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Don't Kill (Children) Bill - An Open Invitation to Bill de Blasio

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Dear Bill,

I know you must be busy, but I'm inviting you to meet with me, one child, one resident of public housing, and one East Harlem fisherman any time this weekend on the East River Esplanade at 91st.

I would prefer an afternoon so that you can see the local economically challenged working residents enjoying the small but treasured scrap of East Side riverfront that is about to be destroyed by the proposed dump being built on a public park at 91st Street.

Give us ten minutes and we will give you ten good reasons to change your mind about ramming a massive two acre, ten story high garbage site into the heart of a residential neighborhood with over 2200 public housing residents within a quarter mile, a dump that can be accessed only by cutting through a playing field used by 31,000 children from every borough in the city.

Okay, that's two of our arguments. Give us eight minutes.

I know your other policies. This garbage transfer site is everything you are not. It is racist, archaic before it starts, expensive, has nothing to do with borough equity, and will harm the environment, not just in Manhattan but in Queens and Brooklyn too. It will also kill children playing nearby and on the playing fields the garbage trucks will cut through on their way to the dump. According to the World Health Organization in a report that came out AFTER the dump was approved, diesel fumes from the trucks (up to 400 a day) are carcinogenic.

Okay, there were a couple of arguments in there. We'll take seven minutes, okay?

I know that Christine Quinn, who also supports the dump, was invited to tour the sports facility that will be ruined by it, but never bothered to come. I know you visited and saw Asphalt Green which has the only Olympic-sized pool in Manhattan as well as the playing field through which 400 trucks a day will soon pass 6 days a week 24 hours a day. I know that the garbage plan made you uneasy. I know you came away only reluctantly in support, and with pain. I cannot figure this out. You must be misinformed on something. There is no need for this dump. It's weird. It's a freak of politics. It's nonsensical.

This has nothing to do with borough equity - Manhattan handles all its own garbage already. It has nothing to do with getting the rich to carry their fair share - the people closest to the site will be children and the residents of public housing. There are cynical reasons for it, but none would seem to appeal to you. The interests that support this dump are supporting Quinn, not you. They are the developers who want to make sure other more suitable commercial sites along the riverfront don't get dumped on before they've had a chance to build expensive apartment buildings on them. It's true that up here in Yorkville and East Harlem we are residentially saturated - that's our point! The irony is, NO ONE needs to suffer this blight. The whole concept is wrong. Garbage will get trucked up from as far south as 14th Street and as far west as 8th Avenue, all the way UP the city to 91st Street, and then get dragged ALL THE WAY BACK DOWN THE CITY along a narrow river passing between Manhattan and Queens and Brooklyn with the prevailing winds blowing the highly toxic (more toxic than trucks) tugboat fumes into those areas.

Okay, so perhaps we only need five minutes. Give us five minutes. You can park your car outside Asphalt Green in the short road to the dump that passes between the pool and the playing field and walk to the garbage site from there. It's very close. It's on the river. At the moment, it's kind of nice down there. We'll take a walk, it will relax you. We will give you another five (of many more) arguments against this borough-wide environmental disaster. I can't speak for the resident of the public housing project, nor for the East Harlem fisherman, nor for the child who will, after all, suffer most from this (but doesn't vote yet), but If you can give me just ONE argument in favor of the dump - literally one - I will give you my vote.

Here's a link to my previous article on this. If you read it, perhaps you'll change your mind before you even get here. That way you'll save five minutes, countless lives, half a billion dollars, and pick up most of the votes of an entire neighborhood.

Matthew Chapman and Friends