Nice: Court papers have been released showing how the city successfully blocked protests in Central Park, most notably protests during the Republican Convention. You might remember from two years ago that the some of the city's excuses for not having the protests on the Great Lawn were to protect the lawn (which had been renovated) and that the police might not be able to secure the lawn. But it turns out everyone's conspiracy theories were true: It seems that some police officials actually supported havng rallies at the lawn and that the city just wanted to tamp down politicial rallies during the convention and so close to Bloomberg's re-election. Last week, the NY Sun raised the issue in a story about a John Lennon tribute concert being rejected by the Parks Department, and today the NY Times looks at court papers; both papers find that the mayor was more involved with the permit-blocking that he previously admitted and that the Parks Department did everything possible to prevent events at the Great Lawn. From the NY Sun:
An e-mail from the Parks and Recreation Department's head marketing officer, Elizabeth Smith, said, "This [music of John Lennon] event does look great but we had to admit that it was going to be difficult, right after all our problems with the rally requests for the park, and right before Mike's re-election (this is for Oct 05) that this is likely to happen on the Great Lawn."
...[The email] offers an unusual look at how politics factored into a decision by an agency in the Bloomberg administration, which prides itself on making decisions on the merits, not politics. The concern appeared to be that if the department granted permission for a musical concert but not to political protesters, Mr. Bloomberg's claim that his denial of the protest permits was based on concern for the well-being of the park's turf would be proven false, and that it would hurt him politically.
The NY Times also has an email from Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe to Mayor Bloomberg about the Parks Department rejecting National Council of Arab Americans' permit request. This is definitely a bad month for Bloomberg - fallout from his terribly slow reaction to the Queens blackout and now this. He'll have to arrange for a subway terror threat very soon!
Here's a link to Partnership for Civil Justice, which has all the documents as part of a lawsuit that the National Council of Arab Americans and ANSWER Coalition has agains the city (both were denied permits for protests in Central Park).