September 30, 2022
Lori Stokes: Joining us right now to give us his take on all of this, our mayor of this great city, Mayor Eric Adams — joining me tonight. Mayor, it's good to have you.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you.
Stokes: When I run down that list of just the shootings alone that we're dealing with and you tell us things are better. We see some crime stats but we know they can be manipulated. Help us to understand, prove to us that the city is safe and that crime is actually going down because we don't see it.
Mayor Adams: No, and we're dealing with two different… We're dealing with the reality of violence and how we feel. For example, you know Lori, 3.5 million people use our subway system every day. 3.5 million. We have an average of five felony crimes on the system per day. But you're seeing all of this disorder, people with mental health issues, people with the shooters you're reading about. You begin to not only feel unsafe but you're seeing some of the violence. So that's why we have to go about it both ways, that's why we're moving in both directions. And guns, guns, guns, that's what's driving this problem.
Stokes: I mean, you just mentioned the subway a second ago. I remember about a month ago you talking about a study for metal detectors and you were talking to different entities and we were going to secure something and then poof we haven't heard anything about that again. Are you still looking at having metal detectors put in the subways?
Mayor Adams: Look what the Supreme Court did to us, they just stated that now we're giving everybody, everyone the right to carry a gun. You know how difficult that is right now? So now there's no longer you're looking for just the bad guys. The Supreme Court just took away our right to state that we are the most stringent laws on carrying guns. So now anyone can move around this city with a gun, except for those areas we identify as sensitive locations, which they're getting ready to try to challenge us on. So every step we make forward we have a radical Supreme Court that also went after women's right to choose and everything else we're trying to do that's going away from cities like New York.
Stokes: Let's go back to the crime.
Mayor Adams: Yes.
Stokes: Talk about it a little bit. I have a friend I was talking to last night, another fellow reporter who lives in Gramercy Park and she was saying it was once upon a time she could walk in the park and she didn't have to look over her shoulder but she does now. We got the women who was sexually assaulted the other day in Fort Tryon. We have that woman who was just brutally in the subway station. So in addition to the shootings we see these incidents.
Mayor Adams: Without a doubt.
Stokes: We really need to know... Like I was thinking, should the mayor give... and of course I'm not telling you what to do, but should the mayor give daily briefings? You have to help us as New Yorkers understand what is going on with the crime, like you really have to help us.
Mayor Adams: Right. Combination of things. Number one, look at those cases that you just talked about.
Mayor Adams: Mental health. We have a real mental health crisis in the city.
Mayor Adams: And now that Albany's going back into session we have to look at what's called Kendra's Law where we can require people to take their medication, we have to open those hospital beds for mental health hospital beds that we closed during COVID. We have people walking this street that can't take care of themselves and response can't be just police. No, there are other avenues that must address these overall issues. And we all know what the repeat offenders are doing. It's a catch, release, repeat system. The small number of people are committing robberies repeatedly, grand larcenies, shooters carried a gun. You saw the rapper the other day, we just arrested him for carrying a gun, the judge let him out, what happened? He was (inaudible) another time.
Stokes: But we can't blame everyone on bail reform.
Mayor Adams: No, I didn't say that. I didn't say that. There are many rivers that feed the sea of violence. Mental health is one of them — has nothing to do with bail reform. We have to make sure that we are allowed to tell those who can't take care of themselves. You see these attacks?
Mayor Adams: Look at who's doing them. People are dealing with real mental health issues and COVID has made it even worse, but at the same time we have to focus on the laws that are allowing people who are repeated offenders. A small number are repeatedly committing the same crime, they no longer respect the criminal justice system.
Stokes: I had Reverend (inaudible) on the other day, we were talking about the amount of heat that you're kind of getting when it comes to your fact finding trip that you just had to Puerto Rico and a lot of people... And you called it the sixth borough when I thought that Florida was, but okay. So everyone's trying to figure out what facts did you find out when you went there and did you really, really need to go to Puerto Rico when things are the way they are here?
Mayor Adams: Well, think about it for a moment, you have to listen to your consistencies. We have the largest Dominican population outside of Dominican Republic right here in New York. Puerto Rico is still part of America, a lot of people don't realize that. And so when my Puerto Rican lawmakers and my Dominican lawmakers say, "You're a symbol of our country and city. Eric, can you go with us there for two days." How could I say no?
Stokes: So what did you find out?
Mayor Adams: A couple of things. The grid. The real issue in Puerto Rico is the grid. Every year we have these hurricanes and it takes out the grid. We need to allow them to build that grid because you know what happens? No electricity, no water. You could live without lights but you can't live without water. And so they told us the basic things that they need. Now you could read about things but when you on the ground and you see exactly what's needed for those two days, that was important to the Puerto Rican and Dominican people of this city that I showed respect to their family members.
Mayor Adams: I was with Council Member Marjorie Velázquez.
Mayor Adams: Her aunt lives in the town where it happened. It was unbelievable when she saw her aunt that was displaced and had to deal with this crisis.
Stokes: We talk about you're very proud of your years with the NYPD. You refer to it many, many times. Where do we stand with the budget for the NYPD right now? Do they have the sources they need to be able to handle what's going on in this city?
Mayor Adams: Yes, and all of us are... We're dealing with a financial crisis, a potential $10 billion budget deficit in our out years. Those are real numbers. Wall Street is hurting, we're dealing with a real financial crisis in this city. So everyone must do more with less. It doesn't mean less patrol, less coverage. We are going to utilize our man power and deploy. We fail to deploy our police the way they should have been deployed and that's what we're doing. You go to parades now, you don't see an over proliferation of police officers. We're deploying them to dangerous areas and the police commissioner's doing an amazing job in carrying that out.
Stokes: You've had some staff members leave you.
Mayor Adams: Mm-hmm.
Stokes: Have they been replaced? Should the criteria change as you look for new people? Do you feel, and be honest with me...
Mayor Adams: Always. I always am.
Stokes: Do you feel you have the right support system?
Mayor Adams: Think about it. Take away the five people people wish I didn't hire because of their opinion. No one complains about my team.
Mayor Adams: I'm the first mayor to have five women as deputy mayors. I have the first African American police commissioner. I have a woman leading the Fire Department right now. And so people who complain about my team, think about it, what has this city been like? 65 percent of Black and brown children never reach proficiency in this city, so that team wasn't that good.
Stokes: As you talk about women, I'm curious. Are you going to endorse Kathy Hochul?
Mayor Adams: Yes. Kathy Hochul is the best choice to continue what we are doing.
Stokes: Not Lee Zeldin, nothing's attractive about him?
Mayor Adams: No, no. Kathy Hochul is the best choice to be the governor of the state of New York. She has been amazing partner and we are going to continue to work together and I want people to go out and vote for her.
Stokes: All right, you know it's very special to have you with me today on my final day here at Fox.
Mayor Adams: I couldn't do this doing Zoom.
Stokes: No you couldn't.
Mayor Adams: I had to be in the room.
Stokes: I mean, we've known each other a hundred years.
Mayor Adams: Oh, man.
Stokes: When you were on the force, when you were a little larger before your vegan days. You know, gun buybacks… We've been through it all.
Mayor Adams: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Stokes: Brooklyn borough president and now the mayor. And so I'm really delighted to have you with me on my last day.
Mayor Adams: I'm happy to be... My team said we were going to do this over Zoom and they told me you were... I said, "We're not doing this over Zoom, you know." But you just have been amazing and we're going to miss you. And I have something for you.
Stokes: Oh, you do?
Mayor Adams: Look at that.
Stokes: What do you have? Awe.
Mayor Adams: A little proclamation on behalf of all New Yorkers to Lori Stokes. I mean your contribution, you have been a model for so many of us and I'm so proud of you. I wish you a good life. I met your beautiful daughters. And just wish you nothing but happiness.
Stokes: Thank you, mayor. I so appreciate this. I'm trying to find out what to do with my time now. I'm wondering, can I hang with you?
Mayor Adams: Yeah.
Stokes: To I have to like wear my shades and be kind of cool looking. (Laughter.)
Mayor Adams: And you know I’m the nightlife mayor so we… (Laughter.)
Stokes: That's what I'm talking about. I got to find things to do now.
Mayor Adams: Wish you all the luck.
Stokes: Mayor, no, it's a pleasure and this is an honor to have.
Mayor Adams: Thank you.
Stokes: I really appreciate it. Thank you, sir.
Mayor Adams: Wish you all the luck.