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Call For Occupy and Anonymous to Defend People's Park From the 1%
by Operation People's Park
Thursday Dec 19th, 2013 6:39 AM
The University of California has hired San Francisco real estate mogul Robert J. Lalanne to redevelop People's Park. The UC's plans include the removal of many of the trees and plants. The UC will take total control of landscaping and gardening of People's Park, making it illegal for the public to participate in public gardening, ending 44 years of volunteer gardening. It is believed that initial steps to control the Park will occur over winter break, such as a primary wave of foliage removal.
Operation People's Park

This is a call for tree sitters and Occupiers to defend the Park. Tree sit actions in People's Park have defended the Park in the past, but the UC is upping the ante, and new tree guardians are urgently needed. Occupiers are also needed as ground support to assist any tree defenders.

This is a call for transparency/data/journalism activists who can do do FOIA requests for development plans, including activists who can follow the chain of funding for the redevelopment of People's Park. It is theorized that the redevelopment of the Park is in part being guided at Federal levels. Activists are needed to get at emails, and internal documents outlining the attack against People's Park.

The UC has been 44 years of history is going to be transformed into a Park dominated by business interests. The Telegraph Business Improvement District (TBID) has been privy to the drafting of the People's Park redevelopment plan, but park activists and gardeners have not been allowed into the closed meetings between the UC and the TBID. Robert J Lalanne has stated that Bryant Park will serve as the model for the People's Park redevelopment, but New York's Bryant Park forbids bicycle riding and gardening, and even forbids photography without a permit (http://www.bryantpark.org/plan-your-visit/rules.html). Bryant Park is owned by a corporation, in which regular community members cannot participate in decision making; the Bryan Park Corporation is dominated by the 1% elite. The future of People's Park will follow suit, with a People's Park Corporation dominated by the UC and major business interests.

In January, as students return from break, Robert Lalanne takes position as the UC vice-chancellor in charge of redeveloping the Park. In preparation for his arrival however, it is strongly believed that the UC will begin clearing the park over the winter break.

The UC states it wishes to reduce crime in the park and surrounding neighborhood, but the only plans the UC has involve removing trees and plants. There is no plans for mental health assistance, drug rehab, or homeless support to rehabilitate and assist the homeless population in the Park. The park is going to be graded to be flat, and the foliage will be reduced; destruction of a local ecosystem in the name of public safety.

The 44 year history of resistance and creativity is under siege by the 1%. It is necessary to Occupy People's Park. The UC has been divesting from education, and has been putting money into real estate projects and development schemes, at the loss of classes and professors. Rather than focusing on its educational mission, the UC is pooling it's dwindling resources into a new battle for the control of People's Park.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Joe Carella
Friday Dec 20th, 2013 11:03 AM
The information concerning Bryant Park in New York City contains some serious errors, which I will address here.

1. Yes, you cannot ride a bike in Bryant Park. That's a rule that's in effect in 99 percent of New York City's parks. Bicycle riding is only permitted in larger parks like Central, Prospect, Flushing-Meadows, and van Cortlandt. Bryant Park is about six acres (most of it a lawn in summer and ice skating rink in winter) and receives 6 million visitors a year. Its paths are not designed for bicycle riding, nor would this likely be a desirable or enjoyable endeavor for any cyclist.

2. Yes, you cannot garden in Bryant Park. I am not aware of any New York City public park that permits citizens to plant their own vegetation and design their own landscaping.

3. Yes, Bryant Park requires a permit for COMMERCIAL photography. Not only does that comply with rules in New York City's other parks, but rules that apply to ALL public property, such as sidewalks, streets, and subways. There is absolutely no prohibition on visitors taking photographs or video.

4. Bryant Park has always been--and will always be--a public park owned by the City of New York. It is not owned by a corporation. Bryant Park Corporation is a not-for-profit entity that rehabilitated and manages the park. The organization has a board of directors, which includes ex-officio members like the mayor and city parks commissioner. The park is financially self-sustaining, which has helped free up municipal funds for other parks in the city.

5. "Dominated by the 1% elite?" Hardly. Bryant Park is dominated and populated by local, national, and international visitors of all ages, races, and creeds and nearby office workers and residents (some of them homeless), who enjoy a pleasant environment with scores of FREE activities and amenities, including ice skating, petanque, table tennis, concerts, and film screenings, or just a place to sit and relax. Corporate sponsors are not permitted to hold private events, or to impede public access at any time. This is one reason why Bryant Park no longer hosts Fashion Week.

6. Bryant Park maintains an active social media campaign in which it interacts with hundreds of patrons throughout the year. The staff is always looking to improve the park environment, and welcomes the public's input. The staff also responds to written letters, emails, and telephone inquiries. It also recently began using a crowd-sourcing website that allows users to submit ideas for things they'd like to see in Bryant Park.

It is perhaps interesting to note that on more than one occasion, Bryant Park was an OWS meeting point.