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Fwd: Big Help Needed! Referendom Drive is On! Pass on the word.

  • Subject: [cg] Fwd: Big Help Needed! Referendom Drive is On! Pass on the word.
  • From: dayvid@mail.utexas.edu
  • Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 16:11:50 -0500 (CDT)

Note*  We will be canvassing at festivals and parades starting this
weekend.  We will meet at the mouth of Central Park (59th & Columbus
Circle) this Saturday, June 9th  at 10am. Bring your clipboard!


Calling ALL Community Garden Supporters!

The More Gardens Coalition, along with a dedicated group of gardeners &
activists are gathering signatures for a PEOPLES REFERENDUM TO SAVE OUR
COMMUNTY GARDENS ! We are determined to make all community gardens
permanent and with your help, dedication and commitment we can.
Our deadline for filing petitions is JULY 6th, so we have to move

RIGHT NOW we are gathering thousands of signatures in the hope of
placing the PEOPLES' REFERENDUM on the November 6, 2001 ballot a which
would transfer the control of the gardens from the Department of Housing

Preservation and Development (HPD) to the Department of Parks and
The decision was arrived at over months of discussion and debate with
lawyers and committed garden activists.  Here, in brief, is the
reasoning behind the decision.


In this election year it is vital that we place the fate of the
community gardens in the center of the political arena.  To date, our
city council sits on their hands refusing to pass legislation that would

protect these vital green spaces (See There Outa Be Law: Intro. No. 742
at www.treebranch.com) Moreover, the majority of candidates do not
answer when asked if they would support the preservation and creation of

community gardens.  Now more than ever it is clear that it is up to us,
the people of New York City, to ensure the survival of our community
gardens through concerted political pressure and strategic activism.
Our signatures, our voices and our votes will make clear to politicians
and developers our intention.


In 1998, Mayor Giuliani transferred the administration of the gardens
from the Green Thumb program, a parks-administered office, to HPD. The
Mayor's office oversees HPD and approves sales of city owned land to
private developers for the construction of so-called 'affordable'
housing. This 'Affordable housing' is unaffordable to the majority of
low income residents and working people and is used to pit housing and
gardens advocates against eachother.  In reality, both housing and
gardens advocates believe in their coexistence (see housing/gardens at
www.voteforgardens.org ) .

As a direct result, HPD plans to develop the gardens and has sent
bulldozers to destroy dozens of the oldest, most treasured of our
greenspaces. Plans to develop all 400 gardens are in the works, with the

Bronx gardens in immediate danger of Urban Renewal. Currently, only the
State Attorney General's temporary restraining keeps the bulldozers at


In a very basic sense, what we are attempting to do through this
referendum is to return the gardens to the control of the Parks
Department.  To be sure, turning the gardens over to Parks will not
guarantee their protection, but it will remove them from the immediate
jurisdiction of the worst enemies of the gardens: the deadly combination

of Mayor, HPD and Developer. Furthermore, we believe that a successful
referendum turning the gardens over to the Parks Department will serve
as a very clear indication of the peoples' will.  Any incoming mayor
would be hard-pressed to simply ignore such a powerful mandate.


Every single signature gathered for this referendum is itself a vote to
make all community gardens permanent and we will be consistent and clear

about that in every press conference and every leaflet which comes out
this campaign.  This referendum drive, in short, provides us with a very

visible and direct way to impact electoral politics here in New York at
a very crucial juncture for the fate of the gardens.  If successful it
will be the first phase in a concerted effort to force the city to
protect these vital community assets.


First off BECOME A PETITIONER by getting signatures for the attached
referendum, (don't forget to make copies)! You can get your friends to
sign it, or maybe everybody you know at work and/or at school, church,
or everybody on your block. There are important RULES for collecting
signatures, so please read the detailed sheet of instructions below and
follow them to a T.

Even if you are not a NYC registered voter as of last election you are
and can pair up with a rgistered voter who will need lots of help.

COME TO A "VOTE FOR GARDENS" MEETING  and get involved. We meet
EVERY TUESDAY AT 7:00pm at the Sixth Street Community Center in
on 6th Street between Avenues B and C. If you can't come and you have a
group of people who want to learn how to petition, we will come to you.
Just call (212) 533-8019 to make arrangements.

We will also be canvassing at festivals and parades EVERY WEEKEND
throughout June. We will meet at the mouth of Central Park (59th &
Columbus Circle) every Saturday & Sunday at 10am starting June 9th.
Together we will learn how to petition and then leave in groups to
collect signatures at events throughout the city. At the end of day we
can meet to drop off petitions and put our feet up at a community

If you're a do-it yourselfer you can easily DOWNLOAD THE PETITION, read
the RULES, make bunches of copies and strike out on your own.

Please call our hotline if you plan on doing this so that we can arrange
pick-up/drop off of your completed forms.  And, of course, you can
always check out the website at
Or call (212) 533-8019. More Gardens!

Call or write your political representatives and ask them to support
this referendum and pass Intro. No 742.:
to find out who your representatives are you can call The League of
Women Voters at: (212) 677-5050 or
go to www.lwvnyc.org .

To find out more about community gardens visit www.nycgardens.og

The time is now, we can do it. MORE GARDENS!

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