In a rare opportunity, Mayor Eric Adams granted PIX11’s Marvin Scott an invitation to join him as he made his rounds on a busy weekday. Scott’s reports air on our newscasts, but below is his entire sitdown interview with the mayor inside and outside on the steps of City Hall.
NEW YORK (PIX11) — Mayor Eric Adams was upbeat and wide-eyed as we began the interview in City Hall’s Blue Room. He was running on a few hours of sleep after a 1 a.m. visit to the hospital where a police officer was being treated following a shooting in the Bronx.
Adams inherited the job as the city’s 110th mayor at one of the city’s lowest points. Crime was soaring, unemployment was high and the homeless were camping out on the streets.
I began the interview by asking him how he would grade himself after five months on the job. “I,” he shot back, “incomplete,” adding, “We’re laying the foundation. Remember, we have public safety, have to return our economy and have to get through COVID and make sure we educate our kids.”
Responding to my query about polls that were giving him a low grade, Adams sloughed it off, noting, “It’s a roller coaster of polling. One poll one day had me at another number. This is all part of the process.” When asked about one poll that showed 54% gave him a thumbs down on the way he’s handling crime, Adams responded with a four-word reason: “We’re not there yet.”
During his campaign, Adams, a former police captain, positioned himself as the best candidate to tackle crime, but he’s having a difficult time reigning in the violence. He reasoned, “The problem is there are dangerous people who are not serving time because of their crimes.” Adams puts the blame on lean bail reforms and other lax crime laws that turn criminals back on the streets too quickly. He vows to “stop the feeder of crime with his anti-crime unit and having a real presence on our transit system. That’s the combination New Yorkers need and they’re going to see the results they need.”
Touching on other issues, he claimed the economy is turning around in the city, noting that 50,000 new jobs were created in the first quarter. Responding to my query about the 40% of workers who still have not returned to their office jobs, Adams said it would change when he can assure them that the subways and the city are safe.
The mayor defended controversial appointments of individuals with somewhat checkered pasts, including former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks, who was an unindicted co-conspirator in a police corruption case. “We should not hold people accountable for errors they made. The worst things they did in life should not define your life,” Adams argued.
As for critics who assert that his efforts to remove the homeless from the subways and sidewalk encampments, Adams defends his actions and claims, “What’s immoral is walking past people in environments that are not dignified.”
During the interview, Adams said he had a good relationship with the legislature and was confident they would finally grant him control of city schools.
On a lighter note, I referred to the mayor as a “fashionista,” a leader always dressed to the nines. “It’s a way of defining oneself,” he told me. “It’s a way of saying to people that by taking time to dress appropriately, you are taking time to carry out your role.”
After he won last year’s election, Adams declared himself as the new face of the Democratic Party, but he shakes off any notion of seeking higher office in Washington. He laughs and declares, “You can run the country from New York. Why would you want to leave New York City.”
To watch Marvin Scott’s full interview with the mayor, watch the video player above.