Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Working Women Organizing for Equality in New York City
Jane LaTour
Palgrave Studies in Oral History

Availability: Now In Stock
From Palgrave Macmillan
Pub date: Aug 2008
304 pages
Size 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
$94.95 - Hardcover (1-4039-6758-X)

"Webster sought a remedy ...that resulted in a change in the interview process [for the Plumber's Union]. "My main point," she said, "was to get those discriminatory interviews knocked out."
She reached an agreement...that resulted in a change in the interview process. The simple, streamlined interview that Ward went through was the result of the charges that Webster filed. ...She felt she'd fulfilled her commitment to breaking down barriers. ...[S]he explained...: "I wanted it changed. I felt like the something I could leave with in good conscience. But it was still true that a lot of the guys of color couldn't get into those unions; a lot of the women couldn't get in those unions."

In Webster's home on the Lower East Side, a new generation is growing up and getting a different perspective on gender and work. Her young son Lee gets to see his mom at work, building a new room for him. "My son sees me and he thinks all women do construction work..."

A "Bowery Bossa Nova"

Review of Steve Elson's "Mott and Broome"

This is music for these times. It’s the Bowery and everywhere. You recognize it, a memory, and you try to follow, but it has already gone on to the next moment. All this richness, all these textures and tones and nuance. Emphatic playing. Saxophone insinuates itself into your mind; angry, screaming,  joyful or sorrowful, or just plain beautiful. It resonates, it’s physical. The lyrics join forces with the music: fresh, forceful, tender. You have to listen. Heartache, joy, the details of lives fully lived. There is no hiding out here. The music is pure, full. It’s sexy out loud.

“I Haven’t Got Time to Dream”, romantic and truthful. No irony. Listen to that “Bowery Bossa Nova”- swoon. “Cartoon Love”, “A Day at the Beach”: quirky, happy, sweet, and honest. And the hushed plea of “Mott and Broome”. It’s about us, about trying as hard as you can, as openly, as fully as you can. With no apologies. Everything matters in these songs. They overpower you with what’s possible while keeping your feet planted (though tapping) on the rock solid earth.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The dark side of rezoning.

The Villager 
To The Editor: Volume 78 / Number 20 - October 15 - 21, 2008

Re “As lawsuit looms, no end to talk on rezoning” (news article, Oct. 1):

Adding to the impact on the neighborhood of more high-rise luxury buildings on Chrystie St. are the shadows that are cast on narrow Sara Roosevelt Park, which abuts it. This park serves communities from Canal St. to Houston St. It is the backyard, vacation spot, country home and, in the summer, the “air conditioning” for those who live in nearby tenements. If you create a chasm of 14-story buildings, you choke off the sunlight that plants and trees require to grow. You also choke off the open sky, which people require to live well.

In this economy, we can’t afford to have our parks be window-box amenities for empty luxury apartments and tourist hotels. We will need our parks to become models of sustainability, where we harvest solar power, plant green roofs and oxygen-producing greenery, reclaim rainwater runoff and compost and show our citizenry how to recycle trash.

We are going to have to live within our means and build an economy that isn’t about tourism or disposable wealth.

K Webster
Webster is co-chairperson, M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New 20 hour open hour requirement for community gardens

"If you've received the latest version of GreenThumb's Program Guide maybe you caught the blurb giving dates for next year's registration. In the details, they mention that instead of 10 open hours, gardens will be required to keep 20 OPEN HOURS in the upcoming year or be in violation of the license agreement.

WHAT DO YOU THINK????? Let's hear some feedback from some gardeners out there!!" - Jon


Thanks Jon for posing the question.

Let’s see….increasing food and health care costs, time required struggling to preserve our homes and communities from overbuilding and real estate speculation, longer hours being put in for work that pays the bills, raising children, donating time and money necessary to support our severely under funded public schools, caring for elderly parents and community members…. all while volunteering to maintain and open up spaces that would not exist save for the years of donated labor that created them.

The responsibilities and rewards of stewarding precious urban green space is something volunteer gardeners understand better than anyone. We do this as a labor of love. We want the public in these spaces; we built them for that reason. We hold festivals, gardening classes, children’s story hours, clean up days, etc. to invite people in. We would love more committed volunteers. We work hard to organize them.

And we are grateful for the chance to play this role in our neighborhoods - but we also understand the exploitation of working people in a time of crisis in this economy.

Yes, I would say Parks has an obligation to consult with gardeners on any increase in open hours...

K Webster
M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden
On Aug 25, 2008, at 4:34 PM, jon crow wrote:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Letter to Editor-Observer

In response to the article:

A Bowery Veteran Hangs On
Is longtime resident Roberta Degnore crusading—or cashing in?

This article was published in the July 21, 2008, edition of The New York Observer.

Whether you are sympathetic or not to this individuals situation is not the point. Whether you are transient here or a long term resident you count on someone, if not yourself, to make this home. Length of stay isn’t necessarily the determining factor. Treating this as a neighborhood you are a part of is.
People have a right to home and a responsibility to community. A society relies on it. You rely on it. Owning or renting isn’t the criteria either. All parties entered into rent-stabilized agreements understanding what they meant. When no one else would rent landlords were thrilled to have any tenant at any rent rate. They gained. Now that those spaces are more valuable, landlords aren’t “entitled” to bigger profits. They made the deal they made or bought places that were already contracted for the rent they generated.
Some of us want to stand with neighbors like Roberta, but is in everyone’s best interest to build and sustain a neighborhood that cares for its people, that cares for you.
JULY 19, 2008
K Webster