An open letter to City Council Member Carlina Rivera
I read in City & State that you said I was behind the “Chinzilla” poster* and another with an image of you and the mayor. I am not behind either poster nor is East River Park Action. I apologized and withdrew the social media post I made about NMASS’s three-year old “Chinzilla” poster, see explanation below.*
We do use sharp words and images on social media. It’s our means of yelling loudly—with cogent reasoning—to rouse you from your complacency on the ESCR. You are the elected official who can hold the city accountable – ESCR is your responsibility for years to come.
The city is not working in good faith to fulfill promises made to you when you supported East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR). The mitigations are woeful. The Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) study of Interim Flood Protection Measures was superficial—so cursory they did not consult with NYCHA about what is being done by FEMA.** The city’s timelines for the project are unrealistic, which will lead to many years of lost park space and heavy construction with its attendant health effects on the community.
That’s why we’re always pushing you to advocate hard for better solutions. We need interim protection until a permanent barrier is completed—and ideally to give the city time to step back and figure out how to gain protection without completely demolishing the natural flood barrier of East River Park.
If the city goes ahead with the ESCR as it is, now, during a pandemic, it’s even more important to get promises fulfilled. Community health and wellbeing are at stake.
Please listen dispassionately to our arguments and those of the many many others who have been calling and writing for two years (almost all of them very politely) to protest this ESCR plan. Negotiate harder.
* About the Chinzilla poster—I saw it in a window, took a photo of it and thoughtlessly posted it. When a couple of people pointed out how it was offensive, I listened and learned, took down the post and apologized. It was members of CODA who reposted it in a bid to divide our community.
As things unfolded, as you probably know, NMASS and the Chinatown Workers Center, who did create the poster in 2017, held a press conference and defended the image. I attended as did several other ACTIONeers. I believe NMASS has agency to display the image. We support their work.
Having seen almost all City Council Members cede their vote to you, I do support the image and message in the “Destroyers” poster, even though I did not create or print it.
** Please see questions about the OEM’s superficial Interim Flood Protection report: