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Candidate Thompson Presents His Own Vision For City Disaster Preps

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TWC News: Candidate Thompson Presents His Own Vision For City Disaster Preps
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Building on plans released earlier this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday new building standards to protect against future storms and rising sea levels, but Democratic mayoral candidate William Thompson presented a plan of his own on the same day and criticized the mayor's vision. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

William Thompson says Mayor Michael Bloomberg is to be applauded for presenting a long-term plan this week to prepare for a changing climate. But speaking in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn on Thursday, he said the mayor's push to rebuild in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy in some cases a mistake.

"He's called for land devastated by sandy to be available for private developers to rebuild. It just doesn't make sense," Thompson said.

On Thursday, Thompson unveiled his own emergency preparedness plan. It includes appointing a deputy mayor for infrastructure and construction, ensuring gas stations have backup generators to prevent shortages and more support for small businesses and public housing residents.

Thompson presented his plan at a senior center hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, but many of his ideas would apply not just in the event of a superstorm, but in any emergency, from a terror attack to a building collapse.

Taking a shot at the city's newly centralized 911 system, Thompson said life-threatening calls should be routed to dispatchers in each borough.

"Their centralization of the city's 911 system actually takes more time to get first responders the information they need to save lives," Thompson said.

He also called for an end to the so-called budget dance when it comes to things like firehouse closures.

"Unlike Mayor Bloomberg and [City Council] Speaker [Christine] Quinn, I'll never play games with the budgets of first responders," said Thompson.

Bloomberg and Quinn, meanwhile, unveiled detailed recommendations Thursday to make buildings more resilient, from more wind-resistant roofs to stairwell lighting that operates on backup power.

"It's a blueprint to ensure that buildings are prepared for whatever weather and climate change may throw at us next," said Russell Unger of the Building Resiliency Task Force.

Quinn, who is also running for mayor, said many of the recommendations are already being drafted into legislation.

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