Millman Questions Why Mayor Rejected Corporate Sponsorship of Firehouses

September 16, 2003
On Monday September 15, Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman (D/WF – Brooklyn) sent a strongly worded letter to Mayor Bloomberg, questioning his latest deal making Snapple the official beverage of New York City. Recent outrage over the Mayor’s closing of six city firehouses, which Millman strongly opposed, could have been solved through similar corporate sponsorship.

Public concern over select sponsorship left Millman wondering why the Mayor was "Absolutely unwilling to accept corporate donation to finance the firehouses." She added, "It is surprising that you would make this unprecedented move to accept corporate sponsorship after refusing to do so just months earlier."

Millman pointed out, "When the financing for several firehouses in the city was threatened, several corporations expressed interest in protecting the safety and security of our city by saving these firehouses." With future partnerships between the city and other private companies expected, Assemblywoman Millman is pushing for funding to re-open the closed firehouses. Millman added, "I strongly believe that you should follow your own precedent and retract your earlier statements rejecting corporate financing for the firehouses."

Recent studies have shown increased response time for communities that lost engine companies. In Cobble Hill alone, response times have increased by two minutes and eight seconds. The increased response times place local communities at a greater risk of life and property.

The funds from Snapple’s deal with New York grant exclusive rights to the beverage company to sell its products in city schools and on city property. The extra capital is earmarked for the school system, but complete funding allocation has not been made available to the public. Millman stated, "I sincerely hope our educational system and city as a whole benefits substantially from this new method for generating much needed revenue."

Millman, among other community members and elected officials, was arrested protesting the city’s closing of Engine 204 in Cobble Hill. Assemblywoman Millman, who has been fighting to save the engine companies for almost one year, urged the Mayor, "To allow corporate sponsorship to generate necessary funding to reopen our firehouses."