Here are easy links to all of our Rockaway Reports:
We spoke with New York State Senator Joe Addabbo about the mayor’s race, and particularly on how his constituents view the race. Are his constituents paying attention to the race? Do they have a clear favorite in the race? How do they view Anthony Weiner?
Addabbo’s district covers most of Rockaway and runs north through Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park to Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Forest Hills. Anthony Weiner’s congressional district overlapped with Addabbo’s district.
We also spoke with New York State Assembly Member Phillip Goldfeder about the mayor’s race and how his constituents view the race.
Goldfeder’s district covers most of Rockaway, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park. Like Addabbo, his district overlaps with Anthony Weiner’s former congressional district.
On a sweltering July afternoon, Anthony Weiner walked the beach in Rockaway. He received a warm welcome in his former congressional district, with many well-wishers pledging support.
Sipping Suds Seaside:
In our first report, we have a brief look at Weiner indulging in a few seaside sips of suds.
Update #1 – Weiner Discusses Rockaway Issues:
As Anthony Weiner finished his Rockaway beach walk, we asked his views on several issues impacting Rockaway.
Update #2 – Weiner Discusses 15 Years of Campaigning in Rockaway:
Anthony Weiner engaged in an extended discussion of Rockaway and his experience running in and representing Rockaway. This report includes a discussion between Ruby Cramer of Buzzfeed.com and Anthony Weiner. You can read Ruby’s report here.
Update #3 – Beach Walk
Here’s a look at the reception Weiner received from his former constituents.
Also, be sure to watch our coverage of Anthony Weiner’s call for a “Declaration of Independence from Albany”, here.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced a package of ten proposed bills, prepared following a series of council hearings examining the City’s response to Hurricane Sandy. The bills include a number of specific directives to OEM, the Office of Emergency Management, as well as other measures aimed at avoiding future traffic and fuel management troubles.
Here is our report:
We also have the full statements of Speaker Quinn and Council Member Donovan Richards, who represents a large portion of Rockaway:
Additional detailed information from the Army Corps of Engineers is available here.
New York State Assembly Member Phil Goldfeder, who represents Sandy-battered Rockaway, spent several days in tornado-ravaged Moore, Oklahoma this week. We spoke with Goldfeder just after he returned to Rockaway this morning.
Well, sort of. This two week old video is from a forum held on April 25, 2013 by the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. The Rockaway-based club hosted four Democratic mayoral candidates, Christine Quinn, Sal Albanese, Bill Thompson and John Liu. Each candidate appeared separately, giving a lengthy presentation and then engaging in Q&A with the audience
We’ve posted some extended video below for three of the four. Sal Albanese video is still in process, and we’ll add it soon.
Christine Quinn – Q&A Excerpts:
Bill Thompson – Q&A Excerpts:
John Liu – Opening Statement:
Also, be sure to watch our recent look at whether the number of mayoral candidate forums is a positive or negative part of this campaign season. Watch it here.
In this report we visit Arverne East, 80 empty oceanfront acres in the Arverne section of Rockaway. Sitting in a flood zone adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean and vacant for nearly 40 years with little infrastructure, it has many challenges as well as remarkable potential,
As the clock winds down on the Bloomberg administration, the City is pushing forward with an innovative program to restart development there. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development, together with the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and the site developers, has opened a public design competition for the site.
We visit the site and talk with the City official in charge of the effort.
In our current Report from Rockaway we speak with Kevin Boyle, editor of The Wave Newspaper.
The Wave is Rockaway’s weekly newspaper and it has faced two enormous recent challenges; the business tsunami which has swept through the news business and an actual hurricane which sent a wall of water through The Wave’s office, destroying everything in it, and displaced The Wave’s readers and advertisers.
We discuss how The Wave is dealing with those challenges, as well as The Wave’s role in both reporting the news and acting as a leading community voice as Rockaway works to rebuild.
Today I had the opportunity to talk with Senator Chuck Schumer and Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, about the outlook for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and particularly whether they foresee any changes or modifications to the program as currently in effect under the Biggert-Waters Act. (The primary purpose of their press conference, which also included Rep. Carolyn Maloney, was to announce additional mortgage forbearance and modification programs for homeowners affected by Sandy.)
The NFIP has been underpriced for many years and, after the large covered losses caused by Hurricane Katrina, it had a program deficit of more than $17 billion in early 2011. The deficit was addressed in the Biggert-Waters Act, which significantly modified the program. As The Wave newspaper of Rockaway has been extensively examining (seehere and here), those changes in the NFIP, in combination with soon-to-be adopted new FEMA flood maps, will produce dramatically higher flood insurance rates and require many homeowners to purchase flood insurance for the first time. Such increased insurance rates and coverage requirements will likely have a deep long-term impact on Sandy-damaged areas such as Rockaway.
Senator Schumer accurately pointed out that the increases are to be phased-in over several years. That’s helpful to homeowners, of course, but it only delays the underlying long term economics; previously underpriced insurance is being brought to actuarial rates and large subsidies are being reduced or eliminated. Secretary Donovan said that it is the Obama administration’s position that Congress needs to act to “add … a long-term affordability provision” for “lower income and more vulnerable homeowners” to the NFIP. Any such provisions have yet to be detailed and are, at best, uncertain to occur. Secretary Donovan also spoke about the importance accurately and promptly preparing the new flood maps. Senator Schumer added that “we are going to have to examine” affordability.
Here’s the full clip of Senator Schumer and Secretary Donovan discussing the NFIP and Biggert-Waters. Watch what they had to say.
At last night’s mayoral candidate forum at Queens College, four Democratic candidates were asked about the City’s post-Sandy rebuilding plans, how they “would get the job done” and about options for “people whose insurance and FEMA support will not cover the expense of a new home and for whom rebuilding is not an option.”
The candidates, Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, John Liu and Bill Thompson, gave empathetic and sometimes informative answers that illustrate the continuing challenges for those rebuilding from Sandy. Bill de Blasio discussed communication problems restricting recovery efforts and his early efforts at formulating a mold remediation plan, while John Liu discussed FEMA funding and investments by the City pension funds. All four answers were not really addressing the question posed, however, and reflected the reality that each day other issues and political problems push Sandy recovery further away from center stage for most New Yorkers. One question among many, in front of an audience with many other concerns, the candidates touched on it briefly and moved on, driven by the need to talk about other things and connect on other issues interesting voters.
New Yorkers who continue to rebuild would be wise to work to foster a sustained discussion by the candidates, as our next mayor’s level of knowledge, interest and engagement will be a deeply influential force on the long term recovery.
We’ve posted the full question and all four answers. Although it runs about 10 minutes, if you are interested in the continuing Sandy recovery, it’s worth watching.
Christine Quinn and Erick Salgado did not attend this candidate forum. You can see our report on Christine Quinn’s discussion of Governor Cuomo’s proposed homeowner buyout plan here.
At today’s Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance conference, Christine Quinn discussed Governor Cuomo’s proposed program to purchase homes in certain Sandy-affected areas and preserve the purchased property as “blue belts.”
Today I spoke with Colonel Paul Owen, New York District Commander for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, about the timeline for the Rockaway beach restoration project.
Today, Rockaway came to City Hall. A group of Rockaway residents rallied on the steps of City Hall, seeking to draw renewed attention from Mayor Bloomberg. We spoke with three mayoral candidates who attended the rally, and asked this question: ”If Mayor Bloomberg called and asked you ‘what’s one thing I can do to improve how we’re doing in the Rockaways’, what would you say”?
Their answers reflect what we’ve previously reported, that many Rockaway residents are deeply disaffected by what they perceive as the mayor’s lack of interest or engagement in their community and it’s post-Sandy challenges.
Political leadership has many components, including managerial, policy and emotional leadership, with the last including the sense of voters that their elected leader cares about them and understands their community. The mayor’s tenure has included strong elements of the first two components, but much less of the third. That lack of emotional leadership continues to reverberate in post-Sandy Rockaway.
We visited the beach in Belle Harbor as a nor’easter moved in. In our report, we look at what, if anything, currently protects homes from a storm-driven Atlantic.
Are you an aspiring politician in need of guidance on getting the most out of parades? Are you a current officeholder who leaves parades feeling low? Take a lesson from a Parade Pro; watch Senator Chuck Schumer in action. (Hint: He’s the guy with the bullhorn.)
On Saturday, Mayor Bloomberg marched in the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Watch this Report from Rockaway to see the reception he received.
In our Mayoral Mashup we talk with voters, as well as political and policy leaders, about what they see as the most important issue facing New York City’s next mayor.
For this Mayoral Mashup we spoke with Rockaway voters participating in the 31st Council District special election and asked one simple question: What do you see as the most important issue that our next mayor will face upon taking office? Watch to find out what they had to say.
Here are a couple of brief, and we think amusing, outtakes from our coverage of the 31st Council District special election.
Here is our interview with Selvena Brooks, one of the eight candidates in today’s special election in the 31st Council District.
Today we spoke with Council member Brad Lander as he campaigned in a cold rain for Donovan Richards.
Today we spoke with Senator James Sanders about the race to succeed him in the 31st Council District. We spoke with him outside of a polling place on Beach 51st Street in Edgemere.
In this Report from Rockaway we talk with Graybeards president Steve Stathis.
Graybeards is a Rockaway-based group of approximately 200 members. Originally an informal group of friends and neighbors, Graybeards formally organized after the September 11th attacks and the crash of American Airlines Flight #587 in Belle Harbor. Graybeards is dedicated to helping friends and neighbors in need, while promoting friendship and community. In the post-Sandy recovery, they have responded to an exponential expansion in the need for their help.
We spoke with Steve about Graybeards, the work they continue to do and the state of recovery in the Rockaways.
In this Report from Rockaway we look at the aftermath of the Rockaway Beach Boulevard fire, which burned several blocks of businesses and homes, and at recovery progress in Rockaway Park.
We talk with Lew Simon, an elected District Leader, and visit the wreckage of his office, which was destroyed in the Rockaway Beach Boulevard fire.
In this Report from Rockaway, we visit Belle Harbor, Rockaway Park and Arverne and talk with Congressman Gregory Meeks, New York State Assembly member Phillip Goldfeder and New York City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer.
In our conversations, we discuss a still-unfolding potential hospital crisis, recovery efforts by the Queens Library for it’s heavily damaged Rockaway branches and one elected official’s personal experience as the water rose on the night Sandy hit.
Here is my latest Report from Rockaway. This video report, my third from Rockaway, provides an update on some of the ongoing relief efforts and gives a glimpse of how residents are working their way back one month after Sandy.
Here is my video from Rockaway today, featuring Team Rubicon.
Here is my brief report after two days in Rockaway. It includes a short interview with Brian Lydon, who is running a storm relief center at St. Francis de Sales church in Belle Harbor.