FW: Esperanza: what you can do NOW
Some of the action suggestions are impossible for non-NY'ers but the email
and mail suggestions are doable.
Thanks for your help,
> -----Original Message-----
> From: L.A. Kauffman [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 11:02 AM
> To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;@aol.com;
> Subject: Esperanza: what you can do NOW
> Here are various things you can do to keep raising a ruckus over the
> destruction of Esperanza Garden (please forgive duplicate
> & please forward where appropriate):
> 1) letter to the editor or op-ed piece: The NYTimes, Channel 7 & other
> parroted Giuliani's lie that Esperanza was destroyed for "affordable
> housing" -- in fact, the plan is for 80% of the units to be luxury housing
> ($3K for 1-bdrm) & only 20% to be subsidized, and only for 10 years. As
> Esperanza supporter writes, "if publications such as the times receive
> enough letters, they may feel obligated to clarify the 'low-income'
> point, which is a tremendous rhetorical victory for the mayor. Fairness
> Accuracy In Reporting has a media contact list online at
> http://www.fair.org/media-contact-list.html which is a useful resource."
> WRITE TO: email@example.com and/or NYTimes Metro Editor, Jonathan
> his fax is 212-556-3738; e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
> 2) massive phone&fax jam: express your outrage to Peter Vallone, the man
> could have prevented the destruction but didn't, and has the power to
> any future bulldozings:
> (212) 788-6865 phone
> (212) 233-3928 fax
> 3) Esperanza shrine/vigils: Everyone is encouraged to place flowers,
> candles, testimonials, and the like in front of the bulldozed garden (E
> btx B & C). Somebody has painted "Esperanza vive!" (Esperanza lives) in
> large, coqui-colored paint spanning the boards they put up at the street
> entrance. Anyone considering other artistic additions should be warned
> that people are sent through the system for grafitti charges--"writing" is
> 24 hr. offence these days. For the moment, garden supporters are
> that no one attempt to enter the lot, and that no one spread any rumors
> about any hypothetical anything taking place inside the garden.
> 4) share your photos: The folks from More Gardens! Coalition would like to
> have a compilation of as many photos of Esperanza's battle for use on the
> website, posters, legal cases; to share with sympathetic/independent
> journalists; and for general documentation. If you have any to share,
> contact Mario at email@example.com Also, they're looking for photos of
> sleazeball developer Donald Capoccia.
> 5) Express your appreciation to the Torres family & the More Gardens!
> Coalition (especially the brave folks who locked down in the garden) for
> their courageous fight to save Esperanza. Send your messages of support to
> plus here are some powerful reflections on the fight & earlier messages
> may not have seen:
> From firstname.lastname@example.org :
> > Just got out of jail... many of us were there for over 30 hours....
> > Talking and sharing stories with other nyc quality of life criminals,
> > such as those picked up in a sweep uptown, one guy for selling pot,
> > and another for selling generic armani bags...
> > None of them could believe what had happened to the garden...
> > Walking home from jail it all began to hit me --
> > the photo of brook fighting off the cops, of the coqui...
> > all the beauty of community courage...
> > and of our loss...
> > i'll say this much, - never have i felt more joy and connection
> > with new yorkers from all walks of life...
> > than standing in a blizzard, smiling by a bonefire, sharing stories at
> > esperanza...
> > after some eight years of
> > HIV/AIDS work, I'm reminded of the simple point:
> > Loss lays fertile ground for community regeneration....
> > Let 1,000 seeds bloom...
> From: email@example.com
> Blessings and thanks to all who were there together today, especially
> who risked arrest and did support for arrestees. I stepped outside the
> garden and behind the police lines, sad to have to be at work by 10am, and
> wept much of the way to the office, sad for this crazy world in which
> children have to look on and ask, as one toddler did today, "why are the
> police catching the garden daddy? What did the garden do? Was it bad?"
> Quite a contrast to my Berkeley home, where the SLUG (San Francisco League
> of Urban Gardeners) is blessed with a decent amount of space, and can do
> things like home compost consultations.
> I talked to many a cop today, and told them how ashamed I thought they
> should be for punishing those who want nothing more than to bring flowers
> and veggies into this world. It was a dark day, and yet the hope and
> in each of you was a beam of hope. Thank you!
> GARDENING IS NOT A CRIME!!!!!
> I love you all,
> VENT YOUR ANGER at the illegal bulldozing of
> New York City's beloved Esperanza Community Garden
> by calling the man who could have prevented it, but didn't:
> what: MASSIVE PHONE & FAX PROTEST!
> who: PETER VALLONE(details below)
> why: because yesterday government bulldozers destroyed
> a 22-year-old community treasure to make way for a
> condominium complex that will be 80% luxury apartments
> (212) 788-6865 phone
> (212) 233-3928 fax
> Leave a lengthy message, or fax a letter -- a long-winded letter,
> written in really large type. Tell him how you feel about the bulldozing
> of Esperanza Garden, and his central role in making it happen. Tell him
> how you feel about his cozy relationship with the real-estate interests
> who stand to profit from the destruction of public green spaces. And
> tell him about the scale and vehemence of the protests he will face
> if he allows another garden to be touched. (Direct action blockade
> at Vallone's place, anyone?)
> ***Be emphatic, but PLEASE be polite to the receptionists who
> will be fielding the calls, who of course had nothing to do with the
> destruction of the garden. To show appreciation for the extra workload
> they will have as a result of this protest, we are sending them a big
> bouquet of flowers (& we could really use donations to help pay for
> it - write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you can pitch in $10 or $20).
> Since the alert below was written, the arrestees from Tuesday's
> action have been released.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Gardens" <email@example.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2000 8:08 AM
> Subject: EMAIL ARMY: Support the Esperanza 31 and call Vallone
> > -- PLEASE FORWARD AND CIRCULATE WIDELY --
> > The world knows that 31 people were arrested yesterday defending
> > Garden in the Lower East Side. While Giuliani has emerged as the
> > spokesperson for garden destruction, the not-so-hidden secret is that
> > Council Speaker Peter Vallone was the actual facilitator of the deal.
> > fact: nothing comes to vote at City Council without his approval. This
> > includes the Esperanza deal, and it includes all of the other gardens
> > active development plans. (Take a look at
> > Vallone could stop this madness, and he refuses to lift a finger.
> > As I write this, the Esperanza 31 are still in jail. Yes, they were put
> > through the system. Please, take a minute to support their action, which
> > taken on behalf of all community gardens in New York City, by calling
> > faxing the office of Speaker Vallone.
> > Phone: (212) 788-6865
> > Fax: (212) 233-3928
> > Let him know that you hold him personally responsible for the
> > the Esperanza Garden. Insist that there better not be any others...
> > oughta be be a law! (See below for a discussion of legislative solutions
> > which Vallone could make a big difference.)
> > The City moved in quickly on Esperanza in order to beat a restraining
> > filed by State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer. As of 1:00 pm yesterday,
> > city has a restraining order against bulldozing any more GreenThumb
> > until the case is argued in State Court on March 1. Please thank the
> > Attorney General's office for their enlightened support of fresh air,
> > space, and livable communities.
> > (212) 416-8050
> > _____________________
> > A LITTLE MORE BACKGROUND (There oughta be a law!)
> > Community garden advocates are working hard to build support for two
> > important pieces of legislation.
> > The "Samson Bill" is a state bill that operates roughly parallel to the
> > injunction sought by the State Attorney General. It declares New York
> > community gardens to be parkland, which cannot be sold without jumping
> > through a lot of hoops. This would mean that the city would have to take
> > another look at the over 10,000 truly vacant lots before moving to
> > on land already being used as a community garden.
> > On the city level, an ad hoc group of community gardeners and their
> > supporters are trying to get city council sponsorship for legislation
> > would create a process for preserving gardens. The legislation asks for
> > moratorium on developing or disposing of existing community gardens
> > is being considered. Once the legislation is in effect, a garden must go
> > through what's known as the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP)
> > it can be taken away. The destruction of gardens through the fast-track
> > "UDAAP" process would end. Esperanza was "UDAAPed", which meant that
> > council, that is Vallone, could completely ignore the wishes of the
> > community board.
> > Remember, nothing comes to a vote at City Council without the approval
> > Peter Vallone. We must not allow him to sit on this legislation the way
> > did the legislation introduced by Adolfo Carrion and Ken Fisher last
> > A final note: yesterday we learned of active development plans for three
> > more community gardens in East Harlem's Community Board 11. They are:
> > Diamante Garden (332-342 East 119th Street)
> > Ana Rosa's Garden (325 East 119th Stret)
> > Holy Rosary Garden (431-439 East 119th Street)
> > The struggle continues...
> More Gardens! Coalition
> Contact: Bill, 917/673-8762; Taito 212/505-3568
> For court information: 212/982-9446
> February 15, 2000
> NEWS UPDATE
> 31 ARRESTED AS COMMUNITY GARDEN ACTIVISTS "LOCK DOWN" IN FRONT OF
> CITY DESTROYS 22 YEAR OLD GARDEN WHILE INJUNCTION IS REVIEWED BY RULING
> New York: Over 100 gardeners and their supporters stood their ground
> Esperanza Garden in Manhattan's East Village (221 E. 7th Street, btwn Aves
> & C) this morning, protesting the City's demolition of a 22 year old
> community garden. At 10:30 the NYPD moved in and arrested 31 people,
> from teenagers to grandmothers. Included among those arrested were nearly
> dozen protesters who had locked themselves to "lock boxes" and other
> unmovable equipment with chains and U-locks. Meanwhile neighborhood
> supporters yelled "shame! shame!" and "you are destroying a community
> garden" from roof tops and fire escapes. Before the last protester was
> removed, backhoes moved in and by Noon a 22 year community treasure had
> leveled to a dirt lot.
> State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer asked for an injunction to protect
> community gardens against any further action by the city or developers,
> today the City decided to proceed with the bulldozing. Enraged by the
> underhanded move, the ruling Judge placed a temporary restraining order
> against the City prohibiting the sale or destruction of 174 "Green Thumb"
> gardens. While welcome, this move still leaves more than 400 gardens
> El Jardin de Esperanza was started 22 years ago by the Torres family when
> Alecia Torres, a neighborhood resident and great grandmother, began
> the rubble and trash filled lot. The garden was a major community asset in
> neighborhood with the least green space per capita of any neighborhood in
> New York City.
> In spite of the fact that there are over 10,000 publicly owned vacant lots
> in New York City, nearly 600 gardens city-wide remain unprotected and are
> risk of being sold to developers. The need for low cost housing is often
> cited as a reason for destroying gardens. In reality, most new buildings
> contain very little, if any, low income housing. Developer Donald
> who plans to build on Esperanza Garden, has already bulldozed 4 community
> gardens on the Lower East Side, replacing them with "80/20" housing, where
> 80% of the units are priced at market value while only 20% are set aside
> "low income" housing . After 10 years even this small percentage can climb
> back up to market rate.
> # # #
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