LittleAfrica News’ founder and publisher Mona Davids had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York City, on Friday, March 17th. The interview’s main focus was education, public & school safety, and small businesses.
Mayor Adams was quizzed on whether the Department of Education would expand the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. The question ventured into the building of a CTE school and offering learning opportunities that would offer working opportunities in other fields. Mayor Adams emphatically stated that a mistake was made when, years ago, a CTE education was degraded. “We felt as though when someone was told to become a carpenter, electrician, a plumber, those weren’t jobs that were considered a noble profession,” Mayor Adams said. He pointed at the many positives of trade careers highlighting how these were valuable skills that could be taken anywhere across the U.S. Mayor Adams said that his Administration was looking into introducing a German program that gives students the option to go the trade route or go to college. He further said that an expansion of CTE was definitely on the cards with the possible introduction of certifications.
On the subject of public safety, Mayor Adams was asked about how his administration deals with residents’ perception of very high rates of crime and the feeling of not being safe, despite the NYPD’s statistics showing there has been a reduction. “What we perceive is real,” Adams said. But he said, one of the ways in which the city made an attempt to create a feeling of safety was by having more NYPD officers present in certain areas, such as the subway. The mayor pointed to the success of the deployment of more officers bringing in a 90-day period of reduced crime.
The NYPD has recently suffered a loss of officers and with Mayor Adams speaking of reintroducing the Narcotics Unit, he was asked how resources would be done with lesser numbers in the police force. While Mayor Eric Adams said there were enough NYPD officers to carry out the job, the department would go on a significant recruitment drive. He encouraged all New Yorkers to play a role in getting residents to join the NYPD, calling the job “this amazing profession.”
New York City’s schools have a lesser number of School Safety Agents. Mayor Adams addressed that matter by saying school safety agents vacancies were not being filled so they were slashed. However, he said there would be a drive to hire more agents despite political pressure from some quarters not to hire more.
During the lockdown imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses suffered. Only 2% of Bronx businesses were reported to have received any financial support, despite being an integral part of New York City’s economy. Most of the small “mom and pops” businesses are still suffering the effects of the pandemic, not having fully recovered. Mayor Adams was asked what programs the city has in place to assist small businesses. Mayor Adams spoke about the previously reported on program the city launched last month along with Mastercard and other companies. The program will provide low-interest loans to small businesses in New York City allowing them to operate as required. “We know that small businesses, hire locally, spend locally and they are really the economic stimulus that we need. So, we are going to continue to coalesce with our small businesses and find out what they need,” Mayor Adams said.
Mayor Adams was asked what his administration was doing to support MWBEs (Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises) when it came to doing business with the city. “The first is hiring Mike Garner. Mike Garner did an amazing job over at the MTA in addressing the MWBE. We brought him on board last month. He is hitting the ground running,” Adams said. The mayor further called for MWBEs to be provided with adequate resources to flourish and do their business.