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Re: Sacramento Garden in the News

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Sacramento Garden in the News
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 16:50:53 EDT

Here's the text for those who have difficulty in getting those links open: 

Protesters rally around closed midtown garden
By Mary Lynne Vellinga -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 a.m. PDT Tuesday, June 24, 2003  
Agricultural expo protesters chain themselves around an apricot tree Sunday 
in the former Ron Mandella Community Garden, which is zoned for housing. 
Officials say the soil has elevated levels of lead, DDT and cancer-causing agents 
and will be cleaned. 

Sacramento Bee/John Decker  
Protesters rally around closed midtown garden
By Mary Lynne Vellinga -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 a.m. PDT Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Padlocked by the state of California since November, the closed Ron Mandella 
Community Garden re-emerged this week as a powerful symbol for activists 
decrying corporate power.
Katherine Zimmerman, a young woman from Chico, was one of many protesters who 
stopped to snap a picture of the midtown garden as Monday's demonstration 
moved along Q Street.

"This is so symbolic," she said. "It's a community garden with signs that say 
'No Trespassing' and big chains on the gate."

Three members of the Mandella garden board remained in the Rio Cosumnes 
Correctional Center Monday. The gardeners, along with 11 other protesters, were 
arrested late Sunday after chaining themselves together around an apricot tree in 
the garden, most of which is planned for apartments, townhouses and 

They entered the closed garden Sunday afternoon, ripping down portions of the 
wrought iron fence and replanting part of the largely denuded ground before 
police moved in about 11 p.m.

"Approximately 100 police in riot gear came in and raided the gardeners and 
forcibly removed them," said garden board member Shana McDavis-Conway.

McDavis-Conway said those arrested in the garden declared a hunger strike and 
refused to give their names to jail authorities.

Jail officials said six of the original 14 "Jane and John Does" remained 
unidentified and in custody late Monday. The rest had given officials their names 
and were issued misdemeanor citations and released.

Those remaining insisted they be released with no charges and that the 
Mandella garden be restored to the property bounded by 14th, 15th and Q streets that 
it has occupied for 30 years.

But that isn't going to happen, said John Dangberg, executive director of the 
Capitol Area Development Authority, the city-state authority that manages 
Mandella and other state-owned land around the Capitol.

CADA already had announced plans to develop the site when it abruptly closed 
the garden in mid-November. Officials said soil tests showed elevated levels 
of lead, DDT and cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

CADA officials say they may have to scrape the top foot of soil from the 
garden to clean it. Construction is scheduled to begin in October on the housing 
development that will occupy two-thirds of the site. The remaining third will 
be cleaned up and turned into a new community garden.

"We're going to try to be as sensitive as possible and leave as many trees as 
we can," Dangberg said.

Dangberg said CADA has done as much as could be expected to respond to the 
concerns of the gardeners. The agency spent about $600,000, most of it state 
money, to buy land at W and Fifth streets, remove toxics and prepare it to be 
used by the city as a community garden.

The gardeners are not satisfied. They have filed lawsuits, thus far 
unsuccessful, to stop CADA's development, and maintain plants could clean up the 
contamination. "There are ferns that can suck up lead from the soil, for example," 
McDavis-Conway said.

Protest organizer Patrick Reins said Mandella is "a microcosm of the very 
issues that are going on inside this (conference)."

"Mandella is a place where local people are able to grow their food, to use 
the land for community good and for ecological sanity rather than for private 
development interests," Reins said.


About the Writer

The Bee's Mary Lynne Vellinga can be reached at (916) 321-1094 or 
mlvellinga@sacbee.com. Staff writer Mareva Brown contributed to this report

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