Judge Affirms Park Eviction


So much for all the self-righteous mewling by those who claimed the First Amendment afforded them an inviolable long-term lease on Zuccotti Park.

Rather effortlessly, a Manhattan Supreme Court justice on Tuesday banished the delusions of grandeur that afflict the partisans of Occupy Wall Street. No, Justice Michael Stallman deadpanned, defecating in the street is not enshrined in the Bill of Rights.


Fancy that.

Stallman’s ruling endorsed the well-timed, well-executed eviction order issued by Mayor Bloomberg as the shantytown encampment approached its two-month milestone. The judge hewed closely to common sense, as well as to the dangerous and disgusting facts on the ground.

Those were decidedly on Bloomberg’s side — and bravo to him for deploying the NYPD to at last uphold public health and safety. Such is a high mayoral duty, as Stallman properly recognized. He concluded:

“To the extent that city law prohibits the erection of structures, the use of gas or other combustible materials, and the accumulation of garbage and human waste in public places, enforcement of the law and the owner’s rules appears reasonable to permit the owner to maintain its space in a hygienic, safe and lawful condition.”

Translation: It is wholly legal for the city or Brookfield Properties, the owner of the plaza, to set limitations on its use — preventing the 24/7 takeover of a slice of land that is supposed to serve the public.

Compare that with the cries of outrage and despair issued by seemingly every Democratic official in the city, all of whom sympathize with the message of Occupy Wall Street.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio called the early morning eviction “needlessly provocative and legally questionable.”

Controller John Liu said, “There seems to be no compelling reason for this action at this time.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer declared himself “greatly troubled,” adding this offensive chestnut:

“Zuccotti Park is not Tiananmen Square.”

All three aspire to be mayor. Heaven help the five boroughs.

This being the dominant political milieu, it took courage for Bloomberg to end the madness. He risked being subjected to the mercies of a judge who would say anyone can do anything — eat, drink, procreate — on anyone’s property, with full constitutional protections.

As cops moved in, the Occupiers chanted, “Whose park? Our park!” A mantra rousing to the sleeping-bag brigade, but patently false.

Whose park? Not theirs. The plaza is privately owned space devoted to public use under a confused section of the zoning law. Never mind how the rules came into being; the important point is that the space is dedicated to broad use.

It is supposed to be a place where workers can have lunch, tourists can rest their feet, kids can run around. It is also fair game for protests under well-established rules by which groups stage demonstrations every year in the city — with full cooperation of government, including the NYPD.

Occupy Wall Streeters are welcome to return to state their pieces — as Stallman made clear — but not to squat on every available inch, set up tents and generators, drum loudly into the night, leave garbage and worse on streets and stoops, and generally call the place home.

Eviction would have been necessary no matter the message. No group — whether it is doing tai chi or playing piano or lambasting capitalism — has the right to commandeer public space to the exclusion of others for an indefinite period.

From the start, sympathizers and defenders of Occupy Wall Street have exhibited an extremely limited grasp of hallowed American traditions of protest and civil disobedience. Obnoxiously, they sang “We Shall Overcome” when the police moved in, as though holding on to this plaza, tents and all, was analogous to integrating schools and lunch counters.

What they needed to overcome was a sense that they occupy a higher moral ground than everyone else and are entitled to the privilege of behaving obnoxiously.

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Source : http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/judge-rightly-affirms-mayor-bloomberg-stance-occupy-wall-street-doesn-live-zuccotti-park-article-1.978143

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