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Back to Politics and Community Gardening: The Post 9/11 NYC Mayoral Election

  • Subject: [cg] Back to Politics and Community Gardening: The Post 9/11 NYC Mayoral Election
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 3 Nov 2001 12:25:24 EST


The support of the ACGA has been greatly appreciated, especially letters to 
NYC daily newspapers from President Tom Tyler and other ACGA members. The 
voice of  the ACGA, "A respected national organization, not you crazies in 
flower suits" , as an editoral page sub-editor put it, was extremely helpful 
at time when papers were describing gardeners as "Garden Weazels" and our now 
knighted mayor ( Mayor "Sir " Rudolph Giuliani) said that "community gardens 
are a major cause of  homelessness in NYC". 
Maybe after the shouting & the election is over, if  we can get the 
other-wise quite competent Sir Rudolph to visit some of our gardens. Maybe we 
can win him over ( hope springs eternal!)

However, here are the garden views of the two mayoral candidates left 


" Bloombergs' Garden Policy: (on the web)

Develop a Community Garden Policy

 a.The city should work with community and civic  groups, such as the Trust 
for Public Land and the Municipal Art Society, to evaluate all community  
gardens. Not all community gardens have to be developed into affordable 
housing. Not all vacant  parcels are community gardens. To the extent 
possible, integrate housing and community garden  sites as was done 
successfully at the  Westside Community Garden on West 90th Street in

b.A garden trust should be established. Parcels  appropriate for garden use 
could be leased to
communities that would then maintain them.

Mark Greens' Community Gardens Policy:

"As Public Advocate, I cosponsored Intro 742 and 743 which:  provide for  
two-year leases; place a moratorium on development of existing gardens;  
provide City funding for the development of gardens;
 require that any development plan go through the ULURP process; and end
 the practice of designating gardens as vacant space.  In 1999, I also
wrote a letter to Governor Pataki, which proposed that all  development plans 
be required to go through the ULURP process.
 As Mayor, I will work to preserve community gardens.  New development
 and protecting community gardens don't have to be competing goals - using 
available funds to clean up brownfields, we can  open up new lands for 
development and leave beautiful community gardens untouched.

 Note:  This is a cut and paste from the NYC Cybergardens list serve that I 
recieved this morning .  It was sent by Cynthia ( sorry, I don't know her 
last name) ,a Harlem community garden activist, whose message about the 
attempted bulldozing of her garden I forwarded to you a few months ago.

News from the CYBERGARDENS mailing list 

Last week Mark Green was scheduled for a press conference in the Joseph 
Daniel Wilson Garden in Harlem, to make a statement on open space & community 
gardens.  Due to schedule delays, the press conference didn't happen.  His 
office however, in the person & voice of Joseph Rappaport, agreed to send us 
this statement re Green's position on gardens;  I quote:

Dear Cynthia:

You asked about Mark's position on community gardens, one that I've worked on 
and think is a strong one.

It's part of a larger view of how to make the city more livable by making 
open space and transportation an integral part of planning decisions, instead 
of afterthoughts.  That is what we have advocated in responses to surveys, 
and in our own literature.

On community gardens, Mark called in 1999 for appropriate land use 
reviews--which would likely protect the vast majority of gardens.  He is a 
co-sponsor of pending City Council legislation (intro. 742) which would 
require land use review and bring community gardens under the Parks Deprtment.

Mark recognizes and has said during the campaign that there is an erroneous 
perception that the need for gardens and the need for affordable housing are 
in conflict with one another.  His views echo that of many open space 
advocates and studies, which is that the best communities include adequate 
open space.  He's also called for the development of more parks. especially 
in open space-starved neighborhoods.

As with every administration, one challenge will be to make sure that a Green 
administration holds true to these goals.

I think we've got a very good shot in this respect, in part because there 
will be much more access for advocates in a 
Green administration, and also because there are likely to be many 
progressives in his administration.  Neither have been the case under 
Giuliani, as we know.

I hope this is helpful.  Please contact me with any questions; feel free to 
use any or all of the above in communicating with other garden activists.  

--Joe Rappaport "  Close Quote

Adam's two-bit analysis:

Again, I guess the slogan, "Gardeners Vote"  and the 20,000 plus garden 
preservation petitions colected by several community garden organizations got 
the candidates attention.  Community gardeners are now a "special interest".

With a planned 15% Parks budget cutback demanded by Mayor "Sir"  Rudolph 
Giuliani ( the current parks budget is 4/10ths of 1% of NYC's budget - 
Chicago's parks budget is, by comparison,  3%) it would be foolish now to 
alienate community gardeners in a close race - after all, we are the  - we're 
the ones who planted the 500,000 Dutch donated daffodils in NYC  parks, and 
supplied the bodies that the Parks 2001 organizers asked for, not the soccer 
fans, baskeball players or joggers.

Both Bloomberg and Green know that volunteerism is the only thing that will 
keep the parks from sliding even further into decay.  There is a limit to 
foundation and private money that will go to take up the slack in the current 
financial environment.  Community gardeners are the pool which has the skill 
set to fill in the gaps that are not taken care of by skeleton park crews and 
 "workfare" recipients.  

Go into any NYC park, and the volunteer people tend to be folks from our 
community gardens, planting some bulbs, cleaning up, because as one lady said 
by DeWitt Clinton Park on 54th & 11th avenues,," I just can't look at garbage 
in an ugly rundown space, I plant bulbs now, we have something to look at in 
April when we need it."

Later, got to plant some decorative kale,

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to www.communitygarden.org
community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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