Today Mayor Bill de Blasio held a news conference on two separate topics: the significant snowstorm which had just begun and to announce the appointment of Maria Torres-Springer as Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services and of Dr. Ramanathan Raju as the Commissioner of Health and Hospitals Corporation.
Rockaway Ferry & Boardwalk:
During the Q&A portion of the press conference, Grace Rauh of NY1 asked the mayor about the interim extension of Rockaway ferry service, as separately announced by the mayor’s office this morning, and about the projected May 2017 projected completion date for rebuilding the Rockaway boardwalk. Ferry service was instituted on an interim basis after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the only subway access to Rockaway and it has been very popular with Rockaway residents. The post-Sandy rebuilding of the boardwalk, under Parks Department jurisdiction, is a sore point for many Rockaway residents who see the three year schedule as unreasonably slow. Here’s how the mayor responded.
Update – Full Q&A:
Here is Mayor de Blasio’s full Q&A, featuring snow prep and the de Blasio family shoveling arrangements, the mayor’s pre-K/middle school program initiative and the governor’s competing proposal, Health & Hospitals Corporation challenges, the Rockaway ferry and boardwalk and more.
Update #2 – Pre-K/middle school initiative:
This excerpt contains a discussion of Mayor de Blasio’s proposed pre-K/middle school program and the associated income tax surcharge. Governor Cuomo has recently sought to preempt de Blasio’s plan, proposing a less expansive plan statewide, and not supporting a dedicated income tax surcharge. Reporters asked many probing questions but de Blasio, politely, refused to signal any assent to the Cuomo plan supplanting his own. He noted that “other advances … are welcome”, but that “the people of the City have given me a mission … to achieve this [meaning de Blasio’s] plan.”