Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference in Woodside Monday that he supported the right of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators to protest, but whether they could stay in the tent city set up in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park is in the park’s owners’ hands.
“It’s up to them to decide what they want to do,” Bloomberg said of Brookfield Office Properties Inc., which owns the park.
The mayor said Brookfield is legally obligated to let people in the park at all times, but the city Health Department could go in to clean the park if the situation was determined to be a health hazard. He also said the rights of those who may not want to say anything as opposed to the protesters should be considered.
“The Constitution doesn’t protect tents,” Bloomberg said. “It protects speech and assembly.”
A recent Quinnipiac poll revealed that 72 percent of New Yorkers and 69 percent of Queensites believed the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators should be allowed to protest for as long as they like. The percentage who said protesters had a right to stay was also high across party lines, with 77 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of Independents and 52 percent of Republicans.
When asked if he had discussed the situation with his girlfriend Diane Taylor, who is on the board of Brookfield, Bloomberg said no.
“I can tell you the pillow talk in our house is not about Brookfield or Occupy Wall Street,” Bloomberg said.
The line was not the only quip Bloomberg had at the press conference. When asked about an impersonation of him on Saturday Night Live, the mayor said he had seen producer Lorne Michaels at a New York Yankees game and that he would be willing to play himself on the comedy program.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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