Why you should not vote for Mike Bloomberg for Mayor Tomorrow Election Day NYC!

Updated 1:53 p.m.

Tomorrow, Tuesday November 3rd, is Election Day for Mayor, City Council, and other races in New York City. The Mayoral election is very important. Please vote! — for anyone but Mike Bloomberg.

Here are some reasons why

* The Bloomberg Administration has shown no regard – or use for – community input, planning, and participation.  In fact, Mayor Michael Bloomberg does not care about maintaining the character and uniqueness of our city. That’s been evident throughout the “process” of the redesign of Washington Square Park and many other places – Yankee Stadium (destroyed parkland and corporation giveaways), Union Square, Willets Point, Atlantic Yards, etc. etc.  His policies are affecting the way NYC actually functions, how we relate to one another and the cultural vibrancy of the city — it goes across the board and into many spectrums.

* Mike Bloomberg has given deals to developers and corporations and in return the city is not affordable and losing its diversity. Mayor Mike’s wealth last year alone increased by $4.5 billion to $16 billion.  He may take a salary of $1 a year but, believe me, he is making it up in many other ways.

* Mayor Mike has bought off any political group, politician or non-profit he can who might dare speak against him and his policies – and unfortunately these groups and people have been easily bought.  Not to mention how the media in New York is largely in his pocketNew York magazine recently reported how the publishers of all three major dailies cater to the Mayor and are often seen at Bloomberg events, sitting together, when he beckons.

* Of course, there’s also his manipulating the overturning of voted-in term limits, but that almost seems mild (and not unexpected) compared to 8 years of the above.

Consider Bill Thompson(Democratic Party), Reverend Billy Talen(Green Party) or the guy from the Rent is Too Damn High Party! (Note: he has his own catchy song at his site! He might deserve a vote for that alone. Jimmy McMillan, Line I. — — oops. 11/6 – they changed the song at the site!) Anyone but Mike Bloomberg.

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For some great reading on why you should not vote for Mayor Michael Bloomberg (the candidate who bought himself many affiliations this election and has, over the years, switched from Democrat-to-Republican-to-Independent, based on whichever ‘served’ him), jump over to Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York Blog where he has a great entry today, “Just Say No”.

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Previous Washington Square Park Blog entry:  The Blanding of New York City: Why It’s Time for Mayor Mike to Go.

Freddy’s Brooklyn Roundhouse Cable/Internet Show Covers Jane Jacobs’ Event at Judson Church in Two Episodes

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Freddy’s Brooklyn Roundhouse is a well-produced “non-corporate media” outlet, viewed on MNN (Manhattan Neighborhood Network), BCAT (Brooklyn Community Access Television) and YouTube, covering topics such as The Atlantic Yards, media consolidation, Eminent Domain abuse, as well as changes linked to (over) development in NYC.

The program is airing a two part show from September 22nd’s Jane Jacobs event organized by Reverend Billy and held at Judson Memorial Church across from Washington Square Park.

From the release:

The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs’s most famous book, helped change the blind acceptance of urban planners and their grand schemes to remake cities into unlivable places. Jacobs ended Robert Moses’ reign of bad building and urban destruction. With the misguided development of the Bloomberg administration today, Jane Jacobs’s work is as important as it ever was. Freddy’s Brooklyn Roundhouse presents two new episodes based on readings from Jane Jacobs, filmed at the Judson Church, NYC and hosted by Green Party Mayoral Candidate Rev Billy.

The event is split up into two episodes – links below to YouTube video:

Episode 1: Features neighborhood activists, Michael Premo from Picture the Homeless, Philip Dipaolo from The People’s Firehouse and Joy Chatel, Defender of the Duffield House Brooklyn Underground Railroad landmark.

Episode 2: Features neighborhood activists, Cathryn Swan of the Washington Square Park Blog and Save Union Square, Melanie Joseph of the Foundry Theatre and Christabel Gough, NYC preservationist hero.

Bob Holman, of the Howl Festival & Bowery Poetry Club and former City Councilwoman, Carol Greitzer, are other activists who spoke at the event and were not included in the above shows, due to lack of time, but can be found here.

You can watch Freddy’s Brooklyn Roadhouse weekly Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on BCAT and Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on MNN.  Episodes are then also uploaded to YouTube.  Episode 1 aired this week but Episode 2 will air next week at the following times and places:  BCAT Tuesday Oct 20, 8 p.m., TimeWarner Cable(Ch. 34)/Cablevision(Ch. 67)/RCN(Ch. 82)Verizon(Ch. 42) and on MNN Thursday Oct 22, 8:30 p.m. TimeWarner Cable(Ch. 56)/Cablevision(Ch. 17)RCN(Ch. 83)Verizon(Ch. 34).  You can watch the shows on YouTube Episode I here; Episode II at this link.

Jane Jacobs Night At Judson Memorial Church Tuesday, September 22nd, 7 p.m.

Readings and musings by those inspired by the defender of neighborhoods – MC’d by Rev. Billy Talen and Savitri D!

Tuesday, September 22nd * 7pm to 9 PM with Afterparty to follow!

Presented by Reverend Billy Talen for Mayor NYC:

Why?: After a street in the Village was named Jane Jacobs Way –and the presiding city official of the ceremony was Christine Quinn– we learned a lesson. The legacy of our heroes will be appropriated by our opponents as a matter of strategy. The letter to Saving Coney Island by Ned Jacobs, Jane’s son, urging resistance to the Bloomberg-and-Quinn backed highrises of Coney – underscores the need to hold our values in the face of sophisticated public relations spin.

What: Jane Jacobs Night. Activists and authors read excerpts from “Death and Life of Great American Cities” and correspondence that Ms. Jacobs sent in support of neighborhood-saving campaigns over the years.

Who:

With:
Michael Premo, New York Hip Hop Festival and Picture the Homeless

Cathryn Swan, Washington Square Park Blog and Save Union Square (Yes, that’s me! Come say hello.)

Christabel Gough, NYC preservationist hero

Bob Holman, Howl Festival, Bowery Poetry Club

Joy Chatel, Defender of the Duffield House Brooklyn Underground Railroad landmark

Philip Dipaolo, The People’s Firehouse and Brooklyn neighborhood activists

Carol Greitzer, City Councilwoman, Landmarking of Tammany Hall building on Union Square

Evening is hosted by Rev. Billy Talen and Savitri D

We celebrate Jane Jacobs Night to share the personal impact that she has had on our campaigns to save neighborhood diversity here in the city.

Where: Judson Memorial Church
239 Thompson Street and Washington Square South
Take the B, C, D, E, F, or V trains to West 4th Street, or the R, W trains to 8th Street/NYU station

Free. Donations encouraged for space rental.

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More on Jane Jacobs (one of my first blog entries) and Washington Square Park here.

Union Square Partnership’s Harvest Gala v. Citizen Chefs – Union Square Park 9/18

The people come marchin' to defend their Park

The people come marchin'

Thursday night. Union Square. The setting of Union Square Partnership’s Harvest in the Square, an annual gala held by the ubiquitous BID (Business Improvement District). Although their promotional materials stated the gala would inhabit the “west plaza” of Union Square Park, in reality, they took over half of the south plaza as well, including the area surrounding the George Washington Statue. Billed as the “premiere food and wine tasting event,” tickets ranged from $125 to $400 for VIP early bird event.

The BID — the ones who want to put a private exclusive restaurant in the historic Union Square Pavilion, thereby shutting off more public space — is led by Jennifer Falk. Falk previously worked for Mayor Bloomberg. (Funny how it’s just a game of musical chairs at times.) Co-chair of the BID is restauranteur Danny Meyer.

I don’t think they were prepared for the festive arrival of Reverend Billy and assorted citizen chef/passionate public space advocates who came out to chant their message and bang some pots and pans saying ‘no giveaway of our public space’ – as we watched our public space taken over by the BID for their harvest gala.

Police And Onlookers

Police And Onlookers

Reverend Billy was arrested as was another activist – I believe both charges were “disorderly conduct.” Reverend Billy was addressing the attendees of the gala through a megaphone about the takeover of our public space when he was escorted away. The other activist had the audacity? to crumple up a flyer and throw it over the fence. A random act of (at the most) littering somehow becomes “disorderly conduct.”

People sitting around Union Square all curiously watched and eagerly took flyers which stated “Parks for People – Not for Profit.” We’ve all gotten so buttoned-down in New York. How often do you see such a creative action? All too infrequently.

Oh, and yes, our NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, was there and addressed the crowd at the gala event. I think his speech may have been, um, overshadowed by the sound of the citizen chefs (and their pots, pans, and chants) however. All too fitting.

The BIDs in more recent years have gotten more sophisticated and yet wish to appear ‘just like us.’ A part of the community. The Union Square BID is a 501(c)3 non-profit — something we link with advocacy groups, not organizations trying to promote more shopping. Around Washington Square Park, the BID – previously known as The 8th Street BID – changed its name to the Village Alliance. Doesn’t that sound neighborly?

Rev Billy addresses Gala

Rev Billy addresses Gala

Photos: #1 and 2: Quilty; #3 and 4: Cathryn

Union Square Park “Push Back Picnic” Takes on Danny Meyer and Union Square Cafe

Outside Union Square Cafe July 2ndBearing Trees!Outside Union Sq Cafe July 2ndThe “Push Back Picnic” presented by Union Square Not For Sale/Community Improvement District(CID) occurred at Union Square Park yesterday and contained a bit of a surprise for restauranteur and Union Square Partnership co-chair Danny Meyer. Union Square Partnership is the local BID(business improvement district) and has tremendous influence over what goes on at Union Square Park. It is their plan that aspires to place a private restaurant in the historic Pavilion at Union Square.

The picnic began on the lawn at Union Square near the Abraham Lincoln statue on the northern end. There was preaching by Reverend Billy, singing by Community Improvement District/”Church of Stop Shopping” choir, petition signing (to stop the building of a restaurant in the historic Pavilion and further privatization of the Park) and watermelon!

Then, a large contingent, including a marching band, carrying trees marched through the Park and along 16th Street until they came to Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe. Reverend Billy, Savitri D. and others sauntered in bringing with them the trees to the surprise of stunned diners and restaurant staff. Their message: “Union Square, Not For Sale.” The Park is pushing back.

Not surprisingly (although they were in there for a pret-ty long time), they were then asked to leave by management and also undercover policemen who came in to the restaurant from the street. After having delivered the message, Reverend Billy laid sod and trees down on the sidewalk outside the front restaurant window and put Danny Meyer on notice:

The BID has had enough influence on the Park; the community is pushing back and reclaiming our public spaces. A large sign appeared in front of the Cafe: “Union Square Community Pushes Back.” There was chanting. “Union Square. Not for Sale.” The lively group then marched and chanted its way along 16th Street back to the Park.

Really not enough of this type action goes on in our city right now. Diners seated outside at the Blue Water Grill and the Coffee Shop, both on the corners of Union Square West, watched in awe, took pictures, some chanted along.

Recap: * Union Square: Not For Sale * Yesterday’s Event

revbillypavillion 06-05-08Paul Robeson Hero of Union Square 06-05-08Crowd at Union Sq Gathering 06-05-08unionsqlinkingarms06-05-08Union Square Community Improvement District

Save Union Square 2008 gathering yesterday, Thursday, June 5th, at Union Square Park was quite the success!

Yes, there was a marching band! And a roving “Heroes of Union Square” walking tour featuring actors portraying George Washington, Paul Robeson, Emma Goldman, and Dorothy Day moving into different locations in the large space amidst the enthusiastic crowd gathered at the NorthWest corner of Union Square.

The Community Improvement District (the alternate version to how our communities can be imagined vs. the BID’s – business improvement district – “model”) table had a petition which gathered hundreds of signatures in a short time period. With marker, people wrote messages on price tags which were affixed to the construction site fence, such as “Not for Sale.”

The message:

Keep public parks public. No Private Restaurant in the Historic Union Square Park Pavilion !

Reverend Billy led the crowd with a spirited reading of the First Amendment several times to remind us – and our elected officials (like Mayor Bloomberg) – of our freedoms and rights.

City Council Member Rosie Mendez dropped by and spoke, defending her position of support for the restaurant, to a puzzled audience.

Towards the end, the crowd linked arms lining the north side and part of the west side of the fence surrounding Union Square, recited the First Amendment, and then festively marched over to the swank W Hotel, where the local Business Improvement District, Union Square Partnership (co-chaired by restauranteur Danny Meyer) was holding its annual self-congratulatory dinner. The Union Square Partnership has tremendous influence over Union Square Park and is the instigating force behind the proposal to place a private restaurant in the historic Pavilion.

It was quite an amazing scene to see people gathered around this upscale hotel with large-as-life, beautifully designed cardboard figures of George Washington and Emma Goldman, amidst the real-life actors portraying these noted figures, as well as the marching band, and raucous, impassioned crowd.

The spirit of the event was undeniable. The people inside the W in their evening attire sipping cabernet franc could not possibly have been experiencing anywhere near the vitality in the room that this diverse and dedicated gathering of people exhibited coming together to protect our public space.
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Not for Sale

PHOTOS: #1, 4 and 6: Rebecca Major
#2, 3 and 5: John Quilty
#7: Deanna

Reverend Billy & Friends give Union Square Partnership and Mayor Bloomberg a message

Union Square Park Not for SaleReverend Billy & Friends give notice to the Union Square Partnership and Mayor Bloomberg that the historic Union Square Pavilion is NOT For Sale.

A scene from last night, Wednesday, June 4th, atop the fenced-in Pavilion on the North side of Union Square amidst the construction.

The Union Square Pavilion is at the moment the site of a battle between those pushing a privatization agenda (specifically, the local BID: Union Square Partnership, led by restauranteur Danny Meyer, and Mayor Bloomberg who would like to insert a private restaurant there) and those who call for free speech, and demand that our history and our common public spaces be honored and preserved.

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We must inform the Tisch Family, the Danny Meyer’s, the NYU’s… that our Parks are Not for Sale. While also passing the word along to NYC Parks Commissioner Benepe, the New York City Council, and Mayor Bloomberg – the ones who are selling them off.

These are our treasured public spaces – our commons – and they need to remain that way.

Come to Union Square NorthWest corner (17th Street & Union Square West) TODAY, Thursday, June 5th, at 5 p.m. and join in on the fun as the Union Square Partnership celebrates itself (their annual self-congratulatory dinner is being held this evening at the W Hotel), we will celebrate and revel in our public space at Union Square Park.

* Expect marching bands, a “Heroes of Union Square Walking Tour,” community visioning sessions, and soapbox preaching.

* Expect surprises and spectacles and a glimpse of what the city CAN be.

* Come out and meet your neighbors in the square and defend the public’s right to public space.

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Some history of the Pavilion: George Washington and the Continental Army gathered at this spot in 1776. The Union Square Pavilion site was built as a stage for public assembly and democratic gathering. The first Labor Day Parade was held there in 1882. This is where our American conscience erupted in the songs of Paul Robeson, the shouts of Emma Goldman and the prayers of Dorothy Day. The 8-hour workday was born at Union Square and crowds surged before that reviewing stand in the tens of thousands. After September 11th, we gathered there instinctively in our grief and calls for peace.

What you can do NOW: Sign the petition.