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Statehood GP protests DC public property giveaways, urge passage of Thomas Bill

DC Statehood Green Party join protest against public property giveaways to developers, urge DC Council to pass the Thomas Bill (17-0527)

  • Statehood Greens demand that Franklin Shelter be kept open
  • Rally to save public property organized by Empower DC in front of the Wilson Building, 9 am on Tuesday, Sept. 16

DC Statehood Green candidates and leaders called on Mayor Adrian Fenty and other District public officials to end their efforts to sell off and give away public properties, including public school facilities, libraries, shelters, and parks.

Statehood Greens plan to attend a rally on Tuesday, Tuesday, September 16, at 9 am in front of the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW.  Empower DC (http://www.empowerdc.org), which has organized the event, has announced plans to pack the Council Chambers after the rally and demand passage of Council Bill 17-0527 (“Public Land Surplus Standards Amendment Act”), introduced by Councilman Harry Thomas (Ward 5) and supported by Phil Mendelson (At-Large) and Kwame Brown (At-Large).

“The closing of DC schools is motivated by a land grab and by the privatization agenda, which seeks to replace public schools with charter schools.  We saw the same backroom deals at work when the city began closing libraries.  The city’s Democratic political establishment, with a few notable exceptions like Harry Thomas, care more about business cronies than our children,” said David Schwartzman, Statehood Green candidate for City Council At-Large (http://www.davidschwartzman.com).
Statehood Greens expressed special concern over plans to close the Franklin Shelter, and demanded that the homeless facility be kept open.

In February, Ward 7 activists, including Statehood Green Party leader Rick Tingling-Clemmons, learned that the city was conducting private meetings with developers to replace the ward’s Benning Library with a shopping center.  Local residents were shut out of the meetings.  Mr. Tingling-Clemmons is a plaintiff in the lawsuit to save the library.

“The Thomas Bill upholds the principle that public property should be used for community needs, rather than for the corporate profits.  We — the residents of Washington, DC — own these properties,” said Chris Otten, who ran for Mayor on the DC Statehood Green ticket in 2006.

“There are lots of ways we can use our publicly owned properties — homeless services and shelters, child care, before- and after-school care, services for children with special needs, transitional housing and permanent affordable housing, health care, literacy programs, training for jobs and workforce readiness, senior services, gardening and green spaces, recreation.  It’s outrageous that Mayor Fenty would rather transfer them to his friends in the Federal City Council and other well-connected and powerful real estate and development interests,” added Mr. Otten.

Statehood Greens cited a list compiled by Empower DC of public schools, libraries, and other public facilities that have already been closed and turned over to private owners and developers, or are slated for such use:

Property / former use / is now or will be:
• Randall School / homeless shelter / art gallery and luxury condos
• Wormley School / school / condos starting at $1.3 million/unit
• Gage School / school / Parker Flats condos
• Pierce School / school / condos
• Lovejoy School / school / condos
• Adams Morgan / school / condos
• Berret School / school / condos
• Carbery School / school / luxury lofts
• Bryan School / school / luxury lofts
• Giddings School / school / Results Gym
• Mather Building / UDC building / condos
• Arthur Capper / public housing / parking lot for the new baseball stadium

Property / current public use / proposed private use:
• Franklin School / downtown men’s shelter / boutique hotel
• Kingman Park / park / charter school
• Poplar Point / park / retail, stadium, condos, offices
• Barry Farms / public housing / mixed income housing
• West End Library / library / condos/library
• Benning Library / demolished library / unknown development (possibly a shopping center)
• Clark Elementary / public school / charter school
• McMillan Reservoir / green space / retail, condos

Bill 17-0527 would create a process to ensure that public properties are used to expand government services (new libraries, fire stations, homeless services etc); to replace the 3 million square feet of space currently rented by DC government at a cost of $110 million with space that is publicly owned; and to serve community needs and promote community development (small businesses, community marketplaces, affordable housing, space for nonprofit organizations serving the community, etc).

MORE INFORMATION

DC Statehood Green Party  http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org

Empower DC (People’s Property Campaign) (not affiliated with any political party) http://www.empowerdc.org

2008 DC Statehood Green candidates http://www.statehood4dc.com/home
• Joyce Robinson Paul, for US Representative http://www.statehood4dc.com/jrpaul/home
• David Schwartzman, for Council, At-Large http://www.davidschwartzman.com
• Louise Thundercloud, for Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives http://www.statehood4dc.com/thundercloud
• Keith Ware, for US Senator http://www.statehood4dc.com/ware/home
• Cynthia McKinney, for President of the United States http://www.runcynthiarun.com
• Rosa Clemente, for Vice President of the United States http://www.rosaclemente.com

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