Friday, January 26, 2007

Meet The Snapple Lady. Five Bucks.

Our Public Spaces
Brought to You by Jeep and Snapple !
Any of the readers who have been to Manhattan may tell you that Union Square Park is one of the most interesting spots to visit. The Green Market ( authentic Amish!), the buskers, the artists all contribute to a slice of big city Americana that has always been New York City. Something is afoot in N.Y.C. and it is an isidious creeping up of "privatization of our public assets." On February 8, Jeep (deep pockets) and a whole "sponsor village"( read vendors paying thousands of dollars to Jeep) will be leasing the park from the Parks Department to promote their products.See Press Release

Union Square ( & the Plaza De La Constitucion) is a traditional historic forum for all citizens.

Recently, Art In The Market almost fell into the commercialism trap by suggesting that the City of St. Augustine lease to vendors, an area near the new parking garage. A jury of fellow vendors and outsiders would limit items to handmade and give priority to St.John´s County residents. This nominal lease would give vendors the ability to restrict and control. Wait a minute!, Hold on here! How easy it is to be lulled into self interests! Our public parks and right of ways should not be for sale or lease to the highest corporate or private bidder, prohibiting a citizen sector (those we choose) to utilize what is a right. Our parks are available if the price is right?? Should we relinquish our public rights to private interests? Read a favorable article about BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) Here and look for the possibility of abuse.

The City has passed ordinances prohibiting sales in the Historic Districts HP2 & HP3. (This is being challenged by a local visual artist LINK). There seems to be no restriction in other parts of the city provided there is no blockage or interference with the public´s health and safety. Why lease from the city in order to prohibit others from using public space. This is a dangerous precedent as we were reminded by Public Affairs Director Paul Williamson . Thank you, Paul

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