Posts Tagged ‘rvafoodnotbombs’

The First Will Be Last: On Monroe Park

By Derek Jones (Food Not Bombs member)

wpid-photo-full.jpeg

Editors note: This essay is a creative essay. Neither the author nor the publishers would ever promote illegal activity. But we do promote keeping Monroe Park Public, Open, and Free by Any Means Necessary! You figure it out. This is a slightly edited version of a statement read at the Land Use Committee meeting this week, where the committee made the bad choice to move the Monroe Park Lease to Council for voting. We hope to see you all out on Monday March 24 to STOP this plan.

The Master Plan for the Monroe Park renovations says that, “50 years of crime and vagrancy have tainted Monroe Park’s reputation” (pg. 1). and that the park needs renovations because of the “[…resurgence in popularity of many of the surrounding residential neighborhoods, retail corridors, and the recent increase in enrollment at VCU” (pg. 1).

But this plan is not driven by the increasing need for public, open space in Richmond.

Alice Massie said before City Cuoncil on February 18th, that this plan isn’t about “excluding any type of people or demographic”, but anyone that read the plan knows that is not true.

A permit requirement that is to be issued at the discretion of the Monroe Park Conservancy and a charge of $35 per application for an event will keep feeding and clothing distribution groups from having access to the park.

The Conservancy may well decide that the park needs to be fenced off for an unknown amount og time during renovations, thereby preventing anyone from using it.

Alice Massie would have you believe that the renovations plans are about building fields for plauing quoits and pentanque because they are popular pastimes among park goers in Liverpool, England, about allowing certain vendors the opportunity to sell coffee and pastries in the park, and about cutting down 62 trees and replacing them with 80 new “canopy tree” species that were there 110 years ago because for an unexplained and expensive reason, 1904 is heralded as the “golden age” of Monroe Park.

But the sprucing up of the park detailed in their plan is incidental to it’s main purpose: The displacement of the homeless, the Blacks, and the poverty ridden. I say “Blacks” because according to a 2009 survey by Homeward, out of more than 1,000 homeless Richmonders they surveyed, more than 2/3 identified as African American or People of Color, and it is no secret that Monroe Park is on the outskirts of a “white” part of Richmond.

Page 55 of the plan dismisses the notion that chronically homeless citizens of Richmond are valid and stable park users, calling them instead “transients”, reading, ” Park goers generally fall into 2 groups: VCU students and transients”. It says that Monroe Park WAS (as in used to be) a site for Churches and Community groups to feed the needy on weekends, that as many as 50 people could be waiting in the park on weekends. There were actually about 400 people waiting on food or clothing this past Saturday, and people provide services in the park on weekdays as well.  The plan also says that “though the hiring of a park keeper in 2007 has helped to deter homeless feedings, that park remains a popular gathering place for Richmond’s homeless population during the day” (pg. 55).

Most disturbingly, page 61 of the plan for renovations  says that “[privately financed park managers] must make frequent visitor counts, with special attention paid to female/male ratios… The ratio of non-homeless to apparently homeless ones must be at least 75-100: 1 to draw female visitors in great numbers” (pg. 61).

If you approve the Conservancy’s plan to lease Monroe park you will be declaring Class War on all of Richmond. We will Occupy the Park indefinitely. Instead of petanque and quoits fields, we will plant vegetable gardens, fruit and nut trees. We will march through your neighborhoods and we will expel you from your restautants, grocery stores, and homes as you have done to us. You will become residents of Monroe Park, and you will be treated as second class citizens there because in our kingdom the first will be last and the last will be first.

keepmonroeparkopen

Advertisements

image

Yea, so that happened at the Land Use Committee Meeting today. Also the committee voted to forward the Monroe Park Lease item to Monday’s Council Meeting.

VRandMPAC

For folks who are unclear about the connection between Venture Richmond and the Monroe Park Conservancy (previously MPAC) and their efforts to privatize Monroe Park. 9 out of 11 MPC members are either on Venture Richmond’s board or related to someone on the board or have a board member as their boss….

All 3 city reps on the Conservancy are from the Mayor’s administration and closely tied to him as well as under his thumb.

Fixed error or previous image to call the Monroe Park Gentrifying Committee by their current moniker, the Monroe Park Conservancy.

 

From John Richmond:

https://www.facebook.com/events/631556460242950/?notif_t=plan_user_invited

On Tuesday March 18, 3pm, the City Council Land Use and Planning Committee will consider an ordinance (paper) to lease Monroe Park to the Monroe Park Conservancy (specifically named) in essentially a no-bid process. If it passes this committee it will go before the full Council on March 24, 6pm, as other events have pointed out. This paper is considered likely to pass unless other councilpersons hear about it.

All of our City Councilpeople need to be contacted on the issue. We need to tell them that while we want Monroe Park fixed up, we want it to remain free, public, and open to the public.

The main problems with the paper are (1) the no-bid process producing a public-private partnership, as Mo Karnage ably pointed out in her post from earlier on March 15 and Scott Burger among others have been educating us about for years, and (2) the idea that the city might put down $3 million of its money to fix the park but allow a private entity to close off Monroe Park figuratively or literally by charging for every event, or making some activities such as food programs, anti-war protests, pro-American flag demonstrations, or poetry readings illegal.

Please invite your friends to help in this effort as well.

See this link to find how to contact your councilperson: http://www.richmondgov.com/CityCouncil/contacts.aspx

Ok, folks, we have event pages to push. Here is one for the March 18th Land Use Committee at 3,  and here is one for the March 24th City Council vote at 6.

Both link to the petition, which we hope you all have signed. If not, please get on it. 

Join the Resistance, fight to Keep Monroe Park Public and Free, fight to keep Dwight Jones from selling out city, and to keep Vulture Richmond and Looting RVA from stealing our pyblic resources!!!!

image

Just wanted to share this photo of some of the many Richmond Food Not Bombs members who came out to the maratjon five hour city council meetig last night to take a stand against a stadium in Shockoe.
To say Food Not Bombs has good people involved is an understatement.

image

And more pictures from the meeting:

image

image

Well ok maybe it is not actually spring yet, but it felt like it today!

Here are some photos from the fun we had today around the Wingnut!

image

image

image

image

image

image