Last Thursday, the group of legislators, including Congresswoman Grace Meng, Councilman Costa Constantinides and Councilman Justin Brannan, wrote a letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker asking that the September 4th event be hosted at a “suitable option” in Brooklyn or Queens.
Whether it’s Coney Island, the Rockaways or Long Island City, residents in those neighborhoods have faced toxic air, unprecedented sea level rise, heat waves and other extreme weather, the lawmakers wrote.
Hurricane Sandy cost New York City 43 lives and $19 billion, they noted. Over half of the residents in the Rockaways, which was ravaged by Sandy, could experience major flooding in the next few decades.
“While Manhattan’s iconic skyline may define New York City, these two boroughs account for about two-thirds of the city’s population,” the letter reads. “Here reside the families who are the economic backbone of our city.”
The elected officials added that the two boroughs also have venues that meet the logistical requirements of a presidential forum, including access to mass transit and proximity to John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.
“As proud representatives of these neighborhoods, we are happy to assist the network in finding a suitable location,” the letter continues. “Both boroughs have excellent choices at public colleges, local theaters and along our at-risk shoreline.”
On Friday, Constantinides and Brannan joined groups like the Sunrise Movement, Rockaway Revolution and Indivisible Nation Brooklyn at City Hall to repeat their demand to CNN.
“These candidates should have to answer directly to the people most at risk of climate change,” Constantinides said, “so we have to take this show beyond the bright lights of Broadway.”
“Every candidate running for president should be treating climate change as the existential crisis that it is,” added Brannan, who chairs the City Council’s Committee on Resiliency. “Let’s get them to Coney Island or the Rockaways, or someplace else besides Manhattan, where these kind of events usually happen.”
CNN has yet to announce the participating presidential candidates, who have to meet the Democratic National Committee (DNC)’s threshold.