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FW: CYBERGARDENS: NY Daily News Editorial

  • Subject: [cg] FW: CYBERGARDENS: NY Daily News Editorial
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
  • Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2001 15:51:48 -0400

This gem of a NYC Daily News editorial appeared this morning and was read by
the hundreds of thousands of folks who read more than the funny papers,
sports and the scandals. The Daily News is not a bad paper and I usually buy
it to drink with my first cup of coffee. You need only imagine what my
breakfast table looked like this morning when I read this editorial. 

Yesterday, the mayor called community gardeners the cause of homelessness in
NYC, today the NY Daily News calls us "weasels". 

In contrast: 
Last week, nice blue haired lady wearing a lapel  pin from the National
Ladies Republican Club  toured the community garden in which I volunteer.
She had heard all of the rhetoric from the other side and could not believe
that we were the kind of organization that she had heard "demonized."

This lady said, "truly, if the other community gardens throughout the
country are like this one, and I have no doubt now that they are, then they
are truly among the "thousands of dots of light" that President Bush senior
talked about.

I offer you this editorial as a prime example of how bad it can get. Should
you feel the urge to reply to the Daily New editorial, you can e-mail the
Daily News editors at 

Please include your full name, address and phone number. The Daily News
reserves the right to edit letters. The shorter the letter, the better the
chance it will be used. 

Best wishes,

Adam Honigman 

-----Original Message-----
From: Toby Brandt [mailto:tjbrandt@treebranch.com]
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2001 12:43 PM
To: cybergardens@treebranch.com
Subject: CYBERGARDENS: NY Daily News Editorial

Friday, August 3, 2001
New York City's
Garden Weasels 
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? On city land, and
pity the politician who tries to take it back.
That's the misguided attitude of the community gardeners who appear to be
living in Mother Goose land, where the rule of law does not apply.
There are about 700 gardens on city-owned land in the five boroughs. They
began sprouting in the late 1970s, with the help of the Parks Department, as
a way to beautify empty lots. But every plot planted under the Green Thumb
program came with a contract clearly stating that a garden was an "interim
site use" until the city needed the land.
Two years ago, Mayor Giuliani gave some of the lots to the Department of
Housing Preservation and Development to use for low-income and senior
housing. But state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer got an injunction to
prevent the development of the properties until the environmental impact was
Former Mayor Ed Koch wrote to Spitzer last year, saying: "During my
administration, we made a number of sites available for community gardens.
However, these sites were turned over for gardens on the understanding that
they would be returned to the city if needed for housing. I continue to
believe that this is the best policy to be followed in this case."
But rather than accept the legally binding contracts, state Supreme Court
Justice Richard Huttner last week refused to lift the injunction. Instead,
he asked each side, "Why don't you sit down and negotiate with me?"
Because there is nothing to negotiate.
The gardeners who refuse to surrender the properties are nothing more than
squatters. They have no valid claim to the sites. They are guests who have
overstayed their  welcome. And Huttner has overstepped his authority,
preventing the city from building much-needed housing on its own property.
There are thousands of city-owned vacant lots, many of which might make
lovely temporary gardens. But City Hall would be foolish to ever again let
any neighborhood residents get their hands on one. They'll chain themselves
to the tomato plants rather than give it back - no matter what promises they
The city was trying to do something nice for the communities, and now it is
being demonized. Let no good deed go unpunished.


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