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The Dripby Brew Editors12:32 pmSep 26, 20120

Mayor denounces Kraft for “poisoning the well”

Patterson Park parking dispute gets hotter.

Above: Mayor Rawlings-Blake at press availability this morning after Board of Estimates meeting.

Both sides dug in their heels about a plan to create 96 parking spaces and a new loop road inside Patterson Park, days before the first public meeting is scheduled to air the proposal.

Expanding on her remarks to The Brew yesterday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Councilman James B. Kraft had “poisoned the well” over the future of the park by releasing information before it was ready to be made public.

“Give the facts, not send out false alarms,” said the mayor, referring by name to Kraft, at a press availability this morning after the Board of Estimates meeting.

Before the session was declared over by her press secretary, Rawlings-Blake indicated that the city had a wider vision for the park, but she did not elaborate.

“What we talked about” regarding the future of Patterson Park were “a couple of things” and a number of “concerns” that were not ready to be aired, she said.

Kraft called the accusation – voiced yesterday by City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot – “not true.”

He said he was given the plan by city officials with the specific purpose of releasing the information and had “negotiated with the mayor’s office” in the wording of a memo he wrote to community leaders.

The first public hearing on the parking plan, which The Brew disclosed last week, is scheduled for next Monday at the Virginia Baker Rec Center inside the park.

A 4,500-Signature Petition and More

Meanwhile, opposition is mounting, with the number of signatures on a “Don’t Pave the Park!” petition now up to 4,550.

“We believe that there should be no new road or parking spaces in the park and ask that the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Health Department withdraw this plan,” the online document reads, in part. The Facebook page has 1,024 “likes.”

One of the opponents took the comments on the petition and made  one of those visualization clouds to show what words pop up most frequently. After “park,” the next most common word was “green.”

Word cloud visualization made from comments on petition opposing Patterson Park loop road and parking space plan.

Word cloud visualization made from comments on petition opposing Patterson Park loop road and parking space plan.

There’s also a “Don’t Pave the Park” video, using Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” as the soundtrack.

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