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Business Leaders Beg De Blasio To Take Action On Quality Of Life In NYC: 'There Is Widespread Anxiety Over Public Safety'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The CEOs of more than 160 companies are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to take action on quality of life issues in New York City.

These big businesses want City Hall to be more assertive in fixing the city’s problems so that the local economy can start to recover from the coronavirus pandemic’s impact.

Mastercard, Macy’s, JetBlue, Nasdaq, the WNBA and the NBA are just some of the companies asking the mayor to do something to help this city.

Kathryn Wylde is the president of Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit representing business leaders.

“Let’s make a strategic plan and work together to solve the problems facing the city,” Wylde said.

The nonprofit penned a plea to the mayor Thursday, writing, “We urge you to take immediate action to restore essential services as a necessary precursor for solving the city’s longer term, complex, economic challenges.”

“There’s a lot of pressure on employers to bring people back to the office. They’re not gonna do that until people are comfortable,” Wylde told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.

The CEOs say trash piling up in the streets and the spike in violent crime this summer have prevented New York from returning to its pre-COVID glory.

Barry Gosin is CEO of the commercial real estate advisory firm Newmark Knight Frank.

“I think we’re concerned about our employees and the trepidation they have to come back to the office,” Gosin said. “They have to feel comfortable they’re not going to be accosted by people on their way to work.”

In a statement, the mayor’s press secretary told CBS2  in part, “We’re grateful for the business community’s input … We want to restore these services and save jobs, and the most direct way to do that is with long term borrowing and a federal stimulus.”

The mayor posted a response on Twitter:

“We’re grateful for our business community and are partnering to rebuild a fairer, better city,” de Blasio wrote.

With many quality-of-life issues stemming from the recent budget cuts to city agencies after the pandemic, some wonder if these big businesses are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

“Well, they pay a tremendous amount of taxes,” Wylde said. “They would also like to contribute to making a plan so we can all work together on the financing. We do have revenue needs, and we’re prepared on the business community standpoint to help meet those. But the first thing we have to do is get back in business.”

Here’s the Partnership for New York City’s full letter:

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

As employers who are committed to New York City and its re-emergence from the devastating health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are confident that New York can and shall remain a thriving global center of commerce, innovation and opportunity.

Despite New York’s success in containing the coronavirus, unprecedented numbers of New Yorkers are unemployed, facing homelessness, or otherwise at risk. There is widespread anxiety over public safety, cleanliness and other quality of life issues that are contributing to deteriorating conditions in commercial districts and neighborhoods across the five boroughs.

We need to send a strong, consistent message that our employees, customers, clients and visitors will be coming back to a safe and healthy work environment. People will be slow to return unless their concerns about security and the livability of our communities are addressed quickly and with respect and fairness for our city’s diverse populations.

We urge you to take immediate action to restore essential services as a necessary precursor for solving the city’s longer term, complex, economic challenges. Consistent with analysis and recommendations laid out in A Call for Action and Collaboration, a report on the impact of COVID-19 published by the Partnership for New York City in July, we are prepared to help advise and support such an effort. 

We look forward to your response and to partnering with you and others who share a commitment to a vibrant recovery and a great future for our city.

The organization also hopes to work with City Hall on restoring community-police relations as well as coming up with long-term solutions to address the city’s homeless population.

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