This is the New York City Council’s press release containing Mayor Bloomberg’s remarks on Int. 57a, which he signed yesterday:
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION TO ESTABLISH A BED BUG ADVISORY BOARD
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
“The third bill before me is Introductory Number 57-A, sponsored by Speaker Quinn and Council Members Brewer, Foster, Gentile, Gerson, Gonzalez, James, Mark-Viverito, Martinez, Mendez, Nelson, Palma, Sanders, Weprin, White, Koppell, Liu, Recchia, Sears, Vallone, Garodnick, Jackson, Avella, Arroyo, Dickens, Mealy, Lappin, Stewart, Rivera, and Gennaro. Introductory Number 57-A establishes a Bed Bug Advisory Board.
“Bed bugs are small insects that often hide in cracks in furniture, floors, or walls and are usually active at night. The physical impact to those living with bed bugs may start with painless bites which can later turn in to large, itchy welts. These bites are a great nuisance and can have a negative impact on the quality of life of New Yorkers.
“Bed bugs have resurfaced in New York City in recent years and we are not alone. Urban centers throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe are experiencing a resurgence in bed bugs. In response, we have instituted a multi-pronged approach to address the issue which includes: prevention through public education, creation of guidelines and protocols for residents, health care providers, businesses, and pest management professionals, and a systematic response to bed bug complaints.
“Despite all of our efforts, there is currently inadequate data to understand the full extent of the bed bug problem in the City. The creation of the Bed Bug Advisory Board, comprised of experts in the pest management, entomology, and public health fields and representatives from the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Consumer Affairs, Sanitation, Information Technology and Telecommunications, and Housing Preservation and Development will examine the bed bug problem in further detail, systematically evaluate, study, identify and develop appropriate strategies to control and eradicate the bed bug problem in the City. The Advisory Board will report back their findings to the Mayor and the Speaker within nine months of their appointment.
“I would like to thank the commissioners and staff of the Departments of Health & Mental Hygiene, Consumer Affairs, Sanitation, Information, Technology & Telecommunications and Housing Preservation & Development for their work in this bill. I would also like to thank the Council for approving this legislation.”
You can download and view a video of the signing here. It’s a long video, but the three or so minute bit which is relevant to Intro. 57a comes in at about 8:42 (so you can let it run and leave the room for a few minutes!)
It’s worth watching the video, because there is a lot there that is not contained in the text announcement on NYC.gov. A lot. For example:
Mayor Bloomberg tells people not to buy used mattresses (!), and also asks Gale Brewer why bed bugs came back (she answers “no more DDT;” Bloomberg quips, “Thanks, Rachel Carson!”) In fact, as we know, we can’t blame Rachel Carson for the resurgence of bed bugs: it is a complex issue and bringing back DDT would not necessarily be a help to bed bug sufferers, since bed bugs began to show resistance to DDT in the 1940s. (See this post for more.)
Council Member Gale Brewer thanks city agency officials from HPD (for the HPD bed bug seminars — she says “close to 1000 people” every single HPD bed bug seminar), DoIT (for making it possible to track 311 bed bug-related calls — this year she says there have been 22,000 bed bug information requests and 9,000+ requests for a bed bug inspection from HPD) and DCA.
Outside of city agencies, Brewer thanks wonderful bed bug advocate Renee Corea (of New York vs. Bed Bugs), entomologist Dr. Lou Sorkin, Pest Control Operator Jeff Eisenberg of Pest Away, Gary Carter and Ray Lopez from Little Sisters of the Assumption, Cornell (Cornell entomologist Dr. Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann testified at the hearing), and the Dept. of Health.
Mayor Bloomberg also points out that bed bugs are a problem everywhere and he has had friends who have had them. That is an important statement for the mayor to make.