On the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy upon us, NY1 begins a five-part series on the differences in issues between mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio and Joseph Lhota with a look at how the two men part ways on how to best rebuild New York and boost its defenses against future storms. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
A wall is the only thing separating Rockaway homes from Jamaica Bay. Crews are making sure it's sturdy, or sturdy as can be.
It's one of hundreds of projects that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pushing to try and keep a storm like Hurricane Sandy a one-time disaster.
Both of his would-be successors are vowing that they'll mostly follow Bloomberg's lead.
"There's very little that I disagree with," said Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota.
"I have no trouble disagreeing with Michael Bloomberg when I disagree with him. I'm not shy and retiring on this," said Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. "On resiliency, I broadly agree with him."
Where, though, do they split from the current mayor, and each other?
De Blasio stresses that rebuilding needs more community involvement, while Lhota wants to work with other states to protect the city's coast.
There's room for explanation in both. Let's start with de Blasio. Touring the hard-hit area in late September, he said federal recovery money should be bring higher-paying jobs.
"The Rockaways have been ignored for decades," he said.
Pressed on how it would happen, though, he said he's not a lawyer and called his plan "aspirational." The public advocate said that future evacuations should involve local nonprofit groups.
Let's turn to Lhota. He has more managing experience when it comes to Hurricane Sandy.
With him as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency surprised many with a quicker-than-expected return for trains and tunnels. Problems linger, but Lhota said he can't wait to oversee new multi-billion-dollar projects.
One of the biggest, and most expensive, proposals is also one that may have the most benefit: a one-mile barrier cutting through Jamaica Bay."
There have been calls for even bigger barriers, like from New Jersey to the Rockaways. While Governor Cuomo has been open to it, Bloomberg rejects it as impractical. The mayoral candidates agree.
Finally, with Bloomberg's how-to book clocking in at more than 400 pages, which candidate has read the whole thing?
"It took me a while to read the full report," Lhota said. "It's huge."
De Blasio admitted that he hasn't read it – cover-to-cover, that is.