THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK Dear Mayor Bloomberg, We are writing to appeal to you not to enforce new rules at Liberty Plaza that would effectively evict the Occupy Wall Street protest. Please respect the deep traditions of free speech and right of assembly that make this a great, free, diverse, and opinionated city and nation. While we do not all necessarily agree with their point-of-view, we support their right to be there, and we feel strongly that it would be a mistake for the City of New York to evict them. We agree that it makes sense to clean Zucotti Park, and to develop concrete practices to address the serious concerns of the lower Manhattan neighborhood. We were pleased to learn that discussions have taken place between local elected officials, representatives of Manhattan Community Board 1 and Occupy Wall Street toward a good neighbor agreement. We support such an agreement to improve conditions for residents, area schools, and local businesses and we ask that you support and enforce it. When you announced yesterday that the park would be cleaned, you indicated that protestors would be allowed to return, suggesting to the public and the protestors that the Occupy Wall Street protest would be allowed to continue. The new rules you are enforcing, however – in particular the prohibition on sleeping bags and gear – is an eviction notice and potentially an unconstitutional closing of a forum to silence free speech. The willingness of the protestors to sleep out overnight, and many of the temporary elements they have established – for example, the communications center and library – are fundamental expressive elements of the Occupy Wall Street protest. By enforcing new rules that eliminate these, you are abridging their rights of assembly and free speech. These traditions of free speech, public assembly, and public protest are a deep part of our American tradition, honored best of all in the civic spaces of New York City. Whether you agree or disagree with what they are saying – and we are mixed in our opinions – we believe that it would be a harmful disservice to these democratic traditions to evict them. Please reconsider the enforcement of these new rules, and work with the community board, local elected officials, and the protestors on regulations that address community concerns, but allow the protestors to remain. Sincerely, Council Member Brad Lander Council Member Letitia James Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer Council Member Daniel Dromm Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito Council Member Stephen Levin Council Member Annabel Palma Council Member Gale Brewer Council Member Rosie Mendez Council Member Daniel Garodnick Council Member Mathieu Eugene Council Member Jumaane Williams Council Member James Sanders Jr.
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