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A Private Man Goes Public
Bob Lieber is Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. In February 2007, Lieber was named President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and became Deputy Mayor in January 2008. Responsible for creating jobs and building capacity in the five boroughs, Lieber guides agencies including NYCEDC, Department of Small Business Services, Department of City Planning, Department of Finance, NYC & Company among others. He oversees job-creating area-wide redevelopment projects that include Willets Point, Lower Manhattan, Hudson Yards, 125th Street, Jamaica, and Coney Island. He also spearheads the effort to support a more vibrant and diverse City economy by growing varied sectors including tourism, media, bioscience, fashion, maritime support, film, and television. Lieber previously served as Managing Director at Lehman Brothers, where he was Global Head of Real Estate Investment Banking as well as a member of the Real Estate Private Equity business. In 1999, and again in 2003, Lieber was recognized by Institutional Investor Magazine for "Deal of The Year," and he was named "Financier of the Year" in 2005 by Commercial Property News. Lieber holds a BA from the University of Colorado and a Masters of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Vice Chairman of the Zell-Lurie Real Estate Center at the Wharton School, and Trustee of the Urban Land Institute.
Question: What was it like to make the switch from private industry to public service?
Bob Lieber: I had a great career working on Wall Street. It was a very rewarding career, a great experience; I learned a ton. What I realized several years ago was that you need to change things up every now and then. You need to make sure that you're doing things that you're excited about; that you can get up in the morning and you can be motivated. And kind of the old rule that I used was, I never want to have a job where I have to use an alarm clock to get up in the morning. And I'd had, again, a great career at Lehman Brothers, and I looked around, and I said, you know, what else is there to do? Isn't there something else that I can do to make a meaningful contribution, to do something that capitalizes on my experience and my skills and apply it in a different way?
And when I looked at what Mike Bloomberg as Mayor of New York City was doing and the economic development agenda that he had, the development projects, the real estate-related projects that he had -- my background, you know, when I worked at Lehman Brothers was in real estate and real estate finance. So maybe there'd be something interesting to do sometime there. If New York City is actually able to get the 2012 Olympics, they may need to do something around real estate. So I've been watching this and thinking about this for several years. And then one thing led to another. New York did not get the Olympics, obviously, but still there were tremendous opportunities and grand plans. And I said, maybe there's a way I can go do something and make a different impact than the one that I've made in my existing career.
There was an opening I became aware about as president of the Economic Development Corporation for New York City, and I said, maybe this is a great time to try and do this. There's three years left in the Bloomberg administration; I can make an impact perhaps. I see what's going on: they're rebuilding, building a new Yankee Stadium, they're planning on building a new Mets Stadium, there's development around all these areas; this would be something that would be really interesting. So I called the then deputy mayor, Dan Doctoroff, and said, hey, you know, I don't know whether there's anything that I can do, but if you're interested, I'd be happy to talk to you. So one thing led to another, and I retired from Lehman in 2006 and started working for the City of New York in the beginning of 2007, and it's been a phenomenal experience.
I didn't really know what to expect going into this. My background was never around politics or public sector. As I joke with people, I never took a political science course in college. I mean, I did something that's really very new to me. But it struck me that there are things that still can get done. And bringing some of my background experience, private sector orientation, I think is helpful in some respects in terms of how do you identify projects? How do you prioritize projects? How do you establish a time frame and a set of goals and metrics that you can use to get things done? And one thing that's so different about this sector is that it -- different than the private sector -- is that in government there are many more competing priorities or objectives than in the private sector. Private sector it's pretty simple to figure out how do you get from here to there? It's really about where are the economics -- and the parties with whom you're negotiating or having discussions -- really driven about what's the economics? In the public sector there are a lot more issues that come into play, and there are a lot more factors that influence how decisions get made and how projects and progress actually gets made. It includes working with elected officials; it includes working with community boards and representative in the community; it includes working with the press and a host of different constituents on the local and the state and even in cases on the national level, in addition to what you would do working with the private sector.
So it's a lot more complicated than I thought it was going to be. In some respects it's easy to make a positive impact because there are some things that strike you as, gee, why wouldn't we do that anyway? And then there are other aspects of it that are much, much more complicated than what I thought. So I have to really be much more thoughtful about how you get from A to B, and what are the different steps that you need to employ to try and get there, particularly when it's -- and recognize it's not just about the economics.
Recorded on November 20, 2009
Bob Lieber spent his entire career at Lehman Brothers. Now he makes a dollar a year as Deputy Mayor for New York City. How did he manage for the new challenge?
Join The Daily Show comedian Jordan Klepper and elite improviser Bob Kulhan live at 1 pm ET on Tuesday, July 14!
Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".