GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002: District 31 JUMP TO YOUR DISTRICT
 
 

District 31
Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway



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Economic Development for All New Yorkers

By James Sanders


New York City faces enormous challenges in the wake of a nationwide recession and the destruction of the World Trade Center area. In our city, over 100,000 jobs have been lost in only a few months time. The ripple effects can be seen in every borough, and those at the bottom of the economic ladder will be the hardest hit. In the months ahead, more New Yorkers will seek out public assistance and services at a time when the city has less revenue to distribute.

As the chairman of the New York City Council's committee on economic development, one of my primary goals is to shape a new development plan that benefits those individuals and businesses with the greatest needs, not merely those whose voices are most easily discernable.

The most immediate concern is the monumental task of developing the areas physically and economically devastated by the September 11th attack. That is why I have helped to organize a joint hearing with the Select Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment that includes the chair people of the committees on finance, land use, and transportation. The goal of this hearing is to determine the role of New York City elected officials, community organizations, and concerned residents in the awesome task of rebuilding the areas in and around the former World Trade Center site.

Until now, much of the authority over the rebuilding effort has been placed in the hands of a newly formed entity called the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, whose members were chosen by Governor George Pataki and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The administration of current Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the newly elected City Council were not involved in the selection of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation members.

I believe the effectiveness of this group has been diminished from the beginning when the governor and former mayor excluded from the process those elected officials who will be representing New York City residents during the extensive period of rebuilding.

I remain hopeful that the discussion we begin at the hearing on February 25 will give birth to a structure that provides the residents of New York and their elected officials with a meaningful role in the development process. A good first step would be to permit the current mayor and City Council each to appoint two new members to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

Of course downtown Manhattan deserves special attention. However, it would do the city a disservice to neglect worthwhile economic development projects in other areas - particularly in the outer boroughs - AT this critical time. New York City is blessed with a public transportation system that has enabled multiple "downtowns" to emerge within one municipality. The opportunity to strengthen these outer borough commercial centers must be seized by a city in danger of losing some of its largest employers to New Jersey, Long Island, and other regions. I will do my part to take advantage of these resources and help all of the city's centers to flourish. It is never easy to bring public and private attention to emerging industries or regions. However, small-scale projects throughout the city can often lead to collective improvements that serve all New Yorkers, and local job development can revitalize under-served areas while giving the whole local economy a substantial boost.

In an effort to shift the spotlight, the City Council's economic development committee has encouraged its members to host roundtable discussions in each of their districts, one roundtable per month. Some council members have decided to focus on issues of personal interest that also have citywide affects. Recently, Brooklyn Councilmember Yvette Clarke hosted the first roundtable to discuss a program that helps minority and women in business. Other members will explore local issues; like Staten Island Councilmember James Oddo, who will host a roundtable in April to focus on the development of the west shore of Staten Island.

I intend to host a roundtable at John F. Kennedy Airport, which is located in my district, to examine the effects of 9/11 on the tourism and travel industries. These roundtables will enable committee members to view first hand problems of concern to their fellow members, as well as some solutions. At the same time, New Yorkers will gain monthly opportunities to see the council at work.

I encourage all New Yorkers to view the committee on economic development as a potential venue for their relevant ideas and concerns. Together we will develop New York for all New Yorkers.

James Sanders Jr. represents the 31st City Council district. Updated February 25, 2002.

The Record



District 31 - James Sanders
Committee Assignments:

Economic Development, Chair
Consumer Affairs, member
Fire & Criminal Justice Services, member
Transportation, member
Women's Issues, member



Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration


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Community Gardens



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Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City


Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.


The Waterfront

A
map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)