Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ridgewood Reservoir Due for Makeover Joe Anuta -

Read original...

One of many holes in the dilapidated chain link fence that surrounds Ridgewood Reservoir allows access to the patch of wilderness. Photo by Joe Anuta
Construction could begin soon on new fencing surrounding the Ridgewood Reservoir despite objections from members of the community and borough lawmakers.

The contract has been awarded to a Maspeth construction company for $6.4 million, according to the city comptroller’s database, and the work is set to be complete by the end of the year.

But several members of Community Board 5 criticized the city’s plan for the renovation, citing unnecessary spending and inadequate protection of wildlife.

“I’m trying to fight them, but the contract is already awarded and registered in the comptroller’s office,” said Steve Fiedler, chairman of CB 5’s Parks Committee. “Nobody wants to listen.”

One of Fiedler’s objections shared by the rest of the board is that the proposed fence, at 4 feet tall, is too short and would invite trespassers into the natural enclave.

“Right now there is an 8-foot fence and they can’t keep [people] out of there,” Fiedler said.

There are innumerable holes cut into the current chain link fence that surrounds the three basins of the reservoirs. Some have been patched, but many still allow unencumbered access to the basins.

Fiedler said people also dump garbage and have been known to play paint ball in the wooded areas of the reservoir.

A representative from the city Parks Department said the new fencing will allow visitors to see the basins.

“New steel bar fencing around the perimeter and fencing of historical reference near seating areas between basins will allow visitors visual access to the natural environments in the basins,” said the representative, who asked not to be identified.

Currently, the 8-foot tall fence allows park-goers to see the park only through the wires and is overgrown with vines in many places.

The city will also combat invasive species like phragmites, a reed that takes over in watery soil, which have plagued the park over the years.

Fiedler and the board also took issue with the type of fencing.

The park currently has more than 4,000 feet of historic, wrought-iron fencing in and around the basins, Fiedler said. In fact, the fencing was so elaborately crafted that the city made a model of it to use in Central Park in Manhattan.

“You cannot get fencing like that anymore,” Fiedler said, lamenting the fact that the vintage metal will likely be thrown away or melted down.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) also had objections to the department’s plan to install new lighting.

The city plans on installing lights along the path at 15-foot intervals. There are currently dilapidated lampposts located on the outside of the path, but the city’s plan would move them to the inside and install a shade that would shield the animal and plant life from the lights at night.

“We could save money by building on the existing side,” Addabbo said. “I’m not an engineer, but ... I’d like to respectively disagree with the Parks Department.”

The contract is currently under review by city Comptroller John Liu.

In 2008, former city Comptroller William Thompson rejected a plan to turn the reservoir into sports fields.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott Pulled Over by Cops, Now Cops Under Investigation By Yoav Gonen and Chuck Bennett -

Read original... 
It's not surprising to me that Walcott didn't hear the turn signal, he never heard NYC public school parents when they complained about Joel Klein and the NYC Public School system when he was Deputy Mayor...
Two cops assigned to an elite Queens anti-crime unit are facing an Internal Affairs probe for allegedly not properly identifying themselves after pulling over Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott in his city-issued vehicle, officials said yesterday.
Walcott, who is credited with creating the NYPD's "Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect" slogan in the early '90s, complained directly to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, sparking the investigation, officials said.
Shortly before midnight Thursday, the two cops, a police officer and a sergeant, pulled over Walcott, who was not driving, a few blocks from his Cambria Heights home, for what sources described as having tinted windows and making a left turn without signaling.
"When Chancellor Walcott asked the officers to please tell him why they had been pulled over, the officer responded that they had failed to use a turn signal. Chancellor Walcott told the officers that this was incorrect as he heard the turn signal," confirmed his spokeswoman, Natalie Ravitz.
He also identified himself as the schools chancellor and former deputy mayor, Ravitz said.
"After the officer ran the license and plates, the officer returned the driver's license and said they were free to go. At this time Chancellor Walcott asked the officer for her badge number," Ravitz added. "The officers were in plainclothes and did not identify themselves."
Neither Walcott nor his driver was ticketed.
The two officers told Internal Affairs last night they did provide their shield numbers and accused Walcott of being difficult.
" 'You have no right to pull us over,' " Walcott allegedly barked according to the officer, sources said.

Longtime Community Board 12 Head Adjoa Gzifa Gets the Boot by Clare Trapasso - NY Daily News

Read original...

The controversial head of a southeast Queens community board has been tossed from her post by a local councilman.
Adjoa Gzifa, 64, of Jamaica, speculated that City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) decided to end her 16-year run on Community Board 12 due to disagreements on various board issues.
Comrie declined to comment on why she was booted. "I'm not airing that in the paper," he said.
Gzifa, who served as the chairwoman of the board for three years, made headlines when she refused to support renaming a Jamaica street after slain police officer John Scarangella. The board shot down the renaming, which the Council then overrode.
She was also one of only two board members who voted against renaming a swath of Liverpool St. after Sean Bell, a bridegroom killed in a hail of police bullets.
"It stinks," Gzifa said of not being reappointed to the board. "I believe I served my community well. The fact that [Comrie and I] can't agree to disagree is disturbing to me."
Gzifa was quick to point out that she was reelected as chairwoman by her peers in December.
She found out about Comrie's decision on April 8, she said, a day after Community Board 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick was involved in a car accident. Reddick is recuperating from non-life threatening injuries at Jamaica Hospital.
Jacqueline Boyce, the interim chair, said Gzifa will be missed.
"I'm saddened by the fact that she was not reassigned to the community board," Boyce said. "She proved to be a good leader and a good organizer."
But Gzifa had her detractors.
Valerie Bell, 55, the mother of Sean Bell, said the board could benefit from more sympathetic leadership.
"I know you can't name a street after everyone who's done something in the community," she said. "But it's time to have a heart for these things."
Board members are volunteers who can influence local projects and city budgets. Half of the Queens members are appointed by Council members, while the others are picked by the Borough President.
Gzifa, who is the director of the Workforce Education Center at LaGuardia Community College, said she doesn't plan to fight Comrie's decision.
"Just because I'm not on the board doesn't mean I'm going to shut up," she said. "I'm going to continue to speak out against everything that's ill in our community."

NYC DEP Punked by the Yes Men by Lissa Harris - Watershed Post

Read original...

No, the sticker above -- which, according to the Wall Street Journal, has been spotted near public faucets around New York City lately -- isn't the work of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. It's part of a pretty slick anti-fracking campaign, complete with a website ( dressed up to look almost exactly like the DEP's actual site. There's also a fake "DEP" video, with instructions on how to tell if your water is safe. (Hint: Try to set it on fire.)

The stickers, and the official-looking fake website that goes along with them, appear to be the work of the Yes Men, a group of activist merry pranksters that specialize in the art of the well-played anti-corporate hoax. Just last month, they gulled the Associated Press into running a story declaring that General Electric would be returning its $3.2 billion tax refund to the U.S. government. And back in 2000, they famously impersonated the World Trade Organization via a fake website ( that earned them an invitation to speak at a seminar on international trade in Austria. (A rather extraordinary drama then unfolded, in which the Yes Men's "WTO representative" spoke at the seminar, was hit in the face with a pie, and subsequently "died.")
Regular Watershed Post readers might recognize the name: The Yes Men were canonized just a couple of weeks ago, along with local anti-fracking activist and radio personality Sabrina Artel, in a ceremony conducted by the Rev. Billy Talen (himself a fellow anti-corporate prankster who performs exorcisms on cash registers, backed up by a gospel choir in full regalia).
Though DEP officials were quick to disavow the stickers, the anti-fracking sentiment behind the stunt isn't too far from their real views on the subject. Department officials aren't big fans of the idea of doing horizontal drilling for natural gas within spitting distance of the city's watershed. From a statement on the DEP's actual website:
While DEP is mindful of the potential economic opportunity that this represents for the State, hydraulic fracturing poses an unacceptable threat to the unfiltered water supply of nine million New Yorkers and cannot safely be permitted with the New York City watershed.
Photo by Flickr user prizepony. Published under Creative Commons license.

Hearing on the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) Program - News from Melissa Mark-Viverito

Read original...

TALE OF TWO CITIES: Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates, called the distribution of Park Enforcement Patrol officers a "tale of two cities," as he went through different parks on the map and illustrated a disparate allotment of officers to each at a City Council hearing on Wednesday. (Tara MacIsaac)

Melissa chaired a hearing on the City Council’s Parks & Recreation Committee on Wednesday regarding the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) program.  The hearing focused on the disparities in the allocation of PEP officers among different parks and communities as well as workplace issues faced by the officers.
PEP officers are unarmed peace officers, who enforce the rules of our parks and are empowered to issue summonses for quality of life offenses, as well as disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of weapons. They also review park facilities for health and safety issues. There are currently 92 PEP officers to cover over 28,000 acres of parkland, with an additional 83 officers that are contracted by conservancies and other private entities to work in specific parks. There are often just a few at-large officers on duty at any given time for the entire borough of the Bronx, whereas in a single park in communities of greater means, there might be a dozen.
Melissa and other members of the committee stressed the need for more resources for the PEP program so that these officers can cover more parks, particularly at a time when the City is seeing an increase in crimes committed on parkland. Melissa also highlighted that the practice of contracting with private entities that are able to purchase increased security from the department while the majority of other parks go unsupervised sets up a two-tiered system in our public parks.
The hearing also focused on the issues that PEP officers face as a workforce. Several officers came to testify about the difficult and dangerous jobs they do, including doing car stops and removing homeless individuals from parks, without the help of the NYPD or the Department of Homeless Services. They asked for greater numbers of PEP officers and more support to help make our parks safer.
In the coming months, the Committee plans to hold another hearing jointly with the Public Safety Committee on crime in parks, which will continue to examine these issues.
Coverage of Wednesday’s hearing:

Rep. Edolphus 'Ed' Towns’ Statement on the Death of Hope Reichbach

I am deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of Hope Reichbach. She certainly was a rising political star with so much talent and a genuine concern for the community she passionately served. More importantly a life with so much promise has been cut short at such a young age. Brooklyn has indeed lost a tremendous gift. My prayers go out to Judge Gustin Reichbach and his family, as well as to the staff of Councilman Steve Levin”.

Ridgewood Democratic Club Meeting on April 29th - Meeting Theme "Earth Day and Our Environment"

On Friday, April 29th the Ridgewood Democratic Club held their regularly scheduled monthly meeting at their historic 100 year-old clubhouse on Putnam Avenue in beautiful downtown Ridgewood.

The meeting was chaired by the amicable Jim Grayshaw, President of the Club. Assembly Member Cathy Nolan led off the agenda with a recap of happenings in Albany.

The theme of the meeting was Earth Day and our environment.

The first speaker was Shiobhan Ciresi who spoke on the issue of chemtrails (geoengineering). Her presentation was entitled “Chemtrails Worldwide Phenomenon Happening in Long Island and NYC Skies”. It was a fact-filled, thought provoking talk on this insidious threat being posed against mankind and Mother Earth by this technology. For more on her work, visit her website, Operation Humanity Transcending. Sign her petition by clicking here.

Here's a YouTube video by a friend, Sallie Elkordy, from Queens,of the Peace and Freedom Party on this phenomenon over our area. Visit Global Skywatch, for additional information...

The second presenter was Edie Cunningham who spoke on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) seeds and their wide-spread use in American agriculture by large corporate interests led by Monsanto Chemical Corp. Recently over at the Grist, David Roberts has published a provocative essay on the GMO's that I would recommend that anyone interested in the subject read.

Both speakers fielded numerous questions from the assemblage after their presentations.

The last speaker was Monica Sui a constituent of the 15th Senatorial District and an intern with the Human Rights Campaign, who provided details about her recent meeting with Senator Joe Addabbo on the Marriage Equality matter that may be considered during this legislative session. She informed the members that Senator Addabbo is looking for guidance on this matter from his constituents and she urged that everyone please contact his office voicing their support for this important civil rights initiative. Senator Addabbo can be reached by phone at 718-738-1111. For the record, local clergy and myself accompanied Monica during her meeting (pic from meeting) to Senator Addabbo's office.

The meeting ended with coffee, cake and pleasant post meeting conversation.

The Club's over 100 year old building recently sustained extensive water damge from the rainy spring and needs intensive repairs of the roof and ceilings. Therefore,  I would urge one and all to attend the RDC's Annual Dinner Dance on May 18th at Riccardo's by the Bridge in Astoria. 

Click on image to enlarge and print

Friday, April 29, 2011

They're Coming for Roe on Vimeo - Center for Reproductive Rights -- First, it was the health care battle. Then it was the budget battle. Now, anti-choice lawmakers are trying to deny women insurance for abortion and allow hospitals to let women die. Where does this lead? Where will it end?

The most aggressive anti-choice attack in years is underway in the U. S. House of Representatives with a series of bills that invade women’s private health decisions. These actions represent a huge step back for women and the most vicious attack on women's health and rights in several decades.
The Huge Step Back campaign is taking these threats head-on by:
  • Aggressively tracking bills targeting women's reproductive rights;
  • Analyzing proposed bills for constitutional rights violations;
  • Meeting and educating lawmakers on Capitol Hill and advocating against attacks;
  • Providing supplemental testimony to hearings on anti-choice bills;
  • Arming you with tools to fight back against the anti-woman, anti-child, and anti-health attacks coming from Congress.

Let there be no confusion about these bills. Their main target is women, and their goal is to intrude on how women make decisions about their own medical care. 

NYC Parents Union Sues Bloomberg for $100 Million for Cathie Black "Crony" Appointment

For disclosure purposes, I am a member of the NYC Parents Union

"This Mayor Has Committed Misfeasance and Our Children Have Suffered" 

Advocates for Justice, a public interest law firm, today filed initial papers for a civil lawsuit against Mayor Michael Bloomberg on behalf of a class of all New York City public school parents . The Mayor is charged with committing "misfeasance of office" through the appointment of Ms. Cathleen P. Black as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and thereby damaging the education of public school children in the City of New York.

The 14 Claimant parents, along with the newly formed New York City Parents Union, are demanding $100 million in compensatory damages from Mr. Bloomberg personally as the individual now held accountable under New York State's education law for the performance of the public education system, as well as a public apology from the Mayor for his handling of Ms. Black's appointment and brief tenure in office.

A Notice of Claim setting forth the nature of the lawsuit was filed today by Advocates for Justice with the Office of New York City Comptroller John Liu. This legal action -- possibly the first of its kind in the history of New York City -- claims that the Mayor had or should have had full knowledge of Ms. Black's inability to perform at an appropriate level in the position of Chancellor.

Section 3(f) of the Notice Claim states that "Michael Bloomberg, as Mayor, has a fiduciary obligation to act with the utmost of prudence and responsibility in running the New York City school system. He either knew, or should have known, that the appointment of Black was not in the best interests of the system, but he appointed her nonetheless. By so acting, Michael Bloomberg breached his fiduciary duty to the parents of all school children in New York City public schools and is guilty of 'misfeasance of office.' "

The parents want Mayor Bloomberg to place $100 million of his own money – or approximately $1 million for each day of Ms. Black's nearly 100-day tenure -- into a fund used exclusively for the training and development of teachers and supervisors as compensation for the damage to the morale and performance of staff and teachers, which therefore impaired the education of students.

Arthur Z. Schwartz, attorney for the Claimants, emphasized that the Notice of Claim was a precursor to a lawsuit against Bloomberg personally, not one against the City of New York. "The Mayor's ego, and his insistence on 'selling' the school system rather than building it from the ground up, led to this disaster. The Mayor took a lot from the City's school childrenn with this error, and he should be required to make repairs - in a sum that he is uniquely qualified to do."

Ms. Mariama Sanoh, an active Brooklyn parent who is a Claimant and a founder of the New York City Parents Union, said that Mayor Bloomberg abused his power. "When outraged parents stated that Cathie Black was unqualified to be Chancellor, Mayor Bloomberg accused us -- the real stakeholders in our children's education – of playing politics. But it was Mayor Bloomberg who abused his power by appointing someone with no education experience to lead the nations largest public school system. And it was Mayor Bloomberg who played politics with the New York State Education Commissioner to get unqualified Cathie Black approved for the job. The Mayor has committed misfeasance and our children have suffered. There have to be consequences for these bad choices."

Ms. Shino Tanikawa, a Claimant and member of Manhattan's Community Education Council 2, demanded consistency in how education matters are treated. "Accountability has been the foundation of Mayor Bloomberg's alleged "reform" agenda, yet he himself has not been accountable to us for any of his misguided decisions. Our children have suffered his arrogance and egotism enough, and we, the parents, demand that the Mayor now be held accountable."

Central Brooklyn parent Muba Yarofulani is a founding member of the New York City Parents Union, Co-President of the Coalition for Public Education (CPE), and President of the District 18 Presidents Council. She objected to Mayor Bloomberg's dominance over the public education system. "The 1.1 million students in New York City's public schools deserved a qualified Chancellor. Mayor Bloomberg refused to hear the cries of parents from communities like mine; we knew that Cathie Black should not be appointed. This Mayor's dictatorship over our education system is failing our children, and I am one of those mothers who will continue to battle his wealth and political might. Mayor Bloomberg must be held accountable for his failures. Our children must see that there are consequences for the rich just as there are for the poor."

Ms. Mona Davids, a Bronx charter school parent, and a founder of the New York City Parents Union, pronounced Mayor Bloomberg's behavior as corrupt. "Outside of New York City, when an elected official appoints a friend, family member or crony with no relevant experience to a high profile job, it is called 'graft' and an abuse of power," said Ms. Davids. "Mayor Bloomberg's appointment of his friend, Cathie Black, without first conducting a national search or ensuring that she had the
qualifications to lead the nation's largest school system, was pure corruption and disrespectful to NYC parents, students and educators. Mayor Bloomberg's appointment showed our children that, even when you are not qualified for a job, it's not what you know but who you know."

Hon. Chris Owens, a Brooklyn Claimant and former Community School Board President, focused on the need for unorthodox measures. "This Mayor has bought three elections, including a third term in office! The political process has not provided recourse for concerned parents because the Mayoral elections have been corrupted by the power of money. So we have to do something to show everyone that the disastrous ramming of Cathie Black down our throats warrants more than a few days of critical media stories. The Mayor owes this City and he has the means to compensate our public education system for a portion of the harm that he inflicted upon it."

Ms. Julie Cavanagh is a teacher in Brooklyn who supports the parents' lawsuit. "I am glad to see legal action being taken directly against Mayor Bloomberg. Mayor Bloomberg speaks about accountability for schools, students and teachers, but never is he held accountable for the disastrous and devastating decisions he has made for our schools and our children. It is time for this Mayor to be held accountable. As if over-testing, overcrowding, and overtly ignoring the voices of stakeholders were not enough, Bloomberg appointed and vigorously defended a Chancellor we all knew was unqualified for our children. The Mayor's actions have caused irreparable harm to our school system, and it is time for him to answer to the people he was elected to serve."

A copy of the Notice of Claim may be requested by contacting Chris Owens.

May Day Call For Working Class Unity In NYC: Unions-Immigrants To Combatby PeoplesVideo - YouTube

April 26, 2011 joint press conference on the steps of NYC City Hall joined the May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights with the Labor & Immigrant Rights & Jobs for All Coalition. The two coalitions announced plans to conduct a joint rally in Foley Square after the May 1st Coalition led march to the downtown site from Union Square. They announced intentions to combine forces in a post May Day battle against the forces of austerity and repression that have declared war on the whole working class.

Audrey Pheffer Resigns District Leader Position - Long Time Chief of Staff Jo Ann Shapiro Voted in By 23rd AD Committee

Assembly Member Audrey I. Pheffer resigned her position as female District Leader last night during a meeting of the 23rd Assembly District Committee held at Carosello Restaurant in Howard Beach. She will accept the position of Queens County Clerk on May 12th.

A new female District Leader, Jo Ann Shapiro was elected by an unanimous decision by the Committee.

The committee was chaired by Assembly Member Vivian Cook, and Queens Democratic Party officials Michael Reich and Frank Bolz, Jr..

In attendance and speaking in favor of Shapiro's nomination were state committee member for the 23rd, Joseph P. Addabbo and, male District Leader Frank Gulluscio.

Also in attendance were City Council members Leroy Comrie and Ruben Wills.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Yorkers to Wall Street on May 12: Make Big Banks & Millionaires Pay


National Movement Connects the Dots to NYC, Demands Reform and Fair Share in Taxes from Financial Sector
A growing coalition of community, labor, and progressive groups announced today plans for a week of events starting May 9th, calling for Mayor Michael Bloomberg to end taxpayer-financed giveaways to Wall Street and ask for fair-share taxes from millionaires to mitigate his proposed budget cuts. The week of action will culminate in a major mobilization in Lower Manhattan on Thursday, May 12.

The coalition, uniting under the banner “Make Big Banks and Millionaires Pay” will contrast the corporate welfare, property tax giveaways, and seemingly endless local and national tax cuts enjoyed by the financial sector with Bloomberg’s proposed cuts to childcare, classrooms, public safety, and dozens of other services working New Yorkers rely on.

“The big banks wrecked our economy and are back to making billions in profits and lavish bonuses, while the rest of us are still cleaning up the mess they created,” said Mary Brosnahan, the Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless. “Now Bloomberg has a choice: ask Wall Street bankers to contribute their fair share to fixing New York City, rather than enacting devastating cuts to working families.”

The organizers promise more than a typical “rally” on May 12
th, with a day of diverse, creative actions across the downtown financial district. Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers, said: “On May 12, tens of thousands of New Yorkers will descend on Wall Street, creating a giant school without walls throughout the financial district. Together, we will educate our city and expose the people and institutions that are destroying our jobs and our economy, and the politicians who are letting them get away with it.”

The week of actions coincides with a growing national movement by communities increasingly questioning the practices of the financial industry and fighting back against attacks on working people. “We are connecting the dots from the big banks that crashed our economy, destroyed millions of jobs and foreclosed on millions of family homes to the human impact here in the financial capital of our country, ” said Michael Kink, Executive Director of Strong Economy for All Coalition.

As the week of action approaches, organizers plan to release new data detailing the tax breaks and giveaways New York City doles out to the banking industry, as well as the effect of Wall Street-caused foreclosures on New York’s communities and tax revenue. “When New Yorkers see the skewed choices this city has made, it is no longer an abstraction,” added Kink. “Homeless shelters are bursting at the seams, and child care and senior centers are closing down -- not because we have gone broke, but because Bloomberg has chosen to spend hundreds of millions in subsidies for the people who need it least.”

The following community groups and unions have joined the May 12 coalition (list in formation):

Center for Children Initiatives
Center for Working Families
Citizen Action of New York
Coalition for the Homeless
Community Voices Heard
Housing Works
Make the Road New York
New York Communities for Change
New Deal for New York Campaign
Organization for a Free Society
Picture the Homeless
United Students Against Sweatshops
Urban Youth Collaborative
1199 SEIU
CWA 1104
CWA 1180
CWA District 1
Professional Staff Congress – CUNY
United Federation of Teachers

Learn more at
On Facebook:
On Twitter:

Anti-Walmart Flash Mob Strikes Again - Walmart Free NYC & Jobs for Justice

A Few Weeks After Focusing on Related Co., the Flash Mob Disrupts Wal-mart CEO Mike Duke Appearance in Bryant Prk

Activists Promise to Continue Disrupting Wal-mart and It's Partners

On April 27, Walmart CEO Mike Duke visited New York City to have breakfast with the Wall Street Journal and a roomful of corporate elites. Everyday New Yorkers weren't invited. But we have a lot of strong opinions about his plans to take over our city and flood it with poverty wage jobs. So we decided to throw him a little surprise party, brass band in tow!

A hundred singing and dancing activists converged on Bryant Park on Wednesday to protest Walmart for its record of mistreating women, African Americans and Latinos and the LGBT community, and to confront Walmart CEO Mike Duke in person.

New York Jobs with Justice and members of the Walmart-Free NYC Coalition, including RWDSU, the Retail Action Project, New York Communities for Change, and Make the Road NY, held up yellow frowny-face masks and surrounded the windows of the Bryant Park Grill, chanting “Walmart cheats, Walmart hates, Walmart discriminates!” for nearly an hour as Mike Duke spoke inside.

Amid the chanting, a brass band loudly performed a dance number in front of the windows called "Mr. Walmart," modeled on Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff,” with a drag-clad Lady Liberty telling a performer dressed as Mr. Walmart on stilts, "Who do you think you are?/ Mr. Walmart/ You’re never gonna get my love."

“Walmart can spend as much money as it wants to buy its way into New York,” said Javier Valdes, Deputy Director of Make the Road NY, one of New York City’s largest community organizations. “But that doesn’t change the fact that Walmart doesn’t share New York’s values. They have settled a lawsuit for discriminating against black truck drivers, fired Latino workers who complained about being called racial slurs, and is facing the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history.”

Walmart is reportedly looking to open many stores throughout the five boroughs. One possible location is the Gateway II development in East New York, Brooklyn, which is being developed by the Related Companies, who was the focus of the first Anti-Walmart flash mob. The site was subject to a lengthy community planning process, and Related’s recently reported move to introduce a Walmart into those plans without community consent have raised a flurry of opposition from concerned residents, community organizations and local elected officials.

At a recent Housing Preservation and Development hearing, concerns were raised that the City-sponsored appraisal of the land was incomplete.

According to event organizer Austin Guest of NY Jobs with Justice, “If Walmart opens stores in our city, there is no indication that they will stop their track record of killing local jobs, treating workers poorly, and eliminating competition from responsible employers. We will keep following Walmart and its allies to make sure that New Yorkers know what Walmart will bring with them into New York.”

For more information, visit

Victims of Gun Violence to Mayor Bloomberg: Condemn Wal-mart for Increasing Gun Sales

Wal-mart’s Cure For Struggling Sales? Reverse its Decision to Stop Selling Rifles, Shotguns and Ammunition at Many U.S. Stores

Communities and Families Plagued by Gun Violence Call on Mayor Bloomberg, a Strong Anti-Gun Advocate, To Tell Nation’s Largest Seller of Firearms it is Not Welcome in NYC

Victims of gun violence and leaders and families in communities plagued by gun violence, along with New York City elected officials, today denounced Wal-mart’s decision to sell more rifles, shotguns and ammunition at hundreds of stores nationwide after removing them from many stores five years ago.

Wal-mart’s decision comes after 7 consecutive quarters of same store sales declines in the U.S., which has spurred the retailer to pursue an aggressive urban expansion plan into New York City including a location in East New York, a neighborhood plagued by gun violence.

In 2008, Wal-mart enjoyed a major public relations boost when it announced it would participate in Mayor Bloomberg’s Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership- a move even the NRA derided as nothing more than a “public relations stunt.”

The families of gun violence victims urged the Mayor to be as serious as he says he is about preventing firearm deaths before they happen, by telling the nation’s largest firearms dealer that it is not welcome in New York City.

Jackie Rowe Adams from Harlem Mothers Save said, “The mayor needs to step up and renounce Wal-mart’s awful decision. We have seen what guns have done to our communities, and bringing in a Wal-mart to our communities would send the wrong message- that we condone their gun sale policies which put people’s lives in danger.

Parents United to Rally for Gun Violence Elimination (PURGE), founder Freddie Hamilton said: “I hope a strong anti gun advocate like Mayor Bloomberg will recognize a disastrous decision when he sees one and calls on Wal-mart to stop. We need fewer guns on the streets, and Wal-mart’s decision will only mean more guns on the streets.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said:"As the largest seller of firearms and ammunition in America, Wal-Mart does not belong in New York City. I urge Mayor Bloomberg to continue his leadership on gun control by joining the fight against Wal-Mart coming to our City.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said:“The Wal-mart charm offensive ends today with news that the conglomerate plans to expand considerably the sale of weapons and ammunition. We know that the bullets that killed six people and wounded a United States Congresswoman in Arizona were purchased at Wal-mart, and now the retailer wants to make ammunition more accessible in both rural and urban markets. If the city wants to remain a leader on gun control, we need to take a hard stand against Wal-mart’s decision and make it clear that any corporation that looks for new markets to sell guns and fosters a culture of violence is not welcome in New York."

Councilmember Tish James said: “Any commercial establishment that sells guns by the truck-load does not belong in New York City. Guns are a scourge in New York City and no one sells more guns than Wal-mart, they don’t belong in our city.”

Councilmember Charles Barron: "East NY is plagued by the scourge of gun violence. And at the same time that Wal-mart is trying to buy their way into New York, they are quietly starting to sell guns and ammunition again. This is Wal-mart once again going back on a promise they’ve made because of their terrible sales, what other promises will they break?"

Councilmember Jumaane Williams said: "The gun violence in my district cannot be ignored and it cannot be accepted. Wal-mart bringing stockpiles of guns and ammo into our city would be a public safety hazard of the most heinous kind. This is the opposite of what we need to end gun violence in my district and in the City. Wal-mart is a company that will put lives in danger in order to turn a profit and I will not stand by and watch this happen without a fight."

When it comes to gun control and gun violence prevention, Wal-mart doesn’t appear to share New York’s values:

  • Firearm sales: Wal-mart is the # 1 seller of fire arms in the US and takes in millions in profits from gun sales.
  • Arizona: Wal-mart sold Jared Lee Laughner the ammunition he used in the Arizona shooting earlier this year, as was widely reported in the news media.
  • Evading Laws: Wal-mart has a history of not complying with gun laws. In 2004, Wal-mart paid more than $14 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the California Attorney General alleging that the company committed thousands of violations of California state gun safety laws, including selling ammunition to minors and selling firearms to convicted felons, as was reported by the news media at the time.
  • Wal-mart’s Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership is a sham: The partnership relies on voluntarily compliance, and there are no actual obligations for Wal-mart to comply.