Making noises about sanitation, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has given notice to the Occupy Wall Street protesters camped at Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park that they’re going to have to give way to some cleaning machines on Friday. Might there be another, not-so-squeaky-clean agenda at play here?
Salon’s Justin Elliott takes stock, noting a vaguely worded request for NYPD assistance from the park’s corporate owner, Brookfield, submitted to Bloomberg’s HQ.
Update: The Chicago Tribune reported later on Thursday that OWS plans to push back on Bloomberg’s cleanup bid.
The letter from Brookfield to the city, which I’ve posted below, argues that “conditions at the park have deteriorated to unsanitary and unsafe conditions” and requests “the assistance of the New York City Police Department to help clear the park” for inspection and cleaning.” The letter then continues, ambiguously:
Once we have completed our cleanup and maintenance, we would ask that the Department assist Brookfield on an ongoing basis to ensure the safety of all those using and enjoying the park.
That line could be interpreted as a request to permanently evict the occupiers. The letter also claims that having mattresses and sleeping bags in the park violates Brookfield’s rules. So the city’s pledge that protesters will be able to return — but only if they follow Brookfield’s rules — could be interpreted as a de facto eviction announcement.
Also worth remembering here: Bloomberg’s longtime girlfriend, Diana Taylor, sits on the board of Brookfield.
Flickr / Seema K K (CC-BY-SA)
Cleanup or setup?: Some supporters of the OWS protest at Zuccotti Park (that would be Liberty Square) call bull%$@# on Bloomberg’s cleanliness crusade.