO WE WILL BE BACK IN A MOMENT TO TALK ABOUT THE STATE OF THE UNION ♪ >> WELCOME BACK TO “THE NEW YORK TIMES CLOSE UP.” WE ARE HERE WITH ELEANOR RANDOLPH AND MARA GAY TO TALK ABOUT THE STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT SOMETHING HE SAID THE OTHER NIGHT >> THERE IS A NEW OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICAN POLITICS, IF ONLY WE HAVE THE COURAGE TOGETHER TO SEIZE IT >> ONE OF THE THINGS HE DID NOT DO WAS SAY THAT THINGS HAVE REALLY CHANGED HE DID NOT ADMIT THAT THE MIDTERMS WERE A MOMENT OF DEFEAT FOR HIM HE DID NOT OFFER A REAL OLIVE BRANCH TO THE DEMOCRATS HE TALKED ABOUT WOMEN AND THE FACT THAT THERE ARE MORE WOMEN IN CONGRESS, BUT HE DID NOT POINT OUT THAT THAT WAS THE RESULT OF THE REACTION TO HIM >> HE DID THE OPPOSITE, REALLY HE SAID THERE’S NO WAY WE ARE GOING TO MAKE PROGRESS IF WE HAVE INVESTIGATIONS HE WAS AIMING STRAIGHT AT THE DEMOCRATS WHEN HE SAID THAT THEY ARE DOING REALLY OUTRAGEOUS THINGS LIKE TRYING TO GET HIS TAX RETURNS, AND FOLLOWING UP ON INVESTIGATIONS THAT THE REPUBLICANS HAD STOPPED THAT WAS A WARNING SHOT, I THOUGHT NOT ONLY DID HE REALLY NOT GIVE THE DEMOCRATS CREDIT FOR HAVING THAT INCREDIBLE FIELD — IF YOU LOOK AT THAT AUDIENCE, YOU HAD THIS WHITE, MOSTLY MALE PANORAMA ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE, AND THEN AS DIVERSE AS AMERICA ON THE OTHER SIDE >> AND THE WOMEN DRESSED IN WHITE >> THAT’S RIGHT >> YOU THINK HE WOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING — I KNOW IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A VERY DRAMATIC GESTURE AND A LOT TO ASK — TO HAVE SAID, OK, I WILL NOT BUILD THE WALL, OR I WON’T DO SOMETHING, OR I WILL MAKE SOME SORT OF CONCESSION, BUT THERE SEEMED TO BE NOTHING LIKE THAT AT ALL >> I THINK THIS IS ON BRAND FOR HIM HE IS ABOUT THE BASE THAT’S WHO BROUGHT HIM TO THIS PARTY HE WILL DANCE WITH THEM ALL THE WAY >> BUT HE STILL NEEDS 10% OR 15% OR MORE THAN THAT BASE DO THE DEMOCRATS HAVE TO SCREW UP? >> I THINK HIS CHANCES OF REELECTION ARE NOT AWESOME BECAUSE OF THAT HE IS NOT INTERESTED IN PERSUASION HE IS INTERESTED IN OFFERING RED MEAT TO HIS BASE >> THERE WAS ANOTHER WARNING SHOT THAT NIGHT, AND THAT WAS HE SORT OF SAID THAT AMERICA WOULD NEVER BE A SOCIALIST NATION OK, HE IS GOING AFTER BERNIE BUT REALLY, THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO THINK HE WAS SETTING UP HIS CAMPAIGN MESSAGE, COMING AFTER THE DEMOCRATS BECAUSE THEY WANT HEALTH CARE AND, YOU KNOW, UNIONS AND THINGS LIKE THAT BUT HE IS GOING TO USE THE TERM “SOCIALISM” TO SCARE PEOPLE, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HE DOES HE IS A FEARMONGER, AND THAT IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT THING THAT PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE AFRAID OF >> AND HE DID THAT ON ABORTION AS WELL AND TOTALLY MISSTATED THE NEW YORK LAW, IS THAT RIGHT? >> MISSTATED THE VIRGINIA LEGISLATION, BUT IN NEW YORK MISSTATED THE LAW ENTIRELY, AND WAS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC ABOUT IT, WHICH WAS, I THOUGHT, REALLY CRUDE BUT ALL THE NEW YORK LAW DOES IS CODIFY ROE V. WADE IN STATE LAW SO THAT WOMEN HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET AN ABORTION AFTER 24 WEEKS, IN THE EVENT THEIR HEALTH IS AT STAKE, OR IF THERE ARE SEVERE FETAL ABNORMALITIES THAT IS A MATTER OF HEALTH, AND

IT IS BETWEEN A WOMAN AND HER DOCTOR THE CO-OPTING OF THAT FOR HIS AGENDA, THE MISINFORMATION IS REALLY ANTI-WOMAN >> THE HEALTH OF THE CHILD WAS, I THINK, THE ONLY THING NEW IN THAT LAW, AND THAT WAS IT >> IT DID A COUPLE OF OTHER SMALL THINGS, NONE OF WHICH DONALD TRUMP TALKED ABOUT >> THERE IS NOTHING NEW IN HIS SPEECH EXCEPT THIS STATEMENT ABOUT NORTH KOREA >> MUCH WORK REMAINS TO BE DONE, BUT MY RELATIONSHIP WITH KIM JONG-UN IS A GOOD ONE CHAIRMAN KIM AND I WILL MEET ON ON FEBRUARY 27 AND 28 IN VIETNAM >> LATER, THE PRESIDENT SAID IF PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE THINGS IN NEW YORK, THEY SHOULD MOVE OUT AND GO TO ANOTHER STATE MEANWHILE, BOTH THE STATE AND CITY GETTING LESS REVENUE THAN EXPECTED ARE WE EXPERIENCING A LITTLE BLIP IN THE ECONOMY, OR IS THIS THE SIGN OF SOMETHING WORSE? >> SO FAR, WE HAVE SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN THE STOCK MARKET, WHICH CAN AFFECT NEW YORK CITY ESPECIALLY AND NEW YORK STATE MORE THAN ELSEWHERE, JUST BECAUSE WALL STREET IS HERE AT HOME THAT’S WHERE WE ARE SO FAR BUT THERE ARE PLENTY OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN CONCERNED OF A SLOWDOWN WE ARE IN THE EIGHTH YEAR OF A TURNAROUND, SO IT IS INEVITABLE AT SOME POINT >> BUT THE OTHER THING IS THE TAX PLAN THAT DONALD TRUMP PUSHED THROUGH CONGRESS REALLY PUNISHES NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY AND A NUMBER OF OTHER STATES, BY LIMITING THE AMOUNT YOU CAN WRITE OFF IN YOUR MORTGAGE TAXES WE DO NOT HAVE THE DETAILS YET, BUT IT WOULD NOT SURPRISE ME IF PEOPLE HAVE MOVED AS A RESULT OF THAT >> THE GOVERNOR SAYS PEOPLE ARE MOVING TO PLACES LIKE FLORIDA AND LOWER TAX STATES NO EVIDENCE OF THAT SO FAR DO PEOPLE REALLY GET UP AND MOVE FOR THAT REASON? >> I AM NOT AN ECONOMIST, SO I DON’T KNOW >> AND I DO NOT MAKE ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO DO IT >> I THINK A LOT OF US FEEL LIKE WE ARE NOT LEAVING NEW YORK ANYTIME SOON >> NOT FOR THAT REASON ALBANY SEEMS TO BE MOVING A LOT FASTER THAN CONGRESS ON LEGISLATION, NOW THAT DEMOCRATS ARE CONTROLLING THE SENATE WHAT IS ON THEIR AGENDA THAT WE ARE GOING TO SEE COMING UP? >> WE WILL SEE BAIL REFORM, CONGESTION PRICING, WHICH WILL BE A HEAVY LIFT IMPORTANT TO FIND FIXES TO THE SUBWAY >> THE GOVERNOR DID SOMETHING AT THE END OF THE WEEK THAT I FOUND FASCINATING HE SAID THERE WILL BE A 30% FARE HIKE UNLESS THE LEGISLATURE PASSES CONGESTION PRICING THIS IS THE SAME GOVERNOR WHO SAID TO THE MTA, DO NOT RAISE THE FARE AT ALL, BECAUSE YOU ARE OVERSPENDING YOU DO NOT NEED THE MONEY BUT I CANNOT STOP YOU BECAUSE I DO NOT CONTROL THE MTA HE IS SAYING HE IS GOING TO RAISE THE FARE 30% >> THAT IS A NEGOTIATION POSITION ON CONGESTION PRICING HE NEEDS TO CONVINCE THE PEOPLE IN THE OUTER BOROUGHS WHO DRIVE TO MANHATTAN THAT THEY WILL COME UP WITH A PLAN TO HELP THE MTA SO THEY DO NOT HAVE TO RAISE PRICES BY 30% THEY WILL ALSO HAVE TO INCREASE THE BUSES IN PLACES LIKE OUTER QUEENS AND OTHER PLACES LIKE THAT, TO MAKE CONGESTION PRICING ACCEPTABLE TO THESE OUTER BOROUGHS >> AND ALSO TO LONG ISLAND AND WESTCHESTER LAWMAKERS, WHO ARE GOING TO BE, I THINK, IMPEDIMENTS TO GETTING CONGESTION >> WHAT DO WE THINK? IT IS AN OFF YEAR FOR STATE ELECTIONS IT IS NOT QUITE NOW OR NEVER, BUT IS THIS THE YEAR? >> THIS IS THE YEAR TO GET IT DONE I DO HAVE FAITH THAT IF EVERYONE IS PUSHING FOR IT, INCLUDING THE EDITORIAL BOARDS — >> IT’S BOUND TO HAPPEN >> THAT’S RIGHT, TUNE IN IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, IT HAS TO HAPPEN THE GOAL OF THE GOVERNOR SHOULD BE TO CONVINCE UPSTATE NEW YORKERS AND SUBURBANITES, AND SUBURBAN LAWMAKERS, THAT THIS IS ALSO IN THEIR INTEREST, AND YOU CAN DO THAT BY INCREASING SERVICE AND PAYROLL TAXES, OR GAS TAXES TO HELP GET UPGRADES

IN THE SUBURBS ON COMMUTER RAILS YOU CAN ALSO DO IT BY REMINDING THEM THAT THE STATE REVENUES THEY ENJOY ARE GOING TO DRY UP IF THE SUBWAY SYSTEM IS ALLOWED TO DIE THE SUBWAY FUELS NEW YORK CITY AND THE ENTIRE REGION, AND WITHOUT THE CITY TAX REVENUES, THE REST OF THE STATE IS DEAD IN THE WATER >> — RAVITCH DID SUCH A GREAT JOB OF SELLING THAT MESSAGE IN THE 1980s >> WHERE IS HE WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HIM? I WISH IT WERE NOT CALLED CONGESTION >> CAN WE COME UP WITH A NEW NAME? TAKE THE PRICING OUT OF IT EVEN THE CONGESTION SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING YOU WANT TO CURE >> BUT IF YOU DO NOT DO SOMETHING ABOUT WALL STREET AND CENTRAL MANHATTAN, THINGS ARE GOING TO — WE ARE GOING TO START HAVING REAL TROUBLE THE SUBWAY, HOW MANY TIMES DO WE SIT IN THE SUBWAY STATION JUST WAITING AND WAITING AND WAITING, AND YOU CAN BARELY UNDERSTAND WHAT THE PERSON IS SAYING ON THE MICROPHONE? THERE SHOULD BE SOME WAY THAT EVERY TIME SOMEONE COMPLAINS ABOUT THE MTA, WE SHOULD HOLD UP A SIGN THAT SAYS “CONGESTION PRICING WILL HELP.” >> WE WILL HAVE A CONTEST TO COME UP WITH A NEW NAME >> TIME FOR THAT >> ETHICS LEGISLATION, ANY CHANCE OF ANYTHING HAPPENING ON THAT — >> I DO THINK THERE IS A CHANCE OF GETTING SOME ETHICS REFORM THEY DID CLOSE THE LLC LOOPHOLE THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS WE CAN DO TO MAKE ALBANY WORK BETTER >> ONE MORE QUESTION, THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE HOUSING AUTHORITY AND THE FEDS, IT SOUNDED TO ME LIKE A PRETTY LOUSY DEAL THEY TAKE CONTROL AND WE GET NOTHING IN RETURN, NO MONEY AT ALL FROM THE FEDS IS THAT RIGHT? >> ESSENTIALLY RIGHT WE WROTE THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BARES MUCH OF THE RESPONSIBILITY TO THE STATE OF PUBLIC HOUSING ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS NEW YORK, AND TO COME IN WITH NO FUNDING IS A RAW DEAL >> THANKS TO ELEANOR RANDOLPH AND MARA GAY, AND I WILL ADD MY THOUGHTS ON CODA, COMING UP NEXT ♪ >> THE OBITUARY I WROTE IN THE TIMES THIS WEEK OF JAMES MCMANUS, THE WESTSIDE DEMOCRATIC DISTRICT LEADER, PROMPTED THIS LETTER FROM A PROFESSOR AT PRINCETON THIS OBIT, HE WROTE, STRIKES A DEEP CHORD MY MOTHER, BORN IN HELL’S KITCHEN IN 1906 TO IMMIGRANT PARENTS, AROSE FROM THE SQUALOR THERE WHERE THE NEIGHBORHOOD WAS EARNING ITS NAME SHE WENT ON TO HUNTER COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL, SMITH COLLEGE AND COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY FOR A PHD IN ECONOMICS, ALL POSSIBLE BECAUSE SHE AND HER THREE SIBLINGS WORKED TIRELESSLY FOR TAMMANY HALL TO GET THE POOR VOTE OUT WHEN CALLED TO DO SO HER SISTERS FOLLOWED IN HER FOOTSTEPS HER BROTHERS RECEIVED APPOINTMENTS TO THE NAVAL ACADEMY BECAUSE OF THE FAMILY’S DEDICATION TO THE DEMOCRATIC MACHINE OF THE DAY, FAVORS FOR FAVORS JIMMY MCMANUS HAD USED THE SAME WORD, FAVORS, IN DEFINING HOW HIS FAMILY’S DYNASTY HAD SURVIVED SINCE 1892 I AM STILL COLLECTING ON FAVORS THAT WERE DONE 20 YEARS AGO BY MY FATHER, AND 50 YEARS AGO BY MY GREAT UNCLES, HE TOLD ME THAT’S WHAT ORGANIZATION POLITICS IS ALL ABOUT MCMANUS WAS THE LAST OF THE LONG REIGNING DISTRICT LEADERS OF TAMMANY HALL ITS REPUTATION WAS FOR PLUNDER AND PATRONAGE, BUT IT WAS ALSO ABOUT THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND WHAT PAT MOYNAHAN CALLED THE POSSIBILITIES OF POLITICS IN 1905, MCMANUS’ GREAT UNCLE DEPOSED GEORGE WASHINGTON PLUNKETT, WHO COINED THE PHRASE “HONEST GRAFT,” AND PROFESSED, “I HAVE SEEN MY OPPORTUNITIES, AND I TOOK THEM.” BACK THEN, A DISTRICT LEADER COULD FIND A LOYAL CONSTITUENT A JOB, A MEAL, OR A KEY TO GETTING OUT OF JAIL, BUT BY THE TIME JIM MCMANUS INHERITED THE JOB IN 1963, THE FERAL TAMMANY TIGER HAD BEEN DOMESTICATED MCMANUS SURVIVED, THOUGH HE FENDED OFF GANGSTERS

ONCE, HE SAID, THEY BROUGHT AN OLD MAN INTO THE CLUB WHO NEEDED A PLACE TO LIVE I SAID, WHAT WAS YOUR PROFESSION? HE SAID, PICK POCKET BUT I NEVER ROBBED A GUY OR WORKING GUY I CAN’T WORK ANYMORE BECAUSE MY EYES ARE GOING MCMANUS GOT THE GUY AN APARTMENT WHILE SOME REFORMERS WERE DEFENDING THE CIVIL LIBERTIES OF PROSTITUTES IN TIMES SQUARE DURING THE MID-1970s, MCMANUS WAS MORE CONCERNED WITH HIS CONSTITUENTS THE TROUBLE IS SOME OF THESE REFORM POLITICIANS THINK THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO VOTE THEIR CONSCIENCE, HE SAID IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD, WE THINK THAT WHEN YOU ARE ELECTED, YOU HAVE TO VOTE THE WAY PEOPLE WANT YOU TO VOTE ANOTHER READER WROTE ME A FITTING CODA TO MCMANUS’ CAREER IT’S ALWAYS A JOY TO READ ABOUT THE COLORFUL LINE OF NEW YORK POLITICAL OPERATIVES WITH NO INSTINCT FOR HYPOCRISY, SHE SAID UPSETTING THE HYPOCRITES AND HAVING SUCH A GOOD TIME DOING IT FOR “THE NEW YORK TIMES” AND CUNY TV, I AM SAM ROBERTS ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪