Best of Slant: Highlights from the First Half of 2017

We’re off this week at the NY Slant podcast, so we thought we’d bring you a short compilation of some of our favorite interviews that we’ve done so far this year.

Guests on this podcast include: Assemblyman Charles Barron, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, NY1 political anchor Errol Louis, and Ben Kabak of the 2nd Avenue Sagas blog.

We’ll be back next week with a new podcast interview.

Broken Windows, Broken Promises with Bob Gangi

Before Mayor Bill de Blasio can face presumptive Republican nominee Nicole Malliotakis in the November general election, he has to get through the September Democratic primary. Bob Gangi, an activist and co-founder of the Police Reform Organizing Project, is challenging de Blasio to be the Democratic nominee, running on a progressive platform, with a focus on reforming the criminal justice system in New York City. He talks about the institutional problems in the NYPD, how de Blasio let down true progressives, and what he would do on his first day as mayor.

Single-Payer Showdown

Did you think the presidential debates were low on substance? We’ve got substance AND style today with a debate on creating a single-payer health care system here in New York. Assemblyman Dick Gottfried has been pushing the idea for years, but Bill Hammond, a healthcare expert with the Empire Center, is skeptical it will work as advertised. Both joined the podcast to explain what exactly we mean when we say “single-payer,” the cost of such a system in terms of new taxes and their thoughts on the Obamacare repeal debate.

DeBlasio’s Staten Island Conundrum

Staten Island has long been a Republican stronghold in an otherwise overwhelmingly Democratic political landscape in New York City. And with a conservative Staten Island politician running for mayor against the liberal incumbent Bill de Blasio, that political contrast will be on full display in the coming months. Anna Sanders, the City Hall reporter for the Staten Island Advance, joins the Slant podcast to explain why Staten Islanders disapprove of the mayor, the appeal of Nicole Malliotakis and how voters in the borough feel about Donald Trump’s presidency.

Remembering Gabe Pressman

Legendary Bronx-born journalist Gabe Pressman, whose reporting legacy spanned more than half a century and who was a thorn in the side of New York mayors from William O’Dwyer to Bill de Blasio, died last week at the age of 93. In this special edition of the Slant podcast, we are joined by two of his closest confidants. Bob Liff was a reporter and columnist who worked closely with Pressman in their days at City Hall. Liff shares stories of how Pressman “comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable” through his straightforward, dogged style of reporting. We are also joined by longtime WNBC producer Inara de Leon, who worked with Pressman for 14 years. She talks about the editorial process and internal conversations that led to Pressman’s reports over the years.

Correcting Corrections – Glenn Martin on #CloseRikers

In recent years the movement to shut down the Rikers Island correctional facility in New York City has gained significant momentum. The Rikers jail complex has a notorious reputation for violence, abuse and corruption. But thanks largely to the efforts of criminal justice advocates, Rikers is now on the road to permanent closure. One of those advocates, Glenn Martin, the president and founder of JustLeadershipUSA, joins the Slant podcast to discuss the timeline for closing the island, Mayor de Blasio’s responsibility on criminal justice reform and what he wants to see from New York City’s next correction commissioner.

The Sorry State of Our Subways with Second Ave Sagas’ Ben Kabak

With more than 5 million daily weekday riders, New York City’s subway system is the lifeblood that keeps our metropolis humming 24/7. Yet as anyone with eyes and ears has noticed, subway delays and mishaps are now rampant, the system’s crucial infrastructure is deteriorating, and the MTA continues to kick the can down the road on solving these problems. Ben Kabak, the founder of the New York City transit blog 2nd Avenue Sagas joins us this week to contextualize the MTA mess and explain who’s responsible for the sorry state of our subways.

Errol Louis on Segregation in NYC

New York City may be famously liberal and proudly diverse but its education system continues to be one of the most segregated in the entire country. NY1 anchor Errol Louis has written extensively about school segregation in his column for the Daily News and joins us this week to discuss the inadequacy of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s school diversity plan in addressing this issue. Louis also gives his thoughts on mayoral control of schools and his role as one of the privileged few with regular press access to Mayor de Blasio.

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.