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More NYC Garden Activities

  • Subject: [cg] More NYC Garden Activities
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
  • Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 17:12:11 -0400

Friends,
This announcement was sent to me by Aresh Javadi & More Gardens! and I' m
forwarding it to you to show the diversity in tactics, politics  and
rhetorical approach among community gardeners here in the pursuit of garden
preservation.
The scene - while folks like me are trying to get Intro 206 to the floor of
the NYC Council for a vote by traditional political means, the Mayor and the
Attorney General's office are negotiating a settlement on the NYC community
garden lawsuit which, if it is made before the bill is brought to the floor,
discussed and voted on, could make it less effective, or in the worse case,
moot. 
Mayor Brumberg would like to make a deal by which some gardens would go to a
land trust like NY Restoration, or even go to Parks, while other garden
sites would become available for development. Key to the Mayor's deal,
however, is that in future, there would be no process by which NEW community
gardens could be created. This is on the table in the settlement negotiation
talks.  
Now the More Gardens! folks and other coalltions, while they are interested
in the benefits of Intro 206 are concerned about the possible downside of
letting community input, as expressed in our community boards through NYC's
Uniform Land Use Review Process, dictate the fate of community gardens.  A
community could choose to pass on a garden in favor of low income housing or
another community facility, for example. 
Sometimes in a democracy, things do not go your way. That is why I believe
that community gardeners have to be part of the process and make coalition
with other folks on non-gardening issues like housing, health, education in
order to be good citizens and get non-gardener support on our issues. But
that takes time and a larger sense of community - looking beyond your
garden's gates. 
I am not quite sure how chaining oneself to trees in front of NYC's Housing
Preservation and Development's offices helped community gardening's cause
last week - there was some news coverage, but as usual no real discussion of
issues in the press.
However,  in the long run, there may be some effect on the process - time
will tell.  I must confess that  have found it useful to say, when working
to save gardens in Hell's Kitchen, that it would be useful to block 10th
Avenue during rush hour to protest a potential garden bulldozing. However,
it has been neighborhood political horsetrading that has created our
solutions, not "political actions."
Aresh & More Gardens! are my heart - maybe what both of us do will help us
save endangered gardens,
Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
Housing Preservation and Development Action at Key Time - Please make calls
today and next week! 
Time for NYC community gardens settlement is approaching soon as the
administration's budget negotiations for NYC is coming to a close! 
* 8 dedicated gardeners and activists dressed as Ladybugs and Butterflies
locked down/ chained themselves to trees in front of HPD's offices. They
asked for Mayor Bloomberg to step in and change the racist and classist
policies of the head administrator's of HPD (Geraldine Perine hired by the
last mayor who both surprisingly against community gardens) by including all
of our precious Community gardens in the settlement to become permanent! 
The police were unusually (relative to other garden demo's) and
unnecessarily rough to these folks both physically and psychologically.
Causing burns and sprains in a very unprofessional way. We are not sure if
this was requested by the HPD's director. 
Nevertheless the activists stood their ground and chanted and sang for an
hour and a half for housing and gardens together, and how important these
gardens are for the life of all New Yorkers! 
Most of the HPD staff who watched the civil disobedience supported them and
said "we agree with the gardeners!" 
The press packets clearly compared the maps of The gardens, vacant lots and
green spaces in the south Bronx, Harlem and East New York compared to the
more affluent Park Slope area. 
It clearly showed how every community garden in places of color and lowest
income would be destroyed leaving those communities with no green spaces at
all! Total Environmental and Racial Injustice! 
TO HELP: 
1. Please Call Mayor Bloomberg and ask for All Gardens especially the ones
still held back by HPD to be included in the Settlement! 
Call Mayor Bloomberg at (212) 788-3000. 
2. Become an Intern or a Volunteers to come and help throughout the summer.
Gardeners, activists, teachers, students, artists, musicians and you! 
Call 917-518-9987 or 212-533-8019 to speak with Aresh@ moregardens.org 


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