An Open Letter To Mayor Mike Bloomberg
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
As a 21-year resident of Manhattan... I am asking, begging, demanding... Shut down the protest in Zuccotti Park today.
OWS is a public health problem. - Based on my personal observations, the resident population of the park has at least doubled in the past month. I witnessed fleas on people. FLEAS. Tents now choke the pathways through the park making a casual stroll through this Privately Owned Public Space impossible.
It's time to end this before someone dies in the park... (Vancounver and New Orleans have started a body count, I don't think you want NYC to join that club.)
The allegations of rapes and rampant sexual assaults forced construction of a women-only tent that operates as capacity each night. Does this even require further explanation? Crime is a problem, you can clean it up.
Tobacco is being distributed freely. - A station has been set up for rolling cigarettes and handing them out anyone who wants a smoke. Free cigarette distribution? Allowing this to continue is a tacit endorsement. Mr. Mayor, you have been one of the strongest critics of tobacco use this country has ever seen. Your efforts to make smoking illegal in NYC have been roundly criticized by smokers and personal rights advocates (like myself), but you did not care about the critics when it came to smoking. Have you changed your mind on this?
Children have been seen in the park. Are they living there? I personally witnessed more than two little people (presumed to be under the age of two) coming out of tents with what I assume to be a parent or guardian. Considering the weather conditions, lack of running water, lack of proper bathroom facilities, endless noise, smoke and reports of crime - why hasn't Child Protective Services established a presence in the park to protect those who cannot protect themselves?
Dogs are living in the park. - At least six dogs can be seen living with the tent-dwellers of Zuccotti Park. Can cramped spaces like the small "survival" tents really offer proper conditions for man and animals to coexist?
Businesses are operating without licenses or taxes being collected. On the south side of the park, a custom t-shirt business has been set up and was doing a brisk business. I purchased this shirt on Tuesday night... There are also at least two other tables of pre-printed shirts available for sale.
The overtime pay to provide ample police presence "just in case" is also something our city cannot afford. And the law-abiding, tax payers of the five boroughs should not be expected to foot this bill.
My regular visits to lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park have produced a hard drive's worth of pictures and video that will be used to document the events of the OWS movement. However Tuesday afternoon's visit has inspired me to BEG you to shut down the park and force the protesters to move.
The basic American right to protest and speak out has nothing to do with allowing people to create autonomous societies inside of our cities, societies that operate outside of the recognized laws of the land. For the sake of the city, the majority of NYers, and your own mayoral legacy - do the right thing - shut down the protest at Zuccotti Park.