Mayor hosts East Side town hall

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Member Keith Powers hold a town hall meeting at Hunter College during City Hall In Your Borough: Manhattan, on Wednesday, December 19, 2018. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
Concerns of residents in Council Member Keith Powers’ district take center stage
By Michael Garofalo

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Member Keith Powers fielded questions from East Side constituents on affordable housing, overdevelopment, L train shutdown mitigation plans, street safety and more at a Dec. 19 town hall meeting at Hunter College. Excerpted below are the mayor’s responses on a handful of topics:

On bike safety:

“I do believe there’s a really important place for bicycles, but we also need enforcement and we need to make sure people are safe. […] Anyone who needs to get somewhere in New York City on a bicycle still can follow the same rules that other vehicles follow.”

On idling vehicles:

“There’s a lot more we need to do. […] We are […] a couple of months away from presenting a bigger anti-idling plan [with] NYPD and other agencies, because it clearly is one of the things we need to do in terms of climate change, its quality-of-life, it’s air quality, it’s everything. People should not be idling unless there’s a damn good reason.”

On NYCHA’s $32 billion budget shortfall, and the administration’s decision to raise money for the public housing agency by allowing private developers to build on NYCHA land:

“Public housing in this city used to be wonderful, and then the federal government stopped investing in it. […] We have to get all the revenue we can possibly get for public housing, and this development is one of the only ways to get new revenue in.”

On the Amazon deal and its $3 billion in subsidies:

“The bottom line ... is it’s a nine-to-one revenue-to-expenditure deal. We get nine dollars back for every dollar they got in incentives ... The helicopter pad bothers all of us ... I don’t love the optics, and I don’t love that there even are some of these incentive programs ... The upside is a huge number of jobs ... and a huge amount of revenue that will pay for the other things we need and believe in in this city.”