So the top 1% now want to revoke the Constitution, it appears, or at least the right to public assembly. This story ran earlier in the week on WNYC:
Property owners are moving to change an old zoning law that has allowed anti-Wall Street protesters to camp out in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan around the clock.
A 1960’s era zoning rule gave developers zoning concessions in return for building public plazas that would be accessible 24 hours a day. This rule has since changed so that new privately built public spaces may close overnight; however, the plazas built under the earlier rule were not affected and still kept open 24 hours.
Real Estate Board President Steve Spinola said his organization, which represents institutions and people involved in NY real estate, will request a zoning change that will allow those plazas built under the 1961 rule to close at 1 a.m. “I do believe that plazas should have the right to shut down at a certain time because they were not meant for camping out,” he said
The good news is the story adds, “…changing the rule retroactively for plazas built under the old rule is expected to be a lengthy legal process.”
Nevertheless, this is clearly an effort to shut down Occupy Wall Street. The meeting tonight is not that of the full committee; this is of the “Quality of Life” subcommittee, which is apparently not happy with the protests. Their complaints are two fold. The first is that there is drumming at night, which bothers people who live in the area. I find this objection disingenuous, since when I visited OWS, there had been for at least a week street repairs that started right before the General Assembly every afternoon involving jackhammers. It was a clear move by the city to interfere with OWS. There is no way any drumming is louder than the jackhammers.
The second complaint is that there is alleged defecation. That’s because there are pretty much no bathrooms available when local merchants close at night and the city has refused to allow OWS to rent Port-a-Potties.
In addition, Steven Spinola is the long time head of REBNY seems to take an unduly proprietary attitude toward New York City public space. The REBNY is influential because virtually all real estate agents at brokerage firms are required to join. Spinoza is known for trying to push a right wing agenda through the REBNY; during the health care fight, for instance, he sent frequent anti-reform rants and action steps to the membership.
If you live in the area, pleas attend the meeting and tell them that these problems should go to Bloomberg and the head of the Department of Transportaion, Jeannette Sadik-Kahn, who have refuse to let OWS have facilities as a way of shutting them down.
The meeting details. OWS appears to be the first agenda item, so try to be on time:
Combined Quality of Life and Financial District Committees – 6:00 PM
Location: New York State Assembly Hearing Room
250 Broadway, 19th Floor
1) Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park – Discussion and possible resolution