Flower Jam for Community Gardens + Update (fwd)

rosaphil (rugosa@interport.net)
Mon, 10 May 1999 17:07:58 -0400 (EDT)

+********** Snail me yer rosehips if you liked this post! ************
*Better Living Thru Better Living!* http://www.interport.net/~rugosa *

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 07:33:40 -0400
From: Rachel Treichler <treichler@ecobooks.com>
To: NYGREENS-L@lists.rpi.edu
Subject: Flower Jam for Community Gardens + Update

>Date: Sun, 09 May 1999 21:54:49 -0400
>Subject: Flower Jam for Community Gardens + Update
>From: "Mark Leger" <trix@panix.com>
>We've jammed their phone lines; we've jammed their fax
>machines. Now it's time to say it with flowers:
>****ALL DAY MONDAY, May 10****
>Go in person to the office of Commissioner William Diamond,
>the head of the city agency that's trying to auction off our
>community gardens, and deliver a big bunch of flowers or
>a good-sized potted plant . . . to his secretary.
>    PLEASE try to pay your visit before 2:30pm on Monday,
>    so that there's a big pile of flowers there when we
>    send reporters over in the afternoon.
>    WHERE: Municipal Building, 1 Centre St., 17th fl. south
>    (the big building with the arch across from City Hall)
>The flowers and plants aren't for the Commissioner but for
>his secretary, in thanks for fielding phone calls from hundreds
>of New Yorkers outraged by the plan to destroy our community
>gardens. (Off course, if you wanted, you could bring the Commish
>something -- like a spiny cactus or some poison ivy.)
>The idea? Disrupt business as usual with a sweet-as-pie smile
>on your face. If enough of us stop by, the Commissioner's office -- normally
>a hushed and sterile place -- will have a steady stream of garden supporters
>tromping through.
>Bring something from your garden, or just pick up a bouquet of flowers at
>your local greengrocer. Say hello to every staff person you
>see and try to engage them in lengthy conversations (not just about
>the auction -- talk about the weather, or anything -- the more time they
>spend talking to you, the less time they're able to spend on pre-auction
>We want as many people as possible to go before 2:30pm on
>Monday, but you can go anytime before Thursday, the day when
>the auction is scheduled.
>Read on for:
>** what else you can do NOW to stop the auction from happening
>** what will transpire if the auction goes forward
>** fun 'n' easy disruption tips
>** news articles on recent developments
>1) CALL Commissioner Diamond's office at (212) 669-7111
>and leave a message with his aforementioned secretary:
>    -- say you're planning to be at the auction to raise your
>        voice in protest;
>    -- if applicable, add that you're willing to to go to jail
>       on Thursday to stop the auction from happening;
>    -- ideally, leave your real name and phone number, as
>       a powerful sign that you REALLY mean it.
>2) RALLY on Tuesday, May 11 at 11:30AM outside the Federal Courthouse in
>Manhattan, where there will be a crucial hearing on
>the lawsuit filed by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education
>Fund, the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, and the More Gardens!
>Coalition [more info on lawsuits below].
>    LOCATION: 500 Pearl Street
>    (off Centre Street, 2 blocks north of  City Hall)
>    **we need a HUGE showing of support***
>3) SPREAD THE WORD: Forward this email everywhere. Print it
>out and share it with people who don't have email. Call your friends
>and encourage them to drop off some flowers at the Commissioner's
>office, or rally outside the Tuesday court hearing, or both.
>FOR THE AUCTION***  Confirming not only that it will be a circus, but that
>they're running scared, they've moved it -- I'm not making this up -- to an
>outdoor tent on St. Andrew's Plaza, which is directly north of the Municipal
>Building, adjacent to One Police Plaza.
>The auction starts on Thursday at 9:30AM, and they intend to start selling
>gardens at 1:30PM. The auction is a public event -- anyone can go, and we
>hope to see it PACKED with garden supporters.
>If the auction goes forward, the organizers of last week's Earth-Shaking
>Protest and Civil Disobedience are encouraging people to take nonviolent
>DIRECT ACTION to prevent gardens from being sold.
>[to learn about previous direct actions in support of gardens,
>visit www.panix.com/~jaynedoe/action.html]
>Here are some ideas, provided by Jayne Doe and her mischievous sidekick
>Trix, of simple, creative things that you and your friends can
>do to disrupt the proceedings. Singly they won't stop anything, but if LOTS
>of people do whatever they can, we WILL stop the auction -- certainly for an
>hour, maybe for the day, and we hope forever.
>Some, though not all, of these actions will put you at risk of arrest,
>or at the very least, ejection from the auction. You'll have lots of
>company, and we will have lawyers and legal observers on hand
>[ more info re: what will happen if you're arrested at the very end of this
>The auction begins at 9:30 AM on Thursday; they intend to begin selling
>gardens at 1:30 PM.
>1) DOOR JAM: Attendees will be asked to go through a metal detector and may
>be searched. So fill your pockets with lots of
>metal--coins, nail clippers, screws. When asked to empty your
>pockets, do so  slowww-lyyyy. Bring lots of handbags or shopping
>bags, and take your time putting them on the conveyor belt and
>retrieving them.
>2) SOUND OFF: Bring in a plastic whistle or noisemaker and blow
>real hard at appropriate moments. If they confiscate your noisemaker?  No
>problem. Scream.
>3) BIG DRAG: Be a Garden Diva like Jayne and Trix! Wear some big,
>distracting outfit: high platforms, beehive hairdo, kimono sleeves. Parade
>around, stand where youčre not supposed to,
>block the view.  Be a star.
>4) SLAPSTICK: They're setting up the big tent -- we join the circus. Add
>some Marx Brothers to the proceedings. Fall out of
>chairs, slip on the floor, get some chase games going. Goofy masks
>or costumes will add to the fun.
>5) PUKE IN: Does this auction make you sick? Show it. Eat a big
>lunch of say, oatmeal. At some appropriate moment, take a dose
>of ipecac syrup, or stick your fingers down your throat, and spew your
>displeasure. Of course, be polite, as in, "Sorry, Mr. Developer -- did
>that get on your briefcase?"
>At past auctions, police brass informed the audience that they would
>arrest anyone who tries to disrupt the proceedings. However, with
>only a few exceptions, they ended up just kicking disrupters out.
>Whatever the police decide to do this time, there are plenty of us
>willing to go to jail for the gardens. Over 100 people have done so
>already, many of whom will , if necessary, do it again on Thursday.
>There are two tactics that were used to disrupt previous auctions that
>we are actively DISCOURAGING this time around: false bidding, and
>critter invasions.
>At both the February and July 1998 city land auctions, garden
>supporters posed as buyers, bidding on gardens until they won them, then --
>when asked to fork over the huge cash downpayment -- admitting they didn't
>have it. The administration has set up new procedures to prevent this from
>happening again.
>In July 1998, a group of garden supporters calling themselves Jiminy Cricket
>(as in "Let your conscience be your guide") smuggled 10,000 crickets into
>the auditorium at Police Headquarters, where the auctions used to be held.
>They released the crickets into the auction as bidding on gardens was about
>to start, bringing things to a halt for more than an hour. Once was
>dramatic, but twice would be
>an old joke, and there are many community garden supporters who
>don't want to see any more critters released to their doom.
>        Mischievously yours, Leslie
>        gardens@cybergal.com
>The Mighty Email Army is a direct action-oriented list in
>defense of community gardens and other public spaces,
>sponsored by the Lower East Side Collective
>(www.lescollective.org). To join, write gardens@cybergal.com
>For background on the community gardens fight, visit
>1) "62 Arrested in City Garden Protest" AP 5/6/99
>2) "Two More Suits Seek to Stop Sale of Gardens" NYT 5/8/99
>3) Considering Civil Disobedience? A Guide to What You Can
>Expect if You're Arrested
>4) "City to Allow Sick Arrestees Their Rx Drugs" DAILY NEWS 5/9/99
>62 Arrested in City Garden Protest
>  05/06/1999
>  Newsday
>Protesters brandishing irises and tulips closed down a city street
>yesterday and at least 62 people were arrested in an effort to stave
>off the city's auction of 114 community gardens .
>Shouts of "Save the gardens, stop the auction!" drowned out a police
>officer's warning that protesters sitting on Chambers Street between
>Greenwich and West Streets would be arrested on disorderly conduct charges.
>One man stood and tried to shove lilacs into the officer's  bullhorn.
>"Once it's bulldozed and sold, there's no going back," 52-year-old
>Alice Morris said of her little plot known as Albert's Garden. "It'll be a
>terrible tragedy."
>Morris was among the protesters arrested amid cheers from a crowd of about
>500 people, most carrying flowers and some dressed up like them.
>The city is set to auction 114 plots of land May 13 in an effort to
>put the acreage back on the tax rolls. Many of the parcels have been taken
>over by groups such as the Green Guerillas, whose members clear the land and
>plant vegetables or flowers.
>Yesterday's rally, sponsored by 24 different groups, was held outside
>the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where buyers interested in
>bidding on the city land were being briefed about procedures.
>But not all those lined up to go inside planned to build high-rise
>office buildings. Some were from nonprofit groups considering buying
>property to donate back to the gardeners.
>Other groups - including the New York City Environmental Justice
>Alliance, the Community Garden Coalition, and the group More
>Gardens! - threatened a federal lawsuit to stop the auction under the
>Civil Rights Act of 1964. They contend selling the property to the
>highest bidder discriminates against the mostly poor and minority
>neighborhoods where the majority of gardens are located.
>A similar lawsuit was filed Monday by the Green Guerillas in State
>Supreme Court in Brooklyn.
>Despite several vocal and colorful protests by garden lovers - on
>Friday, a man dressed as a giant daisy was arrested for refusing to leave a
>City Hall Park tree - Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has said the sale will proceed.
>After a City Hall sit-in in February at which 30 protesters were
>arrested, Giuliani said the agreement was that the gardeners could
>temporarily maintain the land. "Well, temporary is over now," the mayor
>The administration at first said the land was going to be used to
>build low- or middle-income housing but now says winning bidders can use the
>land for any legally zoned development.
>"Our fear is that once sold, these gardens, which serve as community
>centers, will be bulldozed and left as dumping grounds, or used as low-end
>businesses or chop shops," Steven Frillman, head of the Green Guerillas,
>said Monday as the group filed its lawsuit.
>David M. Herszenhorn, "Two More Suits Seek to Stop Sale of
>NEW YORK TIMES  May 8, 1999
>Two groups have filed separate Federal lawsuits to try to forestall
>an action next week for more than 100 city-owned lots being used
>as community gardens. One suit alleges that the sale would violate
>the civil rights of minority New Yorkers, who "have dramatically less
>access to green recreational space than its white residents."
>The lawsuits, which both seek to postpone indefinitely next Thursday's
>auction, are expected to be joined and a hearing for one
>suit has been scheduled for May 11 before Judge Allen G. Schwartz
>in Federal District Court in Manhattan. That suit was filed by
>environmental groups and Borough Presidents Fernando Ferrer
>of the Bronx and Howard Golden of Brooklyn, who filed a similar
>suit in State Supreme Court on Monday.
>A second Federal suit, filed by the New York City Environmental
>Justice Alliance and other garden advocates, is based on an
>analysis of city demographics and charges that selling the garden
>lots would discriminate gainst black, Asian and Hispanic
>New Yorkers by lowering their quality of life.
>The suit also accuses the city of violating various state
>environmental laws, city administrative codes, and an
>agreement with the Federal Department of Housing and Urban
>Development under which it accepted more than $4 million in
>block grants to help finance Operation Green Thumb, the
>program under which many of the community gardens were
>While the Giuliani Administration declined to comment yesterday
>on the civil rights actions, the Mayor's aides have long maintained
>that the city has met all of the legal requirements to sell the gardens.
>Since the 1960s, the city has allowed residents to transform
>vacant lots into gardens with the understanding that the properties
>might one day be sold.
>In the lawsuit led by the New York City Environmental Justice
>Alliance, the plaintiffs contend that the city needs open green
>space far more than development.
>The lawsuit is accompanied by an affidavit from Andrew
>Beveridge, a demographics expert hired by the plaintiffs,
>who says that his analysis of census data for neighborhoods
>in which gardens are to be put up for auction shows that those
>neighborhoods have the city's heaviest concentration of minority
>There are nearly 700 community gardens throughout the city.
>The gardens up for auction on Thursday are expected to generate
>a wide range of bids. The most valuable properties are in the
>East Village and Lower East Side of Manhattan and include a
>site on East Third Street and Avenue C for which bidding is
>scheduled to start at $264,000.
>Those who choose to take direct action to stop the sale
>of community gardens on May 13 will be using a
>powerful, time-honored means to demonstrate their will
>and resolve.
>>From the lunch counter sit-ins of the Southern civil rights
>movement to the recent protests at One Police Plaza,
>nonviolent civil disobedience has been proven both
>politically effective and personally empowering.
>But for first-time participants and well-seasoned activists
>alike, the prospect of being cuffed and jailed can be
>frightening. This guide is designed to let you know
>what you can expect if you are arrested, and what you
>can do to make the arrest process go as smoothly as
>1) Bring valid identification that includes proof of
>your current address
>2) Give your name and contact information to one
>of the legal support people at the protest
>3) If you are on medication, bring it in the
>container that has the prescription on it, but be
>forewarned that the NYPD often refuses to allow
>arrestees their medications [the administration
>is changing this policy, but the change is not yet
>4) Notify a friend or loved one that you will be
>participating in the civil disobedience action
>When we are arrested, police officers will handcuff
>our hands behind our back. Try to notice and remember
>as much as you can about what's happening, including
>the name and/or badge number of your arresting officer,
>who will remain with you for much of the arrest process.
>If you are in pain or being hurt while cuffed and arrested,
>definitely state calmly and clearly that you are being hurt
>and how. If you choose to go limp, clearly tell the police
>"I am not resisting arrest."
>Legal supporters/observers can help by bringing pen
>and paper and writing down the name and number
>of the officers and who they have arrested, the nature
>of the arrest, and should try to stay in contact with
>arrestees for as long as possible while not crossing
>boundaries and getting arrested themselves.
>>From the action site, we'll be taken in groups to
>different precincts for processing.
>Each of us will be asked to provide identification,
>including proof of address -  if you don't have
>proper ID, it will take much longer before you are
>released. You can use a phone or utility bill as proof
>of address if you also have some form of photo ID.
>If you are an out-of-state resident and you have ID
>that reflects your reason for being in NYC (like a student
>or work ID), bring that as well.
>We may be photographed and/or fingerprinted,
>and we may be locked into holding cells at the precinct.
>We may be questioned by detectives at the precinct.
>Say as little as possible - state clearly that you will
>not answer questions without your lawyer present,
>and that should be the end of the questioning.
>The only questions you should answer without
>a lawyer present are the factual ones like name,
>address, and occupation.
>In civil disobedience arrests, the charges tend to
>be minor ones -- violations or misdemeanors. It is
>very unlikely that we will need to post bail.
>We have volunteer lawyers lined up to represent us,
>both on the day of the action and at any future court
>dates. In many cases, especially if this is your first
>arrest, the charges will be automatically dismissed
>if you stay out of trouble for six months. If you are
>eventually convicted of the charge(s), the likely penalty
>will be community service or a modest fine.
>It can be anywhere from 4 to 24 hours before we
>will be released from custody.
>Usually, participants in nonviolent civil disobedience
>protests like the May 13 action are given a "desk
>appearance ticket" at the precinct and released.
>If so, we'll have to go to court at a later date, about
>a month after the arrest.
>There is a possibility, however, that we will be
>"put through the system," which means spending
>the night in jail. If so, we'll be transferred to central
>booking at 100 Centre Street and will be arraigned
>there in the morning.
>Arraignments are the initial court proceeding
>at which arrestees are notified of the charges
>they face, and asked to make a plea. Plead not guilty.
>There may be options, but unles you feel absolutely
>confident about your decision, pleading not guilty will
>give you time to consult with a lawyer and carefully
>consider your decision.
>The May 13 Stop the Auction action will send a powerful message of
>protest against the Giuliani Administration's undemocratic,
>short-sighted plan to sell our scarce and treasured green
>spaces. Whether or not you choose to get arrested, by
>taking part in this event,  you will be supporting a greener
>and more democratic city for us all.
>1) Eat a full meal before the protest -- it could be some
>time before you can eat again. You might also bring a
>small snack in one of your pockets, but there's no
>guarantee it won't be taken away.
>2) Bring a small paperback or other reading material
>that fits in your pocket -- jail gets boring. Otherwise, don't
>bring anything unnecessary, and don't wear or bring
>anything valuable.
>3) Wear comfortable clothes. If you have long hair,
>tie it back so it doesn't get pulled.
>If you have any questions, please give us a call at
>(212) 330-6851 or (718) 399-9425.
>John Marzulli, "City to Allow Sick Arrestees Their Rx Drugs"
>        DAILY NEWS May 9, 1999
>The Giuliani administration has drafted new procedures that would
>allow prisoners awaiting arraignment to keep their prescription
>drugs, including AIDS medication, the Daily News has learned.
>The new policy is part of a settlement of a 1992 class-action
>lawsuit, which challenged unsanitary conditions at 10 city jail
>facilities and the overall lack of medical care.
>The issue was highlighted last fall, when cops arrested more than
>100 marchers at a Manhattan rally protesting the murder in
>Wyoming of gay college student Matthew Shepard.
>Some of those arrested were HIV-positive and were deprived
>of the drug cocktails they desperately need to fight off the deadly
>If they missed even a single dosage, the disease could have
>developed a resistance to the medication.
>"The existing policy is when someone is arrested, their prescription
>medication is voucehred. Period, end of story," said Steven
>Fishner, the city's criminal justice coordinator.
>"The new policy balances the inmate's need for access to
>medication against the security and medical concerns of the
>agencies responsible for their safety," he added.
>Under the new policy, if prisoners are carrying required
>medication with their names on prescription labels, they will
>be taken to a hospital emergency room, where a doctor will
>evaluate their condition.
>The emergency room doctor can allow prisoners to keep
>their medication while in detention or issue a new prescription
>if there's any suspicion that the medicine may not match the
>"A physician makes a medical decision . . . [that] it is
>necessary to take a dosage," Fishner said.
>When the prisoner returns to a pre-arraignment holding cell,
>an emergency medical technician there will supervise the
>ingestion of medicine.
>"The city has created medical screening units, but what was
>left was the medication issue," said Susan Hendricks, director
>of litigation for the Legal Aid Society.
>"Even if the system functions perfectly, it often takens more than
>24 hours to be arraigned, and someone with AIDS can have a
>problem if they don't take their medication on schedule."