Garden Auction Is Slap at Civility; A Failed Policy Returns

To the Editor:

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani claims he will save us from the failed policy of past administrations by selling the city's community gardens at an unrestricted auction (news article, Jan. 11) and returning them to the tax rolls. In fact, he is restoring the very policy that caused so many sites in low-income neighborhoods to languish.

For decades the city sold tax-foreclosed sites without restriction to speculators. When the market did not meet expectations, the sites were abandoned. Many of the gardens appeared on these blighted lots.

Pressure from the community led the city to impose a schedule for buyers at auctions to clean, fence and develop land or forfeit it. Mr. Giuliani now plans to destory gardens that have increased property values and provided much-needed open space, in order to give speculators free rein.


New York, Jan. 12, 1999

The writer is executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
January 16, 1999, Saturday, Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section A; Page 16; Column 5; Editorial Desk