City to Bedbugs: Drop Dead

City Council Approves $500,000 To Fight Epidemic

By Andrew Siff
|  Thursday, Jul 29, 2010  |  Updated 9:29 AM EDT
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They're the latest reason New York is the city that never sleeps: bedbugs.

But City Council Speaker Christine Quinn had two words Wednesday for the tiny terrors: "Drop dead!"

Quinn's tough talk followed the release of a 38-page report from the newly formed Bed Bug Advisory Board. The findings include 17 recommendations, from hiring a chief entomologist -- to asking Housing Court to speed up the way it hears cases involving bedbugs.

"The Mayor has told me all his friends have bedbugs," said city council member Gale Brewer, who heads the Council's Bed Bug Task Force.

"It doesn't matter if you're rich or if you're poor, or if you're middle class. You have bedbugs," she said.

Quinn and Brewer also announced a new $500,000 effort to battle bedbugs.

Mayor Bloomberg sent deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs to Wednesday's news conference, a show of official support from City Hall.

But DC-37, one of the largest municipal unions in the city, says lawmakers can't have it both ways.

“The city just laid off 70 percent of its pest control aides," said Fitz Reid, Local 768 President.  "If there is a bed bug task force, and the money is there, then we have the people. Re-hire our members and they can get right to work. They would rather be collecting bed bugs than unemployment.”

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