NWBCCC Organizers' Communique on the Armory Struggle
ARMORY VICTORY: STOPPING BAD DEVELOPMENT, SETTING FORTH FOR A BETTER FUTURE by Organizers Abby Bellows and Ava Farkas On Dec. 14, 2009 the City Council voted to disapprove Related's plan for the Armory 45 to 1. Never before has the council voted down a development project sponsored by the Bloomberg administration. This decision has the potential to change the way development is done in NYC and make sure the Bronx is treated with the value it deserves in the future.
Mayor Bloomberg killed this project by refusing to negotiate in good faith with the Bronx City Council members pushing our case. We hear that over the weekend he pulled any plan for living wage off the table. Nothing else was ever offered to the Bronx in negotiations -- no community space, no recreation facilities, and no union neutrality. We knew the proposed development would cause 10,000 new cars to enter our community in an area ridden with asthma and force local businesses to close, with hundreds losing their jobs. This was a bad plan for the Bronx and our elected officials showed tremendous courage and backbone today by drawing a line in the sand and demanding respect for the people of the Bronx.
We should all feel extremely proud of our contributions to this campaign. This is an example of how ORGANIZING WORKS and the tremendous organizing activities of the clergy and community over the past 13 years were essential.
But our work is not over. This is only a partial victory because we still must win what we set out to accomplish: a high road, responsible development in the Armory and schools on 195th St. And we must win dignity for all low-wage workers by passing some living wage legislation.
There is lots of press links on yesterday's news at: http://ourarmory.org/articles/list.php?id=29
We also need to remain vigilant this week that the Mayor does not try to veto the city council's decision. We can help to do that by taking the offensive in the media. We should expect that there will also be backlash from the building trades in the press. If you can be a press spokesperson, please let me know.
We will keep you posted about next KARA meeting & our victory party!