NEW YORK, NY — Today, former Obama-Biden Housing Secretary and Budget Director, and former New York City Housing Commissioner, Shaun Donovan slammed current Mayor Bill de Blasio for his abject failures to keep New York City clean and for breaking promises to reduce waste exported by the city. Donovan is further proposing an innovative waste management tool, CleanStat, modeled after successful sanitation programs carried out in other major American cities.
“Nearly a century ago, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia said ‘there is no Republican or Democratic way to pick up the trash.’ That’s because a city thrives when it is managed effectively, and flounders when it lacks the experience and skill needed to utilize solutions that are right in front of it,” said NYC Mayoral Candidate Shaun Donovan. “Unfortunately, our current mayor believes everything is ideological, everything is political. He's shown that he doesn’t have what it takes to keep our city clean, breaking pledges to cut the amount of waste we shipped out of the city and cutting critical sanitation services when New Yorkers needed them most.
“Now, in a desperate attempt to make up for years of inaction and in order to preserve his beleaguered legacy, he is rolling out a last minute City Cleanup Corps to cover up his mess. Though I agree that this is a step in the right direction, these should have been established long ago. This is a clear example of a mayor who can’t react quickly and effectively to a crisis. His instinct is instead to find a quick fix to save face, while ignoring the underlying issues that got us here in the first place.
“As Mayor, I will correct these failures. Not only by recommitting to achieving zero-waste by 2030 — another pledge the De Blasio administration will have failed to uphold — but also by applying modern technology to our city’s seemingly overflowing trash problem. My new CleanStat initiative will leverage data for better tracking and response to trash piling up in our city, promoting transparency and accountability. This groundbreaking proposal will help to ensure that every New Yorker, regardless of their zip code, can live in neighborhoods they can be proud of, and will ultimately make our streets cleaner, safer, and more equitable.”
Shaun’s CleanStat initiative is based on a similar program utilized by the city of Los Angeles, which uses maps, and grades every single street in the city from 1 (clean) to 3 (not clean). Within just one year of launching mapping-based sanitation initiatives, Los Angeles reduced the prevalence of its category 3 streets by 82% and category 2 (somewhat clean) streets by 84%. By using the street cleanliness map to make it easier for residents to submit 311 reports and monitor progress, the city’s sanitation department now addresses 4,000 to 6,000 service requests each quarter that would not have otherwise been called in. Similar innovative initiatives have proven successful in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as Baltimore, Maryland.
“If they can make it anywhere, we can make it here — only better. By integrating data more effectively into the mapping, tracking, and picking up of our city’s garbage, we too can drastically improve the way we meet New Yorkers’ needs,” Donovan continued. “Los Angeles was able to have such incredible results by assessing the cleanliness of its streets quarterly, which means that if we are able to track our progress closer to real-time, we can expect to see even better results.”
Read more about Shaun’s plans to equitably and effectively keep New York City streets safe and clean in our CleanStat Policy Paper.