All Star Panelist Roger Simon Paints Grim Future for New York City and Its Mayoral Race

All Star Panelist Roger Simon Paints Grim Future for New York City and Its Mayoral Race


Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist and senior editor-at-large at The Epoch Times, Roger Simon, in-studio who discussed his recent disappointing trip to New York City, the city’s future, and the race for mayor.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by the newest all-star panelist on The Tennessee Star Report. My former boss at PJTV. Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, novelist, great tennis player, and editor-at-large with The Epoch Times. Roger Simon. Good morning, Roger.

Simon: Good morning. I’m back from a dangerous zone.

Leahy: So, Roger, because you are an intrepid and courageous reporter, you went to a very, very dangerous local, and really, it’s on the edge of civilized society.

It’s a place called New York City, New York. (Simon sings Sinatra) You went there because out of just the importance of your mission to report to our audience what’s happening in the country today.

Thank you for your bravery. Tell us about what you discovered on your mission to New York City.

Simon: It’s the city of my birth, so it was a pretty sad adventure. What I did was, I went to an Epoch Times event that was being held in New York near their new offices. We are expanding.

But I stayed at a place called the Stewart Hotel, which is across the Street from Madison Square Garden, virtually. And it was sort of like visiting a Third World country.

It’s the first time I’ve been in New York since COVID. And most of the time, most years, I’d be there four times a year at least. And the feeling is at night, as you’re walking down the street with your head down and wish you had a hard hat.

It’s a really sad situation. And I’d like to be able to joke about it because I joke about most things. (Chuckles) But you can’t. This is the former capital of the world, really.

Leahy: The financial capital, media capital. And for a period of time, about a couple of years, the capital of the United States of America way back in 1789.

Simon: Right. But it’s none of the above right now. Well, they’re still fighting to be the financial capital, but it really shouldn’t be.

I don’t know how it’s ever going to come back to what it was. I don’t know. There are a lot of people there and there are people in the street, but they’re all wearing masks.

Leahy: They’re still wearing masks in the street.

Simon: A lot of people.

Leahy: Oh my goodness. Now, Mayor Bill de Blasio mercifully is leaving office. They had a primary up there on the Democratic side after a lot of problems, shall we say, about what was an accurate vote and what was not.

It looks like the winner of the Democratic primary is the former police captain who’s a little bit of a lefty.

Simon: A little bit? He was a Farrakhan supporter.

Leahy: More than a little bit of a lefty. What’s his name? Eric Adams.

Simon: And he’s going to be running against the Republican, which is not a real election. Curtis Sliwa.

Leahy: The Guardian Angels guy.

Simon: The Guardian Angels guy.

Leahy: He’s a talk show host.

Simon: I’m told it’s pretty good – A good friend of mine who is working for him.

Leahy: It will be 70-30.

Simon: But it’s not a real election.

Leahy: 80-20.

Simon: I mean, it’s a product of everything that’s happening in our culture, including the educational system, that you get a vote like that in New York City. Kind of like Nashville. No, not quite as bad. (Chuckles)

Leahy: Not quite bad. But now let’s talk about this. Are you optimistic or pessimistic that this very dangerous place where you were born and was beautiful when you were born there? Great city.

One of the greatest cities in the world. Now it’s a very dangerous place. What do you think the future holds for New York City?

Simon: Nothing good in the near future. It’s hard to say. The old Yogi Barra line: Predictions are dangerous, especially about the future. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: But if you come to a fork in the road take it.

Simon: I remember New York in the 1950s when I was a kid. My friends and I used to get on the subway ourselves at the age of 11 to go to the Yankee games, sit in the bleachers for 65 cents, have a great time, and come back at 10 p.m.

Leahy: Safe. And your parents weren’t worried.

Simon: And our parents wouldn’t say anything. Oh, your back! I can’t imagine it being like that now. I mean, it’s so different. It’s a different universe. And it’s not a better one.

Leahy: When is the general election between Eric Adams and Curtis Silwa? Is it August?

Simon: I guess so. Yeah, I think it is. That’s right. But it’s not an election.

Leahy: It’s a coronation of Eric Adams. When he is inaugurated as the new mayor of New York City, will New York City be better, worse, or about the same as under Bill DeBlasio?

Simon: Better. A little. He’s an ex-cop. He’ll support the NYPD a bit more because that’s one of the worst parts about it. You feel unsafe in Manhattan.

I wasn’t even in the outer boroughs. I didn’t have time. In the heart of Manhattan, you feel unsafe.

Leahy: Not a very ringing endorsement for the city of your birth.

Simon: No.

Leahy: Not at all.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Eric Adams” by Krystalb97. CC BY-SA 4.0.













Karol Markowicz on the Politicization of Teacher’s Unions, Public Versus Charter Performance, and Parental Involvement Against CRT

Karol Markowicz on the Politicization of Teacher’s Unions, Public Versus Charter Performance, and Parental Involvement Against CRT


Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed columnist Karol Markowicz to the Newsmakers Line to weigh in on the teacher union stranglehold on public education and the awakening of parents in the post-COVID era.

Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by Karol Markowicz. Among other things, she’s a columnist for The New York Post.

She was born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn. Good morning, Karol. Thanks for joining us.

Markowicz: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Leahy: My first question for you, Karol: Which was worse? The Soviet Union in the 1980s or New York City in 2021?

Markowicz: (Chuckles) Well, I came to the United States when I was little. I was under two, so I don’t quite remember the Soviet Union, but I grew up very much aware of how lucky I was to be here every single day and how different my life could have gone. I’ll still choose Brooklyn every time.

Leahy: Well, we’re delighted that you are here and your writing is just – let me just say it’s fabulous.

Markowicz: Thank you.

Leahy: And you have a couple of pieces. The most recent one: critical race theory is part of a woke agenda. Parents should fight it.

Don’t let the left keep brainwashing our kids to fight their political wars. And I really like this recent one. Don’t let Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers, whitewash or roll in school closures. It sounds to me like you’re not a big fan of the teachers’ unions.

Markowicz: (Chuckles) Well, it’s funny, because, until this year, I don’t think I’ve written that much about teachers’ unions.

And I don’t think that most parents really care that much about teachers’ unions and their role in our schools. But after a year of many schools staying close, needlessly, while areas where teachers unions weren’t powerful managed to open their schools.

It was just very jarring how much power these unions had, how weak our politicians were in the face of their power, and how much they were able to do to our kids.

I think so many eyes are open now. And it was obviously unfortunate that kids didn’t get to go to school in so many places this last year.

But I think there are so many motivated parents now who realize what’s going on in a way that they didn’t before. And that’s really the one sort of benefit of what happened this year.

Carmichael: How do Black and Hispanic children in particular fair in schools in Brooklyn and in the New York City area?

Leahy: By the way, that’s Crom Carmichael, who’s also in studio with us. He’s a regular all-star panelist.

Markowicz: Hi. We have some really great charter schools in New York. But for the last eight years, while Mayor de Blasio has been the mayor, he’s very far left, there’s been an all-out war on charter schools.

And there have been no new charter schools allowed. And the teachers’ unions again have managed to squelch any opposition to them because they have so much power with these politicians.

So in general, our public schools are bad. Even the good ones are not that good. And we have a situation where when somebody wants school choice – when they want to get out of the system – when they want to find a charter school, they’re largely unable to at this point.

Hopefully, the next mayor will be better. There’s some hope on the horizon that if Eric Adams wins or Curtis Sliwa, either one, they’re much more pro-charter than Mayor de Blasio has been. Things might be looking up.

Carmichael: Let me ask you a question because I think that standards truly matter. In the last year, the standards of police officers have been under tremendous scrutiny. And if a police officer has bad standards, they are singled out, thrown out of the police force, and if appropriate, convicted of a crime.

Markowicz: Right.

Carmichael: Why don’t we apply those same standards to the people who run our teachers’ unions and are teachers, to those teachers who do a pathetic job of teaching our children? They’re just as professional as police officers.

Markowicz: Right. I think the worst part of that is just like good police officers get blamed for bad police officer behavior, I’ve known a lot of really great teachers who are incapable of doing what they need to do with students because of the control from the top, and because of the bad teachers who sort of make it harder for everybody else. For example, this year, there were a lot of teachers who wanted to be in person and who understood that the kids needed them, who understood that Zooming with kindergarteners – I have a kindergartener – is not a thing that works. There were a lot of teachers who wanted to be in person.

But because their union enforced these ridiculous policies, and because politicians listened to them, they kept the schools closed.

They kept the kids at home and the good teachers really got pushed to the side. And I think that that’s a really big problem, too.

These teachers don’t want to stay in the system that rewards bad teachers or spends a year not having kids in school. We push the best people out with the system that we have.

Carmichael: In a charter school in Brooklyn or in the New York area, give an example if you would, because charter schools operate independently. In other words, they’re not unionized.

They don’t report to some charter school board of education. They operate independently. Give an example of the number of students that a charter school might have and the number of administrators and the number of teachers.

Markowicz: So it’s different, obviously, than public schools. But I don’t have the numbers in front of me. But charter schools operate on a very different system where they don’t have anywhere near as many administrators.

They don’t pay nearly as many people as public schools do. But to talk about one part of the numbers with charter schools is charter schools in general in New York, for example. I know that they’re different around the country, but they do far better on state tests than public schools.

And so you have a situation where especially for Black and Brown students, when they’re in public schools, people just sort of throw up their hands and say, these public schools are bad. There’s nothing we can do.

With the same students taken into charter schools, they are much better. They really succeed. And so you have the situation where it is not the students. It’s absolutely the school system.

And like I said earlier, even the good schools, I think, are not that good. Even the schools that are considered sort of success stories are sort of weak.

Leahy: Weak successes at best I think would be the most generous way to describe them. Let me ask you this. You see that both of the major unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, last week, they both came out and said, we are going to teach critical race theory, and we don’t care if the laws say we can’t do that. What do you make of that?

Markowicz: Well, every minute spent on this ridiculousness is a minute not spent teaching math and science and social studies and the rest of it.

And every dollar spent on these insane consultants who come in to tell us that White people are the oppressors and Black people are the oppressed, and the other races sort of don’t really factor in that much, is a dollar not spent on kids’ education.

And like I said earlier, I think parents really have their eyes open to this where this is an actual huge story where a few years ago, I think this would have been just kind of a blip.

They know what critical race theory is now. They know that they don’t want it in their kids’ school. We’re seeing these school board meetings all across the country where parents are fighting back.

And it’s not politicians that are leading the way. It is actual parents. So again, I have some hope that the bright spot of a post-COVID era is that parents know what’s happening in their kids’ schools now in a way that they didn’t before, and that they’ll be fighting.

Leahy: On that note of optimism, we’ll close our first interview with Karol Markowicz. Karol, a columnist in New York Post. Thank you. Very refreshing, very enlightening. Please come back and join us again.

Markowicz: Thank you so much. Absolutely.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Teacher Strike” by Charles Edward Miller CC BY-SA 2.0 and photo “Karol Markowicz” by Karol Markowicz.



















All-Star Panelist and Co-Writer of Bustin’ Loose, Roger Simon Reflects on Writing with Comedy Legend Richard Pryor

All-Star Panelist and Co-Writer of Bustin’ Loose, Roger Simon Reflects on Writing with Comedy Legend Richard Pryor


Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed the founder of Pajamas Media and all-star panelist Roger Simon to the studio to reflect on what it was like knowing and writing with the comedian Richard Pryor and what he would think about cancel culture today.

Leahy: We are delighted to have studio, the newest all-star panelist, the youngest all-star panelist, I suppose. Young in terms of all-stars. Right? Do you like that? Do you like that phrasing?

Simon: You lie, but it’s ok. The media lies so why not?

Leahy: Roger, born and raised in New York City. You are Mr. New York City in some regards. Or were during its heyday, right?

Simon: The 1950s when I was a kid.

Leahy: You loved it.

Simon: We used to go to the Yankee games and have a great time.

Leahy: Absolutely.

Simon: Well, you know, the irony is that when I was 10 years old, my buddies and I would just jump on the subway and come back in 12 hours.

Leahy: No big deal.

Simon: No big deal. We’d go out, we sit in the bleachers for 65 cents.

Leahy: Man. That was the life.

Simon: It was fun. New York was great in those days. New York, like LA, which became my adopted home, has turned into the far side of hell. (Leahy laughs) But, you know, this election in New York is almost a farce.

Leahy: Well, Here’s the headline, New York Post yesterday by Julian Marsh. Headline. Eric Adams sued to ensure a “fair election process” after the Board of Elections botches vote count and Mayoral candidate and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police captain NYPD, filed a preemptive lawsuit on Wednesday to ensure a fair and transparent election process after the Board of Elections botched the June 22 second primary outcome by accidentally including test results in the vote count leading to 135,000 extra ballots. Roger, I just can’t help laughing it. (Laughs)

Simon: Well, you can laugh. In a real black comic sense, it’s very funny. But, you know, what it tells us is all that stuff about the National presidential election that is being debunked all the time by The New York Times, of all places that I used to write for, by the way.

And I can have some comments about that in a minute. I’ll tell you. But it raises the issue that our elections across the country are fraudulent. If they can’t handle a mayoral election in New York where everybody is desperate to get rid of DeBlasio, there’s something wrong here, folks. It’s really wrong.

Leahy: How incompetent are you if you are the New York City Board of Elections and they’re doing this crazy ranked-choice voting, which is complicated. But basically your rank from one to five and how strongly you feel about the five candidates.

And then if one candidate doesn’t have a majority of the number one they get rid of number five and they go to the second choice.

Simon: Well, you know,  the election was really actually properly named. It really was rank.

Leahy: (Laughs) This is why we pay you the big bucks, Roger, because of your clever use of language.

Simon: I wrote comedy way back in the paleolithic age.

Leahy: You wrote comedy for who?

Simon: Well, Richard Pryor, that’s one.

Leahy: You wrote comedy for Richard Pryor?

Simon: He didn’t say it, but I wrote it.

Leahy: I didn’t know this about you. So tell me how you became friends with Richard Pryor and how you wrote comedy for him. And how often did you do this?

Simon: I wrote the movie Bustin’ Loose where he started. I never knew Prior before and the executives at Universal Studios who thought that I should write for him introduced us.

But then we did become friends. And he was a fantastic person. A little bit self-destructive, as the world knows. More than a little.

Leahy: So this is interesting. So Richard Pryor was a fantastic person.

Simon: Oh, a very nice guy to his friends.

Leahy: To his friends. And you were one of his friends?

Simon: Well, he liked what I was doing for him.

Leahy: So how would you go about writing comedy for Richard Pryor?

Simon: I went to his house, and this is the very beginning of the beginning because Richard tested people out because he was a bit paranoid about what people were thinking of him.

But I went to his house with the executives to work on a story that was then called Family Dream that Prior had a basic outline for. And then we turned it into Bustin’ Loose. Actually, the studio named it Bustin’ Loose because the studio wanted a title for Pryor movies that got him in the theater. And it did. It was one of the big hits of the year.

Leahy: And so would you sit down with them and just I don’t know how people write comedy. Do you go into the comedy writing room? How do you do it?

Simon: No-no-no. They do it in lots of ways. But this was the screenplay way. The way people write for TV is they do go into a room with a bunch of people. I couldn’t stand that. I can’t work that way. I’m too private for that.

No, what happened is I’d go and I’d sit down with him for an hour or two, and to be honest, try not to do the drugs that he was doing constantly.

Leahy: (Chuckles) That sounds like a good plan Roger.

Simon: And we agree on the basic storyline. And I went back to his office at Universal Studios and wrote it.

Leahy: And then after you write the jokes?

Simon: This was a screenplay. It had jokes in it.

Leahy: Oh it would have jokes in it. It wasn’t like writing for a comedy routine.

Simon: I did both for him later because he trusted me. He was the greatest stand-up comic of all time. Let’s be honest. I mean, no one was better. But the reason is he was so great is he never did jokes.

What I mean is I would write some jokes for him and he’d say hey that’s pretty funny.I actually went on the road with him a couple of times.

Leahy: You went on the road with Richard Pryor?

Simon: Yeah. And he never told the jokes.

Leahy: So you would write jokes.

Simon: He said they were great but he wouldn’t tell him. But it wasn’t deliberate. His style was just to stand on stage and tell the truth. And the truth is funny when told by Pryor.

Leahy: So the jokes that you wrote for him, he would say they were funny. But would they end up at some point in this comedy routine or not?

Simon: No.

Leahy: No.

Simon: They disappeared into the ether. I can’t even remember them. In fact, I remember when he asked me to do it I thought it was strange because I think he was just being nice to me because that wasn’t his style.

He was a comic genius because he could turn reality into comedy. And he was not racist at all. I mean, it was a totally different era. He would be read out right now. He would be canceled.

Leahy: What would Richard Pryor say about critical race theory?

Simon: He would roll his eyes, but he’d do it in a way that would have you on the floor laughing.

Leahy: Laughing?

Simon: The greatest act he ever did was a White guy and a Black guy walking through the woods. And this was done completely mimed. No dialogue. And he would have the audience on the floor.

Leahy: So just physical mannerisms that were different?

Simon: Yes. How a White guy and how a Black guy, both of them were chicken of course. (Leahy laughs) Just the way you reacted through a bear and all that stuff. (Leahy laughs) And it was totally without prejudice. I mean, it was just fun.

Leahy: Gee, these interesting things that you’ve done, Roger that you’re withholding from us. We have to drag them out of you, Roger.

Simon: I thought you knew that. I also wrote for Whoopi but that didn’t turn out well.

Leahy: Would you like to elaborate on that?

Simon: No. (Leahy bellows) I will say one thing about here. I was sent to Washington, DC, to write a comedy about Whoopi and the White House press room. Yuck yuck. As a reporter.

And I had a lot of amazing experiences in that time. It changed me. It started to change me from a Democrat to a Republican.

Leahy: Really?

Simon: Yeah. Because it was during the Reagan administration. And what was the name of the guy who was the Press Secretary there? Marlin Fitzwater.

Leahy: Yeah. Marlin Fitzwater.

Simon: And he was so terrific to me. I said these Republicans are great guys. He would bring me back.

Leahy: He was a nice guy.

Simon: Yeah. He would bring me back in the back room of the press office there and give me some bourbon and branch. (Leahy chuckles) And I’d say I thought Republicans were bad guys. That was a long time ago.

Leahy: So I’m reading into this. Richard Pryor was is a really great guy.

Simon: Absolutely.

Leahy: This is not something you would necessarily say about Whoopi.

Simon: With Whoopi, the relationship disappeared. She was okay. She was very bright. What she does now I think is ridiculous. It’s a parody of herself.

Leahy: Exactly.

Listen to the third hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Richard Pryor” by Alan Light. CC BY 2.0.















Seth Barron Author of ‘The Last Days of New York’ Talks NYC Crime and Mayoral Candidate Scenarios

Seth Barron Author of ‘The Last Days of New York’ Talks NYC Crime and Mayoral Candidate Scenarios


Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed City Journal associate editor and author of his new book, The Last Days of New York to the newsmakers line to describe the escalating crime in New York and who’s running for mayor.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by Seth Barron, a New York City-based reporter and editor who’s been the associate editor of City Journal for some time. He is the author of a great new book.

You gotta read this. Last Days of New York. Welcome, Seth. I’ve been looking forward to talking to you for some time.

Barron: Thanks, Michael. I’m glad to be here.

Leahy: So New York City went through a rejuvenation when Rudy Giuliani became mayor. They had the famous broken windows policy where they cleaned up all the little small crimes in New York City and made it safer. Then-Mayor Bill De Blasio happening all of a sudden overnight, it’s a war zone. I guess your book tells that tale.

Barron: That’s right. And it wasn’t just De Blasio, although he was instrumental. But he had a whole team of friends and allies, progressives in the City Council, state legislature, up and down the government helping.

And, yes, they decriminalized quality of life crimes, public urination, littering, the instituted bail reform. We have a bunch of DAs who just released or who just dropped charges on all the rioters and looters from last summer. So all of this combined has turned things around in a bad way.

Leahy: Is poverty the root of crime?

Barron: Well, this is what you hear a lot. Like AOC said, that when people are shooting someone on the street in broad daylight while he’s walking with his kid, that this is because they need money to pay the rent.

But no, I wouldn’t say poverty is not the root of crime because there’s a lot of poor people. Most of them don’t shoot each other. And these shootings all have to do with disputes, beefs or they’re just gang-related.

They’re not economic. It’s just people who are encroaching on each other’s turf or insulting each other. Or someone doesn’t like the way someone looked at him on the subway. So he slashes his face. That’s the sort of thing that’s driving it, not poverty.

Leahy: So yesterday there was a primary election in New York City for the new mayor on the Republican primary, which doesn’t really matter. But the winner was Curtis Lee. On the Democratic primary, a former New York police captain Eric Adams got 31 percent of the vote. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez endorsed, what’s her name? Maya Wiley got 22.

Barron: Wiley.

Leahy: Andrew Yang was in fourth place with 11%. So he’s conceded he’s not going to be mayor. Now, they’ve got this ranked-choice voting thing, which I really don’t understand. So it’s going to be a while before they determine who the winner of that is.

I guess it’s down to Eric Adams, the former police captain, and this Maya Wiley. Between the two of them, who is worse?

Barron: Well, Maya Wiley would be a disaster. There’s actually another candidate, Catherine Garcia, in there, too. Maya Wiley is the George Soros candidate, she’s in favor of defunding the police. She would just be an absolute disaster.

The worst possible candidate. Eric Adams, he’s a former police captain, as you said, and he’s made some of the right noises about law and order. But the problem in New York is that, like, chaos has been codified.

All of this stuff has been institutionalized. They’ve changed the laws, and there’s a whole like I said, the DAs are in there. They have bail reform. The NYPD is under a federal monitor. They got rid of qualified immunity for the police which makes them much less interested in doing or willing to do their jobs proactively.

Criminal discovery reform has terrified witnesses from coming forward. There are just all these reasons why even a strong law and order mayor wouldn’t be able to turn things around. And Eric Adams, he’s okay, but he’s no Rudy Giuliani.

Leahy: One of my favorite television programs of all time was Law and Order. 20-year run, I think it ended up about 15 years ago, but it was a great program. It was about the police officers and the DAs in Manhattan. If they had to redo that program, wouldn’t they call it Law and Disorder?

Barron: That’s sort of the way things are headed in New York. I’m not going to say that everywhere you go there are bullets flying by. But here’s the thing. We’re heading starkly in the wrong direction.

New York has never seen a rise in crime as sharp it is experiencing. Now deterioration and public disorder on the street is increasing and the city is dirtier, dingier, and somewhat scarier than it was just two years ago. I think that that would be apropos name.

Leahy: Paint two different scenarios for New York City in 2021 and beyond. Mayor Eric Adams, Mayor Maya Wiley. What are those scenarios look like over the next couple of years?

Barron: Unfortunately, I’m not so sure it would be that different. Maya Wiley would come in and she wants to defund the police and put more money into the community. She says we’ll have violence interrupters.

Leahy: (Chuckles) Violence interrupters? What on Earth is that?

Barron: Well, this is a big program. This is Bill DeBlasio’s main program.

Leahy: I mean, there really is a program called violence interrupters.

Barron: Oh, yeah.

Leahy: Oh, my goodness.

Barron: You send people out. Like former gang members or trusted community leaders, and they go out and try to talk to gang members before they start shooting each other.

Leahy: Oh, my goodness.

Barron: It has no success.

Leahy: It sounds to me it’s like, are you going to be a violence interrupter. Sounds like they’re asking you to be the person who throws your body in front of the bullet headed for somebody else?

Barron: It does sound like that. And unfortunately, that’s what it winds up being. And even Eric Adams, who should know better, last year, when people lighting illegal fireworks, suggested that people not call 911 if they’re bothered by fireworks, but go out and try to talk to the people, setting them off and see what they’re up to.

Leahy: (Laughs) Boy, that’s stupid. That’s stupid.

Barron: A woman got shot and killed doing exactly that. Here’s the thing. The police are professionals, so it’s an impersonal relation for them. They’re not angry about whatever the dispute is that people are trying to settle.

So they’re not personally invested. And so they know how to de-escalate it. Whereas if people are settling their own problems, it can get worse.

Leahy: Seth Barron, author of Last Days of New York. Last question for you, Seth. When are you moving to Tennessee?

Barron: Well, I’ve got one of my colleagues moved down there, and he loves it. I’ve got a good friend from there. I was very fond of Chattanooga when I visited, and I like Tennessee a lot, so I may be coming down.

Leahy: Call me. We’ll give you a tour. We’d love to have you. (Barron chuckles) Seth Barron, thanks for joining us today.

Barron: Thank you.

Leahy: All right. Seth Barron, author of The Last Days of New York.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Seth Barron” by Seth Barron.