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2020: Bill de Blasio on taxing the rich and rooting for the Red Sox

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joins Jon L. to talk about staying in the race, running a city, achieving universal pre-K, beefing with Cuomo, and why he’s still a Red Sox fan.

Transcription below:

Interview: Jon Lovett and Mayor Bill de Blasio

Jon Lovett

He’s a Democratic candidate for president and the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio welcomed back to the pod. 

Mayor de Blasio

Thank you, John. 

Jon Lovett

You were a guest when we were in Brooklyn. 

Mayor de Blasio

Yes.

Jon Lovett

It was, I believe, our very first live show. 

Mayor de Blasio

It was very cool. 

Jon Lovett

We had no idea we were doing, we didn’t know that we needed to have chairs in advance, that there wasn’t somebody that was going to be in charge of chairs—

Mayor de Blasio

The chairperson is very important.

Jon Lovett

We professionalized, now you’re in our studio, thank you, you’ve seen us from the very beginning, now you’re here. You’re running the biggest city in the country, you can start everyday with an edible bagel, you’re the first Democratic mayor, you’re the first Democratic mayor to be re-elected in New York City since Ed Koch more than 30 years ago, and a little over a year into your second term you decide to run for president.

Mayor de Blasio

Yep. 

Jon Lovett

Why?

Mayor de Blasio

Because the country is just not working for a lot of people. I mean, look, it became clearer and clearer to me, even though we’ve been able to make big changes in New York, that we can’t make the changes we need for people all over this country without a very, very different approach in Washington. America is not working for working people, that’s just the bottom line, the government at this point is captive to the one percent. And to change it is not just a matter of having good ideas, good ideas are crucial, good policy positions are crucial, but understanding how to actually make big changes and fight the opposition that comes with that.

That’s what I’ve been doing for six years in, what I think we would all agree is one of the toughest environments in the country, and it works. The approach I’ve taken is progressive, bold, sharp, not half measures. I said we’re going to get Pre-K for all our kids, we did that. I said we were going to give people paid sick leave who didn’t have it, we did it. I said that folks who don’t have health insurance should have a guarantee of health care, we’re doing that right now, in New York anyone doesn’t have health insurance will have access to a primary care doctor at our public hospitals and clinics. These are not easy things to do, especially on the scale of a city of 8.6 million people, but I’ve been doing it and look, I look at other candidates with great appreciation and admiration, but they just have not done that, they have not had to take the ideas and put them into action. So I’m running because I believe I can actually bring these changes to people.

Jon Lovett

So is that, you know you share a lot ideologically with Elizabeth Warren, I think with Bernie Sanders, they have mounted a campaign based around taking on structural economic challenges, on re-centering power in the working-class, very similar to the message you’re arguing. Are you, is this an implicit critique of those candidates that, while you share a lot of the same ideas, they don’t know how to do what you know how to do? Do you, do you not, I mean that seems to be the difference. 

Mayor de Blasio

Yeah. Look, I can honestly admire my colleagues, and Bernie and Elizabeth are two people I profoundly admire, but also say that I bring a different set of skills, a different history, a different approach. And the issue always is talking, I mean, you know something about the presidency. This is a job that, on one level no one could be prepared for, right? But on the other level you could say that it really helps to walk through the fire; it really helps to have run something; to have gone through the challenges; to take ideas, put them into practice; dealt with the opposition. One of the key things you learn as a leader is, you are guaranteed a lot of folks going to try and stop you, especially if you’re trying to make big changes, especially if you’re calling for higher taxes on the wealthy or you know, a real redistribution in this country. A lot of folks, very powerful folks will try and stop you. You got to know how to deal with that and not just theoretically but from real life. So I argue that hey, there’s no greater crucible. There’s no greater proving ground then New York City. The job is called the second toughest job in America, being mayor in New York City and as a progressive, and I was one of the folks who, I am very proud of this, you know in the wave of folks who came out of the post Occupy Movement era,

I was one of the first to run on a bold platform. It said we have to go at income inequality, just right at the heart of it, we cannot accept a country with this kind of stratification nor a city like New York. And, I was not supposed to be able to win. I was an underdog’s underdog. But I was really blunt with people about, we had ended up in a situation that was unacceptable and change was needed and I was able to motivate a lot of people to believe that change could happen and lo and behold, create that momentum, that constituency, that energy for actual change. Knowing how to do that, living that is a very different reality than being a legislator and, god bless legislators, but I bring something different to the equation. 

Jon Lovett

Why do you think right now, you know, you did not make the third debate, I think you had a great debate performance, little aggro, but it was a but you made your case, you’ve been campaigning in Iowa, there are a bunch of candidates who did not make the next round of debates who said you know what, this is my moment to step aside. You’re not doing that. It seems to me that if you’re going to continue in the race, you have to do something different to make that message reach people. Are you thinking about that? 

Mayor de Blasio

Oh yeah. Jon I think one part of it is, it’s very interesting, the the opportunities I’ve had in the month of August to speak to the American people directly are far superior to the opportunities I had before that. This show is a great example. On the other very, very—

Jon Lovett

So many people, you’re going to reach so many people— 

Mayor de Blasio

So many people. You’ve come a long way since that humble first appearance in Brooklyn 

Jon Lovett

You bet.

Mayor de Blasio

So, but the, you know, I went on Hannity, as a very explicit act to go and confront him and challenge him

Jon Lovett

I thought you did a good job on Hannity.

Mayor de Blasio

Thank you. And a lot of people appreciated the notion of going into the lion’s den and actually speaking to the Fox listeners and viewers who are not necessarily lost to Democrats and progressives on many levels and we should never, we should be able to separate the network from the people watch it. A lot of whom are working people who want change. So what I’m saying to you is I’m seeing more and more opportunity to get message across. Clearly

I got to keep updating the strategy and I need to get from where I’ve been in the polls which, bluntly have been 1% to 2%, to be able to get in those debates. So it’s a, it’s a manageable distance, but I keep reminding folks this thing is so unpredictable. I mean, look I think, you know in the time that you were involved with the Obama world, you know that may have been the last time we saw something that was, I don’t want use a word like normal, but predictable let’s say, where the rules of politics had some something we can make sense of. We’re in the great unknown now. I always say there is no one who understands American politics at this point and that means there’s also tremendous opportunity if someone has a different idea, different approach, different history to break through at any given moment, and that breakthrough can happen in a matter of days.

Jon Lovett

So, you know, I was actually listening to some of your “Ask the Mayor” segments. And they were fascinating, they’re fascinating because, as the mayor of New York, you get questions about sweeping economic changes confronting the country and about trees putting too much waste on sidewalks of somebody calling—

Mayor de Blasio

Potholes

Jon Lovett

Potholes. So, New York faces, very serious issues right now. There’s a public housing crisis, there’s a federal monitor that’s been put in charge of the homeless population 

Mayor de Blasio

Not in charge, a monitor,

Jon Lovett

A monitor, right. The homeless population remains stubbornly high, you’re dealing with a rise in homelessness on the subways, you’ve just been handed a report about gifted and talented programs that’s created a whole new controversy, you passed a measure to basically put a Green New Deal in place that’s going to have, it’s a massive undertaking. 

Mayor de Blasio

Yes.

Jon Lovett

New York City is one of the largest economies in the world. The last sitting New York city

mayor to run for president was John Lindsay half a century ago, didn’t work out well in part because of blowback he faced from the city for not doing the job. You were in Iowa when there was a blackout in New York. What do you say to New Yorkers who say, we just gave you a second term. You want to run on your record great, but do it when you’re done because this job, as you said, is the second hardest job in the country, and you’re running for the first while still trying to do the second.

Mayor de Blasio

So I would say first of all, think about the other way of interpreting that, I’ll answer it but I just want to say there’s a flip of that that’s pretty profound. Right now New York City has the most jobs it’s ever had in its history, we’ve added half a million jobs since I became mayor. We have the highest graduation rate we’ve ever had, we just got test scores that came back, highest we’ve ever had, improved the impact of our pre-k program, first time we’ve been able to show the real numerical proof of that. We are the safest big city in America. Crime continues to go down. We’ve healed a lot of the social Fabric and a lot of the tensions that existed just a few years ago, particular between police and community. There are many, many big changes that have happened. And I think the point is I’ve been able to do all that and continue to do all that while running this campaign and raising important issues, the kinds of changes we need, I think that shows capacity. I’m not, I don’t want people to miss the fact that if you are really able to run something, you choose really good people to do the job, you put strong policies in place, and all the things I just mentioned continue to grow even over the months as I’ve been in this campaign. Now the things that you mentioned that are real problems, what unites most of the things you’ve talked about is decades and decades that those problems had built, and have bedeviled New York and other cities, public housing and homelessness are bedeviling American cities everywhere in this country, that does not, that’s not a cop-out it’s just the honest truth and why? Because the federal government stepped away from its commitment to public housing decades ago starting with Reagan, stepped away from its commitment to affordable housing that would have been part of how we would have stopped homelessness, things like Section 8 vouchers.

This has been going on for a long time. We at the local level have to pick it up and deal with it. Now the truth is, we’ve actually started to drive down the number of folks in shelter and the number of people on the street. We have real issues on the subway, but we’re confronting them with a whole lot of people and a lot of energy to address that. We’re actually turning around public housing, even though it was left in a horrible situation for decades, we’re actually starting to turn around, we have real visible evidence of improving the quality of life for people in public housing. We’re putting a huge, huge investment into it. So, I just want to be clear that every day I wake up and think about the things I got to do to make the city better.

Jon Lovett

But that, but that can’t be true. 

Mayor de Blasio

No, it can be true.

Jon Lovett

Because, well, you have to be now spending time, you’re thinking about New York, but you’re thinking about Iowa, you’re thinking about South Carolina. Right? Isn’t it just definitionally true if you decide to run for president while you’re the sitting mayor of New York, you are not devoting all of your attention to the city of New York. 

Mayor de Blasio

There’s no question that if you’re running a campaign you have to put energy into it and attention into it, but I, again, I don’t mean this to be pretentious but it is true. Yes, I do wake up every morning, in fact start with a whole slew of emails with a whole bunch of updates and give instructions from the very beginning of the day to the very end of the day because you actually run something big and complex, that’s what you do. It doesn’t matter where I am, I will be on the phone with people giving instructions all the time every day. And, also out there expressing what I think needs to change in this country and why I think I can do it. So, the fact is, it takes a whole lot of energy. It takes a whole lot of focus on both, but by the way, president of the United States is more challenging than what I just described and more challenging than what any of my colleagues have gone through. So you better have been able to play at a high level and dealt with a lot of challenges and crises and then find a way to move forward nonetheless. I get when people say we want to see change on a host of issues in our city, but for everything you just mentioned, there is a very specific plan being worked on right now, we we right this minute, have a plan to entirely revamp public housing. We announced it last year. It’s well under way. We have a plan to reduce homelessness further, you go down the list and they’re being acted on each and every one of them. So I get why someone might say hey, you know, we want to see the progress right this minute, I get that, but what really matters in your leader is do you put the right plan in place, do you put the right resources on, do you put the right people on it, can you show actual results on a regular basis? Cause the answer is yes on those things. 

Jon Lovett

So, and you do have a record to run on right? Talk about universal Pre-K, Green New Deal, ending stop-and-frisk, raising the minimum wage. There is a record of progressive achievement in New York City that a lot of people say, you know, I’ll just be honest, a lot of people say Bill de Blasio doesn’t get his do because people don’t like him. And we don’t totally understand why that’s that’s a common refrain you see, you know, right now 75% of New Yorkers said you shouldn’t run for president. Your approval rating right now is underwater in New York, not with everybody in New York, but with a lot of people in New York. What is that disconnect do you think between the record that I think that you can be proud of and the sense that people in New York have that they don’t approve of the job that you’re doing? What is the space between what you’re describing as your accomplishments and reaching people with that message?

Mayor de Blasio

So Jon look, first of all, I appreciate what you just said. And that’s literally why we come here, right, to make changes. And again, there is, there’s a contradiction we have to get to the heart of here. If people just want, and I’m not saying this about any individual I’m saying about the political process, if they just want someone who gives a great speech or puts forward a great position paper and has not proven that they can make huge changes consistently,

there are plenty of other folks to choose from, right? But there’s something strange about the fact, there’s almost a preference against the folks who’ve done the work. This job, the presidency, has gotten more complex with every passing year. The challenges facing this world, starting with global warming, are going to require tremendous executive capacity, ability to move an agenda, to move a whole government, to get people to believe something can happen differently. I’ve had to do that in, unquestionably, one of the toughest environments in country, the most diverse city on earth, a place with the toughest press corps anywhere, and a huge press corps, but the interesting question is, what happened, like what actually happened—not what are the poll numbers showing at any given moment, or what do people talk about their cocktail parties or what do commentators talk about but what actually happened, where we able to get that agenda done. Thank you, you just delineated to many good people out there listening that massive changes have happened in New York in a way that has happened almost nowhere else. So I argue to you, first, the getting things done part is what people yearn for, they actually don’t want the noise and the punditry and the what does the poll say today versus three weeks from now, they want to know can you actually do something for them, and I’ll tell you in the early states, particularly Iowa, New Hampshire, where you know people are like professional interviewers, like everyday citizens are amazingly good at vetting candidates, they value proof. But then the other side equation is your—everything you said I understand why you say it but you opened with something very important—first Democratic mayor re-elected in New York since the 1980s. The initial election I won was 73%, after four years of being, you know, asked all the tough questions and put through all the challenges I won re-election with 67%, which, any elected official America would be very happy to have those numbers. So the polls, I don’t get lost in the polls because, boy have I been down in polls before. Especially with 2013 election, anyone with any common sense would have looked at where I was in the spring of 2013 and said this guy has no chance in hell of being mayor in New York City, until the message got through and the world changed. And so I just don’t get lost in the noise, I’m like, when I talk to people in neighborhoods around the city, and I have done 65 Town Hall meetings in New York City, and I always say I represent 8.6 million highly opinionated people, so if you spend hours out there like let it fly everybody, you’re going to hear a lot of stuff. In the end, I think New Yorkers very consistently understand what these changes are and appreciate them, doesn’t mean they don’t have a gripe, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to see something be different. But talk to people about, like talk to parents about Pre-K for free and how it changed our lives. Talk to folks who got paid sick days who now can actually go to the doctor and not lose a day’s pay. Talk to folks now who are getting a primary care doctor, for whatever they can afford, who used to not have any option because they didn’t have health insurance. When you talk to people were being left out or couldn’t take, you know, take care of the kids the way they wanted to and give them the start they wanted to and now they’re getting it actually starts to do that much bigger thing that every Progressive should have on their mind which is restoring faith that government could be a force for good because, I gotta say, the right wing’s done a hell of a good job trying to undermine faith that government could be positive and productive and effective and connected to people but if you talk to someone who their life changed because their child got something they never would have gotten otherwise, that person starts to believe that we can actually move forward, and that’s what I’m proud of.

Jon Lovett

So let’s talk about government as a force for good and how you kind of balance the practical concerns of governing with the desire to show people a different, a different way of running a city, of running a country. I want to talk about the Eric Garner case, the officer involved was fired this month, you know, but I want to put aside the debate about whether the city had to wait on the justice department before moving ahead, I know that that’s what you say is the case. How do you navigate the politics of law enforcement when there’s so much distrust on all sides and what do you use as your guide post in these kinds of situations? There have been issues where you’ve weighed in and stepped into the fray, there’s issues where you’ve where you’ve weighed in and held back, this was one of those. Five years later and it does seem at this moment that with the firing of that officer there is now acrimony and dissatisfaction on both sides, which was may be inevitable. But is there a lesson you learned here about what the mayor’s role is in these kinds of public crisis?

Mayor de Blasio

So I’m going to start with, is the agenda actually working—which is where I start everything. So, you know, it’s interesting, the public debate, the discourse, to some extent is inherently disconnected from everyday people on the ground.  When I ran I said we had to get rid of stop and frisk, which was a horrible unconstitutional approach that was being used.

There was a massive disconnect between the NYPD and families all over communities of color in this city, and I want to get real visceral here Jon. I talked to parents, I talked to grandparents, and they would just tell me how angry they were, that they did everything in, everything they knew how to do to bring up children, to give them self-confidence, to love them, to give them self esteem, and then for doing absolutely nothing their young men of color were being stopped by police regularly. Regularly! Kids who were doing everything right. And it was ultimately, a horrible blow to a lot of these kids and their sense of security and self-esteem and hope. And I said from the beginning we were going to change that, and the, a lot of the kind of, commentary class and a lot of the old guard said if you change a policy like that, there would be a return to the bad old days. There would be chaos. That would be more crime etc. We managed to show, this is crucial for the whole national discussion, six years crime has gone down in New York City because we got rid of those very invasive, aggressive, unnecessary strategies. Last year in New York City, 150,000 fewer arrests than five years earlier and we got safer, which is not only about the right way to police but I’m sure we all care about mass incarceration too. You want to end mass incarceration? Stop arresting people who don’t need to be arrested to begin with. Now, I’m not talking theory and I’m not talking like we did this in some small university town. We did this in the biggest city in the country and proved that you could do something very, very different. So when I look at that, it’s a great question you’re asking, like how do you move the levers? And when do you weigh in intensely? And when do you hang back? My mission from the beginning, based on hearing people, hearing their anguish over what had been and their hope for a very different society, was that we could actually construct a world with a vision of neighbourhood policing, which is all about building personal relationships between officers and community members and keeping police officers in the same community and just disrupting the entire model before, which was like outsiders come into your community to protect you and then move on, and don’t have a connection, and don’t feel they’re part of the community and the communities and feel a part of them. We reworked that entire approach. We retrained our entire police force in neighborhood policing, in de-escalation of conflict, in implicit bias. All of the things that have made it possible to not have another tragedy like what happened with Eric Garner. It’s an entirely different police force today. So when you ask the question, what was I thinking all along, I was thinking about how we get to that place where there would not be another tragedy because the whole structure had changed, the whole idea had changed. And, where, we could keep the city safe because look, I say this is a progressive—and progressives have to be very humble about some of the times in the past where we had really good intentions and missed reality—my job was to keep people safe and to prove there was a progressive way to do it, and a just way to do it, and that safety and fairness could walk hand-in-hand. For six years

we ‘ve done it. There are specific things where you say, hey, it’s so important to weigh in and speak up and make a change and yes, except the opposition. I’m never surprised by the opposition and there’s other times when you say, we have a reality here that we have to honor and that’s what I felt with the justice department. And that’s what I felt about the trial that just happened in NYPD, where if I had spoken up the wrong way, the wrong time it actually would have undermined that trial and that result and made it potentially something that could be challenged and overturned in court. But I’ll tell you something, here’s here’s the kicker that’s being missed entirely. The justice department, under two administrations, literally didn’t act. They waited until the very last day, then they said they were not going to act. They did nothing. The DA in the case found there was no reason for even a trial which was impossible for people to understand how there wasn’t at least going to be an airing of the fact [22:42]. When was the only time that there was actually a public trial and an airing, was when the NYPD did its own internal trial and then an NYPD judge said guilty, followed by first [22:55] deputy commissioner, followed by the commissioner. That was not something you would have conceived of happening not so long ago in New York City or a lot of other American cities and it took a lot of painstaking change to get to the point where there’s a just process. And now I think people can see is, we, our job is to make sure it is never, never ever another tragedy. I mean it. I literally believe it’s possible that we would never have another tragedy because of the kinds of changes we’re making. But if there ever were one for the first time people have been shown they can have faith that even the internal processes in the NYPD is just. That changes society. When people can feel that, you know it’s not a police department that’s other than us or different or separated. It’s actually part of us now. That’s what I sought to do.  

Jon Lovett

I want to talk about economic—I want to move into what you would do as president, but I think it’s helpful to understand what you’ve been doing as mayor. I wonder what Amazon, and I want to ask a question just sort of as the layman who just was observing it from the outside and I’m curious if you think that what I’m describing is right. It seemed to me, that there was a deal to get Amazon to come to New York. It was a deal that would have been good for the New York economy. There were some downsides, there were activists raising very legitimate concerns, and that nobody really knew that Amazon was at risk of leaving. And so everyone just sort of said take your shots, make your points, let’s see if we can get some changes, we’ll hang back, I don’t—you don’t as mayor you don’t want to get in that fray, you want to, you want to kind of have the deal go through while not pissing off the activists, and then all of a sudden Amazon says we’re out. And then you and the governor realized this was far more dire than we than we realized, you publish an op-ed criticizing Amazon reframing the debate. But really what happened was nobody understood that a deal that was really important to the growth of the New York economy was this much at risk and if it was, you might have done more, you might have stepped in earlier, might have said something. Is that right? 

Mayor de Blasio

I think you’re very much in the ballpark. Look, I think the, and I like to always say when I think I missed something, and what I missed was the very beginning. Meaning, we accepted the terms of this national competition and I think that was a mistake. Because now having lived through it and seen the injustice of it, I mean, you know every city in America, every state will tell you how unjust it is that there’s this constant race to the bottom, fight with each other for jobs, give tax breaks—

Jon Lovett

[25:59] It’s not appropriated as wrong

Mayor de Blasio

So I had No illusion about that. But I think that this is something I look back on with frustration.

You know, I thought this was a company that if they made a commitment, would keep their commitment. I thought the very fact that it was such a big competition would give them even more reason to keep their commitment, right? And so, I felt from the beginning New York had an extraordinarily strong hand to play and like okay we’ll compete with other folks and we think we’ll win and we think, in the end they’ll keep the commitment. There’s not even a thought to the core of your question. No one for a second thought hey, wait a minute. These guys make a big public announcement sitting next to us and then pull out X number of weeks later, right? That was inconceivable. But what I should have seen is, you know, we in New York had something very, very particular to offer. And we could have had just a really clear message to them, if you want to negotiate with us come negotiate with us, but we’re not going to sort of be part of this bigger circles. So that’s point one. But then to your other points, I would say, you know, I spent a lot of time making the case. I respected the activists, some of them are people I feel very close to, but I really thought they were missing the core point, which was, it was, the ultimate package was over 20 billion dollars in public revenue for city and state which for everything we as progressives want to do, you know public education, mass transit, affordable housing, like you need money for that. It was a huge amount of money to help us move a progressive agenda and it was a ridiculous number of jobs. I mean, it would have been the single biggest economic development deal ever. It was 25,000 jobs as a minimum, as high as 40,000. So it didn’t surprise me, it never surprises me in New York when the folks in the immediate area don’t want change. Okay, that’s legitimate. They want to, they have concerns, they want to argue for what they need to mitigate the impact. That’s fair. But it became this bigger thing where no matter how many times, and I said it a bunch of times, guys with this is a huge amount of money we need for stuff we need, and jobs and jobs for working people and jobs for folks who live in public housing, biggest public housing development in North America was down the street from this. And we were going to bond that development to Amazon and create a stream of jobs directly. Folks, young people coming out of our city university system really would have benefited from those jobs. So I thought by constantly reiterating the value, and the public polling showed by the way the clear majority of New Yorkers, particularly working-class New Yorkers and people of color, wanted it. So I thought, this is the part of your analysis I think is spot on, there would be noise,

there would be drama, welcome to New York City, you know it would keep going. But in the end, you know, when you have me and the governor who agree, which is not always an everyday occurrence. And the entire framework was all set up and everyone had explained that to Amazon and they made a public announcement. Like I could not believe my ears when I got the call saying they’re pulling out. No discussion, no negotiation, just pulling out. And so no, I wish we had engineered the entire discussion differently from the beginning. And I think there was some things, I mean I obviously wish I had been even more explicit about the benefits but I don’t think the folks who were against it, some of it was very, very local. And I don’t think if I’d tried to explain a hundred times over it would have necessarily changed that. And some of it was very ideological, folks who don’t like Amazon as a company, which I understand, and folks who don’t want to see the government funded by private sector investment and needing that tax revenue, which I totally emotionally get but I’m like folks, this is, we got to be real as progressives who want change the world. Until we have a very different federal government, if you don’t have revenue coming out of these kind of economic development actions, how the hell are we going to create economic justice? How the hell are we going to reach the people we want to reach?

And let’s be blunt, why would the working class people and people of color overwhelmingly want Amazon? Because they understood it could improve their lives. A lot of folks who opposed it didn’t have to deal with some of those same struggles and it was a more abstract discussion for them. But I live in the real world. I mean the people elected me, you know, the working class in New York City elected me. And they expected me to do things that would actually reach them. Not just you know, pretty pictures, like things that would actually reach them. And I think it was a huge lost opportunity. But no, Amazon stunned us all and it was highly irresponsible.

And by the way, if you talk about why people are pissed off at corporate America, here’s your poster child. That walking away was entirely unfair to this city. 

Jon Lovett

So you wish that there’d been a different process from the start one that wasn’t part of this trend of corporations sort of pitting cities against each other, getting incredible dispensations for the privilege of having them come to the city, but that aside you still wanted the deal that was made to go through. Do you wish you had been as forceful as you are now in defending the deal— 

Mayor de Blasio

Oh I was, I can get you the many, many, you know, broadcasts. 

Jon Lovett

That is the criticism right?

Mayor de Blasio

The criticism, but again, this perception/reality game of everything in public life, but particularly in my dear city, I can show you so many instances where I made the exact arguments that I just shared with you about why we needed this. And look I agree. If you had called me up in the middle of and said hey and two weeks they’re going to pull out, I would have gone on a barnstorming tour to be even more intense and overt about it. But I made the case constantly and the polling showed that people got it. And so I, you know maybe there’s a conventionality problem of, you know, we all think we’re living in the world that we came from and the world is changing intensely. Here was a deal that was done, announced, had public support, had a very narrow pocket of opposition in the scheme of things and by a normal measure, like it was clear what the benefits were, and yeah, if you don’t like Amazon, you don’t like Amazon, but that didn’t stop the benefits from being real. Even a lot of folks in labor who didn’t like Amazon agreed with something else I said publicly which is if Amazon was in the New York environment, they were going to have to deal with the New York reality. A pro-labor city, a progressive city, a city with a government that demanded a lot of accountability and social responsibility. So yeah, you know, this one is just perverse to me honestly, like I don’t think anyone could have, it’s like the election of Donald Trump and then some. Like literally no one had even the idea that they might walk away. And now, is New York City going to fall into the Hudson River because Amazon walked away? No, we have over 4.5 million jobs right now in New York. We are very, very strong economically. We’re going to be fine. In fact, the rest of the tech community is growing constantly, so we’re going to be fine, but it is an interesting lesson in how we disrupt this race to the bottom. So what I came out of this feeling was, one no more national competitions. Two, there needs to be legislation in Washington to limit, literally put a legal limit on how much a company can ask of a state or locality in terms of any subsidies, tax breaks, whatever. We gotta,  we have to set the rules, you know, we know our history when there’s progressive governance in this country and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the great exemplar of this, change the entire, you know all the rules of game about how the private sector had to relate to unions and working people and what they could and could not do in the Glass-Steagall Act. We have to remember that actually these rules are really movable. And so there should be a rule that bans this practice as sort of forcing communities to do untenable things because you can’t blame a community that wants the jobs. You can’t blame a community that wants the tax revenue as part of like actually running something, gets back to the point from before, if you’re running something you know every day I’m thinking about how can I do more and where am I going to get the money to pay for it? This is like literally a constant conversation like one of the things we’re doing next.

We’re, what we did with Pre-K we’re gonna do the same for three-year-olds. We’re going to be the place that on the biggest scale in the history of this country is going to provide every three-year-old with early childhood education for free. It’s going to revolutionize education in New York. It’s going to change the whole discussion is country when we show how much can be done with early childhood education. Costs a lot of money. So when we were thinking Amazon, we were thinking things like that. And every city and town in America is thinking of things like that when they’re trying to deal with a company, but the rules of the game must change. 

Jon Lovett

So let’s talk about that. Being present is about setting priorities. What are, what would be your number one priority? What would, what could you do as president to help that. If there was a president right now who is on your side, what would be the policy that we most helpful for you as mayor to help the people of New York that you’re not currently getting?

Mayor de Blasio

Okay. You asked to two different questions. 

Jon Lovett

Two different questions, yeah. 

Mayor de Blasio

So would help right now, a national infrastructure plan that included public housing.

So right now we are just putting billions in—my time as mayor I put six billion dollars into public housing in a city that used to put nothing into public housing in terms of having to pay out of our own budget. So I’m doing that because we have to help the 400,000 people who live in public housing and the federal government had walked away. I’m putting huge amounts of, the biggest capital budgets the city’s ever had because we have to fix our roads and bridges, you know, the things that used to be a federal priority. This is happening every city, every town, every state and we can’t keep up with it. 

Jon Lovett

One of the things that I actually, I mean, am curious about you know, we see this trend, it’s not a New York Trend, it’s a national trend that building infrastructure, roads, subway projects, tunnel projects. They’re incredibly expensive. They’re more expensive here than anywhere else in the world. Chris Christie cancels [35:18] The Arc tunnel, blames costs, one of the great derelictions of duty of any leader in a long time at the state level. And yet, we have this problem of the rising cost of infrastructure. What have you learned in managing these projects to explain why it costs two times, three times as much to build a mile of tunnel in say the U.S., or a mile of bridge in the U.S. versus Europe, where they have labor standards, where they have environmental standards?

Mayor de Blasio

Okay, first I would say what we’re also learning is there are a lot of ways to start saving money and we’ve been doing that and having some success at that. And so I don’t think it’s sort of a fixed reality right? Bluntly, some of those higher costs in this country have been just really, really bad approaches. And public authorities that weren’t particularly efficient, weren’t particularly accountable and until recently that was certainly true of the MTA in New York City, where the accountability, literally no one knew. No one was sure until recently who was actually in charge of the subways and buses in New York City and one good thing that’s happened last few years is it’s been made very clear the state of New York has that responsibility and then lo and behold, once responsibility was finally assigned a bunch of stuff started to happen and that’s good. But we have found that we’ve been changing a lot of the approach, saving a lot of money, speeding up the process. I would say there’s three things it yes, and I believe in labor. I believe in organized labor. But yeah, there is costs when you when you work with labor. I think the environmental dynamics here, I can’t compare them to Europe but I can say they’re very, very intensive and time-consuming and I think the legal dynamics across the board. There are so many areas where we could go faster and do things better if we could clean up some of the laws that stand in the way of it that are not about safety and health and are just arcane. Some of that is starting to happen in New York. That’s a good thing. But I, no I’m not hopeless about the ability to build big things and do it faster going forward. I think the problem is we’re out of practice. I mean the second avenue subway finally got built in New York after decades, decades, decades, right? And it was like a pretty short—

Jon Lovett

Yeah, it doesn’t go that far. 

Mayor de Blasio

It’s a few stops! So, you know, we need to get into a place for our survival, literally, first and foremost surviving global warming and having resiliency. Vision, a strategic vision, from the federal government to literally non-existent, there’s no policy to stop global warming. There’s no resiliency policy. But there’s also no national infrastructure policy. When you start to invest on a really huge level, which is what we need, you exercise the muscle and you have an imperative. One of the things I learned with all the big things we’ve done is we put really rigorous timelines out. We, for example, this is infrastructure, affordable housing. We put together the biggest affordable housing initiative in the history of New York City. It was going to be 200,000 apartments, people said it was crazy. It was over ambitious. We got it moving so well that it was literally ahead of schedule and on budget. We added 100,000 more Apartments. The ambition actually drives action and effectiveness and efficiency, but one of the things I found I’m proud of is that we would purposely put ourselves out on a limb. We would purposely put a target on our back. We would say here’s our [38:33] big bowl goal. We’re going to pre-k for all in two years. We were going to do 200,000 apartments in 10 years and all these things forced action and forced change, forced Innovation. Bluntly, what a lot of politicians do is the opposite, they try and do really amorphous goals and try and avoid accountability and bureaucracies respond accordingly. Right? So I think the exciting idea and this is what this election should be all about is like really bold ideas at Force action on the level we haven’t seen before. So to your other point, I mean look, to me, global warming’s existential crisis. There, we know from implementing the Green New Deal already in New York City, we literally passed a law, the toughest standards for buildings anywhere on the earth—on the earth, and there was a hue and cry from the real estate industry, but you know we passed it, it’s moving, it’s going to force a whole host of changes in how people build buildings and run their buildings and save a huge amount of energy and stop a whole lot of emissions right? We’re putting up electric vehicle charging stations all over New York City. We are not waiting for the federal government. We’re not asking the private sector to do it because they weren’t going to do it. We’re doing it ourselves to help make it easier for people to get electric cars. All of our city government energy is going to be all electricity will be renewable in the next five years, right? We’re doing things right now, and this is to me why job one, of course, address global warming with the aggressiveness that the Green New Deal calls for. And then I think, to me the second, the sort of core economic mission which typifies everything I’ve been trying to do in New York, but this is what I want to do for working people in the country, just rewrite the rules of the game for working people. So it’s $15 minimum wage, its benefits like paid sick leave and paid family leave. It’s going to the heart of the matter on taxation, which is literally I have a plan, I’m going to just say to all your listeners go to BilldeBlasio.com and look it up. It is the most aggressive—

Jon Lovett

He got one in. 

Mayor de Blasio

There’s one— 

Jon Lovett

Just mark it— 

Mayor de Blasio

It is the most aggressive tax plan of any of the candidates.

Jon Lovett

So I want to talk about that because it is the most aggressive tax plan of the candidates. But when I saw the plan what struck me is that it looks like Elizabeth Warren’s plan, but you just move the numbers down. You know, Elizabeth Warren rolls out a wealth tax that you know kicks in at 1%, 2%, 3%, and it seems like your plan is very similar. It just is a little bit more aggressive when those numbers. 

Mayor de Blasio

Well, it’s, I think the world of Elizabeth and I’m very happy she put forward a plan. But I would argue to you that the question is who’s willing to go the farthest—

Jon Lovett

But see—

Mayor de Blasio

But I know, there’s like, you’re suggesting—

Jon Lovett

Is it who’s willing to the farthest because a wealth tax is already a massive, transformative new policy and to say, okay, there’s a, Elizabeth Warren proposes wealth tax, well I have wealth tax, 1.5. wealth tax.

Mayor de Blasio

I get what you’re saying, but I want to make the argument clearly. My tax plan, so let’s just go to the sure income tax element of it. 70%, 70% level, when you get above 2 million and that includes, I very much envision as I think all Democrats do, repealing the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations and putting back deductibility for state and local taxes, which is something I think was fair and needs to be restored.

Jon Lovett

Well you have to be for that. 

Mayor de Blasio

No, I believe in that. I really believe in that. I believe in it for the whole country. So the, that tax level was the tax level during the Eisenhower Administration. So one, no I believe I actually marked my plan to what I thought historically worked and was proven and what did you see then? A huge amount of investment in the country, infrastructure, education, higher education, science research. That was the heyday, the 50s and 60s. You saw a much greater sharing of prosperity. You saw CEO pay not as crazily out of whack. Which also I try to address in my plan. So no, I’m arguing that we actually know the kind of tax level that works and we should be willing to defend it to people in this country and most Americans would like to see, across the ideological spectrum, would like to see much higher taxes on the wealthy.

Jon Lovett

On health care, you’re for Medicare for all

Mayor de Blasio

Mhm. 

Jon Lovett

There are few plans, there’s Bernie’s plan, Kamala Harris put out a plan that involves kind of the ability to choose among several that are public/private options. What is your Health Care policy? You support Medicare for all but I don’t believe you put out, you know— 

Mayor de Blasio

The final, the final plans coming out soon and one of the things I want to address, which needs to be bluntly discussed at this point, is sort of the sequencing of the phasing in of it. Because it’s not going to happen overnight. Again, I run a huge operation and anyone who says oh we’re going to have Medicare for all programs, single-payer, you know in four years or something—I don’t buy that in any way shape or form. These are massive changes in re-engineering. I mean, look what—

Jon Lovett

So you don’t think that the Bernie plan can work? It’s too short.

Mayor de Blasio

Not that timeframe. No, no, no. And I think the world of Bernie, but I just, that’s not, again this is a difference of—god bless legislators—but if you run big things you know the amount of time that things take. It’s going to take a longer period of time to be able to go through the phases. I mean look, the fight over Obamacare reminds us of how contentious the stuff can be. And thank god Obamacare was passed, has made a huge difference, but I always say we should start the discussion from an aspirational place and I mean this really, this is being missed in the discussion. What is the state of health care in America and what should it be? So I represent 8.6 million people, a lot of them happen to have health insurance and are unionized. I got 600,000 people who don’t have any health insurance. So most the people I talk to have health insurance. Are they telling me how wonderful their lives are? No, they’re telling me all the things they can’t get. And all the frustrations they face. Mental health care, which is finally being given the respect it deserves in our public debate, is very, very hard to access with the vast majority of insurance plans. Dental Care is like the great American white whale right? Like trying to get affordable dental care in America is like this mythology. Why is it not a matter of public policy to crack that code, right? A huge number of people have health care plans that hit them like over the head with a 2×4 with the deductibles that really, really stress people and cause people to not get health care they need because they can’t handle the deductibles. There’s always the danger of a serious disease that can bankrupt a family. This is not, this is not greatest nation on Earth kind of stuff. This is not what we should be aspiring to. So the question and I’m going to do this in my plan and say, okay, what is the end of the rainbow where you actually could have truly Universal Health Care? It’s a single-payer system. It has been proven in countries around the world. That’s what you have to get to. Are we gettin’ there in four years? No. Are we getting there in one jump? No. We’re going to have to go through a series of steps and I’m going to try and delineate that in the coming weeks including respect, and this is something my brothers and sisters in labor have raised and I hear it very loud and clear. Folks fought, fought, fought, for these better health care plans than they used to have, they don’t want to see them wiped away. I say a hundred percent. So let’s, let’s be clear that any single-payer plan would have to show tangibly that it’s better in practice than the plans that labor unions have achieved. When that day comes is the time for a transition and then the good side and a lot folks in labor understand this, is if their members actually could get Universal Health Care through a public system, it would take that issue out of the labor bargaining table and actually strengthen the hand of labor in many ways. But I want to be honest about the fact that this will take stages but what I’m trying to be really blunt and this is where I think the debate has to go is, short of a single-payer system, a profit-driven system involving private insurance companies will inherently shortchange people of healthcare and limit access to healthcare.

Jon Lovett

Can I ask you about that so this is where this debate has turned during this, during the primary and that’s important about the transition about why, about the failings of the private system and you know, I talked about this with with Kirsten Gillibrand before she dropped out, a lot of candidates have talked about this transition and it seems to me what you just described is, the private system actually doesn’t work really well. We’re going to have a public system that does everything the private system does and I want that, I think that’s a good thing. But it, it [47:02 alides] the actual problem which is, and it’s a political problem so I understand why this isn’t getting the attention it deserves, which is at some point either your plan tells someone they cannot have their private insurance anymore and they have to switch to a Medicare option which will ideally have better benefits right? But it’s still rooted in making that case to a person why they should want to switch as opposed to explaining why it is necessary to. You understand like the there?

Mayor de Blasio

Yeah let me try and answer and see if I’m hitting the point. So look, we are a country with a strong individualist tradition and every Progressive, every Democrat should be very clear about we believe in freedom, we believe in giving people a lot of choice, but we also have to be honest when we’re looking in the face of failure on a massive scale and this is Health Care in America today. There are so many people who are unhealthy and it’s all about economics. It’s just, that’s just the truth and it is particularly hurting seniors, obviously lower income folks, but its way into the working class and middle class as well, honestly speaking. And the catastrophic dynamic is absolutely positively unaccounted for. 

Jon Lovett

A lot of people who would approve their health care, but have no idea that if they were to have a massive emergency, they wouldn’t, suddenly they would discover they have a 100,000, bankrupt because of the bills.

Mayor de Blasio

Bankrupt. That is not consistent with a notion of a government that protects people and this is where I think we have to come to grips in this debate. Where are we trying to go? If I said to you, I want to talk about public safety, you’re going to be safe a lot of the time Jon, you know, my pledge to you is most of the time you’ll be safe. Sometimes you might be really unsafe and you know, I’ll send you flowers then when that happens, but most of the time you’re going to be safe. You’d think it was laughable, you’d think it was disgusting. So with public safety we say our job is to protect everyone all the time. If I said to you with the military, you know, we’re going to protect our nation 80% of the time but that other 20% you know will rebuild afterwards. You would say I was out of my mind. So why is it with health care? We accept the notion, I’m talking tens of millions of families, a huge swath of country and not just poor people and bluntly if we could go back and do the entire discussion over again, what Hillary tried to nobly do in 1993, what Obama did achieve but obviously with huge costs, political costs and otherwise, it got painted by our opponents as oh this is just for poor people, right? This has to be an entirely different discussion. Yeah, we care about the folks who are lower income, what I’m talking about is for working class people and middle class people who right now, their health care is not working for then. And I start with mental health and this is what my wife Chirlane has focused her efforts on in New York City and to really help me get educated about this. Do you know for example, Iowa in the last election last year in November, that mental health ranked number one or number two as the issues in the state of Iowa among voters in consistent polls by the Des Moines Register, why? Because the Republican governors in Iowa had cut back mental health services so much so that rural communities literally had nowhere to turn. God forbid someone had a mental health challenge or you know with depressed, substance misuse, there was no where to get help. And in all other communities they were seeing those cutbacks and particularly in a smaller state and a state with a great sense of community, everybody knew someone who couldn’t get mental health care. This is what Iowans have told me. Why it became such a huge issue is because they felt, they felt things becoming unstable. It felt like there wasn’t a place to turn. So this is the whole country when it comes to our health insurance system. So there’s one massive problem. We’re dealing with opioid crisis, we’re dealing with a mental health crisis, one in five Americans has a mental health Challenge and yet our health insurance system does not even begin to address those and then you go on to physical health care, a whole host of things where you can’t get the level of care you need and then that catastrophic danger looming for a vast swath of American families. So we’re now talking about a big American majority and we need to talk about this from the perspective of that big American majority. Where are we trying to go? We should be trying to go to a health care system that keeps people healthy from jump right? From the moment you have a problem, you know where to go. You do not have to worry about the cost in going there. You get help early not later. You don’t put off, you don’t ration. I mean these stories about seniors choosing how much insulin to take because they have to pay the rent, that’s happening in America all the time. These are not just and again, I am deeply committed to helping low-income folks, but the folks I’m describing right now, these seniors are folks who [51:53] saw the came out of the working class, middle class and are on fixed incomes and I’m talking about millions of people. That’s not acceptable. So we should not be losing a fight about human decency. We should be honest that it’s not going to be a [52:07] panacea that happens overnight, that’s gonna take a lot of work, a lot transition. And bluntly, we have the cynicism about government and that goes back to those labor union health plans for example, I don’t think it’s unfair to show people that we’ve got something better and it’s actually functioning before people give up what they have. Like that kind of phasing in and show me, prove it to me, actually could be the thing that gives people the comfort to make the move and that’ll take time.

But I hope we come out of this election decided as a nation that this status quo is unacceptable.  

Jon Lovett

I want to talk about something which is that you’re a Red Sox fan. 

Mayor de Blasio

Yes. Oh, I that was an abrupt segway. 

Jon Lovett

Well, I was just checking the clock. That speaks to a kind of stubbornness to me, which is that you are, you were—

Mayor de Blasio

Loyalty?

Jon Lovett

I’m going to call it stubbornness. You’re the mayor of New York—

Mayor de Blasio

Honor? Integrity?

Jon Lovett

I believe I said stubbornness. You’re the mayor of New York City. You are a fan of the Red Sox. 

Mayor de Blasio

Yes. 

Jon Lovett

What the fuck?

Mayor de Blasio

Thank you for asking such an insightful question Jon. 

Jon Lovett

It just seems like, truly like, but it gets out what we were, it gets out a serious question, which is, there does seem to be a kind of, daring people to be mad at you.

Mayor de Blasio

Jon, daring people to choose me over a bunch of other candidates they could have chosen. And I said from the beginning, hey, my family moved to Massachusetts when I was five—

Jon Lovett

I’ve read all this I don’t give a shit. 

Mayor de Blasio

Hold on, I want your vast, vast audience—

Jon Lovett

Come on, you’re the mayor of New York City—

Mayor de Blasio

Audience to hear this, I grew up with the team. I love the team. I’m a really huge baseball fan and I said to the people of New York City this is just who I am, take it or leave it and they took it—

Jon Lovett

They didn’t like it—

Mayor de Blasio

No, hold on, what is this part of voting that you don’t understand? They had a chance to choose a whole bunch of the candidates who are not Red Sox fans. 

Jon Lovett

I’m not saying it stopped you from being the mayor, you are mayor—

Mayor de Blasio

They chose me, but in a big way— 

Jon Lovett

Yeah.

Mayor de Blasio

I’m saying I won the primary without a runoff, I got 73% of general election, I won re-election at 67%— 

Jon Lovett

Could have been more.

Mayor de Blasio

Okay, that would have been nice— 

Jon Lovett

We don’t know what this cost you.

Mayor de Blasio

But here’s the thing, I actually heard this from people. I heard it from a lot of baseball fans who are like I couldn’t change my team anyway, I couldn’t do it either. I would have done the same thing you did if you’re actually a baseball fan and I am. But the second thing I heard from some people was wow, well, you’re not doing that for political advantage.

Jon Lovett

That’s certainly true. 

Mayor de Blasio

So maybe there’s some integrity there. 

Jon Lovett

I have one more, this has just been on my mind. I’ve wanted to ask you about it. This thing with Cuomo. You guys seem to be, it seems like a very old-fashioned feud in a way that I really like as a gay, Jewish New Yorker, there’s a pettiness that I admire about it. I admire that despite the fact that it might be in both of your interests as leaders to get over it, you seem like you can’t like you truly have a wall between the two of you that seems rooted in genuine pain. What is that pain? 

Mayor de Blasio

Wow.

Jon Lovett

But it’s, it’s personal and if it’s, you know they used to say oh Obama and McConnell they should just get a drink, but there were structural reasons as we have seen in recent years that would prevent these two people from working together. You’re two Democrats who oversee a lot of the same issues together and yet there’s a lot of pot shots, a lot of negativity going back and forth, people in New York think it hurts the city, that’s a serious question, but it all does seem to be a quite personal thing, when is there any hope for comedy? For a—

Mayor de Blasio

[55:41] Comedy or comety?

Jon Lovett

Comety. No there’s plenty of comedy. 

Mayor de Blasio

If it wasn’t so serious, is there any hope for for comedy? Well Jon— 

Jon Lovett

The rivalry is genuinely hilarious. 

Mayor de Blasio

There’s hope for more comedy.

Jon Lovett

I mean you guys don’t miss a chance, little jokes, little digs, real disagreements what’s going on? 

Mayor de Blasio

Well, I honestly believe you’re painting a little bit more of a dire picture than reality. I’ll tell you why. So you just talked about Amazon and we talked during that time on the lead up to it. We had to coordinate in a huge way to get to that deal. We were absolutely in agreement on it. And then we went and defended it together and that is a big, big deal. We just passed congestion pricing plan. And I want to be honest, I was a congestion pricing doubter for a lot of reasons. To his credit we worked together. We actually addressed a lot of the things that caused my doubt, which was about fairness particularly the outer boroughs in New York City. We got to a plan that I thought made a lot of sense and was going to fund the MTA properly. We promoted it together. That’s what broke the back on this issue is when you know, both of us came together and said this is something we’re both going to fight for and we did and we won. So there’s going to be times where we disagree, the notion that you could both be Democrats and disagree with something is not a shocker and there’s a philosophical differences. Look, I think it’s fair to say he comes out of a more pro-business and more moderate worldview. I come out of a more progressive worldview. That’s okay, but we still work together. Our teams work together all the time. And so yeah, are there human factors? Of course there is human factors. But here’s a very, I think the sort of heart of the matter, you’re looking at the digs and everything, right?

And yeah, I see them sometimes

Jon Lovett

You see you do them sometimes. 

Mayor de Blasio

I do them sometimes maybe.

Jon Lovett

You see them when you say them, when they come out of your face and into the world. 

Mayor de Blasio

But I think the fact is, that stuff pales in comparison to the work. And so there’s almost a perception versus reality—

Jon Lovett

So you and Governor Cuomo work really well together?

Mayor de Blasio

No we work well when we agree on a vision because then we get it done. And look congestion pricing was not an easy thing to get done. But we got it done and we both worked real hard at it. But here’s the thing I disagree with this like, okay, we’re human beings. We have some disagreements. Sometimes it breaks out in the open. Where is the thing that is not getting done that we could do together? Well, sometimes there are things we don’t agree on so it’s not about what if we were the most incredibly polite people in the world, but we just still didn’t agree on a policy vision. That ain’t changing the reality—

Jon Lovett

One thing people would point to right, is that the MTA has a unique role being funded by both the city and the state, being kind of a jury-rigged process that requires both your leadership and the governor’s leadership and that maybe if you guys saw eye-to-eye more, had a better texting dynamic things might be working better. 

Mayor de Blasio

No, let’s be, let’s break it down a little further. We had to, and this is how change happens, this is literally I hope someday they will study this. The MTA was created to leave no one accountable. This is a fact. It was created so that they could get fare increases through and get things done without anyone knowing does the city run it? Does the state run it? Who runs it right? So I used to have town hall meetings at the beginning of my administration, I would ask people, you know show of hands, 200-300 people who runs the MTA? About a third would say the governor, about a third would say the mayor, and a third would say we don’t know. 

Jon Lovett

And they were right. 

Mayor de Blasio

And they were right about no one knew because it was not, you know, you could see the reality but it was not portrayed publicly in a real way. So, I push very hard for the truth, and it is the truth, to come out. The state of New York runs the MTA, dominates the MTA, chooses the head of the MTA, chooses the budget for the MTA, it’s just, it’s a [59:28] fata complete. And I push this very, very hard and I think this was actually historically necessary. So the last town hall meetings I have I would still ask the question and 90% of hands would go up and say State of New York. That change happened over the course of a couple years. Now we actually have accountability and and I’m someone who has I have accountability for the entire New York City school system for example, 1.1 million kids. Mayoral accountability for education, obviously policing and sanitation and you go down the list. I always say if you don’t know who you are supposed to hold accountable good luck getting any change. So the good news is yeah, there was a fight, there was tension but not, you know, there’s this, almost in your question, respectfully, there’s a notion that comedy is a goal unto itself regardless of outcome. I would argue outcomes for people come first and you sure as hell would like comedy and you would like respect and you’d like people to have a good open diplomatic discourse, whatever. But guess what? There’s going to be conflict sometimes over disagreements and if it ends up in a productive place for people, that’s fine. And for God’s sakes, I’m a New Yorker. I’m not scared of conflict 

Jon Lovett

No. 

Mayor de Blasio

And I’m going to say again, if folks believe—

Jon Lovett

I knew it was coming, I knew it was coming—

Mayor de Blasio

If they believe that we need Progressive voices in this race, please go to BilldeBlasio.com and help me out. 

Jon Lovett

Mayor de Blasio, thank you so much for being here

Mayor de Blasio

Thank you Jon

Jon Lovett

It was a great conversation. 

Mayor de Blasio

I enjoyed it.

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