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Fwd: Garden Genocide

  • Subject: [cg] Fwd: Garden Genocide
  • From: "Mariah Dillon" <Emducey@syr.edu>
  • Date: Thu, 05 Jul 2001 11:23:05 -0400

This note from Syracuse, New York.
Sad but true. 
Mariah Dillon
Energy and Computing Management
Syracuse University

Title: Garden Genocide
Hi folks,

This is the text of an e-mail (below) I received the other day.  I am extremely flabbergasted and disturbed that gardens are the target of a city "beautification" program.  If this is true, if anyone were to come to my house and disturb either my significant other's wild (but well kept) front yard flower garden or my backyard veggie patches, there would be hell to pay, believe me.  If anyone can help to stop this outrage, let's make a lot of noise.  What do the mayoral candidates (and our common councilors) think of this?  Gardeners unite!

Lee Gechas

        Responsible property owners, many with vegetable and herb gardens in the University-Westcott area, have been receiving citations from the city for alleged violations like "dangerous overgrowth and noxious weeds".
        The letters state that owners have 24 hours to address the problem or the city will charge them a 15% penalty on their property taxes. The citations come from the Dept. of Community Development (in Syracuse there's no better way to develop a community than through harrassment and intimidation). One inspector said that these letters were ordered by Roy Bernardi. There are a bunch of allegations floating around which may or may not be true. If anyone is concerned about this or has additional info I'd appreciate hearing from them.
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: oursafestreets@juno.com <mailto:oursafestreets@juno.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 13:58:20 EDT
Subject: Lawn Criminals II: The City Strikes Back
The Saga Continues...
        Last week some folks I know on Bassett Street received the same letter that several of us got on Greenwood. A couple of days later the industrial mower was in their front yard. The occupants of the house came out and noted to the city employees that they had mowed the front yard the day before and that there was no reason for them to be there. The city employees seemed to agree and headed down the street, but they returned in a few minutes and proceeded to mow THE BACK YARD of the house including the herb garden and rhubarb. The back yard has been stripped of all greenery. Then the owners of the house, longtime residents and community activists were given a $700 bill for the unwanted landscaping.
        This was done with a single written warning that the occupants acknowledged and thought they had heeded, but that wasn't good enough for Bernardi's people. I am also told that it apparently is now a violation to have a vegetable garden in your front yard so don't even think of growing any non-sanctioned produce. It will be mowed, sprayed or crushed. Zero tolerance for lawn criminals!
        I have sent a copy of my citation letter and some background info to Molly English at the New Times and am trying to find somebody at the daily paper who will look into this. Any help is appreciated.
        Just to be clear I do think there is a need to warn some property owners about unkept and unsafe properties (and I know this is a highly subjective concept) and to insure that a minimal level of accountability is achieved, but giving a single 24 hour warning notice to people with gardens is outrageous in my opinion. There are better ways to deal with this.
Frederic Noyes
oursafestreets@juno.com <mailto:oursafestreets@juno.com>

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