50,000 Opinions From Every Zip Code Expected

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is getting some new ideas for New York City.

New Yorkers are offering their opinions on what he should do on everything from schools and health care to affordable food. It’s part of a project called “Talking Transition.”

Members of de Blasio’s transition team on Sunday visited a huge tent set up in lower Manhattan to field suggestions.

New Yorkers sent in their ideas online. And for the past week, they also visited the tent on Canal Street and Sixth Avenue to scribble hundreds of notes posted for future city officials to consider.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, a huge video monitor displayed real-time opinions from New Yorkers.

Jennifer Jones Austin, co-chair of de Blasio’s transition team, said the civic engagement embodies what de Blasio wants for the city.

“I think it will help shape and inform the mayor’s agenda,” she told Smith. ” … Very inclusive, very reflective and representative.”

Chris Stone, president of the Open Society Foundations, one of the organizing groups, said they expect to receive 50,000 opinions by the end of the week and turn them over to the transition team.

“We have data from every zip code, every borough,” Stone said. “It’s been extraordinary.”

Taireina Gilbert, a member of Farm School NYC, which teaches people to plant their own produce to save money on food costs, wrote a sticky note that read: “Support for small community owned business!”

“If people can’t afford to make a way for themselves, then they stay stuck in their cycle of poverty,” Gilbert said. “And that affects the city as a whole.”

Other stickers read, “Subway stations should not look like horror films,” and “Continue to foster new development.”

The Manhattan tent is hosting discussion sessions on various issues that are being live-streamed online, while two mobile kiosks will travel through all five boroughs to collect residents’ comments. They can also submit their ideas online at TalkingTransitionNYC.com.

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