DC Statehood Greens urge to Council to halt the sell-off of public properties
THE DC STATEHOOD GREEN PARTY
For immediate release:
Statehood Greens compare the public property land-grab to demolition plans for DC libraries, accuse the city of placing developers' demands over education, housing, and other human needs
WASHINGTON, DC -- DC Statehood Green Party leaders will join District of Columbia Grassroots Empowerment Project (Empower DC) <http://www.empowerdc.org> and other DC organizations and residents at the Wilson Building on November 7 to demand that the City Council of Washington, DC stop selling off public property.
"Council members want to unload public property -- which belongs to all of us -- by selling it to developer cronies at fire-sale prices," said Jane Zara, DC Statehood Green steering committee member, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (SMD 1D01), and co-plaintiff in an injunction to stop the demolition of Benning Library. "Public property is not disposible 'surplus.' There are numerous ways that such properties can fill community needs, such as housing and community centers."
"We support a transparent process that allows for new uses of public properties, and we demand an end to back-door emergency legislation that creates a public property land-grab for wealthy real estate and development lobbies," said Ms. Zara.
On November 7, At-Large Council Member Carol Schwartz will conduct a Committee on Workforce Development & Government Operations hearing on "surplussing public property." On September 18, DC Statehood Green Party members were among the 150-plus residents who flooded City Council urging a halt to the sale of public property
"The Council and the Mayor's office are treating public property the same way they're treating public libraries, placing the demand for developers' profits over education and other human needs," said TE Smith, Ward 8 Statehood Green. "Six years ago, the same principle motivated Mayor Anthony Williams to dismantle DC General Hospital, the District's only full-service public health care facility, which led to a major health crisis and a scramble to replace DC General's services. Council has apparently learned nothing from the DC General disaster."
DC Statehood Green leaders have strongly opposed the City's plans to demolish the West End library in Ward 2, the Benning Library in Ward 7 <http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org/press/press.php?annc_id=197§ion_id=2>, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington, DC <http://www.savedclibraries.org>. One proposed alternate site for the central downtown library is the Carnegie Library, which has only a fraction of the space of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library ("D.C.'s central library may return to its historic roots," The Washington Business Journal, October 26 <http://washington. bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2007/10/29/story4.htm>l).
"Democrats and Republicans in city government are making good on the contributions they receive from developers, real estate firms, and other corporate lobbies by handing them the valuable land that sits under our libraries, schools, and hospitals and other public properties," said TE Smith. "This is why we need to elect public officials that don't take corporate money. Statehood Green candidates do not accept corporate campaign checks."
Empower DC has urged adoption of a process "for residents and city agencies to identify space needs, generate community input and identify new public uses for available properties. These uses should be limited to the provision of government services, community development and space for community serving organizations.... [A]fter this community process is completed, the city can issue requests for proposals for construction, development, and lease of the property for the provision of identified services. DC is breaking its own laws by failing to have a complete inventory of public property, a Master Facilities plan, and a Master Planning Advisory Panel. Until DC complies with these laws we demand a moratorium on the disposition of all public property. The public cannot afford to lose more of its valuable public assets."
The DC Statehood Green Party
District of Columbia Grassroots Empowerment
DC Library Renaissance Project
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