Petition to Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, Citibank, JHM Group, Norwalk CT Common Council
Save the Garden Cinema Movie Theater in Downtown Norwalk CT
The Garden Cinemas is one of the most unique, hallmark attractions in Downtown Norwalk, CT, as well as a cultural tourism destination that regularly attracts moviegoers from cities as far away as New York City, Westchester, and New Haven, as well as from cities and towns throughout Fairfield County. The fact is that we have one of the last remaining independent movies houses in the entire region, that shows culturally diverse films that you simply can't see anywhere else. People come to see movies here, they dine in our restaurants, they drink in our bars, and yes, they even pay for parking! Our city planners, Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, Citibank, and its “preferred construction contractor” JHM Group, are meanwhile planning to DEMOLISH the theater to create 100+ parking spaces necessary to complete the condominium development project known as Wall Street Place. Wall Street Place is also referred to as "POKO," named for the original developer of the project. Instead of tearing down the blighted, decaying mess that is "POKO," that the Wall Street neighborhood has flourished in spite of, over the past two years, they want to tear down our beloved community theater to create a parking lot! Are we really going to let this happen? The Wall Street Neighborhood Association which represents residents, businesses, and property of owners of Downtown Norwalk, has asserted that this plan in its present form will damage the core of our historic neighborhood, as well as deeply hurt the morale of a neighborhood that for many is defined by its growing community of artists, filmmakers, musicians, and creative businesses. We believe rather than demolishing the Garden Cinemas, the city should be allowing investment into the infrastructure of the Downtown Norwalk Arts District, by allowing the Garden Cinema to be operated as a 501c3 non-profit community theater. (Or at least mandating the developer JHM Group to consider options to include the Garden Cinemas in its final construction plan.) Our vision is for a "New Garden Cinema/Norwalk Film Center," a highly innovative, non-profit, community film center, offering after-school programs, with STEM/STEAM education courses in film production and technology; in addition to screening facilities, meeting rooms, and offices. We want to create Norwalk's own "Tribeca Film Center," right here in the heart of our original and historic downtown. We see massive potential for collaboration with other businesses in Downtown Norwalk's growing film production community, such as Sono Studio and Factory Underground, as well as with other non-profits such as Wall Street Theater and George Washington Carver Foundation for programming and community events. We see potential to work with Norwalk Community College to offer off-campus instructional facilities to its Film Production Department. This "New Garden Cinema/Norwalk Film Center" would show student films produced right here in Norwalk, screen new films for the very first time, host local film festivals such as the Short Cuts Festival (Westport), and be a future home to the Wall Street Film Festival coming in 2020. Of course, it would continue to show the kind of films that Garden Cinemas is known for. We believe that for the JHM Group to go forward with the plan they are trying very hard to push through, the City of Norwalk will be missing out on a MASSIVE opportunity for economic development. So WHY does the City of Norwalk and JHM Group want to tear it down? They say that they don't, but that they need the parking spaces in order to get construction on the Wall Street Place back underway. Yet there is a parking lot right next door that would seem to have plenty of spaces available - why are they not pursuing negotiations to make that parking available? What can you do besides signing this petition? You can write an email directly to Norwalk Common Council to ask them to intercede and delay this action until all options for negotiation are exhausted! Email: CommonCouncil3@gmail.com It's not too late to #SaveTheGardenCinema. Please help by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, Email, Text, and get the word out to everyone you can. We can do this together!
Petition to City Commission, County Commission
Save the 500-Year-Old Benton Oak!
Please re-route a road and holding pond around one of the largest and healthiest oak trees in Leon County, "The Benton Oak." The oak is in the back yard of Mr. Morris Benton, Sr., now deceased, a resident of the Boynton-Still neighborhood in South Tallahassee that was demolished to make room for a road and retention pond. Measuring 76" in diameter, this tree is in the top 10% of large oaks in Leon County, and could easily be 500 years old. Our Environmental Land Use Code, section 5:12 "Exceptional Specimen" should be enforced to protect it, as well as five others that are almost as large. Re-route the road to save this and other oaks and what's left of the neighborhood. The land and trees could easily be turned into a small park for residents who wish to use the outdoor space. Do The Right Thing.
Petition to Stevon Cook, Mark Sanchez, Alison McCollins, Jenny Lam, Gabriela Lopez, Faauuga Moliga, Rachel Norton
Save The Historic Murals at George Washington High School
The artwork on the walls of George Washington High School in San Francisco was done by a WPA artist Victor Arnautoff exposed the hypocrisy of American History and that is not being seen or understood by those trying to remove and paint over the past.“The murals represent social history. They provide an inclusive and truthful history. … Removing them represents censorship as well as a reactionary moment in time,” an unidentified commenter said. “What I do recommend is that the school board establishes a multimedia display ... that indicates the complexity and contradictions of George Washington [and] the extraordinary history of Victor Arnautoff.” Signing this petition shows that you do not want the historic artwork removed at a high cost to the city and wish to preserve the artistic social commentary of Victor Arnautoff. In addition to signing this petition please visit www.ProtectPublicArt.org and find out more about the Coalition to Protect Public Art and their campaign to put a measure on the ballot to prevent these murals from being destroyed.
Petition to @mitchell_silver , @carlinalrivera , @crystal__howard , @nycparks
Save Tompkins Square asphalt!
The city has approved a plan to cover the northwest corner of Tompkins Sq park with synthetic turf. This plan was approved without support from the community. The area of the park they would be renovating has a historical and sacred importance to skateboarders and other community members who would be excluded from the new facility. Hopefully this petition will reflect the interests of the people who use the park the most! Lets make it clear: we don't want our corner of the park altered!
Petition to National Register of Historic Places, Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, Historic Preservation Commission of Bloomington, City of Bloomington, State Farm Insurance Cos.
Save the Historic State Farm Building
State Farm Insurance Company has announced that it will be demolishing its original 1920's Headquarters. The downtown headquarters is a Central Illinois landmark, a dominant feature on the Bloomington Normal skyline, and a symbol of the community and its history. The building is one of the defining contributors to the Downtown Bloomington area, a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. This building is a symbol of our community, the same community that State Farm helped build. This is now a Central Illinois Landmark and a major contributor to the visual identity of our region, one that State Farm now wants to destroy. The Art Deco landmark is one of the tallest buildings between Chicago and St. Louis and dominates the landscape, and is visible from miles away. G.J. Mecherle located his office at the top so he could see his farmland and Central Illinois home. This building is important to our collective history and represents the growth of our town. It has served to represent progress for our community throughout the last 90 years. In fact, if you do a Google image search of 'Bloomington, IL" this building is the first image result. There are business and community friendly ways to save and reuse this building. Bloomington is desperately trying to bring interest back to the downtown community, and destroying this building is not the way to do so. Lets show State Farm that this is our community as well and that our history is worth more than a quick sale of a property for a multi-billion dollar company. Please see these links for more great information on this building: http://mcmhqr-arch.weebly.com/state-farm-insurance-building.html https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/things-to-know-about-the-state-farm-downtown-building/article_864b91d2-58ab-51b5-b81d-234fa93a2485.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Farm_Downtown_Building
Petition to Friends of Alpenrose Dairy
SAVE ALPENROSE DAIRY
Alpenrose Dairy a beloved family community institution is under attack. Some family members want to sell the dairy and dismantle the alpenrose complex and close the dairy for monetary gain. The other family members are fighting to block the sale. Now is the time to show your support for the family members who want to keep Alpenrose Dairy as it stands today. There is no need to send money to boost this petition. This is a signature only petition. Please sign and share.
Petition to Mayor Adler and Austin City Council
Please do NOT rename Manchaca Road
PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION, so we can show that Austin City Council's decision to change the road’s name was NOT supported by those who live and work on the road.Sign the petition if you are a small business or resident adversely affected by this measure.Sign the petition if you are a resident who will be unreasonably inconvenienced by this measure.Sign the petition if you do not believe City Council should be making decisions on your behalf without your input.Sign the petition if you believe there is no historical, legal or practical justification for this measure.Sign the petition if you believe it is way too late for such a financially disruptive change.Sign the petition if you REJECT the measure to change Manchaca Road’s name for any reason. Why is “Leave Manchaca Alone” fighting this? There is no justifiable or factual evidence supporting the new name’s derivation. The ordinance is unsupported by residents, via a petition currently over 5,500 signatures strong. The name change will cost taxpayers, including 1,569 small businesses and 33,360 homes along Manchaca Road, substantial time and financial burden. Leave Manchaca Alone is a non-profit association of property owners and businesses located on Manchaca Road. It seeks to overturn the City’s irresponsible and financially harmful decision, and encourages City Council to spend its time and resources on more important issues, such as homelessness and affordable housing, transportation, and public safety. Read on for a more thorough explanation... ______________________________ BACKGROUND:The Austin City Council approved the name change of Manchaca Road to Menchaca Road on October 4, 2018, WITH LITTLE feedback from businesses and residents who work and live on the road, WITHOUT regard to the costs small businesses and residents will incur as a result, WITHOUT regard to the cost to Austin taxpayers, and in SPITE OF a glaring lack of evidence to justify the decision. We seek to reverse or find responsible alternatives to City Council’s decision. Leave Manchaca Alone (“LMA”) took the City to court after the October 4th hearing, to argue that the City did not properly inform property owners along Manchaca Road about the public hearing to change the road name, as required by city law. City Council had quickly and quietly passed an ordinance for the change, with little input from the 50,000+ individual property owners, businesses and apartment dwellers that would be affected by the change. LMA prevailed at court. Judge Dustin Howell, who presides over the 459th District Court, ruled that the City did not follow its public notice rules and granted LMA’s application for a temporary injunction against enforcing the change ordinance in December of 2018. The injunction remains in effect to this day. But the fight is far from over. After winning our injunction, a trial date was set for September 16, 2019, allowing the parties time to resolve the issue before then. The City could have decided to forgo the trial and conduct a proper public notice and hearing process, drop the ordinance altogether, or honor Jose Antonio Menchaca in another way that does not cost taxpayers any money--all options that we suggested to them when they asked for a settlement after losing the initial court case. To this day, they have not decided to do anything. Instead, they will take the same losing argument about their process back to court, wasting valuable time, resources, and money for all involved. LMA remains hopeful that the Council will recognize that there is NO evidence-related justification for their decision and that the name change remains hugely unpopular with the people who live and work ON Manchaca Road. In the meantime, LMA is raising support and money for continued legal action and public relations. Follow the latest developments on our Facebook Page. The Original Argument: Hearsay or Evidence?At the October 4th City Council meeting, politically connected advocates led by Mr. Bob Perkins, president of the Justice for Menchaca organization, claimed that Manchaca Road has been erroneously misspelled for 170+ years. He claims that instead of being called Manchaca, the road should have been called Menchaca, after Jose Antonio Menchaca, an officer of the Texas Army who lived and died in San Antonio and fought in the Battle of San Jacinto in modern-day Houston. Opponents, led by LMA and the Manchaca Onion Creek Historical Association, insist that there is no historical evidence to support this claim. Advocate (Bob Perkins) assertions: Manchaca Springs, the village of Manchaca and Manchaca Road were named after Menchaca, but incorrectly spelled. On the night of April 21, 1836, after the Battle of San Jacinto, Jose Antonio Menchaca’s name was misspelled for the first time in Texas military annals. His name continued to be misspelled during his entire military service. After the war, Captain Menchaca stayed in the Texas Army, stationed in San Antonio. One of his responsibilities was to patrol against the Comanche, along where Perkins theorizes was Old San Antonio Road, which runs parallel to I35. He goes on to speculate that local residents were so pleased with his efforts that they named the nearby springs after him. Slave owners living in the area in the 1850’s switched the name from Menchaca to Manchac, pronouncing it as “Man-chack.” They preferred an Anglicized name because of prejudice against Mexicans that spiked in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War. Opposing (LMA) assertions: The Manchaca Onion Creek Historical Association, after extensive research, has wholly disputed the theory of Captain Menchaca’s relationship to the area, and has determined there is a similarity in name and nothing else. There is no documented proof that Captain Menchaca camped in the area known as "Manchac Springs" during his military travels. There exists no historical evidence of Captain Menchaca’s presence anywhere near Austin. Neither in his own extensive memoirs, nor in his obituary, was it mentioned that Menchaca knew anything about a place that was supposedly named after him while he was alive. Dr. Jesús de la Teja, former Professor of History at Texas State University and past president of the Texas State Historical Association, who edited and adopted Captain Menchaca’s memoirs, has found no evidence of Menchaca’s connection to the town’s name. Native Americans used the resources of Manchac Springs long before Anglo settlers came to the area. The springs could have been named after the Choctaw word Manchac, which meant “rear entrance” as it applied to their migratory use of such resources. The word Manchac also describes other waterways further north including "Manchac Bayou" and "Pass Manchac." The derivation of the word "Manchac" predates that of Jose Menchaca's existence. The earliest-known official map of the area dates back to 1849. In it the area is named "Manchac Springs." Sam Houston, who was Captain Menchaca's commanding officer, delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate in 1849 praising this map as “the most correct and authentic map of Texas ever compiled.” There are 1,763 property owners on Manchaca Road. Only 63 or 3.5% responded to a city opinion survey. Of these respondents, 82.5% opposed the name change. (Their rules do not require them to notify renters and business tenants, which number well above 50,000 people along the road). It has been determined in court that at least 200 property owners, and possibly more, did not receive notice of the survey nor of the hearing to change the name of their street. The City had erroneously sent notice to incorrect addresses. In the Council’s work session (see video) held two days before the public hearing, City Council members openly admitted they had been lobbied by Mr. Perkins for years, that they believed the narrative he provided without any tangible evidence, and that they had already decided to “vote for Menchaca” before hearing from historical groups at the October 4th hearing. Some council members even strategically polluted the debate by suggesting this issue was really about a racial divide. Over 5,500 affected members of the Manchaca community (residents, businesses, commuters and multi-generational residents who refute the Menchaca theory), have thus far signed this petition rejecting the name change. What’s this Going to Cost Taxpayers?The "Justice for Menchaca" organization raised $24,000 from private funds to change all the road signs along Manchaca Road and argued that the taxpayers would not have to pay a thing. LMA argues that the cost to taxpayers (and especially businesses and residents on the road) goes far beyond the cost of changing street signs. Installing the signs could require hundreds of city employee man-hours. Additionally, Texas Department of Transportation conducted a review of costs associated with materials and labor for the road name change on connecting highways, like state-owned US 290 and 360. Estimated costs are between $150,000 and $200,000, which the City would have to pay TXdot to do. Internal and public records, databases and maps of numerous city and county departments would have to be changed, requiring extensive staff time. How Will Small Businesses and Residents be Impacted?Residents along the road (totaling over 50,000 adults that own or rent), will be required to change their personal records, such as driver’s licenses ($25 fee), voter registrations, property insurance, and legal documents. Notice would have to be given to mortgage companies, employers, financial institutions, medical providers, online services, social and business organizations, and more. As for businesses along the road, each is impacted differently. On the low end, businesses need to pay for changes to their stationary, website modifications, local directories, government documents and trade licenses. On the high end (especially with the many businesses who use the word “Manchaca” in their company names), the costs can go much higher. Examples of this are roadside and building signage, marketing materials like brochures, uniform embroidery, modifications to online SEO and advertising, etc. City Council likes to point out that businesses don’t have to change their names, which reveals how little they know about running a small business in a competitive market, and how little they care about the importance of small businesses to the economy. For every potential customer who is lost due to confusion, there is a monetary value associated with that loss. These costs are cumulative and damaging. Local businesses, who create jobs and pay significant taxes to the City, deserve better from their elected representatives. All property owners would need to spend time and money changing their personal records, such as driver’s licenses, voter registrations, property insurance, and legal documents. Notice would have to be given to mortgage companies, employers, financial institutions, medical providers, online services, social and business organizations, friends and families, and more. LMA contends that if City Council is going to make a change that affects thousands of people, they should do it for responsible, irrefutable reasons. Hearsay and evidence are very different. We may only represent a small section of Austin, but if it can happen to us, it could happen to you, too. HOW CAN YOU HELP?Your signature below helps show support. Also please consider helping with the cause by DONATING TO THIS CAMPAIGN at our GoFundMe page, so that small businesses operating on Manchaca Road can afford legal representation to reverse the name change measure. In the event "Leave Manchaca Alone" raises more donations than is needed to achieve a reversal of the street name change, those extra funds will be donated to AISD schools along Manchaca Road in Austin, TX. Thank you for your support as we fight to restore your Manchaca Road true name!