Scoopy, Week of July 25, 2013

Photo by Sharon Woolums Anthony Weiner, right, shared a chuckle with fellow mayoral contender Randy Credico on Monday, but things got more serious — make that, nutso — on Tuesday as Sextgate, Part II, dropped.

Photo by Sharon Woolums
Anthony Weiner, right, shared a chuckle with fellow mayoral contender Randy Credico on Monday, but things got more serious — make that, nutso — on Tuesday as Sextgate, Part II, dropped.

Sext and the city: Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner was on Washington Square South on Monday, outside the Caring Community, for a press conference at which he pitched his “Keys to the City” — specifically, “Idea Number 32,” about aiding families who care for senior relatives at home. Weiner supports a $7,800 exemption from the caretaker’s personal income tax at the city level, which would double the existing federal tax relief. Another mayoral wannabe, former standup comic Randy Credico, came up and greeted him. Credico tells us he successfully made it through the petition-gathering phase and will be on the Democratic ballot in September. Sharon Woolums, who took this photo, told us she liked some of Credico’s “19 Promises to New Yorkers” platform points, especially “Number 5″: “Protect small business from predatory rent hikes and unfair ‘take it or leave it’ lease renewals that have forced 387,700 of them to close since 1988.” Of course, the next day, round two of Weiner’s sexting scandal exploded. Then, on Wednesday, Weiner showed up at the New York City Housing Authority’s board meeting at Pace University. Initially, he was didn’t get a great reception from the public, but people seemed to warm up to him quickly as they liked what he had to say about the embattled public-housing agency. What can we say? Hey, you just can’t keep a good man…umm…down.

Speaker Glick??? Speaking of politics, what to make of New York Post Albany reporter Fred Dicker’s Monday column in which he claimed Assemblymember Deborah Glick could soon be gunning for Sheldon Silver’s speakership? In an “exclusive,” citing an anonymous source, Dicker wrote: “Disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver faces a ‘serious leadership threat’ from an embarrassed bloc of Assembly members: the 30 Democratic women who defended Silver despite his efforts to cover up the Vito Lopez sexual-harassment scandal. … With 30 votes to begin with and a few more from around the state, the Democratic assemblywomen could be in a position to replace Silver,” Dicker said. According to Dicker, “Glick was described as the most likely challenger to Silver.” However, as Politicker reported, Glick immediately took to Twitter to respond. “Surprised NY Post’s Fred Dicker didn’t support pot decriminalization more fervently — Since he obviously spends much time smoking something!” she tweeted. In a subsequent interview with Politicker, Glick accused Dicker, the dean of the Albany press corps, of “sowing seeds of dissension where none exist.” Glick told Politicker, “You can’t take it seriously… . There’s no substance to any of what he has to say. The women are not unhappy with the speaker.” She also said that, despite her name being floated as a possible speaker, she has “no ambitions to do a job different from what I have now.” Hmm, if, as Glick says, Dicker is “hitting the pipe,” maybe he’s getting his stuff from Credico, a marijuana-legalization advocate who is the “resident comic” on Dicker’s show.

garden sign

Dias y Flores garden, at 520 E. 13th St., on Sun., July 21. Photo by Scoopy

Garden dispute mushrooms: The saga — well, that’s a nice way to put it — of Dias y Flores garden continues. The latest meltdown amid the mulch at the E. 13th St. green oasis erupted late on the afternoon of Wed., July 17. Jeff Wright, the editor of Live Mag!, who recently was booted from the garden by its board, had been given an ultimatum to remove his plants by 6 p.m. on that day. Actually, Wright had been told previously once before to get his plants out of the plot he was using, and the plants had been removed and put in pots on the side of the garden for him to take away. But then he just went and replanted them in the plot on July 4, leading to the July 17 showdown. As the deadline approached, Wright and several supporters, including fellow exiled Dias y Flores green-thumb, Debra Jenks, held hands around the plot, and sang the civil-rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.” To prevent the digging up of Wright’s lilacs and other plants, they took all the garden’s shovels, laid them on the ground, and then stood on top of them as they sang. What happened next — well, it sounds like it got kind of chaotic, quickly. Apparently, Claude Kilgore, a Dias y Flores board member, may have tried to slide through the group’s interlocked arms — and, well, that’s when the fertilizer, so to speak, hit the fan. There was a scuffle, police were called — by Wright — and when it was over, Wright was handcuffed and taken away in a police car to the Ninth Precinct, where he received a desk-appearance ticket for a court hearing at a later date, and soon released. “It happened so fast,” Wright told us. “I could barely call 911 because Claude was pushing me. I didn’t think they would go through with it,” he said of the board’s plan to uproot his plants (for the second time). “We were standing on the shovels. He was pushing me and I pushed back. We were yelling, ‘Stop pushing us!’ ” They all received bruises, according to Wright. Meanwhile, Kilgore told us, “It’s an ongoing investigation, I can’t really comment too much. Jeff was given an opportunity to remove his plants. For whatever reason, he chose not to take that opportunity. The subject line of my e-mail was: ‘One last opportunity to remove your plants.’ He chose to act out in a violent manner. I felt very degraded.” Kilgore accused Jenks of “saying fake stuff on the phone” to the police. “There was video taken. There were eyewitnesses,” Kilgore assured. “I was assaulted. I have scratches and bruises — on my arms, legs, knees. I had shorts on.” Especially concerning to Kilgore, he alleges that Wright “made threats against other people’s plots. The threats were toward the plants,” he said. A police spokesperson told us that a Jeff Wright, 61, was arrested for misdemeanor assault against “a male / white, 26,” i.e. Kilgore.  “[Wright] shoved the victim to the ground multiple times, causing pain and lacerations,” the spokesperson told us. Asked about the extent of Kilgore’s injuries, the spokesperson said, “It doesn’t say anything about ‘hospital’ here. I don’t believe he received medical treatment.” This past Sunday, Wright blasted out a “Demo Today, 2 to 6 — Spread the Word!” message on Facebook. We didn’t see the message, but Wright had earlier told us he’d be in the garden then. When we arrived to see what was up, we were greeted by a locked gate and a sign saying the garden was closed — and in fact, had been closed all day long. Kilgore later told us that this was done in response to the action planned by Wright. We’ll just have to get out a fresh Dias y Flores scorecard to keep up with developments that may (probably will) happen over the coming weeks.

A friendly goodbye? We hear that Blake Beatty has left the Friends of Hudson River Park, where she served a fairly quick stint as director of development. The Friends in the past couple of years have transformed from the chief watchdog for the Hudson River Park to its main private fundraising arm. Scott Lawin, vice chairperson of the Friends board, told us, “With the impending arrival of Gregory Boroff as the new executive director of Friends of Hudson River Park, Blake decided with the transition to pursue other opportunities. We thank Blake for her service and appreciate her key role in bringing the Friends’ fundraising efforts to the next level.”

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8 Responses to Scoopy, Week of July 25, 2013

  1. Oh I’m glad that I’m not Anthony D. Weiner
    That is quite a raunchy thing to be
    Exposing parts could rate a misdemeanor
    But sexting might just bring mayoralty

  2. Regarding the Dias y Flores fiasco — you note that Wright is 61 years old. Kilgore is half his age. Wright is approximately 5'9". Kilgore clearly is 6 feet. Wright stood holding hands with four friends: three women and a man, as Kilgore pushed them all, trying to get past and rip up some plants. Wright never once approached Kilgore but stood his ground, defending plants.
    Four people have now lost their memberships on trumped up charges like barricading a "fire exit." Community gardens do not provide egress to private buildings. GreenThumb is well aware of this private entrance but arrogantly ignores it.
    Meanwhile, Kilgore got himself a new plot (although because he neglected his old plot and missed the deadline for planting, he should not have a plot at all – according to those pesky By-Laws).

  3. "Like a tree growing in the garden, we shall not be moved." That was the song. And Kilgore rolled backward on the garden path after trying to force his way through our human fence around the plot. We all had scrapes and bruises from his assaults. His wimpering didnt convince anyone. Even his fellow board members stood by and watched incredulusly. Nevermind. We were determined but It seems that the board is equally intent on their power play and keeping the garden safe from the public by closing it altogether to anyone but themselves.

  4. Why is a longtime community member (Jeff Wright) being banned from a Community Garden? He has lived in the east village longer than Kilgore has even been alive. Gardens are public spaces. This so-called "board" sounds like a bunch of shills for the rich gentrifiers to me.

  5. GreenThumb (Roland Chouloute) gave a free pass to all the boardmembers who actually broke rules: giving away keys to nonmembers, removing items from the agenda, posting fake By-laws that were never approved, manipulating the minutes, not allowing members to speak, not allowing members to discuss board actions, etc., etc. The garden couldn't even approve any minutes for the last entire year. And yet the people who tried to remedy these infractions got the boot. Democracy will win out… eventually. And justice will come. In more ways than one.

  6. A legitimate creative-type person (Jeff Wright) needs a bit of soil to put down roots amidst the chaos of NYC! A community garden should welcome flowers from the (hence the name) community. A little D.H. Lawrence for the lilies: "But never now, my darling/ Can I gather the mountain-tips/From the twilight like half-shut lilies/ To hold to your lips."

  7. I’ve known Jeff Wright for a number of years. This man is kind considerate, helpful. Recently about just two months ago at a poetry reading as I was about the take the stage I fainted twice, Jeff Wright came to my rescue and as I objected to an ambulance waiting outside the venue for me, Jeff Wright was able to discern my dire situation and he helped me get the proper medical attention I needed at the time. I have three young sons tht depend on me. I’m to always be grateful to Jeff Wright and his thoughtful kindness… I want to be a character witness in court for Jeff Wright.

    Think at it this way: this man writes amazing beautiful sonnets! I will never believe according to my knowledge of knowing Jeff Wright that he would behave in any unbecoming or violent behavior to warrant his arrest.

    -R.A. Araya

  8. I want to amend my comment. Kilgore fooled the police Lt. Jeff was arrested. Go figure.

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