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Banned! A tale of FPC & Parks & Rec and petty retribution

Growing up, there were times I thought my father was pretty tough on me. I mean, it seemed so unfair because I was the only girl, and let's be honest, I was Daddy's favorite, but he reminded me that life is tough and if I wanted to survive, I would need to be tougher.

Later that manifested itself in standing my ground when I knew I was right, and I could back it with evidentiary proof. My mother laughed as I famously challenged my Dad, having my say before spinning on my heels as the words "That's OK, I'm putting myself on punishment" drifted behind me as I traversed the hallway to my bedroom, for self imposed incarceration.

Those lessons served me well. As a result I practice due diligence, pick my battles carefully, but when I'm right I will not be silenced.

So if Fairmount Park Conservancy I thought that I would remain silent when they canceled me, which I can only surmise was an attempt to censor and silence me, apparently they didn't get the memo.

Because of my work to save a FDR park, I've been very public in my criticism about both Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy. I mean how can you call yourself a "conservancy" when you decimate rather than conserve; but I digress.

But I've worked with Lynn Landes at Wild Foodies for the last five years and as a favor to her, and because she has worked tirelessly to extol the advantages of forging to a wider audience, I agreed to serve as cohost on the walks that she was doing on behalf of Fairmount Park conservancy.

I did the first one in August at Woodford Mansion and everything was fine. Then, the clear cutting of FDR Park old growth trees began, and I created a number of videos, and re-posted some from Save The Meadows FDR, in an attempt to raise awareness throughout the city, of the damage that was being done.

Apparently, that did not go unnoticed by FPC who immediately told Lynn that the next tour was canceled and removed from their website, and that I was not to have any further association with them whatsoever.

Apparently, the feeling was I had demonized them in my social media posts.

Personally, it never sat comfortably with me to be in league with then, but I agreed to do it for Lynn, as I believe in loyalty to friends and colleagues who have always done right by me. In some ways, I hoped it might work out better for Lynn not to be linked with me, the self proclaimed Rebel Crone who is, apparently, mad bad and dangerous to know.

Not that it mattered, because a mere three weeks later, Lynn was canceled too, for espousing beliefs, which they found objectionable.

Lynn and I disagree on a number of issues that she openly discusses in forums outside of Wild Foodies, but where we do come together is:

  • in our passion for wild plants and their edible and medicinal uses

  • our objections to the use of glyphosates in the parks system, especially when the Healthy Outdoor Public Spaces Bill, which bans of the use of a synthetic herbicides was an acted into law, but is not being enforced by the mayor.

  • Freedom of speech

You know, fear is an incredibly motivating factor, and I know some people have been afraid to speak out, even though they know much of the information that FPC and Parks and Recreation is putting out is not true.

I personally know people who work within the system and are terrified of going against script. Retribution will come swiftly via firing and the threat of lawsuits for breaking nondisclosure agreements..

They are bullies.

So while Maura McCarthy, the Executive Director of the FPC goes on television with the look of utmost sincerity, claiming how they have, and are continuing to listen to the community, the reality is they've made their plan and they're pushing forward with it. And anyone who challenges it, isnt forward thinking enough (poor dullards) to understand the benefits of their glorious design.

They'll continue to paint themselves as a champion for community sport; providing safe spaces for black and brown youth to play.

But how safe are fields covered with artificial turf and rubber crumb? In the EPAs initial study on artificial turf, they recommended children shouldn't eat or drink near these turfs, and thoroughly wash hands and any exposed skin after coming in contact with the surface.

Not to mention that we have concerns about the content of the soil mound used to raise these fields above the "ecological core". FPC counters that soil testing is done regularly by the contractors.

Wait, are these the same contractors that were observed and filmed cutting down trees before safety retaining fence was installed? The same workmen that were filmed not wearing PPE?

So we should believe they're regularly testing soil, when basic protection protocols are not followed?

FPC and some of their supporters use the media to extol the virtues of the much needed development to "future proof the park". They claim our worries or unfounded because in the same way the golf course rewilded into a natural meadow, it will happen again once their development is done. But with a dearth of trees, which formerly provided a habitat, sound buffer, cooling, and freshening the air by their carbon dioxide exchange, combined with runoff from synthetic fields into the water source, unless the regenerated wildlife is Blinky the three eyed fish, I have sincere doubts.

So I'm gonna keep screaming and writing and and pointing out the inaccuracies and blatant lies told by those who wish to push their agenda.

Because in the end when they leave office for their next position or retire with pensions and bonuses to their leafy idylls, it is the local, and working class of Philadelphia, that will be left with a toxic playground in an overheated urban center.

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