Little Attention Paid to Sandy Recovery in State of the City Address

Administration positions unfilled and recovery construction slow despite campaign promises
By Genevieve Belmaker, Epoch Times
February 10, 2014 Updated: February 12, 2014

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first State of the City speech included only a brief mention of Superstorm Sandy recovery.

The forty minute speech at LaGuardia Community College in Queens on Monday covered topics ranging from universal pre-k to stop and frisk. But the mayor only briefly touched on Sandy recovery near the end of his comments.

“We will not forget our obligations to the people of this city still recovering from the aftereffects of Superstorm Sandy,” said de Blasio. “We are resolved to make the efforts underway function more effectively and efficiently.”

The mayor recently told City Hall reporters that he generally agrees with the previous administration’s approach to Sandy recovery efforts. On Monday, though, he said in coming weeks his administration will make a “comprehensive review and updated plan to help those for whom the effects of Sandy are still an everyday reality.”

He also said that he’d promised while campaigning to make Superstorm Sandy recovery a focal point of his administration. So far, though, his promises aren’t bearing out in reality.

The de Blasio administration has lagged on its work to help storm victims. The mayor’s communications office has no designated staff member to respond to press inquiries about storm recovery. Key individuals in leadership positions in the Mayor’s Office of Storm Recovery and the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery were vacated when former mayor Michael Bloomberg left office and have not been filled.

The key housing recovery component of the city’s Sandy recovery plan, Build it Back, has moved at a glacial pace. Of the more than 22,000 households that applied for help, only 12 are ready to start construction.