Republican Mayoral Candidate Curtis Sliwa Pushes Back, Says Plan Should Start With Spending Superstorm Sandy FundingBy Marcia Kramer

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the wake of the death and destruction wrought by Hurricane Ida, Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams has unveiled a resiliency plan to protect New Yorkers from devastating floods and other threats from climate change.

As CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer reports, Adams has ideas to protect the city in the long term and the short term, but after the deaths and devastation of Hurricane Ida, he says there are a number of things that must be done right away to keep New Yorkers safe.

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“Let’s face it, we screwed up the planet. We screwed up the planet, and so now it’s time to get it right,” Adams said.

Straight talk from the Democratic mayoral candidate, who, if he is elected mayor, is vowing to take immediate steps to protect New Yorkers and prevent what happened here when Hurricane Ida dumped a record amount of rain on the city — sewers ill-equipped to deal with flooding, people and young children drowning in basement apartments, businesses destroyed.

“There are things that we must do right now,” Adams said.

Adams wants the city to:

  • develop an early warning system, complete with sirens, to notify New Yorkers of extreme weather
  • bring basement apartments in compliance with city codes — that means ceiling heights of at least seven feet, plus ceilings must be at least two feet above grade
  • reevaluate and rewrite contracts for sewer upgrades.

“We should not be building any new sewers that can’t handle a 100-year storm. We need to be built for the future, not where we are currently,” Adams said.

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Longer term, Adams wants to evaluate neighborhoods, like parts of Staten Island, that are at extreme risk of flooding and offer city-funded buyouts for them to relocate. He did not specify where the city would get the money.

There was immediate push-back from Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa.

He said any plan should start with the city spending $119 billion already allocated by the federal government after Superstorm Sandy.

“Eric, everyone else, there hasn’t been one barrier built, not one brick laid,” he said. “How about actually doing what was appropriated and put aside to protect 520 miles of beachfront property in the city of New York that could easily be damaged by another storm?”

Adams says he’s going to take a trip to the Netherlands to study how they deal with water issues.

Sliwa says Adams doesn’t have to travel to Europe to see how to build barriers. He says, just build them.

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The mayoral election is just over five weeks away.

Marcia Kramer