Bill Thompson on Fixing CUNY’s Problems

CUNY has long been a pillar of New York educational opportunity, yet the university system is not without its problems: Latino and black enrollment is down and reports of corruption and mismanagement have plagued its administration. Former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson is now the man tasked with cleaning up the system as chairman of the CUNY Board of Trustees. Thompson joins us to talk about the reforms he’s implementing at CUNY, why he didn’t challenge Bill de Blasio for re-election this year, and gives his take on the controversy swirling around Oscar Lopez Rivera and the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Nydia Velázquez Marches On

Puerto Rico’s big day is coming up, and we’re not talking about the parade…or not *only* talking about the parade. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez is back on the podcast to talk about the future of the island and whether statehood could fix its problems. She also talks about life in Trump’s Washington and whether she thinks impeachment is in his future.

Michel Faulkner Tackles the Comptroller Race

Michel Faulkner is a pastor in Harlem and when it comes to the New York City comptroller race, he’s all fire and brimstone. The Republican candidate joins us to share his thoughts on where Scott Stringer has failed as comptroller, ideas for fixing the New York City Housing Authority, and walking the walk in engaging with Minority and Women-owned Businesses that contract with the city.

Nicole Malliotakis Takes a Longshot

A young, female, Republican from Staten Island. Nicole Malliotakis has a lot of demographic challenges to make up in her run for mayor of New York City. But the four-term assemblywoman is already making a splash as arguably the most prominent challenger to Bill de Blasio’s re-election. Malliotakis joins us today to talk about why she would be a better advocate for New York City’s interests in Albany, how she’d change the city’s immigration policies.

Arzt History 101

He’s been sued by Donald Trump, insulted by Mario Cuomo and hired by Ed Koch. George Arzt has been around city politics for decades, and now runs a communications firm. Like any PR pro, he’s a master of the one-liner. He joins us to talk about all the mayors he covered and why de Blasio is the most political of them all. We also ask George how interacting with the media has changed since his days flacking for Ed Koch.

Cuomo’s Quandaries

The new secretary to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, could be the second-most powerful person in the state, but her father is also a powerful Albany lobbyist. NY1 statehouse reporter Zack Fink’s job is to ask our state leaders uncomfortable questions, but when Fink asked Gov. Cuomo about DeRosa’s perceived conflicts of interest, the governor didn’t take too kindly to it. Zack joins the podcast from Albany to talk about that testy exchange, plus the most contentious budget process of Cuomo’s tenure and the governor’s national ambitions.

Radicalized on Rikers

The drumbeat to close Rikers Island jail has reached a deafening pitch, and for the first time, New York City has a plan in place to do it. The lead author of the report detailing Rikers Island’s closure, former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman is with us today, along with Greg Berman, director of the Center for Court Innovation, who also worked on the report. They tell us about becoming radicalized on shutting down Rikers Island and their relentless push in support of a plan that’s already facing tough opposition from NIMBYers, corrections officials and politicians.

The Better Late Then Never Budget

It’s easy to paint Albany with the broad brush of dysfunctional government, but what do you make of a state budget that misses the deadline, but hits on a lot of key issues? Few people know state politics like Bruce Gyory, so he’s with us today to sort through the sausage-making in the budget process and the highlights of the final $153 billion document. A senior advisor at Manatt Phelps and Phillips, Gyory advised three governors and is also an adjunct professor at UAlbany, plus a frequent Slant contributor.

A Fighting Chance for Fair Fares

Sometimes an issue is so big, so obvious, so logical, that we as New Yorkers just can’t stay quiet. For us, that issue is Fair Fares. Two of the leaders of the movement to give half-price Metrocards to low income New Yorkers are here with us: Nancy Rankin of the Community Service Society and Rebecca Bailin of the Riders alliance. We look at the issue of mass transit affordability from all angles – political, socio-economic, criminal justice and more.

Running Against Himself

We all remember Dante’s afro from 2013, but what an we expect from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reelection campaign? De Blasio’s former press secretary Phil Walzak is now a senior adviser on the campaign. He’s with us today to talk about running as an incumbent, what De Blasio has to gain from fighting Trump, and how to counter the narrative that the mayor isn’t a hard worker.