If you can't attend the hearing call Catherine Jones at 813 274 8131 and ask her to record and pass on to ALL city council members your feelings and wishes on this matter. When I spoke to her this morning (very pleasant woman) I asked her to relate to Council a reminder of the people of Egypt.....folks can be pushed only so far and for so long, and a $2,000 "permit fee" for a neighborhood garden to help build community and feed families wholesome locally grown food during very hard economic times is, to me, SO ludicrous and intrusive a proposal as to make me angry and simply invites healthy civil disobedience on the matter. Since I and many others at past hearings made abundantly clear that there is widespread community opposition to this "permit fee", for it to be proposed again suggests that they WERE NOT LISTENING. Many thanks to Robin for her untiring work to promote community gardening in Tampa and in particular her spearheading the Seminole Heights Community Garden, and for keeping us posted as to the intents of our "public servants". I've been to MANY city council hearings since 2002, and their private parking lot teeming with luxury cars makes me wonder if they can even relate to a blue collar family wanting to join a community garden in order to cut their food bill while trying to make ends meet.....I think that $2,000 is 3-4 monthly lease payments on a Bimmer or Lexus for these folks. John
I wanted to ask a favor of all of you to help in garnering public support for a lower permit fee for community gardens.
City Council will have the 1st of two public hearings on the ordinance itself, this Thursday, March 10th at 5pm and will be voting on a resolution to the ordinance to lower the $2,000 permit fee to $200. We need tons of public support for community gardens and for this lower permit fee.
One of the reasons the ordinance has changed is because a handful of people have said that they want a public hearing process put in place. This made the permit fee jump to $2,000. It also now requires city staff, City Council and the people trying to start a garden to do a lot of, what I believe is overly burdensome work, some of which could require community gardens to spend even more money. I believe we could show a lot more people supporting a simple application process. We should mention what a burden this is on city staff, city council AND the taxpayers because now their money is going towards a relatively unnecessary, excessively burdensome process for all of us.
Community Gardens are for growing community - not to create a negative impact. They have been proven in a host of studies to improve community relations, increase property values and decrease crime rates. Not to mention improve people's health and nutritional intakes. Using these examples and testimonials in your letters and public comments to city council will hopefully foster enough support of the $200 permit fee.
I have attached 2 different files for you to utilize to send out to your friends and other groups that could assist us in proving community support by getting petitions signed and letters sent in. Please contact your neighborhood associations, civic associations and crime watch groups as well. Also use facebook and any other communication network you might be a part of.
Please ask that everyone who will be attending the City Council meeting to wear their garden shirts or something green.
Please have all email letters and written letters in to City Council no later than Wednesday, March 9th. Please send your petitions to me, Robin Milcowitz at 914 E. Hamilton Ave., Tampa, FL 33604 by March 8th.
Thank you all for helping us with this very important campaign. It will not only help shed light on the how burdensome the process has become for Community Gardens but, community gardens themselves. And THAT is always our goal - to reach out to people and grow a little food on the side.
Please let me know if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
Seminole Heights Community Gardens
Visit Seminole Heights Community Gardens at: http://seminoleheightscg.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network