In a recent article I wrote exploring the hardships, resistance, and sabotage President Donald Trump is encountering, I am reminded of how audaciously petty some folks can be.
In 2006, Donald Trump gifted a piece of property to the State of New York. The 436-acre tract was donated to the control of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). The park is named Donald J. Trump State Park and spreads across the two neighboring counties of Westchester and Putnam.
Everything was just peachy. The public could trek trails, swim in the pool, or perch upon grassy knolls at the natural setting, enjoying the outdoors. Seems simply generous. Seems like a grand gesture.
Seems like some couldn’t care any less.
Since 2015, various democratic factions have launched tirades to get Donald J. Trump State Park re-designated and all roadway signs directing to it taken down. Other liberal-minded folks launched a petition named “Rename Donald J. Trump State park to…anything else.” The petition generated by Brooklynite Andrew Cheung mustered 2,851 of the 5,000 signatures it sought. The petition now sits abandoned, much like the state park gifted by President Trump 11 years ago.
A sampling of the aforementioned petition offers a bitter taste of the anti-Trump sentiment: “Donald Trump’s behavior and public statements have been a source of embarrassment for this great nation. He has shown himself to be a bigot, and it is embarrassing that the state of New York has a park named after him, which countless citizens must drive by daily. While we recognize the great gift of land he bequeathed to the state after failing to win approval to build a golf course on it, it is time the state, which is now in full possession of it, disassociate itself with such a terrible person.
“He is unworthy to be a part of this state’s history and identity. I am asking Albany to rename the park to something that does not cause its citizens shame on a regular basis.”
I call that a Left hook…square on the presidential jaw.
I wonder how petitioners such as these feel about strip clubs in their community.
Mr. Trump initially purchased the acreage for a reported $2 million. Absent succeeding in turning the 436-acre real estate into a Trump-brand golf course, from which he reportedly pursed tax breaks, he simply gave the land to the public via the government of NY state.
Citing budget woes, the state failed to upkeep the park and let it go unkempt. The NY Times described the park “exudes a feeling of decay and abandonment.” In response to this unfortunate news, Mr. Trump offered to reclaim ownership of the property. Oddly, New York State authorities declined that suggestion, and remain rightful owners of what some call “wasteland.” Others may call it a shame.
Rose Harvey, The Trust for Public Land senior vice president in 2006, said of New York’s governor at the time: “Governor Pataki is leading the way when it comes to creating new parks for New Yorkers, and Donald Trump is right there with him, generously donating this land to benefit all of us.”
Yet, the state Parks/Rec folks couldn’t achieve a $2500/year budget for Donald J. Trump State Park. Would renaming it reverse that trivial dilemma? If so, that is a shame on many fronts other than anti-Trump.
In another stroke of shame, AV/News.com reporter posted a series of pictures accompanying a piece she wrote titled “Donald J. Trump State Park is as ugly and dilapidated as its namesake’s soul” attesting to bittersweet sentiments…minus the sweetener.
According to a Fox News article, “Few New Yorkers even know about the state-owned Trump park. It is not listed on the website for New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.” Conspiratorial attempts to waylay the Trump presidency?
Even the nearby public highway road signs took a hit:
Donald J. Trump State Park Signs in Yorktown Also Vandalized, Removed https://t.co/Lh9nX74SRd
— Brian Marschhauser (@EditorBrian) February 5, 2017
And Atlas Obscura, whose forte is reporting on eerie and defunct places, printed, “Surprising exactly no one, given its anemic resources, the park closed after just four years in operation, locking its gates in 2010. Not taking kindly to his generosity being left to rot, Trump threatened to take the land back, like a spoiled child. But Papa New York wouldn’t give it back, so the park remains, closed and overgrown.” Here again, as many times since November 2016, it’s all somehow President Trump’s fault. And, how dare he try to revive something that a state government willingly let die a slow death.
A Squadron of Opposition
Of the politicos strong-arming the namesake from the spacious Donald J. Trump State Park he donated many years ago, former NY State Senator Daniel J. Squadron introduced his displeasure to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, encouraging the governor to use his political pull to rename the park.
Before his political career, Mr. Squadron served on the staff for then-Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner’s NYC mayoral bid in 2005 (one year before Mr. Trump donated the park). Weiner’s fall from grace stemmed from his online predatory sexual prowess (cloaked handle of “Carlos Danger“) involving youngsters and infidelity, given his marriage to Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
The thrust behind Mr. Squadron carried weight in that his connections were/are not proponents of President Trump. In 2007, Mr. Squadron also served as an aide to US Senator Charles Schumer (D). In those formative years, former-Senator Squadron’s brother, Bill Squadron, headed-up Bloomberg Sports, a division of Bloomberg L.P., the parent company owned by namesake Michael Bloomberg (D) who served as NYC’s former mayor until Bill de Blasio grabbed those Democratic reins.
Given that the NY Times reported that NY state’s parks and recreation budget was woefully stacked, and that Donald J. Trump State Park was ill-maintained because of budget shortfalls, it draws scrutiny to former-Senator Squadron who was successful in salvaging other parks in NYC: “Squadron also secured millions for a waterfront park project on the Lower East Side at Pier 42, along with [Senator] Schumer, and also helped secure the future of Governors Island. Squadron’s proposal to link New York’s wealthiest parks conservancies with under-resourced neighborhood parks resulted in hundreds of millions in new funding for community parks.” (Wikipedia)
The NY Times also reported that, “In 2010, the [Donald J. Trump State] park was on a list of 58 state parks and historic sites that were set for closing because of budget cuts.” The locks have rusted since.
In his pitch to Governor Cuomo, then-Senator Squadron droned, “As you know, Mr. Trump’s rhetoric in his Presidential campaign has become increasingly hostile to the core values of our state and nation. His discriminatory proposals are unbefiting of a campaign for our country’s highest office. Mr. Trump has shown that he is unworthy of having a New York State park named in his honor.”
Want to take a stab at why priorities seemed elsewhere? Jurisdictional boundaries? Partisan politics? Downright disdain for Mr. Trump? Regardless of any suppositions, Mr. Squadron’s buddy Chuck Schumer was in a larger position to roll that ball in regards to any issues with the free park. Instead, that ball self-deflated from inertia.
In the event you are wondering why Mr. Squadron is a “former” NY state senator, it is because he chose to dabble in private work —Future Now— after resigning from the State Senate seat. His resignation letter published by the NY Daily News contained the following: “heavily invested special interests” and “cynical political deals.”
Though he aimed the “cynical political ideals” comment at two NY State assemblymen arrested on corruption charges, even through a sweaty, squinty migraine headache I can see the irony in Mr. Squadron using those words: Cynicism…with a side of hypocrisy.
Another Democrat also joined the squadron of rename-the-park soldiers. US Congressman Patrick Maloney (D – NY) suggested renaming the park for Pete Seeger, the famous folk singer and environmental activist,” reported the NY Times.
The band of democrat brothers widened even further. NY Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine (D – Long Island) linked arms with Squadron et al. and got behind legislation to “drop Mr. Trump’s name.”
Liberal thinking from academia weighed-in as well.
“Public parks should be named with care. We should not go the route of naming public infrastructure or parks after individuals who have yet to contribute to the public sector,” New York University urban policy professor Mitchell L. Moss stipulated via the NY Times on December 19, 2015.
I see Professor Moss’ statement as rather shortsighted; donating a massive plot of land to the state for public use is a categorical “public sector” contribution, whether one is a declared pubic servant or not. Moreover, serving as the US president indeed duly qualifies as the highest plateau to “contribute to the public sector.” So, at this point it is a moot point, right?
Not if NY State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D – Queens) has anything to do with it.
As I wrote in a recent OpsLens article, “Ms. Rozic’s Assembly Bill A08668 ‘Directs the commissioner of the office of parks, recreation and historic preservation to provide for the re-designation of Donald J. Trump State Park, in Putnam and Westchester counties to Heather D. Heyer State Park.'” Ms. Rozic’s bill was read September 2017 in the NY State Assembly…and was marked “Effective immediately.”
Although I think Heather D. Heyer’s name beckons dedication, liberals throwing her name in the mix regarding a state park which was neglected and ill-afforded attests to a level of vexed desperation.
No matter the political party: Are some souls so tormented…that foisting ill-will upon another is an acceptable elixir? Wielding political pens in this fashion somehow overrides the growling belly of a homeless hungry human. While grace and humility were closeted, karma is out and about:
— TimesLedger (@TimesLedger) September 22, 2017
Even jaded journalism got its lanky Left legs in the park parade. Atlas Obscura introduced its article by mis-characterizing and grossly distorting truth, saying: “Donald J. Trump State Park is covered in weeds, wild brush, graffiti-covered abandoned homes, and is closed to the public. Once Trump’s ‘gift’ to New York, now he wants it back.” He offered to take it back after NY’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation virtually let it decay. Unkempt because of fiscal flaws, NY State opted to hold onto the property…well after Mr. Trump donated the acreage and was no longer holding the deed.
Whether you find President Trump brusque or any other adjectival connotation, he gave well before attaining the US presidency…while his democratic presidential opponent amassed by taking, taking, and taking some more. Even by covertly paying for a trumped-up unicorn-like Russian dossier…she still sought to plunder via ugly methodologies. The silence has been deafening for a while now…and the muted nitty-gritty, backhanded behind-the-curtains improprieties are being unmasked. Care to guess?