Protests Against NYC’s Mass Killing of Canada Geese in Public Parks; Support Grows Across the U.S. to Let Geese Live

Protesters Flock to Bloomberg's East Side Townhouse

A Walk in the Park Blog reports on Monday evening’s (August 9th) protest in front of Mayor Bloomberg’s townhouse condemning the Mayor’s support for killing up to 2000 resident Canada Geese in NYC public parks and spaces over the last two years.

The recent incident that raised people’s ire – and awareness – was the gassing of close to 400 Canada Geese which called Brooklyn’s Prospect Park home on Thursday, July 8th in the middle of the night. This was carried out with no public notice, no discussion, no transparency.

At Monday’s action, protesters were only allowed across the street from the Mayor’s East 79th Street townhouse. He was inside at the time with guests but left at one point directly encountering activists.

While our Mayor cites “air safety,” this is a ruse. Killing these resident geese will not make air travel safer. The birds that collided with the famous Flight 1549 which safely landed in the Hudson were migratory geese. Even so, are we supposed to kill every bird in the sky? We can keep birds away from the pathways directly near the airports through habitat modification; we can also track migratory patterns and track birds via radar.

We need to remember that we need to adapt to the birds; they do not have to adapt to us. Canada Geese deserve to live on this earth. We can’t keep making them move from place to place. They lived quite well and in harmony with people and other species at Prospect and other parks. It is readily forgotten that these birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As their numbers have increased; unfortunately, so has our appreciation for them.

On Thursday, August 12th at 12 noon, there will be a protest/rally at New York City Hall in support of the geese and against killing.

Recent CNN piece on support for Canada Geese.

Photo: Geoffrey Croft / NYC Park Advocates

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Previously on WSP Blog:

* Why did New York City approve a massacre of 400 geese in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park?

* The Killing of the Prospect Park Geese: Part I

NY City Council to hold Public Hearing Monday, Feb. 9th Regarding Banning use of Artificial Turf and Additional Testing on Rubber Mats

The Parks & Recreation Committee of the New York City Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, February 9, at 10 AM in the Council Chambers at City Hall around eliminating use of artificial turf in NYC parks and fields (already in ‘play’ in over 90 locations!) and requiring temperature testing (and possibly banning) of “safety surface” (you know, those rubber mats that kids have burned their feet on…) before further usage. Both are being considered for use at Washington Square Park in Phase 2 of the Park’s redesign.

Meeting details and link to actual resolutions:

Details: Int 739 – By Council Members Baez, James, Gioia, Mark-Viverito, Gonzalez, Palma and Arroyo –

A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to prohibiting the use of certain synthetic turf on surfaces used for recreational purposes.

Int 896 – By Council Members de Blasio, Lappin, Barron, Brewer, Gerson, Gonzalez and James –

A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring signage warning of heat dangers of playground mats.

Int 918 – By Council Member Stewart –

A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the surface areas of playgrounds and playing fields.

Res 1782 – By Council Member Mark-Viverito – Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to amend Section 399-dd of the General Business Law to allow municipalities to enact local laws regarding playground equipment and the
Department of Parks and Recreation to require a temperature test for all equipment installed in parks and playgrounds, including safety surfacing, and to prohibit such materials from being installed that pose a health or burn danger to exposed skin.

Street Artists Protest Gerson-sponsored Vending Bills Friday, November 14th at City Hall

The “Gerson-Quinn Agreement” that NY City Council Member Alan Gerson (Washington Square Park is in his district) and Speaker Christine Quinn (Quinn covers the neighboring Village district) brokered was weak and gained little for the community they both represent.

At City Hall, a few weeks ago during the term limits hearings, Alan Gerson would never state his position on the matter. Yet, it came as no surprise to anyone that the day of the crucial vote he fell in line with Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn, and voted for the legislation which would extend his own term.

So now Alan Gerson is on the attack of New York City’s street artists.

Info from Robert Lederman, President of A.R.T.I.S.T.:

400 Street Artists Will Protest at City Council Hearing on Vending

Press Conference and Protest: Friday, November 14, 9 AM City Hall (East Gate)

On Friday, November 14th, the NY City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs will hold a hearing on 8 of 21 pending laws concerning vending and street artists pushed for by City Council Member Alan Gerson.

If passed, these laws will make it virtually impossible for anyone to legally sell art on the street. More than 400 street artists will protest outside at 9 AM and then testify inside at the hearing at 10 AM.

Other City Council members to contact to register your opposition to these bills:

* Lacey Clarke, Legislative Counsel Committee on Consumer Affairs New York City Council Phone #: 212.788.7006

* Leroy Comrie, Consumer Affairs Committee Chairman
District Office Phone 718-776-3700
Legislative Office Phone 212-788-7084

Contact: Robert Lederman, President of A.R.T.I.S.T.: artistpres -at- gmail.com

You can get detailed info on all of the newly proposed vending laws at the ARTIST website.

Note: It was impossible to find a good photo of Alan Gerson on Flickr so I resorted to this one. No disrespect meant to Council Member Gerson.

Game On, Mayor Bloomberg

Much focus on the national election today. And a lot of electricity in the air. All warranted of course. But it’s hard not to think that NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg scheduled his signing of the overturning term limits legislation for Monday, November 3rd when he knew that any news reported, today – Election Day – that wasn’t about, well, the election, would be somewhat obscured. Smart guy, our Mayor.

Except I can’t help thinking that he has overreached. He plotted every last aspect of this elaborate scenario. He maneuvered the system like no one’s seen in a long time. Mr. Bloomberg lined up the media editorial boards, fellow corporate CEOs, reluctant billionaires, compliant charitable groups which receive the benefit of his personal fortune, and 29 New York City Council members to go along with his master plan. And he accomplished his goal: the chance to install himself (with the help of $80 million dollars) for another 4 years of unprecedented power to “finish” what he started and couldn’t quite seem to push through in eight years.

I’m sure our billionaire Mayor is thinking that next year, his last year under this second term, and then the next four, will be like his previous seven.

He’d get away with his deceitful maneuverings to replace the city we know with the affluent, bland city he envisions. His under-functioning agencies would stay under the radar.

The media would continue to only talk about how great he is.

If something went wrong that fell under the domain of city governance, they wouldn’t link him to it by name.

The people who might raise a ruckus about it – mostly community groups – didn’t have the power to really get anyone’s ear. And so it goes.

Except, what if it didn’t?

What if this “game changing moment,” as Letitia James defined it on the day of the City Council term limits vote, is “game changing” for our Mayor?

Yesterday, he sat through four and a half hours at City Hall listening to the people, a large percentage of whom were very angry. They didn’t mince words. They told it like it is. As today’s New York Times article stated: “during the bill signing, a man unaccustomed to direct, public criticism endured a heavy – and very harsh – dose of it from those he governs.” Mr. Bloomberg probably figured he had no choice but to endure it (public comment is part of every bill signing) and this will be over – people have short memories, he memorably said – after this one day.

Except, what if it isn’t?

There was a young man who spoke yesterday at City Hall, David Tieu. His picture is in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, and The New York Post. His testimony was show stopping. He said “look at how I’m dressed” which was supposed to signal something about his work but I wasn’t certain what. I read in the paper today that he is a deliveryman. He expressed how he had to drop out of City University when Mayor Bloomberg imposed further cuts onto the CUNY system (City University of New York). He stepped away from the mike and he pointed at Mr. Bloomberg and said: “You’re Public Enemy Number One! That’s all I have to say. To hell with your agenda!” Most of the stories didn’t go into that agenda leaving out mention of the whole having-to-drop-out-of-school thing and what his issue with Mayor Bloomberg is. Mr. Tieu took the day off from work to address the Mayor personally.

Josephine Lee of Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side critiqued Bloomberg’s rezoning plan for those and other neighborhoods, saying “all you’re doing is displacing working class communities and communities of color.”

Under Mayor Bloomberg, there have been more rezonings of neighborhoods than in the previous five administrations combined. Typically, these rezonings lead to displacement of long time residents and businesses. Replaced by shiny glass buildings, high rents, “luxury” housing, big box chain stores, more privatization and corporatization of, well, just about everything, and more shiny people. The kind Mr. Bloomberg likes.

What gave me hope about yesterday, this game changing moment, is, at last — in a public forum — hearing the stories that each individual told … seeing people’s faces, people coming together, people at last having a place to say what is so wrong with this Mayor and, yes, his agenda.

Game on.

Chance to Address Mayor Bloomberg on Term Limits Mon. November 3rd, 9:30 a.m., City Hall

You might recall that Mayor Bloomberg dismissed the two days of public hearings held by the City Council on term limits as a chance for the people to “emote” and admitted he didn’t listen to any of it. He will however sit through public testimony on Monday, November 3rd before almost assuredly signing the bill — which the Council passed (at his, um, request) to overturn term limits — into law. The public is invited to speak at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall before our billionaire Mayor. If you plan to attend, I suggest you get there early.

The New York Times reports today: “Public to Give Mayor Earful on 3rd Term:”

The bruising debate over term limits is not over — yet.

Starting at 9:30 a.m. on Monday at City Hall, members of the public will be given two minutes each to tell Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg face to face, why they favor or oppose legislation that would permit him to seek a third term. It is not known how long the hearing will last.

It will be the first time that Mr. Bloomberg will be present for a public hearing on the legislation, which will allow him and dozens of elected officials in the city to serve 12 years, rather than 8. New York voters approved the current term limits in two public referendums in the 1990s.

Mr. Bloomberg will listen to the discussion during a bill-signing ceremony.

So, do you think Mayor Bloomberg will stack the room with supporters as he did during the public hearings?

An excellent Village Voice article this week by Tom Robbins, “Bloomberg’s Term-Limits Coup,” outlines the coup’s “heroes, villains and wimps.” He asks:

… who was that mystery man sitting in the Subway sandwich shop across from City Hall on the first day of the hearings? The guy with the cash-filled envelope doling out dollars to those who showed up early to grab front-row seats and wave pro-Bloomberg signs?

Another good article by Errol Louis in the 10/30 Daily News “A limit to voters’ patience: Bloomberg power grab looks worse by the day.”

Robbins concludes: Bloomberg and Quinn may have carried the day, but you had to believe they bought themselves a world of future political pain in doing so. As any tinpot banana republic generalissimo will tell you, the next coup is always around the corner.

Bloomberg heckled as he leaves City Hall – “chased” by protesters

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

Interesting the reports that as Mayor Bloomberg left City Hall yesterday after the vote, he was surrounded, even “chased,” by “protesters.” I would have been interested in witnessing that. I’m fairly certain our billionaire Mayor has not encountered this much to date. People are so convinced that he has a “high” approval rating, “protesters” have mostly left him alone. But, alas, this may all change. The Mayor may finally see that there are repercussions for his manipulative actions.

Metro reports:

After yesterday’s vote to extend term limits, Mayor Bloomberg issued a statement praising the City Council for giving “the people of New York a fuller choice” in the 2009 election.

But as he left City Hall a group of protesters chased him shouting, “Sellout!

“I had not seen that before,” said civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel, who’s part of one legal team weighing court challenges to yesterday’s vote. “That’s just the beginning.”

In the Daily News (at the top of the paper’s two pages of coverage was a banner which read: “Mike Gets His Way“), it was reported that the Mayor was scheduled to talk to the press about the outcome of the vote on City Hall steps but had to abort those plans as “detectives hustled him into his SUV when angry demonstrators yelled, ‘Bloomberg hates New York!'”

And in last night’s online article in the New York Post, the writers also stated that the Mayor was “chased” by protesters as he went to his SUV and that his face turned “red” as he climbed into the vehicle. Today’s version is just a bit different, stating, “On his way out of City Hall last night, Bloomberg was swarmed by a throng of protesters shouting, “Democracy for sale!” and “Bloomberg hates New York!

I’d surmise he should expect more of that.

While employees in a corporation … for example … Bloomberg, L.P.? … cannot publicly criticize and deride their bosses (and keep their jobs), citizens in a democracy can still protest the disturbing and unethical actions of their elected officials. Even ones who have bought their way into office.

Christine Quinn announces Public Hearings on Term Limits Thurs. Oct. 16 and Fri. Oct. 17

Christine Quinn and friend

Christine Quinn and friend

From NY City Council Speaker Christine Quinn:

Thank you for taking the time to voice your thoughts and views on term limits.

The Committee on Governmental Operations, chaired by Council Member Simcha Felder, has scheduled two public hearings on this matter.

The first hearing will be held on Thursday, October 16th at 1:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (2nd Floor).

The second hearing will be held on Friday, October 17th at 10:00 a.m. in the Committee Room at City Hall (2nd Floor).

Individuals who wish to give testimony may do so by registering at either hearing. Written testimony is strongly encouraged and can be submitted at the hearings or mailed to Matt Gewolb at New York City Council, 250 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10007. Testimony can also be submitted electronically to testimony -at- council.nyc.gov.

To view the legislation being considered and to receive updated information, please visit the New York City Council’s website or call (212) 788-7210.

Thank you again for voicing your thoughts and views on term limits.

Sincerely,
Christine C. Quinn
Speaker

WSP Blog Note: It is believed the City Council has been instructed by Mayor Bloomberg to do this all quickly and therefore will vote the following week.

Rally. City Hall Steps. This Sunday 10/5. Noon. And… 2 p.m.

This just in… NY City Council Member David Weprin is holding a Rally to Protest overturning of Term Limits (you know that bill that Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn are about to put into play) this Sunday, October 5th at 12 noon. City Hall Steps.

Update October 4: Lawyer Norman Siegel (who ran for Public Advocate) and “The People Have Spoken” Coalition are also holding a rally/protest at 2 p.m. about this issue with a slightly different theme. Sunday, October 5th. Same location: City Hall Steps. 2 p.m.

Attend one or both.