Op-Ed: After Sandy

We can’t control the weather, but we can control the way we react to it.

State Senator Marty Golden and I have been placed on the bipartisan Sandy Hurricane Recovery Taskforce. No one can explain what will happen in Washington with the aid package for New York and New Jersey. However, I can assure the residents of South Brooklyn that they have representation on the state level to assist in the recovery from the devastation Hurricane Sandy wrought.

In Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address, he championed smart reconstruction at the water’s edge and a buy-out program for those who no longer want to battle the sea. These smart initiatives, along with the expected relief from Washington, will allow South Brooklyn to come back bigger, smarter and stronger in our coastal defenses.

I am committed to assisting those affected by the storm as much as I am committed to preventing similar devastation in the next storm of the century. Perhaps we should change that title to storm of the decade, as they seem to come with greater frequency now, due to rising sea temperatures and climate change.

If we are going to realize Brooklyn’s economic potential — from Brownstone Brooklyn to Red Hook’s box stores, to the King’s Plaza Mall, to a bigger, greater America’s playground at Coney Island, and restaurant and marina rows in Brighton Beach, Mill Basin and Marine Park — we need to rebuild jetties, berms and seawalls.

We need to protect and rebuild people’s homes in Seagate, Gerritsen and Manhattan Beaches while electrical equipment and boilers are moved above flood plains in all revamped housing. Living on the southern coast of Brooklyn is beautiful and unique, to be in the biggest city in the country and access nature’s beautiful lower bay.

My colleagues and I in Albany have joined Governor Cuomo in committing to the renaissance of South Brooklyn. Now it is Washington’s turn to give you and me the tools to safeguard our neighborhoods against the next storm while business continues to thrive at the water’s edge.

State Senator Diane J. Savino represents Sunset Park, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Seagate, encompassing the 23rd District.

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