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November 20th, 2012

Brad Lander: Recovering As One City

As Thanksgiving approaches, I think we are all a little bit more aware of how stratified our city is. In the aftermath of  Hurricane Sandy, it was painful to watch as recovery to certain areas was painfully slow. A friend wrote yesterday on Facebook that he was still without  phone and electricity in Red Hook. Hugh was in Coney Island this morning and saw long lines of people waiting for food.

Here our City Councilmember Brad Lander addresses the disparity in the recovery effort and reaches out to New Yorkers to demand more for all the citizens of our city.

The past few weeks have been deeply trying ones for New Yorkers, with many lives and thousands of homes lost. The storm exposed not only our vulnerability as a city, but widespread inequality as well. Wall Street reopened one day after the storm, but many in public housing waited three weeks for heat, and many others remain without adequate shelter. I’ve heard many of you call it a tale of two cities.

But we’ve also seen extraordinary acts of generosity and courage, as people have come together to provide food, blankets, money, helping hands, comfort, and hope on an incredible scale.

As we turn from relief to recovery, we face a stark choice.

Will we simply rebuild what was there before—a city divided by inequality and poverty, vulnerable to climate change, with government decisions too often driven by corporate interests rather than the public interest?

Or will we build on the remarkable spirit of organized compassion we’ve seen—and try to create a city where everyone is protected, and no one is homeless? Will we rebuild two cities, or one?

Let’s rebuild by creating forward-thinking infrastructure and good jobs, while including residents in the decisions about the future of their communities.

Please sign our petition calling on Mayor Bloomberg to make this a recovery that genuinely works for everyone.

After Hurricane Katrina, rebuilding policies focused on corporate tax breaks rather than public housing. Here in New York, the 9/11 recovery ensured a resurgent Wall Street, but created a Lower Manhattan that was even less affordable for most New Yorkers.

We must invest significant public resources to rebuild our city and create the sustainable infrastructure we need. While we do that, we must also insure genuine economic opportunities, affordable housing, and a healthier and safer city for everyone.

Let’s reject a trickle-down recovery. Call on Mayor Bloomberg to invest in all New Yorkers and our neighborhoods, so New York City’s recovery creates a more sustainable, equal, and democratic New York.

A more sustainable recovery will invest in infrastructure we needed long before Sandy—like neighborhoods and environmental systems that are sustainable in the long term and help protect New York from extreme weather. We need to focus on counteracting climate change by expanding our mass transit system, promoting energy efficiency and green buildings, and accelerating regional alternative energy projects like solar, tidal power and wind farms.

A more equal recovery will create good jobs for those impacted by the storm. Let’s make sure publicly-funded rebuilding jobs go to low-income communities, and that those jobs pay workers enough to lift them out of poverty. And let’s not just rehouse people made homeless by the hurricane—but also the 46,000 people who were in NYC homeless shelters before Sandy.

A more democratic recovery will empower regular New Yorkers—especially those in hard-hit communities—to help envision the city we rebuild, so that rebuilding creates stronger neighborhoods and doesn’t concentrate risks in low-income communities. We should strengthen the community organizations that were first on the ground in Hurricane Sandy’s hardest-hit neighborhoods, giving them a central role in rebuilding their neighborhoods and setting them up to be even stronger in the next crisis.

Hurricane Sandy can be an opportunity to rebuild a more sustainable, more equal, more democratic New York City.

Click here to add your name to our petition, calling on Mayor Bloomberg to make this a recovery for everyone, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thank you for standing with us.

–Brad, Melissa, Margaret, Danny, Julissa, Jimmy, Jumaane, and the New York City Council Progressives team

This petition was created on, the progressive, nonprofit petition site. is sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action, which is not responsible for the contents of this or other petitions posted on the site. The New York City Council Progressives didn’t pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the list.


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