Mayor Mike has an easier time controlling the spin when he has 100 million to spend and every City agency ready to act as an outreach arm of his campaign.
Yesterday, Ferrer went to East Harlem to one of the most poorly-maintained parks in the City. New Yorkers for Parks has rated Harlem Ballfields the lowest scoring neighborhood park in Manhattan in its annual Report Card on Parks. It is an example of the two-tiered system in our city parks that leave neighborhoods that rely on limited public funding in unacceptable condition.
But does the press coverage tell the story of park spending? No -- it tells the story of a crew of 12 parks employees hustling to clean up the park right before the conference...and makes Freddy sound like a complainer for calling out the Mayor.
This is how Mayor Mike cleans our parks. the Parks1 campaign has seen it before. New Yorkers deserve better. (Disclaimer: I no longer work for the Parks1 campaign.)
The Parks Department spokesman is just wrong when he says that the park gets cleaned every day. I have been there to watch little league teams level the field before their game with tools and dirt they have brought themselves because of the unsafe ditches around the bases.
I have spoken to the football coach who says some parents won't send their kids to practice because of the drug dealers who hang out unmolested near the park.
I have heard from the neighborhood residents -- when Speaker Miller held a press conference there in July -- that they were happy to see someone from the City show interest.
Even The New York Post, while emphasizing the story of the crew more than the condition of the park, described the ballfields as "a barren ball field without a blade of grass, ditches near home plate, damaged bleachers and a bent fence near the entrance."
The articles in The Times and Daily News missed their chance to promote a conversation about our two-tiered park system. Freddy tried -- and as keeps happening, he's shouted down by a 100 million dollars.
Only Newsday got it right, leading with the issue and then later mentioning the "minor intrigue.
I don't know where the line should be drawn in an incumbent Mayor using tax-payer-funded City staff as his campaign's advance team. But I know the papers should do a better job of calling this out as a cynical, inefficient and ineffective way to get our parks cleaned.