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FW: urbanoutdoors: Urban Outdoors


FYI

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	dave.lutz@treebranch.com [SMTP:dave.lutz@treebranch.com]
> Sent:	Tuesday, February 22, 2000 2:28 PM
> To:	urbanoutdoors@treebranch.com
> Subject:	urbanoutdoors: Urban Outdoors
> 
> U r b a n   O u t d o o r s  Extra                 
> No. 52  February 21, 2000  1999 Winner, NYC American Planning 
> Association Award for Journalism
> 
> SPITZER STALLS MAYOR'S "WAR ON GARDENS" AS ESPERANZA FALLS
> On Tuesday January 15, as platoons of police officers cordoned off 
> the neighborhood so that people could not watch, 31 garden protesters 
> were arrested for trying to preserve the Esperanza Garden on the 
> lower east side of Manhattan. While the twenty-two year-old public 
> garden was bulldozed in less than an hour, the protesters were 
> subjected to an overnight stay in a jail cell instead of release and 
> report to court. One protester was plucked out of the broken eye of a 
> twenty-foot coqui (sculpture of a frog) that was erected on the site 
> to add color in the winter months and serve as a symbol of resistance 
> to ward off intruders.
> 
> On the day before the siege, Valentines Day, More Gardens Coalition 
> went to court seeking a stay of execution. A disinterested Judge 
> Rosenberger shuffled through papers as lawyers presented their case. 
> The fate of the garden was sealed when the City won a postponement 
> without a moratorium on destruction. As the bulldozers were tearing 
> up the land at Esperanza, Atty General Elliot Spitzer argued 
> successfully in a Brooklyn courtroom for a moratorium on the 
> destruction of all GreenThumb gardens, which are now safe until the 
> legality of their common law status as parks is established or 
> refuted, or the need for environmental documentation before 
> destruction is established.
> 
> CAPOCCIA'S MONEY TO MAYOR EXCEEDS LEGAL CAPS
> After the bulldozers, the press looked for reasons for the senseless 
> act. Low income housing, the Mayor's explanation, did not hold water 
> on the luxury apartment building being placed at the site. Even the 
> 20% of units being reserved for limited income families could go 
> "market rate" in 10 years. Connections were found between the 
> developer, selected without competitive bidding, and the Mayor's 
> fundraising efforts. The press revealed what gardeners already knew, 
> Donald Capoccia's company has made $46,000 in campaign contributions 
> to the Mayor, (some $ had to be returned because it exceeded caps)  
> and was being rewarded with the return "contribution" of city land.
> 
> MORE BUDGET CRUNCH FOR PARKS
> The Mayor plans again to cut spending on parks, but he will increase 
> capital spending. He will again require the parks department to 
> increase its revenue to the city, without specifying privatization 
> initiatives that must be implemented.  His budget cuts staff employed 
> doing daily repairs and working with kids. Full time park staff for 
> all five boroughs has dropped by 1/3 in this administration to around 
> 2000 people. As a point of comparison, the Office of the Mayoralty 
> employs about 1000.
> 
> The WEP workers have been the savior of our parks during the past 6 
> years. Their hard work, and the increased efforts of volunteers, have 
> kept parks clean. Private contractors and public employees have 
> shared what basic skilled work has been done, but much stays undone, 
> waiting for capital dollars. A judicial decision on the legality of 
> the WEP program is expected within six months. If the WEP staff is 
> released, conditions will rapidly deteriorate, leaving the parks in 
> the same shambles they were six years ago. New Yorkers will have to 
> decide if they will allow their parks to continue their rapid decline.
> Call Speaker Vallone.  ( 718-274-4500) Ask him to protect  the public 
> interest in public spaces, including community gardens and increased 
> budgets for City parks. 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------------
> Your $35 check to Neighborhood Open Space Coalition helps protect 
> NYC's quality of life and keeps Urban Outdoors coming!! 
> 
> Neighborhood Open Space Coalition / Friends of Gateway
> 356 Seventh Avenue  New York NY 10001  212.352.9330
> Fax: 212-352-9338	e-mail: dave.lutz@treebranch.com

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